Sunday, February 28, 2010

LOST... a show that is aptly named

I caught up on last weeks episode of LOST, and it is clear that I am truly LOST.

This show about plane crash survivors is really getting under my skin. First they are seeing polar bears, they see people who are dead, the lame can walk... it's all very interesting.

Soon there's an alternate group of people on "The Island" - the Others and it is not clear if they are bad people or good people or just intentionally flip-floppy.

The series is winding down, this is the last year and for that I am thankful. I do feel there is a strong chance that we'll end the season with no more clarity than we have now.

I find it irritating and angering that we find out last night that a main character has a teen aged child at home but in the three years we've been together this kid has never been mentioned. You can't pull the "but no one asked" card.

I would think one of the worst things you could go through in a hypothetical "Castaway" situation is knowing that the people who love you think you are dead. Yes, dealing with finding food and shelter would suck, but sitting alone and knowing your loved ones were in pain would be terrible. Oh my, and you KNOW after a respectful period of time they would go through your stuff and throw "shit" out or "donate it to charity". Your favorite sweatshirt might be gone for all eternity.

Back to the point, LOST had better wrap up well or I'm gonna.... oh I don't know, watch every episode and scream at the tv in the end. Yeah, that'll show em.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Security Soapbox

I do a mild amount of travel for business which means that I'm meeting other business traveler folks on my journeys back and forth to San Jose. I'm noticing a trend that I must use this forum to lecture on.

On my flight home last week I was talking with the person sitting next to me. He was some reasonably high raking person at a well known company and I asked him if he had one of those jobs that he spent his life in email or did he set time aside to deal with email and get through as much as he could within that time frame. He held up his (hopefully set to airplane mode) Blackberry and said that it was a device that had changed his life.

He then said something that to me as a security person I found astounding. "I had the security people remove the irritating lockout feature to make the blackberry work better.'

This is not the first time I've heard of this phenomenon, executives who agree to a set of rules to protect information and their companies but can't quite deal with the inconvenience of a PIN or password. It was a request that came often at MegaBank, and I've seen it at other places. This high flying exec didn't work for a technology company, but I imagine his security team thinks he's a wanker just the same.

I asked him if was confident there was no company information on the blackberry. He said "No, all it has is my email; there's nothing secret about that."

Oh REALLY!? I find it hard to believe that any mildly mid-level manager or higher doesn't have people on his team that uses email to escalate issues about the areas they manage. And, I know the "sky is falling" emails would be VERY interesting to their competition or the media.

All it takes is one email that says something like "We aren't going to meet our targets on sales of..." or "The employee satisfaction reports are in, the analysts are unhappy about the decrease in 401k contributions" or reports of team reductions, cost cutting get the idea.

Is his CEO's phone number is stored on the blackberry? What about names and addresses of other executives or clients? Does he keep the user name and password to his bank in a "note" because "Damn, that is so irritating to try and remember"?

I wonder what it is about "execs" that make them forget or ignore that they are privy to VERY juicy information and that the rules put in place for a lowly bank teller or administrative assistant should apply to them too?

If I had my choice of which blackberry to swipe to get lots of good info it would be the guy on the plane vs. the IT guy who never gets to leave the building.

WAKE UP PEOPLE - Just because you're at the top of your game doesn't mean you should avoid basic security measures that are designed to PROTECT YOUR COMPANY.

Heck, even Paris Hilton needs this reminder. She had a smart phone hacked and the private phone numbers and email addresses of her famous friends were exposed. Then last year she lost her Blackberry while at the Cannes Film Festival. If Paris Hilton can't like, manage her phone, which is like, her only, like job...what makes you think you can?

Your security team has the ability to enable a lock & wipe feature on most enterprise managed smart phones. It works so brilliantly, try an incorrect password too many times and the phone will wipe the data. This is slick - while most passwords on smart phones are only four characters most it likely can't be cracked in ten tries.

This lock & wipe feature, while cool is totally useless if you force the removal of the password feature because you are "too important" to be delayed by the 6 seconds it takes to type the pass-code.

So, Mr. High Flying Executive and others like may think you're smart, but you're not.

I hex you!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

You Re-Killed It


The mail is piled up and there's little to eat in the fridge, but I'm home.

Tonight is our standing Thursday "Survivor Night" which in the summer turns into "Concert in the park" night so while we wait for our folks to arrive I blog and Jas plays with the best iPhone application EVER.

It is a game called "Plants vs. Zombies" and for $2.99 it is hours of fun. We are cruising through the levels and enjoying the battle. For me, it is sweet revenge for all the times Jas has chastised me for mind melding with my phone. Now he understands. I may have lost him for a little bit, but eventually the satisfying sounds of peas hitting a zombie on the head will wane and I will be waiting.

Put a pin in it

I forgot to mention that one of the conditions of the speeding ticket deferment is that in addition to not getting another moving violation in the next year I also can't get a felony conviction.

With that constraint sitting on my head I guess I'm going to have to put my impending crime spree on hold for a bit.

I know you were all excited about getting to read my insider story of crime in the big city of Renton under my super secret pen name, but it will have to wait until after February 15th, 2011. That's when I'll be free to plunder.

I could spend this time plotting the perfect crime, but instead I think I'll go get a coffee.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Topics of the day

What is on the mind today?

I’m traveling so of course I wish I was home. Yesterday, aka travel day was a bust. I am pleased with my choice to get up at 4:30 in the morning to fly into San Jose rather than come in the night before, but it does leave me a tiny bit useless by 3pm. Last night I checked into the hotel ‘napped’ until 6:30, got up, had dinner and then “watched tv” until 11 when I went to bed for real. Of course, I don’t remember much of what I watched on tv after dinner.

I woke this morning with better energy and am getting more done today.

I was thinking about the topics that are front of mind and of course I need to complain about something. We are expecting a package from FedEx and if you miss them they will come back two more times before they send your package back to the sender. Because the package contains wine the driver has to leave it with an ‘of age’ person, so we have to be home. I was home all week last week but the first delivery attempt was made at 6:45 pm on Thursday. We weren’t home, so I avoided leaving the house all day Friday so I didn’t miss the second delivery attempt. However at 4:30 I had to give up and run to the bank. I knew we would be out all day Saturday so I called FedEx to make alternative arrangements. The ‘helpful’ phone service agent used a tone that sent me to the crazy customer place. “Um, I’m sorry ma’am, the package is out for delivery right now.” Oh I know, it had been marked on the web site as “out for delivery’’ since 8:30 that morning and with no 2-4 hour window you’re kind of held hostage. I asked if we could pick the package up, which we can but in Kent. KENT!? No one goes to Kent on purpose. Since Jas works in Issaquah (less than a mile from the FedEx location where our packages use to go) I asked if we could re-route the package there, but nope, FedEx can not deliver to themselves. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Sigh, so I told the gal I’d pick the package up on Monday, but FedEx isn’t open on Mondays. (Are they not in business?) So, since I’m out of town our choice is to make a quick lunch run Friday or Saturday. I was told we HAD to pick it up Friday or they would send it back because they only keep things a week. GRRRRR. I’m feeling great about their commitment to service right about now. This situation makes me want to drop the wine club membership – it’s a hassle.

That’s what I have for now. Looking forward to coming home tomorrow and will be thinking of other inspiring topics to shower upon you in the meantime.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

fashion disasters

I spent some time at lunch cruising my clients internal website. They have all sorts of wonderful helpful information, but also a "sharing space" where just for fun they pose a question and people all over the globe answer.

The question last week was "Tell us about your worst fashion disaster?"

Here are a few of the gems:

I came out of the restroom with the back of my skirt tucked inside my pantyhose revealing my backside. Luckily, I had only taken a few steps down the main hall when my manager exited her office behind me and brought this to my attention before anyone else saw.

I was walking into work one morning and just happen to catch a glimpse at my feet. Something looked a little odd, so i stopped and really looked. I had one white Adidas tennis shoe on and one black and pink tennis shoe on.

I wore my shirt inside out all day and did not even know it. My Co-workers thought I was being funny

I wore a Citrix T-shirt into an all F5 meeting once.

Worst one I was part of was for the VP of Business Sales at a bank I worked at. She's a very smart, very forceful personality person in her mid 50's. She showed up for work one day with just her slip on--she'd forgotten to pull on her skirt! We, of course, let her walk around for a while before we told her...


Here I sit waiting on that same dude. NOT COOL

He gets 4 more minutes and then I'm gone.

Thank heavens for the iPhone so I can kill zombies while I wait, er I mean multi-task

Monday, February 22, 2010

Is this a word?

I ran across this while looking up a restaurant I want to dine at over the 4th. Breaking news, we're headed to Long Beach (WASHINGTON) for the 4th. We've rented a lovely ocean front room with a view and a deck and will be enjoying 3 fun days of crowded beachiness.

So, there's a restaurant called The Deopt and it's great. We try to go every time we're in town and I was looking up their number when I ran across the reviews.

Here's the review:

We stayed in longbeach for a week and ate almost all the places you could eat. We ate at the depot one early evening and had great burgers. Service was kinda slow...they seemed short handed but the gargasious burgers made up for it. No mcdonalds thats for sure. Try it!

So, I wish I had come up with "gargasious" myself but I don't think I would use it as a compliment. To me it sounds like a food that irritates your lower bowels and "repeates" over and over to the detriment of your companions.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Some people, as you know, can be a constant source of disappointment. Some people don't follow through, some can't be trusted, some aren't kind to small children and animals. Thankfully, in my world there are far more folks who are honorable than not.

Currently, however here are two (or more) folks on my list of least favorite people this week. The first is the stupid yahoo who shot Washington State Patrol Officer Scott Johnson. Thankfully, the assailant was caught, and only had a 22 caliber pistol, which can be deadly but in this case was not. Officer Johnson is someone my family knows personally and that doesn't make the act more terrible it just feels far too damn close to home.

Officer Johnson will recover and go home to his family, but I worry that this incident brought back terrible memories for my parents of another State Patrol Officer who wasn't so fortunate. In the early 1970's my dad was a young trooper and he worked with an officer named Frank Noble. On a Saturday in February of 1972, Frank was murdered by a driver he had pulled over for speeding. The shooter was out on furlough and had just committed armed robbery. Sadly, Officer Noble didn't know this and didn't know to call for back up. I wonder how many lives the in car computers have saved.

I wasn't old enough to know officer Noble or his young family (I was only 3 at the time) but that event distinctly shaped our family. The officers my dad worked with were a very tight knit group and they worked together and their families played together. I don't think I'm over sharing by saying that Frank's death broke my dad's heart. The loss was so huge, so shocking and so unfair that my dad compensated by pushing all but the people closest to him away. When I think about my dad's friends, there aren't many. My mom is his best friend (awww how sweet) and he has a few folks that he considers friends, but they don't do the man-dates. They never have. These are all folks he worked with back in the day too. Dad is a social guy, he's kind and, has funny stories, but you aren't going to get too far into his soul. He keeps that to himself, and I think it's a form of protection.

We are extremely relieved that Officer Johnson will be with us for years and years to come, but his attacker is on my list and not invited to dinner EVER.

The other person (or persons) who are not invited to dinner are the soulless folks who have broken into our church and helped themselves to two electric guitars, a keyboard and most of the audio/visual equipment. I know that steeling is wrong, but how much more wrong is it when you take from people who have devoted their lives to others? It's a pretty shitty thing and frankly I'm pissed about it. Click here for more info.

Well... these are dark thoughts for a beautiful sunny Sunday, I don't need a dose of Prozac or anything. I'm actually going to go make a new recipe for dinner and think it will be tasty. I'm making Chicken Parmesan.

See, not being invited to dinner IS a punishment!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hey Ladies....

The "bump-it" hairstyle looks stupid.
Don't do it!

You are welcome!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I'm an outlaw

I had a date with the District Court Tuesday regarding my Black Friday Speeding Ticket.

The police officer nicely reduced my ticket from 12 over the limit to 5 over and I wasn't about to dispute that I earned the ticket. But I did want to participate in the Deferral program.

It was explained to me that I would pay the ticket and an administrative fee and if I was able to avoid another moving violation for a year then the ticket wouldn't show on my record.

It turns out it works differently than that. I didn't have to pay the ticket. The ticket will not drop off entirely, but it won't be visible to the insurance agencies.

The process was actually very easy. There was a group of us on the docket for 10:15 and we were processed one by once once we were called into the room. There were two folks managing the process - one was a clerk and the other was the facilitator who was "the" decision maker.

Anyone who asked for a deferral was granted one as long as they hadn't had a deferral in the past 7 years. Maybe it is crazy to request a deferral over a $113 ticket, but since I am new to this insurance company it seemed worth it.

So, it's a done deal. I've paid my time and I am only 363 days away from being free to offend again.

In the meantime, when I'm on Hwy 900 - it's cruise control for me! I'm sure I'm pissing the people off behind me, but they don't own me!


It looks like the hours spend with my Quickbooks application, and the effort to save and itemize receipts have paid off. We met with the accountant today who informed us of a tasty refund. (Yeah air conditioning is in our future.)

I believe using a real accountant this year was worth the expense. The sale of two homes, purchase of another and self employment income made it a bit more complex than turbo tax could likely handle.

Hmm...what else is going on this week. Did I mention we're headed to an Academy Awards party? I picked up my dress yesterday and it is super cute. It is a black strapless thing with a flared skirt. I know that the Oscars call for a long dress, but since I'm not nominated for any awards I'm sure I'll be forgiven.

Oh, and here's my rant about the Olympics. NBC sucks! They are tape delaying events so we can watch them in prime time. I'm getting tired of having to skip the news and online newspapers to avoid seeing what happened. Grr. I will say that as NBC is editing what we DO get to see they are generous with their "wipe out" coverage. I can tell that a skier is going to biff it if they aren't American or on the Canadian Gold quest. The wipe outs were spectacular last night during the women's downhill, but it seems wrong to cover their race only because they lose in an "exciting" way.

Lastly, I noticed today that somewhere along the way we forgot to have winter this year. It is very Spring outside right now. I was at the mall yesterday evening and was surprised to find that they aren't displaying shorts just yet.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Where you at?

I've been missing in action, and I know its a devastating loss to check back here hour after hour and find a lame little post about someone being late to a work meeting. (I don't think I am at all over estimating my importance in your world. I'm pretty sure I have a strong grasp on my significance.)

The weekend was lovely, we celebrated our second Valentine's Day together with a lot of home cooked meals and the Olympics. Oh how I love sitting around watching other people exercise. (The opening ceremony was nice...and I mean the same nice that gets you a first date but not a second date.)

Jason bought me the most wonderful gift that I'm almost embarrassed to share. You will be green with envy. I am now the proud owner of new windshield wipers! *squeel* Oh, I love the pretty roses too, but imagine not having to deal with getting them, installing them or having to dispose of the old ones. Sometimes I LOVE the 50's era man/woman roles!

It was a holiday yesterday, but not for Jason and since I have some personal meetings during the week I made the effort to put in some time for my client.

Meetings you ask? Yes, today I have a "date" with a judge regarding my speeding infraction. I'm hopeful that my 21 years of squeaky clean driving will bode in my favor as I request a "deferment". Oh, I'll be paying the ticket -but I'm attempting to legally keep it from my insurance company.

Later this week it is the annual date with the accountant. All our ducks are in a row and we have our fingers crossed for a good outcome.

In the parental news category, two wonderful things are happening. On my side my parents are coming to visit - just to hang out. We are happily planning meals and entertainment (that doesn't include driving all over town.) And, on Jas' side, his parents bought a new guest bedroom bed! I AM SO HAPPY. The old bed had a bit of a dip in the middle and while I like sleeping close to my honey, I want to lay flat! I'm looking forward to good sleeping while we're there at Easter.

Ok, I've got to go finish getting ready for court. I don't think my flannel pj's will cut the mustard.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


If you ask to meet with me, don't be late to the meeting.

Especially if you're not higher in the org than I am.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Give it away

In my quest to finish the work so my tax accountant can do major math I am in the process of entering all of our annual donations into (an online donation tracker that uses pre-established amounts for common items donated.)

I'm going through the sixteen lists of items donated throughout the year and entering each one into the site. It's a gigantic pain in the butt, but worth it because we essentially donated one entire household worth of stuff (mostly kitchen & bedding) during the year. Taking a standard $500 deduction isn't good enough.

We cleaned out my condo in February & March, then started in on Jas' place in the early spring, in July and August we had another major push before moving into the house and finally there was the stuff we didn't find a home for in the new house.

I don't miss any of this "stuff" but it is interesting to look at the lists and see how we prioritized things. My lists start small and then grow to very large; the largest has over seventy-four individual item types on it, with many items like wine glasses and trivets having multiple quantities.

I see the receipt for things I was happy to part with - a 'fugly' entertainment center, sets of 3 or 4 wine glasses that don't match anything else in our collections, tons of Tupperware (with lids!) yuck!

Thankfully, last year I went through the same exercise while donating Messy Martha's usable items and remembered to keep good records. The deduction amount may be significant and I want to make sure we can explain it. We even have photos of some of the donations - not that it technically proves anything, but it shows we at least had the items.

I'm also pleased to report that the lists are fairly evenly distributed between HIS stuff and MY stuff. It doesn't appear that either of us took it in the shorts when it came to who had to sacrifice their 'stuff' for the greater good. I have a lot more kitchen stuff on my lists, but we clearly kept the "best of breed" from each household. My full-sized bedding collection took a significant hit, but as I no longer had a full-sized bed and Jas didn't have one either it was a smart decision.

His t-shirt archive was severely impacted, but as the person who unpacked the remaining collection into our shared clothing closet I can say with all certainty that he is not going to be t-shirtless anytime soon. I did save the marquee shirts for awesome music and sporting events - especially the ones he wore with pride at the time. I think getting rid of the "Colorado Academy 6th annual yard races day" t-shirt in LIME green was a reasonable decision (never worn btw), but the much worn concert t-shirt from an epic classic band... KEEPER!

It is slow work entering these into the deduction finder. I've completed five thus far and have had to stop and blog... my goal is to get at least 4 more in tonight, and one of the four will be the big one from my condo. Goals...

It helps that I'm in San Jose and there's not much on tv tonight, but the desk here is badly located and even using a pillow to elevate myself my neck hurts already.

SO, before I move on to add more items, I'm going to go have dinner. No wine tonight though... I have homework.


If you're going to use "snowmageddon" as an excuse not to respond to my email you should make sure the live webcams from your location don't show it is a sunny day with NO SNOW anywhere.
I'm on to you!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


I'm not sure which is worse for you dearest reader, listening to me ramble on about how happy I am with my new husband or listening to me blah blah blah about work...

Well, today I choose work.

I'm sure it won't be a surprise to learn that I haven't been overly enamored with my assignment and that I haven't been the kind of employee I know I can be. I think that's about to turn around, I have a new assignment and I'm getting that certain excitement back. I'm returning to my element (comfort zone) and I'm starting to get jazzed again.

There's a strong likelihood that I'll be ending my contracting gig and going on to the team as a full fledged employee. This has is benefits and some drawbacks. I'm pleased with how the benefit/drawback pro/con list has panned out.

I can't say that it is 100% sure that this will go down so this will be the only post until it is a done deal. Don't want to jinx anything.

My point is that I'm super excited again about work and that feeling makes me happy. Happy might be an overstatement, but I've got that "this doesn't suck" feeling going on again.

For the record, I think I learned a lot during my initial outing and while I like the being in charge of my own destiny thing I think I'm a better employee than 'consultant'. Maybe if I was providing a service I loved like my friend Lori does I'd be more inclined to give it the 150% that she brings to the table everyday. It's a sad fact that I don't have the drive to run my own show effectively.

Oh... honesty, how I hate thee. Especially when thee makes me look realistically upon myself. You are mean honesty...mean.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

For Mom & Dad

Thank you Pickles for bringing me a happy giggle. This is funny because part of our survival Christmas present from my dad was a water tight container filled with "tinder" also known in the real world as dryer lint in case we ever need to start a fire in the wild.

The thoughtful gift also included the 1974 Army field survival guide, a hatchet, a VERY big knife and lots of solar powered items including a weather radio that will charge your cell phones if cranked long enough.

Friday, February 05, 2010


Warning...this may be a little graphic for those of you with delicate sensibilities...

CRAPNEL - projectile that consists of biological materials that generally end up in the crevices of the loo. Usually occurs after an unfortunate explosion.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


I have been VERY lax about entering my business receipts and expenses into Quicken. I have enjoyed a year of saving small pieces of paper and now I am in in HELL.

In order to get our taxes for 2009 done I need to bring my completed homework to the accountant and it is kicking my butt.

Of course, had I been doing it all year long it wouldn't be such a challenge, but alas...I'm a procrastinator.

I have made significant progress, all my receipts and expenses have been entered and all I'm doing now is creating invoices (up to August!) and then I can enter the payments I've received and I think I'm done.

Last year I went to the trouble to itemize all the sales tax I paid and I think with the wedding expenses it might be worth the trouble to do it again this year, but WOW, what a pain in the hiney.

Maybe next year we can return to turbo tax -- but not this year.

Taxes... blar!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Jesus made wine....

I had a coffee date today with Pastor Gretchen, who is the music minister at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church. She played for us at our wedding and is possibly the coolest clergy person ever. She's a few years younger than me and is very "down to earth". I really like her.

We talked about everything under the sun, newly married life, work, politics, gays in the military (do we REALLY need a study to see if it's ok that the thousands of gay military people announce they are gay?) Gretchen suggested that its strange how "we" spend so much time and energy worrying about who is sleeping with who and not focused on things that matter like resolving real issues like famine and starvation.

One of the church projects she's working on is a thing called Luther's Table; it is a bar/pub space in the new veteran's building in Renton. It will be a social place, and there will be some aspect of sharing the faith message, but in a very secular and real life setting. I don't think the idea is to pounce on folks having a beer and tell them Jesus Christ is their personal savior, but to show that 'churchy people' can be about community.

It is definitely an experiment and I hope it works out. Gretchen is very involved and we were talking about programs and I of course got excited about different things - like trivia nights and (ooh!) poetry slams. She asked if I'd be willing to host such a thing (poetry slam) and my answer would be an unequivocal yes. I have very little talent, but I can write a funny poem and stand on stage to share it with strangers. I'm quite the show off.

Luther's Table is still in the early stages but I'm willing to participate. It sounds like a fun and interesting adventure.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Jason's Swingin' Goodbye to 30's Soiree

What can I say? Jason's friends & family embraced the 70's theme with gusto!

Son of Sam (Anton),
Discolicous Doug
Cheech Maron (Mike)

Beth Ann, Eric (WOW), Mrs. Rico & Erika

Pimp Rico & The birthday boy
(that's a whole lot of chest hair.

Watch the hand!

Your happy hostess and host!

Jas' parents (who pulled those clothes from the closet!)