Re-launched, but still slightly under construction. :-)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

If Dubya Knows, it Can't Be Untrue... Could it?

Celtic Wymynists



The Celtic Woman people are driving me nuts. Every picture they send me is Photoshopped within an inch of its life with vines and flowers and tinkling faerie music and crap. I keep asking for “just a plain photo, no Photoshopping, please.” And it gets worse every time. Soon all the singers will be totally obscured by the various plant life indigenous to Ireland. It seems to have grown over all of their camera lenses like kudzu on crack. Don’t they have a ridiculous number of sheep in that country to sic on that stuff?

Monday, January 28, 2008

(zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz)

Monday, January 28, 2008 By

so... tired....

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Look, Can I Just Start This Whole Day Over?

Thursday, January 24, 2008 By No comments

Okay, first, a crazy man calls me. See my earlier post.

THEN, the new digital audio recorder deletes every file on itself. I don't know exactly what happened, but they're gone. I have my notes, but still... it's a lot that is completely gone.

Finally, I left the office to pick up Emmie. I'm looking forward to having her throw herself into my arms, like she does every day. The construction is bad, but due to some NASCAR-inspired driving, I make it in a very speedy 14 minutes.

D.O.T. Social Science Experiment:













First, merge left.












Then, 100 yards later, merge right.


She launches herself at the door the second she sees me. I am rejuvenated.

"Her cubby is down the hall now," her teacher says. "In the T-3 room."
WHAT?! She's ... she's NOT three. Not yet. I feel slightly panicky, like I might hyperventilate. Children age, stupid, I tell myself. You knew this would happens. It's nothing new. So I calm myself and trot with Emmie down the hall to her new room.

"Do you like your new room?" I ask.
"Yeah!" she says, pointing to the blackboard across the room. "Ders words and... more words!"
She does like words. I can't imagine where she gets that from. Anyway. We put on her jacket and I pick up my keys. She takes off running down the hallway, but doesn't turn into the lobby. She goes down to the end of the hall, and touches the fire door.
"Emmie..." I call. "Let's go!"
She pushes the door open a crack. Oh, no.
"Emmie! Don't you-" She is gone. Jesus! Right into the parking lot!
I take off at a dead run, immediately trip on some child's Polly Pocket, lose my balance, flail to get it back, and throw myself through the door at top speed. There she stands, where she has stopped mid-run, as though suddenly finding herself on an alien planet. It's a playground fenced in with 10-foot privacy fencing. Thank god.
"EMMIE!" I roar, and she flinches. I feel bad for freaking her out, but that was so not cool. "What is the rule?!"
In a small voice she says, "I donnoe."
"No! Go! Outside! Without! Mommy! Daddy!"
"I sowwy."
"Timout! Sit!"
I put my back against the fence while she sits forlornly on the sand. After 45 seconds, I'm freezing.
"Okay, let's go back inside."
"Okay!" she says, as we walk back to the door. "I so sowwy, mama. I no run away!"
"Alright, thank you, sweetie. Let's just go."
Ka-Chunk! Meh. The door is locked.
We'll just go out the gate.
Ka-Chink! Meh. The gate is padlocked.
(sigh)
"Wassaa madder?" Emmie asks.
"It's all locked," I say. "Let's cut through the other gates."
All of the green space around the property is divided into age-appropriate playgrounds. There are five age groups plus an after-school program. Six gates. I knock on doors and windows as we pass thorugh. No answer. When we get to the last wall, there is no gate. What the-? Oh, we passed it. Crap. It's padlocked. Now what?
I look at Emmie, thoroughly irritated. But she looks so cold.
"How do you feel, Emmie?"
"I so chillies, mama!"
I take off my sweater and wrap it around her, rolling up the sleeves, folding the middle over and cinching it tight with the belt to keep it from dragging.
She looks like a dink-dink from "Spaceballs."
I laugh, and she laughs. But I'm so cold. Grrr.
I pound on doors. There are about 10 of them. No one answers, and I don't hear anyone inside. Finally, after being trapped out here for about 25 minutes, and at the last door, the director opens it. She's obviously surprised to see me.
"I was just about to lock up!" she exclaims.
"Glad we caught you," I said, teeth chattering.
"Loot! I wear mommy sweater!" Emmie shrieks, spinning proudly.

That warms the cockles of my heart.
But the rest of my cockles are freezing.

Sometimes There's Just No Way to Win

C.S. “Um, there’s a crazy person on line one. He says he’s an Indian and he’s mad about a story we ran about apache indians.”

We all exchange looks of confusion. The topic doesn’t ring a bell. I start searching our archives.

M.F. “I’ll take the crazy people. I don’t mind.”
Me (having just found it): “No, it’s a DVD review. That’s my responsibility. I’ll talk to him.”


I take a minute to scan through the contents of Apache Indian and Reggae Revolution. Nothing unusual here. I pick up the phone.

“This is Stacey. How may I help you?”
“Yes. I am an Indian and I do not agree with the Reggae Revolution.”

“I’m sorry? I don’t understand.”
“I’m looking right here on your web page. Now I want to know who gave you all permission to use the name Apache Indian.”

“Well, that’s the name of the band. Wait... are you with the band Apache Indian?”
Maybe they weren't happy about the review, I think.

“No. I am a certified Apache Indian, and I want to know who gave you permission to use it?”

“I’m sorry, sir, but I don’t think we need permission to print the name of a band.”
“He’s not even Indian. He’s black! Look at him!”

I do. I can’t tell either way. So I run a quick Google search. Hmm. Lifetime achievement award in Great Britain. Originally from India. Started in Banghra music.

“Says here he’s British.”
“I don’t know where he’s from. He’s not an Indian. Where did you get permission for this? I don’t know who you are.”

“We’re the alternative news weekly newspaper in Augusta. And, sir, we’re really not in charge of what stage names people choose.”
“I am telling you, I am a certified Apache Indian and no one can call themselves an Indian unless the council says they can. Now I need to know what you’re going to do.”

“Sir, we can’t tell bands what to call themselves. I mean, there’s a band called Zombie Bazooka Patrol, and maybe there’s a few pissed off zombies out there. I don’t know.”


“I want you to put me in touch with the American Indian Council.”

“Excuse me?”
“I want you to put me in touch with the Council. He’s not Indian. He’s black.”

“Uh, he’s from India. You want me to get the information of the council for you?”
“If he’s from India, why would he call himself Apache Indian?”

"I don’t know. I think it’s a play on words.”
”But why call himself an APACHE Indian?”

"I – I don’t know. Did you want the council’s information?”
“Yes. I am sitting here by the computer. The cursor is blinking.”

“Uh, okay.”

I run another Google search. Nothing by that name comes up, except for a 9-member organization in the state. I don’t think that’s it. I look for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

“Okay, sir, I have –"
“I am waiting!”

“Yes, sir, I have the—”
“I want to get in touch with them and see what can be done. He can’t call him self an Indian. He’s black. Now I am three-quarters — (his dog starts barking in the background) Cooter! Hush! Hush, Cooter!”

I hear muttering in the background. Someone is talking to him. I whisper to A.C.: “He has a dog named Cooter!” I hear him stomping around in the background.

“What? Bible thumpers? Gotdammit.”
I hear a door open and soft voices I can’t make out.

“I don’t believe in your God,” he tells someone else in a forceful tone. “I’m an American Indian, and I don’t believe in your god or your religion. Christians and the Catholic Church murdered 600,000 American Indians. You all murdered them.”

Whatever poor soul knocked on the wrong door replies. I can’t make out what they’re saying, but the tone is placating, with an undertone of shock.

“No. I don’t believe in your god. Your murdering Catholic god. You go do your research, my friend.”

The door closes.
“Sir?” I try.

“Goddamn Bible-thumpers.”
“Sir? Are you still there?”

“Why’dja let them in?” he barks at someone.
“Sir!” I am close to hanging up the phone.

“Yeah?”
“Are you still with me? I have the information.”

He gives me his e-mail address.

“I am waiting for your e-mail.”
“Okay, I—“

“You cannot claim to be an Indian unless you are certified by the council. Not an Indian, and not a particular tribe. Besides, he’s black!”

I’m sick of this guy.

“Sir, he’s a British national, and he’s originally from India. And, anyway, I don’t think American laws apply to British citizens.”
“It don’t matter. You can’t say you’re an Apache Indian without permission."

“Really? That’s so interesting. I didn’t know that. So, like, Tim McGraw had to get permission to use the names of tribes in his songs?”
“I don’t think he actually claimed to be an Indian.”

“Huh. I think the lyrics are ‘I’m an Indian outlaw,’” I begin. He tries to interrupt but I talk over him. “’Half Cherokee and Choctaw. My baby she’s a Chippewa’... I’m just saying…”

“I know all about the whole Tim McGraw story!” He’s practically yelling at me. It's kind of awesome. “He had to get permission, I’m telling you!”


“Okay. Well, I have the information for you. I’ll just e-mail it. And thanks so much for calling. We appreciate your feedback and I learned a lot from our conversation today.”

He starts in again.
Click.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

When You See a Guy Reach for Stars in the Sky You Can Bet That Doug Joiner is Over in the Corner Vomiting His Guts Out

"Hey, Stacey, this is Doug Joiner."
"Hey, Doug! How are you?!"

Doug is a drama professor at Augusta State University, and an all-around funny, smart, nice guy. I like him. Drama is his number one love in life... that is, unless it's a production by Disney, Rogers & Hammerstein or Andrew Lloyd Webber. We're doing a story on his theatre, Le Chat Noir, and its impact on the local theater scene. He's calling to get in touch with the writer.

"Hey, you know, she's in 'Cabaret' at the Fort Gordon Dinner Theater right now, and she just got back from a tour of China in 'Guys & Dolls," I offer.
"I hate musical theater," he snarls.
"I KNOW that," I laugh.
"I KNEW he'd say something about that," Alice said, from her desk behind me. She didn't even have to hear what he said. If you've had Doug for one class, which she has, you know his feelings on the matter: the white-hot fury of 1,000 suns.
"My point is that she has a lot of theater experience and it might be beneficial for your company," I laugh, right in his face. Or... ear. Whatevs.
"Well, and 'Cabaret' is one of the few that I like," he concedes.
"See?"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I'm Sure You Heard My Screaming

Tuesday, January 22, 2008 By No comments

"Emerson, it's time to help Mommy pick up your room," I said.
"Okay!" she follows me into her room and we begin picking up the crap she's scattered around the floor. Shortly, I realize that she's just trying on shoes. And since I can't join her, she can't do it.

"Sweetie, let's pick up your toys now."
"I not."
"What?"
"I not."
"Yes, you are."
"No, I not. I am pwincess."

Oh. My. God.

Jott Down Your Thoughts


WAY better than those hand-held digital voice recorder. Frankly, I think we should all start using it just to get rid of those stupid commercials about a woman who can't write down "milk, eggs, bread." Noooooo. She has to record it and play it back to herself. Whatever.

Jott automatically converts your voice to text, so sending hands-free e-mail and text messages anytime, anywhere, from any cell phone is as easy as leaving a voicemail.

It's simple. Just call their toll free number and say who you'd like to Jott. Then leave your message and hang-up. Jott will transform your voice into text and send out an e-mail and text message to your recipients. Jott yourself a reminder in traffic. Jott a friend your holiday gift list while walking through the mall. Record expenses, make to-do lists or communicate with your whole family – all without working your thumbs on those tiny keys.

Twitter (the mobile microblog) and Zillow (the online real estate service), both work seamlessly with Jott. Leave your message and have it posted to your Twitter page, or receive a Zestimate® from Zillow on your hands-free device. Jott is currently compatible with 13 other sites:

amazon
Get prices and product info from Amazon.
google calendar
Create an event on-the-go!
Jaiku
Keep your friends in the loop while you are out and about.
Blogger
Post your thoughts from anywhere with your cell phone
TypePad
Let your readers hear your voice and your thoughts.
Wordpress
Blog instantly using your voice.
Twitter
Tweet what you're doing from your cell phone.
Yahoo! Groups
Voice your opinions on-the-go.
Zillow
Look up a Zestimate™ in the car with your hands free device.
Live Journal
Wax philosophical to the world using your voice.
30 Boxes
Organize your calendar from your cell phone.
tumblr
Tumblelog your voice to your readers.
remember the milk
Manage your tasks from your cell phone.
i want sandy
Jott to Sandy, your personal assistant.
Developed by Values of N
gumiyo
Mobile online classifieds.
Developed by Gumiyo.com
tripster
Jott Trapster™ the Speed Trap Sharing System
Developed by Tenereillo, Inc.
xpenser
Track expenses from any device.
Developed by Tastr Inc.
vitalist
GTD-Based Task and Project Management
Developed by Vitalist Solutions
recommendr
Shopping questions and answers.
Developed by Recommendr, Inc.
toodledo
Online to-do list.
Developed by Toodledo
mosio
Jott any question and have it answered by real people.
Developed by Mosio, Inc.
nozbe
Project, task and time management with your voice.
backpack
Organize your lists, notes and ideas on the go.


Frogpond Badge

Monday, January 21, 2008

Packers Pack it Up Post-Season

Dearest Brett,

Yeah, you better run.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Bedtime for Bonzo

Sunday, January 20, 2008 By 2 comments

So, ever since Emerson has moved to her toddler bed (her crib converted), bedtime has been a challenge. I mean, there were a couple of weeks before she figured out that she could get out of bed without some invisible barrier throwing her up against the wall.

But eventually she did figure it out, and then the time between 8 and 10 p.m. became a game of "What's That Noise? Baby or Burgler?" Of course, we had thought that it was always the baby, but see my previous posts for reasons why I'm now suspicious.

Anyway, we'd begun taking toys away every time she got out of bed. Doctor kit. Princess dress-up box. Toy box. Crayons. Flash cards (oh, god, she's a nerd like her mama. We lurves the flash cards around here). Books. You would think that with consistent positive parenting and communication, we could have knocked this issue out in a couple of weeks. You would think that. And then you would be delusional like us.

Tonight, things came to a head. Her toy box, princess box, giant teddy bear, stuffed bunny rabbit, wooden sword (or, her "arrmatey," as she calls it) snowman pillow, coloring books and crayons all sat piled up in the hallway outside her door. Fed up, I even closed the doors on her bookcase and child-proofed it with zip tabs. "Good idea," Scott crowed. Yes. We had covered every base. Now, I thought, Emerson will submit to our overpowering will and authority. "Defeat!" she will think. "Even the greatest strike out every once in a while." Or something like that - a "the battle is lost, but I have a whole life to wage the war," kind of thing.

More delusions. She did not think "defeat." Emerson sat up in her toddler bed, shook her 2-year-old Afro and thought, "Oh, snap. Now it is ON."

All was quiet on the baby front for for a good 15 minutes. I patted myself on the back, shook my fists over each shoulder in victory congratulation and celebrated with a cup of ice cream. The last ice cream in the house. Nyah nyah, husband-of-mine-who-went-to-the-store-and-bought-everyone-but-his-wife-some-ice cream earlier today. But then, I heard a little scrabbling sound. It could have been the dog, Scrabble. There's a reason we gave him that name. But, of course, it wasn't.

I stomped towards her room. "Emerson!" I called out as I turned the doorknob. "If you aren't-" SMASH!!!! My face hit the door. The door that stopped very suddenly mid-swing. The door that, even when pressed hard against my face, wouldn't open.

"Emmie?" I called, concerned. She didn't respond. "Emmie?!" I called again. Why wouldn't she answer me? Did she escape when I wasn't looking? Was her lifeless body wedged against the door?

"Honey, open the door!" I pleaded. Was one of the crazy people who are bothering us in there with her? Who do I have to kill? I shoved the door harder and it eked open a crack.

There was Emmie' grinning face, surrounded by the bars on the back of her toddler bed. She had gotten out of the bed, pushed the entire contraption in front of the door, gathered her remaining toys about her, and proudly commenced to get on with her triumphant play time.

I turned the situation over to Scott because I was laughing too hard for her to take me seriously. He got her back to bed and we went on, secure in the effectiveness of the scolding she received and the punishment of sleeping with the light off. "You mate me vewy angwy," she commanded after Scott was done with his reprimand. God, I know that tone. I AM that tone.

So, I was blogging all that when suddenly I realized I could see a crack of light under her bedroom door. I got up, confused, and walked to her room. "Honey, I thought..." I opened the door.

And that's when it hit me: Emerson is just smarter than we are. There she was, all of 2 years old, perched ATOP THE ARM OF HER CRIB, reaching for her baby wipes. She had pushed her crib around, scooched it up against her dresser, turned on her lamp and was just deciding what else she wanted up there on her dresser. Then I opened the door.

I could almost see her twirling a handlebar mustache. "Curses! Foiled again!"

So we changed her diaper and she told me how I mate her vewy angwy, and then we smooched and said "I love you," and then I turned out the light and told her goodnight.
"I not angwy anymore," she said, dimples shining in the dark.
"I'm glad, sweetie. I love you," I cooed.
"I lub you, too," she said. "I be good girl."
"Thank you, sweetheart."

But I left the bedroom door open just in case.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Guess Who?

What blond bombshell started out in pageants in her home state of Kansas and worked her way to the top of the publishing game?

She started out small (blue dress in the middle):

But her skills were big:

So was her hair:

And her sleeves.
Her sleeves remind me of that scene in Anne of Green Gables when Mathew Cuthbert (Richard Farnsworth) buys Anne Shirley (Megan Follows) a new dress for her first dance. Marilla Cuthbert deems it too ridiculous for words.
"Look, puffed sleeves," Mathew points out to Anne.
"The puffiest," she replies.
But she hadn't seen this Pepto pink beauty from 1987's
suburban mall superstar designer Jessica McClintock:

Auchtung, baby!

A.C. answers her cell when one of the ad reps calls.
"Yes, his name is Adolph," she answers, an amused grin on her face. We all start laughing. I don't even know what that's about, but it's funny.
"She had in her head that the owner of Augsberg House was named Adolph, but since it's a German restaurant, she didn't want to go in there and call him that if it wasn't his name," she explained, while we all die with laughter. "But at least she had the common sense to call and check."
"That would be like calling Macaroni Grill and asking for Mussolini," Murfee laughs.
"More like calling and asking for Chef Boyardee," I smirk.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Lesson for us All

The master Bankei's talks were attended not only by Zen students but by persons of all ranks and sects. He never quoted sutras not indulged in scholastic dissertations. Instead, his words were spoken directly from his heart to the hearts of his listeners.

His large audience angered a priest of the Nichiren sect because the adherents had left to hear about Zen. The self-centered Nichiren priest came to the temple, determined to have a debate with Bankei.

"Hey, Zen teacher!" he called out. "Wait a minute. Whoever respects you will obey what you say, but a man like myself does not respect you. Can you make me obey you?"

"Come up beside me and I will show you," said Bankei.

Proudly the priest pushed his way through the crowd to the teacher.

Bankei smiled. "Come over to my left side."

The priest obeyed.

"No," said Bankei, "we may talk better if you are on the right side. Step over here."

The priest proudly stepped over to the right.

"You see," observed Bankei, "you are obeying me and I think you are a very gentle person. Now sit down and listen."

Understanding Those Crazy People Who Sell off all of Their Possessions and Go Live in a Cabin in the Woods Somewhere

So, recap:

1. Postman angry with Austin Rhodes.
2. Postman takes it out on my husband.
3. Postman's wife hosts a radio show.
4. On that radio show, reveals interior knowledge about our home, indicating that they've been inside.
5. Notify law enforcement.
6. Meet with Post Office.
7. Postman rings doorbell for a very long time.

Caught up? No? Go read the rest of my blog. Just scroll down. The rest of us will move along.

So, I found out that after my husband refused to come to the door, the postman began calling him at work. Scott is under orders not to speak to the postman and his wife, per his corporate president. The postman have pending litigation against the station, and the broadcasting company has every right to protect itself. So Scott wouldn't take his calls. Finally, postman called and left a message with a co-worker with a number that Scott did not recognize. So he called it back.

Postman apologized.

But for what? Was he apologizing for breaking and entering? Was he apologizing for snooping around our property? Was he apologizing for ringing our doorbell excessively? Was he apologizing for the threats? I don't know. So Scott told him to stay out of our house or face the consequences. And he said again that he was sorry.

It's not an admission of guilt. But it's disturbing, nonetheless.

And then, my editor printed this: It's a column that basically takes postman's wife to task for her violation of the journalists' code of ethics for allowing threats and belittlement on her broadcast radio show. It revealed none of the ongoing dispute with her husband.

Then, on the Austin Rhodes show, a caller said: "The Metro Spirit should be careful about what they print. They're right there on Broad Street, and it would be easy for someone to come and firebomb them."

Now, I'm not suggesting that ominous organ music should ring out after that comment. I'm just saying: WOW. STU. PID. No one is sure of the caller's identity. No one is certain of what the caller was intending to imply, if anything. But still. What's wrong with people? The Augusta Chronicle's offices have been on Broad Street for decades. They're right across the street. They're just as easy to target (please don't; then our media commentator would be out of a job). And what is a firebomb anyway? Is it like a molotov cocktail? I don't know these things! But wikipedia does. And the person who wrote this post better have a degree in military history, with an emphasis on tactical methods, otherwise they have serious mental problems.

So I met with the Post Office again today. And let me say first that two nicer, more amiable people cannot possibly exist on this planet. Really. I think if I were to hang out with them long enough, I might spy singing cartoon forest animals completely routine maintenance and cleaning on the building. And also? The lady there has about the most perfectly flattering makeup job I've ever seen.

And YET...
1. they did not tell me that they spoke with postman prior to our first meeting.
2. they did not tell me that they were planning to speak with postman after our first meeting. I had the impression that there would be a conference with a supervisor to begin with.
3. they absolutely did not follow-up with me afterwards, as we discussed.
4. they can't take him off the route because it's a union issue.

So we met again today to discuss the latest developments, and it seems that postman broke a line in the extensive Postman's Code, which may be the only thing they are able to act on. Apparently, they take "abuse of the doorbell" very seriously.

Whatever works.
If anything.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Feeling Libertarian

WAY TO GO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT! If he were Iraqi, they'd just drive a tank through his house.

Sorry: You'll have to click the photo to enlarge it enough to read it. But I'm certainly not happy with the postal service. Viva la Federal Express!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Scooby-doo, Where are you? The Great Underwear Caper

So, Scott and I were rolling through the now-infamous laundry situation. Man. There sure was a lot of it. Most of it was clean-ish. Like, I get freaked out if a piece of clothing drags on the ground too long, so, because Emmie's commandeered my brand-new robe that I got for Christmas (thanks, V! I love it! But I can't say no to Emmie), it's been washed more times than I've worn it. Actually, I'm sitting at the computer in a towel right now. (ahem... anyway...)

So, back to the laundry. Now I have an entire drawer of clean underwear. As I was picking through it, deciding what I wanted to wear this morning, I came across a pair of teal Hanes microfiber super-stretchy panties. "Honey?" I called, and held them up. "Whose underwear is this?" Scott looked at me, baffled. "Uh... They're not yours?" I chuckled. "No."

He stood there, for a moment, while I looked at them. Then I spotted another hint of teal in the drawer... and then another! THREE PAIRS of underwear that are most definitely NOT mine. They look like PTA mom underwear. Not that all of my underwear is super hot, but it's hotter than these.

"Whose underwear IS this?" I laughed.
"Seriously, you don't know?" Scott asked, brow furrowed.
"No. Any ideas?"
"huh-uh."

Meh. oh well. To Goodwill they shall go.

But later today, while I was getting Emmie dressed after our bath, Scott showed up in the doorway.
"You really don't know where that underwear came from?"
For a second, I thought: yeah, they came out of her dresser, goofus. But then I realized what he was talking about.
"Oh! No, honey, I have no idea. I've never seen them before."
"Yeah, because they're Hanes, and you don't wear those."
"And they weren't in my dresser drawer before yesterday, or I'd have noticed them before this morning."
"Austin and I were kind of laughing today because it was funny, you finding strange laundry and the comments that Michelle Vann made."
"Hey! I didn't even make the connection!"

Shut up, people! If I hadn't made the connection for you in the first paragraph, you might not have made the connection either. And, in fact, there may be no connection.

But, if anyone out there in blogland knows whose underwear this is, we would love to return them. They've been freshly washed.

Why Artists Are More Fun


Because dinner orders come with illustrations.

Probably Not Funny to Anyone Else...

















Hee. A lung ass. That's an idea that really blows.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Just Because You're Paranoid, Don't Mean... Well, it Might Mean That They're Not After You...

Previously in Blogland:

Stacey was freaking out because of crazy people making threats.

Then, one of the crazy people rang the doorbell! (gasp!)

Tonight, a man followed me around the Bi-Lo glaring at me the whole time. I think he was reaching for my purse in the seafood section, because I turned around and he made a sudden movement. That's when the glaring began. I smiled at him, all friendly-like, because... I mean, I didn't know if he was trying to jack my purse. He could have epilepsy. But he just kept glaring at me. So I walked off, thinking of Amy's bad luck at the North Augusta Wal-Mart and vowing not to be such a dumbass in the future.

But he followed me around the store, even though I changed direction a couple of times, putting something back that I saw and wanted but that we totally don't need.... like gefeltefish and turkey necks.

Okay, I'm just kidding. What we didn't need was six cans of diced tomatoes. But you know how when you're in the store you kind of put on people blinders and go on about your business as though no one else was there, unless you absolutely have to acknowledge their presence, like when their cart mangles your big toe? Right, well, this guy was all about engaging me, staring me right in the eye and pushing around a cart with just a couple of cans from the sale bin right at the front entrance. It was weird.

But I didn't really notice it at the beginning. I just thought, "Hey, there's that guy again. And there he is again! And... why is he still looking at me like that?" But after about a half hour of it, I started to get a little weirded out. Then, even though I stopped and talked to Madonna Smith for about 20 minutes, he left at the same time I did, without a cart or a grocery bag. And he left the parking lot right behind me and turned the same direction.

So I drove around in the little neighborhoods around the Hill area, just looking at rental property and kind of watching my rear view mirror. There was no one there. It added an extra half hour to a trip I already didn't want to make. But mostly it pissed me off. Either this dude was acting like a freak, or I'm turning into a freak. Could someone give me their objective opinion as to whether or not I'm losing my damn mind?

Induction Raises Questions About Hall of Fame.


AUGUSTA, GA. - According to WRDW News Channel 12, Georgia's Golf Hall of Fame inducted Spencer Sappington, George "Bucky" Henry and Jack Lumpkin into their members roster. The Georgia Golf Hall of Fame now has 78 members who've had major influences in the game of golf in the peach state. Henry has played in a couple of masters and is also part of the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame. Lumpkin is reguarded as one of the top golf teachers in the nation, while Sappington is a winner of over 125 events including the coveted Georgia Match Play. Each are thrilled to be included in the hall of fame.

I'll bet they are thrilled, seeing as how no one's ever heard of them. "Fame" my hind leg. More like Georgia Golf Hall of Semi-Proficient Players Who Are Friends With People in High Places. And by "high" places, I mean intoxicated.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

One of My Favorite Blogs

Not many people get the opportunity to coin a phrase that enters the ZEITGEIST (that was for you, Alice) and isn't something that takes advantage of some kind of lame celebrity. But getting "dooced" is now slang for being fired for blogging. Visit Dooce, a blog chronicling the rise and fall (and subsequent rise) of Heather Armstrong, an ex-Morman web designer turned stay at home mom — with a brief stint in a mental hospital thrown in for good measure. In 2002, the blog got her fired. Now it fully supports her family of three.

Wish mine did that. Click on my ads, people! Throw this dog a bone, already!

Just Because You're Paranoid, Don't Mean They're Not After You

So, an update on the previously discussed situation with Arnold and Michelle Vann:

The morning after their comments in the online chat room, which I would post but it would be super long, I made an appointment to speak with the customer relations coordinator and the manager of customer service at the 8th Street Post Office here in Augusta. I explained our suspicions, gave them a copy of the chat log along with the website address where the radio program could be found. They said they'd get back to me.

When I gave my boss a copy of the chat (my appointment was during work hours and he writes about the this couple more than they deserve), he was more concerned with the comments made by a man who goes by Brother X, who claims to be a member of the Black Panther Party. In his comments, he recommends firebombing Scott. He also makes a number of disturbing racial comments - oh, and he says he'll be in the area soon.

Well, that doesn't make me feel all shiny and happy.

So my boss recommended that I stop what I was working on and draft letters to the postmaster general, all congressional representatives (since the PMG is a political appointee), the website on which the this couple runs their radio show, and that site's web host. They are in violations of the site's terms of service, and of the host's terms of service. So I drop my bite feature and get to work on those letters, managing to contact the radio website at 12:18 p.m., e-mailing the letter and all documentation to them. They said they're reviewing it all.

At 2 p.m. that day, our doorbell rang. It was the postman, and contrary to popular belief, he does not ring twice. Scott didn't feel comfortable answering the door, so he ignored it, thinking that if there were a package to be delivered, we could just pick it up at the post office and avoid any face-to-face interaction. Instead, the postman rang the doorbell for a solid five minutes, Scott says, refusing to leave because he saw Scott's car in the driveway. It's kind of hard to miss, covered as it is in radio station stickers and antennae.

After he left, Scott went out on the porch to check the mail. A couple of bills and a party invitation. No sticky note notifying us of a package. So why was he ringing the doorbell? He's never, in the year he's been our postman, rung our doorbell.

(sigh) This is so stupid.
And yet, kind of frightening.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I Hate to Tell You This, But You've Contracted the Zazzle


Look at this cute shirt I found!And this one!

This site has more than 3 billion on-demand, one-of-a-kind retail products - customized T-shirts, mugs, calendars, even ties and stamps. But if 3 billion isn't enough, you could always just create your own.

It's all one-of-a-kind and user-generated. On the off chance you aren't completely in love with any of the designs, try rearranging the layout, adding some text or changing the picture — most products on Zazzle are editable. Or just design your own. It's that easy. Visit Zazzle

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I Don't Want to Sound Paranoid, Really... But...


Scott and I have recently come across some information that leads us to believe that Arnold Vann - husband of Michelle Vann, mother of the little boy made to scrub a toilet that his teacher believed he had urinated on (not in) - has been inside our apartment when we were not at home. His wife, in a public chat room, made comments about the interior of our apartment that were, unfortunately, accurate. Yes, we do a very poor job of putting away our clothes, and we do tend to let the laundry pile up until we can't find the dog anymore.

Oddly enough, shortly after the whole issue with Austin Rhodes calling (or perhaps not calling; no one records Austins shows for posterity, so I guess we'll never really know) Ms. Vann a "media whore" for putting the child in question on television about the incident, Mr. Vann suddenly (and, hopefully, coincidentally) replaced the mail carrier who had been our cheerful, chatty friend for two years. There hadn't been any change in delivery quality, so I stopped worrying about a year ago. But here I am at 2:15 a.m., pacing the floors and worrying (I realize that this time would be better used to do laundry), checking and rechecking the locks on our doors, and making a mental note to replace all of the deadbolts and doorhandles.

I don't understand how people can be this way, especially since the person with whom they're actually angry is Austin Rhodes, and not Scott Hudson. But I guess they can't get to Austin, and they've decided that Scott is "Austin's boy," his "lap dog," his "guard dog," and have accused the radio station of using Scott to do Austin's bidding to do them some kind of harm.

God, how I hate Scott's job.

Point being this: I'm filing a complaint with the postmaster and we're looking to move (again). If anyone knows of affordable, 2 BR rental property, please let me know. And if anything happens to anyone in our family that is even slightly out of the ordinary, I hope that you can draw reasonable conclusions as to whom to question.

Yes, I'm that rattled... and maybe that tired, too. But mostly I'm that angry. I'd like to blame them, in the way they're blaming Scott and taking pleasure in taunting him for no reason. "Sit, Austin's boy. Stay, Austin's boy. Good dog." It's verbally malicious, which gives me some indication as to how mentally malicious they really feel, considering that people rarely act out the full force of their anger. Something holds them back.

Hopefully, that something is the inherent goodness I hope to find in everyone. But, seeing as how they have intentionally drawn a lot of attention to themselves, and that they already have one son in the federal penitentiary, I imagine the only thing holding them back is getting caught.

Although I've hated it for every second it's been in this house, right now I'm taking some comfort in the firearm that Scott brought home. If it's not loaded, I wouldn't know how to load it. And even if I did, I'd probably never be able to find the safety.

But I could at least throw it at them. That always works in the movies, right?

I Love This Song

Wednesday, January 09, 2008 By 3 comments

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Sources Tell WGAC Nothing

Scott crawls into bed last night as I turn off the TV.
"Did you see the story on WRDW about Mike Guthrie?" I asked.
"No. What story?"
"Uh, the one about him being in jail?"
"What?"
Okay, Scott, let me remind you, is the investigative reporter for the highest rated radio station in the area. With less than one year on the job, he won an Associated Press award.
"About the fight on New Year's Eve?"
"What fight?"
I explain the situation to him. The owner of the bar beat down another guy pretty bad. Might have been provoked, according to one camp; might have been unprovoked, according to another. Doesn't matter, in my opinion. You don't break every bone in a guy's face, rendering him unable to talk or to eat solid foods, and not pay a price for it. As such, he's been charged with felony assault. Or battery. Anyway, it's a felony. And he was not to be found for a few days, which doesn't help his case.
"How did I not know about this?" Scott asks, honestly surprised.
"I dunno."
"I'd better call about it tomorrow."

This morning I called to check in with him about family stuff.
"I followed up on the Mike Guthrie story," he said, with that hint of excitement in his voice that he gets when a story is - with respect to the victims in this case - juicy. "He's in big trouble."
"Yeah, no shit, honey. You're just a few days late on this one."

Intrepid Reporter Scott Hudson... only a week late.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Hard of Hearing

I was picking up a cake at The Boll Weevil for Angel's last day, and a crowd of higher-ranking military men walked in for a meeting. You will know them by their haircuts. Anyway, I was leaving the restaurant, and had to squeeze past them all.
"Megahole!" their leader called as I walked past.
I almost dropped Angel's cake. How can he be so horrible?!
Then the mass of men split into two lines, clearing a path to the door.
Oh. He said, "Make a hole."

That's a little bit different.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Why Not? My Legs Are Cold...


Alice walks into the office in a new outfit. I almost fall out of my chair. Oh, no, she didn't.
"What?" she asks, as I scowl. I look pointedly at her legs.
"These are not leggings!"

Weeks ago, we were discussing the unbearable cuteness of Erin's being. She rocked the colored tights I used to wear in high school at the Metro's Best party. Well, not my old tights. Those are long gone. But today she was wearing some cute leggings under an equally cute skirt. "God, I love leggings," Amy said. "Me, too," I laugh. "Why did they ever go out of style?" "Erin can wear anything," Alice said.

"They are too, leggings!" I insist to Alice, the fashion criminal. They're black, skintight, and they hit her just above the ankle. She's sporting a pair of ballet flats with them.
"No, they're not. They're footless tights."
I look to Amy for help. She's on the phone.
"They look like leggings to me," I say, doubtfully.
"Well, the package said they're footless tights. They're not pants," she insists.
"Pants? Leggings aren't pants."
"Yeahuhuh!"

My high school said that leggings weren't pants. They sent me home one day for wearing a dress that was too short, one inch above my knee, over a pair of leggings. They said it was too distracting. The dress also had long sleeves and a mock turtleneck, but that didn't matter to them. To the administration of Rockdale County High School, I was a walking sex machine. Well, obviously.

"No, they're not pants," I say. "That's why you put them with long shirts or dresses or skirts."
"Well, these still aren't leggings."
"What are y'all talking about?" Amy says, done with her phone call. How anyone can hear a damn call in this office is beyond me anyway. We practically sit in each others' laps.
"Alice is wearing leggings!" I crow.
Amy comes over to look.
"They look cute!"
Cute is not the point, you traitor.

"I don't think I could pull off leggings," I said. "Why not?" Amy asked. "Because! It's not 1987 anymore!" Alice laughed: "Well, they say that if you wore something trendy the first time around, that you shouldn't wear it again." "Yeah..." Amy sighed. We watch Erin with a loving urge to slap her. She's in her early twenties. We're all closer to 40. Some of us closer than others... I don't know who thought it was a great idea to implement a chilly, inexplicable gap between mid-calf and ankle. But it was a stroke of garmeting genius, as far as I'm concerned.

"They are cute. Alice could wear a Walmart bag and look great. But that is not the point. We made a pact."
Alice and Amy laugh - hard.
"I'm serious! How are we supposed to demand reasonable clothes if they keep recycling old trends and not letting us wear them?"

"I guess we shouldn't buy any," I moan. "I want some," Alice said. "Me, too," Amy said. "Me, too." (sigh) "They look cute with flats." I offer. "They did 20 years ago, too," Alice jabs. Ouch. "So, no leggings." "No leggings." "No." (sigh)

"I think they look cute," Amy says.
"Well of course they look cute. They're on Alice," I acquiesce. "But they're still leggings."
"Hey, it's not like I wore them with a miniskirt," Alice reasons. "Or ankle boots."
I nod. "Well, at least now I can buy some."
That makes them laugh harder.
So I soothe myself by imagining that Alice was wearing a giant T-shirt that said "WHAM" over her leg-coverings-of-indeterminate-definition... with stirrups on them.
But even in the nightmare outfit in my head, she still looks good.

Huh?

"Loot, mama! Ders tree, and tree, and tree, and... tree... and... lotta trees, mama!"
"That's right, trees! Son arboles!"
(gasp of delight)"Ders owls innt?"

Not quite.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Pay the Writers!

Thursday, January 03, 2008 By 1 comment

I don't much care for reality television, and now, because of the writers' strike, I'm frickin' drowning in it. Celebrity Apprentice? Who are half these people? The other half are rich as crap, why are they doing this? And, most of all: Ooooooomarosaaaaaa! Gah! That people like her even exist just chaps my hide.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

MC Hammer's next act: Tech entrepreneur

Anyone who's read this site knows that I lurves me some MC Hammer. (See here and here) I don't know why. I think it's because it's too legit to quit.

Whatever the reason, it's Hammer Time once again.

Although he hasn't had a hit in more than 10 years, the former rap star is busting a move to a new career: co-founder and CSO of DanceJam.com.

The Web site, scheduled to debut in mid-January, will try to upstage YouTube and become the Internet's hub for sharing and watching dance videos. DanceJam then hopes to make money by grabbing a piece of the rapidly growing Internet advertising market, which is expected to rake in $27.5 billion in 2008, according to eMarketer.

If the business pans out, DanceJam could help Hammer compensate for losing his fortune when he went bankrupt in 1996 with nearly $14 million in debts.

The bankruptcy was a sobering comedown for Hammer, who parlayed the popularity of his once-ubiquitous song, "U Can't Touch This," to become a pop icon in the early 1990s. Besides becoming a fixture on MTV, Hammer appeared on kids' lunch boxes and even had his own action figure.

Hammer's entrepreneurial roots date back to the 1980s when he began recording songs with financial help from a few Oakland Athletics, where he once worked as a ball boy. His nickname came from his resemblance to the former home run king, Hammerin' Hank Aaron.

Without the support of a major music label, Hammer built a loyal fan base by hitting the streets and selling his early recordings out of a car.

His success in grass roots marketing prompted Salesforce.com Inc. to call on Hammer for advice in its early days. The company wanted to raise awareness about its online software service without paying a lot for traditional advertising, said Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com's chief executive officer.

"We really learned a lot from Hammer. He is the most entrepreneurial individual I have ever met," said Benioff, whose San Francisco-based company is now worth $7 billion.

Hammer and his DanceJam partners — Geoffrey Arone, the chief executive, and Anthony Young, the chief technology officer — are wading into a market already saturated with dozens of Web sites that have built huge video libraries.

Arone became convinced the Web needed a site devoted exclusively to dance shortly after he left Web browsing startup Flock, which he had co-founded. Hammer had been feeling the same way about dance for years so they quickly hit it off when they first met and hammered out the concept for DanceJam.

Drawing upon the popularity of reality shows like "Dancing With The Stars," DanceJam will stage head-to-head competitions where contestants submit videos that will be judged by viewers. The site also will provide demonstrations and information about a wide variety of dances, ranging from the Boogaloo to the Krump. They say they have stockpiled about 100 gigabytes of video to help launch DanceJam.

The most watched video in YouTube's 2 1/2-year history happens to be about dancing. The 6-minute clip, a facetious tribute called "Evolution of Dance," includes about 25 seconds alluding to some of the moves that Hammer made famous back when he was still wearing colorful parachute pants as he sang "U Can't Touch This."



Hammer recognized YouTube's potential before most people he did. Besides putting some of his own clips on the site, Hammer visited YouTube's offices in February 2006 when there were still just a handful of people running the site above a pizza parlor. (A clip of that visit is at http://www.youtube.com/blog?month2&year2006.)

Free Books!

AUGUSTA, GA. - Project Gutenberg is the first and largest single collection of free electronic books, online or offline. From novels and poetry to cookbooks and reference to magazines and newspapers, Gutenberg.org boasts quite the scope of work. Looking for something specific? Search the catalog by title or author, then download the e-book in plain text English (looking for a different language? Gutenberg's got those, too). Some downloads are also available as audio books or "plucker" files for your Palm or smart phone. You can also download comprehensive CD and DVD collections of Gutenberg.org's most popular works. The August 2003 CD contains 600 of their most downloaded e-books, while the July 2006 DVD collects over 17,000 books from their first 19,000 titles. That's some pretty heavy reading.

Started in 1971 on a single computer at the University of Illinois, its site has grown to include over 20,000 free titles for download, with over 100,000 available through its partners and affiliates. Biggest Digital Library Ever.


Frogpond Badge

New Year's Diet Resolution

AUGUSTA, GA. - Thanks, Dad, for this gem:

I was in Walmart buying a large bag of Purina for my dog and was in line to check out. A woman behind me asked me if I had a dog... (DUHHHH)

I was feeling a bit crabby so, on impulse, I told her, "NO," and that I was starting The Purina Diet again, although I probably shouldn't because I ended up in the hospital the last time. BUT, I told her, I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care unit with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.

Her eyes about bugged out of her head.

I went on and on with the bogus diet story and she was totally buying it.

I told her that it was an easy, inexpensive diet and that the way it works is to load your pockets or purse with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The package said the food is nutritionally complete so I was going to try it again.

I have to mention here that practically everyone in the line was by now enthralled with my story, particularly a tall guy behind her.

Horrified, she asked if something in the dog food had poisoned me and was that why I ended up in the hospital. I said, "Oh, NO .. I was sitting in the middle of the street licking my butt when a car hit me."

I thought the tall guy in back of the line was going to have to be carried out on a stretcher!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Get paid to...

AUGUSTA, GA. - So, you wanna get free stuff? Try products for market research companies? Perhaps earn some extra money? Then ignore all those scammers who send you "Take surveys and make $400 a day!" e-mails. They're lying to you, or they're involved in some kind of pyramid scheme.

Below, I will list reputable companies for whom I participate in market research and product testing on the side. Let's get real: It's certainly not a second income. Most of these companies deal in "points" that you earn from each survey, that you can then convert to cash, gift cards, or merchandise.

Some do offer paid surveys each time to take one, and others offer "chances to win" but send out enough big-money paid surveys to make the little sweepstakes-entry ones worth it. I've made as little as 50 cents for a survey, and as much as $100 for a survey. But I've also redeemed my points for hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise, checks and gift cards this year alone. All total, I might have "made" an extra grand this year doing this. But you never know. I might actually WIN one of those sweepstakes entries and bust out of here with a fat $25,000.

In the meantime, I'll share the info with you. There are tricks to maximizing your membership. For example, if they're offering money or points for a study, never admit that you work in marketing or journalism. They won't want to talk to you. But if they're not offering money or points, but they are offering sweepstakes or prize entries, you're ALWAYS a market researcher. Because that still gets you your entry, but you don't have to go through the entire survey.

Pay attention to what they're asking. If they ask if you take your coffee with sugar, cream, sweetener, flavoring, black or with any combination or all of the above, NEVER choose black. No one ever polls people who drink their coffee black. They want to know how you like the additives they're selling.

Most of these require the invitation of an existing panel member. So leave me your info in the comments section, and I'll send you an invitation to the ones in which you're interested.


I haven't used Global TestMarket for long, so I don't have a lot of knowledge. I know that you build points and redeem them for cash, but I don't have enough poiints to do that. You need at least 1,000, and I seem to be accruing points very slowly on this interface.

Deals n Cash offers you .02 cents for every ad you click. Yeah, it's not a lot. But the point is to be patient and let it build up over time. I don't know what my account balance is right now. Probably about 8 cents.


Inbox Dollars offers you a $5 membership boost, and then .05 cents for every ad you click or survey you take. Yes, again, it's not a lot. But it takes only seconds, and the point, again, is to be patient and let it build over time. I have about $18.00 right now. Whaever. That's $18 I didn't have before.

Zoom Panel offers between 30-500 points for taking their polls. The prize folios begin at 800 points, and go to 10,000. I just cashed in for a 10,000 prize, a Big Green Egg smoker/griller. It was totally free, and they don't even charge shipping. Of course, it took me about a year to get to that lebel. But luckily, we didn't have any smoking or grilling emergencies during the wait.

Polling Point offers 500 points for each survey you take. I only have about 8,000 points, and prize redemption begins at 10,000, so I don't have much feedback for you. I can tell you that until you get to a stupid-high level, the prizes SUCK. They're Polling Point T-shirts and tote bags. But then you get into web cams, iPod shuffles, cash and savings bonds. I'll keep accruing points until I get to the level I want.


Harris Poll is generous with points (75-800 points each survey), and has an easy redemption policy for the goods they offer on their site. They have an 800 point level beginning redemption level, and that's worth about a DVD or book or some other little item that costs about $20. But the larger levels get nicer and nicer. But Harris Poll doesn't send surveys nearly as often as Zoom Panel.


Survey Spot is a pain and a pleasure all at once. It sends you a crapload of surveys, so you have a lot of opportunities to make money. But most of their surveys do not offer money. They offer between 5 and 100 sweepstakes entries. However, they do offer between $3 and $100 for each paid survey, and I've probably cashed out about $200 this year. It does take 6-8 weeks to get your money, so plan ahead. But, again, never any problems.
Lightspeed offers frequent surveys for points. I use this one to get gift certificates to online retailers like Amazon.com and Target.com that I use often, and cover any shipping costs that I might incur. You're not going to make money off this one, and you're going to have to wait about 2 years to get to a level that is decent enough to cash in for something great. Again, with all of these, patience is key. But this one tries my patience more than others.


Survey Savvy pays for each survey, between $1 and $3. They send 1-2 surveys a week. Do the math. But it's still helpful and I've cashed in about $100 this year, one $75 and one $15. I only cashed in the $15 because I got impatient.





Here's one to stay away from: Vindale. They make you pay for services, and then reimburse you. You're not getting paid crap.You should never have to put out to get some respect, if you know what I mean... okay, I'll explain. They want you to sign up and pay for something, and then they claim to reimburse you. That got me $200 in CHARGES from stamps.com. (I finally figured out what happened, after about 2 weeks).

Here's one that I haven't fully tested yet: Opinion Outpost. But at least it hasn't cost me any money. Supposedly you accrue $1 for every 10 points. Or 100 points. I'm not sure. But we'll see.

And here's one that takes a lot more work: It's a word-of-mouth marketing site that sends products to its "agents" to use and them talk about. Sometimes you get a box of snack foods, or a book, or a gift certificate to use. Once I got a free stay at a Holiday Inn Express ($59 value), and I've also gotten a Sonicare toothbrush ($89 value) and a Sonicare UV sanitizer ($79 value). You have to earn your way, but it's not like digging ditches or busting rocks in a quarry. It's running your mouth, something I do well.

Again, if you want to join this, leave me a comment and I'll send you an invite. Yeah, I want the referral points or cash, so I'm not giving you the website addresses. Sue me. I promise to drop the referral e-mail ASAP. And for everyone who does actually ask me to send a referral e-mail instead of finding the company site on your own, I'll send you TWO companies that I withheld. One pays you cash for every survey, and it's been extremely reliable. One is only good for magazine subscriptions, but your points accrue quickly and fairly, and you can give them as gifts. In four months, I've cashed in for six different subscriptions.

Happy earning!