Sunday, July 30, 2006

Playing Favorites

Remember being a kid? Remember being around some adult who OBVIOUSLY played favorites? You know what I'm talking about - the mom that makes sure her favorite gets a very nice gift when it's anothers birthday, all under the guise of being fair? The dad that makes sure his favorite gets a shot not just at bat, but at leading off AND pitching, again under the guise of being fair?

Remember how OBVIOUS it was, even though everyone around averted eyes so as not to seem accusatory at that adult? And as a child, you GLOWERED at those adults who averted their eyes and thought, Cowards!

Republicans are like that indulgent parent. They just can't do anything without having something benefit the rich, their favorite constituents (or not so in most cases).

Take for instance, minimum wage. Well, actually, you don't want to take minimum wage because there hadn't been an increase in almost 10 years. It had been $5.15 an hour since 1997 and every year the raise gets knocked down by Congress (the majority of whom had been Republican since 1995).

Well, since the midterm elections are coming up, and Republicans are running scared, they voted to increase the minimum wage by a whopping $2.10. Great news right? But of course, with the Republicans, there's always a caveat. And here, it's not just one, it's more than that.

The $2.10 increase comes over a period of three years (yes, it's still considered good over three years, but it's actually over 12 years since there'd been no increase the last 9).

But get ready. These crazy Republicans aren't just being generous to the poor; of course there's more. They're giving away an estate tax reduction! (which applies to rich people only... poor people don't really have estates that can be taxed) And just like a ginsu knife commercial, they just can't stop giving. They offering even more tax breaks for the rich! Oh those Republicans - what will they think of next?

The Democrats have been wanting to increase minimum wage for years. But if they want to do it this year, they have to swallow a bill that not only gives to the poor, but it HEAPS upon the rich.

Remember back to that person playing favorites. Remember that you don't have to settle for just glowering. You can vote these assholes Republicans out of office.


Friday, July 28, 2006

A Twit...

... that is what we have for a friggin' president.

Does anyone seriously believe this imbecile runs the country? Listen to him and give me ONE sentence out of this answer that makes sense. He strings phrases together as if the mere fact of words being next to each other in auditory space brings coherence.

Towards the end, Bush says without a hint of irony " They (meaning the "terrorists") just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives."

Who are being killed by Israeli rockets? And I guess we Americans can get on our high horse. We only torture lives to achieve objectives, oh and kill too but somehow, "they" are different from us.

They are. They don't have a dolt as their leader.


Clicking/Knocking Sounds


See that critter above? Looks kinda cute, eh? That's a mantis shrimp; some view the species as a pest, some view it as a fascinating creature.

We think we have one of those in our tank. Over the last three nights, there's been loud clicking/knocking noises coming out of our tank. Loud enough to wake us both up. It's like a miniature jack-hammer inside a rock or something. has a great article about the species. I guess our question now is, do we keep it? We found a dead crab inside our tank today, but that may have been the result of skirmishes between crabs for shell space. I guess if Flit or Gaston gets offed, we'll have to reconsider.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

And This is Bad How?


From this article about Montana Senator Conrad Burns' altercation with FIRST RESPONDERS, firefighters from out of state, comes this:
Burns also said he had heard from one rancher that fire crews on the Bundy Railroad fire put a strip of fire retardant on the edge of Bureau of Land Management federal land, implying the fire crews were more interested in protecting public land than private.

Might I remind the Senator from Montana that HE is a public servant. Using his implication I surmise that if in a bomb raid or fire in government building, that first responders should first ensure the private citizens are saved first, THEN the public servants.

Friggin' tool.


Good Advice That's Held Up

When I was just starting out in comics, I had a meeting with then editor-in-chief of Disney Comics, Marv Wolfman. Being a fledgling in comics, I asked Marv what would be the ONE advice he'd give me, and he gave me a good one.

He said, "When leaving a number on any voice-mail, make sure to slow down on the last four digits."

15 years later, the advice still holds true.

I tried to impart this to a young legal assistant earlier today. He gave me a harumph of impatience. Just wait till people are annoyed enough that he's the last person on their list to call back, simply cause they don't want to listen to his voice-mail over and over again to decipher the last four digits.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Should We Do A Contest?


Dan Froomkin notes today that
Bush boldly signed legislation yesterday that bars condominium and homeowner associations from restricting how the American flag can be displayed.

So, how can we exploit this new law?

Should we hold a contest to see who can come up with the best, most creative ways to display the flag AND tell our government what we think of such silly laws?


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Ya'd Think I'd Learn

My sister called me up yesterday. She started off with small talk and I was scratching my head, trying to figure out the purpose of the call. Was she finally, after 40 something years, thinking of treating me like a friend?

Hah! No such luck.

Apparently, I was dumb enough to drop my guard with my mother and just talk. I complained about my job and mentioned I was thinking of looking for another job. THINKING. Fact is, I know I have a decent job... it's just times they get to me. Doesn't everyone's?

I wonder how many nights sleep she lost because of that one comment. Because that was what my sister was calling about.

When will I learn that I cannot converse with my family without things blown WAAAAAAY out of proportion?

They wonder why I don't tell them much about my life. I tell them my REALLY HUGE good news and the first thing my mother says? "Next story, don't write about that subject."

I tell them I'm bored with my job and not happy. The first thought is how it might influence them.

I just need to repeat to myself over and over again, do not look to family for verbal comfort or support. Hysterics soon follow. Ya'd think I'd learn.


Friday, July 21, 2006

Parent Notification Laws Backfiring?

I remember a class assignment in H.S.; I went home and asked my mother, a fundamentalist Christian, what she would advise me if I had gotten myself pregnant. (I remember the feeling of being a slimebag cause I knew there'd be no chance in hell, I'd get pregnant but I had to ask my mother as if this was a possibility)

My mother didn't even bat an eye as she replied looking straight at me, "I'd tell you to get an abortion."

I sputtered. How could this be? She explained, "If you got pregnant, your whole life would be ruined. You'd have no future, and most likely, I'd end up taking care of your child. And you'd still have no future. No, an abortion is the only way to make sure you'll be okay later in life"

Apparently, my mother wasn't the only fundamentalist Christian with a thoroughly pragmatic outlook on this decision. three states — Arizona, Idaho and Tennessee — the percentage of pregnant minors who had abortions rose slightly after the consent laws went into effect.

I would like to sign up all those abortion clinic protestors, put them in a database and line them all up as soon as possible to adopt all those children in the foster care system. These people seem to think unwanted children should be born. So let them take care of the entire system.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

If I'm to be Responsible, Get the Hell Out of My Way

So when this guy started at work, I asked him to keep track of the plans that we have. He was great at it and everytime someone asked him where a set of plans were, he knew where.

Well, he got busy... and stopped paying attention to plans. Which is a reasonable thing.

I kept asking him if he needed help. He kept waving off the help until recently. Which is not so reasonable. But hey, he's a guy, whatdya expect, they're just dumb that way.

So recently, a boss got upset that he didn't know where plans were. Very reasonable. He asked me, EVEN THOUGH HE KNEW I WASN'T KEEPER OF THE PLANS... so I said, go ask this other guy. Well he, of course, wasn't organized. So this boss decided okay, I'm to be keeper of the plans. Again, reasonable.

Well, as soon as I started taking responsibility for the plans, this other guy has been trying to organize plans. I'm like, hey, what the hell are you doing? He's says, well you ask me where plans are when others ask. I said, not any more.

I am NOT a shirker of responsibilities (unlike some people who live near me).

This guy didn't understand why I wanted his mitts off the plans. My position is this. If I am to be responsible for the plans, I don't want anyone else touching them before they are logged in. That way, I know which ones are logged. If they are missing after that, NOT MY PROBLEM IF PEOPLE DON'T TELL ME. But it IS my problem if they don't get logged in the first place.

[Addendum] I guess if I were to look at it charitably, my co-worker is trying to prevent a clash between that boss and I. This IS a distinct possibility. But then, if that is what is going on, the clash has to happen or it won't resolve itself. Either that or I'll be leaving my job soon (maybe that's what he's trying to prevent - who knows). Either which way, the responsibility of logging in plans is now firmly in my lap; therefore get out of the way, I don't need a grown boy in my lap.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

She's Dead...

Life goes on.

[Added] sorry for the short post.... I was in shock that Ossie died, though I was expecting it. Had a good cry on Bratworse's shoulder and now I can write more.

Ossie was by far, the coolest and neatest pet we've ever owned, either together or separately.

Even though she was a secretive and nocturnal animal, we learned so much from just observing her, interacting with her, providing her with love and care. I hope one day, they'll evolve to creatures that outlive a year. That's when they'll take over the world.


The End is Near...


...for Ossie the Octopus that is.

When I woke up this morning, I did my usual morning routine. Go to the fish tank, turn on the lights and feed Flit, the green chromis and Gascon, the shrimp. (I actually think Bratworse misnamed the shrimp, it's supposed to be Sebastian from Little Mermaid.)

As soon as I feed them, I peer into the tank, into her den and see if I can see through the little hole. Usually I can't see into it because her body is in the way. This morning not only could I see through it, I couldn't see her breathing (which is usually how we tell she's in there).

Bratworse came over to look and unlike me, she looks around inside the tank and declares "Ossie's out and about." Sure enough, there was Ossie over on the opposite side of the tank.

She's much paler than she was, and she looks shrunken. Since she's entered into the age of senescence for octopuses, her tentacles are all curled at the ends. Someone once described the look as curly-q's or corkscrews, which is accurate. Her breathing is regular and her eyes still appear quite bright. We are hoping that she will live for a few more days so we can enjoy her, but the end is definitely coming soon.

Ossie has got to be one of my all-time favorite pets.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Imagine having the fortune of being with someone you love for 16 years.

Imagine that person dying 3000 miles away from you.

Imagine going to collect his body and having someone ask you, who do you think you are?

Imagine being called on the day of his funeral to be asked who gave you the right to authorize the cremation.

Imagine it no more, for it happened.

This is my biggest fear for Bratworse - that I will die, and shitty ass people will question her right to decide what my future is, when she's going through the worst time of her life. I'm not afraid if the reverse happened, because I'm too full of anger to LET this happen to me. I'd be screaming bloody murder and making a scene like you wouldn't believe. But Bratworse? She'd look around at all my grieving friends, and wouldn't make a fuss.

All of you who are against gay marriage: May you rot in hell forever.


This Imbecile is the Leader of the Free World?


What have we unleashed onto the world? And will the world forgive us?

Just what we needed. Bush pawing the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel.

Being one of a handful of women in a male-dominated fields before, I've often dealt with unwanted touches. I used to do things like get a crew cut so that the touches would be directed to a part of my body that didn't bother me when groped.

I would say that the massage is probably one of the worst offenses because it's usually masked as non-sexual. I can't tell you how many men have grabbed my shoulders.

Then the conversation usually goes like this:
Asshole: You're so tense!
Me thinks: Yeah, cause you just friggin grabbed my neck! For all I know, you're planning on choking me to death.
Asshole: Here, let me relax you.
Me: Umm, no, you're just making me more tense.
Asshole: But why! This is supposed to be relaxing.
Me thinks: Not when I barely know you. Get your mitts off me!
Me: Umm, you won't be able to budge my shoulders... four rear-ends with resulting whiplashes will make them granite-like.
Asshole with a gleam in his eye: You should let me work on them, I could get rid of them for you.
Me screaming in my mind: How about I poke you in the eye... THAT will relax me!

EVERY time, I've been groped like this, it's been in a public setting, usually professional. Therefore, I can either look like a psycho, screaming at this dweeb who's "trying to relax me" or I can just make my shoulders tenser until their fingers hurt.


Friday, July 14, 2006

Whaddya Know, Falsifying Records Does Work


Read this:
1288 B.C. Pharaoh Ramses II was soundly defeated by the Hittites at the Battle of Kadesh. Undaunted, the Egyptian ruler built a memorial to his magnificent "triumph." The monument endured, the Hittites died out, and generation upon generation of historians paid tribute to Ramses' military victory. Only recently have archaeologists unearthed the truth about the Battle of Kadesh and exposed Ramses' 3,300-year-old "Big Lie."

Wonder if this is what Bush/Rove is hoping what the outcome of our current war will be.


Bicycle Made for Two


Finally replaced the bike that got stolen 8 years ago. The new (used) bike isn't as nice as the old one; that one cost $500 and had suspension on both front and back. This one is light, 21 speeds, nice new seat and gears. Frame's a little beat-up, but that just gives the bike some personality.

Now Bratworse and I can sing "Daisy, Daisy" as we're biking around on weekends. And maybe some of this jiggly unappealing globs of flesh will wither away.


Monday, July 10, 2006

Alas, Despite Best Efforts...


... the octopus babies didn't survive.

Hopefully, the ones at UC Berkeley's marine biology dept. will.


Friday, July 07, 2006

Talk about Picky!


I'm a really picky eater. But I have NOTHING on these octopus babies! Apparently, they have be fed several times a day and several types/sizes of food to try and ENTICE them to eat.

Boy, did I pick a project for myself here. Esp. with these eyes that just started needing bifocals a year ago.

I shouldn't be surprised. Ossie was a fairly picky eater. She LOVED red crabs, enjoyed red-legged hermit crabs for a while, but left the surviving one alone. I believe it's still in the tank. As for ghost shrimp, the very first day we saw her devour two in front of us. Most ghost shrimp were gobbled up the day we put them in her tank.

With luck, some of these hand-picked delicacies will consumed.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

...To Go To Script

Four words that seem ordinary on the surface, yet in Hollywood, those four words are magical.

Big announcement in a couple of weeks. (Don't want to usurp the publisher's role here).

Man, we're just raking in the good karma this past week.


Baby Octopus Movies!

Here are two movies we took of the octopus babies. The first one is from before we scooped them out of the tank. They're swimming near the surface.

The 2nd movie was taken after we separated out the babies into individual cups. In this one, you can see a baby swimming happily in its cup.


Baby Octopus Pictures!

Here are a couple of baby octopus pictures. Remember that these guys are in 10 oz clear plastic tumblers. In one of the photos, there's an orange thing floating above it. That's the food - a tigger pod. One of them has so much personality that it does a flip whenever I'm peering into its cup.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Leaving the Nest


Today, we will be donating most of the babies to U.C. Berkeley's Marine Biology department. 6 of the octopus babies have been given away to a cephalod enthusiast over in San Francisco and another 5 will be given to a cuttlefish breeder in Alameda. We will be keeping 3 of them (and who knows how many are still left in the tank. This morning, there was one fast little bugger that I couldn't catch).

5 did not make it.

Ossie waved at me this morning when I waved at her. I cried because I felt she was saying goodbye. Bratworse scoffed; she said Ossie's saying Hi. Ying and Yang.

We've separated out the babies into individual plastic cups. The routine is, feed them 1-2 tigger pods a night, and change the water every 2 days. So far, the ones that have survived are looking fairly hardy. I've already picked out two I want to keep. Bratworse is going to select another 6 and of these, 5 will go to the Alameda breeder.

I keep wanting to stay in their room and observe if they're hunting the tigger pods or what. Bratworse keeps telling me to leave them alone. They are incredibly cute.

One of the ones I want to keep, got so excited at the prospect of tigger pods, that he did a somersault, then turned pink then stretched out to twice its size before setting off in pursuit of the tigger pod.

Hopefully, the three that we do decide to keep, we'll have the 75-gallon set up for them as their new home.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Karma - the Mysterious Workings of the Universe

I am now convinced that there was a reason to why stuff happened to us.

It was so that we could try and help raise these octopus hatchlings.

If we had gotten either the 40 gallon tank or the 75 gallon tank set up, most of these hatchlings would have disappeared into the filter or protein skimmer and died immediately.

If the insurance people had taken care of it sooner (more on this later - don't want to be upset this morning), we might not have had the ability or frame of mind to be looking after hatchlings right now.

If we hadn't gotten to know the Tonmo people or people in the area who are interested in cephalopods, we wouldn't have scored a HUGE supply of free food for the babies.

If ....

So many ifs that if one of them hadn't happened, we wouldn't be sitting here with 25+ hatchlings right now.

More and more, I am seeing what happened to us as the Universe's way of killing two birds with one stone: it gave us the opportunity to help save a species from the decimation of the oceans AND it's giving retribution for my neighbor. (yes, I still believe that we got caught up in her bad Karma; the difference is, I see the positive side now as a motivation for these occurances instead of a side-effect.)


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