The Dilbert Blog

0

Written on Friday, December 30, 2005 by Jessica

While reading The Dilbert Blog, I found this funny entry about back pain. Here's a quote:

If you have ever had a severe back sprain, you can answer the following quiz with no problem. Which activity is most likely to result in the worst back pain of your life?

A. Skiing to outrace an avalanche
B. Lifting a car to save a baby
C. Kickboxing competition
D. Bending over to pick up a piece of Pringles™ you spit out while laughing at your own joke

Management reports

0

Written on Wednesday, December 28, 2005 by Jessica

Today's Dilbert cracked me up.

Letterman's lawyers have run amok

2

Written on Tuesday, December 27, 2005 by Jessica

According to a CNN.com article, a judge has tossed out a restraining order that was "granted to a Santa Fe woman who accused talk-show host David Letterman of using coded words to show that he wanted to marry her and train her as his co-host."

The article continues:

Lawyers for Letterman contended the order was without merit.

"He is entitled to a protection of his legal rights and a protection of his reputation," Pat Rogers, an Albuquerque lawyer representing Letterman, told the judge Tuesday.
Good lord, Letterman. Don't your lawyers have anything better to do? The woman is obviously insane. Your reputation wasn't in danger until you actually paid people to take the matter seriously. Now you look like an idiot.

Christmas gifts

1

Written on Tuesday, December 27, 2005 by Jessica

I received plenty of baby items and maternity wear, as you might expect. My sister-in-law -- oh so funny -- gave me a package of maternity underwear. Naturally, I had to open them up so everyone could see a giant pair. Fortunately, they were "bikini" style (yeah right), which means they weren't as huge as a pair of, say, maternity briefs.

No kilts allowed

1

Written on Thursday, December 22, 2005 by Jessica

I'm extremely amused by this article at CNN.com, about a student who tried to wear a kilt to a formal dance at his high school and got in trouble.

The amusing part is not the article itself. It's the fact that the article links to the website of the school district in question. I was able to browse the Administration section and easily find the principal's e-mail address, so I wrote him a respectful letter telling him why he was wrong. I'm sure it's Christmas break right now, and I'm also sure that there are hundreds of idiots just like me--maybe thousands--who also wrote him letters. His inbox will be overflowing when he gets back! Poor guy. (I don't really feel sorry for him. He supposedly called the kilt wearer a clown, but says he "doesn't recollect" saying that, which is code for, "Yes, I said that, but I'm not going to admit it, nor am I going to lie and say outright that I didn't say that.")

Sick of A&E

3

Written on Thursday, December 22, 2005 by Jessica

I've finally had it with A&E's programming, so I wrote them a letter. I guess I'm just in a bitchy, letter-writing mood these days.

Dear A&E,
I am now thoroughly disgusted with your programming lineup. It's time you changed your network name to TTE -- Trailer Trash Entertainment -- because retaining the "A" for "Arts" is an insult to your viewers. Dog the Bounty Hunter, Growing up Gotti, Inked, Rollergirls and others are simply not worthy of A&E.
Sincerely,
Jessica [Last Name]

UPDATE: A&E's initial reply:
Thank you for submitting a QUESTION/COMMENT through our automated FAQ Wizard.
We will do our best to send your inquiry to appropriate contacts at A&E
Television Networks.
Thanks again for clicking with us!
Truly,
Viewer Relations
A&E Television Networks

Jane Austen action figure

3

Written on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 by Jessica

The Jane Austen Action Figure has been around all summer, but I never heard about it until I received one for Christmas from by boss!

CNN breaking news: Saddam says he's been beaten and tortured while in detention

2

Written on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 by Jessica

Hmmmm, somehow it's hard to feel sorry for torturers who get tortured.

Trying not to be furious

6

Written on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 by Jessica

I ordered my sister's Christmas present from LTD Commodities well in advance -- November 7. I had to prepay using a ridiculously inconvenient system: they sent a postcard with the item's cost minus shipping, which took several days via snail mail. (You can't pay with a credit card on their site b/c they don't accept credit cards.) I immediately sent payment, and then I waited. And waited. Finally, on December 17, they "shipped" my package. Of course, I use the term "shipped" loosely. The 17th was a Saturday, after all, on today (Tuesday), the item's status at UPS is "billing information received," which means the item hasn't even been picked up yet. I don't know how I'm possibly going to have time to get it by Friday, which is the day we're having Christmas with my sister.

Maybe it will in fact arrive on or before Friday, in which case my current mood will be pointless. I'm trying to wait until it really is too late before I become furious.

UPDATE: I received an email from LTD Commodities to tell me my item has shipped and should arrive in ten business days. Here's the letter I wrote, which was a waste of time because I don't feel any better.

I am officially furious. I ordered my item on November 7, well in advance of Christmas. When nervously checking my item's status on December 14 or 15, I naively believed the statement on your site that promised, “If you’re item’s status is ‘preparing to ship,’ assume that it has shipped. We won’t be updating order statuses until December 20." The first thing I did the morning of the 20th was check the status of my item. It finally "shipped" on December 17, which merely means that your site claims it shipped on December 17. As of today (December 20), however, my item's status at UPS is still "billing information received," which usually means the carrier hasn't even picked it up yet. The last straw was the e-mail I received this afternoon (December 20) saying that my item has shipped and should arrive in ten business days. I need it in three days for Christmas with my sister.

It is absolutely unbelievable that it takes six weeks to ship an item. I'm sure that part of problem is the ridiculous policy of sending a postcard via snail mail so that I could pay in advance of shipment. After I placed my order, it took two weeks for the postcard to arrive. I had to return this payment via snail mail because there is no way to pay instantly with a credit card. I sent payment immediately because I was concerned about receiving the item in time for Christmas. It took over a week an a half for my check to clear. It then took another two and a half weeks for the item to finally ship. If I'd had any idea that LTD Commodities was such an undependable company, I obviously would never have placed an order. Even if my item miraculously arrives in time for Christmas, I can assure you it wasn’t worth the stress.
UPDATE #2: Well, guess what. UPS now says my item is in transit and will deliver today! Does this mean I have to eat crow? I'm not sure, because as I said in my letter, even if my order arrived in time, it wasn't worth the stress.
UPDATE #3: My package arrived in time for Christmas. LTD Commodities never responded to my letter.

Personal sexism

2

Written on Monday, December 19, 2005 by Jessica

Sigh. I hold sexist views that I can't seem to shake.

I spotted this article, which had the following headline: "Dr. Germ, Mrs. Anthrax released by U.S. Army." It refers to some high-profile officials in the Iraqi government before Saddam's fall.

I thought to myself, Oh, sure. The guy gets to be Dr. Germ, but she's Mrs. Anthrax.

It was a completely irrational thought because, as a doctor, his nickname is obviously going to be prefixed by "Dr.," not "Mr." Why would I have a problem with that? After all, if she were a doctor, she'd be Dr. Anthrax, not Mrs. Anthrax, right?

So here's the terrible truth: They're both women. Dr. Germ is a woman, but I assumed she was a man. What's wrong with me?

Skydiver survives fall, gets baby surprise

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Written on Wednesday, December 14, 2005 by Jessica

CNN.com - Skydiver survives fall, gets baby surprise - Dec 13, 2005

The article is misleading:

During treatment [for a skydiving accident that resulted in Shayna Richardson's hiting the ground at 50 mph], doctors found that Richardson was pregnant, which was a surprise to her. She said she would not have jumped had she known.
I watched a CNN interview on television, and this woman said she would not have been allowed to jump if she was known to be pregnant. She went on to say that she'd try another jump right now if she could: "Obviously, they're not going to take a broken, pregnant woman up in the air, but if they would, I'd go."

A recording of the interview is currently available at cnn.com, but I don't know for how long. It's a long clip -- eight minutes -- so if you only want to hear the statements I mentioned above, fast forward to 5:50.

New blog

0

Written on Wednesday, December 14, 2005 by Jessica

I created a baby blog, The Kidney Bean because I thought this blog might be in danger of being overcome by baby topics.

I love urban legends

2

Written on Monday, December 12, 2005 by Jessica

http://www.snopes.com/business/bank/takethat.asp

Below is an actual letter sent to a bank. The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in the New York Times.

Dear Sir:

I am writing to thank you for bouncing my check with which I endeavored to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the check and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honor it. I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire salary, an arrangement which, I admit, has only been in place for eight years.

You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account $50 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank. My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways.

I noticed that whereas I personally attend to your telephone calls and letters, when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, prerecorded faceless entity which your bank has become.

From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person. My mortgage and loan repayments will, therefore and hereafter, no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank, by check, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate.

Be aware that it is an offense under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope. Please find attached an Application Contact Status which I require your chosen employee to complete.

I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative. Please note that all copies of his or her medical history must be countersigned by a Notary Public, and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.

In due course, I will issue your employee with a PIN that s/he must quote in dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modeled it on the number of button presses required to access my account balance on your phone bank service. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Let me level the playing field even further. Press buttons as follows:

1.- To make an appointment to see me.
2.- To query a missing payment.
3.- To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.
4.- To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.
5. -To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature.
6.- To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home.
7.- To leave a message on my computer, a password to access my computer is required. Password will be communicated at a later date to the Authorized Contact.
8. To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through 7.
9. To make a general complaint or inquiry.

The contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service. While on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service. While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call.

Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement.

May I wish you a happy, if ever-so-slightly less prosperous New Year?

Your Humble Client

British English

2

Written on Monday, December 12, 2005 by Jessica

I read the BBC's news website from time to time and I'm always amused by differences in terminology between American English and Standard [British] English. I recently stumbled across an article about the flu-jab nonshortage, and I must say that I infinintly prefer "flu jab" to "flu shot."

Last week I read an article about how "dummies reduce cot-death risk." American translation? "Pacifiers reduce SIDS risk" or "pacifiers reduce crib-death risk."

And today, I found a reference to sticky plasters. I can only assume this refers to the casts used to help heal broken bones. In the same article, I discovered the word "paracetamol," which is the British word for acetaminophen.

Labeled ultrasound

5

Written on Friday, December 09, 2005 by Jessica

For the sake of those who can't see anything in ultrasounds, here's a labeled version of the eleven-week ultrasound.

If you're colorblind, here's a version labeled in blue.

Eleven weeks

11

Written on Thursday, December 08, 2005 by Jessica

Here is the promised picture. During the ultrasound, the baby turned completely around. One second it was facing me, and a second later it had its back to me. I never imagine fetuses moving that fast. I always imagine them moving slowly underwater or something.

Click here for a printable (higher quality) version of this ultrasound image. It won't look like it's higher quality on the screen, but it'll look better after it's printed. Note: The print size will be much smaller than the size on screen.

New ultrasound

2

Written on Wednesday, December 07, 2005 by Jessica

New ultrasound today. Baby is four centimeters and weighs a quarter ounce. Moved all over the place. Pix coming soon. Really.

Ugly dog Sam

2

Written on Wednesday, November 30, 2005 by Jessica

According to a CNN internet poll, 6% of people have seen dogs uglier than Sam. I'm skeptical.

The ultrasound

5

Written on Wednesday, November 30, 2005 by Jessica

As I lay on the bed, I asked the ultrasound tech if anyone had ever wet herself. She said no, which only increased my dread of being the first.

I never knew that getting an ultrasound involved such torture. I had to drink a quart of water an hour before arriving, and they wouldn't let me pee! I apparently have a half-quart-sized bladder or smaller.

"I promise you," said the ultrasound tech, "there's a reason why we need you to have a full bladder. We don't make you drink all that water for the heck of it."

But she didn't go on to explain the reason, so I became suspicious. Looking back, however, I'm sure they have an excellent reason: free entertainment for the staff. I'm sure they take bets when you arrive regarding whether you'll be the first woman ever to wet herself. They probably rate everyone's song and dance routine, too. I danced all over the place, because I certainly could sit or bend my body anywhere near my bladder. I better have scored at least an 8.

Thanksgiving announcement

2

Written on Tuesday, November 29, 2005 by Jessica

Well, Bob and I drove all over Northern Michigan in a blizzard on Thanksgiving day to announce my pregnancy. (I never announced it properly on this blog, though you might have discovered it if you happened upon certain congratulatory comments.) I'll be 10 weeks on December 1.

Everyone was properly overjoyed. My mother-in-law cried. I'm certainly glad someone is happy, because I'm terrified.

Redundant redundancies

3

Written on Friday, November 18, 2005 by Jessica

A couple of days ago during the weather report on the radio, they guy said, "Tonight, expect five to seven inches of snowfall to fall." He hesitated a little on the word "fall," clearly recognizing how ridiculous it sounded, but he'd already said "to." He had to finish the sentence somehow.

Non parishable goods

3

Written on Thursday, November 17, 2005 by Jessica

I was horrified this morning to see a television ad for a local organization requesting donations of "non parishable goods." Someone please hit me on the head with a two-by-four to put me out of misery.

With respect to spelling and grammar, I try not to be too judgemental when I read e-mail, blogs, chat, etc. But if you're going to plaster your words someplace for all the world to see (e.g., sign, restaurant menu, newspaper ad, etc.) and you want to maintain some sense of credibility, for the love of god, please run a spell check.

The worst part is that even if the ad's creator had run a spell check, we still would have ended up with "non perishable goods." This drives me crazy. "Non" is not a word. It's a prefix. It has to be attached to a word to give it meaning. I'd even settle for "non-perishable," even though the hyphen shouldn't be there.

The Dilbert Blog: Unfair Stereotypes

0

Written on Wednesday, November 16, 2005 by Jessica

This amused me.

Horrified...

2

Written on Wednesday, November 16, 2005 by Jessica

I'm working with some third-party software that we've licensed for use with our own company's software. I added some contact information. When I was finished, the screen said, "Thank you. You have successfully added contact information." To get back to where I came from, I actually had to click a button that said, "You are welcome." In other words, the program is thanking me for adding the information, and I'm saying, "You're welcome." Seriously, that's right up at the top of the list of the stupidest things I've ever seen in software.

Cable's out again

0

Written on Wednesday, November 16, 2005 by Jessica

The cable went out again this morning. Yet another windstorm knocked it out. It has been out so much that I'm now up to Book 5 in the Harry Potter series. I was reading Book 3 just six days ago.

Speaking of windstorms, I noticed a freighter in the bay yesterday. When I went to work today, there were two more frieghters. We never see freighters in the bay. They must be taking shelter from the storm.

Cable's out

6

Written on Thursday, November 10, 2005 by Jessica

Our cable went out in a windstorm yesterday. We have no antenna, which means no TV. Call the military to restore order. I spent yesterday evening reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban.

Dummies at Netflix

1

Written on Monday, November 07, 2005 by Jessica

Using Netflix's minireview feature, I tried to leave a review about "House of Sand and Fog" (good movie) for my friends. My review failed to save for the following reason: "Any single word cannot exceed 16 characters."

WTF? Netflix, do you mean to tell me that I'm required to dumb down my reviews if I want to leave a minireview for my friends? Who came up with an arbitrary limit like sixteen, anyhow?

The offending word? "Misunderstandings," as in "a series of misunderstandings...." I had to change it to "a series of mix-ups," which isn't quite right. They were misunderstandings, not mix-ups.

Halloween candy

6

Written on Thursday, November 03, 2005 by Jessica

I've literally felt sick since Monday night due to all the candy I've eaten. I'm finally starting to recover, but only because I finally let up on the candy yesterday afternoon. I still feel like a I have brick in my stomach. I'm fairly disgusted with myself because I've realized that I'm like a dog who eats a week's worth of food in one night because its owner went on vacation.

The Name Game, Part II

3

Written on Wednesday, November 02, 2005 by Jessica

I decided to look for more recent statistics on the number of women who change their name upon marriage, because almost every young woman I know thinks hard about keeping her name when she gets married, but I don't know anyone who actually does. According to this article, eighteen percent of brides polled in 2003 planned to keep their birth names. Fifteen percent would hyphenate, and the remaining sixty-seven percent planned to change it.

Side note: I remember that my mother-in-law suggested hyphenation. Ignoring the fact that I would have a seventeen-letter last name, I had no intention of doing any such thing. I told her that I would hyphenate if Bob hyphenated. :)

So eighteen percent were name keepers in 2003. Interesting. I don't know anyone other than myself (and assorted celebrities) who kept their birth names. One coworker uses her birth name here at work, but only because her husband works here, too. She wanted to avoid prying questions from new employees (Is Kevin your husband? Brother?), so her mail box, name plate, etc., still have her birth name. Her paychecks, however, have her married name.

Sort of related: Bob has always enjoyed messing with telemarketers who ask for Mrs. HisName or Mr. MyName. "Sorry, no one by that name lives here." Plenty of people think he's Mr. MyName.

Name Game

7

Written on Wednesday, October 26, 2005 by Jessica

When I was in high school (1988-1992), I thought that women didn't change their names anymore when they got married. I based this belief on the fact that so many celebrities keep their names when they get married. My parents never went to weddings, so I never heard the new couple announced as Mr. and Mrs. HisName. And we never arrived at wedding receptions until after dinner, so I never heard the DJ announce the couple when they showed up, either.

I discovered the horrific truth while still in high school when one of my mom's friends got married. My mom was updating her address book, and I asked, "Why did she change her name?" She replied, "Why wouldn't she?" That's when I learned that everyone still changed her name. No one kept her birth name after marriage.

A couple of years later, I read a magazine article that said only one percent of women retained their birth names after marriage and three percent hyphenated. One percent! I'm sure that number didn't count the women who legally kept their names for professional purposes but socially used their husbands' names.

I didn't change my name when I got married. Back in those days, I was pluckier than I am now, full of righteous indignation toward social mores that required me to give up my identity just to get married.

Ten years later, my opinion remains essentially the same, but the emotion attached to it is gone. Furthermore, other complications have arisen.

For one, I never planned to have children. Keeping your name has so many other implications when you have children. For example, people initially assume they must be the children from your first marriage. (A natural assumption, because as I said, everyone changes her name.)

Oh, sure. Ten years ago it wasn't a complication. I had more trend-bucking spunk back then. When my husband asked what we'd do if we ever had kids, I told him that girls would get my last name and boys could have his. But today... I just don't think I have the strength.

Ugh.

3

Written on Friday, October 21, 2005 by Jessica

I feel so sick. It's all my doing, too. I'm prediabetic (or something like that) and take meds for it. These meds can make you sick, especially if you eat bad foods, like (a totally made-up example, not grounded in reality in any way) ice cream for breakfast or cookies for dinner. How can I be so out of control?

Sigh.

4

Written on Monday, October 17, 2005 by Jessica

Gained weight last week instead of losing it. I hate diets.

Tech-writer humor

4

Written on Wednesday, October 12, 2005 by Jessica

Not very legible. Click to see a full size version.

Quote of the day

1

Written on Tuesday, October 11, 2005 by Jessica

If you can't say anything good about someone, sit right here by me."
--Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Secret confession

4

Written on Friday, October 07, 2005 by Jessica

We have a two-tiered parking lot at work, and there are parking spaces directly in front of the stairs (both top and bottom). It really pisses me off when people park there, because it makes it so hard to get through. Each day as I sqeeze through, I make no effort to prevent the metal fasteners on my bag from scratching their paint.

Tag

3

Written on Friday, October 07, 2005 by Jessica

  1. Legal First name? Jessica.
  2. Were you named after anyone? My middle name is Anne, but it was supposed to be Anna for my great-grandma. My mom was young, though, and listened to everyone who balked at a two-syllable middle name following a three-syllable first name. (Why didn't anyone balk at the terminal "a" in my first name followed by a beginning "a" in my middle name? Jessica Anne does not roll off the tongue.)
  3. Do you wish on stars? Once in awhile.
  4. When did you last cry? Can't remember. Not recently.
  5. What is your favorite lunch meat? Turkey.
  6. What is your birth date? [removed to help prevent identity theft.
  7. What's your most embarrassing CD? Paula Abdul.
  8. Would you be friends with you? Don't think so.
  9. Do you use sarcasm a lot? Try not to.
  10. What are your nicknames? Jess.
  11. Would you bungee jump? Never ever ever.
  12. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? No.
  13. Do you think that you are strong? Emotionally or physically? (Doesn't matter, cuz it's "no" to both.)
  14. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Moose Tracks.
  15. Shoe Size? Usually 8 or 8-1/2.
  16. Red or pink? Red.
  17. What is your least favorite thing about yourself? My inability to make decisions.
  18. Who do you miss most? I've never lost anyone.
  19. What color pants and shoes are you wearing? Blue flannel pajama bottoms (it's jammie day here at work!) and white tennis shoes.
  20. What are you listening to right now? People chattering, servers humming.
  21. What did you eat for breakfast? Slice of peanut butter toast.
  22. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Blue.
  23. What is the weather like right now? Crisp and clear.
  24. Last person you talked to on the phone? My friend Amy. She's visiting from down state.
  25. The first things you notice about the opposite sex? Package. (I'm kidding. I don't know what I notice.)
  26. Do you like the person who sent this to you? It wasn't sent, but I like the person whose blog I grabbed it from.
  27. Favorite drink? Grape juice.
  28. Hair color? Brown.
  29. Do you wear contacts? No.
  30. Favorite food? Chicken.
  31. Last movie you watched? "The Importance of Being Earnest."
  32. Favorite day of the year? Christmas.
  33. Scary movies or happy endings? Happy endings.
  34. Summer or Winter? Summer.
  35. Hugs or kisses? Hugs.
  36. What is your favorite dessert? Chocolate cake with butter-cream frosting.
  37. Living arrangements? Husband of nine years, no kids.
  38. What books are you reading? Ruth Fielding and Her Great Scenario (Nancy Drew-type book from the twenties).
  39. What's on your mouse pad? Solid gray with gel wrist rest.
  40. What did you watch last night on TV? Everybody Loves Raymond.
  41. Favorite smells? Baked goods.
  42. Favorite junk food? Custard-filled long johns.
  43. Rolling Stones or Beatles? Beatles.
  44. What's the farthest you've been from home? Dallas.

New computer!

2

Written on Thursday, October 06, 2005 by Jessica

My new computer at work has arrived! I'm using it right now. Outlook now launches in exactly four seconds. It used to take a minute and forty-five seconds!

Illiterate tech writer?

1

Written on Thursday, September 29, 2005 by Jessica

I'm working in our bug-tracking system, verifying fixes of bugs I reported. I'm horrified by some of my write-ups. In one, I wrote "behaviour" instead of "behavior" (too much Pride and Prejudice) and "affect" instead of "effect." I'm supposed to know better!

Katrina disaster victims

1

Written on Wednesday, September 28, 2005 by Jessica

Hurricane Katrina has created a nightmare of a project for me at work. (I work for the leading provider of software to public housing authorities and housing finance agencies.) I'm having to summarize all the housing relief information being put out by HUD, FEMA, the Dept. of Homeland Security, and the IRS. It could be worse, though: I could be one of the victims.

Tag

1

Written on Tuesday, September 27, 2005 by Jessica

The Rules:

  1. Go into your archive.
  2. Find your twenty-third post.
  3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
  4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
  5. Tag five other people to do the same.
The fifth sentence of my twenty-third post: Susan and I are both on diets, so when I have the urge to go down the vending machine, I have to tell her so she can stop me (and vice versa).

Regarding rule #5: I'm not popular like Sherri, so I don't have five blogging friends to tag. :)

Crappy software

2

Written on Friday, September 23, 2005 by Jessica

One of my jobs as a tech writer is to write help for software. (Press F1 and ta da! --useless information appears.) I'm working on a new piece of software that is just terrible. The programer left out crucial cues to help the user know what to do. This guy no longer works for us. He now works for Microsoft. (I'm not kidding.)

Today's Google ads...

0

Written on Friday, September 23, 2005 by Jessica

...are toothache and dentistry related. :)

(I amuse easily.)

101 things you might not know about me

2

Written on Thursday, September 22, 2005 by Jessica

  1. My favorite joke is a ridiculous knock-knock joke about a cow.
  2. I scored really well on my ACTs, but then I went to community college, where your ACTs don't matter at all.
  3. I often imagine what I'd do if I woke up tomorrow as a ten year old who had all the knowledge of my thirty-year-old self. It would suck being a teenager again, but I would make up for it by getting rich off the stock market boom of the 90s. (Do you Yahoo?)
  4. I can't swim.
  5. I'm afraid of the dark.
  6. If I eat whatever I want, I'll gain two pounds a week. This is a documented fact.
  7. To clarify, "whatever I want" would consist of a giant custard long john, a quart of chocolate milk, a pizza, cinnamon sticks, several candy bars, and a quart of Moose Tracks ice cream.
  8. I have a really skinny mother, brother, and sister. (Actually, my mom recently gained a bunch of weight. She's now normal sized.)
  9. I don't like fruit and vegetables because of their texture, but I eat them anyway.
  10. I spend way too much time reading Pride and Prejudice over and over.
  11. I like Harry Potter books, and I don't care what people say about that.
  12. I like Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl," and I'm a little embarrassed about that.
  13. I have a cousin whose married surname is Hollerback. I bet she was just thrilled when that song came out (she said sarcastically).
  14. In general, I'm far too reticent and let people walk all over me.
  15. I was a sophomore in college before I lost my virginity...
  16. ...to a boy in high school...
  17. ...who is now my husband.
  18. It was sweet the way he proposed, but looking back, I think he was just trying to get me in the sack.
  19. It worked.
  20. I wish I'd waited longer.
  21. I still harbor feelings of resentment toward a former boss who told me Bob was going to propose. She ruined the surprise and I hate her for it.
  22. I avoid her when I see her in public.
  23. I've been married for nine years, which is too long to hold a grudge.
  24. I don't like my husband's name.
  25. I wish he went by Rob.
  26. I was dazzled by Titanic when I saw it in the theater, but when I watched it later on video, I realized just how bad the dialog really is. Two hundred million dollars and Spielberg couldn't afford someone to write some decent dialog?
  27. I used to be funny, but not anymore. I'm not sure why.
  28. I know what Jake brakes are and how they work, but I'm not sure if "Jake" is actually supposed to be capitalized.
  29. I often eat questionable food. I think I had food poisoning once.
  30. Although I don't mind bad spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc., in informal situations (e.g., e-mail, personal blogs, chat rooms, IM), I think it's unpardonable to screw up high-profile, permanent items such as signs, business cards, advertisements, articles in newspapers and magazines, and websites.
  31. I think "they," "their," and "them" ought to be accepted as singular gender-neutral pronouns.
  32. I've wasted a part of my life thinking about whether "they," "their," and "them" ought to be accepted as singular gender-neutral pronouns.
  33. I've been depressed about getting older every year since I turned twenty-four.
  34. My mother cried on her twenty-first birthday because she was already married with two kids. What more did she have left to accomplish?
  35. I attended my mother's high-school graduation. I don't remember it (as I was still a baby).
  36. I generally don't finish what I start. I'll be quite proud of myself if I finish this list.
  37. I regret almost everything, especially little things.
  38. I wish I didn't care about money.
  39. I'm not a morning person.
  40. I'm really looking forward to Aunt Tessy Pate's visit.
  41. It's one thing to gloss over a letter that is in a word, but I'm baffled by the British propensity to add sounds that aren't actually contained in the letters: e.g., lieutenant (pronounced lef-ten-ent). Even Americans are sometimes prone to it: e.g., colonel -- how do you get ker-nl out of that?
  42. When my sister was about ten, we got into an argument about whether the "t" in "often" is pronounced. Technically, it's silent, although pronouncing it is gaining acceptance. She was right and I was wrong, which I found humiliating.
  43. My sister is more than ten years younger than I am. It's something she really enjoys.
  44. Last year, when I began to lament turning thirty, she said, "You know, when you turn forty, I'll still be twenty-nine!"
  45. And once, when I let the words, "When I was your age..." slip out, she retorted with, "Yeah, yeah. And then the glaciers receded to form the Great Lakes."
  46. My sister is obviously a brat.
  47. She still lives at home, which shows you how much smarter she is than I was. I moved out at seventeen. Why pay rent when you can live at home for free?
  48. She's really bad a math, though.
  49. She sells porn on eBay. (Her main business is hunting accessories and outdoor gear, but I discovered Playgirl porn star photos among her listings a few weeks ago.)
  50. No, I didn't bid on anything.
  51. Her boyfriend of nearly two years is thirteen years older than she is. He has two kids from a previous marriage. I went to high school with his younger brother. Frank is a nice guy. The younger brother is iffy.
  52. My friend, Amy, is convinced that Frank is a bad influence, which is the reason my sister is selling porn.
  53. I doubt it.
  54. But I do wonder what they talk about.
  55. Guns, I guess. They both have a lot of guns.
  56. I only have two -- a nine millimeter pistol and a .22 pistol.
  57. If you can believe it, my husband bought me the nine millimeter for our anniversary one year.
  58. That was early on. We've worked on the gift-giving thing since then. Guys, for the right girl, guns are okay for birthdays and Christmas, but consider flowers for anniversaries. :)
  59. In fact, there's a whole gift-giving guide for wedding anniversaries. Use it.
  60. I'm lazy, but I take the stairs.
  61. I live in a tiny house, which makes for a small mortgage, but not a lot of storage space.
  62. My aunt has a new deck with more square footage than my house (780 vs. 744).
  63. Last year, I lost thirty-seven pounds in four months, but I gained twenty-five back over the next five months. It was the first time I ever lost more than five pounds at once.
  64. I started dieting last year after doing a little math: according to my calculations, if I continued to gain weight at the current pace, I'd weigh 300 pounds by the time I was thirty-six.
  65. I don't do my share of the housework, but I take care of the bills.
  66. I sometimes imagine what I'd wish for if I were granted one wish each day for the rest of my life.
  67. I used to believe in God, but now I'm not so sure.
  68. I don't drink enough water.
  69. I know that drivers talking on cell phones are just as dangerous as drunken drivers, and I think it's wrong to use a cell phone while driving, but I do it anyway.
  70. I would never drink and drive.
  71. It's easy for me to say that, because I never drink.
  72. The last time I was drunk was on Valentine's Day when I was twenty-one. I didn't even know I was drunk until I tried to turn off the light in the bathroom. I completely missed the switch the first three times.
  73. I no longer have Internet access at home because we dumped our land line in favor of cell phones, and I only get a 14.4 K connection on my cell phone, which is unbearable when compared to my T1 line at work.
  74. I can't believe Apple is dumping the iPod mini in favor of the iPod nano. The brushed metal colors of the mini were its biggest attraction. The nano offers white and black.
  75. And if you get black, you're still stuck with white earbuds.
  76. I've had the same computer here at work for four and half years. I'm now getting a new one, and I'm inordinately excited about that.
  77. I have two cousins in jail: one received two years for negligent homicide; the other received twenty years for "managing a drug house." That seems wrong to me.
  78. My brother's girlfriend got pregnant on my nineteenth birthday after they were kissing and I joked, "Get a room."
  79. On their wedding day, I told my husband it wouldn't last six months.
  80. She left him three years later for my brother's best friend, who also happens to be our second cousin.
  81. Now my niece has a half-brother and two half-sisters who are also her third cousins.
  82. My brother is still best friends with this guy. I suppose it's better for my niece to have all her parents and stepparents on friendly terms with each other, but sometimes I just gotta ask myself, "WTF??"
  83. My brother's second wife is good friends with his ex-wife. WTF??
  84. Being fat isn't all bad. I used to get teased in high school for being flat chested (even though I wasn't). Now I wear a D-cup, so there's no doubt.
  85. I once invented a word, "liabilititties" -- what you have when you wear size double-D and above.
  86. No one, and I mean no one, found it anywhere near as funny as I did.
  87. I was too embarrassed to wear a bra as a kid, so I spent my middle-school years wearing sweatshirts every single day, even in the summer.
  88. I also have chicken legs, so I never wore shorts as a kid, either.
  89. For the most part, I still don't wear shorts.
  90. I didn't get to work today until 10:15 A.M.
  91. That happens a lot.
  92. Parents always tell me to have kids, which will cure my not-a-morning-person problem.
  93. I know how to use styles in Microsoft Word.
  94. I have a friend who doesn't watch the news. She didn't know about Y2K until 1998, and she didn't find out about Hurricane Katrina until four days after it destroyed the Gulf Coast.
  95. I hate it when people refer to femininely named hurricanes as "she,"mostly because I've never heard anyone refer to a masculinely named hurricane as "he." Otherwise, it probably wouldn't bug me.
  96. If I were a smart person with amazing foresight, I would have bought www.jessica.com before it became a porn site.
  97. I once caught my husband at hotbox.com. He says he meant to go to a search site named hitbox.com.
  98. He's been known to lie.
  99. He's only allowed to watch and "read" porn if I don't know about it.
  100. Of course, he doesn't know that. :)
  101. I like ragtime music.

Root canal was last Friday

2

Written on Tuesday, September 13, 2005 by Jessica

I survived the root canal. It wasn't pleasant. Despite the antibiotics, I still had a raging infection, which made it difficult for the anesthetic to work. After an extra shot and about five minutes of sensation during the initial drilling, it finally soaked it. It immediately felt better, especially with respect to cold drinks and food, although it was still a bit sore over the weekend.
My regular dentist put on a temporary crown yesterday. My tooth hurts like crazy today, which worries me. It's not supposed to hurt except during pressure--that's what my dentsist and all the online sources say--but it hurts all the time, and it tingles a little, too. That can't be a good sign. The tingling several weeks ago is what first clued me into the fact that something was really wrong.

Me, I, number one (oh my, me, my)

3

Written on Monday, September 12, 2005 by Jessica

I used to take antidepressants, but I stopped about four-and-a-half months ago. I have to say that being drug free isn't all it's cracked up to be. Not only am I depressed most of the time (more so now that the days are getting shorter), I'm also finding myself overtaken by inexplicable pangs of anxiety, which I don't think used to happen before, but I can't really remember. The idea of being dependent on drugs used to bother me, but not as much as feeling this way.

Seven-Things List

1

Written on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 by Jessica

Seven Things I Want to Do Before I Die


  1. Lose eighty pounds. I'd settle for sixty-five.
  2. Publish something.
  3. Visit Bath and Steventon (places where Jane Austen spent time).
  4. Not care about money.
  5. Own a first-edition Pride and Prejudice. (Never gonna happen. Copies run from £25,000 to £70,000. A pristine set auctioned for £100,000 a few years ago.)
  6. Have a room in the house I can refer to as the library.
  7. Live on a river.

Seven Things I Can Do

  1. Remember obscure grammar rules.
  2. Knit scarves.
  3. Find stuff online.
  4. Manage finances.
  5. Read Pride and Prejudice over and over.
  6. Make the best peanut butter fudge.
  7. Write (tech writer by trade).

Seven Things I Can't Do
  1. Keep my glasses clean.
  2. Keep my house clean.
  3. Be happy.
  4. Fly a plane.
  5. Not care about money.
  6. Stay away from sweets.
  7. Understand how someone could describe Katrina as potentially "our equivalent of the Asian tsunami."

Seven Things That Attract Me to the Opposite Sex

I like a guy who is:
  1. Sweet.
  2. Clever.
  3. Courteous.
  4. A sucker for kids.
  5. Blue-eyed.
  6. Chivalrous.
  7. Handy.

Seven Things I Say Most Often
  1. Good grief.
  2. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
  3. Oh, please.
  4. Yeah, right. (The only case of a double positive that creates a negative meaning.)
  5. [I'm at a loss. Maybe my friends and family will have suggestions of what I say all the time.]

Seven Celebrity Crushes
  1. Mr. Darcy (real name: Colin Firth).
  2. Prince William
  3. Um, let's see...
  4. This is hard. I don't normally have crushes on celebrities.
  5. I still have a crush on my husband, though...
  6. ...despite is hazel eyes.
  7. Goran Visnjic, I guess.

"Our...Asian Tsunami"

0

Written on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 by Jessica

I don't understand how someone could even suggest that Katrina could come close to "our equivalent of the Asian tsunami".

CNN has removed all trace of the quote from their website (undoubtedly due to potential backlash), but I do have a screen shot of a cached page that contained the quote in a link. And as you can see from the first link, someone else had the foresight to reproduce the quote instead of just linking to it.

Even if no one had been evacuated, we would never have approached the tsunami in terms of loss of life because we have infinitely more resources to mount an immediate rescue operation.

Root canal is next Friday

1

Written on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 by Jessica

Good grief. That dentist applied a piece of ice directly to my tooth. I told him even before he touched me that we could dispense with the ice; I assured him I would be able to feel it very well, thank you very much. Apparently, he wanted to watch me come right out of that seat, which I did. I'm happy to have provided his daily amusement.

Heavy heart

2

Written on Monday, August 29, 2005 by Jessica

I have a cousin in prison who was convicted of managing a drug house a couple of years ago. Due to federal minimum sentencing guidelines for drug crimes, killers often spend less time in prison than Amie will. If you search the Federal Bureau of Prison's online inmate locator, Amie's expected release date is listed as 2021. I've created a blog to help the family keep in touch. Amie can't read the blog, but I can send her printouts when family members leave comments.

eBay porn

7

Written on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 by Jessica

My baby sister is selling porn on eBay. Okay, she's not a baby. She's twenty years old, but I'm still freaked out. She says, "You gotta make a living somehow." Maybe it's not the porn that freaks me out so much as the lively selling descriptions she's uses. I don't think I'm going to tell my mom.

Root canal

0

Written on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 by Jessica

I need a root canal! :(

Top Ten Best Commericals Ever

2

Written on Thursday, August 11, 2005 by Jessica

1. Citi's first commercial in the "Identity Theft" series. "First, I emptied the checking account, and then I hit the mall, and there in the window was this sexy little outfit and oh my gosh! I just had to have it! Fifteen hundred dollars for a leather bustier?..."

2. Where's the Beef? (Link is kind of a pain. You'll have to watch a different commerical first. Then "Where's the Beef?" is supposed to load automatically. If it doesn't, you have to click the "Playing" link.)

3. The Isuzu commericals that David Leisure did back in the day.

4. Budweiser frogs.

List still in progress.

All hail the great Kim Jong-il

0

Written on Wednesday, August 03, 2005 by Jessica

I love this article. Kim Jong-il for president!

How drunk do you have to be?

3

Written on Thursday, July 28, 2005 by Jessica







Still sugar free

0

Written on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 by Jessica

Ugh. I managed to ignore a plate of cookies, but now I'm worried that I've used up all the willpower I'm going to require tonight at a birthday party.

Sugar Free

0

Written on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 by Jessica

It's been roughly twenty-four hours since I've had any sugar. This is going to kill me. Maybe I should take up smoking to get my mind off the sugar.

Good lord

0

Written on Monday, July 18, 2005 by Jessica

Defies comprehension.

Sick

1

Written on Monday, July 18, 2005 by Jessica

I just ate an entire 5.3 oz bag of Rolo candies. It works out to about three servings. I feel sick.

Is it any surprise I'm so overweight?

Bride and Prejudice

0

Written on Monday, July 18, 2005 by Jessica

I spent the chief of the day yesterday watching my most recently received Netflix movie, Bride and Prejudice. First I watched the movie. Then I turned on the director commentary and watched it again. Then I watched all the special features. Then I turned on the subtitles/closed captioning to watch a couple of parts where I wanted to see what was being sung (which was sometimes in Punjabi or Hindi) or where I had trouble understanding what they were saying. Overall, I was happy with it, but Mr. Darcy was too short. It's hard to cram the whole novel into two hours.

Grokker Is Free Now

1

Written on Monday, June 27, 2005 by Jessica

Look. Grokker is free now. Grokker doesn't exactly rock my world, which is why I wasn't willing to pay for it back when it first came out, but it's still interesting.

Barely related thought: When I first read about hypertext, I just plain didn't get it and thought it was kinda dumb, so you could say it didn't rock my world, either. Then again, I was ten years old, so maybe I should go easy on myself. Still, I would like to have been a brilliant kid who could recognize the genius of the web's driving mechanism: the hyperlink. Seriously, I can remember sitting there reading about a little software program that came with my mom's Mac that allowed you to link from one document to another. I couldn't figure out why you'd ever want to do that.

Woe is me. I'm so old!

2

Written on Wednesday, June 22, 2005 by Jessica

The Offspring have released a Greatest Hits disc. How did I get so old?

Diet desperation

0

Written on Wednesday, June 22, 2005 by Jessica

I have sunk to such depths as to be drinking a Diet Coke this very moment and it's disgusting. I really hate diet drinks. After one sip, I'm pouring it out. Plus, it has caffeine in it. I don't drink caffeine.

Sigh. Diet back on today.

1

Written on Wednesday, June 22, 2005 by Jessica

The diet is back on today. Sigh. I'm really starting to crave a cigarette or ten (see Cigarette post), with whole bunch of tobacco on top. It's been a year since I started dieting seriously for the first time ever and ended up losing thirty-some pounds in five months. But then the holidays (Thanksgiving, birthday, Christmas) arrived and everything fell apart. I purposely stopped dieting with the intention of starting again after Christmas. Who knew it would be so hard. (It was fairly easy to get the diet started the first time. No so during subsequent attempts.)

Mangled song lyrics

0

Written on Tuesday, June 21, 2005 by Jessica

This post makes me think of Dolly Parton's song, "Two Doors Down."

Except I keep changing the words in my head:

Two doors down
Trailer trash is drinking and having a party.
Two doors down
There's not a way that I'm around.

Are kids worth it?

0

Written on Thursday, June 09, 2005 by Jessica

Here's a personal-finance article with some enjoyable moments. My favorite part:

OK, so you can't boil down procreation to dollars and cents. There is also the humiliation... [T]here's the time [my son] pointed to the lady in front of us in the checkout line and asked (for all to hear), "Why is she so fat?" Which is just as bad as the times he talks about his private parts in mixed company. (So far, we have been spared this ignominy with our 2-year-old daughter, who, because she still has trouble pronouncing V's and G's, refers to her private parts as her "china." ...)
Hahahaha. Cracked me up. Also reminds me, with no little consternation, of when I was about five or six and asked my mother why a woman in our church had such a big butt. The woman laughed and then played organ at my wedding years later, so I guess she didn't hold a grudge.

Highly Underrated Song

1

Written on Friday, June 03, 2005 by Jessica

"Black Betty" by Ram Jam (not Lynyrd Skynyrd, as some illegally downloaded files might suggest). I didn't even know the song existed until Spiderbait did a cover.

Purple Flower Moment

1

Written on Wednesday, June 01, 2005 by Jessica

I'm reading Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Amazon recommended it to me because I like David Sedaris. (Barely related: Just once I'd like to see or meet a gay guy who prefers to go by Dave instead of David. He must be out there somewhere. And there must be at least one gay Chris out there. They can't all be Christophers, can they?)

Rosenthal's "Purple Flower" entry says:

There is a single purple flower a couple of feet from where I am sitting. I am feeling poorly dressed and missing my long hair. I am at Cafe De Lucca in Bucktown, and there is a purple flower--that's how I would define this moment. And you, your moment? Where are you at this moment? E-mail me and tell me. If you are the hundredth person to do so, I will bake you a pie and FedEx it to you. You will have to trust me on this.
Try though I might, I cannot define my moment. I'm sitting on our waterbed with my legs crossed underneath me. (In kindergarten, we called it Indian style--Okay, class. It's story time, so let's all go sit on the story mat Indian style--but that's probably not politically correct anymore.) The sheets are cranberry, but why would I want to define this moment by the cranberry sheets? Sure, Rosenthal picked a purple flower, but that doesn't mean I have to copy her by picking a colored something around me. The fan in the window is blowing cool outdoor air on my face, which is nice.

None of this, by the way, is actually happening right now. It all happened last night as I was reading the "Purple Flower" entry. But to be true to the spirit of the Purple Flower Moment, I thought I ought to write it all in present tense as did Rosenthal. After mulling for a bit, I realized that I couldn't find anything to define that moment in time because the moment was essentially meaningless to me. That's when I moved to get off the bed. Suddenly, I was able to identify what defined the moment--not that moment in time, but a more important moment--that moment in my life. And what, praytell, defined that moment in my life? Brace yourself... Sore ass cheeks. Yes, it's true.

The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body, and it's a muscle we hardly ever notice. In fact, I have always tended to think of its purpose as being for padding, which is ridiculous notion, because muscles are always for movement--fat is for padding. But there I was, climbing off the bed, well aware that my ass muscles were horribly sore. Dammit, since when did it become necessary for me to do warm-up and cool-down stretches before and after gardening, for god's sake? Since age thirty, that's when!

Yes, it seems too pitiful to be true, but I weeded the small shade garden in front of my house the day before, and now my glutes (gluts?) and the backs of my thighs are so sore I can hardly sit down or stand up. It's bad karma, I think, because I wouldn't be so sore if I'd just stayed on my hands and knees as I worked. But no, I was a little lazy, frequently bending at the waist, which is not good for the back, nor, apparently, for the ass-cheek muscles. And as I was bending at the waist to pull those weeds, I was quite conscious of the fact that I shouldn't be subjecting my unsuspecting neighbors and passersby to such a sight. They might be happy to look on if I lost sixty pounds or so, but until then, it was unkind of me. But still I bent at the waist, contorting all the thigh and ass-cheek muscles I never realized I ever use.

Negative Reviews

2

Written on Monday, May 02, 2005 by Jessica

How come when you leave a negative product review people seem to give you unhelpful votes simply because they disagree with you? I hate the fact that it bugs me when people give me unhelpful votes. I don't leave many reviews, but when I do, I try to give information that people would have a hard time finding out otherwise. So it bothers me when people give unhelpful votes. And I don't mean I'm irritated, either. I mean that it deflates me and makes me feel lousy. Fine, I guess I'll admit that it sort of hurts my feelings. No one reads this thing, after all. I might as well be writing this in my private journal at home.