wZandria - Keep Up With Me
Age 23 * Richmond, VA * full-time college student * part-time call center * love to read and write * skeptic * quiet * thinker * independent * VISIT MY PHOTO WEBSITE


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wTuesday, December 31, 2002


NEW YEARS EVE

This time last year I wasn't looking forward to the beginning of the new year. I had New Year's Eve plans, as I also had had the previous year, but that didn't make any difference. This year I don't have any plans, but I'm also not dreading the start of 2003, so that's a relief. What's the difference? I honestly don't know if I could put it into words. I have something that I'm looking forward to this time around, which is going back to school full time starting next week. I think my state of mind and GHF (general happiness factor) tends to be better when I'm working towards a tangible goal and not just wondering or hoping about where I'll be in the future. I haven't made a full turnaround from where I've been, I'm not all hyped-up in particular about it being 1-1-2003 tomorrow, but that's okay with me. I'll take it being like just another day to me, rather than dreading its arrival.



posted by Zandria at 11:45 PM


wSunday, December 29, 2002


WEB PICKS: "LOAF" WITHOUT PAROLE, AFRICA'S AIDS ORPHANS

What is vegetarian John Lee Malvo, the younger of the two "Beltway snipers" being served in prison? Slate.com says its something called a "vegetable loaf," and has been served to Malvo three times a day, every day, since November 19th. Cruel and unusual punishment? Some may think so, but Malvo chose this option himself because he said it was the only prison dish available that worked with the dietary requirements of his Muslim faith. He's now experiencing adverse reactions to this unchanging food regimen: diarrhea, bloating, etc, but prison officials won't change their food policy because of one individual. They say there are other Muslims there who don't have a problem with the regulation pork-free menu, so just because Malvo has a problem with it doesn't grant him special treatment. Do I agree with this treatment? Absolutely. I think prison inmates have more than enough options and perks, including the amount of money it takes from taxpayers to keep these delinquents incarcerated, so if they don't want whatever is being served then they should have to make do with what they DO agree with. Anybody glad they're not stuck in the same cell with this guy right now?

I hope everyone is already aware of the horrible AIDS epidemic going on in Africa, with millions of people affected and tons of children being orphaned as a result. I found this article on the New York Times website last week, there's 9 different pages that you have to click through as you're reading because they break it down into a certain number of paragraphs per page, but I was so engrossed with the information and wanted to make sure I share it. Apparently they have different orphanges in Africa: one for kids that are already infected with HIV or AIDS and is basically just a care setting (because without the medication available in the U.S. the kids don't live very long), and another type of orphanage where the non-infected kids live and the caretakers work with overseas adoption agencies (in the U.S. and elsewhere) to try and place them with adoptive families. This article is very informative and (to me, at least) also emotional at times, when it describes how even kids lucky enough to leave and get adopted still miss being at the orphanage because of the strong bonds they've built with the other kids (in lieu of a family).



posted by Zandria at 3:40 PM


wWednesday, December 25, 2002


Clear day, no snow, crisp temperature = beautiful Christmas day and a safe drive to dad's house (1.5 hours away).

One full buffet of food at mom's house for lunch, another full buffet at dad's for dinner = groan. But also YUM. I don't think I've eaten so much since, well...Thanksgiving. Thank goodness these get-togethers come but a few times a year.



posted by Zandria at 10:16 PM


wTuesday, December 24, 2002


WAL-MART ON CHRISTMAS EVE

Anywhere that you would go anytime on Christmas Eve you would expect to be insane. This is just a fact. That’s why when my sister asked me to go with her to pick up a last-minute gift today at the mall, I refused. Sorry. I had to go to the mall the other day and that was enough for me – that’s why I did most of my shopping earlier in the month or else did it online. It’s the only way to go, at least if you want to keep your sanity.

I did, however, have to venture out to Wal-Mart – which was bad, yes, but not totally insane like a mall would be. I did have to park at the very back of the parking lot, but even the back of the Wal-Mart parking lot isn’t like the back of a mall parking lot. I had to pick up some batteries to go with some Christmas gifts that I already bought a few weeks ago (how tacky not to include batteries when you buy someone something that requires them, huh?), and also some groceries because I’ve been back in Richmond for almost a week now and I still hadn’t gone grocery shopping.

So...my Wal-Mart experience. Let’s see – where do I begin? For starters, there were already crazy lines for the customer service/returns desk, and people hadn’t even started returning their unwanted Christmas presents yet. (Anybody want to leave their current job and start working in retail?) I don’t know what I would do if I were in a different situation and had to buy presents for like multiple kids or something, or even people that are harder to buy for than my family members. There is just this stress level generally attributed with the holiday season, and I’m glad that so far I’ve been able to keep a fair distance from it. I spotted one manager walking around that had taken the ultra-comfort approach to her day (either that, or the store just doesn’t care how their management dresses): hair pulled back in a bun with a pencil stuck through it, baggy gray sweatpants, her feet wearing socks and stuck in a pair of flip-flops.

And then of course the store itself was a mess. Certain things I was looking for were all mixed up on the shelves, they weren’t on top of their respective price tags so I couldn’t tell how much things were or else I had to search for the RIGHT tag elsewhere. I saw empty Starbucks coffee cups scattered here and there, also plastic containers with straws that looked like they came from the snack bar. (Okay, merchandise may be helter-skelter but does that mean people have to leave their trash everywhere too? Apparently so.)

I got the things I needed as quickly as I could, but still an hour had passed by the time I picked up the things I needed and got in line (most of that time was looking for the right stuff OUTSIDE of the grocery department because of the disorganization). The funniest incident happened while I was in the produce department picking up some broccoli and cauliflower from the bins…there was almost a mini-riot. An attendant came over and started wheeling away one of those motorized carts for handicapped people; it was parked near a bin of bananas and nobody was around it. Suddenly a man sprinted (yes, I said “sprinted”!) around a corner from where he was putting another type of fruit in a plastic bag, yelling “Hey! Hey there! What’re you think you’re doin’? Come back here with that!”

The attendant spun around, saying something I couldn’t hear, while another woman that was apparently with the “handicapped” man rushed over. “It’s okay, everything’s alright here,” she said, trying to diffuse the situation. “It’s cool.”

The “handicapped” man plopped into his motorized-cart seat, muttering under his breath “Everyone’s always trying to take your sh**.” He pushes the Forward button on the cart and starts to drive away, and this time it’s the attendant who’s muttering under his breath. Again the woman says something like, “Everything’s okay. It was just his cart, that’s all. Everything’s cool.” And the attendant says something sarcastic by this point, apparently either fed up with his job that day or else maybe just that particular situation, something like “Well he certainly doesn’t particularly LOOK like he needs a handicapped cart.” And the woman says as she’s walking away, “He just likes it, that’s all. He likes the cart, rides in it every time we come here.” Which made me think by that time that maybe the “handicapped” guy was a little mental, or else just a BIG jerk.

So then I was in line for about 20 minutes waiting to check out, I had about 23 items but just enough to take me over that 20-item limit they have for express checkout. I probably could have made it in without anybody complaining (because some of my items were small and they didn’t take up much room in the bottom of my cart), but I hate personally when I only have a few things and have to wait behind somebody who’s taking advantage of the UPPER part of that limit, so I decided to be patient and wait in a longer line elsewhere. (THERE you go, all those people who were waiting in another line today, THAT’S my personal Christmas presents to you guys!) And then, as I was exiting through the electronic doors, I happened to set off the automated “Inventory Control System,” or whatever Wal-Mart calls it. (I SWEAR I didn’t steal anything! I um...swear...) :) I had to wait while one of the faux-important cart distributors rushed over, asked for my receipt, and took it back somewhere and did something with it (I don’t know, I obviously wasn’t paying attention, I was just trying to get out of there as quickly as I could). She brought it back after a few minutes and smiled, telling me I was okay to go, so yeah – whatever that was about, I couldn’t tell you. She didn’t even look through the bags in my cart and compare them to my ticket or anything, so I’m not sure what exactly was being checked.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE!!!



posted by Zandria at 11:00 PM


wSaturday, December 21, 2002


WEB PICKS: MR. WINKLE, "MAKING IT"

Mr. Winkle is this little dog who is so freakishly cute that he doesn’t even look real. He looks so unreal that it’s almost scary; I almost don’t know whether to feel sorry for him or to be scared of him. I’ve seen him on various shows the past few years (including an episode of "Sex & the City" this most recent season). I was reminded of him recently when Mark Morford wrote a column about him. This dog has made millions for its owner, lending its image to all sorts of promotional merchandise like t-shirts, posters, mugs…the usual. I think I’ll go with my original feeling...scary stuff.

I found this article on a website called Slate; it’s pretty long but I thought worth the time to read. It starts out talking about the feelings of modern college students on relationships, then goes into how they’ve been so bred to succeed in education during their growing-up years that they never really take the time to find out what they’re interested in. Our modern system encourages students to be good in all subjects thrown at them, rather than encouraging them to be exceptional in a few things. Very interesting.



posted by Zandria at 11:12 AM


wFriday, December 20, 2002


HAIR, HAIR EVERYWHERE

Girls shed. This is just a fact of life. It comes from having long hair (well, some of us anyway). I shouldn’t make that a blanket statement, I’m sure there must be girls out there who must not shed TOO much hair from their head (or at least not noticeably so). My older sister got on to me one day last year when we were still living in our apartment; she said I left long blond hairs all over the place and she was tired of collecting huge piles of hair when she swept the floors. Up until that time I hadn’t even noticed that I was doing so, but after that I made an effort not to purposefully deposit my hair on the floor. For instance when I sat on the living room couch and combed out my hair after a shower, I started to put all my loose hairs in a pile and throw them out when I was done, rather than previously when I would just let them fall where they may.

Why is this coming to mind? I was just thinking about it the other day when I was at my friend Carl’s place. He lives in an apartment with another guy (who I never actually met, he doesn’t hang out there very much I guess, or at least not while I was there). And it just seems weird to me, leaving these long hairs in a place where two short-haired guys live – it would be like leaving behind something that doesn’t belong there. I know, I’m weird. It’s probably not something that either one of them would ever let cross their minds, even if they did happen to notice, which is a long shot. But I was standing at the bathroom sink, combing my hair, and happened to notice that a few strands fell on the floor. And what I was just talking about came to mind, that’s all. I thought about picking them up. But I didn’t. They’re still there. Bad Zan.



posted by Zandria at 5:40 PM


w


HOME

Well here I am. I arrived safely in Richmond last night around 5pm, just in time to catch everyone that had gathered at mom’s house and to partake in some garden-topping Papa John’s pizza (mmmm…missed that!). I was so tired and spaced-out from driving so much this week that I wasn’t much of a talker, but I got enough rest last night that now I feel better. I got all of my stuff out of the car this morning and started the process of putting everything away, but that’s a large undertaking all at one time (in other words I got lazy, so some of its done but the rest will have to wait).

I’m looking forward to it all being put in its rightful place though. It’s kind of weird coming back to a room that’s technically mine, but when you leave and come back it’s almost like you have to re-make it yours in order for it to feel like home again. I’m sure once I get all unpacked it’ll be better; I’m looking forward to getting it the way I want it and settling back in. I’ve found that the easiest way to get settled down again when you return from an absence is to make yourself as comfortable as possible in your surroundings. Boxes and plastic containers stacked all around don’t necessarily agree with that "settled down" mentality, so they’ll have to go as soon as possible.



posted by Zandria at 5:05 PM


wWednesday, December 18, 2002


CHIK-FIL-A

I'm a dork. Most forms of advertising I find either dumb, over-the-top, or just plain sickening (greasy fast food and sugary sweets to kids who don't know better for instance)...but I find the Chik-Fil-A billboards hilarious. You know, the ones where the cows are advertising for the company, holding up signs trying to get everyone to "Eat Mor Chikin?" Or how about the ones where they say "Beef Iz a Partee Pooper." And I don't eat red meat OR chicken, but to me it doesn't make them any less entertaining. I was reminded of this yesterday when Carl and I passed a billboard where the Chik-Fil-A cows were imploring us to "Brake 4 Chikin." They're just too cute. I laughed out loud.

Speaking of which, did you know that Chik-Fil-A sells merchandise pertaining to these advertising cows?

Like I said, I'm a dork.



posted by Zandria at 2:51 PM


w


TRIP HOME - DAY 4, WEDNESDAY

I don't really notice how good it is NOT to be driving until I can take a break. I only have about 8-9 hours to go when I leave here and continue on to Richmond tomorrow, so that will be a piece of cake compared to the 10-12 hours per day I drove on Sunday and Monday.



posted by Zandria at 11:46 AM


w


TRIP HOME, DAY 3, TUESDAY

I left the middle-part of the U.S. just in time; the upper part of Texas that I drove through, Oklahoma, and also Arkansas were calling for either rain, snow, or thunderstorms on Wednesday. Gotta love timing, especially in the winter when the weather can be so volatile. When I left Little Rock it was really overcast, and for the first couple hundred miles I drove through Arkansas it was really windy (like both-hands-on-the-steering-wheel windy).

How no-new-music-bored was I today? I broke out my rap CDs, which I haven't listened to in forever. Even then I could only listen to a few songs from each album, everything else I was just like skip this...skip this...skip this...

When you enter Tennessee from Arkansas, at least if you're on I-40, you cross this bridge and halfway across is the "Welcome to Tennessee" sign. As soon as you get off the bridge you're in Memphis, which I hadn't realized was right on the TN/AR border. I was still in the Central time zone then, it doesn't actually change to EST until about 15 minutes outside of Chattanooga.

When I was still about 50 miles from Chattanooga, I passed a sign offering visitors a chance to "See the Historic Jack Daniels Distillery! Tours Offered 9am-4:30pm! Exit Now!" So I was thinking sweet, I'm making pretty good time today, I'll get off of this exit and see if anything interesting is going on. Besides, I've never seen a whiskey distillery before, so I was thinking it would be interesting. No such luck (of course). I get off of the exit, make a left like the sign tells me to, and five miles down the road I still haven't seen any OTHER signs telling me how far I need to go to actually reach this place. I didn't want to drive forever so I just made a U-turn and went back to the interstate -- it might have been a different story if they just told me HOW FAR I'd need to go, but I didn't want to go 20 miles out of my way just to maybe see a place that wasn't that great.

Noteworthy times today:
8:30am Left Little Rock, AR
10:30am Entered Tennessee
2:00pm Exited the infamous I-40 to take I-24 to Carl's house
4:30pm Reached Chattanooga



posted by Zandria at 11:37 AM


wTuesday, December 17, 2002


TRIP HOME, DAY 2, MONDAY

Today went okay until just about an hour ago, it was just tiring. I was only planning on driving about 10 hours like I did yesterday, but then I crossed the Arkansas border and decided I wanted to continue on to Little Rock (another two hours away, so I drove for 12 hours today). It was all right, but I think I’ll sleep good tonight. The worse part was when I saw a sign for a Motel 6 from the interstate, but when I got off the exit I couldn’t find it. I drove around for about 20 minutes and stopped at two different gas stations (obviously there are very few people nowadays who can give good directions, I thought it was a pretty simple talent but apparently not). I was just about to give up and go to some more expensive place when I saw it out of the CORNER OF MY EYE down this road, not even having found it on purpose at that point. But I’m in the room now! For less than eight hours! Then I’ll get up and get going again! Yay!

I talked to my friend Carl a few days ago and we decided since I’m driving right through Tennessee that it wouldn’t be very smart not to take the opportunity and make a detour through Chattanooga. So I’m leaving Little Rock in the morning, driving about 8 hours to Chattanooga (so I’ll get there tomorrow night), I’ll stay there Tuesday night and Wednesday night, and leave Thursday morning to come back to Richmond (I should get into town by Thursday night).

Some random stuff/thoughts from today:

**Pop radio stations can be a good thing, a nice diversion when you’re driving for 10-30 minutes to work, or for a short trip. Not for a long trip when you end up hearing the same 8 songs all day long because once you get out of range of one station you pick up another that plays the same rotation. I already didn’t like Avril Lavigne, but if I hear her song "Skater Boy" (or how does she spell it, "Sk8ter Boi"?) one more time I will be very likely to shoot myself in the head. Did somebody actually pay this girl to make an album?

**I crossed a bridge while in Oklahoma, and then right after that came an exit. The name of this exit? "Lohtawatah Road."

Noteworthy times today:
9am Left Albuquerque, NM
11:50am Entered Texas
2:30pm Entered Oklahoma
7:45pm Entered Arkansas
10pm Stopped for the night; Little Rock, Arkansas

I’ll add more later but I’m really tired right now and hopefully I’ll be able to get to sleep. I came in and ate a snack because I was starving and drank a can of soda, which of course will probably cause me to be wide awake once I turn off the lights.



posted by Zandria at 1:39 AM


wMonday, December 16, 2002


TRIP HOME, DAY 1, SUNDAY

I left Lancaster this morning at 8:30am and drove until 7:30pm. (I’ll be gaining an hour every day as I cross into a different time zone, so when I stopped I had to set the clock in my car forward an hour, it was actually 8:30pm Mountain time). Minus about half an hour for two gas stops, that means I drove straight for 10.5 hours. Damn. I’m not too tired though, if I’m driving cross-country I’d rather get it over with instead of sitting in a hotel room all evening.

The drive was pretty boring today, I’m thinking because now isn’t the first time I’m doing it so I actually recognize the weird town names and stuff that I found interesting a few months ago. I’m in Albuquerque, New Mexico right now – I drove about 770 miles today – not too shabby. I think the drive is a little bit worse this time around too because I didn’t bring any audiobooks like I did last time. Music gets old after a while, especially if there aren’t any radio stations on the radio and you have to rely on the same old CDs (I think I’ve maybe bought one new CD this year). I did find an Aerosmith "Greatest Hits" album that I forgot I had, so that was nice to have something a little different.

My secret for staying alert while driving are over-the-counter caffeine pills (only two today, so it’s not like I’m popping them every half hour or anything), keeping the temperature in the car cool (warm air makes me feel cozy and subsequently sleepy), and hopefully finding music on the radio with a good beat that I can play loud and boogie to (I probably look like a big dork to the people that pass me on the interstate).

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before or not, but did you know that the speed limit for big-rigs (and "autos pulling trailers") in California never goes above 55mph? They actually have separate speed limit signs posted as reminders, even when other cars are allowed to go 60-75mph – whatever the speed limit happens to be on that particular road. I think California is the only state that does that (or at least one of few, I haven’t heard of any other state that regulates it that way). I was reading something online one time that talked about how truck drivers don’t look forward to driving in CA just for that reason.

Noteworthy times today:
8:30am Left Lancaster
12:30pm Entered Arizona
5:10pm Entered New Mexico
7:30pm Stopped for the night

It’s almost funny the almost immediate difference in the way the scenery looks when you cross from Arizona into New Mexico. AZ is very mountainous (at least the I-40 route that I take), but NM is all ROCKS. I love the way it looks. Both AZ and NM have signs all over the place for Indian reservations and Indian gift shops ("Stop HERE For Moccasins For Your Entire Family! FREE Petrified Wood With Any Purchase!").



posted by Zandria at 1:14 AM


wSunday, December 15, 2002


ON THE ROAD AGAIN....

I’m leaving tomorrow. The car is 95% packed, except for the stuff I need in the morning to get ready. Bittersweet...so much I’ve done, so much I didn’t get to do. Looking forward to seeing my family...also looking forward to the drive – it’s an interesting experience. I like being the one soley in charge of where I stop, when I stop, where I stay for the night and what I want to eat. (A driving partner? No thanks!) I’m taking I-40 again cross country, I’ll be on it about 90% of the way. I'll have the laptop with me this time (Aunt Cathy's letting me take it for the drive and then send it back), so I should be able to do more timely updates than last time. I'm headed back people...watch out... :)




posted by Zandria at 1:44 AM


wThursday, December 12, 2002


SNORING & DRIVING...NO, NOT NECESSARILY AT THE SAME TIME

Tee-hee. My aunt is snoring. Very loudly and deeply – references to a lawnmower might be appropriate. This is okay for me to say because it’s a well known fact...those susceptible to snoring know who they are and they must accept and embrace it, because what else are you going to do? Go out and buy those special strips to wear on your nose? Aunt Cathy just moves into the guest bedroom and shuts the door (it helps a little bit). In all fairness I don’t think it happens every night, or at least not as bad as is it right now. It’s worse when the person is tired; Cathy and Jeff traveled all day by plane so I guess she has an excuse. Even I snore when I’m really tired – at least this is what other people have told me so I’m taking their word for it. I do know that I’ve never been so bad or so loud that I’ve woken MYSELF up.

Speaking of going to the airport today, I got to drive one of their trucks down to pick them up. Has anyone ever noticed that people who only own trucks just seem so out of place when they actually have to get into a car? The entire time I’ve been here Cathy’s only been in my car once, and that was when her truck had to go into the shop for some maintenance and I followed her there and drove her home. It’s fun driving a vehicle with so much POWER though. When my car is going at a high speed, like on a freeway, the gage is steady at around 2800-3000 rpms. This truck today, going an average of 75 mph – up and down hills leaving the Antelope Valley and heading towards L.A. – never got much higher than 2000 rpms. It’s almost like I imagine what the truck would be saying if it had a physical voice: "What? I’m hauling ass down the highway? Could’ve fooled me!"

Trucks aren’t for me (the amount of gas it takes to fill them up are just RIDICULOUS, and then the gas mileage also stinks), but they’re fun to drive sometimes. My uncle uses his truck a lot with his business so it makes sense for him to own them, but I think most people just like the show.



posted by Zandria at 2:41 AM


w


A Common Theme in Tonight’s WEBPICKS: EXCESSIVE POSSESSIONS, ECONOMY IN PERIL, GETTING RICH OFF THE "JESUS MARKET"

Mark Morford wrote today on the subject of society’s need for bigger and subsequently "better" things (at least in the eyes of those receiving them). An example used? Those new Jaguar commercials where one "perky loving openly WASPy spouse suddenly opens eyes or opens door or turns around on the couch and ... surprise! It's a bright shiny new Jag topped with a huge red ribbon parked in the driveway. Cooing sounds are made. Smiles are smiled. Pleasingly stunned aww-you-shouldn't-have looks that simply shrug ‘$25,000 down payment’ are exchanged. Honey you bought me a Jag! How sweet. Kiss kiss." So true…I guess I wasn’t the only one feeling sick when I watched those commercials!

This was the first I’ve heard of this, but apparently Japan’s economy is at risk of collapse. Their economy hasn’t grown in over 12 years, home values are going down, and Japanese banks are thought to be carrying $1 TRILLION in bad loans. And either the people there don’t understand what’s going on or they’re just ignoring it. The article says: "So the economy limps along. The irony here in Japan is that despite this economic crisis, there are no bread lines. There are no unemployment queues. This country still enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the world. For the average Japanese, there isn’t much pain." Until a complete breakdown I suppose?

The Jesus Market – This is a long article, but I came across it the other day and thought it was interesting because of my background. Of all the things to get rich off of, now the rising star seems to be Jesus. There’s even that new campaign against driving SUVs. Ever heard of the phrase WWJD? – "What Would Jesus Do?" These people have adopted it and turned it around to be "What Would Jesus DRIVE?" Sometimes it all just goes too far.



posted by Zandria at 2:04 AM


wWednesday, December 11, 2002


MY CONCOCTION

Hmmm…weird combo…but an interesting taste…it might not be the new "hit drink" at a bar anytime soon. It’ll do though. This is what happens when you want a drink and the options are limited – you MAKE do: Bacardi Rum and Diet Dr Pepper.

Tonight I felt like drinking. No, it’s not normally something I do when I’m by myself, but then there’s times where I’ll be like "Hey, why not? It’ll be entertaining." I’m kind of bored right now…I don’t know if I mentioned this but Cathy and Jeff left late last week to take Nana to live with her family in Georgia. They drove cross-country in a rented truck with her possessions and are flying back into LAX tomorrow afternoon (I’m driving out to the airport to pick them up). So I’ve been here at the house by myself for the past five days or so, minus the time I spent with Jen over the weekend. It’s been different having so much time to myself, but not entirely unpleasant. And I’ve gotten a lot of stuff done: most of my Christmas shopping, started the process of packing up my stuff, registered for classes at school, got the oil changed in my car.

Speaking of getting my oil changed, that’s what I took care of this morning. The guy who changed my oil and rang up my purchase had this weird, raised, red-colored growth rash-thing happening around his mouth. I couldn’t decide if it looked if it looked like something serious (like an infected tumor), or just something unfortunate (like the latest STD). Do you know how it is when you see something not quite right but you don’t want to act like you’re noticing this particular thing? So that’s the situation I found myself in. I was just trying to get out of there as quickly as possible so I could get on with my day, and Freak-Boy wouldn’t leave me alone:

FB: So this doesn’t need to be done right away [speaking about some car-maintenance thing of course, I forget what!], but I wanted to call your attention to it so that you’d be aware.

Me: Oh that’s okay, I’ll be taking it into the Honda dealership to get serviced pretty soon. So are my keys in the car? [I’m looking anywhere but at his face, replacing my debit card in my purse, scanning through the window to see where my getaway car is parked.]

FB: Yes they are. And your windshield wipers look good, they don’t need to be replaced or anything at this point.

Me: Perfect. That makes my day. So you got my receipt right, everything’s good to go? [Please…PLEASE
get me out of here…]

FB: Oh sure. Just to let you know, the next time you come back, if you fill up with at least 8 gallons of gas from the neighboring gas station and bring us your receipt you’ll get $3 off the price.

Me: Wonderful. I’m actually driving home to Virginia pretty soon, but thanks anyway. [Thinking: "Thousands of
miles away from you might not be quite far enough…"]

FB: You’re driving to VIRGINIA? By yourself? [Smart dude must not have noticed my license plate, not a smooth move if he were trying to impress and be observant.]

So yes, the conversation lasted a bit longer than I would have liked, I won’t bore you with the rest of the details but I’m sure everyone gets the gist of our exchange. Is it any wonder that I need to drink tonight? Please God, if there’s a man somewhere in my future, can he at least be NORMAL?



posted by Zandria at 2:02 AM


wTuesday, December 10, 2002


SKINNY PILL

There’s now a "Skinny Pill for Kids." Yes, that’s right. And the woman behind its conception, nutritionist & author Edita Kaye, has come under fire a lot recently because of it. On one hand you have to give it to her; I’ve seen her interviewed a few times now, and every time she’s just getting berated and ridiculed and "how-could-you-call-it-that" and "I’ve heard this isn’t FDA approved" and "this hasn’t even been tested on children!" Which is hasn’t. And she just sits there smiling, nodding, not letting herself get perturbed, and when there’s a break in the hubbub she’ll ask "Okay, now can I just explain?" I think all this negative publicity is a good thing, because the parents need to know this information – that it hasn’t been approved, the pill itself hasn’t been previously tested on children (even though the "individual ingredients" have been, as Edita likes to point out), as well as the fact that it contains diuretics. Diuretics, for those who don’t know, are used to eliminate excess water in the body from fluid buildup and is a common ingredient in adult diet pills. But it’s also one of the flaws of diet pills, because when people stop taking them they tend to gain a lot of the water back right away.

Edita says that she’s all about kids being active and getting away from the tv and eating healthy foods (but if they were doing all that then they wouldn’t need the pill, now would they?), but that she lives in a "realistic" world and knows that kids are going to watch tv for hours on end and eat what they want. What? Don’t parents have a say anymore about how long the kids veg with video games and what they’re allowed to eat in the house? Sure you can’t watch your kid every moment, especially when they reach school-age, but they still eat a majority of their meals in the home. You can also tell them that they can watch tv at night, after they’ve run around for a certain amount of time outside during the afternoon.

I was watching "The View" this morning, it was funny because they had Edita on there and the three hosts (plus Whoopi Goldberg, who is sitting in as a "guest host" this week) were just laying in on her about this pill. I thought it was great because they weren’t trying to be all polite since she was a "guest" on their show, they were peppering her with all the how-could-you questions that everyone else is asking. Star Jones, one of the hosts, is a beautiful black woman and a former practicing lawyer, and also overweight. She made a good point about just the NAME of the pill, and asked why (if this pill had to be made anyway) that Edita hadn’t named it something related to wellness or health. She said that the name isn’t taking into account those people who aren’t skinny but ARE fit, and that the emphasis should be on that, not fitting into a certain mold or ideal. Rock on, Star! I totally agree with that. The best time for kids to learn healthy habits that they can carry with them during their lifetime is when they’re young – NOT introducing pills and other shortcuts to (unsuccessfully) cover up the problem.



posted by Zandria at 11:06 PM


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SUUUUU-SHEEEEE...YUUUUMMMMM...

I adore sushi. I could happily eat it at least once a day. Before I tried it for the first time I was a little apprehensive (as people tend to be prior to trying something new). This could be because of sushi’s reputation for including raw fish, but in fact most of the types of sushi that I’ve tried have NOT been raw (you can read a little more about sushi here). A popular type called a California roll (and also the first one that I ever tried), has a chunk each of crab meat, avocado, and cucumber. Any sushi that you buy pre-made in plastic containers in a grocery store prominently displays the fact that the ingredients have been precooked (I like the pre-made halibut rolls personally). Now, as I previously stated, I HAVE tried sushi with actual raw fish. I went to a Chinese buffet in Lancaster last week and had one with a chunk of raw salmon on top. The taste was definitely hard to describe, kind of a cross between fishy and sweet, with a squishy texture. Let’s just say that I came away from that experience with the knowledge that I prefer my salmon cooked. But hey, at least I tried it...right? How else can you definitively say that you do or don’t like something if you’re just going on assumption?

I’ve never actually had sushi in Virginia (that will have to be remedied!), but it hasn’t all been here in California either – my first experience was when my friend Carl took me to a Japanese restaurant in Chattanooga, TN earlier this year (the initial California-roll experience). The nice Japanese restaurants (I like to define them as being non-buffet) usually have sushi bars where you can sit on stools and watch the chef make his specialties, or else they can also be delivered right to your table. We sat at a table, but he still made me eat the California rolls with chopsticks...I’ve eaten them with chopsticks, speared with a fork, and also with my fingers, but I prefer the chopstick method – it’s hard to explain why unless you’ve tried the other ways yourself. Basically the finger method is messy and the fork tends to break the roll apart, especially when dipped the popular way in a mixture of soy sauce and wasabi (wasabi is a pungent-tasting green paste, mixed in the soy sauce until blended for additional flavor).

Some people love sushi so much that they write books on the subject.



posted by Zandria at 12:18 AM


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WEB PICKS: FAST ENUFF, SKIN DEEP, CORRUPT PREACHERS, RICH INVESTORS, HAPPY SINGLES

I was looking at Richmond.com recently and saw an article about a local 21-year-old waitress who was picked to take part in a special one-hour reality show on MTV (it aired for the first time Saturday night). The show is called Fast Enuff (would the show not be as cool if they spelled the name correctly?), and featured 15 aspiring racecar drivers taking part in various elimination rounds, the grand prize being a Dodge Neon SRT-4. I thought it was funny because this girl doesn’t seem very bright, the article on our local website was better than the interview she did on mtv.com.

There’s this woman named Anita Roddick who lives in England, apparently she’s pretty well known over there but I hadn’t heard of her before this. Once I read it I found out she’s the founder/owner of The Body Shop, a store specializing in natural and non-animal tested ingredients. (I've seen one of these shops at Regency Mall in Richmond.) Anyway, she’s done a few programs on the Discovery Channel UK for a show called "Skin Deep," where she disguises herself in various ways and documents the reactions of unsuspecting people. This piece tells what happened when she donned a fat suit, "gaining" roughly 150 lbs and going up to a size 24.

A man living in Dallas, Ole E. Anthony, has dedicated himself to tracking down and exposing corrupt televangelists. His motivation? Gullible people who gave their last dollars to TV pastors that promised a huge return, popularly called "faith-inspired giving." Geez...it’s one thing to give to a cause because you believe in it and know they’re doing something good, but it’s quite different when the televangelists fly first class, stay in presidential suites in fancy hotels, and own multi-million dollar mansions.

Indian casinos are supposed to give part of the proceeds back to their local Indian community; this article states that would total about $0.16 per person (per day) if given to them directly. Big bucks!! But it's not: the money goes to fund "general programs, such as services for the elderly and young people, as well as education and economic development." Is it working? Currently, this article states, it leaves the Indians on reservations with "88% unemployment and a school-dropout rate of almost 50%." It’s weird reading about this when I’ve visited a few of these casinos since I’ve been out here. Apparently rich non-Indian investors who provide the start-up funds can demand 40% of the casino’s proceeds.

See? Singles aren't crazy when they decide to stay that way rather than marrying. A recent study refutes the theory that "people who are married enjoy better mental and physical health than their single friends." That's right, refute away!



posted by Zandria at 12:09 AM


wSunday, December 08, 2002


THE LAST HURRAH

Friday night I went to spend my final weekend in L.A. with Jen and Amber. Well okay, hopefully not "final as in forever" but at least "final as in right now." For those that may not know yet, I’ve decided to go back to Richmond for the time being. I’m going to school full-time in January and I’m looking forward to getting back into that and deciding what I want to do in the future.

Monday is Amber’s birthday so we went out to this bar called Jones in Hollywood. While we were there I saw that guy Frank from the current season of the Real World Las Vegas on MTV. I haven’t actually seen an entire episode all the way through from this season, but I recognized him from commercials I’ve seen for the show (I didn’t actually know his name, Jen had to enlighten me on that one). He was holding court in a prominent position at the bar, talking to a group of four girls. How come the only recognizable people I've seen in L.A. have all been from the Real World? I've seen at least five previous cast members now.

When we got up on Saturday, we went to the Beverly Center to do some Christmas shopping. I really wasn’t expecting to find anything, I went along more just to provide Jen with some company, but I ended up finishing pretty much everything that I was still lacking. I guess that’s the best time to look, when you don’t have expectations and things just happen to catch your eye. They’re going to have to wait and be wrapped until I get home though because I don’t want to have to worry about the paper getting torn or wrinkled on my drive back.

I was wearing these black heeled mini-boots with my jeans because I wanted to look stylish while shopping in Beverly Hills, but of course my feet were kiiilllliiinnnggg me by the time our shopping expedition was drawing to a close. (Hmmmm...trade-off...stylish or hurting feet? That’s a tough call.) We also encountered a mall-Santa at one point; he was just leaving his North-pole picture-taking podium but there weren’t any kids in line so I guess he had been off-duty for a while. He eyeballed Jen as he walked by us, and asked "Have YOOOOUUU been a good girl this year?" Oh no, I was thinking. A PERVERTED SANTA!! He kept on walking though, and proceeded to walk over to the escalator and step on, shaking a tambourine and yelling "Ho-ho-ho!" for the onlooker's holiday enjoyment.

The only low point of the day was traipsing around the parking garage looking for where Jen had left her car. She had been talking on her cell phone when we parked so she wasn’t paying attention, and I didn’t look because I always assume (I guess wrongly!) that the driver is responsible. Add my "killing-me-stylish" feet to the mix and it just wasn’t a good time there at the end. But we finally found where we were supposed to be, so after walking around for almost three hours without a break I understood the line "I was never so glad to sit down."



posted by Zandria at 2:54 PM


wFriday, December 06, 2002


HOMAGE TO "ZANDRIA"

Speaking of Christina, I don't know what possessed her to look all of this stuff up, but she sent me these links a few weeks ago and I thought it was the cutest thing!

Did you know that there's a Zandria.com? It has something to do with "Art, Music, Film, MP3, Video promotion," which I got from their homepage. Well at least it's not switched with the website that spells my name with an "X"...that's all I have to say about that, I'm not providing a link. Yeah I know, all you curious people are going to look anyway but don't say I didn't warn you.

There's a baby-name site that actually lists my name, I've searched on various sites before and haven't been able to find it (leave it to Christina!). Note that it's found on kabalarians.com (which is a weird name in itself so I guess it makes sense huh?) Do you think the description sounds like me? I think a lot of it seems to be on target.

And finally...ta-da! There's an actual Zandria Flower. Too cool!



posted by Zandria at 5:17 PM


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CARTOON BREAK

This is a Dilbert cartoon that I found as a link on another weblog this afternoon. I'd like to dedicate it to my friend Christina in Ohio, who is going on two years without a real vacation from the advertising agency where she works. She loves it there, but sometimes you have to be careful about making yourself TOO indispensable. Love ya hon!



posted by Zandria at 5:00 PM


wThursday, December 05, 2002


SEEN TONIGHT ON TV

On the evening news: A man shot somebody today then escaped on foot. The news reporter telling the story said he had talked with police on the scene; they said that after talking to some witnesses they were pretty certain they know who the guy is and have people heading over to the guy’s residence. Sure hope the perpetrator wasn’t watching the news tonight...

Also on the evening news: On Tuesday, a family's SUV was broadsided by a car trying to escape from a police chase. There was a two-WEEK-old baby in the SUV, and during the accident the baby lost his arm above the elbow. Talk about having to deal with something for the rest of your life because of somebody else’s stupidity. Read more details here.

On Emeril Live (Foot Network): Emeril’s theme tonight was "Baked, Not Fried." I paused long enough to see him making baked homemade potato chips...with creamy bacon dip. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? It’s like cookie makers advertising low-fat or fat-free cookies, but leaving the calorie count the same (or sometimes even higher). Then people buy and eat these cookies thinking they’re better for them and wonder why they don’t lose weight.



posted by Zandria at 1:47 AM


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FEELIN’ SNOTTY

Monday I sneezed all day, and yesterday and today I’ve had a runny nose that just won’t stop. I always know when a cold is coming on because I’ll sneeze all day the day before I actually start sniffling. It must have been my recent climate changes that brought it on, going from here, to Virginia last week and then back here where its warmer. I’ve always been pretty lucky when it comes to getting sick though, in that it doesn’t happen to me very often and when it does I’m usually only REALLY sick (like stay-home-from-work sick) for 24 hours.



posted by Zandria at 1:44 AM


wTuesday, December 03, 2002


WEB PICKS: SOVEREIGN STRIP CLUB, PICKETING FOR MORE BOOTY, BLOGGING – A MAN’S WORLD?

An Indian man in Elko, Minnesota has declared a portion of land he owns sovereign (in other words, not subject to the laws of the U.S. Government), and has opened a strip club. Saying that he’ll ignore any government’s attempt to close him down, he is quoted: "There ain't no way on God's Earth that they're going to stop me."

In related news, about a dozen members of the Lusty Lady strip club in San Francisco are picketing. They’re trying to reclaim a $3-an-hour wage loss this past year taken away by management because of economic hardships, among other things (they’re one of the only clubs in San Fran where dancers are paid hourly wages, and also the only unionized strip club in San Fran period).

Blogging – a man’s world? This article in the NY Times says that previously men have written more politically and war-themed blogs, while women have stuck more to personal day-to-day happenings. At least the times are changing…more men are writing personal blogs, and women are now entering the political/serious-themed arenas.



posted by Zandria at 2:15 AM


wSunday, December 01, 2002


RETURN FLIGHT – 11/30/02

I had another three-hour layover on my return flight yesterday, but this time I was at Logan International in Boston. I could see snow on the ground through the windows. Everyone that I told about my long layover has shook their head and wondered how I could stand the boredom, but to me it’s not a big deal (maybe if I had to do it more often, rather than just a few times a year?). I’m definitely one of those people who prefers not to talk to other passengers – yeah that’s right, me. Aren’t you surprised? :) I just don’t see the point of the same questions...Where are you from?...Where are you headed?...Business or pleasure? WHO CARES????

Luckily I didn’t get on a flight with any screaming babies from Boston to LAX since that’s the longest distance I had to go without a stop – over five hours. Speaking of which, I have a suggestion to the airlines about how to deal with unruly children. Since the parents probably wouldn’t agree to temporary sleep aids, why not have one small sectioned-off area that’s enclosed with soundproof plastic? That way if the kid is disturbing all the passengers and causing them not to be able to sleep or concentrate on their reading material, the parent can take them to this area until they can behave. I know, I know, everyone will probably think this sounds bad. But answer me this – wouldn’t it better to do that then inconvenience hundreds of other people all sitting in the same small space? I bet the airline's approval-level would go up.

The plane I was on had a group of three seats together, then the aisle, and three more seats on the other side. I did end up having to sit in a middle seat with a person on either side of me, but it wasn’t too bad. The guy on my left slept almost the entire time, except when it was time for the food (the only time I’ve ever been served an actual meal on a plane, rather than only a snack, is on a cross-country flight). The woman to my right was from India and was actually on her way back there – I gathered that much at least when she asked if she should look for the international terminal rather than the domestic one once we got to LAX. Mostly everything else she asked me I couldn’t understand because she had a thick accent and her English wasn’t very good. We did share a smile a few times because both the sleeping-guy and myself had our tray tables down (him because he had a drink sitting there, and I was using mine as a ledge for the book I was reading) and randomly he would twitch or jerk a limb and his arm would fall across my table. It didn’t really faze me, I’d just pick up his arm by the shirtsleeve and drop it back over on his side. He wouldn’t even wake up when it thunked back on HIS table!



posted by Zandria at 7:50 PM


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FLYING FROM L.A. TO RICHMOND – 11/23/02

Note to self: Don’t wear anything through airport security that might set off the metal detector. Of course this should go without saying, but for some reason I didn’t think the belt I was wearing would create a problem. I had to wait in a separate line with a few other women because the female security officer was on a break; by the time she got back there were about five of us waiting to be checked (at least I wasn’t the only one!). When it was my turn I had to sit in a chair and hold out one foot at a time while she waved the metal-detector-wand-thingy around my shoe to make sure I wasn’t trying to carry a bomb on board. Then I had to stand up with my feet apart and arms out and get checked again with the wand, only to verify that it had indeed been my belt buckle that set off the alarm.

While I was waiting to leave LAX they kept paging one gentleman with a foreign name (this was easy to tell because a new voice paged him every time and it seemed every one of them pronounced his name slightly different). Apparently the foreign guy had checked his bags but his flight was about to leave and he wasn’t on board. The pages became more and more intimidating when he didn’t show up at his gate because since he had checked his bags, the plane wouldn’t leave without knowing where he was. Finally the page said if he didn’t show up in five minutes his baggage would be removed, and after about another ten minutes it was confirmed that this had taken place. I can see the poor baggage people now, scrambling to search all the luggage in the belly of the plane to find one man’s bags, holding up an entire plane-load of people just trying to reach their next destination.

I had a three-hour layover in Chicago before continuing on to Richmond, and before boarding the final plane I was one of the ones randomly chosen to have my bags searched. All the airlines have these folding tables set up beside the terminal doors and security personnel with rubber gloves will open up whatever belongings you’re taking on board (even though the bags have previously gone through an x-ray scan). Have you ever had to watch a stranger riffle through your purse, or open up your suitcase and lift the stacks of clothes to make sure you don’t have anything hiding underneath? Thank goodness I packed light! I had the chargers for both my rechargeable batteries (for my digital camera) and my cellular phone; both of these attracted extra attention because they were "electronic devices" I suppose.



posted by Zandria at 7:46 PM


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WEB PICKS: RAMPAGING ROOSTER, CHIP COMPANIES ENTICE, THANKSGIVING MURDERS

This is an article about poor Dechardonae Gaines (Dechardonae? Why not DeArdonMist? Or Dechampagne?) being attacked by a rooster. Of course the act itself wasn't funny, but definitely check this out -- it's pretty humorously written.

What will junk-food companies come up with next? Now a chip company is trying to market itself to the hip-hop crowd by offering chips with names such as "Rap Snacks" and "Homegirls." And not only that, but this article talks about how Kellogg is jacking up the price for its cookies, crackers, and assorted snacks. Now they're not only bad for us, but becoming more and more expensive...

On a sad note, Thanksgiving wasn't such a joyous day for everyone. A man killed a 5-year-old boy and wounded three others by standing on the front lawn and shooting through the front window. I heard about this the day after Thanksgiving and haven't found out any updates yet on if they found the guy or not.



posted by Zandria at 7:36 PM


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PHOTOS UPDATE

I uploaded twelve new pics from the week of Thanksgiving. Just go to my Yahoo Photos website, and click "New Uploads."



posted by Zandria at 7:34 PM