Monday, March 27, 2006



I’m sorry to say that I am done blogging….. at!

Please visit my brand new home at

(also, please update your blogroll if I’m on it.)

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Friday, March 24, 2006


Yay for me!  For all the chatter about Satellite Radio…  I didn’t have to spend money afterall!  I got home today and my hubby had all wrapped up my new Sirius Sportster and boombox as a reward for the new job.  See that right there is why he’s the best husband in the world….
Posted by atpanda in 23:21:13 | Permalink | Comments (6)

Guess What! (again!)

That’s right Internet.  I GOT THE JOB!  I got the coolest job AND a huge crazy amount of money.  I just can’t even believe it.  Of all those qualified, experienced people I got the job. 

Now that I actually have the job, I’m feeling sad about my old job.  I really do love the people I work with (for the most part) and the job is never boring (to the point of being unbearable).  But when I told my manager about my new, great opportunity he basically lost it and told me that he was going to sabatoge my going to the new group by making a case for not being able to keep up with work without me.  Isn’t that vile?  He was totally awful about it.  The job is mine, but this jerk may keep me in my old job (at the old pay) for 90 days.  Makes me so certain that I’m making the right decision. 

And….  the MONEY!  *sigh*  I’m going to splurge and spend the extra $12.95/month and get satelite radio.  You have no idea what a big deal that is for me.  I love my money.  But every morning I drive to work and I see that green glow from on top of other drivers’ dashboards and I’m sure I’m the only person in the world sitting in traffic without satelite.  And Howard.  And Maxim channel.  And THREE NPR STATIONS.  So I’m going to bite the bullet and join the land of no commercials.  

Oh, and my diet goes much better when I have nothing to celebrate.  I met my brother for a celebratory drink at Hooters instead of going to the gym.    Then I ditched the 1500 calories thing and joined Bec and her hubby for pizza and wine at Sauce.  mmmm.  Oh the guilt…  I’ll be back on it tomorrow…. with the exception of that wedding with the open bar we’re going to…. Diets suck. 

I hope you’re all having equally crazy wonderful days!

Posted by atpanda in 03:00:35 | Permalink | Comments (8)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Photography Assignment – Light and Color

Well, shame on me.  I bitched and complained about my white on white assignment for class, and wouldn’t you know it… I learned a lot!  The first part of the assignment was to take a white object and move it into different lighting situations.  Here’s a little collection of some of the pictures I took.

Isn’t that interesting?  Look at how I got blue, yellow and cream all out of a pure white object.  Such a good assignment!

You ever wonder why sometimes you take a picture outside on a clear day and you end up with a gorgeous picture, but its tinted red?  Well sure, a talented Photoshopper can fix that, but who knew you could fix it in the camera?  Ok, you savy people do, but I didn’t, so the next part of the assignment was to play with White Balance functions in the camera.  We used the same object, in one location, and just changed the White Balance.  Very interesting.

So a question:  I have to write an ‘essay’ about color for my class next week and I have no idea what to do.  It can be about anything having to do with color.  The physics of light color, color blindness, animals that change colors, why some colors look better on some people…. anything.  Got any ideas?

Posted by atpanda in 02:18:27 | Permalink | Comments (10)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Beer and Shooting!

Well all, my favorite holiday has come and gone.  You’ve got to love a holiday where you don’t have to buy anyone anything, and the only requisite activity is…. DRINKING BEER.

Ryan and I went out with friends last night for beers and food.  (and side note… that is NOT wasted beer on my shirt.  It is baby spit.)

I just was thinking.  When was the last time a picture of me made an apperance on this website?  Yeah, not too often.  I’m not really good about handing off the camera.  I’ve got to do that more.

Speaking of someone who didn’t hand off his camera…  Ryan (and his new eyes!) drove me down to Tucson today to the University of Arizona to visit the Center for Creative Photography.  They have an exibit of Harry Callahan’s work right now and I love his pictures of his wife Eleanor and his daughter Barbara.  He took pictures of places and then just put his wife and daughter in the places as accent.  Here are two of my favorites:


Beautiful, huh?  I love his pictures of people, but I was surprised at all the odd pictures of buildings he had.  Not really that inspired, just pointed his camera at interesting buildings and shot.  Could I please do that and be a famous photographer?

Tomorrow I have to do a totally stupid assignment for my photography class.  Have I already talked about it?  Taking pictures of a white thing under different types of light?  Here’s my main issues with that:  I only want to take pictures which could turn out to be actual GOOD pictures.  I hate the idea of just taking pictures for the sake of learning my camera.  You know?  I know I have to do it to learn how my camera operates, but I want to do something interesting. 

Ryan’s been home for a full week and a day.  He goes back to work tomorrow and sadly I am not glad to have him go.  Miss that boy.  Right now we’re two beers and a shot in and we’re about to have a wild night of BBQ and That ’70s Show.  What could be better?

Oh, and before all the beer drinking this weekend, I’ve lost 4 pounds.  Celebrate with MORE BEER!  :-)

Posted by atpanda in 00:54:59 | Permalink | Comments (10)

Friday, March 17, 2006


Well, Ryan’s been all sliced open and shot with a laser.  And I got an all expenses paid vacation to the most boring waiting room in the medical world.  But!  No more Ryan in glasses!  (small pout, because look how adorable he is in glasses….)


So my little devil dog is at it again.  She is always disappearing, and yesterday we found her in the laundry basket. 

I’m telling you, we adopted the weirdest dog ever.  She is such a love to the point of annoying.  You’ll be watching TV and she’ll come and heavily plop her head on your leg then stare up at you with big eyes until you scratch behind her ears.  Then 5 minutes later you’ll reach down to pet her while she’s munching a bone and she’ll growl at you.  She’s just such a contradiction.  She wants love so badly but she is so defensive sometimes.  She has recently been banned from our bed for growling, and we have a whole routine now of feeding her dinner that takes about 15 minutes.  It really has gotten so much better though, and I’m convinced that all our hard work is finally paying off with her.

We have two dogs who were adopted from bad situations and they both have turned out to be wonderful pets.  Miss Mika was adopted from a filthy pound cell.  She’s scrawny and difficult, but she is the most loving dog I’ve ever met.  I love that when I walk over to give her a scratch she contorts herself into a doggy yoga position with her head on the ground and her butt up into the air. 

Before Karma came to us she was abused, burned with cigarettes, and thrown out of a car into the desert to die.  We adopted her from the Arizona Lab Rescue Society.  When we got her she was terrified of humans, and when we put her in a car she drooled all over herself.  But she has grown up, she’s no longer afraid of people, she’s thrilled to go on rides in the car, and she is the best dog ever.  Other than the fact that she would much rather curl up in a corner to sleep alone and she’s got a huge attitude problem, she always greets us at the door with a huge dog smile and will chase her tail to get attention.  If you’re sick or sad, Karma will curl up next to you on the bed and stay there.  Her head is so soft that you can’t help kissing it.

Not sure what this post is for other than the fact that we were just invited to a charity function for the Arizona Animal Welfare League, a no-kill shelter who does great things for homeless animals.  I can’t think of a cause I feel more strongly about.  I have volunteered for dog events more times than I can count and I am amazed by all the stories I’ve heard of people who have ‘saved’ animals who just wanted a home and a family.  I really feel like animals who are brought into a loving home after coming from a bad situation are more fiercely loyal and the experience of teaching them to expect to be hugged rather than hit is so rewarding. 

So, what’s your story?  Do you have a pet who came from a bad situation?  Write me a comment and include a link to a pic of your lucky pet. 

I’m off to check on the hubby.  If the flash wouldn’t bother his eyes, I would totally take a picture of him sleeping with his silly protective goggles on.  :-)

Posted by atpanda in 03:18:11 | Permalink | Comments (8)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Can’t SEE myself leaving this stupid waiting room any time this century

I’m sitting in the waiting room of the eye place waiting for Ryan to get out of surgery. I’ve been here since 12:30. It is now 4:40. He still hasn’t had the actual surgery yet. They just told me he’s sleeping comfortably in the back and that I can expect it to be at least another hour. Now how come they didn’t give ME a Valium and pour me into a bed while I waited too? So bored…..
Posted by atpanda in 23:38:49 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I’m Dreaming of a White March!

If you read any bloggers from Arizona, you’ll already know that we had a super freak storm this weekend.  I woke up on Saturday and it was raining for the first time in SIX months.  It rained all day non-stop, my backyard flooded, a well intentioned hairdo was ruined, and the mountains surrounding our desert were blanketed in snow.

Kind of weird with the drought-ridden brown desert at the base, huh?  Ryan and I drove up to 4 Peaks (along with half of Phoenix) to get our hands in some snow.  I discovered that it is near impossible to take a good picture of snowy mountains on a clear day.  It is such a treat for us to have snow all around Phoenix and it makes the mountains look like they are so close!  Just gorgeous.  Its all anyone in the whole state is talking about this week.  Arizonans obsess about their weather.

Ryan and I had a busy weekend.  Saturday night we went to a wine bar in Scottsdale.  This place is the coolest.  They have 180 different kinds of wine, and there’s no sign on the door which is hidden in an alley.  Then it was off to a charity function that africankelli planned.  Thanks to africankelli for scoring us tickets to this open-bar event.  As Bec’s husband Matt said, “There’s just something about an open bar that makes me SO DRUNK.”  Oh man, was I glad to be the driver so I could watch all the stumbling, groping, falling, and dry-humping.  Good lord.  Oh, and I took some pretty interesting pictures of drunkards too, but I’m in a good mood so I didn’t put them on Flickr.  :-)

So I’ve been thinking a lot about what that personal trainer said.  Frankly, if I did what she said and lost 20 pounds, I don’t think I’d be happy.  Sure I’d look like I was ready for the swimsuit edition, but that’s not the point.  I just want to be happy in my skin and its not going to take 20 pounds to do that.  But, I have been sticking to my 1500 calories and if you can believe this…  I’ve lost 2 pounds already!  Cripe.  But tomorrow is my second appointment with the nazi super trainer from hell, so I’m really not looking forward to that.

This week I’m hoping to hear back on that job I interviewed for. Are you all keeping your fingers crossed for me??  I’m taking Thur and Fri off to take Ryan for eye surgery and I’m so glad for the time off.  I’ve totally fallen behind in my photography class, so I’m planning on filling the time he’s recovering with that.  My assignment is 2 parts:  1) take a white object and photograph it in many different light situations (indoors, outdoors, shade, computer glow, etc.) and 2) take that same white object and practice white balance.  Exciting, huh?  Yeah, I’m pretty sure I could take a picture of a green object in complete darkness and the teachers would think it was a work of art, who cares if there was an ACTUAL assignment, eh?  I know, I’ve got to work on that attitude.  See ya!

Posted by atpanda in 01:27:55 | Permalink | Comments (7)

Friday, March 10, 2006

No More Girl Scout Cookies for You!

I’m having a really hard time today.  Yesterday was my first day with a personal trainer and it was…. depressing.  She measured me, weighed me, measured my body fat, then asked me what my goal was.  I just want to look a little better for our Florida trip to I told her if I lost 10 pounds I would be ECSTATIC, but that I didn’t think it was realistic because I didn’t really feel like I had THAT much weight to lose.  My goal:  10 pounds.  Then the cute little 4’5″ ex-gymnast bitch says to me:  “Actually, you need to lose 20 pounds to get to your healthy range”.  TWENTY POUNDS?!  That right there was it.  The moment I developed a serious eating disorder. 

So I’m on a 1500 calorie diet and I have to do this crazy workout regime which has me doing, in addition to weight lifting, cardio for 30 minutes with my heart running at 166 beats per minute.  OK look, I work out a lot.  I’m already at the gym all the time, and when I’m not at the gym I’m taking long dog walks.  Not only that, but my resting heart rate is a very low 60bpm.  I looked that up.  That is the resting heart rate of a ‘well-conditioned athelete’. I cannot physically get to 166bpm! 

I don’t know what to think about all of this.  I went home and cried and felt like I couldn’t peel myself off the bed for the entire night last night.  I skipped photography class.  Just the fact that someone would look at me and think, “She’s got to lose 20 pounds!”…. Oh my god, it makes me want to throw up.

I’m glad that I have my girlfriends to yank me back into reality from perky cheerleader hell, but I think I might be changed forever because of what that girl said.  I was getting my hair cut today and I was looking at myself in the mirror thinking, “Oh my god.  My face is ROUND!  When did that happen???”.  I’m trying not to be insane about it, but it is hard.  I weighed my ground beef before dinner.  I have never in my whole life done that before.

This doesn’t feel good.  It feels like I’m in a war against my own body.  And a war against food.  And I LOVE food, so this really sucks.  I just wish I could go back to yesterday at 2pm.  Back when I just wished my jeans were a little less tight.

Posted by atpanda in 00:42:09 | Permalink | Comments (8)

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Well hello there.

Oh man, do I have chatty things to write about today.  First of all, thank you all so much for your well-wishes on my interview!  It was yesterday and I have a really good feeling about it.  The only reason I might not get it is because I probably don’t have as much experience as some of the other people interviewing for the job.  But we’ll see.  I’d also like to thank my friend africankelli for writing me the nicest bit of encouragement, in the theme of Oscars, since that’s all we’re talking about at the beginning of this week…

“The Oscar for Best Luck on an Interview goes to Amanda N. Ms. N, wearing garb not unlike Lara Croft, has whipped her male dominated workplace into submission by proving women can add, multiply, bake and look pretty all at the same time. When she’s not slinging a camera and seeking out adventure, she’s knocking over coworkers for a much needed promotion.”

Seriously, who could hope for a better cheerleader than that??

In other news, my friend Mini was running around her house last night (as per usual, since she is a master mult-tasker) and heard a familiar voice on TV.  Turns out one of my closest friends from high school is a contestant on The Apprentice!  I just can’t even believe it.  Roxanne and I were inseparable on the swimming and debate teams for Sophomore and Junior years.  She is PERFECT for this show!  She’s this brilliant lawyer lady now, and AGAIN I’m struck with how old I am all of a sudden.  Can’t even believe it.  AND I can’t believe that this is the second time in a week that I’ve talked about someone from my past who’s on a reality TV show.  So, so weird.  Anyway, cheer for Roxanne!

So Ryan convinced me that we needed to rent this movie Reefer Madness the other day.  OK, so sometimes I don’t get excited about his picks of movie because its either a mega-violent killing fest, or it involves things that I can’t identify with.  Pot being one of them, sadly.  (because seriously, shouldn’t everyone have tried it at least once?  Yeah, I missed that train).  Anyway, we rent this thing and get it home, and it is HYSTERICAL.  It is totally worth renting and you will laugh your arss off.  It’s a musical and it is witty and smart and totally entertaining.  It’s a remake of a 1930s movie, amazingly, and it stars among other people that adorable blonde girl from Veronica Mars (so Zane, you’ll have to watch it!).  Anyway, five stars on that sucker.

Another thing that has my attention this week is a totally interesting book called “Them.  Adventures with Extremists”.  I heard the author on NPR talking about how he follows conspiracy theorists around because he thinks they’re nuts, and how toward the end of this research his eyes were really open to what’s actually going on in our world, and I knew I had to read it.  It is written like a novel, but it is all his own experiences with these people.  Famous people in the conspiracy world including the survivors of Ruby Ridge, a Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard, Omar Bakri Mohammed (one of the most ‘dangerous men in Great Britain’), and others.  VERY interesting.  If you’re into reading about stuff like the Illuminati and secret pseudo sacrificial rituals being performed by the leaders of the world, this is the book for you.  I have sort of a sick fascination with stuff like that.  DaVinci Code stuff.  You know.  Anyway, good book.  I’m about halfway through and it is a great read.

And in yet other news… contrary to my post the other day about how I don’t fit the mold of an engineer, I’ve decided that I’m too much of an engineer to survive my photography class without losing a little bit of sanity.  On average the teachers arrive 5 minutes late for class, and class doesn’t actually start until 45 minutes later (they’re helping people who evidently don’t know what the USB cable that came with their camera does).  Last week it was AN HOUR AND A HALF before they started.  That is no joke.  An hour and a freaking half.  (BTW, I paid almost $300 for this class…)  Then they give these assignments and I follow them exactly, only to show up to class and find that people are turning in whatever crap they feel like turning in and we’re forced to sit there and look at it.  While the teacher praises them.  Brown gravel in people’s driveway!  That’s what I was looking at last night! 

Anyway, I’m used to structure in classes, and assignments where there is a specific outcome.  I’m having a hard time adjusting, and last night I sort of lost it a bit (slightly insanely, I’ll admit) in class about a flipping color wheel and how no one was following it.  And seriously, when they say “this assignment is to show analogous (similar) colors” I assume they mean COLORS.  If I knew that by ‘color’ they meant I could go take pictures of random black and white stuff, then I would have had a whole hell of a lot more free time this weekend.  OK, look, now I’m worked up again.  Breathe…..  But I am proud of some of the pictures I’ve taken, so it hasn’t been a total loss…

Posted by atpanda in 01:38:12 | Permalink | Comments (9)