Saturday, November 25, 2006

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment# 140: You're Late!

"Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it, you can't get it back."

-Harvey Mackay

Weekend Assignment#140: Ever been really late to something really important? Share your adventures in tardiness! Yes, if you've ever slept through or forgotten a date, or neglected to get something out of the oven on time...with hilarious results or otherwise...we want to know.

Extra Credit: Do you wear a watch?

-John Scalzi (By The Way)

Ok, here's where you learn the boring truth about me... I am NEVER late. I am compulsive about it. If I have an appointment or if I make plans to be at a certain place, at a certain time, I will mow over heaven and earth to make it there on time. It has been a pet peeve of mine, since I was a child, that sometimes someone I will have an appointment with, will show up late, like at the doctor's office for example. The doctor I had before my current one, would get around to seeing me, as much as an hour late sometimes. Uggg. Now I know that sometimes unexpected things happen, especially in the medical profession, but when I asked her nurse one day if the doctor made a habit of being late, her nurse answered... "Yes." Uggg.

When I was dating Alan, one day I jokingly told him that I like to be on time for things, something he and I saw eye to eye about. I also told him that if he was late picking me up, I would wait as long as 15 minutes, then I would leave without him. LOL. And he not only agreed to that, but promised to do the same! LOL. He and I were never late for each other, and if we thought we would be, we called. That's just us. LOL.

I do recognize that sometimes being early to an appointment, can be just as frustrating to a host or hostess, as showing up late can be. I have learned that lesson over the years, and try my best to time my arrivals within 5 minutes of the agreed upon time. :) I bet you are wondering why I am so picky about time. Well, it goes back to when I was a child.

One day my mother, who was notoriously late for everything, took me to school later then she should have. All my classmates had already gone in the class, sat down and had their work ready for our teacher. In I walked, 15 minutes late. Suddenly, 35 faces all turned at once and stared at me. YIKES! That was it! From that point on, when it was within my control, I was on time!

Extra Credit: Nope, while I do won an extensive watch collection, I rarely wear them. :)

"Tiffany's Time"
Union Square
San Francisco, California
November 24th, 2005
11:45 AM

Friday, November 24, 2006

It's Black Friday... Do You Know Where Your Deals Are?

"I love to go shopping. I love to freak out salespeople. They as me if they can help me, and I say, "have you got anything I'd like?" Then they ask me what size I need, and I say, "Extra medium."

-Steven Wright

Ahhh... it's finally here, Black Friday, also known as, the biggest shopping day of the year! This is one of our unofficial holidays. Every year, Alan takes the day after Thanksgiving day off, and he and I mall hop. Some years we have gone as far as Sacramento, or as far south as Gilroy. This year, we will more then likely stay within the Bay Area. We don't usually do much actual shopping, we enjoy the people watching. Frenzied shoppers running to and fro... wide eyed with wonder and glee, searching for just the right hot water bottle for their Auntie Grazelda.

This year might be a bit different then past years however, see, I haven't done much Christmas shopping this year. In other years I would have it all done by Halloween, but not this year, I am afraid time has simply got away from me. So, tomorrow, I might just be one of those crazed shopping ladies, who will bravely make their way to the mall, in search of the perfect bargain. Alan wants to leave the house at 5:45 for the trek across the bay to San Mateo, our starting point.

From there it will be breakfast at IHOP, and then it is on to Bed, Bath & Beyond. After that we will drive into San Francisco, and hopefully find a parking place at Union Square, where we will have a late lunch, and then settle back with a hot chocolate just in time to see the tree lighting ceremony at 6:00 PM. Whew... I am tired already! He and I have such a good time together... :) Wish us luck!

World Market
San Mateo, California
November 21, 2006
Late Afternoon

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving :)

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to just utter words, but to live by them."

-John F. Kennedy

Thanksgiving & Autumn Haiku
By Carly Gordon

Timeless Thanksgiving
This season of friendship, love
Fills my grateful heart

From our house to yours... HAPPY THANKSGIVING :)

Berkeley, California
November 23, 2006

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Polyphemus Moth

"Literature and butterflies are the two sweetest passions known to man."

-Vladimir Nabokov

I saved this back this moth from my weekly butterfly postings, because of all the butterflies and moths I photographed at the Conservatory of Flowers, this is the one which fascinated me the most. It was the largest of the display, with a wingspan of nearly 6 inches. Unfortunately, they didn't get many of the larvae of this type, so there was only a few to be seen. This girl is a little wing damaged, she had probably emerged just after my visit the week before. I was a little disappointed that I didn't get to see her "birth," as I had been watching her chrysalis with a good amount of anticipation.

The exhibit also had Luna moths, but they were early on in the exhibit, around late March,which was before I got a chance to go. I bet you are wondering how I know for sure that this is a female? Simple, the males have a feathery antenna as opposed to the smooth, stick-like ones on the female. :) I learned so much about them this past two seasons, cross your fingers for me that the conservatory will bring them back next year. :) I promise to take lots and lots of pictures. :)

My good friend Steven, has been posting an amazing series on his AOL journal, chronicling the life of a Monarch. He started with a caterpiller, and will take us on the journey, as it becomes a beautiful Monarch butterfly. If you haven't been by, you must drop by and see for yourself... it's awesome! :) The series begins here, and as of yesterday's posting he was on day 16!

Polyphemus Moth (Female) Antheraea polyphemus
Conservatory of Flowers
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, Ca
October, 2006

Two Diva's Dancing...

"The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: Be satisfied with your opinion and content with your knowledge."

-Elbert Hubbard

Tell me, did anyone else see watch The View on Tuesday? I have to say, yesterday's episode left me wanting to fire off an email to the powers that be at ABC, to ask them to perhaps rethink their hiring of Rosie O'Donnell as the moderator of The View. I know I am only one fan, but more and more the ladies, seem to be becoming a little thuggish. I don't like feeling that way, about Rosie,I like the lady, I just feel uncomfortable about some of the things she does, like yesterday, when she accused Kelly Ripa of being homophobic, because of the remark Kelly Ripa made to former American Idol winner, Clay Aitkin.

I saw the episode of, Live with Regis & Kelly, in which Clay Aitkin was subbing for Regis Philbin, and in my opinion, Aitkin seemed to be carrying an attitude from the outset. As tensions grew, he clearly jumped his own shark, by choosing to put his hand over Kelly Ripa's mouth, as she tried to ask Emmitt Smith a question about his Dancing with the Stars win. It seems he felt Ripa had been talking over him and wasn't allowing him to speak. Things did seem somewhat confusing, but bottom lining things, Aitkin was a guest on Ripa's show, and some courtesy was in order. Right? When Aitkin placed his hand on her mouth, Ripa became clearly angry, pushed his arm away, and made the comment, "I don't know where that hand has been."

That was last Friday. By today, Kelly Ripa had set the matter straight, by stating that she found Aitkin to be disrespectful, and rude and she was setting him straight. I can understand that. Having seen the incident, and having heard Kelly's explanation, I can see that being the case. So, why did Rosie O'Donnell have to bring the whole incident to a new low, by implying that Kelly Ripa was somehow homophobic because she was angry that he had put his hand over her mouth? Huh? Why in the world would that have been the case, considering from everything I have read, Clay Aitkin has not admitted openly to being gay? I have to admit, I was kinda flabbergasted at that assertion. A little while after Rosie said what she said, Kelly Ripa phoned into The View to have her say about Rosie's opinion. Ripa contends that Clay Aitkin had shook hands with many members of the studio audience, and she didn't appreciate his possibly passing those germs onto her, with it being cold and flu season. She has 3 children to think of.

Rosie would have none of it. Stating that her show was called The View, and that she was therefore entitled to HER view. Personally, I don't think it is as simple as that. Freedom of speech does not give one the right to malign others, because you have an opinion about what their motives are. As far as I know, no one has ever come close to accusing Ripa of being a homophobe because there hasn't been an incidence such as this one. She seems to have a good reputation with her peers, so how could this conclusion have been reached with such little evidence? An accusation that could ruin a career in some circles, based on an opinion... not proven to be truthful.

After the phone call from Ripa, in which Kelly set her straight about her accusation being irresponsible, Rosie went on to say that Clay Aitkin had had a hard time of it, and should be cut a break. That offended me. He may have had a difficult time in life, we all have to a degree, but it doesn't give him free rein to run over anyone he feels like, just to lift himself up. And neither does Rosie. I had to wonder about the other ladies today, as they sat there biting their lips. Joy Behar used to have some backbone, instead today she sat quiet, looking at Rosie like she had six heads, and saying very little.

The one bright moment came from guest host, Sherry Shepard, who actually agreed that folks, such as Ripa, have different comfort levels. Who wants some man putting their hands on you, not only out of anger, but with a good deal of disrespect? I have to say, I would have done the exact same thing Kelly Ripa did. His hand would have been removed, and he would have been told by me, exactly what I thought of what he had done. It would have nothing to do with his sexual preference, it would have to do with a shocking lack of disrespect on his part.

After the ladies finished their Hot Topics segment, The View ladies went on to their other scheduled segments, but right at the very end of the show, where they usually do a sign-off to the audience, Rosie through one last snippet of her right to freedom of speech, and said, "I have 4 kids, and I don't care where you touch me." I suppose she simply couldn't let the whole thing go. Sigh. The View, as Meredith Viera recently said, has indeed "become a joke," with the bells and whistles, and the self-centered attitudes in general. The fact that Elizabeth Hasselbeck, and Joy Behar don't seem to be comfortable at any time, and the fact that Barbara Walters seems to be forever reeling in Rosie, and her brash opinions, makes me wish they would all either grow a backbone or just go away. Of course Rosie has a right to her view, but she doesn't have a right to make up the facts. That's not what freedom of speech is for.

Opinions please. Did you see The View yesterday? How about the episode of Live with Regis & Kelly, which was co-hosted by Clay Aitkin? What do you think? Is Rosie over the top or is Kelly a Homophobe?

Technorati Tags: Kelly Ripa, The View, Rosie O' Donnell, Regis & Kelly

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Anger Management In Hollywood

"A man is not old until his regrets take the place of his dreams."

It has been a strange week. The big buzz late last week, and over the weekend was the book, "If I Did It," which was penned by O. J. Simpson. I wasn't going to address that whole situation, because lets face it, does he really need one more person giving him attention? Also, I found the fact that he not only wrote a "fictional' account of how he would have murdered his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, if he had he actually done it, in the worst possible taste. The thought is gruesome. The whole O. J. phenomenon to this day, makes me shake my head in wonder. Wonder at how he was ever promoted to near god status in the first place. Ok, he was an awesome football player, he might have even been considered a first-rate sports announcer, but the man personally was a thug. I don't think there is much defense for his conduct on the 911 tapes, months before Nicole Brown Simpson was murdered. He was a violent, angry man, and he had a reason to kill her, but as Bill Maher once said, "the L. A. Police was so incompetent, they couldn't even successfully frame a guilty man."

During the Scott Peterson trial, over and over, you would hear the same things being echoed by the man, or woman on the street. "If we can't get O.J. we have to get Scott." What? It didn't make sense to me. Did they mean justice? Were they sure in their minds that Scott Peterson did it, or were they assuming because he was married to her, and statistics say that the number one suspect is usually the closest person to the victim... the spouse. I had a lot of unanswered questions about Scott Peterson's guilt or innocence. I know what my gut told me, I know what my instinct said, and I know what my thought process was telling me. Not always the same thing.

I guess the main thing that stuck out in my mind, was that the police testified to their theory... there was very little direct evidence. The most striking evidence came by way of Amber Frey, Scott Peterson's mistress. To think he would still be lying to her on New Year's Eve, by telling her he was enjoying the fireworks under the Eiffel Tower, was sickening to hear, knowing his wife had already been dead over a week. Amber Frey's testimony did indeed prove that Scott Peterson was nothing less then an ass. Did that alone make it possible he was a killer? No one could say that there was ever an instance of domestic abuse, prior to Laci Peterson's disappearance, but does that point matter? People snap all the time. The police investigators presented a theory of how they believed Laci Peterson was murdered, but is theory enough? I suppose so, Scott Peterson was convicted and sits on death row in San Quentin. Based on theory.

One of the elements that bothered me so much in the O. J. Simpson case, was the fact that prosecutors decided against asking for the death penalty, because O. J. Simpson was a celebrity, and they felt it would work against them getting a "guilty" verdict. What? I thought the criteria for the death penalty applied to everyone. It was a strange dynamic, in that I am not pro death penalty, but it seems to me to use the fact of his celebrity as a way off that possibility was an affront to the victims. Hypothetically speaking, had they found out someone else had indeed committed that murder, would they have been given the same break? Who knows. Sigh. I am really glad that the book O. J. Simpson wrote has been pulled, and the sweep week's special has been canceled.

What's Up Kramer?

Did you catch David Letterman's interview with Michael Richards? As you have more then likely heard, Michael Richards went a little, or a lot, off his nut and decided to spontaneously break into an impersonation of Mel Gibson... at his racist worst! The incident took place at L. A.'s Laugh Factory, where Richards shouted racial slurs at a group of hecklers in the crowd. Monday night, Richards told David Letterman, "I'm not a racist, that's what's so insane about this." I am wondering why it is he came up with those particular slurs as opposed to either ignoring the heckler or asking security to have them removed. I think I can understand becoming frustrated, but I don't understand why it would follow into a long tirade of mean spirited racial epitaphs had it not been the norm for him.

Michael Richards close friend, Jerry Seinfeld, encouraged him to take the opportunity to explain himself, and offer forth an apology. He did. I watched it, but the two things that stood out, in my opinion, was the friendship that was being shown by Jerry Seinfeld, by appearing with him and offering his some strength through his support, and the fact that Michael Richards seemed to be sad, frightened and sincerely unaware of where all that apparent anger originated from. That is the scariest part. Anger repressed for a long period of time, will manifest when it feels like it. There comes a point when we no longer have control, and it might just be where Michael Richards has found himself. Hopefully Jerry Seinfeld will continue to be his friend, and suggest he get some help dealing with his anger.

Tell me your thoughts. Did you see Michael Richard's interview? What did you think of his explanation and apology?

Carson City, Nevada
October 26, 2006
Early Morning

Monday, November 20, 2006

Pappy Skiving

For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see;
Father in heaven, we thank thee!

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Where was Ralph Waldo Emerson when I needed him? LOL. Last evening, as I was getting out all the kitchen items I need to prepare Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, I was thinking about Thanksgiving 1989, the first Thanksgiving Alan and I shared after we became engaged. Well, we had actually spent more then one Thanksgiving together, but it was as friends, this was our first as a real couple. we have known each other since we were teenagers, so there were several holidays spent together... but separate. Anyway, as actual marrieds-to-be it all seemed different somehow, it was now "festive," and I was invited to have the holiday dinner at his parents house, which seemed like it would be nice, because my family and holidays was never a good combo.

I arrived right on time, and everything was lovely. They had put up the Christmas tree in the living room, and you could smell all the usual holiday scents wafting from the kitchen. Yams, fresh baked bread, cornbread stuffing, and an assortment of pies. YUM. And then there was the smell of the turkey in the oven. YUCK! See, it had only been about a year since I had experienced the worst case of food poisoning in the history of food poisoning, and at the hands of my former boyfriend's mother no less, by way of what I imagine to have been a very pissed of turkey. Oh my, it made me tremble to think about it. How was I going to get through this dinner? Alan had told me I didn't have to eat any of the turkey, but I couldn't NOT have some of the turkey, after all, she made it herself, and it would have been rude... right? And she was a professional chef, so how dangerous could it be? Right?

When the time came, we all sat down to the table, Alan, his parents, Alan's aunt & uncle, two of my mother-in-laws friends from church, Alan's best friend, and his girl friend and Alan's brother Daryl and his fiance. It was a nice big gathering, and that seemed nice, as it would take a lot of pressure of me. the conversation was flowing nicely, as everyone seemed to take turns asking Alan and myself about our wedding plans, and honeymoon plans. We hadn't planned too much at that point, just the date and my dress had been decided on. That conversation flow went quickly. LOL. Before too long it was time for the arrival of what looked like a 65 lb turkey. I was really hungry, but with that turkey in front of me, all I could think about was...BARF. I must have been 9 shades of green. LOL. Then it happened... my future mother-in-law asked me to say GRACE. Oh no!

I am a Methodist. I was raised somewhat Baptist, and found out when I was 37 that I am actually Jewish. A fact my mother chose not to share with me. Sigh. But anyway, while I had spent a little time in church, and new what prayer was, I had never actually said grace. LOL. Now, here I am, in a room with people I felt I needed to impress, and no clue what to say. My eyes darted to Alan, who was sitting there beaming with pride, he was no help. It was clear he had no idea of the sudden onset of terror I was feeling. I was alone. Can I faint now... please?No, of course not, so I took a deep breath, bowed my head, closed my eyes, and jumped right in...

"Oh dear Lord, thank you for this wondrous day and the fine bird which gave up it's life so we could nourish our extending bodies. (Extending bodies?). And thank you for making it ok to eat these feathered friends of ours, these noblest of all birds. (Noblest of all birds?). For they are our friends sent by you and placed in the hands of ones, mothers, and fathers too I suppose, like this mother and father, who cook for their children and near children and the friends of children and their relatives, and of their bosses. GOD, I ask that you bless all their bodies, the people not the turkeys, well the turkeys also I guess, who again, gave up their young lives, their young but plump lives. And thank you for the hands and feet of the woman who prepared this meal, and her back also, which I am sure is sore by now, from all the preparations, thank you for the whole of her.(Whole of her?). (SHIIIIIIITTTTT!) Ummm...In YOUR NAME I PRAY... AMEN"

In my head, a rather LOUD version of "Turkey In The Straw" was playing. Why oh why hadn't I just gone for, "Rub-a-dub-dub, thanks God for the grub?"

I reluctantly opened my eyes, and what I saw was a table full of blankest faces you ever saw...which all erupted into a huge belly laugh of hysterics. ROFLMAO! It was funny, I knew it was funny, so I laughed also. We all laughed for close to five minutes. Mom put the turkey back in the kitchen, Dad carved it in there because the scent was really getting to me, and in fact, Mom had fixed Alan and I a pork chops, I just hadn't realized it when I sat down at the table. The only reason she had brought the whole turkey to the table, was because she didn't know that just the sight of the turkey upset me. LOL. I could have been more forthcoming about that, I was just wanting to be a good daughter-in-law to be. She and I laugh about that terrible prayer every year. We will probably call back east on Thanksgiving, to wish she and Dad a happy holiday, and I know she and I will be laughing together again. It's Thanksgiving.

PS If you are wondering about the title of this entry, that is how I pronounced "Happy Thanksgiving when I was a child." LOL. :)


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Under Fog & Sun

"Photograph: a picture painted by the sun, without instruction in art."

-Ambrose Pierce

The sun this autumn has seemed to cast a slight orange glow onto things, at least it has seemed to me. Usually in autumn, I see more of a golden or yellow tint, but since I began taking my autumn photos last month, I have been seeing orange. I photographed this sunflower and bee about a month ago in Half Moon Bay, on a day when it was somewhat overcast and there was a small amount of wispy fog rolling through the area. Because Half Moon Bay is right at the waters edge, the scene in front of the lens can change pretty quickly. One has to decide straight away if the scene presenting itself is snap worthy, because it will change in seconds.

It's amazing what the subtleties of fog can do to light and coloration. Just a few minutes earlier, the sun was shining straight down on the sunflowers and there was a bright orange glow to them. It was early morning so they were still damp from the dew the previous night. As soon as the fog rolled through, everything took on a matted finish and you couldn't really tell that there was a slight glistening to the petals, and the bees wings lost all their shine. Still, I was happy with the way this one came out. :) The picture below, better illustrates the orange glow and shows a more striking light. It was taken the same day, a couple miles up the road, just outside the town, at Pastorino's Pumpkin Farm, which sits about 2 miles inland.

So tell me, which do you prefer when taking photos? A softer more muted look from natural shadows, or a more striking direct sun glow?

"The Bee & The Sunflower"
Half Moon Bay, California
October 22, 2006