Monday, January 03, 2005

The new digicat's name is Miaow. Yet again, it's a female.

I set it in the middle of the afternoon, with the hope that there won't be a beepfest at work, nor in church, when it transitions between life stages. Though now that I think about it, there is a chance it'll sound off at some time on Sunday, possibly during or after the hockey game. If it follows the pattern its predecessors did, its digital nine lives are likely to end at some point on Sunday evening or Sunday night. We'll see.

I spent some time today researching wifi, since Santa brought a wireles card to go with the router that Mark bought a few months ago. Now I can use the PDA to log on via the DSL connection, instead of the much-slower dialup or the IMMENSELY slower CDPD connections. This is good.

The Mummers Parade was great. There were 17 string bands this year. I was pretty close to correct in my prediction of the top three bands. I said that the winner was going to be chosen from Fralinger, Ferko, or Quaker City, but I wasn't sure which of the three it would be. But Avalon snuck into the top three, with a performance that WAS very good, and took third. The top four wound up being Fralinger (for the third consecutive year, the band's first three-peat), Quaker City, Avalon, and Ferko (which came in a mere 1.1 points out of third place).

But I do have to say, I never saw so many bands dealing with rebellious props and (to quote Janet Jackson) wardrobe malfunctions in my entire life as I did this year. It's a good thing that our drill spot was about 2 to 2.5 miles away from the judging area, so that bands could make last-minute adjustments prior to performing For Real at City Hall. For example, Hegeman had some dancers costumed as hippos, with ostriches adorning a backpiece a la Fantasia. Each hippo was supposed to have a flat, sequined cutout of an ostrich on its left and its right, attached by a horizontal dowel across the hippo's shoulders. But as soon as the hippos started dancing, the ostriches started detaching themselves en masse from the dowels. At least three hippos lost an ostrich, and one hippo lost both ostriches, during the dance. I saw Hegeman on TV a few hours later (as the bands arrive at City Hall well after they've departed South Philly), and ALL the hippos were sans ostriches. I guess they couldn't determine a way to ensure that the ostriches would stay put, so they removed ALL of them. Now, one wouldn't KNOW that something was missing from the costume, without having seen the before-and-after as those of us at the start of the parade route did. But I knew what to look for and realized immediately how they resolved the problem.

Other bands had similar problems. Trilby's captain's pantaloons literally dropped right in the middle of a dance. (For those who haven't watched string bands, the captain spends a LOT of the time front-and-center, or as the center of attention elsewhere, during the band's four-and-a-half minute routine.) Fralinger, the winning band, dropped and shattered a crystal ball that was one of their props at some point during a rehearsal Saturday morning. YIKES, haven't they ever heard of clear ACRYLIC balls? I'll have to send them an email to let them know that there are FAR less fragile props available to them than glass/crystal balls. Then they can SAFELY perform their routine at parades for the rest of the year.

I refilled the prescription for the back spasms. I did without for a few days after the original prescription ran out, in the hope that maybe the spasms would be gone. No such luck. Back they came when the medicine was out of my system. Oh, well... at least the meds help. So does the back rest/heating pad Mark gave me on the day after Christmas.

Of course, back pain is nothing compared to the continued news coming out of Southeast Asia... the death toll from the tsunamis has risen to 155,000. Miraculously, they're still finding survivors in the rubble, but needless to say, the death toll is bound to keep going up as long as the cleanup continues. God help those poor people. I remember feeling horrified when the casualties exceeded 20,000. It seems like a long time ago now. :o(

At least there are a lot of people who are using this tragedy as a springboard to do good... websites for relief agencies have been nearly overwhelmed by people trying to send donations. There have been celebrities sending large donations, kids emptying their piggy banks, and everything in between. And speaking of celebrities... a few years ago, there were numerous concerts and albums put together to help the survivors of the 9/11 victims. I expect to see similar projects set up to raise money for this disaster, too. I'm certain that will be another good way to allow people to help donate.

I'd like to turn in early tonight, if possible... I was out of work sick today, and a decent night's sleep will be a big help. I don't want to miss any more time this week than I absolutely must, since I have an eye appointment (my first in five years) on Wednesday afternoon.

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