Friday, February 25, 2005

Jury Selected

The jury selection for the Michael Jackson trial interests me as I recently re-read John Grisham's The Runaway Jury. I love how Grisham puts us in the jury room and shows, really, how juries can be controlled and manipulated. My other favorite to read is the play Twelve Angry Jurors. I was selected for jury duty once but excused. Being excused was understandable, but quite dissappointing. I wanted to serve, just to see how it all works. Can you imagine what it would be like to be on the jury for this trial? Or the author dreaming-up the various dramatic bits that may or may not happen?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Happy Un-Birthday to Me...

Some birthdays are good. Others are great. My husband really came through this year and made it a great birthday. He spent the last several weeks searching for a walkman -- the tape playing kind. It seems that these are a rare and unique find in the world today. I want one though, as mine has taken a dump. I like to listen to audio books when I exercise; it keeps me motivated. (No, I can't be done yet, the killer is right around the corner. Another ten minutes on the treadmill and I'll stop.) Not being able to find one, he decided to get me an MP3 player. Not being a gadget guy, he decided to let me pick it out myself. Before I do, though, I want to see if I can find audiobooks in MP3 format, cos that would just kick ass. He also scored big points by getting me a four-pack of Starbucks Doubleshot Espresso & Cream. I love the stuff, but seldom get it. A) It's highly addictive and makes me run around like a chicken missing its head. B) It is some what spendy compared to other forms of caffiene. C) I just don't think about grabbing any. But I like it much and it made the perfect self-indulgent birthday gift. The other big point scorer was the purchase of a video game. He says it's cheesy, but I disagree. I'm a Harry Potter fan(atic). He's anti-video game. He got a copy of Quidditch World Cup for the PC. The significance of this gift is more than I can express. You'd have to know my husband to understand. The cards that accompanied the gift were wonderful as well. He really planned for this gift and I appreciate it. Major brownie points earned.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Need a Suit?

Collision detection reports that the tailor for the royal family has his own blog about making his career as a suit maker. English Cut is witty and funny in a way only a Brit could be. I never realized the work that goes into a suit that really justifies the price he charges. Next time I have a suit made, I'll have to read the site to make me seem smart. Good thing I don't have suits made.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

A Store that I wish were closer

Whimsic Alley is the ultimate Harry Potter store. They are giving Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince away to its customers. I'm seriously thinking about planning my next vacation to be near this unique shop. Their website is pretty good at giving the visitor a flavor for what they are trying to accomplish. I really like the how the store is set-up to be like Diagon Alley. Next time I need a "Potter fix" I'll head over their way.

Monday, February 21, 2005

My First Phishing Scam

On Friday, when I returned home after a hard day of work and checked my email, I received notice that my Union Planter's debit card account may have been compromised. Gee...this sounds familiar, but I don't have a Union Planter's debit card. Oh wait, I know why it sound familiar; it's the exact sort of phishing scam that everyone warns you about. I had never received spam like this before and found it amusing. It was quite through, looked like it was legitimate, except that I don't have a card from them. A quick Google search located that Union Planter is a real bank, but also being subject to the phish scam. The real Union Planters site has a link to a warning and what to do if you have received a phishing email. I also received an email confirming their receipt of my email and a "what to do" if personal information had been given. After having received, looked at, reviewed this particular phishing scam, I find it believable that someone might fall for it. But with all of the warnings, people should be smart enough to know that banks never ask for this sort of thing via email. It was a good chuckle for the end of the day.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Blogging At Work

No, I'm not, but this is an article about some people who were, what they did wrong and why I don't. Bloggers who were interviewed and fired include Rachel Mosteller, Heather B. Armstrong (of, Ellen Simonetti (the Delta Airline Pilot) and others. It is happening around the country. Companies need to wake-up and get policies in place.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

This is the song that never ends...

Since not all songs are quite so memorable, Lyrics Freaks has the words that ellude the singer. Or in the case of "One Week" by Bare Naked Ladies, the words are just too fast to remember them all. My brain is slow.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Mommy Madness

Mommy Madness pretty much sums up the lives that most women with kids follows. As I read, I kept going "Yep, been there," "Yep, I can see that" and "Yep, that happened yesterday." I can only hope that awareness of this sort can only help. But I fear that the response will be "I'm too busy."

Defending Vogue's Evil Genius:

Subtitled: The brilliance of Anna Wintour I read The Devil Wears Prada as a book group read in November 2003. I laughed; I cried; I was happy I no longer worked for the people that Miranda Priestly most resembled. In preparation for the book group, I did some online research and found out that the author of The Devil Wears Prada worked for Anna Wintour. The gossip about Lauren Weisberger and Anna Wintour was too good to pass up. Time passes and I catch this headling on Slate: Defending Vogue's Evil Genius. I have to read it. But [Anna] Wintour didn't get where she is without talent; she is incredibly smart about fashion. During her tenure, Vogue has been enormously successful: The September issue, which ran to 832 pages, was the largest issue of a monthly magazine ever to be published. And so it's worth getting beyond the caricature to examine Wintour's work at Vogue, without which there would be no speculation about the "real" Anna Wintour. Not a single mention of Lauren and her book, yet the inuendo is there. If Ms Wintour is half as bad as portrayed in The Devil Wears Prada she needs to be defending herself. I've had bad bosses before, but never anything like this one.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Happy Valentine's Day...

...a day late. My significant other and I celebrated by exchanging gifts that were difficult to find. My birthday is in February; it's close to Christmas; we both own lots of junk. But he did a good job and I really like the candles he picked out. The great part is since he picked them out, I can use them when he is home. Normally I pick out ones that he is really allergic to and I never get to burn them. And he got me a bar set. Now when I'm mixing my white russian, I'll know what the measurements are. I did the "Movie Night" theme bag for him. I picked up Pirates of the Caribbean on DVD, a box of movie theater (extra buttery) popcorn, a couple of sodas and a six pack of his favorite candy bar. He was most appreciative as well. It becomes increasingly more difficult to buy gifts. Even when I get a gift card, I have a difficult time spending it. I usually end up getting stuff for the kids or the house and justify my frivolous purchase at a later date by saying that I used my gift card for diapers and toilet bowl cleaner. Hopefully the day meant loved ones and spending time together. That was the best part - watching a movie that we both like and sharing a tub of buttery popcorn.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Avi in Oshkosh

Children's writer Avi will be at the Oshkosh Public Library on Wednesday, April 13, 2005, at 7 pm. I've read two of his books -- True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and Bright Shadow. I remember Charlotte Doyle, but not much of Bright Shadow. I like his writings and look forward to a chance to hear what he has to say. I'm going to look to see if he has written any picture books. Maybe the older child will want to go too.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Good things happen to those who wait

Did you ever have one of those days where nothing in your closet seems right? I'm hopeless at clothes, so most of what I own pairs with black, which means I wear alot of red and white. Today though, I was tired of the same color combination, as is everyone else in my office. So I pulled out a pair of cream slacks that are reserved only for skinny days. Lo and behold, they fit. Usually my stuff shirks in the closet. Maybe that gym membership is starting to pay off.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

New Shoes

I'm not much of a shopper. I like to save my money and hate crowds. Plus, finding out that your pant size went up, even though your scale says you're down, is not labeled as "a good time" in my directory. But this weekend I hit TJMaxx in Appleton, one of two places I do like to look for clothes. If you're not familiar with TJMaxx, they buy stuff from other stores and sell it for cheaper. The catch is you never really know what will be there or what season it will be from. The other place I like is Kohl's. Sorry to leave you hanging there. TJMaxx is great for Christmas gifts. I usually find stuff that people will like that appeals to my frugal mind. This weekend's adventure occurred only because of another person in my party. (It's too soon to start shopping for Christmas, even for me.) While there, I found a pair of shoes that are fabulous. They work with dress pants, skirts or jeans (maybe jeans.) They were marked down to $11 from $75 (obviously a fashion from a previous season.) They fit as well as shoes ever do (My feet are too big for an 8 but too small for an 8 1/2. Go figure.) Today I wore them for the first time, outside of trying them on in the store. Did I mention that they have a 2 1/4 inch heel? Now I understand why I walk faster than almost every woman I know. Most of them wear shoes like this on a daily basis. Every step I take is about half of the size I normally would take. How in the *uck are you supposed to walk in these things and get to any place on time? They may end up in the back of my closet. I expect that they'll look rather sharp there.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

My Kids Drink...

Or at least they try to. The other night, I was having an adult beverage of choice (Mike's Hard Lemonade) when my littlest one sees that Momma is drinking something from a really cool bottle. He picks his way across the room, chanting "Bottle. Bottle." Which, by the way, is his form of saying, "I'm thirsty, dammit, give some to me too." "No, honey, this is mine. Not for you." He turns his big blue eyes to me and says, "Share." Hard to argue with that logic since it is the biggest lesson that we are teaching right now. My husband had the IDEA that saved us; by rinsing out a previously empty bottle and adding some fruit juice, the littlest one left my beverage alone as he was no longer deprived of a cool bottle to drink his own beverage out of.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Textbooks are a Rip-Off

This study only confirms what anyone who has attended college recently already knows. Check out my thoughts on it at J-Walk's blog.

WisCon, the world's only feminist science fiction convention

Come hell or high water, I'm going I'm going. Along with a few of my companions from the Oshkosh Area Writer's group. The Writer's workshop is the piece I'm foaming at the mouth over. It's an opportunity to sit with a person in the field of sci-fi/fantasy along with a few other amateurs. Being women, they are even family friendly. They provide child care. I think that the baby would like that. (also added as a link in the Writer's Toolbox.)

Monday, February 07, 2005

Psion Series 5 - Handheld Computer

I have several hypothesis, but no solid facts, as to why the Psion Series stopped being produced. Most of those hypothesis start in Redmond, Washington. I heard about the Psion from one of the forums at NaNo. I did some online research and decided that this was the next on my "must have" list. I decided to go with the series 5 based on the reviews I read and its availability on Ebay. After I won the auction and paid for my Psion, I waited anxiously for its arrival. I'm super impressed with its performance. The reviews I read were accurate. Even though it was made available in 1997, I was able to download the transferring software from the Psion website, making the back-up process complete. It's capabilities include "Word", "Spreadsheet", "Data", "Agenda" among other things. It has an eery resemblance to Microsoft, making it extremely user-friendly. Backing-up files to the hard drive of my desktop system was painless as well, once I had the correct program. Every file that I create on the Psion can be converted to be used on the desktop and back again. It works like a PDA with a stylus and non-existant boot-time, but functions like a desk-top system. I found a few FAQ sites, even though the Psion is out of production. Eric Lindsay's site is the most comprehensive and full of tips and tricks. File Save As has one as well. The common denominator for both is that they are outside of the US. The Psion, it seems, never really caught in the States. The keyboard is tiny and somewhat difficult to type on. I'm getting better at it though, the more I use it. NaNo 2005 is really going to rock on this little machine.

Friday, February 04, 2005

An Alternative to Word

During NaNo I heard people talking about using Rough Draft to write their novels on. Now that I have so much time on my hands, I downloaded it and played around with it. It's a decent word processor and I'm sure I missed many of its useful features. I could really see my mom using it. She is chronicling family history; Rough Draft would better suit her hodge podge writing style than MS Word is. For myself, I don't believe I would ever use it. One, I just got a Psion Series 5 from ebay. It is a seriously fun PDA that I wish I had known about when they were first released. The Psion deserves its own separate posting, which I'll have tomorrow. Two, I spent some time as a desktop publisher using Word. As a result I know more about styles and formatting techniques than anyone really wants to know. But it means that I have Word totally pimped out on my PC and would have to spend serious time to create the same effect with Rough Draft. Finally, I don't think like Rough Draft is set-up to be thought with. In other words, the note taking feature, the multiple files if page or chapter breaks are required. My brain is hard wired to think like I store my files. At my old age I don't know if I would be able to switch. But, if you like the idea of having an electronic notepad to store with your story, and tend to write your story in piece rather than sequentially, Rough Draft might just be for you. If Microsoft drives you crazy, Rough Draft might just be for you as well. It does somethings better, like printing multiple files with one click.

Thursday, February 03, 2005


...Always did me in. Check out Clive's theories on "upskirting," "porn" and "free." The Theory Results coming soon.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Status 30

Sean Bonner of seanbonnerdotcom is turning 30 in another month. His thoughts about this are recorded at his blog under the project title Status 30. As an avid fan of the Link/Zelda games myself and approaching that same milestone, I understand, relate to and appreciate his thoughts on the matter. I'm glad to find out that it isn't just me.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Bookworm Report, January 2005

I live in Wisconsin. You'd think that people would know that it gets cold during the winter, yet I hear, again and again, "I can't believe how cold it is." Get a life. Go skiing or something. Wimps. For the month of January, I read 2,714 pages or 8 books. In 2001, I read 8,006 pages/25 books; 2002, 3,995 pages/12 books; 2003, 887 pages/2 books; 2004, 1,654/5 books. The Time-Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger Strange Bedpersons by Jennifer Crusie Maerilon the Magican by Patricia C. Wrede Catering to Nobody by Diane Mott Davidson No Plot, No Problem by Chris Baty Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine The Beauty Bride by Claire Delacroix If the Shoe Fits by Jennifer Weiner For the year, I've read 8 books, or 2,714 pages, which averages to 8 books a month, or 2,714 pages per month, and an average book length of 339 pages. Someone asked me how I manage to read so much with work, kids, my blog, my other writing and the general craziness that consumes everyone's life. Here's my secret: I read really fast. No, it's true. I read about 100 pages an hour for the types of books I read. When I was in school it was quite a bit less for my text books -- maybe 30-50, depending on subject. If you think about it, I spent 27 hours reading in January. Or 60 minutes a day. I bet you watched more television than that this month. I really need to get a life and stop playing with my Excel-powered book list.