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DMV Adventures, part 1

Well, I now have proof of my identity, at least good enough to get onto a plane or a train or into the GRE testing center. And I found the best time to go to the Division of Motor Vehicles: Before it opens. In line at 7:50, out with my new photo license at 8:30. Of course, this isn't counting yesterday afternoon, when I wasted much of my lunch hour because the new policy in New Jersey is that you cannot get a duplicate photo license without a birth certificate or a passport. So this morning, armed with my birth certificate, Social Security card, and a note from my mother ("She's such a nice girl"), I returned to the DMV and attempted to get a photo taken of me that would not make me look like I belong on America's Most Wanted. I'm happy to say I succeeded. I suppose I should scan it in and prove it to you, but then you'd all know what I look like, and my air of mystery would be gone.

Coming soon: My talk with another prisoner of the DMV, John Foley, WWII vet, automobile auctioneer, and a nice guy.

Welcome, Yahoo! surfers

So glad you stopped by. After you've read this page, check out the indexed archives for an idea of what's been going on around here. Feel free to leave me feedback if you like. Don't push, there's room for everyone. You! in the back! If you can't behave, you're going to have to stand in the corner.

Stop me before I kill again

I really must be changing. Several incredibly annoying things happened to me today, and I don't want to rant about them in a blog. Instead, I want to write about funny things. Except that some of them are cat stories, and, well, unless you're a cat person, cat stories tend to bore you, so I think I'll pass on that one. There's the annoying story from yesterday, where I was doing my bills last night and could not for the life of me find my credit card statement even though it was right there on the kitchen table when I came home for lunch, and I saw it, and remembered that it was in my hands, and could not find it when I got home from work. I looked everywhere, I cleaned the kitchen table and threw away all the old paperwork, I checked in my bags from work, every last place in my apartment where I keep current paperwork. I finally gave up and used an old statement that I hadn't paid due to lower-interest balance transfer (lovely things, those, I'm now paying zero interest for six months, at which point I will transfer again). And went to the Post Office and mailed all my bills and came home, made dinner, sat down to eat it and read the book I'm reading, and discovered that my credit card statement was in the book as a bookmark. I had put it there while eating lunch.


Nah, I'd rather not rant. Ranting has to be reserved for the right topics, like John Edward and Our Buddy Bin. Or the current Jeep Liberty ad.

Swat that thing!

Is anyone else as creeped out as I am about the new Jeep Liberty commercial? It's the one where they play that "Hero" pop song ("I could be your hero, baby!") and show a Jeep Liberty driving slowly up the Statue of Liberty. Every time I see it, I get the urge to see Lady Liberty swat the damned thing like a bug. Or go "Ew!" and brush it off her, which is what most women would do if something was crawling up them.

I don't know who the morons are at the ad company that thought this one up, but trust me--it's not instilling positive thoughts about liberty and heroes and September 11th. On the contrary, it's making me want to write the Chrysler Corporation and tell them that as a Jeep owner, I feel embarrassed to be even remotely connected to an ad like that. And maybe I really don't want to purchase the Jeep Liberty wheel cover after all, even though it has a picture of the Lady on it. Not if it reminds me of that commercial.--MAY



Annoyance alert opt-out

Click here to get rid of those stupid X10 camera pop-under ads. Thanks to Rebecca Blood for the link.

Web searches and weirdos

Here's a quick follow-up to my search request blog. I got a few new search requests in the past few days, most of which were fairly normal, but someone in the last 24 hours found my pages via the following request: "Jean Smart naked." This frightens me very much, because my first reaction to that request--keeping in mind that I loved Jean Smart and Charlene was my favorite character on Designing Women-- is: Why? My second reaction is: Ew.

I'm thinking it was probably the same person who searched on "Meredith Viera breast".

Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew.

The good news is that someone actually found me via "Go you chicken fat, go", and two more literary requests: "The dog that bit people" (James Thurber) and "Tell me that you love me, Junie Moon" (I titled a blog with that sentence for no real reason). Good to know there are people out there who aren't interested in naked TV personalities.--MAY


Check your facts at the door

It just goes to show you: Always check your own facts.

A little while ago I made a reference to the crash of Flight 587. A t the time, I blindly posted a link that seemed to have a reasonable explanation as to how a terrorist could have caused the crash. The long and short of the explanation is that a thrust reverser cable was supposedly cut, thereby causing the hydraulic fluid to leak out and creating a chain of events that caused the crash, and it's borne out by facts that seem pretty convincing.

Except for one thing. The author never even considers the possibility that if it was, indeed, the thrust reverser that caused the crash, who's to say that it didn't just break by itself through normal wear-and-tear or bad maintenance?

Anyway, the rest of the site is an absolute mish-mosh of pure crapola, including crop circle "eyewitnesses", UFOlogy, and loads of other so-called psychic phenomena. The guy is definitely in a class with John Fraudward. Forgive the oversight on my part. And thanks to Gail and Dave for putting me on the right track on this one.--MAY

Dodging a bullet

I've just learned a new sentence that no woman ever wants to hear: "We need you to come back for additional views." That was what an employee at Montclair Radiology Center told me a week ago Monday, three days after I'd had a mammogram. She explained to me that I was about the 25th person she'd called back for additional views, and that it was no big deal, and sometimes it's just a blip on the X-ray and the radiologist needs to be certain. None of which served to expel very much fear. So we set up another appointment for the 27th, and I mostly tried not to think about what was wrong, especially since the anomaly was on the breast that was the reason I got the mammogram in the first place. The fact that I noticed it and it seemed to have been confirmed by an X-ray made sleeping a bit tense the night before the appointment.

So I went for the mammogram and then waited while the tech brought the X-rays to the radiologist. If it was just a blip on the first mammogram, then I'd be free to go if the second one came up clear. But the tech came back and said, "We're going to need to get an ultrasound. Please go back to your waiting room until everything's ready." Okay, now I figured it was time to panic, and believe me, I did. I was trying to figure out exactly how big a lump there was, and where it was, and why I would have breast cancer when there's no history of it in my family, and about a million other things in the five minutes it took to get me an ultrasound technician. And then things didn't get much better because she finally mentioned the size and shape and the fact that it might just be a cyst, but even if it wasn't, 6 millimeters was pretty small. And then she spent the next five minutes or so trying to find that 6-millimeter thing in my breast, while I kept waiting for it to appear so I could hear her say something like, "Oh, it's just a cyst. No problem."

But she never found a thing, and after a while she left to go talk to the radiologist and leave me even more worried, because now not only did I have a 6-millimeter thing in my breast, but it was a stealth thing and it was invisible to ultrasound and no one was going to be able to find it and get rid of it. I was sure she was going to come back and say, "We're going to need to take a CT scan." But when she came back she said, "Sometimes the thing on the X-ray was just a bit of tissue, and it gets compressed on the second view, which is why we can't find it. The radiologist says everything's okay."

Relieved, I went back to my room and got dressed and thought as I was leaving, "Hope I won't be seeing you for another two years."

But as I was telling this to Heidi, I related to her that for my second mammogram, the tech put a lead-lined apron around my waist to protect my (kaff!) precious child-bearing areas. I figured, hey, even if the eggs are rotten, at least they're not going to be zapped with radiation. But then I remembered that the first tech didn't put the apron on me two weeks ago, so now if I can never have children, or if they wind up having three eyes, we'll know who's at fault.

In any case, I am much relieved tonight. They're a matching pair, and I want to keep them that way.--MAY



It's not a wonderful NBC

I realized something--actually, I re-realized it as I've thought it for a few years now--while discussing the holiday season and specifically, the Frank Capra film It's a Wonderful Life. Anyone older than ten will remember that it used to be on a gazillion times during the holiday season, generally from Thanksgiving weekend on although sometimes even before Thanksgiving. Then, a few years ago, NBC bought the exclusive rights to it, and the film is shown only once, or at most twice, during the holiday season.

I think the best way of describing the average person's feelings about It's a Wonderful Life was shown during a teaser of Cheers, where someone turned the TV in the bar to the film, and the usual crowd of regulars came out with, "Not this chestnut again! I'm so sick of that movie. Turn on something else!" Cut to: Carla standing in front of the television, crying, as the entire bar crowd watches in the background, rapt, and the final scene plays ("Look, Daddy, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings!").

Complaining about the ubiquity of It's a Wonderful Life was on the order of griping about the weather. It was something everyone did in public, and then in private they would stop the remote when they found yet another showing of the movie.

I used to love watching it in bits and pieces. "Oh, I love the sled scene." "This is where they fall into the pool." "Great, it's the scene where he gets back to Bedford Falls." And then on Christmas Eve or Night, I'd watch it in full, generally using the tape that I recorded back when PBS used to show the film uncut, with no commercials. Because it's a wonderful movie.

And now that NBC owns sole rights to it, I have to say they really suck for doing that. I refuse to watch it on NBC out of sheer principle. They've Grinched one of the holiday seasons best movies, and worse still, ruined millions of people's channel-surfing fun.

Bah, humbug.--MAY



I could get used to this

I'd forgotten what it's like to be home when everyone else is working. I could get used to this, except not this way. Home sick from work, but since I'm a temp, I don't work, I don't get paid. And I just lost two days on Thanksgiving. Damn. Well, hey, I'll put the day to good use. Keep on aggravating myself with GRE logic problems, call the vet and find out if it's time to change the dosage on Gracie's steroid pills (she's lobbying for no pills at all, but she's forgotten it's either pills or shots), maybe go to Compusa and get that Dreamweaver upgrade I've been wanting. Does Macromedia get that most people aren't going to download a zillion-meg upgrade on a 56k modem? I really don't think they do.

So it's a beautiful day out, and my front door is open so the cats can go in and out at will, and I watched this morning as Gracie prepared for the great outdoors the way she always does: She sharpens her claws. Which begs the question: What does she think she's going to use them on once she gets outside? Is she sharpening her claws because she might get into a fight? Is she doing it the way a punk kid puts on a leather jacket and sunglasses? Kinda the kitty way of saying, "Don't mess with me!"? Or is it wishful thinking, as in, "If I keep them sharp, I can catch a bird."?

Whatever the reason, I find it highly amusing.

God, my brain is dead this morning. I don't appear to be running a fever, but my brains seem to have leaked out overnight. If anyone finds them, please return.--MAY

I am completely braindead. I found a new weblog last week, and will add it to my links page, and meant to write about it this morning. In fact, she's the first entry in a new category on my links page, which I'm going to call My Favorite Blogs. Yeah, she's that good.

Okay, and here's a creepy serendipity thing: Just caught her latest blog, and she's sick, too. I think she gave me an email virus.--MAY



Welcome, furriners

I was just checking out the website stats and noticed that I'm getting a few more international visitors, and it occurs to me that I should try to make them feel welcome here. One of the things I could do, I suppose, would be to welcome them in their own language, but I forget--do the Swiss speak French and German, or just one or the other? Bienvenu? Is that how you spell it?

Anyway, I figured I'd do it this way. For those of you who are reading this from another country and have a little trouble with English, I'm going to speak to you the way Americans have been speaking to non-English speakers for generations:


Anyone who didn't see that coming hasn't been reading this site often enough.--MAY

Testing, one, two, three

Someone really needs to explain to me again why I have to torment myself for the next week studying for the GRE's, which will include such logic situations as trying to explain the flaw in a paragraph detailing why large farmers won't realize as great a savings as small farmers by switching from chemical insecticides to manure and crop rotation. Yes, that was an actual sample question from an old GRE test on the CD-ROM they give you to study with.

I've just spent the afternoon remembering how much I loathe algebra, and why I didn't take a single math course in college (I got away with a statistics course, which at least was slightly fun, and taught me that Mark Twain was right about statistics and damned lies), and swearing at the so-called analytical questions: Remember, marjoram must be in a pot with a lower number than thyme, sage must always be in a pot adjacent to marjoram, oregano must be in a pot with a higher number than sage, and Meryl doesn't use any of these spices since she tends to cook simple foods and also refuses to grow anything but cherry tomatoes, which she has successfully murdered for the second year in a row.

And let's not even talk about how annoyed I get when I miss a vocabulary word, as I take great pride in my vocabulary and get really pissed when they throw a word like "tractable" in and then get me to figure out its antonym. It's not enough that I should know what "tractable" means, I have to figure out its opposite while I'm at it. And I got it wrong, too, as I knew the definition but their antonyms were deliberately vague.

Have I mentioned how much I hate logic?

Heidi says she loves those logic questions. I gave her my GRE book and showed her the sample questions and ignored her for the next hour while she tried to figure out which swimmer wins what race if P and Z or M and N always finish first and last and Q is slightly faster than R is slightly faster T. I read the Sunday comics instead, which is what you're supposed to do on a Sunday. Not study for the GRE.

And to top it all off, I have to go to the Motor Vehicle Agency to get a duplicate photo license so I don't get thrown out of the test, which happened last time. All this because I think I want to be a teacher. There's gotta be a better way.--MAY



Hidden messages

You know, I completely forgot to mention this. Actually, I didn't, but you probably forgot since I mentioned it a week or so ago. When last we left our intrepid writer, she had just discovered the TITLE attribute to the HREF property, thereby ensuring that hidden messages can be cleverly placed throughout her blogs, including one or two in this very paragraph! (Note to Netscape 4.x users--it does not support the TITLE attribute, and you're missing out on a lot. Upgrade to a browser that has full HTML 4.0 support. And my AOL users need to tell me if their version shows these links, as I've just made one especially for them.)

Mind you, one of us is going to get tired of doing this first: Me or you. I'm betting it's going to be you. I never grow tired of some kinds of childish humor. Elephant jokes, for instance. I can listen to them forever, especially since I generally forget the punchlines and so can be amused by my each succeeding generation of children to discover them. Here's one for you: Did you know peanuts are fattening?

Sure. Have you ever seen a skinny elephant? --MAY

This New York Times piece has the answer to why the fires are still burning at Ground Zero. Registration required, but it's free.