Friday, February 29, 2008

February Twenty-WHAAAAA?

This is just unheard of! Feb. 29? Why, I never!

Happy leap!

And now, for your enjoyment, some happenings from Leap Days past:

  • 1504 - Christopher Columbus uses his knowledge of a lunar eclipse that night to convince Native Americans to provide him with supplies.

  • 1712 - Feb. 29 is followed by Feb. 30 in Sweden, in a move to abolish the Swedish calendar.

  • 1916 - In South Carolina, the minimum working age for factory, mill, and mine workers is raised from 12 to 14 years old.

  • 1940 - For her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind, Hattie McDaniel becomes the first African-American to win an Academy Award.

  • 1960 - An earthquake in Morocco kills more than 3,000 people and nearly destroys Agadir in the southern part of the country.

  • 2000 - Six-year-old Dedrick Owens shoots and kills Kayla Rolland, also 6 years old, at Theo J. Buell Elementary School in Mount Morris Township, Mich.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

We've got a biter!

Thanks, Tiff, for exposing me to what has become my current favorite YouTube!

Friday, February 22, 2008

6'U

I love "Six Feet Under." For some reason, I feel like this has become something that everyone just knows about me, but obviously, it isn't. And if you know me, you know that media - music, movies, TV - are something that I'm pretty passionate about (I love it or I hate it). So as much as I might think it's awful to say this, the entertainment I like goes a long way toward defining me.

"Six Feet Under" is, I believe without hesitation, the best television show ever created. I don't want to sit here and explain why: That just cheapens it and makes it sound really stupid and pretentious. But trust me. This is the best show, and if you haven't seen it, please, please try to find a way to watch it.

If you don't know "Six Feet Under," it's an HBO series that ran for five seasons, from 2000 to 2005, about a family living in and running a funeral home. Even if it wasn't the best show ever created, it was definitely, definitely the show with the very best series finale ever created. No question.

As soon as I discovered this show, midway through the second season, I watched every episode of it, maintaining an HBO subscription long past my ability to afford it just so I could continue to wait for the next SFU season to start. I did miss a few seasons because of moves and things that left me without HBO for a while, so as soon as I finished playing catch-up via Comcast OnDemand, I went to Amazon and ordered all five seasons on DVD. That was right before I moved (in my Prius, across the country, from west to east, for those of you who have seen the series finale - it wasn't intentional, just an eerie coincidence that I noticed the night before I moved). Anyway, I have spent the last four months rewatching the entire show, beginning to end, including directors' commentaries, and it has become such a big part of shaping my worldview that I feel like I need to go back to Season 1 Episode 1 as soon as possible and start again. I won't - I need to get a life - but I really want to.

(I am rewatching the final episode as I write this. Claire just said to her mom, "Thank you for everything. For giving me life!" And her mom just said, "You gave me life!")

I would offer to send everyone who's interested my DVDs so you can watch the whole thing, but a) I have hooked my mom and brother on it, so they get each season as I finish it, and b) I can't possibly send my precious SFU DVDs all over the place and risk them being damaged.

But seriously. Find a way to watch this show. From beginning to end. Please?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Home is where the swamp is

Boy, oh boy, do I have a story for you.

I guess the best way to tell this story is chronologically, just so you can experience it in exactly the same way I did.

I am supposed to be on my way to Orlando, Fla., right now for three days, attending the National Association of Home Builders' International Builders Show. I'll be honest - I wasn't really excited about this trip in the first place, but trust me, even if the events of the last two days were something I could have controlled, I would never have engineered something like this as a way of getting out of the IBS. (Yes, that's what they call the show - IBS. Apparently, no one realized how unfortunate this abbreviation was.

So I left work early yesterday afternoon so I could make my way to Silver Spring, Md., which is where my dog Edison goes for boarding when I'm out of town. (It's a little far away, but the difference is $16 a day vs. the $55 a day it would cost to board him in the city.) I gave myself plenty of time - more than two hours for what's normally a 30- to 45-minute drive. As I was walking home, it occurred to me that the weather could cause me some delays. I realized that when, walking down 18th Street, I slipped and went crashing to the ground. It was raining, but apparently it wasn't just rain. I was experiencing my first freezing rain. It was just starting, so most of the sidewalk was fine, but there were random, unexpected ice spots everywhere.

So I got home, grabbed Edison, hopped in the car and headed on my way. And landed directly in terrible traffic. Fast-forward two hours, about 6:30 p.m., when I called the boarding place to let them know that I wasn't going to be there by 7 (when they closed). No sympathy. No accommodation. Sorry, we leave at 7, and that's that. I finished the trip to Silver Spring anyway, and got there to find the place closed and no one there to help me. So I used the Google text on my phone to locate every pet sitter in D.C. I called all of them, and none of them could take Edison in a last-minute situation. Got home, tried all the pet sitters on Craigslist - no luck. I figured I should let my boss know what I was dealing with and see if she had any ideas, and she said she could watch Edison for me. So I brought him to her house, thanked her and apologized over and over again, and made my way home. By this time, it was about 9:30, and I still had to pack and get everything together for my 8:30 a.m. flight. After packing, I set the alarm for 5:30 a.m., went to bed, and slept in fits for about five hours.

And when I woke up this morning, that's when it really got ugly.

I sit here, posting this blog, in my flooded living room, waiting for word from my landlord about when a plumber can get here. You may remember from previous posts that I have had a little bit of trouble with sewage backing up in this apartment. But that was three months ago, and it's all been fine and dandy since then. Well, apparently the problem is back. I stepped out of my bedroom into a puddle, and down the hall toward more puddles, ending in my living room which was covered by about a half-inch of water. I checked the bathroom, and yes, sewage was backed up into my bathtub, just like last time.

I tried to discover where the water in the living room was coming from. It didn't seem to be leaking from the bathtub, toilet, washer, dishwasher, etc. It didn't really seem to be coming through the walls, either. It almost seems like it's coming up through the floor. I don't know much about plumbing, but that seems like a bad sign. Anyway, I checked outside and found that the entry-hallway that leads from the outside to my apartment's front door was a mess of wet carpet. I opened both the front and back doors and found the recessed entry areas filled with water. Each of those entry areas has a storm drain, and apparently they are no longer performing their function. It looks to me like there must be a blockage somewhere in the line out to the main line, and that resulted in nowhere for the overnight rainwater to go.

So needless to say, I missed my flight this morning. I called both of my bosses - my immediate boss and her boss, with whom I was supposed to be attending this conference. They were both very understanding and sympathetic, and they encouraged me to focus on my problems at home first and only make my way to Florida if it worked out. I called our corporate Expedia account representative, and she looked into other flights over the next couple of days and found none.

So I will not be enjoying sunny Florida this week. I will not be learning all about the homebuilding industry. Instead, I will be at home with a plumber and lots of soaking wet rags.

But I do like to be optimistic: Barack Obama KILLED in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. last night! :)