Saturday, December 24, 2005

A "PC" Holiday Wish...

I got the following in an email from a coworker of mine:

"Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2006, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. And without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting these greetings you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself or himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.




Friday, December 23, 2005

In honor of the approaching holiday...

Since Texas never looks like a winter wonderland (at least not in Dallas), I thought that I would post pictures that I took in Colorado Springs, Colorado last weekend.


These are the mountains that surround Pikes Peak.

This is a park called "Garden of the Gods". During the summer it is full of tourists, but last Sunday it was almost completely empty. Trevor and I hiked all around the red rock formations - it was absolutely gorgeous (although, cold. The high last Sunday was a freezing 12 degrees).

This is a trail that we hiked down. It was snowing and wonderfully peaceful (and, yes, that's me standing in the middle of the path).

If you look up at the top of this rock formation, you might see two "Kissing Camels".

This is another picturesque view from our hike...

"Walking in a winter wonderland..."

This is a shot overlooking the "Garden of the Gods". We walked all around these beautiful rock formations. It was SO cold, but SO worth it!

This is another view overlooking the park...

I think this rock formation is called "Cathedral Rock". It was magnificent, especially in the snow.

This is "Balance Rock". I've seen pictures of it in the summer, and I think it looks much more beautiful in the snow.

This is my little doggie, Gypsy Kitty (AMStaff thought that she was a cat, because of her name). I had to board her at the vet while I was in Colorado. When I went to pick her up on Monday, she was so happy to see me that she would not stop crying and would not let me out of her sight (just incase I tried to "disappear" again). By 8:30 PM she was sound asleep with her favorite toy, "Frankie".


Happy Holidays, everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

For the love of my vacuum cleaner...

JLR mentioned in THIS POST that she loves my vacuum.

Okay, okay. She didn't actually say that she "loves" my vacuum, but she DID say, "The other day, I had a nice conversation with Deals about her new vacuum, the DYSON, which she speaks of with such awe that it is though she is speaking in all capitals when she says its name. And now I want one."

So, I guess, that I'm the one who really loves my vacuum, not JLR. But I'm in love and what can I say?! I'd shout it from the mountain top if I lived anywhere near the top of a mountain. Everyone should be able to love like this!

And why wouldn't I try to get everyone else to love my vacuum, too? I mean, really people, the DYSON is awesome and deserves everyone's love and admiration.

Put another way: "If loving my DYSON is wrong, than I don't want to be right."

It hasn't always been such an easy romance, however. When I first became infatuated with the DYSON, I was three years into a long term (and very serious) relationship with...*gasp*...another vacuum. But, let's face it, love like the one I share with the DYSON doesn't come around everyday, and it was only a matter of time before I left the other vacuum behind for the younger and sexier DYSON model.

And, yes, my DYSON is an ANIMAL (it sucks hard)...

In fact, when my DYSON first moved in with me, I wanted to keep it all to myself. Trevor wanted to take my DYSON for a test-drive, but I would not hear of it! DYSON was mine - all MINE! It took me over a week before I'd even let Trevor TOUCH my DYSON, and the better part of a month before I allowed him to use it. But you know what they say: "If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, its yours forever. If it doesn't, then it was never meant to be." Thank goodness that Trevor returned my DYSON to me after doing a thorough job of vacuuming my entire house.

The DYSON, just incase you don't know, was conceived by James Dyson, who spent twenty-years creating, "The first vacuum that doesn't lose suction."

Freakin' brilliant, that Dyson fellow!

But wait, it gets better! James Dyson is British, and has that H-O-T little accent. I am totally in agreement with Jenny Bee about how, "the accent even makes [Dyson] sound 10 IQ points higher" - not to mention more convincing! I mean, really! He just thinks that things should work properly, people! How can you NOT get behind that?!

Dyson's products have even been put on display in ART MUSEUMS! Not only is my ANIMAL a dirt-sucking machine - it's a work of art, too!

Two words: AWE - SOME!!

But, WAIT, there's more! Dyson has also won a bunch of awards, including eleven honorary doctorates!

Ingenious, I say!!

I mean, c'mon, is there any reason NOT to love this vacuum cleaner?! I should certainly think not!

So, yeah, do yourself a favor and make this worthwhile purchase today (it is SO worth every penny)!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Anxious Update...

Just incase anyone was curious - "'Natural' doesn't always mean safe."

Well, duh!

Other noteworthy (newsworthy?) stories on tonight's local news:

A. Tomorrow I will need a thick winter coat, because it is going to be *gasp* in the upper 50's (this is especially upsetting for people in one North Texas neighborhood, because they don't have heat and it is, "literately colder inside the house than it is outside". How will they ever survive?!).

B. I should actively try to avoid Botulism (because, you know, I've always thought that Botulism sounded like a good idea...).

C. There was a "Pig Promotion" during last night's Pacific league baseball game in Mexico between innings. The pig apparently escaped, and no one could catch him -- save for the chicken mascot who stopped the little porker by taking, "off his head, and knocked the pig off his feet" (don't worry - the pig was apparently "unharmed").

Is it possible that tonight's news just made me dumber?

...And to think that I actually stayed awake voluntarily to be so NOT informed.


So, I'm watching TV tonight, and one of those stupid "teases" comes on for the 10 o'clock news.

The female news anchor - looking very, very concerned - announces the following:

"The healthy food that could be seriously endangering your health. Could you or someone you love be eating it right now? The story you will not want to miss at 10."

I was going to go to bed early, but now I'm sitting here waiting for the stupid news to come on.

I just hope that it's not applesauce...

Friday, December 09, 2005

Pearl Harbor Day...

Exactly four months and one day AFTER the museum flooded back in August, it happened again.

And, yes, it was worse this time.

The good news is that we (i.e. the staff) were here for this flood (the last flood happened on a Saturday), and we were, therefore, able to get everything off the floor and the bottom selves in the archives. Thus, we sustained absolutely NO collection damage this time around (thank goodness).

The bad news is that the water made it into each and every office (save two), our basement was re-submerged, our lecture hall (which had just been rewired after the August flood) sustained structural damage, and the potential for mold growth in our walls, carpets, closets -- EVERYWHERE -- is, again, a real possibility. Plus, our brand-new archives floor was scheduled to be completed this week, is ruined again (although, if the guys working on the floor hadn't been here on Wednesday, we might not have been able to get everything off the lower shelves in time. They even joked, as they helped us relocate the various collection boxes to higher ground, about how installing the first floor was just, "much needed practice").

Not to mention the fact that the fans outside my office are slowly driving me crazy...

Anyway, I have never used my BLOG as a political soapbox before, but I do not think that I can resist the temptation this time around. So, here goes nothing...

(Note: The opinions expressed below are mine, and mine alone. They do not, in any way, reflect the opinions or beliefs of my employeer, my coworkers or the museum where I work. Just FYI...)

First off, if I were to run a business the way that the City of Dallas does, I would be out of business. Departments of the City of Dallas do not share information, and countless man hours are spent (and wasted) reporting the same information to two or three branches of the same organization. Essentially, the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. This is especially frustrating when trying to get, say, a water main shut off...again.

For example, at the height of the flood waters on Wednesday, a representative from the City of Dallas (Department of Parks and Recreation) stopped by. When he saw how deep the water was inside the building, he shouted, "What is going on here?! I told [your building manager] during the last flood what to do when this happened again!"

Uh..."again"? I'm sorry, but why should a museum - and historic building - have to flood "again"? Instead of putting a band-aid on a compound fracture, why don't we just FIX THE PROBLEM THE FIRST TIME AROUND, HUH?! I mean, I'm not an accountant, but it has got to be cheaper (at least in the long run) to go in and actually REPAIR the root of the problem. You know, instead of paying to restore the building every four months or so (all while running the risk of having the problem occur AGAIN in the very near future). Call me crazy, but I'm already planning on wearing boots and waders on April 8th, you know, just as a precaution...

What really gets me is that on the day before our second building flood this year, it was announced that the City of Dallas is considering a nearly $50 million proposal to make improvements to the Cotton Bowl. $50 million dollars for a stadium that hosts approximately TWO GAMES in any given year (high-profile, that is).


So, a stadium, which we were oh-so strongly considering tearing down a mere two years ago (so that Jerry Jones could build a new home for the Dallas Cowboys), is worth $50 million in improvements and renovations. However, a museum that is owned by the City of Dallas across the street (a museum, might I add, that houses a substantial amount of the city's and state's history AND educates almost 200,000 people about THAT history in any given year)...well, they will just have to deal with the fact that water mains break and flood their archives several times a year. I mean, really! Talk about prioritizing!

Last year, a problem with the building's air-conditioning system caused the roof to cave in on multiple occasions. The City has never attempted to, say, FIX the problem, however. Oh, no! It is (apparently) easier to just come out and repaint the ceiling each time it happens. Because, you know, that's logical?!

Also, our (historic) building is sinking - one side more than the other. The doorframes on the sinking side are literately pulling away from the walls, and leaving large gaps. When we called to report this problem, though, the City came out and simply nailed a wooden plank over the hole separating the doorframe from the ceiling. Apparently, if you cannot SEE the hole, it doesn't actually exist.


So, when the flood happened on Wednesday, a substantial amount of water poured underneath the building. This had the temporary effect of raising up the sinking side of the museum. The result, you ask? The boards that the City had nailed up - errrrr...I mean, installed - were popped off.


Here, let me give you a visual. That way you can fully appreciate what I am telling you:

My point, you ask? The City's museums and historic buildings are slowly going to pot, and nothing is being done to improve the situation. Buildings, like the museum where I work, are part of our heritage and our history. Pretending like everything is okay isn't helping anyone (just like nailing a board over a gap, isn't fixing an ever-worsening foundation crisis). If something isn't done (and done soon) these buildings might not be around for our children and grandchildren to enjoy and appreciate.

I'm not saying that the Cotton Bowl is not important. It is as much a part of this city's history as the museum across the street. In fact, the Cotton Bowl (as a structure) is actually about four years OLDER than the building where I work, and the games played there are just as much about history and tradition as anything else that this city has to offer (and, no. I didn't go to either the University of Texas or Oklahoma University, thank you!).

I agree that something needs to be done to improve the Cotton Bowl, or it runs the risk of being demolished for the sake of something flashy and new.

It is just that this City has a history of waiting until the eleventh hour to do something that should have been done years ago. They've waited until the Texas/OU contract was almost up (again) to start SERIOUSLY thinking about improving the Cotton Bowl (it has literately taken the realistic threat having the Red River Shoot-Out at a place other than the Cotton Bowl to get anything done about this issue - and even THEN it was the State Fair of Texas, not the City of Dallas, who initiated the process).

Therefore, it stands to reason, that nothing will happen to improve the problems afflicting the museum where I work until it is (or nearly is) too late. By then, the foundation will be rotting, the walls will be supporting a new species of marble-consuming mold and all the museum employees will have trench-foot.