Thursday, April 29, 2004

Ryongchon Train Disaster

It's amazing that there weren't more than 161 people killed in the Ryongchon railway accident when you look at this comparative overview of the blast-affected town. The train tracks run parallel to the bottom of this photo.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Speaking of Wedding Stuff...

Set of Rules for Next Three Months:

1. No one is allowed to ask me how wedding plans are going.
2. No one is allowed to ask me if I'm excited about the wedding.
3. No one is allowed to ask me where we're going on our honeymoon.
4. No one is allowed to have a conversation about marriage, weddings, or anything with me unless I initiate the conversation.

Why do I spoil your fun? I'm getting sick of the same people, and different ones, asking me every day how things are going. I'm not joking. Every day. And it's hard to act excited every time someone asks me a question about it. Matt and I have agreed that our standard answer is to make a "Ehnnn" kind of noise that would imply disinterest from here on out. Seriously. On a hypocritical note, I may be able to direct you to a website in the next month or so that will give all the lurid details of the upcoming joyeous event. If anything, it will be worth visiting just to see the picture that one person has said makes Matt and I look like brother and sister. Stay tuned...

Wide Range of Hopefuls

When you read the article: Quinn Exit Stunning (Buffalo News), scroll down to the paragraph titled "Wide Range of Hopefuls" and note the last bit in this section. Just when I thought all I had to worry about was a wedding this year... updates coming.

"We Are Sorry That Our President Is An Idiot..."

Since my cash flow has slowed down, I probably won't be buying the French Label T-Shirt. However, the subtlety of the joke may make me throw all caution to the wind.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Track the Spirit of Ontario

The D&C has provided a way for people to track the Spirit of Ontario as it makes it way from NYC to Rochester, NY. If you want to follow the progress of the ferry, click over to www.purplefinder.com and type in the username "cats" and the password "facec8ev"

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Attending Mass..

Matt, Heidi, and me may be filling some of our culture quota tomorrow night at the Eastman Theatre when the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra and Eastman-Rochester Chorus present Beethoven's Missa Solemnis. I haven't been to a classical music concert in a few years, so I'm looking forward to this if we can make it to Rochester from Jamestown in time. I suppose it's fitting that we "attend mass" the day before a microbrew crawl with my dad as part of an early birthday celebration for him.

God Love Those Kids

The title to this post is just what came to mind when I saw that Fat Wreck Chords is putting out the compilation Rock Against Bush, Vol. 1. Spiffy I say. Spiffy!

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Does This Mean L.A. Will Become An Island?

Researchers are saying the San Andreas fault is set to have earthquakes occur more frequently with more intense shaking. They predict the next earthquake to hit the desert will occur sometime before September 5th and will measure around a magnitude of 6.4 or greater on the Richter Scale. Read the article if you're skeptical. Scientists are getting more accurate with predictions.

And humourously enough, and that's how it's described on Internet Movie Database, 10.5 is about the "big one" that includes part of the continental U.S. breaking off into an island.

What About Moving to Canada?

So you don't support the war in Iraq. Well, regardless of this, a new bill may reinstate the draft for 2005 that may force you to go over there and risk your life anyway. I have relatives in northern Nova Scotia. I think Matt would very much like to meet them some day, even sooner if necessary.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

How Polish Are You?

To give you an idea of how funny I found this email forward, I found myself nodding and laughing as I agreed with 32 out of 60 on here. I assure you that that number would go up if it was my parent's answering yes or no.

Straight from a Polish Household
How Polish are you?

If you come from Chicago, Buffalo, Cleveland, Hamtramck, or Milwaukee,
there is a large church called St. Stanislaus or St. Hedwig within one block of your childhood home (that is unless you're one of those suburban exiles, in which case the church is within one block of your Babcia's house).

The neighborhood you grew up in is called "Little Warsaw", "Slavic Village", "Polish Hill", or something of that sort.

You like to celebrate St. Patrick's Day but only because "the Irish are oppressed too!"

Your knowledge of Polish language is limited to 'naughty words' (e.g. dupa, gowno, gatki, etc.), names for food (e.g. pierogi, kapusta, etc.) and drinking toasts (e.g. nazdrowie).

You occasionally add the suffix "-ski" to English words for no apparent reason; e.g. ("I'm gonna put the carski in the garageski.")

If you also happen to know a few basic conversational phrases in Polish you are considered to be old school by friends and relatives. You call your grandma "babcia" or "busia" you’re your grandpa "dziadzia".

You know how to dance the polka, but you only do it at weddings after kicking back a few generous shots of vodka.

You like to drink; especially beer, cheap beer.

When frustrated you slap your forehead, shake your head, and say "O Jezu Maria"

You have one grandma that wears a babushka and galoshes every single day of the year and another grandma that wears a lot of chintzy jewelry and too much makeup. You have a grandma that uses every single part of animal carcasses to make sausages, soups, dumplings, etc.

You know more Polish jokes than all of your non-Polish friends combined.

You have at least one uncle named Stan or Stas.

You have at least one relative that works for or used to work for the Big Three.

Your relatives devotion to saints, the Blessed Virgin, the Pope, the Democratic Party, the US Steelworkers, etc.

Your grandma has a shrine complete with votive candles and a picture of the Madonna of Czestochowa or Infant of Prague.

Your parents have at least one crucifix or religious picture mounted on a wall in their home with palms tucked behind it.

Your grandparents and other relatives habitually kiss everyone they meet.

You refer to your two dozen or so cousins by childhood nicknames (e.g. Stannie, Nicky, Louis, Joey, Chickie, Honey, etc.) irrespective of their ages. You refer to grandparents and aunts by pet names (e.g. Aunt Honey, Aunt Chicki, Grandpa Jo-Jo, etc.)

You regularly attend Friday fish fries, harvest festivals, parish festivals, Vegas nights, and/or bingo.

You bowl regularly and/or on a team sponsored by a local bar.

You get your food blessed at Easter time and your house blessed at Christmastime.

Your family has a wigilia meal on Christmas Eve at which you share oplatki.

You like to put sour cream, horseradish, and/or beer on everything you eat.

Your family likes to play card games like Hearts or Pinochle, and this often culminates in full-scale brawls.

You always prefer rye bread to white or wheat.

Your dad has forced you to eat horseradish, claiming that "it will put hair on your chest" (even if you're a female).

You like to go "mushroom hunting".

People in your family have their wedding receptions at places called "Polish Legion Hall", "Sacred Heart Center", etc.

You know the words to "Sto Lat" and sing it at all birthday parties.

You can out drink all of your friends.

You have waited in line at a church or bakery to buy pierogi.

You say "I seen" rather than "I saw", "I says" rather than "I said", and/or "youse" rather than "you guys". You frequently add "dere" (there) and/or "ya know" to the end of sentences.

Words like kiszka, kielbasa, and kolaczki actually mean something to you.

You know the difference between Czechs, Slovaks, and Slovenes, and you think they're all inferior to Poles despite the numerous glaring similarities.

You used to get a day off from school on St. Joseph's Day (March 19).

You actually know who Kosciusko and Pulaski are, and why they're important.

You mention Nicholas Copernicus, Frederic Chopin, or Marie Curie whenever people accuse Poles of being stupid.

You have at least one relative who plays the accordion.

You are inclined to blame all the world's ills on Germans and Russians.

You have an easier time getting along with Irishmen and Italians than with non-Polish Slavs.

You're either completely overdressed or completely underdressed for every occasion.

If you're a woman, you wear makeup at all times, even if it's 90 degrees and you're 88 years old.

Your idea of "healthy" is boiled pierogi, light beer and filtered cigarettes.

You have a potato-shaped face, a huge dupa, and/or a 'Polish Nose'.

You walk into a crowd of people you don't know, talk to them like they're your best friends in the whole world.

You hoard vast amounts of money in your house.

You have at least one bar in your house; usually in the basement.

Your family always has an excuse to hold a "poprawinie"; e.g. when someone dies, when someone gets married, etc.

You've never been to Poland but you have mysterious relatives there to whom you send gifts and money every Christmas.

Your front yard is filled with lawn ornaments, e.g. pink flamingos, jockey, Mary in the half shell, etc.

You have relatives who are priests and nuns.

You collect 'prayer cards' from funerals.

You pronounce th's as d's (e.g. you say dis for this and dat for that, etc.)

You or someone in your family owns at least one beat up highly outdated Dodge or Plymouth.

You regularly attend Mass but spend most of the ceremony sleeping and/or looking at the parish bulletin.

You haven't been a practicing Catholic for years but everyone in your family insists that it's "just a phase".

You often visit cemeteries, light votive candles for dead relatives, and generally spend an unhealthy amount of time obsessing about death.

You like to gossip and generally talk too much.

People often have trouble pronouncing your last name.

Your family is so loyal that even a second cousin would take a bullet for you.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Hello Cleveland!

I don't know if it was an idea born of too much alcohol, but somehow our little group of friends decided last night that a trip to Cleveland was in order before the end of summer. It's blog-worthy if only for the discussions that went on about how many rooms to get. Since there's five of us (two couples and one singleton), we debated everything from getting three rooms to just sharing a room. Much badness could occur. I say this because it would involve our friends that helped make the martini party we had last month a 27-hour event. Also, I would have a lot of fun if I had a chance to plan a small getaway (booking rooms, meal reservations, sightseeing possibilities, driving strategies, etc.). It's funny how a month and a couple weeks ago, Matt and I were wondering when we would ever be back in the Cleveland area with Heidi back in Rochester.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

What Could Soon Occupy All My Free Time (Aside from the Wedding)

WRFA: a Low-Power FM Station

Watch this space for updates as I submit myself, once more, to the radio gods that demand my allegiance.

Have Fun With the Sloganator!

Bored on the Thursday before Good Friday? Spend the remaining hours of your work day Making Your Own Bush/Cheney '04 Poster!. The Shrub campaign actually had this on the campaign website. NewYorkish gives us a brief explanation and poster ideas.

Continuing Lethargy

I hate that time of the month. This month has been different than other months. Normally, I get the whole bitchy/tired symptoms, but this month that's accompanied by big emotional swings and a general feeling like I want to crawl out of my skin. I've taken to wandering around the house with an old afghan constantly around my shoulders. Poor Matt has put up with me wonderfully. That includes comforting me as I cried in his arms after reading chick-lit-tear-jerker, P.S. I Love You. He also bought me chocolate when we went to Tops to pick up some draino for our clogged bath tub. Maybe our usual Thursday outing with friends will help pull me out of my funk.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

The Underground Railroad to Canada

With the potential for civil war rising every day in Iraq, some say the best way to avoid this is more troops. How do you get more troops? The draft. What happens when you draft kids that don't want to go to Iraq? The Underground Railroad to Canada.

*shakes finger* Bad PMS!

I thought I was coming down with the flu when I woke up yesterday. The symptoms of body aches, chest congestion, coughing, and general exhaustion pointed that way. Thankfully it was only PMS. Some months I wonder which would be worse. I do have to sigh and make a I'm-not-happy-with-your-behavior-now-go-sit-in-a-corner-and-think-about-what-you-did face at my PMS since some of my actions over the past week or so now make sense. I become more frank when that time of the month rolls around. I find myself saying things that are often the truth, but I decide I don't care how blunt the words are when they come out of my mouth. Here's to hoping my friends and family still like me!

One particular discussion where I was frank involved the guest list for the wedding. My mom and I don't really see eye-to-eye on this one. She wants to limit the list to 200 people, while I'm trying to explain that if we do that we'll have to cut out friends that we really want to have at the wedding. Matt and I have insisted that we'll pay for however many people come over 200, but my mom seems to be more concerned about only having enough decorations for 25 tables, so we can't possibly invite anymore than 200 people. What my mom forgets is that Matt and I have control over ordering the invitations and she really can't stop us from innocently sending out invites to the friends that we want there. The list stands at 189 before Matt's mom adds her family members. Make that 193. I just thought of two more people (plus their guests) that need to be added.

In more positive news, we had our engagement photo taken this weekend. Came out nice. Now we just need to pick one to send to some of the local papers.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Water
You are water. You're not really organic; you're
neither acidic nor basic, yet you're an acid
and a base at the same time. You're strong
willed and opinionated, but relaxed and ready
to flow. So while you often seem worthless,
without you, everything would just not work.
People should definitely drink more of you
every day.


Which Biological Molecule Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, April 01, 2004

What is the story?

A conversation with a friend got me thinking about my 8th grade English teacher, Mr. K. I decided there was a blog-worthy story in there somewhere and tried to decide what exactly the story could be.

Is the fact that one of my friends is still in touch with Mr. K and that he was able to tell me that Mr. K is doing well despite the fact that my former teacher had seemingly dropped off the face of the planet the story? No. Not really.

Is the fact that Mr. K seems to have been able to make a good life for himself and, thus, triumphed over the nasty situation where one little girl's claims of inappropriateness cost him his job as an English teacher the story? I suppose that makes for a good story, but it's not the one that keeps coming to mind.

For me, the story is about writing and the reason why I still write for enjoyment today.

The majority of the time I spent in English classes 7th through 12th grade was out of necessity and not free-will. There are a number of times I received midterm progress notes from my English teachers stating concerns about my grades due to turning in papers late. My obvious disdain for analytical writing reached its height my senior year in AP English where I refused to read novels all the way through; instead skimming what seemed to be the important bits.

The silver quill in all of this was 8th grade. Eighth grade, by itself, was a very difficult year for me. In adult-speak, my "peer relationships" were at an interesting, new low. Due to many reasons I won't discuss, my English class could have been a horror if not for the new teacher, Mr. K.

Mr. K, fresh out of college, decided to do things differently. We were not going to just read works of literature and then spit out analytical comment in the on-going effort to improve our writing and comprehension skills. Instead, the young teacher suggested that great literature extended beyond books. We dissected "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman, discussed the new album "Out of Time" by R.E.M., and were encouraged to go see the latest film adaptation of "Hamlet", starring Mel Gibson. We did read some grade-appropriate novels, but my memory of that is overshadowed by other classwork including the six-week creative writing segment.

The creative writing segment was new. I have no knowledge of whether it was continued years after the test run with our class, but I seem to remember Mr. K telling us that it was probably the last time we would get to do any class-related creative writing until we left high school. We explored writing different types of poetry ranging from free-style to haiku. Some of my classmates developed short stories. The class itself went free-style with each student having the luxury to work on whatever moved them. I tried my hand at poetry. Admittedly, most of it now seems immature but it was an effort to spread my wings into an area where I didn't have a lot of experience. I even found enough courage to submit two poems to the Junior High's literary magazine. One was published. We were all encouraged by our teacher who offered praise and constructive criticism along the way.

Recently, while trying to slim down the pile of jumbled stuff into meaningful memories, I could not bring myself to throw out anything I wrote in 8th grade that had a comment sheet from Mr. K attached. The advice he gave then pushed me more than any other English teacher I've had since then. Today, I work in a public relations job that requires me to write often. The job before that required me to write news stories nearly every hour of my shift. Still, I find time just about every day to write something for myself and others. I truly doubt I would find this much pleasure if not for one class and one teacher.

We Love The Subs!

I have never eaten a Quiznos sub, but I just love that weird commercial with the rats. Apparently this commercial has gained the attention of many other people. So you ask, just where did these rodents come from? Seth Stevenson tells us more in "The Creatures From the Sandwich Shop - Behind the singing rodents in the Quiznos ad".

City Newspaper Interviews Brother Wease

People who live and grew up in Rochester, NY know that Brother Wease is a morning talkshow host on WCMF. With all the hullabaloo raised by the FCC about profanity and whatnot on the radio/tv, City Newspaper did an interview with the local shock jock. My favorite part of the story is this:

Brother Wease: But listen: If [City Newspaper senior writer] Jack Spula had a radio show, truck drivers aren't going to listen to him. Because he's a fucking geek and he's boring. I'm not saying this in a bad way. I'm saying it as a fact. And it's a proven fact. That's why liberals couldn't have radio shows before, and that's why the right wing makes fun of the liberals.

Mario Cuomo is boring. Is he smart? Absolutely. Does he have the truth? To me, absolutely. But he can't reach the truck driver. The right wing is reaching the truck driver. So when the people from City Newspaper discount Brother Wease because I'm dirty, then they're fucking losing the fight, and it infuriates me that I'm fighting on their side.

I mean, you guys did a cover story on Bob fucking Lonsberry. And that's the guy who I fought constantly and I would debate any day. He's a guy who's on the opposite side of the political coin as your newspaper, and who promoted him? Your newspaper! When did you do a cover story about the only motherfucker who fights for the liberal side on the radio? And I've converted people. I've got mail from them. Your paper ain't converting shit. Your paper -- I love it --- but it speaks to the choir.

.....

This is a bad time, man. We've got McCarthyism coming back, and the right wing has got a boner. I have never wanted anybody to win an election more in my life --- and I don't necessarily like the guy. But when you say "Anybody but Bush," I ain't kidding, you give me a monkey. We're just trying to beat the right wing. He's just a figurehead. This is insanity going on.



Amen!


Wrinkle In Time For Sweeps

I'm curious to see the tv adaptation of A Wrinkle In Time that will be on ABC this May. Truthfully, the book was a little too out there for me growing up. My mom read it to me in 3rd grade and then I read it by myself at a later date. Something about the whole story was weird and unsettling in an almost "bad touch" kind of way. I can't pinpoint it, but even though I knew it was well-written it just left me feeling off. Either way, I'm still interested to see how they adapted it for television.

Away, Away

We're on a mini-vaca in an area where they're experiencing forest fires (thanks asshole arsonist). It's an area that makes Clift...