Well, Hurricane Rita went farther east than they had expected (good for us, bad for others), and my family is fine. We didn't even get any rain from it up here, which stinks. Anything would be better than this heat. I mean, come on! It's the end of September!
In my human development class, we're going over child development and Piaget and all that jazz. I realize that there is a very good reason that I have never taken a child development class before, and should never be allowed (or required) to take one again. "Why?", you ask. Because those normal developmental deficiencies (deficiencies as compared to adults) are hilarious! The humorous possibilities are endless! I've learned so many new and exciting ways to mock and befuddle children of various age groups, I don't know where to begin! From object permanence to conservation of liqiuds/numbers/etc. to the emo goth punk's egocentrism, there's fun to be had at every age! I'm telling you, this stuff is gold.


Questions, Comments, and Concerns

This lovely image is not my most recent attempt at art. No, it is in fact a satellite picture of hurricane Rita that I swiped from weather.com. Update: Actually, the photo I had here was pretty cool, but I forgot to keep it from updating itself (who knew satellite images would do that?), so it vanished into the ether. Rather than have you staring at what looks like a clear and cloudless day in the Gulf of Mexico, I thought I'd throw in a reminder of your elementary school yearbook. Just pretend to...Notice that the hurricane is at least as big around as the entire Texas coastline.
Now, armed with this information, and keeping in mind the carnage and devestation caused by hurricane Katrina, would you leave?
I sure would.
Unfortunately, several members of my extended family have chosen to stay in Pearland, TX, a suburb south of Houston which is situated less than 45 miles from the coast. WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY THINKING???
I understand that gridlock and gas shortages have complicated evacuation plans. Alternately, it has not escaped me that, without having access to television, I have been aware of this hurricane for 4 days. That would have been plenty of time to "beat the rush" and head inland, if one were so inclined.
Of course, "There is always the possibility that the hurricane could miss the Houston area" and "We'll be west of the worst of it" - these arguments are hardly convincing when what we're talking about is a 400-mile wide, category 4 megastorm.
It just seems to me that staying anywhere south of Houston is a blunder of unimaginably catastrophic proportions. I've found that it pays to have a healthy respect for nature. But, who am I to judge?
All frustration aside, though, I'd much rather admit I was dead wrong on this than have to say "I told you so".



It's that time of year again. Time to pull on those sexy liederhosen and polka till you pass out...that's right, it's time for....OKTOBERFEST!

It's a good thing Germans emigrated to the US, bringing with them their festival of beer. Without it, September is pretty boring.

Ah yes, September. Many people wonder why "Oktoberfest" is actually in September. The answer is, in Germany, it's pretty cold. Some smart person noticed that it's not comfortable to be outside at night in the middle of October. So a lot of the revelers would leave early, which also meant they bought less beer. This was bad. So, they moved the festival to September, when the weather is a bit more tolerable. Why didn't they re-name the festival "Septemberfest"? Who knows? Probably the same reason grown men voluntarily wear liederhosen in public. Nobody understands those crazy Gerries!

Tonight, I will make an effort to imbibe my share of Paulaner (the host for this year in Addison) and pull off a respectable polka. You should do the same. Be responsible and have fun!


The Sorry Snafu

Everyone should read this article. It's about gender differences in speech patterns, specifically, about some women's tendency to apologize for anything and everything. I don't agree with everything that is said in the piece, but it's definately worth a read, regardless of your gender. And if you happen to be a chronic apologizer, (I might be guilty of such a thing...) I'm sure you'll get a lot out of it.


Balcony Alchemy

After a questionable start, today I finally moved my pumpkin seedlings outside! I had bought a little "Jiffy Cup" pumpkin from Lowe's for 50 cents. The dixie-cup package promised it would be "Fun!" and "Easy to Grow!", and assured me that seeds and soil were inside.

Actually, the package included brief instructions and the aforementioned dixie cup, inside which was a "Jiffy Pot" (looked essentially like a dixie cup made out of some variety of compacted plant matter). It also included 3 unassuming-looking pumpkin seeds and a peat-moss pellet, plus an oddly shaped clear plastic lid. The pellet, which looked like a mini hockey puck, expanded quickly in warm water, which I poured directly on top of it (per instructions). I mixed the newly-created soil around inside the cup, to aerate it and whatnot (the instructions told me to do this), and then poked the three seeds in, pointy-side down. Then, the instructions indicated I should cover the cup with the plastic lid and put in a sunny window. The problem was, the lid is designed to go on two ways, and the most obvious and intuitive way to put the lid on compacts the soil I just lovingly fluffed, and makes a bit of a mess. Eventually, I figured it out, but I feared I had done irreparrable damage to my pumpkins.

After a few days, some white moldy-looking stuff appeared on the soil, so I cut back on the watering. A week went by, but still no sprouting, so I purchased another Jiffy Cup pumpkin and repeated the process, placing it in the windowsill next to my failed experiment. The next day...

My "dead" pumpkin sprouted! I was thrilled. A few days later, pumpkin II was also up and running. I kept them inside until they sprouted their first "real" leaves (the first leaves that come up are rounded cotyledon leaves, and the real leaves grow up out of that - Thanks, Botany class!). I lost one seedling to a 'cat attack', but I have 3 others that seem to be doing fine. Today, I deemed they were ready for the wide world of the balcony. I realize that it's very late to be starting pumpkins, but it doesn't get cold around here until late October usually, and sometimes later than that. Without the danger of a fall frost, I have confidence that my pumpkins will have time to ripen, if I get any fruit to develop. At any rate, they look green and happy now in their new, oversized planter.

Yay! That really was fun!


Dorktastic Linkage

My friend "Jon Alberic" has started a fiction-blog, set in our D&D campaign's world. It's important for me to mention that it's fiction, because it reads like a journal, and I don't want you guys thinking he's one of those wackos who wears a cape and calls himself the "Baron DeMerde". (Teehee! Guess what that means!) The friend in question eats people like that for breakfast. But seriously, it's pretty good, and you should read it. You'll notice it has caused me to create a shiny new link in my sidebar.

While you're looking at my sidebar, it may occur to you that I have in fact added TWO shiny new links. The second one is pure silliness. I had contemplated creating a blog of my session notes from our current homegame, but decided I was too lazy. Then, when Alberic started his blog, I assumed (because of town names) that he was blogging our group's exploits, and I was glad that someone had finally gotten around to it. However, it turns out he isn't recording our party's deeds for posterity, so I have decided to get off my tukuss and do it myself. So that's what that extra link is. I should warn you that my other blog is protected by a "Magic Circle Against Coolness", so read at your own risk....

A New Hope

Sifting through my junk mail, I stumbled upon something interesting:

"Your patience is appreciated: I have just sent our Director an email requesting a meeting about your case and in order to review your documents with her. She knows more about this law than I do.

She is also out today, but will be back in the office tomorrow. As soon as we meet and she gives me my marching orders, I will be emailing you re: status and next moves.

Thanks, Jess


"Susan" is Susan A. Fisher, Esq. (yes, that's actually in her title) of UNT's Student Legal Services. So perhaps my impoverished and long-suffering self will yet find justice. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check All the News that's Fit to Print.



Hurricane Katrina stole my vacation!!!

Actually, I'm not that upset about it. If my cruise had been cancelled by anything else, you can bet I'd be up in arms about it. But since my cruise ship will be used to house refugees from the single greatest natural disaster our country has ever seen, a natural disaster that obliterated my birthplace - well, it's just hard to be angry about that.
Of course, Carnival will be getting paid for the use of their ships, and the government will also pay to refurbish them after the fact. Not that I blame them for it - in business, "selfless" usually also means "stupid". And, Carnival is refunding all the money of all passengers whose cruises were cancelled; that's everybody from September through the end of February.
So it looks like I'll have to wait until 2007 to cruise to Belize. I'm disappointed, of course. But I guess it's a small price to pay, all things considered.


Buy this.

Since I don't have TV, I was unaware of the extent of hurricane Katrina's devestation on my hometown of New Orleans, LA until yesterday afternoon. I thought it was just another bad hurricane, lots of flooding, yada, yada. In a city that is at or below sea level in most places, flooding barely qualifies as "news". Then, I saw the pictures. THE LEVEES BROKE. I can't really describe to you the impact that statement alone has on someone who has lived there. The levees are an essential part of the city, something almost taken for granted as part of life. "The levees will hold; the sun will rise", that sort of thing.

It has come to my attention that Bungie, the makers of the Halo series (maybe you've heard of it - it's an FPS on the X-box...) has made a very humorous t-shirt for the occassion, the sales of which will go DIRECTLY to benefit Katrina victims. If you would like to read about Bungie, why they made the shirt, and exactly how much of your money will be going where, PLEASE READ THIS. But better yet, GO HERE AND BUY THIS SHIRT!!!

Also, my sister told me about another potentially cool and easy way to help. Apparently, there is a search engine, Allgive.com, which donates 50% of its profits from advertising to the charity of your choice. So pick "Red Cross" as your chosen charity, and chances are all the ad money they make off you using their search engine will go to Katrina victims.


Not-So-Good Vibrations

Ha! That cracks me up! Whenever I go into this site to add a new post, it takes me first to this page called a "dashboard" with little updates and notices from Blogger on it. The most recent one offers a free spam filter for one's comments - you know, in case your blog is getting soo much traffic that people are actually spamming it.

I would like to propose a theory. Without venturing into the territory of the "Psychic Friends Network", I think we must all emit some sort of chemical, electrical, heck, maybe even harmonic signal that surrounds us, aura-like, all the time. Think about it. Adult women who live together tend to somehow synchronize their monthly cycles. At times, many people can exude happiness or gloom without saying or doing anything. I personally know someone whose silent "cloud of gloom" can extend over 30 feet, crushing all levity in its radius with its immense, impenetrable despair. Frequently, this person is unaware of this effect. But I think that even during times of nominal emotion, when we're just going about our daily business, we must be emitting this, this...field. Perhaps these fields interact. Perhaps two people, just sitting next to each other, can inadvertantly create a sort of cosmic harmony or dissonance. Because, sometimes, for no reason at all, we immediately attach strong positive or negative emotions to a complete stranger.
It happened to me earlier this week. I was sitting in class when a certain individual, previously unknown to me, entered the room. Despite the fact that I did not see this person come through the door, it sent a shockwave of negativity through my being. I stopped my conversation in mid-sentence. Logically, I had absolutely no reason to dislike this guy. Usually, I am a friendly and, at very least open minded person who firmly believes that everyone deserves to be treated with a certain "default" level of respect and decency. (At least, until proven otherwise.) And yet, there it was, this inexplicable contempt welling up inside me, focused entirely on this complete stranger. Just as I was processing a mixture of guilt and shock at myself for having such an irrational reaction, he did the worst thing possible. He spoke.
I needed no further convincing. The guilt, the shock, instantly evaporated. A very select few people just rub me the wrong way, but this guy must be an affront to the rest of humanity! Almost before he finished his sentence, all of the people around me, if not the entire rest of the class, were rolling their eyes and mumbling "Wow, I hate that guy.", almost in unison.
It was a bizarre experience. I'm sure it will make for an interesting semester of Japanese.