Saturday, September 30

All dressed up and too sick to go

Lately I've suffered from some annoying stomach flu symptoms. Today was especially bad, throughout the day I took Pepto Bismal, Tylenol and Immodium AD.
Unfortunately, none of it helped enough to get me out the door this evening to help celebrate Norman's birthday.

Sorry Norman! As mentioned, we'll do something next weekend. (Unless, of course, I've got that E coli thing that's been going around.)

Friday, September 29

Reading between the lines

Because I've been annoyed with most politicians lately, I was really not in the mood to be insulted by the President... again.

I wrote him an email that basically asked him to stop insulting the majority of the country. I went on to say something like: Most citizens disagree with your actions and policies and you continue to call us naive, freedom-hating, terrorist-loving morons and we're getting sick of it. Knock it off.

I got the following as a reply (Needless to say, the comments in red are mine.):

On behalf of President Bush, thank you for your correspondence (you whiny pain in the ass). We appreciate hearing your views and welcome your suggestions (we won't listen, but thanks for trying). The President is committed to continuing our economic progress (ha), defending our freedom (ha ha), and upholding our Nation's deepest values (Yeah, we know. Even we have to laugh at this point. But seriously, he's trying... except the part about swearing to uphold and protect the Constitution, he's not really into that part). Due to the large volume of e-mail received (i.e. complaints, letters of disappointment and general hate mail), the White House cannot respond to every message (only the ones we like). Please visit the White House website for the most up-to-date information (propaganda) on Presidential initiatives, current events, and topics of interest to you (aka the tiny bits of good news we're still able to spin). In order to better receive (i.e. avoid) comments from the public, a new system has been implemented. In the future please send your comments to Thank you again for taking the time to write (Now, piss off).

Whether you agree with me or not, I encourage you to write to the generic "comments" link above as often as possible.

Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, September 28

Blind leading the blind

So, a friend of mine moved to Minneapolis last year. I've been meaning to visit her ever since, it just hasn't happened. Well, I'm finally taking a week off to see the fair city of Minneapolis and take another road trip from there. We're going to drive from Minneapolis to Mt. Rushmore and back. Like the famed Diners & Disasters trip, we've already established the "no chain restaurants" rule. Some rules are golden.

My friend and I had a ridiculous phone conversation, last night, highlighting our ignorance of US geography. For instance, did you know that Deadwood is in South Dakota? Well I didn't. I thought it was in the corner of Wyoming. I was close, but close won't win in "Jeopardy!".

Here's a sampling of the conversation:

Friend: We can drive to Mt Rushmore in one day right?
Me: Um, it's sort of a long way. I think we could get there in two days. There's some pretty big city on the way. We could stop around there and stay the night.
Friend: Hold on, let me get a map.
Friend: ...
Friend: Lucy! Mt. Rushmore is all the way across South Dakota!!!
Me: I know! (... but only because I received a killer US map with my last issue of National Geographic. A publication I should, apparently, be paying more attention to.)
Friend: Sioux Falls is on the way. Is that where you want to stop? Really? Sioux Falls?!
Me: I don't know, I just know some place I've heard of is on the way.
Friend: You know South Dakota is a crazy red state right? We have to spend as little money as possible there. We can't support them.
Me: Bummer! What's North Dakota?
friend: I think they might be blue. (We later learned they are red.)
Me: We could drive around South Dakota and check out North Dakota on our way.
Friend: Yeah, we could go to Fargo!!
Me: ...
Friend: ...
Me: What's in Fargo?
Friend: ...
Friend: That Paul Bunyun statue!! Don't you want a picture with him?!
Me: YEAH!!!!!

It should be an interesting trip.

P.S. While searching for a Paul Bunyan statue photo to include in this blog, I tripped on a whole new goal in life: to see the county by visiting Paul Bunyan statues. Just look at how many there are!!

Wednesday, September 27

It's Official

As past posts indicate, I've long considered myself a proud "Wing-nut Liberal".

Today a friend sent me this link to get an actual ranking of just how liberal I am. Here are the results:

On Non-Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Strong Liberal (15)
On Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Strong Liberal (19)

My score is on a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 being fully liberal and 100 being fully conservative.

I know others consider "Liberal" a dirty word/label but it's one I'm proud to wear. To me, it just says I'm open-minded and willing to at least consider all sides to an issue. The thing that really offends me is the way the GOP pimps Christ to further their agenda. It makes no sense to me! Christ was one of the all time greatest liberals. How'd we let them get Him anyway? Who do they think they're kidding. Oh yeah, the entire GOP!

Tuesday, September 26

Good grief!

So, today the President called the majority of this country naive for no longer buying his analysis of the war an Iraq and it's repercussions.

Just this weekend I began writing a letter to the President pointing out the fact that he (and his war) has become "the greatest recruiting TOOL the terrorists could have dreamed of". I was still tweaking the letter when the NY Times broke a story Sunday morning that backed my sentiment. The White House immediately started a whining campaign claiming the story had been illegally leaked to the Times by the Dems and that the timing was politically motivated. (Never mind that gas prices just happen to drop right before November elections. The claim is that "Threats to supplies have not materialized". Hmm, that realization couldn't be politically motivated/timed could it? Also curious is that those pesky leaks don't seem to bother Bush when they come directly from the White House.... but, once again, I digress.) Under pressure, Bush declassified parts of the NIE report. If you haven't read the report, you should. It's nothing you haven't already figured out, but still...

Just for fun, here are a couple of quotes for you to ponder:

"I think that it's time, in this country, to quit making national heroes out of those who steal secrets and publish them in the newspapers."

President Bush you may think? Well yes, he has said things like that, but no, actually it's a quote from President Nixon when the Watergate story was breaking. We all know why he had his panties in a twist over those national heroes.

And here's another one for you:

"I think it violates the President's powers under the Constitution. It is ineffective and immoral, and yet the President stubbornly pursues it... ignoring the will of the American people as measured by every public opinion sampling."

That quote is from Hubert Humphrey speaking of Nixon's continued bombing of Cambodia but it sounds awfully familiar these days.

P.S. I know there are folks out there who still defend Bush, some of them are even friends, but come on guys, you can't possibly still be buying his crap. Are you seriously happy with the job he's doing? Just curious.

*Stepping off soap box*

Corporate misunderstandings

Sometimes I love Corporate America, here's why:

We are participating in a "Team Building" afternoon of bowling. Teams have been predetermined with the BIG boss bowling with the interns. (That alone is hilarious, but I digress.)

I'm bowling with a fairly influential HR executive with a wicked sense of humor. Said HR executive has decided we need to send intimidating notes to other teams as part of his pre-game, trash-talk strategy. He found a ransom font and left notes with "Bowl like your job depends on it!" on the desks of the BIG boss and his team of interns. Problem is, the interns think the threatening note is from the BIG Boss. I'm still laughing. I can't believe an HR person has gotten the BIG Boss in trouble and the BIG Boss doesn't even know it yet. Can you imagine how scared those poor interns must be?! Needless to say, everything about the situation cracks me up.

I sent the following email to the HR Executive, he's freaking out:

The interns think your ransom note is from BIG Boss. It says something like "Bowl like your job depends on it", right?
I can't stop laughing. Way to go spaz!!

Ah, Corporate America I love you so.

Monday, September 25

On blast

On blast: to yell at someone or put them in their place

Recently a much younger colleague was describing an altercation she just survived. She claimed that the offending party "Totally put me on blast!". Another, age appropriate, friend and I loved the term so much that we've used it ever since. Whenever I'm annoyed or even mildly angry I'll warn "I'm about to put her on blast!" I love it!

Well, this morning I felt the need to put someone on blast (it really worked by the way). I mentioned it to the much younger colleague and she laughed at me! She thought it was hilarious that I was using the phrase. I feel so old and there's no one to put on blast.

*shuffling away*

Thursday, September 21


Today I went in for my first mammogram. Ladies, I'm here to tell you it's really no big deal (assuming you are not retaining water!).

The first thing the lab technician said was "I know you've heard all about this. It's much better than you've heard. She was SO right. There are four "shots" taken. Together, they take about 3 minutes to complete. After the technician finished, I told her "I've felt more pain getting my blood pressure taken!" She agreed.

I'm glad it's over but I will never again dread the mammogram. I've decided it's the easiest procedure I've ever had. It's that easy.

I spoke with my brother while I was driving to my appointment. I mentioned where I was going but we mostly talked about that great Dodgers win the other night, the cute movie he sent of the kids, the latest CD he insists I buy and so on. Right before we hung up, he said "Hey, good luck with that boob thing." Thanks bro!

Wednesday, September 20

Kicking butt and taking names!

Had a great meeting today. Frankly, I kicked ass.

I've never been a fan of public speaking but now, somehow, I've found myself in the bizarre position of making presentations in large conference rooms to strangers. Something I've pretty much spent my life avoiding. I still hate the idea but I'm less nervous each time. I guess it's all about practice. That and a comment from a former boss who advised me to remember "They're just people." It's so absurdly simple but remembering that helps each time I walk into a room to do my thing. They're just people, no better, no worse than me.

This is how I felt after the meeting:

Tuesday, September 19

Woo woo!

Greetings from San Francisco!

I park in one of those off site airport parking facilities. While getting settled on the shuttle, to go to the airport, the following was exchanged:

Shuttle driver: What terminal?
Me: United
Passenger #2: United
Passenger #3: Air France
Me: Well, woo woo!
All: ...
Me: ... Just kidding!

Sheesh! no one has a sense of humor when it comes to the airport anymore!

Tomorrow I'm off to kick ass at a meeting. Woo woo for me!!

Sunday, September 17


As mentioned, it's been a bit hectic for me lately but, overall things are good.

The latest:

I'm officially on the Nip/Tuck (turn down your volume if you're clicking here) bandwagon. A friend loaned me her Season One set and I was up 'til 1:30 am Thursday night watching the first 6 episodes. I love it! I've got a lot of episodes to catch up on. Let's see if I actually do it.

Watched a really good documentary Shandon recommended called Titanic - The Complete Story. Check it out if you can.

Watched The Miracle Worker on TCM for the first time. They were right, those are some pretty impressive performances.

Went to my nephew's baseball game. It freaks me out the way kids take on the mannerisms of adults. It made me a little sad to see the little man so grown up. He plays really well but insists on sliding at every opportunity. Even if someone is being walked, he must slide to the next base. It's pretty funny. In the mean time, my niece was asking for gum. I didn't have any so instead asked if she wanted a Life Savers. She had no idea what I was talking about. (Can you imagine?!) I gave Little Miss her first cherry Life Savers. I tend to take a lot of her firsts for granted but she was so enthusiastic abut the Life Savers that even I took notice. Do they still make those holiday Life Savers "books"? If I can find one I'll be getting one for her for Christmas.

Oh! And I watched a good A&E show titled The Black Death this morning. I knew some of how it was spread and all but learned today that it hit Europe when enemy ships started catapulting plague riddled corpses onto the shores of Genoa. Now that's some nasty war tactics. (I tried to look up some symptoms for you to bo on the look out for but instead found some really yucky pix of plagued out hands and feet. Eww!! I'm not incliding any links here 'cause they're just too gross.)

On a lighter note, I caught the first episode of Three's Company. I loved the show in the 70's but haven't really watched it since. I was getting ready to meet a friend for brunch and realized it was on. I've always wondered how exactly they first revealed with the "Jack's gay" storyline that latest for too many seasons. Well now I know. For those wondering, Joyce DeWitt tells Mr. Roper Jack is gay OFF CAMERA. It's completely lame. Shoulda known.

Tuesday, September 12

Grown up

So, it's official, I got the promotion. I sort of feel like a grown up. When I thanked the big boss personally she asked if I was "ok" with my raise. I mean really, how many people get THAT opportunity? I'd have been an idiot to say "Oh yeah, I'm fine". I told her the truth, that it was a little lower than I'd expected but that a bonus might be nice. I know, I know, at first I felt a little guilty for asking for more. Percentage wise they've been very generous BUT I really want to buy a condo this year so every little bit helps. Besides, I'm expected to be an even bigger bossy boots now so I figured I'd start on my own best interest. We'll see what happens.

On another front, a former boss lost her dad to a long series of illnesses. His funeral was this morning. A friend mentioned it to me yesterday and, through a miscommunication, she thought I'd declined to go. Well, today when I called to see when we'd leave for the service she said "I thought you couldn't go!" I said "Listen Missy, I wore my Spanx today and I don't wear Spanx for just anyone. Let's go!" "But I'm not appropriately attired!" she cried. "From the waist up I'm great but otherwise I'm a mess!" She was wearing flip flops. I told her I doubted our friend would care about her footwear today. She agreed to go but I had promise to cover her at all times. There were some pretty major big-wigs there and she "would just die" if any of them saw her feet. I did my duty and covered her. In the end she was glad we had gone. I don't even know if my former boss knew we were there but I was glad we took the time.

The only awkward moment came as we pulled up to the cemetery curb. We looked up and saw a rather casually dressed young man get out of the car in front of us. As we stepped out to the lawn, I nodded in his direction and whispered "See, you're fine. Look at him." My friend replied "Great, I'll just go sit with Ludacris. See ya later." I literally laughed out loud. Very loud in fact. Now THAT was inappropriate. Oops!

Monday, September 11

Open blog to the President

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

How you managed to fuck up a one sentence oath is beyond me. I know there are a lot of words here but, considering your job, you might want to take a glance. Let us know if you have any questions. Here's a picture to help jog your memory:

Thursday, September 7

(Crack) Baby on Board

A friend at work is having trouble with her new intern. He doesn't seem to understand that he has committed to work 8 hours a day. My friend gave him a choice of hours. He chose to work from 8:00 - 5:00. Problem is, he doesn't show up until 10:30 some days but always leaves at 5:00. She has had several conversations with him about this. They are currently deciding if this internship is the "right fit" for him. He's beginning to think not. Does he think he'll find a job somewhere else where they won't care when he shows up? Unbelievable. Oh, and by the way, this is not terribly uncommon. Lots of kids out of school don't show any sign of a work ethic... I've experienced it first hand. I read somewhere that the generation coming out of college is the most coddled, spoiled generation to hit the work force ever. I think they may be right.

Ultimately this was the exchange between my friend and I on the issue:

Me: It's like you've adopted a crack baby.
Friend: I know!!
Me: You sort of want to give it back because you didn't know what you were getting into but you can't because you feel so sorry for it.
Friend: How will it survive on it's own?
Friend: ...I'm so screwed.

Monday, September 4

Diners & Disasters

We returned from our road trip last night. Man, was that a good time.

Several months ago, Shandon and I were discussing our long time obsession with The Donner Party. We decided then to drive up to Donner Lake, some time, to check it out for ourselves. In California, the Donner Party saga is one we're taught in the fourth grade as part of our state's history. I've been fascinated with the story ever since I first heard of it as a kid. If you aren't familiar with this story, or don't know the details, you should really check out The Donner Party or look them up on the many web sites out there. This is also an excellent read if you're so inclined. (Ignore that first review. That wannabe has never read the book.)

Shandon, Norman and I met at 8:30 am Saturday morning and began our journey. We had been tossing around different route options but ultimately decided to take the scenic route of the 395 up and the anti-scenic (but "quick") route 99 back home. It's the journey not the destination, right? We were going up in one day and driving home the next. The trip was going to be a quickie but a goodie.

We set out with the intention of sticking to diners and independent restaurants for the trip. No chain restaurants allowed!

Norman was our navigator and DJ, Shandon read historic and fun facts from our guide books while I drove. By the way, I highly recommend The Lonely Planet California edition. They do a great job of listing good places to see and where to eat.

The 395 is truly beautiful. We knew it would take about an hour and a half longer than the 5 or the 99 but we learned it's worth it. I'd never been to Lake Tahoe and was terribly impressed. I had no idea how big and beautiful that lake is. I knew it would be gorgeous! I plan to go back.

We made it to Truckee around 7:30 pm. It, too, was beautiful. We had dinner in downtown Truckee then went back to the hotel for a good sleep.

We woke up the next morning and had another good meal at the Truckee Diner. We then headed for Donner State Park and The Emigrant Trail Museum. I kept thinking, and saying, "it looks so harmless." It's all so beautiful up there. We took a tour of the area, saw the monument and the site of the infamous Murphy cabin. We then made our way to Donner Lake. This may have been my favorite spot.

I don't think I had an appreciation for how impossible that pass must have been to get over until I saw it. It's not so much that it's the highest peak, it's that it's made of granite boulders. Boulders that aren't' terribly stable, I imagine. Drop 5 feet of snow on them overnight , ask undernourished, exhausted pioneers to cross them and you have The Donner Party.

It's no wonder California has a reputation of being made up of crazies. You had to be a little nuts to make the journey out. In the beginning, folks came west to outrun disease and unsteady futures. A couple of years later, after the Donner Party ordeal was made famous, miners struck gold and the rest was history.

I've always been a little defensive about California's history. The East Coasters have lots of buildings and monuments to brag about. True, they kicked off this country but the really cool ones made the unbelievably daring decision to head west. The thing to keep in mind is that California is separated from the rest of the US by the Sierras. They were, and remain, a bitch to cross over. (I'm a fan of any highway that has "Runaway Truck" ramps.) Those who managed to do so, long before the highway system made it reasonable, were remarkable. As for old buildings, well, everything the native Americans/Mexicans and emigrants built has had a tough time surviving the earthquakes and sun. (Take that, you snooty East Coasters! We take our severe weather with a healthy does of frequent earthquakes. Not so tough now, are you?)

People have been in, what we now call, California, a heck of a long time. Because so many of those people weren't white, history books tend to pretend they never existed. None the less, I'm fascinated by our country's "history" and California's in particular. I picked up a book of historic sites and plan to look them up every time I'm wandering around the state.

If you haven't been on a road trip in a while, I highly recommend you do so... immediately. Forget Vegas and those roads most traveled. Look up a cool bit of your state's history and go check it out.

Lessons learned:

- Fast food chains have the best bathrooms on the road
- Until they clean that toilet bowl, avoid Gus' bathroom on the 395
- Sweet meat is gross, no matter how nice it sounds
- Laughing so hard that you cry is super fun, unless you can't see through the tears and you happen to be driving.
- Despite his unfortunate name, Eric Schat's Bakery, also on the 395, makes amazing cookies
- Lake Tahoe deserves a nice long stay
- Ironically, Donner Lake is now a great place to vacation
- If the 99 isn't the ass-crack of America, it's certainly the ass-crack of the state
- That being said, the US highway system is amazing. How they got one up and down the Sierras is beyond me
- Small diners and family-run restaurants are closed on Sundays (Foiled again!)
- Although I haven't listened to it in a while, really good country music makes for the best road music. Wanda Jackson and Kasey Chambers are good to start with, Waylon Jennings will see you past the State Pen on the 99 and Alison Krauss and Union Station are great when night falls and you're approaching the Grapevine. (Even if you think you "don't like country" you're going to have to give it a try some time. That Waylon really kicks ass on the road. Trust me.)

After I dropped off my fellow road trippers, Ella Fitzgerald sang me all the way home. I had no idea 88.1 did a Singers segment 'til midnight on Sunday nights. Lucky me! (For more reasons than I can count.)

Friday, September 1

Is it just me?

Did you see those Hummer commercials where the young man/woman are somehow bullied and they react by racing out to buy a Hummer? I had a nice time laughing at those commercials because I thought they reinforced what I already knew about Hummer drivers, that they are immature, insecure, whiny, wanna-be's unable to take a stand on anything worthwhile. Well, I thank Hummer for characterizing their consumers so perfectly. Sadly, these commercials seem to have disappeared (hmm, I wonder what on earth could have happened?) and have been replaced with shiny new commercials built upon a theme of escape. Once again showcasing Hummer drivers desperate to escape their loser lives.

Why am I picking on Hummer drivers today. Because one of those wankers cut me off this morning. There's nothing like watching a Hummer driver dart through traffic like they're in a sports car. Make up your mind you sad sack! Either get the sports car or get the Hummer. Either way, you're still stuck in your lame life with that tiny penis. Nothing you buy will ever help. Too bad, so sad.