Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Neurotic Fear?

During a pilgrimage honoring a martyr which would attract many many many many people... Someone yelled out he's seen a suicide bomber. The natural reaction would be panic.. People running across the bridge, spanning the Tigris river.. Women and children are suffocated, crushed. The bridge railing give away with people spilling out into the river below.

There's terrorist groups (think IRA, ETA, Red Army, PLO, Hamas, and so on), biological and chemical warfare (smallpox and anthrax for instance).. And now there's a someone who calls "suicide bomber" in an arena or stadium full of football or baseball fans..

Scary thought.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Pop music

OMG - serious case flashbacks. I browsed through a friend's CD book recently and discovered Paula Abdul's collection of greatest hits.. Forever Your Girl, Straight Up, Cold Hearted Snake, Opposite Attract. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed her songs.. Same goes for Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation 1814" I later bought a couple more of her CDs but they weren't as good as Rhythm Nation. I still have tape cassettes but they're somewhere collecting dust in storage for quite some time now...

I "amazoned" the daddy - not granddaddy - of pop boy band groups, the New Kids on the Block and their CDs still exist. Yes, I admit I was one of those teens who went nuts over them. Sarah Pack and I attended one concert in Saratoga Springs (yep the one where Donnie Wahlberg fell through the trap door doing that infamous leap at the end of "Hangin' Tough") and we were like 15 rows closer to NKOTB than other 50,000 fans. My mom was our chaperone and my grateful dad gave her a cherry side table as a gift. Unfortunately, when my brother came of age Dad got stuck going to a Nine Inch Nails concert. Anyways, much to my family's amusement, I plastered my bedroom including ceiling and part of the floor with pin ups. I used toothpaste and to this day, there are remnants of the paste that I hadn't gotten off. There are too many to bother with... Man that was when - 15 years ago. Gack! My poor brother was assigned the task of writing down the lyrics so I could follow. THAT was before the Internet you young'uns! *humming bars to "The Right Stuff"* I can still remember snatches of some lyrics..

Fortunately, once I lost interest in NKOTB, I was forever cured of boy band or any kind of the obsession. When the boy bands became popular again in late 90s (n'sync, backstreet boys) I actually had flash backs of NKOTB if I flipped through MTV or VH1 where a video of BB or N'Sync is playing. Ooh. Not something I'd like to repeat. For old times sake I might order Paula, Janet and.. NKOTB.. Probably their Hanging Tough or yes, they have one, a collection of their hits. Hanging Tough, Please Don't Go, Cover Girl and Whatcha Gonna Do About It are foot tappers, still.. Need to find Billy Idol's Rebel Yell and Van Halen also... No, not Tiffany or Debbie Gibson.. Speaking of which, I happened to walk by a club a week ago in TriBeCa and spotted a poster promo of Tiffany for a 80s night.

Any embarrassing/favorite 80s bands or singers?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Maine Deaf Timberfest 2005

Ohh where do I begin? It was a real nice trip and we wished we'd gone for a week instead of 4 nights. My body and brain staged a protest by making me a total zombie this week - not enough rejuventation. I m hoping to be out of town for Labor weekend but we shall see.

Jen, Carm, and I rented a shiny tomato red car and drove up to Southern Maine leaving early Wednesday afternoon. The trip went by pretty quickly with 3 drivers taking turns, chatting, and some reading. In late evening, we met Regan at Denny's parking lot in Auburn, near Portland. Few deafies were there at her apartment to meet us for a cook out. One of the deafies was an old RIT buddy of Carm's so they had a happy reunion. We spent the evening chatting and munching on burgers and Regan's yummy potato salad. I spent the majority of the evening dozing on the couch as I had gone to work and spent all morning in a meeting.

In late morning, we set off to Portland to sample some of its seafood cuisine, at a restuarant converted from a ship. I had the pasta special with shrimp (they really heaped piles of shrimp onto the pasta so I let someone polish it off for me) and Jen and Carm had cod sandwiches. We also shared a strawberry shortcake (yummy) and we capped the lunch with a visit to the top of the ship with views of the pier, docked sailboats, speedboat and luxury condos.

We went to EMS to stock up on few things then on to Orchard Beach (think Ocean City in MD). It's pretty kitchsy with the stores and arcades. Nonetheless we had a good time exploring the boardwalk and the beach. The water was cold yet refreshing. Played some air hockey and walked the beach a bit. I sampled some peanut butter and chocolate fudge as well a maple flavored salt water taffy. *urp* I've had plenty of dessert in Maine including this week and I've finally reached my limit. No more sugary dessert for a while...

In late afternoon, we left for Biddeford, a campground where the Timberfest is being held while there was enough daylight to set up camp. Registration went smoothly and we shared the site with Regan and others we met the previous evening. We set up camp, chatted, and cooked some dinner. We topped it off by roasting marshmallows for S'mores or simply ate it out of the bag. The campground was a great thing to behold. The lovely Saco River flows around the end of campground and I've been told that it empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

Being it the time of the month, my body was very tender thus reducing my sleeping comforts. I interrupted Jen and Carm's sleeping with my constant turning. The next day, I gave in and went to Wal-mart to get a sleeping pad. My sleeping became progressively better at my and others cost...

After a delicious breakfast of blueberry pancakes, we signed up for some activities that would take place in the 2 days. I went for horseshoe throw and skillet tossing. Carm signed up for Cross B wood cutting and Jen for darts. Carm and I had some free time so we rented a canoe and went paddling up and down the Saco river. The weather was lovely and we wished it could be longer than one hour (rental limit). We basked in the glow and smells of Nature, thick trees lined the river and we passed an occasional house or two. We stopped briefly at a small protruding rock in the middle of the river and took few daring picture shots that involved one getting out of the canoe to pose and no natural anchor in place, we took very quick shots and grabbing the canoe. We found a small creek that diverted from the river and took a look - only if we had more time.... *an Anne Shirley sigh* We were in depths of despair for a bit..

After a hasty lunch, I partaked in horseshoe toss but alas my competitor was nowhere to be found. After getting her name, I tracked her down to Darts (she doubled booked). She joined me shortly - she lost out at Darts. Horseshoe throw was very pathetic for me. After few good starts, I began - and became stuck in that mode - throwing horseshoes wildly but did not injure anyone.. I was never able to coordinate my throws and Vicki, being a trained athlete was able to get into the grove and out scored me. I was a gracious loser only happy to see the event end. We wandered around a bit, taking in the scene, chatting with an occasional person.. We made a food run at Shaw's - a grocery store 5 minutes drive from the campground. Conrad cooked his chickens on an iron board over the camp fire and Jenny wrapped up 10 corns in aluminum foil and tossed them into the camp fire to roast. It was a bit tricky extracting each corn out of burning wood but we were crafty and managed to get all the corn out without risking burns. Jen then put mayo and chili pepper and parm cheese onto the corn and polished it off with a lime wedge. Very, very tasty. Roasted Corn a la Jenny.

We had another campfire and more s'mores. We played a couple of 'getting to know you' games. I was worn out and hit the sack early - Jen and Regan became acquainted our neighbors and passed the evening with them.

Morning - French toast and bacon with orange juice. Yummy. Feeling energized, I went to the skillet tossing site anticipating some good ol' fun and outlet. Turned out that during a Children's Timberfest the previous, a kid running through the obstacle course tripped over something intended for the Skillet toss, and broke his ankle. The competition was changed to log throw. But we weren't allowed to practice, putting several of us (OK - me!) at a disadvantage. Only three throws. That's it. I let out three feeble throws, wary throws out of concern of looking silly - two swinging upwards and the last try throwing as I would a shot put. Something like that. I probably threw the shortest distance - 11 feet. Some (bigger) women achieved 20 feet and more. I ll have to get bigger, gain 20 pounds of fat and muscle and I should be able to kick ass the next time around.

Carmen's event took place after mine. I admit I was incredulous when she told me she signed up for an event that involved motor saws and cutting - I m not as adventurous as I thought I would be. I looked on enviously as she donned protective gear and cut two wood blocks with ease. Cough*beginnersluck*cough Next time.. next time.. We remained at the sight watching men's competition in log rolling, sawing pieces of wood for best time and speed. We urbane New Yorkers found ourselves cheering them on.

Timberfest Committee wrapped up the two day event with Mark Morales' perfomance - I only knew him by sight and reputation around Gallaudet over the years. I'd only seen him in a dance troupe, but it's a first to see him act. He did a stand up routine and cleverly included local people and region into jokes and stories. Two stories come to mind - the two handed ABC/1-20/20-1/Z-A story about Cortez and King Mocuzema; and a joke involving Saddam in a bar during DPHH in Maine using mainly International Sign. Saddam "happened" to know the signs. Cute story anyhow. Although it was a nice show, but he ended it rather sappily with DREAM in all ABCs and ended it with God Bless. Some people winced, politely ignored that and applauded for an overall excellent performance.

We returned to our camp site and hung out a bit before heading over to our neighboring site for some camp fire and chatting. Hit the sack around 2am with the goal to be out and cleaning before 8am (we all had to sign out at 10 am so the campground could be ready for a next major event arriving around 1pm). We picked things up, cleaned the damp and dirty tent with best of our abilities avoiding contact with the wet grass as much as possible. By approximately 9 15am we loaded the car, went to Dunkin Donuts to get some lattes and hit the road back to NYC. It was an uneventful ride aside from some missed exits or wrong turns (damn construction and detours), stopped at Friendly's north of Hartford and returned to the city before 6pm.

It was one of the best nature fixes I've had in quite a while and it was too short! Again, "next time.."

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Maine Deaf Timberfest 2005 - A Preview

Had a grand ol' time there. We were so bummed to leave this morning, just when we were having fun and getting into the groove. Here are few pictures as a preview. Will blog details once I get my head back together...

I would like to commend Maine Deaf Timberfest 2005 Committee for their excellent event planning and coordination. They were knowledgable and very helpful. I look forward to the next Timberfest hosted by Maine.

FW: Indian Citizen Becomes US President: Outsourcing Works

Got this forward from Mom..


Congress today announced that the office of President of the United States of America will be outsourced to overseas interests as of August 31st. The move is being made to save not only a significant portion of the President's $400,000.00 yearly salary, but also a record $521
billion in deficit expenditures and related overhead.

"We believe this is a wise move financially. The cost savings should be significant," stated Congressman Thomas Reynolds (R-Wash.). Reynolds, with the aid of the Government Accountability Office, has studied outsourcing of American jobs extensively. "We cannot expect to remain competitive on the world stage with the current level of cash outlay," Reynolds noted. Mr. Bush was informed by email this morning of his termination. Preparations for the job move have been underway for some time. Gurvinder Singh of Indus Teleservices, Mumbai, India will be assuming the office of President as of September 1st. Mr. Singh was born
in the United States while his Indian parents were vacationing at Niagara Falls, thus making him eligible for the position. He will receive a salary of $320 (USD) a month but with no health coverage or other benefits.

It is believed that Mr. Singh will be able to handle his job responsibilities without support staff. Due to the time difference between the US and India, he will be working primarily at night, when few offices of the US Government will be open.

"Working nights will allow me to keep my day job at the American Express call center," stated Mr. Singh in an exclusive interview. "I am excited about this position. I always hoped I would be President someday."

A Congressional Spokesperson noted that while Mr. Singh may not be fully aware of all the issues involved in the office of President, this should not be a problem. Mr. Singh will rely upon a script tree that will enable him to respond effectively to most topics of concern. Using
this tree, he can address common concerns without having to understand the underlying issues at all. "We know these scripting tools work,"stated the Spokesperson. "Mr. Bush has used them successfully for years."

Mr. Bush will receive health coverage, expenses, and salary until his final day of employment. Following a two week waiting period, he will be eligible for $240 dollars a week unemployment for 13 weeks.

Unfortunately he will not be eligible for Medicaid as his unemployment benefits will exceed the allowed limit. Mr. Bush has been provided the outplacement services of Manpower, Inc. to help him write a resume and prepare for his upcoming job transition.

According to Manpower, Mr. Bush may have difficulties in securing a new position due to limited
practical work experience. One possibility is re-enlistment in the Air National Guard. Should he choose this option, he would likely be stationed in Iraq, a country he has visited.

"I've been there, I know all about Iraq," stated Mr. Bush, who gained invaluable knowledge of the country in a visit to the Baghdad Airport's terminal and gift shop.

Sources in Baghdad and Falluja say Mr. Bush would receive a warm reception from local Iraqis. They have asked to be provided with details of his arrival so that they might arrange an appropriate welcome.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Happy Birthday, Jenny!

pic by dar

and to many more...

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I Scream. You Scream. We All Scream For Ice Cream!

Ben and Jerry's Karamel Sutra.


Monday, August 08, 2005

O, Americow the bootiful

something...purple mountain majesties... above the fruited plains.. something something... from the sea to the shining sea... crown thy brotherhood.. something something. or that was before this ? I haven't thought about it since I first learned it as a kid in elementary school. anyhoo.. documenting my travels thus far. I m happy to report that I'll be adding two new states this month and the next: Maine and Ohio. Check. Check.

hmmm.. need to get around more. I've been up and down the east coast along the I-95 as a kid - we used to drive to Florida to visit grandparents.

Alabama and Mississippi were a drive-thru in 95' to reach New Orleans from North Carolina: We were in a bit of a rush so Alabama and Miss were a blur. I do remember the sewage pipe.. Must've been along the interstate or was it the swamp?

Someday - when I have a car and a tent, I'd take a year long drive around the States, northern Mexico states and some Canadian provinces (including Prince Edward Island - a must after reading Anne of Green Gables series)..

few favorite/memorable places to note:

Stockbridge, Mass
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Montreal, Quebec for WFD
Tucson, Arizona

must return to:

St Augustine, Florida.
New Orleans, La.
Philadelphia, PA
San Francisco, CA

states -

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Countries - apologizing, telling them I'm from Canada.. not the US..

Ah I do love travelling to other countries..I recently added Netherlands to the map last year. And Iceland. Sort of. . I could see the lava fields from the airport by pressing my face against the window and took pictures. I think it counts. Next on my agenda - budget permitting - Brazil, Argentina or France.

Missed Opportunities - Egypt and Israel. School backed out due to political instability. Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic (I still rue missing out Prague). The US and NATO were dropping bombs in the former Yugoslavia.. School balked cos a large group of 25-30 Americans tramping around like nobody's business might upset some Eastern Europeans according to the school's rationale.

Memorable places -

Munich, Germany - many deafies our age and the Beer Garden. Attended a meeting for standardization of Deutsche Sign Language. Vicious and hissing among the older adults. Us young-uns (low 20s at the time) drank and mingled in the bar while the older adults fought among themselves. Criticism and protection of regional sign languages. Those from Bonn, Hamburg, Berlin, etc jealously guarded their regional signs. Don't blame them cos they're usually distinct and homegrown. That's repression of Oralism for you..

Rothenburg, Germany. Very pretty city - one of the few cities in Europe with nearly complete Roman (or was it medieval?) wall surrounding the city.

London, the UK. A friend and I decide to take a bus for a 24 hour visit to London to visit another friend. We were awake for more than 24 hours. Woo!

Lucerne, Switzerland - the Old Swiss. Alpine. Lederhosen.

Salzburg, Austria. The Salt Mines and "Sound of the Music". Amazing Deaf Club House up in the Alps overlooking the city.

Limerick, Ireland - lived there for 9 months. Most difficult yet best year of my life.

Belfast, Northern Ireland. Dead industrial city reeling from the Troubles. As per Good Friday Agreement in 1998, the UK had removed most of barbwire fences and police/army posts. But you can still see the indentations.

and that's the few of the many...

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Water critters

Ooh. Stunning pictures, very "sinister" as my mom put it. She went sailing out by Sag Harbor and this was pretty close to the marina.