Sunday, December 28, 2003

Blog Questionnaires08:53 PM - The Friday Five

I totally forgot about these, and to be honest, I really didn't think there'd be any on the day after Christmas. But there are, so here are mine.

  1. What was your biggest accomplishment this year?
    Well, I achieved brown belt early on this year in my karate class. I lost and just about gained back 10 pounds. We bought a house in April and moved in at the end of July.
  2. What was your biggest disappointment?
    I try not to dwell on disappointments, because it always makes me worry and feel unhappy. So I really couldn't tell you. It wasn't a disappointing year in general, though, so there probably weren't all that many to start with.
  3. What do you hope the new year brings?
    Well, my husband should be graduating with a teaching certificate in May, so we're both looking forward to that. I hope it brings a better outlook for my uncle, who has stomach cancer that wasn't found early and has spread. It'd be nice for everyone I care about to generally be in good health. And hey, I hope to lose that 30 lbs this year.
  4. Will you be making any New Year's resolutions? If yes, what will they be?
    Yep, I've already got them set up. ;) Same three as this past year (exercise as often as possible, keep the cats' litterboxes scooped every other day or so, and take my multivitamin and calcium every day), plus I'm going to try and floss every day (and hopefully use mouthwash along with it).
  5. What are your plans for New Year's Eve?
    Well, we were going to be playing in a celebrity (1960s some time) murder mystery, but that's going to be on the 30th, so we're resuming our plans to hang out with some friends at a friend's house. We'll probably get rather soused in the process of all the merrymaking. :)
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Monday, December 22, 2003

Fun stuff03:01 PM - Return of the King

I'll keep things spoiler free, so you've no worries that I'll mess it up for you if you haven't seen it. :)

My husband and I, along with roughly a half dozen other PvPers (roughly = I didn't count them up in my head, so it's a ballpark and I'm not forgetting anyone) gathered at our place to watch the first two LotR extended edition movies. We started the movies at roughly 1:30, and we finished a little after 9pm, with a break in the middle for piddling and lasagna eating. :) Ria and pyro got there about halfway thru the first one after her plane got in from Dallas and they grabbed food & stuff. Ria had to go work, which sucked, but then he was kinda sick to his stomach and left early and came back to finish the 2nd movie with us.

J and I had a snafu getting our tickets (also Helm's; 3 total). Apparently managed to change my order from Thursday, December 18 at 10:30pm, to Wednesday, December 17 at 10:30pm. Their computer took forever to figure that out (all we knew was that the automated ticket claimer thingy gave us an error), and then the lady behind the desk fixed us up with new tickets pretty quickly after that. Suffice it to say, we won't be ordering tickets again, we'll just go buy them day-of, or order them in person.

The movie itself: Wow. Just, wow. The cinematography in the panoramic shots was wonderful, just as it was in the other two movies. The battle scenes were amazing. They really got the tear-at-the-heartstrings with Sam & Frodo. Boromir and Faramir's father, Denethor, is a right bastard (which the extended edition of The Two Towers gives more insight into than the theater version did). Crazy fuckin' bastard, really. Crazy and bitter and just... probably one of the biggest villains of the whole series of all those who weren't on Sauron's side. Legolas was still the prettiest. ;) (Running joke we had during the first two: it got said every time they did a closeup of him when it wasn't just because he had dialogue.) Aragorn was HAWT. Gollum was devious, and well acted. Opening scene was really powerful. Oh, and Andy Serkis... very good performances, both in person and leading the CG of and giving voice to Gollum.

The whole movie was very pleasing, and I'd see it again in a heartbeat. And I cannot wait for the extended edition to come out. As much as they had in it (it was an over-3-hour movie, after all), there was stuff that was cut that I cannot wait to see, and should definitely be seen in the movie. I saw a link to a list of all the scenes that were cut that'll be included back in for it, but I didn't read or bookmark it at the time, so I'll have to see if I can find that again.

Even though it was 2:30am when we got home, and I had to get up at 6:30 (dragged myself out of bed at 7), it was definitely worth the intense sleep deprivation. I'm half tempted to wait a couple weeks till the fervor has died down, and go see it again (at a closer theater though, most likely).

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Life09:20 AM - Team lead turns the big five-oh

I came in an hour early this morning (and will be staying a half hour extra -- I have to leave 90 minutes early tomorrow), and found golf balls placed all the way up our aisle from the main aisle to my team lead's cube. Each ball had a markered number on it, starting at 1 and going up to 50. I don't think any of the rest of us knew he turned 50 today. I'm sure he consciously made sure not to mention it. ;) Another coworker, who sits next to him and knows him probably better than the rest of us, had come in at some point, I guess over the weekend, and brought those and set 'em up. Too bad she got sick and couldn't come in today, since she didn't get to see his reaction first hand. I'm not sure she would have anyway, though, unless she came in early. She usually comes in when I do -- 8am -- and I think he had them all picked up by then. "Someone could trip on them." Yeah, right. :p

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Friday, December 19, 2003

Blog Questionnaires08:21 PM - The Friday Five

  1. List your five favorite beverages.
    Nonalcoholic: Iced tea (unsweet, and strong); root beer; orange juice; orange soda; water. Alcoholic: Sex on the Beach, Screwdriver, Fuzzy Navel, most daiquiris, and fruit flavor added margaritas (i.e. not plain ones)
  2. List your five favorite websites.
    That's kinda tough, but I'll try. I can't pick 5 webcomics out of all the ones I read, so I'll skip those entirely and go for ones I use a ton. Google, PvP Forums, PopCap Games. Only three, but I can't think of any more, really.
  3. List your five favorite snack foods.
    I rarely ever snack. And I'm serious; I just hardly ever do. So, um... M&Ms are yummy (plain, peanut, mint, or any others I may be forgetting); pretzels will work; tortilla chips; cookies. That's all I can come up with.
  4. List your five favorite board and/or card games.
    It's a mix of both, I guess. Monopoly; various forms of solitaire; hearts; Uno, rummy.
  5. List your five favorite computer and/or game system games.
    Well, these are pretty much going to be computer games, as J's the bigger console gamer. Top on my list would have to be, at least right now and for the last few months, the Hoyle Puzzle Games my husband found for me. I play primarily it's Slide Tiles game, but it has something like 15-20 different games. Then a few PopCap Games offerings, mostly online (Bookworm, Rocket Launcher, Typer Shark, and Diamond Mine, in no particular order). Then, just about any Tetris game, Devil Dice (Playstation game), and 3D Ultimate Pinball: Creep Night.

This site04:11 PM - Finally!

They moved all the Pro sites to a new server, and for the longest time today I had no databases 'cause I'd been moved, but not yet the databases. (If you tried posting a comment, or looking at my forum or guestbook, you'd have noticed right away.) Tis all fixed now, but of course I'll be away from my computer soon for a few hours, and have yet to post all I wanted to.

As a quick note: J and I, along with several friends from the forums watched the first two extended versions of Lord of the Rings yesterday, and went to see the 10:30pm showing of Return of the King. It was utterly and totally awesome, and worth leaving the theater at 2am and getting only 4 hours of sleep before work. Very awesome movie!

Later, when I get the chance, I'll post the new Friday Fives.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Life04:16 PM - I thought everyone knew this by now!

I have to make fun of some people at work. Our Task Team, which is a group of people in the department from different working groups who are in charge of keeping the atmosphere fun and thus coming up with activities, is having a Christmas cube decorating contest. They put up a website showing 6 pictures and giving a link to vote for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.

My default browser here is Netscape 4.73, because it's one of the two official web browsing "standards" on our computers (and big companies are notoriously slow at updating such things, and they refuse to go to Netscape 4.75, 8, or 9 with their security fixes, much less 7). I'd rather it be default than IE. All the images were broken. However, IE handled them fine. I couldn't figure out for the life of me how they'd manage to screw up images browser-specifically.

Then, over the cube wall, I heard a coworker say, "They have spaces in the filenames." Um, what??! Sure enough, if you did a View Image, and put in a %20 in place of the space, the image showed. In spite of the fact that our department is an IT department, and in spite of the fact that the person or people who put this web page together also do the monthly web newsletter, and are supposedly web savvy, they didn't know you're not supposed to have spaces in file names on the web.

I thought that after years of web development, and years of saying "don't do that", no one who works with the web on a semi-regular basis would somehow not know that. Geez! (It probably doesn't help that they're on a Windows machine with an MS server, which AFAIK is the only web server that even allows spaces in file names, along with Windows being the only line of OS software that allows them.) How did they miss that memo?

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Rants04:23 PM - Birth control debate

I put this in rants, but for the most part I've said my rant already at the PvP Forums. The topic was started because the FDA is looking into whether or not the morning after pill (not to be confused with RU486) should be available over the counter. Their main questions are whether it would decrease unplanned pregnancies, and whether it would increase the likelihood of women forgoing other birth control methods (including condoms) in favor of using this pill whenever they get pregnant (possibly raising the instances of STDs, initial pregnancies, etc.). The article posted is in the thread I linked.

The original poster went on to express the opinion that women should just not have sex if they don't want to have a child, as though it were that black and white, and that simple. Or, she continued, they should use natural birth control methods (only having sex during the part of the menstrual cycle that doesn't allow the women to get pregnant). Granted, she did provide the disclaimer that she's a practicing Catholic, and that she believes in the Church's stance that all artificial birth control is wrong, but it still irked me.

I like sex. I love my husband, and feel that sex is one (profound) way of expressing that love with him. I resent the notion that not wanting to restrict our sexual habits to the "right times of the month" is somehow weak, and shows a lack of willpower. I do not subscribe to the notion that sex is only for making babies. I believe sex is fun (or should be) and should be enjoyed by both parties. I also believe that it is any sexually active woman's responsibility to protect herself from unwanted (especially unprovided-for) pregnancies through the use of some form of birth control (whether taking the pill, using the Depo injection, insisting her partner wear a condom, or all of the above). It is everyone's responsibility to protect themselves from STDs and unwanted pregnancies, who is going to be sexually active.

In my opinion, it is short-sighted to insist that everyone subscribe to the view of "have sex for babies only", or "use only natural birth control methods", simply because a religious text says so. Not only do most Christians believe artificial birth control is quite OK from a spiritual standpoint, but the whole world isn't anywhere close to being Christian. People have sex. And for the most part, having sex is a healthy thing (with the obvious exceptions of children, rape, etc.). I don't see why anyone should expect there to be specific, hardline restrictions on having sex simply because some people believe them to be moral based on their religious viewpoints which are not held by even the global majority of people. The idea that killing people is a bad thing, is more or less universal and did not originate with any one religion or handful of religions. The idea that artificial birth control is wrong pretty much originated with the Catholic Church, and them only, as far as I know. So I think it's ridiculous, not to mention arrogant, to expect other people to espouse the same value.

Okay, I am ranting after all. And I'm starting to ramble and repeat myself. Suffice it to say, I'm gonna stay on my happy Depo Provera for as long as my husband and I choose not to get pregnant, and I'm gonna keep having sex with my husband whenever we feel like it. And I will fight tooth and nail against anyone who tries to enforce the "birth control == not allowed" viewpoint by writing it into any local, state, or federal law where I live.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Life01:53 PM - Ooh, more candy!

At work, a couple weeks ago someone went around and hung stockings on everyone's cube wall on the floor (at least I think it was the whole floor). Last week, we discovered that everyone had a little candy cane and a piece of candy in the bottom. Today, I noticed everyone has a handful of chocolates (Reese's Minis, Hershey's Mint Kisses, etc.) in the bottom of their stocking. Yea! Neat idea. :) I wondered if the stockings that showed up were going to get used for anything. Now I know.

Now I need to convince myself to get off my ass and go sign up to bring something for the floor party on Wednesday.

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Blog Questionnaires10:48 AM - Saturday Scruples

A-ha! I knew there was something I was missing. From the Saturday Scruples main page, posted December 6 (I was sick that week, and after that I'd given up on 'em):

We've received numerous question regarding the status of the Saturday Scruples leading us to believe not everyone received the notice that the Saturday Scruples will be on hiatus until January 10, 2004 - at that time, they will return full force.

So that explains the hiatus since October.

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Friday, December 12, 2003

Fun stuff02:45 PM - Virtual snowflakes

Yet another nifty little flash thingy to let you make stuff. This time, they give you virtual scissors, fold some virtual paper up for you, and let you make snowflakes. It's great fun! I dunno why or how all these things started popping up everywhere, but I like' em. I've made 3 snowflakes already, and I'm probably gonna make a few more. Who knows, if I make some I really like I may use 'em to make real ones to tape in the windows.

Blog Questionnaires10:11 AM - The Friday Five

  1. Do you enjoy the cold weather and snow for the holidays?
    Eh, sort of. I used to enjoy it more as a kid, obviously, but now... if it would snow on lawns only, and not sidewalks, driveways, or streets, that'd be much better. ;) I don't mind the bundling up too much though, but I hate having to drive in all the crap. And they're talking 2-4 inches of snow tomorrow, though of course that prediction's subject to change several times before then...
  2. What is your ideal holiday celebration? How, where, with whom would you celebrate to make things perfect?
    Ideal? Well, it'd be nice to be able to see a lot more of my family (both my mom's and dad's sides) than I do. And it'd be great if several family members whom I probably will see, would be in better health (though that's ideal not just for the holidays, but in general). But yeah, I usually have pretty good holidays -- we get to visit with my parents and grandparents, and my sister and some of my aunts and uncles, and J's parents and siblings and grandma. We don't usually have to deal with a lot of "drama", so things are never miserable.
  3. Do you do have any holiday traditions?
    Well, my parents usually (anymore, now that my sister and I aren't little kids anymore) get a tree on Christmas Eve or close to there (though they didn't have one last year), and decorate it in a frenzy. And we often have Christmas Eve dinner with my uncle's ex-wife and her family (we still call her Aunt and are on great terms with her, and she's the mom of my only 1st cousin on my mom's side, etc.). When that doesn't happen, we often drive out to see J's family in Jeff City, and it's tradition there to let everyone open 1 present on Christmas Eve.
  4. Do you do anything to help the needy?
    Sometimes I put change in the Salvation Army's bucket, and every once in a while I remember to get some extra cans when grocery shopping to participate in a food drive. Not as much as I should though.
  5. What one gift would you like for yourself?
    Well, there's nothing I'd absolutely love more than anything else. But I did manage to come up with a couple things to tell mine and J's parents that I'd like. One being Uru, latest in the Myst line of interactive PC games, which I told J's parents. Another I told them was a couple lingeree bags so I can wash my bras and such in the washing machine again (now that we have one that we can trust so I don't have to hand wash them). I told my mom that if anyone still needed ideas for me, another Corel serving bowl would be nice.
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Cats09:11 AM - Cuteness overload!!!11

Tons and tons of cute kittens. Just keep clicking; it's completely random.

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Thursday, December 11, 2003

Fun stuff09:36 AM - No snow? No problem!

Feel the urge to build a snowman, but you don't have any (or enough) snow on the ground to do so? Well then, check out Create a Snowman and go crazy. It's flash driven, and is very very similar to (and probably created by the same people as) Mr. Picassohead. Another cute little program on the web to play around with when you're bored. :) You can find mine here.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Life04:35 PM - So sleepy

You know it's gonna be a sleepy day when you're falling asleep at your desk before lunch! *yawn* Oh well, it's just about over anyway.

I think I'm done with the Cherries theme revamp. Only one problem: it doesn't lend well to raising the font sizes much. A little, but not much. So I'm trying to decide whether I want to do a large-font version, or just leave the old one's large-font version available still, just under another name. I like this one, but it has a 3-column layout. Then again, all my large-font versions of 2-column layouts stick the navigation menus underneath the calendars on the main archives page anyway, so I could still just do that.

I've also gotten back to work on the templates for the new brunogekritzel board. I've gotten another one mostly done; it took forever just to figure out which template I needed for the specific page I'd decided to work on. It's still not done; I still have a couple more things to work on for it. Heh, I'd developed a bit of a rhythm while I'd been working on them initially, but it took me a while to find it again because it'd been so long since I'd worked on any. And I still probably haven't gotten fully into it yet. I blame being tired and feeling rather apathetic today. At least I'm going again though; let's see if I can keep chugging through all the rest of them (not nonstop, just working on a template for a little while each day) before I run out of steam again.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Web Quizzes03:27 PM - Owned by your weblog? redux

In procrastinating over updating the over-a-week back entries of my resolutions, and finishing the replacement Cherries theme, I was looking through old weblog entries and decided to take this quiz over again.

25 %My weblog owns 25% of me.

And if they'd phrased this one particular question ("Your weblog has its own domain name which has the word 'log', 'blog', or 'weblog' in it.") as two questions (i.e. "Your weblog has its own domain name..." y/n "... which has the word 'log', 'blog', or 'weblog' in it.") I would've gotten a slightly higher score. The main purpose of this site certainly is my weblog, or more accurately, my collection of weblogs (since my resolutions, links to the outside world, and funny forwards are all done with weblogging software). But, my domain name does not have any reference to blogging in it, so I had to answer "no" to that question.

Anyway, I doubled my score since I last took the quiz over a year ago. I guess that doesn't really surprise me.

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Fun stuff03:00 PM - Mr. Picassohead

I forgot to post this last week when I got the link from the forums. The site's called Mr. Picassohead, and it's pretty fun to play with. You get all these different shapes to work with, that you can rotate, flip, resize, and change the color on. You put these on a canvas wherever you want, then you type in a signature, which it places on the bottom right corner. Then you can have your image saved in their gallery and have a link sent to you via email. Here's the one I did. Not really abstract, per se, but that's how it ended up.

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Monday, December 08, 2003

This site09:59 AM - Theme revised

As you may already have noticed, I've changed the default blueberry theme. For one thing, it actually has blueberries involved. For another, I think it's cleaner. I had the original ready to go a week ago, but I had to come up with a large-font version as well, which took all of... half an hour, I think. So the main site looks pretty cool.

I've decided also to change the Netscape 4 theme. It's too unwieldy and breaks itself in a few places. Not sure what I'm going to do yet, but I'm thinking simpler = better, so I'll start with that and work up.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Blog Questionnaires02:01 PM - The Friday Five

Aren't any this week (see the note about it if you want). And I really wonder if the Saturday Scruples are coming back again... the last one published was October 5.

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Life01:46 PM - Blessed relief is imminent

... or it will be this evening. I decided to call my gynecologist today about my problem, and they worked me in for an appointment. What happened, was basically once the yeast was gone, bacteria went berserk and started mutltiplying like rabbits. So now I have (a) a prescription to deal with that, (b) a single-pill Diflucan prescription to take on the last day of (a) to make sure the yeast doesn't come back, and (c) the most important prescription: Lotrisone cream to make the burning go away.

All I have to do is take those to Walgreens after work and then I'll be on the road to recovery. :) I'm so glad I decided not to wait to finish the Monistat (which she said to go ahead and finish tonight). I would've been stuck suffering all weekend and going in to see the doctor Monday.

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Thursday, December 04, 2003

Rants03:20 AM - Why I'm up at 2am (aka why I'll be finding a new doctor)

I used to really like my doctor. He was cool, he listened, he has a good sense of humor. He doesn't listen anymore. I had an appointment Monday because he'd only OKd 10 days' worth of my Zyrtec, which he does to anyone who hasn't come in for a while. Well, late Sunday night into early Monday morning, J and I both came down with the same symptoms: coughing, fever, drainage, etc. Great timing for me, right?

Well... it would've been better if he listened a little better. I told him a few things, and only one (since he likes sports medicine) did he get right. 1.) I'd just gotten sick, here are my symptoms, etc. 2.) I wanted a new scrip of Zyrtec, since that's why I originally made the appointment. 3.) My heel'd been hurting to some degree or other for the last two months or so (I described the pain, etc.). 4.) My inhaler's at least 5 years past the expiration date, and though it still seems to work, I'd like to have a new one just in case.

He (probably correctly) diagnosed my heel as having a heel spur, and get me some anti-inflammatory along with telling me to get a specific kind of shoe insert (Dr. Scholl's Dynastep, if you're curious). That's fine. However, he didn't give me a new scrip for an inhaler, and he didn't give me a new Zyrtec scrip. Grr. The only other thing he listened to, was that I told him psuedoephedrin-based decongestants don't do anything for me, so he did prescribe (and give a bunch of samples) some stuff that, while it still had Guaifenisen (good, good stuff: helps with the coughing), contained a different decongestant. Didn't work any better, but he did try.

The worst: even though I specifically told him my husband and I got hit with it at the same time (meaning it wasn't likely to be bacterial) he prescribed a very, very strong antibiotic. I dunno if this was just-in-case or what, but (a) I don't think it helped, and (b) it screwed another part of my system up. I've spoilerized that below (which means text and background same color, and highlight with mouse to read). Don't read if you're squeamish or don't like TMI stuff!!!

I now have the 2nd yeast infection I've ever had in my life. And that's mostly why I'm still awake. Aaagh! The itching is just soooo... it's driving me bonkers, and has been most of yesterday in spite of already feeling miserable from the flu.

So yeah, I'm pretty pissed off. You just don't prescribe super strong antibiotics (Zythromycin; dosage: 2 the first day, 4 more once a day after that) "just in case". Considering the strong ones can kill off all the good bacteria in your system, leaving a person open for other things. It turns out we almost conclusively had the flu (well, still have; we're still getting over it). We were hanging out with J's family at his grandma's both Thanksgiving and the day after, and played a lot with Elizabeth (his almost-2 year old sister) and she came down with the flu Saturday.

Ugh. So now I'm wide fucking awake, and seriously thinking of having my shower now, then running to Walgreens for some medicine for the stuff above. Fuck going back to sleep, I'm not tired yet. I slept all damn day, and slept pretty well from about 8:30 to 1:30. Weird dreams, but well compared to the night before. And I was hungry, too, so I had some PopTarts. After I get a Zyrtec scrip out of him (he said I shouldn't take it while I'm clogged from being sick, 'cause it can have the opposite effect of decongestants), and maybe that new inhaler, I'm seriously thinking about switching doctors. He just doesn't listen the way he used to, and prescribed me something I very much didn't need, and didn't prescribe me things I do need.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Technical02:30 PM - Using more than one version of IE

I always wondered if it'd be possible to run more than one version of IE at a time. With IE 5.0 behaving differently from 5.5, and both behaving differently from 6.0, it'd be great for testing. Considering that's not normally something MS allows with IE, you'd think it'd be pretty complicated. However, this article not only discusses how the author stumbled across an easy way to run different versions of IE concurrently, he provides downloads for the exact necessary files to be able to run 5.0 and 5.5 separate from 6.0, on both WinNT4/2000/XP and Win98/Me (95 is questionable). These come in nice handy little zip files that you just stick in a directory and run. They (obviously) share the Temporary Internet Files folder, so any cookies and other cache files will be shared. Also, he says using Favorites crashes in these versions. However, these will be very handy for testing. I already have 6.0 installed; I can just unzip these in separate directories and be able to test pages in 5.0 and 5.5. Nice!