Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Birds of a Featherstone

Don Featherstone, the creator of the pink lawn flamingo died today.

Things you should know about the pink flamingo:

  • They are made in Massachusetts.

  • A real plastic pink bird has Don Featherstone's signature molded into the rump of the lawn ornament. (Without the signature, it's a fake fake bird.)

  • The ubiquitous symbol of bad taste inspired the John Water's film, Pink Flamingos.
It has been suggested that "Everyone please stand in your yard on one leg for a moment of silence.”

Today's News

I was assaulted by a homeless woman this morning. I feel bad for the woman. She looked like she's had a rough go of things. 

I inadvertently woke her up from her park bench slumber this morning around 6:45. That would be enough to make me grouchy, too, I suppose. (Especially, if I didn't have access to a cup of coffee.) But I hadn't seen her and either my conversation with Hubby or a morning greeting with another walker disturbed her.

She ranted and raved and generally carried on in a loud and unintelligible manner. At that point, I had no idea she was angry with me in particular, just angry in general. (It's a well used walkway.) But then she started following us.

Eventually, and this is the short version, she came up behind me and before I had time to react she kicked me in the leg just above the ankle. Pretty hard, too.

Nothing's broken that I can tell. Icing it and keeping it elevated. Phoned it in but not pressing charges. I'll get better. Not so sure about this homeless woman.

Rough start to the day but it was a good excuse to stay home from work.

It's a good excuse to stay in bed tomorrow morning, too, I think.

True Story

I know a guy who is in a lawsuit over a fence. This guy hired a contractor to install a fence but the contractor installed it incorrectly. As in, on someone else's property.

Guy asked Contractor to fix it. Contractor declined and sued for full payment. Guy declined.

Ergo, lawsuit.

Guy hires attorney to defend the suit. Attorney charges more than the suit in question. Guy fires attorney.

Guy needs a new (de)fence attorney.

(Couldn't help myself. But, true story.)

Sound Like A Nice Guy

" University of Cincinnati President Santa Ono has rejected his annual bonus, asking for the money to instead be donated to charities and scholarships, WCPO reported. Ono has also turned down a raise in his base salary. "
Huffington Post | College President Turns Down $200,000 Bonus, Gives Money To Charities

Monday, June 29, 2015

Gimme a sec'

A leap second will be added to the last day of June. This happens whenever the earth's rotation is out of sync with Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). (UTC, btw, is defined by a recommendation from the International Telecommunications Union, among other things, which is an agency of the UN responsbile for information and communication technologies.)
" The extra second will be added as the clock strikes midnight universal time, meaning the extra second will come for people in the United States at 8 p.m. EDT. "
The extra second will come for me at 5pm. Which means an extra second in my work day. Which seems entirely unreasonable.
" When the time comes, clocks synchronized to standard civil time will show the extra second as :60, however it's possible that programs not equipped to handle the extra second could have an issue.
" Amazon Web Services said last month it plans to "implement alternative solutions to avoid the ':60' leap second. This means that AWS clocks will be slightly different from the standard civil time for a short period of time." " 
Last month? The last one was June 30, 2012 so I can see how AWS might be caught off guard.

But there's a solution. The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) is responsible for inserting the leap second into Coordinated Universal Time. they put out a bulletin every six months, either to announce a leap second or to confirm there will be no leap second at the next possible date. (You can sign up here or here.)

Next time, you'll be prepared and will know what to do with all that extra time.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: If the extra second occurs on December 31st, do you get two kisses at midnights? If that ever happens, I'll let you know. In the meantime, I signed up for the bulletin and will plan to be west of here for the next leap second. Preferably, getting an extra second on a beach somewhere. You'll be the first to know if there's an extra second coming your way. I'll make a note give AWS a heads up as well.]

Friday, June 26, 2015

Tree of Life

Tree of Life
If you're a regular blood donor in the Puget Sound region, you may already know what this is. It's mounted on the wall of Bloodworks Northwest donor centers and each leaf has the name of a person who has made a certain number of donations.

I just earned a leaf for 50 donations.

Usually, you have to have 100 donations to earn a leaf on the tree but I recently changed my mailing address to a location where the minimum milestone is lower. I'm glad to have earned it but I'm looking forward to hitting 100.

My current total is 62 although I'm afraid they count attempts to donate equally with actual donations and the last three times I attempted to donate I was deferred for low iron. (Go figure.)

Low iron isn't especially unusual for women and my hematocrit levels (percentage of red blood cells in the blood) are borderline normal ( which is 36-45% for women). My last three visits, I've tested in the 32-36% range while 38% is the minimum for giving blood.

The blood center advises that frequent donation can sometimes lead to iron deficiency which is defined as two or more times per year for women. I try to donate around 12 times per year.

I also learned that women don't have enough iron stored in their bodies to replace the red blood cells lost from even a single donation. Therefore, our bodies need to use the iron from food to make new red blood cells. 200-250 mg of iron is lost during donation but absorption from food is generally limited to 2-4mg/day. So, it can take a while.

Perhaps I've been lucky because I can usually go back within a few weeks (for platelet donation which has the same minimum hematocrit criterion).

So, steak it is! I've started taking an iron supplement and eating iron-rich snacks to supplement my mostly vegetarian diet (aforementioned steak notwithstanding). Plus, I need to try some of these iron-rich recipes. And, I need to be patient.

(I wonder if there's iron in potato chips.)

Not to worry. I feel fine and I'll keep going back. I'll eat whatever I need to eat/do to get my iron levels back up and I'll keep testing my hematocrit to make sure everything is a-okay.

Because I want a leaf that has "100" on it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Death of a Doppelganger

Dick Van Patten
Many people think Hubby looks like this guy (or used to anyway). He's been stopped in the street by strangers asking if he was "that guy. You know, the one on TV. The one from that show."

The show was "Eight is Enough" which aired in the 1970's.

We were in Los Angeles once when a cashier at a drug store became temporarily start struck until she figured out Hubby wasn't who she thought he was.

I don't exactly see it but a lot of other people do. It's amazing to me how often this has come up. It's funny, though, that people could rarely remember this guy's name in that instant. But we knew who they were talking about. We would shake our heads as soon as they got out, "Hey, are you . . . ?"

I don't know which one looked like whom but one of them is gone. (Hint, it isn't Hubby.)

DVP passed away June 23, 2015.

Breaking Updates

Two things: I saw a skipper and no more hot flashes. (These items are not related.)

I went out for a walk the other day down by the river where there's a busy walking trail and I saw a young man who was getting ready to do the same. Only he skipped (as in, to my lou) rather than walked. Granted, he was only warming up before starting his run but I think it's catching on.

In unrelated news, I stopped taking a prescription drug that was prescribed to alleviate acid reflux. (I did it without a doctor's note so don't tell anyone.) I substituted two cups of ginger tea for the drug. Sometimes, I have mint tea. (I had a mint medley tea at Lapellah over the weekend that was out of this world.) The tea seems to be working and quells at least 90% of my symptoms which is good enough for me.

As a result (or coincidentally), my hot flashes stopped. Entirely. Didn't expect that at all but I am much relieved!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Newcomer Special!

If you're a new reader in the next 15 seconds, you will be registered for a most amazing prize!

Oh, darn. You just missed it. But I'm glad you stopped by anyway, joc.



AP photo from Sioux City Journal dot Com.

Saturday, June 13, 2015


I forgot to mention we got droned. Weirdest thing. 

We were part of a group to organize and host a party for about 200 people which involved, among other things, chartering an iconic and historic steamship for a two-hour cruise.

The party went off without a hitch. Everyone enjoyed the cruise and the ship garnered much attention as we steamed about the lake. Most of it was flattering while attention of another sort was beyond creepy. 

As we docked at our home port a drone flew over our bow and the passengers who were gathered there. At first it was a curious oddity but we had no idea whose drone it was. If it belonged to one of our group, I could see how we might have captured some fun images but as far as I know it didn't belong to one of us. 

Soon, I could hear people murmuring in what manner they would like to disable the drone and they quickly turned their backs to it.

It's owner must have registered our displeasure because it soon flew off but the experience was unnerving. But, hey, I guess we should just get used to it. That same weekend a new drone shop opened up just down the street. 

Maybe hiding under the bed is a good idea. 

Screw It

The Allegro Handbell Choir is on tour with their opening concert in Callander, Scotland. But check out this picture. They might want to consider getting a new photographer for the rest of the tour.

John Waters Commencement - RISD 2015

 h/t Ron's Log

Thursday, June 11, 2015

You Don't Say

I recently decided to read the materials that get included with a prescription refill and learned the drug I was taking should only be taken for a short while. 90 days max.

I've been taking it for years.

When I need more, I just log on to my healthcare website and order some. When I've run through a 90 day supply, the system automatically resets so I can order more without a doctor visit.

God Bless America.

The medicine is available at Costco without a prescriptions so I never thought anything of it. But now I do.

The drug doesn't cost much (less than $10 per refill) and I'm not taking it for a serious condition. But that's not the point. It irks me. That my doctor would allow this to go on for as long as it has. That I didn't take note of it earlier. That the system feels rigged.

This is just for some minor, overprescribed drug. Or so I thought. It falls under the category of Number 3 of the most prescribed medications in America.

Time to do something different.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Game to Watch

Yahoo’s NFL Deal Will Put Online TV to the Test
" WHEN THE BUFFALO Bills play the Jacksonville Jaguars in London this October, there will be a lot more than either team’s bragging rights riding on the game. The matchup—and how the public receives it—also stands to have a massive influence on the future of television as we know it. "

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

An Aside

Google Maps places our Portland-area condo address about a block away from where we really are. It would confuse the pizza delivery guy except that our street is a loop so once he passes up the incorrect location, it's only a matter of two left turns around the loop before he finds our address.

But Apple Maps gets it right. So there you go.

In completely unrelated news, two guys that only the most serious devotees of this site would know just got their 30-day chips. C got his May 25 and M got his today. They are working their programs. It's not the first time for them to be sober. It's not the first time they've been sober this long. But it's definitely the first time they've worked this particular program. So, here's hoping.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

In Passing

As my family gathered for the Memorial Day weekend, we made a total of 24 visits to five airports over five days. How many jobs did that support? I wonder.

It's famous carpet aside, PDX (Portland, OR) is my favorite airport.

In fact,
" Travelers named Portland International Airport (PDX) the best airport in the United States in Travel + Leisure surveys in 2013 and 2014* and four times from 2006 to 2010 in the Condé Nast Traveler Business Travel Awards. "
Travel Portland 
It's not as though I'm a world traveler although I've had my share of traveling the world. I've been through many an airport and, without equivocation, an airport - or any public place, for that matter - can be judged by its bathrooms.

Chicago, for example, has been on the forefront of hygiene safety since 2000 with automatic toilet seat covers. How space age is that? Seriously, why has this not caught on?? (Maybe, because they're pointless.)

I used to live there, Chicago. (Well, nearby.) But that was thirty-odd years ago and I've forgotten how big it is. In fact, the last time I was there, we taxied nearly into Indiana before we actually took off.

The Vegas airport isn't big at all but they're also big into taxiing for miles for some reason. I think they just want all the tourists to see the strip before deplaning. It's that, or they want you to think it's a really big airport. Might as well taxi about for as long as possible because a) that's the last time you'll be allowed to look out a window, and b) that's the longest you'll be able to hold onto your cash.

But Portland is my favorite. It has really great restaurants and very nice shops (worthy of a trip even if you're not going anywhere). And the restrooms are clean and well laid out. The stalls are big enough to drag your luggage into without having to brush up against the (non-automatic) toilet bowl. There are enough sinks and driers so that you don't have to stand in line. And, there are coat hooks as if you could expect your coat to still be there if you were to separate from it long enough to wash your hands. (Really, why don't more public restrooms have coat hooks?)

Listen, there are a lot of reasons to visit Portland (most of them weird). If you're traveling by air, make sure to get to the airport early - not because of long lines but because you'll want to shop, taking in some live music, have a meal, and linger just a little longer. And because you'll probably have to use the bathroom before you take off.

*Don't click on the "2014" link unless you want to be tempted by some very expensive travel ideas, btw. But if you do, let me know how the restrooms are.

Rotten Tomatoes?

9 Must-Eat Summer Movies, is presented by Eat24 which is a dinner deliver/take out app. I've only used the app once but now that I'm signed up, I get weekly emails from them which usually include a coupon or discount for my next order.

Even though I've never used the service more than once, I continue to get the emails because the fine print at the bottom is worth a folder full of junk mail! This is the last email I received:
It's the weekend. You're hungry. You're craving something fried and potatoey. You make your way over to the fridge and open the door to find a mustard packet, baking soda, and something that expired in 2007. What do you do next?

  • To order delivery, download our Choose Your Own Dinner app.
  • To save some dough* on your order, use the coupon below.
  • To make something with the ingredients in your fridge, scroll down to these: **.
  • To tell us an even better choice, email us at media@eat24.com.
The fine print:
*You're probably feeling pretty good right about now, huh? After all, you dodged hunger and lived to eat another crab rangoon. Well done. What's your next move? Do you start reading our Summer Movie Guide full of ice cream sundae heroes, romantic leads played by turkey hoagies, and crazed pickles just begging to be tamed, or do you read this boring Fine Print the lawyers made us put here: This $2 coupon expires on Sunday, May 31st at 11:59PM PDT. You must be an Eat24 member to enjoy our code, which can only be used once on orders of $10 or more when paying with Credit Card, Google Wallet or PayPal. Hopefully you chose wisely and aren't reading this anymore. Because this is The End.
**You decide to give it a go and make something with the ingredients found in the fridge. You sprinkle baking soda on the mustard and are about to open the expired thing when you realize, this is not a hot, delicious pepperoni pizza. Recognizing your mistake, you go back to the top of this email and try again.
Their blog is pretty funny, too. It's written like they don't believe anybody really reads it.

Maybe I'm the only one who does.