Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Movie Overload

My gods, there are a LOT of movies out that actually look good this holiday season. There are usually one or two, maybe three, but this year there are at least EIGHT movies coming out that I really want to see. I'm gonna have to do some serious prioritizing as to what I want to see in the theater, and what'll be relegated to Netflix, or it'll cost me a fortune. The movies that I want to see include:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Aeon Flux
King Kong
Goodnight and Good Luck
Memoirs of a Geisha
(which is apparently quite the controversy in Japan)

Update: Oops, make that nine, almost forgot Pride and Prejudice.
Only a few days late, the things I was thankful for this past Thanksgiving:

My new job (which I love, hi M. and J.!)
All the new friends I've made this year
Old friends
My family
The good memories I will always have of the loved ones I lost this year.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

This year for Thanksgiving I was supposed to go up north to see my family. Mother Nature had other ideas; while the weather in this area wasn't supposed to be too bad, my parents' place was predicted to get dumped on (which is what happened). Wednesday afternoon Shawn invited me to have Thanksgiving at her place, in leiu of risking my life driving through a blizzard for turkey and pie. I happily accepted the offer, and decided to drive up to see my family on Friday, when the weather was supposed to be better.

This was the first Thanksgiving I didn't spend with my family, but I had loads of fun. We watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and O' Brother, Where Art Thou (sadly, Chuck wasn't there, so no tentacle porn) and played Apples to Apples (which I suck at). And since Shawn was cooking, it goes without saying that there was a TON of great food! Appetizers included shrimp, vegetable gyoza, cheese, crackers, grapes, candied ginger and orange peel. For dinner there was white bean and arugula soup, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, candied sweet potatoes, peas, corn, biscuits, cranberry sauce, and green bean casserole. (And she dropped the lima beans with bacon, or there would have been that too.) For dessert, homemade pumpkin pie (courtesy of Trish, I believe), homemade whipped cream, candied oranges, pumpkin bread, banana bread (courtesy of Beagle), ginger cookies, and chocolate ganache balls (made from Scharffen Berger chocolate). All in all, a fun Thanksgiving with great friends and amazing food! And I still got to go up north Friday for leftovers with my family (there were plenty, my mom got a 17 lb. turkey).

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Quote for the Day:
"Let us rise up and be thankful,
for if we didn’t learn a lot today,
at least we learned a little,
and if we didn’t learn a little,
at least we didn’t get sick,
and if we got sick,
at least we didn’t die;
so, let us be thankful."--The Buddha

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

To the members of the fitness center who've been whining about not being able to watch the TVs because the satellite went out...it's fixed. STOP YOUR BLOODY WHINING!!! Seriously, is this a fitness center or a day-care center? 'Cuz I've met toddlers who whine less than you people! And to the members who walked in the door, saw the TVs were off, and walked right back out again, your dedication to health and fitness is truly awe-inspiring. Really. Olympic athletes should have your level of commitment and motivation.
Today's New York Times has not one, but TWO editorials about responsible farming practices. One, about the limits and weaknesses of organic standards, and why it's important to look for products that actually exceed organic standards (which you're most likely to find at farmer's markets). The other, on why mid-size farms would be the perfect compromise between small farmers and corporate behemouths in supplying the country's schools, supermarkets, hospitals, etc., if only we can change the way farm subsidies work. (Nutshell: these businesses are too big to shop at farmer's markets, but their reliance on the corporate mega-farms is destructive to both the environment, and Americans' eating habits.) Registration is required to read the articles, but it's quick and free, and the articles are definitely worth a read.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Quote for the Day: "It's sort of like nesting before the baby comes. Only my baby isn't so much a beautiful bundle with flailing arms and legs, it's more of a slap in the face complete with endless platters of food, drunk guests and the occasional kitchen accident."--The Food Whore
And this year's Darwin Award for the Survival of the Luckiest Idiot goes to...

...the Mile High Smoker!
A French woman has admitted attempting to open an aeroplane door mid-flight so that she could smoke a cigarette.

Sandrine Helene Sellies, 34, who has a fear of flying, had drunk alcohol and taken sleeping tablets ahead of the flight from Hong Kong to Brisbane.

She was seen on the Cathay Pacific plane walking towards a door with an unlit cigarette and a lighter.

She then began tampering with the emergency exit until she was stopped by a flight attendant.

Defence lawyer Helen Shilton said her client had no memory of what had happened on the flight on Saturday, and that she had a history of sleepwalking.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Quote for the Day: "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction."--Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, physicist (1623 - 1662)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I'm going to have to reverse what I said the other day about broomball being totally worth the pain. My shoulder is so jacked up it hurts to turn the steering wheel when I drive, hurts to do anything that involves lifting my arm above shoulder height. This isn't simple muscle soreness, it's something more. Along with the pain is a lot of popping and snapping that wasn't there before. I'm hoping it'll get better with rest, serious shoulder problems can be a real bitch to resolve. And, my knee is still really sore too, I'm hoping it'll be better by Friday when I'm supposed to go dancing with friends for the first time in 5 months. Wish me luck.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Beware of Bunny

Via ThinkGeek.com, now you can have your own Killer Rabbit, as seen in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Run Away! Run Away!
Today I had to go to a professional retreat that was put on by my company. One of our company's locations has ice rinks, and this was where the retreat was held, so we got to start the day off by playing broom ball (similar to hockey) on one of the rinks as sort of an, um, icebreaker. The game got fairly competitive (it's a corporate fitness company, so we're all pretty athletic), and I had great fun even though I fell a LOT and am in a bit of pain at the moment. When I was a kid I could play on ice for hours, falling 20 or 30 times and feel fine. Today I played broom ball for 30 or 40 minutes, fell 6 or 7 times and now feel like I've aged another 20 years; my shoulder is jacked up from my first fall, my knees and elbows are bruised, and I ache all over. Maybe it's karmic retribution for accidentally hitting one of the other participants in the mouth w/ my broomball stick. (I am, apparently, a brute. And since this was a work thing I'll be hearing about this for at least the next year. At least she was cool about it, but I still feel horrible.) It was totally worth it though, if you ever have a chance to play broom ball I highly recommend it.

Watching: Surface
Listening to: Godsmack
Excited about: My heat is fixed!!! (It went out late yesterday evening.)
Looking forward to: Going dancing on Friday

Friday, November 11, 2005

I am Numenorean!!!


To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
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My "What the...???" Moment of the Day: Setting: Target, in the checkout line...(Italics indicate my thoughts.)

Clerk: Hi, how are you today?
Me: I'm doing pretty well thanks, how are you?
Clerk: That dog has been on my mind all day, I don't know what the deal is.
Me: ???
Clerk: I just don't know what I'm gonna do.
Me: ?!?!?! *nodding as if I know what the *bleep* she's talking about.*
Clerk: A trip to the veterinarian and Christmas time don't exactly mix, ya know?
Me: ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Clerk: I might take him to the Humane Society and see if I can get it financed.
Me: Uh, huh. What the hell is she talking about?!?! I've never met her in my life, WHY IS SHE TALKING TO ME AS IF I'M FAMILIAR WITH THE SITUATION?!?!?!
Clerk: Well, thanks. Have a nice day.
Me: Thanks, you too! Ya FREAK!!!
Okay, where the f**k is my personal training client??? She was supposed to be here 16 minutes ago. She called last night to try to reschedule her appt to Monday, which I can't do because I have a staff retreat to go to, so she decided to keep the appt, but asked if she could change it from 8:30 to 9. I said it would be fine. I can't help but wonder if she forgot we changed the time. At least she paid ahead so if she doesn't show, I still get paid.

Update: She finally showed up, just as I finished posting. Didn't give a reason for being late though. She's a nice person, but damn. Be on time! I could've slept later.
(For my friend the Baklava Queen, a.k.a. The Minister of Silly Walks...)

John Cleese is honored by scientists, who name a new species after him.
Known for his work in highlighting their plight, comedian John Cleese has now had a new species of lemur named after him.

The avahi cleesei was discovered in western Madagascar in 1990 by a team of scientists from Zurich University.
The team of scientists, led by anthropologist Urs Thalmann and his colleague Thomas Geissman, named the lemur in tribute to Cleese's promotion of the plight of the animal in the film Fierce Creatures and in a documentary Operation Lemur With John Cleese.

Mr Thalmann told the New Scientist magazine that long legs are not the only attribute lemurs share with Cleese.

"Woolly lemurs can't really walk - but they do enjoy silly jumps," he said.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Quote for the Day: "At a time when people are so conscious of maintaining their physical health by controlling their diets, exercising and so forth, it makes sense to try to cultivate the corresponding positive mental attitudes too."--His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Quote for the Day: "Friendship make prosperity more shining and lessens adversity by dividing and sharing it."--Cicero

Mood: Nervous
Watching: Batman Begins, Black Adder the Third
Next in the Netflix Queue: The "L" Word, Red Dwarf series 4, Vampire Hunter D

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Quote for the Day: "Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, November 06, 2005

You are the Abuse Clerk. You dish out verbal abuse all day long...as long as the customer keeps paying. AAH, what satisfying work!
You are the Abuse Clerk! You dish out verbal (and
some physical!) abuse all day long...as long as
the customer keeps payin'! Aaah...such
satisfying work!

What Monty Python Sketch Character are you?
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Saturday, November 05, 2005

It's funny how, after suffering the loss of a loved one, the smallest things can set off the water works. Today I was in Bed Bath and Beyond, buying a set of (badly needed) new pots and pans, and spotted the premiere issue of Rachel Ray's Every Day magazine. Being a Rachel Ray fan, I picked it up. There is a column in the magazine titled "Recipe for Boo". Boo was her dog, who died last year at age 13. Apparently she used to cook for Boo, recipes that both dog and owner would find healthy and tasty, and decided to include them in the magazine. I finished reading the column and immediately burst into tears.

As I mentioned a few posts back, my own family dog Bo died a week and a half ago, at age 16. Bo lived with my parents, and while I knew in my head he was gone, it hadn't yet become truly real to me, much like my grandfather's death didn't feel real until the funeral. (In contrast to my cat Pocket's death, which was immediately, heart-wrenchingly real b/c I was there for the entire, agonizing ordeal.)

While I did feel sad about Bo, because I wasn't there when he died, and hadn't seen him in a few weeks, I didn't expect it to REALLY hit me until I went back to my parents' and he wasn't there. Rachel's column about her dog suddenly made it feel real. Upon reading the last line, "So, whether you are dining with a four-legged guest or not, have a bite for my girl Boo," the floodgates opened. My dog, my friend, a beloved member of my family who's been a part of my life since my freshman year in high school, is gone. Really, truly gone. And yet another piece of my heart has broken.
The New York Times had a great editorial yesterday on the efforts of the U.S.D.A. to weaken organic standards. (Bold, mine.)
Organic food has become a very big business, with a 20 percent annual growth rate in sales in recent years. But popularity has come at a price. Ever since 2002, when the Department of Agriculture began its program of national organic certification, there has been a steady lobbying effort to weaken standards in a way that makes it easier for the giant food companies, which often use synthetic substances in processing, to enter the organic market.
In part, this is a battle over a label. The big producers, which often use synthetic materials in processing, want to call their processed foods organic because that designation commands premium prices. They do not want to say their products are made with organic ingredients - a lesser designation that allows more synthetics. This is also a cultural battle, a struggle between the people who have long kept the organic faith - despite the historic neglect of the U.S.D.A. - and industry giants that see a rapidly expanding and highly profitable niche that can be pried open even further with lobbying.

"Organic" is not merely a label, a variable seal of approval at the end of the processing chain. It means a way of raising crops and livestock that is better for the soil, the animals, the farmers and the consumers themselves - a radical change, in other words, from conventional agriculture. Unless consumers can be certain that those standards are strictly upheld, "organic" will become meaningless.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Quote for the Day: "To you, Baldrick, the Renaissance was just something that happened to other people, wasn't it?"--Edmund Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson), Black Adder
To a certain member of the corporate fitness center where I work: No, you cannot be Member of the Quarter AGAIN! You've been MotQ twice already; in fact the last time we had a MotQ (which granted, was over a year ago, before I worked here), YOU WERE IT!!! Let someone else have a turn, would ya! I don't care if you were the very first member of the fitness center when it first opened 13 (or whatever) years ago. It was only slightly interesting the first time you told me, but quickly became annoying the last 15 times you mentioned it. And really, it means nothing at all, other than that you managed to get there before a few other people, many of whom worked a much later shift than you. Seriously, do you think the guys working midnights were going to come in in the morning to join?

I don't care if you want to be a role model to others and "let the light shine through..." you. (Pardon me while I PUKE!) You are NOT God's gift to fitness, or the fitness center. There are plenty of other members who are just as dedicated, who come in every day, sometimes more than once per day, who don't brag about it, don't act superior because of it, and most certainly do not LOBBY FOR RECOGNITION!!! It's not my job to stroke your (vastly over-inflated) ego. Get over yourself.

P.S. The other day you were mentioning how your wife is very lucky to have you, and "people tell her that, too." *eye roll* On the contrary, YOU are the one who is lucky to find someone willing to put up with your unmitigated hubris.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Quote for the Day: "Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws."--Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
This week has been pretty slow, a welcome respite after a month of 4-6 personal training appointments/week on top of my normal 40-hour shift at the corporate fitness center. I actually had time to take my car for an oil change yesterday, and get new tires.

Ah, new tires. Wonderful, smooth-riding, non-leaking new tires (at a great price, I might add). Three of my old tires had slow leaks, one losing between 3 and 5 pounds of pressure in only two days, requiring me to fill them up that often. Talk about a pain in the ass! I'd been putting off getting them fixed for way too long, and had a feeling they might need to be replaced. When I took the car in, I also asked if they could balance the tires, since I'd been feeling a vibration lately. Turns out, they were chopped, so that wouldn't help. I needed new tires, and an alignment. Luckily Kelly tires were on sale; I got four new tires and an alignment for less than $300. I hadn't realized just how bad that vibration had gotten (guess I got used to it) until I got the new tires. Now my car drives as smoothly as my friend L.'s new Saturn Vue, it's like a brand new car! And I appear to be getting much better gas mileage as well. Bonus!

As much as I've enjoyed having this slow-week w/ only two PT appointments, I'm definitely going to miss the $$ when the paycheck comes. Hopefully business picks back up soon. At the very least I know it should pick up in January.

Watching: Queer as Folk
Listening to: Pure Moods 3
Looking forward to: I get next Tuesday off b/c it's Election day! Ah, the perks of working in an auto plant fitness center.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Quote for the Day: "If Senator Frist is upset about my following Senate procedures, then I'm sorry he's disappointed with my following Senate procedures."--Democrat Harry Reid, on Frist's reaction to Reid invoking Senate Rule 21.

Watching: The Colbert Report
Next in the Netflix Queue: Queer as Folk-Season 4, Black Adder the Third, Red Dwarf: Series 4.
The Democrats Grow a Backbone!

I know, I know, I said I wasn't going to talk about politics anymore, but this is just too big to ignore. The Dems really, truly, found their spines today; who knew they still had them? I was beginning to think they had completely devolved into invertebrates. It's almost creepy...
Democrats forced the Republican-controlled Senate into an unusual closed session on Tuesday over the Bush administration's use of intelligence to justify the Iraq war and the Senate's willingness to examine it.

The move provoked a sharp public confrontation between the two parties as the Republicans lost control of the chamber for two hours and were left to complain bitterly about what they called an unnecessary "stunt." The confrontation demonstrated an escalation of partisan tensions in the wake of last week's indictment of the White House aide I. Lewis Libby Jr. in the C.I.A. leak case.

Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, and other senior Republicans said that Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, had blindsided them by invoking a seldom-used rule and that the maneuver had seriously damaged relations in the Senate, where partisan tension was already high.

But Democrats said last week's indictment of Mr. Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, highlighted anew the need for the Senate to examine the administration's handling of intelligence. They said the unusual demand for a closed session was made out of frustration with the refusal of the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Senator Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas, to make good on his February 2004 pledge to pursue such an investigation.

"We see the lengths they've gone to," said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat, referring to the disclosure of a C.I.A. officer's identity. "And now the question is, Will this Senate meet its responsibility under the Constitution to hold this administration, as every administration should be held, accountable?"

After Mr. Reid invoked Senate Rule 21 allowing senators to request a closed session, the galleries were cleared, C-Span coverage was terminated and the chamber's doors were closed for about two hours. In the end, lawmakers agreed to name three members from each party to assess the state of the Intelligence Committee's inquiry into prewar intelligence and report back by Nov. 14.
See? Creepy. It's like they've all been replaced by pod people. Perhaps it's a post-Halloween prank...