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Subject:Writer's Block: I'm looking at the ___ in the mirror
Time:06:11 pm
If you could meet your true inner self, what would s/he look like, and what would s/he tell you?



Your mother.
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Subject:Castle
Time:08:04 pm
This weekend I read, nay, devoured two books from one of my long time favorite authors, Richard Castle: Heat Wave and Naked Heat. I may have mentioned before how much I adore Richard Castle. Maybe? I would marry this man.

Too bad he's fictional.

Anyway, for those of you living under a rock, Castle is a fictional author, the lead character on a tv show of the same name. The premise is that he follows NYPD detectives (specifically Detective Kate Beckett) around solving crimes with them, in order to do research for his novels. This is patently an excuse, as his mother pointed out, he wrote twenty six books before he met her, he doesn't have to keep following her around. The real reason he follows her around is because he's madly in love with her, and in three seasons, they keep stretching out the romantic tension, which has worked.

At any rate, someone decided to actually market these fictional books by a fictional author, and my husband got them for me on e-book, and I read them on my iPad. The best thing I can tell you is, if you aren't a fan of the show, you might not like them all that much.

If you are a fan of the show, you'll notice a lot of Castle's research actually wound up in the books, more so in Naked Heat once the tv show in jokes had been established: body found in fridge, jokes about Nikki surviving an explosion in a tub.

All that stuff is well and good, and you'd enjoy reading about it even without the tv show references, but the books also paint Richard Castle in a bad light. Frankly, they make him look like a hack writer.

For starters, we all know that Kate Becket is the inspiration for Nikki Heat. But, wait! Her plucky Irish friend Ryan and her street smart Latino friend Espinoza show up as Raley and Ochoa (Roach, if you're referring to both of them)! Captain Montgomery, the wise Negro/boss man is Captain Montrose! The sassy M.E. Lainey is now the sassy M.E. Lauren!

"Castle" even inserts himself under the name of "Jamison Rook" (Get it, Castle? Rook? Get it?). Instead of a famous novelist, Rook is a journalist following Heat around for pretty much the same reason Castle follows Beckett around. Only Rook and Heat sleep together. Which is frankly not likely, considering that the only differences between Rook and Castle are that Castle's bad habits (name dropping, wise cracks) are amplified and his good traits are not.

It rather reminds me of eight grade when I first wanted to be a writer, only I didn't have anything to write about, so I followed the neighbors cats around and wrote about that. The actress who plays Nikki Heat in the movie on the show called it verbal masturbation. She wasn't wrong.

Also, the dialogue is bad. Not always, and in fact, not often. It's actually pretty well written, except for specific instances between Rook and Heat, and anytime someone is being dramatic. I suspect this is done as a joke, someone is thinking that Richard Castle is a hack writer, and the bad writing is an inside joke. At any rate it made me laugh instead of groaning and getting irritated.

The only character that didn't get inserted is Alexis, Castle's daughter. I'm not sure why.

Kudos though, to the acknowledgments. They faithfully thank everyone appropriately "Mom, Alexis, My friends Kate, Espozito, Ryan and Laney..." and later on, "Castle" thanks "Nathan, Kata, Susan.....": All the actors on the show.

I will say I completely enjoyed these books, if for no other reason that because I am a huge fan of the show, and heard and saw the characters in my head. It was perfect, funny bad instead of bad bad, appropriately acknowledged the show in little and subtle ways while still standing on it's own as an enjoyable work of art, and actually really great mysteries.

I couldn't put them down. You're mileage may vary.
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Subject:My First Tornado
Time:06:32 pm
You might have seen us on the news recently. What with the President's birth certificate and the Royal Wedding, I don't know how much the national news is paying attention over here, but last night we had the worst storm I've ever seen.

It hailed, golf ball size hail stones. It sounded like someone was throwing rocks at the apartment complex, and then we lost power. It lasted for about ten minutes. Doug went out to check the cars for any damage, and all our neighbors all poked their heads out of their doors doing the same. That same group is usually having a party on Saturday nights, and they're pretty loud, but I was glad to hear them.

The guy that lives below said "Is that a tornado?"

I flew to the window, and yes. It was. The firs tornado I've ever seen with my own eyes. It was a very tall, thin, swirling cone. It was about five miles away, I guess, but anyway it was out toward the lake on the dry side of the Holston Mountains (as opposed to the lake side). I ran out and screamed for Doug to get inside. By the time he was in and looking it was gone.

With the power out, Doug and I started making calls to friends and family members. The neighbors did the same. We all met outside and compared.

"Mom still has power. She said there was a tornado that hit the airport."

"Dad says there's no power on the West side."

"My friend in Abingdon said there was an awful tornado there."

One of the neighbors drove up while we were talking. He had a hole in his windshield. He'd stopped in at Wal-mart, and when the hail started, it crashed through their skylights.

The entire conversation was punctuated by lightening, lighting up the whole sky as if it were day. Then it all started again with more rain.

I don't know when we got power back, but I didn't get to sleep until after one. I got up early to see the news. Fourteen dead in tornadoes all through our region. 120 tornadoes reported across the region, from Damascus, Virginia on down to Chattaooga, Tennessee. Three of them in Bristol, one in Abingdon, one in Glade Springs. Seven people died in the one in Glade Springs.

A's husband told her that the roof of Glade Elementary's gym was peeled off and moved six feet. Awesome Librarian has no windows on the front of her house. Everyone at school that had trees had at least one uprooted. Parts of Greene county are unreachable. According to the news, there are barns blown into the road. Barns. Plural. When it all gets cleared I be the death toll gets higher.

For all my life, and all my parents and grand parent's life, we've been protected from the tornadoes that hit West, Middle, and South East Tennessee by our mountains. What changed?
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Time:06:45 pm
Current Mood:angryangry
Another Gorram Sinus Infection.

Frell me.
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Subject:Writer's Block: Earth Mk. II
Time:05:24 pm
If you could design your own planet, what would it look like and who would live there? Describe the colors, the creatures, and the culture.


Your mother.
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Time:10:21 pm
Current Mood:ecstaticecstatic
Omg omg omg we have a baby!!! Welcome home Charles Eric! My cousin and his wife had the first new generation tonight.
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Time:08:30 pm
And yet again, Taylor Swift has tapped right into my psyche.

You, with your words like knives
And swords and weapons that you use against me,
You, have knocked me off my feet again,
Got me feeling like I’m nothing.
You, with your voice like nails on a chalkboard
Calling me out when I’m wounded.
You, pickin’ on the weaker man.

Well you can take me down,
With just one single blow.
But you don’t know, what you don’t know,

Someday, I’ll be living in a big old city,
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean.
Someday, I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me,
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean.
Why you gotta be so mean?

You, with your switching sides,
And your walk by lies and your humiliation
You, have pointed out my flaws again,
As if I don’t already see them.
I walk with my head down,
Trying to block you out cause I’ll never impress you
I just wanna feel okay again.

I bet you got pushed around,
Somebody made you cold,
But the cycle ends right now,
You can’t lead me down that road,
You don’t know, what you don’t know

Someday, I’ll be, living in a big old city,
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean.
Someday, I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me,
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean.
Why you gotta be so mean?

And I can see you years from now in a bar,
Talking over a football game,
With that same big loud opinion but,
Nobody’s listening,
Washed up and ranting about the same old bitter things,
Drunk and grumbling on about how I can’t sing.

But all you are is mean,
All you are is mean.
And a liar, and pathetic, and alone in life,
And mean, and mean, and mean, and mean

But someday, I’ll be, living in a big old city,
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean. Yeah,
Someday, I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me,
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean.
Why you gotta be so ?
Someday, I’ll be, living in a big old city,
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean. Yeah,
Someday, I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me,
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean.
Why you gotta be so mean?
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Time:06:25 pm
You know on TV, people are always being asked in job interviews what their biggest flaw is? I've never been asked that, but I have an answer. I've known for years that my biggest flaw is being completely, utterly, brutally honest.

When I was in sixth grade, my aunt got her hair cut, from shoulder length to pixie cut. She asked how it looked. I told her I didn't like it, and she looked like a twelve year old boy. My mom got mad at me, but I just said "What? You told me never to lie, that it's a sin." She couldn't very well say anything after that.

In seventh, I had a friend who wanted me to ask a boy out for her. So I did. "Hey. She likes you. Will you go out with her?" He said no, he had a girlfriend, so I went back to report.

"You weren't over there that long!" She was horrified that I'd just come out with it. "Well, I did what you asked..." She never asked again. No one did, come to think of it.

In high school, my mother was the first to admit I was always honest. Honest about my mistakes and if I'd done something wrong. Way back when my family had dial up internet, if you picked up the phone it would kick you off. Caitlyn accused me of knocking the phone off the hook on purpose. My mom, for once, defended me saying "If she did it, she'd be honest about it."

It was part of the reason I was so horrified when my ex had lied to me so often. I'm an open book, and always have been. It's one of the reasons this journal is so open (although, I'm sure it would be harder to say that if I was always out drinking or partying, and since I'm not, I'm a fairly "boring" person). Whether it was my mother's beating the Bible and Sin over my head, I'll never know. I just find it much easier to be honest.

In fact, I hate lying. Not just big lies, I also hate dissembling, half-truths, and "little white lies." Just give it to me straight. Say what you mean. I promise I'll always give it to you straight, and say what I mean. But apparently most people aren't like that. Some people would, apparently, rather be lied to.

"Do I look fat in that?"

"Not any more than usual."

"WHAT?"

"What?"

So that's my biggest flaw. Complete honesty.
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Time:07:59 pm
Just a quick post:

I'm typing this on my iPad which I am enjoying, mostly. It's still easier to type on a pc, so I can read lj all I want as long as I have nothing to say.

I spent a lot of quality time with my husband while we performed some needed spring cleaning onre our second bedroom, and now the place looks nice. We threw out three bags of trash and condensed enough stuff so that there are seven boxes waiting for there to be room in the dumpster. We found a quite a few things we thought had been lost, but still not my basket of sand turtles.

Found a turtle tot online that I didn't have, am now only missing the twins.

Tired of typing on a tiny touchscreen, so Im done.
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Subject:My wonderful job:
Time:08:21 pm
Current Mood:frustratedfrustrated
Well, crap.

Thanks for your interest in this position. Since this program is a
partnership between the Washington County Schools and the National
Park Service, we will be considering only Washington County teachers
at this point.
I will keep your email and resume on file.
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Time:04:59 pm
I tried to play a practical joke at school today. I taped flyers to both copiers that stated essentially, that they had been upgraded and now accepted voice commands. I made excuses to visit the teachers work room, but no one was yelling at the copiers. Most people hadn't even noticed the sign. Those that had told me they didn't want to try it, they'd rather just push the button. By fifth period, Miss P came in, recognized the joke, and took the signs down.

Tomorrow I'm gonna put up a sign that says "This copier is now known as Bob Marley because it is always jamming." We'll see how many giggles that gets.
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Time:04:37 pm
For the first time in five years, I am an ETSU student again. I signed up for Advanced Comp for the summer to keep my TN license from expiring. God only knows if it will ever actually be used.

I also applied for a summer job that I'm very excited about, providing it will work around my school schedule. It's a Teacher to Ranger program. They want teachers on site at the Overmountain Victory Trail Park in Abingdon, to teach the visitors about the Overmountain Men and the Battle of Kings Mountain in the Revolutionary War. I would also possibly be a cashier, or create curriculum centering on the Overmountain Men. It's $12.00 an hour, which is a really great rate for this area, and full time.

Again, only hoping I can do both a Comp class and work full time. The class ends in July, so it would only be for a month. And with any luck, I will not be unemployed in August. But so far there's been none.
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Subject:Writer's Block: Sorry seems to be the hardest word
Time:10:49 am
If there was one person, living or dead, to whom you could apologize, who would you choose, and what would you say?


Your mother.
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Time:04:27 pm
OMG I feel like a kid again.

I just colored Easter Eggs. For the first time in my entire adult life. It was so fun. I even wrote on them with a white crayon first so that they would have designs. I will post pics if I can find my camera cord, but these eggs are entirely too adorable. I wrote all our names on them: Mine, Dougs, Evie, Jack and Kaylee. Jacks actually has "Count Von Jack Mr. Mayor." Evie has some cute little star/asterisks, and Kaylee's has a heart. A whole dozen. They look like a cute little rainbow in the egg carton. I don't have to worry about breakfast this next week.

In other news, I so do NOT want to go back to school.
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Time:11:21 am
Well, the universe just put a smack down on my weekend. Bleh.

Doug and I were going to take our friend Kristin down to Cades Cove and Clingman's Dome in the Smokies on Saturday, but someone up there said no.

There are thunderstorms foretasted for Saturday, all day.

The government is going to shut down, and with it, all the national parks, including the Great Smoky Mountains.

Kristin was just admitted to the hospital with appendicitis.

I'm a sad panda. So is Kristin. I hope she's at least home by tomorrow, so I can stop by and see if she's okay. I hope that it's nothing more serious than appendicitis. She's sending me all kinds of texts being very optimistic about being ready for a car trip and hiking by tomorrow. It's sweet, but I'd rather she just get better and we can go in June.
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Subject:Poisonous Lizards at Gray
Time:04:35 pm
http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/Living/article.php?id=88897

When poisonous lizards roamed Gray
Published April 7, 2011
By Rex Barber - Press Staff Writer

James Mead Chair/Professor Department of Geosciences at ETSU talking about the pieces of a poisonous lizard fossil found at the Gray site. Ron Campbell/Johnson City Press Related Video

Venomous lizards once roamed around this region, according to evidence found recently at the Gray Fossil Site.

The evidence of this lizard, identified as Heloderma, was small, probably unnoticeable to the untrained eye. But site volunteer Sandra Swift noticed the two- millimeter skeletal fragment of the lizard in a pile of sediment she was sifting through this past summer. The bone fragment Swift found was actually like a shirt of chain mail for the lizard, said Jim Mead, chairman of the department of geosciences at ETSU.

“It’s actually a chunk of bone in the skin,” Mead said of the fossil fragment. “It grows inside the skin.”

The discovery is the subject of an article in the current issue of Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, a leading paleontology journal published by the Institute of Paleobiology at the Polish Academy of Sciences.

The lizard remains discovered in Gray belonged to a group of extinct lizards called Monstersauria — monster lizards. Relatives of these creatures are still found today in Mexico and on south into Central America. Gila Monsters would be similar to the lizard found in Gray, Mead said.

“Down in Guatemala and Mexico they can get up to about three feet, so they’re pretty big,” Mead said. “However, they do have very sharp teeth and they are venomous.”

That poison flows into prey through venom grooves in the teeth. The lizards turn their victims upside down to get the poison to flow into the wound.

“So it’s an unusual animal,” Mead said. “We didn’t expect to find it here in many ways.”

The discovery at Gray is the first record of this lizard this far north during this time period, which is estimated at between 5 million and 7 million years ago. Other specimens have been found in Florida. Mead thought Gray was probably as far north as the creature would have made it, given the change in climate at this point on the map.

Besides uncovering large bones like those of alligators, horses and bears from the ground, staff and volunteers at the Gray Fossil Site examine the large amount of excavated fine grain sediment that is regularly removed to check for minute evidence of fossils. One of these sediment piles is where Swift found the lizard bone. The sediment containing the poisonous lizard was removed from the ground in 2004. The fossil was found this past summer.

Thousands of these pieces of bone exist on these lizards.

“So somewhere out there is the rest of this lizard,” Mead said. “At some point I’d like to find the entire lizard, and we’ll be digging for that this summer.”

Mead said fossil sites usually have a period where many new species are discovered and then reach a plateau where new finds dwindle. Eleven years after its discovery, the Gray Fossil Site continues to produce significant finds.

“We haven’t even approached that (plateau) here at the Gray Fossil Site,” Mead said.

According to the school, besides Mead and Swift, the authors of the journal paper are Steven Wallace, associate professor of geosciences and a curator at the ETSU and General Shale Brick Natural History Museum and Visitor Center; and Center of Excellence in Paleontology Director Blaine Schubert, an assistant professor of geosciences and also a curator at the museum.

Read more: http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/Living/article.php?id=88897#ixzz1IsprOilC
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Subject:Writer's Block: Teenage dream
Time:04:34 pm
If you arrived at your front door and saw your first love standing there, what would you do or say?



Your mother.
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Time:08:13 pm
I want to make a small apology/correction from my last post. I actually had conflated two boys that I'd known. The kid that was my best friend was not actually the gay kid I remember. I just remembered fighting with both of them, and they merged in my head.

My Best Friend and I both wanted to be writers. We used to spend hours on the phone, though. I think we were both incredibly lonely. By that time, mom had had to get a job, and my baby sister was taking up all the other energy my mom had. Anna was still a "kid," and not much good company. My friends mom was dating this new guy, and was never around. The end result was us on the phone, watching TV together. Looking back, I think we fought because he found new friends. Then, his mom got married and I never saw him again.

The Gay Kid I was remembering was in French class with me. He was two faced to the extreme. I literally saw him meet someone at lunch, act like they were his best friend, and then once they'd walked away turn and say "I can't stand him." I wasn't really friends with him, but with another gay guy that was sort of friend of his. At that time, if you were homosexual, it wasn't he most accepting of places, so I understand why they hung out. The Gay Kid would get the three of us in trouble with the teacher. After a while, the teacher figured out to keep him on the other side of the room, and then we were fine. I remember being angry at this kid for most of my sophomore year, because of things he would say to or about my friends. Plus, every guy he said he slept with turned out to be a lie. Our senior year he got pushed into the pool, clothes, books and all. No one was sympathetic, not even the teachers. I remember Gay Kid trying to fix a computer, stupidly. My friend Jake and I could do it by pushing two keys, but this idiot was clicking random icons, and then just shrugged and rebooted the system. That I *DO* remember, because when we told him what he did wrong, he spent a whole class complaining about Jake to the gay guy I was friends with, and I got to hear about it second hand. I figured Gay Kid was just angry because none of the guys he wanted would actually sleep with him.

I'm wondering what else I've forgotten, misremembered, or what have you. It's funny that the stories I tell, sometimes I only remember them because of the stories. I remember calling the kid who did the spot light in drama "Spot" only because I've told that story so many times, I don't actually remember calling him that, not once. Actually, what was his actual name? Did we actually get served spaghetti the day we dissected worms, or is that something I'm misremembering, too? Jake had a crush on this girl, his first. Why didn't they go out? Oh. She got another boyfriend and then got pregnant. I think, that may have been next year altogether, but in my head they happened right next to each other.

Yikes. I'm not even 30. How much of my life has disappeared?
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Time:07:59 pm
I just spent three hours doing a very curious thing.

I, for reasons I don't even know yet, was looking for my psycho ex online. I was going to make up some fake name to preserve anonymity, but since the point is I'm looking for him, (I don't know why,) his name is Don. Google told me nothing, so I went looking to the next best place: Facebook.

I had forgotten so many people from high school, some of which because they were forgettable, and some of which because they were associated with him, and I wanted only to forget. My first surprise was my best friend in middle school. We "broke up" my freshmen year because he was a catty gay guy who wouldn't admit he was a catty gay guy and then he moved before we could mend the fences. I sent him a friend request, just because.

But he had been friends with Don's sister, who was in my grade. While there were plenty of other people from our share school on his friends list, she, nor the ex where there. I was actually looking for a girl that had been friends with the sister, and found her, but she didn't have anyone I recognized on her friends list.

From there it was "Who do you know?" and at each likely person ("Yeah, I think they talked some, maybe.") I looked at THEIR friends list for both the ex and his sister.

I found Don's ex, whom he dated before me, and then, according to rumors, after me. I found his best friends. All three were FB friends, and none of them had Don or his sister Jamie listed. It's likely she has a new last name, but none of the Jamie's I looked at looked like her.

Don and Jamie seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth. I mean, who the heck doesn't use FB, or at least have a profile? I'm really surprised to not find her, she was something of a social butterfly.

I dreamed some time ago that Evie (yes, my cat) asked about him, and my answer was that he had taken his own life. Since my cats generally lead me into spirit dreams anymore, I'm afraid that may be the case.
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Subject:Writer's Block: Waitin' for a super name
Time:12:27 am
If you were a superhero, what would your superhero name be?


Your mother.
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Subject:Writer's Block: Redrum
Time:11:15 pm
Describe an April Fools' prank from your life that went horribly awry.


Your mother.
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Subject:Writer's Block: Stories of old
Time:09:54 pm
Who is your favorite mythical creature/character, and why?


Your mother.
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Subject:My Haul
Time:12:47 pm
My haul at my uncle's last week was sort of disappointing. My dad kept talking about everything that he had, but most of it had disappeared or was quite frankly, rather crappy. I took home everything to sort through later.

The best thing I got out of the deal was the cook ware. There's too much of it, but it's in very good condition. I took the smallest pot, with it's lid, (which is still a good four quarts), and Anna and I will cook out of that on the trail. There were three very light and sturdy spoons. There was a cute little salt and pepper shaker, you just screw them together. And a water proof container for matches, which was still full. And some left over camp soap. That was a nice find. Also, a little one person mess kit with two small plates, a large bowl, and a cup. Since I already have one of my own, this one will be Annas.

What I chose not to take on the trail, but am keeping anyway are two more large pots, and a skillet and kettle. And a little box that holds six eggs. There is also a liter canteen that I'm keeping, but I don't know why. It's dirty, and even a scouring with soap and hot water didn't really make it look cleaner. It might be good for carting water around, but I don't think I want to drink out of it.

The crap that is going into the trash is as follows: the camp stove that uses white gasoline, and my uncle said was hard to light, and liable to start a forest fire, two weird bed pan shaped bowls that are pretty heavy, a filter for said fuel, and a charcoal water filter straw that I don't trust. There's also some old, heavy rope that is greasy, and I don't think it's worth trying to clean up.

The tent had disappeared somewhere, and there was no compass or guide book. This is fine. I ordered the AT guide for 2011 and it came in and I'm very happy about it.

Also, there were two frame backpacks. At first I thought I wouldn't need them. Anna and I both have perfectly good L.L. Bean backpacks. But when I got to looking at them, they were as light as ours, but had more carry space. They're still in excellent shape (except for Dad's has a little bit of rust on one of the fasteners), and needed to be washed.

They're in the washer right now. They were ridiculously easy to disassemble and reassemble. I just took a brush to the frames themselves, and they're drip drying in my tub. I think I'm gonna use one of them.

My next trip is to Target, for a cheap compass and lantern, and possibly a nalgene water bottle, if I find one I like.

Then, hiking poles and bed pad. Then a tent, and we'll be ready.

Anna still hasn't seen any of the stuff from Uncle Marks. On Sunday, she couldn't be bothered to take an hour out of her busy watching anime schedule to come help me collect the mess. She got a new video game, and so didn't come hiking with me on Tuesday, and I'm beginning to wonder if she really wants to do this with me at all. At any rate, I get first choice on the backpacks. I want the green one.

If she complains, I'll tell her that she wasn't there to call dibs, and anyway the orange one was dad's, so she can add one more thing to the short list of things that she says dad taught her or gave her. Also, the green one is put together better, I think. Nothing on dad or Uncle Mark, just something about the way the factory made them. The orange one has a panel that is tied onto the frame, the green back panel has screws that you can adjust.

Anna's supposed to be in charge of the first aid kit, and I think I'll also make her get the tent/tarp.
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Subject:Jack
Time:06:43 pm
My husband amuses himself by giving out new names to his cat. It's even better if there's a title attached. Currently his full name is Count von Jack, Dr. Snuggles, Mayor of Dinner Town and Chief Mischief Maker. I might be forgetting one.

Before we were married, he got a great deal of joy out of threatening me with a dog. He swore we'd get a dog when we got married, if I could have a cat, he could have a dog. Since I'm quite afraid of any dog larger than a cat, and he despises any dog smaller than a collie, this led to an impasse.

I asked him a while ago if he still wanted a dog whenever we manage to get a house of our own. Our apartment complex allows cats, but not dogs.

He said no. He said he was "over" having a dog, and greatly preferred the company of cats who had more personality, were easier to care for, and were smarter than most dogs.

He's even talking about trying to get his mom to overcome her dislike of cats. She needs company around the house, and a kitten would be just perfect, especially since she wouldn't need to walk it and send it outside to poop.

I was very happy to have dodged the dog bullet, and also to have won the "cats rule, dogs drool" argument for good.
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Time:09:41 pm
Current Mood:uncomfortableuncomfortable
I don't know of any adult who seriously counts elementary school "boyfriends" when they list off their old flames. By the time I was in seventh grade I saw how dumb that was, especially since the same people were "dating" off and on the entire six years. But, if they do count, then my first boyfriend was not my psycho ex, but a kid named James.

I was in second grade and he asked me during recess if I would be his girlfriend. I was amazed he was interested in me, so I said yes. For the next three weeks we ate lunch together every day. Then he dumped me for another girl. Even as a second grader I knew mentally that it wasn't her fault and I shouldn't hate her, but it was my first rejection and it soured any interactions I had with her until high school. Not that I really "liked" him, liked him. It was just something I could say was "normal" about me. Hey, see? I can get a boyfriend if I want.

Three weeks later he had dumped her and asked another girl to be his girlfriend, and by that time everyone saw that he was working his way through the less popular girls. Even at that age he saw who was "easy" prey.

At the beginning of 1998, my junior year of high school, I had just managed to leave my psycho ex, after he'd threatened to hurt me, kill my pets, and finally to kill himself if I did. Eventually he caused me enough emotional pain that I didn't care if he died or not, and I broke away. He stalked me for a week or two, and then the ranks of my friends closed in, and I never saw him again. It was only gradually that I came to see how close I had been to being seriously hurt, that he could have been physically abusive instead of just mentally and emotionally.

That May, our little town was turned upside down. A girl that was in the band and on the swim team with Anna (they were in the eight grade) went missing. Her name was Jessica, and she'd last been seen on the 15th of May after having a fight with her sister, about a pack of cigarettes that the sister had found. Jessica had threatened to run away to Florida with her boyfriend, who was 19.

The boyfriend was interviewed, and he denied any knowledge of her running away with him. After all, he was still in town, right? My dad actually was the one to interview him, and he said he was sure that he was responsible for her disappearance. Dad thought he'd put her on a bus to Florida.

Ten days later, Jessica was found dead in the woods just a hundred yards from her family's apartment. She was naked, and nearly decapitated. She was identified by her belongings under a nearby bush.

The boyfriend was eventually arrested, and then his name appeared in the papers. It was James.

I was incredibly frightened, even after he was convicted and placed in jail. I still am, when I allow myself think about it. Only now, I look back and see that the pattern of picking on the women who are already marginalized was already set in second grade. I was in no danger in second grade, I'm sure, but I was in danger from my psycho ex, and Jessica's story only reinforced my fears. I stayed away from the story in the papers, I avoided discussing it, no easy task when it's the biggest news in our small town.

To this day, I can never drive by her apartments, and those cursed woods, without feeling a shiver and seeing her in my minds eye, in the woods naked and crying.

It's been so long. James is behind bars still. If my dreams are prophetic at all, my psycho ex is dead. At the very least, he's disappeared from the area.

But I'm still scared. I think I always will be.

I went to the library today, and went through some of our old newspapers. I'm finally ready to know her full story.
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[icon] Four Minutes of Science, and Ten Minutes of Me Hurting Myself
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