August 31, 2004

What the World Needs Now

Today is all about love. Because, really, shouldn't every day be about the love? And after all the negativity I put out into the universe yesterday, I feel like I owe it to myself and the world to balance things out, karmically.

Love Note #1 - To: Kimberly at Squoogy. Much love coming your way. Because your kindness and generosity in helping a less-than-savvy blogger get that "Register to Vote" button up there with a minimum of pain was sisterhood at its finest. My thanks and admiration.

Love Note #2 - To Gary Bibb at Bibb's Revenge. Because I'm glad to have you here, for as long as you desire.

Love Note #3 - To Copygodd at Ingrown Brain Stem. Because I think you need some after putting up with Fat Dude's passive-aggressive nature for as long as you have!

Love Note #4 - To Getupgrrl at Chez Miscarriage. Because you are an inspiration to me and to women throughout the blogging world, fertile and infertile alike. Your amazing strength, unflagging humor and absolutely phenomenal storytelling leave me in awe.

Love Note #5 - To cbeck at Feeding the Habit. Because you reminded us that love is among the greatest gifts to be found, let alone given, and your sharing that with us deserves a little love flowing in your direction.

August 30, 2004

Temporary blog detour -- please obey all signs

This was one of those days when I didn't have that much in the tank and there was, apparently, only one post floating around in there. I was so ticked off when I read an article about the absurdly light punishment meted out to the jerk who assaulted a runner mid-marathon at the Olympics that I couldn't keep it all bottled up for another 11 hours. (The fact that I was having yet another crappy day at work may have had something to do with it. Who knows.) So the cork was popped and the rest of the bottle went flat before I dragged my sorry self home.

So, in what is actually not intended to be shameless self-promotion, I must to point you to my other blog for today's post. Really, there's not a lot to promote. The poor thing has suffered terribly from inattention since its inception because it takes me so long to write; most days it's all I can do to crank out one here. Eventually I'll get around to updating it and adding the features I've fought with long enough to smush into the template here. Or, at least, one can hope.

August 29, 2004

Circular thinking

Because I recall popcorn having a starring role in my dreams last night, this post at Plooble caught my eye this morning. I had never visited Plooble before, but it caught my eye while visiting One Good Thing today because of its similarity to a word I used in my post from Friday, which I thought I'd made up, but apparently I didn't.

(Disclaimer: Friday's post had no connection whatsoever with the Neopets of the same name. One Ping Only, its employees, agents and assigns do not endorse the use, misuse, abuse, adoration, or Googling of Poogles, or any other Neopets, in any way. This is primarily because we do not really have any idea what they are or exactly what purpose they serve. Any similarity or negative implication inferred in said post is entirely unintended and we respect the copyright and trademark rights Neopets may hold over the Poogle name. Please do not sue us.)

One Good Thing had caught my eye while visiting Frogblog a few weeks back because of the very fleeting similarity between its name and this blog's name. I thought for an equally fleeting moment that I had finally made frog's blog list, as she has been on mine pretty much from the start. But I am aware that not everyone you like, or at least like to read, in the blog world is necessarily going to like you or your blogging style in return, should they even be aware of your admiration from afar. All that aside, I have really enjoyed reading flea's posts at One Good Thing so I keep going back for more. I completely admire what she does for a living and, while our lives are almost completely dissimilar apart from being likeminded on the matter of people and couples being in charge of and responsible for their own pleasure regardless of how prudish this country is in general (and if I am mischaracterizing that, I do hope she will set me straight!), I think she is one heck of an entertaining writer.

Frogblog caught my eye early in the year while I was spending a good deal of my time trying to wrap my head around what blogging was and could be for me by compulsively checking the then easier-to-use "Recently published" list on Blogger and clicking links like crazy, because of a minor affection I have for frogs. At the time, my bathroom was done in a frog theme in a nod to that affection, which was sparked by a memorable backpacking trip last year where frogs seemed to be the theme.

I thought when I started this blog that it would be a good place to talk about my backpacking and camping trips, since I usually come back with so much to say about the experience and I don't really have any other outlet to express my observations, as I am a miserable journal-keeper. The irony is that I have not been able to go on a backpacking trip since I started the blog in January, through no fault of my own other than perhaps a lack of perseverance in meeting new people who share my interests.

Meeting new people used to be a lot easier, in my opinion. I can't put my finger on exactly what changed. I do know that as time has gone by and the mix of people at work has changed over the years, my enthusiasm for sharing pieces of myself with them has diminished, and that seems to have extended to other new acquaintences. I've also seen that there are other things that I have become unwilling to share with people at work. I keep a dish of candy on my desk that everyone is welcome to hit whenever one of those "I need chocolate NOW" moments occur; people seem to appreciate it and I enjoy having it there, since I'm not one of those people who can't resist sweets if they're right in front of me. But I was delighted to come across something last year that had previously escaped my attention: mini bags of microwave popcorn.

Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks, and even given the limitations of the microwave version as so aptly described at Plooble, there is something irresistable about it. I think most people agree that a regular-sized bag is more than they should eat by themselves on a regular basis, especially the super, mongo, all-the-butter-flavor-we-can-manage types I prefer. But it is, in my opinion, the ultimate snacking food and once you start it's hard to stop until you find yourself searching the leftover kernels for semi-popped ones that you can justify eating without a trip to the dentist for a cracked tooth. And since I like to be able to pick through the batch to find the tastiest morsels to eat first, and it's not polite to put your work-grubby fingers all over the pieces someone else might eat, I don't like to share.

This makes the discovery of the mini bags a seminal moment in my snacking life. I can polish off a whole bag without much guilt -- the nutritional information says there is only one serving in a bag instead of the three servings in a full-sized bag -- and it can be gone before the scent of faux butter and somewhat singed pieces wafts its way from the breakroom microwave out to my work area, where people then pick up their heads and sniff, trying to figure out where it's coming from and who has the goods in their cube.

Because I will share my chocolate, I will share my knowledge, I will share the passenger seat in my car whenever you want, I will share my thoughts, and I will share my toys because my mom taught me that was the right thing to do.

But share my popcorn? In your dreams.

August 27, 2004

Google My Poogle

I am extremely fortunate in that my new abode comes equipped with a swimming pool. And I must say that there is really nothing like being able to step out to the backyard on a warm evening and step into the pool. It was a very good way to end a difficult week, to just splash around like a fool and shake off the stress. It left me feeling pretty languorous and relaxed, so I wasn't up for much more than watching TV (Olympics, of course) and doing a little surfing and online shopping.

I was snapped out of my drowsiness by one of the first items I found. There should be a law against any Silicon Valley company using the term "bling-bling" at their online stores. (I think it would be too much to ask that just no one use it anymore.)

The Google Store™, I learned from the Google™ Blog, has been revamped and improved. (Really good to know since I didn't realize that there was a Google Store until today.) I considered giving in to the allure of the shiny, flashy, pretty thing calling out to me. But, as we've seen, I'm not Google Material anyway, especially since I completely bite at all things mathematical. So I guess I can save the two and a quarter needed to buy it, let alone the almost six dollars needed to ship it to me.

But, hmmm...if I throw in an umbrella, which clearly is something no one can live without, the shipping is only a buck more. If I took my cool light-up Googly pin and stuck it to my even cooler light-up Googly umbrella, I think I'd be one stylin' great Googly-Moogly blingmeister meisterbling. Don't you?

Yes, you're right -- it's time for me to go to sleep.

August 26, 2004


Turns out, after sitting here for a very long time, I really have nothing to say tonight. Having a crappy week at work sometimes has that effect on me. Throwing a messload of tomatoes at many someones sounds pretty good to me right now, so here's a timely article.

Goodnight and have a decent tomorrow.

August 25, 2004

"H" is for hardbody

Day 12 of the Summer Olympics is in the books, and there are only four more days to go. Swimming is history and track & field (which won the poll, by the way) is in full swing. There have been upsets, injuries, and controversies along with the usual inspirational stories, tears, and victory laps. If medal count is your thing, the US, China, and Australia are the top three and have hauled in a combined 170 medals.

Because of a terrible lapse in judgment on my part, the choice of "beach volleyball" was not included in the last poll. I had no idea it would be such a popular event, and I neglected to single it out. So, in honor of H (the underachiever), there is a new poll up that gets to the heart of the matter. If you check out his site, with its temporary name change, you will be in no doubt as to how he will be voting. But because I don't want him to have to choose between his favorite twosome -- I believe he said something about "an H sandwich" -- I hope he'll be delighted to learn that he can vote for them both, just to be fair.

If you're interested in a non-media perspective of the Olympics, check out this fun blog coming to us from Athens from a Brit who really gets around. It's like being there at the Games...well, like being there with a stuffed bird and a digital camera. Don't ask, just go see.

Administrative matters:
1. There is a new function available in Blogger that I have enabled today. You can now e-mail a link to a post to someone you think would enjoy it. (If you e-mail it for any other reason, I really don't want to know about it.) Click on the little envelope-with-an-arrow icon that is right next to (what I just learned is) the permalink of each post, which appears as the time of the post. I have not actually tried it out yet, so if you feel like being a guinea pig for me and giving it a whirl, let me know how it goes.

2. Zero-comment days really suck. I guess none of you (or at least those of you who are usually willing to comment!) are into the reality TV thing much.

August 24, 2004

We now return to our regularly scheduled blogging

Yeah, I'll say it's back to regular -- this post was lost not once, but twice. (And yes, I both saved it within Blogger and by doing a text copy before I saved -- neither one did the job in the end, I don't know why.) The heavy irony here is that I was in the middle of lauding the wonderfulness of my newly reconnected DSL when things went kaplooie. Now I don't get to use my Ferrari metaphor, and I do so love a good metaphor.

The problem is that I don't have anything much else to say. Kerry's appearance on The Daily Show was, as expected, interesting, but nothing to write home about. The piece on the Queens gas station owner who got his ass kicked by Getty for daring to go against them and lower the price of gas to unacceptable levels was more compelling.

So I'll mention my two new favorite reality TV blogs, where I get a kick out of reading their takes on The Amazing Race and Big Brother 5. This is kind of cheating because I already mentioned one of them earlier today, Too Much Free Time. Written by three people and covering a broad range of all things TV, they keep it brief and they keep it funny.

The second blog, TVgasm, has already made it on to my links list -- not that I imagine this is any sort of huge honor from their perspective, of course, just that I liked it enough right away to make the effort (since I don't use BlogRoll or the like) to go edit my template already, which I do as infrequently as possible -- but I don't think I've talked about it here. This is another team-written blog (hey, it takes a lot of hands on deck to cover the vast expanse of Reality TVLand) with five contributors, though I believe I've seen only three of them at work since I started reading. If you watch any of the current reality shows and have a sense of humor, you should stop by. The video they put together about the not-so-subtle homoerotic undercurrent between two now-evicted BB5 contestants, Scott and Jase, has become the stuff of legend. I can't wait for each week's recap of Amazing Race because it always cracks me up with how dead-on and creative it is.

Oh, and for those of us who are counting, there are only 22 more days until Survivor: Vanuatu premieres.

Please excuse us while we interrupt our normal blogging schedule for this late-breaking news:

Damn Olympics. Because of the drama over the judging in the men's gymnastics individual events last night, I elected to watch the NBC coverage instead of The Daily Show. With thanks to freakgirl at Too Much Free Time, I learned today that John Kerry is going to be on the show tonight.

Like him, dislike him, love him, hate him, or feel somewhat indifferent toward him (and no, I don't really want to hear where you stand on that particular point), you have to admit that getting him on the show is quite a coup and is going to be entertaining at the very least. Jon Stewart has been exercising his Kerry "stentorian voice," as I saw it referred to here (Reg. or BugMeNot required), in comic bits over the last few months, so it will be interesting to see how Kerry reacts to that if it comes up. Who knows? With some luck, a moment as classic as the "Boxers or briefs?" question asked of Clinton could occur. If it hasn't already, that is.

Please feel at liberty to "meet" here after the show to discuss your impressions. I'll be up.

August 23, 2004

Feelin' Frisky

No, not that kind of frisky, Mr. Cunningham. More like "tell the world how I really feel" kind of frisky.

"If I have to see that stupid McDonald's commercial that they've played a half-million times during the Olympics with the wacko woman in pukey green defending her dumb chicken strips against an empty room one more time I'm gonna hurl" kind of frisky.

"If I ever catch the jerky chick at work who leaves her disgusting mess in the ladies' room because she's too freaking lazy and inconsiderate to turn the hell around before leaving the stall, I'm probably going to be fired" kind of frisky.

You know, "go ahead and bump into me one more time with that damned shopping cart while we're waiting in line because you're impatient and busy trying to keep your whiny kids from putting their sticky hands on everything in sight and I'm going to shove that cart so far up where the sun don't shine that it will take a team of proctologists a week to figure out where you start and the cart ends" kind of frisky.

So now that I'm all good and worked up, allow me to direct you to a site that accurately captures my enmity towards all things Hummer, FUH2, "...home of the official Hummer H2 salute." (Thanks to Sean for the link!) Some of the submitters could work on their language skills, but the spirit is there and I'm all about its spirit. Some of the stories about Hummer drivers reacting to the salute are downright scary examples of road rage based on next-to-nothing.

I'm usually somewhat embarrased to live in a state with a huge Hummer proponent as its governor (Reg. or BugMeNot required) and where you'll probably find the largest proportion of Hummer owners -- and, consequently, more pictures on the FUH2 site -- so having the chance to join the saluters makes me smile.

Not-so-gentlepersons lumbering around in H2s, start your guzzler engines and the rest of us will warm up the digital cameras.

August 20, 2004

Eh, he's good but he's no Reuben

I love food. I love to eat. I love to eat out. But I am also known as being pretty picky about my food. There are a lot of foods that I flat-out don't like, and a number of combinations of foods I won't go near. It would be fair to say that "texture issues" are a common theme, though that's something a number of people I know don't really seem to understand, as becomes clear whenever the subject comes up. Good example: Potato salad. I adore it, but put anything crunchy in it, like celery or red pepper, and I won't eat.

Because of this, eating out and trying new concoctions can be an interesting challenge at times, but one I always enjoy. And while I know I won't be going to Jersey anytime soon to try it, this sandwich strikes me as pretty intriguing. Potentially artery-clogging, sure, but so yummy-sounding! The sweetest part is that it flies in the face of the B.S. of the anti-carb craziness.

Sandwiches really are many-splendored thing that we sometimes take for granted. The variety of the standard ones alone is impressive, but when you throw in more original ones like the Fat Darrell the number is almost staggering. While (of course!) I won't eat it when it's prepared in the traditional way -- I don't eat rye bread and don't like Swiss cheese all that much -- the Reuben is one of my favorite sandwiches when you sub in sourdough bread and Monterey Jack cheese. A terrifically abominable corruption to food purists I'm sure, not to mention another disgraceful example of the Californiafication of classic cuisine, but I like what I like.

Hmm, think I sense a case of the munchies coming on. Anyone up for a Dagwood? Make mine the one without onions, please.

August 19, 2004

There are Happy Meals...

...and there are happy meals. This year, the venerable McDonald's Happy Meal turns 25. The meal that launched a million "MommyMommyMommyMommyMommyMommy!" litanies and a thousand movie tie-ins is now old enough to rent a car.

Likewise, the restaurant that has sparked a million thoughts of, "Oh, momma!" is about to make its mark in Sin City. It strikes me as a little like taking coals back to Newcastle, but if it provides an opportunity for a couple hundred women in the Las Vegas area to don super-shiny stockings and outfits that are only two sizes too small while slinging pretty decent chicken dishes, it's fine by me.

Hey, maybe Hooters Air can start flying into Vegas and the air Hootesses can earn some extra money on their layovers doing a couple of shifts at the hotel. Really, the tie-in opportunities are almost limitless; Hooters has just introduced a new line of chips...Vegas, with me? Poker might never be the same.

And how about a Hooty Meal? Men will be lining up around the block for a chance to unwrap the special prize in every box if they market it right. The packs of guys who do those prototypical weekends in Vegas can unwind in the restaurants and lounges of the hotel after their rounds of golf and marathon craps sessions and be assured that what Hooters in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

August 18, 2004

Stop the octogon, I want to get off

I am already so sick of the upcoming Presidential election and we still have 74 more days of name-calling, mudslinging, vilification, misdirection, negativity and manipulative rhetoric left to go.

I have found that I don't have it in me to be very political here much anymore or respond to anyone else's baiting. It is so highly unlikely that anyone is going to change my mind about the candidates -- I can imagine nothing that could be said by anyone, anywhere, anytime, anyhow that would make me vote for the administration currently taking up space in the White House -- and I doubt I'm going to change anyone else's mind by expressing my views on the topics at hand as they pop up over the course of the next couple months...and pop up they will.

My feelings about this are not based on truly hard-core political beliefs, partisan allegiance, or an unwillingness to engage in political debate. It's that I think the country is headed in the wrong direction at the moment and, more importantly in terms of why I'm not willing to assert my opinions terribly adamantly here anymore, I've come to believe that there is really no longer such a thing in this country as actual political debate. No one seems to really listen to people who express a political opinion contrary to theirs, let alone give it any credence or consideration.

What now passes for debate on the Internet and talk shows goes something like this: One person will put forth their belief on a political matter and someone on the other end of the spectrum will respond to tell them why they are wrong. The first person will provide an example or fact to support their position and the other person will trot out a conflicting example and vehemently defend it. Then, in a knee-jerk reaction, they abandon reason and debate and start tossing around names and epithets like grenades -- "right-wing wacko," "bleeding-heart liberal," "rabid righty," "traitor," "left-wing kook," "un-American," -- and the discussion simultaneously escalates into shrillness and degenerates into a spewing of vitriol. Something I read recently sums it up pretty well: "Why debate anything when your opponents are just wrong?"

What has caused this shift from debate to shouting? I think that among the culprits are the birth of the soundbite and the tendency of the current Bush administration (and its champions with media access) to go on the offensive and put those who do not agree with them squarely in the camp of "those who are against us." If you are against us, why should we acknowledge your arguments when they must be designed to harm us -- and therefore the country since we are its leaders -- and bring us down? It's effective because it's hard to refute that kind of illogical assertion without getting defensive and defensiveness is viewed, or at least represented, as proof of the assertion. Years of that kind of leadership, especially once patriotism is dragged into the fray the way it has been because of the war in Iraq, deteriorate our collective ability to have meaningful debate.

That brings me to the column that led me to touch on this subject today. The core of this post was written almost a month ago, but I found that I was too tired to form a cohesive chain of rationale to adequately present my thoughts. So I put it aside and figured that I would either leave it unfinished or find a good reason to pull it together eventually. The combination of resignation and outrage I felt when I read this was apparently the motivation I needed.

All I could think was, "Tell me how this doesn't really prove anything, how it's just a liberal concoction to make Bush look bad. He doesn't need our help to do that, he's a one-man Punch and Judy show!" The instantaneous and strong reaction I had reminded me of my unfinished post and I realized that I had fallen into the very tendency I had decried.

The importance of this election raises the stakes for us all, and I think it's easy to let those near-automatic responses slip in and push aside the more difficult task of engaging in meaningful reflection and debate on topics that in some ways we feel powerless to affect but for which we hold the ultimate power. We have a choice to make and if we chose to make it based on "He lied...But he lied more," and other less-than-significant matters, then perhaps we don't deserve a leadership based on more than that.

August 17, 2004

German highway fun with a side of Google

There are times when I despair of the traffic here in Silicon Valley. It's not as bad as L.A., but it can be pretty bad. But then I read a story like this one and I remember that I don't have it so bad. No one makes a full-time job out of reporting all the stupid and wacky accidents that happen here like they obviously do in Germany.

They do make a full-time job out of speculating on the forthcoming Google IPO these days, however. Like most everyone else in the area (or so I imagine), I've checked out jobs at Google over the years and sometimes wished I had found a position there because it seems like a pretty cool place to work overall and they have been pretty liberal with the ol' stock options. But it just never came to pass, and I've come to believe that stock options in tech companies aren't always the boon they at first appeared to be, so I found my peace with not being Googleworthy.

Now I'm kind of glad I don't work there because the constant litany of "Will they or won't they?" following the burst of the dot-com bubble (and, with it, IPO-mania), which morphed into the "When will they finally?" over the last year, and has become "How much will it go for?" in the last couple months, would make me dotty. And, hey, who really needs to become a paper millionaire anyway? Nope, not me.

August 16, 2004

Get your month on

I can't say that I've gotten into too many blog memes, but I found this one pretty intriguing. Thanks to cbeck for assisting in its proliferation and "letting" me steal the title for this post. (As I often find at work from our clients, sometimes it's easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission!) Portions in brackets below are my attempts to make the instructions a little clearer.

Pick your birth month [from this list] and cross (strike) out what doesn't apply to you. To strike out you use the S tag. So for the cross out you would surround the [portion to be crossed out by a tag with "s" in the first set of angle brackets and "/s" in the closing set of angle brackets.] Then post the whole list for the next person or link back to here.

NOVEMBER:Has a lot of ideas. Difficult to fathom. Thinks forward. Unique and brilliant. Extraordinary ideas. Sharp thinking. Fine and strong clairvoyance. Can become good doctors. Dynamic in personality. Secretive. Inquisitive. Knows how to dig secrets. Always thinking. Less talkative but amiable. Brave and generous. Patient. Stubborn and hard-hearted. If there is a will, there is a way. Determined. Never give up. Hardly becomes angry unless provoked. Loves to be alone. Thinks differently from others. Sharp-minded. Motivates oneself. Does not appreciates praises. High-spirited. Well-built and tough. Deep love and emotions. Romantic. Uncertain in relationships. Homely. Hardworking. High abilities. Trustworthy. Honest and keeps secrets. Not able to control emotions. Unpredictable.

I suppose there's a great deal of hubris in keeping certain of the qualities and a great deal of self-effacement in deleting certain of others, and of course not all of them apply all of the time. But I figured that if I've been called any of them by people who know me well (and I have) or I have enough self-awareness to know that I possess some of them, for better or worse, (and I think I do) I might as well 'fess up to it.

August 13, 2004

"Happy cooking and bon appetit."

Good-bye, Julia Child, you will be missed. I had planned to write a short little tribute here, but flea at One Good Thing already did and better than I could have. My memories of Julia are a little fuzzier than flea's, but so warm, affectionate and omnipresent -- by which I mean that she was such an icon and a presence and one of those people whose existence in this world you take for granted to the point that you can't imagine them not being here -- that I don't mind that they're not quite as sharp nor nearly as endearing.

So go read her post, and the NY Times article she links to that is the best I've read so far today in memory of Julia, then go have a good meal with a fine glass of wine and enjoy the hell out of them.

August 12, 2004

Let the Poll begin!

The results from the last poll were clear - more of you have a green thumb than not. Go forth and help your less fortunate friends and neighbors!

It's well past time for a new poll, but nothing came to mind until I realized that I was curious about what events other people looked forward to watching when the Summer Olympic games roll around. So please take a minute and go check out the current poll. Once again, the options are listed alphabetically, so as not to risk skewing the very scientific results. I am aware that there are many events not represented, but capturing them all would have made for a very long list. When in doubt, select "The oddballs" or pick your second-favorite.

Knowing what fantastic powers of persuasion I possess and how eager my devoted audience is to show their admiration -- in a measure only slightly less than my own self-delusion -- I will reserve my vote until a few others have come in.

Oh, and if you're curious about the full slate of events, and when they're being held, check out this page from the official Games site. (Let me know if it took you as long as it took me to figure out exactly what the hell the double row of numbers at the top of the first section represents.) Happy viewing!

August 10, 2004

A whole new way to go postal

I got my head handed to me yesterday (figuratively, of course) for taking the time to write yesterday's entry -- long story, boring story, annoying story -- so today's post is going to be very short and saccharine-sweet. You know, more calories with less effort.

Today, I think I discovered the height of megalomania in America. Now, you can put the image of your precious child, dog, cat, iguana, house, spouse, domestic partner or even your own ugly mug on the envelope of your annoying "Here's how great my family was this year" letters at the holidays. No more trying to avoid the "undesirable" stamps at the post office -- pay over twice the going postage rate and have your very own personalized stamps made!

I think there should be an affidavit you must sign stating that you will never again complain about the cost of postage in this country if you elect to get these stamps for yourself.

August 09, 2004

Can I get a hall pass from the Oracle?

In case you've been hiding under a rock for the last few weeks, the Summer Olympics are almost here. Greece got its collective ass in gear and seems to have gotten everything ready in the nick of time, even getting a bridge ready ahead of schedule. (By what, a day?) Let the events, heroics, scandals, touching human-interest stories, poor coverage, and medal count begin!

Of course, along with all the medals up for grabs, security is on everyone's mind and these Games will be unprecendented in terms of the breadth and cost of security measures, with some countries providing their own security for their athletes...which may have been a condition for many of the countries even agreeing to show up. This Slate article mentions the fact that in the ancient games, there was an empire-wide truce among warring Greek parties so that the athletes and the audience could travel to and from the games in safety. I learned a few other interesting tidbits about the ancient games while in Sacramento for the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials: Married women were absolutely forbidden to enter the grounds where the games were held, upon penalty of death. On the other hand, virgins (i.e., the unmarried maidens, who were of course one in the same) were allowed and encouraged to attend because they needed to be exposed to the cream of the crop of their prospective mates, in all their naked glory. (Married women, apparently, weren't supposed to check out the goods once they were off the market.) There was even a parallel set of competitions that the maidens could enter held on the same grounds, in which the chicks from Sparta regularly kicked the other maidens' asses.

I've already expressed my worries about what might happen during these Summer Games, so I'll just mention this article that only strenghtens my fears. I listened to a radio show today featuring Juval Aviv, a counterterrorism expert consultant for Athens security quoted in this article, who really brought it home to me when he said, flat out, that this is the one Olympics he'll be watching on TV at home. (If you're at all interested, they're supposed to have the interview available on the station's Web site in the next day or so.) As mentioned in the article, "Among his concerns: no background checks on vendors and crews who built stadiums, roads and tunnels. His fear: During construction, terrorists installed explosives under roadbeds and stadium foundations...'All they have to do now is push a button.'" Um...yikes.

But, cynicism aside for a moment, I am looking forward to watching the Games. Just not so much the opening ceremony, or at least about three-quarters of it. They turn it into such a production, so bloated and heavy with meaning and symbolism, always trying to out-do the last few such ceremonies. The parade of athletes is usually pretty interesting...or at least it used to be before every other athlete started toting along a cell phone or video camera, or both. (Okay, the cynicism snuck back in, so sue me.)

August 06, 2004

Coming up for air

Q: What does it mean when there are over five hours between the time you write a title for a post and when you start to write the actual post?

A1: That work is too darned busy for a Friday;

A2: That I shouldn't even be attempted to post from work!

And here I thought it was going to be a relatively "easy" day at the old workplace. Always a dangerous feeling to have because it almost never works out that way!

Being that it was "one of those days," I'm going to go with something I found yesterday and thought I'd like to share. I suppose this article could be viewed as a metaphor on how life can be painful and difficult, but one should never give up hope because little miracles do happen, but let's just call it a cute cat story and call it a day because I'm a little too weary to get philosophical and fully explore that idea right now.

Oh, that and the very unusual event of some of my co-workers actually going out for drinks after work is taking place and I need to get the heck out of here. Cheers!

August 02, 2004

Giving the ol' Site Meter a rest

And, apparently, there's no better way to do that than by not being able to blog for quite a few days! There are about another two weeks of this madness left, but things are going to be so much nicer in my "real life" that it's really quite worth it.

In the meantime, two items I'd like to address quickly while I wind down my work day. (Shhh --don't tell!)

1. Could someone PLEASE explain to me why people keep doing searches for "AARP (television) commercial(s) ping" on a near-daily basis?? This has been the most puzzling referral trend I have detected.

Because, back who-knows-when, I had a post that talked about AARP having a stranglehold on the issue of states imposing tougher drivers license requirements (that could potentially limit the ability of older drivers to retain their privilege to drive, in the hopes that a person's diminished capacity to drive would not result in another innocent person's death) and, on the same page, mentioned some weird commercials being run by Quiznos, plus the title of the blog, oodles of people have landed here.

I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what it is that they're looking for. I've clicked on some of the other links that come up in that search, but there is nothing that I can find that links the word "ping" to anything having to do with "AARP commercials."

If you have found this post by means of doing that search -- or one like it -- you would really make my day if you would take a second and drop a line in the comments about what it is you're hoping to find.

2. While cat blogging is on hiatus (don't forget, that's Norman's fault; who, I might add, seems to really miss it because he has mentioned cat blogging at least twice on his site in the last week...), here's a little something to tide you over. (Thank you to Kimberly for the link)