So I had a meeting today with some guy from some company who wants to sell me something--can you tell I get this alot and no longer care?--and on the way to the meeting my manager, Kara, leans over and whispers, "Bob is a really good-looking guy." Ha ha. Bob is short and round and his hairline starts about the midpoint of his scalp, leaving a good 6" of glistening forehead and pate. Oh, but Bob's charm didn't end there. No, no, no.
Creepy Bob, as I would now like to dub him, kept looking at me strangely while I was talking to him. It took me awhile to pin it down, but finally I noticed that wherever my hands went when I talked (I'm a hand talker, waving them around madly to emphasize a point), ONE of his eyes would follow. Then his entire head would nod or shift in that direction. Ewww. Weird.
On a more serious note, as many you saw in my blog yesterday, there was a sniper in my dad's building shooting at people there and on the nearby 5 and 134 freeways. I don't mind telling you I was a bit scared yesterday. Maybe more than a bit. I'm happy to report, though, that dad is okay. In fact, last I read/heard no injuries had been reported. Doesn't say much for this guy's skills as a sniper, but I'm pretty relieved! As Kathryn so rightly noted in response to yesterday's blog, my dad's 15 minutes of fame have now officially begun. Check out my dad, Mike Stage, here , where Ryan kindly put the article so that you didn't have to register on the LA Times site or deal with their obnoxiously large ads.
And one last thought I had this morning while listening to the news. I am just sick about the whole Laci Peterson case. She was my age. And while it's horrible for ANYone to be killed, the fact that she was pregnant makes it a million times worse to me. And then I see that hordes of disturbed women are proposing to Scott Peterson, Laci's husband, who is accused of killing her and their unborn son. What kind of people are these? I don't know about you, but I think that he's guilty, guilty, guilty. And I find it repellent that his defense attorney is trying to palm the whole episode off on some anonymous satanists. (Gee, maybe OJ should've thought of that) "If the traces of cement in my boat, my bizarre behavior after my wife's death, and my complete lack of remorse don't fit, you must acquit!" And, mysteriously, information keeps getting leaked to the media that shows only one side of things: Scott Peterson's. Gee, who could be leaking it?? I think I may hate criminal defense attorneys. How can they live with themselves? Ugh.
So my mom called me at work about an hour ago to ask me if I was watching the news. Uh...no...I'm at work. So she proceeded to tell me why she asked me such a strange question. Apparently a sniper has started shooting people in my dad's apartment building!!! My dad works nights, so he was asleep in his apartment when he heard a loud "pop, pop, pop" sound. Turns out some stray bullet had gone through his window and become embedded in the wall across from the window. I shudder to think what would have happened had he been awake and moving around the apartment.
Evidently this guy with a heavy-powered air rifle started shooting up the apartments around him and the police in riot gear that tried to get closer to find out just what his beef is. Oh yeah, and he's shooting at cars on the freeway!! So they've closed off the 5 freeway N & S at Alameda, as well as the 134W transition to these freeways--those of you commuting to that region, like Jenny, may want to consider checking a traffic site to ensure that it has cleared before making the drive. (Here's a good one)
Okay, so I wrote that first half some time ago, before going into a long meeting (today's a perfect day for the meeting department, Jenny!), so now some information has been posted. As of two hours ago, Mr. Sniper was still holed up in the apartment and had fired more than 60 shots (no injuries reported).
So when last I checked in with dad, he was lying on the floor in his apartment, craning his neck to peer out of the very bottom of his window. The news came on while I was on the phone with him, and the newscaster announced that the police originally wanted to evacuate the tenants, but the sniper started shooting at them when they tried to leave their apartments. So then the police wisely decided to tell the tenants to stay IN their apartments, instead. Good idea! I don't know about you, but I certainly wouldn't be too keen to go strolling out of my apartment while I madman with a gun was hanging out in his apartment with a bone to pick, nothing to lose, and a weapon!
I don't get these people. What could possibly be SO bad that it necessitates grabbing a rifle and indiscriminately shooting a bunch of unarmed people? And, sure, road rage...but picking off cars on the 5 from your apartment??
Hmmm, how to condense my long weekend in San Francisco into a very brief blog so that I can get back to work? I guess I'll just give the highlights.
This was my first trip to SF, so we wanted to get in some of the touristy stuff. So, here goes: took a trolley car to Fisherman's Wharf for clam chowder in a sourdough bowl; shopping on Pier 39; watching the sea lions; rode on the outside of a cable car (fearing for my life); Ghirardelli Square (double chocolate hot chocolate with real whipped cream--yum!); Chinatown--lots of stuff for cheap, spent loads of money that I don't really have buying gifts for my family (and Jason bought me the cutest little cat-shaped teapot!); walked across Golden Gate bridge both ways and couldn't see a darn thing for the fog; had tea and took lots of pictures in the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate park; saw Queen Wilhelmina's tulip garden, also in GG park--no tulips, by the way; giant windmill; had lunch and listened to music at a blues festival in the music concourse of GG park; walked to the beach at the end of the park; went back to the GG bridge for the first clear day of my trip, drove across the bridge and took pictures from Vista Point in Marin County (other side of the bridge from SF). Whew!
And in a nutshell, that was my trip. Fun, fun, fun! And man are my legs sore from the hills. By the way, if you ever travel to SF, make sure to pack a sweater!! Silly Stephanie only had capris, tank tops and sandals. Oh well, I got a nice fleece sweatshirt out of it. ;)
The British are so dang funny. Some people think they are too dry or somber, but I totally get them. I think that I was actually meant to be British--and quite possibly born in the late nineteenth century--but something went wrong and I was shot down the wrong chute and here I am: an American, typically ignorant of the world's social scene. Anyway, I was reading a satire site that I recently discovered called Drink From The Furry Cup. Apparently this site has been around for a bit, but doesn't get updated a whole lot.
I was reading their most recent news story dated 6 January 2003 (well, it's recent to someone with no temporal awareness...) The title is Harry Potter Sells More Copies Than The Bible.
This prompts me to make the confession that I am totally absorbed by the Harry Potter books. I realize that the target audience is ostensibly 9-12 year-olds, but in my defense, they are very complex books, beloved by adults everywhere. Anyway, I am currently obsessed, so this title particularly stood out to me. In the course of the 'article' the author explains that Harry Potter sales have overtaken those of the Bible. He goes on to list the top 10 books of all time. Of which I'm going to include 8 because I think the other two may be 'inside jokes' for Brits--okay, so I don't ALWAYS get their humor.
1) Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (or 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' in the US)
2) The Bible
3) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (or 'Harry Potter and the Room of Stuff you don't know about' in the US)
4) Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung
5) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaber (or 'Harry Potter and the Battlefield Detainee of Rouge Arab State' in the US)
6) American Spelling Book by Noah Webster
7) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (or 'Harry Potter and the Hot Cup' in the US)
8) The Guinness Book of Records
Read the beginning of the article if you are interested in British humor, Harry Potter, theology, or mocking any of the three:
It was announced today that the number of copies sold of 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' have over taken sales figures for the previous all time best seller 'The Bible'. The author of 'The Bible', God, admitted to being "a bit miffed" about this. Go on if you are interested in more.
If not for the Beatles, would there be oldies stations? Because it seems that they play Beatles songs about every 3.5 minutes on oldies stations...
Not only do geeks like me, but I am apparently their queen.
Our technical services manager is reputed to be somewhat difficult to work with, yet I haven't had any problems with him. Today I found out why. Because of my Mulder & Scullyaction figures. Naturally.
Standing guard on my desk are the little Mulder & Scully action figures from the X-Files Movie, and he noticed them and started talking to me about them. And telling me about his collection in a glass case at home of all of the female action figures from comics and movies. And the website to pre-order the Matrix figures. He's already ordered Neo & Trinity.
They are exceptionally well made figurines, I'll give him that. But I'm not really looking to start a collection. At any rate, we are now best friends. I should soon be able to get him and all of the techies in his department to do my bidding! Bwahahahahaha!!!
Know what I don't get? Why someone who has come close to dying would say that they have a new lease on life. If you've been at death's door and been able to come back, wouldn't you want to buy life, instead of just leasing? A lease usually doesn't extend beyond 5 years, whereas when you buy you can go for many more years. I think we should say that we have a new purchase on life. Or a new contract with life. Just a thought.
So busy......ugh......drowning in work.........argh...................my horizon through the month of August looks like a sea of phone calls, paperwork, organization and presentations..........drowning..............uh-oh....................glug......................
Arrrrrrrgggggggh! Ugggggghhhhhh! Say it isn't so!
I heard on the radio this morning that GWB and Tony Blair have been nominated (again) for the Nobel Peace Prize by some uber-conservative Norwegian guy. I searched on Google this morning and came up with a bunch of hits from when they were nominated in 2002 (blah! ick!), but not so many for 2003. I did find this one, though, if you are interested in finding out more.
I also found an online petition, but I'm not sure whether it's relevant anymore because it says that the deadline was April 19th. Also it's listed on a site that appears to be some kind of hub for petitions (it has something like a bazillion others for everything from re-naming pet owners to pet guardians, to keeping polar bears out of the circus).
Here's my problem: Isn't war-mongering antithetical to a prize that is awarded in honor of peace? According to the provisions in place for the awarding of the Nobel prize, the winner of the Peace Prize "shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."
Reckless and ever-expanding pursuit of war is not peace, and awarding the Peace Prize for massive world-wide military campaigns would be a slap in the face to peace and justice activists worldwide!
I just read John Lin's blog, and he has coined a word that I am so going to steal--nerditude. After all, the term is applicable to a good many of my friends. :)
Why don't they just convert the fast lane into the SUV lane and be done with it?!?!
I cannot even begin to express the depth of my scorn for those gargantuan behemoths clogging the freeways of So Cal. There was a time, as many of you know, that I was a proponent of the SUV. I thought I would surely get one of my own. Then I began commuting daily and found out how monstrous these vehicles are. These things are enormous--as wide as the entire lane and eight feet tall, making it impossible to see what is happening with traffic ahead. I don't know about you, but I was taught that when driving you should be looking three cars ahead of you to see what traffic looks like and be prepared. Well, that's just not going to happen when you are behind one of these, now, is it?
I swear that one of the reasons for my car accident in 2000 that killed my beloved green Saturn, Griffin (may he rest in pieces) was a ginormous white SUV. It was speeding along its merry way on the 134 freeway ahead of me, blocking my vision of road conditions and traffic patterns ahead, and then suddenly swerved out of the way, leaving me to plow right into the backside of a stalled truck. The insurance company asked why I wasn't paying attention to the traffic ahead. Uh...how could I??? I couldn't see a blessed thing!
I don't see how anyone can, in good conscience, drive an SUV--particularly now. Whether you believe that the recent war in Iraq was waged entirely for oil, partially for oil, or had no connection to oil at all, the fact is that the U.S. is already developing the oil reserves under Iraq. And I personally don't care for being party to death and destruction in the name of 'Texas Tea'. It's well-known that SUVs are tremendous gas-guzzlers. Who wants to spend hundreds of dollars more than they have to on gas to drive an SUV??
I think that gigantic SUV ownership is a slap in the face to all other drivers on the freeways. It's like the drivers of the SUVs are saying that they don't care about the safety of the rest of us, they'll drive however the heck they want because they're behind the wheel of a freakin' tank! On the whole, they drive recklessly, zipping in and out of traffic at a rate completely unsuitable to the size of the vehicle.
What has prompted this diatribe, dear reader, is the advent of the H2 as a commercially available passenger vehicle. This @#$%^&* vehicle was originally designed for military use--I believe that conditions for the military are ever so slightly different than that of the average suburbanite cruising the 405. If you're navigating through the desert in hostile territory, this is your vehicle. If you're under fire, the Hummer is for you. But you can't seriously tell me that the terrain in Los Angeles is rugged enough to require the use of a Hummer!!!! Urban warfare, you nod sagely. Sure, because if you can afford to drive an H2, you are clearly living in a dangerous neighborhood.
These damn things block all views on the road and have tinted windows so that even if you could see high enough to view through their rear window, you certainly don't stand a chance of being able to see past them. So I heard that there was a report filed explaining that the H2 only got 11 miles to the gallon! That's just insane. Who in their right mind would spend the kind of money necessary to maintain this ridiculous piece of machinery? I also heard that when they surveyed 100 H2s, they found 235 instances of faultiness. So it's a deathrap, too. Great.
Oh, and speaking of cars, don't forget to check out my new friend Mike's site dedicated to the Lincoln Mark VIII. As Mike has patiently explained to me, the Mark VIII is not a sedan as I mistakenly said in one of my previous blogs, but a coupe because it only has two doors. It's 80 feet long....but it only has two doors. So if you want to see a picture of this uber-coupe, (props to Ryan for the cool terminology for the Mark VIII) click here. ;)
Peace out, homies.
I've been having weird dreams lately. Like the one I had on Monday night. In my dream, I received some huge 20-page reports from two guys who I'd gone on dates with. They were part of some service I had joined that set you up on dates and then followed up with these comprehensive reports from each of your dates critiquing you. The thing was, it was a year since I'd gone on the dates. And when you received the report, you had to go to this dinner where the tables were set in long rows with a phone at each place, and you had to call the people that critiqued you and discuss why they rated you as they did.
The first guy I called was brutal. He called me names and insulted me. I was very upset and got off the phone. I called the second guy who acted remorseful; he told me that I was the best date he'd been on in terms of compatibility, but that I was a very mean person. (Strangely, in my dream I knew that the second guy looked exactly like my college boss' son David--he was a hottie.)
I then became the omniscient viewer and saw some guy who was testing his new fishing pole with sights on it like a gun, and as he looked through the sights, he saw this big guy with long hair and a large, white cowboy hat beating someone up in a neighboring apartment. Fishing pole guy snuck into the hall outside the apartment where the action was taking place and saw the guy with the white cowboy hat leaving--and he looked oddly like Meatloaf (yes, that Meatloaf).
Then I was back in the dream, and ran into fishing pole guy. And we started running as Meatloaf started shooting at me. But instead of bullets he was shooting these big, solid white plastic Easter eggs. And they hurt! Fishing pole guy ducked back into his apartment, but Meatloaf kept coming after me. Then suddenly, the police were there, arresting him.
The next time I saw Meatloaf he was in an orange jumpsuit, and they had shaved his head. He no longer looked like Meatloaf, but now looked like Jason Statham from those Guy Ritchie movies, Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, and Snatch.
And come to find out that the Jason Statham/Meatloaf look-alike was my former date who had been so mean to me on the phone. He was married and had all of these little kids, and the gun he was using to shoot me with the Easter eggs belonged to one of his sons. And he was shooting me for being a bad date.
Is this not an absolutely bizarre dream?!?!
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Today people will celebrate Mexico's 1862 victory over the French at La Batalla de Puebla with loads of delicious Mexican foods--my personal favorite--and large quantities of alcohol, particularly tequila. I'm not entirely certain why Cinco de Mayo celebrations have taken on the form of rampant alcoholism, but I do know it's a great time for celebrating with friends and family.
Yesterday Jason and I went to the festivities at Pasadena City Hall. We had alimento mejicano delicioso --yummy carne asada tacos with rice & beans. We listened to a great Latin Jazz band and talked to some wonderful, warm people. There were little girls doing traditional dance, and some nutjob guy dancing with a cane for a partner. We even got some tamales to take home for dinner from the Juanito's booth--if you are not familiar with them, Juanito's is a tamale institution in East L.A., creating and serving the world's greatest tamales. My family has them at Christmastime every year. I made spanish rice, and Jason made fresh corn tortilla strips. Quite a fiesta for two!
Enjoy the day, enjoy the food, enjoy the people!
Jason and I have found the real Chamber of Secrets.
Whether you are familiar with the Harry Potter story or not, this irrefutable evidence will prove how right we are.
1) Lord Voldemort (Harry's mortal enemy) left a lightning bolt-shaped scar on Harry's forehead. And Voldemort's symbol is a snake. In my bathroom a strange shape has appeared on the mirror when it is fogged up after a shower. It is a serpent-like symbol, almost lightning bolt-shaped. But wait, there's more.
2) Spiders fear the monster in the chamber. Spiders have featured prominently lately in my life, showing up in unprecedented numbers.
3) In the book/movie, Harry and his friends find that the monster lives where the bathroom pipes end. As far as I'm concerned, this is the clincher! If you were to travel down the pipes from my bathroom, you'd end up in my neighbor's apartment. As many of you know well, she IS a monster.
So there you have it folks, proof that the real live Chamber of Secrets is in Monrovia. It's a bit frightening to go to sleep at night, knowing that the monster could at any moment navigate it's way into my apartment and kill me with one glance of its evil eye. But sometimes you have to be brave. That or pour LOTS of Drano down the pipes on a regular basis.
I'm in real trouble now.
The black widow body is gone from the ground in my parking slot. This leads me to believe that one of two things has occurred:
1) She was not really dead. She was just lulling me into a false sense of security and when I get home from work after dark, one of these days, she's goinig to be waiting for me in a darkened corner with a very large and very sticky web.
2) She really was dead, and all of her little black widow spider children (and they have a lot of them) carried her carcass away for a ceremony. At this ceremony they plotted the downfall of the gargantuan and yet remarkably stupid human who killed mom--ME! (gulp!)
Either way, I think the time is drawing nigh at which I will be forced to shuffle off this mortal coil. Stupid spiders!
.....Er, I mean, I love spiders! Spiders are great! And if any spiders are reading this, I would never, NEVER kill one of you guys. No way. Uh-uh. You guys rock!
The spiders are out to get me.
There was a big, gigantic, monstrous black widow spider who formed it's crazy spiderweb by my car in my covered parking slot at home. I would skirt by the web, only inches away, slinking along my car, hoping the spider would just go away. It didn't. (I would find you a nice picture of the spider's web, but the Internet photos of the spiders are starting to creep me out, and I keep feeling like there are spiders crawling on me!)
I then tried subtly complaining about it to Jason so that he would take care of it (once again reinforcing my belief that men do not get subtlety, and must be hit over the head with something before they understand what it is you want of them).
Finally I was forced to wait until evening last Saturday (because the beast would hide during daylight hours) and attack her with a can of Raid from a safe distance of 2 or 3 feet, just in case she decided to jump at me like those spiders in the movie Arachnaphobia. One might say I engaged in a little bit of overkill, as I emptied about 1/2 the can at her, continuing even as she lay writhing on the ground, but I've seen enough horror films to know that that is NOT the moment to lean in and check to see whether the creature is dead.
So now this morning, I pulled back the shower curtain and was about to step in when I saw a hairy, scary evil looking spider much like this sitting right there on the liner, just below eye level, waiting for me. I SCREAMED, grabbed the hairspray and let him have it. The damn thing was invincible. He just clung there, as if to spite me. I finally had to smush him with a Skecher.
I think that I've upset the balance in the whole human/spider thing. The dead, vast body of the widow is cemented to the floor in my parking area by Raid, forcing me to climb over her carcass whenever I need to get in or out of my car. This is a twice-daily reminder of my perfidy. Is there some kind of spider mafia? If so, I'm toast.
Now that I know they're out to get me, I have to watch my back. And front. And hair. I get the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it. Eeewww!