Chattering Magpie Past Web Log
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February 2003
Feb 27 2003
It's a sad day in the neighborhood.
Fred Rogers, Presbyterian minister and host of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood on PBS died today. Seems like this 'blog is turning into an accounting of famous people who die.

I was too old to watch Mr. Rogers' neighborhood. It seemed rather bland to me. Still, Mr. Rogers was a straight up guy, someone to emulate. He wasn't one to oversell himself or believe his own press clippings. He took good-hearted parody in stride. Parodies that were tasteless and unsuitable for children, however, felt the full wrath of Mr. Rogers' attorney. Can you say cease-and-desist? I thought you could. 'Cause you're special.

Feb 26 2003
Some nerve.
A couple days ago I got a letter, an appeal to sponsor someone in a marathon fund-raiser for cancer research. It was from a principal in a company that went bust. Who still owes me money. Consensus is I should pledge the amount I'm owed. Heh heh. Not that I'm bitter or anything.

Feb 25 2003
I what? Am whom? Huh?
I got no idea what Sealab 2021 is, but everyone else is taking the quiz, so why not. Apparently I'm some sort of cartoon character.

Quinn, the smart one
You are Quinn. The true brains of Sealab, 6 doctorate degrees doesn't keep you from getting hurt often enough. However, your PhD in sexology is well deserved.
Which Sealab 2021 character are you? brought to you by Quizilla

Feb 24 2003
Where did the last week go?
What? I'm supposed to update more often than once a week?

So what did I do last week? Lots of knitting. Got one sweater finished and another started. Spent a couple days designing a web site for the upcoming 2003 edition of Where's My Rocket Car? Let me just say, it's colorful. Had a very promising interview on Friday. I don't have a job yet, but I did walk away with some freelance work. I went to physical therapy a couple times and got tortured. I like to think it's doing some good. I can just about straighten my knee, but bending is still a bit of a problem. Side-to-side movement doesn't hurt so much. I also updated my portfolio, adding a web site and updating another, as well as adding a logo design. Best of all, I tracked down a javascript error. Huh, so it's case sensitive. Imagine that.

Feb 17 2003
My brain hurts.
Such a freakin' headache and I ask what did I do to deserve this? Was it the one Manhattan I had last night? Was it the Gorgonzola cheese on my salad? Is this the harbinger of some nasty cold. I have my suspicions, but am far to delicate to discuss such matters in a public forum.

So I woke up feeling crappy, headachey and almost nauseous. As soon as I dropped off E at work, I drove across to town to Pho Hung and had a nice piping hot bowl of pho. If you don't know pho, you got something to learn. Pho is a wonderful beef-and-rice-noodle soup that is considered the national dish of Vietnam. You season to taste with basil, lime, jalapeños, hoi sin sauce or any of a variety of hot sauces. It's one of my favorite hangover foods.

I remember we had beef-noodle soup in Taiwan, but it was nothing like this. They used wheat noodles and the soup was really greasy. I didn't like it.

Feb 16 2003
Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa - it's all good.
Remember the classic Nigerian scam? Where a respected government official requests your help in getting money of questionable source out of the country and offers you a healthy chunk of the loot in exchange? It's alive and well and mutating. Within 8 hours yesterday I received e-mails allegedly from Zimbabwe and South Africa sources.

To be fair I should only respond to one. But which one? The Zimbabwe letter requires I come to Amsterdam, which would give me a fine excuse to pop over to Gouda and visit Ruben and Anneloes. But it only offers 25% of the takings, with 5% set aside for expenses. The South African letter offers 30% dirty lucre, with 10% set aside for expenses. But the South African letter is more brusque and demanding, which doesn't earn any sympathy points. What a dilemma.

Google search results for "Nigerian scam."

Feb 15 2003
Work it baby, feel the burn.
I had my first PT yesterday and came home with a set of five exercises to strengthen my quadricep and improve range of motion. A coffee can, ankle weights and a big rubber band are involved. Plus, frozen peas.

What did my sweetie get me for Valentine's Day? A full tank of gas. Supreme. I love him.

Feb 14 2003
I'm so excited ... I just can't hide it ...*
No, I'm not "about to lose control" and "think I like it", but I am starting physical therapy today. Oh happy day.

*I'm So Excited by the Pointer Sisters.

Feb 11 2003
Would you like some cheese with that whine?
I've been feeling sorry for myself lately, not a good state of mind. I'm not working, which means I'm not bringing in income, which means more bills get shifted to E. Although he doesn't complain and continues to be supportive of my apparently futile job search efforts, I still feel like a slug. I'm not even a very good housewife. About the only thing productive I've been doing is knitting a lot. I'm getting my sweater done in record time. And did I mention my weight is creeping up?

On the good side, I just got a call that yarn I had ordered has arrived. Yippee!

Feb 8 2003
Mose with bandagesMore kitty torture.
Poor little Mose. The torture never ends, it seems. We took her to the vet today for more blood tests, to check her kidney and thyroid levels. She will have to take thyroid medicine for the rest of her natural kitty life, no doubt. It's just a matter of adjusting the dosage. Here she is with pretty pink bandages on her back legs, where blood was drawn. She doesn't like them and is trying to lick them off.

Feb 6 2003
Small improvements.
I was greatly encouraged this morning. My knee didn't hurt so much when I got out of bed. It really feels better. I still can't bend it much, but there's less pain when it's stressed from the side. Sitting around all day doing nothing yesterday really helped. I think I'll do the same today.

Paperwhites - from bulb to bloomCheck these out. A closeup of my lovely little paperwhites. I understand someone is trying to develop "smell-o-vision" for the Web. If it were here right now, you could share the intense sweet aroma of these darling charmers.

On the other hand, imagine the viral possiblities of "smell-o-vision". Open an "I Love You" e-mail and get a stink bomb.

Feb 4 2003
Day of reckoning.
I am having the worst damn coughing fit. I swallowed wrong. Forty years old and I still haven't learned to not try to breathe and swallow at the same time.

Another hour and I go visit the orthopedist and find out the awful truth about my PCL. E says from the MRIs it looks like it's just barely held together.
I'm back. Posterior collateral ligament is pretty well shredded. Medial collateral ligament is also torn. On the positive side, bone and cartilage look good. My orthopedist recommends we try four weeks of physical therapy, then re-evaluate to determine whether surgery will be necessary.

Feb 3 2003
Limbo land.
I feel stuck in limbo. I'm waiting to see the orthopedic surgeon to learn the fate of my knee. I'm waiting to hear from a hiring manager about interviewing for a job. I'm waiting to hear from a recruiter about a couple contracts he put my resume in for. And we're all waiting for the investigation of the Columbia shuttle disaster.

Please read my friend Mark's essay on the risks of space exploration: Challenging Days.

Feb 1 2003
Deep in the heart of Texas.
Some history shouldn't repeat itself.

I vividly remember where I was when I learned about the Challenger shuttle disaster, seventeen years ago. I walked into the newspaper office where I worked as an advertising paste-up artist. Eerie quiet was broken only by a radio, volume on high, as everyone concentrated on catching every detail. It was a space disaster of unprecedented proportion.

My immediate thought, which I did not share, was: why couldn't it have been a journalist. NASA had just initiated a program of sending ordinary Americans into space on shuttle missions, among them a teacher and a journalist. My rationale was people would have been less upset by the death of a journalist than by the death of a teacher.

I don't know whether NASA does it on purpose, but shuttle crews look a lot like the bridge of the Enterprise, with a mix of national/ethnic backgrounds. The Columbia included a woman who was born and raised in India, and the first Israeli astronaut. Jews in space! According to NPR this morning, Col. Ilan Ramon was attempting to observe Shabat in space - which occurred about every 1-1/2 hour as they orbited Earth.

Kudos to the Bush White House for taking advantage of a national tragedy to keep its political agenda top of mind.