flightless hag

A chronicle of the adventures of birdwoman: a lonely, talentless freak who wanders the internet in search of entertainment.

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Location: Philly

I'm a 40-something married white female, survivor of weight watchers, avid reader of pulp. Dogs (not cats), extreme right (handed, not politics), ENTJ, alto, wanna-be knitter.

September 29, 2005


Mega New Posts Below!

Reasoning behind block posting given in oldest new post!

Over and Out!

(*)> !

My Attitude

Every year, I get myself a calendar that I expect someone to comment on. One year it was the witches calendar. This year it’s the Churchman’s calendar (courtesy of my church – I’m not a wiccan, though I am a witch, often with a capital-B, as my dear old mom would say.)

I’m going to order myself a very fitting calendar for my office next year.
Despair.Com has a calendar that I’m just wondering if I have the stones to hang in my office.

Despair, for those of you who aren’t in the know, are a company which makes motivational posters. You know, like the ones with pictures of things like eagles, and above the picture is the word “Attitude” and then there’s some pithy saying underneath? You’ve surely seen one of these disgusting things in an office somewhere? Well, Despair makes motivational posters of a different flavor. “Mistakes”, for example, has a picture of a sinking ship. The saying? “It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.”

The business as usual calendar has 12 such gems, but the two that are perfectly apt for Spaceleys?:


Nuff Said.


Fundamentals of Personal Hell

So, I’m a manager now. Dilbert principle come to life, I suppose. But one of the tortures one must endure at Spaceleys when one is in management is absolutely torturous training. This week’s winner? Fundamentals of Personnel Law.

So, we’re sitting in this room, camera conferenced in with the other rooms across Spaceley’s enterprise. Some lawyer from Texas tried to enliven a three hour meeting discussing just what was legal and what wasn’t when it comes to employer-dom.

For example, did you know that requiring a high-school diploma, just because it seems a good idea, is illegal? You have to prove the job needs it. If you just want to require it because you think only losers don’t finish high school, well, you’re discriminating. Illegally. Because it ends up that like 70+% of dropouts are minorities.

Some of the other gems? Can’t ask about an arrest record for the same reason. Can’t ask an exempt employee to check his email or voice mail on PTO days, because even 15 minutes of work = a full day. Can’t call someone over-qualified, because the EEOC has decided that means ageism.

I was getting so torqued. I mean, if an employer decides they don’t want to have female managers, well, that’s kinda stupid, and jerky, but not illegal. Or it shouldn’t be. If a company is publicly owned or privately held (not a govt enterprise, in other words), the only punishable offense should be defrauding people of money. Discrimination may be assinine, in some cases (but in some cases, being discriminate is a good thing!), but there should be no law against it!!

My only enjoyment the entire time was picturing
Ogre having to go through the same class. He would’ve blown a gasket.


Cult Membership Attained

So, as I’ve mentioned before, iRock – 128 meg. It holds about 33 songs – enough for 1.5 torture sessions.

The other day, I was ogling the mp3 players at Best Buy when one of my cohorts from Spaceleys noticed me. He’s on the security team, and they’re all about Macintosh. Don’t quite know why. Anyway, he had just gotten a new nano; a 4G (they had just come out a few days before. He got it before the whole rush.) Anyhow, he convinced me to borrow his Shuffle.

So, I loaded iTunes on my laptop. And I plugged in the iPod. And it loaded 250 songs. And one week of running later, I hadn’t heard the same band, let alone the same song. I was hooked.

But, the quandary: Nano or Shuffle? In the end, the cheap-ass side of me kind of won. I got the 1G shuffle. The funny thing? It cost the same as the iRock did three, almost 4 years ago.

Looks like a pregnancy test stick, eh?


Tales of Spaceleys

I have been working my tail off lately. Spaceleys is making sprockets left and right, and all our systems are going a little nuts over it, so we systems folk are going nuts right along with it. I expect blogging will stay light at best for the next few weeks. But I’ll try to come visit my friends when I can. Tonight, I’m going to ramble down all the posts I’ve been thinking about for the past week, as I toiled, pushing the same button over and over again.

Hope you enjoy!


September 22, 2005

Meanest Mom In The World!

I have to blog this.

This morning, Stinky was being rather a pest. He has this victorian melodrama thing going on lately, where, whenever things aren't going his way, he says he wants to die. I've tried different methods of dealing with this: ignore him, talk to him about how bad it would be if he were dead, tell him all the stuff he'd miss if he were dead, make fun of him (hey, I'm a teaser at heart) by saying "go ahead, just don't leave a mess" kind of thing...

This morning I had no patience for any of it.

I've taken to leaving 20-30 minutes later in the morning. I end up being stuck at work late just about every day, so where's the fire to get here at 7:30, right? So, I'm cleaning the kitchen a bit, watering the flowers, blogging, getting ready, the Moth jabbering and helping me the whole time, and the Heir watching TV (the only tv he gets all day.) Well, I'm finally ready to go - I turn off the computer, turn off the tv, give the boys marching orders. Cue pathetic pout.

First he tries hiding and just generally moping. I tell him if I have to bodily move him, he's gonna be very, very sorry. So then, I get the "I'm just gonna die" rant. Then, a new twist, he falls to the floor with eyes closed.

"Get up, Sean."

"I'm dead."

"Get up, Sean."

"Di Up, Tinky." (from Moth Man).



"OK, Tim, if Sean's dead, I guess we'll go to Dunkin Donuts instead of school." Moth does not understand English completely yet, so this goes over his head... however, on the floor, a miraculous event occurs...

“Donuts! Donuts! Yeah!”

“Oh, Sean, you’re alive! I guess we can go to school now.”

He thought I was kidding at first. Then he got the croc tears going. I knew I had to get a way out of this, then I realized, HE NEVER SAID PLEASE. Almost joyfully, I presented this fact.

My boy is a rule follower, so he knew he’d lost. Today. Soon, however, he’s going to be out-manipulating me.

(and just what would Dr. Laura say about this episode, I wonder.)


Unfair, why?

OK, so the big news in Philly today (reg req) is the big ol’ grand jury report of the abuses pepetrated upon children by priests over the last so many decades. Once again, the statutes in PA prevent any criminal or civil prosecution, so it’s pretty much the end of the story.


The only reaction I’ve heard from anyone in the Catholic hierarchy is, “The report is unfair.”

Unfair, why? Is it inaccurate? Please, someone explain why it’s unfair. I'm willing to have an open mind if someone can give me a decent argument.

Also, can someone tell me, seriously, why there are laws in just about every state requiring any suspected child abuse, but clergy are exempt from this mandatory reporting? And when legislature threatens to change this, clergy of all kinds come out against that? I understand that ministers/priests are counselors, and they consider any therapy to be betwixt them and their patients. But surely, they would want to be able to turn cases of abuse over to the authorities?


September 21, 2005

Clever Ad Man!

So I’m listening to the radio on the way home – I’ve got this new, sick fascination with Dr. Laura, with whom I almost never agree – and an ad comes on during her break. It’s for this speed trap detector.

According to the ad, this doohickey jams every kind of beam the coppers use to slow you down. Of course, they don’t encourage reckless driving, but they’re so sure their product works, they’ll pay any fine you get for speeding in the first year of use.

They go on to say this SpeedyMan product is not for everyone. In fact, it’s illegal in many states. They go on to list these states – states like Montana, which has almost no speed restrictions, states like Utah, where people don’t break rules, and states like Alaska, where no one lives. So, they’ve made their product look all bad-ass without damaging potential sales.

That has to be the cleverest trick I’ve seen since the talking frogs.


September 20, 2005

Tales Of Luck

True stories, both.

A friend once removed – Mike’s friend, actually – is the luckiest guy I’ve ever heard of. He gambles and wins, over and over. Case and point? He recently purchased a business. The business is housed in a… transitional neighborhood in Philly. The building came with the business, and he’s been refurbishing the upstairs to live in.

He finished the third floor and moved in. The business is on the ground floor, and is pristine. The second floor, however, had fallen fallow. According to Mike, it looks like crack-heads lived there. There’s damage to ceilings and floors, strange poetry and drawings scrawled on the walls.

As Mr. Lucky is fixing up the floors, he pulls up some floorboards in the closet. There he finds a mint worth of baseball cards from the 1920’s, in pristine condition.

And, according to Mike, Mr. Lucky is a really nice, fun guy.

Then, there’s Ms. Lucky. She’s a friend of mine, Maddy is.

Maddy is a nice girl of Indian derivation. I met her at a job, and we struck it off as girls trying to take off a few pounds. She had been engaged to be married, a match she picked, and her fiancée was killed in an awful accident.

She had a mysterious illness which partially paralyzed her – some of her muscles have never completely recovered.

To take the top prize of the luckiest person I know, last year she was diagnosed with cancer, and it had already spread throughout her body.

Maddy wasn’t even 30 when all of this had happened to her. She is also one of the nicest people I know.

Into each life, some rain must fall. But stories like the above outline to me that rain doesn’t fall evenly. The child in me rails that Life Isn’t Fair, and the tiny, minute adult part of me nods sadly. It is, for me, the most challenging part of faith, to see terrible fates befall innocent people.

(warning: religious content ahead)

A few weeks ago, our priest talked about prayer and faith being a struggle. Jacob wrestled with God in prayer and was bodily harmed in the pursuit of faith. I think that I’m learning something here… I mistrust folks who have pure, blind faith. And I think that’s because their faith looks easy. Faith, true faith, can’t possibly be easy. It’s got to be a struggle.

God gave us minds as well as souls, and I believe he expects us to use them. He’d expect us to see tragedy and understand that it isn’t fair, and maybe isn’t even part of a bigger plan. It just is.

Struggling to accept…


September 19, 2005

Yar! Ahoy Mates!

A bit late in t' day, but today be talk like a pirate day.

Ogre let me on t' it, and he also pointed me t'
this site t' translate into pirate. Which be totally maaaarrrrvellous.

Have a great night, mates.

Calico Bess

Gene Therapy Gets A Good Rap

I read a story this weekend which made me absolutely glad that I've been a scientist.

"The biggest risk is she could die," Walter said. "And she was going to die anyway."

Who is Walter Coover talking about? His three month old daughter, Ariel.

Ariel has (had?) a genetic disorder called Canavan's disease. It's effect is atrophy of the brain. The Coovers are intimately familiar with this disease - their first baby, Amber, would have been 13 this year.

When Ariel tested positive in utero, the Coovers made an appointment with an abortion clinic. Something stopped them.

After she was born, they found out about this gene therapy research. Their baby is a guinea pig, but, as Walter said, the biggest risk is that she would die, which she was destined to do. And the gene therapy has been showing significant promise. All of the other patients (10 of them) have demonstrated complete cessation of atrophy. Of course, the damage already done can not be fixed.

In Ariel's case, though, no damage has occured yet.

Keep her in your thoughts and prayers. This little girl and her parents deserve a chance.


September 15, 2005

Finally, Weird Is In!

For the first time in, I think, my life, I’m kinda excited about the new television season.

There’s the return of Veronica Mars and Medium.

There’s a slew of new potentials, like Supernatural (pilot gave me chills), Threshold, and Invasion. Even the crossing-jordan-warmed-over Bones looks good.

I usually hate it when all the new shows are cut from the same mold. But this is MY mold. Tivo is gonna be burning overtime!


The Return from the Great Bite North

It’s not winter, so it’s not white. But Minnesota has a different parasitic bug for every month, I’m certain. This month was biting gnats. The mosquitoes were still there, though, so have no fear on diverse pest representation.

People say the lakes area is beautiful. I guess it is. But I’m a city girl at heart, now. I think maybe I always was. And I practically kissed the tarmac in Philly when we deplaned.

For those who are curious, the wedding was quite charming. They didn’t have any music or alcohol at the reception. The reception was quite short. Not that I’m drawing any conclusions here… The bride was beautiful and happy, the bride’s father was unusually emotional (he who swore he would grin from ear to ear giving her away actually had watery eyes). No real comedy, no error at all, just a nice weekend with family.

Still glad to be home, though!


September 08, 2005

Avian Blood Not Wanted

One last post before I head to that great mosquito haven...

Today was our autumn blood drive at work. I'm a regular at this blood drive. This is the first time I got turned away.

My blood ainnna good enough.

They say it's the iron, but I say it's because it's got too much bird stuff going on.

Anyway. I think it might just be this particular blood drive:
-The first year we had it, I was on the table at 9:40 on Sept 11, 2001.
-The second year, the little stick in the morning informed me there would be no blood donation for me or the hatchling now known as the Moth.
-Another year was a horrendous "blood mobile" experience. It's like all the bad things about giving blood combined with all the bad things about riding on a bus. JOY!

All in all, though, this is the most disappointing event of all of them. I feel so rejected.


A Compendium

1) I’ve been uber busy. My mom is down with us, as she and I are going out to Mini-soda (what did Missus Sip? Any Harveys out there will know what I’m referring to here.) this weekend for a wedding. So, between getting her down here, getting ready to go out there, bringing Stinky in to work because daycare closed, etc… breathing is optional. Therefore, no posting.

2) In fact, I’ve been too busy to even read blogs this week. So, no commenting, either. I don’t even really know what’s going on except, of course:

3) New Orleans / Mississippi… and what to say that hasn’t been said, better than I could say it. So I won’t.

4) XM has taken Michael Medved off in the afternoons (he was entertaining, to say the least) and replaced him with that shrew Dr. Laura. I listened to her yesterday afternoon as she told people common sense thing after common sense thing (of course, with the tact of a bull in a china shop. Aren’t I a good metaphor mixer?). Then she proceeded to tear into me for being a bad mother. Any mother who lets someone else watch her kids is a bad mother and shouldn’t have had kids, don’t you know. Where the hell was she 5+ years ago when John talked me into this whacko experiment to begin with?!?!?

5) Speaking of John and the Past, it’s our 10 year this month. We’re headed up to NYC for a weekend of childless debauchery and gluttony (thus firmly entrenching my role as a terrible mother). Anyone have any suggestions of what to do when we’re not drinking/eating? (keep it clean, this is an PG-13 rated site.)

6) In case you missed the update, the turkey fryer came. Though, I would like it better if it were a turkey friar. I hear they’re cool.


September 02, 2005

Let's Talk Turkey

My husband, as I may have mentioned before, is a cook. No, that's not what he is. He's a chef. His restaurant is our kitchen.

I come home from work every night (almost) to the smells of a gourmet meal. My kids eat coq au vin, aloo gobi, and everything in between. I will now pause as you all ponder this with jealousy.

Now, as a chef-wanna-be, John is quite enamoured of kitchen tools. They're his power tools, if you know what I mean.

For years, he's wanted to take over Thanksgiving dinner. He has this bug in his craw about turkey. A special kind of turkey. Deep fried turkey.

At first, he didn't want to intrude on his mother's kitchen. Then, he noticed that his dad was talking about doing a deep fried turkey, too. (He came by his tastes honestly...) That was all the encouragement that John needed. Time to buy a new power tool.

Next problem: his frugal nature combatted with a $150 frier that would be used once or twice a year, at most. Solution: Ebay.

He researched, found the best frier on the market (I kid you not), and started a search on ebay.

The first auction he lost, big time.

The second one, he got snipered at the last minute and lost by a dollar. (Cue his determined-face, which greatly resembles Sam the Eagle from the muppet show.)

The last auction he entered, he put a high enough bid to get the fryer. He was exstatic.

Now, he's waiting patiently for it to come. He mentioned yestereday that it should be here by today. I said, "Unless it's coming from down south."

Eyes widen, jaw drops, heads for computer.

Sure enough: seller lives within 100 miles of New Orleans.

I guess it's roasted turkey again this year.


A Little Something To Boggle The Mind

I realize this is quite commonplace, but thinking about Time Zones really makes my head spin.

See, Spaceley’s is a global corp, and I have sprocket makers reporting back to me from all over.

Some of them work in San Francisco, some in Tokyo, and others all between.

So if it’s 2pm here, it’s 11am in san fran, and it’s 3am in Tokyo. But it’s 3am tomorrow in Tokyo. Today.

And this is nothing compared to trying to figure out the time in one location, which is 9.5 hours ahead of us. (It goes something to the tune of, take your current time, subtract 2.5 hours and change am <-> pm.)

Don’t get me started on daylight savings time, either, which is observed, or not, on different days in different countries…

I realize, in a quite distant way, that time zones have to exist. Ditto for daylight savings. But the reality of dealing with it all is quite confusing to my birdbrain.