grrgoyl: (Dylan apoplectic)
Okay, the iClone saga.  I'm cutting for space, because I don't use the word "saga" lightly.  I need to get all the facts down because this might get uglier before it's over.  Hence this might only be interesting to those who are endlessly fascinated by how difficult my life can be.  And of course anyone who wants to participate in the quiz at the end.

::iPhone? No! iClone!:: )

I think that brings us all up to speed.  What do you all think? 

[Poll #1347899]

Speaking of bad eBay sellers, I never heard back from that seller who whined about my negative feedback when he sold me that faulty software.  I thought he was going to live with the black mark and I was never going to see my $9.99 again.  Imagine my surprise when I received notification of his request that I withdraw it, because he had "resolved the dispute."  My first reaction was "Are you high?" because I hadn't gotten a refund or anything, so how was it resolved?  Unfortunately the form you fill out when explaining why you are denying the request doesn't have any room for sarcasm. 
grrgoyl: (Snape Sexyback)
This weekend I was tired of my animal charges about six minutes into my shift.

Surprisingly it wasn't just the dogs I hated. The weekend before I had a cat, "Samwise," who was staying in Recovery because he was on medications. Neither I nor Tery understood the need to keep him up front, particularly when being in the center of activity made him so agitated and belligerent that a towel had to be draped over the door at all times. He wasn't bad for me Friday night, but on Saturday he was doing his best impression of this nightmarish feline:

Take it from me, this sound is 7,000 times more bloodcurdling in person. He would start out spitting and hissing every time I simply stepped into Recovery. The closer I came to his cage, the more his rage escalated.

In between these outbursts of hostility, he would meowl plaintively, as if to ask, "Why do you hate me so much?" Schizo cat.

He was still there this past weekend, not any calmer and probably a good deal filthier, since no one could come anywhere near him (I was told it took three people to give him his meds during the day. Hence I happily ignored the blanks on the chart where my initials should go).

However, he was far from alone. I had a neutered lab mix puppy, no special attention needed but he spent most of the night loudly making that howling/groaning sound I can't stand. I had a pointer that had been hit by a car, on fluids but remarkably low-maintenance considering. I had a postop cocker, described by one doctor as "a litttle high-strung," whose alarming, gasping respirations sounded perpetually three breaths away from a heart attack.

But the worst, the WORST, was a tiny chihuahua named "Squeeme." Squeeme was actually owned by an ex-employee, a girl I'd met once when another of her dogs was admitted in more serious condition. She had stopped by with her entire immediate family, chain smokers every one. I'm not kidding, fifteen minutes after arriving, the entire clan trooped outside for a smoke. That dog stunk, and so did Squeeme.

But Squeeme was also, as Dr. Norton put it, an "arborial dog." A dog who spends his whole life being carried around by someone, and who consequently spends every single minute NOT being carried by someone emitting a short, shrieking little yelp with every breath. These dogs need to be shot in the head, followed soon after by their owners who make them this way. A person would need the patience of a saint to live with this thing, and I was conspicuously absent the day they were handing out patience (probably grew tired of waiting in line and stomped off to write an angry letter). "Trust me, Squeeme," I told him, "You won't find anyone on this earth less sympathetic than me." It was a bit like Chinese water torture, those constant, unending little yips.

Then he FINALLY fell asleep after about three hours, thank the gods. Until ten minutes later, Samwise decided to remind me of his presence by slamming his bowls against the side of the cage as hard as he could, which of course woke Squeeme up again. God DAMMIT I hated that fucking cat at that moment. Even more than later, when he thought it would be fun to start throwing litter onto the floor through the bars, then become apoplectic again when I had to enter his "personal space" to sweep it up.

I was immensely happy Saturday night when everyone was gone but Samwise, who was much more relaxed when not surrounded by scores of other animals. Even let me pet him for a minute before remembering himself and slashing at me without warning.

Well, I had an old cat, "Tuffy," on fluids, child's play in comparison. Except around midnight I suddenly smelled an ungodly stink, and realized someone had pooped in their box; and furthermore, there would be no ignoring it, it smelled so awful.

So I bearded the lion in its den, armed with a wooden bird perch to fend Samwise off. I tried conciliatory measures, sliding it across the floor in an attempt to play. He watched it like a normal cat -- his eyes weren't black, his tail wasn't puffed, he didn't look the slightest bit threatening. But he never stopped growling loudly all the while. Schizo cat.

I finally got his box out with all my limbs intact, only to realize that it was Tuffy that pooped. GODAMMIT. Putting Sam's box back was even more difficult, as he kept attacking it with terrifyingly swift paw swipes. Yeah, give me a "will bite" dog anytime. They're far easier to convince of your dominance.

Dr. L called to check on everybody, then to my surprise asked if I would be attending one of the employees' baby shower Sunday. I begged off, claiming Sunday to be my "crash" day after my long weekend (half true -- most weeks it's actually Monday when I can barely move). The guest of honor was someone I had met maybe twice in my life, couldn't pick her out of a lineup. Spend the afternoon pretending I give a toss about her stupid baby? I'd rather spend another night locked in a room with Squeeme.


The other day I was peacefully working when I received an email from eBay. "Congratulations! Your item listing is confirmed!" Apparently I was selling a pair of Ugg boots. News to me.

By the time I had gotten to my main account page, I had three more listings up, all for Ugg boots. By the time I got on the phone to eBay the total was eight. Me, the fashion plate, who ironically thinks Ugg boots have one of the most apt names ever.

It took eBay about 20 minutes to sort it all out and cancel the phony auctions. By that time my password had suddenly stopped working and I could only log into the eBay Canada site. Whoever this was, they had fucked me and fucked me good.

The funny thing was I had just left negative feedback the previous night on a seller who sent me some software that didn't work. I had asked for help and he had put me off, claiming to have a funeral to attend. After waiting more than a week I asked for a refund with no response. After another week I figured I'd been scammed and left feedback accordingly.

This morning he reappeared to cry about the unfairness of my feedback and demanded that I retract it. I wrote back, reminding him of the actual chain of events, and pointing out that what was unfair was spending money and having nothing to show for it. I would gladly retract my feedback as soon as I got either a) what I paid for or b) a full refund. Now here, a few hours later, my account was hacked into. My sister thinks it's coincidence, but I don't believe in coincidences. Needless to say I've deleted the software from my system in case it was involved with compromising my identity somehow. I also passed his eBay user ID onto the customer representative who ultimately resolved my password issue, not wishing to accuse anyone, but just throwing it out there for consideration.

I was going to list something to sell, but now I think I'll hold off in case this guy decides to fuck with me (more). And needless to say, it isn't a pair of Ugg boots.


Now for some quickie movie reviews.

Slumdog Millionaire: Believe the Oscar buzz. Tery was excited to see it. I knew nothing about it. It was immediately endearing, with a wildly clever plot device. A waif from the streets of India (a "slumdog") scores big on the show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," and is accused of cheating by the producers. The movie involves a series of flashbacks demonstrating how he came by his knowledge honestly while living rough. The music was fantastic with a satisfying Bollywood ending that's all Danny Boyle. I LOVED it.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: I agree with the review in Entertainment Weekly -- it's a movie that's easy to admire but difficult to like. That's it in a nutshell. I love David Fincher and Cate Blanchett. I don't mind Brad Pitt, except this movie is merely a continuation of the skills of wide-eyed, otherworldly contemplation that he developed in Meet Joe Black. It was very stately, and very slow-moving, with the ultimate message that time is fleeting and happiness even moreso. Did you really need 2-1/2 hours, Fincher? I could barely stay awake.

Iron Man: Believe [ profile] swankyfunk's hype. I know nothing of the comic book, but as a neophyte I can say the story, and moreso Robert Downey, was engaging, funny, intelligent, with eye-popping CGI effects. I never felt one way or another about Downey (Tery somehow got the impression I hated him) but I have to say I'm really glad he's come back from the cliff edge he's been hanging on. I don't know if Jeff Bridges was the best choice as the "bad guy"; even with a disturbingly shaved head, I only saw The Dude. The only other comic book movie that left me feeling so excited and uplifted at the end was the first Spiderman.

Wanted: I knew within the first five minutes that I was going to love this movie. It's a hybrid of The Matrix and Fight Club, with protagonist narration and unexpected slo-mo and zoom shots in even mundane scenes. But the action scenes blow The Matrix out of the water. Positively jaw-dropping, with CGI so good it never crosses your mind it's CGI. I remember there being some kerfuffle when this came out over the conflict between Angelina Jolie's supposed pacifism and the excessive gunplay, and rightly so. I'm not usually a fan of gun movies, but it was handled so stylistically I couldn't complain. She was perfect for the role, and reminded me of her part as Tigress in Kung Fu Panda. More of a surprise was how well James McAvoy did as Wesley, who begins as a mousy, anxiety-ridden cubicle jockey and turns into a supersleek master assassin. Contrary to reviewers on Amazon, I felt he was equally convincing as both. Though in my heart he'll always be the deliciously adorable Mr. Tumnus.

I can't help but wonder how much better both of these will look on Blu-ray.

Return to House on Haunted Hill: Because I'm always hoping to stumble on the next Aliens (e.g., a sequel that's arguably better than its predecessor). This movie is not it.


Up-to-the-minute update: We just watched Nate Fisher, Jr.'s funeral on Six Feet Under ("All Alone"). Why does this merit mention? Because it's the first time I've ever seen Tery cry at a TV show.
grrgoyl: (Alan Alone)
This past weekend it was -8 degrees in Denver. MINUS EIGHT DEGREES. I was obsessed, as I am every year, with draft-proofing our house with the cheap, generally ineffective measures available at Lowe's -- until the tragic news story of a family of four found dead of monoxide poisoning in their home. MyFriendDeb said these fancy new houses being built are so well insulated that it's much more of a threat, whereas our older, leakier home paradoxically is much safer. After that I decided I'd rather just put on an extra sweatshirt to combat the chill. We made an emergency run to Target Sunday for a space heater for the bird, the only creature Tery is really concerned about staying properly warm.

This is what happens to the inside of cheap, decades-old windows in minus eight degrees. Yes, Virginia, that's ice. The brown part is the color the frame normally is

We've decided the next time we have a large cash windfall (ha) we're looking into getting some better windows. Cuz dayum.

I contented myself instead with putting up a black-out curtain over the balcony door, the largest culprit. It does a fantastic job of keeping out cold. Unfortunately, it works equally well at keeping out light. Deb would never tolerate such a measure, afflicted as she is with seasonal affective disorder (which is actually year-round).

The nice thing about -8 degrees in Denver is the 6% humidity, which means the snow covering my car when I got out of work Sunday morning was as dry as fine desert sand. Fell away with barely a touch. That's what I love about Denver.

I don't let the cold get me down. When we bought our Christmas tree it was literally 70 degrees and we wore shorts. THAT'S fucking depressing, if you're as concerned about global warming as I am.

We're also concerned about pipes bursting, mostly because for the first time we have two empty units below us (and when you walk barefoot in our place you can tell. I used to think our place should be warmer with heat rising from Kent's place underneath us. Now I see the difference. We miss you, Kent). I highly doubt the families have the heat turned on. Whereas I can't blame them for not wanting to pay to heat an empty apartment, if the pipes burst they'll have one hell of a mess on their hands. We'll fortunately only suffer the inconvenience of being without water.

However, the bottom unit, which belongs to the elderly woman who went to a nursing home, has had the inner door wide open for weeks now (outer storm door closed and locked). I've called the property company no less than three times about it. They keep saying they're having trouble reaching the family. So if pipes DO burst, the off-site families most likely won't be reachable for that either, in which case we WILL have a problem on our hands.

Again, it's mostly my inability to control the rest of the world that's the real source of my frustration. That and the unbelievable depths of stupidity and inconsideration the rest of the world is capable of.


I mentioned a few posts ago how this Christmas is cursed. My poor sister who had her boyfriend's gift stolen didn't get a scrap of sympathy from the seller, who basically said, "It's not my fault since you didn't ask for insurance. And no, I can't knock a couple of dollars off another one for you." I'm an occasional eBay seller and that really surprised me. I personally would have tried to work with her a little bit, even if she wasn't my sister. As a buyer, at that point I would have said "Sayonara, bitch, and thanks for nothing" but Amy was so convinced this was the perfect gift for him that she swallowed her pride and ordered a second one.

(For the record, this is what she was trying to buy:

Yeah, nothing special about it, except Amy's boyfriend I guess really likes beer and finds that tag line humorous. But the price of the auction with shipping came close to $20, both times, just because it's framed up all nice (because lord knows it would be unbearably tacky to hang just a bare beer ad). Except it's not even an original, just a laser inkjet printout of the ad, making $40 an outrageous price. The auction it turns out doesn't claim to be an original, but holy rip-offs, Batman, it takes some stones to charge that much for a fucking photocopy. Twice.)

I had ordered three things from The package came quickly, sadly containing two things I hadn't ordered and missing one thing I had. They fixed the problem quickly, but still. I thought I was safe from going anywhere near a shipping facility until some time in January.

I thought I had finished my shopping finally, when I received the email that my order for my other sister's present had been cancelled by the Amazon seller -- forcing me to track it down elsewhere.

I hope Christmas gets here before anything else goes wrong.


Watching Nobel Son has reawakened my obsession with Alan, which was never really dead, just waning a bit. I've been rewatching all my old favorites, even ordered Truly, Madly, Deeply from eBay (a film that didn't particularly impress me back when I wasn't sure how far my love for him would take me).

Via my f-list, I wandered over to check out this video of Alan signing autographs after Jimmy Kimmel. The video itself isn't as interesting as the comment section, wherein I felt the need to defend him to someone snidely mocking his aging features. "Yep, and if you're honest, you dream of having half his sex appeal when you're his age" I smacked them down.

I've garnered quite a little fan club from this (well, two people), which makes me happy. Mostly because I'm still having trouble convincing Tery of his appeal. I was sharing in the Rickman love with one of them when she made the observation, "If I met him in real life I'd be resisting the urge to rape him or something." Whoa, stalker girl. That's going a bit too far. If I ever were lucky enough to meet him, I'd have trouble making eye contact, never mind considering anything remotely sexual. I think he'd be enormously intimidating in reality, between the English reserve and his built-in gravitas.

Via the same F-list person, Alan might be apartment hunting in Manhattan. I'm not sure how this was deduced from the pictures posted, but it's thrilling all the same. My theory is he's getting lonely with Daniel stuck in New York for months and can't wait any longer for him to come home to London (no disrespect to Alan's actual partner, of course).

Speaking of Daniel, this one is for my Equus peeps (from the Gypsy of the Year awards, where Equus won the top fundraiser position):


Tery got the word today that their sister vet hospital had to fire both their medical director and hospital manager, for letting a girl known to have hepatitis C (and possibly a drug user) live on the premises (where narcotics are kept) for an unknown length of time. Which I feel really puts my fifteen-minute Heelys practice into sharp perspective, not that we'll say as much to Tery's medical director.


Finally, Kitten Mitten has suddenly, after two years living here, noticed the ledge that runs around our kitchen to separate it from the living room.

She can do whatever she wants when she does that little head tilt thing (and she knows it)

Here are more to give you a better idea:

She really is the most beautiful cat in all the world.
grrgoyl: (AD Chicken Dances)
Christmas shopping so far this year is turning into quite the nightmare.

First I looked over my sister Nancy's Amazon wishlist, full of lots of $40-$50 sewing items, and a $300 Amazon Kindle. Yeah, that's not happening. So I thought I'd surprise her with something not on her list, that I was sure she'd love anyway -- Wall-E on DVD. My sister is a child at heart like me, has even been known to buy Happy Meals for the sake of movie tie-ins. I emailed my mother in advance asking if she knew Nancy's feelings on the movie. "I'm sure she'll love it" she responded.

I ordered it straightaway. The next morning I opened an email from my mother saying that Nancy had walked through the door last night and announced that she had just bought Wall-E. Grrrrr. She evidently is not living under the same self-buying moratorium Tery and I have imposed in our house. I asked my mom, "Would you like a copy of Wall-E?" She said yes. I said, "Great. Try to act surprised."

However, she will be surprised since I'm returning it to Amazon. For the past three years my mother's wishlist has contained the same two lonely, and currently unavailable, items, a set of mixing bowls and a solar-powered car window fan. This year I decided to make half of her dreams come true and found an equivalent car fan on eBay. "She'll never expect this!" I thought gleefully. True dat, as I discovered yesterday either my mother creates new wishlists and then forgets about them every few years, or there really are five different Marjorie Adamcewiczs on Amazon. Her CURRENT list is made up of almost every Cesar "The Dog Whisperer" Millan product known to man, not a bowl or car fan to be seen. Thus Wall-E is going back for a refund, cuz my paychecks aren't getting any bigger (see previous post), and it's not the 3-disc edition I yearn for.

But all this is nothing to the horror show that is one of Tery's gifts. She asked for a new iron, an iron that must be damn special because Amazon was selling it for close to 80 bucks. Always cutting corners trying to save a few dollars, I went to eBay instead. I got in on a "new" one starting at $9.99. My maximum bid matched what I would have paid at Amazon, thinking winning it for anything less would be a coup.

Sadly, there was no coup, I got into a bidding war, and ended up paying almost my maximum. Fine, still $10 less than Amazon.

The item arrived via DHL, a company I hate so much I had actually rejoiced when I heard about their demise. You can imagine my dismay at this evidence that those rumors were unfounded. It was shipped in a beat-up old shoe box. The manufacturer's box had obviously been opened, but worst of all the entire thing, inside and out, reeked of a foul, pervasive, clinging perfume worn by a ten-dollar whore about 20 years past her prime. Oh my GOD what a stench.

Of course I emailed the seller immediately with my complaint. They responded the box had "only been opened to check the contents" (why would you need to check the contents on a manufacturer's sealed box??) and they didn't remember any smell. Well then, I guess it must have been dunked in the perfume vat at DHL's warehouse, the one they'll never admit to having. However, the seller "regretted my inconvenience" and what could they do to make me happy?

Meanwhile, back at Amazon the price had dropped 20 bucks overnight. GodDAMMMIT. So I came back to the seller with a link to Amazon, not specifying a refund amount but implying a partial one would be a good start. But apparently their offer to make it up to me didn't extend as far as actual monetary compensation. Though I don't know of any dissatisfied customer being appeased with only kind words and feigned concern.

Yep, they stopped answering my emails, obviously hoping to walk away from this with just a negative feedback. I'm filing a dispute with PayPal for intentionally misrepresenting the condition of the item. I'm only asking for $10, because it's really more about the principle than the actual money for me (plus I noticed a negative feedback rating buried back in his shady past complaining they had returned the item and received no refund. THAT would be even worse than dealing with the stink). I don't think $10 is unreasonable, and I just want to prevent this guy from getting off scot-free.

Just in case nothing comes of it, I've removed the iron from the box (saving the box for evidence. If nothing else, it will serve as an amusing illustration when I tell Tery this tale on Christmas Day. Of course, if I ever try to sell my car I might be accused of stuffing a dead hooker in the trunk). I tried powering it on and ironing something to see if there are any odor-related consequences. Doesn't seem to be, knock on wood. MyFriendDeb has generously offered the use of her balcony for a full airing as a last resort.

Don't ask when I'm going to learn my lesson and stop trying to save a few bucks. 'Ain't never going to happen.

My little sister is having still worse luck. She ordered a gift for her new boyfriend, again from eBay, and wondered why the heck it hadn't come yet. Then she was walking with him down the street when five doors down, purely by chance, she noticed an empty box with her address on it among the garbage bags. Either the post office had delivered it to the wrong address, or someone stole it off her porch. Either way, the scumbag opened it and kept the gift. Without knowing who took it, she's left to stew impotently, furiously wishing the worst possible karma on the asswipe responsible -- which isn't terribly satisfying, as I can attest to. She promised me she'd go to the post office today and raise some hell, because I think they bear a large portion of the blame.

Heads up, people. Christmas this year has been cursed. I blame Twilight.

UPDATE!: She went to the post office, and as expected got a whole lot of "What do you want us to do about it?" She was on the verge of filing her own PayPal dispute against the seller, a decision she wasn't at all happy with since she knew he had delivered faithfully, when she called me for advice. Since the seller has a second auction listed for the same item, I suggested she tell him what happened and try to negotiate a bargain on the second one. She'd get her gift without spending twice as much, he'd unload the item (sometimes a reduced price is better than nothing), win-win. She loved this idea. Why can't my own problems be so easily solved?


This past weekend I had a full house, as to be expected on a holiday weekend. People love their pets, until they have a house full of guests. Among them was my boy Beowulf, who if you'll remember had a grand old time on his last stay the night I decided to let him run around the place. He recognized me when I walked in, and I think remembered what I did, because the whole time I was walking everyone else he was just bouncing up and down, chomping at the bit to get out. He had to wait even longer because I was asked to give another dog a bath in preparation to go home the next day (went better than expected. As Tery assured me, the dog was so terrified at the strangeness of standing in a tub being sprayed down that she didn't move a muscle. It was kind of fun).

I finished with her and out Beowulf came. He immediately ran upstairs, the majority of his territory he claims, which is just fine by me; an intruder would probably have to get in up there. I would just like to see the look on their face when they spotted Beowulf galloping down the hallway at full speed towards them.

I also had Honus the Asshole Beagle of Death, who has settled down amazingly well since the family adopted Travis. But Honus didn't care for Beowulf's preferential treatment, oh, not one little bit. He howled and barked and yapped up a storm. Sorry, Honus. Beowulf is my favorite. Maybe if you were my favorite....but no. If there was some bizarre cataclysmic event that wiped out every other dog on the planet except you, Honus, you STILL wouldn't be my favorite. And even if I had an inoperable brain tumor and decided you were, I hopefully wouldn't forget the last time I gave you free run as a desperate attempt to get you to stop barking THE ENTIRE NIGHT, and you completely trashed the place. No, Honus, sorry. Not again in this lifetime.

Beowulf spent a few happy hours walking his perimeter -- around the top floor, sit by the front door for awhile, then back down to check on me. It was all well and good until I finished my work and lay down for a quick nap. Then his circuit included trotting over to my cot and thoroughly washing my face. On every single pass. Ewww. Meant no open-mouth sleeping, but I tolerated it because it was the most affection he'd ever shown me, and I don't much fancy the idea of saying no when such a large beast has his jaws exactly at face level.

By morning he was literally yawning, could hardly keep his eyes open (I exhorted him multiple times to relax and sleep next to me, but he would have none of it. Not while there was a building to be guarded. Tery's employees should have half the dedication). Tery says the day shift who came in after me remarked about how calm and well behaved he was. Yep, just have me be Beowulf's personal handler. That would be great.

My happy boy

Some more pictures: I found this symbol drawn on every available surface last weekend. I deduced it was Twilight-related.

Where are the fundamentalists who thought Harry Potter was satanic? Too busy getting gay marriage banned, I guess

My Navi Navi, licking her lips and Lomo-fied:

Unrelated, here's another gay ferret boy pic, because I can't get enough of them:


Finally a movie rec: Right at your Door. A terrorist attack hits LA, and we're trapped in a house with a guy who knows less than us, cuz he didn't read the EW review. ::spoilers? Yep, got those. In spades:: )

Scary? Oh yeah, it plays just right on all the new fears of the 21st century. Terrorist attack, government figures who are even scarier than Muslims, biological warfare on American soil, the media lying to the public -- this movie has it all. Kind of a downer of an ending, which is what I liked most about it. Rent it now.
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: (ewan stoli)
This is the final chapter in my eBay Hammock Buying Saga, which I know no one cares about, but I need to save this shit for future reference.

Guess the seller didn't take too kindly to my followup feedback after their outlandish claim of shipping next day (my exact words were "Paid June 26. Shipped July 3. Which calendar are you using?"). So they punished me by leaving me a neutral feedback saying only "Thanks." Which is patently unfair -- the only way I could be a better buyer was if I paid before the auction actually ended. This is the way most sellers do business though, and it really, really twists my panties. By all rights feedback should be left for the buyer once payment is received (which is how I handle my buyers). But sellers withhold feedback, making it contingent on receiving their feedback, so they can retaliate with this level of immaturity should the buyer be unhappy. It's normally courteous to clear up any dissatisfaction before feedback is left, which I tried to do. If my comments came out of left field for this seller, that means either they didn't read the complaint I sent or they thought I was only joking.

Whatever. I was going to follow up their feedback for me but I don't want this to escalate into a stupid war (too late?) that will only make me think how much I hate this fucking seller every time I look at my hammock. Just take note, eBayers: Collectionsetc is the user name. Sure, they've got a metric ton of positive feedback, but to me the measure of a seller is how they behave when the transaction doesn't go smoothly.

Unrelated note: Do we really need a live action Underdog movie? Just saw the ad.

Hammock related, the following is for [ profile] kavieshana, whom I endeavor to make happy in all things:

"Hammock Song" with my unwilling assistant, Duncan Munchkin


This past weekend was not only Tery's birthday, but our 15-year anniversary. Holy crapamolie. Anyway, to celebrate she wanted Ryan and I to join her at the City Pub (aka Toby Jug) for a trivia tournament. She and I sat at the bar waiting for Ryan to arrive, watching some sort of All American Home Run Derby something-or-other on the telly (I wasn't watching it so much as facing it).

She got up to use the bathroom, leaving me with a pleasant-looking guy at the end of the bar (she makes a point to introduce me to everyone else, so this was a stranger). He started discussing the derby with me, which is I guess my fault for facing the TV and inaccurately portraying myself as someone who cares about baseball. Since I was only smiling and nodding my head politely rather than focusing on his words, I was able to notice his baseball cap, violet with the initials "HP" in unmistakable lightning font. "So, you like Harry Potter?" I asked. Did he ever! He started jabbering excitedly about the new movie and the new book. Despite appearing completely normal and perfectly at home in a bar, he confessed he wore a cape to the movies and re-read all the books each time a new one was released. We were enjoying a very animated, engrossing conversation until Tery returned, unable to believe that I had managed to find a Harry Potter fan in HER bar. I stopped short of discussing my Snarry fixation though, to her relief.

AND we won the trivia tournament! Our team, the Banana Hammocks, ROCKS UR FACE OFF.
grrgoyl: (firefly kaylee)
Hammock Song
(lyrics by TeryandElaine)

Today is Hammock Day
I got it on eBay
The shipping was delayed

The colors are so gay
I love it anyway
Caribbean getaway!!!

Yes, it's here. It was technically here Saturday, but instead I got the dreaded peach slip saying "Parcel too big for locker. And I know it's Saturday and you're probably home, but it's hot and this is my last stop so I can't be arsed to climb three flights of stairs to deliver what you could easily drive to the post office to pick up yourself on Monday."

Which is what I did. And yes, the box is indeed too large for the locker. I could deal with that if not for the fact that the hammock itself was packed inside in a box 1/4 the size of the outer one, sliding around like a marble in a lunchbox. Why do you hate me, Collections Etc.? And why did you bother packing a catalog and a 10% off coupon for my next order? Cuz THAT ain't happening. So it was with the greatest pleasure and vindiction that I left what I felt was a truly deserved neutral feedback. Toy with ME, will you?

(Just checked the seller's feedback. They had the nerve to claim that they shipped the next day. So I left a followup to their followup. It doesn't matter, my feedback has already been moved to page 3 by the tidal wave of subsequent transactions, but I really, really hate liars.)

But enough of that unpleasantness. It's everything I hoped for and more. I've wanted a hammock forever, but Tery, being the Debbie Downer that she is, kept telling me it was impossible. See if I let HER sit in it (highly unlikely anyway, as she regards it as a deathtrap).

I swear she's made it her life's work to destroy all my happiness, like any good spouse. Look what she did with my dollies while I was peacefully dreaming of Snarry:


Notice how Harry is trying to let Gabrielle down gently, while Snape stares blankly into space hoping Xena will take the hint. Perverse (though I will grant you the respective scales work better with the girls).


Weekend at the kennels had some excitement, which I think would be best described with a monologue by Miss Jane Seymour from the Lifetime movie "Marry Me":

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Beowulf, my first love

::Other doggy pics, cut for cat fans:: )


Last but not least, I finally got to catch a movie with the resplendent [ profile] dopshoppe, though it wasn't 1408 as we had hoped, but rather Sicko.

I should stop watching Michael Moore movies. They make me so ANGRY, and this one was no exception. I don't have health insurance. I'm one of the millions of Americans who, as Moore puts it, gambles on my continued good health. And if I were considering getting individual insurance, I would have second thoughts even before seeing this movie. At least once a week I type a letter from a doctor begging an insurance company to reconsider their denial of coverage for a patient's necessary treatment. Tery has insurance but never sees a doctor, terrified of being billed anyway. Insurance companies devote all their energy to finding the flimsiest of excuses to deny coverage, actually rewarding employees the more denials they send out. It's positively sickening. My question is, how do these people sleep at night?

::Oh, there's more:: )

There might be some embellishment of the truth going on, some sensationalism in an effort to prove his point. But as MyFriendDeb says, the opposite side can't come up with a very convincing argument to prove he's wrong. Moore's movies all have two things in common: they make me hate America. Make me hate it with a bitter, acid-burning hatred, make me want to leave it if I had the means. Moore loves America. But just like you love your longtime partner or spouse despite their flaws, that doesn't mean you wouldn't rather have some of those flaws fixed. I think that's how Moore feels about America.

The other element they share is that they're only watched by people who are already sympathetic to his issues. Preaching to the converted, as they say. I came away from Fahrenheit 9/11 absolutely steadfast in my conviction that there was no way in hell Bush would be re-elected, and we all know how unhappily that history lesson ended. So I think pessimistically that this movie will do very little to change anything either. The rich will keep getting richer and the poor will keep getting angrier but remain paralyzed.

I did take one lesson away from the movie: Life is better for everyone when we all take care of each other. So when I saw a homeless man begging on the corner on my way home, I gave him two dollars, something I never, ever do (mostly because I don't want them spending it on booze). He looked me deep in the eyes, saluted me and thanked me profusely. I thought maybe I'd start carrying cash just to have some to give to every person I saw begging on the street, but then I remembered I'm not really that well off myself. If I were, I would though.
grrgoyl: (Jayne momma's boy)
Our Fourth of July outing this year was everything that 2 years ago wasn't. Ryan invited us (me, Tery and MyFriendDeb) to the park in Englewood that he always goes to. This time we came prepared, packing sweaters and blankets (then the temperature never dropped below 70), snack food and drinks (then the park had food for sale, yummy roast corn-on-the-cob and turkey legs), and best of all, the show's start time wasn't dependent on the whim of a stupid baseball game. And we actually got to see a show this year, which was a huge check in the plus column.

Tery loves her a big ol' turkey legAs do I
Deb prefers a big ol' corn-on-the-cobRyan, like most victims of eating disorders, is seldom seen eating in public

And what a spectacular show it was! We selected a spot on top of a big hill (well, us and 1,000 other people) so we could actually lie on our backs with an unobstructed view, as if the show was being put on special for us. It was worth the difficult climb up an 85-degree slope. We worried about getting back down, until I pointed out that we'd have a crowd of people in front of us to slow our descent. Tery and I shared a knapsack for a pillow and held hands. Halfway through she whispered to me, "I wish Kitten was here."

It seemed rather brief, but we weren't complaining when it began to rain almost the second we got back to the car. A few seconds after it started it turned into a torrential downpour of hail that we imagined turned that 85-degree hill into a deadly mudslide for anyone that didn't get down in time. Ryan barely got us home alive. It was all terribly exciting.


Our neighbors (the ones we called the Fuzz on) have a shopping cart in their stairwell from the dollar store across the street. Now that really says "class," though not exactly "upper" or even "middle."


I'm writing this on my balcony, which is pleasant enough despite the conspicuous absence of a hammock. No, it hasn't arrived yet. On Monday, when I thought it might arrive, I received an email from the seller excitedly telling me that it had SHIPPED that morning. Oh HELL no. I shot off an angry mail expressing my dissatisfaction with this timeframe. Their response was "Good news! We've traced your package and it's scheduled to arrive on 07/09/07. Thanks again for shopping with us!" Here's a tip for would-be sellers: The way to deal with an irate customer is NOT to pretend to misunderstand their complaint and carry on like everything is peachy. If this isn't the best damn hammock I've ever sat my ass in, their feedback will go from neutral (where it's at now) to negative -- but they're a power seller so I doubt I'll be able to bring them down singlehandedly. Which is precisely what they're counting on.
grrgoyl: (snowcake scrabble)
First, a tale of two sellers.

It didn't take long for me to tire of the lame solitaire selections available on my PDA, even though I really bought it for the good of the Snarry. So I got it into my head to search for a PDA Shanghai game.

The site that seemed to offer the most choices was However, too much choice isn't necessarily a good thing, because I somehow got disoriented and ordered one that wasn't compatible with my machine. The world of PDAs, I'm learning, is ruthlessly unforgiving when it comes to compatibility. Why can't we all just get along?

I emailed the company, naively thinking a simple exchange wouldn't be that big a deal. But after a few frustrating days of correspondence, I slowly realized that there were three distinct entities involved with my transaction. There was the game developer, who was doing their best to be helpful. There was the site maintainer (more later), AND a third party checkout site who actually handled the money end. Sheesh.

I was sheepish, apologetic, embarrassed that I screwed up something as simple as ordering a game. I tried to explain that the site was a little confusing, with 18 different variations of the same game and the compatible models of each listed in a massive run-on paragraph with grayed-out letters.

It was all quite good-natured until I received a copy of an email from the site maintainer responding to the "confusing" allegation with this implied insult: "I don't think the site is confusing at all. The compatible models are listed right above the 'buy' button."

Maybe I wasn't supposed to see the letter, but I chose to take umbrage. Yes, customers are stupid and often wrong, but it's terribly bad form to say so to their faces. I responded directly to "Woolf" (the author) with my observations as listed above, and surprise, received no response.

End of story, after many, many, many more emails, Woolf admitted they just couldn't supply me with the correct version for my PDA (out of 18 variations. Did I EVER stand a chance of getting the right one?) I suspect this was Woolf's petty revenge on a difficult customer, but I wasn't in the mood to play games (other than Shanghai). I cancelled my order and got my money back (after only having to remind them once).

Then there's I sat down to watch my Complete Black Books set, and all was right with the world until Series Two. Two episodes, try as I might, refused to play for me.

I emailed Amazon hoping to get a replacement disc. They instantly responded with a promise to replace the entire set. I protested that the other two discs were fine, but they wouldn't hear of it. Furthermore, they insisted I keep the original set since return shipping was "prohibitively expensive."

In contrast to, don't you dare try to come between and their customer service. Even if you're the customer.

It gets better. The second set had the exact same problem, so Amazon told me to keep both and they issued me a full refund.

Guess which company will be getting my repeat business?

I couldn't resist sending Amazon a letter thanking them for "outstanding customer service" and lamenting that I didn't live in England so I could buy all my DVDs from them (but apart from the stuff not available in the US, they are pretty expensive in the dollar-to-pound conversion). They responded with an equally grateful letter thanking me for my kind words. I expect our marriage is imminent.

PDATopSoft got an email from me as well. I assured them that I'd be steering well clear of all their sites in the future (there are several, all with variations on the name but with the same page design), and that Woolf in particular could stand to brush up on his/her customer service skills. Unsurprisingly, I didn't receive a response to this either. Woolf will not be getting an invite to the wedding.


I was dismayed that the whole Black Books transaction went down in record time, and still Snow Cake hadn't arrived. The universe has an uncanny way of sensing my excitement level and stamping all over it. Daily I would run to my mailbox, full of hope and expectation. Daily I would trudge back emptyhanded, trying to console myself that I now had one more day to look forward to the mail.

Despite my gloomy certainty that it wouldn't show up until Friday when I had to work (or worse, after it opens in theaters here), it actually came Thursday, just in the nick of time. So here are my thoughts.

A quick synopsis: Alex (Rickman) is a drifter who, after a terrible accident, is drawn into the life of Linda (Sigourney Weaver), a high-functioning autistic in the backwater Canadian town of Wa Wa. He also meets neighbor Maggie (Carrie-Anne Moss), whose lips barely seem able to stay off him almost from the word go. When he is finally able to relax and feel comfortable among these eccentric women is when he finally can make peace with himself after being lost for a long time. This much I guessed from the 6-minute YouTube trailer, however, there really is so much more to the movie.

::cut for length and for those who don't care:: )

It's a simple, quiet, perfect little movie. I don't regret in the slightest buying it without seeing it first. Would I be so in love with it before my Alan obsession? We'll never know. For not having Daniel Radcliffe in it, it's not half bad.

I also expected a bare-bones disc, so was pleasantly surprised to discover a generous handful of deleted scenes AND a longish "making of" including, rarest of the rare, interview spots with Alan.

It's still (allegedly) coming to Denver April 27th. I can't imagine who will see it, since I haven't seen a single commercial. Still, these movies find their audience. Independent film fans don't need massive marketing campaigns.


Speaking of formidable Potions masters (for the select few who clicked the link), they read my letter on this month's [ profile] snapecast podcast!! I was wrapping surgical packs at the hospital when I heard it. If you don't believe me, download April's episode #14 and it's right around 1:03:16 (along with a pretty lively discussion about the point I made). That's right, bitches: I've made my mark on the fandom. Happy birthday to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
grrgoyl: (U2 iPod)
A Super Bowl party is a damn lonely place if you don't care about sports. I went to Tery's bar, City Pub nee Toby Jug, for the promise of a free half-time buffet and the chance to see Ryan (which I never miss). It was loud, boring, and the only food that appealed to me from the buffet was a hotdog and nachos with toppings. In between a shouted and only partially-heard conversation with Ryan I caught myself watching the game, which was ludicrous given the fact that I understand only the bare minimum of how it's played and really absolutely could not have cared less who was playing, let alone winning. I left immediately after the half-time show to spend a much more enjoyable evening alone at home.


I heard back from the IRS once and for all. The good news is they agree that I don't owe them $2000. The bad news is the last line of the letter was something to the effect of, "You may have gotten off easy this time, but we'll be back, my pretty." Lay off, Mr. Taxman. Have you run out of Enron executives to investigate?


I hate computers. I love them, but I hate them. My ability to make any given program/hardware work falls somewhere above that of my father (at the 0 end of the scale) and below my friend Gerry, who bandies about lots of fancy terminology but doesn't by any means know enough to make a living at it (or maybe he does and just enjoys the thrilling inventory life instead).

I want to use my cheap, no-frills, secondhand laptop basically for two things only: to read Snarry at night in my bed, and to occasionally write a journal post for days like today when I'm sick and tired of sitting at this desk. I had achieved both goals handily when I got my brother-in-law's wireless modem card working for awhile. Then, stupidly, I unplugged it for some reason and when I tried to use it again weeks later it had stopped working.

I fiddled with it endlessly, tormented by the knowledge that it had worked fine at one time so should logically do so again. If it had never worked I would have stopped much, much sooner and wasted much, much less time. But nothing I did would establish a connection (well, specifically it APPEARED to have a connection, but every page I visited produced an "unable to find server" message).

Fine, I thought. I'd go back to the old days of using a floppy disk to transfer data (the laptop has a CD drive but not a burner). Until I looked more closely at my new desktop and only then noticed it didn't HAVE a floppy disk drive. It has no less than 4 different openings for presumably various sizes of memory sticks, but floppy disks, nada.

My choices then were to go back to eBay in pursuit of either an external floppy drive to retrofit my new desktop, or an external memory stick drive to upgrade my laptop. You see, this is why I HATE computers. Nothing can ever be simple. I then thought I had reached a compromise by buying a USB data transfer cable, which arrived yesterday. What the auction failed to mention was that to use this deceivingly simple tool, one needs to set up a network. I don't know what I was expecting. Probably what I always hope for with my computer and rarely get, that I could plug in a "plug-and-play" device and it would magically start working without requiring any extra effort from me.

Network. The very word makes my blood run cold, because it was a word I encountered repeatedly in my exhaustive efforts with the modem card, and I never once found a simple, straightfoward, plain English explanation on what it is, how it's used, and how one creates it. And, as far as I can tell from spending about an hour on it last night, it's not possible to establish a network between a brand new desktop running Windows XP and a laptop of indeterminate age and limited capacity running Windows 98. If it is, I don't want to know because I'm sick of playing with the damn thing. Sick to death.

Simple. I want things simple. Back to eBay I went and bought an external floppy drive for my desktop. It's also USB "plug-and-play" but claims it only needs drivers for Windows 98. (Drivers. Another word that raises my hackles.)


Speaking of computers and Snarry, when I got my backup disk from the good people at Action Computers, one of the things they saved was my own humble effort at a Snarry story. I went back and reread it, and it rekindled my interest in writing it. It wasn't as bad as I remembered, and I also forgot how fun it is to write dialogue for Snape (who is almost as snarky as me). I'm toying with the idea of eventually posting it on one of my Snarry communities (if I can ever think of an ending). The only thing preventing me is the fact that those people gush over just about everyone, regardless of talent or lack thereof. I would honestly prefer it never see the light of day to having insincere praise heaped upon it. So far the only person privileged enough to read it is my beloved Bear, who never talks to me but I love her anyway. Maybe I can entice [ profile] ohdeve...I mean, [ profile] yammerhead with it. He's back and he'll never admit it, but I suspect he couldn't resist the allure of the Snarry.


Finally, I keep putting off writing this because I've been trying to limit my posts to one topic, but since this is a miscellaneous dump I'm including it here.

A movie review 18 years in the making, ::Die Hard:: )

This movie has undoubtedly stood the test of time, especially in comparison to two movies I've reviewed in the past: The Lost Boys which came out the year before and is now hopelessly dated, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves that came out 3 years later and is retarded and dated. With its story of a terrorist attack on a skyscraper, it could be argued that it's more relevant than ever. So, Alan Rickman + Bruce Willis (not an annoyingly horrible actor like other action heroes) + still a great story + with still pretty decent effects = 4.5 out of 5
grrgoyl: (mars who I am)
Guess who wasted no time moving back in last night? Yep, I peeked out to investigate all the banging and slamming to see the FCW (same as just CW, don't be confused) and a male friend moving all kinds of furniture in. When I joked about eagerly counting down to her return, I had no idea it was a matter of hours rather than days or weeks. I might not have been so breezily snarky had I known. She looks a little chunkier which I think is great, assuming that means she's clean. I'd rather have a fat next door neighbor than a tweaked-out one. I immediately phoned Tery, who had already seen her as she was leaving. She said Tracey was sneaking the long way around the building from the upper parking lot, and Tery was almost mauled by her dog before its retractable leash stopped it. Tracey herself hung back around the corner to avoid being seen, unsuccessfully. Though I'm not sure I understand the point of skulking around like that if you're just going to throw things around as if you live in a bowling alley once you get upstairs. With that racket going on, I was very thankful indeed that I had to work last night. More thankful still that the Alcoholic apparently only has email capabilities at work so couldn't harass me about it, cuz you know damn well she was up all night watching her like a hawk.

Until I got to work, where I'm not exaggerating, I had 24 dogs and 12 cats to take care of. 24 dogs and 12 cats! Could have been the makings of a really wacky Disney flick if they weren't all penned up. I was slightly peeved that one of the dogs belonged to a vet tech who had left him accidentally. Of all nights to saddle me unnecessarily with an extra animal, pick the night that I've got a full-to-bursting house. She apologized profusely over the phone though. Fortunately no one was on medication, which was the only thing that made it bearable. The hospital was filthy from such a busy day, and between the mounds of laundry, bloody surgical instruments and all the sweeping and mopping I had to do (not to mention filling out 35 patient charts), I was moving all night nonstop.

The only animal that gave me a headache was ANOTHER senile, half-blind poodle (I'm telling you, no one should get a poodle. They all end up this way). Spanky barked half the night before I finally got fed up, swatted the door of his pen with a broom and growled, "Shut. Up." Whereupon he promptly retreated to the corner, curled up and fell fast asleep. Guess he just needed to be told when it was time to stop barking. Crazy-ass poodles. Oh, except for the moment while I was walking dogs at the beginning of the night and about 8 of them started barking and howling at the same time. I silenced them by screaming at the top of my lungs. In the kennels, I'M the gorram alpha dog and the sooner they learn this, the better we all get along. I'll admit, this is one of the more enjoyable aspects of the job.

I told Tery "the boss" that I was going to start demanding an extra per diem in my paycheck for every type of animal above a quantity of 10. She doesn't agree that this is a great idea. So this is how it feels to have The Man keeping you down...

This morning my fingers feel like useless twigs attached to my hands that I don't have full control over and my brain feels like it's wrapped in cotton. This also explains why I'm wasting time updating rather than working. I'm just getting my fingers limbered up, okay?


Now just to wrap up some buying sagas that I know are keeping everyone up nights worrying.

dchatonly: I filed my claim with Amazon and my jaw dropped when less than 10 hours later they notified me that he had issued a refund for me. I just don't get it. I was so sure he had either fled the country, was in a coma somewhere, or was just a shifty scam artist, and it turns out that he was none of these things. Wouldn't it have just been easier to cancel the transaction and refund me originally, rather than drawing it out for nearly a month and inciting all those hateful comments? dchatonly is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. And I still say I'm well rid of him.

Mr. Advent speakers: I finally coaxed him into a pick-up time and place yesterday. My god, it was like pulling teeth. He withheld crucial information to complete the transaction right up to the last second. He called me to say he was at the Radisson down the street from me, but refused to tell me what he or his car looked like. Had I not been a little less stingy, I might still be cruising the parking lot trying to hook up. And it wasn't like I could call him to say, "Where are you exactly?" because his number showed up as private on my ID.

I pulled in and he approached me from the building. He was a leggy, well-groomed, white-haired man. "I'm the Expedition," was all he said as he pointed at the lot full of cars and followed on foot. Again, the bare minimum of information. I inched forward, unsure how to explain that all SUVs look alike to me. I snuck peeks in my rear window to see which direction he was heading. Miraculously I found it and parked beside it. Big huge enormous gas-guzzling Ford Expedition. He couldn't have failed to notice my newest, biggest bumper sticker that says "Osama ♥ your SUV" or the other one that says "If religious groups want to be in politics, they should pay taxes." Yes, I'm the liberal pinko commie lesbian who will be doing business with you today, sir.

He gave me the speakers, not without feeling the need to throw in a little sales pitch about how great they were and his reasons for selling them. I felt this was wholly unnecessary and just wanted to get out of there. I raced home and hooked them up. They sound great, crystal clear without being overpowering. The first test was back to LOTR:TTT, where they performed just as I was hoping they would: quiet (but perfectly audible) background sounds without overwhelming the center speaker, where all the dialogue comes from. With the tower units I had to crank everything up just to hear them talking, and then would have to hurriedly turn it down again for the thunderous battle scenes. Not cool. Better still, this brand of speakers seems to successfully mute that pesky OWA channel. Regular music sounds great on them too...again loud enough without making you beg for mercy.

I'm sure Tery will disagree with me and will insist on adding a subwoofer. I'll make her happy, though to me a sub is like high beam car headlights: nice to have when you're in the middle of nowhere, but easily annoying other people if you forget it's too high. (I am inordinately proud of this analogy. It came to me last night as I was being blinded by an oncoming SUV.)
grrgoyl: (Spaced Speedy Nick)
Sorry for the more frequent than usual updating. Blame it on the fact that my soul is no longer being eroded away by working inventory every night.

Just a quick meth lab update. I got a call today from the guy at the environmental testing company with some "good news."

"I'm just calling to let you know that finally, after more than a year, the unit has passed testing and has a clean bill of health!" he said exuberantly. Here is where he has clearly mistaken me for someone who is excitedly counting down the days until Tracey moves back in. No, I wasn't happy that the building was contaminated, but the peace and quiet have been fabulous. "We'll be sending certificates to all the adjacent units confirming this within the next week or so. If you have any questions, please give us a call!"

"Ummm, yeah, one question. What ever became of all our stuff in the attic that you said had to be cleaned and decontaminated? Is that all done?"

Here a crack appeared in his fa­­çade of cheerfulness. "You know, I don't think they did anything with the contents. They tested the attic space itself, but not the contents." I gave the man a chance to finish. "As far as I know they left a tarp over the top of them." (I told this story to my sister, who compared this solution to the equivalent of putting one of those paper toilet seat covers down. 'For your sanitary protection!' Yeah, a $2 camping tarp doesn't really do much to allay my fears of contamination, Mister.)

It got better. "Normally the homeowner pays for the testing and cleaning of personal possessions themselves..." Oooooooooh, guess again. I've watched Judge Judy more than enough to know that wouldn't stand up in a court of law. It wasn't OUR idea to set up a meth lab. Why should WE pay for any phase of the cleanup? We are the innocent victims. He finished with some explanation as to why in this case the Whitcombs should pay for it. He promised to contact them and get back to me. If for whatever reason they refuse, perhaps y'all will be seeing us on Judge Judy. If the beloved fruit of their loins won't do any jail time, the very least they should suffer is national television exposure as the parents of a useless, filthy crankwhore. Watching Judy eat them alive and spit them out might just make all this worthwhile.


I'm meeting Mr. Advent speakers tomorrow for the pick-up. And my brother-in-law pointed me in the direction of a very reasonably priced, decent subwoofer. It's all coming together nicely. Oh, and dchatonly finally got to feel my wrath via my claim for reimbursement through Amazon. There was a warning on the page that my comments would be seen by the seller. Really? Because I'm very concerned with sparing HIS feelings. Poor, poor dchatonly.
grrgoyl: (satan)
I wanted to take a better picture of my little Lulu this weekend, but sadly my phone battery was too low and it wouldn't let me.  I'm not sure how much longer she'll be at the kennel, since she's all better (except for a gaping hole in her throat that must just be a missing layer of skin because no blood comes out of it) and there are lots of employees in the hospital who have fallen equally in love with her and would happily adopt her.    Tery finds it hard to believe that such an affectionate dog doesn't have anyone searching for her, but sometimes (most of the time) people are fuckwads and abandon perfectly sweet animals for the flimsiest, most selfish of reasons. 

Speaking of blood (and bodily fluids in general), this weekend I got to run the gamut.    I had a heeler, Ty, on IV fluids.  When I unhooked him to take him outside, I stupidly forgot to cap off the end of the catheter line.  In my defense (which is a phrase I seem to use quite a lot), unlike the average vet tech who works with IV catheters 10 times a day, I do it so infrequently that when I am faced with a dog on fluids I kind of freak out on the inside and tend to forget important things.  By the time we came back in, he was bleeding out of the line.  Furthermore he had already peed in his kennel (obviously dogs on IV fluids need to pee a lot more) so I needed to set up a new pen for him.  Ty happily wandered around, sniffing the other dogs and dripping blood everywhere.    By the time I finished and had him all hooked up again, the place looked like an abbatoir, the floor and my scrubs covered with blood (okay, I exaggerate a tiny bit, or else the dog might have died.  It wasn't a life-threatening amount of blood, but it was spread everywhere).  Another lesson learned (hopefully for good) the bloody hard way.  Pun intended.

I also had an older Sheltie (Haji) who wolfed down his breakfast too fast and immediately threw it all back up again in a big steaming pile.  Plus a kitten diagnosed with a common syndrome, ADR (which I am told stands for "Ain't Doing Right") who needed a fecal sample taken.    Kitten poo is enormously stinky, considering their tiny size.  Thank god Lulu has gotten over her pus-oozing stage or I would have thrown in the proverbial and literal towel.

However, I finally had my dream come true of a weekend of very well-behaved dogs that didn't bark all night long.  So naturally instead I had to listen to the clothes dryer continue its downward spiral of death.    Tery was forced recently to replace the decades' old washer, which would spin out of balance every 14 seconds if you tried washing a blanket and towards the end would practically walk out the door if you didn't sit on it and bodily hold it down.    In the three days it took to replace it (because naturally it waited until the weekend to give up the ghost) we amassed about 12 garbage bags of dirty laundry.    Now there's a sleek new High Efficiency model in there beside the decades' old dryer.    The dryer has developed this very high squealing sound that I would compare to nails on a chalkboard, except that sound has never particularly bothered me that much.  Occasionally the squeal is mixed with an even higher metallic shriek that sounds for all the world like I've got a dinner service for 4 tumbling around in there.    As much as this sound puts my teeth on edge, I can't begin to imagine what it translates into for the poor dogs with their super sensitive hearing.  But the batch this weekend never so much as whimpered.  I made sure to thank them for a quiet night the next morning, again as if any of them speak English. 


Today I got to wreak sweet, sweet revenge on dchatonly.    I received an email from Amazon offering me the opportunity to leave feedback.    "Oh, are you SURE you want to know what I think?" was my first response.  I kept it fairly levelheaded, because no one wants to read a string of obscenities.    I tried filing my claim to get my money back but that has to wait until the 12th, for some reason.  None of this fazes me anymore though because on Saturday I received my DVDs finally, from a seller on for roughly the same price and shipped in only 4 days.    Everyone in my house breathed a collective sigh of relief and I spent almost the entire day in bed Sunday watching them.

The best part about not catching the eps on TV the first time is when I get the DVDs they're almost all new to me.    Season 8 is worth the purchase price due to including what I consider the funniest ep of the entire series, "Woodland Critters Christmas" with the devil-worshipping squirrels and chick-a-dees.    Almost as funny was "Good Times with Weapons," when they pretend to be anime ninjas at Butter's expense.    Or was it as funny?  When I watched it right after waking up (again, in that crucial post-third shift period when I love the world and everything seems fabulous to me) I laughed until I cried.  Later in the evening I made Tery watch it, and some of its charm seemed to have vanished.    Truly not as funny as I first thought, or had all the laughter been leached from the room by Tery's black hole of stoicism?    I'm still not really sure.   

Wow, these last entries have been more pointless than normal.  Perhaps I should adopt the tag my friends [ profile] dopshoppe and [ profile] kavieshana use, "entries that suck."   
grrgoyl: (american ferrets)
I've grown tired of the CDs in my car, but am too lazy to replace them, so last night on my drive into work I was cruising for some talk radio. Air America seems to have vanished from the dial, or maybe at night they convert to a Hispanic infomercial. So it was that I found myself on a right-wing talk show. I decided to give it a try, in the spirit of fairness and hearing both sides of an argument.

The topic was abortion, not surprisingly. I swear, if not for abortion and gay marriage, no one would give these people the time of day, based on how poorly they handle everything else not related to these 2 issues. The host was urging the "values voters" to get out to the polls this November, using typical party fear tactics to emphasize the dire urgency of doing so. Because if the "anti-lifers" prevail, they will "impose their agenda" on the rest of the country. Well, yes, that is the main reason anyone runs for election, however, he was making it sound like abortion would become mandatory across the board for everyone. Because the pro-choice movement is obviously all about eliminating the human race entirely (in reality, that's what I'M all about. Fortunately for everyone I'm too lazy to form any useful plan to do so. Consider THAT the next time you look down your nose at my DVD collection).

They repeatedly and snidely denounced the existence of "post-abortion stress syndrome" as a legitimate complaint. (I've never had an abortion, however I can imagine for most women there is a good deal of stress involved as well as emotional trauma, and probably a lot of it due to these people and the ways they make it more and more difficult each day to obtain one legally (because there's nothing at all wrong with imposing THEIR agenda). Besides, I would think some sort of medical traumatic syndrome related to abortion would help their cause, no? I guess I'll never understand the right-wing mind.) He went on to claim that some pro-choice legislators said that, if their laws pass, it would become illegal for pro-life views to even be discussed. How exactly would THAT happen? Last I checked it was W. that wanted to change the Constitution, not the Left. It was right about then that I could choke down my outraged bile no further and I was forced to change the channel. Because that's what I do when I hear/see something that offends me. I don't linger on it and wallow in it and try to outlaw it like these people. I look away and get on with my life.


I can't wait. On Monday I get to file my claim against dchatonly and see about getting my money back. I've been watching his feedback score steadily drop daily with glee (although I'd be a damn sight more gleeful if I was not among his many victims), in much the same way I keep an eye on W.'s approval rating. Until today when I noticed he actually gained a few points. "Well, what do you know?" I mused. "Looks like someone got their item after all." This is not the case, however. It appears some idiot (skyy05g) complained, "I don't have the movie yet!!!!!" but gave him a neutral rating. Hey, dumbass....see everyone else giving him a 1 out of 5? How does getting shafted like the rest of us deserve a 3 out of 5?? I consider a neutral score appropriate if, say, you get your item but it takes much longer than expected, or if the deal fell through after some extraordinary circumstances but the seller did everything he could to try to make you happy. If you've got no item and no communication and suspect you might have been ripped off, how do you justify 3 stars??? Percentage-wise (60% stars), that's practically a satisfied customer. I hope we all get our money back EXCEPT skyy05g.


Finally I had a dream that I was hanging out with my friend Laura. We were just about to pop in a movie when I suddenly thought I had to be at an inventory. I was halfway to the shower when I remembered, "Silly! You don't work for RGIS anymore!" I've never woken up with such a huge smile on my face before.
grrgoyl: (jayne calm)
As we speak I'm watching my new X3 DVD.  I thought it came out last week and I had missed it, that's how closely I had been monitoring the release date (in other words, not at all).    It's really just for completionism's sake that I got it.  I bought it at Walmart and, probably for the first time in recorded history, I didn't insist on getting the extra-special deluxe edition.  Even though the cover art is 10 times classier, ultimately it appears the only difference between the packages is an "exclusive" Stan Lee comic.  Feh.  I'm sorry, X3.  I'm just not THAT into you.

My Spaced series arrived in only 2 days, which simultaneously delighted and angered me; delighted because it deserves every word of praise that's been heaped upon it.  Angered because it reminded me of my South Park DVD, not here yet despite being ordered more than a week before Spaced and coming from inside the US.    Last night I returned to the site to see dchatonly's feedback has dropped to 90% negative.  Un-freaking-believable.  Why me?  In a fit of frustration I sent him this email, despite still being a week within the shipping window.

It's been well over two weeks now and no sign of my order. I received a DVD from
Spain within a week and one from the UK in 2 days, so I really can't imagine
what your excuse might be. Furthermore I'm pretty discouraged by your rapidly
plummeting feedback score on Amazon. If it's all the same to you, I'd like to
skip the BS and just file a claim against you at the end of the promised
shipping period (Oct 9, I believe). Let me know if this is a problem for you and
if you'd like to offer some explanation of when my order might arrive.

A bit pissy?  Perhaps.  But I consider that my prerogative as a customer, as much as I try to avoid being so in face-to-face encounters.  Not that I'm afraid of an angry response; half the complaints against him on Amazon say he ignores emails.    A fine policy to have as a seller.    Nor am I afraid because I'm the first person to admit when I'm wrong, and I'm that confident that I'm not wrong and that I've been ripped off.  And I am getting very, very sick and tired of being ripped off by online sellers.  But who knows?  Perhaps he'll be impressed by my pluck and deign to actually ship me what I paid for.


We went to see Paula Poundstone this past weekend at Denver University.    I've loved her for ages, even saw her once in a tiny nightclub back in Mystic, CT when she was still mostly unknown.  I'm pleased that she's gotten some new material since then, including becoming more politically outspoken.  "I suffer from short-term memory loss, or as I like to call it, presidential eligibility."    She can afford to be an openly liberal Democrat:  her audience was a HUGE lesbo fest.  I haven't seen that many lesbians at an event since we saw David Sedaris live.    Of course it would be tedious for me to recount her entire act here, but suffice to say my abs were KILLING me by the end of her 2-hour set. 

I was laughing so constantly that, halfway through the show, I had the oddest thought pop into my head (as they sometimes do).  What if the woman directly in front of me thought my laugh was the most annoying thing she'd ever heard and she was silently cursing every explosive outburst?    I mentioned this to Tery later and she pooh-poohed me.  She said that comedians want an audience full of me's because my laugh is so "infectious and genuine."  Whereas an audience of Terys is their worst nightmare, because she laughs mostly "on the inside."  I only heard her audibly chuckle maybe 3 times the entire night.  I don't know how she does it.  She's a stone.


Lastly, my weekend at the kennels was again uneventful, except for Lulu.  Lulu was a stray mutt with wiry hair and one brown eye, one Marilyn Manson blue.  She had had her throat all but ripped out by coyotes, and now was stitched up with a drain jutting out of two oozing holes.  Ew.    The first night she was a little wary of me, and struggled and twisted and writhed whenever I tried to carry her outside.  Suddenly the second night I was her BFF, including rolling onto her back for a tummy scratch at the slightest urging (which made it very easy to apply the warm compresses to her neck).    As I carried her in from the yard, her little body was wrapped around my torso lovingly and I was kissing the top of her head and telling her how pretty she was.  That is until I heard a loud, wet, squelching sound and I noticed a thick, brownish fluid virtually fountaining out of one of her gaping wounds.  Oh.  My god.  Apparently on the day shift when an animal is brought in with an enormous abscess or a similar pus-filled structure, the call goes over the intercom and the vet techs come running.  They LOVE shit like that.    I do not, least of all soaking through my clothing, and I spent the rest of the night professing my love from a safe distance (like all dogs, she was just happy that I was looking at her. And yes, I cleaned the poor girl up first).   

The beautiful people, the beautiful people
A face only a mother could love
grrgoyl: (computer says no)
Last weekend at the kennel was pretty uneventful, but I come bearing pics nevertheless.

This is a horrible picture but blame Tery, she took it. This is Hershey, a beautiful Burmese. Hershey is so downy soft it's like petting a cloud. As I tended to her food and water she meowed and meowed constantly, until I noticed whoever had set up her cage was so distracted by her beauty they forgot to include a litter box. The instant I gave her one she happily used it and stopped meowing. Cats are SO much easier to please than dogs.

Jenny M
This dog is crazy....

Jenny W
...and so is this one. They aren't related but they're both named Jenny. One's a miniature poodle and the other is a bichon frisé. They're both senile and half blind/deaf. And there's practically no point in letting them outside because they both just walk incessantly in circles and never do anything, except get covered in other dogs' urine. They don't make my job any easier.

Unlike this little girl, Bear. She's a schipperke and sooooo adorable. When I opened her cage she literally and unhesitatingly leaped into my arms to go walkies, earning her the title of my favorite dog of the weekend.

In addition I had 2 Britany spaniels that WERE related and practically identical except for one being much older. They were kept in the same kennel so I had to check the chart the first weekend to see which was which to give the correct food. So this weekend when I noticed that Copper was now on seizure medication, I remembered who I thought Copper was and gave it accordingly. It was only after I got home that I started to doubt myself. Sure enough, I went in Saturday night and saw that I had given the medicine to the wrong dog. I realize it's my fault, but in my lifelong quest to deflect blame I protested that it was stupid to put both dogs in the same kennel to begin with (even though Tery assured me it wasn't that big a deal).

This incident reminded me of a dog-sitting episode from my high school years. Church friends of the family wanted me to stay at their house for 2 weeks and take care of their 2 dogs and a few cats. The problem was that Fritz was supposed to get eardrops twice a day, and when they went over this I failed to take note of which dog was Fritz. Long after they were gone I stood in the kitchen face-to-face with both dogs in despair. Addressing them both as Fritz was useless because they both reacted with similar enthusiasm, both equally thrilled to have me look at them. Same result when I tried to call Fritz to follow me. Dogs are so stupid. They were both equally whiny and squirmy when I tried administering the drops. As a result, I decided it was safest to just give both dogs the drops all week.

I realize screwing up seizure medicine is 3000 times worse than messing up eardrops, but as my friend Laura said while training me, she and I both learn far more from our mistakes than from doing things right (although perhaps not, since I obviously learned nothing from the Fritz episode).

Lastly, there was Ian. Ian was an enormous black chow that the techs had left dire warnings for me not to go near, as he was unneutered, vicious and near uncontrollable. He went out during the day and they needed to use the rabies dog-catcher pole to get him back in. So when all the other dogs got to go out the first time while I cleaned their cages, I had to skip over Ian. He just stared at me dolefully as I tried to explain why he didn't get to go out, as if he spoke English (working overnight makes people exhibit some pretty crazy behavior, I'm finding). However in the morning when I made my second rounds, when the dogs get fed and let out a second time, I noticed his bowls were empty and I had to do something. I brought a cup of food and a pitcher of water, speaking soothingly and moving very slowly the whole time as I refilled his bowls. Again, he just sat and stared at me, never moving a muscle. I finished taking everyone else outside and found I had 45 minutes left in my shift (usually I cut it right down to the minute). I debated and debated as I watched Ian. The poor thing had now gone more than 8 hours (and possibly as much as 12....I'm a little unsure what goes on during the day) without a trip outside, while eating and drinking heartily. He had to be dying to pee and was too well trained to go in the kennel. Again acting like a crazy person, I had a little discussion with Ian about it, which was for the most part one-sided. Finally I screwed my courage to the sticking place (whatever that means, though it seemed to apply in this case) and opened the door wide, inviting him out. By now he was stretched out on the ground, eyeing me with polite ambivalence. I gave him a good 45 seconds before closing the door again with no small amount of relief. Hours later while discussing my night with Tery, she said it was a good thing, as I might still be chasing him instead of talking to her.


I got an email from with DVD recommendations for me, as if I need any help finding more DVDs to buy. They cleverly listed as the first item Spaced: Definitive Collectors' Edition, having somehow got word of my weakness for anything containing "definitive" in the title. Tery likes to joke that I'll shell out good money for a bag of ferret turds if it has the word "definitive" on it, which would be a good deal funnier if she wasn't (mostly) correct. Damn them. I pretended to have a modicum of restraint by at least first asking my friend JeffyJeff's opinion, but when he confirmed that it was one of the funniest sitcoms on British TV in recent years, I caved like the spineless DVD whore that I am.

I at least feel better about this purchase than I do about trying to buy South Park Season 8. Always, trying to save a few bucks is my downfall. I bought it from an Amazon seller ("dchatonly", again provided only for personal reference) who was brand new with no feedback. I'm burned time and time again by having the compassionate sentiment that everyone has to start somewhere, yet I keep going back for more. For being such a cynical, pessimistic misanthropist, I have a surprising generosity of spirit. Note to self: Yes, people have to start somewhere, but for god's sake let them make a name for themselves off other customers' faith for a change.

I've been waiting for almost 2 weeks now, but my patience wore thin when I received a DVD (Closet Land) from Spain that I had ordered a week AFTER South Park. Sure enough, going back to the Amazon page I saw with a sinking feeling that my seller who I was willing to give the benefit of the doubt now had an 85% negative feedback rating - out of 13 transactions, only 2 customers had actually received their items. Based on my track record, the odds of me being among the 15% satisfied customers are abysmally small. Fuck fuck fuckity fuck fuck.

Unfortunately Amazon insists on waiting a month before allowing you to register a claim, which might be a little foolhardy; a person can make great strides towards changing their identity and vanishing from public record in a month's time. Fortunately Amazon has an "A to Z buying guarantee" that I hope means they're prepared to refund my money (and that of at least 11 other buyers). Note to self: STOP trying to save a little money with riskier transactions. Stop this instant. (Oh, who am I kidding?)
grrgoyl: (frank)
Last night we did Banana Republic, the Gap's obscenely rich aunt who plants sloppy kisses on its cheek and gives it slacks for Christmas. We started the backroom early, undaunted by the piles and piles of XS strappy tank tops stacked 30 high. Undaunted, that is, before a manager with way too much free time wandered by and decided that, being only slightly more evolved than neanderthals, we lowly auditors needed to work one-on-one with someone to avoid messing up the stacks. Our boss did his best to diplomatically dissuade her, but this was her contribution to the inventory process and she wasn't backing down. It is absolutely irrelevant to the story that she looked a bit like Anne Murray would look if she were forced to abandon singing for a career in retail.

So my auditor partner and I had to share an already cramped aisle with two young bucks who I could tell had very little interest in standing there holding tags for us to scan. Before my guy arrived I had been using two hands to carefully transfer the shirts into another pile as I counted. He instead held the entire stack in one hand and with the other flipped the shirts back into a more disheveled pile. Which was better than when we got to the tanks that had the ticket buried deep inside the shirt. These he pulled off roughly, shaking out the folds and then tossing the shirts carelessly back on the shelf in a big heap. Because, you know, if we did that we'd be messing up the stacks. Inventory isn't a job for everyone. It is widely regarded as mind-numbingly boring. I don't usually mind it, since it gives me plenty of time with my own vastly entertaining thoughts (for instance, sketching the rough outlines of potential journal posts). One of the few perks of the job for me is the ability to work alone. However, even I had to admit that standing there while this kid fumbled through the clothes for the ticket, waiting only for the right moment to pull the trigger on my scanner tested my boredom tolerance considerably. It took every ounce of willpower I had to keep my mouth shut and put up with it.

My auditor partner had to deal with a similar situation, except her counts were also off on top of it. It was while she was searching back through one shelf to find the ticket they missed that Anne Murray returned to find the "helper" watching her do this. "Well if you're just standing there, Rocky, it defeats the whole purpose of me putting you with her," she snapped venomously. None of us made any attempt to explain what was actually going on, because I suspect we all knew how silly the entire exercise was. "Just...go do something else" she barked, and he happily scampered off. My auditor partner turned to me and said under her breath, "Well, that takes care of THAT problem." But I still had to deal with mine. We finally got out of the strappy tanks and into some wafer-thin but still more manageable T-shirts. I tried working with him. I suggested little counting tricks that I use to make it go faster, but he simply couldn't grasp them. I asked and he confirmed my suspicion that most everything needed to be refolded anyway when it went to the salesfloor, making the need to "avoid messing up the stacks" even less crucial. The final straw came when I noticed him using two hands to carefully transfer the shirts into another pile as we counted, in very much the same way I was before he came along. I gently pointed out that I could honestly handle it myself and probably a good deal faster, asking if he thought his boss would get too upset. He eagerly agreed that he actually did have a lot of other work he needed to do, and happily scampered off.

Later talking with Tery about this, she mentioned she overheard Ms. Murray bitching about her great one-on-one plan being "pushed aside." Oh, get over yourself, you soft-hits-of-the-70's-singing beeeyatch. If you don't tell me how to take inventory, I won't tell you how to manage your store. Deal?

In case anyone is sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for an update on my MST3k seller, the same day I posted he emailed me with tracking numbers. The discs arrived yesterday, hooray! However he uses the cheap-ass generic blanks (I've seen them on eBay, $20 for 100. What a deal!) so 4 out of 17 didn't work at all, boo. I emailed him hoping for replacements, but frankly I'm so sick of him I honestly don't care if he sends them or not. I just want him to crawl back into his cave and out of my life.

Addendum: Surprise, surprise. He emailed me to ask me to return the defective discs, saying "I am starting to think the problem might be with your player." Really? A.) How then would you explain 13 of the discs working fine? He also didn't care that I tested them on not one but three players. B.) What would I possibly stand to gain by lying about 4 discs not working? If I really wanted to make some personal profit off of your hard work, don't you think I'm capable of simply copying the discs to sell myself? Finally, C.) What makes you think this entire relationship hasn't been every bit as unpleasant for me as it has been for you? Why do you think I would fraudulently try to prolong it one second longer than I have to?

And on my way to the post office I saw this: The Toyota Sequoia. I'd like just 5 minutes in a room alone with the sick marketing fuckhead who came up with this deceptively Earth-friendly name. I'm sure they were hoping to play up the "ginormous, majestic" aspects of the vehicle. I'm not denying it is that, but why not go for the full smirk and call it the "Ecosystem"?

Finally, at this moment if my ferret Gideon could talk, I suspect he would say, "Is there any place on earth more magical than the bathtub? If there is, I'd be hard pressed to think of it."

grrgoyl: (frank)
I never thought I'd find myself wistfully missing "the good old days," but right about now I am. I am referring to the simpler days, when most people were honest and honorable. Sure, women had fewer rights then and gays had none (wait a minute, we still don't really have any. Scratch that), but folks were as good as their word and crooks were the aberration and not the norm.

I am AGAIN in the middle of an eBay-related saga. The Finding Neverland seller got off scot-free with my 12 bucks...well, almost scot-free. PayPal settled an investigation in my favor; the bad news is with no money in his account there was no way for them to recoup my losses, but they promised to take some kind of action against him. Was it worth it, Was it worth besmirching your reputation for my lousy $12? I certainly hope so, you filthy, motherfucking thief.

Now I'm going through it again with the MST3k guy. After paying him $44 for two seasons he suddenly stopped answering my emails, and now 2 weeks later I still have nothing to show for it. Believe me, I am going to fight a lot harder to get back $44, and I have options. I am still giving him the benefit of the doubt; in our first transaction he claimed he was in a major car accident, explaining the delay in shipping. If that's also his excuse this time though I might be a little suspicious. I may be insufferably naive, but I also find it hard to believe that a fellow MSTie could be a bad person. It isn't the money so much as being ripped off. What is it about me that makes people turn to a life of crime? Perfectly respectable sellers get my money and then suddenly decide it's time to run off to Tijuana to open that oceanside bar with my $44.

But I still need my MST, so I had to go back to eBay. You can think me an idiot if you want, but what choice do I have? I found another seller and started corresponding with him. He works from home like me and was very sympathetic to my tale of betrayal. He said he knew the other seller and that he was "seriously burned out" on eBay...which still doesn't excuse him from either refunding me or sending me the goods, in my opinion. The new guy offered me seasons either through eBay or outside of eBay. Since I've been burnt both ways, it really made no difference to me. I asked for his price list and he sent it, along with the message (and this is a direct quote): "And shipping is free! Lovely! Wee!" Apparently he thinks talking like a cartoon character will make it easier for me to trust him. At this point I am so disillusioned and fed up with cheaters and scammers that I honestly feel like crying, and I wanted to tell him that my faith in humanity really, truly cannot withstand too many more blows. But I didn't want to look like an emotional basketcase this early in our relationship, so instead sent the money with the message, "Please, please, please, please, please, please, please don't rip me off!" He responded very humorously, "HAHA! Now that I have your precious money, you'll never hear from me again!....I'm kidding, I'll send them out tomorrow."

If I MUST be stolen from, I don't mind so much if they have a sense of humor about it. But I really, really, really hope this guy is honest. I really, really don't want to look back on this exchange with bitter irony and tears in my eyes. I mean it this time.
grrgoyl: (Lainey South Park)
Last night Tabby and I went to see Sarah McLachlan in concert. This fulfilled her lifelong (or at least a significant portion of her life) dream.

Tabby adores Sarah. She dreams about her. Had she the means she would probably stalk her, for instance lack of a full-time job, disposable finances and/or a car that doesn't threaten to poop out after 50 miles. She loves her so much that she stubbornly persists in the belief that she has lesbian leanings, despite an apparently happy marriage and 3-year-old daughter to the contrary. She loves her so much that recently when a local radio station was giving away tickets to an exclusive engagement, just Sarah and 10 lucky fans around her piano, Tabby was sure her life would end if she didn't win. She threw herself on the mercy of the DJs, writing them a letter shamelessly pleading for a ticket. She thought she could appeal to their humanity if she described at great length the many ways Sarah has changed her young life. I tried to remain supportive while pointing out that there were probably 100 other women in the Denver Metro area that could make the same argument. She didn't get to go, but yet somehow lived on.

I like Sarah just fine, I just don't think of her as The Second Coming the way Tabby does. In preparation for what would clearly be mandatory enjoyment of the concert, Tabby tried to force me to listen to her newest CD. When on one listen-through I judged it to be kind of mediocre, she frantically insisted I listen to "each track at LEAST 3 times." She wouldn't rest until I loved Sarah as much as she did. I told her not even Sarah herself loves Sarah as much as Tabby does. I refused her request, partly out of spite but mostly because I had just received from my friend Jeffy a copy of The Killers' "Hot Fuss," which was for me the direct opposite of mediocre. Unlike Sarah's "Afterglow," this CD was total love-at-first-listen. They sound like a cross between every group I loved growing up. Yep, I loves me some Killers. But wait, I guess I'm talking about Sarah, aren't I? The only reason I was going to the concert was, through the charity of an independently wealthy co-worker/benefactor, Tabby was able to get the tickets for us dirt cheap, only about $15 apiece. At that price I would gladly see most groups perform, regardless of how I feel about them (except for probably all the hip-hop. And of course country western. I do have SOME standards).

Tabby had been counting down the days and then the hours excitedly. I had not. In fact, after the hell work week I went through last week I was a little irked to have yet another night taken away from me. Not least of all because the arena was about 80 miles away in sunny Loveland, CO...heh, heh. I'm such a kidder. In reality it snowed like a bitch. *sigh* I'm just too good a friend for my own good. But I'm getting ahead of myself. We packed up for the trip, heavily equipped with Sarah CDs and even bringing along my portable DVD player so Tabby could watch for the 15th time the professionally filmed version of the concert we were about to see. I might have mentioned how much she loves Sarah. I did insist on one concession, my Killers CD slipped in among 5 of Sarah's, on the off-chance that tonight would be the night when Tabby finally O.D.'ed on her. I had no idea how long it would take to get to Loveland, but figured earlier was better than later (if Tabby missed Sarah taking the stage I knew she would never, ever forgive me). I figured with rush hour maybe 2 hours, so we left 2 hours and 45 minutes early. It turned out even with rush hour, stopping for a quick dinner and briefly getting lost, we still got there with an hour to spare. The highlight of rush hour had to be, in my traditional role as Asshole Magnet Extraordinaire, when I tried to get into the carpool lane to make up some time but the guy in front of me would have none of it. He actually slid over so he was half in and out of the lane, leaving me no room to pass. It turned out neither of us should have bothered since the lane ended after about 50 feet anyway, but what the fuck??? Instead he got his wish of having me breathing down his neck for the next 20 miles. I'll never understand why people want to keep drivers behind them who are pissed off at them. If I piss someone off, even accidentally, I can't wait to be rid of them in case they turn out to be insanely vindictive and try to follow me home or something. But I guess that's just me.

Like I said, we arrived at the Budweiser Center a comfortable hour early and joined the rest of the early throng bottlenecking into the front door. We passed through "Security," which I refer to only in the joking sense of the word. I was asked to open my jacket, where I could clearly see the bulge (heh, heh) of my binoculars in my inner pocket, but before I could attempt to explain they waved me on with nary a bat of the eye. I suppose in the age of camera phones and camcorders the size of phones, short of strip-searching 5,000 people they realize the idea of security is pretty pointless. Lucky for them I'm an honest, law-abiding citizen. We entered the venue proper and got the important things out of the way first, a.) bathroom, b.) ridiculously overpriced T-shirt for Tabby, and c.) ridiculously overpriced beer for Tabby, which would be her fourth alcoholic beverage of the evening. I rolled my eyes and said (almost) nothing. She's a grown-up now and it's not my place to preach. But pleasantly buzzed and relaxed does she have to be to enjoy what will be the pinnacle of her young, if not entire, life? I tried to justify my concern as residual trauma from the time we had third-row seats to Melissa Etheridge and, after I jumped up with the rest of the crowd at her entrance, this stupid tart behind me immediately dumped an entire cup of beer all over my chair, forcing me to remain standing despite liking Melissa even less than Sarah (again, I was there in support of Tery. Oh, the things I do for chicks).

We then went to find our seats and I laughed out loud when the usher's innocent instructions to help us find them were, "You need to go almost all the way to the back wall, but not quite." Yep, we were about three rows from the back of the stadium. Which was actually made it very tricky for Tabby to rush the stage should she be suddenly overwhelmed with emotion. The distance didn't bother me half so much as the size of the seats...pygmy-sized, made up of about 12 square inches of the hardest, most unforgiving substance created by man. Tabby had no problem, being about 5 foot 4, but at 5 foot 6 and very broad-shouldered, I looked like a linebacker trying to squeeze in there. I feel if we must be a full mile from the stage, the least they could give us would be a little more hip space. I spent much of the pre-show dreading when someone else arrived to sit on the other side of me, as I didn't know how I could possibly make myself any smaller without causing permanent damage.

The opening act were called The Perishers, a peculiar name but one Tery had joked was kind of like The Killers. Sadly, that was where the (kind of) similarity ended. Apart from being from Sweden and having a lead singer who resembled a younger, shaggier Kevin Bacon, their music was boring and monotonous. A real snoozefest. I felt so bad for them, especially when they repeatedly informed us they would be around for CD signing and/or hugs after the show, if anyone wanted either. I always pity the opening band that no one is there to see. They seemed very nice, and I vowed one day when I am stinking rich I will always spend my money on, among other things, opening band CDs at concerts.

When their set finally ended, Tabby was fit to burst with excitement. She could hardly wait for the roadies to finish clearing the stage. I pointed to a female figure apparently directing them and asked if that was Sarah. She almost blinded herself getting the binoculars up at the speed of light before realizing the likelihood that Sarah would have anything to do with setting up equipment. Don't look at me like that. I'm eeeeeeeeeeeeevil. Don't ever forget it. It was of great interest to me when a large girder was majestically lowered from the ceiling with several light canisters attached to it. It slowly went all the way to the ground, where three spotlight operators climbed into seats and were majestically hoisted back up about 50 feet in the air. Hoooo boy. Acrophobia aside, you'd have to have a serious bladder of steel for that job. No pottie breaks halfway through the show for you. I was only fixated on bladder issues because of all the beer Tabby was drinking (at home Tery needs a break about every 12 minutes when she's imbibing), but she assured me she had no intention of leaving her seat.

Sarah took the stage, an event that succeeded in raising my pulse only negligibly. I couldn't understand it...every other show I've gone to I've felt at least token excitement, not being immune to the allure of celebrities. I usually think, "This is it. I'm breathing the same air as Robert/Trent/Sting." But with Sarah, nothing. Which isn't to say Tabby felt the same way. She spent the opening song ("World is on Fire") transfixed like stone in her seat, afraid to even move. During the second song ("Adia") she was bawling like a baby. By the third song (I forget what it was) the novelty had completely worn off for me and I was left again hyperaware that my buttcheeks had gone totally numb. Most unpleasant. Sarah is a real Chatty Cathy during her shows. For the first half every song was preceded with an amusing little story behind it. I am not used to this at all. When Robert Smith talks during Cure concerts, it is very seldom and his accent is so thick and his voice so muffled that I never understand a word anyway. Trent Reznor just lets the music speak for itself, not big on conversation, that one. But back to Sarah...things started moving a little faster when she knocked this off, but the show in its entirety was barely 90 minutes anyway. So she wasn't talking amiably so much as desperately padding.

Tabby had pulled out her lighter earlier just in case, but no one else ever used them, and one would start to feel foolish being the only sap, I imagine. I figured it was because every last one of her songs is a slow love ballad. People would have carpal tunnel by the end of the night. Tery later said it was because lighters were forbidden these days (oh, yeah, I almost forgot about that ultra-thorough security check) and that the new thing is to hold up cell phones instead. Does anyone else besides me think this is utterly soulless? What is romantic about a cell phone screen? Argh.

By the end I was ready to join my ass in a state of somnolence because it was all so mellow. She never even played my favorite song, "Fear." I'm used to concerts with exciting, danceable rock music, with bass and drum beats that throb through you and grab you by the shirt and shake you if you dare try to sit down. I remember leaving the NIN concert drenched in sweat and loving every minute of it. By the time Sarah got around to anything close to this level of animation ("Possession" and later "Sweet Surrender," both well towards the end of the show) I was so stiff and arthritic from sitting in that torture device that I was forced to be content with tapping my toes enthusiastically. But hey, I didn't get beer spilled on me. I consider that progress.

The drive home was harrowing in a full-blown blizzard. It didn't help that we had to pee like two racehorses so this spurred me to dangerous speeds. I passed through at least four different weather conditions before hitting Denver and three fairly major accidents. Tabby was snoring loudly after only 10 miles; two hard ciders, two beers and months of breathless anticipation had finally taken their toll. I took the opportunity to switch the stereo over to The Killers, thank you very much. The night wasn't quite the religious experience for me that it was for Tabby, but it's all good. I've had my chance to worship at the altars of my music gods. I was happy to give her the same chance. She's a little sad that it's over and she has nothing left to live for. Except, I pointed out, when Sarah tours again. Or when she accepts her love for Tabby and comes looking for her, whichever comes first.


I don't know when I'm going to learn that trying to save a little money oftentimes is just not worth it. Again I am dealing with an eBay seller who auctioned off a Special Edition copy of Finding Neverland but sent me a no-frills version instead. After three emails went ignored I broke down and called him today. I was prepared for an argument, especially when according to his auction exchanges are only accepted in the case of defective discs. But no, he said he had the version I wanted and would cheerfully send it off when he received the original DVD back.

I know what you are thinking, and no, I have no idea why he didn't just send me the correct one in the first place. My best guess would be because this is my life and this is how it has to be. Forever.
grrgoyl: (kitten in clocktower)
Trip to Best Buy to obtain correct version the good old-fashioned way: Check. (And note: The correct version was in fact the ONLY version they had for sale. Even Best Buy knows.)

Get some caffeine into my system so I can be just pissed-off customer rather than crazy-mad, if-you-weren't-just-a-PO-Box-number-I'd-be-tempted-to-march-into-your-store-with-a-gun, pissed-off customer: Check.

Place phonecall to seller for a proper ass-reaming: ...not exactly. I got instead an answering machine. Second try same thing. So THIS is the game they want to play? Very well.

Send not nearly as irate but still perfectly clear that I am not to be fucked with email: Check. vis a vis:

This is the second time I have gone through this with you. I also ordered this title through your Amazon site, and I noticed that the address matched on both packages. I specifically asked you if this was the Run Lola Run with audio commentary and you said yes. It is not. I appreciate you refunding me when I return it, however, I'm not sure if the refund includes shipping charges. I've paid now twice for you to ship me the wrong item and have nothing to show for it. Not my fault, your mistake, I don't feel I should have to pay shipping. Please get back to me on this.

Yes, I am oftentimes more talk than action. But they still dodged a bullet by not answering the phone.

I also think it is quite telling that I bemoaned having to pay full price for a 6-year-old, foreign, subtitled movie, but then found myself shortly thereafter browsing ridiculously overpriced mp3 players that I certainly don't need. I was merely testing my willpower. Yeah, that was it. (my, but they are sexy though.)


grrgoyl: (Default)

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