Thursday, August 17, 2006

Beware the Cell Phone Camera

When it was time to upgrade my last cell phone, the nice people at Verizon told me that I had a free upgrade to a camera phone. I did not want the camera phone. I did not want an Internet phone. I would like a phone that makes phone calls. Sadly, these do not exist anymore. Or if they do, the lovely people at Verizon give you the stink eye for even requesting such a thing so you feel lame and just get the camera phone.

I LOVE the camera phone. It's my new best friend.

Behold Boston. The picture doesn't do it much justice, but it was a beautiful, blue summer day last Saturday and I snapped some pictures while waiting for my Advil buzz to kick in pre-leg waxing. Yeah, whatever, TMI.

And photographic evidence of the Starbucks addiction. Yes, there are a gazillion independent coffee shops out there that probably make much better coffee than Starbucks, and hell yeah do I feel guilty about the Starbucks. But I still drink the Starbucks. I drink the Starbucks a lot. I think the Starbucks hate stems from my jealousy over not inventing my own thing that I can overprice and mass market.

Monday, August 14, 2006

When I Spew, I Spew A Lot

It’s been a while since I’ve had a proper update, the last being pounded out relatively quickly on N&K’s computer on the weekend. A couple of things that have been occupying the brain:

• I officially hate the potential-but-probably-not buyers of my house. I mentioned the dog thing last week – this is all about an EFFING DOG.

The buyers made their original offer in late July, and my lawyer sent the contract over to their lawyer for attorney review on July 24 (read: 2.5 weeks ago). First they asked us to wait a week for attorney review because the lawyer was on vacation (yep, there are no other available lawyers in NJ, none at all.) Then, their lawyer comes back with 29 points of contention on a standard real estate contract. Most of them were just bullshit, but my favorite was something along the lines of “seller will refund deposit if buyer cannot secure mortgage.” Um, yeah, whatever. The final point was about wanting written confirmation that they could have two dogs on the property. My lawyer sent them a letter back telling them about this little thing called “due diligence.” Yeah, you should RESEARCH the house you’re buying BEFORE you put an offer in on a house. The potential buyers did their due diligence and found this statement in my condo associations bylaws “confusing” – “No more than two cats, or one cat and one dog shall be maintained in any unit at one time.” Um, that’s not confusing. You can’t have two dogs. It’s fairly clear. Unless you’re a moron.

The one dog is apparently 14 years old and not expected to live long, so the buyer put an appeal into my condo association and I supported that appeal with a written letter. Done, are we moving on yet? Appeals to the Board take a while, and I figured that there was no way the potential buyers would expect us to actually WAIT for the Board and not continue to market the house. Well, they did, and apparently threw a shit fit when they found out that we’re continuing to market it. WTF? Seriously? And now they probably won’t buy. Sigh. There’s a part of me that’s all “good riddance” but then there’s the other “I don’t want to lose money” part of me that just wants to cry. Look, I understand love of pets. I love my cats and I would never give them up. That’s why – when I look for apartments – I always make sure that pets (plural) are allowed. Because I’m like, responsible and shit. I hate these people.

Update: my mom just called and said she now has another very interested buyer. Woo hoo. Fingers crossed.

• The current terrorist plot and the relating airport scare. Reactive much? I know I should be much less cynical about this and I really do applaud the people that caught the people planning the attack. Still, the reaction just seems very….well, reactive. It’s been five years since 9/11, we are in a war – it just seems like we could get a little better at understanding that this shit is just not going to let up – the more restrictions we impose, the more people are going to get creative. Expect the worst, plan (as much as that word actually applies) for it, and hope it never happens. There’s a pretty good article over on Slate that pretty much sums up what I think.

And yes, I’m selfish. My dissatisfaction mostly stems from not wanting to wait on long lines or give up my chapstick and water to fly or to have to check bags when I really don’t need to. So I’m an asshole? Sue me.

Related: I really am completely baffled by all the people writing letters to the editors of The New York Times, The Boston Globe and others, saying that the latest arrests “prove” that Bush’s “War on Terror” is working and that those of us who doubt that are morons. This is a victory of sorts – I’ll give you that, and any effort to prevent civilian deaths should be applauded. But still, I don’t think it’s too much of a mental leap to figure that some folks might be pissed that we’re invading countries for no apparent reason and making lots of messes around the world, and some of those folks might become so pissed off, in fact, that they might try to retaliate. It didn’t require a lot of brain power on my part to string that together. Why’s it so hard for other people to think about?

Interesting article about Cuba given everything going on with Fidel right now. (Thanks Margo!)
I’m not sure if I agree with this statement, “One of the most unfounded, pernicious, dangerous aspects of the US propaganda campaign is the assertion that the Cuban Revolution has been the work of one man ("the tyrant") and the people on the island are desperate to return to US corporate rule.” I do believe Fidel is a dictator and not necessarily the leader of a glorious revolution. However, I really like the points the article brings up about how the Cuban people should really decide how their government should function in the years to come and, duh, that they’re perfectly able to do this by themselves without the help of our guns and heavy artillery.

Operation Painkiller.
It sounds like a really bad metal band, doesn’t it? It is a very strange feeling to see one’s lily-white hometown blasted all over the news,
and it’s a very, very strange feeling to see the people that live down the street from your parents busted for hardcore drugs. I’m not really surprised to see something like this happen in the Whip, but I don’t get the type of drugs. I fell asleep in a restaurant when I had a glass of wine and accidently mixed it with the Bendadryl I took for an allergy attack. I can only imagine what Oxy would do to me – and whatever it would do to me just isn’t that appealing. Do I really need to spend money to fall asleep? Man, I am OLD.
This shit, though, doesn’t surprise me at all. The gossip, the name-calling….ick.

• The new season of Flavor of Love. Oh good lord is that good stuff. A woman crapped on the floor in the first episode. Flav reacted with, “Man, we don’t got no dogs in here. What is that stank?” This show is GOLD. Gold, I tell ya.

• Expanding my circle of people I talk to outside of work and time with YG and the MG. I want to make sure that I don’t isolate myself and that I do go out and make friends. I’ve been taking lots of walks and bike rides around the neighborhood, and have been making small talk with the people that I meet. This is like pulling teeth for me because it doesn’t come naturally AT ALL, but I’ve had some interesting conversations.

I’m also thinking of taking a class in the late fall on public speaking. There was another class that looked interesting titled “Cooking for One,” but it meets on Halloween, and jesus, what kinds of people are going to show up for that thing? Either I will meet some nice people like me who live by themselves but are still smart and witty and don’t wear cat sweatshirts, or I’ll meet some guy who is sad and lonely and I’ll start talking to him and then he’ll cut my head off and carry it around Cambridge in a duffel bag. I think I’ll stick to academics.

I’m also having some “welcome to the ‘hood” dinners with the people that I like from work, and SKB actually baked me a cake. A cake! From scratch! Very impressive. She and her man came over recently and we ate said cake and some goodies from Whole Foods that I “had to” [read:wanted to] splurge on because I was having “company.” I didn’t want to eat the rest of the cake, but I figured it would be rude to ask SKB to take it with her after she went through the trouble of making it in the first place. And I honestly didn’t want to eat the remaining half for breakfast the next morning, but sadly, that was a battle I did not win.

• On the topic of cake, I am back on WW again. Well, I was never not on it and I was never not going to meetings, but I haven’t really been committed to it. I’ve been exercising like mad, but wasn’t doing so well with the food part – so my weight has been at this plateau for over a year. YG started points-counting again, and the first week we did it together, I lost 2 pounds. I had gotten to within 3 lbs of my goal weight in the past, but then the shit hit the fan and my life got real complicated, and I gained most of it back. Counting from last week’s weigh in, I have 16 pounds to goal.

• On YG and the MG – Starting this week, I’m going to be spending Tuesday nights with them helping out with household stuff like making lunches and working on her reading with her, so that he doesn’t feel so overwhelmed. Last week, we had an incident that made both YG and I realize that he needs the help. The MG lost her glasses and it was crazy pandemonium trying to search for them and get everyone out of the house with lunches made in time to catch the bus to camp and for us to get to work in time. He was angry, she was crying, and I was trying desperately to comfort her and still find the glasses at the same time. And ….talk about lessons carried over from childhood…..keep her and me out of his way so he wouldn’t get any more irritated.

She kept repeating that she left the glasses on her nightstand, and I just KNEW she wasn’t lying. You can just tell, and it certainly made me wonder if my parents’ knew all the times I was trying to bullshit them. She kept crying about disappointing her daddy and how he would have to take time off to get her new glasses. By accident, I said that maybe her mom could pick up her new glasses and she very (and sadly) tellingly said, “My mom doesn’t know how to do stuff like that.” :-( I kind of made a deal with myself to not complain about the Evil Cameltoe anymore on this blog -- it's not cool for YG, and it would be extremly uncool if the MG ever found out about it. As many issues as I have with the EC, I want her daughter to respect her and see her as a person that’s smart and capable. And as a person that can pick up some things when YG can’t handle them. Because that’s a work in progress – getting better as time goes by – but not quite there yet, I’m going to be helping out a bit on the Tuesday nights. I get to spend more time with both of them, YG gets the help he needs, and the help should give him more free time to spend quality time with the MG, good for her.

BTW, the glasses were found but much later. She went to camp without them, but YG’s sister found them later that night wedged between her bed, mattress and wall. I had dismantled every piece of furniture in that bedroom, except the bed. Sigh.

• Music. I want to start seeing more shows, but I find that I’m hearing about them long after they’re sold out. Cat Power is playing at the MFA on my birthday, but that’s sold out. Sonic Youth is playing Labor Day weekend, but I’ll be in Long Island. Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah is playing at the end of Sept. so I’m going to try and recruit a friend to see that with me since YG *hates* them. I know you read this – it’s because you’re old. Hee. And Yo La Tengo will also be around end of Sept. Guster just played here, but the tickets were $38. I like Guster, but $38 is sadly, a lot of cash for me right now, so I guess I don’t like Guster $38 much.

• Writing. I’ve been journaling a lot more lately, and even considered signing up for a creative writing class this fall, but I’m still afraid that someone is going to tell me that I really do suck at this. My fear of actually “trying” at writing is crippling. This will be no news flash to anyone that knows me, but I am AFRAID of writing.

So, a few things….I’m going to keep journaling, and I’m going to try and be a bit more regular about updating this thing. I haven’t applied any sort of critical writing skill to this blog – I don’t outline, spellcheck, edit – it’s more like stream of consciousness verbal diarrhea and it’s safe because I don’t think anyone actually reads it. And if you do, I just told you that I don’t think about it, so hah, you can’t judge me. Nice. But I want to keep it up anyway…just because.

And to try and make it more interesting, I think I’m going to try and do at least one entry a week about something cool and new I’ve discovered in Boston/Cambridge. I’m doing a lot of exploring, so I’m committing to writing about it. It would be great if I had a digital camera and could post pics as well, but that will come in December.