30 November 2006

Don't Be That Guy (or Girl)

I like to travel. I took it for granted when I could afford to do it (read: when my parents paid for it). Occasionally we watch the Travel Channel and come across all kinds of places I imagine would be fun to visit. They're on a list titled "someday." We also watch The Amazing Race, religiously. One day we hope to be on it so our TV watching could be called "research."

There's something that embarrasses me year after year on The Amazing Race. It's the "ugly American." There are always people who think everyone in the world speaks English, even if they live in places where the norm does not include wearing shoes. On top of that, they think speaking English with their version of a regional accent will make them better understood. I think that's insulting and extremely ignorant. I'm a talker. I think if you're going to take the time to go somewhere, you should at least learn a few phrases. But apparently that's just me.

There are other things Americans do when abroad that aren't necessarily embarrassing, but they can be viewed as ignorant, even offensive. Here are some tips, in case you are about to board a plane.

29 November 2006

Aussiebum.com

There are lots of "wonder" products for girls. Now you're looking at one for the fellas. It takes the um, junk and pushes it out, instead of letting it hang - or whatever the aforementioned junk usually does. Okay, so I'm not the best at explaining it. I'll leave that to the news.

28 November 2006

Did You See Mercury?

Of course you didn't.

This is something I meant to report almost a month ago, but I got sidetracked. My brain really does move too fast for my body. Anyway, Mercury crossed in front of the sun. It happened in early November. Of course you couldn't actually stare at the sun and watch tiny little Mercury go by. NASA created an image which shows what you would see, if you could stare at the sun. So that's what you're seeing here.

27 November 2006

Announcing New Pictures

I've recently uploaded more pictures, courtesy of my fabulous life here in Las Vegas. The pictures are all in order of happening. The latest additions are:

Cousin Mikey Came to Town:
Cousin Mikey is in the Air Force. He had some assignment here at Nellis Air Force Base. Apparently that assignment included a lot of lounging and playing Gears of War. There was a lot of merriment and flashing lights.

Julie Came to Town:
I went to high school with Julie and haven't seen her since we graduated way back in 1998. She was here for a conference and we had some drinks. I took a few pictures. When Julie sends me the rest, I'll show them to you.

Birthday / Goodbye Party:
Four co-workers had birthdays within a 5 day period. Another co-worker left to take a new job. We're cheap. So we had one party for all of them.

The pictures are all on the left, in chronological order. Enjoy.

26 November 2006

Dora, You've Gone Too Far

I love cartoons. In fact, I'm watching some right now. Apparently there's a cartoon based on The Mummy and sequels, which happens to be one of my favorite movies. Right now I don't think the cartoon is very good but I feel obligated to give it a chance. I just can't get enough of cartoons. But lately I have found cartoons that I don't like.

I know!

These cartoons are mostly new children's cartoons. It started with Dora the Explorer. I'm pretty sure she's great for kids. She reinforces repetition as an effective learning tool. Great for her. My problem is that I find her voice annoying and her stories boring. Still, realizing her greater social value, I have decided to co-exist with Dora.

But as I was watching the Cartoon Network, I saw a commercial for a new product with Dora's face on it. It was a cash register. It speaks English and Spanish and teaches young girls how fun it is to shop with credit cards. It also includes cash and products with barcodes.

But why Dora? Usually you're teaching shapes and adding. Now you're targeting young girls with the message that it's fun to shop. Personally, I don't mind shopping. But I don't think we need to use "teachers" to reinforce its importance to young girls. Shame on you Dora.

I was right. This mummy cartoon sucks.

25 November 2006

Wash Me? Probably Not

So it's dust. But it's art. I mean its dirty. No doubt about it, that window is gross, and yet i wouldn't wash it. Well maybe I would and just make the drawing a little smaller, so I could still see clearly enough to drive.

But I digress. The point is that this is a handy way to deal with living on an unpaved road. Here are some of the other pictures from San Marcos, Texas.

20 November 2006

Oh That Kramer

Michael Richards is in trouble. I can't say he's a racist. He did use the "n-word" as an insult during a performance at the Laugh Factory.

That's bad. It's offensive and was completely unnecessary. Still, I don't think that's enough to qualify him as a racist, not to say that he's not but all I know is what I saw. And what I saw was the tirade of a man seemingly out of control. What I heard was someone trying to be hurtful. But I think being a racist includes actions and feelings along with those words.

So on Friday, Richards made the statements. Paul Rodriguez was also there. At a news conference today, Rodriguez said Richards asked to come back Saturday night and make amends. Club owner Jamie Masada allowed it, but Richards never apologized.

But I ask: why should he?

During the newser, Paul Rodriguez said the Laugh Factory does not censor or pre-screen. No one knew what Richards was going to say and he has the right to say it. The Laugh Factory did not apologize because it did nothing wrong. People who were at the club that night were also there for the statement. They started talking back and interrupting (as my people are unfortunately wont to do) demanding all sorts of things.

So here's what made me shake my head and mute the television;

The people in the audience demanded an apology from the Laugh Factory. Paul Rodriguez told them the club had done nothing wrong. Rodriguez apologized for the situation, and said they would refund admission for people who were there. I agree. The venue did nothing wrong. Maybe giving Richards a chance to apologize wasn't the best idea but it was a trusting effort. The club has now banned him and really, that's the extent of its power.

Then the people wanted the club to ban the "n-word." Rodriguez refused and they were all in an uproar about verbal abuse. He reminded them about what he said about free speech. The club's owner talked about Richard Pryor and Paul Mooney, who were both there when the club first opened and who used the "n-word." The owner said it gave him goose bumps and he didn't know what to do but audiences obviously loved it. And the two of them had successful careers.

But the absolute worst thing (in my humblest of opinions) is that both Rodriguez and the people there asked Richards to apologize. And he did. According to Wikipedia:

During a satellite appearance on the Late Show With David Letterman, Richards apologized, saying, "For me to be at a comedy club and flip out and say this crap, I'm deeply, deeply sorry. I'm not a racist. That's what's so insane about this." He described his outburst as one of rage.
So he said it and he's sorry. Weak. I'd prefer he make a statement and stand by it. He was not forced to say what he said. It was not an accident. So the apology is insulting. I say a lot of things. I think people have to stand by what they say. Seinfeld said he was "sick over it" and called it a "mistake." Let's kick him in the nuts too. Where's the mistake? It wasn't a slip, it was a statement. In fact it was a repeated statement.

I guess my point is two fold: don't confuse an ignorant statement with actual racism. And don't apologize for a deliberate statement that you chose to make. It's weak. And there's nothing I can stand less than weakness.

But whatever. I've never watched Sienfeld anyway.

15 November 2006

Beware of Children

The following is an actual article from a TV station in Tampa, Florida. Unfortunately it just proves Jesses theory that the strangest things happen in Florida.

Little Girl Flashes Knife As She Tries To Steal Toys

Courtesy: http://www.tampabays10.com/news/

Largo, Florida - Largo Police are looking for a little girl who pulled a knife on a Wal-Mart clerk as she tried to steal two boxes of Lego toy blocks. It happened on the Missouri Avenue around 9:00 pm Tuesday night. Police say the 7 to 8-year-old girl hid the toys under her coat and tried to walk out the door. A store employee was watching and approached the child, asking her to turn over the Lego blocks. Police say the little girl then  opened her jacket and displayed a combo carving knife with a forked point and a 10" blade, saying she was armed for protection. The employee talked the girl into putting down the knife and the toys. The girl then rode away on her bicycle. The employee was not hurt.

14 November 2006

Surprise: II

When last I talked about my trip to see my mom, we were about to eat. Dayana guided us to where she wanted to go by asking "fries? fries?" She's kind of bossy for a little baby. My mom and Vicki don't know it, but they're being taken for a ride. Actually, so are Derek and Abby. They too are sucked into Dayana's web. I'm the only one who sees Dayana For what she is. And I'm here to let her know I'm on to her. I would also like to point out that Dayana doesn't always stand on the driver. But at the time of this picture, we were waiting in a parking lot.

Anyway, we went to Chick fil A. We ate chicken and (of course) fries. Afterwards we went back home. I took a much needed shower and we watched The Cat In The Hat. I'd never seen it, but my mom owns it. I think she's owned it since before Dayana was born. I thought it was an excellent and colorful movie.

My dad and his new girlfriend also arrived. And Derek came back from the Notre Dame / Navy game. Indeed it was a full house. Vicki made dinner, then went to choir practice. She goes to church you know. While she was gone, we played Family Feud on DVD. If you don't know Family Feud, you don't know fun. The games go really quickly. We played 5 or 6 times. Abby and I dominated, after we lost a few times.

Surprises, games, merriment, food, and a movie. Once my dad and Jackie left, I was exhausted. Yes, it was only 10pm eastern but I hadn't slept at all the night before. I think I started watching a movie, but fell asleep. It was a good time had by all.

12 November 2006

Happy Birthday Pique A Boo!

First, you read the card:



Then you get the rest of the message:

I've loved my blog and have never once regretted starting it. I'm proud of myself for keeping it going, even knowing not all eyes are friendly eyes. I haven't always updated as much as I would like to have but I think I've given you chaps and chics plenty to digest over the last year. It's been my pleasure and I can't wait to see what happens in the next year!

09 November 2006

My Mom... The Fashion

By no means is my mom a fashionista. As you can see, she lounges about in sweatpants just like everybody else. But this is a picture I had to take. If you study it long enough, you might be able to tell why, but who has that kind of time?

So there's my mom. she's wearing a black sweatshirt with a red t-shirt. She's also wearing black sweatpants with a red stripe. That in itself is cute and coordinated and probably something I would do.

But the step I would not take is at the bottom. My mom has red socks with a black stripe. Look at that. If you follow the red stripe from the pants, it goes right into the black stripe on the socks.

I asked my mom about it and she said she just threw it together. I believe her, since she was wearing that when I popped in. Still, it's tough fashion world, and it's good to know my mom is holding her own.

08 November 2006

Top Heavy Or Bottom Heavy

Jesse and I recently had an little debate. I would like you to tell me which one of us was correct.

<start>

JESSE:

cuz your days are bottom heavy

JESSE:

that's why they speed by

DANIE:

NO. THEY'RE TOP HEAVY AND MY BREAK IS LATE

DANIE:

AFTER THE NOON, I WRITE LIKE 10 STORIES

JESSE:

before the noon how many?

DANIE:

NOT SURE

DANIE:

BECAUSE I WRITE AND REWRITE AND ADD

DANIE:

AND DROP

JESSE:

more work for you at the beginning of the day

JESSE:

bottom heavy

DANIE:

THE BEGINNING IS THE TOP

JESSE:

no it's not

DANIE:

YES IT IS!

JESSE:

no it's not

DANIE:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/TOP%20HEAVY

DANIE:

YES IT IS

JESSE:

i know what top heavy is

JESSE:

you don't know what top of your day is

JESSE:

it's the end

JESSE:

it's not a tv show

DANIE:

YES IT IS. MY DAY IS LIKE A RUNDOWN. I HAVE A HARD IN, AND A HARD OUT.

JESSE:

too much time this taking

DANIE:

AND A HARD BREAK TIME IN THE MIDDLE

JESSE:

in person we will argue

DANIE:

I CAN'T WAIT

JESSE:

the force is always right

<end>

So yes, this is how we each spent a little bit of that day. I am opened to being disproved, it just hasnt happened yet. Whats your take?

05 November 2006

Fall On The East Coast

Two weeks ago, I showed you fall In Las Vegas. It's pretty, but not anywhere near the real thing, which I got to see when I surprised my mother. The one thing I miss most about the east coast (aside from my family) is the weather. I love experiencing the changing of the seasons. There's a smell about it that just makes me feel like I'm a part of something great.

Obviously, the seasons change everywhere. But here in Las Vegas it's hard to notice. If I had to list the seasons here, I'd start with July, because that's when I moved here. The seasons would be listed as follows:

  • hot
  • not as hot
  • comfortable
  • chilly
  • warmer
  • hot

The changes were more noticeable in Fargo, but still not as complete as on the east coast. So while I was there surprising my mother, I took a lot of pictures of rain and clouds and trees. Those are things I didn't know I missed until I was away from them.

There isn't a whole lot more I can say about trees. You can see my east coast foliage pictures I have to your left, in the photo album section.

04 November 2006

Surprise: I

Last weekend (the last one in October 2006), I surprised my mommy. I found one way tickets from Las Vegas to Washington D. C. for only $89. My mom does not live in D.C. but I know someone who does. Her name is Abby. She's so cute you want to put her in your pocket. And she's so short you might actually be able to do it. Abby is going to grad school in Washington. I haven't seen her since I don't know when, so this was a perfect opportunity.

I flew out Friday night at 11. I arrived Saturday morning at 6:30. Flying to the east coast just sucks up a bunch of time. The actual flight is only 4 hours. That's not really enough time to get any sleep. Especially when you have an iPod, a book, and Direct TV. I put all my eggs into the Starbucks basket, assuming we would just see one on the way. We did not. We stopped at a 7/11 to ask where the nearest Starbucks was and not only did they not know, they looked at me as is I were crazy to want Starbucks over 7/11 brand coffee. Strange ducks indeed.

We arrived at my mom's just in time to catch my brother leaving for the Navy - Notre Dame game. It couldn't have gone any better if I had tried to plan it. Here's how the actual surprising went down.

Vicki saw us coming, and told my mom she heard something down stairs. My mom said "Oh. It's probably Derek."

Derek said "it's not me," because he is captain obvious.

My mom was standing at the top of the stairs in the dark. She turned on the light and then I got scared, because she kind of grabbed her chest and started to back up. I thought she was going to fall over and have a heart attack.

But she stood her ground. I got to the top of the stairs and I just stood there and (as predicted) burst into tears. She said "I knew it. I knew it. I knew it." See, I told her I had a surprise for her way back when, and she convinced herself that I was coming, even though I did my best to convince her otherwise.

Then we spent the morning reliving the surprise. Vicki told my mom she needed $42 for it, which convinced my mom that I was sending something C.O.D. She was thoroughly confused. A lot of people knew I was coming and none of them spilled the beans. That in itself was impressive.

After we got over the crying and the excitement, we went for a drive. My mom and Vicki bought a house. We drove by the lot, where we noticed the "sold" sign has come down. Abby hopped out to repair it. Considering the rain and the mud, it probably wasn't the best idea, but Abby is just too helpful.




The neighborhood seems like it's going to be lovely, once the houses are built. There is a baseball diamond right in front of their street. When we drove by, there were geese. Vicki hopes they don't come back from winter migration. Don't ask me why, she has a thing against migrating birds.

After we saw where, we saw what. We drove to a model of their house. This is what my mom's neighborhood is going to look like, minus the forestry. And After all that driving, we were hungry.

03 November 2006

What Do You Want To See?

I'm on my way to being a super-google user. I use Blogger, Picasa, Google Calendar, and opened a Gmail account.

Google really is becoming a one stop shop for a lot of what I want to do. I upload all of my pictures through Picasa and through it's latest upgrade, I can put photo albums on line. So think back to all of your favorite pictures of mine and let me know if you would like to see the (abridged) album. The albums are being listed in chronological order on the left side of your screen. I have probably a thousand pictures, so if you want to see anything at all (that I've already shown) just let me know.