New Jen's Horde

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Yikes! Hurricanes causing problems for dead folks, too!

I guess I never really considered how many different areas of life could be affected by the series of hurricanes in Florida. The funeral industry has been hit hard.

Quote: Debbie Hatfield, 39, died Monday while awaiting a liver transplant. Buxton is hoping the water table beneath the cemetery will have dropped enough to have the burial next Monday.

"It's stressing," said James Hatfield, who is left to raise two young sons on his own. "The worst part is worrying about if it's dry enough to put her in the ground, and then worrying about the coffin coming back up out of the ground."


We need one of these!

Wouldn't this look great filled with popcorn...maybe with a plate full of this nearby? Ooh baby, I hope Santa's paying attention to my blog!!!


Public schools no place for teachers' kids

Well, I guess we probably ought to take notice if these folks are pulling their kids out of the public schools left and right...

Quote: Nationwide, public school teachers are almost twice as likely as other parents to choose private schools for their own children, the study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute found. More than 1 in 5 public school teachers said their children attend private schools.


Oh Lord, won't you buy me a

pink, battery powered, indoor/outdoor, yet not "stree" legal Mercedes Benz?

At $410 it costs more than our first car did! Of course, to be fair, it probably goes faster and is more reliable, and it's certainly in better shape. Oh, and it probably has more leg room. And our first car probably wasn't really "stree" legal either given the emissions problems it had. Hmmm, maybe this isn't such a bad deal after all...


Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Take THAT, Rocky!

I was searching for a squirrel proof birdfeeder today, because we're thinking about participating in Cornell's Project FeederWatch. (Thanks to Pamela, a homeschool mom, for cluing me in to this!)

I found a feeder called The Yankee Flipper which promises to keep squirrels from your bird seed. It contains a weight sensor, and starts to spin when anything heavier than a bird lands on it. Squirrels are flung off of the feeder, but birds can perch and eat in safety. The website offers video of squirrels attempting to feed and being thwarted again and again. After a while I started to wonder if they needed little crash helmets or something... I'm assuming it wasn't the same squirrel over and over. Well, I'm HOPING it isn't the same squirrel, is probably a more realistic way of putting it.


The new $50 bills are out today!

You can check them out here. They even have an interactive version of the new $20s and $50s that shows you the security features. Pretty neat!

Since we almost never use cash for anything, this may be the closest I get to a $50 in a good long time.


Sunday, September 26, 2004

Mom was my sex ed teacher

A hilarious article about a poor kid whose mom was one of the two 5th grade teachers, and the one he ended up with for the dreaded sex ed.

Excerpt: I thought somehow this out-of-changing-body experience was unique to me. But it seems my Mom's organs were the talk of the school.

When my Dad introduced himself to my basketball coach later that week, the coach laughed. With apologies, he explained himself.

"We asked David, like we do every night, what happened at school today," the coach explained. "We expected him to grunt and mumble 'nothing' as he does each night. But on Tuesday he just blurts out 'Mrs. McFeeley drew a giant penis on the blackboard.'"

I laugh, but kind of in horror because I realize that as a homeschooling mom I will have to do the "drawing of the penis" one of these least all the kids' friends and contemporaries won't be there, too...


I have absolutely no idea

what this means, but it's awfully catchy. (Click on the curtain to view.) I'm just going under the assumption that it's nothing offensive, but for all I know it could be saying, "Oh you silly fat Americans, you ought to make more of an effort to be bilingual like the rest of the world," over and over.

I found it while digging up the Fight Kikkoman song for a friend. (Here it is in English for those of us who aren't biligual and just can't figure out the plot with only the visuals...)


They're up all night anyway, let them run your kid's nightlight!

Hamsters as alternative energy...


Whew! A really long word!

I was just surfing Wikipedia, which shows much promise in the "time sucking" department, when I came across this really long word.

It has 1913 letters and, unlike Kalashnikov it is not something I would ever consider naming a child.


Saturday, September 25, 2004

Will Work for Food

I always feel bad driving past homeless folks who are asking for money. Even though I had an experience in college on the Pearl Street Mall with a beggar who had far more money than I did, I still never know what to do. This article really helped put a lot of my feelings into words. She gives ideas of how to walk that line between not wanting to get scammed or fuel someone's drug habit, and not hardening your heart to a fellow human.


Law and Order B.C.

We've been watching Ancient Egyptians with the kids. It's a pretty neat small series of true stories based on ancient texts. They've poured enough money into the re-enactments and sets to really do it up right.

We're all very pleased with it, even the kids. I wish I could say the same for The Pirates of Penzance which the kids took approximately 6 seconds (no exaggeration) to determine wasn't worth their time. Being an adult of mature and cultured tastes, I soldiered on for about 15 minutes more before I gave up and conceded that it completely blows. It really should have been better, but the sound quality was awful and the camera movements were too herky jerky so you couldn't really ever tell what was going on.


Poor Florida!

It looks like Jeanne will be paying a visit after all.

Here's an interesting tidbit from this article: No state has been struck by four hurricanes in one season since Texas in 1886. Jeanne could turn into the latest in a devastating chain of hurricanes that have rattled southwest Florida (Charley), the state's midsection (Frances) and Florida's Panhandle (Ivan).


Friday, September 24, 2004

Hmmm. :-/

You know, I don't always agree with what she's doing, but I do admire Sinead O'Connor's self-sacrifice and drive to make a difference. But, I do wonder if whining to the newspapers is really an effective course of action when you don't like how you are perceived.

My sister was always a big fan of hers, so I've been aware of her music since the mid '80s. Given my familiarity with her lyrics and having followed the news accounts of her over the years, I wasn't really shocked when she leveled allegations of child abuse at her parents. It just always seemed like she was kind of tortured, and not in that "I'm going to look messed up and sing about death to sell records" kind of way. She was more of a deep-down broken kind of a gal. It's always good to see when she's up to something positive, and not really surprising when she does something that just seems kind of off the wall. Sigh.


Thursday, September 23, 2004

Donate Blood!

Hey young folks, get out there and do your duty!


"Wackos," Puhleeze!

This really bugs me. I can't believe there wasn't a single rational adult in authority who thought this might be a problem. It's one thing to express disagreement with someone's choices, it's another to force children to act out a scenario wherein people are portrayed as extremists, willing to murder children to get their point across.

How hard would it have been to make up a completely fictitious organization (ie the Smallravian Army) or pretend there's been an accident. Or, heaven forbid, use the name of an actual terrorist organization, it's not like there's any question as to who they are...they proudly claim their work.

Or, let's get real! Hmmm. Bombs, students getting hurt, many emergency agencies being called out. Why is this ringing bells? Oh wait, I remember... Why don't we hand a couple of kids automatic weapons and tell the students Eric and Dylan are coming to get them? Looking at the statistics and comparing student on student violence to homeschooler on ps student violence, I think I see a trend as to what might actually be considered a threat.

I know that I'm probably blowing this all out of proportion. I am sure nothing sinister was meant by this school's actions. I'm sure they were just trying to keep it light while they got the job done. Still, out of all of the "threats" out there to public schoolers, making up militant homeschooler "Wackos" is just stupid and offensive.

Jumping off my soapbox now...


Tuesday, September 21, 2004

'Tisn't Quite the Season yet, but...


...the folks at Something Awful have put their skills to work giving the Lord of the Rings movies a Christmas motif. It's perfect for us, since it's supposed to snow here tonight!
 Posted by Hello


Just in case there's a homeschooler on your Christmas list...

I think this would make a lovely gift. Especially with the "No school like home" sticker that's available for free...


Scary statistic!

Can you guess what the #1 cause of death among pregnant women is?


Monday, September 20, 2004

Say it with me...

I don't like vodka, and I don't care for guns, but I do like to say Kalashnikov.

Kalashnikov. Kalashnikov. Something about the way the word feels in my mouth just makes me happy.

If I had another kid, I'd name him/her Kalashnikov. Can't you just see it? "Kalashnikov, give your sister her doll!" "Kalashnikov, come unload the dishwasher!"

It works for me...



Have you all seen Freecycle? It's really neat! You can check for groups in your area, and join an email list. People list things they are giving away, or things they want, and you can hook up with someone in your area who's seeking out that useless thing you're trying to unload. Or vice versa. It's all FREE. Go check it out!


Sunday, September 19, 2004

The Bravest Little Hobbit of Them All!

Through the miracle of the internet, projects that no doubt seemed like a good idea at the time can pop up again and again, DECADES later!!!!



Still can't stop with Insaniquarium. Now it's causing actual pain in my wrist, but the good news is I think we've got it under $.05 per hour played!


Kids at Dinner BEFORE the eruption of Tiernan (henceforth to be known as Mt. Vesuvius.) Posted by Hello


Saturday, September 18, 2004

Preschool Article

This article is by the same reporter, Jenny Deam, who interviewed us a year ago about homeschooling. I found out about this one through one of the other homeschoolers interviewed last time, so I sniffed it out.

My favorite quote: "Children at this age need to be children," says Margaret Foster, the kindergarten teacher at Ute Meadows whose class includes both Logan and Emma.

Three weeks into the school year, she says, she is not able to identify, in her class of 25, which children attended preschool and which did not.


Maya, Sage, Tiernan and Anya at the top of the stairs. Look at how leggy the girls are getting, yikes! Posted by Hello


Tiernan dressed up as Jessie from Toy Story. He's a HAPPY cowgirl! Posted by Hello


Wednesday, September 15, 2004

tlhIngan Hol vIjatlhlaHbe'

A German news broadcaster adds Klingon to the 30 languages available on their website.

What good news! Now when the warriors are done practicing the bat'leth and insulting each other, they can kick back and read about Germany's crappy schools, and check tomorrow's weather in Europe.

BTW-the title of this post is Klingon for "I don't speak Klingon," which I don't. I had to look it up. It's scary how many many many websites exist to help you learn Klingon. I didn't dig around too much, for fear I would stumble into some freaky fanfic Klingon porn or something. I just can't deal with something like that today...


This can't be good for your heart.

Deep Fried Oreo Cookies


Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Homeschooling outside the U.S.

Things are just going from bad to worse in Germany.


Monday, September 13, 2004

Not fair!

OK, here in America when people protest you get stuff like smelly hippies chained to trees or marchers with signs. In Britain they get Batman and Spiderman.

Where did we go wrong?


Sunday, September 12, 2004

Oooh, Chills!

I wish I could have been there for this last night. So moving.

On a happier note, today is my mom's birthday. Happy Birthday Mom! We love you!


Saturday, September 11, 2004

In case you're wondering what we've been up to...

Anya and I have been playing Insaniquarium. We loved it as a free web-based game, and we paid for the download deluxe version when it came out last week (after waiting two years!) So, given the amount of time we've played it, and the $20 we paid for it, I suspect that so far it's cost us about $.25/hour for the enjoyment it's given us and we're still going strong....


Thursday, September 09, 2004

Yeah, right....

"No party at all on Saturday night..." Sure, no party on the Saturday night of Labor Day Weekend in a frat house. Hmmm, a girl just somehow died there, her blood alcohol level in the fatal range, and wasn't found for 12 hours, but there wasn't a party. Oooooookay then.



And I thought I had a cool underground club.

Thanks, Cheryl!


Wednesday, September 08, 2004

What is going ON around here?

I ran my dishwasher FOUR TIMES today!!!! We didn't do anything abnormal, so the only conclusion I can reach is that there is an anomaly in the time-space continuum that causes us to repeat the dish-making maneuver while simultaneously erasing any recollection of our actions.


Am I the only one who thinks this is stupid?

This has got to be the most misguided bit of educational theory I've come across in a while. I do like the thoughts given by Michael Barone, I may have to go read his book.


Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Project Gutenberg

From the website: "Project Gutenberg is the oldest producer of free electronic books (eBooks or etexts) on the Internet. Our collection of more than 12.000 eBooks was produced by hundreds of volunteers. Most of the Project Gutenberg eBooks are older literary works that are in the public domain in the United States. All may be freely downloaded and read, and redistributed for non-commercial use..."

I knew something like this must exist out there, but I hadn't stumbled across it until today. Very cool!


Monday, September 06, 2004


It was very cold on the summit, even though we wore our coats. Here is a picture of Anya, Maya and Sage enjoying the view! Posted by Hello


My Haiku in honor of signs on Pikes Peak Highway

Sign says, "HOT BRAKES FAIL"
I wish I'd known that sooner
Oh well. Hang on kids!


Sunday, September 05, 2004

Off we go!

We are off to drive to the summit of Pikes Peak! Keep an eye out for us on the Pikes Peak Cam.

We will, of course, spend an appropriate amount of time feeling lame and remembering that at this time last year our friends Phil and Anne actually HIKED the whole way up!!!


Saturday, September 04, 2004

This would make an excellent bumper sticker!

This is a great article on homeschooling, and I love the headline.


My guess is saucers lack the proper aerodynamics,

so they've switched to triangles.


Friday, September 03, 2004


6 gazillion dollars worth of toys, and they want to play hide-in-the-coat-closet-and-scream-when-someone-opens-the-door. Babysitting doesn't get much easier than this! Posted by Hello


Thursday, September 02, 2004

Astronomy Picture of the Day

One of my favorite sites for your daily dose of space science: Astronomy Picture of the Day. Every day is a new image from somewhere in the cosmos with explanations written by professional scientists. Makes a great homepage! No pop-ups!


Who knew?

Conservative punk is apparently NOT an oxymoron.



I find the whole subject of influenza mutations and the idea of pandemics to be frightening, yet fascinating. The buzz has been getting louder in the last couple of years, but I really started noticing it in 1997 during the Hong Kong outbreak of avian flu.

Before then it was thought that bird flu viruses couldn't jump to humans.

Now the WHO and the CDC are watching the progress of avian flu in pigs. The fear is that, since pigs can share viruses easily with both birds and humans, a mutation will occur within a population of pigs that will create a virus that is just human-like enough to spread easily, but bird-like enough that we have no immunity to it.

The 1918 Influenza Pandemic is now thought to have been caused by a bird flu. With the final death toll at over 20 million, it was nothing to sneeze at. (ha!) The virus was particularly lethal, and was transferred very quickly from person to person and place to place. Check out this map to see the spread in the US over the course of 3 weeks. For a "grippe-ing" account of the devastation, especially if you're not well-versed in biology or epidemiology, I recommend Gina Kolata's Flu. She explains everything in a way that a layman can understand it, without it have a dumbed down feel ala Influenza for Dummies.

So, now you know what kinds of things I lay awake at night and think about. Or, I would, if I didn't have four kids and fall asleep the minute my head hit the pillow...


Just checking...

Sage asked, "Is cursive a bad word?"


Wednesday, September 01, 2004

DANGER!! DANGER!!! TMI Warning!!!!!!

I spent my day having both a female yearly exam and a dental cleaning, which really made for a lovely combination. (Yes, that's sarcasm, someone go call Tony Blair.)

The dentist said that I need to see an endodontic specialist, because one of my root canals needs to be re-done. So that was $600 well spent.

This is where the TMI comes in, you I'm giving you fair warning to avert your gaze:

Today during my yearly exam I had the opportunity of using a new technology, along with the usual degradation. It cost extra, but since a good friend of mine had surgery earlier this year for cervical cancer I figured I'd blow out all the stops and really treat myself.

After the usual smear was done, she performed a test called PapSure. It consists of swabbing the cervix with vinegar and then using a very small chemilumescent light and a magnifying lens to look for cellular abnormalities or lesions. If the term "chemilumescent" means nothing to you, imagine the glow sticks you can use while camping.

After I got over the idea that it looked like I was hosting a rave in my "underground club," if you will, it really wasn't bad. There's no pain involved, and it was only slightly more creepy than the usual exam. Plus it can make a huge difference in false negative results since they can get a sample from a questionable area rather than just taking a stab in the dark. (har!) I wonder if it will catch on?


Sarcasm is a Crime in Britain!

Apparently, you can run afoul of the law by using sarcasm or slang. These behaviors, and many more can generate an Anti-Social Behavior Order (ASBO), which are designed to counter "loutish and unruly conduct."

Oh yeah, THAT seems like a really cool idea! Oh, wait, that's sarcasm.

What genius thought that up? Darnit, there I go again.

I'd better stop now before I get written up...


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