Wednesday, August 31, 2005

new link to the right... 

CNN puts names and faces to our fallen soldiers in Iraq.

what she said... 

Ditto, Allison.

With the media focused on Katrina's effects on New Orleans (rightfully so), there hasn't been much reportage about the status of southern Alabama. It doesn't seem too bad, thank heavens. And I'm not thanking the heavens just because I'm praying for the folks there in general. My paternal aunt and several of my cousins live in southern Alabama, just outside of Gulf Shores, and I have no idea how they are faring. Ever since my father became estranged from the family due to his own severe mental and emotional problems, my family lost touch with his side of the family.

I doubt they're reading this, but still: take care, Aunt J. and cousins. I'm thinking about y'all and holding you in my heart.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

praying for katrina victims... 

I have nothing really to say about Hurricane Katrina, except to say that I'm praying for the folks in all affected areas.

Red Cross Donation Form

Monday, August 29, 2005

oh, stop it! 

ModelGirl and her fab fam are out of town right now, visiting her in-laws and, as always happenes when they're out of town, I'm keeping an eye on their many kitties. Right now Barkely - the oldest of the bunch and one I gave to ModelGirl over ten years ago when he was a teeny kitten - is being very affectionate, with his nuzzling of my chin and nibbling of my ear.

I suppose I should be happy someone is nuzzling and nibbling me, even if Barkley is of the feline persuasion. He's even my preferred gender!

Oh, bollocks.

musical interlude... 

being alone it can be quite romantic
like jacques cousteau underneath the atlantic
a fantastic voyage to parts unknown
going to depths where the sun’s never shone
and i fascinate myself when i’m alone

so i go a little overboard but hang on to the hull
while i’m airbrushing fantasy art on a life
that’s really kind of dull
oh, i’m in a lull

i’m all for moderation but sometimes it seems
moderation itself can be a kind of extreme
so i joined the congregation
i joined the softball team
i went in for my confirmation
where incense looks like steam
i start conjugating proverbs
where once there were nouns
this whole damn rhyme scheme’s starting to get me down

oh, i’m in a lull
i’m in a lull

being alone it can be quite romantic
like jacques cousteau underneath the atlantic
a fantastic voyage to parts unknown
going to depths where the sun’s never shone
and i fascinate myself when i’m alone

i’m rambling on rather self consciously
while i’m stirring these condiments into my tea
and i think i’m so lame
i bet i think this song’s about me
don’t i don’t i don’t i ?

i’m in a lull

Lull by Andrew Bird (from Weather Systems)


oh, how i've quizzed you... 

It's been a very long time since I've posted a quiz (borrowed from Perpetual Off Night):

The Wit

(57% dark, 38% spontaneous, 15% vulgar)

your humor style:

You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you're probably an intellectual, but don't take that to mean pretentious. You realize 'dumb' can be witty--after all isn't that the Simpsons' philosophy?--but rudeness for its own sake, 'gross-out' humor and most other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat.

I guess you just have a more cerebral approach than most. You have the perfect mindset for a joke writer or staff writer.

Your sense of humor takes the most thought to appreciate, but it's also the best, in my opinion.

You probably loved the Office. If you don't know what I'm talking about, check it out here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/theoffice/.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Jon Stewart - Woody Allen - Ricky Gervais

The 3-Variable Funny Test!
- it rules -
If you're interested, try my latest: The Terrorism Test

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
You scored higher than 77% on darkness
You scored higher than 28% on spontaneity
You scored higher than 2% on vulgarity
Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on OkCupid

Ooh, John Stewart likes me! Whee!

Oh, he's like me. Nevermind.

(How many of y'all caught The Daily Show Thursday night? John against Christopher Hitchens? A thing of beauty. No wonder he's my pretend boyfriend. *swoon*)

Modern, Cool Nerd
65 % Nerd, 56% Geek, 21% Dork For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.

A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.

A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of: Modern, Cool Nerd.

Nerds didn't use to be cool, but in the 90's that all changed. It used to be that, if you were a computer expert, you had to wear plaid or a pocket protector or suspenders or something that announced to the world that you couldn't quite fit in. Not anymore. Now, the intelligent and geeky have eked out for themselves a modicum of respect at the very least, and "geek is chic." The Modern, Cool Nerd is intelligent, knowledgable and always the person to call in a crisis (needing computer advice/an arcane bit of trivia knowledge). They are the one you want as your lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (or the one up there, winning the million bucks)!


Also, you might want to check out some of my other tests if you're interested in either of the following:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Professional Wrestling
Love & Sexuality
Thanks Again! -- THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
You scored higher than 53% on nerdiness
You scored higher than 75% on geekosity
You scored higher than 22% on dork points
Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on Ok Cupid

Thursday, August 25, 2005

'fessin' up... 

Y'all may have noticed that, while I mention politics here, I'm not publishing any rants. That's 'cause my rants are going elsewhere for the time being.

One thing that I'm trying to institute with the SoCal Grassroots site is a political blog (which was actually the idea of the other contributor listed on the blog - and no, that's not MusicianMan). It hasn't been officially accepted yet by the committee, but I have posted a few entries over there, so that the writers I've invited can see what we're looking for. If y'all wanna check it out, it's at So Cal Grassroots. No comments have been enabled yet (there's still work to do on the mechanics - we have very definite things in mind), but you're more than welcome to read the entries. Hopefully we'll have more writers there soon. And it'll probably undergo a number of changes before it's in its final form. After all, it is still just a baby blog.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

long time no launchcast... 

I haven't written about my love about KGDS in a long time, but with it playing Not While I'm Around from Sweeney Todd, I'm in love anew. *sigh*

Monday, August 22, 2005

über cool... 

During lunch I got to drive the little golf cart again, this time to the JPL Store (yes, there is JPL Store - I bought the cutest lil' knit hat for BSDaughter and NASA decals for BSSon since I'll be seeing them this Saturday for BSSon's birthday party) and then to the cafeteria. And, as I stood in line to pay for my to-go lunch, I looked out over the room full of lunching JPLers. Then, as I walked back to the golf cart (and how wise is it to entrust the keys to the golf cart to someone who doesn't drive often, I ask you?), my eyes took in the sights of strolling and chatting JPLers. A happy thought crossed my mind:

Science and engineering geeks as far as the eye could see, many of them cute and youngish and male. Damn, life is good...

mo' better moblogging... 

It took me forever, but after being hypnotized by the shifting pictures on Chuck's blog for, like, ever, I thought I'd start up a moblog. Less than a half hour old, and I'm already in love with it. Maybe I'll actually start taking pictures of the political events I attend. Especially since I'm seriously considering attending this one. If I can get a host family set up (and since the person organizing the host families happens to be MusicianMan, it's a definite possibility) and I can get a good airfare (right now I'm looking at less than $250 round trip), I think it's pretty damned likely. Since I've never been to D.C. before and, in fact, haven't been back to the Northeast since I was a kid, I'm kinda excited.

Cross your fingers for me, everyone...

Sunday, August 21, 2005

what have i done? 

Just what the hell have I gotten myself into?

I think I mentioned before that I'm now the Managing Editor of the SoCal Grassroots web site. We finally have it up and running, which is great, but now is the time to turn it from a web site with a bunch of events and a few links into something truly dynamic. Of course I have all sorts of ideas, which I'm running past the other members of the committee, but I'm also not jumping on a few things the way I should. And with the chair of the Communications Committee going on hiatus for maternity leave, the co-chair taking a breather due to health issues and a new interim chair until the end of the year (who is a good guy and someone I'm sure I can work with - it's just that I had gotten such a great rapport going with the co-chair), well, I've been thrown a little by all the changes. Not to mention that, unlike all of my other online work, I actually have to run my ideas by others rather then just do what I like.

It doesn't help that, by nature, I am a consensus taker. One would think that would be an asset, but one would be wrong. Because I have a sneaking feeling that the sort of content I would like to see on the site might be considered to be somewhat reactionary by a few of the folks in the group. And the writers I'd like to use for the site and its prospective blog are what some would call "bomb throwers". Not literally, of course, but they like to lob words and ideas that, while truthful, tend to get folks' hackles up, even when said writers are being diplomatic and respectful. Personally, I don't have a problem with that. Let's put the truth out there and timid people be damned. But, again, it's not all about me on the SCG site. So now it's time for a little of that diplomacy that I've been known to use on occasion.

Oh, this is going to be a wild ride.


I wonder, though, if I possess some of that "fear of success" that so many talk about. I'm excited about everything I'm doing, but I also notice that I'm dragging my heels a bit. Part of it is what I mentioned above - I'm dreading, to a certain extent, having to have everything approved by a committee, not to mention the fact this is all incredibly new to me and I have a certain fear of fucking up, now that I'm in a much more visible position than I had been before. But I seriously doubt that's all of it.

I'm finding that people are asking my my opinion about things. Which is strange for me, because I still feel like such an uneducated newbie, especially next to all these folks who have been involved in political activism for far longer than my meager eight months. While I'm certainly more up on current political events than I used to be, I'm still way behind on a lot of things. So I don't feel all that qualified to provide an answer.

On top of that, last Sunday I attended three meetings in a row, the last of which was the Communications meeting, during which a new chair was chosen. The fellow nominated (hereafter known as IrishWriter - he's very proud of his Irish heritage) agreed to accept the position, but only with the stipulation that there be a co-chair. I was busy going over a few things with another SCG member because I wanted to catch him before he left, so I didn't notice that apparently IrishWriter had been looking my way when he mentioned the co-chair position. After some discussion which I didn't really hear, it was decided that MusicianMan would be the Communications co-chair. Which I think is an excellent choice, but damn, doesn't the man have enough on his plate?

After the Communications meeting IrishWriter came up to me and gave me a big hug (which, as a big bear of a man, is a pretty big hug), then whispered in my ear that he had been trying to catch my eye to see if I would be interested in being co-chair, but couldn't do so, and since I seemed to be rather oblivious to his attempts, MusicianMan was named co-chair. I thanked him for his confidence in me, but told him I didn't know if it was something I could do at this time anyway. And besides, I really didn't feel comfortable accepting a leadership position just yet.

Why am I so afraid of things like this? And it is fear, I know that. I've been pushing many of my boundaries all year, why should I put the breaks on things now? Because I do feel as if I'm close to some major things and it's freaking me the hell out? Very possible. And when I have people like MusicianMan and IrishWriter and others showing so much encouragement, as other friends have in the past with various projects I've started, then abandoned, why do I continue to stop and stand still, digging my heels in to prevent me from continuing with this forward momentum?

Well, this time I know I can't abandon this whole political activism thing. 'Cause it's not just about me anymore. This a whole other ball of yarn, a much bigger one, and I can't let it unravel. There's too much at stake.

Deep breath...let it out slowly...

no shortage of exercise... 

So up until the beginning of August I was unemployed. I had been for two months, almost to the day. Though I'd kept fairly busy, I still had a fair amount of downtime. So I had ridden my (rather heavy and nearly ancient one speed) bicycle on just about a daily basis. I had pretty much used it for the majority of my shopping and errands, thanks to the two saddle baskets in the back (I looked like a primo dork, but I didn't care). When my modem had died, I was biking to the library every day - approximately 2.2 miles one way. I would say that I averaged 4 miles a day five days a week (some days I'd ride only 3 miles and others about 7 miles). And I have the permanently sore bottom to prove it.

I knew I'd go back to work eventually and I was looking forward to it, but I also knew I'd miss my near daily bicycling. And I was afraid that I wouldn't have the time or energy to exercise before or after work.

I was a fool to worry. Oh, I know I don't have the time or energy. I'm up at ButtCrack AM (aka 4am) so that I can make all of my connections and be in the office by 7:30am. and though I get off work at 4:30pm (which seems like an obscene luxury), it still takes awhile to get home, so I am one toasted chickadee once I walk through the front door at just before 7pm. And those are the days when I don't have a meeting or social commitment after work.

Still, I'm finding no shortage in the exercise department now that I'm experiencing such full days. First of all, unitl it developed a flat tire a couple of weeks ago, I'd been riding my one speed to and fro the MetroRail Station every morning and evening. And since then (mainly because I've had no time to take my bike to the nearest bike shop to repair the tire), through the kind auspices of MusicianMan, I've been riding his 10 speed racing bike everyday to the station.

(Quick side note: he had offered me the usage of his 10 speed before the flattening of my tire. I had been tellng him about my bike, and he had replied that riding a one speed like that verged on insanity and I was welcome to borrow his 10 speed, which had merely been sitting in his garage since he had gotten a new 21 speed hybrid mountain bike. Needless to say, when my bike tire went PFFFT less than 48 hours after our conversation, I gratefully took the man up on his offer.)

So the one way mileage of the MetroRail station trip is just over a mile. Not too far, but all I can handle at that time of the morning, when I'm barely awake. So then I take a couple of trains and a bus to JPL, which drops me off at the front of the lab grounds. Thing is, I work all the way at the back of the lab (which is very much like a college campus). Not only do I work at the back of the lab, but I have to hike up a hill or two on the way, neither of which are of a gentle incline. The distance from the front of the lab to my desk, according to my pedometer? 0.65 miles, and that's with shorcuts. Let's just say that I put in some serious exercise just to get to and from work. And if I miss a connection in the morning, I have to hike to another bus stop in Pasadena that's about a mile away from the train station so that I can grab a bus that won't potentially make me late. Because the preferred bus that takes me to JPL runs once every 50 minutes.

I have to say, I don't know what kind of shape I'm going to be in when all is said and done, but I do know that I'm going to be a hell of a lot better off. And that ain't too shabby.

she's alive! 

At least, that's the rumor going 'round town.

This entry that I'm typing? This one right here? I actually wrote a few weeks ago in a notebook when I was having a wee bit of down time. Same with the next one I'm going to type out a little later today. Yeah, I suck. But really, when was that ever a surprise?

So just pretend it's the first week of August, 'k? After all, wasn't it such a lovely week that you'd be happy to re-live?


I'm not exactly big with the timely reporting these days, am I? Else I would have written of so long ago about attending the Villaraigosa inauguration. Not that there's much to tell. I went, I stood at the back of the crowd in high heat for several hours, I cursed my usually comfortable stylish, yet mostly practical low-heeled shoes, I ran into people I knew and I headed out to Pasadena to meet Boychik and helped him move for a billion hours. Not exactly thrilling, though I was, again, impressed by Villaraigosa. And I continue to be impressed.

What else, what else? Oh yeah. As I mentioned before, I worked on the Out of Iraq Town Hall held on July 23rd, aka Downing Street Memo Day amongst us progressive types. I was asked to be a real-time blogger for the event, but my lack of laptop prevented that. Too bad, as I think it would have been fun. Though, knowing me, I would have gotten too caught up in everything to remember to write about it. I got too caught up in everything to remember to take pictures and that takes a hell of a lot less time.

However I did help MusicianMan with verifying media list info. The poor fella had a ton of technical stuff dumped on him at the last minute, so he called up a few people to help, including me (and that was a long, long process, let me tell ya). And on the day of the event I observed and helped pass out media list papers (whee!) and tried to relieve several tabling volunteers outside, though to no avail. I guess they liked the heat. I also went with a group to the Universal MetroRail station to pass out Downing Street Memo literature in an effort to get the truth out to people (i.e. tourists - the station is across the street from Universal Studios) who may not be hearing about it due to lack of media coverage.

As far as my impressions of the teach-in, it was interesting. Most of the information I already knew, but the speakers were, for the most part, interesting. I can see why Maxine Waters has been elected numerous times - she's a dynamic speaker of conviction. Jane Bright - a founding member of Gold Star Families for Peace - was very moving in speaking about her son who was killed in Iraq. The same can be said of Fernando Suarez del Solar, stunning in his passion about the illegal war in Iraq and how it claimed the life of his son. And once again I was taken by Tim Goodrich, one of the founders of Iraq Veterans Against the War and a well spoken young man whom I'd heard speak a couple of months prior at an event titled Soldiers' Stories.

But, of course, the highlight for me was Mike Farrell (a video of his speech. along with a number of others, can be found at truth out). I just have to say, yet again, that he rocks, even if he was incredibly distracted when I re-intorduced myself.

So yeah, cool stuff. And it promises to get cooler and busier.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

evidence abounds... 

...that I am the biggest dork in all of history. Why? Because the biggest kick I got out of the day was driving a little golf cart around JPL when I had to pick up an instructor from the visitor center. And then, when I had to take her back at the end of the day? Another trek in the cart. Yes, I found it really fun. Because I am the biggest dork in all the land.

Though dinner and coffee with TheFirst was fun too. And he agreed. See?

Is that the face of a man having a good time or what?

Friday, August 12, 2005

Here I Am... 

...ending my second week at JPL, and allow me to say, I'm still super jazzed. Nothing I do is directly related to science, as it's administrative/customer support for the internal education of employees and contractors (JPL is big on promoting education and giving its employees the tools to do their jobs well - what a concept!), but walking around the lab grounds fills me with a thrill and sense of wonder, much like how I felt the first time I worked on a studio lot or when I worked on Sunset after a lifetime spent in a suburb of one kind or another. Surreal and pretty much at home. I already feel comfortable with my co-workers, which is great.

I'm liking this whole JPL thing. It's all good.

(I've got two other entries written in my notebook, done during a rare slow time last week, but I haven't had the time to type them in here. Hopefully soon.)

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Carol/Female/36-40. Lives in United States/California/Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley, speaks English. Spends 40% of daytime online. Uses a Normal (56k) connection.
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United States, California, Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, English, Carol, Female, 36-40.

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