grrgoyl: (Satan's Energy Drink)
I've got this year's Parade of Homes on-deck, but frankly it was even more lackluster than last, and my heart just isn't in it. So first some smaller news:

The good news is I got a notice from a collection agency that I owed the remaining balance in full of nearly $200 on my hospital bill. This was confusing to me, as not only have I been paying them faithfully $50 a month, they've been taking it automatically so I KNOW I haven't missed any payments. I was even more confused because, by my reckoning, I actually owed them close to $500.

I reluctantly called the number to get to the bottom of it. Long story short, it's another case of "pay X amount now and we'll forgive the rest of it." Tery says sometimes they just want to "clean up their books" or something, though I can't see why anyone would walk away from money rightfully owed to them, particularly money that was actually being paid. But hey, pay $200 to save $300? Groupons never has deals so good.

So, another $86 to the ambulance company and I AM DONE. Maybe they'll tell me they'll settle for $20?

~*~

We have a new neighbor below us. Nice quiet nonsmoking Kara decided she wanted to live with her boyfriend (so she said; we think she was tired of listening to the still ongoing Feline Wars every morning at 3 am. For that matter, so are we).

It took surprisingly no time for her replacement to move in, considering how many other units seem to sit perpetually empty in the complex. I met him one morning returning from my bike ride -- Mike, a heavyset, 50ish, meek-looking guy. Not unlike the ill-fated Kent, of never making a peep before dropping dead of a heart attack fame.

Mike has been here about two weeks and so far I've been positively beastly to him. In our first conversation he won me over instantly by starting with "I haven't rented an apartment in about 20 years, so please let me know if I'm making too much noise." I asked him to do the same for us, explaining he really only had to contend with our cats racing around at all hours. "Oh, I have two golden retrievers back in my house in Pine Valley" (I think that's a housing community south of us). "If you have a house why are you renting an apartment?" I asked, a fair question I thought. He suddenly looked really uncomfortable and confessed, "My son just went to college and my wife, ummm, wanted to make the most of her empty nest syndrome."

Well, what the hell does THAT mean? I interpreted it as, "The kid's gone and I want the whole house to myself now." Without thinking I said to him, "That seems kind of harsh." He turned a deep red and we went our separate ways. I felt bad, it seemed a really embarrassing detail to share with someone you just met 30 seconds ago, but he needs to come up with a better cover story, it seems to me.

The next time I saw him we said hi, then for some reason I couldn't just drop it there. I said we had been admiring his satellite dish (a fancy 3-room jobbie with HD) -- and couldn't drop it THERE, adding, "Seems a bit excessive for such a small place." He blushed and shrugged helplessly, and closed his door. I simply shouldn't be allowed to speak to this man ever again.

Just tonight a new theory occurred to me: What if he's a serial killer, but also a really bad liar, and this "empty nest syndrome" was the best he could come up with on short notice? In which case I must be at the top of his list by now. Notify the authorities if I don't update within a week or two. But so far he is very quiet and doesn't smoke, so it's all good.

~*~

Suddenly fall is upon us. You're probably wondering what became of all my mountain biking adventures. I am too.

Tery's new Toyota suffered a crazy amount of hail damage in one of the last storms of monsoon season. Her car looked like a tinfoil Jiffy Pop cover, with thousands of little indentations. Fortunately insurance was covering it. Unfortunately we just went with the first shop they mentioned, a place called Global Collision.

My insurance company offered multiple times to set us up with a rental car, but Global said it would only take three days. We thought we could survive for three days using my car. Then three days turned into three weeks (Tery insists it might have even been a little longer). Every time she would call for an update she was told it would "hopefully" be ready by such-and-such a day. "Hopefully." As if she was their first client and they had no idea yet how long the process took. I don't know what game they were playing, but she was told on two completely different days a week apart it was "going to paint."

I was getting steadily more and more furious, but Tery hates confrontation so my fury never made it past her ears. We went together to pick it up FINALLY, and I sat and watched as she inspected their work and gratefully shook the salesman's hand as he gave her the keys. "You sure gave him a piece of your mind," I commented when we got home. "He never knew what hit him."

Thankfully she was a bit more honest when USAA called for a follow-up survey of her satisfaction. Which doesn't change the fact that GLOBAL COLLISION STOLE MY SUMMER.

Not helping the situation was the few times I made it to the mountains it was with Tery, who is still struggling to gain some confidence on the trail. I've been patient with her, god knows I didn't start out as the fearless daredevil I've become since last season, but it's really, really difficult to find a trail that doesn't have any technical sections (translation: rock pits, tree roots or anything else that might create a bump in the road) or steep hills to climb (these are still mountains, don't forget), and she ends up walking her bike almost the entire way.

We tried Elk Meadow ("It's a meadow. You can't ask for easier than a meadow" -- well, only a teeny tiny part of it is meadow. The rest is a lot of climbing and, of necessity, descending, which scares her the most). Last weekend we did Meyer Ranch in Conifer, parts of which she liked quite a lot. That was only 4 miles though, so we were going to also hit nearby Flying J Ranch (a trail which Singletracks.com describes as "Adrenaline junkies should go past the first entrance, go past the second entrance and then just keep driving until you find a different ride" LOL) but opted to head home instead.

Meyer Ranch was actually a consolation prize from the previous weekend, when we set out in search of Buffalo Creek Trail in Pine, CO. Following the directions from my book "Bike With a View: Easy and Moderate Trails in Colorado" (published 1994) was our first mistake. We followed a sign for the Buffalo Creek Rec Center which sounded promising, but after driving for 20 minutes on what seemed to be an incredibly long, bumpy dirt road and seeing nothing, we stopped at a random trailhead, set out, and within ten minutes decided this particular trail was too difficult (for Tery. I still might have tried it on my own) and headed home -- after I stubbornly drove for another half an hour on the main road convinced that the stupid trail had to be just around the next bend.

(We didn't see "nothing" exactly -- we stopped to ask for guidance from a family setting up their campground. The parents were off doing something else, so I approached the grubby 9-year-old boy who just stepped off the Deliverance set. He looked wary of me, so I kept it brief. "Is there anything in that direction?" I pointed down the road. "Oh yeah, there's plenty down there" he answered. I thanked him and ran back to reassure Tery.

"Oh, I'm sure there's plenty," she snarked, "Plenty of bears, plenty of trees, plenty of..." I don't know why she was so snippy -- I saw plenty of what appeared to be biking trails disappearing off the sides of the road, but as I said, she can't handle just any trail.)

So Meyer Ranch was something we noticed on our very disappointed drive back to town and went back to a week later.

However, the first trailhead we saw upon turning onto the dirt road was called "Little Scraggy." We didn't want to risk exploring it at the time (still hoping for the Holy Grail of Buffalo Creek), but it did look intriguing to me; intriguing enough to want to return Monday on my own, which I damn well did.

WELL. As it turned out, this trail was exactly what I've been looking for for Tery. Super smooth, literally only two or three rock pits in the entire 8 miles I rode, and really gentle, no major elevation changes. One minor complaint would be that about 45% of it was covered with loose gravelly sand, but other than that an absolute dream ride. Little Scraggy was only the first section. It soon joined up with the Colorado Trail (I'm beginning to suspect every trail in the mountains does; it's apparently 483 miles long, according to Wiki), and farther along the branch I took, the Shinglemill Trail.

This trail winds through the site of the Buffalo Creek wildfire, which I remember happened in 1996, the year we moved to Colorado (we're pleading the fifth). The area is slowly recovering, but still very much characterized by blighted acres of blackened fallen trees, which sounds horrific but actually is kind of beautiful in its own way. Definitely makes for great biking as you can see in every direction for miles upon miles.

Unfortunately this trail goes downhill first, which means you're lured into going much farther than you probably should before remembering what goes down must come up. I never wanted it to end, it was so incredibly fun coasting down the mountain on twisty, rollercoaster-like turns (Tery could do it I was sure, just maybe not at my speed). But I eventually hit the dirt road at the bottom and reluctantly decided to turn back.

No, up wasn't as fun, but it was really just lung-busting more than difficult. I could ride the whole way, but had to stop often to catch my breath. It being a Monday, I was the only one out there, and it was so eerily quiet. There was no wildlife living in the burned out valley. No black devil squirrels crossing my path, no birds, not even any insects really. I forgot how much I enjoyed being so utterly alone.

By the time I got back to my car I had gone 8 miles in about 2 hours (the slow return climb had made it seem much longer than that). I headed back to town exhilarated in the knowledge that I had found my new favorite trail -- just in time for the end of the season (also just received my last batch of cycling jerseys from an eBay seller in England yesterday, naturally. Guess these puppies will have to wait for next year to see any action).

I bring photos. This one is my favorite, I think.



::+7:: )
grrgoyl: (Snape clapping gif)
First, the matter of Friday's. I ended up doing nothing, and received in the mail $32 worth of coupons. Very nice. This is why I complain (with reason): most of the time you just get a letter of apology and meaningless ass-kissing. But sometimes you get a company that puts its money where its mouth is.

~*~

Neighbor troubles again, and this time I don't mean Tracey. The woman for whom I house-sat last year, the crazy one with five cats and highly dubious health standards in her home? She now has a sixth cat, a shy little girl, midnight black. That isn't the problem. The problem is she for god knows what reason is setting her sights on a puppy.

Her place is about the same size as ours. This is too many animals for a place that small. Who am I to point fingers? Well, the two ferrets in size and activity level equal just about one young cat. And one of our cats has three feet in the grave and essentially sleeps all day and night. Which just leaves the very manageable Kitten and the bird, who hangs out on the top of her cage. Six cats and a puppy is CRAZY TALK.

Again, really none of my business. Except she's a teacher with only about two weeks of vacation left to train this animal. And she asked me, because I work from home, if I would mind stopping in once a day to walk the puppy and play with it for 15 minutes. Of course I mind -- between working the hospital on the weekends and Tracey's fucking beasts, frankly I wouldn't mind never seeing another dog again as long as I live (except Babyface the greyhound. And Navi the I don't know what she is. And of course Beowulf).

But I didn't say that to her. I answered with a cheerful "Sure, no problem!" but I could feel my face telling a different story. Hopefully she read that story, or saw something shiny that took her mind off it, because it's been over a week and I haven't heard any more about it. It's enough to leave me in dread every time the doorbell rings though.

~*~

I finally saw Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Don't ever again say that I lack patience. Actually I was determined to see it in IMAX 3D, before realizing that meant waiting until July 29th. I can be patient, but I'm not SUPERHUMAN.

Especially considering how everyone in my HP circle was virtually fainting dead away at how Snape-centric the movie was. This surprised me -- I mean, Snape IS the Half-Blood Prince (see inside for my view on spoilers for this film), but I fully expected Warner Bros to gloss over this fact entirely in their ongoing campaign to ignore Rickman as long as possible.

So I compromised between going opening day and waiting until the 29th, and went Monday morning. Not a clever enough plan, it turns out, to avoid every asshole, but it could have been worse.

::What I thought:: )

The ending was a good setup to the final two films. It reminded me strongly of the end of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, sort of a "This was all well and good but we really need to start thinking about the next movie."

Despite going to a 10:30 a.m. showing (which still, with the help of 20 bloody minutes of trailers, consumed most of the day), I couldn't escape the assholes.

15 people in the theater, and a woman and her 20-something daughter (?) sat two seats away from me. Which wasn't a problem until we had barely arrived at Hogwarts and she flipped her phone open. She was trying to be discreet about it, shielding it in her purse, but that wasn't doing much to protect me from it.

I gamely gave her the few beats needed to check the time (but again, the movie had barely begun. If your schedule is this tight, what are you doing in a movie theater??) When she appeared to start scrolling through menus, etc. (just like the asshole in X-Men: Wolverine) I asked nicely, "Could you please not do that?" When she ignored me, I said louder, "You're being really rude."

At this her companion popped up on the other side of her and began whispering something angrily at me. I couldn't hear what she was saying, but I really wonder what argument she came up with that she thought would make me say, "Sorry, my bad, don't let the movie interrupt you checking your Facebook." I put up with the mouth breathing. I put up with the constant pawing at your popcorn. Please, lady, give me just one tiny fucking break.

I'm getting to the point where I can see a future of avoiding movie theaters entirely. The stress of expectantly waiting for my fellow audience to become bored and restless is starting to outweigh any actual enjoyment of the movie. It makes me a little sad, because everyone should know by now that movies are my biggest joy in life. But the only solution that I can think of is to confiscate all phones at the door, and I don't see THAT going over well with everyone else.

Not that renting a movie at home is any guarantee of pleasure. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you ::Lost Boys: The Tribe:: )

Not as terrible as you'd expect. Not as good as you'd hope. Probably better than the Lost Boys 3 that's threatened on IMDb.
grrgoyl: (Barack the Vote)
I blame this guy here.    I didn't even know adult Heelys existed before seeing this video (on a side note, watch all his other videos.  Hell, subscribe to them, you won't be sorry.    He's one of the best things on YouTube.  Ever.)

So anyway, Heelys are the skate shoes with the wheels in the heel, for cool people on the go.  (not the retractable wheel.  Those I understand are knock-offs and not recommended)    All the videos on YouTube demonstrating their use looked like so much fun I HAD to have a pair. 

Instead of doing the logical thing and looking on the site where Toby got his, I had to check every other route -- which turned up lots of information and advice, but no shoes in my actual size.  I have gargantuan feet -- men's size 10, even 10-1/2 depending on the shoe.  I couldn't even tell you if I have a women's size, as I've never in my life shopped for women's shoes (I usually wear Doc Marten's to dressy occasions like weddings, etc.)    Finding Heelys in this range is nigh impossible, even on the sites claiming to have adult sizes.  Everywhere I looked the largest size on offer was a men's 8.  Which men wear a size 8?  Men with pixie feet, that's who.  Men who should be shopping for glass slippers, not skate shoes.

During the course of my virtual travels I happened on a guy's review that explained different models of Heelys actually had different types of wheels, and that for maximum stability he advised the Mega kind rather than the far more common Fats.  I was thankful for his words, even if that meant, taking into consideration the wheel type, sasquatch size and something without pink piping, I actually had only two models to choose from.

After wasting my entire work day searching every site I could find, I ended up on the site Toby lists in his video, adultheelyshoes.com.  I placed my order and excitedly sat back to await their arrival.

Trying to predict UPS shipping time, I thought it would be really, really nice if I had them before the weekend, since the privacy of the animal hospital with its long hallways seemed an ideal practice spot.  Only about 6% of our condo floors aren't carpeted, and I didn't think I'd be ready for sidewalks straight away, so if they didn't come by Friday I'd have to wait an entire week before I could even try them out.

So naturally I received the email cheerily notifying me the estimated shipping date would be Monday, November 3rd.  And from experience I know that UPS is meticulously accurate about their shipping estimates.

Then imagine my surprise when they came Friday morning?  Hell, YEAH.  It was clearly fate.

I couldn't resist giving them a quick test spin in the kitchen, just to make sure they fit and everything.  Wow.  These things are a DEATH TRAP.  All those YouTube videos of 6-year-olds zipping around without a care in the world are only because they DON'T have a care in the world.  Or a fear of their own mortality.  Or a lack of health insurance, probably.  I remember too vividly the agony I felt when I threw my back out by pulling my chair away from my desk once and couldn't move for a week.    I really miss being invincible.

Still, there's enough of a smattering of videos made by older people like myself to give me hope, including this 60-year-old guy (though it looks like he might be living somewhere full of health care professionals).  Don't ever underestimate my determination when I make up my mind about something.  For at least a week, anyway.

I practiced both nights at the hospital for as long as my energy held out.  You can actually watch my efforts here, though I warn you, they're pretty boring even after I cut out all the interstitial periods of catching my breath.  Definitely involves a lot of building up of stamina and skill, though I think the most important step is just letting go of your fear.  But every time I try I can feel that back spasm like it was yesterday and how I practically screamed in the middle of the room in front of all my co-workers. 

I discovered it's much more fun watching videos of Heeling than trying to Heel.  Then I came across this guy, who hates Heelys, or at least the kids who wear them, enough to make this expletive-filled video rant about them.  Plenty of F-bombs, but no real explanation why he hates them so.  He hints that the kids "think they're so bad-ass" wheeling around, but then says "You might as well use a skateboard or rollerblades instead," as if skateboarding, of which he appears to be an aficionado, is nothing more than a sensible form of public transportation and has nothing at all to do with looking "bad-ass." 

I don't put much stock in what he says anyway, since in this video he sports two lip rings despite posting an equally nonsensical video rant about people who wear lip rings not a month earlier (I was even tempted to leave a comment asking if he bought Heelys a month after making this video). 

So to sum up, I have Heelys.  It might take me a bit longer to get the hang of them than a 6-year-old, but I'm determined.

Oh, and for the latest Kitten Mittens videos, see ::below the cut:: )

~*~

How was my Halloween?  Completely uneventful.  But my sister made these fabulous Sweeney Todd costumes for herself and Russell:


He doesn't look as much like Johnny as she'd like, but we all work with what we've got. He does have the pallor down from living in front of his computer during all his free time (like I'm one to talk)


And Tery made these Cat in the Hat outfits for the hospital contest (took only second place because people thought the whole thing was photoshopped instead of just the background):


Oh yes, and Tery finally banged on the door of the poor shih tzu below us, who is now left on the porch 24/7 with the blinds drawn shut so they don't ever have to look at it, when s/he started barking at 1 a.m. for three hours straight.  She left a note too about what terrible owners they were, inhumane and selfish, and how if they didn't want the damn dog they should give it to a family that does.  If you knew Tery, this is the equivalent of her punching them in the face, she hates any level of confrontation that much.  I'm so proud of her.  The dog has since vanished, though I refuse to believe it became a beloved family member (as it should be) overnight. 

I just think of my Minky Schminky stretched out on the desk in front of me all day as I rub her belly and kiss her face while she purrs contentedly, and I feel sad that not every animal is as adored as she is.  Not even yours.

~*~

Finally, a rant about my co-workers.  Not the animal hospital but my fellow transcriptionists, again.  I was told I had to attend a mandatory conference call.  They have to make it mandatory because I would never willingly subject myself to this ordeal.  Remember these co-workers can't possibly be as idiotic as they come across, they probably just suffer from not getting to talk to another living soul all day long, which I consider a plus but not everyone is as introverted as me.

The purpose of the call was simple enough, to get out the news that they were eliminating the quality control department that usually gets our reports when we can't find the correct date of service.  Why on earth this couldn't have just been addressed in an email I'll never know.  We were assured we'd be reimbursed for 30 minutes of our time, which completely failed to take into consideration how much time is wasted on conference calls with all the interruptions and small talk and people taking off on wholly unrelated tangents.

The call was moderated by our new supervisor, Tracy, who began by taking roll call.  The first few names went off without a hitch, until we got to Carol Ferris.

Tracy:  Carol Ferris?
Woman with bossy, irritable voice:  Carol Siemen.
Tracy:  (pause)  Carol Ferris?  Is she on the call?
Carol Siemen:  This is Carol Siemen.
Tracy:  I'm looking for Carol Ferris?
Carol Siemen:  Ummm, this is CAROL SIEMEN.
Tracy:  There's more than one Carol, Carol.  I'm waiting for Carol Ferris.
Carol Siemen:  (finally shuts her yap)
Me:  (rolling my eyes)

Then shortly after the roll call Carol Ferris DID turn up, and Carol Siemen commented snidely, "Are you sure you aren't Carol Siemen?" thinking it was a grand inside joke between everyone but poor Carol Ferris, guilty only of sharing a first name with her, but I just wanted to get through this and back to work. 

So basically we were being instructed on how to choose the correct encounter for the report based on certain clues, which would now be solely our duty without the QC department to fall back on.  This involved going through the search process which I'm sure we all had to be aware of, but it meant throwing terms at people that might have been unfamiliar, causing widespread panic (and the accompanying babbling and interjections) until we realized that Tracy was describing something we all do about 30 times a day. 

I almost LOL'ed, though, when she ended this portion with the option of hitting "Accept Just Patient," which fills in everything on the screen except the billing number so the hospital can choose it on their end.  This caused a solid ten minutes of confusion, people trying to explain to each other and ignoring Tracy completely, until the smoke cleared and one woman said, "Oh, well when I want to do that I just use the 'Accept Just Patient' button at the bottom."  Through gritted teeth I murmured, "That's. What. Tracy. Said."  Like I said, they CAN'T be this stupid.  I just think they all freak out a little when suddenly thrust into a conversation with six strangers.  Which is more proof that it should just be handled in an email.

She tried to move onto a new feature of the program called the "submission history," a term she barely got out of her mouth when Carol Siemen snapped, "What was that again?"  "The submission history," Tracy repeated.  "What the heck is that?" asked Carol Siemen.  I'm pretty sure Tracy was just about to tell us exactly that info when she cut her off.  It's pretty hard to imagine there are people out there with even worse social skills than myself.  I might have been projecting, but Tracy's patience seemed to be hanging on by a string at that point. 

Then I finally thought we were in the clear, I could get back to work (this was the 45-minute mark now), when Carol Siemen asked with no attempt to disguise her bitterness, "So with all these changes, are we MTs going to be blamed for even MORE stuff now?"  Oh yeah, Carol Siemen had a bad attitude and didn't much care who knew it.  Tracy said she didn't know what she meant, which Carol Siemen took as her cue to vent all kinds of pent-up issues.  Meanwhile, tick-tock, I don't care about this shit and I'm not getting paid to listen to it.  Tracy did her best to placate her and end the call.  It had now been a solid hour.

I sent an email to Tracy making sure I got credit for the call (I wasn't on the roll since I signed up only a few hours before), and to diplomatically express my disappointment at essentially losing 30 minutes of work.  I pretended I didn't mind calling it a lunch break (even though I very much minded) because I didn't want to be a problem child like Carol Siemen.  Carol Siemen doesn't seem aware of how lucky we are to even have a job nowadays, and that bad apples are usually remembered as such if it ever comes time to chop a few branches. 

I've said enough.  It just reminds me yet again how happy I am to have not one but two jobs that, for the most part, involve no interaction with anyone else on the planet but Tery. 

~*~

Of course it goes without saying you all better go vote tomorrow, people. But only if you're voting for Obama.
grrgoyl: (Alan Alone)
Tery's gone for three whole weeks, which makes for some excellent productivity for me. Lots of little projects I've been dragging out are now done, which is one of my few genuine satisfactions in life.

It isn't that Tery actively prevents me from doing them when she's here...I can't explain it, she just inspires a sort of lethargy. Maybe it's just that at the end of the day there's no feeling of obligation to spend "quality together time." I do miss her cooking though, living on family-size frozen meals, Jose Ole Chimichangas and Freschetta pizzas and the occasional burger on the grill (not nearly as tasty as Tery's).

*~*

Probably the most important order of business: Our neighbor directly under us was found dead on Wednesday in his home. As I worked my regular shift, I gradually became aware of lots of stomping around in the stairwell, then Tracey's dogs going off. I then stepped out to notice my neighbor on the opposite balcony staring down below me intensely.

Then I noticed the casually dressed firemen chatting in hushed tones and an older woman sobbing on the lawn.

My neighbor across the way (Mike) heard mention of heart attack. I was totally shocked. Kent was a big guy, but he didn't smoke and was only in his early 40's.

We didn't know anything about Kent, just the occasional hellos in the parking lot. He was so private he didn't even have a peephole in his door. And so quiet the only way to know if he was home was to look for his car. He was the perfect neighbor, i.e., damn near invisible.

I called Tery with the news. Her first assumption was suicide. "But he just got a new SUV literally like 2 weeks ago," I pointed out. Maybe he was overcome with guilt when he realized how much his purchase was destroying the environment. We know he was Republican; maybe Sarah Palin's nomination pushed him over the edge. Or perhaps he just couldn't take one more night of the ferrets and the Kitten playing "Cage Match" over his head -- I could certainly relate to that.

But we shouldn't joke about the dead. We should instead selfishly worry about what'is to become of his unit and are we going to get new neighbors, perhaps people not nearly as low-profile as Kent.

The question that keeps morbidly running over and over through my mind is, what was I doing while he was dying a few feet below me? Petting my Kitten? Eating breakfast? Masturbating? Watching YouTube? Shopping on eBay? Did he consider asking for my help or was it over in the blink of an eye?

Now our stairwell neighborhood is down to us, Tracey and her mutts, and the people who hate their shih tzu and literally party 'til sunrise. All those fuckers will live (and live HERE) forever. (Except Reggie and his bastard father/brother/whatev Clarence. They've vanished without a trace. Careful what you wish for? I'm kidding of course, I'm ecstatically happy to see them gone. I also prefer to believe their departure is a direct result of us ratting on their illicit fireworks escapade.)

*~*

One of the biggest projects I've been attacking sporadically and with variable enthusiasm for months now is my faux stained glass window upstairs. Click the cut for the illustrated thrilling saga: ::clickity click:: )

I'm extremely pleased with the result (this picture doesn't do it justice, taken as it was with a camera phone and put together with my obviously crappy panoramic photography skills). I'm already starting to think about my next project, but I think I'll rest on my laurels a bit first.

I was going to post some movie reviews as well, but frankly I'm beat. Maybe later.
grrgoyl: (Monkeybone)
Our neighbors continue to quarrel; not just the screechers behind us (whose hate-making reached such heights of violence, including throwing things against the wall, that my Kitten Mitten had the Airplane Ears of Alarm in our own bedroom), but Reggie -- who Tery observed begging his slag of the week to come back inside, before chucking a beer bottle at her head (he missed, but he's a real class act, that one), at 1:00 in the morning, natch; and our other neighbor kitty-corner from us has enlisted us for an unspecified engagement to watch out for strange visitors, of both sexes, to confirm or deny what her boyfriend gets up to in her absence.

Ahhh, Love.  So elusive.  'Tis a pity not everyone can be as lucky as Tery and me.

~*~

The sensational [livejournal.com profile] dopshoppe and I were hoping to catch a movie together this weekend.  Absolutely positively NOT The Dark Knight; no, you wouldn't catch me anywhere near a showing of that, not this weekend at least.  We had decided instead on Journey to the Center of the Earth in 3D, which looked like a guaranteed good time.  The only problem was evidently only two theaters in the whole Denver area had it actually IN 3D, and they were both nowhere near either of us.

I pushed for the one that seemed simplest to get to, i.e. not downtown, but rather farther north but right off the highway.  Stupidly neither of us bothered to check a local event calendar, or we would have seen that this weekend was the "Mile High Music Festival," some sort of Woodstockian gala, which was staggeringly popular if the ridiculous amount of traffic was any indication. 

I knew we were in trouble when I sat for ten minutes just waiting to exit the highway -- and beyond that another fifteen minutes just to get to the theater that sat half a mile off the exit.  Yeah, it wasn't fun, least of all in a car without AC. 

But I got there, only ten minutes later than I planned.  Alicia sadly wasn't as fortunate.  She selflessly encouraged me to go into the movie and just save her a seat, which seemed like a sound plan when we both thought she was only fifteen minutes behind me or so.    But ultimately, it turned out she was much, much further behind than that.  Her car had started overheating from running the AC while sitting idle in traffic, and was now stalling intermittently on her.    I felt kind of selfish, staying in the lovely air-conditioned theater while she was struggling somewhere out there in traffic, and I wished I hadn't bought a ticket already and waited for a later showing.  Ah well, hindsight and all that.

I watched the rest of the movie and called to make sure she wasn't in a life-threatening situation.  With any luck (and hopefully more favorable conditions) she will be joining me, Ryan and his boyfriend John for an IMAX showing of TDK.  I almost feel bad enough to pay for her ticket after her horrible, horrible experience (she finally crawled home about two hours after I did.  Poor, poor Alicia).

But anyway, the movie, ::Journey to the Center of the Earth. In 3D!!!!!:: )

I'll bet it's entertaining enough in 2D, but when you throw in the 3D, WOW.  What a ride.  Would've been better with a friend, but sometimes life doesn't work out the way you want.

~*~

Finally, VERY quickly, we rented Vantage Point, about the five or six different points of view of an apparent presidential assasination.  Pretty cleverly put together, once you get past the very tedious replaying of the same introductory footage for each viewpoint.    The only time the movie started to really veer into science fiction for me was when the terrorist coordinated the entire attack, apparently from his cell phone.  He sets off remote control guns and even detonates a bomb with it, a huge flashing "detonate" icon appearing that he can tap with his stylus.  Does that come on the new 3G iPhone?  It's probably a patch you can download from iTunes.  Tery joked that she can barely figure out how to set the alarm clock on her phone (a tiny exaggeration). 

Apart from that, not too bad.  Definitely worth a rental, I think. 

Next week, without fail:  THE DARK KNIGHT, the last movie of "Keith Ledger" from "Bareback Mountain" (actual message posted on Tery's "Big Brother" message board). Have some people simply never heard of Google?
grrgoyl: (Dylan parka)
This weekend at the kennels, I had not one but TWO dogs infested with maggots.  It was pretty horrifying, so that's all I'm going to say about it, and obviously no pics.  You're welcome.

~*~

Small bit of justice in the matter of Tracey FCW and her illegally parked trailer.  I don't know when it happened, however I noticed Saturday morning that her car was parked in a different spot, the trailer was nowhere to be seen, and a large chunk was missing from her back panel -- I mean like the entire left half was completely ripped off, I prefer to assume from being towed.  Oh, revenge is sweet, and made all the sweeter by the fact that I didn't have to lift a finger to see right prevail. 

I wanted to take a picture for my journal, but I can't be sure she doesn't still have her spycam pointed at the parking lot.  Tery thought I could pass it off as me dialing my phone while casually pointing it at her car -- as if I stroll around outside making phone calls all the time (she must be confusing me with Reggie).  So we'll all have to be content with the mental image of her car being severely damaged as a result of her insistence in flouting the law.

We have other neighbors, behind us in the same building, who are fond of talking loud and long, naturally with their windows wide open, far into the night.  Sunday morning I was awoken by the sound of them arguing, although "arguing" seems like far too mild a term for the hysterical, screeching caterwauling I could hear clearly in my bedroom.    Like "I'm this close to pulling a gun on you" kind of arguing.  They would go a few rounds, quiet down for 30 minutes or so, then start in again at exactly the same "red alert" level. 

So it went, off and on, for the entire day.  "I can't stand you, but I can't stay away from you either" seemed to be the mindset.  We did hear the word "alimony" bandied about.  That was reassuring, the thought that these people at each other's throats shared a child.    Tery and I listened in disbelief.  "This is the day the Lord has made!" Tery exclaimed repeatedly (her favorite phrase on Sunday, which always seems to be the least peaceful day of the weekend).  We debated calling the police.  I mean, how do you determine if this is a prelude to actual violence and when is it your duty as a bystander to act?  Tones of Kitty Genovese haunted us. 

We did nothing, and they both lived to argue another day.  Um, whew?

~*~

Time again for some humorous anecdotes from the world of medical transcription!

I had a patient that I assumed was a gay man throughout the report, although it was never stated -- HIV positive (I know, stereotypes), mysterious vague allusions to "significant others" (I know, could mean anything), but then the doctor stated that he had had 10 partners in 30 days (huoor) and had "been a top with them." 

"A-HA!"  I thought.  Two years of reading slash fiction had paid off.  I sent the report in with smug confidence.  But then I got it back the following day from QA, where they had changed the phrase to "had been ON top with them."  I pictured some matronly old transcriptionist proofreading my work, completely unfamiliar with gay sex terminology.  I decided to protest the change and emailed my quality supervisor -- who I'm pleased to say agreed with me completely, that it was a very specific description of an activity and very relevant to the patient's medical record.  And I'll bet she's never read a single Snarry in her life.

Secondly, I had a psychiatric patient, and those are always fun.  This woman, the doc said, "still believed her family engaged in religious rituals involving human sacrifice, but has come to accept the fact that she has no control over the religious freedom of others."  Wow, what a breakthrough!  Let's not rain on her parade by pointing out that most of us might draw the "religious freedom" line at killing people.  No sense clouding the issue for her.

~*~

Lastly, a couple of movie reviews.

First, the new.  ::WALL-E: Cut for heavy spoilers:: )

In short, much, much better than I expected.  Will probably end up in my collection, if for no other reason than the animation is so good I forgot I was watching an animated film. 

Detractors at IMDb.com whine that they weren't expecting a "message movie."    Really?  The title character's entire reason for being is to clean up the planet, and you didn't expect a message of any kind?  These people must just see "Pixar.  Disney.  Kid movie." and don't bother looking for any further information.

Yes, it's a very clear message movie.  And it's a very important message, one that needs even more repetition for some people with thicker skulls than others -- like the woman in the comments who still believes global warming is just liberal dogma, and doesn't appreciate her children being "indoctrinated" without her permission into thinking otherwise.  Oh, shut up.  Indoctrinated.  Like Pixar is some kind of al Queda organization.  Thanks to Pixar, now her children won't have quite so much of a rude awakening when they have to clean up the mess we're leaving.

Okay, enough about that.  I was going to also review another Horrorfest, Lake Dead, but it's already stolen enough of my life.  Trust me when I say it's trite and predictable, and not even worth a rental.  Simply awful.

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December 2011

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