Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Those darn short electric cords

I think that the guys who decide the length of electric cords must be a. clueless or b. sadistic. I haven't decided which quite yet. Why do I say this? Electric cords are always about a quarter inch too short. I have several surge protectors in the house, always a good thing when you have multiple computers in the house. Now, are these cords long enough? Of course not. The length is just right to force you to do your best Cirque du Soleil impression as you hang over the back edge of your desk (which is too heavy to move on carpet) trying to reach it to plug in the computer, monitor, speakers, Nintendo DS recharger cord, iPod recharger, desk lamp, phone base, and lightsaber night light.

I nearly had this conversation with my kids:
Me: Hey kids!
Kids (giggling at Mom's feet dangling off the edge of the desk): What do you need?
Me: Sit on my legs so I don't flip off the desk and get stuck doing an involuntary headstand behind the desk.
Kids: (fall over in laughter, imagining Mom getting stuck)

My biggest beef today was my coffee bean grinder. Whoever designed this a. does not know the first thing about kitchens and b. must not drink coffee. The cord, I kid you not, is 11.5 inches long. The outlet on my counter is about 8 inches above the counter top. This leaves me about 8.261 inches from the wall, give or take a few thousandths of an inch. Every try to reach across a counter at 5:30 in the morning with a scoop of coffee beans without spilling them? It's not happening for me. I have to do my finest Elastigirl impression in order to even reach the the grinder, much less use it conveniently.

Perhaps I'll plug in a surge protector by my coffee pot. That should give me about 2.23 more inches to work with.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Coupon for Kotor!

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic PC box ...Image via Wikipedia

I received an email today with a coupon code for 25% off of Bioware's game, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, at the Direct2Drive site. How do you do this? Register on the TOR forum and sign up for the TOR newsletter before September 15th. Check your email and you should find it in your inbox today. Even at the full price of $9.95 at Direct2Drive, the game is a steal, but saving a few bucks is even better. Perhaps they'll extend this for new forum members?

What I'd love to have, though, is a code for the beta of TOR. That would be seriously cool.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

The 8th Anniversary of 9/11

If you're old enough to remember what happened on September 11th, 2001, and perhaps even if you don't remember it, today is a day to reflect on the best and worst of what humanity can bring. The worst: terrorists killing hundreds because they're mad about US foreign policy vis-a-vis Israel and Saudi Arabia. The best--watching New Yorkers and Washingtonians in particular, and Americans in general, bond together dealing with this crisis. The outpouring of love and support following this dark day was nothing less than stunning.

My reminiscences of the events of 9/11 : I woke up that morning to hear Spike O'Dell on WGN announcing a plane had just crashed into the WTC. I thought it must have been some bizarre kind of accident, perhaps a plane had a major structural failure or tried to avoid another plane and lost control. I turned on the TV news to see what was going on, just in time to see the second plane crash. I remember hearing Katie Couric saying "Oh my God, there's _another_ one" or something along those lines. My stomach lurched and I thought, "That was no accident". I had to get ready for work, but the images pouring in about the destruction and absolute panic were so compelling it was impossible not to watch, and the responses of citizens, police, and fire departments were amazing. It was gut-wrenching and heartening at the same time. Stories started to come in about people being rescued and some jumping to their deaths rather than burn alive. I tried to call my aunt and uncle in NYC, but the phone lines were jammed and I couldn't get through. For 3 days I wondered if they were alive or if they, too, had fallen victim to these homicide bombers. Not long after, a third plane crashed into the Pentagon. All planes were ordered to land at the nearest airport soon after. United Flight 93 was reported as missing, as was a Delta flight. Then the Delta flight landed. Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania.

I called my husband's unit to ask what was going to happen to their unit, because they were on active duty for two weeks in Germany and all flights had been shut down. Point Man had been on a United flight to Germany with the rest of his unit only 3 days prior. The unit administrator freaked out--he hadn't heard what had happened yet and had a lot of family in NYC.

Then the news came that one of the towers collapsed. I was driving to work by then. I nearly had to pull over, the shock was overwhelming. I knew hundreds had just died in one horrific moment. When I arrived at work, we listened to the radio until one of the staffers brought in her portable TV. We watched the second tower plummet to the ground, taking hundreds more to their deaths. All we could do was watch in stunned silence as the remaining firefighters frantically dug through the WTC rubble to rescue any survivors and fought the fires raging at the Pentagon. Tears streamed down our faces as we watched the agony of a city under attack--OUR city, the city that represents America to so many around the world. We were powerless to do anything but pray--pray for the people who died, pray for the firemen, pray for the paramedics, pray for the police officers, pray for the injured, pray for the families who mourned their lost loved ones or rejoiced when learning their loved ones had made it out of the WTC and Pentagon alive. We could not tear ourselves way from the TV as the networks replayed the crashes and the collapses over and over again, trying to make sense of the senseless violence, trying to give us news, sometimes conflicting about what was happening and why. It was heart-breaking, confusing, chaotic, and frightening.

I was filled with dread and hope at the same time--dread because I knew that the actions of these homicide bombers meant war. It was inevitable. I was filled with hope as the entire country rallied around the people of NYC and the Pentagon to help them in any way they could. I cheered along with everyone whenever someone was rescued from the rubble alive, and cried with everyone whenever we heard the too-many sad stories of those who did not come out alive--their final calls to their wives or husbands or parents to tell them that they loved them, the 911 tapes of panicked victims. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when my sister called me to let me know my aunt, uncle, and cousins were OK. When my husband came home 10 days later, I hugged him tight. So many lost loved ones that day, and I wept for their loss. I was blessed because I had not lost anyone I knew.

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