Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Harry Potter & Reading

I've always suspected that HP has had a great impact on more children and teenagers, and possibly young adults, reading (a cause I very much support!). Here are some of the results of a study on kid's reading attitude and behaviors Scholastic has released:

- 51% of HP readers, aged 5-17, say they had not read before for fun
- 65% say they're now doing better in school as a result of their newfound interest in reading
- More boys than girls read the books (57% vs. 51%) (surprising, seeing as more girls than boys visit MuggleNet)
- 62% of boys felt it important to read the books to feel "in" with their friends while only 44% of girls felt the same
- Almost 60% of 9 to 11-year-olds have read the books; 70% are interested in re-reading them
- 63% of 12 to 14-year-olds have read the books; 69% are interested in re-reading them
- 57% of 15 to 17-year-olds have read the books; 60% are interested in re-reading them

ATTENTION!
Beginning December 29, 2006, the first three HP movies will no longer be available to buy in DVDs. GoF won't be pulled from shelves until February 9, 2007. So buy your copies now if you haven't already! Currently, there is no word on any plans to rerelease in the future.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

You want to do what?!

I went to see the doctor this morning. Because I've recently moved to Dallas, this would be a new doctor for me. I explained to him a pain I sometimes get in my right side. It's a sharp, stabbing pain that I get with no regularity and it only lasts a minute or two. After he asked some questions about the pain, he told me he suspected it had something to do with my gall bladder. And he told me about a series of tests he wants to do to determine it's some horribly unpronounceable medical name relating to my gall bladder. Then he says, we might have to surgically remove it. What?! But there's nothing to worry about. Because apparently he's had two other female patients who complained about a similar pain and have had their gall bladders removed and they're just fine. And still I'm thinking: you want to do what?! So I gave the bloodsuckers in the lab some of the high quality stuff and now I have to schedule an ultra-sound. Man, I hope I don't come back from that ultra-sound and find out I'm pregnant!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Thoughts for Today

Women and aging gracefully.
I was in this meeting the other day with a very prominent public relations professional in Dallas named Stan. Now Stan's been in the game for a long time so it's safe to assume he's in his early to mid 60s. His wife helped him start his firm back in the day. So it's also safe to assume that's she's not exactly a young'un either. Well when she walked in towards the back end of the meeting I was stunned. She looked younger than I had expected. But as soon as I saw her hands I realized what the buggaboo was. She definitely had a face lift and/or botox. Not to mention her lips. They were definitely Goldie Hawn lips. But her hands gave her away. Why go through all the time and money of getting your face to look 20 years younger just to have you hands reveal your real age? Why can't some women realize that there is no shame in getting older: everyone does it.

Men and bald spots.
I have season tickets to the summer show at Bass Hall with my parents. At the show this week, there was a man who sat in front of us wearing the loudest shirt and sporting the worst combover I've ever seen. Bald or balding men can be sexy. But what is most definitely NOT sexy is a combover. I guess some men prefer to hide the fact that they're getting older too. That shame isn't limited to women.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Steve Jobs is my least favorite person

My worst fears were confirmed today. I took my iPod into the Apple store today. And the guy at the Genius Bar said my harddrive is completely dead. So I have three options; actually I guess four.
» They can replace my iPod with the same model for $249.» I can give my iPod to the iPod Recycling program and receive 10 percent off of a new iPod of my choice.» I can try iPod Rescue, a non-Apple company that supposedly fixes iPods. The price I don't know yet.» I can either buy another brand of mp3 players or don't do anything.


My complaint with all of this is the iPod Recycling program. I don't have a problem with the actual recycling, in fact I think that's pretty brilliant. It's the discount, well not the discount itself but the amount of the discount. I buy an iPod and spend several hundred dollars on the Apple product. It dies on me and, let's say, I decide to buy a new one. I'm staying loyal to the Apple brand and participating in the recycling program. Why shouldn't I get a bigger discount for being such a loyal customer? It's a crock of shit. I understand that Apple is a for-profit company, but they can afford to give a little bigger discount for customers returning to the Apple family.

The good news though: the Genius behind the Bar didn't think it was the AM/FM transmitter that caused my harddrive to die. In his words, they're destined to die at some point. He doesn't believe the transmitter caused it in anyway. I'll still be wary of using it again (if I ever get another iPod), but it's still good to know!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Katie Couric

Yesterday I received a call from an account executive with CBS Channel 11 Dallas. This was a contact I had only met last week through a series of quick events. Anywho, he invited myself and my boss to a fundraising luncheon today for the American Cancer Society where Katie Couric would serve as the keynote speaker. Of course we said yes. Someone invites you to a luncheon where Katie Couric is speaking and we dont have to pay for the price of the plate, wed be fools to turn it down. Katie is one of a small group of people I would do just about anything to hear speak in person. The only other woman (alive that is) that ranks as high as Katie on my list (if not higher) would be Oprah. And Ill admit it, this being my first fundraiser of this caliber I was a bit nervous, especially considering the distinct possibility of having to fend off sales people by myself as my boss might not have made it (but lucky for me he did). Still over all, the program did not disappoint. It moved quickly and Katie was incredible to hear speak in person. Her speech centered around her personal story with her husband dying from colon cancer and her sister from pancreatic cancer with most of the time spent on her experience with her husband. This was a story I vaguely knew but she went through the details of the first doctors visit, the warning signs they ignored, etc. She emphasized her efforts since his death to raise public awareness for colon cancer and for early detection. And she said something that I had never thought of before: To not take care of yourself, to think of yourself as immortal and not get the screening you should, is selfish. There are people that love you and depend on you that would be crushed if something happened to you. And to ignore your health is selfish. She apparently can't stand when people say So-and-so survived because he had the will to live. Cemeteries are filled with people who had the will to live, but luck and biology werent on their sides. Her goal was to get more people comfortable talking about colon cancer. And I would say she accomplished that especially considering her on air colonoscopy on The Today Show. Apparently, the prep is worse than the test, but then we wont have cameras on us during the procedure watching our every move. You have to admire her determination to raise the awareness and increase the number of people who receive the test. She has stayed consistent in her message. Even nearly 9 years after her husband died, you can tell it still as a big effect on her. Her ending comment after accepting a pair of cowboy boots for the open invitation to the Cattle Barrons Ball was all-Katie: Just think, the next time you tell a friend to stick it where the sun dont shine, youll be doing a good thing. Katie is as personable and down-to-earth as she appears on TV and all-in-all, it was a good experience and a lot of fun. And when she said she cared about all of us, I actually believed her (although if I hadn't seen her in person I might not have) because she's that sincere (Call me naive if you must).