Wednesday, May 31, 2006

And So It Goes

A friend just wrote me that a (local) musician that I should be able to remember has died.

I am sad because he was way too young to go, and I'm sad because I can't remember him.

I'm sad because her email said, "another funeral"; she's gone to so many of these.

I am sad when bright lights burn themselves out.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

NJ Drivers

Have you been to Union (the town proper, not the county) at rush hour lately? I have. I tried to drive through it to get to route 22 recently. I would have been better off walking. That town has more traffic than the roads can handle at peak hours. It's a tough situation.

It's the kind of situation that I can see coming to my town, the Somerset section of Franklin Township. Every morning I leave my house as close to 6:15 as possible, because I know that if I wait until after 7, the traffic will already have started. In the evenings, route 27 begins to resemble a parking lot. Don't bother setting up speed traps - no one can go faster than 20mph.

Knowing this about my town, you can imagine how unhappy I am to hear that a developer would like to put in a whole lot of retail services, to go with some new "Fair Share Plan" housing.

This is the part where I admit that I can't make heads or tails of that document, gave up, and assume that it's about the exact rules and regulations for providing affordable and low-income housing.

What I do know, though, is that I do not think that new retail business near Bennett's lane are a good idea. I'm not thrilled about housing, either, because extra traffic is extra traffic, but adding businesses there would cause lots of people to be driving those roads, not just the people who would be living there. I don't know about preserving the red hawk, and I don't know if the township will make millions of dollars in tax revenue that more than offsets the cost of schooling any new children that the housing may bring in. I do know that our current roads can't support our current traffic, and unless that's addressed first, I can't feel comfortable about this project.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Unreasonable Expectations

Today my manager had decreed that a site redesign that's slated for 2 weeks from now be complete today - half an hour ago. I did indeed finish something that will work, and I plan on spending the rest of the time until the sword of Damocles lands on my neck fine tuning and adding the "nice to have" items.

In other words, I don't have time to write even this much.

I wrote something yesterday, feel free to read it, if you like.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I Love When Other People Say Good Stuff

Skippy is ranting, and it makes a lot of sense to me.
we grew up during the 60's, when america had a real enemy, an enemy that could actually blow this country up: the soviet union. a country with a real government, a real army, a real cadre of nuclear missiles and submarines which, at any moment, was poised to shoot across the oceans onto our heads.


we walked through life facing down a real enemy, an enemy which proclaimed its desire to infect the world with its own way of thinking, without ever once giving up any of the civil liberties our forefathers built into our way of government and which our fathers fought and bled on foreign shores to protect.
The whole thing is mighty good ranting.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Amusing and Disconcerting

The top 10 downloaded "albums" at iTunes:
iTunes Top 10 Albums

1. Stephen Colbert At the White House Correspondents' Dinner (Original Staging) -
2. Stadium Arcadium - Red Hot Chili Peppers
3. Broken Boy Soldiers - The Raconteurs
4. St. Elsewhere - Gnarls Barkley
5. Soundtrack to Your Life - Ashley Parker Angel
6. Every Man for Himself (Red Cover) - Hoobastank
7. Eyes Open - Snow Patrol
8. How to Save a Life - The Fray
9. It's Time - Michael Bublé
10. Pearl Jam - Pearl Jam
The amusing part? That Colbert's outselling the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Disconcerting? The fact that I only know 6 of the 10 listed.


Bears in my town. This makes me nervous. OK, the closest sighting was about 4 miles from my house, but I don't rightly know how far a bear can/wants to walk. I'm hoping that my area of the township is so densely populated that a bear would be too frightened to wander on in.

I cannot believe that in my definitively suburban lifestyle, I'm actually nervous about the possibility of finding a bear in my back yard.

And wait - I've just realized that this weekend I'm supposed to be camping about 4 miles further west of there. Terrific. I'm going to the baseball field for a local fire house, not the uncharted woods. Modern sprawl is affecting me very adversely, today.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Friday Cheese Blogging

All right, since I often have trouble with people not understanding that I do not object to many subjects of media articles, but rather the way the articles themselves present said subject, I'm giving up on things that can be misinterpreted. You cannot misinterpret cheese - CHEESE CAN'T DIAL A PHONE! (sorry, I cannot resist a semi-obscure reference).

Today, Goat Cheese! (cheese-cross-posted at B&A)

Ahhh, French Chevres!
» Chevres «

These cheeses are made from goat's milk. They come in many sizes and shapes, such as round patties, log-shapes, drum-shapes, pyramids, round loaves, long loaves etc.; their textures vary from soft, but firm like cream cheese to extremely hard. Chevres are excellent dessert cheeses, often served as snacks or before dinner drinks. Goat cheese is often served as an ingredient in many fine dishes.

Country: France
Milk: goat milk
Texture: semi-hard
Fat content: 45 %

This week on Iron Chef America, you see, it was "Battle Goat Cheese".

Thursday, May 18, 2006


OK, I know that it's not a new story that
New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves -- and to be treated by the health care system -- as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.
- it's a couple of days old, and plenty of people have weighed in on it. But I can't stop thinking about it.

I wonder if I'm so up in arms because I don't plan to get pregnant, and I can only think of these things from my point of view. Still, it shouldn't matter, I'm a woman, and my opinion on women's rights is as valid as any other woman. I live with the results every day. We all do, of course, but just like I can never know what it's like to be a black man, neither can men know what it's like to be a woman. Look at me, stating the obvious! Wheee!

OK, so back to the article. It talks about how women should
take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control
Now, forgive me if I'm missing something, here, but aren't we all supposed to be doing those things anyway, just in general? I mean, is there any doctor out there who says, "Oh, yeah. You're not pregnant, so you can go ahead and smoke 'em if you got 'em!". Are there doctors advocating unhealthy weights, or telling people that it's OK to let their asthma or diabetes slide, untreated, careening out of control?

Just in case you're the one person who does not know the answer to my rhetorical questions, no, there are not doctors who are all right with those things. In fact, these things are just about good health, period. And truthfully, everyone should, in fact keep themselves in as healthy a state as possible, just on general principal. The fact that lots of us don't is a mystery of human nature, and a study in self destruction, but it's certainly not to be lain at the feet of our doctors, who are always telling us to lose weight, exercise, and lay off the smoking and excessive booze.

So if this is good general advice, why the "pre-pregnancy" crap? That's the part that bothers me, personally. Is it because someone got the idea in their head that women would be more likely to take care of themselves if the government told them that they were harming their future children? Was it just a new twist on the old manipulation of trying to get women to take care of themselves in spite of themselves? "If you won't do it for you, do it for the babies"? That's fairly insulting, but at least good-intentioned. But what if it's not just that? What if it really is just someone's idea that women aren't any good to society if we're not pushing out the next generation (of men)? What then?

The wording in this initiative, this "preconception care", it makes me itchy. What I've learned in life is that things that make me itchy are not good things for me. I don't like it, I don't like it at all. My day to day life, my existence as a person, as Tami, is not my "preconception life", it's just my life, period.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

There's More Than One Immigration Bill?

When I saw the headline "Immigration Bill Moves Forward", I had no idea what bill it was talking about. Everything *I've* heard lately about immigration is all about fences, National Guardsmen, and "Visiting Worker" programs. So I was surprised when it started out like this:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved a compromise that would bar illegal immigrants with criminal records from becoming legal residents or U.S. citizens.
Bar illegal immigrants with criminal records from becoming legal? Is this new?! Then, though, I kept reading and never fear, the constant talking points are here!
The 99-0 vote on the amendment blocking felons and people with three misdemeanor convictions was a key hurdle for the bipartisan immigration bill, which would tighten border security while creating a guest worker program and a path toward citizenship for many of the nation's estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants.
Ah, so it *is* all about that same stuff. Thank goodness, I was worried I was missing something, there.

Then, I came up with a question about this whole "barring illegals with a criminal record from becoming legals" angle. Does a criminal record come with being arrested for being an illegal immigrant?

Monday, May 15, 2006

I'm switching to Smoke Signals

What's worse than just collecting all the phone records that you can get, en masse?

doing something Orwellian with them.
a senior federal law enforcement official tells abc news the government is tracking the phone numbers we call in an effort to root out confidential sources.
well, isn't that just the height of trustworthiness. Makes me want to give my phone number to reporters so they can call me weekly and say, "hi".

Thursday, May 11, 2006

New Jersey Has Cities?

(cross posted at B&A)

Was pointed to this article by BlueJersey.Net.
But here's what is odd about Newark -- no, odd, really, about New Jersey. Newark is the bad section. The bad section of the state.

The place to be avoided -- along with Camden and Paterson and Trenton and Elizabeth and the parts of Jersey City that don't face the river.

New Jersey hates its cities. Too strong?

I don't think so (also what he said, next). I live near New Brunswick. New Brunswick used to have a whole bunch of "projects" - low income housing - that was clearly viewable from route 18. Now tons of it, whole blocks, are gone, replaced by fancy, gentrified condominiums and upscale restaurants.

There used to be people living in those apartment buildings, hundreds of people. Now there are new people, different people, richer people. I ask what in the world they did with the residents that were misplaced by this whole "refurbishing" effort, but no one ever has an answer for me.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Today I Realized That We're Just Screwed

I was reading the letter that the President of Iran wrote to the President of the United States. (At least, according to WorldNet Daily).

Let me just say that the whole gist of the letter is that the world was wrong, wrong, wrong to create Israel, and that trying for the whole secular government thing is obviously a failed experiment. While he doesn't come right out and say "God will punish you for this", he may as well. And you know what my first thought on that is? "Good luck when you figure out that whole "proof of God's existence" thing, kid".

But still, the letter that reads for the most part as someone waving their religion around while probably spitting too much, and doing so while they're close enough to your face to really bother you, contains this:
Mr. President, history tells us that repressive and cruel governments do not survive. God has entrusted the fate of man to them. The Almighty has not left the universe and humanity to their own devices. Many things have happened contrary to the wishes and plans of governments. These tell us that there is a higher power at work and all events are determined by Him.
No, no, I still don't buy into the higher power taking a direct role in the day-to-day business of the earth thing, but the part about cruel governments I can get behind without a problem.

Our own government is doing enough cruel things that everyone else on the planet has noticed, and we, the populace of the United States, re-elected these people. It was when this that I realized once again, we're just screwed.

Monday, May 8, 2006

My Prerogative

I keep thinking about how changing your mind on an issue based on the way the situation plays out, or new evidence being brought to light is a sign of intelligence and maturity.

Changing a position based on popular approval for that position, and not on analysis or conviction is a sign of a weak mind.

Holding steadfast to a position despite people showing you evidence that it's the wrong tack to take shows me that you'd rather hold your breath and stamp your foot than accept reality and work with the rest of the world. Obviously, I am not counting this among the mature or intelligent options.

Shamelessly catering to the whims of the populous is not the same thing as changing your position because you feel it's the right thing to do. Accusing people of flip-flopping, and the fact that it's still going on everywhere, pisses me off.

Friday, May 5, 2006

Not Running on a Full Tank

I haven't been running at 100% since last Saturday night at about midnight when I was suddenly and surprisingly ill. I was actually asked if I was throwing up because I'd had too much to drink. I have NEVER thrown up because I've had too much to drink, I'm sure as shootin' not gonna start now. No, I was sick with... something. I don't know what.

If you've ever met my family, though, you'd know that sensitivity to the needs of others isn't our strong suit - not when those others are our relatives. "Suck it up and think about me" may as well be a family motto.

So last Sunday I was supposed to go see my sister's fiance do a demonstration at a museum in Pennsylvania. I was looking forward to it, I was, but the whole puking-my-guts up until 2:30 in the morning had put somewhat of a damper on my enthusiasm. The arrangement was that I would wait for my father to go to a brunch with the people who'd shown up to his 50th high school reunion, and then we'd drive down together. I informed my father of my health.

"What, you mean you want me to drive down there BY MYSELF?"

An hour later, wondering what the hell happens to my ability to refuse people when I'm ill, I'm DRIVING through Philadelphia on Rte 1. looking for Red Lion Road. Not even just traveling, I had to flipping drive. So uncool.

Anyway, I got there, and everyone I know (my sister, her fiance, an odd assortment of our friends) tells me how tired I look. Thanks, guys. They were right though, I was beat. So I sat my butt on a stone wall under a flowering tree, and looked around. Slowly I started noticing that it's absolutely gorgeous there. I regretted not having my camera with me, then I remembered that my phone has a 1.3 megapixel camera in it. Why not give it a try? I figured. I think it worked out pretty well. I don't have the kind of detail shots I'd normally get, but for a phone, I'm pretty impressed.

the view from my spot on the wall

If you're going to have to be somewhere besides home when you don't feel well, this particular spot is a pretty good second choice.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Tax Talk

I posted over on Running Scared. Feel free to head over there and read it.

Can We Learn?

Today I'm reading about Ray Nagin's announcement about new evacuation plans for New Orleans, should they be needed again.
Nagin also said federal Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff had cleared the way for the use of Amtrak passenger trains in the event of an evacuation.
I don't understand - are they saying that trains weren't used during Katrina because people weren't allowed? That's a little mind-boggling. It makes me wonder if people really understand what the word "emergency" entails.
People with special medical needs and the elderly would be picked up by city, school and church buses and taken to the train station or evacuated by bus to shelters.

For security, 3,000 National Guard troops could be stationed with police throughout the city prior to a storm, and a dusk-to-dawn curfew would be in place once the evacuation was over, Police Superintendent Warren Riley said.


In addition to the human elements, the plan touches on a heart-wrenching decision evacuees faced ahead of Katrina: To board the buses, they had to leave their pets, and some refused to go without them. In the future, evacuees will be allowed to bring pets with them as long as they are in a cage.
All right, I like the sounds of these parts. Plans to go and fetch those who can't help themselves, and places that will be prepared to take them. Having a police/guard force in place before people get the idea that rioting and looting is a swell thought. Not forcing people to abandon animals, as long as they can contain them.

This part makes me hopeful that we (the American people) sometimes can learn from our mistakes, instead of just repeating them. That would be nice. Because you know what? I've seen the weather patterns these past few years, and we'd be idiots to think that a hurricane like Katrina can't happen to New Orleans again.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Sometimes, I Get Emails

Look! I got an email, and it was good! And let me tell you, my fondness level for the person who sent this to me certainly didn't go down because of it, no sir!