Sunday, July 09, 2006

The World's Most Dangerous Improv Game - Video Clip

Are you a fan of Who's Line is it Anyway? - either the Beeb's or the US version, both of which I adore.

The World's Most Dangerous Improv Game from VideoSift

You have to watch it all the way through - there's a bit at the end that's priceless and worth the wait.

And of course, since I went to the BBCAmerica site to get the link, I found myself wandering around and came across a BBC America Dictionary. Now when I'm watching a show I can look up all those words I had no idea what they meant! Whoo Hoo! Plus you can look up insulting words or body parts words just for the heck of it.

Does Absolute Write Still Need Donations?

Yes, to answer the question posed in the title, it does. A great little silent auction offer is up for members of Absolute Write. Other folks are thinking they'd like to join the fun. I hope we can keep the momentum going. I have made $70 so far for the Absolute Write fund with the CafePress store (sent it off earlier this week, folk).

I had to move out of my office at work this week and into a cubicle. I've been in the office since the fall of 2002. When I was an HR manager I had to have an office because I was co-located with the client. HR stuff is sensitive and confidential so you get an office. In the spring of 2004 I took a new position outside of HR so I didn't really qualify for an office, but nobody needed it and I stayed 'under the radar' until recently. Unfortunately about a month ago I got the news that I'd have to give up the office.

Anyway, today I took down all the stuff I've stuck up on the walls and packed up all the stuff that's too precious to me to risk having in a cubicle where it's out in the open, tempting folk with sticky fingers, and over the long weekend I brought home several boxes of stuff. *sigh* I will really miss my office - no matter how hard the day got, I had a place where I could shut the door and get things done. I'm easily distracted, so being out in a cube slashes my productivity. Trying to look on the bright side, I'm really close to the bathroom.

Received another letter from my son. He qualified "sharpshooter" and has moved on to the second phase of training. Only 20 more days til I go see him. He asked me to get a letter he enclosed out to some friends of his, unfortunately he didn't tell me how to get the letter to them. I'll try to figure that out.

I've been spending time in the sun so I can go out to the hotel pool without worrying about blinding the other bathers with the extraordinary paleness of my skin. I've a pretty nice tan now - except for my back and the backs of my legs - still a bit pale. I'll keep working on that and try to lose a bit more weight and I'll be set for the cons in August and the IT Manager meeting in Arizona mid-September. Last time we were there a lot of us gathered for 'meetings' poolside. I hope we do it again.

I made a pair of earrings for my daughter - they were challenging because they had two hoops, one inside the other, with beads and those hoops hung from an earwire. I'd seen a pair at Forever 21 when we were shopping last time she was here and thought it would be a piece of cake to duplicate the idea. Nope. But I eventually figured it out and I think I had a better solution to the design than the pair we saw. Sent those off to her the other day - along with a surprise for my friend Unique in North Carolina, whom I visited a while back along with another friend I met online at AW, SC Harrison. There are a couple other folk out that way that I hope to get the chance to meet "In Real Life" next time I'm out that way. Perksie, you hear me??? And since my son will be stationed at Ft. Bragg with the 82nd Airborne, which is in North Carolina, about an hour south of where my company has its offices, I think it's a good bet I'll take a few days of PTO next time I go there.

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Monday, July 03, 2006

All Set for Family Day at Ft. Benning, GA

I have made my reservations and am set to go visit my son on "Family Day" at the end of July. I'm very excited about it - and a bit nervous. How has he changed? Will he be disappointed if it's only me who can come? He graduates on Sept. 1 and I will be bringing out everyone who can come with me that he's asked for, so I hope he'll be understanding.

There's an undercurrent of pride and maturity in his last letter to me. I believe this was a good decision for him based on what he's saying. I just wish the world was a better, safer place to be a soldier.

He asked me to write more often. I will definitely do that. He also said he'd been told his assignment will be with the 82nd Airborne (I thought he was going with the 101st but I misunderstood) which is stationed at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. That's not too far from one of my company's locations, Research Triangle Park near Raleigh, North Carolina. If I have a business trip out there you can bet I'll be taking an extra day or so to see my boy.

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

News Flash on AW Outage

More news on AW outage, lost posts - from Jenna

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Children's Tears for Profit

Editing to add: Just read Aston West's comment below and wanted to link to his blog where he posits "The Jareo Effect" - and yep, I agree that we're talking about it here, too.

Just read Jill Miller Zimon's blog Writes Like She Talks. Today's post hit a nerve. Jill, this started as a comment on your blog, but it got so long and so personal I decided to post it here.

A while back I wrote about my political leanings from a spiritual perspective - the bottom line is that neither the conservatives nor the liberals are attractive to me. I hadn't been thinking too politically lately...then this. Bear with me a bit as I just express myself and struggle towards the point...

To recap, incase you don't want to click through a bunch of links - a photographer has put together a showing of pictures of crying toddlers. I went and took a look. The little ones are wailing as if they'd witnessed their favorite pet gutted in front of them. It's raw, painful emotion. The lighting and close-up work just intensify the reaction you get to the pictures - and it's much more affecting if you're a parent, I'd think.

Ok, next, the "statement" behind the work:

" 'End Times,' is featured on the Web site of the (redacted by this blogger - I agree with Jill, I'm not going to give any help to the publicity machines here) Gallery. A news release on the site says the pictures of distressed children are a commentary on religious fundamentalism and the war in Iraq"

Huh? Why not show Iraqi children then, and their distress? Ah, well, the artist says the children's pain depicted is a precursor of what is to come as a result of our government.

Seems to me, and this is just an opinion, now, it's an egregious attempt, by an 'artist' who wants national coverage, to assault a viewers emotions at the most primal level to get publicity. Commercialism at it's best for someone whose profession is commercial photography. A political statement? Precursor of what's to come? She really didn't think this one through, IMO.

Because, and I bet you can guess what I'm thinking here, this will play right into the hands of the conservatives. I can hear the backlash now - those "artsy" types, the Hollywood liberals, they don't have a clue about what it's like to be a real, honest, heartland of America parent who cherishes their children.

And I'd have to grudgingly agree with that position - right at a time when I was getting so disgusted with what "conservatism" has become, there goes another liberal slapping me in the face with yet another reason to not want to be in her camp either!

Let's tick off a couple reasons there are so many die hard conservatives out there - family values? moral standards? *sigh* She (the 'artist') couldn't have had a clue how folks will feel about this. At least I hope that's the case rather than her not giving a flying...frito.

And I can understand the people who see other, darker potential in the photos as well - not to say those potentials were at all even considered or intended by the photographer - surely the furthest thing from her, IMO, shallow mind, but this lack of thinking through the consequences of the reactions to what these pictures portray - half dressed (although because of the framing one doesn't know if they're dressed at all), vulnerable, very young children (she says they're from two to four years old) in such heart wrenching distress...I'd like to hear an expert in child sexual abuse speak to the imagry here - how do pedophiles feel when they see these kinds of pictures - I can imagine they love it, the sense of power over these children those pictures could evoke. How would someone abused as a child feel when confronted by these images - does it all crash in on them again, the pain, the humiliation, the powerlessness? Yes, here in America we're free to express ourselves this way. But sometimes, taking advantage of that freedom has unintended consequences. There could very well be a whole pile of those coming out of this situation.

If this gets any more media buzz it's going to be a field day for the Right. I should see if any of their pundits have mentioned it yet, they so love this kind of stuff, and it'll really get legs under if they do. It's late and I'm tired so I'm not up to it tonite - might not get up to it at all, but if it hits the headlines I won't have to look far.

Another thing that truly irritates me, is that she may not even see it as bad news if there's a public outcry of outrage - any publicity is good publicity and all that. The cavalier attitude she has in this podcast doesn't contradict that opinion, either. "It's not like I'm causing any permanent kinda psychic damage..." Her own daughter is one of the models.

And to top it off her husband has the nerve to make threats to a blogger for having an opinion? How does a blogger's opinion hurt them? It doesn't. But getting the media involved in your response to that blogger, well...fuel for the publicity machine! "See how we've been smeared! Go look at our pictures, read our blogs - see what libel is being spread about us!"

And maybe, if he yells loud enough and uses his connections, the op eds start, and papers will start reporting on the contraversy and people who would never have heard about this will be curious. Of course some will want to offer the artist their support - we have to keep the rights to freedom of expression strong, maybe they'll make a contribution? Gosh, how about setting up tee shirts for sale in the gallery gift shop with some of the pictures on them? Nah, I'm not a cynic. Really.

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

A Little Jump in Site Visits Today

I wonder if it had anything to do with AW being down.

Here's what I know - there was a problem and the host has rebooted the server. All posts since May 23rd are missing as of now. I don't have more info - Please check the AW Refugee Camp or Jenna's blog if you can't get into AW, and check the 'Cooler "Changes and Announcements" forum if AW is up for the latest news.

I would like to remind you that your donations are still needed. Please check the links in the sidebar and help if you can with whatever you can afford. Every bit counts.

Editing to add: I see a lot of 'out clicks' to the AW Refugee Camp in my site stats - I'm glad I could help you find your way there!

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Scratching My Head About Websites and Blogs, AW Down Again, Happy Canada Day!

So over in the comments to my post before last, laurie said:

Um, just one comment for informational purposes - if you wanted to, you could combine one or more of your blogs. Fahim's Blog program can download blog entries and incorporate them into one database on your computer, whereupon you can then republish to another blog. If that makes sense to you? It's all actually mostly painless.

Anyway, not saying you have to or even should. Just giving you one possible alternative if you were scratching your head. :)

laurie, I'm always scratching my head when it comes to the stuff I want to do in here ("in here" being on my computer, with the internet, etc.)

I want all the cool features of blogger with all the control of my own domain. Is that really asking too much? Sheesh ;-)

I guess what I need to do is get a nice editor program, set it up and just publish pages directly via my Secure FX onto my site. I just don't want to lose folk who come here now and then.

I was going to post a Happy Canada Day on AW but at midnight when I hit "submit new thread" AW was down - as it still is last time I checked. I hope this is a short term glitch that will be resolved. The Refugee Camp is still available if you need your fix.

So, if I can't post it on AW, I'll post it here - To all my dear Canadian friends - Happy Canada Day!

Take the Canada Geography Knowledge Quiz!

Play the Canada Challenge Quiz!

Admire the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (there are trading cards at that link with pictures of some of the Mounties)

Understand the Great Canadian sport of Curling

For the Americans here, have a safe and happy 4th of July!

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