Happy Birthday to my cousin Ron!
Into the office bright and early today, although thankfully not as early [nor bright for that matter] as I was during last week's Insomnia Festival. I turned on my computer and up came my home page. . .
[Confession time here. I AM an insurance geek. My home page is the Yahoo Insurance News page that shows headlines of the leading insurance stories of various publications and companies around the world. I get chills knowing that Scottish Annuity & Life Holdings, Ltd. Completes Acquistion of World-Wide Reassurance.]
. . . now where was I? Oh, yes - splashing right across the page was an ad for Buick. And unlike most of the other annoying pop-up advertising that plagues sites like Epicurious.com and anyone with a Tripod webpage that can be ignored by clicking on the mainpage, this one had to be clicked off everytime it appeared. And it kept appearing. And appearing. And. Appearing.
Normally, advertising can be ignored to a degree. I'm sure that there is some absorption by my subconscious and that I have bought items that I normally wouldn't have [that Ronco Mr. Microphone comes to mind...], but I view that as part of my role as a Good Free World Consumer. For some reason, however, this particular little pop-up infuriated me to the point that I actually went to the Buick website and was going to utilize their "We'd love to hear your comments" page to let them know that because of this pesky little ad, I will NEVER [EVER!] buy a Buick. But just before I clicked the "send" button, I realized that it was all a trap! I write to them, I give them my e-mail address, and I am plunged into the abyss of never-ending Buick e-mail spam!! Arghh . . . run away! Run away!
So instead, I shall not read the latest and greatest insurance news, hope that nothing interesting happens today and that Buick's ad goes away tomorrow.
Twas a most agreeable New Year's celebration, says I. On Monday evening Jessica gave me a ride to John and Jennifer's house in the burbs. Jen had said it would be a very low-key evening - a few friends, some chips, maybe order in some pizza. Well...
As with most of our informal parties, it seemed to become a more involved affair than originally planned. Jennifer is a wonderful hostess and cook, and she made it all appear effortless. Instead of pizza or chinese take-out, we had Poached Salmon, "Osso Good Chicken" (chicken breasts marinated in osso bucco veal stock), Rice Pilaf, asparagus and her Mom's famous Grape Jelly/Chile Meatballs. [Trust me on this - they're awesome.] Not to mention many bottles of Chandon Blanc de Noir Sparkling Wine.
It was such a nice party with ten or so friends and Jennifer's parents dropping in during the evening. We talked and ate and watched the ball drop in Times Square at midnight. David and Kim even brought the boys over, and even though they had to leave early, I got to kiss my cute boyfriends on New Year's Eve!
Several of us stayed over at Jen and John's house, and on New Year's morning everyone got up and had a lovely brunch before heading home. The rest of the day was pretty boring - I did laundry, cut mats for some enlargements I had made a while ago and read.
I watched a few minutes of the Train Wreck that is The Mummer's Parade. For those of you from Philadelphia who view this as one of life's great traditions, I'm sorry, I just don't get it. Not surprisingly since, as I was once told by a South Philly shop keeper, "Youse ain't from da neighborhood." For those of you who also ain't from da neighborhood, the Mummer's Parade is Philadelphia's version of Pasadena's Tournament of Roses Parade.
This was the 101st year of the official parade, which [now] goes down Market Street and does a turn around City Hall. HUGE controversy when the parade route was changed a couple of years ago. There are several divisions that are judged: String Bands, Fancies, Fancy Brigades and Comics. Now the String Bands are OK - these are actually musicians, and I can appreciate the work that goes into the costumes and choreography of the Fancies and Brigades, but I have some issues with the whole thing:
1. It runs ALL DAY. I mean 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.
2. During this ALL DAY period, the city streets are lined with Philadelphians. The same Philadelphians that attend professional sporting events in this town. People who, as anyone who has ever witnessed an Eagles or Flyers game can attest, are not nice fans to begin with, made less appealing with the addition of oh, say, 12 to 18 hours worth of alcohol consumption.
3. The Comics Division. Wrong, wrong, wrong, so very, very wrong. Here's a picture: