Saturday, September 26, 2009

2601 UTI and Khosla

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The question Diane Sawyer (interviewed on Oprah) would most like to ask the Pope:
"What do you think Jesus would think of the way you dress?"


I have a urinary tract infection. This is the second one this year, the third known in the past four years.

I say "known" because I didn't have symptoms for the first two, they were found in a standard physical, so who knows how many symptomless infections I've had in the past. The only symptoms with this one were that strange vitamin B odor in the morning and cloudiness.

I know I'm not overdosing on B, so I looked up urine odor on the internet, found that it can be a symptom of infection, bought some test strips, and checked it out. Positive for both white blood cells and nitrite. Saw the doctor today, got an antibiotic.


Going to the doctor's office I was surprised to find the village full of people. I've never seen so many people on the sidewalks. The village has a few street fairs a year, but they've never been so crowded. Good weather, I guess.


The movie tonight, in that nice private theater in Valatie, was "Khosla Ka Ghosla", an Indian low-budget film about a middle-class family who, having been cheated out of the father's life savings, mounts a sting operation against a very scary gangster. It was cute, funny, realistic, and you really get to know the characters. I highly recommend it. You can watch it at

It was in Hindi with a smattering of English. I was amused that when the actor said "Oh, shit!", the subtitle said "Oh my God!", and "bastard" became "scoundrel" in the subs.

Driving home, I saw many deer on the side of the road, or crossing in front of me. They're very active now. Soon it will be mating season, and the bucks will lose all sense. Drive carefully.

Friday, September 25, 2009

2600 Fame

Friday, September 25, 2009

From Alex Haley's Queen: It is the great flaw of equality ... that everyone believes that only [he] know[s] what is best for the others.


I saw "Fame" this evening.  The original 1980 version was one of my favorite movies (but still pretty far behind "West Side Story"), so of course I had to see this one.

It was mostly just a talent showcase.  There was a feeble attempt at story, but there just wasn't time to develop anything, especially because there were too many characters to focus on.  There was the angry young man, the pushed young lady, the gingham ingenue, the earnest idealist film fiend, the not-good-enough dancer, the I'm-hot-shit dancer, the hunk, the token Asian, ... durn ... there were so many not well-developed characters I can't remember them all.  But there were at least nine.

The movie was 107 minutes.  Let's throw out 15 minutes for production numbers (and that's on the low side).  That leaves 92 minutes for story.  With nine characters to follow, that's 10 minutes each.  The movie covers four years of school, so that's 2.5 minutes per character per year.  Not enough.  Sorry.

We know I have a problem with suspension of disbelief.  It bothered me that at the beginning the kids were starting ninth grade.  That makes them 15 at most, right? Even if they're all made up, they still carry themselves like 15-year-olds.  These kids looked 18 at the very least, and didn't change at all (except for the ingenue) over the next four years.

Can't say much for the singing (I wanted to tell the kids to LET IT OUT!), but they had some great tap dancers.


Kelsey Grammer and Bebe Neuwirth were teachers.  Casting directors should avoid casting actors familiar to audiences as already having a long-term fictional relationship.  I could have accepted either of them alone as a teacher, but together I kept thinking of "Cheers" and "Frasier".

2599 Bits

Friday, September 25, 2009

Me: A full-figured woman has an extravagant body.

Who doesn't appreciate extravagance?  Misers.  That's who.
And who wants them?


"Good Morning America" had an interesting juxtaposition of story intros this morning.  First they mentioned they'd be doing a story on Mackenzie Phillips' reports of molestation by her father, with a clip of her talking. That was followed immediately by a description of a story about a boy who had to wear a brace for a hip problem, illustrated by a clip of a boy bent over the side of a bed with a man holding him down with one hand on the small of his back and the other hand pulling his leg aside.

The mental jump before realizing that the man was a physical therapist was unavoidable.


If you happen to get arrested and booked for a misdemeanor, like trespassing or petty theft, in Orange County, Calif., you can go to court, incurring a few thousand in legal fees and/or fines, or you can pay $75, give a DNA sample, and walk away like nothing ever happened. The case will be dropped.

This article explains the rationale.
Civil liberties advocates and defense attorneys say the plan would incentivize prosecutors to pressure people who have not been convicted of any crime to give the government a DNA sample. This “troubles me because I do not think that we yet have adequate safeguards to protect privacy,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of the law school at UC Irvine.

“It’s completely voluntary, so no one has to do this,” said a district attorney spokeswoman. “There’s consequences when you commit a crime. This is actually a better option for them than other avenues of, I guess, going through the penal process.”

I don't like it.  It sounds like extortion, pure and simple.  I give you $75 and a DNA sample, or else you will punish me by ruining my good name and costing me a lot of money, for something you're willing to drop anyway?  Why do I associate this with those traffic traps small southern towns are notorious for?

I want to know 1) if some of these cases would never have been pursued  anyway, but the arrestee is not told that, and 2) if arrests for misdemeanors is way up in Orange county, and 3) how many of those arrests are real, and how many are just because the person looks gullible.


I'm getting tired of people making fun of the Segway.  What's so wrong with it?


Something creepy has happened.  My internet connection is DSL Broadband, through Verizon.  I'm paying for 3Mps.  Some days I get that.  But other days it's very slow - as bad as when I had ordinary phone line dialup.  The past week it has been abysmal.  Even short video clips take forever to load. Streaming video is impossible.

So I Googled "verizon broadband slow", and found a few forums.  The consensus is that Verizon will not admit it's their problem, and it's difficult to prove it is.

Anyway, since reading the reports of others, and finding a plan of attack, all of a sudden today it's fast again.

That's creepy.  Like Verizon knows I'm getting pissed.


Dinner and movie, "Fame", in Albany tonight.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

2598 You can't share an experience

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Me: There is negative perfectionism and positive perfectionism.
Negative perfectionism is based on a fear of inadequacy.
Positive perfectionism strives for mastery.


I was building more draft posts with the green quotes, and I came across this one, from Diane Vaughn, from her book Uncoupling:

This experience is shared by every person who travels to a foreign country.... Difference, not distance, is the critical factor. Returning, the traveler evaluates the familiar with a newly acquired comparative ability. The result is often a disease [in the dis-ease sense], a sense of lack of fit, because the traveler has had an experience the others haven't. The traveler can perhaps describe it, but as an experience it is unshareable because it has changed the traveler in ways not obvious to the others, and describing it will not similarly change the others.

Actually, that's true of all experiences.  True of travel to a foreign culture, but also of travel through life.

You can tell someone about something that happened to you, but no matter what it was, no matter how fully you describe the experience and its effects, no matter how common the experience is, no one else will ever fully understand.  The other may have had a similar experience, and felt similar feelings, but the context is always different.

They will never fully understand.  They will never understand how it changed you.

2597 Phone calls are rarely good.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Andy Rooney: If there is life on other planets,
they probably won't believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God.


It's warm outside today, almost 80, and getting warm in the house.  This weekend we're supposed to get frost at night.  It's no wonder everyone is getting sick.

The Man says he's got it, something, flu perhaps. Taking Tylenol Severe. 

I was a little worried that I'd been tempting fate, exposing myself to strange germs, by going to so many dinners and movies with relative strangers, but so far I've had only an off and on slightly sore throat.  I guess so much exposure to germs and filth in my house builds the immune system.  (Crossing fingers.)

I had volunteered to work four hours in the tourism booth at the Saugerties garlic festival next Sunday.  I just got a call that I am to work only from 1 to 2 pm.  Duh?  I'm to take the volunteer sign-in book when I leave, so I guess a county employee will be taking over at 2. 

That bugs me, because I'll be driving almost two hours to volunteer for one hour.  Don't know why they couldn't extend the earlier volunteer an hour, or have the employee come in earlier.  I am annoyed.  There are other things I could do with a Sunday afternoon.  Maybe I should have spoken up, but the woman who does the scheduling is elderly, gets confused easily, and if you get her started she'll natter on forever.

Bah.  The only good thing about it is that garlic is supposed to protect against viral infection.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

2596 Super Sites

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Me: SpellCheck programs may ensure that the word is spelled correctly,
but it doesn't ensure that you used the right word.


Mensa polled members for super interesting, informative, useful, or fun websites, then winnowed the list down to the top 50, results here.

2595 Changes

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Andy Rooney:  "Computers may make it easier to write, 
but they don't make the writing any better."


PlayList has upgraded, and I can now set the music (the pink box over there on the left) so it doesn't start up automatically.  Yea team!
And Blogger has a new editor, so if things look funny for a while, it's because I'm in a learning curve. 

Ok.  Blogger is adding too many blank lines between  paragraphs, and adds more every time I edit the post. Seems to be "span" happy.   How do I make it more WYSIWYG?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

2594 Of brakes and faces

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A lot of men consider rape merely assault with a friendly weapon.


Two years ago I wrote a blog entry titled "Why Blogs Die". I reread it yesterday. It was pretty good. Check it out.


Monday the 14th, when Suzie got her paws realigned in New Jersey, the guys in the shop there told me that her brakes had not been something-or-othered properly. They said something about something needing grinding or something. Yeah, I wondered, because they'd been squealing badly for about two weeks. They said if I didn't get it fixed, it would wear something down quickly.

I'd gotten new pads and rotors in July at a Monroe up here, so yesterday I took Suzie back there and asked them to take a look. They insist everything is fine. The squealing is just dirt or dust in there and it'll go away. (Of course, if it wasn't fine, they'd have to fix it.)

They're still squealing. Maybe I should take her another place and get another independent checkup? I'd hate to have her paw pads suddenly go slick just as she's about to pounce on a Spyder.

(The Man drives a black Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder convertible, named Widow. Suzie loves to chase her. If Suzie ever accidentally caught the beloved spit-shined black Widow, well, I don't want to think about it.)


I spent much of yesterday and today playing with the video clips from the Sunday afternoon at the rehearsal studio. I discovered I have Windows Movie Maker on my laptop (who knew!), and that YouTube has a "private" designation, where nobody can see the clips unless I send them the secret URL in an email. They can't be embedded, and they can't go viral because they are limited to 25 unique viewers. Cool.

So I sent them (all 10) to The Man, and a smaller sample to Sister and Daughter.


You know, sometimes I think I have angered The Man. I said something to him during my explosion the last time I saw him, about making him angry when I ask certain questions, and he didn't understand what I meant, swore he didn't get angry. Looking at the videos, I think I see the problem. When his face is relaxed, or when he's thoughtful, his natural expression looks angry.

I think I sensed that long ago. He'd said something about strangers in casual contacts tensing around him, and I told him it was because he looks powerful and dangerous.

It's not just his face, it's the way he moves - like a coiled spring.

I know my relaxed expression looks angry, too. Something about the eyebrows and eyelids, and the corners of my mouth. So I make a conscious effort to keep my eyebrows and cheeks lifted and crinkle the corners of my eyes when talking with people - ever since Daughter was small and cried because she thought I was always angry, when I was really just relaxed.


Tonight I saw the movie "Love Happens" in Albany. I thought it was pretty good, but others didn't like it. I guess they were expecting more of a comedic cat and mouse love story, but it was really about a man dealing with unresolved feelings about the death of his wife. My comment was that I guess how you'd react to it has to do with what's going on in your own life.


I got the call today from the doctor's office about last Friday's thyroid check. It's ok, so I'll be staying on the minimal supplement.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

2593 Cats and guys

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Woman describing how one does not realize how final death is:
“And then I found I was waiting for him to come home.
He'd been dead long enough now, it was time for him to come home.”

About a year after Jay died, I found that I was waiting for him to come home.


Last summer, 2008, I worked on a project with a Mensan I'd never met before. He's a member of the Southern Columbia subgroup. He was very quiet, but I noticed the flicker of expressions on his face, and was amused that he noticed the same things I did, and seemed to react in the same way. That always attracts me. The first time I met The Man, we were sitting opposite each other at a large round table, and I was amused by and attracted to the flickers on his face.

I've since seen this guy, I'll call him Blue, about once or twice a month at dinners and hikes. I'm impressed that he is so nice, pleasant, and, rare in Mensans, he's sensible, reasonable, listens to others.

Well, there's something growing. I have not been encouraging anything - I don't sit near him or (consciously) flirt - but he brightens when I walk in the door.

Blue was at the trivia dinner earlier this month. We sat in different booths, on different teams, but back-to-back, so we kibitzed a lot over the divider. At the end of the evening, all 11 left together, and stood in the street chatting for a few minutes, and then people peeled off to head for their cars. I was parked up the street, he was down the street. When I started walking to my car, he followed me. I turned and said, "Your car is over there, isn't it?", and he said yes and kept walking toward me, smiling and raising his arms out slightly.

You know how you know when something is being signaled, and you respond to the signal without thinking about it?

So I automatically stepped into his arms for the hug. Mensans hug a lot anyway, but Mensan hugs don't usually involve full arm wraps and cheek pressing, and rarely last more than three seconds. It felt like he didn't want to let go.

It bothered me all the way home, and has bothered me since. I'm debating not going to any more So. Columbia events for a while, but hey, I like that group. And darn it, I like him. I just don't want things to get awkward.

He's married. I don't fool around with married men. I don't even imply I might. There lies nothing but heartbreak, and besides, their wives are always bigger and more drama-prone than me.

(Spouses rarely attend Mensa events. They're always welcome, but mostly they choose not to unless they are also members. So I haven't met Mrs. Blue.)

On another front, there was a man at the other end of the table at Friday's Albany dinner. He sent me an email later that evening saying that he hoped we'd sit closer next time so we could talk more.


I can easily leave Miss Thunderfoot and Jasper alone for up to three days, with dry food, plenty of water, and their litter boxes. But if it's more than overnight I have to separate them. Otherwise Jasper will eat all of Miss Thunderfoot's food, and will terrorize her.

It's easy in my house. There's a door between the livingroom and the bedroom wing hallway. Jasper gets the LR, kitchen, laundry room, and DR. Miss Thunderfoot gets the bedrooms, den, and bathrooms.

I've found that when I return home, if they were separated, the two cats seem to be angry with each other for a few days. I thought it was just that they missed me and were jealous of my time. Now I wonder....

I wonder if they realize I'm gone. If I don't shut them in their own part of the house, they can search for me and know I'm not home, I'm not with the other cat. But when half the house is not available, I wonder if each of them thinks I'm holed up with the other, beyond that closed door, and the other cat is getting all the petting. I wonder if they're jealous.

And that's the other reason I don't play with married men.

2592 The weekend

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Les Kamm, letter in the Mensa Bulletin: “Progress ... is not the result of individual accomplishments, but the product of a vast human consciousness that contains ... a perception of purpose, potential, and need. ...[The] contributions of any single person is not substance, but style.”


The Albany restaurant for Friday night's dinner is associated with the place in Saugerties (Ric Orlando), but the food was much better. I started with calamari, and they were perfect. My entree was a daily special - pork loin on a bed of spinach and sweet potatoes. There were two pieces of meat, both as large as my hand and 1.5 inches thick. Ridiculous! Two more days of doggie bag. It was all very good.

The problem I have with the Saugerties New Home restaurant is that everything tastes the same. There's some herb or spice they put in everything, from pizza to green beans to onion soup. Yuck.

I thought it was rather expensive, though. My tab came to $45 before tax and tip. They could have given me half the food for 3/5 the price and I would have been happier.

Yesterday I went to Angie's house. She had a bunch of people over for a lobster feast. Her sister-in-law is from the Philippines, so there was a lot of Filipino yummies, too. I fell in love with something called Siopao (show-POW) - balls of soft sweet dough stuffed with shredded seasoned pork, steamed to plumpness.

After the feast, Angie and Nat wanted me to try the trampoline. Are you kidding? I've never been on a trampoline, so I'd have loved to try it, but not after overeating!

After Angie's I went to see "The Informant" in Albany. I'd read the WSJ law blog article on the story, and followed the links, and had heard the NPR interviews with the ADM exec and the FBI agents, so I was able to read into and fill in the blanks in the movie. So I thought it was pretty good. I don't know how satisfying it would be if one did not already know the details that aren't shown in the movie.

Movies seem short these days. Like there's so much of the story that has to be left out to keep the bread-and-circus crowd interested. God forbid they should run out of food before the movie is over.

This morning I took some old electronic devices to recycle - some old phones, dead printers, and so on. There was an 18-year-old under-desk IBM PC CPU, which I thought was heavy until I tried to lift the old VCR. It must have been the first model. Huge, deep, heavy! Had to be well over 50 pounds. It was on the top shelf in the den closet, and I managed to get it down, wrestled it to the door, opened and closed the front door with it supported on my thighs, started across the porch, and was pulled up short. The cord had been trailing behind me and the plug got stuck under the closed door.

Until then I'd been doing fine, but now I had to set it down to free the cord. Picking it up from the floor again was A Bad Thing.

I had planned to go to the gem and mineral show at the fairgrounds today, which was right next to where the county was collecting the old devices, but I got so sweaty and dusty clearing out the den, and I was getting warning shocks down my left leg from my overtaxed back, that I decided it would be better to go back home and soak in a hot bath.

I think I'll live.