January 31, 2004


Many thanks to Ernie at Little.Yellow.Different for pointing me in the direction of this site. I love Scrabble, and how cool to be able to play online, anytime or anywhere. The best part, to me, is that there's no timer on it, so one could take hours to play over time...if one needed to. :)

January 30, 2004

Weekend quiz

By request, here's one on dinosaurs. I haven't taken it yet, but I'll post my result in the comments as soon as I do!

A phallic gumdrop to start your day?

This article describes very well a new kid's show imported from Britain that I first heard about last night on The Daily Show -- my favorite source for all the news that's fit to be made fun of. I don't think I'll be looking for it on my TV, and I'll probably dissolve into hysterical laughter the first time I hear a kid chanting "BOOH-bah!"

The only thing about this that I find troubling is that, as the article points out, "...the problems that arise in Storyworld can all be resolved by the children's offscreen utterance of the word 'Boohbah!'" Kids already know they can hound their parents into just about anything...now they're going to have a magic word whereby they expect that things will happen the way they want?!? Here's hoping that this doesn't become a Teletubbies-style hit.

January 29, 2004

Janet, oh Janet

Now, I love Janet Jackson - She's beautiful, talented and, since she decided to let her sexuality guide her music, hot. But I have to say that I think this photo is pretty damned disappointing. It's like she's trying to prove something. Whether it's "Don't mistake me for Michael," or "Yup, I paid for 'em and I'm gonna show 'em off," I don't know. But then, considering the company she's keeping in the photo, I guess the bar was set pretty low already, fashion-wise.

Make a call, make $28 million

I would think a million shares is a lot, but then I saw how many he still owns after this sale. It boggles my mind. Even with the taxes involved, he took home more with that one move than most lottery winners do. What, did one of his kids needs a new wardrobe or something?

Another child-in-the-sky story

I don't know if it's just that stories about the behavior of people while flying are making the news more often or if there's really more madness in the not-so-friendly skies, but here is another story about an incident involving a child in a plane.


See, people who shall remain nameless [Sean], sometimes spelling does count!! (Note: As Sean so testily points out in the comments, you need to be registered with nytimes.com to read the article. It's free and I do recommend registering. However as certain ornery people refuse to do that, I guess I'll print it out and have it available!)

Quiz du jour

Inspired by little mister hedgehog below, here is a quiz about your "animal IQ." Feel free to share your results. Through some very judicious guessing, I got 13 out of 15.

Too cute for words

I've always liked hedgehogs in a general sort of way, but after seeing this page, I think I'm in love. :) Scroll down to the second one, "Dark Grey;" he completely melts me. I never knew there were so many different variations in their coloring.

January 28, 2004

Best article of the day

This article is the perfect expression of how I feel about today's parents. This article should be handed out at every parent-teacher conference in the Bay Area and should be required reading for new parents. The woman who claims there's too much discipline and kids are expected to act like mini-adults either needs to have her head examined or get out in public far more often. One good round of "Mommymommymommymommymommymommymommymommymommymommyyy!" at a department store or fast food restaurant, where mommy blithely continues checking out the clothes or eating her fries, each day and maybe she'll change her tune. All I ever hear when the parents do finally get worn down into replying are vague threats of taking them home or the other end of the spectrum with terrible unkindness.

I haven't tried it myself, but I know parenting is hard, and it's probably harder now than when we were kids. But so many people are trying so hard to be perfect parents -- an impossible task -- that they end up mired in indecision and constantly second-guess themselves. With the guilt factor from divorce you get spoiled kids, to boot. No boundaries + no discipline + guilt + denial (that their child could ever do something wrong) = holy bloody terrors. Kids are too damn bright not to take advantage of parents they see waivering daily on how to handle them.

*Stepping down off soapbox* Your two cents?

What day are you?

I had occasion today to try to remember the poem that starts, "Monday's child is fair of face." I didn't get beyond Tuesday! And I also couldn't remember on which day of the week I was born. So with a little checking, here is a site where you can learn which day of the week is yours, and here's the poem:

Monday's child is fair of face.
Tuesday's child is full of grace.
Wednesday's child is full of woe.
Thursday's child has far to go.
Friday's child is loving and forgiving.
Saturday's child works hard for a living.
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.

Turns out I'm a Friday. It's not really for me to decide if my line of the poem suits me! :) How about yours?

Interesting person you've probably never heard of

To me, having family from Pennsylvania, the name Wanamaker meant only one thing: department store. There was a Wanamaker's in Scranton that was a favorite of my aunt's and we went there often by bus (an adventure in itself) when I visited. It was right across the street from The Globe store and, to me, that block equaled shopping. Wanamaker's was also the place where I learned the word "mezzanine" and I always thought that was such an exotic and interesting name for a level of a store. The Globe outlasted Wanamaker's (though The Globe's gone now, too) and I was sad when it closed.

What on earth does that have to do with anything? In a weird confluence of Web sites I visited while trying to find the answer to a question I was puzzling over, I came across this page about Rodman Wanamaker. I'd heard of his father, John Wanamaker, and he's considered to be the father of the department store. But Rodman? Nope. And I guess that's just the way he wanted it. However, I learned that he not only is the answer to my question (see the very last paragraph of the link for that, if you can spot it) but he was probably responsible for the upscale and more elegant atmosphere of the store that could be seen from the mezzanine and has a connection to one of my favorite spectator sports.

Nice to meet you, Rodman. :)

January 27, 2004

Bikers with a heart

Now there's something else entirely to worry about when a child starts squawk on an airplane. Maybe the lady with the stun gun...nevermind.

Frankly, if I saw these guys getting on the plane with me, I would have paid attention and noticed their jackets. But then, I don't travel with two toddlers and I imagine that pretty much takes up your full attention. Five hours is a long time to sit waiting for a flight, so it's no wonder that things got tense and it could have gotten worse. The part about the story that bothers me the most (apart from the child getting disciplined more than she probably should have in the first place) is the two people who weren't involved and weren't a part of the group, but were merely wearing Harley Davidson shirts, getting taken off the flight, as well. From my point of view, they are the ones with a civil lawsuit just waiting to be served.

By George!

Apparently, people in Connecticut have too much time on their hands. Maybe with Florida and California stealing the political thunder in recent years, Lieberman's actually calling his slight upswing in pre-primary New Hampshire polls "Joementum," and perhaps still smarting over the Hartford Whalers blowing on down to North Carolina to become the Hurricanes a few years back, the good people of Connecticut feel the need to change the history books. I say, you've done quite enough, more than once, to history through the hallowed halls of Yale, thank you very much!

Quiz du jour

In honor of today's Oscar nominations announcement, here's a quiz about movie quotes. I got "lucky" and got more of them than I expected, given that I haven't seen a number of the movies mentioned. Go ahead, make my day and tell me how you did!

Go Panthers!

This article is the only interesting discussion I've seen yet on the impending appearance of the New England Pussies in the Super Bowl. And the only one I wish to see...apart from the headline in next Monday's paper that says something to the effect of "Panthers Make Kitty Litter out of Pats!"


Okay, last one for tonight. This is a fun little game, once you get the hang of it. There are no instructions given, so: when you hear the honk, click on the Yeti, then click on him again to make the little guy fly. (Note: No actual penguins were harmed in the making of the linked site!)

You want a research grant to do what?

What better use could there be for a ski jump when there's no snow? Check out this site for what you can learn from a half-million ping pong balls.

I've stood at the base of an Olympic-caliber ski jump, but I can only imagine what it would be like to experience this in person.

Angry Young Cup

For the caffeineratti among us, "The Oracle of Starbucks" is a quick way to find out what your standard order says about you. You share your results and I'll share mine. :)

January 26, 2004

Oh, but you want ME to take off my shoes?!?

Okay, if this article isn't evidence that the "new" security screening protocol in airports just plum doesn't work, I don't know what is.

Had I been that woman (though I couldn't be, as I don't own a stun gun and doubt I would have been brainless enough to leave it in my purse before boarding a plane in this day and age if I did) I would have taken the same position I do on those rare occasions when I get home from a store and find that the cashier didn't ring up one of my items, but put it in the bag anyway: I did what I was supposed to and in no way did anything purposely to act in a criminal way. There's harm because the store loses revenue, but it happened because of an error by their employee so I don't feel compelled to go all the way back there and say, "Hey, you didn't take my money for this!"

The same way I didn't intend to deprive the store of a sale, the woman knew she didn't intend to hurt anyone using her weapons. Calling it to the attention of a flight attendant was like holding up a sign that says, "Please arrest me and make me fill out all sorts of paperwork and spend a bunch of time being questioned!" Okay, she wasn't arrested, but I can't imagine that being taken "into custody" feels a whole lot different when you're an average citizen whose knowledge of the criminal justice system is comprised of watching all three flavors of Law and Order every week!

I'm a star! I'm a star! No, really, I am...'cause my mom told me so!

This article sums up exactly the feeling I get when watching American Idol during its audition process. (The feeling I get during the competition itself generally amounts to "come on, come on already, let's get to it and stop with all this filler!") This is, in my mind, also why we have a generation of kids with absolutely no boundaries -- their parents are loathe to use the word "no" or the phrase "you can't do that" lest they inhibit the genius of the next great [fill in the blank here] they have bestowed upon the world. See, who says TV is a wasteland? You can learn all sorts of great things from it.

Blog link - nyclondon.com

I love black and white photography. I don't own a lot of art featuring it, but I am always drawn to it for some reason in ways I'm not to color photos. This blog, which won as Best Blog in the Photography category of the Guardian's British blog awards, has stunning and compelling B&W photos. I need a lot more time to explore it, but this is a prime example of his (to me) unusual work that caught my eye. Not all of them are this dark, but those that are use the darkness in a unique contrast to whatever light is present. By that, I mean that I find myself noticing the quality of the darkness instead of the quality of the light as I think we often do.

Restaurant review - Cascal

Cascal, a new restaurant in Mountain View, is where we ate dinner on Christmas Eve thanks to Sean's keen eye in spotting it when our first choice turned out to be closed. This review is pretty much on-target. You can't help but appreciate the decor and the food is excellent, but they do need help in the help department.

The night we were there, the hostess asked us, "Do you have a reservation?" in a rather overly haughty manner (under the circumstances) as we came up to her desk. We replied in the negative, rather surprised as we peered past her at the three-quarters empty seating area. It was prime dinner time on a holiday and if people weren't there by then they weren't really going to be flocking in any time soon. She then proceeded to lead us to the very, very back of the restaurant, where apparently all the non-reservation people were getting seated, regardless of whether someone in your party was walking quite slowly with a cane and there were 20 tables closer to the door! It did go uphill from there, however...for us, at least. A quite attractive and well-dressed couple came in and got the same go-to-the-back-of-the-room treatment after we had been there for about a half-hour. They sat down and no waiter appeared. They perused the menu and still no waiter. I don't know if it was his no-show or the menu, but they abandoned their table and left, with no one on the waitstaff being any the wiser.

I don't think we had a single dish that got mentioned in the review except for the tortilla espaƱola; though it was not bad, I agree that it was not stellar and (on a personal, highly biased note) mine is better! However, we thoroughly enjoyed everything we ordered. Do make sure you get the foccacia early on -- it's delicious and the chimichurri for dipping is fantastic -- though we didn't have any problem with that and got more right away when we asked. The first visit by our waiter was delayed a bit, but because there were so many choices to pore over on the menu, we really didn't mind too much. After that, we had help around constantly, though the waiter himself never came back to ask how things were. Beverages were refilled promptly and dishes were cleared right away. Getting the check and getting it paid wasn't speedy and that was because of the waiter. Good thing it was a holiday and we were in a relatively good mood, or his tip would have suffered a bit.

I definitely look forward to going back, because I want to try the paella and, overall, I really enjoyed the experience of eating there. I think that, next time, I'll make a reservation and see if that smooths the way at all.

January 25, 2004

Random blog encountered on Blogger

I can only imagine how much effort it takes this guy to write like this. It's clear that it's not just the way he writes naturally, and it gives me a bit of a headache reading it, so I can't fathom trying to write that way!

We try harder...to sell you something

Some things to consider the next time you're at the counter, ready to rent a car. Guess my "be as nice to the agent as possible" strategy has been a good principle; no lemons so far! I never thought to try to negotiate the rental price...I've always just been so happy that a) they have my reservation and b) they're not out of cars in the class I had reserved.

Comments are up

Thanks to the amazingly easy and well spelled-out instruction from HaloScan, there is now a comment function available for each post. (Thank you, Halo Scan!) To me, that is going to be the most interesting part of this, seeing what you have to say!

If you're new to blog comments: Just click where it says Comments (the number in parens after it indicates how many comments have already been left, which you'll get to read) and fill in the fields as you wish. You can use a nickname, if you prefer, and the URL field is there if you have a home page you'd like people to know about. If you want to use smilies or HTML tags in your comments, click on the "?" above the bottom box. If it's not working or you just need more info, please e-mail me.

Undecideds, raise your mallets!

Still trying to decide which of the Democrats has the best chance of taking on Bush? The California Primary is still more than a month away, and who knows if any of the current five top candidates will have dropped out by then. But if, like me, you haven't figured out which of them has what it will take to even make it a real race in November, I've got just the thing for you: Whack-a-Pol!

I'd love to be able to say that one of the Dems has a message that really resonates with me and that I'm ready to throw my support behind him, but so far, no dice. Given that what we're going to hear from them between now and the election is going to be more and more rhetoric designed for mass appeal, and less and less about truly meaningful ideas for real change, my basis for voting is going to hinge on one thing: Can he beat Bush? At this point, that's the best I can hope for.

I used to think that the worst thing that could happen to the U.S. was for Dan Quayle to be elected President. Ha! If I'd given much thought to terrorism landing on our shores, I might have picked that. But, to me, even that comes in second to what "Flubya" has done and will continue to do to it.

January 24, 2004

Where you been?

Here's a little exercise that's making its way around the blogs:
Bold the states you've been in (airport or driving through only).
Underline the states you've spent the night in.
Italicize the state you're in.

1) Alabama,2) Alaska, 3) Arizona, 4) Arkansas, 5) California, 6) Colorado, 7) Connecticut, 8) Delaware, 9) Florida, 10) Georgia,11) Hawaii, 12) Idaho, 13) Illinois, 14) Indiana, 15) Iowa, 16) Kansas, 17) Kentucky, 18) Louisiana, 19) Maine, 20) Maryland, 21) Massachusetts, 22) Michigan, 23) Minnesota, 24) Mississippi, 25) Missouri, 26) Montana, 27) Nebraska, 28) Nevada, 29) New Hampshire, 30) New Jersey, 31) New Mexico, 32) New York, 33) North Carolina, 34) North Dakota, 35) Ohio, 36) Oklahoma, 37) Oregon, 38) Pennsylvania, 39) Rhode Island, 40) South Carolina, 41) South Dakota, 42) Tennessee, 43) Texas, 44) Utah, 45) Vermont, 46) Virginia, 47) Washington, 48) West Virginia, 49) Wisconsin, 50) Wyoming, 51) Washington, D.C.

Not too bad, but if you plotted them on a map, you'd see that there's this huge gap in my domestic travels encompassing pretty much the whole upper midwest.

I'd think this would be more interesting if whoever came up with it added a way to designate states you've lived in, not just spent the night in, (for me, that would be New York) and where you went to college (Pennsylvania for me). But, as the person I got this from said, I didn't make this stuff up! I agree with her recommendation, since the bold really draws your attention and just passing through a state seems a little less worthy.

But will it count toward free shipping?

Since there aren't really enough different categories already on Amazon, now you can shop for your very own presidential candidate! At least they were considerate enough to put it front and center on the home page.

Professional sports on the Q.T.

I went to see the San Jose Stealth play tonight at HP Pavilion. Never heard of them? They're part of the NLL, the National Lacrosse League. The teams are owned by NHL teams, and they play in hockey rinks that are temporarily converted for lacrosse, which is appropriate since it's more or less hockey on carpet instead of ice. What? You didn't know there was a professional lacrosse league? Neither did I before last year when they moved the team from Albany, NY. So of course I went right out and bought season tickets.

It was a good game, their second home game, and they had another come-from-behind win. It's just such a thrill to sit downstairs in decent seats, the ones I'll never be able to afford at Sharks games, and to be so close to the action. Plus, they keeping playing music when the stops and breaks are over, so there's a little more energy than there would be otherwise. There's one other thing they have that hockey doesn't: cheerleaders. Yup, the Anorexic Girls come trotting out before the game to cheer the team as they're introduced, then they hang out in groups in a couple of places around the arena not doing much more than clapping their pom-poms in time to the music. Then they come out again at halftime to do a kind of lame routine. Okay, they're not anorexic...probably... they're ballerinas that are pitching in as cheerleaders. And, no doubt, they're athletic and I'm sure good dancers, but they need a lot more practice to be entertaining cheerleaders!

All in all, though, it makes for a fun night out. It's not quite "off the radar" yet, as their slogan goes, but it has potential, if they can keep the attendance up and draw new fans.

January 23, 2004

A sports result only Ed will really appreciate

An American skier sprays snow in the faces of the Europeans who usually win the super-G at Kitzbuehel.


At last, I know why NBC has been jacking around with what night The Apprentice is on! It has been extremely frustrating trying to figure out whether it's going to be on Thursday, or Wednesday, or Thursday. Every time I turned around, they were announcing a "new day and time!" I have a feeling it'll stay right where it is for a while.

Sunset dip

I made this dip as a snack for the office this afternoon. It's incredibly easy and very tasty. I recommend hearty tortilla chips to go with it, 'cause wimpy ones will break apart. I ended up putting a plastic knife in it to help scoop it out -- the melted cheese sticks to the sides a bit.

Don't let the locker room door hit you in the ass on your way out

News flash for Terrell Owens: Many of us fans would rather you play elsewhere, too. If we need a prima donna, we'll check with the SF Ballet. I imagine a couple of their dancers could catch a pass at least as often as you do.

It's tax time...

...don't let this happen to you!

January 22, 2004

Lay down your bugaboo

Now this is my kind of Web page! I am embarassed to admit that I missed one, but I knew when I saw the question that I was probably going to get it wrong. We all have our spelling & grammar bugaboos, and the whole lay/lie/laid/lying/laying thing -- we won't even mention "had lain" -- has always been one of mine. (At least I knew "lied" wasn't the answer!) If you don't know the right answer either, there's a good explanation of how they're supposed to be used here.

Move over, Jenny Craig

There's nothing like losing two-thirds of your body weight in one fell swoop. Amazing.

Restaurant review - Premier Pizza

Yesterday I meandered over to Rivermark -- which I think of as Santana Row Jr., restaurant-wise -- intending to have lunch at either Yan Can or Red Robin, whichever had fewer people. But as I was walking toward them, I noticed the sign for Premier Pizza and remembered that I'd read a good review of it in the Merc. I don't like to go places right after they've been reviewed because I figure they're going to be just that much busier. The thing is, by the time I get there, I can never remember what items on the menu were recommended!

Pizza sounded good though, and since it was after 1:00 the place was quiet and almost empty. The only complaint I have about the place is that the menu is so spread out and up high at an odd angle that it gave me a headache trying to read it. I settled on the lunch special (one slice, small salad and soda) for $6.50. I got there at an odd time and new pizzas were still in the oven, so there wasn't much available in terms of pizza selection, but I got a fresh-enough-looking slice of cheese. They have a decent salad bar and the small is more than big enough. The pizza had a little more cheese than I normally like but, lacking any other toppings, I was glad for it. It has a nice firm crust but not as brittle as wood-fired, which is my favorite kind. It was good but not great -- I'd eat there again but might not drive to the plaza just for that. I'll go again sometime and see if having a pizza with toppings and just out of the oven makes a difference.

Bonus: This place gets an A++ for an outstanding and ultra-clean restroom. There's only one and it's unisex, so who knows how long it will stay that way, but it's nicely decorated and extremely comfortable. The two pluses are for 1) a cabinet to put a purse or bag on instead of a hook (or nowhere like many places) and 2) a garbage can with a foot pedal. Being germ-adverse, that was really nice. :)

You're Fired!

I'm really enjoying watching The Apprentice. It's got almost all the elements of Survivor without the eating of gross things! Okay, it's got Donald Trump instead of Jeff Probst, NYC instead of the beach, and no near-anorexic women constantly in bathing suits. (Wait, that's not a bad thing...) But the catfights! The rewards! The obligatory whipping boy! Have you fallen behind? Check out USA Today's interactive site or summary story to catch up.


Well, after tossing around the idea of having my own blog for a while, it's time to dive on in. The idea is for me to post here all the links to news stories, interesting sites, etc., with comments that I would normally forward on to you by e-mail. I'll also include my own version of restaurant reviews and mentions since I'm always trying new places. Of course, if you don't remember to stop by once in a while...then you miss out!

I'm winging the set-up of this and I have no idea what to expect yet in terms of how it will look and how it will work, so it will be a work in progress. I'm hoping there'll be a comment function -- at some point, if not right now -- and that you'll let me know what you think about how well (or not well, as the case may be) this works out for you.

Thanks for stopping by!