Archive for February, 2009

Laura Bush, Concerned Citizen

Posted in Politics on February 28, 2009 by gyma

I didn’t see this interview when it aired, but heard about it while watching last night’s Real Time with Bill Maher online this morning. It must be nice to be so secure in your life that you simply don’t give a shit what other people are going through or how we are going to get ourselves out of the mess created by your husband and his buddies.

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Bad Idea

Posted in Books, Culture on February 22, 2009 by gyma

blown-bitsI’m currently reading this book and, in the process, am rethinking the whole ‘blogging’ thing.  Why are we so willing and ready to give up our privacy and anonymity for convenience or a few bucks or perhaps something else?  I was surprised to discover that digital photos contain identifying information.  Apparently it’s possible to determine which camera (by serial number) took the picture, and by implication, if you mailed in your owner registration card, the camera’s owner.  And in order to thwart counterfeiting of money, every page printed on a color printer contains an embedded ‘fingerprint’ that can be traced back to that printer.  Keep this in mind if you thought you could print something (perhaps a nasty letter about your employer) and send it anonymously.

And did you know the government is able to remotely turn on the microphone in your cell phone even when it is turned off?  They can do the same thing to your OnStar navigation system in your car if they want to listen in on conversations taking place in your car.  I’ve also learned that 87% of the population in the United States can be uniquely identified if you have the following  pieces of info:  gender, zip code, and date of birth.  And gender can often be inferred. 

Don’t think this doesn’t affect you if you believe you have nothing to hide.  Why?  Because think about what needed to take place during the American Revolution in order to win independence from England.  Had England been able to control all the communications taking place, it would have been impossible to organize and plan the revolution.  Dissidents and opposing opinions are vital to a thriving democracy and we shouldn’t be willing to give away our privacy so thoughtlessly.

I’ve only read the first 50 pages of this book but it already has me viewing life differently.  I’m not sure how I would have felt about an article I read in today’s paper prior to reading this book.  Is it a good idea to have individuals taking pictures of every single person encountered and then uploading those pictures to a web site in the unlikely event that person commits a crime against you?  The entrepreneur behind Face File wants you to believe this will keep you safe. 

I think it’s a way for Wilcox to make money.

Stroke Zone

Posted in Health on February 18, 2009 by gyma

blood-pressure

I saw my doctor Monday to get a refill on a prescription I’m forced to take forever and ever because of a medical goof up several decades ago.  My doc was alarmed because my blood pressure reading was 170/90 and didn’t go down one bit while I was there.  I’ve always struggled with ‘white coat’ syndrome so I wasn’t all that worried.  I did, however, take his advice and have my bp checked a couple of other places throughout the day.

I have a cuff at home I used when a different doc wanted to start me down the pill path a couple of years ago.  But every time I checked, my bp was within the normal range.  This time my cuff was reading a bit high, but nothing like 170/90.  I took the cuff to work the next day and asked one of the public health nurses to take my bp so I could check my cuff with her reading.  Sad to say the reading was 190/100! although my cuff was reading 135/85.  I called my doc’s office immediately and was back in this morning.  I’m now the proud owner of 2 more pills to pop, but they have lowered both my pulse and bp.

The original drug I take is synthroid because I no longer have a thyroid.  When I was about 3 years old, my family doctor thought it would be a wonderful idea to irradiate my tonsils to shrink them.  It did shrink them (temporarily, I might add) but several years later I developed a very large tumor on my thyroid.  Lucky for me it was a benign tumor and the surgeon removed only one thyroid lobe.  But less than 5 years later there was another tumor on the other lobe.  I waited nearly 20 years to have that tumor removed and now I struggle to get my tsh levels balanced (it currently isn’t in balance and could be a major factor in the stroke level bp problem).

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that once my tsh levels are correct, I’ll be able to get off the bp meds.  My mother was taking dozens of meds by the time she died because everything she took caused something else to go haywire, which was then fixed by taking another pill.  Ad infinitum.

I’d like to think that had my family doc opted for the tonsillectomy, I’d be a much happier person about now.

And let this be a lesson to have your home monitoring systems calibrated regularly so they don’t lull you into a false sense of security.

Shopping Cart Chair

Posted in Miscellaneous on February 16, 2009 by gyma

shopping-cart-chairs1Now I know what’s happened to those 2 million missing shopping carts.  Someone is converting them to furniture!

Neko Case

Posted in Music on February 15, 2009 by gyma

Deep Red Bells

he led you to this hiding place
his lightning threats on silver tongue
the red bells beckon you to ride
a handprint on the driver’s side
it looks a lot like engine oil
and tastes like being poor and small
and popsicles in the summer

deep red bells, deep as I’ve been done
deep red bells, deep as I’ve been done

it always has to come to this
red bells ring this tragic hour
lost sight of the overpass
the daylight won’t remember her
when speckled fronds raise round your bones
who took the time to fold your clothes?
who shook the valley of the shadow?

deep red bells, deep as I’ve been done
deep red bells, deep as I’ve been done

where does this mean world cast its cold eye?
who’s left to suffer long about you?
does your soul cast about like an old paper bag
past empty lots and early graves?
those like you who lost their way
murdered on the interstate
while the red bells rang like thunder

deep red bells, deep as I’ve been done
deep red bells, deep as I’ve been done
deep red bells, deep as I’ve been done

I was introduced to Neko Case two years ago when I was visiting Machu Picchu.  On the train trip between Cuzco and Machu Picchu, I sat next to a Catholic priest (!) and we traded iPods.  I don’t know what he listened to on my iPod, but I listened to Neko Case!

BTW, this song is about the Green River killer.  Neko grew up in Tacoma, was greatly influenced by the news of Gary Ridgway, and often carried a knife to school with her.

Digital TV Question

Posted in Technology on February 14, 2009 by gyma

I need some help!  We used part of our tax refund money to buy a digital tv today.  We are using a rooftop antenna and most of the stations in the Denver market will not be converting to digital next week.

Here’s the problem:  when watching the channels in digital mode, part of the picture is cut off.  For example, the tops of heads don’t show and any wording gets cut off.

For now, we are watching in analog because we get the full picture.  But when the conversion takes place, I’ll want to be able to see the entire picture.

How do I fix this?!

UPDATE:  Looks like I fixed it by pushing the ‘pix shape’ button on the remote control.   Now that’s intuitive, and there wasn’t anything in the crappy manual that helped.  Sometimes you have to just begin pushing buttons and hope you don’t screw up anything too badly.

The P Word

Posted in Culture, Politics on February 14, 2009 by gyma
marostica

Don Marostica (R-JrHS)

Some people need to grow up.  Don Marostica (R) is one of them.  This guy is my rep in the statehouse, but I have never voted for him and never will.  In fact we got into a bit of an email flame war this last election cycle because he pays some old fart to go around town putting up his political signs on public property, which is against the law.

It seems Donnie got the vapors recently when one of his aides saw an ad from the UK National Health Service that included the word penis.

You see Marostica, always in the back pocket of big business, was considering the introduction of a bill that would make the ban on indoor smoking less restrictive.  Stephanie Steinberg, the executive director of an anti-smoking organization, showed up at Marostica’s office with an ad. 

[…] The caption reads, “Smoking damages the tissues in your penis.”

Marostica got a copy of the ad from a 19-year-old male aide and deemed it to be “very inappropriate and offensive material.” He went to the House floor Friday morning to speak out about it and said he would not even display the ad for other legislators because of its content….

Leave it to a prude like Marostica to think his colleagues would be offended by seeing the word penis in print, but think nothing of actually taking a scalpel to the penis of a prisoner in Gitmo as way of extracting information from him.

Spare me, please.