Archive for the 'Random Stuff' Category

Smart Wool Socks – I “heart” them!

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

Just a brief foray into product endorsement – even though I’m not getting paid to do it:

I love Smart Wool socks.  It took me a long time to buy a pair because they’re so doggone expensive.  For several years now, they’ve been keeping my toesies warm through winter’s chill and summer’s AC.

They’re the only socks that consistently keep my feet warm.  All those soft, warm-looking and sweet-looking fleecy slippers just don’t do the job when I’m walking on cold floors.

Another good thing is that they’re wool, but they’re not scratchy and don’t irritate my skin like other wool products do. 

So here’s to Smart Wool – my favorite socks. 

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Let me have a dough-nut with extra caffeine, please

Friday, January 26th, 2007

On the way to work this morning, I heard a news report that they’ve discovered how to add caffeine to pastries such as doughnuts and Danishes.  Is that something that people want or need?  Are there people who can’t take the time to drink their coffee or Diet Coke or tea or Red Bull in order to get caffeine?  They must add it to their doughnuts, too?

So I came home and looked it up on the internet.  The story was right.  Here’s the story:

AP) DURHAM. N.C. That cup of coffee just not getting it done anymore? How about a Buzz Donut or a Buzzed Bagel? That’s what Doctor Robert Bohannon, a Durham, North Carolina, molecular scientist, has come up with. Bohannon says he’s developed a way to add caffeine to baked goods, without the bitter taste of caffeine. Each piece of pastry is the equivalent of about two cups of coffee.

While the product is not on the market yet, Bohannon has approached some heavyweight companies, including Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks about carrying it.

I’m not sure why, but that’s funny to me!  Adding caffeine to pastries!  What’ll they think of next?

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Another Inservice: Quality Teaching in a Culture of Coaching (We didn’t say ANYTHING about quality LUNCH, though)

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Today I was one of four teachers from my school to attend  a workshop that followed up two days we had last August on “Quality Teaching in a Culture of Coaching.”  The presenter, Stephen Barkley,  was good.  The information was good, although a little too scattered to be especially helpful – especially the LONG and irrelevant role-playing exercise towards the end of the day.  But overall, it was okay.  There was one thing, though, that made the day just AWFUL.  Lunch.

First the only good part.  They had a big pan of baked potatoes.  Those were pretty good.  No salt or pepper was available, but I could live with that. 

Then they had salad to go with the potatoes.  The lettuce was so old that it was brown on the edges.  Not a little brown here and there.  Brown all over.  Very brown.  They had shredded carrots to add to the salad.  Again, freshness was not part of the plan.  Brown-tinged carrots did not add to the culinary experience. 

There was a grocery store less than two blocks from where the meeting was held.  Why not go to the store and buy some fresh lettuce?  What would that have cost?  maybe $20 worth of lettuce?  The salad was obviously stuff that had been prepared last week at least. 

And that was it.  Baked potatoes and old salad.  If the salad had been really good, that would have been an adequate lunch.  Not outstanding, but adequate.  It got worse, though.

Drinks.  They had a cooler of lukewarm soft drinks and water.  No Diet Coke.  No ice. I settled for a bottle of water.

Oh yes, they DID have dessert.  It was banana pudding.  You can’t mess up banana pudding, can you?  After all, there are just three ingredients: vanilla pudding, bananas, and vanilla wafers.  That’s it. One of the simplest desserts imaginable.  But no, these folks managed to totally massacre the banana pudding.  It had been frozen – the texture was strange – definitely not pudding-y.  And the taste was not banana-y.  I ate one vanilla wafer, sampled the pudding, and gave up on the rest of it.  Everybody around my table was tasting and trying to figure out what on earth was in it.  It was just weird.  And weird-tasting food is scary.

I can just imagine the caterers that morning:  “Hey, it’s a group of teachers.  They’re used to school cafeteria food.  Get out the bags of salad leftover from Christmas, and  get that banana pudding from last summer out of the freezer.  We can clear out all the old food today.  The teachers will be so thankful to be away from school for the day, they won’t even notice.”

After lunch, my stomach started rumbling, and I started popping Tums for the rest of the meeting.  I made it home with just a minor stomach ache.  I think I’ve recovered now, but my dinner was only yogurt – I don’t think my stomach could have handled anything else after that lunch.

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Snark – FINALLY! a definition

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

I’ve seen the words “snark” and “snarky”, and I’ve wondered at the origin and meaning. Today, I was reading a newspaper article with the explanation.

“Snark” is a combination of the words “snide” and “remark.” Makes sense now, doesn’t it? I believe the world in general has gotten way too snarky!

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Naked, red eyes, bent over- “Jungle Woman” might be daughter that was lost in 1988

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

Stories like this amaze me.  Someone is lost for years – and we never know the full story of what happened to them in the years they were gone.

Sal Lou, a Cambodian village policeman said the woman was naked, bent over and had red eyes – like a tiger.  However, it was the scar on her arm that makes him believe she’s his daughter – the one who disappeared in 1988 at the age of eight when she was out herding buffalo.

OYADAO, Cambodia (Jan. 20) – A woman who emerged from the jungles of Cambodia a week ago, burbling, grunting and walking bent over, is still giving up none of her secrets, even to the family that has taken her in as their presumed long-lost daughter.
Dubbed a “jungle woman” by residents of this remote district in the northeastern province of Rattanakiri, she is claimed by a local family to be 27-year-old Rochom P’ngieng, who went missing at the age of eight when herding buffalo in 1988.  

As he watched her gobble down her food, the father of Rochom P’ngieng looked on with amazement. “Maybe that’s the way she was used to in the jungle,” Sal Lou told The Associated Press.

But unable to speak any words the villagers can understand, the woman cannot solve any of the mystery that surrounds her disappearance for nearly two decades.

So far, Sal Lou’s family says she mostly uses sign language to indicate her basic needs. She pats her stomach when she is hungry or needs to go the toilet and has taken a liking to the family’s collection of karaoke videos.

“She just stared at that video without blinking. She liked it very much,” Sal Lou said.

While few villagers will hazard a guess as to what the woman’s true story is, many are skeptical she could survive on her own in the jungle. Nomadic people do live in small isolated groups in this part of Cambodia, avoiding contact with civilization, and the woman could be one of them or been taken care of by them. 

The possibility also exists that she could be a lost, traumatized refugee, since many members of hill tribe minorities facing religious persecution in Vietnam’s nearby Central Highlands have fled through this area.  

As she ate a breakfast of plain rice porridge on Saturday, the onlookers considered her case.

“If she was in the jungle for 19 years, why was her hair short?” said Cheat Ki, a shopkeeper in the village. “It should have been long unless someone cut the hair for her in the jungle.”

Many questions remain about the circumstances of her disappearance and what happened to her, said Mao San, police chief of Oyadao district.

Officials want to take DNA samples from the parents and the woman to see if they match, and the parents have agreed, he said.

She was captured, naked, on Jan. 13 after a villager caught her taking food from a lunch box he left at a site near his farm, said local police.

Village policeman Sal Lou described his first glimpse of the woman: “She was naked and walking in a bending-forward position like a monkey, exactly like a monkey. She was bare-bones skinny.”

Her eyes were red like a tiger’s, he said, and he felt fear.

But he checked her right arm. There he found a scar, just as his daughter had from an accident with a knife before she disappeared.

“She looked terrible, but despite all of that, she is my child,” he said.  

Objective evidence for the relationship, beyond a certain physical resemblance, is thin. But Sal Lou is not the only family member claiming Rochom P’ngieng has returned at last.

Rochom Khamphi, 25, said that the moment she arrived at their house with Sal Lou he went to grab her right arm to check for the scar.

“I saw the scar right away and I knew that she is my sister,” he said Friday. “Then tears just rolled down from my eyes. That’s the proof. I remember it very clearly, I’m not making it up, because I was the one who caused the injury.”

Despite being taken into Sal Lou’s extended family, the woman’s heart may remain in the jungle. On Thursday she took off her clothes and acted as if she was about to go back into the wild, Sal Lou said.

Restraining her, the family took her to a nearby Buddhist pagoda for a monk to give her a holy water blessing to expel any evil spirits that may have possessed her, he said.

For members of the Pnong minority, who normally are not members of any organized religion, but instead are animists who revere nature, the move was unusual.

“We worship no religion but we took the advice of some elderly Khmer (ethnic Cambodian) people to have the holy water blessing done to chase the evils souls from her body,” said Sal Lou, as his presumed daughter sat next to him, motionless as a stone.

She spends her days sitting or lying on the floor, sleeping or staring glassy-eyed at the scores of visitors who come to gawk at her in the dirty, ramshackle house she now shares with 12 other people.

The element of wildness is evident as well to a neighbor, Cheat Ki, and it frightens her.

“I was so scared, scared of evil spirits that might have come with her,” she said. “At night before we went to sleep, after seeing her, I told my children to lock the door for fear that some evil might come and strangle us.”

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Australian “Sneaker Peeker” nabbed by police

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

Remember in high school in the 60’s when guys would tease about wearing patent leather shoes so they could look under girls’ dresses? Apparently, there’s a guy in Australia who carried the idea a little far:

Sneaker Peeker Suspect Arrested
CANBERRA (Jan. 18) – An Australian man who for four years used a tiny camera hidden in the toe of his shoe to film up women’s skirts on commuter trams has been arrested by police.

The man used the device, hidden in a pair of black sneakers, to film women’s underwear, while a second camera disguised as a music player captured images of their faces to later match.

The man, in his 20s, was arrested after one woman became suspicious of his behavior on a commuter tram in Melbourne, a city of around 4 million, and spotted the hidden lens, Australian newspapers reported on Thursday.

Searching the man’s home, police later seized photographs and recording equipment showing the man had been secretly filming up female dresses for at least four years.

He is to be charged for stalking and being a public nuisance, carrying a maximum 10-year jail term.

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I’m Friday’s Child. Which day’s child are you?

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

There is a Mother Goose poem that goes like this:

Monday’s child is fair of face.

Tuesday’s child is full of grace.

Wednesday’s child is full of woe.

Thursday’s child has far to go.

Friday’s child is loving and giving.

Saturday’s child works hard for a living.

But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day

Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.

Using this calculator, I found that I am Friday’s child.  I think it fits.  Which day’s child are you?

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High-Tech Toilets: Don’t go to the doctor; just go to the bathroom!

Friday, January 12th, 2007

There are some new high-tech toilets that do much more than serve as mere receptacles for body waste.  There’s one (cost $3,250 – $4,800) that will give you a mini-physical exam just by peeing in it.

The doctor is in. Japanese builder Daiwa House and Toto, Japan’s No. 1 toilet maker, have teamed up to develop a bathroom that lets users monitor their health. It analyzes urine samples, measures your blood pressure, and checks your body fat.

And then there’s the toilet for the people who are really just too lazy to wipe:

Inax, Japan’s second-largest toilet maker, released this mass-market robo-toilet in May. It features a bidet and a washer-dryer for your backside. And there’s no need to raise and lower the seat. Sensors detect when you’re near and open the lid for you. After you leave, it shuts the lid and flushes automatically.

There are several other high-tech toilets described in the article.  Interesting, isn’t it, how taking care of basic bodily functions is getting more and more complicated.

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How Long Will You Live? A Longevity Calculator

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

Here’s a quick quiz and calculator that will tell you how long you are projected to live.  I made it to 94.  How about you?

Tiara-tip to Linda.


Finding my Antique Chest of Drawers

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

I have a friend, Lucy, who sells antiques.  She doesn’t need the money.  She just enjoys antiques.  She and her husband are retired – except from their weekend antique business - and they attend estate sales, garage sales and antique sales as often as they can.  She sells items for much less than the other antique stores around.  Her store is next to their house in an old log cabin.  I told her several months ago that I needed a small chest of drawers.  She immediately started looking for me.

She called me the other day and let me know that she had found one she thought I would like, but it was in an estate sale.  So she wasn’t selling it herself.  I went to the estate sale on Friday afternoon and looked at it, liked it and was ready to pay the price on it – $200.  I thought that was a pretty good price for such a good quality chest, and I knew that other antique stores in town would try to get at least $300 or $400 for it.  Lucy took me aside and said that everything in the estate sale that wasn’t sold by Saturday morning at 10:00 would be marked down to half price.  

So, I took a chance.  If someone bought it, fine.  If not, then I would get a great deal.  I left Lucy a check for $100 to buy it at 10:00 on Saturday if it was still there.  If it was sold, then she would return the check to me. 

Sunday she called – and the chest is mine – for $100.  RT and I picked it up Sunday afternoon.  I cleaned it well and lined the drawers with pretty paper.  Now it’s ready for my things.   I’m so proud of my find!  I have no idea how old it is, but it is exactly what I wanted – the right look, the right size.  It is well made with the old handles and drawer locks.

The photo makes it look redder than it is,  but that’s the best I could do.  I love the chest.  I think it will go well with my bedroom furniture that’s in storage.  Next year when we’re in our new house, the chest will look great with my other furniture.  For now, it is providing me with much needed drawer space.

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