Saturday, September 30, 2006
I'm not sure when the hijacking took place. I'm a fairly infrequent eBay user. I have never listed anything for sale and have only bought a multitude of pretty but relatively inexpensive junk. In fact I think the last time I was on was back in march when I bought a really nice handmade happy sun clock from a nice lady in California to go with the tropical motif in my office. Like I said, I'm an infrequent user. Thursday night I was attempting to purchase some fabric for a Halloween show I'm doing costumes for. Fabric is one of those things I like to buy in person so I can get a feel for its texture, stretchiness, and other aspects but, let's face it, my choices for stretch mesh and wet look vinyl are limited in this state. When I tried to log in to bid, my password didn't work.
Well, that's odd. I tried it again. Still didn't work. I tried a third time , paying extra special attention to the keys that I hit. Still doesn't work. Did I change my password and then forget about it? It's possible. After all, I haven't been on since March. I went through the forgotten password process. Everything worked fine right up to the confirmation email. I never got it. I tried again. Still nothing. I then looked at my email setup to make sure it wasn't being blocked by the spam filters.
Now here's where things got interesting. There was a filter set up in my email account that deleted messages containing the word 'ebay' and forwarded them to a yahoo account. That's got to go. I removed those filters and changed the password on my email. After that I was able to receive the forgotten password confirmation email from eBay. When I got back into my account I found that my personal information had been changed. I seller's account had been set up complete with credit card number. I can only assume this was a stolen credit card. More disturbing was the fact that several auctions had been put up for gold watches. eBay put a hold on the seller's account because of complaints. And the topper was that bids that were placed without my knowledge. One was for a lot of 100 stainless steel men's watches totaling $4,095 excluding shipping. This scenario just made me think someone was buying stainless steel watches, applying a cheap electroplating, and then selling them as gold watches. I do hope no one actually gave this rectum ranger any money. I would be suspicious of someone who has never sold anything on eBay and then all of a sudden is selling a dozen gold watches. Sounds fishy to me.
I was not happy. While I am an infrequent user, I have been using eBay since about 1999 and have wracked up a good amount of positive feedback. I didn't want to have to start over. And the kicker is you can't re-register with the same email address. Also, I didn't want to be responsible for the gobs of money this sphincter dart decided to bid. So now, the dreaded contacting of tech support. Eek!
eBay doesn't have a phone number listed anywhere on their site. What I did find was a live chat support for security and account theft. It isn't intuitive to find, especially when you're in 'What The Fuck' mode. The live chat can be found by navigating the menus at the very bottom of most eBay pages. You need to click on 'Security & Resolution Center' and then 'eBay Account Protection'. On Thursday evening I waited a little over half an hour to chat with someone. Once I actually able to talk with an eBay security agent, the problem was resolved quickly. One of the ways eBay verifies your account is to call and speak with you and a nice feature of that is that you can ask questions to the agent over the phone instead of typing everything. I was assurred that I would not be responsible for the auctions that were put up and the bids that were placed without my knowledge. Yay. It was all rather painless.
The next day I received a notice from eBay that said an unpaid item strike had been placed against my account (for the watches). I also noticed that the seller had left me some lovely negative feedback. Wait a minute. Wasn't this all supposed to be taken care of? The email alerting me to the strike had a link to an appeals page. I appealed the strike and it was removed. Now to remove the negative feedback. Back on to eBay live help chat. I again explained the situation again. The negative feedback was removed.
eBay seems pretty good at resolving the symptons of account theft. My concern is that I will need to keep a close eye on my account for any additional fallout. When I was assurred that everything was taken care of the first time I contacted eBay, I took that to mean everything was taken care of and I won't have to worry about additional problems stemming from this event. I thought that this would include everything that transpired from my last legitimate purchase in March until Thursday evening when I discovered the problem. This is not actually the case.
There are a few security loopholes that I wish eBay would close. First, they do not lock your account after so many unsuccessful log in attempts. This allows someone to just run random strings of letters and numbers until they luck out and find your password. Most places will lock your account after 3 tries. There is also the problem with third party authorizations. Neither security tech that I spoke with mentioned these and I found out about this through some message boards. The eBay account gets hacked somehow and then some sort of 3rd party software is used to post the automatted auctions.
If you have an eBay account, go to your Account Details, then Preferences, and then scroll down and look for 3rd party authorizations. Check that to be sure anything listed is valid. Many things (contests, etc) can apparently add entries here. In my case, I had an entry from AuctionWorks, a company that makes auctioning software. It is very important to make sure you remove 3rd party autorizations because when using the eBay API, once you get added to the 3rd party authorizations, you can continue to access the eBay account even after the password has changed.
The tech support people didn't mention this at all. It is not mentioned anywhere in the documaentation about securing your account. I got the usual security spiel from the live chat techs. My password is a combination of letters and numbers that is not easily guessed. I haven't answered any of those annoying spoof emails I get asking me to verify account information or my eBay account will be terminated. I have a current anti-virus software and a firewall. Somehow someone was able to gain control of my eBay account.
Consider this your public saftey announcment of the day.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Sometime between when I came home last night around 9:30 and when I left for work around 8 this morning, a spider had built a nest in my shoe. I discovered this when I picked up my shoe and got a handfull of sticky spiderweb. Yuck. I thought better of just putting the shoe on and decided to investigate further. I felt more spiderweb inside of the shoe near the laces and going towards the toe. I held the shoe up to the light and looked in to it. Nestled in the toe was a large brown spider. Good morning. This is your wake up call. I dropped the shoe and jumped about 3 feet in the air.
My first thought was to just throw the shoes away and wear something else. Then I thought I wasn't going to let that silly little spider get the best of me. I again looked in to the shoe. Darn - it's still in there. The thing had a body about the size of a nickle and had officially crossed the line between small common spider to big frickin' scarey spider. Armed with a swifter duster in my shaking hand, I bravely managed to extricate web and spider from the inside of my shoe. The spider jumped to the floor. With an angry spider on the loose, I prepared for battle with my one shoed foot. It was a stomping victory.
After the battle, I also evicted the other spider who had been watching from the corner of the door. I didn't want him to get any funny ideas. A couple of large spiders had set up housekeeping outside of my apartment door. They've been there without incident all summer. I let let them stay out there despite the creepiness factor, and the thought that one day they might decide to jump on my head, because, hey, they eat flies. Well, now that they've decided the weather's too cold to stay outside they've got to go. Nesting in my shoe was just too much. I took the broom and went on a spider killing spree. Again...yuck.
As I walked to work, I kept imaging that I felt something crawling up my leg. It might have been the wind blowing or my slacks moving as I walked or just my imagination, but I had that creepy sensation all morning. The other horrible thought that I had was what if that spider laid eggs in my shoe? And I didn't notice? And then one day they hatched, and I was wearing my shoe, and a whole bunch of spiders coming crawling out of my shoe and up my leg? Again, perhaps I have too active of an imagination.
I laughed about the incident later on, but then something else happened. I was driving my car and stopped to get gas. One of my friends pointed out that there was a spider on my window, a bit ironic, since I had just told him the story of the shoe spider. And then there were two spiders. These ones were little, about the size of my pinky finger, and white. I killed those spiders and noticed a few more. I flicked those off the car as well. They don't have to die, but they certainly can't stay with me. In all, there was a total of 5 spiders on my car. I couldn't help but wonder if they were somehow out for revenge.
When I arrived home there was another large brown spider by my door. This time it was nestled by my neighbors door. Hopefully it'll go in there and leave me alone. I didn't take any chances, though. I brought my shoes upstairs instead of leaving them down by the door. I don't want a repeat of this morning. Besides, it might send for reinforcements.
In honor of ITLAPD, enjoy some handy pirate pick up lines.
- Avast, me proud beauty! Wanna know why my Roger is so Jolly?
- Have ya ever met a man with a real yardarm?
- Come on up and see me urchins.
- Yes, that is a hornpipe in my pocket and I am happy to see you.
- I'd love to drop anchor in your lagoon.
- Pardon me, but would ya mind if fired me cannon through your porthole?
- How'd you like to scrape the barnacles off of me rudder?
- Well blow me down?
- Prepare to be boarded.
- They don't call me Long John because my head is so big.
- You're drinking a Salty Dog? How'd you like to try the real thing?
- Wanna shiver me timbers?
- I've sailed the seven seas, and you're the sleekest schooner I've ever sighted.
- That's the finest pirate booty I've ever laid eyes on.
- Let's get together and haul some keel.
- That's some treasure chest you've got there.
- Yo ho! Bottle of rum?
- ARRR you single?
For the wenches...
- What are YOU doing here?
- Is that a belayin' pin in yer britches, or are ye ... (this one is never completed)
- Come show me how ye bury yer treasure, lad!
- So, tell me, why do they call ye, "Cap'n Feathersword?"
- That's quite a cutlass ye got thar, what ye need is a good scabbard!
- I've crushed seventeen men's skulls between me thighs!
- C'mon, lad, shiver me timbers!
- RAMMING SPEED!
- Want to climb in me rigging?
- Unbuckle your swash?
- You. Pants Off. Now!
Friday, September 15, 2006
I cancelled my subscription to COV last spring when I found I just didn't have the time to spend in front of the computer. Now that the cold weather is setting in, I've rediscovered the joy that is this game. I was prompted into renewing my subscription after one of my friends purchased the game. He started talking about it and then I stared to remember how much fun it was to play. Our excitment rolled over to another mutual friend, who also renewed his subscription. There are now a trio of us running around the Rouge Isles. A force to be reckoned with.
All of this has gotten thinking about what it takes to be a villain. The running joke in our little trio is that we're so much ruthless as we are mildly beligerant. I've been thinking about things I could do to help bring out my villainous nature. I've got a long way to go before I'm evil overlord material.
- Lather, rinse, but don't repeat
- Don't seperate my recyclables
- Tip less than 15%
- Refuse to refrigerate after opening
- Walk in doors marked 'exit only'
Random Person: What are you making for dinner tonight?
Me: I'm having chicken. MUAHAHA!!!!
In keeping with my 'things that sound kind of dirty' theme, I've decided to pick 5 great words that sound dirty. I invite, and even encourage, others to post their own lists here.
- Angina - Short for angina pectoris, severe paroxysmal pain in the chest associated with an insufficient supply of blood to the heart. It sounds even dirtier if someone declares that they have 'acute angina'
- Dictum - An authoritative, often formal pronouncement
- Manhole - A hole, usually with a cover, through which a person may enter a sewer, boiler, drain, or similar structure
- Penal - Of, relating to, or prescribing punishment, as for breaking the law
- Supeona - A writ requiring appearance in court to give testimony
Thursday, September 14, 2006
And everything about this show is going right in the gutter. Even when we're trying to be serious. Here's a few choice quotes from our first fight call. These were said by the fight leader in all seriousness. I've just taken them out of context and twisted them around in my dark and dirty little mind.
- You'll just have to play with yourselves for a while.
- Everyone take turns going down.
- You hang on. I'm trying to get off here.
Monday, September 11, 2006
This year's theme is a vampire nightclub. I'm excited about the costumes. It will be fun to do some straight fantasy costumes instead of all ren garb I've been doing. I've got a few good ideas I'm firming up right now. Expect a lot of PVC and a heavy HR Giger influence.
The show is geared toward adults, but is appropriate for older kids. If I had to put a rating on it, I'd say probably PG-13 for violence. We did have some wee little ones go through last year with their parents and we have a few youngsters as part of the cast.
The show will run 3 nights the weekend before Halloween, on October 27, 28, and 29 (Fri, Sat, and Sun) at Memorial Auditorium in downtown Burlington. It should be a blast.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
- booby prize - A mock award given in good humor for a poor showing
- convolvulaceous - A botanical term for a member of the morning-glory family
- fagaceous - Of or about a large tree family or shrubs with basic leaves, flowers and nuts
- saucebox - A saucy or impudent person.
- saltpeter - sodium nitrate
- cockchafer - A scarabaeoid beetle
- snatch block - A nautical term for a block that can be opened on one side to receive the looped part of a rope.
- touchhole - The opening on a cannon where the powder was lit
- succumb - To yield or give way.
- muffineer - A covered dish for keeping muffins hot
- fiddlestick -Literally, a fiddle bow; slangly, an absurd thing
- crotchety - Whimsical, eccentric, grumpy
- screwjack - A hoisting jack operated with a screw
- titivate - To add decorate touches or dress up
- kumquat - The smallest of the citrus fruits
- shuttlecock - The cone-shaped thing used in badminton. Also called a birdie
- declivitous - Sloping down; slightly steep
- joystick - The stick-like control of an airplane or video game
- blowhard - A braggart
- double-tongue - A musical term referring to rapid movement of the tongue as used when playing a staccato passage on the flute or cornet.
- probang - A long, slender, flexible rod having a tuft or sponge at the end, used to remove foreign bodies from or apply medication to the larynx or esophagus
- uvula - A small, conical, fleshy mass of tissue suspended from the center of the soft palate (the hangy-down thing at the back of your throat)
And everyone's favorite...
- bunghole - The hole in a cask, keg, or barrel through which liquid is poured in or drained out
First, let me say that's it's been over a year since I've taken any kind of vacation. The 5 days I took off to recover from oral surgery don't count, and I was paged to take care of a problem one of those days. On the 25th, some of my vacation days are going to poof, as I can only carry 6 weeks. It doesn't look like I'm going to have a chance to use them.
I should have been well rested after a nice 3 day weekend. No, I had to write a presentation on anesthesia service and support for the 6 Japanese visitors we had coming. Looking at the itinerary, I realized I had to give not one, but two presentations. These were scheduled for 1 hour each. I am not a good public speaker. Granted, one of the presentations was to be a collaborative effort between myself and one of the senior engineers. Both presentations were to be given Wednesday afternoon. I wanted to finish them over the weekend, so I could have my boss take a look at them on Tuesday (Monday was a holiday) and I would have time to make changes to the presentation.
No information about the visitors was provided, and I had to make some assumptions as to who my audience was. The first assumption I made was to assume our visitors could speak English. I had to, since I don't speak a word of Japanese. The next was a bit challenging. These are technical talks. I didn't want to insult these people by coming in with too basic information if they've had 30 years of experience. Likewise, I didn't want to start talking over their heads if they were hospital administrators and not real technical. I assumed a base of technical knowledge and went for the safe middle ground, assuming I could give more detail if necessary or skip slides if they knew a lot.
These were bad assumptions. On Tuesday morning I found out that the group couldn't speak English, and everything would need to be done through an interpreter. Eek. I guess I should have put more pictures in my powerpoint presentation. I also learned that I needed to drive these people around campus for a week and make sure they got to their scheduled destinations. Nevermind all the other work that's building up on my desk.
Tuesday afternoon was fun for another reason. I got a call that one of my hospitals was having problems with it's anesthesia gas monitor, again. This was left on my voicemail. Since I was carting the Japanese visitors around, I didn't get the message until about 3 pm. Why they didn't call the main desk or my pager is beyond me. Great now I've got to drive 2 hours to northern New Hampshire. While packing my tools, I discovered the best part. The calibration gas, essential for fixing a gas monitor, was in the anesthesia van that I share with another tech. He was in Rutland. So now I've got to drive 2 hours in the wrong direction to pick up the cal gas. Not impressed. To top it off, on the ride down I had to deal with traffic from the VT State fair, an accident on route 7, and all 19 of Rutland's traffic lights (21 in the other direction. I know this because I stopped at each and every one of them). The other tech, being the funny guy that he is, decided to play one of his jokes and proceeded to tell me that he looked for the cal gas in the van but couldn't find it. I managed to resist the temptation to lodge the car keys in a very uncomfortable place in his anatomy. I got the gas and went on my merry way.
Arriving in Littleton sometime after 8, no one form the operating room was around. I found someone to let me in the room and put on my very attractive paper suit (The locker with the scrubs in it was locked, so I just put on one of the paper bunny suits). After an hour of testing the machine, I couldn't find an error.It was working grat and just wouldn't fail. Great. I know the hospital won't be happy when I tell them that. Oh well. I arrived home sometime around 11:30. A bit wound up from the drive, I read for a while before finally falling asleep. As you can imagine, I was not well rested for my presentation the next day. As a side note, the hospital used the same monitor without incident for the rest of the week.
Giving the presentation to the Japanese visitors was interesting. We got through about half of what I wanted to cover for infusion pumps, in the first presentation. This is mainly due to the fact that we spent about 2 hours talking, instead of the scheduled 1 hour. I only got through about a quarter of what I wanted to cover for my presentation on anesthesia. If I knew we were only going to get that far, I would have written a 15 minute presentation.
All in all, the visitors had a good time. I do hope we gave them a good impression of American healthcare. Apparently this is the only place in the US they're visiting. I think it would have made more sense for them to visit a larger healthcare provider. Playing the role of tour guide wasn't bad either, I just wish I would have known beforehand. I'm just glad I managed not to lose anybody.
Friday, August 25, 2006
Apparantly, some rascally teens in Brattleboro have started walking around in the buff this summer. And the bset part of it is that public nudity in the town is only illegal if it's done to arouse sexual gratification.
All the nudity has set up a first ammendment rights fight between the town and the naked teens.
When the weather grew hot this year, a couple of dozen teens took to holding hula hoop contests, riding bikes and parading past the shops wearing only their birthday suits.The whole problem with first ammendment controversies is that a person's right to self expression must be balanced with another's right to not participate in that expression. For example, adults have the right to rent a pornographic movie, but these movies are situated in a location where someone looking for the latest Disney flick isn't going to run across it. It's also the same reason groups like the KKK are protected under law to stage a rally, so long as they do so non-violently. Likewise, certain forms of expression have been outlawed because of the harm to others. You cannot yell 'Fire!' in a crowded theater. Protesters at an abortion clinic cannot physically bar entrance to the clinic.
Nobody, including the police, seemed to take offense until one local, Theresa Toney, went before the town government in August to complain about a group of youngsters naked in a parking lot.
"The parking lot is not a strip club," she said. "What about children seeing this?"
Town officials asked their attorney to draft an ordinance to ban such displays for the Select Board to vote on in September. When the teens heard about it, some staged a nude sit-in.
Given the teens' comments, they don't understand this.
"I don't see why it's such a big deal," said Alec McPherson, a recent high school graduate as he sat at a coffee shop table, browsing a thick volume of artwork from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Everyone's naked in this book."Personally, I don't have a problem with nudity. I know what the human body looks like. I'm also under the impression that everybody looks silly completely naked. No matter how attractive that person may be, there's going to be dangly bits hanging out, things flopping, a little jiggling, and possibly some hairy bits. I find it amusing. The teens are obviously going for the shock value. That's fine.
His companion, Jeremiah Compton, a high school junior who plays in a local metal-and-punk band, agreed. "It's just that we're bored and expressing our right," he said.
"We have a nuclear power plant a few miles away and a ridiculous war in the Middle East, countries getting bombed," said Ian Bigelow, a 23-year-old who had gathered with some of his friends outside a bookstore. "So why's it such a big problem if we chose to get nude?"
What's troubling is that someone who didn't want to see naked people was forced to view them. The argument 'she doesn't have to look' doesn't hold in this case. If the teens are walking around all over town, then the woman has no idea where they will be so she can avoid them. In the pornography example I used, you still have the right to rent the porno, but that does not mean that everyone has to go beyond the little curtain at the video store. How this will pan out in the town ordinance could be amusing. They could have a designated nude district or a special naked day.
I question my liberalism when I begin to think about cases like this. The teens are just having a little rebellious fun, not really harming anybody. Am I the old stodgy who tells them they're wrong? The problem I have is the carelessness with which the first ammendment gets thrown around. When you wield your rights, you must take responsibility to not harm others in the process.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
If you've never seen the show, it is a very funny and witty satire of the superhero genre. The Tick centers around a hero called, what else, The Tick. Clad in his blue tick suit, he's humongus, excedingly strong, and has a teensy little brain. With his only superpower of nigh-invulnerability, is sets out to save The City with his trusty sidekick, Arthur, a former accounant. The City is teeming with heros and villians alike. We meet heroes Die Fledermaus, American Maid, Sewer Urchin, The Human Bullet, and a host of others. There are also some recurring villians like Chairface Chippendale, The Breadmaster, and El Seed along with a host of single episode villians.
I've missed the show since it was cancelled in 1997 and have always hoped for a DVD release. I have all 36 episodes of VHS, taped off of comedy central when they re-aired the show briefly. The quality was never very good, and the tapes are beginning to show their age. It's gotten to the point where I'm a little scared to actually watch the darn things, knowing that they're wearing out and ther's no way to replace them. I was very bummed when the crappy live action version made it to DVD (bought by Sony), but not the much better animated series.
The rights to the animated series were purchased by Disney when they acquired the rights to the Fox Kids shows (I'm also hoping for an Eek the Cat DVD release). Unfortaunately, the DVD release will only contain 12 of the 13 episodes from season 1. It's missing episode 11, 'The Tick vs The Molemen'. There is some kind of problem with the rights to the episode. Disney is hoping to release the episode on future DVDs, possibly as a lost episode special feature. No word yet as to the release of seasons 2 and 3. What would be really spectacular would be to include the episodes that were completed for season 4 and were never aired due to the cancellation of the show. Rumors, rumors everywhere, and no official word. I'll wait and see.
You'll know where to find me the evening of August 29. I'll be sitting on my couch with a big bowl of popcorn watching The Tick on the insanely large television my brother purchased last Christmas. Come join me. It will be fun.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Overcoming Liberalism - A 12 Step Program
Step 1: Admitting that you're a liberal
This is the first step for every liberal on the way to recovery. It is important to understand that you're not "progressive," "moderate," or "enlightened." You're a liberal, and you need to be honest with yourself about that fact.
Fair enough. I'm a liberal. But now you must stop referring to yourself as 'saved', 'compassionate', 'neoconservative', or 'libertarian'.
Step 2: Pledge to support your beliefs with facts
Realize that truth is more important than moral superiority and is the only way to come over to reality. You must research beyond propaganda from the Sierra Club, Hillary Clinton, and CNN (the Communist News Network) to understand things as they really exist in the world. You can no longer argue based on "feelings" or emotion. You will actually need to back up your arguments with real information. This is a difficult step, because it means you can't be lazy any more.
You must do the same to have any kind of legitimate discussion. Likewise, you must research beyond the propaganda of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, the Washington Times, and Fox News (Faux News). Also, please stop screaming about the liberal media. Most mainstream newspapers and television programs have a more conservative bend.
Step 3: Love America
This may be the most difficult step for those of you who are hippies and peaceniks. Admitting that the country you hate actually stands as a beacon to defend freedom throughout the world can make some of you physically ill. You might want to make a visit to a military cemetery to better understand that these men and women gave their lives so that you could spew hatred. Otherwise, you would currently be living in a police state that would never let you wear that nasty patchouli oil, let alone speak out against your government.
We do love America. That's why we scream so loudly when we see what has become of her. You should also meditate on the great sacrifices our fallen soldiers have given for us.
Step 4: Take a college level economics class
I've always defined a Socialist as someone who's never taken an economics class. Most Socialists I've spoken with would have a hard time balancing their checkbooks, let alone explaining the simple concept of supply-and-demand. It's time to flush your complete ignorance of basic economics down the toilet and understand how the world actually functions. This concept will be very important for the next steps that involve communism, facts about corporations, and the inefficiencies of government.
Likewise some good biology, sociology, and ethics classes might shed some light on many of the problems our nation is faced with.
Step 5: Say "no" to Communism and Socialism
While this concept is obvious to most of the free world, it is an important step in your recovery process. If you have difficulty with this step, spend a week living and working in Cuba.
Spend some time at homeless shelters, youth centers, community health clinics, and other various community outreach projects designed to help people at the bottom of the economic ladder. While communism may not be a great strategy for whole governments, it is a wonderful concept and works great at a community level. Also, try to get over your phobia of the word 'socialism'.
Step 6: Corporations are not evil
If you're reading this article online or in an e-mail, it's thanks to corporations. If you get some kind of paycheck, you can thank corporations. If you work for a non-profit or the government, you still have to thank corporations. The non-profit sector and the government wouldn't have any money to pay you without corporations. It is also important that you understand that making a profit doesn't equate to "greed" or exploitation. Capitalism has created the greatest society in our world's history. Even communist countries need corporations to survive, so enjoy a nice, hot cup of reality.
Likewise, organizations such as labor unions, the Sierra Club, National Organization of Women, Planned Parenthood, Amnesty International, and the ACLU are also not the downfall of America. A lot of good comes from 'liberal organizations'.
Step 7: The government is inefficient
If you are one of those liberals who believe the government should tax us more in order to take care of society, you need to pay special attention to this step. You need to realize that government bureaucracy will waste most of your tax dollars, while the private sector will put your money to much better use. Even most Democrat politicians understand this to some degree, which is why Hillary's socialist health care proposal was voted down by a majority of both Democrats and Republicans. Go to your local post office or call the IRS to ask a tax question if you need a reminder about government inefficiency.
The US remains the only industrialized nation without national healthcare. The Canadian healthcare plan may have its problems, but handles most routine care and procedures quite well. You must stop and think that there is a problem somewhere when it is less expensive to reimport American pharmaceuticals, as opposed to just buying them here to begin with. Since you've taken a college level economics class, you understand that the problem with privatizing healthcare is that it is highly inelasatic. People will pay any amount when their lives are on the line. When someone is suffering from a heart attack, he is not going to haggle over the price of care.
Step 8: The earth is not your "mother," and she's not dying
The time has now come to stop your donations to Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and every other EnviroNazi organization to which you belong. Face the reality that the earth, society, and our environment are better off today than ever in recorded history and that they are continuing to improve. I realize that many of you tree huggers will have a very difficult time letting go of the Douglas Fir on this one. I would suggest reading The Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjorn Lomborg. Mr. Lomborg is a former member of Greenpeace and is currently a statistics professor at a university in Denmark. He set out to prove the world was in bad shape and ended up surprising himself by proving the exact opposite.
We absolutely cannot give up on protecting the enviroment. Given the problems of smog, water pollution, destruction of large portions of rain forests, destructions of wet lands, and global warming (it's very hard to argue that global warming does not exist) I would say we have a very real enviromental crisis on our hands.
Step 9: Stop smoking the wacky tobaccy
Okay, some of you might need to enter another 12-step program to complete this step. Marijuana is distorting your sense of reality, and you need to stop using it. Besides, you'll save a fortune on snacks.
OK Rush, but only if you stop popping the pain killers. Snark asisde, most liberals are not dancing with Mary Jane, and not with the frequency that you would expect. In fact, the only way to form a well thought, coersive argument is to do so while sober.
Step 10: Eat a hamburger
If God didn't intend for us to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them out of meat. You can put your sprouts and tofu on the hamburger, but get some meat into you. You'll look and feel better than you ever imagined. You can always remind yourself that Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian to get you through this step.
OK, but you should eat your vegetables. They're good for you and it will make your mom happy.
Step 11: Stop re-writing political history
It's now time to admit that Bill Clinton is a lying-cheating-sexist racist rapist jackass, Hillary Clinton is one of the worst role models for women in this country, Al Gore really did lose the 2000 election by every vote tabulation you attempt, Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War and didn't create the homeless problem, John McCain is not a typical Republican, and Jimmy Carter is a nice man but has one of the worst presidential records of anyone in history.
Ronald Reagan is not the saint you have cannonized him to be, and George W. Bush has been a disaster throughout his presidency, from his failure to find a 6 foot tall Arab on dialysis, to his handling of Katrina, to lies about his intent with Iraq, to his anti-science policies, to his groping the German chancellor at an international summit. Here's a hint - Don't vote for someone because you can see yourself sitting down and having a beer with him. I don't want my president to be someone I can have a drink with, I want my president to be someone who is knowledgable, can direct policy, and lead America in a positive direction.
Step 12: Be a missionary
Once you have completed the previous steps to overcoming liberalism, it's time for you to share this awakening with others who are not as fortunate. Go out amongst the liberal sheep and spread the good word of your freedom from the chains of ignorance that once bound you. Congratulations, and welcome to reality.
Same to you.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Back in 1997, a roommate of mine decided that he wanted to have a cat too. I swore up and down that I would not be responsible for taking care of his cat. When we parted ways, the cat stayed with me. That was nine years ago.
Chupa and I have been through a lot together. She's outlasted several boyfriends (one of which actually asked me to choose between him and the cat), been through a miriad of roommates, multiple moves, and a couple of name changes. During breakups and dark times she was always there with a purr to make me feel better. We had been through thick and thin together.
Over the last couple of months, Chupa had been loosing a lot of weight. My normally chubby kitty became deathly thin, to the point where you could see her ribs. After several trips to the vet and multiple blood tests, the only thing that was found was that her blood sugar was a little high, possibly indicating diabetes. So I switched to a special prescription cat food for treating diabetes. The idea was to try her on the special diet for a month and see if she improves.
A few days ago, Chupa lost interest in food completely. She wouldn't eat, no matter how hard I tried. I even tried giving her people food (baked chicken) to try to entice her. Nothing. She had a hard time walking around and when I would pet her, her purr sounded sickly. She stopped sleeping with me and instead hid under the bed. Last night she hardly moved at all. She was listless and unresponsive and her body felt cold.
I took her to the vet again first thing this morning. It turns out her liver had shut down and she developed acid lipidosis, possibly as a result of the diabetes. The prognosis was very bad. There was a treatment option available. It involved aggresive IV therapy and feeding tubes, and even then the chance for survival was still low. At this point I had to make a decision. While deep inside I was still hoping for a miracle cure, I decided it would be best for Chupa to just end the suffering. Signing the euthanization forms was one of the hardest things I have ever done. The veterinarian did her best to reassure me that I had made the right decision. I'm glad Chupa is no longer in pain and that I was able to hold her and say good bye.
1997 - April 27, 2006
Friday, April 21, 2006
1. When is the last time you were broke?
Um...I don't think I've ever been not broke. A couple of weeks ago when I had to have a bunch of work done on my crappy car was pretty rough. I literally had no money for about a week until I got paid again. Stupid crappy Korean made automobiles. But I digress...
2. What makes you lose focus?
Taking off my glasses. Or shiney objects, I swear I'm part magpie.
3. How tall are you?
Somewhere around 5'5". It depends on the shoes I'm wearing.
4. Are you brave or cowardly?
I like to think I'm brave when I need to be, but most of the time I probably lean toward the chicken shit side.
5. What's in your pocket?
Probably some lint. Oh, and chapstick. Everything I need to carry goes into the great bag of holding.
Which brings me to a little poll I want to take. When you order your creemee (or softserve, as some insist on calling it), do you get 'sprinkles' or 'jimmies'?
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Right now it's sunny, but deceptively chilly. But it did rain yesterday.
2. When is the last time you felt appreciated?
3. What is the last bad news you heard?
My friend's grandfather passed away
4. What is your favorite sad song?
Oooh. I was just having this conversation with a friend of mine. Check out his blog to see the list we came up with. My favorite depressing song? Hands down, it's Down in a Hole by Alice in Chains.
5. Tell us about something you're obsessed with:
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Friday, March 10, 2006
- What is the most embarrassing time you were caught singing along with a song?
- What is the funniest blackmail photo of yourself?
- What is your most embarrassing injury?
- What movie in your collection are you most ashamed of owning (or your friends make fun of you mercilessly for)?
- Ever have a wardrobe malfunction?
And here's my answers for the curious.
1. What is the most embarrassing time you were caught singing along with a song?
I've been caught in the car on numerous occassions by various random drivers sitting at the red light. One of my biggest fears is that someday someone will put a hidden microphone in the van I drive for work. I've been know to turn up the volume and do my best James Hetfield impersonation. My most emabarrassing time I got caught was the time I thought all of my roommates had left for work. Thinking no one was home I took my time getting ready for the day and cranked the stereo while I was in the shower. Apparrently one of the roommates had stayed home. I was in the shower, with the bathroom door open (to hear the music better) all soapy and headbanging to Metallica's One.
2. What is the funniest blackmail photo of yourself?
There are tons of these out there, mostly in the possession of my friend Marge. I was very happy when we were looking at her wedding photos to see that in one particular picture you couldn't see that I wasn't wearing any pants. We were getting dressed for the wedding, and some lady was taking candid photos. I had just started to get dressed when Marge needed some help with her shoes. So I went over to give her a hand, being partly dressed at the time. The photographer thought that was such a great moment and snapped a picture. The winner of the most embarrassing picture of me is actually posted on the Harlequin Specter website. It's not even supposed to be a picture of me; the foreground is a lovely portraint of someone else entirely. It was taken after hours at the VT renaissance Festival last year and I am lying on a bench in the background. There is a guy on the bench next to me, and you can clearly see his hands are on my chest.
3. What is your most embarrassing injury?
Again there are so many to choose from. Almost lobbing off my index finger in a loosing fight with a squash, and cutting myself with my own sword while goofing aound are right up there. The funniest injury involves me falling in the bathtub, in what seemed like a good idea at the time. In an attempt to overcome the shear physics of dating someone over a foot taller than I am, I climbed up on the edge of the tub and braced myself against the shower wall. Due to my own momentum and slippery shower surfaces, I ended up losing my balance and falling, pulling down the shower curtain with me. Yeah, it totaly ruined the moment.
4. What movie in your collection are you most ashamed of owning (or your friends make fun of you mercilessly for)?
I recently acquired The Muppet Show season 1 and Fraggle Rock season 1 on DVD. I stand by these choices, but others make fun of me. I also used to own a lot of bad anime. Sorceror Hunters rocked.
5. Ever have a wardrobe malfunction?
At a firend's Thanksgiving party I wore a new shirt. It looked great when I tried it on and was standing in front of the mirror. However, when I sat down, the low neckline of the shirt would open up and you could see right down it. Unfortunately, I didn't realize this until it was pointed out to me at the party.
1. What's your favorite song these days?
I know it's getting overplayed now, but I'm still digging on Nickleback's Animals
2. Do you wear glasses?
And contacts. But not at the same time.
3. Have you ever counted sheep to fall asleep?
No, there's never been enough sheep in my bedroom.
4. Reality TV: love it or hate it?
I'm indifferent. I basically watch the Simpsons and Family Guy.
5. Recommend a single on your friendslist that we should all get to know a little better:
Uh....no. Setting up your single friends with people they don't know is just plain not cool. People in relationships, resist the urge. Your single friends are not dying to find the same joy in couplehood that you have.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Friday, February 17, 2006
So today I'm feeling old. I discovered it only takes 2 drinks to get me feeling a buzz, which I suppose is good for the wallet. However, it now takes me about 3 days to recover from a late night. This sadly means that if I go out on a Saturday, I'm going to be feeling like crap until Wednesday. Yeah, I'm aging.
So I worked through all of that. I'm aging. So what? I have a lot of years left in me still. I'm smarter, more sure of myself, and put up with a lot less BS then I did a few years ago. I started getting used to the idea of hitting 30. And then I checked the mail. Nothing makes a person feel quite as old as getting one of these in the mail. Yomper, I feel your pain.
1. Do you have good hand-eye coordination?
Decent enough for swinging swords and throwing axes with a bit of accuracy.
2. Have you ever held a gun?
Yes, held and fired a hunting rifle at paper targets.
3. What do you think of toy guns?
Do I think they make people violent? No. Do I think it's bad for children to have toy guns? No, but I do believe that children need to understand the difference between fantasy and reality. Parents need to pay attention to their children enough to catch early warning signs if the lines between fantasy and reality start to become blurred.
4. When is the last time you asked for forgiveness?
Last spring I said some things to a friend that my inner monologue should have kept silent.
5. Your favorite Aerosmith song:
Dream On, also Sweet Emotion and Walk This Way, featuring Run DMC
There are, of course, other questions that the Cheney-Whittington shooting brings up.
1. How do you feel about canned hunting operations?
2. Do you believe that there was alcohol involved?
3. How do you suppose the police would have handled the situation if an average citizen shot his hunting partner?
4. Why did it take so long for Cheney to make a statement.
5. Do you think Cheney will be charged with anything if Whittington dies from his wounds?
In answer to my own questions...
1. I think it's unsportsmanlike to hunt penned game. I also think that grain fed quail are about as weary of humans as urban pigeons.
2. When the story broke earlier this week, I really didn't think alcohol was involved. If these guys had to hunt released domestic quail, then I don't think we're dealing with some experienced hunters. People get excited, accidents happen. Now, however, it's revealed that lunch may have included a beer or two. Yeah, right. Anyone who's ever been stopped by the cops tells them they've had 2 beers. This makes me think alcohol was an issue, and the 14 hour delay in talking to the police is now explained. Cheney probably needed to sober up.
3. If this was Joe Average-citizen and his buddy, there would have been a delay in talking to the police. Cheney was allowed a 14 hour grace period to sober up and get his story straight. Depending on the shooter's BAC, charges may have been brought for reckless endangerement. The hunting license would have certainly been revoked, with the possiblity of not being allowed to own firearms.
4. This is by far the biggest goof in how the situation was handled. If Cheney made a statement when the incident happeded, then the late night talk shows would have made some jokes and the whole thing would have been soon forgotten. Now it's become front page news. The reason it took so long is that he was under the impression that this could be just quietly swept inder the rug. I also don't think Cheney is all that sorry. Earlier this week he tried to blame Whittington for the accident (Whittington didn't announce his position). Sorry, the shooter is always responsible, but taking responsibility has not been one of this administrations strong points.
5. If the worst happens and Whittington dies, either directly from his wounds or complications, then I think we'll see his family speak out and attempt to bring about charges on Cheney. I do not believe that they'll be able to make the charges stick. I don't think this is enough to get him thrown out, but later Cheney may step down from his VP position, due to 'health concerns'.
Friday, February 10, 2006
- Find and stash as much free soap, toilettries, and stationary as your suitcase will hold
- Carve Celtic runes into the soap and place them in precise patterns around the room
- Take all the sheets and blankets off the beds and build little forts in the room
- Find the sewing kit. Sew a button on the light shade
- Towel oragami
- Set up a mini golf course. Use trash cans, the ice bucket, and soda bottles for holes. You can always swipe some olives from the mini bar to use as the ball
- If you're staying multiple nights, alternate the bed you sleep in. Put the pillows at the foot of the bed. This really won't kill any time, but it will mess with the housekeeper's head
- Take the ironing board to the nearest stairwell. Surf's up!
Sunday, February 05, 2006
1. Any plans to watch the Super Bowl?
No, not really. It may be on in the background at some point in time this evening.
2. Friday or Saturday: Which is a better date night?
It depends on if I have to work late on Friday, in which case I'll be in a bad mood when I get home.
3. Do you do anything special on the weekends that you don't do during the week?
Generally this is when I do really exciting things like laundry and cleaning the bathroom.
4. Where do you get your news from?
CNN.com; NPR, since I spend a lot of time behind the wheel; occassionally the Burlington Free Press, usually read while doing laundry, see above; various sites out there in blogland
5. Kevin, Norm, Colin, Jimmy, Tina or Amy?
I didn't get the reference. I tend to agree with Yomper, who makes the point that this is probably a Saturday Nighlt Live reference based on the title 'Weekend Update'.
Lois: Oh, what about this, Meg? A pink baby-tee that says "Little Slut." That seems pretty hip.
Meg: I don't know if that's really me, Mom.
Lois: Well, they've got one that says "Porn Star" and another that says "Sperm Dumpster." And they're all written in glitter.
Meg: All right, all right. Give me "Sperm Dumpster."
Lois: That's the spirit!
One particular shirt I saw, proudly proclaimed in multicolored glitter and rhinestones
This got me thinking. Now, I know this is supposed to be cute and clever, but is this the kind of message we as women really want to be sending? It just leaves our male counterparts open to walking around in shirts that read
Saturday, January 28, 2006
1. What is your opinion of the spork?
The spork is the unholy union between the spoon and the fork. I find the fork part to be fairly useless, leaving you with a pointy demon spoon.
2. Gnomes: good or evil?
definitely evil. All of them. Even the Travelocity Gnome. You know he's plotting something. Look into his eyes, they're nothing but pure evil.
3. What do you think of your dodgeball playing experiences?
I have a hypothesis that one's dogeball enjoyment has an inverse relationship in proportion to one's schoolage geekiness. That said, I really dreaded every time we had to line up for dodgeball in gym class. Like Yomper, we played against a brick wall in graded school. We had a small school so the boys and girls had gym together until 8th grade. The only redeeming factor was that in highschool, the genders were separated, leaving me the largest person on the dodgeball wall with 8 years of frustration to get out of my system. But I'm not a violent person, really.
4. What mythical creature or fictional character do you fear most? (or would, if it existed)
Gnomes. Nothing but pure evil. And those flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz.
5. Who would you bet on if the Teletubbbies have a Steel Cage match against the Tweenies with Barney the Dinosaur as a special guest referee?
My money's on the Teletubbies. They've got those things on top of their heads that can be used as weapons. And I don't think Barney would be able to call it a foreign weapon.
Friday, January 27, 2006
This week's Friday Fiver is kind of pointless. Everything they ask can be seen in my profile here on the blog. Let's have some more thought provoking questions, people. Below is what Friday Fiver asked.
5. How long have you been doing the fridayfiver?
Honestly, I may need to stop posting these. But then I'd have to come up with some original material. Here are some questions I think are more fun and thought provoking. Feel free to answer.
1. What is your opinion of the spork?
2. Gnomes: good or evil?
3. What do you think of your dodgeball playing experiences?
4. What mythical creature or fictional character do you fear most? (or would, if it existed)
5. Who would you bet on if the Teletubbbies have a Steel Cage match against the Tweenies with Barney the Dinosaur as a special guest referee?
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Embarassing music I once owned
House of Pain (we all loved Jump Around)
Hootie and Blowfish
Music I still own and listen to occasionally
Falco's Greatest Hits (beacuse Rock me Amadeus and Der Kommisar are so much better in the original German)
Every Metallica album (yep. All of them. Even ReLoad. And I still listen to them.)
Garth Brooks - No Fences
Romeo & Juliet Soundtrack
Blood Hound Gang (One Feirce Beer Coaster and Hooray for Boobies)
Eminem - Eminem Show
8 Mile Soundtrack
a hole bunch of Ultravox (and I listen to that a lot too)
Butt Boy - now here's a cd with a story behind it. Actually, if you can get past the name, it's actually some good newage/trance music. Good for background music. Although it' s a little embarrassing explaining to people why you own something called Butt Boy.
Friday, January 13, 2006
I checked out their website. It's a fun place to go for those of us of less than stellar height (yes, this includes me and my stubby little legs). I searched high and low and nowhere on the website did I find a list of ingredients (necessary packaging for anything being consume within the body). I can only assume that the ingredients are listed on the bottle itself. The only clue to the ingredients was found in this statement
Our proprietary, trademark patent-pending formula is a mixture of herbal, oriental and western supplements that gives you the required balance of vitamins, minerals and amino acids that helps promote height and boost the immune system.
Now I tend to be a little on the cynical side when looking at these types of natural enhancers, be they weight loss, 'male enhacement', or height. At best these pills do nothing and at worst cause serious health problems (anyone remember ephedrine?) The FDA can do nothing to get these pills off the market, or at least force manufacturers to prove their effectiveness, because the pills are marketed as dietary supplements, rather than medications.
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1. Are you timely or always late?
It depends on the time of day. I am not a morning person. I make every effort to be on time in the morning, but I just can't seem to get out of my own way. I'm usually fashionably late.
2. Do you wear a watch?
I used to, but I broke it and have yet to replace it. Now it's hard to tell my left from my right.
3. What is the most important event you have been late for?
4. What kind of system you have for keeping track of your bills?
Most of them are automatically debited from my checking account. Other than that, everything is due either on the 15th or the 30th when I get paid. And what does that have to do with being late? Is this going to be reported on my credit report?
5. What is your favorite time of day?
Aound 4:30 when I get out of work.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
And now, the Friday Fiver...
1. Have you broken any New Year's resolutions yet?
Well, no, since I didn't make any to begin with. I resolved to never make another silly New Year's resolution I have no intention on keeping.
2. Broken any bones?
I am terribly accident prone.
3. When is the last time someone else broke your heart?
I'm not answering this question. I can picture a lot of little under 25's crying about how wronged they've been in love. To them I say this - shut up, put on some good angry music, and get over it. We've all had bad relationships. This is why Nine Inch Nails and other angst ridden music is so popular. Suffice to say, Chupa and I have never been happier.
4. What is the most expensive item you've ever broken?
As a biomed tech, I've fried my fair share of medical equipment. I'm not sure of the actaul cash value, but I know it's not cheap.
5. What phrase are your tired of hearing over and over again?
Fair and balance news. That's just a load of poop. And my other personal favorite - 9/11 changed everything. Yeah, it did. It gave a corrupt administration a free pass to do whatever the hell they wanted and if anyone disagrees with them, they're either traitors, letting the terrorists win, weak on national security, or demoralizing our troops.