Dizzying

I’ve been painting the house here and there, on and off, for a month or two.
Don’t you love it when I’m precise?
Last weekend I started the bedroom, which had previously been a dark blue-green — so soothing for a person who gets migraines. But now, with my nice new bedroom furniture, it’s just too dark. So I’m going to paint it a color called “Haze”. I won’t even try to describe it.
Anyhow, today when I got home from work I picked up the brush and roller again, and blew through a couple of walls with Kilz, that noxious gloop that covers up almost anything. Unfortunately, I didn’t really read the label very well, and an hour later discovered that I was swaying dizzily, my eyes spinning around.
I’ve closed up the room, opened the window and turned on a fan, but the fumes are permeating the whole house, and as I sit here on the living room couch typing, the keys seem to swirl around under my fingers and my head feels like I just rode an amusement park ride.
I spent a good half hour searching for all the animals to make sure they weren’t in the room. I should have checked to see if I was in there, too.

Quizzical

While I’m wasting time on internet quizzes, I figured I’d a few more to see what the algorithms think of me.

Better Personality:

You are a SEDF–Sober Emotional Destructive Follower. This makes you a Evil Genius.

You are extremely focused and difficult to distract from your tasks. With luck, you have learned to channel your energies into improving your intellect, rather than destroying the weak and unsuspecting.

Your friends may find you remote and a hard nut to crack. Few of your peers know you very well–even those you have known a long time–because you have expert control of the face you put forth to the world. You prefer to observe, calculate, discern and decide. Your decisions are final, and your desire to be right is impenetrable.

You are not to be messed with. You may explode.

Better Person:

Your score as a human being is 77.6.

Middle of the road, eh? Does that mean you’re yellow? Yellow as a salamander frying on blacktop? Yellow as a urinal cake? Yellow as a delicious marshmallow Peep? Mmmm. Peep. Sometimes I think if it weren’t for Just Born candy, I would just expel my life force and expire. Hot Tamales. Mike and Ikes.

But I digress.

Nicely done. You are robustly average, and I approve of it.

Better Job:

Your job’s score is 72.

Fair to middling, just like your personal life. When are you going to break out of this daily grind and be free, man? When are you going to demand the life you want, the love you deserve, the future you’ve earned? You can’t just sit back and let life go, man! You have so many gifts to give, songs to sing, man! Viva revolution! AIIIEEEE!!!

Seriously, you should try monster.com. That’s how I found my last job.

The classifieds are good, too.

And if you want to date somebody else, I know somebody I can set you up with.

That’s all I’m saying.

Flippity, floppity

Yesterday, Bush said that we could never “win” the war on terror.
Today, he’s flip flopped.
Don’t we deserve a president who is consistent?

And yet, I’m still single

You know that amusing habit people have of adding “in bed” at the end of their fortune cookie fortunes? Look what I found in my fortune cookie this morning.

fortune8302004.jpg

Meanwhile, while we’re on the subject, Jeff points out another one of those internet quizzes, this one telling of our relationship skills. My score? Hellcat!

eXpressive: 6/10
Practical: 3/10
Physical: 3/10
Giver: 5/10

You are a XSIT–Expressive Sentimental Intellectual Taker. This makes you a Hellcat.

Yowza, you are fiery to be with. You’re dynamic and volatile and a living roller coaster. You’re also very attractive and immaculately groomed, so your target sex gets drawn in like a moth. You love the attention and never get tired of it. At a party you command attention, but you’re a lightweight with alcohol and if you drink too much there can be trouble.

Like an XSYT, you tend to over-analyze things, so the slightest comment or action from your significant other can send you into a tailspin. Conflict with you can be either very productive or very dangerous. You are incapable of lying — you have no guile — and if your partner can’t handle the truth, that’s his/her problem, not yours. You are explosive when you’re upset, but when the smoke clears you are right back on track with no ill will.

This is a highly effective way to resolve issues and keep them from brewing, but this can stun and hurt a partner with a more laid-back approach. You aren’t angry later, but s/he might be. Make sure when you’ve gotten your satisfaction that your partner is satisfied as well!

You would never cheat. But combine your hot-blooded style with the fact that your partner is *attracted* to that style, and you’ve got a recipe for being cheated on. If you pair up with an X_YG (and that’s not unlikely) you may get caught in his/her cycle of cheating. Make sure your partner feels appreciated and loved to balance out the fire of your approach to conflict.

If you’re female, you’re kind of like Evita or Teresa Heinz Kerry. I can’t think of any famous men like this.

Immaculately groomed? Another example of the stunning accuracy of internet quizzes.

P.S. Someone e-mailed me about the “still single” headline in regards to Ian, who I’d mentioned previously. Yeah, it’s over. See, this is how my luck goes, you know? Ian let me know, on my birthday no less, that he’d gotten a new job in New York. I was pretty disappointed. The thing is, I hadn’t been dating him long enough to be invested to a point where I got really upset, but had been dating him long enough that I wasn’t totally devoid of emotion over it. Factor in that he’s either too busy or not responsive enough to keep in regular contact with me — it takes him a few days to return a call and never responds to e-mails, and my request to get together last week went nowhere and now he’s in the midst of dealing with his move — and it looks like that brief but sweet relationship is over. I’m sad about it, because he was adorable, kind and romantic, and it’s been literally years since I went out with someone who liked to hold hands, cuddle, and generally be tactile. It was really nice. And I’m really disappointed.
But I’m used to disappointment.

Down and out

Interesting! Anti-gay Republican House member Ed Shrock of Virginia, who a week or so ago was “outed” on the BlogActive website, has now ended his reelection candidacy.

Today’s AP Breaking story said, “The [press] release said he would not comment further on his decision, nor did he comment specifically on the allegations.” blogACTIVE.com readers know better…Schrock was leading a double life and now we can release the audio file of Congressman Schrock seeking gay sex off of gay sex lines.

This is an interesting turn of events. Unfortunately, the BlogActive site is hardly a bastion of journalism, and doesn’t give any links to outside news sources such as the AP article they claim to quote.
My own search has turned up one, the Hampton Roads Daily Press.

In other queer news, the lovely and erstwhie Golan Cipel — you remember, the boy toy who had an “alleged” affair with the governor of New Jersey? — has dropped his harassment lawsuit against James McGreevey. So, was he told that he had no chance of winning, thus would reap no windfall of cash? Or did someone advise him that his claims of being straight were laughable?

Meanwhile… the compassionate conservatives chose a hateful bitch in the extreme for their convention opening invocation:

…apparently Jerry Falwell didn’t quite hate gay people enough to be chosen to perform the opening invocation at the RNC hatefest. That honor has been bestowed upon one Sheri Dew.
A recent speech by the childless, single Ms. Dew:
This escalating situation reminds me of a statement of a World War II journalist by the name of Dorothy Thompson who wrote for the Saturday Evening Post in Europe during the pre-World War II years when Hitler was building up his armies and starting to take ground. In an address she delivered in Toronto in 1941 she said this: �Before this epic is over, every living human being will have chosen. Every living human being will have lined up with Hitler or against him. Every living human being either will have opposed this onslaught or supported it, for if he tries to make no choice that in itself will be a choice. If he takes no side, he is on Hitler�s side. If he does not act, that is an act�for Hitler.�

May I take the liberty of reading this statement again and changing just a few words, applying it to what I fear we face today? �Before this era is over, every living human being will have chosen. Every living human being will have lined up in support of the family or against it. Every living human being will have either opposed the onslaught against the family or supported it, for if he tries to make no choice that in itself will be a choice. If we do not act in behalf of the family, that is itself an act of opposition to the family.�

At first it may seem a bit extreme to imply a comparison between the atrocities of Hitler and what is happening in terms of contemporary threats against the family�but maybe not. I just turned 50 years old, and I have never married. That was not my intention, and it has not been my choice. When someone asks me why I have never married, the simple and truthful answer is that nobody has ever asked me. Nonetheless, when I speak about the family, I have a deep, profound and abiding belief that the family is absolutely ordained of God, that it is part of His plan for His children, that marriage is supposed to be between a male and a female, and that children deserve to be born to and raised by two parents, father and mother. That is the ideal.

Gee, no one has ever asked you to marry them? What a shocker!
I can only assume that, being a good Christian woman concerned about morality and the family, that she is still, at 50 and unmarried, a virgin.
Wanna take bets on that one?

Keep your questions to yourself

We’ve known for some time that the Bush administration loves to control the message, and they’re very good at it. From distributing fake “news reports” for local TV stations to vetting campaign rally attendees, this administration has made sure that people never ask the wrong questions.
The trend continues:

The RNC has kindly added its own roving “reporters” to the pool feed from the floor of the convention hall. Thus, we have to cut out of our live coverage whenever one of these mike-toters comes on cam to “interview” a delegate. Typical hard-hitting question: “What do you think about the new America?” I won’t run for office if they quit doing interviews in my pool feed.
UPDATE: John Cook, TV reporter at the Chicago Tribune, read this blog and did a little sniffing. Turns out the people are five Republican-paid “Convention Jockeys.” The RNC describes its “CJs” as “offer(ing) a fresh look at how President George W. Bush’s policies are improving the lives of everyday Americans.” Hey, thanks – we were having a hard time with that one.

I like Greek

Well, the HD coverage of the Olympics may have been bad, but there was one very, very good thing about it: when I finally got to see the closing ceremonies, there were plenty of high definition, sharp, clear close-ups of Michalis Hadjiyiannis… [Watch a tiny video]

and Sakis Rouvas… [Watch another tiny video]

Woof. I think I suddenly have developed a Greek fixation.

Meanwhile, the (beautiful) president of Athens 2004, Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, seemingly had a marvelous time! Cameras caught her dancing away during the closing, surrounded by dour looking IOC officials. She must be incredibly thrilled at how well the games proceeded, and she and all her countrymen did a wonderful job. The opening and closing ceremonies really were fun, and I just sat here and thought to myself how wonderful it would be if we, as a planet, could get together and have a little party more often.

“To you, we say, thank you. Ευχαριστούμε.”

For the man who has everything

So, here’s the final score for those of you who were keeping track of my birthday haul: 1 adorable mug from my Texas girls, and 1 stainless steel paper towel rack that fits perfectly with my kitchen renovations. Cool! I enjoyed having a low-stress, few gifts birthday, especially with little tokens like that which fit my life nicely.
Of course, I wouldn’t have turned down that Sony 50″ Wega Plasma set, the one that looks like the screen is floating in glass. Nice. I almost bought myself one yesterday, but…
For those of you looking forward to my 39th birthday, I found the perfect gift. It’s a gadget, of course, but one that no self-respecting color-blind creative director should be without: the Pantone Color Cue.
The Color Cue is a cool little device that measures and identifies colors. You just place it down on an item and press the button. It reports what the color is in all sorts of color systems, from Pantone to RGB to HTML. Way cool.
As a matter of fact, I might just not wait for a year and order one for myself right now! Woo hoo! I can see it now — I’ll be wandering around the house figuring out the Pantone color for my couch, my walls, my shirt… neat.

Cleared for landing

Today’s column by John Kelly in the Washington Post has some fascinating facts. You learn something every day!

When I first moved here, Reagan (National) Airport’s primary runway was designated 18/36, meaning directly north/south. A few years ago, it suddenly became runway 1/19. Had the 18/36 ID been erroneous all those years, or did they redo the runway and rotate it 10 degrees in the process?

Paul Gatza, Alexandria

The easily bored might turn to something more scintillating right now — the stock tables, for example, or a George Will op-ed. The rest of us are going to have a quick lesson in runway nomenclature.

Picture a runway, which is basically a straight line on the ground. Now imagine you are standing on that runway holding a compass. If your runway goes from north to south, the compass’s needle will be in perfect alignment with it, with the red end pointing to 360 degrees. The other end will point 180 degrees away — to 180 degrees, as it turns out. This hypothetical runway would be known as 18/36.

Why? Well, to get a runway’s number, look at its compass heading, round it up or down to the nearest 10 degrees — i.e., 174 becomes 170 — then lop off the last digit. The second number is the “reciprocal” of the first, that is, it is 180 degrees away. The lowest number always goes first.

“It makes it easy for pilots to orient themselves,” the FAA’s William Shumann said.

Okay. So why did National’s runway change names?

“There are two flip answers,” William said. One is that the airport rotated slightly. “The other is continental drift at work.”

The real reason is no less weird. The Earth’s magnetic field is not fixed and permanent. The molten iron of the Earth’s core — the place where the magnetic field is generated — boils around like a pot of tomato soup on the stove.

“The magnetic field lines that leave the core and extend out are kind of frozen into the liquid core,” said John Hopkins University’s Peter Olson. “As the fluid circulates, those magnetic field lines are dragged around. That dragging motion of the field lines produces the temporal changes that we measure at the Earth’s surface.”

In other words, the magnetic field keeps shifting slightly.

“We got to the point a few years ago where the runway went from something like 184.5 [degrees] to 185.5,” said the FAA’s William Shumann.

They had to round up instead of down and Runway 18/36 became Runway 1/19.

Tuned out

NBC gets a “D” for their high definition coverage of the 2004 Olympic Games. Yeah, the pictures were lovely. But a few very important components of their coverage just ruined it.
First, the commentators. They brought out the fourth string people here, and it really shows. Their inane commentary was incredibly annoying and disruptive. “I don’t know which is better, seeing it live in the stadium or these pictures!” Well, I’d pick the stadium, because then I wouldn’t have to hear you.
Second, the production values. They’re using the same graphics that they used in 2002 and 2000. I can’t believe that the technology for overlaying more sophisticated graphics onto a high def picture hasn’t penetrated NBC’s lofty productions suites. They’ve had 4 years to get ready for these games!
Third, the commercial. Yes, the commercial. They’ve run a single Sony commercial during every break. As much as I despise commercials, this repetitive annoyance makes me yearn for a variety of ads. And the breaks, which came often, were sometimes up to 4 or 5 minutes long, filled with helicopter footage of Athens and the Olympic theme music, awkwardly looped over and over. I found myself screaming at the set for them to go back to coverage! Why are we watching stock footage over and over?
Fourth, and most important, the delay. The Games were already a day late by the time analog viewers saw them, but if you were watching on HD, you had to wait another day! The opening ceremonies were shown about an hour later than the ones on the analog channel; but it went downhill from there to this point: the closing ceremonies were shown in HD at 4am this morning. Since almost nobody has the capability to record HD yet, they kindly reran it… at 8am. Needless to say, I missed it.
In the end, it’s obvious what NBC’s goal was for their HD broadcasts. They were intended to be shown in television stores to promote the sale of HD sets. Just yesterday, I was at a store where the Olympics in HD was playing on all the sets.
It was definitely not designed for home viewing. At least, I hope not — wouldn’t want someone to throw a remote at their expensive HD set.

I turned on the closing ceremonies before heading to work. They showed the first half hour, then interrupted with NBC promos, then 5 minutes of the Olympic theme and snippets of stock footage, and now they’re showing a kind of retrospective of the games, with commentary praising the high definition coverage. Meanwhile, I’m waiting for them to go back to the &%@*#!! closing ceremony! I think there is just some horrible disease in American television that prevents them from showing any event in it’s entirety, uninterrupted, and without commentary. Everything, everything has to be packaged and processed, from cheese to television.

What did we expect?

I was intensely disappointed at the treatment of protesters at the Democratic convention, cooped up in a small ghetto of first amendment exercisers.
But New York seems to be shaping up much worse. Two items:

Bikesagainstbush creator Joshua Kinberg was arrested while taping an interview with MSNBC’s Ron Reagan in Manhattan Saturday afternoon.

Kinberg was stopped by police while demonstrating the bicycle for the television interview. His bicycle is a high-tech graffiti writer, using chalk to print anti-Bush political messages sent by people via the internet. Apparently there was a question of whether or not the sprayed messages were a defacement of property.

When Kinberg showed the police sergeant how the bicycle used a non-permanent spray chalk, the sergeant seemed to agree that it wasn’t defacement, at which point Kinberg asked, “am I free to go?” After conferring about it, officers decided to call superiors, then came back moments later to place Kinberg under arrest and confiscate the bicycle.

Kinberg cooperated fully with the officers as he was being handcuffed, only asking, “can I ask what I’m being arrested for?” to which no one provided an answer. As of 11:00 PM Saturday evening, he was still in custody without being charged with anything.

And…

After taking some pictures of Critical Mass riders getting arrested, I turned to walk away and suddenly was in cuffs, one of the 264 cyclists and random passers-by arrested Friday night. Rather than writing us summonses for the offenses we were charged with, which were violations (on par with a traffic ticket or an open container), not even misdemeanors, the cops decided to teach us a lesson by hauling us over to a bus depot-turned-holding cell where we got to sleep in cages on diesel-sludge-covered concrete. (Many people reported chemical burns from contact with the floor.) I got to spend 16 hours there, then ride a corrections bus downtown to Central Booking for the full handcuff/search/mugshot/prints treatment, in shackles all the way, and spent another 14 hours there while the cops, who were either intentionally stalling on Bloomberg’s orders or staggeringly incompetent, took 14 more hours to write us all the same desk-appearance tickets they could have given out at the scene. There were still at least 50 people in there when I got out at 2:30 a.m. Monday (and spent another hour waiting on line to get my keys, phone, camera, and pen from the property clerk).

Both via kottke.org.

Better TV

Dave over at DCRTV.com lets loose, and I say “amen!”

Speaking of HDTV, am I the only viewer who doesn’t care about the “clarity” of the pictures on my TV set? I don’t want better “reception” – I want better programming! Hell, I get 200-ish channels on my digital cable TV and I frequently find that there’s “nothing on.” There’s already way too much bad TV. I don’t need all that awful TV in high-def. Give me some new “good stuff.” Stuff with solid writing and decent acting. Stuff with the creativity of “Seinfeld,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Absolutely Fabulous,” “The Office,” or “The Sopranos.” Or how about a classic “Twilight Zone” or a half-decent “Star Trek – Next Generation” episode? Even an old “I Love Lucy”! I’ll gladly watch high-quality programming on a low-def old-fashioned set. In black-and-white, with the snow and ghosting of an analog signal, even. I don’t want all that high-def “reality show” shit, all those fancy digital public TV pledge breaks, or plasma-screened infomercials so I can see every crease in a Tempur-Pedic mattress. Next time I visit Best Buy, I’ll look for a set that gets only “high-quality” TV – HQTV.

I do have to chime in and say that from the outset, PBS provided some startlingly good programming in HD; albeit only once per month. They really used the medium well, making the incredible color and detail worthwhile.
But just watching another episode of some crass sitcom with a fat bald guy married to a svelte blond just doesn’t make the cost worth it.