Wednesday, January 30, 2008

uranium anyone?

At the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, Shell's CEO announced the world demand for oil would outstrip supply within seven years.

Seven years?! Holy crap!

Well my driving-in-the-minivan-listening-to-NPR-dropping-kids-off-at-school ears completely perked up. [Important note: when Marketplace's Scott Jagow or Kai Rysdall talks, I'm all ears!]

Well since Scott couldn't get access to this particular CEO -- for direct confirmation of this crazy statement -- Scott was stuck having to get the scoop from some European correspondent named Stephen Beard. Stephen's take on this whole dramatic pronouncement is that basically every country is going to have to majorly resort to alternative/renewable energy sources [i.e., bring on the windmills and solar panels] or be prepared to dig up pristine/protected habitats in sub-arctic regions [to get at those untouched oil reserves] because soon we ain't going to have much expendable fuel sources at our disposal. Like no go-go, no click-click, no zoom-zoom.

And obviously all of this has to go down in under seven years! Yeah, that's going happen.

I see a couple of things coming out of this newest development in the "As the Oil Well Dries Up" energy drama:

1. Nuclear power plant lobbyists are going to break out and embrace this "sanctioned" opening as an opportunity to push even more aggressive development plans onto a wary post-Chernobyl generation (but wait a minute - what about nuclear waste! "What nuclear waste? That's not our problem. We got you what you wanted - fast and convenient energy!"

2. Petroleum lobbyists are going use this same opening to whine and wheedle Legislators into letting them stick their smelly drills into the tundra of Alaska in order to prolong the inevitable.

3. Coal. I'm not even going to comment on that. Yikes!

So, unless I manage to figure out how to get my hands on that nifty Mr. Fusion energy device for my car and eventually get desperate enough to chop down the neighbors trees for the winters to come, I guess I'm going to have to take an ole' "wait and see" attitude with this particular drama.

In the meantime, and playing it safe (hah! hah!), I guess I should keeps tabs on the going Black market rate for fuel-grade uranium. Surely I can find an online build-it-at-home reactor kit for all my personal energy needs.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

on a roll

I feel a bit like a news reporter as I write this ...

Today on NPR, Terri Gross interviewed punk legends Mick Jones and Tony James. And while I was less interested in their personal histories, musical lineage, or even their entertaining anecdotes, I was vastly amused by their very thick English accents.

I mean, where the hell is Mick from? He almost sounds like the character 'Bert' from Mary Poppins -- loads of dropped syllables, thickly slurred endings of words, all expressed with an unique cadence. And at some points, it was like I was hearing a foreign language. I could easily imagine meeting him in a not-so-respectable place trying to sell me some not-so-respectable stuff.

Tony, on the other hand, had what I would consider the standard, what-we-Americans-think-is-a-British-accent accent. He enunciated just about every word distinctly, sounded rather "Tut, tut, looks like rain-ish" to me and I sort of image him being a banker or businessman -- never a former punk, glam rock star of the 70's.

What a funny thing -- how you speak -- making such a silly impact on people's perception of you.

I found it very amusing.

Monday, January 28, 2008

you learn something new everyday

Today on NPR, Terri Gross and Fresh Air.

With her guest, Randall Balmer, touting his new book, God in the White House.

I always believed (like I'm sure most people had) that the conservative, rabid Evangelical Right had congealed as a political entity under the unifying banner of Pro-Life, post Roe v. Wade era.

But according to this guy, this frightening mass came into being over disputes regarding segregation and taxes -- in the 70's , the IRS said no tax-exempt status for organizations that discriminated individuals based on race or creed (think Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C.).

Translation: the IRS said no money back because they weren't being charitable.

Huh! Go figure, a powerful religious movement born out of greed and bigotry.

Why doesn't that surprise me, but continue to disturb me.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

auditory processing for dummies

Lately I must look like a crazy pretard – bundled up against the cold, wearing headphones and an iPod, trying to “walk” a spastic dog that continually lurches about at the end of his leash. And to make matters worse, innocent passer-byers have no idea that I’ve got half my brain occupied with trying to keep my stupid puppy from running out into the middle of the road while the other half of my brain is trying to “learn” French for an upcoming trip to France. What makes this even more “pretardish” is how I’m walking through the neighborhood -- yammering aloud the unfamiliar syllables of a foreign language, all in an attempt to make this stuff seem a bit more familiar to my brain, ears and lips.

I must look rather bizzaro to the people who walk and drive by.

“Bonjour, monsieur,” intones the melodious French instructor in my left ear. Good Morning, sir.

“BONjur MONsir,” I yollar out loud.

“Je vous connais?” my right ear murmurs. Do I know you?

“JAY voo con-nay!” I belt out again. This time, Max stops, tilts his head to the side as if to say, “Umm, you know you’re making funny noises in the middle of nowhere, right?!”

“Well, you try making sense of all these ‘oo’s, ‘voo’s, ‘zee’s ‘sh’s, and ‘ch’s – it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin!”

Well at this point, my internal dialogue has wandered off so much that I’m severely sidetracked and have lost track of what order the sounds are supposed to be, where in the lesson I’m supposed to be, and am thoroughly confused.

“Où sont je,” chimes an efficient and perfectly accented woman. Where am I?

“WHO zont chee-a,” I attempt to mimic.

“Je suis perdu,” continues the same perfect voice. I am lost.

“JAy zeus – ‘Jesus’, that’s funny! PERdue, hey, like Perdue chicken. I like their chicken. It’s a shame they had to go and raise their prices. Such good quality, though. Oh shoot, where am I?!”

And then …

the rapid fire series begins

and I’m woefully unprepared for the subsequent auditory onslaught:

Where is the bathroom?
"Où est la salle de bains?” – Duh bains? Like brains? Weird.

I desire a room with a shower.
"Je désire une chambre avec une douche.” – A douche? Ewww, that’s just gross!

I have lost my mind.
“J'ai perdu mon santé mentale” – Ment-towel? Oh, I’m mental alright!

Is not a problem.
“N'est pas un problème” – NEST pa? Fathers like living in twiggy abodes?!

I will continue to drink heavily.
“Je continuerai à boire lourdement” – Je oo a boo loo err ment!! I have no bloody idea what I just said!

Where can I buy more wine?
“Où peut j'acheter plus de vin?” – Duh vine? Wine! I heard wine! I must, absolutely must, remember that phrase!!

“Merci bien pour votre aide.” – Mercy! Oh lordy, please have mercy on me! I am lost in the land of parlay voo!

So I continue to mumble, curse, meander, and cry out in confusion as I finish up my “tug-of-war” walk with Max. This may not be what the French for Dummies people had in mind when they created their language lessons, but it’s the best I can manage with the time resources I have available.

Besides, now I know which phrases to focus my linguistics efforts on: “plus de vin s'il vous plait” (more wine please) and “Où est la salle de bains?” (where is the bathroom?)

I figure anything more than that is icing on the cake.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

tagging out bits of randomness

My British/Frenchie blogger pal Mya tagged me last week, in which I'm supposed to share seven random blurbs about myself to fulfill this tagging requirement. Unfortunately, I didn't have any exciting sex with animals or drinking or even drug-related incidents to recount, but I feel confident that I'll make the best of this opportunity to share a little bit more about myself (and hopefully entertain as well). So here goes ...

1. I have an unhealthy dependence on adverb modifiers (e.g., too, so, very, really, rather) in my writing. It's like I'm never satisfied with stating a clearly quantified position; it appears I always feel compelled to pump it up a notch or two -- it's so very immature and really rather weak to write that way!

2. I attended five elementary schools, one middle school, three high schools, and four institutes of higher learning -- I've only just managed to graduate from college in 2005!

3. At my second high school (student population = 42), I was the only white cheerleader. It was there that the black girls took pity on me (or more than likely were terribly embarrassed by me!) and had to teach me how to have rhythm and how to dance.

4. I've always wanted to be a drummer and be a part of a kick ass all-girl rock band.

5. Because I like the color blue so much, that preference greatly influenced my decision to join the Air Force over the Army (much, much nicer uniforms!)

6. Among a vast array of eligible and good-looking military men, I chose to pursue Pos because he looked mighty fine in those BDUs (that's military for Battle Dress Uniform, or simply put, camouflage!)

7. I really can't embrace the culinary arts - food is fuel as far as I'm concerned. I know, I know, it's a tremendously lazy and bland attitude to have, but food preparation really doesn't revve my engine (unlike the unheralded art of household clutter control -- now there's something to get my giblets all in a twitter!!)

Well folks, there's some of my silly randomness for your reading pleasure -- I hope it enlightens as well as entertains.

Cheers :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

quick update

First and foremost, I want to thank you all for your comments. The human capacity to care, love, empathize, and share is sometimes so staggering. And lil sis, your post managed to reduce me to tears.

Thank you.

And I was surprised with how the process of "pouring one's angst out onto paper" can be such a cathartic experience. Right after hitting that publish post button, I felt an actual lightness and sense of relief replace my inner tension -- like I had just screamed everything into a hole, filled it back up and then walk away from the whole mess. It was amazing.

But now I'll take this opportunity to report on a good shift -- away from lots of stress and anxiety. As a result of her drastic crash, my dear friend is seeking tremendous amounts of professional help. As to whether she chooses any of the options they give her, I wouldn't know because I choose not to go there with her.

I feel fine about what I'm doing with the organizing and coordinating of daily helpers. My efforts have mostly been through email and a few phone calls and everyone's been incredibly helpful, supportive, and flexible. The best part is that I don't have to work out any of the financial logistics. Someone else has gladly chosen to take that on.

Most importantly, I feel very dedicated in making sure that my friend's oldest daughter gets to where she needs to be (i.e., social engagements, hang out with her friends, returned home after dance class, etc.) and has the opportunity to be somewhere else, if she chooses. That baby girl has been like a second daughter to me (and has practically grown up with my own) that I'd just about move heaven and earth to support her. She's a great kid.

And currently I sit in a place of absolute freedom about NOT calling her if I don't feel I have the physical or mental energy to "walk the path" with her. I'll admit something to you all that gets at the heart of my personal struggle with this whole crisis -- I'm really a major conflict coward: I hate having to deal with personal drama. And unfortunately the presence of enormous drama is a huge component in my friend's personal life. My typically strategy, when having to deal with anything this uncomfortable, is to flee and stay hidden till things blow over. I figure, that way, I won't say anything callous or cold-hearted (out of emotional self-defense) and I'll never be tempted to judge another person's choices if I stay in that remote zone.

So here I am, in the remote zone, lending support in the best way I can and trying to maintain a healthy perspective of everything going on around me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


[I'm going to try and write this without proofreading and editing it to death. Here goes ...]

Life is kinda crazy right now. I have a friend who's falling apart and she has a husband and three kids and they are kinda cracking at the seams because she's falling apart. She doesn't really have much of a family to help her out -- a couple of sisters, a sister-in-law, and a mom -- but they all have lives. And they have been through this before. And so have I. This will be the third time, to be exact. First time, after second child was born -- bad postpartum depression. Second time, after third child was born -- worse postpartum depression. This time, well, she didn't like the anti-depression cocktail they'd concocted for her over the past three years and, figuratively, she decided to dump the whole mess down the drain. Now she's a manic, hasn't sleep in four weeks, mess while her immediate family and friends are left to watch her become a train wreck as a result.

I've been on the phone for hours: processing with her, letting her pour out and weep over what she's going through, setting up schedules for much-needed coverage of children, making a meal, tactfully processing with others who don't know her as well but want to understand and help. I've increased my driving time: driving her teenager home every evening after extra curricular activities, taking her middle son to his hockey practices and his hockey games so that dad can be home for her and their youngest.

For all of this, I wouldn't choose to do anything less. But I know myself, I won't last for long.

I'm tired, stressed and anxious. My husband and my kids are getting the worst version of me. My puppy is starting to react poorly to my unexpressed emotion. And I'm realizing I have to figure out some important things about all of this before it's too late. Such as, how long am I willing to plug in/coordinate/process this crisis before I turn indifferent, callous and cynical about some else's pain? How long am I willing to dedicate a hefty chunk of my mental energy to someone else's needs before I start to see some detrimental consequences within my own life?

I'm typically a very private person and I'm rather respectful of other people's private issues: I really don't like having to have this much input into another person's life. This whole scenario has thrown me into a very uncomfortable place and I'm not so sure I want to be here for much longer.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

why I want that million - part 2

More chew toys. Absolutely more stinky chew toys.

This puppy is EATING just about everything!

He's developed this unhealthy taste for window ledges and my funky running shoes.

Hey, at least he's stop trying to devour the eight year old.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

why I want that million - part 1

Not for more stuff. I can barely manage the stuff I have. Besides, if I bought more stuff I’d have to get a bigger house. Then I’d be forced to dive into the nightmare that is the current housing market; and that scares me – a lot. But my dream (with lots of money) would be to invest in personal services, the generation of creative ideas, and to experience exciting opportunities.

Here are some of the ways I’d spend all that money:

services: twice-a-week maid service, aforementioned laundress, on-call contractor for significant home improvement projects, pre-prepared healthy meals, weekly chiropractor visits for my entire family, yoga lessons, tennis lessons, ballroom dance lessons for me and the hubby.

ideas: buy a set of Encyclopædia Britannica, have unlimited access to books, get to go to graduate school, send hubby to innumerable screen writing conferences/workshops, sign up for cooking classes for myself and the kids, attend art classes for myself and the kids.

experiences: trips to Europe and Africa and Australia with the family, a trip to the Grand Canyon with a pop-up camper, tour Universal or 20th Century Fox film studio with my media-loving family, unlimited hockey clinics for my boys, summer outdoor adventure/explorer camps for the kids, numerous overnights in New York City to catch Broadway shows or to simply hang out in the Museum of Natural Science.

Well, that’s a few of the things I wish I could afford. Mostly I daydream about the many trips I wish my family could go on but know we’ll never be able to afford; a version of reality that kind of bums me out. And I’ll write later about the stress and anxiety of simply thinking about the college application process (AKA "how in the hell are we going to foot that bill!"). Double bummer.

Well, if money could grow on trees, I’d sure as hell try to locate me a sturdy sapling.