Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Shopping Adventure

My friends own a salt water fish tank. They have a few snails and a hermit crab or two, two clown fish, a bunch of awesome coral, and when I arrived they had a shrimp. Their tank is lacking a bit of upkeep; there is a lot of algae living in it. They got a slug once, a sea hare, when they had two shrimps. One of the shrimps, and they never knew which one, murdered the sea hare, so they were going to wait for both shrimps to die before they tried to get another sea hare. Last night, we noticed Archimedes had died. We toasted, and they began plotting the purchase of another sea hare.

What does this have to do with shopping?

We didn't get out until late in the day. They had a ton of products to be shipped and it was well after noon before we were ready to head out. That's ok, I finished a project I had wanted to finish before I left, but never got the chance. It was a beaded pendant of their business logo, if you want to know. I had planned to make one for everyone who came for Goddessfest, but since that was only me, I only had to make three.

Anyway, late in the day we went to lunch, the bank, the post office, and to Michael's where I got some beads that are not available in my area and embroidery floss to occupy myself when my friends have to get back to work. See, some people may not understand this, but I understand that my friends have a business to run, and there is a limited amount of time they can spend with me. I am and will always be fully supportive of their business, and I am more than happy to do other things while their work gets done. They still have to pay rent and buy food and all that whether I'm here visiting or not. We also went by the gem store that sells the Idaho Star Garnets (that I really really want!) too late in the day. But it wasn't a wasted trip, we now know what time they close and can head back there again.

We stopped by a few other stores and then headed to a store called Fish, Aquariums, and Stuff. Only in Idaho! We spent a lot of time there, picking out the desired sea hare and eyeing the blue tang. I drooled over the bettas and the cute guppies and the beautiful anemones. After some time, someone appeared to help us, and pointed out another sea hare we were not even looking at. This one was green and looked and moved very much like an elaborate rock. They, with a little input from me, decided they liked the green guy (the shopkeeper said he'd been there for a really long time), made their purchase, and back to the house we went to acclimatize the new creature. They were going to name it Shrek II, after Shrek, the first sea hare that got mutilated by the shrimp. I was busy thinking about the thing that was still behaving like a moss covered rock and thought that it needed a better name. He needed something that reflected on his unbelievable slowness (in fact, I hadn't seen him move at all!) and the only creature I can think of that is considered comparably slow is a sloth. SLOTH!! Perfect! We're all fans of the movie Goonies, so I said "I think you should call him Sloth." As I thought; perfect.

And here's Sloth on his new rock (I'm sorry if the image is a little grainy, I can't tell on this laptop to adjust it).

We went back out to Walmart to do the real shopping; food, ingredients for the dishes I will be making later this week, and a few supplies (and food) for tomorrow's outing. We came home (to their home, of course), had dinner, and watched Kindergarten Cop, while Sloth made the rounds in his new home.

Now, if you never thought shopping could not be so fun, you might want to ask Sloth!

Tomorrow, we're taking a trip to Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, which my friends say is not that far away. And it also seems like a Sabbat-appropriate thing to do!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Glen Called me a Geek!

Today was basically a clean-up day. We had to re-establish the office, take inventory, calculate profits, all that jazz.

All weekend, we were pulling exploding caterpillars from the tent, product, people. We're actually not sure what they were, some kind of larvae maybe, but they were very fragile and the slightest touch would squish the little guys, causing their yellow guts to smear everywhere. We had to pull the buggers from the inventory today too. Exploding caterpillars were the running gag of the festival.

Really, there's not much to talk about, and that's as it should be, I'm on vacation! My friends have some incredibly cute cats.

Tomorrow is big shopping day.

And just because I know all eight Star Wars movies does not make me a geek! I've never seen a complete episode of Dr. Who, you know.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sleeping in Tomorrow

Goddessfest is done. It was not nearly as lucrative as last year. We heard that was the case across the board. Still, it would have been nice for a little bit of cash.

Don't get me wrong, the few customers I had were great, and I even got half of the required names for my assessment. However, I didn't even make half of what I made last year.

I'm still pretty wiped out. I just typed 'made' above, and I first typed 'maid' (and did it again for this example). We've got a few more things to do to finish up this evening, which doesn't even include unpacking the car that we borrowed from Glen's parents for the weekend. That's alright, though, because there's no specific early time that we must get up tomorrow. Yippie!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Oh sleep! It is a gentle thing

What a long day. I can't even talk about my day!

I think we woke up at 0600. We stopped by Walmart on the way to the park, and arrived around 0740. We set up and were ready in time.

Willow's tarot and Witchstone readings were pretty popular. I had three Reiki customers today (one non-paying and another who got a quick five minutes). We didn't sell a whole lot of product either.

Walking around the festival, it seemed to be that way everywhere. There were far less people there than last year. And the really sad part is that prices went up for the rental of the park and other administrative things. If a little prosperity doesn't come our way, for all the vendors and the festival itself, it will not happen again next year.

Tomorrow will be better.

(Remember, I'm posting in Mountain Time!)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Not So Fun

You'll remember that I've already been unhappy with my forced three hour layover in Chicago. That flight, that was supposed to leave at 1020 got pushed back, and pushed back, and pushed back, and we didn't start boarding until 1200. Yes, that turned my three hour layover into a five hour layover. Even with all the things I brought to keep myself occupied, and with all the wonderful people around to talk to who were also delayed, I was soooo bored!

But I arrived in Boise around 1440 with no major problems, just a long delay.

So, hello from Idaho!

I'll be here until August 8th, but I'll try not to miss a day!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I Did Not Forget

Happy Birthday to a someone who does not yet have an alias here. I hope it's a great one!

I'm Outta Here!

See you all in Boise!

Holy cow, this is an early flight!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I Could Have Been Mean

This morning, I walked by a coworker who was busy spending his pre-work time with his nose deep within the pages of HP7. I was tempted to walk up and say "have you gotten to the part where so-and-so dies yet?" Of course, the so-and-so I had chosen to name was not one of the so-and-so's who died in the book, but then I would have had to apologize for messing with him, and then I would have given something away by telling him who did not die in the book. It would have been funny to me though, for like, a second.

Well, this is it! My last day of work for a blissful eighteen days. I have so much to do today!

And so much to still pack.

And so much that I'm certain I will forget.

Do you realize how hard it is to pack for a two week vacation? I mean, I tend to not know what I'll wear tomorrow, let alone every tomorrow for the next two weeks. I just packed a conglomeration and will have to wash in the middle. It still fits in one suitcase and one carry-on. But my puppet will have to be left behind. *sigh*

Ok, let's get more last-minute work done!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

As Desired

But not by me!

Acting Supervisor is now the new Adolf. I knew Adolf had been wanting to be officially promoted, and even turned down jobs that would have paid better in the long run and were more specialized to the already-possessed skills, but no. That supervisor position is what Adolf really wanted.

I guess I have to shape up now that I have an actual supervisor again.

And, I'll probably have my annual review waiting for me when I get back from my trip. I think my trip comes at a really really good time of year!

One more day!! I need to pack!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

No Rest for the Willingly Sleep-Deprived

I knew this weekend would be tough, making for an even tougher Monday. Right on!

The trouble stared on Friday morning, with my regular 0430 wake-up time. Through work, home, dinner, and the blissful Harry Potter Book #7 party (where I worked for an evening to help Fox out. Pictures will follow, possibly later today.). After the main party goers had gotten their books, I guess around 0130 or so Saturday morning, I started reading mine. Then Fox and I drove back to his apartment (I am incapable of reading in the car), I read in my room for a little bit, and got to bed around 0430. Twenty-four hours awake, straight.

You didn't hear from me Saturday because I was reading, as I had warned I would be. I woke up around 0830 and read. Fox and I went out to breakfast. We read while waiting for our table to be called (we were not the only two at the restaurant with books!), we read while waiting for our server, we read while waiting for our food. Then Fox took me home. I quickly cleaned up my overnight stuff, passed another copy of the book to my mother, got some water, plopped myself on the couch, and read some more.

At around 1600, mom said it was time to get ready. Saturday was my grandmother's birthday and we were going to her house for a little dinner party. I wasn't expecting to get a chance to read, unless they all decided to watch Adventures in Babysitting, but I brought my book anyway. As it turned out, I did have some occasion to read. Many were setting up my grandmother's birthday present; a shiny new computer system, so I read while they did that. Then we went home sometime in the 2000 hour, I refreshed my water, plopped back on the couch and read some more. I finished at precisely 0143, you will notice that it the time of yesterday's post. That's why I set it there. I spent a little bit of time searching for things I would need for Sunday, and was in bed around 0215.

I woke up around 0630 to take a quick shower and finish gathering my things for the day; change of clothes, towel, sunscreen, all that jazz. Then the wonderful guy whom you might remember as he who took me out for Valentine's Day (I don't have an alias for him yet) picked me up, we went over to the home of a friend of his, met most of the group, had breakfast, drove to a metro station and picked up the last person of the group, then we were off to King's Dominion. I barely remember, but I think we arrived around noon. We rode a couple rides, spend the bulk of the day in the water park, then rode a couple more rides. My date and I were going to leave early so that he could get me home at a decent hour. We did one of those back in time pictures, which I had never done before, and that delayed us a bit. So, we hit quite a bit of traffic on I95 coming back, and I didn't get home until around 2200. The rest of the details of my day are mine, thankyouverymuch. My dad was still awake reading HP#7, so he let me in, since I had forgotten to take a house key with me. Oops. :) Then it was time to shower the chlorine out of my hair and crawl into bed around 2300.

Back up at 0430, and here I am! It doesn't look like it's going to end very soon either. I have to now do some major prep for my much-anticipated trip. I still need to attend to that TODO list I talked about on Thursday, and I'm supposed to be seeing the insurance adjuster today, and a few other things that have been added to that TODO list. I will strive for early bed-time. We'll see how that goes!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I finished it! I finished it in twenty-four hours just like I wanted to!

Spoilers are going to follow. I know how very very frustrating it is to have someone, either inadvertently or totally on purpose, ruin something you had been looking forward to by telling you an important point without giving you the choice to hear (or read) it or not. I know this. After the release of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, I was taking my time reading it. Suddenly and without warning, a friend told me something monumental (in the frame of the story) randomly at the bottom of an e-mail. It most certainly does take away from the journey to already know the end. This is also why I vowed to finish the book as soon as possible. This one would not be ruined for me!

That having been said, I am now going to talk about the book and my feelings regarding it. You will have to make an effort to read this part, so if you don't want to see anything but you read it anyway, it's all on you. Highlight the area below if you want to hear about my opinions. There are spoilers in there, you have been warned. You make the choice.

One more thing before I go on. I've been saying that book #3, the Prisoner of Azkaban, is my favorite book. Many people started liking the newer ones more, but book 3 remained my favorite. It has now been bumped to the second-favorite slot by book 7. Onward!


Before I say I don't know where to begin, I think I must begin at the beginning. I can't talk about this book without taking you through it like a synopsis. No, I changed my mind. I will begin at the end. I flipped to the end of my book to get the final page number, so as to better help track my progress. My eyes unbidden moved to the last sentence. I began reading knowing the last bit of the Potter tale: "All was well."

First, we start out with action. Then we move on to pre-action, then there was more action. That's pretty much how the book went throughout. At the beginning, I was just reading. I was thinking about the author's writing style, how she was setting her scene, that kind of thing. Even after Dudley actually thanked Harry for saving his life in book 5 before they parted ways (though I grinned through all of that). Even in chapter 4, at the height of early action, when one of my favorite characters (whom never even entered the thought process of who might die during the course of the book) was hit with a stray spell and died, I was still just reading.

I didn't cry at Hedwig's death. And I went to bed in the wee hours of Saturday morning having glanced at the beginning of chapter 5, with the title "Fallen Warrior" and Harry screaming at Hagrid motionless on the ground. I spent those few hours sleeping, dreaming and thinking about what I had read and being so distraught about it (yet not to the point of tears) that I didn't think I wanted to finish the book. As chapter 5 progressed, I learned it was not Hagrid, but Mad Eye Moody who had died. But it wasn't until Harry was telling Hagrid that Hedwig got hit and was dead that it hit me, at the same time it hit our hero. I had a moment to again contemplate the skill of this author and that was it. I was no longer looking at the pages of the story, I had let myself into that world where I could watch it unfold instead of read about it, where I empathized with Harry as I followed his journey. I bawled through the rest of chapter 5.

Being inside the story now, I didn't think about the momentous pre-release talk about how many of these people, who were beyond fictional characters during the telling, were going to die, or who they were. Even the big debate of Snape's loyalty wasn't what I was thinking of. I was thinking about the story and seeing it live beyond the pages of my book (which was, again, the first one out of the box).

I was happy to learn that my suspicion about the locket was completely correct, and anxious to discover that it had been stolen from Kreacher. I was also very pleased that Kreacher started to warm up to, and maybe even like, Harry a bit. I was sorry that they were forced to leave 12 Grimwald Place, I was angry when Ron decided to leave Harry and Hermione to the task, alone and without his valuable help. Despite Ron's large unpopularity, he really was vital to Harry's network. I actually get a little upset at all the people who don't care about Ron the way Harry did. Ron's departure from the story (though not death) was a severe blow to Harry, and I felt that blow as it happened.

Some rather silly choices were made by Harry as the story progressed, as we have come to expect of him. Especially when he called Lupin a coward and forced him to leave, no longer able to get any further aid from this rather useful ally. I realize I'm not being very linear here. I know that Harry got angry with Lupin and that they had to leave his home before Ron decided to take his leave. There's so much to think about this book that it's hard for me to write now, severely sleep-deprived as I am, and still be in line.

Let's see. I wanted Harry to spend more time in Godric's Grotto, but alas. Going there at all wasn't such a smart choice. The ups and downs of their journey are almost a non-issue, even the discovering of the Deathly Hallows and what they exactly were. Though I did notice one bit of a continuity issue. Harry's invisibility cloak was one of the three Hallows. A hallow, by the way is a noun considered by most dictionaries to be obsolete as it has since gone out of popular use (until now) that basically means a relic. Anyway, part of what makes the cloak special is that it does not wear out or tear and spells and charms do not work against it. Except Mad Eye Moody's magic eye. So, this infallible relic could be beaten by a magical item of far less importance? Oops.

It was so great when Ron came back, having seen the error of his ways, and I had a fleeting terrible thought that one of Harry's best friends was going to die at the end. I wanted all three of them to make it out ok. One of Harry's close friends did die, and though I didn't cry like I did when he lost Hedwig, it was still painful to watch Harry digging Doby's grave. Yet another character that had not crossed my mind would die in this book. The preceding death of Wormtail was well done, as well done as death can be. The life-debt owed did indeed play out in Voldemort's failsafe: the silvery hand bestowed upon him in book 4. Wormtail hesitated when Harry called him on that debt, and the hand, sensing the betrayal, took payment from his life. We didn't stop to mourn over him, how could we? A fitting end, I think.

Lupin and Harry made up (kind of) after the birth of Lupin and Tonks' son, and Harry was named godfather. How extraordinary, thought I! Now, Harry can fulfill in someone else's life the roll that ended up being so important in Harry's life, that same part that Sirius had. It never crossed my mind that Harry might not live to see the end of the book, let alone meet his godson.

I think I'm at the climactic battle scene now. I was please to find it taking place at Hogwarts. I was sure it would and was correct! Harry, as we have grown accustomed, missed the obvious and it was bugging me, as he always does when the answer is so clear to me but he just doesn't put two and two together. I am referring to when Harry was told that Ron and Hermione had said something about a bathroom and left. Come on, Harry! Moaning Myrtle's bathroom, you ninny!!

During this end, we also saw the death of Fred Weasley. That part made me angry. Of all the jokes he and his brother played, everything they could do and did together. I guess, even though I knew important characters would die, I didn't really expect it to actually happen.

With two Horcruxes left, one we know and one that the characters seem to have forgotten about (honestly, I lost count and maybe they did too, or didn't know there was another) our heroes find themselves in the Shrieking Shack, witnessing the death of Serverus Snape. It was because of one of the Hallows, the wand that was supposed to be unbeatable would not work for Voldemort because he simply stole it from Dumbledore's tomb. Voldemort figured the wand was actually passed to Snape, and so killed him to get it passed to him. Voldemort left, allowing Harry to enter just in time to collect a few memories that Snape needed to give him before he died. Back at the castle and a temporary pause in the battle, we mournfully learn that both Remus Lupin and his wife Nymphadora Tonks met their end. This was so very sad for me. For one, how they died or who killed them was not known to us, and both of them were so wonderful and helpful to Harry, but really that their son will really need Harry now. How very, very sad.

But there is still a battle to be won, and Harry needs to spend some time with Snape's memories. In the Pensieve, we learn that Snape was Harry's ally after all. A point proven by some earlier memories of a deep love for Harry's mother. I just wanted to scream "I knew it!" but, neither of my parents have finished the book yet. Harry also learned that he must die, because he was the final Horcrux. And then I was crying. It's really hard to read and cry, you know? How could that be? How can all be well at the end, if we're witnessing Harry deliberately and knowingly walk to his death? I don't care if all is well for the secondary characters and not for our hero. And how could all possibly be well if Harry dies, though I was still certain he would die triumphant.

Now was the end. Neville was given instructions to make sure, no matter what, that Voldemort's pet snake die. Harry, with support from his previously dead family and friends by way of the third Hallow, marched to Voldemort's camp, and let himself be hit with the killing curse once again. This part, and the parts that followed were so brilliant that I didn't even figure it exactly. Part of what I had hoped is that somehow, Voldemort's curse would only hit the part of his own soul within Harry and therefore Harry would survive it. This is not exactly what happened. By killing the host, the part of Voldemort's soul was also killed, but in the magical mistake that put a part of Voldemort in Harry, a part of Harry was also put into Voldemort. Harry can't die, because Voldemort was still living, host to a piece of Harry! Brilliant! Harry came to where he had been killed, forced to maintain the illusion of him being dead, so that Voldemort would triumphantly bring him back to the castle.

He did so, and as Voldemort taunted the 'losing side,' Neville taunted him, proof of Harry's death or not. For a bit of torture, Vodemort summoned the Sorting Hat and set it aflame on Neville, saying that there would be no more sorting, the school would be Slytherin only. Neville, being the true Gryffindor that he was, just like Harry, pulled the Gryffindor sword out of the flaming sorting hat, just as Harry had done in book 2. In a swift movement, he killed the snake as he had been instructed, and that was it. Voldemort could now be killed. The battle was off again. It was exhilarating, because I was now certain of victory, certain that we had come so far and the important people who I really wanted to survive would do so.

In the final showdown, we learned a little something about Voldemort's wand. This part was also brilliance. Voldemort was not the master of the unbeatable wand, it was Harry, though he had never actually touched it. Cast your mind back to book 6, Draco disarmed Dumbledore, but was unable to kill him. In the disarming, the wand passed to Draco. He didn't know it, of course, so he didn't keep it. Earlier in this book, Harry disarmed Draco. It wasn't the special wand that he had gotten, but the disarming was enough to count, therefore unbeknownst to Harry, the wand passed to him (and he had been using Draco's wand after his own had been broken). The wand would not attack its own master, and Voldemort lost it to Harry's spell, which also caused his own killing curse to backfire onto him. And that was that. Voldemort was defeated. Cheer with me now: YAY!

Now I was left confused. The battle is won, but the story is not over. Of course not! That last line was in a flash-forward. Harry and his wife Ginny were taking their children to the Hogwarts train. They met up with Ron and Hermione and their children, we learn that Neville is teaching Herbology, and somewhere in there Harry gets a curt nod from Draco. The young Potters and Weasly boarded the train and they were off to school. A satisfactory end to an enormously entertaining story. And all was well indeed.

Friday, July 20, 2007

You May not Hear from Me Tomorrow

Just so you know! I'll be working the Harry Potter party at the book store that Fox manages, and tomorrow, I intend to read and finish that book.

See, the last time a Harry Potter book was released, I read it at my leisure. And someone spoiled the ending for me. It wasn't on purpose, but it was completely without warning and I couldn't have avoided it, being not expecting it. So, this time, the book gets finished right away, so no one can spoil the ending. I'm also not going to answer the phone, go outside, check my voice mail/e-mail/web forums/blog comments while I'm reading. This book WILL NOT get spoiled for me! I don't care if I don't get any sleep, I must finish it tomorrow!

I'll be back to tell you all about it (with proper warnings if I divulge anything important) when I'm done!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Check One More off the Growing TODO list

I made a TODO list on Tuesday. This was a list of things that needed to be done in preparation for my trip, other things I'm doing, and things that came up and needed to be dealt with. This list had seven simple items on it. Seven items that grew to something much much more.

The first item on the list was simple enough: order the archive DVD offered by the closing Photosite. This was a tad annoying because it wasn't exactly what I thought it would be, but that is done.

The next thing to do is to transfer my Photosite to the site with which they are partnering. But, I can't do that until the DVD is made and shipped, so that waits.

The next thing to do is to purchase my new website and transfer my domain (this counts as two things on my list). I can't do that until I cancel the old one, which I can't do until I transfer to the new photo sharing site, so that waits.

I need to see about installing an updated antivirus on my laptop, but I can't do that until dad decides to install the last spare or not, so that waits.

I also need to install FrontPage and a digital camera program on my laptop. There's no excuse for not doing this one.

And I have a bunch of mp3's to transfer to my player. There's no excuse for this either.

But, I also had to pay my cell phone bill. Check!

And, since we finally identified the insurance of the guy who hit us on the 2nd, I had to call them and file my claim. Check!

I was actually very nervous about doing this. I've never had to do it before (previous wonderful insurance company did it for me) and I was worried because it's been so long since the accident. To my advantage, this guy's insurance was that previous wonderful insurance company, and the gal was very helpful even though it had been nearly three weeks. It seems that the accident was not reported by either of the other parties previously. What's wrong with you people?! Do you think the car will fix itself?!

Anyway, back to the list.

Tonight, I need to be packing my overnight back for tomorrow's HP party. I'm busy typing so that's not getting done.

And I wanted to get to bed by 2000. Um... yeah, that's not going to happen either!

Actually, I still have more to my rather extensive TODO list, but I've got to get moving on the points that are important for tomorrow!!


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Hard Part of a Diet

This is even worse than feeling guilty about splurging, even worse than thinking it's not working. I have now discovered a new part of the difficulty of keeping on a diet: feeling like it is working, but being otherwise unable to find a variety of things to eat.

The diet that I'm following now is mostly vegetarian. It's got lists of things that are really good to eat, things that are ok to eat, and things I should not touch at all. Naturally, you will want to fill your diet with the really good things, and avoid the do-not-eat list. Because of what is available to me, I seem to be eating primarily from the ok list, and most of my favorite foods are on the do-not-eat list. While I can list at least one thing that has improved since I started eating this way, and would like to continue, I just can't think of anything to bring for lunch tomorrow.

I am so very tired of salads. Mostly because it's always the same thing: lettuce, carrots, broccoli occasionally supplemented with tuna. I can have asparagus and artichoke, too. But I just don't have any in the house. Bread is do-not-eat, so an easy sandwich is out. Dinner is getting rather uniform too. Carrots and green beans and broccoli and corn, with Boca burgers or turkey dogs.

I feel rather good right now. I've been on this diet for more than two months. I haven't lost a lot of weight, but I feel good. That's the point of a lifestyle diet change, right? The thing is that it's so hard finding things to eat now. It would be so easy to just say "screw it!" and put a sandwich together for tomorrow. I just can't eat another bowl of lettuce. Or tuna mixed with a tiny bit of mustard. And I know I'm not eating enough fruit. And it's even more challenging when I'm the only one in the house with this kind of restriction.

I still don't know what I'm going to eat tomorrow. And I want to stay with my diet so much right now (especially with my vacation imminent and staying on the diet will be much more difficult while I'm away), that I'd rather not eat anything.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Is Your Blog Libel?

Well, it can be, depending on what you're saying.

I was thinking about this. My trip to Idaho is a mere nine days away.

**Stop the presses!** There is a bright red cardinal right outside my window! It looks so pretty sitting among the green leaves. **We now return to our regularly scheduled blog**

I was going to write a long rant about how United keeps changing my flights, how terribly inconvenienced I am because of it, and how I will make it a point to never fly United again. Then I started thinking; is it bad for me to be publishing that? I'm making a negative statement about a company, somewhat in the hopes that others may see my warning and avoid headaches of their own, which could directly impact their business.

But it's not libel. I am perfectly within my legal rights to speak negatively about a company I've had to deal with. The difference between it being legal or not is, of course, truth (and that statements of opinion usually cannot be proven true or false). See, I am flying here to Boise with United. United did change my flight to something that I never would have chosen for myself. And then they changed it again to something even worse. And then, there's the paradox of air travel; if you make a change, you have to give them money to do it, but if they make a change, they don't owe you a damn thing.

In order for my rant to be considered libel, it would have to be false. But I also think blogs are largely like editorials; most of what is contained is a matter of unprovable opinion. When not presented as a statement of fact, it can't be considered libel in most jurisdictions. What an incredibly tangled web of laws is there!

So, now that I've established that I can rant about my flights, I will do so!

I booked my flights through Orbitz: easy to do, convenient, everything in one place. I used Orbitz last year too. I like the ease of their system, and can find pretty good fares.

I cannot fly direct from the Washington area to Boise, because no one but me in the Washington area wants to get to Boise, I guess! It's illogical to me to fly to, say Los Angeles and then back to Boise, and I don't want to stop more than once. I also don't want to waste my life away waiting in an airport for hours.

So, my flights to Boise are with United. What I chose was to go through Denver (in a state I've never been in, so that would be kind of neat) with a one hour layover before my connecting flight to Boise. This is ideal, perfect. I'm not waiting too long and I still have plenty of time to make my next flight even allowing for some delays. United canceled one or both of those flights, I'm not sure which and I don't know the reason, so they had to find some other way to get me to Boise. They decided to route me through Chicago O'Hare (I've been through Midway before) and then connect to Boise after a two hour layover. I cringe at the thought of sitting around for two hours, though some people have told me that I'll probably need all of that going through O'Hare. Ok, well, I can deal with it. What choice do I have anyway? But, United changed my flights again. I'm still going through O'Hare, but now I have a three hour layover. I am really upset about this.

First off, what if I was meeting someone in Denver? Secondly, shouldn't they strive to get similar times when changing flights on people? What if I had to do something at my destination when I was originally to arrive? And what am I supposed to do with myself sitting on my ass for three hours in an airport? Isn't travel taxing enough but they have to make you wait when you otherwise wouldn't have been waiting? And not only did it inconvenience me, but it inconveniences the people who were going to pick me up in Boise, who already have to take time away from their business to do so, but now have to move things around again to accommodate the later time. And it could be an even further inconvenience, because what if they couldn't pick me up later? Then I'd have to spend more money renting a car or sit around the airport wasting more hours of my life away.

I'm not a super frequent traveler, but I've traveled enough and this has never happened to me before. I will make it a point to never fly United again. And if any of you, faithful blog readers, are air travelers too, remember to consider the experiences of others when making you decisions. That's where you'll get all the things these companies do wrong.

Not libel, because it's all true!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Not Much to Say

It's hot and humid. Work is piling up. My trip is getting closer. I want to go home!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Back to Where the Waters Meet


It's going to darken a bit and get a little less brassy as it oxidises over the next couple days. My hair is not really that fluffy, it's the humidity! I took this image while my parents were outside taking the kayaks off the cars (I came in for a hair tie).

Oh, it was such a great day to be out! It wasn't as humid as it has been, and while it was hot, we still managed a three hour paddle down Mattaponi Creek.

The aquatic grasses are really growing thick this time of year. They gummed up my pedals and latched on to my paddle and threw themselves aboard my little boat.

Wouldn't that be a great horror film? The Revenge of the Aquatic Grass! Ahhhhhh!

So, Fox and mom and dad and I went out today. While we were driving, I saw a turtle, and a doe with two spotted fawns crossed our path at the parking lot. The strange thing about the parking lot is there was nobody there! There was no one parked, no one at the ramp loading, no one was around. Which was nice, because we didn't have to wait for people to get out of the way or rush to get out of the way of others as we unloaded the cars.

We saw no one else while we were out either. One power boat went by just as we were putting in, and that was it. Oh, there was one person on the bridge at the end of the creek too. We went all the way to the end where we saw four neon striped turtles sunning themselves on a log. Then we came back to the first landing to eat and take a break for about thirty minutes, then it was back to the landing around 1400. This time there were a couple power boats and jet skis and a family fishing on the other side of the dock. While we were loading, a couple tried to come down with jet skis but they decided they didn't want to wait for us to get out of the way and so went to the other landing. Good riddance.

I'm rather exhausted now, but I'm so glad we got out today. We haven't been kayaking much at all this season, owing to dad's work at VARF. And this was the last chance I had to go out before my trip to Idaho. I might have convinced my parents to take off that Friday after I return so we can paddle some more.

Maybe it wasn't a perfect day. But it was a great day to be out on the water!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Mud Head Again

Who remembers the last Mud Party? Here we go again!

This is the in-progress picture! I've still got three more hours with this cake of henna on my head. I think I did it a little better than last time, but I'm still not sure if I got everything. My hair is so very hard to section (I think I mentioned that last time).

But I've got plenty to do to occupy my time while it sets! I've got crocheting and some macramé, and yes, I did manage to find both sets of the Defenders of the Earth series. We also go the Transformers Movie soundtrack that needs converting to mp3's. And then there's laundry. Plenty of things to do.

Tomorrow is kayaking, then I've got eight more work days until I leave for Idaho. Wow. It seems like I was lamenting about my trip being four months away not too long ago. Two weeks from today, I'll be at Goddessfest. Time flies! And we knew it would.

It'll fly while I'm there too. But hey, at least my hair will be red!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Movie #5)

Wow. What can I say? Oh, I know.


Ok, I know I'm a few days behind everyone else, but that's life! (thanks, OBC.)

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix actually had very little to do with the Order of the Phoenix. This movie might have been better titled 'Harry Potter and the Annoying Dreams' or 'Harry Potter in his New Defence Against the Dark Arts Job.'

Don't get me wrong, it was very well done. The acting was great. I really enjoyed watching Luna, she was very fun. And I could sense a real affection between Harry and Sirius: scenes with the two of them together were just great (never mind that Gary Oldman is one of my favorite actors). Some of that fellowship was in the scenes that included Lupin as well. There was not a whole lot of Malfoy in this film, but he didn't have a large part in the book either. Maybe they were trying to say that Harry and Malfoy were somewhat moving out of that rivalry, they've both got bigger enemies (however real or perceived they may be). Umbridge was just horrid, so well played. There were a few times you wish you could just swish and flick something at her. Wonderful.

I was very disappointed in the music. The familiar "Hedwig's Theme" had one hint of appearance at the beginning and that was it. Particularly as the credits rolled, the music they played was too happy, extremely out of place. The work of John Williams that we've come to expect and tie to Harry Potter was just not there.

This one had a new screenplay writer and a new director. It lacked the artsiness of Movie #3, but they were able to include some really superb dueling scenes. There's nothing like watching wizards battle, I think. Remember the intensity in the Fellowship of the Ring? The battle at the end was quite riveting, even if you had read the book and knew what was to happen. However, I did notice the free use of the levicorpus spell, which was discovered by Harry in the margins of the Half-Blood Prince's potion book. Tiny bit of continuity-lacking there. I wasn't all that impressed with the costuming either. One assumes they would be in their school uniforms while school was in session. There were a few times when the uniformed students mixed with street clothed students. What's the point of uniforms at all, then?

I think it was done very well for what they had to work with. And it's worth a second look at least.

And...I did cry a little.... They killed my favorite character! What do you expect?! Cried when I read it too.....

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Reduced to a Memory

In 1975, my parents bought a cat. She was a blue Burmese, and her name was Sable.

I didn't know Sable much. She spent most of her time out of the house. I remember wanting to know her. I suppose, once my parents had kids, the cat got less important.

We lost Sable in 1985 or so, she went out during a blizzard and never came home. I was sorry I didn't get to know her.

When I decided to blog about her today, I thought I would have more to say. I went through a lot of pictures, but couldn't find any of her. I know I have one, but I don't know where it is. Maybe I'll get it posted for you when I find it.

In any event, I missed Sable, more than I let on back then. I hope she found her way to a happy afterlife.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Ever had one of those days where you just wanted to scream?

Let it out. It's good for you.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Not Again

Why is it always me?

You, my faithful blog readers, should already know about my website, http://www.burninglakearts.com/, which is powered by Photosite and has hundreds of my pictures and created images for your viewing pleasure. I have just been informed that Photosite will be shutting down at the end of September.

This is worlds worse than when myblogsite shut down. Saving some six months of text is easy: copy, paste into a word program, save, done! I have 330 posted images (complete with individual captions) on Photosite, and I'm not even counting the images that they are storing as a backup that aren't even on my site. Photosite is teaming up with Snapfish.com to transfer my albums (with captions) and stored images to their service. This is all well and good, except the albums are invitation-only. This means it won't be a simple click away to view my doll creations or my newest 3D image. This also means that I won't be able to use it as an image hosting site like I do now. Snapfish is all about buying prints and products.

This is incredibly disturbing news.

Never fear, however. the burninglakearts address will still be mine. I will transfer it to my father's domain and do some actual web building. But without a place to host my rather large amount of images, it may not be that pretty.

I don't like Photobucket, it looks like it's all open and there's no way to protect my property. Sutterfly will post albums (kinda) but doesn't create an individual url for each image. Oh, this is so frustrating! Imageshack.us has hosting, but not a site like Photosite, and it looks like the nature of that site will discourage pages of images like I currently have. There is clearly nothing like it out there.

Funny how one day can make me go from DVD-happy to website-depressed. The hunt is on!


I just learned that one of the cartoons I used to watch as a child, Defenders of the Earth (which featured my favorite superhero EVER, The Phantom), was released on a two volume complete series DVD set. AHH! Where was I?! How could they have done this without me?!?!

I was hoping it would appear on the site that I talked about in May, but I guess this is a much better release. And judging by the price on Amazon, much more affordable than the most coveted Bionic Six series (you know, that show that I watched religiously as a child that no one else knows about). DoE might come first, I might even be able to find it at Target. I can't believe this got released and I didn't know it! I search every few months hoping to come across something like allmyfavoriteshows.com that I found in May, but I totally missed this. It looks like Overstock.com only has volume one. Bionic Six can wait also because I already own some...unofficial copies found on e-Bay by members who have since been banned for their selling of illegal copies and the misrepresentation of such (one of them said "acquired at on overseas convention" when she meant "recorded off the Sci-Fi Channel." And I know because the little station icon was in the corner of every ep).

Oh, I don't want to be at work, I want to go to Target and hope they have them! I want to find out soon so I can order them from Amazon if they don't. But I have to wait because I need to get paid!! Why did I find this now!?!

You know, I can't really explain why I want to own these things that I used to watch as a child. Wait, maybe I can. I have a very active imagination, I think I've talked about this before: the cartoons that I watched growing up were the start of my fan fiction writing. If I liked it, I'd take over my favorite character or add a character of my own to it and create my own stories. I still remember most of them, and recently decided to start writing them down (which is what prompted me to go DVD hunting again). It's part of the creative process, you see. If I see the inspiration for my stories again, I'll better remember them and be better equipped to write them down, and they can probably be translated into a universe of their own (thus making them no longer a child's fan fiction). I remember I once did a massive cross-over with all of my favorite shows all at once. Trust me, it worked. I've been writing Science Fiction for a very long time (relatively speaking).

Despite this distraction, I'm doing a decent amount of work this morning. Go me!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Hotter Than Hell

Really! Today it was 93° in Hell and 101° here. What's it like where you are?

I really have not much to talk about today. A couple people in the office are out for a while and I have to fill in for both of them. And do my regular stuff. Of course, not everything will get done. It's ok, mostly. Work has been coming in rather slow and I can mostly keep up with it. Mostly.

"Mostly they come out at night. Mostly."

Look at that, work to a movie quote! That takes talent!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Second Time Was Just As Good

I took Monty to see Transformers today. He thought it was great, I thought it was great again. Now, I can't wait to get the special DVD with all the extras that come with special DVDs.

Transformers: not just for 20-30-something men who are trying to hold on to their youth! It's for 20-30-something women too!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Irrelevant Muse

There are six Star Wars movies, and two made-for-TV Ewok movies. Some purists don't count the Ewok movies as main parts of the Star Wars universe, and maybe they're not, but that debate is not why I'm here.

In filming, I pay attention to continuity. If someone cuts their right hand and when they return after the commercial it's the left hand that is bleeding, I take notice (this happened in Kindred: The Embraced, for example). I once held a flower for two hours straight for a seconds-long segment of a film because I didn't want to put it down and pick it up a different way. I notice things like that. Continuity = Believability.

The major continuity errors between the first three Star Wars films and the last three (and, let's face it, there are many and they are major) are not why I'm here either.

I'm here today to talk about Ewoks. In the true time line of things, the two Ewok movies took place after the end of the original Star Wars trilogy. Ok, we all know that movies don't have to come out in order. But, when you think about it, that is the most logical place for the events of those films to take place in the grand Star Wars timeline. The Empire was destroyed, the New Republic in full swing, and the Ewoks happily living on their moon in peace.

According to the official Star Wars timeline, the Ewok movies take place sometime between Episodes 5 and 6. Huh? Again, according to the official timeline, there's only one Star Wars year between Episodes 5 and 6. That's not the issue. The issue is a question of language.

A family of humans crash on the moon of Endor (hereafter called Endor for short), as we learn from the first Ewok movie. The humans cannot converse with the Ewoks, who speak Ewokese. We assume the humans speak Basic (the common language of the Republic/Empire. Most cultures of the galaxy can speak a native language and Basic, or just their native language. Some races lack the vocal capacity to speak Basic, like the Wookiees, but can understand it. Just as a human can learn to understand Shyriiwook, the language of Wookiees, but lack the vocal capacity to speak it. With me so far?). As the film progresses, the Ewoks pick up a few words in the human's language.

By the end of the Ewok movies, most Ewoks have an understanding of the human's language and Wicket can converse fluently with Cindel in it. This is just fine. Except, if these films took place within the one year period between Episodes 5 and 6, then the Ewoks should be able to converse with the Rebel strike team that lands on Endor before the final battle.

This is not the case. When Leia meets Wicket, they cannot communicate. Wicket attempts to speak only Ewokese to Leia, and behaves as if he's never seen a (female adult) human before. We know he has, if the timeline is correct. If Cindel had just left mere months ago, Wicket should still have been able to speak to Leia.

The official answer form George Lucas is that Cindel and her family did not speak Basic and in fact taught the Ewoks some other language. I can accept that, except it doesn't fit. This human family spoke some random language that is not even related to the one common language spoken throughout most of the galaxy and taught it to the Ewoks. This random language that is not Basic is also spoken by Noa, the Sanyassan Marauders, the Dathomirian Charal, and understood by the Teeks, but not a single person among the Rebel strike team's command crew (or the Rebels later as they went to the Ewok village to celebrate their victory) could understand it. Sorry, George, I don't buy it. Continuity = Believability.

Another timeline suggest the two Ewok movies straddle Episode 6, meaning that Wicket did not yet speak Basic (or whatever language it was that the Towani family spoke). This would also mean the Cindel and her family were there during that final battle that destroyed the last Death Star. Ok, that's fine, but why didn't they ask the Rebels to take them off-planet or help them fix their ship while they were there? Maybe they didn't trust the Rebels because they were in the Outer Rim and weren't a part of the Empire. Oh, right, they couldn't speak the same language. But everyone else on that moon could speak that language.

No, the only logical place to put those films is after the Battle of Endor, the climactic ending of Episode 6. Right where they fell in the real world.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Cotton Candy Clouds

A bright orange sun rose, barely piercing distant cloud cover with his rays. To the West, fluffy altocumulus clouds reflect the sun in glowing pink contrast to dark blue shadows, reminiscent of that favorite ballpark confection.

An hour and fifty miles later, there is neither cloud nor contrail in the topaz colored sky.

Good Morning!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Few Words

I don't have much to talk about today.

The muscle relaxant I'm taking is the most foul-tasting thing I've ever put in my mouth. Yes, even worse than Bertie Bott's booger flavored jelly bean. And no, I don't intend to try the vomit.

That's really all the nothing I have to talk about today.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Independence Day

We were going to kayak today like we do on all warm-weather holidays, but alas! The unexpected jolt of Monday made that impossible. I actually felt well enough in the morning to go (thanks to you, drugs!), but I was sure it wouldn't last long. It was such a beautiful day, I couldn't just spend it inside though.

So, we celebrated Independence Day by eating breakfast on the back patio (the first time this year, actually). I spent the rest of the morning dying the fleece for my puppet. This was an interesting process. I found an old plastic tub that was large enough, an old dowel rod that had been many things in it's day (a wand, a lightsaber, a sword, a mold for ring making, many things indeed!) to stir it, and, surprisingly, enough salt. This was a process because it involved constant stirring and that didn't feel too nice. But the dye took well and now it just has to dry. Poor Miss Luna can't go into my brother's old room while it's drying. She's distraught!

Then we got in touch with Fox and Fae and walked to Annapolis. We ate lunch at the Market House. I had a huge yummy hot dog and some Boardwalk Fries (diets don't count on holidays and vacations, you know). We were going to try to take one of the boat rides, but the timing wasn't quite right. The one that we could make was more money than we wanted to pay on a non-paycheck week. So, we did some window shopping instead and got some yummy ice cream. By then, that was all the walking around that my shoulders, back, and ankle could take and dad was starting to hurt too. So, home we went.

We never get to see fireworks because they start too late for us and morning comes very early in the morning. I'll be going to bed to the distant booming of intentional explosives, I'm sure. Next year, though, we can paddle out to Annapolis and watch the fireworks from the comfort of our kayaks. I've been wanting to do that since I started kayaking! I'm so glad the 4th will be Friday next year.

Now, it's time to sit back with a good videotape of Independence Day (I'm talking about the 1996 film, here!).

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Transformers The (Second) Movie

I don't know where to begin!

The previews of this film got people who knew nothing about Transformers excited to see it. They also got people who knew the Transformers universe inside and out and all the levels in between excited to see it. While I'm not a complete expert, I am a fan. My brother and I watched the cartoons and the first movie and had the toys and all that jazz. I had my favorites and he had his (none of my favorites were in the film, maybe next time!). I know enough about the universe to recognise where changes were made.

I'm not going to say anything here that you wouldn't have known if you read any of the pre-release articles and information about the film. If you saw some of that, you might have known that Bumblebee transformed into a Camaro, not a Beetle (minor detail, it worked. And the Beetle did get an honorable mention in the film, so to speak). And it doesn't matter that Frenzy transforms into a CD boombox instead of one of Soundwave's tapes (Soundwave, by the way, doesn't make an appearance). And it makes more sense that Megatron transforms into a jet rather than a gun that Starscream could hold (that didn't make sense in the cartoons either). Actually, the Transformers that we do see all got a modern upgrade for the film. Consider Prime's awesome blue flame paint job, that you could see in the previews.

The CGI was wonderful and seamless. The soundtrack was great. There was lots of action. It was somewhat long (over two hours) but even though it seemed like there was a lot of build-up to the end, there was never a dull moment.

Now, there is one Easter egg that Transformers fans should notice. Prime has a line near the end that was taken directly from the first movie. Yes, yes, Megatron has a line that was often repeated in the cartoon/comic/first movie, but that doesn't count as trivia because we expect him to say it.

I hope I get a chance to see this again in the theater, I thought it was all around great!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Why Me?

How many of you remember this?

I was driving home today, thinking about what to blog about when I got home, sitting a mile into stop-and-go traffic around 1640 when I heard this BANG! I had long enough to think "hmm, I wonder who got hit" when there was another BANG! And a jolt, and a lurch forward, and another second to think "don't hit the car in front, you don't want your airbags to deploy." It's amazing how much thought can happen in so little time.

Thankfully, I did not hit the car in front of me and my airbags did not deploy. But I did have a heavy metal barrette in my hair that got pressed rather hardly against the back of my head on impact. Hello, instant migraine.

I'm glad I drive in the left lane, so there was room to move on to the shoulder to find out what happened. A big white SUV hit the big black SUV that was behind me "hard enough to knock [her] foot off the break," causing the big black SUV to hit me. No airbags went off, but the SUVs' had considerable damage from the initial point of impact. Actually, I'm really grateful that black SUV was there to take the hit, otherwise the white one what did the hitting would have been in my little Saturn's back seat.

Regretfully, the person who did the hitting was not very forthcoming with information (and had really awful penmanship). He told us he had insurance, but failed to tell us with which company. The middle driver was not concerned; she got his tag number and VIN. And I have her information and she has ours. I will get compensated for this. My car has damage to its rather new bumper, but otherwise looks ok. People need to stop hitting me! They're reducing the value of my car!

I don't have a doctor right now, and I know from experience that a primary care physician would most likely not look at me at all, so I drove straight to the ER, sat and waited, and came away some two hours later with a pretty prescription for yummy pain killers. I'll go pick them up in a minute.

This sure was not how I wanted to spend my evening.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

My Last Brunch

Because I'll be in Boise during that last brunch of the season.

It was such a lovely day to be walking around Annapolis. The sun was shining, there was a nice breeze, and the humidity that usually cripples outdoor activity was almost non-exsistant. Beautiful!

After yummy brunch, we went over to the mall to secure our Transformers tickets. Oh, it's so frustrating! I told everyone I would see it on opening day, but the friggin movie people kept changing it! All the previews I saw indicated it would open July 4th (a perfect day!). Then all the TV and radio commercials and movie ticket websites like Fandango indicated July 3rd (Ok, that's a fine day too). The blurb of the official website still said July 4th, but the main page said July 2nd (an impossible day). When does this movie open?!?! You don't have to answer that, because I know it. It opens tomorrow. There is not enough time for me to get home, go to a movie, and then get home in time to go to bed to get up for work the next day so we have tickets for Tuesday night. This was disappointing, though. I really wanted to see it on opening day. Why did they keep moving the date?! *grumble*

It was so nice today that we turned off the A/C and opened up some windows. Ahhhh. This won't last until Wednesday kayaking (they're saying it will be humid again by Wednesday) but we can enjoy it for now!