Filed under: — Kate @ 10:00 am EST

Phone conversation with my dad, in which I attempted to help him download the photos from his camera:

Me: Okay, so you created a new folder for the pictures, and opened the window with the contents of the camera?

Dad: Yes. So now I do edit, select all…

Me: Alright, now drag the files into the new folder.

Dad: Right click or left click?

Me: Left click.

Dad: *Misses folder, 337 files start copying onto the desktop* Stupid thing!

Me: *sighing* Cancel it.

Dad: I swear, I dragged them into the folder!

Me: I’m sure you did, Dad, but the folder icon is a small target. Open it up and try again.

Dad: Okay, I cancelled that and deleted the files from the desktop. So… edit, select all… oh, here it says “copy to file.” Should I do that?

Me: Dad, you are making this way more complicated that it has to be. Let me teach you a little trick. Select the first file in the list you want to copy.

Dad: Left click?

Me: Yes, left click.

Dad: Okay.

Me: Now, hold the shift key, and click on the last file on the list.

Dad: Nothing happened.

Me: Did you keep holding the shift key? Because you have to hold it until you click the last file.

Dad: Okay, let me try this again.

Me: *Repeating the instructions*

Dad: Nothing happened.

Me: *laughing* Dad, are you sure you did what I told you?

Dad: Yes. Why are you laughing at me? You know, it was working just fine when I was doing edit, select all.

Me: *laughing* Fine, just go ahead and do that again.

Dad: What’s so funny?

Me: Dad, what I just tried to teach you has been one of the most basic computer functions since, like the dawn of time. I just can’t understand why you couldn’t get it to work.

Dad: Edit, select all… okay, it’s copying.

Me: Finally! Dad, are you sure you were holding the shift key?

Dad: Yes, I was holding the shift key!

Me: Not the control key, the shift key?


Me: Yes?

Dad: …the spacebar.

Me: Ha ha. Wait, are you serious?

Dad: Yes. God, I have to stop doing this so late at night.

Me: Dad, it’s only 9:30.

Dad: I know, I know.


Explosions in the Sky

Filed under: — Kate @ 7:26 am EST

I loved fireworks when I was a kid. The sight, the smell, the sound… especially the sound. The bigger the boom, the happier I was. My dad and I would call the extra loud ones “gutbusters,” and I looked forward to them every 4th of July.

But these days, I’ve become quite apathetic toward fireworks. It could be that I’ve just grown out of it, but I think it’s also because they seem less special than once were. Back in the day, it was hard to see decent fireworks. Now they are everywhere: anyone and everyone can put on a good show. And that’s great, but it does make them more commonplace.

My dad’s sentiments are pretty much in line with mine; my mom, on the other hand, still LOVES fireworks. It seems that as the quality increases, so does her enjoyment. If she could, I believe she would drag my father to every fireworks display in the tri-state area. So when my parents decided to come spend July 1st with me here in Philly, I couldn’t very well refuse to take them to see the pyrotechnics at Penn’s Landing that night.

I had the digital camera with me, so I amused myself by taking little movies and pictures of the fireworks. It actually made things a lot more fun, because given the nature of the subject, each photo turned out to be a surprise. I didn’t expect any of them to actually come out, but some of them did, and beautifully.

So… before the subject matter is completely irrelevant, I thought I’d post a few of my favorites. See the others after the jump. (more…)


Paging the Pieces of Kate’s Scattered Brain…

Filed under: — Kate @ 9:17 pm EST

I got a pager when I started my job four years ago. And since then it has taken a lot of abuse. I’ve dropped more times than I could ever count, often busting it open and sending the battery skittering across the floor. It’s fallen down stairs, landed in puddles… once it came off my bag in the middle of oncoming traffic. And yet, it kept working. I was beginning to think I had an immortal pager—until last week, that is, when it finally gave up the ghost.

I always imagined it would suffer a tragic death: crushed under a subway car, drowned in a toilet, stolen and buried by wild animals; there would be lots of smoke, possibly even flames. After all, it was a tough old bastard! But it actually passed quite peacefully in its sleep. The battery died, and it just never woke up after I inserted a new one. And even though it was a crappy hand-me-down, I still felt a little sad. I’m weird, I know.

Anyway, I got my replacement on Friday. A nice shiny brand new pager (though still crappy). But by the time Monday morning rolled around, it was missing. I tried beeping it, but with no luck—I didn’t even know if the sound was turned on, as I hadn’t yet taken the time to set it up. I tore things apart in my frantic search, but I finally had to give up and go to work without it.

I paged it several times throughout the day, hoping that someone might find it and call me back. That night, I retraced every step I’d taken on Friday–even stopped in the restaurant where we’d eaten dinner. Nothing. I couldn’t believe it. I had my first pager for more than four years, and my second for less than 24 hours.

Then last night, it hit me that I’d spent time at my parents’ house over the weekend. I didn’t remember taking it with me, but I was out of ideas, so I called and asked them to look. And after I paged it a few more times, wouldn’t you know it? My mom found the little bugger in their car!

Needless to say, I was beyond relieved. And as it turns out, so were my parents: they were going nuts for the past two days trying to figure out why their car was making such a strange noise!


All Grown Up

Filed under: — Kate @ 12:49 pm EST

One of the people in this photo…

…graduated from high school this week.

Can you guess which one? The answer after the jump. (more…)


If My Dad Ends Up At Gitmo, You’ll Know Why

Filed under: — Kate @ 8:24 am EST

My parents spent last weekend in Washington, DC, so I called them on Saturday to see how they were doing…

*phone ringing*

Dad: Hello!

Me: Hi Dad, just calling to see how your trip is going.

Dad: Great! We spent the day at the National Gallery of Art, and we just walked over to the the Capitol building.

Me: Cool!

Dad: Yeah. And right now, your mother is talking to the police.

Me: What?!

Dad: She’s asking them if we can go inside the Rotunda.

Me: Oh. So you’ve had a good day thus far?

Dad: Yep. Hey, I saw a duck earlier.

Me: You saw a duck.

Dad: Yep.

Me: Gee, Dad, that’s exciting.

Dad: No, no, I mean one of those amphibious vehicles from WWII. The ones that do the tours.

Me: Ohhhh… You know, I’ve given serious thought to blowing some of those things up. The ones in Philly, at least.

Dad: Really? Well I’ve given serious thought to blowing up some new housing developments.

Me: Ooh, that sounds like fun!

Dad: Yep, I’m going to become an urban terrorist.

Me: Um, Dad? Don’t you think maybe you shouldn’t be saying that while you’re standing on the steps of the US Capitol Building?

Mom (in the background): Shhhhhhh!! Stop that!

Dad: Oooh, now I’m being scolded… Wanna talk to Mom?

Me: Sure.

Mom: Hi Kate!

Me: Hi Mom, how’s it going?

Mom: Oh, fine… you know… just trying to keep your father out of jail…



Filed under: — Kate @ 9:49 am EST

I’m so excited for Mother’s Day. But not why you might think.

You see, two weeks ago, Edo got himself a brand new, gorgeous, beautiful 20 inch flat panel monitor. And less than 24 hours later, I was rife with jealousy. I couldn’t get over how much real estate he had; all of a sudden, my 17 incher just seemed so small. I started fantasizing about what I would do with a monitor like that… oh the possibilities!

So we ordered another one for me. Dell was having some sort of special deal, and we decided to jump on it while we had the chance. As part of that deal, each monitor actually came with a computer, too, so for those of you keeping track, that will bring the total number of PCs in our apartment to five (not counting the 3 or 4 laptops). But that’s only temporary.

Now what, you ask, does this have to do with Mother’s Day? Well, I needed to have the damn thing sent somewhere, and our management office got pissed off by the size of the first one we ordered. So, I had it sent to my parents, and we’re picking it up when we visit for Mother’s day. Dad has actually threatened to lock us out and keep it for himself, but I don’t think he’ll do that since he relies on Edo for all of his computer advice.

I can’t wait!!


Fizzy Memories

Filed under: — Kate @ 7:12 am EST

I was inspired to take this picture the other day after I filled my glass just beyond its brim with ginger ale. I wanted to see if I could capture the surface tension that was keeping it in the glass.

Anyway, that got me to thinking… as far back as I can remember, I’ve always associated ginger ale with my grandmother. As a child, I don’t think I ever went to my grandparents’ house without having ginger ale at some point during the visit.

Grandma would always pour it over ice, and give it to me in the special Foghorn Leghorn glass. I suppose sometimes my brother got that glass, but I don’t remember fighting over it with him, so who knows. (At home, we used to fight endlessly over who got to drink out of the “fruit cup,” which was a cup just like all the others, except that it was the only one with a fruit pattern instead of flowers.)

These days, Grandma still keeps herself stocked with ginger ale (or rather, my mom does), and I can still go over to her apartment and drink it from the Foghorn Leghorn glass if I want to—and sometimes I still do.


We Will Become Silhouettes

Filed under: — Kate @ 6:54 am EST

Today is the twentieth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.*

Twenty years. Wow.

Of course, the region hasn’t even begun to recover. In fact, if they don’t replace the crumbling “sarcophagus” that protects the remains of Reactor 4, things could get much worse. As I mulled that over, I was reminded of a website I first saw a of couple years ago.

It’s the personal photographic account of Elena Filatova, a Ukrainian woman who documented her travels through the Chernobyl region on her motorcycle. It received international attention after it was Slashdotted in 2004.

Now I should mention that there’s some question about the validity of her story; many people now view her site as a hoax, saying that she was merely a tourist on a guided group tour, rather than a rogue photographer roaming the barren countryside on her motorcycle.

Whether or not that is true, I think her site is still worth visiting, not only for the photos, but also for Elena’s unique insights into the worst manmade disaster our world has ever seen:

Our Pyramids
The sarcophagus will remain radioactive for at least 100.000 years. The age for the pyramids of Egypt is 5,000 to 6,000 years. Each cultural epoch left something to humanity, something immortal, like Judaic epoch left us Bible, Greek culture- philosophy, Romans contributed law and we are leaving Sarcophagus, the construction that going to outlive all other signs of our epoch and may last longer then pyramids. [link]

New Beginning.
Children had to part with their favourite toys. People had to leave everything, from photos of their grandparents to cars. Incredibly, people had homes, motorcycles, garages, cars, country houses, they had money, friends and relatives. People had their lives. Each had their own niche. And then in a matter of hours , their entire world fell to pieces. After a few hours trip in an army vehicle, they stood under a shower, washing away radiation. Then they stepped in a new life, naked with no home, no friends, no money, no past and with a very doubtful future. [link]

Here are the links to her two photo essays about the Chernobyl disaster: Ghost Town and Land of the Wolves.

Further Reading:
-Elena Filatova [Wikipedia]
-Chernobyl Disaster [Wikipedia]
-Chernobyl…18 Years Later [Slashdot]
-Latest Chernobyl Motorcycle Photos [Slashdot]
-Chernobyl: 20 years ago this month. [Boing Boing]
-‘Voices of Chernobyl’: Survivors’ Stories [NPR]
-New Sight in Chernobyl’s Dead Zone: Tourists [NYT]
-Chernobyl - Tschernobyl - Information
-Chernobyl Children’s Project International

*Incidentally, it’s also my parents’ 31st wedding anniversary. Which wouldn’t be quite so weird if Three Mile Island hadn’t happened on my dad’s birthday seven years earlier. I guess this is where I could make a joke about my nuclear family…


My Film Fest So Far

Filed under: — Kate @ 7:12 am EST

So far, I’ve been to three screenings from the 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival:

Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man
Being the Leonard Cohen fan that I am, I enjoyed this film, especially the interview segments with Mr. Cohen himself. The performances in the tribute concert were good as well. But the camera work and editing were total crap! There were these annoying red dots overlaid on many of the scene transitions.

Much of the historic footage was altered to look like something from a History Channel show about ancient mysteries. And while I admit that Leonard Cohen could be considered an ancient mystery himself, it just won’t do to have his tribute looking like it was put together by a couple kids in their high school AV room.

Four Kings of Silent Comedy
This was a series of five silent shorts, featuring Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, and Charlie Chaplin (and accompanied by live music and sound effects). My brother and his friend came down to see these with us on Saturday afternoon, and no one was disappointed. Simply fantastic. The Chaplin short was a little less impressive for me since I’ve seen some of his best feature length films, but still quite good.

I think the Buster Keaton shorts were the best. I had never really seen him in action before, and I was quite impressed, not only by his comic talent, but also by his athleticism. I had a similar reaction to Laurel and Hardy, since all I’d ever known from them was the famous “Who’s On First?” sketch (which had sound, of course). And for a big guy, Oliver Hardy can really move! From the skilled acting, to the audience laughter and live music, it was easy to forget we were watching “silent” comedy. Great fun!

Little Athens
This was a pretty good movie, in the tradition of films like Go and Magnolia, where several independent stories intersect each other. The low budget of the film definitely shows, but overall I thought it was well done. And a bit depressing, but I’m guessing that was the point.

So what’s in store for the rest of the fest?

4/6 - This Film is Not Yet Rated

4/7 - Evil Aliens

4/8 - Hell

4/9 - American Dreamz and Tokyo Zombie


God Save the Cake

Filed under: — Kate @ 3:14 am EST

So… I stayed up half the night baking and decorating a birthday cake for my mom. I’m not 100% satisfied with it (the writing looks like ass, I can do better), but I think it’s okay.

And frankly, I can’t afford to invest any more time into a cake that somehow has to make it all the way to the end of the R6 without being destroyed. It’s already had a near death experience: I tripped while moving it the four feet from the counter to the fridge. Lost my slipper, but saved the cake.

Anyway, I hope the damn thing still looks decent when I wake up tomorrow, though I doubt there will be much difference between my bleary-eyed vision now and four hours from now.


Where Has All the Content Gone?

Filed under: — Kate @ 11:43 pm EST

Been a little lacking in content lately here at the Landslide in my Ego. Sorry about that. Seems like I’m not the only one though. I think the blogosphere has been on vacation this week.

It’s funny, I thought taking some time off from work (I’ve been off this whole week) would allow me to post more. But between the stress of work and the stress of the holidays, I guess I really needed to just slack off this week and relax.

Sometimes I wish I could just go back to being a kid at Christmas. So much less to worry about. This year the stress just seemed to keep coming, whether it was the frantic shopping up until the LAST MINUTE (which I hate doing, but couldn’t seem to avoid this year), or the frustration at being the ONLY person decorating the tree (okay, so my brother and Edo helped a little), or the staying up all night wrapping presents. I don’t know.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like it was all bad. It was really great to spend time with my family, and I love my parents’ house at Christmas. And all in all, I felt better at the end than I did at the beginning.

Anyway, I hope all of you are enjoying this holiday season. I’ll be back to my old prolific self before you know it.

Until then, there are a few pictures after the jump. (more…)


My Great Uncle Alan

Filed under: — Kate @ 7:07 am EST

Here’s to my Great Uncle Alan.

One of the sweetest, kindest, gentlest souls you could ever hope to meet.

And the only person I would ever allow to shake my hand for a full 10 minutes.

I’ll be away at his funeral today.

See you on Thursday.


I Got Nothin’

Filed under: — Kate @ 10:16 am EST

Don’t know if I have much to say today. I’m so tired—I’ve been a little under the weather this week, and I still have so much to do before the upcoming holidays, both at home and at work. And my great uncle passed away last night. So I’m not really in a typing kind of mood today. Meh.

Continue the thoughts on Christmas, please.

Oh, and enter THE CONTEST!!



Filed under: — Kate @ 11:20 am EST

Today is Pearl Harbor Day, probably the defining historical moment for a generation of Americans.

But for me it has a deeper personal meaning, because my grandfather (my mom’s father), passed away seven years ago today. It’s hard to believe how much time has gone by.

I still miss him terribly, but I know I’m lucky to have had him around for as long as I did. I never knew my dad’s father—he died before I was born. Cigarettes killed both of them.


If you know any WWII vets, give them a hug today.

If you’re lucky enough to have living grandparents, and you haven’t talked to them in a while, pick up the phone.

And if you are a smoker, find a way to QUIT.


UMIL: Day 7

Filed under: — Kate @ 11:02 am EST

Thanks to all who gave me kind words when I was freaking out yesterday and the night before about UMIL’s disapproval of me. Today I’m feeling a little better.

I try to approach the situation with humor, because otherwise all I’d have is anger. And well, anger is bad. :-p

I did get some thoughtful advice from people yesterday…

From my dad:
He’s her guy, and she’ll do anything to hold onto that. You are a threat to her, so she’s fighting back.

From my boss (who always has such a way with words):
If you’re planning on marrying this guy—or okay, living in sin for the rest of your life, whatever—she’s not going anywhere and you have to find a way to get along with her.

Ehhhh, so I didn’t ask for her, but boy do I have to deal with her. I just have to remind myself that I’m lucky I don’t have to spend whole entire days with the UMIL.

And I must remember to laugh.

Ha. Ha. Ha.


UMIL: Day 6

Filed under: — Kate @ 11:24 am EST

Wow! Has it really been six days? More like five until this evening, but it’s the sixth calendar day. So… how are we doing?

Well, dinner with my parents on Saturday went very well. Better than I expected, actually. Hooray for us!

But last night I got my first feedback on what UMIL thinks of me. Let’s see…

I’m cold and distant. I’m not reaching out to her. And I’m bossy and ungrateful.

I’m messy (which is true, but I’ve been on extra super duper good behavior and I haven’t actually done anything messy). This comment was supposedly prompted by two water pitchers that were left out, even though I was not the only person using them. In fact, while they were off in New York earlier that same day, I had to clean up a miniature espresso flood that was inadvertently left for me in my kitchen, and I baked 3 dozen cookies with nary a trace left when I was done.

I have nothing interesting to say. Even my parents ignore me.

I talk too fast (okay, I’ll give her that one).

I think that everything in America is better, even though I never once expressed that sentiment (apparently I can’t even describe the way something is done in the US as a comparison to other countries without exalting the American way of life at the top of my lungs). Half of her sentences to me start off with “You must understand that in Italy, it’s different….” And she can’t believe I haven’t gone over there yet to see and understand how they do things.

Oh, and because I come from a “lower social class,” I mustn’t forget that I’m a “climber,” and I shouldn’t make other people stoop down to my standards.

So, you know… I guess things could be worse. She could be staying for three weeks instead of two.


Toil and Trouble

Filed under: — Kate @ 11:48 am EST

I have less than a week to come up with Halloween costumes for Edo and myself. I’m not really excited about dressing up, but my aunt is having a Halloween party on Saturday and it means a lot to her. And I know that once I put on the costume, I’ll probably have fun.

But I have no clue what to do. Maybe you guys can help?

Here are some stipulations:
–Easy: We don’t have a car and don’t plan on renting one before this weekend, so all of the items have to be easy to obtain.
–Cost: The cheaper the better. New apartment + new computer + 5 concerts in one month = Kate is broke.
–No masks: we want to be able to see/talk/eat without any hindrance.
–Nothing too risqué or off color: my parents will see it.

The more original and creative the better, but I suppose we can’t be too picky at this point.

Any ideas?



Filed under: — Kate @ 12:59 pm EST

TV Cream’s Top 100 Toys

How many of these did you play with as a kid? I lost count, but I think it was 19 or 20 for me.

Just this past weekend, my brother showed me the old View-master he’d recently dug out from the void in our parents’ house. I probably haven’t even thought about that thing in almost 20 years.

Among other things, the slides included dinosaurs, Muppets, Winnie the Pooh, My Little Pony, Dumbo, and Thundercats. My brother also had some with Ghostbusters and Ninja Turtles.

Boy did that bring back memories. I feel so old.



Filed under: — Kate @ 4:47 pm EST

Well this past weekend was quite productive if not tiring. My parents really helped me out a lot with getting my new apartment in order. I would take this opportunity to publicly thank them, but they don’t actually know about this blog, so what good would that do? Anyway, the new place is still a long way from complete, but it’s finally becoming more livable. Yay!

On Friday night, I got into a somewhat heated debate with my dad over a current topic in the media (big surprise). It’s a long story, not worth the details, no big deal—we do that a lot. But the next morning, my mom and I were talking, and she was lecturing me about knowing when to give up pursuing an argument with him. I told her “He started it!” and she said “Yes, you’re right, what he said was very antagatory.”

Mom accidentally made up a new word and I quite like it.

An·tag·a·to·ry (an-”tag-&-”tOr-E): adj. indicating opposition or resistance and tending to cause anger, animosity, or indignation. Derived from the words “antagonistic” and “inflammatory.”

I wonder how you go about getting a new word in the dictionary…


Invasion Forces

Filed under: — Kate @ 7:08 pm EST

Remember Kamin’s post, Start Praying, about how he saw a bunch of praying mantids? (And yes, that’s the plural for mantis—I looked it up). He theorized that they might be making a move on the planet. Well, I would like to add this to the mountain of evidence:

Click to open larger images.

Yesterday, my brother and I were sitting outside a coffee shop in University City when I noticed some movement on the underside of the table. And when I realized what it was, I couldn’t believe it. This praying mantis worked its way up onto the top of the table, and then just perched on the edge for several minutes, as if it was posing for us. My brother managed to snap several photos with his digital camera. Pretty neat!

As you can see, this one is missing an antenna and part of its leg. I wonder if they will grow back. But seriously, the last time I saw a praying mantis must have been 10 or 15 years ago!


UPDATE (8/16/05): Check this out!


Happy Birthday Mike!

Filed under: — Kate @ 2:17 pm EST

Happy Birthday to my little brother who turned 22 years old today!


A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away…

Filed under: — Kate @ 7:30 pm EST

Two suns

What is your earliest memory of Star Wars?

Myself, I was probably about 4 or 5 years old, at the house of family friends, watching the first movie with their son. I vividly remember that early scene on Tatooine with the shot of the two suns. I was so confused by that, and my father had to explain to me that it was another planet, not Earth. That was the first time I began to grasp the concept of other planetary systems besides our own.

So reach back into the archives of your brain, and tell me your earliest recollections of the phenomenon that is Star Wars. Anything associated with the franchise counts.


Excuses, Excuses…

Filed under: — Kate @ 10:29 am EST

Been a little absent these past few days. Here are my excuses:
-I’ve been REALLY busy at work.
-Um, Thursday was St. Pat’s Day.
-Friday: see Thursday. And I had to work.
-Saturday I was shopping. I needed more shoes. Really.
-Saturday night I went out to dinner with my aunt. To the Smoked Joint. Not really my first choice.
-Sunday we had people over.
-The Sims 2 is a damn addictive game.

Anyway, I’ll probably go Blog-lite this week. Work really is kicking my ass.


Mmmmm… Cake

Filed under: — Kate @ 2:57 pm EST

Grandma's Cake

I made two birthday cakes last weekend, one for Mom and one for my Grandmom. I was pretty pleased with the outcome. Of course we only took this one picture of my Grandmom’s cake after it was in the box. We took her to the Dalí exhibit for her birthday, so I attempted a Dalí inspired cake (that’s supposed to be a melting clock).

I made a celtic themed one for my mom. My brother took some shots with his digital camera, so if I get a hold of his pics I’ll post one of her cake, too. After all, I was up all night baking/decorating, so I’d like to show off my efforts.

By the way, you should have seen the makeshift boxes Edo constructed so we could safely carry the cakes on the train!! I brought home some heavy cardboard and packing tape from work and he made boxes to fit. It was hilarious. Most ghetto cake transportation effort ever! But it worked.


Saffron’s Mad About Me

Filed under: — Kate @ 9:49 pm EST

So, as previously mentioned, I went to see The Gates in New York City last Saturday. I took the train up with Edo, my brother, and his friends Eric and Alex. It was a sight to behold.

Aside from the obvious “saffron” colored gates, it was a great place for people watching. Such a diverse crowd. All ages and races, languages and cultures, large groups and individuals.

I overheard one man explaining to his companion in a very proper voice “This differs significantly from Christo’s last project, when they wrapped the Reichstag….” And then a few minutes later, I heard a woman say in a thick Brooklyn accent “And this one time, they made the ocean pink!”

We walked around Central Park, and then spent some time in the Met. It was a lot of fun, and later we had dinner with a college pal that I don’t get to see too often. All in all, a very nice (and exhausting) day.

Here are some pictures from our day.

Find more info about The Gates at ChristoJeanneClaude.net