Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Playing with Vicodin

It's been a week since the oral surgery from hell. I've refilled my Vicodin prescription because I'm still in pain and as I have to keep reminding my mother, I have a big honking hole in the side of my mouth!!

Anyway, as the pain (FINALLY) started to ease up yesterday, one of Vicodin's lesser publicized side effects started to kick in. Urinary retention. What does that mean? It means that you really NEED to pee, but you can't.

So this got me thinking about House MD. The guy's been popping Vicodin like Tic Tacs for two and a half seasons and he hasn't run into this side effect??? That's just not right!

And as if Fox were listening to my thoughts (which they obviously aren't ~ not only have they not killed American Idol, but they continue to show it multiple nights a week??? Logic suggests that at some point we will run out of Idols ~ shouldn't we end the show before that happens???) House suddenly can't pee on last night's episode! Wait, accuracy in a medical drama? We can't have that! Yeah, the popping of three Vicodin before self insertion of the foley catheter would do no good ~ Vicodin in not an anesthetic. More likely, he would have fallen asleep on the toilet. But at least we're back to the nit picking television we depend upon.

And about popping those pills like Tic Tacs with no water?? No way! Those things are horse pills and they taste nasty!!!

Friday, March 23, 2007

It's not you. It's your cat.

Now that's one I've never heard before.


I just got rejected because of my cat, by a guy who has never even met the little allergen.


He is apparently VERY allergic to cats. I, of all people, should understand that reason. I should. I'm sure if I say it enough I will.

I could say all sorts of nasty things. I could rant and rave about how irresponsible he is for not having health insurance and/or doing anything proactive to lessen his allergic reactions and his asthma. I could.

But who am I to say. I would, very quickly, very easily, very forcefully, reject someone who made balloon animals for work or fun.

So, we're going to be friends. I could make some snide remark about how I don't need a friend, but I do.

I'm just not sure how to break it to the cat. She's going to be devastated....

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sometimes you just need a little oral surgery to get your mind off things...

Most. Painful. Experience. Ever.

Remember when I said that the antibiotics would take care of the parts of my jaw and flesh that weren't going to "numb up" with the Novocaine? Lies!! All lies!!

Okay, so maybe not intentional deceit. The area had been infected for a decade.

I guess I'll start at the beginning. I go to work for 3 hours. One of my coworkers drops me off at the dentist. They offer me nitrous oxide, but since it had no effect when I had my wisdom teeth removed, I turn them down. They do an excellent job of numbing the area with the topical anesthetic, so I hardly feel the first few Novocaine shots.

That when they take out the pliers. Suddenly I'm in the pilot episode of Alias where the Korean guy is pulling out Sydney's molar as a form of torture (and by the way, he didn't have NEARLY enough leverage to get that puppy out, trust me on that one....). Back at the holistic dentist's office, they get a good hold on #19 and start pulling and wiggling to get it loosened. Then we wait for a little bit. Then some more pulling and wiggling and I yell "ouch!" So, more Novocaine to the outside of my jaw. Wait a little for the numbing effect and then get some more leverage and wiggle-pull and out comes this enormous tooth with roots.

That's when the fun begins. Now that the tooth is out of the way, they begin scraping and tearing out the damaged flesh and breaking off pieces of damaged bone. I wince, I cry out. More Novocaine. She actually shoots/sprays it directly into my jaw. Apparently, given the acidity of this infected flesh and bone, it cannot be anaesthetised. Welcome to my worst nightmare.

So, they work as fast as they can, cutting out pieces of flesh, breaking off pieces of bone, using instruments that look like cuticle trimmers and every one's favorite dental implement, the very sharp and pointy metal thing. My body begins to shake. I am holding my head still for them to work, but this is all I control. The pain is unbearable.

They finally announce that they are finished. They clean out the new hole in my mouth with a foul tasting solution and pack it with some sort of surgical packing. At this point I am sobbing and everything below my neck is shaking violently. They put some gauze in my mouth over the site and tell me to bite down. The dentist starts wiping away my tears and instructs the hygienist to put a blanket on me, then she talks me through breathing as I am starting to hyperventilate. They put some drops under my tongue that help me to calm down and promise that they will never allow a tooth to get that bad again.

I vaguely remember the hygienist's instructions for caring for the site. She tells me I have been through a traumatic surgery and I need to let my body rest and heal itself. It will heal from the bottom up: first the bone with regenerate on the jaw; then the flesh around the jaw will regrow and finally the gum with grow back and sink over the space where the tooth should be. It will take several weeks.

When I get out to the waiting room, my sister and nephews are waiting for me. I'm still shaking and sobbing and frighten both my sister and my older nephew.

Finally, we get home and I can fall into a narcotic induced sleep.

Just for the record, I had to pull a few screen caps of the Alias pilot to show how frickin' similar the reality is to television...

Seriously!! They actually used that same instrument!!! Don't let me suggest I was tortured. I got to listen to my iPod. And I wasn't tied down, but in retrospect, I think my dentist might have preferred that... And did I mention that I paid for it?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Having a Relationship With Yourself...

There's this point really early on, when you sort of know someone, but you don't really know them all that well. And it's usually in some vulnerable time when you're waiting for them to call that you find yourself trying to figure them out ~ fill in the pieces, defend them against your own anxiety.

You don't have all the pieces, so you have to improvise. And if you like someone, you tend to give them the benefit of the doubt and fill in the blanks with qualities you want and admire. But the longer this goes, the more of the personality, the person, you've improvised, the further from the truth and reality you've wandered.

You're basically having a relationship with yourself because the person you're waiting for doesn't actually exist. It's a creation of you own mind and your own longing. Sure, there's some truth to it. It did start out with a real person. But the creativity outweighs the reality and when faced with the full reality, it rarely measures up to what you created.

I'm still waiting for a phone call.

I HATE that I'm waiting for a phone call. I'm better than that. I know that for a fact.

But the phone is not ringing.

Fate is on my side, in its cruel merciless way. There's a tv show we both watch, that's a favorite of both of ours. Tonight's episode featured a redhead named Jennifer. (sometimes my own powers even astound me!) He has to be thinking of me. There's no way he could have gotten through that broadcast without thinking of me.

Still, the phone's not ringing.

I didn't need any plot device to make me think about him. I'm stuck. I realized that he had eaten artichoke hearts at dinner. That means I can finally get pizza with artichokes with someone other than my sister. How cool is that? And I remember how much fun he had playing naive with me and trying to make me blush more, as if I had some sort of inside experience with prostitution and had information he and the rest of the general public was not privy too. "A john, now really? What exactly is that?" And how relaxed I felt with him, putting my feet up on a chair in the restaurant and being completely comfortable. And when I finished my water, and there was no one in sight to refill it, he gave me his and got up and refilled mine.

But I'm trying so hard not to fill in the blanks. I don't want to create a version of him for myself. I want to actually know him.

The phone hasn't rung. It's pretty late anyways. I don't want to check my email, the last resort for the spineless. I'm afraid he's filling in the blanks and somehow when you imagine someone else filling in your blanks, you imagine them doing it in the least flattering way. He must think I'm a complete ditz. He must think my upkeep is expensive or at least my taste is ~ what with my newish car, my new house, my concern that he wasn't treating, my Tivo habit and my premium cable channels. I have no idea what he's thinking of me.

I'm just not having a relationship with myself on this one.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Now that is back up and running, I can't help but take advantage of the fact that I can score my blog entries. So, keeping with our Boston theme and green for a late celebration of St Patty's Day....

My date. Oh, boy. Where do I begin? Do I mention that I'm not sure I can keep up with the life my new hair is living ~ a much more exciting one than my own!! I spent an hour driving around downtown Austin at the height of SxSW looking for a parking space during which an enormous SUV full of guys pulled up next to me and the driver yelled out "You're beautiful!" I, of course, looked back at him like he was a potential serial killer.

So I got in line with the lowly people who didn't have tickets and waited for my date to call me on my cell so we could catch up with one another. I, of course, forgot to bring his phone number with me (idiotic move #1). I couldn't find him and they started letting people into the theater and I didn't know if I should buy a ticket or not. I knew the guy I was meeting wasn't leaving work until 5:45pm, more than an hour after I got there, so I wasn't even sure he was going to find a parking space and still my phone wasn't ringing. I had been chatting with the people in front of me in line and they offered to save me a seat with them if I couldn't find my date. So, I bought my ticket and went into the theater and there he was!

Once in the theater I found out that he was trying to call but kept getting a disconnection message. So, I called his cell from my cell and that's when we figured out I had given him the wrong number. (idiotic move #2) The movie, The Unforeseen, a documentary about the suburban sprawl of Austin and the work to protect Barton Springs. It was a great movie, but it did make me feel rather guilty for having purchased a new home and for being a new resident.

After the movie we went out to dinner at a Middle Eastern restaurant. There was a belly dancer and we had the most gorgeous waitress, but my date earned serious point by not paying attention to them over me. We shared a great meal and a glass of wine and had a really wonderful conversation and he made me laugh and he made me blush and he thought that was endearing. He asked to split the bill, which lost him major points with my sister, my brother in law and Joanna. He said that he had been on too many bad first dates and that he treated on the second date. I asked if that were some sort of incentive program and bugged him for details about this second date. I told him that I had been on a number of bad first dates too, but I always looked at it like "at least I got a good meal out of it." Which was exactly his point. Chris was all set to call him this morning and explain to him the difference between an "outing" and a "date" and how a guy pays for a "date" but not an "outing." (Apparently this was an issue early in his relationship with my sister and the calculation of when their first "date" actually was...) And then, of course, my sister was concerned that he might have "expectations" when he actually footed the bill. Go big sister!! It was at that point that I decided to not mention the part of the conversation about strippers and prostitution...

Seriously, I have no idea how I get into conversations about these topics on the first date. My last first date, we discussed campaign finance reform. Seriously. And we completely disagreed about whether Congress would ever pass it. I won't leave you in suspense on that one ~ no second date. He voted for Bush. Deal. Breaker.

So after dinner, he walked me to my car and we held hands (I don't think I've actually held hands with someone in YEARS.) That was when I misplaced my parking garage. (idiotic move #3) It was 11pm and I'd been up since 6am and I was just so tired and disoriented. When we finally found the garage, we took the elevator up to the 5th floor (the number floor identified in the stairs when I left my car) and that was when I lost my car. (idiotic move #4) Imagine if you will, spending twenty minutes wandering around a parking garage, stopping periodically on one side of a floor to hit the panic button on your key chain and hear you car honking somewhere nearby, maybe a level up, maybe a level down, but just not being able to find it. We kept getting back on the elevator.

And I kept thinking that it was an awfully big waste of a private public space... and considered commenting something to that effect, but I just couldn't bring myself to. Instead I just leaned up against him, holding him against the wall, which, by the way, was seriously fake marble. Why? I have no idea. I wanted to see how he felt. I wanted to know what he smelled like. I wanted to see if he'd make a move given the obvious opportunity. He asked me what I was doing with more than a little bit of amusement in his voice. I said, nothing. Then the elevator doors opened, we stepped around to the other side of the garage and there was my car.

I drove him back to his car and he kissed me good night, on the lips, little tongue. Then I kissed him again. No plans were made for another date.

Now what? I hang out wondering if and when he's going to call. At least I know now that he does have my correct phone number.

Have I mentioned how much I hate waiting and what an impatient person I am????

Friday, March 16, 2007

A Small Declaration....

I have decided to declare today BOSTON day. Not just because it is the day before Saint Patrick's Day or the day Buffalo Tom is play at SxSW or because I'm feeling a bit more snippy with my newly reddened locks or even because it's the week after Brad Delp, lead singer of Boston committed suicide. It's just becasue I can, here in my very smal domain.

Here at Snippychick, Today is BOSTON DAY!!!

Unfortunately, my plan to provide tunes, vintage Boston, of course, is one hold because Radio.Blog is unpdating their servers. (Obviously unaware of the upcoming festivities...) I will rectify the situation when they're back up and running in 42,000 and some change seconds. Seriously. They're running a countdown. (Talk about making your IT staff squirm...) You, of course, will be required to turn your speakers WAY UP. Early 80s music must be hear as it was meant to be heard. REALLY LOUD.

It's that time!!! Turn up the volume and feel the mid-80s and love the Brad Delp!

But back to the present tense and the BOSTON DAY festivities.

Okay, so there really aren't any. I've been cranking Boston on my iPod at work and I have a date tonight to go see a film at SxSW and I'm hoping to drag him over to see Buffalo Tom at the Parish afterwards. It's all kind of iffy. You know, first date. (yikes) I'm completely unsure about what I'm wearing (keep in mind I'm already dressed in what I will be wearing since I'm headed there directly from work)and still very concious of the hair color thing. I mean, I love it. We spent close to four hours getting it right, but I'm still really aware of it.

And the guy is great, but I just hate the first date thing, the whole not sparking thing drives me nuts. Perhaps the hair will do it for me??

And then the Buffalo Tom thing. I've been a fan for over a decade. LOVED Big Red Letter Day!! I'm not sure how high on my agenda going to that show is going to be. I'm a little concerned too because I downloaded some of their other stuff on iTunes last night, possibly newer stuff, and, well, it just wasn't Big Red Letter Day. Way to impress a date ~ take him to see a sucky band!!! But I'm also curious if they'll do something for Brad Delp. I kind of suspect they would, since they grew up with his music just like I did.

And I'm feeling really sad about Brad Delp. He died not knowing how many lives he had touched. I know he touched mine. I promise. This will be so much more festive with music!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

At a Loss

Family Says Delp's Death Was Suicide

Published: March 14, 2007
Filed at 9:24 p.m. ET

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- The family of Brad Delp, the lead singer for the band Boston, said his death was a suicide. ''He was a man who gave all he had to give to everyone around him, whether family, friends, fans or strangers,'' the family said in a statement relayed by police Wednesday. ''He gave as long as he could, as best he could, and he was very tired. We take comfort in knowing that he is now, at last, at peace.''

Delp, 55, died Friday at his Atkinson home.

Toxicology tests by the state medical examiner's office showed that Delp committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning, said Lt. William Baldwin. Police said Delp had sealed himself inside a bathroom with two charcoal grills sometime between 11:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday afternoon, when he was found by fiancee Pamela Sullivan.

Delp also left two notes taped to a door and letters to his family and Sullivan. Baldwin said police do not know the contents of the letters.

The family's statement said Sullivan, Delp's children and their mother, Delp's ex-wife Micki Delp, were grateful for the sympathy they had received.

Delp joined Boston in the mid-1970s and sang two of its biggest hits, ''More than a Feeling'' and ''Long Time.''

He had planned to marry Sullivan this summer during a break in a tour with Boston. A lifelong Beatles fan, Delp also played with the tribute band Beatle Juice.

Beatle Juice performed a benefit last year to help build a new public library in Atkinson, a small town of about 6,000 residents on the Massachusetts border.

The family said last week it planned a private funeral followed by a public memorial to be scheduled later.

Brad Delp and I lived in the same town for most of my adolescense. He was the first famous person I actually knew up close. I was a band geek and he was a good friend of our music director and as his family said, he gave as long and as best as he could. He was a wonderful supporter of young musicians. He even took part in our "Battle of the Bands" fundraiser, lending his voice to the music faculty band that played covers of old Chicago and Beatles tunes. He will be missed.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I guess you can't properly appreciate the title without hearing the way my mother says it with a mix of shock, anger, irritation and outright rage and with a certain shrillness to her voice. Now reconsider.

Medical Data on Empire Blue Cross Members May Be Lost

That's the headline from today's NYT that's linked above.

I know. WHAT?!?!?

It seems their general practice for sending medical data on members to their mental health/substance abuse subcontractor is to download the data onto a storage device, like a cd, remove all encryption and password protection, and ship it via UPS.

If any federally funded research or public health project were to suggest such a practice, even with multiple identifiers removed, they would have their funding yanked so fast it would make your head spin off of your spine.

THIS is standard practice in the private sector??? Are you FREAKIN' kidding me? When they made all of their members read HIPAA and sign off on it, did they happen to read it themselves?? Apparently not.

Yes, the insurance industry has definitely become the dark side.

My love for them knows no boundaries....

Monday, March 12, 2007

Everybody Wants to Rule the World

Y'all can't be New Hampshire.

I'm sorry. You just can't.

Would you believe 23 states are now trying to move up their presidential primaries to February 5th? In the process of creating their so called "Super-Duper Tuesday," they diluted their own importance to the electoral process. Oops!

Instead of having an early say and a quick winner (and then what on earth would we do until the conventions in August and September????) they're just setting up the field to have delegates tossed in all different directions, candidates ignore states outright, and no clear front runner until the other half of the country has their say over the next few months. What? The OTHER HALF of the country will get a say? Yeah, that's what it's looking like, you power hungry putzes!!

But there is an upside. Just because you'll most likely be ignored by the actual candidates doesn't mean you won't be relentlessly nagged and harassed by negative media and irritating pollsters. That part will be JUST like New Hampshire.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Teeth Suck*

I have met my arch nemesis.

And it is a tooth.

A molar to be exact. I shall call him #19, the lower.

We have a long history together. We were able to live in peaceful co-existence for many, many years until one day something went very wrong.

I woke up with what felt like a marble on the side of my jaw. #19, the lower, was showing his first attempts at independence. The marble disappeared as quietly as it appeared by I found myself in an endodontist's office in Foggy Bottom getting an emergency root canal shorty after. I believe I won that battle.

Five years later, in a freak Frito incident at the cafeteria at my graduate school, I hear a horrible cracking noise. I went to the dentist to find that I had broken two teeth. I brought half of #19, the lower, in a little blue box. It was broken below the gum line, so I need a crown lengthening procedure with an oral surgeon.

Since my current meds didn't allow for the use of Novocaine, they used some older shorter acting local anesthetic. I was to raise my left hand whenever I felt it wearing off. But after an untenable amount of stopping and starting and at least six administrations of the drug, I stopped raising my hand. I believed the surgery had to be almost over and I was tired of prolonging it.

I was wrong about it being almost over. When the dentist and hygienist raised my chair and stepped away from me enough to see more than my mouth, they looked startled. I was as white as the paper towel around my neck. The oral surgeon asked me if I was okay. I told him I had felt everything. He shoot his head. You just put in five stitches, I told him and he looked shaken. My aunt had previously had oral surgery with this dentist and knew him to have an ego the size of Wyoming. So when she saw him walking me out into the waiting room with his arm around me, supporting me, she was completely shocked. She said seeing him made her question whether I was going to survive the recovery.

After all that, getting two crowns for the broken teeth was a none event. I can only say that your teeth always have far more imperfections when you see them outside of your mouth ~ you know, when they build that model of your teeth from the molds so that the crown makers can create teeth that fit perfectly? Yeah, makes you question the decision not to have braces.

Over the next ten years, bringing us to the present, the gum never really healed. The area around the crown would get swollen and bleed, but it always calmed down.

Until a few weeks ago. The whole area of my jaw abscessed and swelled up and started leaking bloody liquid. I spent a day trying to find a latex free dentist within my dental insurance network, called 30+ offices, but couldn't find one. By the next day, I was running a low grade fever and my tonsils were affected. My sister called her next door neighbor who is a dental hygienist and explained the situation and asked her if she knew of any latex free dental practices. She had one suggestion and urged my sister to have me get a course of antibiotics before the infection got into my blood stream.

I wound up in an urgent care center that afternoon, waiting 2.5 hours to pay out of pocket to see a doctor to get a prescription. It wasn't covered by my insurance because I didn't have a referral from my primary care physician, but if I was able to get in touch with my primary care physician in order to obtain such a referral, I wouldn't need an urgent care center. How many ways can you say irony?

10 days of antibiotics later, I'm in the office of a holistic dentist. Yeah, holistic. She doesn't believe in water fluoridation. She thinks dental implants cause autoimmune disease. She believes mercury causes autism. Whatever. I'm not dating her. I'm not electing her to public office. She's just going to take care of my teeth.

Nitrile gloves and one x-ray later, they've established that one of the roots of the tooth was cracked or broken, like a decade ago. Dead nerve and such seeped into the surrounding tissue and caused it to become infected ~ a whole lot of infected. She gives me another prescription for antibiotics (this one for a high dose of really serious, treat anthrax, second line treatment for tuberculosis, antibiotic) and a pain killer and schedules me for an extraction two weeks later. They need to remove not only the tooth, but all the tissue and bone on the jaw that has been destroyed by years of infection. It's vital that I take the antibiotic because anything that's still infected will be impervious to anesthetic ~ in other words, they won't be able to "numb me up" for the extraction.

The antibiotics are terrible. They make me sick. But the thought of a tooth extraction without numbness is a huge motivator... Have I mentioned how much I hate this tooth????

* I realize, of course, that the more obvious title to this post would be "Teeth Bite", but there's something to be sad for avoiding the truly too obvious

Monday, March 05, 2007

They like me! They really like me!

This is actually nothing new, but as of late, it's put me in a bit of an ethical quandary.

I keep getting these emails from eHarmony asking me to join or come back or some other such nonsense.

I'm tempted to identify them as "spam" so that Yahoo! will keep them out of my inbox, but are they really "spam?" I mean, sure they're irritating and I never actually open them (ah, the joys of delete from the inbox list!), but it's not like they're trying to sell me porn or prescription drugs or even get my bank account information so that they can move their ancestral fortune from Kenya to the United States, offering to make me a small fortune in the process.

No, they just want me to sign up for online dating based on 29 personality points of compatibility! (feel that feigned excitement with me!)


Anyone out there ever done this? (Now would be the appropriate time for audience participation if there is in fact an audience....)

I actually tried eHarmony a few years back when it first came out. I admit, I was intrigued. I took their grueling, way too long, personality test. Slowly, potential matches trickled in. The more I learned about these men, the more I decided that I really didn't like myself. You see, I believe in science, and if science says this is who I'm compatible with, based on the results of this test, that I believe the science.

So, I did what any reasonable person would do. I changed my name and retook the test. Obviously I had been in some strange mood when I took the test in order to have the highlight of my potential soul mates be a moderately employed, barely articulate man in his late 30s who still lived with his mother. (Are you feeling the not liking myself very much now?)

I admit, eHarmony allows for a certain degree of fun, if you're predisposed to analyze others (or perhaps judging others) by the smallest detail or move they make, like some psychological chess match. Your first interaction is a selection from a list of multiple choice questions ~ I liked to think of them as my screeners. My personal favorite asked how many books you had read in the last year. Anyone who didn't respond "d" which was either "10 or more" or "12 or more" was just wasting my time. But that was my screener. More interesting were the questions I was asked to answer. One guy selected a question about the importance of sex in a relationship. The responses ranged from the Puritanical marriage bed type answer to the West Village exploration of all fantasies response. I have no idea what he was looking for ~ not that I actually cared.

My second run at the personality test proved as fruitless as the first. Nobody witty, articulate, interesting or intriguing enough to let my cat date, forget me.

In the years since, I read an article in Atlantic Monthly about online dating. The author of the article did the personality test (235 questions, by the way) for eHarmony and actually spent time with the PhD who runs that show.

“Let me tell you why you’re such a difficult match,” Warren said, facing me on one of his bright floral sofas. He started running down the backbone of eHarmony’s predictive model of broad-based compatibility, the so-called twenty-nine dimensions (things like curiosity, humor, passion, intellect), and explaining why I and my prospective match were such outliers.

“I could take the nine million people on our site and show you dimension by dimension how we’d lose people for you,” he began. “Just on IQ alone—people with an IQ lower than 120, say. Okay, we’ve eliminated people who are not intellectually adequate. We could do the same for people who aren’t creative enough, or don’t have your brilliant sense of humor. See, when you get on the tails of these dimensions, it’s really hard to match you. You’re too bright. You’re too thoughtful. The biggest thing you’ve got to do when you’re gifted like you are is to be patient.”

So, apparently, if you don't flash your press badge, they just send you the other losers they can't match with anyone else?? Or is that just something to keep you occupied until that other one in 9 million with a Y chromosome shows up? Perhaps that's why they're bugging both of me to come back.

At the very least, I hope I've completely skewed their data by pretending to be two different people.

I'm still saying that the greatest lesson I learned from eHarmony and their 29 dimensions of personality/compatibility is that, apparently, I really don't like myself all that much.

Oddly, someone there does....

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Just a thought on the Swiss Army

Yesterday I posted the AP article about the Swiss accidentally invading Lichtenstein, which is apparently not all that easy given the size of Lichtenstein. AP used the example that it's approximately the size of the District of Columbia.

So, that would make the Swiss Army significantly more accurate in their errors than Al Quaeda and other anti-American terrorists are in their actual planned attacks. When they try to hit a target the size of the District of Columbia, say for example, the District of Columbia, they tend to hit Virginia instead. Interesting point, no?

This got me thinking about Swiss Army knives, too. One has to assume that they are standard issue in the Swiss Army, right? Otherwise they'd be Canadian Army knives or Foreign Legion knives.

I'm no expert on the Swiss Army knife ~ the version I have is the girly one with the tweezers, nail file, scissors, toothpick, etc. But (making a leap here) I have to assume that the really nice ones, that the Swiss Army probably saves for themselves, have all sorts of MacGuyver type paraphernalia. Maybe not the tube socks, but one never knows. Anyway, I'm assuming minimum, the Swiss Army issued Swiss Army knife would have in the very least a compass. (Possibly even GIS or a fold out map...)

Now how did they accidentally invade Lichtenstein again???

Friday, March 02, 2007

And I thought I was Having a Bad Day....

March 2, 2007
Swiss Accidentally Invade Liechtenstein
Filed at 8:43 a.m. ET

ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) -- What began as a routine training exercise almost ended in an embarrassing diplomatic incident after a company of Swiss soldiers got lost at night and marched into neighboring Liechtenstein.

According to Swiss daily Blick, the 170 infantry soldiers wandered 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) across an unmarked border into the tiny principality early Thursday before realizing their mistake and turning back.

A spokesman for the Swiss army confirmed the story but said that there were unlikely to be any serious repercussions for the mistaken invasion.

''We've spoken to the authorities in Liechtenstein and it's not a problem,'' Daniel Reist told The Associated Press.

Officials in Liechtenstein also played down the incident.

Interior ministry spokesman Markus Amman said nobody in Liechtenstein had even noticed the soldiers, who were carrying assault rifles but no ammunition. ''It's not like they stormed over here with attack helicopters or something,'' he said.

Liechtenstein, which has about 34,000 inhabitants and is slightly smaller than Washington DC, doesn't have an army.


You don't suppose we could try to play the whole Iraq invasion off like this? (Don't think for one moment that I'm the only one considering that idea!)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

In Defense of Meredith

The other night my mother and I had dinner at Bess' Bistro, the restaurant owned by Sandra Bullock. I mention this not for the purpose of name dropping, but (Look at me, dropping the names!!!)to set the appropriate scene for this little story. Now the bistro is built in the basement of a building on 6th Street and has all these little alcoves with leather booths and stained concrete floors intermixed with ornate spanish tiles. It all makes for some rather interesting acoustics. It's like the kind of thing you see in parts of the U.S. Capitol building where if you're standing in precise locations under the domed ceilings you can hear a whispered conversation happening on the other side of the room. Funny thing, acoustics. This case is neither as spectacular nor as compelling. It was rather irritating, to be honest. Somehow on my mother's side of our little alcove's booth, the conversation at a nearby table was not even a whisper, I, however, could hear every pause and breath taken between words, never mind the actual conversation.

Now, I have no idea what kind of people frequent a place like Bess' Bistro. My mom wanted to go there specifically because she had seen it written up in the New York Times or Vanity Fair or something. And to the staff, we seemed like obvious tourists. Although, I would love to see the expressions on those same snooty faces if they were actually privy to my mother's net worth or had any idea what kind of money she hoards away. The point is, they knew we wouldn't be coming back and if there was a gift shop we may have bought postcards, but not if they were as outrageously priced as the wine list. Obviously, I'm not the type of person to go out to this hip sell-your-kidney-to-buy-a-bottle-of-vino places. I'm more likely to be found at Austin's more casual places ~ Kerbey Lane, Magnolia Cafe, Chuy's, Maudie's ~ places where my father says the weight staff looks like they came directly from an open casting call for the bar scene in Star Wars. Okay, so maybe he says the more about the staff at Central Market. The point is, I'm used to Austin weird, not Austin elite. After my experience, I thought the food was eh but, the ladies' room rocked!

But, back to the conversation I couldn't stop myself from overhearing. They were two ladies, probably my age or younger and actually reminded me of my days inside the Washington Beltway and the happy hour "fake casts" where everyone drank Amstel Light and acted like some bizarre version of the Stepford wives. But back to the two women in Austin. They were talking about the most recent episode of Grey's Anatomy and how terribly unrealistic it is that someone would stop fighting to live/swim if they fell into the water, that conceptually (they didn't use that big a word, I'm paraphrasing) it was impossible for someone to not chose to live. They went on to complain that Lost is starting to get a bit unreal (starting??? which part of the scifi/fantasy moniker did you not understand???) They then settled into a long discussion on how their moisturizers were working. Seriously. I never thought I would hear two women discuss moisturizers outside of an infomercial, cosmetics counter, ad or the offhanded Cordellia snark "Now there's a woman who knows how to moisturize!"

At this point, my mom was checking out the rockin' ladies' room and as they settled into what became a very lengthy, though pointless, discussion on moisturizer (I mean come on, no mention of SPF or antioxidants, botanical vs chemicals, oxygen peels, exfoliation, nothing? PLEASE I could have scripted a better conversation!) I found myself stuck in a difficult position. Do I turn to look at these people with the expression on my face that no doubt says "I had no idea someone could do so much on brain stem function alone" or do I slam my forehead into the very polished wood table in front of me. I was choosing the later when the waiter brought the check and asked me if everything was okay. I just shook my head motioning to the other table and said the conversation was unbelievable. He smiled and said the entertainment was on the house. So, one point for snooty having sense of humor.

But back to Grey's Anatomy and how no one could ever just give up trying to live.

I think I've already mentioned how I identify with Meredith. When Ellis became lucid for a been hours and gave Meredith that horrible speech that she hadn't raised her to be ordinary. Four words went through my mind. I know that woman.

Maybe you can't get it unless you had some super achieving mother. Maybe it's growing up with that expectation or with the knowledge that your mother is more, does more than any of your friends' mothers. Maybe it's the part of her that got her so far that expects so much of you. No matter what I do, it will never be good enough for my mother. Even if I reach some great career pinnacle, save the lives of millions, if there's a dish in my kitchen sink, I'll still be a failure. That's the standard. She never just says, "I want you to be happy."

But the whole Meredith thing, being the person who looks like they have it all together and have everything going for them, from a safe distance. When you crack the shell, there's no great well of self esteem to hold up everything else. It's terrifying. Half the time it seems like you're a fraud and half the time like you're just not trying hard enough.

Then does the will to live always spring eternal? Hell no! There come times when you get tired of trying so hard. You get tired of waiting for things to "fall into place." You get sick of everything being so hard. And in your own mind, you're not as important to other people as they are to you. You may need them, but they could survive quite nicely without you. Maybe it's part of the whole lack of self esteem, maybe it just keeps you from feeling guilty for not wanting to stick around. Slight of hand, trick of the mind.

But that's life without an absent father (one who even runs interference with the mother), with a sister who is always there and a mother who is always lucid. How does that balance against a McDreamy? I have no idea. I have seen enough friends and family members die and Alzheimer's is the worst way to go, leukemia comes in a distant second, and dying of natural causes at age 21 gets a special mention.

I guess the bottom line is this. I didn't think the story arc was unrealistic. I balled my eyes out, multiple times, but it was real enough to me.