Friday, December 08, 2006

My Victim Check

This week's mail brought a check for $11.49 from Travis County Community Supervision & Correction's Victim Services unit as the first of the restitution payments for our burglary. (22 rifle, fax machine & the cost of replacing 4 locks.) The perp (Miss H.) was supposed to have started making payments last February or March, and I'm assuming there is a bit of a gap between the time she makes the payment & the time the county cuts the check.

I'd been meaning to call and tell them that we'd found the rifle at the ranch, but I couldn't find my letter from them that had the case number. The check had the case number (well, most of it) and the phone number for victims services (which I'd also lost), so I was able to call them today to get this straightened out, since we really don't want Miss H. to have to pay for something she didn't take.

When I called, it took them a bit of time to find everything, since the check didn't have the last 4 numbers of the case, I've got a fairly common name, and the perp had a common name, and, as the victim's services advocate said, "She's got a lot of cases!" We knew that she'd been involved in at least 6 burglaries that happened about the time they hit our house.

Well, we do hope Miss H. gets her life back on track, and perhaps it will be a bit easier for her, since now she has slightly less to pay off. We are grateful to her for cooperating with the police, and helping the victims get most of their belongings back.

NOTE: The Miss H. who burgled us is not the Miss H. on my MySpace friend's page. That Miss H. is the Austin High School art teacher who got fired because a friend had posted nude photos of her on the internet.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I Didn't Get to See the Dixie Chicks :-(


Disorderly Conduct: A non-UT subject rushed past the ticket taker in an attempt to enter the Dixie Chicks concert after presenting only a backstage pass. The subject stated that she was in a hurry then unleashed a tirade of offensive language that would have had any salty sailor blushing from embarrassment. Once the subject regained control of her emotions, the officer explained to her the security protocol that was required to enter into the Center. Again the subject's tongue unleashed a scathing tirade that displayed the shallow depth of her wordsmithing ability. During the investigation, the officer contacted the security director for the tour and the subject was released to him. Occurred on: 12-04-06, at 8:30 PM.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

John Safran vs Mormons

I have considered going door to door to talk about my beliefs or lack thereof -- or at least standing on the corner at the University to pass out freethought literature on the days the Gideons come to campus to pass out the little green New Testaments, but John Safran has actually done something about it.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

My New Blog is Ready?

But I need to sign in with my Google account? Do I even have a Google account? I probably do, but what was the password? And if I can't remember, did I write it in my big book o' secret password codes? And if I did write it in the big book o' secret password codes, can I remember the secret code for that password?


On the other hand, drag and drop elements sound tempting.

Has anyone tried the new Blogger?

And it's almost time for y'all to start thinking about your New Year's Revolutions. One of mine will be to post all those postcards that have been piling up all semester. Brother-in-law & Sister-in-law just sent a nice one from the Gran Pantanal, Brazil.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Someone Stole My Coffee!

So, I stumble into RLM, actually a bit earlier than normal. I ordered a non-fat double latte with an extra shot, and went 5 steps away from the coffee stand to open up the office and put up my lunch. R.H. and I exchanged a few words, and I went back to the stand to get my caffeine fix -- but it's not there!

Kristin looked at the counter, looked at me -- said, "It was right there! -- Hey, did someone take a double non-fat latte with an extra shot? Hey you, over there at the condiment table!" This poor guy turned around and said, "I just had a small regular coffee."

Kristin said she'd replace the drink as soon as she finished the one she was making. A moment later she shouted out, "Double Caramel Decaf Soy Latte! Double Caramel Decaf Soy Latte!" but no one came to the counter to claim it.

Am I a bad person for having a bit of schadenfreude that someone who is perhaps lactose intolerant and an avoider of caffeine was walking around all sick and jittery that day?

Monday, October 02, 2006

We Didn't Get Arrested (On the Barricade)

(click on the title above for some information about Accenture)

The Texas State Employee's Union General Assembly started this Friday by surprising Accenture with 150 or so protesters wearing our new red General Assembly shirts. Most of us didn't know where we were going until a few moments before the buses were to be boarded, right at rush hour on Friday afternoon. We were told our destination along with directions to "get out of the bus and on to the sidewalk as fast as you can, because the buses are on private property."

I was one of the marshals which means, instead of getting a badge and a gun, I got a an armband, a bull horn, and a list of chants as well as a big poster to carry.

I'm sure I looked pretty funny trying to negotiate the march line with all of that -- the bullhorn they gave me required the use of two hands and it didn't work, I stupidly took my shoulder bag, the armband kept falling down my arm, I couldn't read the print on the list of chants, so I had to fumble with my reading glasses -- and the chain that keeps the glasses around my neck kept getting tangled up with my delegate lanyard and badge as well as the poster hanging around my neck -- all that while yelling "They say privatize -- WE SAY ORGANIZE! Finally, one of the other marshals said that he would try to fix the bullhorn (sadly he couldn't), but at least I had one less thing to deal with. (I just read this to SRI, and he said, "Obviously, you needed to get organized, Susan!")

One of our instructions before we left was that if anyone were to approach us to ask who was in charge, we were to say -- at this time I piped up, "The guy in the red shirt!" (we were all wearing red shirts) -- but the correct answer was, "I don't know."

We weren't bothered by any of the Accenture building security, although up to 30 employees from the building came out and watched us. Accenture is at one of the busiest corners in Austin -- IH 35 and Ben White. We marched back in front of the building for half an hour or so and then walked back to the buses. We had to walk past WalMart to get there, and they actually had their security there watching us.

And what is Accenture, and why would we want to protest?

Here is some information about from TSEU:

"Privatization is a boondoggle that has already wasted millions of Texas taxpayers' dollars. Bermuda-based Accenture LLP has already pocketed nearly $100 million on a $1 billion contract, and what Texas gets is the call center disaster. DeLoitte charged us millions for the TIERS system that still does not work. Convergys has collected millions of dollars to run a high-tech, on-line Human Resources system that has produced chaos in five state agencies.

Based on this history of success, privateers have targeted Child Protective Services, the Texas Workforce Commission, state universities, and many other state services."

Accenture is also the company responsible for the voter purge in Florida before the 2000 presidential elections (in which felons were to be purged from the voter rolls, but many who weren't felons were also cut from the rolls.) Accenture also put the wrong number for applicants for Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, food stamps and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to fax completed forms and documentation -- instead of going to the Accenture offices in Austin, the faxes were ending up in a warehouse in Seattle, totally confounding the workers there. More info here:

One of the women on the bus to the rally said that she had tried to call (the outsourced) payroll services for her unit. (I'm not quite sure if this is Accenture or Convergys -- another outsource provider.) Someone answered the phone from another office. "Is this payroll?" "No, this is Human Resources" (or some other non-payroll unit.) "But I asked to be connected to payroll." "Yes, but there is a 30 - 40 minute wait to get through to payroll, so they are routing the calls to other offices." "Can you help me with a payroll issue?" "No." "May I please speak to your supervisor?" Interestingly, I just read an article that said that the abandonment rate for this agency had gone down -- well, yeah, duh, if you route the calls to the wrong place so that it doesn't look like people are hanging up . . .

Sunday, October 01, 2006

In Memoriam (Texas State Employees Union Members)

I'll have another post or two on the General Assembly of the Texas State Employees Union with in a day or so, but this is something I wanted to put up right away.

A few years ago I was walking to a far away parking garage after dark -- the security guard informed me that I am encouraged to call the campus police for an escort whenever I had to walk in the dark on campus.

Two weeks ago, a student in extreme distress came to my office late in the day. He said that after he'd left my office the day before, someone named Marcus, and a couple of other people named Marcus started following him. I asked him how he knew that they were Marcus -- "Because they called me." The conversation disintegrated from there. When another student came to the office to add a class, I was able to contact my supervisor who notified the police. The police got there very quickly, but the distressed student was already gone. They found him a little later, and were able to get him to where he could get the assistance he needed.

On August 9, 2006, two of my fellow union members were kidnapped from the on-campus parking lot of the Lubbock State School. A week or so later, the decapitated body of one of the women, Kay Harrelson) was found (although it is unclear as to the cause of the dismemberment -- it may have been due to animals.) The other woman, Kay Merimon, has not been found.

TSEU has called for restoration of discontinued security services on the campus and for additional steps to protect the security of staff and residents.

I'll never take our security staff and UTPD for granted again; however, the Texas legislature seems intent on slashing government services.

BTW, Ann Richards was a TSEU member, so she was on the list of deceased members.


Since I posted this, I discovered that the two women actually disappeared at lunch and they have a suspect under investigation -- it's some guy who works at that school. He didn't return to work after lunch, and he called in sick the next day. He lied about when he left -- he was caught on his apartment complex's security camera at lunchtime when he said he didn't get home until much later, and he said he was alone, but the camera showed someone else in his car.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

More UT Crime Line/Campus Watch News

I can see it now -- sentenced to hard labor, the poor little squirrel struggles to move while attached to a little ball and chain made out of paperclips and a golf ball:


Criminal Mischief: As reported by a Campus Watch subscriber:

My husband and I were visiting our daughter, a UT student. As we, our daughter and 2 of her friends exited Kinsolving dorm Sat. Sept. 23 just after sunset, we saw a squirrel jump up on a bike seat and attack it. The seat was a soft one, foam covered with cloth. The squirrel ripped open the cloth in several places and used its paws to pull out the stuffing. We tried to scare it off, even throwing water on it, but it kept coming back. We couldn’t think of anything else to do to help the poor person who will have a destroyed bike seat. If you want, I could send you a picture of this perpetrator in the act of vandalism.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Continuing Saga of Acne Girl and Sushi Boy

A follow up to yesterday's post -- one of my co-workers said that I should NOT try to hook these two up. After yesterday's escapade, she has come to the conclusion that Sushi Boy is too good for Acne Girl:

ROBERT L. MOORE HALL, 2515 Speedway

Failure to Identify / Attempted Theft: UT police officers responded to RLM on a reported suspicious person who had stolen a Dr. Pepper on 9-20-06. At the time of the theft the suspect was described as an Asian female, wearing a pink shirt and tan pants. When officers arrived, the owner of the vending cart pointed to an Asian female wearing a pink shirt and tan pants. The owner stated that the female had attempted to take a package of "Goldfish" crackers, and got her hand caught in the cookie jar. During the investigation, the subject stated that she was a current UT student, but provided a false name and date of birth. The officers realized that the subject was not forthcoming with her correct information; she was asked to repeat her telephone number and could not remember the number that she had just given. The subject admitted that she had lied about all of her personal information. The subject was taken into custody for Failure to Identify and transported to Central Booking. Occurred on: 9-21-06, at 10:10 AM.

(In yesterday's Campus Watch, the female perp was described as having acne.)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Crime Watch in RLM

This happened in RLM yesterday (From the Campus Watch):

ROBERT L. MOORE HALL, 2515 Speedway
Theft: An unknown female was observed removing a can of Dr. Pepper from an unsecured storage cabinet and walked away without paying for the item.  The coffee shop owner yelled at the female to stop and followed her out of the building.  The unknown female is described as: Asian female, 28-30 years of age, shoulder length hair, with acne.  She was last seen wearing a pink T-shirt and tan pants.  Loss value: $.75.  Occurred on: 9-20-06, at 12:31 PM.
The perp returned to the scene of the crime yesterday -- she went into the library, so their security video picked her up -- the library staff gave the video to the coffee shop people who were going to show it to the police.

Then this came in on the campus watch right after the above theft:

Theft: A UT staff member observed an unknown subject take a handful of sushi from a private vender located on the second floor.  The subject left the area prior to the arrival of the officer.  The subject was described as: white male wearing an orange shirt.  Loss value: $4.00.  Occurred on: 9-19-06, at 7:00 PM.

My "matchmaking urges" (ala Ski Boy and Bikini Girl from a couple of years back, and there were also my efforts with trying to get the two cute redhead government major twins hooked up with the cute business twins, but one of the business major twins said that he and his brother didn't like to date twins) kicked in -- I have got to get these two matched up -- what a dream date -- she can take care of the drinks, and he'll get the food!

Well, there is a postscript to this story -- the female perp returned to RLM today and tried to rip off another can of Dr. Pepper -- this time the staff chased her off before she could take the product. But a little later, K., the manager of the stand, was upstairs, and she saw her sitting on a bench, reading. The perp didn't know who K. was (it was another employee who chased her yesterday) so K. nonchalantly used her cell phone to call the police. They arrived and K. said, "That's her!"

She didn't press charges though -- she just wanted to get her attention, and I think she gets handed over to Student Judicial Services.

(and Note to Self: "don't steal from a building that you spend a lot of time in!")

It's always a lot of fun in the RLM,

Monday, September 18, 2006


My office always celebrates "Talk Like a Pirate Day." This year we put up a sign which read, "Only X more days until Talk Like a Pirate Day!" (we changed the days remaining every few days or so, so it was never correct.) There was some fine print on our poster -- "Please sign our petition to get TLPD an official UT holiday! We don't yet have a petition, but if you ask, we will make one."

So a month went by and no one asked . . . until last week when a student walked through the door and said, "Do you really have a petition?" "No, but we'll make one. May we help you?" "Not really, I'd just like to use the stapler." Jesse said, "You may use the stapler, but only if you ask like a pirate." So he did -- but then he said, "If I were really a pirate, I'd just TAKE the stapler!"

Yes -- our office is getting into the TLPD spirit early!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Aunt Pearl's Small Blouse (Spongebob in Reverse)

Almost as catchy as the original tune, although somewhat disturbing:

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Take the Search Engine to My Blog

Recent searches (mostly google) that directed people to this blog:

throwing cats from buildings
sandra bullock austin neighborhood
duct disinfectant
oodle doodle korean egg council
fruity oaty bars
leonidas mandlebrot (I was talking about chocolate and a few days later the mandelbrot fractal.)
Being Burgled
which dr. who character are you
susan brown austin
come into my tummy oh so very yummy
and if I had a face like you I'd join the british army
people dating online blogspot
binocular flasks in south austin
czech artist postcards prague cats
being burgled
subject was combative
no pants party
kitchen peninsula
mossman guitar serial numbers
Amazon Mistress and friend, austin
wiggle jiggle yellow middle that's the best of what we are
ut austin
pictures underpants
ut austin jester center address (in Chinese?)

I was particularly interested with the search for "anything" -- nothing in particular, just "anything." And do you reallly want to know about --no pants party--, --pictures underpants-- and --Amazon Mistress and friend, austin-- ?? And I don't date online -- what's with that?

And now if they goggle these terms again, will they be more likely to end up on this blog again?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Rear Ended on Ben White Blvd., and There is a Dead Rodent in the Room of Music and Contemplation

A few days ago I was stopped at a rather long stoplight in my neighborhood, just minding my own business and listening to a podcast of a couple that had deconverted from LDS (and xtianity) (and one of the influencing factors was a cosmology class taught by Gregory Benford that one of them took) (and note, in subsequent podcasts, they turned off the fan in the room, so that the sound quality is better)

Well, so anyway, there I am stopped at the light when "THUNK!" my car is hit from behind. I didn't hear anything break, but I did want to check, but as we were in the middle lanes (one that could go straight or turn left), and the light was about ready to change, I looked in the rear view mirror, pointed left, and the woman who hit me nodded. So, I'm just hoping that she will turn, because since she is behind me she could easily just keep driving, and there would be nothing I could do about it.

She does follow me, and we turn into the parking lot of a 7-11. As soon as we get out, I say to her, "I don't think you did any damage, but I just wanted to check."

It was a very hot day -- 103, and she was flushed and sweating, and she said, "I'm so sorry, I was stopped, and my nose started to bleed and I reached down to get a tissue and "bam!" There is no damage to either car. Her license plate was from Alaska -- she said she'd just gotten to Austin. I asked her if she was o.k. and if she had some water to drink. I was ready to march her into the 7-11 and buy her some juice or water, but she said she was o.k. and she did have water, so I thanked her for stopping and we went on our merry ways.

We just started letting the cats out again this week (Yuki had dental surgery a few weeks ago, and I wanted to protect our investment), and when I woke up this morning, the first thing I noticed was a dead rodent in the Room of Music and Contemplation. (too large for a house mouse) I am waiting for Scott to wake up to take care of this, but if he sleeps much longer, I think I can handle it. Yuck, I think we might go back to being inside cats. My preference is to keep them in, but it's hard to fight against one Scott and 3 felines.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Voting is Important!

It's not like I'd want to tell you how to vote or anything, but if you click on the title, you will be taken to a polling place where you can vote for the honorary name for a new Hungarian bridge. (it may take a little time to load even with a fast connection.)

Then you could scroll down quite a bit (or do a "find on this page") until you find Steven Colbert, and then you could click the bubble next to his name and vote for him. He has 3% of the vote as of today.

Or, you could go and vote for Chuck Norris, for all I care -- but just be sure to vote!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Robert Ingersoll Podcast

Ever since S. broke the radio in my car fixing my turn signals and brake lights, I've been listening to various podcasts (on Wolfgang, the iPod Nano, he got me for breaking my stuff, but that's another story).

I've recently discovered an excellent podcast of the works of Robert Green Ingersoll. Click on the title above for a link to information about the podcast -- I've been updating the 'cast through iTunes.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) was one of America's greatest thinkers and orators. He was a Chautauqua Institute lecturer, attracting at one time an audience of 200,000, even though he was referred to as "The Great Agnostic" when most of his audience was not.

The Council for Secular Humanism has some info on him as well as well as

Someone once asked RGI what his extensive library had cost him. His answer: "The presidency of the United States."


This week erupted in a harried frenzy when father-in-law called and said that the deadline for our tax return was August 15. He was frantically trying to get S's self-employed schedules together -- S was HERE and his files were THERE -- arrgh. FIL manages to complete the forms and faxes them to me -- but S had to go back to help FIL & MIL find their documents, receipts, etc., so FIL dictated a power of attorney for S to sign, since I wouldn't have time to complete our taxes so that S could sign them before he left. FIL did call me to go over S's forms and to tell me what lines to integrate into our joint return. He's a tax attorney, but he uses TurboTax and recommended it for S & I, so it's not going to be that complicated.

WHEW! Now I know what I'll be doing this weekend --

Then this afternoon, S calls and says, "Uh, you know that August 15 deadline? Well, we were looking at our paperwork and found that the extension deadline this year is October 15!"

Yippee! This means that S can search his files (uh, stuff put in shoe boxes, rubbermaid containers, etc.) and perhaps find more deductions. And that I don't have to do taxes this weekend. And that on the off chance we owe a little more than we paid, I won't have to send it in this month.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

More Cat Photos -- Yuki in his Favorite Basket

This is our third cat, Hiroyuki Sakai (after one of the Iron Chefs), or Yuki for short. He showed up at our doorstep a few years ago -- scruffy, hungry, covered with bites and scars, etc. Scott said he seemed to be friendly, but a bit scared. "Waaah," he cried, "I want to be friends with you, but I'm frightened -- Waaaah!" Once we started feeding him, though, he became very friendly. We looked around for owners, but he seemed to have been lost for good or abandoned. A few weeks after he started hanging around, Austin had a few days of bitterly cold weather. We couldn't leave him outside, but we didn't want to expose him to the other cats before he was checked out by our veterinarian, so we let him stay in the hallway/pantry/closet. After a clean bill of health at the vets (along with vaccinations and neutering), he became a full fledged member of the family.

Yuki has a very sweet disposition and he and Genji are great buddies. Saki isn't too fond of him, but we think that is because he stabbed her, causing a painful infection.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Not that I would condone anything like this, but . . ..

Click on the title for a site that makes your websurfing look like a word document. Should the boss come in for a closer look, you can roll the cursor and change the text to an essay on procrastination. Of course, she may wonder why it is taking you three months to write 1,000 words, but hey -- at least you are appearing to be productive.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Too Hot to Properly Blog, I am an

English Genius
You scored 100% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 100% Advanced, and 93% Expert!
You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!

Thank you so much for taking my test. I hope you enjoyed it!

For the complete Answer Key, visit my blog:

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
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You scored higher than 44% on Beginner
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You scored higher than 25% on Intermediate
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 62% on Advanced
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You scored higher than 81% on Expert
Link: The Commonly Confused Words Test written by shortredhead78 on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Monday, July 31, 2006

heh, heh, heh, I'm plagiarizing myself!

Scott has been in Ft. Worth for the past 2 weekends, so I took advantage of his absence to see two movies that he most likely would not want to see, namely A Scanner Darkly and The Devil Wears Prada.

He really likes Philip K. Dick, but the rotoscoping of Waking Life made him dizzy and sick, so he really didn't want to see it because of that, which is a shame. (and speaking of Waking Life, Scott had Robert Solomon for Philosophy 610QA and/or B)

We didn't discuss seeing Devil, but he might actually like it -- the script was funny and witty -- a good summer movie. Favorite quote -- Nigel (Stanley Tucci) to Andy (Anne Hathaway): "Don't make me feed you to one of the models!" Meryl Streep was a terror of a boss, and it's a credit to her acting that she was able to portray this without raising her voice once. I've worked for that character before. Once in Germany -- she had totally terrorized the person I replaced, but I was able to tame her with my powers of calmness and reason. Once in TX -- this boss-lady could be a "yeller" -- and worse, you never knew what would set her off on any particular day. One day you could put something in front of her and she'd approve it, and the next day the same thing would start a long, raging tirade. Current boss? As long as I say, "That was my mistake, I'll fix it and never do it again," (and then NEVER DO IT AGAIN) she's pretty cool (even though she did terrify me at first.)

Seeing that does make me wonder about my supervisory skills. For the most part I'm pretty laid back with my staff as long as they're doing what they're supposed to be doing. I never yell, although I have been known to say through gritted teeth, "This really isn't working out. Perhaps you should consider another line of work?!" I really shouldn't have let things go that far. The supervisory part of my job is perhaps my least favorite, but hey, it has to be done.

Out of the two, I think I liked Scanner better, just because I like darker movies.

Autoerotic Crucifixion (just seeing how long 'til this comes up on google)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Fruity Oaty Bars

Can't get that Fruity Oaty Bars song outta my head!

Little Scampish Cats

We need to spend some $ to upgrade our hall bathroom. How could we have not noticed what a mess it was when we first looked at the house? The cabinets are o.k., and I don't think we'd need to change them. The floor is tile -- sort of meh yellow/brown and very slick when wet. Not my favorite, but we could live with it -- and it does match the tile in the foyer and hallway.

Now we start getting into yuccky. The walls are purple. I like purple, but this is a dark, muddy purple, and it makes the room look too small and dark. The worst part is that the purple is really FABRIC. Can you say mold? Yecch. How could we have missed this?

The bathtub is surrounded on 3 sides by this cheesy pale yellow/buff/manila or something plastic "bath unit". Should be replaced, since there is a crack on one side, and it just doesn't look nice.

The sink & vanity -- the sink should be replaced and the vanity -- how could we not have seen this? The vanity was painted with a cream colored latex looking textured paint. It looks like someone spread yellow cottage cheese all over. The worst part is that THE PAINT IS PEELING OFF THE VANITY. Yecch -- how could we not have noticed this?

What does this have to do with cats, you may think? Well, we were ready to get a granite vanity & new sink and perhaps some other things for that bathroom, but we made the mistake of taking the youngest cat, Yuki, to the vet for his annual checkup (which he was a bit overdue for.) He'd never had a dental and needed one, so last week Scott took him in. After a couple of hours, we got a call -- apparently Yuki had two severely cracked teeth that most likely would not heal, and did we want them to extract them?

Sooo, instead of nice new sink and vanity top, we spent lots of $$$ on Yuki.

When Scott brought Yuki home, he had a package of special dental chew pellets that the vet recommended. I stupidly didn't put them in the cat food cabinet, and one morning I woke up to find that one of the little scamps had broken into the package and eaten half of the chews and the other half are all over the floor. Great. So I pick them up and put them in a slightly heavier plastic back AND STUPIDLY NEGLECTED TO PUT THEM IN THE CAT FOOD CABINET. Which means that when I go up this morning, someone had broken into them again, and eaten all but about two of the chews.

I'm not sure exactly which cat is the culprit. Knowing those three, it may well be a group effort.

The good news is that I took him in for his one week checkup, and he's healing just nicely. I invested double digits for another package of dental chews, and the first thing I did was put them in the cat food cabinet -- although it wouldn't surprise me if they learn how to break into the cabinet -- perhaps we should keep them under lock and key.

Perhaps I'll have a pic of Yuki doing something cute in a couple of days -- he really is lovely -- lean, shorthaired grey kitty. He's got a sweet, loving personality, and he's very athletic -- we just love to watch him jumping and leaping.

Friday, July 21, 2006

What Dr. Who Character are You?

Should I be somewhat concerned that I rate as 50% Dalek????!!!!

You scored as 4th Doctor. Wild, eccentric, wacky! do you want a jelly babie?

4th Doctor


3rd doctor


1st Doctor


9th Doctor


5th Doctor


7th Doctor


a Dalek


8th Doctor


6th doctor


2nd doctor


10th Doctor




What Doctor Who character are You?
created with

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Stem Cell Veto: What's Next? Snowflake Brigades?

Now that GWB has vetoed the bill to relax some of the stem cell research regulations (for projects receiving federal funding), is he going to go after in vitro fertilization? After all, where are all of those little "snowflakes" coming from? If embryonic stem cell research is morally wrong, then in vitro fertilization is wrong.

Or maybe young women should be "volunteered" to carry the hundreds of thousands of blastocysts that would otherwise be discarded. (I should NOT be giving these people ideas -- I'm feeling more and more that Atwood was prophetic in her Handmaid's Tale.)

Perhaps this would be a "The Handmaid's Tale" prequel. (or Gattica meets The Handmaid's Tale?) In order to continue the never ending war on terror, the draft is re-instituted; however, women are not drafted into the armed forces -- they are drafted into "Snowflake Brigades" and forced to serve as incubators for the detritus of decades of in vitro fertilization. After all, we do need more cannon fodder (and cannon fodder incubators) for the legions needed for an unending war.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Google Earth Time Travel

After traveling all around the world on Google Earth, I was sorely disappointed that I couldn't go back as far in time as I would have liked. I know that the views of our area are at least a couple of years old -- the carport on our house isn't there, and the stupid apparently abandoned white pickup that was across the street from our old duplex (rudely parked so as to make backing out of our driveway inconvenient and hazardous for pedestrians, forcing young couples with baby strollers out into the street) was there. (The pickup just disappeared one day.)

I suppose that a google earth could be kludged together with some of the oldest satellite pics, so you could go back a few decades, and the zoom levels wouldn't be that great, but I want more than that -- I want to be able to look back a few hundred or a few thousand years. Or how about Google Earth Time Travel Video?!

S. said I should submit my request to Google, but I'm thinking that my physics majors would be a better bet.

Tales of the Lost and Found in the RLM @ UT Austin

Byron came to our office this afternoon to help us figure out why jgar5 couldn't print PDF files. It was some pretty obscure thing that I would never have figured out, so we're glad we have Byron to help. When he left, he found a cell phone in the hallway and gave it to jgar5 who promptly called back a couple of the people who had recently called that phone in hopes of getting some clue as to who owns it.

Half and hour or so later, a very loud "DA DA DADA DA DADA DA DADAAAA DA DADA DADADADADADA" spewed forth from jgar's desk. "Jesse, be quiet -- there's someone taking a linear algebra test in the conference room!" (I thought the noise was coming from his computer.) When I looked up I saw that he had picked up the found cell phone (still blaring "DA DA DADA DA DADA DA DADA") and was trying to figure out how to answer the darn thing. (which is playing "Mexican Hat Dance" in case you weren't able to recognize my dada da's.)

"Hello? Yes, I called your number because someone lost this phone, and we're calling people this person recently called to help us find the owner of the phone. Do you know who this number belongs to? Uh, you're calling from India? O.K., O.K. Can you spell that name? D - I - V - Y - A. O.K. OK., So, you'll send her an e-mail to tell her we have her phone? We're in RLM 4.101. Well, ok, then, thank you!"

After everyone left the office this afternoon, I was trying to tidy up the detritus of our last freshmen orientation when the phone started blaring its DA DA DADA again. I rushed over to jgar5's desk, picked up the phone, tried to flip it open, but it wasn't a flipable phone (hey, the light was off in that office, and the phone was still making that thor-awful noise), but by the time I figured it out, whoever had called had disconnected.

So, Divya shall have to wait until tomorrow to get her phone back.

(We also get a lot of phones back to their rightful owners when they think to call their own number.)

UPDATE: Divya came to the office to claim her phone. We usually ask for some sort of I.D. before we give lost & found stuff back, and she said, "Oh, just a minute, I've left my purse in the library!" Um, what is WRONG with that sentence?! I don't even leave my handbag with S. to watch. Stuff can disappear from this place in a blink of an eye.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Lady Murasaki is so Inscrutable

This is our girl cat, Lady Murasaki. She is very shy around anyone other than us -- probably because she & Genji were barn kitties who have never really been around other humans.

She seems to be the smartest of the 3 cats, although the boys seem to have an edge on figuring out technology (door handles!)

Genji and Saki are siblings -- Yuki is a latecoming interloper, at least according to Saki. More on the relationship between the cats when I post Yuki's picture.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Genji Cat Sleepathon

(click on Little Genji to see a picture of Big Genji)

Genji stayed in this postition for about 6 hours straight Sunday -- well, he flopped from side to side a couple of times -- but for the most part, he looked just like this. (And be easy on the big guy -- he thinks the camera adds 5 pounds.)

Monday, July 03, 2006

You're a Little Late to be Asking about the Asteroid

1:30 p.m. CDT
I answer the phone at work, "Mathematics, Physics & Astronomy Advising Center."

A voice a bit older than most of my students says, "Uh, I heard there was an asteroid heading toward earth today."

Me: "This is the undergraduate advising office, let me get you the Astronomy Department."

but then I thought: "Oh, I read about that at lunch -- the asteroid has already passed by."

Man: "I need to know whether I need to be packing things up, you know."

Me: "The asteroid already passed by -- it didn't even come as close as the moon. I read it online a while ago. (looking it up) . . . ah, here, 'Large Asteroid Zips Past Earth' -- 'A huge asteroid whizzed by Earth early Monday, passing about 269,000 miles from the planet's surface -- slightly farther away than the moon.' "

Man: (still unsure that he is safe) "But this is Monday."

Me: "Yes, but it said it passed by EARLY Monday -- this is the afternoon."

Man: "O.K."

Me: "Bye now."

I would have put the BBC as the title link above, but they hadn't updated their article -- it just said it was due to pass near earth -- closest to the west coast of North America around 0444 GMT.

We get calls like this from time to time -- how to work math problems, grand unification theories, etc. Some of the stuff we'll try to help with, but I always send the grand unification theories upstairs!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

What S Said the other Morning

The other morning, as I was waking up, Scott said to me, "Do you want some Diet Coke to wash down those Mentos?"

Is he trying to explode my stomach or something??!!!

(and if you are like the people in my office who didn't know about Diet Coke & Mentos, click on the title above.)

This is even better than "Peeps in the microwave" -- a favorite activity of one of our physics majors. Not our office microwave, please!

Friday, June 23, 2006


I've been fascinated with fractals for years, and I've recently discovered a particularly beautiful form of the Mandelbrot Set -- the Buddhabrots. This one is from a Wikipedia contributor, Evercat, who has kindly released this image into the public domain.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Happy Solstice from my Cat

Well, he really didn't say "Happy Solstice", but he sure was talking this morning, and much too early at that. meow meow meow meow. meow meow meow meow meow!

he can only say a few things:

*give me food
*open the door
*i want soft food
*let me out
*i'm very concerned about the food situation
*sit down and give me a lap
*did I tell you i was hungry?
*open all the doors -- i hate closed doors!

sorry but he doesn't know how to celebrate a Solstice, so that greeting has to come from me!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Mmmm, Chocolate (click here for chocolate)

I lived in Germany from '83 to '86 when it was hard to find Leonidas chocolates anywhere but Belgium. Several times friends of mine travelled to Belgium and brought back a small box of these yummy, yummy chocolates. As my friend Kellee said -- you have to ration them wisely and force yourself to eat 2 a day because they only last a week or so because of the fresh ingredients. But oh, one or 2 Leonidas were worth a pound of any other chocolates.

One of the women who are helping Scott's family in Ft. Worth just returned from visiting relatives in Europe, and she brought back the perfect gift -- pretty, pretty boxes of Leonidas. Scott was sweet and gave me half of his box, and I will love Sondra forever! (You can get Leonidas in the states now, but it's great to get some from the source!)

Monday, June 12, 2006

After Time, I'll Be Unstuck in Time

After you die...
Unstuck in Time

After death, you will become unstuck in time, and re-live various moments of your life. Time will cease to exist. One moment you will be learning to catch butterflies, the next you will be using your walker to go to the bathroom. You will live on forever in this way, constantly reliving the sweetest and not so sweetest of moments.

Take this quiz at

Need a Funny Today?

Click on the title for today's funny!

Next post (when I have some time) will be how Scott and I "outed" ourselves (as non-believers) during our recent trip to visit family in Colorado. (Guys, you would have known a lot sooner if you'd just paid attention, or even asked -- it wasn't like we were hiding anything. sheeesh!)

Monday, May 22, 2006

I Cry Everytime We Go Here (Ludlow Massacre)

We stopped at the site of the Ludlow Massacre north of Trinidad, Colorado, off Interstate 25, today. We stop here everytime we decide to return to Texas from Colorado via New Mexico.

Click on the picture for a larger view, and click on the title for a brief story of the massacre. I'll write more later, and post a picture of the names of the murdered -- of the 20 killed at Ludlow, most were children -- some as young as 3 months old. Yeah, they were a real threat to Rockefeller (J.D. Jr.), the owner of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Playing with the camera what is smarter than me

(click on the pics for better detail)
O.K. O.K.! I know these are horrible, but they were my "test" pictures -- the first pictures taken on that particular camera and downloaded wirelessly. I was expecting much more grief, but it was really quite effortless for my first attempt at anything like this. (although in retrospect, I'll probably go back and change the configuration from using our wireless network to an Ad-hoc profile -- camera to computer -- which was recommended "for first time users of wireless networks", which I am -- well, except for setting up the AirPort last night. (which ran into a minor glitch because I, or perhaps SRI, had gotten it partially set up either 6 months or 1 year ago, and the computer couldn't find the network, and then I realized, "Hey, I'll bet if the base is reset this will work," and it did!) (You gotta love the Macs -- intuitive AND logical.)

The real reason we wanted a digital camera was to take cute pictures of the cats and put them all over the internet. And now that said camera is ready to go, there is nary a cat in sight. Perverse little critters anyway.

These pictures are of our entry hall. They look a bit more orange than the actual color, and of course there is the flash in the midst of the drawing (by a man named Mike Bear (R.I.P) -- my mother bought this years ago when he showed up at the doorstep with some of his art and a need for money.) The small mirror on the left was a wedding present from Lucinda -- it incorporates some small red stained glass. (It is supposed to be moved to the other side of the hall, but that hasn't happened yet.) From Korea are two gifts from Spence -- a Buddha plaque/relief and a bell -- the bell is supported by a dragon breathing fire, and at the end of the flame is the mallet that rings the bell. Oh, and a couple of pics of my nephew who is graduating from (home)highschool this year. (What? Is he both the valedectorian and salatutorian? As well as last in his class? What was his prom like? Did he ever have to stay after school?)

SRI really prefers white walls, but I really, really liked this red foyer. (the rest of the house has more muted colors.) I just love looking at that red wall for some reason.

Hey, I got an e-mail that said Rove got indicted on Friday, but I haven't seen anything in the media about it. Just a rumor or wishful thinking? Heh, heh, I've got a couple of Rove stories from my days in the Government dept. at UT, but I really can't repeat them. Rats.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Office

Well, not "THE Office" -- just mine.

Two funny/weird things happened today:

1. Got an e-mail from a mathematics professor with whom I work: "Susan, I just got your voicemail." (that I left two weeks ago.) "There is something wrong with my SmartVoice." (our voicemail client.) "SmartVoice doesn't tell me when I have new messages. It should be referred to as the Dumbest of the DumbVoice. So, if you leave me a voicemail message, make sure that you e-mail me to tell me that you left a message."

2. When I opened my office door, I was greeted with the sight of 4 or 5 acoustic ceiling tiles and two big fluffy slabs of pink insulation strewn across my credenza and the Norfolk pine which are on the east side of the room. (Don't eat the insulation no matter how much it looks like cotton candy.) We had a horrendous storm last night, but I couldn't quite figure out how THAT could have happened since we are on the ground floor of a 17 story building. RLM! RLM! I also notice a rather large "ell" air conditioning duct piece on top of my bookcase. WTF? WTF?

So, I call maintenance and they dispatch someone to look at it. In the meantime, Jesse comes in and opens the conference room door and notices water all over the carpet. We open the other advisor's office, and it too is soaked. Since the other office, the conference room, and my office are all on the north side of the building, we think, "uh-oh" -- perhaps my office is wet, too. Sure enough -- our offices have wall to ceiling glass and the seals on the lower third must have given way what with the wind and all.

The maintenance crew comes with an extractor and attack the soggy carpets. Another crew comes to put my ceiling back together. Eying the a/c duct part on my bookcase, I ask, "Uh, are we going to be without air conditioning today?" The crew leader says, "No, because that duct piece wasn't attached to anything -- it was never hooked up to the system and it doesn't belong there." Gee, that's the way to get rid of spare parts -- just stash them on top of the acoustic ceiling tiles which are strong enough to hold, oh, nothing heavier than the Des Moines, Iowa phone book.

The other advisor's office smelled, so I wafted a stick of lavender incense around and Jess sprayed some disinfectant spray. We'll have to see what it looks like on Monday (or rather smell what it's like.)

The crews worked quickly, and we were able to be back at our desks by 10:30.

Never a dull moment in the RLM. (Robert Lee Moore Hall)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

No Pants Day is Almost Here!

And sadly, the Underpants of Science Museum in RLM @ UT Austin hasn't returned:

It's No Pants Day; the Cinco de Mayo; and the last day of classes at UT -- PARTY!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Why I Haven't Posted Much Lately

Two words: Google Earth. (click on the title)

I'd been playing around with google maps for several months, and I was bummed that there wasn't a google earth for the Mac, and I even wrote them and said, "hey we want google earth, too!"

Google Earth (for Mac) has probably been around for a few months, but we've been pretty busy at work since January, and the last thing I wanted to do at home was to sit in front of the computer, but now that the semester is winding down. . .

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Thank You Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert left the (mostly) fawning sycophants speechless at the White House Correspondents Dinner. What was so delicious about it was that Colbert roasted the administration and press over their own words and talking points.

"I believe that the government that governs best is the government that governs least and by that standard we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq."

Monday, May 01, 2006

I Had a Really, Really Fun Time This Weekend. . .

I had a really, really good time this weekend, but I don't feel so hot today. . .


Public Intoxication (2 Counts) / Resisting Arrest (1Count):  Two subjects were reported yelling profanities and disrupting other patrons that were watching the performance in section 81.  Officers assigned to the event located the subjects and observed that both appeared to be intoxicated. Officers observed the following signs of intoxication: both had a very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on their person, each had watery glassy eyes, and slurred speech.  Each subject was supporting the other to keep from falling.  During the investigation, the subjects became argumentative with the officers and refused to leave the building.  When being escorted out, one subject began flaying her arms back and forth and refused to comply with the officers commands.  Both were transported to Central Booking.  Occurred on 4-28-06, at 10:30 PM.

But I'm with the band! 
Public Intoxication: A subject attempted to get on stage during the performance.  UT staff removed the subject from the stage area and requested assistance from the UT police.  During the investigation, the subject was combative and insulting to patrons walking by.  Officers observed the following signs of intoxication: very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on her person, unsure balance, and slurred speech. Officers also discovered that the subject had a 2X8 oz. binocular flask around her neck that still contained a small amount of alcohol. Subject was transported to Central booking.  Occurred on 4-28-06, at 11:00 PM.

I lost my shoes:


Public Intoxication: A subject was reported as having run through a reserved suite into the suite’s restroom to begin the most expeditious method of removing alcoholic beverages form one’s stomach. The subject was found on the restroom floor hugging her new found porcelain friend. The subject was not aware of her surroundings or the location of her shoes. The subject needed assistance with standing and walking. The subject was found to be under the influence of an alcoholic beverage to the point she was a physical endangerment to herself.

Also had fun with an art project:


Graffiti: Words were discovered painted in red, peach, and pink paint in the south east stairwell of the parking garage. Loss value: $100.00.

Got in a little target practice:


Assault with Bodily Injury: A UT student reported that he had been shot in his left arm with a pellet gun by a subject inside a red vehicle. The pellet had left a three inch welt. A vehicle matching the description was observed driving near the area and the driver was stopped and identified. During a search of his vehicle a silver metal BB gun was located under the front passenger seat. During the investigation the driver identified a second accomplice that he had just dropped off at the San Jacinto Dorm. Officers located the second suspect and located a second Air Soft BB gun and tracer rounds. Both subjects were transported to Central Booking for Assault with Bodily Injury.

Tried to get something to eat:

Public Intoxication: A subject was observed pounding on the glass door of a closed local business. When stopped the subject stated that she was trying to get in to eat, but no one would open the doors. Officers were informed that she had received the same treatment at another local business. During the investigation officers detected a very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on her person and determined that she was intoxicated and a danger to herself. The subject was taken into custody and transported to Central Booking.

I am not, however, "friends with Rick Perry":

Criminal Mischief / Possession of Drug Paraphernalia: A subject was observed throwing a jar of grape jelly at the door of another resident. The reporting person stated that the subject appeared to be intoxicated. The student fled to a room when UTPD was notified of the incident and refused to open the door when officers arrived. Approximately an hour later, officers were again summoned to the same room for a medical emergency after several subjects inside the room were believed to be intoxicated to the point that they were unresponsive. One subject initially refused to respond to stimulus and became verbally aggressive with the officer and EMS. While EMS was attempting to treat the subject, the officer observed in plain view a 3 foot filtering device by a bed. The device contained the odor of burnt marijuana. Subject declared that she was friends with Rick Perry and that she would "have fun getting some cops fired." In addition to other law enforcement action taken, the subject was issued a field release citation for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Occurred on 4-30-06 between 2:02 AM AND 3:17 AM.

susan "i was not representing the MPA advising center during this time" brown

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Our Old House Was Burgled, Too

Just read this on my old neighborhood association e-list -- I'm not sure if this was our old unit or the one attached to us:

"Our neighbor in the duplexes on Barton Hills Dr. had their front door kicked in during the day, Thursday April 13th, and things stolen.

Police said the bolts holding the metal thing that the locks fit into need to be at least 3 inches long. Theirs was only an inch so the door kicked in easily."

So, we might have been burgled no matter where we were. . .

Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran

We are living in a very ripe time for parody, aren't we. . .

(click on title)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Gilmore Girls Stole My Line!

"It's all about the Hamiltons, baby!"

Well, they stole it from SNL's Lazy Sunday, and SNL must have "liberated" it from me.

I know, I know, it's probably independent invention -- all over the land, poor folk like me who don't have the Benjamins are very concerned about the Hamiltons.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Korean Egg Council . . .

has done its job. While S. mowed the lawn and planted some plants yesterday, i made a fritatta with:

teeny new potatoes
fresh rosemary
teeny grape tomatoes
freshly grated parmesan cheese
pinch of salt
freshly ground pepper
olive oil

we also had Rosie's Salsa Verde, (which didn't seem to overpower the rosemary -- I was afraid of that) warm rolls and fresh pineapple. the fritatta came out great, except for the part of one little side that got too much of the broiler -- this was the first time I've used the broiler. so, 3/4 of the fritatta was perfect.

i hadn't thought about eating eggs in years, but after a week of the "i love egg" song going through my head, i couldn't stop thinking about them.

"Eggs! Get your eggs, here!
Fresh and white eggs are here!

Wiggle jiggle, yellow middle,
That's the best of what you are (I love you egg)
White and tender, surround the center
Cozy, sitting in the crackling shell.

Vitamins and minerals in you,
Oodles of the proteins, too (oodle doodle!).
Popular and perfect and,
so complete in every way (I love you egg, egg!)

Come into my tummy, oh so very yummy!
Crack crack crack - chip a chip away your shell
and come to me - get your eggs!

I love you (fresh eggs!)
I love you (white eggs!)
Really really love you so (egg egg egg egg!)
Eggs, I really love you like the sky above (eggs are the best!).

I love you (fresh eggs!)
I love you (white eggs!)
Really really love you so (egg egg egg egg!)
Three hundred and sixty five days,
I really love you so!
I really love you so!"

Please! MAKE IT STOP!!!!

Monday, April 03, 2006

I Love Egg. . .

and I can't get this song outta my head!

This site is in Korean -- on the upper right side, there are two clouds with blue linings -- one has two lines of Korean under it -- click on the upper line to hear the song in Korean, and the lower line to hear it in English. "Eggs! Get your eggs here! Fresh and white eggs are here!"

and it's apparently been around for a while -- how could I have missed it?!!

Yet More Underpants of Science

The middle picture was taken looking down from a second floor balcony. If you need underpants explanations, click on the title above.

Underpants of Science Museum Continued

I am a "Friend of the Underpants"!

04.03.06 The Firing Line - Opinion

(see the first letter)
I have some more of Dave G's pictures that I'll try to put up at lunch.

Friday, March 31, 2006

The Underpants of Science Museum

This exhibit was removed this morning before I could view it, but Dave from our library took a few pictures. Apparently someone complained so the police showed up and got the maintenence crew to remove it. The police then went from office to office asking if any of us wanted to file charges! Uh, no, we want the exhibit to be reinstated!

Click on the title above to get more information about this fine, fine example of Guerilla Art.

You can't see it very well in the picture, but Feynman has no underwear -- there is a sign that says, "None, Baby!"

Friday, March 03, 2006

I've Sent Altogether Too Much Monk-e-Mail this week

The best one was the one I sent to a friend who is a biologist -- the monkey said, "Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny". I've infected my workspace with this -- someone sent me one on Monday, I sent messages to my staff, they sent messages to their friends in the dean's office, and by Wednesday or Thursday, someone had dared to sent one to a dean -- who came into her office and told her, "No more candy for you today!"

Dude -- you're supposed to tell her that via Monk-e-mail!

(frankly I'm a bit surprised it took so long to spread to the Dean.)

As SRI said, "The developers of the ARPANET are rolling in their graves."

And as RDH, a co-worker commented, "Who needs IM when you've got monk-e-mail!"

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Wolfgang ist da!

Scott gave me an iPod Nano a few weeks back -- he says as an early Valentine, I say as contrition for breaking my stuff. (2 wine glasses, 1 beer mug, 2 mixing bowls, and the little glass measuring cup that goes with the Kitchenaid burr coffee mill.) (and that's just stuff of which I am aware.)

So, when you set it up, you have to give it a name. A name? Oh, my -- hadn't thought of that. What perfect name can I come up with in such short notice? Why haven't I been thinking about a good name? (of course, it was a surprise . . .)

But then, since it was Mozart's birthday, my little Nano was born as Wolfgang -- such a perfect name for him.

What Sci-Fi Crew Would I Best Fit In?

You scored as Moya (Farscape). You are surrounded by muppets. But that is okay because they are your friends and have shown many times that they can be trusted. Now if only you could stop being bothered about wormholes.

Moya (Farscape)


Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)


Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)


Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)


Serenity (Firefly)


Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)


SG-1 (Stargate)


Enterprise D (Star Trek)


Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)


Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)


Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)


FBI's X-Files Division (The X-Files)


Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

What Lonestar Rollergirl Team Are You?

Depending on my mood, I'm also a Holy Roller and a Cherry Bomb. . .

You are a Puta Del Fuego. You don't take any shit

from anyone. You do it for la raza, and if

anyone stands in your way, vas a'poner una


What Lonestar Rollergirl team are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Postcard Update/Postcard Blog

I've decided to post postcards on another page -- click the title to go to "You Send Postcards, I Make (snarky) Comments".

Not that it is good form to make snarky comments about those so kind as to send you a postcard, but I do reserve the right to do so! (more likely, I'd make comments about the card itself, the stamp, the postmark, the captions, etc.)

If you wish to send me a postcard, my p.o. box is listed at the bottom of the postcardblog.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Postcard Update: Praha Cat Card

Ha -- finally figured out the scanner feature on the copier/scanner/printer/fax. (Not that it was difficult, it just took me a couple of minutes to find out how to make it work.)

So, here is the Cat/Car postcard from Praha that I wrote about last month. (It looks like the scanner was drunk, sorry!)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Postcard Update: L. Coulon & His Beard of 11 Ft., France 1904

Received a postcard (under the office door) from one of my favorite students who just graduated. It is a photo of a quite elderly man with an 11 foot beard which has a cute little black kitty nesting in it. Apparently this man has never shaved.

Part of what D. wrote on the back: "I just wanted to say thank you for all that you've done for me. You have helped me become the person that I am today. (See image on front.)"

Uh, sorry, D -- I don't think I can take any credit for that! Perhaps you'd like some shaving supplies as a graduation gift?

Monday, January 02, 2006

The Throwing of the Cat -- a New Year's Tradition for over 20 Years!

In the early 1980's, my husband and I moved to Germany. He went over a few months before I did because I was working in a school and needed to stay until the end of the term, and he needed to find us a place to live. When I finally arrived with our two cats (Beast, or Mr. Beast to you -- a big ball of fluff similar to a Maine Coon, and Wretch, a sweet orange cat), Spence told me, "Oh, by the way, we have to hide the cats, since the lease doesn't allow pets." (WHAT DO YOU MEAN, the lease doesn't allow pets?! We have two cats -- how could you do this?!!!!)

Our apartment was one of 4 in a large building in the northern part of Bavaria. The ground floor held garage space, workshop, storage, and room to store an extensive array of gardening/farming equipment. The first floor had a large apartment inhabited by the landlord's son and daughter-in-law and a smaller apartment that was usually rented to another U.S. military family. The second floor had another large apartment in which the landlords lived (Mr. & Mrs. Amhrein). When you went up the stairs you would turn right to enter their apartment. To enter our apartment you would turn left and walk up two stairs. On the landing were two doors -- one to our bathroom and one to our apartment proper -- so we had to actually leave our apartment to get to the bathroom. It sounds worse than it is, since you couldn't see the doors to our apartment/bath from the stairway or the landlord's place.

We spent two months trying to "hide" the cats, which was rather difficult, them being cats and all. Funny little guys liked to sit in the windows and look out on the parking courtyard or the beautiful garden which went up the hillside in the back of our building. One day I looked out from our library onto the landlord's balcony and started screaming. The landlords had killed and skinned our cats and had hung them up by the feet. At the sound of my shrieking, our two cats came meandering into the room as if to say, "What's the matter with you?" Oh, well, if those aren't our cats, what ARE they? A closer look revealed the mystery -- rabbits, apparently for a stew.

On New Year's Eve, we had a few friends over to our small apartment to celebrate. Since we didn't have enough room for everyone to sit, I was on the floor next to the door basking in the warm glow of sparkling Eastern Bloc wine (from a work trip to Berlin), good conversation, and a contented Beast in my lap. Just before midnight, Spence stepped out to go to the bathroom. After a few minutes, there was a knock at the door. "That's odd," I thought, "why is he knocking?"

With the cat still in my lap, I reached up and pressed down on the door handle. The door opened, and our landlady entered the room and exclaimed quite ebulliently -- "HAPPY NEU JAHR!" At that moment I had an involuntary reflex -- after months of "hiding" the cats, shooing them from windowsills and out of doorways, I was busted with a cat in my lap -- and all I could do was throw the poor dear just as far as I could, in hopes that she wouldn't see him. (This is a teeny apartment, so it wasn't very far, so don't worry that I hurt the Beast.)

Well, the cat was out of the bag, so to speak, but apparently, she was so full of holiday cheer and spirit and champagne that either she didn't see the cat, or she saw him and was too "happy" to care. I spent an uneasy week or so anticipating an eviction notice, but it never came. We continued to live there for almost 4 1/2 years with never a rent increase. Over time I learned enough German to renegotiate the lease (a big deal with this family -- it takes 45 minutes or so) and converse with the family on a daily basis.

Beast and Wretch had long, happy lives (except, perhaps for being thrown), and we have three new cats. Every New Year's Eve I give one of them a little toss just to continue the Throwing of the Cat Tradition.