Gas Prices

Nov. 6th, 2008 01:34 pm
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I have noticed that gas prices tend to drop just before elections, although they dropped far more precipitously than usual this time. I thought we might see prices below $2.00/gal before the election, but I didn't really expect it. Sure enough, it was only down to $2.05 on Nov 4, but this morning I actually paid $1.999/gal. I never really though I would see prices this low again. I wonder how low they will go?

I remember seeing prices below $0.20/gal when I was a kid (Back in the days of full service, when "gimme a dollars worth of gas" meant something). Anyone remember gas price wars? I remember commenting "We'll never see prices below $1.00/gal again" sometime in the early 80's. I really thought the $2.00/gal years were behind us as well. Interesting to see what effects this will have. I am already seeing less ridership on the trains during my commute, and it seems that there are more SUVs and Hummers on the road again.
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It's official -- McCain has conceded!!!!!!!!!

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Commentary from Rachel Maddow on the modern poll tax (found at [ profile] anhata56

The poll tax didn't just disenfranchise Black voters, it also disenfranchised a lot of women. My husband recalls his parents discussing this and when there was not enough money for two voters, his father voted and his mother stayed home. His aunt never voted until the poll tax was outlawed, because his uncle didn't want to waste good money on letting a woman vote (especially when he couldn't be sure she would vote the way he told her to).

I imagine this poll tax will also fall disproportionately on women who often have family responsibilities or child care concerns in addition to working. If you voted early and you have friends who didn't, see what you can do to ease their "poll tax" -- offer to watch the kids, run errands, cook supper, whatever you can do. Offer to hold someone's place in line while they go sit down for a while. We all deserve a chance to vote, and we need to make sure no-one is denied because they can't pay the "tax".
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Horrible dream last night. I dreamed I was at my parent's house, but my father wasn't there, just my mother. We were getting ready to eat, when she suddenly got rigid, dropped the bowl in her hand, then collapsed on the floor. I was trying to get a response, and she finally came out of it, like waking up. She was trying to tell me she was fine, we should just sit down and eat. I was insistent that she go to the ER. That's when it hit me -- the nearest hospital I knew of was in Lubbock, over an hour away. There might be one in Plainview, only about 45 min away, but I wasn't sure. If I called an ambulance, it would be two hours before she got to the hospital. If I took her in the car, I could get her there in an hour, but what if something happened on the way? I'm standing there, trying to make a decision, while she insists she doesn't need to go anywhere. Then she collapses again and goes into convulsions, and I'm terrified and paralyzed and I don't know what to do!

That's when I woke up. And awake realized there would have been more options now than when I lived there -- the town has it's own ambulance and a volunteer EMS. Also there is a care center in town now with a full nursing wing and an Alzheimer's wing, so there must be some sort of medical personnel there. So I started trying to figure out if there was a reason for the dream. Maybe it was just general anxiety about my parent's health. Mom is 78 with various health problems, and Dad is 81 and has had a triple bypass. Maybe it's about needing to plan ahead more in my life -- Mom was big in the movement that got the EMS unit going. She and some friends started the care center so that when the time came they could not live on their own, they would have somewhere to go that they trusted, in their own community. Mom plans ahead for EVERYTHING. She has not only picked out her nursing home, she has planned her funeral and written obituaries for herself and Dad, complete with pictures. Not obsessed with decline and death, just getting the details taken care of so she can enjoy her life.

Maybe it's my own health. I've been sick since the Horrible, Terrible, No-good Three Day Weekend until about a week or two ago. Things went up and down for a while, including a trip to the ER and a weekend in the hospital while they decided whether the shortness of breath and pressure in my chest was my heart or my lungs. The vote finally went to the lungs, with a diagnosis of asthma, and I've been feeling better the last week or two. But that's one more health problem to deal with, and more pills and inhalers. Ya know, getting old sucks, but I guess it beats the alternative.

I'm thinking of joining NaBloPoMo, the National Blog Posting Month, where you post to your blog every day in November. I comment a lot on other peoples journals, but I rarely post to my own, and I want to get into the habit. No way do I have the creativity to do NaNoWriMo, but I may be able to handle this.

Nerd tests

Oct. 6th, 2008 03:13 pm
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I am nerdier than 97% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out! says I'm a Cool Nerd Queen.  What are you?  Click here!

Big suprise!
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So this guy posted 10 Unknown Facts about Wil Wheaton which lead to this Fark thread containing an absolute gem from Wil himself:

But I think the humor was geared toward the ultra-geeky, I mean, how many normal people know how many points go into creating the average GURPS character?

/back in my day, it was 100.
//damn kids today get 250 points.
///take 2d6+3 steps off my lawn

How bad is it that this has had me giggling all afternoon?
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So the A/C is fixed, and I don't have strep, and I am getting better, but ---

Last night my husband called. I just got a letter at his address saying that the company that handled my prior employer's 401K program lost a tape with a lot of personal information on it (like full name, address, DOB, SSN, etc) and I was on that tape. They think it was lost, not stolen, and they are going to pay for a couple of years of credit monitoring and this and that, but still. Now I have to go out to the house and see my husband to get the letter. And I thought this month or next he would be away from the house for a few weeks getting a knee replacement, and I had planned on coming with some friends to get stuff out without a fight, but that's been put off to next year. Damm, I wanted to file for divorce this year. My goal is to be divorced before my 25th anniversary in May.

The icing on the cake -- I heard what I think was some shots from the apartment complex accross the ally. Never heard shots in this neighborhood before, and I could be wrong, but I would rather look like a fool for reporting a nothing than find out someone was shot and I did nothing. I've called 911, locked the cats in the closet and am staying away from the windows.

Damm, that sounded like another one! I don't think I need to call 911 again, it's been 15 min, but I will if it keeps up. This week is soooooooo fucking fired!
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2 am and the temps have finally dropped to 80. My A/C has not been working all weekend, for the third time in the 2 years I have been in this apartment. The management does not consider this an emergency, but hopefully they will do something tomorrow. I have spent the whole weekend laying on the bed under the ceiling fans with my cats, my books and my laptop, The cats are miffed at me -- I will allow them on the bed, but I won't allow them to lay on me.

In addition to the A/C being out, my dryer is no longer drying, and I went for about a day without hot water -- a problem when Mal is having "litter box issues" and pissing on everything not covered in plastic (and some things that are). The power was out, but only for about an hour. I have a rash on my arms that is driving me crazy with the itching. I believe it is linked to donating blood. The last time I donated, I got a rash on that arm. I asked the doctor if maybe I was allergic to the antiseptic they use to clean your arm and he pooh-poohed the idea. However this time I got stuck in both arms (the left wouldn't bleed good enough, so they ended up going with the right), and this time I have a rash on both arms.

On top of all that, I have a killer sore throat and maybe a fever. It's hard to tell when it's so hot. Strep throat has been going around work, and I'm afraid that's what I have. It's 2 am and I need to be up in 5 hours to call the doctor and try to get in. And it's too hot and I hurt and itch and I can't sleep. I know all this is temporary and I really don't have it all that bad, but none of that seems to matter right now. Sigh. I guess I'll take a second sleeping pill and see if I can finally get some sleep.

The Women

Aug. 19th, 2008 01:31 am
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They are re-making the 1939 file "The Women". What in $Deity's name for?

The original was about a social class of idle wealthy women. They only function was to produce children, decorate their husbands arm, and be a gracious social hostess to further his career. They did not need to concern themselves with mundane things as raising the children, or keeping house -- that was the job of the nanny, the cook, the maids, the butler, etc. The lessons the movie sought to teach us were:

1. A woman can not trust other women -- they are all out to get her man, or to bring her down.

2. A woman will never be happy without her man, therefore pride is a luxury that not even the wealthiest woman can afford.

3. Infidelity is a rite of passage for a man as he ages, a wise woman will just close her eyes and pretend not to see.

4. If you are humble and patient and forgiving and deserving of his love, eventually he will come back to you. If not, it was all your fault for being an imperfect wife in the first place.

Now this is supposed to be turned into a movie about female bonding among strong, independent career women. Who in the end, I suppose, will realize that their man is the most important thing in their lives after all, worth any sacrifice of career, or friendship, or pride.

You know, we fought our way of of the 50's. I was there, I saw it happen, I worked to help it happen. We thought we had won, some victories at least. When did the clock start running backward?
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Overheard on Fox News in the hotel breakfast nook -- "Now that the US is making such enormous strides in Iraq, Al Queda is reduced to trying to recruit on the internet.  Who could possiblly object to US efforts to stop these terrorists on the Web?  Coming up next."

Fair and Balanced.  Right.

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When he is out in the open, Malcolm is a mild mannered, pudgy, sedate young adult (3 yo).  He is generally sweet and cuddly, although he has a tendency to push around his much smaller (but same age) sister.  However, let him get under cover (under the bedcovers, under the throw on the old recliner, under a tee-shirt on the floor) and he turns into a fighting demon.  He attacks anything that moves, with all claws and teeth out.  He is willing to shed blood and rip up anything he can find.  Pull back the covers and expose him to the world, and all of a sudden it's "Who me? I was just laying here minding my own business.  I was taking a bath, that's it!  I was just taking a bath!"  He's back to his sweet cuddly self -- until the next time he thinks he's anonymous.
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Apparently, you can train cats. And it takes a while to un-train them.

Heckle was a devoted lap kitty and my lap, from waist to knees, was his exclusive territory. For the better part of two decades, I couldn't sit down without a cat appearing in my lap. Someone else could have the whole outside, or the sunny window sills, or the top of the cat tree -- as long as he had Mama's lap, he was happy. When the kittens joined us, 2-3 years ago, he was very firm in enforcing his territory. They could lay on my legs in the recliner, or on my tummy, or on the side, on the arm of the recliner, but anyone who intruded on the sacred lap got whacked on the nose or nipped on the ear. As he got older, I helped in the enforcement.

Now that he is gone, I could use a kitty in my lap to cuddle, but the kittens weren't having any part of it. On my legs, on the chair next to me, but no-body dared encroach on the lap, even when I put them there. But yesterday, Kaylee curled up in my lap and last night she slept on my pillow next to me. I still miss him just as much, but it is nice to have Kaylee filling in to provide some comfort.

BTW, here is a picture of all three in my lap: Kaylee in front, Heckle with his head turned away, and Malcolm by my feet. Also, here is a picture of Heckle himself, a little fed up with this whole flash business. (I don't know how to embed pictures and these are kinda large anyway.)
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My eldest fur-baby, Heckle, crossed over the Rainbow Bridge yesterday. He was 18 and suffering from failing kidneys and a failing heart. He kept losing weight, no matter what I tried, and when he had no more fat to lose, he was losing muscles, especially from his back legs. He got more and more unsteady on his feet and sometimes his back legs were just too weak to stand at all. For a while a good night's sleep in Mama's lap would get him back up on his feet. Sunday, he started falling over early in the afternoon, and I had a feeling that he wasn't going to bounce back this time.

I spent the night in the recliner, so he could sleep in my lap. He always loved laps above all else. He actually hunted them as a young cat -- staking out their known habitats, being aware of circumstances that tended to result in laps, following potential laps around waiting for someone to sit down. The kittens, Malcolm and Kaylee, seemed to know something was wrong. They cuddled up next to him and groomed him. The next morning, he still was not able to walk and could hardly stand, so I knew it was time for that last vet visit.

He was maybe 6 or 8 months old when I met him in late Fall of '89. We had just moved to Dallas, and he belonged to our neighbor. She worked at the pound, and he was due to be put down because he hadn't been adopted, but she decided he was too cute to die, so she took him home. Unfortunately, she also had several large dogs the kittens were afraid of, so he spent all their time in our yard and eventually became our cat. He was bright and bouncy and thought the whole world was his friend. His favorite toy was a wadded up paper ball. He would bat it and chase it all over the house. He taught our old battle-scarred alley cat, Skunk, how to play and do things just for enjoyment. As he got older and more sedate, his biggest joy in life was to lay in a lap and be cuddled. When I left my husband and he was allowed in the bedroom for the first time, he discovered even greater joy in sleeping on Mama's chest or curled up on the pillow next to me.

Skunk was my husband's cat, but Heckle was definitely my cuddle baby, no matter how old he got. It was awfully cold and lonely last night without a purring Heckle on my pillow. Malcolm and Kaylee are semi lap cats, but it's just not the same. I miss him so much.
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Maybe it's just because it's 3 in the morning, but This is oddly tempting. Now they just need to add a timer to it so you could fill it up at night and wake up to fresh hot donuts for breakfast. Mmmmmm Donuts!
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I've finally gotten broadband after being on dialup all this time. I spent this weekend exploring some new areas of the net not pracically available to me before. I have only one thing to say:

DAMN, people will put ANYTHING on YouTube, won't they?
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lolcats + postsecret = lolsecretz

Probably the whole world knows about this before I do, but I loved it.
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I can't resist quizes!

Your Score: Linear B

You scored

You are Linear B. Even those who can follow you think you're all Greek to them. Which, after all, is true - Linear B being the first known text for written Greek. To most people, you're incomprehensible. But what do you care? You're tough, hard, long-enduring and have greater nobility than most. Naturally, you don't admit to borrowing extensively from your brother Linear A.

Link: The Which Ancient Language Are You Test written by imipak on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
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I have taken steps recently to fu.fill a life long dream and I find myself distinctly ambivalent about it. When I was little, every Saturday my mother, my sister, and I would clean house. I made up my mind that I was going to get a job that paid well enough to pay someone else to do the housework. I hate it and I am crap at it, because I just don't see the little details and dirt until it's just overwhelming.

Fast forward to years later, when I am married and starting to make a fair amount of money, but due to my husband's OCD, the house is so cluttered and piled with junk, it's impossible to clean. (I once lost a chest of drawers and had to search the house for a week before I found where it was buried beneath and behind boxes.)

Then I moved out on my own, but it took a while to get it organized enough to clean. Then I felt guilty, and tried to do the housework myself. But I'm working 50-60 hours a week and I'm still crap at it, and I still hate it. So I recently set up for regular cleaning by a cleaning service every other week, for about one hour of my gross pay. On the one hand I love it. It makes me keep up with the picking up, and I love coming home to a clean house -- and they are much better at it than I have ever been.

The down side -- I recently read Nickled and Dimed where the author (Nancy Friedlich?) tried to live on various minimum wage jobs, including working for a cleaning service. She details horrific working conditions and shoddy cleaning practices. She speaks scathingly of the clients as racist, classist snobs too lazy to do their own shitwork. And I find myself feeling guilty about maybe being a part of someone's exploitation, on top of residual guilt about not cleaning my house myself (I'm a woman, I'm supposed to be born able to clean perfectly, right?)

I was there when they cleaned the first time, and I know they do a good job. I don't leave a horrid house for them, I make sure it's neat and picked up. (I leave the shit work to my neighbor -- he scoops my cat boxes and cleans the science experiments out of my fridge and I do his laundry, including the gross stuff.) I don't look down on them for cleaning house, I am grateful to pay an expert do a job I can't do competently myself. But I still feel vaguely that I am doing something wrong, and I don't quite know what to do about it. But at least I am feeling guilty in a lovely clean apartment.
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