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This has to be up there among the worst birthdays ever, which is funny since the year it marks has been one of the best. And no, it wasn't because of anything anyone did or did not do exactly, it's just hard for a day not to suck when you're very pregnant and your husband gives you the flu. Seriously Jason, worst gift ever!

thoughts on a birthday )

thoughts on my 30th year )

I have to say, it's been a good year.
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If anyone ever asks you if you'd mind sewing them a blackout curtain, just say "I'll do you a favour by not killing you for even asking".

Blackout fabric is the most vile stuff in the world to work with. It's a lightweight meshy fabric with plastic applied to one side. The idea is that you put the plastic towards the back side of your fashion fabric and it provides darkness and insulation. Sounds all fine and good, but the reality of this fabric is massive amounts of suck.

First, I try to line up my lining fabric on my pretty fabric. The rubbery-plastic stuff makes it kind of stiff and sticky, so I have a hard time lining it up right, but eventually I defeat the fabric. Then I have to run it through the sewing machine, and all of a sudden, the fabric that was sticky and uncooperative upstairs turns into a completely different, slippery uncooperative beast under the presser foot. I get the hems sewn but they're all lumpy and bumpy and evil. I don't care enough to unpick it because it's just home-dec, but that doesn't mean I'm happy about it. It also weighs a fucking tonne. Nothing like trying to wrestle 5 pounds of fabric across a sewing table. Finally, when I hang it, it's like hanging a piece of cardboard. No drape or movement or life to this plastic stuff at all. To make matters worse, it doesn't completely black out the room anyway because of course light can seep in around the edges. I'll let it settle overnight and hem it tomorrow. I don't want to face any more of that crap today.

I am infinitely grateful I opted not to bother with blackout in the master where I have 6 panels to do instead of 1.

In other news I think I had a revelation today on sewing and artistic motivation... I don't really like sewing home dec and I never knew why. It's dirt simple to do except of course for the sheer volume of fabric you have to tackle. Nothing but straight lines, easy measurements and simple hems. And it's something you can easily polish off in a day. Clothing on the other hand takes much longer, requires a lot more measuring and fiddling, and can go oh so very wrong at many points in the process. But when it works out I feel sooooo much better than when I finish a curtain. I think it's because I'm a tactile person. Sure, I see the results of my work in home dec pieces much more than a costume that gets pulled out once a month at best, but there's something nurturing about making a piece of clothing that making a curtain or throw pillow just doesn't accomplish. It's making something for someone in particular, and seeing them move and live in it, and if it's mine, feeling it against my skin. Stuff I just don't get out of something I make to hang on a curtain rod. I wonder if that's why I never finished that quilt I started with my mother in law. Sure, it's mighty pretty, and quilting is more creative and challenging than a curtain, but the end result is something cold and distant. Once you've put that much work into it, you don't generally use it on a bed and get it all messed up, so it gets thrown over a stair rail, or hung on a wall as art. It doesn't go out in the world and make an entrance at a party, or shoot a really great round of archery, or end up at the bottom of a pile of dead on the battle-field. I like my art to be living, touchable, washed, worn and eventually worn out. Not that I don't have my share of unfinished costume projects in my sewing pantry too. Though the ones that wind up in there tend to be the ones that just weren't going the right direction and I'm waiting on the right moment to try to save them.

Interesting revelation, and I do eventually hope to get that quilt done and displayed because it is mighty pretty and it is pretty close to finished. But I think this explains why it is near the bottom of the priority list.

All that said, other than sewing a tunic for my neighbour's son I haven't sewn a new piece of clothing in ages. Nothing but freaking curtains lately. Something about not wanting to be on display to my neighbours all the time I guess. I hate when necessity trumps creative desires.
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Last night we planned to go to Star Trek. Of course I was running late coming to pick Jason up, no good reason for that, but we still might have made it if Jason hadn't wandered off to someone else's office and not been outside waiting when I arrived. By the time we got to the theater it was totally sold out. To be fair, it may have been sold out hours before due to internet ticket sales, so no worries. We could have tried a different, larger theater, but by the time we got to this theater, found parking and discovered the show was sold out we didn't have enough time to get to a showing at the same time at the other one. I guess we'll try again on Sunday, tonight we have dinner plans with Jason's office buddies.

We toyed with the idea of going out to eat (though felt guilty about it because we are also going out tomorrow) and in the end we did. Had a super-thin-crust pizza at a local pizza place. It wasn't the best pizza I've ever had, but the toppings were interesting (portabella mushrooms, artichokes and roasted red pepper) and the crust didn't completely suck, so that puts it in the top spot for this city so far (at least of the options that are close, there's better pizza if we want to drive 20 minutes to get it). It was fairly expensive for what it was so I'm not sure we'll be back as I'm sure I could make something fairly similar on a pita bread for 1/5th of the price at home.

After dinner I got inspired to go exploring and followed the signs to the other new development in our area. Turns out those are duplexes, so I know why our real estate agent never bothered to drive us down there, but while cruising around and checking out the amenities we discovered a rather large, fenced off-leash doggie park! Ran home and got the beagles and let them run themselves ragged for an hour so they slept all night when we got home. I can't believe all this time we've had an off-leash fenced area a mere 5 minutes from out house and with no freeway driving or traffic to keep us from it! No more trying to cross the city in bumper-to-bumper to exercise dogs for me! Sometimes things not going to plan really works out in the end if you just run with it.
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My Mum was very sad to leave this morning. I thought the fact that the weather has taken a turn for the worse would make it easier, but she disagreed saying driving in rain is crappy. I kind of like driving in a light rain, it's less hot in the car without the sun beating in on you. When they left it was just a drizzle. It is now a total downpour. It's actually raining so hard that my neighbour's houses are just blurry blobs through my sodden windows.

I was kept extremely busy throughout my parents' visit. Probably I'll run off and have a nap as soon as I finish this entry. Just wanted to write about some of the things we did before I forgot.

Busy week behind the cut )

This afternoon I may tackle the downstairs curtains. The ones for the family room are pre-fab, but need to be shortened to the right length. For the dining room I'm making my own, but I've got the fabric all pre-washed, so that shouldn't take a long time. The place is starting to look like we've moved in, but there's still lots around here to keep me busy.

On hold

Apr. 13th, 2009 12:40 pm
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I'm on hold with the IRS waiting for help. Have been on hold for about half an hour. My fault for leaving it until the last minute. Though that said, ultimately it is Jason's fault for failing to provide me with any of the information I needed. For next year I've told him he needs to print it as he receives it and file it in the "tax" folder (which I do for all my stuff), rather than leaving in his e-mail inbox of enormousness and hoping that he can remember to look for it months later without me asking specific, probing questions. I swear, for every document I've gotten from him I've had to ask 5 times over several weeks before suddenly his memory jogs. I figure it would be easier for him to just hit "print" and not even read it and let me figure out what to do with it and if it's even needed at the end. Despite my instructions (and pleading) I suspect we'll be at the exact same spot next year. This shit is so much easier when I'm the "gatekeeper" for the information. He's like having a disorganized client back in my accounting days. I know his type. Frankly, it's most clients. If I ask for the same stuff every year... how is it that every year you fail to anticipate this request?

In other news, the baby is moving ALL THE TIME. It feels a little like the tightening I get in my stomach when my car spins out or fishtails. Yes, I used to own a big, old, boat of a car, so I am VERY familiar with that feeling. While I am familiar and accustomed to the feeling, I generally didn't try to sleep or eat while it was happening, and I'm finding the kicks and bumps during meals and bedtime to be rather disturbing.

My parents arrived late Saturday night and I had the house mostly put together by the time they got here. Enough that most rooms were presentable at least. Still not done any curtains for my room or theirs, and my room is still a messy disaster, but all the main floor (not counting the craft room which no one goes into but me) looked presentable. Upstairs the guest bedroom and bathroom were immaculate, so even if the rest was a disaster that's all that counts.

Okay, after an hour of hold time and an hour and a half of research on the phone with the IRS guy I've come to the conclusion that I know more about their tax laws than they do, at least on the subject of resident and non-resident status. I then went away and crunched numbers for a few hours to determine the best way to handle this. Now I just have to go and get my passport notarized and get Jason to sign the return and it's all ready to go - at last! Then on to the Canadian one - weee! Won't even start on that until my parents leave. Felt kind of guilty today that they had to amuse themselves all day while I did paperwork.

Time to have a shower so at least I'm dressed and ready to prepare dinner.
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It's simply amazing to me how many ways there are in this country to shoot yourself in the financial foot. Every day I encounter another. Today's financial idiocy came in the form of a question from my loan officer when I inquired about how to make an additional principal payment on my mortgage.

Musings about American mortgage lunacy behind the cut )

Other than my husband's brother, who has been attacking his mortgage like a man possessed, it seems like only Jason and I are concerned about this whole debt thing. Are we nuts?
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I get that we all want to save a little money. I get where helping a friend out is good. And I get where one would want to avoid paying for professional help on a little in-town move. What I don't get is why almost everyone I've ever helped in this respect is not prepared in the least when I show up!!! I completely understand how much work it is and how it's always more work than you think it will be, but I'd really appreciate it if it looks like you've at least made an attempt when I walk in the door.

This weekend we agreed to help a friend of ours with his move. We owed him BIG TIME from our last move. We stayed with him a week while we were house-hunting and then he stored some of our stuff when we were living in the motels. I also used his place as a bit of a home-base when we first got our house for setting up stuff and communicating with the outside world as it took forever for us to get hooked up with cable and phone. Though we took him out to dinner a few times that doesn't nearly make up for the huge favour he did us. He had only asked for Jason's help, claiming everything would be packed and ready and no big deal, he just needed the van and another body to help with the lifting. I decided to show up anyway because sitting around the house by myself is boring and it's what I do all week anyway, so might as well come out and be social even if I can't be helpful. Little did I know I would wind up being rather useful.

We did have a tiny bit of warning that this was not going to go well when he asked Jason to do one load with him on Friday night so he could re-use the boxes because he "didn't have quite enough". That SHOULD have been translated as "don't have even a third of the boxes I probably should have to do this reasonably".

When we showed up Saturday morning I had to ask myself what he had done packing-wise the night before. There was one ENORMOUS box that Jason had given him the night before (used to hold a lawnmower) that he'd filled with so many DVDs that even two guys couldn't lift it, and that was all that was packed. And this is where things get tremendously frustrating... I can see how that might have seemed like a good idea at the time, and only after loading it would you realize that it was a terrible error, but then repack the stupid thing! There was also the matter of his closet. When I went in to pack his clothes he suddenly appeared with a wardrobe box. It's not like this had been used for anything else in the move, so it wasn't one of the re-used boxes. And it's not like it takes a lot of thought to move the hangers from one rack to another. So why wasn't that done either? To make matters worse, he'd arranged for movers to come and take the larger items (couch, bed, desk and TV), but the deal there was that he had to disassemble it all. So was any of that stuff disassembled and ready to go? Of course not.

The most irritating part of it though, from the point of view of someone who is obsessive about organization and efficiency, is that he seemed to have no idea what to do with us. He's got himself, Rick (another friend, but woefully out of shape), Jason and I. He and Jason are the two most able-bodied individuals in the group. Obviously they should be doing the lifting and carrying. Jason also has GREAT spatial sense and can pack things both tightly and safely, so they should be listening to his recommendations on where to stuff things. Rick can carry some stuff, but was winded about 2 hours into the process, so strictly a light-lifter really. He was certainly capable of doing more (big guy), but rapidly becoming exhausted and whiny, so probably best not to push it. He's also the WORST packer I have seen. Apparently his trunk went half-empty on every one of the 6 or so trips that were made because he couldn't understand stacking. I am, by doctor's orders, not allowed to lift or carry anything over 20 lbs. But I'm well-rested and willing to work if you can just point me in the direction of what you want done.

We walk in the door, stand around staring at each other for ages while James runs around and packs. THIS is what bugs me about helping people move. If you ask for help, you must be willing and ready to DELEGATE!!! If you can't trust us to do anything, don't ask for help. Eventually, out of a desperate desire to finish before midnight, I just started doing things on my own. I had to physically remove the screwdriver from his hands when it came to taking things apart. I was also irritated that he hadn't asked us to bring a drill (I have 2). And of course there's the usual woman-with-tools irritation at men who think we can't possibly get this tool thing because we are women. My rather extensive power-tool filled workshop would put the little tool-kit he'd purchased that week to shame, but of course, I'm "just a girl".

Then there was the fridge. By the time we got to this stage of the move I had quite firmly taken over the whole delegating thing and decided that packing this stuff was something right up my alley. Man, did I ever regret taking on that task. James stood over me nixing and defending food items, and it was ridiculous. I pulled out some hamburger buns that were just starting to grow mold and he started protesting that "he'd only just bought those". I'm thinking he was going to hold on to them and return them angrily to the store. Then I pointed-out the best-before date... Jan 25th. Dude, that's almost 2 full months past expiry. Sure, white bread is crappily un-natural and mold resistant, but it's not eternal! I also pulled out a dozen bagels that had turned entirely green. DUDE!!!! Most of the expiry dates on things in his fridge were 2007!?!?! How could you have that in your fridge and not notice?!?!? And why not address it BEFORE you move, like even last weekend or something?

Anyway, a move I had figured would only take maybe 4 hours at most ended up being a 9 hour exercise in frustration and bad planning. And we didn't even clean anything!!!! This has to have been the WORST move I have ever helped on.

Then to top off a bad day, the restaurant Rick suggested had a half-hour wait when we showed up at 8:30 at night. At this point I was done, so we excused ourselves, picked up some take-out sushi and were home, eating and with the doggies fed and let out before Rick and James probably even got their table. Pfffft to a shitty way to spend a Saturday.

In contrast, let me now tell you about the best move ever. AJ in Edmonton has about the most stuff I have ever seen one person cram into an apartment. When she asked me to help her move I was dreading it, but I love her so there I was, ready and willing to help. When we showed up EVERYTHING was packed and ready to go and neatly stacked near the door. Pushing the couch up the stairs sucked the big one, but everything else was easy-peasy. She had a rented U-haul and two dollies, so her helpers were practically running to and from the van. She had everyone organized and given jobs, and the whole cross-city move was done, the van returned and dinner ordered and eaten before the sun even started to set. The only reason I still agree to help people move is because I'm always holding out hope that I will get another easy job like that. AJ, I salute you!
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Inspired by a friend, I ran a google search on my mundane name, with a few carefully selected modifiers to filter out the only other person I know on the net who goes by my name (regrettably a porn star) and discovered something interesting... I have some credits! As it turns out, the research I did way back during my first degree eventually did result in a paper. I wound up being pretty far down in the list of authors as they took it further after I left, but it's cool to be in the list at all.

"Evidence for stanniocalcin and a related receptor in annelids." Published in October of 2004. Shortly after I graduated from my second program, and probably right after the last time I googled myself (I don't do it often). I also have an acknowledgment in "Vitamins and Hormones Volume 70"

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We didn't actually do a whole lot. She threw out her back for a few days and I was exhausted all the time. Isn't being pregnant fun? There were a few notable days/evenings though.

She arrived late Saturday night, we didn't do a whole lot that night because it was late.

Sunday morning we took the doggies off to the kennel and headed to San Antonio. We got on the road late and stopped at the massive outlet mall in San Marcos and then got tangled up in this massive highway closure traffic-jam, so by the time we got to San Antonio most of the attractions were almost closing. We did get to see the Alamo on the anniversary of the battle there (no we didn't plan it that way). The grounds were beautiful, the weather was perfect and the site was cool. We then did the river walk and had ate at a fabulous Mexican restaurant on the river for dinner.

Later in the week we picked up a fire pit from Wal-Mart and had a cookout on the back patio. That was really fun and something I haven't been able to do for ages. After we put the fire out we played Rock Band and board games, so that was about the perfect evening.

Other than that we spent a few afternoons doing beads, went shopping once and took the hounds to the dog park. Not the most eventful or action-packed trip ever, but nice, relaxing, and I really enjoyed having company.

The next guests on the schedule are my parents at Easter, so back to cleaning and being bored until then.


Mar. 7th, 2009 04:36 pm
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My business school is planning their fall Homecoming reunion. It's making me think about reunions...

Why do we have them and why do we attend? )

What has everyone else's experiences with reunions been? Good stories? Cautionary tales?

I do have to come home at some point to tour the kid around the extended family that can't travel (grandparents). I could easily combine that trip with the homecoming thing. But should I even bother with the homecoming?
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Jason is trying to get money out of his e-trade account (no, we don't have money in the stock market, this is a employee stock option thingy) and he has been stopped because his account has been frozen up due to "unusual account activity". As if wanting to get cash out of the market in the current economic climate is "unusual" - heh.

He called the number listed on the error page that came up and I am currently listening to the conversation he's having. She seems completely stunned. As far as I can tell from my one-sided perspective, she first refused to believe there was such a screen. Then she decided that it must be because he was trying to remove his entire balance *including* the change. If he removed a round number it might work better. So you can have your money, but only to the nearest dollar??? She's had him log out and back in and try again. Still no luck. She also keeps asking him what phone number is listed on the screen that he keeps getting, again like she disbelieves he is getting this screen at all and there's no way he should be calling her for this. She has now given him a new number to try, something about their security company has locked down his account and she doesn't have access to find out why. And of course this new number is not available until Monday. Ridiculous. Don't you just love "customer service/tech support".
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We broke the record high yesterday. It hit 91 degrees! In February!!! I just couldn't bring myself to stay indoors and clean, even though that's what needed doing. Instead I hit the yard and weeded. We haven't really dealt with the yard at all since we moved in, and it is really starting to show. The tiny little baby weeds that were there when we moved in have turned into a jungle. I took out one green garbage bag and 4 shopping bags full of weeds and you can't even tell I'd done anything. I'm considering just putting Round Up on the jungle and re-sodding. Meh, something to deal with after Lauren leaves.

This morning I wake up, and I expect to be sore from the crouching and crawling around weeding, but it appears I have also come down with the plague. I am all stuffed up and completely miserable and achy all over. This is going to make cleaning inside today suck massively.

I think I'll start with a warm bath. If I can loosen up the sinuses I might still get something done.
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My sister comes to town next weekend, so I'm hoping to have all the unpacking and cleaning done by the time she gets here. It's going to be a tough goal to achieve, but worth it if I do.

Saturday I worked on the kitchen. Got all the dishes that have been piling up out of the way and straightened out all the counters, so that was good. Still have a bunch of half-full boxes of food kicking around that I'm not sure what to do with though.

Sunday we went out shopping for garage shelving. With the loss of the basement, all that stuff that used to be in storage was really overwhelming us. The shelves are almost all assembled (one piece was broken, so Jason will exchange it and we can get it 100% done tonight). Most of the garage floor is cleared out, with just a little bit of clutter remaining. All the big stuff is arranged where I want it to be, so it's just a matter of doing little stuff, like filling up the pantry with glass stuff. This is good because I promised my sister she'd get some time on the torch this visit.

We also picked up a lawnmower, but by the time we got home it was too dark to do anything with it, so it's just hanging out in the garage in its box.

To celebrate our accomplishments we went out and enjoyed Thai for dinner - yum. In a strange turn of events at the Thai place... the chef served our dinner to us personally. I'm getting the impression that he's the kind of chef who likes to get out of the kitchen and socialize with his patrons, and I have nothing but praise for his food, but I still feel kinda awkward when confronted with the chef. I did take the time to compliment him on an appetizer we ordered from the "specials" though. It was nom nom. Mostly though, I'm there for the soup. If you like spicy, you need to hit a thai place and try Tom Kha. Best soup evah!
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There's a picture of the boy with a bong and the media is a-buzz. Kellogg's has pulled their sponsorship and the sporting community is thinking of suspending him because his behaviour is not aligned with their values. Everyone is talking about how this is tarnishing his image as a role model.

So here's my question to the world at large... why is someone who has achieved a physical accomplishment being held up as a role model for anything other than that? We unfailingly accept that "normal" people can be good at math and terrible at french, or good at sports but bad at theater, or a great businessman but terrible in bed. We can respect normal people for their accomplishments and skills and forgive their faults. So why do celebrities have to be "good" at everything. Especially at personal decisions?

I can understand an image being tarnished when the scandal is DIRECTLY related to your skill. Famous performer is caught lip synching at a concert, or worse, lip synching on their album (Milli Vanilli anyone?), that is a scandal and a reason to lose faith. Famous lawyer or judge caught breaking a felony law. Left-wing politician accepting bribes from big business. Fitness and nutrition guru disappears from the public eye for a year and reappears in a McDonalds shoving down an extra value meal and massively overweight. MADD volunteer arrested for drunk driving. Child welfare activist caught dealing in child pornography*. Life-long marriage advocate trading his wife in for a younger model. These all represent failure in areas you were previously thought to be successful in, areas where people held you up as an example, and would cause people to question your previous accomplishments and to lose trust in you.

In the case of Michael Phelps, marajuana use would eliminate him from my dating pool, but it doesn't influence my opinion on his athletic ability, nor would it prevent me from holding him up as an example of someone setting a goal for physical perfection and achieving it (if I was the kind of person who cared about that stuff). If he was caught using performance-enhancing substances, THEN I would believe his image was tarnished.

If your kids elevate celebrities to hero status and believe in copying everything their idol does, may I submit that maybe it's time to talk to your children about what it means to be human?

* I will admit that there are certain sins that are unforgivable in my books. Rapists, murders and people who abuse children or animals are scum, period. I don't care what accomplishments you may have, you engage in that stuff and you cease to be human to me.
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I'm starting to get touchy about this question... it's on every thing I fill out. What "race" am I? What does it matter? And whose business is it anyway? I am very aware that I am entrenched in the South, high seat of privilege for those of us who happen to have been "blessed" with milky white skin, but do we really need to be reminded of it on a daily basis? Does reinforcing the whole outdated notion of "Black", "Caucasian" and "Latino" and the simple categorization of a person by skin tone really help anyone? Is this part of the social machine that keeps racism alive and well in this country while it seemed much less pronounced North of the border?

I can see where this might become somewhat relevant in pre-natal care. But are there really that many who could claim some sort of genetic purity to one group or another? If you've got even a drop of something other than the group you're identifying with, guess what, you might be a carrier for whatever that other group has too. So if you identify as "black" but your great, great, great ancestor was Jewish (or Cajun or French Canadian), you should be taking the Tay-Sachs test like all the rest of us with Jewish blood. However, that doesn't answer why my GP or my Chiropractor would want that info. What possible use could my self-identification with one "racial" group or another serve to those practitioners?

If we take it as a given that skin tone alone is not really helpful for health care, and it can't possibly serve any other purpose, why does everyone want to know? The only time I ever got asked this one in Canada was on the federal census and whether I was Native American for the purpose of University applications/scholarships. So why does it seem like I'm asked this one every day down here?

I also get asked my highest level of education and I'm not sure what relevance that has to my health care either. As if education is some magic cure-all against disease and poor lifestyle choices, or financial disaster, especially in this economic climate. I'm somewhat less insulted by that question because at least that achievement is the result of a choice on my part. But I still fail to see how it's any of my HMO's business.
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Interesting contest/survey thingy that CBC's Radio 2 ran. Here's the results of the 49 songs that their listeners determined were the best and most representative of Canada's music scene.

49 Songs from North of the 49th Parallel

This list saddens me for a few reasons.

1) As has been pointed out in the comments on CBC's site, why is this Obama's playlist? Why does Obama need to be educated about his neighbour to the North? He hasn't shown that he is ignorant of our existence or our longstanding relationship like his predecessor did. Why can't we make a list just for us?

2) Why is everything on this list so damn old????? I'm not saying there's anything inherently wrong with older tunes, and I do believe we should respect our musical heritage, but I believe certain decades are well over-represented at the expense of others. As far as I can tell, there is only ONE song on that list from the current decade. Is our current music scene so bereft of talent that only ONE song from the last decade is worth highlighting??!!??? And yes, I am aware that the demographic of the radio station in question probably played a large part in why most of the songs selected were released before I was born.

3) I don't think on a list that short that an artist should be recognized more than once. Six artists make the list for two songs. That's six fewer artists that could have been recognized. One artist makes the list 3 times if you consider that KD Lang's Halleluja is really just a cover of another Leonard Cohen tune (he made the list twice already). It's a great cover, but I still feels that it reflects Leonard's talents a bit more than KD's. As an editor, I would have said each artist can only be represented by the song that gets the most votes, other songs by that same artist that would have made the top 49 get disqualified in favour of displaying more diversity. And I don't think that would have been unfair at all because I'm reasonably sure the results were twiddled a bit anyway. If there wasn't some vote manipulation the french songs wouldn't have likely made the list. I'm saying that because it's not like there are that many fewer good french songs, but with only 24% of the population, there are a lot fewer french voters to support them. So if people were voting on 100 good english songs and 100 good french songs, the vote split would have resulted in no (or very few) french songs making the cut on a straight vote count, and in the list that was published, 20% of the songs were french. Seems fishy to me.

What do you think of the list?
What would your personal list look like?
If you were to make a list, would you include artists that "deserve recognition" even if it's not something you'd put on your ipod or would you just highlight the artists that you actually like to listen to?
Would you make an attempt to recognize a wide range of release dates?
Would you include an artist more than once if you felt they had more than one great song?
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The television here continues to be incredibly depressing. Interestingly, I am less depressed by the news than I am by the ads. Kraft is bombarding us with ads for how wonderfully cheap all their processed food products are.

Get twice as much Velveeta for the same price as cheddar!
Get 3 bowls of fun and delicious Kraft Dinner for only $1!
We can make yummy grilled cheese from Kraft Singles for only a few cents!

(those slogans are about as close to verbatim as I can recall)

Uuuugh. As if that is a healthy way to eat. It's such a shame that the most affordable way to eat is one that promotes malnutrition. I was listening to a show on the public radio station that was expressing much the same idea. The city of Detroit has only 5 grocery stores! 5 grocery stores in the whole city! The reasons are complex. As the urban population moves out to the suburbs, there are fewer people to patronize the businesses. Fast food is cheaper than buying and cooking your own healthy alternatives, so the people that are left don't buy groceries. And finally, there is a lack of education and motivation in the population to cook and eat "real" food, partly because the big marketing machines that sell fast food have won. They were interviewing urban farmers who were reclaiming the empty lots left behind by the masses fleeing the city, initially just to feed themselves but later expanding and making a living by selling their produce at urban farmer's markets. They were thinking that part of rehabilitating the urban community (especially the black community) was by getting back to their roots in the garden. The community that controls their food controls their future was what one of them said. They also criticized a McDonald's ad that showed a guy burning toast and dropping eggs and in the end, the slogan "leave breakfast to the experts", which they thought encourages society at large to abdicate their responsibility for making choices about their diet. It was a very interesting story and it has me thinking of working on some produce in my yard.
norsegirl: (Default)
Today I stumbled on a "What not to Wear" that I think was completely off-base. Ordinarily I agree with them. They take people who wear t-shirts with enormous kitty-cats printed on them from the 80s or people wearing things 2 sizes too small or too large and either give them an update or teach them how to select things which are of a similar style but flatter their figure.

Today though they took a young girl wearing punky stuff (like I wear) and made her over into a preppy clone. Consistently saying stuff like "now you look less like an angry teenager and more like a pretty young woman". The comment that offended me most was "now you look like the kind of person people would want to be friends with. I guess that must feel different. I mean, wearing black and skulls doesn't encourage people to come up and talk to you." What a fucking dumbass!!!

I understand the virtue of wearing something suitable to the occasion. Business clothes at work. Frilly dresses at proms and weddings. Black and modest at funerals. But there is no reason to not wear what you LIKE in completely informal situations. Sometimes I end up wearing more business-casual stuff in informal situations (like shopping in the mall after work or on lunch hour), and speaking from experience, I can with all honesty say that I get FAR more people approach me and compliment pieces of my wardrobe when I dress "like an angry teenager in skulls and black" than when I put on a nice skirt and a pretty sweater.

We don't all have to look the same. And I propose that what makes us approachable is not what we're wearing, but how comfortable we are in it.
norsegirl: (Default)
I'm starting to think that the only people I should ever send e-mails to are my very best friends. Everyone else seems to read all sorts of things into anything I write that I didn't mean at all. I'm really thinking I need to remove myself from every e-mail list I've ever joined as these things seem to be nothing but an invitation to experience the joys of e-mail flame-throwing for me. That and they are a tremendous time-sink with little to no reward. Someone on one of the e-mail lists I was on once had the tag-line "If anything I write could be interpreted two ways, and one causes offense, please assume I meant the other". So why is it that people never do that?

In other news, having a bit of a drag of a day. Arranged to go shopping with someone I met at Jason's Christmas party. I was late, mostly because I got totally and completely lost trying to find the place. I'd driven past it on the highway a zillion times, and on the highway there are clear signs indicating where to exit. Unfortunately, once you do, you're dropped in the middle of a bunch of office buildings and there are no further directions to the damn shopping. After driving around for a bit I actually had to ask a construction worker how to get to the shopping. She didn't seem to object too much to my late arrival, but let's be honest, no one really likes it when you show up late. Anyway, we only shopped for an hour or so when she suddenly said "well, my car's parked here so I'm going to leave now, bye".

I understand that a first shopping meeting is a bit like a first date, you don't want to commit to anything longer than coffee just in case it doesn't go well, but that seemed REALLY short to me. I figured we'd shop until lunch, maybe have a bite to eat and then call it quits, or even just before lunch with the "I'm going to head home for some food" excuse. The abrupt departure kinda makes me think I said or did something wrong. Which leaves me with an interesting dilemma... if this was a date, the usual protocol is for the guy to call to arrange for another. I did call her to set up the first one, but she's the one who cut it off abruptly. Do I call her or do I wait and see if she bothers to call me?

This is the one major downfall of moving... finding new people to spend face-time with. Clearly, you all need to move to Texas as that would solve all my problems. Just let me know when to book your moving vans.


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September 2010

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