grrgoyl: (Dylan apoplectic)
EXTRA, EXTRA: Got a double feature today, because I was lazy and let all this stuff accumulate. But I'm breaking it into two posts, or I'll drown you all with my words, which neither of us want.

Whole lotta anger goin' on.


First, to my astonishment, the other day I spotted ex-neighbor Jennifer pulling into the parking lot. She was the hoarder with the five cats, thinking of getting a puppy, but thank god bought a house and moved away?

She was coming back to take her garden as the final stage of her moving out -- which is crazy talk to me, but I don't know a lot about gardening. She saw me and eagerly filled me in on all that was new with her (while throwing a bag of garbage in our bin, which I thought was a bit rude since she's not a resident anymore).

She then asked if I still went to the gym. I said no and started to tell her why (the mountain of hospital debt my money has to be spent on rather than luxuries like gym memberships), when literally she got distracted by the daisies that had started coming up and walked away from me.

I escaped back home without even saying goodbye, half relieved to get off so easily (conversations with her tend to suck large segments of time and for the most part usually focus on her -- kind of like talking to my family) but mostly really irritated at how unbelievably rude she is. I mean, "Me me me me me. What's new with you? Oh look...daisies!" Whatev. Thank god she moved.

I did make the observation, and Tery agrees, that it's pretty bizarre considering my unrelenting cynicism concerning people and their endless capacity for selfishness, that I'm simultaneously relentlessly optimistic and always surprised to be proven right.

~*~

BIG happenings in Tracey's world. She has a new neighbor under her, a woman named Nina, who is very outspoken and has no intention of taking any shit from her (literally, with Tracey's "balcony trained" dogs).

She's been here two weeks and is already fed up with her. She's prepared to go to the HOA, Animal Control, the police, President Obama himself to get her evicted. I didn't think eviction was an option, mainly because the HOA likes to paint itself as powerless against her, but Nina assures me it can be done.

I thought I hated Tracey, but compared to how Nina feels about her, I might as well be her Facebook friend. She is really, REALLY angry.

The problem is Nina's beef isn't with the barking during the day, but the galloping around at 3:30 a.m., which we can't exactly assist her with since (blessedly) we can't hear it. Plus she told me she still has urine dripping onto her balcony (EWWWW). "I don't think I've ever seen her walk the dogs," she told me. "Well why do you think you have urine on your balcony?" I asked her, lightheartedly because I get the impression Nina is someone whose good side you want to stay on.

She said there is an unbelievable amount of damage both to the balcony and the inside of the unit because of the dogs (and who knows what other activity), and Mary, the owner, is preparing a lawsuit. About bloody damn time. I've seen enough court TV shows to know she also has a good case for loss of rental income the way Tracey drives people out of there.

I really hope Nina stays, and that she's the final nail in the coffin. Just leave, Tracey. Have mommy and daddy buy you a house where no one will bother you, or at the least a ground floor unit somewhere. Anywhere else but here. We'll have a block party to celebrate your departure.

EDIT: Nina went to the HOA meeting, bringing with her a pal who runs the board at another complex. Two things of interest popped up: a) There seems to be the possibility that Tracey's (and when I say "Tracey" I mean "Tracey's mommy and daddy") insurance company never received full disclosure about the meth lab (or maybe she meant the dog situation. It doesn't seem possible that such a major detail as a felony arrest could be kept hidden). If they were to find out, Tracey might become uninsurable and lose the unit that way.

Also b) not just a possibility but a fact is that Tracey's mommy and daddy's names are on the title, not hers, which makes her in the eyes of the law a tenant and not a homeowner. Which makes her far less impervious to eviction.

(I have to wonder why this was all news to our own HOA and what the hell we're paying them for. It seems to me if I was going to run a property management company, one of the first things I'd like to learn about is how to deal with problem neighbors.)

Nina seems very excited about this, so we'll see. Christmas might come super early this year.

~*~

I was angry about a new policy at my transcription job whereby essentially we would be penalized financially because of ESL (English as second language) docs, but then they unexpectedly gave me a raise -- my first in two years, and I didn't even have to beg for it.

In case you'd like to know the details of the policy that makes me hate my job, in here you'll find a vile, obscenity-filled rant, only interesting to me and anyone curious about the seedy, dangerous underbelly of medical transcription.

::Proceed with caution:: )

Of course none of this stopped me from puckering up my lips to kiss some serious ass when, shortly after starting this program, they offered a $1000 gift card for the best 500 or less word essay about how great it is and how much it will help the company and the MTs. Four years as an English major left me with a bachelor's degree and some mad bullshitting skillz, at least on paper. Might as well see if they'll pay off.

~*~

Finally, this just in today: I was behind a woman whose car was covered in breast cancer ribbons and bumper stickers. Which I didn't have a problem with until I noticed a puff of cigarette smoke come out of her window. Really? Guess lung cancer is okay? If you ask me they both sound like rather unpleasant ways to die.
grrgoyl: (Dylan apoplectic)
My icon was practically custom made for this post. One of my rare biweekly updates, but I feel it's necessary, if only for my own benefit.

After listening to Tracey's miserable beasts until 3 a.m. the other night, you bet your sweet bippy I sent off a strongly-worded letter to the HOA. I mentioned my early morning visitor as well as the guy who had marched to pound on our door from the next complex over (back before her hearing. He was all for going to Animal Control until we told him it was already being done). I said if Tracey was going to start with the 24/7 barking again, she was going to have a lynch mob at her door. (I didn't mean it as a friendly warning out of concern for her. I personally would love that to happen.)

My jaw dropped, however, when the next day I received what sounded like a form response: "Thank you for bringing your neighbor's barking dogs to our attention. A written notice will be sent as well as follow up in this matter."

A written notice?!!?! I won't lie, I had a bit of a mini-meltdown. Which I promptly sent back to them.

The letter's author was "Ann," someone I'd never heard of. I regularly correspond with David, the owner of the property management company. I wrote back asking what had happened to him. I said he could tell her the long, long history we've had with Tracey, and that I felt we've gone way past the stage of written notices. I asked if they considered the slate wiped clean after her hearing with the city, because it sure sounded that way.

Ann wrote back soon after, sounding a bit shirty. She assured me David was still there and fully aware of the situation, "as am I." She said the slate hadn't been wiped clean, they were treating it with the "utmost seriousness," and if the letter sounded vague it was because they were trying to "preserve confidentiality."

Preserve confidentiality from who? I'm not some jogger passing by wondering what all the fuss is with those dogs. I'm the homeowner getting her door beaten down by everyone else in the neighborhood demanding to know what the hell Tracey's deal is. I'm the one lying awake until 3 a.m. fantasizing about buying a gun because it seems like everyone else is absolutely helpless to do anything. I'm the one whose rights are being trampled in the stampede to make sure Tracey is given every opportunity to straighten out and every benefit of every doubt. If I don't deserve to be kept in the loop, I don't know who does.

At any rate, I don't know much about managing properties, but it seems to me this is the email that should have been sent originally, not the other that very closely resembled a brush-off.

It's because I'm out of the loop that when I noticed a guy knocking on her door this morning I was all up in that. His clothing suggested an Animal Control agent. I was gratified the dogs were barking viciously inside, so he got to experience them firsthand. Tracey didn't answer of course, so he left a carbon copy of an official-looking paper on her door. I was dying to go out and read it, but had to be sure she was really gone and not hiding out waiting for him to leave. I risked it, long enough to see the words "Notice of Violation." SWEET.

I don't know if Animal Control ever has the authority to take her dogs away from her. People are conflicted on YahooAnswers, including some who actually asked, "Can Animal Control take my dogs away just because I let them bark all the time?" This was met with the expected amount of sympathy. What the hell is wrong with people who feel like they're being wronged because everyone else doesn't want to listen to their stupid dogs night and day? I seriously want to smack them all in the face, HARD. Starting, of course, with Tracey.
grrgoyl: (Office Poop)
Logan's new hang-out is the top of the ledge surrounding our kitchen. I searched the whole house for 15 minutes before I realized he was serenely perched watching me the whole time. Ah, cats. When he finally came down, he was covered in dust from slinking through every nook and cranny up there.

For a week we had noticed he smelled kind of perfumey, like a beauty salon -- a fragrance quite incongruous with his scrappy tomcat appearance. We eventually figured out it was because he was dragging his big tomcat tail through the incense diffuser oil and wafting it around as he walked.

This cat is a feather duster and an air freshener in one, making him twice as useful as most of the other creatures in this house, including the humans.

~*~

This is Tery's last weekend in the hoosgow (from the Spanish juzgado, as I learned when she made me look it up). The first weekend she was terrified. She wept almost the whole way there. I told her not to cry or they'd know she was fresh meat. I reassured her it was only fear of the unknown; once she knew what to expect it wouldn't be nearly as bad. I was right.

Her hard time started 8 am Saturday morning and ended 4 pm Sunday evening. She was in a pod system with 6 other women, some of whom were also "weekenders," others who were actual full-time inmates. The full-timers had a lot of resentment and contempt towards the weekenders, until Tery, bored out of her mind, picked up a broom to tidy up, earning their respect and friendship.

As you'd expect, the most punitive aspect of jail, unless you're in the general population, isn't the fear of getting shanked or avoiding daily riots, but pure boredom. Cell phones and personal books aren't allowed. They provide reading material, mostly of the popular culture, Danielle Steele variety. In fact, one woman brought in a self-help book which was confiscated. No bettering yourself in here! You're being punished!

That and the food. From her description I'd probably go hungry for two days. I'm a picky eater when the food is edible. The worst was corn bread that bizarrely seemed to revert back to raw dough as she chewed it.

The part I would be the most afraid of, the toilet arrangements, was actually a cubicle with a privacy curtain. We were both picturing a toilet seat stuck in the middle of the room for everyone to watch. Not so bad, except for pooping. But since I wouldn't be eating, that wouldn't be an issue either.

But her punishment has been my reward. The first weekend was hell because when I got home from the hospital after the animals had been alone all night, they were were wide awake and in full melee cage match mode. These past two weekends I wasn't needed on Saturday, giving me a luxurious night/morning all to myself at home (and much calmer animals).

This Saturday night wasn't quite so luxurious though, because after nearly two months of more or less behaving, Tracey's dogs made their unwelcome nighttime reappearance until 3:00 in the a.m. (Oh, I might not have mentioned: She finally had a hearing with the City, where presumably they explained to her about noise laws and how most people like to sleep at night, and how we weren't just being harpy bitches. We had hoped this would solve the problem forever. Nothing's forever, Virginia.)

I spent all that time composing my complaint to the HOA. Unbeknownst to me, someone else was even more upset. That someone for some reason came ringing MY doorbell at about 3:10 a.m.

"Is this Tracey that lives next to you?" she asked me. I had no idea how she knew her name but I'm not my sharpest at 3 a.m. so I didn't ask.

"Yes it is. As well as her dogs," I said slightly louder, as they were barking ferociously on the other side of the door at that moment.

"Can I come in and use your phone to call the police?" I explained it wouldn't do her any good, they wouldn't come (I've called before. They say it's a matter for Animal Control, who won't do anything until Monday morning). She didn't care though. "I'll go back and use my cell phone. I'm calling the police and telling them she's got a meth lab!" this last was said very loudly directly at Tracey's door.

Highly suspiciously, the dogs had gone silent, and in fact I didn't hear another peep for the rest of the night. This strongly suggests to me she was in there listening to our exchange, though why she let the dogs run rampant for so long into the night is anyone's guess. MY guess is either a.) she just didn't care or b.) she was doped up and passed out. Neither option makes me very happy.

Not helping her case is the fact we've noticed she now parks across the street in the strip plaza and hoofs it back and forth. Hard to imagine a reason for this other than she's trying to conceal her comings and goings. It's all verrrrrrry shifty.

~*~

Apparently someone else who is shifty is all of Tery's employees (I love me a good segue).

An elderly woman who Tery described as "a little unstable" (and not in the ambulatory sense of the word) brought her dog in. The dog was elderly too and needed significant assistance from staff to get it downstairs.

The problem started after she left. Her husband had died the month before, leaving her two pendants set with black opals or some other semi-precious, not terribly valuable stone. She had attached one of them to the dog's collar and after her visit noticed the stone was missing. She was inconsolable to Tery on the phone, threatening to bring in the police, etc, etc.

Let me tell you, if my husband had left me something of such high sentimental value, you know the last thing I would do with it? Stick it on a goddamn dog collar.

Tery, being the excellent manager she is, talked her down and promised to search for it. She spent the whole afternoon combing the parking lot, which unfortunately is lined with a lot of black gravel. She called the woman back with the news. She was a little more reasonable, but ended the conversation with a warning to Tery to keep a closer eye on her employees.

There are about five people downstairs at any given time, and believe me, it's not such a big place that someone prying loose a piece of costume jewelry is going to go unnoticed. Unless they were all in it and planned to split the profits. I made Tery laugh by imagining that scene: "Here's what we'll do -- we've got this sweet rock and we're gonna sell it, see? Then we'll allllll be rich and we can leave this joint once and for all, see?" (We amuse each other highly by talking like old-time gangsters from black and white films. We get bonus points if we manage to incorporate the phrase "get-away sticks" which we once heard someone call their legs.)

Now if the woman had jewelry made of cheeseburgers and donuts, I'd say she might have a case.

~*~

Lastly, some very quick and nonspoilery movie reviews:

Observe and Report: Makes Paul Blart: Mall Cop look like an Oscar contender. In fact, I started out afraid it was going to be a direct rip-off of Blart. I finished wishing it were more like Blart. Paul Blart with F-bombs and Seth Rogen's voice which annoys the hell out of me. Although Patton Oswalt as a tyrannical little restaurant manager was kind of funny.

I Tivo'ed these next two movies and ended up liking the exact opposite of what I expected.

What Happens in Vegas had a very promising premise: Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher have a wild drunken night in Vegas, wake up married and realize they hate each other. Just as they storm off for a divorce, her slot machine (dirty) hits the jackpot of 3 millllllion dollars. Judge Dennis Miller sentences them to make the marriage work (in a highly overdue speech about how the sanctity of marriage isn't threatened by gays nearly as much as by Vegas fly-by-night weddings, loved it). The challenge becomes who can drive the other off first by being more intolerable. Unfortunately it goes down the road of predictable and banal: they end up falling in love for real (evidently after just one weekend work retreat), yeah, totz didn't see THAT coming.

On the other hand, Yes Man was a hit. Jim Carrey obeys life guru Terence Stamp and starts saying yes to everything. Wackiness ensues. But not the usual "Jim Carrey throwing himself against a wall for a laugh" wackiness, which is why I liked it. That and lovable Murray from "Flight of the Conchords" was his boss, which was a huge check in the plus column. Carrey's love interest was vacant-eyed Zoey Deschanel which would normally be a negative, but she wasn't that bad. And for once, a case where I can't say necessarily the book was better -- it was based on it (loosely) but of course more filmic and cohesive. The fact it had a Harry Potter theme party didn't influence my opinion in the slightest.
grrgoyl: (Dr. Horrible)
As promised, I plan to review The Worst Movie I've Ever Seen. But first, some old business:

The Pet Safe Outdoor Bark Deterrent ended up being a spectacular failure. Either the dogs' stupidity, or boredom, or pigheadedness proved more than the device could handle.

I had given up on it earlier, even emailed Amazon for a return authorization. No sooner had I got it boxed up ready for shipping than the dog let loose with the longest jag I'd heard since installing it. Hmmm, perhaps it WAS doing something. So I put it back for a week until I eventually determined that there really was no relation between the presence of the unit and the dog's activity (or lack of). Certainly not for the amount I paid.

We have video evidence of Tracey peering at the device, which had a very obvious green blinking light on it. Tery thought it would be funny just to keep putting up things with flashing LEDs and then randomly taking them down, just to fuck with her. I concur.

*~*

Now, onto the movies:

::Momma's Man:: )

They say the opposite of love is not hate, but apathy. It is on these grounds that I elect this movie The Worst Movie I've Ever Seen. Because I've seen plenty of bad movies, but usually they at least give you the pleasure of mocking them to entertain yourself. This movie is so "meh" it doesn't even do that.

Lots of film snobs over at IMDb are raving about it. "Poignant." "Touching." "Love letter to his parents." I think I originally added it to Netflix based on a favorable review in "Entertainment Weekly." I must have skimmed over the part where they compare the director to Jim Jarmusch. Had I read that I would have run screaming. Because Jarmusch directed my previous Worst Movie Ever Seen, Dead Man, equally stultifying but at least starring Johnny Depp. Momma's Man is the new bar to which all other bad movies will be held up.

Next, the honest-to-goodness last Rickman movie I hadn't seen, Bob Roberts (I had previously thought it was Michael Collins). This will be short so I won't cut.

Tim Robbins is Bob Roberts, the fictional grassroots, anti-60's, vaguely evangelical folk singer turned senatorial candidate. Rickman is his shady Karl Rovian campaign manager and barely appears at all in the movie, which was my fear.

There's an impressive cadre of cameos, mostly playing reporters and news anchors: James Spader, Susan Sarandon, Peter Gallagher, as well as John Cusack as a subversive SNL type comedian and, most amusingly, a young, wee, skinny bit of a thing Jack Black as a wild-eyed zealous young Republican type.

The movie is eerie for the way it foreshadows the descent into religious conservatism the country took after it was made (not to mention the underhanded stunts used by the party to manipulate the public and achieve its ends). Robbins has the perfect glassy shark eyes and vacant Howdy Doody smile of a rightwing politician with strong spiritual leanings. Rickman is really hot (deep in his blond feathered hair phase), even as he's playing sinister. The movie is worth a gander even despite his shameful underuse.

Finally I saw ::Ghost Writer:: )

The movie was....bizarre. Written and directed by Alan Cumming, the entire point of the film seemed to be to create a flimsy pretense to sadistically and pseudosexually torture David Boreanaz.

Alan as John was especially trying. He was offensively flaming and unbalanced, and I just wondered through the whole thing if he'd always been this bad an actor and I was just too besotted to see it (and wondering that made me sad). Is Alan Rickman not that great (as Tery maintains) and I'm too blinded by lust?

The script also struck me as very film school, very college theater, very amateur. It was painful, only because I used to love him so much. As an indication of how far I'm over him, the special features consist of commentary by him, and I flat out couldn't stomach the idea of watching the movie a second time. Sorry Alan. Perhaps if your last name was Rickman we could talk.
grrgoyl: (Donnie frankLOL)
Soup:

In traffic on my way to the hospital my eye was caught by a GMC Jimmy with all of its doors off. Imagining itself to be a war-time Jeep? I'm not sure, but it looked pretty damn silly. I thought I'd give the driver the benefit of the doubt -- perhaps he'd lost them all in an accident. The way some SUV owners drive it wouldn't be impossible. Then he moved ahead of me and I saw he had one of those scrolling marquee signs over his license plate, reading "Show me your boobs!!" Oh, just an ass then. An ass mistaking Denver for Ft. Lauderdale.

~*~

Appetizer:

I realize how pathetic it sounds, but getting mail is the highlight of my day. This is why I compulsively order stuff online, so I have an almost constant flow of mail to look forward to.

So maybe you can appreciate why my world came crashing down Thursday when I realized the lock on our box was broken. The tab inside that latches it closed was missing the nut holding it on the bolt.

"No problem," I thought. "I'll just replace the nut." After fishing around I found one that seemed to fit, except wouldn't hand-tighten properly. "No problem," I thought. "I'll just get a ratchet wrench." It seemed to be going swimmingly until suddenly the whole damn bolt snapped right off in my hand. Okay, THAT was a problem.

This was at 7 pm, so no hope of calling anyone. First thing Friday morning I called our post office and described my situation (leaving out my attempted DIY). His first (and second) question was did I know who did it? "No one did it, the bolt was really old and just snapped," I answered. Choice B was "I suppose if anyone 'did it' I did." Choice C was "Even if it was a criminal act, how the hell should I know? It's not like I monitor the mailbox (most of the time)."

Once I convinced him there were no suspects he could bring in for questioning, he said only, "Okay, I'll send Maintenance out today." Oh, cool. That was easy.

Except of course it wasn't, because I'm still me and they're still a government agency. After neither of us did anything more about it all day, I called again at the end of my shift to find out the deal. I spoke to someone else, who told me I had to come in, fill out a lock change form and pay a $25 fee. Huh. I wish I had known this 8 hours earlier. I also felt slightly less nervous about covering up my vandalism since I would be paying for it.

I rushed in before they closed to jump through their hoops. Fortunately the clerk was really friendly and funny, or it could have gotten ugly. As it was, I couldn't resist asking why guy #1 couldn't be bothered to give me correct information. "I hate to say it, but he was probably a supervisor. They don't know what's going on." I snorted. "So how did he get to be supervisor?" He shrugged. "If you can't do the job, you get promoted?" We both had a chuckle at The Man and I promised I wasn't taking his name or anything.

Nice guy told me 2-3 days, might even be done Monday. That wasn't bad, even if I had to suffer a weekend of essentially two Sundays.

Except it wasn't Monday. Or Tuesday. Wasn't in fact until Wednesday. But let's not be too hasty, I didn't actually get the call until this morning Thursday. I wish nice guy hadn't raised my hopes falsely. But hey, what's the point of complaining? It's not like I can threaten to go somewhere else to get my mail delivered.

~*~

Entree:

About two weeks ago Ryan invited me to a downtown thing, "La Piazza," some kind of pavement chalk art (I at first thought it was trompe l'oeil, but no); well, I should say he forwarded me the ad, and when I asked about inviting MyFriendDeb, he copied me on the email asking John permission (when if you ask me it should've been John begging us to be included. Thank god they broke up for good before we had to deal with THAT bit of awkwardness).

It took place this past weekend, and Ryan at the last minute sprang the idea of bringing Lucy along (you remember my pal Lucy?) It didn't thrill me, but I couldn't really say no.

I worked all night and got up to meet Deb about 10:30ish. Ryan texted me because he was having a hard time getting going, they'd be a little late, sorry. Whatever, Ryan, Deb and I were on the train halfway there already.

It turned out to be full of awesome:


Just after seeing this we passed a guy wearing a Max t-shirt in the crowd. We asked if he planned that. He laughed nervously because he hadn't seen the piece yet (then 15 seconds later put it together)


::More over here -- slightly bigger cuz they're purty:: )

We sort of regretted lingering respectfully over every little piece in the beginning, especially when it became obvious that the threatening rainstorm was no longer a question of "if" but "when." As big fat drops started plunking down, two guys with a ladder and a camera were dashing madly through the crowd, desperately trying to capture the masterpieces before they were washed away. Heartbreaking, but Deb assured me that was the point of the medium: the transient nature of beauty. (Deb's favorite was under a makeshift canopy so hopefully most of her survived.)

Did I say rainstorm? It began as a torrent and turned into hail. Kerrrazy. The kind of cool thing was the rain only washed away the loose chalk dust, leaving a subdued but perfect glassy image underneath:


Sad washed-away Bear.


We joked that such an event would be impossible in a place like Seattle, unless the pieces were all postage-stamp sized. I said a 4" x 6" piece would be the height of ambition. She laughed as I mimed frantically finishing a Polaroid-sized square before the rain hit.

Ryan never actually showed, instead bothering me with a stream of increasingly anxious texts asking about the weather and whether there was any point in them leaving the house. There wasn't, and I don't know if it was because I didn't have to see Lucy or because of my new self-protective, do-what-you-want attitude I've had to adopt towards Ryan, but I really wasn't that concerned.

Same thing with working out yesterday; Ryan teased me with an email asking if I minded if he rejoined me. Of course I didn't. Then he texted me all apologetic that he'd had a bad day and couldn't make it. Oh, Ryan, Ryan...I don't know what's sadder, the fact that you still think I'm actually counting on you for anything or the fact that I have to refuse to do so to avoid having my heart broken time and time again.

~*~

Dessert:

We've had just about all the foolishness from Tracey's dog(s) that we're going to take. Out there 24/7 barking their heads off at EV.RY.THING (which I grant you isn't as annoying as when they bark at NOTHING). Our only recourse is to keep fining her, and her only recourse is to keep paying the fines (presumably) and still not do anything about the underlying problem.

So I turned to Amazon, in search of a bark-stopping device you can put on your own property and not rely on your neighbor doing the right thing. It emits a painful (?) whistle only the dog can hear whenever they bark. The hope is that they're smart enough to make the association and think twice before barking again. Which is not at all a given here -- if these dogs had any trace of intelligence, surely they could learn after five years of watching the same people march back and forth twice a day that we aren't intruders or a threat (unless they can read our minds and see the murderous BB gun fantasies therein). But better get Board approval first -- they'd rather have a vicious dog barking at all hours than a bleeding eyesore of a radio device (it looks like a tiny birdhouse).

In addition to the numerous and occasionally humorous horror stories in the reviews that make us think maybe we don't have it that bad, there's a fair share of people expressing concern over punishing the animal when a bad owner is to blame. Fuck that. Until someone invents something that lets me inflict pain on Tracey without being prosecuted (voodoo doll? ski mask and a baseball bat? Doesn't need to be high-tech), I'll happily take it out on her dog(s).

Yes, I "love animals," but some animals need to work a little harder to earn it. Dogs most of all.

~*~

Aperitif:

I saw S. Darko. Being such a huge fan of Donnie, how could I not? Despite the massive online fan protest (which I wasn't aware of. Hell, I'd probably watch it even if I was).

Immediately afterward I had a detailed, thoughtful review planned out, most of which I have now forgotten. I'll cut anyway in case of inadvertent spoilage, and because after-dinner cocktails should be optional.

::What do you think God's farts taste like?:: )

In conclusion, it's obvious this was a labor of love (the screenplay was written by a guy who calls himself "Donnie's #1 fan"). But in his attempt to stay unswervingly true to the laws of Donnie's universe, he became too fearful to bring anything new to the table. I don't think it deserves the vitriol being heaped upon it by the faithful -- it should be seen by Donnie fans perhaps to satisfy their curiosity. Anyone else will probably leave hopelessly confused and wondering what all the fuss with the first movie was about.
grrgoyl: (max elevator)
Another slow news week, but when has that stopped me?

First, some gym characters. As I've said earlier, I am refreshingly nonjudgmental at the gym, not least of all because I've hardly reached my goals either, despite going three times a week religiously. Like my good friend Dan Savage says, if I see a really overweight person there, my first thought really is "Aw, good for them." In fact my inspiration is a kind of heavy guy who plugs away on the ellipticals for 30+ minutes a day without ever pausing. After 10 minutes I'm seeing stars and wondering if it would really matter if I stopped early (however, this is up from 5 minutes back when I first joined, so that's something).

But these two people caught my attention on my last visit because they were so odd. First was a doughy woman I'd never seen before on the ellipticals. I normally wouldn't have given her any thought, except for the fact that she wore a Camelbak™ hydration system, which is a bit of overkill when you're using one machine that in fact provides the user with a cupholder for a water bottle. And Camelbaks™ ain't cheap either, so this was clearly someone who enjoyed shopping for their workout more than working out (not that I'm one to talk, having just bought my third iPod case, not to mention the $30 or $40 I blew at Goodwill on a whole new gym wardrobe).

But she was nothing next to the guy I watched during the rest of my workout (well, there aren't a lot of exciting things to look at to break up the monotony of an elliptical). He was built, obviously serious about weightlifting. Again, at first there was nothing unusual about him, until I noticed what he was doing. He was slowly collecting weights from other machines and putting them onto the machine I assumed he intended to use. He'd ponderously retrieve one weight, haul it to the machine, hoist it up onto the bar, then stand there looking around. He was also wearing earbuds so he'd occasionally mouth some words and wiggle his hips a bit (which looks really silly, I don't care how in shape you are). Then off for another weight, repeating the process tediously and laboriously.

After doing this for about 30% of my workout, to my surprise he suddenly marched across the gym to use one of the machines that I use all the time, the ones I think of as considerably more girly than the free weights. After three or four reps there, then it was back to his original machine, where he began removing all the weights, moving just as slowly and painfully (with frequent pauses to lip synch some more). He never actually used the machine he had loaded (and unloaded). It was crazy. Either he just liked creating the impression that he was going to lift all this weight, or his secret weapon to body building had less to do with actual weightlifting than weight stacking. I'm not sure. It was crazier than the guys who do like two reps (actually LIFTING the weight, mind you) and then spend fifteen minutes staring off into space.

He sort of reminded me of my coworker, Debbie at the warehouse, who was also fond of dancing and singing next to her desk when she was supposed to be working. Debbie thought she could do whatever the hell she wanted (i.e. only actually work about 10 minutes out of an 8-hour shift) and then cry discrimination if they did anything about it. She eventually discovered she was mistaken, after many long (long, long, frustrating) months of me secretly documenting her every move and reporting to HR. So I guess that's when my real career as a snitch began.

~*~

I've caught some comings and goings of Tracey on my spycam, most notably one video where she looks to be carrying an armful of something that resembles the suspicious aluminum tubes that started all this nonsense:


Breaking Update: Apparently those things that look like tent poles are just that; Tery discovered her selling a tent to an older couple in the parking lot this morning. However, this doesn't eliminate the possibility that she's just using Craigslist to offset her drug sales.


Tery wonders if she hasn't already spotted the camera -- where she used to tiptoe quietly up and down the stairs (which would make her the perfect neighbor if not for, you know, the meth lab), now she explodes out of her door and hurtles down the steps like Secretariat leaving the gate at the Preakness. I can't worry about it. Maybe if she's aware of it, it will be enough to keep her honest, or at least move her lab somewhere else, which is all I really want. I'd love to get her put away for good, but a close second would be making it difficult enough for her to conduct business three feet from our front door that she finds alternative accommodations.

The beauty of it is, even if she does find the camera, she can't do anything about it. Recording public areas is perfectly legal; she should know, she's had a camera trained on the parking lot practically since moving in. Plus I believe the only people who are bothered by being videotaped are people who have something to hide.

~*~

In case anyone is wondering why I haven't ranted about the California Supreme Court upholding Prop 8, it's because after my initial outraged reaction to what seemed like a completely nonsensical legal ruling, I searched long and hard on the intraweb until I found an article that explained it in simple enough terms. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, well that just proves what my good friend Dan Savage says -- that gay rights headlines are like a dog whistle, only noticeable to teh gays and the nutjob bigots.

Basically, the court voted that Prop 8 outlawing gay marriage in CA and its method of passage was perfectly legal; however, lacking any retroactive wording, so are the 18,000 gay marriages that were conducted between the Court legalizing them and the voter-approved amendment.

So currently gay marriage is legal for 18,000 couples in California and no one else. Just when you thought the state couldn't get any wackier.

It's not the resounding victory I had hoped for, but I understand it was the best the Court could do after being put between a rock and a hard place. I expect Prop 8 to be shot down completely after another vote, after the fence-sitters have some time to get accustomed to the idea and realize that the sea isn't boiling and it isn't raining blood, which is what the zealots want us to think.

No, what angers me is the attitude of MyFriendDeb, who is otherwise wholly on our side.

She had a rough childhood; not rough enough to make headlines or require therapy, but enough to sour her on the whole idea of marriage, for anyone. For me, it's only partly about legalities. The bigger principle is the fact that people think they have the right to decide how other people live. That my relationship with Tery, 17 years in July and still doing better than a lot of straight marriages, is less worthy of legal recognition.

And I guarantee that if it was Deb's rights on the line (or being subjected to popular vote), she'd agree.

But she'd rather spend her energy getting worked up about the REAL injustices of life: getting a tax refund check (Uncle Sam held her money unjustly for a whole year), the fact that her 6-button mouse doesn't work with Windows Vista, and potential employers who do mandatory drug testing (violation of privacy, despite her being even more straight edge than me). Yep, 10% of the population treated like second-class citizens, and these are the things that have her panties in a bunch.

~*~

Enough of all that unpleasantness. I snapped this photo of my Mitten who appeared to be engrossed in the program on TV:


She'll ruin her eyes sitting that close


My Otta May question was too easy (JeffyJeff answered me privately in an email. It was of course Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost). How about this? Name the scary movie Kitten is watching.
grrgoyl: (AD Tobias)
I had cynically given Ryan and John a month before falling apart again. Thus I was a little surprised when Ryan texted me Sunday at midnight admitting moving back in with him was stupid and he was returning to his condo the next day. One week for him to remember all the things about John he hated that didn't get fixed with one counseling session and god knows how many "take me back, baby"s.

To come crying to me after all his talk about how he doesn't listen to his friends because they have so much "negativity" about John took some guts. I explained that we aren't in love with John, see him more objectively, and base our opinions largely on seeing how much John hurts Ryan. Maybe he'll start listening to us now. At any rate, I was a good friend and the words "I told you so" never passed my lips (errrr, fingers?) (although they gave me a bit of a headache from crashing around in my brain so violently). I just wish he'd let go of the apparent belief that his only two options are John or dying alone. He's only 30, for pity's sake.

Not that I have my workout partner back, but at least I've seen no sign of Lucy either. Although I suspect this change of situation might make him not so determined to kick her out for not paying rent.

~*~

Only minimal progress on the Crankwhore front. I emailed the property manager informing him about my conversation with Narcotics and my surveillance camera plan. His response was "Be careful with cameras and don't attach anything to the building without Board approval. We had a guy who did and he was forced to take it down again." A.) Yes, well, we certainly don't want to infringe on the rights of the convicted drug dealer, now do we? B.) Do you honestly think I'd be stupid enough to put up a huge honkin' camera pointed straight at her door that she would notice even in her tweaked-out state? C.) Sorry, Officer Jason, I'd love to help you in your investigation, but my HOA Board would rather have a meth lab in the building than the bleeding eyesore of a 1-inch tall camera.

As it is I responded with choice B (only slightly less snarky). It turns out he need not have worried; the new weatherproof night vision camera arrived, was indeed only about an inch tall, but unfortunately also glaringly obvious no matter where I positioned it (difficult to judge impartially since I knew where to look. However, we must also not forget how paranoid Tracey is). Anywhere above our chicken wire screen (to keep ferrets from falling three stories to their deaths) and it might as well have been one of the industrial foot-long models. Anywhere behind the screen and after dark the screen is pretty much all the camera sees. Annoyingly, an ideal spot would be on our satellite dish, since an extra piece of electronics would more likely go unnoticed -- however, anything stuck to it, even just the arm of it, disrupted the signal. Not a problem for me, who primarily only watches DVDs anyway, but Tery wouldn't budge in her veto of the idea. Joy-sucking (and now drug-abetting) robot.

So it was back to the peephole cam, which it turns out works beautifully at night when not confined to a peephole (our stairwell is very brightly lit at night). It has the plus of being a lot less conspicuous, but the minus of not being weatherproof. I hope to have this resolved before weather becomes an issue again, so we'll see.

And that's it! Slow news week. I'm using one of my AD icons since realizing they've gotten shamefully very little play recently.
grrgoyl: (Jayne momma's boy)
Monday Ryan did something that earned him the award for Most Clueless Act Ever Performed by Someone Not Named President George Bush: He texted me asking for permission to give my number to Lucy because "she needs a workout buddy." Not "Would you like to be Lucy's workout buddy?" (Answer: I would not).

I wondered why HE couldn't be her buddy. I knew he was planning to start counseling with John, so I joked to Tery that he was going to ride off into the sunset with him and leave Lucy with me. I guess the week-long silent treatment wasn't enough of a lesson in how I feel about Lucy.

It turns out, as I learned Tuesday, that was exactly his plan. John closed on a house Friday and Ryan wasted no time arranging to move in with him. After only one therapy session and a weekend free of arguing. Possibly one of the stupider decisions of his life (not being made with the big head), but you can't tell him that.

Part of his grand scheme is to ask Lucy to rent his condo from him (Lucy of no job or income). Yep. Definitely no big head thinking going on here.

Whatever. He can live his life and make his own mistakes, but he shouldn't try to foist his friends off on me when they become inconvenient.

~*~

In FCW news, the surveillance software is first class, but as it turns out my handy peephole spycam is pretty useless at night -- you can vaguely make out people-sized shapes, but she could be carrying crates of fully automatic rifles into her place and it would be impossible to tell. So I tracked down a second camera with night vision that I can position on the balcony facing the stairwell. This is how determined I am to catch her at SOMETHING.

Today I finally got a call back from Narcotics Division, an officer with a dry sense of humor who assured me he's had her on his radar this entire time, and would love nothing more than to kick her door in and find something to put her away, except that "pesky Constitution" has his hands tied without more substantial evidence.

I was happy I didn't get a "Meth lab what? Tracey who?" He also seemed very interested in my little camera scheme. Tery thought I was a huge dork, but I'm sure he wishes more private citizens stepped up and took a more active role more often. Part of it is my hatred of drug users. A bigger part is a strong desire not to have my home blown up.

He did say, somewhat ominously and mysteriously, "I have information that might suggest she's starting up again." He didn't elaborate, and obviously this comment didn't do much to put me at ease. I wanted desperately to ask about the odds of her getting off so easy after a second offense, but I'm always hyper-self- conscious when I talk to coppers.

So now I'm back on garbage watch, which the cameras should make much easier. If I know anything, so too will you.

~*~

Okay, F-list, your squeeing has not fallen on deaf ears. Monday I went to see ::Star Trek:: )

Final impression: More enjoyable than some of the films made with the original cast. I'm definitely looking forward to more films being made with these young 'uns. Particularly Mr. Quinto.
grrgoyl: (closer)
No progress on the Filthy Crankwhore, unless you count the Department of Vandalism rejecting my report and sending me the phone number for Narcotics. I don't really understand why they couldn't just forward it on themselves. Maybe they aren't speaking this week?

I've proactively installed my peephole spycam. I just need some recording software that won't devour huge chunks of my computer's memory (found something cheap on eBay, we'll see). I have no intention of sitting back and waiting for the slow ponderous hand of justice to move on our behalf again. And here's hoping if you're caught with a meth lab twice, you don't move back in 6 months later.

~*~

Sunday morning I woke up determined to forgive Ryan, after not saying a single word to him all week after he hung me out to dry Tuesday. I had hoped my silence would prompt him to broach the subject, but he remained either blissfully unaware or thought he could make it all better with a constant stream of stupid forwarded email jokes.

I texted him about going to the gym (Monday) and he agreed with an emoti-smile. I felt better, but knew myself well enough that he wouldn't escape without at least being told that I was angry with him.

He boarded the elliptical machine next to mine and we made small talk. He said he had been really busy with "issues." I saw an opening and said "me too" but he didn't bite. I asked about his issues; he didn't want to share. So I confessed I had been mad at him but got over it. "Huh?" Yep. Truly clueless. "I felt like you blew me off for little miss Lucy," I told him. "What-EV-er," was his response in that little bratty singsong way that makes me want to smack a bitch.

"Yeah, what-EV-er" I mimicked, and that was pretty much all that was said. To me, "what-EV-er" (which was Tabby's default response to many things that made me want to smack her) is the defense of people who have no defense. I considered it a slap in the face and possibly the final nail in the coffin of our friendship, at least as I had once known it.

The weird thing about Ryan is, he normally apologizes so often it's annoying. He'll apologize for not finishing his sit-ups fast enough. He'll apologize for breathing too hard on the cardio. But when it comes to something where an apology is actually warranted and would be immensely appreciated, he's tighter lipped than Rick Santorum at a gay orgy.

My sister (who had defended Ryan earlier when I told her what had happened) agreed that it was not a proper reaction to hearing that you had inadvertently upset your friend. She said there comes a point in every friendship when one of you abruptly comes up against the boundary of the friendship, and I guess I've found ours. We'll still be friends, I just won't ever think of Ryan as someone I can count on for anything ever again.

But at least I'm in better shape than he is.

Edit: I've been corresponding with K., a longtime friend of Ryan's. I shared the "What-EV-er" story with her. She expressed her sympathy, but explained that Ryan doesn't do confrontations well, and when he says that to her, that's how she knows that he knows she's right. Cold comfort, I suppose. On our bike ride today when I pointed out the spot where my trouble began to him, I got a better apology. It will have to do.

~*~

Quite an exciting Mother's Day weekend for me. Dr. N. called Tery just at the end of my day shift Saturday. A pregnant dog had come in, was going to deliver in a matter of hours, but Dr. N. desperately needed a break and wanted me to come in right away to relieve her.

"I don't know nothin' about birthin' no puppies!" was my first reply, and I don't (and I've never actually seen Gone With the Wind, demonstrating the forays it's made into the vernacular). I've never even seen puppies being born, never mind delivered them myself. Because the unfortunate phrasing the doc used was "I'll explain when you get here and you can tell me if you feel comfortable doing it." I could have told her right then, whatever I had to do, I'm far from comfortable with it.

But I'm a good little team worker so I saddled up and went. She had an online video of dog delivery queued up for me on the computer. She described the symptoms of imminent labor. Then she said she wanted me to call her the minute it started so she could hurry back.

"OH. I thought you were leaving me to do it alone," I told her. She said if she were me and thought that was the case, she wouldn't have come in. Apparently she was still expressing her amazement at my dedication all day Monday. Well, that's how I roll. I may not like my duties sometimes, but I still try my damndest to perform them.

She left and I watched the dog anxiously, a little Silky terrier. The problem was the dog was exhibiting all the behavior I was told to watch for (nesting, stretching out in an extended position on her side) to some degree almost constantly from the minute she left.

Thus the first puppy slipped out without me even noticing. Just peeked in and, oh hey! There it was. Fortunately dogs are convenient self-cleaning units -- the mother eats the afterbirth, which everyone should get to watch once before they die (when I described it to my sister, who is expecting in September, her reply was, "Ooooh, I hope I won't have to do that!" I said I was sure it was purely optional in human delivery).

Dr. N returned in time for the other four (I didn't realize there's up to a 30-minute break between babies. I thought they all came shooting out at once). She was absolutely knackered, but sat there patiently for the next three hours until they all came. Fortunately by the time the last one appeared, mom was too exhausted to cut the cord herself and the doctor had to do it. I say "fortunately" because it made me feel somewhat better making her stay there with me all that time (even though it cut seriously into my nap time, and by midnight I was dropping as badly as she was).

Once they were out we were free and clear and I was left alone. So, happy Mother's Day, Otta May! (the dog) (I spent the first hour there struggling to remember where I'd heard that name before. Bonus points to anyone who gets it (without cheating, but don't ask how I'll know).)

~*~

Finally, some movie reviews. The first one will be quick, so I won't cut. The Unborn, which is the one with the upside-down-headed dog in the ads. Surprising how freaky such a simple effect looks. The effects in general were very good. The plot, eh...kind of lost me in the middle.

Nazis performed unethical experiments on twins in WWII, resulting somehow in our young heroine being haunted by supernatural forces demanding to let "Jumby" be born.

She very circuitously learns that a dybbuk (Jewish demon) is searching for a gateway to our world. She seeks out Rabbi Gary Oldman (heh) for an exorcism, who initially refuses because he doesn't believe in mysticism. Then he encounters the abovementioned dog in the temple, and in the next scene offers his services. "Why the change of heart?" she asks. "I decided as long as YOU believe, that's all that matters," he answers. Really? The dog with the inverted head had nothing to do with it?

I won't say any more, except that the ending was one of those where you think it's over, then they start flashing back to snatches of conversation and glimpses of previous scenes, so you know a Big Twist is coming, unless you've been living in Siberia all your life. Ugh. I loved this technique in the first three movies that used it. Now it's just an overused and often disappointing attempt to build some excitement at the last minute.

A much, much, much better movie is ::Splinter:: )

Like I said if you clicked, for an indie I'd never heard of, this movie was a very pleasant surprise as horror movies go. Spend your (rental) money on this instead of The Unborn. 4 out of 5, I think.
grrgoyl: (Dylan apoplectic)
Just a quickie:

I was half joking in that last post about living next to a drug addict, until I just heard a bunch of banging and clanking at my door. I peeked out in time to see the FCW and an unknown male hurriedly transporting about 40 aluminum tubes, ranging from 1-3 feet long apiece, into her unit. Either she's building a swing set in her living room, a Habitrail™ for her dogs, or a new ventilation system. After seeking advice on Yahoo Answers, I filed a non-emergency report with the police. Unfortunately the website didn't have an appropriate category so it had to go under "Property Damage/Vandalism."

Also, unrelated, I caught a glimpse of her in a strong shaft of sunlight in the parking lot. Her hair looks like it's been dyed by a circus clown -- bright blood orange red. Not the color of choice for those looking to stay gainfully employed (unless, of course, you work at a circus. Or Hot Topic). The fact that it also looks like she hasn't washed it since her bust 4 years ago (4 years! Has it really been that long?) doesn't help much.

Christ, I fucking hate her.
grrgoyl: (Dylan parka)
This weekend at the kennels, I had not one but TWO dogs infested with maggots.  It was pretty horrifying, so that's all I'm going to say about it, and obviously no pics.  You're welcome.

~*~

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

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

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

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

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

~*~

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

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

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

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

~*~

Lastly, a couple of movie reviews.

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

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

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

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

Okay, enough about that.  I was going to also review another Horrorfest, Lake Dead, but it's already stolen enough of my life.  Trust me when I say it's trite and predictable, and not even worth a rental.  Simply awful.
grrgoyl: (jayne calm)
Ahhh, July Fourth...the holiday when everyone in America but me (and [livejournal.com profile] swankyfunk) get the day off to celebrate the birth of our country, and when the stupider Americans lose various digits after buying illegal explosives that shouldn't by right be sold to anyone but professional event coordinators.

Normally Independence Day is only a source of moderate irritation to me. But that was when I didn't have to work the kennels. This year the Fourth fell squarely onto my shift. Imagine taking care of 16 dogs. Now imagine doing it in Baghdad.

I could see a few public displays far off in the distance. These were not the problem. The problem was at least two neighbors behind the hospital setting off large (and quite illegal) shows of their own, only a few blocks away, not to mention still more across the street at the Taco Junior. I watched a few rockets with trepidation, as they seemed likely to land right on top of me.

Some dogs were completely unfazed by the noise, like this monster of a Bassett hound, Waylon Elvis.


Bassett-zilla


Others didn't play it so cool, like Sharkey, a standard Schnauzer who attempted to climb on top of my head in terror. Or Sissy the chihuahua, who needed desperately to pee but had to do so while running back down the stairs. Poor things.

As much as I pride myself on having mastered the attitude of calm assertiveness preached by Cesar "Dog Whisperer" Milan necessary to be a pack leader (actually had it even before we started watching him), that only takes you so far when you're essentially a complete stranger to the dog, unfortunately.

I hustled through everybody as fast as I could, promising to make it up to them in the morning. Back inside, I followed Tery's advice and set up a radio in the ward to play soothing music for the dogs, although it took the better part of a quarter hour for us all to agree on a station. Finally I found the auditory equivalent of Xanax (lite jazz) and went about my work.

There seemed to be an abnormally high amount of emergency traffic whizzing by all night. As each one passed, I made a silent prayer that it represented another idiot mutilated beyond recognition. The air inside the hospital had the metallic stink of gunpowder even with all the windows shut.

By about 11 p.m. it seemed to be mostly over. I poked my head in the ward and actually heard some dogs gently snoring over the sound of the radio. Well, that wasn't TOO bad, I thought.

In the morning I got a bit of a headstart, looking forward to giving the dogs some extra quality outdoor time after our hectic evening schedule. My plan was working well until about 4 a.m., when, to my complete incredulity, the people behind us decided it was the perfect time to set off some residual mortars they had left over. Setting off personal fireworks at dusk on the Fourth of July is annoying, but at least in the celebratory spirit of things. Doing it at 4 in the morning is just you being a douchebag.

"God DAMMIT!!" I screamed at them, but they either didn't hear or didn't care. So, whereas I tried not to rush the dogs through as I had done previously, they still had to perform under a certain amount of duress. Why can't I work at a cat hospital?

But there was good to all this: A) At least I was making time and a half holiday pay. B) At least Honus, the beagle who makes my life hell even without a good reason and who had been boarding just the weekend before, had gone home. And C) I had my favorite dog, the dog I would steal if I thought Tery wouldn't notice, Baby Face the greyhound, who chatters her teeth when she sees me, stretches like a cat and just wants me to wrap my arms around her in a big hug. I love her so.


This is her idea of posing


I also had this pair, Megan and Morgan:


Cerberus sans a head


They're Rottweiler/German shepherd mixes (how many different guard dogs can we squeeze into one body?) and obviously twins. The only difference between them is 3 pounds and the color of their collars, with no indication anywhere of which is which. Smart, huh? They snarled and barked quite savagely at me the first weekend they arrived, but now we're best of friends.

~*~

Our neighbors are still annoying, surprise surprise. Reggie has all but vanished since our little run-in, but occasionally we'll see Clarence, his father? older brother?...I don't know, but he's far less pleasant than Reggie and uses the balcony for EVERYTHING. He'll come home at midnight, get on the phone and carry on a conversation, you guessed it, out on the balcony. Tery told me he had a knock-down screaming fight with his girlfriend (?), on the balcony. It's like the 1000+ square feet of condo he's got behind the balcony simply doesn't provide the living space needed (despite being devoid of furniture). Thank god they're only renting -- if they owned, I wouldn't put it past them to stick the toilet out on the balcony just so he could feel a breeze up his ass when he takes a dump. Am I hostile? Sure. But some things are better not done in full view of all your neighbors, no matter how nice the air feels.

THIS JUST IN: Apparently they feel their balcony also makes an ideal staging ground for Roman candles. They set off two of them FROM THEIR BALCONY before Tery threatened to call the cops and they stopped. The city of Aurora won't even permit full-size barbecue grills on balconies, why on earth do they think it's okay to set off fireworks?? The HOA has been notified, I'm sure there will be a nice little fine in it for them. Neighborhood police, springing into action!

Then there's Tracey, our beloved FCW. We're still trying to give her the benefit of the doubt, even in the face of increasingly odd activity. Like the night Tery noticed she had filled the stairwell landings with computer monitors, so many Tery wouldn't have been able to leave if she needed to. Clunky old CRT monitors that she got from god knows where, to do god knows what with. Then Tery said 15 minutes later they had all been whisked inside her unit. Strange. Possibly suspicious.

She also has attached a little trailer to her Chevy sedan for transporting who knows what. Which wouldn't really bother me except when she isn't using it, she has it propped up between the curb and her car. Which also wouldn't bother me except that when she goes out she leaves it there so no one else can use that spot (our complex doesn't have assigned parking, which I thought was a good thing until now). And of course it isn't a spot out along the periphery of the lot where no one else ever parks, but a real primo spot practically in front of the mailbox. I guess she just isn't happy unless she's pushing legal boundaries somehow, though granted I prefer this parking infraction over the meth lab.

Tery tells me she noticed a towing company's ticket on her windshield, and although it apparently didn't do much in the way of immediately rectifying the problem, I feel better knowing someone else is stepping up to the plate. It's exhausting being the only stool pigeons in the complex.

~*~

Now, to finish on a happy note, I give you the boys:

grrgoyl: (snapes on a plane)
Last night I was enjoying Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring in near-enough-for-me HD quality (after 20 minutes of tweaking the TV's settings), when I heard movement on the stairs outside. I looked through the peephole to see Tracey filling our landing and the one below with furniture. It was almost amusing to watch her tiptoeing around, carefully setting things down slowly, the epitome of a considerate neighbor -- but of course this only proves that she was home when the long arm of the law came knocking and probably overheard me tell the officers that I'd let them know when she was home, which makes her newfound thoughtfulness less consideration and more sneakiness. It was 8 p.m. Should I bother Officer Klinger (who had left me his personal cell phone number) with the information or not? I decided I'd better.

I told him she appeared to be moving things out of her unit. He seemed very interested and thanked me. I then sat back to watch events play out.

It turned out she wasn't moving her things but selling them. She had turned the stairwell landing into her own private showroom. I watched her go downstairs and return with another woman, who examined a small white kitchen hutch and a cheap-looking white bookcase while Tracey looked on, smoking a cigarette with her black hoodie drawn up, looking every inch a criminal. She must have been satisfied with the crap, because the two of them started moving them downstairs.

I watched anxiously, praying the cop would come before the transaction was completed. It turned out the two of them couldn't quite figure how to get both pieces into the back of the girl's SUV and were messing around out there for a good 20 minutes. By this time Tery was home and we both watched as a car slowly drove up and turned around in the lot, which we thought sure had to be the cop scoping the situation.

Well, either it was all for nothing or the cop was VERY discreet, because we never saw anything else. It did disturb Tery that she was selling furniture, as part of her original arrest had turned up thousands of dollars in stolen antiques in her unit. "Well," I pointed out the bright side, "She's gone from that to selling cheap Sauder shit from Walmart. No law against that."

Amusingly, we could clearly see The Alcoholic (who remember becomes outraged when Tracey so much as leaves her screen door hanging ajar at a 6-degree angle) puttering around across the way, wholly oblivious to everything that was happening.
grrgoyl: (Spaced Mouspider)
Yesterday morning we heard the alarming noise of heavy, insistent pounding coming from next door. "Goddammit," I thought, "I have to work with THIS all day??"

It turned out no, I didn't, because soon thereafter came the more alarming noise of heavy, insistent pounding on our door. I opened it to the sight of a man and two women. The man was standing uncomfortably close for comfort; he must have seen the trepidation on my face, because he immediately flashed his badge at me.

Long story short, Ms. Crankwhore has apparently missed several probation appointments, and these law....people were coming round to see what the deal was. I admitted I hadn't actually seen her for weeks, which come to think of it is strange considering we've heard her dogs plenty through the door (though they were suspiciously silent during this exchange).

If she's fled the country or whatever, that works fine for us, aside from the thwarting of justice, etc. Either way, guess we're back on neighborhood watch duty.

UPDATE: Her screen door, which has hung open for weeks now, is suddenly closed this morning. Tery didn't hear her last night, proof that evidently she's perfectly capable of moving around quietly when she really, really wants to.

This doesn't appear to be related, but hear me out. This morning I got yet another call for this deadbeat, Greg Beret (sp). For some reason, this company that sounds like a collections agency has taken it into their head that my number is his, and at least once a month for the past 6 months they've been calling me looking for Greg. I've demanded, threatened, begged them to change their file, and thought I had finally succeeded until my phone rang this morning. When the lady cheerfully asked for Greg, I gritted my teeth and said with tightly controlled rage, "There is no one by that name here." "Oh," she said, less brightly. "I'll have them take it off the file then." I laughed bitterly, "Yeah, that's what I was told last time. You people call me ALL THE TIME...." "Well EXCUSE ME!" she said, and hung up on me. Oh HELL no. YOU don't get to have the attitude. I'M the innocent victim here.

Tery's solution was for me to track down this Greg person myself. I answered, "I've already got one fugitive from justice to keep an eye on. What do I look like, Dog the Bounty Hunter???"

~*~

I've decided to avoid killing myself to earn that production bonus as well as the TV, through the simple expedient of spending Saturday shopping for a TV. It sounded more fun than being the proverbial donkey chasing the dangling carrot. I was lured to Best Buy, a grumbling Tery in tow, by the promise of a Samsung CRT (tube TV) costing half as much as an HDTV, and the misconception that those fancy new LCD units only lasted a year or so. Not so! Evidently the technology has improved and they're more reliable now. Furthermore, the Samsung I had done exhaustive research on turned out to be a behemoth and would never have fit in my car, let alone on our existing TV stand.

Before discovering this though, we had to go through a spectacularly bad salesgirl. The minute our toes crossed the line into TV territory, she sprang on us like a panther, offering to help. I told her what we had come to look at and she joined us in wandering up and down the aisles cluelessly. When it became apparent it wasn't on display, she offered to go look for it in a flyer. We waited. And waited. And waited. When I finally decided to go looking for her, imagine my surprise to see her engrossed in helping an older couple pick out THEIR TV?

She looked up at me and I gave her a "WTF????" signal with my arms. To her credit she ran over immediately, explaining that she couldn't find it in the flyer. Not to her credit, I don't know why she didn't feel obligated to return to say as much, instead of leaving us hanging like that. I should have just walked out then, but I let her go through the rigamarole of checking stock in the computer. They had none (not that I would have bought it from her anyway), but she told us where we could find it.

On the way to the door I told Tery, "Let's go find a store that's interested in actually selling us a TV." She sighed heavily. "It's because we're a couple of women so they don't think we're serious about buying." Yeah, she's probably right.

The second Best Buy proved more fruitful, with the aforementioned realization that the Samsung wasn't a very good option. From there we edged closer to the wall of LCDs. It was quite breathtaking, and I murmured to Tery, "You do realize we're not leaving here empty-handed?" She rolled her eyes. "It's so funny you think after 15 years I'm not fully aware of that." She knows me so well, and loves me anyway.

After an hour of studying each unit and debating, and speaking to a young salesman who was enthusiastic, helpful and respectful, we settled on a 32" Sharp Aquos, a TV that could easily be carried by either of us without needing a chiropractor appointment the next day (having just watched the last 20 minutes of An Inconvenient Truth a few days prior, I'll admit I was swayed by the Energy Star sticker on the bottom left panel).

We talked to our salesman about how we weren't anywhere close to going full-bore HD yet. He warned us that standard programming didn't look that great on an HDTV, but I don't feel he tried hard enough to convey the sad, sad truth of that statement. After staring at the crystal clarity of HD for an hour, boy what a disappointment to see our ghetto standard satellite channels on the Aquos. It was a little like the difference between these two pictures:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted by ImageShack.us
Me HD ------------------------------------------ Me non-HD


DVDs fared significantly better, but could still stand a little improvement.

I called DirecTV the very next day. What no one tells you about the leap to HD is that it requires a whole new dish ($100 with installation), plus another $300 HD receiver (if you want Tivo, which has transmogrified from a luxury to a necessity for us, as they knew it would). An HD DVD player will add another $400 onto that tab. *despairs*

I thought I had the problem licked with something called a scaler/upconverter/line doubler, which reportedly achieves near-HD quality and allows you to plug multiple devices in, which would fix the DVD player and satellite simultaneously. However, I'm learning that units that truly accomplish this with a noticeable difference are so expensive ($1000-$3000) you're probably better off replacing the entire system as above. WHY can't I be a millionaire? Probably because I waste hours at a time shopping for stuff instead of working.

Fortunately, Tery has enough patience for both of us. She insists it's fine and for God's sake will I slow down? Guess until then I'll just watch from upstairs, since the picture looks better and better the farther away you sit. Poopie. *crossing arms sulkily*
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 TravelAlert™ and FareWatcher™ 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: (Manny locked out)
Ryan has a new roommate, a girl named Megan.

We love Ryan to death. He's like our gay little brother. So it's understandable if we're a bit protective and possessive of him.

Megan materialized suddenly a few weekends ago. She was all moved in before we'd ever heard of her. All signs point to a drunken contract made over a game of darts at Monaghan's. We met her over a last minute brunch at TGIFriday's.

Megan looks a lot like Jennifer Jason Leigh. Her voice is low and roughened by a combination of cigarettes and yelling at sporting events. She's ebullient and talkative, but as we shall see, sometimes knowing when to shut up is every bit as important as knowing when to speak.

She started talking about living in a great condo, with unusually considerate neighbors above and below her. When asked why she moved, her answer was "Well, they found a meth lab..."

"Get out! We had a meth lab next door to us!" we responded. It turned out to be no coincidence; she lived at the back of our building. Small world, eh?

If she had shut up there, it might have been fine. But she didn't. She claimed she shared laundry ducts with Tracey. Hazmat scrubbed her cat down in the parking lot out of fear of contamination. She was forced to live in a hotel for a year during the cleanup. It's a great story. But as we left the restaurant, we realized it was riddled with holes.

How did she share ducts on the second floor with Tracey on the third floor? (plus Tery has been inside a gutted building in our complex after a fire and she knows no one shares ducts with anyone) Tery was at the scene the entire time and never saw any animals being scrubbed down. Our animals never were and we share walls with her. And we had a big old hole in our attic between us and her for weeks, and no one was the slightest bit concerned about us leaving the building, never mind moving out.

Alright. So she's told the tale so many times that maybe she's started to believe it, never dreaming she'd meet someone else with firsthand knowledge. But after it was revealed that we knew all about it, she wasn't at all fazed, in the manner of a practiced liar. And we don't like liars.

But that's only half of it. She has an opinion about everything, she knows everything, and she doesn't hesitate to interject her thoughts. Loudly.

For instance: I started to tell Ryan about the new show, Confessions of a Matchmaker on A&E, and the 41-year-old virgin that it turns out "OH MY GOD I SAW THAT!" Megan butt in at top volume, "SHE TELLS HIM HE'S GAY AND SETS HIM UP WITH A DUDE!!!!" Thank you, Megan. I couldn't possibly have told it that well on my own. But I still would have liked the chance.

Watching Hot Fuzz with her was more of the same. A drunk falls off a barstool and she starts braying, "THAT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME! I can't tell you how many times I've been in a bar and seen someone do that! Or try to sit down and totally miss the stool" and at this point she actually got up to demonstrate, "That's so funny!!!" Then later when Danny and Nick are firing guns in a high-speed chase, she volunteered "It's actually really hard to fire a gun while driving, did you know that?" No, I didn't, and didn't particularly want to know how she did.

Who doesn't love a know-it-all?

After Heroes ended, we all jumped immediately into Dexter and have seen almost all of season 1 together. When we went over Ryan's a few weekends ago, Megan joined us despite never having seen a single episode. It was right about now we began wondering if we had to include Megan in everything we did with Ryan. Anyway, it wasn't a hardship to bring her up to speed with the show so far. But then she started shouting out at random intervals, "He's the Ice Truck Killer! No, HE'S the Ice Truck..." Stop, will you please stop? Even if you had any idea what you're talking about, that's very, very annoying.

Ryan has a chihuahua mix dog, Ren, who has grown very attached to us. Megan's thing is to call Ren a cat to try to trick him into meowing instead of barking. She brings this joke up every time Ren comes anywhere near her. Here's a hint: If no one laughs at a joke the first time, the answer is not repeated attempts. It's just embarrassing and awkward for all involved.

Personal shortcomings aside, we hoped having a roommate might solve Ryan's perpetual financial problems. Not only does he not seem any farther from the poverty line (probably because he has someone to go to bars with), but Megan has also pulled him back from the brink of quitting smoking and he's lighting up more than ever.

Ryan says she's the best roommate he's ever had. Tery and I aren't so sure.
grrgoyl: (snarry OTP)
Weekend One P.B. (post break-in), and I'm slowly picking up the pieces. I returned to work at the hospital this weekend with a fair amount of confidence, not because I wasn't nervous (although I do refuse to live in fear), but because Tery feels badly enough about me having to replace my window that she's agreed to let me quit if it happens again. Because I hate to admit it, but now that the novelty has worn off of this job, 75% of my motivation for staying is just to make Tery's life easier. Guilt is a powerful tool, and it works both ways. So now I think of it as being one break-in away from leaving this job. If that isn't seeing the cup as half full, I don't know what is.

My new driver's license has arrived just in time for my trip (and I don't look drugged in this one, thankyou), and I've found a new bag that doesn't begin to approach the coolness of the messenger bag I lost, but it will have to do. Everything's coming together nicely *steepling fingers and tapping them thoughtfully*

~*~

It's December 6th and I'm almost done with my Christmas shopping. This is an unprecedented event in my history of Christmas shopping, and it feels pretty damn good. My older sister seems to have been beset with a terminal case of Johnny Depp lust, and I've obliged her with 3 of his movies off her Amazon wishlist. I know I've said it before, but this year I mean it: If she reciprocates with $13 worth of crap off the streets of Mexico™ again, I WILL cut her off this time.

I say "almost done" because I am still in pursuit of the most elusive, but what will be the best ever, gift for Tery. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you....the iKaraoke. A microphone that plugs into your iPod, transmitting any song to your stereo sans vocals, turning anything into a karaoke number. Think me a wee bit presumptuous, giving the gift of an iPod accessory without actually owning an iPod? Don't. If I don't get one as a gift, I'm buying myself another one. Make no mistake -- one way or the other, I WILL have my iPod wrongs redressed and possess once more that which was taken from me (I've got my eye on this aluminum beauty, in case anyone feels really, really sorry for me. No? I HAVE to find more fabulously wealthy friends, dammit).

But the iKaraoke is proving to be, as I've said, elusive. Amazon has it but mysteriously won't ship it until after Christmas (update: today suddenly it's "unavailable"). Apple.com has a similar delay. BestBuy.com says "Coming soon!" and CircuitCity.com tries to tempt me with crappy old school karaoke machines instead. Phone calls to not one but two Apple stores had similar results. I suppose it's too much to ask a store devoted entirely to Apple products to actually carry, you know, Apple products. Am I the only one who thinks they're really missing the boat on the highest selling volume time of the year? Perhaps they think they're so hot that Christmas or no Christmas won't make a difference in their sales. I wish I could be the one to teach them differently, but Tery simply has to have this.

~*~

I'm so full of the Christmas spirit this year it's almost painful. Last year we were too poor to buy each other gifts, so didn't even bother decorating. Immensely depressing. This year we're making up for it. We're even in a balcony light war with Tracey FCW and I couldn't be more pleased. I even said hi to her the other day in passing, in the interest of forging new neighbor relations (probably to [livejournal.com profile] kavieshana's disappointment, sorry). Active meth users don't bother decorating so elaborately for the holidays, do they? I hope it isn't just a cover.

Conversely, the Alcoholic has new neighbors below her, renters judging from their lack of consideration. They pump up the jams so loudly you can hear them through the closed windows. I'll bet Tracey's screen door hanging wide (albeit quietly) open is looking pret-ty good to her right about now. Karma certainly can be an evil bitch, my friends.

~*~

Lastly, after [livejournal.com profile] ms_hecubus' hair-tearing announcement that the Harry Potter DVDs might be re-released with new extras, I Googled "Harry Potter commentary" immediately to see for myself. One of the results didn't promise to answer my questions, but I clicked nevertheless, on a commentary on the Harry Potter mania. It turned out to be an open letter from one of these God freaks denouncing Harry Potter and all the Evil JK Rowling has wrought on the World with her bastard Creation. I'm sure these things are a dime a dozen on the internet, but I've never bothered to read one.

And I regret starting with this One. The Author rants and raves about how the Lord wants Him to spread this Message and how it behooves each one of Us to help Him do so. As far as I can tell, the Message is simply, "Harry Potter is Bad." He doesn't produce one Shred of Evidence to support His rant, not a single quote or example, and in fact left me highly Doubtful that He'd even read the Books at all. He had the nerve to say something to the effect of, "If the Columbine High School killers grew up without Harry Potter, how much worse will the Future be with children that have been Raised on it?" And to compare the supposed literacy benefit to Children reading Hustler magazine. "All sins are Equal in the Eyes of God, so I don't think this is too much of an Exaggeration" he writes. This is perhaps a fair statement to make about the Harry Potter stories that I read, but 10-year-olds? Sir, get a grip.

To this I have the same four words I've always had: Lord. Of. The. Rings. An entire generation grew up reading those books and it didn't bring about the birth of the Antichrist. I also refuse to be told what I can and can't read by someone who uses such random and nonsensical Capitalization in their own writing (demonstrated in the above paragraph. Hella distracting and obnoxious). As for Harry Potter fans' serial killer potential, frankly I worry more about children raised by religious fanatics who don't feel the need to provide valid, logical reasons to hate and fear things indiscriminately.
grrgoyl: (methree)
I'm not saying that Tracey FCW has been added to my T-Mobile My Faves™ circle so don't jump in my shit. However, she was decent enough to write back to us using our new door note system, apologizing for any noise she made and hoping we noticed that she took steps to correct the problem immediately. She even left her phone number at the bottom, which I felt showed good effort. This is in direct contrast to the email I received from the Alcoholic right about the same time:

It appears she’s up to some of her old habits. She’s back to leaving the screen door wide open and I saw the two dogs again this weekend. She hasn’t been leaving them on the deck that I know of. Anything you can add, Elaine?

Yes, we've seen two dogs going in and out of her place, which is against the new HOA by-laws. I was going to notify the administrator but Tery stopped me, pointing out that she would just claim one was her boyfriend's and not a permanent resident, and anyway apart from the occasional Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse impression they do in the stairwell when entering and exiting, we really haven't heard a peep out of them.

And as far as "leaving the screen door wide open," I say to that "Fuck-a-doodle-doo." Who the fuck gives a crap (besides the Alcoholic)? The best response I could muster to this weak attempt at a witch hunt was a very restrained, "Nope" which I'm quite sure is not what she was expecting.

In an uncustomary burst of goodwill, I wrote back to Tracey telling her we were willing to make a fresh start and we appreciated her being so nice about our request. I meant it. Since she's obviously here to stay, I think at this point we need to make the best of it and try to work on a more civil relationship, unlike the Alcoholic who wants to keep fighting her tooth and nail with petty little observations like the one above (all the while continuing to refuse to use her handicapped parking space). Again, we aren't asking Tracey to house-sit any time soon, but I'd much rather live with a reformed addict trying to make good and focusing on her own problems than with a plain old drunk who wants to regulate the precise angle that's considered acceptable to leave a screen door open.

Tracey wrote back AGAIN (okay, now we might be verging on BFF status here) thanking us, saying a fresh start would be more than fair, and she would try very hard to keep the noise to a minimum. Which is all we ever wanted from her. I feel pretty good about the situation now. I might be a godless, hedonistic bisexual who hates religion, but the Christians did get some things right: namely the Golden Rule, and whoever said "To err is human; to forgive, divine." (I'd add the "Judge not lest ye be judged," but the hypocrisy would make my hard drive burst into flames.)

To commemorate the occasion, I am hereby removing the "F" from "FCW." And until further notice, "Crankwhore" will be used strictly affectionately.

~*~

I was going through recent paycheck stubs in my quarterly paperwork organization when I noticed an odd column on them labeled "PTO." I know that means "paid time off" to people with real jobs, but I wasn't sure how it applied to me. I asked Tery if the "31.47" value printed under it was dollars or hours; before you think this a stupid question, keep in mind that I work for a company that pays out an "employee appreciation bonus" on holidays that amounts to roughly $3.87 after taxes. I wish I were being facetious.

So once determining that the 31 actually represented hours, I went on to determine that I had the choice to "use it or lose it" by the end of the year. Gah! No pressure. It's easy to make extremely last-minute holiday plans at this time of year.

Which, actually I found out that it is. Last minute is when all the best airfare deals pop up. Within a day I found myself booking a flight to see my favorite (well, she's got a 50/50 chance) sister in Boston. I'm terribly, terribly excited about this, not just because of the trip itself, but at the prospect of using Paid Time Off. I've got a REAL job now!



Of course, the cosmos looked down and saw my happiness and said, "Something must be done." Just tonight I discovered a packet on top of a pile of old mail in the back of my car. It seems the IRS feels I owe them around $2,000 and wish to conduct an "examination" on me, which I suspect is the new, less frightening term that replaced the word "audit." (Guess what, Mr. Taxman? Not a whole hell of a lot less frightening.) This news put a leeetle damper on my vacation high, but plane tickets are non-refundable so fuck it. I'm guessing (i.e. desperately hoping) this is just a misunderstanding, but it's nothing I can clear up right now. If they repossess my computer and throw me in debtor's prison, this could be my final post. Dun dun duuuuuuun!!
grrgoyl: (frankLOL)
Now, I'm not saying that Tracey Crankwhore and I are BFF all of a sudden, so don't jump in my shit. After two nights of pre-dawn moving activities, I left a very polite note on her door requesting that she try to be quieter if there was really no other time of day she could do it. In a perfect world I shouldn't have to ask, but we thought maybe because she never hears any of us considerate neighbors that she assumed the doors were thick enough to cover her. Well, we haven't heard a peep since. Lovely, and completely unexpected. This doesn't mean that she's ponied up the money to test our attic, but that isn't keeping us awake nights. Baby steps.

By contrast, I decided I've had enough of the Alcoholic using her handicapped space or not based on the position of the planets and I bloody well left a somewhat less polite note on her door telling her what I thought about it (anonymously, not out of cowardice but out of unwillingness to start a pointless neighborhood flame war). The next day she went out and came back again, and again parked in a regular space. So YOU tell ME who the worse neighbor is. I'm getting very sick and tired of people being such selfish, thoughtless asshats, which I guess is bad news for me since it isn't likely to change soon.

Is it any wonder I dreamt about buying a house out in the middle of nowhere, with no neighbors for miles around?

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

I never finished talking about the kennels last weekend. One of the reasons I was soooo happy to have an excuse to leave was because I was rejoined by my arch-nemesis, Honus, the Asshole Beagle of Death. He was slightly better behaved, in that I didn't even notice him until I was filling out my rounds sheet and I came face to face with him in kennel #7 at the end. "Helloooooooooo, Newman Honus" I hissed in recognition. He looked up at me utterly guilelessly. It didn't take long, however, for him to remember the way of things and return to his annoying, whining, yelping, ceaseless barking.

This time he was prescribed a tranquilizer. It was scheduled for 2 a.m., but by 11 p.m. I had had all that I was going to take. I gave it to him and he still wouldn't shut up, so I called Tery. She suggested I take him upstairs with me, maybe he just wanted some company. Yeah, I'm sure the poor thing is just misunderstood. He seemed happier upstairs, probably because it gave him the opportunity to make twice as much work for me. He spent more than an hour after taking the tranq spilling every trash can in the place, and even climbing onto a few doctors' desks and knocking all their papers on the floor. Fucking ASSHOLE. He never stopped moving once, so I figured the little field trip wasn't doing any good and brought him back downstairs. Where he proceeded to bark the rest of the night. My hatred for this dog knows no bounds.

So I happily left him barking his fool head off to go to the Halloween party on Saturday night. The problem with this was when I returned and slid my key into the front door of the hospital, I felt like I was returning to a jail cell, with Honus as my jailer. I tiptoed through the dark as long as possible to delay the inevitable, but at the first creaking floorboard the basement erupted into a cacophony of barks and howls with Honus leading the pack (this is why I've taken to removing my shoes and going about in stocking feet all night). A comfortingly yelled "It's okay, babies, it's just me!" shut everyone up except for you-know-who. He KNEW it was me, that's why he was barking, the fucker.

The good of the weekend was probably these two dogs:

Warning:  Objects in picture are much larger than they appear

This is Nishika the malamute and Kava the Great Pyrenees. Sisters, and fortunately both very sweet and docile, because if one of them decided they didn't want to return to their kennel, I'm not sure what I could have done to make them. Still, I found it very hard to wrap my mind around the logistical nightmare that daily life with 200-odd pounds of dog would entail.

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I'm getting a new phone. Our Lady of the Contemptuous Scorn of All Things Cellular is now on her first upgrade. It's Tery's fault, sort of. She asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and the first words out of my mouth before I'd given it any sort of thought were "Motorola Razr." Here I'd been so proud of myself for resisting its allure when it first came out, and unbeknownst to me deep in my heart of hearts I had continued to covet it all this time. Of course, now that the desire was out there, there was no question of waiting for Christmas (not to mention Tery knows nothing about the workings of cellphone plans/upgrades, etc., so I knew it was all up to me). The guilt of indulgence was softened considerably when I idly browsed T-Mobile's site and saw a deal on this one for only $30 after rebate. T-Mobile's very reasonable asking price was merely that I sign over my soul to them for the next 2 years. Well, they can have it -- it's black and brittle and used up anyway (oh, angst!) Sure, it's a V3 which is probably considered ghetto compared to the many new versions that have since been released, but my cellphone needs are still pretty basic and I'm sure that any shortcomings in features will be more than compensated for every time I fondle the Razr's sleek, streamlined body. Yep, this phone will be bringin' sexy back (into my life, at least).

It hasn't even arrived yet and I've started tricking it out (or "pimpin' my talk" as Tery puts it). I spent far more time than necessary last night on Tery's office computer looking at accessories on eBay. She's got dial-up, so you KNOW that's some shopping dedication when every web page change requires at least a 5-minute commitment. Ugh. Dial-up suuhuuhuuhuuhuhuuhcks, in case anyone didn't know that by now. Still, I managed to find a pretty sweet case that hopefully will arrive about the same time as the phone. I'm damn excited about it, for someone who still practically never talks on the phone.

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And.....speaking of killer eBay finds, I don't think anyone in their right mind who knows anything about me could possibly expect me to resist this when I discovered it during a casual search for overpriced Frank the Bunny Halloween costumes (don't worry. I didn't pay anywhere close to the price in the link). Oh. My. God. The head interchanges with Frank's human head and it says 7 phrases from the movie. It's almost as if someone IS listening to my fantasies.....
grrgoyl: (Tinies)
The bad: Tracey FCW's response to requests to pay for testing our stuff continues to be "La, la, la, I can't hear you." And to make matters worse, she's back to moving in at all hours of the night (last night's shift was 11:30 pm to 5 am), which honestly affects Tery more than me since I sleep in a buffered cocoon of white noise with my fan even when the temperature is 30 degrees. And probably affected the Alcoholic not at all, so it's a good thing she's given up sending me anguished, fretful emails about how we're going to get rid of our "mutual" scourge. The moving thing just flabbergasts us. Imagine, you're a drug dealer caught with a meth lab in your house. The whole neighborhood knows about it. But you still decide to move back in among all these people who know you are filth and already have perfectly good reasons to hate you. You could a.) try to mend some fences, try to prove that you've changed and show that you'd like another chance at being a decent member of the human race, or b.) keep on doing whatever the fuck you want and keep treating everyone around you like enemies. I know what I'D do, but I come from a background of being raised properly by my parents. I guess it takes more than a few months in rehab or wherever she went to instill consideration for others. I reported it to the HOA, not as a complaint, just as something for the record, so if/when there are more incidents everything is documented.

My mood was not improved when I watched part of the moving process through the peephole and noticed their primary method of transporting sundries up the stairs was pails. Lots of pails, all different sizes. Who the fuck has that many pails? Oh, I guess the former owner of a meth lab has lots of pails. Yeah, that did a lot to quell my fears.

The good: I emailed the HOA as well about everyone's seeming lack of concern for the safety of our attic. Dave the administrator was very sympathetic and perplexed as to why the Health Dept was dropping the matter. He had me send him an inventory of everything up there and promised to follow through for us, including using fines or whatever leverage the HOA could wield to pressure her themselves. So I guess there is some advantage to belonging to an HOA after all.

I hate her. I just fucking hate her.


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But enough about all that. Some movie reviews.

My favorite part of Halloween is watching all the horror movies on TV, things I would never actually rent. Tery and I were skimming through some the other night. We stumbled upon a channel showing a Troma festival and we stopped and laughed at The Toxic Avenger for about 15 minutes. It was bad, I mean REALLY bad, and 15 minutes was about all the cheese we could stomach. Then to my surprise she stopped on the Sci-Fi channel offering, It Waits. I was mildly intrigued by it; Tery promptly fell asleep.

::cut on the infinitesimal possibility that someone someday might want to see this:: )

Ugh. This falls firmly in the "88 minutes of my life I'll never get back" category. 1.5 out of 5, just for providing some truly MST3k moments.


Saw III. Ryan and I saw it tonight. The reviews are correct...it IS better than the second, almost as good as the first. There are no spoilers following.

First, the theater wasn't that full when we arrived. There was a girl and two guys sitting a few rows behind us that later were joined by fellow classmates until almost the entire row was occupied. They talked and joked loudly, but only up until the trailers started, so it was all good. I did hear the girl say quite clearly before the lights went down, "So, this guy, he plays games or something and doesn't actually kill anyone himself?" Either she was being cute or she really hadn't seen the first two films.

The reviews were also correct that this is probably 10 times gorier than the first two. That's a LOT of gore, but I handled it. It has two simultaneous running plots like Saw II, a doctor captured and coerced into keeping the deathly ill Jigsaw alive long enough to see the end of his final test, and the test subject, a man given the opportunity to either forgive or condemn various agents in the trial of the drunk driver who killed his son and got off with a slap on the wrist.

These plots are cleverly interwoven, even moreso because they manage to integrate some key points of the first two films, showing what led up to them and tying up loose ends -- and completely spoiling both films for anyone foolish enough to come in this late in the franchise. HA. It gave me chills, it was so nicely done.

There are only two things I want to say, again no spoilers. First, the trap planned for the judge is just about the worst way to die that I can imagine (you'll know what I mean if you see it). Secondly, one of Jigsaw's victims is chosen only because she's "dead inside" and relates better to murder victims than to living companions. Well, god help you if you suffer from clinical depression or something. The lesson here is the next time you're walking alone in the dark, be sure to show off your joie de vivre with every step just in case you're being stalked by a Jigsaw copycat.

This chapter was a very satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. The reviews mention the possibility of sequels, but no more with the original two writers, so most likely count me out. 4 out of 5

Oh, and why can't Jigsaw kidnap our Filthy Crankwhore and teach her a lesson or two?

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Finally, we thought we needed a plumber; the toilet was making a dripping leaking sound. Then when Tery tried to fix it, the turn-off valve started leaking. She eventually fixed both, but the point is I was looking in the phone book for a plumber. One of the first ads I read boasted, "No charge for travel!" which implies that other companies DO. This hardly seems fair -- it's not as if you can go to them. But the funniest was a huge two-page ad that listed all the services they guarantee. In addition to the actual plumbing work you hire them for, they will 1) empty the trash in every room they work in (not so bad), 2) change any lightbulbs they notice are out and 3) even bring in your newspaper for you from outside. Seems like a pretty all-purpose service, but how much more are they charging you for all those personal touches? I can change my own lightbulbs and I can certainly carry in my own newspaper. I call a plumber to handle the things I CAN'T do myself, k?

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grrgoyl

December 2011

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