Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy NYE, sort of.

Well, the weekend went pretty well. On Friday night, I attended a black tie gala at The Peabody Hotel in Downtown Memphis. It was a celebration for the Liberty Bowl football game that was played Saturday. The Andy Childs band did a great job with the main entertainment, playing lots of Memphis songs. Then, Taylor Hicks provided the after dinner entertainment. I stayed for a little of his performance, but not all. The dinner was great, and the atmosphere couldn't be beat.

Here's a photo from the event:

Saturday night, I attended a birthday party at Molly's Lounge. Last night, we wandered from restaurant to restaurant searching for dinner. The first place was no longer serving what we wanted to. After we sat down, the second place told us that it would be 30 minutes until the server was going to acknowledge us. The third place was just too crowded. Finally, we ended up at Sauces. I haven't been there in a while and it was pretty good-- especially considering the first 3 places.

That brings us to today: New Years Eve, 2007. Tomorrow will begin 2008 and I suppose new resolutions for most people. Since I made my resolutions at my birthday, I'm not sure that I'm going to want a lot more. But, if I did have to make one, I suppose it might be to weed people out of my life who aren't who they represent themselves to be-- and those with the wrong intentions.

On a lighter note, I'm happy to be off work tomorrow. Today will also probably be an abbreviated work day. I hope to use the two days to get a few things caught up in my life. Finally, my house is cleaned up. Next, I've got a to-do list that's about 2 months behind...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Randomness - Catch Up Post

I haven't written anything in around two weeks now. Every time I start to, there's either too much going on, or too little.

Christmas was good. I went to Oklahoma City and saw lots of friends and family. Every night I was home, I went out with a group of friends from high school. That's the first time I've ever done that when I've been back, and it was great! I definitely want to do it again. Another highlight of the trip was spending a day at my new friend Holly's farm. Holly and I went horseback riding for a few hours which was super fun.

I flew back from Oklahoma to Memphis on Christmas Day. The airport was surprisingly calm, and I was glad to be back. The only annoying part of the trip was the stupid person sitting next to me on the plane. She was one of those people who will hardly give you the courtesy of getting out of her seat to let you into yours. While I was sleeping, she started asking if I was a high school or college student in Memphis. Turns out she was taking a trip with her high school daughter, which put the entire situation in perspective. Rather than get into everything, I just said, "No, I work in Memphis." People should really work on making less assumptions. Ask something more general such as, "What do you do in Memphis?" or "What takes you to Memphis?" Although, I guess it can't be all bad when someone estimates your age to be 10 years or more less than it actually is. :~)

Let's see, since I've been back, I've worked some and rested more. Nobody's at work this week, so it's been quiet. The coolest part has been the goodie baskets that keep arriving. I spent a big part of my day yesterday just sorting through Godiva and Lindt chocolates, truffles, and snacks-- picking out my favorites.

The past few days I've also come home a little early and have taken a nap before spending time with friends. Wednesday night, I went to Spindini for dinner and last night, I went to a friend's place.

Tonight will be the fun one though. I've got a fabulous date lined up to the President's Gala for the Liberty Bowl. It's a black tie event that will be held at the Peabody with Taylor Hicks as the entertainment. Here's a little background. My only real concern is what to wear, and that's such a fun one! I can't wait.

Alright, I've sufficiently caught you up on the randomness in my life. See you again soon!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Catching Up: Email Bankruptcy

Email bankruptcy is defined as a term used to identify or explain a decision to close an e-mail account due to an overhwelming receipt of garbage messages, compared to legitimate messages.

It can also describe what just almost happened to me today. I have been doing housekeeping, and included in it was catching up on e-mails. I was returning e-mails as far back as OCTOBER!

At least it wasn't August or September, but still... I just almost had to declare e-mail bankruptcy myself!


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ode to Oklahoma - Ice Paralyzes State

Alright, so a quick note is in order. As you probably know, I'm from Oklahoma and the weather has been terrible there the past few days. Everything has iced over and fallen tree limbs are causing traffic and power problems. In the worst outage in Oklahoma history, approximately 500,000 people are without power and it will remain that way for some time. Fortunately, both of my parents' power was turned back on by this morning. Unfortunately, my grandmother is still without power. In addition to the power headaches, a giant tree that was covered in ice fell on my dad yesterday. It pinned him to the ground and took a team of neighbors and an ambulance to get him out. After searching for an open doctor, he found that he has no long term injuries-- just pain, a sprained ankle, and cuts.

Just as I'm finishing this post, President Bush declared a state of emergency in Oklahoma.

Here's an article detailing the current weather situation in my hometown:

Oklahomans Sit In Dark As Ice Turns To Rain Statewide
OG&E Calls This Worst Power Outage In State History

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Many businesses and schools are closed across Oklahoma, and massive statewide power outages are as much to blame on Tuesday as ice-covered streets were on Monday. Authorities said more than 500,000 homes and businesses have lost power, and shelters are being opened across the state.

The bad news: Electric company officials said it could be a week before power is fully restored. The good news: Freezing rain that has plagued Oklahoma for two days turned to rain overnight Tuesday, as temperatures climbed above freezing.

Officials with Oklahoma Gas & Electric said they will have a better idea on Tuesday just how long the power will be out. First, crews said, they will assess how much damage has been done across the state. OG&E spokesman Brian Alford said they will target the most populated areas first.

"If we have an opportunity to restore 10,000, we'll take that first," he said.

OG&E has requested that those who lose power report the outage; however, they have asked that customers who have reported an outage not call again. They also request that people do not call them to ask when power will be restored.

At this point, officials said, they don't know.

Furthermore, a state of emergency was declared for all 77 Oklahoma counties, and a request for federal aid was approved by President George W. Bush on Tuesday morning. The emergency declaration authorizes federal resources to assist state and local governments.

Authorities have confirmed at least 15 people have died in this ice storm.

Ice disrupted flight operations and led to wrecks that killed 13 people. Freezing conditions also led to the hypothermia death of a 46-year-old Oklahoma City transient, the state medical examiner's office said. Tulsa officials also say a person died from smoke inhalation in a fire caused by the storm.

Most of the outages were in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas. Schools across the state were closed, including at the University of Oklahoma, where finals were set to start on Monday. Ice-laden trees crashed into homes and power lines.

Most morning flights at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City were canceled. Only one of the airport's three runways was operational. The other two were iced over. Tulsa International Airport was without power after an ice storm and a spokeswoman said it may be two days before electricity is restored.

Freezing conditions hampered crews who were battling a fire at Jones High School. Nobody was injured in the early-morning blaze, but firefighters said most of the school was destroyed.
Jones, a 2,500-person town 20 miles east of Oklahoma City, was without power and had very low water pressure because there was no electricity to power water well pumps.

A number of towns reported water problems as well, including in Norman, where city officials have asked residents to conserve water. Authorities said the city's water treatment plant lost power but that they are getting water from an emergency connection with Oklahoma City.

Four people were killed in a crash near Okemah just after 7 p.m. Sunday along Interstate 40 in Okfuskee County, police said. OHP spokeswoman Betsy Randolph said 11 vehicles were involved in the fiery crash between Okemah and Seminole. All 11 cars burned, authorities said.

One person was killed in southeast Oklahoma City when a Ford Explorer crashed head-on into a tree. Another person was badly hurt and transported to an area hospital. In all, authorities said two people were killed in Canadian and Oklahoma county crashes.

Aruna Patel, 58, of Altus, died from injuries suffered when the truck she was riding in slid into a bridge railing and then got broadsided by a sport utility vehicle Sunday on U.S. Highway 62 in Tillman County, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

The highway patrol also said an Elk City woman was killed when she was partially ejected from a truck that ran off the side of Interstate 40 and rolled 1½ times. The woman was identified as 44-year-old Michele C. McDaniel.

Troopers confirmed that another woman was killed in a weather-related crash in Beckham County on Saturday.

Another crash in the Oklahoma City metro area took a fire truck out of service. Police said a car smashed into the back of the truck near northeast 23rd Street and Lincoln Boulevard.
Additionally, troopers worked 19 injury crashes and another 80 non-injury collisions. OHP continues to discourage travel due to hazardous road conditions.

The highest accumulations of ice were reported at a half-inch in Miami and Bartlesville in northeastern Oklahoma and one-third of an inch in the eastern Oklahoma City suburb of Midwest City, and more pockets of freezing rain were still moving through the area, according to the National Weather Service. By the time the precipitation ends, forecasters said an inch of ice could be on roads, trees and power lines across Oklahoma City.

And that was only a preview of what was expected in the storm's second round. Another batch of ice was expected to move northward into the state overnight and continue dropping freezing rain into Monday. Up to three-quarters of an inch of ice was expected in some areas.

"(Monday) may be even more of a dilemma than today because we're going to get even a little bit more colder," John Pike, a meteorologist in the National Weather Service's Norman office, said Sunday.

The storm brought the cancellation of many church services, and Oklahoma State University also called off its football practice in Stillwater.

Pike said the most severe weather for Monday was expected along a line from Stillwater to Altus that would run directly through the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. Slightly warmer temperatures were expected to melt some of the ice Tuesday, although rain remains in the forecast Tuesday and Wednesday.

Meteorologist Ray Sondat in the service's Tulsa office said temperatures in northeastern Oklahoma could reach into the upper 30s and even beyond 40 degrees in some areas Tuesday.

Havard Makes Going to Undergrade School a Little Cheaper

Yesterday, Harvard announced that they have officially sweetened their financial aid package for middle and upper-class students. As I mentioned this time last year, they've been considering the program in response to the criticism that elite colleges have become unaffordable for typical American students.

Undergraduates whose families make under $180,000 would be asked to pay 10% or less of their total annual incomes for a Harvard education. For example, a family making $100,000 per year would only be expected to pay around $10,000 per year-- down from their current $19,000 policy-- and WAY down from their standard tuition rate of $34,000 per year.

Harvard is setting a wonderful standard and should be commended. Family income level should not be such a determining factor for attending college in the US. At my own undergraduate school, it cost approximately $20,000 per year in tuition when I enrolled years ago. Their tuition rate for this year has made it up to $34,900 per year.

I am so happy that Harvard has decided to set the example on this one. I hope that it won't be long that the other top universities, including the Ivies, will follow suit.
For more information, check out Google News.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Weekend Recap

The weekend is just coming to a close, and boy was it a memorable one. I saw many friends, had great food, and attended wonderful parties. One high school friend came and stayed the entire weekend.

Then randomly, another high school friend called this afternoon and stopped in for dinner on his way to Virginia. He recently moved back to Oklahoma from D.C. and was sure to tell me about his latest corn dog story from Sonic.

As I mentioned yesterday, there was a party for the new feathery addition. There was also another international party that I stopped by for a few minutes on Friday night. We wrapped up Friday with disco dancing at Raiford's.

Last night included a lovely meal at Felicia Suzanne's with my neighbors. We also stopped by Swig, and EP's. Last, I ended up at the Green Beetle where I played darts for the first time ever (and won!). So fun.

So fun that I didn't get home until around the same time that I'll be getting up for work tomorrow. Crazy.

Although the weekend was wonderful, I'm back in that space again where you feel like you may need a vacation from the vacation. I've had a lot on my mind lately. I've been doing my best to stay busy, but at some point, I've started to feel like the wheels are spinning but I'm not going anywhere. It's probably time to have a little peace and quiet again.

With that, I'm going to bed.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Welcome Lars Vegas

My friend Freddie just got a new bird and last night was his big unveiling. Lars Vegas was officially baptized with Memphis water over a champagne toast last night.

Lars is a parrot whose intelligence is eventually expected to reach that of a 2 year old. Freddie has already begun to teach him new words and sounds. Apparently, he loves showering, napping, and watching Scooby Doo. That's a lot for a parrot!

Anyway, check out all the photos from Lars Vegas' baptism here.

Welcome Lars Vegas!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I LOVE the Internet! Facebook Privacy Petition

A few days ago, I joined a petition in Facebook called, "Facebook, stop invading my privacy!" So did around 60,000 other Facebook users.

Apparently, they were listening!

Today, the following article appeared in the Wall Street Journal:

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and chief executive of Facebook Inc., apologized Wednesday for gaffes the company made in rolling out a controversial new advertising system, and said users would be able to disable the system entirely.

Facebook last week tweaked the ad program, known as Beacon, after more than 50,000 users raised privacy concerns about features that tell Facebook users what their friends are doing and buying on other Web sites.

Facebook made the changes last week without much public comment from its executives, but Mr. Zuckerberg weighed in Wednesday of Facebook's corporate blog.

"We've made a lot of mistakes building this feature, but we've made even more with how we've handled them," Mr. Zuckerberg wrote. "We simply did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for it."

Mr. Zuckerberg said Facebook took too long to react to user complaints. He said Facebook is releasing a privacy control to allow users to turn off Beacon completely, and he hopes "this new privacy control addresses any remaining issues we've heard about from you."

The flurry of criticism for Beacon and Zuckerberg's mea culpa underscore the heightened scrutiny Facebook is under as its user base soars and as investment money pours in. The three-part advertising plan Facebook announced last month is an attempt to wring a financial bonanza from its devoted users, but it's increasingly clear Facebook's road to marketing riches will be bumpy.

Mr. Zuckerberg said he hopes the change to Beacon "addresses any remaining issues we've heard about from you." But Facebook's move wasn't enough for some critics.

"This is an attempt to hope the privacy mob will simply disappear into the digital ozone," said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, which is advocating tighter regulatory oversight for marketing on social networks and other online properties.

Mr. Chester said Facebook shouldn't include its users in Beacon unless they expressly indicate they want to participate.

More broadly, Mr. Chester said he's worried about the amount of information people share on social networks - including names and addresses, political affiliation and other sensitive data - and the Web sites' increasing efforts to tie marketing to that information.

Both Facebook and MySpace have announced recently new marketing schemes that target ads based on the interests people indicate on their profiles. MySpace parent company News Corp. is slated to acquire Dow Jones & Co., publisher of the Wall Street Journal.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Left and Right Brained

Suprise-- I'm 1/2 left brained and 1/2 right brained...!

You Are 45% Left Brained, 55% Right Brained

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.

Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.

If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.

Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.

Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.

If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.

Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

And Then There Was Raiford's...

Last night was another good night. The crew met up at Swig and then headed to Molly's Lounge. Lastly, we stopped at Raiford's. It was a great night with great friends!

Check out the photos here.