Thursday, May 29, 2008

Spike the butcher

While I do not think that Lisa has any place going to the final four in Top Chef, I can at least support the judges in their decision not to send Spike. I think Spike is a good team player. If you give him a very specific task, like prepare these steaks, he's great. If you let him make all the decisions, he might not be able to pull it off. I liked Spike from the start, despite his slightly devious attitude. But he doesn't really have what it takes to be the Top Chef.

Next week we'll be out of town, so I'll have to watch TC when we get back. But I anticipate that the next episode should be pretty boring, routine. It's merely a vehicle to finally get rid of Lisa.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Idiocy is alive and well in the public library

And I'm not talking about the people who use the library (for a change). Welcome to a little segment I lovingly like to refer to as "getting to know the people I work with" or "feel my pain". (Hm, I guess that's how you know you're officially part of a workplace; when you feel like you can complain about your co-workers.)

The names of the people involved have been changed to protect me -- from them.

Scenario A: We have been having trouble with our public wireless network for just about a week. The tech guys have been trying to fix things remotely, but they don't seem to be working. This morning, Angela emails me saying that Ryan at "corporate" tried to reply to one of her email messages but it keeps bouncing. She wonders if it has anything to do with the public wireless problem.

Okay, holy expletive deleted! The freaking wireless network has nothing to do with email. How on earth can someone think that these are possibly related? Even if you know crap about computers and networks?

Scenario B: We have an email list that is for the maintenance guys and myself (since I'm their supervisor). Ever since January, staff email this list when something is broken, needs to be cleaned, mopped up, moved, etc. Also this morning, Kevin emails me (and only me) saying that one of the newspaper shelves is "down" and looks like a screw came out. I reply that I will have maintenance look at it and remind him that he can email the list so that the maintenance guys will get to it faster and not have to wait for me. Kevin replies (and I quote) "I just wanted to mention it to someone, not formally request that a certain job needs to be done".

Huh? So does it need to be fixed or not? I'm so confused by this sentence. If it needs to be fixed then let maintenance know! If it doesn't need to be fixed, then why the &!#$@ did you email me about it?

As my daughter would say: S-I-G-H. (I need chocolate.....)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Weekend update

I started off the weekend by getting sick. I think I had food poisoning. It was not pretty.

Despite the bad start we still managed to go see Prince Caspian on Saturday morning. I had not read the book and I thought the movie was enjoyable. Saturday afternoon meant cleaning house and then playing the piano for church, which went surprisingly well.

I actually cooked dinner Saturday night. Nothing fancy, just this cheeseburger soup that the kids love. So that was good.

Sunday morning I slept in while the rest of the household attended church. Then I had an exciting morning going grocery shopping! Whee! My life is so exciting -- not.

Sunday evening Michelle's school choir sang at the "Cost of Freedom" event at Alexian Brothers Stadium. Hannah spent the night at a friend's house so the three of us enjoyed dinner on the porch of Bahama Breeze.

Monday we all slept in. (Finally!) While the rest of my family laid around the house watching grilling shows and playing video games, I headed back to the Cost of Freedom event to play handbells and piano again. I guess some of the grilling shows paid off as we ended up making pizza on the grill for dinner. It was pretty good, despite the dough cooking too fast and the cheese not getting as melted as I would prefer.

The only other major thing we did this weekend was start packing for Disneyworld. But tomorrow night is the big end of the year banquet, so I have to get through that before I can start stressing about the Disney trip. And I do plan on stressing out over this trip....

Friday, May 23, 2008

Office finale

I know I haven't posted anything about The Office season finale. It rocked. It was absolutely everything I dreamed of in any episode of The Office. I had predicted that Jim and Pam would not get engaged yet this season, but I didn't know how they would be able to pull it off. And they pulled it off perfectly!!

That's all I can say for now. It was really one of the best episodes yet.

And now I am not feeling well and must go lie down....

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dale was robbed!

What a sad, sad, sad Top Chef episode last night. Now, restaurant wars is always a recipe for disaster, but the greatest disaster of this episode was in the judges sending Dale packing.

Yes, he took the responsibility as the executive chef, but Lisa was the bimbo who ruined all the dishes. It's not his fault that she's a horrible little whiny idiot. He did everything he could to save her dishes.

Don't agree with me? Then check out these viewer comments. I think the most insightful observation was made by Tim at 11:56 pm.:
The best thing Dale could have done was to let Lisa take the helm of this disaster waiting to happen, - but then who would have respected him for playing it safe?
In retrospect, that's exactly what Dale should have done. He should have known from wedding wars that the executive chef always bears the brunt for others' mistakes.

Spike knew there was going to be trouble with Lisa, so he distanced himself from her as much as one can. So Spike didn't really cook anything. Big deal. He pulled off the front of the house much better than some people from other seasons. He did what needed to be done and got it done.

Dale, I think you were robbed. Lisa didn't deserve to make it this far and she surely does not deserve a place amongst the final four! I would like to say that if Lisa does make it to the final four I will stop watching the show, but I know I will still watch it anyway.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More reading

Over the weekend, I finished reading The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman. It was recommended by JKSW, who read it for her book club. It's about a Hmong family that lives in the United States and their daughter who has epilepsy. The Hmong (pronounced "mong") culture is so vastly different from American culture and the family and the doctors treating the girl struggle to do what is best for Lia. It's nice to read nonfiction once in a while...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Which Top Chef judge are you?

I guess I'm Gail. Is that good or bad?

Take the quiz here.

What I'm reading

The Year of Endless Sorrows : a novel
By Adam Rapp

Actually, I just finished this book and have moved on to something else now.

This is not a book to make you feel happy. It is exactly what the title says it is -- a year of endless sorrows. The nameless protagonist is a recent college graduate from Iowa (!!) who moves to New York City and tries to become a writer. The setting is the early 90's.

The book could have used a little more editing. Too many similes for my liking. But it did really hold my interest, and I wanted to find out what was going to happen next.

The weirdest part for me was that I did have a friend from Iowa who did move to New York City after college and he did want to be a writer. So I kept picturing my friend, who would write me from time to time from NYC about his various adventures. This book made me think about him and wonder where he is now.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

DLS day

I'm famous (sort of). I presented our Buzz Marketing projects at DLS day on April 25. You can see a still image of me around the 3:00 mark.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Librarian jewelry

If you want to look more like a librarian (and who would?), maybe you want something from the "Dirty Librarian Chains" collection.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Talk amongst yourselves

Parenting Questions (with my own answers. Feel free to add your comments)

Question #1:
Is it ok that my children walk around singing 80s songs at the top of their lungs as they play song after song on their MP3 players?

It's only natural that your children should sing at the tops of their lungs while listening to an MP3 player. What's odd is that they would embrace the music that their parents love. They should be rejecting it, calling it "lame".

Question #2:
Is it ok that my 7 year old is cutting carrots with a very sharp knife as she prepares dinner and I type comments on a blog?

How big is the knife? Big enough to take off an entire finger, or just enough for a deep gash? Does your medical insurance cover finger reattachment? If so, then proceed with a clear conscience. Children need to learn how to cut carrots sometime in their life. It might as well be now.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I admit it, I need help

I need help writing a skit for the 7th grade class banquet. I was the only one to volunteer for the entertainment committee. I thought our only job was to book the DJ, but now everyone wants a skit. (Help me Maria!!)

I had this idea to do a take-off on "Deal or no deal" where an 8th grader is presented with cases that have real life choices instead of numbers. The case that the contestant chooses is "stand firm in my Christian faith". Then they are presented with other cases with such things as "go along with the crowd", etc.

I started writing it, but I just can't find the words. Do you think a skit about making choices is too un-LCMS??

Monday, May 05, 2008

Two words: Expedition Everest

Welcome to the last installment of Julie and Julie go to Disneyworld.

It's always sad when you find that little package hanging on your doorknob containing information on taking the Magical Express back to the airport. But we knew the day would come. Why does it always come before I'm ready to leave?

We decided to spend our final day at the Animal Kingdom. We got up, checked out, got our boarding passes, got a little breakfast and headed to the bus stop. The line wasn't very long, so we decided to sit on a bench and eat before getting in line for the bus. To our dismay, as we ate, we watched the queue grow longer and longer without any sign of a bus coming to pick anyone up. Seriously, we watched at least 5 buses for EPCOT come and go, and at least 7 buses for the Magic Kingdom come and go. Where the heck were the Animal Kingdom buses?

Finally, I suggested getting a cab. So Julie got in the long line for the bus while I went back to bell services to find a cab. I told the cast member that I needed to go back and get my friend who was waiting in line, but they said that the cab could just pull up to the bus stop. Awesome!

Less than 2 minutes later I was sitting in the cab and we did pull up to the bus stop to get Julie. I had trouble unlocking the door, so I just rolled down the window and started waving my arms like a crazed person and yelling "Julie!" Someone shouted back "She's coming!" While I was gone, a bus had come and now Julie was stuck in the middle of the queue.

Long story short, we arrived at the front door of the Animal Kingdom before the bus that had just left. How cool is that? For future reference, the ride from the Pop Century resort to the Animal Kingdom will run you roughly $15.

So we still made it into the park before the inner ropes were dropped and then we booked it as fast as we could to... get ready for it... Expedition Everest! It should be called Expedition Awesome!

We took the route that went past Dinoland USA which did not give us the best position for the FastPass distribution or the ride queue. If you go, take the route that goes through Asia, as it puts you in a better place to get in line for the ride. This area first thing in the morning is a mad house. It's very confusing and everyone is trying to get Fastpasses, while the standby time for the ride is really only about 10 minutes.

Once we realized this (after I worked my way through the crowd to get Fastpasses) we got right in line for the ride and all our wait time was spent just walking through the queue area. After we rode, we got right back in line again and rode it again with minimal wait. AND we still had Fastpasses for later.

Then it was off to Africa. A quick stop at Flights of Wonder first, of course. I am absolutely terrified of birds, but I love this show. From there we picked up Fastpasses for Kilamanjaro Safaris and headed off to see It's Tough to be a Bug. Since I practically know the movie by heart, I just sit back and wait for the mayhem.

From there we were off to Dinosaur, one of my other favorites. Waiting in line, Julie commented on how they have a lot of "institutes" at Disneyworld. We got through our orientation video when they started directing us toward the exit. Huh? Oh, technical difficulties. Rats! At least they gave us Fastpasses as we exited so we could return later.

Well, at least Primeval Whirl is right there with a short wait time. I like to refer to this as the ride where "if you didn't already have a neck injury, you do now."

We had lunch at the Flametree Barbecue. It had been overcast all day and it finally started to rain as we were in line. So tables were at a premium. We ended up sharing a table with a couple of high school girls who were there with their band.

After lunch, we went to Kilamanjaro Safaris, followed by Expedition Everest again, and by then we were really about done. We stopped by Dinosaur one last time to see if it was going and at first it wasn't. But while we were contemplating if there was anything else we wanted to see while we were there, suddenly we heard someone yell "it's open!" and we joined the crowd to get in line. We rode one time on standby and then immediately got back in line to use our Fastpasses from before -- awesome!

By then we were ready to head back to Pop Century. We still hadn't had much time to explore the grounds there and were determined to take our pictures with the giant Mr. & Mrs. Potato Heads. Mission accomplished.

And that about wraps it up. We caught the Magical Express back to the airport. Our flights were on different concourses, but they were on the same side of the airport, so I was able to wait with Julie for her departure as I wasn't scheduled to leave until a little later. My flight was a half an hour late, so I was pretty tired by the time we took off. For the first time ever, I was so tired I didn't even care about the small amount of turbulence during the flight.

It truly was a trip I will always cherish, not just because it was Disneyworld, but because I got to spend time with a great friend (and sister and twin, apparently). We ended up with two more items to add to our list of all the things Julie and I have in common:
1. Got a blister at the same spot on right foot at the same time.
2. Spent 40th(!!!) birthday at a magical place known as Disneyworld.

Friday, May 02, 2008

A Poem for the month of May

The First of May
A. E. Housman


The First of May

The orchards half the way
From home to Ludlow fair
Flowered on the first of May
In Mays when I was there;
And seen from stile or turning
The plume of smoke would show
Where fires were burning
That went out long ago.

The plum broke forth in green,
The pear stood high and snowed,
My friends and I between
Would take the Ludlow road;
Dressed to the nines and drinking
And light in heart and limb,
And each chap thinking
The fair was held for him.

Between the trees in flower
New friends at fairtime tread
The way where Ludlow tower
Stands planted on the dead.
Our thoughts, a long while after,
They think, our words they say;
Theirs now's the laughter,
The fair, the first of May.

Ay, yonder lads are yet
The fools that we were then;
For oh, the sons we get
Are still the sons of men.
The sumless tale of sorrow
Is all unrolled in vain:
May comes to-morrow
And Ludlow fair again.