Yep, I've gone back to Movable Type, and re-opened Victory Soap. Let's hope it doesn't turn out to be a case of "I'm gonna wash that blog right out of my hair." MT has let me down before, but I'm a woman, and I can't completely escape the need to give cads and scallawags a second (third, fourth) chance. Fortunately I have turned this failing onto blogging software instead of male human beings.
As for how easy it is to set up a blog in Movable Type version 3x, I'll just post an early "test" comment of mine: "Jesus Christ, setting up comment authentication was like pulling a station wagon down the road with my tits." Yep, it was like that. But the site is up, and seems to be working.
A few things: the stylesheet is dark, I know, but it's one of the few that Movable Type provides that I like. It used to be relatively easy to fiddle with MT stylesheets -- now, not so much. I use their "Stylecatcher" plugin, and if setting up comments was difficult, I don't know what to call the crazy manoeuvering I had to do to get this plugin working, and I can't even get the one stylesheet I really like (the "forest green" one) to work at all. (For some reason all the other ones -- even the ones with images -- work just fine.)
As for the commenting... I am not entirely please with the Typekey-registration thing. I realize it's a pain in the ass. But every time I visit a blog with unmoderated comments, I am reinforced in my vow to never, ever, have open comments again. Of course, I realize that there are plenty of unpleasant people who have Typekey IDs, but I also have first-time comment moderation set up (that means the first time anyone comments here their comment will be held in a moderation queue), so I can ban anyone who attempts to misuse the privilege of commenting here. On the other hand, I have heard that spammers can take real advantage of the Movable Type comment scripts, so I may just change to an outside system, like Haloscan, that has a comment moderation setup. I don't know.
Trackbacks have been turned off and will never be turned on. They are a spam attractor. If you want me to know you've posted on something here just drop a line in comments. Or email me (go to the main page of the site for my email address).
That's all I can think of for now. I don't really know what direction this blog will be going in, if a personal blog can be said to have a "direction." My life doesn't really have a direction -- my personal goals are few and modest and not really interesting to the general public. My only vague resolution is to stop nattering on about my every little health problem, as I think last year's blog descended to that point often. It's boring, and old-ladyish in a way I don't want to be (I aspire towards the crusty, self-sufficient spinster sort of old lady, not the needy, whiny, sickly sort).
That being said, that doesn't mean I'm not going to talk about my life at all. Here's the latest: I was able to finally, thanks to everyone's generous donations to my Paypal and Amazon begging bowls, able to buy the platform bed I've been wanting. And I was able to get a decent bargain on a better bed than I could have gotten on the internet by getting my butt out the door and into one of the local outlets. So I ended up with a full-size hardwood bed instead of a pine, for less than the pine bed cost. It gets delivered this coming Saturday and soon my futon will be on a stable surface instead of a creaking, wobbly old futon frame. Thank you all!
Cats update: the outdoor cat is a little better, though she does not like getting her pill at all. And she still isn't eating much -- I can't tell if it's because she's still off her feed, or if she just doesn't care for the expensive special cat food. I may cut some of her favorite store brand into the expensive food to see if that will get her to eat more. She's also still drinking a lot of water, which worries me because the vet said it could be a sign of failing kidneys. Oh well -- it's only been a little over a week, so hopefully the treatment will get her back on an even keel. To make matters more fun, one of the neighbor cats (who is young and well fed and has a collar) came around night before last and was harassing her. I was woken up about 2:30 am by yowls and hisses, and ended up getting very little sleep because I had to keep getting up to throw water on the invader. (Or near the invader -- I need to get a water pistol from the dollar store.) Comedy moment: every time I'd chase the invader away, O.C. would go out into some part of the grounds and pee. "MY territory!"
As for Xena (my indoor kitty), she's still in the rudest of health though I've decided to make a vet appointment for her -- she's overdue. She's taken to sitting on my desk in between me and my laptop, which is nice and cuddly, but makes it hard to type.
Weather is cloudy here, and it's going to rain at some point. I think I'll walk over to Walmart before the clouds break. Later, my peeps. (And remember, if you leave a comment and it doesn't show up immediately be patient -- I'll upload all new comments when I get back.)
Over there on the right you'll see Choppin' Dude -- a somewhat updated version, I got it from this website -- warning, about fifteen ad popups may open. (The old Choppin' Dude has disappeared from my server and is not stored on the laptop -- he's probably on one of my image cds or floppies, but I have a million of the things so I am not going to look through all of them. Categorize and list stuff on floppies and cds? What's that mean?)
Anyway, that's for Scott and his kind words. I guess this blog is taking on a somewhat martial air. Gee, where did that come from? ::innocent stare::
In further news, it's a cloudy, gloomy day still. I thought of taking a walk, but I don't really have the urge to do so. I did go to Walmart earlier -- surprisingly, it was not crowded. Everyone must have partied extra hard last night. I still have plenty of the Korbel left over. To tell you the truth I was rather disappointed in it -- it is sourish and almost beery. I might as well have bought a couple of bottles of André and at least got the sweet taste I prefer in my champagne. I guess I could use the rest of the bottle to make champagne cocktails or Kir Royales or something. I wonder if the liquor store is open...
I've decided to put away the indoor Christmas decorations. What can I say, I'm already over it. The outside lights are staying a while, though. It was a bitch getting those things up, and I like colored lights.
I've also decided to move some furniture around. New year, new(ish) look for the place, etc. The tv was sitting on top of a lame, beat-up old cart -- one of those pasteboard things with wheels and two shelves that they sell at Walmart. I've decided to put the tv on the tall Danish-style cupboard-with-shelves things that I bought at the second-hand furniture store a year or so ago. It was in the dining area, so I dragged it over to the living room area, after taking all the typewriters off it. (That was what was on the shelf unit before.) The tv is just a substitute for the flat panel I'm going to get some day -- not so much because I am trendy as because it's all part of my stripping-down plan. I'm going to get a flat-panel lcd tv that is not more than 20 inches big. And then I'll cart the crappy old tv to the dumpster. Of course, it's not a priority, as I don't watch enough tv for it to matter. By the time I'm ready to buy the flat panel they should have gone down in price even more. But I don't want a huge one -- I think huge tvs in little apartments are just embarrassing, and I don't watch that much tv.
All this, of course, means I've had to move a million things around, and I'll probably be sore as hell tomorrow. Don't care. I've got ibuprofen and wine.
I just realized I forgot to put in a tag which shows which category my posts are going into. Well, so far they've all gone into the "Blah Blah Blah" category. I don't know why MT is never set up with the tags already in the template as a default, but that's is the wonderful world of MT for you. Wordpress had weirdnesses too.
Dang, I am too tired to really get into a discussion of the issues brought up in this post of TigerHawk's. It's too bad, because he's talking about something I've been wanting to get into writing about for a long time: how our society (by which I mean American society and Western society in general, though the American part of it is the only part I really have the authority to talk about) has changed in its attitude towards risk from a "risk is necessary and even good" viewpoint to a "risk bad! stay at home lock doors hide under bed!" viewpoint.
I'll at least try to get into some of it. Here's how I express my own point of view: I am a Captain Kirk girl as opposed to a Captain Picard girl. One of the main themes of the original Star Trek is the idea that human beings needed risk and adventure, often expressed as "freedom" but usually more openly admitted to be the need to have obstacles to overcome, rivals to compete against, and dangerous tasks to take on, in order to not stagnate and then decay and die out. How many episodes shows the OST crew landing on some paradise where ostensibly their every wish was granted but which turned out to be a trap of one sort or other? True, there was that one episode, "The Menagerie," where the crippled space captain ended up living a life of "illusion" in a "healed" body -- but even that show was geared towards the idea that even the illusion of free movement and physical fitness is preferable if reality consists of paralysis and constant medical care.
However, by the time they decided to resurrect the series (and I glom all the new STs -- Next Generation, Deep Space 9, etc. -- into one grouping, because the same overarching themes governed all the shows, with the exception of Enterprise, which I have not seen an episode of), times had changed and so had attitudes, so what we ended up with is a "future" where the characters were too busy questioning their own motives to get anything done; "superior" beings (such as "Q" -- one of the better characters in the new series, or at least one of the few really confident ones, until they decided he needed to question himself too), instead of being hoist on their own petard, were shown as being basically right about humanity and who had to be coaxed into giving us a "second chance"; war-weariness instead of eagerness to fight for a cause; lots of multicultural twaddle (Klingons turned into gruff teddy bears aliens, even Romulans weren't allowed to be good, old-fashioned enemies, the crew of the Enterprise had to understand them too); and lots and lots of therapy-speak with made-up alien neuroses sometimes, but not always, standing in for human ones (for instance, with the Trill alien-within-an-alien characters the writers seemed to be trying to confront issues of identity and sex, but they were in over their heads and the attempt, IMO, went nowhere).
The therapy-speak was the most annoying aspect of the new show. No one was allowed to simply be brave or adventurous or even rash -- everything had to be explained away according to whichever article in Psychology Today the episodes' writers had skimmed at the dentist's office. In the old misogynist days of Kirk and Spock, the character of Counselor Troi would have existed to have her complacently perfect psyche overset by a real emotion, usually expressed as a violent attraction to one of the major male crew members. And she usually would have ended up tragically killed (so as to leave the heroes free to go on adventuring), or simply never mentioned again, such as Scotty's lady love in "The Lights of Zetar." But in the later shows that wasn't allowed, and we couldn't get rid of her. (It is interesting that the women who often ended up meeting a bad end were the ones who were what we would have known in my childhood as "tomboys" -- "warrior" type women with "masculine" characteristics such as adventurousness, belligerence, and so on, and a marked lack of "nurturing" characteristics such as a tendency to talk about their and everyone else's emotions and feelings, unless it was feelings like "I'm going to beat up that Romulan!" -- characters such as Lieutenant Tasha Yar, who was played by Denise Crosby.)
Anyway, the two sets of Star Trek series, the original and the new, show how our society's attitudes towards risk, and people who seek risk, have changed, and not for the better. I guess the most obvious explanation for the change is the fact that the generation currently in charge of the arts, the news media, and the educational system -- hint, it was born after a certain war and the initials of its nickname are "BB" -- is growing old and sickly, so everyone has to live through their increasing fears of falling over and not being able to get up just like we had to live through everything else they felt and did. This can't be good, because after growing old there is only one experience left -- the one you don't live through. Then again, at least the grave is silent.
Next day update: hey! I resemble that remark. Actually, I have to admit Udolpho's bashing of scifi fans has an element of truth in it. Back when I was "into" scifi I was as geeky as they come. However, I hope I've cast off most of the "the mundanes don't understand me therefore I am special and better" attitude that too many science fiction afficionados foster in themselves. The fact that you enjoy reading/watching adventure stories where the characters are on other planets doesn't make you more intellectual than people who read spy stories or Harlequin romances.
Udolpho's criticism of science fiction on literary grounds is the basic genre vs. "literary fiction" argument that I've discussed elsewhere. I'm not up to getting into it here -- I'll just say that there is crap in all genres. I won't argue for the literary merits of Dune or any of Heinlein's novels -- for one thing, I haven't read those books for years. To tell you the truth, I don't read much science fiction these days -- the old mainstays that I've got in my bookcases like Andre Norton (who never made a pretense of being anything other than a storyteller), Jack Vance (his writing style is somewhat elevated above mere storytelling, but unlike many writers of modern lit-fic, he doesn't let his prose get in the way), and a few others. Very few new science fiction novels find their way into my home these days. Most of the stories are either rewrites of the same old stuff, more "hard" scifi, or dreary "thought-provoking" socio-political polemics thinly disguised as entertainment. The fantasy genre is in even worse shape. I've actually been trying to catch up on the Canon.
In any case I never seemed to get out of scifi or fantasy what other people seemed to get out of it. For instance, many of my female friends who are still big fans are really into the "power" aspect -- that is, the "magickal" or "psychic" powers the characters, especially female characters, are granted in many fantasy and science fiction novels. I never was really interested in that aspect except insofar as it was necessary to drive the story forward. I think that Andre Norton was one of the few people who (however inconsistently) was able to write about men and women with "powers" without making the idea ludicrous or an obvious deus ex machina. Other science fiction fans are really interested in the idea of societal improvement due to fabulous technological advances/alien contact/offshoot notions from various Social Darwinist fancies. In other words, it's okay to dream about eugenics and "improving the race" if you say it's just fiction.
One complaint against genre fiction is the fact that characters are usually set up to a variety of standard templates, and are in fact simply better-looking, more successful stand-ins for the authors of these stories, or deliberately set up to be blank enough that the reader is able to make the character into a stand-in -- stronger, cleverer, and more heroic -- for himself. This is mostly true (except in the case of a very few works), but that can also be true of literary fiction. Making people is a dangerous business.
Anyway, more later, maybe, in a new post. Right now I want my tea.
I guess it's the meme or something of the week -- now Steve H. is writing about how some people are so averse to risk that even the most ordinary action, one normal people would think nothing about doing -- such as getting in one's own car and driving to another city -- becomes cause for alarms, imaginary fears, and exaggerated warnings.
I know what he means about having those closest to you hold you back and down because of their own psychological problems and lack of initiative. In fact, I had gone far down the road of becoming one of those people myself by the time I broke free of the (mostly imaginary) hold that was on me and left Miami, the city I was born and raised in and had lived in for twice as long as I wanted to. In the space of about a year I had uprooted myself to another city, had my first Relationship™, went back to community college, ended my first (and I decided, only) Relationship™, and moved out on my own to my first real apartment (the squalid efficiency I lived in like a mushroom for nearly ten years in Miami didn't count). And from that time up to now I bought a new car and drove by myself from Orlando, Florida to Lexington, Kentucky to see U2 (this is still the most adventurous thing I have done besides finally leaving Miami -- though I was a grown woman I had never made a trip out of state by myself), graduated from community college with an Associates Degree while supporting myself with student loans and a part-time job, enrolled in university, then quit the part time job, ended up being unemployed longer than I thought and had to leave my apartment and move in with friends for a while, got a new job within the week and another apartment within a couple of months, had my car reposessed (oops!), learned the bus routes from home to work, and stayed alone in my apartment through Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne.
Of course, maybe none of that sounds particularly adventurous, but if you could see the little timid, dull creature I used to be you would be amazed. I am slowly returning to the self-sufficiency and -- not fearlessness, but divested of imaginary fears -- self that I was meant to be. And I've been pretty good at avoiding the "you can't do that!" people. Unless it's against the law or physically impossible, of course I can Do That.
On the other hand, there's risk, and then there's pointless risk. For instance, I don't get the attraction to gambling. It's not that I'm a stiffneck about the "sin" of gambling, it's just that the very idea bores me. I've never wanted to go to Las Vegas, for one thing -- it wasn't until later that I found that there were other things to do in Vegas (still, not too much that I'm interested in) besides go to some casino and give the owners lots of your money. And all those scenes in James Bond movies where he goes into a casino and confronts the villain over the roullette wheel or something? Except for the cute villain-Bond quips, yawn. Here, though, Virginia Postrel does a good job of explaining the attraction of the eponymous Bond Casino Scene to people first reading the novels in postwar Britain. Still, understanding how people felt then gives rise to no urge to feel the same way. This is where I become glad I live in the here and now. Imagine living in such limited circumstances that playing cards in some sleazy, smoke-filled room full of whores, gangsters, and addicts is considered a glamorous night out. Then again, I used to go out with my friends to skanky dives to see punk bands and we all thought we were having such a fun time. Well, we were!
Link to Postrel's site via Eve Tushnet, somewhere on her impossibly copious blog. How do people type so much? And read so much and think so much? I seem to spend most of my life sleeping. Oh -- and: Andrea Dworkin! Andrea Dworkin! Andrea Dworkin! Andrea Dworkin! -- OK, not even a little scorch mark. Maybe my first name has made me immune.
All right all right -- even though I haven't read any of Dworkin's books, I've read quotes from her on various subjects here and there, and many of the things she had to say I liked. I will wait for you to stop coughing and choking. Sorry about your keyboards and monitors. To continue -- Dworkin may have been crazy as a cat in a sack, but she hit the nail on the head lots of times if you ask me. For instance, in this one statement, which I found in one of Florence King's columns, on the whole Clinton-'N'-Monica controversy: "I have a modest proposal. It will probably bring the FBI to my door, but I think that Hillary should shoot Bill and then President Gore should pardon her."
Oh, but read the whole thing.
I just decided to go back to the previous stylesheet. These new styles leave a lot to be desired. Or maybe just my eyes do.
Lots of Blogspot sites, and Google's email program, seem to be having some sort of problem.
Live reporting on the internet by a Blogger!!!
You can't count on anything these days. Blogspot really does seem to have blown a gasket, and since it's a Google service now, Gmail is also cacked up. I was able to open my inbox, but not close it. And it wouldn't finish loading anyway, so I couldn't reply to my emails. I guess I'm going to have to find another fricking webmail program to use. Too bad, Gmail had such promise. As for Blogspot, it had been doing so well.
Update: some sites are coming up now, but it's still slow and wacky. Irritating.
One more update: okay, things seem to be working, at least on the Gmail end of things, for now.
I didn't really want to go pale, but some screen resolutions hated the skinny-columned "Vicksburg" stylesheets, and the dark one made my head ache. Also you couldn't really see links. So anyway, it's this one for a while.
In me news -- I confirmed the bed will be delivered tomorrow. Of course I didn't completely clean the room like I planned -- work this week was, of course, extra-heavy on the hectic, and today was particularly wearing. And I've just had it physically, so I decided to open the bottle of Covey Run riesling I bought at Publix. It was a good choice -- I'll be buying that one again.
Anyway, I finally decided that the cat wasn't eating because she didn't like the expensive vet-approved cat food. It's always been this way with any cat I have the care of -- they refuse to eat anything "good" for them, they want the crap cat food. Well, I bought some of her favorite brand name, and she not only showed eagerness to eat for the first time in nearly two weeks, but she chowed it down. So that's that. She still has to take her pill, though -- today she didn't give me too much trouble as I shoved it into her little gullet, probably because she could see the plate of food waiting.
And last but not least, the very needy neighbor lady is going to move in with her daughter. Thank God -- and not just for my own selfish need to be alone, but because she is too frail to live by herself. She keeps falling down, for one thing, and one day she's going to really get hurt. I'm glad her relatives have finally come through. Now I just have to keep her from giving me things. (Already successfully headed off -- the offer of a corner tv stand I don't need, as my tv already has plenty of things to stand on. Actually, I am going to be dragging more than a few furniture pieces of my own to the dumpster soon if I can't give them away.)
Well, that's my exciting life. I am exhausted and will probably go to bed soon. Nite.
I haven't been blogging much lately because I've kind of been preoccupied with things. One of them is the arrival of my new platform bed. It came yesterday, and I finally got a good night's sleep. This is, in fact, the first nice bed I've ever owned -- all the others were those cheap metal regular beds (the kind for box spring/mattress combos), and last, my futon frame, which is several years old and really wasn't for long-time sleep use. So good-bye to this:
And hello to my new best friend:
The thing doesn't move -- no more groaning of springs and wobbliness, no more having to prop the thing up with a plastic file crate so it doesn't fall over (because the middle support for one side of the futon broke and had to be thrown out), etc. So that is the last of the major furniture purchases.
Natalie Solent, in commenting on an apparent medical scandal in the UK involving a doctor who asked a patient out on a date rather too persistently for someone's comfort, says
we have adopted a stricter code than ever the Victorians knew if for a doctor to ask a patient for a date (not sex, a date) in itself constitutes a career-destroying offence....This all seems designed to force doctors into celibacy; a high proportion of all the people a doctor ever meets must surely be made up of his or her patients.
That doesn't sound so implausible, but it makes me wonder if there isn't something besides exaggerated fears of stalking behind this impulse. Medical care is much more personally obtrusive and invasive than it was in the past; this is an inevitable outcome of our increasingly detailed knowledge of the body and its workings. The more doctors can figure out right down to the molecular level just what is wrong with us, the more intimate is their contact with our bodies. In fact, I don't think I am wrong in saying that a woman has more intimate a relationship with her gynecologist than with her husband -- who, after all, usually neither knows nor cares what her ovaries look like. And men too have to submit to unusually close physical contact with other human beings who are otherwise merely acquaintances, in order to have their medical needs looked after. (For instance, the notorious prostate examination of joke and story.)
I posit that this level of intimate physical contact with other human beings -- more than one these days, and more of them strangers, as the time of the single family doctor is long past -- is the cause of an increasing level of anxiety in society. Another factor that comes into play is the recurrent figure of the doctor-hero -- see all the popular medical-themed television dramas. At some level we know it is wrong to expose ourselves to hero figures the way we must to our own doctors, and this adds to the cognitive dissonance. Our instincts are to keep our clothes on and keep our distance and dignity, but our health needs prevent us from being able to do so.
And another effect of this anxiety is the common depiction in science fiction of medical care as having "advanced" beyond today's "crude" surgical methods -- it's all done with rays from machines that never actually touch you, as in various Star Trek episodes (I especially recall the episode "City on the Edge of Tomorrow" where a delirious Doctor McCoy is running about 1930's Earth moaning about "sutures"). All very nice and clean and no one has to get naked for anyone but Captain Kirk.
OK, weird, but I finally got it working. StyleCatcher needs some fixing if you ask me -- I ended up having to upload the images myself.
Update: oh yeah, and do you think there is any simple explanation of how to use the styles available here? Oh no, you are supposed to somehow know. The so-called "tutorials" I found via Google were worse than useless, as was Sixapart's impossible-to-search "support" forum, and their huge (and now a .pdf file) user manual had no clue. But so what, I overcame the stupidity anyway, go me.
The outdoor cat's appetite has come back, so I was able to get her to ingest her thyroid medicine in a spoonful of her favorite food. I hope this trend holds -- neither of us enjoy the experience of prying her little jaws open and shoving the pill down her throat.
Next hurdle: getting her and my cat to get along, because I get the feeling she's going to be around for a while.
Note to self: Atlanta may not be such a great place to move to after all. In Orlando (where I now live) it's actually safer to cross in the middle of the street than at the officially-designated crossing places at the intersections. Intersections here are usually a free-for-all, as you are allowed to make right turns against the red light, and drivers tend to keep going until the last possible minute (the "I swear the light was still yellow when I went through it officer" argument), and when the light turns green everyone starts off as if the gun at the Indy 500 had just fired. Then again, maybe they don't drive as if possessed by demons in Atlanta.
I can't count how many times I've been nearly run over at intersections while trying to cross while the "walk" signal was on, and never mind that the crosswalk signals here are all set to go red after about ten nanoseconds. That being said, they do have spasms of ticketting jaywalkers here, but usually they do that in downtown Orlando, one of the few places where you can cross at corners with less of a risk of being run over (in that area there are stricter traffic rules and slower speed limits -- and narrower streets, unlike the network of huge state roads and highways that cross the rest of the Greater Orlando area).
People who stand in apartment courtyards just letting their fucking Nextels chirp and chirp and fucking chirp must be destroyed. Excuse me.
(If you are not really interested in the saga of me and a cat you'll want to skip this post.)
Well, today I did it: I finally brought the old cat I've been taking care of inside the apartment. She'd been an outdoor cat, then she got sick. I took her to the vet and got her medicine, but she'll have to take it the rest of her life (which as she has gotten better may be longer than we all thought), and it's not really easy to give an outdoor cat a pill at regular times every day. For the past couple of weeks the old neighbor lady who just fell in love with the cat has been keeping her inside, but as she (the old lady) is feeble and tottery and really can't handle a pet at her stage of health, and as she is also moving in with her family in Ft. Lauderdale in a month, and as they have two dogs, this wasn't going to be a permanent state of affairs.
I was planning on finding some kind of home for the cat because she is rather sweet (usually -- details coming up) and I may still post some signs at vet's offices and such, but I am not holding out much hope that there is anyone who wants to take on an aging cat with a busted thyroid who needs to take a pill every day for the rest of her life. And I was worried also about her getting into it with other cats (two have showed up recently in her "territory" of my patio and the surrounding area, and they both look young and feisty -- and they both belong to people because one I've seen lounging in the same place on the other side of my building, and the other one has a red collar). And I was worried about hawks and owls, which are plentiful in this area. And so on.
So I decided that if I'm going to be buying medicine for her every month I might as will take her in. There's only one problem: I already have a cat. Xena (my main cat) has actually been fairly well-behaved about her new roommate -- usually she's the one making the banshee noises. Maybe it's because the shoe is on the other foot -- before she was the interloper, now she's the one with the territory that's been invaded. And the invader has switched her former sweet personality to a Growling and Hissing Demon personality. O.C. (whose actual name is "Squeaks" or "Squeaky" because her normal meow sounds like a rusty door hinge) does not want to be in this house with it's Strange Other Cat smell, and she's been pissing and moaning all night.
Xena was giving me martyred looks, so I finally moved her food and water bowls into the bedroom and moved the litter box to a place where she won't have to cross the apartment and go past the Alien Growling Beast to pee. (I also hope the Alien Growling Beast figures out that the big purple Booda Dome is where the pee and poop go.) From my experience and that of others I can expect about two or three more weeks of this.
Anyway, that's the Tale of Two Kitties, Chapter One.
I have decided to use my day off to do some much-needed housework so depending upon how dedicated I am to doing this you may either see no posts until later or one every fifteen minutes. I just may also walk over to the store and pick up the ingredients for Bat Masterson's hot dogs. I am not usually into hot dogs but that recipe does look like it will be good.
Feline dispatch: Xena is dozing on the bed. Squeaks (or Growls, as I should probably call her) is sleeping under a chair in the living room. The war has paused for naps!
Hotdog update, a few hours later: yes, they were good.
Cat update: all quiet on the Western Front.
Thanks for all the kind words and suggestions... Anyway, I decided to separate them more, so I fixed up a temporary litter box for the new cat, and moved Xena (my first cat -- this is getting confusing) into the bedroom. She was none too pleased, but I used to close her out of the bedroom when I wasn't home, and she didn't like that either, and she is always trying to get into the closet, because I keep that door closed too. She just doesn't like any rooms in her domain to be inaccessible to her. I don't know what she thinks I'm keeping in the closet -- all the really cool toys and good food? Every time I open the closet door she runs in there and starts sniffing around suspiciously.
Anyway, once I separated the cats I could feel the tension go out of the room. The older cat is much more relaxed. (Of course, just now my cat ran out of the bedroom when I opened the door and they did the street cat face off. But this is important: first they just sort of looked at each other and exchanged ambiguous meows, so it wasn't the immediate glaring and growling this time. Progress!)
I'm sure most of my readers who prefer dogs or are otherwise indifferent to this furry domestic drama have collapsed in comas across their keyboards so I'll finish up here. Work was incredibly hectic, as if everyone finally got back from all their vacations and realized they had jobs and had to catch up with everything today! right now! so I am ready to collapse myself. Therefore I have nothing profound or witty to say about anything -- in fact, I barely have the ability to put two words together that make sense. This started about 3pm: by the end of the workday I was answering my boss with "huh?" and telling clients that I couldn't remember how to use the software I'm supposed to help them with either.
Back to my part of the world. Speaking of moving, yesterday I went on an expedition. As some of you may remember from me mentioning it here or on last year's blog before, I am looking to move to an apartment more convenient to my job -- in other words, either within walking distance or at least not so far by bus as it is now. True, I am getting rides from coworkers most of the time but I can't always rely on that -- they aren't my chauffeurs, and have their own lives. I will get back to driving someday, but circumstances and my own inertia are pushing that "someday" farther and farther into the future.
So I have a list of apartment complexes narrowed down to those in my price range and closeness to the job. One in particular caught my eye in that it looked both affordable and within walking distance. (There are other apartment complexes even closer, but they come under the heading "luxury" and are therefore not within my price range.) Yesterday I took the bus to the neighborhood of my office, and from there I walked along the route I'd mapped out. Sure enough, it was in a reasonable walking distance -- about a half-hour's walk would get me to and from work. The neighborhood itself is just past the boundary of all the new luxe condos and so on surrounding my office, and is somewhat seedy, but not too bad. It's like my life, just over the border of respectability. The apartment grounds themselves looked well-maintained and kept up, and the girl at the office (the doors were wide open, probably to take advantage of the gorgeous weather that day, and also were a reassuring indication that home-invasion-type robberies and other thuggery aren't much of a problem in that area -- always something I have to be careful for considering how much I am willing to spend on rent) was pleasant. They didn't have anything coming up until March or April, but my lease isn't up until September anyway so I didn't mind. I went ahead and put myself on a waiting list.
So that was my exciting life. Today I've been sitting around with cramps and so on, just resting, something I haven't done in ages it seems. The weather is warmer than yesterday but still nice, and things are comatose around here for a change. (There were kids playing outside but for a change they weren't screaming their heads off.) The cats are peaceful -- there was one session of staring and hissing, and then the older cat just sort of shrugged and turned her back in an "I'm too old for this shit" way. I basically posted this to let everyone know I am still alive. Nothing is getting my goat today, not even reading about smug bastards who in order to protect their beloved "environment" want to make it even harder for people to get around. They seem to want to turn the entire planet into some sort of untouchable botanical garden, and as well seem to think the human race can feed itself on what each family can grow in a box on the windowsill. Of course people lap this stuff up like soda; it's fast-food thinking.
Hi folks! I'm home here with cramps and a headache and things so you need to entertain me. Start posting entertaining stuff on your blogs, please! Or I will write some more about my cats.
You can invite me, James! (I think I have a Myspace page somewhere. Do I? Now I'm not sure.)
Unexpected: Philip K. Dick and Peter De Vries? Who knew!
The site was down last night for about six hours due to a fiber cut taking out the backbone. Cause: apparently an ice storm in Atlanta did bad, bad things. Tons of sites all over the place, not just mine, were cut off. But we're back! You can't keep a bad woman down.
End-of-day(s) Update: well, turns out that little storm was able to wreak more direct havoc on my neck of the woods as well. Don't worry, though -- nothing much happened in my neighborhood. Other people in the next counties over weren't so lucky though.
What the hell is wrong with me? All I have been able to do for almost the whole weekend is sit at this desk and click click click the stupid mouse. Oh yeah, and roll the scroll button. The inevitable is starting to happen: my hand feels like it's going to pop off my wrist. I have to turn this thing off before my right arm tendons start to burst into flame. So. BYE.
Doin' the laundreeee update: I'm back but I find it difficult to type around a cat. Note: I think that if I get the apartment I want I will be much better off financially and clutterwise as I will not have several second-hand junk stores across the street anymore. However, Ebay is still quite the danger.
If I change my blog's tagline this post's title will make no sense... Hi kids! Just me here, ah, sitting at the laptop again, clicking and stuff. I'm not tired, what I am is actually ACHING IN EVERY GODDAMN BONE.
Ahem. Well that feels -- not better, but anyway. I also have itchy eyes. I wish whatever I am coming down with would just get here already. I seem to have felt this way all freaking year. Today's weather didn't help -- imported straight from the Algore's cold armpit or something, it was cold and dank and damp and dark, just the sort of weather to get right into your bones and make you feel like hell. It wasn't even really that cold -- I've endured, and enjoyed, colder weather. I'm not used to this -- in South Florida cold weather is dry weather. The climate changes above Lake Okeechobee and the rest of Florida is as different as another planet. And it wasn't just me -- the office was almost as cold as the outdoors, and everyone was complaining about sore muscles and aches and wearing their outdoor coats indoors.
On the other hand one of my coworkers who knows about my little typewriter obsession brought me a late-Fifties era Smith Corona Galaxie manual with a script typeface. It was jammed in its case but when I got it home a little jimmying got the thing out. The ribbon is mostly dried up but I know where to get new ones. Tonight I typed on my new toy to test it out. (Verdict: needs cleaning, no surprise there.) Now, where to put it...
Silly boys. A car's just an extra purse, everyone knows that.
Whilst perusing the various blogs, I had a realization. You know that "Snap" thing that some people have on their blogs, that when you hover over a link opens a miniature picture of the website the link goes to? I don't like it. In fact, I hate it. I'm reading a blog, and my mouse cursor (which has a tendency to drift by itself, don't ask) skims over a link, and suddenly there's this block of crap covering the words I'm reading. It's no better than pop-up ads -- and more dishonest, at least pop-up ads are openly trying to sell you something. This Snap crap is pretending to render a service unto us needy readers, but you know what? If I wanted to see what the fucking webpage some link leads to looked like I would click on the fucking link. Get rid of this stupid thing on your websites, bloggers.
Yes, I really can't think of a better title than that lame thing. Maybe I'll set up my blog to not show titles -- after all, Glenn Reynolds does it, and he gets fifty kajillion hits an hour, which I gather is important in the bloggerverse.
Blah blah blah blah Kathy's not funny blah blah blah blah I've got the Logical Fallacies website at the top of my "favorites" list blah blah blah blah mean bitch.
Okay, I'll admit that's a bit of a paraphrase. But it's pretty funny -- well, amusing -- to read accusations of non-funniness coming from people who probably have to keep sites like this one bookmarked right underneath that Logical Fallacies site.
Thought number 3: I never really got into Dick Cavett. I'm not sure if it was because he was over my head (this is a possibility -- I was not a precociously ironic and self-aware teenager), or because his show was on at a time I couldn't watch it. I think it was on in the afternoon, when I was home from school but when I was too busy listening to my favorite rock radio station (album rock!) and reading science fiction and fantasy. I think, though, it was mainly because, unlike all my other adolescent peers, I was uninterested in the little people inside the tv. I quit watching tv altogether in the mid-seventies, and didn't go back to seriously watching anything until Quincey ME started airing. Well, there was The Rockford Files, but sad to say I preferred the gravel-voiced performer of autopsies for the people. I did watch The Late Show with Johnny Carson, but it was more of a habit thing, and occasionally they had a funny comedian. Of course, now I feel like adding all the available dvds of the above shows to my Netflix queue.
A final thought on the high crime rate among black people: I should think that it goes without saying that most black crime is not committed by blacks with good jobs, stable lifestyles, and an outlook not based on blaming everyone else but themselves for their problems. In other words, black criminals are like criminals everywhere: people with more energy than sense who combine an oversized sense of entitlement with a collective shoulder-chip the size of Manhattan. Despite this obvious fact, black criminals in America have champions willing to overlook all their faults because "their ancestors were dragged here as slaves." And of course, the white man still wants to keep the black man down, because, because... well, because it's just fun to have a seething, resentful, uneducated and underpaid underclass about the place.
One more thing: the aforementioned champions of the downtrodden and oppressed black criminal like to say things like how hard it is to "break free from the cycle" of poverty and criminal behavior and whatever else they can pull out of their grab-bag of clichés. But there's another population in a far country who are descended from people who had a hard time "breaking free" of anything, mostly because they were criminals who had been shipped away from their home countries. Yet the majority of the descendants of those crime-cycle-trapped thieves and so on seem to have broken free from their criminal past, and even prospered. I am of course talking about Australia. Their criminal ancestors were white instead of black, but I doubt mere skin pigmentation had anything to do with it. I note that I have never heard of an Australian claiming that the fact that his nth-times ancestor had been dragged to his country's shores in chains (and may even have been as innocent as the West African peasants who were nabbed and put on slave ships, because no justice system is perfect) is reason for Australians to wallow in self-pity, victimization, and blame-throwing. Could it have something to do with the lack of this sort of "he did it not me!" culture that made the difference?
So what should be done? I don't know -- maybe we should throw Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, et al on a ship bound for Australia and leave them there. In the middle of the outback with a toothbrush and a spare change of underwear.
(Syntax note: I use the term "black" throughout because I am not going to type "African-American" ten thousand times. I grew up in the Seventies when "Black Is Beautiful" was the slogan, so the PC-tards can bite me.)
Update: hah hah, Steve and I have mind-melded! Oh wait -- I mean, gross, make it stop! Now I have this urge to make my own curry from scratch and buy a parrot. Won't my cats be surprised.
... that everything that is wrong with our country can be illustrated by the way Bob Seger's self-pitying saga "Turn the Page" has become his biggest hit, despite the existence of much better songs in his repertoire ("Travellin' Man," "Hollywood Nights," etc.) Come on, America, what the hell is the matter with you?
I really hate that song.
|You Are 84% Misanthropic|
You are misanthropic to the point of being scary. In your view, people are a disease.|
You may want to lighten up a little - before you become a super villian!
(Via Lilac Rose.)
Update: I decided to remove the image. I don't know what that model chick had to do with being a misanthrope. Besides, if the quiz people decide to move images around on their site, I'd get that stupid broken image tag.
I decided to stay home today so I called in sick. Really, though I feel (or felt) like cack -- I ached in every bone, and couldn't face the thought of going into the office. I don't think I'm coming down with anything, I just think I overdid it this weekend. Saturday I took a long bus trip to the fancy mall, because I took it into my head to go to Crate and Barrel. The trip to C&B proved inconclusive -- I didn't find exactly what I wanted. (I want a set of melamine dishes. I don't want to buy them one by one; I want a boxed set, preferably with coffee cups. Unfortunately these things tend to come out in the summer, when cold drinks are the fashion, and they come with those stupid Eazy-Skratch plastic glasses. This was the sort of thing the store had. I want melamine coffee cups like they used to make back in the old days. I may have to go on Ebay, or wander the thrift shops.)
As I was waiting for the bus I observed lots of construction sites around the mall. I believe that they are going to build the new Ikea in this area, though I could be wrong. But it is the place for "luxury" stores so it would be logical that they would build it there. Of course, undercutting this notion is the new Old Navy store that was almost finished. But then again, right next to it is the location of a new West Elm (I dote on their furniture -- someday....).
Well I'm sure this is all very fascinating to my readers. But the thing is Saturday I walked my legs off as well as getting bus-ass. And Sunday I decided to go the Altamonte Mall, which is the nearest mall to me, not for shopping but because I wanted to go to Crane's Roost Park, somewhere behind the mall. Of course, there is tons of construction, because this is the location of Altamonte's new "Uptown" area -- shops in fake "old town" format and high-rise condos that cost a million dollars as well as ridiculously overpriced apartments (they imagine that people will be willing to pay over $1200 for a one-bedroom with a view of the I-4; all I can say is those better be some amenities) -- so I got rather lost, and ended up walking myself nearly into a coma. I wanted to eat at Gina's, where I've never been, and I've still never been, because on Sunday they don't open until 4pm. I ended up eating at a nearby Chili's. By that time my back hurt so bad I ordered a margarita, which took away the pain but also nearly made me fall asleep on my quesadillas. I finally found the park, and walked around the lake in an effort to wake myself up. They have done it up nicely (I took photos, will post later maybe) but they have speakers all over the place which were piping out music. This is something they must have copied from Disney (the last time I went to Epcot -- a very long time ago -- we ended up staying there way after dark when almost everyone was gone. It was actually after the place closed up, but the friends I was with worked there, that was why. What was eerie was the way the music coming from the overhead speakers continued to play to the darkened, empty park. Anyway, the idea of music playing at me when I might not want to hear any was annoying, though I am not as sensitive as I used to be. (In my younger days I would have expended much energy being irritated by this sort of thing.)
My goth past... years ago (sometime in the early 90s, I think) I saw Diamanda Galas perform in a little barely-restored old theater on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach. I think she did the "Plague Mass" -- I've shoved those concert-going days so far into the back of my mind that I can't remember. Anyway, there was this one performance she did just playing a grand piano and singing, and another where she came out in nothing but a long, flowing skirt, otherwise naked except for this bizarre glittery body paint that combined with the usual crap-goth "eerie" (translate: cheap) lighting made her look like a statue made of some weird, other- (or under-) worldly metal that was starting to rot and flake. I don't remember much else about the concert, except of course for her voice, and for the stunned respect of the crowd of local goth kidz, their studied irony and pretend vampirish lives for once confronted by the reality of what they thought they were trying to be.
Anyway, I got to see Diamanda Galas perform. I'm glad to also hear she's still alive and kicking -- considering how many people are dropping all over the place -- that poor trashy celebrity woman, a coworker at my job who went the way my grandpa did -- in for a "minor procedure" and the body just went "screw this, I'm outta here." I'd have gone to the viewing today if I had a car, and didn't have a cat to medicate waiting for me at home. Tomorrow's the funeral.
(Link to Right Wing Trash post via Kathy Shaidle.)
You know, sometimes I think it would be better if I turned off comments. Then I wouldn't have to know how many people don't actually read what I wrote. I get enough of that at work. "Didn't you get the email?" "Well, yeah..." "What you want to know is right there in the email." "Oh." Or better yet, this one: "I don't read all my emails."
People, my posts have beginnings and ends, and I rarely hide the bulk of them behind the "more" tag. RTWFT.
Well then, I'm not a woman.
And yes, I tried that "look up... and there he is." For various reasons, it turned out that sort of thing isn't for me. I'm sorry there are a lot of single females out there who were not cut out for singlehood and are now miserable, but I'm not one of them. Can we quit playing this "who has the right to keep their organs" bullshit, please?
And for what it's worth, I have nothing against the whole Valentine's Day fuss either. It doesn't mean anything to me one way or the other. It's nice to see people having fun. So this isn't an anti-2/14 post.
Sorry, folks. One week out of every month I am just about useless, and this is that week.
No, I haven't registered Democrat again (if I do that you are welcome to take me out and shoot me as I will have become useless), I went and bought a cell phone. It occurred to me that all the wandering about town I do on buses and on foot -- and Orlando has become a large city, with a growing crime problem -- it might be a good idea to have a cell phone for emergencies. So I bought one of those prepaid plans and put some minutes on it. I can't believe how cheap cell phones have become -- I paid less than twenty dollars for the Virgin Mobile "Oyster," a pretty neat little clamshell thing. Sure, I can't take blurry pictures on it (no camera phone, like I need such a thing) but it has all the other things -- color screen, stupid ringtones, etc. The default ringtone is this weird lounge-y tune, but we are talking about Virgin here. Which mobile service is obviously geared towards teens who want to be trendy but are still under mama's and daddy's bank accounts; the website for the account features images of teenage girls sticking their tongues out, yuck. But on the whole, not bad for about sixty bucks (what it cost to buy the phone and add a nice amount of minutes on it.) And now I have another toy to lug around.
The Puerto Rican guys in my apartment building were having an argument. Now there is ominous silence. This morning they were wandering about setting off firecrackers -- casually, like it was a common physical gesture, the way you would turn your head and spit. Maybe they are all excited because it's Oscar night. You think?
Added: here's an Oscar comment thread if you're into that thing. (Very little Oscarmania, lots of Gore-bashing, so it's all good really.)
On a shelf among the other cheap shoes they sat, deceptively innocent and demure. There they were, thought I, the simple ballet-style flats that I had been looking for amid the fashionable avalanche of twelve-inch wedgies and spike-heeled backless mules. I am a person who likes her shoes to be understated, to in fact be almost invisible, with the only statement they could be said to be making to be that comfort doesn't mean you have to look like you cut off the bottom parts of an Apollo-era spacesuit and stuffed your feet into them. These shoes seemed to fit the criteria. They even seemed to be made of suede -- though the label said "all man-made materials," which should have been a warning sign. But they were only ten dollars, so I bought them.
I put them on this morning. On the way to the bus stop, their stiffness was annoying, but I put it off to their being new. At least they weren't so stiff that they flapped off my heel like two wooden boards, which has happened with other shoes.
Did I forget to add that I have narrow heels, very high arches -- the tops of my feet look like a pair of Roman noses -- and gigantic (in proportion to my other ones) big toes? This makes the fitting of shoes problematic -- when they fit my heel, they tend to be too small in the toes; when my toes have wiggle room, the back of the shoe flops around loosely. This is one of the many reasons I haven't been able to find a proper set of flats.
Anyway, back to shoe horror: by the end of the day my toes felt like they were being crushed in a vise; the shoes were made in China, apparently as a new kind of foot-binding technique. There was absolutely -- zero, none -- no cushioning in the sole; walking barefoot would have actually been more comfortable. Alas, that sort of thing is frowned upon at my office, so I had to hobble about all day in increasing "discomfort." At the end of the day I had hacked holes through the things, in an unsuccessful attempt to give my gigantic mutant (and now swollen and bruised) toes some freedom, and I wanted to hack off my own feet as well. When I made it to the mall via my first bus the first thing I did was go into Sears and spend fifty bucks I really couldn't afford (though the alternative being permanent crippling I figure it's money well spent) on some "comfort"-style leather sandals with cushioned soles. The moment I put them on I felt about ninety percent better. I wore the sandals out of the store after telling the saleslady to go ahead and throw the Chinese torture devices into the trash.
Don't buy cheap shoes.
This is my life right now. And I'm all out of peanut butter.
I had to eat in the breakroom today, where they have a big wall-screen tv. It was off when I went in there, but someone else got bored so they turned on the news. So I got to experience the following while I was trying to choke down my reheated Velveeta Shells 'N' Cheese: an aerial video of a procession of cars behind a white hearse, and a hush-voiced announcer saying "...bearing the body of Anna Nicole Smith... cemetary... laid to rest today..."
Whereupon the break room's atmosphere was split by my voice: "Oh Jesus Christ! You'd think she was a world leader or something!!"
It is things like this that lower my patience these days.
Which I hope to be, and then maybe I'll pass out and finally get some decent sleep. Yes, I'm staying home, because I was unable to sleep last night (unless you call light dozes in between getting up and running to the bathroom -- thanks, caffeine! -- "sleep") and I just couldn't face the thought of hauling myself to the bus stop and interacting with my fellow beings for hours and hours.
Anyway, there's been this sort of meme* thing travelling about INTERNET about how we should look at our blog archives from March 2003 -- those of us who have
had no life been blogging at least that long anyway -- and, um, well, I guess invite commentary about them. I think. Shut up, I haven't had enough sleep.
Anyway, here is mine. Skimming through it is kind of depressing, because it just makes me realize how much I used to write, even if a lot of the entries were variations on "I'm changing the blog design again!" And a lot of the links are now defunct, but I think you get the gist.
A randomly selected sample:
How to win friends and influence people
Not. Patty comments on this article which (unintentionally, I am sure) reveals the contempt the mavens of the "peace movement" feel towards the masses they are trying to engage in "dialogue." The gist of the article is: talk down to them, because obviously the only reason that the American people haven't jumped on the peace bandwagon in droves is because they are too stupid. Money quote from Susan C. Strong, a "former teacher of rhetoric and argumentation in Berkeley" :
"Speak American," she said. "Strip down to the simple, metaphoric Anglo Saxon. Leave out long words, complex explanations, historical analysis or arguments supported by lots of reasons, facts, statistics."
Up yours too, you cow. Go fuck yourself sideways with a plank. Look! All Anglo-Saxon words. Think Ms. Strong will get it?
(Links that were in the original are not copied over here.) Oh where, oh where has the fire gone? Must get my mojo back...
*It has become fashionable to sneer at the term "meme," so I am not going to do that. I'm such a rebel!
No, I am not especially happy with the new Daylight Savings Time date. Why don't they just go all the way -- ban air-conditioning because it contributes to climate change, make every day Bring Your Child To Work Day, make loud cell phone conversations consisting of "I'm on the bus," and "what up, dog?" mandatory on all buses? There are so many ways to torture me, why stop at just one?
(Oh wait -- that last one is already in effect.)
I share moments of my life with you poor, lesser mortals: just because I have had an excellent dinner, prepared with these two hands (ham steak, a baked sweet potato, and fresh brussel sprouts parboiled and sauteed in butter, with a not-bad-for-a-grocery-store zinfandel), does not mean I feel mellow. On the contrary, there's nothing like a nice meal to get the hate flowing.
On the other hand, I have a couple of Sherlock Holmes (the ones with Jeremy Brett) dvds from Netflix waiting, and I have to get up early blah blah blah. What to do?
Heh -- that sounds like lyrics from a Seventies song, even if it isn't. Anyway, I can stay up a little later because one of my coworkers called and offered to pick me up in the morning. This means I don't have to crawl outdoors at six in the morning to catch the first of three buses. Anyway, I feel like irritating someone. I actually saw the news yesterday on the stupid tvs they have on some of the buses down here, about that guy from the band Boston, whatsisname, who just died. So naturally the first thing I thought of was "Do you suppose his last thoughts were 'Hey, that is more than a feeli--'"?
Hi kids! I really need to move out of this place. Last night about 10:30 I'm sitting there on the couch stroking my elderly, sick cat, and trying to make myself tired enough to sleep, as opposed to being too tired to sleep, when suddenly this commotion erupts from the apartment behind mine. (I believe I have previously complained about the thin walls in this place.) This noise could have been heard in a bunker, though -- either Cato and the Pink Panther have moved in behind me, or someone was being axe-murdered. I didn't know whether to call maintenance or the police.
Older tenants are leaving this place in droves and are being replaced with, if you ask me, a somewhat less savory crowd. There was the yutz with the firecrackers, and the guy who has loud arguments on the phone with his window open (which is next to my bedroom window, which needless to say keep out the noise even less well than the walls), and just a certain look to people I've seen about the place lately.
That's not all. I'm tired of living so far from where I work. I only moved to this place so I could be close to work, and then the office moved to the other side of I-4. Even if I did have a car I'd want to move. I live near a large state road which I have to cross every morning to catch the first bus, and I'm sick of it, as people drive here as if running people down wasn't against the law. I don't even like walking on the sidewalk here anymore. New cars tend to stop on a dime, unlike the steel behemoths of my youth, so people don't bother putting the brakes on until the last minute. (Oddly enough, in older parts of Orlando, such as near downtown, where the traffic is even worse, I'm not as jumpy walking around. I think it's because all the roads are straighter and narrower than the wide, curved highways in suburban and semi-urban areas.) There are a few apartment complexes either within walking distance or at least within one short bus ride from work, so there is no reason for me to stay here any longer than I have to.
But I need money. I don't have much worth selling -- I'll probably end up giving most of my clutter to Goodwill or the dumpster -- and anyway I am keeping most of the furniture I have acquired, and it's not the light crap I used to own. Therefore I will have to hire movers or at least a truck and have a friend drive it. Also there is the little matter of down payment, pet fees, etc.
So I am having a Get Me Out of Here! fundraiser. The Paypal and Amazon should both work. Every little bit helps. I'll even post more. If the mad axe-murderer doesn't start on the rest of the building.
First in a series! Here it is:
My favorite Led Zeppelin song has this chorus:
And maybe a few more, and then something about walking in a park, if he comes back.
I'm awake. It's that time o' the month again (Irish b.s. accent added in honor of St. Patrick's Day), and I'm drinking decaf coffee so I won't get cramps. Also, I always experience a dulling of my already feeble mental capacities whenever this wonderful week comes around, so I may or may not be posting things here for the next couple of days. And if I do they may or may not be crap. (Bet on number one.)
I should pack, for my planned move -- even if I can't get out of here before my lease is up in September I should start now, as I know how long it takes me to pack -- but I can't bring myself to start. Gah, I need some real coffee.
Update: I have to say it could be worse. (And now my post title is even more apropos.)
Argh, just did my 1040-EZ form. There is bad news and good news. The bad news is I owe again. The good news is, at least it's less than 100 bucks this time. I really should sign up for that 401-K.
Well, everyone must be out vomiting up green beer onto the sidewalks, because the internet is dead. I never venture out alone in Orlando on St. Patrick's Day, because I'm not stupid. People here are bad enough when sober. I don't know if my crazy neighbors are celebrating with their usual yelling, rap-music-playing, and firecracker-lighting, but that's because I'm sitting here listening to Big, Stupid Rock on the Big, Stupid Rock station. As you may have ascertained, the current offering is "Aqualung" by Jethro Tull. ("...snot running down his nose...") They don't do it like the Tull anymore.
Let's see if this works and doesn't screw up my template:
OK, so far so good. Some of this is just nonsense, but I had to pick the nearest thing. The "love" category was the most unsatisfactory, but this is probably due to the desiccated state of my "heart" (carefully tended, of course). Most of the choices were images of cute young things getting physical, which hardly describes my preferences these days. There was one image of a cute dog bearing a newspaper, but as I am under no illusion as to why dogs do things for us I couldn't very well pick that one.
More items... sorry for the hairy back image, but it was the grossest one they had. Other images (a clean toilet (?) -- I guess a dirty one would be going too far -- and someone's bare toes, etc.) weren't gross enough. But anyway, it's a cute timewaster, and I feel it my duty to clutter up the internet with as much garbage as possible -- just doing my part! (Via Sheila O'Malley.)
(Boring personal post follows. Skip if you like quality.)
Orlando has this radio station that is mostly moronic talk all week (the kind of "talk" that is nothing but three or four semi-cretins talking over each other and laughing at their own moronic "jokes," which weren't funny when Truman was president, and occasionally taking callers -- all of whom seem to be the sort of people who call talk radio shows because there's just not much else a 600-pound hermaphrodite on disability can do for fun), but on weekends they have music, and on Sunday they have a show called "Sunday Night Vinyl." (They probably spell it "Nite" but I'm not in radio so I will use correct spelling.)
Anyway, most of the stuff they play is from the Eighties, the time of vinyl's last gasp (there is a feeble movement of sorts to bring vinyl back, but nothing will come of it, as most people prefer the ease of storage and playing of CDs, or downloading music off the internet onto their iPods). I remember at the time that music had suddenly become creative and interesting again, but in retrospect there was an awful lot of cruddy garbage, and a lot of new bad habits were formed (and I'm not talking about the drugs).
One of the things that bothered me back then and is really annoying now is the bogus "English" accent many singers affected. This was a sort of exaggerated twisting of vowels as well as an extra snotty way of projecting the voice that was extremely irritating, and undercut whatever virtues the song in question may otherwise have had. You could really tell the British singers from their American counterparts that way -- the British singers didn't have much of an accent when they sang. But hordes of eyelined, spike-haired boys were sure this would draw in the chicks, so we got to hear things like what I just heard from some obscure band whose name I now forget -- the phrase "I close my eyes" pronounced as "Oy cla-owse moy oyz." God, shut up, who cares.
And they're still doing it -- the bad Fake British Accent is here to stay. Green Day is one of the major offenders (one of the many reasons I can't stand them, besides the fact that they suck.) On the whole, it's just another reason I am considering selling my record collection on Ebay.
Update: if it's Vienna Calling, hang up. And -- you know, there's a reason these things were B-sides. (Tell the kids what that means.)
(I decided what I did have here was too wordy.) I came back home today to take the cat to the vet. The older one -- she seemed to be having trouble peeing, and I know that's not good. They have here there giving her fluids (despite being not able to pee she was dehydrated) and I am supposed to call them in the afternoon for the prognosis.
So that's been my day so far.
Well, the cat is back. She's got a urinary tract infection, so I now have to give her antibiotic drops twice a day. (It's the same pink stuff, amoxicillin, they gave us all when we were kids.) She's going to be thrilled. She yowled all the way back from the vet, a short trip across the street made much longer by the INSANE drivers here -- pedestrians have the right to be run over if they can't sprint out of the way of the *important* person driving the Lexus have the very *important* cell phone conversation that can't stop for mundane things like paying attention to the short fat lady struggling to carry a case full of agitated, bouncing cat. And sloshing -- her plumbing is already working again. So not only was she upset at the trip and the poking and the strange place and the shots, but she was sitting in pee. Fortunately the case is plastic and has no openings on the bottom so at least it didn't drip all over me. Much.
Catblogging must -- some pictures after the break:
A group of preteen girls who live in the complex are having a screaming contest. (You know -- one of those things where you and your little friends would see who could scream the loudest.)
Well, life does go on, doesn't it? Begin whine...
Okay, I am attempting to remove my head from the smelly place it's been in. I had some food, took an Alka-Seltzer Cold Plus, etc. Nothing is more tiresome than a self-pity attack.
One more thing: I'd like to thank all of you for your generous donations! Of money and kind comments.
Okay, now a nice, calming bath.
Update: aaarrggghhhh!!! Is there any good blogging software that isn't built by softheaded newagey lefty-progressive geeks? I was actually going to take a shower, not a bath, but baths use up more water, so... Death to Gaia!
I'm here in a coffee bar playing with their free wireless network. I must say mine is the most battered laptop in the place -- grunge! So what it works.
It's actually my only working computer, so I was a little worried about taking it out into the cruel world. One thing I have to work on (after finding a new place to live, and etc.) is getting another desktop. One of these days...
I am just having a coffee break before going to look at some apartments. Then it will be back to the mountain of laundry, and the housework. My place really is a mess, and I also need to start getting rid of stuff. My back already hurts. And I'm already angry because in moving a table out of my bedroom (the small dinette table, which I'd put in there for some reason I forget) I nicked the finish on my platform bed. You can't really see the damage -- it's just a tiny chip in the varnish on the underside of the bottom rail, but I can see it. I won't turn the bed around, because the idea of the scratch will be there in my mind. I have to call the store to see if they have any repair or touch up kits, or know of where I can get one. (Dark cherry stain varnish.) I am trying not to think what moving will do to my furniture.
Visiting the bathroom every half hour, apparently. What can I say, I was out trudging around in the hot sun, and when I got back I was parched. So my dinner this evening has been: water water water water sandwich tea tea tea. (The sandwich is an attempt to soak up some of the water, and also I hadn't eaten since noon.)
Anyway, I looked at a couple of places, got some literature... I have decided to try and hold out as long as possible where I am.* I don't want to break my lease, as that will cost me extra money. I haven't heard any more of the loud scary noises from the apartment behind me, so I guess they buried the body real well. (Or whatever.) My lease is up at the end of September, so that gives me plenty of time to save up the money and nail down a place. However, I am holding out the possibility of leaving earlier, if the opportunity comes up and must be snatched. I can always beg them to hold the apartment...
And six months is about how long I'll need to pack. Three months to think about it. Two months to start getting rid of stuff. Three weeks to acquire boxes and tape. One week to throw everything into a huge pile and drink myself into a stupor. One day for my remaining friends to finish packing for me.
*So far. That could just be my fatigue talking. Right now if I lived under a park bench I'd be telling myself "you know, it's not so bad, I've got the healthy fresh airzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..."
Below is just more of my maunderings about my apartment-hunting preoccupations. A post about an issue outside of my own selfish concerns (though of course, connected; it's all about me, don't you know?) is in the previous post. But if you want to continue to enjoy the slow-motion car crash that is my life, read on:
For some reason the radio station I am listening to, Orlando's 104.1 ("Real Radio" is what they call themselves) is coming in all staticky. Usually they are as clear as a bell, and I haven't moved my stereo. (I am only listening to them because they are having their Sunday Night Vinyl show -- the rest of the week they are stupid talk radio that I can't stand. The vinyl show plays all those songs from my second childhood -- i.e., the Eighties/early Nineties heyday of college radio. They just sent out a shout-out to all the "former FIT students in Melbourne." Shudder as too many reminiscenses surface....)
Here is a drink I came up with myself:
Andrea Queen of the Universe Cocktail
Take a rocks glass
Put in three or four ice cubes
Add two ounces of brandy (don't worry if you go a little over, like I did tonight)
Add the juice of one freshly-squeezed tangelo
Add ginger ale to fill
If you like, add a twist of tangelo rind
"I'll bet you say that to all the boys."
(Fill in the rest. Anyone who lived in Miami in the Eighties will know what I am talking about.)
I have decided to just go ahead and apply for the apartment with the washer/dryer. The one that is the most expensive of those I've seen so far, but is in a nice location (one bus ride or one long walk if I have to to work, near shops and restaurants and the other bus that runs on Sundays, in a nice bunch of trees). I mean what the heck. If I don't get it I don't get it, and there are others. But the idea of having my own washer and dryer again is a real draw.
To most people, it seems, the Eighties evoke a vision of brightly-colored glitter and energy, a resurgence in optimism both economic and political for the Western world after the dreary, sour Seventies. That's as may be -- for myself, the Eighties will always be more like this. Well, it certainly was energetic...
(Fun fact: Peter Murphy married a Turkish woman and converted to Islam some time ago. Fun personal fact: I was actually infatuated with Daniel Ash. It's hard to explain; the closest I can come to it is the way he had those stripes painted down his arms... Seeds of my demise brought to you by way of Ghost of a Flea.)
Actually, I won't need one; it looks like I got the apartment. I have to move in on May 4th, that was the longest I could get them to hold it. It's on the second floor, has a balcony, and washer-dryer hookups, and also the water heater isn't in the bedroom closet. Also it's ten minutes bus ride from work (if that) -- just as I wanted.
Now all I have to do is find $1400, comprised of one month's prorated rent, security, and various, fees, and pack. And figure out how I'm going to get my stuff from here to there. And break the news to my landlord. Just a few minor things.
Let the Moving My Crap saga begin:
Oh God, I've got to pack.
Well. The first stage of packing is figuring out what you're not going to take with you, which means my favorite activity: throwing things out. Of course, that leads to a less favorite activity: dragging the stuff to the dumpster. Oh well, can't make lemonade without lemons...
I am also going to have to get rid of some larger items, i.e., furniture. The new place is much smaller, and has much less wall space due to the large windows that I craved and as well the open-plan kitchen (I have a real breakfast bar, finally -- but I don't have a wall there). So I have to make some (not really) hard decisions and let go of some of the nice furniture pieces I'd picked up at the thrift store. Ideally I'd like to sell them, though if time goes on and I get no buyers I'll just call Goodwill or somebody.
I also need to go through my books. I just have too many -- yes, I know you can't have too many books, but I have to get rid of some of the ones I read once and know I won't read again. Also some textbooks I'd kept because the college bookstore wouldn't take them back and I thought I'd use them for reference but that hasn't happened. This will probably be one of the smaller discards, though.
I am of two minds whether to keep all my vinyl LPs. I do know of a store that will buy them off me, if at nothing better than 25 cents per record, but it's all the way over in Winter Garden.
Anyway, I am going to get rid of some garbage, and go through the house making lists.
One day this blog will return to the usual snark and so on instead of being a compendium of My Boring Life, I promise.
Well, that wasn't too bad -- I took time off from work to talk to my landlord about breaking the lease, and they were pretty understanding when I explained the long commute was killing me. So all I have to do is come up with an extra month's rent ($600) plus whatever prorated amount I'll have to pay for staying here until May 4th, my move-in day to the new place. I was lucky this time -- the last time I had to break the lease the management company I had charged me the remainder of my lease, because apparently no one rented out that apartment until the end of my lease (or maybe they did -- I ended up getting some of the money back because I'd overpaid, but the company had sold the apartment complex in the meantime so the girl I was talking to couldn't find anything in the records). They also told me I'd get my security back, which will help, because otherwise I'll be eating ramen noodles for a year. This is going to take all my money and then some. But it will be worth it.
At least one headache has been averted -- I asked a coworker who happens to have a truck if he could help me move, and he said yes. He helped me move before, so it's nice of him to forgive the nightmare of ten thousand books (or what must have seemed like ten thousand...) Also, I plan to get rid of a lot of my furniture. I will be keeping the bed (of course) the dresser and the smaller chest, an end table or two (needless to say the search for the perfect nightstand is on hold indefinitely), the couch, the coffee table, and the small cabinet that I planned to make into my bar but so far is just holding junk. And of course the small writing desk. The china cabinet and big dining room table will of course have to go, and as well the "Danish" style cabinet with shelves that really is too rickety and old. I will keep one armchair, but the other (the more worn one) must go.
I've already mentioned books and record albums as things to go through and start culling. Really, I wish I wasn't so tired after work -- I itch to start pitching. I'm going to toss all the Christmas decorations -- they are battered junk anyway, and half the lights are dead. I need to go through all my dishes -- none of them really worth anything, they might just go out to the dumpster. They were cheap to begin with -- or free -- so not much of a loss. My goal is to actually be packed before moving day, instead of my usual habit of packing at the very last minute after drinking myself into a stupor the night before. (I don't usually drink a lot -- I just hate packing.)
I don't know why I made that the title of this post. Anyway... gah. Today was -- a day. After work I ended up at the mall (where I pick up the connecting bus). I prefer to wait until the later, less crowded bus comes along, so I got it into my head to get my hair cut. There is a Hair Cuttery in this mall. (I don't fuss much about my hair. Hair Cuttery is fine.) Anyway, I told the guy to make it short, so now I look like Derek Jacobi in I, Claudius. Well, I did until I applied the hair dye -- now it's kind of brown. But good and short -- everyone else who does my hair seems terrified at the idea of shearing a lady's locks, and I always end up with my head looking like a huge ball of fluff after a couple of weeks.
I saw my next-door neighbor's (we share the front patio) young relatives of some sort barbecuing on their part of the patio when I got home, and I offered to give them one of my patio chairs -- a resin Adirondack style that someone gave me and I never used once. I already have a porch chair, and the two of them looked odd sitting on my side of the patio while hers had none. Now there is a chair on each side. So I have taken care of one pre-moving task (getting rid of an unwanted item of furniture).
I have basically decided just about everything is going to have to go. I will just take the smaller (the three-drawer) dresser, and sell or give away (if it doesn't sell) the six-drawer dresser. I need to go through the rest of my clothes and just get rid of everything I know I am not going to wear.
And so on. So much to discard... I can't wait.
Well, isn't that special.
Today at Large Nationwide Homebuilding Company, Inc., we got a sudden announcement of a "mandatory" meeting of our department.
So, I learned that as of sometime in July (I have a date, but they've told me it may be later than that) I will be officially laid off as part of a company restructuring that is moving my department's functions to Tampa. They will then have new positions open in Tampa, but I as I have never been interested in living there (too much like Miami, bleh)...
So far I've been offered a generous severance package, and as well all sorts of help in getting a new job either elsewhere or in some other division of the company, perhaps even what is left of us here in the Orlando area. There will still be parts of the company in the new office, as apparently the building is leased to forever, and not to mention we have new projects coming up that somebody local has to build. Personally, I've been given quite the buttering up by my bosses, so I am hopeful. I am not too worried about finding a new job, either in my company or elsewhere -- if the last three and a half years have done nothing else at least they have reminded me of my capabilities.
Now you may be asking, my two or three readers, what about Andrea's plans for moving? Well, as of this moment they are unchanged. In fact, I need to move out of this neighborhood more than ever. This section of town is Loserville unless you want to work in retail or the airport. No thanks. Also, to catch the bus here involves crossing a highway to stand on the side of a ditch (I must take photos one day of my main bus stop, you will wet your pants at the hilarity of what sort of waiting experience the county administrators feel people who take the bus are entitled to). And to get anywhere but the airport or Apopka I have to take a connecting bus. Whereas the apartment I want to move to is a few steps away from a bus that goes straight downtown, with all sorts of office centers all along the route.
However, things can change. Right now I'm concentrating on getting enough cash together for the move. As things are going I think I may just barely make it. Then two more months of employment, and after that? Who knows.
Things are looking up a bit -- I found out about a position at one of the divisions of my company that isn't moving to Tampa -- in fact, it's in the same office, just a different department. I went ahead and applied. If the job pays the same or more I'll take it. I also got a call from a temp agency (the one that set me up at my current employer); they noticed I'd updated my resume on Careerbuilder, and have a position they want to talk to me about. If it pays more than what the new job at my current place pays, and is conveniently located to where I am going to be living, I just might take that job instead.
Speaking of where I am going to be living... I got the final approval for the apartment today. Yays! Now all I have to do is scrape up the money.
Okay, my day was as follows: I took the bus to Bed, Bath and Beyond to buy a set of those fold-up china storage boxes for my one good set of dishes. I also found one for stemware, so I have someplace to keep my wine glasses. That's all I bought -- I need boxes, but I'll just use the ones from the office that our copier paper supplies come in.
And now the difficult part: I have to actually start packing. And I also have to start separating out the things I am going to sell or give away (or throw away). I have also decided to advertise on Craigslist, so if any of you are in my part of the world and want my stuff, there will be a url for you here soon. I was going to buy a color cartridge for my printer and just put up signs with pictures, but I decided against the expense.
Anyway, that's the plan.
I'm doomed -- they have opened a Total Wine & More store in Orlando. I saw it from the bus yesterday on the way back from Bed Bath & Beyond (I went to the one on Colonial instead of the one in Casselberry, which is closer to me but I'd have to walk across evil State Road 436 to get to its new location), and it was all I could do to stop myself from getting off the bus and spending all my money. But my will is strong... for now!
I like to listen to the local jazz station. Unfortunately, it's sponsored by NPR, which means I have to listen to their news, usually narrated by someone with a snide BBC accent or a snide American-trying-to-sound-Canadian accent. And the sound of their voices isn't the most annoying thing...
But I have found a way to deal with the annoyance. I pretend that they are speaking in a foreign language. Occasionally they will say "George Bush," but it no longer has any context, being that everything else is gibberish.
Well, yesterday had been such a nice, if cold, day, that I decided that the morning would be spent at Crane's Roost Park. I also decided to eat at the Denny's there. (Nothing else seemed to be open -- either times have changed, or they take Easter much more seriously in Central Florida than they do in Miami.) So I got on the bus. The weather was even colder than yesterday, and cloudy as well. Denny's was already crowded -- I wanted to get their early to avoid the church crowd, but as usual I was too lazy about getting out of bed -- but I got a table squashed in the corner. I ordered one of their fat-and-meat packed breakfasts. It was okay, but they need to clean the stale grease off the bacon griddle. I would have lingered a bit over my coffee, but they'd seated a family with a hysterical brat screaming about something or other (such behavior would have gotten me a trip to the bathroom or the parking lot and a spanking -- he was speaking in complete sentences, so old enough to be told "you're old enough to know better") so I left. I stood forever behind a large family that was standing right in front of the cashier, only to have them tell the hostess/waitress that they were waiting for a table. A few steps to the left was the actual waiting-for-a-table area, and it was empty. Fuming, I paid.
Then I went down to the lake and walked around it once. It's a good-sized lake. Crane's Roost is a very "urban-style" park, as opposed to some of the somewhat wilder ones in the area -- with the concrete walk and the bandstands and so on, and last but not least the annoying piped-in music from loudspeakers. I wouldn't mind if they played classical but they choose mostly some dreary pop. I snapped a few shots of some ducks on my camera, and decided to go home.
I have decided to move the dining stuff back into the dining room, and the couch and other living room things back into the living room. Even though the arrangement is less comfortable it will enable me to get certain items gathered together properly. I've already moved my computer work area back into the bedroom. I have some pictures I need to upload to Craigslist of some items I am selling. I packed up two of the tea sets I am keeping. I put my old patio set -- the one with the moon chairs and the glass side table -- out on the patio, so I could take a picture of it (I'm selling the set). I threw out some Christmas decorations and some other garbage. And I'm exhausted. I sure hope I'll be done by moving day. And I sure hope some of my stuff sells -- I really need the money.
And now for this commercial break -- I've been moving things all over the place, mostly so I can get pictures of the things I want to sell. While I attempt to sort some items, in the extended entry are some shots from my day (click on all for extra-large size):
No, nothing naughty, you pervs. I confess instead to a liking for devices that do more than one thing. For instance, I bought -- and still have in the box -- a toaster oven/griddle/coffeemaker contraption at Big Lots. The same device was about forty bucks online, but Big Lots had a pile of them for twenty smackaroos. (The Fifties-ish lingo will soon be explained.) It will furnish my future separate office, or beach cottage (which will be a real beach cottage -- a ramshackle hut that you won't mind tracking sand into -- have I told you about my beach cottage fantasy? I've become old enough to start entertaining those)... Anyway, I heart multiuse appliances. There was this Royal typewriter on Ebay that also had an AM radio in the case, which I unfortunately didn't win... But James Lileks has come across the ultimate way-cool multipurpose device: a car that has a record player in the dashboard. If I find one of these babies for sale (after I sell a few best-selling novels, or have an anonymous millionaire leave me lots of money) I may buy that instead of a Jeep.
Or a Miata... (complete change of subject here) I set up my Amazon tipjar years ago, and haven't changed the settings since. I was in a jocular mood, I guess, so I set up the thank-you notices to say things like "thank you for helping me become an Eeville Capitalist Running Dog!" and "thanks for helping me buy a Miata, bwahahaaha!" I never dreamed that anyone would 1) actually think I was serious, and 2) get upset that someone would dare to use money donated by readers to buy whatever the hell she likes (assuming I really want a Miata, which I don't).
Well, that shows how naive I am... a few weeks ago Kim Du Toit was kind enough to respond to my many whines and complaints about how unhappy I was in my current domicile by asking his readers to donate a few bucks to my "begging bowls." The Amazon thing is set up to go to a yahoo email account I don't check regularly. So I missed an irate letter from a would-be donater who was so upset at my "Miata" reference that he pulled his donation. I sent back an irate response of my own, but the whole thing basically has me scratching my head. I never changed the settings because frankly Amazon doesn't make it easy to do so, and now I can't change it to something more generic ("thank you for your contribution" or something) because people like this fool will think I was chastised.
In any case, I finally went in and changed it. It will now read "Thanks for helping me buy a Cadillac Escalade! Take that, Gaia!" That's much better.
It says something about my level of emotional maturity that I can sit here drinking a glass of wine at my age and still think "Look! I am doing something grownups do!"
Money, money, money, money...money
Well folks, it's that time of year: gotta beg for that mean, mean green. (No, the reference isn't to envirohugger concerns -- rest at ease!) You were going to use that spare cash to do something pointless, like buy a new tv or some food, but why do that when you can give it to me! I'll put it to good use. Promises. (Seriously: I get the feeling that selling my ratty old furniture probably won't defray all of the costs of moving. Though to my immense surprise my craigslist ads have gotten a response....)
Oh great. It's that time o' the month, and my brain has been temporarily been replaced by a box full of bees, or washers, or something that rattles and can't stay still for a moment. I can't even concentrate on blogs -- that's how short my attention span i
You know, speaking of aches and pains, I was just exhausted yesterday, so bone-tired that I nearly left work early. But I was too tired to actually get up and leave until I had to. I thought I was coming down with something, but maybe it was just PMS. By the time I got home I just cra
Squeaky the Ancient Cat has taken to sleeping on the surge protector. I move her off, she goes back and puts her butt right on it. I guess it gives off comforting warmth. I don't want her to set herself on fire (or me), so I am thinking of putting the heating pad down and seeing if she'll move. Then again, I have cramps so
Among the things I am selling is my television. I don't watch it, and the Netflix account is taking about $19.00 I can use every month to buy the cat's medicine (which costs about the same). I am going through my books because I'm going to sell some off too, and good grief I have a lot of books. I need to actually finish reading some of them. That's assuming I am ever able to sit still or hold a thought in my head for more than five sec
I had the interview with the manager of the closing department today. She likes me, though she is supposed to be "difficult" to work for. Well, she can't be any worse than the big loud mortgage guy who was my boss for over ten years in Miami, who was a Jew from the Bronx who had done all kinds of crazy things in his life, had an attractive wife, a good-looking son, three parrots, liked to wear gold jewelry, and when he retired bought a motorcycle. He was one wild and crazy
I go to Mark Shea's blog on the recommendation of Kathy Shaidle, but it's a Blogspot blog with wonky links, so you go there at your own risk. You may find something funny and spot-on, or you may find yourself confronted with Evil Mark, rabid Bush-hater who never met a Guantanamo-torture-horror story he didn't like. And then there's sniffy, superior, "sin makes you stupid" Mark, who somehow manages to make it through this vale of sinners despite the handicap of a giant plank in his eye.
Oh, and I am beginning to think I was an idiot for asking for donations during tax month (as I stare at the unfilled-out EZ Form and check -- yes, I owe, though at least it's not that much), but there, I still have to move on the 4th, even if I live on stone soup and boiled beetles for a couple of weeks. At least the insect life is plentiful down here.
Did I kill the internet?
One of my next-door neighbors has taken to singing in the early morning. For hours. Very loudly. I would not have so much of a problem with this if he could actually sing, but he sounds like a cat with his tail caught in the door.
Twenty more days...
Oh dear. I'm sitting here waiting for a woman who was going to buy my "Danish style" cabinet and I'm hearing the gentle sound of raindrops. She lives all the way in Waterford Lakes (far from me) and may decided not to come out tonight. And tomorrow it's supposed to be stormy. (Today was, of course, a beautiful day.) I think I picked the wrong month to move in.
Oh well, too late now, even if I have to give all the crap I don't want to the dumpster or to Goodwill.
I have nothing else to do at the moment, I might as well complain some more. I had actually been thinking about running across the street to the Walgreen's to buy some bread (I'm out), but I don't feel like going out into the rain. Orlando drivers are bad enough on sunny days, on rainy nights they go insane. And it's Saturday night. I'm so pissed I was at Publix today and forgot to buy bread.
So I've been packing and sorting through all my books, culling the ones I don't want to keep. My God where did all these things come from? It's like they had babies or something -- the more I put away or in the to-go pile, the more I find. Oh good grief, there's another stray on the dresser. Right now I'm at the I'll-never-finish stage of packing. I hope my friend at least comes by tomorrow to pick up the computor monitor.
I also contacted some people who asked about the tv and dvd but I've got no replies yet. In any case I disconnected them so I could clear the cabinet but I'm so bored I just might plug them back in. Yeah, Miss "I Don't Watch TV."
My cats are very upset with me. They see me putting things into other things, and moving all of THEIR belongings (which they graciously allow me to use) around, and they know I'm up to no good. There have been several episodes of hissing and snarling at one another. At least I cleaned out the stinky litter box.
And on that note, I'm going to close. Later.
Oh -- and thanks to everyone who contributed to my moving fund. Every little bit helps! I found out that I have to add one month's extra rent onto the downpayment (due to my credit not being so great), so I will have even less money for the next few weeks. Great.
'Tiny Bubbles' singer Don Ho dies. My father used to drive me crazy with that song.
Well of course, the big storm with the rains and the tornadoes and everything blew through here and left behind a beautiful windy day. Just the sort of day I like to go on long walks -- but I am feeling none too great right now. I did walk over to Walmart to get some necessities (like Pamprin).
I also was able to get rid of the bookshelves -- a guy responded to my Craigslist ad and came and got them -- and my friend came and picked up the computer monitor and also an inkjet printer that was still in the box, never used, that a coworker gave me. I was also able to pack some more things, so the place is finally starting to look empty and packed. I may get to the bottom of my stuff after all.
That's what I've been saying all evening. Because if things weren't bad enough, now I'm having problems with the dsl. I may just go back to cable internet when I move.
Well, to make a long story short, I didn't get the job. It went to someone who spoke Spanish, which, believe it or not, I can't really do (except for "restaurant Spanish"), even after a lifetime in Miami. I can't speak any other foreign language either, despite my lifelong philological fantasies -- I took five years of German, four of French, and two of Italian, along with all the obligatory Spanish, and I can't speak any of those languages. Something happens to my brain when I try to speak out loud in any other language but my own, and my speech center just shuts down. I can conjugate verbs (on paper) like a motherfucker though.
But that doesn't change the fact that as of July 10th I'll no longer be employed at my place of employ. There are a number of bright sides to this: I'll get a nice chunk of severance pay, I won't have to work at what I have started to call the Madhouse, and, um, well there.
So maybe it wasn't such a good idea to move to a new apartment -- on the other hand, I'm not going to be immediately unemployed. And the location of the new apartment is loads better for job searching; the bus is on the corner instead of being two blocks and a four-lane highway away (and I can stand on a sidewalk instead of a ditch to wait for it) and it goes straight downtown, passing through the business districts of Maitland and Winter Park along the way. But I hope that by the time July rolls around I'll already have something lined up. Well, as the song says, "the future's uncertain and the end is always near."
Hi folks. I am sitting here wondering whether or not to pay my phone bill, because they turned it off. I am terrified of coming to Lease Signing Day and not having enough money to pay the downpayment. Ridiculous, I know. But I have been less and less pleased with my phone company -- most of the phone calls I get are of the "Hi! It's (Fake Name) and I just wanted to tell you about this great deal I have for Dish Network/vacation homes/mortgages/investments!" variety. I never talk on the phone. I might just end up getting cable when I move instead of rehooking the phone back up. I don't really know what to do.
I guess I'll just pay the fucking thing. Goddammit. I really can't wait until I've moved. Then I'll be able to think again.
"If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all," is no way to run a blog. Just so you know.
We really have no right to demand that "moderate" Muslims stand up against their crazier fellow Muslims, if we won't even contemplate defending ourselves against killers (because to do so would somehow be "disrespectful to the victims").
And now for something completely different: via Ann Althouse comes this article on a pill that suppresses menstruation. Of course there are the usual stupid objections -- "but that's unnatural!" Eg.: "We don’t want to confront our bodily functions anymore." And “Women are not sick... They don’t need to control their periods for 30 or 40 years.”
Well, fuck you, lady, what do you call feeling like shit five days out of every freaking month of the year? I call that being sick, and no amount of propaganda from the Womb Fanatics will change that. And to answer Althouse's question, hell yes I'd jump on that pill -- if I could be bothered to go to the doctor, and could afford to pay for it every month. I doubt that birth control -- which is all this is -- is covered by my medical insurance. It wasn't back in 2000, which is when I started taking the Pill, and did so for about a year until I broke up with my fiance and went back to a sex-free spinster life. And if you must know, that pill -- I forget which one it was now, one of the common ones with the five placebos you take one week so you'll have a period -- did calm my cramps down, and made my usual gusher of a menses into a demure trickle. However, it also made me fat and weepy, so there was a trade-off. Now I am only weepy one week out of the month, but boy does that week suck. And it's getting worse the closer I get to the Change... this last one was the worst, seven straight days of cramps and clots and emotional disturbance. I may actually make that doctor appointment, though I'm afraid he'll want me to get a bunch of tests first involving various cold metal instruments being poked up my hoo-hah. That's not as much fun as it sounds.
Back to the Womb Fanatics: my favorite quote is the Anne Frank one. Girls, Anne Frank called her period a "sweet secret," so how can we dare diss it?
I feel like making some pasta for dinner tonight. I've
avoided tried to avoid* pasta since I hold it responsible for the thirty pounds I've put on in the last five years. Also it plugs me up better than Kaopectate. On the other hand, it's great comfort food, it's easy to make (well, the way I make it), and it's cheap.
Pray for me.
*Amended. Truth now!
Sorry for the longer-than-usual hiatus, folks -- I've been prostrate ever since I heard how Sheryl Crow plans to save the earth -- one square of toilet paper at a time. I wonder how many people are going to refuse to shake her hand now?
Nine days until I don't have to go to sleep listening to the 24/7 video game playing of my upstairs neighbor. It's not too loud, just loud enough that I can hear it. Usually I just pretend it's thunder...
Thank you to the person who dropped some much-needed bling into the Amazon tipjar! (The tipjar doesn't tell me who donates -- so if you want to donate anonymously that's the way to do it!)
Thanks again -- I am going to be really low on cash for at least a month after I move, it looks like -- never mind that after July my employment future is uncertain indeed -- so every little bit helps and is appreciated!
Just offloaded some furniture onto a coworker and a lady that answered my Craiglist ad. I have a few more things to get rid of (like the gigantic dining room table, which is getting bigger everytime I look at it), but I think I might actually accomplish the goal of moving without being reduced to sitting and rocking gently back and forth for a year or so.
Well, as everyone seems to take the weekend off from blogging, I guess there's no excuse for me to not get off my duff and finish packing. I did have some bad news yesterday -- the friend who was going to help me move (some) stuff has pulled a muscle in her back and is also having an arthritis attack, and has been told by her doctor not to leave the house or lift anything heavier than a kleenex. Fortunately, the coworker who is going to help me move the furniture hasn't been hit by a car or had a meteor drop on his condo (yet). I also have a tentative promise from another coworker for some help, so I'll talk to her Monday. If I can manage to throw stuff out and not pack it in a last-minute frenzy, I just may be able to do this thing. (I have vowed not to create three "junk I need to sort through someday" boxes like I did last time.
I also have laundry to do. So it's time to turn the computer off. Later, people.
PS: thank you for all the monetary help -- I may actually be able to stock the refrigerator in the new place!
Well, I went and gave the leasing agent at the new place $859.32. That leaves $600.00 to give them on Friday. I got a good look at the building I'll be moving into -- it's nice and shaded by trees, looks down on the "courtyard" (the space under the trees -- unfortunately including a small playground, but I only saw a couple of toddlers plus adult guardian making noise about the thing and they soon left -- this on a Saturday, so hopefully there won't be too many episodes of screechy kids; I don't mind children, just ill-behaved and noisy ones). The parking lot is right next to the building -- it's not a very large complex anyway -- so there won't be too much distance to cover to carry things.
After much heat and waiting for buses I got home. But something -- the heat, dust, whatever -- is getting to me. I feel absolutely wrung out and beat, much too tired to do any more packing up today. I also have laundry to do. Well it's not getting done tonight.
I have decided that if no one will buy my remaining items (the dining table, the dinette set, the tv) I am just going to give them away. There certainly isn't any room in the new place for the things. I don't want to shove them out by the dumpster, so if the sinus medication (which I am going to take now) and a cup of coffee revive me I am going to post a sign in the laundry room. Oddly enough it is the cheap bookcases and the patio set that people really seem attracted to, and they've been snatched up. No one wants to pay for an old table, however expandable, and a cheap Kmart dinette set. (My friend loves it but she has no place for it in her apartment, which is full to bursting with their furniture and office equipment. Oh well -- cheap dinette sets are readily available at Walmart and Kmart and so on, and soon Ikea will have a presence in Orlando -- drool drool.)
This post is starting to look like my living room, so I am going to sign off now. Later...
I guess I'm a skinflint update: several thousand dollars???? Where is she moving, Arcturus XI? Not to mention, the ability to pay that much money doesn't say "middle class lifestyle" to me. Well, not the lower-middle-class lifestyle to which I aspire...
I still don't feel that great about packing.
Mmm... Rose Congou tea....
And you know, the dumpster is right behind my building. I don't need to pack nuthin'.
I was going to leave this as a comment in this post at Thought Mesh, about a home improvement show featuring "kitchens of the future," but I decided that it was long enough for a real post on my very own site. Here we go:
I've often been amused by these "kitchen of the future" gadgets that were obviously invented by men to conform with their idea of what constitutes both a horrible, back-breaking chore, and an item that is not really necessary to comfortable living. For instance, when I had cable I used to watch HGTV*, and one of their shows featured a machine that created new, clean dishes out of plastic. So whenever you had a dinner party, all you had to do was press a button, and you'd get the number of dishes and bowls and so on that you'd need, all pressed out of these disks of plastic. And when you were done you'd just throw the whole mess of dirty dishes into the machine, and they'd be melted down (and the dirty food bits somehow eliminated by this process) into new plastic disks, to be reused for new dishes when the time came.
Needless to say the device was a prototype and therefore cumbersome, but that wasn't the thing that amused me: it was the idea that a woman would be happy with a machine that made new dishes out of an ugly, grayish-white colored plastic, instead of having a set of "good" china, which she most likely got at her wedding after choosing the pattern from a special catalogue, and then somewhat more common but pleasing -- to her -- "every day" dishes, and then there would be the junk the kids ate off of. And every once in a while, when the number of chips and cracks in the "everyday" dishes got too much to bear, she would go off to Walmart for a new set of Corelle (which would necessitate an agonizing study of the five or so available patterns before choosing the one that felt "right.")
I know my people. This is how we are. You can't change us. The only human beings who will be thrilled with a dish-creating machine will be single men (married men will have no choice in the matter). George Orwell had a similar blind spot towards dishes and the washing and tending thereof, when in one of his essays he mused on what a waste of time it was for everyone to have to wash their own set of dishes, and wouldn't it be better for there to be some sort of service that would come around to neighborhoods and take away the dirty dishes and provide a clean set every day. A woman consenting to eating off some "stranger's" dishes in her own house? Unthinkable. True, he was having to cope with washing his own dishes during the Blitz, and dealing with some substance called "soap flakes," but the dish thing does appear to be one of the areas where men and women really don't think alike. (However, we do seem to share a similar dislike of washing up.)
*I am a girl, after all.
Good grief. The more I junk I throw out, the more junk I find. I just put a bunch of stuff out on the patio with a sign: "Free Books and Stuff!"
One thing I'm going to do: if no one takes my old videotapes of U2 interviews and videos from MTV and the like, I am junking them. To the dumpster! It's time to let go my misbegotten rock 'n' roll past. (And do you think the punk kids upstairs were at all interested in my old Cure concert programs, Calvin and Hobbes books, and such? Not at all -- instead they took an ancient crock pot that may not even work, and an old stock pot, which isn't broken, I just never used it. Go figure.)
Did I forget to mention I'm also doing laundry? I'm going to be dead by five o'clock.
Well, I unloaded my tv and dvd player on my upstairs neighbor, so for the first time in years this is a tv-less household. I will eventually buy a new one -- I'm looking at one of the smaller flat screens, and I'll grab up another cheap dvd player eventually. But the need isn't urgent -- as I've said ad nauseam, I so rarely watched the box that it was basically just a large paperweight, and the thought of lugging it to a new place interested me not at all.
There is the Netflix account, but I hadn't been making much use of that either. I returned the last two dvds I got back unwatched -- I just wasn't interested. I've done this no-tv thing before, by the way; when I was in junior high, I stopped watching television for a few years. It was easy back then, of course -- we only had one tv that worked, and my sister monopolized it. Her tastes in television and mine, needless to say, did not coincide -- she glommed on to those awful sitcoms that came out at the time that were all spinoffs of Happy Days and all seemed to feature shrill, stupid young people screeching at each other and getting into situations that real live person with Down's Syndrome would easily avoid. (Also, he'd be pleasant to be around, unlike the obnoxious people on the little color tv screen of my youth.)
I am exhausted, but I am a lot nearer being fully packed than I was. However, I have run out of boxes. I would have gone to the store but the sky was full of smoke from the giant fire in Georgia, and it was also hot and stuffy, and my sinuses said "you're not going anywhere." I was going to move all the untaken stuff on my patio out to the dumpster tonight, but I think I'll leave it until tomorrow. People may feel more free to take the free stuff if it's by the dumpster rather than on someone's patio, but I'm too tired tonight.
I can't wait until I move and can start being interesting again.
So that's what Udolpho's been up to. I will admit to disagreeing with him on one item: I laughed myself sick when I first saw PCU, and still do so every time I've seen it since (just a couple of times). There's just something about the way Jeremy Piven says "Sanskrit?" I am sick of Animal House, though. But I admit I have a taste for low, stupid comedies. So now you know, and you can lower your opinion of me accordingly. Well, at least now that I've gotten rid of the tv, and am about to suspend the Netflix account, you'll be spared my review of the entire first season of Banacek.
I really hope my new job starts at a more reasonable hour -- this 8 to 5 garbage is ridiculous.
I was able to get a look at the new place today. I can't wait to move in. Why is it still only Wednesday? Stupid linear time!
Anyway, since I am too scatterbrained to write about anything of substance, I'll tell you about the new place. It is much smaller than my current apartment. However, despite the size of the place I live in now -- 800 square feet -- and the big dining room/living room combo, I always feel somewhat closed in, and often claustrophobic, here. The fact that there is only one window opening onto the living room from the patio, and one window in the bedroom have a lot to do with it. I usually keep the windows closed for privacy -- and also the bedroom window is right above the HVAC system for the four apartments on my side, which is a thrilling view, and also they are ancient machines that make a racket. And the view out of both windows, of the scabby grass and the brick wall of the apartment building across from me -- is not exactly preposessing.
The new apartment has windows only along one side too, but there are a lot of windows -- three long ones in the living room taking up most of one wall, and the sliding glass door in the bedroom that opens onto the balcony, and the side door that opens onto the balcony from the living room is also glassed in. So despite the fact that the place I'm moving into is shaded by huge old oaks, I still get a lot of light. Also I'm on the second floor instead of the ground floor, so I get lots of air, and a view. I don't look directly onto the playground that I noticed when I went there on Saturday.
As for trees: the annoying behavior and ideas of contemporary environuts aside, I am one of them when it comes to trees. I need trees about me, the more the better. One reason is the sun in Florida is punishing; another is probably due to my growing up in an old Miami house shaded by a gigantic tree known as a pongam. Apparently they don't usually grow that big, but this one was a giant of its size. It covered the entire front yard, and had a trunk as thick as a full-grown elephant. I haven't seen any pongams in Orlando -- I don't think they do well this far north. But I've always preferred the tree, and the forest is even better. This apartment is for all practical purposes in a wood.
Despite the woodland setting, it is quite close to several major intersections, so I'll also get the traffic noises I also remember from my childhood (my neighborhood was in old Miami, which is heavily urbanized). But I'll still be sheltered, as the complex is back from the busy main streets. I think I've already pointed out that I am now on two bus lines, one a very convenient one that not only gets me to work in ten minutes but has a much better route when it comes to job searching.
Back to the apartment. They put in a new carpet -- a nice light brown berber-type one, not the ghastly cream-colored thing they had in the model. (I had one of those in an apartment I lived in a few years ago, you can't keep them clean for anything.) The manager was with me and the coworker who brought me during lunch hour, so we got to point out some dings they still need to fix, and she noticed some on her own. They were still cleaning up -- they had the stove out and were cleaning behind it. Unlike my current place, which is better for a couple just starting out, who don't really like to cook (the cramped, narrow galley kitchen isn't exactly welcoming), but do like to give parties (that big dining room that I never ended up using), the new place is a true single person's apartment. It's ideally situated, and sized, for someone who lives alone. When I moved into the place I'm in now I thought I'd throw dinner parties and such, but that never happened -- my friends are all too busy and scattered to be able to gather all together at the same time, and I'm not all that sociable anyway. I spend most of the time on the computer, not at the stove cooking up elaborate meals for six. The balcony is private, not the open patio that I now share with my neighbor. And of course there is the closet for the stacked washer and dryer (I will call the rental company as soon as I get the keys -- I can't wait to be able to do my washing in the comfort of my own apartment). The bathroom opens off the bedroom -- and it's bigger than the one I have now, and has a real tile shower not the plastic inset thing that all the other places I've lived in had. Also, it has a linen closet, so I can actually keep my towels and things in the bathroom.
Well, by this time day after tomorrow (if the dsl is set up properly) I'll be writing from my new place. Or maybe I'll be collapsed in a coma -- the second person who was going to help me had to call it off, so I am down to one coworker (fortunately, the one with the truck). That's all I can think of for now -- I've already figured out where I want my furniture. Time to give the old cat her medicine. Later...
Well, that was fast -- I arranged to have my phone and dsl switched over to the new place today, and they said it would be done by 7pm, and here it is 5:30 AM and the connection here is already dead. So I'm stealing some local unlocked wireless. (Yes, I know -- bad Andrea! Bad!) But (wheedle) -- it's only for a few minutes! While I drink my last coffee in this place.
I still have some packing to do. (Of course. This is me we are talking about.) But not too much -- and I arranged to actually be officially out of here in a couple more weeks, because I just needed more time. I have the feeling I'm not going to be able to get everything over there today. I wish hiring professional movers didn't cost an arm and a leg. But at least I'll get my essential stuff.
Later. I am going to play around on the internet again while I drink my coffee. And my next post will be coming from my new place!
Hi kids! I'm writing this from a wireless-enabled coffee shop at the mall, because my phone company, displaying their usual ineptitude, still have not hooked up my phone! I can call in to my number and get my voice mail (though they wiped out my message for some reason), but there is no dial tone at my new apartment. So, not only do I not have a phone, I don't have my dsl connection, and I've been without my sweet, sweet internet for TWO DAYS. I did call the phone company and complain, and the lady swore she'd have someone over to look at the doohickey outside the apartment building to see which button they forgot to push. At this point I'd be happy with dialup...
This is the only reason I ventured outside the apartment. I had no intention of doing so, but I needed to check my bank balance and Paypal balance (thank you everyone who recently contributed -- I've been going through my money like I actually had some), and also check in on the websites, etc... I am still surrounded by boxes at home, have no idea where half my stuff is, must still find places for everything in a much smaller space, and rest my aching muscles. I am going to be crippled for a week.
Did I forget to mention it's blazing hot? Thank God my new place is covered in trees. However, the streets aren't, and I had to order a frozen coffee drink. That's how hot it is -- I usually don't care for frozen coffee.
Anyway, that's all -- I still have some cleaning up to do at the old place, but I probably won't get to it until next weekend. Hopefully I will have my dsl back by tomorrow (I hold no hope out for today as it is Sunday -- they promised it would be up by Monday, which no doubt means Monday evening). Later.
As I also gave away my tv, and hadn't turned on the radio yesterday morning, I didn't find out about the latest monster tornado that hit Greensburg, Kansas until I went to the McDonald's around the corner from the new place. They have a couple of big tv screens that were playing Fox News.
Well that sucks. Not getting my internet connection (and phone) back, but finding out that in February Embarq my phone and dsl company) ended their contract with Earthlink, so that the email address I had with them is no longer valid. That means that I have to set up a whole new email address just so I can get the SMTP authorization to send emails from my admin@spleenville address. Which I had once meant to decommission, but I ended up keeping it. Maybe now is the time.
At least I can now sit at my desk in my new apartment and do my internet stuff. It really doesn't feel like a home until I can get on line. At least not to me -- I'm weird that way.
Update: I forgot -- if you want to contact me, use twistedspinster-at-gmail.com. If you have the Earthlink address, delete it; and you might as well delete the spleenville email too. I'll just use the Gmail one from now on.
Sorry. I got nuthin' tonight. Later, when I've lost the last of the muscle aches, or something.
So far this month I have helped two coworkers look up research material on the internet for reports their middle-school-age children had to do for school. This made me reflect on the fact that my parents' method of "helping" me do my homework was to tell me to turn off the tv and get started already. I am old enough to remember when the sort of help parents had to give their kids was of the "mom, I forgot -- I have to have a pirate costume for the play tomorrow!" variety, but when it came to intellectual tasks we were expected to do our own thinking and reading, and if our slacker ways meant we had to scramble to put together that book report or research paper, well too bad. (Addition: I made sure to tell both coworkers to avoid Wikipedia.)
Oh yeah... last night after work I decided to take the bus all the way to the mall, so I could go to the Albertson's next to the mall and get a few things. I caught the bus back (five minute ride! as opposed to the forty-minute ride it used to be) and started up the hill to my new apartment complex. (Yes, it's built on a lumpy piece of land, which to a South Floridian is like living in the mountains.) Anyway, to get to the official entrance of the place -- which has a wrought iron fence, but no gates -- I have to go some ways up the block, and then back down the driveway to my building. But if I could climb the fence (which is impossible -- it's one of those tall spiked things) I could cut off all that walking back. As I came near I saw people were indeed taking the short cut, but they weren't climbing the fence -- apparently some enterprising person had removed some of the rods from the fencing in the corner, so you could squeeze through. I was tired and had four grocery sacks, so I decided to take the short cut. Well, I paid for my crime -- as I was ducking through the fence I did what I always do, and misjudged the size of my huge head. WHANG. I banged the top of my head rather painfully on the top bar of the fence, which had a sharpish bit of metal where the rod used to be attached. I felt the sore spot and my finger came away red. Oh great! I'd cut my scalp. Chastened, I hurried up the stairs to my door, before the red gore could start running down my face. Fortunately this didn't happen, but I went right into the shower and applied anti-bacterial soap, and then shampoo. But that's a lesson to me -- no shortcuts.
Who, me, hate? Nah, subtropical storms are too busy to hate! (Scroll down through the boring stuff in this to get to the interesting stuff about me. Because the whole internet is about me!)
Okay, gotta go slosh about in the ocean for a while. I was able to get one of those stupid surfers already.
Next day or whenever the hell this is update: seriously, this is just embarassing. Let me quote you the most cringe-making passage:
To rip that platform out from underneath its single most important asset now makes the “Strib” the poster child for the astonishingly stupid and suicidal decisions made by newspapers in the 21st century.
Or maybe that wasn't the worst -- I couldn't bear to actually read the whole sobbing mess, and just lifted that passage from Tim Blair's post. Why are so many journalists such insufferable bores about their jobs?
Let's get real here. The Quirk column and previous Backfence were amusing little bits of filler, but they were hardly the stuff of literary legend. Having thought more about this issue I have decided that papers need less amusing "quirky" columns and more real news of substance (instead of copied and pasted Reuters releases). If James Lileks doesn't have the sort of talent that is needed to report the news (as opposed to commenting on it), then he shouldn't be given a reporter's job. That is what pissed me off -- the fact that newspapers, like so many American corporations these days, waste so much time shunting employees off into positions they aren't suited for. I am not sure why this trend is so popular, but I suspect it has less to do with clueless administrators than American passive-aggressiveness and fear of confrontation. We won't fire you, we'll just play head games with you until you leave on your own, and then we can say it wasn't our fault.
Well hi there. I meant to write a bunch of interesting stuff, but then I remembered a brain is required for such things, and mine shuts down every time my monthly affliction starts up. Well, if it ever comes back (the brain, that is), I'll let you know. In the meantime, please surf the internets at your leisure.
Since my tv watching had dived to nil even before I gave my tv away, I hadn't paid any attention to changes in the broadcast industry, so I had no idea that the entire country is going to completely switch from analog to digital broadcasting in on February 17, 2009.
Well that will open a whole new can of worms. What will people in trailer parks do? (Watch tv as usual, of course, as they've spent what would normally be housing income on 52" HDTV-ready plasma screens hooked up to satellite dishes.)
I do actually intend to buy a new tv at some point. I suppose the need to be "digital ready" will guide my decision, though will the digital tvs of today still be viable two years from now? You know how things are in the world of high tech toys.
But that's far in the future, and I may just decide to keep on opting out. Right now I have a million books to find places for. And I still have to unpack a thousand boxes. Once I would simply have used them as the furniture I didn't have, but now I actually have furniture, so the boxes are just in the way.
Among the many things I don't understand about kids today is the popularity among the younger set of oral sex. When I was that age neither I nor my peers would have even thought of going near each other's peepees with our mouths without the accompanying exclamation: "EWWWWWW! That's gross!" This was the early Seventies, when at least in my part of the US teen sex was still seen as optional. (Now it's apparently mandatory to have sex the minute you turn thirteen, if you're even allowed to wait that long.)
Anyway, my question is, what has happened to the natural disgust young people once had concerning those bodily functions having to do with the end products of digestion? This isn't a new thing -- twenty years ago (ouch) fifteen-year-old Tawana Bradley apparently smeared herself or allowed herself to be smeared with feces (think about it: she let poo touch her body; yuuurrrggghhh!) in order to falsely claim she was raped. But the numbing of our instinctive recoil from human waste, and the places from which these things emit, has become more widespread, along with the increasing callousness of people concerning the sex act and sexual relations. More and more people are turning into automatons, simulations of human beings with no actual human feelings or responses to anything. That way no one will ever get hurt or offended -- beings incapable of offence can't offend -- except for those of us real humans who will have to wade through the piss and shit.
It's too early to think about things, so here are some pictures of the new place:
First, this is what I see outside my windows:
And here are those windows:
And from the bedroom:
My plants look happy with their new shady home:
Sure, the place is smaller, and it's more expensive, and has one of those low-flow toilets, but I think it's worth it. Oh -- and I put in my order for the stacked washer/dryer -- it will be delivered Wednesday after next. Which is a good think because I am too broke to be able to afford the laundromat.
I'll end this with dumb new-apartment gaffe of the week: all last night I was sitting here irritated because someone was playing a radio set on the classic rock station, so the whiny tones of Robert Plant and Billy Squier kept intruding into my woodland idyll. I woke up this morning and the radio was still playing! What evil new noisy neighbor was I going to have to deal with now? I noticed that the sound was loudest as I sat at my desk, so I went out onto the balcony to investigate. Odd. I could not hear any music outside. Hmph. I went back inside (where I could here the music again) and sat down at the desk. I decided to upload the above photos. I opened my desk drawer to get the usb cord for the camera... and realized that the music was emitting from the portable radio/cassette player I had stuffed in the drawer. I had left the headphones connected, and apparently accidentally turned on the radio. Derrrr....
The word is MOTHERS. That's M-O-T-H-E-R, MOTHER. Say it:
I can't hear you! Say it louder!
I SAID I CAN'T HEAR YOU. I WANT TO HEAR SOME NOISE. SAY THE WORD, NOSE-WIPES! OR I'LL TAKE YOUR CUTE "MOM MOM MOM" AD CAMPAIGNS AND HEADLINES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS AND ROLL THEM UP AND STUFF THEM WHERE THE SUN DON'T SHINE!
"MOTHER!!!! Please don't hurt us, sir-- we mean ma'am!"
I have a horrible headache from walking around in all the smoke today. It threatened to rain earlier, but all I got were a couple of big, cold drops, and then one huge "BANG" of thunder that rattled the walls, and that was it. Perhaps to make up for the lack of rain, the people upstairs dumped a bunch of water on their balcony -- which as the balconies here only have slats, no sealed floors, immediately rained down on my balcony (and the floor of the patio of the ground floor apartment below me). Fortunately I was not out there at the time. I hope it was an accident (it did sound like they knocked over a cooler full of melted ice or something) -- I don't want to have to notify my upstairs neighbors that this is not medieval France.
However, the walking around did have some satisfactory results. I went to the old apartment to get rid of the remaining stuff, pick up a few things I'd left, etc. I'd intended to clean but as usual I just couldn't get that far. I was able to give away the remaining furniture pieces -- to the coworker who helped me move before; he came and got the big dining room table and the dinette set. He'd recently moved into a two-bedroom condo and it has plenty of room for both items. I helped him carry them in, and then he dropped me off at Home Depot.
The trip to Home Depot was to take care of a most important task: getting a new shower head to replace the pathetic one the apartment came with. This time I not only had an old, inadequate shower head to deal with, I had a low-pressure situation, as well as a smaller water heater than the previous apartment had. So I bought this one, and I managed to install it after much struggle. Now I have a real shower. (And yes, the fine mist is strong enough for me.)
This entry is more boring than I intended; I blame my sinuses. Note to weather gods: we need some rain, please.
That's the first thought that went through my head when I caught the news that Jerry Falwell had just died on the tv screen in the break room today. And I used to sneer at him just like everyone else did.
Turns out he came by my little corner of the world this past weekend. Right off the bat our trees frightened him. Good -- we keep them there by the airport to let visitors know not to stray. After all, there be alligators (and possibly a few velociraptors) in those jungles.
Oddly enough, I had just made the decision that one thing I am going to do with my severance pay is go to Disney World. I have lived here since 1999 but I haven't been into the gates of the big World since I think 1992. Or maybe even earlier. Also, I can take the bus there.
I'm not really into the whole Magic Kingdom thing, but it is a well-done concept, and there are several new things (such as Animal Kingdom) that I haven't seen. I'm not much into rides, but the Haunted Mansion was an exception. I always found it restful. (Even as a teenager I was planning my retirement.) Then I'll go to Epcot, where I can get booze and spend way too much money on crap.
Or maybe I'll just stay home and drink on my couch. Who knows... I hope I get a week or so off between jobs; I really need a vacation.
I decided to let the Twisted Spinster domain expire. I just wasn't interested in paying for it anymore -- I had a blog up there in 2004, but could never think of anything else to do with it. So I ignored the emails from GoDaddy, backed up the database for the blog, copied any images and other files off the server, and removed the link from the main Spleenville index page. Which is also crying out for a re-design, but that's another task for another day. Anyway, anyone out there too lazy to updated their blogroll for three years are SOL.
Look! I have a new countdown on the sidebar. I can't wait.
I thought I had more than this, but I don't.
Ah... the weekend. Tomorrow I have to go to the old apartment one last time, to finish cleaning the place, turn in the keys, etc. I don't want to -- I never want to have to get on that bus going in that direction again -- but the alternative is unthinkable. I was raised to tie up my loose ends as well as they could be tied (the bridge-burning I figured out on my own).
Well that was a fat paragraph of dullness. I can't promise any better -- I've become obsessed with finding the Perfect Hanging Lamps for my new living room and bedroom, and I can't make myself think about anything else. I have in mind something like those rattan tulip-shaped lamps so popular in yes, the Seventies. I know I know, but I could paint them a more attractive color... I have the book packed away somewhere, so I went surfing around Lileks' old Interior Desecrations site. So far no such luck, but I did find the bathroom of Sauron. The next page has this... motif. Well, Remington did make sewing machines, typewriters and guns.
And in that last picture there is at least a nice-looking pendant light. Not the tacky wicker thing I'm looking for, but a plain, modernistic hemisphere.
Peh, too tasteful. The search goes on!
My Eyes! They Burn! Update: my God, it's -- it's--
Definitely not there.
Hooray, another appliance to throw out. This time it's a Radio Shack table radio that my ex-neighbor lady gave me before she moved to Ft. Lauderdale. It was nothing much in the sound department, but it looked neat and retro with its fake wood case and lighted vertical display. I've been listening to it almost every night since I moved. I went to turn it on tonight and it was dead. At first I thought it was the outlet -- some of the outlets here need rewiring. But it wasn't.
In the old days I'd have kept it around for a while, telling myself I'd "get it fixed." But I don't need it -- I have a perfectly good portable radio/cd player which I am listening to now, a clock radio/cd player, and a stereo that I haven't hooked back up yet. So I am turning over a new leaf: if it breaks and isn't worth fixing, to the dumpster it goes.
And that is my exciting thought for the day.
... for the washer/dryer to be delivered. They gave me a window of 8am to 2pm. It's 10:30 now. Three and a half hours to go...
Three hours and twenty-nine minutes to go....
I guess I could go unpack another box.
While I'm sitting here bored out of my skull, I decided to re-design the home page. I know you're thrilled. It's not a big re-design -- I've just changed the picture and colors and so on. You may notice something missing -- the links to all of my previous blogs. I've decided to take them offline and cull the best posts and dump the rest, to free up webspace and in general get rid of clutter. Also so many links in my posts and on the sidebar have gone defunct. This is one of the hazards of blogging, and publishing on the internet in general. One thing about a dead-tree book, even if it goes out of print you can still find old editions here and there. The Internet Wayback Machine isn't always reliable. (Note for the future: at the time of this posting I got a null result, but you never know, one or the other of my old sites might appear there one day.)
Update: ah, a thing of beauty is a joy forever:
(Not uploaded until now -- 8:35pm -- because I had to run out the door after the installer guy left, and I've been running ever since. I am seriously thinking about taking a month off after my last day at the job. Speaking of job -- I hope the next one I get pays better than this one. I am tapped out -- I was able to get a few things at the grocery store, like food and detergent, but that's it. Fortunately, it is my birthday tomorrow. Hint hint...)
I got a Sears gift card from my coworkers, so I bought myself a tv:
Finally, some wine. I have been dry for weeks, because I spent all my money on things like moving, but my boss gave me an Albertson's gift card, so I wrote a list that looked like this:
I just bought a couple of bottles, though -- I really did need food, and ended up buying more meat than I thought I would -- Albertson's was having a sale on their pre-seasoned cuts. Chicken breasteses and a couple of pork chops are in my future. But tonight was ham-'n'cheese on zillion grain bread (I am a princess), and some gourmet fancy olives, and something called white shiraz. Kind of like Australia's version of white zinfandel, nice and sweet and easy to drink. I figured I'd better go with something safe since it had been so long.
I've been listening to the radio -- AM here has a new all-oldies station, but it just went out for some reason, so I switched to FM, and I've been dial hopping because I can't seem to find anything I like. The classic rock station was playing all the crap, Foreigner and junk like that. The UCF station that plays jazz was playing annoying jazz instead of cool jazz. Now the R&B station was playing cool 70s stuff but now I think they are playing Luther Vandross and he's too mushy for me. My cds are in a box somewhere but I'm not in the mood for goth or U2.
Maybe I will watch my tiny tv. Last night I caught a bit of a PBS show from Australia about that big rock, about how all the humans are ruining it (except for the aborigines who somehow managed not to ruin it even though they've been wandering around it and scrawling stuff on it for thousands of years, maybe they used their higher spiritual powers to levitate over it so their human toes didn't get all over it). See what I missed not having a teevee?
You gotta click:
(Previous Zen. There is something about the magic of the couch and the pillow...)
I didn't think much of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy after the first book -- to say the second and third books were a huge disappointment to me would be understating it. One day I shall write my review... Be that as it may, the first book was very good, and a movie version is coming out that looks as if it might be that rare film that actually surpasses the book version.
(Via Ghost of a Flea.)
I am looking for a very rich and unhealthy macaroni and cheese recipe. For some reason all day I was sitting at work thinking how good homemade macaroni and cheese, not made from the box but made from scratch, would taste. These are the requirements:
Paste links or recipes in comments.
Update: I am eating a Stouffer's frozen macaroni meal (for one person) because I had it recommended to me by someone at work. I don't think I'd actually eaten Stouffer's macaroni and cheese before. It's quite good, but lacks something -- it's a tad "grainy." (I don't know how else to describe it -- it's missing a certain creaminess that I unfortunately associate with Velveeta cheese, but I'd like to avoid Velveeta if at all possible. I mean, If I wanted to use Velveeta I'd just buy their boxed mix which is just the macaroni with a squeeze packet of their pre-made cheese sauce. Good stuff, but not homemade.)
Am I the only person on earth who isn't just thrilled to pieces with Firefox's tabbed browsing thing? I hardly ever use it, and then usually only by accident. Whenever I do try to use it (or more often, find I've accidentally opened a link in a tabbed window instead of a new window because the options are right next to each other in the right-click menu) I always lose the tabs, or forget there are tabs open not separate windows, and then I try to close the (I thought) window I was reading, and I get the annoying "you have more than one tabbed window open do you really want to close all the tabs" message. I would rather just open separate windows and not have to hunt around for the tabs. I'm not sure what the purpose of tabs is anyway.
The new version of Firefox (2.4) has moved its tabs too. The "x" that closed them used to be located at the far right, now they are on the tab itself. At least I think they used to be on the far right of the browser window -- I told you I don't use the damn things. And one more thing: the new version had been set to automatically open new windows inside a tab, so any website that was set up to open links in separate windows would open inside a tab, which played hell with my blog QuickPost thing (I would pick "view site" after making a post, and my website would squeeze into my tiny QuickPost window). It was easy enough to find where this annoying option could be turned off, but I was not pleased.
I don't want to go to work ANY MORE.
Really, why do we do this to ourselves? Are all the sitcoms and cubicle jokes worth it?
My globular physique, anyway -- I've got some kind of fever, after feeling creeping suckitude coming upon me all weekend. Yesterday I felt better once I got home from work, but today is another story.
Anyway, I am dosing myself with chicken ramen noodle soup into which I put the rest of a bag of mixed vegetables, orange juice, and aspirin. I hope I feel better by the morning because I can't afford to take any more time off work.
Well that was your thrilling blog post of the day.
Massive storms and floods in Australia. The accounts of many on this thread are noticeable for one missing element: cries for Australia's government to "do something!" I wonder why that is... Readers, can you help me out? It's so strange, quite beyond my experience.
Well, another Monday rolls around. You know, I really miss the job I had in Miami -- well, not the job, it sucked, but the hours -- 10:30 AM to 6:30 AM, with half a day on Saturday (8:30 AM to about noon, whenever we got tired of being there). I got to miss the really bad traffic, and only had to deal with the bad traffic, but best of all I got to wake up a little bit after the crack of dawn instead of in the wee hours. I need at least two hours to really get myself going and this 8 to 5 thing means I have to get up at five am at least. I can barely think.
Be that as it may, I dragged myself out of bed late this morning so I'm going to be late to work -- to get there on time I have to catch the seven o'clock bus. That's better than what I used to have to do -- walk two blocks and cross a six-lane highway to catch a six o'clock bus. Since Orlando is getting as crowded and as full of crazy drivers as Miami this was not fun.
Okay, enough about me, here's more about me! While I am waiting for the next bus. Since this past weekend I've been broke (down to my last two dollars), I did laundry. I couldn't say that at the last place -- but I did it in my own (well, rented) washer-dryer in my own apartment. That's it for exciting apartment news. I also went to the post office to get a certified letter from my last landlord (just confirming that I forfeited my security by moving out early, ouch). As it was a walk of several blocks I tried to leave early in the morning, but it was already blazing hot and by the time I got home I was wilted. I still had cabin fever, however, so I decided to take the bus to the fancy mall. I should have stayed home... I was still tired out from walking in the heat, and the Millenia Mall is all the way across town (only two buses now but they are long rides). I just walked around the mall (I am broke as I said but I can't afford anything there anyway -- to me the place is just a sort of girly museum), but it was crowded with tourists and despite the fact that I was wearing a tacky orange and red shirt I was also apparently wearing the Middle-Aged Woman Cloak of Invisibility. This is the sort of thing that feminists rant about all the time these days, but I usually find being invisible a bonus; I certainly prefer it to my youthful experience of being the target of leering, drooling male desire. (This is apparently a South Florida phenomenon -- men up north and out west must be models of glacial emotional coldness to have produced so many needy, frustrated women who can't find dates or get men interested in them; I once knew a woman from New York who confirmed that the only way to be noticed in her city was to be totally glammed up, and she was shocked to find that in Florida sitting on the beach huddled in crappy old clothes -- which she did to paint, she was an artist -- was no protection against being propositioned by every passing male no matter what their age.) Anyway, I usually prefer being invisible, but not to the extent that people bang right into you.
So my trip out to south Orlando was some time wasted I could have spent thinking up interesting things to write on the blog, instead of this dreck. On the other hand, I got to see It: the Ikea sign. They are building a new Ikea out there. I can't wait -- I want my cheap Scandinavian furniture and I want it now.
In a show of unplanned solidarity with the flood-sufferers down in Oz, I was nearly washed down the road by a late afternoon storm. I arrived at the bus stop just in time for the major wind and rain to hit. If there wasn't a tornado nearby I'll eat my umbrella. Well, not really, but you know what I mean.
More exciting posts about my life (I clipped my toenails! Oh look, a new pimple!) later.
I decided to pick a new look from this archive of styles for Movable Type. This one is called "Newsline." I like it -- it's old-fashioned, plain, hard-looking, and rather cruel. I've been looking for a severe, unornamented style that nevertheless doesn't screech "Web 2.0!" like all the other blogs.
Perhaps some actual content will be in here later.
Update: or perhaps, someone else will start writing again...?
Please rescue me from this quagmire-like discussion of cheesy Eighties tv.
On second thought (having considered the 70's-style crime-'n'-disease downers that dominate tv today) -- don't.
It looks like up north it's black people who are the fattest -- down here in Dixie it seems to be more white people are porkers. I'm not sure why that is. But though I've railed against life-controlling food nannies before, I can't but admit that more and more Americans are turning into giant, grotesque blobs. Including yours truly -- well, okay, I'm not so huge I need to be weighed on a loading dock. But I've definitely got that middle-aged spread thing going. A lot of it really is, I think, the fact that we literally eat more. When I was a kid you didn't get the four pork chops "stacked like pancakes," that Kathy experienced in one of our restaurants. We got one pork chop -- another was "seconds." And that was at home -- if we ate out we might get two, but one would go home in a bag. Though of course we didn't order something so mundane as pork chops when we ate out -- us kids ordered chicken (a treat in my red-meat household) or spaghetti (which wasn't as good as that my parents made, though). My parents ordered steak if we were at a steak place, fish at a fish place. Sometimes as a treat my mother would eat lobster, but I didn't (and still don't) like lobster.
But anyway -- even back then portions were smaller. People just didn't eat as much. Fast food wasn't very good, and mostly for kids -- but as a very occasional treat, not as a necessary part of a balanced diet. Also, burgers and fries were small -- smaller than the "small" portions they serve today. There was no such thing as a large anything except sodas or shakes. And at restaurants, you got a meal on a plate the same size as your plates at home, not gigantic platters piled with enough food to feed an Ethiopian family of ten for a week. On the one hand, the huge portions are great because you can take some home -- but then that depends on how appetizing you find congealed food reheated in the microwave the next day. (And then there is the fact that just about every time I eat out I end up getting the runs, but my rant about dirty, dirty Orlando and the unwashed hands of its transient restaurant worker population will have to wait for another day.)
Anyway, I had already decided that dinner would be salad and a cheese sandwich (one slice of cheese on whole wheat bread). Fortunately my lack of money is helping my diet. Help me lose weight! Don't donate! (Aw, just kidding...)
[Update: numerous grammatical errors have been cleaned up. My soon-to-be-ex-job is eating my few remaining brain cells. More on that subject someday, if I can bear to write about it.]
Full disclosure: I suddenly realized that I have been thinking, ever since my birthday back in May, that I turned 45 -- when I am in fact only 44. (I was born in 1963.) No, I have no idea why I have been thinking of myself as being one year older than I actually am -- I have never done that before, so maybe I have at last reached Stage 1 of Alzheimer's. (Stage 2 is sending a fax with incorrect information, finding out, cursing, making the correction, re-sending the fax, and then looking at the second fax and seeing that you corrected the wrong damn item. I blame global warming.)
I am still in a creativity-free downer, and when I'm depressed I always find myself listening to my old Eighties obsessions, so here is one of them: Simple Minds doing "Hypnotised." This video -- which I had never seen before -- gave me the creeps, by the way, not because it's apparently set in some sort of opium den, with the guitar player (whose name I now forget, Charlie something) wearing the most horrible suit in creation and having a very weird relationship with a pre-adolescent girl, but because in this video the lead singer, Jim Kerr, looks almost exactly like my ex-fiancé did back when we were together. All together now: EW EW EW EW. Life should not do this to me.
Ugh. Not feeling well. Came home early. Could it be the job stress? Completely empty bank account? Some weird virus? Stay tuned! (Note: if lots of nice donations hitting my begging bowls *cough* *cough* make me feel better then it was number two. If not.... well, doctors aren't free, not on my insurance!)
Gah. Off to take an afternoon nap. Maybe I just haven't been sleeping well.
Well I couldn't rest -- tossed and turned, though I felt crappy and tired, and then I had to get up and feed the cats. So I decided to feed myself too, to see if that would make me feel better. Ramen noodle soup and toast. The jury's still out...
Anyway, I'm bored, so here are some confessions about me:
Music: could someone tell me what is so special about the Clash? No wait -- on second thought, don't. It seems that every discussion about how modern music sucks has to have that inevitable disclaimer "except for the Clash" tacked on to it. What I can't figure out it why. So they made fun of some fictional Arab guys in "Rock the Casbah." So they were English. So what? They were communists or something, and their music sounded like someone throwing empty oil drums down a flight of cement steps. Screeching and howling like roosters on crack isn't singing. The band members were all ugly, but not in that ordinary next-door neighbor kind of way, but in a frightening, vicious drunk with broken teeth who doesn't like the way you're looking at him kind of way. The Clash sucked and I've thought so ever since I saw them on late night tv in 1979 or so.
TV: I miss tv and I want it back. I already have one picked out, I'm just waiting to have enough dough (and no bills). I'm going to get cable. And I'm also going to revive my Netflix account and rent out Season 1 of Banacek. Because George Peppard was the epitome of coolness in his pre-A-Team days. Also his girlfriends in that show were always liberated career women before "liberated career woman" meant someone who would throw her grandmother under a bus to get Bill Clinton's autograph.
Books: I haven't been able to concentrate lately, so I have a huge pile of unread books, some of which kind readers have sent me. This makes me feel guilty, which doesn't help my concentration.
My taste in decor: I have next to my bed, the way some people keep the Bible, a copy of James Lileks' Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes From the Horrible 70's. Most of the homes therein depicted are truly hideous, but... there are a couple that have, well, elements that could work. At least, that's what I've been thinking lately, especially as I note that some of the furniture in the photos is obviously mid-century modern stuff that only needs good upholstery and the removal of the nasty 70's-colored paint to be new again. (Observe the Thonet styling of these chairs. Think of how much nicer they'd look if they weren't the color of Tang.) That lucite furniture, however, did not work and still does not work.
But to continue, there are a couple of room scenes he mocks that I find rather less than half bad. One is a sort of sitting room/library that has a mezzanine -- it's a loft-style room with bookshelves that go all the way up, and there is a railed-off ledge for the upper portion of the shelves that you reach with a ladder. I have always wanted a room like that, though of course I'd replace the ladder with a nice iron spiral staircase.
Anyway, that's the end of confession time for tonight. I am basically waiting until I can take more Tylenol, and then I may go back to bed.
I'm still feeling overshadowed by some kind of bug (actually I feel hot and nasty and I've been sneezing and coughing), so there won't be any brilliant posts tonight. (I'd like to thank the person who donated to my Amazon tipjar, by the way, even though a corresponding sense of physical well-being didn't result.) Here are a few links to other things:
You have to shoot them in the head.
Our tax dollars working for us. The lamest insults money can buy, apparently. Not to mention the piteous cries: Stop emailing! Stop calling! Stop writing letters! Stop making us do our job! Bonus 500,000 Photos For Your Website! CD oopsie. (Via Grim.)
Indoctrinate U -- among other things, the inevitable result when you decide that everyone has a right to a college education. There's a petition being circulated to get this movie into as many local theaters as possible. Though I have no intention of seeing it in a theater, or any other movie (I've stuck to enough soda-encrusted floors, had enough Big Hairs sit directly in front of me, gotten enough Theater Arthritis from those damned chairs, had enough tots wailing and kicking the back of my seat to last several lifetimes), I'm passing this along in the hopes it will discourage more parents from sending their average, unimaginative, minimally talented offspring to the halls of academe instead of to vocational school or marriage where they really belong.
Kathy Shaidle has had it with ecclesiastical bureaucracy shell games. Well, I say congratulations. I wish I could buy a wedding present but I still don't have a new job, they aren't going to give me my severance pay until the end of July, and I am trying to figure out how to make three dollars last three weeks.
Well that's all for now. Off to find something to eat, and then perhaps I will collapse.
Hi folks! It's time again for a commercial interruption, as I shamelessly beg for money even though I don't have twenty-two thousand episodes of Antique Roadshow to threaten you with. I could always threaten to shoot my cats (and eat them), but I get the feeling that would only bring me applause and recipes...
So anyway, I've got three dollars in my pocketbook. Let's make it four!
More posts about real subjects waiting in the wings. I promises...
Update: well, I should have known better than to schedule anything on a weekend, when the Blogoverse just shuts down. Hey people, this isn't work, it's pleasure... Of course, not everyone lives in Florida; I've heard there are some places where you can actually go outside in the summer.
I've got a lot of stuff to do today, so posting will have to wait until later. The fundraiser is still on -- this is going to be a tough month until my grasping soon-to-be-ex-employers release my severance pay at the end of July. Which they are going to mail to me -- and the post office in these parts isn't to be counted on (they get bills and notices of overdrawn accounts to you in jig time, but checks and new debit cards are delivered at a much more leisurely pace). I do actually have some things I want to post on that aren't about my boring life, but they will have to wait.
Did I say I'd put up more posts later? Ha ha, I didn't say how much later! Seriously, I am that exhausted -- I went to the grocery store because I was down to one packet of ramen noodles. How much did I spend? Let's just say I hope that they put that kidney they removed to good use... So I'm a little sore. Seriously, I have a sinus headache from hell, obviously I'm not entirely over whatever virus I have been fighting off, or maybe it's from the heat -- I stopped by Target to see if their merchandise was as hideous as it's been for the past few years and if their clothes are still designed for tiny stick women (answer: no and yes), and I went through the plant section, which is semi-outside under a mesh-roofed enclosure, and I swear it must have been over 100 degrees in there. The plants they had for sale were visibly wilting as I watched.
Anyway, I'm exhausted, and tomorrow the next-to-the-last full work week starts, so off to bed I go. (Still having the fundraiser -- thanks to all who contributed, I was able to buy food with your help. And not just cat food either.)
Well, this Friday can fuck right off.
I'm still trying to raise funds. The situation has become slightly more acute owing to the fact that a certain
loan shark financial institution chose to renege on a payment agreement and cash a check that I couldn't afford to come out of my bank account right yet, with the result being I will have to pay my rent late. Also, it looks like my plans to take at least one week -- one measly little week -- off have been trashed. Of course, this assumes that I will be able to find a job right away...
Anyway, any help you can give, blah blah blah. I need to get working on that Best-Selling Novel...
Sorry for the radio silence... yesterday I went to one of those things women do here, a Pampered Chef party. I get these bursts of social feeling every now and then. Also I have an attraction to useful gadgets, and have been wanting to supplement my Walmart kitchen odds and ends with at least something that is made properly for a task. Of course, funds being low, I couldn't get the $70 santoku forged knife or the professional grade frying pan that was over a hundred dollars, but I did get a 75 cent citrus peeler. And then madness seized my brain, and I agreed to host another party at my place. It's not until August, so I have a month to get used to the idea. (Also to clean my place.)
In any case, I'm the sort of person who has to recover from social occasions, so I've been squatting in my cave like a troll. It helps that it's hotter than the surface of the sun outside, and at about 950% humidity. (I only exaggerate a little.) Did I mention I hate summer?
Also, I have made a decision of sorts, though I am sure it has the staying power and likelihood of success as any of my other decisions: I have decided that I am going to try to move out of Florida once my lease is up next May. Tentative destinations: Texas, where I know some people, and Atlanta, where I don't know anyone. I'm sick of Florida -- the way all jobs are low-paying especially. Most available jobs here are either low-paying retail, low-paying "hospitality industry," or in the medical field. I can't do retail, I refuse to work for the tourist industry in any shape or form (unless it's in a back office somewhere where I don't actually have to see or talk to a tourist) and I can't stand anything to do with doctors or hospitals, especially having to see people coming in to clinics and emergency rooms with the sort of scrapes and bumps we used to treat with a spray of bactine and a bandaid.
I really need a real vacation. Being broke and carless sucks.
You know what else sucks? Growing old. More specifically, getting that old-person sensitivity to delicious, gas-producing foods like garlic. Gas-X doesn't really help all that much.
Great. I think my elderly laptop is finally dying. Considering it's my only working computer (I have an even more antique CPU tower containing a Pentium III, 64 MB of RAM, and running -- or it did when it worked -- Windows 98 that is now no more than a paperweight) this could be a problem. Hopefully I'll be able to make it last until I get my severance pay, which may yield enough extra money to get me a replacement. Otherwise I may have to sneak a few posts in at the demo machines in the Apple store.
Update: I'm wondering if my cooling fan is shot. Something was making a funny noise the other day. I wish these things had a little button so I could test them. Note to computer designers: why can't we turn on our computer cooling fans ourselves instead of depending on the machine? Oh well, there is probably a good reason -- I'm not a hardware expert.
I guess I'll have to take this into the shop. If it's just that fan that probably isn't too expensive. On the other hand, with my luck, it's probably something else. In the meantime, I have it propped up off the desk with a book. I could by one of those cooling stands...
The Boston molasses disaster. I've never heard of it, but then the history of the early 20th century never was my bag -- there's a lot about that era I don't know.
On a side note, I think that the only more embarrassing death than being drowned by molasses would be to be run over by a Scion. It would be like being killed by a toaster.
(Link to Boston Molasses tragedy site via a commenter on Tim Blair's site.)
Well, guess what: I just found out I'm staying at the Crazy Place another month. It was like this: "Don't you know you're staying another month?" Me: "Um. NO."
This is both good and bad. Good in that I get a couple more normal paychecks, and I get to stave off the hideous Job Search of Doom for another month. Bad in that it pushes back the time I get my severance pay one more month, which throws a couple of wrenches into some plans I made. But they are temporary wrenches -- I'll just have to hang on a bit more. Those "normal" paychecks aren't exactly helping me do much more than make ends meet.
Another bad is I'll still be at the Crazy Place. I like some of the people I work for, but it's the way you like your nutty aunt -- you wish she'd stop "helping" you by putting the silverware in the bathroom cabinet, asking you if you did That Task for the five hundredth time, and "forgetting" to tell you the really important news that the kitchen is on fire.
And I just know that they "forgot" because they thought I'd run out of the place screaming. Ha ha, they aren't getting out of giving me my severance that easily.
I made the mistake of going out in the punishing heat today. Now I'm good for nothing. I could actually feel my brain sizzling.
I'm trying to stave off cramps, and keep my mind going (yes, it's that time of the month again, when I turn into a seeping, bloated, brainless lump of festering womanhood -- well, more than usual). But it's not easy when your brain is attempting a hormonally-induced shut-down -- all I want to do is curl up in bed and gnaw on chocolate. (I did in fact finally finish off the Christmas chocolate, about three palm-sized pieces of dark chocolate with candied orange and cranberry bits that I had bought at Crate and Barrel -- but at least I made myself sit up and drink a cup of tea along with it.) My activities so far: I cleaned out the cat box, sorted the laundry (I'm doing it now -- I shall forego a load-by-load blog account in the interests of your sanity), and moved the desk to the bedroom.
I am having some trouble with fitting my furniture in the new place. I got rid of half my stuff before moving here, and it is clear that I have at least one too many pieces -- yet I can't do without any of the pieces I have. (So I tell myself.) I am also slowly redecorating the bedroom to resemble a picture I saw in a home decorating magazine, those little shiny publications of Satan. I've gotten into the color red -- just when it's apparently gone out of style. The look at the end will be lots of brown wood (provided by the bed, dressers, and desk that I already have), red (confined, however, to one item, a blanket I found on super, we're-getting-rid-of-these sale at J.C. Penney's for fifteen bucks), and touches of black and white in the lamps. I found this hanging lamp at Walmart -- fifteen dollars again -- that is a goth-y flocked black thing with resin "crystals" --- usually not my thing at all, but I can't wait to see it up. I am trying to find someone to hang it, as it's hardwire and I've never done any such thing, and am afraid I'll short out the building or something. Also I don't have a ladder. Perhaps I should buy one. I'm also going to hang curtains over the sliding glass door -- I do have verticals, but they are an ugly putty white, and also my cat keeps moving them about to look outdoors. It's like this -- I'll be lying in bed, and trying to go to sleep, and then:
--- rattle rattle rattle. GLEAM.
---rattle rattle rattle...glint glint GLARE rattle rattle...
Until I sit up and turn out the light and see her at the foot of the bed, staring innocently, as if to say "What? What'd I do?" Then I turn out the light and it starts over again. So I figure with curtains at least I won't have the outside lights stabbing me through the eyelids. Also I won't get the experience of getting undressed, turning around, and realizing she's chosen the moment that I am bare-assed naked to push the blinds open and survey her kingdom.
Speaking of the outside light -- they keep installing a light bulb in the light outside my apartment windows that must be 4000 watts. Someone keeps knocking it out -- it wasn't shining last night. Still, when it's on it might as well be daylight, and the inadequate blinds (which we aren't allowed to replace with, say, one-piece blackout shades) do nothing to block the rays. So I'm going to have to put curtains in the living room too. I was hoping to be able to put up sheers, since the trees keep the worst of the sun out, but I didn't realize we had our own midnight sun. I can sleep with no trouble despite the light, but if I have one of my headaches I want darkness, thank you.
Home decor continued: while walking home from Walgreen's yesterday I found this cool dead branch, actually it looked like a shrub someone had yanked out of the ground, and brought it home. I call it my "skeleton tree." I've propped it up on the cabinet and grouped some of my thrift store finds around it. I also want to get this pepper plant. I saw them at the farmer's market I went to yesterday but didn't buy one even though they were dirt cheap, because I wasn't sure whether I'd be going somewhere else. (I ended up getting heat exhaustion and going home, so I should have purchased one.) Anyway, I plant to get one and put it on the balcony. I also want some dark purple coleus, and some ferns. I guess I'm going goth just a bit again. Also, in this place I get so much green color from the nature outside that I don't feel the need to put green all over the place like I did in the other apartment.
I didn't move the dsl hookup to the bedroom along with the desk. I am sitting on the couch with the laptop on a tray. I got a little tired of being confined to the desk -- also, I don't have a good chair. Not that the couch is much better -- I have sore tailbone problems and this couch's old cushions aren't helping. I really need to get the couch re-upholstered, and I want to change out the three worn-out foam seat cushions for one thicker cushion, maybe made of memory foam. I have no idea how much all that will cost -- it will probably be cheaper to just buy another couch. But in that case I'll want a good couch, and such things are really beyond my means at the moment. By the way, I've never figured out the reason for the divided cushion scenario for sofas. You have three cushions so you can get the piping jammed up your ass when you sit wrong, and in order to lose change and crumbs and so on in the cracks? I don't get it. Anyway, if I won the lotto, this is the couch I'd buy. Look at those awesome legs. (I love those turned conical legs. My dresser set and cabinet, all thrift store finds, all have those legs.) It's also got one cushion. I love that sort of modern design. Speaking of which -- look, they've revived the studio couch. I was looking all over for one of the frigging things when I was moving, but all I could find were uncomfortable folding sofas and futons. My mother had one of these in a studio apartment she lived in when my parents tried splitting up, only it was covered by a hideous seventies-era old-lady yellow-patterned upholstery. Also it was kind of cheap and crappy, not expensive like this stuff.
Okay, that's enough window shopping for now.
I needed a snack, so I decided to make a cheese sandwich. I took my two slices of nine-grain bread, and put one slice of pepperjack cheese between them, and then I wondered how it would taste with a thin layer of grape jelly added. Verdict: pretty darn good.
I am also drinking ginger ale with half a lime (quartered and squeezed) added. Don't you wish you could live the high life like me?
Just as I came home, a big smash-bang thunderstorm started up, all lightning and thunder, so instead of connecting to the dangerous intertube wires, I lay in bed reading a book. Well the weather quieted down, so I got up and I've been sitting here, with this giant rock or something sitting in my esophagus. Where the hell did that come from? Sure, I drank some ginger ale with lime... maybe I should have skipped the lime?
Off to see if Gas-X will help.
Update: I have lost the recharger cord to my cell phone. Also, the Gas-X is not helping. I must now go kill some puppies.
A challenge was thrown down. The challenge was met. Conversation (and breakfast, courtesy of Perkin's Restaurant) was had. I managed not to disgrace myself by wiping my mouth on the hem of my shirt the way I've been known to do when dining alone in my cave. Charles didn't seem to mind me yakking my head off (or as he put it "she can discourse on a ginormous number of topics"). I'm glad he could hear me -- I am half deaf from approximately twenty years of rock concerts and no restaurant in the Orlando area has a decibel level lower than that of the average airport (no really, I have been trying to find a quiet place to dine ever since I've lived here and I've been unsuccessful -- I think they play recordings of squealing babies and clattering silverware in restaurants during downtime, along with the blasting of whatever music they think people are unable to eat without).
Then after that nice start to the day I had to ruin it by attempting to Go Places and Do Stuff, instead of keeping my ass at home. Synopsis: there was flooding rain, a paper shopping bag which dissolved as I was walking across a busy intersection in said rain, then a train that wouldn't move and a bus that caught the disease. More later when I can bear to think about it.
I forgot to say... not because I forgot, though, because I've been thinking about it on and off all day -- that today would have been my father's 79th birthday if he was still living. Both my parents are dead -- sometimes I think as I'm doing some thing or other that either my mother or my father or both would have liked doing it to, or at least they would have liked seeing me do it. This blogging thing, for instance -- that would have interested them, I think.
The reason for the title of this post is because my father, being a history teacher (and all-around history nut), was always careful to remind me that July 14th was also Bastille Day.
I do believe I just heard someone shoot a gun out in the parking lot. Or else that was the biggest plastic bag pop ever.
One thing is certain, after the day I had today: my future does not lie in tech support. My future might lie in strangling some hapless (l)user with his own mouse cord after the fifteenth time I had to tell him to expand the program window and getting a "what's that mean?", maybe, but not in tech support.
Those retail store "help wanted" signs are getting more and more attractive.
This time work was uneventful, more or less. The fun started when I got off the bus, and was nearly run over while crossing the street by a black SUV driven by someone who just HAD to get in front of the bus, lack of passing lane and presence of overweight and tired middle-aged female in his tires' path be damned. Then when I got home I decided to see if the right big toenail that had come partway loose (like the left toenail did a few weeks ago -- both toenails were destroyed months ago by the shoes of doom). To make a long story short -- it wasn't. I applied alcohol, antibiotic ointment, and bandaids to the raw toe and went to apply a different sort of alcohol to my innards, as well as setting some pasta to cook and some sauce, made yesterday, to reheat.
I broke the cork off halfway in the bottle.
Finally I got the rest of the cork out of the wine and poured myself a larger one than I had originally intended. (This evening I also had to get the cat's medicine, and then clean out the cat box. Then when taking a shower I almost slipped and fell in the bathtub, and I sure hope that groin muscle doesn't bother me tomorrow. Anyway, I felt I'd earned a couple of extra drops.) I went to do things, having -- so I thought -- turned the water in the pasta pot to "high" and the burner under the sauce pot down to "warm."
A few minutes later, I said to myself "What's that burning smell?"
To make a long story short, I'm afraid to leave the apartment, and afraid to stay in it. I just hope I make it through the rest of the evening without stubbing my toe.
...that my current employers are going to ask me to stay "just a few more weeks" and sometime around the end of that they'll ask again, and it will go on and on, until I quit because if I have to work at the Crazy Place one more day than I expected to I really will go crazy, and then they'll tell me they aren't going to give me any severance pay because I quit. I'm thinking all of this because I keep asking my boss when my last day actually is and she keeps putting me off.
They are driving me bananas. And I am broke -- I paid for a few things thinking I could make up for it with a nice severance check, and then found out I'd be depending upon my inadequate paycheck for just a few more weeks. In a word: help!
One more thing (a few hours later): the worst effect this situation has had on me is that it's undercut my ability to think about anything else. The whole point of becoming a mindless drone at a large corporation was so I could forget about my job on my free time and engage in the activities I was really interested in, but weren't exactly financially lucrative (or anything) -- such as reading, painting, writing... But by the time I get home at night my head is such a mess that all I can do is stare at this screen for a while and then flip through the pages of some mindless magazine until I conk out. By the weekend I'm usually a basket case, and end up riding the bus to the mall. (I used to be able to go for healthy walks, but now that it's summer, when sidewalks melt, birds burst into flame in midair, and human flesh starts to bubble and sizzle, I can't do that. I can't walk in the evening either -- that's when the really psychotic drivers are out, as opposed to the merely bad ones, and the Orlando area is almost as walker-unfriendly as Miami is.)
Okay, I finally got the date today -- August 1st. They're doing that so I can have benefits until the end of August. Nice of them and maybe I'll actually take advantage of them -- such as getting my teeth fixed for once and for all -- before they are gone. What's not so great is that after this paycheck coming up I only get paid for three more days. I do have some vacation pay that will be added to that. Also, since I am over 40, there is some stupid law (thanks to my sue-happy fellow citizens), that they have to hold my release papers -- which I have to sign in order to get my severance pay -- for seven days, in case I decide to go insane and sue them for age discrimination. The fuuuu.....! I give up, this country is really in the crapper. Then they have to mail the severance to me after letting Uncle Sam take a huge chunk out of it. I really did want to take a little time off, but I might have to go right into a new job.
However... my boss said something about maybe asking me to stay on for two more weeks. (Then she gallivanted off on a week's vacation.) At this point... I don't know, after the day I had (the week I've been having) my head feels like it's going to fall off and roll across the floor. But an extra paycheck would be welcome, as I am TAPPED OUT (donation links to the right), as crazy as they've been making me. But they are clearly still helpless without me (though the guy who is taking over some of my duties is no idiot -- on the other hand, he's often out in the field and also still has to do occasional Reserves duty so he can be out for weeks at a time) and if it was up to them they'd keep me -- as a matter of fact I had to head off at the pass an offer to replace the recently let-go receptionist. Me -- a receptionist. I had to let them down gently... I can be nice and sociable (in fact, I have surprised myself how many people I have managed to fool into thinking I am human), but if you put me at the front desk in that fishbowl all day they would soon have seen another side to me. One I prefer not to reveal -- yet. But I don't know... we'll see what happens.
Oh thunder, you have returned? You had gone away after teasing me all the way home with scary dark skies, wind, and lightning. Then a big fat nothing. Then you are back! Will you just rain already?
And... Dear People Who Abandon Or Otherwise Leave Your Cute, Fluffy, Frightened Cats To Wander About Yelling Their Heads Off For Someone Please To Let Them Inside: please throw yourselves in front of a truck. No, better yet, jump into a meat grinder so the cat can have something to eat.
She's a sweet, friendly cat too -- I carried her around to see if she recognized any place. She went under a couple of stairwells, but always came out and followed me. Now she is back in front of the door of the foolish neighbor lady who fed her this morning, but who can't take a cat in because she has a dog, and yelping her head off. She has to belong to someone -- she felt quite firm and well fed, and her fur was clean except for one knot of tangled hair (she must be part Persian) which I pulled off. I managed to find the leasing agent (he was showing an apartment) but he didn't recognize the cat. There was also a large orange cat near the pool which she (the fluffy cat) seemed to know -- they did that nose-touching thing -- so maybe they belong to the same person. I wish that person or persons would go find their cats and take them inside before management calls the humane society.
Remember, donation links to the right. And no, I am not adopting a third cat.
I was awakened at 4:00 AM by one of the air-conditioning units outside my apartment. It sounded like it was about to fly apart, and the decibel level was on "airplane, taking off." Sleep being impossible, I called the emergency maintenance line and told them to get over here and fix it NOW. A little while later they called me and said they'd be right over. Eventually they got here, and shut the damn thing off.
This meant I could now hear the cute, fluffy, lost cat crying "help me! love me! feed me!" outside the apartment of the neighbor lady who unwisely fed her yesterday, but who can't take her in because she has a dog.
I have no idea how I am going to get through my day.
Say what you will, the Beatles wrote catchy tunes. Anyway, as you can see, I'm in kind of a stark, gray mood. In fact, this stylesheet has a bit too much color for me -- I may change it later on to something even plainer.
More writing of substance when the coffee kicks in.
I still have a headache, so read yourself some C.S. Lewis quotes while I figure out how to stretch my remaining few dollars donation links over on th... oh the hell with it, everyone's out doing some weekend thing they aren't reading this pathetic excuse for a blog, and cleaning up this apartment, which is showing signs of neglect. Also, as good as the desk looks in my bedroom (it goes with the color scheme, such as there is) it makes the bedroom too crowded. I still have at least one furniture piece too many in this tiny place, but the desk is going back out into the living room. When I get around to it.
I'm sitting here wondering which of the old, might-as-well-eat-it-now-before-it-goes-bad food substances I found in my refrigerator and ate decided to have a little fun in my innards. I was hanging the cheap curtain rods ($1.00 each) that I bought at the dollar store, because I couldn't stand the bare windows any more, when I started to feel that "special" feeling. I just took my last Immodium gel caplet so I hope that's all I'll need. Hey, that piece of old bread smelled okay to me... (says the sinus lady).
I'm all out of bread now, but of course a big storm just moved in. We did need the rain, but I can't venture out because I might get my toes wet. I think I'll make some soup. Soup is safe, isn't it?
You get to see the way they treat their pets. For example, there is a dog howling outside. It is howling because it has been tied up on the patio for hours. I think the people who live in that apartment must have gone someplace and left him tied outside, "so he wouldn't mess up their furniture" or something. The woman who lives there is the same one who fed the lost cat, and was amazed that the cat showed up later to beg for more food.
I wish people who don't know how to treat animals wouldn't keep them as pets.
I'm thinking of ways to
run fix the world. Back in a bit.
A bit later: wow, it's only 77 degrees (it's currently a bit after 9am). It's only supposed to go up to the mid-80s today. That's practically winter weather -- I'm going for a walk. Back later.
There is a squirrel outside, screeching it's head off. That's what they do here: they sit in a high branch and emit the following noise:
For hours. It's very annoying.
I have this awful urge to tell people eight (more) random things about me. Must... resist... I babble enough about me. I am just not that interesti--
1. My favorite food is mushrooms. (The food kind, you freaks.)
2. I had my first crush when I was about four years old, on an illustration in a children's book -- the title long since forgotten -- of a Kurdish shepherd standing on a mountainside.
3. I have never forgiven my sister for eating my Krispy Kreme glazed donut. I had left it on the dresser of our shared bedroom. I was five years old and she was three.
4. The toes on my left foot are kind of deformed. They're sort of curled under, and my second left toe has this really tiny toenail that will grow into almost a claw if I don't clip it. The toes on my right foot are more or less normal.
5. When I was a baby my parents used to put me out in the sun because the doctors said it was good for me. We lived in Miami, Florida. Well, I have never broken a bone.
6. When I was a child I took over our family wicker rocking chair. It rather resembled this one, except the seat cushion was blue and there was no back cushion. I used to rock in it all the time, with my little transistor radio held up to my ear. Later, when my parents transformed our unused dining room into a bedroom for me, I moved the chair in there and didn't emerge from my bedroom unless I absolutely had to.
7. I was afraid to drive until I was twenty. (I still lived in Miami.)
8. I was a slacker before slackers were cool. And I believe they are uncool again. And I'm still a slacker.
One more week. One more week. One more week. One more week.
Yes, work sucked, why do you ask?
Update: it's a good thing I installed Scribefire -- otherwise I probably couldn't have written this post, something is wrong with the internet today and I can't load up my blog's interface. Whatever, I'm getting sick of Movable Type altogether -- I've been thinking of changing back to Wordpress, or something else more configurable.
Summer semester must be over or something. The streets and malls and apartments have been filled with the Youth of America, pulling out in front of buses with their Jeep Wranglers, filling entire aisles with their wide-legged pants, and filling the air above and around my apartment with the sound of their parties and their loud, obnoxious laughter. Next place I move to will be one of those towns that young people are leaving.
Tim's on holiday. Meanwhile, in a fit of madness (caused by looking into my bank account, which is currently hosting the crawling chaos Nyarlathotep* but not much else) I have agreed to stay at my current job another 30 days.
Now if you will excuse me, I have a straight jacket fitting to go to. I just hate it when they don't have my exact size.
*How'd he get in there?
Huh. So why aren't I among the rich, huh, huh? I don't even own a tv! Then again, I get the feeling that I did it all backwards, as usual -- you're supposed to get rich and then spend all your money on books. Oops.
My current problem: lack of shelves. Most of my books are still in boxes. Woe is me. Hey, I'm still short of cash, so if you feel sorry for me and my books feel free to contribute over there, on the right... ;D I'm thinking hanging shelves this time, as the floors in my new place sort of slant this way and that.
Well this has been a shit day in what has so far been a shit week and August looks to be a shit month...
Let's start with: my boss got canned today. We sort of expected it, but he's a nice guy and it still sucks. On the other hand, he's out of the CRAPHOLE I can't believe I said I'd stay another month at...
I have six days to pay my phone bill. I'm actually thinking of getting rid of the phones -- I have my cell -- and dsl and getting cable again. I'll buy a small tv maybe as well, and get cable tv. I need some mindless diversion.
I am out of love with my furniture. Everything except a couple of the lamps and the bed I could cheerfully do without, as well as my records, lots of my clothes, and a goodly number of my books. I love books, but on the other hand I love being able to move without breaking my fucking back. I have already made a list -- I'll keep the Danish modern chair and the small round table, get rid of the couch and the big green armchair and the coffee table and the small cabinet. I may even eventually get rid of my big dresser. Eventually the desk will go, but I may keep that until I move. I'll keep the cube bookcase as well, though it will be fit for nothing but the dumpster by the time I leave here...
I can't wait for all the empty space in my apartment. I'm already excited about it. I think one thing that is depressing me is the clutter. I threw lots of stuff out when I moved, but there is all this goddamned clutter all over the place. I can't wait to start getting rid of things. Maybe if I start with the vases and candleholders and garbage like that it will keep my mind off the lease that doesn't end until May 2008.
I have been looking at various different parts of the country to move to. I can't believe how cheap rents are in other places compared to Florida. Nice places too, not shitty falling-apart crap occupied by college students and drug dealers. And it's not as if wages in Florida compensated for the high rent. They have fixed it so you can make just enough to pay your rent (if you do nothing else, like eat or have a phone), but not enough that you can save to leave. This is why I am so eager to get my severance pay. That little chunk will be the biggest amount of cash I've seen in quite a while, and it's going to pay my way out of this dreadful state for once and for all. Though as always, donations do help....
What do you suppose could have finally prompted me to register to read subscriber-only New York Times articles? This article about a chair built into a bookshelf. The concept is interesting, but I'd be worrying about the weight of all those books above my head. Well, I worry about stuff like that.
Oh, and I also signed up for the Sophisticated Shopper email, so I could be alerted to more cool things I can't afford.
(PS: I know about Bugmenot, but for some reason it never works for me.)
FYI: my company uses the Websense webfilter. Apparently all Blogspot blogs are banned under "Social Networking and Personal Sites." I can't even read my own old and emergency blogs that I have on that system. Oh well.
Another thing: I'm thinking of getting rid of my phone service and dsl and going back to cable internet. The reason is the phone company here keeps adding extra charges even though I hardly ever use the fricking phone and I'm sick of it. Also, it's kind of dumb to have two phones. A land line is as useless after a hurricane as a cell -- my line was out for days after Charlie. I only got the thing because the place I lived at had a burglar alarm, which was also useless, and when I moved to the new place they told me they'd put in burglar alarms, and they did after I'd lived there about two years, and I ended up not using it. I have a cell, one of those pay-as-you-go things, for my infrequent calling needs. (Also, I have threatened to get a television. I just might. My brain is pulped -- I can barely think to blog, much less to do all that Deep Reading and Writing I had planned to do.)
In honor of Steve H.'s larcenous family maid, here's a flan recipe I got from a Cuban guy I used to work with. It may not be as fancy as Steve's recipes, but my coworker got it from his mother, so it's authentically Cuban. (Anything that uses the two essential Cuban ingredients, canned sweetened condensed milk and canned evaporated milk, is authentically Cuban. All that Cuban haute cuisine that became fashionable in Miami before I left? Feh.)
Anyway, here it is:
You get four or five eggs (I liked five -- more cholesterol that way), a can of evaporated milk, a can of sweetened condensed milk, a teaspoon of vanilla. Mix in a bowl. Make the caramel sugar stuff: take a cup of white sugar, put in a pan with a little bit of water, enough to liquify it. Let it boil until all the water boils away and it forms a crusty layer on your pan. Keep it on the heat: the magic will start in a minute. The sugar crust will start to melt again, this time into the amber caramel liquid. You can take it off the heat once it's all syrupy or wait a bit until it's just a little bit darker. (It all depends on how much burnt flavor you like. The way I like it is when it tastes just a bit like Cuban coffee.)
Okay here's the rest: take a deepish round cooking thing, like a casserole dish. I like clear glass ones myself for this, so I can see every delicious inch. Pour the sugar syrup in so it coats the entire bottom. Then take your bowl of flan stuff and pour it on top. Now get a larger, shallower pan, put the flan pan in it, and pour water into the bigger pan to come up the sides an inch or so. This is the hardest part of the recipe -- I have weak spaghetti arms and always manage to spill the water. Get this thing into the oven. Cook at some temperature -- I want to say 350 degrees but it could be 400, I'll have to find the ancient page from a legal pad that the recipe is scribbled on -- for about 35 or 45 minutes. Or until a toothpick stuck into it comes out more or less clean (any stuff on it should not drip). Remove and let cool. Invert over a plate big enough to catch the caramel drippings. Slice. Eat. Have a heart attack. So what? It will be worth it.
PS: you can fool around with individual ramekins and things but the whole point of this exercise is to not have to fool around with too many things. Also, Nicaraguans put canned fruit cocktail at the bottom of their flan instead of sugar syrup, which freaked me out the first time I tried it: instead of faintly burned-tasting sweet creamy goodness I got a whole grape embedded like an eyeball in custardy stuff. Nicaraguan flan would be a great Halloween party desert.
I have been in the most crushing depression for the past few days (weeks?) but now it seems to be finally lifting. My situation is still unchanged -- I have no money, am going to have my phone turned off, the job situation is weird, etc. -- but I am not looking at my surroundings with unending hatred and wishing I dared pack up the cats and get on a bus for Alaska. I still plan to move out of Florida once my lease is up... but I think I'll stick it out until the lease is up. (Oh -- and I still plan to get rid of a lot of my old, broken-down crap. Momma wants a new couch.)
There is a young couple who live in the apartment above me. Their connubial relations (whether officially sanctioned or not) are, if not harmonious, then certainly vigorous. I hope that the trusses between my ceiling and their floor are sturdy.
Someone's truck horn keeps going off in the parking lot. I badly need someone who knows how to plant explosives and isn't afraid to use them, due to the insanity and whatnot. Well, I don't know how to blow things up.
Geez, I go out for just a little bit -- because it was absolutely unavoidable, I was out of toilet paper and kitty litter and all sorts of other necessaries -- and it's so hot I'm ruined for the rest of the day. I feel like a boiled noodle. Summer can't be over soon enough. I can't wait until I've moved out of this state -- and at this point the Yukon is starting to look very attractive. I feel like crawling in the freezer.
Well that's just great. Now I have a water leak somewhere under the floor of my bathroom closet. It only seems to happen when I run the washing machine. The whole point of getting this place -- besides it being convenient to my soon-to-be-ex-job -- was because I could have a washing machine. This place is turning into a pig in a poke. Did I say I was going to stay here until my lease ran out in May? I'm wondering if this isn't some kind of message.
Okay, I think I will start applying for jobs in other states. Why wait? If I can't get a lease on an apartment because of my checkered history, maybe I can find a converted garage efficiency or something. I lived in one in Miami for nearly ten years, rats and all. I was fairly content. (I was in a rut, but never mind that.) I've been thinking about going back to one-room living. I tend to use one room almost exclusively anyway.
Now, to get rid of all my stuff. I'm too lazy to sell -- I wonder if Goodwill will pick it up. Or if I can sell it to a junkyard.
(Refer to this post for context -- ed.)
I decided -- such is my track record -- that I'd better check the bedroom closet floor where it backs against the bathroom closet floor. This meant I had to pull out all the junk that I'd shoved in there when I moved in and never touched again. (I'd squeeze around it to get to my clothes and things -- and there is a reason I haven't worn the stuff hanging in the back of the closet.) Anyway -- this meant also moving the remaining three crates of beloved record albums -- which I now hate with the heat of ten thousand supernovas, by the way. I went to a local vinyl store the other day and asked the guy if they bought old LPs and he gave me the usual "we usually only by stuff in mint condition" line, they all do that. But this place is down on Orange near Ivanhoe and I have no intention of carting three crates of records via bus to the place, so I guess they'll be included in the Goodwill pickup.
I also have too much clothing -- even though I got rid of half of it before I moved. Clearly I should have gotten rid of a lot more. I hardly wear any of the things I have, I tend to wear the same small set of comfortable items. Time to cull.
I also started going through my books. In these days of Amazon, not to mention the fact that public libraries still exist, I don't need my own personal library -- at least not to the extent I have. I am going to try to narrow everything down to only those books that are most beloved -- everything else will get taken to the used book store. I am going to try to narrow the collection down to one box of books. That sounds appalling to the average book lover, but we are stupid -- books aren't the rare things they were when I was a kid. (Really -- we didn't have big chain bookstores in Miami, and the only widely-available, at least on my kid's allowance, books were the dreck they sold in the grocery store, which was even dreckier then than it is now. We did have a couple of bookstores but they catered to adults who read Literature, not kids who read scifi and kid mysteries. There was the Scholastic book ordering thing which came around school, and I got most of my paperbacks from that. And of course, the library, which I haunted and would gladly have moved into. Then Waldenbooks opened on Miracle Mile and it was a revelation. I went there just about every weekend on the bus.) Anyway, I have a lot of books that I read only once and never picked up again, and a lot of some authors whose best work didn't extend to their whole careers.
I've moved the cat litter box into the living room. I had it in the bathroom closet. (No, the water didn't come from the cat box -- I had just cleaned and dried it and refilled it. The old cat does occasionally miss the box -- sometimes I think deliberately -- but less so since I bought one with a cover.) Actually the living room is a shambles now, with stuff all over the place, so it doesn't matter.
I also need to get rid of the typewriters. Well, most of them -- I'll keep one or two. I shouldn't have collected so many -- it was a temporary mania. I am on a typewriter-collecting email list so I'll ask there if anyone wants to take my typewriters off my hands.
I'm excited about getting rid of stuff. I love throwing things away. I don't care how much money they cost -- I'll never get that money back. I'm too lazy and impatient to sell things on Ebay -- that takes too long and is too much like work.
Update: one more thing -- I didn't find any suspicious dampness in the bedroom closet or along the adjacent wall. (My large dresser is against that wall. Fortunately it is on legs, so I can see under it.) I hope that means it's just a small, localized leak and can be easily fixed. The part of the closet floor around the water heater was dry.
This article, 10 things you can do when Windows XP won't boot, is very useful. But what if nothing works, or you're just an ordinary (l)user who only knows how to press the switch that starts the computer? I'm here to help with 10 alternative things to do when your computer cacks out on you:
1. Go for a walk.
2. Read a book.
3. Watch a dvd on the tv for once.
4. Listen to your cds on the dusty, neglected stereo system that was your pride and joy pre-iPod.
5. Eat a meal at your table or breakfast bar instead of over your keyboard.
6. Play with your cats/dog. No no -- not the Ceiling Fan game, something they would enjoy.
7. Dig out your film camera and take pictures.
8. Fix one of the things around your place that you kept meaning to get to once you've finished reading/writing that email/blog post/whatever.
9. Buy a porno magazine at the convenience store and "read" it on the comfort of your own patio/balcony/toilet.
10. After you have finished clawing handfuls of hair from your head because of the boredom, call the Geek Squad or run down to the computer store for a new computer.
In an attempt to feel at home in this place, a sensation that has so far eluded me, I hung up some of my pictures. It isn't working -- yet. I don't know what's wrong with me, really, unless it's the whole sick-of-Florida thing, but then why do I find myself feeling homesick for the apartment I moved out of, which I was sure I couldn't stand living in anymore?
I stayed at home today because I ended up staying up very late, and I just didn't feel well. Also I decided to wait for the maintenance guy to show up. Well, he showed up nearly at six o'clock, so I might as well have gone to work. We ran the washer to see if the water would appear, but it was the same thing as taking the car that's making a noise to the mechanic, where miraculously it doesn't make the noise: the floor of the closet remained as dry as a bone. He told me he'd be back tomorrow to investigate further -- this time while I'm not in. He said he'd leave a report for me and also a voice mail.
I talked to the phone company and as I definitely can't come up with the money to pay my overdue bill this week, the phone will probably be cut off Wednesday. Well I expected that -- what worries me more is my electric bill. I have until the 13th to pay that overdue bill. I have to pay my rent -- also late -- that weekend, so I'm not sure how I'll swing that. One day at a time. I didn't want to go back to the cash advance place, but I may have to. At least I have a job until the end of the month.
Hi kids. Well, the phone/dsl is off, and I'm not going to restart the account -- I'll just pay them off. I have arranged to have cable internet installed. It'll be faster (more or less) anyway, and one set charge (barring rate hikes, though Brighthouse is still charging what they did three years ago when I had cable internet) instead of a bill with mysterious fees all over it. I have the cell phone, so I am not cut off from the world. At least I won't have any more of those mortgage/vacation/dish network recordings calling me. But due to my money situation I can't have them come in until the 25th, so I'll be scrounging around for free wireless connections and squeezing in the occasional post at work.
I thank everyone who has donated to my Paypal and Amazon tipjars recently. It really helps -- these next three weeks are going to be incredibly tight, I'll probably be living off those donations. I'm still employed, but the paycheck will have to be used for silly things like rent. I still have no idea how I'm going to pay that electric bill that is due on the thirteenth, but I'll figure something out. (I am seriously considering moving into a room somewhere, but so far everything I've seen advertised is set up to take advantage of college students and charges rent nearly equivalent to an apartment).
Hi kids. Just checking in here. I took the computer over to McDonald's last night after work, but their wireless was either down or clogged, so that was a bust. Today will be too hectic -- tomorrow I plan to go to the Panera near me -- I always see people on their laptops there, so I can only assume their wireless works. Also, theirs is free.
Thanks to all who have donated to my Paypal. There is also the Amazon tipjar, if you can't deal with Paypal. I also accept bags of money left on my doorstep. See you later.
Well, I see I'm not the only one with metaphorical canine problems. Just don't feed it treats -- then it will never leave. (Hides bag of bones to chew under desk.)
Well, here I am at Panera. Where they have free wireless, but a marked absense of sufficient plugs, so I'm dependent upon my battery -- which has about an hour and a half of life left. Not bad -- I have lots of catching up to do but I doubt it will take me an hour and a half. This place is somewhat quieter than most din-filled eating places in Central Florida, or at least instead of the usual shrill pop they play classical music, but it's still an echoing cave full of the clatter from the kitchen and the whining of children. (All restaurants have at least two whining children installed by state statute.) I can't wait until I have my own internet connection back -- I may try to get the date moved up a bit.
Now now. Self control. There is still the electricity to pay.
Which I am still short of sufficient funds to do, by the way, so if you have some stray dollars or cents lying around... hint hint.
My depression has lifted somewhat. This means the desperation to get away right now has abated -- staying until my lease is up no longer seems totally impossible. But that's it -- I'm out of here after that. (Some other state in the union) here I come! I already started the reduction in my belongings, and gave one of my armchairs -- the green velvet one with rattan sides -- to one of my coworkers. The apartment already looks better -- more open, that chair really was just too big for it -- and I'm more reconciled to living there.
I am debating on whether or not to get my hair cut, because it's become an unmanageable mop that in this heat feels like I have a wool blanket wrapped around my head, but I have very little money left (I just paid my rent including late charges -- it's okay, I have one kidney left), so I don't know. Heat stroke... shorter hair.... what a decision.
That's all for right now. I am going to now catch up on reading all the websites that the idiot Websense at work blocks. FYI -- all Typepad and Blogspot sites are blocked under "Social Networking and Personal Sites" so if any of you are having problems reading blogs at work that's why.
Aigh. My battery ran down, and the only plug in Panera was being monopolized, so I went to get my hair cut. Now I'm at this Starbucks. Starbucks does not have free wireless -- I signed up for the cheapest plan -- but it does have lots of plugs. I can't stay here forever, though -- at some point I must leave my nice, comfy internet and go out into the scary, cold -- well, hot, actually, blazing hot -- world.
Well, I need to go grocery shopping, and the Winn-Dixie happens to be situated conveniently close to the Panera...
Someone is monopolizing the only plug here again, so I have about an hour until I have to shut this thing down and either go home or go in search of a plug. Maybe iMac boy will get tired of editing his music or whatever it is he's doing by then. As for the rest of this place, Sunday is apparently meetin' day, but I have no idea if any of the groups currently filling most of the back areas are church groups or not. Well, there is an "Obama in '08" crowd in the closed off "community room," and I guess that is a kind of religion.
By the way, I'd like to thank the people who have donated to the Paypal and Amazon links. I can't send a personal thank you note yet because the email they go to uses my old SMTP server.
More stuff later, maybe.
Update: more plugs found. They are in the back room and painted black to match the baseboard. The meeting in this part (it seems to have been a Girl Scout troop) has abated. I got a refill of my tea and a sandwich -- the plan is to wait out the rest of the heat (I believe they toasted my panini by leaving it outside for a few minutes) in here before walking over to the grocery store and then getting on the bus. Oh hooray, the family with the three loud young girls has left.
Just checking in, kids. I'm pretty bored. The job is no longer the Crazy Place -- it's more like the Dead Zone. I brought my portable radio in so I'd have something to keep me awake. To tell you the truth, there doesn't seem to be that much left for me to do around here so I think I'm safe from being asked to stay any longer. My last day is September 4th -- the day after Labor Day, so that week I'll only have to come in for an hour or so, then I go down to sign some papers and it's bye-bye job. I plan to take a week or so off. I have some things to do (besides sleeping). Because of some stupid law I have to wait seven extra days for my severance pay but that's okay, I think I can manage. This is all presuming I make it through August without starving to death, being eaten by my cats, or being boiled by the horrible Florida heat.
Thanks again to all who have contributed to the Paypal and Amazon tipjars -- every bit helps, believe me. I don't know when I'll have a moment to myself so I can post about more interesting subjects than my pathetic life. Lugging the computer all over town in this heat is not really worth it, and I can't really afford to anyway -- I always feel obligated to buy a coffee or something when I go use Panera's "free" wireless, and that adds up after a while.
I'm getting tired of this blog and its themeless wandering. When I look at my older blogs (whose links I have hidden out of shame at my current uninspired predicament) I could just cry, if I were the crying type -- because back then I had occasional flashes of inspiration, or something resembling it. I don't know if I'll open another blog -- blog writing suits me, perhaps too well. Perhaps I can't write any other way -- but only Andrew Sullivan gets paid to blog and you see how he turned out.
Then again, I can't even seem to write anything interesting these days. I have had things on my mind... however, I'm not in any predicament that I haven't been before (broke, with bills looming, on the verge of being unemployed as well), so that can't be it. I've been bored and boring for quite some time.
So what should I do -- close the blog? Open a new blog? (Like a fresh new page.) Stay off the internet? (Noooo----!) I'm open to suggestion. (But not hypnosis.)
I haven't had any time to do any posting, and I've been too tired to lug the laptop to a free wifi site, so there probably won't be anything here until the weekend. Please visit the links on the sidebar. (Tim Blair is back in Australia and promises to start regular posting soon; someone get Charles to post again!) By the way, I've finally added my email address to the sidebar (not linked to stave off spam).
Well! Hi kids -- no, I'm still not on my own internet connection, but I am at home -- someone somewhere left their wifi connection open. I don't know how long this will last -- I just wanted to take the opportunity to take care of some personal business. I haven't done anything worth talking about this week so you'll be spared my personal babble.
I'm online under my own power at last! It was a five-minute job; the tech came in, plugged in the box, checked the settings, and that was it.
It's just in time, of course, for me to be feeling like I've been run over by a truck -- some sort of stomach flu got me, and I'm still pretty draggy. Such is life.
The weather is starting to turn -- not so much in the temperature, which is still just below that of the surface of Mercury, but the late afternoon light is starting to get that pale, silvery tinge it gets when autumn approaches. Also there are moments -- entire moments, mind you -- when the humidity isn't at "mid-swamp." And I am feeling a corresponding lift in spirit. Whatever is the opposite of those people who get depressed in the winter, I am it. I prefer winter to summer, night to day, rainy days to sunshine... stuff like that. Soon I'll be able to take my walks again. (That's another thing that gets to me about summer -- it's too hot to go outside, I might as well be living north of the tundra line for all I can leave my apartment with any amount of comfort.)
Okay, I guess it was a mistake to go back to eating real food right just yet. I really didn't like having to spend half an hour in the bathroom at Walmart.
Well I still don't have much energy to write anything. Maybe it's the August heat -- sure, when I'm at home I'm in airconditioning, but I have to go out occasionally, to buy groceries, to keep from going insane... I can't wait until it cools down here. I am useless in the summer.
Also, I am feeling really overwhelmed by the amount of stupidity out there. Iraq is hopeless, Bush is a fascist dictator, global warming causes leftists to get piles and also is the fault of the USA exclusively -- see, we should just shut down our economy, and starve to death, and then everyone else in the world will be fat and happy and cool. But we just won't do that, because we are selfish!
Maybe it was a mistake to make the internet public. It just seems to me that all it did was give the tards, cranks, conspiracy-maniacs, communists, and other intellectual low-lifes a voice that they did not deserve. Now there is no getting away from their stupid shit, when before you could walk away from the screeching street person, or hang up on your moronic relative when they start spouting. The internet is becoming as useless and garbage-filled as tv.
As some of you may know, I am planning to leave Florida at some point (tentative date -- May 2008, when my lease at the current apartment ends). So far I am considering the following areas for my new lair:
-- The Dallas/Ft. Worth Area
-- Oklahoma City
-- St. Louis
What I am looking for: cheap rent in decent neighborhoods (ie, a low homeboy/crackhead/hooker to normal working person ratio); a job market that isn't all retail/resort/hospital focused (like Florida's); a halfway decent public transportation system (though I plan to have a car by then, I'd still like to be able to count on alternatives); a few nice parks/walking areas. An area of cute shops and nice (cheap) cafés would be a plus, though I don't need it (and my finances certainly don't).
What I don't care about: nightlife -- my clubbing days are over; "activities" -- which usually mean theme parks and golf; weather -- the climate of most of the continental US sucks most of the year, I am resigned to that -- all the places with really nice weather are too expensive to live in; "diversity" -- I live in Diversity Central, so I know what that's really like. Most urban centers are by their nature "diverse" anyway.
Anyway, I'm soliciting opinions of the above three destinations. Oh -- if the urban center in question is undergoing a crime "upsurge" I might become less interested. I'm from Miami, so the idea of crime doesn't faze me much, but the sort of thing that is currently going on in Orlando is annoying.
Things are looking up slightly -- I called the Florida DMV to find out what I need to do to get my license back, and found out I no longer have that SR-22 hanging over my head. I forgot they only keep them on your record for three years. This means that when I do get insurance I won't have to give them both kidneys. And I won't have to get insurance just to get the license reinstated.
I was also able to make a deal with the attorney's office that is handling the judgment on me, with a decent down payment and payment plan that won't take all of my severance pay. This was a big worry -- I was afraid I'd either have to pay a very large down payment, or else pay off the whole thing, which would leave me very little money to tide me over the unemployment hump.
So anyway, it looks like I'll be able to drive again somewhere towards the end of September. I can't wait -- I don't mind taking the bus back and forth to work, but when it comes to doing anything else (shopping, being able to go places without worrying about when the bus stops running, just getting up and going somewhere on the spur of the moment without having to map out a Napoleonic campaign of schedules and stops) I really missed having a car.
Ha ha ha: revenge is sweet. This should have happened twenty years ago:
Boom of condo crash loudest in Miami
...Miami, with its unmatched volume and untold number of speculative buyers, is ripe for the hardest fall in the U.S.
"Miami is the poster child for the condo bust," said Jack McCabe, CEO of McCabe Research & Consulting, a real-estate market-analysis firm located in Deerfield Beach. "There are probably only two cities in the world with more construction: Shanghai and Dubai. Unfortunately, there is going to be a lot of foreclosures . . ., and developers, lenders, title companies and real-estate companies will go under."
When the condo craze first hit my ex-hometown, just about every apartment building in the city converted. People found themselves kicked out if they couldn't buy the apartments they'd lived in for years. The resulting apartment shortage meant I had to live in a converted garage, because I didn't want to move to Miami Beach or a crack neighborhood, and I couldn't have afforded the rent anyway. I wasn't able to rent a real apartment until I moved to Orlando. And then the condo mania hit here. I could have spit blood. But Orlando is learning its lesson too:
Orlando and other Florida cities -- Naples, Fort Myers, Tampa and Sarasota among them -- also have huge condo gluts. With 4,440 condos listed for sale, Orlando has an unprecedented 29-month supply, and last month sales plummeted 64 percent lower than a year ago.
Yeah, sucks, doesn't it? I'm crying a real tear. Rents were jacked up all over the place too, since suddenly Orlando's previous apartment glut became an apartment shortage. Real estate crazes are the scourge of the country, but especially in Florida. I don't know what it is -- people come down here, and turn into wheeler-dealers, with visions of condo-mad rich people with fistfuls of money dancing in their heads. But what they don't know is this state is quicksand to any big ambition -- Florida will have its victims, one way or another. But not me anymore. I'm out of here by May, if not before. I've had it.
As of today I am officially unemployed. By a stroke of good luck my employer decided to make today the day of more layoffs, and they decided that since they were letting so many people go they might as well let me go a few days early. (My last day was going to be next Tuesday.) There were a lot of glum faces around, but as for me, I wanted to skip down the hall with joy. I was ready to go weeks ago.
Things are going to be a bit tight until I get my severance pay (they have to sit on it for a week for weird regulatory reasons), so if you have an extra dollar or two to toss in the pot until then I won't be mad.
Well, I'm off to take care of a few things. Later, my peeps.
Oh -- and I'll be taking some time off, so I'll be here more often. Bwahahaha! The internet is mine...
Heh. I got so pissed off at something some loser commenter on a blog (other than mine) said to me (no links, at least not right now) that I went to take an antihistamine and found myself opening the cat's thyroid medicine. Well that would have calmed me down a bit. (PS: the antihistamine taking was unrelated to the rage -- I've been sneezing like a... sneezing thing all day.)
That's how I feel today. I don't adjust as easily to new routines (or lack thereof) like I used to. I feel rather like a deflated balloon.
Anyway, I'm doing laundry, because it has to be done. There's not much going on in my brain at the moment. When it starts working again I'll let you know.
Someone in my building -- or perhaps in of the buildings on the other side of the complex -- has a working collection of Marshall amps. (I was thinking that they were having some sort of shindig by the pool, but it's only Thursday.)
To John Weidner for putting the word out about my request for info on some places I'm thinking of moving to. And depending on what happens in the next few weeks, I may be moving soon, lease or no lease.
(PS: people just started yelling at each other outside my door. Come on, people, it's only Thursday. Save the Labor Day shenanigans for the weekend, at least...)
While the blog is being restored (some links to my September posts got stuck in transit to a new server), please go here for new posts.
Hi kids. I'm still posting (well, more or less) over at the blogspot site. I'm working on something new for this site. Or I will be, as soon as I make a few decisions (as soon as I am able to make decisions -- it's that Time O' The Month and I'm incapable of thinking right now).
Anyway, I'll make an announcement when I have something ready.
Charles is posting like a madman again.
I'll just put the fact that I didn't get my last paycheck in the mail today like they said I would so I am virtually penniless right up here, because those of you with delicate systems may not want to read the rest of my post. I have a new account at a nearby bank that has Saturday hours but if the check comes tomorrow I'll bet you the mailman won't show up until after the bank closes.
The day started off okay. I went to the old office building for the second session of the resume & job-hunting seminar my ex-employer paid for. That went okay. It was everything else that fell to bits.
First, I decided to go to Wendy's for lunch. The Wendy's is about a fifteen minute walk from the office. When I stepped out I realized it had just stopped raining. Everything was sopping wet and the trees were still dripping. But the sun was shining through the clouds already so I figured it was all over. Anyway, I had my umbrella. So on I went. Five minutes later it started to rain so I pulled out my umbrella. Then the wind started to blow. Like a tornado or something -- anyway, it was horizontal rain, and the wind kept turning my tiny little fold-up umbrella inside out, so by the time I got to Wendy's I was soaking wet.
Then my Paypal debit card was declined. Oops, thought I had at least two dollars in there. When I checked later I found out I was actually twelve cents in the red, because I forgot something I'd paid for recently. So I transferred a dollar from my new bank account -- I haven't got the new debit card yet, so it will take a few days for the funds to transfer...
Anyway, I scrounged up two dollars from my change purse and got my food. I had forgotten to tell them to take the mayonnaise off the sandwich but I was so tired and hungry I didn't care.
Anyway, I squelched back (it started to rain again when I left Wendy's, though not as hard, but that meant I didn't dry out on the walk back) and back to the FREEZING conference room where the seminar was being held.
Gross stuff starts down below...
Then, just as we were being let out, my bowels let it be known that they were experiencing an outrage. I don't know if it was what I ate at Wendy's or the bagel with veggie cream cheese and the cranberry muffin top that I had had for breakfast, but I made it to the bathroom and crapped my guts out. Seriously, I'm hollow, or at least I'm sure I've gone down a pants size. Also the hairs on the inside of my nose got burned off. (Note to self: avoid both Wendy's and Panera's from now on.) At least I had some Immodium. Oh, and of course it's also THAT TIME OF MONTH and since my undies were soaking wet the maxipad 1) wouldn't stick to the wet cotton, and 2) had rolled up into a cylinder that got jammed in my buttcrack.
I am not a fan of thongs so you can imagine how comfortable I was.
Then, on my way to the bus stop, my goddamn cell phone starts ringing. I have been having this little... problem with my internet service provider, BRIGHTHOUSE CABLE. See, they called me after I got my service started to ask me how everything went. Fine, I said, and went through their little survey thing. That was a few weeks ago, after I started my service with them. Then for some reason they called me a couple of evenings ago, to ask me how everything was going. I was in a good mood so I endured the spiel and went through their little survey again and told them everything was fine.
Then yesterday, I start getting call after call on my cell -- which is now my only phone -- from the same number. I was in the seminar and had the phone on vibrate and I only noticed because I happened to pick the phone up when it was vibrating and saw that I had "missed a call."
I tried to call the number back but it's the sort of number that doesn't "work" for call ins. (A recording comes on and says "You have reached a non-working number at BRIGHTHOUSE." That's it. No other number to call, nothing.)
So anyway I called them and spoke to someone who said they'd have the call-in turned off because I had, as I explained, already gone through the spiel.
But I got another call from that number. And another one... this afternoon, when it called, I tried to answer. NO ONE ANSWERED. THERE WAS SILENCE.
This was annoying. I called BRIGHTHOUSE CABLE again and got someone on the phone, but this time instead of someone who at least pretended they knew what to do I got a condescending jerk named DENNIS who took forever to finally admit that I had reached the "national billing department" and that they couldn't turn off the automated service and that I would have to call the local office. When I explained (through my teeth) that I had dialed the local number he breezed "it's the luck of the draw" whether I'd actually get the local office or not by calling them. By this time I wanted to climb through the phone and strangle DENNIS at BRIGHTHOUSE CABLE but I was still damp, my maxipad was still jammed in my ass, and the bus was on its way.
By the way, BRIGHTHOUSE CABLE has followed the hideous stupid trend of making the automated voice menu system even more obnoxious, useless, and time-wasting by making it "friendlier" -- it now asks you to say things and won't give you an alternative set of numbers to dial if for instance you don't feel like "talking" to a machine. Also all the menu options are now listed in this fake friendly voice that takes twice as long to say things ("we'd really like to help you but some of our options have changed" instead of "please choose one of the following menu options") because of insecure, in-constant-need-of-affirmation, no-life morons who kept complaining about "cold, unfriendly" voice menus. ARE YOU SATISFIED NOW, YOU HUG WHORES, NOW YOU HAVE A MACHINE THAT WON'T SHUT UP AND GIVE YOU THE GODDAMN MENU CHOICES UNTIL YOU'VE LISTENED TO A PARAGRAPH OF REASSURING PABULUM. And then it won't even recognize your choices when you say "yes" and "billing" and so on.
So anyway, I have had a rotten day and no paycheck in the mail. I was able to get to the bank and make a withdrawal of a few bucks so I could at least get the cats some food. As for me, I am hungry again but I'm afraid to eat, because I don't want to spend the rest of the night on the can.
Well, I just filed my unemployment claim. It will take weeks for any benefits -- I'll probably have a job by then. I hope.
My current, tentative plans are to get a job in Florida for now, and slowly work towards my eventual move out of here. I have until May to do that (well -- March -- I have to let them know 60 days ahead of time whether I'm re-signing the lease or not -- but May to actually have somewhere to go).
In other news, I can't figure out if they merged my last paycheck with my severance. From my primitive figuring I don't think they did. But there was no paycheck in the mail, so who knows. In any case, with all the bills I have to catch up with the money is vanishing like ice on a griddle, so my fun party "severance pay vacation" isn't going to last very long.
Hm. Got lots of housework to do today. Yep. Lots of housework. I should get started.
Say, let's see what's going on in the world of blogs.
* * *
Come on, people, help me out here!
People are up in arms (no pun intended) at the way Glamour magazine apparently photoshopped actress America Ferrera's normal Hispanic curves out of existence. Well, what do you expect for a cheap makeup-'n'-celebrity-pushing magazine like Glamour. It's silly, because not only do Latins like their ladies to look like they've eaten three squares a day -- the tits-on-a-stick look is not popular south of the border -- but it's not even a very good Photoshopping job. As many irate fans pointed out, the arms in the picture look like plastic, and the neck is bent at the wrong angle. I suppose all they did was paste her face onto some other stock body image they had.
This is SOP for fashion mags. They've been doing this at least since the nineties, when Vogue attempted to make Bono from U2 both taller and thinner than he is in real life. As you can see here, the effect is incredibly bizarre, transforming him into a kind of Irish Gumby. But comfort with the real bodies of human beings does not make the fashion world go 'round.
Hi folks. I'm back in my apartment. It turned out I didn't have as much time on the internet as I thought I would this week. And then last night there was a storm over the friend's apartment where I was staying that kicked out their internet.
I did, however, get to drive my friend around in their brand-new car. This was the first time in nearly four years I'd been behind the wheel. I was afraid I wouldn't remember how, but it was just like hopping back on a bicycle. Better even -- I wasn't afraid of falling and scraping my face off on the pavement. I also was reminded how Central Florida is a sucky place to drive in.
So the next thing to work on is a car and a job. Of course, I either have the first cold I've had in ages, or a really bad allergy to something. Hopefully I won't still be stuffed up on Monday, when I've got to go take my resume and pound the pavement. So much for my "severance pay vacation."
|You Are a Ham Sandwich|
Over time, you have proven yourself as loyal and steadfast.
And you are by no means boring. You do well in any situation - from fancy to laid back.
Your best friend: The Turkey Sandwich
Your mortal enemy: The Grilled Cheese Sandwich
To all Grilled Cheeses: pickle spears at dawn!
The Sudden, Explosive Sneezing stage of a cold is so tiresome. Especially when you are eating chocolate chip cookies. (They do so cure colds!)
Mine, however, is sort of a pale gray-taupe. (The title is a phrase in the lame song that just came on the radio -- I have no idea who sings it*, having lost track sometime in the 90s of who sings what on rock radio.) Anyway, I'm limp as a bizkit (snerk) right now. The cold is reluctantly leaving my system, the worse of the symptoms being kept down by Alka-Seltzer Cold Plus, but I'm kind of tired and lacking in motivation. I have to go to bed relatively early because I have decided that tomorrow I must start job hunting seriously. Well actually my unemployment benefit schedule pretty much dictates that I am going to have to have some interviews, at least, under my belt this week. I don't really want to depend on the unemployment check, though; I'd rather have a real paycheck. I hope I'm not still horking up tons of gunk tomorrow -- that's kind of off-putting to employers, or so I would imagine.
*It was 311 (is that "spelled" right? who cares) -- the deejay actually announced it. Well I won't be running out and buying that cd.
I like to save up the fortune cookies I get from the Chinese restaurant until I have a small pile, and then eat them all at once. Today I had five, so I ate them with my coffee. Here are my fortunes:
-- Today you should be the leader. Things will go your way.
-- Look up in the sky tonight. Have a moment for yourself.
-- The quality, not the longevity, of one's life is what is important.
-- Do not demand for someone's soul if you already have his heart.
-- The Tao that can be described is not the everlasting Tao.
Speaking of that which cannot be described, I received the following ambiguous spam in my email box: subject-lined "gkazfp," it read:
Seized from creation by nonentity,
Dismal, endless plain?
and the numbed yards will go back undercover.
Shadows keep piling up as surfaces
Left and Right, and far ahead in the dusk.
Well if you say so.
Robert Jordan, author of the neverending "Wheel Of Time" fantasy series, has died before wrapping things up. This will cause widespread frustration across the land. As for me, I couldn't get through the first book -- I could see the writing on the wall, so to speak, and it said "All My Magical Children," with Susan Lucci playing all the female parts. I'm not a big soap fan.
Well, this day was a bust. This virus got me down more than I thought it would. I am pretty sure I know what the culprit was too -- I had just started using Nasonex for what I thought was allergy-caused sinus pluggage. Well guess what one of the major side effects of using Nasonex is? Yup -- viral infections. (Warning -- pdf file. An exact copy of the paperwork that came in the Nasonex box, actually.)
Anyway, I went out to get the cats some dry food and bring my driver's license to the bank so they could copy it (they had forgotten to do so when I was there last time). This was a walk of only a couple of blocks and back, and today was the start of a "cold" front (highs in the 80s instead of 90s), but by the time I got back I was exhausted. And then I decided to vacuum...
Well, cold or no cold I have to start looking for a job tomorrow. I have to at least go to the placement agency that got me my previous job and let them know I'm alive and available. My money is disappearing like ice cream in the sun, except with no sticky residue, so I can't keep on this way.
My rental washer/dryer has a spin cycle that sounds like a cement mixer. If it were not crammed into a tiny closet just barely big enough to hold it, the machine would have walked itself halfway to Tampa by now. (My apartment faces south-west.) Anyway, the noise has gotten worse and worse, so I finally broke down and demanded they send someone out here to see to the thing. They're probably going to tell me I shouldn't wash a load bigger than a couple pieces of underwear, but that's not what I'm paying monthly fees for. I do think that the basket shouldn't be so loose that just breathing on it makes it bounce around inside the tank.
This is just a test entry. The site theme folder seems to be screwed up somehow. I need to work on that. I just want to make sure I can still write a post.
Did you think that one of me was too much? Well... As suggested by an article on Monster.com, I decided to Google my name to see if anything damaging came up. I'm more talented than I realized. No wonder I'm so tired all the time.
Seriously: the links to my blogs are there -- I really need to quit using "-ass" so much ("fancy-ass," "lame-ass," and so on). But I just want to let my future (I hope) employers know that I am not an expressionist artist, an owner of Minerva Solutions, whatever that is, a wedding photographer, an actress, and I've never been to Seattle, though I could do to lose some weight.
If I had opened my door this morning, I would have found the announcement telling us that the water was going to be shut off today so they could fix a water main break. But I didn't, so when the turned on faucet resulted in nothing... thank goodness for hand sanitizer, that's all I can say.
Well, I really should go to the grocery store. Unfortunately, all I really want to do is lie down and take a nap. I hate viruses.
I have this sudden urge for a huge basket of fries.
Bennigan's is right up the street.
I'm exhausted, as I went on a job interview today that necessitated walking long distances in the hot son.
FRIES FRIES FRIES WANT FRIES
No, Al Gore hasn't invaded my computer. But something just as persistent and annoying as the Goreacle has invaded my sinuses -- the cold I had at the beginning of this past week is trying to make a comeback. I had beaten it down to a mildly stuffy nose, and then this morning I woke up with itchy sinuses, sneezing, and dribbling nostrils. Needless to say this pisses me off.
I think I might actually wander over to Walgreen's and get some of those zinc lozenges everyone talks about. I need to not have cold this week for a variety of reasons. Those being:
-- I have two job interview scheduled.
-- I am going out of town Thursday night to pick up a car!
The car is in North Carolina, so I am taking the Amtrak. I've already bought the ticket and arranged for my friend to come by and administer food & meds to the cats. I can't be sick this week.
Call me Sneezy... I am really regretting my decision not to pick up a bottle of Nyquil, because I'm at that stage of my cold where I really need to shove a pipe cleaner -- or maybe a bottle brush -- up my sinuses. And my left eye is watering almost continuously. It's all about the 10% alcohol, bay-bee.
Then again, I do have some wine in the fridge. I could toss down a couple of antihistamines with a glassful...
"Breaking News: Florida Woman Found Comatose Face Down In Cat Litter Box."
Or maybe not.
I mentioned my plans in this post, but here are more details: this Thursday afternoon I am getting on the Amtrak and going up to Raleigh, North Carolina, and getting a car that a kind person has offered to me. Then I am going to drive back home to Central Florida. This is possibly a crazy thing to do. The car is not new, but it is in drivable condition, which is all I require. It's also a manual shift, which I'm not used to driving, so it may take me a week to get back as I drive down tiny country roads in first gear.
Anyway, back when I lived in Miami I would never have done such a thing. I'm not sure how I got that "incompetent, needs keeper" stamped on my forehead but I had become used to being told that I shouldn't even consider doing this or that because (insert disaster scenario), so I ended up doing nothing on my own. Finally I realized the trap I had fallen into, and commenced doing a number of things that the rest of the country considers normal but my so-called friends considered insane, such as getting a boyfriend, moving out of Miami, breaking up with the boyfriend, moving out on my own, buying a new car on a part-time salary (not such a good move as it turns out but that car was sweet while I had it), driving up to Kentucky to see a rock band just because I wanted to, etc. Also I found some better friends.
Anyway, I'm going to catch the Amtrak on Thursday. I've already got my ticket -- it wasn't necessary to pick it up but I wanted to hold it in my hot little hands -- and I went ahead and set the insurance up. A friend is going to come by to feed and dose the cats. All I have to do is drive back. I'm hoping to get back Saturday evening (I'll find a hotel room Friday night), but if I get too tired (I'm not used to shifting gears, so I may wear out sooner than I do in an automatic) I may have to make another stopover.
Home at last. My cats still recognized me. I have seen more of North Carolina than I wanted to see -- quite unintentionally. Let's just say that four years of not driving were much too long, and I have lost much of my "driving brain." I suppose it didn't help that I had to concentrate on gear-shifting, after about twenty-five years of avoiding all such activities. To anyone who wants to learn to drive a stick-shift: I can tell you the driving across (well, back and forth and back and forth) several states method does work. The cattle-prod method may also work but as I drove alone there was no one to manipulate the prod.
And now I have a car. Details coming up.
Okay, now I have to see this movie.
"Get off my ass," I growled, glaring in the rear view mirror at the semi bearing down on my bumper. I was going the speed limit. "GET OFF MY ASS."
I had been saying this frequently all that day. In the four years since I have been on hiatus from the road it was obvious that the driving habits of Americans have deteriorated, especially the knowledge of the concept of "proper car lengths between your vehicle and the one in front of you." In short, this country has turned into a nation of assriders.
(By the way, I hereby pronounce this curse: may you all be consigned to the highways of hell being forced to run them at seventy-six miles per hour with a blazing hot mack truck's front engine rammed up your posterior sphincters.)
The way it came about was this: a while back, I mentioned that I had decided that I needed to get back on the road again. However, my budget was approximately zero dollars, so it would be a long time before I actually had enough money to acquire any sort of vehicle. (This was before I got laid off.)
Anyway, I received an email from Dr. Weevil, containing the news that he had a car available for a very low price (basically offering it to me for free); all I had to do was go to his place of residence and pick it up. There was just one problem: he lives in North Carolina, and I live in Florida. Oh wait, did I say problem? The Amtrak still runs, doesn't it? Yes it does, and a ticket to Raleigh from Orlando is under fifty bucks if you don't splurge on a sleeping car. So I bought a ticket.
The train trip was supposed to take ten hours overnight. It actually took twelve or so, owing to delays, but I had been warned about those. What I hadn't been warned about was that it was not actually very comfortable sleeping on the train, and that Amtrak sells booze. I didn't indulge (the hot dog I bought gave me enough sticker shock), but a very large, round man and his lady companion did their best to drain the train dry, and then wandered for a bit (with full glasses of red wine) up and down the cars moaning drunkenly "where is our seat?" They must have found it, because they finally vanished.
Finally the train stopped at Raleigh and I crawled out, half frozen because they keep the train at meat-locker temperature. Dr. Weevil was there to pick me up. He'd brought the car.
Here it is:
It's in much better shape than I thought -- the good Dr. made it sound like a creaky old dent-bucket. Well it does have dents, but I don't care about that. Come on. Free (almost) car.
There was just one little problem:
I will have Part 2 of Miss Harris' Wild Ride up later. Right now I have a complaint.
Bloggers often complain that they are not taken seriously by Big Deal For-Pay Writers in the tradmedia.* Therefore whenever some old crusty pro who sees a threat to his by-the-word paycheck on the horizon writes some outdated and inaccurate smear of blogs because it takes him a week to crank out a three-point essay, we get all het up and write angry rebuttals.
That's all very well and good, but I suggest that neither the pro writers nor the amateur bloggers have actually confronted the real problem of blogs, and that is this: bloggers have this cute little habit of falling in love with a word or a phrase, and then using it until the very sight of it induces irritation and the immediate desire, at least on my part, to throw my computer in the nearest lake and take up some other sort of hobby, such as outdoor backgammon or scrubbing the tile grout in my bathroom. However, in the interests of time I will focus on the most annoying word, the one that was the literal straw to my camel's back. That word is:
Fellate. This is a fancy word for sucking on a man's penis. Why the good old phrases "blow job" and "oral sex" won't do I don't know -- while references to this sex technique are themselves used with far too much frequency as a substitute for a more eloquent and less obscene way to indicate contempt for someone, at least those two phrases don't have an uncomfortable resemblance to "fillet." After seeing the word "fellate" and its various tenses approximately 5,897,345 times in blog posts and comment threads I know I'll never be able to look at a plate of butterflied pork chops the same way again.
One more thing: I think the sad thing is bloggers use the word because they think it's shocking and they are trying to be forceful to some sort of imaginary bourgeois schoolmarm. People. It's 2007. "Ass" and "bitch" and references to semen and cervical tearing from rape are accessible to preteens on A&E (CSI: Miami being a major provider of much of this must-know anatomical knowledge). Preteens are wearing clothing advertising that they are sexually ready. It's not shocking, it just makes you look obsessed and rather unimaginative.
*tradmedia -- "traditional media." I made that up just now, or maybe I read it somewhere. I demand that everyone immediately substitute this word for the overused and inelegant "MSM."
Update: I don't read those kinds of blogs either. That's the problem. For example, there you are, looking for some pithy political commentary on an outrageous situation, and you're hit in the eye (figuratively speaking, people!) with this sort of thing. There isn't enough soap in the world to clean my brain now, are you all happy?
Sorry, folks -- I know you are all (well, a couple of you) waiting with bated breath for me to finish the thrilling saga of my trip home with my "new" car, but you'll have to wait a little bit longer. Thanks to the approaching date of my menopause, my monthlies are starting to have a bit of fun with my innards. This month my nerves have decided to act up -- I have actually had to take a couple of Benadryl to keep the twitchy tremblies down. Of course, now I am barely able to keep my eyes open, so it's nap time.
I pulled over into the nearest parking lot and coasted into an empty space. I managed to actually shut off the engine properly instead of stalling it out.
I'd been driving about three hours, and I was still in Raleigh.
I opened my map and tried to make sense of the different colored lines and highway numbers. I was pretty sure I knew how to read a map in Florida, but for some reason that part of my brain had decided to shut down. Eventually I located a road that seemed to head both south and west, and connect with US 1, which was still my goal. I folded up the map and started up the car.
After stalling several times, I finally got back on the road. The other vehicles, sensing my weakness, gathered around me. I wondered if hitting someone in the back of their car was an automatic no-fault accident for the hittee in North Carolina as it was in Florida. I certainly hoped so.
Eventually I encountered a fork in the road, some confusing highway signs with numbers, and a sign welcoming me to Garner. I had seen this sign about five times so I decided that the way I usually turned there had been wrong, and decided to go the other way. Despite the fact that it was a lovely afternoon of clear skies I didn't notice the direction of the sun, only that I wanted it out of my eyes. I seemed to be heading vaguely south. For a while I bowled along down one-lane roads through suburbaney countryside interspersed with small towns. I finally began to feel like I was finally out of Raleigh. Eventually I entered another small town. These small towns, by the way, were real headaches for me, because that meant I would have to change gears. I had a special problem with first gear. I began to tire. I noticed that the small town was named "Clayton."
People who know the environs of Raleigh will know that I was not going in the direction of US 1, but away from it.
That wasn't the problem I had with Clayton, though. The problem was the fact that though I had left the city behind as rush hour commenced, for some reason this town was a real traffic hub. I kept stalling the car, and finally pulled over on the side of the road, in a parking space, to rest, telling myself that I'd wait until the spate of cars eased. That proved to be a mistake.
I was stuck there for an hour.
Car after truck after car whizzed by, or else sat there as traffic ground to a halt, trapping me there in my parking spot on the side of the road. I began to lose it. The sun was starting to set, and I was nowhere near getting out of North Carolina.
Finally I was able to get the car into a gap in traffic and get out of town. But I was exhausted. I managed to make it to Selma, where I found a hotel. Once I was in my room I took out my map, and found out I was going southeast instead of southwest. If I kept in the direction I was going I'd end up on I-95, and I still stubbornly wanted to take US 1 instead. So I decided I that in the morning I would take the road I had been traveling on (the 301, or maybe it was the 701 -- all the signs said "301" but the map labeled it "701"), until I got to route 421, which if followed back northwest would take me to US 1. Plans made, I went to bed.
The next day I was on the road again, and after stopping in Newton Grove for breakfast at a little old diner where people smoked indoors (the anti-smoking nazis don't seem to have made much of a headway in Tobacco Country), I continued on my merry way through North Carolina. I was convinced that this time I was headed in the right direction, and would get to US 1 in no time. I felt better about the ride -- the weather was still beautiful (the morning air was actually cool! the humidity was low!), the countryside the very dictionary definition of "bucolic," and traffic light. I thought a couple of times -- when I passed through the occasional town -- of pulling out the map and making sure I was going in the right direction, but I decided not to. I was sure I was going in the right direction.
Around noon I found myself in Elizabethtown.
To be continued...
Sorry, didn't mean for this site to go back to low-level blogging. It's just that there's something wrong with me -- either my allergies have decided to go up to phasers-on-kill mode, or I've got some kind of low-level virus that saps my energy and makes me feel like someone punched me several times in the face. I've been taking the fake decongestant because I ran out of the stuff I had to show ID for, and of course it doesn't work. Antihistamines just make me feel woozy. Etc. etc.
Anyway. I need to wrap up the car trip tale, because I said I would. I had left things with me piloting the Spleenmobile into Elizabethtown, which if you look at a map of North Carolina you will see is east of I-95. Exactly the opposite direction to where I wanted to go, which was west of I-95 to US 1. I didn't even remember the I-95 overpass though I must have gone under it at some point. I was a day behind schedule -- I had planned to be in Florida already. Here I was still in North Carolina, not far from where I had started. I still couldn't get the car in first gear without several tries, having to restart the car, etc... I began to wish I'd put a sign in the back window: "First-time Stick Shift Driver, Please Be Patient."
Elizabethtown seemed to have one main road, lined with a small number of stores, a couple of restaurants, etc. There was a worn metal historical sign saying something about the Tories having had something done to them during the Revolutionary War, which was a change from the usual "on this day" Civil War-era stuff you see all over the South. I had decided to stop acting like my father and ask for directions, since using my own brain was apparently not working. I found a cafe that was about to close, and asked how to get to US 1. But when the kind people at the place heard I was going to Florida they all told me that what I really wanted to do was take I-95.
Obviously the fates were against me.
So I decided to just take my chances and take the expressway. At least there would be more than one lane. I could stick to the right lane and let the speed freaks pass me on the others. So off I went, through miles and miles of more charming bucolic countryside, passing the occasional dead deer by the side of the road. And wouldn't you know it, when I got on the expressway it was smooth sailing, as I could stay in fourth gear. Yes, I should have taken I-95 all along. Derr! And in a few hours I saw the "Welcome to South Carolina" sign, and gave a little cheer. Finally!
Everything was fine until I needed to find another hotel. I stayed on the road as long as I could but I didn't want to drive after dark. I'm not night blind but I knew I wouldn't be able to drive all night and didn't really want to have to look for a place in an unfamiliar state at night. Every once in a while the solid wall of pines on either side of the road would give way to signs advertising hotels. So I pulled off an exit which promised about six or seven of the things. But when I got off the exit the only hotel I saw was a Great Western. At least it promised wifi, and had a Denny's. But it was also over $75.00 a night, as I found out when I pulled in and waited for the desk clerk to acknowledge my presence. As I didn't feel like spending so much money just for free wifi and a Denny's, I decided to look for another hotel. I figured I would try east along the road off the exit instead of going any further down the highway. So I drove, and drove, and drove. And the land became flatter, and marshier, and I began to smell salt.
I began to suspect an evil conspiracy to drive me into the ocean's gray, salty maw.
Just when I was about to turn back, I finally saw some hotels. I was exhausted and it was dark by this time, and I had already gone over a couple of bridges -- more on that later. So I pulled in to the nearest hotel and got a room, as well as a long story from the desk clerk -- an older lady from New York State who had moved down to the South because the people were so friendly -- about how all these movies had been filmed in the town I was in, which turned out to be Beaufort. I had to inform her that I had never seen Forest Gump. (By the way, I figured out then why hotel rooms were so expensive -- I was near the beaches, and Parris Island, and towns where famous movies had been filmed. My luck.) The hotel room was still more than I wanted to pay but it was cheaper than the Great Western.
The rest of the trip was without incident. I didn't get lost anymore, and I managed to make it across several scary bridges without having a heart attack. The bridge fear is a new and worrying one -- I have never liked bridges like the Skyway that goes over Tampa Bay, but otherwise bridges didn't used to bother me. I used to drive almost every day across the Intercoastal Waterway bridges when I lived in Miami, and several times across the St. John's River bridge up here. But I have become increasingly fearful and timid -- now instead of merely disliking heights, I become heart-poundingly afraid on stairs, in elevators, on escalators, and now driving across bridges. I put that down to not driving for four years. I really should not have let that go for so long. I feel almost as inexperienced driving as I did when I first started, when I was in my early twenties. That isn't good. Of course, this is the first time I had ever driven a stick for any length of time, so that didn't help.
One more thing: the expressway interchanges in Jacksonville looked like they were designed by M.C. Escher. I almost ended up in Tallahassee. But I made it home, and the cats were fine. So that was one more hurdle over and done with: I had a car. Now I just have to get used to driving it in city traffic.
I am a...
(Via Lilac Rose.)
Your past life diagnosis:
I don't know how you feel about it, but you were male in your last earthly incarnation.You were born somewhere in the territory of modern Scotland around the year 950. Your profession was that of a banker, usurer, moneylender or judge.
Your brief psychological profile in your past life:
As a natural talent in psychology, you knew how to use your opportunities. Cold-blooded and calm in any situation.
The lesson that your last past life brought to your present incarnation:
The timid, lonely and self-confident people are everywhere, and your task is to overcome these tendencies in yourself and then to help other people. Do you remember now?
Well, I seem to have left any financial acumen back in the tenth century, but everything else... Hmm....
Well, I have established that the things that draw people to this site are my posts about my boring personal life, those dumb internet quizzes, and Ann Coulter. Does that mean I have to read her column now? Maybe I'll just look up more quizzes. Do they have one for "which disease are you?"
Well of course they do. Result:
|What Disease Are You?|
You Are Heart Disease!
You are one of the various varieties of Cardiovascular disease, which means you are lovable and make people laugh. You are genuinely a great person, charitable and playful. It's hard to not be your friend. But seriously, please cut down on the saturated fats, I only mention this because I'm worried about your health.
Take this quiz!
Anyway. I think my cold is back -- the one I was getting a few days before I went up to North Carolina to get the car. I dosed myself with those zinc lozenges, despite the skepticism of some readers. I don't know if they worked or not, but it can't do any harm to take a few again.
Actually, I don't know what is wrong with me -- today I had a weird achy shoulder and neck (the left side), and weird pains in my finger joints, and was too tired to go anywhere. I think I'll just call my condition "mystic fibrosis" after something I think I read on a comment thread on Protein Wisdom. It's really putting a crimp in my life -- I need to get out there and really pound the pavement filling out applications and things (no, I still don't have a job), and I can't afford to be sick.
Speaking of no job, I am putting out a bleg. The severance pay has finally run out, and while I'm on unemployment it's barely adequate to cover rent. And though I've been keeping tabs on it the price of gas still is something of a shock -- when I quit driving it took about twenty dollars to fill the tank of a compact Toyota, and now that I'm driving a car with the same size tank (another compact Toyota), it takes almost forty dollars to completely fill it up. That's one reason I haven't gone driving all over the place since I got back -- I can't really afford the gas usage at this time. Thank God it's a stick, and we're coming into a bout of "cool" weather (overnight lows in the sixties, it will only get up to the low eighties in the daytime, and believe me that sort of weather makes Floridians break out the sweaters and complain), so I have that going for me. So, er, you know, over there on the right side of the menu...
More later. Time for tea and toast.
I like Bill Quick's new blog. It's all about mid-century interior decor, of which I've become quite a fan. I get so sick of stupid boring politics.
Yes, I'm still among the living. I'm at the house of a friend for a couple of days tending to things while she recovers from a piledriver of a cortisone shot to the back. Ow.
(The Firefox spellcheck claims that "piledriver" isn't a word. Is too.)
I have my laptop here, so I'll be checking in from time to time. I might even write something.
I have an announcement...
I have decided to start drinking my coffee black.
Hey, it's a big change for me. Verdict so far: it helps to have really good coffee, as opposed to months-old pre-ground store brand.
Update: oh, and sugar -- gotta have sugar. Just two spoons per cup. I'll start cutting down on that next.
I went to the Indian restaurant across the street for dinner. A couple next to me had their cell phone on so their relatives in Southern California could call them with updates on their situation.
The samosas were good, but the lamb biryani lacked something.
I'm fine, still at the friend's house helping her out. Not much to say. Well, this: Hamlet was on to something.
More later, maybe.
I'm back home. I was at the house of a friend in need, so there was little time for thought or posting. Of course, my being home isn't a guarantee that I'll have any thoughts or feel like posting, but you know.
Now I have to get myself back in the mood for looking for a job.
SHIT. I started up my laptop this evening, after a day's hiatus (stayed over at a friend's), and got the following BIOS alert:
Setup didn't do shit. I had to unplug the laptop and jerk out the battery to get it to turn off, and restart it. This time the fan worked, but it sounds like a shredder. Guess I'm going to be laptop shopping, as this is my only computer. There goes a nice chunk of the budget. And I don't want stinkin' Windoze Vista.
Some idiot a little while ago set off fireworks outside my building. Why wasn't I informed that I'd woken up in Hell today?
Today's thrilling activities: doing an infinite amount of laundry (where does it all come from?) and watching my Doctor Who Season 2 dvd collection.
That's it. I might go to the store later, seeing as I have hardly any food.
Computer fan update: so far it's still working and hasn't given me a new fan error. Note to self: call the place where I bought the computer and get a price for fan replacement. I am still going to buy a new laptop, but not right now.
Yup, I heard the sirens for this incident earlier. This is just a block away from my apartment.
Ho-lee shit! I haven't read the last Harry Potter book. Well, there's something to add to the reading list. (Currently occupied by the post-mortem Dorothy Sayers nobel Thrones, Dominations -- verdict so far: "eh.") What I really want to do is to amass a nice set of HP paperbacks -- I'm not a hardback junkie, not with all the moves I've made. I gave away my random set of HP books in the last move. But I think I may need a refresher course before I embark on the final volume. Or not. I also should probably see the movies over -- I generally like the movies.
To jump to a not entirely unrelated topic, I will now confess I have a weakness for that Harry-Potter-grownup look (one reason I am single -- those who fit that bill are still men, and men are "much of a muchness" -- also they want me to talk to them and stuff, and I'm like busy, go away...) -- anyway. I went ahead and ordered the 3rd season of Doctor Who on dvd. I didn't think I'd like the revival -- I didn't like any of the Whos after Tom Baker -- but then along came David Tennant. It's also all part of my eventual rejection of cable tv. Really. I hardly watch all the channels I pay for (how much CSI: Miami and the Animal Planet and Murder She Wrote can a person watch?), except for BBC America, and that's only because of Doctor Who (drool), Torchwood (droolish, but uneven, and rather ostentatiously not for kids, but it's set in Wales, and thereby hangs a tale involving my childhood preoccupations, obsession with Susan Cooper's
(pause: I just killed another mosquito, with which my apartment is infested, but in the doing so I spilled my scotch and soda which PISSES ME OFF. Fucking mosquitos. Also Pandora radio keeps playing boring shit on my stations. Who can I kill?)
... fantasy novels and stuff, and so on I forget.) My father got to go to Cardiff when he went to Europe but I didn't, so all I have is a twenty-four-year-old map of the town that he brought me. I will remedy that on my trip to blighty.
What was I talking about.
Oh -- I bought the dvds, but scifi tv spinoff gadgets tend to leave me cold. Then again, a screwdriver is easier to handle with five human fingers than those iPod thingies and everything else credit-card-shaped. But I used to have a little credit-card-shaped flashlight that the weedy intellectual ex-BF gave me. Only it burned out.
Speaking of which: I kept meaning to add Violins and Starships to my blog list, and kept forgetting. The oversight is now seen to.
Note: there is a musical group called "I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness." No, really, their song is playing right now on one of my Pandora.com stations. I guess you can't get the goth out of the girl.
Update: if you follow this entry all the way through and can figure out what the hell I'm talking about you get some kind of prize, for patience anyway. What can I say, the thought of following the Democratic debate just bores the fuck out of me. Let Michelle Malkin do all that for you.
Update 2 or whatever: shut up! NFW! If you are against this what pussies you are and we are so doomed just GO AHEAD AND FIT YOUR GIRLFRIENDS FOR BURKAS.
Ouch. Note to self: stick to one type of booze per day.
It's nice cool weather outside. I have opened my windows and the cats are frantic.
Having to call emergency maintenance at midnight on a Friday night because you haven't gotten around to buying a plunger for the toilet, which of course chose tonight to stop up and overflow.
Okay. After the week I've had, I've got to get good and smashed. I'm on brandy & soda and potato chips. See you sometime after the holiday madness.
I so fucking don't want another office job.
...despite all the money I pay to Brighthouse. There's a show called "Weeds," that sounds like Twin Peaks's bastard cousin?
Typing AB (After Brandy) is hard.
It's the holiday season, once more coming upon us like a runaway freight train. Now the internet will be useless until March.
So my friends and I decided that this year we were all too tired to bother cooking for Thanksgiving. Let's go out to a restaurant instead! It never occurred to us, living as we do in a tourist burg, that every freaking restaurant except the ones my friends all hate (Denny's, Cracker Barrel, and the Crab Shack) would be closed. Even McDonald's was closed. Even all the pizza delivery places were closed. Except for the three above-named gastronomical devastators, this was a freaking ghost town.
I hate the holidays.
Can you leave this under my tree this Christmas? I've been very, very good.
Well, I went to the new Ikea that recently opened here in Orlando. My intentions were to get at least a couple of things on my list (I got a 5-quart stainless steel pot and an inexpensive bar stool for my counter). The place was... just a little bit different. And as we all know, ostentatiously "green." They had these hilarious water-saving flushers in the bathrooms with two settings -- for "liquid waste" and "solid waste." Guess which setting actually flushed the toilet paper and the disposable seat cover. And that's how I now know that in Sweden women don't wipe when they do number one.
That being said... it's definitely my dream store. However, it is gigantic, and I made the mistake of going out just a little bit too late to avoid rush hour traffic on I-4. (The store is all the way on the other side of town.) That was fun -- continuously jerking back and forth from first to second gear, and then it turned out half the problem was some idiot who had stalled his van in the center lane and no one had done anything to move it out of the way.
One more thing I forgot: it wasn't completely foreign efficient Scandi-land at Ikea. They made sure to make me feel right at home by hiring the usual contingent of local morons who prefer standing around in groups talking than actually attending to the person who had the help light on for nearly fifteen minutes at the self-help cash register. (I couldn't get the bar code to scan, and then when the attendant finally noticed me -- because I yelled "HELLO" as she walked by trying not to see me -- she came over and got it to scan right away, which made me feel like an idiot.) The only employee there that was at all helpful was the nice Hispanic woman outside who watched my things while I went to get my car and helped me put them in the trunk.
Not that I'm going all Steve H. or anything, but after struggling to assemble the barstool I bought at Ikea with my cheap tools, and only succeeding in stripping the points of both my dollar store screwdrivers, I broke down and went to Home Depot today and bought an electric screwdriver with five interchangeable bits. It's charging up now.
Later I will buy a drill. And that's it. Honest.
I got about 10% of the sleep I needed last night because of the freaking mosquitos -- my apartment is infested with them, and all of them are the biting, high-pitched-whiny-buzzing type. I'm going insane, and I will count myself lucky if I don't come down with West Nile virus or something. I am going to speak to the apartment management -- this can't go on.
I'm not a happy camper.
Another day wasted.
Update: on the other hand, I just got a call from another placement agency (after a nearly two-month dearth of contact from anybody) offering me the possibility of some sort of employment at least by the first of the year. As much as I've been enjoying the late mornings, I am getting more and more conscious of the fact that my unemployment benefits aren't going to last forever, and I need to get back in the grind. Sigh. Anyway, I've got an interview tomorrow morning.
Well, I've been stuck in this house all week with a sinus infection and I am going nuts. I have jury duty next week -- they finally found me. (Well, I'd had jury duty letters before but was always able to get out of it. Not this time.) I also have another job interview. I don't care much for the sound of the job (claims processor for a large insurance company) but I need a job, so...
Feck it. I'm going out for a drive.
Later: God, traffic sucks during the holidays. I can't wait until Christmas/New Years/Whatever is all over and done with. I am just not into it this year.
Hello there. I spent all night killing mosquitoes. No, really. I must have killed about two dozen of them, including the evil one that had been buzzing around me all night and drinking my blood, as was evidenced by what happened when I squished it. I even got bitten on the face. Does anyone know where I can get my hands on some DDT?
Update: oh, I forgot -- I have jury duty tomorrow. I have to go to the Criminal Justice Center in lovely Sanford. Joy.
Okay, I was all set to go to jury duty today and then I couldn't get out of bed. Lack of sleep, &^*&%! mosquitoes, lingering illness, blah blah blah... Anyway, I called them and got a new number and rescheduled to next Monday.
Argh. It's that time of year again, when I do my annual Christmas bleg. (Do I do an annual Christmas bleg? I don't remember. I probably do.) Anyway, it's the usual -- money short, jobs low (I have an interview Thursday, but who knows when this job actually starts much less if they will actually hire me), but offers are slow to trickle in. It must be the season. Did I tell you how much I hate the holidays?
Actual content coming up, maybe.
Oops, forgot to say: Paypal and Amazon tipjar links on the right, you know what to do. Don't let those lotto winnings and inheritance millions go to waste! Donate them to your favorite
head charity case, me.
I'm not in much of a Christmas mood this year.
Update: then again, I must say I've got Santa's back here. You go, jolly (what about all the people with Seasonal Affective Disorder?) fat (what about all the starving Third World Children™?) man (oppressor!).
There's nothing like nearly killing yourself by almost chopping off your finger and bleeding to death while preparing a healthy meal of salad and falafel. The reason more people don't eat more fresh fruits and vegetables? The deadly knives wait. I nearly passed out and had to lie down with my hand up in the air until I quit gushing blood.
Also: you realize just how much you use your left middle finger to type when it's wrapped in a mile of bandaids.
Now I just jammed a splinter into the index finger on the same hand whose middle finger I sliced yesterday. I'm not going to make it to New Year's Eve, I just know it.
I had to leave the house and venture into a Walmart today.
I don't want to talk about it.
Anyway, I couldn't stand my own hair -- my head looked like a mop that had been soaked in rusty water and then left out to dry -- so I went to the Hair Cuttery and had them hack it all off. Now I am back to a nice short cut, and I bought hair dye in a color that I hope will go on better than the last pitiful mistake. (My current dye job, from one of those grocery store boxed sets, was supposed to be a medium auburn, but it came out instead in the aforementioned rusty water shade.)
This cheered me up a little, but I am still disappointed from my discovery last night that instead of picking the actual fourth Harry Potter movie (Goblet of Fire) from my Netflix queue I chose and was delivered of the second "bonus" dvd, which just has a bunch of crap on it (interviews, etc., I guess) that I don't care about. This means that I can't watch the fifth movie (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) which I also received in the same mailing, because I am anal retentive and despite the fact that I have read books one through six I know that if I watch the movies out of sequence the universe will collapse or something. So I have nothing to watch but dvds I already have, or television, until I get the fourth movie. The holiday season continues to suck.
Happy Boxing Day, folks. I didn't do much over Christmas, just lazed around. I'm with Kathy here -- I'm not going to be able to do a serious job search until after the holidays are over, the season sucks. In the meantime, I hope everyone had a great Christmas and have a Happy New Year. Now if I could just get my brain working again, maybe I could post something interesting.
Notice how all the characters in these movies are 1) blond, and 2) all wear denim jackets? Even Santa Claus. I swear this is true.
As you all (all five of you who still read my site, anyway) probably know, every year I close the current blog and open a new one. Well. I've been kind of lazy this year, so if you don't get a brand new blog to read tomorrow it's because I got tired of uploading approximately five million blog installation files one by one (CuteFTP sux BTW) to my site and went to bed, or passed out on the couch from excess Andre champagne consumption, whichever comes first. Also I never did figure out a new domain name so now I'm thinking of getting around to doing so, but it will take a couple of days to propagate...
Where is that bottle?
Yeah I'm stuck here. I'm trying to upload and install Movable Type 4.0, and it's just not working. I might as well go back to Wordpress.
New blog coming up -- someday.
Update: well, I tried to install Wordpress, and got some "can't read your database" error. I don't know what I did, so I sent a support ticket to my hosting folks. They're probably off today, of course. Maybe I'll just stay right here. But I wanna fresh new blog, waaaaah....
Update, October 6, 2009: Hi there! This is just a little announcement for anyone who has wandered over here and is confused as to why there is no new content. I closed this blog on December 31, 2007, and opened a new one for 2008. See the original post content below. But if you want my latest web ramblings, please go to the main page for all the links to all my sites, or head straight over to my current blog, The Spleenville HQ Chronicles. What does this mean in the great scheme of things? Well, for one thing, it means NO, I DON'T WANT TO ADD ANY ADVERTISEMENTS TO THIS SITE. (Yes, I periodically get spammed from my old sites for this purpose. Stop it. It is irritating, and is not making your business any more attractive.) Now everyone, change your links to either http://spleenville.com/ for the main site, or http://spleenville.com/v2/ for just the blog.
Okay, finally -- this blog is closed, hi on over to the new Twisted Spinster. Yep, I'm back, though no clever domain name this time. Unless I get creative. Excuse the lame look of the new blog, I've had too much to drink and don't feel like fiddling with it tonight. Later...