Archive for September, 2007

White flour?

Friday, September 28th, 2007 | You Call This News? | 7 Comments

This story about Knoxville’s response to a Klan rally cracked me up. That’s fantastic.

(Link shamelessly stolen from Vidiot.)

Cash Cab update

Friday, September 28th, 2007 | Bloggity goodness | 3 Comments

Tony put up a clip of his Cash Cab segment. (Awesomeness, since I missed the first two questions when it aired.)

A little critique

Friday, September 28th, 2007 | Screed! | 2 Comments

Our “War Room” conference room here at work is on the other side of the wall from my desk. Despite the fact that while you’re in the room it looks like you’re in an enclosed room, you’re actually not. The walls don’t go to the ceiling and there’s a curtain, rather than a solid wall at one end. Ergo, I hear most of the conversations that go on in there. (This is the part where my coworkers make mental notes not to have private conversations in there any more.)

Lately, there have been several interviews going on in the room. Every single person who’s been interviewed so far (and also many of the interviewers) need a little sit-down about their seeming inability to go more than two sentences without using the word “basically.” (This goes double for the interviewee in there now. I’ve caught her three times using sentences that start with “basically” and then also contain it later in that same sentence. It’s making me nuts.)

I don’t know when exactly this word got to be the new “um” — certainly it’s been a few years already — but it needs to stop. It makes a person sound less competent than they likely are. If you’re answering a question in an interview, you’re probably giving a summary of your talent/activity/qualifications. “Basically” is implied in the fact that it’s a summary. Preceeding every sentence with it makes you sound like you’ve got no real skills and that you don’t want the secret to get out, but a 6-week-old monkey could probably do your job. That’s really not the impression you want to give to a prospective new employer. (Don’t even get me started on how irritated I am when I catch someone using it while describing a concept or giving a presentation to a client.)

And I see I’m not the only one bothered by this. The Wisconsin State Journal had a nice little article on it. (From four years ago, yet. Look how behind the curve I am in my annoyance. How unlike me.)

I’ll be the first to admit, I will occasionally overuse words. But I can’t think of any word I use as often as many people use “basically.” I think I’d rather hear “um.” (But really, neither is best. Let’s try for neither.)

Chapter 27, In Which the Universe Kicks Me Again

Friday, September 28th, 2007 | Life in Czeltistan | No Comments

Back in June, I got a call from the Visa people saying that there was suspicious activity on my debit card. Some schmuck in California tried to purchase something at a Long Beach Wal-Mart (soooooo not something I’d do. I hates me some Wal-Mart). So I had to go through the hassle of getting a new card.

That one could have been prevented. I’d gotten an letter awhile earlier, saying that my card number may have been in a clump of data from a store I recently shopped at that may have been accessed by an outside party. I was super busy at the time I got that, then went on vacation, then completely forgot about it by the time I got back. My fault. If I ever get another of those letters, the card gets cancelled immediately. Lesson learned.

So since getting my new card, I’ve been extremely careful with it. It doesn’t leave my sight and the majority of my internet purchases are done via credit card, not the debit card.

And yet, I came home last night to a call from Visa. Suspicious activity on my new card. Someone trying to buy something at a Target in Illinois, and a second suspicious internet purchase from Bed, Bath & Beyond. Well, while me actually purchasing something at BB&B is, in fact, an oddity, that one was mine. The Target, however, not mine. So I get to cancel my debit card AGAIN. For the second time in 4 months.

Don’t know where my card got skimmed, but oh, it got skimmed somewhere.


So I’ll be spending my lunch hour at the bank again. It’s not my idea of a proper lunchtime activity, but whatcha gonna do? And my bank really is teh awesome, in that both times this has happened, they’ve alerted me the day of the activity, even before it showed up in my online activity with them. (Thanks, Ozaukee Bank. You guys are the best bank ever.)

Heh. Forgot about this one.

Thursday, September 27th, 2007 | Life in Czeltistan | No Comments

Neither Christyl nor I wanted to be at work on Monday morning. Forgot I did a screen grab of our IM.

People-powered customer service

Thursday, September 27th, 2007 | Fun With Teh Intarweb | 1 Comment

One of my coworkers posted a link to to our intranet today. Per the site, it’s “part online discussion, part FAQ, and part social network for all your products and services. Anyone can ask a question, submit an idea or problem, or just talk. And it’s all public, so anyone can answer—even the companies.” I had a few free moments, so I checked it out.

I looked through the companies list and found Method, makers of some of my very favorite cleaning products (if one must have such things as favorite cleaning products). I love, love, love the convenience of their shower spray but absolutely hate the only scent it comes in. Thought I’d mention something on the boards, in hopes of convincing them to get a second scent (or an unscented version). Got a reply back from a company rep within 15 minutes of posting. It was pretty much an “I’ll forward it on to R&D” comment, but at least I know someone heard the opinion.

So far, it’s a lot of web 2.0 companies in the listings, and not every one is choosing to respond. But it’s an interesting concept and it could be a good thing if it takes off. (And people don’t start posting stupid comments.) (Which is probably too much to ask for on the internet.)

I’ve been doing it all wrong all these years

Thursday, September 27th, 2007 | Life in Czeltistan | 4 Comments

I love wedding registries. Gives me a chance to see all those things that people want that I didn’t even know existed. Like lettuce knives.

And here I’ve been using either my hands or regular old knives to deconstruct my lettuce heads all these years. Silly me.

Yay, TV!

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007 | You Call This News? | 1 Comment

I just watched my friend Tony win $1400 on Cash Cab: After Dark on the Discovery Channel. (It’s CC:AD episode #8 if you’re lookin’ for a replay.)

Way to go, Tony (and Sam for the shout-out help).

Follow-up questions for Tony:
1) How long is your cab ride delayed by filling out forms and waivers and such?
2) Did you invite Ben to come try his luck at your trivia game? :)

A little medical update

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007 | Life in Czeltistan | No Comments

A couple of people have asked after the friend of mine & her husband who were in the accident, so here’s an update I got tonight:

He’s still in the hospital, which is depressing him some, as he thought he’d be released by now. (I also missed his broken arm in the injury list in the last post. Guess it made less of an impression on my brain than the leg he lost.) No word yet on when he’ll begin his rehab.

She’s been moved to a skilled nursing facility to begin at least two months of rehab, which, so far, is going well. With everything she’s got going on physically, one of the things upsetting her most is that she’s having trouble with her spelling since the accident. (Someone else from our group remarked on how that was an odd thing to be upset about, but I totally understand. That would completely depress me.)

They both are having up and down days, but they seem to be on opposite schedules, and they’re taking turns being each other’s cheerleader.

So it’s still a bad situation and things aren’t going to be easy for either of them. But it sounds like it’s going as well as it can without a time machine.

Merry dancers in the sky

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007 | Fun With Teh Intarweb | 1 Comment

We sometimes get a bit of a view of the Northern Lights here in Wisconsin. By the time the light gets down to the Milwaukee area, though, it’s pretty faint, but still really impressive.

The folks up in Porjus, Sweden get a completely amazing view of them, though, and they’ve got a website where you can see them. There are two live camera feeds (scroll down a bit. they’re in the left nav) and the gallery section has still photos and short, timelapse movies.

(via Neatorama)

Who knew clouds were such fun?

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007 | Design-y Bits | No Comments

Great Flickr set: SKYplay

(again, via The Presurfer. Guess I’m stealin’ all Gerard’s links today.)

Pick out your state

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007 | Fun With Teh Intarweb | 5 Comments

Skyline made up of the tallest building from each state.

The white one with the hideous US Bank sign at the top is ours. God, how I hate that sign.

(via The Presurfer)

Maybe it’s a contest for their readers

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007 | You Call This News? | 1 Comment

Someone’s asleep at the copy desk

(Thanks to coworker, Dennis, for the tip.)

We should get the day off

Monday, September 24th, 2007 | You Call This News? | 8 Comments

Happy National Punctuation Day!

A little thing I learned this week

Monday, September 24th, 2007 | Life in Czeltistan | 3 Comments

They really don’t make get well cards for people who have been in horrific accidents. And I need two of these (potentially non-existent) cards.

The accident in question has so far resulted in three broken limbs, loss of one leg, multiple surgeries, one knee replacement, brain damage and the promise of months and months of rehab. Somehow, a card that says “I hear you have a boo-boo” just doesn’t quite cut it.

May just have to make my own.

Not that you’re all rushing to call me…

Friday, September 21st, 2007 | Life in Czeltistan | No Comments

…but if you’re trying to call me at home, you may get a busy signal. I left for work and the phone went on strike. Ah, AT&T. Since you’ve returned, my phone’s gone down twice. Good times. Good times.

Oddly, I’m not too angry about it. Went to go see The National tonight at the Pabst Theatre (aka “The World’s Greatest Music Venue”). It was a fantastic show and it’s put me in a good mood. I go to so very few concerts these days (at least, compared to how many I used to see) and I’ve been pretty lucky that the few shows I’ve chosen to go see have all been really good.

I’m hoping that I’ll toddle off to bed shortly, and that when I wake, my mystery phone ailment will be completely fixed and all will be right with the world again.

Reconnecting with an old friend

Friday, September 21st, 2007 | Fun With Teh Intarweb | 1 Comment

I went over to the Smithsonian Magazine site to check again on participants in next week’s Museum Day. Checked out a few of the magazine’s articles while I was there.

I’d forgotten how much I like this magazine. They have such interesting stories. Many hours of fun reading. I was especially taken with this one about Irish Travellers, this piece on forgotten photographs of old New York City and the Experiences of a Lifetime section. Great stuff.

Yeah, that happens to me a lot

Friday, September 21st, 2007 | Life in Czeltistan | 3 Comments

Coworker: I don’t know why, but every time I see you, I think “Hey, there’s Anne” and then I want to yell “Wooooooooooooo!”

For the other type nerds out there

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007 | Design-y Bits | No Comments

Type in the Toronto subway

I remember noticing the typeface in the subway in Toronto. Wish I’d thought to get photos of it. Ah, well. Just have to go back, I guess. (Oh, darn.)

What I remember most about the subway there was that someone with a decent sense of organization needed to be called in to deal with directional signs and system map info. Of course, that was more than five years ago, so they may have made some improvements since then. I’ll give them this, though — the only subway system I’ve found that’s cleaner is the DC Metro.

Oh, that reminds me. Christyl and I found a lovely game to play in the NY subway stations: “Where’s the Duracell?” It’s a pretty easy game. Go down to the platform. Go to your train’s side of the platform. Look in the rail beds. First person to spot a Duracell battery wins. We were beginning to think we’d need to revise the game to “Where’s the Energizer?” as Duracells were proving far, far too easy to find. (I think our record was 15 at one platform. It likely would have been more, but we gave up counting because we were bored with the game and didn’t feel like walking farther down the platform.) So there you go. Enjoy a simple new way to kill some time while waiting for your train.

Lennie gets his street

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007 | You Call This News? | 4 Comments

From today’s New York Times:

“A section of 53rd Street in Midtown was named for the actor Jerry Orbach yesterday, six months after his widow started a campaign for the honor. The Transportation Department unveiled the street sign at the intersection of 53rd Street and Eighth Avenue, where Mr. Orbach lived in an apartment for more than 20 years. Mr. Orbach, best known for playing Detective Lennie Briscoe on television’s ‘Law & Order,’ died in December 2004 at age 69.”

Yay! I was hoping that would go through.

Guess we know where future generations of Fantastiks cast members can go to get their photos taken. :)