May 31, 2005

*Not-Quite-Breaking News

For those of you who may not have heard, "Deep Throat" has been identified.

Posted by Jennifer at 05:20 PM

*MY VRWC Interview

It's the interview with Beth of MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy!

Why blog?

Because I have no life. Or maybe I have no life because I blog. I started because I was looking for something--God only knows what--in the Google Options page and saw the little Blogger button and thought, WTF, maybe I can use this to stop spamming everyone and their dog with links to stuff. I had never even read a blog before; I thought they were just online journals that melodramatic teenagers did. Yeah, I thought I was on to something May 2004. My excuse for that dimwittedness is that I had spent the previous year and a half being an eBay addict, so I suppose this is a far wiser of my computer!
Besides, I'm a hermit and I hate the phone, so the "social" life of a total friggin' GEEK is better than none at all. And yes, I used to say that people who spend this much time on a computer were the biggest losers. That's ME! Wooohoooo!

If you did not blog, what would you do in your spare time?

Clean my house, eat, sleep.
Oh. Is this a serious question? Clear all this stuff we don't use out of the house and either give it away or sell it on eBay. Shop online and go broke. Sleep more. I would also have to play kid stuff all day, too. You know, you can only take SO much of that.

Your actual blog address, bamapachyderm, is unique. Any story behind that?

All the ones I wanted were taken, and its uniqueness is quite a nice contrast to the frightfully UNORIGINAL blog name. I keep saying I'm going to punt "My VRWC" and just go with Bamapachyderm because the unoriginality really drives me completely insane. (I told you, I thought I was on to something when I started blogging! What an idiot, huh!)
Anyway, Bama = Alabama (amazing, isn't it?). Pachyderm = Elephant = GOP and Big Al/Alabama Crimson Tide (I went to college there and graduated with a Master's degree in Alcohology after only one year! My master's thesis was on effective hangover cures, but none turned out to be terribly effective, dammit.)

Your page takes about an hour to load on dialup (shut up). What's up?

What is this "dialup" of which you speak? Get broadband, cheapskate! (Just kidding. Sort of.)
Does it still take that long? I know it sucked for a while, but since the redesign this month it SHOULD be better. Y'know, you shoulda told me!

Tell us about your USAF experience, please. What did you do, where did you go, that sort of thing?

Well, it's super-seekrit, so don't tell anyone. Just between you and me, I was a... FINANCE PUKE. I loathed my job, nearly every single day of it--but that's the job I DEMANDED from my recruiter. (I was such a genius at eighteen, I tell ya.) I tried to retrain for years, but anyone who's been in the Air Force knows that goat-rope. "Worldwide Shortage," my a$$. Anyway, I didn't loathe the Air Force, just that job part. And the PT part, but the AF's PT program is a big fat joke so I only had to bitch about that once a year.
My first assignment was at Spangdahlem, Germany; I am probably the only person in the history of the US military to hate being stationed in Germany. WTF is so great about it, anyway? It's too cold, the damn farmers walk their cows down the middle of the street when you're driving home, it's expensive, and the socialist system shows everywhere you look. We used to wave our ration cards at the sky when the sun was shining! Oh yeah, I got married there, too, apparently because it was something to do. Maybe some day I'll blog a bunch of stuff about my assignments, because Germany sucked.
Then I was at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ. I loved it there--the complete opposite of Germany: dry, hot, sunny, perfect. Nice people, everything. Still hated my job, but you know, you still do it. I got there as an E-3, and by the time I left there I had a line number for E-6 at age 27. Not bad, for the Air Force. I also got divorced there, but there were no hard feelings. I was just 20 when I got married and for me, that was way too young.
Next was Incirlik, Turkey, where I met my next victim...I mean husband. I can sum up those fifteen months with this: heavy drinking, the best house parties ever, burning my trash and watching the Turkish kids fight with the mangy stray dogs over the burning garbage, hauling a gym bag on base many days to shower and get ready for work at a friend's in base housing because the water/power/whatever was out half the time off base, being begged by the Turkish neighbors' teenage daughters to give them "sexy American" clothes and sneak them to the main gate so they could flirt with the gate guards (no, I didn't take them). The place is a total hellhole, but I have to admit, I did have a good time. It would be an awesome assignment if I could have lived on base--living off base was mandatory for single E-5s and E-6s, and that SUCKED. That place is a story in itself. But I do want to go back to visit.
Finally, Bolling AFB in DC, and (get this) I swapped my assignment to Luke AFB (in Phoenix) to go there! Yes, I am crazy. Actually, though, it was because my (then-future, now-ex) husband had gotten assigned there. So anyway, I was there for a year (really hated the job there, more than anywhere!) before I was medically retired. No, I'm not evasive about it, it's just a long story. Cancer, and I'm free of it now, finally.

Even though I hated working in Finance, I don't have any regrets or negative feelings about my time in the military. I'm glad I did it, and if I could, I'd go back in now because of the war.

GAWD, I'm long-winded.

What other jobs have you had?

After I got out I worked at the Pentagon as a GS-12 programmer-analyst, and even though I had a complete **** (I'll censor myself) for a boss, I loved my job there, although working AT the Pentagon is a total pain in the a$$. I quit when my daughter was a few months old, because I became totally uninterested in work; I wanted to be HOME with her. Be careful what you wish for though; I didn't actually quit until I pretty much didn't have much choice because of another recurrence of my cancer, which put me out of commission for about six months. Fortunately, my (now-ex) husband got a substantial pay raise at the same time (he had gotten out of the Air Force by then) so it was do-able. By the time I was physically able to go back to work, I had no intention of doing so. And of course, the cancer came back again as soon as I thought I recovered, so whatever.
So basically, I've been happily staying at home with my little angel for the last six years. And I plan to continue to stay home as long as I can afford to, because I'm not a fan of early mornings and I definitely don't love daycare.

Why does your brother live in your back yard? Do you feed him on purpose to keep him around?

Because he is my baby brother (brat!), and because he was tired of living with our parents once he graduated from college (at Alabama!). I have a detached guest apartment in the back yard--I don't make him sleep under the stars. ;-) I still end up paying a yard guy, though.

Why don't you have a dog? Like, say, a Golden Retriever?

Don't remind me, I am already obsessed with getting a dog. Waaaahhh. I don't have one because I don't have a fence (although I'd never make a dog stay outside), my daughter is too young and rambunctious (I think) for a puppy to be raised right, and I think my house is too small. My mother's Golden Retriever--the Best Animal In The World--stayed at our house one time when they were on vacation, and I felt guilty because he's used to having a much bigger house to wander around in, and I hate hanging out outside. Mosquitoes literally tear me to shreds in the WORST way--probably because I'm so SWEET. hahahahaha
Actually, I want a German Shepherd, but I would be an idiot to get one before my daughter's a little older so we don't raise a wolf by mistake. Anyway, my cat Lucy acts like a dog (she's a Siamese) so she'll do for now.

Are you hard to get along with?

Do I seem that way? I don't think so, unless the person asking this question is my ex-husband who would probably say "yes." I don't take any merda from anyone, though; I'll speak my mind pretty easily and I suppose that throws some people off a little. I'm NOT rude at all, though, just honest. For the most part though, I'm pretty easygoing.

Tell us about young Beth. What kind of child was she?

A real smartass. Bossy as hell. Did I mention smartass? Not even class-clown smartass, sassy smart-mouth smartass. I still don't know how I got away with my mouth at times. I guess I must have been incredibly charming. ;-) Ask my mother, who leaves her name as "YOUR MOTHER" in my blog comments. She is, after all, the Queen of Smartass herself. Oh yeah, I was kind of a brat at times about correcting adults when they used bad grammar or spelling, too. My mother didn't really raise hell about it though, because it probably let her off the hook. She is, after all, The Word Police. I'm just the Deputy.

What will she be like when she grows up?


What would you do with a million dollars?

Buy shoes. Lots of them. No, I'm kidding. I'd buy a nicer house, get rid of my crappy car, and invest most of it for my daughter's education and for "the future" because it would be stupid not to. And of course, I'd give some to charity--something for the military serving today.

Why not post more pictures of yourself? Is it because you are worried about stalkers? And what is your address?

Should I end this interview now?
I don't HAVE many pictures of myself; I might as well be in the Witness Protection Program. I'm the one with the camera all the time. Besides, I'm just not like that, showing pictures of myself. I mean, why? It's not a blog all about "me, me, me."

Do you like men who wear women's underwear?

Baba Booey Baba Booey Baba Booey.
Y'know, Howard, your show really has gone to scheisse in the last few years.

Cuffs or rope?

Hey, Stuttering John, when are you going to get a real job?

What kind of music do you listen to?

You could click that "listen" button to hear my Launchcast station to find out.
Basically, RAWK. Hard rock to metal, although Pink Floyd and the Stones are my favorites. The rest is more metal. I must be old because I think most stuff that comes out now is total crap. But I'll listen to a lot of other stuff too; just no bull$hit pop or (c)rap and almost no country. I don't care about lyrics, I hear the music (or lack thereof).

Any coping tips for single moms?

Nope! When someone figures it all out, let me know.
I can say having my family nearby makes ALL the difference though, even one day a month of my parents taking my daughter is a huge help (they do more than one day a month). Plus I can always count on them in a pinch, although I'm extremely independent (to the point of being stupid about it) and don't ask for help much.

What is the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?

VERY EASY: The night before my first cancer operation, I started to get a little freaked out (meaning I cried--which is very much out of character for me) and my mother told me "remember, you're a lot stronger than you realize you are." That stuck with me for some reason. She's right, because we all are. There's absolutely no reason in my mind to worry about things too much; you just have to deal with what comes and things will work out. They always do in the end. That one sentence got me thinking about a lot, although at the time I did a LOT of thinking about life in general.
Also: Don't sweat the small $hit; and it's all small $hit.
Honestly though, I usually suck at taking advice; unsolicited advice IS my Number One Pet Peeve, no question about it. That's when you might find it difficult to get along with me. ;-)

Posted by Jennifer at 11:00 AM | Comments (5)

*May 31, 1759

Following pressure from religious groups, Pennsylvania enacts a law forbidding the performance of plays. Wayward thespians are subjected to a 500-pound fine. (Pound of the English currency type.)

Posted by Jennifer at 09:00 AM

*Quote for Monday Tuesday

"Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth."

-John F. Kennedy, whose birthday I failed to mention on May 29.

Posted by Jennifer at 07:00 AM

May 30, 2005

*Much More Important Things

Kindly take a moment today to reflect on those who died for our freedom. Remember their families in your reflections, as well.

Posted by Jennifer at 08:00 AM

May 28, 2005

*May 28, 1985

In response to the abomination that was New Coke, a group called "Old Coca-Cola Drinkers of America" was formed. The organization would not rest until Coca-Cola brought back "Classic Coke" on July 11.

Posted by Jennifer at 09:00 AM | Comments (2)

May 27, 2005

*What's Your Sign: Leo

(Previously, Cancer)

Leo is another Hercules-related constellation. Hercules's first assignment as a kick-ass hero was to kill a lion with an impenetrable hide that was creating havoc in the countryside. Hercules strangled it and used its own claws to skin its hide. Zeus made a constellation of the Lion so he could boast about his son at dinner parties.

Posted by Jennifer at 03:00 PM | Comments (1)

You Asked, Janette Answers

It's the Common Sense Runs Wild Interview!

On a dark and rainy night in November, 2004--several weeks after the
election--you started blogging. Why?

Before the election I was very active in a few different on line forums and followed several great bloggers. I was comfortable that The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy had things under control with out a new blog from me.

I decided to start my blog on November 30th, because that date is particularly significant to me.

It's a little unusual for a female blogger to concentrate so heavily
on politics without interspersing a lot of personal-type posts. Do
you think you've gotten more attention as a female political blogger
than you would if you were male?

I'm in the top 100 in the Ecosystem and the top 2000 on Technorati and I didn't have to sleep with a single person ranked below me to get there. I don't think being female has helped me get attention at all. I don't post photos of myself or dwell on being a woman. In the Ecosystem top 100 only about 10% are solo females so it doesn't seem to me like being female is that big of an asset.

If you could have 100,000 hits a day and no feedback whatsoever
(comments, e-mail, trackbacks, etc) or 50 hits a day with an engaged
audience, which would you choose?

Can't I have both? No, I know that the two are mutually exclusive. To me, interaction is what blogging is all about. If you don't interact with your readers you're not blogging, you're writing an on line opinion column. There's no choice for me: 50 hits a day with an engaged audience.

The higher the hits on my blog the less time I have to spend on the interaction. I'm at my happiest with about 500 hits a day. I feel like I'm getting a little attention, I get to interact with fellow bloggers and readers, and I still have time to actually blog. When traffic increases my ability to reply to comments and e-mails decreases (and I'm horrible about answering my e-mail anyway). When my hits go to around 1500 to 2000 I love the numbers but blogging becomes less fun. That's why I cut loose every now and then and just play around. I post less, post less serious stuff, comment on other people's blogs more and return to on line forums that I enjoy.

When a new subject that really interests me comes along I "narrow my focus" and increase my post output for a bit. I can't ever sustain that for too long, I have a short attention span.

What is The Bandwagon?

The Bandwagon is Jody Becker's fantastic blog Steal The Bandwagon. Jody and I are both Florida bloggers and we found each other at the beginning of the Terri Schiavo blogburst and we"blogsit" for each other as needed. Even though we live only 60 miles apart we've never met in person.

Do you blog at any other sites?

I do participate in some other on line forums but Common Sense Runs Wild and Steal The Bandwagon are the only blogs I've ever written for.

What kinds of things do you look for (as a reader) in a blog?

There are a few blogs that I make exceptions for but in general: (1) Blogs must allow comments and/or trackbacks. (2) The author must have a distinctive "voice" and add some personality. (3) A well informed opinion that makes me rethink my position on issues or offer a new angle in the discussion. (4) They can't have their ego completely wrapped around their blog.

You have an extensive blogroll. Do you visit all those sites every day?

I do get some sleep so that's not really possible. The sites on the main blogroll are the ones that I visit the most. Some I visit compulsively, every time I pass the computer, some at least once a day and the rest at least once a week. I have a routine that I follow that make certain I don't miss anyone. As for the blogs that are listed on the blogroll feeds like Blogs for Bush, Blogs for Terri, Homespun Bloggers,etc. I hit those randomly on the weekends when I blog less. Those are great for finding interesting new blogs.

I add new blogs almost compulsively, if I see a site that I really enjoy I'll add it. I try to stay under 150 in the main Blogs column but right now it's around 170. Once every month or so I ruthlessly clean out the blogroll, delinking those that have gone idle or haven't written anything that interested me in the last month.

Who are your favorite bloggers?

You've seen the blogroll, I have dozens of favorites! If I had to start a new blogroll from scratch the first to go on would be: Baldilocks, Michelle Malkin, MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, Pirate's Cove, Steal the Bandwagon, The Anchoress, What Attitude Problem? Someone also directed me to Sand In The Gears by Tony Woodlief. He a great blogger with an awesome "voice" and I'm reading my way through his archives.

Your "biography" doesn't tell us a whole lot about you. Is this by design?


Besides blogging, how do you spend your free time?

I enjoy fine dining, long walks on the beach, sunsets and margaritas.

What do you do for a living?

What? Sorry you broke up there, I couldn't hear the question.

It's 11:00 at night and everyone is sleeping. You get the munchies.
What do you eat?

Cheese and crackers or raisin bran cereal but I'm not really one for late night snacking.

It's 11:00 at night and everyone is sleeping. You feel like watching
a movie. Which one?

Any Audrey Hepburn movie. Roman Holiday is my favorite: "So happy."

It's 11:00 at night and everyone is sleeping. You hear some terrible
news of a non-personal nature. What is the first thing you do?

Probably blog about, I'm sure I'd be on the Internet anyway.

Have you always been politically conservative?

Yes. I always credit Ronald Reagan with that but, in all honesty, it probably has just as much to with Jimmy Carter.

Do you find President Bush's use of the word "patriot" at all
disturbing? Such as the Patriot Act for starters.

I find the President's use of the word "patriot" far less disturbing than Lakoff's advice to the Left to abrogate the term "moral values" and replace it with "progressive family values." The Left's decision to focus on redefining the terms used to describe the differences between conservatives and liberals, rather than to deal with the actual reasons that they lost the election, is indicative of their disconnect with the majority of Americans.

Conservatives find it hard to be offended by a word like patriot, the American flag and an occasional image of a cross and quite amusing to mock those who are.

Do you think that being a blogger "against" something ( i.e. Hillary)
is more effective than being a blogger "for" something (i.e. someone
who is not Hillary)?

Luckily Hillary isn't the entire focus of my blog. That/she would get old and boring very quickly. I'm sure I'll blog more about her closer to 2008 but there's plenty of other things to focus on between now and then.

As for effectiveness, I think that depends upon being well informed and passionate. Once you have those two things taken care of you tend to blog more about a particular subject. Blogging for the most part is a numbers game: the more posts you make, the more hits you get. They key is to be good enough that people will come back to read your work again.

If you could tell a few dozen strangers anything about yourself, what
would it be?

That I don't like telling strangers, no matter the number, anything about myself.

If you could buy anything in the world for one person in the world,
who would it be and what would you give them?

I'd buy my husband a 29 foot sailboat (a completely unselfish gesture on my part, I assure you.)

Posted by Jennifer at 09:30 AM | Comments (2)

*May 27, 1909

On this date, Alva J. Fisher filed the first patent application for an electrically powered washing machine. The machine was manufactured by Chicago's Hurley Machine Company.

Posted by Jennifer at 09:00 AM

Friday's Quote

Mr. Pierce has just left here to be gone all the week. I hardly know what to do without him.

-Jane Pierce, letter to her sister, 7/?/1839

Posted by Jennifer at 07:00 AM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2005

*What's Your Sign: Cancer

(Previously, Gemini)

Cancer, or the Crab, actually has nothing to do with Zeus's sexual adventures. Instead, it is Hera's handiwork. Hercules was sent to kill a nasty water snake with nine heads, and of course did so. Hera tried to help the snake, though, by sending a huge crab to fight Hercules. The crab managed to pinch Hercules on the heel before being crushed underfoot. Exciting, eh? Valiant enough an effort that Hera made a constellation for it.

Posted by Jennifer at 03:00 PM | Comments (2)

*May 26, 1907

On this date, John Wayne was born in this house in Winterset, Iowa:

(click to enlarge if you wish)

Posted by Jennifer at 09:00 AM

Thursday's Quote

Oh guide me, guide me that I may prove worthy of one so good and true, if he may be mine.

-Lucretia Garfield, diary entry, 8/27/1855

Posted by Jennifer at 07:00 AM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2005

What's Your Sign: Gemini

(Previously, Taurus)

As we all know by now, Zeus got around. The constellation Gemini revolves around the story of another one of his trysts. See, Leda, wife of King Tyndareus of Sparta, was impregnated by her husband AND Zeus in the same night. She had two mortal babies: boy Castor and girl Clytemnestra. She had two immortal babies as well: boy Pollux and girl Helen (maybe you heard of her--she had a face that launched a thousand or so ships). Castor and Pollux were BFF and went on all kinds of adventures together. Unfortunately, mortal Castor was bound to die eventually, and when he did, Pollux begged Zeus to let him remain with his beloved brother. Their brotherly love was commemorated by Zeus in the form of the Twins constellation. Even though they're quadruplets. But whatever.

Posted by Jennifer at 03:00 PM | Comments (4)

*May 25, 1977

On this date, Star Wars made its debut. And it happened to be Frank Oz's 33rd birthday.

Posted by Jennifer at 09:00 AM | Comments (3)

Wednesday's Quote

If I were to tell you all the tenderness of my heart, I should do nothing but write to you.

-Abigail Adams, in letter to John Adams, 2/?/1779

Posted by Jennifer at 07:00 AM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2005

*What's Your Sign: Taurus

(Previously, Aries)

Taurus, or the Bull, is another constellation Zeus put in the sky to commemorate some great event. In this case, the event was his shagging the lovely Europa. He fell in love with her from afar, and transformed himself into a white bull so he could hang around the herds she often walked near. Europa became enchanted with the bull, and one day climbed on his back to ride along the beach. When he swam out to the island of Crete, Europa was forced to hang on for the ride. Europa bore three sons, including future king of Crete, Minos. Zeus named Europe after his conquest, and put the Bull constellation in the sky to remember her by.

Posted by Jennifer at 03:00 PM

*May 24, 1883

After 14 years of construction, the Brooklyn Bridge was open for business. President Chester A. Arthur and New York Governor Grover Cleveland attended the dedication ceremony, linking Manhattan and Brooklyn together for the first time.

Posted by Jennifer at 09:00 AM

Tuesday's Quote

You have scarcely been out of my mind during the day.

-Abigail Fillmore, in letter to Millard Fillmore, 1/17/1829

Posted by Jennifer at 07:00 AM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2005

*What's Your Sign: Aries

(Previously, Pisces)

Ever hear of Jason and the Argonauts and the quest for the ram's golden fleece? Same Ram as the constellation Aries. As the story goes, young Phrixus was getting hit on by his auntie. When he declined her advances, she accused him of rape. Just as his father was (hesitantly) about to cut Phrixus's throat in sacrifice to Zeus, Hercules wandered by and stopped the execution. "Daddy don't dig on human sacrifices, yo," he allegedly said. At the same time, a ram with a golden fleece was sent to rescue Phrixus and his sister. The two humans hopped on board the ram and flew away. When they landed safely, the ram told Phrixus to sacrifice him (the ram) to Zeus, and take his golden fleece to the king. The king was well pleased with the gift and became Phrixus's foster father. Later on, Jason went after the fleece, but that's neither here nor there. In commemoration of the ram's selflessness, Zeus placed him in the sky as a constellation.

Posted by Jennifer at 06:45 PM

May 23, 1911

Today in history, the New York Public Library was dedicated after 14 years of construction. President Taft presided over the dedication of the $9 million marble building. It had a collection of over 1 million books before its doors opened to the general public on May 24.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:00 PM | Comments (2)

*Ask Jen: Beetlejuice Edition

Reader S.A. writes, "I love the movie 'Beetlejuice', but his name is spelled Betelgeuse. What's the dillio?"

Well, Betelgeuse is pronounced "beetle-juice". And btw, Betelgeuse is one of the stars in the Orion constellation. The hunter's armpit, actually...which is how it got its name, which is supposedly a variation of an Arabic phrase that means "the mighty one's armpit".

Do you have a question for me? You can e-mail it. If I know the answer, I'll answer it. If I don't, I might make something up.

Posted by Jennifer at 09:00 AM | Comments (3)

Monday's Quote

Oh, how I adore you! I am perfectly sure that you are the greatest, most wonderful, most loveable man who ever lived. I am not expressing an opinion, I am simply stating a self-evident fact.

-Ellen Wilson, in letter to Woodrow Wilson, 7/28/1913.

Posted by Jennifer at 07:00 AM | Comments (1)

May 20, 2005

*Ask Jen: The Learn Nothing Edition

Pete writes, "Down the street from my job they are building a new apartment complex and naturally they have the site blocked off with plywood. On the plywood they have painted 'post no bills'. I have seen this all over the place at construction sites and I was wondering what the hell it means and when it started."

Well, since you are a lifetime East Coaster, I'm pretty sure you know it means, "this isn't a damn bulletin board, jackass". Unfortunately, I can't enlighten you any further. I can find no information on the origins of the phrase. In short, I suck.

Posted by Jennifer at 01:30 PM | Comments (2)

May 19, 2005

*Travel Journal, Day Two

Monday, 5:30 a.m.: Hmm. Daylight so soon? Look at those jackrabbits frolicking around the fire pit.

Monday, 5:45 a.m.: This trail mix sucks.

Monday, 6:00 a.m.: Well, if I break down camp, I won't have to come back here if something else comes up.

Monday, 6:15 a.m.: Yep, that pop-up tent was the best money I ever spent. Back on the road.

Monday, 7:00 a.m.: I don't think I ever realized how beautiful it is up around here (Bayfield/Washburn, WI)...the views of Lake Superior are stunning.

Monday, 7:15 a.m.: Oooh! That house is for sale. I should buy a summer home up here.

Monday, 7:17 a.m.: Although I really ought to settle on a rest-of-the-year home first.

Monday, 7:20 a.m.: OR. I could be one of those cool, hardy island-people who live on Madeline Island year-round.

Monday, 7:22 a.m.: But I really don't think I'd have the cajones to drive back and forth to the mainland on the frozen lake during the freeze.

Monday, 7:24 a.m.: They do have an airstrip, though.

Monday, 7:25 a.m.: I could be like Maggie on Northern Exposure.

Monday, 7:27 a.m.: The islanders would probably think I was more like Fleischman.

Monday, 7:30 a.m.: And it would seriously limit my dating pool. There are only like 200 people on the island. I doubt I could talk anybody else into living up here in the boonies. Hmph. I thought the fishery was up here...but I think I've gone too far. Better go get directions.

Monday, 7:45 a.m.: The park office opens in 15 minutes. What to do until then? Oh, I'll play poker on my cell phone.

Monday, 8:02 a.m.: I knew I was on the right road...I just didn't go far enough. Oooh, that house is for sale. How awesome would it be to live in Bayfield? It's so pretty.

Monday, 8:15 a.m.: I haven't been here in like 17 years. I wonder if I can find the old farm house? That'd be cool.

Monday, 8:16 a.m.: Cool, there's the old farm house! Was the trim always that color? Yeah, that's got to be it. The circle drive and the garage are dead giveaways. I'll look at it more on the way back.

Monday, 8:25 a.m.: Is this the fishery? None of this looks familiar. This park wasn't here before, was it? Or that dock? Weird. Let me double-check.

Monday, 8:30 a.m.: Well, I'll get out and walk down that path...

Monday, 8:35 a.m.: Oh, there it is. Yay! Where's the plaque thingie, though? They changed this all around.

Monday, 10:00 a.m.: Happy day. The plaque was over on the other side. We always used to get to the beach from behind rather than off to the side where the park is now. They won't let the public onto the farthest end of the dock, but everything is as I remember it. Except the islands across the bay are closer than I remember. It always seemed so far off when I was little. Now let's have a closer look at their old farm house...yep, that's the one. The part where it butts out in the living room into a little alcove is unmistakable. And I remember that gate thing on the side. Cooool. There's the shed where my sister stumbled onto a wasps' nest...and my brother abandoned her. Good times.

Monday, 10:30 a.m.: Stupid cell phones. I have to be back home tomorrow. Good thing I didn't travel too far away. Equally good thing I packed up camp. I'm so smart.

Monday, 11:00 a.m.: Near Superior now. So tired.

Monday, 1:30 p.m.: A nap. That's what I need. That parking lot looks like a good place to take a nap.

Monday, 2:30 p.m.: Good nap. I can't believe I was able to fall asleep here.

Monday, 6:30 p.m.: Back home. Safe and sound. And early. Gots to sleep.

Posted by Jennifer at 06:37 PM | Comments (3)

*Star Wars Ep3 Review

Too much giant iguana/not enough Wookie.

I think George wanted to cram as many cool special effects in as he could since it was his last chance.

Darth Vader helmet and breathing=always a crowd pleaser.

Yoda nonchalantly waving off the Emperor's guards...would have been improved if he had said, "Bitch."

I'd comment on a tiny little continuity thing, but this is a (major) spoiler-free zone.

I loved it. But I loved all of them, so it was bound to happen.

Posted by Jennifer at 03:45 PM | Comments (1)

May 18, 2005

*Travel Journal, Day One

Sunday, noon: Checked weather. Monday and Tuesday should be relatively clear in northern Wisconsin, but cold. Low tonight of 32. I think I'll play solitaire some more.

Sunday, 1:30 pm: Decided to go up north. Must pack. Need layers.

Sunday, 2:00 pm: Will get camping equipment out of storage and stop at WalMart for Diet Pepsi and foodstuff.

Sunday, 3:00 pm: On the road. Should be there by 9:00. 10 at latest.

Sunday, 5:00 pm: Shouldn't have gotten large Sonic Orange Cream Slush.

Sunday, 7:00 pm: Hmm. I wonder why I can never get a digital signal in the Twin Cities?

Sunday, 8:00 pm: Stupid f***ing cell phone! Stupid northern Minnesota, without enough cell towers!

Sunday, 8:30 pm: There's the casino...I should stop just for a minute. No! No stopping! Especially at the casino!

Sunday, 9:15 pm: Stupid f***ing road construction! Now how am I supposed to get to Minong? Good thing I stopped for gas in Hinckley. I'm so smart.

Sunday, 10:00 pm: None of this looks familiar. At least the suicidal deer don't seem to be out in droves tonight.

Sunday, 10:30 pm: County Road T? Now is that north or south of County Road Y? I don't remember, but I'm taking it anyway.

Sunday, 11:45 pm: Aaaah, made it. Thank goodness the outhouse wasn't locked. I'll set up camp as close as possible to the bathroom, since there's no one else here. And since I don't want to run into any bears in the middle of the night. Since I'm all alone. All. Alone.

Monday, 12:00 am: Hmm. I've never heard the woods so quiet before. No loons, no whippoorwills, no frogs, no nothing.

Monday, 12:45 am: That flashing light is really annoying. How am I supposed to sleep with that in my eyes? Stupid wind, blowing the trees in front of the moon like that.

Monday, 1:00 am: Wait a minute. There's no wind. That's the northern lights! Pretty! I've never seen them so well up here before. They're like wispy, white ghosts jumping up into the sky above me. Amazing. Good thing there's no cell signal out here, or I'd be calling people and pissing them off.

Monday, 1:30 am: Damn, it's cold up here. No wonder I don't hear any birds. And the bears are probably still hibernating. I should probably get back in the tent and cover up. I need to sleep. But look at those lights!

Monday, 3:30 am: Seriously, though. Must. Sleep.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:43 AM | Comments (5)

May 12, 2005

*View From the Top

Winterset, Iowa has a beautiful city park. At the end of a long and winding semblance of a road, you are rewarded with this:
(click for full-size if you wish)
The plaque above the entrance tells you this tower was "Erected in memory of Caleb and Ruth Clark, pioneer settlers of Madison County". You can climb the stairs to the second level, where you see a very steep ladder/staircase that can take you to the top.

If you go to the top, you are rewarded with this:
(click for full-size if you wish)

(Note to D: Not a potato in sight.)

Posted by Jennifer at 01:45 PM | Comments (3)

May 10, 2005

*Lovely Day

It's been awhile since I paid Madison County a visit, and I heard they rebuilt the Cedar Bridge, so I drove down there to inspect things.

(click for ginormous size)
Yep, looks the same. The Cedar is the only one you can drive through (and you could drive through it before it was rebuilt, too). The rest of the bridges are now closed to vehicle traffic.

They also have warning signs that they are being electronically monitored, which is a sad state of affairs, but necessary these days.

As long as I was in the area, I took a drive to see the Hogback Bridge...
It's my favorite bridge, because I think it's in such a pretty area.

And that was my day. I took other pics, which I'll eventually post to my yahoo albums. Maybe.

Posted by Jennifer at 05:02 PM | Comments (2)

May 09, 2005

*If It Weren't for McDonald's I'd Be Dead

Strawberry shakes. Mmmm.

Cool and soothing. Mmmmm.

Dairy, so doesn't help phlegm-wise, but too bad. Mmmmmm.

And in related news, I made my first purchase of cold medication since the passing of that restrict-NyQuil-from-sick-people-in-an-attempt-to-curb-meth-production law. Had to show my ID, give my phone #, answer drug allergy questions (??), sign on the electronic pad, and promise my first-born in order to get 12 little NyQuil caplets. Fools! Little do they know I probably will never have a first-born, so they're not getting that! Ha-ha!

Posted by Jennifer at 04:15 PM | Comments (6)

Lone Tree on the Prairie Interview

It's the Lone Tree on the Prairie Interview!

First things first...what's the deal with Wind Rider? Like, why isn't he
blogging? And how do you know him? And why do you admit you know him?

WR got a promotion at work and they're keeping him rather busy lately. I've
known him since I served with him in the Air Force in 1990. We became good
friends over the years sharing car and house projects. All in all, he's a
pretty good guy.

Where can we see pictures of you to compare and contrast your attractiveness
with the afore-mentioned Wind Rider?

Which middle aged balding guy is hotter? You people are sick. Close your account. Turn off the computer and go out and get some fresh air.
Meet real people.

This is an older picture. Try to find us. We're both there.

The last question about Wind Rider--is he at all discerning when it comes to
women, or does he hit on any fake-boobed floozy who crosses his path? I ask
because, you know, I've heard rumors.

He and I have different tastes in women. I tried running this through his publicist, but I didn't get a response. That said, there was this time when we were wandering around the World Freefall Convention and it was most stressful. We were trying to enjoy the free beer but the local constabulary was keeping a close watch on us due to one of my personal associations. We stopped in the main bar tent to refresh our cups and if he did something like lower his standards in order to blow off a little steam, well it could have happened.

You've served in the USAF. You apparently have something to do with
motorcycles. I seem to remember something about consulting. What do you
*do*, exactly?

I served in the USAF. I had a go at owning my own small repair shop. I worked
as a sales/training consultant for a bit. Now, I'm on 'sabbatical'. I'm taking
a break, being a house-husband, working on my house and my bikes (which have
been sorely neglected for three years), and sending out resumes.

It seems that nicknaming your wife "evilwife" would be dangerous to your
health and happiness. What say you?

She came up with it. She IS an attorney, you know. What could be more evil?
She wanted to post a comment (as opposed to just slapping me in private, you
know) on blogger and didn't want to do it anonymously so she registered as
evilwife. You have to look at it from a certain perspective as well. One guy
at work used to ask silly questions like "Who do you think is smarter, Matt or
his wife?" Well, duh. She married me, that definitely makes me smarter. In
this case if you were to ask who is more evil, would it be Mr. Evil or the woman who wants to be married to Mr. Evil? Any woman who does not want to be married to
Mr. Evil simply cannot reasonably claim equivalent evil status.

Tell us your thoughts on "Star Wars". Do your nipples harden when you see
the new previews, or could you not care less?

Natalie Portman definitely does it for me. Although, she hasn't worn anything
like the outfit her 'daughter' put on for Jabba the Hutt in Chapter 6. Wow,
that could be some hot mother-daughter-geek fan action (he says while going to
get out the special edition personally autographed boxed dvd set he got at the
last con where he got to shake Carrie Fisher's hand and hasn't washed it since
even though he got a sliver and it's really infected and might fall off and
...). Yeah, NP definitely gets my nipples hard. She makes me feel all warm and
fuzzy inside, kind of like an ewok but definitely not in a cute wholesomey
goodness running naked through the forest kind of way.

I demand to know about your tattoos. What and where?

Oh, you're new here. I don't do demands (although the sentry one day who told
me to turn around and put my hands on my head as he racked the charging handle
on his M-16 was quite convincing). The way to find out is to start kissing
gently on my neck right behind an ear (no, it doesn't matter which side just
pick one and get to it) and maybe nibbling a little too. We'll talk (well
actually, hopefully there won't be much talking ... ) after that.

What's the story with all the links in your posts? Come up with that idea
yourself, did you?

Actually, no. I don't have any original ideas. When I started doing the blog,
Don just started sending me email with bunches
of silly disconnected links in them and the idea was to try to make a funny
story around them. So, I've just kind of run with it. Sometimes the links tell
the real story, sometimes they're there just for fun. But it was really Don's

Do you think people follow the links in your posts, or do you accept the fact
that internet readers generally have the attention span of gnats?

Sometimes they do. Gnats, huh? That's being generous. I'm not even a link
follower. I just put them in for added (hell, it's already free) entertainment
value. Sometimes I put in a link or two that I know only one or two people will
even get the joke behind so I guess it doesn't really matter if folks follow
them or not.

Do you think "gnats" was the best possible example I could have used in the
previous question?

Well, gnats can be coerced. Ever left a watermelon rind out on a hot summer
day? If you had said 'hyperactive 6 year old male' that might have been more

So are you an Illinois lifer or what?

I probably am only because I hate the process of moving. I have a house. My
stuff is in it. Why should I leave? Now perhaps if I were to come home and
find all my stuff no longer in the house, I might take the hint. But until then,
I'm staying.

Do you think Chicagoans who have never set foot south of Joliet should be
allowed to call themselves Illini?

Why not? Their politics run the whole state anyway. Heck, our governor doesn't
even come south of Joliet unless there's something going on down here he thinks
he can take credit for. Besides, southern Illinois really should be annexed by
Kentucky. They could double their own population and have a 35% increase in the
number of teeth per capita at the same time.

Pekin, Illinois--scary?

I've never been. I've been to Peoria and wasn't exactly thrilled but I never
had the need to get as far off the beaten path as Pekin. Besides, how bad could
it really be? If you go east you've got Gary, IN, and if you go SW there's East
St. Louis. How's that for perspective?

Do favor us with your deepest thoughts on water balloons.

We were over in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, just after Desert Storm. It was hot as
deserts are wont to be. Our unit was having an ice cream social on the roof of
Chief Wheeler's villa. Weeeellll, somebody thought it would be funny to bombard
the event with water balloons launched from one of those big elastic launchers.
So I stole the Chief's keys and locked everyone up on the roof. We had fire
teams on two adjoining rooftops who lobbed them in from nearby and then I was
down in the park about 50 yards away with Capt. Ramos and Sgt. Schwartz and we
were lobbing them up to the roof with the launcher. The only problem was the
launcher was too strong and we weren't well trained in its proper use so we kept
sending them over the roof and not actually landing any on it. We changed
tactics and started trying to break them on the edge of the wall to see if we
could just splash people but right as one went zipping over the edge, the Chief
stuck his head up. And that's how he got a black eye and bloody lip.

When I was a little boy, my dad used to keep a box of them in his dresser drawer
and they were the best. They even had a wide opening so they were much easier
to get on and off the hose spigot. Unfortunately, sometimes they were the slimy
kind and would just slide off my brothers' faces instead of breaking.

We used to get the same kind for free from the Air Force clinic but those always
had little holes in them or they broke too easily.

Did you ever have a tire swing, and how do you think the having or the
lacking affected your development?

I have never had a tire swing. Is that what's wrong with me? We had a rope
swing that we used to go flying off of into White Rock Creek in Dallas but never
a tire. When we first bought our house in Omaha in '91 there was a tractor tire
half buried in the front yard with a single rose bush growing in it. Someone
had even painted it white. And there was a cast iron bath tub/fish pond in the
back yard.

Would this image be improved with a tire swing?

Then how would one make my life better?

What's the dumbest thing anyone ever asked you?

My Chinese History Professor, "You haven't done your thesis but you're supposed
to graduate. There's no time for you to still get it done and me to turn your
grade in before degree work has to be tallied. If I give you credit for class
participation, the one book report and the other two assignments you did, I can
still give you an A and we'll forget about the thesis. Would that be okay?"

Posted by Jennifer at 12:05 PM | Comments (4)