Monday, September 26, 2005


For some odd reason, I’ve had a bit of trouble sleeping these past two weeks. It is not insomnia. I have no problem falling asleep, once I actually turn into bed. But I keep procrastinating about going to bed. How sad is that? I love sleeping.

What do I keep doing instead of sleeping? Is it homework? Is it cleaning up? No. I pretty much have become addicted to video games on my computer.

It is six in the morning and I should go to bed. I have an appointment in the torture chair tomorrow (dentist) and two major assignments due for the class I’m taking (that may or may not have something to do with linear regression. I thought I was done with statistics and now I seem to be haunted by the concepts – there’s another post). What am I doing? Posting. Yep, that’s about it.

I have spent time organizing my scrapbook stuff (playing with stickers) and playing games like Freecell and Sudoku.

Note to self: Go. To. Bed!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Awesome Day

Today was just a great day. When I got to work, my boss took all her direct reports out to dinner. We spent two hours of our work day sitting around getting to know each other without talking business. The conversation was light and full of laughter.

When I got back to work, DM emailed me to tell me that an idea formed during a scrapbooking weekend managed to win a contest. See here.

After work, I went to Perkin's with Steve. We were sitting around, talking about music and movies, and just as we were about to leave, Liese, my high school best friend, and her beau, Bruce, walked in. I got to catch up with her for a bit. It was just a fun, fun day.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Nothing Out of the Ordinary

Every once in awhile I find myself thinking of this site as a way for me to document things I'll want to remember at a much later date. Life blogging. Yep, that's what I do.

Each week DM and I go to karaoke. That's been established many a time before. Sunday night was no exception. I always think there should be an update to the fun we had during the night and an outrageous story to accompany it (caught up in criminal investigations, tolerating drunks, or finding ourselves head over heels). This past Sunday does not have an outrageous story to go with it, but it was fun.

As I was dropping DM off at home, we were laughing so hard and trying to find appropriate titles to describe the things we found so humorous. Those titles included:
"My Crotch is Burning!"
Let's Hear it for Venerable Diseases!
I Want Your Sex

Inappropriate titles continued.

The night was filled with friends and laughter. Angie and Amy were there and we chatted about how much we all approve of Angie's new beau, Steve. Nate and Becky were there. We're always pleased to see Nate show up since he moved to Wisconsin a few months ago. Bryan was in top form, filled with sharp wit and managed to start the entire conversation about VDs.

The song choices became theme oriented and we each took turns singing such gems as, "Like a Virgin," "I Touch Myself," "You Can Leave Your Hat On," "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy," "I Want Your Sex," and "Physical."

Liz and James joined us as the night was ending and good conversation was had.

When the night was over, DM and I were hungry and took off to find an open McDonald's. Unfortunately, the McDonald's we found was not open. Luckily there was a Taco Bell down the street and they were still open.

We ate and joked around (the potatoes were really hot and burned through the bag, finding out that you can buy doughnuts 24 hours a day and through a drive-thru, pretending that we didn't understand the concept of rain). The night was just a lot of fun.

I just had a great feeling about the time we had on Sunday. In my life, I've always found places that I feel at home. The Chalet is one of those places. We've become regulars and it feels great.

Friday, September 16, 2005

I'm Going to Hell

Another one of the random things I found in this old notebook full of jokes was a list of rejected children's books. It made me laugh, even though it is evil.

  • Barney's Bleeding and Nobody Can Help
  • Clifford the Big Red Dog Accidentally Eats his Masters and is Put to Sleep
  • Controlling the Playground: Respect through Fear
  • Curious George and the High Voltage Fence
  • Dad's New Wife Timothy
  • Daddy Loses His Job and Finds the Bottle
  • Peter Rabbit's Frisky Adventures
  • Pop! Goes the Weasel...And Other Great Microwave Games
  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer's Games of Revenge
  • The Boy Who Died from Eating All His Vegetables
  • The Care Bears Maul Some Campers and are Shot Dead
  • The Frog Formerly Known as Prince
  • Things Rich Kids Have, But You Never Will
  • When Mommy Leaves Daddy, and What You Did to Cause It

Brain Teaser

This is something I found. I always liked these puzzles. I don't have all the answers, but maybe together we can get them.

Instructions: Each question below contains the initials of words that will make up the equation correct. Find the missing words. (I will bold the ones I do have the answers for.)

Example: 16 = O in a P (Ounces in a Pound)

1. 26 = L of the A
2. 7 = W of the A W
3. 1001 = A N
4. 12 = S of the Z
5. 54 = C in a D
6. 9 = P in the S
7. 88 = P K
8. 13 = S on the A F
9. 32 = D F at which W F
10. 18 = H on a G C
11. 90 = D in a R A
12. $200 = D for P G in M
13. 8 = S on a S S
14. 3 = B M (S H T R)
15. 4 = Q in a G
16. 24 = H in a D
17. 1 = W on a U
18. 5 = D in a Z C
19. 57 = H V
20. 11 = P on a F T
21. 1000 = W that a P is W
22. 29 = D in F in a L Y
23. 64 = S on a C B
24. 40 = D and N of the G F
25. 100 = B of B on the W

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

It pays to clean...

On Sunday, before the madness of karaoke, I went to my dad's. Since I've moved a few times, there are items that I still want kept in boxes at his house, waiting for the day I have a home of my own. The fact that he lives so close makes it easy to keep stuff there. Once in awhile I will remember an old text book that will help with a current research assignment and I can just pop over, go through three boxes, and come up with the perfect resource for when I need to write a report about Post Soviet States (okay, I may have taken some odd classes in the past. Interesting, but not overly relevant to the life I live.)

DM and I spent much of the weekend watching this old, cheesy TV show that I just adored. The show is "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman." When I was in high school, I wanted to be Lois Lane in the worst way. I never cared much for Superman himself, but Dean Cain is awfully pretty to look at. I enjoyed the times he was Clark Kent and I loved the jobs they held. I wanted to be a newspaper reporter and investigate and wear professional attire. This dream actually took me into a pre-journalism major that fizzled when I realized that my actual passion is business. By sheer luck, I ended up in the career I have currently and the job that I wanted when I was really little. (Yes, I was a kid who wanted to be a banker. I didn't want money, I just wanted to organize money.)

Since DM and I were watching the first season of the show on DVD, I remembered that I had the other seasons on VHS. I'm anxiously awaiting the release of the next three seasons, but in the meantime, I could try dusting off my VCR (which, by the way, I cannot figure out how to hook up to the electronic disaster going on with my TV. Having a TV that the remote no longer works and is not technologically advanced to have any sort of plugs for a DVD player is rather humorous. I have two separate adapters that allows me to hook up the DVD player and two gaming systems (that I don't use) and now I'm trying to figure out how to add a VCR to the mix. It's amazing how many electronics I have but never use. Sad, sad. I'm going to therapy over it. Or I should.) and seeing which tapes still work.

Well, the tapes were stored at Dad's house. So I went into his attic to look around. I found the tapes, but I also found boxes full of other goodies. It's like Christmas. There were presents left for me by me!

I found my old keychain collection. Highly amusing. It is complete with a whistle, a rainbow parrot, a cow, a Superman S (hmmm, wonder why I bought that?), a glow-in-the-dark advertisement for the bank I managed to work at as a teller but it has the name of the bank it was before it was acquired by the larger corporation of NABABNA*, a penny with the slogan "the CENT never spent to repair a ZIPPO lighter, Bart Simpson, a ticket for Phantom of the Opera, a geode, a road sign saying "So many pedestrians, so little time," a ticket for Les Miserables, numerous states (mostly MN, AZ, IA, and WI), and a pliers. Do I use any of these? No.

I also found my old collection of buttons. I remember being 5 and being fascinated by buttons. Not buttons that you would sew on clothing. No. Just buttons that advertise things. Like Homecoming or "I'm saving myself for Tom Selleck" (yes, actual button found). The most priceless of these is the button a friend of mine gave me when she was volunteering at a local clinic. It shows sperm swimming around and says, "Not every ejaculation needs to have a name."

There was a tin (with penguins on it, of course) full of cards. All of the cards were from the same year. I saved EVERY SINGLE card I received that year. There was one from DM's cats. I also found money in the birthday card from my grandparents! This is where it pays to clean.

Besides some old souvenirs that will eventually end up in scrapbooks, I found old notebooks. These were actually pretty nice to find. I have found some of the old stories I tried to write and horrible, awful poetry I wrote when I thought I knew everything there was to know about love and longing. Which is odd because I never really dated all that much in high school or college. In this box was also a pile of papers. The different papers were jokes or funny items I found through email lists. Why I printed them I'll never know, but they are going to be blogging fodder for a bit. There will be quotes and anecdotes and quizzes. Fun!

I found a quiz called, "Are you a stud?" I don't really want to be a stud, but I found it funny that I had it. So I took the quiz. Out of a possible 120+ points, I scored 9. I was actually up to 19, but then lost 10 points for singing karaoke. The most macho thing I've done is run a rack in pool. That makes me feel good.

And this is something my grandpa gave me years ago. Now that he has passed on, I'm glad I still have it. It gives me an idea of his humor.

Know Your "ISMS"

Socialism: you have two cows and give one to your neighbor

Communism: you have two cows; the government takes both and gives you the milk

Fascism: you have two cows; the government takes both and sells you the milk

Nazism: you have two cows; the government takes both and shoots you

New Dealism: you have two cows; the government takes both, shoots one, milks the other and throws the milk away

Capitalism: you have two cows; you sell one and buy a bull


*NABABNA - fake name.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Football Season Karaoke & More Cowboy Mouth Lyrics

Tonight at the Chalet was one I’ll remember.

Football season has started. Softball season is over. That means a few things. With less softball players looking for something to do on a Sunday night, the Chalet is almost empty. Sure, there are the regulars like DM and myself, but the random crazies are not present. Let me rephrase that. The random crazies are not there, but the frequent crazies make their appearances.

When I picked up DM, we listened to the new Cowboy Mouth albums that I bought in the car on the way up to the bar. We got there early, like usual. Somehow we manage to beat Bryan to the bar by about 10 minutes every week.

Bryan, DM, and I have a conversation about pirates. Bryan tells the one pirate joke he knows and it is the same pirate joke that everyone tells.

Angie, a total sweetheart and a good friend of ours now, arrived a few minutes after Bryan walked in. She brought a new beau with her. His name is Steve. Nice guy and very attractive. DM and I both approved of Steve. He is much better than her previous boyfriend, a man we both only saw drunk.

We joke about DM’s dating life. A comment is made that DM could probably get a guy if she started taking refugees into her home. (Yes, bad humor. That’s how we deal. We all know we’re going to hell.) Pick-up lines are given back and forth and suddenly DM’s new nickname is Hurricane Dana. Please don’t hate us.

Two guys showed up and joined our table. We’ve chatted with one of them before and they are both nice gentlemen. I need a couple of fake names. Um, to protect them (& myself) I’m going to call them Dave & Seth. I like that.

A little background about Dave & Seth. Seth, a guy we’ve seen before but never really chatted with, is a techie. Actually, both of the guys have jobs that involve computers and being savvy with technology. Seth is tall, kind of geeky, and adorable. He’s a nice guy and can hold an intelligent conversation. Dave can also hold an intelligent conversation. Dave is close to my age, I think, and as DM puts it is “HOT”. He has the classic good looks. You know what I mean, right? Perfect hair, expressive eyes, and a strong jaw line. Yeah, Dave is a good-looking man. And he’s nice. And smart. And you’d think I’d fall for him.

The problem? He has a wife (soon to be ex-wife) and a child. I know it sounds petty, but if there is one thing I’ll be selfish about, it is happiness in my life. I don’t want to date a guy with kids. But he is nice to see. And he knows it.

Dave makes a comment (right after Angie left to take Steve home) that the bar is quite empty. My response, “It’s football season.” When there are night games for the Vikings, the bar gets busy. The big screen TVs draw people. But the Vikes played this afternoon (and lost. I had to look that up) and the place was quiet.

The door opened and drama walked in. I turned to DM and said, “Yes, it is football season.” She looked confused for about 10 seconds and then the knowing look hit her face. The boy (scroll to the bottom to find many other related posts) had arrived. So had Pete and Guru* and two women I’ve never seen before. Pete and Guru were completely trashed and the boy was being the responsible friend and was stuck with the task of looking after these two idiots.

The women wanted to play darts, so P & G were with them most of the evening. Except for when they decided to “grace” us with their presence. That might have had something to do with the fact the boy was sitting next to me and they kept trying to talk to him and then tell us stories.

One thing is to be said about drunks. Okay, two things. First of all, they can be massively annoying. Intellect goes right out the window when massive amounts of alcohol have been consumed. When someone doesn’t have enough brain cells to have an intelligent conversation sober, think about what it does when they kill a few billion more. The second thing that can be said about drunks is the fact they do create some amusing stories.

Pete sat down and tried to tell me a story. I think he may have actually told it, but he mumbles. DM was singing and he plopped down in her chair and said to me, “Can I ask your opinion of something?” (“Ca sk you inion sometin?” There was a bit of slurring involved with the mumbling.)

He proceeds to tell me about last night at a different bar. Amazingly enough, I’ve actually been to the bar he is referring to. It scares me that the bar he is talking about is about two blocks from my apartment. That means that last night, as I was sitting here working on a paper for my economics course on the effect housing starts have on the mortgage industry (fascinating, I bet you’re all jealous of me), Pete was nearby. I’m frightened.

Okay, I’ve stopped rocking back and forth in the fetal position now. Back to the story. Pete is telling me that he went to the bar and bought a round of drinks for a few people. Actually, he bought two rounds of shots for a bunch of people. From what I was able to understand, he then asked a guy that he had just bought two shots for if he could bum a cigarette. The guy got upset and started insulting Pete. This is where logic leaves the building.

Some other man, that I’ve never met, defends Pete and gets into a fight in the parking lot with the insulting guy. Pete sleeps in his truck. As Pete is telling the story, he tells me the guy helping him is a “friend of mine, no, he’s his roommate, and his friend, but kind of my friend.” When he says, “his roommate,” he points at the boy. End of Pete’s story.

The boy says to me, “Did you get any of that?”

“No.” Simple reply on my part. Confused look on my face, I say to the boy, “Do you have a roommate?”

“No. That’s why I’m confused.” It seems that the man defending Pete’s honor (yeah, that’s about the way it was described) is actually Guru’s roommate.

I then, for sheer amusement, look at Pete and say, “Didn’t this story start with you wanting my opinion on something?”

“Yeah. Yeah, it did.” Slurring again.

“What did you want my opinion on?”

“What happened.” Pete is brilliant, obviously.

“I have no opinion. I don’t care.”

Pete wanders off to play more darts and Guru has left us for a bit. The boy turns to me, swear to God, he says, “Can I ask you something?” I nod and he continues. “Does Pete have a personality?”

A little bit of the back-story needs to be told before I go into my answer. Last year, after the “date with Pete” night, DM and I had a conversation about him. It involved her saying, “Maybe he has multiple personalities” because he keeps bringing up his friends and trying to convince people that he’s a decent guy. My reply was, “If he has multiple personalities, do you think he could have brought at least one of them with?”

I kind of laugh a bit at the boy’s question and tell him, “Um, no. Actually, I wondered if he had multiple personalities and would bother to bring one of them out.” He laughs and agrees. The boy is not overly impressed with the way his buddies are acting and explains that there are things you do for your friends, but sometimes that people are friends because they’ve known each other for a long time. I get this. Don’t get me started on high school.

I tell the boy to ask DM the same question. She responds as I did. He just laughs. DM almost tells the boy that she faked the asthma attack to get away from Pete, but we figure he has probably figured this one out already.

During the “How did I end up on a date with Pete?” night, Pete told me that he and the boy were in a bar fight over a game of darts. With the subject of fighting brought up by Pete, I decided to ask point-blank if this was true.

“Have you ever been in a bar fight?”

The boy has a look like I’m crazy on his face. “No. Why would I be?”

DM and I explain at this point that Pete told us that the two of them had taken a man out into a parking lot and beat him up because of a game of darts. The boy looks at Pete and has a look of disdain on his face. At least I now know that the boy doesn’t get into bar fights. And I know, even though I suspected as much, that Pete is a liar and idiot.

Guru has now reached a point of utter intoxication where all he is capable of is to sit at the end of the table and spew verbal garbage from his mouth. Pete brings up the subject of homosexuals (and gets a lot of dirty looks from Angie, DM, Dave, Seth, the boy, and I). Guru decides to tell me, “The boy and I are not gay together.”

Well, I was wondering. This man is an idiot. I’ve met him three times now and he’s been this drunk each and every time. He asked me at least four times tonight what my name was. I’ll admit, it’s a hard name to remember. I struggle with it each day.

Guru continues. “We’re not gay. I can prove it.”

Here is the rest of that conversation.
Beth: I didn’t think you were gay.
Guru: I can prove it.
B: You don’t need to.
G: I like p*ssy.
B: That’s a great thing to share in front of a bunch of women. (Obviously, I was being sarcastic.)
G: I am a man.
B: No shit.
G: I like to eat p*ssy.
Angie: I don’t like p*ssy.
DM: Me neither. I like d*ck.
B: You know what, me too! (To Guru:) The level of intellect you bring to the table stuns me. Thank you so much for sharing with us Guru.

The boy is just shaking his head at his associate now and telling him to shut up.

Guru starts another conversation. “Hey, you, um, what’s your name again? Yeah, okay, that girl up by the dart boards? She likes me. She just doesn’t know it yet.”

To humor the moron, I said, “Are you going to tell her that?”
G: One of the girls at this table likes me. (At this point, DM is singing, so that leaves Angie and myself.) Which one is it?
B: Neither.
A: That’s right. Neither of us.

While DM is still singing, Guru keeps talking. This man annoys me, if you haven’t guessed yet.

G: Hey, you should go after the boy. Do you like the boy?

This is where the boy jumps in and starts working harder at getting this drunk to shut up.
Boy: Hey, look over there. Yeah, remember those girls you brought with you? You should go talk to them. Um, yeah, go over there. Oh, here’s a pencil. Look at that. It’s pretty.

I lean over and say to the boy, “Don’t you just love alcohol? It makes people so blunt. Have fun taking care of him tonight.” He looks at me (blue, definitely blue eyes) and laughs. He looks embarrassed and I can tell Guru is not his friend, but Pete’s friend and he just puts up with the guy. Like DM and I put up with Pete (kind of).

The boy shared an experience with me tonight. When he went into the restroom, the zipper on his jeans broke. He was pretty embarrassed and told me that he was happy he wore a long shirt tonight. We joked about it for most of the night and now that I think about it, I believe he told me to draw attention. There was some odd vibes between the boy and Dave at the other end of the table. The boy wanted me to talk with him and was quite curious about who Dave was. When the boy left, Dave was not as nice with his comments. Dave’s comments were not directly associated with the boy, but there was an obvious dislike of Pete and Guru.

Oh, and the fact about the zipper? Well, he pointed it out and then told me that he wasn't lying. This is how I now know what type of underwear he wears.

Angie mentioned that the boy was overly animated. Then she realized who he was. Her comment, “Oh, that’s why he was like that. He’s trying to impress you.”

The boy did leave after good-byes were shared. Some people dislike him and sure, he has a few faults. He is slow about making any type of move and he has a complete git as a friend, but he is nice and has a good sense of humor. I enjoy talking with him at the bar and I’m letting it sit right there for now. I can’t blame anyone for his or her friends. If that were the case, I’d be an idiot for hanging out with Adam for so long. I think with football season going on, he may be making more appearances at karaoke.

After the boy left, Liz and James showed up. They joined us and our table had great conversations. All in all, I had a good time at karaoke, even if the entertainment was making fun of drunks.

That’s my life right now. It is almost time for bed. I have a dentist appointment tomorrow afternoon (not fun) and more homework due. Exit drama, stage right.

And to end this post, another set of Cowboy Mouth lyrics:

Hey Bartender
Cowboy Mouth
Hey bartender, pour me another one
'Cause I don't think that I've had enough
Make it a bourbon, make it a double one
You can see that I'm still standing up
Whiskey and women
Well they fooled me every time
To thinking I'm the hero I have
Pictured in my mind
So tell me a secret
To get me through the night
Ah, just turn up the jukebox
Tell me a lie
Where am I this evening?
No, I don't mean what bar
I mean, what city?
And in what state am I?
Are you leaving?
And do you have a car?
And could you take me along for the ride?
See, women like you
Well you could answer in my life
Let me be the lover
I have pictured in my mind
So tell me a secret
To get me through the night
Ah, just turn up the jukebox
Tell me a lie
Well, here's a quarter
Why don't I play us a song
I believe it's George Jones
I belive it's a slow one
In 3/4 time
Turn up the jukebox
Tell me a lie
Hey bartender,
Did she say where she was going?
Well I must have dozed off for awhile
Are these my cigarettes?
And how much do I owe?
I guess I'll see you tomorrow night
And do you think she'd mind it if I called her up sometime
I might be the reason she's been searching her whole life
So tell me a secret
To get me through the night
Turn up the jukebox
Tell me a lie
Turn up the jukebox
And tell me a lie
Turn up the jukebox
And tell me a lie


*The boy, Pete, and Guru are all fake names. Guru's fake name is very lame but it was all I could come up with after "How did I end up on a date with Pete?!?"

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Far Out Man!

Without much thought, I wore flare (aka bell-bottom) jeans to work today accompanied by boots with a bit of a platform and a knit pullover that is striped (white, light blue, tan, brown, and black) that ties with a leather band. During our managers meeting, my boss started a "bead challenge" contest that consists of our teams trying to get Mardi Gras beads from the other teams. A bunch of the supervisors were joking around with the beads and we were creating headbands made of them. My long, straight blonde hair was down. Putting on the sunglasses that are gradually tint from top to bottom, I was a complete and utter hippie.

I was never so interested in the drugs of the 60s, but I've been fascinated with the era. I always felt I was born at the wrong time. The rock 'n roll of the era has always been some of my favorite music and the bands today that are influenced by the bands of the 60s and 70s are my favorites.

I think I might go as a hippie for Halloween.

My day at work was fun. I love my job, but sometimes I just don't feel like it's all fun. It can be work. That might just be the definition of a job. And then there are days where it is just enjoyable.

Today was Andy's last day as a supervisor on our side. I was Andy's team lead for almost a year and I really enjoy his company. He calls DM "D-Money" and she hates it, but she still enjoys his company.

Andy and I have so many stories that we can joke about together. There was the banker who always spoke about herself in third person. "Sheila needs to think about Sheila. Sheila does what is best for Sheila. If Sheila wants to make a big bonus, Sheila needs to not take many calls."

There was the kid who was a pathological liar. Great banker and lost his job because of an idiot move, but full of stories that were never quite true. Here's the kid who made up stories about locking his keys in his car but magically someone else had the same car and that guy's keys worked. Then the kid told us about how his mother decided when he was 8 that she didn't like his name anymore and renamed him.

And when Char started we had our conversation about her.
Andy: She's crazy.
Me: She's awesome. She's going to be a top performer.
It turns out we were both right. And that's Char's charm!

Then we messed with Kelly. Kelly is a banker who laughs whenever someone falls down. It's a nervous reaction. She should have never shared this fact with us. Every once in awhile one of us would trip in front of her intentionally while she was trying to take calls. Brilliant! We were called some dirty names.

How often are you comfortable enough with your boss/employee to use the word "panties"?

Since it was Andy's last night, we went out to dinner. He and I had a great time at a local restaurant (we both arrived early for a meeting and decided to take that extra 1/2 hour for an extended lunch). Andy is still going to be in the call center, but it will be a different department. He won't be at the supervisor meetings any more and I'm going to miss him.

We both hired team leads at the same time. It was so much fun doing the joint interviews, even if it was a stressful time trying to find the perfect matches. I was looking for someone like him and he was looking for someone like me.

After work, we went to the pool hall. It has been a Friday tradition. The evening was not the same without Char there, but we still had a good time. Luke, a guy I've worked with for over five years now, joined us and Mary, Andy's team lead, was also there. We laughed and shared more memories.

I'm going to miss Andy. He makes work fun.

I'm going to leave you with two Andy stories. They are classic and I've been meaning to post them for months now.

Did you ever know you're my hero?

Andy arrives at work one day and tells me, "I was a hero. Respect me. I am awesome." Then he proceeds to tell me this story:

One Saturday night, just as winter was ending, Andy was driving home from a night of spending time at a bar with friends. He was alone and nearing his place. On a side street, an old man, with a thick Italian accent, ran out into the street and flagged Andy down. Weary, Andy pulled over and rolled down the window to see what the emergency was.

"Help! Ah! I'm having a heart attack! Ah! Help! Ah!!" The man weaved back and forth, clutching his chest.

Being the concerned citizen, Andy asked, "Do you want me to call 9-1-1?"

"Yeeeesssss!" The man cried.

As Andy is calling the authorities, the man opens the passenger door and parks himself in Andy's car. This is when Andy gets a whiff of the man and realizes he is completely hammered. He still phones the medics and they ask him to stay with the man. "No problem. He's in my car." Obviously, Andy is thrilled with the situation he has found himself in.

"Ah! Ah! Heart attack." The man keeps mumbling. The slurring is more and more evident and Andy shakes his head in disbelief.

The man is now rumaging around in Andy's car and finds a water bottle under the seat with some H2O still inside. Andy has noticed this and is about to mention that the bottle has been there for at least 9 months when the man opens it and pours the water all over himself, trying to find his mouth.

'Please don't throw up. Please don't vomit in my car.' Andy is thinking.

The medics and police show up and Andy is a bit weary. He is not drunk, but he did have a couple of beers at the bar. The police do not even blink about this and question Andy about what is going on. "This guy flagged me down, claiming to have a heart attack, and asked me to call for help. I'm pretty sure he's just drunk."

The police and medics check out the man and Andy wants to get home. The man calls to him, "You're going to visit me tomorrow at the hospital! You have to."

Andy, being the smart-ass he truly is, says, "Sure. No problem." He salutes the man and leaves the scene, never intending to visit the hospital. And now he calls himself a hero.

"I almost died."

In the spring, our call center decided a reward for high quality assurance performers to hold a B-B-Q. The day time event went off without any problems and the management staff was quite confident in Andy's grilling abilities to put him in charge of the evening shift. I had gone on break with some friends and was standing outside chatting with everyone, Char included, when we noticed the wind kicking up and a storm rolling in.

In the mean time, Andy was setting up the grill. He noticed that he didn't have a lighter for the gas grill and headed out to where Char and I were talking to others (many people from work just gather in the smoking area during the warmer months because there are more people there). Andy figured someone would have a lighter and asked to borrow one. He heads back to the grilling area and Char and I continue talking.

Just as Andy enters the area, the grill topples over in the storm. This is when he notices the matches sitting nearby. His thought is, "If I had noticed those, I would have had that lit and I'd have died." This where the phrase, "I almost died," was born within our call center.

As Andy is picking up the grill, the garbage can flies over. He goes for that and the grill topples over again. He looks up and sees Char and I heading back towards the building.

"GET BETH!" He yells to Char. At this moment, a large piece of cardboard flies up and smacks him squarely in the forehead. He is furious and Char and I bust out laughing.

Char goes into work and starts answering calls while I go out and help Andy secure the grill, garbage can, and the large pieces of cardboard we use to keep grease from staining the cement. As the story has grown, people think that Andy was hanging onto a tree in 100 mile per hour straight winds. It's a little bit of a stretch, but the winds were pretty fierce.

Once we get everything inside, we try to figure out how we're going to cook the hamburgers and hot dogs for this event. I have a crock-pot at my desk that we can use for the hot dogs (we have a lot of potlucks at work and it is easier to leave the crock-pot at work than bring it back and forth each time). There is also an electric griddle of mine at work (pancake contest and I was too lazy to bring it home).

Hmmm, griddle + hamburgers. Sounds like a good equation, right? We now have Andy, our manager (I was promoted by this time but not quite in the job yet), and the center manager standing around a coffee station, and myself looking at the griddle and the hamburgers. Andy puts one on the hot surface and turns to us saying, "Is this going to smoke?"

Plan defeated. Oops. The center manager is looking out the window this entire time and keeps saying, "I think it's clearing up outside." Andy just glares at him.

Our administrative assistant calls from home to give Andy a message. "There's an umbrella under my desk you can use." Andy does not find this helpful.

The event went well with the hot dogs and the hamburgers were saved for the next event and we had a good story to tell.

I'm going to miss Andy's antics.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Live albums

I love live albums. I purchased an album tonight on iTunes and I'm listening to Cowboy Mouth right now.

One of the lines the drummer just said, "I'm going to beat these drums like I caught 'em in bed with my ex-girlfriend." This made me smile.

"Scream like you're five years old and nothing in the world matters."

Just fun.

The album is called, "Live at the Zoo." The first song is, "Light it on Fire." I'll have to post the lyrics soon. I really should finish the homework I'm supposed to be doing.

Hey, I said that once school started I'd blog more. True to my word I am. Yep. That's the ticket.

On My Mind

This song has been haunting me the past week. It will come up on iTunes party shuffle or my iPod will put it up to the top of the list while I'm in the car. It is an excellent song by a band that I love. Cowboy Mouth is from New Orleans and the song is called, "New Orleans."

New Orleans

The Texas sun beats down upon me like the devil's smile
I'd rather be anywhere else than here
Was it a blinding lack of subtlety or a lack of style
Responding to the ways and means of fear

Take me back to New Orleans and drop me at my door
Cause I might love you, yea.
But I love me more.

My fingernails are bitten 'til there's nothing left but skin.
I'd rather be anyone else right now.
The light that shone within my eyes is slowly growing dim.
She told me where, told me when, but never said how.

Take me back to New Orleans and don't call me anymore
Cause I might love you, yea.
But I love me more.

She said, how can I make this unhappen?
I said, you cannot make this unhappen. Choose before your choices fade away.
She said, I could be home by tomorrow if I could beg steal or borrow
I said, you're there. You might as well stay.

The morning mist arises thru another crack in the glass
The lack of sleep has made me numb
But sometimes when she sleeps she'll turn and she'll whisper his name
That cake must taste great but I'll pass when you offer me some.

Take me back to New Orleans and drop me at my door
Cause I might love you, yea.
But I love me more.

Take me back to New Orleans and don't call me anymore
Cause I might love you, yea.
But I love me more.

I posted these lyrics for reasons I don't truly know. The song does not really talk about the city's beauty or history and it has nothing to do with the tragedy. I only find myself thinking of the song because of the longing for home that so many won't have for some time. New Orleans, as much as it was a disaster waiting to happen, was a place of culture and history. The city is a part of America and a stunning part at that.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

An Email From My Mom

A couple of days ago, my mom sent me an email that has relevance over the recent disaster in New Orleans. This is an article written in November of 2004, published after Hurricane Ivan and before Katrina wreacked havoc. It's scary how accurate it truly is.

Natural Hazards Observer Vol. XXIX No. 2 November 2004

Disasters Waiting to Happen . . . Sixth in a Series

What if Hurricane Ivan Had NotMissed New Orleans?

Author’s Note: This column was originally intended to be the final disaster in the “Disasters Waiting to Happen” series. As I was developing the hypothetical situation depicting a devastating hurricane striking New Orleans, Louisiana, the disaster waiting to happen threatened to become a reality: Hurricane Ivan, a category 4 hurricane (with 140 mph winds) fluctuating to a category 5 (up to 155 mph winds), was slowly moving directly toward New Orleans. Forecasters were predicting a one-in-four chance that Ivan would remain on this direct path and would be an “extreme storm” at landfall. In reality, the storm veered to the north and made landfall east of Mobile Bay, Alabama, causing devastation and destruction well into the central Gulf shoreline and throughout the Southeast and the Mid-Atlantic states.

What if Ivan Had Hit New Orleans?

New Orleans was spared, this time, but had it not been, Hurricane Ivan would have:

  • Pushed a 17-foot storm surge into Lake Pontchartrain;
  • Caused the levees between the lake and the city to overtop and fill the city “bowl” with water from lake levee to river levee, in some places as deep as 20 feet;
  • Flooded the north shore suburbs of Lake Pontchartrain with waters pushing as much as seven miles inland; and
  • Inundated inhabited areas south of the Mississippi River.
Up to 80 percent of the structures in these flooded areas would have been severely damaged from wind and water. The potential for such extensive flooding and the resulting damage is the result of a levee system that is unable to keep up with the increasing flood threats from a rapidly eroding coastline and thus unable to protect the ever-subsiding landscape.

Evacuation Challenges

Researchers have estimated that prior to a “big one,” approximately 700,000 residents of the greater New Orleans area (out of 1.2 million) would evacuate. In the case of Hurricane Ivan, officials estimate that up to 600,000 evacuated from metropolitan New Orleans between daybreak on Monday, September 13 and noon on Wednesday, September 15, when the storm turned and major roads finally started to clear.

To aid in the evacuation, transportation officials instituted contraflow evacuation for the first time in the area’s history whereby both lanes of a 12-mile stretch of Interstate 10 were used to facilitate the significantly increased outbound flow of traffic toward the northwest and Baton Rouge. The distance of the contraflow was limited due to state police concerns about the need for staff to close the exits. And, although officials were initially pleased with the results, evacuees felt the short distance merely shifted the location of the major jams.

These feelings were justified by the amount of time it took residents to evacuate—up to 11 hours to go the distance usually traveled in less than 1.5. For many who evacuated into Texas, total evacuation time frequently exceeded 20 hours. Since the storm, a consensus has developed that to alleviate this congestion much more secondary highway coordination is necessary throughout the state, contraflow needs to be considered for much greater distances, residents who are able and willing to evacuate early must be doubly encouraged to do so, families with multiple cars need to be discouraged from taking more than one unless they are needed to accommodate evacuees, and all modes of transportation in their various configurations must be fully considered for the contributions they can make to a safe and effective evacuation.

The major challenge to evacuation is the extremely limited number of evacuation routes, which is the result of the same topography and hydrology responsible for the area’s high level of hurricane risk. The presence of the Mississippi River, several lakes and bays, and associated marshes and swamps necessitates very expensive roadway construction techniques that are generally destructive to the environment, making the addition of more arteries increasingly challenging. This problem of limited evacuation routes also plagues the rest of the delta plain of southeast and south central Louisiana.

The fact that 600,000 residents evacuated means an equal number did not. Recent evacuation surveys show that two thirds of nonevacuees with the means to evacuate chose not to leave because they felt safe in their homes. Other nonevacuees with means relied on a cultural tradition of not leaving or were discouraged by negative experiences with past evacuations.

For those without means, the medically challenged, residents without personal transportation, and the homeless, evacuation requires significant assistance. The medically challenged often rely on life support equipment and are in such fragile states of health that they can only be moved short distances to medically equipped shelters. While a large storm-resistant structure with appropriate equipment has yet to be constructed or retrofitted, the Superdome was used to shelter nonevacuees during Ivan.

Residents who did not have personal transportation were unable to evacuate even if they wanted to. Approximately 120,000 residents (51,000 housing units x 2.4 persons/unit) do not have cars. A proposal made after the evacuation for Hurricane Georges to use public transit buses to assist in their evacuation out of the city was not implemented for Ivan. If Ivan had struck New Orleans directly it is estimated that 40-60,000 residents of the area would have perished.

Unwilling to merely accept this reality, emergency managers and representatives of nongovernmental disaster organizations, local universities, and faith based organizations have formed a working group to engage additional faith-based organizations in developing ride-sharing programs between congregation members with cars and those without. In the wake of Ivan’s near miss, this faith-based initiative has become a catalyst in the movement to make evacuation assistance for marginalized groups (those without means of evacuation) a top priority for all levels of government.

To the Rescue

If a hurricane of a magnitude similar to Ivan does strike New Orleans, the challenges surrounding rescue efforts for those who have not evacuated will be different from other coastal areas. Rescue teams would have to don special breathing equipment to protect themselves from floodwaters contaminated with chemicals and toxins released from commercial sources within the city and the petrochemical plants that dot the river’s edge. Additionally, tank cars carrying hazardous materials, which constantly pass through the city, would likely be damaged, leaking their contents into the floodwater and adding to the “brew.” The floodwater could become so polluted that the Environmental Protection Agency might consider it to be hazardous waste and prohibit it from being pumped out of the leveed areas into the lake and marshes until treated.

Regional and national rescue resources would have to respond as rapidly as possible and would require augmentation by local private vessels (assuming some survived). And, even with this help, federal and state governments have estimated that it would take 10 days to rescue all those stranded within the city. No shelters within the city would be free of risk from rising water. Because of this threat, the American Red Cross will not open shelters in New Orleans during hurricanes greater than category 2; staffing them would put employees and volunteers at risk. For Ivan, only the Superdome was made available as a refuge of last resort for the medically challenged and the homeless.

The Aftermath

In this hypothetical storm scenario, it is estimated that it would take nine weeks to pump the water out of the city, and only then could assessments begin to determine what buildings were habitable or salvageable. Sewer, water, and the extensive forced drainage pumping systems would be damaged. National authorities would be scrambling to build tent cities to house the hundreds of thousands of refugees unable to return to their homes and without other relocation options. In the aftermath of such a disaster, New Orleans would be dramatically different, and likely extremely diminished, from what it is today. Unlike the posthurricane development surges that have occurred in coastal beach communities, the cost of rebuilding the city of New Orleans’ dramatically damaged infrastructure would reduce the likelihood of a similar economic recovery. And, the unique culture of this American original that contributed jazz and so much more to the American culture would be lost.

Accepting the Reality

Should this disaster become a reality, it would undoubtedly be one of the greatest disasters, if not the greatest, to hit the United States, with estimated costs exceeding 100 billion dollars. According to the American Red Cross, such an event could be even more devastating than a major earthquake in California. Survivors would have to endure conditions never before experienced in a North American disaster.

Loss of the coastal marshes that dampened earlier storm surges puts the city at increasing risk to hurricanes. Eighty years of substantial river leveeing has prevented spring flood deposition of new layers of sediment into the marshes, and a similarly lengthy period of marsh excavation activities related to oil and gas exploration and transportation canals for the petrochemical industry have threatened marsh integrity. Sea level rise is expected to further accelerate the loss of these valuable coastal wetlands, the loss of which jeopardizes the fabric of Louisiana communities by threatening the harvesting of natural resources, an integral part of coastal culture. Concerted efforts by state and federal agencies are underway to develop appropriate restoration technologies and adequate funding to implement them.

The Future is Now

These solutions may not be able to overtake the speed of coastal loss. Strong storms not only threaten human lives, but also the physical coast itself. National hurricane experts predict more active and powerful hurricane seasons in the Atlantic basin for the next 10-40 years. The hurricane scenario for New Orleans that these converging risks portend is almost unimaginable. Hurricane Ivan had the potential to make the unthinkable a reality. Next time New Orleans may not be so fortunate.

Shirley Laska
Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology
University of New Orleans

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Karaoke, Work, Scrapbooking, Bugs, and an update about the text messaging guy...

It feels like ages since I've posted anything of relevance. Oh wait, it has been. First of all, an apology for being M.I.A. on the blogging scene. I'm trying to catch up and now that school has started again, I'll probably posting more than I ever needed to. Something about looming textbooks makes me want to blog and clean. Blogging is the fun distraction.

This post is going to be filled with tons of random junk. There has been a ton of things that I meant to post about recently and just never got around to it.

Labor Day Karaoke

Sunday was fun and odd. DM and I went to karaoke at the Chalet as usual and had a good time, even if we found a few things disturbing. For example, the guy who decided to join our table that we didn't know and sat there practicing high notes while everyone else was singing. Yes, he just sat there going, "Ahhhhhhhh" at a pitch at would make my dogs twinge.

We made friends with a group of girls nicknamed, "Super Classy Whores". Bryan started it somehow. I don't know the back story. They are a fun group of people.

Before the singing started, a woman approached our table whom we have never seen before. Bryan did not know who she was. The fact that she was in no way an employee of the entertainment company that Bryan works for made this conversation quite strange:
W: Are you going to sing?
DM: Yes, of course!
W: What are you going to sing?
B: We don't know quite yet.
W: You use this book.
B: Yes, we know that.

The thugs from last week were there again. These are kids (seriously, they have to be barely 21. Bobby said they are legal but they sure don't look it) who like to get into fights and show off their manliness. It's annoying. Well, this woman who seems to be our friend (even though we barely know her and don't really talk to her and she calls me Buffy) was taking pictures of her other friend singing. A random thug walked up and exclaimed, "You're gonna 'member this night on that camera!" King of the Obvious. Yep, that's who he is.

After karaoke, we joined a huge group of people at Bryan and Liz's place. We sat around the fire and joined different conversations. It was James's birthday and he was quite drunk. Unfortunately, the birthday boy missed the birthday party because he was driven home to sleep off the effects of the alcohol he consumed. We did enjoy the company of Bryan, Liz, Dean, Barry, Benny, and some others that we see occasionally at the bar.

Oh, James was quite drunk and sang. Then he took his pants off at the bar again. This is not unusual.

The best part of karaoke? The fact that Char was there! She surprised both DM and I by showing up. There was a wedding in Wisconsin and she was a bridesmaid and ended up being able to swing into the bar for a couple of hours. Bryan did a double take when he got there. We certainly enjoyed seeing her.

Work Front

Work has been good lately. I lost another employee and I'm still upset by it. It just pissed me off. That happened on Friday. My team had a great week last week and our quarter-to-date numbers had a significant jump. I'm pleased with how hard the bankers are working and what a great job Steve is doing. I managed to be late for work today, the fourth time in eight years. On Saturday there was a thunderstorm that managed to kick out the power in my building. I woke up with 15 minutes to get to work on Saturday. The problem today was the fact that when I reset my clock, I forgot to reset the alarm. Oops. I woke up at 6:20 PM today. Dammit.


DM and I did work on our albums this weekend. She is so close to finishing her Vegas album and I hope that she can soon. I have three albums from our trip to Portugal done. I'm working on the album(s) for our days at the ocean. The pictures turned out so great and it is hard to give any up. But I did not develop them all. Scrapbooking has taken over my dining room and living room right now. Yikes!


I used to hang out at a local pool hall. It is not the one that I've been visiting lately after work with Char, Steve, and Andy. I've avoided writing about the fact that a friend of mine from the old place called me and I went in with DM recently. It was very odd for me. Walking in felt comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time. It was a my hang out and I still have mixed emotions about being there. It was nice to see my two good friends again but I struggle with the fact I was such a fixture in the place for a long time. As developments rise amongst that front, I will post them.

Text it Up

About a week ago (or over a week ago to be more accurate) I wrote a post about the fact a guy from the past text messaged me and we chatted on the phone. Johnny was asking for a report on this front.

The next day I did call him and left a message. We text messaged a little on Sunday. I realized the first night of texting that I am not actually interested in him. Yes, I find him attractive. Yes, I miss his friendship. No, I don't want to date him. I thought about it quite a bit that first night. Then I realized that I had too many reasons not to date him that it wasn't worth it. I'm not saying that there are not things that one can overcome in a relationship, but if my first instinct is to say no, then there is no reason to lead either one of us on. I wouldn't mind a friendship again, he was a great friend at work and he was always a good shoulder when I had problems with my former roommate. But romantically I have no attachment. He's attractive but it is not enough. He doesn't make my stomach flip-flop.

Yes Johnny, he is the guy that I sent you pictures of.

Right now, that is my life. I have five weeks of economics starting and it is not fun. Here's to the Coca-Cola that will keep me going through this. I'm trying to catch up on reading other blogs. I hope to read more later tonight after I finish a bit of homework.

Slow descent into madness...

School has started again. It is time for me to hit the electronic books and study, study, study. Joy.

The class I'm taking is economics. I think it is punishment for choices I made in a previous life. Actually, I've taken economics before, both micro and macro. Unfortunately, those credits did not transfer to this school so I am again slaving over the concepts of supply v. demand and opportunity costs.

Amazingly enough, the writer of the textbook has an interesting sense of humor. I'm not sure how the rest of the class will take the writing. My experience has been that most of the other students are married individuals returning to school after 20 years in the workforce. That in mind makes the fact the writer keeps using college dating as an example kind of cracks me up. The added bonus is the fact that we attend class online, so we're obviously not cruising the campus looking for love.

Well, back to the book.

Monday, September 05, 2005

I have too many DVDs.

My DVDs are taking over my living room and I may have finally realized that I have too many. A couple of weeks ago, DM and I had a conversation regarding Beverly Hills Cop. We were talking about how much fun the movie was and how we enjoyed it in the 80's.

My comment to DM was, "Why don't I have BHC on DVD?"

When I just got home from driving DM home from our weird weekend of scrapbooking and karaoke*, I was thinking about a movie to watch. Then I noticed that I do own BHC.

I am a dork. I don't even remember which movies I do have. This addiction needs to stop.

*Stories to come.