Thursday, December 28, 2006

Schultz's Philosophy

This was sent to me by my Father, and it made me think of this post here.

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schultz, the creator of the"Peanuts" comic strip. Can you:
  1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world?
  2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners?
  3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America title?
  4. Name ten people who have won either the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize?
  5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress?
  6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners?

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one. Can you:

  1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school?
  2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time?
  3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile?
  4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special?
  5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with?


The lesson: the people who make a difference in your life are not the oneswith the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

A bit cheesy, I know -- but you've come to expect that from me. This is the wisdom I needed to help me get over myself and stop mourning that I wasn't on some path to greatness.

"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It 's already tomorrow in Australia." -- CharlesSchultz

Random Facts

Love, love, love random and curious bits of information. Though, for now, I will spare you the wonderful knowledge I acquired reading Stiff by Mary Roach, a book about cadavers.

Here are some interesting tidbits I got from reading BBC News:
  • The Lion costume in the Wizard of Oz was made from real lion pelts.
  • Standard sized condoms are too big for most Indian men.
  • The Pope has been known to wear red Prada shoes (there's no place like home?).
  • A common American poplar (a tree) has twice as many genes as a human being.
  • Cows can have a regional accent, says a British professor.
  • The clitoris derives its name from the Greek word kleitoris, which means little hill.
  • The egg came first.
  • Humans were first infected with HIV in the 1930s in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • George W., reflecting on the highlight of his presidency: "I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5lb perch in my lake."
  • In Bhutan, government policy is based on Gross National Happiness; most street advertising has been banned, as well as tobacco and plastic bags.
  • In the 1960s, the CIA used to watch Mission: Impossible to get ideas about spying.
  • In December, a tornado touched down in London, destroying a few homes and cars.
  • To save two dolphins who had ingested plastic debris, the Chinese government called on the tallest man in the world (~7'9") (and also Chinese) to reach down their throats and pull out the pieces, an act that saved their lives.

There you have it. If you are curious about cadavers or children who feel no pain (a disorder known as congenital insensitivity to pain), let me know -- I have lots to share. The next documentary in my NetFlix queue: Unknown White Male, about a man who woke up on the New York subway with no clues about who he was except a random phone number and a British accent. Sometimes I wake up like this, until my cat, Rachel, kindly reminds me that I am here to serve her and it is not the time to be practicing my British accent, since breakfast is already late.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Solstice

My father lives in Alaska and reminds me every year of the two main solstices. The solistices -- and the abundance and lack of light they bring -- I think means more to those who live so far north. Normally, the winter solstice is referred to as the shortest day of the year. This morning on NPR, I heard it referred to as the longest night of the year. I liked that. Maybe I'll celebrate it that way, by doing my favorite night time things -- watching movies, reading, crafting, primping, drinking tea, playing with the kitties. Sounds like a plan.

I posted this picture because one thing the solstice has always meant to me is that Spring, my favorite time of year, is on its way, even though today is the first day of winter. The days are going to get longer, which means the earth will start to warm and then flowers will start to bloom, the thought of which makes me wiggle my toes. Perhaps I'll watch Amelie late tonight as part of a dual celebration of the longest night of the year and the coming of Spring.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Culture Shock

This past weekend, J and I traveled to Enterprise, Oregon (population 1,895) for his new company's holiday party. Well, that was a bit of a shock to the system. It was held in a grange hall, which also doubles as the town's roller rink. Many of the men were wearing their best camo and cowboy hats with facial hair styled into mutton chops and handlebar mustaches (sans the irony), one woman was wearing an early '90s prom dress and platform stripper heels (yes, she worked for the company), more than a few ladies had their tatas on display and there was only one non-whitie in attendance (also a company employee). The booze was a flowin', a country band a playin' and jaws a flappin'. I learned a little too much about some of his co-workers, including a self-proclaimed new bff (she did the proclaiming; I said, sure why not?). And I'm fairly certain J and I were the only non-Christians in the room.

Granted, we are moving to Walla Walla, which is 15 times the size of Enterprise and most of his coworkers don't live there. And, I currently work for one of the more liberal, hip organizations out there. But, upon surveying the room upon our arrival, I did experience a brief, sinking feeling in my stomach, followed by the thought, "What have we done?"

I'm Just Sayin'...

High IQ Link to Being Vegetarian
Story from BBC NEWS, Published: 2006/12/15 00:15:39 GMT

Intelligent children are more likely to become vegetarians later in life, a study says.

A Southampton University team found those who were vegetarian by 30 had recorded five IQ points more on average at the age of 10.

Researchers said it could explain why people with higher IQ were healthier as a vegetarian diet was linked to lower heart disease and obesity rates.

The study of 8,179 was reported in the British Medical Journal.

Twenty years after the IQ tests were carried out in 1970, 366 of the participants said they were vegetarian - although more than 100 reported eating either fish or chicken.

Men who were vegetarian had an IQ score of 106, compared with 101 for non-vegetarians; while female vegetarians averaged 104, compared with 99 for non-vegetarians.

"We've always known that vegetarianism is an intelligent, compassionate choice benefiting animals, people and the environment." -- Liz O'Neill, of The Vegetarian Society

There was no difference in IQ score between strict vegetarians and those who said they were vegetarian but who reported eating fish or chicken.

Researchers said the findings were partly related to better education and higher occupational social class, but it remained statistically significant after adjusting for these factors.

Vegetarians were more likely to be female, to be of higher occupational social class and to have higher academic or vocational qualifications than non-vegetarians.

However, these differences were not reflected in their annual income, which was similar to that of non-vegetarians.

Lead researcher Catharine Gale said: "The finding that children with greater intelligence are more likely to report being vegetarian as adults, together with the evidence on the potential benefits of a vegetarian diet on heart health, may help to explain why higher IQ in childhood or adolescence is linked with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease in adult life."


However, she added the link may be merely an example of many other lifestyle preferences that might be expected to vary with intelligence, such as choice of newspaper, but which may or may not have implications for health.

Liz O'Neill, of the Vegetarian Society, said: "We've always known that vegetarianism is an intelligent, compassionate choice benefiting animals, people and the environment.

"Now we've got the scientific evidence to prove it. Maybe that explains why many meat-reducers are keen to call themselves vegetarians when even they must know that vegetarians don't eat chicken, turkey or fish."

But Dr Frankie Phillips, of the British Dietetic Association, said: "It is like the chicken and the egg. Do people become vegetarian because they have a very high IQ or is it just that they tend to be more aware of health issues?"

Friday, December 15, 2006

So frickin' funny

Family Guy - Annoying Stewie - video powered by Metacafe

Laughed until I cried. The big, loud gafaw laugh, some of you know all too well. And yes, I am like this sometimes. As an adult. Just ask J. My sense of humor is not always so refined. Pity him now.

So, I was supposed to be on a bus right about now, but thanks to the high wind storm and trees blocking train tracks, the bus is sold out and I got to rent a car! I'm home briefly to burn my Cheese II mix, then I hit the road to Pendleton for a whirlwhind weekend of fun in Enterprise, OR. Can I get a whoo hoo?!?

Here's the car I rented -- so fly (it's a Dodge Cavalier):

The radio stays on even after you've taken the key out of the ignition. Wha?!? I own a 2005 Honda CRV and it's not that fancy. Technology these days.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


It being the holidays, we have copious amounts of sweets lying around the office. And I often hear that these foods are "evil" or "dangerous" or someone who is eating them comments s/he is "being bad" or "feels guilty." I am so sick of this. First of all, foods are neither good nor bad -- they just are. Some have more fat, sugar and/or salt than others, but they are not imbued with a specific morality. Secondly, there are worse things one can do than eat a cookie. If you don't know that...well, I'm not sure I want to disturb your innocence by telling you things that are worse. But trust me, there are. Third, don't share these things with me if you can plainly see that I am eating said "evil" or "dangerous" thing, as you are passing judgement, and I just want to enjoy my damn cookie in peace.

What plagues me more is that I don't know what to say to these comments. Most of them that are made are said in a manner of small talk (which I dislike and adds to my animosity), and I neither want to encourage further chit chat nor do I want to make a bigger deal out of something just thrown out there because someone felt the need to fill the silence. But I worry that people do feel these foods are bad and that they in turn are bad or naughty or evil for eating them. I don't know. I'm feeling a bit tweaky today. I guess it bugs me because I've been working to get out of that mindset, and I guess I resent it when I'm confronted with it, instead of feeling empowered that I no longer feel the need to make such comments. Now there's the positive spin I needed.

Funny how these postings help me work things out.

How cool is this?

It's Rosa Parks's mug shot found here. I find interesting that she's seated in the photo.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Yo my gosh, pt. 2

Posted on Very Zen today:

"My current theory is this: People who are prone to addiction usually have very distinct characteristics. One- We usually have some form of mental illness be it depression, mania, anxiety, or whatever. We are often too stubborn to seek treatment or don’t have the means so we self medicate. Two- We have a tendency to be oversensitive, every little thing upsets us and we will carry resentment to our graves. Fuck us and we’ll fuck ourselves twice. Three- We have the ability to be wholly self depreciating while simultaneously believing that we are really a good bit better than other folks. I think it’s called terminal uniqueness. And Four- we live in our own little worlds with our own little reality and refuse to develop the skills necessary to deal with people on their own terms. Therefore other people never behave like we think they should, and always let us down, we can’t see past our own noses and life is just unbearably fucking unfair all the time."

As much as it pains my psyche to admit this, this is totally and completely me. As you may recall from this post, I’ve been struggling alcohol, and have decided to stop drinking socially, as I can no longer control myself when I do. Most of my life, I have struggled with over/compulsive eating, another addiction, and have been co-dependent, yet another addiction. I am realizing slowly, because realizing it any faster would probably kill me, that I am a major source of my pain. I grew up in an emotionally unhealthy household, was a misfit in school and have been depressed since I was 10. I’ve worked through the stuff with my family, got over the rejection of my school mates, am surrounded by loving family and friends, have been taking meds and seeing a therapist. Yet, I’m still unhappy, in pain, lethargic. I can’t blame those other things anymore, and it’s time to take a long hard look in the mirror. It's hard work and sometimes I think I've worked through something only to have it come back and smack me hard (not in a good way). I still amaze myself with how much of a jerk I can be and how incredibly insensitive and selfish. My brain tries to find reasons for being so beyond myself -- I'm an only child; I'm too hard on myself; I deserve this -- but rarely do I accept that it's a character flaw, one that I need to work on.

There have been a couple instances in the recent past when I've done something that bothers J (somethings that were fairly harmless in my opinion). I've told him: "You know, I've always been like this, even when we were first dating. You know that I do this; it's who I am." I find it funny/ironic that I haven't been able to tell myself: "You know, you've always been like this. It's no one else's fault and no one else can fix it but you." Maybe this is a first step.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Keeping with the theme...

For Awesome

My friend, Ms. L, had this posted on her my space and I just had to share. Love it. Makes me feel a bit better about my ample, squeezable portions.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Taken on my Mac using Photo Booth

J: Do NOT Read This

And he won't -- one of the reasons I love him so.

I am so excited, I just had to share. So, J is coming home for the first time in two weeks tonight. Tomorrow, we have the whole day free, minus a pesky car related chore. To celebrate this day of togetherness, I have planned a whole day of fun, which will hopefully go something like this:
  • 8:30 am: drop the car off at the shop
  • 10:30 am: view the Egyptian exhibit at the Portland Art Museum
  • Noonish: lunch at Chipotle
  • 1:30 pm: listen to the Festival of Tubas at Pioneer Court House Square
  • 3 pm-ish: pick up the car
  • 5 pm-ish: watch the Christmas holiday fleet (non-military) float down the Willamette while sipping hot bevvies
  • 7 pm-ish: dinner of fake duck filets and asparagus risotto
  • 8 pm-ish: dessert of red wine and dark chocolate while watching episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • 10 pm-ish: none of your beeswax

I'm so proud of myself. Of course, planning a whole day of fun activities during December isn't all the hard, since something is always happening. But, I am proud I found stuff for us to do the whole day that I think we will really enjoy.

On Sunday, I get to bake with Ms. H (she's in for a treat -- I'm a terrible baker) , go to a craft fest with her and then have a Ladies holiday gathering at her place with our two favorite fellow MPAers (we were all in the same Master's of Public Administration program at PSU). Yay! I love it when weekends are exciting and not just about dreading Monday.

CariDee Wins!

If you recall from this post, I love me some America's Next Top Model. On Wednesday, they selected a winner, and it was CariDee (the gal on the left), the gal I was rooting for, because, essentially, she's hot and seems to have a fun personality (though this somewhat manufactured by the show's editors, I'm sure).

While I love this show mainly for the mello-drama (most girls kicked off the show say they wanted to win more than anyone and there are always lots of tears), I found this round to be a little intellectually stimulating as well. The final two contestants were, of course, CariDee, and another woman, Melrose. (For those of you who don't know, she's not the gal on the right; that's Tyra Banks, the show's somewhat freaky host.) Technically, Melrose performed the best throughout the contest -- she won the most challenges, consistently took the best photos, performed well on the cat walk. However, she is not traditionally beautiful, she's a bit condescending and quite the perfectionist. However, she performed the best, in my opinion. So, who should have won -- the beautiful, funny, somewhat unpredictable girl or the more talented, perhaps not so nice model? Obviously, the judges went with the beauty and niceness, and I'm glad, 'cause I liked her, but I'm not sure they made the right decision. Not that it matters at all, expect maybe to Melrose, but I found it interesting.

The new ANTP starts next week, but I don't think I'll be watching -- I'm too mellow-dramaed out from this season and need to take a break. But I think it's being filmed in Britain with British gals, which could serve as an interesting compare/contrast against the American ladies. Hmmm...I think I just changed my own mind.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Body Integrity Identity Disorder

I just finished watching Whole, a documentary, Whole, about people with Body Integrity Identity Disorder, aka voluntary amputees, people who cut off healthy limb(s) to satisfy a psychosis. I don't feel I'm explaining this very well, but it's fascinating (to me at least). The disorder is compared to Gender Identity Disorder -- people who feel they were born the wrong gender, and some have surgery to give them the gender they believe themselves to be. So, with BIID, people sever their limbs to feel more complete and to have the body they believe they should have. I think its interesting because I can't relate, and the desire seems more foreign to me than GID, probably because during brief moments in my life, I have wished I was a boy, generally thought at times where I thought I would be having an easier time if I was a boy, which is not equivalent to GID at all, but for some reason, it makes me feel like I can identify just a tiny, tiny bit.

What does truly perplex me is those in the documentary who had their leg cut off were wearing prosthetic limbs. Granted, walking with a prosthetic limb is not like walking with a healthy leg. But, it still perplexes me as to why they would want to do that after undergoing so much to have the limb removed. I tried Googling for an answer, but to no avail.

I did find something interesting on an amputee web site:

Interesting take on the War in Iraq. (Why is it never called the Iraq War?)

Continuing my fascination with documentaries on obscure subjects, tomorrow Netflix should deliver one about children born with a genetic disorder that causes them not to feel pain (A Life Without Pain).

Mandarin Day: A Revised History

Happy Mandarin Day! I hope you all are enjoying the yummy goodness that is the Satsuma Mandarin.

So, a dear, sweet friend of mine posted a comment on the original Mandarin Day post, suggesting that my history of the day was a bit, well, flawed. And, I confess, it's true. I only vaguely know the history of the day, as told to me by J, who's bound to be a bit biased about who actually created the best holiday ever. But, I should have done my homework, checked my facts, verified my sources. Now that I have been enlightened, I present Mandarin Day: A Revised History:

Mandarin Day was created by my husband, J, his dear friends KW, the renowned journalist and skin diver (however, not done at the same time - he never mixes business with pleasure), and AO, world traveler, donkey officianado, and accomplished pirate.

This fabulous holiday is celebrated across the nation, in such places as Portland (where it started), Spokane and Seattle, WA, San Francisco and possibly in Chicago and Indianapolis. Maybe even Hamburg, Germany.

And the official drink of Mandarin Day? The Mandaritta.

Thank you, Ms. AW (wife of KW), for setting me straight. If y'all have time, check out her comment -- it's hi-larious.

P.S. Ms. AW -- J was offended that you referred to him as Alexander Hamilton; he said he's obviously Thomas Jefferson.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Shame & Regret

Really, minor shame and regret, but shame and regret none the less.

Little Arlo puts my dance moves to shame here.

Last night, while out on a fabulous date with Ms. H (happy hour and a play, y'all -- she knows how to treat a girl right). Anyway, while at happy hour, I heard a wonderfully cheesy love song that did not make it on to my mix -- Enrique Iglesias's "Hero" (I can be your hero baby/I can take away your pain/I can stand by you forever/You can take my breathe away). Now that is some fine, fine cheese.

Side note -- I had a chat with Ms. H yesterday regarding her pseudonym, since I had just arbitrarily assigned it to her, and it lacks imagination. I suggested other names, like Helicopter or Hippo (start with H, as her name does) or Feather (rhymes with) or the Latin term for the plant she was named after. Shockingly enough, she opted to remain Ms. H (what -- no Hippo?!?), saying she liked its mysteriousness. Ms. H in the drawing room with a hammer.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Cheesy Love Song mix

On my last video post (here), I mentioned I was making a mix of cheesy songs in response to Frema's call for such (here). I have made my mix and sent it out and I think it's a trimuph of cheesy love or love of cheese, which for me would equal blue cheese, but my mix is not that good. It's more like cheese ball good -- very yummy but a little odd since it's round and covered in nuts.

Anyway, here's what made it on to my mix:
  1. Say You, Say Me Lionel Richie (the inspiration for the whole mix making)
  2. Oh L'amour Erasure (sweet, gay-boy cheese)
  3. Heaven Is A Place On Earth Belinda Carlisle (takes me back to my middle school cheese days)
  4. Here You Come Again Dolly Parton (see video link above)
  5. Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do) Christopher Cross (I heart Yacht Rock)
  6. Forever in Blue Jeans Neil Diamond (I used to think the name of this song was Reverend Blue Jeans -- even cheesier)
  7. I Say A Little Prayer Aretha Franklin (old school cheese)
  8. Ice Cream Sarah McLachlan (cheese's cousin)
  9. I Kissed A Girl Jill Sobule (lesbian cheese)
  10. Fernando ABBA (Latin America -- or is it Spain? -- revolution cheese by a bunch of Swedes)
  11. Too Much Spice Girls (never too much of SG)
  12. Love on the Rocks Neil Diamond (ain't no big surprise)
  13. Total Eclipse of the Heart Bonnie Tyler (this is THE cheese song for me -- so mello-dramatic)
  14. Every Rose Has Its Thorn Poison (love the 'yeah, it does' line right after the first verse)
  15. Love Is A Battlefield Pat Benatar (the name alone is explanation enough)
  16. Kiss Me Deadly Lita Ford (she sings about getting in fights, borrowing money from her old man and loving to dance -- how romantic)
  17. Whenever, Wherever Shakira (it just makes me wanna dance)

I have shown some restraint and not made more videos of me lip syncing to these songs. But you know I so wanted to.

Things I Love: Nasal Inhalers

Something I love, but don't often have occassion to use, are medicinal nasal inhalers.

I love that your nose automatically clears and that your nose is left a little tingly. And I think its funny that you have to stick it up your nose. Yes, I am very mature. Plus, J would add, that I am obsessed with my nostrils and keeping them clear (infer what you will from that bit of info). I thought about buying a nasal inhaler today but couldn't justify the purchase since I do not currently have a runny nose. Bummer.

So, why am I sharing this? I was e-chatting (or whatever you call it when two people are chatting on gmail but not sending e-mails) with Ms. H about my love of the nasal inhalers and she said: "Ok, you're a little weird..." All I could reply was: "Yeah, I know." So, now you too know a little bit more about my weirdness.

Happy Mandarin Day!

Mandarin Day, this Thursday, December 7th (which is coincidentally Pearl Harbor Day), celebrates the yummy goodness that is the Satsuma Mandarin. Typically, Mandarin season begins about now, though this year, they arrived in the stores in mid-November but are still available.

While Mandarins resemble tangerines and clementines, they are distinguished by their "zipper" peals, lack of seeds and sweet, non-sour juice.

Mandarin Day was created thirteen years ago by my husband, Jason, and some of his friends. Generally, Mandarin Day is celebrated by eating copious amounts of Mandarins and drinking either Earl Grey tea or cocktails made with Absolut Mandarin vodka.

May the power of the Mandarin be with you!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Organic Free Range Chicken Broth

Dooce posted this about Organic Free Range Chicken Broth. While, I could not find the humor in the phrase Free Range Chicken Broth, I found the inclusion of the term organic quite humorous. Um, does the manufacturer mean that chickens are organic matter? How can a chicken be organic? Better question -- how can it not be organic? Does it mean the chickens only ate organic matter, instead of styrofoam?

I recently learned that it's not enough that I don't eat chicken, but I should be eating free range eggs. Now, does that mean that the chickens lay the eggs willy nilly, all over the farm and they have to be hunted down, like an Easter Egg hunt? Or that the eggs are not contained to the nest, but allowed to roam the farm until it is time to go in their carton home? Or that they're laid by free range chickens who, since being free to roam, infuse this freedom into the eggs?

Very perplexing.

I know that industrial chicken farms are disgusting, cruel places and that's why I don't eat chicken. But I feel that this urge to make our foods (or make them appear to be) natural and wholesome gets a little ridiculous at times.