Friday, September 25, 2009

The Hawaii Chair

Really? You would use this *at work*???

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Prevent Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!

1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.

2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!

3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!

4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.

5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!

6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.

7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.

8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.

9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!

10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.

And, ALWAYS REMEMBER: if you didn’t ask permission and then respect the answer the first time, you are commiting a crime--no matter how “into it” others appear to be.

These handy-dandy tips should work wonders. Via Broadsheet:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

open letter: health care

I'm a little shocked at some of the opinions I've been reading about health care reform. I can't understand why this is such an emotional, hot-button issue. It seems pretty simple to me, health insurance is NOT serving the needs we have now. Premiums are much too expensive for most people, lots of jobs are no longer offering health insurance as a benefit, people with long-term health problems or pre-existing conditions are not covered, and the insurance company gets to decide whether you get the care you need.

The result is that fewer people than ever are insured, including millions of children. It's easy to be smug about health insurance if you have good benefits, I know this. I am covered by my own insurance as well as my husband's union benefits. But when I was in a motorcycle accident and broke my arm, my emergency surgery was not covered, as "out of network." When I had to go in for a follow-up surgery, my claim was denied again, because they didn't view my second surgery to remove the screws that were damaging nerves in my wrist as "necessary."

What are we so afraid of? People with Medicare universally love the coverage they have. Do you think insurance companies are going to lower their prices and become competitive if there isn't a much better, free option out there for people who need it? History tells us no. Defining pregnancy as a pre-existing condition so you don't have to cover it should be a crime. This goes double for cancer treatment.

We need to get over our selfishness about health care. Everyone deserves basic care. I don't want to live in a country where people die because they can't get simple care that would save their life. This is not the 3rd world, we can afford to do this.

Julie Pickett-Hall

Is the internet useless?

Apparently 12.7% of US households would answer "yes" to this question.

That may seem high to some, but in reality 29% of US households don't have access to the internet. While that number is unfortunately high, it's encouraging that even among people without home internet access, majority of them recognize that it is important and useful.

Mostly, I find it very encouraging. I estimate that 30% of all people in this country willfully believe things that are demonstrably untrue (based on the last decade of our political climate). Anything less than 30% is therefore a significant victory.

That the internet is useful and sometimes even necessary has no real cause for a powerful backlash of opinion is very comforting to someone who has chosen to make a living online. So thanks to all the wingnuts out there for not posing much opposition to the acceptance of the internet. We really appreciate it.

Rummage Sale Update: the pom-pom

Our Rummage sale had made $1400 as of Sunday morning, and there were still some contributions to be made. Thanks to everyone! All this money will be sent to Jamaica to help Friends ministry there, though we haven't settled on details of how the money will assigned yet.

I love doing this sale every year. We see a lot of donated items walk out the door, and people give us a free-will donation based on the whole of what they want. It's so much more effective than trying to price individual items, we see more items walk out the door, and we end up making more money for the church's missions! Everyone wins.

I didn't get to help as much as I probably should have, but I did spend some time there on Saturday helping people load up items, sorting and folding, and the like. I also found some must-have items for myself: two board games, an over-the-door hanging rack, an adorable zip-up sweater, some picture frames, and the most exciting of all... a single gold pom-pom!

This pom-pom is awesome. It's fluffy and gold, and will be loved and revered for the next *7* years as I cheer in the stands for lovely L and darling C at every home game of probably every sport offered at our high school. I debuted it at the football game on Saturday after the rummage sale, and I know it will be making many, many more appearances.

I'd like to offer my heartfelt thanks to the child (or her mother) who donated that pom-pom. You made my day.

Julie Pickett-Hall

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Church Rummage Sale

Church Rummage sales are the best kind, and this one is no exception:

Rummage Sale for Missions

Saturday Sept. 19, 8am to 1pm

Winchester Friends Church
124 E Washington St

All proceeds go to Missions in Jamaica

We like to sell on a donation basis. We'll have lots of plastic-grocery bags for you, you fill them up, then pay us a few dollars per bag or whatever you feel like donating. This method moves a lot of items and really serves the people who need it most.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 11, 2009

remap your dvr remote to skip commercials

Update: I've done this to my remote, but have not had a chance to sit down at the TV and try it yet. My friend N reports that it works fabulously and she loves it.

Ok, I'm really posting this on my blog so I can find the instructions later, but this hack should enable my Comcast remote to skip commercials in 30-second intervals (on programs that I've dvr-ed).

I am soooo excited to try this, and give my utmost thanks to the folks at!

Skip Ads Easily with a Standard Cable Remote Control

The basic premise is this: your average Motorola-made DVR, the one that your cable-TV provider gives you, should come with the ability to skip ads in 30-second increments. And yet, in most cases, it doesn't. I'm not going to go into the reasons for that here, but it's obviously related to money and advertiser pressure. Anyway, some clever dude has figured out a way to remap your remote control to enable this feature. I tried it on my Comcast remote and it worked like a charm. Here's what to do:

1. Press the Cable button at the top of the remote.

2. Hold the Setup button until the Cable button flashes twice.

3. Enter 994 on the keypad. The Cable button will flash twice again.

4. Push the Setup button once.

5. Enter 00173.

6. Finally, push the button that you want to use as the 30-second skip; I chose the A button since I don't use it for anything else. The Cable button will flash twice.

To restore the original functionality to that key, follow the first steps described above, but after entering 994, push the remapped key twice. The Cable button will blink twice if your input has been accepted.

There are some other tips on there as well, but this one excites me greatly. I'll try it soon and post results.

Julie Pickett-Hall

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

movies out on video!

Two movies just came out on video that I'm dying to rent...

Sunshine Cleaning, with Amy Adams and Emily Blunt about getting a job cleaning up after crime scenes.

Adventureland, with Michael Cera, Ryan Reynolds, and Kristen Stewart, about working a crappy summer job as a carny.

Yay for movies on video this week! And why I am all about messed-up occupations today?

100% fool-proof way to prevent pregnancy

I just had to share this funny of the day...
Listening to Dan Savage today. In an older podcast, he's expounding on Bristol Palin's statement (no, not the one where she says abstinence is unrealistic) that abstinence is the only 100% foolproof way to prevent teenage pregnancy.

To which Dan Savage says:
"Gaaaaaaaay Seeeeeeeeeeeex."

Which is also a completely 100%, foolproof way to prevent pregnancy. Thank you Dan.

He also lists a number of other things that people can do that are not abstinent, but are also not penetrative vaginal sex, and therefore would also completely prevent pregnancy, but I'll let you to your imaginations for that one.

It's an extensive list.

L.A. is burning

In a recent issue of Linux Journal, Doc Searles wrote in his EOF column about the "mania of owning things." I liked the title more than the column itself, which was about the threat of his home to a wildfire in California. His theory was that it's possible for people to be freed from the above-mentioned mania when they lose their possessions to a fire or other disaster. This is more noticeable in people who have lost their belongings multiple times.

I can see this, having struggled with the mania of owning things, namely too many things, for quite some time. There are few good, satisfactory ways of dealing with this struggle without the extreme intervention of nature. How many people really methodically pare down their belongings at will?

Anyway, this is all in the context of the current fires in L.A., which threatens the home of another columnist that I adore:

The current Station Fire is terrible to behold, and a good collection of images is here:,0,2039975.photogallery

As you consider the devastation of these events, it's hard to not think of what it would take to pack up your life and flee. Maybe those beloved things you've chosen in your hypothetical evacuation should be liberated from all the clutter in your life. It's impossible not to consider, but nearly as impossible to actually carry out (short of a hard push by the hand of God).

Worth thinking about. I ponder Voluntary Simplicity a lot, and so I am inclined to see that vein of meaning in a lot of different contexts and stories.

Julie Pickett-Hall