Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Terri Schiavo, the new reality show!

I'm sitting in a restaurant last night watching the Fox News and they're talking about Terri Schiavo. They give a brief history of her case (as if anyone doesn't know by now) and then start talking about her current condition. The screen shows Terri on video looking weak and sickly while in bold letters under her image the words "Day 11" make it even more obvious that this person has turned into a television event before our eyes. Next, a "specialist" explained what, exactly, is going on in Terri Schiavo's body right now: "She's not feeling any hunger, her own body's pain killers have kicked in. Her kidneys are shutting down because of dehydration. Toxins are building up in her system and will soon lead to a heart attack, which will kill her." It is then that I realize that Terri Schiavo is the new hit reality TV show. What will happen next? Who knows? Tune in at 7pm tonight to find out! -Tactless.

Somewhere, lost in the media exploitation, are a few issues that need to be taken care of. One is, when a person is incapacitated, who has the right to decide what happens to him or her? Ideally there's a living will, but how many people have actually bothered to write one up? It's not difficult. Any scrap of paper, a diary or blog entry may have been enough for Terri Schiavo's case to be decided once and for all in court. So, write down what you want to have happen to you if you are incapacitated! Or, if you are unsure (like me), leave it to your loved ones and hope there's not some 15 year fight that ends up with you getting starved to death. (Ew.)

Another thing that this case has pointed out is a need for our legal system to decide once and for all who can make the decision to "pull the plug" on someone? Does the spouse trump the parents? We need to make sure that this doesn't happen again. I don't often call for laws, but in this case it needs to be made clear.

Lastly, and I'm not sure if I'm alone in this, but I'd rather not be starved to death... If it's Terri Schiavo's lot to die, why does her death have to occur in such a long, drawn-out way? I can't imagine how her loved ones must feel watching her slowly dehydrate and starve. Even if they felt that she wouldn't want to live, how could anyone sit by and watch that? No, I'm strongly in favor of leathal injection in a case like this. Spare us the "Day 12" coverage and spare her parents another day of watching her waste away before their eyes. Doctor-prescribed lethal injection (involve a judge, I don't care!) should be made legal. Murderers and rapists sentenced to death are ensured that it will be relativly painfree and humane. So, why is lethal injection not good enough for Terri? Watching her death it's plain to see that it archaic and cruel. -And it certainly shouldn't be broadcast for the world to see.

Monday, March 28, 2005

"Put a flag on your car...it's literally the least you can do."

(The title of today's blog entry is from Bill Maher's 2002 book When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden.)

All the magnetic ribbons and bumper stickers that have been stuck on cars since 9/11 is astounding! At first they were an okay idea, but it's gotten out of hand. I mean, now they have ribbons for sports teams! -I've seen "Bears" ribbons, "Cubs" ribbons, "White Sox"...
Basically they've become so commercialized that they have lost their meaning.

For educational purposes, here's a list of ribbons (there are others besides yellow, red, and pink!): http://www.craftsnscraps.com/jewelry/ribbons.html

And a link to a great ribbon parody site:

Which leads me to something I've thought about doing several times now. -Switching magnetic ribbons on people. How funny would it be to take the cammo "Support Our Troops" ribbon off of that big truck and switch it from the "Support a Cure for Breast Cancer" pink ribbon from the VW Beetle next to it? Or, switch the cammo ribbon with the rainbow one? How about the "Cubs" and the "Sox"?
-No, you could get killed over that one...

So go forth and swap ribbons!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Ending hunger. 2 ideas in 1.

Last night we had dinner at Lone Star (a steakhouse/bar). We were seated in a nearly empty dining room (it was very early). The one other table that had been sat was occupied by a mother and 2 children. One of the children was wining and crying non-stop. The mother did little to quiet him/her. Soon another party came in and they were sat behind us. Before they were even seated fights broke out among 3 of the children. "I don't wanna sit by him!" "Mom! Tommy has my toy and won't give it back!" I was ready to kill. If they kept it up, I was prepared to ask to be moved. I was in no mood to deal with this noise. I decided against having kids. Why do I have to deal with everyone else's? We were in a steakhouse/bar for Ghod sakes! As Ed and I were commenting on all the kids, the table infront of us was sat. Another mother and 2 small kids. Luckily, those children were very well behaved and we didn't hear a peep out of them all through our meal. I decided against killing anyone at that table if I went berserk. -It was a possibility at that point... Anyway, we got through the meal, and as we left we figured out why there were so many kids. We parked right infront of a banner that said "Kids eat FREE on Tuesdays!" Great. Cross off Lone Star as a dining choice on Tuesday nights... Still, parents should either teach their kids how to behave in a restaurant or not bring them until they can be quiet enough to not disturb the other patrons. Alternatively, restaurants could creat "family sections" to condense the noise into one central area so the rest of us have a hope of eating in peace.

But that's not what I was really going to write about today. See, a couple of years ago I came up with the answer to hunger in our area, if not in the whole country and I figured I better share! The idea came to me while driving in late spring. It was a familiar scene -a beautiful pond (okay, a retention pond) crammed with Canadian geese. They were wing-to-wing, filling an area roughly the size of a football field. And it isn't a temporary thing! If you live around here you know there's a definite "goose problem". You go out for a walk around our old apartment's grounds and there's goose poop everywhere! They make a mess of everything. Something needs to be done! A-ha! Geese are eatable. Why not allow hunting and/or trapping of geese until the population's under control? The meat could be used to feed the hungry... I think it's a good idea!

My other idea, if the goose thing doesn't work out. Is allowing the eating of noisy kids in restaurants. The world would be a much better (quieter) place. The meat could be used to feed the hungry as well ala "Soylent Green". Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "baby food"...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Stuff that did NOT get stolen from my car.

Okay, so now that some time has passed since my car got broken into, I've been able to find some humor in it...

What got stolen:
  • My $100 radio
  • My boost gauge
  • My Air/Fuel gauge
  • My gauge pod
  • My fire extinguisher
Yep. My fire extinguisher was taken. I had a rice-y white fire extinguisher strapped down to the back seat and it was stolen along with the electronics. I find that to be hilarious since...

What was NOT stolen:
  • My AFC
  • My palm pilot
The AFC is easily worth $150 to $200. It was the single most valuable piece of equipment in the car at the time. Fortunately, it was under the passenger seat along with my Palm Pilot. A cable ran right under the stereo (which was stolen), over the center console, and went under the seat. If the person would have just been curious enough to pull on it they would have found them. More proof that keeping stuff "out of sight" is, in itself, a good security measure.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Stupid Motivational Posters

I saw this in OfficeMax and almost died laughing...

Some people at "Successories" need a history lesson!

Friday, March 11, 2005

My car was broken into last night!

More bad luck...

Ed got the shifter in the Laser working properly (thanks to the magic of WD-40) so we took that to dinner last night. I was so happy that I'd be able to drive it to work the next day! Turns out that wasn't gunna happen...

I got up this morning and went out to start the Laser. I unlocked the door, opened it, and noticed a black plastic piece on the seat. Grr. The gauge pod must have finally fell off. I pick the piece up, no that's the piece that goes over the door... I look at the A-pillar where the gauge pod should be. No. Can't be. Where is it? Maybe Ed took it off... I went inside and asked Ed. Nope. He didn't touch it. We both go back out to the car. The stereo's gone too!

Whoever did it was neat as hell, and I have to admit I'm thankful they didn't rip everything apart. They made off with 2 fairly cheap gauges, a gauge pod that I was hoping to replace anyway, and a stereo worth $99 new. Still, I feel violated, and I'm not sure how we can better protect the cars from future break-ins.

Obviously the person who did this knew what they were doing. They probably saw the gauges from the street and marked it as a target. Our hours are regular as hell, so timing wouldn't be a problem. Due to the fact that all the screws were left neatly on the seat, the frame or whatever you call it for the stereo was neatly left on the floor, and the other plastic piece that goes over the door was neatly left on the driver's seat, I'd say the guy (or girl) responsible was just as organized and careful in selecting the target and following through. It also shows that they have a conscience.

In the end, I'm out a couple hundred dollars -but as Ed said this morning it's a cheap wake-up call before we have both our cars in the driveway full of expensive toys. What makes me the maddest is thinking about how to protect the cars in the future. Car alarms are cheesy and easily gotten around. Ed mentioned motion sensors and possibly a video camera, which would be easy to do and cheap with the cost of webcams these days. I don't know, but we won't sit around and do nothing! We have 2 "race cars" and only 1 will fit in the garage at a time...

The funny thing is I went through some police training and I know at least a little bit about how targets are picked. One of the things I liked about our house is that it's a really bad target for thieves. Our block curves around, and we're actually on the corner of a cul-de-sac, which places our house as the farthest forward on the block. That means that you can see our whole driveway clearly from a great distance away. Not the best place to be breaking into cars! The thing that helped this person not be seen, however, was my Jeep. It was parked next to the Laser providing a perfect sheild from view. Gosh darn it...

Oh yeah, the Laser was locked, the Jeep's always unlocked (no sense locking a Jeep w/ a soft top!), the Jeep had the same stereo in it, but the face plate was locked in the center console. The Jeep's stereo was untouched. I didn't have time to look around and see if anyone went through the Jeep looking for the face plate...

The moral of the story: Car locks mean nothing. Hide your stereo's face plate, and conseal anything (like gauges) that make your car stand out. I'll be mounting my gauges elsewhere next time....

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Random Venting

First of all, I'm typing this with a dvorak keyboard layout just, I don't know, to make things more difficult.

Last week I made a commitment to myself that I'd drive the Laser to work every day until April 9, when I go to the "Learning Curve" autocross workshop. That way, I figured, I'd have as much practice at driving stick as possible before learning how to improve my autocross abilities. Well, last Thursday (I think), my radiator hose blew off again -or at least that's all we thought was wrong. Turns out that the pipe from the radiator that the hose attaches to broke off (it's 12 years old, and plastic). We found someone with their original radiator lying around, and it turns out to be free -he was just happy to see it gone! So, cool. I was back on the road on Monday.

Monday, just as I near the train station to pick Ed up, I start finding it really hard to get the car in 3rd gear. After Ed gets in and we start out to go eat, the problem gets worse and I accidentally shift to 1st when I mean to go to 3rd a couple times. Then I figure it out -the shifter is just not returning to center between shifts. After that I'm able to compensate for it, but it takes all the fun out of driving (having to be so careful shifting). 3rd was my favorite gear! We suspect it's just a spring, but I don't want to drive it like this, so I'm back to driving the Jeep to work and worrying that I won't be comfortable enough with the Laser to drive it well at autocross.

Speaking of comfortable driving in the Laser, I'm still sitting on a freaking chair cushion so that I can see over the dash! I'm guessing that that won't fly at autocross, so I'm hoping to put a 1" spacer under the chair rail. Another project to get done before April 9, and guess who's car's in the garage? Not mine...

As far as work goes, we're having a continuous problem with server lockups and it means having to reset the server, sometimes 5 times a day! That's annoying. Plus, my users can't seem to get it through their heads that they really do need to EMAIL me with their problems rather than coming to my door and telling me about them. I'm way too busy to remember that they can't figure out how to open the manual paper tray on the printer or that they wish they had the little cat in their email rather than the light bulb. Bleh.

Back to the Jeep. It has a tranny problem too, I think. The rpm's surge a little before it shifts into... probably 3rd gear? (It's automatic.) So, that has me worried. It has Ed worried too; he wants to get rid of it. Not suprising, he hates my Jeep. It IS slow, but it's awesome off-road. Just wish it saw dirt more often. We could use a towing vehicle, but does that have to mean no more off-roading? And I'm so mad at the Laser's unreliability that I don't want to pick up a car payment on a truck. I'd rather get an S2000, an Evo, or a WRX sti.

Money... Ed and I make a pretty decent buck, but everytime he talks about his car it's a list of parts he needs before his engine arrives, and all the parts come in $1000 increments. It's driving me crazy, his credit card is about maxed. I need exhaust, and intercooler, and shocks. Maybe brakes as well. But instead I'll be buying him a clutch/flywheel, and maybe even wheels and tires! Yay.

And what am I doing hanging out with these car guys anyway? Half the time they treat me like I don't know anything about cars and I want them to stop treating me like a girl. The other half of the time I wonder if they have any interests outside of cars. I mean, there's only so much I can take. Maybe I am really a girl after all. I still know more than the average DSM'er out there, though...

I have a brand new pocket bike that's been sitting in the middle of our front room since Xmas. Sunday was warm enough for me to ride it, but instead I spent the day picking up all the dog droppings from the yard. 3 bags. Yummy. :-P Monday morning I stepped outside to go to work, and guess what was waiting there as a present for me? Poop from the dog down the block (he runs loose all the time). Lovely.

We had dinner with our friend, Kris, last night. He mentioned that he found something embarrassing of mine in one of the MCSE books I lent him, but he wouldn't tell me what it was. Great. Last time I let anyone borrow my books... What the he11 would I have left in there? It's driving me crazy trying to think about which freakish thing about me has been revealed.

So, I'm in a bad mood. I'm this close (imagine my fingers indicating a very small amount of space) to just quitting work, and driving. I'd keep going until there weren't any more people and I'd just stay there for awhile. I hate people. People suck. So does my car when it doesn't work. When it does work, though, it rocks!