Monday, May 30, 2011

It Doesn't Look Like Summer Yet

It's Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer. Yet even though the calendar says May for two more days before changing over to June on Wednesday, there have been very few signs of summer. There have been a few warm days this month, but rain has occurred throughout May probably making many people forget that summer is almost here. Sure they know, what with kids almost out of school and with stores having pools, pool toys, and other summer-related supplies on display (saw a bunch of these things at Kmart and Target recently). Summer doesn't officially begin until around June 21, so maybe Mother Nature's waiting till that exact date.

To see rain in June in my neck of the woods is nothing unusual. Six years ago, it rained in June, so much so the rain leaked through the roof of the store where I was working then. And would you believe it also rained at least one day each in July and August that year also? Every month then in fact. And last night's 11PM news teaser on my NBC station said there was more rain forecast for this week. I missed the actual newscast, unfortunately, so I did not hear the whole story. I'm now wondering what they will say on the news tonight about this week's weather.

Right now there's no sun outside and there's no telling how the rest of the day will be.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Zebra Test

You are a puzzling person to both strangers and friends. Often your actions seem to contradict each other.
You don't mind being complex, though it isn't something you necessarily strive for. You just are complicated.

You follow your heart, and often times your heart is divided. You don't tend to act consistently.
You believe that people can change, and you're good with that. You certainly change weekly - if not daily!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"What About Bob?"

I can't believe this movie came out over 20 years ago, around this time in 1991. it was one of those I knew I wanted to see after seeing promos for the movie on TV. I have loved it ever since I saw it then. I saw it a few times on TV and got the DVD in 2004, for only $5.50 at Target. I never got the VHS, but then I was never big on buying movies on that format.

I am watching the DVD as I type this entry.

Speaking of Bob, today is the birthday of a famous Bob. Robert Zimmerman, who became known as Bob Dylan, is turning 70 today. I need to break out my Bob Dylan CDs sometime today, after the DVD is over.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Was this how the world was supposed to end, if that had been true?

A woman allegedly gave her child Botox. Arnold Schwarzenegger has an illegitimate child. A popular wrestler died. Oprah Winfrey just has three shows left. A popular preacher from California thought the world was going to end last Saturday at 6PM (the Rapture).

These are things I thought I'd never see mentioned in the same sentence, let alone that I never thought I'd blog about any of them. But I couldn't help thinking how strange it was hearing them all in one week and how strange it might have been that if the world had indeed ended, these would have been the last things we ever saw or heard.

I have never really liked Arnold Schwarzenegger, but since I'm from California, I had to deal with him being our state's Governor for seven years. I can only recall ever seeing a handful of his movies, just one or two of his comedic roles. I'm not much for the action flicks, for which he is best known. I vote Democrat, meaning I did not vote for him back in 2003, but just the same I was suspicious of him becoming the winner. And of course last week news broke first about him and Maria Shriver splitting after 25 years of marriage. And then we learned Arnold had a child by former employee and that his love child was born only a few days after his youngest child with Shriver.

I'm not a sports person, but I did not escape the news that wrestler Randy "Macho Man" Savage had died last Friday. A blog I regularly follow was the first place I heard this, followed by the local six o'clock newscast. And while checking my Twitter page last Saturday, I saw the following. Could this really be why the rapture didn't happen? :-)

And is the Botox Mom for real? Enough about that one.

And although the world didn't end on the projected date of last Saturday, one thing that will be ending for sure is Oprah Winfrey's long-running talk show, something she announced back in November of 2009. I have never liked her much either, for the last month or so I have been tuning into just to see her last few shows. I watched her recent interview with Chazz Bono. I felt compelled to watch this one after seeing several promos for this upcoming episode. And the last three shows air this week. Again, though I never really cared for her, I plan to see the last three shows this week.

Could you have imagined that these would be the last things you'd ever hear before the world ended, if that had happened as projected? Had the world ended as predicted, it would have ended before Oprah's show did.

The minister from California who had projected May 21, 2011 as the day of the rapture is now flabbergasted. From CBS news:

ALAMEDA, Calif. - The day after his prediction that the world would end on May 21, 2011 failed to materialize, Harold Camping told the San Francisco Chronicle he was "flabbergasted."

The 89-year-old fundamentalist minister and head of the Family Radio media empire, who had led his Christian followers to believe last Saturday marked the Rapture and the countdown to Judgment Day, told the Associated Press that he will make a full statement on his radio broadcast later on Monday.

But when he answered the door at his Alameda home to San Francisco Chronicle reporter Will Kane on Sunday, Camping said he was looking for answers - through frequent prayer and discussions with friends - as to why his prediction of the Rapture and the run-up to the destruction of Earth had not come to pass.

"It has been a really tough weekend," said Camping.

Some of Camping's followers say they are surprised they were not swept up to heaven, after Camping preached for years through his Oakland-based Family Radio International media empire that the Rapture was coming on May 21.

Camping had previously predicted the Rapture would occur back in 1994. When it didn't, he explained that an error in his mathematical computations from clues in the Bible were to blame, and he later revised his forecast.

Somehow I have no recollection of his prediction of the world ending in 1994. Oddly, the calendar dates were the same that year as this one, thus May 21 was on a Saturday that year also. That was also the year that people began getting into the Internet. I don't recall any similar stories then to those that broke just before the predicted rapture date of 2011. Arnold was still just a film star then and his unknown child wasn't even conceived yet (nor was his youngest son). Oprah's show was still popular (she was then two years away from her show's 10-year anniversary), and did anyone even know what Botox was back then? What else was making headlines in 1994 when Harold Camping was making his end-of-the world prediction for that year?

I certainly was not convinced the world as going to end last Saturday. Even though there were two earthquakes that day, one in New Zealand and another in the San Francisco area, there was no Rapture. And they said at 6PM--6PM in what part of the world? I have no clue what time it was here when the New Zealand quake hit that country, but I know they are a day ahead of the US. And I didn't even feel the quake in San Francisco, even though I'm about 100 miles south of S.F. I usually feel quakes centered in that area.

Even though I wasn't convinced of the world ending, I said to my family that day that I love them in case the world did end. And that I would call them the next day if we were all still around. And we are.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

10 Years Ago Today

"Shrek" premiered. Just saw this on the IMDB message board for the movie. Yes, it was on this day in 2001 that this hit movie premiered.

I didn't know too much about it before it premiered, but when I saw the large poster at my town's cinema, I knew I wanted to see it. I headed to the cinema the following day to see the film. Obviously this decision was a wise one as it has since been a favorite of mine. I saw it again on VHS in April 2002 and finally got the DVD in 2005 (I got my DVD player for Christmas in 2002). I have seen the sequels and have two of them on DVD (still haven't gotten the last one). It is and always be a fun to movie to watch. Some time this weekend I plan to watch the first one again on DVD for its 10th anniversary. I can still remember walking into the old cinema in my town (we got a new bigger one in 2006 with stadium seating). I always worked on Saturday back in 2001 (at the job I had until that summer), though somehow I was off this particular Saturday. Having decided to see this movie, this was the best time to do it. I immediately loved it.

Yes, hard to believe it's been 10 years. Time has gone just too fast.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Rainy Days in May

Yes, it's been that way in my neck of the woods. It says May and it's supposed to be spring, but weather this month has been back and forth between warm and sunny to cold and rainy. Last Monday evening thunder struck. The weather was clear for most of the rest last week, but rain was expected on Saturday. It was cold when I woke up on Saturday morning but no signs of rain for most of the day. I had to get out and get to the store before it rained, which didn't happen until night time around 9PM. Rain was off and on on Sunday. Now it's raining on Monday and more is expected tomorrow. It doesn't look like I'll be going anywhere tomorrow, depending on how heavy the rain is and if I really need to do anything. The rain is expected to end by Wednesday.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What Do You Do With Your Direct Mail?

Obviously those credit card offers and other direct mailings you receive get thrown into the recycling bin. Seems normal, even I do all that. But recently I've been chosen to save all my direct mailings this month and send them in at the end of each weeks in prepaid envelopes. All participants are eligible for a drawing for $100 at the end of the survey.

What am I talking about, you ask? Three times already, first in February 2010, then in September last year and now for May 2010, I received a large yellow envelope from the Home Testing Institute, c/o Comperemedia, in Chicago. Inside the envelope was a notice regarding the test on how to save direct mail and send it in each week. Four large first-class white envelopes with green trimming are included for mailing the stuff at the end of each week. A survey to be completed at then

Credit card solicitations are included but grocery ads and catalogs are excluded. I misplaced the notice, but having gone through this twice already I know the procedure. Why I bothered with this thing the first time, I'm not really sure, but it helped cut out the amount of mail I had to recycle during the months in which the survey took place. The ads for the grocery stores and stores such as Target still went into the recycling bin since these were not included in the testing. Catalogs were also excluded, as I stated earlier, but I didn't get very many catalogs--does anyone still get catalogs by mail? Last summer was the last time I ever remember
receiving any sort of catalog, one sent from the costume website I ordered from this site for the first time in the fall of 2009 and starting receiving catalogs from the site thereafter. Oddly, one copy arrived in August last year and another in September, when I was doing one of these testing things. I'm now wondering if I'll get one of these catalogs this year since I have not ordered from the site again as of yet. I actually still have the catalogs as I saved them for paper craft projects I have been attempting (more on that another time, perhaps). The catalogs are pictured at the right.

The notice also said to include anything you're not sure of [their exact words, so please don't blame me for any grammatical misunderstanding;-) ]. I guess that this random passport cover I got in the mail last month would have qualified as such a questionable mailing. If I should get another one of these things during this month, I will include it as I feel it is questionable. I included my sample ballot for the upcoming election because I wasn't sure about that one.

I already completed the first week of this month obviously and sent out the envelope yesterday. Yes, I know it was Sunday, but I put it in neighborhood mailbox that day anyway, along with the Netflix movie I got last Saturday. So far for this week I've only received an offer from AT&T that was included with my monthly bill. The notice also said to include such promotional flyers without including the actual bill and statement. I also included a local election flyer which I am counting as a questionable mailing. My Target Visa bill also arrived today, but no promotional flyers were included with that one.

A half-sheet of calendar dates was also included in the envelope with the survey materials. Strangely, they include Sundays and holidays in each week, even though there is no mail on Sunday and holidays. And the three times so far that I have been chosen to participate in this survey have been in months that have postal holidays: Presidents' Day in February, Labor Day in September and Memorial Day in May. The last week of this month's survey actually goes from May 23 through 31, since the last day is a Tuesday. That weeks includes Memorial Day, of course. Each weekly envelope must be mailed at the beginning of each following week, and the last one is to be mailed on June 1 at the earliest.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

8-Tracks at the Goodwill

It's no surprise seeing VHS movies lining up walls and shelves at thrift stores since DVD took over VHS. But even DVDs are turning up in these stores as well. As are the still-hanging-on-for-life CDs. Old vinyl LPs and cassettes still turn up in thrift stores as has been happening for years now. As I understand it, some people have old working turntables. And I have a rather old but still working CD player form 1991 that has a cassette component--how many of you still have one of those things? All these forms of media are sure to turn up in such stores.
In the last few days, I have noticed something at Goodwill I don't see in these stores as often the other stuff. The 8-track. And several stacks of them. I never would have expected to see just
one or two of them, let alone several stacks on one shelf.

A lot of popular artists were represented, too many to name, though I did see quite a few country music artists and even some country compilation albums. One 8-track that caught my attention was one called "Music City U.S.A," pictured at left. There were at least two copies of this tape so it must have been popular at some point. I don't remember what songs and artists were listed on this tape, but here is some info I found on this compilation.

Another 8-track I immediately noticed was one that read "Sessions Presents: Get It Together"
This, too, was a compilation tape. I was then reminded of a series of mail-order record commercials that said "Sessions Presents." Remember those old commercials? Many mail-order records ads appeared in the 70s and 80s and as such were sold on LPS, 8-tracks and cassettes. I'm not sure if there were any that were made when CDs became popular.

I can't seem to find a lot of information on "Sessions Presents" albums, though I was able to locate one of the commercials in a clip embedded in this blog post. I can't seem to locate this on you Tube or I would have embedded into my own blog post. I'm afraid this is the best I can do :-)

Anyhow, seeing the "Sessions Presents" 8-track reminded me of these old commercials for compilation albums that could only be ordered this way. "Not sold in stores," the ads always told viewers. I never ordered anything this way. But I imagine these old compilation albums can now be found in thrift stores and used record stores. About seven years ago at the Goodwill, I saw an old compilation LP of love songs called"Heartbeat," the ad for which I remember seeing a lot on TV in the 1980s. I'm sadly having trouble locating any info on this album, though. I vaguely remember the announcer for the commercial, however, saying that it included songs for Roberta Flack and Kenny Rogers, and I also seem to remember hearing a clip of "Escape (The PiƱa Colada Song)" in the ad. That takes things back a lot!

FYI, I was never an 8-track user and my aunt had an 8-tack player which had a cassette adapter that was inserted into the hole where the 8-tracks would be played, and the cassette would play this way. Anyone else have anything like this?

And does anyone still have an 8-track player?