Thursday, September 28, 2000

Oh! I forgotsk to post about the Photo Selection of the Week update. Oh, well, I'm sure most of you are aware of the schedule anyway. Here it is.

Wednesday, September 27, 2000

Ever get one of those "Getting to Know You" emails which list 60 or so questions where you're to answer the questions and pass it back to the author who sent it to you, as well as a hoard of other innocent email victims? They're quite simply a chain letter thinly veiled as a way to get to familiarize ourselves with our email companions. I have a point here, really, I do. Does telling someone that my favorite color is blue and my favorite ice cream is chocolate really open me up to another person? No, no it doesn't. It's just a simple way to categorize each other neatly. I'm not sure why this bothers me, but it does. I have enough superficial information flying around in my head about my email correspondents, ya know? I don't need to know that they prefer to sleep in a night shirt or boxers vs. briefs. If you *really* wish to know more about me, read this blog...it again, won't tell you everything, but it's a better start. *ahem* With that being said, please don't include me in the "getting to know you" chain...I won't respond.

Monday, September 25, 2000

ZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZzz I'm at work and dead tired. Got up at 4:00 am to take my friend to the airport for a 6:00am flight. It's just criminal that flights leave so early in the morning, although, I'm likely to book a flight that early too. It's just the day of the flight when you think *WHAT WAS I THINKING* when I booked such an early flight? The good thing about taking an early flight like that is that one can easily sleep in such a state no matter *how* nervous one might be. Zzzzzzzzzzz. Gimme my OJ...zzzzzzzzzZZZZZzz...gimme my caffeine...ZZZZZzzzzzzzzz. Oh, to be on that plane and getting some Zzzzzzz rather than here at work. To dream the impossible dream!

On a different note, I had an opportunity to view some of the Olympics this past weekend. There are a couple of things that stick out in my mind worth mentioning... 1. The Olympic coverage that we receive here in the states is *SOOOO* USA centric. I really don't care what country wins the medals, it's not as if this is a life and death struggle to determine the world's leaders or anything...it's just sports...err...big business...errr...that's right, it's supposed to be sports. Anyway, I'd like impartial commentary, is that so much to ask? I was watching the women's platform diving and I swear the woman commentator was about to pee her pants when she realized that the US woman was going to win the gold. Yes, it's nice that a US person won the gold, but it's really not *that* exciting for me, the viewer. Maybe it's 'cuz I'm not much of a *joiner*...I don't enthusiastically join in on something just because the crowd is pushing me to do so, ya know? I would like to see the best of the best, but not solely them. This is supposed to be an exhibition in addition to a competion, or so I'd like to believe.
2. The advertising is overly emotionally manipulative. Not much to say other than "Have you seen the Home Depot ad" with the "Happy and Ya know it" song? Say no more.
3. Along the lines of #1, I'd like to see some of the lesser known countries in sports like diving, gymnastics, (figure skating in the winter...), etc. I am 90% sure that the judges know ahead of time who they expect to be the best and will not even give consideration to the people with which they are not familiar. Many of the judges have seen the top people over and over again at international competitions, but often some of the smaller countries can't compete at other international competitions aside from the Olympics so they remain unknown up until the big O. Who's to say that the Botswana gymnastics team isn't as technically feasible, but that they have a different style that has up until now not been seen? It would make sense that a completely different culture would have a completely different artistic style even if their technical skills were similar. Because of this cultural difference, wouldn't the judging would be prejudiced? Just a thunk.

Friday, September 22, 2000

Things are getting spooky....
I was out to dinner last night with my friend Alexandra at a place called "The Malt Shop". Surprisingly enough, they sell malts. Midway through dinner we were talking about the trip we took to Washington, DC in June. She was talking about the other roommates snoring habits. (Not me, of course. hehehe. Ok, me included! Apparently I fell asleep on my back...i'm normally a tummy sleeper...when I sleep on my back --> *snorttttlechuck*. Back to the story...) She started talking specifically about an incident with Judy, our other roommate, when my malt started moving across the table. We were looking at each other while talking, but slowly our eyes met the malt. It moved fairly quickly and quite fluidly about 6 inches. After about ten minutes of can't-breathe-anymore laughter, we tried to get the thing to move again, but it met with great resistance on the table. Spooky eh?? I guess it moved 'cuz of ice melting on the outside and creating a slick of water, but we'll never know. It didn't seem to be *that* much water under it, and like I said, we tried to mimic the action again, but couldn't get the thing to even water ski with our finger pushing it. Oh, well. Kinda fun, eh?

Wednesday, September 20, 2000

Posted the Photo Selection of the Week. Not much more to say 'cept G'NIGHT!

Monday, September 18, 2000

Were you a fat kid? If so, do you have a story to tell about your childhood existance? Was there an embarassing moment? Was there a time when you suffered major ridicule? Were you put on diets at an early age? I've started a new site for memories of being a fat child entitled "I was a fat kid...this is my story" I've got a contest running to start it off...a $20 amazon.com gift certificate will be given away to one of the people submitting a story to the site. Good luck!
Do you wash your hands after leaving the restroom?? Hmmmm?? I will not, errr...cannot leave the bathroom without washing my hands. Here's the article that provoked this rant: (Star Tribune article) When I'm at work sitting in a restroom stall doing my thang, I listen to the other chickas leave the restroom. It never fails...about once a week a woman will leave the restroom without even a drip of water from the faucet. I used to pay closer attention as to who was in the restroom when I had to actually do tech stuff at other people's keyboards...well, 'cuz I'm a nut and I don't want to touch a keyboard of a person who won't wash their hands when leaving the restroom. Ewwwwww! Anyway, now that I *rarely* have to visit a client workstation, I'm less fanatical about it. Suffice it to say, too, that I've had less colds and flus in the past two years of not needing to visit other's workstations. I'm sure that's in part due to the whole sans-washing thing. It takes just a few seconds with a wee bit of soap and water to kill a load of bacteria. Is it *that* hard to do? No. I've heard some women say, especially in winter, that their hands get dried out if they wash their hands too often. Hello? Have you heard of lotion?! *ahem* Stepping off my wee soap box now...
Let me set the scene.... a crank out window that won't crank back in, a rainbow out my window on a warm yet windy morning, a dark and ominous cloud bank heading my way, and a kitty who *really* wanted to see what I was doing. I realized last night that my window wouldn't crank back in, (Yes, it's the cheapo lameo crank window on one side and a stationary window on the other side that is so common in these parts of the world in downtown highrises.) but I figured the weather would hold. Yesterday was a gorgeous day for Snoopy hunting (we got 31 more!!!) so I figured today would be the same. Not so. So long about 6:50 this morning, I look out my window and see the aforementioned scene. I take off the screen on the window as there is no way to touch the wayward window without taking the screen off. I start to pull the window in, and realize that the crank mechanism is no longer stuck, in fact it's pretty much just separated from the window itself. Fine, no biggie. While I'm trying to reattach the crank, (crank shaft? I know, sounds too engine-y. hehehe) I look down at the bottom of the casement and see a bunch of dead hornets. "Wow," I thought to myself, "Poor things must have been dead in there quite a while..." Doodly doo, I go about my business of trying to get the crank attached. A blust of wind and suddenly the hornets are ALIVE and DOING QUITE WELL, thank you. "Shit!" <--- actual quote. Screw the crank! Abandon ship, abandon ship! I quickly try to get the screen back on the window. Damn thing wouldn't get back on. I was holding it hoping the hornets wouldn't *see* me as the one disturbing their slumber. *phrew* I got the screen back in after about 5 attempts to get the spring mechanism correctly placed in the casement...and get the screen up and over the crank handle. So, there I sat, watching the hornets on my window. I turned the crank all the way to the 'closed' position, and the window closed with the wind. "Great" Now I had 5 angry hornets on the inside of the window and a screen that has a big enough lesion through which a clever hornet could certainly crawl. I stared at the little beasties quite a while...I'd open the window and let the wind close it again...I was hoping they'd get blown away, you see. My cat decides to taunt them a big by tapping the screen. They didn't seem to like that, but what they *really* didn't like was my Calgon body spray. hehehe. Yes, when the "Cat and hornet game" was getting a bit long in the tooth, I decided to use my weapon of choice (ok, ok, the nearest sprayable substance...). Not only will the alcohol in the spray annoy them, the frangrance will make them smell lovely! *spray* *spray* *spray* They were quite pissed off. I'd open the window...spray one of 'em and they'd BUZZZZZZ and get blown away by the wind. Success!
Have a great day! I'm off to that work thang....

Saturday, September 16, 2000

Anyone know Norwegian? The art show that I am a part of in Stavanger, Norway was reviewed on a local TV station, and the piece about the show is available on the net HERE. I would be ever so greatful if someone could write the translation of what is spoken in the piece. Thanks! I hope you're all having a good weekend. I'm off to the In a BIG Way picnic.

Thursday, September 14, 2000

Oh, wow, my Right to Bare Arms is not just a personal/fat acceptance struggle. Read this. The right to bare arms is apparently a universal struggle. I'm so *au current*. :-)

Wednesday, September 13, 2000

Photo of the Week time again: http://www.catay.com/cat/week.htm. Geez, I almost did something sexy, but then I scrapped the idea. I almost did something Olympic related, then I scrapped the idea. I almost did something artsy-fartsy, then I scrapped the idea. Well, you get the idea, right? Several hours of creative torture. The resultant pic is fun, it was taken up at the headwaters area of the Mississippi.

I was scoping out the Martha Stewart online site the other day. It's really quite well done and her over priced product placements are everywhere. $32 for cookie cutters? Sure, why not. Not! They are very cleverly placed...they give the famous Martha Stewart idea and then put the corresponding Martha by Mail product placement right next to it. I was *almost* conned into buying her special Halloween idea magazine...only $4.75 and since I'm hosting a Masquerade/Halloween party, I was in need of some fresh ideas. Anyway, I put it in my cyber-basket and proceed to check out. Whoa! Shipping and handling $5.75? You gotta be kidding? Is it hand packaged by Martha herself? hehehe. Anyway, suffice it to say that I got my butt into a magazine store tonight and handled & shipped it myself in my Beetle.
Some day I hope to have enough time lying around to be Martha Stewart. Until that time I'm going to be a cut-rate knock-off.

Tuesday, September 12, 2000

Catching up...
This past weekend, I went up to the Northwoods of Minnesota, specifically to Lake Itasca State Park. For those of you unfamiliar with the significance of Lake Itasca, the Mississippi River starts at Lake Itasca. Here, you can cross the river, and if you fall in, you won't be dissolved in the industrial chemicals that pollute the river a wee bit further downstream. A group of us stayed at a GORGEOUS two-story log cabin in the park. It's quite a steal, actually, because for ~$350/night, you can sleep 21 people. Plenty of bathrooms, bedrooms, air conditioning (if you want) and a beautiful fireplace in the center of the great room. The only thing that disturbed me about the place was the balcony on the second floor. The railing on the balcony was low...just about hip high. If I were to take a spill on the rug while walking toward the railing, my center of gravity would easily swing me over the ledge and down to the great room below. It wouldn't be pretty. :-)

Thursday, September 07, 2000

All of the hubub about the little fat girl taken from her family in New Mexico has gotten me thinking about my childhood, and some of the things that I had experienced as an abnormally fat child. I really haven't taken an active interest in the events surrounding the sensationalized *abduction* of the NM child, so I don't know much about the whole story, just sketchy details. Consequently I feel I can't acurately form a strong opinion about the state's action. Obviously it's a difficult situation for all involved and that probably goes without saying.

Anyway, the point of this post is state/school interference and the fat child from my personal experience.

My first memory about this was in the early side of grade school when I was pulled out of class a the beginning of every year to go down to the nurses office to get weighed. Of course, only the fat kids were called down to the office at that time. I suspect that at the beginning of every year, the teachers were asked who in their classes were *too* fat or *too* thin. This went on for a couple of years and I was always embarassed to get weighed, especially in front of the other fat kids who were also in the nurses room. I can recall the coldness of the room and the pepto colored couches on either side of the room. Towards one side of the room was the entrance to the actual office of the nurse. Some years, the weighing was done in the nurse's office, but with the door open, and a couple of times the scale was in the room with the two couches while the other children watched. The looks on all of the kids' faces were horrible. I think we all knew why we were there from the moment we entered the room. Of course back in the classroom, the kids in the room also knew that the fat kids were being taken out to the *pasture*. The didn't know what was going on, of course, but they knew that we were different and completely unacceptable by societal standards. What a way to alienate the fat kids, eh?
Long about 4th grade, I had finally understood that the power of refusing to do something that I wasn't comfortable doing. My mom had always told me that, good thing to know, eh? Anyway, that year I took an empowering stand and refused to be weighed by the nurse. She was dumbfounded. Aghast too. A combination of the two, most likely. Poor Ms. Perazino had lost her power over me. What was really cool was that when I refused, other kids refused too. YAY! It was a great moment. Ya had to be there. ;-)
I believe that in years following that I was still called down, but I don't believe they ever requested me to step on the scale again.
Come junior high, not only was I called down to the nurses office at one point, but they contacted my mum and called a public health nurse to come to visit my home during the summer months. The public health nurse came to see me and my mom to talk about food portions, etc. I remember thinking that the little rubber half cup of baked beans seemed like a little amount...I guess I was a baked bean nut back then. She also during her visit asked me to step on the scale. I refused. I think she wanted my mom to force me on the scale, but instead she supported me in the decision. Way to go mom! (On a side note, my mom was fairly thin all of her life...she hovered between size 10 and 14 most of the time. When she was ill I believe she got up to a size 20...nowhere near to my size.) Anyway, that refusal was another victory for me and my wee self esteem.
In high school I was contacted one time about my weight by the nurse. A huge issue was not made of my weight...that I knew of...

Long about 19 years old when I was taking care of my ailing mother (she died of emphysema related complications when I was 20...), my mom and I talked about a lot of things that she normally protected me against. She spoke one time about the calls she would get from the high school nurse and counselor about my weight. I had no idea they even contacted her at that time. Anyway, the counselor and/or nurse made comments to her that I would "never amount to anything" and "never have a *normal* social life" or life at all unless I lost weight. What was really curious about it in retrospect was that I had a very active social life, I was involved in a ton of after school activities, I was the editor of the high school yearbook, I was the treasurer then president of the Thespians, I helped start the video yearbook, I had a decent grade point average, etc, etc, etc. This was in a school of 2,100 kids, so no small feat to be accomplished with so many others waiting to fill in the gaps. What were they basing this diatribe upon? Their own failings in life that they blindly based upon one's weight? Anyway, I'm sure as a mother she hated to hear those things. I felt bad for her when she told me....to basically be told that she had failed as a mother 'cuz I would be such an unproductive citizen when I left the school. What a horrible thing to hear on the other end of the phone, eh? I felt so bitterly angry at the Stillwater School district for doing that and believing their own diatribes so much that they would call parents and harass them. How simply wrong they were.

Wednesday, September 06, 2000

Site update: Updated the Photo Selection of the Week *and* by popular demand I've added a new collection of photos entitled: A Right to Bare Arms.
I hope you're all having a fabulous week. Until next time when I have more to say...

Monday, September 04, 2000

Another day of Snoopy hunting. Caught 22 more of the little guys today. I'm well on my way to a whole display of 101!! A Cat's work is never done. :-)
On a completely different note, I have a deep love for pop-up books. I don't know why it is, it just is. I'm not talking regular ol' kids pop-up books, although they can be endearing, I'm talking about intricate works of paper art/engineering that just *happen* to be in a book. There are several authors/artists that come to mind when talking 'bout the *good ones*. For instance, Robert Sabuda. Never saw a book of his that didn't charm me. The pieces are usually simple yet intricate.
I recently became aware of a pop-up book that I found amazing. It was given to me as a gift. "The Pop-Up Book of Phobias". It's spooky, clever and brilliantly executed. If you get a chance, check it out. I've linked the book title to Amazon's page on the book, but the cover doesn't do it justice. Inside you'll find very dark, wicked illustrations that are sure to delight...and or cause a relapse for those of you post-phobia therapy. :-)
Another favorite of mine is the "Architecture Pack" It's a pop-up historical look at architecure. Combining two passions into one! Yay! :-) Again, if you see it, check it out. I can't seem to find it on Amazon to give ya a peek at it. Oh, well. I'm sure it's still in print.
Now, if only I can make a pop-up web page. Hmmm...I'm working on it. hehehe. Wouldn't *that* be a surprise?!?! :-)

Sunday, September 03, 2000

How to put a duvet cover on your king size comforter by yourself.
1) Fold the top of the comforter down to the bottom.
2) Fold the right side over the left.
3) Smoosh the comforter through the hole in the duvet
4) Get the bottom left corner into the bottom left corner of the duvet cover.
5) Crawl into duvet cover.
6) Panic that you are caught in the duvet cover and will never be freed.
7) Breathe deeply.
8) Relax
9) Realize that even if you do get caught inside, the rest will be comfy on top of the four layers of the feather comforter/duvet. 12+ inches of fluff!
10) Unfold the right side of the comforter to the right side of the cover so that bottom right corner of the duvet mooshes properly into the right hand cover corner.
11) Find the exit of the duvet cover
12) Climb out.
13) Pull the top end of the duvet towards the top end of the cover.
14) Moosh the corners of the duvet into the corners of the cover.
15) Button up the cover.
16) Sleep.
Ah, the end of a very full day. It's 2:45am. *yawn* I spent a great deal of the day hunting Snoopy. Yes, my friend Peter and I were hunting the Snoopys around town for a new section of my website which will be titled "Cats 'n' Dogs". Basically it's going to be a collection of photos of me and all of the various Snoopys around Saint Paul. There are 101 decorated Snoopys scattered around the city. It's intended to be a dedication to Charles Schulz. For those of you from the Chicago area, you'll probably recognize the idea. Apparently last year(?) Chicagoans were treated with decorated cows around the city. Anyway, the chances of me getting *all* of the darned dogs photographed it pretty slim, but I'm sure I'll have a decent selection. Here's a sample of what I'm talking about: Cats 'n' Dogs preview. The real trick in getting the photographs is finding the darned pups. They put 'em in some strange places sometimes. Sure, I have a map, and even street addresses, but in unfamiliar areas of town it's still a bear...errr...hound to find 'em.
I'm off to bed. Catch ya on the flip side. *woof*

Friday, September 01, 2000

I got up early this morning to take my baby in for his 10K checkup appointment at 7:30am. My baby is my VW Beetle. A cute dark blue baby. :-) Anyway, I take my car into the service garage, tell the intake guy about a couple of problems that my car has...1). The auto window switch broke off, coincidentally, the day I made the appointment for the 10K checkup. 2). The air panel light goes out if I push on the a/c button or turn the air flow nob a certain direction and then goes back again if I turn it the other way. It goes off pretty much when it damn well feels like it, quite frankly. 3). A couple of wee squeeks were heard from the front. Not sure if it was coming from the brakes or the suspension (struts, etc.).
They had three issues to look at and the 10K checkup duties. It's going to take 1 to 1 1/2 hours, the intake guy says. "Cool," I say.
I go into the waiting room and see one of the attorneys from my firm. What are the chances of that? Anyway, we just exchanged politenesses. I don't know him well, and I think he just *vaguely* recognized me. *tick tock* *tick tock* *tick tock* I've read the entire St Paul Pioneer Press.*tick* An Architectural Digest *tock* and another magazine from May of 1999 thats name is escaping me now. *tick* *tock* I get up out of my squished butt chair and stand up to look out the dealership's windows. There's my car. It's just sitting there. *tick tock* I wait. Of course the intake service guy must have something urgent going on. *tick* I see the intake service guy come in, grab a cup of coffee *tock* and he heads back to his stand in the service center. *tick* Two people who arrived 20 minutes after me *tock* got their car from the guy. *tick* 15 minutes later, my happy little bug is still sitting out on the lot. *tock* I go to the service guy and ask him for my car. "Oh, yeah, gotta get the paper work on your car." *tick* He comes back and says they fixed the window opener. Yay! He then says that the technicians test drove the car and didn't hear the wee squeek. Ok, not a problem, I don't hear it often anyway. "I'll just keep my eye on it." I then ask about the panel light. He shuffles through the papers. "Hmmm...looks like it didn't make it in there." I think to myself, "You mean, you didn't put it in there? You are the one who puts in the customer requests..." It was as if he was trying to blame someone else. Anyway, he inquires as to whether or not I'd like to have it fixed now. "It shouldn't take *too* long." "How long is *too* long? Oh, and what time is it now?," I ask. "9:15, it shoudn't take long...about 1/2 hour," he stated. *gulp* Another 1/2 hour? Gack. I had to be to work by 9:30. He asked if I'd like to make an appointment now or just wait for the 15K checkup. Granted, it's not a HUGGGE problem. It's just a panel light. It certainly can wait. I ask if they stamped the owner's manual when they insisted upon at the 5K checkup. "I don't know if they did, let's check. Sometimes they're a bit flighty about such things," he quipped. I vaguely remember the intake person doing it last time. Could be that it doesn't matter *who* does it. Anyway, we go back to the car. It hasn't been washed or vacuumed. Ok, I was ticked and tocked. When I initially bought the car, that was one of the things that the salespeople told me 'bout the service. They *always* wash the car when you come in for service during the *checkup* period. "A nice touch," I said. Anyway, I tell the service intake doufus that the car hasn't been washed or vaccuumed and that one of the people who had *just* picked up their car exclaimed with delight that their car had been cleaned as they walked out of the waiting room. The pass-the-buck intake service guy says "We've been having trouble keeping car washers with the economy as it is now." I reiterated the fact that the car right before mine had been washed and *prettified* and that I passed on a car wash this morning for the express reason that I would be getting one at the dealer. He then makes the excuse that the car washer may have been called on another duty 'cuz he's not *just* a car washer. Fine, cool, dandy.
Really, all I wanted was some sort of apology for 1). Not fixing what I expressly requested to be fixed. 2). Not following through with consistently delivered *nicey* *nicey* service things that a normal oil change place like Jiffy Lube would even offer.
I didn't want Mr. Pass-the-buck to blame anyone else. Just take it on the chin and apologize for the quality of the service. It's that simple. A two second "I'm sorry." would have *almost* made it "OK." I would have, at the very least, accepted the apology with an "I know, it's ok, it's ok," as I'm apt to do with my Minnesota-nice upbringing.
With service of this quality, it made me really wonder if any of the 10K checkup items had actually been done. At least when I go to Jiffy Lube I can see them actually putting the oil in the car, for instance. At the dealership, I was hustled off to a waiting room without windows toward the service garage. It looks bad for the dealership, plain and simple. Ok, enough griping. I've been *tick tocked* enough for one morning. :-)