No Silly Picture Today

1. If there were no blogs, what would you be doing right now?
It's 3:15 in the morning. I'd probably be writing in my journal.

2. If you had to spend one year living alone in a remote cabin, what would you spend your time doing?
I'd spend my time writing both words and music. I'd spend my evenings on the front porch watching the sky go by.

3. If you could go back in time, what one piece advice would you give yourself?

"Slow down, you crazy child,
you're so ambitious for a juvenile,
But then if you're so smart, tell me
Why are you still so afraid?

Where's the fire, what's the hurry about?
You'd better cool it off before you burn it out;
You've got so much to do and
Only so many hours in a day...

Slow down, you're doing fine.
You can't be everything you want to be before your time,

Although it's so romantic on the borderline tonight.

Too bad, but it's the life you lead;

you're so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need,
Though you can see when you're wrong, you know
You can't always see when you're right.

You've got your passion, you've got your pride,
but don't you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don't imagine they'll all come true;
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?"*

4. "If you really knew me you would know that…"
I'm a bundle of contradictions and paradoxes.

Your turn!

* "Vienna Waits for You" by Billy Joel


A Shanghai Spread

Ah, the humble dumpling. Every culture seems to have their version of it and I've yet to meet a dumpling I didn't love.

Tonight Anthony Bourdain took us on a trip to Shanghai, where he located what he called, "The perfect Soup Dumpling" at NanXiang Mantu Dian restaurant.

Bourdain said it, I believe it, and that's good enough for me.

Soup Dumplings

Is It "Rip-offs" or "Rips-Off"?

Is anyone else as sick as I am of the past weekend's tsunami-like marketing of the Simpson's movie? I've seen promo through the years--hell, I had two small boys during all of the Star Wars movies--but this is ridiculous.

We tried to watch "The Last Samurai" on telly yesterday afternoon and about 3 minutes into each segment (following Simpson's movie trailer commercials), the entire bottom of the screen was plastered with popup marketing. Who are these geniuses? It was impossible to read the subtitles with Homer Simpson chasing a donut across the lower one-third of the picture.

Which brings me to another sore point today.

Who remembers real cable? You know, those "dark side" stations that had no commercials... because our monthly cable bills PAID for commercial-free television. That was the bargain the stations struck up with us. We didn't have to subscribe, but we could if we didn't want to be bothered by marketing. There was an alternative: antennae. All of the major networks--and some minor ones as well--could be viewed without cable and those who couldn't afford a monthly bill didn't have to subscribe. Now we have no such choice. If we want television we have to subscribe to cable. And I don't trust this all-inclusive media crap, either. I'm not sure it's good for us to get our TV, internet, land phone, cell phone, car radio, home radio, teleporter, holodeck and toilet paper dispenser wrapped up in one corporation.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that television isn't a necessity, it's a luxury. Well, perhaps in some parts of the country this is true, but in Tornado Alley TV is not a luxury, it's a life line. If not for that I would happily discontinue the cable service and use our TV only for movies. I lived like that for four years in the 90s. Didn't hurt me a bit. In fact I had a bumper sticker on my car that read, "Kill Your TV". I liked not watching television in the evenings after work and on the weekends. It gave me more time to sit in sidewalk cafes, drink beer and laugh with friends. But that was when there were only two adults in the house and I lived in California and Denver.

While I'm on the subject of television, what about these?
  • MTV: Do you remember when it actually had something to do with music?
  • AMC: Do you remember when it actually played movie classics?
  • The popup ads during TV shows and movies: They started out small, tucked into the bottom right corner, but now they take up half the screen and are accompanied by sound.
  • "Blond Bimbos and their vain, pathetic men" shows like The Girls Next Door and Dr. 90210
  • Celebrity "reality" shows: Don't even get me started.
  • Celebrity anything. I'm so effin' sick of celebrities and celebrity gossip. Who really gives a rat's ass?
My non-TV beef today is with le Consulat Général de France à Houston. For the past several months Lauren has been working out the details of a trip to Houston to get her visa to study in France for the next school term. Of course, governments never make it easy (or cheap) to take care of matters having to do with paperwork and she had to be there at a certain time, on a certain day, with certain documents. Houston is a good 450 miles from us and the Consulate demanded that she show up in person for her interview. Nothing could be done through the mail or over phone or FAX. But:
  • Neither of our cars would make the trip and come back in one piece
  • Nettl and Lauren, if they drove, would have to rent a car
  • They would have to spend two nights in a motel
  • Food
  • Gas
  • Time off from work
They finally found out that because Lauren's 18, Nettl didn't have to be there with her, so Lauren decided to fly down on her own. We told her we would pay for the entire trip, including food and transportation by making the payments on her credit card for her. So Lauren flew to Houston on Sunday morning and checked into her room. Today was the day of her interview with the Consulate. She had to take a cab, which cost $30 each way and her appointment wasn't even an appointment. It was the typical "take your check, fill out form, stamp this, here's your sticker" deal. $600+ for a 5-minute blow job. Like we can afford that! We'll be paying 6 months or more for that 5 minutes.

And then there are new issues with "the Ex". He pops up every now and again, just like a cold sore. Nettl's blood pressure doesn't need his crap and I don't care if he's reading this. Her life may not mean anything to you, but it does to me, so leave her alone.

(No, I don't know who that guy is.)


I Can Brag if I Want To

Look at what guitarist George Lynch had to say about my son's talent:
"I've always loved listening to Micah's compositions because they're always so musically interesting. He has lots of content and his soloing is never overkill. Micah is such a good example to follow as he always plays appropriately to whatever song environment he is in. This particular sampling has him playing against an upbeat yet moody background and he establishes a theme before stepping out of bounds along the way. Much of it doesn't sound contrived and upon listening to it, you can tell it's all "in the moment" and not planned. Also, the actual composition is very well written and arranged. Though this is just a sample demo, this can develop into an actual palatable song for anyone to enjoy. Good job Micah! Now finish the damn song!"
Hear Micah's work:

Take Two Aspirin & Call Me in the Morning

Remember when our prescription drugs had sturdy, dependable names like Tetracycline, Penicillin and Demerol? Seems nowadays, drugs are given uplifting, psychologically comforting names. Names one might find attached to a new line of sports cars, for instance, or names to make us think of them as if they're reliable old friends. In my opinion, these names just candy-coat the drugs in order to make all of their side effect easier to swallow.
  • Abilify (You will be able to remember shit)
  • Abreva (Makes short shrift of that embarrassing herpes you picked up in the 70s)
  • Activelle (Menopause? Get off your duff and act like you're 20 again)
  • Ah-Chew (Just plain silly)
  • Allegra (Allergy control for musicians)
  • Alleve (Because alleviating arthritis pain is as easy as treating a headache)
  • Ambien (Ambiance is everything when you can't sleep)
  • Amerituss (For the patriotic cold)
  • Aristocort (For the well-insured itch)
  • Boostrix (Boosting kids whose parents didn't get them their required vaccinations)
  • Celebrex (Celebrate your ability to pay for designer drugs!)
  • Claratin (We'll clarify your mucus membranes)
  • Concerta (Perfect harmony between your hyperactive child and our Bottom Line)
  • Crestor (Climb the crest of your dietary issues)
  • Ebulia (Chemical Nirvana is only 20 minutes away)
  • Effexor (Side effects are guaranteed)
  • Enablex (Let us enable your insurance provider)
  • Enjuvia (Because no one respects a tired woman)
  • Flomax (Blow your nose!)
  • Lunesta (If you've seen one moon, you've seen 'em all)
  • Lyrica (Sing about your epilepsy, dammit, sing!)
  • Paxil (Because your family needs some peace)
  • Restoril (Directions: take one tablet and turn off the television)
  • Solaris (Don't forget to get a meningococcal vaccination while you're at it)
  • Viagra (Freudian word association: Niagara = honeymoon = gush all night!)
  • Voltarin (For the philosophically inflamed)
  • Yasmin (No more ethnic babies!)
  • Yaz (For treatment of an obsession with an 80s dance band)
Some of the side effects these commercials name are mind boggling. I still don't understand how any drug can be released onto the public when side effects include lymphoma, leukemia, stroke, heart failure and death.

And they won't legalize pot?

One of the weirdest side effects I've heard listed on a drug commercial was concerning Mirapex:
"According to a study by Mayo Clinic doctors released in July 2005, the drug Mirapex may cause compulsive gambling addictions." (source)
I don't know about you, but this RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) sounds to me like just one more thing that doesn't need a drug. Get up and walk, for crying out loud. Your day consists of moving from bed, to car, to cubicle, to car, to La-Z-boy, to bed. Your leg is restless because your muscles are atrophying. Would you really trade a restless leg for a life mired in the darkness, shame and stench of compulsive gambling? Is losing your credit cards, your bank account, your car, your home, even your family, worth treating a tic?

One of the most ridiculous commercials I've seen tells me that whatever ailment their product is supposed to treat has no symptoms. And they never say what that illness is.
Dr. English: "Hi Steph. What can I do for you today?"
Me: "I need a prescription for (insert name of drug here)."
Dr. English: "Why do you think that?"
Me: "Because I have no symptoms."
Understand that I'm not minimizing or making fun of illnesses or those who suffer from them (given the state of my health, I'm in no position to do that), just the pharmaceutical companies who think we're all idiots.

Guess I'll put on my Lyrica sunglasses, grab my Yaz bag and drive my Solaris to the drug store. We're out of Aspirin.


Blowing a Hole in the Wall

When I began writing Night Music some years ago, I reached a point where I hit a wall. I think this is true for many writer, but I'd never been a "real" writer before and I didn't know about such things. It was on my flight back to Denver from Vienna that a hole exploded in that wall and I got my angle: how to bring the story to the reader. From that point on the book wrote itself. I just offered up myself as its vehicle.

I've been having the same experience while writing my screenplay. Several weeks ago I hit that wall again, but this time, seasoned professional that I am, I recognized it and backed off, allowing the ideas to simmer. I didn't blog about it; I didn't even talk about it to Nettl, to whom I tell everything. I decided to pressure cook it and let the physics of creativity do their job.

Sure enough, a breakthrough came last weekend as I lay in bed waiting for sleep to take me away. "Watching the movie" (as I call my method of falling asleep), I closed my eyes, allowing the random thoughts and images to float across my mind and move on past. Suddenly, it hit me. The Angle. How to get my story to the viewer. My eyes flew open and I was flooded with that feeling of, "Yes! That's it!" I wanted to get up and write it down, but it was already dawn and I knew that my idea would still be there when I woke up. I fell asleep watching not only the movie, but The Movie.

Since then, I've been hammering these keys every minute of the day and night. The laundry isn't getting done and I'm down to my last pair of sweats. Last night's dinner was pizza and the newspapers are piling up beside my chair in the bedroom. My cell phone hasn't been reactivated and the AC in my car still needs a new refrigerant cannister. But what of it? Priorities are priorities. Even the switching of my meds --and the resultant crappy effect that always has on me-- has to take a back seat right now. My screenplay is writing itself.


Tag Me

Since I changed over to Blogger, I've lost all of my Technorati Tags, which looks kind of sad in my Tags widget. Would you mind scrolling down to the "Feeds" area of my sidebar and tagging me?



The Ability to Exhale

Peace of mind is something of which I've never had any experience--or very little. My childhood was both a bedroom hell and a boxing ring, neither of which were my choice. Later, as I grew into adulthood, those abuses took their toll on me and I made some desperate choices based on fear and conditioning. Don't get me wrong. I've had some good relationships, but none that I can truthfully say gave me peace and contentment. Always, there was my inability to exhale, always that dread that the other shoe was bound to drop. And it always did.

Even after meeting Nettl--as miraculous as our relationship is--I couldn't quite relax and, as those of you who have been reading my blog for any length of time know, I've been plagued by what I call my "upon waking panic attacks" for ages.

After my mother died (she lived with us for the last four years of her life), I experienced a genuine sense of relief, not emotionally, but psychologically. She was my mother. I loved her. But she perpetrated and allowed all kinds of abuse in an effort to eradicate the pain of her own abusive childhood. It has taken me the past two-and-a-half years to understand and forgive her, but I will always carry the scars. Because I was so often wakened by both her and by my brother to serve their sick purposes, waking up is difficult for me. That's why I don't relish the idea of going to sleep in the first place. Not hard to analyze that.

But something wonderful has happened, something I've never experienced before: Peace of mind. The panic attacks are gone, unless I'm broadsided out-of-the-blue with a stress ball, and my home life is serene, regardless of the fact that we are a family of 6 and 7, with three teenagers.

When we're young we get bored if there's no drama of some kind to languish over. Now that I'm middle-aged, I avoid it as much as I can. I can at last sit looking out the window on any given day and not have my head full of "what ifs" and "what nows". Some of you may not be able to understand what a precious thing that is, especially if you were blessed with a relatively peaceful life. Hold it close to you and thank God for it. Thank your parents, your siblings, your spouse and kids. Thank yourself. Now that I have tasted a tiny part of it I'm going to relish and nurture it. It can be demolished in the wink of an eye.

Thank you Nettl, for giving me the most precious gift of all: the ability to exhale.


10 Reasons Why You Should Check Out Monty's Radio Show

  1. How can you resist that face?
  2. She has the sexiest speaking voice in all Blogsville.
  3. She plays a great mix of music from all eras, from Vivaldi to Cab Calloway to Anita Baker.
  4. Her broadcast is LIVE.
  5. She has a chat room for her listeners, where she takes part in the conversations.
  6. The people are nice in there.
  7. She plays Mozart.
  8. She mentions you on the air.
  9. She likes to drink along with you.
  10. Her show helps support net radio, and so do you when you listen.


The "Name That Boomer" Game

We remember the names and the songs, but do we remember the faces? Try to name these bands:


Issues Resolved

Whether you noticed or not, this blog has a new home. Tired of the issues with feeds, comments, pings, etc., I just gave in and moved everything over to Blogger. What the hell. I have two others here, so now they're all on the same block, so to speak.

So I have a feed, as well as a new Technorati account. I'll be getting other things along the way. Right now, it just feels darned good to have all my ducks in a row.


Possible Reasons Why My Readership Has Decreased

I wouldn't be worried if only a few people quit coming to my blog, but when I see that a large migration has left, I have to ask myself why. I'm not into racking up hit counts; I mean, who cares, really? Below are a few reasons that have come to mind:

  1. I'm complaining about shit more than I used to do: Or maybe I'm not complaining as much. I don't know.

  2. I changed my URL: Well, it's not the first time. Maybe Wordpress had good karma or something.

  3. My template is too cutsie: I don't like to think that my readers are that superficial.

  4. FEEDS: I can't make them work. They keep referring back to the WP page.

  5. I left the Roundtable: Maybe it's like when you leave a job. All the friends you made just sort of quit coming around.
  6. I'm not demanding enough of my readers: I mean, I used to ask questions.

  7. Maybe I need to create a whole new blog, with an entirely different title.

  8. Maybe I need to move everything to Blogger.


5 Years Blogging

Today marks my 5th year of blogging. Following the lead of so many other bloggers (mostly because I have a serious case of Blog Block), I'll post my very first entry.

Maiden Entry
Wednesday, July 17th, 2002

On my old site I kept a blog of sorts, although it wasn’t interactive. Here, I’ve finally created a real weblog. Getting started all over again won’t be easy, but I’ll try to make an entry at least once a week. Sometimes it will be more frequent since everything has to do with my mood and free time. As on my past site, what I’m currently up to will be listed. This is my first entry… Eh. It’ll get better. I’m presently digesting a Chef-Boy-R-Dee lunch.

Wasn't very promising, was it?


Lifestyles of the Not-So Rich & Famous

Not having the energy or desire to post anything of my own over the past two days, I've spent my time scouting out weblogs and sites that were untofore unknown to me. Mostly those about travel, vacationing and the expat lifestyle. I found some blogs kept by people who live lifestyles that I've never considered. Probably because I've never been able to afford them.

All this has made me come to believe that one of me just isn't enough, or that there aren't enough years to live out every dream I have. To do this, I either need to live to the age of about 300, or else I need to be exactly 10 people:

An apartment in Venice is very appealing,

as is wintering in Santorini.

Sometimes I dream of a castillo in Spain,

then I imagine something a little closer to home.

I've lived in London,

But never the Cotswolds.

A cozy cottage in Ireland might be a nice change,

and a Tuscan farmhouse isn't bad either.

A part of me will always desire the "American Dream",

But Vienna will always win out!


Ladies & Gentlemen, the Toilet Snorkel

U.S. Patent Issued In 1982.
Some of you may be thinking, "Wow! What a bong!" Certain others may be wondering if this is a bubble-blower, a clog-releaser, or an inflatable toilet. Well, you're all wrong. This is the Breathe Easy Toilet Snorkel, invented to provide fresh air during a high-rise fire...


33 Names of Things You Never Knew had Names

  1. AGLET - The plain or ornamental covering on the end of a shoelace.
  2. ARMSAYE - The armhole in clothing.
  3. CHANKING - Spat-out food, such as rinds or pits.
  4. COLUMELLA NASI - The bottom part of the nose between the nostrils.
  5. DRAGÉES - Small beadlike pieces of candy, usually silver-coloured, used for decorating cookies, cakes and sundaes.
  6. FEAT - A dangling curl of hair.
  7. FERRULE - The metal band on a pencil that holds the eraser in place.
  8. HARP - The small metal hoop that supports a lampshade.
  9. HEMIDEMISEMIQUAVER - A 64th note. (A 32nd is a demisemiquaver, and a 16th note is a semiquaver.)
  10. JARNS,
  11. NITTLES,
  12. GRAWLIX,
  13. and QUIMP - Various squiggles used to denote cussing in comic books.
  14. KEEPER - The loop on a belt that keeps the end in place after it has passed through the buckle.
  15. KICK or PUNT - The indentation at the bottom of some wine bottles. It gives added strength to the bottle but lessens its holding capacity.
  16. LIRIPIPE - The long tail on a graduate's academic hood.
  17. MINIMUS - The little finger or toe.
  18. NEF - An ornamental stand in the shape of a ship.
  19. OBDORMITION - The numbness caused by pressure on a nerve; when a limb is 'asleep'.
  20. OCTOTHORPE - The symbol '#' on a telephone handset. Bell Labs' engineer Don Macpherson created the word in the 1960s by combining octo-, as in eight, with the name of one of his favourite athletes, 1912 Olympic decathlon champion Jim Thorpe.
  21. OPHRYON - The space between the eyebrows on a line with the top of the eye sockets.
  22. PEEN - The end of a hammer head opposite the striking face.
  23. PHOSPHENES - The lights you see when you close your eyes hard. Technically the luminous impressions are due to the excitation of the retina caused by pressure on the eyeball.
  24. PURLICUE - The space between the thumb and extended forefinger.
  25. RASCETA - Creases on the inside of the wrist.
  26. ROWEL - The revolving star on the back of a cowboy's spurs.
  27. SADDLE - The rounded part on the top of a matchbook.
  28. SCROOP - The rustle of silk.
  29. SNORKEL BOX - A mailbox with a protruding receiver to allow people to deposit mail without leaving their cars.
  30. SPRAINTS - Otter dung.
  31. TANG - The projecting prong on a tool or instrument.
  32. WAMBLE - Stomach rumbling.
  33. ZARF - A holder for a handleless coffee cup.

Hat tip to Simplicity


The AC Man Cometh

He came to the door, sweaty in his tight, white tee shirt and levis. I had never been so happy to see a man. I opened up and let him in. Thirty minutes later he quietly let himself out, leaving me in the afterglow. The house was cool. I was satisfied. He'd sought me out with one thing in mind and he'd done it so well...


Roast Beef

Because of the broken AC and the fact that we can't open our windows due to allergies and asthma, I didn't get to sleep until well after dawn today. About an hour and a half later I was wakened by the phone. I made a mental note of the message and started to drift back into sleep. Happily, it was reasonably comfortable temperature-wise so early in the morning.

I understand that the two sets of "Mow-Blow-&-Go" gardeners that take care of this little neighborhood haven't been able to do their jobs lately because of all the rain. I also realize that they have to get their work done early in the day to avoid the killer heat, but this was not the morning that I wanted them to spend 30 minutes beneath my bedroom windows. I watched the new guy. He went over every 3' section of grass five or six times. Four tractor mowers, four gas-powered weed-whackers, the dogs across the street barking... There was a lot of work out there and it took them a good couple of hours to get it all done. I know how hard that work is. I spent the spring and summer of 1991 working as a gardener for a friend in Thousand Oaks and Calabassas. Talk about heat! As much as I loved the work and being outdoors, I had to quit.

I got up, realizing that sleep was going to be impossible. At 8:30 I called the property management company (whose office sits in front of our house (click picture to see) and reported the AC problem. About that time, the street crews came back to work with their on-going road construction. Then the city decided to test our newly reconnected tornado sirens. Four times. For over 30 minutes. The pole is less than 100 yards away from my head. (Why do they pitch them in intervals of seconds? It's enough to make me start yowling with the dogs.)

The remote system for our heat and air is in the garage, so I went out and cleared all of the boxes away from the access panel for the promised AC guy. It had to be 100° out there! What I have to do now is, every 15 minutes or so go downstairs to the thermostat, turn it off, wait a minute, then turn it back on. That makes the AC come on --only very slightly-- for about 5 minutes. Let's just say I'm getting my exercise. Problem is, it's so hot and I'm a fair-skinned little Alpine baby. Running up and down the stairs in the heat makes me feel kind of "fainty" for a minute or two. I'm such a wuss. I was the only kid who passed out while waiting in line one summer afternoon to see Spartacus. I also fainted at Magic Mountain while waiting in line for a ride, and I fainted over the sweet potatoes once when I was carrying my first baby. During the summer I embrace the cool tile bathroom floor --a cold washcloth across my forehead-- more than I care to admit. Sheesh.

Back to my story. By this time it was getting good and hot in the house. I closed all of the blinds, made sure the ceiling fans were on high and noticed that the turbine that powers our neighborhood's AC systems had come on. Everyone here is enjoying nice, cool air. Except us.

Added to this is the fact that I got a cluster of 5 mosquito bites on the inside heel of my right foot the other night and I can't find my itch cream anywhere. I've never told you that mosquito bites have a really bad effect on me. They end up as big as a quarter and they bruise. I'm also allergic to bee sting, so I guess that may have something to do with it.

So there it sits. The turbine. The happy sound of people enjoying a comfortable environment.

Okay. Beef over. Nettl called the management company to make sure the work order went in. It did, and my next entry will be a more pleasant one. My desk sits directly beneath the AC vent.

Fritz & Kaput... Verdammt!

It's not enough that the AC in my car is on the fritz, today the AC in the house went kaput. Of course, today would be the hottest and sunniest day we've had so far this summer. And it will get hotter. We always get into three digits. It's been stinking hot today, but it's starting to cool down now. At midnight, it's 80° and the humidity is at 87%. Looks like the property management company will be getting a call in the morning.

LATER: I made a midnight run to Hell*Mart and got some new filters and installed them, but the thing still isn't working right. I can't believe how spoiled I am. I lived 49 years without air-conditioning, now, seven years later, I'm miserable without it. That's one of the problems with Americans. We've all gotten too comfortable. Everyone thinks that happiness, comfort and ease are entitlements. But it's too hot to wax philosophical tonight.


My Little Town

Although we moved around a bit, I spent most of my childhood in Solvang, California. I don't like to overuse the word surreal, but in this case it fits. It was a surreal way to grow up. A huge tourist trap these days, it was more a real village in the 50s and 60s. There were still some of the original Danish immigrant famiilies in those days and the lederhosen and dirndls were worn for everyday wear, not just for tourists' cameras. Men, women and children wore wooden shoes for real and men smoked long clay pipes for real. Even I had a Danish outfit and I learned to dance the Polka and to understand the difference between Carlsberg and Hamms.

Hey, my old man used to play drums on that beer wagon! And see the little house mounted up on the storefront? That's one of many speaker boxes he built, painted, rigged, and wired throughout the entire town just for the annual Danish Days festival. Sigh. I miss you, Dad.

Chasing Bourdain

I waste no apologies. I love the snarky, substance-imbibing Anthony Bourdain. I love his attitude and his unabashed lack of conventional charm. He will eat things that I'd have to be really drunk to try (but then, maybe that's his secret) and he doesn't give a crap about being politically correct when it comes to food, drink, substances, and travel. Don't like it? Don't look! That's his attitude.

I watched No Reservations about Vietnam and Washington State last night and was planning to write about them, but RW has already done so and in his inimitable style he does done a much better job than I could have. Ah... That leaves me free to get another cup of coffee.


How Does Weird Shit Happen?

This morning I was minding my own business, checking up on my favorite blogs. After reading that Byzantium's Shores just won a Best of Blog award from Buffalo Spree Magazine, I clicked back to my blog and received a username and password pop-up. WTF? I was just there clicking links on my blogroll. I did the usual cleaning out/restarting things and tried again and still got the pop-up. I went to my PowWeb Ops and lo-and-behold the password protection had mysteriously been enabled. How the hell does that shit happen? I haven't been in there for weeks. Oh well, I disabled it and now all is well again.


Advice to a Famous Insomniac

While channel surfing this afternoon, I came upon the latest celebrity reality check show, "Hey Paula", starring Paula Abdul, in which she confessed to being a long-time insomniac.

As an ex-insomniac (as I always say, it's not that I can't sleep now, it's just that I'd rather be awake. I cured my old unwanted insomnia and am now up all night by choice when I want to be) I have a couple of pointers for Ms. Abdul.

First and foremost, lay off the substances. I don't know what you're on, but it's doing you no favors. Secondly, do not, I repeat, do NOT drink 32-ounce lattes at 4:30 in the morning when you have an 8 a.m. wake-up call. How stupid is that? In fact, never drink coffee after 6 p.m. Thirdly, realize that the people around you are there because enabling you creates job security, not because they actually care about you.

I don't say this to be cruel--I've always been a big fan--but instead of coming off like a young, misunderstood Marilyn Monroe, you're coming off like a used-up Judy Garland. Inspiring pity is not the same thing as inspiring compassion.

Hey Paula! Wake up and go to sleep! Do you really want to be the next televised train wreck?