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Friday, October 29, 2004

Leader of Our Nation

Our president is a total frat boy wanker who never grew up. Grow up!

No, this is not a doctored photo. It's the real thing. Really. I mean, really.

In the last few days, I've been listening to a lot of Bush supporters say, "Well, you know it'd be a bad thing to change horses in mid-stream." But if your horse is running straight towards the drop off of a waterfall, then changing horses is probably a darned good idea. Just because George and his horse went over the edge doesn't mean the rest of us have to be lemmings and follow him. Thoughtful, well educated folks can stand back and say, "Hey, maybe I could throw a rope down to the folks at the bottom without going over the edge myself." Or heck, any number of ridiculous metaphors currently running through my mind. What I'm saying is vote for Kerry, or really anyone who doesn't still think the teenage boy game of flipping off the camera is still funny. Bush jr. is just embarassing.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

A Washer and A Dryer

The washer and dryer that came with the house are less than ideal. They're old. The dryer has a lint trap the comes out the top and sprays lint everywhere as you try to empty it. The washer has an agitator that keeps going the same direction the whole time, and tends to wind up clothes. It's less than gentle. One beloved and delicate item got wound up and torn recently. I decided it's time to shop for a new washer and dryer.

Looking online at Craig's List, several things kept coming up. For between $600 and $1000, I could get a used Maytag Neptune set. But then I was reading the consumer Reports rating on those, and it turns out they have a disappointing repair history. Consumer Reports recommended a Kenmore Elite H3 or H4t. Then Rick pointed out that there was a Sears outlet that had recently opened in the Great Mall. Off we went on Sunday, thinking, "Oh we'll just look."

But there it was - an HE3t, whose only difference from the HE4t was that it only had 5 wash settings instead of 6 and was painted steel rather than porcelain on steel. There it was, staring at me for 40% off. Just one. Oh, and there's a $150 rebate for water efficiency too.

A snap decision was made. A lot of money was spent. A new washer was had. Rick picked it up yesterday, and we ran the empty load last night and it's first real load this morning using the delayed start feature (delays up to 14 hours). When I got up, it was cheerfully chugging away. I'd heard the door click to lock just after my alarm went off. Slosh slosh slosh. Clothes get clean.

My new washer sits next to my new dryer on one side and my new refrigerator on the other. My life has become very strange to me. I've never felt so thrilled about doing laundry. I've never been so interested in appliances. It's all so very odd, but I think it's a good thing. These purchases, though pricey now, are going to last a long long time.

Ceili!

The ceili is a go. After last Thursday, the owners of the Straw Hat invited us to stay. The trial is over. Now, on to the dancing!

So join us this Thursday, and every Thursday for pizza at 6:30, lessons at 7 followed by open dancing and live music from 8-9:30. This past week was fabulous with both Will on fiddle and Jonah on vibraphone, with Matt's rhythm guitar providing a solid foundation. The dancers flew through figures with ease and grace. We wowed the pizza eaters with flying feet and flurry of folk music.

Straw Hat is located at 1535 Meridian Ave in San Jose, near Hamilton Avenue. Let me know if you'd like to be added to the mailing list.

Anniversary

Six years ago, Rick and I went on a date through a cornfield maze. You know - a maize maze.

Last Sunday we renewed our annual tradition and went tromping through a cornfield maze again. We tried to go on Friday night, but little did I know how popular it was! So we figured we'd go either after the wedding on Saturday, or on Sunday. Well, after the wedding it was raining. Sunday, the sky was dry, but the maze was muddy. We went prepared with spare shoes and plastic bags to capture the muddy ones. The maze was easy at first, but got complicated toward the end. Good fun.

So, yeah, Rick and I. Six years. Wog. That's as long as his marriage. And far longer than almost anyone predicted for us. After tromping through the maze, we went to the mall for shoe shopping, dinner, and an unexpected washer/dryer purchase. Buying the washer and dryer, I thought out loud, "Well, this isn't like it was six years ago." Time passes, but we're still a pretty good match.

Happy anniversary Mr. Honeybear!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I'm such a heel

Tonight I was planning to leave work at 5 to make it to the wedding rehearsal and dinner in San Mateo at 5:30.

I was also planning to leave work at 6 to get to the ceili in time for dinner. Tonight.

When these two things were originally scheduled, there was no conflict. My brain never actually figured out that there was a conflict. It astonishes me how my brain works (or fails to) at times. It wasn't til I got an email from the bride saying, "So, hey, you're missing the rehearsal dinner then?" Uh, yeah.

Really, I think it's time to take a mental health day and sleep and catch up. Unfortunately, I don't think that's really going to work, because even a day at home would not be the relaxing, mental sorting out that I need. Instead, I'd probably spend it working in the garage.

So instead, I'll keep doing dumb things like that until I really screw up in some unfixable manner. Yeah. That'll be great!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

An Important Story

This story choked me up. It's a perfect example of why very personal medical decisions should be made personally, not by legislators in Washington DC.

"Everyone said, of course it's the right thing to do -- even my Catholic father and my Republican father-in-law, neither of whom was ever "pro-choice." Because suddenly, for them, it wasn't about religious doctrine or political platforms. It was personal -- their son, their daughter, their grandchild. It was flesh and blood, as opposed to abstract ideology, and that changed everything."

Friday, October 15, 2004

Ceili Report

We had fairly low turnout last night. The switch to Thursday caught a bunch of folks flat footed, plus Google had a major product release (http://desktop.google.com) which syphoned off Karen and Paul. Kevin and Rachel are on vacation out of town. Christyn, Brian, Cyrus, Athena, Bob, and Paula are all taking Richard Powers' classes on Thursday right now. Lincoln had a kitchen music session he'd promised to attend. Alex is busy on Thursdays for the next few months. Jonah says he could rearrange his schedule to make Thursdays work, but before he does so, he wants to be sure this is going to fly, because it wouldn't be easy or easily put back. It was a bad night to start this, and oddly enough, would've been a perfectly fine week to stay in Los Altos since the weather took a turn for the warm. But, maybe it will work. All agreed that the food was good. But between low numbers and various injuries and illnesses, we were pretty well done by 9.

If it doesn't work out, I'm going to put it on hold until after Dickens. Maybe we can try again next year.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

I'm a Rock Star

I work REALLY well under the gun. Today, I got easily 12 hours of work done in 8. I finished creating an online tutorial that I only started creating today. And now I'm going dancing. Woohoo!

Gah! Windows! Argh!

When I booted my computer this morning, it said that I needed to restart for some updates to take effect. Not now, I'm trying to read my morning mail. I click Restart Later. Then ten minutes later it says the same thing. I'm still reading my mail - Restart Later. Then ten minutes later it does the same thing. Now I'm trying to finish a document for a meeting in 15 minutes - Restart Later. Meeting is postponed, so I try to finish assessing a web tutorial for ease of conversion from non-medical to medical. Again, it pops up. I'm in the middle of something here - Restart Later!!! Argh.

Why is Windows so f@#%ing pushy? When I say do it later, I mean do it when I'm ready to do it. Meanwhile it's pestering me like a 2 year old who wants a cupcake. Oh yes, please let me rearrange the way I'm working because your little operating system that's supposed to behave quietly in the background wants to do it's little thing right now and needs to interrupt absolutely everything else to do it. Sure, that's just great.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Ceili Stuff

So the ceili is moving to Straw Hat on Meridian. If you want to be on the mailing list for updates, you can subscribe to it:















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Six Degrees of Voting

This is kind of a cool idea. Basically, it's a big plot to get everyone to formally say, "Yes, I plan to vote" so that there's some feeling of accountability. Sure, it'd be stronger if there was any feedback for not voting, but in general, it's a good enough idea. Anything that gets out the vote right now is probably a good thing. Like they say, this is a really important election.

Quite possibly what bugs me the most about W is that he's unable to ever assess his own mistakes. Everybody, but everybody makes mistakes. We all say "Hindsight is 20/20." The key is to be able to say, "Knowing what I know now, I'd change how I did blah..." But he can't. He didn't before, and he couldn't do it in the debate. He's not a reflective person, and darnit, the president needs to be.

Our president seems to have a lukewarm IQ at best. He sees the world in black and white, and says those who don't are "flip-flopping". Kerry isn't flip-flopping, he's seeing nuances. He's voting for legislation based on whether or not that piece of legislation is well written, regardless of it's title or nominal intent. On the subject of the war, he gave permission to go to war once all diplomatic avenues were exhausted, but we didn't wait. W cowboyed his butt in there before the weapons inspectors had time to finish their report. He got us on the ground so fast that support troops didn't have time to get queued up for peacekeeping. And now, we've got a wretched mess on our hands. Kerry sees that. Yes, having Saddam out of power in Iraq is probably a good thing, except that we went and did it in a way that is making a bigger mess than having him in power. Ugh. Anyway, I could rant endlessly about this, but I won't. Let's just hope this election goes well. I don't know how the reputation of the U.S. can ride for another four years of W. He's a diplomatic nightmare. It doesn't matter what defensive measures we take against terrorism if we're out there provoking recruitment and attack with our international policies. There is no such thing as a perfect defense.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Cell Phone Loss and Recovery

On Thursday, my cell phone was lost/stolen. I'm not sure how it happened. It was such an insanely busy day, but somewhere between my first and my fourth presentation of the day at three different locations on campus, it went away. I tried calling it to see where it'd tumbled to in my bag, but it made no sound. In fact, it went direct to voicemail. Either it leapt off my bag while biking, or someone snatched it in the Beckman Cafe. All I know is that it was not here, and not anywhere I'd left it.

So I called up AT&T Wireless on Friday and had them stop my service temporarily. Then I was transferred to the equipment replacement folks. I'd been paying for insurance on the phone, so I paid my $35 deductible, and a new phone headed my way. It arrived this morning. Very very cool. I charged it, got my service reactivated, and I'm back up and running. Except for one thing: phone numbers. I had 150 phone numbers stored in my old phone. I can probably remember a dozen of them off the top of my head.

So hey, if you want me to have your phone number, you should call me or email me (ammy at fury). Otherwise, the odds are you won't be hearing from me too soon.

P.S. Kudos for AT&T and the insurance carrier for getting me my new phone so darned quick. AT&T now has one tick in the positive column for customer service, which they sorely needed after the first four billing cycles being all wrong.

A Day in the Life of Joe Republican

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of coffee, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical Plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its order in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's workplace is relatively safe and he is relatively sure that he'll survive to the end of his shift because some collectivist liberal decided to butt into Joe's employer's affairs and create OHSA to ensure a safe workplace. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

Its noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day.

Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves just like I have."

Thursday, October 07, 2004

The South Bay Ceili is Moving

The South Bay Ceili is moving. We're going to try a new location: Straw Hat Pizza on Meridian in San Jose. We're also going to try a new night: Thursdays.

The owner of Straw Hat is giving us a two week trial. Starting this Thursday, October 14th, we're going to have a one hour lesson from 7-8, and open dancing from 8 - 9:30. This is similar to the schedule we've had all summer on the square. We'll try this out for two weeks. If it works - then great! If it doesn't work, we'll try again. There's still a bunch of other options for a permanent home (Espresso Garden,
Rosie McCann's, etc.). This one seemed like it might be a good fit since the food is good and cheap. They serve beer. And they have a bathroom.

So come out Thursday to try the new venue. Let's show them what a great crowd we are!

What Kind of Girl?




Hmm...

Apprentice 2

Remember when I went to try out for The Apprentice? We were interviewed in groups of ten. Most of the people in my group were the folks I'd hung out with all day. There were 3 people in the group I didn't know. There were two people in our group who impressed me. I'd known Stan since first thing in the morning, and he's a great guy. I met Pamela in the interview. For going forward, I recommended Stan, but I could've gone with Pamela just as easily, especially if Stan wasn't there. Both of them were clearly on the ball.



So for the first time, I tuned into The Apprentice 2 tonight. Watching the intro, I catch the list of candidates. There's a Pamela. In fact, there's THE Pamela. Rick goes online and confirms it.

So I've met one of this year's Apprentice candidates. She's a fireball, but man does she come off as a bitch sometimes. That was the other impression she gave folks in that interview. No nonsense. Kinda cold. Very successful in business. But yeah, bitchy at times. We'll see how she does. Meanwhile, I think I'll actually start watching it.

Oh, no wait. She's fired.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Do Not Call

Four phone solicitations in the last two hours.

Here we are, trying to have dinner, and the phone rings. Water service? No thanks. Comcast? No, thanks. Junior Police Association? No thanks. No, really, y'all have to go away now.

And then I got out my trusty laptop and signed onto www.donotcall.gov, adn that problem is all fixed now. The next time they call, I can say I'm registered and they can't call me anymore. After 3 months, I can file a complaint and get them a nice spanking. Meanwhile, I'm just going to revel in the glory of good legislation. Ah....

In my neighborhood

The house across the street, and 2 doors down has a for sale sign up. I didn't even realize it was 2 units, but I guess it is. I'll be impressed if they manage to sell at that price. Doesn't seem like a reasonable investment property price, but what do I know.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Meet Pixel

Well, no inquiries. It looks like our housewarming cat is staying. He's a cutie. We call him Pixel.

After Dickens

It's here! That time of year when everything goes on hold until After Dickens (A.D.). I noticed it this weekend at Fred's birthday party. We kept talking about plans for this or that, and always adding the caveat "That'd be cool, A.D."

I'm going to try to take it easy during workshops (which consume most of November), only attending one or two days, plus dress rehearsals. Meanwhile, I know exactly what I'm doing with every weekend day between now and Christmas. Scary. On the horizon:

10/9 - Emily's wedding shower and Bachelorette party
10/16 - Justin and Monica's wedding
10/22 - FNW Macabre Ball
10/23 - Emily and David's Wedding
10/30 - Gaskells
10/31 - Christmas S'Caroling
11/6 - First Workshops weekend
11/13 - Second Workshops weekend
11/20 - Third Workshops weekend
11/21 - Dress Rehearsal
11/27 - Dickens Opening Day
11/27-12/19 - Dickens Fair every weekend day
12/24 - Christmas Eve with my mom, cousins, and grandparents

Net result: I took this weekend off from unpacking or doing much around the house. Did laundry and dishes, but nothing above and beyond the call of normal daily living. Friday was Friday Night Waltz. Saturday was bridesmaid gown shopping and Fred's party. Sunday was sleeping late, breakfast with Cyrus and Athena at the Brookdale lodge, a windy drive home, watching Gilmore Girls, and going to the movies with Alex to see the Bourne Supremacy at the cheapie theaters. It was a good thing.