slyvermont: (Default)
I’m home again, although that was easier said than done. Our quick direct flight home on Sunday didn’t happen: first, it was delayed for an hour. Then 2 hours. Then 3 hours. Then 4 hours. Then canceled. We switched to a US Air flight which left from National, which meant taking a taxi there from Dulles. So instead of getting home at 2 pm, we finally arrived home at 9 pm.

Lots of pictures and description are behind the cut.

slyvermont: (oy vey)
#1: There was a magazine published by the Brown student newspaper for Parents Weekend. Inside was a full page ad with a picture of a lovely  mom and daughter, smiling into the camera, with this copy:

"Mother-daughter SALE. 20% OFF when you buy 2 of the same item!"

Sounds interesting. I love a good sale. Then I look at the fine print.

The store is called Miko. "Your friendly neighborhood adult shop." The website is mikoexoticwear.com.

Just how many mothers and daughters go shopping in sex shops together? And then buy the same item? Ewww.

I did go to the website, It directs you either to "Below 18" or "Above 18." If you click the "below 18" button, you're sent to disney online. The above 18 stuff is just what you'd expect from a sex shop, vulva puppets and all.

#2. I'm browsing through the Brookstone catalog when I see this item. It's called iGallop. Now, I have seen many exercise machines on late night/early morning TV that promise to reduce your thighs and give you 6-pack abs, but this one is just too funny. OK, it's half off, it makes sense, but still ... bucking broncos turned into exercise machine?
slyvermont: (fieldofdreams)
I spent a chunk of this morning online watching an amazing talk given in September by Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch. It’s titled “The Last Lecture” for 2 reasons: it’s a tradition for professors to give an important lecture the last time they teach, and he’s dying. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a year ago, and has 3-6 months to live. This really was his last lecture.

This has gotten lots of publicity – he’s been on Oprah and was ABC’s Person of the Week and has been written about in lots of newspapers and the clip has been watched by like 1 million people. So it's very possible that everyone on my f-list has seen this already. If you haven't, make the time. Watching it was worth every minute.

It’s very funny, incredibly inspirational, and heart-achingly sad. He’s got three young children, and they probably won’t remember him when they get older. Although they will have this video, and everyone else’s memories

He’s Brown class of 1982. I don’t know him, but I know at least one person who knows him, and probably others since I know CS majors from that year. (Andy van Dam shows up at the end.) For my Star Wars friends -- Star Wars is mentioned several times, although he grew up a Star Trek fan.

I cried for almost the entire speech, even though I was laughing too.

His website is http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~pausch/, where there are links to the video and other stories, and to the blog where he chronicles his treatment. You can find the speech on YouTube, although it's split into 10 parts.
slyvermont: (typewriter girl)
I don’t know how people who travel a lot keep sane. I’ve been away three weekends in a row, four out of five, and I feel like the threads of my life are unraveling.

I was supposed to be home this weekend, but ended up being away for a lot of it. Rich was involved in a project in Burlington, which led to a free hotel room on Saturday night. So Saturday afternoon I drove to Burlington, we saw a movie and had dinner. Sunday, after Rich went off to his meeting, I met my friend Abby for shopping and lunch. By the time I got home and took a walk, the day had disappeared.

The movie we saw was “Across the Universe,” which didn’t get great reviews (according to Rotten Tomatoes) but I thought it was absolutely brilliant. I guess I’m a sucker for the Beatles and love stories. I can’t wait to see it again, and then buy the DVD so I can watch it again and again and again. I highly recommend it, even if a lot of reviewers don't.





No travel expected this month. Maybe I can finish the book and move onto the month’s worth of New York Times’ piled up in my dining room.

Finally, for the MHS graduates: The girls soccer team won the state championship!
slyvermont: (ritaskeeter)
This photo:


Was taken by a Maine photographer last week of a man jumping from a third floor balcony while being chased by police. It was one of my favorite stories we ran, so I thought I'd share.

Here's the rest of the story:




Apples!

Sep. 19th, 2007 11:48 am
slyvermont: (fieldofdreams)
Early (for us) on Sunday, Rich and I went apple picking. We’ve been going to the same orchard (for Vermonters -- the one at VTC) for years – I’ve never seen it this ripe before. Apples everywhere! The trees were laden with them.

While I took some pictures, they just don't capture what the place was like.

Yuck

Sep. 15th, 2007 11:10 pm
slyvermont: (Default)
Lobbyists can be obnoxious.

Every year, Montpelier High School students spend a few hours one day in September cleaning up the river that runs behind the school. Because of the dozens of abandoned tires they take out every single year, the students started working years ago on a tire deposit bill as a way to solve the problem of tires being dumped in the river.

The cleanup was yesterday (Friday). The Burlington Free Press wrote a story about it. What was different this time -- when the students came back from the cleanup with all the abandoned tires they fished out, they were greeted by tire dealers and lobbyists who examined the tires, and noted their model, make and other information – all to prove that the bill is not necessary, of course. That's the first time they'd done that, and it just seems, well, yucky.

And I just went to the Free Press website for the story, and decided that readers can be obnoxious too. I'm just speechless at their comments:
When these students become productive tax paying VOTING members of society, they can lobby for stuff like this however, a lot of us are tired of these "still wet behind the ears" nimrods pushing for this tax and that. Fire that teacher.
                and
Why fire the teacher? The teacher has done a very effective job of brainwashing the students and indoctrinating them to liberal extremism. These kids will never be productive members of society.
This is a good thing that these kids have been doing, and their good deeds are being undermined and criticized instead of being appreciated.
The whole story is below the cut, just in case some former MHS students want to read it.

slyvermont: (chocolate)
BELOIT COLLEGE RELEASES TENTH ANNUAL MINDSET LIST FOR THE ENTERING POST-COLD WAR CLASS OF 2011

Beloit, Wis. -- When they welcome the class of 2011 in the coming weeks, American colleges and universities will be saying hello to the generation born as the Cold War was ending. For them, a Russia with multiple political parties and a China with multiple business enterprises seems quite normal. They’ve grown up in a time of triumphant capitalism, where it’s common for stadiums to be named after corporations and where product placements have always been yet another clever way for companies to sell their wares.

Each August for the past decade, as faculty prepare for the academic year, Beloit College in Wisconsin has released the Beloit College Mindset List. Its 70 items provide a look at the cultural touchstones that have shaped the lives of today’s first-year students, most of them born in 1989.  For them, Alvin Ailey, Andrei Sakharov, Huey Newton, Emperor Hirohito, Ted Bundy, Abbie Hoffman, and Don the Beachcomber have always been dead.

All about the class of 2011 )
Have a good time at Dragon Con, everyone!
slyvermont: (POTC)
A few months ago I decided I wanted to do something special for Rich’s 50th birthday. I knew a big surprise party, or any big party, wouldn’t be right. I decided on something smaller: in an amazing coincidence, two of his closest high school buddies are now living in Vermont, and a third is living just beyond the Vermont border in Massachusetts (since the HS was in NYC, this really is strange that they'd all live up here).

I got in touch with all 3, and we picked a weekend and agreed they would come here and surprise Rich. As it turned out, at the last minute the friend in Massachusetts had another commitment, so only Adrian and Tony could come.

How people planned these things and kept them a secret before cell phones and email I don’t know. I used my work email account, which Rich never sees. I ordered an ice cream cake and hid it at a neighbor’s. I couldn’t write about it here, in case Rich saw it. Sunday morning, my biggest challenge was making sure he didn’t go food shopping or start mowing the lawn. I managed to delay the lawn mowing – he was just about to start when Tony and Adrian drove up. He was totally surprised. It was awesome.

One of the reasons why this was so darn hard to plan is because just after selecting this weekend for this event, Caroline learned that her dance troupe was going to be performing one final time, at the Champlain Valley Fair. We knew it was going to be on Saturday; the problem was no one knew when.

But all worked out in the end. On Saturday we saw Caroline dance with Teen Jazz again. Eight of the 16 were there. It was on a small stage inside one of the buildings – the audience was at least 1/3 parents/friends of the dancers. They did a great job, and it was wonderful to watch them in this bonus performance. And I got to see rabbits, sheep, horses, midway rides, and eat greasy food.

One last thing -- on the way home from the fair, there was a strong thunderstorm happening. We saw lightening flashes around us; then we saw in the distance a bolt of lightening strike a tree -- there was a flash and a puff of smoke. It was the first time I'd ever seen lightning strike. It was sobering.
slyvermont: (fieldofdreams)
I’m behind on everything. I feel like I’m operating on slow motion. I haven’t wished happy birthday to several people (jedihealer and hlynn are two of them -- happy belated birthday!), and here I am posting about stuff that happened a week ago.

Last weekend ended up being unplanned family together time. The three of us went to a movie and two very Vermonty activities – Circus Smirkus and Bread & Puppet.



Cape Cod

Aug. 21st, 2007 03:41 pm
slyvermont: (Default)
Vacation’s been over for a week; I’ve been too lazy to write.

The quick update: we had great weather – went to the beach 7 of the 9 days we were there. The water was warm for Cape Cod, so I went in almost every day.

Hands down, the most memorable moment was was the drag kickball game Wednesday night. We got there late, so we only saw 30 minutes, but it was enough time to appreciate the scene. It was a fundraiser, drag queens (“The Angry Beavers”) versus a kickball team (Provincetown Kickers), to raise money for the Trevor project, a hotline for gay and lesbian teens. The outfits were hysterical. Unfortunately, the drag queens lost. Favorite line by the announcer: "The beavers, none of whom have beavers …"

slyvermont: (Rum?)
This is creepy. I got a friend request on Facebook from a stranger, although, I wasn’t positive at first it was a stranger since it could be, for example, a Club Jade person who I know by a screen name. I went to his profile and looked at his friends – all women. Here’s where it got weird: Eight had names that were variations of Jessica (Jessie, Jessi) and nine had names that were variations of Susan (Susie, Susanna, Susana) and five were women whose name began with an “M”. Needless to say, I did not friend him back. I suppose I could consider it a compliment, since all the women he friended were attractive and considerably younger than me. But it’s odd to think that he sent out friend requests to women whose names are Susan and Jessica.

(Although, in retrospect, I know someone who married a guy she met after he sent mass e-mails to strange women on AOL who said they had freckles.)

File this under the “who knew?” category: The New York Times ran a story about bangs recently. I quote:
“Few hairstyles are as packed with emotional triggers as the bluntly cut bangs that have been cropping up on runways and in salons. They can bring back childhood memories and raise deep-seated feelings of longing (for the look) and loathing (for anyone who can pull it off). Some see them as cute and playful. Others think they’re anything but, especially on those over 30.

“’To me they scream: ‘I’m cooler than you, I have a lot of sex, and if you leave your husband with me I’ll devour him,’ said Meredith Hays, a literary agent in Manhattan with an unhinged brow.”

One hairdresser is so skeptical of bangs that when a client asks for them, he responds, “Did you break up with someone? Are you on your period?” Another commented that whenever a woman decides to trim her own bangs, she must be drinking. And finally, I learned that, “I don’t think you can name one woman who has those blunt bangs who is taken seriously in a professional setting.”
Honestly, I had no idea that my decision to wear bangs should have come with such emotional, psychological and career considerations. I suppose I should avoid meeting that Hays woman.

Number 3: Last Friday at 4 p.m., there was a drug bust in the parking lot of the newspaper I work for. I left work at 3 p.m. that day. What’s creepy is that it was a set-up: the cops arranged the drug transaction at that time and place. I’m not sure I like that – what if something had gone wrong? Somehow arranging a drug bust in a parking lot of an office building of a newspaper in mid-afternoon seems wrong to me.
slyvermont: (Default)
In mid-July, I joined Rich on a business trip to NYC, staying in a posh hotel (where his conference was) in the middle of the theater district. It was a bizarre place (Marriott Marquis): the lobby was on the eighth floor, and the elevators were quite challenging. When you stepped into an elevator, the first thing you notice is there are no buttons to press to indicate the floor you are going to. Instead, you are supposed to go to a kiosk outside the elevators, type in the floor you are going to, and then the kiosk tells you which elevator (named A-P) you need to take.

We saw a matinee of “A Chorus Line” (I had seen it 30 years ago, from the very last row in the balcony – cheapest seats possible). We ate dinner at a French restaurant in Soho where I think we were the only people who spoke English (we were surrounded by tourists from other countries), and then wandered to the Village to see the midnight showing of Buffy the Musical – singalong.

That was a blast. There were trivia questions to start and some additional clips. Everyone got a goody bag and we were supposed to do specific things at certain moments (blow bubbles, play the kazoo). There were people dressed as the characters acting out the action on the screen. Basically, a toned-down Rocky Horror Picture Show. It’s on tour (Atlanta, San Francisco, San Diego): for information go here (it’s coming to DC in November …. Hmmm.)

Sunday, while Rich worked, I went to a street fair and walked a lot. At night I got half-price seats to see “The 25th Annual Putnam Valley Spelling Bee” – which I enjoyed immensely.

Monday I met [profile] yav_14 and managed to find things in NYC she hasn’t seen yet. We walked to Belvedere Castle and the Shakespeare Garden in Central Park, which are two of my favorite places, and the Guggenheim, my favorite museum (which unfortunately is totally hidden under scaffolding). We walked down Madison Ave., and noted all the stores [personal profile] hollywdliz would want to shop in. In her honor, we went into a Prada store and touched shoes. After some more wanderings and dinner in a Spanish restaurant whose menu had an inordinate number of Italian entrees we parted ways at the bus terminal. The next day I flew back to Vermont.

This past weekend on Sunday we drove to Boston and saw the Edward Hopper exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts. I had no idea that he had vacationed in Truro for years (where we go every summer) – it was neat to see all those paintings of Truro. We then went to Ikea and did some dorm shopping for Caroline.

And thus ends a really boring entry. Except for the Buffy stuff.
slyvermont: (Default)
I was questioned elsewhere about my statement that Book 7 is not a kids book. Here are my thoughts:

slyvermont: (Default)
I am thoroughly exhausted. Spoilers:

slyvermont: (readingmagic)
I'm still in NYC, leaving in about 90 minutes, but back at the Apple store. We had no Internet in our room ($17 a day!), so I couldn't post this link sooner.

On Sunday, the paper ran an essay by Caroline called "Growing up under the spell of Harry Potter," on the front page of our "Perspective" section. I think it's pretty wonderful, but then again, I'm biased.

You can find it here: http://www.timesargus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070715/FEATURES05/707150313/1014/FEATURES05

(I can't do the highlight - link thing for some reason on this computer; I'll fix it when I get home.)

Enjoy. I'll post more completely later.

PS: There are absolutely postively no spoilers in this essay. I am now officially afraid to read anything on the Internet, so I may hide in a cave for the next 5 days other than quickly surfing selective LJ postings from friends.
slyvermont: (harry disco)
I'm at work, reading an interview with Harry Potter director David Yates, and had to post this little snippet that came up when he was asked to discuss his next movie, which is HP: Half Blood Prince:

"The next one has got intensity and scares, but it’s much more about the sexual and emotional politics of being a teenager. It’s kind of the sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll Harry Potter. And it’s funny. It’s quite witty."

It just goes so well with my icon.
slyvermont: (Default)
This is what the street outside my office looked like last night:



That idiot trying to drive into 3 feet of water did get stuck.

More pictures are here.

One of the more amusing moments last night was when Stefan, our photographer, had finally sloshed his way into work and was hungry. Stefan eats Chinese food every night, but the restaurant was not reachable. It so happened that I hadn't finished emptying my car after my Costco excursion on Monday, and there was food in the trunk. Stefan took my keys, sloshed outside to my car, and came back in holding two huge bricks of peanut butter crackers and granola bars. I ended up providing dinner and snack food for the office.

My car was fine; I got home just fine last night, my basement didn't flood. Downtown Barre is another story -- I have no idea how the movie theater playing the Harry Potter movie did, and it's in the heart of the flood zone.
slyvermont: (Default)
After weeks and weeks of expecting Montpelier to flood, guess what? We've had three days of torrential rain, and downtown Barre is now under water.

That's where I work.

At around 5:30 we started noticing the water rising on the street outside the office. We all head to the parking lot. Water is coming from the street on one side and the river on the other. Our cars are like sitting ducks.

First, we grab anything valuable from our cars. Then, we move them to slightly higher ground. The water starts coming in our front door, and is creeping up side of  the building. The fire department arrives and offers to evacuate us. But we have to get a paper out, so we all stay. Slightly panicked, since the building has flooded in the past, but we stay.

The water in the street has risen to at least 3 feet, and there are cars stuck out front. There's lots of yucky stuff floating by.

Eventually the rain lets up, the water starts receding. I haven't been out to my car, but I've been told it's OK. Although the parking lot is covered in thick, oily sludge. Thankfully I wore flip flops today and not any of my new shoes.

I'm still at work now; I should have no problem getting home since the parking lot and roads are OK now.
slyvermont: (Default)
Books: After reading "The Sleeping Beauty Proposal" (and then writing this review of it in the Times Argus), I decided to read all of Sarah Strohmeyer’s books. She’s a local author who writes chick lit. I’ve never read chick lit before, but decided to make an exception since she’s local, (and a really good interview). I had read the first two Bubbles books before writing the review, and last week tackled the remaining four. They are mysteries, the sleuth is a hair dresser/journalist/floozy named Bubbles Yablonsky. Then I read her "The Cinderella Pact." All good fun – good books if you want to do anything but challenge your mind.

On Sunday, after dropping Rich off at the airport in the pouring rain, I went to Barnes & Noble, found "Sacrifice," curled up in a chair and read the entire book at the bookstore (OK, skimmed or skipped all the Fett/Mandalorian stuff and some of the politics). Came home and finally read the endless emails on the “big event” on the CJ list. It’s nice to finally be au courant.

I’ll avoid spoilers, and just say I thought the book was well-done and tastefully written, and I was much less upset than I thought I would be.

Oh -- I've successfully re-read all the Harry Potter books.

Speaking of HP:  I MUST stop reading Harry Potter stuff. I’ve been trying very hard to avoid everything, but then something will catch my eye – in the newspaper or on the wires – and I’ll read it. And then feel like hitting myself, like Dobby. Like I just read in the NY Times what Rowling said about the book’s last word. I didn’t need to know that. I do not want to be spoiled for this book. I want to get it at 12:01 and then hibernate (with friends) in my house and read, read, read.

Today I went shopping with my friend Abby, again in the pouring rain. Bought stuff I didn’t need -- mainly shoes. Had fun.

Last week I had a dexoscan, which is an X-ray of the spine and hip bones. Unfortunately – although not surprisingly – the doctor’s office called to tell me I have had some bone density loss. I’m seeing the doctor tomorrow, and so will learn more.

This is scary. For the last five years, I’ve been trying hard to eat calcium, started lift weights, stopped swimming and instead walk/run. Other than eating more calcium, I’m not sure what else I can do. I don’t know how bad it is; I assume I will learn all about the various drugs I could start taking. I started reading about osteoporosis online, and stopped when I saw the statistic that 50% of women over 50 have a bone break because of osteoporosis. It was just too darn depressing. (On the positive side, all my other annual tests showed nothing wrong.)

Movies: We’ve joined the rest of the civilized world and now have Netflix. In the last few weeks I’ve seen Citizen Kane, About a Boy, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and others I can’t think of. Even after watching Citizen Kane with two different commentary tracks, I’m still not sure I get why it’s the best movie ever.

Fourth of July: I had to work, so no parade or fireworks.

Articles: Caroline had this front-page feature on Saturday, and this one on "Geek Week" a couple weeks ago.

Life really is dull. The big excitement a couple Saturdays ago was helping Caroline pick courses. The new online Brown course selection process is like Amazon, where you browse the courses and put the ones you like in your shopping cart. Instead of prices, it creates a cool graphic that shows you when each class meets. Caroline had said she had signed up for too many, which I thought meant 10. Nope, she really meant too many – she must have had 50 in there. We first suggested she eliminate any classes meeting before 10 a.m. and anything meeting after 3 p.m. on Friday. That eliminated a few. Then she got rid of ones needing prerequisites and the upper level graduate courses. She zeroed in on two courses (one was a prereq for about five other classes she wants to take and the other the prereq for Environmental Studies), and will figure out the rest of her schedule when she learns which freshmen seminar she gets. It was fun browsing all the classes I'll never take. The bill came today ... gulp.

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