Archive for the General Musings Category

What I’m Reading: Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin: A Memoir of Our Tumultuous Years

May 31st, 2011 Posted in General Musings | no comment »

This is a new “feature” I’m going to try doing on my blog.   It sounds like a good idea at this moment, but like blogging (which also sounded like a good idea at that moment), we shall see.   I’m calling it What I’m Reading, but I guess it’s more accurately, What I just Read.  That doesn’t sound quite as good though.  I may have to play with that title a bit 😉

So, as you can see from the title, I just read Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin: A Memoir of Our Tumultuous Years.  I don’t usually post or even talk much about my political beliefs because it just leads no where good when people talk politics or religion.   However, people very close to me know that one of my guilty pleasures is following all things Sarah Palin.

She is like the gift that just keeps giving.  A trainwreck that you can’t look away from no matter how hard you try.  She moves from one gaffe to the next with seemingly absolutely no self-awareness.  How can you *not* love that.

Imagine my excitement when not 1, not 2, but 3 “tell-all” books are slated to come out about her this year and that does not include the one by Levi Johnston her former son-in-law to be and a brand new one on “babygate” that is supposedly coming out sometime around September or something like that.   It’s a good year to be a Sarah Palin watcher!

Ok, so the Blind Allegiance book.   It’s pretty good!   I wasn’t sure what to expect really, other than I hoped a bit of entertainment because after a kerfluffle earlier this year in which rival author Joe McGinnis leaked a copy of the first rough draft of manuscript to several media outlets, some bloggers and who knows who all else it’s been known that the book contained unredacted copies of Palin’s emails sent on the yahoo accounts she made to keep govt business secret.

Almost three years later, those emails have still not been released thanks to the amazing foot dragging by the Department of Law in Alaska.   They are slated to be released very soon, so it will be interesting to see if anything made it past the black marker of the redacting hammer, but I digress.

Blind Allegiance is co-written by Frank Bailey (a Palin staffer, who was with her in her run up to winning the election), Ken Morris (who I know nothing about other than he bid on a dinner with Palin once and it ended in a kerfluffle of some kind, as does everything connected to Palin) and Jeanne Devon (a/k/a AKMuckraker of The Mudflats blog).

I have to say that even without the emails, some of which were pretty juicy, in a “I can’t believe she actually said that!” kind of way, the book was quite good.  The emails were just gravy for me by the time I got a couple chapters into the book.

Sarah comes off as likable in the beginning and when I told one of my friends that I was reading this book and that at the point I was at, she was likable and I could understand how someone could be drawn into her circle, he suggested I read the book backwards and watch her grow rather than read forward and watch her disintegrate 😉

Unfortunately, Sarah being likable doesn’t last for very long.  She shows her true colors, admittedly lightly even before the primary and I suppose one could write some of it off as the pressure of running a campaign on a grassroots level with a shoestring budget.   By the time the general election rolls around, there is no denying that she is just plain bad news with no morals, though.

Bailey comes off as fairly sympathetic.   He did some *really* bad stuff for Sarah, as did all her inner circle.   To his credit, he readily admits he did some really bad stuff for Sarah and he doesn’t play the victim card, unlike her.     He is clearly wired a bit differently than I am because I can’t imagine being *that* loyal to someone and I am a pretty loyal person myself.     Bailey took a few trips under the bus for Sarah during their time together and he kept getting back up and dusting himself off for another go.     His wife is the real saint in this story.   I would not have been shocked to read that he got divorced during that time, but somehow his marriage survived, which I think says more about his wife, than him, to be honest.

The book does a good job of portraying Sarah about how she seems if you have followed her story at all since she stepped foot into the National spotlight, as a vapid, vindictive, mean girl that cares only about herself, fame, and money.

I don’t want to give too much of the book away because it is a good read, but a few of the things that are revealed include (“They” is Palin and her inner circle):

  • How they used software to rig online polls in their favor;
  • How they wrote letters to the editor and then had people put their own names on them;
  • How they spent very little time actually governing and so *much* time on vindictive payback schemes;
  • Quite a bit about Troopergate;
  • Illegal action during the campaign for Governor by having contact with a 3rd party that was running ads (the RGA).

I think this book should be required reading for anyone that thinks she is qualified (emotionally, intellectually, mentally) to hold *any* political office.   It does not paint a pretty picture.

Marketing & Self-Promotion A/K/A The Bane Of My Existence!

May 25th, 2011 Posted in General Musings | no comment »

So I am terrible at marketing my store(s).  Terribad.  I hate it.  HATE!  I am so uncomfortable doing it, I can’t even express how much I dislike it.  Ugh!   Mostly I do not do it and surprisingly, I’ve done pretty well for myself considering that I don’t do it.   However, one of my (very) soft goals for the year is to struggle through some self-promotion.  UGH!

Just the thought makes me want to crawl into bed for a week.   *deep breath*     I have several friends online that are such great self-promoters and do the best. marketing. evah!  I am so jealous of them because they make it look so easy and effortless.   Several of them have taken time to email with me over the years and they have been really helpful and they make it sound so easy, breezy and UGH!!!

Tonight, I decided I *had* to make some kind of progress on this (very) soft goal because we are almost half-way through the year and I’ve done pretty much doodlysquat so far.  In my defense, I had a kind of shitty start to the year with losing Cajun.  That pretty much sucked the life right out of me for several months and I am still not back to 100%, but it’s time to get moving in this area.

So tonight I set up a Facebook page for my Etsy store and added the widget over there to the right.   I also did something I swore I would never do and joined Twitter.

It’s a start.

Here is a cute Chihuahua picture for your trouble 🙂

Extra Cash

Jan 6th, 2011 Posted in General Musings | no comment »

So one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to work on my various online stores more.   I have been really (really really….really) lax about this ever since the last Cafepress fiasco and while I am still making money from my stores, it’s not what it could be if I was actively working them.

I am always interested in other ways to bring in a little extra money, though.  Since I’m disabled and can’t work anymore, I like having my own spending money to be able to buy gifts for John or buy stuff I want to buy just because I want to buy it.   John doesn’t really say I can’t buy stuff, but before I was disabled, I always worked and had my own money and that was one of the hardest things for me to handle about the disability.   Possibly even the hardest thing.

I found a site called ChaCha, which answers all sorts of questions that people either send in through the website or texts or calls and then they are answered by Guides.   You can sign up to be a Guide and get paid to answer questions.

Before you get all excited, it’s pretty marginal pay.   You can get paid by points (which are then converted to cash at the end of the month) or by cash and they offer 2 methods for payment.  You can have money directly deposited in your account if you have earned $150 or you can get a “pay me now” debit card option which you can do at any time , but there is a $2 fee anytime you add money to your debit card.

I am very new to this, in fact, just started being an actual Guide today, so I can’t really explain how it works all a lot of detail just yet, but I will keep you updated as I progress.

You get points for every question you answer and the point payout varies based on how many questions are answered per month.  You always get .02 per question answered if you go with the cash route.   If you go with points, the top point earners get their payouts doubled, as I understand it, so there is some incentive to use the point system for people that are going to be very active doing this.

Now, this does not sound like very much money and it’s not something you are going to get rich doing, but you can work any time of the day or night on your own schedule, which was very appealing for me, particularly since I tend to be up in the wee hours of the morning a lot of the time.

You do have to take a timed, multiple choice, 20 question quiz before you proceed and once you pass that (it’s easy), you have some orientation videos and then a readiness exam before you can start answering questions for real people.   You do only have ONE chance to pass the readiness exam, so you need to be sure you are comfortable with the process before you start that.  They have a lot of instructional materials for you to look at, though so you should have no problem getting read for the exam.   The exam, is answering 10 questions as though you were a guide.

It does take 2-4 days to get your exam results (according to the email), but I got mine back in a little over 24 hours.    If you do decide to sign up and want to use me as a referral, we both get a bonus of some kind for being on a team (I don’t really understand it yet), but you just put in my email towal at towal dot com (enter it like a regular email address in the field).

So far it’s been fun.  I’ll make another blog entry once I get a little more versed in the ropes 🙂

Christmas Miscellany

Jan 4th, 2011 Posted in General Musings | no comment »

A few miscellaneous things from my camera 🙂

John got me this Agent P (a/k/a Perry The Platypus).  I am ALL about Phineas and Ferb, so was very thrilled by this gift.

I was sort of surprised that John asked for this one.  While it does have the old “kitty paw” logo vs the new Bobcat logo they use now, he usually isn’t much for when the colors aren’t the normal team colors.   Last night he was wearing this shirt and he said he really liked the shirt, but he did think it was weird that it was purple.

My friend Ashley sent me a skein of Lion Brand Wool Prints yarn, in Autumn Sunset.   I had never used wool yarn before.  I’m not a big fan of wool myself, so I had never been keen to try any of the wool yarns.   This yarn was great to work with though and I will absolutely get more of it, when I’m allowed to buy yarn again 😛

These are not the best pictures, unfortunately.  It was kind of dark in here when I took them, so they are a bit dark and the one with the flash is kind of bright.  I decided to include it so you can see some of the detail a bit better though.

A couple obligatory pet pictures 😉

Bun, who someday we will conquer his allergy issues and he will be freed from his head gear, laying in the cat bed on the table behind my desk (next to John’s desk).

Orion, a/k/a  Office Cat taking a snooze on John’s “reader”.    Usually the cats just sit on there and throw all John’s stuff on the floor one item at a time, but I guess she was tired on that particular day.   If you enlarge the picture and look close, you can see she has her paws folded over her face.  So cute!

Movie Remakes

Dec 28th, 2010 Posted in General Musings | no comment »

Since there are no original ideas coming out of Hollywood anymore and everything now days is just remakes, all my favorite movies are being remade.  Some of them have been pretty well and some have been total misses, in my opinion.

The original Halloween with Jamie Lee Curtis is, of course, a cult classic horror film and one of my favorites.   That franchise has been pretty much done to death and any true fan doesn’t even acknowledge Halloween 3: Season of the Witch.

So when Rob Zombie remade Halloween, I was dubious at best, but could not resist.  I had actually not seen any other of Zombie’s previous movies, so didn’t know what to expect, but we decided to bite the bullet and actually see the Rob Zombie version of Halloween in the theater.

I actually liked it quite well.   He kept the same characters, but gave them a bit of a different back story and went more into detail on that back story and I enjoyed it.

His remake of Halloween II was ok, but I wasn’t that big of a fan of the original Halloween II so he didn’t have too big of a hurdle to get over there with me.

The remake of Friday the 13th was not too bad.  There is not much to work with there, since it’s pretty much a true slasher flick, though it does have some back story, which the remake handled well.  It also had Jared Padalecki (Supernatural) and Danielle Panabaker (Mr. Brooks) in it, who I like so it got bonus points for that alone.

That brings us to A Nightmare on Elm Street, which is one of my very favorite horror movies of all time.  Wes Craven did an amazing job on the original, in my opinion and I will give anything that Craven does a watch as a result.   I don’t always like his movies, but I will always watch at least once.

The remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street was directed by Samuel Bayer and it was beyond disappointing.   In fact, it really wasn’t a remake by my definition so much as it was A Nightmare on Elm Street X (or whatever number they would be up to now).   John called it A Nightmare on Elm Street 1.5 because he felt like it was more like the original than I did, I guess.

I expected it to be more like Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake.  The same characters with a revamped story.  The remake did sort of have 2 of the most iconic scenes…sort of.  One of them was cut much shorter so it had much less impact and by the time the other one rolled around, I was so disappointed in the movie and it just felt like it was trying to use popular stuff from the first one to save it.

The Freddy in the remake was dreadful, as well.   I am not sure what they could have done, but if you are going to remake Freddy freaking Krueger, he needs to sound scary!   The actor who played him,  Jackie Earl Haley, we just saw in Shutter Island and he was fine in that.    I don’t think he’s a bad actor.  He’s just not Freddy 🙁

I’m glad we didn’t go to this one in the theater.  The only thing good would have (potentially) been the $12 popcorn!

Merry Christmas, Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays, Merry Festivus, etc etc etc.

Dec 24th, 2010 Posted in General Musings | no comment »

Happy Whatever You Celebrate or don’t celebrate this time of year 🙂

Towal (pronounced toll)

Dec 23rd, 2010 Posted in General Musings | no comment »

I was named after a (flooded) railroad station (stop).  I had always thought it flooded several years after my birth, so around 1969 and to be honest, even as much as I am online, I never really had done a whole lot of research into the origin of my name.

Some years ago, I had come to believe that the story I had been given as a child for the reason I was named after the railroad stop was a bit… make it a bit more “family friendly” and I guess I had just never really given it a whole lot of thought.  When people asked the origin of my name, I gave them the story I was told, sometimes with my feelings added about why I thought it may not be the entire story, sometimes not (depending on who it was that asked).

Since the stop was flooded many years ago, it has not been listed on maps, essentially the entirety of my lifetime.  This has always made me kind of sad because being named after a specific place, it would be nice to be able to actually show people, particularly since it is an unusual name.    My great aunt, did find an atlas many years ago in her attic that had it listed, but during the course of several moves, I had lost the atlas page 🙁

A week or so ago, I was talking to a friend on the phone and he, in turn, was talking to someone on IM who asked about my name.   I wasn’t doing anything at the time and for some reason, I decided to see what I could find on the internet regarding Towal, Washington, my namesake.

First, I was excited to see that not only did mapquest have it listed in their map, but they actually show it being underwater…how accurate!

(click to enlarge)

I also found mention of it on a page talking about the North Bank Railroad Centennial:

When the North Bank line first opened there were 43 regular stops for trains, besides numerous flag stops. Beginning at Vancouver and heading eastward the list of stations were: Image, Fisher, Bourne, Seal, Cruzatt, Butler, Cascades, Stevenson,Ash, Collins, Cooks, Hood, Bingen, Villa, Lyle, Skadat, Grandalles, Spedis, Avery, Timms, Columbus, Cliffs, Towal, Harbin, Fountain, Sanda,  Roosevelt, Moonax, McCredie, Carley, Luzon, Sage, Patterson, Coolidge, Gravel, Plymouth, Colbia, Mottinger, Tomar, Yellepit, Hover and Finley. A “flag stop” meant that someone would “flag” the train to stop if there were passengers needing to ride.

I did find a photo of an archaeological dig from prior to the flood here: (you have to scroll down about 1/2 way to picture 14). That gave me a clue when it mentioned the John Day dam flood.

I always thought the flood was in 1969, but according to this it was actually before I was born in April 1967 (I was born in Sept).

I also found this article:

It doesn’t talk about Towal specifically, but does talk about how they had to relocate towns/roads/railroad stations in the surrounding area when they began construction of the John Day dam, which I thought was interesting and I’m sure that Towal was one of the involved areas, given that when the dam did flood, it was flooded.

I wonder if I can contact the railroad for any historical information on the station/area.   I may check into that at some point.

New Home

Aug 28th, 2009 Posted in General Musings | no comment »

My prior domain host suddenly went out of business, so I have moved to a new home.   Please excuse the dust while I get settled in here.  It looks like everything is up and running, but I’m sure there may be a few glitches that need ironed out yet.


Oct 20th, 2008 Posted in General Musings | no comment »

My pixel art class is over.  I had a good time taking the class, for the most part.  There were a few parts that were a bit frustrating, but after I worked through them I was glad I did.

My instructor, Sheryl, was kind enough to send me a Certificate of Completion for the course and she took the extra time to include all my lessons to help me commerate the class.   Sheryl went the extra mile during the whole class and this will be a lovely reminder.

It’s Anna’s fault!!

Oct 5th, 2008 Posted in General Musings | no comment »

Anna took a class on blogging a couple months ago and since then has set up blogs for not only herself, but others that she does websites for.

I was visiting one of those sites a few days ago when we were on the phone and was commenting on how cute the page was with all the little graphics and slideshows.  Anna said they were done using Photobucket and that I should sign up for it.

I finally got around to doing that tonight after seeing a cute slideshow that she set up for InVolo Papillons Blog.

All I can say at this point is that Anna has created a monster and I’m sure she is going to live to regret it because for everything I actually manage to post, she is going to have to look at 23482347987 things that I try before posting 😉

Here is my first slideshow!   I do need to figure out how to resize my pictures better as some of them are getting cut off a bit.

These are pics of Riley and Parker (most of which I haven’t posted on the blog before).