Friday, November 25, 2005

The Thankful Report

Because it is Thanksgiving and it is the American cliche to say what you are thankful for on this day (well, actually yesterday, but I didn't have the mental fortitude to make a list yesterday), I have decided to write a report of sorts, about what I am thankful for, other than the obvious family, friends, and health. I thought I would be more specific and list the tings that I have experienced this year that make me thankful today, in no particular order. Okay?

1. Thanks to Macy and Scott for allowing me to be part of the birth of their first child. That was one of the greatest experiences I have had thus far in life.

2. Thanks for naps, sometimes they are the difference between a good day and an erase from memory day.

3. Thanks for Stephanie's never-ending willingness to listen, even in the wee hours of the morning on the phone.

4. Thanks to Angela and Chris for sharing their wedding day with me and Hayden. The trip allowed me spend a lot of time with my daughter and friends.

5. Thanks to CryoLife for giving me a raise for no apparent reason.

6. Thanks for the two really laid back and really smart professors I have this semester. They have taught me a lot without causing me much stress.

7. Thanks for the whole experience of getting a Masters degree, I learned so much, particulary about myself and what I was capable of.

8. Thanks to Rachael for her fierce loyalty, dark sense of humor, and complete honesty in all situations.

9. Thanks to Jen, Sherry, Wendy, Nicole, Dawn, and Alesia for the best fucking gift I have ever received - tickets to see U2 on their Vertigo tour.

10. Thanks for indoor plumbing, hot water on demand, a spacious home with intact walls, floors, and ceilings.

11. Thanks that I don't live anywhere near a hurricane's path.

12. Thanks for the internet and its endless information and entertainment.

13. Thanks for lap tops, wireless networks, cell phones, email, mp3 players. and digital cameras.

14. Thanks for Sonya who always brings eastern european chocolates to work.

15. Thanks for Nalgene bottles.

16. Thanks for caller ID.

17. Well damn, thanks for all things technological.

18. Thanks for Costco memberships and the ability to buy things in huge bulk.

19. Thanks for putting me here this time, in the land of plenty.

20. Thanks for Kevin. He gives me what I need.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Cataloging books

Recently I started cataloging my books into an Excel spreadsheet. I like lists and I wanted to see the books in a list. But the task became joyless. I don't like data entry as it turns out.

But thanks to Mel, I found Library Thing. It is so easy to catalog using this site. I added a link over on the sidebar called "My Library" but I have only just started adding books. No reviews yet. But this thing is really very cool and I wanted to share.


Religion gets in the way of God.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Bono in Conversation with Michka Assayas, page 81

An excerpt from the book:

Right now there is the biggest pandemic in the history of civilation, happening in the world now with AIDS. It's bigger than the Black Death, which took a third of Europe in the Middle Ages. Sixty-five hundred Africans are dying every day of a preventable, treatable disease. And it is not a priority for the West: two 9/11s a day, eighteen jumbo jets of fathers, mothers, families falling out of the sky. No tears, no letters of condolence, no fifty-one-gun salute. Why? Because we don't put the same value on African life as we put on a European or an American life. God will not let us get away with this, history certainly won't let us get away wiht our excuses. We say we can't get these antiretroviral drugs to the farthest reaches of Africa, but we can get them our cold fizzy drinks. The tiniest village, you can find a bottle of Coke. Look, if we really thought that an African life was equal in value to an English, a French, or an Irish life, we wouldn't let two and a half million Africans die every year for the stupidest reasons: money. We just wouldn't. And a very prominent head of state said to me: "It's true. If these people weren't Africans, we just coudln't let it happend." We don't really deep down believe in their equality.

Now, chew on THAT!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


I have been thinking a lot about how music affects me and how it can change my mood. I grew up hearing country music, well and some Elvis too. Then my older brother, who is four years older than me, got into heavy metal, so I was then exposed to Black Sabbath, Dio, AC/DC and the like. When I went off to middle school, I made a small group of girlfriends. We all fell in love with music together. I attended my first concert at the age of 11, where my girlfriends and I went to see A-Ha live at the Fox theater in Atlanta. One girl's dad went along as a chaperone and he fell asleep during the show. Granted it was a pop band, not a hard-core metal gig, but still....who the fuck falls asleep at a show? I was flabbergasted, and it was then that I realized, some people don't get it. Some people don't need music in their daily lives and some people don't even notice it.

Let me go a child I always wanted to play an instrument. My mother was an excellent piano and organ player. We had one of those electronic organs in our home for years, I used to sit and tinker with it for hours, much to the dismay of my family. And then in 4rd grade, I decided to learn an instrument. But which one? I asked my mom for ideas and she told me that she had always liked the sound of a saxaphone, so I decided to give it a go. I played the alto sax in 4th grade. I was terrible at it. While I learned to read the music quickly, the actual playing of the instrument escaped me and frustrated me. I bailed on the sax. In 6th grade I decide to join the chorus, not because I could sing, but because I liked to sing. I am an awful singer, but when you are part of a chorus, the other singers disguise your awfulness. During this time, I had also met my new best friends, who happened to all play something. Macy and Barbara played violin, and Stephanie played the Oboe. And then there was me. I wanted to be able to play something, because I adored music and I wanted to make it. I did a short stint playing the drums in the middle school band/orchestra, but that wasn't my bag. I next tried to play the cello early in the highschool orchestra. I wasn't terrible at it, but I was far from good. I really did like the cello, even though I had to have two of them, one for school and one for home because it was too large to take on the bus. When the guy who played the stand-up bass graduate, I got talked into trying out the bass. The bass was a very cool instrument but the strings made my fingers bleed, so not cool. I had stuck it out in chorus all through middle school and during the first 2 years of highschool. And during those years, here and there, I took private piano lessons and guitar lessons. To no avail, I sucked at playing music on just about all instruments. No matter, my friends and I were going to be in a pop band and move to London when we finished high school. We all got some instrument to play, except we were minus a drummer, but we figured we would pick one up once we got there. We bought the sheet music to tons of our favorite songs and learned them as best we could. We would sleep over at Stephanie's house and set up our stuff in her rec room. Steph and I had electronic keyboards, we were down for making lots of weird electronic music like all the cool pop bands were doing at the time - Duran Duran, A Ha, Devo, Depeche Mode, etc. Macy had a stratless Fender bass and Barbara had an electric guitar, I can't remember the make but it was black. Our parents never laughed at us or told us we were being silly for wanting to be in a band, and we really thought we were going to move to London when we all turned 18. Things of course did not work out that way.

Anyway, as I remember how I got into music and what a huge effect it has been on my life, I wonder in awe at how some people can go days and days without listening to any music. How people don't notice the music in elevators or playing very softly in the back ground in restaurants or stores. I know some people who never buy CDs and can't imagine why I was coming out of my skin excited over last Saturday's U2 show. "I just don't get excited about stuff like that" someone said to me. At the recent concert I went to, I had seats behind the stage. It was a very interesting perspective, I got to see what the band sees. All of those faces in the crowd, all of those people looking right at them. What must it feel like to have the undivided attention of thousands of people for 2.5 hours each night? What power U2 has to effect change, because people listen to Bono. I don't know if it is simply because he is famous, or because he has some really fucking great things to say, or because he's hot. Either way, I wonder if they feel at all overwhelmed by the power they have. Or any well-known band for that matter. People begin playing music because they love it, hardly anyone starts out with the intention of being famous the world over. Often times you read their stories about how they slept in sleeping bags on the floor of some dump apartment and ate ketchup sandwiches while they kept playing. Sometimes it works out and more often than not, it doesn't. But they still do it, because maybe they have to.

During concerts, where thousands of people all come together to listen, you can find a very unique sense of community, everyone there for the same purpose. People are pleasant in general, everyone is happy and dancing and singing. While the beer lines are long and the beer overpriced, everyone is happy anyway. For one night, we get to sing and dance with the professionals, we get to hear all about life through their words and music, and I find more often than not, I can identify with so many lyrics. And I think that is the thread that brings everyone together. We can listen to what our favorite musician says and we can understand or feel like they understand, that we are not alone and that other people have walked this road before. I can't fathom a life with no music, I can't imagine not having it every day, even if all I can be is an expert listener. At least I married someone who can play instruments. Maybe the kids will not get my musically retarded gene.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

In a week

It has been one week since I wrote anything here. In that time, our bird Sunny died. We had her for a mere five days. The breeder reckoned that she was not drinking enough. But why? Was she stressed out over the change in her environment? Did we hold her too much? What? Hayden was so upset, she cried a lot. The bird was buried in the backyard and Hayden added a photo of herself in the bird's coffin. It was tough.

I have completed a lot of work this past week, both at work and at school. The semester is coming to an end, four more weeks and it will be over. And the holidays are coming...ahhhh the holidays. I was just commenting to my husband that I wish I could do what I want on my holidays rather than have to schlepp all over the metro area to eat meals with various family members. Maybe next year we will host Thanksgiving and require that everyone come in their pajamas so that we can stay inours all day. I look forward to a time when we can take trips during the holidays, when our tradition becomes vacation on the holidays. Christmas in Costa Rica, Thanksgiving in Switzerland. That sort of thing.

And finally, last night I went to the U2 show in Atlanta. Cameras were allowed so I took my telefoto lens along and got some pretty good pictures. You can find the album if you go to the link over in the sidebar called "Smoov's pictures". The show was absolutely fantastic. They played MLK, which was a surprise, and Bono mentioned that some of MLK's family was in the audience. They sang happy birthday to Ted Turner. They played so many great songs, it was the highlight of my month!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Reston, Virginia

There is someone out there who reads this blog in Reston, Virginia. When I look at the site stats, I see that location a lot. Who are you? Let's have a shout out from ya!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Bird's Life

The bird enjoys creative writing, done on a Dell Dimension 4100

The bird also enjoys napping on shoulders

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Mayor

My good friend Stephanie is now officially married to the mayor of Buchanan, Georgia. Her husband, Jason, won yesterdays elections and is now a government official. Let's give props to Jason!I wonder if he can get me some free stuff......

Monday, November 07, 2005

Telefoto lens

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Currently reading

See the sidebar, over there ====================================>>>>>>>>> ?

According to it I am currently reading 5 books at once. What kind of idiot reads 5 books at one time? A person with commitment issues? Or serious mental issues? And in the midst of reading these books, I began and finished a 6th book, "Don't let's go to the dogs tonight". Why do I do that? Why do I read a bunch of books at once? It has to be one of THE most irritating habits I have. But, I just never know what mood I will be in, so I feel like I need to have options. Oh, and let's not forget the riveting, "Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems" and "Introduction to Cartographic Process" that I am also reading, at least until finals in December.

What are you currrently reading and what have you just finished reading?

The thing about flying is.....

Anything can happen. Anything can go wrong and delay you. You buy airline tickets to go on some much-anticipated vacation, a break from your everyday life, and you delude yourself into thinking that flying is just the way of getting from A to B, and then the adventure begins. But, the reality is, the flying part of it becomes as much a part of the trip as the events that happen once you reach your destination.

I have flown a bit over the years and I remember just about every flight I have taken, for a myriad of reasons.

Last weekend I went to Salem to visit a friend and to celebrate another friend's 30th birthday. I flew from Atlanta to Boston, alone as my other friends had arrived in Salem a day before me. The trip there was just fine, I was all alone, able to read and listen to my mp3 player and drink wine on the plane. Did you know that you can open a bar tab on your credit card on an airplane? Tell me what is not to love about that. I dare you.

But flying home from Boston to Atlanta proved to be a bigger and more expensive challenge. But let me give some background information first.

Months ago my friends and I decided to go to New Orleans the weekend before Halloween. Rachael turned 30 on October 30th, so celebrating seemed required. We all made our plans, I bought an airline ticket as I would be arriving one day after them. They had planned to drive. Then the hurricane came and went, and with it our hotel. So, we changed plans and decided to go to Salem. I have a good friend who lives there and she said we could stay with her. I called up Orbitz and explained why I wished to change my flight to Boston. Orbitz still issues paper tickets when you buy flights through them, this would turn out to be a key factor in my return trip. So, the lovely woman at Orbitz told me that they would be canceling my New Orleans flight and issuing a credit for me to use with Air Tran. She then told me I did not need the paper tickets for the new flight to Boston, that my name and confirmation number would be in the system and all would be good.

So, at Logan International airport in Boston, there were different needs. Mr. Santana, the Air Tran ticket agent insisted I had to present those paper tickets or I could not get on the plane. What the fuck is this? He said that they required those paper tickets and that the agent in Atlanta should have asked me for them. The agent in Atlanta didn't even look at me, let alone talk to me about paper tickets. Mr. Santana said that I could of course, buy another ticket for the flight home.

Oh fuck that I said. Let me call Orbitz right now. So there I stood, in the baggage check line, with my cell phone (which is brand new and made the ordeal a little more tolerable), on hold with Orbitz. I finally got someone and explained. He said that clearly the agent in Atlanta understood the situation and didn't ask me for the tickets, but that this agent was totally going by the book. Orbitz man put me on hold while he tried to fix it all. I asked Mr. Santana if he would let me on the plane if I cried. He said no. Fucker. Orbitz man came back, and told me that he was so very sorry for their mistake, but I would have to buy another ticket and then have Orbitz refund me the money. I was livid. What happens to the people who can't afford to buy another $300 ticket? Do they sleep in the airport until...the end of time? By this time my friends had gone ahead through security at my insistence. I assured them my ass would be on that plane one way or another. After much ranting and cursing, I conceded and bought another ticket. And off to security I went.

And of course, I got flagged for a bag check. Jesus Christ on a bicycle, why do they always search me? Do I look like a terrorist? They took out everything in my carryon and purse. They took my camera apart, removing the lens and lens covers. They went through all of the things in my purse and wiped things with these little cloths in search of explosive residue. I begged them to leave my tampons wrapped, what was I to do if they violated those? They inspected my sexy new cell phone and even took all the caps off of the pens in my purse. Those agents at the Logan International airport are thorough motherfuckers, that's for sure. I got through just in time to get on my plane.

And I will end this by saying, in a loud voice, FUCK ORBITZ AND AIR TRAN.