Note to Self: Don’t Kill

If you are one of two thousand people waiting outside of a large chain store, waiting for your chance to get an awesome Black Friday deal on a plasma TV, a few things should be apparent to you.

  • First, the crowd surrounding you is mix of old, young, frail and hale; however, even the young and spry possess, at best, a rather breakable human body.
  • Second, it should occur to you that two thousand people will not fit through a narrow opening simultaneously. Physics, bitches, it works.
  • Third, when two thousand people begin running toward said narrow entrance, a bottleneck will occur. This will likely result in bodily harm to mob members as well as any hapless individual in the mob’s path.

Some may blame Wal-Mart for today’s death and multiple injuries and yes, I agree, this store appeared to be negligent but people ran. over. that. man. and. killed. him.

I wonder what those first couple hundred people through those doors this morning must be thinking now, as they watch the story recapped on the evening news on their brand new fifty inch plasma TVs.


A drawback of seeking out warmer weather: allergies. When I left Indiana, frosts had pretty much eliminated that problem. Here, not so much. I have a lot of sinus pressure and was glad Russell wanted to spend the day in. It must be a little amusing watching me move around. The room tends to do this spinning thing. I probably look a little drunk. Le sigh.

The bright side: I’ve been reading a lot. I liked Stephenie Meyer’s The Host. It’s way better than the Twilight series. I also read Maureen Johnson’s first two books, The Keys to the Golden Firebird and The Bermudez Triangle. I love Johnson’s snark. Her characters are very real and well developed. I have more of her books with me and will probably keep reading when I have some down time.

Seville Quarter, downtown Pensacola, Florida
Seville Quarter, downtown Pensacola, Florida

I ventured out on my own Monday morning and played with the camera with mixed success. I won’t post them to Flickr until I get back but here is a shot from the Seville Quarter in downtown Pensacola. I also visited Saint Michael’s Cemetery. The cemetery wasn’t as old as I’d hoped it be. I had a relaxing stroll, if nothing else. Later Monday night, we saw Quantum of Solace, which Russ and I both really liked.

I think the congestion just clogged my brain. I’m out.

Safe travels to all who are journeying out for Turkey Day!

Sea and Sky

Here’s what I did today (courtesy of the camera phone).

View of the Gulf of Mexico from Pensacola Beach.
View of the Gulf of Mexico from Pensacola Beach.

We’ve arrived safely in Pensacola, Florida. Our rooms at the B&B are beautiful and the proprietors are very friendly (both originally from northwest Jersey). In fact, everyone we’ve met here is extremely friendly. And laid back. The town has a lot of history and has a pretty unique blend of cultural influences apparent in the architecture of the town. I definitely have plenty of material with which to test out the camera (and any crappy photography I produce is purely the result of my lack of knowledge and skill and not the fault of the camera!).

Upon arrival, we headed immediately for the beach. The weather was cold and windy today, so it wasn’t quite ideal for a stroll on the beach (nor a nap on the beach but we did it anyway and have the sand in unmentionable places to prove it). On the other hand, we had the beach almost completely to ourselves. In fact, the town is pretty dead. We are hitting very little traffic and parking has been very easy thus far.

There are a lot of cultural things to do (museums, the zoo, etc.) and we plan to make it out to Fort Pickens. I want to take pictures, sit on the beach and read (it is supposed to get warmer), explore and visit the public library branches.

Random good things that happened today:

  • I saw cotton fields! I don’t know why this makes me so happy. I guess it’s part of that Southern landscape that I’ve always read about but never experienced. Damn Yankee. Russ keeps teasing me that I’m going to pull over, rip up a plant and smuggle it back to Bloomington across multiple state borders. If only he knew how right he is.
  • Russell was very indecisive about where he wanted to eat, which resulted in a us wandering around for a good thirty minutes by car and foot BUT in the end we found a great place called Rag Tyme Grille. Yummy food, friendly staff and great atmosphere. I imagine it’s even more fun with the live music acts that appear occasionally. Thanks, Russ, for being an utter food/atmo snob.
  • By some miracle, Russ and I are not completely bitchy after being up for 36 hours on little sleep (we left Bloomington at 11pm and took turns driving throughout the night). Early bedtime for us tonight.

Hope to have more photos up soon!


I see flurries! I tried to get a picture (I’m borrowing Tim and Sara’s Canon for the next week, so I can get a feel for what kind of camera to get for Christmas- donations to the camera are welcome :) ) but the snow didn’t show up.

In other news, Russell and I have reservations for 8 nights at the Noble Manor B&B in Pensacola, Florida. Here’s a gMap featuring where we’re staying, places to see, etc. Included are a number of cemeteries. I figured I might get some interesting pictures there (and The Graveyard Book has absolutely no influence on this activity at all).

View Larger Map

I’m excited! I think I may even get the hang of this relaxing thing…

Web Albums

In anticipation of the many photos I hope to be taking, I’m reevaluating web album options. I’m sticking to free services, since I’m not a photographer, just someone who occasionally takes photos. I want all of my photos in one place where I can share, organize and access them from anywhere.

I already have an account at Flickr (which I haven’t used since I created it back when Puddles was a bloggy-fetus) but I’ve noticed that Flickr is sometimes slow to load, even with the connection I have at work. Picasa is another option and, because Google services have taken over my life, it seems like an obvious choice. There is also Zooomr (for more info, see here– it’s irritating that this info isn’t easily accessible!), which seems to have more tagging muscle for meta-obsessed Jennies.

It would be nice if there were some sharp widgets for WordPress for whatever web album service I go with too.


Show Me How to Live

We all build our own cages.

I’ve spent many a minute this day composing lists including but not limited to: ‘things to do before vacation’, ‘things to pack for vacation’, ‘this week’s meals’, ‘frell, when vacation ends it will be December’, ‘massive cleaning (revised)’ and the ‘I’ve put this off forever’ list.  In fact, I already posted privately today on the necessity of creating a list for all of my lists (there’s a web 2.0 tool for that, right?).

In the midst of my bullet-pointed craze, it occurred to me that, in spite of all of my lists and budgets and plans, I may still fail at this vacation thing. I don’t remember how to relax. I don’t remember how to act out, how to be adventurous and carefree. Fling the cage doors open and I borrow deeper into the corner, just to feel the comfortingly cold bars at my back.

Since this mini-epiphany about a half hour ago, accompanied by a rather spectacular, albeit demented, head-turning snort/laugh of despair, I’ve been sitting dumbly at my desk trying figuring out where I went so wrong. When did I forget how to live?

Sing it, Chris.

Of Monks and Samurai

A few things I’ve recently wanted to read or see:


  • The Host by Stephanie Meyer. I’m about 140 pages in and it’s decent thus far. It’s certainly a nice break from a certain stupid shiny vampire.
  • Books by Maureen Johnson. I’ve been meaning to pick up some of her books for awhile now. Since I’ve been on a YA lit kick lately, I thought I’d give them a read over Thanksgiving.
  • The Monk by Matthew Lewis. This was on the syllabus for a Victorian Literature class I took and I didn’t quite get around to reading all of it. OK, I didn’t read much of it at all. Better late than never? Dark might be a nice change.


  • Samurai Champloo. I’ve been waiting to see this since seeing the name Shinichirio Watanabe (Cowyboy Bebop) jumped out at me from an unassuming DVD sitting on a shelf at Best Buy. I’ll be able to cross this one off my list tomorrow: Tim and I are doing a ‘thon.
  • Eden. This is a newly-released Irish film that I may have to wait until it is released on DVD to see. This review piqued my interest. I’m intrigued by the mention of ‘old’ versus ‘new’ Ireland.

The Godfather of Soul Says Hello

At 7am this morning, cleaning the bathroom was not nearly as appealing as snuggling deeper into my warm bed. I went back to sleep and dreamed of James Brown. He was walking by in a procession, dressed in his typical performance garb although the color was darker and more subdued than his usual threads. He came up to the guy standing next to me and shook his hand and said, “James Brown says ‘Hello’ ” and then James Brown walked on.

I have no idea why James Brown was in my dream, why he referred to himself in the third person or why the hell he didn’t shake MY hand. It’s my freakin’ dream! Oh and the lucky bastard who did touch the undead Hand was some guy who used to work at Avers, who I haven’t even thought of, well enough seen in years. Frell.

Follow Your Star

News I’m excited about:

DCI just announced that the alumni of Star of Indiana (the same folks who later created Blast) will be giving an exhibition performance at the 2010 World Championships in Indianapolis. Star will be doing a ‘best of’ from their past shows.

They MUST do Medea from their 1993 show (the corp’s final year before being disbanded after placing 2nd in World Championships). See the show here and here. I love how minimalist the show design is. At first, the drill is easy to discredit with it’s simple geographic geometric designs repeated thematically- until you realize that those kids are running back and forth across the field, forty to fifty yards at a time, for almost the entire closer. That requires incredible air control. My lungs hurt.


WordPress Plugins

As you may have guessed from my previous post, I installed a couple plugins yesterday.

  • RSS Footer allows you to add a custom footer that will appear on each post in your feed.
  • WP Existing Tags displays all of your tags in post-writing mode.

The later was something I missed about Blogger. Opening up ‘Manage Tags’ in a new tab every time I wanted to publish a post was getting old; the librarian in me doesn’t like having the tag ‘ebooks’ AND ‘ebook’. Ecgh.

A few other plugins I may give a try:

  • Meta Robots adds meta tags to the header of your blog to instruct robots what to do with your site.
  • Advanced Excerpt gives you more control over WordPress’s existing Excerpt feature (which I don’t use on the cursedstorm domain but I may consider using it on the Starrynight blog).
  • Feed Pauser gives you a time window (which is customizable) to review your published post and make any edits before your post becomes available via RSS. I almost always discover a stupid spelling error or left out word after I post, no matter how many times I edit before publishing.

In addition to the plugins I already mentioned, I use Akismet and Stats. Do those of you using WordPress have any must-have plugin suggestions? Please share.


I logged into my work computer this morning to find that UITS and/or LIT pushed down GIMP, GNU Image Manipulation Program. I’ve been meaning to give GIMP a try, after someone mentioned it as an alternative to shelling out $600 (that’s with the education discount) for Adobe CS4. I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet but it looks quite promising- promising enough to download at home.