Whiteout

whiteoutI took this picture off the internet. I tried to take a picture of what it looks like outside my door, but it kept looking like a white sheet of paper, so this is what you get. This is what it is doing here, right now. I went to work. Dumb. Seriously dumb. I keep wondering why I did a dumb thing like that. I don't normally go anywhere outside when the weather gets bad – unless it is to let the dogs out to pee. That's it. Maybe to venture out onto the porch and fill the bird feeders. But to drive? Anywhere? No. I don't think I'll be here long. It is only supposed to get worse… they're talking 5 inches or so for here. Mostly, it is just the wind that's keeping it in the air and making visability so crappy. Oh, and did I mention is is spring and I do believe they've put all the snowplows away? Either that or they figure it'll melt tomorrow. Right now, it's starting to pile up. Crap.

Watching Paint Dry

That's basically how Hubs and I feel about watching golf.  Mother-in-law golfs, father-in-law was a very good golfer when he was alive (maybe even better now, who knows?), and eldest son enjoys golfing. Me? I hate to watch, but probably wouldn't mind playing… if. If being the operative word. How many of use do something for the first time or two and if you have a lousy experience, just say to heck with it? I mean, really. Life is too short to screw around doing something you don't enjoy that you really don't have to do, right?

Several years ago we went on vacation with a bunch of friends to Wisconsin. It was an event that was pretty "guy-oriented", so during the day the guys would go do their thing and the women would do theirs. For the most part, that meant us women lay out by the pool (you know, back when sun-worshipping was a good thing) or went shopping or other mindless things. One day someone had the bright idea to golf on the small course attached to the motel. I will never be the same.

First, we were all wearing our swimsuits. We had shorts on, too, but basically were wearing next-to-nothing tops. I am pretty well-endowed and as such wear something "substantial" to "restrain" my "puppies". Oh, ye gods… I'm trying to do this so all the sickos in the world aren't finding me… Guess we'll see how well I do, huh?

So… here we are, golfing. I am being catcalled by women. Friends (or, aquantances more so) – who have had large quantites of sun and cold beverages (and I'm not talking iced tea, if you get my drift). All of these women are *ah-hem* flat… and you just know that pose you have to have to golf, where you put your arms straight out together? Well, things get squeezed into … oh, lord… just think of some porn star trying to accentuate her cleavage and you've got the picture. Only I was golfing. Innocent. Except for the loud, drunken women whooting at me.

The next humiliation was the inability of my club to hit the ball. I mean, there was no whiffing or divit or whatever… I wasn't even close. "Keep your eye on the ball"… "follow through"… uh huh. I did that. Honest. Nada. Zilch. Nothin'. This was not funny. I was incredibly humiliated. I mean, I didn't expect to be good at this, but I did expect to at least hit the damn thing. After several (count double-digits) tries, I became caddy and watched everyone else golf. *yawn*

About a month later, we were at one of the couples' houses who was an avid golfer and had been on the fateful trip. In the middle of a discussion of the trip, the golf escapade came up. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the woman jumped to her feet and exclaimed, "I've GOT it!" She got a gleam in her eye and declared we must go golfing. Right. Now. You can imagine how thrilled I was. Still, how could I resist that enthusism?

Off to the nearby course (where she had a membership, naturally). No slouch was she. Getting me some clubs rented, she set me up on the first hole, helped with my stance, and voila! I hit the ball! The first time. For a great distance (which I think was the point, if I remember correctly). In awe, I looked up to see her grinning ear-to-ear. "I figured it out!" she claimed. After she told me, it was glaringly obvious. So obvious, in fact, that I wondered why none of these avid golfers had come up with this solution while we were on the trip. I can only presume it had to do with the large quantities of cold beverages killing off those particularily important brain cells. Or, maybe those brain cells were only important to me. At that particular time.

The solution? Tall clubs. I am 5'9" tall. My friends are all lucky to be 5'4" tall. Whose clubs were I borrowing? Uh huh. I didn't have a chance in hell of hitting those balls. Laugh all you want, bitches. I made great cleavage.

Zach Who?

Masters Jacket Those of you who are avid golfers probably recognize this green jacket… even if it isn't being worn by Tiger Woods. I am not a golf fan. I rarely watch golf. My one exception is the last hour of the last day of the masters' tournament. I have this curiousity to see who the best one is. Rather like "American Idol". I rarely catch any of the performances during the season, but love watching the final show. Come to think of it, I've also done that with "The Bachelor"… and "Survivor". Hmmm… I see a trend. I digress…

What I wanted to point out here was the winner was… Zach Johnson! Whoot! Yay! Yippee!

I know, you're wondering why I'm so excited. Who in the heck is Zach Johnson? Well, I personally had never heard of him either. However, when I did hear about him I was surprised to hear he was from Iowa! Yep. Home-boy. He is the first Iowan to be in the top 10 in golf … in like… forever. So, although I'm not a big golf fan, I am a huge supporter of Iowa natives. Way to go, Zach!

Hubs and I had to laugh. The sportscasters kept saying how cold it was this year and how that was affecting the players. I'm sure Zach was one of the few who probably played with day-glo orange balls on the courses in Iowa in the wintertime… cold? Bah.

Happy Easter!

I've been the one to go to sunrise services. I've been the one to color eggs and hide them throughout the house (or, weather permitting, the yard). I've never been known to own a bonnet.

None of these were applicable today.

Quietly spent at home with Hubs and critters. Enjoying the sunny, yet cool day. Hoping all the dead little shoots that were such promising blooms pull out of their death throes when some warmer weather heads our way. Won't be for awhile yet, however. Snow showers predicted on Tuesday. As much as I hate to admit it, this is still Iowa and it really isn't unheard of to have snow this time of year – and freeze warnings aren't even issued for our part of the country as it isn't time for the possibility of freezing to be over.

Spring planting and field work are just around the corner. The weather will warm, the flowers and grass will green up again and soon I'll be wishing it would cool off. In the mean time… I'm going to try and have a good attitude about it all. Enjoy your spring – in whatever form it comes.

Missing…and Found

Sadly, along the lines of the last post, we have had a missing college student here in our relatively small community. He'd been at a party on Friday night and was last seen on Saturday morning at 4 a.m. when he left the party to walk about 1/2 mile to his dorm. He never arrived. Searchers were out all weekend going door-to-door and family members came from out-of-state to assist in the search. Yesterday they found him. In the center of campus, in Lake Laverne.

They don't know yet what the cause of death is, but foul play is not suspected. Alchohol probably did play a part. How he ended up in the lake we may never know. As big a tradgedy it is to end a 19-year life so short, at least his family and friends won't go through the rest of their lives wondering where he went.

My thoughts and prayers go out to them.

Disappearing Acts

I'm always intrigued at the ways people can disappear. I've seen the show "Without a Trace" and they always show a "real life" person who has gone missing. One. Just one. Then you hear about statistics of all the men, women and children who disappear every day. We hear about the big ones, Jimmy Hoffa is the all-time classic. He's become such a symbol of missing people that you only have to say someone is "with" Hoffa and we all get that picture in our minds of him being underneath twelve feet of cement under some high-rise in Chicago. For years it was touted he was under the World Trade Center. Guess we've pretty much ruled that out, now.

We have bulletins on the news about Alzheimer's patients who have wandered from home. One recent story in our local news had a man who was bringing in groceries from his van in the middle of Iowa and the next time his wife heard from him he was calling from San Diego – still wearing his pajamas and not knowing where the van was or how he'd gotten there. Not the first time he'd wandered.

We have Amber alerts going off all over the country when children are abducted and there is some information to go on that gives hope of quick solutions. More often than not, those have been working. However, there are still the hundreds, if not thousands of children who are abducted every day that we never hear about. We have the ones from years ago, before the Amber alerts, who their parents have never stopped looking… even though the children are now adults. Occasionally, one gets found after many years and the hope is renewed in the rest of the population that yes… our loved one can come home.

We get Dateline and 20/20 doing extensive stories on "Runaway Brides" and husbands who fall off cruise ships, but what about the hundreds who just vanish day after day and no one knows what or why or how? In a neighboring town, a college student appeared to have walked away and after exensive searching both in our state and his home state, the search was finally called off. Where did he go? No clue. Just as Dateline has their "To Catch a Predator" series showing the endless parade of internet preditors, they could have a show with missing people run twenty-four hours a day and never list all of the people who have gone missing. In. That. One. Day.

It seems strange that with all the technology at our fingertips these days people can just drop off the face of the earth. There are survellance cameras at many street corners, ATM machines, and convenience stores. Computers making DNA and fingerprinting a common thread that can be linked nation-wide to make identifications. I know some of this has been exaggerated by television and movies, but the technology is still out there. It may not be instantaneous or something they can figure out in 47 minutes plus commercials, but it is still a tool. Unfortunately, until a crime has been proven most of these people will never be looked for. They'll be "voluntarily" missing.

It can't make it any easier for the people who have lost them.

Spring?

Stupid weather. It's started to be warm and rainy and spring-like. The daffodils and croccus are blooming, the trees are budding, and the tulips are four inches out of the ground. Then I get up this morning to 19 degrees, 50 mph winds, and… SNOW. No, it isn't going to amount to much. Its just the principal, you know?

On another related note – why does 68 degree temperature inside the house feel perfectly fine in the wintertime and it feels chilly now?

Spoilsport (A Rant) *updated*

That's the nice name for them. I have many other names, none of which are family-friendly.

First, Brad had that awful experience with Paypal.

Now, there has been a dash of cold water thrown on my gaming fun. A year ago Christmas, my eldest daughter and her husband gave me the game "World of Warcraft". They'd been playing it for several months and enjoying it immensely. Her husband had always been a big game fanatic, and daughter got into it through him and found she enjoyed it too. After trying to unsuccessfully explain it to me, they ended up just giving it to me. Not thinking I would really be very enthusiastic, I didn't even get it installed until a few weeks later. Boy, was I ever wrong! All the years I've had computers, I just never got into the computer games. I'd tried… we'd had some various ones over the years, such as "Zelda" and "Myst" as well as the more arcade type games. Just never was very good at them, or really enjoyed them.

WoW (as it is known) was a whole different animal. The graphics! My gosh! The action… the role-playing… the ability to play with other people (my family!)… to chat while playing… I mean, it was amazing all the details the Blizzard people thought of. I was stunned. I was hooked. In creating characters I playfully named myself "Wickedwench"… and a star was born. My husband HATES the word "Wench". He feels it has awful connotations. One of the definitions is "a wanton woman"… please, let me put your mind at ease… I am NOT that. I just found it to be catchy and it was a name I rarely saw on the game, so when you see some version of that name (i.e. Deathwench, Spywench, Evilwench) it's probably me or someone who knows me. My daugher and SIL even created their own guild and in a 'round-about way, I became the "guild mother".

The past year and a half has been fun. Recently, some of the fun has gone out. First, my SIL decided to step down from being the leader of the guild. You would think that would be no biggie… that someone else in the guild would simply step into the leadership role and everything would go on as usual. Wrong. People disappointed me by their response. Several people jumped to another guild and the close "family" feeling we had there was gone. Oh, well… as I have to keep reminding myself, it IS ONLY A GAME. I can live with that. My kids are still on and I still get to play with them and talk to them, which was the main idea in the first place.

Last night was the crusher, though. I was online and my daughter was too. SIL was having trouble getting on, however. The game wouldn't accept his password. This was strange. He went to check his e-mail and there was a note from Blizzard telling him they were in the process of transferring his characters to another server. WTF? This is not good. HE didn't request they be moved! Not only that, Blizzard charges $25 per character to move them – and was charging this fee to my kids!! Somehow, someone had gotten his password, gone into his account and changed his password, then started treating these characters as their own. My SIL is a great player and the characters they are stealing are at the highest levels of the game, with lots of "stuff", "money", and talents. He immediately contacted Blizzard, but as of yet I have not heard of any resolution to the situation. Hopefully, they'll be able to restore his characters to their previous condition (someone said they'd seen "him" earlier in the day running around in his underwear – not a good sign when he should have had lots and lots of armor on!!) and with his bank account credited.

Damn. Why do people like this have to exist? Why do they have to take the fun out of stuff? I mean, yes… it is "just a game", but when you come home from a long day of work and want to sit down and have a relaxing evening of chatting and gaming with friends and family, you do NOT want to have to come face to face with this kind of asshat.

 *update* It appears that whoever took the characters must be the one paying for the move. My kids' accounts did not get charged. Also, It looks like he can still play on another server, it is only the one server that has been hit. That's the good news. The bad news is he has to write up some big report for Blizzard before they'll do anything. Grrrrr…

Send Andy a Hug (or Money) *update*

Poor Andy. He had a helluva weekend. His apartment building got hit by a tornado! Here in the midwest, it is one of those things that we get used to hearing about. Much as other parts of the country have hurricanes and earthquakes, we have tornados. They are like a hurricane on dry land, except unlike a hurricane (and more like an earthquake), you rarely have much warning. If lucky, you'll get a 5-minute warning. Sometimes, not even that. In some cases they just appear and pop down to the ground, then go right back up, only hitting one house in a block – or, in this case, one apartment complex. They can be deadly. Thank goodness Andy, his wife, and cat are all safe. They need to find a new home… but it appears their stuff is okay and they are okay. That's the important thing.

We're thinking about you, Andy!

 *update* Andy informs me it was a MICROBURST. Okay, Mr. Technical. It was close enough to a 'nader for me! I'm posting this update on Wednesday morning and they get to go in for two hours to get stuff out of their apartment. It started snowing here this morning in Iowa – and was 22 degrees with high winds. I'll keep my fingers crossed it takes a loooong time to get to Chicago, so Andy can have a bit of better weather while they pack things up.