Monthly Archives: February 2008
I was "tagged" and so I’m "it". Here we go:
Two Names you go by: Rick, and Richard
Two Things you are wearing right now: A pair of Khaki pants and a pair of white Brooks "The Beast" sneakers.
Two Things you want or have in a relationship: No drama, and lots of understanding
Two of your favorite things to do: Work out and Work
Two things you did last night: Work and ate Pho
Two People you last talked to: Administrator at the Drivers’ License place, son
Two Things you are doing tomorrow: Preparing for a conference and relaxing
Two Longest car rides: From Seattle to Phoenix. I blogged about that one. And a trip from Atlanta to Los Angeles back in 1992.
Two Favorite Drinks: Water and Gatorade
Two things about me you may not have known: I almost attended the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, but then I moved to Seattle. I have contacts in Nestle.
Two Jobs I have had in my life: Public Health Advisor in the CDC and Subject in a Human Figure class in college.
Two Movies I watch over & over: I don’t. Well, seasonally–I watch Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life.
Two of my favorite foods: Cottage cheese with pineapple and Pho
Two places I would rather be right now: Running a triathlon in Tempe, AZ or driving on the Autobahn
OK, so ….the Dems; tired of getting their asses kicked (is it an Ass or Donkey?) for the past 13 years (oh, I’m counting the trouncing they got in the House in ’94) they are finally understanding how it works: you pick the one who has the BEST SHOT. Everyone has been saying that Hillary can’t beat McCain, ‘cuz the Religious Right won’t have it. I believe it. I know of one Dem (Chicago Dem, at that) that actually voted for BUSH simply because the Democrat was too liberal. HA! But this time the candidate is BLACK….yeah…you get the picture.
As long as Obama doesn’t act like a REAL Dem and do something stupid (like pick a woman for VP) he’ll end up as Commander-in-Chief. If I were Obama, I’d ENSURE I’d take some GOP fence sitters by choosing someone like Lamar Alexander. (Yeah, I know–but he’d go Blue AND he’s a Southerner).
Hillary has ALWAYS been about being President…even since her husband was Prez. "We are the President…" a quote from the former First Lady. And they think Bush says stupid stuff….uh huh. If she were a LOYAL Democrat she would quit and throw all her allegiance to the "heir apparent".
OH how I wish I were going to Denver in August….oooooh…there is gonna be a FIGHT!! BIG! HUGE!! This is the most exciting election year since 1968. Strong, history-making candidates. This is great! If Hillary gets the nod, the Senator from the Valley of the Sun will be bringing a Saguaro to plant in the Rose Garden. If the Dems do what they need to do to get the White House–this will be the closest General Election in history. I’d love to see it go the House…ooohhh (For those of you who don’t get that–if neither candidate gets the 270 electoral votes, the President is chosen by the House of Representatives–which, is ruled by the Dems)
The GOOD: The potential for change – new island paradise for Americans.
The BAD: Embargo stays. What’s up with THAT??
The UGLY: "It’s very good that Fidel resigns. But if Fidel dies, it’s better," – quote from an exile.
MIAMI – Cuban exiles in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood welcomed Tuesday’s news that Cuban President Fidel Castro had officially resigned power, but most in the heart of the Cuban exile community weren’t optimistic the move would bring major changes or democracy to the communist nation.
As news of the resignation spread, motorists honked vigorously at police patrol cars and television reporters. The streets came alive with chatter as small groups gathered on the streets or in local eateries.
"I hope this is the beginning of the end of the system, but we have to wait," said 35-year-old chemist Omar Fernandez, who left Cuba for the U.S. six years ago.Repeated rumors of Castro’s death over the years helped prepare residents and officials for a day that all knew would eventually come. The community’s reactions so far were calm, peaceful and not as boisterous as when thousands took to the streets after Castro temporarily handed power to his brother Raul in July 2006.
Police on watch
Most exiles view Castro as a ruthless dictator who forced them, their parents or grandparents from their home after he seized power in a revolution in 1959. Police said they were "keeping a sharp eye" on Little Havana, but residents weren’t gathering in large numbers to celebrate. Nothing indicated a need for increased patrols off Florida or that a mass migration was imminent, said Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Chris O’Neil.
"It’s very good that Fidel resigns. But if Fidel dies, it’s better," said Juan Acosta, a Cuban who left the Caribbean island in 1980, as he stopped for a newspaper on Calle Ocho, Little Havana’s main street.
"The system there is almost over. You are seeing the end," said Acosta, who like many Miami Cubans has relatives on the island, in this case his mother and sister. "The dictatorship is over."
The Cuban-American National Foundation, or CANF, a leading anti-Castro exile organization, said Castro’s resignation "opens a new chapter in the history of the revolution and the history of the Cuban people."
"After 50 years there is no more one-man rule in Cuba because his successors cannot maintain the same power and the same position that he attained during the last 50 years," CANF president Francisco "Pepe" Hernandez said.
Embargo to stay
Separately, Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said the United States will not soon lift its embargo on Cuba.
Asked by reporters at the State Department if Washington planned to change its Cuba policy now that Castro has stepped down, Negroponte replied: "I can’t imagine that happening anytime soon." He declined further comment.
The centerpiece of American policy toward Cuba has been the economic embargo, first instituted in limited form in 1960 and strengthened in 1962. Castro persistently called the trade embargo "criminal," and claimed that its economic impact on the island ran well into the tens of billions of dollars.
In Rwanda, President Bush expressed hope that the end of Fidel Castro’s presidency will launch a transition to democracy in Cuba after nearly 50 years of ironclad, communist rule.
"What does this mean for the people in Cuba?" Bush said at a news conference during his trip to Africa. "They’re the ones who suffered under Fidel Castro. They’re the ones who were put in prison because of their beliefs. They’re the ones who have been denied their right to live in a free society. So I view this as a period of transition and it should be the beginning of the democratic transition in Cuba."
Change from military
Ulises Colina, a 65-year-old electrical technician, said he was not certain if the resignation would bring any change. "I think it was a foregone conclusion that his political career would be over soon," Colina said.
Colina theorized that any change in Cuba would have to come from within the military.
"Changes? Well, he’s the leader of the gang but he has a bunch of auxiliary gang members who don’t want to see change," Colina said.
At a popular Cuban restaurant farther from Little Havana, the sentiments were similar.
"Even though this is great news for Cubans and for me personally, but I don’t think anything is going to change," said Jose Miranda, 46. "Last time I was here was when the news said that he was really sick and we thought that he was dead. And look what has happened. Nothing."
A U.S. senator whose parents were Cuban, Robert Menendez, echoed Miranda’s comments.
"This Castro is the same as the other in terms of philosophy, having been part of a dictatorship," said Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey.
"To just embrace Raul would be a huge mistake. All we’d be doing is embracing another dictator," Menendez added.
So me and my office mate Bill Baer were talking about his trip to Shell Oil in the Netherlands. He will be flying First Class and how the seats recline to *almost* 180 degrees.
Bill: I wonder how close to 180 it gets. Maybe I should bring my protractor.
Me: LOL! Wait…We could figure it out. Use trig.
Me: Let’s see…<I start drawing on the whiteboard> If we measure the length of the back of the seat from the top to the floor and then measure the total length of the seat….
Bill: ahhhh. And use the X^2 + Y^2 thing?
Me: well…we will already know the lengths (sides) so what we want to know is the angle, so the sine of theta (the angle we want to know) would be the length of the opposite side divided by the hypotenuse of the triangle it makes. Or even better, the tangent of the angle would be the length of the opposite side divided by the length of the seat.
Bill: nice. Let me get my ruler. <He prints out a ruler>
People at Microsoft aren’t just computer saavy…they’re just SMART.
OK, so I was eating something soft and felt something similar to a bone in it. I take it out of my mouth and look at it. Well I’ll be…looks like a piece of "HOLY CRAP!!It’s my TOOTH!" I run to the bathroom to look and sure enough, a piece of one of my lower molars chipped off along the filling. No pain, just a piece of tooth. Crap, lemme go to the dentist and see what they are going to do.
<STOP READING HERE IF YOU ARE A DENTIST OR HAVE A LOVED ONE THAT IS A DENTIST, BECAUSE I AM GOING TO TALK BAD ABOUT THEM AND THEIR FIELD..YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!>
I go to the dentist office and they look at it. They are just this much above frickin’ car mechanics. "hmmmm…ohhhh…ahhhh..mmmm…yeah, we’re gonna have to ….mmm…oooh" . "Do you have any discomfort?"
"No", I say. At this point he takes out what is called an "Explorer".
Let’s stop for a second here. The "Explorer" is a metal instrument that is needle sharp on both ends and is hooked like a sickle. It is used to poke, prick, and SCRAPE your teeth and gums.
So he takes out the explorer and sticks it in the cavity repeatedly and says, "Does this hurt?"
"No", I say (and he’s damn lucky ‘cuz had it hurt I’d be in jail for battery.)
"That’s good, " he says. "It looks like the filling caused your tooth to cleave. We’ll put a crown on it and that’ll be it.
"OK", I say thinking…hmmm..doesn’t sound too bad. I’ll be out of here in a few minutes. Uh-huh….
"We will pre-authorize you and have you come back at a time that is convenient for you. That will be for the temporary crown and then you’ll return for the second appointment for the permanent crown. How’s that sound?"
"Great! Go see Stacey and set something up." I go see the pretty girl up front (I’ve seen …. "average" looking women in doctor’s offices, but it seems dentists are much more vain. The front office girls are almost always HOT). Stacey says…ok…your insurance will pay X% and that leaves your responsibility to be Y.
"Dang…that’s expensive." I mumble.
"hee hee hee…" giggles Stacey.
<Fast forward to the day of appointment>
I put on my Zune with my favorite Playlist called "SMOOTH". I sit in the chair and the dentist gets right to business. The first thing that catches my eye is the stainless steel tray to my right with a slender aluminum-looking syringe poorly covered with terry cloth. Great…Novocain….I hate Novocain. He sticks a cotton swab into my mouth and he swabs along my gum line and my cheek. Uh-oh…I know what this is. This is a topical anesthetic so I don’t feel the NEEDLE going into my gum and cheek. I turn the Zune WAY UP.
And then it happens…the dentist takes the syringe and starts injecting a needle into my inner cheek tissue which isn’t *too* bad until the aluminum (or steel) casing touches my bottom front teeth. Some electrical circuit is completed and send a shock that shoots up to my skull and goes down my spine. He had to see that it hurt. He HAD to…my body jerked when it happened. He kept sticking me with the needle as if nothing happened. Zune was ALL THE WAY UP. I guess he probably thought the louder my Zune was the less I felt the pain.
After he was done with the Novocain injecting, he said, "We’ll let that work for a few minutes". There are tears in my eyes from the pain. It didn’t hurt but a few seconds, but it was enough to cause my eyes to water. A few minutes later he comes back and grabs the explorer. "Can you feel that?" I don’t know what he’s doing, but I am assuming it should have hurt and it didn’t.
"No", I try to say with about three tubes in my mouth and the right side of my head feeling like a slab of whale blubber.
"Goooooood"….all right, he said that with a little too much glee.
Then came the tool that the "modern" dentist is known for: The drill. I think every dentist must have a latent desire to drive fast as they seem to love to step on the pedal that makes the drill go fast. The high shrill pitch was just *that* much more annoying that someone scratching their fingernails on a blackboard. Oh, and then the humming while he’s drilling. This is someone who takes "whistling while you work" a little too seriously. 30 minutes later and my jaw is aching. This is just too much. I’m ready to go. My mouth feels like a South African diamond mine and the dentist and company are de Beers.
I get up from the chair of pain and walk to Stacey to, what I thought was settling up. She said, "The doctor would like to reschedule for your permanent crown." Crap…I forgot..this was the FIRST appointment…I have to go through all of this AGAIN! I start wondering if they just pull the damn thing if I would be better off. hmmmm