14 December 2009

A Pleasing Email

I searched my gmail history for "asshat," and there were 3 hits, and they were all said by you, and they were all in reference to asshat trucks parking in a place deemed not acceptable to you. I find this correlation amusing. That is all, and have a good night.


24 November 2009

My Own Personal Superfund Site!

All of the townhouses in my development have pipes called laterals that transport waste water out of the unit and to the appropriate main line. As with most old pipes, especially in earthquake areas, the joints lose integrity, tree roots sneak through cracks, and gunk builds up. Repiping is a huge expense, so once a year, my Home Owners Association, henceforth referred to as the HOA, pays for RotoRooter to clean out the laterals. This was last done mid-September and includes removal of tree roots that squirmed into the pipes. At least, it was supposed to.

Yesterday I was forcibly removed from bed by Matt. He was rather perturbed by the water in the garage. His car was wet, but there wasn't much water pooled on the floor and there were no obvious leaks. I turned the shower on while Matt watched for downpours. Nothing happened after a few minutes, so we assumed it was a fluke, possibly caused by the exterior painters powerwashing.

After Matt left, it was my turn for a shower. Just in case, I checked the garage. It was raining! That's generally not supposed to happen indoors. A good 7 x 8 foot area was pouring water and ceiling onto the floor. Everything was quickly flooding. Well, fuck.

I called the drain unclogger that comes whenever I clog the garbage disposal. After describing the problem, he said I needed to get a "real" (his word, not mine) plumber and recommended a guy. I called him, and he was there within an hour. For clarity, he will be known as Plumber 1.

While waiting, I made the mistake of looking in the downstairs bathroom. HOLY SHIT. In EVERY sense of the word. The room was flooded and the toilet and floor were covered in raw sewage. Needless to say, I closed the door and prayed the smell wouldn't escape.

Plumber 1 looked around the house, surveyed the damage, poked the ceiling in the garage, and gave me the bad news. There was so much pressure built up in the lateral that the cap was bulging. Looking for a place to vent, the evil pressure chose the weakest point known as the downstairs toilet. Instead of merely overflowing, the wax seal that attaches the toilet to the exit pipe blew. All the disgusting water drained through the floor and showered the garage in raw sewage. His guess was that a tree root was blocking the very same lateral that was cleaned a mere eight weeks ago!

The ceiling was so wet that integrity was out of the question. Plumber 1 examined the pipes in the garage ceiling while explaining how the system needed to be drained before anything could be fixed. Actually, make that drained and sanitized. Something about raw sewage being a health hazard. Ew.

My first call was to the drain unclogger, now known as Plumber 2. Plumber 1 explained the problem to Plumber 2, who then scheduled two of his men to visit within an hour. The next call was to the sanitation and restoration company recommended by Plumber 1. They were booked until midafternoon, so I scheduled their arrival for 1930.

By the time Plumber 1 left, I really needed to use the bathroom. I knocked on my neighbor Bunny's door, and she was kind enough to let me in without explanation. She came back with me to my personal Superfund Site, then went to retrieve the HOA vice-president, Michelle. In the meantime, I started taking pictures of the damage. Then Plumber 2 arrived and performed their own assessment. All three garbage cans were drafted into catching the flood of doom while I hid upstairs in the less smelly zone.

Michelle performed her own survey and talked with me and Plumber 2. Then she insisted on bringing me a cup of calming tea. Between that amazing cup of tea and her declaration that the HOA would be paying for this mess, I finally started to feel better. Bunny and Michelle were absolutely amazing in asking all the right questions and making sure everything was covered. Michelle even said I could hang onto the mug until I had running water again!

After everybody left, I finally got to go to work. I was never so happy to arrive at the office and I got an amazing parking spot. Things were finally looking up.

I called Matt from my desk to let him know how the catastrophe had played out. He had five minutes of spare time, so he was tasked with finding a hotel for the night. There are a million hotels in the area, but we needed one that wouldn't evict the mutts. They were safe for the day in the master bedroom, but I had no intention of leaving them there overnight. Matt found a room at the Sheraton Gateway and forwarded me the confirmation email.

I took one look at the email and immediately called Matt. Did he read the email carefully? Nope. Did he read the subject? Not that either. Well, he should have since the phone rep booked the room for the Sheraton Gateway Atlanta instead of the Sheraton Gateway LAX. Oops. The phone rep was kind enough to waive the same-day cancellation fee and moved the reservation.

Our garage was very much off-limits, so Matt retrieved me from work while my car remained in my amazing spot. Upon arriving home, we quickly packed an overnight bag and walked over to thank and update Michelle. I may have used her bathroom.

Next it was sanitation time! He arrived promptly and I explained the nature of the disaster to him. He went to work all over the house to determine all the areas of infection. Michelle joined us for the estimation part of the show since she would be writing the check. Just for the sanitation and removal of the goop of doom it was $2000. After getting a few signatures, he got to work scaring the dogs with loud equipment. Sadly, he wouldn't be able to do anything with the garage ceiling that night since it needed to be tested for asbestos. After testing and, if necessary, removal his contractor could start repairing the ceiling and bathroom floor.

Speaking of the bathroom floor, he did clean it, but the planks need to be replaced. As long as we're replacing the planks, perhaps we should tile the bathroom? YES.

By the time he finished with decontamination, it was almost 11 and the dehumidifiers and air purifier were competing for Cause of Headache. By the time we were in our hotel room, it was nearly midnight. But there was water! Clean water! And it was all properly contained! The dogs, on the other hand, we very confused as to what was happening.

Skip not enough hours and we found ourselves back in the car, heading home. The asbestos company called to schedule their testing. I called Plumber 1 to schedule repairs. Matt dropped me off at work and then headed to school.

I was there for almost an hour trying to collect work to do at home before I had to vamoose. The asbestos guy was first to arrive. He took his samples and gave me his opinion. While he would still test the samples in the lab, he was 99% positive that it was asbestos. Due to the way that it had been sprayed all over the garage ceiling, the best option is to remove all of it from the ceiling, pipes, walls, spiders, et cetera. The ceiling would have to be re-soundproofed. It could probably be done in one long day, but the EPA needs to approve, so that is not happening until after Thanksgiving. I'll be sure to take pictures of the space cadets when they get to work.

Last, but certainly not least, came Plumber 1. He is replacing the wax ring around the toilet, making sure everything is nicely sealed, and performing a full inspection of the pipes in the garage ceiling. By the time he leaves, the important majority of our house will be cleared for takeoff! First stop, Planet Laundry!

That Which Was Lost:
*tiki statue that guards the front door (he was in the garage due to the exterior painting)
*a pile of beach towels
*two beach bags
*two cases bottled sparkling water of the lime persuasion
*an extra-long hose and spray nozzle
*a no longer very convenient Victorinox boarding tote
*two 10-packs paper towels


Update: All three samples tested positive for asbestos. The asbestos guy is now writing up his proposal and estimate. I can hardly wait!

Further Update: We have officially surpassed the HOA's insurance deductible! The asbestos estimate is just under $3000! I have to write an official letter saying that the asbestos removal is due to an emergency repair situation so the EPA can waive its 14 day waiting period!

29 October 2009

Things I Really Shouldn't Spend Too Much Time Dwelling Upon

The LA Times just had to throw it in my face with ANOTHER cover story about the giant pile of stupidity surrounding Roman Polanski. Yes, there are many irregularities in how the case was handled. The prosecutor and judge were obviously biased, and Monsieur Polaski didn't help things by fleeing the country. Now all sorts of celebrities are crying foul: it's the past; he's an artistic genius so he's allowed to be eccentric; it was "making love" (that's how Polaski himself described it). However, none of that changes the fact that HE RAPED A 13 YEAR OLD GIRL. There isn't a caps lock button big enough to adequately express my outrage at the people who publicly support him for entirely inadequate reasons.

Hollywood is bursting at the seams with rich crazy people of questionable morals. All too often these creative souls' actions are dismissed without consequence. I have to ask, though, what kind of person is willing to ignore the intoxication and rape of young girl by a man more than three times her age? Let's suppose, just for a minute, that she not only consented, but was voluntarily participating. While still statutory rape for blindingly obvious reasons*, consensual sex with someone physically and mentally mature enough to make reasonable decisions about her own body is significantly less heinous than ignoring the same girl's wishes and forcing himself upon her. In this Hypothetical Land, the one Polanski seems to be inhabiting, his actions could reasonably be overlooked by some. While I would not, I can understand why others would.

Moving back to reality, she did not consent. Just because he didn't beat her up and tie her to a radiator in the process does not excuse his ignoring of her "No." Though less violent than other cases, IT WAS STILL RAPE. I cannot fathom why anyone would be so willing to allow the perpetrator, who readily admits his guilt, to go free of punishment. To be clear, living a life of luxury and cinematic awards on a different continent is not punishment. Jail time is punishment.

On a whole different level, what does it say about people like Whoopi Goldberg and Woody Allen when they publicly support a child rapist? Do they also think it is acceptable to set puppies on fire and kick them off cliffs? To my knowledge, Kevin Smith is the only celebrity to point out the ridiculousness of defending Polanski. At least he isn't a puppy killer.

*I'll give you a hint - as the adult, he should have ceased and desisted.

01 October 2009

Further Proof That TV Isn't Real

I decided to give NCIS: Los Angeles a chance this Monday. In retrospect, I'm not sure what the logic behind that decision was because the first 5 minutes sucked. Seriously sucked. Give up hope and change the channel sucked. Then came the opening credits, which starts INNNN SPAAAAACCCE and zooms down to an aerial shot of the NCIS headquarters in LA.

Do you see that? Do you? Because I sure did. The white blobs on the left include my house! The orange blobs in the middle are the NCIS buildings! Except for the fact that there is a garden center there, and it certainly does not have an orange roof. The liars!

The show went back to sucking immediately after returning from commercials.

16 September 2009

Matt is hereby restricted to white Hanes BeefyTs

This weekend Matt asked if I would mind him wearing a RotoHog t-shirt. He was smart enough to avoid asking while I was desperately unemployed, but now that I had an offer, it seemed like a reasonable request. Unable to contrive an illogical excuse, I said it was okay, and away we went.

While waiting to cross a street, a random lady asked Matt if he plays on RotoHog. While I went into convulsions, he calmly stated that I used to work there. Apparently random lady's son still works there, and maybe I know him? OF COURSE.

13 September 2009

Free Baseball!

Last year we failed to attend the Villa Marina Block Party due to lack of proximity. I tried to explain that we were in Tokyo, but apparently international travel is not an acceptable excuse. This year we made sure to attend long enough to get free food and be seen by all necessary persons.

The Block Party is partially sponsored by local businesses, each with their own gimmick to attract new customers. Free reusable bags, spin the wheel o' prizes, drawings for $25 off $10,000's worth of new windows. With a bit of prodding, I entered one a drawing from the hardware store, tried some homemade chocolate chip cookies, and won a useless candle. Then we retreated to the safety of our home.

Fast forward 30 minutes. The doorbell rang. My neighbor/party co-chair was there to present me with my grand prize from B&B Hardware. Uh, seriously? Holy bajoinkees! I won 2 Dodgers tickets, behind home, against the Rockies, with a preferred parking pass! Yippee!

I turned to Matt and asked, "Would you like to come with me to the game?" I thought I was nice to offer him the second ticket, but he seemed to think the correct response was to tickle me mercilessly. Sometimes I wonder why I keep him around.

11 September 2009


I hereby announce that I have a job! An offer has been made, I accepted, and there will be a parade on the 26th of November in my honor! The paperwork will be signed early next week, at which point I will happily belt out the company name to the masses.

31 August 2009

Nothing Good Starts With Doggy Projectile Vomit

For the past couple weeks, Zero was puking little pukes late at night. Most were so small that he just swallowed them back down, so we only had the glurpy sounds with which to deduce what his innards were doing. Since it it was such small amounts and he has a tendency to lick unidentifiable substances on the sidewalk, we decided to just keep an eye on him for the time being. But before he reached the predetermined upper time limit for discontinuing late night barfs, IT CAME FROM WITHIN!

There we were, walking the dogs when Zero makes the most bizarre noise. SPEW! I'm not exaggerating when I say it landed over a foot away from him. Matt and I just stood there, looking back and forth between the seemingly content mutt and the splatter of puke. It was all liquid, so there wasn't much we could do to clean up the sidewalk. I suppose we could have gotten a hose and hooked it up to a neighbor's spigot, but that would have put us in the seriously creepy category. Feeling a bit guilty, we left it and headed home. My one consolation is that no one will ever know it was Zero since you can't dust for vomit.

Fast forward two days to Sunday at high noon, the first appointment I could get. The vet took a look at Minimutt and declared him to be alive. A couple of Pepcid AC tablets and he'd be done with his reverse eating. Oh, and he has fleas.

"FLEAS?! No, really? Fleas?"

"Yes, fleas. See? Here's one?"

Let the panicking begin! Apparently fleas like really warm weather, such as the blistering August heat in southern California. At the same time, monthly flea preventatives (Frontline, Advantix, et cetera) start fading in the third week after application. When these two forces combine, mutts get fleas and everyone is miserable!

Zero had very recently acquired his since there weren't any eggs or droppings or something else I forgot. We hadn't seen him chewing himself more than usual, so if I hadn't taken him to the vet, we wouldn't have found out for awhile. As for Bigmutt, Tawny was guaranteed to have her own set living in her princess fur. Yay!

There's an amazing pill that kills all fleas in 15 minutes. Armed with one per dog and a bottle of vet-quality flea killing medicated shampoo, Zero and I headed home.

Shocking, the pills were immediately doled out. I barely waited 15 minutes before I got to work with a Furminator (best fur brush ever) while Matt prevented escape. Then came the baths, during which four creatures were thoroughly soaked. That just left cleaning everything in the house.

Finally a benefit to annoying hardwood throughout the house! Only two throw rugs had to be shampooed. Oh, and the couch. The doggy beds were deemed in need of replacement anyway, so they were tossed. The floor mats by the living room doors were falling apart, entitling them to join the beds. The stuffed dog toys, well, they can be machine washed, but that doesn't mean they should be. Out they went. The rubber toys were washed, along with everything else that would fit in the washer.

After ditching half the mutts' stuff, it was time to replace it all! It took three pet stores to find all their favorite toys and acceptable beds. It was horrible. The markup on chew toys is absolutely ridiculous, but that's nothing compared to the markup on the bed. $103 for both, after a 10% discount! Obscene! Outrageous! No way we were going to another store this late on a Sunday!

No tale of new dog toys is complete without pictures.

Zero testing his new bed and purple monkey.

Excuse me? What's this?

I'm not sure I approve.

Tawny has made her decision.

24 August 2009

Last Night We Watched WEtv

No, really. And entirely on purpose. For some reason, there was absolutely nothing remotely watchable late on a summer Sunday night. The closest thing to bearable was Amazing Wedding Cakes, and that was only because I wanted to see how those ridiculous cakes are made. The stupidity and drama inherent in all reality television would just have to be ignored if no one was wiling to exert effort and put on a DVD.

As predicted, the cakes and the decorating process were interesting. The people, not so much. Then the show ended, leaving us face to face with our original lethargy. While Matt and I vigorously debated who should actually get off the couch, the next show came on: Bridezillas!

Holy crap did I never plan on watching such a monstrosity. But for that one hour, it was the greatest show on earth. You couldn't make up some of the mind-numbing neuroses these women developed over the course of planning a wedding. One woman's craziness could at least be PARTIALLY explained by all the stupidity going on around her. The other, well, we spent the next half hour trying to figure out why on earth her fiance hasn't put his head in an oven yet.

There are some very beautiful larger women and some very ugly stick-thin women. This example happened to fall squarely in the chunky and ugly category, partially due to her unkempt hair and frumpy clothes. However, she apparently has no ego problem as she is convinced she is the most gorgeous woman in the world and ANY guy would kill to be with her. No exaggeration. She randomly accused other men of trying to flirt with her and didn't seem to notice when her flirting attempts were ignored. Her poor fiance, however, noticed her trying. Personally, I think that a healthy self-esteem and confidence in oneself are great traits (of which I could use some more...), but she was firmly in the egomaniacal area.

After announcing that she was to be referred to as Queen, just when I thought she couldn't go any farther downhill, things got worse. She gathered all her fiances friends and presented them with rules. The most notable was a ban on all jewelry, including a groomsman's wedding band. WTF?

Even though Matt and I were clearly a bit stupider for having watched a full hour of such nonsense, I must admit that it was engrossing. And I will NEVER watch Bridezillas again. Oh, and why are people so desperate for fame (and $2500) that they are will to debase themselves on national television? I will never understand that one.

29 July 2009

Two Phone Numbers at the Same Time

My spiffy new Digicel SIM card and my slightly more spiffy unlocked Blackberry have combined forces to bring you 649 342 2504! With this magical new code, you can reach me here in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, without me having to deal with AT&T's international unpleasantness. However, I only have $10 worth of airtime, so only call for important things. Yes, a new puppy is definitely an important thing, especially if there are celebratory cupcakes to be had.

24 July 2009

Pressure sensor! Get it?

In case things hadn't been ridiculous enough, this week happened. On Monday evening, my check engine light came on. I had negative desire to take the car in before vacation, not to mention a complete lack of time, and besides, the light just came on.

With that in mind, I left for my toe doctor appointment on Tuesday. It had started hurting again, and I begged and pleaded, and maybe bribed, my way into a last minute pre-vacation appointment. Right after exiting the 405, my car stalled on Santa Monica Boulevard. Stupid toe, making me stall my car. Clutch, engine start button, all better. A mile later the engine stalled again, except this time no amount of clutching and jabbing the start button could convince the engine to turn over. I was in the middle lane, getting honked at, with no power to speak of.

Step 1 was immediately hitting the hazard lights button so instead of honking and going around, some of the other drivers might find it in their hearts to merely go around. Step 2 was infinitely harder. With no power steering and the slightest of hills to coast down, I somehow made it into the bus stop 20 feet away, the closest thing to a shoulder this stretch of Santa Monica could provide.

I tried to restart the engine about 72 million times, but eventually had to admit defeat. Out came the cell phone and AAA card. Except I had inadvertently left it in my other purse. Well, screw you too piece of plastic. Plan B, I'll call Matt who actually keeps his in his wallet.

"Call failed."

Um, excuse me? "Call failed." "Call failed." "Call failed." Okay, this was not happening. Except for the part where my cell phone decided that it should turn into an overpriced brick in my moment of need. Turning the antenna off and on, the phone off and on, nothing worked. After putting a curse on RIM's entire R&D department, I grabbed some quarters and headed to the 7-Eleven on the corner.

Hmm, no pay phone here. I thought they were required in 7-Elevens, just like the Slurpee machines. I asked the cashier where the nearest pay phone happened to be situated and was very disappointed to hear that there MIGHT be one a couple blocks down. The cordless phone on the counter was calling my name, so I asked to use it. The cashier said no, under no circumstances were they allowed to let customers even look at the phone, so I could just forget that idea. I told her my car had stalled in the street and my cell phone had stalled in my purse, but her cold dead heart took no pity on me. A customer, however, convinced her that it would be very nice to let me make one call. With a sigh, she relented and said one local call only, what number did I want? I gave her Matt's cell number, complete with 818 area code.

Calling an 818 number from 310 (or 323) is a local call since it's part of the same city. Apparently this is not required knowledge for a 7-Eleven cashier, and she immediately changed her mind. I offered her the four quarters I was planning on giving to a pay phone, but no dice. At this point the same customer pointed out how pathetic and screwed I was, not to mention the not a long distance call thing. She relented and handed over the phone.

Ring! Ring! Ring! Ring! Why isn't Matt answering his damn phone? RING RING! Ah, finally. I told him what happened and he promised to come save me. Luckily he was having lunch with a friend in Beverly Hills, which wasn't particularly far from my personal hell.

I walked across the parking lot just in time to witness a moron backing out of a parking spot and into the side of another car. Why do so many people back out of spots without looking? There were plenty of other onlookers who were closer, so I continued on my merry way.

About five minutes later, while pacing next to my car, I saw Moron Number 2 making an illegal u-turn via the left turn lane for the other direction. In this part of Santa Monica, there are wide grassish medians dividing the road. There is a break in the median for east-bound cars to make a left turn onto a side street. West-bound cars have no such break, so no one else was expecting Moron 2 to try to pull off such a maneuver. CRASH! SPLAT! BOOM! Instant three-car pileup. There happened to be absolutely no cars traveling east, allowing me to run to the median and down the street.

The rear car contained a mother checking on her baby in the back seat. She seemed fine, just a little shaken, so I continued to the middle car. A Chinese man sat stunned in the driver's seat. Smoke was still pouring from the hole where the airbag popped out. He was looking at his arms in a daze after I asked him if he was okay. I interpreted his lack of a coherent answer to mean that he needed an ambulance and told him to stay put while I got help.

The front car's occupants were already standing and in full panic mode. They were about 20, visiting from Texas, and had no idea what on earth to do. I knew exactly how they felt. I told them my cell phone was useless, but I had seen the whole thing and it was in no way their fault. Next I asked them to call 911 and ask for an ambulance for the Chinese man.

I went back to tell the man that help was on the way, and sure enough, a siren soon made itself known. A few minutes after the EMTs arrived, the police officer came. Since everyone else was either still panicking or being checked for damage, I told the officer what happened, who was in each car, and who was in need of medical attention. After confirming some details, including that I was merely a witness, she thanked me for my help and said that since it was to be classified as a rear-ending, they wouldn't need my information. I asked if I could go back to my car, seeing as how it was now abandoned in a bus lane in a city filled with evil parking patrols, and off I went.

Soon my savior arrived and promptly called AAA to get a flatbed tow truck. And the tow truck arrived before anyone else cause a 17 car collision. Yay!

Fast forward 15 minutes and we arrived at Santa Monica Audi, having passed two more car accidents and what was quite possibly a fatal car versus bicycle incident. The service guy, who remembered my name(!), said that the service department was busy, but they would most likely look at it tonight and I could retrieve my insolent car the next day. Blargy.

At this point Matt was all but destined to be late to his dentist appointment, so I got to keep him company on his trek through the scorching San Fernando Valley. As a consolation prize, he took me to get bubble tea afterward.

My large passion fruit green tea with no ice in hand, it was time for the AT&T store. DUN DUN DUUUUUNNNN. As usual, this involved waiting for six hours in a line consisting of five people. But it was worth it when the representative (or whatever they're calling themselves these days) popped in a new SIM card. My old one had fried itself. Of all the days it had to pick this one to spontaneously combust. At least I got my revenge via a free working SIM card.

Right as we were leaving the store, the Audi service guy called Matt on his deterministic phone. My car was fixed! The fuel pressure sensor had also spontaneously combusted, resulting in no gas getting to the engine. Apparently this gas thing is vital to getting the engine to turn over. Shrug.

With 20 minutes before the dealer closed for the day, we zoomed over to retrieve my car. The repair was covered under the warranty and fixed for free. Whew.

To be perfectly honest, I don't remember exactly what happened after my freshly waxed and repaired car made it into my garage. However, I'm fairly sure it involved beer, tv, and passing out. Not necessarily in that order.

17 July 2009

The Fork-Wielding Koala Was Late

My parents and brothers spent a long weekend at Casa Me, during which everything went crazier. I had a slightly belated birthday dinner at The Stinking Rose. We went hiking in Griffith Park, but we never reached the top due to an overheated, but still ornery, mini mutt. We went to Santa Monica Pier. And then we rounded things out with a day on Catalina Island, complete with a Segway tour.

Of course, the entire trip was peppered with visits to every fast food chain that doesn't exist on the other side of the Rockies. And just in case that wasn't healthy enough, the only exercise to be had was walking, or hiking, at our various destinations. After spending Wednesday afternoon recovering, we set out yesterday morning to teach the 17,000 extra calories a lesson, via the bike path.

Having previously only taken the bike paths on weekends, I must say this: there are fewer people on the paths during the week, but the quality of idiots skyrockets. I nearly ran over a particularly brain-dead dolt who stepped directly in front of my bike. Then there was the group of 30 teenagers just standing in the middle of the path and glaring at all the bikes that they were blocking. Can you say Stupidity Index Factor? But that was nothing compared to what happened next.

Washington Boulevard has bike lanes in both directions, making it one of the safer major streets in this area. Sadly, that does not take into account turning drivers that zone out and don't see the bicyclists in the aforementioned bike lanes. The reason I mention this is that Matt got pegged by a Prius making a left turn. The car hit his rear tire with a sickening crunch, while I was about 10 feet behind him! And I thought the mutts getting eaten by Eviltoby was scary, but that was nothing compared to seeing Matt get squished by a car!

I readily admit that I don't do well in crisis situations. My first thought was OH MY GOD! MUST SAVE MATT! But as I jumped off the bike, a little light in my head flashed a warning that I shouldn't leave my bike lying in the middle of the street. So I quickly kicked the kickstand and left it standing in the middle of the street instead. Much better.

I ran to Matt, who later told me that I screamed "YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE!" louder than he EVER heard me scream before. He was obviously not happy, but there were none of the giant pools of blood my stupid brain had told me to expect. I helped lift the bike off of him and he started to get up. Then that same useless light in my head came back on to tell me that my bike shouldn't be in the middle of the street. So I ran back to my bike, moved it to the curb, and ran back to Matt.

One witness claimed to have seen Matt hit his head, but his head didn't hurt and there wasn't even dirt on his shiny helmet. With his head apparently okay and no broken bones jutting out through his skin, Matt was silently declared to be safely mobile. We dragged his bike onto the sidewalk, where the Prius driver joined us in making sure Matt wasn't permanently disabled. The back of his right leg was scrapped up and bleeding in a pattern oddly reminiscent of gears, but aside from that, no damage.

Matt's shiny new Roubaix Elite was another story. The rear wheel was dangling, held on only by the derailer. The derailer was in the throws of death and seriously considering dropping the wheel. The rear brake had no stopping power in its near future. As for the frame, carbon is rather ornery. To the naked eye, the frame looks okay, but it still must be examined, both inside and out, for structural damage.

Having assessed the level of Matt and bike damage, Matt and the driver exchanged information. Aside from the whole trying to kill Matt thing, she was a decent human being who admitted fault and offered to pay for the bike repairs and any medical bills.

We towed the bike back to the store for repairs/salvage. While the repair guy was surveying the damage, he asked what kind of car the ne'er-do-well was driving. That's when we made a shocking discovery: Priuses are by far the most common car responsible for the bike damage at the shop. In fact, the repair guy commented to another employee, "Another Prius..." to which the second guy just groaned and shook his head.

Just to be clear, aside from the superficial scrapes on his leg, Matt is fine. As for the bike, the estimate should be ready by Tuesday.

01 July 2009

Eviltoby and the Zombie Horde

After talking with some of my neighbors, I made some grave discoveries. Firstly, the psychotic entity that attacked my mutts answers to the name Toby. I promptly informed my parents that they no longer can call their mutt Toby in good consciousness. Now he'll have to be named Bagel.

The name of the demonic creature is upsetting, but that's nothing compared to its history. Eviltoby has attacked other dogs on at least three separate occasions. Apparently he finds humans to be an equally tasty treat - he bit a neighbor's ankle while she was on a ladder. His human, who I can only assume has jello where a brain should be, just patted the "dog" on the head and didn't do a damn thing!

Speaking of not doing a damn thing, the wife was less than amicable when shown the vet bill. She was particularly disbelieving with regard to Zero's x-rays. Then she claimed to be a doctor and said that neither dog actually needed to be taken to the vet. Oh, and did I mention that she is actually a dentist? She doesn't seem to be aware of the difference between human mouths and dog abdomens. Anyway, it looks like we'll have to settle for them paying $200, which is better than nothing.

Since The Incident, I've seen Eviltoby only once, but it was certainly memorable. And Matt was there too, which certainly helped. Tawny spotted the spawn of Satan and immediately began barking a very serious STAY THE F#$% AWAY FROM ME bark. Zero, who always wants to play with anything human or canine, tried to run away at full speed. I have NEVER seen him run away from anyone like that, even other dogs that were less than friendly. Seeing as how his leash prevented him from getting as far away as he liked, he settled for hiding behind Tawny. Thankfully, Eviltoby's flexileash wasn't fully extended, so he was stuck about 15 feet away, while Mr. Eviltoby's Owner just stood there like a zombie.

Aside from that second encounter, Zero and Tawny are doing fine. Tawny's tail is healing nicely and Zero's belly is looking better each day. And for those wondering, my toe is also looking better. Soon I can learn to walk again!

29 June 2009


Friday was a day of disasters. It all started when I made a rash decision to walk the mutts. We hadn't even left the courtyard when an evil space monster from the Andromeda galaxy jumped out from behind a stone wall. With no warning, the devious being, which resembled a white poodle mutt, attacked. Zero took the first blow and ended up on his back with the creature from the blue lagoon on top. I had no idea what to do, except to try and pull Zero away by his leash. I was in a bit of a hurry to get the hell away, pulling both leashes with me, but Cerberus got in one last chomp. Unfortunately, it was on Tawny's tail. The worst part is that Cujo was on a flexileash (the thin leash that extends out of a plastic handle for somewhere around 20 feet) the entire time and his owner did nothing. And I mean NOTHING. Didn't move, didn't pull El Chupacabra back, didn't say a word. Her psycho "pet" was barking and attacking completely unprovoked (unless you count happening to walk by as provocation), and she stood there! Seriously, who does that?

After my initial round of panic, Naomi, who thankfully was already on her way over, helped me take the mutts to the vet. Zero's nasty looking stomach wound turned out to be superficial, but due to the area x-rays were required to check for abdominal bleeding. If the external injury had been worse, the vet would have recommended exploratory surgery to visually inspect the area. My eyeballs fell out when the vet first said surgery, but Naomi promptly dusted them off and popped them back in while the vet said it wouldn't be necessary. As for Tawny, the vet had to shave part of her tail to get at the puncture wound. With the fur gone, it really looks like something took a bite out of her tail, but as long as no one goes near her tail, she doesn't seem bothered by it.

After we brought the mutts home from the vet, Naomi and I went shopping. There's nothing like a bit of retail therapy after absolute chaos and bleeding tails.

Later that day, the phone rang an ominous death toll. As I ran for the office phone, my socked feet lost traction on the hardwood floors. SMASH! My right pinky toe was rather displeased with its violent introduction to the base molding it had previously only viewed from a distance. The worst part? It was an automated marketing call from Verizon.

Late Friday afternoon is NOT the time to injury oneself since doctors tend to have stopped making appointments for the week. In other words, I spent the weekend hobbling around on a swollen and oddly colored toe. But I did wake up early today to get an appointment, and get an appointment I did.

The doctor took x-rays of my foot and pronounced my toe to be officially broken and me a klutz. Here are the before and after x-rays:
I highlighted the newly-formed gaping chasm in red for your viewing enjoyment.

As of press time, Matt is yet to be injured. I can't help but expect a fork-wielding koala bear to attack him in the shower tomorrow morning.

22 June 2009

Apparently We Live in a Crime-Ridden Tsumani Zone

Matt and I take long bike rides on the weekend. They usually are restricted to daylight hours, but we tend to get distracted easily. And by we, I usually mean me. So just in case, we keep our spiffy headlights and taillights attached whenever we go out.

Yesterday played out like normal, ending with a stop at Soup Plantation for giant salads for dinner. Of course, we didn't want to immediately start biking again right after inhaling piles of lettuce, so we spent some time wandering a nearby sports store. About 25 feet from the bikes, Matt commented, "Our bikes are still there. And so are the helmets." To which I replied, "But our lights aren't." Some douche nozzle decided to steal our lights, including the brackets by which they were attached. As it was approaching sundown, we didn't have much time to plan our revenge, since we did not want to be out biking in the dark without lights.

I know that it isn't the end of the world, but I'm still rather upset. While the taillight brackets were merely clipped onto our seat bags, they require a surprising amount of effort to get off. So much effort, in fact, that they stayed on for the 200 mile drive to San Diego on the back of Matt's car after we couldn't remove them manually beforehand. As for the headlights, someone had to actually know what they were doing to get the brackets off our handlebars. The evil minion could have slid the lights from their brackets (front and back), but they took the brackets too! That's the part that pisses me off the most. The demonic spawn knew what it was doing and actively wanted lights for its own use, as opposed to some kids who just slid the lights out of the brackets.

Now that we have the "opportunity" to buy new lights, I'm looking for ones that actually lock. And hopefully exist. As for our helmets, we will continue to lock them to the bikes such that stealing them would require breaking the helmet into unusable pieces.

20 June 2009

All my problems have been solved!

Well, that may be a bit of an exaggeration. But my when to see Ian problem has been resolved in a most convenient fashion - everyone's coming here! Of course, now that I've it's been brought to my attention that this is the last year I qualify for Birthright, that idea is not getting shelved. I, and hopefully Matt if grad school doesn't get in his way, will be applying for winter 2010. Everything seems to have worked out. Assuming I get accepted.

The next resolution is complements of Nordstrom Rack, where designer stuff that didn't sell for outrageous prices is discounted to almost reasonable prices! Personally, I love that store since I always find something that I wanted but wouldn't have even considered purchasing at its regular price. While wandering the store waiting for Matt, I came across Calvin Klein Khaki Collection quilted pillows. We've needed new pillows for months, but hadn't found anything acceptable until that fateful day. These are the best pillows ever. No, really. Go get a half dozen for yourself RIGHT NOW!

08 June 2009

Just So I Don't Forget Why I Despise The TSA

On August 1, Ian will be leaving for a year of study abroad in Israel. I haven't seen him since April and I currently don't have any flights to New Jersey booked, which is an abnormal state in and of itself. So, do I visit him in New Jersey sometime in the next 6 weeks, or do I visit him in Israel, most likely in January?

New Jersey is infinitely cheaper. By a lot. Assume $300 round trip for the plane ticket, and approximately $0 for food and board and Momndad Bed & Breakfast. Israel can be done for $1000 round-trip, assuming I want to fly steerage and change planes at Heathrow. I don't mind coach/economy/proletarian for transcontinental, mainly due the existence of exit rows and the increased legroom that they provide, but for 113 hours, well, let's just say it's not ideal. Then comes hotel, food, random stuff that I buy. And last, but not least, Matt. I am NOT going to Israel for the first time by myself. And I certainly am not spending that much time in a plane to only stay a week. Ergo, $NewJersey <<<<<<<<<<< $Israel. However, Israel is Israel, where I've never been, while New Jersey is, well, New Jersey.

Where do I go?

15 May 2009

Up Next: Sir Robin of Loxly

The newest member of the mutt brigade is Bagel (or Tobias, as far as the rescue group is concerned)! He's a ~1 year-old beagle-mutt rescue.

What's that great smell? Ooh! Dust!

Bageltoby looks a bit moopy due to bordatella (kennel cough), with which he came home. While that can be treated at home, he also decided to get pneumonia/flu/unknown doggie disease. He's staying at the vet for treatment through Saturday. :-(

28 April 2009

Do Not Use As A Timer

My parents have a shiny new kitchen, complete with a shiny new microwave. Silly me, I decided to use the timer feature. Everything was going well until about 20 seconds after the countdown ended. The damn thing refused to stop beeping. No matter what buttons I pressed or the order I pressed them in, the microwave continued pleading for attention. I called my dad, whose best suggestion was the useless manual. Next came mom, who had previously dealt with with this auditory onslaught. Sadly, she was still searching for the correct way to make it shut up. She did suggest a brick, but I have a feeling I'd be eviscerated if I chose that route.

If I end up locked up in a mental asylum by the end of the day, blame Bosch and their engineering department.

27 April 2009

Return of the Suitcase

American Airlines lied. They said my suitcase would be delivered by 2am. I went to bed around 4:30, having given up for the evening. I called in the morning to ask them which country my suitcase was visiting. As it turned out, it arrived at Newark as scheduled last night, but then the driver decided it was too late at night to deliver a suitcase to a private residence, and I could suck it. But my suitcase would definitely be delivered by 2pm. Then I got a call saying my suitcase was in the truck and would be delivered in about an hour. I won't mention that it was almost 4 by then.

The delivery guy didn't lie, and my suitcase was soon home. I'm reasonably sure that it was red the last time I saw it, but I could just be forgetting the grime. First order of business: inventory contents. Interesting. I don't remember wadding up my dress into a ball. Or taking my shoes out of the shoe bag and putting them soles down on my white sweater. Or unfolding all my shirts. Or not packing my hair iron. EGADS! My hair iron is missing! Okay, okay, don't panic yet. Must call Matt! He can check at home! Maybe I left it? I hope... But alas, it was not to be.

I called AA, then waited on hold. I was told to call another number, then waited on hold. I finally acquired the number for baggage services at Newark, and they DUN DUN DUUUUUN put me on hold. There I waited, where hours turned into days and days turned into months. Then, after 10 minutes, the evil call system hung up on me. That was the last straw. Screw them, I'm going out for ice cream with blue sprinkles.

This morning I took a deep breath and tried calling again. Round 1, the phone just rang until the phone company informed me that no one appeared to be answering and I should try again later. Useful. Round 2, someone answered around ring 37. I told her what happened, gave her the file locator number, and answered a few other questions. Then she asked what the missing items were. "Just my hair iron." "Hair iron?" "Yes, for straightening my hair." "We don't reimburse for electronics. Only for clothes and shoes. Sorry." "Is there anything that you can do?" "I'll put it in the report, but that's it. Thank you for calling." Click. AAAAAAAHHHHHHH! What kind of stupid numb nuts policy is that? That's basically giving your employees a free pass on stealing anything with a circuit since the company doesn't do a damned thing about it! Exterminate! Exterminate!

AA might be an evil conglomerate, but not only did I buy the iron with my American Express, I charged the plane ticket with it as well. Tonight, or tomorrow, depending on mental weather conditions, I will call them and they'll make everything happy.

25 April 2009

Meet My Luggage in St. Louis

Miracle of all miracles, my flight landed at Newark on time. My luggage, however, was "detained by the TSA for unspecified reasons." Gee, great. But "it'll be on the next flight out." Um, the next flight from LAX to EWR is tomorrow. But wait! They already rerouted my bag, so it was waiting for me. In St. Louis. How useful. Theoretically, it will be on a flight from St. Louis and landing at EWR around 9 tonight, enabling a 2 am delivery. I might not have to be naked tomorrow! Yay!

23 April 2009


In honor of today being Thursday, I'm wearing one of my Mets baseball caps. Specifically the 2009 Inaugural Season one, since it matters. While walking in Westwood, a homeless guy noticed and started yelling at me:

"Hey Mets! What are you doing in LA? Go back to New York, you Yankee bastard!"

22 April 2009

To: the rest of the world

The bedroom ceiling fan has been on since Sunday. The sliding doors are open all day. The ambient temperature is around 75F. It's officially summer!

17 April 2009

A Predestruction Show of Force

What better way to threaten the opposing team than an inaugural game flyover?

More pictures to follow, pending my acquisition thereof.

12 April 2009

Errors in Judgement

Things Jess said today:

"You're my sanest friend."

"In that case, you can have a jigsaw."

And I have two witnesses to both statements.

10 April 2009

Team Name: awesomo

This is the second year that I have my very own Yahoo fantasy baseball team to screw up. Last year I had no idea what to do or what anything meant, despite working at a fantasy sports company. The RotoHog stock exchange game is so different from standard leagues that I couldn't apply anything but the category abbreviations to Yahoo. Shockingly, I lost with flying colors.

Then came the NBA Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner game and its complete lack of a stock market. The result? I learned how normal fantasy sports leagues work.

Now it's April, my amazingtacular job has disappeared into the aether, and the fantasy baseball season has gotten underway. Everything on Yahoo's site reminds me of something I did for RotoHog, namely the UFC project. I click on a link, I think of what the RotoHog code looked like. I set my line up, I remember how annoying it was to get that working correctly. While my team is doing better (which doesn't take much when you were the proud holder of last place), just using the site make me miss my job.

06 April 2009

When you call Grandma on Wednesday, don't forget to call Grandma

There are fewer brain-meltingly stupid entities than state governments. However, the California Employment Development Department has found a new way to make my life miserable.

I applied for unemployment after my final day of work. I was going to apply before hand to get it over with, but they said NO. Not a big deal. So eventually I get a little piece of paper that I needed to return. Basically it's a formality where I say, "yes, I did in fact search for work, but alas, I didn't find any, now give me my money." I filled it in for the two weeks indicated, the first two in February, and I mailed it back. I got one slip of paper in the mail saying no money for your first week, you lose. Um, okay. I didn't get the damn check until halfway through March. Attached to the check was the affidavit for weeks 3 and 4 for February. Well, silly me, I filled that form and sent it back.

A couple of days later, I received my response. "YOU ARE A HORRIBLE HUMAN BEING AND YOU ARE SO NOT GETTING ANY MORE MONEY FROM US UNTIL YOU COMPLETE A PHONE INTERVIEW." Specially, I have to tell them why I mailed my February form in 3 weeks late. Uh, because I didn't receive it until then. After all the crap about the EDD being overburdened being repeated by the media, I assumed that it was just taking forever to process my claim instead of being lost in the mail. The worst part? They assigned me the first open interview, which is still over two weeks away.

I can sort of understand why things work this way, but that doesn't make me feel any better. With 1 in 10 unemployed around here, the thought of calling the scary bureaucrats when I had only been waiting a few weeks didn't seem particularly necessary. Now I know better.

01 April 2009

Deconation of the Disinfected

I'm not sure who enjoyed the experience less, but Zero is officially done with his antibiotic eye drops. Thankfully, that also means he is officially done with his Cone of Malcontent. So what does a newly freed hyperactive little mutt do first? Lick his crotch for thirty minutes. *slurp*

26 March 2009

The Phone Rang, And Then I Answered It


Hello, is Matt there?

May I ask who is calling?

I'm from UCLA Anderson.

*silent jumping up and down*
He's in his car on his way to work. Would you like his cell phone number, or I can pass along a message?

I'd like to call his cell phone.

The number is 818 867 5309.
*more dancing*

Thank you. Good bye.

I had to wait TEN MINUTES for Matt to call me back. And then he did. Matt has officially been accepted to Anderson. Yippee!

23 March 2009

You Never Forget How To Fall Off A Bike

You extra super plus never forget if you are as klutzy as me, but I digress.

After years of pestering, I finally convinced Matt to get a bike. This might not seem like much of an achievement, but you have to take into account the fact that Matt hadn't owned any human-powered transportation devices since he was a wee little Matt. A lack of available bikes also means a lack of knowing how to successfully ride a bike. As anyone who ever bought an adult-sized bike knows, trying out various bikes is absolutely necessary.

I tried to teach Matt on my bike, but that plan was quickly scrapped after the second near miss involving a parked car. Plan B involved buying Matt a helmet and letting him try out all sorts of bikes at bike stores. Yes, he did look like an incompetent fool, and yes, I nearly fell over laughing. But by the time he found the perfect bike, he was able to ride with some semblance of competence. More importantly, he didn't fall and damage any of the bikes!

And so his shiny new accoutrement came to be.

Loading the jump...

Egads! He's going to crash!

Oh, whew! Matt lives!

And there he goes, down the alley of dispair!

Hmm, I think his seat needs to be raised a bit more.

Cone of Malcontent

Just last week Matt and I were commenting on how it had been quite some time since we took a sick mutt to the vet. Obviously we didn't have our brain stems connected that day, since tempting fate with regard to the vet is not just a bad idea, but an assurance that at least one dog would be deathly ill in the days to come. In this instance, it was Zero, sporting a brand new eye infection, complete with green gooey puss gunk practically dripping from his right eye.

After checking his cornea for scratches, Zero was duly coned and I was handed eye drops. Even though the cone prevents him from continually scratching at his eye, it doesn't prevent him from trying. What's worse is that it doesn't prevent him from trying at three in the morning until one of us gets up and scratches his head for him.

Unlike Tawny, Zero refuses to let his head wear get in the way of his life. Sadly, this means he dunks the thing straight into his water bowl and food bowl. And rams it into furniture that didn't previously block his way. And scraps it along walls. While these may seem like accidents caused by an unwieldy chunk of plastic enveloping his head, I know the truth. He's teaching us the lesson that it is NOT OKAY TO CONE HIM.

17 March 2009

Facebook is Determined to Piss Off Users

Every time they update the home page, they make it worse. But that's not my biggest problem. Now you need to confirm that existing accounts belong to real people. How do you do this? Give them your cell number so they can text a code that you need to enter. Obviously. FUCK NO. I am NOT giving facebook my cell number for any reason. Especially since I've had my account since 2004, when it was first opened to Columbia students. Of course, there's another option, but somehow I find it annoying to enter a two word capcha every time I do something.

Am I the only one annoyed with facebook? Or am I missing something here?

12 March 2009

Staying Healthy the Daytime TV Way

One "benefit" of being unemployed is getting to catch up on 10 year old reruns of Law & Order. Each episode comes with all sorts of suggestions, most of which center around hiring a social security lawyer or getting cash for my annuity or structured settlement, but there is a nice sprinkling of vitamin and supplement commercials. And while I may not have learned enough to pass the New York Bar exam, I have learned that I will have a horrible life and painful death if I don't start protecting my <random vital organ> by taking daily <random supplement that I didn't know existed>.

I'm never going to be able to tango if I don't start taking fish oil. There's no way I can possibly be regular/have good digestive health since I'm not taking fiber pills. The reason I'm so fat is because I don't have decadent and correctly proportioned meals delivered directly to my door. My high cholesterol is obviously due to my failure to eat 12 bowls of cheerios every day. In case all that wasn't bad enough, I'm lethargic and depressed because of my failure to take SAM-e. And here I thought that all my problems were caused by my brain being softened by Hulu. Silly me.

04 March 2009

My Car Gets 196MPG

You hear that Priusites? ONE HUNDRED NINETY-SIX! Really!

How can this be true you ponder aloud? Well I obviously won't be answering since I don't have superhuman hearing. But I'm such a nice person, so I'll pretend I heard this time.

Among other quasi-useful features, my car has a real-time mpg display. Hit the gas, mpg plummets. Coast downhill, mpg climbs. Cruise down the giant hill on the 405 north going into the valley at upwards of 80mph, mpg skyrockets to a peak of 196. Soon after mpg hit -12 due to an idiot who confused the center divider with another lane on the 101.

03 March 2009

Places I Need To Go

Seeing as how the title pretty much sums up what I'm about to do, ta da!

United States - Sites
Erie Canal
Grand Canyon
Mount Rushmore
Yellowstone Park

United States - Cities
New Orleans

United States - States
New Mexico

Foreign Countries - Cities
Cancun, Mexico
Dubai, United Arab Emigrates
London, England
Moscow, Russia
Paris, France
Macau, China
Manila, Phillippines
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Foreign Countries - Countries
Antarctica (yes, I'm aware that its not a country)
Cayman Islands
Costa Rica
Czech Republic
Hong Kong, China
New Zealand
South Africa
Turks and Caicos Islands

25 February 2009

Everyone and Their Mother is on Facebook

Or more specifically, my mother. And now my father. And how do I know this? My mom suggested my dad as a friend for Matt. But not me! I'm calling DYFS.

24 February 2009

More Thievery

As predicted, a tv was stolen. In the we paid a much lower price than we should have sense.


C'est magnifique, n'est pas? Best Buy currently has it on sale for $799, which is a good price to begin with (a few places are currently having the same promotion, but most of them are sold out). I found one in the open box pile that was marked down to $719. The Jew/lawyer in me just couldn't accept the opening offer, so I offered a nearby sales clerk $650. She looked at me, looked at the box, and said she'd go ask her manager. When she returned with him and asked, he nearly broke out in laughter. He offered $699. I countered at $697, but he wouldn't budge. Fine then. Deal!

To put this in perspective, Costco is currently selling the non-XBR version for $699.

And then Matt held up a video game that he wanted. The manager looked like he was going to cry just at the thought of having to walk all the way across the store and back to get the damn game. I took that as an opportunity to go sneaking around the dvd section. I found exactly what I was looking for and declared it to be mine. Being in no place to object to a $9 Doctor Who dvd, he succumbed to the power of the TARDIS.

For those who think I have no semblance of patience, let this be a lesson to you. Since we moved the bedroom tv into the atrium, I have wanted to get a replacement for the bedroom. I waited for over ONE YEAR. That's more than twelve months, or forever in Sharon-time. We waited for a great deal, and then waited some more, and then realized this weekend that there is no better time than now. So there. I HAVE PATIENCE!

23 February 2009

Recession => Desperate Stores

Last Wednesday I got a call for a same-day interview, leaving me with exactly 3 hours to come up with business attire. I didn't have the suggested suit, so I made due with dress pants and a button-down shirt. At the same time, Matt discovered that his suit pants walked away and would not be able to attend his USC interview.

After some poking around on the internet, Matt decided the solution would be found at Brooks Brothers. Apparently MBA students are expected to dress nicely for many occasions, and personal appearance is important. And off we went.

It was pretty much guaranteed that Matt would not be leaving without a suit, especially after he discovered the best fitting jacket of his life. I intended to poke around, but my current lack of employment means that it isn't exactly prudent to spend gobs of money to remedy the situation. Of course, I had no idea how willing the clerks would be to give away the clothes.

By the end of it, if we each bought a suit, it was 15% off everything, free alterations, free leather date book, plus some other discounts. Matt's suit was originally going to be about $1000 (he hasn't even started classes yet, and grad school is already obscenely expensive). Mine would have been another $800. And that's before alterations. Matt needed minimal changes, but I intended to keep the tailor busy for quite some time. With tax, we left for less than $1500. Obscene, no?

Next stop, see if we can steal a tv for the bedroom.

20 February 2009

Finally, A Site That Makes Monster Looks Like Cold Lemonade on a Hot Summer Day

The sun is out, the sky is blue, it's beautiful, so I win.

Since getting my resume in front of as many employers as possible is my ultimate goal, posting it on every job site is a must. Aside from being incredibly repetitive, this task is easily accomplished on most sites. CareerBuilder.com is NOT one of those sites. The idiots in charge seem to have forgotten that without job seekers, their site will shrivel and die a horrible death. Instead of the typical ads atop or beside the page, CareerBuilder likes to use mind tricks. On pages with forms, such as entering personal information or job experience, forms for online schools, namely University of Phoenix, are slipped in. Many of the fields are prefilled from existing data that you provide and the main submit buttons include sending the info to these schools. These have to be actively avoided, unless you want to begin training for your new career in health services, making up to $32000 your first year!

Seeing an entire page devoted to this drivel upon account creation was bad enough, but constantly bombarding users with this crap every time they apply for a job or update their resume is just not cool. Autofilling these forms and leaving the employer requested fields blank when applying for a job is borderline malicious. And the last straw. I no longer have any compucture to use their hostile website, and I have to recommend avoiding the mental abuse they inflict, if you can.

Help Me Win the Lottery?

To continue the family tradition, it has been deemed necessary to go to the opening game at Citi Field. Sadly, that isn't enough to convince certain team owners to just fork over tickets, so I need to do this the old fashion way by entering the lottery. The winners get to buy tickets for the game. One entry per person, no credit card required. Sooo.... anyone who would like to enter, even if they don't plan on attending, should go here: http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/nym/ticketing/tixop_season09_form.jsp

Merci beaucoup.

18 February 2009

That's not going anywhere near my mouth...

On Valentines Day, Matt took me to Sushi Roku. Among other seafood delights, he ordered sweet shrimp sushi. What he didn't order were the deep fried shrimp heads. Each with an armada of tentacles. And eyes that were staring at me. But that was nothing compared to the tentacles falling out of Matt's mouth when he took a huge, crunchy bite.

Last night Zero decided to reboard the eating-things-that-just-shouldn't-be train. He was very interested in my dinner, so I gave him one of the olives that I picked off of my pizza. In the process of making funny faces, he dropped the olive on the carpet multiple times, but he eventually got it down. Okay, that wasn't supposed to happen.

"Tawny, would you like an olive?"
"Excuse me? You want me to eat that nasty thing? How about you pet instead?"

At least one dog is sane-ish.

Later that evening, the plot thickened. What used to be a pile of discarded olives had miraculously become three lonesome discarded olives. I considered this odd since olives aren't known to spontaneously combust. Oh look, a small doggie trying to blend in with the floor. The investigation is still pending.

11 February 2009

Monster is Run By People Who Watch The IT Crowd

Being unemployed, I have plenty of time to do silly things. Such as continuously update my profile and resume on every job site in the galaxy (I'm only willing to relocate up to a point). Today I decided to add interests/hobbies and education on monster.com. Not sure how I missed education. Anyway, monster likes to give helpful suggestions as you type. Here are the most perplexing:

golf - baseball
mets - cat acrobatics/firing range
video games - biology
economics - acupuncture/astrology

05 February 2009

I went to New Jersey and all I got was this stupid layover.

What's worse than having your direct flight canceled and replaced with a layover in Dallas Fort Worth? Having the flight out of DFW canceled! Zero and I spent some quality time touring three different terminals and two Admirals Clubs during five hours of boredom.

As far as airports go, DFW is nothing special, and no one can truly enjoy spending more time there than they have to. However, the Skylink between terminals is inside the sterile side, so you don't have to traverse the TSA dungeons to switch terminals. The other redeeming quality is an Admirals Club in every terminal and a chicken in every pot. We had lunch in the D terminal club since I had this silly idea that my flight would actually depart from D17. After much disappointment and swearing in both English and Muttese, we reboarded the Skylink for the C terminal club, as I was handed a new ticket proclaiming there to be a flight to EWR from terminal C.

Remember when I claimed that the Skylink is a redeeming value? Well, it was for 2/3 of our trips. It's one of those conductorless monorail type deals where everything is automatic. This is done purely to lure unsuspecting riders into a false sense of security. One might assume that with computers running everything, there would be no backups outside stations, no trains colliding, and all that other fun and schedulable stuff. Which is exactly why everyone in the car went flying when the train came to a very sudden stop. I was one of the lucky few who actually met the ground, face to face. I even have the bruises to prove it on my arm and knee.

In summation, DFW and its Skylink of Terror are stupid.

27 January 2009

Zero Thinks He's a Cat

Here I am, sitting at the computer, when Zero walks over, his tail wagging. SHBLURT! Puke noises! And then he walked away, tail still wagging.

See? Cat.

20 January 2009

C'est la vie.

For the three people on earth who couldn't tell, I love my job. Except for the part where, as of 30 January, it will be loved. Due to a lack of funding, I am among those the company had to let go on 9 January. Everyone else facing the firing squad ceased working the same day, making me the "fortunate" one who gets to stay through the end of the month, which is especially lucky when considering how rare it is to have employees continue working instead of locking them out of every computer system.

The upside of this is that the office might finally be cleaned. Might.

If anyone wants or knows someone who wants a Java software engineer, please let me know.

14 January 2009

CES 2009

Best Product That I Can't Wait To Get My Hands On: OLED displays

Biggest Television: 108" Sharp Aquos

Coolest Swag: Flexicord USB Cable

Best Swag That I Didn't Get My Hands On: ThermaPak - they were only given away for one hour on Friday, and Adam got two

Most Useful Swag: MicroSD to USB converter from NBCUniversal

Most Appropriate License Plate: "EXPRESO"

Most Surreal Moment: Adam winning the AMD Dragon text message scavenger hunt - PDF ALERT!

Weirdest Moment: walking past a guy peeing with the door open in the ladies' room, who then asked us womenfolk why we were in the wrong bathroom

Most Victorious Moment: winning a poker tournament at Wynn, buy-in = $140 on 01/10/2009 - we chopped at four players left, at which point two of us were tied for first

Stupidest Sign: "Wynn WD*" - indicates that Wynn is walking distance from the Las Vegas Convention Center

Most Impressive Booth: Samsung

Random Picture That Had To Be Included: Toasters!

08 January 2009

Woohoo I'm Important!

As some of you may have noticed, I travel a lot. And a large percentage of it involves trips originating at LAX and landing at JFK. Each of those trips results in 2490 elite-qualifying frequent flier miles. Do that five times in one year, and throw a few other random trips (Japan didn't count since those were award tickets), and you've hit 25,000 miles. That's the magic number for American Airlines to deem you a human worthy of talking to other real humans and skipping ridiculous lines. It's also called AAdvantage Gold Elite, if you want to feel really special. The benefits of Gold include exit row seats, earning extra miles, and using the Priority AAccess (yes, I too want to vomit all over everything with an extra A in it) lines. Nothing to spectacular. Until last weekend.

We booked tickets on the 430 flight from LAX to JFK. Having only flow this route 70 million times, we were both home by 2. At least we thought we were. A person (see? real humans!) called to let us know that our flight had been delayed until 730, but we could take the 1105 flight that had been delayed until 415. If there is one thing that sucks more than being locked in an airplane bathroom for 6 hours, it would have to be rushing to the airport. Wait, that's reversed. Regardless, Matt turned down their offer, while I struggled to avoid squeezing his neck until his eyes popped out. I was NOT making my dad pick us up at the airport at 330 in the morning. 1230 was bad enough, but 330? That's cruel. I'd rather pay a driver to retrieve us.

With some shoving and much ado, we were out the door a half hour later. At the airport, we strode past the peons to the special people ticket counters, hoping that an agent would make our dreams come true by putting us on the earlier flight. Sadly, she wasn't able to make those kind of changes, so it was time to be violated by the TSA. Whoever thought giving them fake badges and dark blue shirts would gain the agents more respect obviously forgot that the people wearing them were still going to be mean and bossy. Blech.

Once fully dressed, we high tailed it to gate 49A, which was conveniently located on the other end of the terminal. Shockingly, there was a long line of people waiting to talk to the gate agent. Passengers from our flight and from a diverted San Francisco flight we're vying for the few open seats. We didn't have to wait long as the ogre/gate agent declared that he was not putting any more people on standby. While there were already 28 people on the list, just kicking everyone away was not appreciated. To avoid the impending riot, we walked at a leisurely pace to the Admiral's Club (hmm - they seem to have forgotten an A there).

Once inside, we spoke to one of the nice and helpful miracle workers in a vain attempt to get to JFK before sunrise. We told her what happened, and she said if the gate agent really said that, then she wasn't supposed to put more people on the list. So she didn't. She also didn't print out standby tickets for us and suggest running. Take that subspace.

Back at the gate, the standby list had grown to 31. But we were 4 and 5. Why? Gold! We automatically were put in front of the peons. Not only did we get on the plane, we got seats next to each other! Victory!

*weekend and birthday party noises*

On Sunday morning, AA called my cell phone. I picked it up and asked what horrible thing had happened. Our flight out of EWR was overbooked, but if we were willing to take the 500 or 730 flight out of JFK, we'd be bumped up to first class. Hmm, let me think ab.... YES! HELL YES! Humans say such wonderful things compared to the drivel spewed by automated systems.

At the airport, we calmly walked past the never ending line of infrequent travelers and into the Priority AAccess area. Sure enough, there were two first class tickets waiting to be printed for us. At the gate, there were 16,000 people waiting to glare at us. First class boards first, and quite a few people were more than unwilling to let me through. I actually had to push past the final human barrier after she ignored three requests to let me pass.

While not the newest seats in the world, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. There was a five course meal, warm cookies and milk before landing, and a first class only bathroom that was significantly less sticky than the one in the back of the plane. It even nice paper towels and some napkins folded into decorations. As an added bonus, we were loaned portable dvrs loaded with games, movies, and tv shows. Now it's going to extra super suck next time we fly and are stuck in steerage.

The moral of this story? If you fly way too much, AA will treat you like a human being instead of an object en route. And when it finally happens, all the crappy flights spent in the middle seat suddenly a means to an end instead of just pure hell.

06 January 2009

The War Has Been Won

Comrade Polyp was merely an insensitive clod angry at having been forced from office.

02 January 2009

New Year, New Power Tool!

There is no better way to spend 9 days of planless vacation than to turn the cat6 residing in our walls into a useful network.

Step 1: Put RJ45 adapters on the ends sticking out of walls around the house.
Step 2: Attach all the other ends to the patch panel in the garage.
Step 3: Crimp a billion short cables to go from the patch panel to the switch.
Step 4: Mount a shelf on the garage wall for the patch panel and switch.
Step 5: Plug in everything.

Simple enough, until you realize that your bracket for the patch panel doesn't actually fit, so you suddenly can't just put that and the switch on a shelf. And you don't want to buy a rack. So what's a girl to do? Make one! That's when things got fun.

I was just planning on buying a hand saw and miter box since I was NOT planning anything resembling fancy. Matt looked at me, looked at the miter box, and declared "huh?" This was closely followed by, "I thought you were going to get a skil saw or something." In case you misread that, yes, Matt did suggest that I get a jig saw instead of a boring old hand saw. Even more shocking was my response indicating that this was supposed to be cheaper than buying a rack. Silly me, I thought that they were at least a hundred dollars. Luckily, Matt was aware that this is not the case and that I'd probably die if I had to all the sawing by hand.

By now, you must be dying to know what new toy I went home with. A Ryobi 4.8A Jigsaw with a laser guide. Yay!

Oh yeah, I finished the shelf. It's just waited to be painted violet eclipse, to match the railing and garage door. Since it's not a shelf until it's purple.