Sunday, December 23, 2012

Buying Local and/or American Made

Well, I managed to do it - I managed to buy everything local and/or American made except for the Ornaments I buy for the kiddos every year...and that was mostly because I spaced that I still needed to do that.

And it wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be...which is good to know because I can do it again next year...and the year after...and the one after that.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving Recipes

This last Thanksgiving, Shawn and I spent the evening with our friends, Shawna and DJ, DJ's family and Shawn's parents.  I was in charge of appetizers, what follows are my favorite recipes for appetizers.  I liked these so much that I'll be making them for my coworkers on Monday for December Food Month.

Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip
packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dip dry mix
packet specified amount of plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream

Directions:  Mix together, chill and serve with potato chips or veggies. (420 calories, 80 calories from fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 3990 mg sodium, 34 g total carbs, 18 g sugar, 46 g protein FOR THE WHOLE RECIPE)

Greek Yogurt Fruit Dip
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (or vanilla flavored)
Honey to taste

Directions:  Mix together, chill and serve with fresh fruit.

Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Dip
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (or vanilla flavored)
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 T whipped cream cheese (optional)
Honey to taste (optional)

Directions:  Mix together, chill and serve with apple slices, or maybe graham crackers.  (210 calories, 45 calories from fat, 15 mg of cholesterol, 80 mg sodium, 18 g total carbs, 5 g dietary fiber, 13 g of sugar, 25 g protein FOR THE WHOLE RECIPE)

Cream Cheese with Razzpotle
1 brick of cream cheese
jar of Razzpotle sauce or other fruity chipotle sauce

Directions:  pour razzpotle sauce over cream cheese and serve with wheat thins. (880 calories, 160 mg of cholesterol, 1440 mg sodium, 80 g total carbs,
8 g dietary fiber, 72 g sugar, 16 g of protein FOR THE WHOLE RECIPE)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 1

Day 1 of Shopping Local and/or American Made:

I left work at 5 (we actually were allowed to go home at 3, but I had some work that needed to get done and those extra 2 hours were quite the boon).  I immediately drove to a locally owned book store.  They did not have any of the specific books I was looking for.  Oh well, c'est la vie.  I still found books which I think will be appreciated.  The sad part is that as I was leaving, I found another 2 that another on my list would like...guess I'll just have to go back there next week on the way home.

And I'm back (I left for 5 minutes to see where the books were made).  All of them were printed in America, so I'm guessing this is quite a common thing...which means I may be able to find the ACTUAL books requested and still be able to follow through with my "American or Local" mantra.

You know, the tough one to shop for is going to be my husband...always so difficult to find gifts for.  I guess I could always give him a stack of cash and say, "This is the money I was going to donate to charity, but I didn't.  Merry Christmas."

Saturday, November 17, 2012


This year, for Christmas shopping, I'm going to challenge myself to either buy local, or buy American made.  I have to put in that extra caveat because there are some things that are practically impossible to find American made (e.g. electronic goods, plastics, etc.)

So...Yeah...we'll see how well this goes - I already know that Shawn thinks I'm crazy, and it's not like he likes christmas shopping to begin with.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


Laying in the grass together on a lazy Sunday afternoon

Sunday, November 04, 2012


Here we are.  Another November.  As per usual (okay not really 'usual' per se as much as 'i did it last year and it worked out great'), I'm going to posting one thing each day that I'm thankful for on Facebook.  Including pictures (when it makes sense).  Plus, since the stores are already telling us that Christmas is the next holiday we are to prepare for (not Thanksgiving), I'm going to try to slow things down and be in the moment (more or less) and just be thankful.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I have arrived

Another city has sent me a letter asking me to apply for a job with them.  I find it odd that it was sent via post.  I realize my address IS out there, but it's still a little weird to get something that's actually relevant to me and my career being sent to my house that isn't from an official organization that I'm part of.  But still, I have finally arrived. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

23 cents, I has them.

By now, I'm sure everyone knows of the infamous "Binder of Women"... And then posted a map.  A map created by The New America Foundation.  You can find this map here

I have a problem with this map.  My problem is that it basically says "difference in average pay for employed women vs employed men."  It doesn't say "difference in pay for equal work."  Whose fault is it that men tend to choose programming jobs over teaching?  Whose fault is it that most librarians are female while most engineers are male?

I'm not concerned that the 'average employed woman's pay vs. average employed man's pay' has up to a 45 cent spread on the dollar because it does not compare apples to apples.  I'm concerned when a woman with 4 years of experience in a field is paid less than a man with 4 years of experience in the same field when education is the same for both.**

**This has been illegal to do in the US for the last 50 years, but until somewhat recently there was no good way for those who could prove discrimination could get compensation.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Straight Edge

A little dated, but still relevant since I just took the pictures off of my camera. 


Midway shaving off the beard with the clippers

This is totally about to happen

Ohmagerd! it's happening!

Monday, October 01, 2012

White Rabbit

One of the things my mom told me growing up was that one was to say "white rabbit" upon waking in the morning on the first of the month (some people just say 'rabbit' and others say 'jackrabbit'.  You were to say this so that you would have good luck throughout the month.  Now then, of course the rule is that 'white rabbit' must be the first words uttered in the morning on the first.  My dad used to get around this by just grunting and moaning every morning until my mom would start talking to him since if it was the first of the month, the first words she'd say upon anyone waking up was "Did you say 'white rabbit'?!"

Anyhow.  I still try to say 'white rabbit' on the first of the month; and I did so this morning.

And today was a perfectly fine day.  But then I tripped and fell while running and have roadrash all over my thigh, a few gashes on my hip and hands and my knee is scraped up.  But I didn't break any bones.  See!  the system works!

Saturday, September 29, 2012


I was supposed to be a huge event of a storm today.  I was supposed to work all day because of it.

It was not a huge storm.  It was a fizzle of a storm.  We got like 1.5" at the house.  I don't know what other areas of town received.

So now I'm sitting on the couch, looking for things to do - I don't feel like cleaning...and while I feel like baking, there's the cleaning afterward to contend with, which makes me not want to clean.  Maybe I ought to go ahead and get out and do something - I mean, that's essentially what I was going to do today anyhow, right?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

On Tastes

The older we get, the fancier our tastes get...

Then:  The Cheesecake Factory was considered expensive and we dressed up to go there.
Now:  The Melting Pot is more or less a mid-level restaurant for us - and we will wear business casual attire.

Then:  $6 pizza was a luxury we maybe got once a month.
Now:  $9 pizza is almost a weekly occurrence.

Then:  Spending more than $35 for a dress was a sin. I don't know what Shawn's limit for clothes because he never bought any.
Now:  I have no problem spending $70 on a clothing item I really want.  Shawn's still cheap - he'll only buy jeans on black friday.

Then:  I will never, ever, not in a million years, ever want to own Prada shoes.
Now:  O mah gawd!  I love these shoes!  $600 is a bit steep...but someday I'll own you my pretties.

Then:  $150 suit from Men's Warehouse and suit separates found at the Goodwill Store
Now:  Custom tailored suits from Louis Bespoke

Then:  $60 for men's dress shoes was pushing it.
Now:  Really, really wants a pair of Allen Edmonds Park Avenues

Then:  Shawn didn't shave because razor blades are expensive
Now:  Shawn just bought himself a straight edge razor and is currently shaving with it (though to be fair, he's still such a cheap bastard that he got a refurbished one for $72 from The Whipped Dog instead of buying a new one for $300)

Saturday, September 15, 2012


A month ago I posted a Facebook status update about walking to the grocery store (1.7 miles round trip) to pick up some ultra gentle face stuffs to maybe hopefully get rid of a rash I had on my upper lip that made it look like I had been waxing every day for about a month.

I'm not sure why my skin went all wonky, one of my coworkers postulated that it was Demodex mites (same family that causes mange in dogs, but not the same mite), while others thought it was me using harsh face washes (which I do tend to do - I still buy acne products as if I'm in high school even though I don't need to), and Shawn's helpful recommendation was that it was because I was wearing makeup.

Anyhow, after a month of washing my face 2x a day and using some products meant for sensitive skin with rosacea, I think the problem is under control (or enough so that I don't wear makeup).

These products, which I highly recommend are: [NOTE: I'll try to remember to stop and check the prices at the store]

Cetaphil face wash.  I meant to grab the sensitive skin version, but grabbed the normal to oily version instead.  Whatevs, it's all good.  I'm sure the normal to oily version is still more gentle than say Noxema, and it's definitely more gentle than the face wash I had been using - an Avon Anew face wash that has been discontinued (it was anti-wrinkle and anti-wrinkle means that it's harsh)

Simple Soothing facial toner.  Remember those astringents you used in high school?  The ones that burned a little after you used it?  Yeah, this isn't like that at all. If the astringents in high school were more like this one, I wouldn't have tried to save money back then by using rubbing burny...and bad for your skin.  This one has no scent to it, it doesn't sting at all, and I seriously figured I was just rubbing more water on my face.  But after using it for a month, I do like it.  It does help with shine, it helps with pore size so I'll keep using it...though I do dislike the fact that I have to use cottonballs to apply it...they really need to come out with a little spray mister for this (like Clean Start All Over Clear)

Aveeno Ultra Calming Daily Moisturizer (SPF 15).  I love this stuff.  It's gentle enough that I use it as my eye moisturizer/sun block as well.  After all the crap my lip was pulling, this felt amazing. The only problem I had with it (and not a problem unless your skin is so devoid of moisture that you have to use straight Vaseline like I was) is that the moisturizing aspect only lasted until about lunchtime.  This isn't a problem now that my skin is acting normally.  I like this AM moisturizing/SPF product way more than the other product I had been using (again, anti-wrinkle but with an SPF that made me feel all greasy).

Curel Ultra Healing for Extra Dry Skin.  OMG.  I'm already a big proponent of "Curel in the blue bottle which is apparently no longer blue and is instead white" and for a long time I was using the blue bottle Curel as my night time moisturizer.  So it was no surprise that when my lip went all wonky, I immediately started using the lotion as needed...the problem was 'as needed' quickly became 'waking up in the middle of the night to reapply' hence why I switched to plain ol' Vaseline petroleum jelly. Which, if you've ever done, it works wonders, but it doesn't necessarily seem like it's the best stuff to put on your face even though it's non-comedogenic and hypo-allergenic (it does make one shiny, though).  So when I was looking for a night-time moisturizer, and I saw the Curel Ultra Healing with Ceramides (which are a must for rosacea), AND the fact that it was extremely cheap compared to all the other possible night-time moisturizers (I paid $4.97 for 6 oz - I remember this because the Aveeno was 3x more expensive but was only 4 oz), I went ahead and bought it. I figured worst case scenario was that I'd end up using it as regular hand lotion.  Instead I ended up carrying this everywhere.  Seriously.  It resided in my purse for 2 weeks.  When my lip would dry out around lunch time, I'd use a little of this stuff and reapply whatever makeup I was using.  I usually would wash my face as soon as we got home and would reapply this and it would last until the following morning when I'd wash my face again.  The only thing I thought was odd was the citrus scent (it has orange oil in it); not that it smelled bad, but that when you think "calming for irritated skin" you usually don't think "mmmm, acidic citrus fruits." 

Thursday, September 06, 2012


I learned something about myself this last weekend whilst in San Diego...

Wait, let me explain.  We went to San Diego.  I tend not to mention things of this ilk (aka vacations) on my blog or on facebook or anywhere really.  It's mostly because I don't like advertising that we'll be away from our house for extended periods of time.  All this because when I was in middle school, my dad created a website and posted EVERYTHING on it.  Address, our next planned vacation, our names, our ages, our favorite colors and the names of our pets.  My mom made him remove most of that.  And so, lesson learned, I never post anything about future plans unless they are way off in the future.

So anyway, we're in San Diego and there's this "Festival of Sail" going on with tours of old timey boats (which we didn't do - I was game, but Shawn wasn't...something about spending $40/person on the zoo and $100 on kayaking that made him not want to spend more money).  At said Festival of Sail, there were food vendors and arts and crafts vendors.  My two favorite arts and crafts vendors were
  1. A vendor who upcycled beer bottles into glasses, liquor bottles into lamps and wine bottles into cheese boards, and
  2. A vendor who upcycled old boat sails into bags.
As I was contemplating which boat sail bag to get (I got the one with a blue anchor on it, though I should have gotten the one with a pink dolphin tail), I realized something.  I am a sucker for upcycled things. My favorite necklaces are ones that are made out of bottle caps.  I bought my sister a seat belt purse for Christmas a few years back because I really wanted one but couldn't justify spending $75 on a purse.  I make gifts for my coworkers out of bottle caps, wine corks, and tourist maps.

Yep, total sucker for upcycling.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Making it Hail

A while back, one of my coworkers was lamenting that he'll never be rich enough to "make it rain." 

The other coworker, said, "Yeah, I know how you feel.  I can only afford to do that with quarters... I make it hail."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thoughts, two

Moms everywhere were excited when Marissa Mayer (the new CEO for Yahoo) got hired with full disclosure of her being pregnant.  That elation turned to vitriol when Marissa announced that she was going to only take 2 (or so) weeks of maternity leave and planned on working from home throughout that time.  My thoughts: 
1.  She can do whatever the hell she wants, if she wants to work, she can work, if she doesn't, she shouldn't have to or feel obligated to. 
2.  If Yahoo is like most companies in America, she probably isn't given maternity leave and instead has to use vacation or sick time or take FMLA leave.  She may not have the vacation time given to her at the beginning of her tenure, but instead is doled out throughout they year (like my job).
3.  FMLA requires that a person has worked for the company for a specified amount of time prior to taking the leave, and it's quite possible that she won't have worked for Yahoo long enough to qualify. 
4.  Basically what I'm saying is that if someone started at my job (which is the government) 2.5 months pre-due date, she wouldn't have the vacation time, she wouldn't have the FMLA qualification; and while I'm sure that if someone was hired at 6.5 months along with full disclosure, she wouldn't be told she couldn't take the time off, but she also wouldn't be getting paid nor would she have the relief knowing that their job would be held open for her.  So yeah, it's quite possible that she feels like she needs to get back to work as soon as possible even if it's only in her head. 
5.  As with most women at that level in the tech field, I'm sure she's got ideas running around in her head all the time and actually goes cabin-fever crazed within a few weeks of being home anyway and if working from home helps her feel less crazy, then so be it.

Point is - the mommy wars are just things made up in women brains and we really need to get away from who's right and who's wrong.  Can't we all just agree that what works for one doesn't necessarily work for everyone?

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Miscellaneous thoughts I've had this week:
-Breast feeding, and therefore by association, pumping, are rights. One cannot be angry about an employee taking a break every 3-4 hours to pump.
-what is the issue with the requirement to have health insurance?  How is this any different than having car insurance, homeowner's insurance, or flood insurance?  Would people be less angry if it were law, and if you went to the hospital/doctor without health insurance then they could ticket you?
-Google should have some major lessons learned from the launch of the Nexus 7; namely, it is bad form for the people who preordered the device through the parent company to receive said device later than those who ordered it through a third party vendor.
-Smart development in dumb places is non-sustainable.
-Bad news travels faster than good news.
-Man, my homemade blackberry infused vodka is some pretty nasty shit.  The raspberry, however, is wonderful.
-Mama (the feral cat I've been feeding in hopes of catching her to get hr spayed) is either super sneaky or I've been feeding two different cats.
-I remember lat year when we didn't have mosquitoes, it was divine.
-Not so devine: the drought we were in in order to accomplish the no mosquitoes.
-I won a pair of sweatpants through a give away on Kristie's blog (the spiteful chef). She is awesome, go read it.
-yep, I think I'm done for now...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pictures! the second

Pictures of the family in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Hopefully Dani and/or Mary Jo will upload their photos to a location where they can be shared...
Butlers in Santa Fe

Pictures! the first

From Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns & Guadalupe National Park

Friday, July 06, 2012

Are Teests

Some of the art that impressed me while in Santa Fe:
"Meet and Greet" by Barbara Meikle ($3,800).  Barbara was very outgoing and loves talking about her art.  You can find her artwork at the Pippin Meikle Gallery.

A giant ball made out of chain link fence - I think it looks like a lantern.  I don't remember who was the originator of this piece, but it is located at InArt

"Autumn in Taos" by Pamela Dewitt ($1,200).  This picture does NOT do this piece justice.  It is a reverse painted piece on shattered glass.  The effect is awesome.  We were told that this artist is relatively new so her pieces are currently very reasonably priced.  Her artwork is currently at InArt.

"Canon del Agua" by David Perez Escudero ($18,500).  First, this painting is huge.  I was standing at the door to the gallery and this is all I got of the painting (it's 5' x 5.5').  Second, this is pointilism and this guy sure does take it to a whole different level.  He was a programmer for Los Alamos before retiring.  He now paints full time.  His artwork can be found at InArt.

"Wyoming Sunrise" by Carol Shinn ($3,9,50).  This is freestyle sewing.  SEWING.  It's insane!  Her artwork can currently be seen at the Jane Sauer Gallery.

"Poppies Whirl" by Gregory Smith ($1,250).  Just cuz I like me some botanical artwork.  Gregory's artwork can be found at the Ventana Fine Art Gallery.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

New Mexico Trip

As most of my faithful readers (all 2 of you!) already know, Shawn and I took a trip to meet up with my family over father's day weekend.  Since Shawn and I are nerds, we generally keep track of the gas mileage the car gets.  We don't have any charts (like Shawn does for our combined Net Worth), but we generally know that in town, the car gets between 32 and 34 mpg and on trips it's usually better.

On trips, we also keep all of the receipts...I'm not really sure why; Shawn claims it's so he knows how much money we spend, but that's not it since we can track that via our credit card statements, so it's gotta be something else.  He also used to set our "B" odometer to log the total number of miles for the trip, but I wouldn't let him do that this trip since I use it to track the number of miles between oil changes.  ANYHOO, we spent $282.28 on the trip (on things that we wouldn't have had to pay for if we had gone by plane).  Of that, $163.57 was spent on gas.  If we had travelled by plane, we would have spent an additional $150 (over the $280).  The car got some amazing gas mileages with the worst being 30.39 mpg (we had only used half a tank and filled up because gas was cheap).  The best, by contrast was 40 mpg.  On average, we got 35.68 mpg.

So, do I love my car (2008 Honda Fit)?  Yes.  Absolutely.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Stupid People

You ever have one of those times when you're at work and someone accidentally hits "reply all" in an email instead of "reply"? Yeah, those happen every once in a while.

 What happens much more frequently at my work is someone sends an email to a mailing list, someone inevitably on that mailing list replies all when it is unnecessary, and then so on and so forth.

Today, a lady inadvertently sent an email to a mailing list instead of the dummy "I have a question" email address. It happens.

The chain went something like this:
Original Poster: "I need a new password"
Person being a smart ass who has no access to creating a password: "GHJ45qr!"
Person 1: "OMG I don't think I'm supposed to be on this email chain! I don't want to know OP's password!"
Persons 2, 3, 4, and 5: "Yeah, we shouldn't know this"
Person 6: "please remove me from this email chain."
Person 7: "Why is everyone 'replying all'? just hit reply if you feel the need to respond"
Person 9: "STOP REPLYING ALL!!!!1!!"
Person 10 (who hasn't read through the whole email chain): "OMG! I don't think we're supposed to know what her new password is, are we?"
Persons 11-20: choose any or all of the responses from persons 2, 6 or 9.
Person 21 (OP): "I just figured I'd give you guys your daily dose of computer fun!"
Person 22: same response as person 10.
Person 23: same as person 9.
Person 22 (again): same as person 9.
Person 24: "Don't take me off this list, I LOVE THIS!"
Person 25 (who is new to the game): "What is happening, why are there so many emails about this?"
Person 26 (being a smart ass): "It's a virus"
Persons 27-30: "EEEK! A VIRUS?!?!?!"
Persons 30-35: "I want off this list NOW!"
Person 35 (SysAdmin): "Please disregard this entire chain, the OP accidentally sent an email to the mailing list instead of the dummy email account. Everything is taken care of."
Person 36: "I don't think we're supposed to know what the OP's password is though, are we?"
Person 38: "Just to let everyone know, I've let the IT people know about this virus. They're working on it."
Person 39: "I don't want to know what OP's Password is!"
Person 40: "Imma fucking kill you now."
Person 41: "What is going on?"

I'm pretty sure the email chain continued on, but the IT people managed to flag all emails in the system with the same title and didn't send them out. I would have been interested to find out how long it really went on for though...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


The family at Buffalo Thunder Casino in Santa Fe, New Mexico
A photo showing how much space we all were keeping from Sickie Jim (hence why he looks a bit closer to the camera in the photo above).

Friday, June 01, 2012


Quazi has a new talent.  He can shut himself in the cupboards.  He goes about this by pulling open one of the cabinets by the floor just enough to get his head in, then the rest of the body follows.  Inevitably, he gets stuck.  He's not really stuck, all he needs to do is push the cabinet door.  But he thinks he's stuck and so he'll sit in there meowing away until Shawn or I go into the kitchen and talk him out of the cupboard (we refuse to open the door for him because then he really does end up being stuck - stuck by his own stupidity, but stuck, nonetheless.  Now then, to get him on camera...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


It's a good thing I'm not the depressed type by nature.  If I were, I'd weigh a lot more...Yep, I'm totally a depressed stress eater. 

The reason for my depression:  medical bills.  It's a combination of the amount  and the fact that I have to talk to people.  On the phone.  If the amount was just half of what it is, I would have gladly paid it without complaint, but no.  Now I have to wade through the medical system and barter (which I hate doing), in order to pay something that my insurance should rightfully be paying since it's not like I WANTED to have surgery.  Quite the opposite.  But what is one to do when the doctor says "the tumor has doubled in size in 6 months; it needs to come out even though it is benign."?

Boo.  Hate.  Now, where's my Pillsbury crescent rolls?

Saturday, May 12, 2012


You know how I've mentioned before that we watch an inordinate amount of TV for not having cable?  Yeah, since we have two tuners, and access to Hulu, our TV watching has gotten even worse...

What we record and watch religiously:
The Simpsons,
Family Guy
American Dad
The Amazing Race
Once Upon a Time
Nova Science Now
How I Met Your Mother
Big Bang Theory
Person of Interest
Criminal Minds
Modern Family
The Office
Rules of Engagement
Hell's Kitchen
Master Chef
Raising Hope

What we have queued in Hulu:
White Collar
Warehouse 13
Top Shot
Burn Notice
Royal Pains

And we're working our way through Battlestar Galactica (the 2003 version)

What we'll watch on Hulu if we don't have anything else to watch:
Hart of Dixie
Being Human
Who Do You Think You Are
The Finder
The Daily Show
The Colbert Report
Body of Proof
Central Texas Gardener

Yeah, way too freaking much TV

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Randall Munroe is a Genius

Like we needed any more proof that Munroe was a genius:
Comic by Randall Munroe and can be found at xkcd

But really.  I've given up sugared sodas in response to this.  As a reward, I now get to eat a Cadbury Bunny Egg whenever I want (assuming that my stash of 20 eggs lasts and Shawn doesn't eat them all [that no-good-stealing husband])

Of course, it also means that I'm now obsessed with looking at the sugar content of things and comparing them to a soda.  So 5 peeps equals a Coke.  2 Cadbury Eggs equal a Coke.  11 oz of 100% Juice Pomegranate/Blueberry Blend by Old Orchard equals a Coke...hunh. Juice Consumption has also dropped pretty drastically since I realized that as well...

Also, I just looked it up and the Apple Pancake that Shawn and I have for dinner with some regularity also has the same amount of sugar as a Cadbury Bunny Egg per person.  yay for the dye-a-beet-us!

From the Archives

The table at my cousin's wedding

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012


Sunset the other night...

Friday, February 17, 2012

SO-dium bicarbonate, sodi-UM bicarbonate

Shawn and I are watching this week's CSI and the lab tech just told the CSIs "that white crusty stuff you found was sodium bicarbonate.  Specifically the type that's used in industrial cleaning."

I'm pretty sure that sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), being a chemical with a known molecular formula, is the same whether it's used for baking or used for cleaning.

When I pointed this out to Shawn, he told me that I didn't hear the difference - one was SO-dium bicarbonate, while the other is sodi-UM bicarbonate.

Monday, February 13, 2012


So I wrote a whole entry on my observations on mentoring and how they could make the program better...but at the same time I don't think I'll post it until I feel less pissed off because I have a feeling it's pretty inflammatory, and so I shall wait to post it...

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Shutterbug: Birds

Foreground:  American Finch
Background:  House Finch

For those of you who don't know what size that is, a House Finch is roughly the same size as the common house sparrow.

-Catch of the Day
-Unlikely Duos
-Those were the days
-State Parks
-At the Fair
-Fall Leaves
-Curious Cats
-Man's Best Friend
-At the Cook-off
-Fun with Photoshop
-Baby, It's Cold Outside
-Going Nuts
-Yard Art
-Up Close and Personal
-Pet Tricks
-Water Towers
-Night Photography

I have also realized that chances are likely that some of these I'll never get around to - like At the Cook-off or At the Fair  - mostly because I don't go to those things.  So I may remove them and add some more new challenges.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Random Thoughts

1.  I'm still stewing over the republican debate from like 2 weeks ago - you know, the one where Gingrich got all bent out of whack because the moderator was asking him about whether he actually asked his second wife for an open marriage?  Yeah.  That one.  In his 'answer' he said that he didn't think it was a valid question to ask.  I'm sorry, but if you ever mention "defending the sanctity of marriage" as one of your tenets for becoming president, then yes, you asking your second wife for an open marriage is a perfectly valid question to ask.  We'll ignore the fact that you have been married 3 times*, and admitted to cheating on 2 of the three.  Which, by the way, degrade the sanctity of marriage much more than allowing homosexual persons to get married.
* I don't care if you get divorced, I don't think it makes you a bad person, nor do I think you should be punished for it, but again, I'm just using the republican talking point against them.

2.  Let's ignore the whole Stop Online Piracy Act (as it is currently off the table), but if SOPA had passed, I'm sure you'd be able to get my blog shut down for me posting a picture that has been passed around Facebook (not to mention that Facebook would be shut down) for the last couple of weeks.  The picture I'm talking about is of course this one:   

3.  Where the hell can I get myself a shit load of Girl Scout cookies? Because I have never wanted to support them more than I do right now.

4.  Sorry my blog has been so political recently (besides, I figure if you're reading my blog, it really isn't for my entries on republican candidates, but then, you probably also aren't reading this thing for my rapier wit.  Perhaps I shall distract you with a picture of my diabetic cat (a cat, whose blood sugar was at 61 this evening so we didn't give him a shot).  Yes, that will do, sugar cat, that will do.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Presidential Candidate: Mitt Romney

Note:  Per a request from Lon, I'm going to skip over Ron Paul for now.  I also may come back to do Buddy Roemer (it will depend on if he's dropped out or not)

Synopsis:  A robot has decided to take his personality chip for a spin and see if his study of the human race has paid off enough to win the presidential nomination

Current Job: None - he pretty much goes around stumping for other republicans at this point in time.  He is the ex-governor of Massachusetts, which while he was governor, managed to essentially obtain universal healthcare for the state.

Spouse: Ann, who is a breast cancer survivor and suffers from MS

Kids:  5 - all boys. 

Stance on:
  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:  Repeal and replace
  • Roe V Wade: Would like to overturn Roe v Wade; but feels that anti-abortion legislation should be on a state level, not national.
  • Funding Planned Parenthood: Against. 
  • Embryonic Stem Cell Research:  Against (because it is creating life in order to destroy it)
  • Afghanistan: The decisions about Afghanistan should be made by our military's top brass.
  • Iran:   We must create stronger sanctions against Iran to prevent them from obtaining nuclear weapons
  • Budget: Cut spending, limit amount allowed to be spent.
  • Taxes:  Lower Corporate taxes, set new limits on personal tax rates
  • Mexico/US border: Build a high-tech fence and provide the manpower to back it up.
  • Education: Education should not be confined to Teacher's Unions.  Admits there is a problem and recommends providing incentives to students (such as top performing students get full scholarships to state schools)
  • Energy:  We need to rely more on America's oil sources.
  • LGBT issues: Against marriages and even civil unions (as of 2008), but of course we all know how much he waffles.

Chances of Winning:  If the media is to be believed, it is now a two man race between Gingrich and Romney.

Who would vote for him:  Older slightly liberal leaning folks.  Those that are scared by Gingrich.

Clips from the fake news (since that's all I need):
-Colbert Report: Clinching the Nomination
-The Daily Show: Earning more in a day than the median American
-Fox News:  State of the Union Reaction

Campaign Talking Points (from his website): 

Tax Reform
  • Keep personal income tax at the same rates; however eliminate taxes on Dividends, Interest and Capital Gains for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $200,000.
  • Eliminate the death tax
  • Overhaul the system to provide lower, flatter rates over a wide base.
  • Reduce the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%
  • Switch to a Territorial tax system (instead of Worldwide) for corporations.
Regulatory Reform
  • Repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
  • Repeal Dodd-Frank
  • Streamline the FDA approval process
  • Enact comprehensive patent reform (it takes too long to get a patent)
  • Repeal Sarbanes/Oxley
Labor Reform
  • Allow businesses to reallocate their capital as they see fit
  • Support states in pursuing "Right to work" laws
  • Prohibit the use for political purposes of funds automatically deducted from worker paychecks
  • Eliminate redundancy in federal retraining programs by consolidating programs and funding streams, centering as much activity as possible in a single agency
  • Give states authority to manage retraining programs by block granting federal funds
  • Facilitate the creation of Personal Reemployment Accounts
  • Encourage greater private sector involvement in retraining programs
  • Raise visa caps for highly skilled workers
  • Grant permanent residency to eligible graduates with advanced degrees in math, science, and engineering
Financial Reform

  • Immediately cut non-security discretionary spending by 5 percent
  • Reform and restructure Medicaid as block grant to states
  • Align wages and benefits of government workers with market rates
  • Reduce federal workforce by 10 percent via attrition
  • Undertake fundamental restructuring of government programs and services
  • Cap federal spending at 20 percent of GDP
  • Pursue a Balanced Budget Amendment
Energy Reform
  • Create a One-Stop-Shop to streamline the permitting process for common activities
  • Amend the Clean Air Act to remove carbon dioxide from its purview.
  • More nuclear power plant approvals
  • Open America's reserves (I take this to mean drill in ANWR)
  • Regulations to make it easier to produce oil from oil shale
  • Support pipelines to get oil from Canada into the US.
  • Concentrate alternative energy research funding on basic research
Healthcare Reform
  • Repeal and replace Obamacare
  • Give states the responsibility, flexibility, and resources to act
  • Empower citizens to buy their own insurance
  • Focus federal regulation of health care on making markets work
  • Reform the medical liability system
  • Make health care more like a market and less like a government program
    • The US needs to pursue new free trade agreements across the pacific.
    • Support World Trade Organization Negotiations
    • Complete the the Trans-Pacific Partnership
    • Put China on notice about needing to play by the rules and honor the agreements already signed.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Presidential Candidate: Jon Huntsman

    Synopsis:  Not well known Technocrat, Mormon ex-governor of Utah throws his hat in the ring for 2012 presidential nomination.

    Current Job: Recently vacated his job as Ambassador to China; now running for president.

    Spouse: Mary Kaye

    Kids:  7 - 5 bio-kids and 2 adopted - one from China and one from India, who is Hindu and as such, the family does celebrate Diwali.  Additionally, even though Jon was raised Mormon, his wife was raised Episcopalian, Jon did attend Lutheran school, and his kids attended Catholic school.

    Stance on:
    • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:  Repeal
    • Roe V Wade: Would like to overturn Roe v Wade.
    • Funding Planned Parenthood: Against.  Is fine with PP's non-abortion health services, but has said he will veto any budget that includes funding of Planned Parenthood.
    • Embryonic Stem Cell Research:  Supports Stem Cell Research, but not of the embryonic kind.
    • Afghanistan: If we don't have a winning strategy, we should just cut our losses and get out.
    • Iran:   Unclear
    • Budget: Is pro tax cut, and thinks we need to spend less
    • Taxes:  would like to implement a flat tax rate
    • Mexico/US border: Does not like the idea of a fence, but also feels that we're at a point where there's no other option
    • Education:  Feels the government shouldn't be running schools, but should be a clearinghouse of ideas.
    • Energy:  We need to end our dependence on foreign oil and need to start researching new energy sources
    • LGBT issues:  Is against gay marriage, but is pro gay union.  Feels that it should be the states' right to decide.
    • Professes a firm belief in Science and rejects the theory that faith and evolution are mutually exclusive.
    • Believes that we should trust scientists when it comes to global warming.
    • Is pro-life but also refused to sign a pledge to only appoint pro-lifers to the cabinet and stop federal funding of abortions in the event that he became president.
      Chances of Winning:  Probably not very good since most of the independents that are voting in republican primaries are leaning toward Ron Paul.  Also, he doesn't get much media coverage which means most people don't know much about him.  It's possible that he could become a running mate for someone trying to appeal to the younger generation.

      Who would vote for him:  younger, more liberal leaning folks.  Would possibly do better running as an independent or democrat.

      Clips from the fake news (since that's all I need):
      -Colbert Report: Huntsman Interview
      -The Daily Show: Scientists?!
      -Fox News:  Are you a candidate?

      Campaign Talking Points (from his website): 
      Huntsman has one of the most comprehensive websites of the candidates I've researched.

      Tax Reform
      • Simplify the the personal income tax code and lower rates which will eliminate all deductions and credits, but would also lower the brackets to 8%, 14% and 23% (currently 15%, 25% and 34%)
      • Eliminate the alternative minimum tax
      • Reduce the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%
      • Shift to a Territorial Tax System which will allow US based multinational corporations to bring jobs to America.
      • Implement a Tax Holiday for repatriation of corporate profits which will allow companies to make capital investments 
      • Eliminate taxes on capital gains and dividends in order to eliminate the double-taxation on investments - He feels that people do not invest their money in the stock market because whatever they earn is going to be taxed even though the money that was initially put up was taxed via income taxes.
      Regulatory Reform
      • Repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
      • Repeal Dodd-Frank
      • Streamline the FDA approval process
      • Enact comprehensive patent reform (it takes too long to get a patent)
      • Repeal Sarbanes/Oxley
      • End the EPA regulatory overreach by nixing the Ozone Standard Revision and Joint Fuel Efficiency rules (the fuel efficiency rules ban converting heavy duty equipment to natural gas)
      • Develop and deliver new alternative energies by expediting the environmental permitting process
      • Implement a cultural change in regulatory agencies by mandating that timelines are kept and citizens are treated as customers
      • Will instruct the National Labor Relations Board to allow Boeing to move to South Carolina (otherwise Boeing will have to move to a foreign country) in order to keep American jobs in America.
      • Will require the Commodities Future Trading Commission to do a cost-benefit analysis before implementing any regulations
      • Privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
      • Will require all government agencies (including the 'independent' ones) to do a cost-benefit analysis before implementing any regulations.
      Financial Reform
      • End "too big to fail"
      • Maximize derivatives transparency
      • Repeal Dodd-Frank
      • End Wall Street's reliance on excessive short term leverage
      • Eliminate the tax deduction of interest paid which puts an emphasis on debt instead of equity (it's unclear if this is meant for corporations only or if it's also meant for homeowners)
      • Fix the Basel 3 Accord which makes it easier to invest at a lower rate in sovereign debt
      • Ensure a stable dollar policy
      • Dismantle Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae as they stand now
      • Restore the rule of law to prevent things such as the Robo-signings
      • Work with Europe to end the European Sovereign Debt Crisis
      Energy Independence
      • Streamline approval for new energy production (drilling can be done in the US, in the Gulf, and in Alaska)
      • Break down barriers to using Fracking to obtain natural gas
      • Embrace emerging technologies like Coal-to-liquid fuel
      • Purchase more oil from Canada
      • Eliminate the subsidies that make us more dependent on one type of fuel source (read:  gas prices are going to skyrocket)
      • Ensure that Transportation Fuel markets are competitive
      • Eliminate regulations that limit energy innovations and transportation fuels from reaching the consumer
      • End regulatory road blocks to alternative fuels
      • Spur investment in modernizing our power grid (what happens if everyone decides to go with electric cars that require being plugged in at night?)
      • Encourage state-based solutions to air quality and other problems - Iowa has wind, but not geothermal power, California has geothermal, but no wind.
      • Force Washington to face the facts - energy policy must be based on sound science, transparent government, and thorough public debate.
      Energy Security
      • We must break oil's monopoly as being our primary fuel
      • We should open American lands to oil drilling - including the Gulf and Alaska
      • We should research oil shale as a viable oil supply
      • We need to create other means of energy
      • The US needs to pursue new free trade agreements across the pacific.
      • Support World Trade Organization Negotiations
      • Complete the the Trans-Pacific Partnership
      National Security
      • We are done with Iraq and Afghanistan
      • We must alter our methods in order to fight the new methods employed by the terrorists
      • We must take care of our veterans
      • Above all, we cannot allow the terrorists to obtain weapons of mass destruction.
      • Parents know what's best for their kids - Washington should just be a clearing house of ideas and should encourage a more innovative education system
      • Establish meaningful and transparent national standards benchmarked against the world and let the states determine how best to get there  (The US should be setting standards not trying to just meet them)
      • The federal government shouldn't be in the habit of running schools, but schools that do well should be rewarded and those that do poorly should be punished.
      • Scale down the department of education
      • School should allow kids to find out what they're good at and let them capitalize on it - when a kid graduates from high school, they should be both college and career ready
      • We shouldn't push for all kids to go to college
      • We should fund early intervention and preschools
      • Will work to make sure that colleges have the means to attract the best and brightest while trying to bring the cost of college down
      Foreign Policy
      • To be good abroad, we must be great at home - we need to manage our resources well and choose where to exercise our power even better
      • Aggressive promotion of trade liberalization
      • We should remain steadfast in our traditional alliances, but we also must work on creating strong and lasting relationships with world powers - specifically mentions working with India and China.
      • We need to create a better and more lasting relationship with Mexico
      • We need to maintain our military as one of the leading forces by allowing the military to adapt to threats of the 21st century.

      Sunday, January 08, 2012

      Presidential Candidate: Newt Gingrich

      Synopsis:  Former Speaker of the House who previously had called for the impeachment of Clinton during the Monica Scandal whilst cheating on his dying wife is running for president. 

      Current Job:  Retired Politician

      Spouse:  Callista, President of the Gingrich Production Company.  Note:  3rd wife.  Newt keeps finds his new wife while cheating on his current wife.  If I were Callista, I'd have a P.I., and divorce lawyer on retainer.

      Kids:  2 (with his first wife, Jackie)

      Stance on:
      • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:  Repeal and replace (see below)
      • Roe V Wade: Rather than overturning RvW, he'd like to rework the legal system.  That being said, he says he's okay with abortion in the case of rape, incest and health of mother.
      • Funding Planned Parenthood: Against
      • Embryonic Stem Cell Research:  Against
      • Afghanistan: Hasn't commented much on it, but feels that we are pulling out too quickly.
      • Iran:   put pressure on Iraq to end contact with Iran
      • Budget: Downsize the government, stop spending beyond our means, it must be balanced
      • Taxes:  opposes high taxes, encourage research and development with tax incentives, will ask the public before implementing any major tax reform, get rid of the marriage tax and cut middle class taxes, encourage investment by getting rid of capital gains tax, can use the tax code to reinforce families
      • Mexico/US border: Secure the border, but doesn't sound like he'd build a fence along the entire thing.
      • Education: wants to have charter schools, will push for patriotic education, wouldn't charge interest on math and science degree loans, would allow prayer in schools. (see education segment below from his website)
      • Energy:  believes the Kyoto treaty is bad for the nation and the environment, give incentives for renewable resources and conservation, open ANWR to drilling, supports eliminating the gas tax (but if you see below, he wants to add gas royalties)
      • LGBT issues:  Against giving domestic partner rights (but thinks they should have the ability to leave estates to partners and the right to see them in the hospital), constitutional amendment to protect the traditional family, gays should not be allowed to adopt children, believes homosexuality is a sin, but gays should be allowed to be teachers.
      • Worked as a consultant for Freddie Mac (during the years of growth in the housing bubble), to the tune of $1.6 million.
      • Had 84 ethics sanctions levied against him by congress while he was still in congress.  Had to pay $300,000 in restitution.
      • Wants to mine the moon.  Which I suppose means we'd have a space program again...
      • Is calling to bring back various programs that were popular during his Speaker of the House days...which were the days when Clinton was in is he saying that the government under Clinton wasn't that bad? 
      • Has said in the past that he would like to give rewards to girls who graduate high school as virgins.
      • Is considered the worst candidate for women's rights based on past voting records (beating both Bachmann and Santorum).  He has voted almost 100% pro-life during his congress days.  Perry, who just recently started saying that abortion should not be allowed in any case, is actually the best bet for women's rights based on history which is a very scary idea.

      Chances of Winning:  If we are to believe the Iowa Caucus, not too good.  BUT he still seems to be the darling of the media, so he might have a better chance than predicted, however he should have too many skeletons in his closet to win over the party.

      Who would vote for him:  Looks like he's trying to go for the retiree vote.  And based on his commercials, he's trying to take votes away from those who would be voting for Romney.  But I'm not sure exactly who would normally vote for him...maybe republicans who liked the Clinton days, or republicans who find Santorum scary?

      Clips from the fake news (since that's all I need):
      -Colbert Report:  Gingrich:  Bond Villian
      -The Daily Show:  Even the republicans are scared of him
      -Fox News:  Bret Baier catches up with the former house speaker

      Campaign Talking Points (from his website): 

      Repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")
      • Replace it with an alternative that saves money by empowering doctors and patients to make decisions instead of bureaucrats.
      • Allow people to shop for insurance across state lines
      • Give a 'generous tax credit' to offset the cost of insurance OR the ability to deduct (up to a certain amount) the value of their health insurance.
      • Create a "High Risk Pool" that requires states to cover the uninsured who will not be covered by insurance carriers
      • reinforce laws that prohibit insurers from dropping people who become sick
      • Allow workers to have access to Health Savings Accounts
      • Limit healthcare fraud by moving to a paperless system
      • Stop junk malpractice lawsuits which drive up the cost of healthcare
      • Inform patients on cost and quality of care
      • End tax-payer paid abortions
      • Defund Planned Parenthood
      • Ban funding to organizations that promote abortions overseas
      • Protect healthcare workers' right to conscience by not forcing them to recommend, or participate in, something they are morally against (abortions specifically listed, but I assume birth control would also be included in this)
      Return to Robust Job creation
      • Dramatically reduce taxes on businesses and allowing more deductions
      • Require those on extended unemployment to take training classes to be more hireable
      • Allow an optional flat 15% Federal income tax. It would preserve deductions for charitable donations, home ownership, and create a new personal deduction of $12,000 per American  
      • Repeal Sarbanes-Oxley Act
      • Repeal Community Reinvestment Act
      • Repeal Frank Dodd Law
      • Break up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (but he didn't recommend this while he was a consultant for them?  odd, that)
      • Replace the EPA with "Environmental Solutions Agency" that works with businesses and governments
      Unleash America's Full Energy Production Potential
      • oil, natural gas, coal, biofuel, wind, nuclear, oil shale and more
      • reduce America's dependency on foreign oil
      • cut bureaucratic red tape for responsible drilling (both off shore and on land)
      • Development of processes to use oil shale as a source of oil.  We supposedly have 3x the amount of oil of Saudi Arabia all stuck in oil shale.
      • Give coastal states federal revenue to allow off-shore drilling
      • reduce frivolous environmental lawsuits by requiring the loser to pay all legal fees for the winning side
      • Finance cleaner energy research with new oil and gas royalties (I'm hearing that our gas prices will go up...what about you?)
      • Replace the EPA with the ESA (outlined above) which will work with businesses and governments to achieve better environmental outcomes while considering the impact of federal environmental policies on job creation and and the cost of energy. (I'm taking this to mean that if companies say "no, we don't want to help the environment" this agency will acquiesce to their wishes)
      Save Medicare and Social Security
      • Give seniors the choice to go with either Medicare or a personalized system in the private sector
      • Reform Medicaid to allow states more freedom to "personalize" their systems to provide better care and provide health insurance for low-income families.
      • Reward quality care by providing larger reimbursements to providers who provide better care
      • Incentivize patients to seek out facilities that provide quality care
      • Allow Medicare and Medicaid to provide benefits that encourage, incentivize, and reward healthy behavior.
      • Protect the frail, elderly and infirm from the state's arbitrary decision to terminate life (ummm....Terry Schiavo maybe....?  It's just mostly that I don't understand how it's the state's decision unless it's something like a homeless person, a person that has no next of kin, or someone in jail with the death penalty...)
      Balance the Federal Budget
      • No points listed.
      Control the Mexican/American Border by Jan 1, 2014
      • Establish English as the official language of America
      • Reform legal Visa system (an entrepreneur who wants to create jobs in America shouldn't have to spend $1000's in legal fees first; College graduates in America shouldn't have to go to their home countries in order to get a work visa - will try to implement a system where they get a work visa upon graduation instead; a farmer should have the ability to hire cheap legal labor)
      • Visas should have biometric technology
      • Make it easier to deport criminals and gang members
      • Defend 2nd Amendment rights to stop Mexican gangs at the border (um...that seems like a bad idea - seems like we're more likely to have people going about shooting Mexicans because "they could have been in a gang")
      • Make it easier for law-abiding visitors to come to the US (A Brazilian who wants to visit Disneyworld and spend $1000's while he's at it, shouldn't have to wait 4 months to get a visa) 
      • Create a temporary or day labor work visa system with biometric technology run by one of the credit card companies (which have low fraud rates).
      • Create a path for "earned" legality - those that have been living her illegally can 'earn' legality by becoming involved with their community, passing a background check, proving they can support themselves without the help of Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, buy private health insurance, be proficient (or within a specified amount of time) in English.  Once the person in question is legal, he will have to pay a $5000 fine for being in the US illegally.
      • Minors brought to the US illegally by their parents can earn their legal status by joining the military when they are of age.  Unlike the DREAM act, there won't be a way for the child to petition to get their parents legal status.
      • Ensure those that become citizens learn American history and exceptionalizm.
      • Once the "path to legality" and the worker program is implemented, anyone entering the US illegally should face more severe penalties.  Those helping people enter the US illegally will face even more severe penalties.
      • There is a point of "secure the border to prevent terrorist organizations from sneaking weapons and agents into the US" (This must be a recent problem because I was under the impression that most of the terrorists that we think of and are concerned about actually enter the US via plane and not by crossing either the Canadian or Mexico borders...)
      • possibly move up to one half of the war department bureaucrats to Texas, Arizona and New Mexico
      • Round-the-clock drone flights monitoring the border
      • multi-layer, strategic fencing in urban areas
      Revitalize our National Security System
      • Restructure and adequate fund our security agencies within a grand strategy
      • Victory over those who seek to kill us or limit American power
      • Two of the points on his "solutions" page essentially point to declaring war on Radical Islam
      • Protect those who abide by our same values (views America as the 'abiding alternative to tyranny')
      • Military must be used judiciously and with clear, obtainable goals that are understood by congress
      • "Incentivize" math and sciences in order to create bigger and better weapons (I want to know how he's going to do that - by making all new graduate mechanical and computer engineers work for Lockheed-Martin, JPL, or Sikorski upon graduation?)
      Maximize Speed and Impact of Medical Breakthroughs
      • Remove unnecessary obstacles that block new treatments from reaching patients.
      • Emphasize spending toward urgent national priorities (such as diseases of the brain - e.g. parkinson's, autism, alzheimer's)
      • Modernize the FDA to get drugs that work to patients quicker
      Restore the Proper Role of the Judiciary Branch
      • Allow the president and/or congress to remove judges who do not uphold the constitution.
      • Nominate conservative judges who base their decisions on the constitution.
      • Combat judicial activism
      Enforce the 10th Amendment
      • Transfer powers currently under Federal purview to the individual States
      Enforce the 2nd Amendment
      • Newt is a member of the NRA
      • Allow imports of guns that can legally be made in the US.
      • Let parents pick which school their kid is to go to
      • Institute a Pell Grant-type system for Kindergarten through 12th grade 
      • Require transparency and accountability for achievement
      • Implement a "no limits" charter system - that is, all money allocated for student education goes to the school, schools manage their own staff regardless of tenure rules, schools define their own curriculum, schools are not exempt from reporting requirements, states to allow schools to "franchise" their model without limitation, state has no caps on the number of charter schools, process of approving charter schools is quick and efficient.
      • Pay for Performance for teachers
      • Welcome business talent into the classrooms - allow the retired physicist or the working engineer to come into the class room and teach a few hours a week.  The theory is that those that aren't trained teachers are going to bring more adult expectations to the classroom.
      • All students must take American History classes.
      • All students must be able to read, and reading assignments should reinforce American History.
      • Protect the rights of home-schooled children by allowing them to participate in the same tax-payer funded extra curriculars that public school children participate in
      • Encourage schools to think outside the box - a la Daniel's program in Indiana (students who graduate high school early are given the money saved on them by skipping grades as an automatic college scholarship), College of the Ozarks in Missouri (work study that allows college kids to graduate debt free), and the Virtual Florida school (a 24/7 individualized schooling over the internet)
      • Shrink the Department of Education - it's only role should be to do research and collect data - not mandate what schools should be teaching.
      • Allow teachers to use historical examples involving religion.  
      • Allow teachers to answer questions about religion and/or discussing it objectively in the classrooms.
      • Protect religious expression in public places by allowing crosses, creches, and menorahs
      • Would eliminate the 39 Bureaucratic positions that are not accountable to congress (created by Obama)
      • Respect each sovereign nation's choice of capital and have an embassy in that location (the only one we discriminate against is Isreal - Isreal's capital is Jerusalem but our embassy is in Tel Aviv)
      • End all lawsuits against states that are immigration related (specifically in Arizona and South Carolina).  "The Obama Administration refuses to enforce federal immigration laws, and instead sues states who are merely trying to enforce the laws that the federal government neglects."
      • Approve the Keystone XL pipeline (map).  A pipeline to transport oil to the gulf coast refineries.

      Wednesday, January 04, 2012


      The requisite Family Portrait for Christmas:
      My family - Me, Shawn, Dani, Mom and Dad.

      Tuesday, January 03, 2012

      Presidential Candidate: Michele Bachmann

      Synopsis:  The TEA party "it" girl since Sarah Palin announced that she would not run for president. Also has replaced Sarah Palin in most liberals' nightmares.

      Current Job:  Congresswoman representing Minnesota

      Spouse:  Marcus, a Christian Counsellor.

      Kids:  5 bio-kids, plus 23 foster kids throughout the years.

      Stance on:
      • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:  Against.  Will repeal if elected.
      • Roe V Wade:  Repeal it
      • Funding Planned Parenthood:  Against
      • Embryonic Stem Cell Research:  Against.  Believes that research can kill women.
      • Afghanistan:  We should stay there longer.  It is a mistake to leave so early.
      • Iran:  Unclear.  But believes we should fight the war on terror until it is won. Also states on her website that a nuclear-capable Iran is a real threat.
      • Budget:  Massive spending cuts, get rid of the Department of Education, Department of Commerce and the EPA.
      • Taxes:  reduce number of brackets.  lower business taxes
      • Mexico/US border:  Build a fence.  Not just one, but two.
      • Education:  Unclear
      • Energy:  Allow drilling in ANWR and deepwater oil rigs.  Explore oil shale and open federal lands to logging/mining operations.
      • LGBT issues:  Against.  Has a comment on her website about Obama caring about being politically correct even if it is to the detriment of our military (which I'm assuming means she's against the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell) 
      • HPV vaccine:  Thinks it causes mental retardation in persons heretofore known to be 'normal'
      Chances of Winning:  Let's put it this way, she has a much better chance of being selected as a running mate, and that's falling pretty quickly...   [edited 01/06/12:  After the Iowa Caucus, Ms. Bachmann has since suspended her bid for the presidency]

      Who would vote for her:  Social conservatives, Fiscal conservatives, Evangelicals

      Clips from the Fake News (since that's all I need):
      -Colbert Report:  Bachmann compares herself to John Wayne.  Gacy, that is.
      -The Daily Show:  Bachmann clips.
      -Fox News: Interview before the Iowa Caucus (though I assume the video will change as the days go on)

      Campaign Talking Points (from her website): 

      American jobs, right now
      • Cut federal government spending
      • Cut federal jobs
      • Repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (as this is preventing jobs from being created)
      • Cut taxes (reduce number of tax brackets and cut taxes of businesses)
      • Legalize American energy production and America's natural resources (revive the logging and metal mining industries, and allow mining/drilling/logging on federal lands)
      • Repeal job-killing red-tape
      • Increase exports, specifically mentioned are to Columbia, Panama and South Korea
      • Allow investment in America by allowing the private sector to control the markets with little government involvement
      • Foster innovation (no indication of how this is to be done)
      • Enforce Immigration laws
      Job creation and growth
      • Obama has sucked it up thus far
      • Obamacare places a burden on companies (by requiring them to provide healthcare to their employees)
      • The EPA kills jobs by having carbon regulation mandates
      • Bachmann will cut spending, reduce taxes, kill the Internal Revenue Code, repeal Obamacare, and stop Cap-and-trade so companies can function once again.
      No debt ceiling increase
      • The only way she'll allow an increase in the debt ceiling is if Obamacare is repealed.
      A healthier nation
      • Repeal Obamacare, stabilize Medicare
      • Allow families and doctors to make decisions about insurance, quality of care and course of treatment.
      A more secure nation
      • Israel is our true friend
      • True threat is a nucularly armed Iran
      • Current president is more concerned about political correctness than making sure our military is fully funded in both money and personnel.
      • Will not rest until the war on terror is won.
      Affordable energy
      • Allow drilling in ANWR
      • Allow deepwater-drilling (the BP oil spill was just a fluke)
      • Explore use of Oil Shale for oil

      Monday, January 02, 2012


      A gift from my mom - a pitcher made by my cousin's wife, Dany.  She blogs at WellieBellie and she (and my cousin) sell their wares via etsy at Art Haus Ceramics.  They also do some art shows in Colorado, so keep your eyes peeled.

      The yellow flowers (which are fake) are from my works' Christmas party from a few weeks ago. 

      The pictures in the background were taken by yours truly (and Shawn), and in order from left to right, top to bottom are a gulf fritillary from my back yard (mine), a church in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland (Shawn), a lamp at Treasure Island in Las Vegas (mine), a ghost plant succulent in my front yard (mine), coneflowers from Mount Vernon (Shawn), and a California Poppy in our front yard (mine).  You can read how to set up your photos like this in this blog entry:  Procrastination: Over