Whacked out Groupons, pt. 2

So, earlier this week I posted about a Groupon for horseback riding that made me both laugh and go WTF.

It turns out that Groupon must have a writer on staff who injects humor into all the posts. Another one had caught my eye so I went through and looked at the last few offers currently out there for Minneapolis. Turns out that they usually have jokes in the descriptions. Darn it! Now I’m going to have to look at all the Groupon emails I get even if I think I’m not interested in what they’re offering! Here’s what’s out there right now:

1. Wax Kitten OK, this part isn’t Groupon. It’s the actual business name. Since they do Brazilian waxing I love that the name seems to be a tongue-in-cheek nod to that ever popular name for woman parts, the pussy. But my brain also thinks “Waxing kittens? Is that how they get those weird hairless sphinx cats?”
Anyway, back on topic. The ad copy for their current offer:

Along with damaging one’s self-image, rogue hair can cause discomfort and serve as a static-filled attraction for feral balloons. Banish marauding gasbags with this Groupon.

2. Fairway Flyerz This one’s for disc golf equipment.

Disc golf combines frisbee and golf, just as the spork unites a spoon and fork and the liger is basically a lime-flavored tiger. Discover the joys of hybrid inventions with this Groupon.

Liger = lime-flavored tiger! *giggle*

3. Calhoun Natural Medicine & Aesthetics For body-sculpting treatments.

It’s healthy to kick out excess fat cells, just like it’s healthy to kick out adult children who have asked for your blessing to marry the couch. Shed dead weight with this Groupon.

and at the end of the ad:

A trained tech couples the power of a BBL BroadBand light system with the ancient art of death-metal screaming to permanently remove unwanted body hair.

4. Mt. Fuji A hibachi restaurant

The first European explorers set sail to find new, exotic spices to please their hungry monarchs, but all they discovered were heaps of inedible gold. Broaden your mouth’s horizons with this Groupon.

5. Kinsen Noodles & Bar A pan-Asian restaurant

Sharing a meal can bring people closer together, similar to trust-fall exercises or group-hugs initiated by Mr. Fantastic. Nurture kinships with this Groupon.

6. Tokyo Sushi & Grill A sushi restaurant. Dammit. Now I’m craving sushi.

If humans are mostly made of water, and fish traditionally inhabit water, fish should naturally occur in the human body. Fix this gap in nature’s logic with this Groupon.

7. Minnesota Dragons Did you know that Minnesota has semi-pro football teams? Me either.

Football, or “pigskin,” originally a pork byproduct, has become America’s most popular pork-related pastime after recently topping baseball—a byproduct of sausage races. Commemorate sport’s other meat with this GrouponLive deal to see the Minnesota Dragons play at the Metrodome.

and from the body copy:

Among the season’s four home games, the energized roster squares off against fellow Minnesotans—and 2011 champs—the St. Paul Pioneers in a battle to determine who will lay claim to the Twin Cities and who will have to play the rest of their games at the bottom of Lake Superior.

This groupon intrigues me. After the suckitude of the Vikings the last two seasons it might be fun to see if these guys are any good.

Preparing for the zombie apocalypse

Working on restoring disaster damaged photos for Operation Photo Rescue reminds me that I still need to put together an emergency kit for the house. Or, because it’s much more fun, a zombie apocalypse survival kit!

Heck, even the CDC thinks preparing for the zombie apocalypse is a good thing. As this blog post by the CDC says, if you’re prepared for the zombie apocalypse you’ll also be ready for most other emergencies.

I follow the CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response on Twitter (@CDCReady) and just yesterday they tweeted a link to a video. First part of our “Zombie Nation” series is up, see how Hawaii gave zombies the starring role http://go.usa.gov/VuU #CDCZombie

They also had a contest asking trivia based on the video. I was one of the people who responded so the CDC is sending me my very own zombie! They actually said zombie prize, but I’m just assuming it’s a real zombie. I don’t know if that’s really a good thing or not though. The Zombie Apocalypse plan & survival kit means I’m prepare to avoid & survive if zombies attack, not keep them as pets. My back yard isn’t even fenced…

Anyway, emergency kit.

The CDC has lists of suggested items for the kit on their website. These are the basics:

Assemble the following items to create kits for use at home, the office, at school and/or in a vehicle:

  • Water—one gallon per person, per day (3­day supply for evacuation, 2­week supply for home)
  • Food—non­perishable, easy­to­prepare items (3­day supply for evacuation, 2­week supply for home)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery­powered or hand­crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7­day supply) and medical items
  • Multi­purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area

Since we aren’t prone to disasters requiring evacuation (such as hurricanes) here in Minnesota, my kit will be stored down in the basement. And just to make it more interesting, this is the container I’ll be using to store it:

How cool is that? It’s an actual Cold War era drinking water storage container from the Office of Civil Defense. It’s in pretty darn good shape, and you’re supposed to use a liner in it if you use it for water anyway so I’ll pack the disaster kit into it along w/plastic liners and  we’ll be good to go!

My awesome Dad acquired this barrel & when he asked me if I wanted it of course I said yes! A quick look on ebay shows them going for about $20-60. Of course, if you can’t find one near you the shipping would probably suck.

A generator would also be useful in case of disaster, but be don’t have one of those. Luckily the power went out on our street last summer. I still had to walk Rex even though we had no power, so I make sure to note which houses had generators running. That way when the zombie apocalypse or other disaster hits if they are killed or don’t make it back home I can go take the generators. (J3141 & J3033).

Whacked out groupon

So, you all know about Groupon and all the similar services, right? You pay a discounted price and get a voucher for goods or services. A common one is for restaurants: You pay $25 for Awesome Restaurant and get a voucher for $50 at Awesome Restaurant.

There was one this weekend I saw for horseback riding lessons. I was going to ignore it because riding lessons aren’t something I’m planning to take. But as I scanned the email my eyes glimpsed the phrase “poisonous rocks” and I had to read more. The teaser paragraph definitely made me click to see the full offer. Other than the attention grabbing intro it seemed pretty normal…

…until the last sentence! Giving hoses celebratory piggyback rides? LOL! Someone had too much fun writing their Groupon ad copy.

Love. Equality. Period.

Going to talk about some of my beliefs here.

As evidenced by yesterday’s vote in North Carolina, not everyone shares my beliefs. But also, as evidenced by comments from almost all of my friends on Facebook and Twitter as well as our President, many people DO share them. 

I believe that any church in America has every legal right to refuse to wed a gay couple if they believe it’s wrong. 

No, this does NOT mean I believe gay marriage is wrong, immoral, or should be banned. I don’t. It simply means that I believe in the separation of church and state.

I believe that any two consenting adults should be allowed to get legally married if they want to. I don’t care if it’s a man & a woman, two men or two women. 

I believe that amending constitutions, either state constitutions or the US Constitution, to ban gay marriage is ethically, morally and legally wrong. 

In this day and age the word marriage has multiple meanings. There is legal marriage and there is religious marriage. If marriage was simply a function of the church, there would be no need for the legality of marriage licenses and marriage certificates from the government, and anyone who did not want a church wedding would not be allowed to get married. 

This is why the push for banning gay marriage both angers and perplexes me. It is the religious groups lobbying for it. Why? They allow other marriages to happen legally without being held in a church. They are not forced to recognize any marriage they don’t want to. Why should any marriage bother them if it has nothing to do with their church? 

My marriage has NOTHING to do with religion or the church.

I am married to my husband because I love him, and we signed LEGAL papers for that marriage. Everything that getting married changed was changed legally, not religiously. If religion was something that was required to get married I would be stuck in the same place as the gays, wanting to marry someone I love but being told it wasn’t allowed.

The rights, protections, and benefits I get from my non-religious marriage to my husband are the same ones the gays want to marry for. And yes, they want to marry for love. I was allowed to marry for love, why shouldn’t they?

Yes, once upon a time being married in the church and in the eyes of whatever god you believe in was the only way a marriage was recognized, but I don’t understand how anyone can claim that it is now only a religious joining and not a legal one. If it was solely religious then why does a non religious marriage change a person’s legal status? 

A church wedding is not required for a wedding to be viewed as legal. I feel any church that wants to can refuse to marry gays, just as they can already refuse to perform any marriage. Because the church part has no legal standing it is not illegal for a church to refuse to perform the ceremony. If Rick & I weren’t already married, and if we walked into the LDS church down the street and asked to be married there, they would say no. I’m ok with this.

I was told on Facebook today that marriage is only the church’s business, not the state’s. Well then, ALL legal marriages should be converted to civil unions or whatever you want to call them, keep all the same legalities, and be available to any two consenting adults who want one. Then all the people who need their church to call it marriage can have whatever church ceremony they want without it affecting their legal rights or status in any way. 

This November, here in Minnesota, we will be voting on a constitutional amendment: The Minnesota Same-Sex Marriage Amendment.  “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall ge valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?”

Unfortunately even if this horrible amendment is defeated gay marriage is still going to be illegal in Minnesota because there is already a statute on the books that says “Marriage, so far as its validity in law is concerned, is a civil contract between a man and a woman.” Defeating the amendment is still important though because it’s another step towards equality some day. 

If you agree with what I’ve said here, great! If not, that’s ok too. I’m not going to ban dissenting opinions, but I will delete assholes. Also, don’t try to convert me to your religious views. I have my beliefs and spirituality and you have yours. They don’t have to be the same and you’re not going to change mine. And of course, the rule that always stands, Wheaton’s Law: Don’t Be A Dick!

 


A wander through decaying history

A week and a half ago, on April 25th, I got to see a piece of Minnesota history that I hadn’t even known existed. In downtown Minneapolis there is a building that was built as an armory for the Minnesota National Guard back in 1935-36. It still stands, and was put on the National Register of Historic Places in the 1980’s.

It looks kind of like the Superfriends' Hall of Justice! (Photo credit: Tim Kiser. Used under CC BY 2.5 license)

The armory was built with a Public Works Administration grant, and is in the PWA Moderne style. Over the years in addition to serving as a National Guard armory, it was a venue for civic events. It’s been used for concerts, sporting events and political conventions. It even served as the primary home court for the Minneapolis Lakers for a season. Prince and Aerosmith both shot music videos in it – the 1999 video in 1982, and the I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing video in 1998. The majority of the building is now unused except for the main floor which is being used as a parking garage.

The Armory full of parked cars. (Photo credit: Tim Kiser. Used under CC BY 2.5 license)

When you go into the building it looks like the parking area is all there is to it. But there’s so much more! I was meeting photographer extraordinaire Kyle Cassidy & my friend Jenn, who was assisting him, there. When I got there the parking lot attendent told me that he wasn’t sure where Kyle & Jenn had wandered off to, but he took me to the back corridors, through a door held shut with a chain that we had to duck under, and up a dark stairwell with a few rays of dust-filtered sunlight showing the way.

It. was. so. freaking. cool!

I’d texted Jenn that I’d arrived and so she met me with a flashlight & led me up to where Kyle was shooting Teratoma from the North Star Rollergirls. I fell instantly in love with the broken down building with its cracked floors, peeling paint and dead birds. I so desperately want to get back into this building with more than just an iPhone to shoot with. I want to see more than just the few rooms I saw in my hour or so there.

Here are a few of the images I got with the iPhone camera.

There was a sink, and toilet paper, but no toilet.

 

This pigeon was long dead by the time we encountered him.

 

I don't think the elevator is going anywhere.

This was the ceiling. The paint was peeling off in sheets.

Big empty room.

This mural was painted just a few years after the building first opened. The artist was Sr. Lucia Wiley.

"History of the Minnesota National Guard" by Lucia Wiley; WPA, 1938

To get more info on this cool building and to see some more pictures of it, here’s a link to James Lileks site where he talks about it.

Vegas, baby!

I had a fabulous breakfast at Hell’s Kitchen this morning, and I learned a lot about Lightroom 4 at the seminar. But, even if I hadn’t, it would have been so worth it! They have seminar surveys they have you fill out & then they do door prize drawings at the very end of the day. OMFG! They picked my name for the big prize! Free registration for Photoshop World!

So awesome! Photoshop World is THE Photoshop conference. The prize doesn’t include airfare or hotel or anything, just the PSW registration, but that’s ok! Since even NAPP member early bird registration is $499 I’ve never been able to even consider going before. Heck, I can manage airfare, room & food for less than that! Actually attending PSW is the part I’ve never been able to afford.

I am so excited! I’ve always wanted to attend a PSW, but didn’t think it would happen unless I got a job at a company that loved to send their employees to conventions. PSW is going to be September 5-7 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. I can’t wait! I was just thinking the other day how much I’d like to go to Vegas again.

They still have the schedule up from the last PSW in Washington DC, but the Vegas one should be up soon. The classes will probably be similar.  I am such a Photoshop geek. The idea of sitting through 3 days of Photoshop classes sounds like fun!

And it’s in Vegas, so hopefully Rick can come out too and we can have a mini vacation. The convention dates are a Wed-Fri so Rick could even come out on Friday and we’d just enjoy Vegas for the weekend.

Day off!

I’m taking the day off work tomorrow. People ask if I’m going to be doing something fun with my day off, and I am. At least it’s fun for me. :-)

I’m going to attend a full day seminar on Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4! The seminar is sponsored by the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) and put on by Kelby Training. To me, spending a day learning more about Photoshop or Lightroom is fun!

I’ve essentially just upgraded from LR1 to LR4, so there are a lot of changes & improvements for me to learn about. I actually tried to upgrade to LR3, but I was lucky enough to buy it a week after the date that qualified for a free upgrade to LR4.

Since the seminar is at the Convention Center and it always sucks to park there I’m going to have Rick just drop me off. Of course, he’ll be dropping me off before 8:00 and registration isn’t until 9:00 so I just have to have breakfast somewhere nearby first. And hey, Hell’s Kitchen is only about 4 blocks away! I know where I’m having Rick drop me off. Om nom nom!

Right-side up

This post is actually 2 days later than it should be, because my memory was wrong. I was thinking that it was exactly 1 year ago today, but it was actually 1 year ago on Monday that Rick & I were in a car accident.

This was taken on April 16, 2011:
Yes, that was our car, and yes it was as abso-fucking-lutely terrifying as you imagine. There was light snow, getting heavier as we headed north, and it was fairly windy. Our best guess is that a gust of wind hit us right as we were on a super slick patch, and once we started skidding the momentum kept us going. We slid through the ditch, flipped up into the air upside down, and scraped along the trees until we hit one which stopped us and dropped us onto the ground.

I think it all happened in about a millisecond. I never even saw the trees from my side of the car. I just saw the road we had left, and the sign we didn’t hit. I distinctly remember thinking “Oh good, we missed the sign. The metal pole would have really messed up the car.” and that was my last thought before we abruptly stopped. Then my next thought was “OMG, we stopped. OMG, I’m upside down. OMG, we must have hit something. OMG, I’m upside down.” I think I was asking Rick if he was ok at pretty much the same time he was asking me.

Yes, we both had our seatbelts on, and I’m about 120% sure that we would both be dead if we hadn’t. We both walked away from that car with just our upper chests bruised, and Rick had some minor cuts on his head from the broken glass of the sunroof. He didn’t actually hit his head. He’s just so tall that when we were hanging upside-down his head was resting in the glass.

I still can’t look at the pictures & not wonder how the hell we weren’t seriously hurt. You can bet your sweet ass that I will NEVER ride in a car without a seatbelt again! I always wore one when I was in the front seat, and I knew that wearing a seatbelt meant you wouldn’t be hurt as bad as without. But jesus, our seatbelts weren’t the difference between hurt a little and hurt a lot. They were the difference between just a little sore, and freaking DEAD.

A year later it’s still unreal to look at the picture and think that I was in the car when it happened. My left shoulder was hurt in the accident when the impact of landing made my arm whip forward. It still has an ache that comes & goes, but these days it’s more goes than comes.

ALWAYS WEAR YOUR SEATBELT!!!

Monkey Tuesday on Sundays now!

I have no idea how I missed hearing about it for so long but Penn Jillette & Michael Goudeau are doing a regular live show again!

Back in 2006 they were doing a live radio show that I would listen to while working. They’re in Vegas but the radio station put out a live stream online. That hour listening to the two of them was seriously my favorite hour of the day. I could never call in becuase I was working a data entry job & didn’t have a phone on my desk, but they also had an email account they’d monitor during the show. They read emails I sent and responded or commented several times. I was so bummed when they stopped doing the show.

Two years after the show ended I saw Penn comment on a mutual friend’s Facebook so I sent him a message telling him I was the Sharon who used to email his show and asking how he knew her. This is the exchange that followed:

Facebook message

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More proof that I’m a little bit off. I think getting a message from Penn Jillette asking me why I didn’t fuck Bob Sagat is awesome!

Anyway, I just learned that Penn & Goudeau are doing a new weekly show called Penn’s Sunday School! Here’s the info:

Join us as Penn Jillette, Michael Goudeau, and YOU discuss the news of the week.
We’ll examine religious news, talk about monkeys, and anything else that seems funny or makes us mad. We’ll also take your suggestions for things you feel like talking about.

In addition, until he gets chucked off, we’ll spend a few minutes talking about Penn’s adventures on CELEBRITY APPRENTICE.

We will be running a live video feed from the Vintage Nudes Studio for people with the time and inclination to watch people sitting and talking. The live show will start at noon Vegas time most Sundays and will be available for download by about 7 PM Sunday evening.

It just started in February and it is weekly, so there are only 9 episodes for me to catch up on. I can’t wait!

Cabin in the Woods

So, did y’all go see Cabin in the Woods this weekend?

Cabin in the Woods is a movie that just opened and if you haven’t gone to see it yet YOU HAVE TO! It is the best movie I’ve seen so far this year. It was written by Joss Whedon, and directed by Drew Goddard and Joss.

I’ve actually already seen it twice. It was one of the movies we saw last December at the 24 hour Butt-Numb-A-Thon in Austin, TX. It was the favorite movie of the weekend for most people, and even if we wanted to talk about it we couldn’t. We weren’t even allowed to tweet the title of the movie. Then I saw it again on March 28th when there was a special preview screening here in Minneapolis with Drew Goddard doing a Q&A afterwards. There aren’t a lot of movies that you can say are just as good or better the second time you watch them, but this is one of them!

It is a horror movie, but it’s not just blood & gore. You will laugh a lot. One of the stars is Chris Hemsworth, who filmed this before his breakout role as Thor. And that is all I’m going to tell you.

Seriously. The less you know of the twists before going into this movie the more you’ll like it.

So, if you didn’t go see it this weekend, make sure you put it on your to do list!