This is the second time this week my neighborhood's been targeted by evangelical religious types. Usually, they're all really nice (even the Scientologists) but since I'm feeling off this morning-headache, grungy, egh ugh, KWIM? I refused to answer the door. Fortunately, the Guy called here on his way out to work to give me a heads' up. Sure 'nuff, a group of very nicely dressed people were across the street. They're probably from one of the Baptist churches around here. They also usually bring a few children with them, too, which makes me wonder exactly what they're trying to teach their kids.

A few days ago, two men came to the door and gave me a copy of The Watchtower (too bad it wasn't a Stephen King excerpt from The Dark Tower series...oh well), and were also polite, although one of them started in on a spiel about the garden of Eden and questioning whether I thought of it as a myth or historical fact when I said I wasn't religious. *facepalm*  I told him I thought it was a little of both. In my point of view, the bible is kind of like an ancient game of telephone---many of the stories have a basis in fact, but over the millenia, seriously, the facts of the story are going to be molded differently by hundreds of people before they're written down.

Anyway. Why does spring have to bring the evangelicals out? Do their flowers unfurl and release them like dandelion fluff?

A woman's right to have as many babies as she wants only goes as far her right not to endanger the children that result from the desire to have a collection of children, and the ability to create the type of support she'll need to raise huge numbers of children.

Personally, I'm not so sure Ms. Suleman, the woman who now has 14 children under age 8 will have the ability to care for so many children by herself. Her mother is not going to become her de facto babysitter any longer; her father is exiting the country for work to help support her (when he should be working for his own retirement)...and she believes that she's going to have the time to earn a Masters degree along the way! There's a reality disconnect going on in her head.

Partly because I'm going to be busier than I thought this weekend, and I'm not up to the long drive down to the bookstore where she'll be signing her newest book.

But if anyone does go, tell me all about it!
Has anyone read George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones series? 

I'm not much into High Fantasy (haven't been for a loong while) but I downloaded a demo of the trilogy, and it actually seemed pretty good. The characters aren't stupidly named, the parameters and their relationships are clearly spelled out pretty quickly, and there's some perverted stuff going on there, too. Almost a dark High Fantasy. And dire wolves. How can you go wrong with Dire Wolves?
Think about it. How long are they? And how long are they in actuality?

Whatever you think, you're probably wrong. Check this out.

gategrrl: (Bhuddist Rock in Nepal)
Hm. The OTW has a large band of heavy-hitters on its board.
The happiest songs I own?   MMmm-bop and Walking on Sunshine (and yes, I LOVE those two songs, dammit!)

Most depressing songs I own? Oy. Everybody Hurts by REM. Everything grunge, basically.

Sexiest song I own that makes me want to nookie my husband's brains out? (TMI there? sorry) Wicked Game. *drools*
O.M.G. I finally was able to get my steno machine to talk to the Global CAT program. It works! Awesome! But it's still pretty fussy and I'll have to take notes for a little while to get the hang of convincing the two temperamental things to keep talking to each other. What I just did consists of much rebooting of Windows, unplugging of stenomachine and its USB Coolgear adaptor, and making sure it all goes on in sequence. Gah!

Anyhow, it really IS pretty cool to see how this CAT program is supposed to work. I think I'm going to be using this a lot more; heaven knows I need the practice and reinforcement.
From 2005:
A News of the Weird Classic (July 2005)

Willie Windsor, 54, of Phoenix has for several years lived as a full-time baby, wearing frilly dresses, diapers and bonnets, sucking on a pacifier, eating Gerber cuisine and habitually clutching a rag doll, in a home filled with oversized baby furniture. According to a long Phoenix New Times profile in June, the diaper is not just a prop. Windsor said he worked hard to learn to become incontinent, even chaining the commode shut to avoid temptation, and the reporter admitted feeling "disconcert(ed)" that Windsor might be relieving himself at the very moment he was describing his un-toilet training. Apparently, Windsor's brother, ex-wife, girlfriend and a neighbor tolerate his lifestyle (though no girlfriend has yet been willing to change his diapers). Windsor is a semi-retired singer-actor and said he's been celibate for nine years. [Phoenix New Times, 6-9-05]

I've heard of this fetish, but this takes it to a whole new level. Perhaps this is the story that inspired that CSI episode way back when? And OMG. Dudes. The big baby has a girlfriend?

And you don't want to be driving when you're doing these two things:

Poor at Multitasking: In Britain's Manchester Crown Court in December, Imran Hussain, 32, was sentenced to eight years in prison for his DUI-related crash that killed two people in August. (Hussain was also masturbating at the time.) [BBC News, 12-8-08]

Louise Light, 21, was not hurt when she crashed into guideposts in Woodstock, Ontario, in November, but she did get milk all over her because she was eating cereal from a bowl while driving. [Canadian Press, 11-21-08]

Eating cereal? Masturbating? While driving??? People. Use those brain cells, especially when you're driving a vehicle that can kill people!

This takes animal-loving beyond what PETA advises, I think:

In February in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, Phillip Buble's father was convicted of attempting to murder Phillip, 44, by smacking him in the head with a crowbar because Phillip would not cease public displays of affection with Lady, a mixed-breed dog to whom Phillip considers himself married "in the eyes of God." The next month, Phillip gave a 30-minute presentation to a state legislative committee urging that it not pass a pending anti-bestiality bill (though Phillip describes himself personally as a "zoophile" and not a bestialist). Lady had to wait for him in the car because dogs are not allowed in the chamber. In April, Phillip was fined $50 for having an unlicensed dog (not Lady; it was apparently a side dog). [Bangor Daily News, 3-27-01, 4-27-01]

Thanks to uExpress' News of the Weird
I know I haven't posted much about Inauguration Day, but I've been processing exactly how HAPPY I am about this. Obama said ALL the right things in his Inauguration speech and moreover, used his mad orating skillz amazingly. I couldn't have been more  happy than if he'd placed a nice neat shoe-print on Bush's backside and told him not to let the door hit him on the way out.

It's like a pall has lifted. Just like when the Santa Anas here in the LA/San Fernando valleys sweep the smog away and you can finally finally see the gorgeous mountains that surround you every day.

And it helps that the new family in the White House seems *alive* and Real People. Their older daughter is my daughter's age, and their younger daughter is slightly younger than my son's age. They feel accessible. (er, not just the kids, but the family)

I know there are some on my flist that really can't stand that A)Democrats won the presidency and that B) they think this is the crappiest thing ever, but keep in mind, y'all: the former president and his father and Reagan (starting with Reagan) produced a situation in this country that grew exponentially WORSE for us and everyone connected to the USA. They short-circuited civil liberties, did their best to buttress up their business cronies and rich friends, and steamrollered over safegaurds and criminal laws and tried (and succeeded) in making the USA a country that tortures, hold people in prison unlawfully and without representation...and I could go on.

So yeah. YAY!

I just went and downloaded a buttload of free Baen eBooks into my MobiBooks file. I'd downloaded some of the books before, when the library was smaller, and man, those books were dogs. At least, in my opinion. 

It's not hard to notice that:

A) many/most of the books featured on the FREE eBook list are of the Space Opera genre or the military genre and

B) most of the authors listed are male, with some some notable exceptions like Elizabeth Moon, Mercedes Lackey and a couple of others.

Amongst the books downloaded were a few in the Honor Harrington series. This series has been given accolades every time I hear about it, but since I haven't ever actually read them myself, I'm going to see for myself. Probably review those up for Hathor Books. I've no idea how good a writer David Weber is about getting into a woman's mind-though I guess he's good at getting into a military mind, which is a slightly different thing. We'll see.

In the meantime my 2gig SD memory chip in my PDA is starting to feel a little more filled up (about 28 megabytes of books/fics are on it now). It's a good thing eBooks don't take up much space. My god, you know, I'm currently carrying a three shelf book case in my PDA right now. That's so crazy when I think about it. It's *fabulous*. I only wish that PDAs didn't run down and out of power. Books don't do that, which is better. But when you can just push a button and start reading any one of dozens of books on a PDA while you're standing in line...totally better than awesome. And the programs automatically bookmark your last read page.

Couple that with a video capable iPod, and man. Total entertainment system in your pocket book.

Ugh. Lately all my clothing has become snugger. Part of it is I've gained a few pounds over the holiday season (ugh) and the other part is clothing shrinkage, which sucks. I'm a "just throw it into the dryer" type (when the dryer isn't broken). And today was about the worst because I hadn't realized I was also getting that wonderful once-a-month bloat courtesy of female biology.

What's a girl to do? Well, both pairs of my jeans are getting ratty and holey at the same place (my left hip, for a weird reason) and the holes are larger now and I can see the color of my underwear through them. The t-shirts I do own aren't hanging right because my er...weight gain is also happening in my chest. The two pairs of capri/shorts that I wear constantly are wearing out and getting too tight, too. I don't have a heavy turn-over for clothing. I tend to wear them until they die. Or shrink and get too small or start fitting differently. Luckily, I found a pair of irregular Levis on sale for $10 and some decent shirts for under $10 each (with PATTERNS! I almost never wear patterns) and a couple pairs of new capris/shorts. All for under $80. 

Trying clothing on? Sucks. It sucks because I can see my body is all sliding down as if it were magma from Pele in Hawaii...only, not in Hawaii, and not Pele. And not hot. Oh no. Sure, I have more curves than a mountain road. Sure, the view is okay from certain angles, but honey, you wouldn't want to admire it with that magma coming down at you. You'd get the hell out of there!

I think...yes, I do think I need to go back to the gym and start working out again, if I can figure out a way to do it without breaking too much into my schedule for school. This semester is going to be a lot tougher, and for some reason, my brain is having a harder time absorbing the stuff I need to learn. Could be I'm not getting enough sleep. Yeah, that would do it. I slept for an hour and a half this afternoon when I realized my lesson was sliding off my brain cells like skaters on ice.
MS eBook is a very frustrating thing. Why am I talking about that program when MobiPocket is on the title? Well, sit and listen.

I own a PDA. I love my PDA. I have everything on my PDA, including old fanfic from the early days of Atlantis, and the mid years of SG-1 and so on, plus some actual books, like Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice and Oedipus and Alice in Wonderland. However, I don't have MS Word on my computer-nope, I have Open Office. And MS does NOT make a plug-in for Open Office. I found a separate program unnconnected with MS Word so that I could make my own eBooks. And it worked, with some tweaking. I redownloaded it the other day, and it completely bulloxed up the reader program, so I had to dump it off my system and download eBook reader again.

MobiPocket turned up as a free alternative. Turns out it's essentially the same as the program Amazon uses for the Kindle--in fact, it IS the same program only it has a slightly different appellation to disguish it from the Kindle. And it's been around for nine years now.

So I downloaded MobiPocket reader, AND maker. That means I get to make my *own* eBooks from articles or fics or whatever I can find on the internet or from my own stuff. And it's really really easy. You can even (with some preparation) sell your books on their wholesale system. And the best part of it is? I don't have to have MS Word on my computer! It'll make books from .txt and HTML documents, and MS Word .docs, too, but since I don't have that, I use the .txt and HTML. And that's really easy. On the whole, it's a much more flexible electronic book program than MS eBook, and a whole lot easier to use.

It even has templates so that you can make portable recipe books, lists (of DVDs, CDs, whatever you want), travel information for your own personal travel book, and bunches of other stuff.

Even BETTER, it's compatible with just about every PDA and PDA/Phone package out there. It's amazing. It's bitchin'!

Folks, don't read this article before you've eaten and had your coffee, 'kay? Because reading about how a certain medical doctor was using the human fat liposuctioned from his patients (with their knowledge?) is, although not totally gross, since it was a "green" use of the left-overs, is not exactly before-breakfast material.

Anyhoo, wonderful Discovery article. Enjoy. With lunch. Or not.

(and the testimonial link on the article page is one big prepared to see his patients posing with the doc while holding up their bags of lipoed fat. That's right. They hold up the bags of fat suctioned off their bodies. Yeck)

Whales share a type of brain cell with humans? Poor things. It's hard enough to have to make sense out of the world, and then to find out you share something with that monkey-thing with those sharp harpoons adds insult to injury. If I were these whales, I'd sue.
   This is the offender. It LOOKS like little tiny myriads of itty bitty cinnamon rolls but they're NOT. They are little     cardboard circles lightly dusted with pseudo cinnamon and fake sugar. You can't even call it *lightly dusted*.

About the best thing you can say about these nuggets is, if you have a cavity, the hard crunchiness will find it for you. It will find that toothy weakness and collapse it with the density of its tiny bun self. Gums need toughening up? Go for the mini-bun cinni-bun!

If you want to feel like you're cheating on your breakfast by not eating a super sugary fattastic Cinnabon bun, go no further. Your taste buds won't thank you. Your ears won't thank you (crunchies galore). And your dog will turn up his nose at it.

Go buy some mini Wheats or bran flakes, baby.

gategrrl: (Shells Striped)
Yes, there is! I only just found out about it while reading a blog written by a very funny woman who knits and does real time stenography for a university.
(couldn't resist the jab at Chekov of Star Trek fame)

Well, the USAir wessel FINALLY landed, the kids and I drove on a startlingly empty (for the moment) 405 down to LAX, and picked him up with minimal fuss.

And of course on the ride back from the airport, his cell phone service HAD to call him for the second time this week telling him he'd better send his payment (which was due on Saturday) OR ELSE.  I sent it out on Monday. Talk about sticks up their asses. And no, not feeling real charitable right now toward phone companies, or any service company that makes demands and harasses their clients. We *always* pay.

Anyway, the Guy is sacked out on a couch. I'm leaving in a few minutes to pick up a couple of wood-fired pizzas. He hasn't eaten any real food (aside from a Starbucks muffin and coffee) all day. And after his experience on USASSair, he deserves whatever damned food he wants. He might even be sleeping right now. After one hour of sleep and an airline playing Shuffle the Airplane (they exchanged the broken airplane for one that wasn't) all morning, yeah.

Oh, and the crew shortage that cancelled the first flight out of Vegas? Apparently, stewardesses with seniority get to choose their days off, so the ones that don't have seniority call in sick at the last minute so they can get their day off, too. At the expense of EVERY person who's a paying customer desperate to get home or get to their families on the day before Xmas. I've got a word I rarely use for slackers like that, who went into this business knowing what it meant to work on holidays...and I won't use it even on my posts. The entire airline...I'm sure there are nice people employed by it, and I hope they do well. But all the slackers? All the dipshits who created havok? I hope they get fired.

Charitable? Not feeling it. Merry frelling Xmas. I'm happy my Guy is home where he belongs.
gategrrl: (Black Shiva Face)
10:09am   A text from the Guy:  "I'm on the airplane"

10:22am    Just got a call from the Guy: "They got us all on the airplane, and then told everyone they had to get off (with their carry-ons, babies, etc) because they forgot to do the security check!" 

He's in a state of...apoplexy. I heard someone laughing in the background as he spoke, and I asked if that was a laugh of despair, and he confirmed that it was either laugh, or go ballistic. He's beyond ballistic at this point. If he was multilingual, he'd be swearing in just about every language on the planet.

10:48am  They have finally left the gate. He'll call as soon as he's landed so the kids and I can drive down and get him.

Original Post here.

gategrrl: (Black Shiva Face)
Why? I'll tell you why.

A week ago Monday, the Guy had to make an emergency family leave flight back to Massachusetts. He moved the original flight on Friday that I'd scheduled him on because he didn't think three days was enough time to get things moving there. He changed the flight to Monday, from Logan Airport in Boston. And they charged him an extra $150 for the flight change.

Here's the sequence of events (keeping in mind it's Christmas Eve today):

Monday the 22: Guy gets to Logan. USAir cancels the morning flight due to the flight computer thinking it's still in the air. No shit. They refuse to give him a voucher for a hotel room. Guy refuses to go back to his family's house because it's been just about the shittiest emotional week he's ever spent there, and he doesn't want to go back. He gets a room at a hotel, but ends up waiting an hour and a half while he watched the hotel shuttle breeze merrily past him. He flags down a different driver, complains to the hotel. They lower his rate to ~$80 and extend his check out time. Why?

Tuesday the 23: USAir scheduled his flight out at 6pm. Six PM. At least he was moved up to the only available seat on that flight, which was first class, but so far, that is the ONLY break he'd gotten. Guy arrived last night at Las Vegas. His connecting flight was cancelled. USAir was telling people they weren't handing out hotel vouchers "because it was the weather" that delayed/cancelled the flight. No...if Guy hadn't put up a fuss, ALL the other passengers, including a woman with a six month old baby, weren't going to get a hotel space. In Boston, they told Guy they don't give out hotel vouchers in origination cities. You know. Where your flight originates.

Wednesday the 24: Because the hotel where Guy was put up only had a shuttle going to the airport at 2:30am, and the new flight was scheduled for 7am, he ended up getting only one hour of "real" sleep. All the passengers were at the gate. A USAir representive stood up and told everyone that the 7am flight was cancelled because they were short a crew member.

Guy was rescheduled for a 9:40 flight that originated in Calgary Canada. I have checked. It left Calgary. It has arrived in Las Vegas. I'm waiting until it actually leaves the ground before I drag my kids to LAX to pick their father up.

A simple one day flight trip has turned into a marathon three day trip going across country. I should have had Guy just go to the Southwest Airline desk last night and get on a flight to Burbank.

Mermaid was VERY upset to hear that her dad was delayed yet again. She misses him a lot, and it's Christmas Eve. He should have been home on Monday. Well, if all goes well, we're leaving in forty minutes to pick him [post interrupted by phone call from the Guy]...

I can't believe this. His flight was delayed AGAIN for an hour because the plane needs fixing. If this flight does not take off in an hour, he's going to go to Southwest, suck it up, and shell out another $140 to get home.

Will update. This sucks bigtime. Merry Frelling Xmas indeed.

UPDATE right here



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