Saturday, December 02, 2006

Bring the LOLZ


Probably NSFW, but OMG, this video kills me. I heart Margaret Cho!

My Puss

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Flash Game To Suck Your Soul: Grow Cube

Here's a little something to while away those lonely hours waiting for your Wii to arrive or to take up all that time at your job when you're supposed to be working. It's a devious little game, unsuspecting and cutsey, seemingly simple... but beware! This game will own your soul after a few go-rounds.

read more digg story

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Tuesday, September 26, 2006




I have long known that PETA is a group of hypocritical blowhards, but it was rather disturbing to read through the above site, as well as their links to other information. I guess I hadn't realized just how horrific PETA is; mainly I believed that they were misguided and more than a little out there. My Conservation Biology professor told our class about how, one February, PETA activists broke into the Natural Resources College and took all of the turtles out of the terrarium. The PETA people left a note stating they were "liberating" the turtles, which they then "freed" into the Monongahela River. In February. Those poor turtles, going from a pretty easy life in a warm terrarium to freezing to death in a polluted river. Way to go, PETA.

I encourage you to read through the above site and see for yourself. If you are so moved, you can also sign a petition to have PETA's non-profit status removed.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Yo


So... it's been an eventful couple of weeks. Let me start off by saying that my last day at the Motown OG was two Sundays ago and it couldn't have come a minute sooner. Most of the people there were great and fun to work with and I'll definitely miss them. However, I will not miss the rest of my experience there.. the only words I can use to describe that restaurant are 'chaotic', 'hell', 'disorganized', and 'way too damn small'.

My last week there was particularly hellish; I was plagued with having the family table a lot and when I didn't have it, I was facing 45-60+ minute ticket times on my tables' meals. Add in a couple of shifts that started out on the totally wrong foot when my first few tables were exceedingly rude/demanding/annoying and/or something big went wrong because of the kitchen, plus the fact that my bag went missing from the break room one night, never to be seen again, and you'll see why I was dying to run out of that place and never look back.

I am just now recovering from some annoying bug that had me run down and feeling like poo for over a week, so dealing with all of the above really took an extra something out of me. I realize the restaurant is new, but that place is a gigantic circus. Not only that, but there are a couple of managers in particular that often act rude, condescending, or sometimes downright bitchy to the employees. I don't know if they're having high turnover because it's so stressful, I don't know if the pieces just aren't fitting well together yet, but wow, is it a gigantic mess!

As for my bag going missing, I'm still a little bit in shock and denial. I didn't have anything of monetary value in there, but not having my keys, card wallet (with my driver's license, etc.), and prescription sunglasses really screwed me. I definitely wouldn't leave money, my iPod, or anything of value sitting around where no one's watching, so I don't understand why anyone would steal it. On one hand, I don't know for certain it was stolen; if someone took it, they didn't try to use my check card or phone card. Nothing else in there was worth anything to anyone but me, which maybe is the most frustrating thing. Even more frustrating and upsetting to me is the idea that whoever took it ended up tossing it in a dumpster somewhere once they realized there was nothing good inside.

Anyway, Jen and I officially live together now. We haven't done much exploring yet, so I'm not sure what or how much the city has to offer, but it doesn't seem like a bad place to live. Our apartment complex is nice and quiet, a welcome change from the rambunctious party neighborhood I just left. The neighbors and people in this area generally seem very friendly and nice, which is also welcome. I thought people in WV were pretty friendly, but I dare say the people here are even more so.

Last but not least, I arrived just in time for the Pride festival! I've never heard of Pride in September, but they apparently hold it now because there's too much competition from other events during spring/summer. Jen and I live close to a Barnes & Noble, something of a treat for both of us because we both like to wander around, and during our visit last night, I met a really nice gay boy who worked there. I was trying to find The Advocate and he stopped what he was doing to help me, then we started chatting. He let me know about the Pride celebration this Sunday and, as luck would have it, I have Sunday off! Not only that, but I looked at the Pride website and almost couldn't believe it when I saw that Melissa Ferrick will be playing! I was excited enough by Pride alone, considering it's been ages since I last went (though I've wanted to), but to find out that after about five years of waiting to see her live, I get to see Melissa Ferrick twice in a year? Sweet!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Quickie


Just a quick note to say that I have no internet at home these days.. my computer is essentially just barely working. Financially, I'm trying to save my money for boring stuff like bills and rent, plus the plan is that I'm going to be moving to Roanoke in maybe a month or so, depending on whether I can rent out my apartment or not. I know this last bit may seem a bit of a surprise; the decision was a bit sudden, but honestly, I think it will be really good overall.

For one, I haven't been very happy at WVU, both with my program and the school in general, so I definitely wasn't looking forward to registering and going back this semester. The plan is that I'll apply at Virginia Tech, which appears to have a program very similar to mine, so hopefully, the transfer won't be too painful. Secondly, after basically living with Jen for like three months, this separation is really difficult for both of us. I think we both agree that our quality of life is much better when we're together; we eat better, exercise more, and we're definitely much happier when we're together.

So basically, I don't have the resources to get my computer fixed, nor do I have the patience any longer to figure out what the problem is. I have been suffering through the stop errors and other weirdness for about a month and a half now, and I'm really over it. It's a little boring at home without the internets to occupy me, but hopefully I won't be without for too long. I'll post when I'm able, but I just wanted to drop in and explain the cause of my absence.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Hola


So.. I've been crazy busy and basically not living at my apartment for nearly a month, which is the cause of my most recent blog hiatus. Well, that and the fact that my computer is dead; no idea what the problem is, but I can't even boot it up anymore. Le sigh. If I can't fix it by the time school starts, that's really going to bite.

I'm currently in Roanoke, VA.. I am very sad to say that Jen's time in Motown has run out and it's been a bit hectic getting her house packed up and moved down here in time for her internship. She's in her last year of a psychology PhD program at WVU; her internship just started on Monday and, unfortunately for both of us, she will be working here for the next year. 5.5 hours away from one another.. very sad. :(

We haven't been apart much yet, so I'm not sure the reality of the whole situation has entirely sunk in, at least for me. I have to drive back home tonight because I have to work in the morning, and this will be the start of our extended separation. I'm trying to not get my hopes up too much, considering long-distance relationships aren't easy (and there are other complications, as well) but I admit that part of me feels like this is just the start of something good. I found someone awesome.. she's smart, funny, goofy, laid-back, fun, kind, fair, considerate.. and to be perfectly honest, I really want a future with her. If it's not plainly obvious, yes, I'm in love! I'm trying to be realistic, so anything could happen at this point, but keep your fingers crossed for me.

Anyway, I suppose that's all the news I have for now. Please send good computer-fixing vibes my way!!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Alena's Bat Adventures, Part Deux


After the heart-pounding excitement of my first bat adventure, I had both hoped and assumed that it was a singular strange and random event. As in.. oh, I don't know.. it wouldn't repeat itself.

Just a bit ago, I went into the kitchen for a moment. Because I wasn't planning on being in there long, I didn't turn the light on. As I was turning to walk back into the living room, I heard a noise behind me. It was a small, rustly thud that sounded like something lightweight and soft falling on the ground. Seeing as my kitchen is full of random stuff likely to fall on the floor, I didn't think much of it. As I approached the far end of the kitchen, I spotted a dark shape somewhat resembling a crumpled-but-uncrumpling grocery bag, and assuming that's what it was, further approached in order to pick it up.

That was when the thing moved and in an instant of shocked recognition, I saw what it was. On the floor, crawling and flailing its wings, was a bat. Oh, shit! was the first thing out of my mouth and I froze. Not again!

I flipped on the light and visually verified that I was looking at a small, furry, winged mammal, which was now chilling in the vicinity of my stove. I did a quick pace of the apartment, closed my bedroom door, and tried to come up with an eviction strategy. I was grateful that the bat wasn't flying around all crazy like the last one, but I worried that if it wasn't simply stunned, it might be sick or something. I'm not afraid of bats per se, but the last thing I want is to get the rabies. You think I'm crazy now, but wait until you see me foaming at the mouth.

The bat's calm demeanor afforded me the opportunity to run and grab my camera because, of course, no bit of craziness in my life should go undocumented.

What is the deal with these bats, anyway? I mean, who else do you know has had two bats invade their home within a one year period?

Since my little friend was kindly holding still despite my moving around and multiple camera flashes, I decided to venture near it to grab my bucket. When I have insect invaders, I use a cup-and-postcard method to put them outside. I figured, why mess with success?

I got my bucket and positioned it over the bat, but it was partially under the stove and didn't move, even when the bucket was mostly on top of it. I looked around for something to poke it with, and then nudged it away from the stove.

The little bugger put up a bit of a fight then and proved it wouldn't let me win so easily. It started flailing and skittering across the floor as I attempted to maneuver the bucket around it, a difficult feat considering I was trying really hard to not crush a wing or hurt it.

After a bit of wrangling, I found my window of opportunity and got the entire rim of the bucket on the floor. The bat was finally captured and, as the plastic closed in around it, it chitter-shrieked to let me know it wasn't too happy about it.

The most nerve-wracking part over, I took a collapsed cardboard box and gently slid it under the bucket. I then opened the kitchen door to the balcony and propped open the screen. Of course, being 4th of July weekend, a ton of people were gathered in my neighbors' yard, with plain and full access to the potential drama about to unfold. Under the watch of fifteen drunken people, and once again in a wife-beater and boxers, I carried the bucket, cardboard, and bat out onto my balcony.

I opened the contraption and set the bat on the armchair outside, which was the best-lit portion of the balcony. I wanted to keep an eye on it as I went back inside, lest it come attack me or try to fly back into my kitchen. I watched for a moment and the bat seemed confused. It crawled around a little, but didn't take off right away. I felt badly for it because I thought it was sick, but then the next thing I knew, the little bugger took off and flew in my general direction.

To my credit, I avoiding shrieking or making an ass out of myself for the most part (you know, aside from my carrying out a big yellow bucket and a cardboard box in the least flattering outfit I own), but when I saw that bat coming at me, I did run back inside rather quickly to shut the door.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Just... Wow Part II (Now With Even More Craziness)



Just... Wow.



Tuesday, June 27, 2006

What's Up


So, as I alluded to in my previous post, I've been pretty busy hanging out with Jen and haven't been spending much time online, hence the lack of posting. Not that I've ever been a really good blogger that way, but whatever. Anyway, said 'hanging out' has included my starting to cook again, something that I generally only do when I have someone else to cook for. Cooking just for myself seems more of a pain in the ass than anything else, so I tend to get extremely lazy when it comes to feeding only myself.

Apparently, my subconscious digs the fact that I'm cooking, or maybe it's the fact that I've pulled off a few really good meals lately.. which has been especially satisfying because I didn't really know what I was doing and sort of made it up as I went along. For example, we got some steak and chicken breasts and had some red wine in the kitchen, so I pulled off a pretty decent-tasting wine sauce using mere guesswork. I was pretty proud of myself when I tasted the end result.

Anyway, as I was saying, I guess my subconscious likes my self-congratulatory pull-it-out-of-thin-air cooking lately, because last night, I had a really fantastic dream. I can hear you all groaning from here.. yes, I know other people's dreams are rarely very interesting blog fodder, but I have to share this particular one because it was so awesome.

An indication that perhaps I've been watching too much T.V. lately, I have started having dreams involving different shows and characters from the shows I like. Last night's dream, though, was the best so far. I really enjoyed watching the first season of Top Chef, and in my dream, I found myself in the Top Chef finals. Me and someone else, battling it out for the title of Top Chef.

In the dream, I was basically me.. that is to say, not a chef. Ha. But somehow, it didn't seem weird that I'd gotten as far as I had, that I'd beaten out all the other fancypants chefs, which I'm guessing was due to my mad kitchen skillz. No matter how strange it might seem upon waking that I should find myself in the Top Chef finals, it was obvious by the way the other chefs treated me that I had earned my place there. As in, no one seemed shocked at all.. though I have no idea whether anyone knew I wasn't actually a chef.

The dream was really vivid and linear, which made it like watching myself in a movie. On the show, a bunch of chefs start out, get whittled down in number in various challenges, until two remain. Then, the final meals are these two huge multi-course shebang things, cooked separately by the two finalists and their sous-chefs, who are some of the eliminated people from previous episodes.

So I'm cooking my meal, and at the beginning, everything was going pretty well. My appetizer and first course went out without much of a hitch. No idea what they were, but I was pretty satisfied with my effort. Then the trouble started.. I started having to put out fires. I'd forgotten this, I had to do that, this didn't get finished.. until I was somewhat panicked and began to realize I wasn't going to win. The thing is, I was so honored to have gotten as far as I did, I didn't care that much that I'd be placing second. The end part of the dream was a bit like what I call 'server nightmares', which are essentially dreams of waiting tables, involving a brand of high panic because something is seriously wrong and for whatever reason, you can't fix it in the dream.

So I realized mid-way through my courses that I was supposed to be serving different wine varieties with each course, and one of the judges snarkily pointed out where they had been sitting, unnoticed, all along. It was kind of late to fix it, so I went on to the next thing. Then I was supposed to have a cheese plate go out before the dessert, but I was in the weeds and had to run around asking my sous-chefs if any of them knew anything about cheese because I didn't. I don't know whether that ended up going out, but the thing that sealed my demise was the dessert.

I had been trying to make these apple tartlets, not anything I've attempted before in real life, but the best part was I didn't have them in tart or pie pans or anything; I instead just laid down some tin foil on the oven rack (which I've been having to do at Jen's because she owns no baking sheets or pans) and put the tartlets on that. When I opened the oven and saw that the crusts had expanded into brown, unappetizing mounds on the foil, I knew I would never win the competition. I finally just shrugged and accepted defeat, but was determined to get all the food out anyway, as unappetizing as it might look. To my sous-chefs, I joked around and called the ruined tartlets "poo pies," either because they looked like crap or because they somewhat resembled.. well.. you get the picture.

In any case, I did not win the title of Top Chef, but I was so pleased with myself for having come in second. As we left the competition, my sous-chefs and I, they told me they were impressed with all I had done to get there, and I talked fondly of how cooking runs in my family. Chefs walk into the sunset.. roll credits.

Anyway, the second point of this post, aside from the uber-boring, drool-inducing dream segment, is that I have been having some really good meals lately. So good that I may have to brag... What we had tonight was so exciting and delicious and GOOD that I just had to share. I fired up the charcoal grill and made grilled corn, asparagus, and yummy, meaty short ribs with a Jack Daniels BBQ sauce. Yum!

Friday, June 09, 2006

So... Hi!



Wow, has it been a month-ish already? Someone should kick the management of this blog in the ass and get them in gear, you know? Yeesh.

Anyway, my apologies for the unexpected hiatus.. I have been a mixture of busy, preoccupied, not home, and not online. I only just noticed how long it's been since I last posted, so whoops!

About two months ago, I met a really cool girl and we have been spending a lot of time together. Because she is a potential reader of this blog, I feel way too shy and awkward to gush about how much I like her, so you'll have to forgive the lack of details. In any case, I'd like to you all to meet Jen. Isn't she a cutie?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Evolution of Dance


Truly one of the funniest, most awesome things I have seen in a while. Take a look!



(ganked from apostropher)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Spammers Take It Where It Hurts


A few weeks ago, I joined Blue Security, an Israel-based company bravely fighting on the front line of the spam war. If you're interested in both fighting spam and receiving less of it, go to their website and download the Blue Frog software, then register your email address(es). Blue Security will add it to its Do Not Intrude Registry and then automatically send opt-out messages to the spammers you report, as is your right under the Can-Spam Act.

Apparently, Blue Security and Blue Frog have been so successful that they are really pissing off the spammers. One in particular, the second biggest spammer in the world at 9% of all spam emails sent, has declared war on Blue Security and its users. Many of us received the following email:

Hey,

You are recieving this email because you are a member of BlueSecurity (http://www.bluesecurity.com).

You signed up because you were expecting to recieve a lesser amount of spam, unfortunately, due to the tactics used by BlueSecurity, you will end up recieving this message, or other nonsensical spams 20-40 times more than you would normally.

How do you make it stop?

Simple, in 48 hours, and every 48 hours thereafter, we will run our current list of BlueSecurity subscribers through BlueSecurity's database, if you arent there.. you wont get this again.

We have devised a method to retrieve your address from their database, so by signing up and remaining a BlueSecurity user not only are you opening yourself up for this, you are also potentially verifying your email address through them to even more spammers, and will end up getting up even more spam as an end-result.

By signing up for bluesecurity, you are doing the exact opposite of what you want, so delete your account, and you will stop recieving this.

Why are we doing this?

Its simple, we dont want to, but BlueSecurity is forcing us. We would much rather not waste our resources and send you these useless mails, but do not believe for one second that we will stop this tirade of emails if you choose to stay with BlueSecurity.

Just remember one thing when you read this, we didnt do this to you, BlueSecurity did.

If BlueSecurity decides to play fair, we will do the same.

We are quite sure you will think this will not continue, that we will not continue wasting our resources doing this, feel free to wait out the first 48, or the second, and see whether these stop, you will be quite suprised.

If you have another email under the protection of bluesecurity, and have not recieved this there, do not worry, you will soon enough.

We mightve had your email addresses before in our lists, but now, we are targetting YOU, because YOU are a bluesecurity user.

You might also notice, that the BlueSecurity site(http://www.bluesecurity.com) is down..

Just remove yourself from BlueSecurity, and make it easier on you.

Nigel Montano

The tone is rather threatening, but I can't get over the author's righteous indignation. Kind of amusing and sad at the same time, yet also somewhat hopeful because it indicates we're winning. You can check out the blog entry in response to the spammer's attacks, including Denial of Service attacks on the Blue Security server (it's really not all that alarming). I encourage you to sign up, as well. The more people reporting spam means the more emails the spammers receive and, based on the above reaction, I'd say all we need to do is keep on fighting.

And I just want to know.. is spam email even lucrative? Who the hell actually buys stuff from spam solicitations?

Articles:

- Spammer Desperately Tries to Undermine Blue Security (Alice Hill's Real Tech News)
- Retaliation for Antispam Success? (Wired News)
- Spammer Threatens Anti-Spam Group (InternetWeek)

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Rejected!


So, today I got a rejection letter in the mail from a national wildlife refuge in NH, to which I had applied for an internship this summer. I suppose I'm disappointed and a little confused, but that's life, right? And it's not like I really have a ton of experience, but, duh, that's the whole point of taking internships. I'm confused because I received a forwarded email from the place that essentially stated they were desperately in need of applicants, yet in my rejection letter they stated that they had received many applications and the position was highly competitive. Eh? I mean, I guess they could have received a deluge of applicants after the email was forwarded on, but I can't help but wonder if they were simply being nice.

That leaves me here in Motown for the summer, disappointing on one hand, but also not on the other. For one, being a year-round resident, I really enjoy it when everyone clears out for breaks. It's way quieter and more peaceful, plus there's less traffic and annoying/idiotic people to deal with.

The semi-suck thing is that I have to get a job because I'm sick of being broke all the time. It's not working that sucks so much as where I'm going to be working. You see, there's an OG opening up here, they've been building it for months and I have been waiting to apply. Actually, it looks pretty nice, it's a Tuscan Farmhouse OG, plus I think it would be fab to work in a restaurant that wasn't falling apart in various ways, due to age.

Back with the spaghetti-slinging, guys. I'm simultaneously okay with and dreading it. I just really, really hope the clientele is better than in Pburg. I mean, Motown is more affluent in general, but OG, I think tends to attract a certain type of customer because it's in the family restaurant market. If the tip situation is anything like the scraping-10% crap I had to deal with for over two years, I don't know what I'll do. I really wish the Cafe Bacchus thing had worked out, or alternately that my boss hadn't been such a degrading prick that I had to quit.

Despite my dreading the whole step-and-fetch deal of OG, I think my best job option at this point is to wait tables. Can't beat the flexibility and having cash all the time. Plus I have really been a lazy bum and quite aimless and unmotivated without a job. On the other hand, I feel like I'm happier when I'm working even if the job annoys the hell out of me. Also as a small bonus, working at a restaurant makes me a thousand times less likely to eat out of boredom, so that combined with the running around will help me shed some of this weight. :)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Sadly, No Mutant Powers Yet


You guuuuuuuuys... I'm a mutant. :(

Earlier this evening, I all of a sudden noticed a freakish, semi-large bump on my right wrist. I've lately been having a bit of wrist pain, and was thinking I might be developing carpal tunnel due to my extremely "up yours, ergonomics" computer setup. I have long had a freakish bump on my right shin, similar in appearance but painless and probably a random fat deposit, except the the one on my wrist is as hard as bone.

I spent some time palpating it, rotating both wrists, and trying to assess whether it was bone, which only led me to the conclusion my left wrist is normal and my right is definitely not. In fact, in some positions, the bump is huge. And slightly sickening.

I then consulted the Google Oracle, and Lord Almighty, I have yet another medical condition, possibly requiring surgery: interesting name, but kind of gross to look at.

I guess if you're going to have a disturbing medical condition, it may as well have a creepy name.

I had a migraine coming on all this afternoon, which was only getting stronger despite the Excedrin I took. Looking at my grody wrist bump at length and doing the online research totally pushed me over the top. I was this close to hurling from the grossness of it all and had to go lie down. YES MY OWN WRIST KIND OF MAKES ME WANT TO VOMIT.

Just waiting for those cool mutant powers to kick in and make up for it...

Congress is Giving Away the Internet


Rather disturbing article here.

This is bad. Very, very bad. :(


Save the Internet: Click here

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Ticks, Spiders, and Annoying People, Oh My!


This past Thursday, my Behavior Patterns of Animals class hopped crammed into a couple of vans and drove the 7 hours each direction to Chincoteague, Virginia, home of the famed wild ponies, for a three day field trip. I was very excited about the ponies because when I was a kid, I read and fell in love with the Misty of Chincoteague books. As a west coast kid, it always seemed to me that I'd never actually get to Chincoteague, much less would I ever get to see the ponies. I also have long been a total horse freak, so that was a real treat.

So much about this trip was kind of annoying, but in the spirit of trying to be a more positive person, I will attempt to not dive right into the bitching, especially as I had several days to rant with a few other aggravated people on the trip. Instead, I will tell you that we went to the Assateague Island National Wildlife Refuge and it is stunningly beautiful. In fact, we happened to go at a time they were calling for thunderstorms each day, which meant we had some amazing and breathtaking clouds, skies, and sunsets.

We got to go into some restricted areas with the rangers, which meant we got to get super close to the ponies, as well as visiting some very untouched areas of the refuge, such as a beach completely without any human footprints. That was so nice. In addition, we all had collection permits, so we were allowed to keep all the cool shells and such that we found along the way.

We stayed at the Marine Science Consortium on Wallops Island, which provided us with dorms and a cafeteria breakfast at 7:30 in the morning. We did tons of walking and far more birdwatching than anything else, because our prof is a birder. I like birds, but in my experience of growing up with 'the birdman' (as he calls himself), I know you're either a birder or not, which makes more than one day of birdwatching a bit boring because you're totally ready to look at something else. All of my classmates are pre-vet or Animal Science majors except for the three of us in my major. However, I will say that we wildlife biology people were fairly impressed that we actually got to see, in the flesh, some of the birds we've been studying. It was also cool that we knew more about some things than anyone else, so our 'expertise' was deferred to a few times. I get a huge thrill from actually being able to apply the things I've learned in school, I think mainly because it reinforces that I am actually getting an education.

The second day, we met up with another biologist guy who took us to the restricted naval base portion of of Assateague Island. In addition to the Navy stuff there, there was also a NASA installation. I think I was more impressed with the battleship and cruiser training facilities there than anything else. I wanted to take pictures of them because they were so cool, but considering it's a restricted military area, I figured it might look sketchy rather than innocent and that they would probably take issue with my photography. Essentially, they were huge installations that were as much of a working battleship or cruiser as could be plopped onto dry land. Everything on them worked, including the radars, guns, and missiles. We also saw a few rocket and missile launching getups and learned about how they fire both into the ocean. Apparently they have a high-speed camera that takes pictures of the missles as they're fired. We also saw a big ammunition locker, made of several feet of concrete and dirt above ground because of the marshy conditions and high water table. There was also a big centrifuge deal, of which I forget the actual term, but essentially they put the missles in there and spin them around to make sure everything is smooth and balanced before firing.

There was also a very old house that had belonged to Mr. Wallops, the original owner of the island, who was kicked off his island by the Navy, thanks to imminent domain or whatever the hell you call it. I really wanted to check the house out, too, but we were too busy offering our warm bodies in sacrifice to the bloodthirsty ticks hidden in the fragmites and marsh grasses. See, the biologist directed us past the battleship and cruiser, past the house, to a more remote portion of the island. Apparently, they have a peregrine falcon or two out there on a platform and my professor really wanted us to see it. The thing was, the platform was like half a mile to a mile away, so all one could really see was the big plastic doghouse igloo with a black speck perched on top. Even the prof's scope didn't help much.

Anyway, we'd all piled out of the vans and start trekking through the grass. None of us had known we were having a tick lunch party, so no one had worn any bug repellant. We all got out on the point all right, except for the biology dude who pulled off a couple ticks, we looked at fiddler crabs, and got around the bend to get a better look at the falcons. However, when I realized that the flattened grasses we were standing on were home to eleventy billion black spiders, I started getting the heebie-jeebies and headed back toward the muddy portion so I could at least see what was under my feet. I like peregrine falcons a lot, but I have seen my share of them in California, plus it was hard to get excited about looking at a doghouse igloo and a magnified black spot.

There are two things in this world that turn me into the grossest freaking girly girl: spiders and ticks. People seem to think it's really funny when I run around screaming and yelping, the bastards. I had my first tick ever last summer in Scotland, and it was a somewhat traumatizing experience that I was hoping to not repeat.

Anyway, after about half an hour of fucking around with the scope to no avail, we headed back to the vans. This was when the reality of the ticks dawned on us all. I placed myself in the middle of the group and tried to look at the stalks of tall grass I had to brush past. At one point, I looked down and, lo and behold, there was a sneaky tick hanging on to the fragmites bent across the trail. I would have absolutely walked into it, had I not noticed. Ugh. So I spent the rest of the afternoon there on the island freaking out about ticks and being hyper-vigilant. We drove to the beach area and as we were standing around by the vans, my professor found a tick on him. He put it on his finger, I guess to show everyone what they look like because the Animal Science girls.. well.. they're not outdoors people, to put it kindly. Anyway, he brought that tick finger near me, WAY too near me, and I nearly fell down, I couldn't get away fast enough. There may also have been some yelling and squealing and people laughing at me.

When we went on the beach, the biology guy told us we'd find all sorts of random debris amongst the shells and ocean detritus. Because the Navy and NASA do test firings and such, there was a possibility that we would find some of these parts on the beach. This was yet another highlight of the day, whereupon every random piece of garbage we found was labeled 'a NASA [piece of garbage]'. Such as, "Oooohh, look! I found a NASA rubber glove!" or "Wow, this [NASA aluminum can] must be part of the nose cone!" Yeah, we're dorks and perhaps easily amused, but it was fun. Then, to top it off, we actually found a real, honest-to-god rusty nose cone! I had wanted to find a true piece of NASA debris as a souvenir, so I was going to bring it home, but out of context and without any markings on it, it kind of wasn't that cool.

In any case, it was an interesting weekend. Two of the Animal Science girls got ticks on their hoo-has, and I am thanking whatever gods may be that I managed to escape that fate. If you're interested in my trip pictures, they can be found here. The pony ones didn't come out as well as I'd have liked, but I think the rest of them are pretty damn nice, if I do say so myself. :)

Friday, April 07, 2006

Stupid Smart


My life at times is somewhat like a black comedy. You see, I very earnestly live my life and I try pretty hard to not do stupid things, yet somehow they always manage to sneak up on me anyway. It's only funny because the circumstances are often so sadly, stupidly, tragic. That or tragically stupid. As Karen Walker would say, "It's funny 'cause it's sad..."

Case in point as to what a cosmic joke my life can be despite my best efforts, let me tell you what Idiot Savant Alena did this evening. It all began when Rachael sent me an invitation to some social networking site. I was somewhat distracted, but started the registration anyway. Next thing I knew, I was presented with an option to import my Gmail contacts. Cool, I thought, and clicked on the button.

The next button was to import and invite my contacts. I only gave this a quick ponderance and, thinking of the people I email most, went ahead and clicked the button. The moment I saw the next screen and the reality of what I was seeing hit me, I was completely mortified. One of the Gmail's features that I have up until this point loved, is that it stores the information of everyone you have email contact with. Maybe you see where this is heading. Oh yes, not only did my dearest friends receive invitations, so did just about every single person I have ever emailed or received email from, including some of my professors and my advisor. I feel like a complete tool.

Fortunately, most of the recipients won't care or it won't matter, but then there's the fact that I just accidentally spammed a bunch of my profs, one of whom I anticipate will be highly annoyed. Plus the invitation includes my profile and probably my picture, so they know exactly which idiot I am. Heh.

If it's even possible, it gets worse. Included in that contact list were people I am no longer speaking to, for various reasons that make this whole thing just bad and really embarrassing. No, no.. I couldn't just do something stupid, I have to have all the humiliation and awkwardness in a huge pile on top of each other.

So, you see, I have this astounding gift of completely defying my intelligence in one second of brilliant stupidity. I mean, when I do stupid, I really do stupid. This is why I refute all suggestion toward any special intelligence on my part; obviously I do dumb very well, thank you.

Anyway, I sent an apology letter out, but the damage is done and I still feel really stupid about the whole thing. I just can't believe I did that!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Field Name: Anastasia Beaverhousen


Legend in this country speaks of a tribe of secret agents living, breathing, eating, and shopping amongst the masses of unknowing American citizens. Trained to blend in and to avoid conspicuity, these ever-mysterious souls drifting in our midst look just like you and me. These skilled chameleons quietly embrace their noble duty that serves this country as a whole. They are so secretive and invisible that some people may not even believe they exist, but I stand to attest that they do indeed exist. As of today, my friends, yours truly is offically a mystery shopper.

Unfortunately, almost all information is Top Secret and I am not at liberty to discuss who I work for or to identify the business I infiltrated this afternoon. That is classified information that could compromise my mission. What I will say is that the experience was kind of intense. I had the world's longest list of things I had to record, so I felt very pressured to remember all the points and make sure I answered everything accurately. I think the hardest part was trying to watch the employees (and get close enough to read their name tags) without arousing suspicion. Let me tell ya, people tend to notice when you're staring at them (or at their chest).

Random


As some of you may know, I spent my senior year as an exchange student in France. It was the 1993-1994 school year, which also just happened to be the year that the North American Free Trade Agreement was passed with much fanfare and discussion. I didn't pay much attention to politics back then, but one of my host relatives pointed out something interesting, something so coincidental I still can't get over it.

In French, NAFTA is called l'Accord de Libre-Échange Nord-Américain. And the acronym? ALENA.

Weird, eh?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Postcards from the Edge


I recently discovered and have fallen in love with Postcrossing, 'The Postcard Crossing Project'. I love postcards, pen pals, and getting mail other than bills, so Postcrossing to me is slightly addictive. Essentially, once you sign up, you request someone's address, which gets chosen randomly and could be anywhere in the world (so far I've had New Zealand, Australia, Finland, and England). Once you send your postcard off and it gets received, the person registers it and then someone else will randomly receive your address. I have gotten one from a German exchange student in Canada and another from a guy in Spain. It's a lot of fun.. you get to make contact with people all over the world you would probably never know ordinarily, plus you get to send and receive fun mail.

I have a thing for postcards, so I started collecting them years ago. When I get a new Postcrossing address, the fun is randomly picking one and then figuring out what to write on it. I have sent poetry, quotations, as well as brief notes about the card or whatever. It's fun, check it out!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

My Shower: Smurf Murder Scene


I had an interesting and pretty fun evening last night. It started off with my decision to dye my hair a crazy blue. The color is 'After Midnight Blue', which I'd hoped would be a really nice dark blue, but since my hair never takes the color it's supposed to, it's kind of like a vivid aquamarine.. looks blue in some lights, looks green in others. Even though this change would maybe seem surprising or out of character to the people I've met since leaving California, way back in the day, I used to frequently Manic Panic my hair some crazy color. I've always enjoyed it because it's one way to outspokenly embrace my differentness, but in recent years, I have always had a job with a dress code and it's been something I have been unable to do. It dawned on me yesterday that I have nothing preventing me from doing it now, so yeah, I have punk rock hair and it kinda rules.

After I dried my hair and surveyed the new 'do, I called Dan to see if he wanted to go out. Dan and I had gone to an awesome Natalia Zukerman concert at Weezie's, the lesbian bar, on Melissa's birthday and Dan really liked the bar and wanted to go back. It's a pretty chill place, as far as bars are concerned. Anyway, Dan and I headed to Weezie's and hung out for a while. One of the bartenders, Jeremy, is friends with Melissa and even though he wasn't supposed to be working, he was there. Jeremy's really fun and cool, so it was awesome to see him. Even though it was a Saturday night, there was no DJ and Jeremy was running around trying to do bar stuff and DJ at the same. I asked him to let me DJ and the next thing I knew, I was in the booth spinning CD's. w00t!

A table of older ladies sitting near the booth asked me what music there was "for old people". I laughed and handed them the binder of songs to browse, along with a pen and paper to write down what they wanted to hear. A few minutes later, they handed me their list with a $5 bill. Ha! I didn't even know people tip DJ's, but right on.. and then later after I'd played their songs, they asked me again, I handed them the binder, and got given their list with another fiver. Sweet! Even though I wasn't officially getting paid, that definitely was a nice gift towards my bar tab.

Dan switched early on from Bud Lite to very strong Long Islands ("We call 'em 'Strong Islands' around here!"), so toward the end of the night, he was pretty blitzed. At one point, I looked over to where he and Jeremy were sitting at the bar, only to discover that Dan was shirtless. That totally cracked me up, because it was like one minute he was wearing it, the next minute not. The funniest thing about it was maybe half an hour later, when Jeremy came over to us and told Dan he had to put his shirt back on because "the lesbians are complaining that it's a health code violation." omfglol. It's a fucking gay bar, for Pete's sake... what gay bar doesn't have shirtless men walking around??? That kills me.

Anyway, I DJed until closing and I had a really great time overall. Dan.. <3 you, big guy. ;)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

If You Wouldn't Mind...


Please take a moment to go here and sign to be a citizen co-sponsor of the 2006 Roadless Area Conservation Act. A cute, furry creature somewhere will thank you.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Rocking the Classics


I'm having some fun browsing YouTube. This kid kicks ass.. he is seriously good. This is the second clip I've seen from this guy, and from what I remember, he arranged and composed this himself.

Talk About Issues..


Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Count Your Blessings


I know this is kind of old, but my Speech professor played this in class today as an example of non-verbal communication. It wasn't the first time I'd seen this, but as I sat there watching in the dark, it occurred to me that perhaps it's best I don't own a webcam...

Because I would get bored and eventually this would be me...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Ancient History


Yesterday I scrounged up all my music/flute paraphernalia and spent about 45 minutes practicing my flute (and about 15 minutes goofing around on the recorder). I guess my karmic reward for taking a step to start playing again was the discovery of a bunch of cool stuff in my Box O' Music that I didn't even know I had. I had a good time sorting through it all and I was rather delighted at some of the things I discovered. Some were a total surprise, such as two stories I started during my senior year in France. I find it amusing to revisit my former selves and it was good to get a glimpse of my mind at the age of 17.

When I write, I have a tendency to start stories and then never finish them. I'm sure I have several more story beginnings stashed around my apartment. I haven't done much creative writing in a verrrry long time, so it surprised me that perhaps I was better at it than I ever gave myself credit for. One of the stories has the best title on the planet (below) and I really wish I had finished because I like it quite a bit. In any case, I thought I would post what I wrote here for several reasons, including amusement, but hopefully you'll forgive me the self-indulgence (and the lack of a real ending). ;)



I always wondered what was wrong with me. There would be the times, in class, when I'd stop listening to the teacher and focus on the sounds outside. The playground noises always wafted uninvited through the closed windows, the echoes of laughter and screams, and for some unexplainable reason, I'd be thinking of summer. The hot, still summer days when you could just feel the emptiness of the world, when the ringing, joyful sounds of the ice cream man's truck would fill the streets, bringing hordes of little, screaming androgynous bodies out in an ecstatic rush.


Thoughts of a warm, sunny beach, bathed in silence and embraced by beauty, where one is lost by thoughts and maybe a little melancholy; a sense of sadness as the burning golden sun slips down on the horizon, an unconscious knowledge that something beautiful has passed.

I never knew why, I always felt like I was missing something in my life, I had an achingly hollow feeling inside, the thoughts of summer and what I was supposed to be only magnified it. Even the busiest days would leave me craving something, an unnameable empty feeling, a melancholy that I wanted so much to lose.


I couldn't help but think about it and those visions of summer swam in my head. The world would slow until an almost stop, no one would exist except me and I'd be carried away my something I couldn't explain.

Friday, February 24, 2006

To All the Smug Mac Idolaters Out There


I used to be a total Mac girl. Aside from my TRS-80, which I don't really count, the first computer I used was a Mac. I loved Macs and I stayed quite loyal to them for around 15 years, until I got fed up with Apple's pure money-grubbing. My family has owned about 5 Macs over the years, but I defected a few years ago and last year, I talked my mom into ditching the Mac platform altogether. I was originally frustrated with the lack of applets and software available for Macs, but eventually I lost almost all respect for the company that makes them. Apple used to be about the user and the user experience, it was a different company model and what they were doing was pretty cool. However, at some point, they became about how much money they could extract from their customers' wallets. Yes, I have an iPod, but I still dislike Apple quite a bit.

Anyway, every time I get into a Mac vs. PC debate, the Mac lover will invariably (and smugly) note that there are no Mac viruses. They explain that while we PC users are often barraged with worms, trojans, and suspicious attachments, the Mac users have a blissful, worry-free computer experience.

Well, not anymore...

Experts detect first Mac virus



Thursday, February 23, 2006

Hidden


So, truly, I have been trying so hard not to be freaked out by this year's birthday. The date may be eight months away, but it is visibly looming there on the horizon. Despite my efforts, it does freak me out and I have been doing a hell of a lot of thinking over the past few months.

Basically, I have been taking stock of my life and of who I am as a person and what I have observed displeases me greatly. I don't like myself or the little crevice of life that I have carved out for myself. Because of this, the fact that I'm nowhere near what I want for myself at 30, I am going through an existential crisis. It is a crisis to me because I feel there is so much work to be done and it all seems impossible.

I don't like how I act, the things I do, or how I treat people. I am self-centered, self-defeating, lazy, and have great difficulty disciplining myself. In addition, I am not satisfied with my behavior in relationships with friends and family. For one, I am definitely a distant person, though I don't really mean to be. I would describe myself as a fortress, but not just a fortress... a fortress with a hundred different concentric walls. Gated walls. On the very outside wall is the gate where people I meet are let in. Some people never go any farther, others make their way deeper into the fortress, but no one ever gets all the way in. I don't know when my life became about avoiding attachments/pain and maintaining safe distances between me and everyone in the world, but I have become such a hermit. The irony of the fortress is that it's all for the protection of a woman who is vulnerable and weak, rather than for some mighty queen.

I know that I am overly hard on myself, but seriously, I don't like who I have become. I need a personality Extreme Makeover. I never expected myself to say this, but I like early-20's me better than I like this bitter old-lady-before-her-time me.

Anyway, it's got to stop somewhere, so I made a 43 Things list to keep track of my goals. Wish me luck!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Sounds Dire, Doesn't It?

Sounds Dire, Doesn't It?


Sounds Dire, Doesn't It?, originally uploaded by Treehugger.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Bit Rusty, Oh!


Just a bit ago, I ran a couple things outside to the garbage and as I was going down the stairs, I stepped on a rusty nail that went through my shoe and stabbed my foot, probably inoculating me with tetanus. From what I know of tetanus, it's probably the most horrible, painful way a person can die. Though, apparently, it's treatable these days. This makes twice in one year that I've had rusty metal pierce my skin, and twice in one year I get to obsess about when I last had a tetanus shot or whether I am going to die a hideous death. Is the universe trying to tell me something? Who gets stabbed by rusty metal this much, anyway??

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Interesting


From Ask Yahoo!:

Dear Yahoo!:
Do "beer goggles" really exist?
-- Tipsy

Dear Tipsy:
For those of you unfamiliar with the party scene, "beer goggles" refers to how people often appear more attractive to you after you've had a few drinks. For a long time, it was just a convenient excuse a person used to explain "regrettable amorous encounters." However, according to a study at the Universities of Glasgow and St. Andrews, beer goggles (or "brew gogs" as they're known in certain fraternal circles) are very real.

It's no secret that excessive drinking leads to poor judgment behind the wheel. Well, it can also lead to poor judgment at your local pub. According to the aforementioned study, what constitutes "attractive" changes drastically after a few drinks. In other words, while you may think you're hitting on a 10, there's a chance you're actually picking up someone in the lower-single digits.

The reasons behind this phenomenon have to do with alcohol stimulating the nucleus accumbens, aka "the part of the brain which is used to determine facial attractiveness." In the 2002 study, male and female students were shown pictures of members of the opposite sex and asked to rate them on a scale of 1-7 (sounds cruel, we know). The more students drank, the higher they rated the photographs.

We hope this sobering study helps encourage more responsible drinking. Remember -- if you're looking for love and don't want to wake up disappointed, you're better off at an ice-cream social than a keg-stand contest.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Nasty, Nasty Clients


"I recently interviewed a couple hundred piercers about the low points of their career. You know how they say 'the customer is always right'? Well, these piercers might not agree with that claim..."

-- BMEZINE.COM

Tap Tap Tap


Is this thing on?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

"The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them - words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they're brought out. But it's more than that, isn't it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revalations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you've said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That's the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller, but for want of an understanding ear."

- Stephen King

The Gay Onion


FakeGayNews.com - Because real gay and lesbian news is too damn depressing.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Spooky


I don't think I've talked about it much here, but I'm a member of a paranormal research group called WVPRS. We model ourselves after T.A.P.S., a well-respected group that takes a very scientific and logical approach to their research.

One of the goals we have as a group is to produce episodes based on our hunts and subsequent findings. We haven't completed an episode yet, mainly because we're all busy people, but AJ has put a good amount of work into the opening montage. I thought I'd post it here because I think it's pretty fun.

This intro was made before we lost two members, Dan and Seret, and gained a few more, Amber, Blaine, and Shayla. I'd post the newer one, but it hasn't been uploaded yet.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Hahahahahaha... Shut Up!


I just stumbled across a repository of Drunk Girl clips, and I couldn't be more thrilled. No one ever seems to remember her, but Drunk Girl is one of my all-time favorite SNL characters, and now you'll know what I'm referencing the next time I go, "You know what you are? Youknowwhatyouare? Yaknowhazyeer? Yknwzr? You're not a man... you're an animal."

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Chemistry


So, Match.com started up this new matching service called Chemistry, where you don't search for people, you get put together based on personality. I signed up because I was curious about it and who my matches would be. The whole thing is pretty fascinating; an in-depth personality test, matching, and different steps of contact.

Chemistry went live recently, so I had my first look at my matches. They were okay, but then I started poking around the site and came across my personality test results, which I'm pretty impressed with. I find it interesting that I'm a pretty even split amongst all four of the types.. no wonder I feel so contradictory!


You are an EXPLORER/director

You are a skywalker. You love adventure, both intellectual and physical. And you greet new challenges with passion and bravery.

When you get interested in a project, you can become extremely focused on it, sometimes to the exclusion of all around you. You complete it carefully and thoroughly, often with great originality.

And because you have a lot of energy and tend to be enthusiastic about your ideas, inventions, and projects, you can be very persuasive.

You tend to like to collect things, experiences or ideas. And you are eager to make an impact on those around you, as well as the wider world.

Although you enjoy people and can be charming and humorous, you are not very interested in routine social engagements or boring people. You are comfortable being by yourself, pursuing your own interests.

People probably call you a non-conformist, an original. You like to have good conversations on important topics. People tend to admire you for your innovativeness. You make an exciting, though at times distant, companion.


How your personality breaks out

Explorer - 26% of your personality
Known for high energy, high creativity and spontaneity. Seeks novelty, risk and pleasure. Intellectually curious and not easily swayed by opinion.

Builder - 23% of your personality
Usually very popular. Deep attachment to home and family. Calm demeanor and low anxiety. Often consistent, loyal and protective.

Negotiator - 24% of your personality
Excels at seeing the big picture, long-term planning, and consensus building. An intuitive thinker who is flexible, verbal and socially skilled. Imaginative, empathetic and nurturing.

Director - 25% of your personality
Daring, original, direct and inventive. A non-conformist. Skilled at abstract thinking and short-term planning. Often assertive and quite competitive. Tough-minded and efficient.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Yo, I'm Back


So yeah, my trip to California was awesome and being back in S.F. again made me realize just how desperately I need to get out of WV. I'd previously planned to attend grad school here, but screw that.. I'm going back to the west coast!

How I miss San Francisco.. a city of freaks and weirdos, where I feel totally comfortable and happy simply being me. Where different is good and encouraged. Where I can sit in a cafe and exclaim loudly, "I'm gay!" and get absolutely no reaction from the other patrons (try it, it's fun). A city of crazy homeless people, people who will ignore you when you speak to them, and an abundance of lesbians so cute I almost cried. Good times.

Way, way too much stuff happened to post here. This will be long as it is now, but here are some highlights:

* Arriving at our chi-chi boutique hotel just off Union Square at 2:30 am after a delayed flight and a Super Shuttle crammed to the brim with random types of people.

* My hotel room had such a lovely funky S.F. feel to it and a really comfy bed!

* I had a hair appointment at 10 the following morning. If you're ever in the city and want a great stylist, ask for Jane at the Fractory (in the Richmond District). I received the best, most pampering wash, cut, and style I can remember.. not only is it totally me, but it's way easy to maintain. Yay!

* That evening, I was forced by my mother to go shopping with my aunt to buy "something nice" for our evenings out. Talk about depressing. Not only does Nordstrom not stock clothing for girls who are built like me, but everywhere else in that damn shopping center was the same story; either things were too small or they fit weirdly and/or badly. I settled on what is now the girliest outfit I own: black cotton pants, a cream camisole, a purple flower-print scoop-neck transparent blouse-like thingy, a maroon cardigan, and my personal dykey touch of black leather slip-on shoes.

* Ahhhhhhh.... the food!! So many delicious, amazing meals. Everything we ordered at Betelnut, an Asian fusion restaurant, was absolutely divine. I got to have my fantasy burrito at Gordo's on 9th Ave. and OMG the memory of that super chicken goodness in a spinach tortilla will hold me over until my next one. I went to Burma Superstar, a Burmese place, with Adriel and the food was fab. Try the poodi. I mean, not only does the dish have the best name EVAR, it's really yummy. Poodi!!!

* Seeing Adriel! It had been about 8 years since we last saw each other and one day wasn't enough. We tripped around the city, starting with the pirate store on Valencia, which is so fun with all sorts of drawers and hidden treasures to find. After that, we took the bus over to Burma Superstar for lunch. It was so good to see her and that we're finally able to be friends again. Next time I hope we have more than an afternoon to hang out.

* Cirque du Soleil - "Corteo".. I haven't been to see Cirque du Soleil in ages and this show had an Italian theme, much to the delight of everyone (especially Angelo and Valentina). One of the characters had the name Valentina and my sister got a big kick out of that. Corteo means 'procession' in Italian, and the theme was the funeral of a clown. I'd kind of forgotten how spectacular the shows are. Very gorgeous, amazing, and well done!

* Saw Bill (my ex-stepper, a.k.a. the guy who raised me) and hung out with him. I haven't seen him in five years, but he looks good despite the fact that he'll be 70 next month. Actually, he looks just the same to me, but he says he's having some medical problems related to his diabetes. Was great to see him, though.

* Saw Amy, too! Amy was my best friend from about 5th grade until high school started and we grew apart. She showed up at our hotel on the day Bill was visiting and we all went to lunch at Max's. I'd been kind of blocked and feeling weird about seeing Amy again for some reason, maybe because it had been so long, but she seems to be very much the same and it was good to see her. Too bad I didn't have more time to chat and catch up with her.

* We left S.F. on New Year's Eve... big bummer because there was lots going on, most notably a lesbian night at one club Adriel had mentioned to me. Leaving the city was depressing and I didn't want to go.

* We spent New Year's at my aunt and uncle's place in Oroville, which is a rednecky, small-town kinda area in No. Cal. Their house and land are huge, so I guess it's a trade-off. New Year's was very low key and rather boring. Dinner consisted of appetizers and gourmet things I don't like.. but I did enjoy the wine and prosecco, of course. Danny (my uncle) and my mom had a small spat and we almost all went to bed instead of staying up until midnight. Vale didn't make it, but we did light a ton of sparklers and stuff. Whee!

* Had a bizarre conversation with my mom about how hearing about her sex life (as told to others over dinner) and watching her and Angelo 'make out' totally grossed me out. It shouldn't surprise me that she totally couldn't get where I was coming from, or why it would seem gross and inappropriate from my end. She made a crack at me in a later conversation regarding my discomfort with this, and I wanted to punch her... she can be such a bitch sometimes.

* While in Oroville, we went to Chico for shopping and I saw The Chronicles of Narnia, which is a kickass film.

* Peet's Coffee... w00t!

* Several major storms hit the west coast while we were there and there was lots of flooding. As we drove north to Oroville, the other side of the freeway was under at least two feet of water (pouring over and through the divider) and was pretty much closed down. We lucked out that we weren't heading south.

* Long, long drive in wet weather to my mom's friend, Beth's in Williams, OR. The car could not have been any more crammed with people and stuff. Seriously. We then hit two near-blizzard snow storms in the higher elevations and that was pretty crazy, considering we had neither snow tires or chains.

* Beth's house and property are gorgeous! There's a creek, a pond, and lots of trees and plants. Plus her neighbor has a horse, so Vale and I went out to feed and pet him. The horse liked carrots and grass but decidedly did not like celery.

* Angelo had a cold, which my mom caught, and then after being trapped in a vehicle with all the coughing and sneezing for like 8 hours, I knew I was sunk. Sho' nuff, next day, I was sick, too. Talk about teh suckage.. it only got worse as time went on, peaking for me on the drive from Beth's to the coast of OR. Miz. Er. Able.

* Beth lives with Jim, a guy in his 50's or 60's who is in the last stages of terminal cancer. The whole living sitch is purely platonic now, but he is her baby daddy, so she invited him to stay with her until the end. It's really very sad because Jim is a cool and funny guy. So I'm out somewhere with my mom and the conversation takes a slight turn into The Twilight Zone..


Mom (v. casually): Jim's got pot, if you want some pot.
Me: What??
Mom: He has a whole bunch he grew but he doesn't smoke it, so he's giving it away. He asked me if I wanted some and then said to ask if you did.
Me: Yeah, I want some pot!!
Mom: K.

Not a conversation one expects to have with their mother, but if you envision my mom as a coin, if "bitchy" is heads, tails is definitely "damn, she's cool". In any case, Jim invited me up to his room and handed me a canister of dank, dank bud. See, medical marijuana is legal in Oregon and he has a card, making it perfectly legal for him to grow X number of plants. He doesn't smoke, but said he grew it for something to do. I love this as a reason to grow marijuana; Damn, I'm bored.. hell, I'll just grow some pot plants. Ha! Turns out his crop was extremely successful and he had over two pounds of it. He told me to take as much as I wanted and OMG I suddenly turned into a greedy kid in a candy store. I would have taken as much as he was willing to part with, but I had travel considerations, so I took more than enough to make the rest of my trip even more enjoyable. The stuff was so potent that even triple-bagged you could still smell it, and quite tasty, too. So Jim's present to me has been of great enjoyment. <3 Jim!!



This is about half my highlights, but I'm going to stop here for now because this is already so long. Anyhoo, I'm back and stuff.