Monday, July 31, 2006

Dammit. Okay, remember the 1:11, 2:22, etc? I'm still getting them. Still can't figure out what the hell they're supposed to mean, if anything. I finally started to find them mildly humorous and I generally just shake my head when they show up. However....

Firstly, what used to be called the Emergency Broadcast System is now apparently called the Emergency Alert System or EAS. Cox is my cable and internet company. When they test the EAS, they take command of the decoder box, flip to channel 2 where presumably there would be announcements in a real emergency, and the box display sits on EAS until the test is complete. They usually test around noon on Wednesdays. During the test period, you cannot change the channel, it stays on 2.

Tonight, I'd been watching one of my all-time favorite movies, 2001: A Space Odyssey. TCM then started 2010. Bonus! I had just been thinking at the end of 2001 that it would be nice to see the sequel again as well. I settled in to watch.

Suddenly, the movie was disrupted. I thought for a minute it was a commercial break but it was a terrible place to stop the scene, right in the middle of a character's sentence. But, it wasn't a commercial. The channel flipped to channel 2 (which happened to be Becker). Then the TV screen started flipping back and forth between the TCM channel and channel 2, several times.

I looked at the cable decoder box display.

It was flashing too. Oscillating back and forth between...

EAS and 3:33

What the fuck does that mean? Sure as hell looks like a big arrow. Certainly caught my attention in a dramatic way.

After the thing stopped flashing, and operation of the cable box returned to normal, I checked around...
There is no severe weather in the area. In fact, the doppler radar is completely clear.
I don't see any other emergency conditions in the area, in the US, or in the world that would prompt such a thing.
There were no announcements on channel 2. Becker played on.

It would be extremely strange for Cox to test the EAS at such an odd time and on a Sunday night / Monday morning.

So.... What is it? Once again, I scowl at the universe and demand information, clarification, a freakin clue... If they wanted my attention, they have it. I am listening! What??

That's all I could think while watching my TV screen flip channels and the cable box flash... EAS... 3:33... EAS... 3:33... EAS... 3:33... EAS... 3:33...

Can't be a date. There is no 33rd day in March. It was 3:33am on a Monday morning.

What IS it? What does it mean? And what am I supposed to do about it?

Home Sweet Home, so far...

Face-on view. Garage, utility room, kitchen and dining room on the left. Office, guest room, bathroom, sitting room and master bedroom suite on the right. Front door through to living room in the middle. Looking through the house toward our backyard view which is the pecan grove behind us and a whole lotta sky.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

I must say, for the record, I love my parents SO much, I can barely contain it. Nevermind what prompted this expression, I just had to express it. They are marvelous beyond words.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

I have an insurance card in my hot little hand!! HALLE-FREAKIN-LUJAH!! Good as of Aug 1. My preferred local provider IS on PPO list! I'm gonna call to see if they can get me in even sooner than Aug 17. But in any case, help IS on the near horizon! And I am GRATEFUL.

Your pirate name is:
Mad Jenny Rackham
Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though, are more than just a little bit. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!

Reminds me of a joke cheer:
Rickem Rackem Rockem Ruckem
Get that ball and really... fight!

Friday, July 28, 2006

I don't know if it's getting worse or just feels that way as I approach possible help. Maybe it's the cumulative effect? I can put up with just about anything for a short period of time, especially if there's a scheduled end to it, a target date after which I shall be released. But this thing has been with me for so long I am definitely worn down. I was already frustrated when I finally hit critical mass and went to the E/R on Nov 17th. Now, at the end of July, I can feel the whole weight of eight months of struggling.

Once again, I'm supposed to have insurance available in August. I've already made a doctor appointment for Aug 17th. Hoping I'll have cards or at least relative membership numbers and such by then. Hoping I really can get service here with the insurance, even though spouse and employer, ie source of insurance, are in NM.

Hoping something can be found and fixed quickly (and with minimal torture).

In the meantime, I'm pretty miserable, as I have been for long months, but slowly progressing into 'moreso'. I'm tired. I'm trying all my tricks for relief and they are less and less effective. One can only spend so may hours in the bathtub, on a heating pad, taking OTC pain relievers, and of late, drinking. Tired, very tired. Counting the days.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Update on Ghost in the fray: He's doing well, still enjoying the adventure, but then he can find a way to enjoy wherever he is and whatever he must do. It's part of his magic. Fortunately he's away from Baghdad and Fallujah, the really hot spots. I get calls and emails from him every week or two. It's interesting to get to talk to him so much. I had feared that there would be very little communication. Thankfully things have changed a lot. Technology affords a lot more interaction, even from a war zone.

Ghost asked me to surf for info about a symbol that's all over the place there -- an 8-pointed star. He wasn't sure if it was a religious symbol or what. It's included in wrought iron gate designs, in brick patterns along wall headers, in the shape of fountains, etc. Absolutely everywhere.

After a bit of investigation, I discovered it's a symbol for Saddam Hussein...
"By decree, one of every ten bricks laid in the renovation of an ancient palace is now stamped either with the name Saddam Hussein or with an eight-pointed star (a point for each letter of his name spelled in Arabic)." -
'Tales of the Tyrant', The Atlantic online

What an ego, eh? No wonder Iraq is having trouble becoming its own entity. Not only are there religious and cultural factions jockeying for position, but they've been oppressed and saturated with the presence of tyranny so long they probably can't even dream beyond it.

And while I'm in the region and on a quasi-political rant... Israel deserves to do whatever it must do to secure its home. As one writer recently put it, all their neighbors seem bent on ridding the planet of them or at least making them move.... but to where? They've nowhere else to go. It's stand and fight, or be eliminated. How can we not support their efforts to survive?

Whether any other country chooses to aid Israel or not, I sure hope they do not try to tie their hands and force them to submit to further persecution. At some point, their neighbors must understand that enough is enough, let live... or die.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

I'm long past tired of the bumpy ride. I want some smooth easy sailing.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Spoon vs Shovel. It's been a marketing thing and a manufacturing thing. Since nearly the beginning of our industrialization, the makers of products drove the market like sheep. "We made this here handy Model A. It comes in black, black, or black. You need it. Buy now." The products expanded but until recently our options were still dictated to us by the production lines. We had three TV networks because three companies decided to go into broadcasting. We had short skirts when the manufacturers chose to make them, and long skirts when they decided they wanted to sell us something different. They all pretended they were trying to follow the trends, but were in fact setting them. The point of their manipulation was to keep changing the big picture so we'd have to refocus and buy... more, different, better.

This... is changing. We're no longer content to let corporations feed us with a shovel. Just because they make it, does not mean we need it. Just because they made a new model, doesn't mean we can't stick with the one we have, thankyouverymuch. We're moving from macro to micro. Just look at the proliferation of micro-breweries, not only for beer, but for bottled water and soft drinks too. Producers don't have to find the drink the world needs, just a drink with a market niche that's sufficient to keep them in business.

Indie films are another example. Blockbusters still come along now and then, but not necessarily from the big studios. They can no longer accurately guess what we want, not that they ever really did. We just chose from the limited offerings. Now, we can go to the multi-plex and pick from among umpteen films to satisfy our more individual entertainment desires. We have 150 or so channels to chose from on cable or satellite, including movies, so we don't even have to leave home.

It's quite an interesting twist really. Seems that we started the whole industrial revolution because necessity was the mother of invention. Then for a while, invention was the mother of necessity. (We make it. You gotta have it.) Now we, as individuals, are beginning to say... "You know, I think I'd like to have...." and searching for someone who makes it or does it. Even better, many creative folks are starting to say... "You know, I'd like to make or do..." and as soon as they begin, a market may appear. If we don't like what the brick and mortar stores are selling or can't find what we're looking for, we can surely find a supplier online.

And that's what it comes down to, I think, communication. We had narrow channels of communication, often bound by limited geographic reach. The reach expanded with radio, then TV, then broadened with cable and satellite. All of that helped connect the world, but when the internet was born, it helped connect individuals across the globe.

We started at the bottom, grassroots ideas growing into big manufacturing and top-heavy bureacracies. Now the upper echelons, too far removed from the fray and trying to chase (or dictate) the will of the masses, may be disintegrating. The masses are becoming more like the individuals they truly are. They're exerting their preferences and distributing their power and influence. We're getting back to grassroots. We're making and demanding change from the bottom up and we're no longer willing to support the superstructures. Now that we can deal more directly with each other, we don't need them and don't appreciate how they have tried to rule us.

We become the superstructure. We are the net. We can build, make, do, be... as individuals... within the larger framework that is Us.

I'm not saying it's all going to be an easy transition. Restructuring rarely is. But, I think it's progress and I'm glad we're growing up.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

An Inconvenient Scare Tactic. Eco-nazis annoy me. In fact, I wrote a rant which I may post later. For now, I like this quote I found:

"Arnold Schwarzenegger is blaming man for global warming. And today Al Gore agreed with him. That's so typical, two cyborgs blaming the humans." ~ Jay Leno

Sunday, July 16, 2006

It is rumored that I am on the verge of obtaining medical insurance again through Spouse's employer, finally. It is also rumored that I will indeed be able to schedule medical assistance here in NW AR. I sure hope these rumors are true. I've been struggling for nearly eight months now and I really just can't take much more. I'd also like to get all this sorted out and repaired before I have to do the move.

Positive thoughts welcome. I need to get fixed up. The longer it goes, the more worn out I get. I can put up with just about anything for a little while. It's been a long while, a very long while.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Locus of Control Test Results
Internal Locus (58%)
External Locus (42%)
Take Free Locus of Control Test
personality tests by
"Your results suggest you tend to believe that internal factors
(ala decisions, internal drive) will define you more than
external factors like genetics, fate, luck, and environment.
... Thus, you have an Internal Locus of Control."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Back in Arkiesaw. Stayed in Kentucky longer than I had planned but I had no reason to hurry home. Once again, must say that I love love love to spend time with my family. My parents are such good company. We're more like old friends than parents and child now. Thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with Mom and my sister while planning and shopping for the wedding. My niece (the sister's daughter) was with us for part of that too. She and I are quite taken with each other ;) Mutual admiration and appreciation.

Had two Sundays which meant two gatherings at the folks' house with most of the siblings and their kids. ALWAYS a good time. Always.

I stayed so long partly because I didn't want to miss going with some of my family to see Pirates 2. We managed to get in on opening day. It was about as good as the first one, I think. One of the links I have with the niece above is that we are both very smitten with Johnny Depp. He was all of his former Captain Jack self and more. Boy, they have a lot of loose ends to tie up in Pirates 3.

Also saw Superman Returns, which was disappointing, imo. Too much recapping on the front end. Wrap-up was rather abrupt and morally pretty sad for a char that's supposed to be such a goody two shoes. On the good side, the actor playing Superman was okay and suitably similar to Christopher Reeves. Kevin Spacey was also a good Lex Luthor.

Saw Cars too, which was very clever, funny, and had a good story. The most fun was figuring out who did all the voices. Quite a star-studded vocal cast. I can imagine that the animators had great fun playing with the car concept. It comes across very well in the film.

House update: Spouse went last Thursday and Sunday to check the lot. Starting to see progress. The builders have laid the footprint, so I can tell they've oriented it just the way I wanted. We'll have a great view of a big pecan grove out back. They're laying all the water lines in preparation for pouring the foundation. We're actually getting somewhere ;)

Okay, enough for now. I'm still recovering from the drive, catching up on email etc, doing laundry, and so on. Thus, I sally forth....