Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Amateur? Very much.

For the past 48 hours, I've been having a huge nutty. In case you're unaware, I've been trying to put a podcast together. I've been wanting to do this for a long time, but there's been a steep learning curve regarding the software, editing, how to use RSS, etc. This all translates to making me insane. Then my headphones broke, which complicated the situation even more. Amateur doesn't even being to describe how little I know about what I'm attempting to do. 

What's the podcast about? Books. That's all I'm going to say right now.  :D

Friday, October 9, 2009

Podcast in the Works

I'm finally working on a total dream of mine: my own podcast. I've been kicking around an idea for the past few months & am finally locking in particulars. Since I remain unemployed, I've got a lot of time on my hands.

Will keep you posted!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Gots mah hairs cut!

It's been awhile since I've blogged...mostly because of the following: this is Leyandrah, the Blood Elf Warlock I play on the Earthen Ring (US) realm in the World of Warcraft. I've been playing this toon for longer than I'd care to admit...& she's not the highest level in the game. I play so infrequently that it's difficult to get to the max level of any portion of the game. Since moving to Italy, however, I've had a lot of free, unemployed time on my hands. As such, I'm getting a lot more play time than ever before.

Today, I gots mah 'lock a new hair cut. Important? Not really. But it was fun!

If you play on Earthen Ring (US), look me up!  :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Mother Ship in Vicenza

I was out & about a few days ago. I ended up walking into the center of Vicenza, Italy for some gelato. After we got our very yummy gelato. In order to enjoy our tasty ice cream-like treat, we popped-a-squat in the main piazza. I happened to glance up & realized we were sitting in front of a certified Apple reseller. The Mother Ship called me home.  

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

MonkeyHat Studios

When I realized I'd be living in Italy again, I decided to do something I've always wanted to do: sell my photography. It's a little hobby of mine that I've been playing around with for quite awhile. I like to think I've taken some very fine photos...& as I gain more experience, I'm setting up nicer shots.

Yesterday, I started an online store at Imagekind.com. It's a great web site; it allows the consumer to purchase the photo as a print or canvas...you can even frame it if you'd like.

I'm very excited about this new endeavor. I've always wanted to do this; I love photography & I think I can be good at it. And as I find myself unemployed, it's as good a time as any to try & live my dream. And the name of my little endeavor? MonkeyHat Studios.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Wounded Marine & the Associated Press

Photo credit: AP | U.S. Marine Lt. Jake Godby pays his respects to Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard during a memorial service at a forward operating base with Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, in Now Zad in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. Bernard was mortally wounded during a Taliban ambush on Friday, Aug. 14. (2009)

I've been following a story about an AP Story that makes me want to vomit. An embed photographer in Afghanistan took a photo of a young Marine just after he'd been struck by a grenade in an ambush. I have not looked at the photo, but my understanding is he had a severed leg & his fellow Marines are attending to him. Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard of New Portland, Maine,  later died at the hospital during the surgery to repair his wounds. When it was discovered the AP had a photo of what would be the final moments of this Marine's life, the family & Secretary of Defense Gates asked the AP not to run it. His father specifically asked the AP to not publish this photo of the final moments of their son's life. 

The AP ran it anyway, defending their actions: "‘AP journalists document world events every day. Afghanistan is no exception. We feel it is our journalistic duty to show the reality of the war there, however unpleasant and brutal that sometimes is,’ said Santiago Lyon, the director of photography for AP."

I was absolutely disgusted when I started following this story. I'm so tired of the typical defense of the journalists who claim it's their journalistic responsibility to report "on the realities of war." That's not true at all; journalists report on what they see fit and embellish their stories with personal opinion. They are not objective in any way, shape or form. No one will ever convince me the publication of this tragic photo wasn't about getting the scoop or making money. And the political left, so abhorrent of our great American corporations making lots of money, advocates the printing of this photo in all its "gritty" realism. Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard was not wounded; he died due to his wounds. The photo was published with the AP's full knowledge this Marine was deceased. The AP knew this photo was a photo of someone dying, yet they published it anyway.

This type of invasion of privacy is something I think about quite a bit. It's something all military families have to think about; there are numerous people and organizations who want to exploit our very lives to further their own purposes. I want to be clear; if Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard had survived, I would not have much to say on the subject. If Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard, it wouldn't have invaded his family's privacy nearly as much as it does now. No one, not even the press, should be allowed to publicize and exploit grief in such a way. We've seen it over and over again; Cindy Sheehan is the consummate example of a mother, just trying to find meaning in her son's death and being totally taken advantage of. 

The press invades our lives, takes photographs and reports on our most private, grief-filled moments. Our funerals are invaded by protestors (who are not even protesting the war, by the way), our families watch normal Americans live their day-to-day lives while we pray we don't have uniformed visitors arrive at our front doors. These parties (the press, protestors, etc) have their rights protected under the law. Law enforcement and the courts ensure these parties can invade our privacy...but who ensures our privacy? Who stands up for us? 

As military families, I think we need to stand up for ourselves. I put this out into "the internets" as fair warning to the AP or anyone else who would invade my privacy in the future: I will find the dirtiest lawyer I can & sue you for every dollar you have. I understand things the way others might not. If you invade my privacy, print photos of my husband, or anything else like that...if we pay the ultimate price & you invade my life at my moment of weakness, I'm coming for you where it will hurt you the most: your wallet.

And I will win. I always do. 

Thursday, September 3, 2009

As a Woman...?

I went on a job interview last week. It was important; my employment opportunities are quite challenging being overseas. I was looking forward to the interview. It seemed like it would be a very good job with a lot of growth potential. I've had some bad luck with interviews over the course of my working years...some incredibly unprofessional & one that had to be postponed because my car had been broken into overnight. I was hoping for a much easier time this time around.

Armed only with a building number, I found the location very easily. This made me happy and gave me positive feelings about the interview. I was wearing my gray/black snakeskin print heels, which are "power heels" that provided much of my confidence. I met the first of 3 gentlemen who would be conducting the interview. In the course of casual getting-to-know-you chit chat, this man asked if my husband would be deploying.

When I said yes, he said, "That must be hard for you, as a woman."

At this point, I realized I'd never get the job....because my natural response was, "I'm not sure what my gender has to do with anything..." I couldn't even control myself. I think my eyes crossed when I heard him say that & I knew my gut reaction/response was bad, but I couldn't control myself.

Why? It's the "as a woman" thing. He could have said "as a spouse," or "as a family member." I wouldn't have thought twice about it. It was the statement that being a woman makes the situation difficult.

So does anyone think I'll get the job? ;)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Movie No One Talks About

In 2003, I went on a Kenneth Branagh spree. During that time, I found an oldie-but-goodie on VHS. It's a movie every fan should see & it's called A Midwinter's Tale. It's tough to come by & hasn't yet been released on DVD.

I simply adore this film. If you're a fan, you'll recognize quite a few of the actors; Mr. Branagh uses the same actors in many of his films. It's a great cast & the work is superb. You can read a synopsis HERE. In a nutshell, it's about a theater cast putting on Hamlet at Christmas. But it's a lot more than that.  It is worth noting this film is also known as In the Bleak Midwinter.

If you get the chance to see this, I highly recommend it. You can see a lot of Kenneth Branagh in this film...you get to see just how important his Hamlet project actually is to him. It's wonderful.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Couch-to-5K Running Plan

Every single time I put on a pair of jeans, I find myself to be a very unhappy person. You see, since October 2007, I've gained 30 lbs. To many people, that wouldn't be a lot. But to me, that's a whole lot of excess weight. In honor of my Confessional, I will admit it here: I weight 169 lbs. I know this for a fact because I weighed in this morning. I'm horrified. And I'm going to attempt to change. Next July, I want to be able to wear a wickedly small bikini, preferably the sexiest thing I can find at Victoria's Secret. We're going to Ibiza in July 2010 & I plan to look HOT HOT HOT!!

To begin, I started The Couch-to-5K Running Plan. I'm using my iPhone to help keep me on track; there are a few great applications for the C25K program. You can find the application I'm using here. Today was Week 1 Day 1. I got through it, but it was really tough. But I plan to make this work & lose at least these extra 30 lbs. If I can lose more, it would be wickedly awesome. I'm striving for 140 lbs.

I'll continue to blog about this endeavor. Losing weight is tough for everyone. It's a tough thing to be honest about. I'm going to make it work because I'm at the edge of this thing getting out of control. Like most things, it's much easier to nip it in the bud. And since it's difficult for everyone, I hope my determination can encourage others to be determined. So here we go!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Your Own Personal Confession

I was out & about in Vicenza, Italy today. I went to store I particularly enjoy, the Cooperativa Sociale Insieme. Essentially, this is an Italian thrift store. You never know what you may find when you walk around this place.

Today, I found a confessional. Seriously. I could've purchased my very own personal confessional. No, they did not supply the priest. Besides that, I'm not even Catholic. But I keep thinking...wouldn't it just be a cool thing to have in the house? Set up a video recorder inside & see what people say! And since there's no priest, it's more like a reality show.

I'm seriously considering it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

What You're "Allowed"

Hello friends! We finally received our personal property after being without our belongings since June. In this shipment was our motorcycles. Yes, we own 2 cars & 2 Harley Davidson motorcycles. We bought the motorcycles specifically for our tour in Italy; 2-wheeled vehicles are very popular here &  it's a great way to save money on gas. There's also a large parking convenience with this sort of transportation.

This is a picture of my '01 Harley Davidson Sportster 883...when I was "allowed" to have it & ride it as much as I saw fit.

The hubby made it a priority to register both motorcycles so we could start riding as soon as possible. At the Vehicle Registration facility we use, he was informed that we're only "allowed" to have 3 vehicles & we're not "allowed" to register both motorcycles, only one. Why? The arrangement (from over  50 years ago) that our country has with the Italian government. It's the same set of laws that govern where/how I'm allowed to work in the country. This document is ancient by modern standards & hurts the American citizens stationed in this area. And now, I have a motorcycle I'm not "allowed" to register. That means I can't drive it all; I can't risk the insurance/financing problem if something happens to that bike. We made the choice to register the hubby's bike because his is the nicer of the two motorcycles.

So thanks to an antiquated agreement, my choice to ride my motorcycle that I purchased has been taken completely out of my hands. I'm not "allowed" to have it. Now all I can do is hope that I can sell it quickly ...so I don't have to continue to pay for something I can't even drive.

Any questions? Feel free to comment.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I'm neurotic

This is my temporary set up for all things computer-based until we are all moved in. Chapstick gets the prime spot. I rescued this one from the washing machine & saved it from the evil dryer's clutches. That's one of my favorite things about Chapstick; it comes out clean.

Posted by ShoZu

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Songs for the Road

Road Trip? Here's a fun playlist.

Baby Got Back - Jonathan Coulton
Model of a Modern Major General - Gilbert & Sullivan
When You Go - Jonathan Coulton
Don’t Stop Believing - Journey
Shop Vac - Jonathan Coulton
Hurt Feelings - Fight of the Conchords
Show Me the Way - Styx
Better - Jonathan Coulton
White & Nerdy - Weird Al
Ikea - Jonathan Coulton

Ikea in Padova

S & I went with D&D to Ikea in Padova last Friday. I love Ikea. It’s so much fun...& thanks to Jonathan Coulton, is one of the few home furnishing stores with its own theme song. 
Something I didn’t know: Ikea has one of the coolest displays EVER! Evidence is the photo, my friends!

Made of 100% Awesome!

Guess what? We spent Sunday at the market in Camisano! I love it there. We get the best type of sandwich (panini) ever! It’s a Porchetta Panini...meaning is a roast pig sandwich. It’s all grilled on this grill...even the roll. And the roll is fresh, so it’s extra awesome. We attend the market every Sunday we can. Even when it’s 99ยบ or snowing, we love getting our Porchetta Panini. If you ever come visit, I’ll make sure you get one.
After the market next week, I’ll brief you on the Frittella...an amazing sugary carnival-type fried dough sold at the Camisano market. Stay tuned for more!

Random Thought of the Day

I’m rewatching all the seasons of Sex & the City. Why? Because I’m bored & there’s nothing on TV. That’s the plight of living overseas. At any rate, I’m watching all the episodes again & I’ve realized something. SatC is very entertaining & totally full of crap. These women have more sexual partners than most prostitutes & play at being independent women of choice. But what do they spend all their time doing? Trying to find a husband/life partner. They even stress about having children. At the end of the proverbial day, SatC was not revolutionary for women. It’s all about finding Prince Charming...the same as every other fairy tale out there.

Stevie-G & Alison in Venice

Steve & Alison came to Italy on vacation. Naturally, S & I went to Venice to visit with them & walk around Venice. We met Steve’s Aunt & Uncle, had a great dinner, had gelato, & even crashed their gondola ride! 
There are photos in my albums & on flickr. Check it out!

Grocery Shopping

Anyone who knows me personally knows that I hate grocery shopping. While participating in this hated activity, I spotted this item in the fresh fruits/veggies aisle. I have no idea what this is...but it looks like poo. 
That is all.

Happy Dog Food

Walking around our local Italian grocer (Emisfero), I saw this dog food. I think this must be the happiest dog food ever made. I wonder if I feel my dogs this food, will they be this happy? The Monty is pretty emotional; he could use some happy food.

Squatty Potties. FYI.

Here we go. You wanted to know about squatty potties? Here’s a shot of the squatty potty in our favorite local restaurant. As a lady, I have no good explanation for this except to say it’s a squatty potty. You figure it out. 
Personally, I avoid these whenever possible. But at least you’re prepared now.

Arrival in Italy!

We made it to Italy. I didn’t panic “too much” on the plane. Of course, “too much” is a relative term. I had an internal freak out. I disguise it very well...or at least S said I hid it very well. Now we’re happily installed at our hotel. We’ll be here until we locate an appropriate living situation. 

I hate the packing portion of moving. I like the unpacking portion. Why? Because I will always end up packing something I actually need to have with me. This time, it was my very nice fuzzy eye mask & matching blanket from Brookstone. It was from the Nap® line; I was looking forward to using those things. Instead, they’re packed in some box because I didn’t set the items aside. Had made this portion of moving very bright for me when I’m trying to sleep. Very sad. And tiring, actually. I haven’t had a real night of sleep since packing that eye mask...which is why we need to find an appropriate living situation quickly so I can get to my eye mask!

Tattoo Before Leaving

Just before leaving the U.S. in July 2009, I went for my tattoo. The original artwork was done by Len Peralta at http://www.jawboneradio.blogspot.com. I told him I wanted a phoenix & a Tudor Rose. He sent me this. He’s freaking awesome.

The tattoo was done at The Ink Spot in Linden, NJ, by Brian. You can check out his work at http://www.inkspot-tattoo.com/linden.html. Great work! And he was super-nice to me & worked with me to make sure everything went well. I recommend him.