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Archive for October, 2004

Madame Riley

Friday, October 29th, 2004

Madame RileyMadame Riley wishes you all a very Happy Halloween weekend, a super safe Samhain and an all-around, awesome All Hallow's Eve.

In honor of my most favorite of the holidays, I've decided to launch my new site at my very own and very first domain, skatoolaki.com. It isn't completely complete - but please enjoy what is there so far. Fans of my old site, Shanna's Soapbox (which is still there for a bit) will recognize a lot of old content re-vamped.

Samhain is the start of a new year - a time for endings, and new beginnings!

I'd also, then, like to announce the birth of my very own webring, the Under 5' Ring - for those of short stature and proud of it. So if you're under the 5' mark and have a journal/site, join right now!

I've got a pretty full weekend planned so I don't know if I'll be back on here or not - but if I am not, I want to wish you all the happiest of holidays! Eat some of your favorite candies, watch a scary movie, have dinner with family members that have passed, walk through a cemetary at night, pet a black cat, and say 'Boo' to everyone you meet rather than 'Hello'. It's Halloween!

Talking & Driving Don’t Mix

Thursday, October 28th, 2004

Please take a moment to read this article from Yahoo! "Oddly Enough" News:

'Drunk' on Herbal TeaTue Oct 26, 1:33 PM ET
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California prosecutors are cracking down on kava-drinking motorists who are driving under the intoxicating influence of the herbal tea.

Following their first successful conviction in June, San Mateo County prosecutors have filed three other cases, after about a dozen motorists had been pulled over in recent years, said San Mateo Deputy District Attorney Chris Feasel on Monday.

Kava, while not considered as a drug by federal health officials, is classified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a nutritional supplement that can be used to relieve anxiety.

Motorists under the influence of Kava had a "thousand-yard stare," Feasel said. "They're drooling on themselves sometimes, their motor function is so bad," he added.

He said that police had pulled over kava-addled motorists who were swerving, veering into other lanes and drifting onto the road's shoulder.

"Kava basically has the opposite effect of alcohol," Feasel said. "Kava affects your motor skills before it affects your mental abilities."

The June conviction is believed to be only the second successful one in the country, following a 1996 case in Utah.

In the pending cases, motorists have admitted to drinking between 10 to 20 bowls of the bitter tea, which comes from the kava root, a member of the black pepper family.

"We're cracking down on DUI drivers," Feasel said. "Whether it's driving under the influence of kava, or a good merlot or Advil, you're going to be prosecuted."

First, I'd be so totally pissed off if I got a DUI for taking an Advil.

Yet that isn't my reason for sharing this piece. The reason is that if we're going to start pulling people over for "swerving" and "affected mental abilities" due to herbal tea, why aren't we pulling people over for those very things when they are caused by talking on a cell phone?

You KNOW this is one of my BIGGEST gripes. Every day on the way to and from work more than half of the people I see are talking and driving. And they are the ones swerving, getting dangerously close to other vehicles or the shoulder, hitting their brakes for no apparent reason, and driving slowly and obviously not paying attention. I've had people on the phone pull out in front of me because they weren't paying attention. I've had them slam on their brakes because they missed their turn. I've seen them swerve all over the road because they are concentrating more on the conversation going on than on their driving.

This study says that:

We used a high-fidelity driving simulator to compare the performance of cell-phone drivers with drivers who were legally intoxicated from ethanol. When drivers were conversing on either a hand-held or hands-free cell-phone, their braking reactions were delayed and they were involved in more traffic accidents than when they were not conversing on the cell phone. By contrast, when drivers were legally intoxicated they exhibited a more aggressive driving style, following closer to the vehicle immediately in front of them and applying more force while braking. When controlling for driving conditions and time on task, cell-phone drivers exhibited greater impairment than intoxicated drivers. The results have implications for legislation addressing driver distraction caused by cell phone conversations. (Emphasis mine)

So, as I've said before, if drunk drivers are dangerous and therefore it is illegal to drive drunk - then WHY is it legal to drive and talk when it is PROVEN to be as or more dangerous?

ConsumerReports.org says that:

The suspicion about cell phones and cars caught fire exactly five years ago, with a study published in February 1997 in "The New England Journal of Medicine." That study, conducted in Toronto, Ontario, looked at 699 drivers who owned cell phones and had been in collisions. It concluded that when a phone was used while driving, the risk of a collision was between 3 and 6.5 times higher than when a phone was not used. It also concluded that the relative risk was similar to that of driving with a blood-alcohol level at the legal limit, and that cell phones that allowed hands-free operation offered no safety advantage. (Emphasis mine)

in Cell Phones and Driver Distraction 2/02

BankRate.com's Guide to Insurance states:

The Harvard Center for Risk Analysis reported in December 2002 that cell phone use could be faulted in 6 percent of the auto accidents in the United States each year.

in Cell Phone Chatter Can Cause Accidents

So why aren't we doing something? Why haven't other states followed New York's glowing example and made talking on a cell phone and driving illegal? If it's as dangerous as being intoxicated and behind the wheel, HOW can this still be something people are getting away with?

It doesn't take a rocket scientist, or even these studies and articles, to prove that cell phone users who are gabbing while driving are seriously impaired. If you're over the age of 17 and drive a vehicle then you have seen with your very own eyes the ineptitude of these drivers. You've seen them swerving, you've been behind them when they start slowing down or suddenly slam on their brakes. You might have seen them almost hit someone or run a light. I know I have.

The fact remains that a vehicle is a potentially lethal machine and should be operated with respect, and the utmost attention. Would you have half an ear glued to the phone and operate a miter saw? Replace an electrical outlet? Work on the roof?

Let's look at this way - if you're a die-hard talker who thinks it is perfectly okay to gab and drive, answer me these two questions:

  1. Would you want your child's bus driver talking on a cell phone while driving your kid to school? Why not?
  2. Would you want the pilot of the plane you're riding in talking on a cell phone while he's piloting the plane? Why not?

Talking on a cell phone and driving should be illegal. Period. There isn't anything else to say on the matter.

Duff Fluff Takes Over Blockbuster

Wednesday, October 27th, 2004

Last night I was very excited to go down and rent Dawn of the Dead at Blockbuster, which I've heard from numerous people was not only scary but "a really, really good all-around movie."

I left the store hating the entertainment industry, hating Blockbuster Video and hating every no-talent, fresh-faced bimbo and pretty boy picked off the street and falsely served up to the sheeple as "the next, new star".

It wasn't because all copies of Dawn of the Dead were rented out - which I wasn't happy about. No, it was the the reason all copies of Dawn of the Dead were rented out: there were only two shelves of the movie; around 12 or so copies. It was the fact that next to the sparsely-numbered copies of Dawn of the Dead were FIVE FRIGGIN' SHELVES of the new Hilary Duff movie. Five shelves. Of Hilary Disney-Fluff Duff.

Five shelves.

I don't know the title, I don't care to know the title, but why were there 3x's as many copies of Duff's flop as there were of this "really really good" movie that did at least fairly decent at the box office?

Duff-Fluff's movie, regardless of the many pre-pubescent and adoring fans she may have, did not do well at the theater. There can't honestly be enough "fans" of hers out there to warrant the number of this movie that sat on the shelves. Apparently there isn't because not all of them were rented out.

It's simply because she's Hilary. Hilary Duff, mind you - another vapid and talent-less wonder in the sea of crap "artists" that has become our entertainment industry.

Frankly, I find it very depressing.

Ashlee Simpson: A Waste of Flesh

Tuesday, October 26th, 2004

Really? Who gives a flying fuck? I mean, seriously, does she lip-sync or not? Is that a zit or a freckle on my ass? WHO CARES?! My pinky finger has as much or more talent than Ashlee Simpson and her I'm-so-ditsy-I'm-cute Barbie-reject of a sister.

The article:

Ashlee Speaks Out on Her Lip-Sync Scandal

October 26, 2004
Two days after a technical mishap left ASHLEE SIMPSON embarrassed and doing the hoedown in front of a live audience on "Saturday Night Live," the hit singer spoke out about her lip-sync controversy to our own KEVIN FRAZIER at the Radio Music Awards in Las Vegas.

"I'm a human being and things happen," she told Kevin. "Nobody's perfect. I mean, if you ever, like, go out to one of my shows or anything like that, I'm always singing my heart out. Something always happens to everybody but you just kinda gotta let it brush off and move on."

As her song started that night, the pop-star joked on-stage, "It's the wrong song! Just kidding, you guys!" She went on to sing "Autobiography" perfectly.

On Saturday, Ashlee ran into some technical difficulties on "SNL" as she launched into "Autobiography," when her pre-recorded vocal from her first song, "Pieces of Me," began playing. Embarrassed and not knowing what to do, she began a little hoedown and exited the stage while her band continued to play. At the end of the show, host JUDE LAW explained by saying, "What can I say? Live TV!" On Sunday, Ashlee's record company Geffen said the blunder was the result of a "computer glitch."

"I have severe acid reflux," Ashlee said at the RMAs. "And the day of 'Saturday Night Live' I actually completely lost my voice. In the rehearsals it was going great and then, you know, comes like four hours to the show and I lost my voice."

On Monday's "TRL" on MTV, Ashlee said she had a Cortisone shot, so her voice was back up to speed for that night's performance. Regarding her "SNL" blunder, Ashlee said, "I think all of us went into a state of shock," and, not knowing what to do, she started dancing. "I made a complete fool of myself."

Other performers on the RMA bill included TIM McGRAW, ALANIS MORISSETTE, ELTON JOHN and the reunited DESTINY'S CHILD, featuring BEYONCÉ. CARSON DALY and MOLLY SIMS hosted the event, which honored the performers' successes in radio. JANET JACKSON was also recognized for her contributions with the Radio Legend Award.

Honestly, people, seeing this kind of asinine tripe in the headlines is the reason I stopped watching and listening to the news.

This And That

Tuesday, October 26th, 2004

This was my weekend:

5:00am Saturday morning woke up
7:00am Saturday morning left the house
4:00pm Saturday evening return home to a house full of people
1:00am Sunday morning the people leave
2:00am Sunday morning I get to sleep
4:30am Sunday morning my friend who passed out wakes up and wants a ride home
5:00am Sunday morning back to sleep
6:00am Sunday morning actually fell back asleep
7:00am Sunday morning woke up
7:30am Sunday morning left the house
9:00am Sunday morning arrived in New Roads
10:00am Sunday morning arrived in Innis for a baby shower
3:00pm Sunday evening returned home
4:30pm Sunday evening finished cleaning up the house from the party the night before
5:00pm Sunday evening took a bath
10:00pm Sunday evening went to bed

It was non-stop, but I really had a great time. The party was something else. Just a little word to the wise, if you're the kind of person who really doesn't like sharing their make-up and you plan to have a gaggle of drunk gay men at your house for a party, hide your make-up bag. I really didn't mind, and they looked so cute with their dark eyeliner and colorful eye shadow, how could I fuss?

Another note, if you're having a party and you are the only sober person there, do not let the drunk people do the cooking. My kitchen, after everyone left, looked worse than the streets of the French Quarter after Mardi Gras. I didn't mind - in fact I found the 2 1/2" high pile of chopped potatoes left rotting on the chopping block so funny (along with the rest of disaster), I took pictures. I didn't know stains came in so many colorful colors and patterns as they did on my stove and countertops.

There was a game of strip poker, and some resulting blackmail photos of breasts and butts. It's common when we all get together for there to be some pretty racy photos in the stack - let's put it this way, none of us could ever run for office. But a good time was had by all.

Though Sunday morning I was lamenting the horror of baby showers, and vowing to come back next lifetime with a penis so I'd only ever have to go to bachelor parties, I did have a very nice time at the shower.

When I got home at 3pm, Baret was still hung over and in bed. He had partied long time.

I spent the rest of the evening getting caught up on bills and important-stuff-like-that. I'm such an adult sometimes.

Last night I was so happy to find my Televisionary Oracle by Rob Brezsny. I'd started it and lost it and have been wanting to get back to it. Of course, I must always remember that generally when I "lose" things it's actually Baret "putting them away". It was in the bookshelf downstairs. I never would've thought to look there because I don't put up books that I'm reading. But Baret puts up anything that's lying around. As you can imagine, I "lose" things quite often.

In closing, I must report that all of the evil Ebay dolls that I blogged about sought their wicked, stuffed and porcelain revenge on me last night. I had a nightmare that terrified me so I was crying out and whimpering loud enough to wake Baret - who woke me (but not before my whimpers turned to all out screams). In the dream, I was lying in bed and just outside the door to the bedroom was a doll lying facedown on the floor. It appeared to be a Cabbage Patch doll. Slowly, the thing began coming towards me - it didn't get up and walk, rather just stayed facedown and slid slowly across the carpet. My cat, JoJo, who was on the end of the bed told me, "There's no one here but us - no one is making that thing move! It's coming! It's coming!" He then ran off - note that I never found it in the least peculiar that he was talking to me. I began crying out because I couldn't move and the doll was sliding up the backside of the bed. I was then aware of the noise I was making and Baret trying to shake me awake, but I was still in the damn dream! The thing was on the bed and sliding towards my leg and I felt pure terror - and started screaming. Then, just before it touched me, Baret got me to wake up the rest of the way. I was so scared I freakin' cried and I was shaking!

I guess this really puts on hold me re-reading two horror stories from my teen years that I was planning to start on this week that involved dolls-that-come-to-life-and-killing, eh?

Email No-Nos

Saturday, October 23rd, 2004

It's been awhile since I've ranted about the junk emails people forward me. This doesn't mean I haven't been getting any; just that I've been stewing over it rather than bitching about it. I believe aggravating forwards will forever be a constant in any computer user's life.

I have, however, come up with this: Shanna's List of Email No-Nos

Enjoy.

If you send me a .pps, I will delete it.

If you forward me an email with over 2 million >>'s in it, I will henceforth delete every email you ever send me.

If you send me a stupid junk email promising fortunes, coupons, or a place in heaven, I will lose all respect for you.

If you send me a link to an .htm page with loud sounds on it, I will turn the speakers all the way up on your computer when you're not around.

If you send me an email with a dumb joke that claims I must punch any combination of keys on my keyboard to see the punch line, I will pray to the computer gods that your computer crashes.

If you send me a link to an .htm page that is seemingly innocent and then some horrible atrocity suddenly pops on the screen to scare the ever-living-daylights out of me, I will no longer be your friend.

If you send me an immature limerick about how great friends are and how if I'm a great friend I would forward this piece of crap to my friends and tell them so, I will wonder if you ever graduated high school.

If you send me any kind of product warning, potential-homicidal-person sighting, missing child alert, or medical tip without first checking the validity of it at snopes.com, I will personally hire a group of men to lay a crying baby on your doorstep one night who will then spray you with poisonous perfume and stuff leaden lipstick down your throat when you answer the door.

Jessica Simpson Will Never Be Daisy Duke

Friday, October 22nd, 2004

I'm such a geek. I got home yesterday to find a present on my desk from my wonderful also-geeky boyfriend; a 512mb USB flash card!! Oh joy of joys! Ever since getting my 128mb one about a year ago, I truly wondered how I'd lived without it at all. I used to be the girl carrying around 10+ floppies on her person; if I had certain files I wanted, say from my home pc to my work pc, I'd email them to myself. A USB flash card is a must for any on-the-go geek. 512mb, baby - say it with me. No flowers that could wilt or sexy lingerie I may wear once - my man gives me something I can use. Thank you, baby, for your thoughtful geekiness; I love you!

And I would just like to throw my two coppers out there on this whole Jessica Simpson as Daisy Duke mess. Jessica, I never really liked you, but I tolerated you; reserving my vitriol for your more dangerous cousins Spears and Skankuilera. But now, you must die.

You see, this is an insult to the Dukes of Hazzard. I'm not saying it's some fine piece of fiction but it is an old favorite from childhood. I'm not lying to you when I say that written down in my baby book as some of my first words are "Bo Duke" and "Luke Duke". I had the Dukes of Hazzard Hot Wheels cars even. And what I'm trying to say is that ditzy bottle-blonde Simpson is NOT Daisy Duke by any stretch of the imagination! Daisy was not dumb, for one, and I can't see Simpson even being able to act as if she isn't. It's not like I wasn't expecting them to make it campy, but putting Jessica fucking Simpson in the role of Daisy is just, well, stupid. Jessica, Catherine Bach you are not. I'm not even going to talk about the choices for my beloved Bo & Luke...but I'm not at all happy about those either. And Burt Reynolds as Boss Hogg?? Come the fuck on. This has to be the worst case of casting in the history of cinema. Let's hire the dog that plays Lassie to play Roscoe's basset hound, Flash. And throw some spinners on the General Lee and paint Dixie hot pink with some flaming racing stripes. Makes about as much sense.

What's scary was that I was looking up some Dukes of Hazzard trivia since I couldn't remember Flash's name, and I actually remember some of the episodes they're talking about! Note that I was at the age of learning to talk when I used to watch this show. I also saw that you can get the old episodes on DVD. Hmmmmnn....I do have a birthday looming (Nov. 6). And, ohmigoddess, am I totally cheesy for wanting this shirt?! I do, I really do.

It's Friday and I have a busy weekend ahead. I hate that. By time Sunday rolls around I feel as if I got no rest. And I need my rest. Next weekend is Halloween, and that's chock full of parties and goodies and the next we're going to the Houston Renaissance Festival for my birthday. I need a rest! At least we get four days off of work this November. My office is also trying to work out letting us work 4-10s; that'd be *great*. I think everyone should have a weekday off - even if it's just once a month. There are things that sometimes need to be taken care of that you just can't do on a weekend - places that aren't open before you go in and are closing up when you're going home. If I need to get my license renewed, or go to the doctor for a check-up, for example, I have to use my leave time from work to do that. I often wonder how people get anything done working 9-5 7 days a week. 4-10s would rock the house.

Enough rambling. It's FRIDAY, people! I can wear jeans to work and the whole weekend is ahead of us! Have a good one...