Wednesday, October 29, 2008

For Beth and Sean

Someone linked to my blog today because they typed "catbus pumpkin carving" into Google. I'm the 4th hit.

I thought you both should know.

Google Score = A+


End Blog.

Ballot Initiatives

Dear Kansas Citians,

If you haven't figured out what's on the ballot next Tuesday, I have a website for you. Here is a listing of all the ballot initiatives.

And this is a Kansas City Star article on the Light Rail.

Honestly, I'm torn on the light rail system. There is both bad and good in it, and the funny thing is, I should be all for it since it's basically my exact commute to work. You'd think that I was an underwriter for it or something. The trouble is, it would take 38 minutes to travel the whole route, and I can make it to work in 20 if I drive (and there is no traffic).

So, if I vote for it, maybe it'll get everyone off of the roads and there won't be traffic and I can still drive. I suppose the other main factor is that it would increase my property value. Although, I don't want my taxes to go up.

And speaking of taxes... this will push the sales tax in Missouri to something like 8%. That's a lot. I thought the sales tax was a lot when I moved here. I liked Pennsylvania and its 6%. Blerg.

Le sigh. At least all the other choices were relatively easy.

Make sure you check them out before being surprised at the polls on the 4th!


End Blog.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pumpkin Carving Take Two

Beth had a pumpkin carving night of her own tonight so I ended up carving another one for someone else. Beth decided she was going to make "catbus" which only she and Daniel know about, along with little Japanese kids and the guy who created it. He's some secondary character in some anime cartoon, but she loves him, so it's adorable. Actually, she ended up making a super awesome pumpkin catbus.






Carolyn made another pirate pumpkin, because everyone should have one at their house. And I made a giant pumpkin eating pumpkins because Beth loved the one she made last year so much that I think it's going to become a running theme at her house. Therefore, I made a pumpkin eating TWO pumpkins and challenged Beth that next year she has to make a pumpkin eating THREE pumpkins... or a pumpkin eating a pumpkin eating a pumpkin. Because that would be the coolest, ever.






Beth made her little pumpkin vomit seeds last year and asked that we continue the trend. It's so much fun to make a pumpkin vomit and pretty cool to have this guy just gnawing on other pumpkins.

Funny that Beth's carving is supposed to bring joy and mine terror, although I still think Belinda has the creepiest pumpkin of all.

I think I'm all carved out for this year.


End Blog.

(Hmmm... it seems I somehow changed the resolution on my camera for no good reason. These pictures are huge!)

Missouri Rocks Pictorial



End Blog.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Influence

I know you're not going to believe me, but I'm so super cool that people want to be just like me. It's true. You see, Brenda ends her blogs much the same way that I end mine, and now Dany has started her own blog and has a two word sign off as well. Although hers is not quite as similar, her blog template is the same as mine. (Yes, I know there aren't that many to choose from. Also, as soon as I get around to it, I'll be putting a picture/graphic at the top of my blog. It's just taking me forever to do so.)

So, if Brenda and Dany are secretly twins, as they think, I might be their long lost older sister.

My sphere of influence is growing. Soon, I shall control the world! Mwahahaha!


End Blog.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Still Falling

Gas prices are $2.13.

I heard that the oil companies are going to cut production so that they can send prices back up, but right now they are $2.13. I think it's possible it might go under two dollars... Would anyone have imagined that this summer while it was over four dollars?

I love the world markets and their ability to crash so well.


End Blog.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Return of 30 Rock

True, season 3 of 30 Rock won't air on network television until October 30th, but you can see the first episode RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW. The last section is totally the funniest, but sadly the storyline right now is very Baby Mama-esque. Although, the good news is that Tina Fey is writing it. And she gets a do-over, as the episode's title states. Fabulous.


(Thank You, Hulu)

Not the best episode of them all, but I'm super happy to have it back.

Also, Tina Fey was on the Thursday edition of SNL tonight, with Will Ferrell's George W Bush. Just another good reminder of how SNL lost all of its best talent. Especially since we know Amy Poehler's leaving, too.

Funny how the 30 Rock episodes says she's working all the time... (Maybe we can get some of Tina's new found fans from her Sarah Palin impressions to start watching her show!)


End Blog.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Slice and Dice

Here are the six pumpkins that we carved last night at Belinda's house.

Carolyn did the one on the left, Belinda the one on the right. It's clearly the creepiest of the six.

I did the one on the left, Belinda, again, the one on the right.

This is Carolyn's pirate skull, although the picture's not the greatest. It's sitting on my front porch. (The first four are at Belinda's house.)

Here is my pumpkin. I got a white one this year. They are different. They even smell different when you're cutting them up. But, since it was white, I decided to make a spider web. And I carved a spider on the back so that it'll cast an orange glowing spider on the wall behind my pumpkin, like it's coming back to its web.

I had to go back and fix the spider so that you could see its legs better, but I think it's gonna look neat. These pictures don't show it really well.

Also, I carved the pumpkin on its side because I don't follow general pumpkin carving rules. And I am awesome.

We also picked out all the seeds and separated them. Belinda is gonna toast them. I hope I get some.


End Blog.

Radio Regulations?

Dear Radio,

Why is it that in Christina Aguilera's song Keeps Gettin' Better, she can sing
"So baby yes, I know what I am
And no, I don’t give a damn
And you’ll be loving it,

Some days I’m a super bitch
Up to my old tricks
But it won’t last forever"
and the radio does not censor the word bitch, but when Katy Perry sings her song Hot N Cold, they silence it out? (In one case, I heard a little cuckoo birdie over it, which was hilarious.)
"You change your mind
Like a girl changes clothes
Yeah you, PMS
Like a b*tch
I would know"
This makes no sense to me. And Christina says it four times in her song, as opposed to Katy Perry's one. Do not use the excuse of time of day. I have heard these songs back to back during afternoon rush hour traffic sung exactly this way.

I don't think it's fair. What sort of standards practice do you have? The same rules should apply to everyone.

Love,
A concerned listener.


End Blog.

Friday, October 17, 2008

1 Month Hiatus... Stinks

It's been a month since the bee sting incident and another three weeks since the broken back thing, so I decided it was about time I got out there to mow my grass one last time for the season (I have high hopes that this is the last time). I thought, what better time than to do it now while I have sore muscles from thinking I could speedwalk yesterday?

It went well. I have a nicely mowed lawn for the first time in almost 2 months.

Remy went outside to play in the yard after I was done. She was sprinting around like a maniac, as she is known to do. I was messing with her with my broom since it was out from sweeping off the back concrete porch of grass clippings and she was play attacking it. When she got bored of that, she wandered around the yard. She always inspects it after I am done cutting it so I didn't think anything of it... until she started rubbing her shoulders into the ground.

It was actually really funny because I thought maybe a feral neighborhood cat had peed on that spot and she was masking the scent with her own. But when she came back to the back door, it turned out she was rolling in shit and now had both shoulders and her collar all gross and smelly.

Thankfully, I knew what she had just done, so she didn't get to go inside, and I gave her a cold bath with the hose right there. It was really cold. She was not happy. Maybe she learned her lesson.

At least she didn't come in the house covered in shit and spread it all over things.

She's never done that before. This better not be a new thing to do, either. Because it was icky. Do you hear that, Remy? Icky.

I suppose it's my penance for having a nicely mowed lawn. It's a lot easier to find shit in it now.


End Blog.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Speedwalking Is Not My Idea of a Vacation

So, it's finally come to pass. I quit the sports walk after completing 1.25 miles (5 laps) instead of the 2.25 (9 laps) I was supposed to complete. It was a combination of things - not wanting to totally screw my back again, being super out of shape and not being able to breathe properly, the extra poundage I carry around with me everyday now, and the fact that you have to walk... which I still think is ridiculous. It's so fast! Also, I had to slow down since my back was tweaking, and I knew that at the speed I was going, I wouldn't make it... by maybe half a lap or so. So, I accepted the fact that I couldn't do it without really hurting myself and decided that those two vacation days just weren't worth it to me, especially if my back health was at stake. My muscles are still too tight, which the chiropractor even commented on today.

I get, like, 14 vacation days and two personal days off a year. And when I'm there for 5 years, I'll get 18. Plus, I had a hard time using all my days this year. Probably because I didn't take a real vacation this year. So, with the days I took at Thanksgiving, I still had 7 left. Which means I have 7 days to take at the end of the year near Christmas, or I lose them.

Regardless, the whole point of this is to reward people who are in good shape. And because I'm not really in good shape, I think that's a bad idea. You see, they have this thing at work where you can take an hour to go workout in the middle of the day. Right in the middle of your work day. So, you're exercising instead of working and still getting paid. And by doing that, you're getting in better shape so you can complete this sports walk thing. So, you do the sports walk and get rewarded with more time off. So really, the biggest slackers at work - those who take off for an hour in the middle of the day - those are the ones being rewarded with vacation time.

Now, the hard working folks who stay at their desks, those poor slobs aren't in shape enough to win days off. Which is really a shame because they are the hard workers who deserve a reward. Those are the people there all day, everyday. It hardly seems fair.

I could be one of the people that takes off in the middle of the day to workout, but the free gym we have a membership to had a shooting in front of it. And since that happened, I haven't been back. I mean, what's more important, my health or my life?

I'm nothing if not really good at making up good excuses. Besides, I win at a whole lot of other things in life.


End Blog.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Annoying People

Today I saw a parked car with a blue ball cap inside with Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign logo on it. It was displayed proudly in the back window. Then, right next to it, there was another hat supporting the McCain/Palin ticket.

What is wrong with people?

If you supported Hillary, you can't switch sides. McCain doesn't stand for anything that Hillary was supporting! Hillary herself is going to vote for Barack Obama.

If you are just voting for the ticket with a woman on it, you shouldn't be allowed to vote. In fact, there should be a quiz on the ballot and if you can't answer basic policy questions that you're supporting, your vote shouldn't count.

In fact, screw the whole equality thing. You should have to take an IQ test before voting. Regardless of your views, Republican or Democrat, it makes no matter - you can come in and get your ballot and IQ test. Take them both, submit them together... but if you don't score high enough on the IQ test, your vote won't be counted. And you will never know.

Ah, if I ruled the world...


End Blog.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Everyday Things

You know, as I was walking down the hall at work today, I thought to myself, "If anyone else saw this, they would think it was unusual. Funny how I see it just about every day."

I was looking at a shopping cart full of long guns being pushed down the hall by a woman. (Things in the rifle/shotgun family... you know, the long kind... It's a technical term.)

The guns were coming to the lab to be logged into property, but for some reason it just struck me as odd today, though I've seen it a hundred times. It seems like something you should see The Joker doing in a Batman movie.

Anyway, thought I'd share... yay random thoughts.


End Blog.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Falling Domino's

Brenda and I got food from Domino's this weekend. I am banning them from my life now. This is even more severe than the Chipotle Ban, but that's because I don't like them as much.

I'll let Brenda explain why they are so dumb.


End Blog.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Halloween Dilemma

My friend Beth's favorite holiday is Halloween. Every year she has a party with costumes. Every year I have no idea what to be. This year is no different. Please help me by giving suggestions as to a super great Halloween costume that doesn't require too much work, is not uncomfortable to be in all night, and doesn't require a dress or lots of makeup.

Hmmm... maybe that's why it's so hard for me to come up with something...

Meanwhile, Remy has picked out her Halloween costume. This was our conversation about it:

"Remy, I don't know what to be for Halloween."
"Aw, that sucks, Mom. I've already got my whole costume planned out."
"Really? What are you going to be?"
"I'm gonna put on a bunch of lipstick."
"That's not a costume, Remy. Lipstick isn't really enough."
"Sure it is, Mom. I'm going as a hockey mom." *

Who knew my dog was so political and super smart? She must take after me. Too bad she's not invited to the party.

Yeah... so... think of a costume for me!


End Blog.

*If you live under a rock, Remy is referencing Sarah Palin's vice presidential election speech where she told this joke: What's the difference between a pitbull and a hockey mom? Lipstick. Granted, Remy is not a pitbull, but it's still a funny costume.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

KC Star Letter to the Editor

I don't read the paper much, and I don't visit it online much, either... but we usually have a paper floating about the lunch tables at work and the two coworkers I was eating with today were perusing its pages. So, I was reading bits and pieces over their shoulders and those things pointed out to me.

I read a letter to the editor that made me really angry, so I pointed it out to my friends so that I wasn't the only one seething over it. They were equally as angry, because unlike the author of the letter, they were educated in this matter. (I found it for you online at http://www.kansascity.com/309/story/832962-p3.html and have copied it below.)

Sexualized culture promotes rape

The Star’s article “Motive may never be known” (9/15, Local) questioning how Edwin Hall went from juvenile delinquent to rapist and murderer turned a blind eye to the obvious.

The abduction, sexual assault and murder of Kelsey Smith is more evidence of the negative effects of a highly sexualized culture on communities. Rapes have increased in Kansas City by 45 percent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 26 percent of teenage girls have a sexually transmitted disease.

It is cause and effect: garbage in, garbage out. We can’t afford to be indifferent and dismiss as harmless fun the pervasive flood of highly sexualized commercials, videos, TV entertainment, Internet porn and sexualized music, all exacerbated by emerging handheld communication technologies. The pornification of America has changed everything.

Kelsey Smith was likely one more tragic victim of fantasy-driven criminal behavior. The public will never know? Wake up and smell the coffee. We all know. Denial and desensitization are the issues we should examine.

Phillip Cosby

Executive director, Kansas City Office

of the National Coalition for the Protection

of Children and Families

Overland Park


Really? Really Phillip Cosby? There are a million fallacies about what you have written.

I'd love to know where you got the statistic that rapes have increased in Kansas City by 45 percent. LOVE to know. Because, as one who works on these sorts of crimes, I have not seen an increase like that. Maybe you need to be more specific. Rapes have gone up 45 percent since when? The 1920s? Maybe. But you could counter argue that women just weren't reporting it back then.

Besides that one little "fact", I'd like to point something out to you regarding criminology. Rape isn't about the sexual act. It's about power and control. It's violent, not sexual. So, your argument is completely STUPID.

I banish you from writing letters to the newspaper, now and forevermore!

Secondly, I looked up the National Coalition for the blah blah blah...* of which Phillip Cosby is the Executive Director.

Do you know what their mission is? "To protect people from the harms of pornography and the sexual messages of today's culture." Oh, come on!

I for one, am sick of people not taking responsibility for their actions. Edwin Hall is a rapist and a murderer and you, Phillip Cosby, are blaming his actions on all of society. No. This is Edwin Hall's fault. There are millions of people out there right now exposed to the same horrible cell phones and television and commercials and music that he was and they seem to behave appropriately. All of society is not running amuck raping and murdering each other. This is not a cultural problem. Rapes and murders happen everywhere - even places where they don't have televisions and internet pornography.

People should hold themselves accountable for their actions. It's not a question of the "pornification of America" or what sort of pressure society is putting on the populous, but rather having good moral and ethical character to know that rape and murder are wrong and abstaining from them. Our culture has not desensitized us to that and entertainment has not brainwashed society to turn a blind eye to these actions.

If they had, Edwin Hall wouldn't be in jail for the rest of his life.

Oh no! Someone take my cell phone away from me! I'm feeling the urge to rape and murder! Is that prime time television coming on? Oh Noooooooooo!


End Blog.

*This site is uber religious. The offices are bases in Kansas. Enter at your own risk. As a gauge of how crazy they are in their religion, they have a section under their links to five different homosexuality recovery websites.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Palin Debate Flow Chart

A friend sent me this through email yesterday. It made me chuckle, so I thought I'd share.



I think that this is Tina Fey's script for her SNL skits as well. My favorite part is "Do something cute. OMG! You're such a great debater!"

I suppose if I liked her it wouldn't be so funny. Although, I do have to say that I was impressed with how well she did during the vice presidential debate. She really only completely avoided a few questions and sometimes actually sounded like she knew what she was talking about. I did laugh out loud a few times though, specifically when she gave the shout out to the 3rd grade class and when she said, "Say it ain't so, Joe!" I was proud of myself because I knew it was from the Black Sox Scandal. (I recently watched Eight Men Out.)

Anyway... funny chart. Click on it to enlarge.


End Blog.

Gas Prices

It's been a long time since I've said anything about gas prices, but I've been thinking two things about them recently.

Numero uno:
I love it when the stock market crashes and we have an economic crisis because gas prices fall a whole lot. I wouldn't mind if we continued this crisis. I mean, I am not struggling to make my mortgage payments (though it'd be cool if they were lower, but really, who doesn't think that no matter how much they are paying?) so I feel rather comfortable... but, wouldn't it be great to have a crisis so that all of the prices everywhere go down? I still can't figure out why exactly it's a bad thing, especially since I have absolutely no investments. And all you people thought I was pretty dumb! Stock market crash = lower gas prices. I've seen it happen. It's not a bad thing.

Secondly:
During the presidential debate last night, one of those candidates said they were paying $3.80 for gas in Nashville, TN. Excuse me? "Did the stock market not crash everywhere," I wondered. Let me tell you something... living in Missouri is super. Would you like to know what we're paying for gas here in Kansas City? Probably not, because your heart will have palpitations. The gas station near my house is currently selling regular for $2.86. That is well under three dollars, folks. It's not a typo. The average price for the state of Missouri is even lower at $2.69.

I went to my favorite gas price website (http://www.gasbuddy.com/) that I used in the past to see what the gas prices were in DC because it always made me feel better about what I was paying. And you know what? No matter what zip code I put in, I couldn't find cheaper gas - although New Jersey is pretty close. I checked all the zip codes I know for my friends and family around the country: Jersey, Texas, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, California, and Virginia. Then I just started clicking on random states: Nevada, Oregon, Colorado, Alaska (holy crap, never move there), Hawaii, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arkansas, Kentucky, New Hampshire... Okay, I didn't click on all of them, but you know the only state I found that had lower prices?

Mississippi. If there's more, there are not many more.

And thus, everyone should move to Missouri. It's super awesome here. Do you hear that all you friends staying in the the northeast for no good reason? Move to Missouri. It's cheaper to get around.

So, here's to the second great depression, falling gas prices, and the awesomeness that is Missouri!


End Blog.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Back to Good

Okay, not really. But my back is starting to feel much better, even with my little set back this weekend. Dr. Baker could tell too, my muscles were much tighter and I was harder to adjust today, but when he did, I felt so much better. So, right now I'm feeling pretty good.

That's what always happens right after an appointment, but the next day I'm all sore, so I shouldn't be so happy right now. Tomorrow's probably going to suck. And I have two more appointments this week - on Wednesday and Thursday. I've been keeping track - that's seven times I've been so far and by the end of the week it'll be nine.

So, imagine my surprise when I got my insurance notices in the mail saying what it cost (holy cow, thank god for insurance) and how much they paid... and what I might still owe. Now, the documents clearly say that they are not a bill, but here's what it looks like:

Initial Visit -

Total Billed Charges: ......................................... $260.00
Minus Member Savings/Discounts arranged by BCBSKC: $97.67
Minus Other Not-Eligible Charges: ............................$0.00
Leaving and Allowable Provider Charge of: ..............$162.33
Minus Plan Payment of: .....................................$132.33
Leaving a Balance you may owe: .............................$30.00


Second Visit (and the next five after that, I assume) -

Total Billed Charges: ....................................... $55.00
Minus Member Savings/Discounts arranged by BCBSKC: $14.09
Minus Other Not-Eligible Charges: .........................$0.00
Leaving and Allowable Provider Charge of: ..............$25.91
Minus Plan Payment of: .......................................$25.91
Leaving a Balance you may owe: ............................$15.00
So... I totally thought that I was going to owe them money because getting better was certainly going to cost me something because I had no other choice but to do it. So, I brought the "not bills" in today and asked them about it and they told me that I do not owe them anything. Even though one of the "not bills" told me I had a $30 copay because Dr. Baker was considered a specialist or he took x-rays or... something.

Regardless of the reason, I still don't owe anything. Thankfully. I thought I was going to owe $120 today and when I told my bank account, it cried.

So, bottom line is I'm feeling pretty good right now and I still haven't given them a dime. It's all coming directly from my insurance... which is magical, and I have no idea how it works considering they think that I may owe money. I just hope that it doesn't come back to bite me later considering that I don't get how it works.

Can you imagine? If I had to pay all of that money right out of pocket because I didn't have insurance, that would be... *does math* $590.00. So, for all you people who nagged me to fix myself 2 and a half years ago when this happened the last time and I had no insurance... I say, "See! I knew I couldn't afford it then. I can't even really afford that now!" I feel pretty vindicated...

Let's see... not much else is new. I'm watching new TV shows, thankful that the writer's strike is over and I'm reading Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. It is full of ANGST. I mean... it's a lot of angst. I get that's exactly how everything felt and was SO important in high school... but isn't that why people don't want to go back and relive high school? I hear that the next books get better, so I may continue with the series. I'm only half way through the first book and not entirely committed yet. I'll let you know how that goes.

Otherwise, I'm just working (currently I'm compiling quarterly stats. It sucks. I have no idea how I got myself into it.), getting my back cracked, and sitting in awe of my insurance "not bills".

Exciting times in the Blackwell household.


End blog.

Fey and Sudeikis Take on Palin and Biden

Because I can't stop posting them now, here's the SNL opening from Saturday. Queen Latifah showed up as a special guest star to be the moderator from the Vice Presidential debate. I think I laughed just as hard at Jason Sudeikis playing Senator Biden. (Remember, they were dating each other on 30 Rock.)



I'm sure these are way funnier if you're actually watching the debates. Next one is tomorrow night.


End Blog.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

It's Not a Parody If It Actually Happened

Okay, I didn't realize that Tina Fey was just repeating Sarah Palin from the Katie Couric interview, but that's what she was doing. I didn't get to see both in close proximity to one another, but this CNN clip puts them together nicely.

I bet Ms. Fey is sitting on the edge of her seat waiting for the vice presidential debate tomorrow night. It must be nice for her to not have to come up with anything to write.



Holy cow. And she wants to be Vice President? The scary part is, it might actually happen.

If that's the case, I say we stage a coup d’├ętat and put Tina Fey in her place. No one will ever know the difference. It'll be just like Dave.


End Blog.