Friday, March 31, 2006

Postcard from Purgatory

You Are Jan Brady

Brainy and a little introverted, you tend to think life is a lot worse than it actually is.
And while you may think you're a little goofy looking, most people consider you to be a major babe.

I guess this fits as I was the middle girl in my family. I definitely wasn't Marcia or Cindy.

22: The Death of All The Romance

Your Stripper Song Is

Closer by Nine Inch Nails

"You let me violate you, you let me desecrate you
You let me penetrate you, you let me complicate you
Help me I broke apart my insides, help me I?ve got no
Soul to tell"

When you dance, it's a little scary - and a lot sexy.

Well, thank God, it's a song I'd actually dance to and have many times.

Warm & Sunny Days

You Are Scooter

Brainy and knowledgable, you are the perfect sidekick.
You're always willing to lend a helping hand.
In any big event or party, you're the one who keeps things going.
"15 seconds to showtime!"

I'm not sure I'm thrilled with this, as Scooter is not my favorite Muppet ever. I wouldn't even say he's in the Top Ten. Ah well.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Misguided Angel

I had a very good weekend. I went out Friday night with Pamela to an art showing. The artist was a friend of hers named Slaw. I really liked his stuff, particularly his newest piece which was of the Rat Pack sitting at a round booth table. I'm waiting for him to transfer that to print form, as the $1200 price tag was a bit out of my range.

After some general schmoozing and drinking of martinis (not me, as it is still Lent, I was good and had water *sigh*), we went off for some dinner at Pancho Villa's, one of Dearborn's newer Mexican restaurants. YUMMY!!! Really no reason to go down to Mexican town with Pancho Villa's within walking distance of my place. After dinner, we went to Crave which is the sushi place readers might remember played the super loud music one Sunday night that had me calling the cops at midnight. It's pretty sweet inside, but I didn't get a chance to check out the menu. I had a very lovely hot chocolate (as it was friggin' snowing on Friday night and I was cold and cranky) while Pamela and her friend both had Spanish coffees. I had a sip and have to say that I might have to indulge in one some day (decaf, of course).

It was a nice low-key night and was home and in bed by 11:00 p.m. Hey, I'm old, and I knew I was going to be out very late the next night. And boy, was it worth it. Saturday night was a reunion party at my old bar. Old bar has a new name, but the owner is savvy enough to know that its heyday was in the past under the old name and he advertised the Reunion Party for a good month or more in the Metro Times and elsewhere. One friend who used to bartend there drove 600 miles from Iowa for the party. He explained it by saying, "I know I'm not going to any high school reunion and this is as close to a reunion that I would want to attend as I'm going to get."

It's hard to describe the feeling I get when I see my bar friends. A good number of them became friends whom I still see to this day, while others I only see when I'm there, but like the bartender, these are people I want to see, unlike high school where I see one person and she is all I really care about from there. To show the difference, when I went to my 20 year high school reunion a few years back I was dreading it. I felt I had to go, just to see if anybody had changed or if they were still pretentious assholes. And for the most part, they were still pretentious assholes. Some were cool, but for the most part, I won't go out of my way to see them again. I would go out of my way to see any number of people from the bar. It's not exactly unconditional love, but it's something similar.

It was very cool to see some of the old regulars. Mark, the ultra goth, was there. I hadn't seen him since I ran into him at the Flower Mart Spectacular down at Eastern Market at least five years ago. He's a little different, but super nice and it was great to see him. I couldn't tell if he was with the same girl, but she was skinny like all his other ones, if it wasn't. Anthony of the long crazy hair was there, of course. Anthony is great because he loves to swing his long hair around while dancing near wienies. When the bachelorette party showed up with the requisite bridal veil *gag* and took up residence on the stage right behind me, I got Anthony to come up and make some room for me. God, I hate wienies on my dance floor. No, you don't need to dance with your purse on the damn floor in your fucking stupid ass circle as five of you take up enough room for 10 people. And anybody who thinks that they're going to get me to relinquish my spot on the stage by continually bumping me is delusional. I was quite thankful when the bachelorette party moved on to the next bar on their list. Robert Smith Dan didn't show up until very late in the evening (midnight?) and he kept telling me how I haven't changed at all. He's sweet, but needs his eyes checked. Of course, the black lights and all the bloody smoke from the machine and the cigarettes are helpful for the hiding of lines and wrinkles. ;-)

I ended up dancing from 9:15 until 1:00 a.m. and it was completely worth the pain of the following two days. I haven't been dancing in so long that I danced to songs I had never heard before, just because I was there to dance. Sure, it was great seeing everybody, but they all knew to find me on the stage. That's where I was ten plus years ago and that's where I was on Saturday. I've tried dancing on the dance floor, but it just doesn't feel right after all those years on the stage. I realise that makes me sound like some sort of exhibitionist, but the stage is about four inches higher than the floor. There is no pole or cages or anything like that. The floor is surrounded by this tall metal railing on which to set drinks (Mark the ultra goth made them, and they are very cool), but they make me feel claustrophobic or something. I just don't like dancing on the floor.

Back in its (and my) heyday, I would be there four nights a week dancing. I rarely drank to excess as I usually drove myself, except for the time period when I'd go with friends D&C and we would take turns driving. That was always hilarious because whoever was driving was obviously sober, but the other two would usually be silly drunk. I can't say how many times I almost drove off the road crying from laughing too much. D is a very funny guy. Those were fun times. It's funny, though, that if you tell people you went to the bar four times a week they all think you're a drunkard when I would have one beer and that was it. I was most definitely there to dance.

Wednesdays were my favorite days because it was DEAD!!! Tuesdays were ridiculously busy (we won't discuss fire code or anything like that) which essentially led to Wednesdays not being very popular. But I loved them, because I had the dance floor to myself. The DJ wouldn't necessarily play everything I wanted (Atmosphere by Joy Division NEVER got played – pisser), but he knew what I liked and what I would dance to. One Wednesday I was getting ready to go home (I had to work at 8:00 a.m.) and DJ said to me, "Don't go, I'm playing the next song for you." I sighed heavily and said Okay. The next song was "Come on, Eileen." I was confused as although I liked the song, it's not one I ever have requested and would definitely not consider it a favorite or anything, but I felt that I had to dance to it, since he said he was playing it just for me. After "Come on, Eileen" he played a song I truly did love and I ended up staying another hour or so. When I finally went to leave, he told me that he hadn't chosen that song for me at all, he just said that to get me to stay. I recounted the story to him the night of the Sisters of Mercy concert and he laughed at his cleverness.

I miss those days of dancing and hanging with friends. I have so many good memories of that place and so many good friends, too. I can't wait for the next reunion!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Tears at the Birthday Party

WARNING: Explicit language and extreme racing opinions ahead!!!

I have a ton to talk about today, but I'm going to start with the IRL. Yesterday another driver was killed in an IRL car in the morning practice session. From what I read, it happened within the first two minutes, and the two cars involved are two drivers who have rides simply to fill out the field: Ed Carpenter (TFG's stepson – good job, fucker, kill your wife's kid) and Paul Dana. IMHO, Paul Dana was just the latest driver sacrificed to TFG's "vision" of an "All-Oval, All American" racing series, which is neither of those things and has never been All-American. It started in 1996 with Scott Brayton (RIP Scotty), continued with Kenny Bräck's accident in Texas two and a half years ago. Thank God, Kenny didn't die, but he was a complete mess. Next was a real promising driver (Paul Dana was 30 years old and a journalist with no real experience considering he started racing in 1998 in Barber Dodge – when it takes you 8 years to move from Barber Dodge to a "Premier" series, and that "premier" series is the IRL, you aren't really all that promising) Tony Renna. Tony died during his first stint in the car at a practice session at Indy. And it has continued through yesterday. And if Mario Andretti weren't exceptionally lucky, I'd be adding him to the list.

The IRL "cars" have a tendency to fly into the air with little or no provocation. The only one of the aforementioned accidents that didn't fly into the air was Scotty Brayton and that's because he was in old CART equipment. I firmly blame TFG for his death, because there was no reason for Scott to be out running at that speed on Carburetion Day. He already had the damn pole for the friggin' race. He had been sent out to get the speed title for the month, because CART was racing at Michigan and our pole speed had been faster than the IRL's. Scott was sacrificed on the altar to Tony's ego.

And now that his precious lame-ass bloody stupid "All-Oval, All-American" series is on its last legs, he wants to merge. I hope KK is simply stringing the little fucker along like he did to us three years ago when we were the ones in trouble. He pretended to be interested in a deal that would reunited open-wheel racing in this country and then at the last minute he said, "No, I don't think so."

The latest rumors have KK (Kevin Kalkhoven) and TFG (Tony "Fucking" George) discussing a merger where supposedly they're going to come up with a compromise on chassis and engines. I will be pissed. First off, Champ Car has always always always raced with turbo-charged engines and it is what the fans love. I don't want normally aspirated fucking Honda engines. I want my beloved Ford-Cosworths which are damn near bullet proof! Secondly, I've already discussed briefly the faulty aerodynamics of the IRL chassis, but to continue, they've been designed for ovals (at which they've failed miserably if you consider the number of cars that have done cartwheels down the backstraight of various racetracks), and their two forays into road courses last year weren't exactly a ripping success. We have a great package in Champ Car and I see no reason to compromise our vision just when it's looking up for us, and down for "them." I say tell TFG to take his fucking series and to go fuck himself. And if the compromise also includes the Texas Motor Speedway I'd really tell him to go to Hell. I don't want the drivers I love to go anywhere near that deathtrap of a race track!

And on that note, I'm going home and trying to calm my blood pressure. ;-)

Friday, March 24, 2006

Damaged Goods

I posted yesterday's article about Buying American not to make anybody feel guilty or like a putz, but just to dispel so many of the rumors that surround domestic cars. It was the best summary of the arguments I had seen and I guess I hope that the next time you need a car you at least give the domestic guys a chance. It's impossible to live in the Detroit area and not know somebody (or multiple somebodies) who works for one of the "Big Three" or is affected by the hardships afflicting the auto companies right now. A lot of people outside of Michigan don't realise the economic problems through which Michigan is suffering right now. I guess the rest of the country is experiencing economic upturns of late, but they haven't found their way to my cute little mitten-shaped state. We're all struggling here to make it and the stress level is high. If anything were to happen to GM or Ford, Michigan would be in even deeper trouble as it tries to cope with the loss of a tax base and thousands and thousands of people would be finding their way to the unemployment offices. It would be a disaster, just as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were disasters, just not of the natural phenomenon type. I doubt if the unthinkable happened that it wouldn't end up affecting the entire country in some way.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Is It Unpatriotic to Not Buy American Cars?

Please read through to the end, I think it's worth the five minutes. (Today's usual drivel can be found after this post.)

Is It Unpatriotic to Not Buy American Cars?
By Roger Simmermaker

As I sat in an Orlando studio on Jan. 24 waiting to be interviewed on Fox News' "Hannity and Colmes" for the first time, that seemed to be the question I was going to be asked to answer if the introductory comments were any indication. In the studio in New York was Malcolm Bricklin, founder and CEO of Visionary Vehicles, who plans on importing cars from China by 2007. Ford had just announced plans to lay off 30,000 workers, and since even Mr. Bricklin (to his credit) says he doesn't want to see so many Americans join the ranks of the unemployed, it was a good question to ask. But the show started with asking Mr. Bricklin a different question and by the time the cameras pointed to me, I was given a different question as well, so I never really got to answer it.

But as I continue to think about it since that interview, the answer I would have given to Sean Hannity is the same as my answer today: If it's unpatriotic to destroy the American middle class, then it's unpatriotic to not buy American cars. As a country, we're drowning in a sea of red ink, and as consumers (those who really should know better, anyway) we're drowning is a sea of "what's in it for me."
Since President Bush has all but ruled out any government help for either Ford or GM saying they have to make a product that is "relevant" (did you know Mr. Bush himself owns a Ford pickup truck?) it's up to the American consumer to realize that a bankruptcy for Ford or GM or both is definitely not in the national interest. Not only would hundreds of thousands of workers lose their jobs, but about 450,000 retirees would be de-funded. These retirees on fixed incomes would see smaller pensions and reduced medical benefits. The workers that remained would see massive cuts in benefits as well.

Big deal, you say? At least American companies still offer their workers pensions. According to a recent article in The Tennessean, Nissan North America new hires won't be able to count on a company pension when they retire. And if you work for Nissan and didn't happen to reach the age of 65 by the end of last year, you won't be participating in the company-sponsored medical plan either.
If American companies can't remain successful and shoulder the burden of health care for their workers, the rest of us will likely pick up the tab in the form of higher taxes through expanded entitlement programs, which are already growing at a rate of 8 percent a year.

84% of all federal spending of our tax dollars already goes towards the "big three" untouchables: interest on the national debt, national defense (including homeland security) and entitlements such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. So much for conservatives who wish for smaller government. Generally speaking, few of us want to invite more government intrusion into our lives. But a significantly smaller government these days would result in benefit cuts that would ultimately affect all of us. The days of those who want tax cuts because it means more money in their pockets and means benefit cuts only for someone else are over.

So what's your reason for not buying American cars and trucks? I've heard (and disproved) them all but I'll list a few of the more popular ones here.

1. Quality. According to the latest J.D. Power & Associates Long-term Dependability Survey, Lincoln, Buick and Cadillac all made the top five for 2005. Lexus was number one and number two was mysteriously not reported by the CNN story highlighting the survey. What's even better (if you are a fan of American automakers) is that the average dependability of all GM and Ford models combined was greater than the average dependability for all the Japanese models combined.

2. Too much emphasis on "gas guzzlers." The hypocrisy in this statement is rampant since most people who make it are ardent supporters of the "free market." The trouble for these hypocrites is that a major free market principle is the law of supply and demand. According to Seattle Times columnist Shaunti Feldhahn, consumer demand for big, bad SUVs has doubled in the last 15 years. So much for the argument that American car companies aren't building what consumers want to buy. Just like American companies have been scrambling to satisfy the one percent of car buyers who want hybrids, Japanese car makers have been scrambling to catch up to Ford and GM by offering bigger and badder behemoths (at even worse gas mileage ratings than American SUVs). GM has more models with over 30 mpg. highway (2006 EPA estimates) than any other auto maker. Last month I revealed that my 1996 Lincoln Town Car now has over 160,000 miles with no signs of letting up. What I didn't mention is that my car has averaged 24 mpg since September 2001, which is a result of combined mostly highway driving during the week and mostly city driving on weekends. Not bad for a big luxury car.

3. Foreign car companies will pick up the slack. This argument implies that the hiring of American workers by foreign companies would never take place if there weren't layoffs by American companies first. Even if you view foreign investment as a good thing -- which it isn't -- foreign companies will still invest in America even if we support American companies so they can actually retain our own workers. This argument is almost as bad as the one that implies we need to destroy American manufacturing jobs in general so we can move American workers into high-tech jobs. Why not let the college graduates strapped with tens of thousands of dollars in student loans and other debts take these jobs, and protect American workers in the jobs they choose to have now?

4. American companies can do better. Better at what? What will it take for more American people to root for the home team again? Do you only root for your hometown sports team when they are winning, or do you root for them even when they are down -- no matter what? Let's see. American companies GM and Ford have won numerous quality awards, they have more domestic plants, employ more American workers, support more retirees along with their dependants and families, pay better wages than the non-union foreign-owned plants, have a higher percentage of domestic parts in their automobiles, pay more taxes to the U.S. Treasury, give more to charities for the benefit of this country, and donate more in the wake of disasters like 9-11. Need I go on?

5. GM and Ford need to make cars Americans want to buy. I saved this one for last since it the most ridiculous statement of all. General Motors has the highest market share of any automobile company. To say the company that currently sells more cars and trucks to more people than any other company in the industry -- even if that market share is falling -- is truly ridiculous. Yes, I know Toyota is gaining on GM and may overtake them this year (in worldwide market share -- not U.S. market share -- where GM has roughly twice the market share of Toyota) and GM used to command around 50 percent of the domestic market. But let's be reasonable, shall we? What company in any industry in today's super-competitive economy can command 50 percent of their market? Not even Coke or Pepsi can do that. Which reminds me -- Pepsi recently passed Coke to take the top spot in the beverage wars. Is Coke number two now because they aren't making beverages Americans want to drink? I haven't heard that one yet. Only in America and only in the automobile industry could number two be declared a loser brand. And only if it's GM, not Toyota.

The struggle for GM and Ford to regain much needed and much deserved traction has increasingly become a media war. And it's not just a media war as I reported in my September 2005 article titled Media Bias Against American Automakers. The bias towards foreign automakers has extended from journalists and other newsmakers to everyday Americans with vendettas against their home-team companies in the form of letters to the editor and blogs on the Internet. The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story titled "Are Rumours Hurting Sales" reporting on a Los Angeles resident who started a Web log called "GM Can Do Better." It's not that this individual has not heard the reports of numerous quality awards bestowed upon American automakers. It's that he's skeptical the reports are true.

So there you have it. Foreign car lovers will believe it if Toyota wins an award. But if General Motors' Chevy Impala is documented to have fewer customer complaints than the Toyota Camry, foreign car lovers will grasp at different false reasons to justify their foreign purchases. But the facts are in and their arguments no longer hold water. I'd almost be willing to bet these American car bashers haven't test-driven an American car in years. Right now it doesn't matter that GM has 82 major plants in America and Ford has 35. What matters is that Toyota, Honda and Nissan have eight plants each. It doesn't matter that Toyota and Honda average 65 to 75 percent domestic parts in their U.S. built cars while GM and Ford average 80% to 85%. If these percentages ever reverse, then it will matter to foreign car lovers. Facts simply don't matter to them when they don't happen to be in their favor. To them, as Business Week reported Dec. 12, 2005, "the economy is unstoppable as the Indianapolis Colts" and foreign purchases have no national negative effect. If you watched the Super Bowl last Sunday you probably noticed that the Indianapolis Colts weren't playing.

I'm sure that this article will not sit well with those who automatically receive it as part of their free "Buy American Mention of the Week" subscription and advocate the demise of GM and Ford. And I'm also sure I'll receive many "unsubscribe" requests as a result. But I don't really care. I don't like writing for people I don't like any more than I like giving speeches to groups I don't like. These articles are not designed to make anyone feel less of an American for their past foreign purchases, but rather they aim to persuade American consumers to make the right purchases in the future.

Those who do agree with the facts and the opinions I have presented, I urge you to forward or distribute my auto industry articles to fellow Americans that need to see them. Simply visit to see the auto industry articles I've written since May 2005. I'm not sure how much time GM and Ford have left to turn things around given the obstacles they must overcome that have been put there for bogus and unpatriotic reasons. And remember, the next time someone accuses you of questioning their patriotism because of their foreign car, tell them that if it's not unpatriotic to destroy the American middle class, then it's not unpatriotic to buy foreign cars!

Roger Simmermaker, author of How Americans Can Buy American: The Power of Consumer Patriotism, published this article on his Web site,

Take Me, I'm Yours

Confession time: I didn't get to the gym on Tuesday. I was getting ready to leave at my usual time when a co-worker appeared at my desk needing me to place an order for him. Then we found out that I had to re-submit one from before because it was following the wrong approval chain. Then his boss stopped by and said he needed yet another order and handed us this paper supposedly containing what was needed. When CoWorker #1 went to talk to his boss, another co-worker showed up at my desk also needing an order. "And when you get this order in today will you send me the info, so I can get Big Boss' approval?" "Oh, I need to do this now?" An hour and a half after I was supposed to go home I was finally packing up my crap to leave. Since my aunts were leaving the next day I called them to see where they were and what time they were heading over to BAB's. I read a little bit and then decided that a 30 minute would not be a bad thing. They had said an hour but I knew them better. Sure enough they called at the end of my 30 minute nap and said they were on their way. We did nothing exciting. I was hoping that we would order Chinese food, but the aunts weren't hungry since they had had a late lunch at Panera. DANG! On my way home I stopped and got some Taco Bell. I really and truly need to get to the grocery store. Maybe this weekend.

I did get my lazy butt to the gym yesterday though. I completed 40 minutes on the elliptical machine doing the FatBurner program. I don't think I burned any fat, but I was there! I finished yet another book and started the last of my Thomas Perry (unless I decide to give in and go to the library, per suggestions from Welfl and Scott). Okay, smartypants, I looked the book up at my library and they have all them but that one. So there! ;-P The city where my sister lives does have the book, but getting her to go the library for me to check it out will be harder than climbing Everest. My sister does nothing if it's not going to benefit her in some way or something she already wants to do. List of excuses would be "I'm too busy to get there." "I have to take the kids [wherever]." "[Husband] won't let me." Blah Blah Blah. Maybe SIL will do it for me. Nope, her city's library doesn't have it. I might have to give up ever reading that particular book. Oh well.

I watched A Fistful of Dollars last night and have to say that Yojimbo was much better. Sure, Clint Eastwood is easy to look at, but it simply wasn't as good as its inspiration.

Has anybody watched Cash Cab on the Discovery Channel? I love that show! I am flabbergasted by the people who use their Shout Outs on the first few questions. I watched one chick get thrown out of the cab after FOUR QUESTIONS. And the one question she got right, she had used one of her shout-outs. The look on Ben's face was priceless after she got out of the cab. I saw one guy with piercings all over the place and spiky bleached blonde hair and he kicked butt, until he went for the Bonus (double or nothing) Question and lost it all. There's a sample quiz at the website to test yourself. And to show you how damn easy the first four questions are.

I took a What 90s movie character are you? quiz over at Clarity's today. Here are my results:

You are Acid Burn from "Hackers"
You are Acid Burn from "Hackers"
Take Which 90's movie character are you? today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.

You are a bit of an enigma. You hide your true
feelings a lot of the time. You appear a lot more cool and collected on the surface than you are deep inside.
You like using the computer, you've got that down. But don't hide out behind the computer screen.
There are two sides to you..The sexy, confident one and the insecure, vulnerable one. Embrace them both. It's okay to need other people and to admit it to yourself.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A Letter To Both Sides

Looks like I'm being a once a week updater which is a tad lame. I didn't watch a single movie last week. Hmm, I just noticed that blogger says I posted last week's post on Tuesday but that is not true. I posted on Wednesday. And I can't find how to change that and I know I used to be able to change the date and time of posts. Anybody have a clue?

Wednesday and Thursday I walked up to the pharmacy (that was my excuse for not going to the gym) to get my prescriptions. The antibiotic my doctor gave me on Tuesday made me so sick it wasn't even funny and by the time he called me back and called in the new prescription I had already walked to the pharmacy for the ointment that I was unable to get the day before. I went to my pharmacy three days in a row last week. I have to remember that Augmentin and I do not get along, as I got sick the last time I took it over two years ago.

Reading was my couch potato activity of choice last week. I'm working my way through the oeuvre of Thomas Perry. Well, as much as I can. One of his books, Island which is out of print and is going for upwards of $19. In fact, I think I saw one at alibris.comfor over $100!!!! I want to read it, but not that badly!!! And I'm not spending $19 on a paperback.

I was unable to find anybody to attend the symphony with me, nor could I find anybody else who wanted the tickets. I had made up my mind to go by myself, but then I reviewed the upcoming weekend in my head and realised that I was going to have ZERO time to myself, so I stayed home and read my book (another Thomas Perry) and talked to a friend for over 2 hours. It was literally the only time I had at home for the remainder of the weekend.

Saturday I was meeting YS, Mom and Aunts for sushi. We had decided on 1:30 which was going to give me some time at home. Then I got the phone calls saying they changed it to 1:00. Now I live the furthest from our sushi restaurant, so as soon as I was done getting ready (and packing up my clothes for the dinner dance) I had to bail. I was fifteen minutes early and my family was late, of course. And even though they know I'm the on-time member of the family nobody felt the need to tell me how many people were coming. I took a guess at six and was off by four, which meant the poor restaurant people had to set up two tables. Oh yeah, and they were all late and we didn't even get seated at the ten-top until 1:30. I was pleased.

After lunch I had to drive YS to my friend's house who (the friend, not the house) does our hair (cut and color). YS is living out of state and flew in for the weekend. I ended up hating the clothes I brought with me and went through Pamela's closet. I ended up borrowing a black skirt and some sweet black boots (which I'm wearing today – she said she rarely wears them so I don't have to rush to get them back to her). I am seeing her on Saturday, though, so I'll return everything then. I'm going to miss these boots.

From there it was on to the fundraiser dinner dance for my cousin's band. He's in the jazz band (first trombone) and the marching band at his high school. He's very good, if I do say so myself. I guess the football team was going to be playing a Canadian team (this is new as we never played Canadian teams). He found out on the bus that he had to play "O Canada." He learned it and played solo in front of the opposing team's grandstand and got a standing ovation, from what I understand. Someone there that day heard him and recommended him to one of the trombonists with the DSO and my cousin is now taking lessons from the DSO guy.

Sunday was yet another busy not at home all day long day. Left for Mass at 9:30 and that was it for the next 13.5 hours! From church (where my scuba stalker informed me during the Kiss of Peace that he was receiving a message telephatically from Berkeley), I went to a friend's to watch the F1 race from Malaysia where we were both exceedingly disappointed to see Kimi going out on the first (maybe second) lap. Then the driver I had chosen as my second favorite driver, Nico Rosberg (come on, he's Keke's son, how could I not root for him?), had a massively blown engine. I haven't seen an engine blow like that in quite some time! I was pleased with the podium, however, since there was no sign of JPM or The Chin (damn, that website is enough to make you throw up, maybe I should link you to wikipedia instead. It's not as vomit-inducing. For those who care (I think it's only you, Smed and Woof), Giancarlo Fisichella won with his teammate and last year's World Champion, Fernando Alonso in 2nd and Jenson Button in 3rd. Next race is Australia in two weeks! Yay!!!

When the race was over and I had enjoyed the post race press conference comments, I headed off to Grandma's to spend the day hanging with the aunts. Throughout the rest of the day various and sundry family members showed up and we ate and chatted and goofed off. It was a nice day, but I didn't get home until 10:30 as I am the designated massage therapist for the family. I started with my cousin's boyfriend, J and worked my way through two aunts, cousin, Grandma, Grandma's husband, Mom and I'm sure somebody else. I was darn tired by the time I got home.

Yesterday, you'll all be so proud of me, I went to the gym after work. Woohoo!!! I hadn't been in about a month, so I only did 30 minutes on the elliptical. The plan is to go back today and maybe up the time to 45 minutes. And then I'll head over to the BAB's because the aunts will be there before they leave tomorrow. Last night I finished watching all of the Special Features on the Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room DVD and it just made me hate Kenneth Lay and Jeff Skilling all the more. I'm tempted to pick up the book as Enron was one of our clients when I worked at the consulting firm, maybe I can find it at

I would normally bitch about the weather here (the RealFeel temp was 11˚F when I walked in this morning), but I would feel beyond lame doing so considering that Trinamick is dealing with two friggin' feet of the white shit. More power to you, Trina!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

"Where Did Our Love Go" by The Supremes

That's the song that was #1 when I was born. You can find out yours here.

I have been busy busy busy! I'm going to work backwards to keep you informed of every nuance of my ever more exciting life. Yesterday wasn't exciting at all – work, dr.'s appt., dinner with friend. The dinner was pleasant and we chatted away for 2.5 hours, but it was not exciting. Monday night there was a concert I had been wanting to attend since it was announced (I have no clue when that was). The concert was The Sisters of Mercy and I was GEEKED. When it was over, I was more disappointed than anything else. Other than heartily wishing whoever invented the smoke machine a slow and painful death. We arrived when the doors opened and my friend C and I got a spot up front and center – well, there was one layer of people in front of us. 20 minutes into the opening band – you know you're old when you're thinking "Oh, please, just give me the main band and let me get out of here." It didn't help that the band sucked. Every single song sounded the same and you couldn't hear a single word the lead singer was "singing." It was painful and much too long. Oh yeah, back to my story, 20 minutes into the opening band, The Warlocks, some guy pushes his way through the crowd and proceeds to stand in front of me. Yeah, you're right, that didn't sit well with me, especially when he tried to bring his girlfriend with me. I informed him that I had been standing there for 90 minutes and he was not going to waltz in w/his girlfriend and stand in front me. I widened my stance and was moving nowhere. The girlfriend finally gave up trying to get in front of me and went on the other side of the boyfriend blocking C's view. It turned out pretty well, though, because people directly behind the usurpers started pushing and acting stupid, so it was good C had moved. We're too old to be moshing, people!

There had been a rumor that Andrew was lip synching in the concerts, so C and I paid very close attention. I don't know if it was fortunately or unfortunately, but he wasn't lip synching. The sound guy sucked completely. He needed to do some adjusting so that we could hear the singing, not just the guitars. Oh yeah, The Warlocks had TWO drummers (and one of them couldn't keep a beat, according to Davo) and I think they reset my heart calibration they were so freaking loud. The usurper was busily taking picture of both bands through all of the smoke the machines were pumping out. I asked him how many pictures of fog he took. 30 pictures of a guy you could hardly see standing in fog. How much more goth can you get?

The fun part of the evening was seeing all the people I haven't seen in a good 10 or more years. Damn, but we're all looking older, greyer and a few of us have a few extra pounds. I saw a guy I dated oh so briefly. He's still married to the woman he dated after me. Good for them. Some of the people I saw were just people I recognised from the goth/punk scene. It was just crazy and a tad surreal.

On Sunday I went curling for the first time. Dang, but it was fun. Let me tell you, it's freaking harder than it looks! The sweeping is really hard. My shoulders are still sore and I didn't take my rings off, so I have a blister at the base of a finger. Ouch! I only fell once and that was when I was "throwing" the stone and it certainly didn't hurt as I was only about four inches off the ice to begin with. It wasn't falling so much as sitting with a little more force than usual – sort of like the way a toddler falls on their butt. I can't wait to go again, although I'll have to because the curling club closes at the end of March for the season.

From there I went to the niece's 16th b-day party. It was the usual cast of family and neighbors and she liked the Egyptian goddesses papyrus painting kit I got her.

Saturday was spent in front of the television. At home I watched Beyond the Sea. I liked it and certainly don't think it deserved the reviews it got. It wasn't fabulous, but it was watchable and Kevin Spacey was quite good. In fact, it put me in a Kevin Spacey mood, so I got out Pay It Forward, another movie I liked a lot better than the reviewers/critics did, which could be why I own it. I saw the movie first and then bought the book and have to say that I like the movie version better. I wonder if it has something to do with timing. I saw The Pelican Brief before I read the book as I had read The Firm by Grisham and despised with every fibre of my being. I forget why I saw The Pelican Brief, but I did and I liked it, so I read the book and liked the movie better. Any book that I have read before seeing the movie, I prefer the book. Examples: The Bourne Identity (the Matt Damon one which was so different from the book I wondered why they bothered pretending, the Richard Chamberlain version was perfect), all four Harry Potters (although I thought they did a pretty good job on the last one), etc. (I can't think of any more right now.) The Firm is the only one where I hated the book as much as the movie or vice versa. What a complete waste of everything that poorly written piece of trash was (and still is).

I then watched Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. I still need to watch the special features (there are deleted scenes awaiting me!), but I loved it. Of course, I think they're completely crooks and should spend a good long time in jail, and I mean a really friggin' jail, not a country club one!!! They bilked people of their pension funds and life savings. I'd dearly love to meet them and smack them upside the head!!! BASTARDS!

I finished watching Enron in time to go to BST's house for Foreign Film Night. Yojimbo was on the agenda for the evening. This was the movie that inspired Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood to make A Fistful of Dollars. I am getting A Fistful of Dollars from Netflix today (I've seen, but not recently and probably not all in one shot) to compare. I definitely recommend Yojimbo to anybody willing to watch a black and white non-English film. It's worth the effort.

The last movie of the day for me was Stalingrad which was good. I was actually disappointed when it started to discover it was not in black and white. When the movie was over, I said, "That sucked. It was good, but it sucked." By that I meant, that the movie itself was well-done and worthwhile, but that the circumstances were so not fun.

Friday was the symphony. I took a co-worker whose mother (as I found out) is my age. Yeah, I felt old. ;-) She said she enjoyed the symphony (Kathleen Battle sang some Toni Morrison poems and religious spirituals), and I introduced her to the fabulous Traffic Jam & Snug, as she's new to the Detroit area. I can't remember now what else we heard, but if anybody has no plans for Friday night, I have an extra ticket to the symphony and am looking for someone to join me!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Five Factors

Your Values Profile


You value loyalty a fair amount.
You're loyal to your friends... to a point.
But if they cross you, you will reconsider your loyalties.
Staying true to others is important to you, but you also stay true to yourself.


You value honesty a fair amount.
You're honest when you can be, but you aren't a stickler for it.
If a little white lie will make a situation more comfortable, you'll go for it.
In the end, you mostly care about "situational integrity."


You value generosity a fair amount.
You are all about giving, as long as there's some give and take.
Supportive and kind, you don't mind helping out a friend in need.
But you know when you've given too much. You have no problem saying "no"!


You value humility highly.
You have the self-confidence to be happy with who you are.
And you don't need to seek praise to make yourself feel better.
You're very modest, and you keep the drama factor low.


You value tolerance highly.
Not only do you enjoy the company of those very different from you...
You do all that you can to seek it out interesting and unique friends.
You think there are many truths in life, and you're open to many of them.

Interesting stuff...mostly true, I think.

BTW, I have not died from the flu, although I wanted to on Monday. I'm tired and "marginal." That's how a co-worker described me yesterday. "You look okay from the side, but full-on you look marginal." I'm sure he meant it well.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Flu has come to visit me!

I'm home sick today - temp of 100F, aches, chills, puking and more. I am not enjoying my day off work either. The only good thing is that Martha brought me Vernor's which is the only thing to imbibe when you have the flu. Mom would always give it to us in a little bowl with a spoon so that we didn't drink too much at once and then have to puke again. And I'm doing the same as I've already had to clean up the bathroom once and I do not wish to do it again.

Hope everybody else is in the pink!

Thursday, March 02, 2006


The Detroit City Council voted yesterday to approve the transfer of the running of the zoo to the Detroit Zoological Society. While this means that the Zoo won't close, there is still the slight matter of finding the money to run the Zoo. And I'm sorry to the people of Oakland County, but L. Brooks Patterson is a friggin' jackass. "I don't think the suburbs would be interested in subsidizing the zoo without any ownership," he said. "If it were an independent authority with shared ownership, maybe. But I don't think Oakland County taxpayers want to subsidize Detroit's assets." That comment made me more angry than the Detroit City Council three members who didn't vote for the transfer. Yo, Brooks baby, the Zoo is in Oakland County! Who the bloody hell cares who owns it? It's a Southeastern Michigan institution people from all over the region visit the Zoo. Instead of trying to influence the people in your county to vote against a millage increase (The Detroit Free Press estimated that the proposed property tax would add additional $4.06 to $5.15 per year per house worth $200,000.) why don't you learn how to work with people instead of always being a contentious bastard? How can anybody be that petty to vote against $5 for the Zoo? Especially the people of Oakland county which contains one of the richest zip codes in the country. At any rate, I can now renew my membership to the Zoo proudly and without reservation that they'd get my money and then turn around and use to close and ship the animals to other zoos.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

In the Spotlight - Manny Legace

I'm so excited...I haven't read it completely yet, but has actually done an article on my favorite Red Wing (now that My Igor has retired and abandoned me). I want Manny to kick butt in so many ways, it's not funny!


I owe a bunch of e-mails, but since it's the first of the month and I haven't posted in a really long time, I figured I better do that first.

Happy Ash Wednesday, everybody! I've already blown it a few times on the whole giving up swearing thing, but that's one I have to work into gradually. I'll get better as the six weeks moves along. I put the Girl Scout cookies away last night and finished up all the junk food that I had accumulated over my Fat Fortnight.

On to the movies watched in February (these are actually in the order in which I watched them):

Saving Silverman (R)
Changing Lanes (R)
The Aviator – Special Features (N)
Lifeboat (N) (Hitchcock)
Crash (N)
Pelle the Conqueror (K)
Manxman (N) (Hitchcock)
I Confess (K) (Hitchcock)
In A Lonely Place (N) (Bogart)
Torn Curtain (N) (Hitchcock)
Foreign Correspondent (K) (Hitchcock)
Hotel Rwanda (N)
Saboteur (K) (Hitchcock)
Rope (K) (Hitchcock)
Strangers On A Train (K) (Hitchcock)
Shadow of a Doubt (K) (Hitchcock)
An Affair to Remember (K)
March of the Penguins (N)
The Corpse Bridge (N)
Good Night, and Good Luck (T – w/Martha)
Rear Window (K) (Hitchcock)
To Catch A Thief (K) (Hitchcock)
Nosferatu (K)
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (K)
North Country (N)

Please note that I only got to watch 10 Netflix movies this month. The large gaps in (N) movies is because I didn't have any to watch (damn throttling). I got three in the mail yesterday and I immediately watched North Country.

Re: Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. I bought a book on Saturday when out with Martha after seeing Good Night, and Good Luck (if you haven't seen it, I think it's worth it, especially if you know even a little bit about the McCarthy era). The book is called 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. The book is set up in chronological order, so Nosferatu (which I had seen before) and the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari both filmed in the early 1920s were listed. I had actually just bought the DVD from (it was a whopping $2.50), so I watched them and now can put a check mark next to CoDC in the book, which being the anal person I can be, I am marking every movie which I have seen. I would say that I am actually not doing too badly. IMHO, though, they did not include enough Hitchcock films. The Bogie film that I saw this month though, In A Lonely Place, was one of them, so I feel so smug. One of these days I'll count up how many I've seen of the 1001 and let you know. And I have to say (more smugness) that a good number of the movies listed that I haven't seen are in my Netflix queue.

I absolutely LOVED The Corpse Bride. I'm normally a huge Wallace & Gromit fan and would have picked them for the Oscar, if I hadn't seen The Corpse Bride (I've seen both of them, the third isn't out yet, so I can't judge that one).

My favorite quote from the movies I watched this month is "I was born when she kissed me. I died when she left me. I lived a few weeks while she loved me." – In A Lonely Place

An addition to the monthly synopsis will be what knitting I accomplished while watching the movies, so y'all don't think I'm a slacker. I knitted a scarf for Heeland Lass (her very belated b-day present) and 2 potholders. I also wound this big hank of yarn into a ball, started a blanket for my cousin's toddler son which I then messed up and had to take out and since I was holding two strands of yarn together it ended up into a huge mother of a knot which took me HOURS to undo. That was a nightmare. I also started a scarf for myself since I was feeling left out. I do so much knitting and percentage-wise have very little of my own knitting.

Books read in February:

"The Decay of Lying: An Observation" by Oscar Wilde (essay)
The Hitchcock Murders by Peter Conrad
Death Benefits by Thomas Perry
Pursuit by Thomas Perry
Gazelle by Rikki Ducornet

I found The Hitchcock Murders book to be fascinating and it was the reason I watched so many Hitchcock movies in February. After I would watch the movie, I would go through the index and then re-read everything he had to say about the movie throughout the book. Obsessive? Maybe. Just a little. But I found mistakes in the book. ;-)

The Thomas Perry books were incredible! I read both of them in a single day (per book). I had read a number of his Jane Whitfield books when they came out and when I saw those two books at Borders last year I decided to check them out. I read one last Tuesday, the other on Wednesday and then on Thursday went to Alibris where I found most of his other books and bought them. Hardcovers for $2.95 a piece. The last of them arrived yesterday along with my three Netflix movies. I'm going to start his very first book The Butcher's Boy today.

I hope everybody had a good week (since I'm pretty sure it's been darn close to a week since I last updated).