I am a freelancer in the publishing industry, so words are very important to me. I'm a leftist living in a world gone mad, so politics are very important to me. I'm an environmentalist living in a degrading world, so pick up your damn trash, get rid of your gas guzzlers, and don't touch ANWR, you self-absorbed capitalists!

Do leave comments: let's make this a conversation. If you prefer, you can contact me at friuduric at yahoo dot com.

31 August 2007

Friday Morning Grrrrr

Panel Will Urge Broad Overhaul of Iraqi Police
An independent commission will recommend remaking Iraq’s police force to purge it of Shiite militants suspected of complicity in sectarian killings, officials said.

Wait -- They needed someone to do a study to realize they need to get militants out of the Iraqi police force?

Can someone tell me how to get in on the "independent commission" racket? Because I sure would like to be paid good money to put together completely obvious reports, too.

30 August 2007

29 August 2007

Random Question

Question: What does one call the accent that Billy Bragg has? Is that cockney? I just listened to Wighting for the Gright Lehp Forwad, and I was curious. (The accent was pretty strong, especially since the song after it was a The The song, and they sing with a very different [dare I say, more cultured?] sound.)

28 August 2007

Thin Pickins

This is a transitional week for the realm. The girls begin school tomorrow, and this weekend we're moving into our permanent (for here) housing. I'm feeling uninspired, blogwise.

I'll be back next week.

(Or sooner. Sometimes saying "I've got nothing" is enough to get the juices flowing, don't you think?)

23 August 2007

One Little Word -- Edited

Skimming the Internet the other day, I came across an article on Sexuality in Midlife and Beyond. Don’t worry, at 39, I don’t consider myself at midlife or beyond—yet (although I suppose I ought to). But anything is better than actually doing work when you’re procrastinating. And the Internet is oh so good at providing material for first-rate procrastination.

All was fine and dandy until about halfway down the “Using self-help strategies” section.

Go on. Read it and see if you can find what stopped me in my tracks. Just give it a try. Consider this my attempt at providing you with useful procrastination.

I’ll give you a hint: it was one little word. An inconsequential little conjunction.

In fact, the author could arguably just have made a simple error, because the word the author used and the word I would have preferred to read there are considered synonyms.

Should I just come out and tell you what it was?*

Is that enough of a hint?

Tell me if it stopped you in your tracks, too.

Later today I’ll edit the post to provide the sentence in question.

And all we women can be depressed together.

Edited to add:

This is what I was talking about:

"Often, the vaginal dryness that begins in perimenopause can be easily corrected with lubricating liquids and gels. Use these freely to avoid painful sex - a problem that can snowball into flagging libido and growing relationship tensions. When lubricants no longer work, discuss other options with your doctor."

Talk about a downer. Why can't pharmaceutical cos. spend as much money figuring out how to keep the lubricants working as they do on giving old geezers the opportunity to use the little blue pill? (I suppose I'd really rather they spend as much money on things like cancer and serious diseases, but still!)

*Thanks to a nifty trick I learned over at z's place.

20 August 2007

Online Relationships, Anthropomorphic Oceans

Boston was lots of fun. We were only there for one day (because there's so much we want to do in this year in New England that we can't pace ourselves!), but I think it was a good start. As I've complained aboutmentioned before, the Consort and the girls are really into World of Warcraft. Two people the three of them adventure with are a married couple living in the Boston area. The Consort had suggested to them that we should get together at some point.

First, he suggested we get together to do a hike at Mt. Monadnock (the 2nd most climbed mountain IN THE WORLD! [the implication here is that this isn't some secluded spot ideal for nefarious hijackings]). That was met with silence and trepidation. Because, you know, we could be one of those (not often spoken about but surely real) serial-killing families. (They didn't come out and say this, but I can read between the lines as well as the next person.) They countered with a visit to Boston (where they could escape from us by running into the crowds on the street, you see). So we agreed.

It was a great decision. They have a friend who is a Boston tour guide, and she offered to give us a private tour of the city's Revolutionary War sites. Even the Consort and I learned something on this tour, believe it or not. Saturday was quite a success, indeed. All 6 of us went to Harvard Square in the late afternoon, and we took our (now pretty sure we aren't murderers) friends to dinner at an Indian Restaurant. They they took us to a fancy desserterie to finish the day. I think they trust us now. Which is good, because they are fun folks to hang out with.

Sunday morning we visited local farms with the Consort's younger sister and her family, who live in southern NH (did I mention we were staying with them over the weekend?). In the afternoon, we four drove 30 minutes to the NH coastline and spent the afternoon at the beach. New England water being what it is ( = melted ice cube cold), only Trixie went in. That was fine. We walked along the water line, then sat on beach towels, enjoying the sand and sun. At one point, the Consort took a wee nap. I had the camera in my pocket, but moved it onto the blanket so that if I had to jump in the water at a moment's notice (Trixie was playing further and further out in the surf, and I didn't want to miss a chance to save her because I was worried about ruining my digital camera), I could. Twenty minutes later, as we were preparing to take a walk to the boardwalk for a snack of caramel corn or fried dough (don't ask), a rogue wave slammed into us, got our shoes and towels wet, and killed my camera (it's ours, really, but I'm the only one who uses it). AAAAAAARRRRRRGHGHGHGH!

This ocean really doesn't like our cameras. This very same ocean killed our previous digicam 4 years ago. Rickin frickin sea.

We didn't let it get us down, and still had a good time at the beach. After a quick shower at the younger SIL's house, the Consort and I left the girls there (they're coming back on Tuesday) and we drove back to the Upper Valley.

But not before we had supper at a little vegan restaurant we had noticed on the way to the little cousins' house: Susty's Cafe, serving Radical Vegal Fare. Was it tasty? Yes! Was it cool? Absolutely! They even have a small solar panel to power the lights that shine on their sign. (I would have taken a picture, but, that damn ocean, don't you know).

KathyF (and anybody else, you don't have to be vegan to appreciate the food there, you know): If you happen to be near Northwood outside of Concord, NH, check out Susty's. It's definitely worth it.

So, this weekends lessons were: it's OK to get together with strangers you meet on the internet, Boston is a cool city with tasty food, little cousins are just as cute as older versions, hip vegan restaurants can make it in places other than ultra-urban chic spots, and nobody needs pictures of family frolicking in the ocean. It's just not worth it.

17 August 2007

What She Really Meant

A translation of what Trixie meant to say yesterday:

Trixie: "Dad, is there any way one can keep playing World of Warcraft and not get Carpal Tunnel?"

His answer, after we figured out what she was asking was, "Sure: DON'T PLAY TOO MUCH."

We're off to a weekend of Boston and beach. See you Monday.

16 August 2007

Just to Keep You Guessing

Trixie: "Dad, is there any way one can keep playing World of Warcraft and not get Cenarian Breakdown?"*

*I'll provide a translation tomorrow. And no, it has nothing to do with WoW, actually.

14 August 2007

Pattern Suggestions?

A question for my needle arts readers (If you're still reading. The crafting has been paltry since we arrived in NH, I admit.)

We went to the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen ("Crafters!" I shouted to myself) fair on Sunday, and I bought some pretty buttons. See?

Does anyone know of a good pattern to use four 3/4-inch (1.5 cm) buttons? If I were to sew, I was originally thinking of making a Chinese collar blouse. But that would call for many buttons, I think; and I could only afford four of these things. If I were to knit, I first imagined a pullover (jumper) with the opening a diagonal flap along the left side of my upper torso. I don't think I could wear a sweater with four buttons at the top and open the rest of the way down (it would make me look pregnant).

I also really shouldn't be "making this up as I go along." That would definitely not work. I will need a pattern.

Has anyone seen anything in a magazine, book, or on the Internet?

I would be eternally grateful (and it would ensure I'll start blogging about craftiness again!)

10 August 2007

A Poll

So, how many of you routinely use the same towel to dry your face, your hands, a spill on the floor, or, say, a pet's dirty paws after a dewy morning walk?

I ask because I have been accused of being a towelist -- a person who uses different towels for different uses (hand towels for hands, dish towels for dishes, dog towels for dogs [and cats: I am open-minded, see?]). What's wrong with that? "Separate but equal," that's my motto. And I refuse to be made ashamed. I cannot be the only one.

But the Towel Multi-use Society (damned insurgents, I say) keeps ignoring my towel-use proclamations.

This is driving me batty (as well as grossing me out).

All the more so because the member of the TMS does seem to agree with my spongist proclamations (you know, the ones about one sponge used for washing dishes, and a separate one for wiping counters and tabletops).

Good thing my Youth Towelist Brigade has been well-trained to follow, without question, the Path of Towel Apartheid.

09 August 2007


For the first time in more than a month, I am spending the day alone.

The girls are spending the day at an amusement park with their cousins, and the Consort went into his office at Bouche de Dard.


07 August 2007

How to Ruin My Good Mood in 2 Seconds Flat

I finished two projects this morning, for the same outfit. I had enough time to drive into town, drop them off at the UPS store, and get back before the girls got out of horse camp (Their aunt’s birthday gift to each of them: one week of horse camp. Hmmm. That lady’s sneaky!). I went in singing along with the radio. I was in a Very Good Mood. Things got a bit complicated at the UPS store. See, whereas at a FedEx store, you can drop off a package with a third-party’s account number for the billing, at a UPS store, you can’t. They won’t bill third-party, even if the account number is a UPS account number. Oh well, I didn’t let it get me down, I just took my parcel and headed to the FedEx store just down the street. (I usually use a FedEx account with this client, but they prefer [not require] us to use UPS in New England.) Sang a bit more to the radio, parked, got out of the car, started whistling (I tell you, I was in a good mood), walked into the FedEx store, and told the guy behind the counter that I was soooo happy that FedEx store policy is a bit more reasonable than UPS store policy.

“Yeah,” the guy replied. “What I hear all the time about that UPS store is, ‘That man is very nice, but I just can’t understand a word he says!’”


That was my mood dropping.

Sure, the man at the UPS store had an accent. Sure, his skin tone made it clear he was an immigrant. But that had nothing whatsoever to do with my complaint with UPS stores.

I recall several times, growing up, when jackass American idiots made my parents’ lives difficult because of their accent (a particularly rude incident at the Ringling Bros. circus ticket window is still fresh in my mind). The Consort jokes that when he was a kid he had no idea his dad had an accent and was confused when a schoolyard friend called it such!

Over the years, fewer and fewer people have had difficulty understanding my parents. Some of it is certainly due to my parents’ English getting better (but it was pretty damn good even then). Some of it is due to more Americans seeing themselves as part of a world community (I suppose that’s one positive result of globalization).

The past three weeks here in New Hampshire have reminded me, however, that insular thinking isn’t wiped out yet. (“I have nothing against Muslims, but…” “ I never understood the talk about lazy Hispanics until…” “I just don’t understand what he says…”) It has also made me realize that in seven years in Iowa, I have never heard such ugly talk, either in the cities or in the countryside.

Today I was so surprised at seeing this ugliness again, I didn’t say anything (plus, this man was responsible for getting my package to the client; I become a wimp in cases like that). He must have noticed something was up, because my answers became monosyllabic and I tried to complete my business as quickly as possible. Next time (I imagine there will be a next time, somewhere) I’ll be able to gather my wits about me more quickly, and I will have a scathing reply ready.

Any suggestions?

PS: Wondering how the weekend marching went? I’ll be posting about that on my flickr daily photo diary in a little bit.

03 August 2007

In the Middle of a Busy Busy 6 Days

My sister and her family just left, and we had a wonderful visit with them. If you want to see a tiny bit of what we were up to, visit my photo diary.*

Tomorrow morning we're leaving very early to participate in two days of the March to ReEnergize New Hampshire (there's a ReEnergize Iowa march happening, too). We'll return Sunday night, tuckered out, I'm sure.

*I feel a little guilty passing off my photo diary to fill the blog here. Not too guilty, however, to also point out that I whipped up a couple of photo sets about the visit. (Check the sidebar at the left for the link.)

02 August 2007

Y, and Y??!!!!!

Toy-maker Fisher-Price is recalling 83 types of toys — including the popular Big Bird, Elmo, Dora and Diego characters — because their paint contains excessive amounts of lead.

The worldwide recall being announced Thursday involves 967,000 plastic preschool toys made by a Chinese vendor and sold in the United States between May and August...

1. Why, in this day and age, is anyone still using lead in their paint?

2. Why, in this day and age, is anyone still buying goods MADE IN CHINA?????

I've been making a concerted effort not to buy anything made in China. If everyone did, then market forces would be brought to bear on China's incredibly important export and manufacturing sector, and real changes would come about. (Really, I do it for the environmental and globalization effects, but, hey.)

(Sorry for the zippy posting, and nonexistant commenting. My sister, her spouse, the Hobbit, and the Princess are visiting, and we're busy doing off-line stuff. Later, dudes!)