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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wThursday, May 29, 2003


This article says that over 20 million students will attend a prom this year, with the average 17-year-old spending $638. Yes, for one person. I went to a small high school where you didn’t necessarily have to have the "right look" – sure, we made a big deal out of it just like you would anywhere else, but I was probably lucky in that people spent money if they wanted to, but there were also a lot of people who just did their own thing. I bought a dress and shoes, I had the shoes dyed to match the dress, but those are the only things I spent money on. A friend did my hair and makeup. No fancy limo (I’ve still never been in one).

I can understand kids wanting to spend money in order to make the prom "a night to remember," it’s just the amount spent on this pursuit that I find kind of crazy. I won’t refute that a prom isn’t a memorable experience, but I had just as much fun in my non-designer dress then I would have if I spent tons of money. If I take the time to think back, I can still remember pretty much everything that happened the day of my senior prom – including the rendezvous to Wal-Mart made by myself, my date, and the two other couples that we went to dinner with - between the time we finished dinner and before we actually went to the location where the prom was being held. Don’t ask me why we did this. One of those random things that teenagers do, I suppose. I was a senior and about to graduate but I was still only a month or two shy of my 17th birthday. We didn’t buy anything at Wal-Mart, we just thought it would be fun to walk around in public in our prom finery. Tee-hee, giggle-giggle...

Pictures. Dinner. Dancing. The pink carnation wrist corsage. Permission to go to Charlottesville afterward (about an hour from where we lived at the time) with my date, my best friend Christina, and her boyfriend (nicknamed "Bones") who had an apartment there. Ordering pizza. Walking the streets there late at night, just because we wanted to. Listening to Bones’ long-haired hippie roommate play the guitar like nobody’s business. Sleeping on the living room floor. The next day we all woke up and went ice-skating (the first and last time I’ve ever done so). Those are the things I remember.

posted by Zandria at 11:55 AM

wWednesday, May 28, 2003


I came across an article recently, entitled "Tobacco In Your Tiramsu?" It's about how restaurants in New York are getting creative by adding nicotine-enhanced food (and drinks) to their menus. This is (of course) in response to the recent smoking ban, in order to hopefully drum up some extra business. From what I've heard, the body doesn't have a response to tobacco in food/drink like it does when inhaled as smoke...so what's the point? Feel like trying something new? Go for it. I'm not a smoker but I'd try it just out of curiosity.

posted by Zandria at 11:27 PM

wMonday, May 26, 2003


DON’T get so caught up while at your friend’s party with looking in the fridge for the cake that you forget about the plate of pickle slices on the floor. Yes, the ones you just happened to sit right beside your knee. You may forget about them, move your knee over, and succeed in squishing 2-3 of those slices (not to mention having to clean the pickle seeds and juice off your jeans).

DO take advantage of the empty house on Saturday to get things done that you’ve been putting off. This includes washing your car in the backyard, doing a load of clothes, cleaning a sinkful of dishes, scrubbing the bathroom, wiping off the front of the kitchen cabinets, and dusting the front of the television and computer screens, among others. It’s so much easier to get on a roll and take care of everything at one time.

DON’T get involved in the Scrabble game with your Dad and younger brother when they spend the night on Sunday. Scrabble is a good thing – but not when it takes over two hours for them to play a single game. You end up playing anyway when (to help said game go faster) you volunteer to help younger brother make longer words.

DO smile when Dad and brother fall asleep on the couch beside you. Dad can still fall asleep faster than anyone else you know – he freely admits his propensity to pass out in front of the TV at the drop of a hat. The funniest part of his falling asleep is that, when he wakes up from time to time, he tries to make it seem like he was never asleep at all. He accomplishes this farce by immediately starting to HUM when he wakes up (don’t ask me why – it’s not like we’re fooled), but when the humming stops it’s usually because his eyes have closed once again.

posted by Zandria at 2:23 PM

wFriday, May 23, 2003


Going to class shouldn’t be a hazardous undertaking. I’m taking a summer class at a community college that has two different campuses, one of them in downtown Richmond. I usually try to avoid this particular campus because the parking situation is horrendous, but it’s the only place I could take the Ethics class that I need.

Option #1 is to park directly across the street from the building, in an “Honor” parking lot where the spaces are numbered and you have to put the money in a centrally located box for the privilege of parking there. I say “privilege” sarcastically because most of the lot is a combination of gravel and dirt…and last night it was raining…so basically they wanted a fee of $3.50 for the privilege of allowing me to park in their sea of mud. Even with these factors I would have paid the money in order to be so close to the building, but alas, the only money I had in my purse was a $20 bill and a few coins. No way was I putting THAT in the box just to make sure that my vehicle didn’t get towed, and I wasn’t going to park without paying anything either – how fun would it be to get out of class at 10pm and not have a ride home?

Which leads us to the ominous Option #2. There are three free parking lots, the nearest one located about a quarter mile or so away from the campus, and the farthest about ¾ of a mile away. Luckily (if you can call it that) I got a space in the first free lot since it’s the summer session and of course not as many people there, but the walk is treacherous. It’s worse than normal right now because there’s road construction going on, so instead of being able to stay on one side of the road with a sidewalk (that’s now blocked-off and inaccessible), you have to WAIT YOUR TURN TO CROSS A ROAD THAT HAPPENS TO BE AN ENTRANCE RAMP TO THE INTERSTATE. Yes, that’s right. Last night during rush hour I had to wait for a long enough break between cars to make a mad dash across the interstate entrance. Then I walk on a sidewalk across an interstate overpass; the sidewalk ends and I continue walking down a grassy area (also muddy), until I finally reach my destination. The problem is slightly different at 10pm – there are hardly any cars but the area is not sufficiently lit so I’m walking in fear of my safety. The class only goes for another nine weeks though, so hopefully I’ll be better prepared the rest of the time and bring my money so I can park in their overpriced hell-hole.

posted by Zandria at 1:09 PM

wThursday, May 22, 2003


Yeah, I know – you read the title and thought this post was going to be about some chicks having a violent, physical disagreement…am I right? Sorry to disappoint you. I’m talking about LITERAL cats this time (as in “me-ow”). My sister (the one that I live with) has a cat, which she acquired last year during a period of time that I was living out of state. I generally put up with this arrangement pretty well, even though I don’t particularly care for cats. I keep my bedroom door closed most of the time because I don’t like the cat in my room, but she’ll get in sometimes by pushing the door open if it’s not shut all the way. I don’t pet the cat and usually only touch her if I’m picking her up to deposit her OUT of my room, but I’ll feed her if I see it hasn’t been done (but that’s the extent of my generosity). I decided during a moment of temporary insanity a few years ago that I wanted a cat, and a girl that I worked with at the time was trying to get rid of one. I wised up after a few days, but of course by that time it was too late and I was already the proud owner of, yes, a CAT. That arrangement lasted maybe a month or two before I ended up giving him away to someone else. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t hate cats. If other people like them then that’s fine, I can co-exist with them without too many problems…I just wouldn’t have one personally if it was up to me.

So why is there a cat-fight going at the moment? My sister’s boyfriend has a cat as well, and he’ll be out of town until Monday so we’re watching his feline until he gets back. This might not be such a big deal if Elissa’s cat and his cat got along, but both of them live in households where they’re the only animal around. So all I’ve been hearing this morning since I got back from class (just finished the spring semester and I started the summer session this week) is “Rrrroooowwww….” and “Hiiiiiissssssss” and that part-moan/part-growling sound in the back of the throat that only a cat can do so well. They haven’t actually physically attacked each other yet that I can tell, but seeing as how I try to stay out of close proximity if at all possible, I might not know even if they HAD.

posted by Zandria at 12:18 PM

wTuesday, May 20, 2003


On the news tonight, I heard that the American Idol website has gotten so many hits in the past week or so that it’s the 4th most popular site in the WORLD right now. I knew that the show was popular but it was still pretty shocking to hear. Apparently the second season is winding down and the grand finale airs tomorrow night – I know the names of the people in the "final two" (it’s hard to miss even if you WANTED to, if you watch/read any kind of news on TV/online), but I haven’t watched any of the actual shows this season (and only a few from the first season). I’m sure that it’s an okay program – otherwise it wouldn’t be watched and the contestants voted on by so many people – but I’ve just never been able to get into it. If I happen to see a clip on a television news program, it’s just some random person with a great voice that I don’t know singing some random song. It’s not like I’ve taken a personal stand not to watch the show but I don’t listen to information about the show if I can help it.

I know this sentiment may not be popular, but…Clay or Ruben? Ruben or Clay? Who cares? It’s not like those 30 million people who watch the show every week are all going to go and buy the winner’s CD when it comes out. Kelly Clarkson may have sold some albums but it was nothing like the number that watched her and the others on the first American Idol. At this point I feel like I’ve avoided American Idol for so long that I might as well continue to do so almost as a matter of principle. I think it’s possible to avoid something for so long that it becomes habit and it’s easy not to join in the mass hysteria.

posted by Zandria at 9:05 PM

wMonday, May 19, 2003


I was listening to the radio this afternoon on my way home from work when I happened to hear a new Burger King commercial. Apparently a little girl and her father were supposed to be driving in their car around dinnertime and the girl (surprisingly enough) wanted to eat BK. Her first method of attack was to say, in a sing-songy voice, "Daddd-eeee, my tummy is hungry." Not to be persuaded, daddy replies distractedly "I’m sorry honey, but we have to get home." At this, a voice in the little girl’s head (spoken in a different, somewhat creepy, older female voice) says something along the lines of "We’ll have to think of another approach." So after a pause, the crafty little girl’s approach is "Daddy…I love you." And because of this shameless declaration of her love (a conditional love I might add, since she knows she’s getting something out of it), daddy agrees to pull over into the next BK he sees.

What is up with that? Sometimes I wonder why I let these types of commercials bother me, but I’ve decided I’d rather be bothered by them than be indifferent. I’m not putting anyone down who eats fast food – God knows most people do at least occasionally. What I have a problem with is the rampant commercialism directed towards kids and their harried parents; they’re told that fast food is the way to go because it’s easy and quick and the way to their kid’s heart/undying love. (And let’s not forget the Big Kids Club – at least, though unfortunate, the name is actually TRUTH in advertising – let them eat that food and see them become a REALLY "big kid.")

Maybe I’m reading too much into this one commercial. It’s entirely possible – I do that sometimes. But when you take them all as a whole, and see the impact that fast food establishments have on our society and culture, they really add up. Especially when you read books like Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser (a book I read over a year ago but enjoyed very much, I’d recommend it to anyone interested in the subject). If you ever wonder exactly what it is that you’re putting in your mouth (for some people on a daily basis), then it’s the book to read. I just finished reading another book the other day called The Hungry Gene: The Science of Fat and the Future of Thin, by Ellen Ruppel Shell, which is probably why I was more attuned to this commercial today then I may have been previously. I’d read this before in other books, but did you know that the amount of money allotted by the federal government to pay for nutritional education programs only amounts to around $9 million a year? That may seem like a large number unless you’ve also heard that, in contrast, Burger King spends an estimated HALF BILLION dollars on promotional efforts EVERY YEAR. And they’re just one fast food company vying for our wallets by trying to appeal to America’s expanding waistlines.

posted by Zandria at 9:32 PM

wSaturday, May 17, 2003


I like when people come up to me and say there was something they read on my website that made them think. Or that a position I took on an issue wasn’t one that they necessarily agree with, but they respect my opinion. I love that kind of feedback. I would rather bring up a controversial subject or say something that other people may not agree with than talk about boring pitter-patter or "this is what I did after work" or "can you believe so-and-so said this." Those kinds of things are included as well, but I try to strike some kind of balance. Sometimes it’s hard for me to decide if I want to take a stand on a particular issue because I know some of my "reading-audience" personally and I don’t want them to think that something I may write has anything to do with them. I think editing yourself is unavoidable, especially since something you may say or think on a particular day could just be a random thought and not something that you want associated with yourself at a later date. You may think one way and because of the input of other people’s opinions you could change your view on the subject. Or at least have a broader view.

I guess my point is that I’m glad we don’t all see the same way on a particular subject – how boring would that be? And if someone doesn’t agree and they care to make comments, then comments are always welcome as long as they aren’t presented in a demeaning way. (Not saying that there have been any so far that could be construed that way, but I don’t want to see an influx of "How stupid! What were you thinking??? Loser!") The best thing about knowing all types of people, and other people visiting this website that I’ve never met, is that there are so many different worldviews and so many insights.

posted by Zandria at 9:18 PM

wThursday, May 15, 2003


Tonight I went into the kitchen to get my lunch ready for work tomorrow. I was grabbing this and that, taking things out of the dish drainer and putting them into the cabinets, running a wet cloth over the countertop. There was a napkin sitting on top of the toaster ("hmmm…wonder what that’s doing just sitting there?" I wonder), so I grabbed it and threw it in the trash. I made my sandwich, put it in the fridge, finished packing the rest of the stuff, and was filling up my water bottle from the jug we keep in the fridge when my 5-year-old nephew Devin walked in.

"Have you brushed your teeth yet?" Yes. "Are you still watching wrestling?" Yes. And he proceeded to fill me in on the fact that some wrestler shot his girlfriend (wife?) in real life, which his Uncle Ben had told him (my younger brother). SOOO good to know. "Have you put your tooth under your pillow yet for the tooth fairy?" He lost his second tooth tonight, the first one was just this past Monday. No, not yet, he responded. Where is it, he asks, looking around the counter. Mom put it on a napkin to dry off.

Hmmm…could that possibly be the very same napkin that I just THREW IN THE TRASH? Crap. "Uh…go back in the living room for a minute. I’ll find it." Out he goes. I open the lid of the trashcan. The napkin is right on top…but no tooth. I lift a few things but don’t see it anywhere. I close the lid and start looking around on the floor, just in case it flew across the room when I picked up the napkin. It’s not anywhere. He comes back into the room while I’m crouched down on my knees, scanning the tiles for anything that looks like a tooth (thank goodness we don’t have a white floor). What are you doing, he asks. Go back to the other room, I tell him. I see something that looks promising but when I pick it up it crumbles between my fingers. Damn it!

He leaves, and I stand up. Okay, I think, this is what I’ll do. I’ll tell him that I’ll put the tooth under his pillow after he goes to bed, and when he wakes up in the morning he’ll have his money. He won’t care where the tooth really is. It’s not like I can tell him "Uh, Aunt Zan just threw your tooth away by accident and now she can’t find it." But then my sister is sure to ask me what I did with it. In desperation I open the trashcan lid once again, carefully lift out an empty bag of frozen broccoli, a container of feta cheese that Elissa used to make pasta salad for dinner. Hold on, hold on…what’s this? It’s the size of a tooth…I pick it up and this time it’s hard and remains intact when I press it between my fingernails. All right!

Oh Devin, how much do I love thee? Enough to dig through trash looking for your tooth. Crisis averted.

posted by Zandria at 11:07 PM

wWednesday, May 14, 2003


Dateline last night was Jane Pauley's final night on NBC, and part of the show was an interview with Michael J. Fox. The saddest thing is watching MJFox's decline into Parkinson's disease, but as sad as his change may be, it's also very admirable. Most of us can remember seeing him back in the day, fine and normal and famous. And what's so great about his struggle today is his impact on others. It must take such incredible strength of character to stand up in front of groups of people, educating them about his disease and lobbying for money to research cures, not to mention the millions that see him speaking on TV. He knows that in order to gain recognition for the disease he has to put his face and name on the cause – unfortunately, millions of other people with the disease aren't as well known as he is, so they don’t have the effect on other people’s psyche like he does.

I think the reason MJFox has such an impact is because we don't think that something can "happen to us" until it actually does. While he was in his 20’s, and on a popular television show, do you think that he ever had a passing thought that one day he’d have an incurable disease that goes from uncontrollable shaking to eventual paralysis? I can't imagine having to live with a disease that doesn't impact your mind, but where you have no control over your body. MJFox can’t talk without constantly moving around, which is weird to see when compared to the stillness of the interviewer. His jerky movements aren't considered "normal", but neither is being completely paralyzed, no matter how many steps we take to incorporate the handicapped into everyday life.

The best part of the interview was when Jane mentioned that the symptoms of Parkinson's disease are worse when the sufferer is under a lot of stress. MJFox never sits still, he goes from one thing to the next, including producing a new TV series with his wife as the star. Jane said that if she were in his shoes, she'd be more likely to take time off and conserve her energy. MJFox, with his body jerking every which way but his eyes steady and intelligent, hammered his question home: "And what would you be conserving your energy for?"

MJFox's definition of living isn't to be wrapped up in a blanket, to sit on a recliner and be coddled. At least he didn't wait to seize life until after his diagnosis – he's been doing what he loves for decades. Regardless of the fact that his symptoms may be worse with the constant stress, he's continuing on the best way he knows how, which is to do what he loves for as long as he can. Now THAT'S what I call living.

posted by Zandria at 4:45 PM

wTuesday, May 13, 2003


I knew a guy once who accidentally shot himself through the thigh while he was driving. I guess he (I’ll call him by his initials – JF) was trying to show off to another guy riding in the passenger seat; he brought out the gun and while he was making a turn it hit the steering wheel and fired (good thing the barrel was facing down instead of up…or to the right). Back then my friend Dana was living in an apartment; JF was a friend of her downstairs neighbors’ and was staying with them at the time. I remember going over there with her and watching JF’s only non-squeamish roommate stuff gauze into the hole that went all the way through his leg. It was kind of gruesome really, I was one of only a few who was interested enough to watch the daily procedure take place. I’m not proud of the fact that I once knew someone who was stupid/arrogant enough to brandish a loaded firearm while driving…but I’m sure all of us have known people of questionable character at some point in our lives. (Questionable character? Or stupid character? What kind of dummy shoots themselves in the leg?)

posted by Zandria at 9:55 PM



There’s this cheesy show on the Foot Network that I caught for the first time today, called "Lighten Up!" They have these two ladies (Janette and Christina), where Christina cooks the featured food the "normal" way (read: the "fatty" way); while Janette cooks it in a way that drastically reduces the fat and calorie content. At the end of the show they compare one preparation method against the other, including the nutritional information.

The part that tripped me out about the show was when one of the women had to turn her back to put something in the oven, or walk to the refrigerator, the other woman would act as a shield. They would either stand back-to-back and walk at the same time, or Christina would hold a large baking sheet in front of Janette’s backside during the time she was turned away from the audience.

It must be something they do just to get a laugh (or at least I hope so), because both women were wearing large, oversize shirts that completely covered the part of their anatomy that they didn’t want the viewers to see. Both women were overweight, yes, but apparently the smaller of the two (Janette, the one "lightening up" the meals) has lost over 100 pounds. My thought is, would they be on TV if they were really so worried about the way they look? Are they trying to fit in with the female viewers at home, kind of like a "I feel your pain, I hate for my big butt to be on display too" kind of thing? I think it’s a good thing that the show is making an effort to show people how to prepare healthier versions of their normal fare, but the hosts have made the choice to put themselves on display. Go out there and do your job, ladies. No need to go overboard.

posted by Zandria at 6:37 PM

wSunday, May 11, 2003


My mom is a wonderful, down-to-earth type of person. She would rather have love and attention than for someone to spend tons of money on her. When I was growing up, all of my friends saw her a second mother and always felt comfortable going to her if they needed anything. They still look at her with fondness even now – I have one friend who lives out of state that will call her periodically just to say hi and even sent her a gift last Christmas “just because.”

I was home-schooled from second grade up until the time I was 15, when I went back to the public high school for my junior and senior year. Mom was always trying to come up with new things for us to do when we were little – I remember projects that she’d do with me and my sisters like making our own Play-Doh (I don’t remember exactly what the ingredients were, but I know it was all heated up in a pan on the stove…what a joy THAT must have been to clean up). One Christmas we cut shapes out of potatoes and then dipped them in paint, then we’d stamp them on a big roll of butcher paper to make our own gift wrap. We picked berries sometimes and would make our own jelly (this was more spur-of-the-moment though, she wasn’t the type of person to insist on glistening rows of homemade goods). Most of the food made when I was growing up was made from scratch. I don’t think we ever bought canned biscuits – only flour, baking powder, shortening, salt, milk – then mixed and rolled by hand. Even today I don’t care for biscuits unless she’s made them from scratch…they’re just not the same.

Mom never lets me leave her house without giving me a hug first, and most of the time will stand at the door or on the outside doorstep until I drive away. God forbid something should ever happen to me as I’m walking to my car, but it won’t be on my mom’s watch. My mom has always encouraged me, but never to the point of being overbearing. She told me she was proud of me when I was working full time and doing my own thing, and she still says it now that I’m back in school and getting an education. She just wants all of her kids to do whatever it is that makes us happy. I think one of the most important things for a parent to do is show unconditional support. From mom I got my acceptance of people and the ability to fit in with all different types of people, not just one “type” of group. We have a mutual dislike of confrontation and public speaking, and a mutual love of books and big words. I learned how to give advice if needed, but that most of the time the best trait is the ability to be a good listener.

Love you mom.

posted by Zandria at 2:40 PM

wSaturday, May 10, 2003


This afternoon I went out shopping with my sisters. We bought mom a new outfit at the mall and this gorgeous cluster of irises that smelled up her house within minutes. We gave her the gifts today since my younger sister was visiting from out of town and had to drive back tonight. I had a great time hanging out with my sisters today; we don’t get to hang out together very often with just the three of us. It’s funny to walk around with Angela because she’s always stared at wherever she goes – she’s 5’11" and beautiful. Guys are so scandalous about it though, I guess they don’t mind how obvious they are. They’ll walk by and whistle, and twist their heads around to get a better view.

Later we all got together and took mom out for an early Mother’s day dinner at a Mexican restaurant: her and James, my grandmother who’s visiting for a few weeks from NC, me and my sisters, my two brothers, and my nephew.

A few photos from today and some that I took earlier this week at the Peaks of Otter are posted at my Yahoo Photos website, in the New Uploads folder.

posted by Zandria at 11:20 PM



Last night I went out with some friends and there was this guy there that several of them knew but hadn’t seen in a while. At one point the guy mentioned that he’d just recently been dumped by his girlfriend of two years, which prompted a discussion about who at the table is attached and who isn’t. I had pretty much only been listening at that point to what they were saying instead of joining in myself, but then the guy turned to me and asked, "So, what about you? Are you single?"

"Me?" I laughed. "I’m perpetually single." He was quiet and had a look on his face that I knew I could interpret in one of a couple of ways: 1) he was wondering WHY I am single; 2) he was wondering if there is something wrong with me that he hadn’t immediately noticed; 3) he didn’t know the meaning of the term "perpetually single." Or it could have been a combination of all of those.

The question came soon enough. "What does that mean?" he asked. So I spelled it out for him. And then came the next inevitable question: "So why are you single?" (Here’s what I WANTED to answer: "Um…maybe because I don’t want to have to define the word ‘perpetual’?") Honestly – and here’s a tip for any guy in the future who might be interested – you don’t have to be a brain surgeon, but is it too much to ask that he at least know what this word means? It seems to me that some things can be figured out by taking it in the context of the rest of the sentence, or the conversation.

posted by Zandria at 10:20 PM

wFriday, May 09, 2003


We have a decent amount of malls here in Richmond. Technically we don’t need any more but the demand of the public is a powerful motivator (that, and the need for better, more "upscale" stores). This September we have not one, but TWO new malls opening in Richmond – Stony Point Fashion Park and Short Pump Town Center. I haven’t really given much thought to the fact that these developments will soon be here, but apparently my sentiments aren’t shared by everyone. Yesterday, in the bathroom at work, two girls were discussing the matter (I came in while they were already in mid-conversation):

Girl 1: I cannot WAIT until September. Have you seen the mall they’re building at Stony Point? That place is going to be HUGE! I can see it from the road when I’m driving down Chippenham Parkway.

Girl 2: I know, I’ve seen it too! And grrrrl, have you heard about the stores that are going to be there? There’s going to be a Nordstrom’s, and a Macy’s –

Girl 1: (voice going high and shrill with excitement) No, it AIN’T, no it AIN’T!! Grrrrl, I am THERE!

I just had to tune out at that point. If I have to hear a conversation like that in the future, it AIN’T going to be easy for me to keep from banging my head on the bathroom sink. Repeatedly. I can understand looking forward to something, but STILL...

posted by Zandria at 9:31 AM

wWednesday, May 07, 2003


Tuesday afternoon I drove to Lynchburg, after taking my last exam for the spring semester. My younger sister Angela moved to Lynchburg two months ago and I hadn’t taken the time to visit her yet; plus my good friend Deniece moved there a few weeks ago to stay with her family for a while, so I called earlier this week and made plans to see them both while I was there. I spent Tuesday afternoon and evening with Ang at her apartment, taking a break to get dinner, and then we came back and watched the un-rated version of “The Sweetest Thing” (this un-rated version was a special one done for DVD). I never saw the rated-R version so I’m not sure how much was changed, but there were a couple of raunchy performances that I figured most likely hadn’t been included in the original movie.

Tuesday night I met up with Deniece when she got off work, and we stayed up until after 3am talking. We don’t get to see each other as much as we’d like, so whenever we get together we end up talking into the wee hours of the morning. This morning we woke up early, around 8:15, because we’d decided to take advantage of the beautiful day and go hiking in the mountains (in Bedford, VA, about 20 minutes outside of Lynchburg). They have this place there in the Blue Ridge mountains called the Peaks of Otter, where you can climb a 1.5-mile trail to the top…it’s a spectacular view. 1.5 miles doesn’t seem very long, but this particular trail is really steep – it’s pretty much straight uphill the entire way. It took us about an hour to get to the top, so we stayed up there for about 20 minutes or so before heading back down. It’s much easier on the heart-rate going down the mountain of course, but it’s rougher on the knees since the terrain is so steep. Plus having to watch our footing (gotta love hiking in rubber-soled sneakers!). It was really fun though…I’d been to the Peaks of Otter a few times with my family when I was younger, but it had been a really long time.

posted by Zandria at 11:47 PM

wSunday, May 04, 2003


Most weeks, Slate.com will feature a diarist who will write a piece Monday-Friday about their particular profession or field of interest. They’re usually pretty interesting, and this past week’s diarist was a woman by the name of June Shih. She’s a former speechwriter for Bill and Hillary Clinton when they were in the White House, and has been living in China for the past year. She writes about SARS and the impact it’s having on everyday life there in Beijing. This link is to Monday’s post, and the other day’s links are located at the top of the page.

It’s hard not to be jealous of someone who is so darn smart. But this 13-year-old genius seems pretty down to earth about his accomplishments, and his plans to save the world come from his desire to help people. Very impressive.

NY Times article about how scientists are always trying to make things different or “better” in our food choices. Since by nature our bodies are only able to handle a certain amount of food per year, they have to come up with new and innovative ways to sell their products. Organic and natural foods aren’t big money-makers for them, which is why we’re constantly being inundated with new products and ready-to-eat and overly-processed junk. But now that consumers (at least some of them) are demanding more nutritious choices, the food companies have to fill that need and figure out a way to make money at the same time.

I don’t always agree with all of Mark Morford’s opinions, but I like his point in this article. He says the more fear that you can be made to feel, the more likely you are to buy into things that you normally wouldn’t (like a war). In his words: “Here is the basic formula: The more They get you to ignore and detach from and hurl sticks of dismissive ignorance at that divine interconnectedness, the more you feed the common tyranny of fear, the collective cultural moan, and the easier it is for corporations and the government and the masters of televised dread to convince you to buy into, say, a noxious war. Or toxic fast food. Or ultraviolent entertainment. Or Celine Dion.” Unfortunately we “share in the massive force-fed belief that we are here to devour as much as possible, as quickly as possible, and blow the living crap out of everything that gets in our way.” How do we achieve this? “You gotta get off your ass. You gotta question everything. You gotta see the world anew, always, every moment, to progress and evolve…” And the final question: “But, really, when you get right down to it, what else is there?” So true. It doesn’t matter what steps you take to achieve this, I think it would different for every person and what they believe in or feel comfortable with. Just do it. Don’t let the mass media and people only interested in getting your money and selling you whatever they can dictate your life.

posted by Zandria at 3:19 PM

wSaturday, May 03, 2003


I was watching a show on TV the other night, one of those news shows like Dateline or PrimeTime or something. They were talking about telemarketing and how it’s such a huge multi-billion dollar business. There have been some restriction laws proposed to hopefully curb some of this insanity, including a federal do-not-call list in place by this fall, so we’ll see if that helps.

The show I watched was talking about the different ways that telemarketing companies can get information about you for their databases. One way is through your bank. Get a loan through them, within a few weeks all these other offers start flooding into your mailbox. Hmmm...wonder how that happened? They said that banks can sell your info without your permission because there aren’t any laws against it right now. I think that’s a load of crap. They said if banks were forced to ask permission to release our personal information to outside companies, that the cost would be astronomical and it would force them to raise rates.

This one company that buys the information and uses it to contact you has a database of over 200 MILLION people. Someone that worked there sat down and typed in the interviewing-reporter’s name at a computer. Up came all types of information: his address, phone numbers, where he lived, type of household, the value of his home. And this reporter didn’t like it any better than anyone else would. His response at seeing all this information displayed on the screen: "I don’t think I’m comfortable with the idea that you guys have all this information about me." Who would be?

I despise telemarketers. Okay…maybe not as people. I’m sure some of them must be decent human beings. But I can think of many professions that I would take part in before I agreed to have a phone hung up in my face over…and over…and over. For instance, I would rather re-shelve books all day at a library. (I love read, but that would definitely be boring.) I would rather work at McDonalds and flip hamburgers, or dip baskets of frozen fries to be submerged in oil. I would prefer that job even though I don’t eat meat (occasionally seafood, but not anything else). Also, I don’t eat French fries. I don’t like greasy foods. The last time I had a few fries from a friend’s plate about a month ago, it felt like the grease coated the inside of my mouth and I couldn’t get rid of the taste for hours. I might even consent to (*gasp*) work in a daycare center before agreeing to be a telemarketer. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with working in a daycare if you like being around kids. But I don’t. And I don’t think the kids would like me very much…I don’t like playing games, so I wouldn’t play with them. They’d probably fire me after a few days, but that would be okay…I’m sure McDonalds would be glad to have me. From my past experiences the employees all seem to be pretty rude so I’d fit right in.

But my point is, I would still rather do all of that than be a telemarketer. I work on the phone for a living, the difference being the customer’s choice to contact us, not vice versa. I’m not infringing on anybody’s personal time and sanity, calling at my own convenience rather than the person I happen to reach on the phone.

posted by Zandria at 9:17 PM