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Virtual Smoke Break


Jun. 22nd, 2012 09:20 pm I'm back!

Years later and far wiser,  stumbled back across my LiveJournal again.  And of course, this would be the one week I'd do so - too many amazing things happening this week to count. I'm so blessed -- I'm not sure how I got this way, but I certainly hope I keep putting back into the karmic well that which has been so bestowed on me.  Yes, I'm happy, can't you tell?

Current Mood: accomplished


Sep. 26th, 2005 11:41 pm Where Have I Been?

I've been gone like the wind, haven't I? Ack, cheatin' on this personal blog with a team of like minded pro-fessionals checking the whole "social engineering of tagging" for work via an experimental blogs. I bet you didn't think I had it in me, did ya? Well, you're not alone - neither did I.

What started out as a "work" thing, an experiment with some data collection, has ended up being a bit of a labor of love, really. I have to say I've learned loads, and when your traffic goes from 100 unique readers to about 8,000 in 3 weeks all because of social tagging, current events, and some wit, well...you rather start to "believe" again in what the Internet can do.

I've always been into news and current events - half the time I'm reading blogs, newspapers, books or news sites. I'll find one that makes me think then the predictable process will ensue: reading aloud to my man (or any other poor sap who happens to be in earshot) and making some outrageous statement like "That's a buncha bull-sh^*&^ ain't it , honey?" This is (or was) *immediately* followed by commentary drilled forth like a baseball radio announcer, complete with hand gestures, foot stamping and the occassional criticism at home-run volume. Stu--pendous. But I'm sure it was quite annoying, too.

Anyway, I am calmer, probably nicer, and I'm sure I'm easier to live with as a result of all the blogging I've done over the last 2 months. I had to face it - I'm a frustrated journalist-editorialist and this has rewarded me in ways I'd never thought of. Shockingly, the best part isn't the recognized names in the blogosphere who both linked, recommended, and agreed with us, it's more the people who read and keep coming back.... like clockwork, daily . We see them almost regularly on our Sitemeter, and they're checking to see what *we* write. That's just too cool for written words.

Thanks, Jeffy. I appreciate what you have done to make that "vehicle" for my weird sense of humor and opinion something I really *do* need and enjoy.


Jul. 17th, 2005 04:22 pm "I am not worried, Harry...I am with you."

I'm happy to say at 5:15am on Saturday morning, I finished Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince. I am also equally elated to reveal the new book gives many answers to the mystery of JK Rowling's septology. Indeed, some people I am imagining will not like this book - it is both dark and humorous. I also feel that with HBP, the series has now crossed the genre of children's literature into that of young adult or adult. Many children (and possibly parents) will be very unhappy about a certain character's demise (I am witholding speaking more about that for a week until others have a chance to read it as I don't wish to spoil it for those who haven't finished) and may actually revolt openly about it. I will say this: the first chapter will resound with British readers given the terrorist bombings there recently.

The true brilliance of JKR is that she actually tackles the real life scenarios of war, terrorism, prejudice, betrayal, loyalty, friendship, honesty, love, and integrity among other topics indirectly in her writings. She also, with the release of HBP, has strengthened character development and kept key elements of the original plot without diverting focus, which I think is amazing.

The most poignant line for me of the book is in the subject line of this post - and this is said by Professor Dumbledore to Harry in a dire situation. A right of passage and passing of the torch commences from here. And I can't wait for Book 7!


Mar. 20th, 2005 07:05 pm Congress & the Persistent Vegetative State

It is the oddest thing in the world to see Congress and this condition in the subject line of this post.

Naturally, the case of Terri Schiavo makes us all take a look at our own mortality and our wishes should we become incapacitated, however we must also consider that this is a family issue which has been adjucated in the Florida court system no less than 9 or 10 times already. Florida Governor "Jedi" Bush already overstepped his judicial bounds once back in 2003 by passing an injuction which mandated a feeding tube be replaced after the Florida Supreme Court found what every other state court who has heard this case found: Terri Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state and her wishes prior to her condition were not to live in this way.

This matter, which with Congress and the Senate's actions today, has turned from one of science, to faith and politics. A persistent vegetative state is defined by AMA standards as the the loss of thinking abilities and awareness of a patient's surroundings, however a retention of non cognitive functions and normal sleep patterns is possible. PVS patients do not track or communicate with visual stimuli, and do not speak. If you've ever seen the difference between a PVS patient and someone who has retained cognitive and thinking abilities and can communicate via "blinking" (blink once for yes, twice for no), the comparisons are striking and easily comprehended. The Florida court system has discovered that Terri is PVS numerous times, repeatedly affirming her right to die. She's been PVS for 14 years, and most neurologists will tell you that after 6 months, it takes a miracle for a PVS patient to improve from that condition. Terri's husband investigated any and all treatments (including experimental ones) which might help his wife for 7 years and the last 7 years have been spent in the court system affirming her right to die. Hence faith, at this point, is superceding science.

It's a heart wretching thing to watch a loved one die, and tortuous to see the loss of ability and sense of self for this person year after year. The larger issue for the rest of us is Congress and the Senate's insistence to insert themselves in this personal and difficult situation which should be a family and state matter, not a federal one. The natural human predeliction for life probably weighed heavily in each one of the hearings and I respect what they determined. I am deeply disturbed Congress can just arbitrarily step in, and I question whether this would have happened for any similiar case in any other state than Florida.

Everyone has the right to live, and the right to die. It's not for the government to decide which is right or wrong - it's for the family. Since the institution of marriage has been re-affirmed for us, Mr. Schiavo is the person who can communicate and actively pursue Terri's wishes. It's time someone in our legislature remembered that.


Jan. 22nd, 2005 01:33 am Intelligent Whatsis??

Imagine my surprise when my old high school and community are now infamous and being featured on ABC's Nightline and World News Tonight over the last several weeks. It's one thing to hear Ted Koppel and Peter Jennings say "Dover Area High School" and read statements or interview people whom I have known in the community as well as others whom I had as teachers. Then again it's quite another to hear the reason why they're making statements in the first place.

The Dover Area School District board voted in Oct 2004 to add the concept of Intelligent Design (ID) to the high school biology & science curriculm. Intelligent design holds that all living organisms are so complex, that they must have been created by an unspecified divine being - ok everyone, can we say "religion in the classroom?" What's next? Will a minister deliver the Sacrament? They'll have wafers and wine for lunch?

The school board, (now headed by a avowed born again Christian and a former Northern Regional Police officer we were all terrified we'd get pulled over by in my high school days) does not publish minutes to the community on their meetings and votes, and decided this in a vacuum. Parents discovered it barely in time for when the addition was scheduled to be TAUGHT (not merely mentioned,) and 11 parents filed a huge civil rights lawsuit to stop it from what was originally intended by the board. My old alma mater is the only school in the nation to have now, as of Tuesday of this week, required the mention of the ID concept in a public school curriculm as an alternative theory to Darwinism and evolution.

That "mention" was a 4 paragraph summary read by administrators (teachers were permitted to leave the class during the 1 minute lecture) to students prior to the regularly scheduled evolution coursework. No questions from students were permitted after the reading, and they were told to talk to their parents or check out one of 60 copies of "Of Pandas and People", a book based on ID and fraught with religious Christian overtones which Dover has conveniently added to its school library for this purpose. 60 copies of a Christian nonfiction book: what's next? Bibles & bible study? Burning of Harry Potter, A Wrinkle in Time, and Lord of the Rings?

How disappointing that I have to be reminded of the many reason I despised that community from the very moment I set foot in it. Let's be clear: in my high school there were 2 minority kids in the ENTIRE high school - and my graduating class was 768 students. The whole holier than thou close minded bullshit and hypocrisy I experienced hasn't changed: the main proponents of this ID addition are all well known Christian Bible thumping families of whom several members went to school with me and my sisters'. They and their lawyers (who fought to keep at least the mention of ID in) are calling it a "revolution in evolution." I call it despicable, embarrassing and maddening that religion has finally invaded public education. It seems to me if you feel that strongly about it, you should send your kids to parochial school rather than imposing your morality and religion on someone else.


Dec. 28th, 2004 09:02 pm Donations for Tsunami Relief

These charities use your immediate donation for this disaster's relief efforts:

AmeriCares

UNICEF


Dec. 28th, 2004 08:42 pm Enough people to fill Shay Stadium

Made the trek northward to la-la land and spent Christmas Eve with my sisters and mother, and God bless ol' Peg, she made us all cry with her gifts to us "girls." Peg, my mother (we dig her name because it's so old fashioned), gave us each personalized music boxes which play "I Just Called to Say I Love You" along with individual cards which seem to have been chosen for what she thought each of us needs to know about how she feels about us. Talk about your weeping....even me. We've vowed to get her back on her birthday, which conveniently is Jan 14th.

I've been watching CNN's extended coverage this evening of the tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia. The death count has risen substantially higher since Sunday, and Anderson Cooper just tried to to put the magnitude of the death count in perspective: the number of dead at the moment is the equivalent of a full baseball crowd at Shay Stadium. While seeing footage of the dead people and children aren't pleasant, at least CNN has the fortitude to show it ALL as it really and truly is. No other cable or broadcast network news has shown the enormity of human suffering and loss of life such a tragedy induces.

At this time of year, this disaster reminds you that you're mortal and that people, especially close family and friends, are the most important gift you receive. Likewise, you should always know that the most important gift you give those who truly care for you is yourself. Safety, health, normality, emotional well being, friends and family (albeit dysfunctional at times) are precious, timeless, and priceless. Reminder to self: don't take any of it for granted.


Dec. 3rd, 2004 07:42 pm Just breathe

I know it's been quite a while since I've updated this beast, and my only excuse is I have been *busy.* Started a new job with more freedom and autonomy than I've ever had, and my days go by so fast and with such a variety of new challenges that I can hardly remember what I had for breakfast at the end of the day. Plus now I have a staff who have allowed me to develop my cat herding abilities (and superhuman patience) to avoid any major crisis. :) Another good thing: got my review from my old bosses, and I thought since I'd left they'd screw me. Shockingly enough, they have some moral fiber which I assuredly didn't expect.

This apparently comes at a price though, as my body decided "this cat herding thing and changing jobs are not that easy" and I've developed a cold I can't quite seem to shake for the last 2 weeks. Where DOES snot come from, anyway? (Don't answer that, I know all the biology behind it) How can we manage to produce so much of it and not drop dead after the first few day of sneezing, snorting and blowing? Is this is plague some monk in a monestary transcribing ancient texts of the Bible forgot to include?

Jeffy bought me my Prisoner of Azkaban dvd (Thanks Jeffy) the day it came out, and I've been muddling through all the complexities of Harry Potter with what little time I've had and having brief intellectual Internet discussion about some of the HP mysteries on HPfGU. Thanksgiving was a cornucopia of lessons learned from the Food Channel, tradition, and ingenuity when I forgot 2 ingredients I needed and substituted something else successfully. And no, I'm not telling what it was. :)

I think this weekend I may try to take some B&W's for the holidays; I haven't had the gumption or the energy to be creative lately and I need to be.

Shout out to the other half of the White Queen: All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without the benefit of experience. Congrats to you and your intended. :)


Sep. 27th, 2004 10:51 pm I am moved

Last night I happened to be channel surfing, and came upon the beginning of a documentary on HBO called "Chernobyl Heart". I can't emphasize enough that it is absolutely heart-wrenching and shocking to watch, and for those of you who fear nuclear terrorism, don't watch it before you go to bed. But do watch it, and you'll understand why I say:

I've never had a bad hair day compared to them;
My legs don't look as funny as I think they do compared to what they have;
My bad hair days mean nothing compared to theirs;
My life, no matter what pettiness invades it, is nearly perfect compared to theirs;
My family, albeit dysfuntional at times, is happy and whole compared to theirs;
I am wealthy, no matter what bills I have, compared to them;
I am grateful I am not where they are, as they are, and no one I know is either.

"Chernobyl Heart" won an Oscar this year, and is probably the only movie to win one that hasn't been released to the general public prior to an award. The producer of the movie (she also is the cameraman) accompanied the director of the Irish Chernobyl Children's Project to the contaminated areas around Chernobyl, as well as to "abandoned children's homes" and mental asylums which are filled with the genetic fallout from Chernobyl generations after the accident. It's hard to imagine, but it's there on your screen to see. What a wonderful, awful, guilt-provoking 45 minutes. This is especially true if you find yourself before you see it feeling *you're* mistreated or unlucky. You'll change your mind pretty fast - and donate to help those who have had a much worse day for years than you have *ever* had.

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: John Madden & Al Michaels


Sep. 19th, 2004 11:09 am New Pastures, New Horizons

2 trying, anxious, exciting, busy months. July was "breaking in" and August culminated in the initiation of "breaking out." September now, and I'm finally able to disclose that *I* have a *new job.* What, you say? Didn't she have one back in July? Well, to me, not really. Going thru the formal process to assume a new job in your own department and still perform the function of your old position at the same time probably doesn't constitute getting a "new job." Instead, it makes you realize how much you produce, how reliable and efficient you are when the rules are different for other people.

How did this all come to be? It's quite simply that the careful constructs of thought and strategy have landed me a more lucrative and probably more enjoyable job. I'm not going to hold back in saying that some folks in my senior management chain actually made the decision easier, even with their counteroffer. We, Jeffy & I, predicted how and what would happen from my management's side of the house. I am pleased and grateful to say Jeffy is a genius and I'm more than happy I took his advice.

Why is telling the truth about why you are leaving your position interpreted as "burning your bridges?" This is business, not personal! For that matter, isn't honesty supposed to be valued about such things when the employer preaches the "we care about our employees" mantra? I haven't quite understood is if you're a great employee and you choose to leave, why someone in your senior management chain wouldn't want to ask why specifically so they can explore changing behaviors to avoid others travelling the same path as the person who left.

So since no one has asked me yet (maybe they will, maybe they won't), I'm developing a list of the "Do's" for not keeping a reasonable, reliable, and valued employee. I have to name it yet, then I'll post :)

Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: Smooth - Santana

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