Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Age can be a State of Mind

Different things and events in life can age us. We can be aged mentally, physically and/or spiritually. We need to take care of ourselves as we age, regardless of our physical age. If we can help it, try to not age too quickly! There is no aging race! So, stop thinking and talking old. It's in our attitude, our mentality and our spirits. Canes, medical ailments and negativity can be just props in our lives, aging us faster than we'd like. We are capable of taking control of our power in knowing what we can change, what we can't change and accepting these differences. Reminds me of the Serenity Prayer. Here it goes:

G-d (or Higher Power), grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Donut Burgers & Hamdogs

Unfortunately, I had the comedic misfortune of seeing a chef, Chandler, on The Jay Leno Show demonstrate how to make two popular dishes from his Georgian restaurant which happened to be down the street from a PGA golf course.. And, I laughed at this misfortune during a break from working on my final paper due tomorrow.

That man, Jay Leno, is a funny man. He had Chandler come from Georgia to make two specific heart-clogging dishes on air:

(1)Bacon Cheeseburgers with Krispy Kreme Donuts;
2) Hamdogs.

I was distracted enough from my paper to watch with my jaw dropped as Chandler sliced the donut through the middle like slicing a roll. He grilled both sides of the donut before using it as hamburger buns for the bacon cheeseburger. Jay Leno took a bite out of this Donut Bacon Cheeseburger sandwich. Donut icing glazed his lips as he chewed.

As for the Hamdog, Chandler made it like rolling sushi. He flattened the ground beef on a wax sheet, pressed a fat hot dog at the end of the beef spread then used the wax paper to roll up the hot dog. The hot dog was inside the hamburger meat, looking like hot dogs encased in bread. Chandler proceeded to *deep fry* this Hamdog! He said he sold these with a side for $9! When the hamdog was done frying, he loaded the hamdog on a sliced hoagie and topped it with chili, bacon, grilled onions, and one fried egg! Just when I thought the chili was the main topping, another topping was put atop. One topping after another, ending with that egg! Such a heart attack waiting to happen. Jay asked how he could eat it - "with a pitchfork?"

The Meaning of Beauty

The meaning of beauty. What does beauty mean to you? What does "being beautiful" or "being pretty" truly mean and implicate?

We are well-familiar with the Society's definitions of beauty and perception of what type of women are considered "beautiful." Aesthetically beautiful women grace the covers of magazines and billboards as well as make TV appearances. Being aesthetically beautiful may be a job requisite (i.e., modeling). Society is made up of people, institutions and more. All these components interplay in the definition and so-called standards of beauty. Such standards affect how we define the meaning of beauty.

On the other hand, there's the concept of inner and outer beauty. Some women may be aesthetically beautiful on the outside but not beautiful on the inside. There are women who are beautiful inside yet don't meet society's standards of beauty. Some people believe that inner beauty blossoms out and makes the woman beautiful on the outside like a rosebud blooming into a rose beholded by others.

According to www.dictionary.com, the word beautiful means (please ignore the pronunciation key):


beau·ti·ful ( P ) Pronunciation Key (byt-fl)

adj.

Having qualities that delight the senses, especially the sense of sight.
Excellent; wonderful.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

beauti·ful·ly adv.
beauti·ful·ness n.


Synonyms: beautiful, lovely, pretty, handsome, comely, fair

1 All these adjectives apply to what excites aesthetic admiration. Beautiful is most comprehensive: a beautiful child; a beautiful painting; a beautiful mathematical proof. Lovely applies to what inspires emotion rather than intellectual appreciation: “They were lovely, your eyes” (George Seferis). What is pretty is beautiful in a delicate or graceful way: a pretty face; a pretty song; a pretty room. Handsome stresses poise and dignity of form and proportion: a very large, handsome paneled library. “She is very pretty, but not so extraordinarily handsome” (William Makepeace Thackeray). Comely suggests wholesome physical attractiveness: “Mrs. Hurd is a large woman with a big, comely, simple face” (Ernest Hemingway). Fair emphasizes freshness or purity: “In the highlands, in the country places,/Where the old plain men have rosy faces,/And the young fair maidens/Quiet eyes” (Robert Louis Stevenson).

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


beautiful

adj 1: delighting the senses or exciting intellectual or emotional admiration; "a beautiful child"; "beautiful country"; "a beautiful painting"; "a beautiful theory"; "a beautiful party" [ant: ugly] 2: aesthetically pleasing 3: (of weather) highly enjoyable; "what a beautiful day"

Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

Keep these definitions in mind.

I typed in www.beauty.com. It was a website for make up, cosmetics, skin care, hair supplies and tips and secrets. What kind of message does this send us - girls and women alike? Does it imply that outer beauty is to be factored in when considering whether or not a woman is beautiful? Or, is it a way to cover up things women may not consider attractive on natural external selves? In my personal opinion, some women wear make up like a mask to hide themselves. When they remove their make up and all beauty care products, how they view themselves and accept themselves as their natural external selves is important. For me, it's more important than what brand or product one puts on or wears. Yet, I admire women who wear products by choice because it is a way of expressing who they are and how they embrace and enhance their natural beauty. It can be a form and outlet of loving self.

We as women need to develop a filter and choose what to accept and weed out when it comes to different definitions of beauty communicated to us by society, friends, peers and people; we need to filter and be aware of our perception of what it means to be beautiful and how to live as beautiful women.

In my personal dictionary, living as a beautiful woman means being able to filter all these messages about inner and outer beauty, maintain a sense of beauty and know how to live as beautiful women. A body part or a scarred emotional past may challenge a woman's sense of beauty and her definition of how beautiful she is as a woman. Mirrors will not lie about it reflects. But, a mirror does not always tell you the truth about how you think of yourself as a woman, a beautiful or ugly woman on the inside and/or outside. What matters to me is what you think when you look in the mirror and see a reflection of yourself. Do you look at how you look on the outside only? Do you also take a moment to look at yourself in the eyes or look at what your body language is communicating to you about your beauty? Looking into a mirror is a subjective experience because how you think and feel affects what you see in the mirror. Mirrors do not have captions saying, "You are ugly," nor does it have captions like in Times Square saying "You are beautiful" or "You have a huge butt." It's all subjective. I have made a personal choice to think, believe and live as a beautiful woman. I know I am beautiful. I may not be considered beautiful by some people based on my weight or other standards people may have subjectively scripted in their personal dictionaries and filter systems. Nonetheless, I am beautiful. I feel comfortable in my own skin, and I am pleased with who I see in the mirror. I think to myself that I am a "beautiful sizzling Sarah." I am not going to choose to think that I am ugly based on a physical feature, weight or other people's definitions of beauty. I choose to not make myself suffer, regardless. I believe that we all have choices as women to define our own meanings of beauty and what it means to be beautiful women. Yes, sometimes previous experiences and messages from others may color our definition and perception of who we are and how we view our inner and outer beauty. This is a tragedy in itself. Yet, it's important to not let the past hold power over you today. There will and always have been some people who consider you ugly, inside and/or outside. And, there will always be people who know we are beautiful on the inside and/or outside. I'd rather listen to these people who know and see the beauty in me and people in general.

Think about the meaning of beauty and how you define beauty. After all, we do have choices; we have choices in:

1 - how we view ourselves in the mirror;
2 - who we choose to interact with;
3 - how we deal with the people we meet up;
4 - developing and refining the type of filter we use to define and deal with the definitions of beauty in this society we live in;
5 - loving ourselves inside and outside

Nerd Moment

And, I mean that in a positive way when I say 'nerd moment.'

Was briefly watching a documentary about animals who help each other. As I made a quick glance toward the TV screen while making reservations online, I immediately looked back. Tarantula!!!!!

I'm terrified of tarantulas and spiders in general! I was riveted because I wanted to know what kind of creature would be helpful to tarantulas. Me curious!

The narrator described how big these hairy spiders could get, as big as dinner plates. *eeeeeeeeeks! so glad I don't live in South America or Africa!!!* These larger species eat birds, snakes and rodents. A scene of the tarantula attacking and sinking its "half-inch long fangs" into a snake, paralyzing it and inserting venom before devouring it was shown.

*zooming into a dirty tunnel*

*closes up to reveal a frog*

Frogs help tarantulas!!! How? They sit by the large spun ball (with eggs inside) eating any insects that come near the egg. They protect and guard these tarantula eggs. Plus, the tarantula's homes provide a safe moist refuge from the heat of the day outside. Whenever the tarantula comes home, it simply crawls over the frog and allows the frog to keep on sitting there underneath its abdomen. In turn, the tarantula protects the frogs from any predators. Eeeks! But, I'm glad that such beneficial relationship exists in nature.

*sigh*

Monday, June 27, 2005

Koreans Nix Cabbage Inside Baseball Caps

I found this method of staying cool quite hilarious and creative. Why havent us NYCers thought of this yet? Perhaps I'll try during the next heat wave that NYC is famous for.
-S


Koreans Nix Cabbage Inside Baseball Caps

SEOUL, South Korea (June 24) - South Korea's love for cabbage - the key ingredient in its national dish, kimchi - apparently doesn't extend to the baseball field.

The Korea Baseball Organization ruled that wearing cabbage leaves inside a baseball cap constitutes as an "alien material" that may disrupt a game, the organization said in a statement.

The decision came after Doosan Bears pitcher Park Myung-hwan's cap fell off twice in a game last Sunday, revealing frozen cabbage leaves. He was using the vegetables to keep his head cool and no measures were taken at the time.

"What will we do if another team argues that because the cabbage leaf fell just as the pitcher was pitching, the batter got confused?" league rules committee chair Heo Koo-youn said, according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.

Park said he had planned to give up his unusual cooling agent before the decision.

"I wasn't planning to use cabbage any longer regardless of the decision of the rules committee, so I don't care," he told Yonhap.


06/24/05 06:43 EDT

Japanese Man, 95, Breaks Running Record

Japanese Man, 95, Breaks Running Record

TOKYO (June 20) - A 95-year-old Japanese man who took up track only three decades ago has run the 100 meters in 22.04 seconds, a record for his age bracket, according to media reports.

Kozo Haraguchi looked sturdy and fit as he dashed Sunday at an outdoor track slick with rain in the southern Japanese city of Miyazaki.

"It was the first time for me to run in the rain and as I was thinking to myself, 'I mustn't fall, I mustn't fall,' I made it across the goal," Haraguchi told reporters.

Japanese media reports Monday said that Haraguchi had beaten the world record of 24.01 seconds for the 95 to 99 age group set by Hawaii-resident Erwin Jaskulski in May 1999.

His time will be submitted to the World Masters Athletics organization for verification, they said.

Haraguchi also holds the World Masters Athletics' world record for the fastest man aged 90 to 95 - a time of 18.08 seconds he set in September 2000. He started track events at age 65 and stays healthy by taking hourlong walks daily.


06/20/05 14:53 EDT

Lions Protect Abducted Ethiopian Girl From Attackers

Lions Protect Abducted Ethiopian Girl From Attackers
'They Stood Guard Until We Found Her,' Police Say


By ANTHONY MITCHELL, AP

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (June 21) - A 12-year-old girl who was abducted and beaten by men trying to force her into a marriage was found being guarded by three lions who apparently had chased off her captors, a policeman said Tuesday.
The girl, missing for a week, had been taken by seven men who wanted to force her to marry one of them, said Sgt. Wondimu Wedajo, speaking by telephone from the provincial capital of Bita Genet, about 350 miles southwest of Addis Ababa.

She was beaten repeatedly before she was found June 9 by police and relatives on the outskirts of Bita Genet, Wondimu said. She had been guarded by the lions for about half a day, he said.

''They stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest,'' Wondimu said.

''If the lions had not come to her rescue, then it could have been much worse. Often these young girls are raped and severely beaten to force them to accept the marriage,'' he said.

Tilahun Kassa, a local government official who corroborated Wondimu's version of the events, said one of the men had wanted to marry the girl against her wishes.

''Everyone thinks this is some kind of miracle, because normally the lions would attack people,'' Wondimu said.

Stuart Williams, a wildlife expert with the rural development ministry, said the girl may have survived because she was crying from the trauma of her attack.

''A young girl whimpering could be mistaken for the mewing sound from a lion cub, which in turn could explain why they didn't eat her,'' Williams said.

Ethiopia's lions, famous for their large black manes, are the country's national symbol and adorn statues and the local currency. Despite a recent crackdown, Hunters also kill the animals for their skins, which can fetch $1,000. Williams estimates that only 1,000 Ethiopian lions remain in the wild.

The girl, the youngest of four siblings, was ''shocked and terrified'' after her abduction and had to be treated for the cuts from her beatings, Wondimu said.

He said police had caught four of the abductors and three were still at large.

Kidnapping young girls has long been part of the marriage custom in Ethiopia. The United Nations estimates that more than 70 percent of marriages in Ethiopia are by abduction, practiced in rural areas where most of the country's 71 million people live.


06-21-05 21:47 EDT

Quote

You need to surround yourself with quality human beings that are intelligent and have a vision, and not when they come with an agenda of their own.

-Vince McMahon

'Blame the Signs for Bad Driving'

'Blame the Signs for Bad Driving.... buckle up with Geminis, Relax with Scorpios' caught my attention while checking the news today. I chuckled and immediately thought it was hogwash. I proceeded to read the article anyway. Here is the article for your entertainment. I don't really believe in horoscope and astrology. It's ok for checking once in a while. But, the danger in it lies in astrology itself plus the tendency to overgeneralize. I know many drivers within my horoscope sign who are horrible as well as great conscentious drivers. On another note, I think that this is an attempt by Australian Financial Service's public relations folks for creating a buzz about the company. Ridiculous strategy - such a ridiculous one that it needs to resort to use of astrology to get media attention.

-S


Astrology: Which Signs are the Best Drivers? And the Worst?

Please don't shoot the messenger, but Suncorp Metway, Ltd., a multi-faceted Australian Financial Service, ranked car accident claimants by Sun sign in a study of 160,000 accident claims over the previous three-year period. This is what they found.

Restless Geminis Behind the Wheel
The number one worst drivers were Geminis, "typically described as restless, easily bored and frustrated by things moving slowly," explained Warren Duke, Suncorp's national manager of personal insurance. "They had more car accidents than any other sign."

No astrologer would argue with that description of the sign of the Twins and probably this isn't very surprising news. But what about the other signs?

According to a news release dated February 10, 2002, Duke said the study was carried out as part of Suncorp's annual review of claims. "We always look for trends in claims to see if there are ways to reduce our pricing, but there is no intention to introduce astrology as a rating factor for motor insurance," he said.

Second and third place holders for this dubious honor are Taurus and Pisces. "Taureans were thought to be obstinate and inflexible, "said Duke," while Pisceans could be risk-takers and daredevils."

Your personal astrologer would offer other explanations. First Taurus. Yes, Taureans can be obstinate and inflexible, but they are also the most introverted and self absorbed of all the signs. Their natural path in life is to think about their own body—its immediate comfort and needs—and to deal with only the most tangible and immediate of realities. Their thinking as drivers may run like this. My stomach is full, the temperature in the car is pretty good, the noise level is good, I'm riding right at 60, I don't have to use the bathroom for at least another hour and there's plenty of gas in the tank. At a very fundamental level, the world outside the chassis of their car may not exist at all. Since freeway driving requires spatial perception and processing of much abstract information (speed, flow and distance), this is counter to their natural way of processing the world around them.


Pisces the Daredevil?
Pisces, in the number three position, is the other sign that lives in a world of its own. Duke describes them as potential risk takers and daredevils. However, there are other signs we would nominate much more readily for a description like this.

Pisceans are the gentle dreamers of the zodiac. They may spend many hours a day in fantasy worlds, escaping the painful realities of life on the physical plane and, more often than not, the pain of being in a physical body. They often experience the whole manifest world as an illusion and their presence in it as temporary and of little importance.

This Piscean detachment from the physical can lead to unconscious feelings of invulnerability or invincibility, also to unconscious feelings of victimization and sacrifice. If you are momentarily deluded into thinking you don't have physical limits, and that your life is but a fleeting moment in the eternal life of the soul, you can respond to situations of physical danger in illogical ways. Or, at the very least, be slow on the uptake.

Please don't take these descriptions as critical. The qualities of Taurus and Pisces are invaluable in their proper spheres of influence. Astrology is not a critical tool. It is a tool of enlightenment. Something you read here and become conscious about may save your life.

Duke continues, "Capricorns, who came last on the list, are typically described as patient and careful."

No argument with that from the professional astrologer. It's no surprise Caps are the safest behind the wheel. They're the safest at everything! Their patience and sense of responsibility are legendary. Imagine the thrill I felt in the passenger seat when I divorced my Gemini husband and began dating a Capricorn.

The great middle ground of this survey is held by Sun signs in this order:
4. Virgo
5. Cancer
6. Aquarius
7. Aries
8. Leo
9. Libra
10. Sagittarius
11. Scorpio [and Capricorn in last position as the best drivers]


Is this what you would have expected? There is something else fascinating about this list.

The folks at SunCorp would have no way of knowing it, but Capricorn to the side, the signs in the last two positions and first two positions are the exact opposite. This tells us a great deal about polarities, doesn't it? Scorpio is opposite Taurus and Sagittarius is opposite Gemini.

Sagittarians may stay safe in their cars the same way they do in life, by having superbly developed higher minds. Another name for this mind is intuition. The highly developed sense of flow and good timing characteristic of Sagittarians is what makes them the lucky sign. Furthermore, their minds are right at home dealing with traffic patterns, flow and spatial relations.

Scorpios, on the other hand, may stay safe because they are intimately involved with the inner lives of others in the same way their opposite sign Taurus is defended against this information. Scorpios are sensitive to energy— whether it is a foot away or thousands of miles away—and can feel someone "coming up from behind" at many different levels. Scorpios know if you've had a fight with your wife the night before or if you're thinking about embezzling or having an affair with your best friend's husband. That's why we always feel like they can see right through us. They can.

Scorpios would be the drivers who would instinctively "wake up" in time to let a cocaine addict pass them at 95 or give a wide berth to a passive aggressive soccer mom hassling two kids in the back seat and a phone conversation with her husband all at the same time.

Where does your sign fall in this survey? Whatever your Sun sign, let's all learn from this survey and be safe on the road.

About the Author
Nancy R. Fenn has been a professional astrologer in the San Diego area for over 25 years. She specializes in family readings.

Nine Ways to Raise Your Profile at Work

Nine Ways to Raise Your Profile at Work

CareerBuilder.com


Have you been passed over for a raise or promotion yet again? Does your boss keep referring to you as "Harry," even though your name is Larry? Are you the only name consistently left off the happy hour invitation e-mails? Does security stop you regularly when you try to walk into your office? If so, it's time for you to raise your profile in the office. Not sure how to get noticed? Here are nine ways to make sure your boss and coworkers finally start paying attention to your talents.

1. Find a mentor.
Asking a senior member of your organization to mentor you is a great way to push your name out among the executives, and can help you learn valuable information about your field and company. If possible, find a mentor who is not in your department. This will enable you to get to know people you do not work with on a daily basis.


2. Learn how to do lunch.
Many successful professionals have learned that going out to lunch with colleagues is a great way to network and build professional relationships. You don't have to know someone well to ask them to lunch. Just make a list of a few people in your office who are in interesting positions and let them know you would like to get to know them better. Go the extra step and pick up the bill. They won't pass up a free lunch and you'll gain a new contact.

3. Volunteer for new projects.
Sometimes the best way to get noticed is by doing a little extra. While volunteering for extra projects might cut into your free time, it will show your superiors that you are motivated and enthusiastic about the company. Better yet, volunteer for a project that no one else wants. This will cause the head honchos to sit up and take notice.

4. Put in your philanthropic time.
Many executives have pet volunteer projects that they care about. Find out which causes are important to your company's managers and get involved. Volunteering for nonprofit causes is a great way to get to know colleagues outside the workplace and a way to give back to your community.

5. Be a social butterfly.
Yes, you're probably tired at the end of a busy workweek, but try to make it to an occasional happy hour or stop in at the company picnic for a while. This gives you the opportunity to meet others in the workplace in a less guarded, more relaxed environment and let your personality shine. But be careful not to overindulge!

6. Learn a new trick.
Is your company developing a Web site but lacking people with Internet-savvy? Does your organization have a shortage of graphic designers? Why not turn yourself into the resident expert? Buy a book or take a class to learn a skill that will bring value to your company. Then make sure others know just what you can do. Pretty soon, you'll be the new "go-to" guy or gal.

7. Keep up with developments in your field.
One of the best ways to get noticed is by demonstrating that you are an asset to the company. Make it a point to learn all you can about your industry and the competition, and use your knowledge in the workplace. Copy an article about a competitor and pass it around to upper management (with a memo from you, of course). Make a suggestion about implementing a new technology that you have read about in a trade journal. Attend a professional association meeting, and make sure others there know your name.

8. Branch out.
Many professionals are extremely sheltered in the workplace, especially in big companies. Sure, you know everyone in your department, but what about the other areas of the company? Try to get to know one new person outside your department each week. Introduce yourself in the cafeteria and ask what he or she is working on. Your new-found friends will probably be flattered that you are interested in their work.

9. Speak up.
Do you get tongue-tied in your meetings? Do you have a lot of great ideas but lack the courage to raise them? Take a chance and speak your mind. Suggest new ways to improve the bottom line. Ask questions in meetings. Give your opinion about the business. While you may miss the mark from time to time, you will at least be known as someone who cares enough to take a chance.

Copyright 2004 CareerBuilder.com. All rights reserved.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Quote

God gave me the gift and blessing of being a woman and a lesbian. So, I might as well enjoy and appreciate His gifts and blessings. ~S

Feeling Good in Clothes

It feels great when you wear clothes you love and showcase how you feel inside or who you are. It's great when you know you look and feel so good in your clothes and appearance.

What's even more fun is shopping with close friends and having fun trying on clothes. I personally really enjoy finding clothes for my friends. I've been often told that I should become a personal shopper. I like learning about what a person likes, wants and/or needs then setting out to find these for that person. I love it when they try on something they otherwise would have never picked out to try on and delight or surprise themselves in how great they look. Besides, who likes having personal attention during their shopping experience? I have yet to meet someone who did not like attention devoted to her during a shopping trip and finding everything she wanted and/or needed.

And, it's even more special when you shop with a friend you cherish, someone you share, support, trust, love, laugh, and tease with. Makes the shopping trip even more fun. Brings a smile to our faces when we feel great finding and later wearing wonderful beautiful clothes that make us sizzle!

When we sizzle in our clothes, sometimes we unfortunately get unwanted attention from men. Many of us have some level of awareness or perhaps fear of how inappropriate few men can be. It can and does feel scary at times when you get attention, wanted or unwanted. Yet, at the same time, we have control and power over ourselves in the NOW TODAY, our esteems, how we ward off these men and enjoy compliments from others and more! Take the power back and sizzle!

And, what's more important than clothes is that you've got great friends who love you and appreciate you for who you are, inside and outside, including your clothing appearance. And, we support each other through different actions, including a simple shopping trip to find clothes that we feel great in.

Urban vs. Burbs Environment

The longer I live in NYC, the more I prefer to stay in an urban environment. It's harder and harder for me to imagine living outside of the city or outskirts. While it's nice to escape to the 'burbs once in a while, I cannot stand staying in the 'burbs for too long. See, whenever I'm in the 'burbs for too long, it feels as if my life starts to go on a hold and that I may be dying from understimulation. Things are just too quiet and bland for me. A longing inside me builds up, itching to hurry up and return back into the city. Only when I am back into the city do I truly feel like I'm back home.

The 'burbs can be beautiful and quiet with nice people. Yet, it's too quiet, boring and dead for me. Beautiful and quiet? So what? It may be nice for some families and people who like the quiet. Some feel like they have a sense of community there and serenity. Me, I find a sense of community and serenity here in the city in midst of all the "noises" and bustle. I know how to find serenity and community in the urban environment.

The burbs are like sedatives. They put me to sleep. The lull is just too sedating for me. I need and thrive on stimulation. THe same goes for some singles and families. I think the city can be a great place for children to grow up in.

Perhaps my childhood experience, exposure and proximity to NYC had an effect on my connection with NYC. When I was a little kid, Hands On was established. I watched interpreted plays. I was an early patron of Hands On and interpreted plays on Broadway, Off-Broadway and at the Paper Mill Playhouse. I grew up going into the city on school field trips as well as family and friends trips. NYC was practically next doors. When I moved here, I felt like I finally came home.

Purple Food

I'm trying to get started on focusing on my final paper due this Tuesday. I'm the queen of procrasination when it comes to writing papers since my mind becomes sharper and clearer when there is a time pressure or deadline. Before then, I'm just free-floating and finding other things to do.

I decided not to go to the Pride Parade this afternoon. First of all, I woke up late, more than a hour after I said I'd be at a specific corner to watch the parade. Second, I missed the sections I wanted to see. I wasn't willing to go into the village to see these sections of the parade, squashed in between topless sweaty muscle men trying to catch a view. Third, everyone kept on paging/emailing me telling me how hot and humid it was outside. By the time I was out of the shower and all dressed up, I decided I was too comfortable at home in front of the AC sipping water. So, I never made it out. :) I may make it out later tonight when it's cooler to meet few people. Otherwise, I'm staying put at home and will try to do some readings for my papers.

Now, on to the topic of this entry: purple food. My roommate and I originally planned on having an informal gathering at our place after the parade for folks to stop by and kick back in an air-conditioned room. We joked about providing rainbow-colored food or at least food from each color of the rainbow. We figured out what we could serve... red, orange, yellow, green, blue... then.. mmm... purple??? The only purple food we could think of were that blue/purple potato chip and purple kool aid. I didn't want anything that had to have food dye added to it. I wanted something that was naturally purple besides eggplant. Mmmm... mmm.... mm. m. Plum? Purple cabbage?

We couldn't figure out what would be a yummy natural purple appetizer without adding food dye to it. I looked online for ideas. Googled it, actually. Was surprised that most results were articles on how people tend to not be appealed by purple-colored food!!! And they tend to find purple-colored food aversive! Interesting! The rest were eggplants and stuff u could add purple food dye to (one was for a purple egg salad - yuck!!!!!)

I might as well just serve purple kool aid or just stick a purple flower in a vase in the middle of the food spread.

Take Action! Make Poverty History!

Global poverty kills one child every three seconds. That's 30,000 a day; more than 10 million a year.

Join me in asking President Bush to take advantage of a historic opportunity at the G8 Summit to help our neighbors in crisis.

Together we can make poverty history! Spread the word!

To take action on this issue, click on the link below:

https://secure2.convio.net/wv/site/Advocacy?s_oo=jjjxbifrX9h_hwici0EOjg..&id=129

If the text above does not appear as a link or it wraps across multiple lines, then copy and paste it into the address area of your browser.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

A Muslim Woman, a Story of Sex

I want to read this book. This is historical.

-S


A Muslim Woman, a Story of Sex
By ALAN RIDING


Published: June 20, 2005

PARIS, June 19 - An erotic novel written under a pseudonym might normally struggle to find a mainstream publisher and a wide readership. Not so, it seems, when it is penned by a Muslim woman living in a traditional Arab society. "The Almond," a semi-autobiographical exploration of sexual freedom, has sold 50,000 copies in France since Éditions Plon brought it out here last year. And it has now appeared in eight other languages, including English.

With its explicit descriptions of lovemaking, the book has been compared to Marguerite Duras's coming-of-age novel, "The Lover," and to Catherine Millet's more recent confessional essay, "The Sexual Life of Catherine M." Yet in this case the feisty 40-something North African author who goes by the name of Nedjma appears to have been motivated by more than a desire to titillate.
Rather, she explained in a recent conversation here to coincide with Grove Press's publication of the novel in the United States this month, by portraying a woman enjoying the pleasures of the flesh, she wanted both to celebrate the body as an expression of life and to strike a blow against the centuries-old repression of Muslim women.

In fact, she said, what first set her writing was her anger at the terrorist attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, and Washington's reaction to them. "Two fundamentalisms collided," she said. "The fundamentalists committed an irreversible, shocking, outrageous act. But the reply was also monstrous, shocking, outrageous. I saw the two sides speaking only of murder and blood. No one cared about the human body."

So, through a story built around her reminiscences of a steamy love affair, she decided to address what, in the Muslim world, is often considered a forbidden topic: sex.

"I had to talk about the body," she said. "It is the last taboo, one where all the political and religious prohibitions are concentrated. It is the last battle for democracy. I didn't want to write politically, but I did look for something radical. It is a cry of protest."

Written in the first person, "The Almond" follows Badra as she grows up in a Moroccan village and gradually discovers her femininity. Yet, while she dreams of true love, she is forced to marry a much older man, suffering - and hating - in silence as he tries roughly to make her pregnant. Finally, she runs away to her Aunt Selma in nearby Tangiers, and it is there that she meets Driss, a wealthy, European-educated doctor who teaches her the mysteries of love and sex.

While their relationship changes Badra's life, however, it is far from perfect. Driss refuses to marry her and, because they are unmarried, their affair remains hidden from the world. And while Driss satisfies her sexually and she loves him passionately, he is not faithful to her. Gradually Badra steps back and goes her own way, meeting up with him again a decade later under very different circumstances.

Nedjma estimated that about 40 percent of "The Almond," her first book, is autobiographical, but she considered the rest also to be true to life. "It is a testimony written by the feminine tribe," she said. "It is based on the experience of aunts, neighbors, cousins, all women. I felt a moral duty to say: this is what women go through."

She said that even though she never expected the book to be published, she wrote it in French because it seemed less shocking to write about sex in a language that is not her mother tongue. "In any event, if I'd written in Arabic, it would never have been published," she said. "Nor will it. It's a thousand years since Muslims have written openly about sex. If you find an Arab publisher, I'll buy you a bottle of Champagne."

Even after a friend awakened Éditions Plon's interest in the manuscript, she was determined not to be identified as its author. In fact, she still refuses to give her nationality, limiting herself to saying she is from North Africa. Even during a visit to Paris, she added, her French friends did not know she was the author of "The Almond."

She did explain, though, that she took the name Nedjma in homage to the Algerian poet Kateb Yacine, who wrote a book by the same name, and because it means "star" in Arabic - and that the star is an Islamic symbol.

"It's my way of saying, 'I am from this tribe, I am not from the outside, I am part of this world and no one can kick me out,' " she said, adding that she was a practicing Muslim.

Yet it is also a world that clearly pains her, so much so that she seemed as eager to denounce the state of much of the Arab world - and the subjugation of women in it - as she was to discuss her book. "It is not the Prophet or God who is responsible for the condition of women today, but society," she said. "It is the sharia, the way laws are interpreted, the writings, the clerics who rule Islam in place of God."

The result, she said, is a suppression of free thinking that paralyzes Arab societies and perpetuates male domination of women. "Every step taken by women towards freedom is seen to undermine their authority," Nedjma said with growing passion. "It undermines this rotten world that is falling apart. The Arab world is like a sick old man, consumed by gangrene, illiteracy, poverty, dictatorships, fundamentalism."

When it comes to relations between men and women, she went on, lighting a fresh cigarette, although they unite for marriage and procreation, most women consider sex to be a burden because few men know the workings of women's bodies. "There are so many received ideas, ancestral fears and ignorance," she said. "Love is only possible when women realize they are not there to be legally raped and men understand that a woman is not a slave or an inferior being."

Even in "The Almond," where the author's own love affair is reflected in Badra's devotion to Driss, Nedjma said, Driss remains trapped by the customs of Arab men. "He loved this woman," she explained, "but he did not know how to appreciate this love outside the traditional framework of society. He was liberated sexually, but not socially."

And in her own relationship, she was asked, was she more liberated than her lover?

She hesitated before answering.

"Yes; there you are, I've said it," she finally replied. "The malaise of the Arab world is that people don't know how to love. They watch romantic soap operas on television out of frustration. They dream about love, they listen to songs, they are sentimental, but they are not tender. They appreciate beautiful love poems, but they don't have the courage of the heart."

Pah! Kuwait's First Woman Cabinet Member Takes Office

Kuwait's First Woman Cabinet Member Takes Office
By DIANA ELIAS, AP


KUWAIT CITY (June 20) - Kuwait's first female Cabinet member took the oath of office in parliament Monday over the shouts of Muslim fundamentalist and tribal lawmakers opposed to women's participation in politics.
The parliament floor was in uproar as conservatives stood and cried out that Massouma al-Mubarak's appointment was unconstitutional because she was not a registered voter. Liberal lawmakers then stood as well, shouting back, "Congratulations."

Amid the din, al-Mubarak - dressed in a pinstriped dark blue pantsuit, and an Islamic veil that covered her hair - rose from her seat in the front row and read the oath from a paper seemingly unaffected by the screaming match.

The U.S.-educated political science teacher was named as minister of planning and administrative development June 12, a month after Kuwait's parliament gave women the right to vote and participate in politics for the first time.

By law, Cabinet ministers become members of the legislature with the right to vote on most issues.

Dressed in a pinstriped dark blue pantsuit, and an Islamic veil that covered her hair, al-Mubarak described the event as a "great day for all Kuwaiti women." She said she was willing to "cooperate with all lawmakers" in the interest of her country.

Tribal representatives and fundamentalists, who believe women should not mix freely with men and should stay at home to take care of their families, repeatedly blocked the legislation giving women voting rights until it was finally passed,

And they've made it clear they oppose al-Mubarak's appointment, saying her appointment was unconstitutional because she does not satisfy one of the conditions for becoming a minister, which is being an "eligible voter." She was unable to register in the annual registration period, in February, because the suffrage bill had not yet been passed.

"If she is not registered, she is not a voter," lawmaker Deiffallah Bou Ramia shouted during the oath-taking. Bou Ramia earlier collected 10 signatures of fellow lawmakers to discuss the minister's appointment in the house, a step that could lead to raising the matter to the Constitutional Court.

The Cabinet and pro-women's rights members of the house counter that registration is not a requirement for being an "eligible voter."

"Tell me, is Sheik Nawwaf (Al Sabah, the interior minister) registered?" roared liberal legislator Mohammed al-Saqer. "You just want to wage war!"

The prime minister, Sheik Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, who walked into the chamber in the middle of the heated exchange said: "I would like to tell you that I am not registered, if there is a law against this, then we (unregistered Cabinet members) will all have to walk out of this parliament."

Kuwaiti women have reached high positions in oil, education and the diplomatic corps, but they were until recently kept out of politics because of the now amended election law of 1962 that limited political rights to men.

Conservative members of the house accused the speaker, Jassem al-Kharafi, of siding with the pro-women's rights lawmakers by trying to prevent them from speaking out. They all managed to speak, however, mostly out of turn.

Al-Kharafi said the request from the 10 lawmakers to deliberate al-Mubarak's appointment will be on parliament's agenda next Monday.

Sheik Sabah told reporters the legislators have the right to attempt to take their case to the Constitutional Court, but what is done is done.

"She took the oath and she is staying," he said.


06-20-05 11:30 EDT

Breastfeeding

I believe that breastfeeding is natural. It's a "taboo" in this country in many areas. Many people are not comfortable with seeing a mother breastfeeding her baby. This is one of the most primitive actions in nature.

The other day, someone was watching TV and stomped her feet to get my attention. I looked up and asked, "What?" She said, "Look... look." I looked at the screen and saw an older female politician, a politician Bush was trying to get appointed but met great opposition, speaking. "And???" She said, "Look again! Look who is near the speaker." I looked again and saw a woman holding a baby. "So?" She went on to explain that while this woman was speaking on national TV, there was a woman right next to her breastfeeding her baby. The TV camera was on both women the entire time. I did not see anything wrong with that. The main focus was on the speaker while the nursing mother happened to be in the foreground.

Again, so? No biggie. It's natural for a mother to breastfeed her baby who happens to be hungry at that time. I wonder if anyone at La Leche League noticed this scene on TV. Breastfeeding is a natural thing, and it should not be a taboo or something to be ashamed of in this country.

Atheism

Atheism. What does this mean? According to the dictionary, it means a disbelief or denial in the existence of God or gods. Someone who is an atheist does not believe in the existence of God(s).

I've always been fascinated with people who are atheists. I've always asked them, if I know them, why they are atheists and how they came to realization about being atheists. Yet, they have strong connection with people and some say they have a srong sense of being/spirituality although they do not believe in any form of God. Perhaps coming from a Christian family with deep faith and roots made me more curious about those who did not believe in the existence of a greater being, God, G-d, or higher power.

Recently, I asked few people I knew who were atheists the following questions:

1. Why are you one?

2. So, do you have a soul? or connection between your heart and mind?

3. What about spiritual relations with others? what about "souls?"

4. How do you have spirituality as an atheist? How you are spiritual even as an atheist who is logial?

So How can you be spiritual? How are you spiritual?

Their answers were:

* Spirituality is a state of mind like being in love, happy, sad, etc.

* Atheists simply do not believe in god(s).

* You don't have to believe in god to be spiritual.

* Soul is to the heart as mind is to the brain. It's not a physical thing.

* Both... Your soul and your mind are separated, but interlocked.. And when you die, they cease to exist.

* Interesting question. It was never a big deal.

* I just don't believe there is a 'supreme being.' For me, it's the logical conclusion.

* I don't think I ever believed there is a god...

* I don't think much about that either!

* I mean i love all those things like nature-- i feel connected to people
but as for the larger picture, we're born, we live, we die.


Mmmm.... some food for thoughts....

Friday, June 24, 2005

Emma the Explorer

Emma the Explorer is on a prowl today. Seems that it's possible that her adventure with the flying red cockroach as ignited some intense curiousity in tasting and chewing different things. The last time she was in this kind of frenzy or at this super-intense level of curiousity was when she was a kitten.

When I looked away from the laptop, she was revisiting that plastic pad wrap that somehow ended up on the living room floor. It's clean, mind you.

Cats and dogs are notorious for LOVING pads and toilet paper. I've trained Emma to not attack any pads, used or unused. She now waits patiently with intense interest as I unpeel/unwrap a fresh clean pad and plays with passion when I hand her the peeled off paper. Must be some kind of catnip-like substance in these stuff. Animals go bonkers for pads. Omigosh. Been dealing with this since I was a lil' kid and joke about it with other cat/dog owners.

Cats can be better than dogs when it comes to used pads in the bathroom trash can. Dogs usually just go for it and make a huge mess across the floor. Or, tear apart a brand new store-bought unopened bag/box of pads/tampons and decorate the bedroom floor with sanitary confetti. Emma used to do that sometimes. I know better to not torture her (I only imagine it's a torture to resist something that's fun and appealing to them) and just put it away in a drawer immediately, out of sight and scent. More importantly, it's inaccessible.

Emma's in a chewing mood. That flying cockroach must have made her super interested in everything flying and stationary as well as tasting different stuff. Now she's following a fly in the air after trying to lick/chew my school paper sprawled across the couch (for working on my final papers). She just chewed on the corner of my final paper instruction sheet.

She's been chewing and tasting papers, books, boxes, etc. I finally said to her "Stop" in a very calm firm voice. After she stopped and stared at me for a while, I petted her and hugged her. She rubbed me and gave me a look. Now, she's sitting on the couch armrest staring at things with her ears in constant motion. She must be hearing something. Wonder if the cockroaches are dancing behind the walls.

Waking Up to Our Annual Red Flying Cockroach

Nice way to finish "waking up" this morning by reading this message from my roommate:

Warning - we have our annual red flying roach (it s called that?) visitor. It s like 2 inches long and emma tried to catch it last night and again this monring. Emma tried to catch it and bite it but the wily roach keeps swatting at her efforts. I cudnt catch it myself to dipose of it properly. Nice email for early in the morning,
no?


Definitely a nice email, my dear roomie. I am now warily eying my cat, Emma. She's been super happy this morning, lying next to me in bed. I was surprised she stayed that long and was in one of her ultra super affectionate purring moods. She was also licking her face and mouth quite a bit. I assumed that it was her bath. Now, I am giving her a certain look with hesitation whenever I see her resume this.

Did Emma successfully catch and devour our annual red flying cockroach while I was sleeping and while my roommates were out?

One way or other, I'm keeping my mouth shut as much as possible and keeping my flip flops on to be on the safe side. I don't want that flying cockroach anywhere near me nor do I want to accidentially step on it. I'll leave it up to Emma to interact with the cockroach and do whatever she wants. (I CANNOT, no matter how I feel towards it, do harm to it although I want it out of my apartment. I pray that it decides to scat down to another apartment or into a crook somewhere.)

I need to shower soon. I'm going to make it a quick yet careful one. See, last year, the red flying cockroach made its annual appearance while I was in the bathroom about to take a shower. I shrieked, grabbed my towel to cover myself and ran out of the bathroom towards my roommate. Emma was summoned and told, "Bug" with a finger pointed in its direction. She was dispatched. My roomie also got into mode and became armed with a broom to try and take care of it. In the meantime, I was curled up on the couch, safely out of reach of the cockroach in case it made its way down the hallway toward the living room.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Cannot Believe It....

I just cannot believe it! I'm still laughing on and off about this. I thought all along that a final paper was due today. I was stressed out about it and had been working on it extensively. The professor said I could email him the paper.

Today, during class, I was puzzled as to why students weren't handing in papers before or after class. In addition to that, the professor requested that students not email him their papers due to running out of the ink needed for printing these papers. Each person's paper is expected to be 8-10 pages long. Multiply that by... say... eh... around 20 students. That's up to 200 pages.

After class, I approached the professor to ask him when and how I could hand in the paper since he asked the students to not email him the papers. Turned out that it was actually due next Tuesday. An expletive word went off in my head as I grinned (and felt relieved yet a bit funny) about this. During my way home, I checked my notes, sked book and dates on the handouts.. They all said due 6/23.

I think this is comedic. Such a big relief and small groan at the same time for me.

Women's World

http://goldengirls03.org/WomensWorld.htm

Copied these jokes from this website.



WOMEN'S REVENGE

"Cash, check or charge?" I asked, after folding items the woman wished to purchase. As she fumbled for her wallet I noticed a remote control for a television set in her purse. "So, do you always carry your TV remote?" I asked.

"No," she replied, " but my husband refused to come shopping with me, and I figured this was the most evil thing I could do to him legally."

-------


BEHIND EVERY
SUCCESSFUL WOMAN
IS HERSELF

-------

UNDERSTANDING WOMEN

(A MAN'S PERSPECTIVE)

I know I'm not going to understand women. I'll never understand how you can take boiling hot wax, pour it onto your upper thigh, rip the hair out by the root, and still be afraid of a spider.

-----

MARRIAGE SEMINAR

While attending a Marriage Seminar dealing with communication, Tom and his wife Grace listened to the instructor, "It is essential that husbands and wives know the things that are important to each other." He addressed the man, "Can you describe your wife's favorite flower?"

Tom leaned over, touched his wife's arm gently and whispered, "It's Pillsbury, isn't it?

-----

I HAVE YET TO HEAR A MAN ASK FOR ADVICE ON HOW TO COMBINE MARRIAGE AND A CAREER

------

WIFE VS. HUSBAND

A couple drove down a country road for several miles, not saying a word.

An earlier discussion had led to an argument and neither of them wanted to concede their position. As they passed a barnyard of mules, goats, and pigs, the husband asked sarcastically, "Relatives of yours?" "Yep," the wife replied, "in-laws."

-----

COFFEE, CHOCOLATE, MEN.
SOME THINGS ARE JUST
BETTER RICH

----

WORDS

A husband read an article to his wife about how many words women use a day... 30,000 to a man's 15,000. The wife replied, "The reason has to be because we have to repeat everything to men... The husband then turned to his wife and asked, "What?"

-----

I'M OUT OF ESTROGEN
And I HAVE A GUN

---------

CREATION

A man said to his wife one day, "I don't know how you can be so stupid and so beautiful all at the same time. " The wife responded, "Allow me to explain. God made me beautiful so you would be attracted to me; God made me stupid so I would be attracted to you!

---------

WARNING:
I HAVE An ATTITUDE
AND I KNOW HOW TO USE IT

-------

WHO DOES WHAT

A man and his wife were having an argument about who should brew the coffee each morning.

The wife said, "You should do it, because you get up first, and then we don't have to wait as long to get our coffee." The husband said, " You are in charge of cooking around here and you should do it, because that is your job, and I can just wait for my coffee." Wife replies, "No, you should do it, and besides, it is in the Bible that the man should do the coffee."

Husband replies, "I can't believe that, show me." So she fetched the Bible, and opened the New Testament and showed him at the top of several pages, that it indeed says.......... "HEBREWS"

---------

OF COURSE I DON'T LOOK BUSY...

I DID IT RIGHT
THE FIRST TIME

-------

DO NOT START WITH ME.
YOU WILL NOT WIN

-----

ALL STRESSED OUT
AND NO ONE
TO CHOKE

------

And last but not least:

IF YOU WANT BREAKFAST IN BED,
SLEEP IN THE KITCHEN

-----

And finally a few words from our role model, Maxine

1. I will defend,
to your death,
my right
to my opinion

2. Three things to avoid in building a positive body image:
fad diets, unrealistic goals and of course, three-way mirrors.

3. Celebrate Amelia Earhart Day. Get lost.

4. Thanks to the internet, you can get hopelessly in debt without ever leaving your house.

5. Older than dirt?
I knew dirt when it was still a rock!

6. Friends will always tell you exactly what she thinks! So I guess that makes me friends with everybody.

Catholic Parrots

Catholic Parrots


A lady goes to her priest one day and tells him, "Father, I have a problem. I have two female parrots, but they only know how to say one thing." "What do they say?" the priest inquired. They say, "Hi, were Susie and Beryl, we're hookers! Do you want to have some fun?"

That's obscene!" the priest exclaimed, Then he thought for a moment. "You know," he said, "I may have a solution to your problem. I have two male talking parrots, which I have taught to pray and read the Bible.

Bring your two parrots over to my house, and we'll put them in the cage with Frank and Peter.

My parrots can teach your parrots to praise and worship, and your parrots are sure to stop saying , that phrase, in no time."

Thank you, so much Father," the woman responded, "this may very well be the solution."

The next day, she brought her two outspoken birds to the priest's house.

As he ushered her in, she saw that his two male parrots were inside their cage holding rosary beads and praying.

Impressed, she walked over and placed her parrots in the cage with them.

After a few minutes, the female parrots cried out in unison: "Hi, were Susie and Beryl, we're hookers! Do you want to have some fun?"

There was stunned silence.

Shocked, Peter looked over at the other male parrot and exclaimed, "Put the beads away, Frank.At last our prayers have been answered!"

GO GET YOUR MAMMIES GRAMMED

For years and years they told me,
Be careful of your breasts.
Don't ever squeeze or bruise them.
And give them monthly tests.
So I heeded all their warnings,
And protected them by law.
Guarded them very carefully,
And I always wore my bra.
After 30 years of astute care,
My gyno, Dr Pruitt,
Said I should get a Mammogram
"OK," I said, "let's do it."
"Stand up here real close" she said,
(She got my boob in line),
"And tell me when it hurts," she said,
"Ah yes! Right there, that's fine."
She stepped upon a pedal,
I could not believe my eyes!
A plastic plate came slamming down,
My hooters in a vise!
My skin was stretched and mangled,
From underneath my chin.
My poor boob was being squashed,
To Swedish Pancake thin.
Excruciating pain I felt,
Within it's viselike grip.
A prisoner in this vicious thing,
My poor defenseless tit!
"Take a deep breath," she said to me,
Who does she think she's kidding?!?
My chest is mashed in her machine,
And woozy I am getting.
"There, that's good," I heard her say,
(The room was slowly swaying.)
"Now, let's have a go at the other one."
Have mercy, I was praying.
It squeezed me from both up and down,
It squeezed me from both sides.
I'll bet SHE'S never had this done,
To HER tender little hides.
Next time that they make me do this,
I will request a blindfold
I have no wish to see again,
My knockers getting steam rolled.
If I had no problem when I came in,
I surely have one now.
If there had been a cyst in there,
It would have gone "ker-pow!"
This machine was created by a man,
Of this, I have no doubt.
I'd like to stick his balls in there,
And, see how THEY come out!



Breast Cancer Awareness... Go have those boobs checked out and stay healthy!

Pass the message on to your mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, cousins, friends

(Note: Got this from a female friend spreading the word about getting our mammies grammed.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Yahoo!

Yahoo! Someone I know finally moved into her new home and is now unpacking. I hope to visit her sometimes within the year. I love it when people I know make milestones in their lives, small or big. It doesn't matter how big or small it is. It is a milestone in itself. Buying a new house. Getting married. Going out on a date. Meeting a new friend. Having a great conversation with a bystander/stranger. Buying new clothes. Getting a haircut that changes your appearance/aura. Going to class. Learning something new. I could go on and on. But, I don't want you to start snoring.

On another note, I'm SO glad I'll be almost done with Summer Session I next Thursday. I've got a final paper due tomorrow. Then, I've got a final paper due next Thursday. Then, I'll be off for 2 weeks! Yippee!!! What shall I do during my break? Mmmm... got any suggestions?

This Sunday is the NYC Pride Parade. I'm going to try a different spot to watch it, away from congestion and with more breathing space around me. I hope to get to see it at the front with no obstruction. :) That reminds me to bring a bag so I can collect free condoms, papers and freebies. See, every year, I always bring a bag (store or personal) so I can collect zazillions of condoms. Why? So I can provide them for my friends whenever they visit (in town from out of state) or happen to chat and mention they need condoms for their upcoming dates/flings. I like to be sure my friends practice safer sex. So, the parade is my supplier for my annual stash of condoms, etc for my friends. Plus, it's a damn good excuse to say hi and make eye contact with cute babes handing out freebies, etc.

Monday, June 20, 2005

A Beautiful Wedding

Not long ago, I went to one of the most beautiful weddings I've been to in my life. What made this beautiful was how true my friend and her husband were to each other. Their personalities were reflected throughout the entire planning, wedding and celebration. We had such fun during our "Bachelorette" celebration before the wedding. I reveled in how pampered she was like a queen, a beautiful woman inside and outside. I delighted in learning more about her, Orthodox Judaism (customs, culture and religion) and discovering more beautiful things about her, her fiance and them together. Melted my heart and soul.

My friend was SO beautiful in her wedding dress, veil, tiara, flowers, make up, boutique and jewels. She looked like such a princess, walking around and waiting for her husband to walk around her during an Orthodox Jewish custom then being brought before the congregation to walk down the aisle to meet her husband under the chuppah. The temple was beautifully decorated with flowers and full of love. I watched her as she walked around her man, followed by women before she met her husband face to face under the chuppah.

We had such a great time celebrating afterwards with dancing, food and company at the temple then later at a private reception. I even got pulled into the circle dance, doing these steps around the bride and groom. I kept on looking at my friend, smiling as I watched her in her happiness and her celebration on her special day. She and her husband are beautiful together and complement each other so well. The memories of my dear friend's wedding day and the days leading up to the wedding day are forever etched in my memory, in my mind and my heart.

Mazel Tov! :)

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The So-Called Grandma Theory

Got this from a friend. Chuckled.
-S

There goes the theory that Grandmas know everything!

Little Tony was staying with his grandmother for a few days. He'd been playing outside with the other kids for a while when he came into the house and asked , "Grandma, what is that called when people are sleeping on top of each other?" She was a little taken aback, but decided to tell him the truth..."It's called sexual intercourse, darling. "Little Tony just said, "Oh, OK" and went back outside to talk and play with the other kids.

A few minutes later he came back in and said angrily, "Grandma, it is not called sexual intercourse! It's called Bunk Beds!"

NYC Access Resource Guide for the Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing

Check out the NYC Access Resource Guide for the Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing at:

http://nycmetrorid.org/NYCAccessGuide.htm

The New York City Access Resource Guide for the Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing provides a comprehensive listing of resources throughout the five boroughs available for Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing people, their families, and service providers.

The Access Guide is useful for deaf, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing people and their families who use agencies daily, need to know and understand their rights as consumers and citizens, and how to access such agencies. The guide will also be useful for service providers who meet and work with deaf and hard of hearing people.

Purpose:
• Provide access to information about existing services & resources
• Increase awareness about availability of resources
• Provide comprehensive quick reference to resources for service providers who need to make appropriate time-efficient and humane referrals
• Reduce communication, access, & language barriers experienced by many deaf, deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing people and their families & service providers
• Increase partnerships and collaborations with community resources, agencies, & community members
• Reduce risks, social injustice, and oppression
• Increase sense of empowerment & knowledge

This Guide is for YOU:
• Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing, & Deaf-Blind
• Service Providers
• Educators & Paralegals
• Families with Deaf, Deaf-Blind, & Hard-of-Hearing Members
• ASL Students
• Interpreters

The NYC Access Guide includes resources for:
1. Hotlines - General
2. NYC Hotlines & City Departments/Programs that Assist People with Disabilities
3. Access & Resources - New York City
4. American Sign Language Classes
5. Arts, Theatre, Entertainment & Recreation
6. Assistive Devices/Catalogs
7. Audiological Services
8. Captioning (Education/Entertainment)
9. Children/Families
10. CODA Resources
11. Deaf-Blind
12. Developmental Disabilities
13. Education - Elementary & Secondary
14. Education - Post-Secondary
15. Employment/Vocational
16. Agencies - Federal, State, and City
17. Hard of Hearing
18. Independent Living Centers
19. Interpreter Training Programs
20. Interpreting Services/Organizations
21. Laws
22. Legal
23. Medical
24. Mental Health
25. Organizations
26. Relay
27. Religions/Spirituality
28. Social Services
29. Substance Abuse/Chemical
30. Excellent Resources Websites


Email DeafResourceNYC@aol.com for new submissions, feedback, new category requests and revisions.

Quote

Saw this quote in someone's email, and I loved it. Here it is:

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

- Howard Thurman

Emmett Till

Emmett Till died in 1955. In 2005, his body is finally being exhumed by the FBI. What took them so long to finally get around to doing this? 50 years. 50 years is a long time for the FBI to get around to this.

See, Emmett Till's death was a famous horrible brutal murder. His mother insisted on having an open-casket service to show the brutality and reality of his horrible racist death.

I've known about him since I was a kid. I first learned about Emmett when I visited Tonya's house few houses down the street on my block. Her mother, a tall strong black woman, always had stories to tell Tonya and me while tending to Tonya's hair, combing, pressing, adding product as needed and braiding. Tonya always had great hair, thanks to her mother. What's more was that Tonya and I learned more about the history of the Civic Rights Movement and Black History during these home hair sessions.

It was then that I first learned about the horror of how Emmett died. His face was bashed in, and his mother wanted people to remember what they did to him. This was an important historic event during the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.

What took the FBI so long to finally exhume Emmett and do an autopsy, after 50 too-long years? What does this say about our "American society?" Think about this.

After reading the article, I wanted to know more about how they were finally able to make this happen? Who was involved in making sure that an autopsy was finally done?
Just as important for the autopsy to happen is for us to know how they finally got around to doing this. We need to know how this worked out so we can make this happen for other overlooked cases. We owe much more than this to our fellow Americans who have been discriminated against for years. Our fellow white Americans need to know more about the truth of OUR "American History" rather than white people's American history.

-S


FBI Exhumes Casket of Emmett Till
1955 Slaying Was a Key Event in History of the Civil Rights Movement

By MIKE COLIAS, AP


ALSIP, Ill. (June 1) - Nearly 50 years after Emmett Till's mutilated body was found in a Mississippi river, federal investigators Wednesday unearthed the Chicago teen's casket in hopes of finding clues to a murder that helped kindle the civil rights movement.

Mississippi prosecutors and the FBI have said DNA or other evidence might help determine who killed the black 14-year-old and whether anyone still alive should be prosecuted.

Till's body was found by fishermen in the Tallahatchie River in August 1955, three days after he was abducted from his uncle's home in Money, Miss., reportedly for whistling at a white woman.

FBI agents Wednesday loaded the mud-caked concrete vault containing Till's casket onto a flatbed truck and hauled it from a suburban cemetery to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office in Chicago for an autopsy. None was ever performed.

Investigators hope to determine the cause of Till's death and to ''see if any further evidence can be looked at to help Mississippi officials bring additional charges if warranted,'' FBI spokesman Frank Bochte said.

Two white men charged with the murder - store owner Roy Bryant and his half brother J.W. Milam - were acquitted by an all-white jury. The two, now dead, later confessed to beating and shooting Till, saying in a magazine article that they killed the teenager because he had whistled at Bryant's wife.

During the trial, defense attorneys suggested the body was not Till's and that the boy was still alive.

Simeon Wright, a cousin who was with Till the night he was abducted, said he hopes the autopsy will dispel that notion.

''A lot of people still swear it's not Emmett in that grave, so hopefully this will break down the attitude that we're wasting our time,'' he said.

Wright and two other relatives attended a graveside prayer service before investigators dug up the casket using a backhoe and shovels. The body is to be returned to the grave within a week, FBI officials said.

Till's slaying helped galvanize the civil rights movement. His mother, who died in 2003, insisted her son's body be displayed in an open casket at his funeral, forcing the nation to see the brutality directed at blacks in the South at the time.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Wednesday questioned why it took the federal government so long to reopen the Till case. He said 100,000 people saw Till's body in the casket. ''The open viewing was a civil rights demonstration. It showed the horrors of bigotry.''

The Justice Department announced plans last year to reopen the Till investigation, saying it was triggered by several pieces of information, including a documentary by New York filmmaker Keith Beauchamp.

Associated Press Writer Don Babwin contributed to this report.


AP-NY-06-01-05 20:04 EDT

Who's Aung San Suu Kyi?

How many of you know who Aung San Suu Kyi is? If you don't know who she is, read on below. We often hear about male political prisoners. It is not often that we hear about female political prisoners, let alone a female Nobel Prize winner. Read on and educate yourselves. I also wish we heard more about these type of actions our US Congressmen do, besides scandals and whatnots.

-Sarah



Congress, President Send Prisoner Cards
Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi Spends 60th Birthday as Political Prisoner

By WILLIAM C. MANN, AP


WASHINGTON (June 18) - A metal gate blocked the walkway to the Myanmar Embassy, so the congressman left his delivery - a cardboard box crammed with birthday greetings for Myanmar political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi - on a pillar of the concrete fence. Nobody came out of the building.
"I have dealt with dictatorial regimes all of my life," Rep. Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor ever to serve in Congress, said Friday. "I don't expect any warm reception from them."

Asked what message he would have for Suu Kyi, who will spend her 60th birthday Sunday under house arrest in her home country, as she has spent most of her last 15 birthdays, Lantos said, "I want Aung San Suu Kyi to know that the entire Congress of the United States of America and the American people are with her today wishing her a happy birthday and the moral and physical courage to continue."

He promised that Congress will pass within a week legislation to renew U.S. sanctions that were imposed in 2003 against Myanmar's military government.

Protest organizers said Lantos' symbolic delivery included about 6,000 pieces of mail to Suu Kyi from across the United States and elsewhere. One was addressed to "The only Nobel Peace Prize winner who is in jail."

The military had ruled Burma since 1962, but in 1988 the current junta took power and renamed the country Myanmar. The junta allowed elections in 1990, and Suu Kyi's party won handily. That was when her years in custody began, mostly as house arrest but from time to time in jail.

Lantos, D-Calif., represented his colleagues at a demonstration by a few dozen Americans and Burmese outside the embassy in Washington's old diplomatic district, but President Bush and other members of Congress issued statements in praise of the recipient of the 1991 Nobel.

"Her strength, courage and personal sacrifice in standing up for the oppressed people of Burma have inspired those who stand for freedom," the president said in a written statement. "The United States looks forward to the time when Burma is democratic and free."

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the Democratic leader in the House, said: "All she has ever asked for is peaceful dialogue. I believe that just like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi her impact will be felt not only by this generation of Burmese, but by the people of the world for many years to come."

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, second-ranking Republican in the Senate, praised "the courage, dignity and determination of Suu Kyi and her compatriots in the face of this repression."

In his comments at the demonstration, Lantos said: "In this day and age, nothing is in shorter supply than men and women of moral authority and courage. ... Aung San Suu Kyi is among the giants of our age. She is right there with Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic and the other giants, men and women, who are prepared to sacrifice years of their lives so that their people can live in a free and open and democratic society."

He said Congress "is determined to see to it that as democracy moves ahead elsewhere, it will certainly move ahead and prevail in Burma. ... This great woman before long will occupy her rightful post as the democratically elected leader of the people of Burma, and I look forward to being there as she is sworn in as the leader of a free and democratic Burma."

When he finished, Lantos and the demonstrators joined in a chorus of "Happy Birthday."


06-18-05 17:09 EDT

Two More Papers Left to Go!

Got two more papers left to go, then I'll be done with Summer Session I. Then, there will be a break before I resume studies in July for Summer Session II. I love being in school!

This Golfer Reminds Me of Ridor

Journeyman Gore Becomes Fan Favorite at U.S. Open
Nationwide Tour Veteran Tied for Second Place at Pinehurst
By JIM LITKE, AP SPORTS


PINEHURST, N.C. (June 18) - Inspector No. 54 must have been on a coffee break when Jason Gore rolled off the PGA Tour assembly line. Flat-bellied and unsmiling the man is not.
But the runaway best story at this U.S. Open?

That the 818th-ranked player in the world most definitely is.

As a 15-foot birdie putt dropped at the final hole and propped Gore up in second place, you got the feeling he probably was absent the day the tour held a seminar on the proper way to celebrate.

"%&*# yeah!" Gore shouted - and somewhere back in the NBC trailers, the bosses were praying there were very few lip-readers left in the viewing audience.

Forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes, and so it's probably a good idea for somebody at the network to keep the mute button close by. Because chances are good that Gore missed more than his fair share of the other seminars offered by the PGA Tour, too.

Like the one about maximizing commercial sponsorships, since his caddie, Louis Pullen, sports a "Pabst Blue Ribbon" hat because of loyalty, as opposed to royalties.

Or the one about working hand-in-golf-glove with sports psychologists, since this is what Gore said when someone asked about his "thought process" before stepping onto the biggest stage of his 6-year pro career:

"Actually," he replied, "it was, 'When am I going to get a new stereo for my car and how am I going to keep my wife in clothes?"'

The story there is that thieves broke into his car last Sunday night when the Gores stopped in Asheville en route to Pinehurst. They got everything but his clubs and golf shoes, and missed those only because Pullen volunteered to drive them down from their last stop on the Nationwide Tour in suburban Chicago. Rather than embittered, Gore was amused.

"They took all my underwear," he chuckled, "those poor guys."

It's a good thing the 31-year-old former wunderkind from Southern California likes to laugh. Rarely has America's national championship yielded so few red numbers and so many humorless expressions. Two-time and defending Open champion Retief Goosen is the only player left in the 83-man field below par at 3-under. Gore and journeyman Olin Browne are next at even-par and even Browne has no illusions where the rooting interest lies.

"He's the story of the Open. He's a guy that nobody has ever heard of and they're digging the way he plays," Browne said. "I think that's cool."

The car break-in aside, Gore has taken so many lumps just to get here that everything looks like gravy to him.

He played a practice round Tuesday with Fred Couples, "and everybody was yelling, 'Freddie, Freddie,"' he recalled.

"I said, 'Gosh, does it ever get old?' He looks at me and goes, 'No, not really.'

"I've never heard my name so much yelled in my life since I was in grade school and the teacher was screaming at me."

Just about the same time, Gore was bumping heads with Tiger Woods on California's brutally competitive junior circuit. He took a lot of grief because his size always made him look overage.

"He's got all the talent in the world," Woods said. "He's always been a very long hitter. It's just a matter of fine-tuning his swing and he's done that."

It didn't happen fast or easy. The day Gore turned pro, he found his father, Sheldon, dead on the floor at home, the victim of a heart attack. That was in 1997. It was the first in a series of setbacks that saw Gore bounce back and forth between golf's minor leagues and the bigs.

If ever there was a U.S. Open waiting to be snatched by somebody coming out of nowhere - remember John Daly bombing his way to the PGA Championship in 1991 or Ben Curtis winning the British Open two years ago - this feels like it. It's 'Tin Cup,' only maybe for real this time.

The leaderboard, with the exception of Goosen at the top, looks like it's been turned upside down. Besides Gore and Browne, there's the pair in third place, afterthought Michael Campbell and Mark Hensby, whose golfing fortunes dipped so low 10 years ago that he spent more than a few nights sleeping in his old Ford hatchback in the parking lot at a course. More than a few of the names the rest of the way down are household names only in their own households.

And come Sunday, their patron saint, the happy go-lucky guy shaped like a pear, figures to take the best shot for all the Roy McAvoys of the world.

"I'm in the final pairing. I've come this far," Gore said, "Who knows? I've come this far. If they invite me out on the 18th green and they hand me a large piece of silver, that will be pretty special."


06/18/05 20:29 EDT

Silly Ketchup Feud

Ketchup Spill Sets Off Lawyer-Secretary Feud
E-Mails Over Dry-Cleaning Bill Become the Talk of London's Legal Circles


LONDON (June 17) - Removing the ketchup stain from his trousers cost Richard Phillips 4 pounds ($7.30). The subsequent spat over who would pay the bill may have cost the lawyer his dignity.
An e-mail exchange allegedly between Phillips and his secretary, Jenny Amner, has been forwarded around Britain's legal community, spread across the Internet and become a talking point in the British press.

Several newspapers on Friday reprinted the exchange, which began with a May 25 message purportedly from Phillips, a senior associate at law firm Baker & McKenzie, to his secretary.

''Hi Jenny. I went to a dry cleaners at lunch and they said it would cost 4 pounds to remove the ketchup stains. If you cd let me have the cash today, that wd be much appreciated,'' it said.

Amner, who was off work because of her mother's death, replied in piquant style on June 3.

''With reference to the e-mail below, I must apologize for not getting back to you straight away but due to my mother's sudden illness, death and funeral I have had more pressing issues than your 4 pounds,'' said the e-mail.

''I apologize again for accidentally getting a few splashes of ketchup on your trousers. Obviously your financial need as a senior associate is greater than mine as a mere secretary.''

Amner sent the exchange to colleagues, who passed it on to others. Along the way, recipients added comments, many criticizing Phillips for his stinginess.

Baker & McKenzie said the incident was ''a private matter between two members of staff that clearly got out of hand.''

''We are investigating so as to resolve it as amicably as we can,'' it said in a statement.


AP-NY-06-17-05 20:44 EDT

The Pickle Senator (article)

Former Representative J.J. Pickle Dies at Age 91

AUSTIN, Texas (June 19) - Retired U.S. Rep. J.J. "Jake" Pickle, who helped pass major Social Security reform in the 1980s and was a senior Democrat on the powerful Ways and Means Committee during three decades in Congress, died Saturday. He was 91.

Pickle died at his home, his family said in a statement.

He was elected in 1963 to the House seat Lyndon B. Johnson once held. As chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee, he helped pass Social Security reform in 1983 that eased the system's financial woes by raising the age for full benefits from 65 to 67.

On his first day in Washington as a newly elected congressman, President Johnson sent a limousine to greet Pickle at the airport with a surprise invitation to sleep at the White House.

Pickle refused, explaining he had already lined up accommodations with a friend.

"I was raised in West Texas. If you accept an invitation, you're going to do it, you know. So I did it," Pickle said later.

His home phone number was always listed, and he returned to Austin most weekends to answer calls. The nonstop Braniff flight from Washington to Austin was nicknamed "The Pickle Express," and he was known to work the aisle as if each flight were a political rally.

"Other than the long commute to and from Washington and, starting in the 1980s, the increasing partisanship of Congress, there was little I didn't like about being Congressman Pickle," he wrote in his 1997 book, "Jake."

Pickle was a Naval officer during World War II, serving in the Pacific. He survived three torpedo attacks. He returned to Austin after the war and, with other veterans, started a radio station, still known as KVET.

Republican Gov. Rick Perry said Pickle's "strong, steady hand helped shape the Central Texas area we so love today."


06/18/05 21:02 EDT

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Midterms Week

Midterm Week's nearly over with. Finished midterms for yesterday. Now, I have one due by tomorrow afternoon. I hope I finish it in time and have time to rest before I go to class to hand it in.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Tips On Saving Money While Using an AC

Courtesy of the Weather Channel online, I am posting information from their website on how to save money and use AC more efficiently during hot summer days. Us New Yorkers know how it is in the city when it's hot AND humid. This has been edited in order to provide relevant info for NYCers who live in apartments, not houses with central AC. We all know how high and expensive the electricity bill can get during hot summer months.

-S


Courtesy of the Weather Channel

Introduction

As the mercury climbs this summer, you don't have to swelter. Learn how to keep your home cool, with tips that will increase indoor comfort and minimize your energy costs.


How Air Conditioners Work

Air conditioners employ the same operating principles and basic components as your home refrigerator. An air conditioner cools your home with a cold indoor coil called the evaporator. The condenser, a hot outdoor coil, releases the collected heat outside. The evaporator and condenser coils are serpentine tubing surrounded by aluminum fins. This tubing is usually made of copper.

A pump, called the compressor, moves a heat transfer fluid (or refrigerant) between the evaporator and the condenser. The pump forces the refrigerant through the circuit of tubing and fins in the coils. The liquid refrigerant evaporates in the indoor evaporator coil, pulling heat out of indoor air and thereby cooling the home. The hot refrigerant gas is pumped outdoors into the condenser where it reverts back to a liquid giving up its heat to the air flowing over the condenser's metal tubing and fins.

Types of Air Conditioners

The basic types of air conditioners are room air conditioners, split-system central air conditioners, and packaged central air conditioners.

Room Air Conditioners
Room air conditioners cool rooms rather than the entire home. If they provide cooling only where they're needed, room air conditioners are less expensive to operate than central units, even though their efficiency is generally lower than that of central air conditioners. Smaller room air conditioners (i.e., those drawing less than 7.5 amps of electricity) can be plugged into any 15- or 20-amp, 115-volt household circuit that is not shared with any other major appliances. Larger room air conditioners (i.e., those drawing more than 7.5 amps) need their own dedicated 115-volt circuit. The largest models require a dedicated 230-volt circuit.

Keep Your Home Cool

Maintain your air conditioner

It's easy to take your air conditioner for granted... until it stops working on a miserably hot day. If possible, have an air conditioning contractor inspect your unit before you start using it each summer. Regular maintenance will not only help spot potential problems, but will also increase the life and energy efficiency of your unit.

What you can do


Clean up around your air conditioner. Outdoor condenser coils can become dirty and blocked, which makes your unit work harder and increases your cooling bill. Your dryer vents, falling leaves, and lawn mower are all potential sources of dirt and debris. Allow for adequate air flow to your unit by cleaning the area around the condenser coil, removing any debris, and trimming foliage back at least 2 feet.

Change your air filter regularly. Check your unit's air filter once a month and clean or replace filters as necessary. Keeping the filter clean can lower your air conditioner's energy consumption by 5% to 15%. Ask your service contractor to show you how to do this, if you aren't familiar with the process.

Keep your condensation line clear. Condensate lines drain away the moisture your air conditioning unit creates. A plugged condensate drain can cause water damage in the house and affect indoor humidity levels. You can help keep the line clear of mold and mildew by pouring in a small amount of household bleach. Ask your service contractor to show you how.

When you hire a service contractor (I doubt we'd ever do this.I think this is for homeowners, but I ain't an expert here.)

When you do your pre-season check, ask the technician to do the following:

- Check for correct amount of refrigerant
- Test for refrigerant leaks using a leak detector
- Capture any refrigerant that must be evacuated from the system, instead of illegally releasing it to the atmosphere
- Check for and seal duct leakage in central systems
- Measure air flow through the evaporator coil
- Verify the correct electric control sequence and make sure that the heating system and cooling system cannot operate simultaneously
- Inspect electric terminals, clean and tighten connections, and apply a non-conductive coating if necessary
- Oil motors and check belts for tightness and wear
- Check the accuracy of the thermostat

Trouble spots

Look out for these things that can compromise cooling power and energy efficiency:

Leaky ductwork. Leakage from areas such as ductwork joints, elbows, and connections can be substantial -- as much as 20% to 30%. This is especially costly if the ducts travel through unheated or uncooled spaces such as attics, basements, or crawl spaces. Use duct tape or caulk to seal ductwork.


Thermostat placement. Don't place lamps or TV sets near your air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary. Make sure your thermostat isn't placed in the light of a sunny window.

(I didn't know such thermostats existed! Will keep in back of my mind in case I ever buy a house someday.)

Thermostat abuse. Don't set your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense. Install a programmable thermostat so you can automatically reduce the temperatures during low-occupancy hours.


Maximize your cool

(Now, this sounds more relevant! Just what I want to know!)

Be smart about staying cool. These simple tips can help make your home more comfortable and energy-efficient when you're running your air conditioner -- and even when you're not.

Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer. When running your air conditioner, set your thermostat at 78°F or higher. Each degree setting below 78° F will increase energy consumption by approximately 8%. The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.

Install programmable thermostats. These inexpensive devices can help optimize your building's heating and cooling needs by automatically reducing the temperatures during low-occupancy hours.

(Have you ever seen a ceiling fan in a real NYC apartment - in our low and middle income class apartments?)

Use a ceiling fan. Ceiling fans create enough air movement in a room to make it feel four degrees cooler or more. When used in conjunction with air conditioning, you can set your thermostat higher than you normally would. The average ceiling fan uses about the same electricity as a 100-watt light bulb (those with the Energy Star label require even less energy), so you can run one for just pennies a day. But only run the fan when you're in the room -- it does not actually make the room cooler; it just makes it feel cooler when you're in the breeze.

Set your ceiling fan for summer. Make sure the blades are turning the right way for summer -- during summertime operation, the high edge of the tilted blade should go forward first, to force air downward. You'll know it's right if you feel the fan blowing down when you stand below it while it's running on high.

Shade your air conditioner. Plant trees or shrubs to shade air-conditioning units, but be sure not to block the airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10% less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.

I'd love to do this, but how? It's NYC!

Shade sun-exposed windows and exterior walls. In most areas of the country, direct sunlight streaming through windows during the cooling season can substantially increase your air-conditioning costs. During the cooling season, shade windows with window coverings, awnings, trees, and bushes wherever possible. Exterior shading is more effective than interior shading.

(Mmmmm... maybe we oughta get shades for our windows where the AC is. I oughta get a shade for my own bedroom window which is notorious for turning into a sauna or steamy jungleforest.)

Use bath and kitchen fans sparingly. Avoid using bath and kitchen fans when the air conditioner is operating to avoid pulling warm, moist air into your home.

(So this means not opening the bathroom window to pull in warm moist air?)

Avoid creating heat. When possible, delay heat-generating activities, such as cooking and dishwashing, until evening on hot days.

Seal off unused areas. To reduce heating and cooling bills, seal and turn off the heating or cooling in unused areas such as storage areas.

Repaint building exterior with light colors. When it is time to repaint the exterior or your building, consider using light colors, especially for the roof. Light colors reflect the sun away from the building, thus lowering air-conditioning expenses -- perhaps your largest energy expense.

(Hey, Landlord! Could you paint our brick building??? Just kidding!)

Use fans with your window a.c. unit. Consider using an interior fan in conjunction with your window air conditioner to spread the cooled air more effectively through your room without greatly increasing your power use.


(Argh! Ideal for people with NO allergies. What about folks with allergies? This is a nightmare for people with pollen allergies.)


Sources: U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California Energy Commission


Sunday, June 12, 2005

Relay Operators

Relay Operators can be quite amazing. Sometimes, they're great in terms of common sense while calling to place an order for delivery. Others just don't let you know that the order was successfully placed and state "Person hung up. RO # ga or sk?" So, I have to ask if the order was successfully placed. Sometimes, they say that the person hung up. I'm like, "Well, was the order successfully placed before the person hung up?" "Yes. RO # ga or sk?" Others are friendly and let me know that it was placed. Talk about communication.

The other day, I was thrown off when I asked the RO to wait while I type the order first before dialing. While typing out the order (which I was not finished with), the RO went ahead and said (won't they ask for ur address and ph nbr and what nots?) I did a double look to see if I actually saw what I just read. I paused, clicked the "Enter" bar few times then stated (Yes, they will. I planned on including that info after typing the order naturally. Thanks for your thoughtfulness and consideration in making sure I place a complete order for delivery.) I was flabbergasted. Give me a chance to finish typing and the benefit of doubt that I'd eventually give my address and phone number for the delivery! I told my roommate, and we laughed over this.

RO agents can be amazing sometimes. I don't know if I'd rather deal with this kind of RO or the dumb ones who don't communicate well or are very passive in doing their job as RO agents. Mmm... Which would you prefer if you had to choose the lesser of the worst types of RO agents?