Sunday, July 31, 2005

This esplains a lot

Matt and I have determined that, due to excessive amounts of grooming, our cat Max is a metrosexual.

In other news, I can touch my toes again. Barely. But three days ago, I couldn't get my fingertips past the tops of my ankles. On a normal day, I can grab the bottoms of my feet and put my forehead on my knees.

Police State Continues

Homeland Security radio-tags foreign visitors - This comes on the heels of reports that the TSA is continuing to develop and test SecureFlight, an algorithm that was originally designed to check passenger lists against databases of known terrorists (and what also mistakenly detained Senator Ted Kennedy and singer Cat Stevens). SecureFlight is now being used on a trial basis to assign each passenger a "risk score" based, among other things, the person's job, credit rating, address, and other personal information. How long until race and religion are considered criteria, or until this system is used to monitor and control people from entering any facility? "I'm sorry, Mr. Araz, your risk score is too high to permit entry to RFK stadium."

This, along with the proposed revisons to the Patriot Act, ought to scare the hell out of you.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Bad Fiction Winner

There is a contest every year, asking people to submit bad opening sentences for fictional novels. This year's winner, courtesy of a Microsoft analyst:
"As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands, the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual," went Dan McKay's winning entry in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

Booooored

A little over 48 hours later, I think I'm feeling a bit better. I can sit up now (propped up by pillows) and not quite in so much pain. I am also incredibly bored. I've had my computer, DVDs, and a book of crossword puzzles, but can only do each one for a certain amount of time before heat/positional constraints kick into place. Yesterday I watched Save The Last Dance and The Italian Job on my computer. Ryan came over after work for dinner and to hang out with Matt (he was having a bad day yesterday).

Matt: Ryan's on his way over. Do you have pants on?

I did have pants on. They played on the computer for a while, and then we got carry-out from Fingers & Claws, a restaurant up the street. I had cream of crab soup, which was excellent, and a "Jay Leno," which is an italian cold cut sub. It was good, but the bread was a little too crunchy. We watched TV for a couple of hours and Ryan got ice cream sundaes. Mmmm.

I sent Matt out this morning to run stuff over to the church for VBS rehersal and then out to the grocery store. I haven't had any pain medication yet today, just the heating pad, so we'll see how that goes. Other than that, it's just going to be another long day of sitting/lying around. I shudder to think what this will do to my weight.

I'm trying to decide if I should try to go to church tomorrow morning. I hate missing church, especially when this Sunday will be the conference to decide if we'll be taking on a school in the fall. I think I'd be fine if I could discreetly lie down during the service. Do you think anyone would be offended if I did that?

Now Listening: Blind Melon - No Rain

Friday, July 29, 2005

In a shocking change of events...

Senate leader Frist backs stem cell research - Who are you and what have you done with Senator Frist???

But seriously, this is awesome. I just said yesterday, after reading about animal studies that sucessfully treated spinal cord injuries in rats and heart attack damage in pigs with stem cells, that they needed to relax the restrictions on stem cell research.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The System Is Down

So I got up this morning, peed and weighed myself as I normally do (129!) and then went into the kitchen to feed the cats. As I bent over the cat food bag, everything in my lower back seized up. I was unable to stand back up straight - had to pull myself up on the hot water heater with my arms.

What the heck??

I am like, the LAST person who should throw their back out. I'm only 23, female, not overweight, and I do yoga and pilates. But here I am, on bed rest for the next 2-3 days and minimal activity for another week after than (meaning no housework, lifting, or exercise) because I had a back spasm.

Rawr.

Now Listening: Barenaked Ladies - Back

Monday, July 25, 2005

Not Again

As I was walking back from the trash can that everyone dumps their animal poo in, a guy's dog ran up to me and was very friendly. The guy offered me a job walking his dog because he thought I was "a kid."

I'm finally to the demographics section of the stupid survey.

Soo Tired

It's been a long, full weekend. And it's Monday again. And I'm exhausted.

Some girls at the zoo dissed my cell phone on Friday. I was sending Matt a text message (since he had to work that day) and these two girls walked past me, probably were about 14 or so. One girl said to the other girl, "Look at that phone. I had that phone when I was like, TEN." Who cares? It's a phone, it works, and you probably did have it when you were ten because it's at least two years old already. And who gives a cell phone to a ten-year old kid?

I didn't sleep well last night because my shoulder started acting up again. I don't know why...I haven't done any repetitive moving (tennis, swimming, etc) for a while. And I haven't even gotten dressed yet, because I'm still working on this NFO survey, which I normally love doing, especially when it's worth 500 points (=$5.00), but the pages are taking waaaay to long to load and it's starting to annoy me. Gah.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

An interesting idea

Legalized Abortion leads to Lower Crime Rates - Most of the meat of the hypothesis is on pages 3 and 4, although the background of communist Romania is fairly interesting as well.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Please Help!

Some of you may have received an e-mail from me recently. Even if you didn't, you can still help! On October 29th, I will be participating in the American Heart Association's Heart Walk to raise money for heart disease and stroke research. This is personally important to me, because my grandfather died of a heart attack when I was two and my dad currently has high blood pressure. Please click on the "My Heart Walk Donation Site" link to the right or contact me at csilver6@jhmi.edu to donate, and let other people know as well!

They walk around like "la la la, I'm in a pond"

I saw something amazing yesterday morning. As I was coming up Orleans Street in East Baltimore (for reference, this is a 6-lane street at a fairly busy intersection), I noticed that a mother duck and four little baby ducklings were marching across the street, all in a little line. The amazing thing was, people stopped and waited for them to cross! If it had been people crossing the street, there would have been horns, angry lane changes, and the like. But for a moment, civilization reigned and the mother duck got her four ducklings safely across the street. I wish I had had a camera at that moment.

Monday, July 18, 2005

And I Do

I still believe in your faithfulness
I still believe in your truth
I still believe in your holy word
Even when I don't see, I still believe
- Jeremy Camp

Friday, July 15, 2005

New Music!

My David Gray CD came yesterday. I enjoyed it quite thoroughly. Overall, I would say that White Ladder is better, but A New Day at Midnight has quite a few excellent tracks as well. I also find it interesting that, on both CDs, my favorite tracks are 2 and 10 - "Babylon" and "Say Hello Wave Goodbye" on the first, "Caroline" and "Be Mine" on the second.

There was a cop at the gas station yesterday morning when I stopped. I wanted to go over to him and say, "Excuse me, officer...I'd like to report a robbery. I just paid $2.40 a gallon for regular gas."

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Miss Manners Reigns Again

The Matchmaker's Blind Spot - Wow. Just...wow. I'm so entertained by letters like this one.

I got an e-mail from Joy today. Her e-mails are always encouraging and make me smile :-)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Fishy Business

White House Still Silent on Rove's Role in Leak - I guess my dad was right when he said that the Bushes don't like to ever fire anybody (at the time, in reference to Dick Chaney prior to the 2004 election).

It all seems a little too convenient to me though. Guy goes to Africa on a news tip about Iraq possibly obtaining uranium, guy comes home and writes opinion article saying that reasons for going to war may have been manipulated by Bush administration, 5 days later an "unnamed source" (now revealed to be Rove) sends an e-mail to the media outing the guy's wife as a CIA agent. And Bush refuses to say anything about firing the leak.

52 cars drove past the opening I left for them to merge into when I-70 went down to one lane on the way home yesterday.

Oh, and the guy who kidnapped those two Idaho kids and probably killed their parents was out on bail from charges in Minnesota that he molested a 6-year old boy. After he had already spent almost 10 years in prison for molesting another boy at gunpoint. I'm sorry, Shasta...your country has failed you and your family.

<sarcasm>I heart America.</sarcasm>

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Vacation Details

Soo…vacation. I always feel like I need a vacation to recover from my vacations. Anyway, we went to see Dottie in the hospital on Saturday morning before we left. She was doing well after her second knee replacement, and was supposed to be going home today. Then we drove down to my parents’ house for a few days. My brother Daniel had come home on Friday, and was going to have to go back Saturday night because of some screwball that changed the duty roster after Daniel had left, because that guy didn’t want to have duty on the 4th of July. Daniel called a guy who finally offered to do it for $150. My family took up a collection to cover the “ransom.” My Uncle Steve and his fiancĂ©e Mel were there for the weekend as well, and he LOVES to cook. So we had some awesome Dungeness crab and corn on the cob for dinner, and then we all went up to Fredericksburg to see my other uncle Tim and his band play at a bar. They were really good and we had a lot of fun with everyone, although we didn’t get to bed until after 2AM.

The next morning, Daniel got a call asking “where are you?” Apparently the guy who extorted $150 out of him decided at the last minute that he didn’t want to do it after all, and just left. They found someone else to cover it since KG is about 5 hours away from New River, NC. It ultimately turned out that the guy who changed the duty roster got all the flak (and rightly so) and my brother and the other guy were off the hook. And we all got our money back as well. We mostly just hung around the house Sunday; tried to play some pool in Dahlgren with Daniel and his girlfriend Tammi but the place was closed.

Monday we had another round of excellent food – slow cooked pulled pork that my uncle started making on Sunday afternoon, beef brisket, and a ton of fixings. We went down to the Dahlgren Navy Base around 8:30, and they had a nice fireworks show. We practically had front row seats – could see the guys running around lighting everything off at the airfields and all.

We drove down to South Carolina on Tuesday. Traffic wasn’t too bad, except for the line at Wendy’s in the middle of nowhere, North Carolina. When we got there, Matt’s mom was at the hospital still and his dad was flying, so his grandma took us to the Olive Garden with his sister Mandy and her boyfriend Kyle (who is very nice. And smart!)

The next three days were pretty much the same. Julie has several hours of therapy (physical, occupational, and speech) earlier in the day. So we would all go out to lunch, and then go over to the hospital around 1:30. We would stay there until 7 or 7:30, when someone from their church would come to spend the night with her. Then we’d go out to eat dinner and then head back to the house and watch a movie before bed. We saw “The Manchurian Candidate” (which we had seen before but Mandy and Kyle hadn’t), “Hostage,” and “Something the Lord Made” while we were there. The last one was really neat to me, since it was about Hopkins and filmed at Hopkins. I’d definitely recommend it.

As I mentioned below, Julie is now considered “semi-comatose.” She’s made quite a bit of progress since her second brain surgery, but it’s still all very slow. Her eyes are open, and she can occasionally follow a few commands and recognize people in pictures, but doesn’t talk or communicate other than holding up a finger in response to some questions. I had really thought (not just hoped, but honestly felt) that she was going to wake up while we were there. I was disappointed and a little confused when that didn’t happen. It makes me question a little, how I’m ever supposed to sort out when God is telling me something if I can’t believe that I know when it’s happening or not. Anyway, the bottom line is that she’s still got a long way to go, and she doesn’t look much like the picture below anymore, and both of those things make me very sad.

We drove back on Saturday, and traffic was worse since we were on the other side of DC and they didn’t have the HOV lanes open until we were already past all the exits on I-95. We got home, exhausted, around 7:30, ran out to the grocery store for some dinner fixings, and crashed pretty hard a little after 10. We did go to church today, which was nice, and out to the Mongolian grill in Columbia afterwards. I did a little shopping at Target and got workout clothes and a new earpiece for my cell phone with some of my birthday money, and ordered some clothes from JC Penney and the other David Gray CD (A New Day at Midnight) from amazon.com.

So, kudos to you if you made it through all this without falling asleep. I didn’t take any vacation pictures (although I did see Mandy’s pictures of the accident and there was nothing left of the passenger side of her mustang, so it’s a miracle Julie wasn’t hurt more badly than she was). The only souvenir I have is 10 pounds of the best nectarines ever. Mmmm.

Now Listening: Bruce Springsteen – She’s The One

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Worn out

We're back. The first half of the week was really nice. The second half was draining, but I'm still glad we went. Julie is a 10 out of a possible 15 on the Glasgow Coma Scale. Anything from 3-8 is a full coma, so this is an improvement.

More details later, after I have food in my tummy.

Now Listening: Casting Crowns - Who Am I

UPDATE: Sometime's it's nice to put a face with a name. So, if you didn't already know, this is Julie.

Friday, July 01, 2005

House Pictures!!

So I finally got around to taking some pictures of our new place to show the fam while on vacation. If you're interested in the grand tour, here you go!


Looking into the living room from the entryway.


The entryway from the living room.


The living room again. I just hung those curtains today.


The "dining room" - actually just an extension of the living room.


The breakfast bar, looking into the living room - this is where we mostly eat.


The kitchen, from one end. That's our pantry on the right and the laundry room straight ahead.


The kitchen, from the other end.


The second bedroom, currently our "extra stuff" room.


The bathroom.


Another angle on the bathroom.


The master bedroom from the doorway, and Max.


The bedroom - our closets, and Max again.


Still in the bedroom - also now our computer room.

I didn't get any pictures of the outside because I didn't remember to take the pictures until about 10pm, but there's not that much to see out there - the front windows, some bushes and my herb garden pots.

So there she is - all 864 square feet of her. And she's all ours.

Another reason to vote libertarian

Journalist's blog documents DEA's war on California

In other news, however, this take on the newly passed eminent domain laws is hilarious. I hope the application passes.

I'm glad I don't live in Minnesota today

Apparantly the Minnesota state government shut down because of an inability to resolve a budget measure. 9000 people will be left without jobs, and many state services (most importantly this weekend, highway rest stops) will not be functioning.

But the worst part is the blame game. Case in point:
"The governor said Democrats wanted a government shutdown to embarrass him in the run-up to his 2006 re-election campaign. 'The Democrats turned and left tonight when Minnesota needed them most,' Pawlenty said at a late-evening news conference."

Yet, two sentences earlier, the article says:
"Earlier Thursday, the Senate passed a temporary measure with no time limit, which the governor and Republican leaders in the House said they would not accept. Most Republicans opposed the bill, saying it would create incentive to drag the budget debate deeper into the summer."

If the House Republicans opposed the bill, how is the shutdown the Democrats' fault?

I really hate politics.