vendredi, avril 29, 2005

the downside of donating a building

Hmmm. This is a fine to-do for the folks at Princeton.
The Frist Campus Center at Princeton attracts protest
So do you think Bill Frist thought that his building would become the site of huge protests when he initially gave the money for a new Campus Center at Princeton University? Probably not.
Essentially, there's a protest at Princeton over Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's proposal to change Senate rules to prevent a Democratic filibuster of judicial nominees. The fun part: it's in front of a building named for the Senator's family.
Via Hilstah

it's official (sort of)

I got a letter in the mail yesterday that says:
We are very pleased to inform you that you have been recommended for admission to the _______ Master of Business Administration program. Official admission to the University can only be granted by the Graduate Division. You will receive an e-mail notifying you of official admission to the university when your application file has been processed.
The letter later stated that because I have no Economics background (and because my stats class was in 19*ahem*93) that I am "strongly encouraged to pursue some form of remedial work."

So it's off to summer school for a riveting semester of econ and stats.

jeudi, avril 28, 2005

exploding toads

Note to self: Avoid German ponds.
Exploding toads puzzle German scientists
More than 1,000 creatures have puffed up and popped
More than 1,000 toads have puffed up and exploded in a Hamburg pond in recent weeks, and scientists still have no explanation for what's causing the combustion, an official said Wednesday.

"It's absolutely strange," she said. "We have a really unique story here in Hamburg. This phenomenon really doesn't seem to have appeared anywhere before."

The toads at a pond in the upscale neighborhood of Altona have been blowing up since the beginning of the month, filling up like balloons until their stomachs suddenly burst.

"It looks like a scene from a science-fiction movie," Werner Schmolnik, the head of a local environment group, told the Hamburger Abendblatt daily. "The bloated animals suffer for several minutes before they finally die."

mercredi, avril 27, 2005

my birthday party at work

My co-workers went all out for my birthday celebration, creating a Parisian bistro complete with an empty wine bottle and burned-down red candle. And everyone wore a scarf.

Here's a picture of the men, sporting scarves in all the most fashionable looks: the outlaw, the ascot, the stuffed-down-the-front-of-the-shirt bib, and the neckerchief.

Note: This photo has been altered to protect the innocent and the fashion impaired.

dimanche, avril 24, 2005

you know you're thirty when ...

You get up at o'dark hundred on a Sunday (that just happens to be your birthday) to go in to work to finish an important presentation you have to give the next day.

I figure it's the universe's way of saying "Welcome to your thirties. Now stop procrastinating, already."

jeudi, avril 21, 2005

the key to understanding me

Toastmasters speech (How to say it) originally given on April 21, 2005
Award: Best speaker

Take your keys out of your pocket and count how many are on the ring.

What does your keychain say about you?
Does it have a fob that says you're the #1 dad?
Are you a minimalist with just a few keys?
Or is it large and jangly, because you like to have everything in one place?

My keychain includes four keys, an alarm fob, a pill case, and a mini Eiffel Tower. And in many ways, it's a reflection of the life events I've experienced in the past year and half.

The newest key
Last Monday, I added the newest key. It's the key to my new condo, the first home I've ever bought. When I got the key, it was so anticlimactic. Here it was, this simple piece of brass and nickel plating that had literally cost me $300 grand. I don't know why, but I somehow expected it to be gold or platinum. Anyhow, as I added the key to the ring, I took a long look at the rest of the keys and began to think about how they are a time capsule of sorts, a snapshot of what my life is today and what it has been recently.

The pill case
The case holds a few vitamins that I take during the day. The vitamins are antioxidants, because antioxidants contain powerful cancer-fighting properties. To make a long story short, I was diagnosed with kidney cancer nearly two years ago. I was lucky — my friends kept pushing me to go to the doctor when I complained about pain I had while exercising. A stage one diagnosis was followed by surgery to remove my entire right kidney in September 2003. Nowadays, I exercise six days a week and the only pain I have is minor muscle soreness from pushing myself that extra 15 minutes on the elliptical trainer or adding another 5 pounds to the bicep curl.

The big black key
The key to my Toyota Camry has a coat of green nail polish in the center. That's because I used to have two identical-looking Camry keys on the ring— one for my green Camry and one for my now ex-husband's grey Camry. I spent fourteen years with Eric, my high school sweetheart. We dated from the time we were 15, moved in together when we graduated from college, and then got married at age 25. Last year, we decided to separate and a good friend helped me figure out that Paris was as good a place as any to contemplate whether or not I wanted to be married.

Enter the Eiffel Tower.
This mini version of la tour eiffel is a reflection of my love of all things French. It's so cheesy, but so perfectly cool. I'm mad for the French language, cooking, films, and yes, even the people. You might say that I got to know them pretty well, because I spent six weeks in France last year on two separate visits. I've spent three years studying the language and my current goal is to learn enough French to have a decent conversation with someone older than a second grader. I'm working hard to become fluent because my five-year plan is to move abroad, ideally to Paris.

Why five years?
French labor laws make it hard to get a work permit unless you have a very specialized skill set and I determined that getting an MBA is the best way to improve my odds of becoming gainfully employed in France. Once I made the decision to get a graduate degree, I started looking for an employer that would pay for graduate school. I chose to apply for a job at _______ last September because they give their employees two free classes a semester.

I've been there for 5 months now, and I can honestly say that I love my job. The politics are challenging, my boss and colleagues are super smart, and I'm learning to trust myself professionally more and more every day. My commute is one third less time than my old drive to ________, I make more money, earn way more vacation, get two free classes a semester, and yes, I even have two keys to the building. Last week, I submitted my application for the MBA program. I haven't heard if I'm in yet, but I'm hoping for the best. And for another key to add to my keychain.

This seemingly mudane keyring says so much about my past, my present, and my future.

In the past year and half, I've beaten cancer, survived a divorce, and lived abroad. I've advanced in my career, applied for graduate school, and bought my first home. And today, my popi and I will move all my things into my new home. This Sunday, I'll celebrate my thirtieth birthday by having a housewarming party with my friends.

Take a moment and feel your keychain again.

Turn it over in your hands and think about this:
How are your keys a reflection of who you are?
What story do they tell about you?

mercredi, avril 20, 2005

and then he said ...

Yesterday, I was walking with Allison, talking about whether she should go as Minerva, Diana, or Gaia to a goddess party this weekend. By the time we reached the ATMs, I was telling her a story of my own.

We got in line behind an old guy and when I got to the words "and then he said ..." the old guy ripped quite possibly the loudest, longest fart I've ever heard. I'm serious. It was one phenomenally loud fart. And I swear it went on for at least three seconds.

Neither of us could hold in our laughter very effectively. Normally, that would be just fine, but Allison had her wisdom teeth out last Friday and it hurt to laugh or even smile. But the simple fact is that farts are just funny, so we couldn't help ourselves.

We tried to avoid eye contact, but it was hopeless, because we'd catch each others' eyes and then start busting up like mimes again. The old guy kept shooting me dirty looks, but it was all I could do to keep my voice down as I repeated "and then he said ..." and started heaving with silent laughter.

dimanche, avril 17, 2005

my kind of town

My stay in Chicago has been wonderful.

The city's architecture is amazing. I've yet to eat a bad meal. And the nightlife is awesome.

I've had a great time in this very liveable city, made some new friends, and taken mad amounts of pictures. Now I'm off to the hotel to grab my stuff and take the el to O'Hare.

I'll post some images in the next few days.

lundi, avril 11, 2005

la clef

Today, I got the key to my new home. It's funny how an ordinary thing like a key can make me so incredibly happy. I even like the sound it makes on my keychain.

I went over and opened every cupboard door. I smiled to myself as I read the note from the previous owner and marvelled at the generous gift certificate to the Adams Avenue Grill she left for me. What a day.


Last night, Cass, Diana, Ophira, Nolan, Reggie, and I headed to Just Fabulous for an amazing meal and great conversation.

This hot lava chocolate cake with chocolate gelato was one of the desserts at the end of our three-hour meal.

And yes, it tasted as good as it looked.
Photo via Cass

samedi, avril 09, 2005

the secret to a perfect relationship

1. It is important to find a man who helps at home, who cooks from time to time, cleans up and has a decent job.
2. It is important to find a man who can make you laugh.
3. It is important to find a man who you can trust and who doesn't lie to you.
4. It is important to find a man who is good in bed and who likes to be with you.
5. It is very important that these four men don't know each other.
Via Jennifer H.

thanks marta

Marta (being the great sport she is) agreed to be my model for a photo shoot at the very last minute.

After spending an hour or so at La Jolla Shores, I got my assignment done and also have some new items for my portfolio.

And I learned another thing after the shoot: Orange oil gets beach tar off one's feet lickety-split. : )

vendredi, avril 08, 2005

for celine and aashish, and karen and jeremiah

A few of my friends have had babies recently, and I couldn't help but laugh when I saw this image taken at a baby shower.

Via PlanetDan

here's to your mental health

You can fend off dementia with sex.
CANBERRA (Reuters) Thu Apr 7, 1:03 AM ET
"Prolactin levels also go up during sex as well. So one could think of a number of more entertaining activities than running in order to regulate the production of nerve cells," Bartlett said.

sign here and here and here and here and here

The good news: I've officially signed and initialed my life away ... my loan's been funded and I'm about to close escrow in world-record time. : )

The bad news: I'm headed to Chicago for 5 days on a business trip, so my new condo will sit empty while I get my learn on at an Internet marketing conference.

dance white boy

Another Internet star is born.

mercredi, avril 06, 2005

they are legion

The word "Catholic" means "universal" and the church is becoming just that:
The Catholic Church is no longer simply a European church. It's not even a Northern Hemisphere church. Nor is it primarily a white church. It is now a universal church found in every country, every race, and nearly every global culture.
No wonder there's all this talk about the next pope not being European ... check out these "before and after" maps and the church's distribution around the world.

what she said

"Guys are welcome to come home with me, but I make it very clear that I'm a total prude and just into the eighth-grade makeout. You know, it's like a clean fight — nothing below the belt."

the world according to aaron

Apparently, I am now officially the GIR (Genius In Residence). Or so Aaron tells me.

There's still no word on what that really means, other than having a fun honorific to share at parties.

Riddle me this: Why does "honorific" have one r when "terrific" has two?
< / geekyetymologicalquestion>

mardi, avril 05, 2005

the religious right goes global

I heard a snippet of this on the news and finally tracked down a hard reference, thanks to
So Muslim, Jewish, Catholic and other clerics have finally found something they can agree on: going after a gay pride festival scheduled to take place in Jerusalem. With all the conflict and upheaval going on in the Mideast, these "leaders" have chosen to take a stand to prevent a parade, film festival and art exhibit.

Religious leaders can play a powerful and unique role in helping to resolve political conflict and bridge divides between people... The same is not true of this gang of Jerusalem clerics, who have found common cause not in helping to get past conflicts, but in promoting bigotry.


yankee or dixie?

I was born in Virginia and my dad is from the South. Nonetheless, I was very surprised to learn that my dialect is 64% Dixie according to this dialect quiz.
Check on your dialect and see if you might have crossed over to the "other side"! Simply click on the correct answer. As you go, the quiz will automatically interpret each answer to show you what your answer implies about you.
Via Cass

heed the mug

desaparecidos, II

Here is another of the tributes to the desaparecidos that stuck with me:
Maria Eugenia Sanlloventi de Massolo
Desaparecida el 1 de enero de 1976
Aunque los monstruos quisieron callarte
Tu voz retumba cada vez más fuerte en sus oídos.
23 años de extrañarte.
23 años de soñarte.
Para no olvidar, ni perdonar.
- Tu seres queridos.
Maria Eugenia Sanlloventi de Massolo
Disappeared January 1, 1976
Although the monsters wanted to silence you
Each time, your voice resonates more loudly in their ears.
23 years missing you.
23 years dreaming of you.
To not forget, nor forgive.
-Your beloved beings.

lundi, avril 04, 2005

por la verdad, memoria y justicia

I went to the exhibit about the desaparecidos yesterday. It was powerful, horrible, and beautiful. I stood alone, tears streaming down my face as I read the many words of tribute written by mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters on the birthdays of their loved ones. At one point, I just had to sit down.

This is one of the tributes that resonated with me:
Alfredo Gonzalez
Detenido - Desaparecido
el 4 de marzo de 1978
Gota a gota, la gota de agua perfora la piedra.
Así pasará en la conciencia de los asesinos de mi hijo.
- En tu cumpleaños, tu mamá y tu gran familia.
Alfredo Gonzalez
Detained - Disappeared
March 4, 1978
Drop by drop, the drop of water perforates the stone.
That's what will happen to the conscience of my son's assassins.
- On your birthday, your mother and family.

samedi, avril 02, 2005

jp II's legacy

John Paul II was one of the most interesting popes (he was an actor and world-class skiier before choosing the seminary). And he did a lot of good in a few areas. He finally (nearly 2,000 years later) acknowledged that the Romans (and not the Jews) killed Christ. And he tacitly acknowledged that the church had been a bit too cozy with the Nazis and failed to act to help stop the Holocaust.

It's sad that his ultimate legacy will be marred because he squandered several opportunities to show compassion and open a dialogue with the gay community.
The pinnacle (or nadir) of the John Paul II papacy has to be the notorious Halloween letter, issued in 1986, which declared gays and lesbians "disordered," "self-indulgent" individuals who "threaten the lives and well-being of a large number of people." So much for pastoral outreach. Even the pope's last major statement, his recent book, tore into homosexuality as an ideology of evil.
Via PlanetOut

on relationships

I had lunch with Marta yesterday and she just slayed me with this comment:

"Don't get me wrong — I love my pink lady. It's just that the pink lady won't stroke my hair in the morning or spoon with me at night."

She's so mascara.

engorged maples behead innocent bystander

I laughed so hard at this All Things Considered story that I cried. It is truly Onion-worthy.

And two of my friends who heard the story have already mentioned it. Here's a link to the audio file, for Cindy and the rest of you who missed it:
April Fool's: New England Suffers Maple Woes
A downturn in the maple syrup market is having harmful side effects for trees in northern New England. For the first time in decades, the maples are remaining untapped, with sometimes-dangerous results.

vendredi, avril 01, 2005

for eric

Pseudo-Czech Dummy Text Generator
Generator of filling nonsense text, i.e., for a Web page design dummy text, simulating the look and feel of Czech language. Each reload of the page generates a new random paragraph of text.
Via Sam's Archive

word up, muthafukaaaaaa

Props to my friend Turk for turning me on to the musical stylings of lounge singer Richard Cheese.

That man is a genius!
(Turk's no slouch, either.)