Wednesday, May 30, 2007

See-Through Laptop!

I saw something similar on a website, and I was bored last night so I did it myself.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Power Nap

Ever find yourself extremely tired so you fall asleep for the smallest amount of time but you wake up feeling great? Well something like that happened to me on Friday evening.

I just finished two weeks of getting up very early. The first week I was covering Heather's (Nuckers) paper route. The second week Joanne (Joey) and I spent getting up early to exercise. Not only that but this week Eric (No Nickname) was in town, so he was coming over in the evenings. Not long ago I was getting up to 10 hours sleep a night, but lately I was dropping down to about half that. By the end of last week I was really starting to feel the effects.

Friday after work I was all set for a relaxing evening. I got some take-out and stopped to rent a movie. I decided to get 'Deja Vu' - because I hadn't already seen it.... (get it?) I thought I would watch a little of the movie while I ate, then go grocery shopping, then come home to play World of Warcraft. By the time I was done eating I was too tired to shop and too wiped to play Warcraft. I just wanted to get horizontal. At around 6:30ish I hopped into bed to finish watching my movie but within minutes I pressed pause and rolled over for a nap.

I woke up later on because I really had to pee. I rolled out of bed and saw the movie was still paused at the same moment. The light coming in the window was a little bit darker outside, but not much. Days are getting long now, so I thought it must be around 8:00 or 8:30. I felt bad because I had asked Jenna (Muffin Top) if she wanted to play Warcraft, but by now she had probably been online for over an hour with no sign of me yet.

I logged in and I was prepared for an all-nighter. That power-nap revitalized me completely and I was ready to kill a shit-ton of monsters and to brave at least a couple dungeons. I was a little surprised that nobody I knew was online. I normally go to Jenna's house on Friday nights, but I had always assumed that Friday was the biggest night for the rest of my friends to play together. I decided they must all come online later than I thought, so I did a few things by myself while I waited.

After I had completed a couple quests none of my friends had come on yet. I decided I should give Jenna a call in case she was on earlier and left because I didn't show up. I took my eyes off the monitor to pick up my phone and noticed that it was brighter outside than it was when I woke up. I checked the time on my phone and I realized it was 6:00 in the morning! Much to my surprise my power-nap wasn't a nap at all. It was a full-length sleep.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Jam 2007

This whole entry is about the season finale of The Office last night.
If you don't care for the show or haven't seen the episode yet, do not read this!

Last year during the season finale of The Office, a forkful of cake fell out of my mouth right after Jim told Pam he loved her. Pam was getting married and couldn't be with him though and told him so.

The next season began with Pam having reconsidered her upcoming marriage, but by then Jim had already left the branch and moved to one in another city.

While he was away, Jim started to date a woman named Karen from the new branch. True to the UK version of the show, the second branch soon closed the doors and some of the employees, including Jim and Karen ended up at the Scranton branch. Also true to the UK version the Jim and Pam relationship saw itself reverse. Now that Pam was available, Jim was not.

For most of the season we were only treated to 2 or 3 minutes per episode of Jim and Pam time, and for some reason none of it involved Jim and Pam actually getting together... until last night.

Last night's season finale saw Jim interviewing for a job at 'Corporate' in New York. Pam seemed to have resigned herself to the idea that she and Jim were just not going to happen. It seemed like the two of them might end up even further apart, but then we got to see Jim interview for the new job.

Jim was his normal self at first. He was smart and funny and few more minutes of that probably would have landed him the job, but then the interviewer asked "What did you like most about that place?" Jim paused for a few seconds so all us viewers could imagine his only thought was 'Pam'. With a sad look on his face he answered, "The friendships." Next he was asked, "Where do you see yourself in ten years?" Again as Jim paused we all knew his answer was 'with Pam', but before he answered there was a flashback to the events of last week's episode. In it Jim and Pam were talking about the reason he left in the first place. He said that even though he was back now, he never really allowed himself to fully come back. Pam said that she wished he would. We never got to see Jim's answer to the question, but we all knew that he didn't finish his interview anyway.

The next scene has Pam in the conference room speaking to the camera. It appears as though she was answering a question about Jim's new job.

Pam: I haven’t heard anything, but I bet Jim got the job. I mean, why wouldn’t he? He’s totally qualified and smart, everyone loves him. And if he never comes back again, that’s ok. We’re friends, and I’m sure we’ll stay friends. We, we just never got the timing right. You know, I shot him down and then he did the same to me. But you know what? It’s ok. I am totally fine. Everything is going to be totally..(Jim quickly opens the conference room door)

Jim: Pam. (to the camera) Oh sorry. Are you free for dinner tonight?

Pam: Yes.

Jim: All right…then it’s a date

Pam: (with tears in her eyes and smiling, says to the camera) I’m sorry. What was your question?

After that scene Pam wasn't the only one with tears in her eyes! I did too!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

(Rethinking) Gender - Newsweek

I haven't read this yet, but it looks like there is going to be a pretty big article on transgender people in next week's Newsweek. It is called "(Rethinking) Gender" and is available online.

Monday, May 14, 2007

My Definition

Sarah Ma*****on


A master of storytelling

'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Goodbye Grandpa

My grandpa died last week. He would have been 93 soon and he had been deteriorating for some time. It is sad to say that the last few times I saw him, it didn't really feel the same because of the limits his age placed on his behaviour and reactions. For years one couldn't help but know that soon he'd go, but though it wasn't a shock he had passed on, it was pretty sad to realize it. It turned out I wasn't as prepared as I had thought to say goodbye to Grandpa. When I heard he was gone I regretted not seeing him more when I had the chance.

Something my grandpa rode around on decades ago.

I was looking forward to getting back out to the farm, even if the trip's purpose was for a funeral. The farm has a lot of memories for me. We went out there a lot when I was a kid, and of course back then it was my grandpa who personified the place. I wanted to get back there and wander around and just remember what I could. I didn't really see him much in the past few years, so I wanted to pay him some respect by admiring the place he built.

The old farm house. It had no plumbing but was home to my
grandpa's family for years and years until abandoned after a
tornado removed the roof and put it down in the wrong place.

The old bathroom. (The house had no plumbing remember?)

When it was time to go to the funeral I was nervous. My grandma and dad have both died leaving my Grandpa, uncle Verne, and aunt Helen and her family on my dad's side of the family. I saw Grandpa and Verne a lot, but I haven't seen Helen's family in years and years. As a kid I saw them a lot. I loved playing with my cousins and I have fond memories of catching frogs and shooting Bryon in the ear with a bow and arrow. Knowing I was seeing them again soon made me feel nervous on two fronts; because I had changed genders since the last time, and also because I was a bad cousin having let nearly a decade go by without a visit.

The main road through the middle of the farm.

My cousins were there with their kids. Everyone was very pleasant to me, and I was glad for a chance to talk to them all again. Brenda's eulogy made me cry, and when I glanced over and saw that Carolyn was crying too and I was reminded that these are not just people I have lost contact with, they are my family. After the funeral we had a lunch and I was able to sit down and chat with Bryon for quite a while. When all the attendees were leaving I was happy to hear that all of Grandpa's children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were all heading back to the farm for supper. I was looking forward to catching up some more, but it turns out that I didn't get that chance.

When we got back I was going to help Brenda and Carolyn make supper but then I was invited to play tag with Brenda's son Wesley and Carolyn's kids Ryan and Taylor. We went outside and had a game of girls vs boys tag and I have to admit we lost. Bryon jumped in a couple times and help the girl's team out, but otherwise Ryan was just too fast to catch. About 7 minutes into the game I had to sit down on the ground and catch my breath. I apologized that I had to rest a while and Taylor said, "That's OK. I do this two hours a day!" Taylor sat down next to me on the grass for a while and then asked if I could take them to catch frogs. I said sure.

An extreme close-up of me on the road with all the frogs.

The four of us went down the road through the bushes and the frogs started jumping out of the way. With every footstep we'd see several frogs jumping for dear life, hoping to avoid getting accidentally stepped on. I reached down to grab a few for the kids to hold. After I handed one to Wesley, Taylor said, "Susan?"

"Sarah." I corrected.

"Sarah, Are you a tomboy?"

I said, "Yeah I guess I am sometimes." I didn't know if girls got teased for being tomboys these days, so I added, "There's nothing wrong with that though."

She paused a moment and said, "I'm a tomboy too, I'll take a frog please!" After I handed her one she said, "You're fun." and I felt great.

Our walk took us through the middle of the farm and I got to tell them about things I did as a kid there and they all listened. Taylor and Ryan told me about their farm, and in return I told them about my apartment. Taylor was a shocked to learn that I had no backyard. "Where do you play?" She asked. Kids are cute.

We heard people yelling that supper was ready so we started back to the house. On the way we had a rock throwing contest, and Wesley won it on his first throw. While I was eating Taylor asked me to come sit with her, so I did. I was feeling guilty that I hadn't spent much time with Bryon, Brenda or Carolyn yet, but I was having fun hanging out with the kids.

After supper I went inside to wash my dishes and Taylor came with me. We ended up looking around the house for a while. She talked about Grandpa a lot. She said that he never came to see them, and they only saw him when they visited him. I said that he was just too old to move around too much and it was just easier on him to wait for visitors. She agreed that was probably true and she saw one of his caps laying around. She picked it up and said "This should have gone down with him." I had to stop and marvel about how smart some kids are.

Before we left to go back outside she said, "Sarah?" and then she stopped for a minute looking like she was thinking really hard. "Are you my auntie? or my grandma?"

I said, "Well, I am cousins with your mom, so I think that makes us cousins too."

She looked as if she finally figured something out and said, "We're cousins!" She smiled really big and I could tell this was good news to her. Then I figured something out too. Maybe I didn't get a chance to catch up with my first cousins, but I did a pretty good job of getting to know my second cousins, especially Taylor.

It is funny to say, but I had a great time at the funeral and the supper afterwards. I had a chance to say goodbye to Grandpa, to talk with my cousins, relive some memories and to meet some new relatives for the very first time. I don't think Grandpa would mind one bit that I smiled a lot more than I cried.

Wesley Austin Ma*****on
1914 - 2007

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Fishing Bloopers

I almost peed my pants watching this video. I love the last clip, you're just waiting for and waiting for it, then it happens.

"I'm blind in one eye."
-Bill Dance

Spy Coins

Jenna sent me a link this morning to an article posted at I'll post the first few paragraphs here. I'll highlight my favorite parts... that last paragraph is awesome.
Canada's poppy quarters caused sensation warnings of 'spy coins' in U.S.
Published: Monday, May 7, 2007 4:49 PM ET
Canadian Press: TED BRIDIS

WASHINGTON (AP) - An odd-looking Canadian quarter with a bright red flower was the culprit behind a false espionage warning from the U.S. Defense Department about mysterious coins with radio frequency transmitters, The Associated Press has learned.

The harmless "poppy quarter" was so unfamiliar to suspicious U.S. army contractors travelling in Canada that they filed confidential espionage accounts about them. The worried contractors described the coins as "filled with something man-made that looked like nano-technology," according to once-classified U.S. government reports and e-mails obtained by the AP.

An odd-looking Canadian quarter with a bright red flower was the culprit behind a false espionage warning from the U.S. Defense Department about mysterious coins with radio frequency transmitters. An odd-looking Canadian quarter with a bright red flower was the culprit behind a false espionage warning from the U.S. Defense Department about mysterious coins with radio frequency transmitters.

The silver-coloured 25-cent piece features the red image of a poppy, Canada's flower of remembrance, inlaid over a maple leaf. The unorthodox quarter is identical to the coins pictured and described as suspicious in the contractors' accounts.

The supposed nano-technology on the coin actually was a protective coating the Royal Canadian Mint applied to prevent the poppy's red colour from rubbing off. The mint produced nearly 30 million such quarters in 2004 commemorating Canada's 117,000 war dead.

"It did not appear to be electronic (analog) in nature or have a power source," wrote one U.S. contractor, who discovered the coin in the cup holder of a rental car. "Under high power microscope, it appeared to be complex consisting of several layers of clear, but different material, with a wire-like mesh suspended on top."

An odd-looking Canadian quarter with a bright red flower was the
culprit behind a false espionage warning from the U.S. Defense
Department about mysterious coins with radio frequency transmitters.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

I just love the part where he puts the quarter under a high power microscope.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Mistaken Identity

Last week I went to Canadian Blood Services to donate blood, but I didn't get very far. I ended up leaving less than ten minutes after I arrived. I realized when I was a couple blocks away that I still had a wet-nap they had given me in my hand. I put this in my pocket and didn't think of it again.

On the weekend I pulled some clothes out of the dryer and that wet-nap fell out. I picked it up and saw that the package was completely intact and I decide it might be useful so I dropped it in my purse.

Today I went out for lunch at the Red Pepper. I had a noodle bowl (yum!) and as always I put several spoons of that spicy oil on it. I ended up transferring some of the oil to my chopsticks and from there onto my fingers. I wiped it off with a napkin, but on the walk back to the office I noticed that I could still smell the oil on my fingers. Suddenly I remembered the wet-nap.

I was walking along 21st St and there were a lot of people walking near me, so instead of stopping to open my purse up and find the wet-nap, I just fished around with my fingers. I was 'she-boppin' to Cyndi Lauper on my phone when I found it. I tore open the package and folded back the wrapper. I grabbed the wet-nap with my thumb and fore-finger, but to my surprise it wasn't a wet-nap at all. It was a disgustingly mooshy, completely melted, near liquid, piece of chocolate. So I walked back to work with spicy oil and melted chocolate on my fingers.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Canadian Dud Services

Yesterday was my first day in a brand new office. I showed up at 8:20 and I waited until 8:57 before someone arrived to let me in. It wasn't really a big deal because I'd rather be early than late on my first day. Today I was all set for a 9:00 am arrival. I left home the same time as yesterday, but I parked on the other side of the river and walked the rest of the way so I could save money on parking. I walked off the elevator at 8:55 - perfect timing... except the office door was locked and I don't have a key.

After nobody had arrived fifteen minutes later I pulled out my laptop and did some work right there in the hallway. After nobody had arrived an hour later I decided this situation was ridiculous. Not only did I feel silly sitting on the floor, but I was getting a sore neck. Laptops are very uncomfortable when you actually use them on your lap. I decided I'd be better off to leave and work from home.

I started the long walk back to my car and to pass the time I called my mom. I was waiting to cross the street and I noticed I was in front of the Canadian Blood Services building. Their sign caught my eye and suddenly I was inspired to do something good. I decided I would not go home, and instead I would donate blood. I figured it would be socially responsible... and I get a free donut. I also thought that maybe by the time I was done, I'd be able to get in the office.

Mom she said that they might not let me donate because I have diabetes. When got in I made sure to ask. The woman volunteer behind the counter didn't know, so she called a nurse to come out. She said that I could still donate as long as I wasn't on insulin. Perfect.

After the nurse left, the volunteer began entering my information into the system. I asked her if I could have a Kleenex and she said sure. I said I was so glad that it rained last night because hopefully it has washed away a lot of the stuff making me feel so allergic lately. The volunteer stopped dead in her tracks and she looked at me with the same look Indiana Jones had right before he said he hated snakes. She called over another nurse and asked if allergies will prevent me from donating. The new nurse said it'd be OK as long as I wasn't currently under the effects of any medication. Perfect again.

Next the volunteer took me into another area and sat me down with a pamphlet. She said I had to read it before I could move on. I opened it up and skimmed through it. I stopped at the section on determining if you should or should not donate blood. The first sentence said that you should not donate if you are at risk for HIV. So then I referred to the section on determining if you are at risk for HIV. The first point on the list said that one should not donate blood if they are male and have had sex with another male since 1977. Not so perfect.

I knew that when I last gave blood there was a questionnaire that asked a similar question, but I haven't given blood in 17 years. I honestly didn't expect to see anything like that today because things have changed since then. Back then it was the Red Cross, and since then blood donations have been managed by Canadian Blood Services. Back then AIDS was predominantly considered a 'homosexual disease', and since then we've all learned better.

My mom said that is just one of the ways they determine if you are at risk for HIV, but it isn't even right. Public awareness efforts have been teaching us for years that anyone is vulnerable to contracting HIV, and that anyone can be a carrier. I find it upsetting that Canadian Blood Services doesn't seem to realize that if anyone has had sex with anyone since 1977, that they could be at risk.

The list goes on to include other risk factors, such as intravenous drug use and living in Africa. It even says that 48 hours in jail puts you in the at-risk category. Strangely, the most important consideration is not listed at all. I remember a while back there was an effort to inform the public that AIDS is not a homosexual disease. Article after article, public service announcements in magazines and television, and all sorts of tv shows concerning HIV told us that having sex with many and varied partners - especially strangers - is the best way to contract HIV.

I understand that they are just being cautious. They can't just exclude people if they have had sex, so by excluding any male that has had sex with another male they believe they are just being safe. In truth they aren't being safe at all. Monogamous sex between any two gay men is far safer than sex between any man and woman where one or both has had casual sex with multiple partners. The concern should not be what the genders of the participants are - it should be on how many participants there have been.

Maybe someday they'll change their pamphlet. Until then Canadian Blood Services is rejecting people that are perfectly healthy and at the same time they are allowing people to donate who may be unsafe. For now I just did what the pamphlet said. I didn't donate blood. It's too bad because I have perfectly good blood. I bet someone could have used it.