Sunday, October 29, 2006

Colors of Fall

I have never seen such vivid colors in the weather change that Fall brings.

Funny things seen in Glen Burnie

Ready for Halloween

Yes, I promised nor more stuff but I needed it

This is what our bookshelves look like relative to the rest of the foyer-living room.

This is my new mirror. I have wanted a cheval mirror for the longest time. I haven't been able to find one I liked within our price range. But, I saw this at Target and loved it.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

How low can you go?

Would you go as low as suggesting that somebody was pretending to suffer the effects of your life threatening, debilitating disease, in order to support your political views?

That's what Rush Limbaugh did when he accused Michael J. Fox of shaking too much when he appeared in ads supporting Democratic incumbents, showing his support also for stem cell research. Limbauh apparently suggested that Fox had not taken his pills or was acting. As my husband said. this comes from a guy who believes in over medicating.

A number of Bloggers out there have commented that if "Fox wants to enter the political arena, he shouldn't be above criticism."

I don't think this is a matter of being above or below criticism. This is a debate on whether Limbaugh was a donkey (my mother reads this) when he made fun of Fox's disease. I think it is abhorrent no matter what Fox was saying or standing for when Rush made the comments about his condition. The fact that Fox was in a political ad should definitely lead to discusisons and debates on the content of that ad and what he's standing for and whether we aree with it or not. It shouldn't be a debate on whether Fox really is that sick or not. Even if they prove that Fox did not take his medications that day, so what? He did that before in 2002 and he said he did it to show the public what this disease does to people. Sometimes, we need to be shocked into action. Maybe the right wing wuold just like to take all the diseased and suffering and put them in a dark underground dungeon so we can pretend nothing's wrong in the world and everything's hunky dory in the world ruled by them.

Friday, October 20, 2006

SI Reunion: Lack of planning or lack of caring?

So, I went to the SI Alumni Reunion last Saturday. Let me talk about the highlights of my visit back to the Midwest and then I'll talk about the letdowns. But, here are the photos before I forget about them: Reunion weekend .

- Friday night, Jeff and I got in around 6 and drove into Ann Arbor. Everything looked the same as 6 months ago. We checked into the Lamppost Inn and they informed us that because they were fully booked, we were being upgraded. We had a room with a kitchen, full sized fridge, king sized bed, real wood furniture, a hallway and a nice bathroom with a high pressure shower head. Surprises cannot get any better than that specially since we paid $50 a night.

- That evening, we had dinner at Chili's with Madelyn and Autumn. $3 margaritas and friends I haven't seen in a while.

- Then, we went to Leopold's for a few hours where we had drinks with Amy A , Autumn, Amy G , Madelyn, and Sarah W.

- Saturday morning, we had brunch with Amy A, Autumn, Sarah W and Olga at Cafe Zola . It was really good. I am surprised I never went there in the 2 years I was there.

- After dropping Jeff off at the hotel for a power nap, Amy A, Autumn and I went shopping at our old hunting grounds - The Briarwood Mall .

- At 5:30ish, we headed back, picked up Jeff and met up with Jon B at Buffalo Wild Wings for some spicy chow and the Tigers game.

- Then we went to the SI Reunion, where we all got a nice fleece blankie.

- After the Reunion, we went to Ashley's for an hour or so, where we watched Michigan win against somebody else (I was playing games on Jeff's phone the whole time, as the photos will show).

- Sunday morning, Jeff and I drove down to Sylvania, OH to visit family friends and stayed there overnight.

Now, for my frustrations with the whole trip:

- I wanted to get an oven mitt with the MI map on it and could not find one. The store that carries it for sure was closed.

- The Reunion was a hmm how do I put it gently - failure? let down? People who had RSVPed yes didn't show up. People just didn't show up. There were 2 faculty members and 3 staff members who probably had to be there because they planned it. JB and I had a nice long discussion on what this lack of interest implies.

One, it implies that the School was probably more involved with the iConference than with the Reunion. Well, they could have separated the events.

Two, the notices to alumni didn't go out early enough. People who have just started jobs maybe 6 months ago need more than a few week's notice to plan flights, time off, etc. I booked my ticket way in advance because I saw the information online as I was updating my alumni profile.

Three, there's a lack of a feeling of belonging. Is it a thought that you've paid your dues, you got your degree, there's nothing left to take or give from the School anymore? If that's true, it's really sad. SI is a small school and I'd have thought that would lead to a more cohesive bond between the students which would stick even after we graduate and between the students and the school.

I am sure there were more things we discussed and points we came up with but I'll have to come back and update when I remember more.

Finally on Flickr

Ok, so I followed Noor's advice and started putting photos on Flickr. After 4 days and many hours of frustration, I have figured it out and have posted many photos of Bandit here: Bandit goes online!

Would the real Sylvie please stand up?
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Foley's Folly

Ahh politics. I vowed once to never indulge in political debate. to that effect, I have very rarely blogged about political happenings. Every now and then, somethign will trigger a small venting. But, today is amazing. I wasn't going to say anything about Foley and the scandal but Mark has something on his blog that I said to my husband, Jeff this morning. The comparison Republicans are drawing between Foley-underage page and Clinton-Lewinsky!

When the Republicans accuse the Democrats of using the Foley scandal to take American attention away from elections ... does that remind anybody of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal? And to top that, Lewinsky was not underage. And Clinton did not head any caucuses (caucusi?) against sexual relations with consenting adult women. Foley headed committees against the same thing he did.

Sick? Hypocritical?

On top of it, Fox News had the gall to represent Foley as a Democrat in one of their news clips. How low can you get guys? Hey, if you don't have an excuse for your own man, claim he doesn't belong in your camp at all!

A wall separating 2 nations

Am I the only one who thought, "just when I thought things couldn't get worse," when he or she heard about the Congress passing the Bill to build 700 miles of fence across the Mexican-American boder? What comes to our minds when we hear about this fence being built? The first thing in our mindsat my house was the Berlin Wall. Wasn't it an American President who asked for that wall to be taken down? And now another American President is putting one up. Even though, as stated in an article in USA today, "The Bush administration argues that a Berlin Wall-style barrier would be a huge waste of money — costing up to $8 billion;" what difference does it make if a wall is made of steel or bricks and mortar? It's a wall between 2 nations implying one is telling the people of the other to stay out.

The current administration is making the point that we'll stop terrorist incursion by building this barrier. Excuse me, but does anybody remember how the terrorists who inflicted the horror on this country on 9-11 got into the U.S.? They didn't walk across the U.S-Mexico border. They didn't swim across from Cuba. (By the way, any plans on mining the waters to stop those people from trying to boat over, too?) They didn't run through some forests from Canada. NO! They were given student visas by American Consulates and let into the country at an airport. to stop that from happening again, we are building a fence at our border. Does that make sense? The incompetencey of the consular employees, the ineffectiveness of the immigration laws that educational institutions were not following, and the INS was not regulating ... that's what's to blame. Not the poor people who come across the border with hopes of finding a job for $3 an hour that they can send back and feed their whole family for a week with.

Why is it that anytime anybody questions the current government's actions, the word "terrorist" crops up? If they are taking actions that make no sense, it's to stop the terrorists. If anybody speaks against their actions, that person is most definitely a freedom hater and a terrorist sympathizer.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

My Thesis on Overachievement

Did I even spell the word right? From now on overachieve will be referred to as OA, overachiever as OAer, overachievement as OAment and so on, just so I don't have to type the word over and over again.

According to, the first 3 definitions of an "overachieve" are:
  1. to perform, esp. academically, above the potential indicated by tests of one's mental ability or aptitude.
  2. to perform better or achieve more than expected, esp. by others.
  3. To perform better or achieve more success than expected.

So, for somebody to be labelled an OAer, he or she has somehow exceeded the expectations or goals set by others. Am I the only one who thinks there's a problem with that? So, because my weed smoking, Jack drinking man living next door to my parents thinks women should graduate from high school, and that's all the education they need ... I guess I am an overachiever.

Or because some people think skating through school on C's should be enough ... I am an overachiever.

Because the people down the street working at the Mickey D's are happy with their minimum wage job, and think everyone else should be too ... I am an overachiever?

I understand these might be extreme examples but what difference does it make if somebody thinks 5.25 an hour is enough or a second somebody thinks 100,000 a yr is a high enough goal ... they will respectively think a person making 10 an hour or a person making 150,000 is an OAer.

I have not read the news articles and the columns lately arguing against and for OAing and OAers. I am not arguing what they say; I am just saying what I believe. We need to stop arguing whether OAment is right or wrong. What we need to do is evaluate the educational system in this country and figure out what's wrong. Something has to be going wrong somewhere in the nation if we're not meeting the basic 3R standards for students graduating from high schools.

I agree that making your children or students work extra hard and maybe more than their aptitude, so they can get into a difficult school and then go on to do a job they might not even like, is wrong. But, that doesn't mean that the children who actually have their own aspirations of making it big, of going to a big name school and working for a big name company should be labeled OAers and pointed at and heads shook at. Don't you agree, you Michigan graduates working at some world famous big name companies now? Or are you looking at yourselves in the mirror, shaking your head at yourselves and wishing you hadn't OAed. Are you working there because your peers or parents said that's what your goal should be or because you wanted to? If you did it because others said you should, well then you achieved the goals they set for you and that does NOT make you an OAer based on the word's simple definition. And, if you did it on your own, then you might be an OAer if they thought you did more than they thought you could have done.

A friend of mine says that "life isn't a race or a competition." Like hell it's not! What do you think you are all doing when you write those personal essays to graduate schools? You are competing for the very few scholarships or even admissions that school gives out. How about the resumes you put out on Monster, HotJobs or just your school's career site? You are competing against the thousands others who are applying to the same job. Why do you work hard at your job? You are trying to race to the top.

Not saying it has to be like that. You don't want a well paying job, a nice house in the 'burbs where your kids can run around the yard without worries, the 1 car per household individual, the flatscreen bigscreen LCD tv, clothes not bought on sales all the time, suits with a designer label, and add on to this whatever you worked towards when you went through school and whatever you are working towards now. You don't want any of this? Then forget anything I said. You don't have to do well, or compete, or even care.

It doesn't matter if you get C's through school or straight A's, you can be an overachiever by the dint of other people goal setting for you. Even the C graders are going to hve to compete for a job; it might not be at Google, Microsoft or Lockheed; but it is still a competition. Anybody who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves.

Our books and videos are out!

We did it! Finally! And, Jeff put all the books and videos out today.

Lucky? I think I might agree

Jeff thinks I am so lucky ... because
  1. In 2002 or 2003 summer, we went to an A's game, where I saw a pink A's baseball cap being sold outside the stadium. I wanted it and on the way out of the park, I asked the guy how much it was. He said $5 and I told him I only had 3 singles. The guy said ok and gave it to me for 3. Jeff couldn't believe it.
  2. Last month in New York, we went into a Starbucks near our hotel for some coffee for Jeff. I was just checking out the sales rack, and saw a Cranium game for 9.99. I take it up to the counter; the saleswoman scanned it and told me it was free. I thoguht she was kidding but she said that it was past the date they could sell it so she had to give it to me for free. Yay! We had fun that night playing some brainiac games :-D.
  3. Last Saturday I went to Jeff's work with him and spent some time at the new Macy's, which used to be Hecht's. I had seen a skirt there a while back which was too rich for my blood at $149. I found it again, and it was on sale for $74.50. They were having some special sale so I scanned it with a price checker and it told me to ask a salesperson. I did who scanned it and said it came up at a penny! I paid $7.45 for a skirt that was originally 150.

I hope this lucky streak keeps with me!