Procrastination (But I Digress)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wild Weather

Thanks, Erika--here is a picture from my phone that I took at the airport yesterday in Burbank. A double rainbow (the second one didn't come out very good). Very rare. But that wasn't even the news. I got off the plane to this view and then all of a sudden, there were big fat rain drops coming down--in California--in September--in 100 degree heat. Still not the news. Then there was lighting and thunder. We never have thunder and lighting. Ok, never is a long time--a couple of times we've had thunder and lighting, in the middle of the night, in the Winter--maybe five times IN THE PAST THIRTY YEARS! Still not the news. It went on for over an hour--the big rain cloud just sat there over Burbank and my part of Glendale for over an hour. It rained a bit--never very long--but there was more lighting and thunder. And there were traffic helicopters flying around--I mean aren't they afraid they'll get hit by the lightning? Perhaps it is so rare, that they don't even know to get out of the sky in a lightning storm.
Any way, it smelled just like Michigan in July--hot, hot weather, big fat rain drops, gorgeous rainbow. Adrienne was very bummed that she missed it. She was beating the heat in a movie. Adam missed it too--he was in San Francisco. I almost missed it, but I got back to town just in time. It's a good thing I got a picture--I sure would never have believed it.
Uncle John's last post was about how cold it was in Southern California a few weeks ago and then this week we have record heat and now a rainbow. This is earthquake weather, that's what this is. [Let me digress to say that no one can really predict earthquakes, but it is freaky weird to be in an earthquake and so as humans, we look for clues to help us cope. My personal theory (probably with no back up, because it's not like I kept actual records) is that when it is really cold and then really hot or vise versa, we're going to have an earthquake. I am completely willing to believe that the movement of the rocks at the earth's core can be affected by the weather at the surface even though writing this out loud sounds extremely silly. So if there is an earthquake--I'm going to say Ah Ha! And if there is no earthquake... well, it was one heck of a wild weather day yesterday. Something for the record books.]

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


So when I left you, we were still in the throws of the US Open Tennis. The finals were rained out on Sunday, so they were put over until Monday at 4. Which I successfully translated to 1 p.m. pacific time. There was no mention of it on the tv directory and I wasn't sure how long it would go or if my super duper dvr would misinterpret my desire to tape some soap opera that started at 1 with really wanting that show in the middle of the night when it was rescheduled to. Oye.

So I made sure to come home from work at 1 p.m. to watch it in person and make sure that my dvr was taping. I couldn't just stay home the whole afternoon--I wanted to, of course, but I was really, really busy at work, so no. Not an option. Really, I'm just going to make sure it's taping and get right back to work. It was a great plan.

I'm always late for everything. Some people say that this is because I just don't care enough about other people to be on time. Some people say that this is a method to increase my importance because other people are forced to wait for ME, because I am so important. Some people (the ones I actually listen to) say that I just try to do too many things and chronically underestimate how long things take in my quest to be all and make every moment count. Whatever the reason, I was mindful that I am always late and I didn't want to be late for tennis. So I was of course running late (and there wasn't even anyone waiting for me, critics..) so I was pushing every light and generally rushing. I made it to the back door at exactly (or within a few minutes anyway) at 1:00 p.m.. I was ready to rush in the back door and proceed directly to my sitting room and grab the remote and turn on the tennis.

Now let me just digress a minute to tell you that I always fast forward the tape over the part where the tennis players are waiting in the hallway and the press ask them a few questions before they come out, even though, once in a commercial John McEnroe was asked what does he think about before the big match and his answer was "I hope my socks match." I love that, but anyway, I don't want to see that little pre-game interview. I don't want to know that English is not their first language. I don't want to see them warm up before the game. Sure, if they are rude to each other in the warm up, that's a sign and I'll be watching for fireworks, but generally, they are standoffishly cordial, because let's face it, they are professionals and they make a lot of money--it's not wrestling. Where was I--oh, yes. I do not watch the beginning. There was really no reason to rush. The match doesn't really start at the beginning--most of the time it takes at least 15 to 20 minutes to actually start. So there was no reason to be there exactly at 1 p.m.. And yet, I was freakishly motivated and I really tried to be there at 1 p.m. exactly.

So I opened the back door. The back door opens to the kitchen and right inside the kitchen on the right is the kitchen sink. Our dishwasher died earlier in the week, so seven people who can't pick up a plate to save their lives are suddenly expected to hand wash their own dishes. These thoughts are going through my mind as the sight before me begins to register. There was water gushing--major waterfall action--from under the sink. There was a large puddle in front of the sink and I could see at the other end of the room, a stream of water was just starting to make its way into the dining room. I immediately called Dad to ask how to turn off the water.

Let me digress again. I'm over 50 years old. I've been a homeowner for many years. I've lived in this particular house for over 10 years. I am in charge of the water filter under the sink. I've changed the filters many many times and every time I call my Dad to ask him how to turn off the water. It's not like there aren't very distinctive knobs right there where they always are every time I go under the sink. So the fact is I do know how to turn off the water, but for some reason I have to make that call, every single time. This time was no exception, except that water was gushing out and holding the phone and sloshing in there in my good shoes and my suit coat and trying to turn off the water while Dad is answering the phone, the irony of my gut reaction to call was large on my brain.

I turned off the water, said good-bye to Dad and looked at the damage. Towels--I was going to need a lot of towels. I hated to use my towels. Our kitchen floor is disgusting. Oh well, I pulled out my three towels. That wasn't enough. So I looked around for more towels--not an easy task. We have many adults and no towels, so when someone gets a towel, they tend to hoard it. I managed to locate two more towels. Only a little water went into the other room and the towel seemed to do the job. So I'm looking at all the water in the kitchen and all the towels and then I realized, my tennis was starting.

So I went to watch tennis. This is a few weeks later, but I have to stop here and say--Djokovic, oh my! I have such a new found respect for him. He played astoundingly well. I love Nadal and of course I wanted him to win, but I must admit there were several times that I was cheering for Djokovic too. Luckily they had a rain delay so that I could go back to work, because once the match started, I really couldn't leave.

And if I had left, then first I would have to deal with the kitchen, so part of it might have been procrastinating that ordeal--maybe.

No one was home. A house full of adults and none of them with regular jobs with regular hours and not a single person was home for the waterfall event. And it must have started very shortly before I got home, because it had only just started to go in the next room. Talk about lucky. What are the odds. I never come home at lunch--the only reason I was there was because it rained in New York on Sunday and I don't trust my new dvr. So the fortuitousness of my discovery is not lost on me. However, I have no dishwasher and now I have no water in the kitchen sink. This could get really, really ugly, really, really fast.

So Adam came home and I corralled him into helping me. He said, "What am I supposed to do?" and I lamented that my fantasy that guys just know this stuff that escapes me blew up in my brain. Go under the sink and just start turning knobs until the kitchen sink works and we find where the leak is. So he turned a knob and water gushed out of the water filter. We looked around and called Dad again. He told us there should be a knob before the hook up to the water filter and there was. Adam turned it on--no water gushing leak and the water came on in the sink. Mission accomplished. I told Adam to take the wet towels outside and hang them up. He grimaced and I rejoiced the I didn't have to do it. So Adam threw them on the ground outside. He does it half ass, so that I'll do it over. It's just a little dance that we dance. So I got him to throw the towels on the gate and we got out paper towel and got the last of the water up. I tried the hot water and it didn't work, but I went under the sink without thinking and turned the right knob for hot water. If I had thought about it, I'd have needed to call my Dad and make Adam turn all the knobs again.

So tennis was taping (luckily I saw a tiny blurb that said it was going over to espn2 after the rain delay and I set up everything on that channel for 8 hours to tape and luckily it worked). The water that I could see was dried. The kitchen sink worked. So I went back to work. I stayed away from twitter and facebook and the internet news and no one told me anything about the tennis match. I got back home around six or so and found the right taped program and settled in to watch the game--it was a very exciting match. At about five hours in, ON THE TAPE, they were saying if it went over a certain time, the coverage would switch to another channel, so that added to the drama. I didn't have another channel taped and I was too far behind to change now. Luckily, Nadal pulled it out in the forth set. I was very happy. I had had my full quota of drama that day.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Spaniards, Oh My

Oh politics, you have distracted me from my first love--Tennis! We have so much wonderful, delightful tennis. It is the US Open--the culmination of the tennis season--the hard court. The first disappointment was that Serena injured her foot and had to pull out. The second disappointment was that Berdych, who has been playing amazing all summer, lost in the first round--heart break. And then there was Baghdatis, who has lost weight and been a dynamo all summer--out in the first round. Mardy Fish, who has also been having a great summer, lasted until the round of 16, but then he met up with Djokovic and losing weight and being fit was no match for the skills of Djokovic. Roddick's loss in the second round was more difficult to accept and explain. I've never liked Tipsarevic--sure he's a very good player, but to beat Roddick? I'm nervous that Roddick just doesn't have deep enough skills to be great again. Isner made it to the third round, but again, I just didn't expect him to be able to beat Youzhny. The match went four sets, with one tie break to Isner, but Youzhny has the experience. Querrey did pretty well and I knew that Wawrinka was good, but his match with Querrey was so close and Wawrinka really took Murray out--that was surprising.

Still on the men's side, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised and amazed at Monfils--what a dynamic player. He was a bit sketchy now and then, but so much energy and pizazz. Again, no match for the skills and experience of Djokovic, but he made it to the quarter finals--very impressive for Monfils. A few years ago, I thought he was almost finished. Now he seems like someone to continue to watch.

Federer, what can I say--he hasn't dropped a set. Soderling threw everything and the kitchen sink at Fed, and Roger made it look effortless to beat him. The style and grace that he plays with are not matched by any player I've ever seen play, ever. I don't know why I usually do not root for him. It must be his little frown and the fact that it just looks so easy for him. But I can't deny, he is an amazing player and though I'd really rather give the title to Nadal, I have to say that Roger is the best of all times.

And then there are the Spaniards! Oh MY! The Ferrer and Verdasco match was like something I've never seen before. I knew that I loved Nadal and that I particularly enjoyed the power and speed of his game, but I'd never seen two Spaniards play each other. Usually when I watch a match, I pick a side. I do have illogical favorites and I pick a side. BUT with every point in the Ferrer/Verdasco match I kept changing sides. They were both so magnificent. I was thrilled that Verdasco won and I was so sad that Ferrer lost--I would have been so thrilled if Ferrer had won and so very sad if Verdasco had lost. I can't ever remember watching a game in which I wanted them each to win so much. It was totally amazing. And then the Nadal/Lopez match--of course, I wanted Nadal, because my enemy is anyone playing Nadal, but Lopez was also a very dynamic player (outmatched like crazy, but very good). Next up for Nadal--Verdasco! Nadal should win. He is the better player. And Verdasco is coming off a very difficult five set match, but this game is going to be so fun to watch--An all Spanish quarter of the draw--talk about fireworks!

This year, I think Nadal has an excellent chance to finally win this thing, but Djokovic will either have to beat Federer (not totally impossible--not likely, but not impossible) or really make him work hard, because Roger is also playing very, very well and Nadal will need all the good luck we can muster to be able to pull it off. If Verdasco or Youzhny or incredibly Wawrinka beat Nadal before he has a chance at Roger, then I'm just going to cry. Nadal has made it through the rounds really well. It would be heartbreaking if he stumbled so close to the finish line.

On the Women's side, well, kind of quiet. Cibulkova came out of nowhere to get to the quarter finals. She is very short and full of power--a lot of fun to watch. My new favorite player is Caroline Wozniacki. Sharapova was playing quite impressively until she came to Caroline who just had more game. Caroline is the number one seed with Serena out and she had a very nice complete game. She doesn't crack under pressure and she has that understated grace that I see in Federrer--she really makes it look easy.

I was sorry to see Stosur take out Dementieva. Elena just cannot catch a break--she had match points, plural, but Sam never gave up for a second and she gritted her teeth and was just more tenacious than Elena in the end. The match ended after 1 a.m. in the morning in New York. Absolutely grueling. Then Stosur went up against Clijsters and I really thought that she might have the game to beat Kim, but in the end Kim's experience and overall game won the match. Stosur put up a great fight though.

Of course, I really like Venus and Kim Clijsters. They've been there before and had a pretty easy time through to the quarterfinals--each surviving a challenge (Venus met Schiavone--I do not like that woman--I have no idea why she rubs me the wrong way) and getting through to the Semi's. It is too bad that they meet in the semi's and not in the final.

Nothing but really great tennis for the next few days and then we're done until January. That's so long. But for tonight NADAL v. Verdasco--Oh my!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

A Comment or Two or Four

I tried to comment on my Uncle John's blog about James Lee, but my computer won't show me the word for the word verification.

So for my audience, let me set up what my Uncle John said (and remember I am paraphrasing through the glasses of my opinions): A few days ago, Uncle John posted something about what a crock global warming is and that it is based on flawed science with publicized errors and everyone should wake up and protest against environmentalists or some such stuff--remember I'm paraphrasing. Anderson gave a similar speech at Toastmasters and I was amazed, but I digress.

Then yesterday, Uncle John posted a picture of James Lee, the guy who took hostages at the Discovery Channel headquarters and was killed by police, saying that he was misguided by flawed global warming hype and it is a good thing that he didn't kill anyone. So here is my response:

I hope your last post didn't push him over the edge--it is kind of eerie that you just posted about global warming being a myth (most likely prompted by some report in the right wing radical conservative newscast that is called "fair and balanced")and then there is a radical on the other side to balance out the universe.

[Gee that sounds a little mean. Nothing personal, but I am really adverse to a lot of the opinions exressed as "news" on Fox news. There it is.]

My theory is that we liberals are just too easy going and accepting of McDonalds, so the radical among us must go to an extreme. Kind of like the conservatives and anti-abortion radicals who kill doctors. Many conservatives (lets call them the young and middle aged white guys) were complacent about abortion because, hey, less child support (or the women conservatives who were a little more true to "keep your government out of my body" then the rest). So the hard core conservatives had to get more and more radical to make some noise. I condemn the anti-abortion radicals who promote violence and kill doctors and judges and I condemn James Lee too.

But it is my fault. I should have responded to your last post, Uncle John, to show the world that your opinion is not the majority and it is not based on sound premises. [I am reminded about the debate over whether smoking caused cancer 30 or 40years ago.] Are you denying that the ice caps are melting? Because that is real and it will have real consequences. Do humans cause it? Look around. You don't need a bunch of studies to show you what you see with your own two eyes. Humans have a huge negative impact on the environment. The question is, can we live with the consequences? And who decides? Some countries are going to be adversely affected by other, bigger, stronger countries (U.S.). We have a bunch of science to address and solve a number of problems, but it takes resources and political will. You have one opinion and I have another opinion. But calling the whole debate of global warming garbage, because of a few errors and deliberately blinding yourself to truths you see with your own eyes, is not a responsible way to conduct political discourse. Neither is blowing up buildings or killing people. And neither is silent complacency: I should have called you out in your last post.

Lee did highlight something that I did not realize. I did see the Discovery Channel as an environmentally responsible outlet and yet I am well aware that the message can be shaped and shaded. We can call a War "Iraqi Freedom", when in fact we were unjustified provokers against a sovereign nation. [Do you want to talk about false data?] We get a free pass for this crime, because nobody in the whole world liked Sadam (including me, by the way--he took a gun and shot his political opponent in front of a sitting congress--he poisened an entire region of his country that he was supposed to lead--he attempted to kill Bush, Senior--digressing, sorry) and 9/11 bought us some free "look the other way" juice. [Am I the only person who has a nagging feeling that radical muslims had nothing to do with 9/11? Where's the gain? Follow the money is what the "watches too many crime dramas on tv" mind of mine says. But look at me digressing.]

Everyone needs to pay attention. It shouldn't take a violent radical act to provoke reasonable people to sit down and discuss things logically. Well as close to logical as two people with extremely different views can muster anyway.

Also, Uncle John, I disagree with your premise (in a comment on Uncle Marcel's blog) that government spending for NASA is good and government spending for the FDA is bad (again paraphrased from the perspective of my opinion). I don't know what kind of crystal ball you have that you apply to your food before you eat it, but I beleive that it was the Bush policies (with origins in the 70's and 80's of deregulation) of decimating governmental agencies that has led to the massive reports of salminella poisening from eggs. The FDA does not have sufficent resources to do the job we expect of it. I for one, want to strenghten the FDA, not weaken it. Necessity is the mother of invention--they will build a better mouse trap if they are forced to do so. But if we spread the investigators thinner and thinner, business will cut costs however they can, and safety will take a back seat to profit. I just don't trust that those corporate farms have a management team that watches Glen Beck's 9/12morals and values to live by (which by the way look very similar to these posters at the Christian Science organization near my office--I think it is based on that guy, E.Ron Hubbard or something like that. I always liked those posters and I support values too without becoming a brainwashed follower--oops, I'm digressing.)

I hate getting into political debates because everyone gets so emotionally involved in their opinion (me included). I think that the media and politicians foster that on purpose. I am going to use florecent light bulbs and drive a hybrid and try to conserve water and try to limit my footprint on this planet and vote for solutions that address the issues of the stress that humans bring to the planet at the expense of other humans (I'm just not an animal person--I cannot get excited about endangered species--I've tried, but there it is) whether the temperature was one or two degrees more or less in the data from a study on global warming or not. But I will most likely keep eating at McDonalds. All I can do is try. And I suspect Uncle John that you too use florecent bulbs and do not waste gas and are not an irresponsible global citizen. Every time we actually chat, I feel that we are very similar, but I guess we have really stayed away from politics in person. Ah, the luxury of the internet. The next time I see you in person (and you me), I hope that we will smile and silently agree not to discuss politics in person. On the other hand, please comment--a robust and open debate on political issues is the very foundation of our great country.