Friday, November 30, 2007

Pimping Klingons

If you do not attend A Klingon Christmas Carol on December 8, you have NO HONOR!

ONE PERFORMANCE ONLY! Come one, come all, as my friends at Commedia Beauregard and the IKV RakeHell present this holiday classic in the original Klingon. Fun for adults, kids, Star Trek nerds, Vulcans, Andorians, and people who've never even HEARD of Star Trek.

University of Minnesota Saint Paul Student Center Theater
2017 Buford Avenuve
Saint Paul, MN 55108

Show starts at 7:30 p.m.

Silent Auction at 6:30 p.m. and even more entertainment!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Vote Smart!

I've been doing my best to avoid the political brouhaha. We're down to, what? 17,000 candidates or so?

With elections less than one year away, I've finally decided to turn my attention to the fetid muck and mire that is our Presidential election process.

I don't want to have to wade through the hip-deep bovine feces spouted from candidates, supporters, the media, and pundits alike. So I looked online for a place to find non-biased, no-nonsense information. Just the facts. So I can make up my own mind.

I found Project Vote Smart, ( It's non-partisan, takes no money from special interest groups, takes no money from corporations, PACs or any organization that supports or opposes any candidates or issues. 90% of the researchers are volunteers - receiving no pay - and the small staff receives minimal pay to cover living expenses.

They cover every candidate from local government up to President providing:
  • Voting Records
  • Biographical and Contact Information
  • Issue Positions (called the Political Courage Test - check out Pawlenty's rating here... ouch)
  • Interest Group Ratings
  • Public Statements
  • Campaign Finanaces

    This isn't all. There's so much more.

    So if you're weary, like I am, of trying to separate the political wheat from the chaff, check them out!
  • Tuesday, November 27, 2007

    AUGH! Give Me the Clam Juice!

    First, 10 points to anyone who can tell me where that quote came from.

    No, Avindair. Not you. I know you know it.

    As usual, I was in a hurry this morning. I realized that my Amy's Organic Palak Paneer frozen meal was still in my freezer when I was about 10 miles down the road to work. So, I made a quick stop at Cub to pick up another. They'd just rearranged the frozen foods and Amy's stuff was no where to be found.

    Kashi. Hmmm.

    I liked thier cereal pretty well. It's organic. Lots of good stuff for me. Lots of vitamins and fiber.

    What the hell? I purchased the box of Kashi Chicken Florentine and was on my merry way.

    What the hell, indeed.

    As it heated in the breakroom microwave, my first thought was, "My, what an interesting new smell I've discovered."

    You know how sometimes foods have a really terrible smell, but taste great? This was not one of those times.

    I was hungry. I'm busy. I seriously wondered if I could manage to eat my food while holding my nose. Instead, I decided to just embrace the pain, chow down, and vow never to buy it again.

    It is done. My stomach is full. I have the vague, unsettling taste of garlic and tree bark in my mouth. Now I need to see if there's any Clam Juice or battery acid in the breakroom vending machine to wash it down and cleanse my palate.

    Friday, November 23, 2007

    Oh, Shit. I Gotta Hunt Another Vampire?

    Ann Coulter's Beauty Secret

    There You Are

    Holiday weekends were meant for silly stuff, and my blog is no exception!

    Your Score: Buckaroo Banzai

    150 Heart, 158 Genius, 155 Cool, 131 Excitability

    Buckaroo Banzai - (Peter Weller)

    The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)

    You are Buckaroo Banzai! Hard-rockin' neurosurgeon, brilliant scientist, and all-around cool guy. Maybe you didn't have the cinematic success of some of the other guys here, but it's okay - you're a cult classic!

    "Hey, hey, hey. Don't be mean. We don't have to be mean because, remember, no matter where you go, there you are."

    Other scientific possibilities:

    Gary Wallace

    Wyatt Donnelly

    Peter Venkman

    Jordan Cochran

    Egon Spengler

    Doc Brown

    Newton Crosby

    Paul Stephens

    Ben Crandall

    Wayne Szalinkski

    Winston Zeddemore

    Ben Jabituya

    Lazlo Hollyfeld

    Ray Stantz

    Buckaroo Banzai

    Chris Knight

    Link: The Which 80s Movie Scientist Test written by xxyl on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

    Wednesday, November 21, 2007

    Giving Thanks


    According to the history books, in 1621 the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag Indians shared a harvest feast. That meal has been acknowledged by most as one of the first Thanksgivings in the colonies. However, harvest celebrations and giving thanks in autumn for the bounty of the earth was a tradition long carried out by not only Native American groups and Europeans, but many other cultures around the world.

    Giving thanks has been in vogue long before this country, or 1621, or Christianity. Who am I to mess with tradition? The fourth Thursday in the month of November is as good a day as any to give voice to things that I have been thankful for throughout the year.

    • My loving family
    • Our friends
    • A job
    • A roof over our heads
    • Clothes on our backs
    • Food in our bellies

    I started a different list before the one above. One with flowery thank you messages. One with details of my life and experiences throughout the past year.

    And then, I thought... why?

    It's not that I'm not thankful. It's not that I didn't mean every single word. And then I came to a realization. What I'm really thankful for are the basics: family, friends, work, home, clothes, and food. Everything else I have or experience, no matter how wonderful, is gravy.

    Because not everyone... not even in one of the most prosperous nations in the free world... has what I consider to be just the basics. Being able to check off all six items on that list above, I count myself a rich woman.

    As I gather with our little family at the dinner table tomorrow, and we bow our heads, I'll be giving thanks for those simple things in life. Those simple things that I couldn't imagine living without.

    Tuesday, November 20, 2007

    Spot On

    Needed something silly today. After reading the the full report, this was eerily accurate. Weird.

    Take this test!

    You approach the world with reserve because unconsciously, and perhaps consciously, you like to be in control. You keep your emotions to yourself and you may seem mysterious or enigmatic to others.

    You're often very cautious about truly expressing yourself. Even people who have known you for some time may find it hard to get close to you.

    Your psyche is very deep and rich; the more you learn about it, the more you will understand who you really are.

    Monday, November 19, 2007

    What a Monday

    This past weekend was a productive one in the Nerd Clan household. It was our daughter's 11th birthday. My parents came 'round to redecorate her room into one a little more "mature". The bubblegum pink walls were covered in a muted green. Grown-up, floor-length curtains covered the windows. All of the little girl toys went to one of three places: keepsake storage, giveaway box, or the garbage.

    Sunday was spent finishing up a few odds and ends, but it was mostly restful and quiet.

    Monday started relatively well. The brand-new 11-year-old was staying home with a cold, and Avindair was going to stay home with her.

    "We'll snuggle on the couch and watch movies," he said. "It'll be a nice father-daughter day."

    In my rush to get ready for work, Avindair offered to let me take his car. The one with the heated front seats.

    "It'll be a treat. I'll even run out and get it warmed up for you."

    Minutes later he came back in... an edge to his voice."Someone smashed our passenger side window."


    I threw on my shoes and ran out to the car. It was smashed in, all right. With a blank space on the windshield where our 2-month old portable GPS used to be. Nothing else was touched.

    Our insurance company, Geico, was fantastic. One phone call and they made an appointment for a glass company to come out today and fix it in our driveway.

    The police came to make a report. It was a little bit of a relief to find out that we weren't alone. Four home in our neighborhood got hit that they knew of so far. No one suspected until this morning. The NerdHound didn't even wake up. Of course, we're so used to the sounds of teenagers roaming the streets at all hours of the night (even though our suburb has a curfew), that I suppose we've become accustomed to a certain level of noise. At least we could take some comfort in the fact that we weren't singled out.

    What now? Tony's father-daughter sick day has turned into "fix things and make the house secure" day.

    1. An electrician is coming out today to install motion-detection lighting on the garage. We had our lights on, but according to the police, the motion-detection lights are a great deterrent for any future problems.

    2. 1-800 Got Junk is coming out to haul away our remodeling refuse so that the cars can go back in the garage.

    3. The auto glass place is coming to fix the car window.

    One good thing, we were able to provide the police with the serial number for the GPS. If the thieves try to sell it at a pawn shop, we might be able to piss on their day just a little bit, too.

    Now all we need to do is put signs around the house reading, "TRESPASSERS WILL BE SHOT". You think the neighbors will object?

    Monday, November 05, 2007

    Meme Time

    MagicMarmot meme. After the last post, I felt the need to lighten up and talk about ME! *wink*

    1. Does someone love you?
    Yes. Yes, someone does. :-)

    2. Do you know anyone named Dave?

    3. Ever kissed anyone with the name starting with a J?
    I think so. The list isn't that long. I should remember.

    4. Has anyone ever mistaken you for a family member?
    What an odd question. No... I don't think so?

    5. Have you ever tried Propel Calcium Water?
    Is this a marketing ploy in disguise? No.

    6. What color are the walls of your bedroom?
    Bland off white - but I aim to change that soon.

    7. Do you think that hair extensions look skanky?
    It depends what hair on the body the extensions are attached to.

    8. Are you named after a grandparent?

    10. Say you were given a drug test right now. Would you pass or fail?
    I'd pass. I don't abuse illegal chemicals.

    11. Are you taller than 5'6“?

    13. Ever see a dead body?

    14. Do you like the color green?
    Love it.

    16. How are you?
    I think, therefore I are.

    17. Who was the last person to send you a text message?
    Tony. Trying to figure why people send text messages. I just don't text.

    19. Last restaurant you went to?

    20. What is the weather like today?
    Cold, windy... and I just saw the first snow of the season.

    21. Last voicemail you received?
    My daughter - telling me she was going to a friend's house.

    22. What did you do yesterday?
    Cleaned house. Saw a movie with Avindair, Saveau and Temple Viper. Got to hold a corn snake (cool!).

    23. What's the first thing you would do with five million dollars?
    Deposit the check.

    24. What nationalities are you?
    Mostly Irish, Scottish and Norwegian.

    25. How many hours did you sleep last night?
    About 8. It was a good night's rest.

    26. Any upcoming concerts you want to attend?
    No. Besides, they're really pricey and I'm cheap.

    27. Who's the last person that you felt was stalking you?
    The last person I felt like stalking was... oh, wait... who I felt was stalking ME?

    28. Have you ever been on your school's track team?
    Grade school -- but I hardly think "Softball Throw" counts much.

    29. What jewelry are you wearing?
    A pair of amber and silver studs. A pair of silver / "diamond" studs. My spiral goddess pendant. My wedding rings. :-)

    31. If all of your friends were going on a road trip, would you?
    Only if all my friends were going to put rings in their noses and jump off a cliff, too.

    32. How much money do you have?
    Plenty for my needs. Not quite enough for my wants.

    33. Do you swear at your parents?
    Never. Though I do swear near them.

    34. Is your phone right beside you?
    Two of 'em. Work on one side. Cell on the other.

    35. Have you cried today?
    Not yet. Why? Should I have?

    36. Do you think that someone is thinking about you right now?
    Yes. The person reading this!

    37. Do you untie your shoes every time you take them off?
    No. Especially the slip-on ones.

    38. What is the color of your bedsheets?
    Currently - burgundy.

    39. Have you ever crawled through a window?
    Crawled and climbed. But the real question is, did I break in? ;0)

    40. Are you photogenic?
    With the right lighting, make-up, angle, and lense.

    41. What's your sign?
    Sagittarius, baby.

    42. Where do you spend most of your money?
    House payment.

    43. What was the last thing you did?
    Typed this. Duh.

    44. Do you have a tattoo?
    On my scalp. 666.

    45. Do you still watch cartoons on Saturday mornings?
    Nope. I watch my cartoons at night.

    46. Is there a secret you've never told any of your friends?
    There are secrets I haven't told most of friends... does that count?

    47. Have you ever told someone you loved them but didn't mean it?
    No. That's cruel. Mean it or don't say it.

    48. Have you ever changed your clothes while in a vehicle?

    49. What are you doing in 2008?
    Metabolizing, albeit slowly.

    50. What is your ringtone?
    The T-Mobile default.

    51. What were you doing at 2am last night?
    Snoozing. Dreaming. Drooling.

    52. What is the last movie you watched?
    30 Days of Night with Avindair, Saveau and Temple Viper.

    53. What are you doing tonight?
    Taking down the Halloween decorations before they get frozen into place for the winter.

    54. What are you doing tomorrow?
    Work. Laundry. Maybe a little World of Warcraft.

    57. Does it annoy you when someone says they'll call but never do?
    Yes it does.

    58. What did you dress up as for your first Halloween?
    Wow. That one STUMPED me. I don't have a clue! I remember Halloweens as a witch, a hobo (when it wasn't non-PC to dress that way), a mime, a paper tiger. I also distinctly remember being Sabrina (from the Bewitched TV series) with the once-poplar horrible plastic mask and poncho-style plastic overdrape. Remember those?!

    59. What is the wallpaper on your cellphone?
    Cool blue spirals.

    Friday, November 02, 2007

    Your Papers, Please?

    We all know how the criminal justice system works in this country. A crime is committed. A perpetrator is identified. Evidence is brought against them. They go to court. But in every case, the defendent is required to know and understand what they are accused of and have the chance to refute the evidence brought against them.

    Unless, of course, under the current administration, it's a matter of "National Security".

    I've been quiet about this for a week and a half, but it's time.

    Two weeks ago I traveled back and forth between Minneapolis and Dulles International (Washington, D.C.) with my husband and kids. We were taking a quick trip to visit friends and family. In a repeat performance from our trip to Orlando earlier this year, I once again got "selected" for the special security treatment on the flight out. (On the Orlando trip the entire family got the pat down treatment coming and going.)

    After a really lovely weekend in D.C. and Lynchburg, we headed back to the airport. We picked up our tickets at the counter (since I mysteriously could not print out boarding passes at home) and headed for the security line. My 10-year-old daughter stood with me, while Avindair took care of our 15-year-old son. I handed TSA Guy our boarding passes and my ID. This was the conversation we had.

    TSA Guy: (pointing at my daughter) I need her photo ID.
    Me: She's only 10. She doesn't have a photo ID.
    TSA Guy: Huh? I need her ID.
    Me: We're not flying overseas. We're only traveling domestically. She doesn't need identification for domestic travel.
    TSA Guy: (to TSA Gal next to him - pointing at Kate) Doesn't she need an ID?
    TSA Gal: Um... nah. They don't need IDs if they're 15 and under.
    TSA Guy: Oh.
    TSA Gal: Oh... wait. No... I think it's 18 and under.


    The crack security staff didn't even know how old you had to be before you needed a photo ID? These people passed their training? HUH?

    Finally, he grudgingly handed back our boarding passes and my ID and allowed us to get in line.

    Wait... I don't get the "special treatment" today? I'm going through the line like a normal person for the first time in a long time? It's my lucky day!

    Three more TSA people look at my boarding pass, walk me through the metal detector, slide my binned travel bag and shoes through the scanner, and finally allow me to be on my merry way with my family.

    We had arrived at the airport very early. The plan was to get through the infamously difficult Dulles security, eat dinner in the terminal, then sit quietly, relax and read until the flight boarded. All was going as planned until about 30 minutes before boarding.

    "Would passenger GeekGoddess (name removed to protect the innocent-until-proven-guilty) please come to the gate counter?"

    Fearing the worst, I walked up to the counter, Avindair and the kids trailing behind me. At the time, I thought the worst would be a problem at home... someone in the hospital, an accident. Maybe they couldn't reach me on my cell phone.


    Turns out security had contacted the airline. I was supposed to have had the "special treatment" and get a "special stamp" on my boarding pass before getting on the flight. Apparantly, the crack TSA staff hadn't done it and the airline wasn't going to let me on the flight without it.

    At that time I wondered, just how did they *know* I didn't have the stamp without looking at my boarding pass? How did the TSA know to call the airline? I found out today. Before every flight, no later than 15 minutes before departure, airlines have to send their passenger list to the TSA. The TSA then checks that list against the No-Fly (means you are NOT flying) and the Watch (means that you get the "special treatment") lists. Of course, they don't tell the passengers this.

    It took the airline gate staff another 15 minutes to FIND A WORKING TELEPHONE NUMBER for the TSA desk to call them back and ask what to do with me. Apparently, they never found it. Eventually, a surly Continental staff member showed up to escort me all the way back to the security checkpoint, leaving Avindair and the kids at the gate... confused and worried.

    As she led me away, slowly rambling along the long concourse, she complained about the long day she'd had and mumbling that I could catch a shuttle back.

    Me: A what???
    Her: A shuttle.
    Me: Why do I need a shuttle? Where am I going? My flight leaves in 30 minutes and my family is waiting for me.
    Her: Aw, you'll probably make it.
    Me: First, I don't know this airport. Second, where am I going?
    Her: Back to get a stamp.
    Me: A stamp from where?
    Her: Security.
    Me: You mean the main security checkpoint? All the way back by the ticket counters?
    Her: You'll make it back. It only takes 7 minutes if you use the moving sidewalks.


    So. We finally make it to security. Continental Gal start arguing with the TSA Guy #2 over my need for a "special stamp". They argue some more. TSA Guy #2 decides to get a supervisor involved. TSA Super #1 argues with TSA Guy #2 and Continental Gal. Then TSA Super #2 joins in the fray. I jump in with "FLIGHT BOARDING IN 15 MINUTES! FAMILY WAITING AT GATE!" I'm given a look by all of them that sees me as more of a noisy child than a US Citizen/paying passenger. TSA Super #1 suggests I have a seat while they make some phone calls.

    I wait for another 10 minutes.


    At last, TSA Guy #3 calls me over to once again take off my dangerous jacket, my dangerous shoes, empty my dangerous pockets, and put my dangerous carry-on in the bin. I once again walk through the metal detector (who knows what I might have picked up on the OTHER SIDE of the security barrier the first time). I get the pat down, have TSA Gal #2 swab down my belongings for bomb-making residue.

    At least TSA Guy #3 has the decency to look sheepish and say, "Sorry about this," as he stamps my boarding pass with the stamp that TSA Guy #2 said didn't exist.

    Continental Gal looks up at me from her magazine and says, "You know the way back," and turns away.

    I look up at the clock. Boarding for my flight should be starting about... NOW.

    I start to run. I'm guessing it's about 3/4 of a mile. Oh, and the moving sidewalks? Ha! More like mechanical arteries blocked by human plaque.

    I arrive at my gate as boarding is beginning. My husband is worried... and angry. My even-tempered son is fuming and furious. My daughter is scared and crying.

    After a lot of arguing, Avindair finally pried out of an attendant that I'm on the TSA's "Watch List".

    Why? Who knows? Hundreds of thousands of people are on it. The government doesn't have to tell us why. The criteria are a matter of "national security". It could be as simple as having a name similar to someone on the No-Fly list... or it could be "something else". They just won't tell you.

    When I got home, I did a little research. The facts so far:

    1. There's no way of knowing why you are on the list.
    2. The TSA admits that there are many people on the list in error.
    3. There is no method an individual can take to be removed completely from the list.
    4. If you provide the TSA with more personal information about yourself, you may be shifted to a "verified" portion of the list... but you'll still be subjected to the same scrutiny when traveling.
    5. I can no longer print boarding passes from home.
    6. I can no longer use eTicket machines at the airport.
    7. Every time I fly, I have to wait at the ticket counter to receive a boarding pass from the airline representative.

    In short:
    - I've been accused of something by our government - along with thousands of other U.S. Citizens.
    - My personal freedoms are being curtailed by a government agency without having to provide me with reason, evidence or proof.
    - It's impossible to defend myself, when I don't know what I'm defending myself against.

    Without having to site criteria, under this umbrella of "national security", who knows what reasons normal U.S. Citizens are being treated like criminals? Is it truly to keep terrorists out? Or is it to "legally" profile and track people based on religion, political affiliation, cultural activities, personal opinion...? We don't know. And if you ask... if you question... you might just end up on a list yourself... perhaps for being "Un-American".

    I'm still trying to decide what to do... how to handle this. The ramifications of being identified on this list are more than a little frightening to me. Here I am: 40-year-old woman, married 20 years, mother of two, home owner, good work record, business owner, tax payer, former government employee with security clearance, former Girl Scout leader, never had a run in with the law for more than a speeding ticket, grew up in a Cessna with a father who was a flight instructor... but I get treated like a criminal now every time I travel.

    The Watch list, by the way, is filled with people who are considered a potential threat to civil aviation.

    Does the description above sound like I'm a threat?

    Have you seen the news lately? You all might be joining me before long. Check this out:

    There are lots of other good articles/blogs about this. Just do a Google search on "government permission to fly". Funny. For something as important as this, I didn't see anything on the regular news.

    If this rule goes into effect, forget about flying off to a romantic getaway at a moment's notice.

    Your papers, please?