Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Friday Five

  1. I went to the Opening Night Gala of the Metropolitan Opera... at my local movie theatre. Spending four+ hours in the movie theatre after a day at work was uncomfortable, but overall it was a neat experience. Going to the opera at the movie theatre has several benefits. It's cheaper than the real thing, they provide subtitles so you know what is going on, and the shots are up close and personal so you can actually see the facial expressions of the singers. I'd like to go to an opera in person, but until that day, watching the opera in HD at the movie theatre is a good option.

  2. Last week I killed my iPod nano. A day of mourning indeed. The new nanos had just been released, so I ordered a (PRODUCT) RED nano online. It arrived Wednesday. It's so pretty. Because you have to purchase the (PRODUCT) RED editions directly from Apple, I had never seen one in real life. The color is so vibrant. Here's the story of how I killed my iPod. I still can't believe it. I put my iPod, which I keep in a hard, plastic case, in the outer, narrow pocket of my purse. I sit my purse down next to my chair at the movie theatre. I open my smuggled Sprite Zero, and it explodes, with Sprite Zero falling on the ground. And into the outer, narrow picke of my purse, apparently. I leave the movie theatre, get into my car, and plug my iPod into the car charger/iTrip. The volume is strangely low. I turn the volume up and nothing happens. Then my iPod just quits. I give it a few minutes to reboot; still nothing. I look at my iPod and think, "Odd. It looks wet. Oh no." I unplug it from the charger, and Sprite Zero drips out. My heart sinks. I Google ways to fix my iPod. General consensus is that iPods are resiliant creatures, and will dry out and work fine, unless, of course, electricity passes through and fries them. Oops.

  3. TV Show to Watch: Firefly. This short-lived but excellent science fiction drama holds up after multiple viewings. Great characters, fun dialogue and creative stories. Joss Whedon of "Buffy" fame created the series. Every once in a while, usually after I see Nathan Fillion (Waitress) in something, I get in the mood to watch it. It's completely different than anything you've ever seen, and that is a good thing.

  4. Thursday night television is back! If only NBC had aired an episode of 30 Rock, the night would have been perfect. Jim proposed to Pam in the rain on the office! Awww.

  5. I don't really have a political rant of the week; I must not have been paying attention. I do hope there is a debate or not. Regardless of whether I truly understand what is going on with the economy and the best way to fix it, I'd like to hear what the candidates have to say about it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Five

I'm a little bit annoyed with Blogger right now. I typed part of my post in Outlook and then copied it to Blogger. When I hit the "Publish Post" button, I was told my HTML was unacceptable. No matter what I tried, it wouldn't go away. So I had to retype this entire post. If you read it to the end, you will understand why I'm so annoyed.

  1. New Music Discover: The Wailin' Jennys. LOVE the name. If you like female singer/songwriters with gorgeous harmony, you'll like this Canadian folk band. When they aren't singing traditional folk songs, they write songs independently, and take the vocal lead on songs they write.

  2. Movie Update: Son of Rambo. This British film about two boys that make a home movie about the son of Rambo on a search to rescue his dad is adorable. I started smiling during the opening credits, and that sense of enjoyment never left. The soundtrack added to the somewhat whimsical nature of the movie. Rent for a feel-good, upbeat movie experience.

  3. Book Recap: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Janie was right; this was a good book. Here are my three favorite quotes, one from each section.

    "Still, despite all this, traveling is the great true love of my life. I have always felt...that travel is worth any cost or sacrifice. I am loyal and constant in my love for travel... I feel about travel the way a happy new mother feels about her impossible, cocky, restless newborn baby - I just don't care what it puts me through. Because I adore it. Because it is mine. Because it looks like me. It can barf all over me if it wants to - I just don't care."

    "We're miserable because we think that we are mere individuals, one with our fears and flaws and resentments and mortality. We wrongly believe that our limited little egos constitute our whole entire nature. We have failed to recognize our deeper divine character. We don't realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist ad Supreme Self who is eternally at peace."

    "Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it and sometimes travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don't, you...leak away your innate contentment. It's easy enough to pray when you are in distress, but continuing to pray when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to it's good attainment."

    Bonus quote: "He's got a smile that could stop crime."

  4. Best News of the Week: I'm going to a Cowboys game! I love the Dallas Cowboys. My obsession started in high school for no apparent reason. I used to pain my fingernails blue and silver to celebrate the start of every season. In the majority of my high school pictures, I'm wearing a Cowboys shirt. I even took a Cowboys-themed senior picture. On a clear day, from a certain spot near my high school, I could look toward Irving and see Texas Stadium, something I did every time I drove past this spot. I have never been to a Dallas Cowboys football game. That changes on Oct. 4! My awesome sister somehow got her hands on two tickets for the game and game them to me as an early Christmas present. Best. Present. Ever.

  5. Political Rant of the Week: Sexism and Politics
    (Yep, I'm going to rant every week. Whether you agree or disagree with me, hopefully you will do your own research and engage with this campaign. And vote, Wendy H.! No excuses! I'll try to keep them balanced, but right now it's the Republicans are doing and saying stupid, offensive things. I'm sure the Democrats will get their turn. Joe Biden has never had a successful bid for president for a reason.)

    I start this rant by acknowledging that sexism, racism, ageism, etc. exist in this country and are part of the campaign narrative. I believe that true sexism should be challenged when it exists. False charges of sexism for personal, or in this case, political gain, should not be tolerated. And that is what the McCain campaign and the Republican machine are currently engaged in. It's insulting. I'm sorry, but asking someone running for president or vice president about their experience, qualifications, opinions and world view is not disrespectful or sexist. Now, the argument and discourse about the Palin can be a good mom/wife and VP can be sexist because Biden isn't being asked the same thing. However, Biden has made his commitment to his family part of the discourse because of his decision to take the train home every night to Delaware.

    I just read an opinion piece in Newsweek that set off this rant. The author seemed to imply that asking female politicians tough questions is inherently sexist. She said she thought Charlie Gibson was sexist in his interview with Palin. She was offended that she and Palin were given a "foreign policy exam" in their interviews. The author, the first female every nominated for the vice presidency, said, "But who the the hell does he (Gibson) think he is, acting professorial and getting impatient and annoyed because she didn't know what the Bush Doctrine was. Frankly, I'd never heard it called the Bush Doctrine either, although I know what Bush's foreign policy is."

    (CAVEAT: I read a transcript of the interview but did not watch it. I thought it was going to be aired much later than it was. So his tone and non verbals could have been sexist. I read the questions and thought they were fair.)

    I did a Google search on the Bush Doctrine, and it's a fairly common term. Obama and Biden have each been asked how their doctrines would differ from Bush's. I can't see how the question was inherently sexist, and I think Palin did a decent job of answering the question, even if she didn't say exactly what Gibsom wanted her to. Does the author consider the fact that Palin in completely unknown and these questions are being asked so we, THE VOTERS, can make our minds up about her? No one is asking Biden these questions because he's been around forever and the media knows him. A Google search let me know everything I want to know about him. That is not the case with Palin. As a major and governor in Alaska, she hasn't had foreign policy experience. (The ability to see Russia from her state does not count.) She didn't even have a passport until 2007! Without these questions, how am I supposed to be an informed voter? It doesn't make me sexist for wanting to know her answers. No one said the media was being racist (or sexist) when they questioned Obama's experience and qualifications during his campaign against Hilary. So you can question a male's experience, but when you question a female's, it's sexist?

    But this quote from one of McCain's spokesmen about Tina Fey's portrayal of Sarah Palin is a perfect example of what I'm ranting about. By the way, I thought the skit was hilarious and spot on and the only good thing about the season premier of SNL.

    Fiorina: Well, I think that she looked a bit like her. I think that, of course, the portrait was very dismissive of the substance of Sarah Palin, and so in that sense, they were defining Hilary Clinton as very substantive, and Sarah Palin as totally superficial. I think that continues the line of argument that is disrespectful in the extreme, and yes, I would say, sexist in the sense that just because Sarah Palin has different views than Hilary Clinton does not mean that she lacks substance. She has a lot of substance.

    So suddenly it's sexist to compare and contrast two politicians? Objectively, Hilary has more experience than Palin, not just different experience. How can reporting that be sexist? How can thinking someone lacks substance by sexist? That comment is just as bad as when the Republicans accused Obama of making a sexist remark directed at Palin when he made his comments about pigs and lipstick. Quit insulting my intelligence. Most people can recognize sexism when they see it an don't need people fabricating something.

    Now, in all credit to Palin, I haven't read anything about her saying Gibson and every other journalist covering here is sexist. But she did say this about Hilary's claims of sexism during her campaign. "When I hear a statement like that coming from a woman candidate with any kind of perceived whine about that excess criticism, or maybe a sharper microscope put on her, I think, 'Man, that doesn't do us any good, women in politics, or women in general, trying to progress this country.'" So why is she letting McCain and the Republican machine cry "sexism" on her behalf?

    It does do more harm than good. It should backfire on them, but it probably won't. It's going to make it harder to stop real sexism if we focus on false charges.

    And that is my political rant of the week. And the end of my post. Did anyone make it to the end?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Friday Five

  1. I've had two short work weeks. Last week included the Labor Day holiday, and this week I took Monday and Tuesday off to go wedding dress shopping with my sister. Short work weeks are fabulous.

  2. I'm just finished reading the "Twilight Saga" book series. In case you haven't heard of it, it's a Young Adult series, aimed mainly at girls I would assume, about a normal teenage girl who falls in love with a vampire. The first book is being made into a movie to be released around Thanksgiving. It's like Harry Potter for girls. Apparently there was a reader backlash against the final book, but I don't really understand the hate. I like the simple cover design of the books and the appropriate color choice (see examples.) The books are a quick and enjoyable read.

  3. I don't offend easily; I never have. But the Republicans offended me during the convention. I support Obama, but I've always generally liked McCain, well, until he became Candidate McCain. During the convention, both Giuliani and Palin attacked Obama (to be expected because that is what happens at these conventions) for his service as a community organizer. They treated that position with absolute contempt and disgust, which upsets me. I'm not a community organizer, but I am involved in my community and do not take kindly to people that undermine the great work community volunteers do. People who use their talents and resources to make their communities better should be commended not scoffed at. I just keep thinking of all the great people I work with and how much time and energy that put out to do everything in their power to make our community better. Our country has always relied on community organizers and grassroots efforts. As a female, would I even be able to cast my vote for president, would Palin even be on the ticket, if it wasn't for the people that fought for my rights, and did it as outsiders? It's also unsettling that so many Republicans supported and cheered the negative view of community organizers that Giuliani and Palin share. Anyway, I'm angered and offended, and I will not be voting for John McCain. Oh, and that wolf ad McCain has out now claiming Obama will try to destroy Palin? Wow. During campaign season I wish we lived in England where the candidates actally had to talk about issues because they use public financing. It's much more civil and educational.

  4. I'm off work today. Apparently the city flooded (and I'm far away from the Hurricane) and our campus shut down. I've worked there five years and never once has the campus closed, even on snow days when the rest of the city shut down. They didn't send out text messages as part of the emergency communication plan like expected, so I showed up to work as usual.

  5. I'm about to start reading "Eat, Pray, Love." Janie said the beginning is annoying she the author wines about divorce that she instigated, but once you get past that part, the book has a lot to offer. So I'm trusting her judgment and trying the book. Here's hoping. Anyone else read it?

Friday, September 05, 2008

Friday Five

Five Things I Think I Think (Who knows where I "borrowed" that phrase?)
  1. Sarah Palin. Really? I'm still thinking this decision over days after the announcement, which I guess was part of the plan. The Republican party definitely took the story away from the Democrats, but it hasn't all been positive. I don't like what this choice says about McCain. It seemed so rash. He only met her once before asking her to be his running mate, and potential leader of the free world. She gave an interview last month saying she didn't know what the VP does and that the job didn't seem productive. The cynic in me sees this choice as a blatant political move. "The Democrats didn't nominate a female president, so I'm going to nominate a female VP and all those Clinton supports will become McCain supports." Palin and Clinton don't appear to have anything in common other than gender. I would hope McCain has better judgment than that. Same goes for the voters. Her selection has also set off another round of Mommy Wars. Will those other end? What is interesting is that the Republics are defending her for things they traditionally criticize and the same goes for the Democrats. Politics as usual. As a person, she appears to have a compelling personal story.

  2. Brett Favre in his Green Bay Packers uniform everywhere to market the 20th anniversary of Madden NFL on Xbox. Brett Favre playing for the New York Jets in 2008. Gotta love that. (How wrong does Favre look in a Jets uniform?)

  3. Has anyone ever tried Pandora to listen to music? The new computers we have at work have embedded speakers, so I can plug my external speakers into my iPod and still listen to music or videos on my computer, which is a nice change. I don't love Pandora because I just found it, but listening to free music online is a great thing, especially when it's customized to match your taste.

  4. Microsoft Vista. Can't make up my mind about it. Do you use it? Do you like it? It seems dumbed down a little to me. At work everyone received a new computer running Vista. I didn't use mine all summer because I was at camp. The first few days back I couldn't get any work done because so many programs weren't running properly. And Bloglines, the program I use for RSS alerts, isn't compatible with Vista. Boo! But I can subscribe to RSS feeds in my inbox with Outlook. I like that. No one will ever know I'm not working.

  5. I'm ready for Fall to arrive. It stayed in the 70s here yesterday, and it was so nice. It was a short reprieve from the heat, but it made me crave cool days, colorful leaves and everything else that comes with my favorite season.