Saturday, June 06, 2009
I got two odd phone calls today.
The first was a recording from the county health department, warning of a rabid cat in the area of the village, with a full description of the cat (gray with tawny spots and white paws), and saying that anyone who has come into contact with the cat, even a scratch, should hie thee to a doctor immediately.
Wow. Even at the height of the rabies outbreak a decade ago, we didn't get calls like that. I wonder what it takes to qualify for mass calling.
The second call claimed to be an agent for Bank of America, who was willing to drop the interest on my Visa card to like 6%. The guy (very thick Indian accent) asked me to "verify" myself by giving him the expiration date on my card. I asked which card. He said "the Bank of America card." I asked him to identify the card by number, since I have several.
When he hesitated, I pointed out that HE had called ME, and I get the impression he doesn't know who he's taking to, he had not asked for me specifically by name, so, um, no, we aren't going to do this by phone. And I hung up.
Low-tech phishing. Sheesh.
I haven't been here since early Thursday. Busy. Thursday I drove 1.5 hours to Florida, NY, to join the southern Orange County Mensa subgroup for dinner at a small but very good (and very expensive) restaurant for dinner. It was me and seven guys. Interesting.
I like the southern Orange folks. Most of the local group activities are in the Poughkeepsie area, too far from southern Orange, so they're starting to organize on their own, schedule their own activities. Next month there'll be another dinner and a hike to a hawk-watching spot on a mountain. I plan to go to both.
All of the guys at the dinner are married, and I kind of wondered why it didn't seem to occur to them to include their wives.
My goal is to get out more, and that's how I discovered www.meetup.com. It's a way to do things and meet people, but not like internet dating. Anyone with an interest they'd like to share can form a group, and people with like interests sign up, and then get together to do stuff. Everything from needlework to political discussion, to hiking, to movies and beyond.
Go there, put in your zip code, and see what's available in your area.
That's how I found the dog group I woods-walked with last week.
Yesterday, Friday, I went to see "Star Trek", and dinner after, with a movie-and-dinner Meetup group. There were six of us. We met in the lobby of the theater and then all sat together, and went to Chili's after.
I had been chatting with the organizer, Renee, before anyone else arrived, and mentioned several of the groups I had signed up for. She asked if I was going on the 40+ singles group river cruise on Sunday, and I said yes, but under false pretenses. I told her I was in a long-distance relationship, so I wasn't "single" in the dating sense, not looking to meet anyone.
The next person to arrive was a tall, thin, good-looking guy with dark hair, and it was obvious from first meeting that he was interested in me. Wow! Cool. Long time since I've felt such a sudden vibe from such an interesting source. Let's call him Tallguy.
When we all went to our seats, he walked with me, and was behind me when we went into the row, which would have put him next to me. But Renee, first in and on the other side of me, hadn't gone far enough in, so we were short one seat on the end, so Tallguy was the gallant and got up and moved to the other side of Renee. I don't know why Renee didn't just move one seat over, but that's the way it was.
When the movie was over, the others got up to leave. I told them I like to watch the credits (always have) and would meet them there. Tallguy said he'd watch the credits, too, and later we left together and walked out to the parking lot together.
It was a huge lot with no landmarks, and I was distracted trying to figure out where my car was when he offered me a ride to the restaurant. Well, I guess this proves I'm not manhunting. I said, "No." Not "No thank you", or "How sweet of you", or anything even remotely civil, let alone flirtatious. I said just "No." Hey, I was distracted.
Tallguy got to the restaurant before I did (I took a long way around because I wasn't sure where it was) and was standing at the entrance with Renee when I arrived...
... and didn't look at me for the rest of the evening. He also made no move to walk me out at the end of the evening. Tsk.
Oh well, just as well I guess.
I'm willing to bet that when he got to the restaurant he asked Renee if she knew anything about me, and she told him I'm not available. That's what it felt like, anyway.
So tomorrow, I'm going on the river cruise with the singles group. Renee said I ought to enjoy the cruise, but maybe not the group - they're a hard drinking hard partying bunch, and that doesn't sound like my type. She doesn't know me, of course, but she's probably right anyway.
Thursday, June 04, 2009
I have rediscovered the free rice site, at http://www.freerice.com/. You take a vocabulary or math or grammar or geography or artist/painting or whatever test, and every correct answer puts 10 grains of rice in a bowl, to be donated to somewhere in the world. You can read the details at the site. It's a challenge, and they tell you what the correct answer is, and then if you got it wrong they retest you on it later, so you really can learn a lot about whatever topic you choose. (I finally know where several tiny central European countries are.)
Ten grains of rice doesn't sound like much, but ten times a hundred thousand adds up.
I first discovered this site about a year and a half ago. I told some Mensans about it back then, and, naturally, some of them had to go home and count and weigh rice, and then grouse about how piddling small a dent in world hunger it was making, so they didn't go to the site. Stupid. Illogical. One bowl of rice is one meal for a child, which is a lot more than none.
Eighteen months ago the only test was vocabulary. I made it to level 55 of 60 in vocabulary this evening, and donated 1450 grains.
Now there are several categories (click on "Change subjects" on the right of the question block).
In grammar, the only ones I got wrong involved semi-colons, and I donated about 3,000 grains. Pre-algebra math was very easy. Lots of quick free rice. Identifying countries was harder, but I enjoyed it because I learned a lot, and donated about 800 grains. On the artists/paintings, I thought I was doing very well because even if I don't recognize the painting, I do recognize the style of the better-known artists, so I can guess well ... and then noticed I never made it out of level 1. Not much rice there, I'm afraid, but again, I learned a lot.
It's a way to play a bit, learn a bit, and do some good, and you don't even have to register or give them any info.
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Bloglines is going crazy (again). I have subscribed to 99 blogs and news services, and Bloglines is dumping random blocks of 200 posts into my feeds reader. It's a shock to go to the Bloglines tab and find 17,564 posts waiting for me. I mark them read, and a few minutes later they're back again.
Is this happening to anyone else? Anyone have any idea why?
This one might be pretty accurate, except that I'm actually a little too shy to approach men cold:
You Are Confident Sexy
You're one sexy chica, and you know it.
You've got the confidence to strut your stuff...
And approach any man who happens to catch your eye.
You may make a guy run away, but the true men will appreciate your moxie.
...On the other hand, I did "go after" The Man on first meeting, even though he was with another woman. Turned out they were just friends, not dating, but I didn't know that at the time.
Your Song Is Barbie Girl
"I'm a Barbie girl in the Barbie world
Life in plastic, it's fantastic
You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere
Imagination, life is your creation"
You're hilarious and cute - yet you still pull off sexy!
I think it might have been the pink g-string that got me that one.
You're a Pack Rat
Someday, you'll get totally crushed by a falling pile of stuff.
Whether you survive depends on how many old granola bars you have lying around your house.
Too too true.
You Go for Brains
When it comes to attraction, you go for more than meets the eye.
Eye candy is all fine and good, but you need more than good looks to be into someone.
You're looking for a deep connection, and that can only happen when you meet someone who thinks like you.
That's not to say you don't appreciate sexy people. You just prefer sexy and smart!
Yeah. I think smart IS sexy, all by itself. But long legs, narrow hips, and powerful arms certainly don't hurt. Pretty face? Faces don't interest me.
You are Conscientious, Agreeable and Open
You have low extroversion.
You are quiet and reserved in most social situations.
A low key, laid back lifestyle is important to you.
You tend to bond slowly, over time, with one or two people.
You have medium conscientiousness.
You're generally good at balancing work and play.
When you need to buckle down, you can usually get tasks done.
But you've been known to goof off when you know you can get away with it.
You have medium agreeableness.
You're generally a friendly and trusting person.
But you also have a healthy dose of cynicism.
You get along well with others, as long as they play fair.
You have low neuroticism.
You are very emotionally stable and mentally together.
Only the greatest setbacks upset you, and you bounce back quickly.
Overall, you are typically calm and relaxed - making others feel secure.
Openness to experience:
Your openness to new experiences is high.
In life, you tend to be an early adopter of all new things and ideas.
You'll try almost anything interesting, and you're constantly pushing your own limits.
A great admirer of art and beauty, you can find the positive side of almost anything.
Hmmm. I guess I'd like me.
You Are Trusting In Love
You fall in love quickly and easily. And very often. When you fall, you fall hard.
You give and take equally in relationships.
You need your space and privacy. You don't like to be smothered.
You're secretly hoping your partner will change for you.
You stay in love for a long time, even if you aren't loved back.
A little off on the give and take. I usually end up giving more than I take, and that usually ends up destroying the relationship, because I know I deserve more. If I try to give less to make it equal, there's not enough going on for me. If I try to be satisfied with receiving less while still giving at my level, I feel neglected (martyred). So what I want is equal give and take, but it's not easy to achieve.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
From the description of the documentary, at http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/workingmans_death/ (you can watch it there):
Release Year: 2008
Duration: 122 min
"WORKINGMAN’S DEATH is an unflinching portrait of the state of manual labor in the 21st century. In the Ukraine, a group of men spend long days crawling through cramped shafts of illegal coal mines. Sulfur gatherers in Indonesia brave the smoky heat of an active volcano and the treacherous trip back down. Blood, fire and stench are routine for workers at a crowded open-air slaughterhouse in Nigeria. Pakistani men use little more than their bare hands to dismantle an abandoned oil tanker for scrap metal. Steelworkers in China fear they could be a dying breed. Today’s manual laborers are no longer celebrated with hymns of praise."
Katie, she of the literally "Overflowing Brain", has posted today about arguments she has heard against gay marriage, and her rebuttal, and has invited opinions in the comments.
Wander over there. Sound off. Some of the comments are pretty thoughtful, too. Good analysis of SCOTUS involvement.
I had thought that with the difficult economy, prices in general would fall. When fewer people have "excess" money to spend on extras, stores would have fewer customers, so I had assumed that they'd lower prices to keep people coming in, maybe get more people in. Twenty times a lower profit can be greater than ten times a higher profit, right?
Wrong. I guess, judging by the evidence, anyway.
Prices all over seem to have gone up suddenly, by an average of 20%. The wedge of brie that I used to pay $5.25 for is now $7.99. The creamer went from $3.89 to $5.45. First class postage stamps have gone up again. The case of prescription cat food I get from the vet went from $37 to $45. Piper said that he usually had the bologna and cheese sandwich at the corner deli, for about $5. Yesterday he went in and ordered the same sandwich at the counter, and when the clerk asked for over $7 (for a plain bologna cheese mustard sandwich on white?!), he told the clerk to tell the owner that was ridiculous, and he wouldn't be back, and he walked out without eating or paying. (Very significant. Piper doesn't DO stuff like that. Plus, the owner is one of Piper's clients.)
I don't understand.
When you lose the customers who can no longer spend on unnecessary things, it makes NO sense to drive away the ones you have left! The IGA was likely selling less brie at the old price, true, but *I* still would have bought it. I didn't buy the more expensive brie at the IGA yesterday, and I didn't buy the spinach salad at the corner deli, so they're selling even less now.
That makes no sense.
I guarantee zero times any higher markup is less than any positive number times any lower markup.
Monday, June 01, 2009
The last time I linked to tattoos, it was a "why on earth would anyone do that?" thing.
Today's offerings are pretty nifty, gathered by Discover Magazine. Lots of DNA, math, molecules, and trilobites. This guy has the entire periodic table on his forearm, in exquisite detail: They call this one "LSD Redux":
To see more, go to http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/2009/05/23/sigmas-from-shoulder-to-shoulder-science-tattoos/ and then click on the "Click here to go to..." under the first paragraph.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
As you can see on the map over there on the left, I've had a few hits from around the world. They're almost entirely search hits. Not only that this journal turned up in searches, but someone actually clicked on it and visited.
There have been 40 search-originated hits in the past month:
- the silken touch
- dr. pannullo patient blog
- mensan sexyg
- panties valley
- ruffalocody, complaints
- screwed up legal system
- un-kissed ms boyle
- women in girdles, garters videos on you tube or facebook
- "boyfriend-free girl"
- "high panties"
- "jan carnell" funeral
- "keith england" and handyman
- "silken touch" product manager
- "silken touch" socks
- "vermont country store", "woodhue"
- c0ldwater creek
- cordts mansion
- dean morris cards turnover
- employee complaint ruffalo cody
- faceb00k texas
- hasselhoff stars and stripes evening of sexy patriotism
- hemi paralyzed
- hercules touch 1248 usb driver
- jaywalking box turtles nj
- just in the legal system
- ms silk sissy
- ms. boyle
- ms. boyle, england
- nose pieces on glassed that hurt
- patrick mckiernan paramedic
- screwed by court system
- screwed by legal system
- silken touch
- silkin hell optical illusion
- urban legends
- "silk 'n touch"
I should have put up the list from back when I posted the mammogram films. I got a whole slew of hits on that entry alone, mostly from the Muslim world, mostly on search arguments involving "boobs", nipples, or breasts, naked or touching, and "pictures of".
Maybe I should throw in a few interesting words now and then, in innocent sentences - see if they get hits. Like, oh, my laundry room has a doggie-style (doggy style?) door, but I don't have photographs of it. The flower bed outside is naked, no covering. I'll have to suck it up, get on my knees, and weed it. It's next to where my cars are parked abreast. My older cat's sex is female; I wonder if that's why she's so oral. This is not pornography, not at all pornographic. No porn here. Not even any foot porn (as opposed to toe porn or sox sex. You'll find all the toe porn over at The Queen's place, and the socks sex porn at Jammies').
I watched Bill Moyers Journal (PBS) this afternoon. They showed excerpts from the documentary movie "Torturing Democracy".
It's impressive. I thought I was aware of the machinations that went into the mess at Guantanamo, but turns out I didn't know the half of it. One thing I may have heard and forgotten is that in Afghanistan, huge rewards (enough to support a family or village for life) were offered for "terrorists" turned in to the US Army.
Think about that for a moment.
Catch some guy whom no one knows or likes, hand him over, and collect a small fortune, in a country torn by war and offering little in opportunity. "Hey, this is our chance to get rid of the village bum, and that guy who cheated me last week, and my stupid brother-in-law...." Many of the "terrorists" being tortured were nothing more than innocent shepherds. Under torture, they'd eventually admit to anything.
And it WAS torture. Watch the documentary. It's explicit. It carries warnings. It strips away the euphemisms - "enhanced interrogation" is torture, "water boarding" is drowning, just short of death, not at all like your kid brother throwing cold water in your face. It points out that the CIA didn't seem to understand the line between interrogation for information, and breaking a person to where he will write/sign/tape propaganda for you. When a person is broken, you can't believe anything he tells you.
I'd like to think that if we had known what was going on, we'd have filled the streets with protest marches. The sad thing is, we DID know enough. Not all of it, but enough. And we barely raised a peep.
Why were there no mall-filling protests?
Because we were afraid to protest. Afraid of being labeled "un-American", of being accused of supporting terrorism. Afraid of being hassled by the CIA and FBI, and punished by our neighbors and bosses. Afraid of surveillance and wire-tapping, and losing our jobs. Cheney did a good job of scaring us into silence. We became afraid of our own government, and forgive me if I've got it wrong, but isn't that what the Founding Fathers worked so hard to avoid?
It was easier and safer to look the other way.
The documentary in its entirety, in high quality video, is at http://torturingdemocracy.org/. It's in three parts. I've gotten through only part of the first part, so I don't know how long it is, but (judging by the excerpts) everyone needs to see it. Don't let apathy get in your way.
The sad thing is, I think Bush didn't think about it at all. He was in thrall to Cheney and Rumsfeld and a few others. A puppet of the evil puppet masters.