Interstellar Adventures

September 25, 2006

Tuesday Stew

Filed under: Rants & Opinions — by InterstellarLass @ 9:49 pm

I’ve been off my soap box for a couple of weeks, but all I had to do was watch the news tonight, and a few stories got up my dander again.

Ban Art! Last April, a local fifth grade art teacher took a group of students on a school sanctioned field trip, for which parents signed permission slips. This field trip was to the Dallas Museum of Art. Evidently, one of the students made comment to their parents about a nude sculpture that they saw while walking through the museum, and now the parents are all in a tizzy!

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September 12, 2006

Memory

Filed under: 2996 Tribute,Rants & Opinions — by InterstellarLass @ 9:05 am

My thoughts are just swimming around my head right now. While I was writing my tribute, I didn’t know quite how to go about it. I was afraid to get too personal. I was randomly assigned a person that I didn’t know. In doing my research, I found email addresses for one of her brothers and her husband. I tried to contact both, but I didn’t hear back from them. Maybe the email addresses were defunct. Maybe they didn’t feel comfortable sharing information about Laura Lee with me, a stranger. I’ll never know.

Last night we were watching the last half of the ABC docu-drama. It was the first coverage of 9/11 that I’d watched. I haven’t seen any of the TV movies about Flight 93 or the Nick Cage movie, or anything. I couldn’t. I didn’t want to. I didn’t feel it was right. No one knows what happened on Flight 93 exactly, and I think it’s wrong to speculate. And the Nick Cage movie? Profiting off of this event seems wrong to me. And watching that last night, while simultaneously reading other tributes, brought that day back to me.

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September 5, 2006

Tuesday Stew — and then some

Filed under: Interstellar Casa,Mr. Wonderful,Rants & Opinions — by InterstellarLass @ 7:33 am

It’s going to be slightly luke-warm today, as a cold front has moved into Lass’ head. There’s a 80% chance of non-stew related posting.

Blah: Why do I have to get sick on a holiday weekend? And then why do I have to feel insufficiently cruddy to be able to call into work on the first day back?

Goodbye: I’m so sad and so sorry for Steve Irwin’s family. As crazy as the man was, you could see he was passionate about his work, passionate about his family, and passionate about life. I wish more people showed the same passion. Really, I’m very sad about this. I loved his show, and I love watching him. We even went to see his really, really bad movie. And I still liked it. I even won second place in a Halloween costume contest once by dressing up like him. And I wrestled the ‘gator too.

Disappointed: Nick and I went to the DMA on Saturday. I was disappointed by their exhibits. We got there late (our own fault) and the line to see the Tiffany exhibit was too long. So we explored the rest of the exhibits. I’ve seen the permanent collection too many times, so when the special exhibits were beyond dull and boring. How is a two-inch piece of rope with three nails considered art? The best we could do was go hunt down the Mondrian’s held in the DMA’s permanent collection. I still think the Kimbell is better.

*****

We got our room finished this weekend. Freya was framed, and we found a Klimt print that Nick really liked.

   

The other exiciting thing? Can you see it?

August 28, 2006

Tuesday Stew

Filed under: Rants & Opinions — by InterstellarLass @ 9:14 pm

Welcome back to the Tuesday Stew!

My Suspcisions Confirmed: As creepy as he was, from moment one, I seriously doubted that Karr had anything to do with JonBenet’s death. The sensational media got all hot and bothered for this guy, and now it’s all back to where it started. No answers. One thing I get sick of is the constant repeating of news. Every five minutes, the story is thrown in our face, with no significant updates and speculation galore. And now, fffft. The Boulder DA has more egg on their face, and seem more incompetent than ever. And the person that is responsible, well, it seems there will be no justice.

Slow down! Last Tuesday night it started to rain while I was at the gym. I had just 6 minutes left on the elliptical, and it started to pour. Since we haven’t had more than a sneeze of rain practically all summer, the streets were very slick with oil. I’m sitting at a stoplight, and just as I’m about to come through, a guy barely manages to stop at the cross light and ends up half way in my lane. Two seconds, and he would have hit me! And then a Corvette comes whipping through traffic behind me, on a slick, curvy street, with “performance” tires. Slow down!

Little Starz: Tonight while I was at the gym, I caught an episode of Wife Swap. I’ve seen bits and pieces of this show before, but it’s not something I watch. Tonight’s moms were Lauren and Patty. Of course part of the schtick of the show is that the mom’s are polar opposites. And, as always, they were. Patty seemed pretty normal. Mom from Wisconsin, five kids, they hunt, fish, wrestle. But Lauren. Lauren’s a mover and a shaker. And that’s fine. But she’s turning her daughters, ages 7 & 10, into little Starz. She works on their ‘careers’, her 7-year old is ultra-fashionable (she loved a chain-mail looking tank top that was marked $7,600), the kids stay up until 10:30 at night or later, and the parents don’t care if the kids are late for school…the perfect outfit is more important! Mom did the show for publicity. Oh, and dad? A third child. He plays all day and night, never sees his kids, and ‘works’ for his father-in-law – when he makes it in the office.

I’m not the perfect mom by any means, but the whole no-rules, no-discipline, buy-on-sight fashionista parenting isn’t really my style. And, unlike Patty, my kids have chores they’re expected to do. And no wrestling on the living room floor. Lauren might be able to take me to some swank clubs, but I think I’d rather hang out with Patty and go hunt a bear.

August 21, 2006

Tuesday Stew

Filed under: Rants & Opinions — by InterstellarLass @ 10:08 pm

Arrr. Here we go again.

Hold me back! If you’re going to bring your children to the big, indoor playground, otherwise known as Ikea, on a Sunday afternoon, DO NOT let them push the trolleys. Do not let them “surf” each other around the aisles. Do not let them run around, pulling shit off of shelves and leaving it in the aisle. The aisles are narrow enough. I don’t need to be tripping over crap that’s meant to be hung up. And I don’t need my ankles torn up being run over by little Johnny and his pirate ship trolley cart.

Hold me back, again! I know. Hitting children that aren’t mine is a no-no. That’s why I held myself back and just glowered at the child that threw a tea-light candle at me. There I am, in Ikea, minding my own business, waiting to check out, and there. There went something, hitting my left leg and bouncing off. I look up. And across the checkout display to my right, a little girl is ducking behind the giant box of tea-lights. WTF?? Not only is this brat throwing shit at strangers, but she’s opening packages of product that her momma isn’t buying? I stared her down. Yeah. No 6-year old is throwing shit at me and getting away with it. And then she was running between the aisles, grabbing papers and throwing them on the floor, and then. To top it all off. Her mom was going to get her ice cream after the child exhibited bad behavior. I came *this* close to talking to the mom and telling her the kid didn’t deserve ice cream.

I need a money tree! *Sigh* I pretty much knew we were going to have a sewer leak. And we do. Dude that did the test about talked my dang ear off though. Now I have to hire someone to come and find the leak. Then, once we find the leak, we have to hire someone to fix the leak. This will involve pulling up carpet and/or linoleum (I won’t have a problem pulling this up…needs to be replaced anyway), and then drilling a HOLE through my slab at least 4-6 feet deep. I’m crying.

So I did a little therapy shopping last night. Some new workout/relaxing clothes, and a new purse. I feel better now.

August 15, 2006

Tuesday Stew

Filed under: Rants & Opinions — by InterstellarLass @ 7:12 am

I almost forgot! Quick…what to rant about…

Do you take installment plans? My front passenger seat broke on Friday night. Just as I was leaving for the party too. I dropped my car off yesterday at 5:30. Service at my VW dealership is open till midnight. So I waited. And waited. And waited. And waited some more for them to call me to give me the estimate. To put the spring back on the seat adjustor. I thought for sure they’d have it looked at quickly and at least let me know. No.Such.Luck. I finally called them around 9:30 pm. It would be ready at 10:30 pm (if you could tell me this so quickly when I called, how come you hadn’t called me already???) and would cost $150. They had to remove the seat to fix it and that was the labor charge. Then, at 10:20 pm, they called to tell me it was ready. And it would be FREE! Some guy there knew how to fix it without taking out the seat. Evidently they see a lot of this issue there. And while I was at the shop, waiting for them to pull it around from the free wash, I heard another service manager calling someone to tell them it was going to be $730 to repair their alternator. Oh, but they took 10% off. How nice. Holy Crap! This is the same place that was going to charge me $110 for four spark plugs and an air filter. Gulp! I sure hope Nick can replace my alternator if it ever goes out.

You want to buy some candy? Nick and I were eating dinner at a restaurant last Wednesday. We’re sitting in the bar area, munching on some calamari. Then I see this kid walk in the side patio door with a box of M&M’s. He walks right up to us and asks us if we want to buy some candy. First, HELL NO. I hate these people that use little kids to solicit candy. Akin to child prosititution in a way. I’ve read stories about these rackets that people set up where they work these kids all day long, don’t have them in school, and don’t care for the kids. Second, I’m not in a parking lot! I’m in a restaurant! I couldn’t find a manager fast enough before the kid left.

If you feel marriage is under attack, press 1. I checked my voice mail last night, and I had this horrendously long message on my phone. It was an automated message supposedly from the National Campaign to Stop Same-Sex Marriage. At first, I was really pissed off. Someone calling me, posing as a ‘concerned mother of three’, spouting lies ‘if the marry in Massachusets they can move to any other state and still be married’, and spreading bigotry and hatefulness. Then, I found this. It turns out that these yahoos are a telemarketing company that are going to stop gay marriage if you switch your long-distance and internet. Talk about bait and switch! Supposedly they are anti-porn industry too. What a racket!

I’m too old for this! For some reason, last week my skin got all wonky, and I think I had at least 5 zits workin’ on my face. I washed, masqued  (Hi! I’m Smurfette!), clarified and babied my face. And then yesterday, just as I thought it was clearing up, I get one of those painful under-the-skin pimples! It hurt to put makeup on this morning. I’m too old for this crap!

Come on…what got your goat this week?

August 8, 2006

Tuesday Stew

Filed under: Rants & Opinions — by InterstellarLass @ 5:00 am

michaelm, Serendipity, my sweet hubby, Jen, and Dorothy all correctly guessed that Qapla’ is Klingon for “Success!”. Now, if you can name another movie besides a Star Trek movie in which that word was used, you get even more nerd bonus points. And no fair guessing Nick, because I alread clued you in.

And now for my Tuesday rant. This has been a good week for a couple of irritating items.

Pick up yo stuff! Nick and I went to Target last Thursday, shopping for some odds and ends. We found backpacks for the kids, but only after stepping over backpacks left, dropped, thrown, and strewn across the floor. I cannot believe people are such slobs! You pick something up, you look at it, you put it back where you found it. These are simple lessons that people should have learned in kindergarden. I can’t decide if it’s worse if the parents made the mess (they should know better) or if kids made the mess (their parents should be teaching them!).

Put your hood up! Also found at Target: Gang graffiti on the back of the family bathroom door. I was using the family bathroom because I was too lazy to haul my ass all the way to the back of the store. I close the door, and what do I see in ugly mustard yellow paint? Illegible letters that I can only be the name of some gang. In.My.Target. I wish I would have caught those little bangers, because I would have kicked their butts up and down the store. I love my Target! Keep your nasty trashy dumb gang out of my Target! Take it to Wal-Mart!

¿Habla inglés? I nearly had to ask the cashier at Chipotle this question. She spoke to me in grunts and half sounds. Either a) she was mute, or b) she couldn’t speak English. Hola! In my country, we speak English. I have a resonable expectation that I can be served by English-speaking employees. I have a reasonable expectation that when my total is $16.17 and I hand you $20.02, I can a) get the correct change back the first time and b) get back three dollars, three quarters and a dime, rather than three dollars, two quarters, three dimes and five pennies…and yes I know the change was there. I could see it in the drawer. Everyone knows when you give pennies it’s because you don’t want them back in your change!

Play! If you’re going to come sit down and play poker, play. Don’t futz with your iPod or your PSP. Don’t cause mis-deals or other players to play out of turn because you’re not audibly declaring your intentions. Oh, I know, it’s supposed to be mental or whatever, but when you cause a distraction to the course of the game and there are four mis-deals before the first break because of you…I’m gonna get pissed.

Responsibility: I updated this post to add this after I found it on Snotsucker’s site. Any parent that is dumb enough to give their child two droppers-full every four hours deserves to be arrested for injury to a child, not awarded $5 million dollars in damages. And if the doctor recommended two droppers-full every four hours, he deserves to have his license revoked. Outrageous!

Got anything good and juicy for me?

August 1, 2006

Tuesday Stew

Filed under: Elle & Zed,Rants & Opinions,The Ex Files — by InterstellarLass @ 8:33 am

As I said last week, I think I’m going to have to make this a weekly topic. The Tuesday Stew. I may rant about one topic, or I may find a miriad of minutae that gets my goat.

They’re baaack: Elle and Zed I mean; aka Alien 1 and Alien 2. Yesterday morning their dad dropped them off. On the way home last night, we stopped at the store. This is where they turned into Aliens. We had been discussing dinner on the way to the store, and they were begging me to go to a restaurant. Evidently their dad “cooked” almost the entire month. I used the quotes because evidently he “cooked” pizza, corn dogs, tuna casserole, pasta with buttered noodles and the like. “Did he ever give you any vegetables?” I asked. That would be a no. But he did give them banannas. Well OK, that makes it all better. This from a guy who munches on rabbit food and works out excessively, and he’s feeding his kids junk. And after I’ve already asked him to work on having them eat better, especially since Zed gained at least 15 pounds after his dad moved out.

So, in the store, they’re picking up junk. Complaining about what I’m going to cook. And Elle Alien 1 is having a stomping, pouting, crying, “I don’t want to be your daughter”, “sell me in the garage sale”, hiding behind displays kind of temper tantrum. One lady who saw me swat her butt once already stopped me after the third such display of I-want-this-but-I-can’t-have-it” and said “Boy! She’s really pushing the envelope tonight isn’t she?” I responded politely “Well, they did just get home after a month with their father.” The woman’s response? “Ahhhh, I see.” No further explanation necessary.

Alien 2 did an about-face in the mouthing off department. He has a serious issue with constantly challenging my decisions, and before he left he had gotten so much better with keeping his mouth shut. Last night it was flappin’ in the wind. But, after a brief reminder from Nick on the merits of following directions and not talking back was sufficient.

We’ll see how tonight goes.

There is a special hell for these people. I must warn you that this story is disgusting and vileThese two will burn to extra-crispy. The mother has been sentenced to 40 years in prison. The father has been sentenced to five life sentences plus 96 years and is ineligible for parole. And personally, I don’t think it’s enough. These are their own children. And there are others who abuse children and are released back out into our neighborhoods. My Zip Code alone garnered 66 offenders. These people should not be allowed to roam our streets. I don’t believe that they can be rehabilitated. Period.

July 25, 2006

Weekly Rant

Filed under: Married Life,Mom Life,Rants & Opinions — by InterstellarLass @ 9:35 am

Looks like I might have to make this a weekly or semi-weekly feature. I usually try to let things go, but I ruminate on them and then it just kind of gets to me. So perhaps by expunging them here, I’ll feel better.

You may have heard, but on Sunday, some jackass hijacked a big rig truck and a police chase ensued. The chase started in Fairview, TX, which is about 10 minutes from my house, and spanned four hours, three counties, and finally ended out near Weatherford, TX. Related to this:

Rant 1: This was probably the third vehicle he’d hijacked that day. How could he have hijacked two other vehicles and NOT been seen by a member of the public or the law and been allowed to even GET to the big rig hijacking. Has the public level of apathy sunk so low? Is it that we just don’t want to get involved?

Rant 2: During the portion of the chase that went through the southern portions of Dallas, there were hundreds of people stopped on the side of the road and on bridges, out of their cars, causing traffic delays and endangering themselves and others that were rooting for the car-jacker. One of these yahoos was interviewed and I quote “I was excited. I heard that they were shooting at him, so I wanted to get out and see bullets flying, man. You know?” one bystander said. What the HELL!?!? Get some damn sense people! This is funny? This is smart? This is cool?

Secondly, I received an envelope in the mail full of paperwork. For Zed’s first year in Junior High. I dread the begininning of the school year and all the paperwork that has to be filled out. You fill out 10 of the same forms, over and over again, and you have to do it every year. I think some of them are the same form and go to the same place, they’re just on different colored pieces of paper. You get writers cramp, and then you find more forms! Insurance forms, volunteer forms, PTA forms, band forms, forms, forms, forms! I hate paper. Someone needs to figure out a better system.

Thirdly, when you’re a female, and you get married and you want to change your name, it’s a complete pain in the butt. First it’s the social, then it’s the drivers license, then it’s the bank accounts, the credit cards, the frequent whatever accounts, and even your work email address. Seven months in and I’m still not done. Someone needs to figure out a better system.

Love ya’ll! Mean it!

Update: The DMV sucks. Don’t ever try to go at lunch, because they send all their whatever they ares to lunch at the same time. And people pack in, and then when they come back from lunch, there are only two whatever they ares to actually help people. And then you sit for an hour and a half, only to leave when they are 13 numbers away from yours because you have a meeting in twenty minutes and you still haven’t eaten lunch. So you stop at a crappy fast food restaurant on the way back to work, throwing money at the drive-thru person and speeding away. Oh, and then you come back to work to find that your meeting is an hour later than when you thought it was.

July 11, 2006

The Verdict Is In

Filed under: Rants & Opinions — by InterstellarLass @ 9:55 pm

I’m out of court, fingers and toes all accounted for. The case wrapped up today, at the very end of the day, and our verdict is rendered, so now I can share the details with you.

The case I was selected for was a DWI. After waiting almost half the morning on the prosecution and the defense arguing legal technicalities, the 20-person jury pool came in for the voir dire and the case type was displayed on a projection screen. I immediately thought that I would, for sure, get struck from the jury pool.

Right off, two guys were dismissed for the jury. One for his mother-in-law having surgery that day (I call BS) and the other for a family funeral today. Then the prosecutor spoke first, explaining the burden of proof that the state would have to meet, and to determine if we felt we could be fair jurors. After several questions, she then asked us all if we ourselves, family members or others we knew had any experience with DWI. Starting with Juror 1, who had herself been convicted of DWI, and then me. My Ex had two DWI’s while we were married. Several others in the pool had also either had spouses convicted or arrested, or some other manner of experience with DWI. One woman was especially upset, as her husband had been convicted the previous year, and she felt he hadn’t been given fair treatment.

Then the defense attorney got up. True to stereotype, he was a good ‘ol boy, named Tex, a disabled Vietnam vet, and lawyer for 32 years. He explained more things, asked more questions, and again, I thought I would be struck from the pool, probably by the prosecution, because I’ve been through the battery of field sobriety tests. I’ll have to tell you that story tomorrow.

After over an hour of questioning, we were released while the prosecutors and defense made their selections. The judge had said, barring either side striking us from the pool, the first six jurors seated in the pool were the jury that would be selected for trial. I was juror 5. I had a chance.

We waited another 15-20 minutes before we were called back in. My name was the third called. I was on the panel. Then, as soon as the six of us were sat, we were dismissed for lunch.

After lunch, we listened to the arresting officer’s testimony, followed by an hour-long video of the traffic stop, field tests, arrest, drive to the station, and the intoxilizer room. Part of the audio in the tape had been muted so I knew some of the evidence had been blanked out. At the end of the day, I was pretty sure that I was going to go for a not-guilty verdict, based on the testimony that had been presented. But, I had pieced together based on other parts of the tape that she had probably taken a prescription anxiety drug in addition to drinking. I had also pieced together that it was the lead prosecutor’s first trial.

Today, we got an “expert witness” along with a learned treatise. The medical examiner came in to read from a book about the effects of Xanax on the body. Then we got to watch the evidence video again, with all the audio intact. I came to find out later that unless the State was able to present an expert witness to explain the effects, the Xanax evidence would have been inadmissable. The defense also presented an expert witness to counter some of the State’s Expert’s opinions, along with poking holes in the arresting officer’s administration of the field sobriety tests.

After another break for lunch, the State cross-examined the defense witness, then the charge was drawn up (uh-pre-planning people, would have saved some time), we were sent to discuss a person’s fate.

The evidence: The officer pulled her over for speeding, failing to indicate a lane change, and having a broken license plate light. He then smelled alcohol on her breath and administered the field sobriety tests. He determined that she failed two of the three. She then refused the breathalyzer and was immediately arrested. She was observed in the intoxilyzer room, while the officer completed paperwork and questioned her further.

The defendant had worked a 12+ hour shift at a restaurant opening. At 7 pm she had taken a prescribed Xanax, .5 ml, the lowest dose. At 10 pm she had 1 glass of champagne. At 1:40 am she was pulled over, and shortly thereafter arrested. On the video, we couldn’t determine the eye test results as the camera was in the police car. She passed the one-leg stand test with flying colors. The walk-and-turn test was borderline. In the intoxilyzer room she was stable, steady, answered all questions, never wavered, and was never confused.

At the end of it all, I felt sure that the drug and alcohol was all out of her system, that she smelled of alcohol after having tended bar all night, and that even if she had a drink right before she left work, her actions on the video were those of a normal person with no intoxicating effects.

My vote was not guilty still. One guy on the jury thought she was guilty at first, but after discussion, he too came to the same conclusion. We were all in agreement.

My first time through was definitely not as exciting as I would have imagined. The lawyers were very cut-and-dry, but the defense attorney did get a little excited at the end. For her first time, the lead prosecutor did alright, but she definitely needs to work on her delivery of her opening and closing statements. Much of what she said didn’t make sense. Also, both sides mis-stated facts throughout the case. I was disappointed that they weren’t a litte more spot-on with their information. I liked serving jury duty, and I feel like I’ve contributed to my fellow citizens. I will gladly serve again if selected. I hope I did right based on the evidence that I saw and how I interpreted, but I feel fairly certain, as five others came to the same conclusion. It was a lot of hurry-up-and-wait, and we would get sent back to the jury room for legal wrangling away from our ears. I think it was a fair trial. Just got with a good book if you ever get picked.

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