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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~*~

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

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

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

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



I took this vid with it:



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

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

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

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



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


Non-shit-eating ferrets



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




And now, honestly, truly, I mean it, I am done spending money.
grrgoyl: (firefly take me sir)
Yes indeedy (Tery has a Facebook friend who begins every post with "So....," an in medias res kind of thing. I say it's a sign of deep-seated insecurity, wanting to make sure she's got people's attention before speaking, but let's see if it works for me).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Dupreeks508 lies


~*~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But from long experience on this board, I know all too well the more you try to defend and justify yourself to people, the more sharks show up to tear off a piece. So I just closed the window and went on my way. It amuses me to think of them working themselves into a frenzy, and then eventually looking around and realizing I was long gone. I'm the anti-troll; I stir up trouble and then never look at the thread again. Seriously.
grrgoyl: (U2 iPod)
We're gearing up for the big road trip to California. I had the brilliant idea of loading up a couple of mp3 players with our individual (and never-intersecting) music choices -- if I learned one lesson from the first trip, it's that fifteen CDs, which seem like plenty while you're packing, become tedious and repetitious surprisingly quickly on a 16-hour journey. My sister and I actually hit a truck stop and bought a cheesy 80's compilation, so desperate were we for something fresh.

I also knew if anything were to give Tery a silver lining on this trip that we're both dreading, it would be the excuse to shop.

I already had a 2nd gen iPod Nano, 2 gb, which had always seemed to be plenty. Lately though I've been hovering near full capacity, and it's been a bit of a drag switching out albums. Still, 500 songs should be plenty for the trip.

Her eyes lit up at the suggestion, and within the hour she was on Amazon poking around. Within another half hour, she bought a Sansa 4 gb Fuze based on some positive reviews, a shockingly quick decision, but I guess she doesn't like to draw it out and get bogged down for days reading every possible review like I do when buying electronics. Hey, it's a serious business.

The really nice thing about the Sansa is it has a slot for a memory card, so you could increase its capacity to 32 gb, though it's highly unlikely she will.

It arrived, and it was small and sleek and shiny. I felt a twinge of jealousy, I'll admit. I STILL thought I could live with my puny 2 gb, but Tery knows me better than I know myself. She insisted adamantly I let her buy me something with larger capacity as an early Xmas gift.

As sexy as the Sansa appeared, playing around with it I quickly realized how used to the iPod's menus and controls I had become. Everything was in a different place on the Sansa and, well, different. I realized I wanted another iPod.

We had of course looked at them first when Tery hopped online, but she insisted on new, and new iPods are still crazy expensive. Fortunately I'm not so particular. Ebay had the typical feeding frenzy on anything worth buying, so I turned to Craigslist. Plenty of options for 4 gb. Then I noticed that for just a little more, I could have an 8 gb. Well, why not? (Also noticed some highly delusional people trying to pass off their 2 -- and even 1 -- gb players in the same price range. Yeah, good luck with that.)

I sent out about six emails, went back to work and waited. About three hours later I heard back from one; Ian had an 8 gb described as "got some scratches so it has a case now" and light blue. Ehhhh, not ideal. For fifteen minutes I debated holding out for a better offer, but reasoned that his price was right and I would be slapping it into my own case anyway. I arranged to pick it up at his place after my shift.

He sent directions and the explanation that his phone had been turned off so unfortunately I couldn't text him. This dispersed my cloud of buyer's euphoria pretty quickly, wondering if I was headed for a drug den or if Ian was one iPod away from homelessness. I didn't want to be judgmental, though; I've had to sell things to pay a bill from time to time. Doesn't make you a criminal necessarily.

I shared my concerns with [livejournal.com profile] kavieshana (N), who wanted me to bring a gun to the transaction. Apart from the fact that the closest thing I have to a gun is the cheap plastic thing from my Jayne costume, I didn't think it was a wise idea.

However, she apparently was really freaking out. "If I don't hear from you in 60 minutes I'm calling the Colorado police." (Haha, you might want to narrow it down to Denver for future reference.) I followed Ian's directions, but unfortunately the sun had set and his apartment complex was none too easy to navigate. As I wandered in the frigid dark, she texted again "Report!" "Having trouble finding his place" I answered. "Yeah, I totally believe this is Elaine" she sent back. She's adorable when she worries.

I finally found his building. It was pretty grotty, alright. It was in fact only a few blocks from the grotty place we lived before moving to the condo. I was somewhat reassured by the Wicca goddess stickers plastered all over his door. Sure enough, he opened the door and was a total crunchy granola hippy, with dreads and a double pierced lip. And a really cute shy little smile as well.

The hand-off was completed. "I hope you get your phone turned back on," I said teasingly as I left. I updated N with the good news of my survival. I described Ian and she replied, "Ah, we didn't consider the pothead spent his phone money on pot angle." I added the detail of his sweet smile, and she shot back, "You hooked up with him? Oh my god, Elaine, they don't BATHE."

Anyway, I got it. I took it out of the very cheap silicone case (seafoam green, ugh. It haunts me everywhere) and almost every edge had pretty ugly gouges in it, but that spares me the heartbreak of putting the first scratch on it myself. And it functioned perfectly so that's all that matters. I have a sleek black case coming from eBay. It's all good.

Well, almost. I wouldn't be writing this if there weren't some saga involved.

I was now pretty excited to be able to sell the 2 gb and get some extra cash for my vacation. I cleaned it up, dug out no less than four different cases for it (I'm very picky about my cases) and listed it on eBay and Craigslist. Only 2 gb, but in near perfect condition (thanks to living in four different cases), which was more than most other listings could say. I was confident.

Sure enough, within about two hours an eBayer snagged it at my Buy It Now price. Then literally over the next ten minutes I got an email, a text and a call responding to my CL ad. Hot, hot item. I removed it after that because I HATE people who are too lazy to remove their ad or respond to you after its sold. Like those five other 8-gb sellers I'm still waiting to hear from.

I had kept my music on it in case a CL buyer wanted to test it, but now it needed to be restored to factory settings for its new home. Here's where the problems started.

I thought there was a menu option to do this, but apparently it can only be done through iTunes. You all might or might not remember that iTunes is dead to me and I've since moved on to Media Monkey, which does the exact same thing except you can use other file formats besides mp3 and, more importantly, no one can hack them and steal $250 from me. Unfortunately I need a separate program to rip from a CD (FreeRip, which I also highly recommend); N simply can't understand going through so much work when there's already a program that does it all. She doesn't know how highly I value my principles.

So I had to download iTunes special just to wipe my Nano. After the fifteen minute install (JESUS CHRIST ITUNES), to my dismay I realized my computer had stopped recognizing my iPod. It would charge, but no data transferring was happening. I only update it once a week (with the new Dan Savage podcast), so it had been a week since I had tried. Two cables, one computer reboot and a few halfhearted attempts to play in the Apple configuration screen later and I was no closer. "What are the odds of this happening? To anyone who isn't me?" I asked N (we text quite frequently if that isn't obvious by now). Answer: ".000000000000001." Too fucking right.

After digging through the Apple forums, finding plenty of people with a similar problem having solved it quite easily by rebooting the iPod (tried several times), I came across one lone post that made my stomach slide down into my groin area. Guy noticed his friend's Sansa cable looked the same as the iPod's and experimented, apparently frying his iPod.

Yep. I had done the exact same thing to see if we could minimize packing duplicate cords on our trip. Stupid, stupid, STUPID. Though since I already hate Apple (to some extent), I prefer to blame them for making such delicate equipment. The good news is I didn't do the same thing to Tery's Sansa. Oh, and that I didn't decide to stand by the 2 gb and discover the night before the trip that I was stuck with the same music I've been listening to for six months.

I reluctantly refunded the eBayer his money with a truthful explanation. I'm hoping he doesn't ding me with negative feedback -- I mean, I could have sent it off and claimed it was fine when I packed it (yeah, right...I would never have a good night's sleep again). We'll see.

So what's the market value of an iPod in perfect cosmetic condition, packed full of songs that can never be changed? Surprisingly, probably something. Not the price I was asking obviously, but there are tons of auctions for as-is, parts-only iPods all over eBay that get interest. Sure beats just throwing it away. Will look into it after our trip.

~*~

Tery and I were watching the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, and they were wrapping up with a puff piece about discovering why cats don't slop water everywhere when they drink like dogs do (a high-speed camera captured a cat drinking, and you can see the tongue pulls the water towards the mouth in a column, and their jaws snap shut on it rapidly with every sip).

I couldn't resist this joke at the closing line, though:

Brian Williams: This is unlike our dog companions, who we of course forgive due to their extremely high lovability index.
Me: I'd like to see some raw data on that lovability index, Bri.
grrgoyl: (Jayne momma's boy)
Remember when I said I was going to try to start writing shorter, more digestible entries? This is not one of them. But since I'm so super nice, I'll cut for length so the boring doesn't take up your whole f-list for a day.

::We need ANOTHER new computer:: )

ADDENDUM TO ADDENDUM: You started out in Austin, Texas, Win 7 Prof. What the hell are you doing in Utah???

*~*

::Everything must go! Especially this guy trying to rip me off:: )

~*~

I won't cut this or else you'll miss out on the pretty photos.

I'm excited because after watching "Cats 101" on Animal Planet, we suddenly realized what breed our Schminky Minky is (remember she was found in a garage with a litter of babies, no official credentials on her). She's a Norwegian Forest Cat!

Now when you rattle off such a grand-sounding title to people, they look at you like you've lost your mind and started thinking you're King Louis XI (or your cat is). But the thing is, she fits the description to a T.

Physically they're known for their long coats (it's cold in Norway. Though frankly it's a bit wasted when she spends most of her day on the softest bed money can buy), particularly their full neck ruff, big bushy tail and tufty toes (that was the point we perked up). Their faces are equilateral triangles with big eyes and tufty ears. Built sturdy, they're the distant cousin of Maine Coons (I've always thought she was part Coon). Emotionally they're calm, confident, intelligent and faithful. I don't think I need to add any more to that statement.

A Google image search turns up lots of examples to back my claims, but I chose this one to show you:



For comparison, here's Mitten:


Thanks to Tery's efficient new labeling system, there can be no mistake. I love how she left out an entire syllable


Totally unrelated, after rewatching some Firefly, I decided I couldn't go another day without Jayne's cunning hat. Fortunately eBay is crawling with them:


I do believe I got me a Halloween costume already for next year. I also just noticed there's a Norweign Forest Cat with me in the picture. Faithful.
grrgoyl: (Spaced Mouspider)
Things have been kinda hectic in the medical transcription world. Every weekend for a month we've received desperate emails begging for help with gargantuan backlogs. Every weekend overtime has been approved and every weekend I've worked that overtime. Even worked two Mondays! My one day off a week. I am an overtime HUOOR.

Then we had to attend a mandatory conference call, where they unveiled their idea to put together a "S.W.A.T." team of transcriptionists who would be offered first crack at overtime work. They learned what other companies have long known -- if you want to get extra work out of your people, give them a job title that sounds exciting and a little dangerous. RGIS, my super lame inventory job, did it. The best of the best were called "Top Guns" and competed for trips to Hawaii (not as glamorous as it sounds; there's a chain of Hawaii-based stores that needed help every year and this was their sneaky way of providing it). Nowadays the fastest auditors are called "Prowlers," like the Battlestar: Galactica fighter jets, because the times are a-changing.

I have a strong suspicion that they're having a serious problem getting people to work their scheduled shifts (we get spanked on almost every call), evidenced by the constantly towering backlog we spend every weekend cleaning up, so what appeared to be a way to make us feel special was probably more likely an underhanded assurance that they would have a group of suckers to pick up the slack left by those more interested in enjoying their summer vacation. I didn't particularly care. No sooner had the call ended than I sent my email off volunteering (also inquiring if we would be issued bulletproof vests). My supervisor told me not only was I on the short list for the team (probably because I never turn down overtime), but I was also the top producer of our group (probably because I never turn down overtime).

You guessed it: I made the team (no sign of my vest yet). And I'm working OT every day this week.

It is with that fact that I justify this. I'll admit I've become sort of bored with the repetitive, endless motion of lifting weights (yes, [livejournal.com profile] kavieshana, another "look at me, I exercise 23 hours a day. What are you doing with your life?" post). As thrilled as I am that the gym membership has shown me more results than a lifetime of off-and-on Bowflex use (in fairness, more off than on), I thought it would be nice to have some variety.

At that particular moment, like a sign from Heaven, a commercial came on TV that I've seen twenty times and thought nothing of previously: The Wii Fit. I am forever turning to technology to solve my problems and enrich my life. Here was an opportunity to apply it to my workout as well. it was simple. I needed to buy a Wii.

Do you remember the enormous hype that surrounded the Wii's original release? How it was the hot new game that everyone had to have but no one could get their hands on? Here, Toby Turner says it better than me in his semi-original song, "Every Day (the Wii is gone)":



Let me tell you, nearly three years later, the Wii is still a pre-tty hot item. The difference is there are a lot more options if you don't mind going used (I don't). The trick is getting someone to respond to you.

I began my search where I always begin my searches, on eBay. Thousands to choose from, but about 95% of them were active auctions with tons of interest. Anything "Buy-It-Now" was almost assuredly a used item and almost equally assuredly with something missing or wrong with it. Here's how crazy it is: I started browsing the newest listings, hoping to get in on a deal before anyone else saw it. I found someone selling theirs "barely used and in excellent condition" for a BIN of $159. I bookmarked it and looked around for about ten more minutes before deciding it sounded pretty good. By that time, it had already been bought. TEN MINUTES. It was challenging not to become completely demoralized.

There was a seller in Canada selling a "newish" unit AND the Wii Fit (a $75 value on its own, I learned) for $250 plus shipping. When I sent an email asking for clarification of "newish" (technically not even a word, Canada) and whether it in fact included the console and the Fit (after I browsed a listing for the Fit all alone for $189 -- you can never be too sure with these auctions), I got what seemed to me the unnecessarily brusque and kind of snarky response, "Outlined in the product index." Canada was simply too busy to bother with my stupid little questions. Which would have been understandable back in 2006, when people were prostituting their kid sisters for a Wii. But you're not the only game in town, Canada, or even the best.

Hanging over my head was the specter of multiple auctions of approximately $200, all in vague unspecified states of used. I don't trust a seller that has ten identical listings. That means he's got them stacked in a warehouse or a storage unit and just picks whatever one is on top to ship to me. $200, which I could afford, but pigheaded me is always convinced I can do better, which is how the $159 dealio got away from me.

So I turned to Craigslist, and this is when my frustration REALLY began. Because on Craiglist it isn't as simple as settling on one to buy and clicking "buy." You have to email the seller and wait agonizingly for a response, not sure if the lack of one is because the seller is away from their computer, has received hundreds of emails and is sifting through them, or has already sold the item and is ignoring you. Oh, the uncertainty can drive you mad.

(Too many people don't bother to delete their listing after selling, and these people I say deserve to have their inbox inundated with replies. It's infuriating. Then when I was shopping once I came across an inexplicably enraged seller who wrote "DON'T ASK ME IF IT'S STILL AVAILABLE. IF THE LISTING IS UP, IT'S AVAILABLE!!!!!" You just can't win.)

The first day, not being too experienced with Craigslist, I sent out one inquiry and politely gave them 12 hours to respond. The second day I said to hell with polite and sent out about four requests. I had in fact given up on Craigslist and turned back to eBay, putting in a bid on one for $99 from a private seller that said in the very small print that it was actually more new than used, when I suddenly got a call from a Craigslist seller. "Andre" had received plenty of offers, all of which had fallen through for one reason or another. I confessed I had a bid on eBay and asked if I could get back to him in 30 minutes when I knew if I won or not. Andre was in a nightclub or somewhere very loud, and to further complicate matters couldn't receive incoming calls on his phone. He would call me back.

He also mentioned that his asking price was only $150 and that it was barely used. And of course there was the very appealing thought of having it this weekend, no waiting for shipping. I had never wished so hard to lose an auction before. And it worked! I got outbid and I immediately texted Andre (not sure if his phone had a similar ban on SMS messages) to seal the deal. He called me back and I agreed to meet him back at his apartment to pick it up before I went into work at the hospital. It was 8:00 at night.

It wasn't until I was on the highway that reality suddenly sliced through my buyer's euphoria. The directions he gave me put his apartment at the very extreme far north of Denver, in the alien wasteland of Thornton (it's not literally a wasteland, but definitely alien. I never have a reason to go to Thornton since putting my inventory days behind me). I knew nothing about this guy. He sounded nice enough on the phone, but it suddenly seemed just as likely that he was a serial killer luring people to his home, easy pickings, with the promise of a super cheap Wii. It would be the perfect plan. And stupid me didn't even think about bringing someone along as a safeguard. I was on my way to becoming the latest movie star in a snuff film, I was sure of it.

In a panic, first I ran through a short list of people who might not mind meeting me up there to watch my back. A very short list indeed, as realistically there were none. I even briefly considered giving it a miss and blowing him off. But dammit, that $150 Wii had an irresistible siren song.

I knew Tery had gone to the gym and left her phone at home, but I called anyway and left a message with the directions I had so far (which culminated in the very vague "Turn in there and I'll be looking for you" rather than an actual street address, which didn't much assuage my fears). I kept thinking of any kind of information that would be helpful in finding my murderer after I turned up missing. When I arrived at the apartment complex I texted her the address on the sign. When Andre called and apologized for running late, describing himself as driving a gray Passat, I texted that to her too. He had also mentioned previously that he was from Germany (while struggling with the term to describe his driveway) and I passed THAT along (and amended my fate to that of an international snuff film star). I'm sure when she returned home there was plenty on there to get her good and freaked out too. I mean it, I was well on my way to terrified.

The apartments looked really nice, borderline posh and classy. But then again, I consider our neighborhood nice yet there Tracey sits next door. I tried to devise a strategy: I could stay behind him, keep him in view at all times in case he tried any funny business. Which wouldn't help me if he had a friend waiting in a closet to ambush me. I would peek at his apartment from safely outside, and if anything seemed amiss I'd skedaddle -- as if serial killers routinely left their victims' entrails stuck to the walls of their front foyer. I had to face it: he had the home court advantage.

He finally turned up and was a smallish, lean, sort of attractive and bookish guy. He looked quiet and perfectly normal, but aren't those the ones you need to watch out for? He approached me in the parking lot and extended his hand warmly. As I followed him upstairs to his unit, I told him I hoped he wasn't a serial killer. He answered he thought the same of me! Disarming, for sure. His place was small but tastefully decorated, meticulously neat (not a stray metatarsal bone or spleen to be seen anywhere).

I watched as he fumbled to turn on the game so I could verify it worked properly. He explained he had played it once in Germany at a party with all his friends and had so much fun that he bought his own here in America, only to discover it wasn't quite so much fun playing alone. The demo process took what felt like forever, between having to change the remote batteries and him handling everything with delicate kid gloves (I don't think this was for my benefit, I think he just took really good care of his things. He even had the original receipt in the box. From Tarjhet!). After I insisted that I was satisfied, then came the painstaking process of carefully boxing it all up to manufacturer's specifications. I was an hour late for work. But like a gentleman he walked me down to my car again, and the deal was done!

I had a nearly new Wii in my front seat at a lower price than I ever expected. To make matters better, just then the new Muse came on the radio. Life was good.

Well, MY life was good. I thought of sad, lonely Andre's life. He worked in IT for the state, obviously doing well for himself, but it sounded like all his friends were back in the Motherland. I thought that but for Tery, that would be me (minus the tasteful decoration. I never thought much about furniture or decorating before meeting Tery, unless you count dorm posters). Kind of depressing, but I wasn't going to offer my hand in friendship. Not to someone who lives all the way the hell up in Thornton.

Also from now on I think I'll stick to eBay. Or at least conduct my transactions during the daytime.
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 [livejournal.com 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: (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 [livejournal.com 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: (ferrets attack)
Sunday Ryan invited me to Pride Fest -- actually, he invited Tery, who declined (she has an irrational fear of gay bashing, even though I'm pretty sure that, were homophobes to show up, they'd be decidedly in the minority). Ryan assumed I'd be too tired after working Saturday night. Foolish boy. Saturdays are usually very slow and I manage to sleep most of my shift away.

Megan was supposed to go, but sadly stayed out too late at the bar the night before. Boo. Happily, MyFriendDeb did go with us.

Sunday it was 100 degrees in Denver, so I was kind of glad Ryan didn't care about seeing the parade. We made our leisurely way downtown for the retail portion of the festivities, which turned out to be a lot like Taste of Colorado but with more rainbows. Honestly, these vendors think gays will buy anything as long as it's rainbow-colored (in some tasteless cases, they were right). I didn't see anything that appealed to me, telling myself that it would be pointless to buy jewelry when I only leave the house twice a week, and my only company is dogs when I do. I did cave and buy Tery a Black Ice Rugby shirt which I thought had many things going for it: 1) The logo was the classic, clean athletic style that she prefers, 2) it had "Denver" on it prominently; Tery takes great pride in local sports, 3) rugby is her new "favorite" sport, and 4) it's a lesbian team, which isn't obvious from the shirt. I had to have it -- the scantily clad players roaming the crowd trying to draw customers in were TOO cute.

Most people were wearing gay-themed T-shirts, which if you ask me is a bit of overkill. You're AT a gay pride festival with your girl/boyfriend hanging all over you -- you can't get much more out than that. I myself opted for my Serenity "Fruity Oaty Bar" shirt, which I'm sure threw most for a loop; with the exception of a delicious computer geek manning one booth who recognized it and commented. Yummy.

So apart from buying overpriced food (using the evil ticket system, so you don't realize you just paid $8 for a funnel cake and a bottle of water) there wasn't much to do but people-watch. Oh sure, there was a godawful lesbian band performing, which we quickly fled in favor of the opposite end of the park, where pretty shirtless boys were bumping and grinding to rave music. Ryan thought he'd died and gone to heaven, though I pointed out his chances of hooking up were slim indeed with Deb and I tagging along. I was just enjoying watching all the people: the boys kissing, the girls holding hands, the transexuals, the transvestites, the goths, the little baby butches. I wanted to stare and stare, not because I thought they were freakish, but because I couldn't get enough of them appearing so comfortable in the crowd, as if they were "normal."

The only hint of disapproval I spotted was a kid, a young man, walking alone carrying a bible with a stern look on his face. He didn't approach anyone though, perhaps trusting his presence to be sufficient to convey his message. Maybe he imagined himself walking among a den of lions.

But wow, was it hot. Just drinking water was an all too transient relief. I discovered it was much more effective to pour it straight down the back of my shirt. Considering the extreme heat and the very real danger of medical emergencies, it was quite galling that most booths were selling water for $2.50 a bottle -- with the exception of one selling "back alley" bottles for $1 (not tickets. "Don't tell anyone" the woman implored me). The temperature resulted in many of the crowd going topless (I've never wished more to be a boy) to Ryan's delight; but the coolest of them all had to be a boy clad only in a T-shirt and what from behind looked like girl's panties (Ryan assured me they had a Y-front though). If you ask me, that took more balls than the goth couple in full regalia with the girl leading the boy on a leash, and I'm sure came the closest to violating some public indecency law.

It was fun, but it was also good to leave. I passed out the minute I got home from heat exhaustion, not that our condo was any cooler.

~*~

Monday I tackled our balcony with a vengeance. First, fed up with being held hostage by pigeons that we in fact only see once every couple of weeks, I pulled down the chicken wire that has covered the front of it since last year. I then put it across the ceiling to protect just the rafters themselves. It was all very manly, butch work. I'll admit, as much as we enjoyed the feeling of enclosed privacy the previous setup inspired, opening it up created a sense of refreshing freedom, as if the fencing was keeping out the air.

I also bought a new screen door with the intention of installing a newfangled cat door designed for screens rather than glass. Yet another example of how "Easy to install!" is a highly misleading statement. But as difficult as that task was, I'm beginning to suspect it was a walk in the park compared to getting the cats to use the door. I'm the first to defend the superiority of cats over dogs, except in the area of training. They don't take kindly to having their heads pushed through the flap, that's for sure.

Now that the balcony is clean and habitable again, I'd like an excuse to spend more time out there. Towards that end, I've wanted a hammock for years and by gum, now I'm getting one.

The last order of the day was to get my used computer from eBay up and running. It arrived Friday (remember eBay rule #2) and I immediately saw why it was being sold for $35. It was a hideous, towering, ecru behemoth. Compared to my newer sportier black model, it looked like an industrial server. It came without an operating system, and I don't have any experience in rebuilding a completely blank machine. It wasn't easy, but few obstacles are any match for me when I'm determined.

First, the monitor wasn't communicating with it. I thought my LCD monitor wasn't compatible, but it turned out the video card had come loose from the motherboard (my thanks goes to my Sony Vaio that I had to open once a week to tweak sound and capture cards). Then when I tried to install Windows XP, I got hung up when it asked for an older version of Windows to verify my right to use XP (something like that); thank god I found an old Windows 98 disc I forgot I had. Then I thought I was home free until XP asked me for my product key. The disc was no longer in the original packaging and it turns out people on the hack message boards are pretty stingy when it comes to $100 licenses. I went back to my desk and, thank god x1000, dug up the product key. Luck was being every inch a lady for me. Until the last step, hooking up my internet. I fell into a cold, familiar panic when I started seeing the connection setup screens from my old wireless laptop days. I persisted, however; the whole reason I picked this auction was it promised to be "Great for high-speed internet!" Fortunately I remembered the trick that I always forget when it comes to my cable modem -- that simply unplugging it for 30 seconds resets it back on its merry way. This time was no exception.

So there we have it. A fully functioning, fully loaded (for work purposes anyway) computer for only $35. Not too shabby.

And that was my weekend! I wish I had a day off to recover.

~*~

Last but not least, please welcome my old friend Bear ([livejournal.com profile] lizzieloudotcom) to LJ. Be nice to her.
grrgoyl: (Black Books children's book)
I'm getting tired of the games the airlines play. For 2 days I stared at a fare of $875 on American Airlines, agonizing over whether I should hold out for something lower. Because $875 is practically $900, which for all intents and purposes might as well be $1000 (remember what I said about skewed perspective as you get closer to $1000?) It was therefore actually a relief when on the third day it bounced back up to $980. Yesterday a fare of $858 popped up. Again I hesitated, because it was after all only a savings of $17 over $875. An hour later it was back up to $889, proving MyFriendDeb's glib remark about sale windows literally only lasting hours.

This all leaves me full of doubt -- how many juicy fares have come and gone while I was away from my computer? I can't very well sit here 24 hours a day. And did you know that the much-touted TravelAlertâ„¢ and FareWatcherâ„¢ tools on Travelocity and Orbitz only apply to "popular US routes"? No fair! (No fare!) Why can't there be some sort of reverse eBay site that monitors fares and automatically buys a ticket when they drop below a certain price? I remember 10 years ago when I first went to England my ticket was $700, and I considered that a small fortune. Today I'd jump on such a great deal without a second thought.

~*~

I've been forced to relocate my work station downstairs. I was toying with the idea of maybe using my cheapie-cheap backup Gateway (if it ever arrives) downstairs for the really hot days. By Wednesday it was apparent I was living in a fool's paradise. I couldn't even see what I was typing for all the sweat in my eyes. I thought my only obstacle was getting my cable modem line downstairs, so I went to eBay and bid on a 25-foot ethernet cable. Then I experimentally tossed my current cable over the balcony only to find that it had plenty of reach; I wouldn't be doing any ballroom dancing with it, but it would suffice. I considered retracting my bid (the auction was only $7, but I need every penny I can get. See paragraph above) but I knew, with 262 other auctions for the exact same cable, some joker would come along and pick my item to bid on. I turned out to be right. I love when that happens.

You wouldn't think it was that hot up in the loft if Frances was anything to go by. I thought she might need to be shaved for summer, but I guess not, since she still can't get close enough to me:

You're not trying to work, are you?
900+ square feet and she's got to be in my lap on a 90-degree day


I'm glad I didn't wait for the Gateway to try out my new office, since it's not here yet. If rule #1 of eBay is that someone will always outbid me regardless of how many other identical auctions exist, then rule #2 has to be that, regardless of when anything is shipped, it won't arrive until Friday when I work essentially 48 straight hours with no time to play with it.

~*~

Lastly I leave you with this video clip from "Last Comic Standing." This cracks us up mightily, yet mysteriously the comedian didn't show up for the second round. If her disappearance is for good, then this slice of fried gold is all we'll ever have of her, sadly.



Have a good weekend, y'all.
grrgoyl: (Bad Jesus!  Very Bad!)
This probably won't be my best work, but there are some things that need to be said and I'm getting a headache trying to coalesce them into anything coherent. As a consolation, I'm including photos which are always very popular.

First, our terribly gay ferret Xandir has been terribly sick for weeks now. Sick enough to stymie a ferret specialist in New York that Tery has been corresponding with. We believe he has some form of IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) that's giving him diarrhea and alarming weight loss. Tery is barely sustaining him on a repulsive diet of raw liver, raw egg and goat's milk mixed in a blender.

He went into the hospital yet again for another day of IV fluids, and Tery asked how I felt about her bringing the machine home to keep him hooked up overnight. The machine in question is a fluid pump, which is coincidentally also the bane of my existence working overnight as it is the machine that alarms constantly every time the animal moves and causes an occlusion in the line. So you can imagine how thrilled I was at the prospect of having one in the relative peace and quiet of our home.

But the other problem was devising an enclosure for Xandir. With a catheter stuck in his veins, we couldn't have him running about free-range as our ferrets do. We dashed to Target in search of some sort of baby playpen. We were almost big enough Polacks to shell out $40 for a crib-like thing, before Tery came to her senses and discovered the storage bin aisle, with a large $13 tub that would do just as nicely.

Impromptu infirmary


Fortunately Xandir wasn't moving much so we weren't subjected to the interminable beeping that I put up with at the hospital. He was miserable stuck in the tub, while all the other animals were doing their damndest to jump in and join him.

He's doing a little better now, but it is quite demoralizing.

~*~

My check has been cashed by the State Department, which means it's a fairly safe assumption that my passport application has been approved. In anticipation of my trip to England, I'm suddenly craving new T-shirts. I think I deserve them -- I wear boxers and wifebeaters the rest of the year and besides, nothing says American tourist like tacky novelty T-shirts. But I think these are actually pretty cool.

First, this Serenity shirt which I love the most:

Fruity Oaty Bar


Second, this awesome vintage Cure. I think [livejournal.com profile] vagynafondue should buy one for herself and one for Chooch, who WILL grow up to be a Cure fan if he knows what's good for him:

This top is the place where nobody goes


Lastly, and sadly out of stock currently, Shaun of the Dead. Which, on a trip to England, might be a bit like wearing the band's shirt to the concert.

You've got red on you


These shirts and many, many more can be found here.

~*~

I love eBay most of the time. What I don't love is when there's a million of something available, and some berk outbids you on your auction just because it's ending an hour sooner. I believe there are enough auctions of any given item that everyone can have one, but some people would much rather ruin a total stranger's day.

I mention this because our old Sharp Hi8 camcorder died out of the blue a few weeks ago, leaving us not only without access to scads of home videos on 8mm tapes, but with a tape trapped in the camera itself. Without knowing whether the problem was with the battery or the charger or the camera itself, I thought the safest bet was just to get a used, really cheap 8mm camcorder for the purpose of playing our tapes one last time so we could convert them to VHS.

Well. Camcorders, it turns out, have a very high resale value. There's a veritable feeding frenzy going on as we speak on camcorder auctions. There's even a power seller with a constant stream of camcorders up for auction, all beginning at 99 cents. The catch is the seller comes right out and admits that the cameras are "as is" and they don't even run a basic test on them before putting them up for sale. Almost every one of these auctions finishes between $80-$100! I've made some foolish purchases in my time, but if I ever pay $100 for a camcorder that might not even turn on, feel free to suspend my internet privileges.

The upside of this is I could probably get $30-$50 for our completely dead Sharp, unless we have to resort to forcible means to extract the tape.

After losing several auctions I thought no one else would possibly be interested in, in frustration I took the next Buy It Now offer I came across. I probably should have shopped around a little bit more, but I can only take so much failure before I just snap.

~*~

Finally, my new icon is from our latest rental, The God Who Wasn't There. This was a recommendation from my London friend Jeffy, who felt sure such a movie wouldn't even be available in ultra-conservative, radically religious America (I smugly informed him how wrong he was). This is a refreshing change from all the Evangelical Christian documentaries we've been renting. It's more or less scientific proof that Jesus never existed. It was a little too MTV style for Tery's tastes, with flashy graphics and music, but I enjoyed it. One of the most compelling arguments is the similarity "The Greatest Story Ever Told" bears to multiple pagan myths, like Osiris, Dionysus and Odin. "Ah, but OUR resurrection story actually happened, that's the difference," the Christians argue. O-kay.

Also the fact that Jesus fulfills 18 out of 24 of the mythic hero criteria. He's even kind of low on the list below Hercules, Oedipus and Theseus. Also there are a number of other deities who were thought to have been born on Dec 25. The list goes on and on.

Features the superintendent of a Christian school filling our children's heads with all sorts of garbage getting argued into a corner and fleeing the interview, as they always do when they run out of bullshit to spew.

It's only an hour, but some of the juiciest interviews are stuck in the bonus features for some reason, lasting longer than the movie itself. I think you'll agree from this icon that it's worth a looksee.

~*~

One last picture: Kitten Mitten suffering a bit of an identity crisis. Tery thought I shoved her in there for the purpose of this photo, as if I would ever traumatize my baby just for a picture for my blog.

Is she cat or turtle?
This igloo is zoned for ferrets.


~*~

As an addendum but far from an afterthought, HAPPY BIRTHDAY [livejournal.com profile] kavieshana!!!!!
grrgoyl: (Good grief Charlie Brown)
I've found a new toy to buy, as I always do.

I've taken to bringing my portable DVD player into the hospital with me. It's nice for the nights I have to stay in Recovery to keep an eye on an animal to just set it up in the corner and watch a movie while simultaneously fulfilling my duties. What I would like even better would be a way to read Snarry, but try as I might the player won't recognize text files, only video and music. It would be a stone drag to print out all my favorites, never mind new ones that I don't necessarily want to keep forever and ever.

There must be a device designed to display electronic text files, I thought. Sure, I've got my laptop, but that's too bulky to carry into the hospital. Something portable but with data storage capacity and preferably a way to interface with my desktop. Hang on, I thought. What's the deal with these PDA thingies that everyone seems to have nowadays?

And there, of course, is the answer. Got it in one (actually two. The first thing I found was a Sony Portable Reader that was very handsome indeed, but cost $350). I was off and running to Amazon to do some research.

I encountered the same problem I did while looking for a camcorder. Most people wanted PDAs only for a glorified address book, and in that capacity raved about this one and that one. Others wanted them for an mp3 player and complained about the limited memory and crappy speakers of this one or that one. Very, very few seemed interested in the e-Book capabilities. I finally narrowed it down to two older units, a Casio Cassiopeia and a Hewlett-Packard Jornada.

Then it was off to eBay, where I always find better deals and more selection than at Amazon. There I found PDA accessories by the thousands, but actual PDAs were much harder to come by. Out of roughly 1500 search results, only about 12 were for PDAs and every one already had a feeding frenzy of 10 or more bids on them. I'm not down with that -- I don't have a single competitive bone in my body and would much rather use Buy It Now and decide on a purchase in a leisurely, unpressured fashion.

I finally settled on one listing, a used Jornada that had an opening bid of $20 and a Buy It Now price of $45. No one else was paying it any attention, probably because it was a simple, bare bones auction by a private seller. I prefer these, however. In my experience Power Sellers don't bother answering questions or responding if you have a problem once the auction ends. The listing was a little TOO bare bones though, and I emailed the seller with some questions about what exactly was included and the condition of the item.

I waited about an hour for a response but it never came. I've admitted to myself and Tery that by far my biggest flaw and what is usually my biggest undoing is my towering, thundering impatience. It's just awful and I have virtually no control over it. So after that hour I opted instead for a unit selling for twice as much from a Power Seller, except it came with an extra memory card and collapsible qwerty keyboard as well.

The next morning I heard back from the first seller. He answered both questions positively and I was kicking myself big time for jumping the gun. I checked on his auction and there were only two hours remaining, with still no activity on it. I went back to work but couldn't shake the thought of that PDA there for the taking for a mere $20. What a freaking amazing deal that would be. Yes, it was identical to the unit I had already won, but I also felt fairly certain I'd easily be able to resell whichever one wasn't as nice.

You guessed it. I went for it. I placed a bid for $25, and a damn good thing too because mudbugz1 tried to snipe me in the last three seconds with the same bid. Haha!! I don't have a competitive bone in my body, but that's the second-best way to win an auction.

With two PDAs on their way, I immediately started looking for downloadable e-Books. Yes, I'm all about the Snarry, but it would be nice to catch up on other reading as well. The PDA represents the marriage of my two favorite things in the world, reading and technology. What I'm very keen to read is Running with Scissors for starters. It was while searching for this that I slowly came to the realization that the only books available for free online are those published before 1923. So basically the Bible and the complete works of Jane Austen, and loads and loads of other titles that have been translated into Cliffs Notes. Bah.

Fine. I wasn't averse to paying a small fee for newer releases. But the only site I could find to buy it wanted $17.95 for the file. For that much I could just buy the actual book. So I outsmarted them all. I took a chance with my file sharing program, Frostwire (nee Limewire) and found some titles available. Not Running with Scissors unfortunately, but I got The God Delusion, recommended by my friend Jeffy, Cell by Stephen King, The Thief of Always by Clive Barker (read it once, loved it, barely remember it) and even the V for Vendetta graphic novel. How fucking awesome is THAT?? I searched for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which I've started to reread in preparation for The Deathly Hallows, got a ton of hits, only to discover that most of them were bogus. When I say bogus I mean someone is circulating an e-Book with that title, which begins with Harry and Dudley engaged in a soda-drinking contest to see which of them has to pee first. "Hang on a minute," I thought. "I know my memory is crap but that really doesn't sound right." I guess that's ONE way to get your writing out there. (Never fear. I eventually found the correct version.)

(My quandary of the second PDA has been solved tonight. Tery, who scoffed and rolled her eyes as hard as she ever has when I first told her about it, has since decided that it might be very handy indeed for her manager work. Yep, they all laugh at first, but eventually come around.)

~*~

I like to watch more obscure movies because every so often I stumble upon a diamond in the rough, a movie that appeals to me for unknown reasons that almost no one else has heard of. Impromptu is such a movie, starring a younger, more adorable Hugh Grant as the effeminate Chopin, aggressively pursued by a very butch Judy Davis as George Sand. Another movie in this category is Carrington -- true, I only watched it the first time because I was and always will be madly in love with Jonathan Pryce, but I've grown to love the story for itself beyond what Jonathan brings to it.

So to that end I've rented another Rickman movie. I watched it with MyFriendDeb, who shares my fascination with him to a lesser degree. The film is Mesmer ::and I'm cutting in case you want to see it someday, though I really wouldn't recommend it:: )

No, this movie is NOT the diamond in the rough I was hoping for. Whether the fault of the editing or the script or whatever, it was just next to impossible to follow, even had I NOT been bleary and groggy from working the night before. However, I was grateful that Deb didn't mind watching it because we both agree that sitting through 1 hour and 46 minutes of a bad Alan Rickman movie is still better than sitting through 90 minutes of a good Matthew McConaughey movie. 2 out of 5.

~*~

Finally I leave you with some gratuitous full frontal nudity.

Me and my pussy...cat
grrgoyl: (MST)
I still haven't heard back from DeepDiscountDVD.com re: their discriminatory anti-American shipping policy. So much for their promise to respond to queries "within 24 hours." I'd like to think their silence means I've forced someone to realize, "Hey, you know she's right? That policy DOESN'T make any sense," but it's probably more likely that my inescapable, but rather angry, logic frightened them into hiding under the covers and/or deleting my mail in hopes that I'd just drop it. Normally I'd be infuriated by being ignored like this, if I wasn't expecting the correct DVD from the Amazon seller any day now. And it had damn well better be the correct DVD. Are you listening, dvdsforu?

(No, I don't seriously think that dvdsforu reads my LJ. But I've found including seller names in my posts like this is immensely helpful should I need the information again in a few months (and you know I will. Remember? Saga Queen!))

Tery and I rented Transamerica. There are movies I enjoy (or hate) enough to dissect in detail, and then there are those that give me simple, unexplainable happiness that don't necessarily inspire essay-length dissertations (good examples would be Garden State and Lost in Translation). Transamerica falls in this second category.

It's a simple story about a pre-op male-to-female transsexual who is forced to travel with her recently-discovered son across the country to get to know him before becoming "complete." An interesting twist on the "buddy roadtrip" movie. Her son has no idea she's transsexual, or even that he's her son, which makes for some challenging dynamics in their relationship. The story is funny, moving, heartbreaking, lovely, but never too angsty.

Felicity Huffman did an excellent job. Of course I don't know her from a hole in the wall, and in fact referred to her as Hilary Duffman (Tery mocked me for my mistake. This is what happens when you're so far out of the pop culture loop. I deserve patience and tolerance, not derision). She's practically unrecognizable in her makeup and surprisingly convincing as a man (even dressed as a woman). But the actor who really caught my attention was her son, played by Kevin Zegers:

This is the definition of hawt

Oh. My. God. This is one of the few pics of him I could find with his clothes on. The boy's got a killer bod and not afraid to show it. The fact that he played a gay hustler didn't hurt one little bit either. Of course Tery was less than enthralled with my object of affection, but I can't help that. Is she blind? Even the hardest of hard-core lesbians has to admit this guy is gorgeous. What he's doing dating a slag like Kelly Osbourne is anyone's guess. I hope those tabloid pics of them together are just outdated.

I set out in search of my own copy of the DVD. No, this won't entail another saga (IhopeIhopeIhope) but I was at first terribly offended by the cover, featuring Felicity sans makeup and appearing nothing at all like she does in the movie. I felt this defeated the entire point of the story. However, in searching for this image I have since learned that it's holographic and shifts back and forth between gorgeous Felicity and homely Bree:



Some people apparently still find this offensive and a crass attempt to reel in the Desperate Housewives audience, but I don't. So allow me to withdraw my anger before ever really giving it a voice.

(As an aside, I found a copy on eBay (yes, I'm a one-trick pony) and emailed the seller about extras, as usual. I got back a very nice response, which alone is enough to catapult her into high marks in my book. She answered my question and finished with the statement "You have very good taste in movies. Congratulations." Yeesh. Did we have to go for the ass-kissing? She only has 9 feedbacks, which I would normally steer clear of, but she's obviously trying very hard and, like I said, she took the time to answer my question. I'll buy from her until she becomes a power seller, i.e. too big for her own britches and too busy to actually communicate with her customers.)
grrgoyl: (Good grief Charlie Brown)
Sorry, jimmiesfan. I've resold my laptop (oddly, at the exact same winning bid price). Let's hope littledumplinbrandon is a little more financially secure than you are. Oh, and sorry for cancelling out your no doubt hard-won single feedback with my negative comment, but you know, it was my duty to warn people about the games you play. (It's hard not to let power such as this go to my head, reducing a person's eBay score to 0.)

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


I've made my last car payment (YipYip) which frees me that much more from under the thumb of my evil inventory overlords. It also made me realize I'd better start taking care of my hard-working, well-behaved (in the sense of never giving me a moment's trouble) vehicle and maybe change the oil, etc. which hasn't been done in many, many moons. Tery warned me Grease Monkey would suggestive sell all kinds of service to me, so following her advice I refused the air filter and went instead to Checker. I started punching in my info on the little Fram computer to find out what I needed, until I got to the question "What kind of engine do you have?" I have never once in my life been asked this about any car I've ever owned and my brain froze. Deeming it probably unwise to just randomly pick a multiple choice answer, I went to the blond chick behind the counter for help instead. I explained the problem and that I wasn't sure what kind of engine I had. She started entering the specs on HER computer, until she got to "What kind of engine do you have?" and we both froze.

"What kind of engine do you have?" she asked me.

Ummmm, I thought I just explained that I don't know the answer to that. "I honestly don't know," I answered pleasantly.

"You have no idea what your engine is?" she asked again, almost incredulously. Ladies, back me up here. What kind of engines are in YOUR cars? I hate to be stereotypical, but honestly. I was reminded of the line in Shallow Grave when Ewan McGregor asks Kerry Fox what kind of car their new flatmate drives, and she lets out a sigh and says, "How should I know? I'm just a girl!" Or Tery's own mother, who will answer unhelpfully "Red."

All this flashed through my mind, but I answered instead, "I'm sorry. I'm just not that into cars."

Fortunately there happened to be another customer there who worked on Hondas all the time and told her I had a V6. He insisted that Honda only put V6's in their Civics that year, which of course begs the question why Fram seems to think otherwise. It would be ironic if I finally got my car paid off and then blew it up by using the wrong air filter. Is that even possible? I don't know. I'm just a girl.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


One way in which I'm NOT your typical female is how irrationally excited I got when I counted Total Film's latest X-Men issue featuring a limited edition adamantium cover! last night at Barnes & Noble. Of course, had the cover been real adamantium, it probably would have weighed a bit more, but still. I'm too much a sucker for such marketing brilliance. Remembering Gerry mentioning earlier how he wanted to see X3 I decided to share, but he just stared at me blankly. HE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT ADAMANTIUM WAS. Can you believe it? He barely knew that Wolvie had 3 claws, and thought they were made of, get this....Wolverantium. In all fairness, he tends to watch movies only once and has a memory almost as dodgy as mine (but probably knows exactly what's under the hood of his car). The ensuing awkwardness was thankfully interrupted by a fangirl store employee geekier than both of us who wanted to model her MI:3 t-shirt. Sheesh. Who the hell cares about THAT movie? (I decided to save myself $9 and read the X3 article on my lunch break. Between you and me? Not really worth $9.)


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Finally, because there is no real place to put this anywhere else (but it has to be said), I was watching one of my favorite movies of all time the other night, Carrington. I noticed how British homes always have nonsensical, posh-sounding names like "Tidmarsh" and "Avon-on-the-Sea" and "Puddlemere." Being now an honourary Englishperson (see previous entry), I thought it only right that our house have something similar. Taking into account our free-range ferrets and their devil-may-care attitude towards litter boxes, Tery very aptly came up with "Puddle-by-the-Door" for our abode. Which probably sounds a bit off-putting to outsiders, but never fails to crack me up, especially when we're on the couch together and she wistfully comments on "summering yet again at Puddle-by-the-Door" in a faux accent.
grrgoyl: (rvr territory)
I have these thoughts and random bits of anecdotes floating about, and I spend most of the day analyzing them, deeming them worthy or not of a post, rejecting them but then going back to reconsider. Then I remember that I write first and foremost to make myself happy and to hell with everyone else. What am I, a clown? Do I amuse you?

I'm trying to sell my old laptop on eBay. After the bidding closed and the smoke cleared, I was slightly dismayed to see my winner, jimmiesfan, had but one feedback to his name. I always see sellers insisting that bidders with a feedback score of less than 10 email first (to what? Send proof of credit ratings and pay stubs? They aren't buying a freaking house). I always thought that was kind of silly. As the seller I have all the power, I hold all the cards, there is zero risk to me. I am the puppet master, the decider. I don't get paid, I don't ship the item. The buyer has the much heavier onus of trust, it always seemed to me. But that was before I had to deal with a nonpaying bidder. Now those carefree days of naiveté are behind me.

I sent the winner an invoice as soon as the auction ended. 3 days later I sent a gentle reminder. Exactly one week after the auction closed I sent another reminder, maybe not quite so gentle, and he finally responded. "Hi, I'M sorry, I'll send you a money order this week. I lost my job friday. They told me that friday afternoon." Oh, very smooth, jimmiesfan. Cleverly turning the tables so any subsequent nagging for payment would make me a heartless bitch. Except did he expect me to believe he'd been pounding the pavement in search of another job for a week solid, 24/7, without a single spare moment to drop me a quick line earlier? I can be infinitely more reasonable if you just communicate with me. More likely, it took him all week to come up with this excuse.

I bided my time for another whole week, and as expected the money order never came. Now I was getting pissed (I know, contain your shock). Being unable or unwilling to pay is one thing, but stringing me along with false promises to pay was another entirely. And I said so. "Look, it's been two weeks since the auction ended. I'm sorry you lost your job. Things are rough all over. I work two jobs and sell things on eBay to survive. If you aren't going to pay me, at least have the decency to stop wasting my time and be honest with me. You have until Monday before I report you to eBay and relist the item. I believe I've been more than patient." Let me never be accused of beating around the bush. I should have been a gorram loan shark. Don't come to me expecting sympathy because you lost your ONE job, fucking crybaby.

Either this scared him away or he sold his computer to avoid bankruptcy, because I haven't heard from him since. I then made two second-chance offers to the next highest bidders in line, both of which were rejected and which wasted another week of my time. And unexpectedly made me ineligible for a free relisting of the item. Hang on a second, why am I being penalized here? Stupid nonpaying bidders. Stupid eBay. Stupid Canadians (jimmiesfan (if that's even his real name) lives in Canada).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I was gratified by a recent post by [livejournal.com profile] schatze where she explained for apparently the umpteenth time that she doesn't like "Family Guy" so stop assuming she does (to which I protest that I never made any such assumption). I myself have tried watching it a couple of times, but I agree, it just isn't that funny to me. Plus what the hell is up with the father's scrotal sac chin? I had gone so far as to add season one to my Netflix queue at the urging of my sister, but after attempting to watch a random ep that happened to be on TV at that moment and becoming so bored I went back to reading Snarry (and Tery went back to doing hospital paperwork), I summarily removed it from Netflix.

I have no problem with animated comedies. My "South Park" DVDs put tears in my eyes even after 5 or 6 viewings. And our new favorite show (which I DID get from Netflix) is "Drawn Together," recommended by the hated Chris Tilley and produced by the makers of "The Man Show," certainly the stupidest waste of a half hour of programming to ever cross the airwaves (besides "Family Guy"). But "Drawn Together" makes us laugh. There might even be some tears. We love Ling-Ling (the Pikachu-like character) and his bitching in Japanese about the dirty dishes his housemates leave in the sink, but especially, especially, especially Xandir, the gay Zelda-like character. We love him so much we're changing the spelling of our ferret's name, Xander, and adding the surname "P. Whipplebottom" because a.) every child needs 3 names so you have something to call them when they're in trouble, and b.) because ferret Xandir (nee Xander nee Casper) is so, so gay.

Xandir P. Whipplebottom Ennis Delmar Ferret, III


Oh, and all the hot girl-on-girl action between Princess Clara and Foxxy Love doesn't hurt either.

The reason I am so focused on animated entertainment is because one of my birthday presents from JeffyJeff was a DVD of the series "Monkey Dust", a bleakly drawn "urban nightmare" filled with black British humor (or "humour" as I can now spell it, having been made an honourary Englishperson because of my skillful use of the word "wanker" to insult Jeffy recently). "...where you go when you graduate from South Park," the box proclaims. I won't bother recommending it because you need a PAL or multi-region player to watch it. It's morbid, at times grotesque, covering with gritty realism such topics as internet pedophiles, recidivist mass murderers and a gay man's bungled attempts to go cottaging.

It took some growing on me, but it eventually did, and now I want to return the favor. But I'm afraid that "Drawn Together" might rely a little too heavily on American culture for laughs. For instance, cameos by Hanna-Barbera's Snagglepuss and Elmer Fudd at Xandir's coming out party, and the most unexpected appearance of the pudgy naked couple from the book "Where Did I Come From?" which I remember fondly from my childhood but Tery does not. And for all I know he already watches it, since I know he can get "The Daily Show" over there. I just don't know.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This has been another spectacularly pointless post brought to you by Miss Elaineous and the letter R. (R is for Reaver which is the meaning behind my icon, also a sticker I ordered from Cafepress.com)
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, nvanbreeme@sbcglobal.net? 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.

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grrgoyl

December 2011

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