Sunday, January 27, 2008

The 29 Levels Meme

Slip forced me to play this meme -- feel free to play too, but honest answers only!

Level 1
(x) Smoked a cigarette.
( ) Smoked a cigar.
(x) Kissed a member of the same sex.
(x) Drank alcohol.

Level 2
(x) Are/been in love.
(x) Been dumped.
(x) Shoplifted.
( ) Been fired.
( ) Been in a fist fight.

Level 3
(x) Had a crush on an older person.
(x) Skipped school.
( ) Slept with a classmate.
(x) Seen someone/something die.

Level 4
( ) Had/have a crush on one of your friends who is now on Facebook. (* I don't think so, anyway.)
( ) Been to Paris.
( ) Been to Spain.
(x) Been on a plane.
(x) Thrown up from drinking.

Level 5
( ) Eaten sushi.
( ) Been snowboarding.
( ) Met someone BECAUSE of Facebook.
( ) Been in a mosh pit.

Level 6
(x) Been in an abusive relationship.
(x) Taken pain killers.
(x) Love/loved someone who you can’t have.
(x) Laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by.
(x) Made a snow angel.

Level 7
(x) Had a tea party.
(x) Flown a kite.
(x) Built a sand castle.
(x) Gone mudding (offroading).
(x) Played dress up.

Level 8
(x) Jumped into a pile of leaves.
(x) Gone sledging. (Sledding?)
( ) Cheated while playing a game.
(x) Been lonely.
( ) Fallen asleep at work/school.

Level 9
(x) Watched the sun set.
( ) Felt an earthquake.
( ) Killed a snake.

Level 10
(x) Been tickled.
(x) Been robbed/vandalized.
(x) Been cheated on.
(x) Been misunderstood.

Level 11
(x) Won a contest.
(x) Been suspended from school.
(x) Had detention.
(x) Been in a car/motorcycle accident.

Level 12
(x) Had/have braces.
(x) Eaten a whole pint of ice cream in one night.
(x) Danced in the moonlight.

Level 13
(x) Hated the way you look.
(x) Witnessed a crime.
(x) Pole danced.
(x) Questioned your heart.
(x) Been obsessed with post-it-notes.

Level 14
(x) Squished barefoot through the mud.
(x) Been lost.
( ) Been to the opposite side of the world.
(x) Swam in the ocean.
(x) Felt like you were dying.

Level 15
(x) Cried yourself to sleep.
(x) Played cops and robbers.
(x) Recently colored with crayons/colored pencils/markers.
( ) Sang karaoke.
(x) Paid for a meal with only coins.

Level 16
(x) Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t.
(x) Made prank phone calls.
(x) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose.
(x) Kissed in the rain.

Level 17
( ) Written a letter to Santa Claus.
(x) Watched the sun set/sun rise with someone you care/cared about.
(x) Blown bubbles.
(x) Made a bonfire on the beach or anywhere.

Level 18
(x) Crashed A Party.
( ) Have travelled more than 5 days with a car full of people.
(x) Gone rollerskating/blading.
(x) Had a wish come true.
( ) Slept with a member of the same sex.

Level 19
(x) Worn pearls.
( ) Jumped off a bridge.
(x) Screamed “penis” or “vagina”.
( ) Swam with dolphins.

Level 20
(x) Got your tongue stuck to a pole/freezer/ice cube.
( ) Kissed a fish.
(x) Worn the opposite sex’s clothes.
(x) Sat on a roof top.

Level 21
(x) Screamed at the top of your lungs.
(x) Done/attempted a one-handed cartwheel. (* In gym that is.)
(x) Talked on the phone for more than six hours (in one day).
(x) Recently stayed up for a while talking to someone you care about.

Level 22
(x) Picked and ate an apple right off the tree.
(x) Climbed a tree.
(x) Had/been in a tree house.
(x) Been scared to watch scary movies alone.

Level 23
(x) Believed in ghosts.
(x) Have had more than thirty pairs of shoes (not necessarily all at once).
( ) Gone streaking.
(x) Visited jail.

Level 24
( ) Played chicken.
( ) Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on.
(x) Been told you’re hot by a complete stranger.
( ) Broken a bone.
(x) Been easily amused.

Level 25
(x) Caught a fish then ate it later.
( ) Made a porn video.
(x) Caught A butterfly.
(x) Laughed so hard you cried.
(x) Cried so hard you laughed.

Level 26
(x) Mooned/flashed someone.
(x) Had someone moon/flash you.
( ) Cheated on a test.
(x) Forgotten someone’s name.
( ) French braided someone’s hair.
( ) Gone skinny dipping.
(x) Been kicked out of your house.
(x) Tried to hurt yourself.

Level 27
(x) Rode a roller coaster.
( ) Went scuba-diving/snorkelling.
(x) Had a cavity.
( ) Black-mailed someone.
( ) Been black mailed.

Level 28
(x) Been used.
(x) Fell going up the stairs.
(x) Licked a cat.
( ) Bitten someone.
(x) Licked someone - not in private places…

Level 29
( ) Been shot at/or at gunpoint.
(x) Had sex in the rain.
( ) Flattened someone’s tires.
(x) Rode your car/truck until the gas light came on.
(x) Got five dollars or less worth of gas.

Friday, January 25, 2008

High-Five Fridays #2

1) Hugs N Stuff gave me a, "You Make Me Smile" award (for the kitschy blog) and so I have to give her a high-five!

2) A high-five to Mommytoj for showing me us the Being Five Comic.

3) Coats For Cubs needs a high-five for taking donated fur coats and using them to help orphaned wildlife. (Via Slippity Do Da's other blog.)

4) A fiver for the discussion regarding whether or not the public should be made aware that breast feeding can hurt mom's breasts. (Link is OK, but the site is NWS.) Ah-duh it hurts.

5) Before she passed away, Johnny Virgil's mom gave the kids the scrapbooks she had kept when the kids were little:
"They were full of our artwork and schoolwork from when we were in Kindergarten through 6th grade. Just about everything that went up on the refrigerator ended up in this book."
Johnny makes fun of some of his stuff, but it's also so sweet. And a little weird, like the piece displayed below... Is that a penis thumb? If so, it goes with my penis toe...

So Moms, take note: Saving stuff is good for you kids -- but it may end up on the Internets. Which is OK. The Internets, especially blogs, are just larger refrigerator door displays.

Want to give high-fives too? Find out how to give your High-Five Fridays here!

The purpose of this meme is to give high-fives to 5 people, posts, blogs and/or websites you've admired during the week. I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 5 high-fives on Friday. Trackbacks, pings, linky widgets, comment links accepted!

Visiting fellow High-Fivers is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your High-Fives in others comments (please note if NWS).

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Contrary To What Your Kids Say...

Talking with your kids, even babying them a little, doesn't make them want to puke -- in fact, a study shows it may help hurt tummies feel better:
“My tummy hurts” is one of the most common complaints of childhood. Yet for up to 25 percent of school-age children, ongoing abdominal pain is serious enough to interfere with school, playtime and family life. In most of these cases, there are no medical problems— and reassurance and support are all the child needs.

For children whose pain persists, however, a new review of the research suggests that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help.

“The most important finding here is that there seems to be some evidence of benefit of psychosocial interventions in reducing the pain of school-age children with recurrent abdominal pain,” said Angela Heurtas-Ceballos, consultant neonatologist at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital in London, and lead review author.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Bookish TMI Tuesday

1. What was your favorite book as a kid?

Oh, any in the Black Stallion Series by Walter Farley. And anything to do with ancient Egypt.

2. If you were stranded on that proverbial desert island (again!), what book or books (up to 5) would you want to have with you?

Only five?! This is why I do dream of endless amounts of time to just read, I do not dream of isolation which would limit my reading.

This is question is not only an exercise in emotional torture, but an exercise in memory as well. And, I must also state as a disclaimer, that this list is also based on today's mood. (We'll not even go into the matter of what mood would I be in stranded on the island.)

1 Temple of My Familiar, by Alice Walker
2 Beloved, by Toni Morisson
3 Tad Williams Otherland series, any book in the series would be fine.

(Because of their rich layers and ability to make one think long after reading them -- which is important when I only am allowed 5 books!)

4 The Island Stallion, by Walter Farley. (Because now that I'm thinking of my younger days and horse love, why not relive it here on the island and have the story of a boy equally stranded who finds a dream horse?)

And 5, James Tiptree, Jr: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, by Julie Phillips -- because I've just started it and I have to finish it!

3. What was the first "naughty" book you read and in what way was it naughty?

The Summer of '42, which I've written about here.

But I do also remember reading the Flowers in The Attic series too -- with a much different reaction. It was a very popular series -- even my non-reading friends were all reading it. I remember reading of the love affair between siblings and feeling quite torn, nearly ill, over making the choice to surrender to it. Not just to surrender to suspend belief, but to actually submit to the notion of romance and longing over such a relationship. It made me feel dirty when I did so; or like I let the author down when I didn't. Reading can be a complicated business.

4. If you were to publish your autobiography today, what would be the title?

Hubby and I joke all the time about this. I'm constantly finding phrases which would be an excellent title for my biography and have decided that my biography would consist of nothing but these titles -- arranged as chapter titles and subtitles. Hubby says at this rate that the book would still be a tome. *wink*

Given the sheer volume of such potential titles, and the fact that I'm gonna use them somehow, someway, someday... I'm not sharing them now. :p

5. Would you rather look at nude pictures/pornography or read erotic fiction and why?

Do I have to choose?

I love the written word, but sometimes a photo is rather grand. The two mixed, well, that's distracting. If I must comply, I'll say the written work. But I do collect both.

Bonus (as in optional): Do you know the whereabouts today of the first person with whom you had sex?

No. Last I heard he was in Chicago, working as a tailor or tailor's apprentice. But I had no interest in looking for him then; and none now. However, if I did bump into him, I would enjoy a catch-up conversation. I have no ill-will; just not enough interest in looking for that conversation.

You can play along with TMI Tuesdays #119 here.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

High-Five Fridays #1

Better late than never, I bring you my 5 high-fives:

#1 Sparkle Motion left for a few days and posted that everyone should keep themselves entertained with my the other blog hubby and I run, Kitschy Kitschy Coo. (So cool! Thanks!) While she's gone, it's the perfect time for you to read and catch up with Sparkle Motion, right?

#2 Gynecologist Stories Wanted, if you're in New York. (Link is likely NWS, due to links, but this link is clean.)

#3 Subscribe to the Suburban Diva's newsletter for special offers and prizes!

#4 The Roth's offer you us 13 New Found Blogs of Note.

#5 Matthew James Didier needs your votes for his blog, so help him out already!

Want to give high-fives too? (This meme started fashionably late, so we can join fashionably late!) Find out how to give your High-Five Fridays here!

The purpose of this meme is to give high-fives to 5 people, posts, blogs and/or websites you've admired during the week. I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 5 high-fives on Friday. Trackbacks, pings, linky widgets, comment links accepted!

Visiting fellow High-Fivers is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your High-Fives in others comments (please note if NWS).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Flashed From BBC Headlines

Straight out of the Flash Gordon episode where Aura and Terek find they are drawn to each other... they are about to kiss... when Flash bursts in telling them to stop because they are brother and sister, comes this story from the UK.

I know, I know; mock me for watching Flash on Friday nights... but what else is there late night on Fridays but the Sci-Fi channel? It's campy deliciousness.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

My Coke Rewards: A Lot Of Cardboard Lying About The House

I drink a lot of Diet Coke, and the price of cola sure has increased in the past few years -- even the generic (yuck) cola is expensive. So I gave in and decided to use My Coke Rewards.

Here's my 6 Lines Or Less (Yeah Right) Review:

You enter the codes printed inside the cardboard boxes, which means you have a lot of cardboard lying about the house until you do so, and the site only allows you to enter up to 10 codes per day, which means you have a lot of cardboard lying about the house (until, one imagines, you catch up).

The site is in a I'm-so-cool-I-use-flashy-scripts that I cannot access or use it with my own PC (I am on Linux, with Firefox), so I have to use hubby's; which means I have a lot of cardboard laying about the house while I wait for chances to use his PC.

The great news is that I'm not stuck turning my points into "Coke Collectibles" but rather can redeem them for an "award" of Coke products (100 points for a 12-pack of pop).

But the bad news is that you cannot select multiples of each reward, so with 500 points to redeem for 5 packs of pop I have to go through the same motions 5 times, including finding the item (4-5 clicks depending upon the number of rewards in that category), and the annoying address/post information requiring the manual entry of my phone number each time as the widget doesn't save it -- all of which is is annoying and makes me put off entering the codes and so I have a lot of cardboard lying about the house.

The odd thing, especially for the ultra-slick-flashy-script-site is that Coke sends you the coupon for the free 12-pack via the mail not email, which means you not only have a several week wait for a reward which could easily be emailed & printed, but Coke has the added expense of paying for paper, envelopes and postage (now I know why the prices have increased so much, thank you), which is also not very green.

Perhaps this isn't all that bad and shouldn't warrant the 'bad companies' label... While it's not too annoying to use, it sure could be better.

More On Comics & Reading, From The Experts

In addressing the matter of light reading became a stepping stone to further reading, this piece by Bernice E. Cullinan (New York University) published at the American Library Association has this to say:
There is some evidence from case studies and large group research that light reading, such as comic books, leads preteens and young adults to more, if not always higher quality, reading. For example, researchers Dorrell and Carroll (1981) placed comic books in a junior high school library but did not allow them to circulate; students had to come to the library to read them. The researchers compared circulation figures of non-comic-book material and total library use during the seventy-four days the comics were in the library with the fifty-seve days prior. Library use increased 82 percent with a 30 percent increase in the circulation of non-comic-book material. Other studies, however, showed that comic book reading does not correlate positively with higher levels of literacy (Allen, Cipielewski, and Stanovich 1992).

Additional Reading:

In The New York Times, Superman Finds New Fans Among Reading Instructors.

Teaching Tips: Comic Strips as a Text Structure for Learning to Read, at the International Reading Association.

Bilingual Students Learn To Read By Sharing Comic books

More on literacy and comics, this from a press release from the International Reading Association:
Spider-man, Hulk, and Wild Girl Help First Graders with Language and Reading

Primary school teachers routinely read to their students, but it took an innovative first-grade teacher to interest Portland State University professor Jason Ranker in studying how comic books helped young English-language learners with reading and writing.

Ranker, whose research interests include visual literacy and marginalized learners, joined sixteen bilingual students one to two mornings each week to observe how their teacher developed sophisticated literacy skills by reading comic books to her class.

“Several researchers have noted the use of simplistic or reductionistic pedagogy when teaching reading to English-language learners,” Ranker suggested. “This teacher didn’t settle for that approach. Instead, she demonstrated that comic books can help students understand story structure, distinguish between dialogue and narration, and explore broader media issues—in this case, gender stereotypes.”

To demonstrate, Ranker highlights three lessons. The teacher used a Spider-Man story to illustrate how problem-solution scenarios make a story interesting, a technique students put to use in generating their own stories, some about super-heroes, some not. It was the tale that featured both the Hulk and Catwoman that opened the issue of gender. A student’s question, “Who is stronger, Catwoman or Hulk?” led to an extensive discussion about how strength is portrayed and a search for a female superhero, Wild Girl, whose version of strength differed from the Hulk’s.

Ranker sees an important connection that students can make using their pop culture knowledge as a frame of reference for in-school literacy activities. “Movies, music, comic books, and video games tell stories in their own ways. They create familiar territory for students to learn about how stories are told. As the teacher guides them through the story, students also get insights into their own reading and writing practices.”

Ranker also addresses several other issues connected to the use of comics, but clearly sees a value beyond their use to motivate reluctant readers. “Because they have the capacity to increase interest and motivation, comic books are an effective way of increasing reading comprehension and comprehension strategies."As highly visual texts, they are especially effective for second language learners, who can use visual support even when they may not have the aspect of the relevant target language that they might need in the given instructional context."