If You Can't Say Something Nice...

If You Can't Say Something Nice...
Say Something Vague

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Let's Talk About Sox, Baby!

For those keeping track at home, my sock is progressing admirably.  Since I don't have a digital camera or a picture phone, I can't give you real time updates with pictures, so here is someone else's picture of a sock that is approximately where I'm at on my own (the first picture).

Haha, I just got directed to this T-shirt through Atrios' site.

And Josh Marshall notes the "surprising" capture of an al Qaida suspect in Pakistan--remember the much reported demand by the Bush administration that Pakistan produce a baddie during the Democratic Convention?  A-MA-zing how it just happened to come true!  These guys are good.

You know, I like my job, but sometimes I think it would be nice to get paid a salary to stay home and knit or read books.  Maybe I could also eat unlimited quantities of chocolate and pasta (no, not together), washed down with Diet Coke with Lime.  And sleep a lot.  And never gain weight from this slothful--but rewarding--lifestyle.  There's only so many times you can rewrite the corporate overview and keep it 'interesting'.  But there are millions of yarns and books just waiting for me to dedicate my life to them.  Not to mention Ghirardelli.  What are the odds that someone will want to finance this for me, do you suppose?  .........

Do I hear crickets chirping?  [sigh]  Then I guess I'll get back to that wildly exciting corporate overview.  Oh, the excitement!

|| Stephanie 2:27 PM

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I Feel Like A Bandwagon Jumper

I know I'm in great peril of sounding like everyone else whose blogs I read regularly (i.e.: Susan, Kat, etc.) when I post about this, but I had the exact same thoughts about Barack Obama last night when watching him on PBS at the Democratic Convention.

I did have the advantage of knowing a little about him because he is the darling of the political blogosphere, and Kos and Atrios have been hawking this guy for awhile.  But I've been looking forward to finally hearing/seeing him live.

And I was not disappointed.  I know exactly what they've been captivated by.  Articulate, impressive, confident, educated, Obama knows what he's talking about.  Wow.  I imagine he's appealing to just about any Democrat, not to mention a few Republicans.  I especially liked "there's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America." That's the kind of talk that gets you elected to some pretty impressive positions.

Obama is fascinating, too, because he's not even been elected to the U.S. Senate for Illinois yet (although he is a state senator).  He's considered a shoe-in for the seat, but he's not there yet.  There was some commentary after Obama's speech by a few pundits (I only remember one of them was David Brooks), and one guy commented that Obama was president of the Harvard Law Review, what he referred to as "the most prestigious job in the country."  He then smiled and said, "President of the U.S. would be second."

I also wanted to say, although it makes it sound like I'm copying all the rest of you, that while listening to Obama speak I turned to The Boy and said that he (Obama) was very charismatic and had the audience in the palm of his hand.  I then thought to myself, "Wow, we're looking at the first African-American president of the U.S."  Not a moment later one of the pundits said the exact same thing.  Then this morning both Kat and Susan said the same thing on their blogs (so did Eric Alterman).  Great minds and all that...

Kos has some interesting info on the Republican reaction to Obama, if you're interested.

I'm feeling more positive today.  I guess that's the point of the Convention: rally the troops.  Even if the troops are frustrated 28-year-old Marketers in conservative Orange County, CA.  Let's get fired up, and like Lisa said, "support the new JFK."  To which I would add, "And all the other Democrats who really want to make a difference!"

|| Stephanie 9:59 AM

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

He's Still Got It

Listening to Bill Clinton speak at the Democratic National Convention on NPR last night--and then rushing upstairs to catch the last bit on PBS--I have to say it: Daaaamn, he's good.

No matter what you think about Clinton personally, he really is a silver-tongued devil.  That man can speak!  You can look at the transcript of what he spoke on last night and, while it's good, it's not the kind of good that makes you shout "YEAH!" while reading, clapping and stomping your feet (maybe just the occasional quiet "mmm-hmmm").  But when you hear him actually speaking, he is moving.  He is powerful.  He's probably the best showman there is.

Bill Clinton is self-assured, humorous, confident and completely at-home before an audience.  He doesn't speak down to the people, nor does he revert to aw-shucks down-homey fakeness to try to position himself as Everyman.  There is a heck of a lot that Kerry can learn from him.  I am a staunch liberal, and will vote for Kerry, but Bill Clinton's speech underscored Kerry's deficiencies.  Kerry seems uncomfortable in a crowd.  Somewhat shy.  And he can't seem to shake his upper-crust, hyper-educated manner of public discourse.

While I abhor the way W poses and preens as "The Man of the People", somehow he (or, more likely, his team) have managed to tarnish the polish on this guy whose family could probably buy and sell the Kerrys 10x over so that Joe Shmoe thinks that this guy is just like him.

It's the only way that I can account for such a close race in light of the legion of scandals plaguing this administration.  The worst intelligence ever used, bar none, to incite the ardor of the American people for an unwarranted war.  Exposing a deep-cover CIA agent.  Ignoring the threat of known terrorists.  Abu Ghraib.  Lying, lying, lying.  And still he manages to maintain in the high 40%s.

Clinton, on the other hand, emphasized optimism and the need to focus on the things that truly matter to the American people.  While this administration wants us to live in fear so that we unquestioningly surrender our personal rights and freedoms, bending our own will to theirs, Clinton recalls the many, many achievements of the US prior to this administration taking hold of the White House.  He harkens back to the days when the middle class was the linchpin of American culture, not the overtaxed, overworked, overburdened class, forced to bear the brunt of the tax responsibility and make up for the lost revenue of the outrageous tax cuts heaped upon the few gazillionaires.

When Clinton speaks, we should all listen.  Are we happier now than we were 4 years ago?  Unless your name is Gates, Bush, Cheney, Murdoch, et al., it is highly unlikely that you have reaped any rewards from this administration.  Instead, it is your social security that is being depleted; yourself or your child who may be forced to fight in hostile territory for a baseless, corporate profiteering war.  It is your freedoms that are being hijacked and your jobs that are being lost.  Is it worth it?  I don't think so.

While Kerry may not be the next Clinton (let's face it, there's not likely to be another one like him for a very long time), at least he embraces the values of the many, and not the few special interest lobbies that keep W afloat.  I think that he's going to be a heck of a lot more open to social reconstruction, domestic policy, and the needs of the US citizens than Bush would ever be.

If I could vote for Clinton again, I absolutely would.  He oozes charm like nobody's business, but he has a track record that defies replication.  He made extremely poor personal decisions while in office, but we all prospered under his professional leadership.  He faced more than his share of scandals, but they were almost always generated by anti-Clintonites seeking to install a corporate puppet in office--and after 8 years of building America, they got their chance.  And it only took them 4 years to undo everything achieved during those 8 years.

This post is really free association.  It's just my thoughts based on what I saw last night and have observed over the last few years.  I've had the honor of seeing Bill Clinton speak live in Santa Barbara in 1996, and he's even more astonishing in person.  After all this, I'm still left with one thought:

Daaaaaamn, he's good.

|| Stephanie 10:48 AM

Monday, July 26, 2004

|| Stephanie 4:24 PM

The Unbearable Cuteness of Ian

This weekend we had my three little sisses for the weekend (Rachel [8], Nikki [7], Lexi [4.9]).  Here they are last time they were with us--on Balboa Island, eating ice cream in the cold, cold evening.


Hmm.  My parenting skills might need a little work. 

Anyway, what fun we had this weekend.  Friday I took the girls for manicures and pedicures with me.  They were SO excited;  I just loved it.  They each got their toes and fingernails painted, with flowers on both thumbs and big toes, for $10/each.  I thought that was pretty reasonable.  We ate A LOT of things that Weight Watchers would scold me for and went to the beach (which, if you know me, you know is a mixed bag: love the peace, love the majesty; not so much love for the sand, saltwater and feeling of not being 100% clean).

Sunday we took the girls to lunch at Island's after church, and there we met up with my dear friend Desiree who now lives in Azusa (very close to Pasadena).  She lived in Brea when I was in Monrovia, so I thought moving to Anaheim would mean I'd see her more (due to the relative closeness of the cities).  Then she went and bought a condo back near Monrovia!  After lunch we took the girls home and hung out with the 'rents for awhile.  We watched Mona Lisa Smile.  I liked the young girls in it (Julia Stiles, Kirsten Dunst, etc.), but actually felt like the story was really incomplete.  It seemed to be missing a good chunk of exposition about Julia Roberts' character.

But the most exciting part of yesterday was that Julie and Rob called me (see previous post) to tell me that they were passing through the San Fernando Valley on their way home from his parents house where they'd been visiting, and they wanted to know if they could stop by my parents' house to show off Ian.  You betcha!

So, lucky me, I got to hold beautiful baby Ian for something like two hours.  Just hold him, tickle his little chin and his adorable little round baby feet.  I even got to feed him and burp him.  I know that this probably sounds mundane to anyone who is already a mom or who just tolerates babies, but I love babies.  I want one.  Badly.  But I've got a few years yet before I can get one.  (After I, oh, say...get married.  And The Boy finishes school so he can be around to help me.  Let's face it.  I'm a wimp and I get cranky really easily.  We're going to need to be able to tag-team.)

Oh, it was lovely.  He's just as beautiful in person as his pictures suggest.  Here's an earlier picture of him, when he was really new

Don't you just want to eat him up?!

Lastly, I'm knitting my very first socks with the help of a Wednesday night sock knitting class.  If you've never seen anyone knitting socks, let me tell you: it looks dangerous.  Look at the picture on this page to see what it looks like.  Then throw in an extra needle, and you have what I'm working on.  Starting with five needles, each with the diameter of about a toothpick, and 6" long, the knitting is done in a tube.  In order to move onto the next--complicated--step of turning the heel (going from knitting straight, to curve the heel of the sock), my instructor has asked us to have 6" of length completed by Wednesday.

Saturday I dropped one of my needles in The Boy's car.  It rolled under the seat, never to be seen again.  I even violated several child labor laws and had my little sister crawling around the passenger area of the car, reaching and peering under the passenger's seat.  Then I was stuck.  My knitting store is closed on Sundays and Mondays, Michael's doesn't carry them (they're too specialized) and I couldn't find another place that had them. 

Cue The Boy.  If you can believe this, he took a wooden chopstick from Panda Express and a Swiss Army knife and whittled me a temporary knitting needle until I can find a store selling them and buy a new set (because, naturally, you have to buy 4 or 5 at a time).  And it actually works!  It looked like shaping it so that it matched the diameter of the other 4 needles was the hardes part, but it's pretty darn good.  I mean, it's not the machine-manufactured, soft bamboo of the $10 Crystal Palace needles, but it's an awfully good facsimile made from a chopstick!!  I guess that's just Reason #765,897,345 to love The Boy.

|| Stephanie 3:12 PM

Thursday, July 22, 2004

World, say hello to Ian Christopher Lowry

My friend Julie and her husband Rob had a baby boy at the end of May, and this is the first picture I've seen.


I think I'm in love.


|| Stephanie 10:42 AM

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

My brilliant friends...

Our computer at home appears to have been hijacked by the searchexe hijacker.  The problem is, we can't even get to any websites to download anything like adaware to try to catch it.  It's embedded in the registry or something like that.  So my question is, is there a definitive site that any of you know of for dealing with this insidious thing that has made my home computer completely unusable?  Will the regular Adaware or Spybot S&D free downloads be able to take care of it?  I should just be able to download something at work onto CD and boot with it at home to take care of the mess during startup, right?

Also, my Spybot S&D at work keeps coming up with two instances of a DSO Exploit everytime I run Spybot.  I 'fix the problem' each time, but it's back the next time.  Does a DSO Exploit do something bad to my computer or open me up for ugliness?  Is there a way to get rid of it for good?

Any help in these areas will be greatly appreciated, my genius computer pals!


P.S. Comforter Count: +1


UPDATE: I fixed the DSO Exploit thing all by myself!  There was some information on a post-board for working with the Spybot Advanced Features.  Yea!  Still not sure about searchexe, though...


|| Stephanie 9:34 AM

Monday, July 19, 2004


For some reason the direct link to this guy's blog isn't working, but you have to see this picture.

It's a mosaic composed of the photos of the American service men and women who have died in Iraq (as of 4/4/04). No photograph is used more than three times.

This is the 'medium-sized' version,  800 x 925 pixels.

|| Stephanie 1:31 PM

Ain't Democracy Grand?

Last week I had a sales training that I spent all my time preparing documents for that turned out to be unnecessary because we are changing messaging AGAIN.  Then I was in the actual training for two days.  Now I have a million deliverables based on the changing messages and the newsletter (which Jenny has designed--thank goodness for brilliant designer friends!).  So, naturally, I'm going to take a few moments and blog about the things that have captured my attention over the last week and I haven't had time to blog about (and, frankly, still don't, but oh well).


First up, Rep. Corinee Brown (D-Jacksonville), had some choice words on the House floor last Thursday night.  Debate started over a proposed bill that would provide international oversight of the November U.S. Election.  Brown was censured for saying, "I come from Florida, where you and others participated in what I call the United States coup d'etat. We need to make sure that it doesn't happen again. Over and over again after the election when you stole the election, you came back here and said get over it. No we're not going to get over it and we want verification from the world."

Truer words are seldom spoken on the House floor, my friends!


So the U.S.-approved leader of the 'free' Iraq is not a clean cut, true democratic leader??  Your kidding, right?  After all, that's why we went in there, isn't it?  Apparently not, if you read this or this.

Days before the 'transfer of power' Iyad Allawi [allegedly--cough, cough] killed some Iraqi prisoners in true gangland fashion.  In front of several witnesses.  Ah, well, I'm sure that this is what the founding fathers meant by democracy.  (BTW, oh-so-surprisingly this has been covered exhaustively by non-U.S. news sources and only two or three U.S.-based papers.  Ah, the power of the 'liberal' media and their biases!)

But the fun doesn't stop there.  Oh no.  Allawi has also declared that he has the power to declare martial law to deal with terrorism and insurgencies.  It's all over the place--especially 'cause it's backed by The Bush Boys.  You can read about it here or here or here.

Awww, democracy.  Can you taste it Iraq?  Can you?


Just a little observation.  The lawyer representing Bush in the Plame case, James E. Sharp, is also defending Ken Lay in the Enron case.  I'm sure it's just a coincidence.  After all, Bush has repeatedly claimed that he barely knows that "Kenny Boy" Lay guy.


So Rick Santorum's (R-Pennsylvania) take on the gay marriage issue is that gay marriage will lead to children born out of wedlock.  Anyone want to explain that one to me?

Um...to put it delicately, gay relationships, by anatomical definition, cannot lead to reproduction.  And even if they could, these couples WANT to get married, which means that any children born to that union would be born in wedlock.  So...I don't get his argument.


According to Bush in Oak Ridge, TN, last week, the American people are safer now that Iraq is a breeding ground for terrorists, Tom Ridge has indicated that America faces a true, imminent threat from al-Qaeda before the election in November, and terrorist attacks are increasing world-wide.  Jon Stewart?  What do you think? 

Speaking of Jon Stewart, if you don't have cable (like me) or have it but don't watch The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (for shame!), you really should start.  It is smart, witty, timely and a heck of a lot more questioning of the powers-that-be than your average news show.  In case you didn't know, you can go to Comedy Central's site for the show and watch clips.  That's how I keep up. 


Lastly, this poster on Atrios' Eschaton site makes some excellent points about the 'values debate' currently underway, in which Republican and Democrat alike want to say exactly the same thing to sway the undecided voter.  Why not, instead, look at values that you know you can win on?  For instance, Bush wants to pretend he's all pro-immigration, pro-women, pro-any-factor-that-might-swing-the-vote.  So call him on it!

"It's time for a radical redefinition of what constitutes the 'values issues' in this election. Instead of trying to be slightly less craven than the other guy, slightly less offensive on what Bush defines as 'values issues,' we should raise our own, what we consider 'values.' And then make him try to out-liberal us.  It's not that crazy. The reverse has been working for years."

Read her comments; they make a lot of sense.


Oh, and for you curious souls, I'm afraid I don't have much of a Comforter Update.  I know that we are +1 over last week, but I suspect that there are many that I'm missing.

I was working late all of last week and didn't get home till after the Comforter Queen had gone into her lair with all windows and doors shut tight against prying eyes such as mine.  And, I'm sorry to say, reconnaissance is not The Boy's forte.  He couldn't tell me whether when he saw her returning home if she was carrying more comforters or pillows.  I will try to be a better sentry this week.  Or train The Boy to do so.


|| Stephanie 10:58 AM

Monday, July 12, 2004

More Bad Stuff

Kat mentioned in my comments this new fascination by Bushco with postponing elections should there be a terrorist attack on election eve or election day. It's funny she brought it up because it was going to be my main blog subject today. As Josh Marshall writes, "But my understanding is that we already have a policy in place on postponements: i.e., we don't do them."

The more I hear or read about the subject, the more I grow suspicious of what Marshall calls the "unseemly eagerness on the part of the White House to canvass ideas (embodied in legislation) for a possible delay of the November election in the event of a terrorist attack." More here.

Dontcha think it's a bit transparent to be floating this trial balloon around? Hmmm? If a terrorist attack were to occur, and Bush then postponed the elctions, using the authority he got by a safety measure that his team just so happened to pursue out of the blue in July...um, who would buy that?

And what of this nice little contradiction? Ridge warned Thursday that al Qaeda terrorists were planning a large-scale attack on the United States "in an effort to disrupt the democratic process." and " Ridge said he had no specific or credible information about threats to the political conventions." Wow, these guys are super at intelligence gathering, eh?


And what of this? "The Pakistani government is really desperate and wants to flush out bin Laden and his associates after the latest pressures from the U.S. administration to deliver before the [upcoming] U.S. elections." Also, according to an ISI [Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence] (ISI) official, a White House aide said last spring that "it would be best if the arrest or killing of [any] HVT [high value target, such as OBL, al-Zawahiri, or Mullah Mohammed Omar] were announced on twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight July"--the first three days of the Democratic National Convention in Boston."

Is it just me, or does that seem just the teeniest bit self-serving? Anticipating big bounces in the polls, they would knock out coverage of the Dem convention in the papers and on TV. And doesn't making these kind of demands sort of imply that they know it is possible to do this? Implying that it could have been done at other times, but wasn't convenient for the administration?


A few funnies.

First, from the Onion [gotta love 'em!], there are times I definitely know I have this!

Click here for a great protest message. We need this on the 101, 5, 405, etc. out here in SoCal.

And, finally, make Georgie do your bidding! He's not quite the Subservient Chicken, but you can make him say some of those things you've been thinking about him. "I'm a moron. I only got this office because of my daddy's friends. I'm ruining this whole damned country, but heck, I'll be out of here after I lose the election! I'm moving to Saudi Arabia, where my good friend Prince Bandar and I can go play golf everyday!"

Okay, maybe he can't say that, but you can definitely play around with him a bit.

|| Stephanie 3:54 PM

Friday, July 09, 2004

Stuff I've Missed

I've been so busy at work, and the so-called liberal media has been so inept, that I haven't heard about these fascinating happenings. Have you?


Michigan GOP gathers names for Nader. Gee, do you think if he were a real threat to the Right that they would be going to so much effort to support him?!?


The Associated Press filed, in accordance with the Freedom Of Information Act, for documents pertaining to Bush's record in the Texas Air National Guard. When the White House released their records a couple months back, some information was 'mysteriously' missing. The AP sought to get the rest of the info. But due to some strange cosmic alignment, the records are no longer available. As Josh Marshall so eloquently puts it here, "This guy just can't catch a break." He goes on to explain a bit more about "the president's latest brush with cruel fate." For more, you can go here and to the subsequent links on Kos' site (a good site, indeed, for pretty up-to-the minute politicking, btw).


This may be the first (and last) time I will ever have kudos for Donald Trump, but if you haven't seen him fire GWB yet, go here. Hee hee. You can also read this pseudo-article. Dare I say, "You go, Trumpy!" Hmmm, maybe not. But I do like what he has to say re: Dubya... And, no, I would NOT vote for him.


Did you hear about Richard Riordan's antics in Santa Barbara. What a jerk. Sounds like little Isis is more of an adult that good ol' Richie Rich.


Just for the record, I'm not responsible for the guy making all the changes to Jenny's work. I think she's fabulous! But his inability to make a decision is not unique to him; instead it is rather peculiarly endemic to my entire company. It's been a rough couple of weeks on the Marketing front, I must say!


Current Comforter Count: Holding steady at 9. We went out to dinner last night and missed the Comforter Queen's homecoming to see whether she added to her stash. My latest theory is that she's turning her entire apartment into one big moon bounce. No shoes allowed!

|| Stephanie 11:16 AM

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Today's comforter count: +2

|| Stephanie 10:41 AM

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Blankets & Books

A new neighbor moved into our apartment building recently, a few doors down from us. Over the last two weeks I'd seen her come home on 3 separate occassions with 4 of those enormous clear plastic bags that comforters/blankets (or those bed-in-a-bag kits) come in when you buy them at the store.

Sunday I was reading in the bedroom, watching the illegal fireworks going off around us, when The Boy came running in to tell me that the neighbor had come home with another plastic bag containing a comforter. And some similarly packaged pillows. We began to think that something strange must be going on. Now we're hyper-aware of this woman's activities.

Then last night I'm watching TV in the living room and she walks by again carrying another plastic bag with another comforter, and trailing 4 more King size pillows in plastic cases. I ran to get The Boy. We watched her--discreetly, of course--as she struggled to get all of these into her apartment without opening the door more than a crack or turning on any lights. Then we had to scramble away from the door as she returned downstairs and came back with another blanket and even more pillows. What the heck is she doing?!?

The Boy and I are now obsessed with her actions. Is she padding the walls of her apartment with them? Is she running a linens store out of her apartment? Did she get a really good deal at Bed Bath & Beyond. What? What? What?


And I was reading The Daily Kos today and saw that last night he had an open thread for post-Bush administration book titles. Here are some great ones (complete list here):

"Hair Care and Other Personal Grooming Tips," by Paul Wolfowitz

"Me Talk Presidential One Day," The memoirs of George W.

"Constitution Schmonstitution," by John Ashcroft

"The Presidency of George W. Bush," with foreword by Stephen King

"NEO-CONNED: How the US got lied into war"

"VACATION, ALL I EVER WANTED: The presidency of George W. Bush"

"Inept Evil For Dummies" by Dick Cheney

"Hey, Dubya, Quit Bringing Me Into This" by God

"You Don't Bring Me Flowers: An Angry message to the People of Iraq," by Dick Cheney

"Who Moved My WMDs?"

"Have Your Cakewalk and Eat It Too," by Richard Perle, Ken Adelman, and the Neoconservative Alliance


|| Stephanie 4:09 PM

Thursday, July 01, 2004

I've Been Thinking

As a liberal I'm often accused of not being patriotic. But I think that today's rabid version of what the Bush administration likes to calls patriotism is really a misnomer. I think that there is a distinction between nationalism and patriotism.

na-tion-al-ism -- 1. Devotion to the interests or culture of one's nation. 2. The belief that nations will benefit from acting independently rather than collectively, emphasizing national rather than international goals. 3. Aspirations for national independence in a country under foreign domination.

pa-tri-ot-ism -- 1. Love of and devotion to one's country.

According to this definition, I am definitely patriotic. But I don't think I'm nationalistic; at least, not at the exclusion of the rest of the world. But I will say that I think the Bush administration is: for instance the U.S. is more important than anyone else; our lives are more valuable than anyone else's; we can do whatever we want in the world but don't anyone dare question us; etc.

Okay, well I need to go to a Dr.'s appointment, but I'm interested in developing this idea further and getting other peoples' feedback.

|| Stephanie 3:11 PM