Saturday, December 29, 2007

On the road again...

It's my last full day of visiting my family. That's always hard. Mostly I don't miss people when they're gone, but when I'm with them I miss them like crazy.

All our plans fell through this week. I couldn't visit my friend in rehab because only family can visit. I'm practically family. We grew up together, but there's this little thing of not having the same relatives. I can write her though as long as I send the letters to her mum to delivery when she visits.

We couldn't go geocaching because Holly and Bethany have conflicting work schedules - but we did manage to go to the movies together. We're still hoping to get some stuff in though, Daniel and I have a soccer game to play, at which he is going to beat me brutally because I haven't played soccer in an eternity and even then I wasn't good at it. And we hope to have a bonfire tonight so Bethy can burn the manuscripts of all the most tragic books she's had to review.

Like the city in Alaska? No.

Ellen Page is adorable. Frequently an adorable star is my primary motivation for watching a movie. Some people just make you believe that anything they're in is worth watching.

I've also read good reviews. People talking about the deep part of Juno, some good message we're supposed to get. I don't think that deeply about movies most of the time and I didn't see it. I tried to find the reviews so I could show you all what it is I was supposed to see...but I couldn't find them.

It's an odd movie. I'd like to say it's true to life, but it isn't. It's not a fairy tale movie, it's more out of place than that.

I enjoyed it. It's funny, terribly awkward, and maybe a little painful - but not as painful as the movie producers meant it to be.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Last minute Christmas

As a general thing I'm a fan of stores being closed on Christmas Eve. It seems like if people knew they would be closed they would just plan ahead and get what they need before hand. And then all those poor little clerks and sales associates could be home with their families, basking in the warm glow of the television.

But they're open and, as it so happens, I was one of the many pressing hard against the 6 pm closing time.

Well, Bethy wanted to watch It's A Wonderful Life - it's not exactly a Christmas tradition in our house as Bethy and I are the only ones who really love the movie. Holly and Daniel outright hate it and my mother can't get through a viewing without commenting on the stupidity of "Every time a bell rings an angel gets it's wings".

Usually the Christmas classic comes on tv at some point during the season, but not this year, so we set off for Wal-Mart where a Christmas DVD display rack should have held the answer to our dilemma. Then we hit up Target. Then Blockbuster. Once burgeoning with holiday delight these stores now only held a picked over selection of such titles as Caillou's Holiday Movie or Deck The Halls . The only conclusion being that now every family in the tri-state area owns a copy of It's A Wonderful Life - well, all except one.

We were able to obtain a copy - it was the last one in Blockbuster. Collectors edition, two disk set. "The black & white and the color version," cooed the Blockbuster clerk, as if this made it better that I was paying $24.95 for something that I normally watch on tv. Well, it seemed silly not to buy it after we'd been to all those stores!

Oh, you thought one family didn't own a copy? Well, they don't. A customer came in a half hour later wanting the buy the film and tragically they were unable to purchase's even more tragic because at the same time as their holiday spirit was being gently crushed...we realized that the reason It's A Wonderful Life hadn't come on tv yet...was because the networks also thought Christmas Eve was a great time to watch it.

So, the collectors edition, complete with commentary, original trailer, and a superfluous color copy (because who's going to watch It's A Wonderful Life in color?) will be wending it's way back to Blockbuster. Too late, of course, for the random Blockbust customer. Her Christmas was probably ruined.

Monday, December 24, 2007

On the first day of Christmas...

My sister's boyfriend is insane. She just showed us the multitude of presents he gave her for Christmas.

Every season of Lois & Clark: The New Adventure's of Superman, Nancy Drew: The Deadly Secret of Old World Park for Nintendo DS, a Nintendo Wii game, a bonsi tree, anti-virus software, a telescoping fishing pole, a GPS, a messenger bag decorated like a Nintendo controler, and inside the bag - a Gateway laptop.

Sitting in the midst of her bounty she said, "There's a lot here, maybe you should take some of it back." He told her no, because he wanted to buy her everything she wanted for Christmas.

It's not very considerate when you think about it - what are the rest of us supposed to buy her if he's buying her everything she wants?

Fortunately every gift he gives her is from Best Buy (he works there and gets a killer discount) so if we just avoid those things, we're doing alright. It also doesn't hurt though that we all get to have fun with the gifts too, we'll have a Lois & Clark marathon and we're so going geocaching this week. Even so...the word excessive comes to mind.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Festivus for the rest of us.

Happy Festivus everyone!

I'm basking in the joy of knowing that tommorow will not see me at work.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Socializing is awkward anywhere...even Facebook

Ok, so I finally got facebook - I strongly feel that I need to justify this in some way, but I've found facebook kind of useful. In a couple of days I was able to get in touch with people that I haven't had any contact with in ten years.

But it's kind of weird too. So you send a friend request and the other person recognizes your name and accepts the request. then one of you might send a note or it might just be another notch in your friends list, proving your value through the number of people who are willing to publicly admit that they know you.

And then you can, at a glance, find out things like that they're engaged or have joined a cult. You can also see what groups they've associated themselves with and which games they play, but that doesn't really make it any easier to know what to say to them.

Conversations that start out, "So, you're sacrificing cats in the dead of night's that going for you?" probably aren't going anywhere fast.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Loose change, full child.

Don't ask me how I have time to read about these things. I'm not even slacking off at work. It's probably magic. But since I do have time to read (and write!) I thought I'd let you know about the charity of the day, Feed Just One.
Feed just one was founded by 26 year old Dallas Harris, almost a year ago. I found out about it through Relevant magazine's website (yes, Relevant magazine is my only source of news).

For those of you who aren't going to click the link and read Seinna Morrow's article, I'll sum up (sort of).
Dallas wanted to use his American wealth for good. Research brought him to Feed My Starving Children, an organization that donates nutritious meals of rice, soy, vitamins and dehydrated vegetables to other organizations in impoverished areas around the world. The meals are free, but the other organizations have to cover the shipping costs, which can reach $10,000 a shipment.
So Dallas formed Feed Just One, building off a Mother Teresa quote: “If you can't feed a hundred people, feed just one.” The quote pretty much says it all. You can donate as much or as little as you want. Sending one meal costs 4 cents. You can feed one kid for a month off $1.20 and $15.35 will feed a child for a year.

And, because we all know that walking billboards are clever advertising, Dallas also sells t-shirts and (in theory) stickers and most of the money from these products goes to feeding kids too (a $15 shirt feeds a kid for three months).

The other day my sister and I were gracefully gliding across the ice and a nursing home commercial came on bragging luxerious extras, like three meals a day. We laughed and Holly promised to make sure my kids didn't put me in a cheap nursing home with only two meals a day.
In many impoverished areas the lucky kids get 3 meals a week.
You might remember the clever anti-smoking commercials that counted to eight and then informed us that every eight seconds big tobacco loses another customer because they die.
Unfortunately the statistics for children starving to death only involves counting to five.
I realize there are a lot of charities out there that you could be giving to. I just think this one's worth looking into. Both Feed Just One and Feed My Starving Children make sure that the majority of the money given to them goes to the people they're helping. Work is done through volunteers to keep costs down.
Plus, remember how easy this is. $1.20 feeds one child for one month. Everyone has a an extra $1.20. They accept checks, money orders, and credit cards (through paypal).

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New kid in town

My roommate's new dog.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Stressed to the tenth power

Nothing, nothing, nothing stresses me out as much as money. Impending doom by automic bomb? Oh well, at least I don't have money problems.

I'm bad with money. I'm bad about paying my bills. I'm bad about depositing my paychecks. It's almost a physical impossibility for me to balance my checkbook.

So currently I'm freaking out because a scary sounding guy from a collections agency called me and told me I owe copious amounts of cash on an account I thought I payed in full and closed in October.

The company tells me I didn't pay the bill (I know I sent the check because I remember freaking out how low my funds were becoming as I put it in the mail). So now I have to check and see if the check cleared. More accurately I have to go to the bank and see if in that month a check to that company for that ammount cleared, because recently I've been really bad about writing down who I wrote which check to, when and for which amount.

Don't tell my Dad, he'll have a coronary. Being able to pay my bills is the thing he's most proud of me for. It used to be remembering to check the air on my tires, but after the little fiasco this Thanksgiving I think he's just glad I haven't died yet.

I've mostly calmed down since I first got the call this morning. I have money to pay it. I just want to make sure I'm not double paying.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My sister and I have had a great time. We've watched a lot of movies and tv. Even movies and tv are better with my sister.

Yesterday we went to pizza hut for lunch. Holly and Bethany are about the only people in the world who agree with me on pizza toppings. "Only you could have so many friends who don't like pepperoni pizza," Holly told me.

Then we went ice-skating at a park. I think it only makes sense that if I am with my, very young looking, sisters that I should look older in comparison. But I don't.
When we tried to pay the $5, over-18, non-resident price the grumpy man at the counter glared at us, "How old are you?" I inform him that I'm 24 and he narrows his eyes and says, "Both of you?" Holly rolls her eyes, "I'm 22." He glares at us again, "24 & 22?" Because obviously we must be 16 year olds pretending to be 18 so we can deviously pay two extra dollars.

The ice-rink as a multitude of rules. No cell phones on the ice. No food or drink. If you need a ride call 20 minutes before the rink closes. No speed skating. No figure skating. Etc.

There were three 18-20 year old guys wearing "rink gaurd" jackets who apparently enforce these rules. Evidently there are no rules against small children sliding across the rink on their bellies.

When we got home we made soft chocolate ganache and heated it up. The world's most decidant hot chocolate. Then we broke out the Tim Tams. Tim Tams are Australian cookies, coated on the outside with chocolate or carmel filling on the inside. They're commonly had with coffee or hot chocolate. You bite off both ends, dip it in your beverage, and use it as a straw till the insides cave in. Then you pop the whole thing in your mouth. With chocolate ganache it's so delicious that you practically die on the spot.

Today we woke up to mountains of snow outside our door. We took a hike to the main roads to see how clear they were. Then I (with a little help from Holly) locked my keys in my car. While it was running.

We spent an hour and 40 minutes trying to break in with a coat hanger. And then we called a locksmith, who opened it in a minute and a half.

After that we spent an hour digging out Holly's car so she could drive home. I spent the next two digging out mine.

I tend to not miss people until they're around. It's only at that point that I realize how sad it is that I don't see them more often. It was really nice to have Holly around.

Friday, December 14, 2007

It's like this...

We all know that people come with varying levels of intellegence. But the one thing that makes all people stupider is being a consumer. The person could be a rocket scientist, but put her in a store and all of a sudden her reading comprehension drops below the average level for kindergarteners.

"Yes Ma'am, I know the sign was big and shiny, but you can cleary see that it says, 'Caution: Wet Floor', not '50% Off Sale'."

"Well that's just ridiculous!"

The only thing that makes people dumber than being a consumer is being an advertiser.
Advertisers believe that the entire world revolves around them and their product. Therefore it is not uncommon for a phone call to go like this:

"Hello, this is Happy Haystack Advertising."
"I got a call about a shoe ad."
"And, how can we help you?"
"I got a call about a shoe ad."
"I'm not quite understanding what you need."
"Well, I got a call about a shoe ad."
"What's your name ma'am?"
"Peg. I got a call about a shoe ad."

What Peg meant to say was, "Hi, my name is Peg Smith. I run an advertisements for shoes with you and I recently recieved a message asking me if I would like to continue that ad. I just wanted to let you know that I would like to continue, but with these changes..."

It's a frequent mistake of advertisers to believe that if they repeat the same incomplete information over and over it will get better results. I can only assume that they believe this because it works on consumers.

Also common,

"Hello this is Happy Haystack Advertising"
"Is Bob there?"
"Can I please tell him your name?"
"Jim. It's personal."

Our caller means to say, "Hello, I'm Jim Calloway, I need to speak to Bob about the book I'm advertising." Jim might also be interested to know that I sit approximately three feet from Bob's desk, so there really isn't anything "personal" about what he'll be telling Bob.

Another favorite is the advertiser who doesn't know anything about his own company. If you come in on the end of the conversation you'll hear something like this,

"Ok, Mr. Gaunt, so we'll run a full page ad saying, "New Year's Sale! 40% off all instock panchos."
"Yes, and I'd like pictures of of the panchos below that."
"Can you e-mail those to me?"
"Oh, I don't have them."
"Could you ask someone who does have them to e-mail them to me?"
"I don't know who would have them. We ran an ad with Big City News a few months ago, you could call them. I talked to a girl with a "D" name. I don't have their phone number, but it's in the phone book."
"Ok, I'll try to get the pictures from them. Do you want a proof?"
"Yeah, that'd be great, can you fax it to me and then to two people at corporate?"
"Sure, what are the numbers?"
"Oh, I don't know. They're in a pile somewhere. Why don't you call me back around five..."

I can't even tell you how many things are wrong with this. But it will help you to know that Mr. Gaunt did not advertise with Big City News, but Substandard Rag where he spoke with a man by the name of George. The people at Big City News know this and are very sympathetic, having worked with Mr. Gaunt before. When he is called back for the fax numbers he still doesn't know where they are, but he does have five pages more worth of text to ad to his full page ad and he will make ten revisions before it is done.

What Mr. Gaunt should have said was, "Hello, my name is Mr. Gaunt, I should be in an assisted living faucility for the mentally incoherant, but I'm having one last shot at the working world instead. I'd like to waste your time."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley...

Robin and I got to decorate our Christmas tree, have a near death experience, and a real live car chase...all in one night! How lucky are we?

Pictures of the Christmas tree will be up sometime soon, but I don't know how soon since I anticipate being busy until 7:30 pm this Sunday. But our tree is spectacular and I know you're all waiting with baited breath, so I'll try not to keep you in suspense for too long.

Back the the near death experience, we'd gone to buy some more ornaments for our tree and at that point had not met with much success. We had hope; however, and as we happily crossed the parking lot we realized we were about be rundown by a crosstown trolley!

The trolley driver seems to have a rather singular view about getting people where they need to go. It is this and nothing else that occupies his mind. I know I didn't ask him, but it must be so. How else can you explain that upon seeing two pedestrians in his path he not only didn't break, but actually accellerated at an alarming rate?

His thoughts were practically audible, "More pedestrians walking about? How can I deliver my passangers on time when people insist on walking places? Well, they're right there, I'll just squish them flat and there'll be two less to worry me."

Robin and I lept from harms way in the nick of time into a bank of snow. The toe of my left sneaker got very wet. We then ran directly to her car and sped off in hot pursuit. We would have our revenge.

The trolley driver knew he was in trouble and he tried lose us in traffic. But ultimately his passion for conveying people in a timely manner would be his undoing. As he idled in front of Target we caught up with him. We had just enough time to record his trolley number and liscence plate. Nothing could stop us now. We had everything we needed his superiors and lodge a formal complaint about his driving.

Tales from Amishland

  • Cheapness is a disease that afflicts men in greater numbers than women. We run into it from time to time at the office, when people sell a $30,000 piece of equipment and then call for a $3 refund because it sold before the ad ran out. I don't know how common this illness is among the Amish, but it is an Amish man who wins the "most creative" catagory.

    This particular man spread his address around to every mailing list he could find. At one point in time he had so much junk mail coming to his house that the postal service had to send out a seperate truck to deliver it all! Naturally this aroused some curiosity, which is how it was discovered that this man was tightly bundling the mail together and burning it to heat his house!

  • Driving home involves dodging Amish people in buggies, on horses, tractors, or on foot. But yesterday my coworker had to dodge an Amish man on a bike....pulling a horse. Various theories have been offered as to why - but it's not really possible to explain the Amish.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Is it weird that the necessity of carefully sliding across the parking lot makes me want to go ice-skating? I only went ice-skating once last year - with the youth group - and it was on one of the coldest days of year - and it was amazing. Outdoor ice-skating may be the one and only redeeming quality of winter.

Edit: I asked Holly if ice-skating would or would not be the single most brillant thing we could do when she visits and she answered in the affirmative - so that's incredibly happy.

Oh, it's Monday

I do appreciate not hearing "Hey There Delilah" every eight minutes, but there really aren't enough good Christmas songs to merit an all Christmas music station. Especially when they feel the need to jazz up the good songs. I want Have Your Self A Merry Little Christmas to be sung by Judy Garland. Could Bing Crosby pretty please be the only one to sing White Christmas? That would be great. If the Christmas Shoes song could never-ever be played again that would make my year.

I got a call from my sister, Holly, the other night. She was supposed to come up yesterday, but it's been postponed in favor of having a Saturday available to spend together.

Mostly Holly and I are vastly different. We look nothing alike causing great confusion to people who think we're merely friends who argue and hang out all the time. Holly is loud, impulsive, and extroverted. People love or hate her. Usually love. We usually solve problems differently, even when our end goal is the same. But we tend to have the same thought process. In youth group they banned us from being on the same Taboo team together, because we could guess the answer off hints like, "You know" and "That thing!" In highschool our family got a DSL connection allowing us to chat online at the same time. One of our online friends told us there wasn't a point because we said the exact same thing - often within seconds of each other.

It's been a long time since I've gotten to hang out with her apart from the rest of the family, so it's going to be awesome that she'll be here for several days.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I spent all week making fudge for the kids and other leaders in youth group...and youth group was canceled tonight due to inclement weather :p

Friday, December 7, 2007

My Day In Pictures

Ok - not really, but these are the pictures I took today.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Sci-Fi Nation

A disturbing new robot is out from Toyota. With Japan's population growing really old and reproducing very little robots are apparently the best solution.

Granted, these white, alien looking machines are not nearly as disturbing as Zeno the 17" boybot, which was inspired by Supertoys Last All Summer Long, by Brian Aldiss which also inspired Spielberg's A.I. - yes, that's right, David Hanson read a depressing book and said, "How can I make that kind of emotional trauma a reality?" It's inspiring, really.

Evidently Toyota made a trumpet playing robot 3 years ago. Toyota marked this move as trying to keep up with Honda's Asimo, which has been hired out as an office servant and keynote speaker, but could they possibly be starting a robot orchestra?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Oh Fudge!

So I'm trying to make fudge for the youth group kids and leaders. Problem is that most of it didn't turn out very gift worthy.

It tastes good, but it doesn't look very pretty.

I'm gunna try again tommorow.


Good news! I found a sweater. I'm pretty psyched.

Today is the most boring day of the week. We've just put out a publication - so it's kinda mindless prep for the next one. Plus it's a Tuesday, most people hate Monday's...I hate Tuesdays.

I'm trying to find gifts for my family. I wanted to buy Holly an ecosphere, but evidently a 4" ecosphere costs $53-$70. I'd like to buy it anyway...but realistically that isn't a good plan.

My siblings what such boring things too...books, dvds - not interesting. Not that I mind getting those things from people, but they're so boring to buy. Oh well, maybe I can entertain myself with creative wrapping.

Monday, December 3, 2007


A friend of mine is teaching English over in the Chech Republic. Her one thing that she misses is Orbit chew gum, so I am sending her a box of it. Theoretically this should be a one or two day project...but I think it's been several months since I told her I would send it to her.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

It's raining, it's pouring...

I've rethought my position on MySpace. While my MySpace page still says that I hate it, I'm actually excited. You can find like anyone on there. The other night I just kept putting in people's names and finding all sorts of old friends and acquantences.

Most exciting was finding the page of one of my best friends in highschool. I have her e-mail address and cell number, but we're both busy and never talk. But with a click of the button I invited her to be my friend and now I have access to all the pictures she posts of her adorable little girl and it's easy enough to drop a little message (why this is easier than e-mail I don't know, there's just something about it that compells people to leave a comment!).

I've been kind of lonely lately. I realize it is entirely my own fault, still it made me feel better to get a message from Tracie.

So three cheers for MySpace!

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