Morning Rant: Dumb Drivers on Cell Phones

So here's the thing. I am not one of those people who believe talking on your cell phone while driving should be illegal. Some people are intelligent enough that they can do two things at once. And when I say "two things at once," I mean 1) hold device to your head and 2) pretend like you're driving with just one hand and talking to the passenger in your car. People drive with one hand all the time, and people talk to others in the vehicle all the time. The fact that you're talking on a cell phone really, truly should not have that big of an impact on your ability to control your automobile.

The problem is, there are idiots out there. People who, I guess when I think about it, are still good at doing two things at once, but they are the wrong two things... namely, 1) hold device to your head and 2) forget that you're driving a 2000+ lb vehicle and just pretend you're sitting on your couch talking to your best friend/aunt/husband/kid. What's worse is when people do this who are driving larger than average vehicles, like those giant-ass 1970's style vans. (I know there's a name for them, but I can't think of what it is... you know, the pre-minivan-van.)

I encountered someone like this today on my drive in to work. And probably the reason I'm ranting about it right now is that I first was just pissed that this person could not control their car--I didn't know why. As we're coming up on the fast lane toll on the Powhite, Ms. GiantAssGrayVan just slowly coasts right over in front of me, going about 15mph slower than I am. Her lane switch wasn't because there was someone in front of her or anything--there was no one else in her lane for a good 1/4 mile. Then, as we came out of the toll, she was just drifting around, halfway coming into the lanes on either side of the one I assume she intended to drive in. I had gotten out from behind her, but I'll be damned if I'm going to try to pass someone who's driving like they're asleep or drunk or dead. So I waited for the next lane over to be clear, two full lanes away from Ms. GiantAss, and drove past.

Of course I had to do that thing where you look over at the person to give them a rude face while you give her the ol' Yosemite Sam, and WOULDN'T YOU KNOW! Ms. GiantAss was just a'gabbin' away on her cell phone! You could tell by looking at her that she was in her own little world, with zero regard for the fact that she was driving a beast of a vehicle in morning rush hour traffic on the Powhite. Seriously, woman, you give cell phones a bad name!

Maybe talking on the phone while driving should be part of your driving test, and if you can't do it, then they put that on your driver's license, kind of like when you have to wear glasses to drive. That way, the police can pull you over if they see you driving like an idiot while talking on your cell, and if you're one of those people who has been deemed too dumb to drive on the phone, they can give you a ticket. If you're not driving like an idiot, then no one cares.


On Being Audited.

Yesterday, I got an email I hoped I would never see:

Once per quarter, the Internal Audit department pulls a random sample of all purchasing card holders and reviews all transactions for compliance and reviews all documentation and reconciliations maintained by the cardholder. Your P-card number was in the sample, therefore all documentation and reconciliations must be forwarded to our office.

I have known for months that the university is getting serious about internal controls and such, which I think is great (as long as the controls are clearly defined), but I was still hoping that I could just sit here in my little hole in Sanger Hall going about my business like I have since I started working here. It's not that I don't do what I'm supposed to do, it's just that the word "audit" freaks me the hell out.

Here are some of the things that have been going through my mind since I read that email:

What if I *think* I'm doing it right, but I'm really not, and I get fired?

What if I *think* I have all the documentation I need, but I've forgotten something, and I get fired?

What if there's some rule I don't know about (entirely possible), and I get fired?
What if I put the info in campus mail but it doesn't get there by the deadline, and I get fired?

Seriously, I'm terrified I'm going to get fired, even though I am pretty sure the majority, if not all, of my i's are dotted and t's are crossed. Isn't that what happens when people get audited?! Like, what if they don't believe that we bought that stuff from Oriental Trading for the kids in the HIV clinic?!

I hate dwelling on things, though, so although I could spend another day or two checking and double checking the guidelines on the university website about p-card management, I have already copied everything they asked for and stuck it in an envelope that will go in campus mail in a couple hours. I don't need that mess hanging over my head! I always did that with tests when I was in school, too... answer everything I can that I'm pretty sure I know, then turn that shit in. I was never one to sit there and go over my test a million times. And mostly, that worked out for me just fine.

Hopefully this time it will, too!


Go-Go Gadget Weekend!

Well, folks, I am officially on the 21st century gadget bandwagon. Saturday was a day of technology shopping for us, making at least part of yesterday a day filled with exclamations of "how the hell does this thing work?" and excited squeals when I was able to get them to do what they are supposed to do. :)

For Christmas, Santa (aka my husband) brought me a Roomba, which is a robotic vacuum cleaner that vacuums for you--all you do is push a button and off it goes. Well, Bryan thought he was getting the one you could schedule to clean when you're not home, but it turns out it didn't have that capability. We talked about upgrading it, but the scheduler ones were so dang expensive that we just never did anything with it. We kept waiting to figure it out, until one day Costco figured it out for us! They had the scheduler model on sale for only about $30 more than Bryan paid for the one he got me for Christmas, so our decision was easy. Saturday we exchanged the Christmas one (yes, I know it's been 3 months since Christmas, but that's just how we roll) for the fancier one.

Well, my new Roomba was the beneficiary of many squeals of delight yesterday as she roamed around my downstairs sucking up all the little bits of dirt and dust we've tracked in. It reminds me of Johnny 5 from that 80's movie Short Circuit, during the part where Johnny gets confused and starts running into everything. The Roomba apparently has its own set pattern and method for cleaning a whole room, but the instruction manual is quick to let you know that you are going to think the thing is crazy. When it's doing its thang, it doesn't appear to make a bit of sense. That doesn't matter, though, because when it's done, the floor is clean! Awesome, I tell you, especially because my arthritic self and vacuuming do not mix.

The other exciting gadget that came into my world over the weekend in my new Samsung Omnia cell phone... or whatever they're calling the fancy ones these days! The Omnia is kind of like the Apple iPhone in that it is touch screen and can do all kinds of Jetsons-style things. This little bugger was the primary recipient of the "how the hell does this thing work?" sentiment, but she got a few squeals of joy, too. :) I had to be careful, though, because it was Bryan's first weekend off in ages and Saturday evening I think he was getting his feelings hurt a little bit because I was paying more attention to the phone than to him. :) Don't worry, I put it away after a little while. And not just because the battery died.

Photo Credits: Inspector Gadget, Roomba, Omnia


Yet again, the Madness is upon us!

I don't really care about basketball most of the time. Maybe it's because, as a girl who's almost 6' tall, I heard "You're so tall! Do you play basketball?" way too many times in my formative years and I'm bitter because I never had the skillz. Whatever it is, I never watch NBA basketball and hardly ever watch college basketball.

Until March Madness sets in.

And people, it has begun.

A couple years ago I started getting in on an NCAA pool and have been hooked ever since. It turns out I'm a pretty good guesser--I came in second the first year and was in contention to win for quite a while last year. I don't know jack about the teams, I just look at them and see which one my "woman's intuition" tells me is going to win. It's very scientific, and I'd bet most women you know who fill out brackets do it that way, too. :)

While I really get nothing but enjoyment out of obsessing over my bracket (I carry a printed copy and highlighters and a sharpie with me everywhere I go during the tournament), I did worry this morning that the whole "madness" part might be seeping into my psyche. See, last night I dreamed about my bracket. It was actually more like a nightmare, because in my dream UNC lost in the first round. I woke up freaking out (for real) because if that had happened, I was kissing any chances of winning my pool goodbye, since I have them in the final four! Luckily I was able to talk myself down and remember that it was virtually impossible for them to have lost to Radford, and I was able to go back to sleep.

I did wake up about 20 minutes earlier than I had to so I could tune in to ESPN and see how I did last night, though. ;-)

Go Memphis!


I'm still alive, really.

Man, I have been slackin' on my bloggin' haven't I? Sorry about that. For some reason when my husband works crazy hours I go into an alternate universe. Which basically means I become an extreme couch potato and sit and sulk because I miss him. When I was talking to my friend Glenn, who I ride the bus with, the other day about how sad I was that I wasn't going to see Bryan for a couple of days (his night shift and my day shift meant our paths did not cross at home), he responded, "Wow, you really do miss him, don't you?" Yes, yes I do.

Yesterday Bryan actually got home around 5:30, making it the first time I had seen him in the daylight in about two weeks. He brought home a pizza, and about 20 minutes after we finished eating he was asleep with his head in my lap. The man is exhausted, as is usual with outage season at the power station. Supposedly his new position (since the fall) means he'll work less overtime, but I haven't seen it yet...

The past couple of weeks haven't been especially notable otherwise, with the exception of my foray into the world of quilting, which will be another post altogether... too much to say about that!

Really what it boils down to is I'm totally over winter and ready for some spring weather to come along and perk me up. I've had about enough of cold, rainy days.


An Open Letter to Rihanna.

Dear Rihanna,

I've been following the stories about Chris Brown assaulting you for the past several weeks. I was sad for you when I first heard, but hoped somehow it was just an argument that got a little out of hand.

Then the photo came out of you the night of the attack. I honestly thought I might vomit when I saw it. It was obvious that what you experienced that night was no lovers' quarrel. You were beaten in a way that no one should EVER be beaten.

Then came the news that you were back together with Chris Brown and hanging out in Miami together. My heart sunk. How could you send this message to all of the young people who admire you and follow your life? It is NOT okay for you to go back to your abuser. You don't even have the excuse that you have nowhere else to go, or that you can't make it on your own. You are beautiful, successful, independent woman. Yet you chose to go back to the man who beat you, and in doing so told every little girl in the world that if your boyfriend hits you, you forgive him if you love him.

Then today, TMZ released the full Search Warrant and Affidavit. As I read it I realized that a piece of me was still hoping there was more to the story than we knew--that somehow it wasn't really as bad as that picture looked. Instead, what happened that night is much worse than I could have imagined.

Rihanna, you are a victim of domestic violence. You have experienced what way too many millions of women experience and don't know how to escape. Being assaulted the way you were is NEVER forgiveable. Ever. And it WILL happen again. And again. And again. Until you decide that you will not allow it to happen again.

Please do not turn a blind eye to the monster you've decided you love. I'm sure he came crawling back with apologies and gifts and promises to never do that again. I'm sure you want to give him another chance. But you can't. You chose a career that has turned you into a role model, and you OWE IT to your fans to NOT be with your abuser. Otherwise, young men will see that if they lose their tempers and put a beat down on their girlfriends that they'll be forgiven--and given a chance to do it again. Young women will see that boyfriends get angry sometimes and even though they might hit you, as long as they apologize and say they love you, the deserve another chance--to do it again. These are not the lessons you should be teaching.

I wish I knew you. I'd be on my knees begging you to do the right thing here: press charges, make a public statement about how domestic violence is NEVER okay, and begin a mission to assure other women never have to experience what you did that night.

Please, please, please, please, please seek counseling and advice from professionals who know about this sort of thing, and please listen to what they say.



The Breakfast Song

Oh dear.

1. I bet this dude came up with this song for Lent. He was thinking, "What do I really LOVE that I could sacrifice for Jesus during Lent? I know, breakfast!" And then he got to thinking about how horrible it would be to not have breakfast, until the Lord popped in on his thoughts and said, "Yo, Uncle Elroy, you know I'm going to come take you home one day and you will not give a CRAP about breakfast!" And Uncle Elroy realized that if he could just put into a song all of the breakfast foods people love and remind us that that shit ain't gonna matter one day, he would have a serious chance at cracking Billboards' Top 100.

2. Aunt Yvonne does not look especially thrilled to be joining in this nonsense with Uncle Elroy. You know he probably told her, "Look, woman, unless you sing this song with me on the Mornin' show, YOU won't have no mo' grits or corn flakes or beef steaks or ANY of that breakfast food!" And you can also tell that they have been through this song about a million times to get it right, because near the end I caught her silently singing along with Uncle Elroy's part. She was probably pissed SHE didn't get to sing about the food, just about the going home part.

3. You know what this song reminded me of? Back in the early 80's McDonald's put out 45s with their menu song... you remember... they came up with a ditty that encompassed their whole menu, and if you could go in and sing it, you got a free Big Mac. Do you think if I went to Aunt Sarah's and sang (typo, but really you don't "sing" a song like this, you sang it) The Breakfast Song that I would get a free meal?

4. This song is going to be stuck in my head for the rest of the day. I know it. Thanks a lot, dlisted via Crunk & Disorderly.


March came in like a lion.

We finally got a decent snowstorm!!! When it was all said and done around noon today, we had about eight inches. I had a snow day and Bryan worked overnight last night, so this afternoon we were able to get out and play in the glorious white stuff. :)

You can see a few more pictures by clicking here.