grrgoyl: (Vendetta V)

We had Christmas four days early this year, because we're grown-ups and can do as we please -- and we got socked with ten inches of snow, Tery took a four-day weekend, and wanted toys. 

So I'm writing this on my new tablet.  It's pretty damn awesome, like my phone but three inches bigger; and after a few short hours playing with it, my phone already seems comically tiny and I can't imagine how I did anything on it (just now Tery brought it in from where it had lain forgotten under today's mail, and I cried, "Nobody wants a Charlie-in-the-box!") 

Not to mention the wi-fi network I had to set up to get online with the tab is pretty sweet, and surprisingly painless to establish, considering my adversarial history with all things wireless.

So maybe we can expect to see more updating from me in the future.  Merry xmas to all of us.

My second-best present was the book "Harry Potter: Page to Screen," which is gorgeous and truly so enormous we might need to add a new wing to the condo just to house it (you know those corny fantasy films where the wizard leafs through a spell book the size of a coffee table? This book is about that big.  If you were reading it before bed and fell asleep with it on your chest, you'd be crushed instantly).  Still, for all its girth, it took a full five minutes of paging through before I found one picture of Snape.  >:(

Tery enjoyed her presents as well, being as they were mostly running-oriented.  So I would say the Christmas of a Thousand Dreams (as I've been marketing it all month) was a roaring success!

Unless you count my cynicism bordering on anxiety about certain recent  political developments--I'm referring to some very scary legislation that you'd never think stood a chance of getting passed in America (NDAA and now SOPA. Look them up if you think I'm overreacting).

Not helping my near-hysteria in the slightest was the arrival of an email from my dearest friend H, an isolationist in the best of times who now sounded like his paranoia had reached critical mass in the six months since our last communique.  His email was peppered with links supporting his thesis that "the internet has been compromised" (hence my protecting his identity here).

I'm including here my response, because I think it sums up pretty well my present feelings, and my blog, in addition to entertaining me, has proven to be a great source for future historical references.

"Once upon a time I would have said, 'Oh, H, my adorable conspiracy theorist.' Not any more.

I didn't click on any of your links because frankly, I already know too much. I don't want to know these things I know, and I damn well don't want to learn any more. I want to go back to being angry about stupid things like picking up Tery's socks one more time, or that every time I go for an oil change it costs me $500 (forever finding maintenance jobs to do on my 14-year-old car). I don't want to think of my government as sinister, and I don't want to live with the fact that the people we're hoping will fix things are a very big part of the reason things are the way they are in the first place.

I want to live in the Fox News bubble, or no-spin zone or whatever they're calling themselves these days. I want to point at Occupy and say "dirty lazy hippies." I want to read my Snarry, play my Angry Birds, watch my Netflix and imagine that none of this has anything to do with me.

I want to tell Morpheus to give me the blue pill, please, and I want a steak, medium rare.

I sign online petitions. I signed about a million of them to try to stop NDAA, and now I'm signing a million more to stop SOPA. And I've written to everyone including Obama about both. All I get back are dog-and-pony-show form letters, and I know it's a fucking waste of time, but I feel like I have to do SOMETHING. And I can't march with Occupy because they have their big actions on Saturday when I always have to work, and anyway I don't want to get pepper sprayed and/or end up in Gitmo one day.

Everyone says the answer is to vote out all the incumbents. But November is 20 years away, and anyway MyFriendDeb asks "and replace them with who?" And she's right. Which of them can we trust? A lot of Occupiers say Ron Paul, and I know he's on the right page for economic reasons, but his position on the rest of the issues kind of sucks.

If I could have a Christmas wish this year, it wouldn't be for world peace. It would be for everyone to behave, for the politicians and the bankers and the 1% to stop thinking of themselves and their secret agendas and to just give a shit about their fellow human beings for a fucking day. It would be for America (and the world) to go back to a place I'm not scared to live in."

That's my naive little wish.  Naive because H is convinced there's a far bigger end-game, somewhere down the road, and all these little grabs of power and erosions of our rights are quite, quite deliberate and straight out of some tyrannical playbook. 

It isn't just the two of us. Check out the mad ramblings of Rick, the radical refrigerator repairman, a full two years ahead of his time. Perhaps not so radical anymore?

I've already said too much.  Happy Holidays everyone!

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

grrgoyl: (snowcake scrabble)
This was posted on, had to share (redux).

Sadly does NOT include the you-know-what scene (won't say it again, won't say it again) but still a high quality video that gives me hopes for an equally high bootleg still to come, maybe. Hopefully. Please, God, I'll do anything.
grrgoyl: (Wii smack)
Tying up loose ends: The Wii Cyberbike has arrived and it's actually pretty fantastic. Only works with Gamecube compatible games, but it provides a fairly intense cardio workout ("Need for Speed: Nitro" damn near gives me a heart attack) that flies by because you're concentrating on the game and not every passing minute of pedaling that you could be doing something else. Oh, and the reason it sold for $50 less than new was because the left handgrip was missing, which I suspect the seller knew and conveniently neglected to mention, because it's like new otherwise. I was offered the option to return it, but Tery said nonsense, got some PVC pipe, wrapped it with electrical tape, and Bob's your uncle...problem solved, and I still saved $50. I just ordered some used Gamecube racing games dirt (and I mean DIRT) cheap, so I say let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!


Facebook is still destroying lives

Tery's medical director had the nerve to confide to her that she suspected me of getting on Facebook on her computer overnight at the hospital. While this accusation isn't as absurd as it once might have been (I'll admit, I've drunk the Facebook Kool-Aid, and now actually get on it before LJ in the morning), the truth is I spend enough of my work day at home on it (mostly following up-to-the-minute Occupy news) that I'm all social networked out by 5 pm. Besides, Tery pointed out to her, if I REALLY wanted to get on at the hospital, I would rather use a) Tery's computer or b) my smartphone. And, I added, I'm also clever enough to delete my browsing history behind me on the rare occasions I do go online at the hospital. She should point her finger at almost every other employee whose lives literally revolve around Facebook.

Speaking of Facebook, it has driven the final nail in the coffin of my friendship with Ryan. Well, Facebook/Occupy.

As a reminder, I announced I was more or less done with Ryan way back in September when he blew me off for John. I had continued to "like" things here and there on his FB page, the kind of casual, noncommittal friendship the internet makes possible, but I was by no means ignoring him completely while not really interacting like I used to.

I was kind of shocked last week when he posted a pic of a GI holding up a note explaining how he earned everything he has through hard work and not whining in the streets for free handouts. The pic was insultingly captioned "A young soldier has posted the truth!" Even my Libertarian brother-in-law has laid off the Occupy comments for the most part (or wisely blocked them from me), and has even stopped waving pom-poms for Herman Cain (which I find really freaking funny).

But back to Ryan and his criticism of Occupy. At this point in the movement I thought our concerns about the corrupt government and banking industry had been heard loud and clear, and the only people who still thought it was only lazy kids who didn't want to pay back student loans were Fox News viewers (and their children, which Ryan evidently falls into this category). I couldn't let it pass, and I left him the comment "Do you even know what Occupy is protesting?"

A few days went by with no response, so I figured either he didn't know or didn't care enough to debate it with me. Until a couple of nights ago when out of the blue he texted me asking why I had said that, and "for your information honey, your comment pissed me off royally!!!" I naturally assumed he was drunk (he's a mean drunk) and didn't know how to respond that wouldn't quickly become ugly, so shrugged it off.

The next morning I logged on to FB to discover that he had continued his attack. He answered my question "Your mom told me it was all about her so I joined in (Author's Note: VERY mature). Haha. Of course I know, don't underestimate me, I'm way smarter than u think I am. Honey." Followed by "What is your problem w me anyway? U don't call and when u write, u always put me down (Author's Note: Alcohol-induced paranoia. I've never put him down, always taken pains to remain coolly civil). I don't need any more of that in my life." Drunk Facebooking. Friends don't let friends do it.

The repeated condescending "Honeys" got to me a bit, so I let him have it. I set him straight on the finer points of Occupy that he might have missed from only watching conservative media, then went on to remind him that I haven't called him since the John incident and "I don't need any more of that in my life, so please don't play the poor innocent victim with me. Honey." Let me tell you, that felt too damn good.

Without another word, he unfriended me from FB. Not sure if it was the reminder that he's an asshole too sometimes or the evidence that he's been spoonfed lies by his parents that did it, but there he went. I didn't bother to return the favor, implying that I don't care enough about him to complete the process. However, the Ryan Reynolds issue of "Entertainment Weekly" I've been saving for him since June is going straight into the recycling bin, fuck you very much (pre-June is the last time we hung out together, just as an indication of how deep and meaningful his friendship has become).

Then he went on to unfriend Tery, who had had absolutely nothing to do with any of this. I mistakenly thought FB was also used by grown-ups and not just high school kids.

According to a fellow mutual ex-friend, we're only the most recent in a long line of friends he's managed to alienate after slights real or imagined. So I hope John is being a very, very good boy, because he'll literally be the only person Ryan has left in the world at this rate (oh, and his parents. He'll always have mommy and daddy, and that might be part of his problem).
grrgoyl: (snapecast)
This was posted at, had to share:

My man knows how to rock a pair of trousers... This was the last few moments of the play, during the infamous "She sucked my balls" act. I might need a "she sucked my balls" tag if I don't stop soon.
grrgoyl: (snowcake scrabble)
As promised, I have returned from my trip to New York, and I bring stories. I was going to try to write in bullet points in an effort to keep it short, but as usual my wordiness got the better of me. So ::for your scrolling pleasure:: )

And that was it! Back to my dull, Alan-less life for the foreseeable future. Although I'll always have "she sucked my balls."
grrgoyl: (Vendetta V)
First order of business: I'd like you all to welcome my sister [ profile] amybrogna to the world of online journaling. You don't HAVE to friend her, but she's new and can use all the (virtual) friends she can get ;)

Second, my, my I've been busy. A few weekends ago I attended an Occupy Denver march with MyFriendDeb. It was inspirational and empowering, with about 2500 other Denverites joining us (couldn't find any official count anywhere). I made a sign which unfortunately no one understood and I had to explain to about four people:

The "53%" is the conservative counter-movement that appeared shortly after the 99% started really picking up. Their deal is that they are the 53% who actually work and pay taxes to make it possible for the lazy, dirty, welfare-sucking hippy 99% to sleep in parks and whine on sidewalks all day.

They haven't really caught on as quickly, as evidenced by their Facebook page likes in the 4 digits, while the original OWS FB page is in the 6 digits (because you're no one if nobody likes you on Facebook). You fail, 53%. You fail at social networking and you fail at life for continuing to buy into the fairytale that you might be in the 1% some day if you just work hard enough. Ain't gonna happen. I'll get to that later.

Fortunately I made another sign on the back that was much more popular:

Notice the highly relevant Banksy T-shirt as well

It was a lovely day for a march. The only low point came just after the march began. When we first arrived in the city we both had to pee badly (two old ladies with small bladders -- Wall Street better be shaking in its alligator skin boots). As we hurried downtown to catch up with the marchers, we passed a Portapotty left on the sidewalk for construction workers. It was open so I gladly availed myself. Deb though was too good for such humble facilities, so opted to wait -- until the march took us past one of the only public restrooms downtown, which is located way up behind the shops and set back in a service corridor of the open-air mall. She left to use it. I told her three times to be quick, then stood there helplessly as everyone marched past me. I gritted my teeth help me, if she put us at the back of the marchers....not quite, but I still wasn't terribly pleased. I'm not even going to teasingly ask you if you thought she apologized.

I was going to make a video of the day, set to the song "Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums" by A Perfect Circle -- which is actually perfect lyrically, if a little intimidatingly heavyhanded musically -- but lost interest fairly quickly in this project. I did save an album of photos of some of my favorite signs from the day.

This was the highlight of the march -- construction workers stepped up to high-five us. I switched course just to be able to pass them. The photographer who took this shot annoyingly makes all his photos look like WWII propaganda posters

Excellent question, my good sir

HA. Take that Cain, you self-made pompous fuck

So, the Occupy movement. Still have no idea what it's all about and why people can't just shut up and go back to their homes like good little Americans? It's not your fault if you don't -- the mainstream news has stayed determinedly willfully ignorant about it (when not going out of their way to slander it). For you I offer an Occupy 101 Primer to debunk some of the corporate-controlled media's favorite lies about it (warning: There is a LOT of information back here, but I've done my best to sum up days' worth of reading).

::Artists use lies to tell the truth...:: )

I kind of feel like the Occupy protestors are the ones who took Morpheus's red pill in The Matrix, and the rest of America are the ones taking the blue pill and still naively believing our government is working for us and our best interests. After learning all that I've learned, I don't see how it's possible for anyone, liberal, conservative or other, to disagree with Occupy. At the very least you have to admit, OWS may not have all the answers, but at least someone is finally asking the right questions.


I think television programmers are trying to distract us. Remember a sitcom that came out last year called "Outsourced," about a wacky bunch of Indians trying to adapt to an American business model while taking over off-shore US jobs? Putting a human face on large percentages of Americans losing their livelihood to this practice. This year we have "2 Broke Girls," about a Paris Hilton with a heart of gold whose poor father was the victim of a Ponzi scheme. We're supposed to sympathize with her family falling from the 1% and being forced to slog it out down here with us.

Forget religion--sitcoms are the new opiate of the masses. And have you noticed how many ads there are for luxury cars lately? It seems like Madison Ave is almost as out of touch as Wall St.


In health news, well, ::I've been quite busy here as well:: )


::Halloween:: )


Last but not least: The next time I talk to you, I will have gone to New York to see Rickman on Broadway!
grrgoyl: (Sunshine I give up)
How do you argue with someone who isn't interested in facts?

And because I despise people who post cryptic things on Facebook in a ploy to force their friends to ask what's going on, I'm going to elaborate.

(And M, I deeply apologize if you're reading this, but I'm so frustrated.)

I had to filter Tery's brother-in-law off my FB because I could not stand one more day of his irrational and constant vitriol against Obama. He's not Republican but Libertarian, something I'm starting to suspect is even worse -- from what I can tell, their only solution to the country is no government at all, crazy as that is, and any other more useful suggestion is met with a blank wall or cries of socialism. So, for the sake of my blood pressure, filtered.

I should make it clear that, apart from this, he really is quite a sweet guy.

I had cautiously decided to unfilter him recently because he seemed to be laying off the political content. That is, until Occupy Wall Street.

Yesterday he posted this link to the "proposed demands" of the movement, some really batshit crazy stuff that truly is a "hippie's utopia," along with a predictably snide comment:

If you're too busy to click, it includes among other things across the board debt forgiveness, a minimum wage of $20/hr, and guaranteed income whether someone is employed or not.

You'll notice today the page contains a disclaimer at the top that wasn't there yesterday, confirming that it's bogus.

I did some Googling myself and came up with this page of much more reasonable demands, most if not all of which I wholeheartedly agree with:

If you look at the urls, they both come from the movement's official page, but they're both in the forums section. Neither of these are the official list.

Do you think pointing this out to him made the slightest bit of difference? Nope. He never even responded to me, and all his smug friends continued commenting on his link and ignored mine. This must be what it feels like to appear on Bill O'Reilly's or Rush Limbaugh's show.

I know, pumpkin. Facts are inconvenient, and it's so much easier to sit around pointing fingers and criticizing than offering actual solutions. So, for the sake of my blood pressure, filtered again.
grrgoyl: (Bad Jesus!  Very Bad!)
My, my, my I've been quiet. TOO quiet. Which is good news for everyone, because instead of writing a hugely epically long post, I'm forced to reduce it to key highlights from sheer lack of memory. So I have those, plus a large number of mini-movie reviews.

First, to wrap up the Parade of Homes 2011! I've been back to MyFriendDeb's to go on an unrelated outing. She wasn't exactly ready when I arrived, however, her pace of preparing to leave could be described as "hustling" if not "frantic," and we walked out the door five minutes later rather than twenty. If you knew Deb like I know Deb, that right there is as good as an apology, my friends.

In fact, Ryan was supposed to join us that day, but bailed at the last minute because he was spending the previous night with John (translation: drinking). While I'm not thrilled he's regressed back to him after more than a year's break, hey, whatev, I'm not his mother. But as I told Deb, I just knew it would be followed by a Facebook pity party about how much his life sucks and bemoaning being surrounded by losers all the time.

Sure enough, that night Tery was checking her page when she read it to me: "Last day off for 8 weeks and I didn't even do anything fun -- laundry and Facebook. Yippee." My first impulse was to comment "Awww, too bad you don't have cool friends that invite you out to an awesome day in the mountains." But I knew he was probably hoping for/expecting something from me, so I gave him stony silence instead. Because I'm done. And if you know me, it takes a lot for me to be done, but I'm there.


Tery FINALLY gets mountain biking. She lowered her saddle by two inches, and that has made all the difference between feeling like she was in control and feeling like she was going to pitch over the handlebars any minute. It also helped her feet reach the ground for dabbing, something she couldn't do before and something I was unaware she couldn't do. I wish I could take credit as her mentor, but the suggestion was made by an older woman hiker on the trail who noticed Tery sitting too high. Consequently we returned to Little Scraggy and, as predicted, she loved it--though probably wouldn't have without the adjustment. She is putting together a little video of our adventures that might be published here. Turns out she's quite the Steven Spielberg, because there wasn't much to work with.


Oh right, so I'm on the pill! Which still sounds weird to say a week later. I'm happy to say it was simply a matter of going to the clinic and asking for it: No intrusive questions about why I wanted it or lectures on the moral implications, etc. (Of course I did go to Planned Parenthood which might have had something to do with it). Didn't even have to lie about only wanting it until November and that was all, just "how many packs would you like?"

Tery's first reaction to the news was "Great. You're free to sleep with guys now," as if her only objection was with unwanted pregnancy (it certainly is not).

I spent the second day researching possible side effects, which include headaches, nausea, breast enlargement (PLEASE GOD NO), weight gain and mood swings. This last one worried me the most (not helped by [ profile] kavieshana's reassuring "You're about to turn into Queen Megabitch") -- I'm unsettled by the thought my mood can be artificially affected (control issues), and I spent the day imagining that a mood swing was gestating inside me like a chestburster alien. Tery isn't concerned about it; she thinks it's not something I would consciously notice, and anyway she's holding out hope that I'll be nicer, as if I'm so mean now there's nowhere to go but up (I really don't think I am).

There was one incident when we realized twenty minutes too late that the new "Office" wasn't recording, but I'd like to think that would have happened with or without chemicals. Other than that I've experienced a few episodes of random and extremely intense horniness, which I might blame on the medication. But if that's the worst that happens, I can certainly live with it.


In biking news, I think I've seen the guy whose picture you find when you look up the word "dickhead."

On my route I have to cross traffic three times, which is only a big deal during rush hour, as I've stated before when people don't care about anything but getting to work (or home) and God help anyone that gets in their way. One of these intersections is by far the worst, and that is where our story is set.

In fact this was afternoon, so the traffic was (mostly) returning home. I waited on the curb with a fellow lady biker and a male pedestrian. At one point the traffic cleared, no cars coming, so we all started across (it wasn't just me taking liberties here). We had almost made it to the opposite curb when traffic started coming over the hill. Let me explain that from the top of this hill drivers have clear visibility all the way to the intersection, a good 100 yards or so. Plus there were three of us in a big cluster, not one lone hard-to-see person. In theory, should be plenty safe for everyone, right?

As we were all just about to reach the opposite curb, the guy whose lane we were crossing (an SUV. Act surprised) suddenly slammed on his brakes so they would let out a dramatic ear-splitting squeal, as if it was a blind turn and he had just noticed us and came within inches of hitting us. You know damn well he saw us from the top of the hill, and you know damn well he deliberately avoided braking until getting right on top of us (in fact might have even accelerated a little) just so he could do that. Really? You want to be That Guy? Because no one likes That Guy.

Dick. Head.

I've found forums about traffic laws featuring bitter arguments in the comments over who the bigger idiots are, cyclists or motorists. Obviously it's a case-by-case basis, but I think motorists are by far more careless and dangerous -- most of the time they barely notice each other, let alone someone not driving two tons of death-dealing steel. And I include myself in this category: I'll admit I've almost hit people in the crosswalk because I wasn't paying attention. And conversely I'll admit I've done some stupid things on a bike because I made an incorrect split-second decision. But a cyclist's bad judgment will get themselves hurt more often than a motorist, whereas the converse isn't true.

I think one solution would be a mandatory day on a bike for everyone (I'd actually love a week, but let's be realistic), so they can get a tiny taste of how scary it is trying to negotiate traffic with people who either don't see you or who don't think you deserve to be on the road. And I nominate That Guy to take the first shift.


Now, movies! Oodles and oodles of movies! So many that these are mostly mini reviews. No spoilers really, except maybe for one or two you've never heard of/couldn't care less about. I've bolded all the titles so you can skim easily. Behind the cut: 127 Hours, Wrecked, The Reef, Trollhunter, Shiver, Piranha (1978 and 2010), Insidious, The Last Airbender, and Paul.

::I have too much free time:: )
grrgoyl: (Ewan Moulin)
Today's home was actually the last one we saw on day four, but I thought I'd separate it out as the most spectacular of the Parade. It's no $6 million property (actually think it's "only" going for $550,000), but it's an exciting new eco-home, ultra green and efficient, and of course super modern.

Welcome to the future

::Parade of Homes 2011: Green Cube:: )

Final verdict: Works as a life-sized coffee table book, but for day-to-day living? I simply can't picture it. Not terribly cosy and inviting.

And that concludes this year's Parade of Homes! Sorry it was sort of lazy, but the houses were kind of generic and tended to run together. Blame Obama and this economy.
grrgoyl: (snowcake scrabble)
The good news is I FINALLY have my Parade of Homes posts sorted. I'm dividing them into five days so I don't deluge you all at once. You're welcome.

The REALLY good news, in case you missed my previous post, is I got tickets to see Rickman on Broadway!!! They went on sale at midnight (10 pm to me) and I was on the site at five minutes of. I got front row seats in the most expensive section we could afford, which unfortunately is the rear mezzanine, but still, front row!

My excitement over this development is only slightly (okay, pretty heavily actually) marred by my morning-after realization that the date I chose is the precise date of my period that month. I was so prepared three months ago that I got an app to plot my periods (don't roll your eyes at me -- they're not always the same length and I'm still not exactly clear when you're supposed to start counting the 28-day cycle, and anyway my last day isn't as well-defined as my first as they just sort of gradually taper off, and gentlemen, I apologize at this late juncture if all of this is TMI). Then in the heat of the moment I panicked that all the best tickets would get bought up quickly (you can imagine how Tery snorted at this) and the thought of my period just evaporated into thin air. Ironic, considering I'm actually on it right now.

So on my sister the nurse's advice, I'm seeing a gyno for medication options, because I'll be damned if I'm spending the day traipsing all over New York with a backpack full of maxipads and needing to find a bathroom every two hours. Dear Alan Rickman: I'm willing to chemically mess up my hormones for you. Call me!


Okay. Without further ado, the Parade of Homes 2011!

Sorry. A little more ado. Because I've been promising [ profile] kavieshana for so long, the tale of standing up to MyFriendDeb: I've complained about this before, but as a refresher course, Deb has this peculiar habit of never being ready to go on time. I mean ever. And I mean I'll call to say I'm on my way right now (this is usually after calling 30 minutes previously to establish that I was starting to get ready). She lives ten minutes away. She KNOWS she lives ten minutes away. And without fail, I'll knock on the door and be greeted by the sight of her lagging woefully behind in preparations. Like, with no shoes on (big deal, you say. Well it wouldn't be if it didn't take her ten minutes to get shoes on, and don't ask me what in God's name she's doing that whole time to draw it out like that). Or still finding a coat. Or in this instance just starting in on what appeared to be lunch (and the woman eats like a bird. She can make a meal last 45 minutes).

I would estimate over the course of our 15-year friendship, I've spent a solid month standing at her front door watching her get ready (keep in mind we only hang out once a month or so). It's inconsiderate and selfish, and I doubt she's even aware she's doing it.

This time I had even deliberately stalled after making the "on my way right now" call, KNOWING this would happen. I sat in my car and fiddled with my phone's mp3 player a good ten minutes before leaving. I knew she would still make me wait, and I thought of what I would say if I had the balls.

Well, it turns out I DO have the balls, although I swear I hadn't made the conscious decision to actually use them. I took one look at her starting her meal when she knew I would be arriving at any second, and my mouth opened and I heard myself say, "Don't take this the wrong way, but my dream is to one day show up and have you actually be ready to go when I arrive."

She took it exactly the wrong way and I could feel her bristle. She mumbled some excuse that she had been ready, but she sat down and lost her momentum, which of course didn't explain why a loss of momentum would involve initiating a meal, but whatevs. Her excuse is she has no excuse, other than the fact she's lived alone for so long she's forgotten how (or perhaps never cared in the first place) to accommodate other people even minimally. This is Deb, and I doubt my statement will make a bit of difference next time, but at least I got an iota of anger off my chest.

I diffused the tense atmosphere with an observation that there was a single sneaker sitting on top of the carport outside, we laughed about it and the fight (and believe me, for us this was a fight) was forgotten.

So, NOW without further ado ::Parade of Homes 2011; Day One:: )

Coming soon: Days 2-5
grrgoyl: (In Darkness)

Guess who just got tickets to Alan Rickman's new play "Seminar" on Broadway? THIS GIRL RIGHT HERE

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

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 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: (Pilgrim Thunk)
Addendum to my bike post (because I have so many observations they were bound to spill over):

I forgot to mention the level Six-and-a-Half bikers--the ones with aerobars and teardrop-shaped helmets doing speed trials. The Six-and-a-Halfers don't even have actual drop bars, just weird prehensile vestiges of bars with shifters at the end, so small they look like they were made for carnie folk.

I got my first proper bike jersey from eBay and wore it today, which earned me nods from TWO Fives...apparently not so "in the zone" as I thought. That was a bit thrilling. The jersey puts me at a Four-and-a-Half, I figure, but I'll never be a true Five. Not with my big clunky $25 hiking sandals

my "suicide" levers (considered taking them off but I do use them quite a bit)

and most of all my cow skin speed bag, which I love to death but will always hold me back from full Fivedom:

I was sort of in a peloton for all of 90 seconds once, when I was passed by three guys just as I was passing two girls. We stayed together in a little pack for a hundred feet or so before breaking up again. That was kind of thrilling as well.

Most thrilling of all is the wildlife in my park. Deer are a dime a dozen, prairie dogs even moreso. But I've seen a snake that had to be about 2-1/2 feet long twice now (ran right over him the first time but he seems unharmed), a golden hawk that I startled out of the weeds, and two coyotes. The second one was just trotting on the side of the trail, chasing a butterfly. He turned and looked at me and it was the most bizarre sensation. I've looked into animals' eyes before, of course -- but my cats look at me with affection, and even the dogs at the hospital have an expression of familiarity. But this coyote, a truly wild animal, not used to seeing humans all day long like one in the zoo, had this look of strangeness, utterly inhuman and alien. At the risk of sounding corny, it was like looking into the eyes of the cosmos. Yeah, that's corny.


My review of The Room, arguably the worst movie ever made (at the very least top five for sure):

::Spoilers! But if I say so myself, I think this is some of my best work. It would be a shame if you skipped it:: )

This movie has to be seen for you to believe how incredibly awful it is. "So bad it's good" might be a stretch, but yeah. It shouldn't be watched alone -- you'll want someone else there to share an MST-style commentary. If you can't find anyone don't despair: The MST guys took it on already and you can get their audio track here (Tery and I were proud that they repeated many of the jokes we made ourselves).
grrgoyl: (Muscles not motors)
I hadn't planned on a work rant, but I just have to get this off my chest.

Last weekend someone had written on the message board a big list of "Please don't"s. Unfortunately that same night it had once again become relevant for me to add my $.02 about not dumping food in the sink.

Maybe I shouldn't have written "(27th time asking)," except it was, and as most parents raising children will hopefully back me up, I'm getting pretty fucking tired of repeating myself. Maybe I shouldn't have written that garbage cans don't get backed up and require expensive plumber visits, but I hoped that, like with children, if I provided the rationale behind the request (even though I feel it should be fairly obvious) it would drive the point home finally.

For whatever reason, the following night I got the phone call from my day shift liaison (I'm hesitant to call anyone "friend" anymore in this place) about whether or not I was needed to come in, and to my surprise she asked if there were any problems the prior night. When I said no, she launched into a laundry list of complaints from the staff about things they thought I hadn't done, each more petty than the last. Coincidence? I doubt it.

The one that stuck in my craw was the accusation that the cats' water bowls were empty. It was also empty for me, which is why I put an extra one in the cage. So a) you expect me to believe the cats drained two bowls in the space of two hours between shifts? b) even if they did (they didn't), what the animals do after I leave is hardly in my control, and c) even if they did (they didn't), isn't the point of giving them water for them to drink it? It's not a decorative measure.

I made sure to set her straight on this point, but she didn't sound convinced. So why were all the other "please don't"s fine but mine pushed them over the edge? Probably because I made them feel stupid. Well, I'm sorry, but they're a little stupid, and not likely to get smarter by coddling and tiptoeing around their porcelain feelings. I firmly believe there would be a bit less stupidity in the world if more people were taken to task for it. This is just my public service.


In Tery's news, she ran her second triathlon a few weekends ago. It went much better for her, in part because she knew what to expect, in bigger part because we arrived much earlier so she had more time to get settled in.

No, the two big highlights of the race were MyFriendDeb came to keep me company, except when I asked her to videotape Tery running she refused, stating "people waste so much time with a camera stuck to their face they miss the actual event right there in front of them." It was only much later I thought of the comeback I should have made: That we weren't there for ourselves, we were there for Tery, and perhaps she'd like to see herself in the race. Whatevs. Next year I just won't ask her.

More exciting, Tery has decided now that she's "officially" a triathlete to get a tattoo to commemorate. I can't let her have all the fun, so I'm getting one too -- a bike chainring on my left inner forearm, because the only thing I love more than biking is tattoos with circular motifs. We still have to find a parlor and extra money, so it won't happen for awhile yet. I'm just thrilled Tery wants one too.


Biking, biking, biking. Probably no one else cares, but I do so here we are. I'll hide it behind a cut because I'm nice that way and I fully expect no one to read it. But feel free to prove me wrong. But since (practically) no one is going to read it anyway, I might as well put it here as anywhere.

::Don't you dare come in here...:: )


Last but certainly not least, [ profile] swankyfunk drew me ♥ Severus Snape ♥! (reposted with permission):

"I know you're up to something, Potter!"

She's made of all kinds of awesome.

COMING SOON: Parade of Homes 2011 and my review of The Room
grrgoyl: (Simply Severus)
I fully intended to wait two or three weeks to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 as per my usual. Then [ profile] kavieshana talked me into opening weekend (she tried to talk me into a midnight sneak preview, and I informed her that the ability to do things like that and go to work a few hours later is the first thing to go when you get older). I bought a 9:45 am Sunday ticket online, and immediately a wave of excitement and anticipation crashed over me so powerfully I instantly wanted it to be Sunday and wondered why I ever thought I could wait two or three weeks.

I wasn't looking for 3D, in fact was rather opposed to the idea since seeing Kung Fu Panda 2, which was an enormous waste of time. It seems like now the format has caught on, moviemakers think they can make the first few scenes really eye-popping and their work is done. I did want IMAX though, and unfortunately my IMAX theater only offered a 3D option. So with online fees, my ticket came to $19 -- yes, that's admit one. Only for Harry, and I think that will do it for my moviegoing activity this summer.

I considered it anti-asshole insurance, especially after I shared the Kung Fu Panda showing with only six other people, one of whom was a mother with her two little girls who played with her phone through maybe a quarter of the movie, until I waited for a quiet moment and told her to put it away, which thankfully she did, but I still shouldn't have had to say anything.

If I owned a theater, since I probably couldn't confiscate phones at the door, I would install call buttons at every seat so you could summon an usher to deal with this shit, because I don't think it's fair that I have to miss the movie I paid for to troop all the way out to the lobby to get someone. And, if I owned a theater, I would then put a life ban on the offender. Something punitive really needs to be done to these people.

Anyhoo. I waited with barely restrained anticipation all weekend. Every time I thought about it, I swear I felt my heart beat faster. From poking around online, there seemed to be a LOT of murmurings about Snape, but I couldn't be sure if that wasn't just because I was looking for them. Then it opened in wide release and people in the Snarry communities immediately started putting out short stories describing what seemed to be every Snape scene in the movie, so I had to avoid those.

Despite working the night before, I was up at 8 am and raring to go (please note the difference between doing the fun thing the night before followed by work, and working followed by the fun thing). The theater opened at 9:15, so I got there about 5 after. And this was the line that had already formed:

These were ticketholders too. I could count on one hand the people who actually went to the box office. But fortunately the theater was very efficient, with two ticket takers, so we all got inside reasonably quickly.

I made a beeline for the top of the theater, to my favorite back row, which was already mostly filled up. I sat next to two guys, who seemed straight despite not leaving the requisite empty seat between them. Perhaps they were that considerate, realizing the theater would most likely be full. They went for snacks and returned with soft pretzels. But for the occasional drag of a straw through a lid hole, they didn't make a peep as they ate. Then as soon as the previews began, they instantly put their phones in their pockets and left them there. I could have kissed them both...except for the suspect lack of the straight-guy seat divider.

I'm happy to say that I didn't see a single phone during the whole movie (although the IMAX theater has such steep seats that I don't know if it would be as noticeable anyway). The audience was interactive and really into it, cheering at the right parts and applauding at the end -- funniest of all, as the lights went down to signal the end of the previews and the start of the film, a guy down to the right let out an appreciative "Ohhhhhh yeah....", making everyone laugh.

It was a lot like how [ profile] kavieshana described the midnight showings -- full, but full of people who damn well were there to see the movie. It was easily one of my most enjoyable theater experiences, considering the size of the crowd. Why can't every audience be like this?

Well, enjoyable except for the damn 3D glasses, which sucked up to cling to my sweaty face despite my best efforts to make them perch at the end of my nose. The 3D at least was worth it. It was more the "through the window" depth of field Avatar 3D rather than the "jumping out at you" kind. Plus the 3D puts cool glints in everyone's pupils that really make them look more alive (whether it was actually shot in IMAX, however, is debatable. I didn't get that "wow, that picture is HUGE!" feeling I normally do).

As for the movie itself, well, that's going to take some interaction from you, gentle reader. ::Now with 20% more spoilers!!:: )

I knew the parking lot would be a horror show to escape if I didn't move quickly, so the second the first end title came up I bolted from the theater. I was among the first outside -- along with the jerkface who pinned my car in with his Jeep so tight that, had he not been leaving with me, I literally could have only gotten in through the passenger door. I couldn't resist a "nice parking" comment (he very wisely didn't say anything, although an apology wouldn't have gone amiss), but luckily for him I was so euphoric from the movie I wasn't nearly as irate as I normally would be.

Then all my anger dissipated when I sat at a light waiting to get onto the highway, and the car next to me had the window rolled down. Inside I could hear a little girl breathily explaining to her father (presumably), "But in the book, THIS happened and THAT happened..." It made me smile.

So, for everyone who couldn't care less about Harry, it's done! Well, until the DVD release at least....
grrgoyl: (satan)
I had hoped last weekend would be the beginning of mountain biking season. Well, actually I had hoped LAST last weekend would be it. Tery and I went to Elk Meadow, which I remembered being pretty easy apart from the half a day I spent trying to climb Bergen Peak. But alas, Tery was even more nervous on the bike than she was last year, and it was a lot of me racing ahead a half mile or so, then waiting while she walked her bike to catch up.

She apologized for holding me back, but I remember very well that I wasn't so different this time last year, just starting out before I learned to trust the bike. I had the benefit of doing it alone with no one watching me though.

Last weekend was to be Lair o' the Bear with Ger again, until he wussed out at the last minute, asking for a street ride instead. I didn't mind since it meant more time with Mamba. He took me straight across the city on this one trail, eventually wending up Mount Carbon in the foothills. It was for the best that we avoided the Lair, as good ol' Ger barely made it up the very smooth uphill portion of our paved trail (in his defense, he still works the evil inventory job so doesn't have the luxury of a regular exercise schedule).

To make up for his performance on the mountain, he raced back on the return leg at an average pace of 20 mph -- heedless of the fact that I didn't know all the turns and was in danger any second of losing him. Heedless too of the other many pedestrians and bikers using the trail, resulting in more than one hapless girlfriend or toddler being yanked out of his path at the last moment.

So THIS weekend I'm going to the Lair alone, and have done with it. As with everything else in my life, if I want something done I have to do it myself.


Of course, I also had the advantage because I've been biking extra hard, 20+ miles a day, so my get-away sticks would look good for Laura and Tyler's wedding, where I planned to wear a kilt.

I was looking forward to the wedding, except for Tabby. If you'll remember, when we last left Tabby she had proven what kind of friend she was by doing such things as pretending to be too busy working to offer Tery a smidge of support after her marathon; going behind Tery's back and bitching to her boss because Tery had the nerve to not work 13-hour days so she could train for said marathon; and showing my completely not-work-related texts asking why everyone was ignoring Tery to the medical director (who mentioned them to Tery), hoping to accomplish I can't imagine what.

So, in answer to the question of what kind of friend Tabby is, evidently the kind who would sell her grandmother for a pack of smokes.

To top it off, despite Tery's instructions that she was on vacation and really, really didn't want to be bothered unless it was absolutely, positively unavoidable, on day two she got a text from Tabby: "Washing machine broke. What do we do?"

Really? This can't possibly be handled without Tery? Here's a little multiple choice quiz. See if you guys, who don't even work at the hospital, can pick the right answer:

A) Just try your hardest not to dirty anything else and let the pile heap up until Tery gets back in two weeks.
B) Buy a washboard and tub. The Amish have gotten by without washing machines for centuries.
C) Call the damn repair company, for whom there's a file in Tery's desk very clearly marked "washing machine."

Or better yet, ask the medical director, who isn't on vacation and who in theory also manages the hospital. Apparently it's just too much to hope that there's a single other grown-up working there that can make decisions in Tery's absence.

Tery wisely ignored the text, and when I went in last weekend there were a series of notes on the board documenting the process of someone finally calling the company, underneath which someone wrote "My hero!" Do you think any of them once called Tery their "hero" when SHE called them? I'm willing to bet this week's paycheck that's a big fat no.

So I was dreading the wedding because I was afraid I would be stuck at a table with Tabby, with all this anger and resentment between us. I came this close to emailing Laura to explain the situation, but Ryan wisely stopped me, thinking she might have more important things to worry about.

It all worked out. There was no assigned seating apart from the immediate family -- Tyler said they "didn't want to be responsible for people fighting" (he's a joker, I don't necessarily interpret this to mean he knew about our petty squabble) -- and Tabby and I spent the evening in an elaborate dance of avoidance. Which was almost comical at times, since Ryan is her friend too so she had to come close to me to talk to him, but we pulled it off.

I mentioned something to Kay about how glad I was not to be stuck at a table with her, and then had to go into why without dredging up everything. Kay, who fortunately escaped a relationship with Tabby (though not amicably), was surprisingly generous and said, "Well, Tabby's going through some stuff..."

I see. When TABBY'S "going through stuff" we should all cut her some slack and be nice to her. When TERY'S "going through stuff" she's expected to keep a stiff upper lip and soldier on. Except, given Tabby's love of drama, I guarantee you there's an 85% chance her "stuff" is of her own making, so it's a little hard to be sympathetic.

Say what you will about my rages, but at least when I'm angry with you, you know it. I wish everyone were so refreshingly honest.

Like Dr. N, who was also there and ended up sitting with us. Dr. N is very nice, very friendly and pleasant, to your face -- but Tery says she stirs up trouble behind the scenes, and doesn't hesitate to stab people in the back. We suspect she was the mastermind behind reporting my Heely video to the medical director, as well as part of the contingent complaining that Tery dared to devote some of her energy to her personal life and not the hospital. But she's good, never leaves a trail, so for now all we have are (very, very strong) suspicions. Still, it's hard to look at her smiling face and not see the snake in the grass behind.

Fun wedding!

No really, it was.

::more photographic evidence inside:: )

There was one truly funny moment at our table (apart from the rip-roarin' hilarity of the tiny plastic goblets). We had all chatted politely over dinner, wondering where Tyler and Laura met, what Tyler's previous wife was like (I put forth the bold theory that she was Asian. "You think?" almost everyone answered), etc. Then they cut the cake to the song "When I'm Sixty-Four" by The Beatles. Dr. N. asked out of the blue, "Are they divorced?" meaning Paul McCartney and whoever he just divorced. We all assumed she was continuing the prior questioning about Tyler and his previous wife and said, "God, I hope so!" Maybe you had to be there.

Ryan and I left about an hour after the dinner, so apparently got to miss Chris getting utterly shitfaced again, boo. We spent almost the entire drive back drooling together over Tyler. I love having a gay best friend.


Ah hell, as long as I've got you, we went to the Chalk Art Festival again this year. Here are some more pics:

::inside:: )

Finally, my own humble contribution to the art world:

This is how the tree at the side of our building looks at 3 am when I come home


Next time, promise promise: Week of a thousand movies!
grrgoyl: (Dr. Horrible)
Nothing big happened this week. However, lots of little things happened instead. Have some bite-sized updates, plus some movie reviews.

I was driving home from work this weekend at 5 am when suddenly I noticed my car sounded a lot worse than it did a second before. It was quite alarming, but seemed to be operating fine. I prayed for it to just get me home (I had about 2 miles to go at this point). I eventually pieced together the engine that now sounded like a motorcycle with a peculiar dragging noise: obviously my muffler had fallen/was falling off. Whew, at least not an engine malfunction.

When I arrived I looked closer: Got it in one. Unfortunately it wasn't the back part hanging down but the front, meaning it was scooping forward like a bulldozer rather than pulling behind.

Tery told me how a similar thing had happened to her first car. She had put off fixing it for about a week, and was told when she finally got it in that she was missing her oil cover and the muffler had been throwing up sparks like crazy -- she had essentially been driving around a Molotov cocktail. She shouldn't be alive.

I got a couple of hours of sleep and then called Firestone. It just figures I was literally a month from paying off my last maintenance visit with them and looking forward to having that extra money in my pocket again. Still cheaper than a car payment, I told myself yet again.

They took me in immediately, which is why I love them. I gingerly drove the two miles or so, my car in obvious distress. At a stop light a guy shouted out his window, "Hey, your tailpipe is dragging!" I toyed with an ultra-sarcastic response, "REALLY? Is THAT the godawful scraping noise I've been trying to drown out with my radio?" But he was only trying to be helpful, so I assured him I was on top of the situation.

At Firestone the guy offered to top off my fluids for free, making it sound like he was doing me a real favor. I was really more concerned about this huge metal thing hanging off my engine, but sure, why not. Tery wondered if "fluids" included gas (of course not).

$650 later and I was on my way. At least it happened after I bought my bike, or else I wouldn't have been nearly so impulsive to get Mamba.


Ah, Mamba. She has already brought me much pleasure, but I have had my first crash, a much more traumatic event than any damage to my car that doesn't even have a name.

I put pedals with toe clips on her this week. I had these once before and hated them, but that was actually on Rogue Leader and putting toe clips on a mountain bike is a symptom of insanity, even if I had the experience back then that I do now.

The maiden voyage went off without a hitch, and I loved the workout they gave my quads that was previously missing without them. Then on day two I was stopped at an intersection waiting for two cars to pass. A cool parlor trick I do on the bike is balance on the pedals while at almost a complete stop.

Well, as I learned this day, I can do this for one car but not two. I started wavering. I got my right foot out in time but not my left, and WHAM! I went straight down on my left side, exactly like I did that time with the poison ivy. It happened so quickly I actually banged my head on the pavement, so three cheers for wearing a helmet.

I blame the clips (and user error) about 40%; mostly I blame other bikers who ignore traffic rules and barrel through every intersection without a care, so now motorists act like every cyclist is a deer that might unexpectedly leap in front of them (so they drive too cautiously and slowly for my parlor trick).

I took a huge gouge out of the handlebar tape on that side -- this is why I hate buying new things. But fortunately my body bore the brunt of the rest of the fall and nothing else was damaged. Abrasions and bruises heal: a scratched paint job or bent component isn't so easily cured.

And I did have my eye on some awesome handlebar tape, black with tiny white spirals, for the mixte anyway. Maybe it was meant to be after all.


In not so good news, Tery's friend is dying of end-stage liver failure.

Kristy was Tery's best friend from the bar she used to go to. Kristy worked as a waitress, was more or less an alcoholic (she says less; Tery says more. It looks like Tery was right), and her life was a mess back before Tery had to stop hanging out with her because she simply couldn't socialize outside of the bar setting.

Tery heard she was in the hospital through a mutual friend on Facebook -- also through Kristy, but Kristy is one of those Facebookers who loves to post cryptic, tantalizing hints of news that force everyone to comment, "OMG What's wrong???" (so VERY EXTREMELY annoying and a pathetic attempt to trick people into giving you attention, BTW, any of you who happen to Facebook). Kristy posted things like "in the hospital, guess I'll have to call in sick to work haha" and then "in ICU, now I'm worried. sad face"

Tery went to visit her before her 2-week vacation back home, and reckons Kristy won't live to see her return. She says she's horrifically emaciated with a distended belly full of ascites, and her lungs are filling with fluid as well. They can't give her pain meds because with 20% liver function she can't metabolize them. It's said to be one of the most painful ways to die. She was so disoriented no one told her she's dying; she thinks she'll be going home, going back to the bar and waiting a few months for her liver transplant (so she can get back to her party lifestyle. Even if she did survive this week, they don't waste organ transplants on people who refuse to change their ways) -- hence her flippant, coy little Facebook posts.

Kristy is 32 years old.

Tery is taking it extremely well, considering how close they used to be. Tery desperately wanted her to escape the bar life when she got out, but Kristy was stuck fast. A small irony is Kristy's father died of liver cancer in his early 40's, refusing to quit drinking even at the end. She was so furious with him, and look at her now.

Me, I have even less sympathy. As the mutual friend said, you don't wake up one morning with 20% liver function and go to the ICU. Kristy has had problems for awhile now, vomiting blood, etc. but refused to heed the warnings. At the risk of sounding smug, one night in the ER was all it took for me to change my entire life, and my problem wasn't even that life-threatening. How many times would you vomit blood before suspecting maybe something wasn't right?

With all the uproar about whether or not to legalize pot, I ask why the hell is alcohol legal when it's just as, if not more, dangerous? I guarantee it's destroyed more lives, even without a death involved.

So, yeah, pre-emptive RIP Kristy.


Dammit, I guess I'm just incapable of keeping my news truly "bite-sized."

Movie reviews!

::The Twilight Saga: Eclipse:: )

Did I say reviews? This one took far too long, I'm quitting while I'm ahead. But just you wait until next time....THEN you'll get it.


Last but absolutely not least: Got your package today, [ profile] velmaneuwirth. You are the sweetest EVER. So much goodness crammed into such a tiny envelope! I can't wait to give Tery her medals, she's going to LOVE them. Andandand you gave me Rickman! (sort of) And BANKSY! LOVE LOVE LOVE that graphic! Thank you so much!! :D (also loved seeing your handwriting. More personal than words typed on a computer :)


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December 2011

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