Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Meme

I know, I know. Not terribly original, but here it is. I haven't written in a few days and something silly usually gives me a jump-start. Here's to a Happy New Year, everyone!

1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before?
- Had a movie premiere at a real theater for Stone Soup
- Saw Space Shuttle launch
- Taped my own piece of video and helped edit it
- Traveled by train
- Participated in the Minnesota AIDS Walk
- Saw my son in a high school musical
- Went through the Pompeii exhibit at the Science Museum
- Started playing golf

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I usually don't make resolutions. I just continue trying as best I can to improve myself in some way.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Someone who used to be close, yes. A friend of the family from my younger years.

5. What countries did you visit?
In Florida I was close to Cuba. I don't suppose that counts, though.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
- Greater peace of mind
- Breathing room
- Time for taking care of the home front

7. What date from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I'm bad with exact dates, but there are two: the Pray for Daylight premiere and the Space Shuttle launch.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting a job with a good company and a good boss.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not spending enough time improving the house.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Little stuff. Nothing major.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My iMac. Best computer purchase yet.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
- My husband: for reconciliations with family and perseverence at work.
- My son: for focus on his goals, development of his skills, and achievement in an entirely new arena.
- My daughter: for her determination to improve her grades and give her beautiful hair to Locks of Love.
- My mother: for having the courage to accept her limits and begin to live her life more fully.
- A friend: who's been through hell and back, taken the responsibility for his actions, and his putting his life back together.

13. Whose behavior appalled and depressed you?
- Former friends
- Our government and leaders
- The TSA
- A majority of the American public

14. Where did most of your money go?
Technology and travel.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
- My job
- The movie premiere
- The Space Shuttle launch
- Visiting my in-laws (no joke!)
- Seeing Sir Ian McKellan
- Seeing Spamalot
- Seeing my son in his FIRST high school show
- Finding old friends online

16. What songs will always remind you of 2007?
That's a tough one. I really don't know that until I'm past 2007 and hear a song that ends up reminding me of it.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. Happier or sadder?
Happier. Definitely. More content.

ii. Thinner or fatter?
About the same.

iii. Richer or poorer?
In cash or in things that are really important? Friends, love, security, family... richer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
- Working on the house
- Spending time outside
- Being with my family

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
- Being on the computer (work and play)
- Worrying (job search)
- Being angry over things I had no control over

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Quietly with my husband and kids... playing Rock Band, playing board games, watching movies.

22. Did you fall in love in 2007?
365 times... with my husband.

23. How many one-night stands?

24. What was your favorite TV program?
I think Doctor Who topped the list.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Interesting question. There are definitely those that I dislike, am disappointed in, or am baffled by reasoning, behavior, or choices.

26. What was the best book you read?
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
There was none this year, unless you count rediscovering old favorites.

28. What did you want and get?
- More travel
- Seeing family

28. What did you want and not get?
- Travel to Europe
- Our passports
- A better job for Avindair

30. What was your favourite film of this year?
On the fun side, Hot Fuzz.
On the serious side, Sicko.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
On my actual birthday day, had a nice dinner with my husband and kids. I turned 41.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Having the freedom to be in charge of my own schedule -- when to work, when to play.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?

34. What kept you sane?
My husband and kids, my dog, getting outdoors.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Whom did I "fancy"? I don't think I'd go that far. There are those whose work I enjoy or I think are attractive, but "fancy"? Not so much.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Health care

37. Whom did you miss?
- Family
- Penmaster and Raven
- Uncle Dale

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Not a clue.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007:
Say goodbye to people and situations that are a destructive influence. Life's too short.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
"Always look on the bright side of life."

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

King Arthur vs Amazon

In March of this year, I posted a review of a touring production of Camelot starring Michael York. My comments weren't exactly favorable.

Oh, who am I kidding? If I could have, I would have stood outside the theater a la "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" screaming, "Run away! Run away!"

Back to my point. After the show... that very night as I returned from the Ordway... from Amazon I ordered a DVD copy of the 1982 Broadway version starring Richard Harris as it had been broadcast on HBO.

That was in March 2008, folks.

Over the past nine months, Amazon has notified me no less than three times that release of the DVD had been pushed back again and again. The last time, about two weeks ago, the availability date was set at February 2008. I was aggravated, but what other choice did I have?

Last week I was on Amazon doing a bit of last minute Christmas shopping. Amazon's a great place for reasonable prices on DVDs (and I'm trying to avoid shopping at Best Buy). When what to my wondering eyes should appear but... Camelot... IN STOCK.


I quickly checked my pending orders. Camelot... the very same one... was still listed in my pending orders with an availability/ship date of February 2008.


I cancelled my original order from March 2007. Placed a brand-spanking new order for the very same DVD. And it shipped the same day. New orders being fulfilled before orders that were several months old. Perhaps it was a glitch in the system, but it sure honked me off.

Good news is that we'll FINALLY be able to show the kids a production of Camelot, with a GOOD Arthur. Nine months late, but better late than never. I know what WE'RE doing Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Leavin' on that Midnight Train

I have an alert set up at Travelocity. Whenever flight prices drop to a few key cities, including my home town, I get an email. I was just informed that the price dropped from $330 to $290. I'm not sure if that's a bargain or highway robbery.

One thing's for certain... it's not a train robbery.

(EDITORIAL NOTE: Worst. Segueway. Ever.)

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter, Sporty Girl, and I went on our first ever, long distance train ride. Even with a few mechanical breakdowns and delays which brought us to our destination seven hours late, it was well worth it.

The trains from St Paul to/from Grand Forks run at odd times for most people. We had to depart from St Paul near 11pm and depart from Grand Forks at almost 1am. A little inconvenient, yes, but not a show stopper, by any means.

Why Tracks are Better than Airways

1. Cost - The round trip coach price for one adult and one child was a whopping $141. Compare that to Northwest Airlines coach for the same period - $660 (not counting taxes and airport fees, so closer to $700).

2. Space - We've all dealt with coach seating in the run-of-the-mill jumbo passenger aircraft. It's like traveling in a sardine can with all the accompanying charm. Coach seats on Amtrak were extraordinarily roomy and comfortable by comparison. If I stretched my legs out straight I barely touched the seat in front of me... and I have long legs. And no, you didn't get crowded when the seats reclined.

3. Comfort - Speaking of reclining. You could lay your seat back, lift a leg rest, lift a foot rest, put the complimentary pillow behind your head and be totally comfy. Our last airline trip charged you $1 to use their pillow.

4. Movement - Unless the train was about to come to a stop at the station, you could move about freely from seat to seat, level to level, car to car. No seatbelts. No assigned seats. No stowing your bags above or under your seat.

5. Security - I felt quite safe traveling alone with my daughter and not ONCE were my bags searched, xrayed or swabbed. We didn't have to walk through metal detectors and take off our shoes. I didn't have to get patted down and treated like a criminal. I showed my ID, showed our tickets, and took a seat. Both coming and going, I stood in line for perhaps a total of 15 minutes.

6. Luggage - Don't want to wait at tortuous luggage-go-round? Take the train! Luggage allowances were more than generous for the two of us (2 suitcases and one carry on per person). A checked luggage option is available for long distances or heavy packers.

7. Peace of Mind - Even though, as I said, we encountered some lengthy mechanical problems (7 hours-worth of delay), I was happy as a clam. Really. Unless you're in a big hurry, where's the bad? You're on the ground, not in the air. You're in roomy seating, not crammed into an assigned seat with no elbow room between Chatty Kathy and Mr. Halitosis. At the very worst, they send another train for you.

8. Relaxing vs Rushing - I used to love to fly before the 9/11 "security" bullshit began. Traveling by air went from fun and exciting to hours of paranoia inducing stress. Have trouble in the security line? Get delayed at the ticket counter? Miss your flight? You're screwed, Buster. Miss your train? Take the next one. Then open a book or kick back and take a nap when you get on board.

9. Food - Not every train has a dining car, but ours did. The food was great and worth the price... equivalent to a meal at a chain restaurant... like Perkins. It also had a lounge car where you could buy food and eat there or carry back to your seat.

10. Employees / Riders - Friendly. To a one. I was able to easily strike up lovely conversations with other riders. Employees were courteous and helpful. It was a real pleasure.

I've never come home from traveling so relaxed and refreshed. Nothing like the frazzled airline travel we've experience of late.

A few negative points to consider. To ride the train, you have to have time. They don't run as frequently as planes, and it takes much longer to reach your destination. A trip may take you days instead of hours. Pets, with the exception of animals that assist the disabled, are forbidden to ride. Also, short runs are cheap, but very long runs, especially if you get a sleeper car, can be as pricey as plane flights or more (but your meals are included - not extra). But if you need to stay on the cheap, coach seats are just fine to snooze in.

All in all, whenever I have the option, the train is the way to go! I can hardly wait to climb on board again!

D & D & Me

It's no secret by now that today is a government day at work. After the "Video Project from Hell", I needed to kick back. No. I really don't have the time for it, but my mind needed to grab a magazine and go take a long mental crap. I'll tell you about the "Video Project from Hell" later. I promise.

I Am A: Neutral Good Human Ranger (6th Level)

Ability Scores:


Alignment:Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment because because it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Race:Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Class:Rangers are skilled stalkers and hunters who make their home in the woods. Their martial skill is nearly the equal of the fighter, but they lack the latter's dedication to the craft of fighting. Instead, the ranger focuses his skills and training on a specific enemy a type of creature he bears a vengeful grudge against and hunts above all others. Rangers often accept the role of protector, aiding those who live in or travel through the woods. His skills allow him to move quietly and stick to the shadows, especially in natural settings, and he also has special knowledge of certain types of creatures. Finally, an experienced ranger has such a tie to nature that he can actually draw on natural power to cast divine spells, much as a druid does, and like a druid he is often accompanied by animal companions. A ranger's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus(e-mail)

I Otter Know Better

Your Score: The Otter

Here's your results! Your spirit animal has a Nobility ranking of 11 out of 18.

Your spirit animal is the otter. Playful, curious and fun animals, they are truly the start of what can be considered a noble creature. Otters are good at figuring things out, and make great friends. You are lucky to have one as a spirit animal. Otters are fairly rare as spirit animals.

Link: The What is Your Spirit Animal Test written by FindingEros on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Smart Drivers DO Exist!

I found proof on the road today that smart drivers exist when I spotted this bumper sticker:

On the other end of the bumper was another gem that I still can't find an image of. In parody of the "got milk?" adds it read "got photons?"

Awesome. And the driver even used his turn signal! Wow!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Does Anyone Fall for This Stuff?

I got a very special email this morning. I wanted to share it with everyone!

From: Fletcher Lawrence
Subject: special depth that true

to learn how those

Good afternoon. Doing good? Email me at only. By the way, I am a girl. Hope you will like my pictures.
has a from their "I truly believe district if you want.

This one didn't get caught by the spam filter. The "From" email address (I removed the user name since it looked real) is real -- FYI North Idaho, a tourist guide website.

So, really. Tell me. Are there actually people out there who fall for this stuff?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I Don't Drink Alone... Much



For the record, I'm not an alcoholic, just a trivia buff. Little pieces of knowledge get wedged in my brain to pull out for moments such as these.

Some Material May Not Be Suitable For Children


I picked this link up from CubeZoo.

I got a PG rating based on the presence of the following words:
shit (2x) and drugs (1x)

I know that the drug reference was about PRESCRIPTION drugs, so obviously, it doesn't take context into consideration.

A PG rating doesn't have much clout. Guess I'm going to have to start throwing around the effinheimer or something and bring it up to R.

**Quick Note**
If you grab this cool little thing, it contains an extra link to some online dating service for Washington D.C. Yeah, I removed it. Not looking for a date in Washington, thanks.