grrgoyl: (Satan's Energy Drink)
What did I do with my Memorial Day weekend? I bought some bikes. No typo, bikes, plural. I would blame my temporary insanity on having too much free time during the holiday, but of course there was no holiday for me, I worked my normal day-night-day-night-night schedule.

Let me begin at the beginning. I've always looked down on Tery and her owning a mountain bike AND a road bike. I've always felt I had the best of both worlds with Rojo a-Go-Go and her interchangeable tires. I've always felt disdain for the racerheads covered in brand-name sponsored clothing and shelling out thousands of dollars for top-of-the-line components weighing next to nothing for their ride.

But something flipped a switch suddenly in my brain. Suddenly I was feeling some serious bike envy for the sleek, speedy machines that flew past me up hills and on most straightaways. I fantasized about having some variety in hand placement on my bars (the mountain bike really only offers one position). I dreamed of crouching low to the ground like a cheetah, eating up the miles with effortless efficiency.

Which isn't to say I went completely to the Dark Side and ran out and bought a wardrobe of tight biking clothes that only really look good on Lance Armstrong-shaped bodies.

No, I started my search on Craigslist, where I always do, and over Tery's loud protestations. ::And so the saga began...:: )
grrgoyl: (jayne calm)
The weekend of Tery's first marathon didn't go quite as smoothly as I had hoped. The first thing that went wrong was picking up my sister and brother-in-law from the airport. The itinerary had stated 11:20 as the arrival time. As we pulled out of the driveway at 10:30, we got Amy's text "Just landed, we're at the back of the plane." Almost a full hour early? That must have been the mother of all tailwinds.

When we met them, I quipped that the weekend was already "an unmitigated disaster," at that moment jinxing us all.

Not only did the weather miss the memo that my sister was in town and I wanted everything to be perfect for her, but on day two Tery and I both discovered our cars had been broken into, insurance papers and other glove compartment contents strewn on the floor. Luckily, (if you want to think of it that way) we had both left our doors unlocked, so we were at least spared the cost of replacing our windows. On the other hand, we might have not been victimized at all had we locked them since the perp was clearly looking for a quick, no-mess in-and-out.

My iPod is currently missing; I'm still searching, though not hopeful. The fact isn't lost on me that this was literally the only time I'd left it in the car since my last iPod was stolen, also literally the first night I left it in the car. If it doesn't turn up, I'm quickly falling in love with the idea of using my phone as one ("Finally!" said [livejournal.com profile] kavieshana and millions of iPhone users everywhere)

My night on the air mattress didn't go so well; the damn thing had a slow leak and I woke up at 4 am flat on the floor with the mattress billowing up on either side of me. I snuck down to the couch where I spent an equally restless few hours trying to convince myself I was comfortable with my feet hanging over the edge and no elbow room.

But no part of the visit was more disastrous than the marathon itself. Don't believe me? Oh, read on, my friends. ::Read on:: )

So, not the optimal experience for a first marathon. But Tery is choosing to take it as a learning experience, and is more determined than ever to finish one now. My sister's first order of business when returning home was to search for 5k races in Connecticut they could do when Tery goes back next month. I love my sister.

The weekend wasn't all bad. I discovered Subway's yummy Orchard Chicken Salad sandwich (fully aware it's only seasonal so I'm not heartbroken later). Amy and I rocked out the Wii and generally had an awesome time (if too short). ANDANDANDAND....Banksy finally arrived!


If I look slightly crazed, it's because it took Tery about two minutes to work out how to use my phone camera app. The one with the big enormous shutter button on the screen



Evil sister looks evil



How I choose to remember Tery



My family
grrgoyl: (fightclub)
This weekend we went to our friends' wedding shower, Laura and Tyler. I really wasn't looking forward to it, and Tery even less so -- these parties are still a huge trigger for her, with everyone else drinking. I don't know why she can't have a good time without getting drunk, and we'll always butt heads on this. As a nondrinker, she tells me I'll simply never understand, no matter how often she inadequately tries to explain.

It was Hawaiian themed. We received the invitation, that looked vaguely tropical on the front, and said this on the back:


Contractions are tricky. Except no, they really aren't (are not)


I hoped it was the only Hawaiian-ish option available, making the error a necessary evil.

The party was held at Liana and Chris' (the vet and vet tech couple, respectively), but Kay, the maid of honor, had made it clear she didn't want this to be like their usual shindigs, i.e. raucous, drunken merriment lasting early into the morning. Chris somehow missed this memo and reportedly started drinking at 8 a.m.

By the time I got there he was already slurry, and eventually progressed to the drunkest I had ever seen him -- and over the course of 10+ years, I've seen this man drunk more than sober. I couldn't even look at him, it was so disgusting.

Chris is an exceedingly annoying drunk. He's very much an "I love you, man" drunk. He's a "Come dance/sing with me" drunk. (Oh boy, is he ever. He favors songs from the 60's and 70's, like Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," which has always made my skin crawl -- hearing it bellowed by a room full of drunk people has done nothing to endear it to me.)

Tery and I were in the kitchen having a lovely conversation with Liana when he stumbled in belting out Simon & Garfunkel's "Scarborough Fair," (a song I previously didn't think could be belted out) completely drowning us out. We all tried to get him to leave us alone. "The grown-ups are talking here," I said crossly, because the nice thing when someone gets that drunk is you can say anything to them and they won't remember it (true dat: The first thing I asked when I arrived was if we could borrow their air mattress for my sister's visit. A mere three hours later when I mentioned it again he had absolutely no idea what I was talking about).

He was completely out of control. He was already blind stupid barely upright drunk, and just getting started. Near the end of the night he cornered me on my way into the kitchen where everyone else was, asking if everything was alright; he probably noticed how I couldn't even look at him, though I'm sure that wasn't as much from heightened perception as heightened sensitivity. I tried to change the subject to one of his favorites, movies. Here's how that conversation went:

Me: Have you seen any good movies lately?
Chris: (with immense sadness) No....
Me: Have you seen the most recent Harry Potter? (one of the few film choices we see eye-to-eye on)
Chris: (even sadder) I...can't...
Me: You can't?
Chris: I...CAN'T (pleadingly, seeming desperate for me to understand)
Me: I don't understand. Why can't you?
Chris: I CAN'T. But I can't tell you why.
Me: Okay, fine.
More similar to this. Then finally,
Chris: I can't...see...half a movie.
Me: OH. You want to see both halves at the same time?
Chris: Yesh.
Me: Then just wait for DVD. The first one is already out.
Chris: I...don't....wanna....
My patience was starting to get a little frayed by now
Me: I don't understand you. (He gives me a bizarre, secret little smile) And I don't think this conversation is as enjoyable for me as it is for you (Kay overheard me say this and I saw her chuckle)
After five more delightful minutes of dragging barely coherent responses from him, all slightly different variations on the above, I got this:
Chris: (openly weeping at this point) They're....MY BOOKS. Want movies MY WAY.

Which I think means he doesn't like the way the books are being filmed, although he's seen all the others without any complaint so I don't know why he's digging his heels in at this late date. Thankfully, he was embarrassed to cry in front of me (as well he should be; Jesus freaking Christ, we're talking about fucking Harry Potter here, pull yourself together man) and I was able to break free.

The party was over by 10:30 pm, unprecedented in their party history, but I think everyone was really put off by Chris' behavior (rightfully so). In fact, at the very end we were down to me and Tery, Laura and Tyler, and Chris and Liana. I had to pee like hell, but I imagined emerging from the bathroom to find everyone else gone and being the last one stuck there, and opted to hold it. Tery agreed that as soon as the first people started leaving, everyone else went into a panic and raced to follow them to avoid being the last ones left. It would be comical if not for the shadow of Chris' grossly inappropriate conduct.

(There was one funny incident earlier when I used the bathroom only to be confronted with an empty roll of toilet paper and no more to be found from my position on the throne. I opened the door and screamed for Chris, who dashed upstairs to get another (he was thankfully a little more together at that point).

A) Who does that? Finishes the roll in the middle of a party and just walks away without a second thought? A man, seemed to be the consensus among other partygoers. Or a very drunk person. Which I guess makes Chris my prime suspect.

B) Tabby was in the kitchen at the time. When I angrily related my story later, she said, "Oh, that was you? I heard you yell. I would have helped you." I laughed and said, "You don't know where they keep toilet paper. What would you have done, run to the store?" She said, "Sure! 'Don't move! I'll be back in 30 minutes!' But I would have totally done it for you," she finished as she flashed me a gang sign.)

Tery and I talked about Chris at great length later that night. She knew exactly what was going on with him. She said it was his way of refusing to change (or, more accurately, grow up); and when no one was partying with him, he got frustrated and belligerent and in people's faces (in fact, punched Tyler the bridegroom in the solar plexus for no reason, hard enough to necessitate an apology). He hated not being the center of attention, so like a child became louder and more obnoxious to try to get the spotlight back.

She had a long talk with him at one point. He's been grieving after losing Tery, who was probably his biggest drinking buddy. She explained she was in a different place now, and going back was absolutely not an option so he was going to have to catch up. Which he won't. He's a life sentence, organ failure kind of drunk.

I asked where the fun was in getting so utterly blitzed that he won't even remember anything the next day. What's the point of having a party at all if you aren't interested in any kind of meaningful interaction with your friends? (and let's keep in mind how intensely antisocial I am, oh irony.) She explained that, to an alcoholic, that seems like fun. That he doesn't know how to be with people without being in an altered state of consciousness. That he thinks he doesn't have enough to offer anybody sober.

And finally I understood, as well as I'm ever going to. And I think that's one of the saddest things I've heard in my entire life. Way sadder than "Your invited."
grrgoyl: (Barack the Vote)
Tery made this joke while watching Obama's speech about killing bin Laden. If you're my friend on Facebook you've already seen it, but I think it bears repeating:


Obama: I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action and authorize an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.

Tery: But first, I had to go to Hawaii and get my damn birth certificate for the Donald.


She loved that "Celebrity Apprentice" was interrupted with the news. Deliberate? Who cares. It was delicious.

Sarah Palin, who has the social skills of a 6-year-old (my apologies to 6-year-olds), was here in Denver yesterday and delivered a speech doling out praises to everyone involved, the men and women of the military, the intelligence agents, President Bush; everyone but Obama. I guess mommy taught her if she can't say anything nice not to say anything at all. How did this child get to run a whole state? Let's pray she never gets to run a country.

I'm sure the Repubs HATE that this victory is Obama's. I would have hated if Bush had succeeded, at anything, but he didn't so no worries there. It occurred to me last night that the only reason the strike was a success was because it was done secretly without involving the Senate or Congress or any of those clowns. Because were they consulted, they would have played their bickering, cockblocking games so long that bin Laden could have found a new country to hide in. It seems to me Obama needs to do more things autonomously. Just get some shit DONE. And all you clowns, LET HIM GET SOME SHIT DONE.

~*~

Bleah, enough about politics. Here's a bonus video of Tery reading excerpts from my diary at age 12 (when I was still more mature than Sarah Palin):



And here are a couple of photos with my phone:



grrgoyl: (methree)
Why do hair stylists always try to give you an extreme makeover? Or is it just me? I go undercover to try to find out!

grrgoyl: (ferrets attack)
Hey, LJ, long time no see. I'm still around, just not much to talk about. Not that this entry will change all that, but if I don't write for awhile I start to wonder where my life is disappearing to. Like all I'm doing is working, eating and sleeping, and that's no kind of life at all.

I do have an update on the Banksy T-shirt. Remember that? Quite tragicomical, really. The replacement took so long to arrive I really thought it had gone missing in the mail. The countdown had begun for when the seller and I would give up on it (but how refreshing to deal with a seller who didn't vanish as soon as they received payment), when at last it showed up. Whew.

I eagerly unwrapped it, only to have my hopes dashed once again to see they had sent a different graphic -- a chimpanzee preparing to push down an old-timey bomb detonator. This is my life. Why is this my life? Why does EVERYTHING have to be a damn saga?

I said to myself fuck it. I'd live with it. At least it had an amusing history behind it. And I probably would have done exactly that, if it still didn't fit me quite right (we had upgraded to a large -- better than medium, but still a bit too tight to ever be my favorite shirt. And at this point with the money I've invested in this transaction, there is an insane amount of pressure for this article of clothing to exceed all expectations).

I emailed the seller about the good and bad news. I said I would live with it, but then he replied, "Arrrrrrgggh! (a/n: I couldn't have put it better myself) Forgive our incompetence! Are you sure you don't want another replacement?" Ahh, the British. It's refreshing to deal with someone who owns their mistakes.

So this morning chimpy went back to Merry Olde. I told the seller I insisted on paying for shipping both ways (bringing the total to more than $40 for me) because it wasn't fair the way his profit was dwindling with each trip. But, I added, $100 for a t-shirt is my absolute limit! You know, to lighten the mood. Because this transaction is clearly cursed.

The irony of this shirt is, of course, the buying of it ended my 2011 spending freeze. I had agonized a good two weeks over the frittering away of $23, and now look where we stand. I've learned my lesson and the spending freeze is back in effect.

~*~

Particularly since my birthday present to myself was a new phone. My old phone works fine, fine enough to resell at least. It will go down in history as the phone that soured me on Motorola, who strung owners of my model along for a year promising an update to our version of Android, only to announce a few months ago that it wasn't going to happen. Leaving us with the oldest version of the firmware that was losing support by app developers every day. And no Angry Birds for us, not with this laggy ass processor.

This resulted in a deafening uproar, at least on the support forum on their site. Did Moto care they had pissed off so many customers? Not so much. Nothing was offered in the way of compensation, except a free Bluetooth headset if you complained loudly enough, but I don't use Bluetooth. Bluetooth is for people who get so many phone calls they need to handle them while walking around the grocery store, not for people who use their phone for playing solitaire and reading slash fiction.

Having such a short time before upgrade anyway, I opted not to go the route of haranguing T-Mobile call centers to try to get out of my contract, but there were plenty who did, with mixed results (reportedly it depended on the agent you spoke to, and more often than not you had to be persistent and nag and call multiple times. I ain't got that kind of time. Plus harassing innocent low-level workers in crappy jobs isn't my style anyway -- I'm more of a let people walk all over me and then bitch about it online kind of person). Perhaps if I were stuck with the phone for the next two years I might have (most of the truly unhappy customers had just bought the phone fairly recently, largely based on the promise of T-Mobile salesmen that an update was coming any day now).

So my stupid obsolete Moto is currently up for auction (bidding up to $56 with 24 hours to go even with full disclosure about its lack of an update, believe it or not. Never assume no one wants to buy your used crap. And thank god. I need the proceeds from the Moto to finance my Banksy t-shirt shipping habit). It still works great as a phone, if that's all you care about. But now I have a shiny new Samsung Galaxy S 4G, and it is about the slickest device I've ever held, let alone owned.



I took this vid with it:



For now, it might be the first and last I make using the phone -- not least of all because I look like a terrorist. (If it seems to end rather abruptly, it's because I was forced to cut out the final segments because the wind noise completely drowned me out.)

In case you skipped the video (why did you skip the video?) I explain how the Galaxy has a front-facing camera like the iPhone, which weirdly doesn't take video with the stock software, only pics. But a video chat app called Qik, also stock, does let you record in addition to chat. I used it for this vid, but then was forced to install an update that evidently fixed the app for some other devices, but made the front camera stop working (for video) on mine. (I know, my life is such a thrill ride. Hang on!!)

I emailed the developer and they are aware of the problem, but evidently unable to just let me roll back to the previous version that worked fine for me -- doing so only brings me to a screen insisting I update and won't let me go any further. Ah, Android. Your quirks will never make me switch to an iPhone, but you can't stop me wishing you weren't quite so quirky.

Edit: Wahey! Finally got a fix. We'll see how long it lasts. Apparently there's nothing protecting me from further forced updates.



Here are some photos taken with the Galaxy, both using night shot mode (the phone lacks a flash, which is a dealbreaker for a surprising number of people, most of whom welcome any chance to get online and bitch at great length about it).


Non-shit-eating ferrets



Taken in almost total darkness. On the Moto this would have been a big splotch of white in a field of complete black




And now, honestly, truly, I mean it, I am done spending money.
grrgoyl: (Buffy Tabula Rasa)
Some unpleasantness to report. First watch this YouTube video our friend sent us:



Funny stuff. In fact everything done by this guy is pretty freakin' hilarious, with a few minor exceptions. Just search for "original narration by Randall." But the honey badger is our favorite and has inspired quite a few catch phrases in our house.

And a couple of videos of our own (extremely short):





Well, it didn't take long for the trolls to come calling. We got a comment on the first video from "warmaster5128," and I quote verbatim:

He is eating your food thats grose that u eat the food his mouth has been thouching how do u know he hasent eaten shit and he is getting it all over your food u sicko u should eat out of a seprit boul

*Sigh* So many comebacks, so little time.

1) I can't have a conversation with someone who thinks punctuation is optional (to say nothing of proper spelling). Stay in school, sweetheart, you aren't done learning yet.

2) Even if you were right, I'd still rather share a bowl with my ferret than you any day.

3) Ferrets don't eat shit, actually. You know who does? Dogs. As well as lick their junk and sniff each others' asses. Yet people let them lick their faces all the time. Why don't you go preach to 10 million dog owners and get the fuck out of my face?

But I said none of these things, I just deleted him (and turned comment screening on for all my videos). Because I've learned the fastest, easiest way to kill a troll is to not feed it.

EDIT: After 30 seconds of research, it seems "warmaster5128" is a 10-year-old little punk whose YouTube channel consists of his reviews of skateboards and videos of him playing PS3 games. Not funny, entertaining videos with commentary like Toby Turner makes, just recordings of him silently playing "Cod Black Ops." (thought he meant "code" but I guess it's short for "call of duty," because he doesn't want to take precious time away from playing the game to spell it all out.)

I ask you, when you were 10 years old, would you EVER talk to a 40-year-old woman like he did to me? You all have my permission to go harass him mercilessly.

~*~

Some movies, thoughtfully cut for spoilers and for ease of scrolling past on your way to more exciting posts.

::Splice:: )

::The Haunting of Molly Hartley:: )

::Lost Boys: The Thirst:: )
grrgoyl: (brazil singing telegram)


Second vlog! Not much to say, certainly nothing worth typing out.
grrgoyl: (Muscles not motors)
It seems this new direction of (maybe) vlogging has paid off: The adventures are just rolling in now! I would have also vlogged about this, but I don't want to lose sight of my writing roots so quickly.

Last Monday was promising to be really, really nice; 70-75 degrees. I wasn't going to miss the chance to get out on the bike without being swaddled head to toe in cold weather cycling gear. I lived in dread of getting a call from MyFriendDeb, who always wants to take walks in nice weather. Walking is all well and good, but it's not terribly aerobic, you don't feel the wind in your hair, and I consider plodding along one step at a time to be a tedious chore when I could be flying. Plus I always harbor the tiniest resentment that Deb will never be motivated enough to accommodate my interests and join me on her bike (which needs a major tune-up but is not un-doable), it's always about fucking walking because that's what she wants to do.

But no call came and the park beckoned with sunshine, singing birds and warm breezes. I eagerly saddled up and rode out.

Glorious. Glorious, glorious. The first six miles were just fantastic. I felt like I could spend the entire day out there. The grin was permanently plastered on my face.

Then at mile 6-1/2 I noticed my back tire seemed a little mushy. It was soft before I left so I had just pumped it up. Odd. In the time it took me to stop the bike and dismount, it was indisputably deflating. Damn.

I took it off and immediately spotted the problem -- I had picked up a goathead, a vicious little thorn with the puncture power of a half-penny nail.


Guess how it got its name?


Fortunately I'm a seasoned rider and I'd have the flat changed in no time. A runner had stopped to check on me, asking if I had "everything I needed"; I told him I did, while examining him to see where he was hiding any tools or equipment if I had said no. Nowhere, evidently, but it was nice of him to offer anyway.

He took off running again, and I started pumping up the replacement tire. Tery had given me a bunch of CO2 cartridges as stocking stuffers, and this was my first time using one. It's the same cartridge that powers air guns, etc., inserted in a thingie that screws onto the valve and inflates the tire in a single powerful blast of air.

At first I was impressed -- I had a rock hard tire in seconds, something I could never achieve pumping by hand (oh dear, this sentence is chock full of double entendres). But when I put the wheel back on the bike, I noticed a wobble, traced to a spot where the tire wasn't seated in the rim and the tube was bulging through. I started to take it off again when suddenly it blew out right in my face (bright side: At least I wasn't on the bike when this happened).

I wasn't close enough to be harmed, don't worry, but it sounded exactly like a gunshot echoing across the park. I wondered if Mr. Runner With No Equipment thought I had just committed suicide.

Well, now this was a problem since I was fresh out of spare tubes. Crap, crap, crap. There was no point waiting for someone to happen by to help me -- the vast majority of bikers in that park are racers with skinny little tires. Mountain bikers are the silent oppressed minority, and mountain bikers that use road slicks, that run nearly half an inch narrower than knobby tubes? From what I've seen, that's just me.

There was no help for it: I would be walking. I set off in the direction I was already heading with Roja hoisted on my shoulder. But Roja is no lightweight carbon fiber machine; she's solid old school aluminum hard tail. I can manage her up three flights of stairs to get home, but walking four miles out of the park? Wasn't happening. If I could have pushed her it would be fine, but the rear tire was flat as flat gets, and I didn't want to risk damaging the wheel, which costs way, way more to replace than a tire.

Plan B was to hide her somewhere, hike home, get my car and come back for her. Bleah. Not terribly appealing, but I was drawing a blank on a plan C. (bright side: At least I wasn't in the mountains, where there'd be no coming back with a vehicle and I would have had to carry her the whole way down.) So I doubled back towards a parking area behind me where there was a large copse of tall reeds and trees. I laid her down flat as deep as I could in this thicket. I didn't think anyone would steal her, but you never know. I stuffed as many valuable things I could in my pockets (bright side: for some reason I had worn cargo shorts instead of biking shorts, which have no pockets), forgetting my $20 mini pump, my $20 speed bag, my rear blinking safety light, and the new Cannondale windbreaker Tery had just bought me (value unknown but probably not inconsiderable). Damn.

So I hiked (and what do you know? I might as well have invited MyFriendDeb after all). And at this point I'm going to use some visual aids to show you how I took the stupidest, least efficient route to reach my destination.



It had become almost uncomfortably warm (bright side: better than 40 degrees) and I was wearing my new $20 hiking shoes, which had only ever touched bike pedals so technically weren't broken in yet for actual walking.

Thirty minutes that felt like two hours later, I staggered into the park office and explained my situation. They said it was a courtesy service, but for safety reasons I would have to be accompanied by a police officer (park ranger with a gun). I thought to myself at that point I would go with one of Darth Vader's stormtroopers if it meant I didn't have to walk anymore.

I was paired up with a young attractive guy who smiled a lot. They explained my situation to him and he grinned at me and said, "It's all good!" I snorted. "Easy for you to say!" But we got into his big park patrol truck and were off.

Halfway back to where I prayed Roja waited, he slowed down to assess an SUV parked off to the side in what wasn't a parking place, by what turned out to be some guy walking his dogs, five of them, off leash. Officer Allen wasn't having that nonsense in his park and he stopped to investigate, apologizing to me. I assured him I didn't mind if he needed to enforce some laws.

The problem was he had left his ticket book in the office to take care of me, so he radioed to another officer to take over. Meanwhile he stepped out to talk to the guy. I sat there listening to the police radio. It was like having a front row seat to an episode of "Cops"! Only less exciting because no one was being chased and everyone was appropriately attired.

An interminable amount of time later, the second officer finally showed up. He of course needed to be debriefed. While the two of them chatted, Mr. Illegal Dogman came over to me and apologized for the delay. I said I was sorry he got caught (really I wasn't), and he chuckled and said as long as he didn't go to jail he didn't mind. Well then.

A second interminable amount of time later, the second policeman got in and we were off. My relief driver was older, less chatty and not as smiley as Officer Allen, but it wasn't as if I had a choice. We made some awkward small talk until reaching Roja. He cleared a spot in the bed while I went to retrieve her.

She was undisturbed, but for some reason getting her out of the thicket was a lot trickier than getting her in. I felt a little self-conscious ripping through the reeds and single-handedly destroying the little patch of wetlands with a park ranger staring at me the whole time, but he didn't say anything.

We tossed her in the truck and again were off, this time all the way to my house, which I thought was damn nice. But looking back, I'll bet all the park employees grab any excuse to get out once in awhile -- as magical as it is to me, I'm sure the wonder wears off quickly when it becomes your work place.

Still, I didn't want to tie up a policeman in case he was needed elsewhere, so I instructed him to drop me off in the strip mall across the street from our complex.

It was as I was getting out that I noticed something that filled me with horror (gentlemen, I warn you to look away now if you can't handle the bodily functions of ladies): It was, let's say, not the best time of the month for such an active lifestyle. And yes, I had left behind evidence of this on the truck's new cloth seat. Holy HELL.

What was I supposed to do? There was no way to clean it surreptitiously barehanded in the few seconds before I was expected at the back to get my bike, so I just closed the door and prayed he would think it was dirt or something. I thanked him and started the (much shorter and manageable) hike home.

I closed the door and tried to shrivel into a little ball in the corner. When that didn't work, I went to the bathroom. My underwear looked like a crime scene. I felt enormously embarrassed and impossibly guilty. So to soothe these totally alien feelings I did what I do best and transferred blame onto the officers; if they hadn't wasted so much time faffing around with their leisurely, authoritative posturing I would have been in and out long before this happened. Yeah, that sounds good.

So, I am apparently not through learning lessons when it comes to biking. On this trip I learned:

Pack two spare tubes. I bought the largest frame pack I could find for adding/removing layers in the cold, so it's not like I don't have the space.

When it's "that time of month," I should just take to my bed with a hot water bottle and the blinds drawn.

If I HAVE to bike in that condition and this happens again, for the love of God I'll just walk all the way home.

Lastly, wild exagerration makes for a much more entertaining anecdote.


P.S.: I've been back to the park since, and passed ranger trucks parked alongside the road. Tery joked that when they spot me, they murmur, "There she goes. Bloody Mary." >:(
grrgoyl: (Sweeney time for song)


Watch my video! If I seem painfully nervous, it's because I am. And I'm not reading off a teleprompter, though it sure looks like I am. This is actually version seven or something, and I could have typed the damn post out twelve times over. But hey, something different.

Vote in my poll!

[Poll #1717244]

In other news, Ryan is back to being our friend. He and John had a huge fight, nearly killed each other....literally. Ryan reportedly had bruised ribs, a swollen head and a sprained ankle the next day. It finally knocked some sense into him and he's left him for good. Hooray! So he came to hang out, and Logan, our semi-feral wild thing of a stray cat, made a beeline for his lap like they were long lost buds. He probably misses male companionship (Logan, not Ryan).


Dude, bitches be CRAZY


Finally, that movie review I promised. It's a short one, but well worth it I think.

::Home Movie:: )

I agree with most reviewers I would have liked to see what happened earlier, see why the children are the way they are. But for a tiny indie horror flick that no one's heard of, it gets the job done well enough. 77 minutes of my life I don't mind never getting back so much. Though not enough to buy it.
grrgoyl: (firefly take me sir)
Yes indeedy (Tery has a Facebook friend who begins every post with "So....," an in medias res kind of thing. I say it's a sign of deep-seated insecurity, wanting to make sure she's got people's attention before speaking, but let's see if it works for me).

Remember my New Year's resolution to save money? It's been going well, actually. My savings has been building up steadily, which feels great. But all this overtime I've been working combined with a sweet tax refund, and something had to give. I deserved a treat.

Don't get me wrong, this decision didn't come easily. I had so ruthlessly trained myself to avoid buying anything that it took a week to talk myself into a $20 Banksy T-shirt (have you heard of Banksy? We just watched Exit Through the Gift Shop and he's my new favorite artist).

So you can imagine the agonizing hours that went into rationalizing what I really wanted, what I've been eyeing for a long time now, a portable Blu-ray player. Because when Tery and I both have a day off, she needs the TV to watch her favorite show, men driving in circles (Nascar, nearly as mind-numbing as golf), and I retreat to the bedroom. It would be nice to have a way to watch my favorite, including my other treat to myself, the next two Harry Potter Ultimate Edition Blu-rays (I know. I fell off the wagon hard. Because I also threw a new Wii guitar controller in. Stop me before I shop again!).

For the most part players are ridonculously expensive, until I came across a deal for a 10-inch RCA model under $200 on eBay and Amazon. After four days of raging internal debate, I went with an eBay Buy-It-Now of $189 with free Priority shipping.

Since I had paid for it on Friday, my hopes weren't high for a very speedy delivery (I'm never sure if Saturday counts as a shipping day). But I didn't think it should take longer than Tuesday. Thus when Wednesday rolled around with no sign of it, I sent a polite email to the seller, while quietly (unless you're Tery) fuming about eBayers who promise "Priority" and then sit on their ass for a few days before getting it out. When I sell stuff, the minute I get the notification of payment it's like a ticking time bomb in my head -- "Gotta get it out, gotta get it out, gotta get it out." Not all sellers are as conscientious as me, sadly.

Then Thursday for the helluvit I took a peek at my seller's feedback, and was astonished and alarmed to find about five negatives, all within the last three days, all reporting not receiving their items. More popped up as the day wore on. Figures. My seller's rating, which was 100% positive when I sent him my money, was now plummeting with every refresh of the page. Serves me right for falling off the wagon. I found myself suddenly yearning for the days when my only concern was whether or not it was being shipped Priority.

I shouldn't complain, I suppose. Some of these people had tried to buy some mighty big ticket items from dupreeks508: $600 iPads and $400 Dell laptops. My case was small potatoes in comparison. Tery's theory is he was selling stolen goods and was now in jail.

Now, my dilemma -- give him a chance to make good (which was looking increasingly unlikely with each passing hour), or go ahead and try to find a second deal? Because I'm happy to say at this point my savings is built up sufficiently that my first concern wasn't even being out $189 (which eBay is usually very good at refunding), but not having my toy. I reasoned that, worst-case scenario, I'd buy a second, the first would show up and I could always resell it; they're obviously a pretty hot item, especially at such a low price.

With encouragement from my sister Amy, whose spending habits are every bit as terrible as mine (used to be), I went with this option. From a third-party seller on Amazon I found one in "used very good" condition, same price but the next model up, which had better reviews, so maybe it will work out for the best after all.

I shot off an obligatory email to dupreeks508 halfheartedly asking again, finishing with a subtle threat to file a claim against him, which I went ahead and did anyway a few hours later because the negative feedbacks were mounting up impressively. He has a week to respond, and then hopefully eBay will just refund my money (don't remember, it's been a long time since I've had to go through the process). At this point I suspect eBay Central is saying, "Oh, here's another one for dupreeks. Add it to the pile." I know they must know something's up as he suddenly has no more listings.

I find it a bit amusing that the Banksy shirt I bought pictures a rat holding up a sign that reads "You lie." I didn't know what it meant at the time, just liked the design, but now it's relevant in a wholly unexpected way.


Dupreeks508 lies


~*~

Work, work, work, work, work. Don't get me wrong, I love the OT paychecks, but I'm getting a little tired.

Which is perhaps why I have less patience than normal with the MT board I go to for help with reports occasionally. For the most part I only have to search the archives for answers, but unfortunately from time to time I'm forced to ask a question, which I hate doing because it seems more often than not the simplest of exchanges erupt into a flame war on that site. You aren't likely to find a touchier, more easily offended pack of hyenas itching for a fight anywhere else on the web (although I'll bet mommy forums come close. Given the nature of my job, I'm sure there's more than a fair bit of overlap between the two).

I have an account that doesn't allow the patient name in the report (extremely common, though there are rare exceptions -- doctors don't care and insist on dictating them anyway, so I have to pay close attention). In this particular report, the doctor started rattling off the names of all the patient's children as well. I couldn't find any reference for or against typing them, so I turned to my fellow MTs. Briefly explained the situation, ending with "I tend to think I shouldn't."

I had two people come forward and agree with me; there was a chance, however slim, of identifying the patient through the children, so no. Since I was almost done with the rest of it and had to move on, I thanked them and said, "Just making sure."

Well. Then someone else wrote, "Every client is different. Seriously. For instance, I have one account that wants this, this and this but not that, that and that."

My first reaction was, how the hell does knowing your client's profile help me in the slightest, given that, as you say, every client is different? But what really stuck in my craw was that word "Seriously." It seemed like an unnecessarily vehement and perhaps a bit condescending emphasis, especially since anyone who's been transcribing for more than a month would certainly have noticed that every client is different, and I've been doing this for close to ten years. So I guess I'm just as touchy as the hyenas.

I couldn't resist responding, "Seriously? I'm leaving them off to be safe, they aren't relevant to the patient's care anyway."

OMG. You can see where this is going. That person sniffed, "Just trying to help. Hmmm." Then the piggy pile began. Someone else, "Why do you bother asking a question when you just want confirmation for what you've already decided?" And another, "LOL. 'Just making sure' based on two people's responses." Okay, a) one of those people was actually the board moderator, who is generally regarded as having a high degree of knowledge in the field, and b) plenty of times I've had questions not get answered at all, so there's no way of knowing how many more responses are coming, and Christ, the report wasn't that long and I can't hang around all day waiting to find out.

But from long experience on this board, I know all too well the more you try to defend and justify yourself to people, the more sharks show up to tear off a piece. So I just closed the window and went on my way. It amuses me to think of them working themselves into a frenzy, and then eventually looking around and realizing I was long gone. I'm the anti-troll; I stir up trouble and then never look at the thread again. Seriously.
grrgoyl: (equus)
What's new with me this week? Well, for twelve nail-biting hours there was a chance I would be jetting off to New York to see Rickman in a play.

He's not on Broadway, but rather off- (off-?) Broadway at BAM performing "John Gabriel Borkman," an Ibsen play about a corrupt banker just released from prison trying to plan his strategy in the new economy. Sounds terribly dry and talky, but hey, Rickman -- as has been said in the past, the man could read a grocery list and enthrall an audience.

The play sort of snuck under my radar. I had read murmurings about it over at [livejournal.com profile] alanrickman, but I sort of just ignored it. I think that proves how well I've trained my mind to avoid the thought of spending any money that isn't on a bill or groceries. And with good reason; once upon a time I did think almost nothing of flying across the country for a two-day trip to see a naked Harry Potter. Make no mistake, it was worth every penny, but those were my young, carefree days before medical bills and sweating about paying mortgage next month.

Just to reassure myself, I peeked at the website. Yep, tickets were $80, on top of plane fare. Totally out of the question.

Then [livejournal.com profile] swankyfunk announced she got a ticket. I thought that was great, at least I could live vicariously through her (as I very often do). She attended, and even got an autograph at the stage door (no picture with him though; her CelebMojo™ was only at about 75% that night). I could have wept with jealousy. To not only have been in the theater and breathed the same air as him, but then to come face to face with him -- it would have been too much for me. I doubt I would have had the courage to actually say anything, nervous about it turning into a hysterical fangirl tirade, but she has met enough stars at this point to save the squeeing for afterwards.

I was going to think nothing of it again until she casually mentioned she might go back for a weekday performance, when tickets were only $25. WHAT.

Suddenly it seemed the only obstacle was air fare. I clicked over to Kayak.com, to learn that a flight into Newark from Denver would be only $180, and the train into the city only $1.50. This was when my heart started racing. Suddenly very, very attainable.

I'll spare you the stress I endured for the twelve hours when the idea seemed tantalizingly within reach. Ultimately too many factors weighed against me. First, it was do-able, but would certainly make next month's mortgage payment a bit too close to the skin of my teeth. Second, M. didn't have room for me to crash at her place. I might have used Tery's brother's couch again, but I wasn't comfortable doing that the first time and that was with several months of planning ahead. Third, getting the time off so quickly, even for just a day or two, would be no picnic -- my employer tends to prefer about 30 days' notice. Fourth, and probably biggest of all, the sheer amount of traveling required; round trip on a plane with a layover in both directions, train trip to and from the city, subway to Tery's brother, subway to M., all in the dead of winter with unpredictable weather conditions. Way, way too many chances for something to go wrong, and just writing it out exhausts me.

Funny, I'll think nothing of climbing a mountain alone and then barreling back down it on two wheels, but the thought of navigating New York for more than one leg of a journey terrifies me.

[livejournal.com profile] kavieshana, safe in her midwest home, egged me on and questioned how much of a fan I was. I would have done exactly the same thing in her shoes.

Of course, the most compelling reason to do it is Rickman and the fact that he isn't getting any younger. It's horrible to say it, but every week when I get my issue of "Entertainment Weekly" I scan the obits section hoping not to see his name. Morbid, but hardly irrational, particularly with the past couple of years' worth of celebrity deaths both young and old. I've never been obsessed with an actor his age before. It will be devastating.

At any rate, today the decision was taken away from me once and for all when air fares bounced back up to $300+. Thank god, because the stress of wondering if I made the right decision was taking its toll.

So will there be another opportunity to see him on stage? God, I hope so. M. seems optimistic, though it seems lately he's been more interested in directing than acting. We'll see. Hopefully if/when it happens I'll be in a better place financially to jet off at a moment's notice. And M. will have a couch for me ;)
grrgoyl: (Tick)
I seem to recall somewhere in the murky sludge of my memory being summoned for jury duty once before. That time I had lucked out and been part of the group that didn't need to report at all.

This time I had a stay of execution, avoiding the 8 a.m. batch. I had to report with the 1 p.m. batch, which just turned out to be a stay of execution that sucked up my entire afternoon.

The website had warned that going through security in the courthouse was stricter than the airport -- so I was taken aback when the woman behind the counter asked to see my keyring to make sure there was nothing weapon-like on it, and apologized for having to do so. I haven't ever been apologized to by a TSA agent, but then I haven't had to undergo the new mandatory body cavity search yet.

The website also specifies no knitting needles. I asked Tery why the discrimination against little old ladies; she speculated it was because someone could take the needles from them. Knitters are notoriously feeble and easily overpowered.

While waiting in the vast juror sign-in room, I was dying to photograph the area behind the counter, but the website had warned against cameras and I didn't want to risk my phone being confiscated. I wanted to photograph it because it was covered with Wizard of Oz paraphenalia: a movie poster, two framed quotes written in frilly calligraphy ("We're not in Kansas anymore" and, more oddly, "No one gets in to see the wizard. No way! No how!"), a street sign that read "Wicked Witch Way," and an assortment of generic witchy Halloween decorations. I thought it was a bit inappropriate for a government office. I mean, my office is littered with Snape memorabilia, but I work from home.

After about a two-hour wait, during which we were told nothing about what was going on or what to expect, we were divided into two groups and taken upstairs. Tery, who recently served on a three-day case, tells me it's something to make it into a courtroom, that more often you sit around waiting and then are dismissed anyway.

We filed into the courtroom under the stringent gaze of the Assistant District Attorney, a tall, thin, young, nervous man whose hands visibly shook behind the podium as he prepared to question the first group in the jury box. The defense attorney was an older, slightly sloppy-looking man who resembled Billy Bob Thornton both physically and vocally.

I sat between two older women on the exquisitely uncomfortable audience bench (I don't have the luxurious built-in padding on my ass I used to). The one to my right carried an enormous purse that for some reason she couldn't move to her lap or on the floor in front of her; consequently it spent the entire time inching towards me and digging into my side.

If I had been chewing gum I probably would have spit it out when I realized the judge presiding over this case was none other than the Honorable Robert Tobias, the heartless bastard who had sentenced Tery. What are the freaking odds? The only two experiences in a courtroom in my life, and he presided over both of them? (Especially bizarre given Tery's sentencing took place in a different courthouse halfway across town.)

They summoned twelve potential jurors to the box. We all had to sit through a very long-winded speech from the judge about how the accusations made against the defendant didn't prove guilt or innocence, how the judge sustaining or overruling an objection didn't place undue significance on the line of questioning, blah blah blah, on and on. I just tried to find the best position that would keep my buttocks from falling asleep.

Here's a good spot to mention that it was a DUI case, which caused me a bit of turmoil when the attorneys repeatedly asked if anyone would have a problem remaining unbiased while reaching a verdict. I came to the conclusion that once upon a time, when I thought all drunk drivers were scum that deserved the death penalty, I might have. But now going through all that I have with Tery, and realizing that sometimes drunk drivers are good people who make very bad decisions, I would find it easier to be sympathetic if the evidence pointed that way.

Oddly, at the beginning I was only interested in getting dismissed and going home. But the longer they kept us and the more we got into it, I slowly found myself hoping to be picked.

Next was a "get to know the jurors" segment, where each potential juror had to say a little bit about themselves using a set of questions as a guideline. After the first three or so, I stopped listening because I was frantically composing my own answers.

First were some general questions: Name, age, marital status (should I say living with female partner for 18-1/2 years, or keep it simple and say single?), education (BA from University of Connecticut? Or keep it simple and say college graduate?), occupation, whether we knew anyone in law enforcement, how long we'd lived in the state/county.

Lastly questions that seemed to focus on our recreational activities: Hobbies (easy: mountain biking, watching DVDs and blogging. Wait, would they be too worried that I would blab about the case online?), favorite TV shows (sitcoms, "Hoarders", "The Walking Dead" and "Dexter". Wait, what does liking "Dexter" say about me?), radio preferences (my music is probably best described as Electronica/Dark Wave. But how to explain that to the squares? Probably should keep it simple and say Alternative. But why on earth is our taste in music so critical? (the judge made a point of going back and asking the person if they left it out)), and reading genres (yeah, Harry Potter slash fiction. Probably best to say I don't read at all).

The lawyers then questioned select people based on this information. Of particular interest to them was a British high school health teacher (he was ultimately dismissed) and one poor woman who answered yes to every single question put to her, accompanied by frequent eye-rolling: she had already served on two juries. She knew someone in law enforcement, her brothers, one in the FBI and one in the CIA. She was already involved in another court case elsewhere, etc. etc. (they dismissed her because really, she had been through enough already.)

I knew who wouldn't make a good juror: the woman to my right with the fat purse, who after thirty minutes of listening to the jury box started rooting around for an energy bar, which she unwrapped and ate extremely loudly like everyone who sits near me in public. After finishing her snack she pulled out her book and started reading. Really? Have you noticed you're in a courtroom and not on the light rail? I SO wanted Tobias to notice and rip her a new one, but alas, there's no justice even in a courtroom.

After an hour of listening to the jury box, I started looking around the room. There had to be fifty more of us in the audience, all potential jurors. Would we have to go through this process for all of us? Didn't the courthouse close at five?

Answer: No and probably. The original twelve were whittled down to six, and the rest of us were released with thanks. BAH. All that for nothing.

It wasn't until I was in my car leaving the parking lot that it occurred to me maybe I should have spoken to Judge Tobias, told him about Tery's success and thanked him for starting her down the road. We hated him at the time, but now that she's 90% done with her sentence it's easier to feel more charitable. And I'll bet judges, who spend their days dealing with losers and ne'er-do-wells, might appreciate hearing about some good coming from their work. Perhaps I'll drop him an email.
grrgoyl: (Default)
Better late than never, but as I bitched previously there's no relaxing time off for me on the holidays. Here's my 2010 year in review:

This is the year I lost 65 pounds after discovering I had gallstones.

This is the year I broke down and got health insurance (see above).

This is the year I rode a bike and changed my life.

This is the year I made a new penpal friend in Finland.

This is the year I got a computer with Windows 7, a choice I've regretted at least once a week since (including this past month, where every fifth time I turn the computer off Windows crashes and refuses to restart).

This is the year Tery made enormous strides in her struggle with alcoholism, ran her first triathlon and found God.

To cancel out her goodness, this is the year I officially became a smut peddlar and wrote my first semi-novel length Snarry (which has received rave reviews, BTW).

In still more evil deeds, this is the year I discovered the joy of torrent downloading, only to be sent a cease-and-desist letter from my ISP a few short months later. Just recently I've discovered the joy of "YouTube ripping," which [livejournal.com profile] kavieshana tells me is so 2006 it never occurred to her to suggest it as an alternative.

Related, this is the year I discovered two great new bands, Imperative Reaction and mind.in.a.box. Watch this video to hear my favorite song by them; it starts kind of slow, then builds to one kick-ass verse, then ends far too soon (don't pay any attention to the video itself, it seems to have nothing to do with the song at all):



This is the year (maybe the last) I visited my family and realized they could possibly have some deep-seated emotional problems; like, should probably be in therapy caliber of problems.

This is the year Tery broke her 4-year winning streak of the neighborhood Christmas lights competition -- which would be easier to accept if the winners didn't only turn their lights on for the judging, and never again afterwards.

This is the year I learned that good things come to those who wait, that DVDs drop in price steadily if you're patient enough, and that not seeing movies in the theater whenever the mood strikes me isn't going to kill me.

Resolutions for 2011: Save, save, save (money); and lose, lose, lose (more weight. Hopefully. I seem to have plateaued for the past few weeks).


First picture of me taken in 2011:



And oh hell, have a couple of adorable ferrets in lurve, good way to start the year:

grrgoyl: (ameliecat)
I hope everyone had a good Christmas/whatever you celebrate. This is the first year I adamantly did not buy for anyone but Tery, and it was fabulous. No stress of shipping, and a morning of opening presents we both knew we actually wanted, no money wasted on stabs in the dark.

This year marked Tery's wish to convert to an artificial tree. She presented the idea pleadingly, I guess expecting me to say no. I grew up with an artificial tree, so it's not as big a deal to me as to her. Plus, not having to water it every day, not having it slowly die anyway creating a fire hazard, not having to haul it off to recycling when it's a prickly, cactusy, sap-covered thing dropping pine needles by the thousands? Bonus.


Fake but pretty tree. Unfortunately all the animals immediately ran to the base of it, remembering how they love drinking water from it. Sorry, animals



Logan was just as happy with the top of it


In a bit, my loot; but first, I called my mom to check in. Morgan is still missing, but that's okay. She had plenty of stories of the puppies' antics. I feigned interest, which is so much easier to do on a phone call that will end in a reasonable timeframe than at her house with no promise of escape for a few days. All was well, until she gleefully mentioned one of Nancy's gifts, the book "Why Dogs Are Better Than Cats."

"A dog is your friend for life. A cat couldn't care less about you..."

"Okay, I'm going to stop you right there," I interrupted. I'm convinced people who believe this myth about cats have never lived with one. Our cats check in with us every hour on the hour, night and day. At least three times a day I have to (reluctantly) evict Kitten Mitten from my lap while I work. MyFriendDeb used to have two cats who formed a snuggly nest around her every night that she had to extricate herself from every morning. "Where are these aloof cats everyone talks about?" she asks me. Answer? In the minds of malicious, slandering dog lovers (who I suspect might be a wee bit resentful that they have to go out in the cold for their pets to do their business).

Aloof cats? Take 30 seconds to watch this video footage of the parade Tery leads every morning as she gets ready for work, featuring two cats (and a couple of ferrets) who couldn't care less about her:



But as far as my mother, she has apparently forgotten my dislike of dogs vis a vis our face-to-face altercation in her living room. This is why we don't feel so bad saying terribly disrespectful things to her -- she has a staggeringly tireless ability to not hear it anyway, so what have we got to lose?

Fortunately I had to go to work soon after, so was able to beg off the phone. Yes, no holidays for me -- I worked both jobs Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. And I get to do it all over again New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Hopefully I'll see some time and a half from them, so it's all good.

Anyway, behind the cut are a few photos of my loot this year. Just in case you don't want to click though, I'll put the sexiest one out here:



Tery really outdid herself. She must have spent our entire dollar limit on just these items. A super lightweight shirt by Zoot, Pearl Izumi leggings and, best of all, Goretex biking gloves -- note the lobster claw design (because it turns out you really don't need your ring finger or pinky on the bars). Perfect for cold weather biking without getting sweaty and clammy.

::The rest in here, if you dare:: )
grrgoyl: (amelie dog)
Well hi, LJ. Bet you've forgotten about me. I'm around, just not much happening.

Unless you count two of Nancy's dogs going missing from her yard. Tery saw the news on Facebook. I would have been content to pretend I didn't know (don't judge me; let me remind you of a few posts back where I showed how much of a shit she gives about my life), but then Tery stupidly had to go leave her a comment. Nancy assumed someone had stolen them and "didn't expect to ever see them again." Oh, drama. Like anyone wants your slobbering, poorly trained mutts (we reasoned Jasmine, the service dog, wasn't one of them; she's so fat and lazy it's a chore to get her to move when you WANT her to).

After a day I emailed my mother because Tery was demanding more details. Evidently the gate was left open, probably by the pesky gas man who has to come on the property to read the meter and who goes way back with a history of adversity with the dogs (Nancy's reluctance to limit her dogs' freedom extends even to controlling them enough to ensure the safety of utility servicemen). They had been spotted by acquaintances in the vicinity, putting to rest the stolen mutt theory.

The day after, presumably while putting up flyers at the local pound, Nancy and mom adopted two more puppies. Her beloved girls are gone three days and she's already replacing them! As Tery put it, "I've looked for a pair of slippers longer." (Later on the phone Nancy justified this impulse buy by insisting that losing the other two was "creating a serious detriment in Jasmine's training" because she was moping so much. I didn't ask what the plan was going to be if and when Jasmine (the service dog) goes to an owner who doesn't own other dogs.)

The day after THAT Elise the schnauzer turned up at a different pound. She was microchipped so was easily traced, and was home within four hours. Nancy wrote on Facebook, "Praise the lord, one of my girls is home!" She's gotten very religious lately, though between you and me and Tery, we think if Jesus's niece came to visit he'd be a smidge more gracious about it. In fact, when I called Amy with the original news of the dogs' loss, her first speculation was maybe this was karma's way of punishing Nancy for her abominable treatment of our niece (though if it was karma, this was a very shortlived lesson indeed). Doubt if Nancy would ever see it that way. The lord is only at work when good things happen.

So as of this writing Morgan (the Newfoundland mix with the incredibly annoying licking addiction) is still missing. But since Nancy has two new puppies, I doubt she'll be missed for long. Oh, and the silver lining of all this is we never received Christmas presents from her (see past Xmas posts on why this is a very, very good thing).

~*~

So enough blabbity de blah. I leave you with some pictures (plus backstories).

Wheel truing becomes necessary when the wheel spokes become loose and disrupt the delicate balance of push and pull performed by each and every spoke, causing the wheel to wobble. This is the problem I thought I had after changing a tire on a recent ride (where I discovered that, as miserable as biking in 40-degree weather is, not half the pain of changing a tire when you have to take your gloves off to do it and can't feel your fingers after two minutes). My front tire was wobbling something fierce. I decided maybe I could dip my toe in the waters of wheel truing, which seems like a useful thing to know how to do when you're as cuckoo for bike riding as I am.

A truing stand can cost upwards of $200+, not an investment I'm prepared for at the mo'. It would be nice to have because it has calipers you can hold up to the wheel to see exactly where the wobble is, and apart from that I have no idea what it is about it that justifies that enormous price tag. I settled instead for an $8 spoke wrench and the biggest stationary object I could find in our house, a very large gargoyle.


This is how they trued wheels in medieval times


P.S.: Turns out my rim was already true. The problem was my worn-out old tire didn't have the bead seated evenly all the way around. Has since been fixed (by me). Also good to know!

This photo needs no explanation, other than I think it would make a lovely book or album jacket:


We literally let our cats walk all over us. I adore the look of utter resignation


Lastly, this is Tery's big big present this year (DON'T YOU DARE TELL). She wanted the Dorothy Hamill diamond encrusted heart pendant, but since that cost $1800 on the first site I found, she's getting this instead:



I think it's perfect. It represents the huge steps she's made in her life, her fight against alcoholism, her newfound spirituality, and her determination to be a triathlete and next year (hopefully) a marathon runner.

Merry Christmas (or whatever you celebrate) everyone!
grrgoyl: (Snotter)
Time again for some movie reviews.

The opening act: Paranormal Entity I spent the first ten minutes of this movie trying to figure out if it was a spoof of Paranormal Activity. It still might be.

::My review at least doesn't suck up as much of your life as actually watching the movie:: )

An unpleasant waste of an afternoon. The cable access version of Paranormal Activity. These are the nicest things I can say about it.

~*~

Headliner:

While in California, I did break a 6-month drought of theater-going to catch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (or, as a geeky fanboy requested when he bought his ticket, "Harry Potter Seven Part One," enunciating clearly so as not to be mistakenly sold a ticket for Part Two, which will be released next July); yes, money is tight, but there's always room in my budget for Harry.

Of course, I ended up also paying for Nancy, which happened without her even asking. It's just always the assumption that Nancy has no money, and she makes no effort to dispel that assumption. Frankly, I would rather have spent that money on a second theater outing for myself.

Amy had confessed to me before the trip that she had only read and seen the movies up to Order of the Phoenix, and that she couldn't remember most of it, maybe should brush up a bit. "Well, you've got a week," I told her. "Put the kid in daycare and get to work."

She didn't, and it wasn't until the lights went down that I hurriedly thought to fill her in on some of what she missed. I only got as far as "Snape killed Dumbledore and we don't know why" (OMG SPOILER SORRY). Then halfway through the first scene it occurred to me she might need to know what a Horcrux was, but when I tried to whisper it to her she shushed me. Fine. Enjoy this movie where you'll have no idea what's going on.

I myself had already re-read the entire series in preparation for the movie, so I could make an informed judgment. ::And here it is:: )

The movie IS sort of slow, compared to the others. It very much feels like a transition, a placeholder before the real finale. I loved it, but I can see where lesser fans (or casual viewers, like Ryan who hasn't read a single book) might be left feeling a bit WTF??

However, I got a solid reminder of why I hate going to the theater anymore. Bad enough there was a row of teenagers way in the back, one of whom evidently could only follow every plot progression by announcing it loudly to the rest of us. But halfway through, I became aware of a full-fledged conversation going on behind me. I turned in my seat to see two teenage girls cupping a cellphone between them and talking at great length to the caller. I stared and stared and stared. Finally one of them noticed me and asked haughtily, "Can I help you?" I just kept staring coldly, didn't even blink. They slowly ended the call and put the phone away, with a disbelieving "Sheesh...."

Yes. I'm the rude one. I spent the rest of the movie ready for a confrontation at the end, but they either decided against it or, more likely, their tiny attention spans had forgotten the incident entirely.

~*~

Not sure what the third act is called:

Finally, a movie that I almost went to jail for downloading online: Catfish. Everyone will probably remember that it was released shortly before The Social Network with the promotion "Everyone who uses the internet must see this movie." No?

Well, it's a shame, because I've seen them both and think Catfish is better.

::More if you dare:: )
grrgoyl: (Default)
Thank you everyone who commented on my Thanksgiving post. It was one of those, "I really, really, REALLY need some comments" posts. You're all the best set of online friends a girl could ask for (except [livejournal.com profile] lizzieloudotcom, who's just a brat. No, ferrets aren't related to rats, Bear (I know you're just taking the piss)).

Anyhoo, in light of such a wordy post, this one will be all pictures. Not so many, hope you enjoy.

First, the video I've been talking about. It's not terribly interesting, unless you really love me. It's mostly all Vegas, which kind of irritates me; when Tery visits her own family she gets literally hours of footage. On this trip, despite being a "scientific observer" in the background for much of the week, it never occurred to her to pick up the damn camera. Nevertheless, there's a clip near the end of us with Jane whose real purpose for inclusion is to hear my mother droning on and on at poor Rob in the background, to give you some idea of a sample conversation.



Now, pics:


This was titled by Rob "The Intensity of Wii." Amy looks like she could kill you with that Wiimote


(A word about the Wii: We played after Thanksgiving dinner, and it was the only evening I really felt like we were a family. So fun. Also, it became a running joke that I would always forget to mention some important aspect of playing the game until halfway through it, so I was accused of this being my winning strategy.)


This was found among my late father's effects. Mom said, "Daddy loved his porn" which became the favorite quote of the week. Amy, the bitch, immediately claimed the original for herself


Some at-home pet shots:


Look at this stray cat. His new nickname is "Logan Bunnyfoot"



I was pretending to yell at Bird (not that she knows the difference). I love what the antiquing effect does to the mood
grrgoyl: (methree)
Okay, so, we made it to California, driving a dawdling 60 mph on route 15 (we had many fans that day, I can tell you) because we thought Amy and Rob would be meeting us at 9 pmish (it turned out by the time they landed at the airport, got a rental car and drove an hour to the hotel, they were in no condition to handle my family).

My family. I spoke at great length here about their many flaws. Not surprisingly, they've gotten even worse with time. Still talk your ear off for hours about everything happening in their lives, while never once expressing the slightest interest in yours. My mom is not as guilty as Nancy, although by the time we had left we had well and truly had our fill of both.

Tery had had it within the first hour. I joined her in the bathroom where she was having an honest-to-goodness breakdown. She's met them before of course, but back then she had the sanctuary of alcohol to create a refuge of numbness. Seeing them in their purest, unadulterated form proved far too much for her. She couldn't believe their self-centeredness and complete lack of attention paid to me. I assured her repeatedly I was used to it, that it's how it's been my whole life. But her reaction made me think for the first time perhaps that didn't make it right.

However, things got exponentially worse the next day when Amy showed up with Rob and baby Jane, my 1-year-old niece. So much so that by Wednesday Amy announced to my mother that she was never visiting them again. If you read on, you'll see that this decision was entirely justified.

::Fresh wounds for the scar tissue:: )

Me and my sister are each other's only family. It sounds melodramatic; I mean, we weren't beaten or anything, and we didn't feel like we had an awful childhood at all. But evidently we were (and are) victims of some pretty serious emotional neglect. Our untrained diagnosis is pathologic narcissism, with perhaps a touch of ADD or even autism thrown in. If you read all that under the cut, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, because I guess I've spent a lifetime being ignored and I just always accepted that that was the way it was.

We spent Friday driving home. We missed our cats terribly after being oversaturated with dogs all week (mentally and physically), so were in a bit of a hurry. Unfortunately we got stopped in Cedar City, Utah (ironically the same city with our Travelodge). I got clocked doing 95 mph in a 75 zone (thank god I was driving and not Tery, who is still on probation). The cop was as nice about it as he could be: He reduced the recorded speed to 85 and gave me the minimum fine, $90 as opposed to $240. I apologized to him and he quipped, "It's the passenger's fault; they're supposed to be watching for cops." We drove a resolute 5 only over the limit the rest of the (considerable) distance.

(FYI, I read some of the other violations on the ticket. Use of a handheld device while driving? Mandatory court appearance and $595 fine. Word to the wise, [livejournal.com profile] kavieshana.)

This was on top of receiving a cease and desist email from Comcast when they tracked my IP address downloading movie torrents (gonna knock that off. First letter is just a warning, I think). And I just found out today that it's illegal, possibly even a felony, to videotape on a casino game floor, so the video I'm planning to post next will need some editing. All in all this trip was full of all kinds of lawlessness, on top of intensive psychoanalysis. I need a vacation.
grrgoyl: (Wii smack)
Vegas was fun -- might have been moreso if we gambled or drank. As it is, we took a stroll up a few blocks to check out some other hotels, used the fitness center (bloody smug Coloradans), ate dinner and called it a night.  (I wouldn't have minded seeing the street at night, maybe meet a hooker or two, but Tery didn't feel well. Later she confessed she didn't want to expose herself to people getting drunk, so that was all good.)

But I'm getting ahead of myself. After checking out the Excalibur and New York New York lobbies, I can say without reservation that our hotel was the nicest (in our budget).


Nicest hotel in our budget


Excalibur was overrun with children, and New York New York looked like a strip mall with a strip club in the middle.


Spongebob was disappointingly immune to my advances



Had to take this for [livejournal.com profile] kavieshana of course



I tried to shoot Santa on an Orange County chopper and this bitch leaped to intercept. Evidently it's her job to prevent free photos being taken. Consequently I'll bet she's all over the internet



Jellybean Liberty Statue



One of those holographic lucite boxes. This guy will fuck you up and then give you this beautiful tchotchke to commemorate the event



There were these kiosks everywhere selling, I kid you not, flavored oxygen. I'm thinking I should bring this technology back to Denver where it's actually needed


I felt very big deal checking in and getting our key cards. The Luxor's lobby was enormous, and it took us a solid fifteen minutes just to find the registration desk (it turned out they offered 11:30 am check-in, so we dragged our feet from Utah for nothing); one of the biggest problems with Vegas is everything is designed to parade you past as many slot machines as possible.

The room was certainly swank -- not champagne hot tub and heart-shaped bed swank, but for a couple of yankee gals not too shabby (although honestly the Travelodge had a nicer shower head).  But it was quiet and clean, and all the Carrot Top you could stomach on the in-house channels (srsly.  You think Wayne Newton is big in Vegas? Make no mistake: Carrot Top OWNS that town).


My friends, this is a sign of the End of Days


Seeing his bizarre face everywhere was the second biggest problem. The third was the Vegas salesmen everywhere doing their damndest to get you to stay just a few hours longer ("Where are you from? Do you think you'll come back next year? How does a free show sound?")

We didn't see any shows, but in fact the Criss Angel theater was in the Luxor. That was tempting (I don't like him especially but I'll bet he puts on a good show), but I doubt he was the free entertainment on offer. Nor was Cirque du Soleil, probably.


Thank god no one sold a do-it-yourself Carrot Top kit


We dined at the Pyramid Cafe, where we saw this illustration of what technology has done to inter-relationship communication:


This couple sat down shortly after us, and didn't look up from their iPhones for a good fifteen minutes



This couple, by contrast, had plenty to talk about...to each other, even


After dinner we thought we'd throw Vegas a bone and gamble a little. Tery chose a slot machine that looked hopelessly complicated -- lots of flashing lights and sounds, and you had to match five icons rather than just three. She put in a dollar, spun three times and appeared to have lost, but then the machine spat out a little 5-cent voucher. The joke of the weekend then became, "Step aside! Winner coming through!"


She didn't even cash it in. She's a real Miss Moneybags


There was an ATM mishap when she tried to take out $20 and instead got $200. I thought at first the machine had malfunctioned and we had won big, but Tery might have miskeyed it. Or it's a nefarious trick to get you to gamble more (wouldn't surprise me. The machine allowed as much as $3000 to be withdrawn at once). She just ended up using the cash for the rest of the trip rather than her debit card. Sorry, Vegas.

I played some poker slots (I prefer them since you have a tiny element of control over the outcome, or at least the illusion of it). All in all Vegas made about 7 bucks off us. Probably just enough to cover the toiletries we stole.

Can't say I saw a whole lot of sinnin' going on, unless you count the gambling and the Coyote Ugly dancers at New York New York (stay tuned for my video footage). Also didn't see a single wedding chapel or Elvis impersonator (might have had better luck if we deviated from the route between the hotel and the parking garage). We didn't much care to stay, nor were we thrilled to leave, since next stop was my family. But leave we did. It wasn't nearly as easy to get back onto the highway as it was getting off, we suspect another part of the plot to keep you around longer. I sang the line from "Hotel California" as we roamed up and down frontage roads and truck delivery routes. We did get out eventually though (obvs).

And that's where I'll leave things for now.

Next: California, or, Deep Therapy

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December 2011

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