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December 01, 2006

The Bitch Grinch is back!

Did you miss me? Of course not, there was too much going on.

Kudos to Rachel for jumping in and covering for me with such a great post!

I just spent 3 days locked in Los Angeles area hotel (literally) at a planning retreat for our university.  Interesting to say the least, and definitely worth the trip in terms of understanding the individuals and issues in my workplace..... but still, I am VERY glad to be home in my own bed with DH and our princess puppy.

The hotel's king sized bed was comfy, but somehow I missed my two living hot water bottles an awful lot.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:01 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

December 03, 2006

we're off to see the wizard

Well, ok, not the wizard, but we are off to see BNL tonight

Yay!  Pictures later if I get any good ones (they generally don't mind cameras, not to mention that they often come out before the show and take pictures with fans)

In any case, here's a little bit of what we're going to see tonight:

Did I mention I love YouTube?

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:27 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 04, 2006

Better than ANY of those MasterCard commercials!

Barenaked Ladies Tickets: $130.00
Gas, Dinner, and T-shirts: $121.50
Finding out that the tickets you thought were at the BACK of the floor were really in the FOURTH ROW: Priceless

No really, 4th row.
From our seats before the show:

More concert photos below the jump courtesy of my cell phone....

Read More "Better than ANY of those MasterCard commercials!" »
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December 05, 2006

merry f**cking christmas...

I don't know what the f*ck is wrong with me. I STG it's already December 5 and I have no decorations up, no cards sent, and no gorram christmas tree.

ME. The queen of Christmas. The one who has the Christmas blog theme up and running by Thanksgiving. The one who counts down the days until her Hubby will let her sing Christmas songs. The one who drags other people into the spirit.

Yeah, not feeling it so much this year. I've seen White Christmas twice and Ralphie 3 times. I watched half of Miracle on 34th St last night (the original) before I fell asleep, but that's it. I haven't seen Love, Actually yet this year, or any of the others. I haven't switched the CDs in the car over to the christmas ones or anything.

I guess everyone has an off year, huh? Maybe next week.

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:10 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

We need a little Christmas. Right this very minute.....

Well, baby steps I say.  Here's a start, huh?

A Christmas meme stolen from Cobb:

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Hot Chocolate.  Egg Nog is nasteeee.  NASTY.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? WRAP!!  Where's the fun otherwise?

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? White is too boring to bother with.  Colors on tree and house.  The more the merrier.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?  Occasionally.  Usually the plastic variety. 

5. When do you put your decorations up?  Usually the weekend after thanksgiving.  Tree stays up until at least Epiphany (Jan 6).

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? My stuffing or latkes and bacon, our traditional Christmas eve fare

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child: Hmm, that's a tough one.  Let's put it this way, I can tell a Barbie wrapped up under the tree from a mile away....

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? You mean that Santa isn't just one dude with a sleigh and Rudolph?  I STILL believe in Santa.  Come on now.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? My Dad's side comes to our house on Christmas Eve, so we open those presents then.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
well, we have a bunch of ornaments, most of which have some meaning for us from characters to tradiational ornaments, as well as colored globes and glass icecicles.  Big Gold Star for the top.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? I love love love snow!  I hate the idiots who don't know how to drive in it.

12. Can you ice skate? Nope.  My ankles are too weak.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? My favorite gift I ever got was DH getting holiday leave from Basic Training.  The best gift I ever gave was the microwave we got Mom last year.  She was shocked!

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? The time to relax and enjoy, to sing songs and smell pine trees.  To act like a 4 year old.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?
Peppermint ice cream.  My favorite all year round, but much easier to find at the holidays.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Christmas Eve at my parents' house.

17. What tops your tree? This year, a big gold star.  Previously a Winnie the Pooh Angel (which makes a better table decoration since it is usually to big for the HUGE ASS TREE we always get).

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? I love giving.  I'm very good at it, and I love to watch people's faces light up at the surprise.  I'm terrible to buy for because I want to be surprised and blown away like they are, but no one has managed it yet.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?  All of them.  The songs are the best part!

20. Candy canes: One is generally enough.  Really.  Give me the ice cream!

21. Favorite Christmas movie? 1. White Christmas 2. A Christmas Story 3. Love, Actually

22. What do you leave for Santa? Whatever Santa asks for.  Usually popcorn and fudge and a glass of milk.

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:17 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

A "Marriage Gap"??

Some of this is a spun argument, for example most kids in high income homes have two parents because most of the time it takes two incomes to reach that level, but all in all, an interesting hypothesis and a new interpretation of data that social scientists have been mining for years.

In this article from the City Journal, sociologist Kay Hymowitz posits that there is an increasing gap in marriage between the educated and the less educated in America, and that this gap has startling implications for the children of both married and unmarried parents.

Princeton sociologist Sara McLanahan, co-author of the breakthrough book Growing Up With a Single Parent, has fleshed out the implications of the Marriage Gap for children in an important paper in Demographyand theyre not pretty. McLanahan observes that, after 1970, women at all income levels began to marry at older ages, and the average age of first marriage moved into the mid-twenties. But where mothers at the top of the income scale also put off having children until they were married, spending their years before marriage getting degrees or working, those at the bottom did neither.

The results radically split the experiences of children. Children in the top quartile now have mothers who not only are likely to be married, but also are older, more mature, better educated, and nearly three times as likely to be employed (whether full- or part-time) as are mothers of children in the bottom quartile. And not only do top-quartile children have what are likely to be more effective mothers; they also get the benefit of more time and money from their live-in fathers.

For children born at the bottom of the income scale, the situation is the reverse. They face a decrease in what McLanahan terms resources: their mothers are younger, less stable, less educated, and, of course, have less money. Adding to their woes, those children arent getting much (or any) financial support and time from their fathers. Surprisingly, McLanahan finds that in Europe, toowhere welfare supports for lone parents, as they are known in Britain, are much higher than in the United Statessingle mothers are still more likely to be poor and less educated. As in the United States, so in Europe and, no doubt, the rest of the world: children in single-parent families are getting less of just about everything that we know helps to lead to successful adulthood.

All this makes depressing sense, but when you think about it, the Marriage Gap itself presents a puzzle. Why would women working for a pittance at the supermarket cash registers decide to have children without getting married, while women writing briefs at Debevoise & Plimpton, who could easily afford to go it alone, insist on finding husbands before they start families? For a long time, social scientists assumed, reasonably enough, that economic self-sufficiency would lead more women to opt for single motherhood. And to listen to the drone of complaint about men around water coolers, in Internet chat rooms, on the Oxygen Network, and in Maureen Dowdworld, there would seem to be plenty of potential recruits for Murphy Browndom. Certainly when they talk to pollsters, women say that they dont think theres anything wrong with having a baby without a husband. Yet the women who are forgoing husbands are precisely the ones who can least afford to do so.

There's lot more to the article, including at least 2 more sections I'd like to excerpt. Go here to read the whole thing.

h/t Ron Coleman at Dean's World

Venomous Kate also has an interesting take on the article.

So, what do you think?

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:04 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Sexy Reindeer???

You Are Vixen

Sexy and sultry, you're the one all the other reindeer dream about.

Why You're Naughty: That fur pulling spat you got into with Dancer over Santa.

Why You're Nice: Because even when you're nice, you're still delightfully naughty!

Which of Santa's Reindeer Are You?

h/t Dancer from Pereiraville
Posted by caltechgirl at 10:38 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 06, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

About 8:00 tonight I finally got my "Christmas" on. We cleaned up the house and brought out the decorations. The wreaths are up, the door hangers are out, and the countdown clock and advent calendar are out. I need to put up the rest of the outdoor lights (upstairs ones) and the indoor garlands and the stockings, and we need to get a tree, but things are looking a wee bit more seasonal already.


Posted by caltechgirl at 11:19 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 07, 2006

Did somebody say Thirty????

I told you you were next, chica!

Go wish Amanda a happy birthday!

There's a present for you below the jump, sweetie....

Read More "Did somebody say Thirty????" »
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NY Post gets it right:

h/t Linda

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:59 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Two in a row

PBS gets it right this time with a great story about Project Valour-IT on their MediaShift blog:

...While most of the bloggers who supported Valour-IT have been on the conservative side of the political spectrum, FbL notes that the project cuts across ideology by focusing on helping out wounded veterans.

"Doing a program like this is so beyond politics," FbL said. "You have someone here who is hurt, and you have the ability to make their lives better, why wouldn't you do that? That's part of our success with this. How do you say no to this without looking like a total jerk? [laughs] You can say, "It's all George Bush's fault." Yes, it is, but how are you going to help? It's beyond politics and it's so human. It's a winning concept and I am lucky enough to know brilliant people who have made this project work."

Valour-IT is another result of average folks banding together online to make a difference, getting beyond petty politics and government bureacracy to get something done and do it right. It's one of those classic holiday stories of people giving of their time, their money and even the bully-pulpit space of their blogs to help others in need.
Go read the whole thing, and maybe leave a comment telling PBS how much you appreciate the story.

h/t BethD

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's a child, not a political plank

The Vice President's daughter is pregnant and due in late spring.

I am overjoyed for what seems to be a close and loving family, by all accounts, to be adding a new member.  I am beyond happy for Mary and her partner Heather that they are about to realize their dream of becoming parents.

Seems a lot of people can't feel that way.  On one side, they're too busy blaming the VP for supporting policies that go against his daughter's (and her partner's) interest.  On the other side, they're panicking because a conservative leader is about to have a grandchild with homosexual parents.

Every article I've seen on this goes out of its way to point out that Gays and Straights are both up in arms over Mary Cheney's bundle of joy.

You'd think it was the second coming, or at least a new Brangelina baby for all of the fuss going on out there today.  Or maybe that you'd picked up an old newspaper.  Didn't we go through this when Melissa Etheridge and her (then) partner Julie Cypher had children a decade ago?

Can't we get past this and just say that a healthy baby is a blessing to a family, no matter how traditional?  Can we admit that two stable parents are always better than one, whether it's two moms, two dads, or one of each?  Can we agree that this child will have some wonderful role models for strength and integrity?

I am disgusted.  These opportunistic political vultures have taken what should be a happy occasion for the entire family and turned it into a political fracas.

For myself, I will say this much:  Congratulations to Mary and Heather and their families.  I wish you a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby, and all the joys that come with that.  Anything else that anyone has to say on the subject is bullshite.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:59 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

It's not that easy being green...


At work or in school: I work best by myself. I like to focus on my ideas until my desire for understanding is satisfied. I am easily bored if the subject holds no interest to me. Sometimes, it is hard for me to set priorities because so many things are of interest.
With friends: I may seem reserved. Although my thoughts and feelings run deep, I am uneasy with frequent displays of emotion. I enjoy people who are interesting and of high integrity.
With family: I am probably seen as a loner because I like a lot of private time to think. Sometimes, I find family activities boring and have difficulty following family rules that don't make sense to me. I show love by spending time with my family and sharing ideas and interests.
Take this quiz!

Well, I'm certainly not that reserved or aloof with friends and family, but otherwise pretty nail on the head. And my favorite color.

h/t Sleepy Beth

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:02 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 08, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Even if it is a F*ck off day! To Emily of it comes in pints?

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

i told you it was looking a lot like Christmas.....

See, I did decorate....


Posted by caltechgirl at 07:49 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 10, 2006

Holiday Update

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care.

And there's a tree up, too.  Decorated, even.

Pics later.  Maybe.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:55 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Iiiiiiiiit's Barney!

Merry Christmas from the First Pooches, Barney and Miss Beazley, and First Kitty Willy!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 11, 2006

Not everyone in Hollywood is a prick... UPDATED!

You Firefly/ Serenity fans will enjoy this one.

"...[L]ast year a group called Booster Events held this massive Firefly/Serenity convention in California last year called "Flanvention." A lot of the cast shows up, there were panels and dinners and photo shoots and whatnot, membership was limited, and it was a lot of fun, a way for fans of the cancelled-too-soon show and because-we-demanded-it movie to talk to their favorite stars. This year's hotly anticipated event sold out months ago and it's happening this weekend, right now.

Or it would be. The organizers cancelled it. On Thursday."

Sucks, right?  Not so fast....
"As stunned and betrayed fans began to arrive the California Browncoats jumped up to meet the frantic challenge of organizing a convention during, you know, the actual convention. Fans settled in to party among themselves anyway, mutter dark things about Booster Events, and make the best of it of the newly formed Browncoat Backup Bash.

Then the stars started showing up.

Adam "Jayne" Baldwin showed up Thursday night, knowing the con was cancelled and fans were left hanging. He hung around chatting with fans for hours and mentioned others would probably show up.

Friday Nathan "Mal" Fillion, Alan "Wash" Tudyk, Mark "Badger" Sheppard, Jonathan "Dead Guy From 'The Message'" Woodward, and Christina "Saffron" Hendricks came by for autographs and pictures and mainly just to say hi. Without appearance fees or the autograph cash that usually get stars to show up, they came anyway. Alan Tudyk wan't even supposed to be at the event due to prior commitments, and he came anyway. They knew their fans had been shafted and they stepped up to make it worthwhile. Fillion brought a box full of Firefly memorabilia and other personal loot and started passing it out to fans who had come from Australia, the UK and other far-off places."

And people wonder why the fans are so loyal to a one-season cancelled show!

h/t DeDoc

UPDATE: Cranky Beach was there! Go over for a first person account!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:55 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

The Motel 6 of Heaven....

Ilyka and the boyfriend have a theological debate....

" "What happens," my boyfriend wants to know, "if you leave the Mormon church? What's supposed to happen to you when you die?"

"I think it depends. Like if I had a real testimony of the church, and then I left it, that's very bad, and I think in that case I go to something they call Outer Darkness, which is like hell. But I don't think I really ever got around to getting a testimony. I never quite advanced to the rank of True Believer, you know? So I think the worst I could possibly get is the lowest rung of Mormon heaven. It's like the Motel 6 of heavens."

"So no jacuzzi."


"Probably no room service, either."

"Definitely not."

"But you still get free HBO."

"See? That's what I'm saying. How bad is that, really? They're going to have to come up with a grimmer vision than Motel 6 to scare me back into three hours of church on Sunday."

Heh. I guess they'll have to take a page from Matt and Trey, then.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:02 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

I love Tony Blair...

... and I always have.  I will miss him when he steps down.

I wish some people in this country could be this direct and honest:

"People want to make sense of two emotions: our recognition of what we legitimately hold in common and what we legitimately hold distinct. When I decided to make this speech about multiculturalism and integration, some people entirely reasonably said that integration or lack of it was not the problem. The 7/7 bombers were integrated at one level in terms of lifestyle and work. Others in many communities live lives very much separate and set in their own community and own culture, but are no threat to anyone.

But this is, in truth, not what I mean when I talk of integration. Integration, in this context, is not about culture or lifestyle. It is about values. It is about integrating at the point of shared, common unifying British values. It isn't about what defines us as people, but as citizens, the rights and duties that go with being a member of our society.

Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and other faiths have a perfect right to their own identity and religion, to practice their faith and to conform to their culture. This is what multicultural, multi-faith Britain is about. That is what is legitimately distinctive.

But when it comes to our essential values - belief in democracy, the rule of law, tolerance, equal treatment for all, respect for this country and its shared heritage - then that is where we come together, it is what we hold in common; it is what gives us the right to call ourselves British. At that point no distinctive culture or religion supercedes our duty to be part of an integrated United Kingdom.


We must respect both our right to differ and the duty to express any difference in a way fully consistent with the values that bind us together.

So: how do we do this?

Partly we achieve it by talking openly about the problem. The very act of exploring its nature, debating and discussing it doesn't just get people thinking about the type of Britain we want for today's world; but it also eases the anxiety. It dispels any notion that it is forbidden territory. Failure to talk about it is not politically correct; it's just stupid.

Partly the answer lies in precisely defining our common values and making it clear that we expect all our citizens to conform to them. Obedience to the rule of law, to democratic decision-making about who governs us, to freedom from violence and discrimination are not optional for British citizens. They are what being British is about. Being British carries rights. It also carries duties. And those duties take clear precedence over any cultural or religious practice.

Here's the MONEY QUOTE, though:
Our tolerance is part of what makes Britain, Britain. So conform to it; or don't come here. We don't want the hate-mongers, whatever their race, religion or creed. If you come here lawfully, we welcome you. If you are permitted to stay here permanently, you become an equal member of our community and become one of us. Then you, and all of us, who want to, can worship God in our own way, take pride in our different cultures after our own fashion, respect our distinctive histories according to our own traditions; but do so within a shared space of shared values in which we take no less pride and show no less respect.

The right to be different. The duty to integrate. That is what being British means. And neither racists nor extremists should be allowed to destroy it.

h/t Cop The Truth

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:12 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Matt and Trey: Prescient or just Damn Smart? You decide.

Shamelessly stolen from Armed Liberal at Winds of Change:

Over at HuffPo, Alec Baldwin, (of the "Film Actors Guild") speaks out on what's wrong, and what we need to do about it. One of these is real, and one is a line from a puppet movie. Can you tell which is which?

Quote #1: "By following the rules of the Film Actor's Guild, the world can become a better place; that handles dangerous people with talk, and reasoning; that, is the fag way. One day you'll all look at the world us actors created and say, "wow, good going, fag. You really made the world a better place, didntcha, fag?" "

Quote #2: "There is an answer to this problem. There is a way to defeat terrorism while building new and better alliances in the Arab world. It will be an enormously complex and difficult diplomatic puzzle. But the first step might be oddly simple. Get rid of the CIA, which has outlived its usefulness and is an embarrassment to this great country, and rebuild and reform US intelligence capabilities to fight this new type of threat. I think our hopes must begin there."

Answer below the fold, in case you didn't know

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December 12, 2006

This is so wrong, it's funny

Some people should have their license to think REVOKED.  Ladies and Gentlemen I bring you another example of a brilliant IDIOT:

A devil food is turning our kids into homosexuals

"There's a slow poison out there that's severely damaging our children and threatening to tear apart our culture. The ironic part is, it's a "health food," one of our most popular.... I have nothing against an occasional soy snack. Soy is nutritious and contains lots of good things. Unfortunately, when you eat or drink a lot of soy stuff, you're also getting substantial quantities of estrogens.

Estrogens are female hormones. If you're a woman, you're flooding your system with a substance it can't handle in surplus. If you're a man, you're suppressing your masculinity and stimulating your "female side," physically and mentally.

... If you're a grownup, you're already developed, and you're able to fight off some of the damaging effects of soy. Babies aren't so fortunate. Research is now showing that when you feed your baby soy formula, you're giving him or her the equivalent of five birth control pills a day. A baby's endocrine system just can't cope with that kind of massive assault, so some damage is inevitable. At the extreme, the damage can be fatal.

Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality. That's why most of the medical (not socio-spiritual) blame for today's rise in homosexuality must fall upon the rise in soy formula and other soy products. (Most babies are bottle-fed during some part of their infancy, and one-fourth of them are getting soy milk!) Homosexuals often argue that their homosexuality is inborn because "I can't remember a time when I wasn't homosexual." No, homosexuality is always deviant. But now many of them can truthfully say that they can't remember a time when excess estrogen wasn't influencing them. "[emphasis mine - Ed.]

No shit, there's more.  Read the whole blasted thing.  It speaks for itself.

I don't care what you believe about homosexuality and its origins in an individual, but this guy has his science completely bass-ackwards. Don't let this idiot scare you off of a very healthy food that is a good source of protein for those of us NOT allergic to it.

h/t Boi From Troy

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:21 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Happy Birthday!

It's the big 4-0 for Jenna!

Go wish her the best!

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Christmas Shopping With an Attitude

If you don't recognize yourself in this one, you've been doing all your shopping online (good for you!)...

h/t QOAE

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 13, 2006

Throwing myself headlong at Christmas...

I changed out the CDs in the car today. Now we have the following as accompaniment to LA traffic:

1. Wintersong - Sarah McLachlan
2. Merry Christmas - Johnny Mathis with Percy Faith and His Orchestra
3. Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics (South Park)
4. Beyond the Season - Garth Brooks
5. Love Actually soundtrack
6. Barenaked for the Holidays - Barenaked Ladies

And from that last album, here's what may be my favorite 'new' Christmas song:

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Passing Gas

Or, How the Very Expensive Plumber f*cked up....

So our next-door neighbor, a lovely woman who I will refer to as "JoAnn" has been having some trouble with her hot water heater. Including a hell of a flood last week. Good thing we have clear drainage. She decided to replace it sooner rather than later, and sooner turned out to be yesterday. As she told me last night, she chose the most expensive plumber to do the replacement simply because he had a reputation for NOT screwing things up.

In any case, JoAnn works strange hours. Like she leaves the house between 10 and 11 in the morning, and usually returns after 9 at night. So in this case, she left them the spare garage door opener to get access to the garage, where the water heater lives, with the understanding that they would bill her and close the door after the new machine was up and running.

One thing about the garage. JoAnn's garage and ours are under our respective houses and are connected by a walkway and a staircase that leads to each of our back doors. So you can enter either of our garages from the other. This, in fact, is why we knew in advance about the repair. She wanted to let us know that strangers would have access to our garage. No big deal, unless of course they like to steal empty cardboard boxes or Army uniforms. Or laundry detergent.

So I leave the house at 6:30 am, husband in tow, and drop DH at work before I go on to my own office. I had meetings and things all day yesterday, culminating with a staff meeting/ party. So I don't get home until 6:30 PM. All I wanted to do was address Christmas cards and veg in front of the TV. And go to bed early.

Did I mention I left here at 5:30? Fucking LA trafffic.

Anyway. By the time I arrived home it had been at least 3-4 hours since anyone had been in either garage. I pull into the driveway and roll down my window for the garage opener (which has a weak ass signal) and as the door opens, I smell something.

By the time I pull in and turn the car off, I know what it is: Gas. Immediately I go into panic mode. I run out on to the driveway and dial the house, meanwhile yelling at DH to pick up the phone. He picks up the phone and I ask him to open the back door and tell me what he smells. He concurs that it is gas and rings off to call JoAnn's cell.

In the meantime I have recovered sufficiently to realize that if I could drive into the garage that there's not enough gas to flash over, so I go over to JoAnn's garage and hit the button to open the door and turn off the light in my garage and then back the car out and park it on the street.

DH then went down to the HOA reps' house and asked about the shut offs, and she brought out the gas wrench, and we turned off JoAnn's gas at the main. Within 10 minutes, all of the gas had cleared.

I'll find out from her this afternoon why this happened, whether it was a blown pilot light or a loose connection or what.

Scary, though.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:50 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

December 14, 2006

80-some down.....

I finally got the damn cards in the mail today!


Some of you should be expecting them within a few days, I hope.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:00 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Don't let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you...

Ban Ki-moon was sworn in today as the 8th Secretary General of the United Nations, officially ending the decade-long term of his predecessor, Kofi Annan.

Today, Mr Ban pledged to "be mindful of... loyalty, discretion, and conscience" and to "set the highest ethical standards..."

Even if all he does is remind people that taking bribes is a bad thing, he'll already be miles ahead of Mr. Annan's repugnant term at the helm.

The Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal reminds us of the words and deeds of the UN under Annan's direction:

...When Mr. Annan was named Secretary General 10 years ago, he did so as the U.S.-backed candidate of reform. Jesse Helms, then-chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Mr. Annan that "if you choose to be an agent of real and deep-seated change, you will find many supporters--and even allies--here in the U.S. Congress."

Senator Helms's expectations were not met. Seven years later--thanks to U.S. military action that Mr. Annan did everything in his power to prevent--we learned that he had presided over the greatest bribery scheme in history, known as Oil for Food. We learned that Benon Sevan, Mr. Annan's trusted confidant in charge of administering the program, had himself been a beneficiary of Iraqi kickbacks to the tune of $160,000. We learned that Mr. Annan's chief of staff, Iqbal Riza, had ordered potentially incriminating documents to be destroyed. We learned that Mr. Annan and his deputy, Louise Frechette, were both aware of the kickback scheme but failed to report it to the Security Council, as their fiduciary duties required. However, we haven't yet learned whether the senior Annan illegally helped his son Kojo obtain a discounted Mercedes, an issue on which the Secretary General has stonewalled reporters.

Earlier this year, Mr. Annan was also forced to place eight senior U.N. procurement officials on leave pending investigations on bribery and other charges. Vladimir Kuznetsov, the head of the U.N. budget-oversight committee, was indicted this year on money-laundering charges. Alexander Yakovlev, another procurement official, pled guilty to skimming nearly $1 million off U.N. contracts. The U.N.'s own office of Internal Oversight found that U.N. peacekeeping operations had mismanaged some $300 million in expenditures.


Mr. Annan came to office after a stint as head of U.N. peacekeeping operations. The period corresponded with the massacre in Srebenica of 7,000 Bosnians and the genocide of 800,000 Tutsis in Rwanda, both of which were facilitated by the nonfeasance of peacekeepers on the ground. It was later revealed that Mr. Annan's office explicitly forbade peacekeepers from raiding Hutu arms caches in Rwanda just four months before the genocide.

The world's worst man-made humanitarian catastrophes have since taken place in Zimbabwe, North Korea, Congo and Darfur. Mr. Annan has been mostly silent about the first two, perhaps on the time-honored U.N. principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of member states other than the U.S. In the Congo, U.N. peacekeepers haven't stopped the bloodshed, but they have made themselves notorious as sexual predators.

Funny what can happen when a ball-less, incompetent, selfish mis-manager takes over a large organization, no?

These are the facts, folks.  Under Annan's "leadership" the UN has failed.  In Darfur, in Congo, in Somalia.  In Kosovo and Rwanda and the middle east.  And these failures can all be traced to one person: Kofi Annan.

In a global community the objective SHOULD be the protection of human rights and promotion of tolerance and communication.  Under Annan, the UN's objective appeared to be "anything that makes the US look bad". 

By default, that attitude prevents the neediest among us (like the Darfuris) from receiving the help that would otherwise be freely offered.

Ask the Kosovars.

Mr Annan has singlehandedly brought the UN from an organization of hope, that had the possibility of effecting real global change to a mockery of its former self.

Opinion Journal says it more eloquently than I can:

Mr. Annan came to power at a moment when it was at least plausible to believe that a properly reformed U.N. could serve the purposes it was originally meant to serve: to be a guarantor of collective security and a moral compass in global affairs. Mr. Annan's legacy is that nobody can entertain those hopes today.
So Long, Kofi. Please enjoy a very restful retirement somewhere far away from the media. And while you're at it, see if you can convince your buddy Jimmeh to join you.

h/t Lex

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December 15, 2006

home, sick

I think I caught a cold.  So I'm working from my couch today, rather than my office.

I like working in my jammies.

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:24 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Happy Hanukkah!

To all of you who celebrate, Happy Hanukkah! (or Chanukah or Chanukkah or however you spell it!)

Save some latkes for me!

And here's a Hanukkah carol from one of my favorite bands, The LeeVees:

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Tech Support Hell-- Earthlink SUCKS

Go see what Earthlink made Rachel go through just to NOT fix her problem.

But don't forget to call her first to verify that you are, in fact, reading her page.

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:27 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

December 16, 2006

A Tropical Holiday...

You Should Spend the Holidays In

Brazil - with fireworks and huge christmas trees made out of lights

What Country Should You Spend the Holidays In?

h/t Ktreva, who should be going to Ireland
Posted by caltechgirl at 01:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Light a Candle for Hope

Hanukkah is a time to light candles and celebrate victories of the past, but it's also a time to remember those lost or left behind.

Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were abducted more 5 months ago.This Hanukkah - the holiday of lights, Ynetnews, in coordination with the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization, invite you to light a Hanukkah candle in their honor.
As individuals our light is weak, but together we will shine brightly and light a huge flame to express our common concern and hope that Gilad, Ehud and Eldad return safely home.

Remember Gilad, Ehud and Eldad. Help bring them home

Clicking either of the pictures will take you to the Candle Site. More than 10,000 have been lit so far. Let their families know how many people out there remember and care.
h/t Linda SoG

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 17, 2006


I finally had a chance to speak to the next-door neighbor today.  Turns out that the plumber didn't carefully tighten down one of the several connections in the gas line.

However, he did come out in the middle of the night to do it. And then the gas company inspector checked several times after he re lit all the pilots.

So we're gas-safe again.

Posted by caltechgirl at 06:49 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Holocaust on paper

The horror was DOCUMENTED.  On paper.  It's all there.  17 miles of file cabinets containing Nazi records on everything from head lice to mail records to executions...

17,000,000 victims: Jews, laborers, homosexuals, and political dissidents.

The documents are being scanned and will be available within the next year to a number of research programs and libraries.

Posted by caltechgirl at 07:54 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Evidently I rock!

9/9 Genius
You are 90% knowledegable and 96% intellectual.
Amazing! You have an incredible brain (intellect) and a powerhouse of information (knowledge)! Keep up the impressive work-- we all bow to you.
My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
You scored higher than 99% on knowledge
You scored higher than 99% on intellect

Link: The Knowledge vs. Intellect Test
h/t RSM
Posted by caltechgirl at 08:50 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 18, 2006

I am thankful for...

The elixir of the gods:

Oh yeah. 

Funny thing, I used to run and hide from the stuff as a kid.  Still tastes just as nasty, but now I prefer not hacking up a lung, thank you very much.

Oh and BTW, as I know I got this POS cold from a friend who recently flew on Air France, why can't French germs be cheese-eating surrender monkeys, too?

Ugh.  If you want me you know where to find me.  I'll be the one groaning in between sniffles....

Posted by caltechgirl at 07:59 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

You can dress a thug in fancy clothes...

But you can't take him to church.

Sorry, David Stern.  Bullshit fines aren't the answer.  All 7 of the suspended players should face the same punishment as Ron Artest.  If you want them to play nice, make so that they play nice or don't play at all.


Posted by caltechgirl at 11:28 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Don't know what to get your lady for Christmas?

SNL has the answer..... (NSFW without headphones! This version isn't beeped out, video is PG-13)

Lately, SNL isn't worth watching, but this cracked me up. If it's consistently this funny, it might go back on the list.

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:33 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

December 19, 2006

Happy Happy!

Happy Birthday to Beth of Blue Star Chronicles, an all around classy chick!

Her mom and sisters have posted some incriminating photos of the birthday girl.....

As for me, I'll just wish her the nicest of days and a big piece of birthday cake!

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:16 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


I got tagged by Teresa, so here goes:

1.Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper and fancy bows

2.Real tree or artificial? REAL.  Cut down by me is even better.

3.When do you put up the tree? Thanksgiving Weekend if I can.

4.When do you take the tree down? After Epiphany.

5.Do you like eggnog? No way.  It's nasty.

6.Favorite gift you received as a child? Hmmmm.  Either my CD boombox or one of any number of Barbies.

7.Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, it's at my mother's house, though.

8.Hardest person to buy for? My mother.  She's very particular.  I'm tough to shop for, because I just buy myself what I want, usually.

9.Easiest person to buy for? Hubby.

10.Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. Except for people who don't want their addresses known....

11.Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Socks.  When I was 8 I got about 30 pairs of socks.  Yecch.

12.Favorite Christmas movie? White Christmas. A close second is A Christmas Story.

13.When do you start shopping? I start whenever I see something that would be a great gift.  The bulk is usually done on Black Friday.

14.Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No, actually

15.Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Hmmm. That's tough, my latkes are pretty good.

16.Clear lights or colored on the tree? Color!  The brighter, the beter

17.Favorite Christmas song? I like most of them. You name it, I know it.

18.Travel at Christmas or stay home? Both.  We're traveling home.

19.Can you name all of Santa’s Reindeers? You mean some people can't????

20.Angel on the tree top or a star? This year a star, previously, a Winnie the Pooh Angel.

21.Open the presents on Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Eve with the extended family, Christmas day with the immediate family.

22.Most annoying thing about this time of year? The frigging lines.

23.Do you have Jebus in your heart this Christmas? He's a little big to fit in my heart.... but he knows how I feel about him.

24.What would you like for Christmas? Snow and ice.  I love winter weather, but it's a little scarce in CA

Now, I'm supposed to tag 5 people so, sorry gals....






Have some Christmas fun!

Posted by caltechgirl at 07:47 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

December 20, 2006

I'm dreaming of a White Christmas....

If you don't have snow, at least you can make snowflakes.

Go here

Click on "Find A Flake" and type in Caltechgirl to see mine!

stolen from VW Bug

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Spare a happy thought or two

In the direction of Jen and Beau and Baby Jesse.

A second incidence of bleeding has Jen in the hospital for the rest of her pregnancy.  While I know it's terribly boring and tedious for her, especially being stuck in the hospital over the holidays, at the same time I hope her bedrest is longer rather than shorter, and ends with a healthy little boy and healthy Mom, too.

Any good thoughts and/or prayers would be much appreciated.

Drop Jen a note and let her know you're thinking of her.

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 21, 2006

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Have you stopped by to check out the newest member of the Bad Example Bunch?  It's Bitterroot, also known as =HC=, husband of my blog sis Mrs_Who.

And he's got a great story to tell about their Golden Retriever.....

"...Mothers can tell what every different nuance in a baby's cry means.  I've never understood that.  But I can understand my dog. 

I can tell the difference between a cat in the parkbark, a strange dogs are in my yard!  bark, and even a neighbor girl and her boyfriend are talking/making-out in her driveway bark.  There's also the strangers walking past the yard bark, and of course the usual bored reply to the other barking dog down the street bark.

But at about 2:30 this morning, she was barking something different.  It definitely wasn't a bored or cat bark - it was more insistent.  She almost sounded scared.  As I listened, her barking intensified - whatever it was was really unnerving her - she was already up to DefCon 2.  I got up and went to the family room at the other end of the house and peered out the windows.  I saw nothing.  By this time, Dog is going positively ape-shit out there.  Something or someone is in the yard, and it's definitely a stranger bark!  I moved as quickly as I dared through the darkened house to secure my gun and flashlight.  (I know, I know)   They should have been in my hands before I went to investigate.)  Damn!  Mrs. Who or the kids - okay, maybe even *I* left the MagLite somewhere other than where it was supposed to be.  Too late, I can't turn-on lights to search for it.  There's no time, and I'll only handicap my own night-adjusted eyes - blinding myself and possibly even making a silhouette of myself!...."

Read the rest, and find out WHY she went to DefCon 2

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Too Hot for Hot Air!

But not for us! NSFW without headphones, but the video is, well, hell, it's Sesame Street.

h/t Patterico

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:52 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

It's gotta be the Holly-Daze

This blog is now officially on hiatus for the holidays.

Of course, as loyal readers, you know that probably means I'll be posting pretty frequently. :-)

Anyway, I leave you with this, a message of love, peace, and tolerance for the Holidays...
(NSFW without headphones)

Merry F*cking Christmas, y'all!

h/t Linda

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:39 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

December 26, 2006

Gerald Ford Dead Today....

President Ford died today at age 93.

Of course, this means that yet another of my favorite jokes goes by the wayside.....

Rest in Peace, Mr. President. You were always loved for your grace under fire, your candor, and your humility.

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:50 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 27, 2006

Attention Target Shoppers-- Target SUCKS

Or more appropriately, Attention Target Returners. Especially those of you who got gifts without gift receipts.

Look, you all know how much I love Target.  Not any more.  Some of you know how strong a statement that really is.

According to Vanessa, "manager" of store 1417 in Fresno, Target's return policy is that if you DO NOT have a receipt for that item, any return is only issued as a "suspended transaction" and you can only purchase:

THE SAME ITEM or a similar item

This means that you may only purchase an item from that particular department. In my case, kitchen electronics. If you want to buy clothes or shoes or something and you returned a blender. Yep, sorry. You can't. But would you like a deep fryer?

Without a receipt they place SERIOUS restrictions on what you can get for a return. AND if it's over $100, good luck sucker. The lady next to me at the return counter was returning a PSP someone gave her son. They told her that they couldn't even take it.

Even worse was the father whose son had received a jacket he really liked but was too small.  The kid wanted the same jacket, but this store didn't have his size EITHER.  They couldn't give him a gift card to go to the other Target in town and get one.  AND the jacket had already gone back to the floor while he was shopping, so they wouldn't give it back to him and void the return.  When I left he was warming up to get as pissed off as I was.

As far as I know, Target is the ONLY store that restricts what you can spend your return $$ on after returning a new, unopened, fully functional item.

Kind of ironic when their signs promise "EASY RETURNS!  EVEN WITHOUT A RECEIPT!"

In fact none of this policy (as it was explained to me) is even ON their website.  Here's the sum total of what it says regarding store-purchases returned with out a receipt:

Don't have your receipt?

In most instances, Target stores can verify purchases made within the last 90 days on a store account, third-party charge account, check or GiftCard using our unique Receipt Look-up system.

In fact, their website even says the following for target.com purchases, but nothing for Target store purchases:

Refunds to a Store - Gift Recipient

Form of Payment: Your refund will be issued as a GiftCard good for purchases made at Target stores and on Target.com.

They already got the $$$, folks.  It's in their coffers.  Why THE F*CK should they care what I want to get for that money??? 

And why do they care for store purchases but not Target.com??????

And believe me, I know from experience, if it didn't come from their store, the computer won't recognize it, even for common items, like video games.  They don't need a receipt to verify it was sold in Target. 

Between this policy, Che on everything, and last year's "Happy Holidays" and Salvation Army fiascoes, my once favorite store is quickly going to the bottom.

So I won't be shopping there anymore, and you should tell them how you feel about this ridiculous policy.

Call: 1-800-440-0680 or fill out the form here.

Better yet, email Investor Relations and tell them how much money this stupid policy is losing them here: investorrelations@target.com

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:33 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

December 28, 2006

Yep. Pretty Much

Anyone who was part of one of the AIDS debates at DW knows this one is true:

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Eminence the Very Viscountess Caltechgirl the Sophisticated of Wallop upon Deane
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Heh. Dean(e) knows we're cool.

h/t His Imperial Majesty Rsm the Apocalyptic of Longer Interval

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 29, 2006

Lumberjack Down

J.R. Salzman, the blogger behind Lumberjack in a Desert has been wounded in Iraq by an IED.

"it is hard for me to tell you all this but i was hurt by an ied here. my right arm has been amputated below the elbow, my left has four working fingers. my legs are fine so l can still logroll! i am on my way to the hospital in germany, then back to the states for more care. i am in high spirits. i am going to be ok, but i will have a long road to recovery. please remember me in your prayers, as well as those who were injured with me. i will let you know more as time passes."
I never read J.R.'s blog before today, in fact I never knew about it, but I'm a big fan of his from the Great Outdoor Games.  I knew he looked familiar.

J.R. in full battle gear

The Good news is that J.R. is already at Walter Reed, doing the every-other-day surgery thing until the doctors can get his wounds healing appropriately.  His wife and parents are with him.

The Better news is that The Usual Suspects are already at work getting JR a Valour-IT laptop so that he can continue to communicate with the world at large.

Please keep J.R. and his family, and all the men who were wounded with him and their families in your thoughts and prayers

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mother Mary protect us...

It seems St. Joseph isn't the only statue with a useful place around the house.  Drop in at Mrs_Who's new digs and read how a statue of the Holy Mother helps out around the house!

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Final F*ck Off

The final Friday F*ck Off thread of 2006 is posted at it comes in pints? for your reading and venting pleasure.  Complete with some of this year's best F*ck Offs.

The winner, for sheer volume of F*ck-ed-ness and creativity, however, is Val, with these posts (NSFW, so posted below the jump) under the category of "Love Thy Neighbors":

I never knew you had it in you, my friend.

Read More "The Final F*ck Off" »
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Is it 10 PM EST yet?

Tick tock, tick tock......

According to Iraqi sources the murderer will dance at 10pm EST.

h/t Fausta

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:50 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 30, 2006

Saddam Update

Get 'em Kitty!

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:49 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 31, 2006

And a veddy nice time was had by all

Sharp-eyed readers will notice two things:
1. This post was actually written after the post at the top(but time-shifted)
2. New "Bloggers that Actually Exist" in the blogroll on the right sidebar.

This morning several of the SoCal Bear Flaggers got together for brunch and I finally met the very interesting Gay Patriot West (Dan) and the lovely and generous Tammy Bruce, who picked up the check.

It was lovely to see everyone, and thanks, Tammy!

PS: Noticably missing? One Dr. Rusty Shackleford, whose sojourn in SoCal for the holidays was the impetus for today's get together. Tsk, Tsk.

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Screw the Broncos

That is all.

I guess I don't give a rat's a$$ about the playoffs this year then.

Posted by caltechgirl at 05:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

It's that time of year again...

New Year's Eve.  A time to reflect.  To join with friends to celebrate another year past and a new year to come.  To watch football, and drink (responsibly) and remember that a baby born tonight gives you a year's worth of tax help :-)

2006 has been in many ways a year of grace for us.  Quiet and unremarkable, which is good after 2005's roller coaster.  There were many moments of peace and thankfulness: our one year anniversary of our move back to CA, my Dad's cancer-free anniversary, milestones and accomplishments at work.  Quiet evenings at home, evenings spent at parties and games.  Moments spent with new friends and old.  Just moments unremarkable except that we were able to enjoy them.  All in all a good year.

There are many things I could say that I want for next year: better health, to become a homeownwer, to get a raise at work, for DH to have an easier group of students.  But really, if 2007 is anything like 2006, I'll be more than happy with its quiet, steady passage.

A blessed and Happy New Year to each of you, may 2007 bring health, happiness, and dreams come true.

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:18 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack