Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Want your disturbing images of the day? Click here. Make sure you click through all the sample pages, in order to take in the horror.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Oh, and the movie I went to on Sunday cost me $14.50 for a matinee ticket, small popcorn, and medium Coke. It would have been more if I had gotten water, which is what I really wanted. A 20 oz bottle of Dasani or Aquafina (aren't the interchangeable?) costs $4. I can get a gallon of super premium bottled water at Whole Foods for that much.
Talk about markup.

If I have to spend another day at work the way I've spent the past 7 or so, I may have to gouge out my eyes with whatever dull implement I can find just to spark some excitement.

Things are slow. Really slow. We had a slow period like this once last year, but it didn't seem as bad because there weren't as many people.

And it's quiet. Nobody in my shared office is talking. And I can't work on some of my own stuff because I haven't uploaded my latest revisions to Google Docs yet.

Somebody save me!

Monday, July 23, 2007

So I've finished skimming Deathly Hallows. Skimming, mind, not in-depth reading. It isn't as bad as I feared. In fact, if I put myself in the shoes of a 16 year old, it's pretty good. I'll wait until next week to post more details, since Blogger doesn't let you cut like Live Journal does.

In other news, it's been a long time since I told you people about my underwear. So I needed some new underpants this weekend, and I thought that since I was at WalMart to buy DH, I'd get underwear while I was there. Yes, I buy cheap underpants. Why should I spend lots of money on underpants when I am the only one who sees them? Well, they were out of the cut I like (high-cut, if you are interested), so I said to myself, "Let's be daring!" and I bought a package of boy briefs.

On the one hand, I like the fact that the legs don't have elastic, which gets really uncomfortable when you sweat, which is pretty much constant here from March through October. Also, the fabric is soft, which is nice.

The downside is that they are 100% cotton, which is semi-good when it is hot because it wicks away sweat, but it is also semi-bad because they stretch. A lot. A little spandex would be a good thing.

Oh, and I saw Ratatouille today. It was really good. In terms of animation, it was probably Pixar's best. In terms of story, I still give the edge to Finding Nemo. Did I ever mention that the CCC stole that DVD from me? No? Well, they did. Of all the AV stuff (some videos, lots of CDs, a few other DVDs) they didn't return, that is the one that I regret the most.

OK, I really need to sleep now. Have a lovely Monday.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I kid I went to high school with is in the obituaries today. He is the sixth one in my broad circle of friends (in other words, people I associated with in school, but not really outside) to die, and the fifth one in which alcohol played a role.

This kid was brilliant. From talking to people who went to middle school with him, he was probably the brightest kid in our class. However, he has been drinking since he was 12, and by the time he got to high school, he was a serious alcoholic. He was driving drunk.

You know, I see people from my high school still posting about partying, and posting pictures of themselves at nightclubs and bars on myspace and alumni sites, and I don't understand it. Not that I don't go out occassionally, but I'm 36 years old, as are these people. I don't feel the need to act like I'm 23. The focus of my life is not what bar I'm going to go to on Friday night and how wasted I'm going to get.

It makes me sad to see this. I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again.

These were not stupid people. Yet they seem to be stunted at the age of 19. What happened that I got beyond that point and they didn't.

Granted, I went away to school, and none of them did. I had to deal with total adult responsibility sooner than they did, as a result of losing both parents by the time I was 24. But surely that can't be all.

Though it is funny to note that all the people I see doing and saying things about drinking and partying now are all people who never left the neighborhood we grew up in. The ones who left, even just to another part of the city or a nearby suburb, seem to be normal, responsible adults. Why the difference?

If I were pursing a graduate degree in sociology, I'd smell a thesis or dissertation there. But I'm not, and it just makes me sad.

This makes me happy.

Bishop Zubik is a very good man and a very good bishop. He does a kick-ass Confirmation Mass, too.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Apparently there is an entire leaked copy of Deathly Hallows on the internet somewhere. Now, I don't go looking for spoilers (so I haven't read what's there - except for the epilogue (which was disappointing, to say the least), but some folks at some of the blogs I read do. Several of them have read the whole thing. And some folks who's opinions I really trust were really disappointed. And from the spoilers I've encountered, I think I will be to. The general consensus is that it seems like JKR kind of got bored with the series, and committed character assassination before the real deaths happened.

That makes me sad.

But in a way, I almost understand it.

Seven books with the same characters is a lot. Think about it. We're talking over 2000 pages - close to 3000. I can't imagine that. Of course there is going to be some decline in quality.

But in the last book? That makes me sad.

Nevertheless, I will be spending my Saturday reading the actual thing. I'll post my reactions when I do.

Maybe if this book sucks, it will kick my butt into getting back into the Greater American Novel.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

So, I haven't posted much this week. Not that I haven't had blog-worthy thoughts, just that most of my blog-worthy thoughts this week have been about politics and religion, two things I try to avoid writing about.

Well, let me clarify that. I'll write about religion (or more correctly faith and/or spirituality) as it relates directly to me, or to something I've learned. I don't like writing about global religion issues for several reasons. First of all, I am afraid that I'm not knowledgeable enough to comment...well...knowledgeably. I'm still learning about this new denomination I've embraced, and I'm uncomfortable commenting on the issues facing it without having been in it for more than a few years. And I try not to comment on stuff that comes out as it relates to Roman Catholicism because I don't want any sour grapes I may still harbor to color my perception.

Politics, on the other hand, I really try to avoid. The reason for that is that I know my readership runs the political spectrum from very conservative to very liberal. And as far as I am concerned, they are entitled to fall wherever they choose to fall along that spectrum, just as I am. I avoid discussing my opinions on politics because I don't want to offend anyone, or lose the respect of people who knew me way back when, before I became a bleeding-heart liberal.

But today, I am going to suspend my rule and discuss both topics together. More specifically, I'm going to say that I think the two topics should be completely divorced from each other.

I was reading some of the testimony of Dr. Richard Carmona this weekend (and my apologies if I spelled his last name wrong). He is the former surgeon general, and he testified to congress about how he was instructed by the White House to supress certain scientific information in his speeches, briefings, and publications, information that specifically relates to such topics as stem-cell research, abortion, contraception, and other hot-button issues on the Evangelical/fundamentalist platform. That offends me as an educated person.

I'm not going to say that the Republican party as a whole holds these opinions, but there is a certain, large segment that would like to see religion (evangelical Chrisitanity specifically) entertwined into the government of this country. That isn't acceptable. It isn't even the separation of church and state issue, or even the freedom of religion issue that makes it unacceptable.

The fact of the matter is that it is unacceptable because tying up religion with politics - conservative or liberal - denies the diversity of this country, and the diverse viewpoints of its citizens.

Now, individual politicians viewpoints are going to be informed by whatever religion they practice (if they practice at all). That's true of all of us. But the decisions that lawmakers make as a whole have to reflect the will of the people, not of a segment of the people who happen to give a lot of money to campaigns and who have a bully pulpit to propagate their viewpoint. I see just that happening with the current presidential administration, as well as many (not all) of the
Republicans in office. That frustrates me.

Now, having said that, I do intend to vote for the Republican candidate for governor in Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, because I think he is the best candidate for the job, and has the interests of the state at heart.

And this is why I don't write about politics and religion.

Tomorrow (or soon, at any rate) I will write about Harry Potter. There's a harmless topic.

Monday, July 09, 2007


My Harry Potter Spoiler of Doom is:
Lord Voldemort kills Voldemort whilst running away from a rampaging flock of gerbils
Get your Harry Potter Spoiler of Doom

OK, I have to admit this one is pretty funny, too.


My Harry Potter Spoiler of Doom is:
Nearly Headless Nick gets pregnant by Harry with a wicked cackle
Get your Harry Potter Spoiler of Doom

This is a plot point I would pay good money to read!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

And Let Me Just Say...

Roger Federer is one attractive man. And a snappy dresser. Glad he won today.

I had the most bizarre dream this morning, and I thought I'd share it with all you good people.

So I dreamed that I was at an open house for the Sisters of Charity, the religious order St. Elizabeth Ann Seton founded. Now, this wasn't a vocations thing, as I was the youngest person there by about 30 years, and there were men there, too. All of the sisters were wearing typical "nun clothes" (not a habit, but the kind of things nuns typically wear), but they all had on bonnets like the one St. Elizabeth is wearing here. And just so you know, I wrote a paper about St. Elizabeth and the Sisters of Charity in college (for the worst class I ever had in any level of education), which is how my subconscious supplied all these details.

Anyway, I got there too late to listen to this really great speaker I wanted to hear (which is my subconscious's way of spanking me for having trouble making it to church on time on a weekly basis). So those of us who arrived late were entertained by two lovely, elderly nuns who shared with us stories about the order's lay volunteer program (I don't even know that they have one of these, but a lot of orders do).

When the speaker in the other room was finished (to loud applause, and the listeners leaving with tears in their eyes), we were all shuttled to another room to have dinner and watch a movie, I'm not sure what dinner consisted of beyond noodles - and there were a LOT of noodles, including ramen), but the movie was about the man who was Pope before John XXIII. I don't think that he was ever named (which is my subconscious's way of saying that I have no idea who was Pope right before John XXIII), but he was played by Kenneth Branagh. It was quite an interesting film. In my mind, apparently this Pope was in ill health and did not want the faithful to know. So he devised all these "helps" to help him stand upright and walk easily whenever he had to be in public. It was quite the good movie, and Kenneth Branagh was brilliant.

When the movie was over, the sisters collected our dinner dishes (including the styrofoam cups from the ramen noodles), and told us we could do the dishes later. Then one of the sisters pulled out a guitar to lead a sing-along. That, thankfully, is when I woke up.

The dream was vivid enough that I had to look up on IMDB whether or not Kenneth Branagh played a pope in a move that was released in 2005. He did not. I also had to look up and see who was Pope before John XXIII. Branagh looks nothing like him. I also thought that there was another guy between Pius XII and John XXIII. Guess not, huh?

Anybody want to analyze this?

Oh, and I watched Finding Neverland yesterday. I've had the DVD for over a year and never quite got around to watching it. Wonderful movie. I also watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Not quite as wonderful, but entertaining nonetheless.

I think I may be sick. I woke up with really bad stomach pains that haven't gone completely away. I'm at work, nonetheless, though. Could be I'm just about to embark on that time of the month. (Sorry, guys).

Oh, and the AC isn't working in my building, apparently. Which makes being stuck here even more miserable. Yee. Hah.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

So I think I'm in love.

Who is the lucky guy you may be asking yourself (if you really have no life whatsoever).

That would be Gordon Ramsay.

Yeah, the foul-mouthed chef guy.

I've been watching Hell's Kitchen on Fox for the last three years - love it. It's (sadly) my favorite part of the summer. This season totally rocks, too, because the contestants are sooo annoying.

Today, because things are slow (my job is very much a hurry-up-and-wait kind of job - it's either dead slow or crazy rushed), I watched a bunch of Gordon Ramsay stuff on YouTube. Kitchen Nightmares is wonderful. Even better were videos of him cooking stuff. His food is so simple, but looks so good.

I can't wait for the US version of Kitchen Nightmares this fall. And if I ever make it to England, I think I shall have to save for months to be able to eat in one of his restaurants, because I think it will be worth it.

That is all.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sigh. I've said it before and I'll say it again - my church really needs to move services to 11:05 instead of 11. I was a minute late again today, and as a result, I didn't go. Something from my childhood prevents me from going into church anythig less than right-on-time. If I were still doing the therapy thing, I might look at that. But I'm not so I won't - at least right now.

I miss my computer. I hope it gets fixed soon. My old computer is annoying me. I didn't realize just how slow my old computer is. That is why I am typing this at the office. Well, that and the fact the company pays for the air conditioning here, as opposed to me paying at home. It's another blistering day.

So, here are my final thoughts on the reunion weekend.

TG made an interesting point about being a different person, but retaining...something...that made her still recognizable. That was pretty much my reaction, too.

See, there is no doubt that I am a different person than I was 13 years ago. Lot's of life experience plays into that. I faced the death of my last parent, being on the verge of being homeless (I never wrote about that, and don't know that I ever will), had jobs and lost jobs, had my faith challenged, and moved half a country away. And that's just the big stuff.

I'm not even the same person I was when I moved five years ago. My years at the CCC (well, year and a half) had a profound affect on me, as I faced for the economic discrimination for the first time. Not to mention my time at my former company, where I thought I had a real career but was just kidding myself.

I've grown more liberal, more outgoing (honest, I have!), and more...something I don't have a word for.

I think that's where a lot of my anxiety over that weekend came from. I stressed over what people would think of me as I am now. But you know, that was a waste of energy. Even though everyone was different, they were simultaneously the same. And I was, too.

I think that's a pretty remarkable thing. No matter the distance, no matter the circumstances, no matter the changes, something always remains constant. That's pretty amazing to me. God truly does good work.

I mentioned before that I don't think I could live in Pittsburgh again. On further reflection, I stand by that. It is still a great city, and I still think I'm going back in the fall. But something felt...unlivable about it - ironic for America's Most Livable City. I don't know that I can define what exactly it was that made it feel that way. Perhaps it's just the haze of memory that hover's over the city where I spent most of my life. Some of it is good stuff, but a lot of it is bad. It's the place where I learned alot of those negative thinking patterns that led to anxiety and depression. I learned to put my needs behind the needs of everyone else, to an unhealthy extreme. I learned that what is an acceptable level of achievement for other people isn't good enough for me. And I learned that my only real value to people was as something to be used when needed, acknowledged when convenient, and ignored otherwise.

I didn't realize that all that stuff was lurking below the surface until I went back there as a tourist. But it is, and for me to be a relatively well-adjusted adult, I don't think I can be someplace where I can encounter those things just around any corner. That is what I meant when I said I feel like I've outgrown the city.

I'm glad that we are planning to make the reunion weekend an annual thing. I lost touch with so many people after college, partially because I had other things to deal with (my mother's decline and death, mostly), and partially because it was such a pain to write a paper letter or so expensive to make a long-distance phone call. And partially, too, because I tend to give up if I write to or call someone a couple times in a row and they don't reply back (not that that applies to anyone in this group - that's more of a high school thing). I hope we can all stay in better touch now. Despite what I said above, I miss those ties to my former life.