aqua fortis

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

2 Bad Things and 4 Good Things.

Words I Hate, Part 2:

  • downright. I think this word is downright overused. Often by me.
  • family, as a code word for morally upright or Christian. They're ruining this word for me. I seriously was upset at the thought that S.C. Johnson Wax was "a family company," as stated in their commercial voice-over, until I learned that they are literally a company that has been owned by members of the Johnson family since its inception.

Four Songs I Would Like to Sing at Karaoke One Day:

  • Say It Isn't So by Hall and Oates. For some reason, this is in my vocal range, and I know all the words. I'm not sure if it's something to be proud of, though.
  • Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac. Again, in my vocal range. I kind of like this song. Plus I'd get to husky up my voice like Stevie Nicks, which sounds like fun.
  • Son of a Preacher Man by Dusty Springfield. Another song roughly in my vocal range, though I'd have to practice to sound any good. Probably an overused karaoke classic, but who cares.
  • Space Oddity by David Bowie. A good song for hamming it up in dramatic style. I swear this is in my vocal range, unless I'm taking it up an octave.

The only time I've ever really sung karaoke was on our trip to Japan a few years ago. It was awesome, because we got our own little room. Beth and I sang Girls Just Want to Have Fun, which went surprisingly well--who knew I could sound like Cyndi Lauper? I also attempted to sing Young Americans by David Bowie, but that was far less successful. I'm just not that cool, as it turns out. Plus, a lot of the words turned out to be a complete and total surprise. "Blushing at all those afro sheeners?" What the hell does that mean?

Stemming the Tide of Junk Mail

Sick of all those credit card and insurance offers? Me, too. In fact, I'm not sure what possessed me to read the back of "IMPORTANT FEDERAL EDUCATION LOAN INFORMATION," but I did. And somehow, I saw the small print that said something about a Prescreen Opt-Out.

So I looked it up online, and lo and behold, you, too can opt out of paper-wasting junk mail for five years or permanently. And you can always opt back in if you get that hankering to cut down some trees.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Tooting My Own Horn

It's my first official, paid print publication! Hooray! Go to this pdf and scroll down to page 22. Be warned - if I haven't already e-mailed you about this, there may be one coming. Even if it is just an alumnae publication, I'm still excited. Somehow there's a different cachet to a) being published in print, and b) getting remuneration for it. Sure, I wrote 2 columns every weekday for over a year and a half while working at IGN, making for a truly staggering number of paragraphs of drivel, but those were neither in print NOR paid.

Apparently I'm a bloggin' fool today, after not doing any blogging whilst down in SoCal visiting the 'rents. I'm in a good mood and kind of excited after reorganizing my weekly schedule (yes, that is a geeky thing to be excited about, but that's just me). I'm hoping it will make me a more organized, productive, and stress-minimizing person. It just had to be done, anyway. I try to do way too many things NOT to be organized, which is why my business license had to be relegated to Services Not Otherwise Specified.

The things you learn when you read the directions.

On the instruction sheet for my Application For Passport By Mail, form DS-82: "NOTE: Your previous passport will be returned to you with your new passport."

So, yeah. You can ignore all that bitching I just did about being sad that my souvenir visa stamps would be going away. Big ol' duh. Rilly, Sarah kan reed and rite reel gud.

Famous Cal Alumni I Wish I Knew

Ever wanted to know more about the brains behind National Novel Writing Month? All I have to say is, Go Bears!.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

End of an Era

We're finally making concrete preparations for a 2-week trip to China in May, with Rob's parents, uncle, and aunt. His aunt is originally from Shanghai and can speak three dialects of Chinese, which will be very VERY useful and will help us not be scared. Yesterday, we got our first Hepatitis B immunization, and we both will get tetanus shots next month. Yay, repeated pokes in the arm.

Also, the other day I got new passport photos taken because I need to renew my passport. (See left for old mug shot - the new one is very similar with the exception of longer hair and a different shirt.) Upon looking at the paperwork, I realized that I have to mail them my old passport. This kind of makes me sad--I'll be parting with all those rubber-stamps that are like badges of the places I've been in the past ten years.

visa stamps 1Like back in '96, when I first got the passport in order to spend the summer working in London. You can see the June 2 stamp from when I entered the country, and the handwritten "three months" indicating the length of my student work visa. You can also see where I went in and out of London on a four-day trip to Germany.

visa stamps 2There's my stamp for leaving the UK. You can also see where I went to Canada. This was my very first Welsh course, in Toronto, and my first trip to Toronto ever. There was lots of beer and merriment and language-fumbling, and now I'm Vice-President, so I guess it all worked out.

Here you can see another trip to the UK in 2000, where I attended the Welsh course in Carmarthen, Wales, while Rob journeyed about the countryside without me. Then we went to London for about a week and met up with my friend Greg, who currently divides his time between Connah's Quay, Wales and Dublin. You can also see the stamp from me coming back from a Welsh course in Ottawa. in 2004.

travel visas 4You can also see where we went to Japan, in and out of Osaka Kansai airport, which was an awesome trip to which Beth can attest. What you can't see, because for some reason it's not there, is our trip to Paris in winter of 2001-02. That's sad, because that was sort of our honeymoon trip, plus we got to spend New Year's in Paris and watch the changeover to the Euro. There were many Euro-related festivities, believe me. It was also quite literally freezing. Like, lots of fountains were frozen over.

But China will be a great stamp to inaugurate the new passport. I hope I get a chance to blog from there.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

My Poor Little House

Actually, it's really "poor me," because the actual house is getting a great deal out of this whole mess. And I mean mess. Currently our dining room lives in the dirty studio (i.e., the room out by the garage where we keep all the paint, solvents, the etching press, and other things we don't want in the house) and our kitchen lives in the front hall. You haven't lived, friends, until you've kept your refrigerator in the front hall. Our house is currently a "no obese people" zone because the space in our entry way is only about two feet wide. On the other hand, the beer access from the living room has never been easier.

Scarcely do we finish one household project than another one gets started. Sometimes we don't even finish the previous project. I don't care for this, but we're dependent on the schedules of friends and acquaintances to help us. As I heard once on Bernie Mac, you can't have a construction project that is cheap, fast, and well done. You can only have two at a time. Guess which one we don't have.

Anyway, the project just past was fixing the cabinet under our kitchen sink, which was leaked into (fortunately, this will be covered by our homeowner's insurance), and shoring up the wooden sub-floor in the kitchen, which was saggy partly due to a crappy tile job. Our current project involves removing the crappy tile job and installing some nice, easy-to-care-for, non-cheap-looking linoleum. Part of the reason for the linoleum is that when things drop on tile, they tend to break...and I am one of those people who drops things more often than the average person. I even dropped a Corelle plate in there and it broke, and supposedly those never break.

Anyway, the tile is being ripped out tomorrow. We're going out of town this weekend. We weren't able to pick out a linoleum pattern today because the showroom had lent out one of their books of samples to another outlet. When one does this rather roundabout math, it adds up to bare floor and hallway-kitchen for at least a week. ARGH!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Anti-Chain-Letter

Every once in a while, a friend, perfectly well-meaning, sends me a chain e-mail. You know. The kind that says something wonderful will happen in my life if only I clog up the internet-ether with a specified number of additional pointless e-mails.

I really hate these. I find them to be blatantly manipulative, not to mention superstitious to excess. One I received today, which had a yellow ribbon for soldiers fighting in Iraq, angrily warned me "I BETTER NOT HEAR OF ANYONE BREAKING THIS ONE OR SEE DELETED" (sic). I then was instructed to send it to a rather arbitrary-sounding 13 people in 15 minutes. So many of these e-mails also lay a guilt trip on you for not sending it back to the person who initially e-mailed it to you, as if that would mean you have no friends and are a sad and lonely individual. Frankly, I think that NOT sending it along makes you a BETTER friend. Chain letters always make me wonder who starts these things, and whether they're getting some kind of karma bonus the more poor saps get duped into sending them along. It also inspired me to write the following:

Dear Friend,
Today is your lucky day. Somebody must really hate you because you have just received the mother of all annoying chain letters!!!!! Do not delete this or the universe will implode. If you do not send this along within the next thirty seconds (starting now), you will die a violent death alone and friendless in a cruel, radiation-contaminated world. If you send this letter to 2,067 people before time runs out, something wonderful will happen, like telemarketers leaving you alone for eternity, or never receiving another chain letter. Or not. But maybe. So you better do it. Smile! Have a nice day!

Thursday, January 19, 2006


God, how much do I wish I could get this job??

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Holiday Fun Time

It's time for your daily doses of senseless violence and schadenfreude. Whee!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Words I Hate

  • Blouse. Also "slacks." If you ever see me wearing a "blouse" and "slacks," you can smack me upside the head.
  • Turducken. Just for the first four letters alone.
  • Teen, Teenager. Sounds dumb to me for some reason.
  • Bong. Some stoner must have made that one up.
  • Girlfriend in reference to a female friend. It's such one-sided terminology: you'd never say "I went out with my boyfriends," unless, I suppose, you had a small male harem.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Awesome Blog Ideas

I wish I'd thought of this. It's totally something I might think of. Except I didn't, so...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Tasty Morsels

Yum! A new food blog. By a local SF writer who loves traveling, eating, and cooking - perfect! I love it when I find other people whose travel seems to revolve, in some fundamental way, around food and eating. Rob and I took pictures of various meals in Japan, and it's nice not to feel crazy for doing things like that.

Friday, January 06, 2006


Okay, this is freaking awesome. I wish I'd thought of it myself.


I hadn't been to b3ta in a while, and then I found this Pornalike Quiz (not for the prudish). It's really the music that cracked me up--and the kittens--but also the fact that I only got 9 out of 15 correct. Of course, I am not as familiar with British media personalities, which formed a decent portion of the quiz.

I'm actually supposed to be looking for art-related (but fun) links for Rob's online Art Appreciation classes this spring. There's going to be a Link of the Week, such as Mr. Picasso Head, to make people think about the nature and purpose of art.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Where Is My Motivation?

There are days--too many of them--when I find it very hard to get motivated to do anything at all, except sit there and maybe read or fill my brain with mindless television. Today I feel like that.

Those days, I remember glimpses of what it felt like--almost ten years ago now, hard as that is to believe--to be caught in the mire of depression. A web of thoughts that tangle and catch, around and around, over and over, until you don't want to think anything anymore. I remember lying on the bed in my studio apartment, staring at the wall because that was all I really felt like doing. I remember studying really hard, because it kept my mind off things and seemed like my only outlet. There are a few weeks of the summer of '96 that I don't remember, because I was prescribed Ativan three times a day. I met Rob that fall, which I think did more for me than anything else--antidepressants, therapy, whatever--in getting me out of that mind state.

Every once in a while, when I have those glimpses of memory (though I did my best in the years since to kill those particular brain cells with beer and such), I get scared that it will happen again. That this is only the beginning of months, even years, of everything feeling gray and pointless. On those days, all I can do is hope that it isn't.

Monday, January 02, 2006


We're under a flash flood warning tonight in Modesto, specifically areas near Dry Creek. We took this seriously because, in fact, we live in an area near Dry Creek. However, we're not on the low ground. If our neighborhood flooded, the whole city would be flooded.

Nevertheless, we might take a little drive over there later and see if the river has overflowed into the park (there is a large park located along the floodplain). It's a very big floodplain, so we think we don't need to evacuate...knock on wood. One neighborhood in town, a few miles away, is practically next to the creek, though, so according to the news, some of those residents are sandbagging.