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: (UCB I'm not even here)
I'm experiencing a bit of a Rickman Renaissance, a Ricknaissance if you will. I realized that a lot of old titles that I watched casually back before my love was in full bloom are now available quite affordably on most sites. Specifically, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

I know, I know, I couldn't stand that movie. However. That was before I realized that the two-disc extended edition contained an extra 15 minutes, most of which evidently focus on Rickman's Sheriff of Nottingham. "Interesting if you like that Richman guy, but doesn't add much to the movie" reviewers say on Amazon. Reviewers who no doubt resent any focus being dragged away from Kevin "no British accent for me" Costner. Add to that screencaps of Alan smiling and messing around from the bonus features on rickmanistareview.com (my new favorite site) and ownership of this is a no-brainer.

There's also a special edition of my second (or third) favorite Rickman flick (Rickflick? I'll stop), Galaxy Quest, on the horizon. It's all coming together nicely.

~*~

Of course I planned to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine, just not under such unpleasant circumstances.

Saturday night Ryan, after more than a week of blowing off our workout routine, swore to me up and down that Monday was the day. He was going to start up again, yesiree. A bike ride, the gym, he didn't care, he was there.

Then Monday came and it was a very different story. After giving Ryan ample opportunity to call me, I finally texted him, only to be told he had "overbooked" his day and was now too busy for me. When was he planning to let me know? Hard on the heels of this rather rude slight came his invitation to see the movie with "us." As Tery put it, the afterthought invite: my very favorite kind.

The problem is the "us." Ryan has a shiny new roommate, Lucy, a friend of John's. This was my first time meeting Lucy. My impression of her is she looks the way John would look if he were shorter, female and more butch -- if she isn't a lesbian, she'd certainly be on the short list to play one on TV. But Ryan insisted she wasn't much of a drinker, and she agreed that John was "disappointing," so I guess she was alright.

I was irked by Ryan putting me off, but was doing my best to keep a happy face on. Ryan sensed the turmoil beneath and repeatedly asked if everything was alright. Either he's super-intuitive or I wasn't hiding it as well as I thought I was.

I mentioned our neighbors going to Mexico in the middle of the flu scare (they've returned home with only a garden variety viral illness, fortunately). Lucy eagerly chimed in, "We had the swine flu last night!" Apparently some bar somewhere in Denver (I'm sure we aren't alone) is tasteless enough to have named an alcoholic beverage after a pandemic that has the country in an iron grip of terror. Whatever. I was reminded of Ryan's insistence that she wasn't a very big drinker.

We took our seats, the movie started, and Ryan and I had more or less returned to normal.

After the movie I tried one last time to get Ryan to join me at the gym, but he put me off until Tuesday. He did ask for some free passes for Lucy. Apparently our duo is about to become a trio. Meh.

Tuesday. Ryan texted me midday to beg off the gym, claiming severe depression. I'm being patient with him, but I did helpfully suggest that maybe exercise would help him snap out of it. No response.

So I opted for a bike ride. I've been having trouble with the bike ever since trying to attach a rear rack and mistakenly removing the back tire. I had no idea the back tire was a bit more complicated to reattach than the front. Consequently I've been having trouble with it refusing to stay attached. It's especially fond of coming off when I'm trying to pedal across a huge intersection one block from our house, when roughly 50 motorists are staring at me as I cross.

It had come off a couple of times on my ride, until the last time no matter how securely I thought I had it on, I couldn't pedal more than once before it popped off again. Admitting defeat, I resigned myself to walking home. It was about a mile and a half; it felt like ten. And I was afraid I wouldn't get a very good workout away from the gym.

I called Ryan hoping for some sympathy. I didn't expect his phone to be answered by a very drunk-sounding girl, presumably Lucy (you remember Lucy, the not very big drinker). Ryan came on and immediately said that he couldn't help me, he was downtown. Not too depressed to go out drinking, evidently.

I was too worried about my immediate plight to think much at the time, but I woke up the next morning pissed as hell. It was good to know that had I been in trouble, Ryan would have preferred to stay at the bar rather than help me. And he can get his own damn free passes for Lucy. I've since learned she's unemployed and living rent-free off Ryan's goodwill (he's got a real talent for attracting losers who for some reason mistake him for Mr. Moneybags Sugar Daddy), so I don't really see how 7 free days of gym usage is going to do her any good.

(Hopefully the bike problem is solved. I brought the bike back to the shop where they tightened the tire on really well. I don't know if I'll ever fully relax on it though.)

Wednesday. Ryan called in sick to work because he "wasn't feeling well." Which in Ryan-speak means hangover. Good thing Lucy isn't a very big drinker.

Anyway, ::the movie:: )

Overall a respectable addition to the franchise. Certainly better than Last Stand. Will most certainly be purchasing.

~*~

Last but not least, this is what my lazy postal carrier has come to in delivering my packages:


Hai. I live next to a drug addict. Please to not be leaving valuable things on my doorstep


Can anyone explain the point of draping the welcome mat halfway over it? The welcome mat that's full of big holes?
grrgoyl: (Alan Alone)
Wow, it's been awhile.    Nothing big has happened, but life isn't always big.  So here are a bunch of small things instead.

First is breaking news. Our good neighbors Mike and Anna very foolishly went to Mexico on vacation -- just after swine flu started making headlines here. As I told [livejournal.com profile] aurora_z, there's not panicking needlessly and then there's playing fast and loose with your chances. Tery said we now have two new cats (theirs, which she is watching for them). She just added, "Alas, Mike and Anna Takagi won't be joining us for the rest of their lives." (Recognize it? It's a variation on probably my favorite line in Die Hard. There'll be a quiz later.)

~*~

Working out is still...working out, with or without Ryan (who has started making excuses).  My only complaint is that no one ever makes eye contact with you, and forget about a smile.  All those endorphins raging and people working to better their health, and you won't see a grumpier group of individuals.    What I like about it, however, is it doesn't matter how obese or out of shape someone is -- they're at a gym and they're trying to do something about it, and that makes me refreshingly nonjudgmental (unlike the contempt I feel for F-booms that sit around stuffing their faces when they should be working (e.g. the majority of Tery's workforce)). 

Except this one guy.  Granted I'm not an expert on gym etiquette, but what's this all about?    Ryan and I had done every machine in our routine but one.  However, this guy had spent the last 15 minutes or so sitting on the machine next to it, occasionally doing a few reps but mostly just sitting there.  Ryan thought he was waiting for our last machine.  I agreed, but I also thought if you're waiting for a machine, you shouldn't be hanging out on another machine, creating the illusion of using that machine, while waiting for a different machine.  So when ours became free, I darted in and finished my set quickly.  Sure enough, as soon as I left the guy finally got off his ass and boarded it.    I still didn't feel bad though, because his workout "method" (if you can call it that) involved the occasional 2 or 3 reps followed by a whole lot of sitting there staring off into space, veeeeeeeery similar to his "waiting" mode.  In fact, he was still at it when Ryan and I had finished our quick cardio about 15 minutes later.    Me, I have things to do.  I'm not interested in spending more time at the gym than I have to.

I've figured out the trick though.  Some exercises are unique to only one machine.  Others have three or four machines that all do very similar movements.  The trick is to get the unique ones done first, so if it starts getting busy you can finish up on the ones with more choices.  Gym smarts...I haz dem.

~*~

I've recently resurrected my interest in biking just in time for summer.  I went on one ride, but then our final freak snowstorm hit two weekends ago (80 degrees one day, six inches of snow the next.  Only in Colorado) and that was that for awhile.  I was going to go the following Monday when it cleared up, but when Ryan bailed on me again I decided a day on the couch relaxing sounded more appealing.  Tery flipped out on me, as if it was my last chance rather than my first. 

Then Wednesday was Earth Day.  I wanted desperately to kill two birds with one stone (probably an inappropriate metaphor when discussing Earth Day):  Bike to the grocery store.  Exercise and shopping in one!  However, sadly I didn't need anything that weighed less than 10 pounds:  kitty litter, laundry detergent, gallons of milk, tub of butter (fortunately we were set for concrete blocks and lawn furniture) -- big, heavy bulky things that would be impossible to secure to the bike, never mind pedal back two or three miles with.    So I very begrudgingly took my car instead.  Sorry, Earth.

I consoled myself with the knowledge that for me, every other day of the year is Earth Day.  I walk (and now bike) whenever possible, recycle as much as possible, shop with canvas bags, refuse to drive an ecosystem-devouring SUV.  So why do I still feel guilty?  Because those of us who care need to go that extra mile to make up for the many, many who don't.

~*~

Our galley-style kitchen is quite small, and necessitated us keeping our garbage can inside one of our lower cabinets.  Unfortunately the combination of something forbidden being shut away out of reach was irresistible to the ferrets, necessitating installing childproof locks on the door.  This proved quite perplexing to our occasional guests, and so annoying to Tery that she preferred the trash lying around the house.  So we've decided to try a low-profile can in the corner.

Obviously a more visible can should be somewhat nicer-looking, which means stainless steel.  I've never priced stainless steel trash cans before, so had no idea anything bigger than an office bucket gets up into the $100+ range.  One hundred dollars!!    For a trash can!!  And not even a 13-gallon.  The biggest I found was 10-gallon, and required special bags from the manufacturer.  Any bigger and we were looking at closer to $170.  For a garbage can.  Tery wanted it for her birthday, and she spared no expense for me, so I was willing to consider it (the $100, that is).

I was therefore pleasantly surprised when I stopped into Target and found a 13-gallon option for only $40.  That was more like it.  It was Target brand rather than SimpleHuman (the most popular brand I was finding online), but hey.  The price was a lot easier to stomach, and Tery said she didn't mind a more reasonable option.

Upon getting it home, the reason for the price difference was immediately apparent.  The "retaining ring" meant to hold the bag in place was flimsy and could barely hold itself in place.  And the lid didn't have the tiniest bit of cushioning (unlike SimpleHuman's patented "LID SHOX" silent hydraulic lowering system), making it clang loudly with every closing (Tery has taken to exclaiming, "Ancient Chinese secret, huh?" with every gong-like report).   

It seems crazy to me that for these little extra touches you need to shell out an additional 60+ bucks.    I would happily say as much on Target's product review site, except suspiciously this particular can doesn't show up in any searches.    Clever, Target.  Very clever indeed.  But it is pretty nice to throw trash away without stockpiling it first on the counter to cut down on opening the cabinet repeatedly.    And now Tery is giddy with the possibilities opened up by regaining that cabinet space.

~*~

Okay, I lied.  Something exciting DID happen to me.  JeffyJeff sent my birthday package, a magazine, a CD sampler, a card and a nondescript piece of paper.  I read the accompanying letter first, where he described how a student of his attending a West End play spotted Alan in the audience and acquired his autograph that now sat in my hands (there was no mention of how Jeffy got it from the student.  However, since she addressed Alan as "Professor Snape," I suspect she's not the president of the Rickmania Fan Club).  I.....WHAT????   

I shakily unfolded the scrap of paper, and yes indeedy, it was Rickman's autograph.  The original too, not just a photocopy:


Well, THIS is a photocopy


My eyes literally filled with tears.  I couldn't believe it.  Normally my opinion on autographs is what's the point if you can't meet the person and get it face to face, but I will most definitely make an exception in this case.  Tery even recommended I keep the extraneous layers of scrap because Alan had touched them. 

But now the quandary of displaying it.  Problem #1:  Despite my enormous cache of Alan photos on my hard drive, I didn't have a single nice glossy print to frame.  Problem #2:  I didn't have a frame designed for displaying a photo and autograph.  There were several nice ones on eBay that contained cheap reprints of photos and autographs of famous people.  But much as I loved the idea of buying an Elvis Presley autograph (reprint) and discarding it for Alan, with shipping it came to $20.  I thought I could do better at a local hobby store.

I thought wrong.  First stop:  Michael's, where I found no less than two aisles devoted to shadow boxes for every imaginable collectible you'd ever wish to display -- except, naturally, autographs.  Flags (the most popular).  T-shirts.  Baseballs.  Record albums and CDs.  Watches.  ANTIQUE KEYS.  Autographs?  Nothing.  Hobby Lobby had even less, so long story short I settled on a frame with a diploma display (8 x 10") with a smaller cut-out for a 5 x 7" photo that was only $10 on sale.

Even more frustrating was trying to find some kind of preserving agent.  My first internet stop after receiving the precious document was to search for advice on how to protect it.  The site I found recommended a spray that would neutralize the acid in the paper to prevent yellowing and breakdown.  I thought I'd have no trouble finding such a thing at a craft store.

At Michael's, I asked the guy in Custom Framing, who said it was called an archival spray and they no longer carried it.  Have you ever set foot in a Michael's?  They carry hundreds of thousands of products.  They couldn't possibly fit in one more? 

Still better than Hobby Lobby, where the girl had never even heard of such a thing.  Disgusted, I took the initiative and ended up in Scrapbooking, where I found a can of something called, helpfully enough, "Make it Acid-Free!"  I brought it back to the girl, who I doubted appreciated my attempt at education.

Anyway, now I'm good to go.  I found some delicious publicity glossies on eBay (no film stills or shots of the side of his head as he scurries away from paparazzi), and got three after not being able to choose.  I'm displaying actually a photocopy and squirreling the original away in an acid-free pouch into my fire safe.  It may very well be my most prized possession, even more than my Dan Radcliffe Equus poster.


Eat your heart out, Robert Pattinson.  I like to think he was wearing something similar to this when he signed my paper


~*~

Now for some movies: 

::Untraceable:: )

I don't know if I'm just getting old.  I sat through all five Saw films with barely a flinch, but this movie made me positively queasy.  Not just the torture murders, but the message perhaps hits a little too close to home.  I often participate in the online culture that occasionally victimizes others (to my knowledge not killing anyone though).  It turns a cold, unforgiving light on the phenomenon.  The problem is the movie isn't really good enough to be as effective as it should be.


A far better movie is the classic suspense thriller ::The Bad Seed:: )

Well, I've gone and flouted the hilariously dated plea that appears before the closing credits imploring people "not to divulge this film's truly shocking ending!!!"    Bad Seed, meet my friends The Crying Game and The Sixth Sense.    But seriously, for a 50's movie based on a play, it was very well written and well acted.  I normally can't stand such an obvious stage script, but this movie deserves the title "classic."  I even watched it a second time with commentary, that's how much I enjoyed it.  It was apparently the first time anyone had suggested a possible hereditary factor in sociopathy, and I found the psychobabble pretty fascinating.    Not surprisingly, this movie is also pretty popular among teh gays, probably because it isn't hard to see the metaphor in a parent turning on a child after discovering their true nature.    5 out of 5, I think.  At the very least worth a rental.

Finally, the last widely available Rickman movie I hadn't seen (oops. Besides Bob Roberts), ::Michael Collins:: )

Alan plays Eamon "Dev" De Valera, the president of the Republic -- which sounds very important, except in a movie about Michael Collins.  However, there's a scene where he's dressed as an altar boy (my heart just about stopped beating) and yet another where he breaks out of jail by dressing as Michael's auntie, and yet another where he delivers a rousing revolutionary speech to a town square full of Irish extras (in which he sounds more like Rasputin than De Valera).    Damn you and your movie-stealing abilities, Alan!!!    So, I guess I'll be sitting through all that other boring historical crap repeatedly for these scattered gems.   

~*~

I'd like to dedicate this post to my dear JeffyJeff, not only for his amazingly thoughtful and wonderful gift, but for giving me the kick in the ass I needed to finally finish this post. 
grrgoyl: (Tick)
Alright, fine, I FINALLY saw Twilight.    I'm sorry, [livejournal.com profile] kavieshana, I don't think I'll have any trouble resisting the urge to buy it.  In fact, probably best if you don't look inside, because I'm not going to be gentle.

::You'd better hold on tight, spider monkey:: )

This has to be one of my harsher reviews.  I went into it with an open mind, even looked forward to it.  It was just too laughable.  [livejournal.com profile] kavieshana assures me she laughed just as hard, until for some godforsaken reason she watched it a second time, and something in her brain "clicked off."  So I guess you're safe from being Twi-washed as long as you only watch it once.

The soundtrack was likable, but come on, it's Carter Burwell -- he could score Waterworld and partially redeem it.

~*~

Last week Ryan and I were finishing up our workout.  It was our leg day, and our first day trying the stairclimbers, so we really needed to stretch out on the way back to the locker rooms.  We stopped at the stairway leading up to the classroom area.  We even chose the back part of the staircase that's hardly ever used.  We had barely begun when a woman came over accompanied by her personal trainer.  He said to us, "Just so you guys know, we're going to be using this area right now."  "Oh," we said, taken aback.  The woman was obviously mortified and tried to intervene.  "We're not kicking you out or anything," the trainer ignored her, "but we're going to be working here."   

Really?  In this whole big facility, you need THIS particular four square feet RIGHT NOW?  There aren't any other exercises you could POSSIBLY do elsewhere for the next two minutes? 

We walked away amicably, but I couldn't resist murmuring to Ryan, "Jeez, guess you're nobody if you don't have a personal trainer, huh?"  Ryan agreed that it was pretty damn rude. 
grrgoyl: (Bad Jesus!  Very Bad!)
Updatey datey:

Working out is going well, now that Ryan and I uncrossed our signals. He had a membership with John that had lapsed. He wanted to renew but said he couldn't afford to. Assuming he went to a different location (even though he lives 5 minutes away from me), I sadly signed on for a one-club membership ($50 cheaper than all-club). We exchanged emails where he repeatedly expressed interest in renewing. I would say the same thing: "I can only use the one near me." He would say the same thing: "I would only ever use mine anyway." We seemed to be at an impasse, until the day he used slightly different wording to clarify that he was talking about my club the whole time. OH. I don't know why communication is so difficult with him.

So we've been working out every other day if not more. We've tackled the girlier weight machines (Nautilus, etc.) and the cardio (ellipticals). In the middle of the floor are the free weights, and beyond that are the massive circuit training frames where the ripped, tattooed bad-asses hang out. All the while Ryan will point out men who have his goal body type. Then he confessed he'd like to try the circuit training someday. "Ryan, no!" I whispered frantically, "Not the Prison Yard!" Those hulking monsters would eat scrawny little Ryan for breakfast.

So far my plan is working -- the days I don't work out I feel restless, like I can't wait to get back. I also don't want to push myself too hard, since I did last week and spent the entire weekend barely able to move my arms. That was a mistake. It definitely makes a difference having a friend there, and I think the benefit is mutual, as Ryan is having a rough time moving on from John.

~*~

Funny tale from the kennels: Last weekend I was washing dishes when I heard what sounded like a phone ringing, though not the hospital line, followed by what sounded like someone talking. My first reaction whenever I hear a strange noise is to freeze in place with my heart pounding in my ears. I eventually had to move though, and traced it to Rica, an African Grey boarding with us. This bird had a whole routine, impersonating first a ringing phone, then an answering machine beep, and finally a creepily uncanny human voice saying, "Hello?" I wanted to record it for possible posting, but she clammed up the minute she saw me. However, when I covered her cage for the night she said, again in that near-human voice, "Goodnight cuckoo." I would trade her for our stupid screaming Amazon any day.

~*~

"Battlestar Galactica" is over. I think it suffered from this new trend in TV shows, to ramp up to the end by suddenly beginning all these exciting, complex new storylines with only three episodes to go. It makes you wonder, "How on earth are they going to resolve all this in such a short period of time?" Answer: They aren't. The "finale" will have so many plot lines left hanging it will be the narrative equivalent of a threadbare shawl, all for the remote possibility of a mini-series or even a movie in the future which will be the REAL finale. I say this after being severely disappointed by both BSG and "The L Word." I'm starting to fear that no finale will ever top "6 Feet Under." 6FU has RUINED me for all other finales. Though I suspect even people who haven't seen 6FU will agree that these finales sucked balls.

~*~

I had another run-in the other day on the transcriptionist board I hate so much. I hate it so much but it's incredibly helpful at times, if you can avoid the flame wars that is.

I had a stupid, simple formatting question, I won't bore you with specifics. I had found the answer in my AAMT Book of Style, the problem was the wording of the rule for some reason sounded like it only applied to one number rather than all. So I asked what I knew might be a stupid question, but I also figured it would be simply and quickly answered -- which is the only kind of question I ever ask anymore because people are so freakin' touchy there.

The first two people gave me straightforward, sensible answers. The third was a very sarcastic, "Did it ever occur to you that the #4 was only an example?" There was just no call for that. If you can't keep a civil tongue in your head, you're better off just keeping your mouth shut, and on this board most of all so. I answered politely but coldly, "I wasn't sure, which is why I asked. Sarcasm isn't really appreciated." Never heard back from that one (to my knowledge. The board makes it far too easy to post anonymously).

Then someone else chimed in saying they'd always wondered the same thing. This was very soon after Ms. Snarky, so I responded to them, "I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who doesn't know it all : )." Please take note of the big smiley face because it's important.

Someone responded, "Wow. Unbelievable!" Someone else said something about "the rudeness" and "I'm glad I'm not you." Others trickled in to join the crowd. The way the page is set up it's really not clear who is responding to who exactly, which is why it took me about 15 minutes to slowly realize they were all castigating ME for my incredibly rude comment. What??

This is WHY I included a big smiley face, the only way to express friendliness or positive intentions. If I could dot my i's with hearts I would. Because this damn board is FULL of these people just WAITING for an excuse to take offense, whereupon everyone circles in like vultures to carrion, and like vultures will pick you dry until not a scrap of flesh remains. Even without the smiley face I didn't see how my comment could be so grossly misinterpreted, but there we are. An entire industry of internet users who haven't graduated AOL IM Etiquette 101.

I ignored all the Nosy Nellies and instead engaged the one person struggling to maintain civility, and eventually the original person I had supposedly slammed so harshly. I was able to clarify that I was grateful someone else shared my question and there was no insult or irony intended, hence my BIG SMILEY FACE. They were both glad to hear it and everything was peaceful again. Do you think any of those people who were so quick to swoop in to attack me bothered coming back to apologize? Nope, all suddenly too busy to waste time on a message board.

~*~

Tery Tivo'ed a documentary for me, "The Most Hated Family in America." You'd think it would be the Mansons, but no, it's Pastor Fred Phelps and his incestuous little clan. I've heard of them, but this was the first special I'd seen devoted exclusively to them.

They run the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, KS, and their favorite word in the entire world is "fag." As in GodHatesFags.com. As in "Fag Priest" and "Fag Soldier" and "Fag Jews" and "Fag Enablers." It's just about the worst insult they can imagine, thus they apply it to everything and everybody.

See if you can follow this logic: America supports and embraces homosexuality (bear with me). Hence America is going to hell. Hence US troops fighting in Iraq are all fags for defending fag-loving America, and deserve to die. In fact, any misfortune that happens to anyone, anywhere, is evidence of God striking them down because they love fags, and makes the Phelps satanically gleeful. Your grandmother is dying of leukemia? Good, she's a fag-lover. Your church was struck by lightning and burned to the ground? God obviously hates it. 9/11? The best thing that ever happened to America. If you think I'm exaggerating just check out their website.

Don't try to point out to them that, while America might be slowly becoming more permissive of homosexuality, we're still a long way away from feeling America's unconditional love. Don't try to tell them that Jesus, in addition to being a Jew himself, preached mostly about love and probably would take a dim view of the message they're sending out. In fact, don't try to argue with them at all; they're unshakeable in their belief that pretty much everyone who doesn't belong to their church is a fag (either in actuality or sympathetically) and is going to hell.

I'm telling you, even teh gays aren't as obsessed with homosexuality as these people.

They routinely picket military funerals because, well, the soldiers are all fags. They stand on a distant corner (court-ordered) with bright neon signs screaming how you are going to hell. People drive by and curse them, make rude gestures and even throw things (their small son was hit in the head with a soda cup -- no rejoicing when bad things happen to one of THEM, I noticed); the response rate is 100% in the negative, which they consider a success. It perplexes them why people are so mean, though -- doesn't everyone LIKE being told their souls are damned and God hates them?

What is most terrifying is their cult includes children, tiny children, and don't ask me where they come from because the ratio is about one man to ten women in their God-fearing, devout and completely insular society. Tiny children wearing GodHatesFags.com T-shirts. When asked if they know what the sign they're holding means, they smile shyly and hide their faces. No, they don't. The brainwashing (and alleged abuse) will begin in earnest at the earliest opportunity though.

It's totally infected Bekah, the 19ish-year-old who tells the documentarian that yes, even he is going to hell, following it with a completely inappropriate schoolgirl giggle. She also has no plans to marry, since "we're in the end of the end times" and she'll be far too busy serving the Lord to worry about things like the future and having a life of her own.

Meanwhile her mother's mature retort to the documentarian's attempt to get reason to penetrate her thick dogma was, I kid you not, "Not a chance, poopy pants."

The documentarian tried several times to get an interview with Grand-daddy Fred Phelps, each time being treated with open derision and hostility. He called Reverend Phelps "a wellspring of anger," and isn't anger one of the Big Seven?

Tery predicted the show would make my blood boil, but it really didn't, I think because these people are so insane and so extreme that no one takes them seriously. Much less dangerous than the moderate radicals whose equally homophobic (and less nonsensical) message is heard and believed by thousands. Mostly I just feel sorry for them, because I know from experience that hating someone, actively and with the passion these people feel, is exhausting. Imagine hating the entire world and how much energy THAT takes?

~*~

Time to wrap up the Kitten Mitten series, I think. ::In here, because I'm thoughtful:: )

Finally, perhaps my favorite thing about any cat:


The ability, at any given time, to look equally silly and regal


~*~

I won't cut this because it MUST be seen. OldFriendBear took my Strawberry Series to the next logical level:


If I had nightmares about fruit


::Artsy Photo #2 and a little surprise:: )
grrgoyl: (Dr. Horrible)
My tax refund arrived, just in time for the realization that Depeche Mode was coming to Red Rocks Arena.  Have you seen their new video for "Wrong"?    Me likey.  Me hopey stupid record company doesn't take it down before you get to click.   

I agonized for a couple of hours over whether should I or shouldn't I.  The problem is a.) concerts are no fun alone, and not something you can invite just anyone to (which has been covered previously in this blog) and b.) cheap seats evidently START at $100.  Eek.  Hey, DM?  Did you hear we're in a recession?  c.) I've been to a show at Red Rocks once.  If you aren't seated just right, all the sound is literally blown away on the Rocky Mountain breeze.  Like in the $100 seats.

I don't know what made me think of it, but I cruised by the 24-Hour Fitness site.  Wait, I do know what made me think of it.  A bunch of people from my hometown have appeared out of the woodwork to find me on Facebook, and some of them have gotten, well, kind of LARGE.  Not that I can really point fingers, hence the 24-Hour Fitness drive-by.  We've always had one across the street, a five-minute walk away.  It's one of the few useful things we have in that plaza (half of it is a Furniture Row, not helpful in the day-to-day), but I've always had the Bowflex.  I started thinking that the Bowflex, whether I use it consistently or not, doesn't really provide terribly dramatic results for me, and certainly nothing cardio, which I definitely need with my clerical job/DVD-watching hobby. 

It turned out 24-Hour was featuring a promotion, ending naturally in just three days, $200 for a year -- $16 a month.  How could I ignore THAT?  Hell, for $16 a month I could just walk around with a water bottle and a towel, pretend to be working out and still feel better about myself.

My sister, who I can always count on to talk me into spending money, was in full support of it.  The idea had way more pros than cons.  For me the biggest pro was the money.  Money is a BIG motivator for me (despite my lack of ambition career-wise), and spending it on a gym membership, even as little as $16 a month, might get my ass moving across the street the way I couldn't get it to the foot of the bed every morning. 

My sister recommended I pop in and visit before making a decision, which I did Friday afternoon.  I was paired with Aaron, a gung-ho salesman who took me on a whirlwind, 3-1/2 minute tour of the facility.  He wanted to sit down and talk numbers immediately, specifically $600 for 3 years, and thereafter only $100 a year for life.  A great deal, but I wasn't exactly ready for that level of commitment before having set foot on a single machine.  They offer 7-day free passes, which didn't do me much good considering the promo ended on Sunday.  I could check it out that night and Saturday, if I weren't about to embark on my 2-job work weekend.  My timing is in all things outrageously off. 

So instead I spent the whole weekend fantasizing about the way my life would change with this decision.  The way I might finally have the energy, strength and body shape I've always wanted.  No, I'll never be petite, but that doesn't mean I can't make some improvement.  The way I might get some routine back in my life besides working, lounging around and sleeping.  Big changes were coming.  I could feel it.

Sunday I jumped out of bed, ready to change my life.  I walked in and asked three times for Aaron (he had mentioned they worked on commission).  No, that's okay, the young punk currently behind the desk would be more than happy to make the commission without doing any of the leg work help me.  Young Golan, who could hardly bear to make eye contact with me and seemed more eager to get me back out the door than anything.  He took my money, announced, "You're all set!" and that was that.  No suggestion of how to get started, etc.  The only way my life had changed was that I was now $200 poorer.  Not as exhilarating as I had imagined.  I must have missed the commercial where the vivacious young woman (you know, the one who's already slim and sexy and really doesn't need a gym) pays for her membership and leaps off like a joyous gazelle with all her newfound energy.

Fortunately our neighbor Anna has been going there for almost a month, and offered to bring me in Monday.  Thanks to her I felt comfortable, and once I started using the machines I felt instantly like I'd been assimilated into an exclusive club, which I guess in a way I had.  Maybe someday I'll work up the courage to try the Nautilus equipment.

~*~

Speaking of 2-job weekends, in Alexandra Pelosi's documentary about the 2008 presidential campaign trail ("Right America:  Feeling Wronged"), she asks a typical redneck rightwinger if America is engaged in a civil war.  "Sure," he twanged.  "There's the homosexuals and then there's the hard-working Americans!"  Evidently "Middle America" thinks teh gays just spend all day and night having teh gay sex.  No wonder they're so jealous.  But what about us bisexuals?  Are we all only employed part-time?

The movie is worth a watch, if only so you can see grown men weep because they're so convinced that Barack is a terrorist and will singlehandedly destroy America. 

~*~

As part of my big life change, I also got my hair cut on Sunday.  Since I usually avoid most places of business on the weekend, I'd never met the young girl who drew my name off the computer, Tracy.  She was nice enough.  The first half of the session was spent discussing my exciting new lifestyle.  The conversation took a turn for the worse when I admitted I worked at a vet hospital.  Tracy politely asked if I had any pets, so I told her.    Then we had this exchange:

Me:  Yeah, the vet job isn't bad, except I don't especially like dogs.
Her:  Oh, I HATE dogs.  I've been bit like three times by dogs.
Me:  Wow.  Well, that would make me hate them too. 
Her:  I hate cats too.  I'm more scared of them than dogs.  They're SNEAKY.
Me:  O....kay.  I can understand that.  How do you feel about ferrets? 
Her:  Ooh, they're UGLY.  I wouldn't get close enough to one to know if I liked it or not.
Me:  Fair enough.  I hate kids, so we're even.
Her:  What??!  You don't hate kids.  How can you say you hate kids?

This is what I can't stand.  People are free to spout all sorts of vile prejudices against animals, fair or not.  But if you say anything bad about kids, you're a monster.  You'd think I said "I hate kids and want to make them all into sandwich meat."

Anyway, it was really funny when she noticed me playing the "pronoun game" about Tery, "my partner."  As soon as I dropped the first "she," she blurted out "Do you watch The L-Word?"  She gets an A for effort, F+ for subtlety. 

~*~

If cats are guilty of sneakiness, it's sneaking their way into your heart.  At least in the case of my Mitten.  I give you more in the photo series.  The two visually interesting ones as appeteasers:


The ever-precious head tilt



Head tilt and a "here, move that camera closer so I can rub against it"


::+3 more abstract:: )

I promise the next installment will be the last.

Here are some attempts at being artistic. 


My sexy new water bottle for my sexy new lifestyle


I picked this mongo huge strawberry out of the pack.  I knew some people would never believe the size without some scale for comparison.  Then I gave up getting a good shot with my face and instead ended up with this series of shots. 

The Strawberry Series


1) Hello, Strawberry  2)  I like the way you look, Strawberry  3)  I REALLY like the way you look, Strawberry  4)  I eat you, Strawberry.  No hard feelings.

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