Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Fun with Technology

Every now and then I find some bit of technology that just makes me all giddy and happy and I feel like I have to share this with everyone. I have found such a thing.

Last Wednesday when I went to see Pride and Prejudice, I got home late and then realized that I had forgotten to set my VCR to tape Lost. Now, I hate being so addicted to a TV show that I feel like I have to tape it but I am addicted to Lost so there you go. And yes, I was very bummed that I had forgotten to tape the show. So…I spent some time later in the week trying to figure out how I could catch this episode.

I have to confess that eventually, I decided to see if I could download it from the internet even though I know that is illegal. Yeah, that is right. I would sell out my morals for an episode of a TV show! I hate to admit it but it is true. Luckily, I didn’t have to.

My search for downloads led me to the Apple itunes site. It turns out that Apple has a deal with ABC and they are offering episodes of Lost for downloading at a mere $1.99 each and it is perfectly on the up and up and legal and everything. Also, no commercials. I was so pleased about that last thing that I might find myself downloading episodes anyways although, since one has to wait a full day after the episode airs to do the download, I might find that I cannot wait. Still, this is pretty good news and it means no more missed episodes of TVshows for me.

I hope more of the major networks will start doing this. I love the idea of On Demand programming and even pay per show programming is pretty cool. I wonder if this could lead to more niche programming. There are a lot of TV shows that I like that end up getting cancelled because a network wont support them. Sometimes they survive in syndication but sometimes they don’t. What would happen if producers of such a show could offer it on demand were people pay something like $2 to watch an episode? It could mean that more shows survive if they have enough people willing to pay.

It also means that TV shows would not be at the mercy of advertisers who have been known to pull ads from controversial TV shows. I have long thought that this is why almost all of the really good TV shows of the last five years have been on pay cable channels like HBO: Wonderfalls and Lost being the two exceptions I can think of.

Anyways, technology is fun isn’t it?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

My Brother's Wedding

Jonathan and Katrina

I just got back from Toronto where my brother got married yesterday. It was a really nice wedding. They got married in a Catholic church. The priest was really funny. He was telling his little sermon and he started telling a story about sick man whose doctor told his wife that because he was so sick, he would really need to be taken care of. That he wouldnt be able to do anything around the house and she would have to cook for him and clean for him and essentially do his every bidding or else he would die.

I was sitting there thinking, "OH man, this is another one of those speeches about how a good wife has to obey her husband and cater to his every need" and while he was telling this little story I was already thinking about the blog I would write about how such attitudes grate on me.

Then, he finished his story. After the doctor tells the wife that she has to do everything for him (cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc) including his every bidding or else he will die, the wife goes in her husband's hospital room and lovingly picks up his hand and looks deep into his eyes. The husband says, "What did the doctor say, honey?"

She says, "I am afraid it is bad, dear. It seems that you are going to die"

After the wedding, there was a reception at the hotel where everyone was staying and we did the usual chatting with everyone routine and getting to know Katrina's family a bit better. Katrina has a really neat family. They are all very interesting people. I really enjoyed talking to one of her aunts who is a Spanish diplomat's wife. She lives in Malina and flew all the way to Toronto just for the wedding. She said that all throughout her marriage they have moved to a different country every 3 or 4 years. She speaks something like eight languages!

Everyone at the wedding had all kinds of fun telling the story about how Jonathan and Katrina met. When my brother was eleven years old, my family was involved with a group called Children's International Summer Villages. They sent my brother to a village in the Philippines. Katrina's mother had recently gotten involved with CISV there and had sent Katrina the same camp. They included a photo of them both taken at the camp when they were 11 years old on their invitations to the wedding. Anyhow, they kept in touch through the years and one thing led to another and now they are married. Kind of cool when you think about it.

Anyhow, I had a nice time. Whatever bitchiness my mom had going on on Thanksgiving had worn off and she very pleasant the whole weekend. Everyone else in my family was on their best behavior too, including me. Even certain crazy members of the family managed to tune down the crazies and all was well and good.

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Thanksgiving Report

I did Thanksgiving at my parents’ house as usual. And as usual it was kind of stressful. My mom always gets very stressed out about the whole thing and gets pissed if she doesn’t think I am helping enough. I am generally hesitant to help out though because if one doesn’t do everything her way, she gets all pissy about it.

My favorite part of the holiday is that time, after everyone has eaten and they are sitting around the table chatting and telling stories. That is the time when my mother wants me clearing the table or serving coffee or whatever. I got out of clearing the table because my sister was with us this year due to getting a divorce over the summer. But, I still had to go serve the pie RIGHT AFTER DINNER when no one really is ready for pie. Well, I wasn’t ready for pie yet anyways.

The pie serving wouldn’t have been so bad except she had to get up to criticize how I was doing it. My thought about that was that it probably took at least as much energy for her to get up and come into the kitchen to bitch at me about how I was cutting the pie as it would for her to cut and serve the pie herself. It certainly would have been easier for both of us if she simply did it herself. Or she could have relaxed at the table and not put energy into being such a bitch. She is only like this at holidays too. I think she has some notion that when she is the holiday hostess, everything has to be perfect (her version of perfect) or something.

It wasnt just the pie thing either that pissed me off. She totally *had* to get on my case about how I handled things last weekend with my dog Crissy. I spent too much money on an old dog. I should have gone to a cheaper vet. I shouldnt have run any tests. blah blah blah. She isnt usually this bad but she used to be like this EVERY day when I was in high school. I remember once she went to see a play I was in and then wouldnt shut up about how terrible it was and how she couldnt understand why we would choose a play that was written so badly (I told her that was because it was written by students). GRRRR. I would just as soon forget about that particular aspect of her personality.

It occurred to me, later on, that I would have had a much nicer holiday sitting home alone with a frozen turkey dinner. It wasn’t like I got to enjoy my favorite part of the day anyways Oh well. Maybe next year I will remember to demand complete pie autonomy and will bring the whole pies to the table with a stack of plates so I can sit and chat while cutting the pie. Ah well. Isn’t that how it always is? One always thinks of a better way to handle a situation after the situation is past and nothing can be done about it.

Or maybe next year, I will have Thanksgiving at my house. I’ll just get the Meijer turkey dinner and serve it all on paper plates. I’ll get everyone all liquored up first so they don’t notice that the dinner is from Meijer. When I told this plan to a friend, she said I should bring all the Meijer stuff home and put it in casserole pans in my oven so I could pretend that I cooked it all myself. Yeah…I think it could be a workable plan although I still think the frozen turkey dinner idea sounds attractive.

Pride and Prejudice

Wednesday night a friend from work and I went to see Pride and Prejudice. I think it was a good version although I will have to be very unoriginal and agree with almost every review I read about the film which is:

  • It is a pretty good version and mostly faithful to the novel.
  • They should have stuck to Austin’s dialog. I mean, Austin was a genius at wonderful witty little exchanges. Why mess with perfection?
  • It was well cast. There was one review that said that Keira Knightley was a bad choice for Elizabeth Bennet because she was too beautiful for the part and it is the older sister, Jane, who is supposed to be the great beauty. I guess it just goes to show you that different people have different standards of beauty because I thought she was fine for the part and not especially beautiful when compared to Rosamund Pike’s Jane. As for the rest of the cast, what can I say? Donald Sutherland! He is awesome. And Judy Dench too. She did a wonderful Lady Catherine de Bourg!
  • Even though it was really good, it was not as good as the BBC mini-series with Colin Firth.

All in all, it was fun to see. We saw it at the Michigan Theater which is always fun even though the seats aren’t too comfortable. The elegance and beautiful surroundings of the theater sort of make up for that though. There weren’t too many men in the audience which I thought was funny. Oh well, all those guys are missing out on a good story.

My favorite part was a group of teenage girls sitting down on the main floor giggling throughout the film in a way that really reminded me of Lydia and Kitty. I wondered if they saw themselves a bit in those characters. Even though Austin didn’t particularly paint them favorably, I have to admit that I always found that pair to be somewhat charming. The whole giddiness of their characters was always really refreshing and I hope that those girls didn’t feel they should reign in their joy because such behavior was, at one time, frowned upon. Judging by the noises I heard as that group exited the theater, I would say there isn’t much danger in that!

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Thanks everyone for reading and have a good holiday!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

GAS, Filanges, and Verbal Farting

A long time ago, some girl friends and I used to have a terribly sexist inside joke about what we called "male answer syndrome" I have since noticed that this syndrome seems to strike almost as many women as men so I now call it Gender-unspecified Answer Syndrome (GAS). Basically, it occurs when someone simply does not have the ability to say the words "I dont know" and instead gives a plausible sounding answer that isnt actually backed up by any knowledge on their part. Basically, they BS their way through an answer. I often think of it as verbal farting. Some people are really good at this. I see it all the time in my department at work. It makes me laugh though because often, I am an expert on the subject and I know that the words coming out of these people's mouths are just plain made up and wrong. But you know, if you put enough technical jargon into a sentence, non-technical people just don’t understand it.

And then there is the whole “Emperor’s New Clothes” phenomenon where people just aren’t able to admit that they don’t know what the sufferer of GAS is talking about. So, in the technical world, I often find myself at a lot of meetings where one person who doesn’t know what he/she is talking about is BSing their way through a meeting to a group of other people who wont admit that they don’t understand the BS. They usually go like this:

Person with GAS: I think the problem is that the filange packets are stuck in the flux capacitor of the server.

Management type: I see. Well what can we do to fix this filange problem?

Person with GAS: I think we will need to do a high colonic on the flux capacitor and write a script to sniff out the filange.

Management type: When can you do this? I am VERY concerned about this filange problem.

Person with GAS: I’ll get on it right now!

Management type: Good, I’ll check on you right after I attend my “Dihydrogen Monoxide and How it Effects Our Business” conference.

I bring all of this up because lately I have noticed more and more people doing this at work. I notice this especially in the areas where I actually am an expert and one of only two experts on certain things in the whole department. I read people’s notes and find myself cracking up because I know they are just making stuff up.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Dog's Death

One of the things I have noticed about my own personal grieving process is that once I get really sad, my mind often latches onto some long forgotten poem or song. I find myself repeating it over and over in my mind for days or weeks. It is oddly comforting although I am not sure why. So this time has been no exception. And the poem is one by John Updike called "Dog's Death" and even though it is about a puppy and Crissy was really old, there is some emotion that Updike captures that is hitting home with me. Maybe it is the whole idea that even when dying, a dog will still do anything they can to please their people.

DOG'S DEATH by John Updike

She must have been kicked unseen or brushed by a car.
Too young to know much, she was beginning to learn
To use the newspapers spread on the kitchen floor
And to win, wetting there, the words, "Good dog! Good dog!"

We thought her shy malaise was a shot reaction.
The autopsy disclosed a rupture in her liver.
As we teased her with play, blood was filling her skin
And her heart was learning to lie down forever.

Monday morning, as the children were noisily fed
And sent to school, she crawled beneath the youngest's bed.
We found her twisted and limp but still alive.
In the car to the vet's, on my lap, she tried
To bite my hand and died. I stroked her warm fur
And my wife called in a voice imperious with tears.
Though surrounded by love that would have upheld her,
Nevertheless she sank and, stiffening, disappeared.

Back home, we found that in the night her frame,
Drawing near to dissolution, had endured the shame
Of diarrhea and had dragged across the floor
To a newspaper carelessly left there. Good dog.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The End

Crissy had a rough night. She slept until 3am or so. Around that time, I heard her try to get up and I heard her collapse on the floor when she couldnt quite make it. She had some more diarrhea so I cleaned that up and I gave her some more water to drink.

At 7am, she wasnt sleeping but she wasnt doing much besides lying in her bed. Her breathing was labored and she didnt look particularly comfortable. I decided that I had to take her to the vet.

Unfortunately, my vet had a family emergency and wasnt there. The office was closed so I had to drive over to the Emergency Vet. They examined her and said it didnt look good. The vet there said that he was pretty sure that her organs were shutting down. I ordered a lot of tests anyways because I felt that I needed to be sure. They found that her kidneys werent functioning nor her liver which had a mass. Her red blood cells were very very low. Her heart was very enlarged. Basically, she was dying. So...I made that decision that is always hard to make and I had them put her down.

And now I miss her.

I don’t know much about her early life. She was adopted as a young adult dog by a group home for mentally ill adults. She lived there for several years until the company that ran the group home lost their contract to run it and the new management said “No Dogs.” The residents of the home were apparently heartbroken but the dog had to go.

I worked for the company that used to run that group home. Crissy was homeless and headed for the pound. I felt that I couldnt let that happen because since she was an older dog, going to the shelter probably would mean certain death. So I took her in on a temporary basis until a more permanent home could be found for her.

At the time, I had a dog at home (Brooke) who just wasnt doing well being alone during the day. I found that after Crissy came to live with us, Brooke’s daytime destruction and crying really got a lot better. Within a few weeks, Crissy had settled in. Even the cat liked her. That was eight and a half years ago.

Friday, November 18, 2005



I have a sick dog. A very sick dog. I am not sure she is going to live through the weekend but I am hopeful.

It started earlier this week with some diarrhea. Something that is pretty normal for this particular dog since she tends to eat all kinds of crazy things when we are out. When I came home from work on Wednesday, there was some diarrhea on the floor. I cleaned it up but wasnt particularly worried. I wasnt even worried all Wednesday night when she woke me up a few times during the night.

On Thursday morning, I was a bit worried because I had a lunch appointment so I knew I couldnt come home. I papered an entire room with old towels, news paper and puppy pads. She chose another room. When I got home from work Thursday night, it was like there had been a diarrhea explosion. She even somehow managed to poo down a heating vent which meant I had to unscrew the vent cover to get down there to clean it up. She woke me up more during the night Thursday night than she did the previous night and in the morning, she really didnt look too good.

I had to go to work this morning anyways but I went in an hour late and took her outside and made sure she had ample time out there. She seemed ok when I left for work and I was back to check on her in just over two hours due to an early lunch. One small bit of diarrhea but nothing like yesterday. But the dog just didnt look good. I took her outside and she collapsed in the yard. I had to carry her back in. I left her in the kitchen and went back to work.

Once there, I just couldnt concentrate. I talked my boss into letting me go home early without penalty which was very very nice of him to do. I know I have bitched a lot about work lately but I really appreciate that I was allowed to leave today.

I came home and found her shaking and lying right where I left a puddle of liquid diarrhea. It was clear that she had tried to get up but couldnt. I cleaned her up and checked her temperature (normal, thank goodness) and checked her skin. She was really really dehydrated.

I know I should have picked her up right then and rushed to the veterinarian’s office but I just couldnt. I guess I was afraid that they would want to keep her overnight and the last time I did that with a pet, the pet died alone at the vet’s office. I just couldnt bear the thought of that. So I got some chicken broth and put it in a dish and told myself that if she drank it, I would keep her here and if she didnt, I would take her to the vet.

She drank it! A whole bowl. So I got her another and she drank that too. So I got her a bowl of plain water and she drank that too and then another. She drank about a quart of liquid and started looking a lot better immediately. I got her to stand up and led her over to her bed which I had already covered in puppy pads. She settled in and has been sleeping ever since. She looks comfortable now but hasnt tried to stand up so I am not sure if she will be able to.

I went to the grocery store and bought several more cans of chicken broth and some beef broth too. I got her some plain rice and some gravy to put on it later if she can tolerate the rice. My plan is to keep giving her broth and water tonight. My vet is open on Saturday mornings so if she doesnt improve a lot more by morning, I will take her in. I have decided that I wont leave her there though. I am going to stay home all weekend and make sure she is drinking enough. I think she was so weak because she was dehydrated. I suspect that she was dehydrated because she has trained herself over the years not to drink much water when I am not home and I wasnt home. She is drinking now though and her skin is springing back so I think she has rehydrated significantly

It is funny too because even though she is really old and I have kind of been preparing myself for her death, when I actually thought about that earlier today I still got really sad. I know it has to happen and probably soon but I really don’t want it to be now. She is currently snoring loudly in her bed and it is the most delicious sound I have heard all day.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A Love-Hate Relationship

It was snowing as I left for work this morning. Snow can be a real pain in the neck. It makes it harder to drive. It is cold. It means extra chores (shoveling). And yet, even though there is so much not to like about it, I always get this feeling of utter excitement the first time we have real snow falling.

Some people think of the beginning of winter as being the solstice in December. But for me, it is the first time it snows. So for me…it is winter now. And I love it too until around January when it gets *really* cold and I am sick of the snow and forget to notice just how beautiful it is.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Busy and just not into writing

I know I havent blogged in a while. I have been really busy for the past several days. Today is the first evening in almost a week when I have been able to simply come home from work and have the time as my own. I have been doing fun stuff though.

Another Wedding:

On Saturday I went to wedding #2 for my cousin Anthony and his wife Melissa. It was at the Russian Orthodox church. When I was invited to it, I thought it was just going to be a small casual church thing with just a few people. NOT!!! There was basically another wedding with a ton of guests and a catered reception and everything. I was rather hung over from the night before which was odd because I didnt really drink that much. Still, I was hung over enough that even when faced with an open bar, I couldnt bring myself to order anything other than just plain old pop.

Hanging With My Homies

I spent Sunday with my friends Andee and Luanne who are just amazing. I always love talking to them. First Andee and I did the whole Costco shopping thing which is always something I like to do even though I am prone to buying a whole lot of stuff I dont need. I was very good on this trip though. Then we met Luanne at the movie theater. We went to see The Weather Man which was way better than I expected it to be. All three of us were sobbing hard enough to require tissues. I guess you could say it passes the cry test for being a chick movie. But it was really funny too.

Anyways, I havent been writing much here but that is ok.

Friday, November 11, 2005

We Are Holding Our Own

Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. A tragedy made especially famous by Gordon Lightfoot’s song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald which is, in my opinion, one of the greatest shipwreck songs ever written. It has long been a favorite among my friends and we are known to start singing it loudly and badly when we are drinking (and sometimes when we are not drinking). It is odd that such a song about such a tragedy can become such symbol of close bonding but it just goes to show you that sometimes good can come of bad sometimes.

And yet, even though I have mostly good associations with Lightfoot’s song, I never forget about the event that inspired it. The sinking of a good ship and the loss of 29 lives. Sometimes I don’t think that people who have never been to the Great Lakes don’t understand the significance of the event. They don’t really realize that lake freighters aren’t small little boats. They are behemoths and giants. They are typically much larger than their ocean going sisters and the Edmund Fitzgerald was the biggest and best of them all. Lightfoot wasn’t exaggerating when he called her “The pride of the American Side” It takes a lot to sink a boat like that.

I used to live in Sault Ste Marie which is on the far eastern edge of Whitefish Bay. Because I was always intrigued by the song, I decided to drive up to Whitefish point one November morning when the forecast was for a storm. I remember standing there on the beach looking westward over Lake Superior. The waves were crashing and the wind was picking up. The sky was the most beautiful shade of dark grey and it reminded me of the color of a pair of eyes belonging to a man I loved. Snow flurries were being whipped around with the wind like little swirling mini-tornados. They looked like ghosts or spirits. It was cold with the kind of cold that grabs you by the bones and shakes you until you can hardly breathe. And the wind roars and the lake churns and it is then, just then, when one really gets what is meant by “Superior sings in the rooms of her icewater mansion”

I could barely stand it to be on that beach looking at the awesome beauty of Lake Superior gripped in the fury of a November storm. It was uncomfortable and brutal. It was then that I thought of the sailors out on the lake that day. Of how I might be uncomfortable but I was safe and had firm land under my feet and a warm house to go back to. I found myself sitting home later with my radio on and Gordon Lightfoot’s voice in the air. I was glad to be there.

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, Gordon Lightfoot

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down,
of the big lake they call Gitchigumi
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
when the skies of November turn gloomy
With a load of iron ore, 26,000 tons more
than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
when the gales of November came early

The ship was the pride of the American side,
coming back from some mill in Wisconsin
As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most,
with a crew and good captain well-seasoned
Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
when they left, fully loaded for Cleveland
And later that night when the ship's bell rang,
could it be the north wind they'd been feeling?

The wind in the wires made a tattletale sound,
and a wave tumbled over the railing
And every man knew, as the captain did too,
'twas the Witch of November come stealing
The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait,
when the gales of November came slashing

When afternoon came, it was freezing rain,
in the face of a hurricane west wind
When suppertime came, the old cook came on deck,
saying, "Fellas, it's too rough to feed ya"
At seven p.m., the main hatchway caved in, he said,
"Fellas, it's been good to know ya"
The captain wired in he had water coming in,
and the good ship and crew was in peril
And later that night, when its lights went out of sight,
came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Does anyone know where the love of God goes
when the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
if they'd put fifteen more miles behind her
They might have split up or they might have capsized,
they may have broke deep and took water
And all that remains is the faces and the names
of the wives and the sons and the daughters

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
in the rooms of her icewater mansion
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams,
the isles and bays are for sportsmen
And farther below, Lake Ontario
takes in what Lake Erie can send her
And the iron boats go, as the mariners all know,
with the gales of November remembered

In a musty old hall in Detroit, they prayed
at the Maritime Sailors' Cathedral
The church bell chimed till it rang 29 times,
for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down,
of the big lake they call Gitchigumi

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Fashion Faux Pas

I woke up late this morning sort of. Actually, I woke up at my usual time but the dogs were all still asleep and not demanding to be let out so I just laid back and enjoyed listening to their snores instead of getting up and getting ready like I should have been doing.

When I finally just had to get up, I was late enough that I really just had to run downstairs and grab the first thing that was clean. I grabbed: purple plaid capris, a turquoise shirt that says "Hawaii" and a Teal Patagonia fleece pullover (with purple trim so it kind of matches the pants). The t-shirt is really long and the pullover is a little on the short side. I naturally didnt tuck in my shirt or anything.

Shortly after I arrived at work this morning, I went into the bathroom with the full length mirror and I had to gasp. I looked ridiculous! But hey, I punched in on time and it isnt like I have a reputation for being a snappy dresser anyways so I dont have to worry about ruining that. I had to laugh though. My hair was all over the place because I didnt brush it this morning and my t-shirt was enough longer than the pullover to make me look quite weird. It occurred to me that if I added some lime green leg warmers and then a mask that was just a plain black rectangle, I could have a Halloween costume as one of those "What NOT to wear" features in magazines.

I forgot about how silly I looked and decided to run up to the gas station at lunch. As I was waiting in line to pay, I noticed the woman behind me was looking at me in a seriously funny way. All of her body language screamed: THE HORROR!!! I thought that if this woman is a blogger, I might stumble across one of those “you should have seen the big fat woman wearing purple Capri pants in November” posts. Usually such posts end with “What was she thinking when she got dressed this morning”

The truth is I know perfectly well that I look silly. I knew it as I was getting dressed. But sometimes looking silly is worth 15 minutes of peace where one can lie back and be contented just to listen to a dog snore. Really. I guess that is one of the nice things about getting older…one’s priorities change. And one becomes freer in a way. Free enough to wear a red hat with a purple dress (ala Jenny Joseph’s famous poem) and free enough to wear purple plaid Capri pants in November.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Election Day

Last Sunday, I read an interesting article in The New York Times Magazine about voting and about incentives to vote. Click here for a link. It was written by STEPHEN J. DUBNER and STEVEN D. LEVITT who are the authors of the popular book Freakonomics. Basically they point out something I have discussed with Econ professors in school before. What are the incentives to vote? As Levitt and Dubner point out, there is little individual incentive other than responding to social pressures. People vote more because they feel they should than because they can actually matter to the outcome of the election with their one vote.

However, one thing that Levitt doesnt get into is how groups can gain political power by voting. And while on an individual level, it might be pressure from the group that gets one into the voting booth, there is no way to deny that groups that are able to get their members out to vote have quite a lot of power *as groups* in the political arena. I can think of several cohesive groups that are able to get their people to the polls and those votes do change things.

And if I were a politician, I have to admit that when making policy I might consider the wants of the mega-church which can get its members to the polls over the wants of Economists who apparently as a group dont go to the polls ;) I'm just sayin..

Speaking of politics and how groups can change things: well...I think all of those churches who make up the religious right and who are so good at getting their folks to the polls certainly have something to celebrate in Alito. The guy is way to conservative for my tastes. So...if you are like me and want to show that you just dont want the guy, feel free to visit my friend Trace's blog ( for a lot of useful suggestions about what a person can do. And while you're at it, take a look at her anti-Alito cafepress store. It is all kinds of fun, I promise.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

My Cousin's Wedding

I got that dress in time for yesterday’s wedding but when I took it out of the box, I realized that the jacket was covered in glitter. I generally don’t like to wear sparkles but I didnt have time to get something else and, otherwise, I liked the outfit a lot. It worked though, my grandmother liked it a lot so it accomplished what it was supposed to.

The wedding was very nice. It was at one of those “mega churches” that I have read articles about but have never actually seen. The ceremony was a multi-media presentation with music, both live and recorded, and a slide show with baby pictures of the couple. Since I love looking at pictures, I enjoyed that part of the ceremony a lot. I often get mailings from this church and was a little bit curious about it. It is quite a large thing. It was more of a church complex than what I would consider a church. I imagine it becomes quite the social hub on Sundays.

I didnt feel terribly comfortable there although there was definately something welcoming about the people. I got the feeling that the pastor was a genuinely nice man. And yet, I found myself actually cringing at the vows which were a sort of modern equivalent of having the women promise to “love, honor and *obey*” I noticed several women around me crying at that part of the ceremony and while I doubt they were crying about the inequality of the vows, I got a little bit of amusement imagining that they were.

The Bride was very beautiful and my cousin looked pretty spiffy in his tux. I loved all the autumn colors they had. The flowers were potted mums and the church was decorated with fall leaves. The bridesmaids wore gowns in a brownish maroon that I thought was a particularly lovely color. All in all, it was a very nice, well put together, wedding.

The reception was held at some swanky country club in Bloomfield Hills with valet parking being the only option. Had I known that, I would have vacuumed the mountain of dog hair out of my nine year old rusting car...and taken the used coffee cup out...and the trash on the floor. But, oh well! I apologized to the kid parking my car. He was very charming and just said, “Hey, don’t worry about us, *we* are regular people”

Well...alllll righty then!

The funny thing is that they are having another wedding next weekend. They had this wedding in her church but they are going to do the whole Russian Orthodox wedding thing next weekend. I guess I'll go to that one too. I dont buy into the theology of the Russian Orthodox church but I think they have the most beautiful weddings I have ever seen. They are long though and the pews are hard. Northridge, btw, had deluxe padded pews. Something that if mentioned to the folks in charge the Russian Orthodox church would surely result in a reply of "You are lucky to have pews at all, in Russia, they have no pews and make you stand and kneel on the cold hard marble" ;)

The whole two wedding thing seems kind of interesting to me. My brother is doing it too but for different reasons. He and Katrina actually got married a few weeks ago so they can start the legal process of getting her a green card. As it is, she still wont be able to move to this country for some time after their big Catholic church wedding later this month. That has got to kind of suck...being married but not actually being able to shack up.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Full Service

I got in my car the other day and I noticed that the gas gauge was a lot lower than I would have thought it would be after only driving for a half of a week since filling the tank. The car also seemed to be driving funny and pulling a little to the right. Part of me knew right away what the problem was but the part of me that hates to check my tire pressure resisted the thought. Still, I checked the pressure this morning and it was way low so I had to spend 10 minutes at the gas station putting air in the tires.

Putting air into tires is a chore that I hate. I don’t know why I hate it so much either. I mean, it doesn’t take long. It doesn’t require any physical activity that is beyond me. Ok, I get my hands dirty when I do it but that isn’t a huge big deal since there are a lot of places in the world where one can wash one’s hands. The point is though, that I dread it. I dread it to the point where I have considered taking it into the tire place and asking if they’ll do it.

So I started thinking: wouldn’t it be nice if there were still full service gas stations where the people would check tire pressure and oil levels and then put air and/or oil into the car when needed? I am not a fan of checking the oil either and I have probably done it like 3 times over the life of my now nine year old car. Does anyone know of a full service gas station like that in the Ann Arbor area?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Morning Commute

I actually left on time this morning for a change so I figured I would take Michigan Ave even though there is construction at Huron.

I saw a woman walking on Michigan Ave who was clearly mentally ill and I was reminded of my years working with the mentally ill in this area. Back then, whenever a group home would try to start up in Ann Arbor there was usually a huge NIMBY outcry against it. That didnt happen too much in Ypsilanti and I have always thought that was one of the really cool things about Ypsilanti. One of the things I have learned is that people who have to struggle with obstacles in their lives such as a mental illness usually end up being very interesting and colorful people. I love it that there are so many such people in the town where I live.

One of the most frustrating things about my morning and afternoon commutes is that stretch of Michigan Ave between downtown and Ellsworth Rd where there is no left turn lane. This morning someone decided to turn left but didnt decide to signal first which sucked because I ended up getting stuck behind them for a couple of minutes. is only a couple of minutes but it can still be frustrating. I wonder what they were thinking when they built that bit of road with no left turn lane?

I almost saw a kid bite it on Ellsworth Road. Guess what people? There is a reason that the law requires traffic to stop in *both* directions when a school bus puts on its red flashing lights. Today a school bus stopped and some kid who was running late ran out of an apartment complex into the road without looking where they were almost hit by a car which was on the opposite side of the street as the bus. Luckily the car saw the kid and managed to stop in time. But seriously folks, kids do dumb stuff all the time. Kids run into the street without looking when they are late for the bus. That is why there are laws about stopping for school busses with flashing red lights. And ok...I admit it, I sometimes curse the bus and the little kids for disturbing my morning commute and I even use the F word as in "I hate those f*cking kids for f*cking slowing me down with their f*cking stupid f*cking god damn school bus" but they cant hear me and I say it from my STOPPED car so I cant kill them and really, isnt that the way it should be?

Lately there has been a lot of traffic on Ellsworth by Stone School and it is weird because it doesnt seem like there is anything different going on. I hope it is because there are more people working in all the office parks around there and is a sign of economic growth in the area.

I got to work 3 minutes late which isnt that bad really.