Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Imagine....

....Sitting in a restaurant conversing with your dinner partner about a situation in your life. Maybe it's grad school related and a fellow student or professor delivered some heavy criticism, or perhaps a co-worker spoke negatively about your upcoming presentation; hell, it could be the latest round of your sister's stinging barbs. But imagine relating all this to your companion when a total stranger approaches and begins speaking, "I know this is none of my business, but..."

Then, knowing nothing more about you or the situation except what s/he overheard, this stranger commences to reinforcing your boss/co-worker/fellow student/sister's accusations. S/he refers to your disagreement with their assessment as arrogance, insists that you are inexperienced in such matters and that you should heed their advice and adapt.

What would you do? Would you sit there stunned and say nothing? Would you smile, mutter "I'll keep that in mind" and hope the stranger quietly leaves?

Or

Would you tell them to fuck off and mind their own business?

What would you do?

Friday, January 26, 2007

A bit of follow-up...

The writing community to which I belong operates on a series of credits. You receive credits for reviewing and you cash-in credits for revealing reviews others have posted of your work. If a review doesn't mean their guidelines, you can ask for a 'credit refund'. Last night, I did just that for Mr. Buy-This-Book-And-All-Your-Problems-Will-Be-Solved, and today I was informed the site moderators thought his review was crap too.

I have no idea if he loses the credits he earned for the review or they'll even inform him they 'dinged' him. It's really not important. What is, however, is my reason for being a tattle tale. I had consulted the guy's profile and read many of the reviews he had penned for others before spending the credits to reveal his to me. I was braced for his merciless evisceration; it seemed to be his specialty. And while many of his comments were probably justified (I don't know, I hadn't read any of the pieces he reviewed), they appeared to be mostly young writers who probably found his lengthy harangues way beyond their current writing skill. Consequently, I'm certain a great many resenting spending boo-koo credits to read something they found inherently unhelpful. So imagine my dismay when greeted with "To keep the credit count down, I'll give you this link that will explain all your problems", followed by the two book links. I could've thrown a hissy immediately, but giving the man the benefit of the doubt, I clicked the first link, sending me to a myspace group - HIS post, of course - and a generic article on "How Do I Know When To Post?". I took the time to actually read the article, and not only did I not find anything relevant to my chapter (how could I when he gave me no specific references?), I didn't find the article informative in the abstract sense. So I asked for a refund. It was granted. End of story.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

So Very Wrong, So Very Funny....

http://eclectech.co.uk/pettingzoo.php

Don't watch this at work or around small children. You'll have some explaining to do...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Email Stupidity (not mine...)

Recently a customer registered at Conspicuous Chicks Corner, but when I attempted to contact them at the email address they supplied, I received this little nugget:

I apologize for this automatic reply to your email.

To control spam, I now allow incoming messages only from senders I have approved beforehand.

If you would like to be added to my list of approved senders, please fill out the short request form (see link below). Once I approve you, I will receive your original message in my inbox. You do not need to resend your message. I apologize for this one-time inconvenience.

Click the link below to fill out the request:


I refrained from posting the url for obvious reasons. This is not the first time I have encountered this, and I can't really can't recall if the other occassions were also earthlink accounts or not, but - THIS IS THE STUPIDEST FUCKING THING I'VE EVER HEARD OF.

As a customer, you're coming to my e-store to place an order. You're providing me with the means to contact you should there be a problem, question, situation, or issue. Just how the hell am I supposed to do that if you've got this DUMBASS system in place?

Sure, I could fill out the damned request form (because I have nothing better to do, right?), but odds are, you won't approve me because you won't recognize it as someone you know. Therefore, I WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CONTACT YOU.

Can you see why this might be a problem??

If you're so concerned about spam,

1. USE SPAM FILTERS. That's what the rest of us do. Most of them actually learn as they go, so the more messages you label as spam, the less will ultimately get through to you.

2. SET UP AN ALTERNATE EMAIL ACCOUNT! Use it for newsletters, mailing groups, shopping, etc. There are tons of free accounts - gmail, yahoo, hotmail, etc. FIND ONE.

3. DON'T DOWNLOAD SHITE OFF THE INTERNET UNLESS YOU KNOW WHAT THE HELL YOU'RE DOING! This is how you end up with spyware, adware and billions of pieces of spam.

4. RUN ANTI-ADWARE/SPYWARE SOFTWARE! Again, you can find these programs for FREE.



There are just some people who should not be allowed to own computers....

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Um, there it is, cough, cough....

What type of partier are you?
Your Result: Bar Social Butterfly

Not quite as bad as the 'bar slut', you like to get a bit ripped and become everyone's new best freind. You talk to everyone and anyone, keep people laughing, and with enough liquor you become the professional comedian. You get into deep-thought topics with fellow drunks, get people crying on your shoulder when they vent to you, and end up with hundreds of phone numbers of people that you simply can't recall in your cell-phone all the time.

Hardcore drunk
The Socialite
Bar Slut
The Lurker
The rock-star party animal
The designated driver
What type of partier are you?
Make Your Own Quiz

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Evolution of Dance....

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Big Vinny Says....



"Does this make my butt look big?"

The newest foster, Vinny, is a child of divorce. Six years young, he's by far the tallest greyhound I've ever seen and tops in at over 90 lbs. He's a leaner. He could smother me if he was so inclined. Thankfully he's a big baby.

If you'd like to know more about him or any other furkid up for adoption, please see Team Greyhound's website.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Wanted: Ask and Ye Shall Receive??

I'm on the hunt for Beta Readers. What the hell is that? you're wondering? A beta reader is someone who is a test audience for an in-progress, unpublished manuscript. This means that yes, I'm working on a novel, and I'm at the stage where I'm in desperate need of feedback, constructive criticism and guidance on how to proceed.

But finding Beta Readers, especially the correct Beta Readers, is not as simple as putting a Wanted Ad in the local newspaper and waiting for replies. This would be akin to locating a life partner by the same approach, something I might add, that too many folks are doing, compliments of some well-known and strongly advertised dating websites.

I don't comprehend how this works because almost no matter what guideline I concoct, I can think of someone I know, of whom I've very fond, who violates that particular rule. While we all have our standards, I think it's much like the Supreme Court's definition of "obscenity" - I know it when I see it.

So what if I did try my hand at writing a Want Ad for Beta Readers? What would look like?

Wanted: Beta Readers for in-progress commercial mainstream fiction novel. Must possess the ability to offer constructive criticism and not just blow smoke up my ass. Intimate knowledge of Cameron Crowe's "Almost Famous" a must; affinity for Kevin Smith a plus. If you find foul language, social drug use, sexuality and bad behavior offensive, this is not the assignment for you. Please pick up the latest chick lit book and move along.

Should I ask for credentials? A resume of favorite books, favorite songs, favorite authors? How does one determine the criteria? Three personal references? Just what the hell are the right questions to ask?

Anyone?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Life Lesson

I received an email from Travis' new Daddy yesterday. It said in part:

I have to say that Travis feels right and is already comfortable here. Last night he slept right next to me in bed. Exactly where I would like him to sleep. Please know that Travis will be loved and cared for as long as I am alive. When I adopt a Greyhound I make a commitment to keep them and give them my heart.

Naturally this made me cry but not for the reason you think. When Travis arrived on Labor Day weekend, he was so afraid he would duck his head and skitter backward when you tried to pet him. The first night when he woke up in the dark, in an unfamiliar place, he rooed so loudly and relentlessly it drove me out of my bed. I spent the rest of the night on the sofa where he'd sleep for a bit then wander out of the office to make sure I was still there, and return to his bed in my office. He was a shy, scared, gentle creature.

For over four months I took care of that little buggar; taught him how to trust, how to socialize, and how to be a pet and companion. When you love someone and let them love you back, it takes something of you when they leave. But to know the void I'm experiencing has given him the life he deserves, a wonderful family, it somehow makes everything worth it. At least you know you're hurting for a good reason, and it brought some good into the world.

I realize this sounds exceptionally mushy, but it doesn't change the fact it's true. Improving the world, or any minute part of it, isn't easy. Most of the time you receive no sign that you've made a difference at all. So to have definitive proof of your work and sacrifice is a tremendous gift. My hope is that you all may know it.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Tupperware Troll...

Strangely enough, as I was digging through my Tupperware cupboard (You know you have one!), I realized I have FAR more lids than I do containers. Sifting through the tops of various shapes and sizes, I can clearly recall the corresponding bowl, yet it no longer exists.

What could cause this phenomenon? Sure, the microwave is a likely suspect, as it can turn your once precious storage container into a blog of unidentifable plastic; same as the dishwasher. However, this can't BEGIN to account for the severe unbalanced nature of my cupboard. No joke; I probably have twice as many lids as I do vessels.

So I've decided there is a Tupperware Troll who, much like your average homeless person with a shopping cart, rifles through your collection and takes what he finds good and interesting. But only one half or the other; never the entire piece.

And here's a little known fact: his best friend is the goblin living in your dryer that eats your sock.

It would explain a WHOLE lot!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

In the Spirit of 2007's Continuing Suckage....

As I'm snuggling on the bed with foster Travis waiting for Nanci to arrive and take him to his new family, my phone rings. My Dad informs me that my brother's best friend's wife died last night.

A 46 year old woman with no discernable health problems, a husband and a four year old little girl went to sleep and never woke up.

Todd and my brother have been friends since college. I remember him hanging around the house, driving this shit brown, 1970's stingray Corvette. He was tall, gangly and sported scrubby facial hair. The car was probably the only thing that made him even slightly cool. After he and Lynette married, they bought a house in my brother's neighborhood. Unable to have kids, they explored many avenues of adoption, and even had a birth mother change her mind at the last possible moment. Finally they were able to adopt their daughter. And less than two years ago, Todd went to work for my brother.

Todd entered the bedroom at 10:30pm and couldn't rouse his wife. She was pronounced DOA at the hospital.

Kinda puts things into perspective, doesn't it?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Ain't it the Truth?

Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.

-P. J. O'Rourke

The Trouble With Fosters....




....is they don't stay Fosters Forever.

I received a voicemail on Tuesday informing me they found a 'forever home' for Travis. Since that moment, I've alternated between resignation, mourning, and Kimmie's plot that I basically refuse to give him up. He's been living here for four and a half months and somewhere along the way I went from "I have a greyhound, and I'm fostering another one too" to "I have two greyhounds, Folly and Travis." Major mistake of Foster Parenting but again - the furball has been here for four and a half months! I've watched him go from this scared skittish shy boy to a happy, secure hound with a penchant for my favorite reading/writing chair. When he arrived, he'd duck his head when anyone tried to pet him and now he snuggles. He's turned into a beautiful, playful pet (one who will dislocate your shoulder upon spying a squirrel, however...).

So it's been fairly horrible for me, all weepy and defeated, listening to Kimmie chirp, "Fuck those people, keep him for yourself." I even dodged a return call to the guy trying to arrange transportation to his new family because the idea of 'handing him over' actually made me want to vomit. I couldn't bear the thought of putting a leash on him, leading him to the car and driving him to some halfway point and relinquishing him to a stranger, all the while he doesn't comprehend what the hell is happening to him. It felt abhorrent.

I received an email today from Nancy, offering to pick him up on Saturday and drive him herself. To add to the commotion, she practically begged me to take one of three hounds newly displaced because of divorce. Yes, more lost four-legged kids, more hard luck cases, more furry projects to heal.

To most of the world, I may appear to be one tough bitch (and admittedly, I am a great majority of the time) but my hounds are where I can channel my affection and love without any fear of being rejected. Their regard truly is unconditional.

So I'll let Travis go, regardless of how my heart is broken, and in exchange I'll welcome in another gentle wounded soul. Hopefully this time I won't fall in love.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Quote of the Day (and year, so far...)

Alright my Babies, 2007 has not gotten off to the best start. We're all fighting our way uphill right now (myself included) so here are some words of wisdom from the "I'm okay, You're okay" guy, Leo Buscaglia:

"Change. It has the power to uplift, to heal, to stimulate, surprise, open new doors, bring fresh experience and create excitement in life. Certainly it is worth the risk."

Leo, my friend, I hope you're right!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

As America's IQ Continues to Drop...

Correction: http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/07-01-17.html Big ole hoax, it seems.

For all the gory details, including author bio and folks to contact about this travesity, see: http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/07-01-10.html

Some of you may recall a prior blog post where my oldest sister and I got into a brief email harangue because she insisted on forwarding me absurd religious-type emails. When I protested (perhaps not politely but with a great amount of logic to her propaganda), she actually accused me of being godless. Who knew that independent critical thinking was tantamount to atheism?

I saw the woman at Christmas but she didn't hug me or speak two words in my general direction, so I'm convinced her innate hostility (at what, I'm not sure) has now found a new target (cuz apparently my father and stepmother are not enough) and she's no longer speaking to me.

In light of all those events, it should be no surprise the following article immediately made me think of her....

Creationism in Our National Parks
by Donald Prothero

If you thought that censoring talk about global warming and suppressing the free speech of government scientists was bad enough, last December the government reached a new low. According to documents released on Dec. 28, 2006 by the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), Bush administration appointees will not allow rangers at Grand Canyon National Park to mention that the earth is more than a few thousand years old. “In order to avoid offending religious fundamentalists, our National Park Service is under orders to suspend its belief in geology,” said PEER Director Jeff Ruch. “It is disconcerting that the official position of a national park as to the geologic age of the Grand Canyon is ‘no comment.’” I have been unable to confirm this report in my own enquiries among rangers and on the NPS website, but perhaps the order is still being considered at the NPS and has not yet been forced on the rangers.

This is just the latest step in a creeping introduction of religious fundamentalism to our National Parks. Under the “faith-based” initiatives of the Bush Administration, the National Park Service (NPS) is now creating “faith-based” parks by placing crosses in numerous places, and Biblical verses on the plaques overlooking the Grand Canyon. These plaques were reinstated by Bush appointees after the NPS director had them removed on advice of lawyers in the Department of the Interior. In August 2003, the creationist book Grand Canyon: A Different View, by Tom Vail, was introduced to the Grand Canyon bookstore. It promotes the absurd idea of young-earth creationists that every layer in the Grand Canyon (PLUS its subsequent carving) can be explained by Noah’s flood. There were national protests from geologists, all the relevant scientific organizations, and NPS personnel (including the entire NPS geologic staff), and Park Service Superintendent Joe Alston blocked its sale. But Bush appointees at the NPS headquarters intervened and overruled Alston. NPS Chief of Communications David Barna then told Congress and reporters that there would be a review of the issue, but no such review was even requested, even after 3 years — and the creationist book is still on sale in the Grand Canyon! And it is clear that the Bush appointees in the NPS are pandering to the religious right. According to an NPS spokesperson Elaine Sevy, speaking to a Baptist news agency, “Now that the book has become quite popular, we don’t want to remove it.”

The political bias of the process is even more starkly revealed by the way in which the NPS policy approves books for sale in its parks. The policy clearly states that the books are supposed to reflect only the highest quality of science and support approved interpretive themes. According to records, Grand Canyon officials rejected 22 other books for placement on the shelves in 2003, and approved only one — the creationist book. In 2005, the NPS approved Director’s Order #6, section 8.4.2, which states that “history of the Earth must be based on the best scientific evidence available, as found in scholarly sources that have stood the test of scientific peer review and criticism [and] Interpretive and educational programs must refrain from appearing to endorse religious beliefs explaining natural processes.”

This raises even larger, more troubling issues. It’s already bad enough that only a minority of Americans have even a limited understanding of evolution, and a majority still believe the creation story is literally true. It’s worse that creationists have effectively destroyed the teaching of evolution in science classes around the country by pressure on school boards and textbook publishers, even though the courts have ruled against them every time. Now their attack is focused on geology and the age of the earth, making one of our most essential sciences highly vulnerable. If creationists managed to put their bizarre notions of geology into place, do you think that we would have another new oil discovery, or find any more precious minerals or groundwater? Not likely! Their first attack is naturally in a place like Grand Canyon, which is so popular and so clearly shows the immense span of earth’s history, but who’s to say where they’ll strike next? Many of the national parks, such as Petrified Forest and Dinosaur and Badlands and John Day Fossil Beds, also display an impressive record of fossils changing through time in way that cannot be explained by the Bible. According to PEER Director Ruch, “As one park geologist said, this is equivalent of Yellowstone National Park selling a book entitled Geysers of Old Faithful: Nostrils of Satan.”

Saturday, January 06, 2007

What Stephen King Book Am I?

Which Stephen King Novel Are You?



The Dead Zone
What would you do if you knew you could avert world-wide catastrophe by killing someone? That's the premise of 'The Dead Zone,' You're not into horror proper, but more the psychological thriller genre. You like asking tough questions and trying to find out your own answers. Good for you. Stephen King has said he considers 'The Dead Zone' to be his best book.
Take The Quiz Now!Quizzes by myYearbook.com

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Late TV Viewing Angst

It doesn't matter whether you have three channels or three hundred, there comes a time in the wee hours when there is simply nothing of value left broadcasting.

So it was that I clicked upon "The Girls Next Door", that *cough, cough* reality show about Hugh Hefner's three suicide blonde, fake boobed, live-in girlfriends.

While the fact I'm going to blast this program won't surprise you, the reason may. Nope, it's not the three girlfriend thing. It's not even the "they're young enough to be his granddaughter" angle (although that's just gross as hell).

It's that -

wait for it.....

They Have a Nine O'Clock Curfew!

That's right, folks. Adult women apparently paying their own bills (they flew to Vegas in this particular episode and one was quoted as saying, "We don't have the budget Hugh does so we fly Southwest Coach"), have the same frigging curfew as a thirteen year old!

What. The. Fuck.

Has the silicone and peroxide eaten their brains? What the hell is wrong with them that they allow a man dependent on Viagra (damn that shiver of revulsion), who exhibits crotchety old man behavior in restaurants and elsewhere - why the FUCK would they let that happen?

And these are the women the popular media puts up as the epitome of feminity and beauty?? THIS is what we want our daughters, sisters, etc to emulate?? Are you fucking kidding me?!?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Indeed!



In the year 2007 I resolve to:
Forget my New Year's Resolution.



Get your resolution here.