Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Fri, Nov 30 2007

Giving is fun

It sounds as though shopping online was popular on Cyber Monday, at least in the electronics department. I have heard a lot of people say they are cutting back on purchases this season as far as what they're buying for adults. And a lot of the shopping they're doing for children is strictly on a rock-bottom bargain basis, whether it's a purchase online or in a brick-and-mortar store.

It might be a good thing that we're all being more careful, especially if it means we're spending more time thinking about the general spirit of the season than about how many things we can give to people who have nowhere to put the accumulated objects they already have around the house. I actually know folks who go out and buy additional items throughout the year because they have so much stuff stashed away in so many places that they can't find any of it.

If your family has agreed that the gift giving has to calm down a bit this year there's no reason to miss out on the fun of shopping. Give a kitchen shower to a nearby church or a domestic violence shelter. Buy toys to donate to Toys for Tots or a similar organization of your choice. Exchanging gifts is fun, but giving gifts to those we know can't reciprocate in kind is a great way to bring the season's true meaning into sharper focus.

posted at: 09:52 | category: /Religious and Spiritual | link to this entry

Thu, Nov 29 2007

Entire courtroom occupants jailed, some shackled

I do hope the judge who jailed everyone in the court room understands that he was the one out of order and out of control. It's one thing to be human and fuss about people not following the rules, but to detain an entire roomful of people over one cell phone makes me wonder if Judge Restaino is in the right frame of mind to preside over cases at all. I hope he takes some time to get a handle on his personal life before he appeals to be reinstated.

posted at: 14:46 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Wed, Nov 28 2007

Santa Cruz named a surfing hot spot once again

You may be familiar with the rivalry between Santa Cruz and Huntington Beach when it comes to being titled "Surf City, USA". Santa Cruz has wowed the crowds again when it comes to the world of surfing. The city ranks 6th, according to Transworld Surf magazine, and was the only U.S. city named among the Top Ten in the world.

posted at: 08:25 | category: /Playing | link to this entry

Tue, Nov 27 2007

More gloom and doom

There was more bad news this morning concerning home sales and consumer confidence. I can never figure out whether the numbers accurately reflect consumer doubt or whether consumers have been reacting to the last set of negative reports. Doubt often begets doubt.

posted at: 07:52 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Mon, Nov 19 2007

Thanksgiving brings out the foodie in everyone

Everyone seems to be talking turkey this week. Have you seen the Turkey Cannon? By the way, I have to say that's a pretty forward-thinking product from a show that always makes me think of very old-fashioned ways of living.

The only other topic that has come up more than turkey seems to be stuffing. People all seem to have their favorite recipes for it. My spouse doesn't care for stuffing at all. And yet, each time someone else makes stuffing for him they assure him that he will love theirs. He never does. I think it's the sage that gets to him, but he also says he doesn't see the value of wet bread stuffed up a fowl's behind. I have to agree when it comes to wet stuffing. I like stuffing to be light and airy, almost as though someone broke up light toast and put it into the mixture at the last moment.

If you do happen to be adventurous with stuffing you can probably find one you like. There are recipes for it that contain everything from cheese to prunes.

Whether you indulge in a vegetarian feast or a brined bird with all the trimmings, I hope you enjoy this week of Thanksgiving. I'm especially mindful of our service people who may be far from home this week. We appreciate them more than words can say.

I'll be on a bit of a hiatus until next Monday.

posted at: 09:44 | category: /Food | link to this entry

Fri, Nov 16 2007

Writing, wresting and resting

Writers rarely get that thing called a long weekend. In fact, most of the time we're trying to write in little twists of time that we wrest away from other tasks, even when we've planned to make writing the main task of the day. Please enjoy the writings of the blogs listed on the right side of this site while I attempt to reconcile the available amount of time left to me today with the mounting list of tasks vying for a spot in the top five slots. What I really need is a good nap. Ah, but the Sabbath comes in just a few hours. I'll be very ready to curl up on its comfort.

posted at: 10:29 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Thu, Nov 15 2007

Why we should always format new hard drives

As if we haven't had enough woes over merchandise coming out of China, it appears that some of Seagate's Maxtor hard drives have been getting to customers with a little unwanted added value. It's frustrating that those who would exploit technology for their own gain always seem to move so much faster than the average user of that technology can stay informed. Many of us have to spend a lot of time just learning the basics of how to use new technology. If I have to take time to become an expert on every kind of sabotage imaginable, I might as well go back to pen and paper. In spite of all the modern advances in communications, both those items still maintain a comfortable spot in society.

posted at: 10:32 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Wed, Nov 14 2007

Busy time for strawberry workers

It might sound crazy to those of you who have to worry about things like a frost line this time of year, but commercial strawberry planting has begun on the Central Coast. Our winter wet season helps the plants establish themselves for a tasty spring crop of fruit. But a lot of other states' commercial growers are discovering the merits of starting strawberry plants in the fall and letting them rest in the ground over winter. Growers simply need to provide proper mulch to protect the crowns of the plants. And the plants may need to be put in a few weeks earlier in cold climates. Home gardners might have trouble finding young plants in September, but hopefully the tendency for commercial growers to plant in the fall will eventually make it easier for home gardners to find plants of their own to plant and let rest over the winter season.

No matter what one has to do to get some fresh strawberries now and then, it seems to be worth it. Whether you slice them up and top with whipped cream for shortcake, dip them in chocolate or just grab one by the stem and enjoy a berry all by itself, there are very few things in life that are as healthy to get hooked on as fresh strawberries.

posted at: 09:06 | category: /Food | link to this entry

Tue, Nov 13 2007

No maritime accident is insignificant

It's been very difficult for those of us who live in this area to watch the truth unfold over the oil spill from the Cosco Busan, which ran into the Bay Bridge last week. It's too late to prevent this particular incident, so the finger-pointing has begun on the part of politicians and others. What I hope comes from all this is a new effort to treat every maritime accident as an emergency until further investigation proves otherwise. I think we'd all much rather have a bit of overkill in the rescue and clean-up departments than watch one of the most beautiful coastal areas in the world suffer environmental damage for decades to come.

posted at: 08:53 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Mon, Nov 12 2007

Should Pennsylvania (or any other state) decide who is worthy to preside over a marriage?

Classical Values had an interesting post yesterday. How should a state view the ordination of ministers when it comes to marriages performed in that state? And if a state gives itself the right to declare ordination legitimate only when it was obtained from traditional institutions, what would prevent that state from excluding this or that brick-and-mortar institution based on this-or-that individual teaching?

posted at: 09:21 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Fri, Nov 09 2007

In the event of an emergency, pull the handle for a fake press conference

Well, we all know you can't make up better news than the real news brings forth, particularly when the real news is about keeping out real journalists and inserting fake ones. I can't imagine how folks really think they will get away with such things. They might have saved face a wee bit if they had told everyone that they had no time for a real press conference and had simply issued a simple statement until they could make time for a real press conference. I suppose one can hope to fool some of the people some of the time, or at least once. Fooling anyone may be more difficult after everyone discovers your game.

If such a government agency exists mainly to operate as one big public relations machine, we might be better off cutting off the funding for that agency, closing it down and spending our tax dollars on emergency worker programs that still spend most of their time and energy actually assisting people in emergencies.

posted at: 08:38 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Thu, Nov 08 2007

How much of your donated dollar should a paralyzed veteran get?

I already wrote off Paralyzed Veterans of America as a worthy charity. That being said, I wasn't really surprised to read on Trent Stamp's blog that this particular organization is not sending a big percentage of collected money to paralyzed veterans.

I've repeatedly torn up their snail mail material and sent it back to them, asking to be taken off their mailing lists. I continue to get occasional requests from them.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has apparently not yet heard about the small percentage of funds that the organization actually uses for paralyzed veterans, compared to the large percentage it uses on telemarketing and other fund-raising techniques. So there may be many others who are not yet aware of these figures.

If we want to be responsible stewards of what passes through our hands in this life, we have a moral obligation to educate ourselves on the best way to share money through organizations that reflect that same sense of stewardship. If you want to send your contributions to Paralyzed Veterans of America, go ahead. I just encourage you to be informed about what they actually do with your contributions.

posted at: 08:50 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Wed, Nov 07 2007

Amanda vs. premium text message service: Where should the responsibility fall?

When the Red Tape Chronicles' Bob Sullivan talked about a man's developmentally disabled 18-year-old daughter running up his Sprint cell phone bill to almost ten thousand dollars, the responses in the comments were interesting. People took turns blaming the daughter, the father, Sprint and the third-party, premium text provider.

This looks like a tough situation, and the father may have to fall back on whatever his state's laws are concerning his guardianship over his daughter. The whole thing highlights the challenges we all have as new technology rushes into our lives, sometimes so quickly that we barely take time to understand or process the consequences of using these conveniences.

posted at: 07:56 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Tue, Nov 06 2007

Chopper notes

I'm a big fan of helicopters. I find the idea that one could be launched from a submarine fascinating. For those of you who are even bigger fans in a technical sense, you might want to head to Houston next February to attend Heli-Expo.

By the way, if I'm going to listen to AC/DC music, this is how I want to do it.

posted at: 10:07 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Mon, Nov 05 2007

Knee-jerk lane changers and white line straddlers

(I think I made up that last word in the title, but it fits.) We saw several distracted drivers over the weekend and several others who were just plain selfish. I kept wishing I had brought along the video camera to record their behavior. But not everyone who was doing bad things with cars was actually driving. When we popped out for a Taco Bell run yesterday evening we passed a rather downtrodden-looking neighborhood and saw 3 or 4 young men out in the dark, charging their car battery&emdash;with an electric cord they had stretched from a house across the road. Are these people longing to exit this life with a Darwin award?

Then my friend sent me a link to this great video I had seen once before, but which underscored the type of ignorance and rudeness on the part of drivers we saw throughout the weekend. You've probably seen the video, but go have another look. Was it staged? I really don't know. But if you find yourself watching the older lady with vicarious satisfaction, you'll be joining a cast of (at least) thousands.

posted at: 08:34 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Fri, Nov 02 2007

A day to enjoy

I am enjoying a birthday of mild temperatures and hazy sunshine today, so there will be no heavy-duty blogging. Please browse one or more of the excellent blogs listed on the right (no political bent intended) side of this web site.

posted at: 11:31 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Thu, Nov 01 2007

Does money have nothing to do with wealth?

I appreciated what one online article reported concerning consumer confidence. Stephen Gallagher was quoted as saying, "The sense of wealth is very important, not just the actual wealth itself."

I had begun to think I was a bit daft because I keep hearing news reports of an upbeat attitude toward the overall economy in America. But many of the people I talk to are afraid. Their earning power is less now than it was even a few years ago. Some are either unemployed or are in a job that they fear will be eliminated at any moment. Some are working, but are working for less pay than they were a few years ago or are having more withheld from their paychecks for health insurance. Many have dipped into their savings and are worried about what they're going to do when it's time to retire or when their health might no longer enable them to work full-time. Some are feeling an obligation to help their adult children with financial assistance or are helping to assist elderly parents. The aged among us are living longer, but that also means their lifetime cost of living is higher. Advancement in medicine has given many a longer life, which is wonderful. But this also means that more joint replacements, heart surgery and other expensive procedures are often performed during that time. I just haven't been seeing all this positive outlook on the economy when it comes to each individual's situation.

Are the people who are afraid for the future being overly pessimistic? Or are those who see the economy as healthy in denial? Maybe it's a bit of both. Whatever the case, I meet more and more people who are not confident that they can stretch their money into next year—much less into the Golden Years.

posted at: 10:29 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
and cattle rustlin'! Lightning may strike
such varmints when they least expect it!