Jennifer D. Wade Journal

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Blog posts June 2008

21 Years Ago - Part II

June 29, 1987.  My official last day/night in Leeds.  My friends from Tetley Hall certainly made it a memorable 24 hours - right up until I boarded a bus for London.  Here are some pictures.

The day began with a train ride from Leeds to York, where we ended up at a tea room ...

... where Kate, Maelie and Lindsey did their best to look sophisticated.  Maelie and Lindsey lived across the corridor from me at Tetley Hall.  Kate lived at Tetley the year before and became friends with Maelie and Lindsey.

After we had our fill of tea, we headed off to the Friargate Wax Museum.  I've learned that the place closed sometime during the late '90s.  That's unfortunate, because it means that ...

... no one will ever take a picture like this again - at least not in this particular coffin at this particular wax museum.  That's me - wearing makeup and some decent clothes because Maelie, Kate and Lindsey thought it would be really funny if I got dressed up and they didn't (see previous photo).  They thought that making me wear a cheap, tacky plastic necklace would make it even funnier.

After the wax museum, we returned to Leeds and lived it up at a bingo parlor called the Top Rank Club.  None of us had ever been there before, so none of us knew what the hell we were doing when it came to playing bingo.  But, the drinks were cheap and that was really the only thing that mattered.

Finally, we returned to Tetley Hall so I could change into my travelling clothes and get ready for the long trip home.  Of course, we managed to squeeze in a few more pictures .. and a few more drinks.

The party continued in Maelie's room where we set the automatic timer on our cameras and then piled on to Maelie's bed.  There's Andre (with his face being covered by) John, me (holding a cup of sparkling wine and still wearing the cheap plastic necklace and the t-shirt that I bought the night before at the Genesis concert), Maelie, Lindsey, and Kate.

Ultimately, as we had on several nights before, we ended up in the corridor, shooting the sh*t until it was time for me to leave.

By this point, I think you know everyone except for Nicky in the purple sweater and Anita in the blue.

I called for a cab to take me to the bus station and they came outside to wait with me.  I thought that would be the end of it.  Good-bye for good.  But, it wasn't.  Not only did a cab take me to the bus station but, unbeknownst to me, my friends had ordered separate cabs and secretly followed me there.  There were more hugs and good-byes and a few parting gifts (a plastic Union Jack and a cheap book about the royal family).  Then, I was off. 

It may have been 21 years ago, but it still seems like yesterday.  Cheers.

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21 Years Ago

21 years ago tonight, I was at Roundhay Park in Leeds with a couple of friends and about 50,000 other people I didn't know.  We were all there for a concert.  It was Genesis with their Invisible Touch tour.  Paul Young was the opening act.  He was OK.  Genesis was good.

The next day, some of my other friends took me to a wax museum in York then back to Leeds to play bingo.  It was actually much tackier than it sounds.  Brilliant!  That was my going away party before I headed for London and the flight home from my junior year abroad.  I'll try to dig up a picture and post that tomorrow.

Now, give it up for Phil and the boys - live from Wembley (1986!)

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It's Always Something

Here's the thing about owning a home.  It's always something.  Nothing is ever perfect.  As soon as you take care of one thing, there's another thing.

Which is why, if you own a house, you gotta have a guy.

You may recall that last year, I had a contractor remodel my post-flood Seventies bathroom.  Well, recently, the recently installed toilet started having a problem.  Two problems, actually.  Water leaked out from the bottom, and there also seemed to be a small leak in the tank.

So, I called my guy.

My guy is great.  I hooked up with him when I was in the process of buying the house.  My realtor met him through another client, I think, and then she got him to come over to the soon-to-be my house to see what needed fixing.  Based on his estimates, I got some money knocked off the final sale price.  After the deal closed, I had him come over and fix the stuff.  After that, there was different stuff, so I just kept calling him.  From frozen pipes to sputtering lawnmowers, he's my guy.

Anyway, back to the toilet.  My guy came over yesterday and said the main problem with the toilet had to do with the wax ring that it sits on.  I gather that the one the contractor used wasn't big enough.  So, my guy went to get one that is big enough.  He came back, put in the ring, and re-seated the toilet.

That's when he realized that the base of the toilet isn't quite flush (I know) with the recently installed tile floor.  He says I need a shim.  And, some separate part to take care of the leak in the tank.  He needed to go get those.

I said, OK. But, why don't you come back in a couple days.  That's when another guy will be here to put in some replacement windows.

It's always something. 

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Passing Grade

When I was in high school, I took the SAT three times.  Once in the spring of my sophomore year and twice in my junior year.  Two of those times I scored higher on the math part than on the verbal part.  On the second of those two occasions, the math part was actually 80 points higher than the verbal part!

Such was not the case Friday morning when I took the College Placement Test for LCCC.  No, my math skills are rusty and, I think, out of date!

The test began with a surprise.  A typing test!  Lucky for me that I pretty much type for a living.  The test consisted of typing two designated paragraphs at a speed of 27 w.p.m. or better while making 8 or fewer errors.  We had three minutes.  My final score - 35 w.p.m., three errors.  The proctor asked if I wanted to try again.  Huh?

Next was the writing test, which we had to do in long hand.  We had 30 minutes to write a few paragraphs about one of three designated topics.  Not a problem.

Then, we moved to a computer for reading comprehension, grammar and math.  Here are my scores:

  • Reading Comprehension:  119.53 (99th percentile)
  • Sentence Skills:  119.93 (99th percentile)
  • Elementary Algebra:  107.81 (95th percentile)
  • College Level Math:  38.13 (71st percentile)

Here's how it panned out.  The reading and sentence part was no trouble.  The elementary algebra was harder and took longer than I expected.  But, I seem to have done OK.  The College Level Math, well, that's a different story.

First of all, I wasn't expecting sines, cosines, etc. to be on the test since the woman on the phone said no calculators were allowed (not that a calculator would have helped).  Secondly, there were a few symbols that looked vaguely familiar and a few more symbols that I didn't recognize at all.  And, thirdly, I was not in a good mood after the algebra part, so I was in no mood for another part, especially one involving calculus and trigonometery (not that being in a better mood would have helped). 

So, the situation being what it was, I did what any reasonable person would do.  I guessed.  I turned to the basic rules of multiple choice tests:  When in doubt, pick "c."  Or "1."  Or "0."  Yeah, that's what I did.  And still managed to score in the 71st percentile.

Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.

Now, on a different subject ...

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Rock the School

I've been brushing up on my math skillz for my upcoming COLLEGE ASSESSMENT TEST.  As I mentioned earlier, I reckon I can manage the reading and writing part.  But, the math?  Well, since calculators are not allowed, I figure they're not going to be asking about sines and cosines and tangents and all that.  However, perimeters and volumes seem like a possibility.  I found a website (MATH.COM.  Who would have guessed?) that covers some of the basic formulas.  So, I've spent some time - OK, a very small amount of time - going over some of the more common formulas.

The test is Friday.  Wish me luck.

Where is Schoolhouse Rock when I really need it????

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OK, This is Weird

Fifth foot in shoe washes ashore in Canada

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, June 17 (UPI) --

Canadian police in British Columbia were examining the fifth human foot, clad in a running shoe, found washed ashore from the Pacific Ocean in months.

The discovery of the left foot was made by a couple walking the beach on Westham Island Monday morning about 12 miles south of Vancouver, the National Post reported.

Investigators with the Delta Police criminal investigation section are working with the British Columbia Coroners Service and other forces to see if it is linked to the previous four cases, the Globe and Mail reported.

The previous four finds had been right feet in sneakers, found within about 60 miles of each other and none appeared to have been forcibly severed from legs, the Post said.

The provincial coroner's office hasn't been able to match DNA from the first three feet to missing persons reports in the province, the Post said.

Before Monday, the last foot was found May 22, a was found on an uninhabited piece of land less than 1 mile from Westham Island, the reports said.

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From the Mouths of Babes

I had occasion to be the beautiful Lehigh Valley this evening which gave me the opportunity to listen to my favorite radio station for a few minutes.  I tuned in around 7:13 pm, which meant that I got to hear a few minutes of my favorite program - KIDS CORNER!

I love listening to Kids Corner on WXPN because it's a great show.  It's educational yet entertaining, even for adults, and the host, Kathy O'Connell, never talks down to the kids who call in.  Plus, you never know what those kids are going to say.

Case in point, tonight.  Since it's the day after Father's Day, Kathy invited kids to call in and share something about their dads, like why each kid though his/her dad was special or neat.

I heard two calls before the signal faded.  The first call was from a girl in King of Prussia.  She said her dad is special because he owns a comic book store.  Kathy said, "Wow! That's neat!" and the girl said, yeah, it is because she gets to read all the comic books for free.

The second call came from a girl in Havertown.  When Kathy asked her what was special about her dad, the girl said, "He got hit by a car three times.  And survived."

Kathy, in her unflappable, not talking down to kids way, said, "Wow!  That first part must have been scary!"

The girl answered, "No, I didn't see it."

You just can't make this stuff up.

As an added bonus, here's an example of something Kathy plays on Kids Corner. 

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The Call

God!  It's been ages since I thought about this band.  They had a few hits in the 80s.  I even saw them in concert once at Stabler Arena; they opened for Simple Minds.  Hey!  I said it was the 80s!

Anyway, I was driving in to work this morning, listening to my FAVORITE college radio station, and they played a song from The Call.  I decided it pretty much sums up how I feel about the state of things in general right now.  The song came out 25 years ago.  It seems not much has changed.

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Testing, Testing

Better start sharpening pencils and stocking up on pens.  This fall, I'm going back to school.  Provided I can pass the test, that is.

Here's the deal.  I want to take one specific course - just one - at the local community college.  So, when the flyer arrived in the mail a few weeks ago, I cut out the requisite application, filled out the requisite information, indicated which specific course I wanted to take, and enclosed the requisite check.

I heard nothing until yesterday, when I received a letter saying that I had been accepted and could I please send another check as a deposit on my tuition. (Pay no attention to the fact that they still haven't cashed the first check.  What kind of college is this???)

The letter also mentioned that I have to take a "college assessment test" so that my counselor and I can select an appropriate course schedule.  Well, the appropriate course schedule will be the ONE specific course that I want to take.  But, never mind.  My counselor and I will discuss that later.

Anyway, the letter said my test would be in the afternoon.  That doesn't work with my work schedule, so I called the school to reschedule.  I also asked the woman on the phone what exactly this assessment test involves.  She said it starts with a writing assignment (in long hand, I'm guessing.  I wonder if I'll get a blue book?).  Then, I move over to a computer where I'll be tested on reading comprehension and on different levels of math.  Calculators are not allowed.

Well, considering that I have a BA (with honors) in English & Written Communications and 20 years experience as a journalist, I reckon I'll manage to muddle through the reading and writing parts.  As for the math part, maybe all that geometry, trigonometry, and calculus I took in high school and college will finally come in handy. 

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Post-game Analysis

I apologize for a slight miscalculation.  The 11:55 PM start time I predicted for the news following last night's Celtics-Lakers game turned out to be more like 11:59:11 PM.  So sue me.

On the other hand, the late start gave us time to put together some fairly decent coverage of last night's storm. 

But, I still hate the NBA.

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It's Gonna be a Late One

Have I mentioned lately how much I hate the NBA, especially the playoffs?  No?  Well, I've kept my disdain under wraps these past several months.  But, I certainly made my feelings clear HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE.  Even this year's throw-back matchup between the Celtics and Lakers is not enough to change my mind.

I mention all this because, tonight, the regular 11PM producer is going to a concert.  So, while game 2 3 of the National Boring Association finals is on ABC, I will be producing the 11PM news.  It will no doubt turn out to be more like the 11:55PM news.  Ugh.

Damn Dave Matthews and his band. 

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My Six Cents

On this penultimate day of my vacation, I went to see a movie and, on my way home, stopped at Starbucks.  The tab at Starbucks came to $4.56.

I fished a $5 bill out of my wallet and handed it to the clerk.  I then said, "I think have have six cents," and proceeded to get a nickel and a penny out of the change compartment.

As I tried to give the six cents to the clerk, she said, "That's OK.  I already rang it up."  Sure enough, when I looked at the register, it said my change from the $5 was $0.44.

I thought about saying something, but then thought better of it.  I mean, what could I say?  She already rang it up.

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As you may recall from the previous entry, I bought an mp3 player and am now in the process of learning how to use it.  It has an FM radio, and adding presets was pretty straightforward.  However, actually adding songs to a playlist, well, that's a different matter.

Anyway, I figured that I would start by ripping music from an actual CD onto the player.  And, since I'm using the player during my recently started workouts, I want music with some energy and a good beat.  This afternoon, I went in search of such music.

I had a coupon for Barnes & Noble, so I figured I'd start there.  But, when I walked back to the section where the music is, I realized that there didn't seem to be as much music as there was before.  (I guess that explains the big CD sale they had a few months ago.)  Now, the bulk of the space seems to be taken up by DVDs.  But, there is still an area for CDs and, at the very end of that area, I found a few compilations of recently released dance music.  Thing is, I didn't recognize any of the songs.  I also didn't recognize many of the artists.  Britney Spears seemed to have a song on each CD, but I refuse to buy anything with her name on it.

So, I left B&N and headed for Best Buy, hoping that they might have a bigger selection.  They did, but still, most of the names were unfamiliar.  After several minutes of deliberation, I settled on something called "Total Dance 2008" which is mixed by America's #1 DJ (allegedly), someone known as DJ Skribble.  Whatever.  The first track on the CD is from Fergie (and yes, I do know that she's not the Duchess of York).  There are also a few other tracks from people that I've at least heard of - Hillary Duff, Kelly Clarkson, Diddy, and Fall Out Boy.  But there are also tracks from Cascada, Kelis, and Bob Sinclair (what is someone named Bob Sinclair doing on a CD with the likes of Fergie and Diddy and Mims and Cupid?  I mean, c'mon.  Bob Sinclair?)

It seemed promising, so I shelled out the $14.00.  But, just in case, I bought a back-up - the Ramones Greatest Hits!  You can't go wrong with the Ramones.  You just can't.

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Day 7

Time for another vacation update.  I still have three days to go, but the first seven days have been relaxing - and productive!

  • Took clothes to the dry cleaners.  Check.
  • Picked up clothes from the dry cleaners.  Check.
  • Laundry finished.  Check.
  • Ironing finished.  Check.
  • Yardwork finished.  Check.
  • Joined a gym.  Check.
  • Worked out. Check.
  • More than once. Check.
  • Watched softball.  Check.
  • Cleaning finished.  Check.
  • Restocked wine supply.  Check.
  • Painted the back steps. Check (though I may add a third coat later).
  • Finished reading a book.  Check.
  • Started reading another book.  Check.
  • Bought an mp3 player.  Check.
  • Learned how to use the mp3 player.  Working on it.

And, as an extra added bonus, it seems that I still have some freon left in the old AC.  I'm hoping I'll be able to get through the summer without adding any more since I plan to replace it next year anyway.  It's looking like the next week or so will be a pretty good test.

Well, in honor of this being the seventh day of my vaca ... how about some White Stripes to mark the occasion! 


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This is Gonna Hurt

So, I finally went to the gym today.  I did some aerobic exercise, and some weight work.  I feel OK now, but tomorrow morning?  Well, that could be another story.  Just consider it my punishment for staying away so long. 

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Advantage ASU

The Women's College World Series is winding down.  Game one of the championship series just ended with a 3-0 Arizona State win over Texas A&M.  One more win, and ASU will be the national champions.

One of the interesting side stories is that after the series is over, the two rival pitchers will be teammates.  ASU's Katie Burkhart and A&M's Megan Gibson were both drafted by the PHILADELPHIA FORCE.  I'll definitely have to make sure I catch a game or two this summer.

While I'm here, here's a little vacation update for you.

Day 3 (Sunday) was spent working in the yard.  All the weeds have been pulled; one of the shrubs or bushes or plants - like I know what it is - whatever it is, it's been trimmed; and the dirt has been raked.

Day 4 - I managed to get one coat of paint on the wooden steps leading up to the back door.  The painting didn't take very long, but the directions said to wait 24 hours before adding a second coat.  So, I think I will head to the gym in the morning, then add the second coat in the afternoon.  So much fun.      

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