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Tick tick tick tick

You know, when you're trying to write, and nothing is happening, you look at the clock a lot. I just looked at it three times in the last minute or two. Funny, but nothing showed up on my screen between the first and last time I looked at it.

So I guess today's topic is going to be the no-topic blog. I was thinking that I hate being incommunicado with people I'm generally in contact with. One of them is driving cross-country and the other is on vacation at the folks, and for some reason, looking at the phone and saying, "RING! RING!" isn't making it work. Go figure. Gee. Maybe I should have bought a crystal or something to help me concentrate so I could send my mental telepathy to the friend I wanted to talk to, and then it would have worked.

Or not.

Exit ramps and you: Perfect together

I had the pleasure of driving to Newark Airport during rush hour this evening. Traffic on the way there wasn't too bad, but I didn't bother risking the major highways coming back. I just took the mountain roads through the towns I used to live and the towns I live and shop in now. But going to the airport reminded me of how incredibly stupid, short-sighted and corrupt New Jersey politicians are.

Route 78 is an east-west interstate highway. It intersects the Garden State Parkway, one of our major north-south arteries. But you can't get onto 78 East from the Parkway South. Newark Airport is to the east. You have to take 78 West and get off at the first exit and then get back on again, a detour of about three miles.

And you can't get onto 78 West from the Parkway North. Many times I've actually missed the turn back to 78 from the eastbound exit in Hillside.

So I wondered: Exactly which assholes are responsible for this incredibly stupid, highly inefficient, confusing waste of time? I have a few guesses. One, our politicians are just plain stupid. But that goes without saying. Two, they're corrupt. Ditto. Three, there wasn't enough money to build proper exit ramps both ways. Bullshit. If there was enough money to build it one way, there was enough money to do both.

So here's my solution: Knowing that the Garden State Parkway was bought and paid for by the taxpayers of NJ buying land back from the politicians of NJ who just happened to have recently purchased the land the road was going to be built on, I figure that no politicians owned the land where the proper exit ramps should have been built, and they couldn't get the owners to sell it to them. So they just said, "Well, fuck the commuters," and didn't build a ramp.

Hey. Can you think of a better reason?--MAY



Home again, home again, jiggety-jig

Ahhh. The pleasures of being in your own home. Getting woken up by your own pets, instead of your friend's. Hearing the pleasant noises of the roofers working on your building, and the pneumatic motor outside your living room window. Smelling that great tar smell.

All I can say is, I'm really glad I went to bed early last night.

Idiots with e-mail, break down that wall!

The Code Red Virus has actually had an impact on me. No, I didn't receive or give it, but apparently my ISP's customers did, and they're the ones responsible for the constant demands for the default.ida requests my website has been getting. After a call to tech support and security, I think my web traffic will go back to normal now.

You really have to applaud Microsoft for making it so easy to cause so few to create trouble for so many. They ought to engrave that on a stone and put it in Redmond, instead of that fragment of the Berlin Wall. Come to think of it, does anyone else see the irony of a symbol of freedom in the main Microsoft HQ--the company that wants to limit us to one OS and one software purveyor?

Actually, seeing the fragment of the wall was rather thrilling. My friend who used to work there asked me if I knew which side was East Berlin and which side was West. It was easy. The West Berlin side was covered with graffiti. The East Berlin side was as clean as the day it was put up. She said not many people knew the answer to that question. That's because most people are content to be ignorant, and I am not. It's that unexamined life thing again.

At a doctor's office today, I read an interview with Tom Hanks where he says that he couldn't possibly live an unexamined life. Go, Tom! I take back my sweeping generalization about how dumb actors are.

Cheaper by the dozen

I took the blue highways back yesterday, at least for the first half of the route. So I passed a farm before I hit the Potomac River Bridge, and bought a dozen ears of fresh-picked corn. Virginia dozens, I was glad to note, are made up of fourteen. Or at least, my dozen was. I can't remember the last time I stopped at a Jersey farm stand and got something extra. Probably not since I was a kid. They sure are nicer down Virginia way.

The last night there I broke my diet with a barbecue beef dinner at Extra Billy's, a good BBQ restaurant in Richmond. It was nice, and I've lost five pounds since I started seriously dieting and exercising, so I felt not at all guilty about diet-busting. And the doc I saw today told me that there's nothing wrong with me that he can determine, and that after three years of not smoking, the risk factors go down to normal risk factors. Hey. Physically, I have the same odds as anyone else of getting the Big C. That's a relief. I guess that means I don't get to sue Big Tobacco after all. That's a trade-off I can live with--quite happily.--MAY



At last! A connection!

Finally, I have both internet access and website access. Here are the last few days worth of blogs.

Dog Day Afternoon

The fates are just conspiring against me. On top of the website problems from yesterday, just when I'm about to try to upload my files again, the power goes blooey. And this time, there wasn't any thunderstorm.

Of course it would hit before I showered. Well, at least there was a reservoir of hot water. Hair dryers? We don't need no stinkin' hair dryers!

A quick walk around the neighborhood brought out several facts: It was still too damned humid outside, and yes, some of the neighbors were without power as well. So I decided to cancel my trip into Richmond and stick around, which was a good thing. Because first came a guy who wanted to tow G.'s Jaguar away, and I wouldn't let him until I made sure he was from the auto shop (he was, and for some reason didn't seem too frightened of Worf leaping up and down by the front picture window and roaring his "I'M GOING TO KILL YOU" bark). That enabled me to see the Virginia power trucks, so I went downstairs to talk to the kind gentleman and overheard a conversation that included, "Yeah, there was a big-ass red arrow and they just ignored it!"

The construction crew, it seems, was digging sewer lines and weren't smart enough to avoid the area marked with the big-ass red arrow that indicated the neighborhood's main power line. They cut it. The electric company turned off the power and repaired the line, which took about two hours. I can't wait to call Heidi and tell her what her plumbers did.

And then later I caught an important phone call, which would have been missed because the answering machine goes off after a power outage and I keep forgetting to reset it.

So now it's late afternoon, and Worf and Sparty are snoring away on the couch, having successfully saved me from the tow-truck man AND the electric company representatives ("LOOK OUT! STRANGERS! THEY'RE GOING TO KILL US ALL! GET BEHIND ME! LET ME BITE THEM!").

My. Big dogs can be quite a handful, can't they?--MAY



Due to circumstances beyond my control…

I'll have you know I have been faithfully blogging almost since I got to Virginia. Not the first night, what with that eight-plus hour drive, but every day since then, I've been writing my blogs. The problem is, when I tried to upload them today, I could not. When I called my ISP tech support line, the gentleman on the phone said, "Huh. That's funny," and proceeded to inform me that my logon wasn't working. So I told him that someone or many someones have been trying to hack my website since August 1st. I've gotten over 800 hits since then, and something like 600 of them are requesting a file called default.ida. I did a bit of research and discovered that file is yet another flaw in Microsoft IIS that allows crackers access to your servers. But I don't have anything to do with the servers here. I'm just a li'l ol' personal website, folks, so if you're reading this, please stop trying to break into my ISP via my website, as you're really messing up my web stats. My advice is to go after MSN or any other Microsoft site. They always screw something up, and you'll get a lot more publicity hacking their site than you will mine.

I was tempted to make up an HTML file and call it default.ida, but then I thought it might annoy people. Or just plain not work.

Hey. Why don't you guys hack Rush Limbaugh's site? If anyone deserves to be taken down, he does!

Stormy weather

It has just been one storm after another here. I went out driving yesterday afternoon and got caught in a deluge or three. It was raining so hard you could barely see the road, let alone any identifying marks like intersections. And the storms have hit again tonight, causing flooding in a bunch of places. They're heading north, so if only I could upload this, you could get an early weather report. But I can't, so you won't. Such is life.

Hey. I've hit upon a new philosophy of life via one of the characters in my novel. Remind me to write a blog about it sometime soon.

You know, the neatest thing about writing characters is that they become so real to me, it's almost as if they stand over my shoulder and tell me what to write. Of course, some people might call that insanity, but that's the great thing about being an artist. You get to be insane and nobody puts you away for it unless you really cross a line, like, say, Syvia Plath. Whom I have no intention of emulating, by the way. I'm going to rage, rage against the dying of the light as long as I can draw a relatively healthy breath. And if genes tell, and I've got the right side of the family genes, I'll be around for a good 50 or so more years. At least, I'm hoping.

Wow. Think of it. If I live to be as old as my grandfather did, I'll be around until 2056. My nephew will be a grandfather by then. Brrr. I don't want to think about that concept just yet. I think I'll take things the way they are now.--MAY



Sits with dogs

So here I am in Virginia, dogsitting. It's not as hot here as it is back home, but it's definitely more humid. Last night was one interesting evening. There was a band of thunderstorms that lasted more than an hour, most of the time extremely severe, then calmed down to just plain thunderstorms until sometime after I fell asleep. I was creeped out enough being in a strange house all alone to let the dogs sleep in my room. This is something I've never done, as they tend to be noisy, and besides, Worf is 100 pounds and takes up as much space as a person. It's tough to shift him once he starts trying to hog your side of the bed. Which, of course, he did as soon as I let him in the room. I just kicked him with my feet until he moved, which, come to think of it, is how I used to get my boyfriends to move over when they would hog the bed.


This morning I wound up performing Worfercise. I really, really, really don't like to run by myself. I was thinking of taking Sparty, their miniature poodle, out for a run with me, but then it was in the 90s yesterday and high 80s and muggy today, and I have almost no desire to run in that weather. But last night, right about the time I wanted to go to bed, I realized that I had made a grave error. I'd let Worf sleep most of the day instead of chasing him around the house while he carries his toy in his doggie keepaway, which is his favorite form of indoor exercise. So since he hadn't really run around all day, he was rarin' to go last night, while all I wanted was to go to sleep. Trying to catch him to get him outside for one last bathroom run was impossible. I had to bribe him with dog biscuits.

So this morning, after breakfast, Worf was looking frisky, so I encouraged him to grab a dishtowel and started chasing him. He's played this game with Sorena since she was old enough to walk. She'll chase him around and around and around the house, going from the kitchen to the dining room to the foyer to the kitchen and around again. Sparty joins in, the dogs bark, Sorena laughs and screams, pandemonium ensues, and it all ends with everyone involved happily out of breath. Even without Sorena, Worf loves to be chased, and I started realizing after about the third lap that I could use this to substitute for running outside. Worfercise. Maybe I should make an exercise video and see if it will sell. Of course, I did get a bit dizzy after a while, but hey--at least I didn't have to run out in the mugginess.

Power outages, power puppies, and powerlessness

You know, one of the reasons I'm dogsitting is because Worf is not an easy dog for most people to handle. In fact, there's a short list of people he likes, and it's basically me and his family. I'm not in the least bit worried about someone breaking in while Worf is here, because anyone foolish enough to do so would probably leave a lot faster than he came in, if he got out at all. Worf gets locked up most of the time when company calls, just for safety's sake. Heidi put in a special seven-foot fence years ago because he was able to leap the fence they had previously. The cable company, the phone company, the gas company, and the water company workers all know never to set foot in the backyard if Worf is outside. Everyone in the neighborhood knows about Worf and is wary of him. So this big, bad, tough, scary dog was upstairs hanging out while I was drying my hair after my shower. And a thunderstorm struck. This time, we lost power for about a minute or two. And as soon as the power went off, Worf came running up to me, frightened and needing to be comforted.

It just goes to show you. Worf's really a pussycat, like I always say.--MAY