Friday, March 31, 2006

Women to watch

In better news for women, recently both Chile and Jamaica have elected women to their government. In Chile, Michelle Bachelet has become their president. In her first few days as President she has already enacted law to provide free health coverage for Chilean citizens over age 55. While critics of her plan state that there will need to be a massive increase in the governments budget in order to provide the new medical coverage, this plan offers coverage for citizens who would other wise not be able to afford health care.

For an article outlining President Michelle Bachelet’s transition into Chilean government and the climate in which this change is taking place, click here for an article dated earlier this month..

In other news, Jamaica just elected their first Female Prime Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller. Her campaign slogan was “Come to Mama” and she beat three male contenders for the office. She takes office amidst some very interesting circumstances. Click here to read more. It should be interesting to follow her time in office and see how she does.

I hope that this is a sign of times to come. I am tired of the old joke that a woman president would have to bomb something every month due to her menstrual cycle. Simply not true, despite what the television show “Commander in Chief" starring Geena Davis would have you believe. I won’t watch a show that has the fictional first female president of the United States proving she is just as tough as a male president would be by bombing someplace ever episode. There is more to leading a country, despite the current state of the United States, than finding foreign enemies and bombing the crap out of them.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Hurry up!

I am waiting for Friday to roll around. It can’t get here fast enough. I have made some lovely plans for Friday night and am working on plans for Saturday. All I know is I plan on being out of the house Friday night and Saturday and I’ll use Sunday as my day of rest.

Is it Friday yet?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Mac ‘N…ew!

I have this thing for Mac ‘N Cheese. I love it, even the florescent Kraft stuff, on occasion. Mac ‘N Cheese and potato salad, I am a happy happy camper. Thank goodness my dad likes to make homemade Mac ‘N Cheese a lot.

You can only imagine my joy when a local paper ran it’s weekly food article on Mac ‘N Cheese. I have no complaints about the recipe that both my dad and I use when we make the dish but I am always looking for new and improved recipes when dealing with golden oldies. The article consisted of a three page layout in the tabloid style entertainment pullout the paper runs every day. There was a one page collage of the various types of Mac ‘N Cheese, a half page article outlining the author's search for the perfect homemade Mac ‘N Cheese, a half page article reviewing several premade, boxed Mac ‘N Cheese dishes and then a full page of six of the author's favorite Mac ‘N Cheese dishes. (Challenge: Count how many times I type Mac ‘N Cheese in this blog.)

I saved this article and was toying with the thought of inviting my closest amigos over for a Mac ‘N Cheese tasting party. I could see it so clearly, I would prepare at least five of the recipes from the article and my old standard recipe. I would provide small plates with just a taste of each dish and have my guest fill out a comment/rating card. Just like a real food challenge/recipe contest. At the end, I would ask my guest to rank the recipes from most to least favorite and I would have a new recipe in my repertoire.

Well, my cravings got the better of me and I decided to make one of the Mac ‘N Cheese recipes this weekend for myself, a dry run if you will. I reviewed the recipes and chose one of the easier ones that would require the least shopping. I chose the creamy stovetop Mac ‘N Cheese.

I do not think that I have ever had a more disgusting batch of Mac ‘N Cheese in my life. The recipe called for a can of evaporated milk, which gave the whole dish a sickening sweet smell and taste. Not even dousing the dish with Tapatio hot sauce helped. I ended up eating a little and then scraping the rest into a couple of plastic bags and disposing of the rest.

I followed the recipe exactly. The only thing I wonder about is if I should have used sharp cheddar instead of the mild that I prefer. But the recipe did not specify which type of cheddar to get so I figured it didn’t matter. And this is not necessarily a dish I would want to make again to see if the sharp cheddar would make a difference - the entire house had that sickly sweet smell. Bleh! Maybe one of my friends would be willing to experiment with this recipe and the sharp cheddar but this is one recipe that I am striking from my list. It takes a lot for me to dislike pasta but I found a recipe that does just that. I hope the rest of the recipes are not that bad. Four of the remaining recipes sound interesting in a good way, I’m just not sure about the Greek style Mac ‘N Cheese. I’ll let you know how they all turn out.

Mercury in retrograde

As a Virgo, Mercury is my ruling planet. It is a planet that rules communication, electronic devices and change. Unfortunately, this planet likes to go retrograde and cause all sorts of problems. Communications break down, electronic gadgets-anything mechanical-goes on the fritz. Not a fun time for many. Let me pause to say that while follow astrology in a sporadic manner, I don’t actually live every second of my day based upon a daily horoscope. Let’s just say that I believe that there is more in this world that is unseen than seen and there have been too many coincidences between my monthly horoscope and daily life for me to dismiss this craft out of hand.

This month was extra special, with Mercury retrograde from March 2 through March 25. Mercury retrograde is not always a bad thing. Retrogrades are a good time to go back and review or revisit work you have already completed or performed. Often these review periods can be very helpful in correcting issues or resolve a matter at hand. I used this retrograde to address some personal history and was grateful that Mercury had been kind enough to leave my electronics alone.

Or so I had thought.

I took Friday off of work for a couple doctor’s appointments. As weird as this statement may seem, I dread having a day off because I usually have a couple problems waiting for me to address upon my return. What ever will they do when I want to take almost a full week off at the end of June? These issues are never simple and never fun. Can you tell I love my job?

Mercury left me a little present on it’s way out of retrograde, one that I discovered upon my return to the office.

First thing I do every morning is log into my computer and send an email to my two managers letting them know that I’m here for the day. Its better than having to punch a time clock but still pretty lame. But I digress.

This morning, I tried to open a new email and received an error message. In addition, all the folders I created to organize my emails and the 300+ emails in my inbox were gone. My first thought was, “Oh crap.” My second thought was, thank goodness tech support is in already and I called out IT help desk.

We have a wonderful IT group. We really do. I haven’t met or worked with them all but there are 3 or 4 that I work with regularly and they are fantastic. I couldn’t ask for nicer or more responsible Tech people. I told the gentleman who answered the phone and after much fussing and using remote access to get onto my computer, two reboots later, all my files and emails appeared and I was able to send my daily emails. I then proceeded to open up the other programs I use daily had had to get help with two of the other programs I use daily. They were very nice each time and they eventually got me up and running. Yay techies! I didn't’t have the heart to call them back this afternoon when I discovered that my word doesn't have spell check anymore. (Hence any typos you might see on this entry. I will try to catch them but …) I’ll call them tomorrow., spread out the helplessness over a couple of days.

P.S. Oh yes, and my whole fear about getting dumb comments about my glasses since it is my first day wearing my glasses to work, I got the exact comment I thought I would. “Oh your glasses are so thick. I didn’t think they would be that thick…" *sigh* And from my favorite person at work too, one of my friends. My response to her was, “Did you really just say that?” Ah well, it was bound to happen. I survived. The other comment I have been getting a lot is, “New glasses?”

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Fun with Allergies

Last week, I had an allergic reaction after a family dinner. It was quick. I had just finished eating and we were sitting around the table visiting when I broke out with a rash on my arms. Then I started having trouble breathing. I was coughing and you could hear my breathing. Of course, when I went looking for my Benadryl, I was out. We looked in the other places we might have some and only found expired medicine, so dad and I ran to the local drug store to buy some. I popped a couple and soon my symptoms had gone away.

At the time, I figured it was either the butternut squash I had during dinner or the strawberries I had for dessert. I was thinking it was the squash since I didn’t like the taste very much. I have a theory that you don’t like the taste of a food, you may be allergic to it. I am not interested in shellfish and that is my other, known allergy. Plus, the reaction was awful fast for the strawberries. I mean, I started turning red real fast.

Last night, mom brought home more strawberries. I didn’t have anything planned besides running errands, so I decided to try the strawberries again, just to see if I would react. Sure enough, shortly after eating one strawberry, I started coughing and having trouble breathing. Yup, I am now allergic to strawberries.

Ironically, last month I was treated to a home made dinner by Ms. S and she made chocolate covered strawberries for desert. I had no problem then but not anymore.

You have to love the human body.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Scary Larry

So I have been talking about getting my vision corrected this year. I am sick and tired of having to wear contacts and worse, I am tired of everyone asking me what is wrong with my eyes because they are red most of the time. It is tiring to have to explain over and over again that, A) I’m not tired, B) no I have not been smoking pot and C) no, my eyes are not irritated, at least not in the way most people think. My eyes don’t like wearing contacts. They object strongly to having a little piece of plastic in them all day long. I try to give them as much of a break as possible but alas, I will NOT wear my glasses instead of contacts. They are really thick and news flash, PEOPLE ARE STUPID AND INSENSITIVE and will say stupid stuff.

“Whoa! Your glasses are so thick!”

Really? When did that happen? I didn’t notice. Someone call the police, my eyesight has been stolen!

I’ve been wearing glasses since I was 5 years old. Enough is enough. I am not eligible for LASIK since I am so blind. But there is a new procedure that is either approved by the FDA or still in trial runs only in the US. The procedure has been used successfully in Europe for a while now.

The procedure is similar to cataract surgery from what I understand. Basically, they insert a permanent lens into your eye and you’re done. My optometrist has not seen this done on any of his patients but he has read about it in his journals. He advised me that it is less evasive than LASIK and the healing time is less. So what do I have to loose? He referred me to a doctor in LA whom he says has performed many of these procedures and locally is my best option.

Of course, I have been chicken s**t about contacting the doctor since my optometrist gave me his name and number back on February 11. I hate phone soo… Plus I only had the doctor’s name and I didn’t know what procedure I was suppose to be asking about. I forget to do things, like as my doctor to write down the procedure’s name.

So on Monday, I told myself enough is enough and I need to do this while I am covered by my insurance (extended coverage, not the basic. My benefits are not that good). So I googled the good doctor to see if I could figure out what the procedure is. Sure enough, there was all the information on his website I needed, including a contact form to fill out to request a free consultation! So here is the email I sent out to him:

“My optometrist referred me to Dr. Maloney as I am extremely nearsighted and not eligible for LASIK to correct my vision. I am interested in coming in for a consultation to see if the Verisyse implantable contact lens is an option to correct my vision. Thank you.”

(I was planning on posting this today and then posting again once I had an appointment. Guess what?)

The doctor’s office called me today. I have very mixed feelings about the phone call. On one hand, the woman I spoke to from Dr. Maloney’s office, Angela, was very nice, thorough and professional. She was very informative. For the type of appointment I need, they only book consultations and the surgery once a month, on the third Monday of the month. Once she told me that, we went through a series of questions to set up an appointment.

She asked me if I knew what my prescription was, which I don’t know what it is exactly. I told her that it was a negative double digit and she said since I knew my prescription is double digit, it does show that I would be a candidate for this surgery. Since I’ve had a recent eye exam with my optometrist, they are going to call over for those exam records and based upon how complete they are, they will do whichever tests they feel are necessary during the exam. Hopefully, the exam I just took is pretty comprehensive and they only have to do the specific “contour measurements and counting the cells on the back of my eye.” I also have to get a physical from my GP. So I guess I have to call and make the appointment for that too. Thank goodness for sick time that can be used for doctor’s appointments or I would be screwed!

Here is the part that I am trying to psyche myself up for. They need me to not wear my contact for three weeks before the consultation. Before the consultation. I was expecting that I would have to remove my contact for some time before the surgery if I was eligible, but before the consultation?

Part of me says that if this is what I have to do before they fix my eyes, I can suck it up and do it. If I really want to fix my eyes, this is what it is going to take and that it that.

But there is a small part of me that thinks that I will not be a good candidate and I will have submitted myself to stupid comments by people for nothing. I really hate being in public without my contacts. I just don’t feel like I see very well with my glasses either, even though I know my prescription is accurate. And I don’t care what type of frames you get, thick glasses are not cute. Dorothy Parker said it best, “Men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses.”

So I have an appointment for 12:45 on Monday April 17. I have to remove my contacts as of this Friday.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

On a Personal note

Well, I have been reading the newspaper with more frequency and scanning online news for more articles to write about. Although I mean to pursue writing on more academic subjects, I have come to the conclusion that I will continue to write about my personal life as well. There is a lot of pain in life and I need to remember the good parts of life as well. Plus, it is hard to find time to write all the time.

Last week I only posted once but the week before I posted almost every day. Weekday that is. If you haven’t noticed a pattern, I only post during the workweek because my computer at home is not always reliable. Alas, my laptop is getting old and the mouse is acting crazy. I’ll be typing away and since I do not touch type, I will be watching my hands and not realize that my cursor has jumped two paragraphs up and then I have to figure out what word I started typing in the middle of and what the heck I was talking about… It’s a big ol’ hassle. It’s easier to just type at work, where I have a desktop computer that is alright and have some free time on Mondays and Fridays to write. Tuesdays sometimes too. The week I posted every day, I had a lot on my mind and I prewrote the posts and saved them so that on my busy days, I could pop into my blog for two seconds, post and then pop back out. I try to have posts on file for these days.

And I do not feel like I am stealing from my company. It is not like I am pocketing the deposit money, nor am I cheating them time wise. I would take a smaller paycheck if I were allowed to go home early on the days I have little to do. I would, really. But there are corporate rules about how many hours you have to work in order to be considered full time and to get benefits. And the benefits are what really make this job worthwhile. Plus, I think that I more than earn my paycheck on the three days in the middle of the week when I am SLAMMED with work. So I look at it as, they are still getting their money’s worth out of me.

Any way, more to come later this week. Ciao.

Grumpy Old Men

Los Angeles Time, Monday, March 20, 2006 Front section

Justices May Further Restrict Domestic Violence Testimony

Long and short of the article, (click here to read the article, hopefully I can get this coding right) Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia believes that having a police officer testify on behalf of domestic violence victims or using a recorded 911 call in court violates the rights of the individual to face their accuser in court. This rule would not only apply to adult victims of domestic abuse but also to children of sexual or domestic abuse. It has only been within the last 20 years that prosecutors have been using the testimony of police officers and that child victims of sexual abuse or domestic violence have been allowed to testify behind curtains or on closed circuit television. Justice Scalia does not feel that there should be exceptions of the right of the accused to face their accusers even in cases of domestic abuse or child abuse.

What Justice Scalia fails to take into account is that domestic abuse and sexual abuse is about power and control. Just reporting the crime, let alone surviving the court process often re-victimized the victims. The most common victims of domestic violence and sexual assault are the members of our society who are already struggling to have a voice, women and children. Yes, for all talk of gender equality, women are still objectified and victimized in our society. I don’t personally feel like a second class citizen but I know that in many ways, earning power being just one of them, I am seen as a second class citizen by my society.

March is National Women’s History month. How many of you knew that? I actually didn’t realize it until I attended a conference on Friday, not realizing that it was organized to coincide with Women’s History Month until I looked at the front of the conference schedule. Yet here we have a front-page story with a Supreme Court justice striking down the progress the judicial system has made to protect the innocent in court. Closed circuit testimony and testimony by police offers of what the victims of these crimes told them, using 911 recording or even recordings of interviews that are conducted in police stations, all of these elements were a huge step forward in protecting the helpless in these case and limiting the amount of intimidation these victims might face in court.

I don’t know if I am repeating myself. This article saddens me, makes my heart hurt. We are supposed to be an advanced society. Yet domestic violence and sexual assault on adults and children alike still plague our society. How advanced is that? When does this end, how do we stop these crimes? When were these criminals broken to the point that they can inflict suck harm and pain on those they are suppose to protect and nurture?

Monday, March 13, 2006


It is not a safe time to be a girl.

Saturday March 11, 2006
Front page Los Angeles Times

6-year Terms in O.C. Sex Assault

This is the final sentencing for a videotaped sexual assault of an unconscious 16-year-old girl by three young men, one of them the son of an ex-assistant sheriff of Orange County, that took place four years ago. Google Greg Haidl if you want to see the back story on this case. Because of her age at the time of the assault, the victim is only know as Jane Doe. After the assault, this young woman became the target of a harassment campaign by defense investigators to discredit her including fliers with her photo and name being posted in her neighborhood. This campaign of harassment followed her when she changed schools. As is the case in many assault victims, she turned to drugs to dull her pain and she became a Meth addict. She suffered. Now let’s take a look at the defense sdie of the article.

…Haidl’s father called his son “a good kid who ended up in a very bad situation.”

His son ended up in a bad situation? Maybe if the little SOB had been taught to resect women instead of treating them like objects for his sexual pleasure or perversion, this teenage girl would not have suffered as she did.

Al Stokke, Haidl’s attorney, said it was unclear whether Jane Doe’s troubles stemmed from the videotaped incident of from preexisting emotional problems. Stokke switched gears from the defense claim that she was feigning unconsciousness. He compared the crime committed on the passed-out Jane Doe to someone plunging a knife into a corpse.
“She couldn’t have felt it happen,” he said. “She only knows it happened because of the videotape.”

Current psychological research states that experiences that are not consciously remembered are stored in the body at a cellular level. When a child is abused at a young age, at a preverbal age, they have no frame of reference as to how to categorize the abuse. Young children “forget” the abuse but it is still remembered by their body. That is why places, sound, scent or touch sensation can trigger memories of childhood abuse. The body knows. She knew on some level that something was wrong, I guarantee it. She just didn’t know what it was. It’s a feeling akin to trying to remember something that is on the edge of your awareness, a fine thread that you can feel is there but can’t figure out what it is. What the video did was not inform this girl of what she had suffered, it brought her nightmare to life in vivid color.

Same day, same newspaper
B section - California

Girl Raped at School in Buena Park

A 12-year-old girl was raped at knifepoint Friday by a man who apparently followed her into the restroom of a Buena Park elementary school, police said.

It is not a safe time to be a girl.

Reading this one column, six-inch long article, I can only pray that this little girl is getting not only the medical but the psychological help she needs. I pray that she is not further traumatized by the reactions of her family and age mates around her. I pray that the man who did this is caught and castrated, although following the local news yesterday, he has still not been caught.

Are children not safe anywhere?

What saddens me even more is that it is not just the little girls who are in danger. Boys are also the victims of sexual abuse. Male sexual abuse is largely unreported, even more so than female sexual abuse goes unreported. What is being done to protect the children? What can we do to prevent their childhood innocence from being stolen from then?

If I knew the answer to any of these questions, I would be shouting it from the rooftops.

Letters # 3 and 4


I know you have been waiting a long time to have some definitive word from us about acceptance to the doctoral program beginning in the Fall 2006 semester. I appreciate your patience. Unfortunately, I must inform you that we will not be able to offer you admission.

This was a very difficult decision for us. This year we had an unusually well-qualified group of applicants, numbering more that 220. Our total number of applicants was up by more than twenty percent from last year. You can imagine that the competition has been severe because we are able to admit fewer than five percent of those who applied. WE had enough qualified applicants to fill an entering class five times the size of the class we are in the position to admit. In most cases, and possibly yours, the decision we made had less to do with whether a candidate was qualified for graduate study than it did with hoe well a candidate would work with our existing faculty. Again, let me repeat that this was a difficult process for us.

My colleagues join me in expressing appreciation for your interest in our program. We know how much time and effort you put into preparing your application. This makes us especially sorry that we cannot invite you to join us in the fall semester. We hope, though, that you will be able to realize your plans for graduate work at another institution.

Please be assured of my best wishes for the continuation of your studies.

R. W. McC.
Associate Director for Graduate Studies
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Dear M_____,

I am sorry to inform you that we are unable to admit you to the doctoral program in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. Our admissions committee has reviewed your file carefully and has decided not to recommend admission.

Each year we receive many more applications for admission than we can accommodate and, as a result, we must turn away many fine, well-qualified students. We hope that you will be able to find another graduate program that suits your needs and interests.

Thank you for considering the Annenberg School at USC. We wish you every success in your future studies.

G. T. G.
Director of Doctoral Studies

In some ways, it is cathartic to retype the letters I have received. It helps me examine the language and really read what they sent me rather than seeing the big red REJECTION that flashed in front of my eyes when I opened these letters. I received both letters in the mail on Saturday. Two in one day, how did I get so lucky?

The next step is applying to the local university masters program and pray that I get accepted there. I did get a rejection letter from another masters program at the same university before. My dad is already looking for other PhD programs for me to apply to for the fall, anything that still has open registration dates. So far, UC Riverside and University of Minnesota have been brought up. His alma mater and a brand new program that a colleague of his is chairing, respectively. I just don’t know if I have the energy for more applications. Since I have already filled out so many applications, and kept copies of all my materials, the actual applications would not be a problem. And I could get started on ordering another round of GRE scores and transcripts but it’s the letters of recommendation that I just don’t have the energy for.

Oh, one of my letters would be no problem. She actually sent me three copies in case I needed them for anything else and I know as long as I email her and let her know if the other schools I sent her letter to, she would be okay with it. It’s the other two. One would probably not be a problem, I would just need to send her the info and the envelopes preaddressed and stamped. It’s just a little embarrassing to say, “oh hey, I need a couple other letters because I didn’t get into any of the first round schools”. I could get over it though. Sometimes you have to swallow your pride and do what you gotta do. It’s the third recommender I am having problems with. I recently contacted her for the last letter I need for the local University and she said that has mailed it but lo and behold, I have not received anything. I have asked her to re-mail it and I am praying it arrives in time for me to have everything in this Friday. I think I am going to email her again and ask her to send it directly to the program. That way I can get everything else done tonight and send it off tomorrow so I know that it will get there on time.

I don’t know, I need to get through this week and then reconsider applying to other universities. I need to see what would be involved. Well, now I know what my part of my tax refund is going towards.

Friday, March 10, 2006

I Ponder

I have been looking over my posts for the last few weeks and have come to a conclusion - I am a self absorbed person.

No, really.

All of my posts have been about me. Here I am, trying to become a professor of media studies who points out the inequities of minority portrayals in media and there is not a trace of evidence that I have this interest or that I think of anything but myself in this space. Where is the social protest or social commentary that should go along with this ambition? Perhaps the reason that I have received rejection letters from two prestigious universities is that there is no evidence in my CV that I care about anything but myself. There are no extra curricular activities or community activities. Yeah I donate blood as often as the Red Cross will take it but that is the only altruistic thing I do in my life. Maybe if I got my head out of the clouds I would actually produce and advance in this world.

I do read the news during the down times of my job but I have yet to comment on anything I read about. Except sending article links to my friends and making snide/amusing comments to them in the email. Why aren’t I actually commenting on what I read? Am I really that lazy?

Probably. I need to change that about myself.

Not to say that I won’t comment about things happening in my personal life, as I have a couple ideas for future blogs that I don’t wish to discard. It’s just time to put my money where my mouth is.

‘Nuf said.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Dance dance dance

I have inherited a trait from my mother of dancing when ever I hear music. This can be anywhere, in the grocery store, at work to the radio, in some things I am not exactly shy. My co-workers sometime look at me strange and I have to explain that I am dancing to the radio. That usually gets a look of “Okaaaay” from the person and they walk away from me. Can you see why this is not the right place for me to work?

When I was growing up, it was not uncommon for my mom and my Niño Andy (That’s my brother’s godfather for those of you unfamiliar with Spanish) to dance wherever they were. This included the balconies of hotels and down the aisles at supermarket. My dad and my Niña Magda would sedately walk along behind while all four of us kids died of embarrassment.

Now that I am older, I am glad that I had my mother as my role model even though I wanted to sink through the floor as a child. Screw the critics, dance when you hear music. If you can follow a beat, go for it. Life is too short to be shy about finding joy in rhythm and sound.

“Dancing makes me happy-the extraordinary and compelling life force that leads everyone to feel free enough to shake their entire being in the presence of complete strangers.”

Friday, March 03, 2006

Movie Challenge

Ms. S and I decided that we wanted to see all of the best picture nominees for the Academy awards this year. Of course, in typical procrastinator style, we did not embark on this task until the week before the Oscars. Yeah… We’ll start sooner next year. At any rate, we had 7 and a half days to see five movies. That’s a tight schedule but doable. If we could find all the pictures still on local screens. After all, we both work full time and commute at least a half hour to work and back.

The Nominees (In case you missed it)
Good Night, and Good Luck
Brokeback Mountain

The initial schedule
Sunday night – Crash
Tuesday night – Good Night and Good luck
Wednesday Night – Capote
Thursday – Brokeback Mountain
Saturday afternoon – Munich

MS. S. had purchased Crash and invited me over to watch it. We both cried during the movie and agreed that it was a film that made you think. Good film overall with great performances by Sandra Bullock and Don Cheadle although we thought Brandon Frasier was miscast. We could not wait to see the other films.

We had dinner at Stonefire Grill (yummy!) and then headed over to the theatre. Then found out that the sound for Good night and Good Luck was distorted due to a print problem. At least they were nice enough to post it in the box office. So we went and saw Capote instead since it started only 10 minutes after Good Night was scheduled to start. I have to say, I didn’t know what this movie was about before we entered the theatre. And after we saw it, I wouldn’t say that is a film I liked but I thought it was very good and well acted all the way around. Of the two we have seen so far, I think Capote was the better movie. A more coherent and consistent story.

We had to cancel at the last minute, so that pushed Good Night and Good Luck to Saturday. Yipes! A double header that day!

We went and saw Brokeback Mountain. Neither one of us particularly liked it. I don’t know if it was because we had heard so much about it but… We both agreed that the cinematography was beautiful but found the relationship between the two main characters more disturbing and sad than beautiful and tragic. Personal choice I guess.

Saturday noon
T3, Ms. S and I all met at the theatre for Good Night, and Good Luck. I have to confess, that I did not know the movie had started and thought it was another preview and was not looking forward to what ever movie was being previewed…oops. The movie took some time to get started and it is really a ‘talking head’ movie. It was very wordy but a smart film. If you need action though, I don’t recommend this movie. Although I did see parallels between the McCarthy Era portrayed in the film and today with the Patriot Act. The scriptwriters also made some interesting points regarding journalism and what role it plays in daily life.

Saturday 3:15

We had just enough time to get slurpees and hang out for a moment at Ms. S’s place before the two of us headed out to the valley. T3 doesn’t watch rated R movies and we respect her choice. And I think that it was a good think she skipped this movie. Very good but very heavy. An overwhelming experience from start to end. I am ashamed to admit, as an American, that I was ignorant of the event that took place at the Munich Olympics until this film was made.


Crash. This would not have been my selection but I can see why the Academy selected it.

Next movie challenge – seeing as many of the winners as feasibly possible. The animated short and some of the documentaries are not going to be readily available. I’ll let you know how it goes.


I will admit it, I am a picky, picky eater. I try not to be too much of a freak about what I will and will not eat but I have a weird relationship with food. Like many other people out there.

First there is the whole food allergies that come and go. For 22 years or so, I had no food allergies. Then all of a sudden I’m allergic to unprocessed corn (I could eat corn chips and corn tortillas but no corn kernels), raw carrots (but cooked were fine), and shellfish (and I mean anything that has a shell or is related to anything that has a shell. No more alien/calimari for me). Of course, seven years later, I can now eat unprocessed corn and uncooked carrots. I don’t have the guts to try the shellfish thing, I have no desire to eat the little beasties.

Then there is the pseudo-vegetarian trend of my life. I will not touch bird of any kind, no chicken, no turkey or whatever. And like I said, I am allergic to shellfish but I will eat fish occasionally. And I occasionally like a nice piece of beef. Yeah…like I’ve said before, “I’m a vegetarian, I’m just not very good at it.” It’s not a matter of animal rights or health reasons that I don’t eat meat, I don’t like the texture of the meat. I don’t like the look and I can’t imagine putting it in my mouth. I’ve had this thing with meat going on 15 years now. Wow, can you believe that? I had to do the math twice to double check that number after I wrote it.

And I don’t like chocolate. It is very rare that I want or will eat chocolate. The possible exceptions being Thrifty’s Chocolate Malted Crunch ice cream and the occasional cup of hot chocolate. But those are far and few between.

But I ADORE salty things. I know, I know, not good for blood pressure but I like salt! Corn nuts, Fritos (which a certain someone close to me describes as disgusting but in a good way), beef jerky (Yes, double wammy on the meat and salt thing), French fries (MMM, fried carbs). .ooh I have to stop and wipe the drool from my chin. Something tastes a little dull? Add salt! I do taste my food before adding anything to it and I am more likely to grab a hot sauce before reaching for table salt. I like items that already have salt on them, not adding table salt to my food.

I am also a Weight Watcher’s Lifetime member at goal. What does that mean you ask? That means that I joined Weight Watchers two years ago and lost 30 pounds. I reached my weight loss goal, so that made ma a lifetime member at goal. Which means I only have to weigh in once a month and as long as I do not go two pounds over my goal weight, I don’t have to pay for any meetings. And I can go to as many meetings as I want. So of course, I only go to one meeting a month. And so that means that every food has a ‘point value and I have a certain number of points per day with a ‘bonus’ amount of points that I can use whenever I see fit.

See the thought of being on a diet for the rest of my life is depressing. But if I think of it as watching what I eat at all times, well that isn’t quite as depressing. But I do miss eating what ever I want whenever I want. And I have the occasional weeks when I fall off the wagon hard and then have to work to get back to goal or there about.

But other than all of the above, I like spicy food, most vegetables and I have yet to meet a carbohydrate I haven’t liked. And I believe cheese is Manna from Heaven. I love ethnic food except Thai because they use too much seafood for my taste. Although there is a certain someone who might be changing my mind about that with his homemade Thai food. (MMM, Drag queen curry)

So, what’s your food secret?

Letter # 2 (Sort of)

Dear M_______________,

I regret to inform you that your application for admission to graduate standing at the University of California, Santa Cruz has not been approved.

The number of well-qualified applicants for admission to graduate study at Santa Cruz far exceeds the number of places available. Although a substantial majority of these applicants will meet every minimal standard an admissions committee might establish, not all will actually be admitted. Admission nearly always depends on, for example, compatibility of the applicant's expressed interests with those of faculty in the program, and balance of disciplinary subfields within the program, as well as other factors. Please direct any further inquiry you might have to the Department to which you applied.

Although it has not proved possible for us to offer you a place, we sincerely appreciate your interest in the Santa Cruz campus of the University of California. I wish you well in your current and future pursuit of advanced studies.


L. C. S.
Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies

Blah blah blah, blah blah.

So why is this a “sort of” letter? I got this letter in an email from the school. (Pause) AN EMAIL? Hold on wait a minute, the school can’t find the decency to pay for a 39 cent stamp and less than a dollar's worth of paper and ink for a rejection letter? What the f**k is that about? Let’s compare this to the cost of applying to the program, shall we?

Let’s see, I had to take the GRE in order to apply to school, but that was for all the schools, so I’ll let that one slide. However, I had to order my scores for the school at $15 a pop. Then there is my transcripts, 5 schools at an average cost of $4.00 each = $20 in transcripts cost. And they require a writing sample so I had to mail it up there. I think that cost about $5.00 through the U.S. Postal service. And then there is the application fee = $60.00. So all told, I spent a total of at least $100.00 and the school can’t bother to inform me of their decision for under 2 bucks? What ever happened to class?

So I will not become a Banana Slug either. And I guess it is easier for me to fixate on their method of notification and get mad rather than be sad that another opportunity is closed. It is truly not a shocking decision on their part and it doesn’t change my dream. It will be interesting to see how similar all the letters I get will be. I don’t know what I will do if I don’t get into a grad school. There is only so long that family and friends will be able to stand hearing me rant about how much my job sucks.


What now?