Sunday, November 20, 2005

A copy-editing geek

You scored 23% Sociability and 47% Sophistication!
There's no denying that you have a certain flair. You don't mind being around others, especially your little brother, the hyphen, but you rarely emerge except when needed. You respond well to those who know how to treat you, but have only contempt for those who don't--you tend to embarass them every chance you get. Your only enemy is the colon--he will sometimes try to move in on your turf.

Link: The Which Punctuation Mark Are You Test written by Gazda on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Monday, October 24, 2005

50-book challenge

No. 17 is The Best Awful by Carrie Fisher. And it wasn't, but it could have been better. This sequel to Postcards from the Edge (which was a mediocre movie, but a pretty good book) has humor and a wit, but it could have used more of Doris Mann. The mother with issues only had a bit part this go-around. I also thought the ending wrapped up a little too neat. Currently reading: Wicked by Gregory MacGuire.

Monday, October 17, 2005

A little behind in my book blogging (and reading)

Perhaps starting the 50-book challenge in March wasn't such a good idea. Unless I read 2 books a week through the end of the year, I am not going to make it. But the good news is reading has become a habit again -- a lost love found. So here is what I thought of numbers 14, 15 and 16.

No. 14 - "When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?" by George Carlin. I love Carlin's standup and most of this was more of the same, including a lot I had already heard on his television appearances. He did seem to try for more shock value in this book, some of which I could have done without. I really don't need any Jon Benet jokes, George.

No. 15 - "Hawke's Harbor" by S.E. Hinton. I devoured Hinton's books when I was a kid and still count "The Outsiders" as on of my all-time favorites. When I saw this one in a airport shop, it was a no-brainer. Thanks to time waiting on a plane and in a plane, I was able to finish it in 2 days. It's a little different subject matter than what fans are used to, but the style is definitely the same. It's a little quirky and could have been filled out some. But the characters was likeable and it was an easy read.

No. 16 - "Fire Sale" by Sara Paretsky. V.I. Warshawski is back on the case. This one may not be her best and it's a little predictable in places, but it's a good story told well over all. Paretsky is always a good choice for me when I'm looking for a little brain candy with a twist and this story fits the bill. And it doesn't hurt that all these novels have a strong, independent and intelligent female character to lead the way.

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Overheard at the airport

"This one has a vibrator, too. You should get one." - 50-ish woman showing her new cell phone to her 50-ish female traveling companions.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Today's thought

Nothing brings out the dysfunctional in my family quite like a funeral.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Treasures from India and Egypt

My dad arrived, bearing gifts -- enough beautiful silk to make a sari, a silver anklet with scarabs, camels, cartouches, Nefertiti and Tut, and intricately embroidered clothes.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Katrina's lesson learned

Rita is on her way. Galveston Calls for Voluntary Evacuations - Yahoo! News: "Buses were to begin running Wednesday for people who can't leave on their own, taking them to shelters about 100 miles north in Huntsville." This isn't Galveston's first rodeo, 105 years ago this month the 1900 hurricane killed 8,000 people. If you read the survivor's stories, you will find many similarities with the New Orleans experience -- escapes to rooftops and attics. I expect most will leave when Rita moves a little closer.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Also no shocker

Your Inner Child Is Sad

You're a very sensitive soul.
You haven't grown that thick skin that most adults have.
Easily hurt, you tend to retreat to your comfort zone.
You don't let many people in - unless you've trusted them for a long time.

(Also via the cheese stands alone)

No surprise

Your Blog Should Be Purple

You're an expressive, offbeat blogger who tends to write about anything and everything.
You tend to set blogging trends, and you're the most likely to write your own meme or survey.
You are a bit distant though. Your blog is all about you - not what anyone else has to say.

(Via the cheese stands alone)
Sometimes you have to take the bitter with the sweet.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


It's been two weeks since the horrific storm and I haven't written about it. I've started to several times. Even written several posts in my head but some how they never made it here. I've spent hours at work and at home, pouring over stories, photos, blogs, message boards for news. I've wrapped myself up in this catastrophe and it's taken two weeks to come up for air. Not the first time I've done this, but definitely one of the most intense.

9/11 seemed to bring the country together while the hurricane seemed to push it further apart. No common enemy here since you can't hunt down Mother Nature, but I believe in the resilience of America, Americans and, most of all, Southerners. I have no doubt New Orleans, Biloxi and everything in between will be rebuilt. They won't be the exactly the same, but maybe they will be built stronger and wiser. When the finger pointing stops, I expect we will find inadequacy on all levels. A great timeline of this failures can be found in a Washington Post article The Steady Buildup to a City's Chaos. There will be many questions that need to be answered. For God's sake, the city was offered an empty Amtrak train and had hundreds of buses. I think the reality may be Americans just don't think we will get hit by the same things other countries live with all the time. We gambled that it wouldn't be as a bad as we knew it could be.

I also see a lot of hope and kindness. Heroic stories are everywhere on the Net. And I've never been prouder to be a Texan than when I saw officials in my home state step up. There's also been a great outpouring of giving. I live almost 900 miles from New Orleans and it's a five-hour trip to the nearest major shelter, but there are numerous evacuees in our area. So if you don't want to give to the national organizations, look in your own neighborhood. There are families that need you there.

Also something that I said offhand in a conversation with my spouse is a really good idea I've decided. I said something about how I'd like to join the Red Cross disaster relief teams and how I thought we'd make really good additions with our amateur radio status (instant communication). But you have to deploy for 3 weeks and I didn't know if I'd have a job when I got back. This is not something I've discussed with my employers, so I don't know either way. But here is the good idea part: What if employers allowed their workers off for disaster relief just like they do for National Guard service? The Red Cross said it needs 40,000 new volunteers to meet the needs of Katrina's aftermath. How many would be able to volunteer if they didn't have to worry about being gone for their jobs for three weeks?

Monday, August 22, 2005

Won't surprise those who knew me in high school
Heck, it wont surprise those who know me now.

Which John Hughes Movie Character Are You?
(via Stuck in the '80s)

Monday, August 15, 2005

50-book challenge
No. 13 was A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby. I loved this book. It is more character-driven than plot-driven, but it's a great read. The author of "High Fidelity" -- not only a good book, but a good movie adaptation -- created a quirky, funny, witty, sad quartet that drive this book. I liked them all. Next up: I'm not sure. I'm going to make a trip to the library tomorrow.
I will resist the urge to say what should be said.

Monday, August 8, 2005

And he wonders why I worry when he rides

My husband thinks I'm overly cautious. I really want to love motorcycles since he and my son are motorcycle nuts, but scenes like this make me a little afraid. Luckily, the guy who was on this bike wasn't hurt as badly as we feared, but still thisclose to being much worse.

Everyone loves a quiz

You Are 65% Left Brained,
35% Right Brained

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

(Found at Martinis, Persistence and a Smile.)

Saturday, July 30, 2005

A little too close to home
When reports of flooding from the monsoon in India came across the wire, my first thought was how sad for the villagers. I know the rains are hard on the many poor and rural areas of that country every year, but it was just a sad side note to the evening's news. But within hours it hit home with the report of 37 inches of rain in Mumbai (aka Bombay) and people trapped in buses and trains in the city. My dad is working and living there. Early reports weren't extremely scary -- just people stranded. Sent my dad an e-mail -- "Hi, Daddy. Just checking to see if you are OK. Read about the monsoon on the AP wire." No answer. The news becomes more bleak -- more than 300 dead in Mumbai alone and I start to panic. I check my e-mail several times an hour. I look through photos on the wire -- for what I'm not sure (may be a glimpse of his office or his apartment building, even though I don't know what either looks like.) I constantly skim the world wire for updates and the death toll continues to climb. That night with no word I can't sleep. I sit up, hitting the "check mail" button every few minutes and reading the news online. I try to make a call to his office, but it won't go through. Morning comes without any word. I know from the wire that the electricity and phones are out in most of Mumbai. But still I look for the message that isn't there. I go to work in the afternoon and begin the process again. Check the world wire, do some copy editing, check the e-mail, do some page designing, check the world wire and so it goes for 10 hours. Until I get the call. My dad has called my house from his mobile phone -- the first communication device he could get to work in two days. He tells my husband he is safe -- safe in his lucky 13th floor apartment in Mumbai. His office is under water, literally. But he is safe at home. Others are not so lucky. They pulled 22 bodies from a lake he can see from his window and there are many more.

Monday, July 25, 2005

50-book challenge
I'm not known for my bravery, so I am probably the last person you would pick to be your storm-chasing partner. That has never stopped my husband for taking me out into "big weather" as amateur radio weather spotters. We've been out in driving rain where we couldn't see the road. We've had a directional-challenged amateur radio volunteer direct us in front of the storm instead of behind it. But I must admit seeing my first tornado snake back up into the sky was an exhilarating a moment. That's one reason I picked Big Weather: Chasing tornadoes in the heart of America by Mark Svenvold as book no. 12. I wish the author would have spent more time on the chasers and less on global warming. The description of the chase, the chasers and the devastation is where the book really shines.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Mission Accomplished
When I proposed traveling by myself from my home in West Texas to my mom's home in northern Utah, let's just say there were a few skeptics. I love road trips, but I'm not what you would call a driver. I drive because I have to. I had never driven in mountains, despite having to live in them from kindergarten to graduation. But I did it and while it was a little scary in the canyon, I made it up and back in one piece -- the car, too. It's good for the self-esteem to conquer fears. It was great to see my mom, my brother, my niece and nephew and I loved every minute of it. But it's really good to be back in Texas. It has and will always be home to me. It was also very nice to be welcomed home by the dear husband. You don't realize how much you missed someone until you are back with them.
50-book challenge
Time to catch up again since I've been on vacation. I finished Olivia Joules and the overactive imagination by Helen Fielding right before I left for Utah. It was an enjoyable, fluffy, little book. I read some reviews by people who were uncomfortable with current events backdrop. I'll admit it was a little off-setting at first, but the story moves along nicely. That's book no. 11 down. Next up: Big Weather: Chasing tornadoes in the heart of America by Mark Svenvold.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

50-book challenge
OK, so I'm a little behind. In my break from blogging and the world in general, I finished books no. 8, no. 9. and no. 10. Conviction by Richard North Patterson was enjoyable if you can say that about a fictionalized death penalty case. I like that the author didn't go with these easy ending. It was also relevant to my life since we have the death penalty argument at my house probably once a week. That doesn't surprise most people, but it often surprises which side of the issue we fall on. Deception Point by Dan Brown was a fun read. Not as engaging as The Da Vinci Code, but good brain candy which is precisely what I needed. Spies, adventure and mystery are always a good distraction. A Good Life: Newspapering and other adventures by Ben Bradlee was timely and wonderful. I have been on a little bit of a Washington Post and Watergate kick in recent weeks. I read Katharine Graham's autobiography not long ago. I picked up Bradlee's book at the library two days before Deep Throat came out of the shadows and was glad I did. The Watergate investigation is always intriguing to me, but I really liked his chapter on Janet Cooke and Jimmy's World too. His statement about good editors and good copy editors being able to prevent the "excesses of exuberance" explains much about my job. I like his direct and sometimes blunt approach to his life story.
Currently reading: Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Two words to describe the day that just ended: Sucktacular and craptastic.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

43 to go
I finished books six and seven this week in my 50-book challenge. It was made a little easier by the fact if I moved much I couldn't breathe. Luckily, reading is activity that doesn't require movement.
A Salty Piece of Land by Jimmy Buffett was thoroughly enjoyable brain candy. Much like one of Buffett's songs, it was pure entertainment with lots of sailing, fishing, flying and a host of unique characters. I've always liked Buffet. My mother had a copy of "Living and Dying in 3/4 time" on 8-track that had a great song about getting drunk with a bear. It seems like every pub band I saw in the '80s knew how to cover "Why don't we get drunk." And I always remember the story of the pirate radio station off the coast of Florida that played "Son of a Son of a Sailor" over and over. Buffett's books are much like his songs and I consider that a good thing.
State of Fear by Michael Crichton was a fast read with a predictable ending, but I enjoyed it. I read a review that said it shows Crichton's right-wing philosophy. The story is critical of environmental groups. But I didn't see it as an agenda. The message to me was even a noble cause can go bad when you want to win at all costs.
Next up: Conviction by Richard North Patterson.

Monday, May 9, 2005

Out of the closet -- musically speaking

Sid at Nude Highway Driving revealed his closet bands today. After seeing we share an affinity for Ratt and Enya, I figured it was safe to reveal my closet bands. And before you mock me, check out your own musical closet. You better not be hiding any Celine Dion in there.

1. Meat Loaf -- My love of Mr. Loaf came early, thanks to my mom's copy of Bat out of Hell on vinyl. I can and will still belt out "Paradise by the Dashboard Lights" like I have musical ability. Come on, he starred in "Rocky Horror Picture Show" and that's kinda cool. And "Two out of Three Ain't Bad" still reminds me of late nights at my college paper, which leads me to no. 2.

2. Tone Loc -- 'Fess up "Funky Cold Medina" can still make you smile. And his version of "Wild Thing," getta outta here. I can't be the only one.

3. Cinderella -- I admit that in the '80s I liked hair bands and heavy metal. (see above concerning Ratt). I'm also a sucker for the power ballad -- and if have to explain that term, you need to watch back-to-back episodes of VH1's I Love the 80s asap. Cinderella had a great one, "Don't Know What You Got." I saw them in concert. Tom Keifer and a grand piano came down from the ceiling for that song, it was a great moment. I'm not afraid to admit I like Poison, Skid Row and Whitesnake too.

4. Garth Brooks -- Classic country like Johnny Cash is cool. Progressive country like the Drive by Truckers is cool. Garth Brooks is not cool, but I like him anyway. Throw Trisha Yearwood and him together on a love song and I'll buy the album.

5. Guns N' Roses -- Axl acts like a jerk these days, but I still like those early records. "Sweet Child O' Mine" and "Patience" blinds me to the cheese factor and the attitude.

I'm sure there are many other, but these are my top 5. I also like musical soundtracks, Kid Rock and Leonard Cohen, so there. And there's plenty of cool stuff in my collection, but I'll save that list for another day.

Welcome to the jungle ... er ... blogosphere, dear
My husband has made a foray into the blogging world, Ken's Way of the World. Like me, he is opinionated but not in the same way. Oh btw, he won't let me correct his spelling or temper his words with my version of reason. He does have many other endearing qualities, however.

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

45 to go
Books four and five in my 50-book challenge were good. But not as good as I expected if that makes any sense at all.
Blink : The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell gives insight into the thought process. It made me think of the experience of changing my first response to a question on a test to another answer that was wrong. The quick, first response is the right one for me much of the time. This book was full of anecdotal instances of the same type of experience. I really expected some insight into changing how I think. It was an interesting read, but I wanted more.
The Last Juror by John Grisham was a page turner until the last chapter where the loose ends were wrapped up too tidy and quickly. I like Grisham. He's one of my favorite choices for escapist brain candy. I expect a little more suspense at the end from him. I did like the small-town newspaper setting and thought the characters were interesting. Maybe that's why I was a little annoyed by the wrap-up.
Next up: A Salty Piece of Land by Jimmy Buffet

Monday, April 25, 2005

47 to go
Book three in my 50-book challenge went down quickly. Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld wasn't the only reason I didn't get anything productive done on my days off, but it was the major one. I loved this novel. It brought to mind the Judy Blume books I devoured in my pre-teen and early teen days in good way. A well-written coming-of-age book that reminded me of certain college relationship. Next up: Blink: The Art of Thinking Without Thinking.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

48 to go
I finished book two of my 50-book challenge last night: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. To be honest, I expected to not like this book. Too much hype. While I still don't understand all the hoopla, (It's fiction, people. Quit looking for the tomb.) I really enjoyed it. A little religion, a little ritual, a little intrigue. All in all a good read. I liked it well enough to put Brown's new book Deception Point on my library hold list. Currently reading: Prep by Curtis Sittenfield

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

50-book challenge
Once again, I'm a bad blogger. I haven't kept up with this the way I intended in the beginning. So to shake things up a bit, I've decided to take the 50-book challenge. I first read about it at, which by the way is a journal I highly recommend. Yes, I know it's the middle of April and I should have started in January. But for someone who consider herself an avid reader, I haven't been doing much of that either. I have eclectic tastes. So you can expect nonfiction, fiction, brain candy and heavy-duty, whatever catches my attention.

49 to go: The first book to cross of my list is A Personal History by Katharine Graham.
I guess the main reason I wanted to read this was Woodward, Bernstein and Watergate. While that part was great, I was impressed with the honest approach Graham takes to her life. From her childhood to her father's purchase of the Washington Post to her early years as a journalist to raising her children to her husband's suicide to her taking the lead at the Post, it's all brutally candid. The woman was definitely not afraid of hard work despite her wealthy background and she surrounded herself with an interesting cast of characters including Truman Capote and presidents from FDR to George H. Bush. If you like biographies, strong women and newspapers, give this one a read. Next up: The Da Vinci Code

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Farewell to the original gonzo journalist.
Author Hunter S. Thompson Kills Himself I wasn't a huge fan, but I liked his style. In this Salon article, he said he's regrets were minor and really I think that's all anyone can ask for in life.