Thursday, December 04, 2008

Jenn's Favorite Things for 2009...

...Because Oprah shouldn't have all the fun....(especially since she helps promote that crappy Secret book and Jenny McCarthy's antivaccination prattle)

Criteria: Things that, when I think of them, I smile. Honorable mentions are going to things I really don't know so much about them to call them favorites, but they are off on a good start.

The Flu Shot Props to "Big Pharma" for making a bad arse flu vaccine this year. At a rate of 70 percent to 90 percent effectiveness, it's one of the things we need to stay healthy and not pass flu boogers to those who may not be able to fight it off- the elderly, babies, and people with weak immune systems. They are predicting a nasty flu season this year folks. And, contrary to urban legend, getting the flu shot does not give you the flu. It's a deactivated version of the virus that is in the vaccine. It should be avoided if you are allergic to eggs. Don't forget also to wash your hands before and after you go potty, and use hand sanitizer to combat germs as needed. You don't wanna kill babies and grandmothers, do you? DO YOU?????

Virginia As A Blue State. I'll admit it. I did not vote for Obama. I did not vote for McCain. I'm a third party supporter- a Libertarian with an independent streak a mile wide. But I have to admit I was tickled as the drama unfolded election night. There was talk that Virginia could go blue, but those of us here in the Commonwealth shrugged and didn't take the twitterings very seriously. An apocolypse couldn't bitch-slap the red out of Virginia- it seemed no floods or hurricanes or that unfortunate Michael Vick dogfighting incident couldn't make an impact either. When we heard at around 10 EST that Virginia went to Obama (a move so shocking former VA boy and William and Mary alum Patton Oswalt guzzled scotch and used a healthy amount of profanity on his facebook page), I was proud of her and her citizens. The capital of the Confederacy put a black man into the White House. I'm biased because I totally think Virginia is the reason he won. The 40-plus year red state voting pattern shattered that night, the whole world heard it. Way to go Virginia! Now, if you could only legalize that whole gay marriage thing, we'd be an awesome state (oh, and while you're at that, could you legalize pot? Thanks.)

Death From The Skies by Phil Plait The book came out in 2008, sure, but the buzz will still be going strong in 2009. Phil Plait, who I like to refer to as The Jonas Brothers of skepticism (three times the awesomeness in one package), has been newsworthy for a few reasons in 2008- In late summer/early fall of this year, Plait accepted the very honorable position of President of the James Randi Educational Foundation. There's also an online petition circulating a suggestion for Phil to be Obama's science advisor. Most importantly, he was interviewed in a recent issue of Geek Monthly. Although I have yet to read Death as well as it's predecessor Bad Astronomy (yeah, I know, I know), I already feel it's going to be a bit hit in many skeptical book clubs.

Black Label Barbie Dolls According to the package, the Black Label Barbie dolls are designed specifically for the adult collector. Trust me, these are Barbies with 'tudes, ready to kick ass and take names (as well as Barbie could, you know that bitch is waaay too skinny!). So far, the two I've fallen in love with and couldn't help to buy are villaness Black Canary, (the DC/Mattel collaborative effort is really strong and Barbie also stars as along with other notable characters such as Batgirl, Supergirl, and...wait for it...WONDER WOMAN!!!), complete with dark blonde highlights, leather, and an origin story blurb on the back of her packaging (John says he always had a thing for Black Canary- must have been the fishnets) and the fabulous Tippi Hendron from Hitchcock's The Birds Barbie. Decked out in a very mod fashionable green suit, she runs from the black flying menaces that swarmed Bodego Bay and resulted in mass carnage. Can't wait to see what this new line of dolls for grownups who play with dolls brings in the New Year!

Goodies from Colony Coffee My little town of RVA appears to have a Starbucks to Java Slurper ratio of 1:2. They're everywhere! Very convienent for a caffeinated slob like me who has a job where she has to travel. But in the end, there is no place like home. Colony Coffee is about a 2 minute trek from my house and about a 10 second car ride or jaunty stroll from our Southside office (the closest Starbucks is about 5 minutes away from both). When you go, I highly recommend the seasonal Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread Loaf and the Black Forest Mocha Latte. I've been going there since 2007, but it made the list this year because I was sure it was going to suffer the ill effects of the recession that has put our economy in the crapper. Although the hours of operation have been scaled back slightly, Colony Coffee plugs along almost effortlessly. I put it here for 2009 because I was tipped off by one of the baristas that they will soon acquire their own baking oven and will start to make pasteries fresh daily (at this time they mail order them from other companies). I have strongly encouraged them to make the pumpkin loaf a yearly treat.

The Skepchick Podcast Sigh. So good for so many reasons. Here are a few: Rebecca. Bug Girl. Elyse. A. Stacey. Carrie. Maria. The girls dish candidly to each other, and although it's a podcast where in reality everyone is sitting in front of their computers and communicating via the 'net, the vibe is so cozy you almost can convince yourself that they are all sitting in one room together sharing a bottle of good tequila and a few laughs (in my image there are bean bag chairs and some knitting going on as well- but that's just me) about crap based medicine, Sylvia Browne, and creationism. Smarter than Cosmo, a bit more entertaining than Bitch, and always about the truth. Brainsbodyboth!!!

The Watchmen movie 2008 was a fantastic summer to be a fan girl, and with the new Wolverine Origins movie as well as the Star Trek prequel in the works for a mid year theatre release, 2009 looks to be another great year. But the one that really makes me giggle with anticipation is the new Watchmen movie, due out sometime in Spring. Check out the previews online. Damn, it looks good!

Nursing Students I started precepting clinically about three months ago, after a fluke encounter with a frazzled student turned into something very cool. Since then, I've precepted three very cute, intelligent and professional future nurses. I try to work on stress management and critical thinking along with home health skills and the importance of time management. Projects have included flu shot saavy and transitioning a patient from home health to hospice. Nursing students are really awesome and they don't get enough cred. Hug a student you love today!

Sutter Home Fre Non-Alcoholic Wine After a rather unpleasant experience where an adverse interaction occured between a very nice merlot and a medication I take, I was advised by my doctor to stop drinking alcohol. Yes. Quell'damage! I wasn't a huge beer or liquior drinker so avoiding those spirits was without fanfare. My main vice is wine- especially red wine. So the swearing off of those wonderful antioxidents was a bummer. Plus, the wine glass is my favorite type of glass. For a while there, I was getting by with placebo nonalcoholic grape juices mixed with club soda. A chance encounter with a helpful sign that read "we have nonalcoholic wines in our wine section," at a local grocery store isle searching for sparkling grape juice led me to sample my first bottle of Sutter Home Fre Merlot, or as I like to call it Mer-faux. Tastes the same as the real deal in my opinion, but I'll warn you I've yet to meet another person who drinks it on a regular basis. At 70 calories for an 8 oz glass, it kicks wine's (and grape juice's) ass in the weight maintenance department. They also make Chardonnay, White Zin, Premium Red and Brut. No hangovers, low cal and, if you drink the red, a nice dose of antioxidents. Bravo Sutter Home!

Playing Gods with Ben Radford In the day, I was an amazing board game player. I could accuse Miss Scarlet of bludgeoning Mr. Boddy in the Billard Room with the lead pipe and whooped when my oppponent landed on my hotel laden Marvin Gardens. Back in the days, I could give you Trouble, catch a mouse with Mouse Trap, and could always retrieve the funny bone without The Operation Patient without the nose of defeat lighting and honking loudly. But the sixth grade ended far too quickly, and then the teenage years gave way to collecting makeup tips vs. chess moves. My gamer skills are rusty at best. But I'm ready to play Ben Radford's newest game, Playing Gods. Ben had a great low key marketing campaign at TAM 6 (we still get comments on our "My God is Better Than Your God" bumper sticker. The game came out in September, and with predictions of a wicked winter in Virginia, we are looking forward to many a snowy evening battling as powerful dieties. My husband, a hardcore gamer, calls this a great beer [or mer-faux] and pretzels game. But we're ready to get tough if we need to! Be prepared to be God-served in many fun nights over at Casa De Feefer and Bob. We're waiting for your diety to bring it.

Pet Rats. Well, one in particular. In my travels of late I have come across a sweet little white rat named Faye. Faye doesn't bite, scratch, or pee on you at all. At first, I was adamant that Faye wouldn't go near my neck and shoulders for fear that her small ratty movements would tickle me senseless. Plus I'd always associated rats with filth. Not so. Faye grooms herself constantly, and she's more than happy to groom you as well. And she doesn't tickle but so much. Her owner gives me some rat factoid each time I see her, and I'm becoming convinced that pet rats deserve more cred than they've gotten in the past. But don't think I'm going to get one anytime soon, as Bob and Fee may want to play rugby with it in a sweetly rambunctious but traumatizing way. For more on rats, check out the special feature "Your Friend The Rat" on the DVD of Disney's delightful rat romp Ratatouille(featuring the voice of the delightful Patton Oswalt).

And my most favorite thing of 2009
The Tools Necessary To Do My Job
About 3 or 4 months ago, there were a string of changes in the infrastructure of my workplace- we got a boss who came in like gangbusters and all of the sudden it was like the Showcase Showdown on the Price Is Right! Within a month, our old laptops that had a quality level one notch above an Etch-E-Sketch were replaced by Panasonic toughbooks that are much faster. In addition to that, we were given aircards in order to access our server and safely and confidentially upload our paperwork from anywhere (including Colony Coffee!!!) The final prize had us all tooling around in (somewhat) style...a brand new car!! Yes, these brand spankin new Toyota Corollas were for our use during work hours. Whether changing an ostomy pouch or racing to a IV pump that just didn't wanna stop beeping, the car provides safe travel for a nurse on the go! This wonderful prize package can be yours if...wait for it...the Price is Right !!! (Actually it will only happen if you're a health care provider licenced in the state of Virginia having graduated an accredited school of nursing and have 3 to 5 years of med surg experience and do not mind working in a unique environment with some night and weekend hours. You can submit an application online or in person. Mention me- I'll get a referral bonus. Everyone's a winner!)

Honorable Mentions
Jenny Lewis
Why she makes me smile: We loved her in Little Monsters and Troop Beverly Hills (where she displayed her singing talents in a rockin' jingle that aided the Beverly Hills chapter of the Wilderness Girls in selling over 2000 boxes of cookies and making it to the Wilderness Girl Jamboree). But this Toys R Us kid has grown up, but her pipes still sound awesome. There is a lot of buzz around this indie rocker since she teamed up with The Watson Twins and crooned the haunting "Rabbit Fur Coat."
Why she didn't make the Big List: The only song I've heard is "Rabbit." Although I'm impressed and want to listen to more, I just don't know too much about Lewis at this point to say that she's definitely a fave of mine going into 2009. But I plan on getting her CD and giving it a try. Most likely a review will be posted here!

Baxter Infusor Portable Elastomeric Infusion System (known here as the INFUSIOR)
Why it makes me smile: The BIPEIS main purpose is to help make the crappy regimen known as chemotherapy a bit easier for the patients at Big Bad Cancer Kickin' Doctors Practice (not it's real name, obviously), one of our newest group of doctors using our home health services. With their practice came the INFUSOR, which is a portable medication delivery system that uses a balloon resivoir that is designed to very very slowly push medication (or chemo) into your body at a specified rate, which is controlled by a flow restrictor. It resembles a small baby bottle and is made of pretty tough plastic. The tubing connects to the patient's IV catheter and is kink resistant. They're portable as heck (I got to discreetly troubleshoot one at a patients office).
Why it didn't make the Big List: Like any medical procedure or medication, there are pros and there are cons. At times, the rate is sooo slooow that at times, it doesn't look like it's working, which results in some false alarm calls for troubleshooting for the agency (it's okay though- better safe than sorry). And if your math is off, you could end up at a patient's home a few hours too early to remove the INFUSOR, which is not a happy feeling on a busy day. Also, I don't want to Big List something I have only worked with a handful of times. This might be a future topic for A Doubting Florence (now at it's new home at the Richmond Skeptics blog!)

Female Jedi/Sith
Why they make me smile: Even though Leia was a Jedi, say her name to your local Star Wars geek circle and the two words most likely to come up are "gold" and "bikini." Being a supafly chick in a galaxy far far away is much like being a supafly chick here- underrated! It was a revelation for this G Canon Star Wars nerd to notice several female Jedi kicking clone ass in Episode 2. A bit of research on many Star Wars fan sites unearthed back stories of the XX-chromosome padawans, knights, and mistresses such as Aayla Secura, Luminara Unduli and Barriss Offee, who met a bloody and violent end at the hands of the Empire (the battlefield death of Jedi she-ro Secura is briefly shown in Episode 3). Both the wonderful 2003 Cartoon Network Clone Wars series and the 2008 summer Clone Wars flick brought the likes of spunky Ashoka Tano, the wise Unduli and the brave Barriss as well as the very fabulous double lightsabering Sithchick Asajj Ventress to the forefront.
Why it didn't make the Big List: Because we need more girls- good and bad! This entry, along with the Baxter pump, was the honorable mention most likely to make the list next year. With the 2008 TV series (which unfortunately I have yet to see- no cable) supposed to feature strong chicks like Mon Mothma, there is a potential for more female screen time.

An Edge and Christian Reunion in the WWE
Why it makes me smile: The Edge and Christian stuff during the Attitude era of wrestling was some of the best stuff out there. The two slackergoths (portrayed brilliantly by childhood bro-friends Adam Copeland [Edge] and Jason Reso [Christian]) invented the infamous Five Second Pose and endlessly screwed the babyface teams out of Tag Team gold by using tables, ladders and chairs as weapons of mass destruction. In 2005 Reso left WWE for competing TNA Wrestling (receiving a huge push as Christian Cage) and Copeland went on to be the WWE Champ and resident himbo, bedding the likes of Lita and the widow of Eddie Guerrerro Vicki Guerrerro who in the Smackdown storyline is in charge of the friday night special (the majority of the skits featuring the pair in various states of undress are absolutely cringeowrthy). Reso, who was on good terms with the WWE when he left, is making a comeback in WWE throughout 2009, and the internet buzz is that a reunion is in the works.
Why it didn't make the Big List: The WWE is, unfortunately, as unpredictable as a ruling in favor of gay marriage. The internet buzz is as credible as Scott Peterson's alibi for Christmas Eve. If this was to happen, a lot of factors could influence the flow of the storyline. Wrestling is a business focused making their fortune by putting fangirl (and boy) asses like mine in arena seats. If the reunion gimmick doesn't sell tickets, it will have a very short life span. Also a factor is the backstage politics that give pushes to some wrestlers while others are left by the wayside. Rumors circled around the time that Copeland won the belt that the other main heel, Triple H (who in real life is married to WWE heir Stephanie McMahon) wasn't too thrilled about Edge getting all the heat. (So far I have found very little credible sources that corroborate this info). Nonetheless, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there will be Five Second Poses for many moons to come.

The Neighbor Kids
Why they make me smile: Because they add some life to the place. The ringleaders appear to be R and A, two spunky brothers who moved in next door right before school started. They bravely approached and introduced themselves to us on moving day, and since then they've always been precocious in a non-annoying way (most of the time). Our other neightbor, Baby A, has grown up to the point where he can toddle around with Fee(That's the other reason they make me smile- they love that little weiner). Halloween was a blast this year as a result. And of course, the best thing about the neighbor kids is that they don't live here!
Why they didn't make the Big List: Sigh. Kids are unpredictable as, well, the WWE. They also grow up. The whole terrible twos and mouthy fours are visible on the horizon for Baby A, and pretty soon the other kids will grow up to be teens. Yikes. But that's still a long way off. Also, they have a really bad and scary habit of continuing to play/jump/ride bikes around my white knuckled homeward-bound navigation of my Civic in the cul-de-sac. I try to gently remind them that they are small children and my Civic is a large car, and a collision between the two would be really really sucky, but so far the plea has fallen on small deaf ears. (Please watch for them if you come and visit during prime play hours.)

My Mom
Why she makes me smile: Singlehandedly sounded the call for our fam to scale back Christmas just a tad this year so those of us feeling the ill effects of the economic craptoonery would still be able to participate in the holidays.
Why she didn't make the Big List: Because that's just too much power- like I wanna give her even more than she already has! Duh!


I love this list! I have never been to Colony, but I'll have to seek it out when I'm in the RVA next!

I know there are places that will dealcoholise wine for you, I remember watching a cooking show hosted by a recovering alcoholic and he was always using different wines that he'd had dealcoholised. I'll have to snoop around for more info.
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