Tuesday, December 30, 2008

woop woop woop geek alert woop woop woop

"Good sense is, of all things among men, the most equally distributed; for everyone thinks himself so abundantly provided with it, that those even who are the most difficult to satisfy in everything else, do not usually desire a larger measure of this quality than they already possess." Rene Descartes, from Discourse On The Method, published 1637.

Peeps, if you're luck enough to have an iPhone, you need to download Stanza. It's a free app, and you pay for the ebooks you download. (It's similar to the Amazon Kindle, but it's missing a few features like a built-in dictionary.) Since most of the geek stuff I read is old and in the public domain, it's free. Yay Nerd Lit!

With Stanza, you get access to a huge catalog. Once you've downloaded your books, you can flip through the covers like you can flip through cd covers on iTunes. The downloads seem to be really fast. I downloaded both the Stanza app and Northanger Abbey while riding the bus down Hillsborough Street. (I had to restrain myself from the "YES!" and fist pumping outburst when I finished that download.) In fact, I've been downloading stuff as I've been typing. I've downloaded more that I could carry out of the used bookstore.

I am thrilled to see I can download books in other languages as well. To find books, I can search by author, subject, or even by book lists. I just found a list called "Banned Books" that begins with Sons and Lovers. If you're so inclined, you can even download magazines and newspapers.

Y'all remember I was a lit major, right?

I can't describe to you how impressed I am with this application. In the span of 30 minutes, I've been able to download 16 books. Tomorrow morning on my way to work, I will be able to choose from a number of fantastic books. I will never be bored again! Oh and next time I run into Dancing Queen and her sycophant friend, I can bust out the Stanza and go, "No, really. It's Kafka. See? Here it is!"

Because I know y'all are on the edge of your seats waiting to hear what I downloaded....

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Vanity Fair by Thackery

Discourse On The Method by Descartes (seriously? I get to read this on my iPhone? sweet!)

The Time Machine by HG Wells (they start you with that one

Les Trois Mousquetaires by Dumas (my favorite writer, and this one is in French!)

On The Duty Of Civil Disobedience by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Portrait Of A Lady by Henry James

Washington Square by Henry James

Candide by Voltaire

A Room With A View by EM Forester

Dead Souls by Gogol

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas (I said he was my favorite. and I lost my copy)

The Divine Comedy by Dante (no, really, I did.)

sound of crickets chirping
Guys? Anyone still there? Hey! Where'd ya go?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Rear Window, or Mutual of Omaha Presents: Bigman Photo Safari!

As I've reported previously, Bigman will do things like violently rock back and forth in his seat, use his finger to add up invisible numbers on an invisible chalkboard, and conduct the symphony of voices in his head. A couple weeks ago, I was brazen enough to photograph this for you. "Why," you ask? "Why not," says I! That, and I love you. Consider this your belated Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa gift from me, lovies.

Here he is rocking back and forth. He was moving so quickly, it was hard to photograph.

Here he is conducting to his Walkman.

Bigman balances his checkbook?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Feliz navidad!

Guess who's coming to dinner?

Ladies and gentleman, I am happy to tell you that I got a call this morning at 9:20 AM that my application to adopt Cupid was approved! Woo hoo! They had received three or four other applications to adopt him, and they liked mine the best. They need to talk to my landlord first to finalize it, but then he's all mine.

I found out that he's actually only somewhere around three months old. Maybe 14 weeks or so. Oh, and I also found out he's actually a long haired cat! I didn't realize that, not that it matters. So, to recap...my two qualifications were a cat that wasn't a kitten and that didn't look like Truman. Ah well, what are you going to do?

My mom and I stopped by Petco this afternoon, where she bought Little What's His Name two cute little bowls and a few toys.

Now I need names, people, names. Keep thinking and suggesting names.

Here's where we are:
Groove Holmes
Phil Collins
Barry Manalow
Barry Gibb
Chet Baker (I just thought of that one)
Hairy Truman (Har har. Thanks, Dad.)

He's from Harnett County. Those of you not from North Carolina, think Deliverance. I would welcome redneck names too.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I took a big bag of chocolate chip cookies to the TTA staff yesterday morning. At the end of baking them, I had enough for two big cookies. I took one for lunch, and naturally gave my girl Amy the hook up to. She was walking towards me while I was giving them to the TTA guy, so I said, "and I have one for Amy too. Would you like a chocolate chip cookie, Amy?" She said yes, pulled it out of the waxed paper baggie and shoved the baggie back at me. She started eating it as she was getting on the waiting room bus. This morning as I got on the bus she asked me, "Did you give me cookies yesterday?" I said yes and asked her if she liked it. She said she did and thanked me. She then asked me if I had any more cookies. I told her I did not. I told her I gave them to the bus drivers. She was bummed.

Hey, Baby. Come here often?

I had to stop by the airport outlet mall again tonight. Naturally, I stopped by AniMall to check out the kitties. A new group, 2 Paws Up, had their cats there. In a very large cage, sat Baby and Cupid.

Blog readers, meet Baby. Baby, my blog readers.

And I'd like to introduce you to Cupid. Cupid, this is everyone.

They were in a giant condo together. So I climbed in and started playing. I am a little indignant that no one asked if I was up for adoption. (I'm clean, housebroken and friendly. What gives?) I'd estimate Baby to be about a year old. When I went to pet Cupid, Baby stuck his arm out of the cage to grab mine. He was really playful. He stuck me as more of a spazz than Cupid. Cupid seemed a little sleepy when I got there. He also seemed a little uncoordinated. Once he got up, I realized he is probably 6 months old at the most. The guy working at AniMall said he'd had a long day. When I climbed in the cat condo and started playing, he perked right up and joined in. What really got me is that Cupid likes to be held, which is unusual for a young boy cat. When I picked him up a couple times, he just sat there in that snuggly way. It was nice. Once he was awake, he was walking around meowing, looking to play and get attention. What's funny is that Cupid is tiny. Truman was huge. He was only about 14 pounds at his largest, but he was really long. Long legs, long body, long tail.

The irony is that one qualification I had in a new cat was that it wasn't anything like Truman. Have you seen Truman?

Yes, he's wearing a candy necklace. It was his idea. I swear. Anyway, so much for the "nothing like my former cat" thing, right? What are you gonna do?


I filled out an application to adopt Cupid. I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, any name suggestions? I'm stumped. So far, we have Steve McQueen.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Music feeds the soul.

A very dear friend of mine is an outrageously talented musician. He's added new music to his My Space page. You should check it out.

Ben Jordan and the Heathens

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Kennywood's open!*

As I was coming home from North Hills this afternoon, I noticed the young man sitting across from me. He was young, maybe early 20s, short brown hair. He had a Five Guys hat and red t-shirt. There was nothing terribly remarkable about him, except for the giant hole in his jeans below the zipper. I could tell he was wearing olive green and white boxers. He either didn't notice or didn't care. I suspect it was a bit of both. He was going through the bus schedules. I think he took one of each.

*To those of you not from Pittsburgh, Kennywood is a small theme park in the city. The mascot is Kenny Kangaroo. School districts will close for a "picnic day" at Kennywood each spring. Everyone from the school district goes. They have wooden roller coasters. It's a really cool park. The phrase "Kennywood's open" has nothing to do with the park. Uttering that phrase to anyone who grew up within an hour or two drive of Pittsburgh will cause them to immediately examine the zipper on their pants. No joke. My brother was in a class with a 58 year young guy from the Pittsburgh side of West Virginia. This guy apparently came to class one day with his fly down. My brother said to him, "Kennywood's open." This guy immediately turned around, zipped him pants and no one was any the wiser. True story, people.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Funny, they didn't mention this on Tuesday.

Here's a depressing article on the rapid demise of my company.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

This morning, a woman was sitting in front of Amy Number One. Because she was talking to another lady across from her, she was sitting sideways. She was holding a white plastic grocery bag and a candy cane. Amy stuck up a rather shameless, yet hilarious conversation with her.

Amy: What do you have in the bag?

Miss Nona: Presents for people

Amy: Do you have any more candy canes?

Miss Nona: Yes.

Amy: Can I have a candy cane?

Miss Nona: Yes, you can. hands Amy candy cane

Amy: Can you get it started for me?

Miss Nona: laughing Yes. peels plastic off candy cane and hands it back to her
Amy: What's your name?

Miss Nona: Miss Nona

Amy: Miss Nona. Thank you. breaks candy and puts half of it in her mouth

Amy: Do you have any more presents in there?

Miss Nona: Yes, but they really are for other people.

Amy: disappointed Oh.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I guess you're wondering why I called this meeting today.

The HR department had a meeting at work on Monday to discuss the topic of the companywide meeting that was held on Tuesday. This is why it's good to be in HR...you find out everything the day before. The topic of the meetings happened to be the significant downsizing of our company as the result of closing a line of business. This time it impacts what we call "Shared Services." This is what you might call IT. And Finance. And HR. And Accounts Payable. And Accounts Receivable. And and and and. You get my point. The line of business closes at the end of March. Another reason it's good to be a part of HR? Someone has to lay off all the people, turn off the lights and lock the doors. This means I would expect to lose my job around mid-April. We were notified that we'll know where we stand by the end of January. I fully expect to be told in January I'm losing my job.

Maybe I'm in shock, maybe I was expecting this, maybe I don't care, but to tell you the truth what upsets me the most right now is that I will not be able to adopt PJ and Snoopy right now. If they were younger, I'd do it. The fact that they are almost 10 worries me about potential health problems. The cancer ordeal with Truman cost me almost $3,000. If I can't guarantee my current salary, it worries me. I have to remind myself that they are in a foster home and thus good hands.

I have plans. I have long term plans and I have short term plans. Some of these plans I am not yet ready to tell you about. Some of these plans are still in the works. Overall, I am not that worried. I can take care of myself. Would I like to have more money in savings? Oh yes, although I would probably say that even if I had oodles of cash in savings. My rent and bills are minimal. There are tons of restaurants around, so if I have to wait tables, I can. I mean, getting mad isn't going to give back to my company the $35 mil we lost and the $9 mil we were supposed to have made this year. (Seriously. I can't wrap my mind around that.)

In short, I'm cool, baby. I'm cool.

Weird Al, The Early Years

Whith muchh thatnks to Andrew for bringin this too my attension.

(and because Andrew is being a monday morning quarterback, I'm adding extra typos just for him. Love you Andrew!)

Monday, December 15, 2008

I know I said I was taking a break, but this is too good to pass up.

I was just on Facebook, where it was suggested to me that I friend someone named Alan Palmer because we both live in Raleigh. I looked at the picture and, y'all fo shizzle, it's MSG. I haven't seen him on the bus or around town recently. Turns out he knows a few of my friends. He aparently has his Facebook profile set to be viewed by people in his networks as well as his friends. I've been reading up on him. Oh my god oh my god oh my god!!!!!!

Here's his My Space page, if you want to check it out. I can't right now, since I'm at work, so I have no idea what's on it.

This has totally made my day.

On a serious note, I got some shitty work news that I need some time to process. I still have a job, tho. For now. I'll be back soon, unless anymore bus riders are on Facebook.

We now take a moment for a word from our sponsors.

Hey, y'all! Just wanted to let you know that I'm going to take a few days off. See you soon.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Meet Snoopy and PJ.

I stopped by the outlet mall near the airport on my way home from work. I needed to go bra shopping and in my opinion, there's no better place to go bra shopping than the Hanes/Bali/something outlet. I've been wearing the same style of bra for as long as I can remember. You can buy it at Macy's for $30 each, or you can go to the outlet where they are normally $20 each except today. They were 3 for $14 each. 'Nuff said, am I right ladies?

Here I am wandering the deserted corridors of the Prime Outles at Morrisville, conveniently locate in the flight path of the RDU International Airport, when I spy AniMall. I was afraid it was a pet store. I am happy to report I was wrong. Best Friends Pet Adoption has rented the space to show off adoptable critters, sell toys and solicit donations. Today, there were about 5 cats chillin' out, looking cute. Being the sucker I am, I went in to say hi. Before I go on, let me give you a little history.

When I was 23 and completely broke, I brought home two 5 week old kittens, Rocky and Truman. They were the only two kittens in the litter of a coworker and could fit in the palm of one hand. Their parents were brother and sister and they were born in a trailer park and I swear I am not making that up. The coworker, Lisa, I think, and her husband lived in the trailer park. She was a server in the restaurant where I worked. She and her husband had a two week honeymoon in Egypt. Lisa got her nails done every couple weeks. They did not have enough money, or so she claimed, to get her cats fixed. I knew that if she kept Rocky and Truman, they wouldn't get them fixed either. One thing I can do well is sweet talk someone into doing something they might not want to do and in the end, have them totally excited about it. I think I missed my calling for used car sales. Not to worry, I use my powers for good. I promise. Even though I was a stupid and irresponsible 23, I talked Lisa into giving me the kittens. I knew I could give them a better home. And that I did.

When Rocky and Truman were six, about to turn 7, I was living in Durham. The day started like any other, as they say. I was in the bathroom getting ready for work, Rocky was rolling around on the floor rubbing on my feet like she usually did. I went to work and got home about an hour later than normal. When I got home, I found Rocky on the living room floor, in shock. She was ice cold, panting and very floppy. My roommate came home about 15 minutes later and we sped off to the emergency vet. At midnight that night, I had to make the decision to put her to sleep. It was determined that she passed a blood clot to her lungs as a result of complications of a heart murmer. She couldn't see. All of her fluid counts were the opposite of what they should have been. She wasn't going to get better anytime soon, if ever. She wasn't going to be able to come home anytime soon, if ever again. The vet suggested it was the right thing to do.

Almost two years ago, Truman had his teeth cleaned. He had to have a couple teeth pulled. The one on the bottom healed okay, but the one on top was not healing at all. He had another surgery to fix the hole in his mouth, which turned out to be in vain. He had another couple teeth pulled on the top, but it still wasn't healing. One night while eating crunchy food pellets, he snapped his big fang tooth in half. Leah and Ian rushed a hysterical me and a bloody Truman to another emergency vet. They tried to tell me it would be about $2500 to $5000 to get to the bottom of it. They said it could be bad teeth, something else, or cancer. I took him home and made him comfortable and took him in to see his regular vet in the morning. They gave him an emergency surgery that afternoon after an EKG that diagnosed a small heart murmer. The vet removed the cracked fang and gave me a referral for the NCSU Vet School. We received the diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma, a very common feline cancer with a very grim prognosis. This had been going on for about 6 months at this point and Truman had had 4 surgeries after the initial teeth cleaning. I decided that it was time to bring him home and make him comfortable. He had had enough poking and prodding for a lifetime. I was told he would have a few more weeks. He hung on for about a month after that. I decided it was time to let him go when I realized he has lost his sight.

Recently, I have begun to think about adopting another cat or two. Tonight I met Snoopy and PJ. They are 10 year old brothers currently in foster care, doing their second tour of duty in AniMall. They are super-sweet and lovey. I spent much time talking to and scratching them. I like them a lot. I think they like me too. The drawbacks? Well, they are almost 10. This means illness and medical bills loom on the horizon. I have always had a stronger allergic reaction to orange cats than to others, but that's why the good lord invented Zyrtec, right? Oh, and did I mention these boys are HUGE? As in almost 20 pounds each huge? Yup. Am I ready to bring home 40 pounds of cat? Is anyone?

I have some thinking to do, about finances, allergies, emotions. I think the time is right. To be honest, there's something about Snoopy that reminds me of Truman, in a good way. Maybe the Monkey Man is trying to tell me something.

I'm setting up a blog poll. To adopt or not to adopt, that is the question.

The Great Cookie Swap '08

Jeez, peeps! Chill! I had to work today then go bra shopping then go cat "shopping." Yes, cat "shopping," which some might call foreshadowing. If you people an be patient for, like, two minutes, I'll get to that shortly. But first...the Cookie Swap. Inquiring minds want to know.

Since the hostess is such a good friend, the plan was to go over early to help set up. Alas, due to a comedy of errors that only happens when I am in a hurry, I was one of the last to arrive after 7 PM.

I baked my little heart out this week and ended up taking 10 dozen cookies to the swap. I think there were about 25 people there, and the largest, craziest, best cookie assortment ever. It was at the new home of my best pals Leah, Jake and Ian. Jake and Ian being boys, made themselves scarce for the evening. A cookie swap is typically a housewifey type event, however there were a few men at this event. The idea is that you make homemade cookies. Store bought are NOT welcome! Some folks ask you to bring a certain amount, like 3 or 4 dozen, Leah just asked you to bring what you want. At some point in the evening, you "swap" and take home as many as you brought. I did not do that. I've been baking since Sunday, which means I've had cookies for dinner since Sunday. I brought home a dinner plate of goodies.

Some folks took home a few more than they brought, some a few less. This is a very casual event. The cookies that were left have been donated to Interact, a local shelter for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. This is a wonderful organization and we were all thrilled to donate homemade cookies to them. Oh, I almost forgot, the size of the cookie matters. Last year, for example, I made tiny madelines, a/k/a My Labor Of Love. I put two of each in paper cups, since two were about equal to a regular sized cookie. Amanda made cupcakes that were so pretty and, if I might say so, darn tasty. (Again, were a casual cookie swapin' bunch.) Therefore, her cupcakes were worth a couple cookies.

I will talk to Leah about posting more pictures here of the swap, if it's okay with her. Overall, this is such a fun party. Folks arrive by 7, leave by 9, snack on hors d'oevres like cocktail weenies, homemade cheese ball, crackers with cream cheese and my pepper jelly. We had some wine and cocktails. I remember my mom going to cookie swaps when she was my age. So, gather you lady friends, get a-bakin' and a-swapin'.

I'm posing my cookie recipes on Meg In The Kitchen in the morning.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rainy day blues

It's pouring outside. There's a four car pile up on I-40 that has traffic so backed up it holding people up on the roads surrounding I-40. I have a cookie swap to get to in an hour and ten minutes. I'm listening to some Miles Davis to keep me calm. And now the bus just made a horrific metallic rattling noise. Twice. I am never getting to my cookie swap. I baked 10 dozen cookies in vain.

I heard some interesting scuttlebutt from the guy behind me. A DATA bus hit a car and killed two people this afternoon. I'll look for more on that later.

On my first bus tonight, Sam was driving a craptacular beat-down bus with no radio, no fare box and lights that gave a show mimicing the finest Parisian disco, which I am pretty sure means it didn't have an alternator either. Sam was driving the "parts bus" because his boss was mad at him for complaining to HR about something. Sam has a bum knee and has had surgery on it. He has a handicap tag for his car that he only uses when his knee hurts. His boss told him he couldn't park in the handicapped spaces, even though he has a tag. He went to HR about that. Good for him. He also went to his HR lady to talk about going on FMLA because his wife needs treatment for her arthritis once a month and can't do it alone. The HR lady told him he shouldn't go on FMLA for it because that's wasting it, which is bad. Just bad. She should not have an opinion whatsoever. I talked to him about it a little tonight, but I'll need to print up some information for him to educate him on what it is and what his rights are. Unless he really really misunderstood what she was saying, which I sincerely hope it the case, it sounds like this lady is on crack.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Truth is stranger than fiction.

There's a girl I see on the bus from time to time. She lives a few blocks away, and I'm afraid to say I think she works at Cisco. She's a complete dipstick. For the first week or two she took the bus, she'd wait on the wrong side of the street. (I couldn't make this up.) She tries to dress funky, like she shops at thrift stores, but her style is almost lack of style. I don't think she wears what she does ironically, if that makes any sense. She always has her headphones on and if she is waiting for the bus, she dances. To be honest, Dancing Queen is quite beautiful, especially if she'd put some effort into her hair. She looks like she's of some mixed ethnicity, so she's got this great natural spiral curl to her hair which I covet, but it usually looks like she could stand a comb and a little product. She also rolls her own cigarettes. I watched her do it the other morning and it was all I could do to not laugh. She really kind of sucked at it.

She was on the bus tonight sitting in front of me. A friend of hers got on the bus at the airport mall and sat behind her. He looked like your Standard Issue Hippie Stoner, even down to the stink of patchouli. She, of course, was wearing her signature scent...trying too hard. I was the jerk yammering away on her cell phone about cookies for most of their conversation. When I hung up, I was more than happy to listen to them talking. About books. Literature in fact. They somehow got on the topic of classic literature. Dancing Queen said she liked Dostoyevsky, which got my attention. She stated she "loved" Notes From Underground the way I proclaimed my love of horses on fifth grade. Really? While I agree that it's inspired, brilliant even, if you've ever actually read it, I mean really read it, I think you'll find that the first existential novel infuriating, maybe a little difficult. She said she loved how metaphorical he was. Dostoyevsky was many things, but metaphorical he was not. Philosophical, perhaps, but not really metaphorical. But I digress. She then goes on to say that she loved his other "book" called The Metamorphosis. She then realizes that he didn't actually write that. It went something like this:

DQ: Wait, did he write that?

Hippie Stoner: Yeah, I don't remember. I don't think so.

Me, silently: You mean Kafka?

DQ: Um, it wasn't Tolstoy.

HS: blank stare

Me: Wrong country. Wrong century.

DQ: Oh, I don't remember who wrote that.

Me: KAFKA! It was Kafka. Dostoyevsky died before Kafka was born! KAF. KA.

HS: Oh, it was Kafka, I think.

DQ: Oh right. Yeah, man, I, like, love how metaphorical it is. How it's a metaphor for...something stupid I didn't catch. Something like a metaphor for his life? It doesn't matter anyway.

HS and Me, still silently, in unison: It's not metaphorical at all. He really does turn into a roach.

DQ: really confused, tilted head Really? dramatic pause I love fiction.

HS: I love fiction too.

Me, still quiet as a mouse: Me too!

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Freaky, isn't it?

Babushko was at my bus stop this morning. Normally when he sees me he walks over to me, says hello, then starts his "nicest lady" broken record. Not this morning. I said hello to him like I always do and he replied. He then walked away and would speak to me except when the bus came, when he said, "ladies first."

And then I found this....

Today's horoscope for Libra, as always from Tarot.com:
"You might want to assist someone today because you have a special skill that would be of help. But others may not necessarily want you to get involved. It's not important for you to understand what motivates anyone else. Try not to take rejection personally now; you have plenty to do, so just get busy with your own work."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Excellent news for the DATA

DATA, or Durham Area Transit Association, is sort of the red-headed step child of the transit groups in this area. The buses are beat down, they almost never run on time, and they are mad skeery. People get shot on DATA buses. Fo shizzle.

A friend sent me this article, which is a ray of hope on the Bull City, City of Medicine, or Tobacco Town, whichever you prefer.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I think I'm thawing out.

I left my office at 5 o'clock as usual. My bus did not arrive at 5:04 like its supposed to. Instead, it arrived at 5:40. After three calls to the customer service and dispatch folks. Seems my bus driver got lost. When it's your job to drive a bus....how in blazes do you get lost? Especially when your route takes you out of the Transfer Center and all you do to get back is turn right repeatedly. Oh, and behind your seat is a rack of schedules with little maps on them. Oh, and you have a radio to communicate with the dispatchers who can tell you where to go. Oh, and you have a clipboard with the route on it with directions and the times. How. Do. You. Get. LOST!!!!!!!!!!! Did I mention it was 40 degrees out? (I know you Wisconsin and Sweden peoples will mock my 40 degrees, but that's cold for here!)

On my second bus, there was a new hottie. I think I might have seen him before. Tall, rugged Indian dude with a bicycle. Yum! Which got me thinking about the time I did eHarmony...shut up...and for about two solid months, they were only setting me up with Indian guys with giant moustaches. Apparently, I would make a good Indian wife. I can cook Indian food quite well and have no doubt I'd be hot in a sari. It's just the moustache thing I can't get past. This guy didn't have one. Thankfully. Which made me forget all about being late.

Gotta go bake cookies! Later, y'all.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

So maybe this Hulio thing won't work out after all.

This just kills me. I had to laugh at this one.

Today's Horoscope for Libra:

Your desires for a playful and loving romance are intensified now. But even if someone is on your radar screen, he or she could be too busy to slow down for love -- even if it's the real thing. Don't put all your eggs in an illusory basket of love, for today's transits are also setting the stage for artistic creation. Planning isn't necessary; spontaneous self-expression works best.

As always, from Tarot.com.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Business in the front, party in the back.

There's a guy I've seen around the TTA bus platforms in the mornings. He gets on the 105 to Raleigh which brings me to RTP. He's Asian, I think, a little short (for a dude) and stocky. He always wears jeans, a black t-shirt (man after my own heart) usually with some metal band on it, and a jacket. In the warmer months, he'll wear a denim jacket, thus completing the look I like to call "The Canadian Tuxedo." In the cooler months, he wears a black leather jacket. I've saved the best for last. His hair? He's got a mullet. Really. His hair is straight and black, short in the front, long in the back. It sticks up a bit on top. It is truly a respectable rocker mullet from 1987. There's something about this guy, whom I'll now refer to as Hulio, that's oddly appealing.

As I've said before, the TTA changed their bus routes recently and my second bus in the morning makes a few extra stops. Imagine my surprise when this morning, when we pull up to the IBM 500 building to find Hulio waiting to get on the bus. It appears he works overnight for IBM. Perhaps I shall be seeing more of Hulio in the near future. Hear me now, believe me later. If he shows up wearing a Dokken t-shirt, I'm going to propose to him. (Don't judge! What do you expect from a girl with 24 imaginary cats?)

(Perhaps my fellow Laugh-A-Lot and Get High School alumni might remember Hulio. Those who do, should know that I am using this reference, or nod if you will, with all the love in the world.)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My work here is done!

On my way home tonight, The Other Amy was on the bus. Turns out she's one of the TTA planners, which explains why I haven't seen her recently. If you all remember, Amy Number One loves her. I told TO Amy what happened yesterday morning. She was upset about it too. She understands, and from what she said tonight, knows more about Amy #1's condition. Apparently, she's autistic, which explains a lot. TO Amy said her mother came with her on Monday, which was the first day of the new changes. She said that even with her mom with her, Amy #1 was getting agitated.

The Other Amy is going to investigate who the driver is and talk to her with the Customer Service Trainer. It's nice that someone else has Amy #1's back too.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

meg in the kitchen?

Hey y'all...I just wanted to let you know I started a new blog here. I need a place to write down all of these recipes bouncing around in my head.

Foxy, there's a recipe for you and your bumper crop of eggs!


And now we resume your regularly scheduled programming.

I might have mentioned that the TTA was changing things around. They moved the Transfer Center and had to redo the bus routes and schedules. They also changed drivers. I'll write more about that later. My first bus is still the 105, but I catch it about 10 minutes later in the morning. I figured I might not see the same people. To be honest here, I was worried I wasn't going to see Amy Number One anymore. Aside from being good blog fodder, she's grown on me. I like Amy. I miss her when she's not on the bus. Luckily, she's there. We have a new driver whom I suspect got her bus driver training in the public school system. She shouts at people to sit down white the bus is moving. She's driving a new bus, with eight hand loops in the front so you have something to hold onto if you have to stand. I don't know what she's going to do when the bus is full.

I think I hate this woman already and it's only day two. This morning, she pulled into the transfer center and stopped short of the platform to let the dispatcher get on and direct her where to go. A bunch of people started to stand up and get ready to leave, including Amy. The dispatcher was standing in the door and wouldn't let her out. The driver is yelling that nobody is going anywhere and we all need to sit down. Amy is in the front of the bus, obviously agitated. I can imaging that she knew she was supposed to get off the bus but was confused as to why she wasn't allowed to get off. The driver raises her voice at her and says, "you need to sit down, ma'am," with all the head shaking diva attitude you'd expect to see on the Mo Po Show. Amy looked like she was going to cry, and she's saying, "where do I go? Why can't I get off?" I called to her and said "Amy, it's okay, come sit down," which she did and when she was sitting in the seat in front of me again, I told her the driver needed to pull up to the curb before we could get off. She calmed down a little. When the driver finally stopped and let us off, she said "good bye, Amy. Have a nice day" as Amy was getting off the bus.

This upset me on so many levels. I sincerely hope she does not ever talk to Amy like that again. Amy obviously has some sort of developmental delay. She can get around on the bus by herself, but she doesn't recognize that the driver needs to pull up to the curb. She just knows she where she needs to be to get on her second bus. There is no need to talk to her like a 4 year old, but there is also no need to raise your voice to her or speak harshly to her. She doesn't understand and she was obviously upset. The fact that she's treating us like a bunch of middle schoolers, is also ridiculous. If her driving is so crazy that we'll get hurt if we stand up while the bus is in motion, then perhaps she should consider a career change.

(Add number 21 to yesterday's list. I am a fiercely loyal friend and will stick up for the little guy if that little guy doesn't have a voice of their own.)

I think you all may have rightfully inferred by now that I was that weird kid in your elementary school class. Not the weird paste-eating kid, but the weird kid who had imaginary cats and wore funky clothes.

(Add number 22. I didn't have an imaginary friend. I had two imaginary cats, Chuck and JoAnn, who had twenty-two imaginary kittens. I would yell at people if they were about to sit on them. Seriously.)

I was also the only one who was friends with Jane in elementary school. Jane lived a couple blocks up the street and was in my class. I think we might have walked to school together. Jane had Downs Syndrome. The kids in our class would tell her to lift her dress up and show off her underpants, which she did happily since she didn't know any better. The kiss of death for me was when I became her sworn defender. Meh. I didn't care. They all hated me (and Chuck and JoAnn) anyway, and Jane was cool. I remember being invited to her birthday party. My mom crocheted her a clown puppet for her gift. I was the only one at the party who didn't have some sort of developmental delay. I remember the party was a lot of fun. I'd like to think that Amy is somebody's Jane and that someone out there has Jane's back now. If this woman is anything other than sugar, spice and unicorns to Amy again, I'm going to the Triangle Transit Board of Trustees.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday. One day only!

It has come to my attention that there are a lot of people who read this blog, most of whom lurk. That's cool though, cuz there's nothing hotter than an eStalker. I know you are all dying to know "who is Meg On The Bus? What makes her tick? Her blog is so riveting, certainly she is just as interesting."

Here's the four one one on Ol' Meg.

1. I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Williamsburg, Virginia (yes, the Colonial Capital. No, I didn't live under the Big Bad Wolf.)

2. I love infomercials. I get completely sucked in and must buy whatever they are hawking. I usually don't buy anything but my four favorite words are "as seen on TV." My dream job is to be a QVC host.

3. I speak Spanish fluently, French mostly fluently, and enough Italian to get around in a kitchen. I know a few phrases in Japanese that make me a polite dinner guest. I occasionally dream in Spanish and French.

4. I have a BA in Spanish Literature. If I had known how useless my degree would be, I'd have studied philosophy instead.

5. I have read every Sherlock Holmes story written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I love them all.

6. I love old movies, particularly Film Noir. My favorite studio is RKO Radio Pictures, my favorite directors are Billy Wilder and Alfred Hitchcock. I have been getting into silent films recently.

7. I am teaching myself to fiddle. I still suck, but I'm getting better.

8. I have a skull and crossbones tattooed on my right arm. I got it six years ago.

9. My favorites bands are T Rex, Yo La Tengo, and Led Zeppelin.

10. My deep, dark secret is that I love the Grateful Dead and saw them several times in the early 90s. There. I said it. I'm out.

11. I knit left handed even though I am right handed.

12. The only crafty hobby I can't do is basket-weaving. It pisses me off to no end.

13. I am a very strong swimmer. When I was swimming regularly (I know, I know), I could swim a mile in 40 minutes.

14. I have one brother who lives in California. I have a half-brother and half-sister that I haven't seen in sixteen years. I believe they live in Pittsburgh. (It's complicated.) I miss them all.

15. I love to bake. I am an excellent bread baker.

16. My goal for 2009 is to finally get through Rage Against The Machine's Recommended Reading List.

17. I prefer to live in old apartments. Since moving out of my parents house, I have only lived in one "new" apartment building. The beige carpet and white walls made me crazy. Other than that, all of my apartment buildings were built before my parents were born. I love the huge windows, hardwood floors, art deco architecture and radiators. I have to sacrifice a dishwasher and large kitchen, but it's worth it.

18. My favorite color is red.

19. My family's nickname for me is Lizzie.

20. I collect antique cameras, cheesy plastic snowglobes and Matryoshka. I have two friends who decided long ago that I should collect Hello Kitty and Elvis stuff. Most of the Hello Kitty and Elvis stuff I have, I recieved from them.

I can't believe so many people are actually reading this schlock. Feel free to delurk, leave a comment and say hi. (Or Hola. Or Bon jour. Or Ciao.) I'm happy you're here!

It's past my bedtime, so if you'll excuse me....

Ever try Burt's Bees Lip Balm?

You know the sparkly kind? It's great, isn't it? It's minty and has sparles in it. My favorite is "raisin." I swear it's the perfect red lipstick. Now, have you ever tried it as a fabric softener? No? Well, don't. I'm not sure the company would recommend it either. I'm doing laundry right now. I pulled my second load from the dryer and was thinking to myself, "does my laundry smell...minty? No, it couldn't. Wait...is that...? Aaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!" Pink, sparkly spots on two pillow cases, one (favorite) long sleeve t-shirt (don't mess with my t-shirts), two tank tops, and something else that went right back in the washer.

I need a maid. Or a butler. Or both.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Letter to all the bus drivers in the Triangle area.

Dear Transit Operators,

Hi! I want to thank you all for the normally stellar job you all do. I'm not sure if you've noticed, but winter is coming. It was cold today. Very cold. You were late today. All of you. Very late. I spent a total of an hour and forty minutes waiting for the buses. Tomorrow morning, the forecast is 29 degrees. I would appreciate it if you all could be on time tomorrow. I don't ever want to wait that long for a bus again.


How do ya think the deer felt, asshole?

I came across this today on the local news channels website. Fifteen seconds of hell? Remind me again why I read the news. Please.

Am I being punked?

Today's Horoscope for Libra

You are very optimistic about your family today, for it seems like things are looking up as your key planet Venus aligns with confident Jupiter. But over-confidence can be tricky because it encourages you to ride roughshod over people's feelings without even realizing what you are doing. As always, it's a smart idea to seek balance instead of running from one extreme to the next. Don't forget to ask others how they are feeling too.
By Rick Levine

Uh, so...how are you guys today?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

What the hell?

Today's Horoscope for Libra

Your situation at home appears to be getting better every day. Or, perhaps, you have an opportunity to heal a family wound, especially if you've been involved in an emotional conflict recently. You really don't need a cosmic excuse to do something you should have already done. There's really no time like the present moment to make things right.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wishing you all a Happy Tofurkey Day!

I'll be back in a few. You know, just your usual anxiety attack inducing family obligations. See ya soon!

Gulp. Happy Thanksgiving?

Today's Horoscope for Libra

Buried family secrets may be unearthed during the coming years, revealing aspects of your past that can change the way you look at yourself. If you are confronted with new data about your parents, siblings or children, don't be like an ostrich that attempts to bury its head in the sand. Instead, accept what you learn and then adapt to it as you are able. It's not necessary to take it in all at once as long as you don't fall into denial.

By Rick Levine
More from Tarot.com

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Big TTA news!

Just so y'all know, on Monday morning, the Triangle Transit buses begin using the new and improved Transfer Center at 901 Slater Road in RTP. The drivers also switch routes. I have no idea who my drivers will be, so I'll keep ya posted about that. You can go here to see the new routes. Personally, I am excited about shortening my commute by 10 minutes. I'll try to remember to bring my camera for photos of the new digs.

There hasn't been much bus news lately. Sorry about that.

Sarge, in his typical "why be on time when you can be early" spirit, decided we needed to get used to the new schedule today, so I nearly missed my bus, as did Chatty Cathy and her new BFF. There's some woman who's also new on the bus. They share a bench in the morning and smoke themselves silly. Takes the pressure off me to be nice at 7 AM.

Floyd has decided to work the 3 PM to midnight shift driving the express routes, so I won't see him again for 6 months probably. This is too bad because I really like the guy.

Cherry Cough Syrup Lady has finally toned it down. A week or two ago, on a Thursday I was sitting up front chatting with Boyfriend, as usual. When we got to the park and ride, I saw her waiting for the bus, so I got up and bolted for the back of the bus. When we arrived at the Transfer Center, I walked up to the front of the bus to talk to him. He thought it was funny. He also thinks she reeks. He told me it's actually hairspray, not perfume. What's especially amusing about that is what her hair looks like. She always has a big clump sticking straight out in the back. Same spot, every day. It's awesome.

Okay, gotta go...NCIS is on. Have I told y'all I'm addicted? Seriously. I got it bad for this show.

Why do I even bother to turn on the TV?

In a rare (what is less than rare?) moment, I have Inside Edition on. (Yeah, I know.) They had this woman on, whining about her life. She owned an executive recruitment company that went belly up after September 11th. (Okay, that sucks. I'll concede that.) The Inside Edition "reporter" goes on to talk about how she became depressed and started taking in stray animals into her gigantic mansion with marble floors. (Okay, depression happens, but you're starting to lose me, lady) According to IE, she ended up with a grand total of 120 cats and dogs. The marble and hard wood floors were ruined by animal waste. The place had to be gutted. It got so bad that her husband was, according to IE, literally kicked out of his country club. Their friends turned their backs on the couple. They tragically lost their mansion when it went into foreclosure and sold for $1.2 million (again, according to IE) less than half of the appraised value! Gasp! Even more tragically, they are forced to live in a three bedroom apartment, which IE is pleased to report, is immaculate. IE also reports that about half the animals were adopted, the other half euthanized. You know what? Fuck you, lady, for being more upset about your dear husband being asked to leave his country club that the welfare of your "pets." Fuck you, lady, for being embarrassed about living in an apartment with more room than you need while so many others are on the street. Fuck you, lady, for whining that you "lost everything you built" and not showing any remorse for the rotting animal carcasses in your basement. Fuck you, lady.

Read more here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The More You Know

Welcome to the first ever Meg On The Bus Public Service Announcement. I feel I need to bring up an important subject here today. Dear Readers, there has been much discussion recently at my new favorite blog, Pulsipher Predelictions, about a very controversial subject. I try to keep out of this blog my very personal thoughts or convictions, however I feel I can no longer remain mute. Folks, I need to speak to you about something near and dear to my heart. Chocolate covered bacon. (You heard me.)

There is no food that cannot be improved by either chocolate or bacon. Am I right? Following that logic, adding bacon to chocolate can only make chocolate yummier. Thus adding chocolate to bacon will only make bacon better too. Chocolate covered bacon is good. Very good. Like any food, the quality of the finished product is a direct result of the sum of its ingredients. People, use the good stuff. Buy the thick cut applewood smoked bacon. Buy a fancy-pants brand of chocolate. Treat yourself. The holidays are coming. (Ho ho ho, y'all.) There seem to be two schools of thought here. It appears most people like to coat a whole piece of bacon in chocolate. Personally, I like to cut the bacon into nice bite size pieces. Truffles, if you will. I have had these delectable bacon morsels lovingly dipped in dark chocolate with just a dusting of grey salt. Several folks, including Mrs. Pulsipher, have topped theirs with crushed almonds. I personally wonder if crushed smoked almonds might be very nice as well.

In stores, one might be inclined to buy a certain hoity-toity brand of chocolate bar with bacon morsels for the low, low sum of $8. ::cough, cough::Vosges::cough, cough:: Do not be fooled. It is not nearly as good as what you are capable of making at home. (Nor will you enjoy the weird after taste of that bar, which will be noticeably absent from the stuff you make) You can do this. You will enjoy this.

Here are a few places to get started:

Kevin's CCB

Yum Sugar's Chocolate Covered Bacon

He's an Iron Chef. I think he knows what tastes good.

And knowing is half the battle.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

...and you can go to Helen Hunt for it, part five.

Found: Three Krispy Kreme glazed original donuts

Where: On the sidewalk in front of my apartment building

When: Saturday afternoon, day of Christmas parade

Thank you.

Friday, November 21, 2008

...and you can go to Helen Hunt for it, part four.

I have to wonder how a pair of boxer shorts ends up on the sidewalk on Hillsborough Street. Please, someone, explain to me how you lose your underpants. Presumably, you're wearing pants...so they just can't fall off, right?

Alas, there are things that I am just not destined to understand. Why I must step over a blue plaid pair of boxer shorts on my way to the bus stop every day this week is one of those things.

Ho ho ho, Merry Thanksgiving!

Today I can use three words I never thought I'd use in the same sentence in reference to Raleigh, North Carolina. Especially not before Thanksgiving or in the same week even! Those three words would be "our" "second" and "snow." For reals, peeps. We got a second round of snow/flurries this morning. As always, it was beautiful. I arrived at the bus stop a bit early, which I means I got to enjoy those big, fluffy flakes for about 20 minutes. My bus was late. It was the same jerky driver who is ALWAYS late...remember him? Last time he told me that I should have left earlier. blood pressure rising, moving on! Because he was late again, I missed my second bus. I had to stand outside waiting for the next bus for about 30 minutes. Quick math tells me that was almost an hour. Did I mention it was around 35 degrees this morning? Yeah. I was mighty cold once I finally arrived at the office. This time of the year, I am very thankful to have steam heat in this apartment. It's so toasty warm in here and it's free. Never again will I rent an apartment without radiators.

Tomorrow morning is the 64th Annual Raleigh Christmas Parade. You remember, the one that nearly kept me from being able to move in last year. Yeah, that parade. Since I'm on the first floor, I'll have box seats for the parade which starts right outside my building. I'm having a few friends over to watch the parade. It should be a lot of fun. I'll report back with pictures soon! This area looks weird since there's no parking anywhere near here right now. It's like a ghost town!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Nearest Book

A college friend posted this on her Facebook page and I thought I'd bring it to y'all!

Here are the rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now. Don't hunt on a book shelf for something to impress us, but it has to be a real book!
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence and reference the book in the comments.

I'll get y'all started.

"He was free from that spell, that sorcery, that obsession!" Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good ni-iiiight.

Today is Thursday, which means I get picked up by Boyfriend in the morning. This morning, we chatted as usual about the up coming weekend, what's new and exciting in our lives, my current knitting project. He always asks me what I'm working on. Even if I am sitting in the back of the bus, he'll yell back at me. He's funny.

This morning, not so funny. He told me that effective Monday morning, he's moving to the maintenance side of the TTA. He will not be driving the bus anymore, thus, I will not see him anymore. Unless a bus breaks down next summer.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I am a Dork. With a capital D.

There is a guy who lives somewhere in my neighborhood. I see him around sometimes, and he rides the bus. I see him in the evenings usually. Over the past couple months, we have started chatting. I'm not going to lie. He's H-O-T hot. Smart, funny, nice, hot. Oh, and I'm 60-73% sure he's gay. Given my long and sordid history of falling madly in love with gay men...Well, never mind. I'll save that for a good therapist.

Anyway...I haven't seen him in the past couple weeks because of my work schedule. He got on the bus tonight and was about to sit a couple seats in front of me when he saw me, looked happy to see me and proceeded to sit down behind me. He starts talking to me and what happens? I feel like I'm going to vomit and can't think of ANYTHING to say.

I need to have an exorcism of my inner 7th grader. Quick.

Why I love Macy's, or I'm sorry...I saved how much?

In case you haven't checked the weather in Raleigh lately, it's butt ass cold here. Cold enough, in fact, for it to snow today. Yup, peeps, we gots flurries. And, yes, I went running outside each time it started "snowing" today.

It also made me realize I needed a new winter coat. For some reason, I have never had a long black wool dress coat. I am not sure exactly who is responsible for this oversight, however, I am willing to let this go since the situation has been rectified. I have a bunch of cool coats, but they all end at the waist. When it's 28 degrees at the bus stop, I'd like a little more coverage.

I hopped a bus to the mall and hit Macy's. I got there a little after 7 PM and had a hair appointment at 7:45. I've learned a time limit is crucial in this process. There was a lovely girl working in the coat department. I told her I wanted a knee length wool black coat. She kept picking up short coats and asking me, "what about this?" She tried to give me a fuzzy one, but not good fuzzy. Just cheap K-Mart coat fuzzy. I tried on a few coats, one Guess, one Kenneth Cole, one Larry Levine (like, who?). Knowing how much I was planning on spending, I was looking for a good style, a good fit and a designer name. (I'm not going to lie here. The label was as important as the style. But you have to believe I don't usually care about that kind of thing. Much.) I was distracted by the hats. I found a black wool and velvet cloche that I wore home, thankyouverymuch. As I was about to give up, a divine light shone down from the designer heavens on a lovely DKNY coat. The fit was perfect. The style? Definitely that French girl look I love. Oh, but wait, there's more! The price? $295. (Eeeep!) The sale? 50% off. Let's see, I do the math and came up with roughly $150. Okay, I can handle that. Sales Girl rings me up and the coat rings up for...$118. Boo-yow. With the hat, I ended up spending the $150 I had planned on the coat alone. I also made my 7:45 appointment.

I love Macy's because I seem to have a psychic connection to their marketing department. Anything I need, a coat, kitchen stuff, a couple new dress shirts...there ya go! It's on super sale. Always. When I moved in last year, I needed a bunch of new kitchen stuff, colanders, pots and pans, etc. Macy's had the Martha Stewart stuff on sale. With my extra 20% off coupon, it was a mega sale. I think I got a 10 piece pot set, two colanders, a chili pot, and four small cast iron casseroles for less than $200. No really, I did.

I can't wait to wear the coat tomorrow. Now I just need the perfect scarf.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Relieved? Yes. And no.

In the past months that I have been riding the bus, I've missed out on fuel shortages, $4.25 a gallon, and a lot of stress. I have met some really cool people and I have also learned to problem solve, in a way. For example, I am learning that this is the time of the year that makes my neighborhood both a good and bad place to live. What I mean by that is there is tons going on, road races, parades, etc. This also means that the streets are blocked off for the better part of the weekend day and there's no bus service. If I need to go someplace outside walking or biking distance, say Whole Foods, I need to work out where else I can go to get the same thing or how else I can get there. I have to say the past many months sans auto have been, well, fun.

I had to get work done on my car. It's not the only reason why I've been riding the bus, but it was certainly a big factor. My car was just sitting. I was okay with that. I took it to Whitewall Auto here in town on the recommendation of a friend. They were great, honest, they fixed my car in a day because they had all the parts either on hand or easily accessible and charged me about half what I was expecting. They also let me pay over the phone and left the keys for me. They trust me, ergo I trust them. If you find yourself in the area and in need of service, I whole-heartedly suggest you go see them. Finding a good mechanic is possibly higher on my list than finding a good hairdresser and probably equal to finding a good gynecologist. (Who's with me on this?)

On my way home from work, I called that friend to thank her for the recommendation. She said, "that must be a big relief for you." My reaction...meh. I mean, yes, it's a relief I found a good mechanic, they were reasonably priced and super fast. Yes, she's right. But at the same time, I wish I didn't have a car. Yes, it's convenient to have a car if I need to run to the drug store at 10:30 on a rainy night. I am hoping it will not become too convenient. Between my apartment and this friend's new house lies a huge hill. It's a bitch to bike up. It will be nice to drive over. I don't want to get back in the habit of "running quickly" to the market. I hope that I continue on this path I am currently on. Certainly, I will take the bus to work. Traffic around here during evening rush hour in particular is a Nightmare. I will do my best to not drive. When I moved into my apartment, I decided to allow myself to drive once a week. I am now amending my decision to next to never.

To be honest here, I also have a small anxiety about driving. Since owning a car, two actually, over the past 15 years, I have had 9 accidents. Before you freak out, let me finish... None of these accidents were my fault. In most of them, I wasn't even moving. My anxiety about driving? I'm tired of being hit. Wouldn't you be?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Boating is fun, we'll show you how!

Just past the Fairgrounds and the Vet School there is a building with the words "United States Power Squadrons" on it. Out front is something that appears to be a ship's mast, but there is never anything hanging on it, you know sails or flags or whatever. Finally, there is a parking lot out front which is always empty.

Now, my more astute readers may have inferred by this point that I have perhaps a more...active...imagination than most. As well, you may not know that I like comic books, more the graphic novel variety, but I like the men in tights kind too.

I keep forgetting to Google United States Power Squadrons. This morning I remembered. I hope I can express the depth of my disappointment in learning they actually deal in safe boating. The whole boat thing? Not really a disguise! I was truly expecting to learn we had secret spandex-clad super heros right here in Raleigh. I was hoping to find on the website a signal or call or something to summon these guys when I witness or suffer an injustice. Alas, the only thing they can help me with is a boating safety course.

For those who don't know, Raleigh is completely and totally landlocked.

I don't know whether to be offended or not.

Do you watch Food Network? Specifically Rescue Chef with Danny Boome? The premise is that he goes to people's homes and helps them overcome a personal (culinary) stumbling block. Or so they say. My take on the premise....he goes into the home of a dippy Barbie doll that fawns and giggles while he flirts. The personal stumbling block? Intelligence. Never have I seen the guest as anyone other than a mid-to late-thirties, perfect size four, long Farrah Fawcett hair, nails just done for TV, asking retarded questions like, "isn't that going to burn in the oven?" Clearly the General Population thinks he is hunky, at least partially due to the Brittish accent. Could this be the second coming of Jaime Oliver? (Personally, I'm a Duff Goldman kind of girl. wink, wink, nudge, nudge.) Seriously, has there ever been a dude on the show? How about an older woman, say, a bit chubby?

This particular episode is featuring what appears to be a yuppie stroller mommy (kid art on wall behind her), Carrie, who apparently isn't holding back the inuendos. Did she just stick her chest out?

I can't watch this. It's too painful.

Ps. I just noticed he's not letting her handle the sharp knives. 'Nuff said.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Be sure to bring only small, unmarked bills.

This week at the Fairgrounds, there is a Seized Jewelry Sale. So, you know, if you, like, need to buy your jewelry back...it'll be at the Fairgrounds.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Your schedule of events

My route to and from work takes me past the NC State Fairgrounds, the site of the now World Famous North Carolina State Fair. Outside the fairgrounds is a giant lighted sign that scrolls through upcoming events there. If you in the Raleigh area, I thought you might like to know there are a number of things to do. Sure we have the Flea Market on Saturdays and Sundays, but did you also know you can get your Sears Contractor Training in the Dorton Arena too? Yes siree, Dorton Arena isn't just for roller derby any more folks!

Upcoming at the fairgrounds THIS WEDNESDAY are the Structural Pesticide Exams in the Martin Building. I'm tempted to just show up and see how I do. I'm guessing not well.

Y'all come now, hear?

Your daily dose

PARANOID? (Not really. Should I be? Why do you ask?)

GOTTIVO? (No, but I wish I did.)

NVRGNVUP (Since this was on a brand new, shiny Cadillac, I have to wonder what he's not giving up on.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mr Sandman, bring a dream

Watching people fall asleep on the bus is funny to me. Invariably there's the guy who falls over on his side and out of his seat or the woman who's head nods back and jerks forward. Falling asleep on the bus isn't so funny. I wake up ever two minutes terrified I've missed my stop. The last two days I've fallen asleep on the bus. I've also managed to stay asleep for most of the ride home. Last night I got a total of six hours of sleep. In a row. I have hope that this awful awful insomnia might actually pass in this life time.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More license plates!



ASA RTR (initials, maybe? that's big here)


AMBSMINI (on a Mini...oh, so that's what they look like!)




Plus a bonus bumper sticker:

"I'm a constitution voter" (Er, as opposed to?)

On the New Girl, Amy Number One, and hand-knitted items.

There's a new girl on the bus. She has mousy reddish brown hair, wears way too much brown and has an unfortunate predilection to Fun Fur scarves. The first week she was on the bus, she was under the impression that Sarge should magically or telepathically know when and where to let her off the bus. Finally this week she started to ring the buzzer like everyone else. This week she has also decided to pick up the bus at my stop rather than her old stop, where ever that was. I really don't care where she gets on the bus, except that she is lacking any ability to mind her own business. Someone coughs on the bus? She has to see who it was. Someone get off, she has to say goodbye to them. She's not special, just annoying. I head to the bus stop around 7 AM. At that time of the day, I'm not so interested in making friends. Especially with the recent insomnia thing, I'm not at my best at 7 AM. She, however, appears to be bright eyed, bushy tailed and chatty at 7 AM. I'd hate to have to choke her with that Fun Fur scarf.

This morning, Chatty Cathy tried to star a conversation with me. I wasn't having it. We got on the bus, I sat in front of Amy Number One, she sat across from her. I pulled out a hat I'm knitting for my friend Cailin (of Five Kids, Two Labs, One Lizard and a Hermit Crab fame). (Oh, by they way, Cai, you're getting a Christmas hat, but that's all I can tell you right now.) Anyway, Amy of course asks me what I'm making...I swear one of these days, I'm going to have to teach her to knit...

Amy: What are you making?
Moi: It's going to be a hat.
Amy: For who?
Me: For my friend Cailin.
Amy: Cailin.
Chatty Cathy: That's a pretty color red.
**Cai, you know you asked for a red hat, so no shocker there**
Me: Yes, it's going to be a Christmas present.

I wasn't talking to her, I was talking to my pal, Amy. Okay, yes, it is a lovely red color, but still...this is an AB conversation so see yourself out lady! (Or however that stupid phrase goes.)


I also found out today that Floyd's name is not actually Floyd. I've been calling him Floyd for six months and he hasn't corrected me. I feel like a complete dork. I also learned he does yoga. He is definitely my favorite bus driver. I get about 15 minutes to talk to him in the morning. I've learned all about his family, his former job as an EMT. He's a neat guy. I'm going to miss him when they switch routes. I will not miss Special Ed trying to butt into our conversations in the morning.

Monday, November 10, 2008

New routes and schedules are posted!

Go here to see the changes Triangle Transit has made to their routes and schedules effective December 1.

I am happy to report this will not affect my commute negatively, and it looks like I might get a few extra minutes in the morning. Woo hoo! I am as equally happy to report that a new Blue Urban Bikes hub will be stationed at the new Transfer Center.

Two thumbs up to the staff of the Triangle Transit Group for doing a bang up job. I have no doubt this will be a seemless transition. Their planning group had to recalculate all of the time tables, create new routes, move existing routes and somehow keep everyone happy. What a daunting task.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

And now we resume your regularly scheduled programming

Another accident? This one was involved a school bus. A friend of mine was on the bus and I believe everyone was okay. Thankfully.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

In case you haven't heard...

We elected a black man to Commander In Chief. He will be sworn in one hundred years after the foundation of The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP. In so many ways this was an historic election. In 1984, Geraldine Ferraro was the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee as the running mate to former Vice President and Democratic Presidential nominee Walter Mondale. This year, the Democratic Party had a dogfight to the nomination between a former First Lady and a black man. The Republican party nominated a woman as the Vice Presidential nominee, the highest honor bestowed on a woman by the Republican party to date. Regardless of who was chosen as the 44th President, we were going to make history.

Eight years ago, we elected George W. Bush as the 42nd President. In a gross oversight, we elected him again as the 43rd President. In the course of these eight years, George W. Bush has managed to bring our country to an economic crisis almost as severe as the Great Depression. Nearly one third of Americans, or 90 million people, under the age of 65 did not have health coverage between 2006-2007. His zeal for deregulation led the way to predatory lending and lack of personal financial responsibility. He has given tax cuts to big business which send jobs to overseas. He has disputed the validity of Global Warming. For absolutely no reason, he invaded a country under the guise of The War on Terror. This country had no ties to the organization responsible for the tragedy on September 11. He falsely reported finding Weapons of Mass Destruction in this country. He has allowed spending upwards of millions of dollars a day on this fictitious war. When he was sworn in as Commander of Chief, a gallon of gasoline was $1.44. This summer those lucky enough to find gasoline had to pay around $4 a gallon. He has supported the torture of "enemy combatants" (and liberal definition of the term "enemy combatant") and assisted in the creation of the USA Patriot Act, a convoluted piece of litigation which allows the federal government to toss civil liberties out the window.

While this seems in and of itself a pitiful legacy for a President, none of this adds up to the largest embarrassment and most tragic failure of his presidency.

The failure of the Bush Administration to respond to the crisis of Hurricane Katrina and the devastation of the Gulf Coast still brings tears to my eyes. After the hurricane, I tried very hard to avoid the news, both online and on television. I knew what I would see and knew I might not be able to handle it. I was unable to avoid it completely. I will never be able to forget the image I saw of a woman who had been waiting outside the stadium, sitting in a lawn chair, hoping to get relief from her environment. Unfortunately, she died before she could get help. The citizens of New Orleans had no choice but to leave her where she was. Even more unfortunate, this was not an isolated event. The scope of this tragedy was unlike anything we had ever experience here. The City of New Orleans is still recovering to this day. I cannot speculate on the motives of the Bush Administration to act so slowly in response to this disaster. I certainly hope the ethnic diversity of the population of the Gulf Coast in general and New Orleans in specific was not in any way a factor.

Last night the United States made history by electing a black man as President. We elected this man, Barack Hussein Obama, in a near landslide, 349 to 162, with two states still pending confirmation. In some ways, it is not surprising that we elected a Democrat to this office in reaction to the mess created by the previous Republican administration. What may have made this election a nail-biter was the ethnicity of the Democratic nominee. In the end, the American people stepped up and voted on the issues and what truly mattered. We needed change, and the contents were more important than the packaging.

I am very lucky to have so many friends and coworkers who self-identify as either Democrat, liberal, or both. I have not heard anything negative about President Elect Obama. On the New York Times Online, there is a video feature here. Individuals from key states had their thoughts recorded about our new president. The bulk of these folks have positive comments. One woman is identified as Amy Ridolfi, 28, from Philadelphia. She claims to be a Democrat who voted for McCain, because she feels the world is not ready for a black president. She feels the world will view the United States negatively because we have "switched parties" and this will have a negative impact. In the past eight years, The Bush Administration has alienated the United States from many of our allies. Those not alienated are too afraid to speak up. Reviewing the news from abroad, it is easy to see that the rest of the world is welcoming the change this election has brought. The Obama Administration has a long road to travel, but I feel we can expect our wronged allies to be willing to mend fences.

She makes the statement that the world is not ready for a black president. Given the results of the election last night, one could say with total certainty that she is wrong. If the time was not right for a black man to assume the highest office in the land, I would be saying President Elect John McCain with much disdain. America has spoken. Barack Obama is the best man for the job, regardless of color. Having a leader who is something other than an affluent white man will boost the credibility of this nation. Shall we remind Amy that the vast majority of the world of which she speaks does not self-identify as white?

I think we can expect great things from Barack Obama. I feel we can also expect him to demonstrate that he is a President who is black and not a black man who is President. In 1984 and 1988, the Reverend Jesse Jackson was a candidate for the Democratic nomination. He was not successful. In my opinion, he was a black man running for President. Throughout this race, Barack Obama has demonstrated that he has the qualities required of a President. He has been incredibly even-tempered and an excellent speaker. He is known as one who thinks before he speaks. He has not made his ethnicity a factor, although the opposition tried. This election makes me believe it was more the candidate than the timing. Now more than ever the world is ready for this man to lead the United States out of this terrible place. The color of his skin is merely a bonus. I commend the Americans who voted with their principles and their open and educated minds, and not with their bank accounts and prejudices.

To those of you who may feel alone in a Red Sea, take heart. There are many, many more people out there who think like you. When the current state of the union turns around, remember to say, "I told you so."

For information on the Electoral College, go here. I won't even try to explain it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


"I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The American people have spoken and they have spoken clearly." Senator John McCain

Election resource

New York Times
If you click on a state, you'll actually get a county by county breakdown. The nerd in me (what? me? a nerd?) finds this fascinating.

Presidential Election Results
You can get the predictions from all of the news bureaus, without the holograms.

Update on the Chapel Hill accident

The driver was charged.

Sad bus news from Chapel Hill

Pedestrian dies after being hit by bus. Chapel Hill is a part of the Triangle area where I live.

Monday, November 3, 2008

And if you're in California...

Vote NO on Proposition 8. It's discrimination.

You have no excuse.

Not sure where to go to vote? Click here.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

This was my Halloween costume a few years ago.

Never before was a Barbie doll so cool!

My bike gang is cooler than your bike gang.

I forgot to add this bit of awesomeness from my bus ride yesterday. As I was waiting at the bus stop in front of my building, they rode by like they do every Saturday. I am not embarrassed to say I look out the window every time I hear them.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

cough cough sniiiiiff ahem

I don't feel good. It's just a cold, but all I want to do is lay on the sofa, eat junk food, and watch crazy old TV shows. I also know I'm sick because I get cranky when I get sick. Like everyone and everything annoys me. A lot. So, bear with me here.

We have a TV channel called RTN that plays old shows. Not the same stuff on TV Land, but stuff like Magnum PI, Ironside, Kojak, Simon and Simon, the Rockford Files, Alfred Hitchcock Hour and Presents (my favorites), and what I'm currently watching...MacMillian and Wife. Coincidentally, this episode of MacMillian and Wife centers around a traveling carnival. Mac had to chase a suspect to the Ferris Wheel, where he found a dead body in a seat. The Ferris Wheel wasn't working so he had to climb it. Just as he got close to the top, another bad guy made it start to move again until the safety bar broke and Mac was hanging on for dear life. Uh huh. See? It's not just me. Oooh, Airwolf is on next.

I felt the need for junk food today, which I rarely keep at home. I went up to the Fresh Market and got the following:

Vanilla Piroline cookies

Raspberry filled "Whippets" (not those kind of whippets, think Mallowmars)

hummus and baba ganouj and tortilla chips for dipping

miniature croissants and a can of almond paste (the bakery was out of almond croissants, so I'm making my own.)

a big bottle of Bolthouse Farms "C-Boost" juice smoothie...oh my god this is good! It has cherries, mangoes (which I normally don't like), apples, maitake mushrooms (!!!), echinacea (which may be misspelled) and 1200% of my daily Vitamin C needs in ONE GLASS!!!!! I know I'll drink the whole bottle this weekend, so that means I'll have 48 days worth of Vitamin C in two days. If that doesn't make me feel better, I don't know what will.

Embarrassed by my purchases, I felt the need to explain to the check-out girl that I wasn't feeling good. I think she thought I was a bit crazy.

On to the bus riding!

I finished my shopping and sat down to wait for the bus. An older woman sat down on the bench next to me and was talking to herself. A guy came over and sat down on the sidewalk and started smoking a cigarette. He had a giant Army olive green duffel bag backpack and was carrying a smaller black duffel bag. He looked vaguely like the kind of guy who would tell you he was crashing with a buddy while he was looking for a new place to live, if you know what I mean. When he got up the bottom of the green bag was dripping and wet. There was a puddle on the ground that hadn't been there before. A man pointed it out, but the guy said he had sat on something wet. Ooooo-kaaaaay. The man that pointed it out was with his very young daughter, 2 or 3 maybe. She was carrying a library book, which he told her not to lose because it cost $100. I'm sure she understood that one crystal clear. My favorite was this guy....he's wearing grey super baggy jeans and a white hooded sweatshirt. He asked me and the old lady if we had been waiting long. He then took out a full sized aerosol can, sprayed his right side, and put the can back into the front pocket. He walked around the brick column of the bus shelter and leaned up against the other column. I saw that he had the sticker on the leg of his jeans. 34x34, even though he looked more like a 30x30. He lifted up his sweatshirt to reach into his pants pocket and I saw that he still had the tags attached to the waistband too. Then I started wondering where he could have boosted them. The bus that runs by Cameron Village also goes to the mall. But why keep the stickers and tags? Luckily, all of the people got on the Number 12. I needed the Number 16. My bus came, I boarded and sat down behind...MSG! I usually see him on the bus on the weekends or evenings. He had also been grocery shopping.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's a good thing I'm pretty!

The last couple times I used my oven, it's been a little funky. Only the top element heats up. I could not for the life of me figure out why. It just started recently. I first noticed it when I made the bus cookies. I have a thermometer in the oven and the temperature is dead on. It's the most accurate oven I've ever had which is especially impressive given it's age. I lowered the rack since everything was BROILING!!!!!! This was driving me nuts. What the heck? I'm making cornbread right now and turned on the oven. Damned if the top element did heat up again.

And then it dawned on me....I cleaned the stove. I mean, I took it apart the stove and scrubbed everything. I removed the knobs, too. This is an older stove with two oven knobs. One has the temperature on it. The other has four word printed on it, "off, bake, off, broil." I put that knob on backwards. When I've been using the oven, I've been turning it on to BROIL, not BAKE. Big difference, people.

Kinda like when I moved in to this apartment and wanted to turn the temperature on the fridge down. I like a cold fridge, things keep longer. Except that I turned the temperature up instead. For a couple weeks, I couldn't figure out why everything was going bad so quickly! One friend even suggested maybe it hadn't been cleaned out very well and I had a fungus or something. Nope. I just made it too warm.

Speaking of cornbread....one box of Jiffy cornbread mix, one egg, 1/3 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of shredded jack cheese, three green onions sliced. Fry an egg over easy, so the yolk is nice and runny and put on a slice of cornbread. Yum!!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

I guess it doesn't take that long to cut 120,000 zip ties.

I am always leery of rides at the Fair. These rides are put together by individuals who, on their best day couldn't pass a GED* exam. I'm just saying is all. Not to be a snob, but...oh who am I kidding? I am a snob. I like rides in amusement parks. They are put together by engineers and welders. The rides at the Fair are portable. How many of us have moved that old bookshelf or futon I don't know how many times and this last time it was set up suddenly we were missing a couple screws when we went to put it together. Huh? Who's with me on this? Alright then. Do you mean to tell me that by the time these rides get to the North Carolina State Fair these ex-junkies still have in their possession all of the little ziploc baggies labeled with all of the screws they should have? I don't think so.

On the Saturday I went to the Fair, my friends wanted to ride the Ferris wheel. The really big one. The closer we got, the more my stomach hurt. That's long way to fall.

I agreed to go with them. The majority of the time we were in the round seat thingy (what do you call that?), the Ferris wheel wasn't moving. We were just swinging back and forth like a bird feeder in a stiff wind. Oh, did I mention there only supposed to be six people to a seat and we had eight? Um, yeah. As we're going up, I see zip ties. Lots of zip ties. You know, those little black plastic things you have holding all the cords behind the television set. The ever optimistic Kat tries to reassure me that they're only holding the lights on to the ride, but I'm not buying it. To be honest, once the ride actually started moving in the manner in which a Ferris wheel ride is expected to move, it was kinda fun. Like I said, I like rides. When built by engineers and welders. I'd totally ride a Ferris wheel at Six Flags. If they had such a thing. One of my favorite rides are the Bavarian Swings. At least that's what I think they're called.

You know, that thing. My point here, peoples, is that I ain't skeered. Okay? It's just the notion of the "portable pocket sized roller coaster" that makes the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up. And not in a good way.

Why do I bring all this up? I'll tell you why. When I went to work this morning, I passed the fairgrounds. The Ferris wheel I rode was up and most of the lights were on, as were the other two Ferris wheels present at the Fair this year. On my way home tonight, there were no Ferris wheels. Plural. As in all three had been dismantled. Expertly, no doubt, by the Certified Ride Technicians, I am sure. In the span of my work day, they took these three rides apart. Yes, yes, I am sure they have many people working on this, but it somehow doesn't seem right. And with any luck, they still have all of the Sharpie marker labeled baggies with all of the screws present and accounted for, before they move onto the next state fair.

*GED, for my non American readers, in case you don't have such a thing...is an exam one can take rather than completing high school and getting a diploma. It stands for General Something Something, I don't know what.

EDIT: Go here for info on the history of the Ferris Wheel.

Friday, October 24, 2008


The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board endorses Barack Obama for President. Bush carried Utah by 72% in the last election. This is huge.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Emergency update from the Fair!!!

She sold the hat! Auuugh! I am so disappointed!

Now, if you'll excuse me. I have to self medicate with deep fried mac'n'cheese.

Whadda ya think?

Should I buy the hat? It's only $30 in the Village of Yeateryear at the NC State Fair. Speak up, dear readers. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I'm attempting to upload a smattering of NC State Fair photos, but Blogger (or my connection to the Internets) is not working. I have tons more to post. I can't leave you hanging, can I?

Edit...Success! I finally got all of the pictures uploaded! Yay!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

2008 North Carolina State Fair, photographed

There was bus riding to the Fair.

Went with the Super Friends, from L-R: Jud, Kat, Julie, Pru. It wasn't until after I took about 20 pictures that I realized I had the camera set on macro. Sigh.

There were giant alligators.

There were one-armed carnies hawking rigged games.

There were giant smoked turkey legs. This was so good!

There was tons of fried foods. Anything you could think of, these people fried. I had a deep fried Milky Way. It was so good.

There was ice cream made by a John Deere tractor.

There were blacksmithing demonstrations.

There were tobacco displays. This is North Carolina, after all.

There was cow judging.

There were plenty of ribbons to go around.

A good time was had by all.