12 hours left

To vote for my photos! Here's another one, if you've already voted for the sign one. 'Member, you can vote for all of mine.

Look at the traffic heading out of New Orleans at 3:45 a.m!


Pick me!!  Pick me!!!

So, I entered a photo contest for NJ photos a while ago.  As you know, I love taking photos in NJ.  
Anyway, I need your vote in this contest.  You can vote for several of my photos - hit your back button to go back to my other ones.

If you take photos here and there too, please don't instead post all of your own to compete with mine. 

Anyway, please make up some screenname, vote for mine, love mine, and we'll see what happens!  Click here:  Here is the one I think has the best chance.  but please vote for some of my others.  



We went to a Phillies game yesterday and, well, secretly hoped for them to lose.  They will have to play the Mets soon, after all.  

I've posted enough pictures of baseball diamonds...so here's a photo of bathroom.  We had seats inside some sort of clubhouse this time, so the bathrooms were way nicer than usual.  The tiles actually had pictures of grass on them!  So I guess weeing is supposed to be like being out on the field?

Hubby reported that the male bathroom was also quite pleasant.

The food was good too.  So even though the wrong team won, it was a fun time.

By the way, the Phillies fans were their usual LOUD selves.


I finally sent this to the Humane Society, after wanting to do so for a long time:

"...I have one complaint, and I hope it can be addressed. Last year, after I paid for my membership, I proceeded to receive tons of free gifts throughout the year designed to get me to contribute more -- when instead, I wish the money I'd send had just gone to the animals. I don't want extra watches, pens, and all those other things. I'm sure it added up...

"....I just got my latest membership renewal form. I'd like to donate, but not if it goes to a calendar, pen, watch, or anything else....while I'm sure everyone appreciates free gifts, it was excessive, even for each individual membership. ... If I renew my membership, can you stop sending me gifts to entice me, so instead the money goes to the animals??"

Now, if it was just labels once in a while, or a calendar once a year, I wouldn't mind.  All charities send those.  But the his and her watches (excessive!!), the pens, the memo pads, and everything else was adding up to more than the cost of my membership. I didn't want my annual membership donation to go to watches.  And of course, with each gift was a letter that was all, "So we sent you this gift, can you donate more now?"

Hopefully they will get back to me on this.


Biden your time

Remember the good old days?

The Saturday Night Live skit the night of those hearings was spot-on...unfortunately, it's not on the internet (darn!)


Scratch and sniff

I wish they still made these.

I thought about them yesterday because on the way home from work, I smelled something that reminded me of the dill pickle one.

Then I remembered how scratch & sniffs got me into a minor scandal in fourth grade.

What happened was, I brought an order form for scratch and sniffs to my bus stop.  My teacher had given it out in class.  Just like with Scholastic books, you could give the order form back to your teacher with the money, and they'd order them all at once.  I wasn't sure I was going to order any.  This girl named Dana who was in first grade, who lived in the house behind mine, told me she wanted some.  So Dana got $1.75 cash from her mom and gave it to me so I could give it to my teacher for the stickers.

It was at the end of the school year, and for some reason, the stickers were late in coming in.  Dana kept walking into our back yard every day and knocking on our sliding glass door to ask where the stickers were.  I just wanted to eat my spaghetti and there she was knocking on the door.  I told her that my teacher said they still hadn't come in yet.

But Dana's mom kept sending her over every day to ensure that I hadn't just pocketed the $1.75.  Finally, my mom wrote down the teacher's phone number so Dana's mom could call and verify this.

Anyway, when the new school year started, the stickers came in and I gave them to Dana.  End of story.

And some people think the suburbs are boring.  Hmph!!!

Post script:  These days, apparently, $1.75 will get you one sticker...  Now why didn't I save any??


I just got an e-mail with the subject head that said, "You wrote my favorite book."

It goes on:  

"Hi, I very suddenly decided it would be a good idea to e-mail you and let you know that you wrote my favorite book. I picked up Carrie Pilby very randomly four or five years ago and fell hopelessly in love with it. The copy I have is slightly tattered from being read, loved, and carried around... I bought a copy for an English teacher. I forced two or three of my friends to borrow it...."

That's always nice to hear.  I haven't gotten an e-mail on CP in quite a while.  It's funny, 'cause just the other day, I was just telling The Hubby how hard it is for me to read CP.   I'd want to revise everything.  Eek!

Maybe someday, the publishers will put out a new edition of it, since the old ones are largely gone.  Maybe...



Once upon a time a girl moved into an old apartment and inherited a fridge from about 1932.  Okay, that's an exaggeration.  The 1970s, probably.  
Some little kid had left animal stickers all over, so she covered them up by festooning the fridge with magnets.

Then she met a wondeful boy.  He noticed that the freezer froze over every two months, and the fridge was very small.  He waited patiently for a long time, and eventually he and the girl bought a new fridge.  So they removed the magnets and waited for their delivery.

The fridge had served the girl well, but it was time to move on.  And to stop having to defrost every two months.  So a new machine entered her lair.

And he still let her put up her silly magnets.  She decided to only put up some of them, though.  
Hey, you can't stop progress!



Most people I know have stopped blogging about dating.  Either they aren't dating anymore, or found it counterproductive to actually meeting someone.  

Not long ago, I was looking for something for work and somehow came across this blog by a guy, which details "many reasons why dating sucks."  The blogger actually hasn't blogged in a year, no telling why, but he has a long list of reasons why dating is hard for men.  It's a pretty exhaustive list.  A lot of those rules are also true for women.

I bring this up because a long time ago, The Anony Blogger and I used to argue about why women rarely asked men out.  It took me a while to figure it out, and I had trouble explaining it.

But I think not long ago, I was finally able to formulate my answer.

You see, dating is all about someone getting to know you -- about them getting to know who you really are.

And then hopefully they will like you because of who you are.  Obviously, you put your best foot forward during a date, but it's about them getting to know you.

If you are a shy or somewhat insecure girl, whereever you fall on the shyness scale, the whole prosepect of dating is completely antithetical to your personality.  

So if you actually have to ask a guy out, then the first thing he knows about you is the EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHO YOU ARE -- you're showing him how outgoing and in charge you are, when in fact you are shy and a little insecure or quiet.  At a time when it's most important for him to know the real you!!!

If you are shy or insecure, or a little of each, and you have to make a bold move, then you shudder at the realization that this guy now believes you're outgoing and bold.  So he's going on a false impression of you - whether he likes bold girls or not.  So when exactly do you get to settle back in to the real you?  And must you keep up a facade of always doing the asking?

A girl I know used to ask a lot of guys out, but she told me that if they didn't ask her out for the second and subsequent dates, she didn't ask for another, either.  This is basically because she wasn't a bold, outgoing person.  She asked for a first date, but if she was going to have to keep pushing and carrying the load, that's not her personality. 

And so even if she was asking a guy out once, that was the limit of it.  He'd have to ask her the second, third, etc. time until things were a little more stable and relationship-like. 

Let's say you are a normally-kinda-shy girl and you ask a guy out.  It's possible he may be turned off by your outgoing personality.  So that's a problem.  But on the other hand, if he likes your boldness, and it's not your real personality, he may soon not like you when you go back to normal.  So you are asking them out using a borrowed personality.

Asking someone on a date is basically asking someone to focus on you so you can show them your best qualities.  But if you start it with something false, you're starting it on completely the wrong foot.

That's why, as some friends of mine have said before, girls have other ways of "asking."  They might hint or make suggestions that aren't hitting guys over the head.  Like, "Hey, I've been wanting to see Pineapple Express."  Or they might just find a way to strike up a conversation at an event, to make it easier for the talk to turn to exchanging numbers, or going out.

But in that case, guys just sometimes don't catch on, or they complain that that's not overt enough, that girls should come right out and say it.  The fact of the matter is, if you like shy girls, or quiet girls, or girls who are insecure (in other words, not completely in love with themselves), you should come to understand that they may have trouble asking.

So the question is, then, what about shy guys?  Well, same thing.  I'm not saying shy guys have it easier.  But I would guess - and of course, this is not for everyone - guys can ask girls out without girls making as many assumptions about their personality.  A shy guy can ask a girl out and be a little insecure or funny about it, and a girl understands and sometimes is more attracted.  But girls can't really hem and haw and do the kinds of things guys can do if they're shyly asking someone out.  Entire movies are based on guys faltering but still getting the girl because the faltering was kinda cute.  Do you think if a girl presents a rose to a guy and says, "So, kind sir, I'd be honored if you'd go out with me?" it will work?  Well, sure, if he's already attracted to her looks, but it isn't a very female thing to do.

These are all generalizations, and I understand that it's not always true, but I think my main point is just that dating goes against the laws of shyness - for both men and women.  But I'd say a higher percentage of women are shy or insecure (and yes, men who constantly comment on women's bodies and how fat they are are part of that) than men are.  People comment on women's bodies a lot more than on men's and I've heard men say that a girl who is maybe 3 pounds overweight is "fat."  Thus, on the whole, women have a hell of a lot more to be insecure about in dating.  So it's harder for women to ask men out.

Well, just some ruminations.



Well, maybe it is true about Chuck Barris!  (Just kidding, he was pulling our legs.)



It's been too long since I've linked here, hasn't it? Yes. Yeeessss.


Weird t-shirt roundup

You know those shirts that say "Ithaca is Gorges?" A few weeks ago, I saw one that said "Ithaca is gangsta." Then last week I saw, "Ithaca is COLD."


Yesterday, at the Mets game, a kid who was about 10 was wearing a shirt that displayed some kids cooking hot dogs in a bonfire. It said, "It's all fun and games until your weiner falls off." (Would that be allowed at school?)


More reader mail on Jethro Tull

"Tull can be categorized as progressive rock which overlaps with metal (Rush and
Iron Maiden are examples). So it's not such a stretch. But more importantly, if
a kid was given piano lessons at 8, and turns into a metalhead at 16, he doesn't
actually have many options. Locomotive breath has a driving guitar riff and
lyrics about 'shuffling maddness'. Plus Toni Iommi, the founder of Black
Sabbath, and the most revered name in heavy guitar riffdom, was in Jethro Tull
briefly." -- New Jersey White Trash 

For those not aware of the Jethro Tull collected works, they include "Bungle in the Jungle," "Too Old to Rock & Roll (too young to die)," "Aqualung," and "Locomotive Breath." There are other great songs, too.  If you're bored, listen to this! It's not very metally, and you might really like it, pop fiends.


Conversation as I was reading the news

ME:  Wow.  This is fascinating.
HUBBY:  What?
ME:  This woman who was in the news for cloning puppies is a wanted sex offender in England because 30 years ago she had a Mormon guy she was in love with tied to a bed while she repeatedly raped him.
HUBBY:  She raped him?
ME:  Yeah.  Should I send this to you?
HUBBY:  No.  Thank you.



Today is 08/08/08.

Whew, glad I got that post over with.  Back to sleep.


Another time-waster

Put your relatives' last names in and see if you can find some who have passed away in the last 35 years...
Free credit

Free credit report.com is not free. Anyway, here is a parody of the commercial.


I kept hearing about "subprime loans" and tuned out because I didn't know what they were. Here is what Wikipedia says. Guess it's not that complicated. They're loans that generally were being made to risky borrowers. And it came home to roost.

"In general, subprime lending is lending at a higher rate than the prime rate. However, in U.S. mortgage lending specifically, the term "subprime" simply refers to loans that do not meet Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac guidelines.
It may or may not reflect credit status of the borrower as being less than ideal and may not even reflect the interest rate on the loan itself. The phrase also refers to bank loans taken on property that cannot be sold on the primary market, including loans on certain types of investment properties and to certain types of self-employed persons.
Subprime lending is risky for lenders and occasionally for borrowers also, due to the combination of high interest rates, frequently poor credit histories, and potentially adverse financial situations that are sometimes associated with subprime applicants. A subprime loan is offered at a rate higher than A-paper loans due to the perceived increased risk. Subprime lending encompasses a variety of credit instruments, including subprime mortgages, subprime car loans, and subprime credit cards.
Subprime lending is highly controversial. Opponents allege so-called subprime lenders engaged in predatory lending practices such as deliberately targeting borrowers who could not understand what they were signing, or lending to people who could never meet the terms of their loans. Many of these loans included exorbitant fees and hidden terms and conditions, and they frequently led to default, seizure of collateral, and foreclosure."



This article appeared in the Sunday Times. Frustrating to hear about, and hard to look away.

On July 31, I walked into my local Rite-Aid, and they actually had half an aisle of Halloween candy, including Brach's candy corn, and special bags of the Three Musketeers, etc. but in fall colors for Halloween.

Today I got a letter from AT&T that started off something like, "Fall brings leaf raking, football, and bla bla bla..."

I can't remember it all starting this early any time before.  What's going on?  Maybe retailers feel they need to compete with on-line, so if they put the stuff out now, people will buy it before they think about getting it on the 'net.

Right now, we are about as close to spring as we are to fall.  Spring was what, six or seven weeks ago?  Fall is six or seven weeks from now.

Honestly, I love the cool, dark evenings of fall, but for now, it's summertime, and the living is easy.



Did your high school actually have those standard groups like nerds, jocks, etc.? While my school had some clear-cut jocks, those terms weren't really used much. But there was one group that was referred to a lot: "Burnouts" or "dirtbags" (I think the terms were interchangeable).

A burnout or dirtbag was first and foremost characterized by long hair. He was usually a long-haired smoker, often into heavy metal. They were just seen as kids who really didn't care much. I'm not sure how those terms got started, although my school drew from a wide array of socioeconomic groups (there were new developments as well as very old apartment complexes in my town), so I guess it stemmed from richer kids looking at kids from the other side of the tracks, so to speak.

As far as nerds went, I think I was the only female nerd in my class. Oh sure, there were smart girls and honors girls, but most of them were fairly well adjusted and even rather social, whereas I was not. I didn't know how to be, so I gave up and just focused on studying. It's not a good thing. There were definitely male nerds in my class. They were all very into computers. But no one used the term much.

Anyway, so this one day, I was after school for some reason (maybe a meeting for some club). The meeting ended early and I was walking the halls, waiting for the late bus to arrive and take me home. I passed the lunchroom and wandered into the hallway with all the artsy rooms - shop, art, and the band room.

From hall outside the band room, I heard a beautiful melody. Then I recognized it. It was the opening piano chords of "Locomotive Breath" by Jethro Tull. You may think you don't know them, but you've heard them, trust me. It was at a time when my musical tastes were being broadened. I had finally shifted from Z-100 and repetitive top 40 stations and was amazed by the breadth of classic rock on the radio. Jethro Tull was one of the groups that had a lot of songs I liked. (No, it's not heavy metal, as my college roomie thought. The lead singer plays a flute.) Anyway, I peeked in the band room. Playing the piano was a "burnout" or "dirtbag," complete with thick long hair and a heavy metal shirt. Playing this beautiful song.

Now, it would be very Breakfast Club-esque if I walked into the bandroom, told him I loved that group, and this female nerd forged a secret friendship with the kid. It would have made a great story, maybe an after-school special. And in a socially-adjusted world, maybe I would have at least told him he sounded great.

But I was me and that was then, and I was too shy and scared. So, I walked on.
Blogfan Sam from Hawaii writes:
Jethro Tull was indeed "heavy metal" according to the Grammys. Tull beat out Metallica for the first "heavy metal " Grammy back in 198? (whenever). So I guess officially, Tull was "heavy metal".
I think my small town high school was unique. We called our social outcast smokers "Goolies". I have no idea why.
Then S.E. Hinton's book The Outsiders inspired the goolies and started calling the others "socs".
I never fit either group either.
My response: Maybe it was ghoul-ies?
I don't really see Tull as very heavy, but I guess if you have to fit it into a category within rock, it might fit. Hmmm, what qualifies a group as heavy metal? An extra guitar?
By the way, I know the above story didn't really go anywhere. But it's those kinds of things from which fiction is born. It could be the start of a pretty cool teen novel, but I think that type of thing has been done plenty of times.


Bridge & cupcakes

Today we walked over the Brooklyn Bridge and saw the waterfall installation. 

On the way back, we bought some cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery, made famous by Sex And the City.



By now you may have read about the horrific incident on a Greyhound bus in Canada. I feel really bad for the 19-year-old that was just sleeping there and randomly lost his life to a psycho.

I don't want to stereotype, but some weird stuff happens on those buses. I should say I've also had some very uneventful Greyhound rides, and I do like riding on their buses. But there aren't metal detectors or anything to prevent weapons (I'm sure that will change now). I guess it's been good that lines to get on the bus move fast, but I think those days are over.

Airplanes require a lot more mental competence. You have to somehow get to the airport, which is usually located in a far-out place, then get there early, then check your bags, show ID, and go through the metal detectors.

Anyone can get on a bus, and oh, they do. The buses have been stopped in the middle of trips because someone smokes in the bathroom, and they wait for a state trooper to show up and remove the person. Or some worse nonsense happens.

I would guess that on most of the rides, nothing happens. In fact, I traveled to Maine and back on Greyhound twice in 1999, 12 hours each way, and it was fine. I also went to Boston several times on their buses for only $40 round trip, and had no problem. I'm glad the buses exist as a way to travel cheaply.

But there are probably going to be greater security checks now.

And everyone will want to sit near the front, so maybe it'll be less likely that someone will attack them. Although of course it won't always help.

Do you want to bet that Google will put Greyhound ads above today's entry? Well, I don't have any beef with the company, I'm just saying that riding the bus will probably take more time now, but hopefully be safer. Maybe it will keep people from transporting guns, knives, etc.

Update: A close member of my family reports that they actually do metal detector tests of people going on long-distance trips, with the wand...but they don't do everyone. And sometimes they stop when the bus arrives. Also, this happened in Canada, so not really sure if the procedure is the same there.

Update II: From a news report:

Greyhound bus passengers in the United States are subject to random security checks, but there's no such system in Canada, the company said yesterday.
"Due to the rural nature of our network, airport-type security is not practical," said Greyhound spokesman Abby Wambaugh.
But passengers horrified by the brutal stabbing and beheading aboard a bus travelling from Edmonton to Winnipeg say the company has to do something to prevent attacks.


The victim has been identified as Tim McLean, 22. Now he doesn't get to live the rest of his life. It's sad when anyone young dies. He really didn't deserve that.