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Sunday, December 13, 2009

The End of the Great Move!

As you my or may not know, when I decided to move home, my wonderful parents decided to do some heavy remodeling turn our once junk filled basement into a new living area with a bedroom, bathroom, play area (for the kids), tv area (for the adults) and a nice little sitting area. There is also a workshop for my dad, an office for him, and a small storage and laundry area as well (though those are not finished).

Up until this point my possessions have been in boxes in the garage and in storage, and I have been living with clothes spread from here to there and without any of my pretty things. Well we finally finished the remodel last week, and I spent Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday moving furniture and unpacking and sorting all my wordy possessions. I am surprised that most of my belongings have fit into a small room, without making it feel over crowded. Now I have twice gone through what I call purge cycles to remove all the crap that tends to collect around me over time, the first “great purge” happened before moving to Hawaii, I sold stuff, gave stuff away and put lots of stuff in storage in the ‘Basement of crap.’ The latest purge was when I moved to KC from Hawaii, Here I mostly sold furniture in an effort to drop my shipping to under 1000 pounds, a tough thing to do when you are obsessed with books like me.

The basement is still a mess, as “wonderful parents” decide where there things are going to go and how they want to store various items, but a huge dent has been made! I myself reduced my (approx) 20 boxes of stuff into a room, and about 8 boxes. I still have quite a bit of stuff to store, all of my various kitchen items, old school books, lots of linens and who knows what else to find homes for as well as place back into storage!

I am most proud of my library! I have merged two different “lives of books into one giant library that requires two large bookcases containing 210 books! A few are doubles (a hardback and paperback or double copies of a few other books that have had to be replaced due to over reading. I have not included my Music books, school books, Annuals, Journals, and a few books that I am saving for my nieces (and hopefully nephews someday) such as my little house on the prairie and Hardy boy collections.

So my “move” such as it has been, is coming to a close. I will soon be hanging Art work and getting more comfortable in my new surroundings. That is until I get antsy and move again, I am thinking this time I will be headed somewhere far, but not Hawaii far, but you never know ☺

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Twilight Saga: New Moon Review

The adaptation from book to film was well done, no major changes (that I remember) were really made, (unlike the HPHBP) and the director did a good job filtering down the excessive Adrenaline Junkie moments and also the depressing 75 years Bella spent being a comatose worm after Edward leaves. In fact I think the director should be applauded for his imagining of the wolf/human transformation, as well as how Edward appears when speaking to Bella’s mind.

Some of the tings that really bothered me though, really bothered me. The scene of Bella in the water was like a bad trip, I was thinking ‘WTF? WHAT A WASTE FO TIME!” Way over done, and mostly just annoying. The females, namely Victoria, Alice, and Rosalie, also miffed me. Their former actors played all three, but all three had undergone huge look changes. Victoria’s hair and entire fashion sense, Alice’s Hair and personality and Rosalie looked like she got bad plastic surgery.

Edward remained fine as always and Taylor has really gotten a fantastic body, loved the numerous shirtless scenes, in fact he can be shirtless around me as much as he wants. Dakota Fanning was beautiful as Jane (although she looks 5 to me)

Nothing really made the movie for me, and I am becoming increasingly irritated by the writers ability to ignore like 3000 years of vampire/werewolf lore. I mean good for you, you can distort the entire cannon of myth and still sleep well at night. Me I will stick to vampires who die in sun rather than sparkle, but to each his own.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Is Chili Soup? The Results are in!

Earlier this week I was listening to a local NPR show called “The Walt Bodeen Show” (famous in KC) and they brought up an interesting question, “Is Chili Soup?” They dithered on this point one host claiming chili is its own category and another saying it is just a kind of soup.

So I began to ponder this question myself, and to see what my fellow foody friends thought I asked the same question on Twitter and face book. The response was quite large. I saw heated comments and discussions and lots of great answers. However no one offered proof, just opinion. So I did some research. Now if you type is chili soup into google, you may be shocked at the amount of results you get to this seemingly innocuous question. I saw Blogs, and Polls, and definitions and ‘Yahoo answers’ galore, but all of them differed!

So here is what we learned. By dictionary definition, a soup, stew, and chili are all the same thing. The wording is all very similar, but the components are identical: A DISH MADE OF MEAT, FISH OR OTHER INGREDIENTS THAT IS ‘STEWED/BOILED/COOKED’ esp. meat and vegetables. So the answer I have for you is simple Technically Chili is soup, but due to its huge following and cultural importance, it is often thought of as a dish all of its own. This should make everyone happy!

Now I also learned that Chili, comes in many styles some are almost so thick they appear to be meat and seasoning and some come very liquidy with lots of broth. In some places when chili becomes liquidy they start to call it a stew, but in other places, an extremely thick chili is never even seen, so what is real chili? They both are! The definition of chili for each person changes not only by region but also often by family heritage, how did your mom makes chili, or how did the diner down the road make chili. Personally I like both soupy and chunky chili, I prefer it to be thick when used in Nachos or a Coney but stewy when made by mom or dad in the old crock-pot!

How do you make your chili? Did you learn your recipe from a family member or friends, or did you get it from the media?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Two Movie Reviews: The Guly Truth/ My Life in Ruins

I just watched two very different yet surprisingly similar movies and felt I should give my hand at some small reviews.

First I watched My Life in Ruins AKA ”My Big Fat Greek Holiday’. A surprisingly great movie about a super controlled control freak of a woman who ends up giving tours in Greece, then on the verge of returning to America falls in love and finds she can relax and let love come to her. The Cinematography was fantastic and the costume designers did a really good job of making a super Hot Alexis Georgoulis look creepy and hairy and a formerly heavy Nia Varadlos look super sexy! Alexis’ does a fantastic transformation towards the end of the movie showing off his assets (abs of washboard style) and getting a shave and a haircut, Nia gets stuck wearing a nasty blue blazer for the first half and also has a transformation showing off her new body in flowing high waisted cocktail dresses. As you can see the clothing and actors were good. The Best actor was by far Richard Dreyfus who plays a recently widowed (Widower-ed?) man who uses his humor to break down the walls of his fellow tour goers, while using his amazing powers of observation and wisdom to help transform not only the leading characters but the supporting characters as well. I really enjoyed him posing as the oracle of Delphi to help allay the fears of a couple thinking of starting a family and to put the actions of a couple into prospective to help them better understand their unsmiling and morose teenage daughter. While the movie lacked a lot of meat it is packed with powerful observations about life and love and how to capture some of the wisdom of ancient Greece in out modern lives. Plus after the movie was finished I immediately plugged in to see the cost of a trip to Greece (expensive!) P.s. This movie has nothing to do with big fat Greek wedding but read online their was confusion about this, apparently Nia is only allowed to play her breakout role in movies, and in Italy they re-titled the movie My Big Fat Greek Holiday, no idea why, seeing as this movie has nothing to do with the other ☺

After that I out on a lighthearted romantic comedy called the Ugly Truth Starring two of my favorite actors Kathryn Heigel and Gerard Butler. In this movie Kat plays a neurotic high-strung control freak (see an odd resemblance?) However this girl is way out their she has talking points printed out before going on a blind internet date with a guy she has done a background check on (WHOA!) she produces an early morning talk show that is slowly loosing ground as anything anyone would want on TV and is forced to work with the uber sexy Gerard who is hired to give the Ugly Truth about Men, Women and relationships. His Character is crass and demeaning at first but he offers a hand in friendship to Kat and helps her win her ‘Dream guy.’ Both actors undergo a tremendous amount of change, Kat by listening to Gerard becomes the perfect ‘Naughty schoolteacher’ while ultimately learning to be less concerned with her checklist for a perfect guy and to see love in front of her, and Gerard learns to man up and let his true feelings show and be less of a douche. The movie is typical of Hollywood Romantic Comedies and is humorous and just moving enough to make you feel a small bit of something for the characters, but not enough to be truly involved.

I would recommend both movies for a night of lighthearted romantic comedy but not if you are looking for anything with much depth or life changing attributes. Of course I liked them enough to add them to my collection of movies for later watching (I hope the FBI is not reading this).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Playing in Leaves

Early last week on a beautiful Autumn day I got to play in the leaves with my nieces! It was beyond fun! We piled all the leaves into a giant pile and let them throw themselves willy-nilly into the pile! Kennedy made leaf Angels, Kessler let Grampy bury her like she was in piles of sand at the beach and Dylan even walked through the pile, of course she spent more time holding onto Grammy than walking by herself. I got to play the part of “Leaf Monster” switching from chasing the girls around the yard, throwing leaves on them, throwing them into the pile, and using the leaf blower to create cyclones of wind and leaves!

As I played with my wonderful nieces I thought to myself “This is the good life! This is why I left Hawai’i and returned to the land of wheat and wind.”
I miss the carefree days of playing in the leaves, building ‘leaf houses’ and coming in for Hot chocolate after hours playing in the cold, Games that are better suited to the younger generation.

I have also missed the wonderful colors of the fall and NPR reported that this may be the most colorful fall we have had in many years, Something to due with the high levels of rain we had leading up to the end of the summer, and the lack of blistering hot days we had during the summer. I find myself missing shorts, and fiip flops, as well as days spent lazing on the beach soaking in the sun and tasting the salty ocean but I am happy to be back amongst seasons and family.

Hallows or Horcruxes?

Although many of you may not understand the title of this entry, many in the world will be drawn to this entry by mention of both items. The Deathly Hallows are a legendary group of magical items given by Death to The three Perivell Brothers in the Harry Potter world. Horocruxes are items of a dark and sinister magic whereby a wizard can split his soul and place part of it into an item, so if his physical body is destroyed, his soul will live on to be reborn again.

In the final book of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series Harry is faced with a decision, hunt the hallows and hope they have enough magic to defeat Voldemort, or continue to hunt and destroy Voldemorts Horocruxes, hoping this will defeat him. MY conundrum was much easier. DO I carve a traditional Jack O Lantern, or one of more esoteric means?

IN THE END I carved the symbol for the Deathly Hallows, the triangle with an inset circle and a vertical line down its center. These represented the three items given to the brothers, an un-fallible invisibility cloak, a stone of resurrection, and the wand that could not be beaten (know as the elder wand, the deathstick, and other names throughout history. My brothers both got it, and one of my nieces cousins, but other answers I heard were: A Pagan symbol, some kind of Gay Pride Symbol, and something Hawaiian.

I was pretty proud of my ingenuity, I had to just peel the skin off the pumpkin to get the circle and lines to light up correctly, and next time I will not cut out the entire insides but cut through and leave a small portion of skin.

Happy Halloween!

New Look and Maybe a Move

I have decided to go with a new look for the Blog page, all the useless links were driving me bonkers before! So I found something simple and easy. I believe I will be moving to another Blog service at the beginning of the new year, so another new look will be fast approaching. I have added a few widgets that seemed fun to me, the daily coffee, the daily Harry Potter, and the daily HP Spell!

As this is my first blogspot, I am hoping my practice here will prepare me for the new blog(s) that I will endeavor towards in the new year. I have been studying a Quamut 'how-to' guide on blogging and it has inspired me to try some new things. I ask now for feedback, Does anyone out their use Type Pad, Wordpress, or Live journal? I would love to use wordpress, but will need to learn how to build a web page it looks like. Any quick reference guides out there?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Book Review: The Gathering Storm

Where to begin? I have been obsessed with Robert Jordan and his Wheel of Time Epic since the first time I picked up Eye of The World somewhere around 15 years ago.

The most recent installment of this Epic fantasy was co-authored by a gentleman named Brandon Sanderson. His very heartfelt blog on RJ’s death lead Harriet (RJ’s Wife and editor) to select him to complete this series and all I have to say is Kudos! In an effort to understand Sanderson I read Elantris and then most of the Mistborn trilogy (I stopped reading the last book as soon as TGS came out with only 100 pages to go, which I begin again tomorrow) I feel Brandon has done an exemplarily job of writing in RJ’s place.

I feel, as an avid reader of WOT (have read the series every year since 1994); Tat Brandon manages to capture the essence of RJ very well. There are some very noticeable differences between both authors but the inert material remains on the whole just fantastic.

I want to first applaud Brandon on his ability to captivate a few of our characters. The sections about Egwene and the white tower were just about perfect. I had a hard time during these sections remembering this was not RJ! In addition the portrayal and turn of events in the rebel camp and the Aes Sedai (especially Siuan) was well played. Brandon also does an exemplarily job with Rand and making him seem more dark and dangerous. I think it is exactly what RJ was thinking when he first took Rand down this path during the battle between him and the Seanchan around Ebou Dar. Tuon is another character that was treated very well by Brandon. He captured her perfectly, and her change to Fortuna was just as I imagined it. The last Characters I really felt were well portrayed were Silvania, whom I always thought might have a larger role once Egwene regained the tower. And Verin. Verin was just freakin awesome! When she first lies I sat up straight and said, “I knew it!” I had an inkling of her allegiance to the dark lord for sometime, but was never able to say why, nor was I aware of the nature of that affiliation, but it makes much sense (where is the Horn of Valere I wonder? She was aware of its presence of it in the White Tower; did a forsaken have her remove it I wonder??

Nynaeve’s character took an unfortunate step back in this edition, not too terrible of a step but she was finally becoming more Aes Sedai and here her old temper flares again. While this works in some ways, especially in regards to Rand and her playing the role of Wisdom again, it really killed what I thought would be a great development for Nynaeve (I always saw her and Moiraine becoming some sort of friends or at least working together to fix Rand).

Perrin and Faile were both pretty much the same, but nothing special happened to their characters. Brandon did no harm to these characters but between the minimal time they had on ‘screen’ and the time they do have is pretty flat and useless. There is also mention of Rand seeing them in his Taverene swirl talking to Galad, and we never do find out what that was about, I was like WTF?

Aviendha is another character who seemed to pander, but after some useless screen time (and Labor) she makes a big move in development, which was great to see, but I could not seem to believe she would be so close to Rand and just ignore him as she does, especially after bonding him, and he has to know some of what she feels.

Unfortunately there are a few characters that did not develop well with the change of authors, Cadsuane was never one of my favorite characters, but Brandon lost sight of her in this book. She became very useless, her ‘teaching Rand and the Asha Man something they needed to know, she actually had nothing to do with it! Rand had a moment of self-realization, and Cadsuane had little to do with it. I was also disappointed with her character becoming less up front and in charge, she seemed to loose some of her Bitchyness.

Min is another character I am confused about. She was always blatant about pushing herself into Rands every moment, and even before her unfortunate run in with Semirage she seemed more withdrawn and less spit-fiery. I honestly believe, all the women have become less than their former selves, RJ created women who were larger than life, and it seems most of the women have come down a notch.

The worst Character is Matt. I read on another Blog, that maybe the biggest change in Matt was his level of vulgarity. The other Blogger thought that maybe Brandon just is not used to writing in such a foul manner (indeed, he uses little profanity in Mistborn and Elantris). It also the return of Matt being less in charge and worried and more of a Fop. This is very hard for me as Matt has always been my favorite; his use of expletives at the right time reminds me of myself. (I.e. Mothers Milk in a cup Joline, you can bloody well be in charge, we can just turn around and walk up to the bloody seanchan and see what happens to you, light –blinded, daughter of the sands!) Also I was looking forward to Matt’s journey to Genii and instead I was rewarded with another useless section on proving to me the Dark One is stirring. Did not need some half dead villagers to know that.

In fact Matt leads right into my biggest beef with this book. I am ready for Moiranie to come back; she has been and always will be my favorite character. I BAWLED like a small child when she was killed, and when Min said she had never been wrong but once with Moiraine and how Rand could not win without her, I knew she would be coming back. Then the letter to Thom in the last book and I am just about at my wits end waiting for her return! I always thought Matt would bring her back and her and Nynaeve would be able to convince Rand to become human again I thought Cadsuane would be their as wel and be proven black and Rand would have to pick to kill Cadsuane and save Moiraine in an effort to save himself, and he would realize killing women is OK as long as its justified. I don’t know, but I want Moiraine back!

I did wish we had some resolution with Taim and the emissaries sent from both factions of Aes Sedai to the Black Tower. I also wished for one more forsaken chapter in the end of the book. I also would have like to see a little of Elayne and maybe a glimpse of Padan Fain. But the book was already very full. Only Two left till the end I wonder what will happen next.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Urging you to be more Green!

Earlier this week, or maybe it was last week, there was a call to the world to blog about climate change. Of course I chose at the time to write a blog, but then promptly forgot! oops! I am personally devoted to the idea of Helping the Environment in any way, we recycle as much as we can, and I am working on convincing my parents to begin composting and instead of using chemicals on the lawn, using compost tea. I even plan on continuing my education in an area of study that will hopefully help companies and cities become more 'Green". I Urge everyone out in the blog world to start thinking about our world and what we can do to save it.

I am currrently looking at ways to reduce my own carbon footprint, for me it will be a matter of driving less, using less water and the less artificial temperature control, as well as continuing to recycle, and reduce the amount of trash I am generating (I can recycle cans, but that cost's a lot of energy, increasing my carbon footprint, maybe I should stop drinking so much soda..)

The toughest part about making changes in our lives to reduce our waste impact and also to be more "green" is to think about all the things you do in a day, and thinking what you can do different to make an impact, for many of us, it is small things we will do on a daily basis that will create the biggest changes. We cannot force renewable energy on our electric companies, but we can write a letter letting them know you support a move to build wind turbines, or even nuclear energy and would like to see the reduction in coal power plants. Write a senator or congressman, and tell them to push legislation that urges America to reduce carbon foot prints, or allows money to be appropriated and go towards discovering renewable energy sources.

its the little moves that when we come together as a community and ask in a solid voice that will make the most impact in the long run. Don't give up hope, and keep recycling!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Review, of a book and its author

I have just recently finished Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. I am an avid Fantasy reader and have been looking to branch into a few new authors, and With Brandon’s upcoming work with WOT (Wheel of Time) I decided it may be good for me to read a bit of his work to acclimate myself to his style of writing. You see with the death of Robert Jordan in 2007, I (and several thousand of his fans) have been extremely apprehensive about the future of the WOT series. With the announcement later that year that Brandon Sanderson would complete the novel, I decided I would give the young guy a try. It has taken about two years, but with the release date for A Gathering Storm rapidly approaching I took the plunge!

I was pleasantly surprised by the novel Sanderson put forth. Elantris was well planned and with a good story, but with echos of a ‘Lost city of Atlantis’ theme. A civilization with enormous powers and godlike abilities, destroyed by a mysterious event somehow linked to an earthquake. I am also reminded a little of the Myst books, with the destruction of D’NI, (just a similar feel to the writing). I was also a little let down with the simple nature of the mysteries involved, I saw through lots of the hidden stuff very easily. On the positive side, character development was good, a nice ratio of dialogue and description exists, and the story moves at a good pace and is extremely engaging.

I have to say I think Brandon might do a pretty good job with WOT, his prolgue was released earier this month and it was pretty good, I guess we will have to just wait a few more weeks to find out.!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Reflections of Classic Art at the Nelson

Today after work, I decided I would take advantage of the dreary afternoon and take myself on a journey to the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. If you are not from Kansas City you may not know a lot about the Nelson so here is a short synopsis of the museum. this comes directly from their website:

“The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is internationally recognized for its outstanding collection of more than 33,500 objects. From ancient times to modern day, this encyclopedic museum is one of the best in the country, offering visitors the opportunity to explore civilization through the eyes of painters, sculptors, craftsmen, and many other artists.”

My first visit to the Nelson was sometime during Middle/High School with the gifted education program. I remember being awed by the beauty of the building, and its collection. Over the years I have returned often, with School and by myself in the later years. During my time in Hawaii I was always upset that their was no selection of museums. Their is the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, but the majority of the museum is dedicated to culture of the Pacific Rim.

Todays visit was one of the best I have ever had. I had about two hours to kill between shifts, and I am glad I chose to visit today. My favorite Exhibit is the art of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, and Roman, essentially a collection of all art leading up to the Gothic Period of Art. Unfortunately (or maybe not so much) the exhibit is undergoing a massive renovation and will be returning in August of 2010. So instead I visited the remainder of the first floor art which includes art from Gothic up until The Victorian Age. Here is what I wrote after leaving the museum.

The Museum was very quiet, interrupted only by the clicking of the shoes of the Docents on the varied Marble and Parquet floors. I was immediately embraced by the uncanny feelings of coldness brought to my by the giant black marble pillars in the main hall of the museum, and warmth from the excitement of once again traversing these halls of art and enlightenment. I could here the tinkling of the fountain from inside the Rozelle Court. I was immediately embraced by the memories of my first trip to the museum, walking with First Best Soul Friend (Meryl your first appearance!) and various other Good Gifted Friends (Jai Hoyer, and Seth Tomassi, and Johnatahn Switzer stand out in my mind) And being over awed by the immensity of the building.

Not long after arriving a group of school children arrived, they appeared to be around 2nd grade ish (not sure) and they were so amazing to watch, all holding hands in twos, and walking in a line, hushing one another if it got too loud, but their faces were full of excitement and wonder. I was filled with awe thinking that once that may have been me. They seemed to have a preternatural instinct for the solemn reverence due to such a wonderful place.

Taking a moment to gaze a Monet’s Water lilies, i was filled with the impression of faerie mists arising from a cool pond in the french countryside, the illusion of of bird song, and the smells of nature seemed to almost overwhelm me.

I traversed halls lined with paintings, sculptures, and furniture from ancient days, feeling the weight of their age upon my mind. I overheard a Grandfather telling his grandson about standing in the Piazza del Popolo, which was in the painting before them, remembering what the day was like and where he had his lunch and the beautiful girl he watched serving coffee to the patrons.

I kept feeling time washing over me, back and forth, like a river. It was as if the past, present and future existed all at once but in their own places all at once. Rich thoughts of my life ran through me, coming to the Nelson as a Child, then teenager, then a young man and now as an adult, being all these ages all at once, yet not. I remembered the dreams of someday traveling to France or Italy and become an expatriate like Hemingway, T.S. Elliot, Stein, or Fitzgerald sitting at a cafe on the banks of the Seine and writing the most profound works of my generation cultivating an acute remembrance for things lost and things happening, and things yet to come.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

funniest video ever!

check this video out on facebook. I laughed so hard, I almost pee'd myself!

Trying to make Stupid people Smart

Conspiracy Theory- The idea that many important political events or economic and social trends are the products of secret plots that are largely unknown to the general public.

I just want to take a moment to say I cannot believe a secret sect of Jews caused the Holocaust, nor can I believe that the government it actually using the H1-N1 virus as an opportunity to curb world population trends. And I do not believe the government has secrete camps all of the US, and the world where they inject terrible diseases on the population to see the effects that take place.

I recently had a friend post some disturbing thoughts about the H1N1 vaccine and also a video shown on Scarborough Country, a show on MSNBC featuring an extremely right wing conservative who makes some very wild claims, that talks about Bayer (a pharmaceutical giant) giving out a drug for hemophiliacs in the early 1980's that infected people with HIV/AIDS. This friend suggested we visit a site called

My curiosity was peaked, but the website is almost laughable in its voracious attempts to make people believe the theories it places on its website. Espouting words such as Illuminati, and New World Order in an effort to get your attention. Hoping that by using terms that are prevalent in pop and counter cultures we will easily accept the theories they are suggesting.

Some of the theories about faith healing seem to hearken to 'noetic sciences' as featured in Dan Browns newest novel, and some of them even make it seem that all disease is brought to you by the ghosts of Andrew Carnegie, JP Morgan and John D. Rockefeller, not to mention the letters A, H,Z and the number 3.

However the video was the worst.(
It turns out that Bayer may not have known that the drug was infected when they released it. As far as I can discover the drug was released in 1979/1980 (hard to tell with both sides blocking reports and evidence) this was before we knew anything about AIDS (check out this website for an AIDS timeline There was a thought it may be a cancer, or even a form of Pneumonia up until 1981. As soon as connections were made that the drug was giving AIDS to patients (since AIDS dies when not in live blood, this may not even be true) and that AIDS was a virus, that was transmitted through Blood, Bayer pulled the drug from the market. HOWEVER, some countries such as a few in Latin America and China and a few others had already purchased large quantities of the drug and continued disbursing it against the advice of Bayer and the CDC. Of course these countries may not have even believed AIDS was real at the time either.

All of this comes to a head with concerns many have over the H1-N1 Vaccine. Stories are floating around about how in the 1970's a 'Swine Flu' epidemic hit the US and the Vaccine used caused some serious damage to people (500 infected with Guillain-Barre syndrome and 25 deaths--out of 40% of the US population that received the drug) this all stems from the concerns that the spanish flu of 1918 had similar components to Swine flu, however all 3 influenza virus' while sharing similar effects are very different when looking at the structure of the virus. True the Vaccine given in the 1976 flu pandemic (which turned out to be erroneous) was flawed, it has been 23 years, science has improved, our knowledge of viruses and how they work has increased, and we have learned from our mistakes. Flu Vaccines are administered annually to somewhere between 35% and 44% of all Americans, with only 5% (down from 10% in the 90's) having any side effect at all (generally a swollen area around shot site and mild flu like symptoms lasting a few days) I think I would say you are safe to take the H1N1 Vaccine.

The moral of this story is simple C.S. Lewis once wrote "The trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is you often succeed." DO yourselves and the rest of a world a favor and don't listen to everything you see on TV or rad on the internet. Try to be smart and think things through. And last of all make sure you have some hard facts before repeating the babble to the rest f the stupid people, it will make life easier for everyone.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Being on the other side.

As I have told you before, My career has taken a new turn and I have gone from Restaurant Manager Extraordinaire, master of Training, safety and being the #1 Favorite Manager and returned to my roots. I am back in the role of server! And while this has been extremely gratifying in many ways (lack of responsibility, ability to request time off, and to give up my shifts if I don't feel like working) I have found the change slightly aggravating on some levels.

I find myself wanting to fall into my old role when talking to guests and other employee's. I use my 'critical eye' to see all the work not being done around me and it takes effort to not tell others what to do. But the worst by far is being second guessed by a member of the management team. I had a guest wait 7 minutes for a glass of wine, The bartender had to leave the bar for a moment to get something, and the next thing you know I have a guy waving me down wondering where his drink is. I found a manager and mentioned he may want to do a table touch since the wait was so long and his response was "7 minutes is not that long" and how did I respond? "Have you ever waited 7 minutes for a drink? you should try it seems like an eternity." Not my most beautiful moment, but seriously come on! I think I will have some more work to do on this "Lack of Responsibility" fore front before I am totally able to disengage from my previous life.

So the challenges continue, if in another form, and I am ready to take them on, Now if only I could find a restaurant to manage where all I had to work was 8 hours a day and have all the amenities of an hourly employee with the salary of a manager, life would be perfect!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunday Cookouts

Today was a beautiful fall day here in KC. A crisp cool air, smelling of 'Autumn' in all its glory. So we decided it was the perfect day for an early fall cookout, something of a much missed family tradition, we will cookout even in the falling snow if necessary. Pops fired up the smoker, Big Brother made hamburger patties mixed with onion, mushroom, black olives, and seasoning, and I made Guacamole (not normally a 'fall' dish, but delicious all the same).

We had Hamburgers, Bratwurst, and Hot dogs with chips and guacamole. A little later we shall be indulging in Fudge covered brownies and a caramel apple walnut pie, both unfortunately purchased instead of homemade, but they should be good. I took Cute Twins (3 year old twin nieces) outside and we played on the swing set and sweet sister in law took them into the fort. (Yes Meryl I am stealing the idea of Blog names!)

Sadly the family football team, lets call them the griefs, played horribly and lost big time. So now I am watching a documentary on our National Parks. The rest of the day will be spent relaxing, maybe going grocery shopping (one of my chores) and watching some tv, spending more time with Cute Twins and Beautiful Baby Girl (my 11 month and 3 week old niece!) Maybe even sipping Hot Cocoa in front of the fire.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Story

I thought I would begin this Blog by simply writing an overview of my life over the last few years, in an effort to let everyone know something about me. I could spend a long time going in depth to some of what i will share, but have decided to attempt to keep this Blog sized.

I think it is best to begin at the beginning. I was born in Pittsburg Kansas and was raised their spending a few weeks a year in Kansas City, the closest Metropolitan area to my home town. I always have had a love of Kansas City, the sprawling city seemingly interrupted by miles of nothing, all connected by an endless amount of highway, that moves from treacherously icy in the winter, to hot enough to fry an egg during the summer.

As My Senior year in High school was coming to a close I found myself drawn to a decision to study vocal music performance I spent my freshman year of College at the University in Pittsburg, studying with a wonderful woman named Dr. Simms. I enjoyed my choice in degree, but found it increasingly difficult to deal with performance anxiety. I could get on a stage and act with no feelings but the thrill of being LIVE. But as soon as I opened my mouth to sing, my throat would swell, my breathe come shallow, and my vision tunnel. I knew I was going to have to either find a way to live with these feeling s or pursue another path.

As the school year ended I decided I would leave school and move to KC. I took the plunge, quit my job and away I went. I spent the first few months working with my uncle at his Audio Visual company and then I spent some time as an Assistant Store Manager for Structure, and by the spring I had gone back to restaurants, working at Macaroni Grill. Lets fast forward now to 2005. during the years we skipped I continued to go to school, never settling on a degree, and working in restaurants. I Was a server, a bartender, and a trainer at a few different stores, and in school I tried a degree in Business, English, and Liberal Arts.

In March of 2005 I was trying to decide my next move, when a phone call came from a 'second cousin' of mine and she invited me to take a new chance and move to Hawaii. So I took a leap of faith, sold or gave away as much stuff as I could and packed two bags and moved to Hawaii.

I lived on the Big Island in Kailua Kona for a little over 2 years. I spent my days going to beaches, and taking hikes, camping with friends, and found a part of myself I had left behind when I moved to KC. I became more in touch with myself, found the beauty of life in mother earth, and let my spirit begin to heal. I worked for a restaurant called Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. I found myself attracted to the restaurant industry in a new way. This company really seemed to know what they were doing, and everyone had fun while we worked. I was finally finding something I loved and was good at! I was offered a chance to move to the Island of Oahu and become a manager at the Honolulu store. I left for Honolulu in June of 2007 and began the next step.

I loved working at BGSC and was really good at what I was doing, but my home life was in trouble. I was living with my best friend from college and things were not good. He was having some severe drug related problems and becoming increasingly unstable, staying up for days on end, screaming at me, throwing and breaking my things, and abusing me emotionally and verbally. I had to get out. As soon as our lease was up I moved out. I went and stayed with Melissa, my Hag, best friend, confidant, and head-dweller.

Things were looking up, We moved into a beautiful apartment right outside of Waikiki, and lived a quiet life, as my job responsibilities grew, I found myself with less and less time to do much of anything but I was still relatively happy. I sometimes struggled with homesickness, being 3896 miles from family was becoming increasingly more difficult. I had three nieces I was only able to see once a year, two brothers and a sister in law I thought of often, not to mention my parents. I delved deeper into work. Then something amazing happened in the fall of 2008. I met with the GM for a new restaurant opening in Waikiki. I was offered a job where I was to make more money, but work less! I was told there would be 8-9 hour days instead of my usual 11 hour day, a set schedule, and opportunities to move up in the company.

So in December of 2008 I went to Las Vegas for training, and was set up work for this amazing new venue working for non other than Jimmy Buffett. Things went well for about a month, then it all went down hill. Employees laid off, including management, meant the return of 11 hour days, and even more screwed up scheduling. In July of 2009, I was forced out of my job after several attempts to have me fired by an unsaid employee. I was accused of multiple unfounded violations of policies, in what could only be said was a flagrant attempt to find a way to either get me to quit or have me fired.

So the next step became evident. I have moved back to KC. Here I plan to go back to school, studying environmental engineering working in Urban development, in short I want to help cities and business become more green! I have taken a new job waiting tables at a restaurant on the plaza called Brio Tuscan Grill and so far love my job. I am enjoying being home with my family and spending time with my nieces and my beautiful dig Westinghouse.

Stay tuned for more blogging.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A great poem, makes me smile.

i carry your heart with me
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
ee cummings

My First Time

Hello one and all, and welcome, welcome, welcome to my blog! I have spent several hours learning how this works, and I think I have some work to do before I am completely satisfied with my layout, but keep coming back and checking me out.

I am hoping this blogspot will be a place for me to discuss movies, books, work, friends, and who knows what else. I truly look forward to the travels we will have together.