The Black Dahlia

I am really intrigued by this movie. It’s supposed to hit theaters on Sept. 15, 2006. Looks really dark and a bit disturbing, but really well made. It’s supposedly based on a true story (visit http://www.bethshort.com/ for details). I enjoy Scarlett Johannsen and Josh Hartnett. Can't wait to see it!

To see the trailer, click here.


Gas prices seem to be on their way down.


Much needed.

Much appreciated.

Read the story here.

Bigger plans

“I always secretly thought that the world had bigger plans for me.” (Quote available at Postsecret.)

Truth is, as a child I always imagined I would be unstoppable in life. That I had the drive, brains and personality to be really successful. The best.

My childhood dreams included 1) going to “Michigan College” (according to my 5th grade journal that was recently unearthed) and becoming a doctor 2) studying fashion design and French so that I might become a famous designer and call Paris (a city I still have yet to actually visit) home and 3) becoming a famous actress and living in a “humungous manchion.” (Mansion, not to be confused with machine. I wouldn’t want to live in a machine.)

I was going to conquer the world.

Those dreams nearly vanished entirely throughout my early adolescent years, though. Probably because I started to care more about what others thought. Probably because I started to doubt myself.

Nearly 15 years later, I’m still trying to pick up the pieces. I know I should be very proud at what I’ve accomplished thus far, but I can’t stop thinking about how I may have sold myself a little short. (No pun intended.) (*Please note that I have the utmost respect for people in my chosen field. It's a great field to be in.)

As A and I follow a new path – a much-anticipated path – I’m finding that the self-induced pressures are starting to take a toll. Will I follow my dreams? Will I find a renewed confidence? Will I finally be truly proud of myself?

Stay tuned.

*This entry speaks solely to my professional journey. I am very thankful and proud of my personal life.


Love it

I went home from work today grinning from ear to ear. I saw a girl walking into my building decked out in some of my early Fall favorites - a baggy sweatshirt and jeans.

Couldn't wait to get home to change.

Other things I LOVE about this time of year?

- lighting candles again
- leaving the door/windows open and cuddling up in a blanket
- beginning of football season
- my whole family goes back to work (teachers.)
- buying new boots/jackets

I don't know who we were kidding about the whole Florida thing... I would have never lasted in that intense heat all year round. I love Fall too much.

Random thought

I must have really enjoyed staplers as a kid. Nothing beats reaching into my overabundant staple supply and refilling my trusty 'ol Swingline.

I find it exhilarating.

Dweebs, Geeks & Weirdos

Not sure why I started to think about this game on my way to work today. I think it was a mixture of the "dweeb" thing (knowing what/who I was going to see yet again today) and the pure silence our wonderful Jeep provides. A mind surely tends to wander without radio access.

For those of you out there who never had the pleasure, "Dweebs Geeks & Weirdos: The Totally Awesome Game of Zany Stunts" is a game where you go from an "absolute zero" to "totally bad dude" by throwing a plastic chip into the box (being sure to land closest to the "gold tooth"), drawing a card, doing the required action on the card, and moving the appropriate amount of spaces.

Anyway, this one was of my favorite games in my pre-pubescent days. I used to make my sister, B, play it with me all the time. Ahhh, memories.


How did that get there?

There are many things in life I tend to not even question.

A kernel of corn in a school drinking fountain? Now that is something worth questioning.

How the hell did it get there?

I love corn and all, but I find this incredibly disgusting.

Fellow O employees, stay away from the CH drinking fountain.


Channel flipping

With such bad TV all summer, I should be elated that so much is on this evening, right? The Emmy's, "Pirates of the Caribbean," "Star Wars" (I think II) and "Big Brother!" Wow! So much to choose from!

So, why am I upset then? I'll tell you why. All summer I've been hoping to turn on the television to find something worth watching. Nothing. And then, for whatever reason, all the networks decide to put a whole bunch of great shows and movies on for one night only. What's up with that?

I understand the concept of being competitive. But, one would think, in such a dry spell of television, it might behoove networks to air their great shows on nights when there isn't as much competition. That way, they'd have a complete monopoly on viewers.

Er...OK, time to go back to channel flipping.


Little things

Have you ever noticed that it's the little things that leave the biggest impressions on you?

We watched this movie tonight and, besides the fact that we thought it probably could have ended about 10 different times, we thought it was pretty decent and fairly entertaining. (I very much enjoy all three stars and was impressed by their go at it this time around as well.)

The one thing that was tough to get over, though, was the unneccessary and inappropriate music played throughout. When they weren't playing the eclectic, Arabian/Indian (I think) music, they were trying to go for "Ocean's Eleven," old Hollywood. It just didn't seem to fit.

Very odd. Very distracting.

If you see it, let me know if you agree.

Our rascal

A and I went for a lovely walk this evening with our dog, C. Besides the peeing every third sidewalk square, C was a very good dog.

Then we got home.

We turned around to find C diving head first into heavens knows what, rolling around and proding his head down into the lawn. Still don't know what it was. All we know is that it was one of the worst scents we have ever had the pleasure of smelling.

A Friday evening bath was a must.


Why Mariah?

How is this at all sexy and/or acceptable?

Internet addiction

So, apparently, there is now a new halfway house for teen Internet addicts in China. The Shanghai-based clinic offers counseling and overnight stays for addicted teens.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all about getting help when needed, but here are my initial, random thoughts:
1) Why would this type of halfway house offer the use of computers? (Read story here.)
2) Hellooooo parents! Where are you? Where is the parental control and involvement in your children's lives? Ever heard of Cybersitter?
3) Why aren't there better limits placed on computer access at Internet caf├ęs?
4) When does the I-pod halfway house open up?
5) What constitutes an "Internet addiction?"
6) Stop using the Internet as a babysitter. Get involved in your children's lives!

That said, I wonder if any halfway houses have opened up for young, professional adults addicted to blogging?

It's about time

Today's the day! Today's the day we've been waiting for! We're finally getting Internet at our house! Woohoo! We recently purchased a computer and are finally ready to hook that baby up!

I feel like dancing.


Quote of the Day by Paris Hilton

"I'll pick out two outfits, one which is disgusting and one nice and I'll ask my 'friend' what they think. If they go for the revolting one, I cut them out of my life." – Paris Hilton

Joke's on you Paris. You're "friends" are already aware of this screening process.

*I apologize in advance for giving her space on my blog once again, but this quote was too great to not post.


Journalists are brave souls

Over the course of the last week or so, I've been reading about Jill Carroll and her time as a hostage in Iraq...

She was the journalist (from the Christian Science Monitor) who was held captive for nearly three months. Her captors – who hastily murdered her photographer/friend right before her eyes – later offered her full course meals and even allowed her to watch Oprah.

Anyway, if you haven’t been reading her story, you can check it out at www.cnn.com. It's one way to see things from another cultural perspective – as unbelievable as it may be to some of us.

Sweet Dreams

Let me start this post by first of all saying “I hate work dreams!” In my opinion, there’s nothing worse that crawling into bed for some zzzzz’s only to be haunted by people and situations you thought you left behind at the office. I’ve had three such nights this week alone.

That said, I think the gods were in my corner last night. After three stressful nights in a row, I received much needed solace in the form of one dream starring, you guessed it, Johnny Depp.

Now, I couldn’t tell you why Johnny was at my house, sitting in my basement, flirting with me. And, I’m pretty sure the random rain in the basement came from absolutely nowhere. What I can tell you though, is he was just as handsome and amazing as he always seems to be.

Oh, how we flirted. It was so wonderful, I actually thought about staying in bed after my alarm went off, just to try to recapture the greatness. I was pretty sure that if I closed my eyes again, things would, no doubt, get steamy and then we’d run off together. (A, this is only dream world.)

Anyway, I’m not sure why I felt compelled to write this in my blog. Perhaps I just wanted to always remember my night with Johnny.



5 Worst Moments of the Teen Choice Awards:

1) Kfed’s debut (Vanilla Ice would still put him to shame.)
2) Jessica attempting to play host (Aw. Ful.)
3) Brook Hogan’s 30-minute acceptance speech for “Choice Grill” (I think she was under the impression that she won for being talented…)
4) Orlando’s man-bun (C’mon man. You won “Choice Hottie.” Be hot.)
5) Giving air time to Chad Michael Murray and Wilmer Valderama (I can’t think of two slimier Hollywood guys.)

I especially loved the lack of suspense. If Reese Witherspoon is in the audience, you know she's going home with surfboard. All in all, a waste of a good hour and a half.

* I am aware that I'm not a teen by any stretch of the imagination, however, I was still hoping to be somewhat entertained.

Yay, A!

Congratulations A! I am so proud of you and so excited to see what the future holds.

I love you!



I don’t know how or when it happened, but somehow, somewhere, I became a fan of “Big Brother.” I don’t know what it is about this show, but I’ve actually become, dare I say it, addicted. I just don’t understand. (I blame both you, M, and horrible summer programming.)

That said, I’m rooting for “Chilltown” (Boogie and Will).

Like mother like daughter

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life thus far, it’s that nearly all daughters share a great deal of commonalities with their mothers.

Just the other day, I was told by a neighbor up in M-ville that I was the spitting image of my mom (which I took as a great compliment). And, while we’re certainly not clones, I’ve realized that I share many of the same personality traits as my mother as well. (Again, I’m flattered by this.) From her, I learned how to be loving, trusting, polite, kind, gracious and loyal.

Another thing I’ve learned? That I’m not the best at standing up for myself. Like my mom, I’d rather just cry it out than make anyone (mostly myself) feel awkward by voicing my feelings and concerns. For as great a communicator as I am in other situations, I have a tendency to ward off any flying debris by simply reverting back to my shell. (And then punishing those closest to me with the would haves and should haves…)

I’m very thankful for my mom’s wonderful guidance and for the person she has helped me become. (She has been a WONDERFUL role model!) But, I’ve experienced too many situations where both my mom and myself opted for shutting up, rather than speaking out.

While some people set personal challenges for themselves such as running a marathon or climbing the tallest mountain, my challenge to myself is to learn to be more vocal and just a little more comfortable in those incredibly uncomfortable moments. After all, how much of ourselves and our feelings should we sacrifice for the sake of being polite?

Photo available at http://www.canadasmountains.com/canadian_rockies/sulphur_mountain/second_peak_of_sulphur_mountain.jpg

I hate onions

In an ode to O’s student newspaper, I thought I’d start the day with a little “Orchids and Onions.”

Orchids to girl’s fondue night.
Onions to work-related problems.
Orchids to “Sex in the City.”
Onions to being parked in.
Orchids to “Project Runway.”
Onions to laundry.
Orchids to dog sitting.
Onions to dirty microwaves.
Orchids to new homes.
Onions to slow drivers.
Orchids to friends and family.

Photo can be found at http://www.onion-router.net/Images/onion.gif.


I still believe

I went to bed a little saddened (and a bit outraged) last night. One of my favorites, Allison Kelly, was declared "Out" on "Project Runway." And, while I must admit that her most recent frock left me craving a big bowl of banana pudding, I was frustrated that - like both Angela and Vincent - she didn't receive a warning week (or weeks!).

Allison, I'm a HUGE fan and follower. (Hehehe... like Allison from "Project Runway" is going to read my blog...!)


Can you blame 'em?

Border cops nab cheese smuggler

PHOENIX, Arizona (Reuters) - Puzzled U.S. border police arrested a Mexican smuggler with 88 pounds (40-kg) of cheese hidden in a special compartment in his truck, police said on Friday.
Officers using an X-ray machine saw the outline of 16 bulky packages stashed in a secret compartment behind the seat, which they initially believed were packets containing illicit drugs.

"Generally if you see something (with the X-ray machine) you expect it to be narcotics, but this turned out to be cheese," Maier told Reuters by telephone.

Now, all I ask is that my many cheese-obsessed friends (you know who you are!) let me know they’re OK. For all I know, you were part of this international plot and are now huddled in the corner of a tiny Mexican prison asking Bonita (that was for you H), a very large Mexican prostitute, to shut up and leave you alone.

K, you’re a prime suspect for obvious reasons.

Words of wisdom – Jason Wahler from Laguna Beach

“I have my moments where I just go blank and idiot acting. For instance I was getting in the shower this morning and I forgot why I got in the shower. Then all the sudden it hits me… Oh yeah because I need a shower.” (Quote compliments of http://blog.myspace.com/jasonwahler.)

Wow. With such a mind-blowing personality and obvious elevated intelligence, I can definitely see why all the girls on LG went crazy for you, Jason. Keep in mind, though, that someday those good looks will go and all you’ll have left to offer are conversations like this.

My words of wisdom to you: “If you manage to rope in a purdy lass now, do all you can to keep her.”


Bad advertising.

Had the opportunity to dine in Mayberry’s finest establishment this weekend with A, B, B and M. In case the grotesque man with the unappetizing burger and Big Boy tee didn’t tip you off, we went to Big Boy.

We had as lovely a time as possible – even after my bro-in-law showed us a graphic of the largest Big Boy I’ve ever seen complete with no shirt on and only one suspender fastened. Seriously, who’s in charge of advertising here? Why would anyone think to brand a restaurant with an extremely frightening, obese boyman?

Photo available at file:///Users/Admin/Desktop/bigboy.html.


A quest for knowledge

Happy Friday blog readers!

After witnessing an insanely too difficult (RIDICULOUS!) quiz bowl yesterday, I realized that there is MUCH I don’t know. (I suppose I was aware of the fact that I didn't know that much before the quiz bowl...) Anyway, I thought I’d list a few subjects I find incredibly interesting that I’d love to learn more about.

1) The Civil War
2) French (the language as opposed to the people)
3) Geography (any and all)
4) Politics/religion/history of the Middle East
5) Cooking/baking
6) Buddhism
7) Art (preferably by artists of the Renaissance)
8) Blogging (gotta keep up with changing technology)

I recognize that it takes people a lifetime to truly learn about some of these subjects… Don’t know if I’ll actually start researching, but, who knows? For the moment, I’m maintaining my optimism.

Photo available at http://contenderministries.org/buddhism/buddha.gif.

Too good to not share

(Photo, story and comments compliments of www.thesuperficial.com.)

Dustin Diamond says he got into a fight with a fan on Monday in his Omaha, Nebraska hotel room which resulted in her trying to mug him.

"I wake up and go to the bathroom and all of a sudden I hear this pound-pound-pound at the door," Diamond told E! Online in a phone interview Thursday. "I look out and see this girl with her hair hung down and I didn't put it together right away that it's the girl at the club. This girl was behind me and our conversation must have given her the idea, I guess, to try and rob me. And [around 3 a.m.] she's at the door screaming, 'Come on, Screech, my phone's in there.' And clearly just being a comedian, I'm like, 'Yeah yeah where is it?' " She kept pounding and that's when Diamond says he called hotel security to have her escorted her out of the building. About 45 minutes later, Diamond said he was opening his door to go downstairs to catch a ride for a 5:15 a.m. flight when he heard a "boom." "Somehow she got back in and is now holding a can of Mace up," he recounted. "I'm freaked out and jump back and she says, 'Where's the money, come on, tell me where it is, and she's trying to look through my bags.' " Diamond managed to call 911 and the hotel security. He said he tried to "give her a house shirt to make her go away," referring to the T-shirts he's been hawking to save his Wisconsin home. Then, he said, "she grabs my PlayStation Portable games, said, "This will have to do," and goes running out the door. "I'm a big gamer and you don't mess with the D-man's videogames," he said. Diamond, an alum of Celebrity Boxing 2, said he tried to stop her but she yelled, "Rape!" and "Help me! I'm thinking great, this is all I need," Diamond said. The actor said he managed to recover his games as police arrived. He and the woman both gave statements to police; he was allowed to leave to catch his flight.

Why would anybody want to mug Dustin Diamond? That'd be like mugging the homeless guy who sleeps on your lawn. If you're going to mug somebody at least set your sights a little higher. Maybe somebody with money? Although if there's anybody you'd think would be easy to steal from it'd be Screech. On the scale of people capable of defending themselves he's right up there with 'blind guy with no arms.' Or Gary Coleman.

Speed limits

Speed limits. The government sets these velocity requirements as a way to ensure law, order and, above all, public safety. I understand why we need them and try my best (in most scenarios) to obey them. (Going 5-8 mph over still counts…)

So, what’s my beef then? My beef is with those people who choose to travel BELOW the speed limit.

It never fails. Every morning, I leave my house for my 15-20 minute work commute and get stuck behind these leisurely travelers. Now, I’m not a crazy driver. I don’t ride up on other people’s bumpers. In fact, I’ve never even had any sort of warning during the more than 10 years I’ve had my driving privileges. (I came close once in P-burg that one time… thank goodness for my SUV.)

I don’t mind a nice relaxing drive every now and then. But, have some common courtesy. Just because you have no place to be, doesn’t mean the six cars stuck behind you are in the same situation.

Just as citations are given to people traveling above the speed limit, tickets should also be given to people traveling below the speed limit. There’s really just no reason for it.

Slow drivers are dangerous too.

Image can be found at http://www.cityofreno.com/res/police/trafficdivision/images/Speed_Limit_Sign.jpg.


Culinary tips welcomed

We seem to be on a fish kick lately (thanks to Sam's Club where, for a reasonable investment, you can purchase one bag of fish that'll last you approximately 72.56 years).

So, anyone know of any good recipes for tilapia? A and I have been making it the same way (on the grill with butter and lime pepper seasoning) for some time now and, while we still fancy our original dish, we're ready for something different.

I'm certainly not one to know what might taste good, so please, help a gal out!

Photo available at http://www.charlestonseafood.com/images/Amazon/Tilapia-500.jpg

Ideas for future gift certificates

Went shopping yesterday for the first time in about a year. (*Frequent Target trips do not count.) Man have I missed it.

Anyway, I LOVE the following stores – specifically, the sale racks at the following clothing stores:

Banana Republic
Express (used to love it a bit more…)

I’m pretty sure I could do without all other stores. (*I hear we’re getting an H&M soon, though, so I may make slight changes to my list in the future.)

Photo available at http://www.shefinds.com/images/shopping_bags_springsm.jpg


Try not to blink

Wow. This is absolutely incredible yet totally scary at the same time. This computer (now going for only $17K) can actually be controlled by moving your eyes. (I know. Kind of freaky. Right?) Great for people with disabilities. Extremely annoying for those just too lazy to move their fingers.

I wonder if it turns off if you fall asleep...

Find out more about this amazing product here.

An apology to old friends

As I continued my quest to rid myself of unnecessary rubbish yesterday, I came upon my coveted note box from back in the day. My note box, or treasure trove as I liked to refer to it, was no ordinary box. No, it was a wooden chest-like box that was once refurbished into a walk-in-closet for my many beautiful Barbie dolls. (Seriously, my mom and I decorated the inside with wallpaper and mirrors and shit.) It had a key and everything.

Anyway, in this new sort-of cleansing phase, I decided that I really should just let go and throw out my sacred box of notes. It was a tough decision, but I figured that all the memories I need are safely tucked away in my brain (and/or heart for all of you softies out there). So what could be the harm?

Hmmm. Turns out, I didn’t really think this one through.

A took the trash out in the early evening hours. About an hour later, a trash picker pulled up in front of our home.

Garbed in a wife-beater and covered with tattoos, this gentleman (who looked as if he had not showered since the first full bloom of Spring) started picking through our waste as if he was unearthing the world’s next great treasure. Gone were the ugly lights we bought to illuminate our walking path. Gone was the framed sea otter picture I bought at Meijer to cover my bare walls in my college apartment.

With every throw into his beat up pickup, I felt myself questioning why I decided to let such gems go.

Then, it happened. He reached for my treasure trove of notes. I immediately felt myself cringe. Why had I not emptied the actual notes into a garbage bag and thrown the box out separately?!

As he struggled for a good five minutes to open the chest with the key that was so secretively tied to the top of the box, I thought, “perhaps he’ll give up and just put the box back down.”

No such luck. In no time flat, I watched four years of memories get thrown into some dirty guy’s pickup. I’ve never felt so violated.

So, to all of my close friends, ex-boyfriends and acquaintances from my dear high school years who often wrote notes to me, I feel I owe you an apology. Not only are my thoughts and antics probably being laughed at today, but so are yours. By a dirty guy. In a dirty pickup.

Photo can be found at http://www.modernprimitive.com/images/kalish/kalish04.jpg.


Blast from the past

What a great weekend! BP and I finally had a chance to do some heavy duty cleaning. I was certainly on a role, filling garbage bags left and right with old cassette tapes, high school memorabilia and clothes to take to Goodwill. It feels so great to get rid of crap.

Some stuff, though, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to part with. Like my back-when-Isiah-Joe-John-Dennis-and-Bill-ruled-the-NBA Detroit Pistons basketball cards or my circa 1985 pretty pink sticker album. Believe it or not, a large majority of my scratch ‘n sniff stickers still smell!

I love my sticker album. It takes me back.


Kids movies rule

I don’t remember all that much about “The Dark Crystal.” I do remember, though, that I LOVED it. Looking at the cover now, I can’t believe I wasn’t scared of it. (I am, of course, the same girl who had to go home from a slumber party in first grade because I was terrified of “The NeverEnding Story.” The part where the horse sinks in the quicksand is still too much for me to take.)

Other random movies/tv shows I quite enjoyed as a child?

Return to Oz
Clue (still my fav)
The Muppets
Fraggle Rock
Return to Oz
The Gettalong Gang
The Snorks

What were your favorites?

Do you know about Net Neutrality?

I had never heard about it until I stumbled across a video today... Apparently, huge telecoms and cable companies are trying to control the Internet and charge more for certain sites. The organization's (www.wearetheweb.org) message is simple. The internet should be free and open to everyone.

Check out the video here.
(It's a little out there but definitely informative and entertaining.)

For the seafood lover in you

OK. I realize that it's only a little before 9 a.m... but I can't help it. When anyone talks about my fav restaurant, I start salivating. (Thanks C and M.)

In case you're not familiar with all Red Lobster has to offer, here are a few dishes that I highly recommend:

1) Snow crab legs
2) Cajun shrimp linguini
3) Shrimp lovers platter
Roasted Tilapia in a Bag
5) Shrimp scampi

Of course, for you non-seafood lovers (!), RL also offers a variety of dishes to please your palette such as steak, grilled chicken, aztek chicken and cajun chicken linguini – just to name a few.

Oh, and make sure you try RL's famous Cheddar Bay Biscuits while your there. I guarantee you'll go home incredibly satisfied.

* BP, we're going to have to go to Crab Crackin' Monday again soon... I can't fight this craving much longer.


Shape up or ship out.

Dear Tom and Mel,

WTF happened to you?

Speaking on behalf of the public at large, we’re over you and can’t take anymore of your ridiculous shenanigans. Either reinvent yourselves into civilized, philanthropic, interesting human beings, or call it quits.

It’s time to respect the masses.


*I was going to address this to Lindsay, Jessica, Ashlee and Paris as well but realized that they weren’t really talented in the first place.

Meet my nephew

Seriously, isn't he the cutest kid you've ever seen?



There is just NOTHING on network television these days. I mean seriously. When a show involving circus performers, Brandy and David Hasselhoff is the highest rated show on television, something is definitely wrong. What happened to the good ‘ol days where sitcoms reigned supreme? Has summer television always been this horrible?

Last night, as I lay lounging in my bed, I was pleased to find a new reality show on ABC titled, “One Ocean View.” Advertised as a “Real World” for 20-somethings, I thought, this might be something I might actually want to watch for the next few weeks. Wow. I was wrong.

Now, for whatever reason, it’s OK to watch a group of teenagers drink, act slutty and fight with one another. That’s what you do at that age. There’s a certain acceptable lack of maturity that MTV reality stars possess at the beginning of each season. And then somewhere, in the midst of the madness, most (*not all) of them miraculously tend to grow up and become decent human beings. That’s what makes those shows; you get to watch them make mistakes and learn from them.

“One Ocean View producers neglected to see the winning formula of “Real World-esque” shows. Everything about this show is just not OK. At 20-30 years old, these people should have most of their “mistakes” behind them. They should be acting like the established, successful business people they are, instead of immature 18-year-olds. Since when do 20-30 somethings get an entire summer off to live in a house with a group of strangers anyway?

Just another example of bad television.

I don’t want to complain too much, though. Not having cable television during the spring/summer months has actually been a blessing in disguise this year. It has allowed A and I to find a wide variety of other things to do to occupy our time. (Please do not venture out of PG land. I haven’t.)

That said, A, cable is sure is looking like a good idea for fall.

* Photo courtesy of http://abc.go.com/primetime/oneoceanview/images/gallery/101/gallery.html?photo=1

Public Service Announcement

Don't flippin call people sweetheart, hun, honey, sweetie, dear, etc.! This is extremely rude and condescending – especially when you are either 1) younger than the said person, 2) a stranger to the said person, or 3) a co-worker to the said person.

Unacceptable. Please, spread the word.

* A variety of nicknames are acceptable between close friends and family.