No More Empty Fortune Cookies!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

How Spaghetti Killed my Hard Drive

Photo swipped from

The summer of 2004 was an especially trying time for me. My little blind kitty-cat escaped from the house, never to be found again. I was robbed while working at the front desk of a seedy hotel, and I moved out of the house I had been sharing with my friends and into a tiny room, at the afore mentioned seedy hotel in which I worked. Yet the worst was still to come.

After a few weeks, I found myself an apartment and promptly moved in. The first thing that I set up was my beloved computer, and then arranged my furniture around it. The second week in my new apartment, I was cooking spaghetti one night when all of the power on one side of the room suddenly went out. It only took a moment for me to put two and two together and realize that the wall that hosted the outlet for the stove was the same wall that my T.V. and computer’s outlets were plugged into. I went down the line, one by one checking each outlet for some sign of life. Nothing. Everything was dead. I found the fuse box and flipped the switches, headed back to the afflicted wall, and began at the computer, my prized possession, my link to the outside world. Power! I had power, but I had the ominous blank screen with a white cursor. A sinking feeling swooped over me and I felt as though I may faint. I took some deep breaths and steadied my nerves and then tried to enter the set up mode, pressing F9 repeatedly as I rebooted, saying silent prayers to Bill Gates as the power light illuminated on the tower. Nada. Blank screen, this time followed by the dreaded words “Operating System not found”. I tore through boxes, yet unpacked, and retrieved my Windows XP recovery CDs. Hands shaking, knees trembling, and with tears welling up in my eyes, I gently placed the first of the 8 disc series into the tray, to no avail. My computer was dead. I knew I no longer had technical support, it had long since expired. Even if it hadn’t, there’s little that can be done over the phone, when a power surge has zapped your hard drive.

They say when you are dying, your life flashes before your eyes. At this moment, my life with my computer flashed before mine. I suddenly recalled how I received it as a Christmas present, my all time favorite. I recalled how, upon moving back to Tennessee from California, I packed up my computer first, to ensure that I had it securely in place, even before packing photo albums, clothes, and other personal belongings. I remembered installing my DVD burner, the Bluetooth, and the extra USB port. I realized that the power strip that I had purchased at the flea market for $2.00 was not such a bargain as it had seemed at the moment of purchase.

The next day I took my computer to a friend who owns a computer repair shop. We decided my hard drive could not be saved and that I needed a new one. Luckily, I was able to install a new hard drive myself, and luckily for me nothing else, other than a very old television and an electric GE stove, was destroyed by the power surge. You see where my priorities sit. Replacement and or/repair sequence was as follows,

1. Computer (first and foremost)

2. Stove (gotta cook, gotta eat)

3. T.V. (a few weeks later)

The valuable lessons that I learned that dreadful evening were these:

A. Power strips are not an area in which you want to cut corners and

B. Always, always, always backup you data.

I quickly learned about online data storage, which not only frees up your hard drive, but is safe from power failures, power surges, and equipment failures. It makes data accessible from any pc, anywhere. And, it saves me from the nightmare of lost music, documents, and photos in the future.

And that, my friends, is how spaghetti once killed my hard drive. And who knew I would see the light, so to speak, and meet Wifester so soon after... The times, they do change. That is one thing we can rely upon.

Caspurr, where ever you are, whatever happened to you...I searched, high and low, day and night, knocking on doors that should never be knocked on, posting fliers and begging for any signs of a sighting of you...I still love you and I still miss you!

Birds of a Feather?

I've made a few observations lately, in regards to couples and their respective careers, and how strangely, some careers seem to mesh with others. For example, I am studying IT and am a Computer Science Major. Wifester is a nurse. We have a friend who also is in the IT industry, who was coupled for many years with a person in the health care industry. We've met many new friends via my Green La Vergne group, of which, one is a nurse, who is married to a software engineer, hello there MagsMom! I don't know if that's because us technically inclined people tend to seek out people who can assist us when we electrocute ourselves while dismantling our devices, to see how they work, or if the nurses and health care givers seek us because we seem to need some nurturing, or what the case may be. But, now I want to do some research. I'm sure there's some kind of studies that have been conducted on the percentages of marriages or partnerships between certain career types. That's just the type of thing our government loves to throw money away on in abundance. I'll get on that.
Then there's a friend of Wifester's who has a niece who is apparently, just like Wifester, and is married to a woman who is apparently, just like me.
Now, I've also found, in the course of my current line of work, that there is also an oddly disproportionate amount of accountants in this world, or at least this country, whose names happen to be either George or Peter. I don't know what that's all about. It is entirely possible that those are simply common names, but, so is John, or Jim, or Tom, and why is it that the accountants, not the receptionists, not the loan officers, not the insurance reps, share common names, only the accountants. I play a little game with myself whenever I have to call an accountant. I make a bet with myself as to whether or not this one will be George, Peter, or some random other name. George and Peter usually win.
So far, I owe me a fortune; If I ever pay up, I can retire, in style!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

WWC Temporary and Permanent ....

I've been AWOL from the WWC for a few weeks, and I've really been missing it. Wifester and I still have the power struggle over custody of the camera. The few times I was able to snatch it from her ever strengthening grip, I was able to come up with this interpretation for this week's WWC, which is brought to us by none other than the fairy dust yielding, Tink, of Pickled Beef. She challenged us to interpret Temporary and Permanent, here's mine:

Temporary Blooms, permenant plants

King Neptune, a Permanent reminder of Roman mythology

It didn't photograph well, but here's my permanent tribute to the place Wifester and I got married, which is permanent as well!

And that's, that's, that's all folks! Be sure to check out the Flickr group for more photos!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Freaky Coincidence?

OK, I'm a bit freaked out by this one. I could just be paranoid, but, hear me out. You've probably read about the guy who went bezerk and shot some folks in the Unitarian Universalist Church, on Sunday, right? Well, here's the story, in case you've missed out on this one. And here, and here, and here.
Very sad. Very. Here's what freaks me out.
On Saturday, someone in Jamestown, which is about 100 miles from Knoxville ( not far) accessed my blog by googling "most liberal town in tennessee". This google search landed them on this post.

This shooting happened "just outside of Knoxville", on Sunday. And, they say, he targeted the church because he had a hatred for liberals, for the liberal agenda, and for gays. All of which that church supports.

A little too close for my comfort, I want to know if this guy drove from Jamestown to Knoxville to do this??
Spoooky, eh?

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I've never done this before, and typically, I'm against this sort of thing on a personal blog, but this is for a good cause, and not for me or my here goes:
I'm talking to my fellow La Vergneians... Or anyone who wants to see the space between Smyrna and Antioch become greener, cleaner, and more, well, livable. Green La Vergne Needs Your Help. We need a $1, $5, or $10 donation to assist with the cost of supplies, advertising, you know, the stuff. All proceeds go directly to Green La Vergne, to help make our city Greener, Cleaner, and a better place to live. Right now, we need to make a butt load of fliers to hand out at Oldtimer's Day...that costs moola...those of us who are committed to this project can do what we can, but help would be greatly appreciated. So if you can find it in your hearts, and your wallets, to help Green La Vergne become the community based group that we are striving to be, please, give a buck or two...or five, it's a good cause, after all. You'll notice I've added the pay pal button to my page, over to the right, on the sidebar, under the subscribe to Green La Vergne Button, I've also added both in this post, to make it easy to find. Any donation is appreciated, any physical help, in the form of time committed to assisting is greatly appreciated as well!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Me and My Veggies

I've almost always loved my veggies. I mean, sure, when I was a young one, I put up a fuss over certain ones, like those evil green pebbles that call themselves peas. But broccoli, and cauliflower, okra, and brussel sprouts, collard greens, squash... zucchini? All good in my book. In my late twenties I developed a love affair with eggplant. I had to get grown and move from my parents to even experience such a fabulous vegetable, but once I did, I knew what it meant to live off the land, for I could surely sustain my every cell's nutritional requirement with eggplant. I even spent a few years avoiding anything that once had a face and blood all together. Opting for plants only. I felt much healthier then. Aside from all the chemicals that I was pumping into my body at a feverish pace, as though I was in a race to some junkie-only finish line, and only Keith Richards could lap me to take the lead. But I digress...
One of my other all time favorite sustainable, succulent sustenances are brussel sprouts. I love them. They may reek to high heaven when you're cooking them, but it's an aroma that makes my mouth water and gets me all a tither. Until, that is, a few months ago...when I got soooooo sick. Then just after I got over it, like a week later, it all happened again, in exactly the same way. symptoms and all, identical. The only thing I could attribute it to was the meal I had eaten the night of becoming so viloently ill each time. I had brussel sprouts. From the same store, from the same batch. They were frozen, steam in the pouch brussel sprouts, and honestly, I believe that they were tainted. Oh, they tasted fine, and if they smelled bad, well, how the hell would anyone have known? But a short time after eating...I was violently ill. We'll leave it at that. I didn't even relate it to the seemingly innocuous morsel nestled upon my plate, or else I'd have never seen fit to eat them again, as my symptoms subsided and I was able to move from clear liquids and on to solid foods again. I just thought vegetables always give me stregnth, I'll make some brussel sprouts! Bad, bad, bad idea.
So needles to say, I've been less than gung ho over the sight of those tiny cabbages ever since then. Wifester and I were at the store last weekend, and I saw the lovely brussel sprouts, bobbing their heads from behind the mist and beckoning me ..." come back into the light...just a try, this time will be different, we promise", And I, with all the strength I could muster, turned and walked away from them. Tempting as they may be, so was cocaine and every other chemical substance that I could snort and smoke and....well, let's just say I've learned that when something is no good for you, you just gotta leave it alone.
Likewise, my love of okra has been, er-um, squashed, due to the unfortunate "Memorial Day Experience", which is always said, now, with the quotation marks gesture, just for added emphasis. I went how many weeks without tomatoes because of the salmonella scare, only to find out they were safe all along! Meanwhile, I was chopping up jalapeƱos, who were responsible, left and right! I don't know how much more of this I can take. Please, stop ruining my veggies! I love my veggies. I don't want them taken away from me. When, where, for the love of all that's green and organic will this crazy madness end?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Yapping, Bitching, and ...Hot Meat?

A few things that I just don't get.

1. I have a coworker who talks incessantly on her cell phone, taking personal calls during the day. My boss has had numerous meetings with our team, in which she has said to us "The next time I catch anyone using their cell phones for personal use, you're fired! Consider this your warning"
The next day, she'll be sitting at her desk, yapping away about "Oh no she didn't! Well, I said.." ..."and then he said..."
Yeah, it's like a 14 year old girl is sitting across from me.
I have a few issues with this situation.
A. It's totally disrespectful to your employer, especially after they have provided you with warnings.
B. It's extremely disrespectful to coworkers around you to be subject to listen to your conversations while they are on their phones actually conducting business.
C. Even more rude, it becomes, when those conversations last so long that fellow employees , namely ME, are being delegated this employee's share of work, because she is behind.
Now, I'm not normally one to be quite so vocal, but this has gone to a level of absolute absurdity. The other day the phone call was over an hour and a half long. AN HOUR and a HALF.
I don't get how someone would think that it is OK to behave in this manner at WORK, that is, unless you were the owner of your company.

Next on my rant-agenda

2. Dyke-Drama. I just don't get it. Oh, I've seen it, I've participated in enough of my own, in my day, and quite honestly, I'm quite penitent about all of that.
But I believe that a big portion of it stemmed from my having been a drug addicted, wasted youth. Immature, irrational, and high. The dyke-drama that I continue to see flare up from time to time today (not in my own life or relationship, but in the circumference, with friends, acquaintances, is usually of little or no consequence and has no real bearing on anyone's quality of life, mental, physical, or financial stability. So what gives? What's the point? I suppose some people simply enjoy stirring the pot every chance they can get. Not me. I like to let things simmer down and keep it at a nice mild temperature. Always trying to keep it smooth and moderate. Amicable for all. I'm a diplomat like that.

And finally...

3. Why am I just now finding out that the cooking guide on my George Foreman grill has me WAAAAAAAY overcooking my food? Wifester and I finally bought a meat thermometer, and the heavens parted and I do believe I heard trumpets.
Prior to meeting her, I'd been on a tofu kick for a while, and when not eating tofu, my chicken was boiled to the point of falling apart in shreds (see enchilada recipe) Otherwise, it was veggies, veggies, and carry-out. Oh, don't give me's hard to cook for just one. Anyways, new meat thermometer, since Wifester is a Grill-Master and every grill Master needs a meat thermometer, we found her one. Since it resides in my kitchen, I incorporated the use of it on all my meats, and wow! No more crispy dried out chicken breasts on Mr. Foreman's Grill! Someone should really tell him to adjust his guide! We made salmon on it prior to the thermometer, and went by the guide, it was so chewy and tough. So this time, I used the thermometer ....mmmmmmm! Flakey juicy perfectly grilled salmon. Now if I could just get the Wifester to actually grill the salmon on her grill-de-la grill...But that's a whole other gripe for a whole other day.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

After work dates

Before I tell you about my after work date, I have a new post over at Fortune Cookies Cooks! , go check it out too. Sorry, no George Foreman Grill or Tofu used in this one. Maybe next time.

Now, about my date...

Yesterday the Wifester picked me up from work and took me on an adventure. We became tourists for the day. We went to Carnton Plantation, in Franklin, TN. It served as the largest field hospital in this area for hundreds of wounded and dying Confederate soldiers. The floors of the mansion are still stained with bloody footprints. Ewwww. The grounds were once covered in blood, as this is the sight of one of the worst battles in the Civil War. It makes me sad each time I'm faced with the fact that I live in an area that is the epicenter of such racism and bigotry. But I believe that it is important to visit this part of our history, to understand and learn from it, so that we can move forward.
So much unnecessary death happened, all because of ignorance. The entire place feels as though the weight of the world presses upon it. At night, you can get a ghost tour. We went during the daylight hours, but that was eerie enough, to think of all the death and suffering that happened there, not only the soldiers on both sides, but the slaves who were being fought over as well. The slave's house was where I had the strongest reaction. It seemed so painful there. I felt as though more pain and more suffering than all the battles of all the wars had occurred right there in that front room. I immediately felt repelled from the room. The bedroom was peaceful and comfortable to look in, but the front was dark and not in an absence of light kind of way.
Wifester kept the camera in her possession, so I was unable to take any photos, but she got many. You can check out the ones she's posted at her flickr page.
It was an eerie, heavy, and somewhat unsettling adventure, at a beautiful mansion on meticulously manicured grounds. I always enjoy being a tourist in my own hometown. Sometimes, though, it's tough.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Guest Post From Wifester

Today's Post is from Wifester. It's her first appearance in the blogosphere, so let's all give her a warm welcome. - Fortune Cookies

I’m feeling a little bit dirty right now. No, not in that way. My mouse at work is filthy. For weeks now, it has made the little arrow stutter and miss steps across my screen like Porky Pig being led to a sausage factory. I tried to approach the problem intellectually but after picking up the mouse and shaking it repeatedly and it still didn’t work, I was completely out of ideas. It’s really starting to affect my solitaire game. Luckily, my wife who is so much smarter than I am is always suggesting I “Google” whatever I’m attempting to do for a how-to. For example, “how to install dead bolt locks on our doors” or “how to hire a handyman to install said dead bolt locks because now I have blisters on my hands and too many holes in the GD door for just one freakin’ lock!” Okay, I try Googling “my stupid mouse is driving me crazy, fix it!” and am led to this site . I see my mouse is not only broken but also ancient technology. Maybe that is the cause of its sucking. The site leads me through opening the bottom of the mouse where the ball thingy is, which I do without making it into a homemade jigsaw puzzle, and OH MY GOD it is nasty in there! There is lint, dust clumps, pieces of pretzels (!) and something that may have been Einstein’s missing brain. I have a very hungry mouse apparently. After cleaning the funk out of it and reassembling (without even a blister in sight!), my mouse is working again. Now if I can figure out why my chair is the only chair in the office to have a Pigpen like dirty circle around it on the linoleum, I would be happy.
- Wifester

*this is Fortune Cookies, I just wanted to vouch for the pigpen like dirty circle around Wifester's chair, I've witnessed it firsthand! I mean, what is that about? *

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What Dreams May Come

I've been terribly preoccupied lately. Well, there's school, that's always a big chunk of time, there's some side projects I've been working on, which I wouldn't trade for all the wealth on earth, there's work, ugh, work, work, work...and then of course there's just the day to day life of house work, cooking, keeping a dialouge open with the Wifester, you know, life. I started on a new painting, got some of the base colors down, then abandoned it and haven't returned, simply due to time constraints. I miss painting. I miss lounging around, laxidasically, as though I've not a thing in the world to do. Sometimes I miss being a drug-addicted, wasted youth. There was that aspect of it that allowed me to falter, to swim in apathy and neither I, nor anyone around me, cared to see me get out of the abyss of stupor and depravity that I called home.
Somehow I found my way to clarity and with it came obligation. Obligation to succeed. Obligation to persevere. Obligation to strive. Sometimes I feel as though I strive, to no avail, but then I look back, to where I've come from and realize that my efforts are not in vain. Regardless, when I'm feeling this way, weird things happen. Take for instance my dream the other night.
I had fish bowls. Many, many fish bowls. Full of fish. Tiny tiny fish that I couldn't really tell what species they were, but I just knew they were, in fact, quite expensive, and quite delicate. My mission was to juggle these bowls without killing the poor, unsuspecting fishies. I balanced and juggled those bowls all night long. Twisting and turning to catch them, holding my breath each time one almost hit the floor, and watching in amazement as I grew loooooooong arms, like Elasti-Girl, so as to reach the faltering tower of fish habitats that have been hovering overhead throughout the night.
I awoke so nervous, and anxious, instead of laughing at the sheer silliness of this dream. When I told Wifester about it, she asked me "So what do you feel you are juggling in your life right now?"
HA! School, work, blogs, web sites, school, a house that has constant repairs needed, flower beds that need weeded, art that needs finished, dinner that needs to be cooked. I'm not juggling a thing.
Speaking of dinners that need cooking, I've posted a new recipe and photos over at Fortune Cookies Cooks! It's what we had for dinner tonight. Go check it out!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thoughts for Tink

I've been a bit behind on my reading this week, so when I stopped by Jay's to see what's up, I saw some terribly sad news. A fellow blogger, and not just any blogger, but Tink, our talented and cheerful hostess of the WWC has suffered a tremendous loss in her family. My heart goes out to her in this sad and trying time. Anyone who reads Tink, knows what a joyful and good hearted person she is, and that she must be devastated by this loss. Please send good wishes and warm thoughts her way.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Promoting P.A. Bees and other hot topics...

So, first things first, Wifester's mom, who is a published author and poet ( P.A. Bees) and all around fabulous gal, has a newly budding blog, and I wanted to be the first to buzz it in your ear! So what are you doing still here? Buzz on over, and check out the Bee's Blog!! But come on back here when you're done ;)

Next. When will people learn to keep guns out of homes with children? A 12 year old girl was shot in the head, apparently by her 11 year old playmate, while playing with a gun that had been tucked between the mattresses of his parent's bed.
I can't even keep my brain wrapped around this topic, it's so sad and so upsetting. People say guns don't kill people, people kill people...Well, I'm pretty sure that had this particular gun not been in the house, this little girl would be home playing today, not laying in the hospital fighting for her life with a bullet hole in her forehead. I say it's people with guns that kill people. Rarely is it either independantly.

Next. I saw photos of myself that Wifester took this weekend, and lets just say I've decided to stop eating for oh about the next 6 months, yeah, that otta do it.
Really, though. I know I can't eliminate all food, but ok, I've done away with fast food, I've cut out colas and tea(except 1 Sprite M-F with lunch while I'm at work) and in lieu of bread, I use tortillias. I rarely have pasta, and usually use the George Foreman Grill, I mean, it is the lean, mean, grilling machine, right? We eat mainly lean, boneless, skinless, chicken breasts or tofu or salmon and steamed veggies. I've even stopped adding salt after it's cooked! No poundage lost. So what gives? What the ever loving hell gives? I'm glad Wifester loves me, fat and all. I sure hope I can find a treadmill soon that both fits my budget and my house's square-footage...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Why I Hate July 4th

I've always hated the shrill- screeching siren like noise of a firework being launched. It sounds as though the area has come under attack and at any moment insurgents may take hostages. I always get that sense of impending doom when I hear fireworks. Always. I can remember back to the days when we had a Hill's Department Store. They always put on a big (at least it was big to me) fireworks show each 4th of July. My parents would take me there, park the car in the parking lot, and prop themselves up on the hood along side all the other families doing precisely the same thing. But not me. I was always shivering, trembling, knees knocking, palms sweating, locked in sheer panic and terror in the floorboard of the back seat. Occasionally peeking out between parted fingers to see if the coast was cleared yet. Silently praying for the ordeal to be over. Drifting off to my safe place...
Year after year the same torment awaited me on the Fourth of July. And year after year I squeezed myself as low into the floorboard of the car as I could muster so as to be safest from the obnoxiously loud little rockets of death.
Fast forward...
It was July 4th, 1989. I was a teenager, 15 about to turn 16. My friend, Sunny (purely coincidence that my dog and my old high school friend share the same name, really.) called me up saying she'd gotten permission from her sister to drive her new Sunbird. It was sweet, it had a sunroof and a nice stereo, you know, mandatory equipment for any teenage driver. Sunny and I cruised the mall, the lake, visited friends and shopped all day. as the evening waned, we decided to cruise around with the top wide open, to best enjoy the night air, the view of the overhead pyrotechnics, and to air out the cigarette smoke. She and I were alike, neither of us keen on shooting any rockets of death ourselves, both content to view them from afar. I don't remember who we were headed to visit, or pick up, but I do remember the exact spot of the exact street we were on when my "irrational fear" of firecrackers began to make sense and morph into more the "premonition" status. We were in a subdivision full of kids having bottle rocket wars on the sides of the streets. Suddenly, the sound of a million missiles being launched from within the hatchback of Sunny's sister's brand spankin' new Sunbird startled us. Just as Sunny said "What the hell?" and turned the radio down, the assault began with a vengeance. Projectiles were being launched in every direction. Smoke quickly filled the car. We became hysterical and somehow ended up in a ditch. When it was all done and over with, Sunny and I had burns and cuts across our faces, arms, and legs. The car, burned. Smoke billowed from every orifice that Sunbird had to offer. What we found was a gross of bottle rockets, some kids, with great aim I might add, had launched into the sunroof as we passed them by. Knowing this had turned into a very bad scene quite quickly, they all ran in scattered directions, so they were never found to be punished. The police made a report and helped us home. Sunny and I were left with even more reason to hate fireworks and July 4th than the noise and childhood fear we'd carried prior to that night.
To this day, when I hear fireworks, I think of being trapped in my seatbelt, in that car, with bottlerockets exploding everywhere, unable to protect myself, unable to escape, smoke choking me. To this day, I HATE THE FOURTH OF JULY!