A simple girl in a complex world

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Front Line Voices

The project is taking shape. The URL is in place with a blog atop it, skinning to commence soon. The group of us who have volunteered have been sharing ideas about how this should and will take place. The whole thing is fascinating; the effect should be as well.

If you have as few as two free hours per week and have an interest in the project, please visit the discussion blog and find a fitting way to donate some of your time.


Music to Whack Terrorists By

Fulfilling my Alliance duties, I present to you a song for the mix CD, Music to Whack Terrorists By:

Invincible, by Pat Benatar. Probably one of my favorite songs ever, and quite fitting.


This Week's New Blog Showcase

Voting time again. Here are my picks:

1) Citizen Lehew's Who Ate My Democracy? is worth a vote. While I may not agree with all that much that the good Citizen has to say, he says it very well and makes a good argument. And that's worth a vote. Nice site design, by the way.

2) My other vote goes to King of Fools for the post on the Caucasian Club.

Good luck with your blogs!



Friday, September 26, 2003

Talking Trash

Tuesday night I had a dream about trash. In the dream, I was working at KFC, must've been college. And I fixated on the trash in the restaurant within the dream. I can still smell the trash there if I think about it - a mix of vinegary cole slaw sauce remnants, the scrapings off of the trays that held the chicken, too-old mashed potatoes, and, if you're in the "back," chicken blood.

That's not the point of this post, though. When I awakened on Wednesday morning, I spent five additional minutes thinking about trash because of the dream.

My father was a collector of non-trashy trash. You know, that stuff that should be thrown out but one doesn't have the heart to do it? It's not going to rot or anything, so there's nothing that would necessitate throwing it a way. He was a true pack rat. I have a bit of that in me but not as extreme. I'm going to illustrate.

My mother and father have a house with a large attic. About four months after my father died, my mother asked Brian and me to come down with Brian's truck and remove the items still located in the attic. I balked at this a bit, knowing what a chore this would be; my poor mother had NO idea.

So after doing a few other various chores around her house and yard on an April Saturday morning in 2001, we decided to tackle the attic, the storage part of which is located above the garage. There's a pull-down ladder that you extend and then climb up. The item removal line went from Brian in the attic to Heather on the lowest step to Heather's mother who stood a bit to the right of the ladder.

The stuff just kept coming. At first it was funny - you know, like, when we pulled out the first of three toilets. Because we moved a lot as a family, there was a truckload (we know - we hauled it!) of recyclable cardboard moving boxes). There were all of the toys/stuffed animals/books that I kept from childhood. There was some furniture. It took HOURS. HOURS! And it seemed like it would never end.

In the end (that eventually came), though, it was a truckload that my mother and Brian took to the local dump, a truckload of recycling, and a truckload of items Brian and I brought home with us.

Three truckloads of stuff in the attic. We cleaned out the garage, too, and in so doing, my mother moved a board resting against the back garage wall and rediscovered the spot where my father was once too overzealous in backing his boat into the garage. He was always "going to fix that."

And we laughed and sighed. It's obviously not important, all of the little things left undone - not like you choose to suddenly die at 62. I think bringing down the trash/recycling really helped clearly define some of what my father was about, something I have in me, too. That strange unwillingness to let go of certain things, a wistfulness attached to a thing or twelve - maybe recognized as such, most likely not.

My father would've been 65 today. Perhaps that's the dream, or why I connected the dream with THAT particular trash. That day, though it was a whole lot of work, is one of the most memorable days of my adult life. And that comes a couple of years later after some serious reflection and can be reduced to a sentence.

It's hard to let go.

James Allen Igert, 9/26/1938 - 12/6/2000.



Thursday, September 25, 2003

Quick Links

1) Don't miss the Carnival this week.

2) Michael Williams has posted his Spherewide Short Story Symposium.

3) Harvey Olson of Bad Money feeds us another filthy lie about the press conference regarding the end of the Blog War as we know it.



Wednesday, September 24, 2003

SBC - YOUR Telephone Company

SBC is frenetically advertising DSL DSL DSL, Yahoo DSL everywhere I look. Brian and I tried to get DSL 3 1/2 years ago when we moved into this house. I can't remember what they told us except "yes" initially and "no" when we complained it wouldn't hold a connection and they sent someone out to take a look.

I don't remember the why behind the no. So we looked into cable. At that time, this area was serviced by St. Louis' secondary cable company (which was later bought by Charter, about 2 years ago), and it did not offer cable Internet service. So, we were pretty much outta luck, this being early 2000. We got a 2nd phone line so that we can both do work/play online at once. Yes, sometimes we IM each other from different parts of the house. I digress.

Time passes. Dial-up SUFFICES, but we both get into this blog thing. As you probably know, sometimes it's a go-down-the-blogroll festival of link opening into new windows. This takes forever to load in 56k (which is a farce - I connect at 23.6 usually). You can read Meryl giving it a good gripe since she was blogging away from home due to Isabel. I keep thinking, "honey, you have NO idea."

Back on track. One of these SBC Yahoo advertisements made its way into our home, and it planted that little advertising seed, you know, like it's aiming to do. So we called, or submitted it on the Internet - I'm not sure which came first. They call us back, leave a muffled message on our answering machine. I call the next day - Thursday or Friday of last week, and I spend 30 minutes on the phone with smarmysalesrep, who says, "Yes, ma'am, Ms. Noogle (note the two Os - bad bad), we can get that for you. I don't know WHAT they were talking about." He signs me up. Our nifty modem came in a box Monday with the go-live date of, um, tomorrow. I accidentally attributed the wrong phone number to the order, so Brian calls on Monday and clears that up.

Yesterday, I receive a call from the contractor who would be doing any necessary beforehand work to ensure this'll work. He has some bad news. That phone line isn't copper; rather, it's fiber optic, and that's a "no can do" with DSL. He's trying to hook that to the original number, though, and so ever-hopeful Heather says, "No, wait, that's the WRONG phone number. Try this one" and gives him the new. He calls me back today - same deal.

To do DSL with this kind of set-up, the technician informs me, requires some sort of remote station. And, that's slated to happen, oh, about 2005.

Okay, people. This the year 2003. Our technology is amazing. AMAZING. Look at new computers today - mine's so ancient (almost 3 years now) that I have no idea what's out there. And, seeing that mine's perfectly functional, even for a session of Asheron's Call or two, it'll be, oh, a few months before I seriously look at upgrading some of the pieces. My point, though, is LOOK AT THE ADVANCES IN THREE YEARS. I know they're there. Some of the servers at work have a GIG of RAM. GIG! (Sorry for yelling, sorta.) What's SBC advanced? Um, it can PRINT MORE ADS and not provide any more service.

Zounds. Feel the acid. So, I've flipped the switch in my head that says "something more than dial-up." Seeing as we dropped cable on its sorry ass in June, that's kinda out of the question. At least with Charter. Ah, but there is another, as Yoda would say.

Maryland Heights, my municipality, for some reason has TWO cable companies. Most of the rest of the metro area is only serviced by Charter. So, I call Cable America today and get the hook-up. The funny part? The whole thing is LESS expensive (when you take away my dial-up account) with the Internet access and a similar cable package than what Brian and I were paying with Charter.

Pblllllht on SBC.


Visit Here

And volunteer.



Electric Venom posts this, which I initially missed because I didn't click the link while I was at work. My husband, however, made sure to point it out to me when I got home, and while one might take that statement to mean he'd like to send me to one of those classes, that's not quite the case.

Rather, I'm sure he was sure I'd have a surely grand time with this post. And, indeed, surely, I have. First, my comments directly on the original post:

    Laugh, what a crock. (But funny). I'll address this one on my blog after dinner in detail, but, for quickness and interest's sake, there are four ways to target/shape your breasts, which are basically just FAT.

    1) Incline chest press
    2) Flat chest press
    3) Decline chest press
    4) Pec flyes

    I'll give you the goods later (like, how men who build can avoid manboobs) and see if I can hack a trackback ping so those interested can see it (yucky blogger).

    None of these add cup size. They may actually slightly DIMINISH breast size but enhance definition and give a woman a certain "perkiness," shall we say.

Incline presses - the most difficult for a woman to do. They work the top of the muscle and should be done first before you're too fatigued to effectively work 'em. Flat press - easiest to learn - what most folks who lift just for a bit of tone but not out of passion do. Declines - you can lift more weight because they're easier to do, so that usually gives one a sense of satisfaction. Also, they help add some curve to those sensuous areas. Yowsers! Flyes- the best possible way for a conservative chick to become an in-gym tree hugger. That's the motion.

I forgot push-ups. You'll forgive me. Those'll add size...if they're BUILT INTO YOUR BRA. And, avoiding manboobs - inclines. Dudes - incorporate inclines if you're even THINKING about bodybuilding.

Switching lanes, I want to punch this guy because he's going to get response. Think of all of the sheep YOU know in women's bodies. Uh huh.

Here's a bit of info from the web - not too far off from the blurb Hilton gives, but it contains quite the opposite outcome.

    Because women's breasts are made up mostly of Adipose (fatty) tissue, and contain no muscle, exercise alone will not change their size or shape directly. However by working the largest muscle in the chest, pectoralis major, you can help support the breasts and hold them up higher. If performing the exercise in the gym, I would say the Incline Dumbbell Bench press is the most effective. The same exercise can be performed at home on a Swiss Ball.
From http://www.breasttalk.co.uk/breast_exercises.asp.

Fight the sag, yes. Add fatty breast tissue - only if you eat more, and you'll likely not praise the overall results.

(Kate - this is for that ONE reader of yours who took that article seriously and is contemplating a long vacation to the UK to give it a whirl. I'm going to guess there's only one because only great, intelligent people like me visit your blog. You, missy, that one girl who thinks boob aerobics will work. Sorry. SOL.)


The War - Choose Your Battles

I don't write much about the Iraq war, the events leading up to it, and the events that have occurred in the rebuilding stage. There's a reason - mostly because I become emotional and have trouble becoming, much less remaining, objective on this issue. But, here are a few months' worth of thoughts conglomerated.

On March 21, 2003 at about 9:00 in the evening, news of the war came on the radio. It was a Wednesday evening, and I was at my community volleyball session, just as I will be tonight. Volleyball was scheduled to last until 9:30. At 9:15, I left, very distracted, essentially unable to function in a "fun" and recreational enviornment. I arrived home to Brian watching Fox.

The media's night vision live action footage and term coinage, as if this were somehow trendy, this "Shock and Awe" etc. was and is disgusting. At work in the reception area, TVs are tuned to CNN all day. Every time I'd leave my cubicle to get more water, I'd walk by more bombing. Bombing, bombing, and more bombing. Bombing as an Olympic event. On Friday, I was at lunch at Ruby Tuesday's when Hans remarked while looking up at a perched television screen covering - you guessed it, more bombing - "What's the score?"

And that about sums it up. I support the government's choice to go to war; I hope I understand it. I essentially believe we declared war because we had to - we had said we would if certain final conditions were not met (we did all but ask Saddam pretty please with sugar on top to leave); the conditions were not satisfied, of course, and, well, you know the rest. Had we backed down with an "oh, sorry," I believe there would've been graver consequence than these we face today because the image of the United States would be weakened (thus leading to more attacks and a lessened ability to negotiate by staunch deterrence and subtle threat). There is no glaring evidence of WMDs (yet another term) - the SOLE reason we went to war, according to many of those opposed. This is disheartening, yes.

The simple fact remains, though. We. are. in. Iraq. We are not leaving until we have done our job. Many tragedies will occur between now and then - some preventable, some not. As a nation, though, we have made a commitment - a commitment I am comfortable assuming that was undertaken based on knowledge far greater than any normal citizen you and I can obtain.

Do I support the war and America's efforts against terrorism? Wholeheartedly and unquestionably, yes. Does this come without a price? No. The war makes me question what I'm about - I have become callous and have stopped reading past the headlines when soldiers die. I do not learn their names or about their childhoods and families left behind as I did early in the war. I do not connect.

I also believe that this nation has done two things with the war - one good, and one very, very bad.

The good is that with a limited amount of power, we deposed the Saddam Hussein regime very quickly. This stands as an example to other nations who would dare challenge our military and technological supremacy. It also paints us in a benevolent light, to those who stop to notice, because of our restraint.

The bad is that this is one nation, one link to terrorism. We are merely beginning, and I believe we are entering something that has no conceivable end. It has been said before and I merely reiterate that we will forever be criticized for every skirmish and issue and possible link to terrorism that we do NOT eradicate because we chose the war with Iraq.

This post comes from what Frank J. wrote last night on the Alliance blog and my frustration with knowing NO ONE involved in the Iraq war. I stopped to think about that - I don't know a soul serving in Iraq in this phase, either. That lends itself to a nice disconnect, no.

Sadly, and in complete honesty, yes.



Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Writing? Not Tonight.

Didn't put up anything really for you to read. I've been reading instead of writing this evening, and tomorrow'll likely be a sparse posting day as well. I will point you five places and then put my empty brain to rest/recharging.

1) The Alliance gets serious. An excellent post by Frank J..

2) My spouse did proxy posting for me this evening. As always, quite good.

3) I can't refer you to Blackfive enough these days. I'll do it again. He's continuing to post about his boot camp experiences. Matt, I believe you have a book if you want one.

4) Also, when Aaron at Free Will posts, he POSTS. Back at it. He links to this strange thing (which is more ethereal on dial-up, I promise).

5) And, finally, Kevin at Wizbang is hosting one big hot Bonfire. Don't stand too close.

Good night. I'm so tired I'm not even amusing myself.



    WASHINGTON (AP) -- The American Civil Liberties Union asked the federal courts Tuesday to prevent the U.S. Secret Service from keeping anti-Bush protesters far away from presidential appearances while allowing supporters to display their messages up close.

    The civil liberties group filed the lawsuit in federal court in Pennsylvania on behalf of four advocacy organizations that claimed that the Secret Service forced them into protest zones or other areas where they could not be seen by President Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney or be noticed by the media covering their visits.
Forced them into "protest zones." Gee, isn't that where they belong?



Monday, September 22, 2003

Monday Links (all but Michael)

So many links, so little sleep (if I get 'em all in with commentary).

1) This blew my mind - from Across the Atlantic. I'm not much into current Europe news, so this was ALL news to me.

2) Venemous Kate reports on Gulf War illnesses, specifically ALS. Not to make light of this post, but seeing as Kate's an Axis member, perhaps we Alliance folk can do her neat "letter of the day" theme, but use one letter up in defiance.

3) Mike Courtney's heavy Oil of Olay use pays off!

4) Gil le Bell explores that heavy-handed notion that there's a link between homosexuality and sports.

5) I read this whole thing. Likely, you did too, but I'll link it anyway. Den Beste presents to us a human shield and her travails.

6) Roo the day!

7) Cul-de-Sac is up again at Suburban Blight. These things keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger...

8) Go link up Arianna Huffington on Friendster.

9) Jared Keller cracks me up with his fiskin' entitled NFL LINEBACKERS AND CNNSI SPORTSWRITERS... and subtitled "Are there any finer authorities on gun violence?"

10) An interesting take on noise pollution. I live close enough to Lambert Field that I hear the military jets, too. No big thing.

11) Blackfive is telling tales of his military experiences. I won't link to a specific post. Just go read the blog.

12) And, finally, my Sunday plans. Nothing like 100 miles to get the old blood pumping. Wahoo.

Good night.


Monday Links (sponsored by Michael Williams)

Seriously, folks, Michael's on a roll. Before I start listing everything else, I'm going to give him a trifecta. You bet (bad pun). I just have to get them in the right sequence so that we all win.

Michael Post 1: Bustamente must return Bustamillions elucidates the swirling opaque sands of campaign finance reform and how it comes into play with the recall.

    It doesn't look like you can roll money from one campaign into another. This is important, because if you could spend left-over money that was originally donated to campaign A on later campaign B, it would be impossible to enforce donor limits. Someone could give money to campaigns A and B, and then campaign A could fold and transfer all its money to campaign B; the donor could end up giving twice as much as allowed.
Michael Post 2: Disabled by Fat begins innocently enough: "I'm not planning on making fat jokes." He never does stoop, but, whee, there's some serious snark. Laughter abounded from my downstairs office at this:

    No one has a problem with luscious curves, the problem is when your whole body is just one single curve. This is commonly called a "sphere", and it doesn't count as an affirmative answer for when people ask you whether or not you're "in shape".
Read the whole thing. Twice. And then send it to a friend.

Michael Post 3: Weight Loss Tip follows up on the "creamy lard" post. I read this after I posted my toothy message, so I left him a comment to that regard. Regarding soda, I'd so much rather munch and crunch than drink my calories.

And, there you have it. The soon-to-follow Links of the Day (of which there are many) is next.


Monday, September 22, 2003. "Oppressed" Again

Don't you hate when you learn you're oppressed. I mean, who knew? I found this link yesterday via Ravenwood's Universe (in the post where he's referring to me, incidentally) - a website named Redheads United.

I gave it the perfunctory once-over, not really reading it, but bookmarking it for later. Well, today, I went back, and here's what I found.

On a page named "what is redism?" I learned that I am oppressed. This page appears to be COMPLETELY SERIOUS. (I, however, of course, am NOT...so enjoy)

    If you're a redhead, you almost certainly had times at school when people picked on you, simply because you were different to everyone else. You were the one with red hair, and you were to be avoided at all costs. You supposedly had the short fuse, the unpredictable temperament and I bet you were the last one to be picked for any team too.

    There were the taunts of "gingernut", "ginger" and "carrot-top". You may remember others. You could be walking along one day and some idiot with nothing better to do would call out across the street "GINGER!", leaving you to guess his I.Q. to be under 10. And did you ever wonder why you got called "carrot-top", when you could have sworn your hair wasn't green?
Uh, no, sorry, I'm a coppertop. Perhaps I'm inadequate to be oppressed. I'll see if I can file a grievance.

    You may have managed to ignore it or laugh it off. Even the severest taunting can be forgotten as soon as it stops, or when you leave school. You tend to hope that adults won't voice their opinions of redheads in such a childish manner. However, this kind of treatment can make an impact. Your confidence can be dented by playground jibes, you can become shy or introverted, and you may well feel as if you are less important than other people with a different, "normal" hair-colour.
I'm shy! I'm abnormal! I'm not British, though, so I don't use "u" in my color. Which is, of course, red.

    The worrying thing is that redism doesn't end in the playground. You can hope as much as you like but the truth is that you're stuck with the jokes for life. The worst of it is that adults seem to be able to get away with it without it even being deemed cruel! Having reached my twenties I still get the "ginger abuse" from kids and young men and women of my age!
Clairol, honey. Nice n' Easy. Dullboringbrown is an option. If it bugs you that much, dye it. Damned oppressive cruel adults - driving you to the bottle. Shameful.

    Redism appears to be viewed as an acceptable prejudice to hold by many people, including high profile figures such as MPs or judges (see The Hall of Shame). But in this age of political correctness, how do they get away with this kind of behaviour? Should this be tolerated?

    In April 2000, for example, NPower, an electricity and gas supplier ran a poster campaign to try and get customers to switch their electricity supply to their service. One of the posters depicted a family of two parents and one boy, each having red hair. The caption for this advert read, "There are some things in life you can't chose".
Yeah, next?

    Consider what would have happened if the poster depicted 3 black people, with exactly the same caption. There would have been a public outcry, the government would openly attack the company and the advertising agency and the press would be plastered with the news that a well-known company was racist. The poster campaign would be banned, if indeed it did manage to get the go-ahead in the first place.
Yeah, so? Plug blonde/brown/black hair instead of red, same scenario. I'd be happy to make you a dumb blonde with the aforementioned dye. Lickety split, too - one evening's work.

More black people versus redheads oppression theme for the next several paragraphs - not even a good argument.

But, most importantly, I learned I'm a minority! Oh, wait, I already get a bunch o' unearned perks for being female, so I guess that's no matter. What I learned here today is that I'm oppressed, and life as a redhead isn't worth living? Hmm - I seem to remember something about "I'd rather be dead than red on the head." Yeah, heard that one a few times.

Tall bridge just made for jumping is to the north, buddy.


Latest Obsessions

Hello all - I promise to write before linking, but linking is SOO (yes, two Os) much fun now because of....obsession #1.

Hans has long extolled the virtues of his RSS feed interpreter reader thingee to the point that one day he said "put an RSS feed on your blog." I complied. But, with Blogger, there ain't no easy way. Hence, I have a hand-coded feed I update every time after I post. I can put some fun stuff in the feed, though, and often I do.

At any rate, this weekend, I gave a bunch of different feed mulchers the whirl, and I'm still playing with two free ones. If anyone knows of a paid one that's worth the money, I'm willing to entertain that on recommendation. The last RSS aggregators standing are: Bloglines and MyWireService. The big deal about Bloglines is that it allows me to "group" feeds in a folder and then view the contents of the folder as one big amalgamated scrolling list of blogger goodness. The upside of MyWireService is that it's much simpler to find news-related channels. When I'm an expert in exporting this info, then I'll have the hook-up.

Obsession #2 has nothing to do with number 1. I'm crazy about Propel Fitness Water. I'm so crazy about it that it - with only 10 calories per serving (sugar/sucralose) and two servings to a bottle - has me excited about water. Only problem? That damned sugar. I've never been a soda drinker (and take that literally - I do mean NEVER), and so my teeth are in some pretty good condition. A week of drinking, oh, seven bottles a day, and my poor teeth are so sensitive on one side that I had to reevaluate my newfound boon. Kinda scary.

But, on the soda/teeth/sugar/Propel note, a coworker brought in a pamphlet from his dentist that says "Stop the Pop!" You guessed it - sugar/carbonation (acid, baby) do a double whammy to da teeth. I guess this isn't surprising; I've just never had to consider it. I found more info on the web if you're interested.



Sunday, September 21, 2003

Sunday Links

I promise to do some real writing soon. Perhaps...next! But, for now, more linkage. I've found quite a spectrum of posts throughout the course of the day.

1) The Dictionary.com word of the day is gesticulate. I have used this word before because I'm guilty of its action. It has nothing to do with gestate or matriculate.

2) Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine has an...unnerving (but calmly done) post about follow-up health tracking regarding 9/11/2001.

3) Michael Williams of Master of None is going to go buy six SUVs and burn them to heat his home this winter. No, wait, that's the ELF that's burning the SUVs, and Michael's climate probably isn't cold enough to warrant burning even one.

Even so, he's got a nifty little post about global warming and non-burning SUV usage. And he uses the word Huzzah! Merit points.

4) Robert Prather of Mind of Man, er, Insults Unpunished explores one ofBush's worst mistakes, as he says.

5) Spoons posts the funniest dial-up loading picture of the new Miss America. Seriously, experience it on dial-up, and you'll swear the woman's being choked.

6) Tim Blair reminisces about the 80s!. Sigh - so long ago.

7) Eugene Volokh's got a post about ownership of the Dewey Decimal System. Who knew? (Before it hit all of the news wires today, that is. I was actually going to write on this, but, naaaaa.)

8) Deb Thompson of Write Lightning gives me yet another hero to put under the heroes bookmark tab for when I need inspiration. Click on the link she provides to see why. Some people refuse to accept bad news and/or encumbering medical conditions and circumvent/override them instead.

9) The Ville has today's PETA post. The Meatriarchy is, I'm sure, proud.

10) Hans, I'm posting this just to get your response.

11) Oh, I blogrolled Ravenwood of Ravenwood's Universe and put up a more suitable picture for those of you who might be frightened and/or otherwise overcome by emotion at the sight of redheads. I do so want you gentle readers to return.

Done for now. Must write.


Duck Soup

Via most of the Munuvians including but not limited to:

Me, I'm a Super Hero Duck. Of course.

Captain Quack Rubber Duck Quiz



Worm Alert!

Yikes! Please inform all of your non tech-savvy friends because this one could nab quite a few victims.

    Disguised as an official e-mail from Microsoft, the file comes attached to a note asking the recipient to install a "September 2003, cumulative patch" to protect against vulnerabilities in Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web browser and Outlook and Outlook Express e-mail programs.

    If installed, the program, known as Swen or Gibe.F, attempts to disable firewall and antivirus software, gather password information and replicate itself via e-mail, as well as the Kazaa peer-to-peer network and Internet Relay Chat instant-messaging.

    The virus-laden e-mail looks like an authentic missive from the Redmond, Wash., software developer (aside from a few grammatical errors), but a spokeswoman for Microsoft said this week that it doesn't send security updates in e-mail. They're all distributed through Microsoft's Web site (windowsupdate.microsoft.com).

Beautifully Said

My answer to this question (1st paragraph) is "almost every day."

Truly blessed and trying to always acknowledge it,