Saturday, December 23, 2006

Twelve Days of Roses

I got an early Christmas present today - a dozen roses!
I wish I could take a picture of how they smell,
they smell even better than they look!

Thank you Chris!

Friday, December 22, 2006


I saw this on TV today and I laughed so hard I cried. I just watched it eight more times and now I sore from laughing.

Cake Ninja!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Radio Blog Club

I think this is pretty cool. If you ever want to embed a song into a blog try out

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Same-Topic Again, Same-Sex Marriages

I apologize that I keep revisiting this topic, but I was reading again and it seems that almost every day there is an article about same-sex marriages. Today's article* is about a senator from Kansas who wants to question a judge on her views on same-sex marriages before letting her take part in any legalites involving the subject. Here is what he had to say:

"I am not opposed to her getting a vote, I would like her to come back through committee so she can testify what took place, factually ... her legal views on same-sex marriage and her ability and willingness to be impartial."
-- Sen. Sam Brownback

When I read that quote of his, I cannot help but look at the expression on his face in that picture and imagine he is so extremely vehement in his quest for an impartial trial that maybe he isn't really thinking clearly or fairly. He seems to be saying that a judge might not be impartial if she has attended a same-sex marriage. I'd tend to believe that in the interests of impartiality, that he should be looking to exclude any judge that hasn't attended a same-sex wedding.

Non-attendance simply does not even come close to being impartial. The plainly obvious question is, What if some judge that hasn't been to a same-sex wedding has simply refused an invitation because he or she, for whatever reason, already disagrees with it? Besides, if having the experience of attending a same-sex ceremony make's one biased, then where do you draw the line? At what point does a person's experiences negate their ability to make an honest decision? Do you exclude judges that may have gay or lesbian friends or family? Do you exlude those that have attended church? Do you exclude anyone who has seen Will & Grace?

In the purest interests of fairness, is it really best to trust anyone to pass judgment on anything without that person holding any kind of real world insight and experience in the topic? Information and experiences are what make us wise. The fact is, when it comes to making a fair judgement, if we eliminate any judge that may have relevant experiences, then the fact is, the final decision will just be less informed and less wise. I think that Sen. Brownback should trust that having many and varied experiences is not a hindrance to a person's ability to make fair and informed decisions, it is a requirement.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas Parties!

Friday night, exactly one hour after the Christmas season began I left my place to go to a party at my friend Jenn's house. I got there to see that Jenn had gone all out and the place looked very Christmas-y. I had a really good time chatting with new people, drinking wine and eating good food. I was stuffed. Everyone brought some food, but Jenn made a turkey. I have to say, Jenn, your turkey and gravy were awesome and almost as good as my mom's!

At the same time I was out at Jenn's, Sue, Kara, and Levin (Tempst, Chino and Caspers) were in New York having their own celebration. When I got home I was treated to a couple messages on my machine from them - mostly a very drunken Caspers. (Too much 'potent alcoholic beverage' eh Casp?) I am lucky Caspers did most of the talking on the second call because I bet Kara was just dying to call me a bizzle again!

"Hi Sarah, this is Sue and Kara..."
"Sarah! Why aren't you answering your phone, Bizzle!?"
"... give us a call, bye!"
-- Sue and Kara

"Hello. This is Mr. Answering Machine. I am Levin. I am calling to leave you a message that says 'hahahahaha, Ha!'. Yow! I've got Sue with me. Listen to her: "
"Hi Sarah"
"That's her! That's Chino:"
"Hi Sarah"
"That's her too! She said 'hi!'. Call me back please! Arh! Ow! Yuh!"
-- Caspers, Suepy and Kara

Last night I had my old job's Christmas party too. It started off with some finger foods at Bridges, then we all went to play a few games of pool. Afterwards most of us went to the Longbranch. I was a little nervous walking in the door. As far as I know cowboys and transsexuals don't really mix, but the first cowboy I saw was my cousin. I haven't seen him in years so I wasn't sure what to do. He was just walking out the door as we were walking in, so I decided to just let him go and save the awkward reunion for a later date. Instead of going along with my plan however, he looked me right in the eye and said a friendly hello and asked how I have been.

His reaction set the tone for the rest of the night where I felt welcomed and right at home. As I waited in line at the bar the woman a couple people ahead of me commented on how good her drink was, so I asked what was in it. She said vodka, 7-up, cranberry juice and grenadine, I decided to get one to try it out and it was really delicious. I wish I had asked her what it was called instead of what was in it because I ended up ordering one each time I got a drink for the rest of the night. If that drink does have a name can someone please let me know because after you've had a few, it is really hard to say "vodka 7-up cranberry juice and grenadine" in the half second those busy bartenders have to serve you!

Later on as I was waiting in line for another drink there was a cowboy nearby also waiting at the bar. I felt him looking at me for a few seconds longer than most people do, so I turned and looked at him back. He pointed at me with one hand and mouthed the word "You." Then he pointed at himself with his other hand and mouthed the word "Me." Then he used both hands to draw out the shape of a heart. I had to laugh.

It was a very good Christmas party weekend. Highlights include dancing to AC/DC at a country bar, requesting a song (Dixie Chicks), talking to a few strangers, getting kissed a couple times, getting called pretty, and making some new friends. Best of all though is that I got to spent time with good friends Jenn and Dave, Tara, and Shaun and I got a phone call from my warcraft friends Suepy, Kara, and Levin, who I love just as much as if I got to know them face-to-face.

I had such a good time last night that I have to say that to my sister Jenn I owe a huge thanks. She was willing to come drive across half the city to pick me up and then drive across half the city in another direction to take me home, only to then drive all the way to her home again. Not only all that, but she even stopped so I could buy fast food on the way home. What a sister! Under the best of times that would have been a very nice thing to do, but she did it for me during a snow storm in the middle of the night. It would have been a very different night for me had she not been so generous. Thanks Jenn!

Instead of using a profanity when wanting to call someone a bitch, you simply say 'bizzle'
"Gah, she totally just stole my pencil, that bizzle."
( )

Friday, December 15, 2006

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

This year the Christmas season started at 6:48, December 15!

Every year for as long as I remember I mark the beginning of the Christmas season by the first time I hear the radio air "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" by Bruce Springsteen. This year is the same day as last year, but a few hours later! Merry Christmas everybody!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Pointless Grocery Clerk Comments

I love going to the grocery store. I probably go once every two to four days. Not only is it way more fun to choose your supper from the entire contents of a grocery store than the contents of a cupboard, but there are usually no other people in my kitchen for me to be amused by. A grocery store however, is full of potential entertainment. Other customer are sometimes fun, but the best is to talk with the cashiers.

I don't actually ever initiate conversation because I think they are encouraged as part of their job to come up with some friendly comments. I like that sort of personalized attention. In fact I often go to to Safeway because I have a club card there, and I like to hear them mispronounce my last name when the transaction is complete. "Here you are Mrs. Ma..que..azon", or "Do you need a hand out with that Mrs. Mathasaurus?"
They always refer to me as 'Mrs', and they always sort of mumble my last name, or somehow muffle their voice so all one can really tell is that it begins with M. Before they even see my name on the club card though, they usually greet you with a few comments. Most take the easy route and ask if I found everything OK. Others though try to improvise, and that is where the fun begins because there isn't much casual chit-chat a cashier can make that isn't completely pointless.

When you shop frequently you usually don't buy a lot at once. Usually it is just one or two items, and sometimes you end up with all the ingredients for a particular meal and nothing else. This is when some cashiers like to show how observant they are. For example, a couple months ago I had tomato sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms, onions, ground beef, and lasagna noodles. The cashier said "Making lasagna eh?"
I smiled in confirmation. It was a nice personalization for her to figure out what I was making, but somehow it sounded like a pointless comment to me. I guess because there is not much else you'd be making when buying lasagna noodles but lasagna. Today it was the same situation but it amused me even more.

I had the following items on the conveyor belt: trail mix, peanut butter, coffee grounds, and a pre-packaged Caesar salad. The cashier said, "Having coffee and salad are we?"
As I said, I am all for the personalized comments, but this one was really pointless. After all, eventually I will eventually be having everything I buy - that is why I am buying them! Maybe she realized that and decided to turn it into a joke because then she added, "Not mixed together I hope!" She laughed outloud.
Just to play along I said "No, I mix the coffee with the peanut butter." She continued to scan my items but had a little frown on her face as if she thought I had said something really stupid.

Then she picked up the trail mix and said, "Oh this makes a really good snack!"
I nodded and wondered if I should tell her that trail mix doesn't actually make anything but a snack really, and then she said "... for when you are hiking."
I considered asking her if I should maybe go for that hike on some sort of 'trail' but just then she spoke. She had just scanned the very last item and then asked, "Is this everything?"
Well... there was nothing left on the conveyor so I said that it was. I handed her my debit card. She accepted it and said "Will this be on your debit card?"

After the transaction went through she handed me the receipt and said, "Have a nice day...", then she paused to cover her mouth with her hand, "Mrs. Mathmajor."

Friday, December 08, 2006

Thank Goodness!

Same-sex marriage file closed for good, PM says

Tory attempt to restore traditional definition fails in House; social conservatives cry foul as Harper declares debate over

From Friday's Globe and Mail

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper has declared the contentious issue of same-sex marriage to be permanently closed.

After a Conservative motion calling on the government to restore the traditional definition of marriage was defeated yesterday by a resounding 175 to 123, Mr. Harper said he will not bring the matter back before Parliament.

"I don't see reopening this question in the future," he told reporters who asked whether same-sex marriage would return to the table if the Conservatives won a majority government.

Nor does he intend to introduce a "defence of religions" act to allow public officials, such as justices of the peace, to refuse to perform same-sex marriages.

"If there ever were a time in the future where fundamental freedoms were threatened, of course the government would respond to protect them," said the Prime Minister, who voted for the motion. "The government has no plans at this time."

The declared end of the same-sex marriage debate brought comfort to those who have been fighting for such unions. But social conservatives who have supported Mr. Harper's government said they felt betrayed by his decision to quit their fight; some said it will come back to haunt the party in the next election campaign.

"I am afraid that the Conservative Party feels that they can take social conservatives for granted in this country," said Joseph Ben Ami, executive director of the Institute for Canadian Values.

"Mr. Harper and the Conservatives are going to have to explain, I think, what people in our constituency are going to perceive as a certain lack of leadership surrounding this question in the last few days."

Social conservatives are not likely to turn to the Liberals, said Mr. Ben Ami, but they can stay home on voting day.

The loss of those voters was likely weighed by the Prime Minister in recent days. But Conservative sources have said it was his plan to dispose of the issue so he could make a more moderate pitch to middle-class voters and diffuse attempts by the Liberal Party to paint him as a socially right-wing ideologue.

The vote yesterday, which fulfilled a Conservative election promise, marked the sixth time since 2003 that the House of Commons has decided in favour of same-sex marriage.

Eight provinces and Yukon, meanwhile, have declared that excluding gays and lesbians from marriage is a violation of equality rights.

The Liberals and Conservatives both allowed their members to vote according to their consciences. Thirteen Liberals voted for the motion aimed at ending homosexual marital unions and 13 Conservatives, including six cabinet ministers, turned it down.

Joe Comuzzi, who gave up his cabinet seat last year because he refused to vote for the Liberal government's same-sex marriage law, voted against the Conservative motion yesterday.

One of those ministers was Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay, who previously had voted against expanding the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples.

"For me, this was just a practical matter," he explained after the motion was defeated. "It's been debated in the House.

It's been considered by the provinces, by the courts, and I think it's time to move on," Mr. MacKay said.

Even Justice Minister Vic Toews, who has been one of his party's most vocal opponents of homosexual marriage, said there is no appetite for returning to the issue in the future.

"I don't think there's any intentions of reopening it. There's been no commitment in that respect and I don't see any prospects in that respect," Mr. Toews said.

Laurie Aaron, a spokesman for Canadians for Equal Marriage, breathed a sigh of relief when he learned that Mr. Harper had abandoned the fight.

"I think really Mr. Harper had no choice," said Mr. Aaron, who pointed out that the Commons rejected the motion yesterday by an even greater margin than the vote passing the same-sex marriage act last year.

"It's quite clear that there is a growing consensus among Canadians that equal marriage is here to stay," the group spokesman said.

Nova Scotia MP Gerald Keddy, one of the few Conservatives who last year voted in favour of the bill that redefined marriage to include gays and lesbians, said he firmly believes this is the last time the matter will come before Parliament.

But Mr. Keddy, who has been targeted for political attack by groups that object to his pro-same-sex stand, said those battles may not be over.

"I expect there will be a bit of that that will go on," he said.

"But we will march ahead and we will cross that bridge when we come to it," Mr. Keddy said.

And the opponents of same-sex marriage made it clear yesterday that they will continue to fight.

Former London, Ont., MP Pat O'Brien, who quit the Liberal caucus in 2005 over the party's support of homosexual marriage, said he and others who share his views have a number of options.

The democratic strategy is to elect people who share the same values, he said. "We saw some pretty high-profile candidates defeated in the last election because of their stand in favour of same-sex marriage. We didn't get as many successes as we wanted in the last election, but this is far too serious an issue to give up so lightly."

Thank Goodness!

Canada won't reopen same-sex marriage debate

OTTAWA, Canada (CNN) -- Canada's House of Commons Thursday soundly rejected a motion from Prime Minister Stephen Harper to reconsider the country's 2005 law allowing gay men and lesbians to marry.

Harper's motion -- which would not have directly repealed the law but called on Parliament to reopen debate on the contentious issue -- was defeated by a vote of 123-175, with most opposition lawmakers and even some members of Harper's Conservative Party voting no.

During the campaign leading up to his election in January, Harper promised to introduce a motion to revisit the same-sex marriage law, which he opposed when it was approved last year. He said at the time that if the motion was defeated, the issue would be settled.

Former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin pushed the law through Parliament after a series of court rulings legalized same-sex marriage across most of the country. More than 12,000 marriage licenses have been issued to gay and lesbian couples in Canada, according to Canadians for Equal Marriage, a group that supports same-sex marriage.

Harper's motion faced an uphill battle because, while Conservatives are the largest party in the House of Commons, they do not hold a majority, and all three of the other parties opposed reopening the same-sex marriage debate.

View the actual webpage:

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Part 1: The Job

I was all about changes in the last two years. About the only thing in my life that could have changed but didn't, was my job. I didn't really have a reason to change jobs. I mean, they actually gave me money to write programs (something I did on my own for fun before that job), and they were very accomodating when I transitioned. About the only thing that I didn't like was that I would have to do after hours support. This meant I was given a cell phone and had to answer any phone call between the hours of 5:00pm and 8:30 the next morning. They promised me it was only temporary so, confident that my days on support were numbered, I dutifully carried out my responsibilities. Apart from solving computer issues, I soon found that I was also in store for:
  1. Getting woken up at 1:00 am
  2. Getting woken up at 5:00 am
  3. Getting woken up at 7:00 am
  4. Pretty much getting woken up whenever I went to sleep.
  5. Having to stay near a computer even on my "days off" in case I had a call that required me to remote into a client's machine.
  6. Talking to irate customers.
  7. Constantly explaining how to type the percent sign (%). A percent sign appears in some of the default passwords we give customers. Trust me, a lot of people cannot figure out how to type it in.
  8. Taking calls while freshly out of the shower, still naked and dripping. (See previous post)
  9. Support calls taking priority over my own life in my free time.
" Shift 5," Sarah says and she hears a bunch of key-clacking sounds, "I hear a lot of typing, what are you doing?"
In an irritated and impatient tone the customer says, "I am typing out 'shift five'! But I can't find the 'v'."

I kept telling myself this would eventually end, but three years later I found that I was still on support. It seemed that people would always quit as soon as we had some new guys trained up. This meant we actually never had enough people on to take me off. I'd comfort myself by thinking that at least I was still getting paid to program!

In recent months, again due to staff turnover, I ended up getting more and more phone calls during my actual shift. I started to get frustrated when I had projects to finish, but I'd spend my days saying, "no... don't type the words 'percent sign', type the actual percent sign symbol!" Stress was starting to build up, but I managed to hang on for a while until a few months ago when everything started taking a turn for the worse.

I would find that when I was getting woken up from a deep sleep that I'd get startled so much that my heart would race. Adrenaline would give it a good kick start, but anger and frustration were what really fueled it. Even hours after I had hung up the phone I'd find that I was laying in bed with my heart beating so fast I couldn't sleep. I went to work and said I couldn't do support anymore. I was told that taking programmers off the phones was something that was in the works... but I had been hearing that for years so it was little consolation.

It wasn't long before a support call didn't need to startle me out of a deep sleep for my heart to pound. Any call at any time of the day would get me so mad I wanted to smash things, (and trust me, feeling like that is no small feat when you have medication that takes away all your testosterone). It took a huge effort to get calmed down, and just as often as not as soon as I did calm down the damn phone would start ringing all over again. I went to work and said I couldn't do support anymore. I was reminded that pretty soon I wouldn't have to, maybe.

One day in the beginning of October I decided enough was enough and I was going to go in to work and state in no uncertain terms that I could NOT do support anymore. I felt that this time I was listened to... but not nearly as much as I wanted. I was taken off half of my support shifts, but unfortunately the only promise I got was that maybe by January 31st I'd be off support entirely. I walked away thinking that was still 2½ months away, and it wasn't even a promise! I had nothing to look forward to, and my thoughts drifted towards new employment opportunities.

Halfway through October my boss asked when I could have a project done. I said it could be done in two weeks - if I had no support calls during my shift. To my surprise I was told I'd have an uninterrupted two weeks beginning November 1st to work on my project. When the day arrived I was told I had to do three different things first. These jobs took me 3 days, but there was a weekend in there too, so I started to work on the project on the 6th. I figured that the other jobs were no fault of mine and since I had no choice in doing them I'd have two weeks beginning the 6th. About halfway through the day I was asked, "Are you still going to be done by the 9th?" Well, I was upset. Not only did I not get my deadline pushed back, but they didn't even give me the full two weeks!! Nov 1 to Nov 9 does not equal two weeks! I said that I would work on Remembrance Day and that I'd work on the weekend in order to get it done. All I could think about though was that the only reason I am in this bind is because support calls during my programming time were too much of an interruption.

On Friday the 10th I woke up and got ready for work - even though it was supposed to be a holiday. I started thinking about a phone call I had received earlier in the week. It was from someone interested in hiring me to do a project for him. The guy offering me the opportunity didn't have an office or anything, he just needed some software written. After the initial part of the software was written he said there'd be more to add to it, making this a full time job. I told him I would have to think about it. I was tempted, but I decided to say no because I didn't want to give up working in an office environment. Friday morning though as I was getting ready to leave, suddenly the idea of not having to deal with support calls and their aftermath started to seem very appealing. I decided I'd stay home and give the guy a call to see what else he had to say.

I didn't get hold of him until Sunday. I asked a few questions about the project and it sounded fun. He said he'd buy me VS.Net 2005 (something I wanted to write in - I used 2003 at work). He painted a pretty picture of me just programming - no support. Then he asked the dreaded question, "How much would you want to get paid?"

I hate that question! I didn't know what to say, I wasn't prepared for it! I calculated roughly what I made in a year at 2020 and added six thousand dollars to the sum and offered that. The reply was that the job pays over $11,000 more than that! I was momentarily stunned at the thought of an extra 17Gs and then I said, "When do I start?"

Today was my second day at the new job. Even though I just sit in my room programming, I have to say it is great. Programming is a wonderfully stimulating, creative job. I love starting the day with a blank page in the developer and making up everything needed to get the job done, I love not having constant interruptions, and I love that none of the passwords I type have a percent sign in them. I was worried that taking this job might be the wrong choice, but after two days I can tell you that my heart is soaring, and definitely not pounding.

Stay tuned for Changes Part 2: The Roommate.

Monday, December 04, 2006

More Pictures of Me with the Same Expressions as the Rest of My Pictures except this Time they are Labelled.

Sarah, looking robotic.

Sarah, looking stunned.

Sarah, looking fake-pleasant.

Sarah, looking like she wants to look cool.

And finally... Sarah, looking like she is trying to hypnotize you all.

...and Now Some Unlabelled Naked Ones