Thursday, February 24, 2005
Well, after a long day at the office (at one point today I was sure
that time was actually standing still) that ended with a guy ranting on the phone at me for nearly 20 minutes, I was ready to get the hell away from the office. I was dead tired, but wanted to run over to the lab and pick up my photos on the way home.
Instead, I got outside the office building and found a stray dog. It was a little girl doggie. Not sure what breed, whether she was maltese or pekinese (or a mix), she had long blonde hair and a pug nose. She looked like she had been well cared-for: The hair over her eyes was trimmed, her coat was in pretty good condition, she felt a little heavy for her size (so I'm guessing/hoping she was well-fed) and her teeth and ears looked great. I coaxed her over and tried to find a collar, but she had nothing. There is an affiliate of the SPCA across the street from my office building so I gathered the dog and put her in my car and went across the street.
I went into the building and asked the young woman at the front desk what the options were. I certainly couldn't bring the doggie home because 1) Simon and Billie would freak
, 2) She'd have to be checked out by the vet first, 3) I'm not sure if they'd even let me have a small dog at the apartment--though I have seen one in someone's apartment--and 4) Simon and Billie would FREAK
. So, besides that, there was the SPCA, but they only take owner-surrenders, not strays. That left the Oakland Animal Shelter.
I NEVER feel good about bringing an animal to the pound. I really really
didn't want to take this sweet dog to the shelter (she and I had bonded within two minutes). I drove back to my office building and went around one more time, asking if anyone had come round looking for their dog. Nope. I went to get back into my car (and I gotta say my Luna was made for taking trips with doggies!) and this Sweet Little Blonde Girl doggie was in my driver's seat wagging her entire butt! We drove over to the Oakland shelter and I petted her and wept the whole way over. Like I said, I'm not very strong and stoic when it comes to leaving an animal at the shelter. I wanted to bring this sweet creature home with me so badly. Being sort of a stray dog myself, it breaks my heart to think this dog won't have a home tonight, no human to snuggle with...and that I couldn't fix it for her (and, being honest, fix it for me too).
The people at the Oakland shelter were super nice and they too fell in love with The Sweet Little Blonde Girl immediately. The guy at the counter looked her over and agreed with me that someone
had been looking after this dog. While the guy at the counter was doing the intake, a woman that I'm guessing either works or volunteers there kept trying to assure me that I was doing the right thing leaving her with them. Meanwhile, Sweet Little Blonde Girl kept snuggling into me, which just made the situation SUCK THAT MUCH MORE! The intake guy said they had to keep the dog for seven days to see if an owner shows up, then she'll get put through some socialization tests to see how she might get along with kids and other animals and if all goes well there she'll be put up for adoption. He seems to think that, with Sweet Little Blonde Girl's great personality plus the fact that she's a small-breed dog, she should have no problem finding a new home. I really hope he's right.
As heartbroken as I am right now that I couldn't give the Sweet Little Blonde Girl dog at least a temporary home (until her owner or a better home could be found), I pray that I did the right thing by her and that she finds the most wonderful home, ever. I'm grateful to have had her in my life for 40 minutes. It sure was great holding that bundle of sweet puppy energy in my arms. I hope some lucky family gets to feel that wonderful feeling soon.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
It made me believe
Twenty-five (twenty-five???? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE???!!!???
) years ago tonight, I was screaming, cheering, crying, jumping, and not daring to breathe for, golly, it felt like hours as Team USA beat the Soviet Union 4-3.
Yes, this victory--and the gold-medal win over Finland two days later--did make me believe in miracles. But to say this was a "miracle" really doesn't do Herb Brooks and those 20 young men justice. What's that saying? "The harder I work, the luckier I get"--that
is the essence of this Miracle On Ice
. There was not a team in that tournament that worked harder than Team USA. Every coach in Lake Placid was woefully out-coached by Herb Brooks--even the legendary Viktor Tikhanov who unbelievably pulled Vladislav Tretiak after the first period of the USA/USSR game.
To this day, I cannot watch footage of Mike Eruzione's game winner, or those last seconds of the game (or all the boys with their gold medals singing the national anthem) without dissolving into a puddle of tears. Those are tears of pure joy and pride. It is one of the best models I've ever had that working hard and believing in yourself matters more than any assessment any "expert" talking-head can give.
Yet, looking back on this, then comparing it to the state of hockey (particularly the NHL) today, it makes me so sad to see how the game has degraded. What happened to that passion? What happened to that vision? Where are those coaches who truly think outside the box and find ways to win hockey games without boring spectators to death? Where are the players who simply want to play the game for the simple glory of knowing that, win or lose, they left everything they had on the ice? I've just been trying to think of the games that I've seen over the years that left me truly satisfied that I've just seen a competitive hockey game, and after the 1980 Olympics, I can't think of very many.
So, on this 25th Anniversary of Team USA's "Miracle on Ice," it is my sincere hope that every NHL player, coach, GM, owner (and even Bob Goodenow and Gary Bettman) watch a replay of this game and remember WHAT HOCKEY CAN BE--if only they cared as much about what they put INTO the game as they care about what they can get out of it.
Sunday, February 20, 2005
Hunter S. Thompson dies
You know, I always thought this would be the way he'd leave
I really feel for his son: I know what it's like to come home and find your parent dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. I hope his family can make peace with their loss soon.
I've made some slight tweaks to the blog template (a more extensive redesign is still in the works). I won't have a chance to look at it on a Winders box for a couple of days, so if it looks "off" or out and out breaks on you, please let me know (there are email links to me all over the joint).
p.s. If you do email me with a problem, please let me know what system you're using and what browser and version number. Ta!
Storm Over the Oakland Hills--18 February, 2005
Storm Over the Oakland Hills--18 February, 2005
Originally uploaded by Planet Vicster.
The storm clouds were so amazing on Friday that I was going nuts being stuck in the office. As it got closer to quitting time, I saw that the glorious, poofy storm clouds were giving way to just plain greyness, and that my opportunity to shoot this storm break was fast fading. I finally grabbed the digital camera and salvaged one shot from inside the office.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
OK, so he gets a $1,000 fine for tossing the burning butt
But can we please charge him another $1,000 for a STUPIDITY TAX
Sunday, February 13, 2005
"Catproof your computer"
claims that it's software will detect and block "cat typing" on your keyboard. You also can program it to play sounds that annoy cats
, and thus train your cat to stay away from your keyboard.
Neither the "Hiss" nor the "harmonica" sample had any effect on Simon or Billie. I, however, found the sounds quite annoying, so it would certainly discourage ME from messing with my own keyboard! As to the "cat typing" detection, considering how horrible my typing skills have gotten lately, I wouldn't be surprised if PawSense locked up the keyboard and hissed at me whenever I try to update my blog.
So, while you Windows users will have to deal with critical updates in order to protect you from the sieve that is Windows security, your computer will be safe from that damn cat! Alas, no version for the Mac as yet, so Simon can carry on renaming my file folders with helpful and descriptive names like "]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]\iiiiiiiiiiiiiiii".
He lip-synchs better than Ashlee Simpson
And I quite prefer his choreography to that of either Britney or Christina.Numanumaye'!
Saturday, February 12, 2005
Is it just my imagination, or has the NHL actually been
MORE interesting this year with NO games being played? I'm just sayin'...
First, I want extend my condolences to the Sutter family on the loss of Louis John Sutter
this Thursday past. Walter Gretzky gets all the press for having sired (arguably) the "greatest" player ever to play in the NHL, but Louis Sutter's impact on the NHL will be seen for years to come.
Together with his wife Grace (herself quite a force to be reckoned with
), Mr. Sutter raised seven sons on the family farm in Viking, Alberta, Canada. They instilled in their children a tough, cut-the-crap, and "get out there, work hard, and give nothing less than your best" set of values. Six of their seven sons went on to long and successful careers in the NHL. Though all have now retired from play, all six brothers are still involved in the NHL as coaches or scouts. The Sutter family's imprint on the game will continue to be seen, not only from the front office, but through the next generation of Sutters currently making their way through the ranks of Junior and Minor League hockey.
The NHL, and indeed all of North American hockey, owes a great debt of gratitude to Louis and Grace Sutter.
As the silliness that is the NHL Lockout of 2004-2005 trundles toward its sixth month, we're hearing more threats that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is about to cancel the season, AND THIS TIME HE REALLY
Show of hands here: Is there anyone out there who seriously thought there would be any semblance of a 2004-2005 NHL season while Dave Andreychuk was hoisting the Stanley Cup in Tampa Bay last spring (well, nearly summer)?
OK, now how many of you thought this season was toast, oh, about 18-24 months ago when the serious saber-rattling began and the owners started talking about war chests and shutting down the league for a season or two (or three)? Yeah...And they called us
Just cancel the damn season already (and give the season ticket holders their deposits back)!
Thursday, February 10, 2005
It's that time again
Sore throat and a bit of a cough...check
, and check
Barely stopping myself from drinking an entire vat of HOT salsa at the local burrito joint last night...checkaroonie
Yep, I've got a cold.
Monday, February 07, 2005
...would have been my mother's 63rd birthday. (You know, I tried over the years--even before her death--to picture what she might have been like in her 60's, but no image ever appeared in my mind.)
As much as I loved her and miss her, I'm still trying to get to grips with the more damaging aspects of my life with her. There are a lot of unfortunate habits and patterns that she (and my grandfather) instilled in me that I'm working very hard to undo.
Wherever she is, I hope she finally found whatever it was she was looking for (though I can't imagine how anyone could find peace at the business-end of the barrel of a .22--each to their own, I suppose).
And BTW, my name is VICTORIA, not "pssst! pssst! pssst!"
I have a classmate who is, shall I say, rather high maintenance
. She was also a classmate in my algebra class a few semesters ago and I remember she was the same way then. She constantly has to draw attention to herself: Last week she waited until the lecture portion of our class to do the chapter checkpoint and loudly flipped back and forth through the book heaving sigh after sigh while she did the assignment. Then she tried to hand it in during the lecture and got irritated when the instructor told her to wait and turn it in at the next class--despite the fact that he had said several times that he wasn't accepting any more assignments after our Lab because he wasn't going to carry the turn-in packet with him.
She also eats during the early part of the lecture, which would be just fine (considering we're stuck in there until after 8pm), except once again she has to distract everyone and draw attention to herself by loudly rumpling her food wrappers. And not a single class goes by without some kind of outburst along the lines of, "I can't do this!" or "This won't work!" and of course last week's huge drama was she had left her floppy disk in the lab and someone stole it
and it had all of her other homework on it too! Most people would chalk it up to a learning experience and would make sure they have their floppy with them before they left the lab in future (or at least write their name on it so it could be returned): But this girl had to keep telling anyone who came within earshot that someone STOLE HER FLOPPY WITH ALL HER HOMEWORK ON IT!
Well, tonight she finally used my last nerve for a scratching post. The sign-in sheet was being passed around, and instead of just getting up off her boney ass and giving me the sign-up sheet, she--loudly--demanded my attention by sounding like she had sprung a huge air leak, and then waving the sheet at me but making no effort to meet me half-way so I had to get up and get it from her. I had been fighting a massive headache all day and my first mistake was turning around too fast, then standing up too fast, so I damn near did a face-plant on the floor. I got hold of myself and snatched the attendance sheet from her, annoyed with...Well, with everything
at that particular point.
Now, if I flipped too much attitude, then I would have looked like an asshole and she could have just shook her head and left it at that. Instead she made a HUGE ISSUE out of it. Then, when the instructor was about to split the class into groups, she laid into me AGAIN
. So I finally unloaded and told her exactly what I thought of her and her constant craving for attention and how she could have just let it go, but noooo, she has to make everything ALL ABOUT HER. It got heated and for a minute I really thought the two of us would come to blows.
True to form, once we were split into workgroups (she was not part of mine), she demanded the instructor's undivided attention and told him that she didn't like to work in groups. He tried to explain to her that some situations in life demand it (not to mention some authority figures like instructors and bosses), but she was just reveling in her individualized attention and didn't seem to take on board anything he was saying to her. Then, as usual, she cut out of class 5-10 minutes early, but instead of just leaving, had to announce that she HAD to leave RIGHT NOW.
At least we had five minutes of peace in that classroom!
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Well, you could let us shoot Something Else
Walkway at Lake Merritt
Originally uploaded by Planet Vicster.
This morning in my photography class I made a test strip for this photo before printing it. When I took the test strip to the instructor for feedback, he told me to go ahead and make the print.
Then proceeded to shout after me, "I've seen so many boring shots of those columns at Lake Merritt!"
Uhhhh, thanks, dude. That just fills me to the gills with enthusiasm (NOT)! Oh well...one of my classmates made sure to tell me that everyone else in the class was complimenting it when they saw it in the drying rack, so that made me feel a little better. Plus, it's one of the more "technically" sound photos I've done lately, though I'd be happier if I had gotten those columns a little bit whiter.
BTW, for anyone who cares, this is pretty much straight off the film scanner. I think I only did a very slight crop off the top, but otherwise left it alone, just to see if it works.
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Night Abstract--Lake Merritt
Night Abstract--Lake Merritt
Originally uploaded by Planet Vicster.
My first assignment for my photography class was to shoot at and around (a 2-block radius) Lake Merritt in Oakland.
I keep forgetting that my Pentax MX has a real hare-trigger shutter and there were a couple of mis-fires--including this one. Still, I think it's my favourite of the bunch!