March 25, 2009

Pondering a Format Change

Having too much time on my hands forces me to want to shake things up a bit. I'm putting some thought into a revision of the format of this blog. Not just the design, but also a major overhaul to the content. I think I'm going to refrain from the more personal journal-style blogging and instead switch to featuring my interests. Highlighting photos and photographers (and other art, such as illustration, etc.), interior design, products/product design (gadgets, toys), web design/usability, and entertainment products (video & computer games, podcasts, books, etc.) that I find particularly appealing. This would be an avenue for me to "scrapbook" inspiring design ideas, explore my interests more deeply, and improve my writing/reviewing skills. Stay tuned to see if I can follow-through on something!!


posted at 03:28 AM

February 25, 2009

Barnes and Not-So-Noble

Yesterday I received my much-anticipated copy of Adobe Lightroom 2, a professional-level post-processing software application for use on digital photos. I installed it yesterday and was overwhelmed by the interface. I had seen it in action, sure, but there was just so much to do that I didn't know where to start. After re-touching a few photos to remove blemishes and marks from faces (like magic!), I decided I needed to get a little more direction if I was going to do this right.

So today I did a little research and found a well-reviewed book called The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers (Voices That Matter) by Scott Kelby. I figured that I had a few errands to run today, so I'd swing by the nearby Barnes and Noble to pickup a copy. I looked online and found the price (around $35) and then called to verify that they had it in stock.

Silly me for not asking for a price check.

I drove to the nearby town of Woodinville to grab my copy, went to the cashier, and was all ready to pay when the lady said "That will be $49..."-something-something. I don't remember the exact amount. Now, I'm not that great at math, but I know enough to figure out that $35 + tax ≠ $49. I leaned over to double-check that it was the correct book, and indeed it was. I asked her to confirm the price and she told me it was $44. Hmmm. She asked if I saw the book online, and I responded in the positive. She then informed me that their online prices were different than in-store. Hmmmmmmm.

So, if I went online, ordered the book on there (even selecting the "Pickup at Store" option), the price would be almost $10 less? How does that make sense at all? It's deceptive, and bad business-practice, and I believe it's similar to what got Best Buy in trouble a little while back. The cashier even looked up the price online and saw it was lower. But when I asked if I could get that reduced pricing, she shook her head. No deal.

I had to think about it for a moment. Normally, I'd just shrug it off and buy it. But money is tight, and those extra bucks are really worth something to me now. So I informed her that I was sorry for the inconvenience, but I was going to pass on the purchase. Fueled by anger, I went to my car and pulled up the Amazon app on my iPhone and found the book. It was listed at $29, or SIX DOLLARS LESS than the online B&N price, and a whopping $15 less than their insulting "in-store" price. Added to cart. Ordered. All told (tax & shipping), I got it for less than B&N's online price.


posted at 01:26 PM

February 16, 2009

Funny (to me, at least) Morning Anecdote

Early this morning, after Erik had already gotten out of bed, I felt our dog, Zippy, pushing next to me. I thought it was his effort to get in on some of my pillow space (I probably should have prefaced this by saying, "Yes, we let our dog sleep with us. We are a couple of saps."), but then realized he was trying to burrow under my pillow.

See, the first thing Zippy does "at bedtime" (Gah! That sounds ridiculous!) is burrow under our sheets. It's a smart move, and we allow the behavior because he acts as a sort of electric blanket. So when he was pushing under my pillow, in the whiny tone I only get while I'm half-asleep, I told him, "No, Zippy, don't go under my pillowwww. Zippy, noooo. Urrrrggghhh."

Eloquent, I know. Well, Erik heard the fuss and came from wherever he was at such an ungodly hour in the morning, and I whiningly explained that The Dog was trying to get under my pillow, much like a child would "explain" to his parents that a sibling had taken his toy. Erik laughed, as he often does when trying any conversation with me while I'm in some weird Beta-state, and corrected me: "No, Zippy's not under your pillow, he's IN your pillow!"

Zippy had managed to, in the clumsiness of sleep, mistake the space between the pillow and its pillow case as his entrance to the bed undercovers. His body was half-underneath my pillow, which was wholly-underneath my head. Through his laughter, Erik managed to exclaim, "Zippy, you're doing it wrong!" *Sigh* I wish we had the opportunity to get a picture.


posted at 10:35 AM

February 15, 2009

Favorite Quotes for Today

Of course, I'm quoting myself. I'm on a roll today. Will add as the day progresses...

Me: "Hey, you know these pockets that aren't pockets?" Erik: "Yeah?" Me: "Well they really ARE pockets!"

Me: "I'm all out of whipped cream, so you need to go to the store." Erik: "That's rich."


posted at 09:28 AM | comments (1)

February 11, 2009

Identity Crisis

I'm sure the absence of posts on here isn't affecting anyone. Heck, I'm willing to bet no one's even reading anymore (leave a comment if you are, c'mon, prove me wrong!). I've gone ahead and put a shiny new Helvetica-sparkle on the whole site, as I was getting tired of Georgia. I hope it's pleasing to your eye.

My life right now is the opposite of hectic, but it's still incredibly stressful. I've been out of work since the middle of October. The job market is completely saturated right now, because there's a record number of people who've also been laid off. It's not a happy time for too many. I consider myself lucky because Erik and I have a good chunk of money in savings, and we can get by for awhile without me having an income. I can't imagine what would happen if we didn't have this buffer. Losing our brand new house might be more than I could bear.

So the bad news is that I'm out of work, but the good news is that I've had the time and distance to better evaluate what I'd like to do with my career. I had been focused on the tv/film industry from high school through just over a year ago, and now that I'm living in an area nearly devoid of that, I've had a bit of an identity crisis. Even before we moved up here, I was contemplating a career change. But I had so much I was interested in... what to choose?

I considered everything from nursing to database administration. I evaluated opportunities based on pay, required schooling, potential schedules, and work environment. Nothing was really holding my interest. Until I sat down and took inventory on my interests. While I'm not exactly studied in any of these, I'm interested in the fields of graphic design, web design, web usage, marketing, computers and technology in general. I've also consistently thought about going back to school and studying psychology, but didn't really have in mind becoming a therapist. The blind should not be leading the blind, there.

A few years back I stumbled across an old classmate's website, and saw that he was working in the field of Usability. It piqued my interest at the time, and I always thought that it was something I'd be good at. But I wasn't really looking at a career change at the time, so I just set it aside. And finally, just a short time ago, it came back and tapped me on the shoulder.

I've decided that I want to go back to school to major in Psychology (Cognitive) with an emphasis on Human-Computer Interaction, or Interaction Design, or Usability... whatever the cool kids are calling it these days. Sure, I have tons of credits from when I went to school around 15 years ago, but I'm sure most of them have expired, so I'll basically be starting from scratch. Also, I don't believe I'll be able to attend school full-time (at least not starting out), so it will be a slow re-entry; perhaps taking a class or two each semester/quarter/etc.

I'm still trying to mentally-prepare myself for the reality that this will take a REALLY. LONG. TIME. I don't have the luxury of being fresh out of high school with all kinds of time and no financial responsibilities. I'm a "real" adult now, and I need to find a job (full-time, most-likely), as I have a mortgage to contribute to. Certainly not helping matters is the fact that I can't wrap my brain around the story of that woman who recently birthed octuplets - she's going to school full-time, living off of student loans, and is a single mother. Gah! Part of me thinks, "If she can do it, why can't I?" Oh yeah, I'm not a selfish, irresponsible person who is taking advantage of the system, that's right!

So yeah, it's an exciting time if for no other reason than I finally feel like I have a direction. It's a long road, but at least I know where to find it on the map.


posted at 06:41 PM | comments (4)

November 20, 2008

How I've Been Spending My Time

1) Tending to my job search: scouring online for openings, tailoring my résumé for individual positions, sending in résumés and filling out web-based applications, participating in phone interviews, having in-person interviews (x2), getting really excited and then really let down when I don't hear back at all on positions I'm super-excited about.

2) Playing videogames: Fallout 3, Fable II, Lego Batman, Wii Sports. And special mention needs to be made of the New Xbox Experience (NXE). The #1 attribute of this for me (besides the avatar creation which is a fun thing) is the new Netflix streaming: instant access to a lot of tv shows/movies on Netflix - some in HD - that we can now watch on our tv instead of in the office on our computers. First thing yesterday morning I set it up and did a trial run on an episode of 30 Rock, and as it was determining our bandwidth available, it quickly said "Presented in HD", and WOW! Was it ever! It wasn't jerky, there were ZERO hiccups in the stream. And the interface is super-easy to use and it takes all of 5-10 seconds while buffering before program starts to play. It's like magic. The future is here, people!

3) Losing weight: I've been eating really poorly. Since we moved up here, really. Call it a nesting instinct or whatever, but I've seen a sizeable weight gain recently, and decided to nip it in the bud and really do something about my... my... heft. So two weeks ago I joined Weight Watchers. And I've lost just over 5 pounds so far.

4) Spending time with the dog: Our Boston Terrier, Zippy, is SO SPOILED now that I'm here most of the time. He hates it when I leave the house, and because I've been doing that less often, I fear what he'll go through when I go back to work. But I don't wanna think about that too much right now. He's well-rested and is having so much fun playing during the day.

5) Staying warm: Not too warm, you see, but this is our first winter with a gas furnace, and our last electric/gas bill this month totaled just shy of $200. Now, I don't know if that's good or bad, as I have no historical info on that, but it doesn't bode well with our budget-flexibility over the next few many winter months - especially factoring in my unemployment. While we have double-paned windows through most of the house, our windows are BIG, and our house gets a little drafty. We don't really have the cash reserves to hire an efficiency expert to assess and fix what needs to be done right now (like, while we have double-pane windows, we know that at least two of them have seals that are shot, and they're kinda old), so we'll have to endure any heat-loss and higher usage for the time being. I've been trying to help, but Erik says I absolutely cannot have the heater set at 63º all day.


posted at 12:29 PM | comments (1)

October 06, 2008

Home Sick

I'm at home today. After watching Erik battle a nasty bug over most of the weekend, last night I succumb with symptoms of headache, dizziness, and a wee bit of nausea. I woke this morning extremely dehydrated, and still very "spacey", so work would have to wait (not that I'm doing much work at this point anyways - with my last day being at the end of next week, most of my regular duties have been handed off already).

I slowly got out of bed a bit after 9am, as there was one report I needed to create for the boss's boss, and I had a physical therapy appointment that was too late to cancel. I figured, heck, it's just down the street, and I almost always feel invigorated afterwards, so why not?

The morning was pretty chill, and I decided to prepare myself a breakfast burrito - you know, to get some protein into my system. That was nearly an Epic Fail when, as I poured the egg onto the griddle, it spilled out over the front of the stove and onto the floor below. Not fun to cleanup, but I did manage to salvage enough egg to make a small burrito.

After a helpful physical therapy session, I came back home and set myself to the next important task of the day: relaxing. I'm continuing that now. After watching some mindless gossipy drivel on the tv I decided to grab the new Neal Stephenson novel Anathem and see how far I could get into it without stopping to lookup the meaning of a word. It got me at Page One, I kid you not ("amanuensis"? "extramuros"? really?!?).

But all is well, because I'm utterly relaxed: curled up with a blanket and a Boston Terrier on an overstuffed chair, getting into a book, loudly sipping at the remnants of a Slurpee, and listening to the heavy, steady rain come down on the roof and backyard deck. And I'll tell you what, I'm not feeling so sick anymore!


posted at 03:45 PM

September 23, 2008

Long Time No See!

For the one or two readers who still might have me on their feed reader lists - how the heck ARE ya?!??

I haven't been terribly compelled to blog over the past couple of months - really not in the past year, it seems. I can't really come up with an adequate or accurate excuse, especially due to all of the exciting things that have happened since this time last year (moving up here, getting a new job, adopting a dog, buying a house, etc.), but saying that it's "because I'm still adjusting to the move from L.A. to Seattle" sounds good.

And I haven't been completely off the radar - I have been micro-blogging, thanks to the lazy-blogger's best friend, Twitter. It's somehow easier to post in quick bursts - especially when I can do it from my ubiquitous iPhone. I was actually pretty averse to Twitter for awhile, but after giving it a shot, I quickly became addicted - even moreso when friends signed up. Now, it's almost a virtual chat-room; SMS without the extra cost.

So what's going on with me? Well, I'll be leaving my job in a few weeks. The company's going through some serious down-sizing to survive in the slow economy. They've been really good to the ones they're letting go of, though.

Everyone had at least a month foreknowledge - most of us longer - we were told at the end of June, so I've known for months now. They've sprung for job-hunt workshops for us, and are providing a pretty decent severance package. I personally can't complain about it. I've been through my share of lay-offs, and this one was the best-handled (in my opinion).

Plus, this gives me the opportunity to go back out into the market and see what else is out there for me. I sort of rushed into employment upon my move up here - I didn't know much about the environment coming up, and was more worried about paying the bills after an expensive move (even with Erik's healthy relocation package, we still managed to spend an atrocious amount of money on getting setup with furnishings and what-have-you). This workplace seemed like an interesting change of pace, and of scale, and of culture - and I'm certainly glad I spent some time here.

So on the job-hunt I go! I've been randomly browsing the internets for job postings over the last few months, but haven't really wanted to exact my search until the last week or two (I don't get my severance unless I stay until mid-October).

It was looking pretty dismal for awhile - the listings didn't inspire - but wouldn't you know? In the past week I've found not one, but three positions that seem perfect for me, in roles that hearken back to my true skills, qualifications, and interests, thank goodness! And to top it off, I have even found a connection to one of those roles from one of my internal clients back at Universal. It's all seeming rather serendipitous at the moment.

It's exciting times like these - when I'm pushed out of my comfort zone in pursuit of goals that ignite my enthusiasm - that I'm really inspired to come on here and shout out to the faceless blogosphere... Keep your fingers crossed for me!


posted at 04:42 PM | comments (1)

June 30, 2008

The Haps

Two weeks ago, my dog Zippy graduated from training camp.
On Saturday, I turned 33.
Today, I became a homeowner.
Four months from now, I will be looking for another job.

Life is full of new adventures!


posted at 03:50 PM

April 01, 2008

Random Credit Scoring Rant

I'll admit it, in my early 20's I was a little financially irresponsible. Mistake #1: Not understanding how to use my credit. Mistake #2: Working at a job that didn't offer health insurance. Those two mistakes, combined together, made 1997 the worst financial year of my life.

It took me a loooooong time to get my credit score to the sparkly, glistening number it is today. It took a lot of self-education, and a lot of self-discipline. The downside is now I'm a little obsessive about my credit scores, specifically maintaining the shiny, happy FICO score I have. I don't think that's necessarily a BAD thing, others think I place too much importance on it. They can eat it! :P

Anyhow, Erik and I are starting to officially consider home-ownership. "Starting", in this regard, equals many years on my part watching the housing markets, and trying to get myself as prepared as possible, and now the market seems to be turning for the better, so we're making contacts. The few people I know who have purchased homes recently (in the last 5-10 years) have remarked as it being the most confusing and stressful purchases they've made. I don't like making confusing purchases. I like to feel empowered.

So anyways, we're starting to interview real estate agents and lenders/mortgage brokers. Here's my issue, and maybe it's a non-issue, but it refers back to my sparkly credit rating. Some of you may know this already, but there's all sorts of things that can affect your credit score negatively. Sure, missing payments is one thing that will mess you up. Having maxed-out credit cards is another. Taking out a new loan will also ding you. And guess what? Paying OFF a loan (like a car loan) will decrease your score as well. Weird, ain't it?

The one thing that negatively affects your credit that I currently have the biggest problem with, in principle, is INQUIRIES. An inquiry is when a lender or service-provider checks your credit report to determine if you're worthy of their services. All those credit card pre-approvals you get in the mail? They don't count. Checking your own credit report? Not a problem for you, thankfully.

But guess what? When you put in an application to rent an apartment, THAT'S a ding (thanks, Montebello apartments!). And say you plug in your social online at one of those "Have Lenders Give You Competitive Auto Loan Quotes!". That could mean MULTIPLE dings. Sure, I don't suffer gladly those fools who apply for every department store credit card offered them, but on large purchases, like a car, or a house, the credit reporting agencies (or the Fair Isaacs Corporation's score algorithm) actually make it so a responsible person looking to find the best rate available to them will have their score REDUCED by anywhere from 5 to 50 points, in some situations.

So here's the rub. To start looking at homes, every real estate agent will recommend you get pre-approved for a loan. It helps you understand your buying power better and gives you an additional leg to stand on in a multiple-offer situation. Sure, that's reasonable. But you don't want to take the first loan you're offered. So you shop around, right? The credit reporting agencies actually allow for this (or so they SAY). They say that multiple inquiries within a 14 day period of time will only count as one. Okay, fine.

So say we shop around for two weeks and decide that a certain lender has the best rate, and we get a pre-approval letter, and start looking. Only we don't find anything for a few months. This is totally possible. But the pre-approval letter doesn't mean you're locked into a rate, or even really guaranteed a loan. These are weird times right now, and mortgage rules are really wonky. What it comes down to is that the lender MAY in-fact need to run your credit again. And then there's another ding. And say the rate is crazy, and you decide you need to shop around again.

You see where I'm going with this, right? Say my score is all shiny right now, but after a first round of shopping it drops 5-10 points. Then the next time it's checked, the score is lower because of those inquiries from before, so there might be a chance I have to take a higher rate for my lower credit score... See, my score is sufficiently high that I don't THINK this will REALLY be a problem, but what if I was on the cusp? What if I was at 722 (720 being the typical cutoff for A-grade loan offers) and the first inquiries reduced my score to 717? That could increase a loan APR by some percentage (even .25%), but that could mean THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of additional monies paid in interest over the life of the loan.

It just bothers me. The more I learned about credit scores, and how they come up with them, and how your TransUnion score might be different from your Experian score, and that your Equifax might be different from both of those, and how paying off the rest of my auto loan, even though it will decrease my debt-to-income ratio, would make my credit score go DOWN... the more I despised the system. And now, in dealing with trying to a) determine our buying power while b) keeping our scores in tip-top shape, it's causing me a bit of trepidation.

Am I over-thinking this? *Sigh* Probably.


posted at 11:49 AM | comments (1)

February 27, 2008

In case you're wondering...

Not that I suspect many are still checking this site, but for the 0.5 of you who might be out there, I thought I should fill you in on this.

Other than that, not much has changed!


posted at 10:59 AM

November 20, 2007

What Is That?!?

Driving in to work this morning, I noticed the very front of someone's yard was covered in a drizzle of white... stuff. At first I thought it was some sort of early Christmas decoration - like spraying a Christmas tree with that mock-snow stuff or something. I shrugged it off as some random bizarreness and kept driving.

About 100 yards further, both sides of the road were covered in that white stuff. And for several blocks driving next to Bridle Trails State Park, there was... snow? frost? along the edges and very center of the road. I looked at the temperature gauge in my MINI, and it showed that it was 39 degrees out. Weird - it's been a lot cooler than that in the morning without any of this white business. I guess I'd better get used to this.

Meanwhile, last night, in the extreme coziness of the living room, I was treated to not one, but two new (to me) sitcoms on CBS that I *gasp* actually enjoyed! The first was "How I Met Your Mother": a bit like "Friends", in that it was a current-day group of 20-something or 30-something, you know, friends (I need to get over it, they're probably 20-something... I just need to face the fact that I'm OLD), but the twist is that it's narrated by Bob Saget... FROM THE FUTURE. Eh, that's not really a good description - here's a better one, from Wikipedia:

Dubbed "A love story in reverse," the show is structured as the main character, Ted, in the year 2030 telling his son and daughter about the events that led to his meeting their mother, which begin in 2005.

Among the cast are Doogie Howser, Alyson Hannigan, and that guy from "Freaks and Geeks". I thought the show was pretty funny, this one highlighting the season with a reworking of Thanksgiving into Slapsgiving - where the Freaks & Geeks dude tortured poor Doogie with threats of slaps. It sounds terrifically unfunny, but believe me, it was a laugh. Or don't believe me. Whatevs.

Immediately afterwards came a show that I was just about to flip from when I saw the two main characters come out dressed as, you know, nerds. "Nerds?" I thought to myself... "I like nerds!" And so I kept it on the station. It was a new show this tv season called "The Big Bang Theory", and I can't speak for Erik, but we were both laughing maniacally at several instances during the show. Sure, the jokes are pretty hollow, but gosh, how I cackled! Luckily enough, it was a re-air of the pilot, so we had a chance to see it from the beginning. This morning I went and saw that 8 episodes had aired so far, and they're all on the CBS website available to watch, so I'll have something to do over the long holiday weekend.

Another thing over the weekend I mustn't forget --the Battlestar Galactica movie "Razor" will be airing on SciFi this Saturday. Thanks to a generous co-worker, I'm all caught up on Season 3 (I didn't catch any of it when it aired, unfortunately), and ready for another small dose.


posted at 09:05 AM

October 31, 2007

Tinges of Excitement

- Reading about Richard Kelly’s upcoming Southland Tales, I wondered if the removed subplot involving Janeane Garofalo as a General will be re-introduced in the director’s cut DVD. I don’t care that it got booed at Cannes, I want to see it.

- I want to watch the third season of SciFi’s Battlestar Galactica before the 2-hour special, Razor, airs in November. The likelihood of this is far from good, as the Season 3 DVD set will probably not show up until spring of next year, there are no planned re-airings of the episodes, according to SciFi’s website, and I have no friends who have the episodes recorded (that I know of). But I’m still excited about getting into the show again.

- We’re having Halloween festivities here at work today starting at 2:30pm which will feature a screening of Shaun of the Dead. Also, tonight offers the first possibility of doling out Halloween candy to minors in costume at my own place of residence (rather, the place I share with Erik). All the time I lived in Glendale I never got trick-or-treaters, as I lived in the back garage of a small apartment complex. I hope we bought enough candy!

- Vancouver is only a 2-hour drive away. Can we go, can we go, can we go?!? Then again, what do people do when they visit Vancouver? Other than the city’s reputation for gorgeousness, I have no idea what travelers do there.

- Large set of textile art pieces ordered for the bedroom should be arriving today.


posted at 12:33 PM

October 29, 2007

Cooking and Decorating Nonsense

This weekend I was feeling exceptionally spry - well, let me revise that - on Sunday I was feeling exceptionally spry... on Saturday I slept in, and in, and in. Until I decided to get out of bed and watch Erik play Half-Life 2 for a few hours, then, um, how shall I put this? I MADE A FRICKIN' PIE!!!

Yeah, that's right, I baked a pumpkin pie. No frozen pie re-heated up. I mixed together pumpkin with sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, eggs and evaporated milk to create the filling - and I didn't buy one of those pre-made pie crusts, either. Though, I did use a box of Betty Crocker Pie Crust Mix, it wasn't from scratch. Anyways, the pumpkin pie was a huge success. It tasted wonderful. And if you don't believe me there's half of it left in the fridge just waiting to be taste-tested, if you're in the area. Not that you are. But c'mon, good pie's a reason to come up and visit me, right?

On Sunday I did what I originally hoped to do on Saturday instead of oversleeping. I had a variety of errands I wanted to get done - I needed to go to IKEA to get some picture frames and a shoe rack, and then I needed to go look for a jacket or two, as it's getting c-c-c-cold up here. I also needed to drop by work to pickup a poster I left there in my mad rush to get out on Friday, and take some prints to Aaron Brothers to get custom mats cut, and maybe pickup some other miscellaneous things for the apartment. It was a massive day spent traveling all around the Seattle area.

But what I'd like to talk about is apartment-decorating. Specifically, artwork. Erik and I had virtually no eye-candy for our many walls, so acquiring some new stuff was necessary to make our place not seem so empty. We started by getting a couple of prints from Flatstock at Bumbershoot back in September. Then we (erm, I) got in a bit of a kick and started ordering prints galore. I got this really cool Camilla Engman set of four prints, and a few prints from the peeps at Noferin. And I found a poster print of the Death Cab show Erik and I saw down in L.A. awhile back.

The first two prints from Flatstock were a breeze to frame - they're 18"x24", which is a standard size for frames. The other prints, so far, have been a little less-easy to come up with framing solutions for. I contacted Ms. Engman for advice on framing her prints, and IKEA's RIBBA frame was the fortunate answer to that. But the Noferin prints and the Death Cab poster print are all non-standard sizes. Which means I need to either a) have custom frames made, or b) buy larger frames and have custom mats cut to order.

Fun, fun, fun! As if framing isn't costly-enough! But I guess it's something that just needs to be factored in when purchasing something you want to display in a non-ghetto fashion. I went to Aaron Brothers to see if one of their framing professionals could offer me up some helpful advise/guidance. What I got was a girl who a) could hardly be bothered, and b) wanted to push her own expensive aesthetic onto me without regard for my stated low-budget requirements.

I walked out of there ordering three custom mats cut for my three Noferin prints ( at a cost which neared $100 *gasp*), and a decision to just cut-down my Death Cab print from 19x25 to 18x24 to fit into a standard poster frame. It has just under a half-inch border on each side, so I don't feel too bad about that. But I have to cut it myself, as Aaron Brothers won't touch that. Again, VERY. HELPFUL! Especially since I don't have an artist's hand, and me taking scissors or an exacto knife to something where a straight edge is required will likely end in disaster.

I'm running into the same problems with my personal photos. They're shot in the Canon DSLR's aspect ratio, but then for printing they need to be cropped to be 4x6 or 5x7. But then when I purchase a 5x7 frame for it, it only actually displays 4.6" x 6.5" of the print, further diminishing the image area. Why does this have to be so difficult?!?


posted at 12:38 PM | comments (1)

October 18, 2007

This and That

Things are going well-enough up here. Just a few tidbits to keep anyone still reading up-to-date:

Erik and I have been maxing out our Netflix viewings. I have a whole list of reviews I'd like to give, but, you know, that's time away from the insanely-awesome new lcd hdtv! It feels like we're being economically-sound by watching all these Netflix rentals instead of going to the movies and having dinner out, but the unfortunate side-effect of that is that we never leave the apartment.

Also, we booked our flight to L.A. for a brief Christmas visit. Plane tickets are expensive! While seeing family is fun and all, I am most eager to visit Kitty and go eat some Freebirds. Does that make me lame? If so, I don't care!

Work is going... alright. The honeymoon definitely feels like it's over, and I'm troubled by how early that's happened. I'm trudging through, though. Don't know if the job's just a wrong fit for me, or if it's just me and ANY job right now is a wrong fit.

Honestly, I've been in the doldrums a bit, lately. Sure, the dark weather might be an influence, or maybe the whole new job, new living arrangement, new state, new LIFE thing is just catching up to me and pounding my spirit into submission. These sorts of things are supposed to be stressful. I find myself really lethargic, prone to headaches and overeating and mild stomach-distress from the overeating and just an overall malaise. I went and had a physical a few weeks ago, and while a white blood cell count registered a tad high on the initial test (leading me to presume, you know, the worst: acute leukemia or something (I blame my nurse-mother)), a follow-up two weeks later proved everything alright. Supposedly I'm healthy. But I don't feel it much. And it's not just me - Erik is feeling a bit down as well, and that makes for a swell pairing; the two of us, confessing our depression to one another. A fun night at the Peterson/Garren house!

Last night my spirit was lifted greatly when Erik surprised me with a dozen gorgeous orange tulips after work. I had been whining about how pretty I thought orange tulips were awhile back, and lo and behold, he goes and makes special arrangements to surprise me with them (I guess they're special order only up here). I think that's pretty awesome. I took a bunch of photos and hopefully I'll post them at some point. They're really very pretty.


posted at 01:03 PM | comments (3)

October 03, 2007

Hole-y Pockets

I cannot imagine setting up a residence from scratch without having a massive amount of stored-up money in the bank. I'm trying to remember back to when I was around 21 years old and just moving out of my parents' house for the first time, pulling in a sweet $8.00 an hour. I bought a futon, and spent maybe $1000 near the beginning to furnish my tiny little studio apartment.... on credit. Awesome.

And now, around ten years on, Erik and I just moved up to Seattle and I'm WAY too embarrassed to relate how much money we've put into it. Sure, the Microsoft move-up package was pretty sweet, but it doesn't account for all the stuff you're gonna need (or want, let's be honest here) when you're doing your first real bit of nesting. Oh, the furniture! Oh, the appliances! Oh, the large huge "replacement" HDTV for the HDTV you just got a few months ago that's now a bit too small for the living room (but would work quite nicely in the bedroom, thankyouverymuch)!

It's fine, though. We have both been really good about spending previous to this, and building up our savings to a very healthy level (and goodness, Erik did this while paying for grad school!). I, myself, have been so tenacious with my savings that spending it now in large clumps feels painful.

But I think we're getting really close to being done with transferring money from our savings to checking accounts and ALMOST back in the black, as the finance-oriented people like to say. It's not going to happen this month, but maybe next. Overall it's worth it, I think. We just bought some frames for the cool posters we picked up at Flatstock over at Bumbershoot this year, and they're going to make the living room look like an actual living room as opposed to a corporate apartment. I'm getting excited at the prospect of having people over. So please, all my friends, feel free to make a journey up here to visit us! We need friends!


posted at 04:15 PM

August 25, 2007

I'm Liking It

We've settled into our new apartment in Kirkland, WA - "settled" meaning we've moved in and stuff, but we still have quite a bit of work to start feeling really settled. Right now I'm home alone (Erik is jetting down to Berkeley for the weekend to be the best man at a friend's wedding), sitting at our new dining table on my laptop, listening to KEXP.

The relative tidiness of the dining room and kitchen area betrays the absolute MESS we are living in right now. There are boxes in every possible variation of fullness and intactness strewn all over the living room and office areas. We have our excellent tv stand/entertainment "center" and coffee table(s) put together and functioning, but we haven't yet received our über-comfy La-Z-Boy Kiefer sofa and chair set yet. We're left sitting on a pair of kinda-sorta-comfortable-but-not-really-and-certainly-not-for-any-long-length-of-time IKEA chairs I brought up, which is something, I guess. I really, really, really can't wait to have our real seating arrive, though!

So yeah, the boxes. Most of them are filled with books or DVDs. We have way too many books and DVDs. So much so that I'm embarrassed about how much money we're about to spend getting shelving units for most of them. Oh, the money! It's going fast. At a breakneck (or break-the-bank) pace. I'm normally really frugal and that's all gone to hell in an effort to pull this whole apartment together. It's not all happening as quickly as I'd like it to be, I really want to have the place setup and clean and tidy, but I think we're still a few weeks away from that.

In the meantime, I've started my job. It's here where a couple of the things I'm really loving about Seattle come into play. See, I only live about seven miles from work - down in L.A. my commute was FIVE TIMES that length. I can leave a half-hour before work and get there with plenty of time to spare. And the drive itself is, gosh, wonderful. I'm taking surface streets, and a long stretch of it is through the Bridle Trails neighborhood, which borders on Bridle Trails State Park, a lowland forest filled with "Douglas-fir and western hemlock, with some western red cedar, big-leaf maple, and alder mixed in". So on one side of me there's a bunch of forest, and on the other side are huge equestrian estates that also have the big trees out front... along with horsies running around in their front yards (yes, I used the word "horsies" because I'm THAT excited about it!).

And then there's the radio up here. When we first got up here I did a quick scan of the stations and really only found one alternative rock station (107.7 The End). And, of course, the local NPR affiliate. Then Erik and I went over to Bainbridge Island to visit with his very-cool cousins and they hooked us up with a list of some stations to check out. We left their house that night and tried them out, and we spent the ferry-ride back listening to blocks of punk rock music on 2 of the 3 stations. My favorite so far has been KEXP, which I guess is very popular online as well. A really good mix of stuff and it's exposed me to a lot more of what I like. Hurrah.

So there's an update for you. As I mentioned, I have the weekend to myself, and I'm going to try my hardest to actually get some stuff accomplished. We have a list of "things" we still need to purchase (a dresser, nightstands, some speakers, another television(!!!), some lamps and lighting, etc.), and there's a lot of bulk trash in here that I can try to remove. But part of me just wants to sit on one of those not really at ALL comfortable red IKEA chairs, relax, and watch some bad tv all day while snacking on ice cream, all bundled up under Erik's shocking Spongebob Squarepants fleece blanket. Decisions, decisions.


posted at 12:36 PM

August 13, 2007

That New-Job Exhaustion

I started work at my new job today. The first day at work is always a whirlwind, and today was no exception. I'm in a new industry now (tabletop games/consumer products), so I'm unable to rely on the knowledge I acquired in the tv/film post-production industry to help make things easier to comprehend. And let me tell you, it makes for a lot of newbie-confusion!

There are so many acronyms and verbiage that I'm completely in-the-dark about. As this is a new position for this already-in-reorg company, there are a lot of processes that haven't been completely planned out. Sure, that gives me a lot of opportunity to bring something extra to the proverbial table, but it's also really intimidating, not being able to fall back on established protocols.

So yeah, I'm really tired! I wore some fancy-schmancy shoes, so my feet were hurting when I got home (thank you Erik for the afterwork footrub!), I was hungry, and my head was kinda hurting from all the over-stimulation. It was SO NICE plopping down on the couch and having Erik wait on me this evening! I know that won't be a regular luxury, but I'll take it while I can get it!


posted at 07:59 PM | comments (1)

June 28, 2007

happy blah blah to me

canhas.jpg

The only thing I'd like for my birthday this year is for all my friends to get "creative" and show me some lolcats love. Swiped, or of your own creation (like my little ditty above).

Update: Who knew I would get all poetic in my old age... (love... above... i made a rhymie!)


posted at 12:48 AM

June 18, 2007

Detail-Oriented

If a job posting asks for someone who's detail-oriented, and you notice in their ad that they've clearly misspelled something - do you point it out?


posted at 01:55 PM

Weekend With Some of the Deadly Sins

Sloth. Gluttony. Were there any others?

I'm still hurting from this weekend. No, I didn't go out and party or anything (those who know me know that I just don't do that), but I spent almost the entire weekend in bed, watching two seasons of the wonderful show on SciFi, "Battlestar Galactica", and doing little else. And my bed isn't the best, so my back is a little store from all the LYING AROUND AND DOING NOTHING ha ha ha ha ha!

Oh, I spent a little time eating the wonderful steak and potato dinners my dad made, and eating some ice cream... for breakfast... And I spent some quality time with Kitty - I'll be moving away in 4.5 weeks so I need to get as much cuddle-time with the kitty as possible!

At the end of it I was exhausted - you know - that specific brand of tired one can only feel after doing absolutely nothing for an extended period of time. I'm in shock that I've no bed sores to show for it! It's nice to be able to do this every once in awhile, but gosh, I can't do that every weekend! Besides, the move is quickly approaching and I need to get some things in order!


posted at 11:55 AM | comments (2)

June 07, 2007

Scattered Much?

This morning, while putting on my shoes, I spent a little over fifteen seconds (count 'em!) searching for my left sock, even standing up and walking around the room looking for the errant foot-covering, before noticing it was already on.


posted at 08:44 AM

June 04, 2007

Totem Animal of the Day


Lemur, Ready To Pounce!

Got this shot on Saturday at the Santa Barbara Zoo. I'm feeling a lot like this crazy lemur right now - ready at a moment's notice to pounce on the next person who comes round to bother me. Everytime I come home after work on Monday nights after having spent the weekend up at Erik's place, I get overwhelmed at home with all sorts of random dramas that have fallen upon the household in my absence. Leave me alone, or let me at least get unpacked, guys!

**releases the tension**

Ahhhh... that's better. Now I'm feeling a lot more like my NORMAL totem animal:



Sloth. At rest. (not my pic)

Anyhoo, you can see a few more select photos from my trip to the Santa Barbara Zoo here.


posted at 08:16 PM | comments (2)

May 31, 2007

The Troublemaker

Fact: I am not one to let a problem persist while I sit idle. At least at work. If something's up, I try to make it known to those who should know so it can be acted upon. Whether they want to hear about it or not. And heck, I might even proffer a solution on occasion. This doesn't come easy to me, and I often struggle with the decision to bring touchy issues to the attention of my superiors. I only mean to help the situation, and the company as a whole, not to cause trouble. Some might call this a flaw, or some sort of martyr-complex that makes me inclined to speak up when it's "safer" to keep my mouth shut. I'm sorry, but things can be better.

And that's all I'll say about that.


posted at 08:13 PM | comments (2)

May 24, 2007

The Master

Over two-and-a-half years ago I met a wonderful guy named Erik. He liked MINIs and road trips, was a computer engineer at JPL, was handsome... when I found out that he "liked" me back, well, I was over the moon! While we were still in the very early getting-to-know-you stage, he was planning a return to school for his masters degree. At the time I didn't really give his going back to school much thought other than thinking it was cool that he was making the effort.

It wasn't until shortly after our relationship had evolved into a romantic one a few months later, when he was accepted, that the idea of it maybe being a strain on us popped into my head. And even then, I wasn't too worried. I was totally head over heels for this guy, and I just knew we'd work it out.

After a wonderful spring and summer full of travel and adventure, Erik packed up his things and drove 100 miles north to this new "home" at his single-dorm at UC Santa Barbara. I drove up the next weekend to visit him, and have made the same trip up nearly every weekend ever since. Every Friday night after work I made the 100-mile trip up, grab us some dinner, and stay until Sunday night or Monday morning, in the latter case getting up VERY early in the morning to make the 2 hour+ drive down to Universal.

I'd be lying if I told you it didn't exhaust me sometimes. I had a rough go of it at the beginning. We had been spending a LOT of time together during the first six months of our relationship - having dinner together once or twice during the work week and then hanging out all weekend. And then all at once I couldn't see him during the week, and I had a hard time of that. My work-weeks were spent counting down the elapsed time before getting to hug him again.

For over a year-and-a-half, with a respite during the summer, this has been the case. It's gotten easier - not a lot - but slightly easier. The weeks don't seem as long as they used to, thankfully. As Erik was finishing up his last two quarters, we got to think about the future a bit more as he was interviewing at many exciting software companies. And when he accepted a job at Microsoft, I got something new to obsess about: relocating with him to Seattle. It has helped to pass the time.

So it's been a countdown of sorts - counting down the days until he graduates, the days until we leave for Seattle, the miles left on my MINI warranty (because a weekly 300-mile work commute plus a 200-mile weekend commute will tick off those miles like nothing else). Sometimes it's really been agonizing. If Erik wasn't such the fantastic, lovable guy he is, I don't know if I would have been able to survive it, relationship-wise.

But I'm very, very proud to announce that this morning, Erik finished his masters studies by frickin' NAILING his thesis defense. I've watched him go through so much through his two-year grad school career: the good times of learning new, interesting stuff; the negative thoughts and worrying about various projects; and, ultimately, the absolute high of acing PWNZING his exams and projects - ALL of them. He's worked so hard and has done so well, I just couldn't be more proud of him right now.

For all intents and purposes, he's now done. He's going to be printing out and turning in his thesis, and then that's it - no more classes, no more studying. He gets to spend his last couple of weeks on the beautiful UCSB campus relaxedly attending his labmates' own thesis defenses, catching up on some recreational reading, doing whatever he wants - and gosh, does he deserve it!

What I'm really happy about is that I have been fortunate enough to be able to take this journey with him - him driving, me the passenger (to use a bad analogy). We've had our ups and downs - goodness knows I've been a horribly overdramatic brat on more than a few occasions - but we're still together, still in love, still excited. And that makes me so so so so happy.


posted at 08:10 PM | comments (1)

May 22, 2007

Yet Another Thing To Go Crazy Over

Last night, shortly before work was over, I made the requisite call to the house to find out what was on the dinner menu. My youngest brother Matt answered, and I asked him how he was, how things were going, etc. - I was bored out of my skull at work, so I was intentionally trying to prolong the conversation. I asked him if he had heard anything from Berklee, not expecting him to have heard anything... "Yeah, I got in."

WHAT?!?

See, Matt auditioned for admission to the elite music college, Berklee College of Music, way back in January. Originally he was supposed to hear if he was accepted back in March - then when he didn't hear anything, he checked back and they said May. Bizarre. So as it passed the half-way mark in the month of May, I really didn't expect him to hear anything. Part of me thought they had sent him an unfortunate decline letter, and that my father might have hidden it to shield him from the discouragement, but thank goodness I was way off!

Matt received an email on Friday evening that he had gained admission. Woo hoo! I called my brother Kevin after I got off the phone with Matt. Kevin had attended a summer session at Berklee and is a professional musician, so naturally he'd be the next one to call... and he had already heard the news... and he didn't seem too excited... and that kinda pissed me off.

So I raced home afterwards, I wanted to get my eyes on that email asap to see what was what. Berklee is a very expensive school, and it had sounded like Matt had already settled himself on the fact that he wasn't going to be able to go - that everyone around him all weekend might have talked him down about it. Urgh! So I got home, and before sitting down to eat I made him log into his email account.

Funny, there was a NEW message from the school. He opened it and we read together that in addition to being accepted, they were also extending him a yearly-renewing $7000 merit-scholarship. O.M.G! Matt seemed in a daze as we got the unexcited Kevin back on the phone. His response? "Are you fucking kidding me? That's fucking great!" Kevin changed his tune, and we then went to our respective dinners and lingered in the waft of Matt's glory for awhile.

Then, I sprung into action.

I noticed Matt had FINALLY hunted down the necessary financial aid form (the infamous FAFSA, which normally gets turned in months before now). So we spent the evening hunting through all my father's personal paperwork for his tax forms, info on when he and our mother were divorced, etc. etc. - heck, when the tax forms proved incomplete, I even called our tax preparer to have him help with the numbers! I was unstoppable!

We got to a place where we could find no more of the necessary information, and I fell asleep with the financial aid process on my brain. When I woke up I went right back to it, requesting my father spend a little time getting his savings & checking account balance information for us. Then at work I phoned the school to speak with someone in admissions. I managed to succeed in acquiring the name and phone number of his admissions counselor, and left her a voicemail - alas, I have yet to hear back. And then I went and signed Matt up for a Department of Education PIN number, which we'll need to turn in the FAFSA online (which quickens the process two-fold). And now I wait, with my list of questions and contact numbers and a spring in my step. And this isn't even for ME! This is for Matt!

So, as you can see, I've gone a little nutty. This happens to me a lot. I get a goal in my head, and I just push-push-push until it's dealt with in some manner. It's probably not good for my blood pressure! But I have a feeling that if I weren't here to push like this, Matt wouldn't have a chance of getting the necessary stuff done to make actually attending the school (or any other, for that matter) a reality. And this is too important.


posted at 11:02 AM

May 18, 2007

An Early Mid-Life Crisis

I was just reading an excerpt from Al Gore's new book The Assault On Reason that's posted up at Time.com, and it got me to thinking about marketing and the media, and my own stake in it.

With my upcoming move to Seattle, I'm in a position where I will have the relative freedom to pick which direction I want to take, career-wise. Sure, I have entertainment industry-specific knowledge that I've accumulated over the last 14 years that could help me break into the extremely tight market in Seattle, but the question for me remains: Do I want to?

The excerpt I mention above talks about television and the media's influence on America's ability to respect and employ logic, specifically in the realms of public policy and discourse. It references how campaigning and politicking has changed in recent history, to be less about reasoned debate and more about figuring out which psychological buttons to push. And it calls attention to how campaign tv advertisements have become a science where the amount of money you put into it directly influences (promises, even) your poll numbers.

Overall, it alluded to the dumbing-down of the nation that the field I work in propagates. And while I understand that there are media outlets out there dedicated to information and knowledge and the broadening of their audience's minds (think Discovery Channel, or better, PBS), I'm not idealistic enough to believe that I would ever be in a position where my work directly resulted in any of that. I am a tool for the man, and a lowly-one at that... and this has me embittered for the moment.

After reading the excerpt, any thought I had to the study of psychology aimed at going into user interface design sickened me. It all seems really dirty. I immediately conjured up the idea of going into health care: being a nurse, or going into the "radiological sciences" (as sonography interests me). The thought of pharmalogical studies entered my mind, but in my bitter state the thought of being a shill for "big pharma" and having to deal with sales reps coming to the pharmacy all the time didn't strike me as all that fun.

See? I'm clearly in an altered, angered state after reading Mr. Gore's excerpt. Usually I just don't care. And maybe this seed of change will not go deep enough and dry out before ever being able to sprout within the scope of my life - the plague of income and perceived necessity will comb away any political idealism - but who knows. I'm not counting anything out at this point.


posted at 01:50 PM | comments (1)

May 15, 2007

Family Blogging

I guess this blog just isn't demanding enough! At the request of one of my aunts, I have created a blog for my extended family: Marrero Family Blog. If you are a member of said family and wish to be able to post as well, you can email me and I'll hook you up.


posted at 12:48 PM

May 01, 2007

Don't Make Me Be Mean

I just had to hang up on a rather pushy volunteer for the Barack Obama Presidential Campaign. I let her talk for a little while, she was speaking from a script in that manner where there are no significant pauses - nor breaths, apparently - and the opportunity to interrupt had to be taken mid-sentence.

"I'm so sorry, you know what? I'm at work, and this is my cellphone number - and I will gladly go to the website and obtain more information there, thank you."

She seemed slightly apologetic, saying she could be more brief, and again started into her spiel, asking if I could be counted upon to support Senator Obama in his run. I again interrupted and told her I would check online later and make my decision about it from there. Then she asked if I had not yet made my decision about who I am going to support in the Democratic Party Primary elections, and just kept going and going, and I had to hang up on her.

As I firmly pressed the "End" button on my phone, I exhaled a light "Sorry". But really - points for persistence, but I'm on a minutes plan, my dear!


posted at 09:13 AM

April 30, 2007

Starstruck

This weekend Erik and I were treated to a wonderful evening watching the renowned humorists David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell read some of their material at the Arlington Theatre on State Street in Santa Barbara as part of UCSB's Arts & Lectures series.

I bought the tickets back in October, fearful that I would miss this chance to see them. I can't tell you how many times I've found out that one of them was in the L.A. area only to find out the tickets were long sold out. If I had only waited until the weekend after finding out about the show, Erik could have scored tickets at a student discount (or his, at least, saving me over $20), but I could not take that chance!!

Cut to over six months later. We started Saturday evening with a great heavy dinner of Indian food at the Taj Cafe, located just a few blocks down from the Arlington. The tandoori chicken and aloo matar was delish, and I should really be eating Indian food more often. Once I was able to extract my overstuffed-self from the tight confines of the restaurant booth, we ambled back up the street, stopped for a quick coffee, and made our way to the theatre.

I was perfectly content to stay sitting out near the fountain in the theatre's pleasant outdoor atrium, but Erik urged us inside, much to my fortune. We entered to find a couple of tables set up to the left, with hundreds of books piled equally atop one of them. Ah, they had Sedaris and Vowell books for sale that could then be signed. Yay! Also, curiously, they had two books that were not penned by the two authors of the evening: The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead and World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, both written by Max Brooks. Once I had scouted the book availability, I made my way through the thickening crowd of people to where Erik stood waiting. He uttered something about them being right behind him, and I took that to mean that, yes, the powers that be had setup the tables for later book-signing right near us. But no. He meant that Mr. Sedaris and Ms. Vowell were standing right behind him, but of course I was too transfixed with the table itself to actually get what he was alluding to.

I got my bearings though, and through a clearing I spotted the two towering powers of the modern essay seated at the table. I was immediately starstruck and shared my observation with Erik, who modestly pointed out that, um, YEAH, that's what he was TALKING about! It took me a few minutes to get my heartrate slowed down to normal as I fought with myself internally about whether or not to get in line to get them to sign.

I realized I would hate myself, overcome with regret, had I not opted to get in that line, so I grabbed Erik by the arm, urging he accompany me into the line. The next ten minutes felt like forever as the line trudged slowly across the two tables while the two authors gabbed with their fans and signed their respective books (well, really, only one of them was doing any talking, but I'm making no judgments about that!).

Erik asked me if I had anything witty planned to say to either of them, and my answer came quickly: Absolutely not! I wouldn't deign to try my hand at being witty with these two. Not only would they eat me alive at any sign of a quip, but in person, they are both quite intimidating. Sarah is quiet and sullen and wears a permafrown, looking like she'd rather be anywhere but here. And David is, well David freakin' Sedaris! I imagine him sizing me up and ripping me apart behind those calm eyes.

So by the time it was my turn to hand Ms. Vowell the paperback copy of her latest book, Assassination Vacation, to sign, I could barely muster the pathetically-polite "Would you mind signing this for me?" She made no eye contact, took my book and answered, "Sure." Her even asking my name for addressing purposes seemed unreal, and the only thing I could do to not totally freak out was to try to get a handle on the second author, who was chatting with some executive-looking couple about the Four Seasons hotel they were staying at.

Erik later pointed out that once she finished scribbling her name on the title page, I appeared to have completely tuned her out. I don't remember it being like that. I remember being confused, worried - like everything was happening in a blur. Erik said he had to say "Thank you" for me, which made me feel like a complete tool as we sat waiting for the show to begin in the auditorium. But when that was all going down, I was just handing an extra copy of Me Talk Pretty One Day to David Sedaris. The David Sedaris. Oh. My. Gawd.

Right now, I can't remember how our brief conversation began, but it pretty much went as follows:

Me: Hi! Would you mind signing this?
David Sedaris: Not at all. What name?
Me: Julie
David Sedaris: J-u-l-i-e... and is that you?
Me: Yes.
David Sedaris: And who did you come with tonight?
Me: My boyfriend Erik.
David Sedaris: How long have you two been together?
Me: Two-and-a-half years.
David Sedaris: (gives me a bizarrely-wide, thoughtful grin, finishes signing)
Me: (notices the space between his two front teeth, wonders why he's smiling so big)
David Sedaris: Do you two live together?
Me: Very nearly.

I honestly don't remember what happened next. I'm sure he handed me back the book, and that I thanked him, and right next to us was the checkout register, where I paid by credit card, and inadvertently left one of the books on the desk. The girl at the register had to reach through the crowd to ask me if it was mine. i was clearly shaken by what had just transpired. I hadn't even had a chance to really eyeball what had been written in each book.

And now, I can't even remember when I first glanced at each signature - in that crowded pre-reading hall, or once we were sitting down. But I do remember how pleasantly surprised to read "To Julie - I'm so happy you're alive" penned by David Sedaris. What I do know is that I'm a complete wreck around any of my heroes, and thank goodness Erik was there to hang onto my arm and keep me level!

I don't think I have to say this, but the reading that came after the whole book-signing debacle (well, debacle for me) was WONDERFUL. They were both super funny. I can't wait until they both have new books of material out - though it remains to be seen how soon that will happen. Harrrrrumph.


posted at 08:03 PM

April 27, 2007

What Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up?

We can all vaguely remember from when we were young times when we were asked by the adults in our lives "What do YOU want to be when you grow up?" Boys had it easy - a firefighter! I joke, but most kids answer that, or an astronaut, or a doctor, or an actor, or a marine biologist.

No one ever answers, "I think I want to be a middling administrative cog in the already-incredibly bloated entertainment industry".

But yet that's where I find myself today. Oh, I've had higher ambitions in the past - to be a musician, a screenwriter, a film director, a musical composer for films, a music producer, a sound mixer, a music editor, a sound editor, an encoding operator, and simply employed. You'll notice a devolving trend there in my list. It seems the older I get, the less ambitious I am.

Perhaps that's what growing up is. When there are other aspects of your life that you come to value over a profession, things can get blurry if you've not already found your "dream job". So as my move to Seattle creeps closer and closer, I wonder if this is that one opportunity to really "reset" my professional life. Co-workers are starting to approach me, inquiring about the move, and I can spot something unexpected in their eyes - envy. I realize I'm in an envious position that not too many people find themselves in after 30 years of age.

I'm not completely devoid of responsibility - my partner, Erik, won't be making single-income sort of money, and I would never want to imbalance our contributions by sitting back and mooching off of him. But the sense that THIS might be a great time to go back to school and get a degree and do something that really empassions me is starting to overtake my thoughts.

Don't get me wrong, I've always wanted to work in the entertainment industry for as long as I can remember. But there's not a whole lot of "the biz" up in the Pacific Northwest. There are a lot of advertising and high tech firms, but video post production facilities are in short supply. My dilemma? Narrowing down the things that interest me to a reasonable scope.

I first draw upon my personal interests: the internet, working on the design of my website (occassionally), photography, etc. The high-tech field in Seattle is well-known for being robust, but I absolutely KNOW I don't have the math skills to become a code-monkey. As much as it fascinates me, watching Erik work makes it evident that I'm trumped in every capacity.

Then there's web design (graphics). Talk about an over-saturated field! Kids are coming out of high school doing amazing things with their websites, so I would have to be quite the superstar to be able to get my foot in that swinging door. I like to think I have an "eye", but if nothing else, I'm quite aware of my artistic limitations.

Now there are fields of study, completely different from media/new media, that I toy with the idea of venturing into more and more. I've always been interested in psychology from when I was quite young and landed my hands on one of my mother's nursing school psychology textbooks back when I was about seven years old. I could barely read the words, but remember spending more time with that book than many others. I've experienced a diverse array of mental health issues with both my family, and with myself, so I have mixed feelings on it. But I have an advisory personality - whether people want my advice or not - and sometimes I think counseling might be my bag, but again, I realize how much responsibility lays with that, and it's a little intimidating.

But there's another psychology-related field that interests me which seems to have the best of both worlds: human-computer interaction and user interface design. Companies are really into making sure their software and web presences are just as impactful as, say, their television commercials, and how a page is laid out can really unconsciously (or blatantly) influence a consumer's perception of that company and what they're selling. That's intriguing to me for some reason. But I don't really know much about the field beyond that - I don't know how much programming experience is required, etc.

And then there's a slew of other fields that I've taken interest in - I just don't have the time to delve into the plethora of reasons they have it: sonography (giving ultrasounds), teaching, law. But see? I'm overwhelmed by this entry at this point (I'm sure you, dear reader, are as well, if you've gotten this far). It's too much to think about - and too perplexing. It's at this point where I sigh, clear my head, and forget about doing something else.


posted at 01:40 PM | comments (1)

April 04, 2007

Trying To Maintain a Positive Outlook

Last night I woke up several times during the night with severe stomach cramping, followed by unfortunate trips to the restroom.

I woke up this morning with a really painful crick in my neck. I must have been sleeping wrong. I have no Aleve at home.

This morning, for some reason, the MiniDisc player that I'm selling would not turn on. I had just tested it last week and it was fine. I have no idea what's up with that.

At Jamba Juice this morning I was subjected to a dance mix of The Killer's "When You Were Young". That's just so wrong on so many levels.

The day's gonna get better, right?

Well, obviously it is. There are no signs of foul weather coming from my stomach area. And I plugged the MiniDisc player in at work and it is revived! I think I just have a wiggy power outlet at home. *Whew* And that crick in my neck? It's subsiding. But the horror of the "When You Were Young" dance version will just not go away. Ever.


posted at 08:59 AM | comments (1)

April 03, 2007

Whoring Out My Wares - Part 1

So I've been mentioning that I want to sell off a bunch of my stuff. Well, I've gone ahead and listed my Fender Jag-Stang guitar on Craigslist. If anyone is interested, or knows of anyone who might be interested, a special deal can be made! I really need to get rid of this thing, I never play it, and we're really going to need the moolah for our move.

Also, I just posted an ad to sell my Sony MiniDisc Player/Recorder Walkman. Again, if anyone's interested...


posted at 02:38 PM

April 02, 2007

All in a Tizzy

This weekend seemed to fly by. On Saturday I lounged around the house and watched the last two seasons of Six Feet Under. I used to watch the show religiously the first few seasons, but went without HBO towards the end So I missed all that final drama. Erik bought me the entire show (all 5 seasons!) this past Christmas, and I finally made the effort to catch up. And an effort it was! I didn't get to sleep on Sunday morning until around 4am.

About 8 hours later Erik and his parents showed up with all of his things from his Studio City house. We're keeping everything at my place so that the movers can come do their survey this Friday. And then it's only about 15 weeks until the move actually takes place. And boy, am I counting down those weeks!

As I had mentioned before, I'm selling off some of my stuff. I already have a taker for my treadmill, and there's someone interested in one of my guitars. The thing is, I don't think the person interested in the guitar is actually going to buy it. I've been looking online, trying to find it's fair market value, and I've come across something on eBay that i find particularly unnerving.

Let me begin my mentioning that my guitar is an original issue, first run Fender Jag-Stang, designed by Kurt Cobain. I bought it in 1995, back when I was a huge fan of Nirvana. I saved up for months to buy it, and thought I would keep it forever as a tribute to him - heck, I didn't even play it more than a few times, lightly, before buying another guitar to actually practice on. So it's been sitting in its case for over the last ten years. Now with this move, and my priorities in an entirely different place, it's only a little sad to be parting with it.

So I'm seeing all these listings on eBay advertising to sell "1st run! Original issue!" Fender Jag-Stangs. That's all fine and good, but they're misrepresenting the guitars as the very first batch that came out, when in fact they have slightly later serial numbers. This is all fine and good, as well, because anybody can look on the Fender website's guitar dating page to verify the guitar's vintage - but here's what I have a problem with: Some listers are stating that the "original", "first run" guitars all came with two stickers affixed to the guitars, which marks them as original - one being a "Designed by Kurt Cobain" sticker, and the other being a "Fender 60th Anniversary" sticker. Not true!

Mine came with neither stickers. It came with a paper tag that read "Designed by Kurt Cobain" on it, but no sticker - and it certainly didn't come with a "Fender 50th Anniversary" sticker, as that anniversary was not until 1996, not 1995. In fact, the 2nd guitar I bought, a Fender Mustang, which I purchased that next year, came with one of those stickers. So why am I mad? Well, these listers are stating something as fact, and putting out false information that would-be purchasers will soak up. And this is bad because I want to sell and get a good price for my guitar, but when I go to sell it, this might make it harder for me. I mean, the first guy who was interested in my guitar even asked if it had all its original stickers, and I had to point out that my guitar had no stickers... who knows, he probably doesn't believe me. Ugh, ya know? Just ugh.


posted at 09:25 AM

March 30, 2007

Fire Near the Lot

So there's a big fire up on the hills near Universal Studios, and I can hear the helicopters circling. The office is abuzz in fire-related talk, and the on-lot childcare center has been evacuated, so there's a flurry of co-workers' children running around the offices here, and co-workers' themselves doing a lot of ridiculous baby talk in an effort to keep the kids occupied. God, I hope they evacuate us just for the hell of it.


posted at 02:18 PM

March 26, 2007

Full Four-Day Weekend

I took last Thursday and Friday off from work to get a number of errands out of the way. But by Thursday afternoon I was already tuckered out! The dentist visit really tired me out, i guess, because I ended up napping for most of the rest of the day, followed only by some light chores.

Friday was relaxing. I slept in. Erik came and woke me up around noon. We went out for lunch and then went looking at tv's at Best Buy. He and I just cannot shop for tv's together, because every time we try, one of us gets cranky about not being able to decide and we end up leaving with our hands empty. I think in this case it's an allowable, even practical, flaw. I really don't think we need a tv just yet. He uses his computer monitor up at school, I can just do without for a few more months. After the fruitless trip to Best Buy we came back home. More napping was done (we are like a pair of eighty year olds), and then we dragged ourselves out for a nice meal at a local steakhouse.

Saturday we drove down to Palm Springs to attend his family reunion. I couldn't believe how much information they had about his family! I only know that my family is (mostly) caucasian, I wouldn't be able to tell you who the first Garren to come over to America was, nor of what descent I am. His family is Swedish - boy are they Swedish! And let me tell you, they LOVE their Swedish food. Unfortunately, I have no love for the Swedish traditional food... Pickled herring? Head cheese? Lutefisk?!? I was raised in Simi Valley on a strict diet of Macaroni & Cheese and Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches - we don't do white fish soaked in lye. But all in all, it was really nice seeing this group come together to celebrate their forefathers. And his family is really, really nice.

Sunday we woke late and I had a bit of a headache. Erik had his heart set on going out to Exposition Park in L.A. to visit the California Science Center - to see an IMAX movie and a Star Wars exhibit - and to visit the Natural History Museum. We woke so late we didn't think we'd be able to get it all done, but I could not stand seeing his face all sad like that, so I popped an Advil and we raced out there. The IMAX film, Deep Sea 3D, was AMAZING. I never thought seeing something in 3D would be that cool, but the experience is far more immersive that I thought. Shots of the sunset on the ocean made me feel like I was out on a boat, and there was some footage with sharks that made me truly feel like I could reach out and touch them. Amazing!

The show was immediately followed by a trip to the Star Wars exhibit. I've never been much of a Star Wars fan, myself, but I walked around with Erik and we took blurry photo after blurry photo in the dimly-lit exhibition hall. Then it was time for lunch, and afterwards we walked down to the Natural History Museum. I wasn't too excited about this part, as I've been before in the last several years, and knew it did not live up to the glorious memory I had of going back in 1984. there's really only one word that can adequately describe the museum in its current stage: Ghetto.

The Dinosaur Hall was closed, and the displays that WERE open looked like they had last been modified in 1972. The Mammalian fossils nearby to the closed Dinosaur Hall were propped up on simple boxes and were dusty. The African and North American Stuffed Animal Halls (as I like to call them), were nothing I hadn't seen before at the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum, and going to the Zoo would have been far more entertaining (and less depressing). So our venture out ended on that down note, but the weather outside had been gorgeous, and it was really nice strolling outside from one place to the next.

I didn't really get a chance to attack any of the leftover busy work I have of packing. I had wanted to further clean up and photograph items I wanted to sell, but didn't really get around to much of that. I guess having most of the packing done has really made me comfortable with the July timetable. This weekend Erik will be bringing all of his boxes over to store in our garage, for the survey to take place at the end of next week. The scariest part of THAT is the fact that his parents are going to be helping him drive out all the stuff - meaning they'll get to meet my father for the first time {{shudder}}. Truly, truly frightening.


posted at 07:57 AM

March 22, 2007

Too Much Excitement Makes Me Tired

I woke up a little bit ago from a nap that was entirely too long. But I had a busy morning, so I'm not too down on myself. This morning I had a dentist appointment at 9:30am for a long overdue checkup and cleaning. Last time I was there was in November of 2005, so of course I expected the lectures about coming in every six months. I forgot! I'm sorry!

Anyhow, while the appointment lasted to a little before noon, we got a lot done. X-rays & evaluation led to finding one small cavity, and the dentist's recommendation of a "gross scale with irrigation". Normally I would have quashed that second part, opting for a regular cleaning instead - but since I'll be moving and don't really know when I'll next be going to a dentist, I thought it wise.

The dentist had numbed the right side of my mouth to prepare for the cavity filling, and went to work on the cleaning next. It was a bit more intense that a regular cleaning, and while I felt virtually nothing on the right side of my mouth, the left side was an entirely different story. They have to clean up under the gums and stuff and man, sometimes that smarts!

After the leaving the dentist's office, I drove out to Thousand Oaks to apply for a duplicate social security card. I lost mine ages ago, and figured now's as good a time as any to replace it. Besides talking a little funny from having a still-numb mouth, it went smoothly. By the time I rolled back into Simi I was feeling a bit weak from not eating all morning, so I opted for drive thru fare.

At first I pulled into the Taco Bell line - but the line was long so I reversed back into the street and headed for the Jack-In-The-Box down the street instead. Erik had said their new Andes Mint Shake was da bomb, so I wanted to check it out. So I grabbed a burger, some curly fries, and a big shake. That's not bad for freshly clean teeth, is it? Sure, drinking from a straw might be a little awkward, but all that sugar can't do any damage, can it?

I promptly fell into an extended nap once I was done eating - that's always healthy as well. I woke up from that siesta just before 5pm, and now it's time to do all those other chores I had planned for earlier today. Fun stuff.


posted at 06:18 PM

March 21, 2007

The Weekend Is Almost Here (For Me)

Last night I had dreams about placing work orders for a particular client. I remember that, in the dream, I was constantly going back and trying to get the order placed correctly: it needs to be this - wait, no, let's do this again, it needs to be this. It was very, very weird. It was like my brain was trying to get "it" right, but "it" didn't really have a clear definition.

Today is my last day before two days' vacation - which means a four-day weekend - woo hoo! I always handicap myself, however, because the day before vacation I've gotta scramble to make sure any loose ends get tied up, and the whole day winds into a big stress - as is evident from my dream.

I shouldn't be so uptight about this stuff, though. I take my client servicing waaaay too seriously. But I need to remember that I have a backup person - and while that person might not be as anal as I am with orders, he gets the stuff handled. So whatever doesn't get done today he can handle tomorrow. Sounds easy, right?

Anyways, I'm really looking forward to the long weekend. Thursday I have some errands to run, but other than that things should be fun. I'm going with Erik to his paternal-side family reunion in Palm Springs on Saturday - that should be only mildly painful. And then on Sunday we're going to go to the California Science museum, or a small number of museums near USC. Not quite sure. And maybe a movie or two will get thrown into the mix. Sleeping in is gonna be nice.


posted at 09:56 AM | comments (1)

March 16, 2007

Rush Order Fever

I don't know what it is about today, maybe it's the fact that it's a Friday, but my clients have decided to whip up a flurry of frustration by hitting me with a deluge (a deluge, I tell ya!) of rush jobs. I'm keeping everything straight, but only just barely. That's why I'm spending my union-mandated fifteen minute break writing this rant.

There's a dub room operator (or perhaps a number of them) who I'm sure wants to see me killed or injured in a most-heinous fashion right now, but it's not my fault! I don't conspire with the clients to throw all this work at our facility. My job is to make sure it gets done.

Believe me, when a client leaves a voicemail at 10:30am (while I'm in the middle of placing three other rush jobs due midday) saying he needs four rolls of film transferred to a DVD, wait, make that ELEVEN DVDs to make the FedEx cutoff, oh, and he needs the film back by 2:30pm, it doesn't give me a warm, happy feeling. You can be sure that I'M JUST AS WORRIED AS YOU.

I'm kind of glad for these sort of days, though. For one, it DOES give me that warm, fuzzy feeling when a client gives an impossible-sounding request, and somehow, it all gets done as necessary. I like that. that's called job satisfaction, right there. And secondly? Well, it's already almost lunchtime, and I have no idea where the time went! That means the weekend gets here sooner, and that's A-OK by me. Sure, it means I'm going to be a little frazzled by day's end, but walking out to my car after work is going to feel SO GOOD.


posted at 11:11 AM | comments (1)

March 08, 2007

Let's Not Try So Hard, Shall We?

This morning I drove real fast to get from Simi Valley to Studio City in an effort to have time to make a Jamba Juice run before going to work. Success was had, and upon entering the fresh fruit smoothie establish was greeted thusly:

Girl at counter, without even looking at me: (*sigh*) "Hello."

Guy making smoothies, an awkward seven seconds (count 'em!) later, again, without looking: "Hello."

Both "hello"s were uttered as an afterthought, as if the employees were remembering that once the door opens, they're required to say something but what is it oh! i remember (in a tired, sad voice) "hello." I understand that a company may choose to enforce a policy with employees that they greet every customer, but their lackadaisical delivery has the opposite impact - I feel unwelcome, like they're not really THAT pleased to see me. An absence of a greeting at all would have been much better.

But I won't hold it against them, they make damn good smoothies.


posted at 01:25 PM

February 16, 2007

A Glimpse of Good-Natured Humanity

I was feeling pretty good about this morning. I got myself all packed up for a long weekend up at Erik's, and was out of the house early. I decided to stop by Starbucks for a little caffeine-infusion, as I had a little extra time on my hands. Traffic was light - and I flew through the various freeways with ease. I arrived at work super-early, and took my time getting out of my MINI.

ID Badge? Check.
Cellphone? Check.
Nearly-empty grande mocha frappuccino cup? Check.
Wallet?
Um...
Wallet?!?!?

I've had that sinking feeling before. Usually the wayward wallet is found underneath my seat, or I left it on the passenger seat and, in the midst of a sharp, feisty turn, it's fallen over to the side. Unfortunately, it was nowhere to be found. Ugh. Bad, bad, bad!

The clammy feeling that accompanies a shot of adrenaline accompanied me as I walked from the parking lot to the office, trying to think of how the wallet got away from me. I had it at Starbucks, obviously, as I had to pay for my coffee. I remember holding it on the table with me as I waited for my order to be called. I don't remember if I had it with me when I walked out, or if I fumbled in placing it in my car.

I hoped against hope that someone found it and turned it into the Starbucks' staff, so that an easy phone call and trip back would be all that's required. I remembered that I had a couple of my business cards in the wallet, and thought that maybe I would have a message on my voicemail waiting for me. It was these thoughts that paced my usually-slow walk towards the office at a much urgent rate.

As I rounded the corner to my cubicle, my heart jumped when I saw the red-LED voicemail indicator on phone. Maybe I'm in luck! I clocked in immediately, and checked the voicemail right after - my breathing still labored from the quickened walk.

"Hi. My name is Teresa [surname withheld for privacy], and I came across your wallet in the Starbucks parking lot. Please give me a call so we can arrange for you to get it back."

Hot. Damn. Losing a wallet permanently is such an extreme pain - I've gone through it before about ten years ago, and had to deal with getting a new driver's license, and reporting all my credit cards as missing, and having to have those and my bank accounts closed and re-opened with different account numbers... and gosh, I still don't have a new copy of my social security card.

Fortunately, I'm going to be able to avoid all of that mess this time. At around noon today I'll be driving back out to Simi to retrieve my found wallet from a person with some integrity. We often imagine the worst when this type of scenario comes up - someone pocketing the cash and trashing the wallet. I think I got really lucky.


posted at 08:29 AM | comments (2)

February 15, 2007

"Shots Fired. I Repeat: Shots Fired."

Bang bang bang - bang bang bang bang bang!

Not-so-mild-mannered office worker looks around her cubicle with a worried look on her face.

BANG bang bang bang BANG - bang bang bang bang!

Office worker wonders "What are they doing? More ill-timed construction work in the building?"

Bang bang!

Office worker overhears co-workers chatting about the sound - all is revealed.
----

So yeah, they're shooting the new Die Hard movie, Live Free or Die Hard, in the soundstage right next to my office, and the sound of loud, echoey gunshots can be heard every few minutes. Now that I know what the sounds are, everytime they go off, I get a tingly feeling on my back and arms. Awesome!

Working on the studio lot can be really sweet, sometimes.


posted at 04:58 PM

February 07, 2007

Happy Birthday, Erik!


My wonderful boyfriend turns, um, twenty-something today (mua ha ha ha haaaaa - I'm robbin' the cradle!), and every year he just keeps on getting cuter and cuter! Happy birthday, sweetie!


posted at 12:37 PM | comments (2)

February 06, 2007

Special Delivery!

It's the night before my boyfriend, Erik's, birthday, and it was high-time for me to get to wrap some presents. I wielded my housekey and slashed the packing tape affixed to the cardboard Amazon.com box which contained his loot. I did a quick check to verify the contents included everything that was supposed to be there, and, satisfied with the quality control of Amazon's warehouse team, ventured out to the kitchen to procure some Scotch Matte Finish Magic™ Tape, and remembered that Kitty wasn't in my room yet. Kitty!

So on my way back I opened the front door and spotted her, sat down next to the recycling bin next to the garage. A call of her name had her sprinting inside and down the hall to my room. I took a quick potty break before coming back to get wrapping.

It was when I returned to my room that I discovered Kitty sitting in the opened Amazon box, atop all of Erik's hundreds and thousands of amazing, expensive gifts. Oh wait, there's only, like, four. But still. I would have maybe thought of admonishing her if she weren't so ridiculously cute.

See, I brought Kitty home when she was a mere 8-week-old kitten over 13 years ago in a shoebox, and she loved to settle herself down into any available shoeboxes long after that - even when she was almost too big to fit into them. She stopped doing it around the time when she decided she preferred being more of an outside-cat, but I always liked to think that she still preferred relaxing in a confines of a box than anywhere else. Tonight those thoughts have been verified as fact!

I picked Kitty up out of the box in order to remove its contents from underneath her, set her on the side for only that moment, and then carefully placed her back within it, hoping she wouldn't be fickle and leap out. She didn't! In fact, once she tired of regally posing for me ("See how great I am, sitting in this box?"), she laid right down in it, curling up into a rather large ball of furriness. After several moments of petting and cooing to her about how ridiculously cute she was, I wisened up and grabbed my camera.

It's going to be enormously difficult to leave Kitty behind when I move far, far away in July... wait... what? :P


posted at 08:40 PM | comments (6)

January 18, 2007

The Excitement is Making My Head Hurt

There's a lot going down right about now. I can't come clean to you all now, because, well, nothing is set in stone yet - but I expect to have some really, really, really exciting adventures this year.

In other, less-fun news, I've been taking some medication that's starting to have some bizarre side effects. For the last two weeks I've been getting headaches, my eyes have had trouble focusing (and yeah, I had my eyes checked not too long ago and was fitted for glasses, so it's not that), I've had an annoying ringing in my ears, and some, well, disturbing dreams.

I've been known to have some really whacky, vivid dreams - even the occasional nightmare - but these new ones are just downright bizarre. Not scary, in that sense, and only mildly stressful. But I wake with them still clear in my head, and they leave me thinking "WTF? Where the heck did THAT come from?" I wish I could go into detail, but some of it just isn't tasteful. And it's a little embarrassing. For goodness' sakes, I wouldn't want to embarrass myself on my own website... that would be completely unlike me!

So I've got a call into my doc, and I'm pretty sure that this medicine will be going away soon. But again, I think a dose of really good medicine is coming right around the corner. Stay tuned.


posted at 01:07 PM

January 13, 2007

So Glad Our Heater Is Finally Working

lowtemp.jpgWhat... the... eff?

I'm just going to point out what's obvious - it SAYS it's only going to get down to 30 degrees, even though it's clearly 28 degrees. This is southern California, fer christsakes, not frickin' Buffalo or something (where, for the record, it is 30 degrees right now, umyeah).

Thank goodness it's Saturday, and I can get right back under the covers and lounge in warmth all day, switching the EvoTV back and forth between the SciFi Channel and HGTV. The only thing that could make that idea any better is if Erik showed up right now with a hot pizza and a six pack of Mountain Dew.




posted at 07:47 AM | comments (1)

January 08, 2007

Arrrrrrgh! - The Saga Continues

A few days back I wrote a cryptic blog post about me being very, very frustrated about something. I was holding off on being too specific, because I wanted to surprise Erik, and now he knows about it, so I can publicly vent.

My old Samsung 32" TV died quite awhile ago - like, a LONG, LONG time ago - and I've been holding off on getting a new one until I move out of my Dad's house this summer. I have a nice little gadget that allows me to plug in my cable feed to watch tv on my computer, so not having tv wasn't a major problem.

Over new years weekend, Erik started talking about how cool it would be if I got a tv, so we could play his new Nintendo Wii on it. While I liked the idea, I wasn't really going for it. "No, sweetie - we'll get a nice one when we move out. We can wait it out."

And then, at the beginning of last week, the DVD player on my iMac started being a little bitch. While trying to watch my new Six Feet Under DVDs, it kept freezing and crashing. Many different DVDs were attempted, all with the same failures. *Sigh*. So I quietly began researching for a new TV online.

I wasn't looking for anything crazy - I don't need an HDTV, or a flat-panel plasma display - just a smallish tv for my room that will become a 2nd tv when I move out. Easy enough. Browsing through BestBuy.com, I found something that seemed to fit the bill. A Samsung SlimFit Flatscreen 27" Digital TV. It was a regular, old-timey CRT television, but it had a flat screen, and it wasn't as huge and bulky as a regular tube television. And it was priced within my budget.

I was determined to get the tv installed at my house on Friday night, so that when Erik came over on Saturday morning I could surprise him with it. I bribed my younger brother Matt into going with me to Best Buy to check it out, pick it up, and help me move it into my bedroom. We got to Best Buy and I found my way back to the aisle where it was. I found it very difficult to focus on the particular tv I was looking to purchase when a couple of really sweet looking widescreen HDTVs were displayed next to it. I even almost talked myself into spending an extra $300 to pickup a 30" 16:9 SlimFit-style HDTV, but I was a good girl. I bought the tv and Matt and I were off!

For a SlimFit television, the box it came in surely wasn't. Upon first eyeing the box, I was a bit worried that it wouldn't fit into the back of my MINI. But indeed it did, and after a bit of fussing with Matt about the proper direction of it, and a surely-comical display of us two weaklings trying to lift it into the back, we had it into the MINI, closed the hatch, and were headed home.

We got home after a few quick stops, and got the box into the house with the help of my surprisingly-helpful father. I opened up the top of the box and we started to lift it out when Matt noticed something odd about the tv. I walked around to the front and noticed the entire screen had been pushed into the set. This unit was very, very broken. I cursed, bothered by the work that lay ahead of us. I was determined to tape up the box, take it back to Best Buy, and get a replacement.

About an hour later, we had made the round trip and had the second tv in the family room, with only Matt and I left awake to unpackage it. This was quite difficult for the two of us to manage. But we did it, and we got the tv back into my bedroom, where it fit nicely on my existing tv stand. I quickly hooked up an old DVD player and chilled out to watch some more Six Feet Under.

It wasn't long before I noticed some strange stuff going on with the picture. During some of the darker scenes, I saw some horizontal lines fanning out from the sides of the screen. Plus, it seemed that the actors' heads seemed to get inexplicably wider when they were on the very right-hand side of the screen. This was not good at all.

I remembered reading some of the online reviews for the tv warning against an existing problem with a percentage of the units with this exact description. I had unwisely thought that my luck would be better, but alas, it wasn't. At this point I was beyond frustrated and was downright pissed off. So much work for Matt and myself, and I was left with a faulty television! Argh!

There was no question that I would return the tv, but at that point it was way too late. I spent the rest of what was left of my waking hours reading about the problem online... again, and looking at other tv's. At around 1pm on Saturday Erik swung by, and he was, indeed, pleasantly-surprised when he walked into my room and saw the glorious vision of a sleek new tv. I let him know immediately that I was going to return it, and showed him why. He could also see the problem, and agreed that it would need to be returned.

There was no rush, though, and we spent that afternoon and evening watching movies and playing WiiSports and designing tasteless Mii characters. Funnily-enough, the Wii looks just fine on the tv, with no noticeable distortion at all. Sometime this week I will be returning the bad, bad tv. I'm still wavering about whether to give it a third try, or to just get my money back and walk away from it altogether. I'm thinking it will probably be the latter. This whole experience has been far too troubling for what I'm ultimately getting out of it. I don't need a tv that desperately.


posted at 09:27 AM | comments (2)

January 06, 2007

We Are So Famous

About a week ago my dad walked into my room with the portable phone, mumbling about some lady wanting to talk to me about Matt for an article. I rarely listen to what my father is actually saying (purely a defense mechanism, I assure you), so when he handed over the phone, I had no idea what to expect.

On the other end was a warm female voice saying she was from the local paper and she wanted to talk to me about my little brother Matt and our family of musicians. Let me step back for just a brief moment to give you some necessary info: We were raised in a musical family. From before I can even remember my dad had an acoustic guitar, and sang the family country songs (whether we wanted to hear him or not). My mother had me in piano lessons at a very young age, and then in flute lessons, and then in piano lessons again (I still was not feeling the whole "discipline" thing), and finally in drum lessons, which is the instrument that finally stuck with me. I played drums/percussion all throughout high school, and was in nearly every band class available in high school. I was actually pretty darn good at the time, winning awards and junk, but I kinda burned out on it.

All of my younger brothers play as well. Kevin started with guitar - shredding Van Halen tunes as a little kid - then picked up the saxophone in junior high. He's now a professional sax (and flute and clarinet) player, and makes his living from playing and teaching. James started thrashing about a kiddie drumset at a very young age - even before I started playing them. He, like all of us, can also play the guitar and keyboards, and a loose variety of other instruments.

Matt was a bit late to the musical game, and not just because he was seven years younger than the youngest of us. He wasn't dragged into it. Not until junior high, at least. See, in juinor high you get something called "electives", and band was the easy choice for ALL of us. I think Matt felt compelled by our legacy. He started playing drums. I don't think he was ever really into percussion, but he made a go of it - playing in a variety of school bands, and in drumline in high school. It wasn't until high school that he picked up a guitar.

Matt's graduating high school this June, and he has his heart set on attending the Berkelee School of Music in Boston, to further study the guitar. I have mixed feelings on going to college to study music, but whatever, he really wants it. So today, he has a scholarship audition for Berkelee in Hollywood. Like anyone would be, he's a ball of nerves - and to add to that is the unfortunate fact that, because of the, shall we say, interference by my brother James (who is a publicity whore, himself), Matt's whole audition ordeal is being publicized.

Which brings us back to the phone interview. It was probably one of the most humiliating, painfully-embarrassing conversations of my life. She asked about my being a musician. My father had spoken with her earlier, and he mentioned something about me in a band that played on television once (the L.A. Olympic Festival Marching Band, in 1991 - which was held at Dodger Stadium and was broadcast live on FOX), so she asked for details on that. Then she asked where I went to college (ugh), and if I got a degree (...um...), and if I still play, and what I'm doing now, etc. etc. Painful.

She then asked if she could send down a photographer to shoot all of us together for the article. She needed it to happen pretty quickly, and there was no real way to get us all together, so I offered to send her in some photos of us playing (without intending to send one of myself in, heh). I had a pic of Kevin playing, and went and shot Matt playing, but James wasn't around, so I had to find a pic of him on his computer.

A short time later, the article is published (click to read it). I was full-on expecting details to be screwed up, as I know that happens a lot in journalism. Now that the article is out, let me correct some things:

- Kevin is no longer a Band Director on the cruise ship. And it wasn't a Band Director, but a Musical Director (I guess there's a difference).
- I have only worked at Universal Studios for three years, and it's not in the audio mixing department, but in the digital services department. I think she mixed up the fact that I went to audio school and studied recording with what I'm doing now.
- I did not say I was the only girl in the drumline in the L.A. Olympic Festival Marching Band - I said I was the only girl in the SNARE line in that band.
- We do not have 16 guitars in the house. Maybe something closer to 10.

So there you have it. It's not my first time being written up in the local paper (there was an article about me and a few other students back when I made the Olympic Festival band), but it's certainly the funniest. My favorite part in it is where my father talks about how he was referred to as "Johnny Trash" (a combination of Johnny Cash and white trash, I assume). I had never heard that anecdote before, and boy did I get a good hoot out of that!


posted at 10:12 AM

Arrrrrrgh!

I can't go into much detail just yet, but my frustration level has reached epic proportions. This evening has been quite a mix of the up and down. While I'm ready to wave the white flag, I also find myself obsessing about how to FIX the issue/problem/fiasco. It's already been more of a pain in my arse than I was prepared for, and has surely made me a bit blue.

More details to come... once I've cooled down. Right now it's time to find the most mind-numbing television available to keep my mind off the matter of the moment and try to get some shut-eye. Mehhhh.


posted at 12:29 AM

January 04, 2007

Spending Money Makes Me Feel Good About Myself

After spending a dreadful hour and a half in traffic slogging back to Simi from Universal City, I stopped at the local Borders Bookstore (heh, "books") to return a duplicate DVD gift and purchase a replacement with the return credit. I had little idea what I really wanted (because nearly everything I wanted I received at xmas), so I meandered back towards the DVD section.

I cruised the Comedy section briefly, and then really got down to hunting once I hit Drama. By Mystery and Science Fiction/Fantasy I had amassed a handful of DVDs that, at this point, I was only thinking of purchasing. Then I saw that ever-powerful marketing tool - the sale sign. "Buy 3 DVDs or CDs and get the 4th for Free!" Fancy that! I already had 3 DVDs picked out, now I get another one... for free!

I ended up scoring four DVDs for under $50, which I thought was a pretty good deal, and those I got were ones I've had my eyes on for awhile, but was never particularly motivated to buy:

godsmonsters.jpg
Gods and Monsters
Starring Ian McKellen as a reclusive, gay 50's horror-movie director who is enchanted with his gardener, Brendan Fraser. Good performances all around.
centralstation.jpg
Central Station
I bought this on VHS many years back. I was so moved by the story of a lonely middle-aged Brazilian woman who reluctantly takes in an orphan boy. This movie makes me weep and weep.
matchpoint.jpg
Match Point
I didn't think I'd think much of this Woody Allen film, but it totally sucked me in. It was unexpected and extremely fun to watch.
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The Motorcycle Diaries
I purchased this to share the experience of this film with Erik. The sweeping landscape photography highlighted in this film chronicling a vast road trip taken by a youthful Che Guevara will look breathtaking once I get a big HDTV!

Upon making my purchases, I scurried back to my MINI and immediately phoned Erik, so giddy about my new DVDs. He was conspicuously unimpressed, and I was as chatty as an embarrassingly-precocious five-year-old bragging about her first day of kindergarten. A fantastic match for conversation!

So now, instead of watching these DVDs that I've been ruminating slobbering over, I'm posting a silly blog entry, fuddling around with tables and image sizes and links, and, you know what? It's just not so exciting anymore.... No, just kidding, it is - but I don't think I'll be watching any of them now. I can't believe it - I've been composing and editing this post for over an hour, what's wrong with me?!?


posted at 09:21 PM

January 01, 2007

So this is the New Year

You may or may not have noticed, but I thought it was apropos to make Death Cab For Cutie's song "The New Year" available for download as my Mp3 of the Day today. It's been a pretty low-key New Years. I rang it in half-asleep, myself. No watching the ball drop, no toasting to the year 2007 - I believe at midnight I was tossing and turning in bed or coughing, one of the two.

"The New Year" wasn't the first Death Cab song that struck me to put onsite. I've been kinda obsessing over their track "Title and Registration" for the last hour or so (stay tuned, it'll get posted in the next few days). It reminds me of back in August, when Erik and I went to see Death Cab at the Greek Theatre in L.A., and how much I enjoyed watching them perform this song. I remember looking over at Erik and seeing him just beaming at how great that show was, and it made me feel so good to see him so happy.


Death Cab performing "Title and Registration" at the Greek in Berkeley, CA

Last year brought a lot of bad stuff on - the death of two family members, frustration with my lack of a career path at work, and the slow onset of a depression I'm currently fighting off. But it was full of almost-magical moments. You know them - the kind where you're standing on top of a mountain, and it's just you, a loved one, and the grandiosity of nature before you. You're breathing in the crisp, thin air, and feel more alive than you have in awhile. Or when you've stumbled upon a burst of creative energy you thought had disappeared from your life, and the sense of pride you feel from successfully putting it to use. Or when you're looking over at the man you love, within a crowd of thousands, the amazing (and loud, because you're old) music is washing over you, overwhelming you, and you're just so happy that the perma-smile on your face is starting to make your muscles hurt, but it doesn't matter, because the moment couldn't be more perfect.

I'm not going to make any New Years resolutions. I've done so in the past - to workout more, to eat better, to drink more water, to make better use of my YMCA or Netflix memberships, to take less sick days at work if I can possibly help it. But it's sort of ridiculous to do that, and only enforces an unnecessary sense of failure. Nope. Instead, I'll hope to encounter more of those moments in life that make life great, and I'll let the bad stuff stay back in 2006.


posted at 10:42 PM

December 30, 2006

Sweet Revenge

A few posts back I mentioned that I had found several sites that had been hijacking one of the images hosted on my site. Not that big a deal, but it surely was an opportunity for a bit of light-hearted online fun at their expense.

I didn't want to be too severe with my retribution, and I wanted it to be informative for people. I thought the above image would be a simple way to get my point across.

And the effect? Well, that remains to be seen, but I got a quick giggle after checking out some of the offending sites after the image update. There's this one, down in the right sidebar. And then this one and this one. But my favorite happens to be this one, for obvious reasons.


posted at 06:43 PM | comments (1)

December 29, 2006

{{long, cleansing exhale}}

I've returned from my week in hell in Sherman Oaks puppysitting with Erik. I tell you, a 12-/13-week-old Labrador puppy is not the kind of animal you want to be hanging out with 24 hours a day. To deal with that, you need to have the knowledge that you'll have a lifelong bond with this puppy - or you just need to be CRAZY.

I must admit to missing the warm feeling of his puppy tongue licking my hand, but all I need to do is remember the important bit that comes a few seconds after - the part when he would clamp down with his tiny, sharp puppy teeth onto that vulnerable, fleshy hand of mine - to realize that puppy-rearing might not exactly be my cup of tea. And besides, I think Erik is done with the idea altogether, and goodness knows, I couldn't raise a puppy by myself!

Getting home was actually nice. Absence does make the heart grow fonder, as the brief conversations with my father were rather... tolerable. My bedroom felt open and clean and fresh (compared to the, um, animalistic scent going on in the small apartment on Dickens Street), and unpacking all the Christmas loot onto my bed, without having some knee-high rabid animal jumping up to snap at me, felt just... so... goooooood.

gizmo!Speaking of my Christmas loot, this year pretty much rawked. I think Erik and I went a little overboard trying to out-gift one-another, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As much as I adore watching his face light up when he opens an unexpectedly cool gift, I have to admit that unwrapping the Gremlins Dancing Gizmo Plush Doll he got me made me smile wider than I have in a good long while. He's such a keeper! (That's Erik, I'm talking about, not Gizmo... but I'll keep him too.)

I have a big long list of gifts I went ga-ga over, but in an effort to be not completely irritating, I'll refrain... for now. I reserve the right to reference said gifts in future posts, but only for purely journalistic purposes, I assure you. I hope everyone had a fun and bountiful holiday season, and that you all got to spend this time with your favorite people. Oh, and feel free to share what your favorite moments/gifts from the holidays were in the comments - I love hearing about presents!


posted at 09:11 PM

December 26, 2006

Misadventures in Puppysitting

Erik and I have been staying at my brother's apartment and puppysitting since Saturday morning. The puppy's name is Astro, and while he was just as cute as could be earlier in the day on Saturday, by that night he had morphed into the devil-dog we now know him as.

See, Astro is a biter. Sure, it might just be playful puppy-play, but this kid's got teeth on him. Sharp teeth. Tiny, razor-sharp sharklike teeth that want nothing else than to sink into human flesh. We have browsed through all of the dog-training books that Kevin has available - stuff like The Simple Guide to Labrador Retrievers, and Puppies for Dummies. Everything we read we try - and unfortunately, everything we try fails. At that point the books recommend seeking out professional help. Ha.

It's probably just the fact that his real Mommy and Daddy are frolicking up in Canada, enjoying their holiday. Erik and I have come to the conclusion that this dog really just doesn't like us, and wants them back post haste. No matter how many hours we spend throwing him kibble, tennis balls and various chew toys, allowing him to run and fetch and run back full-speed into us, or how often we praise him for relieving himself in the proper areas (I now hear "Good Potty!" repeated over and over as I'm trying to fall asleep - a nice counterpoint to the puppy's relentless barking and whimpering as we're settling in for bed), the little monster just can't bring himself to refrain from drawing blood.

These few days, we have laughed in disbelief, wept in hopelessness, and questioned our historically successful abilities as caretakers to animals. The timeouts aren't working. No punitive measures seem to have any diminishing effect on his need to lunge forward and bite whatever bit of body part he fixes on. We feel as though we are failing...

But...


Erik and Astro in better times, with Flickr Santa Hat embellishment

He's really, really cute when he's sleeping. That seems enough to keep us here for now. Only a few more days until Kevin and his wife return, and believe me, the countdown has begun.


posted at 08:20 PM

December 22, 2006

A Christmas Miracle

Thanks to the gracious offer of a wonderful co-worker to cover for me, I will again be able to leave early today. Woot!


posted at 01:59 PM | comments (1)

Bah Humbug.

So it looks like I won't be able to leave early as originally presumed. Not because my workload is heavy, as ALL of my clients are leaving at 2pm, but because - well, I don't want to say. Not on a publicly-accessible website. Suffice it to say I am very, very disappointed and feel like a select few (3 out of about 20+ schedulers) are being treated unfairly.

So now back to hours and hours and hours of Solitaire.


posted at 11:58 AM

Keeping Myself Entertained

It's the Friday before the Christmas holiday break here at work (next Monday and Tuesday off - woohoo!), and things so far have been... quiet. Oh, there's a flurry of chatting going on around the office, but not a lot of work happening. I have yet to receive any phone calls or emails. Bear in mind, I'm not complaining! It's my hope that today is stress-free and goes by in a flash.

My car is out in the company parking lot filled with wrapped Christmas presents and luggage. I'm not off to anywhere terribly exotic... unless you think Sherman Oaks fits that bill (though some of you from Simi might be inclined to think that way). My brother Kevin and his wife Cindi are flying up to Calgary (in Canada! Do they celebrate Christmas in Canada??) as I type this, and they're leaving their 12-week-old labrador puppy in the care of Erik and myself for 7 days. {{shakes head}} Silly people!

I should be able to leave work early in order to get over to their apartment, get settled in (the puppy is with other friends of theirs until tomorrow morning, which is a nice reprieve), and then head to what should be a fantastic dinner in celebration of Erik's grandpa Burt's birthday.

But in the meantime I'm here at work. Waiting. Counting down the hours. I have done at least one useful thing this morning, however. I logged into my web hosting account to check my stats. See, since I've started updating my MP3 of the Day, I've been a bit worried about going over my allowed bandwidth every month. MP3s are fairly large in file-size for a little site like my own, and downloads can really add up. I'm not really too worried about it, because I have a healthy perspective on the low, low readership I maintain, but it never hurts to be enlightened about usage.

I noticed that one of the photos on my site has been getting a LOT of hits. Like, thousands! That's pretty strange. Here's the popular image. Nothing really exciting right? Well, according to Yahoo! image search it's the 4th most popular image when you search for the term "music". Neat! The problem? People are using them on their sites and linking to them from my site directly. That means that whenever someone looks at their site, my bandwidth gets used. Sneaky, huh?

I can't fault them too much. Web newbies often do so without even understanding the implications. Basically, it's a no-no. I'm not going to link to those sites which are committing this "webcrime" against me (for fear of attracting even MORE bandwidth usage), not yet at least. No, see, I have a sneaky idea of my own.

What I'm going to do is change the name of the linked file so that it no longer is attached to those websites (change it from "music.jpg" to something like "musicscreen.jpg"). And I will create a new image on my site with the existing "music.jpg" filename. Thus the image that shows up on their site is no longer the original, but whatever I decide to have it display. Hee hee hee. This is where the fun begins.

I don't want to be too severe. I know that, historically, some sites that have fallen victim to the image-jacking have replaced the photos with something vulgar, like pornography. But it's the season for good cheer. Not pornography. And I think I'll just put something up that helps, um, EXPLAIN the error of their ways... and it will have a very, very small file size.


posted at 09:31 AM

December 13, 2006

christmas time is here. happiness and cheer.

My blogging discipline has died a terrible death, however this morning I was motivated enough to change my banner to the tried-and-true holiday-themed one you see above. I love Christmas-time. I love Christmas music, I love all those terrible television commercials with people dressed up in scarves and gloves, frolicking in fake snow and flogging everyone to BUY BUY BUY. I love fretting over what to BUY BUY BUY for those closest to me, and I equally love wondering what will be under the Christmas tree with my name written on it.

See, for me, Christmas isn't about Jesus's birthday. It's not a religious holiday in the slightest, from my perspective. Or maybe it's a religion of a different sort. For me, it's about recreating the wonder I had as a child - waking up to find a bicycle from Santa Clause, or unwrapping a much-desired Etch-A-Sketch and playing with it ALL WEEK LONG, enraptured by its magical properties, or watching for a parent's reaction to the weird pottery thing I bought for them (with money they gave me) from the annual holiday sale located in my elementary school's library.

Let me not forget the all-important element of decoration to the holiday. I remember the warmth of the illumination provided by the festive lights against a backdrop of green needles and tinsel, when only they and the fire in the fireplace lit the room the night before Christmas. I remember how safe and warm I felt in the living room, drooling just thinking about the bounty to be had the next morning, as we set out cookies and milk for the big red guy.

I've been lax about being decorative lately. Sure, I have the Charlie Brown Pathetic Tree, and I have the complete set of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer figurines - but they're still boxed and bagged and dusty, no doubt. I guess I don't really feel like I'm in a place now where I can make Christmas time my own yet. I crave being able to have my own place, to go out and get a tree, to decorate it and the (likely) small room holding it - I crave being able to turn down the lights and turn up the Chipmunks Christmas album, or to sit and watch the holiday classics on DVD that I've dutifully purchased, waiting for the chance to relax by a fire and eat gingerbread cookies cuddled up next to the one I love.

That's not quite here yet. And while I enjoy the Christmases of the recent past and present, there's this ideal that I find myself waiting for. But I think I'm really close, closer than I've ever been... so hope is not lost. For this year, I will keep my favorite holiday music close at hand, keep my favorite people closer, and be happy, because that's what it's all about.


posted at 09:17 AM | comments (1)

November 07, 2006

Beat down and exhausted

Is the title substantial enough to get the point across? Actually writing text in this post seems so.... hard! I feel like I'm in the midst of a small war - one with a number of close battles that leave me feeling beaten down.

Work has been rough. I went through a lot these last few weeks in dealing with whether or not to take another job offer. It was one of the most difficult decisions I've ever had to make. The stress of it has worn me down into a small nub. That's what I feel like right now - an insignificant nub of who I am. I decided to stay in my current job - with a goal of doing a mysterious something else within the company in the near future - knowing that down the line it may all be for naught anyhow. For now, I sit here, with various client woes, having actual fear responses to bullying and other various work-related "issues", leaving my stomach in a series of knots and me tired, sullen, sleepy, continually close to tears.

There are aspects to this time in my life that I will absolutely treasure in the future, I know it. There are huge decisions being placed squarely on mine and my loved-one's shoulders that I feel will ultimately be character-building. And I will remember this time of not-knowing, of being on a precipice, fondly -- I'll recall it with a romanticism I'm not close to being capable of even tolerating at the moment. I find myself at such great heights of pride and glee and excitement for what's to come, only to be followed by a pit of gnawing despair and second-guessing and worry and hesitance. If my hair isn't fully grayed by this time next year I will be amazed.


posted at 11:01 AM | comments (1)

October 10, 2006

On Not Bringing My Camera To Work

This morning has been rough. I woke late after having been plagued by nightmares of failure at work. Nothing special there. After dragging myself out of bed I realized that I was likely to be even later than I suspected in my morning schedule, as my car required more fuel to get me from home to work. While gassing up I inspected the beverage and snack food aisles of the station's mini-mart, but left empty-handed, finding nothing that looked even remotely appetizing.

The freeway was blissfully free of traffic jams. On the way in I briefly considered taking a drive through the McDonald's drive-thru for breakfast - but the mere idea of a Sausage and Egg McMuffin caused my stomach to bubble with resentment. I arrived to work early, and took the chilly walk from the parking structure to my office building.

By then I had decided my appetite would have to be satiated by a toasted English Muffin purchased from the Backlot Cafe, a mere hop, skip and jump (well, about a minute's walk) from my cubicle. So after safely clocking in, I meandered back out into the chilled air of the Universal City morning. The line at the Cafe wasn't completely ridiculous, so I decided to wait it out at the end of a line of rough-looking grips.

It was then I noticed a large truck, complete with a big metal trailer with air vents, parked across the street in front of Stage 27. At its side was a pair of crew guys babytalking through one of the vents. A moment later a man slides open the trailer's side door, and, slowly, out walks a pair of elephants.

A Pair of elephants...

They were cuter than cute, and they drew attention from all passersby. As soon as the second one slowly, carefully emerged from the truck, they were led away in line, the second one grasping with his trunk the tail of his front female companion. They were joined by a second trainer from behind, and each trainer wielded a frightening-looking metal stick - which I presumed to be some sort of taser in case the animals decided to behave in a manner unbecoming of a trained elephant.

The sight of possible torture-sticks disheartened me, but that quickly passed as I saw the trainers corral the elephants to an adjacent area of the parking lot in front of the stage, and proceed to carefully groom them. A slight touch of the hand to a rear leg and the elephant lifted their foot back for the trainer. A hand motion, and the elephant would step forward and lower himself to the ground for a back-brushing.

The elephants had to look their best, as they were preparing to be filmed. They're shooting the Bruce Almighty sequel, Evan Almighty (starring Steve Carell as a modern-day Noah, tasked with building an Ark) here at the lot, and we've been seeing all sorts of crazy animals being trotted out to the stage: camels, giraffes, a baby chimp, even some yak!

The normally gruff, cynical people on the lot melted and turned into big kids around these wonderfully out-of-place animals. Burly men were out in the street taking snapshots with their cameraphones, and drivers drove past with huge grins plastered to their faces, necks craning to preserve the view as long as possible. As I stood watching all of this, waiting to order my English Muffin, I quietly chided myself for not keeping my point-and-shoot digital camera with me at all times. Otherwise I'd be able to end this post with an indescribably cute photo of some elephants. But I'm not. I'm sorry.


posted at 09:36 AM | comments (1)

September 21, 2006

Back from Mammoth

A few hours ago Erik dropped me off at the family compound after five deliciously-relaxing days spent at a lakeside cabin in Mammoth Lakes, CA. We explored some of the local lakes, went on a brief hike to see the Devil's Postpile National Monument, avoided driving over the local wildlife, spent a day reading and napping, ate a lot of rich food and took the scenic gondola up to the top of Mammoth Mountain.

Firing up the iBook back at home, I thought I would feel overwhelmed by the wealth of email, news and blog posts to catch up on. Interestingly, besides the revelation of Britney's new baby's name and some business about a detainee bill, there was nothing much to read about. It's as if the world stopped for those days while Erik and I convalesced in the mountains. Nice.

Photos to come available to browse here. And maybe an additional anecdote or two. Right now I'm going to finish reading a book.


posted at 07:07 PM

September 15, 2006

Ridiculously Itchy

Oh man. Oh man oh man oh man. Please make it stop.

Yesterday I noticed a number of bites (accompanied by merciless itchiness) on my left arm. Knowing I was in for a rough day I took a Claritin, because, whatever it is that bit me, I'm terribly allergic to its venom / saliva / whatever. The bites are red, swollen, hot to the touch. And remarkably large. They seem to get larger as the days pass.

Last night, knowing that sleep wouldn't be easy when one is constantly compelled to scratch, I took some Benadryl, and dozed off quite nicely... but this morning... oh dear lord, it's horrible! The Claritin will take a wee bit of time to kick in, but damn, the urge to scratch is overwhelming me. My whole left arm feels hot and bumpy and I just.... need... to... scratch!!!!


posted at 07:04 AM

September 11, 2006

Doing more with my money

I think the thing that most makes me feel like an "adult" is having to manage my money. I make an "okay" living and I'm living with my father, both which allow me to fund my savings account regularly. Well-disciplined savings is not something that I took up until 2004, when I started saving up for my MINI Cooper, and of course I should have started sooner, but now I've hit a threshold that I feel pretty proud about.

But unfortunately, my money's been accumulating in a low-interest earning, basic credit union savings account. I just looked the rate up online and it's a pathetic 0.91% APY. In the last year I've had a few conversations about some of the online banking companies - the ones that aren't necessarily brick-and-mortar, and pass those savings along to their customers with higher interest yields. Just this weekend Erik mentioned Emigrant Direct. They're currently offering a 5.15% rate. Oh, and that's with a $1 minimum - and did I mention there were no fees?

I checked Emigrant Direct against ING Direct, and while ING seems to have a slicker online interface, the rates are lower - and right now my focus is on earning as much with the money I've saved up as I possibly can. And in addition to several people Erik works with, Suze Orman also recommends it, and I have faith in her recommendations.

For the uninitiated, here's how the online savings companies work (specifically Emigrant Direct, but they're all pretty much the same):

My new Emigrant Direct savings account is linked up to my regular personal checking account (I'm going to need to transfer most of my savings from my credit union account to the checking account to get it to the Emigrant account, but that's really just a walk across the street for me - no big deal at all). Once the funds are available in my checking account I can go online and set up the transfer on the Emigrant website. The transfer takes about 2 business days, and then that amount of money is not available for withdrawal for another 5 business days, but that's not a problem for me, either.

If I ever need to access the funds that are in the Emigrant account, I just go back online and set up a transfer from them back to my personal checking account. Again, this only takes a couple of days. A 5.15% APY (which, for Emigrant Direct is compounded DAILY and paid out on the last day of every month) means about an extra $42 per month on an initial deposit of $10,000. That's free money, right there. Taxable, of course, but free.

I can't believe I haven't set this up earlier. I think, like most, it seemed too good to be true, so I was waiting for the whole online savings thing to become more established. And, you know, it's FDIC insured, so there's really nothing super-bad that can happen with the money. So if you have a stash of money in a low-interest regular bank savings account, you might want to look at some other options out there.


posted at 11:21 AM | comments (1)

September 01, 2006

dum dee dum


Make your own custom cassette here.

At work we're supposed to have half-days the Friday before a holiday. This has changed for my department since the 4th of July weekend, unfortunately. So now, the rest of the studio has left, including most of my clients, as well as about half the workforce within our department, because at the last moment the bosses decided to let people fight amongst themselves as to who could leave early and who had to stay as a backup.

Guess who lost the thumb war?

So I'm sitting here, polishing off a few final orders and then waiting for the phone to ring. Who wants to bet it doesn't ring? It's an excruciating wait for the end of the day to get here when things are this slow. Well, at least I'll get a lot of browsing done. If I can find anything interesting to browse. *Sigh*


posted at 02:18 PM | comments (1)

August 29, 2006

Resurrection

I'm back.

Posting after you've been silent for awhile is really awkward.

A lot has gone down in the months I've been absent. I think the posting came to a halt when my Uncle Lou tragically died in a plane crash in mid May. I've never really had to deal with death before, and 2006 has brought the quick death of my grandpa in March, and the tragic death of an uncle, who left behind my aunt and their three young children. After that sort of stuff happens, sometimes you just lose interest in talking about yourself.

I've also held off on posting because my professional life has been in limbo, and I superstitiously didn't want to jinx anything. I've been trying to make a move at work, and that hasn't panned out - in the most disappointing of ways. I had also been looking at possibilities outside of the company I currently work for - and nothing has come to fruition there, either. All of this job-related stuff has caused a lot of frustration, stress and a general malaise that's lasted too long.

And just recently I had another unfortunate meeting with road debris (this time it was a ROLL OF CARPET) in my MINI, causing it an expensive bit of front-end damage. I'm insured, but my deductible is rather high - and that added a bit of unnecessary financial stress to my already generally-frazzled state. I just received my car back from the body shop (Scott at Prestige Bodyworks in Oxnard came through again!), but now I have some pre-existing issues with the MINI to contend with (weird fan noise, a leaking motor mount, etc.).

In the meantime I've had Erik at my side, being my cheerleader throughout - dealing with all my insane drama and ignoring the girly-bullshit I've been laying on him - and showering me with the love and support I really need right now. These last few weeks have been especially fun. We saw Death Cab for Cutie at the Greek a few weeks back, and followed it up with a trip to Toronto a week later. We have a couple weeks of work left, then we're off to Mammoth for about a week, and then Erik goes back to school - which gets me away from my father on the weekends, and that's GREAT!

So look forward to me posting more frequently. I think I've been missing sharing my thoughts, complaints and other fun, interesting found tidbits with my miniscule loyal readership. :)


posted at 05:55 PM | comments (1)

May 12, 2006

the heartbreak of lost music

A few nights ago I again slipped into a foul mood when I was unable to find a barrage of compact discs that have been missing from my collection for awhile now. When I moved back into my dad's house from the garage in Glendale, I was focused just on getting everything into boxes and I didn't check every CD case to verify its contents. I assumed that some were empty, or had the wrong disc inserted. It was a crazy time, back then, and I never presumed any real damage would be done.

Also, at the time I was driving my much beloved 1983 Honda Civic into the ground. It wasn't only dirty on the outside, but the interior was filthy as well. Lots of mail and papers and caseless CDs littered the front passenger seat. When I finally had moved on enough to give the Honda to charity (i.e., when I was able to get back my pink slip from some company), I cleaned the Honda of its many contents... including a number of CDs.

The problem is that now I cannot locate any of those discs. I've looked high and low in my father's garage. I have a number of boxes stacked up 10-feet high, full of crap that I really need to sort through and toss, and somewhere in that whole mess those CDs must exist.

Last Christmas I spent days loading in the majority of my music collection into my iMac, and I always intended to locate some of those missing discs to get them loaded as well. I find myself now really bothered by the fact that they're missing. These discs include At Last! by Etta James, Lounge-a-Palooza containing tracks from The Flaming Lips, Ben Folds Five, PJ Harvey, Pizzicato Five, Cassandra Wilson and Steve & Eydie, True Love Waits: O'Riley Plays Radiohead, The X-Files: Fight The Future soundtrack, and the Ultra-Lounge Leopard Skin Fuzzy Sampler disc.

Sighhhhhh. I'm sure there are a number of discs that I've forgotten to list. I went to the iTunes Music Store, and while they have some, and not all of the discs, I'm still too cheap to feel good about re-purchasing music that might just be laying around in a box somewhere. Something I also need to figure out is the condition of these discs. Some of the CDs I've come across are unplayable or will not load onto my computer. The soundtrack to The Life Aquatic is among them, as is my ancient copy of Madonna's Like a Prayer album (which I purchased on the date of its release back in 1989).

Maybe someday I'll get a little less frugal and just pickup all of these discs, yet again. But right now I'm just going to sit and stir in my own disappointment... That is, unless any of my friends out there have copies of the above titles they wish to lend me.


posted at 12:51 PM | comments (1)

April 20, 2006

today, on a very special episode of "lack of style"...

This may turn out to be the most interesting post on this blog.

Ever since I can remember, I have associated letters with genders. What? you ask. Well, I have always seemed to just "know" that A is a girl, and B is a girl, and C is a boy, and D is a boy, and E is a boy, and F is a girl...

... I never thought I was crazy or anything for having such an association until I shared it with other people. It's not something I go around telling other people, but it has on a few occasions come up in conversation. It's sort of my "special thing" (besides being able to handwrite cursive backwards with my left hand, and I'm right-handed, but that's a story for another post). But when I tell someone else they seem totally perplexed, whereas for me it just seems so natural, if inexplicable.

Inexplicable until now. Ah, the wonders of the internet, where I can type into the search box "genders of letters" and find a possible reason for my particular, um, eccentricity. What it seems I have is a form of synethesia. Synethesia, in its extreme and most-pronounced form, is when someone, say, smells spaghetti sauce in the air and it triggers them visually seeing some color in front them. Or when a certain musical note is heard, they feel cold and think of the color blue. Or associating a number with a color, always having the same link.

With me, it could potentially be some sort of cultural influence, but when I think of letters (and even numbers, to a certain threshold - though it's not as strong an association - it sort of wanes after I hit 20), I think of genders. And not just cut and dry female or male - I sense their levels of masculinity or femininity, and even certain other personality traits such as being shy, or being bitchy.

To give more detail, when I'm reading words on a page, I don't get bogged down by each letter's (or number's) gender. It's only when contemplating letters individually that the perception comes to the surface.

Not too long ago I was sharing this all with Erik, and he kept asking me what a different letter, or number represented. "Yes, X is a boy. P is still a girl. F is a girl also. 3 is a boy. I don't know why!" Combinations of letters don't seem to do anything for me. The word "boy" (B is a girl, O is a boy, and Y is a girl) isn't feminine to me because it has mainly feminine letters.

There's also no association for Roman Numerals. The number 6 (six), in my perception, is male. However, the Roman numeral "VI" gives off no maleness. Indeed, looking at "VI" looks a bit feminine, abstractly I suppose (though not intrinsically), taking into account that both "V" and "I" are female letters.

Then he was trying to figure out if it was somehow associated with the shape of a letter or number. Not really. The letter A is full of straight lines and is female. The letter T is also straight, and it is male. B (a female) has some curviness within her (heh), but so does C, and he's all boy. Oh, but then A and B both have sectioned-off areas, A having the one middle triangle, and B having the two enclosed semi-circles. But R and D have those two, and they're both male. And to top it off, a letter doesn't change it's gender just because it's been switched to lowercase. H and h are both female, as are Q and q both male.

Perhaps the association came from how I was taught the alphabet. I vaguely remember my kindergarten class having one of those letters banners across the wall associating letters with colorful objects. An apple for A, for example, a boy for B, a dog for D... But I can't really think of why I would associate an apple with girliness. It doesn't seem to have any sort of sex to it at all. Boy seems male, obviously, and a dog could be male or female.

My favorite idea is that actually, when you break all the letters or numbers down into M (male) and F (female) - say, for 0 and 1 - that when you transfer all the letters of some bit of prose, for example, the binary translation would equate into some sort of Galactic Encyclopedia that answers all the questions of the universe. Just like pi in Carl Sagan's Contact. I can't tell you how roll-ey Erik's eyes got when I mentioned that idea.

Unfortunately no, I think it was just some, perhaps, chemically-induced cross-wiring that allowed me to commit the alphabet to memory more quickly, and that wiring never faded away. In my teen years, when I needed to think I was special, I would often think of my "ability" to have such associative "powers". I thought it likened me to geniuses. I thought it made me like Einstein. Other synesthetes are capable of utilizing their sensory quirks for fun stuff, like memorizing the first 500 decimal places of pi or something, but I really have no use for it. It's just some bizarre little factoid about me to bring up in low spots in conversation, or when my ego needs to be stroked.

Don't be afraid to test me on it. I love proving myself. Below is a key you can jot down to test me at random times. I dare ya.

A=Girl, B=Girl, C=Boy, D=Boy, E=Boy, F=Girl,
G=Boy, H=Girl, I=Girl, J=Girl, K=Girl, L=Girl,
M=Boy, N=Boy, O=Boy, P=Girl, Q=Boy, R=Boy,
S=Boy, T=Boy, U=Boy, V=Girl, W=Boy, X=Boy,
Y=Girl, Z=Boy. 0=Boy, 1=Girl, 2=Boy, 3=Boy,
4=Girl, 5=Boy, 6=Boy, 7=Girl, 8=Girl, 9=Boy.


posted at 09:23 PM | comments (6)

April 19, 2006

i can do it. meh.

I woke up from a dream this morning (involving a Hard Rock Cafe being built within Disneyland, and they had a Flintstones kiddie-ride tie-in on the site, but they weren't playing the Flintstones theme, instead they were playing the song from Fraggle Rock...) in a fit of spastic coughing. It happens from time to time. It's as if drool runs down the wrong pipe, and my reflex springs into action, making my eyes watery while I'm trying to cough it up out of my lungs. It's really a horrible experience - some of you have been unfortunate enough to witness these fits. Sometimes they end embarrassingly (i.e., I vomit into your trashcan).

I should have known that the majority of my day would proceed exactly like that. It's only 10:15am (oh my GAWD, it seems like a lot longer!), and already I've been reacting to several rushes and hiccups at work in the very same spasmotic fashion. See, it's pilot season, so all these prospective productions and hawking their shows to a mess of executives, and I've been tasked with handling their DVD screeners. Oh, and my bosses have also tasked me with handling the scheduling of our brand new digital theater (first screening is today!), and the protocols for scheduling and billing this work has not yet been figured out.

All this while I'm in the middle of coordinating the finish of a problematic direct-to-video feature title, and of course, taking care of all my REGULAR clientele. No wonder I'm breaking down almost every day. Monday was alright. I left just after 7pm feeling really proud of how I handled all the craziness of the day. Yesterday I teared up merely once, after finding out that one of my sessions had been bumped to another room at a later time, effing up everything booked on the title behind it. It will get better, but it's going to be a few weeks of torturous craziness. The weekends are my only respite right now.

away they go
Seagulls leaving the pier at sunset.

Last weekend was great - spent Saturday relaxing, reading and watching Erik work. Then we hit a nearby Goleta beach to take some photos on the pier. It got really windy and chilly out there, so by the time we got back to Erik's MINI, we were ready for some grub. We hit up the local Chili's restaurant and I partook in some yummy soft tacos and a (GASP!) alcoholic beverage!! The Calypso Cooler - it was pretty yummy and left me just slightly buzzed.

vibrance
Flowers in Erik's Mom's garden

Sunday we woke late, got some brunch at Del Taco, and ventured down to Erik's family's house in Studio City for their Easter celebration. I'm not a fan of ham, as a general rule, but his mom's ham just rocked. And his family is so warm, and nice, and inviting that I couldn't NOT have a good time. And after playing around with his gigantic Nazi-dog German Shepherd, Gus, I've found that he's not quite as Nazi-ish as I figured. Just really, really slobbery.


posted at 10:12 AM

April 14, 2006

waiting for the day to be over

I'm stuck here in a quiet office where the phone isn't ringing and no clients are sending emails. It's Good Friday, and while a majority of the studio and unions have the day off, us schedulers are here, waiting for our phones to ring.

There's a small chance I could get one, maybe two orders today - and they could come in at any time - so I'll have to be here until 6pm. Or maybe 5:30pm. See, because there was no traffic, I flew through the freeways, and went ahead and clocked in at 8:30am. Guess I'll see if the boss approves. Whoa - just got a call. Nice.

It's a gloomy, rainy day today, but I'm not feeling so gloomy myself. For the first time this week (several weeks, actually) I'm feeling a bit relaxed about being here at work. Obviously, today is yielding a relaxed atmosphere, but I'm looking ahead to the weekend with a great deal of glee. I was going to give Erik a break this weekend to let him focus on school stuff, and just stay down here, maybe go out shopping for some new clothes (a twice-annual occurrence, tops).

But who am I kidding? I can't resist seeing him when any opportunity arises. I've packed a book to read, and I'm still planning on going out (by myself if need be) to do some much-needed shopping, so I'll be able to give him at least a bit of a break. Then on Sunday we're gonna head down to L.A. again to hang out with his family for the Easter holiday. It'll be nice.

So, that's it. I'm feeling "nice" right now, which is a welcome break from my recent norm of chronic despair.


posted at 10:08 AM

April 04, 2006

marginally alive, not so well

Everything was fine on Saturday. Just splendid! Woke up early to go to a MINI-club breakfast in Malibu with Erik. Then we drove down to L.A. for a group trip to the Petersen Auto Museum on Wilshire. Then we stopped for lunch on the way back at California Pizza Kitchen. Then we got back to my house and watched some "French & Saunders" and some "Freaks & Geeks". Really, the day could not have gone any better.

Sunday morning my belly started making all these crazy noises. Shortly thereafter it decided to seize up, violently, every few minutes, leaving me writhing on my bed in pain. Erik, who was to leave in the midday to head back up to school, was instead left to watch over me. I tried Pepto-Bismol. No help at all. Might have even been a bad thing, 'cuz it sorta clogged me up. I had the diarrhea, and some severe stomach cramps, and an urge to just die.

My stomach was hella-loud, so we thought maybe Alka-Seltzer might help. Erik went out to the kitchen to grab some, and with my family's help, they gave him a packet and a glass of water. It wasn't until I have gulped it all down until we realized that it was Alka-Seltzer COLD medicine. No matter. Within a half-hour I was vomiting up that as well as everything in my stomach.

I thought it would be over. Throwing up always tends to make the stomach badness feel better, but oh, was I misled! Erik stayed with me as long as he possibly could, and took off for school later in the evening. I tried to sleep as much as I could. Sleeping was okay, I couldn't feel the pain while I was asleep.

I woke a few times during the night, and when waking up on Monday morning, I immediately felt the cramping grip my stomach. Not good. I called in sick to work, and asked my dad if he could call up his doctor (who at one time had been my doctor as well), and asked if he could make me an appointment, as I didn't want to make the 30-mile trip out to Toluca Lake to go to the health center I normally go to.

Amazingly, the doc said he'd see me that morning, and around 11am I trekked up to his office. I had to wait over an hour to see him, and - wouldn't you know it - the pain that had been making me want to die for the last day decided to quiet itself. No sign of it the entire appointment. But still, my stomach did not disappoint. It was quite loud, and the doc gave me some samples of an antacid medicine, and prescribed me medication for the pain, but noted I shouldn't fill it unless the pain continued.

He thought I had some sort of stomach virus that would just go away on its own. BUT. During the examination, he pushed on my gallbladder and it hurt. A lot. That worried him a bit, and he said if the pain didn't go away to come back, 'cuz he'd need to do an ultrasound in case I had any gall stones. Fun!

Anyhow, I thought I was going to be okay yesterday, but when I got home and made myself some chicken noodle soup, the pain started up again. I was woken up throughout the night by the pain, and was so tired and dehydrated and weak this morning that I decided again to call in sick. Not eating is the best way to not feel the pain, and yet I have to eat something. I've been rocking the saltine crackers today, highlighted with some 7-Up. I feel stronger, but the pain still shoots forward from time to time.

As stressful as work is right now, I REALLY don't like missing it by being sick. The idea of being in pain and having to call in again scares me. And it really shouldn't. So, I need to think about getting this pain med prescription filled and think about at what point I give the doc another call.


posted at 06:22 PM | comments (1)

March 31, 2006

warpath

Something has either been switched on or switched off in me for the last month or so, because I've become a moody, irritable, crazy person. I've been whining and complaining about everything to anyone within earshot about my job, or my commute, or my relationship, or my woeful life in general... and really... there's nothing particularly wrong with any of it.

I think I'm actually going through a mild depression, perhaps spurred on by my grandpa's death earlier this month. I'm finding the relatively-small challenges I face on a day-to-day basis to be much harder to deal with lately. Work is almost intolerable. Over the past few days I've nearly broken down, on a number of occasions, when things got rough. The problems I face in the job seem worse now than ever, but that's probably a side-effect from my current state of mind.

Last night I went bonkers when, after walking into the house to the delicious smells of roast beef and carrots and some pasta-type stuff, I found that there was none left for me. I arrived about ten minutes later than I normally do, and they went and ate my portion. I just lost it. I stampeded to my room like an insufferably-cranky toddler and sat with an angry frown for about a half-hour.

Of course Erik tried to cheer me up over iChat, but I wasn't having any of it. Poor Erik has had to suffer the brunt of my moodiness. My mind, because obviously it has nothing particularly better to do, has been coming up with all sorts of bizarre notions it perceives as problems in our relationship, and Erik has had to politely listen and delicately assure me that it's all bullshit. And that only makes me more upset because I feel like my issues are putting a strain on us, and I worry about when he's going to run, screaming, away from me. All bullshit, but I'm trying to illustrate the ugly cycle.

Bah. I just wish I could snap out of it, but I know it doesn't work like that. I think, well, maybe if I get out of the house on the weekends I can do the things that energize me: drive, take photos, hang out with Erik, etc. But I'm not getting the same fun out of that that I would normally get. We spent last Saturday doing a Terry Gilliam movie marathon, and then went for an adventurous drive on Sunday through the Angeles National Forest - but during the movies I was falling asleep, and I didn't feel the same spark or longing to take pictures on Sunday. The drive didn't really invigorate me, it just left me tired.

So yeah, I'm going through some stuff, and I don't quite know when or how I'll turn it around. But I know I will. I just embarrassingly have to ask that everyone just bear with me for now, I'll be back to my old self in a bit.


posted at 11:41 AM | comments (3)

March 30, 2006

randomness

Just a few nuggets of fun to give you something to read this morning:

- I've managed to work myself up to the "Hard" level at Web Sudoku, after scoring in the top 4% of the previous levels. You know a game is officially addictive when your boss happens upon you playing during some of your downtime at work, and the proceeds to chat with you about how cool it is.

- I had the good fortune to be amused this morning by a co-worker giving another co-worker a completely false lesson in randomness and/or chaos theory. They're all playing some online fantasy baseball game (lots of games being played over here, apparently), and there's a lottery involved. One player chose all sequential numbers, and this other co-worker was expounding on how that was a stupid move, as the chances of sequential numbers coming up were less-likely than more randomly-selected numbers... *Sigh* I'm no Einstein, but even I know that there's just as much chance of sequential numbers coming up as there is for non-sequential numbers.

- This morning I received an email from... myself... that I sent via FutureMe.org two years ago. This website allows you to compose an email to any email address (presumably your own), and it will send it to you on the date you request - any date in the future: tomorrow, next week, in two years, or in twenty. Here's what I sent myself on March 30, 2004:

Dear FutureMe,
You were lying in bed. You were watching "Design on a Dime" on HGTV and struggling to remain full after eating a Lean Cuisine and a couple of pudding cups after dinner.

Bob S. was just fired at work on Friday. You were a bit slow, but things were picking up. Your hair was in desperate need of shorning. Are you happier? How many more DVDs have you bought? Do you have a new car yet? How about that MiniCooper you craved so desperately? Has the love passed?

Are you still living in the garage? I hope you are more content, and have traveled some."

Let's see: I am happier, much more, yes. I don't have an exact count, but I figure I probably have twenty to thirty more DVDs than I had then. I do have a new car, and YES! it's that MINI Cooper I had been fawning over endlessly. No love lost there. No, I am not still living in that garage, thank goodness. And yes, I have traveled "some".


posted at 09:10 AM | comments (2)

March 27, 2006

she wants revenge

A little over a week ago, Erik and I were talking about some of the music on the current KROQ playlist, and he mentioned that ubiquitous "Tear You Apart" song played just about once or twice an hour on the local alternative radio station. It was an interesting song, but I hadn't given it much thought besides thinking "Oh. Interpol has a new single out. I'm so excited. Not."

So when Erik mentioned that he thought it was actually this other band, She Wants Revenge, I scoffed at the implausability of a guy sounding so much like that guy who sings for Interpol. But then again, that guy from Interpol sounds just like that dude from Joy Division ("Love Will Tear Us Apart") who died probably before Erik was even conceived (note: I looked it up - he HAD died before Erik was conceived - I feel dirty!).

A quick trip to the Apple Music Store solved the mystery, and we sampled some tracks from their debut self-titled album She Wants Revenge. I immediately liked what I heard, and made a mental note to investigate further. Over this past weekend we caught their second single on KROQ, "These Things", and my interest was further piqued.

This evening I decided to bite the bullet and actually purchase their album from iTunes, and for the last two hours I've been listening to it over and over. And I am in love!

shewantsrevenge.jpg

A lot of attention has been paid to how much his band sounds like Joy Division and Interpol, and how they're the New Wave-revival du jour, but there's so much more 80's music history in these guys' music. I never really listened to much of that Ian Curtis (or Ian Curtis-inspired) stuff, so upon my first listens, I picked up, instead, bits of The Cure, The Eurythmics, Sonic Youth... even Wham! The beats had me dancing in my chair, and the keyboard stuff was engaging on all sorts of levels. People, derivative does not have to be a dirty word. And this derivative stuff WORKS. For me, at least.

Current fave tracks include "Monologue" - yes, it's a song about sadomasochism, but it's so damned fantastic I want to pee my pants from sheer glee. The stuff that's going on during the instrumental bridge (at 3:08 into the song) makes me love life even more than before I heard it - currently on repeat; "Disconnect" - a two-and-a-half minute meditation through a chorus pedal. Really lovely; and "These Things" - the latest single in rotation on the alternative rock stations.


posted at 09:05 PM | comments (1)

March 21, 2006

send me an odeo!

So I was browsing the net during dinner tonight, and I stumbled upon this entry over at the Flickr blog. It was this guy's birthday, and there was a link where, if your computer has a built-in (or plugged-in as well, I imagine - whoa, you can even record it via a phone) microphone, you could SING him "Happy Birthday!", and he'd get it.

Well, I'm not in the habit of singing to random strangers (or to anyone actually - if you've heard me sing it means I either love you, or hate you, very very much), so I decided to just check out Odeo on its own merits. It seems really cool, it's like an online voicemail - and it's free!

So, I've decided I'm gonna give this thing a twirl. I encourage ALL of my readers (even any of you non-existent lurkers) to send me an Odeo!

Send Me A Message

(P.S.- I'm hoping to create a little comment doohickey on all my posts so you can respond in either the typed word, or via Odeo - yay for technology!)


posted at 08:02 PM

this and that

The woes of work have me feeling really on edge today, but it might have something to do with the fact that I had such a splendid weekend hanging out with Erik, and the contrast is so evident that it leaves me bitter sitting here at my work desk.

After a long lunch at the local Goleta McDonald's Restaurant on Saturday, we spent some time at Borders Books searching for some French & Saunders DVDs (heh heh, I've got Erik hooked!), and picked up one of those and the new DVD release of Miyazaki's animated classic, My Neighbor Totoro (a definite recommendation if you haven't already seen it). We then took in a mid-day viewing of the film V For Vendetta. While it wasn't the best movie I've seen in awhile, it was entertaining enough. We got back to his room and watched the newly-acquired DVDs and ate pizza. Doesn't get much better than that.

Sunday we woke late and headed out for a little photo-taking afternoon. This led us to a variety of places just above Santa Barbara, including a quick walk up to Nojoqui Falls off Alisal Road (off the 101), a short drive through Solvang, a ubiquitous visit to the Ostrich Farm near Buellton, and a trip up a new road (to us, at least) on the coast just north of Gaviota State Beach.

erik shoots ostrich
Erik shooting an ostrich

As you can see (both above and here on my Flickr page), I'm having a lot of fun with my new Canon DSLR camera. I shot something around 450 photos on Sunday, and even after deleting the obviously blurred or unusable ones before loading them to my iMac, I still ended up uploading over 300. Yet I only posted around 16.

This photography thing is just as difficult as I imagined it would be. Composing a shot isn't too hard for me, as I believe I have an eye for at least that, but figuring out proper exposure settings and post-processing for the desired online effect still remain a bit of an unwieldy mystery to me. Why try? Because every once in a while I get that single spectacular shot that I want to make everyone look at. It fills me with such a warm sense of pride - something I don't get from anything else.


posted at 02:44 PM

March 15, 2006

Shooting forward

I made a conscious decision not to post at all for the past week. Dealing with my Grandpa's death has been one of those "whoa, I'm an adult" experiences, and I think I got through the worst of it alright. Today was the day after his funeral, and I only teared up once. It's been an incredibly difficult couple of weeks, but I think I would have been far worse off if I didn't have a great guy there for me. Erik made me laugh when all I wanted to do was be morose, and he hugged me when I needed to just cry all over his shirt.

Speaking of him being such a great guy, I came home this evening with a surprise package on my bed. Erik went and bought me the one lens that I really, really, really wanted for my new Rebel XT camera - the Canon 50mm f/1.8 II lens.

matt bites guitar (2)
one of my first shots with the new lens

I have a number of Flickr faves that have been shot using this lens, and some of the first shots I took really stood out as being more within my aesthetic than anything else I've shot. I can't wait for the weekend when I can run around taking shots of E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. If any of my friends or family out there want to be models, I'm taking volunteers - cuz portraiture is one of my favorite things ever.

So, because I'm so proud of them, I encourage you to have a gander at some of my first shots with the new lens. Feel free to tell me they suck, but also let me know how they might improve.

Oh, and THANK YOU ERIK!!!


posted at 09:44 PM | comments (2)

March 08, 2006

grandpa

grandpa, 1935-2006
Rodolfo "Rudy" Fierro Marrero, 1935-2006

My grandpa died today at 12:55pm as a result of a fast-acting lung cancer, diagnosed less than a month ago. I'm not good enough with words to be able to do this man the justice he deserves. Suffice it to say: he was my grandpa, and I loved him so much, and I'm really going to miss him.


posted at 10:09 PM | comments (6)

February 27, 2006

I have a hobby!

Because I don't get to spend every waking hour with Erik, I find I have a lot of down-time on the weeknights. More specifically, besides the occasional Netflix rental to watch or trip to the YMCA, my focus has been centered on missing Erik - and that needs to stop before I drive us both batty.

As I had mentioned previously, Erik and I had been obsessing over acquiring DSLR's, and on Saturday morning we drove out to Canoga Camera in Canoga Park and spent, geez, a couple hours probing the mind of our helpful (and patient!) salesperson, Josh, checking out the 20D and the 350D. We both walked out with a matching set of Canon 350D Digital Rebel XTs (black, not silver!), and Erik even sprung for some additional lenses.

Studying
My first posted shot with my new Canon Digital Rebel XT... OF ERIK!!

So now I have something else to focus on, freeing Erik from my ridiculously annoying "I Miss You!" IM's throughout the evening, so that he can focus on his grad school coursework. Now I have the 350D's manual to become acquainted with - to learn how to change the various, and overwhelming, number of settings I have at my disposal, and how changing them will affect the photo.

Also, I bought the book Adobe Photoshop 7.0 For Photographers a few years back, when my digital photography interest was at its previous peak. But my interests back then were scattered, and I never really sat down and waded through the massive amount of material therein. Now's my chance! If I plan on becoming a proper Flickr whore, I'm going to need to be able to make my photos sparkle and shine like the best of the rest of them.

Speaking of Flickr - that site has really taken on a new interest to me. The ability to browse photos shot by other 350D owners - find one that's particularly interesting or appealing to me in some way, and then check the jpeg EXIF data*** to find out what aperture and focal length they used, whether they used a flash, how long the shutter stayed open, which exposure bias setting they used - is amazing. The wealth of information there is priceless for a newbie searching for tips and tricks.

So there you have it. If you see me geeking around with my camera strapped around my neck, or uncomfortably squatted-down trying to get a killer shot of some stupid flower, or I bring the camera to dinner and spend the entire night taking a gazillion photos of everyone and everything at the table, PLEASE don't laugh out loud... or smirk... (at least while I'm there - feel free to cackle in my absence) I'm just trying to get my learn on.

***Note: Retrieving the EXIF data is not always that easy - or possible - as maybe the original shot was in RAW format, or the user has somehow blocked this data from being accessed. In this case I'm left hoping that the photographer has tagged the photo with some useful information. Lenstagging is fantastic, and there are even Flickr groups for particular exposure settings such as Aperture Priority.


posted at 12:48 PM | comments (4)

February 24, 2006

current obsession: canon digital rebel xt 350D

Yeah, this is pretty much why I want one.

Erik and I have been talking about cameras. A lot. We spend more time than we should waxing poetic about how awesome getting DSLRs would be - and then one of us will abruptly come to the conclusion that, no, it's not necessary right now. And this sad cycle repeats itself over and over, several times an hour. We also spend hours and hours on the weekends (and weeknights, and at work) browsing the Flickr Interestingness pages, drooling over some of the amazing photos people have taken - wishing it could be us - if we only had a DSLR... It's just not healthy!

So, an additional, though small, raise for me just went through today - retroactive starting from last October. And I've just sent in the paperwork for a nice little tax refund. And I have a $25 Blingo VISA winnings gift card burning a hole in my wallet and a $100 Lowe's gift card that, well, Lowe's doesn't sell cameras - but what I'm trying to say is - if I'm gonna splurge, now's the time.

I've been teeter-tottering between the 350D and the more higher-end Canon 20D. And Canon just announced the successor to the 20D range - the 30D. The 20D (with a cheapo kit lens) is selling for around $1200; the 30D, which won't be out until April or May, will be going for about $1500; and the 350D is selling in the mid-$800s. I'm not really interested in the 30D at this point. But the 20D still has a certain call - even though I've seen many a product of the 350D on Flickr that's just as fantastic-looking as any 20D photo.

*Sigh*

Erik and I have tentative plans to drive out to a local camera shop tomorrow morning to check out some of their stock - play with the cameras, and maybe even a couple of lenses. I'm totally excited about it: I'm contemplating whether or not to shoot in RAW format, I've decided on my first additional lens (the cheapo but universally-adored Canon 50mm f/1.8 II), I'm checking into the differences in speed benchmarks between the SanDisk Ultra II and SanDisk Extreme III Compact Flash cards - basically, I'm getting WAY ahead of myself.

But isn't this what makes a Friday night fun? Or is that just me?

UPDATE: We got one! Each! How dorky are we?


posted at 05:44 PM | comments (4)

February 22, 2006

lucky bitch

Every year, the company I work with requests we take a transportation survey to find out how and when we get to work each day. Last year I filled out the survey and about a week later, received a call that I had won a $50 JC Penney gift certificate. I used it to purchase a new (and awesome) backpack/laptop case.

I figured that was my big lucky break here at ... er... my current place of employment, but perhaps I was wrong. Last week they again sent out the mass email request for us to fill out the survey, and I did so within moments of receiving the email. I get a request, I deal with it as soon as possible - that's just how I roll.

So when the name of the woman who called me last year to notify me of my winnings came up on my caller ID here at my desk, I gladly picked up the receiver. She greeted my kindly, and said "Guess what?" I was confounded! I said, "You're kidding me!", and then we mused on how I had won last year as well. "Well this time's you won the big one. A $100 gift card to Lowe's".

Very cool. Now I just need to figure out what on Earth I could spend $100 on at frickin' Lowe's!


posted at 12:59 PM | comments (1)

February 17, 2006

uh oh, she's back to complain about something trite

Yeah, I've been having a difficult couple of days here at work. This project dropped into our lap on Tuesday night, from a client we already knew had a tendency to hand us crazy projects, and it's been busy days and late nights ever since. I like the challenge of coordinating something as kooky as this, but I could really do without the overwhelmingly-Sisyphean nature of this one.

At every turn we've been met with another setback. Just as soon as we think we've gotten our footing onto a plan that might actually make this stupid thing work, something horrible happens to collapse our hopes, and then something else happens that jumps on the dead remnants of our hopes, pouncing them until they're dust. I want to run away screaming, but I'm bound by certain responsibilities that exclude that sort of behavior. I have to be sane enough to tell the client, with a smile on my face, that everything's going to shit.

But I've been battling through. Staying late doesn't bother me much, especially since I haven't had any fun plans to alter (just a few trips to the gym, darn!), and also because I'm racking up the overtime. Getting meals in is especially difficult - I didn't get lunch until after 2pm yesterday, and I don't know when I'll be having it today. I skipped dinner last night, which perhaps wasn't so wise.

And then there's the headaches. I came home Wednesday with a whopper of a stress-headache, but took two Aleve, ate some pizza, and happily drifted off to sleep. I've got one already today, and I'm trying to figure out where to get relief. Relief will come when this lame project leaves this facility. And that's not going to be for awhile, I fear.


posted at 12:46 PM

February 13, 2006

weekends make my world go round

I was stoked on Friday, as I had picked up a DVD copy of the cable classic Beastmaster, and that night Erik and I were going to be able to watch it together. Huzzah! Nostalgia can be a fleeting thing, however, as I fell into a nice slumber a little over halfway through the film. I was still dazed by the disturbing imagery that had burned into my childhood memory from perhaps twenty or more viewing of the film as a young'un.

Saturday morning we rose early to meet Erik's parents and brother in Summerland for his birthday-celebratory breakfast at the Summerland Beach Cafe. There is nothing better than a hearty breakfast full of engaging conversation. I cannot even imagine my family gathered around a table, eating breakfast, and exchanging pleasantries on a Saturday morning. That's why I've decided I am stealing Erik's family and making them my own. I don't think he'll notice.

Saturday afternoon was spent having a Mars Movie Mini-Marathon, with viewings of both Mission To Mars and Red Planet. Erik and I concur that the latter is the superior of the two. And, when watching that film, I always like to imagine that Val Kilmer is simply playing the grown-up version of the character he played in Real Genius.

After a late lunch and a few hours of catching up on my necessary weekly intake of HGTV (no tv at home is a bitch! I need my Home and Garden Television!!!), we were invited over to a little gathering at one of Erik's friend's house to watch Galaxy Quest. Wait, I used the adjective "little" when referring to the gathering and that's just plain wrong. There were easily 14 or 15 people assembled into a roughly 120-sq. foot area. But don't get me wrong, I had a swell time cackling at a film I never really paid proper attention to before. My mistake.

My stomach was acting up by the time we decided to make our exit. Figuring it was due to not eating in about ten hours, it was remedied with a quick trip to Freeb!rds, Isla Vista's - and possibly the world's - best burrito joint. I am addicted, and I am not afraid to admit it.

I slept in late Sunday morning, and woke to the main title theme of the popular 80's children's cartoon, "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe". Erik had received the first volume DVD set from his parents, and we delighted in watching the first several episodes as the morning ran out. You know, my brother Kevin was the real He-Man fan when we were little kids, but hell, in retrospect it was probably a favorite of mine, too - and damn if it isn't still fun to watch, especially given the rampant opportunities for foul innuendo.

We stumbled out into the streets of Isla Vista a bit later, nearly starved, to grab lunch. Pop Tarts do not a good breakfast make. Erik opted for a Subway sandwich, I was forced by NATURE to again patronize Freeb!rds. It's not my fault! We returned and watched the popular documentary-of-a-joke, The Aristocrats. Pretty funny, though I haven't much to say about it apart from that, really.

We rounded out the weekend watching HGTV, because I have brainwashed Erik into thinking it contains good, entertaining programming. Bwa ha ha ha! Perhaps it's due to my advanced age/stage in life, but I cannot get enough of "House Hunters", or "reZoned", or "I Want That!", among the various other excellent programs the channel offers. /ad for HGTV


posted at 09:54 AM | comments (3)

February 02, 2006

the agony of ambition

**WARNING: Huge post ahead. Sorry, I guess I had a lot to say.**

My work since about 2000 has been in the more administrative side of the movie and tv business. Before that, I had studied television production in college, and even went to audio school for an intensive six-month program. After schooling I worked at a couple audio facilities.

My first gig landed me as an "assistant" at a small, scary audio studio run by frightening scientologists. All that inherent drama aside, there I trained under a mixer and editor, learning the ins and outs of various audio and video decks, the two different computer audio systems (including ProTools - where my love of all-things Mac began), the mics and the mixing boards. I assisted in ADR ("looping"/voice re-recording) sessions, and was a favorite of all my clients. I was fast, and good, and loved the kind of work I was doing. They slowed up, and various weird management stuff was going as well, and they laid me off.

Then I got a job at West Productions, a bigger audio facility that worked on shows like "The X-Files", and "The Practice". The mixers and editors there were Emmy-award winners. It was also a union-shop. I gladly took the job as a runner because I knew I had the skills to move up in this growing facility. Nearly three years went by and I got no higher than the title of Vault Manager. Why?

Well, it was a union shop. It's very difficult to move up in a union shop when you're hired into a job outside the union's jurisdiction. It's fucked up in a few ways, but it has it's place. I worked damn hard at that facility, spent my nights and weekend sitting next to editors in their work bays, and staying after on my shift to hang out while the mixes were happening. My job as a Vault Manager wasn't really all I was doing.

In reality, I was doing the job of an Assistant Editor (a union position) as well - loading elements into the Digital Audio Workstations, preparing the workstations on the stages the night before a mix was to start, formatting and maintaining the external storage drives, blah blah blah. When I asked the boss to bump me up to an Apprentice Editor job - almost the absolute lowest rung of the union ladder - he scoffed and flew off the handle, accusing me of trying to blackmail him. He had some issues.

Anyways, time passed, and I stayed there, always in the hopes that the tide would turn and I'd be given the opportunity I felt I earned and deserved. The admonition by the boss left me less-than-excited, however, and I decided to keep my options open and start taking some night classes at the local college. Having a degree couldn't hurt. And then the management of the company split - the President left with another key management figure - taking several shows with them. Layoffs were the talk of the entire facility. Everyone told me I would be the last one to go, in conversation. But I was the second one laid off. I was devastated.

I got calls from a few of the editors in the days following my layoff. They all were showing their support, offering to help me in any way they could. And a few days after that I got a call from the old scheduler at the facility, asking me to come help her as an assistant scheduler. It was at a decidedly larger company - this one working on major release motion pictures - not just television. They agreed to work around my school schedule, and I needed money to survive, so I took the job.

About a week later, I got a call from a producer from one of the tv shows they had worked on at the previous facility. He was going to start working on a new show for the WB called "Angel", and he wanted me as his production assistant. I politely declined, informing him that I had already committed to a new job. Potentially. Worst. Mistake. Ever.

This new facility was fairly tumultuous. The old scheduler (the Director of Operations at the new place) who called me on ended up kind of going a little loopy and quitting altogether. This left them with only me to do any of the scheduling and day-to-day operations stuff. The president of the company called me in to his office and asked me to step up. He gave me the biggest raise I had ever had and the title of Operations Manager, but I would need to drop out of school. I did so. The money was too much of a lure for me.

They hired some more people to help me out. I was by no means trained in handling the financial concerns of a large audio facility, so they hired someone to be the financial director. And they hired another girl to do the scheduling aspect of operations with me. This girl turned out to be Rie, a fantastic friend for many years. She left after awhile (a career change... smart girl!), and another girl was hired to replace her. And then the company went into a merger situation with another sound company. After it was all over, I was laid-off... again.

Sensing a pattern? At this point I wasn't thinking about what I wanted to do with my career, I just wanted a new gig. A little while after losing this job, I got a call from a woman who used to work with me at the facility, in the sales department, and she was working at another audio facility that needed a scheduler. I was hired.

This was a distinctly SMALLER and more low-key company than the previous two, and sometimes the idea would creep up that I'd like to get back on the ProTools machines to edit... but it always faded. My several layoffs and inability to break through that glass ceiling left me ambitionless. I just wanted to make money. As much as I conceivably could. i wasn't making a bad living, but it didn't afford me much more than my garage apartment in Glendale.

I worked at that facility for several years, and again, was laid off when the company needed to downsize. I took a few months to deal with some shit, try to put my mind back together, and re-establish my career goals. I was DONE with post audio. I didn't even TRY to send out any resumes. I thought about going back to college to become a teacher, or go into international studies and go work in the Peace Corps for awhile. But after four months, my money was drying up, and I needed to get out of the house. I sent out two resumes, interviewed for both, got one.

And now I work here - as a frickin' scheduler. When I was interviewed, I told them of my technical background, and of my desire to get my hands back on the machines. They understood, and said they made a priority to hire and promote from within. They weren't entirely truthful. Don't get me wrong, my pay has raised almost 50% since the day I started here, and now I'm making more than I ever have - but this stupid desire to, I don't know, get away from the administative side of things has again really started to rear it's fugly head.

I find myself searching out any possibility. But it seems pretty useless. This is a union shop, so I can't even TRAIN on the machines to get up to a talent-level where they might be inclined to hire me. But now we have this new digital encoding explosion thing going on internally - what with the advent of the video iPod and people wanting to download movies online, it's touted as the next big thing at our company.

So I, of course, make a fool of myself in meetings, inquiring about who they're interested in hiring for this type of work, and will it be union work, and will there be a training or apprenticeship program? And I seek out the new guy overseeing the new department, asking him what he would suggest for someone looking to get into it. But do I really want to upset my own status quo? I like the money I'm making. Making 50% more would be awesome, but is it necessary? It is, to a certain extent. I can't afford much in the way of ANY housing on my own, without completely neglecting to save anything and/or giving up my MINI. And there are other concerns, which I perhaps would be wise to refrain from going into in too much detail right now...

*Sigh* Anyhow, I'm stumped. This drive in me, it hurts sometimes because I consistently feel thwarted. I wish I could just stomp on it enough to make it go away, soI don't have to feel the aching, the longing, and the hurt - but it just keeps on coming to the fore, like a bad habit.


posted at 04:12 PM | comments (6)

January 27, 2006

severe intestinal discomfort

I should be getting in my car right now, heading in for work, but instead I'm taking a break from basically spending the last hour on the toilet, reeling in pain.

Yestderday afternoon I got a bit headachey, which is no big deal in itself - I have a tendency to get headachey in the afternoon at work (the noise level in the office maybe? or maybe I just need glasses?), so it wasn't a huge deal. When I was driving back to Simi Valley from Universal City, my stomach started feeling a bit weird. My headache only contributed to the general misery. Yet, I still managed to make it to the gym (albeit I thought many times on the way that I'd ditch the effort), and got in a little over 30 minutes of program-required cardiovascular work.

The exercise actually made me feel a little bit better - while I was doing it. The headache pain subsided for awhile, and the stomach issues were almost non-existent. I came home, ate a late dinner, watched a movie, and went to sleep.

My sleep was constantly interrupted last night. Lots of stress dreams. I kept waking up in the wee hours of the morning thinking it was almost time to wake up, agonizing over the imminent alarm, only to find that it was 3:35am... nowhere near 6:30am!

The last hour or so of sleep was filled with wake-ups and bad dreams. Something wasn't right. I actually dreamt, right before the alarm went off, that I had fallen to the floor and vomited - but my biggest concern was being late to work.

With that my alarm sounded, and I could feel my stomach gurgling. I got up, went to the bathroom, and for about five minutes was treated to all sorts of sounds coming from my belly. Sometimes when you're stomach is at work you'll hear some weird sound come from it, a little bit here, a little bit there - but my stomach sounded as if it was in court and two lawyers were arguing with eachother - sometimes even yelling over one another, two sounds from the two different ends of my tummy.

After much unpleasantness I finished up (for the moment), drank a hearty portion of PeptoBismol, and called my supervisor to leave a voicemail saying my stomach was acting up - but that I'm working through it and simply suspected I would be a little late. I then crawled back into bed, my stomach cramping in very painful ways - stabbing me.

I asked Kitty, who kept my feet warm through the night and dealt unscratchingly with my every kick, "WHY is my tummy hurting me, Kitty? Why???", but stopped that immediately when it reminded me a bit too much of my deranged father asking Nala, the family dog, who was at the door?, every single time someone walks in the house.

It got to be pretty severe again, and I wandered back to the bathroom and remained there until just before now. Oh, the humanity! Wretched, wretched humanity! But now, as I type this, I find that my stomach is a bit quieter, and I haven't had any crazy pains in at least five minu... wait, there it goes again. Dammit!

Here's hoping this whole mess (and it IS a mess, ohmyGOD) clears up soon so that I don't have to take ANOTHER fucking sick day. Plus, I had planned to venture up to Erik's neck of the woods tonight, for a nice sunny weekend in Santa Barbara - and I just can't have that interrupted in any way. Harrumph.


posted at 07:27 AM

January 25, 2006

little successes

Last night I raced from work, through the packed rush-hour traffic, to the YMCA to kickstart my membership back into usage. I had been worried that the frayed yellow "temporary" membership card would no longer be valid, as I had never gone and gotten a proper membership ID card from them. I used to lie awake at night, envisioning scenarios in which the young staffers at the front desk would scoff at my sad little card-stock card, exclaiming that, while even paying the $37 fees every month, my lack of a proper ID made me ineligible to utilize their facilities. And they would point and laugh. And then beat me up. Horribly.

No, I never thought any of that (to that extent at least). I just have a witty imagination, no?

Anyhow, I made it, and was well-received with a smiling "Welcome Back!" from the perky front desk girl. Tonight I'll be taking the photo for my proper ID, indellibly linking myself to the Simi Valley YMCA forever! Bua ha ha ha ha! *Sigh* Okay. So I went back to the ladies' locker room and changed into some workout clothing and went to find Josh, my trainer, in the fitness room.

Josh is a young guy of about, oh, maybe 19? Whatever, he was nice enough. He had me fill out some paperwork about my health and previous exercise habits ("nada!"), and then hooked me up with a stationary bike. After a brief how-to-make-the-machine-work intruction period, he left me alone to ride the bike for 15 whole minutes. *Whew*!

After that he introduced me to the X-Trainer. It's that exercise machine that took Bill Murray for an unexpected ride in the film Lost In Translation. He set it to ten minutes for me, told me that most people get pretty tired before that, and let me at it. Boy, this thing was ROUGH. I was feeling pretty good about it for the first two minutes. By minute five I decided that I was going to die soon. My heart rate, which never got passed 140 on the bike, surged up to 177 on the X-Trainer. The upper-limit on the little heart-rate chart for my age was 171. I could feel the sweat raining down my face.

Josh asked me how I was doing, from his little desk next to the machines, but I can't remember how I responded, exactly. I think I said I was tired, but that I was going to try to go another minute. I ended up lasting for 7 minutes in all. I shut-off the machine just when the counter passed 7:00, and I ungracefully stepped off the machine, gasping for breath, trying to steady myself. I went for some water, and came back - and Josh immediately set me up on a treadmill. "This will be much easier," he promised.

And it was. The ten minutes on the treadmill flew by, and it ended with a three-minute cooldown period. I was ready to do more, but knew that I had sufficiently raised my heart-rate for over 30 minutes, and I should be happy with myself. Josh then explained that, after a couple weeks on these three machines, I would need to make another appointment with him for him to go over the strength-training machines. He gave me a little log sheet to record all of my times/distances/levels, one I'd need to fill out each time I came in, so that they could track my progress.

So the "trainer" bit isn't as hands-on and drill-sergeantesque as maybe I would have liked, but it's enough responsibility to make me guilty about not going back. But I don't intend to not go back at all. I'm packed and ready for another go this evening. And the plan is to go Thursday night as well. That makes for three evenings this week. Three nights a week every week is my goal.

So, after the somewhat-exhausting workout, I walked out to my MINI trying to figure out what I was going to have for dinner. Ice cream crossed my mind, as did Burger King, but I was a good girl and drove straight to the local grocery store to stock up on healthier alternatives to my father's staple Hamburger Helper cheeseburger macaroni, and the greasy food available here on the backlot at work.

I don't want to totally alter my normal diet - I'm still very-much looking forward to having a burrito from FREEB!RDS up in Isla Vista this weekend - but there are easy, better choices I can make during the week that will improve my chances at success. So I need to finish up this little packet of Mott's applesauce and get back to work. Hopefully the orders will pick up today and the workday will speed by quick so I can get to the gym - I'm actually excited about that - who knew?


posted at 10:01 AM

January 23, 2006

treadmills are my friends

Many, many months ago (August '05, to be specific), I signed up for a membership to the local YMCA. It was smack-dab in the middle of a sweltering summer, and I was still in the midst of my really frustrating back problem. The YMCA out near me has an indoor pool, so I figured gentle exercise in a nice cool pool would be the best for me.

So I ended up going just a handful of times. I found that my old habit of overdoing my workouts held up that time as well, and I think I set myself back in the healing process just a wee bit. But I felt really comfortable there, and for a big girl like me, sometimes that's an issue.

I always intended to start back up. But intention doesn't get you down to the gym - action does. And I've been seriously lacking in the action department. I've still been keeping up with my membership dues - thanks mostly to the automatic monthly billing. So now, for a number of reasons, I find myself wanting to get back to it and actually see some solid, healthy results.

I've always had weight issues. From age 8 I remember feeling overweight. That's not good in itself, and I've continued to struggle with it over the years. I've been on a number of diets and always faltered, because I just lost motivation - lost interest. Acticity had always been lacking in these plans. My success was always tied to the incorporation of exercise to some degree, so I know what works. Now that I'm a bit older, and in an actual relationship with someone, I find my reasons for wanting to get on track have really shifted from being more vanity-related to being more health- and lifestyle-related.

I tend towards the melancholic quite easily, especially when my activity level drops. I've been feeling pretty moody lately, and I think I really need to kick myself in the butt to end that. I'm in the happiest place in my life so far, and there's NO reason I should be feeling depressed. And we all know that workouts = more endorphins, and more endorphins = happier Julie.

Additionally, there are activities I'd like to partake in that I'm prevented from doing because of my current low fitness level. I'd LOVE to travel to far-off places, and while money is always an issue in that regard, why would I want to spend a couple thousand dollars traveling somewhere when my feet ache the whole time I'm there? I'd love to be able to hike up mountains and go kayaking and get to those quiet places you can only get to on your feet - but I really can't do that right now. What the heck am I waiting for?

Now is a perfect time to start making better habits for myself. Erik's in school, so during the work-week I'm left to my own devices. Why not make those weeknights fruitful? So tomorrow, I have an appointment with a trainer at the YMCA, who will work with me three nights a week for a 12-week period to help me increase my fitness level, maybe shed a few pounds, and help instill healthy activity habits that will last more that a week and a half.


posted at 11:22 AM | comments (3)

January 12, 2006

these goddamned shoes

I'm a hiking-boots-wearing girl. Not because I especially enjoy hiking boots, their tan/brown faux-suede facade delighting all who lay eyes on them - no, it's because I'm really bad with shoes. Let me be more specific: I am really horrible at shopping for shoes.

I own three pairs of shoes (one pair being a set of Adidas flip-flops) because I am, apparently, incapable of finding anything to my liking at any of the many shoe shops in the greater Los Angeles area. Before these hiking shoes (purchased for a trip to Sequoia NP last summer), a pair of VANS had been my staple-shoe for the last four or five years. I wore them almost daily for those years, and only recently retired them after a hole had started to emerge in the sole. I still wouldn't have retired them, but my boyfriend sort of shamed me into it.

I have, on several occasions, gone out with the SPECIFIC INTENT to purchase a pair of reasonable shoes - a nice pair of sneakers, preferably. But I go into the VANS store or to Big 5 Sporting Goods or to the SKETCHERS at CityWalk and I just want to wretch the choices are so bad. I don't care what they think, I do NOT want a pair of pink sneakers! And no fucking glitter either, you shoe-manufacturer bastards! Why can't I find the same exact pair of dark-blue, thick-soled, suede VANS? They were so nice!

So I'm left with, as I mentioned above, THREE pairs of shoes: 1) the hiking boots, 2) the flip-flops, and 3) the nice black fake-leather heeled shoes I bought for job interviews and my brother's wedding back in the summer of '03. I don't know what I was thinking, buying something with a heel. But I was suffering through severe depression at the time, so I blame it on that.

This morning, in a brief spell of, well, stupidity (I kid myself, this stupidity thing is nothing new!), I decided that I didn't want to wear my light-brown hiking boots with my off-white pants and black long-sleeved t-shirt (as I usually would, eschewing any facade of pretending to care about what I wear or look like). No, today the black heeled shoes came out to play with me. And I should have known better.

These shoes are typically reserved for when I want to impress - which is almost never - but they came out briefly this last year for Thanksgiving at Erik's house, and perhaps for one of our earlier dates. I'm not sure, though. Neither of these times did I have an opportunity to do a lot walking around. I do a whole lotta sitting, generally, and I maybe stand occasionally.

But walking is something generally reserved for work. Which is where I am NOW. In these STUPID BLACK HEELED SHOES. And they HURT LIKE FUCK. I can feel the big, gross blister forming on the ball of my left foot - right where the ball meets the heel. Oh, it is unpleasant! Oh, how I won't be making this mistake again!


posted at 10:55 AM | comments (7)

December 28, 2005

meh!

This year I planned to really buckle down and save towards getting a place of my own down the road. I had managed to save up the $5500 I put as a down-payment on my MINI Cooper the previous year, and was feeling pretty good about my self-discipline.

The saving IS pretty easy. It comes directly out of my paycheck every week and is dumped into a credit union savings account. This is good because getting funds out of this savings account is damned hard - well, it involves going down to the credit union and withdrawing the funds in person, and I call that "damned hard". I started with a pretty aggressive amount of $200/week going to this account.

This left me with little money to do anything else above and beyond paying all my monthly bills and for gas, etc. So, I resorted to using some of my credit cards. I've been fairly disciplined with this, as well. For most of the year I carried a $0 balance on all of my cards - paying them off at the end of the month. But, you know how that goes. Sometimes you have to carry it over.

And then my MINI got hit with a tire tread and that was $500 plus lost hours at work. Then Erik and I decided to go to London (totally worth it!). Then my MINI got keyed - another $500 plus lost work hours. And then I decided to go to the dentist - and that put me out about $1000.

A couple months ago I decided the $200/week loss into my savings account was just too much to handle. So I lessened it to a mere $125/week. That's helped a lot, and making my car payment at the end of every month is a lot less stressful. But still, I'm left with about $2000 of credit card debt that I promised myself I would pay off come the New Year. And that money, unfortunately, has to come out of my hard-won savings account - an account that's already been dipped into more than I wanted this year... that is, unless I have any fairy godmothers or father out there who want to donate. No? I didn't think so.

So, I'm not nearly as close to having the good amount of savings for the year as I suspected I'd have this time last year - and I am pretty dismayed about that - but I have a lot of great stuff to look back on from 2005. I didn't have to suffer through another L.A. summer without an air-conditioned vehicle; I went to the UK, again; I traveled a lot around California and its surrounds; and I met and fell in love with a really great guy. I guess I did okay, in the end, and I think Suze Orman would be proud of my determination.

Fiscal goals for the next year? No more car insurance tics, no more dental woes, and at least a few hundred dollars better in savings at the end of 2006.


posted at 01:38 PM | comments (2)

December 27, 2005

peaks and perils of the holiday season

Christmas was really fantastic. Except when it was over.

It began on Friday night with a trip to my brother Kevin's and his wife Cindi's new apartment in Sherman Oaks. Accompanied by my little brother, Matt, we sped towards The Valley to swing by and pickup Erik, and circle around from there to the festivity's locale. The trip was done with extravagant speed, and the night seemed to speed by just as quickly. Spinach dip and pizza was served, and Christmas movies (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town) were watched, with special attention given to every possible unintended innuendo.

Matt was eager to leave by the time the clock struck 10pm, but we got him to stay until 11pm. Seriously, he was harshin' my vibe, because I wanted to spend as much time with my beloved as possible, and the kid just didn't seem to care. He'll get his in the end!

And so the night was over, and I slept in late on Christmas Eve. I stayed in my fleece PJ's all day, loading more CD's into iTunes, eating microwave personal-sized pizza(s) (*embarrassed look*), and generally, just loafing. It took all my available energy to get dressed and ready for the night's family festivities. My half-sister Anita came over, and Kevin & Cindi. My brother James made a brief appearance between work and going to another holiday gathering, and of course, the King of Pain, Matt, was there.

My dad made a honeybaked ham, and potato salad, and of course I don't enjoy any of that, so my dinner consisted of a few pieces of Tillamook cheddar, a slice or seven of salami, and crackers. And loads of sparkling apple cider. I KNOW HOW TO PARTY. We did a little gift-exchange thingee, and I was proud of myself when I saw Cindi's fevered response to the Crate & Barrel giftcard I procured for her and Kev. Seriously, if only everyone I gifted responded by jumping up and down in their chair, waving their fists up and down like a happy child and only being capable of the most primal of gleeful noises, I'd make gift-giving a daily occurrence.

My dad received not one, but two poker sets, with cards and chips and Jack Daniels mugs. A few were assembling around the almost-always-unused dining table to begin a game. Far from my typical antisocial nature, I decided to join them in their little game. It lasted for more than an hour, easily, and for most of the game I was TOTALLY PWNZING all of them, but I got lazy and started throwing my chips away like so much used wrapping paper. So Cindi won. The girl who spent the entire game referring to the poker instruction booklet that came with one of the sets beat us all. And she's Canadian. We should all be ashamed of ourselves!

The next morning I woke, again, pretty late. Typically I can't sleep later than 7am on Christmas morning, but I am 30 now. We didn't begin opening gifts until after 10am. The gift exchange was fun enough. The most hardcore gift I got from the family was EASILY the "Glow" by J. Lo perfume from my brother James. HOT!

Erik swung by mid-morning and we had a quick little gift-exchange by ourselves in my room. No, nothing like THAT you perverse readers! I was VERY excited to give Erik some Disney DVD's that he had had trouble procuring for himself, and I was VERY happy to receive a 49-key MIDI controller and Remix Tools jampack to use in my new favorite Apple program, GarageBand. Stay tuned for DJ Jaygee's Techno Pop #1 Hits dropping in 2006.

Then we were off to Erik's aunt's house in frickin' REDLANDS for their Christmas party. His whole family is very warm and welcoming, and I had an excellent time. The food (prime rib) was so great and I partook of seconds (I would have had thirds and fourths had it not been socially unacceptable).

So, as I said Christmas was fantastic. But the day after just sucked for me. There were some tentative plans that had fallen through, and that was just enough to send me over the edge into a totally miserable downward spiral. I spent most of the day huddled in a black (to match my mood, obviously) fleece blanket that my brother James got for me, in front of my computer, listening to The Cure and playing MahJong solitaire while convincing myself that no one loved me.

Oh, it wasn't pretty. Thank goodness Erik is so patient with me, because, oh my GAWD, I was a pathetic asshole. Erik talked me down from my ledge, and by day's end I was back in good spirits, putting togather some mad beats in GarageBand. I ended the evening with a showing of Kill Bill Vol. 1.

Today I'm back at work, but my spirits are still high because I've only THREE FULL DAYS of work this week. Friday I get off early, and Erik and I will be driving up to San Luis Obispo to have a quiet, but fun-filled New Years weekend all by ourselves. The plan is to walk around Morro Bay Rock, go see the elephant seals, take in a tour at Hearst Castle, maybe have a meal at the Ragged Point Inn, and finally drive the famed Nacimiento-Ferguson road which links the 101 to the 1. I can't wait! Is it Friday yet?


posted at 01:10 PM

December 23, 2005

'tis the season to be productive?

Yesterday I decided to act upon a wild idea to put a proper desk area in my already-cramped bedroom. I used to frickin' love switching around the furniture in my childhood bedrooms, but having a queen-sized bedframe and an adult-sized bookshelf kinda inhibits that possibility. But I was going to throw off any notions of implausibility and just go for it.

The idea was to move my bed a foot in one direction, and stick the glass table I used as my desk at the old Glendale house in the corner, to keep my iMac and other computer stuff. My little brother, Matt, was more than happy to help, as I just bought him a new Mac Mini on Tuesday. Surprisingly, everything went really smooth - no dropped fragile objects or stubbed toes or frayed nerves were had by any involved in the mini-project.

Once my computer was safely perched and plugged into to all peripheral necessaries, I took a brief stretch to admire the newly-perceived roominess of the room, and then decided to start putting this iMac to good use.

I grabbed a box of my CD's from the dusty garage and started ripping them into iTunes. This is something I should have taken the time to do while I was four-months' unemployed back in the summer of '03, but whatever. There's something a little wiggy with the CD player in my iMac, so I had trouble getting some of the less-pristine discs ripped. No worries, popping them into my iBook did the trick just fine. The Airport wireless computer-to-computer network was all that was needed to get the files to where I wanted them.

After loading about a couple dozen new CD's in, I decided to try to tackle the iPhoto problem on my iBook. What's that problem, you ask? Not enough space! I have a measly 30GB or so available, in total, on the iBook, and I'm afraid, with the iTunes library and the iPhoto library, I've been hovering around 2GB for the last couple of months. I want to get out there and take more photos, and it's a little prohibitive what with not enough space. Getting the photos onto my iMac would alleviate a lot of my space concerns, for now, and would help centralize my shit.

The problem is that Apple hasn't made it easy to deal with different libraries. There's no easy way to merge two libraries into one, unfortunately, without the help of third-party apps. I'm a cheapskate about software, and I wasn't about to pay $20 for something I might wanna try to futz around with myself. Apple does provide the option of switching to a different library on startup of iPhoto (by holding down "Option" while launching). I decided this would work for now, as the iPhoto library on my iMac only consisted of about 100 photos - most of which were duplicates or scans from negatives I still have.

Now the task was getting 4333 photos to the iMac. A smarter person would have hooked the two computers up via Firewire, to expediate the process, but we all know I'm not a smarter person... and it would have meant hunting down a Firewire cable... and we also all know how intrinsically LAZY I am. A wireless connection would have to suffice.

It was cool, though, the six hour transfer was no biggie, 'cuz it was already super-late, and I was ready to hit the sack anyways. I woke up at 7am today and found the transfer had completed successfully, and the library switch worked perfectly. I am a happy camper.

Feeling so warm and fuzzy about not having to use my iBook for everything (I'm composing my post from the iBook, incidentally), and the new-found freedom of around 20GB of free space, I decided to continue loading in CD's this morning, while updating my iPod photo from the iMac, playing Mah Jong Solitaire, and listening to the fruits of my ripping-madness on iTunes. Yes, this is exactly the relaxing sort of morning I needed to start off my holiday break.


posted at 09:48 AM

December 22, 2005

Xmas Bounty

A current list of the various gifts I've received for Xmas from Co-workers/clients:

"Patch Adams" DVD
"American Beauty" DVD
"Far From Heaven" DVD
"Battlestar Galactica: The Miniseries" DVD
Bar of Hershey's chocolate (almost nearly consumed)
Box of chocolates
Bag of herbal tea
Santa ornament
Coffee thermos & travel mug
Various candy canes
Square of Ghiardelli chocolate
Small tin basket full o' candy

That's all as of 11:47am. I will (hopefully) update as required.


posted at 11:47 AM | comments (2)

December 16, 2005

okay, it's working already!

I can't help it, one look at this image and I've been laughing for about five minutes now... SO DAMNED CUTE!


posted at 12:16 PM

December 13, 2005

projects

Projects for this holiday season:

1) Finish xmas shopping, obviously.
2) Locate & load tracks from old CDs into iTunes - off to a great start!
3) Transfer iTunes Library to my iMac to free up space on my iBook.
4) Get rid of unnecessary/duplicate iTunes authorizations (from previous systems).
5) Scan rest of books/cds/dvds/videogames into Delicious Library. (shoot, how shall I deal with albums purchased from the iTunes Music Store??)


posted at 04:21 PM

December 08, 2005

fa-la-la-la-la la la la laaaa

I was woken up at 4am this morning by the Christmas Spirit. Oh wait, no... no... that was Kitty who woke me up. I went to bed early last night, stricken with a bad headache, and I don't even know how the heck Kitty got into my room. But strange things like this do happen, on occasion.

No, the Christmas Spirit came after I was already awake. After letting Kitty outside to do her business, I had a horrible time getting back to sleep. For one thing, my room was unusually toasty, so the warmth stung my dry eyes, preventing me from slipping back into sweet slumber. And then, I thought Hey! I need to get all my Christmas music on my iPod, fer goshsakes!

This involved going out to my car, in my pajamas, at 4am, to retrieve my iPod; then, linking together the iTunes libraries on my iMac and my iBook (which involved being all 1337), setting up proper Christmas playlists and, lastly, waiting for my iPod to update over 350 tracks. Nothing provokes slumber better than watching the iPod updater display... "3 of 363 tracks updated.... 4 of 363 tracks updated...".

By the time my alarm went off at 6:30am, my iPod was completely updated, and, while I did just want to call in sick and remain in my cozy bed FOR ALL ETERNITY, I got up and got out of the house - with my iPod - and listened to the entire Chipmunks Christmas album, the Charlie Brown Christmas album, and "Tijuana Christmas", by the Border Brass (it's a long commute). The only thing that would've made the drive in more Christmasey was if I had a peppermint mocha in-hand, sparkly Christmas lights hung all over the interior of my MINI, and Rudolph, glowing-nose-and-all, sitting next to me, scratching up my Lapis Blue leather interior.


posted at 11:10 AM

December 07, 2005

bad things happen when i'm left to my own devices

I went home yesterday, excited that my father was making burritos for dinner. Gosh, I am SO ADDICTED to mexican food (even poorly-made, white-trashy "mexican food")! Anyways, I got home and ate a whole bunch and then had basically nothing left to do for the entire night. Typically I'll get on the iBook and chat with Erik, but he was out last night, so I was left to entertain myself. And that's just never a good idea.

I put "The Simpsons Complete Fifth Season" in the DVD player in the iMac and started surfing the net. I scanned some blogs that I frequent, kept checking MySpace for new mail or comments or anything (I'm not particularly popular), and decided to do a few updates to my own blog.

Somehow, I stumbled onto the iTunes Music Store searching for "the saddest music in the world". I love sad, sad classical music. Music-to-slit-your-wrists-by, as some call it - but with strings! I'm particularly fond of Samuel Barber's "Adagio For Strings", and I've been known to enjoy Henri Gorecki's Symphony No.3, and Albinoni's "Adagio for Organ and Strings in G Minor". I was browsing through the iTMS, not really knowing where to begin my search, but ended up browsing through their Essentials collections.

Somehow the folks at the iTunes Music Store have rounded up lists of "Essential" tracks by artists, and within genres. Need to find the best of the best tracks of 80's One-Hit Wonders? The iTunes Music Store has done that research for you. So when I happened upon their "Classical 101" Essentials list, I had a grand old time previewing the 73 available tracks... and then I BOUGHT THE WHOLE SET!!!

Yes, I spent just over $73 on 73 pieces of "Essential" classical music. I spent this morning listening to Copland's "Fanfare For the Common Man" and Faure's "Requiem, Op.48: 4. Pie Jesu". I can't WAIT to update my iPod with all this hoity-toity music!

Oh, one more iTunes-related note. During the hefty download sequence involved in acquiring 73 individual tracks, I listened to the premiere podcast from Ricky Gervais and pals. It was an entertaining listen, hearing The Rickster and Stephen Merchant berate their round-faced pal, Karl Pilkington, for his, shall-we-say, less-than-learned theories. I highly recommend subscribing to these podcasts.


posted at 11:01 AM

December 05, 2005

signed, dorkus malorkus

This weekend I stayed up in Santa Barbara watching my boyfriend work tirelessly on a final project for his Masters-level Operating Systems course. When I wasn't napping on his super-long twin bed, I was watching him work on his filesystem, with multiple Terminal windows open, running tests and writing code, and re-running tests and re-writing code. And gosh, if that wasn't super-hot!

I sat silently behind him as he cursed when something didn't work right; and I delighted in him waking me up at 3am with a kiss on the cheek, to share a success. I giggled, watching him dance in his chair when he had tackled a troubling problem; and I softly squeezed his arm as he held his face in his hands, tortured by an error. He spent hours and hours and hours working, and not one moment went by that I felt bored at all. I found it all pretty mesmerizing, actually. It was fascinating watching Erik work - he's really brilliant, and is among a group of people who think in ways most of us couldn't imagine.

I left him on his own last night, just after 9pm, knowing that he was going to be pulling an all-nighter to get his filesystem into its required turn-in condition. It's just after 10am, and in little under an hour he (along with his two other groupmates) will be going to the final class to tackle a series of system tests and, ultimately, turn in the code for grading. He probably won't read this until after the deal has been done, but for whatever it's worth: Erik, I wish you the very best of luck, and know that, whatever the outcome of this project, and ultimately this class, and even-more ultimately this degree - you get an "A+++..." as a boyfriend.


posted at 10:21 AM

November 28, 2005

life is good

They're opening a California Pizza Kitchen in Simi Valley. Mmmmmmmmmm!


posted at 11:07 AM

November 23, 2005

thanksgiving of years passed

I was just being a little nostalgic and ran across this little photo-set of Thanksgiving 2003. Click on the pics to advance through. I have a wonderful family. This is the first year ever that I will not be experiencing Thanksgiving dinner with my own family. No, I will be heading over to Erik's house this year, to enjoy the holiday with his family. Fun, fun, fun!


posted at 09:25 PM

November 21, 2005

holiday spirit

I'm not sure if it's the prevalence of holiday commercials or the Christmas music Erik was blasting on the way back from the dentist's office this weekend, but I am downright jolly. And it's fully-inspired by the holiday spirit. Sure, I know, Thanksgiving hasn't even't come and gone yet, but I'm all ready to decorate my bedroom.

I already have the red Grammy-carpet on the floor, and I want to get a green throw blanket for my bed. Red + Green = Christmas! I ordered this a few days ago, and it will be delivered on Wednesday. Dude, c'MON - the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree?? How awesome is that?!?

I have to dig out my Rankin-Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer figurines from one of the many boxes in my Dad's garage to set-up that awesomeness, and my stash of multi-colored xmas light strings will need to be dug up as well. All my Christmas music is loaded up on the iMac, the iBook and the iPod, so I should be pretty much hooked up with the holiday tunes. And my variety of holiday DVDs are at hand for random viewing throughout the season.

Because I have been alternating between living hand-to-mouth and being nearly completely broke, presents for family and friends this year will be on the less-expensive side. But that's not going to stop me from finding some rad wrapping paper and ribbons and bows to cover and stick to everything.

Yes, Christmas is my favorite holiday.


posted at 03:01 PM | comments (1)

November 14, 2005

on being a big baby

The dentist appointment on Friday turned out to be not that bad, but my experience in the office was still a bit traumatic for me. I had one breakdown in the chair, towards the end of my two-hour visit, which involved uncontrollable shaking and sobbing. And funnily enough, it happened sometime after they told me I would be requiring a root canal.

I don't think things would have been so bad if they were to perform it right then and there. I had mentally bulked myself up for the visit, was on nitrous oxide (which may or may not have helped), and had been through about an hour's worth of drilling and fidgeting with my back upper molar. I was numb, things weren't a problem.

But the idea of going to a different office, on a different day, with a different dentist, to have even more needles jabbed into my gums and deeper drilling and higher plausibility for pain just didn't sit well for me that long. When the dentist started performing deep cleaning on the left-side of my mouth (the side that hadn't been numbed), I was spooked, and wept accordingly. It wasn't fair - she hadn't told me she was going to do that!

So anyways, I found out the dentist endodontist I was referred to does not use nitrous oxide in their office. I guess this is a blessing in disguise. Who knows how much they would charge for it, and, as Erik said, it's a crutch. If I use it again, I will always need it. And I'm just not that well-off. I've read a bit about root canals - learned that their reputation for being painful is not a valid one, and that, typically, people describe them to be about as bad as a regular cavity filling.

I'm feeling pretty good about the upcoming appointment, so please, no comments about horrific experiences in the chair - however, glowing reviews of previous heavenly root canals are highly encouraged. Shoot, make a story up if you want to!


posted at 02:31 PM | comments (9)

November 09, 2005

$$$

I have $2.35 left in my checking account. I am so punk rock!


posted at 10:00 AM | comments (1)

i'm a genius!

I knew it was raining this morning. I could hear the drizzle on the roof this morning as I woke up. And the first effort I made after waking was to go out to my old, embattled Honda to hunt down its current registration - in the rain. I didn't find it, and I also managed to not remember that the hatch had been broken. I figured I'd check the back area for any paperwork that might be the registration and was immediately reminded of the hatch problem, as the right side swung far up to the side, nearly smacking me in the face.

Excellent.

Oh, did I mention it was raining? Yeah. My dad and brother, Matt, soon appeared outside. The hatch doesn't like to close after it's been opened. It's actually quite an effort, and I wasn't going to be capable of pushing it back into place. My dad told me to leave it - that he'd fix it later. So right now my Honda's hatch is flipped up to the right side exposing the rear interior of the car. No, it's not white trash or anything...

---
My stomach is making all sorts of weird noises. I woke at about 3am with terrible digestive issues (for the sake of propriety I will leave the description at that), and while the stomach issues aren't as bad right now, things could go south (literally - whoops, there goes that whole propriety business) at any time.

I seem to not be taking my health too seriously today, because I neglected to take a nice chug of some Pepto Bismol before I left. And I forgot to bring a sweater. And my umbrella is in my MINI which is IN THE BODY SHOP RIGHT NOW. I'm a smart, smart girl. I realized that as I was high-tailing it from my rental MINI in the parking lot to the side door of my office building - in my thin slacks, and my short-sleeved v-neck shirt.
---

An update on my visit to the dentist. Everyone at the office made me feel as comfortable as I possibly could, given my phobia. Turns out I have a nasty cavity on a back upper molar, as I had suspected. So nasty it will require a crown. A crown so nasty it will cost me around $800. Oh, and there's the small cavity on one of my front teeth. That, however, is covered fully under my insurance. As will the "deep cleaning" they want to perform. Yet not some "irrigation" business they're talking about. That's an additional $60. Oh, and of course there's the $125 for nitrous oxide gas.

All in all this business is going to cost me just shy of $1000. And I'm going in on Friday to have it done ALL AT THE SAME TIME. I know. I'm crazy. Crazy like a fox! Oh, and I'm nervous as all get-out. I hope the nitrous works. But I'm taking the entire day off of work to deal with the nerves, and afterwards I'm going up to see Erik, and we're going to go see a movie, and I'm going to forget all about this dental-care debacle. If that doesn't just *happen*, I've got some Vicodin left over from when my back was messed up that I'm sure will come in handy.


posted at 08:40 AM

November 08, 2005

drill this, you bastards!

I have a dentist appointment in about an hour and a half, and I'm scared to death.

It's been, unfortunately, a couple of years since my last visit. My previous "dental group" did little to lessen my quite-rational fear of sitting in the dentist's chair. While having a simple cavity filled, one of the dentists in the group got a little too heavy handed with his drill and exposed a nerve. He plugged it up with some antibiotic and filled over it, informing me that if I start feeling severe pain, I should come back immediately for a root canal. I spent the next two weeks wondering if and when the pain would start, as he didn't give me a timeframe.

On the next 6-month visit, another dentist was evaluating my teeth. "Oh, it looks like you have a cavity in this upper back molar... but I'm not quite sure how we would fill that... it's in an awkward position... you might just need a root canal." What the EFF? Not sure how to fill this cavity? How long have you been practicing?? Needless to say, when asked about a follow-up appointment, I kindly declined to make one right there, telling them I'd get back to them.

And I didn't get back to them until at least six months later, for my next regular visit. It was then I was fortunate-enough to get to see the dentist I actually thought I was going to see for all my visits, the dentist whose name appeared on the door, and the one whose happy, smiling face appeared on all those local cable commercials for the office. He inspected my teeth, told me I need to floss more, but said my teeth looked fine.... Wait. "Are you sure I don't have any cavities? Last time another one of the densists said I had one back here somewhere." He looked again at the films and in my mouth, and replied, "Nope, you're all good."

I never went back.

So now I'm bracing myself for a visit to a brand new dentist. It's another dental "group", but at least they've gone and told me ahead of time who my dentist will be. The person answering the phone on my initial informational call was very pleasant, and told me of their various ways of handling fearful patients (with drugs, copious amounts of drugs... YAY!). I do believe I have a cavity (at least one, and even on that back tooth, for goodness' sake!), and I'm hoping all I'll require is a couple of fillings and the ubiquitous offer to whiten my teeth at the very most. But geez, my hands are clammy, and even typing up this post is making my heart beat a little faster. Maybe I have some old back-related muscle relaxants I can load up on to chill me out... argh.


posted at 07:20 AM

November 01, 2005

faster, juliecat, kill, kill, kill!

First off, let me express my deepest apologies for these recent horrible entry titles. But I'm not gonna change 'em!

Here marks nearly two days of covering for a co-worker who's on vacation for the week. And I'm pwnzing. My work has doubled, but I'm keeping up - and I'm, frankly, a little shocked at how well I'm keeping everything in order. I'm remembering which clients are attached to which project titles - I'm getting back to people in a timely manner (heck, several of these new clients even seemed shocked at how quickly I respond) - and I'm getting people's projects done quicker than I thought I would.

All this with nary a sit-and-watch training session.

But it's not without it's hiccups. For one, my mind is reeling from the amount of information I've got packed into it at present. I don't know whether it's the work-load or this time change, but everything seems really dark, and I feel like I'm having a hard time seeing things. Focusing my eyes is a bit of a problem (I'm having to dart them around to avoid, I don't know, something, an oncoming heading, perhaps?

But I'm feeling pretty good about things so far. I'm probably going to get home and just crash tonight. I'm thinking sleep will come early for me... even though I have some photos to upload, a showing of "Nightmare Before Christmas" to document online, and a sister-in-law I have to greet (she just arrived from Calgary last night, and will be staying with her husband/my brother, in a spare room in the house). This time change is great for the mornings. I wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day - but these freakin' evenings KILL me. I'm already ready to leave, but I have at least another hour or so left. Fun, fun, fun.


posted at 04:46 PM

October 31, 2005

rockin' the kasbah

Friday was bad. Woefully bad. With the exception of lunch with Erik at Baja Fresh, it was just a horrid day. I was in a funk, and nothing could get me out of it. Work was the pits, I was feeling overwhelmed, and my emotions were in a big tizzy.

I spent the weekend slowly climbing up from out of that pit. This involved finally doing something proactive about the scratches on my MINI, doing some cleaning, and hanging out with Erik on Saturday night (to see Nightmare Before Christmas at the El Capitan Theatre - more to come about this in a later post) and all of Sunday.

And this morning, I feel fabulous. I actually woke up early, which is, what with the time change and everything, not that big a deal in and of itself. But I was out of the house before 7am to gas up my MINI, grab some sparkiling apple cider for the company Halloween potluck, and grab my now-usual Grande Toffee Nut Latte with Whip from Starbucks.

I arrived at work early enough to start making some necessary phone calls. I rang my car insurance company to file a claim for the scratches. Then I called my health insurance about an incorrect bill I received from that neurosurgeon I saw for my herniated discs. I finally received the Release of Lien form from that old loan company (for my old Honda that I want to donate), so I dialed-up the DMV to find out what to do from here. Everyone was super-helpful, and I received positive responses from every representative I spoke to. Thing like this just don't happen on a regular basis, so I'm quite pleased.

I'll be covering for a co-worker who's out on vacation this week. I've had next-to-no training for his job, so I'm starting out feelng mildly incompetent (had you talked to me on Friday, you'd know I was in a state of panic about it) about handling his work. But I can only do what I can do. I imagine I'm going to be pretty busy, which I hope makes the week fly by.


posted at 10:52 AM

October 26, 2005

lazybone jules

I haven't been posting out of sheer laziness. I've had plenty of opportunity to write up a post, and I've had a little going on - heck, inspiration has even hit from time to time! But sitting down and typing words into this Movable Type field just hasn't seemed fun. Until now. And even now it's not THAT much fun to write. (I guess it's not that much fun to read, either, too, huh?)

Anyways, let's see, let's see, let's see... what is going on? This weekend I have a meeting scheduled with a fellow MINI-owner and body-shop owner, and he's going to have a look at my MINI's scratches. I've done a little more research, and it appears that they may, in fact, be able to be removed with the simple use of a rotary buffer - without anything drastic like a repaint. If the guy says he can buff it out, fantastic. If he says it will need body work, I'll call my insurance on Monday.

I've been really stressed over these scratches for awhile now. They're always in the back of my mind, and my worry about them comes to the front of it quite often. But I need to just chill. Everything is going to be okay.

Work has been, well, work. Some interesting stuff is going on that I can't quite go into publicly, but it could mean at least a better wage, or me looking for a better job elsewhere. I'm hoping for the better wage. Time will tell.

My brother Kevin has finally ditched his cruiseship-musician job and is now moved back in to the family house. His wife, Cindi, will be moving down as well as soon as her immigration stuff gets in order (she's Canadian). So now, my dad has all four children living back with him. Must be fun.

*Sigh* Okay, the will to type has left again already.


posted at 01:28 PM

October 17, 2005

rainy days

The rain is really pounding down here - and I love it. I work in a large office with a high, metal roof with skylights. Every fifteen minutes or so we get a quick, brilliant flash of light - barely noticable - followed by a loud crash or deep, thunderous crack. The window I sit next to reveals the rainwater hitting and bouncing back up on the cars parked just outside. The entire office is darker than usual, and with work being sparse today, lends to a relaxed atmosphere. Good. Times.


posted at 01:40 PM

October 13, 2005

how things are

Meh.

My MINI was keyed a week from last Monday. I'm still absolutely gutted about it, but I'm working through it. Still trying to come to terms that, yes, it IS just a car - and things could have been a lot worse. But it's tough. I took my MINI into the Bob Smith dealership to have their detailing squad have a look, as well as to have the service department have a gander at the car, because it's been making some weird noises, idling kinda funny, and I had a "Service Engine Soon" light come on.

They've lent me a 2005 British Racing Green MINI Cooper Convertible while my MINI (now affectionately called "Scratchy") is in the shop. It's an automatic, which is a bit weird. I'm so used to driving the 6-speed, or any manual transmission, for that matter, that my left foot and right arm just don't know what to do with themselves. The CVT also doesn't seem to have the pickup I wish it had. I am SOOOOOO glad I splurged on an "S"!! Anyhoo, as I'll be leaving directly after work tomorrow night to visit Erik up in Goleta, it looks like I'll be taking the loaner MINI with me. Hopefully my MINI will be ready for me on Monday.

Let's see, what else? Oh yeah, work. Work is the pits right now. Totally the pits. It stems from a meeting we had on Tuesday where all us schedulers received a depressing bit of information about our career prospects within this division. As in zero chance of advancement. As in, why the hell am I trying so hard?

Anyways, it was really awful, and everyone is really upset (someone has already taken a position at another division partly because of it, and I wouldn't be surprised to see many more on their way out, voluntarily). Who knows, perhaps this was a manager's plot to weed some people out without having to lay anyone off?

Either way, it was a crappy way of giving us some hard truths. And I'm really pissed, because when I was hired, and on several occassions since, I have been told quite the opposite of the info we were given at the meeting. *Sigh* I guess I just need to let it go. Wait and see. Consider my options at a better time.


posted at 05:28 PM | comments (1)

October 03, 2005

"Yyyyeahhh, I feel grrrreat!"

Another invigorating weekend spent in Santa Barbara with Erik. I don't know what it is, specifically, about getting out of Simi for the weekend, but the last couple weeks I've been almost excited about going into work and getting the week started.

This weekend was spent taking a nice Saturday morning walk around the lagoon at the UCSB campus. There's nothing like the ocean in the morning. We spent a lot of time watching movies (Girls Just Wan To Have Fun, War Games) and many, many hilarious episodes of Arrested Development (that show gets better and better every time I see it). We also ate... a LOT. But I've burned out on Freeb!rds, so I guess that's a good thing.

We walked out to my MINI yesterday, which had been parked since Friday night, to find that it had been assaulted. Either from sap from the tree it was parked under, or a mess of very sick birds that might have parked up in the tree, but my MINI is looking very, very dirty. Mix whatever the current crap on it is, with the soot and leftover ash from the recent fires down here, and it makes for one grotesque display. I'm going to a nearby handwash place at lunchtime today to attempt to salvage it before the toxic materials on it make waste of the normally-stunning paintwork. Note to self: no more parking under trees.

So yeah, a good time was had, and I'm ready for the week ahead. As much as I get sort of sick of my job, or I feel under-utilized, or feel that the job is so frickin' mind-numbing sometimes I might rather fry burgers for the same stimulation - it is my job right now. And I want to do a damned good job here. I want that feeling that I'm providing a service to my employer - a valuable one. No matter how much I might think I would be better suited for some more creative work, or something more technical, even - I'm not willing, right now, to sever ties with REALITY and start again from square one.

So here I am, entrenched in a pile of work orders, but liking the fact that I'm busy, looking forward to getting the work done, and making it through the week and to the weekend, when I can again hang out with my favorite person in the world.


posted at 10:25 AM

September 29, 2005

My 15 Minutes

I awoke from an afternoon nap to find my last blog entry stuffed with SEVEN WHOLE COMMENTS. Seeing as how I typically get one non-spam comment for every twelve blog posts, I figured that was a bit above average. Upon opening the comments screen, I was SHOCKED to find that my blog and fire photos had been on CNN. CNN?!? How does this happen?

I've been scouring CNN.com for any information or transcripts pointing to the mention, to no avail as of yet. To any of you commenters who happened to spot it, what show did this appear on? Thanks for coming by, as well. I'm honored.

And, to update you on the fire, at least from my perspective out here... any imminent danger to our general neighborhood has subsided. The sound of water-dropping planes has gone away, and as of a couple of hours ago I was only able to hear various helicopters overhead. I dropped my brother off at marching band practice and could see little fires dotting the rocky change above us, but there was white smoke coming from them.

Looks like there is still some fire trouble on the eastern side of Simi Valley - back in the hill areas between Bell Canyon, Oak Park, Calabasas, etc. The air is totally calm, however, so hopefully firefighters will be able to get a real handle on things tonight. Some fine ash fell, as my MINI was dotted with white dandruff when I went out at about 5pm. The only thing lingering now, for us over in my 'hood, is the ugly smell of smoke. Even though it's quite warm out (and we have no a/c here), I might need to close up the window to avoid smelling this crap. Otherwise, all seems swell over here.

Now back to my CNN search!

UPDATE: I've found the online transcript of the segment of Wolf Blitzer's "Situation Room" program that my blog appeared on here. Or, I have the complete mention below:

BLITZER: Stand by, Dan. Our viewers probably suspect you can track some of these fires online. Nowadays you can almost track anything online. Our Internet reporter Jacki Schechner is doing exactly that. She is joining us now live. Jacki, what are you picking up?

JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Well, Wolf, we wanted to show you some of the photos that are starting to come in online now, some incredible photos. These from Jeff Koga (ph), who's a writer and photographer, an L.A. native, a resident of the area.

This he says is the Santa Susana Mountains in Chatsworth. These are some night photos that we haven't seen yet in THE SITUATION ROOM. This the view out of his front door. Another one -- these incredible photographs of this fire as it spreads.

Another woman online, Julie, who is in Simi Valley, look how scary and close it is she says. This is out her front door as well. She's taking photographs of the smoke as it comes closer to her. Look at the incredible plume to the east. This she said just popped out, out of nowhere.

Another one of the photographs, she says it's an "ominous orange- ness" that is coming over her neighborhood, again, in Simi Valley. Again, there another photograph from her saying that it's getting closer.

You can follow Julie online at her blog, lackofstyle.com. She says now the sound of sirens has become nonstop. There's planes overhead dropping water. Very scary stuff, but you can follow it online.

BLITZER: All right, Jacki. Thank you very much. I know you'll be doing that. And we'll check back with you and we'll make sure we continue to monitor this very, very serious fire in Southern California.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. I have to get ahold of this video!


posted at 07:08 PM | comments (7)

Hades Valley

As you can probably see from my sidebar, I've spent today at home watching the fires approaching from the southeast. I'm talking about the Chatsworth Topanga er, Big Fires that struck yesterday morning in the Northwest San Fernando Valley. The fire shut down the 118 Freeway in both directions for a major part of the day, forcing me to take a BIG detour to get home after work. I left Universal at 6pm, I walked in my door just after 8:30pm. Fun!

When I got home, my brothers Matt and James came into my room, pleading with me to take them to a higher point just a few blocks from here to get a better view of the orange glow emanating from the south hills. We could see flames in the distance, over near Rocky Peak, and the orange glow was coming from somewhere near the old rocket testing site, Rocketdyne.

I woke early this morning to gauge how early to leave for work. I stepped outside, and saw smoke, large volumes of it, coming from the hills nearby. I decided to stay home for a bit, to see what happened. Well, the flames are moving ever closer. The sound of planes overhead is nearly non-stop - the water-dropping air tankers keep making passes.

And just recently, the sound of sirens has become non-stop - fire and police trucks swarming ever closer to my neighborhood. It's really pretty exciting. When the smoke started coming overhead, my dad got worried, because we have old wood-shingle roofing. So he went and started hosing it down. Wow. The sirens are REALLY close now! I'm sure our home is in no immediate danger, but the wind is starting to get really crazy down here, and I'm sure the newly-built homes in the area might be in a dangerous spot right about now.


posted at 12:04 PM | comments (7)

September 28, 2005

what kind of settlement would a monkey bite fetch me?

E-mail just received from our department Safety Coordinator:

If anybody happens to spot a Rhesus monkey on the lot, do not approach him, he will be frightened and will bite. Call the safety hotline (Located on your telephone) immediately and inform them of the location this monkey was spotted.

Sometimes working on the Studio Lot is sooooo worth it!


posted at 04:53 PM | comments (2)

astrology is a sham

I get feeds to two different dailiy horoscopes on My Yahoo!:

First: Just because you have money now doesn't mean you always will. Plan for your future.

Second: Usually you're one frugal sign, but you've been itching to really splash out and enjoy something really luxurious and out of the ordinary. Well, why not? Make all that budget watching worth it and indulge in something fantastic.

I'm thinking someone ain't reading their stars right. Then again, it might make sense - I don't know whether to save for a rainy day or go out and buy a 42" Flat-Panel Plasma HDTV...


posted at 08:57 AM

September 27, 2005

teenagers are lame

My father came into my room about an hour ago, asking, "Are you going to help me out tonight?" Of course, it's Tuesday, so that means by little brother Matt needs to be picked up at 9pm from marching band practice.

"Sure," I reply. He responds with "Yeah? Good. That makes two good things today... I got my results back from the doctor... I don't have cancer."

WTF? I tell him I didn't even know there was a chance he did, because he never tells me anything. He remarked, "Well, you never ask." Touché. I guess they were worried about prostate cancer, as some of his "levels were high", but a biopsy revealed no sign of cancer.

So I drive the few blocks down to the local high school to pick up Matt, and arrive a wee bit early. I'm sitting there, windows down, parked right in front, listening to LFO's thumping track, "Freak". A few high schoolers start slowly streaming out to the lot, but no sign of Matt. One of the first kids, a boy in a red t-shirt, starts hopping around near my MINI as he passes. Weird, but I don't think anything of it.

Then, just a wee bit later, he comes back from the opposite direction, skipping past in a dancey-manner. Weird. I presume the kid has just drank a six-pack of Mountain Dew at practice, and he has some extra energy to burn off. He returns with a friend very soon after, and they both begin hopping around, dancing, right next to my MINI.

Now I know they're messing with me. I smile and laugh it off. Then they go grab ANOTHER friend. They all line up in front of my car and begin dancing around, and then random other kids waiting on the curb start getting into it as well. WTF? Even a little 4-year-old girl, being led out to the parking lot in the hand of her mother, is swayed into a dancey motion.

I flashed my headlights in time with the music, so that the kids dancing in front of my MINI were lit up, cuz heck, it's no dance party without crazy light effects. And then, right before Matt walked out, it all ended. Just one of those surreal moments one encounters in a MINI Cooper.


posted at 09:21 PM

September 26, 2005

to do

1. Find torrent of premiere episode of "Extras" that aired on HBO this weekend. Anyone?
2. Go through/post my London photos resurrected from Erik's PowerBook to Flickr.
3. Start posting write-ups to the London page. Expect lots of detailed posts soon.
4. Get to that damned YMCA to get my damned ID photo taken already. I mean, come on, it's been over a month!
5. Relax. (I'm a spazz.)


posted at 12:13 PM

September 22, 2005

excitement headache

Today is Thursday. Know what that means? It means that tomorrow is Friday. And you know what that means? I GET TO SEE ERIK! W007! I know it's only been a week, but it's felt like a LOOOONG week. *Sigh* I guess it's gonna be a long couple of years.

Seems that all sorts of miscellaneous errands have landed on today for some reason, as I had to take a long lunch to drive out to Burbank to administer some of them, constantly track a package that I was expecting YESTERDAY, my iBook needs to be picked up from the Apple Store in Northridge this evening - along with a slew of other junk I have to finish before tomorrow morning.

I'm so excited that my head has started to hurt. Or maybe the Disneyland baseball cap I'm wearing is adjusted too tightly around my skull. In any case, I'm bouncing off the walls, and my head feels like it's been bounced a bit much already. I'll be a happy camper when I'm tucked into bed tonight, my busy day's schedule behind me.


posted at 04:42 PM

September 21, 2005

stress

I've been REALLY stressed out lately, but I'm not exactly sure why. The stress has manifested itself in all sorts of different ways, but mainly, it's been firmly planted in my dreams. My dreams are, typically, pretty vivid. But usually, they're pretty nice - usually I wake in some sort of wonderment about them.

But now, now I wake up with my heart pounding, or my mind swirling - just having come to consciousness from a wacky dream full of stressful imagery and/or situations. It sucks because, when I wake up, I don't feel rested. I feel like going right back to sleep. But I can't. I have to drag ass outta bed and get the day started.

The thing I don't get is: what is stressing me? Nothing in my life is particularly bothersome right now. Just returned to work from a nearly-two week break. Coming back was, yes, a bit of a bummer, but things haven't been too crazy. Home-life is cool. My father hasn't been bothering me about stuff very much, and my brothers and I seem to behaving good vibes as of late. My personal life is, well, great. Erik just moved up to Santa Barbara to start his grad work, but we'll be seeing eachother nearly every weekend - so not much has changed there.

I guess this might just be a decompression stage for me. Or, perhaps the dreams are just my brain creating conflict for itself to resolve. In any case, they'd better stop soon, or my jaw it gonna break off from how tight it's been! (I carry a lot of stress in my jaw, I think.)


posted at 01:45 PM

September 19, 2005

how many hours until lunch?

Well, the coffee did not work. I'm still pretty sluggish and unenthused. I just measured my stack of billing - it's 7 inches high. So. Many. Workorders. It feels a bit overwhelming, actually. My supervisor is emailing me for stock that has gone unaccounted for on orders that took place while I was out. These requests should go to the person who covered for me, but that would be too much to ask.

Man, I'm in a funk today.


posted at 10:24 AM | comments (1)

so it begins again

This morning I woke with the comfort of my usual apathy about going to work. I was all out of Apple Jacks cereal, so I decided to make breakfast a Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte at the nearest Starbucks. I figured I would need that extra "oomph" to get the week started on the right foot, because it certainly felt like it was starting on a weak one - one with a stubbed toe, or maybe even a sprained ankle.

It's the first day of my first full week back at work. Last week I came back on Thursday, but things were so wall-to-wall busy I had no time to reflect on what occurred while I was away - so billing and stock reconciliation that needed to be dealt with was pushed to the side, leaving it to be done this week. Fun.

It would have been nice if all of the single-step work orders that my coverage put in while I was on holiday were also billed out by said person (it sure would make it less of a mountain of work to contend with). Now I have to go back and make sure everything was done correctly. If nothing else, it means a bit of overtime for me, I suppose.

*Sigh* I guess I should get to it then. Believe me, I'm even more unenthusiastic about it than I sound here, if that's possible. I don't want to be here.


posted at 08:30 AM

September 16, 2005

Comments

I've just realized that my new install of Movable Type has altered the way comments get posted to this site, so the few comments I've received since the upgrade to 3.2 have failed to publish automatically. No worries, all the non-junk comments have now been published, even the highly critical ones. Wouldn't want any of you to think I'd censor your comments. I don't delete comments unless they're spamming the site or are really, really spiteful in some way. :)


posted at 10:23 AM

September 15, 2005

BACK!

So, I'm back from London. I apologize for the lack of posts on the London 2005 page, but not ony was the wireless internet service at our hotel, K West, iffy at best - but my iBook's logic board issue decided to rear it's ugly head yet again, on the first day of the trip, no less!

Fortunately, I called up Apple Customer Care this morning, and it appears I can take it back to an Apple Store and have it sent out to be re-repaired at no charge. I'll have to back it up tonight, I suppose. That's always fun. I'm really bummed about the logic board problem (monitor starts to how weird horizontal lines, image denigrates to funk and system in background freezes up - or, system boots up fine, but to a blank screen) because I thought the original fix, back in January of this year, would have corrected the issue for good. But from browsing the Apple Support discussions board this morning, it appears some have had to send their iBooks back up to three times! Ack!

As someone so eloquently stated on the boards, "Backup! Backup! Backup!". At this point my backup system is connecting my iBook to my iMac via firewire, starting up the iBook in target disk mode, and dragging the contents of the HD to the desktop of the iMac. This time around, I'm simply going to copy my User folder over to the iMac, as the only stuff I'm really worried about are my photos and music. I need to come up with a better system, though.

Also, the unfortunate thought that's been plaguing me since last Wednesday is that I might need to upgrade my computer anyway. The messy mogic board issue aside, I'm already pushing the limits of the hard drive on my iBook (it's only a 30-gig, I think, and I only have about 3 gigs remaining). And my iMac, I fear, mght be on it's last stand as well - the CD/DVD drive isn't working properly (it almost always fails when burning a CD). I just don't have the cash to go out and buy a new PowerBook or something - as much as I would like to.

*Sigh* I guess I will just deal. If I get a good backup system going, I can keep using my current systems until their eventual (and heartbreaking) demise. Harrumph.


posted at 11:17 AM | comments (1)

September 04, 2005

Bad Hair Day/Week/Month/Life

I had been lamenting the status of my hair - my 'do was rather tired, and I was really bored with it. So, i made an appointment with my stylist, Aida, for this past Friday afternoon. Up until Friday morning, I wasn't REALLY sure what I would go for - the usual? Or something a bit different?

By appointment time, I had decided that I wanted to try to go back to my natural hair color (a sort of mousy-brown, I guess), and to even out the "layers" in my hair (I still don't frickin' know what "layers" are!). Aida LOVES giving me highlights, and is always telling me how gorgeous my hair looked after she does them. I guess it was a tad painful for her when I told her: "Okay, I wanna go back to base - back to my natural hair color. It's okay if some of the old highlights show through, but I want to go a little darker, overall. oh, and I'd like to even out the layers, because they aren't really working for me."

She shrugged and said, in her heavy Armenian accent, "Okay, I do what you like!"

Two hours later I walked out with hair the color of Jack White's - the color of Morticia Adams' - the color BLACK. Not totally black. There is a wee bit of brown peeking out in certain light, but Aida went WAY too dark, and I know she knew it. When she first took the towel off of my hair after having washed out the dye, I was a little frightened by the darkness of it. "Don't worry about that - it's really not that dark - just wet right now - you'll see."

But as she blew my hair dry, it wasn't lightening up... at all. I was going with it, though. The lighting is pretty bad in the salon, and I just hoped for the best. Before I left, Aida informed me that it would $70 for the new 'do. I went for my wallet to retrieve my credit card, and upon flashing it, Aida remarked, "Oh, we don't take credit cards." I guess this has changed since the last few times I had been there. I apologized for not having the cash or a check on me, and Aida graciously gave me her home address to send the check to.

I walked out, got into my MINI, and looked in the vanity mirror. Horror! It - was - not - any - lighter! I waited a full day, and washed my hair last night. And I washed it again last night. Guess what - it's still too dark! I am absolutely traumatized by it. You can check it out for yourself here. Note the grossed-out, annoyed look on my face. The look's a bit manufactured, I assure you, but that's just because my true look of horror is too horrifying to put out into the world. Especially with this absolutely horrid hairdo.


posted at 08:07 PM

September 01, 2005

my god, where is their aid??

This whole Hurricane Katrina thing is driving me insane with anger. There are dead bodies floating down flood waters, people stranded on the roofs of their houses, without food or water or protection from the anarchy that has taken over cities like New Orleans... and yet we STILL don't have a massive mobilization from our government to the disaster area.

Our troops and military equipment are not being diverted from Iraq or Afghanistan to help rescue people who are dying because they can't swim through miles and miles of deep water to relative safety. Why? What's the point of "fighting terrorism", Mr. President, if you aren't inclined to FIRST protect and rescue the people on our own soil who are in desperate, desperate need of it? The lack of resources put forth for the people of the Deep South is obscene... disgusting, even.

As a nation, we HAVE the money and the resources to prevent people from dying of starvation and dehydration and exposure, and to remove them from a likely-to-be disease-ridden area, but our government, our PRESIDENT is not ALLOCATING those resources. I am LIVID, and right here, right now, I'm screaming "IMPEACHMENT!", because our President's reticence and hesitation in getting aid to these affected areas, when the lives of the people "he rules" is absolutely inexcusable.


posted at 08:37 PM | comments (4)

August 31, 2005

the first day of school

When I was young (oh, I'm so terribly, terribly old!), I looked forward to the first day of school almost as much as I looked forward to the last day of school. In elementary school, I remember anxiously walking around the corner to Hollow Hills Fundamental School, about a week before class was to begin, to browse the class-assignment postings near the cafeteria and main office areas. I'd scan for my name, wondering who else would be in my class, if I got the teacher I wanted, etc. And then, on the first day of class, the question would be of seating assignments... who would be my neighbor for the next several months? Would we get to choose our own seats?

Yeah, I was a huge dork (and still am). In junior high and high school, I was always excited to start my new classes, to see how my friends and non-friends had changed over the summer. Even in college, the first day of any class was always met with an excitement that I still find hard to explain.

But now that I'm a rickety-old adult, I meet the first day of school with shudder. See, first day of school means the beginning of nearly nine months of miserable morning commuter traffic. And today was the first day of school. I was prepared for things to be moving slower, but not to the extent that it did!

It was almost comical - yesterday, the streets and freeways were relatively serene, with everybody moving at an average pace - and today, the city streets were packed with SUVs transporting kids dressed in their finest to one school or another. And the freeway was MUCH worse. It's as if half the population decided to take the summer off, because from Simi all the way to the entry gate of Universal, traffic was much heavier than it has been in awhile.

UGH! It makes me want to carpool, but the lady I would typically carpool with is both unreliable and, well, she drives me insane. And that's just no good. Maybe I just need a helicopter - that would solve this inconvenience!


posted at 09:53 AM | comments (1)

August 30, 2005

i need some frickin' customer service over here, please!

So, my old '83 Honda Civic is parked out in front of the house gathering cobwebs and plantlife, and there's really no hope of ever getting it to run again, so I'm planning on donating it to charity. It's been out there since November. Any normal person would have had it on the tow truck months ago, but I, as you should all know by now, am no "normal" person.

I have to clean the vehicle out, firstly. This is a task I've been avoiding for awhile. It's gonna be a dirty job - but that's not what's kept me from donating it yet.

My biggest obstacle is that I took out a loan back in 1997 using my Honda as collateral, through a company called The Associates. That company closed down sometime around 1999, and the account was transferred to a company called CitiFinancial. I made my payments as required and the loan was paid off sometime in 2001 or 2002. I never received a release of lien, but I never really thought about it, either.

Last year, when I first started thinking about buying a MINI, I put a call into the office where I mailed my payments to get the title transferred back to me. They had me fax my VIN number and told me they would mail me some paperwork - paperwork that I never got.

So then in November, my Honda died. I got back on the phone with CitiFinancial and said "Hey, I never got that Release of Lien. Can we get that ball rolling again?" A perfectly nice guy named Mike helped me out by looking for my file. After a few days, I called him back, and he apologized saying he could not locate my file, that it was probably lost in a shuffle, but that he would sort it out if I gave him my VIN number. I did. I never heard from him.

I called him back about a month later, asking him what the hold-up was. He apologized profusely, and said that he no longer had my VIN handy, so if I could get that to him again, he'd get right on it. Well, of course, I didn't have it handy either, so I told him 'd gather it and give him a call back eventually.

Well, eventually turned into never, as other things took my interest away from the transfer. The Honda is registered until November, I didn't think it would be an issue - no rush.

So my dad's been hounding me to get the car out of the neighborhood, so I took down the VIN this morning and tried to call the CitiFinancial branch I had been dealing with. First call - no one was there. Second call, about an hour later, the line was busy. Third call - luck! I spoke with a girl, explained my situation, and then was transferred to another woman in the office. She told me they couldn't help me there, that I would have to call the national office, and they ave me a 1-800 number to call.

I called the 1-800 number and was on hold for over ten minutes, maybe fifteen. When someone finally picked up I explained my situation. They looked me up in their "computers" and couldn't find me - the woman said it was probably handled by their "Paid in Full" department, and gave me another toll-free number to call.

So I call the third number, and hold, and hold, and hold. When the phone finally starts ringing I get all excited, I can hear the line pick up, and then it goes dead. FUCK! I call again, exasperated. Hold, hold, hold, and finally an answer. I tell the woman my long story and she tells me that they did not handle my account, it is the responsibility of the branch that I mailed payments to to handle these things, and that I should call them. UGH.

So I call the branch back, and again speak with two different women (all womenm so far). It ends up that they cannot find me in their system, and since they have no proof that I paid off the loan, they cannot release the lien at this time. I need to come up with an account number of a loan I paid off at least over three years ago.

I don't know what to do! I don't believe I still have ANY of that loan information. I don't think the bank would still have any of the checks on file (I'll try to call them). I don't, I don't, I don't. What I DO know is that I'm pissed - off. At myself, at this fucking branch that lost my files awhile ago, it seems, at the world.

What can I do if they don't release the lien? I can't get rid of the car!!


posted at 11:03 AM | comments (3)

August 26, 2005

morning traffic

So I'm driving on the 170 southbound to my doctor's office this morning, in the morning rush-hour traffic. I hear the cellphone in my pants pocket start to ring. I fumble around for the phone, taking my concentration off the road. I succeed in pulling the phone from my pants and flip it open, briefly glancing at the screen, revealing that it's my father calling from his cellphone:

me: Hello?
him: Hi, Julie?
me: Yeah?
him: Who did Billy Dee Williams play in Star Wars?
me: ...what?
him: Billy Dee Williams, the actor, what was his character's name in Star Wars?
me: Lando Calrissian
him: What?
me: Land-O Cal-RISS-i-an
him: Landau Calrivian?
me: Lando... Lando Calrissian
him: Is that with an "au"?
me: No, Land-OH. With an "O"
him: Oh, Lando Calrivian
me: Calrissian... with an "S" or a "Z" or something
him: Callriskian
me: CALRISSIAN
him: Oh, okay, Calrissian... Lando Calrissian
me: Yes. Now WHY do yuo want to know?
him: (laughs) Cuz I'm doing my crossword puzzle!
me: Jesus, I'm in traffic!
him: Oh, I thought you were at work, okay bye! (click)

*Sigh*


posted at 10:19 AM

August 25, 2005

teh sick, still

So I'm still feeling pretty miserable. I went back to work on Tuesday, after staying home to rest on Monday. On Tuesday my jaw started hurting again really bad, and I was coughing a lot, so I made a doctor's appointment.

When I got to the doctor's office on Wednesday morning, my cough had decided to duck and cover (I had a coughing fit on the way in, however). Doc said I had allergies, and that the jaw pain was related to TMJ. He prescribed some Allegra and told me to come back if I wasn't feeling better in a few days.

I'm still convinced that it's a burgeoning sinus infection. My cough is back, and I coughed all through last night, and I'm coughing so much here at work that I'm literally gagging from it. My co-workers are looking at me with pity and asking me if I'm alright. No, I'm not quite alright.

This sucks a LOT. Wanna know why? Hmm? Well, The London Trip is coming up in TWELVE DAYS, and I don't wanna be a sickie then. And I don't want to be on a plane with a sinus infection - that's just bad news all around. I want to feel better. Soon. Preferably by, like, now.

On the good side of things, my back is has been doing pretty well the last few days. *Sigh*


posted at 01:33 PM

August 22, 2005

photos added

Disneyland photos are up!


posted at 06:54 PM

teh sick

My lungs. There is crap is my lungs. I'm afraid to cough for fear it may never stop. I woke up eliciting a slight moan on every exhale - I guess it makes it feel better, because I'm still doing it. Every time I work up the courage to try to make a constructive cough, I'm met with a burning sensation deep in my lungs. And the base of my throat feels, well, not raw, per se, but a bit gunked up.

There was a cough. It makes me eyes water. It makes the lungs burn. Another sip of water cools it. Should I go into work this morning? I feel like I should not. I feel like I should stay at home, sleep, drink lots of water, and try to let my body heal.

Another part of me doesn't want to come across like a wuss at work. Oh god, the only thing worse than having a burning cough is having one accompanied by even the slightest case of heartburn. Ughhhhhhhhh. Sip some water. It passes. Kitty go away, I don't want to give you whatever I've got! Oh no. I hope Erik doesn't get it.

Trip to London is 15 days away. I mustn't remain ill.


posted at 03:44 AM

August 21, 2005

disneyland!

A few hours ago I returned from a weekend spent at the Disneyland Hotel with Erik. We arrived on Friday afternoon for our stay at the Disneyland Hotel. That evening we hit Downtown Disney for some dinner at Tortilla Joe's (the blandest mexican food I've ever had, I guess that's the O.C. for ya!), and then just some random wandering.

Saturday morning we were up early to begin our Disneyland adventure. Here is a list of the rides we went on (in no particular order, and in lowercase for my convenience):

space mountain, honey, i shrunk the audience!, autopia, matterhorn, it's a small world, buzz lightyear astro blasters, roger rabbit's cartoon spin, snow white's scary adventures, alice in wonderland, peter pan's flight, storybook land canal boats, pinocchio's daring journey, pirates of the caribbean, haunted mansion, big thunder mountain railroad, indiana jones adventure

We also managed to score a nice viewpoint from which to watch "Fantasmic!" and the newest fireworks extravaganza "Remember... Dreams Come True". Shortly before that, however, we took in an excellent dinner at the famed (no, not the infamously-impossible-to-get-into Club 33) Blue Bayou Restaurant. That's the restaurant which sits right inside the beginning of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride. We ate in the mock-darkness of a Louisiana bayou night, with the ambience of frogs and swamp insects. I've always wanted to eat there!

Despite my aching feet, a slight sunburnt face and neck, and a deep cough I've somehow managed to pick up, the weekend was really, really, really fantastic - one of my best and funnest trips to the Disneyland Park ever!

Note: pics to come


posted at 09:38 PM

August 19, 2005

hold on tight!

spacewalk.jpg
Whenever I see images of astronauts mid-spacewalk, I kinda get freaked out. Something about the blackness of space that's very frightening. Perhaps it was one too-many viewings of Space Camp when I was a kid, or that miserable scene with Tim Robbins in Mission to Mars, but the idea of being left, untethered, in the abyssmal vastness of the very-uninhabitable environs of space makes me very, very nervous.
posted at 09:27 AM | comments (1)

August 18, 2005

swim free, fishies!

After a 3-day stint of eating nothing but tunafish sandwiches for lunch and dinner, I've finally come to the point where I'm sick of them. Thank god. But it was good while it lasted. Yum. Uch.


posted at 08:13 PM | comments (2)

August 12, 2005

maybe it's not "PHYSICAL" therapy that I need...

I left work for an "early lunch" at around 10:15am to get to my first physical therapy appointment for my back issue (two herniated discs). I got to the office right at 10:30am, and filled out the obligatory paperwork, and then was introduced to my therapist, Nicole.

She took a quick history and then went about checking my flexibility. I was on my back, and she lifted my right leg slowly from the ankle. "Tell me when you start to feel the stretch". My leg wasn't a foot off the table before I responded "I feel it". Nicole was shocked. "Wow, we've really got to work on that flexibility!" This is not surprising news.

Then I rolled over onto my stomach, and she informed me that she was going to do some prodding to test some of the joints and ligaments. Her first prod was right to my lower back - and I quickly, hissily inhaled. "Wow, you are VERY inflamed still!" (after three months people!). We discussed how I either needed to start taking my prescribed Motrin on a regular basis or start icing my back every day - or some amalgam of both. She kindly gave me a clear example of what she should be able to feel for on my upper back, and then clearly showed how the lower back differed from that feel. Thanks, Nicole, really, you didn't have to go through the trouble.

Then came the fun part, she slathered some gel, which was infused with some sort of cortisone medication, onto my lower back, and began giving me ultrasound therapy on the inflamed area. After that, it was time to attach the electrodes! Yay! I love the electrical stimulation on the back. I told her to crank it, and then she placed an ice pack on top and left me to relax for twenty minutes, as the electrodes sent vibrations through my lower back. Ahhhh.

After that, she got me up (always a bummer), and helped me with some flexibility exercises I'm supposed to do twice a day. I scheduled two more appointments for next week, and I was on my way back to work...

...But not right away. I was hungry, so I decided to try my luck at the McDonald's down the street. I hadn't any cash, so I drove past the front of the McDonald's, clearly seeing the ATM/Credit card usage availability on the front door. Cool. Then I saw the drive-thru line. Not cool. Ah well. I was willing to wait for my Happy Meal.

Twenty minutes passed until I got to the bend where I could order. My heart sank, and then nearly beat out of my chest, when I saw a handwritten sign reading "NO CREDIT CARDS - CASH ONLY" on the speaker kiosk. Mother FUCKERS! I was livid. L-I-V-I-D! It took another ten minutes to get up to the first (payment) window, and I sternly requested company with the manager.

I guess I put on quite a show, because the manager gave me a whole hand-load of Free Big Mac cards, and they said I could order whatever I wanted. "Just give me a Happy Meal, cheeseburger, with a Coke, please." But now I felt kinda guilty for getting so mad. But it was their fault! How many hapless commuters would also have gone through the agony of not being capable of using their credit cards, after waiting for nealy a half hour, had I not made a righteous stink about it? I'm doing my part for the good of humanity, here!

As I drove up to Window #2, I again received an apology from yet another Customer Service Representative. I was gracious, and said "Thank you" about five or twelve times. God, I was just hoping they wouldn't spit in my cheeseburger! I can't say I didn't heave a little self-congratulatory evil-giggle one I got back onto the street.

So now I sit, eating some french fries, sipping my child-sized Coke, feeling a cool, calming sensation in my lower back - thinking nothing but good thoughts about tonight and the weekend to come.


posted at 12:36 PM

August 09, 2005

random thought

I am deeply dissatisfied with the state of my hair. I need a new 'do.


posted at 05:53 PM | comments (1)

August 08, 2005

the dark ages

This weekend I suffered through not only my tv being out-of-service, but my internet connection seemes to have died as well. It wasn't SO bad, though. I managed to score a loaner tv from my brother, who I guess is going out of town this week anyways. So for the next few days I should still be capable of tv-viewing.

I went out on Friday night to peruse the local Best Buy for a possible replacement television. After too much time spent ogling and drooling over the flat-panel 40"+ high definition plasma screens, we walked over to the dreary corner of the store that houses the standard def sets. Ugh. Unsavory. Each set either lacked a look that was favorable or came without certain necessary setting options. I believe I might just be attempting to have my own tv fixed - but I expect that choice to be re-questioned dozens of times this week before i actually make a decision.

And as for the internet, we have a service guy coming out on Thursday to check the cable connection. I think they might need to swap out the modem, because it's doing some funky stuff. But being without the internet is... well... very, very harsh. I feel totally cut-off without internet access at home.

Last night I was relegated to reading... a book!!! An actual, physical, paperback book! It was actually quite nice, relaxing - my afternoon felt longer. I finished that book, so it's time to start another tonight - or I'll watch a DVD, or play some video games, or just sleep.


posted at 11:14 AM | comments (2)

August 05, 2005

at an impasse

So what with my TV being broken and all, I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to do next. I called around to a couple of TV repair places, and received different guessed diagnoses from each. It sounds like the cost to fix will be at LEAST $130. It could go as high as $200.

My TV has never been "awesome". Sure, it's a 32", and it's a Samsung, so it's stylized pretty nice - but it's no HD Flat-Screen Plasma display. I could go out and drop $200-500 on a new screen - more adequately-sized for my bedroom and all, and maybe even HD-ready. But, right now really isn't the time for me to be spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a new TV.

Ack! I keep swaying from one direction to the other - I just cannot figure out what to do!


posted at 07:54 AM | comments (1)

August 04, 2005

tragedy strikes

I woke this morning in my normal form: I emerged from sleep many minutes shy of my cellphone's alarm going off, so I immediately reset it for a more reasonable time. I rolled over in bed and stretched a bit, then felt around my bed for the television remote, the remains of sleep still in my eyes. I pressed the power "ON" for the tv, and switched channels from Home & Garden TV to the local Fox Morning News (I know, I know - but they entertain me - I'm a dork like that).

I was slowly wipiing the sleep from my eyes, recounting a mildly amusing, but ultimately disturbing dream from the night, when the television screen went to black. The audio of the newscast remained with no sign of a problem, but the picture on my poor television has died.

I guess I knew it was coming. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that the picture would jitter on the screen, sizing itself down a bit around the edges and then resizing itself immediately, while some horizontal black lines flickered across the top of the image. The effect was dizzying, and I was glad to notice earlier this week that it seemed to have corrected itself.

But this morning, without warning, without a poof of smoke, without so much as a flicker of death signaling its imminent demise, the special magic faeries who made the images dance across my television screen were silently, yet brutally, murdered by Fate. Ah, Fate, you and I were on such good terms up to now!

...It's a fucking 32" tv here, people, how the heck am I gonna replace this?!? I'm absolutely gutted about it. How am I going to watch my Netflix DVDs? How am I going to see the cool gadgets on "I Want That!" on HGTV?!? Oh my god! I hadn't realized the true depth of this disaster... I have to go hyperventilate now!

UPDATE: For all you armchair engineers out there, yes, I tried hitting it - I gave it several good smacks, and nothing. And what's worse... I have a timer set to turn the television on every morning at 6:50am. I would have to navigate the menu to change that setting, unfortunately. Looks like I'll be unplugging it. I am very, very sad.


posted at 06:46 AM | comments (2)

August 02, 2005

random desire

So I've spent my lunch perusing Interesting Photos on flickr, and now I rabidly want a DSLR and many, many expensive lenses and filters of my own. I also want to spend my days not working, but finding interesting, colorfully-tiled public restrooms, abandoned buildings in desert locales, and deeply-lined senior citizens sitting on park benches looking tired.

Erik, let's go buy ourselves DSLRs tonight!


posted at 01:10 PM | comments (5)

a very disturbing trend

Several weeks ago I got stuck behind one of those ugly, gaudy monster pickup trucks on the freeway. It had the requisite American flag sticker and some performance auto-parts decals. It was obnoxious and driving way too slow to be in the fast lane.

Of course, I got right up on his ass before too long, as he must've been going about only 70mph. It was then I noticed this strange apparatus dangling from his rear tow bar. It looked like, like... OH MY GOD, are those TESTICLES?!?

Yes, yes they were truck testicles. As can be seen here. *Shudder* Not something you wanna be seeing on your way into work just before 8am. I thought this might have been a one-off thing, though. Just some strange buffoon with a foul sense of humor. I was wrong.

This morning, driving down Lankershim Blvd. towards work, I again got behind some truck monstrosity. Again, it had various American flag-themed decoration, and a nice decal that read "BLO ME". Charming. And bizarrely, he, too, was driving too slow (or maybe it's just me). It wasn't until I got right up behind him that I was again disturbed by the vision of a set of red testicles swinging from that bar behind the truck.

You know, personal expression is mostly fine by me, but jeezy creezy, these need to be outlawed. And their owners taken out and shot.


posted at 10:11 AM | comments (7)

August 01, 2005

learning to live with it

My lower back pain flared up again this weekend. Perhaps I put too much stress doing some lifting, but it again made things like sitting painful. A few weeks ago I went to a neurosurgeon for a consult.

The specialist mentioned surgery - but that there's about a 10% chance of the pain coming back. He didn't need to mention the other hazards and risks of surgery in general - especially surgery involving such close proximity to very important nerve bundles. I am not "into" surgery. I don't think I would have it even if he had said I should.

So essentially he said I should play the waiting game. Which is funny, because the initial injury happened in MAY!! I've been waiting. I asked him what I could do to help treat my back in the meantime - if there was anything I could do to speed up or assist the healing process. He told me not to slump in my chair. I asked him about physical therapy - and he gave me a piece of paper with some exercises on it.

Overall, I wasn't impressed with the experience, other than being able to see images of the herniated discs on his computer screen. I had been feeling okay by the time I got to his office, anyways. But I came out with the impression that, really, there's not much you can do for something like this. And that's depressing.

So, as I said, the pain has come back. It's not overwhelming, but it's annoying as hell. I have a crappy chair here at work, and it is not helping at all. I'm thinking maybe I'm going to call my doctor and request he refer me to physical therapy. It helped the last time I had severe back problems - and this waiting is just not doing anything for me...


posted at 09:55 AM | comments (2)

July 26, 2005

some developments

I've got some stuff to be excited about, and I thought I'd share:

~ Erik and I leave for London is exactly SIX WEEKS. At this precise time six weeks from now I will be at a terminal in LAX... waiting...

~ I finally received my FREE 60GB iPod photo, from freephotoipods.com. It was not easy, though. It took me over seven months and I had to babysit the entire process. But I gotta say, it was worth it - the iPod is awesome, and thanks to Erik, I can now hook it up in the MINI! Thanks to everyone who got on board on my behalf!

~ Erik and I just booked a weekend trip to the Happiest Place on Earth™, starting on August 19th.... complete with a stay at the Disneyland Hotel! I really cannot remember the last time I went to Disneyland - I think it was at least five years ago. Three words can help to explain my excitement: UPDATED SPACE MOUNTAIN!

~ Did I mention my new 60GB color iPod? Oh, I did? Ah well, it deserves to be mentioned twice because it is REALLY FREAKIN' COOL and it was ALMOST FREE!!!!!!!!


posted at 03:48 PM

July 22, 2005

that's it, i'm leaving!

Not really. Oh my GOD, work has been hectic today! Rush order after rush order after rush order. I'm also covering for another scheduler whose work I have NO IDEA how to do - PLUS, I'm covering for my supervisor, and getting all sorts of weird calls for her.

Sure, the morning is going by fast, but I still have a several days' worth of paperwork to catch up on that's been relegated to one side of my desk. It's actually a little comical, looking at all those work orders stacked up, waiting to be reconciled. Well, no, actually - it actually makes me weep. It's not funny at all. And I'm wasting five minutes of usable time to type an effing blog post - at least we all know where my priorities lay!


posted at 11:41 AM

July 21, 2005

how old my dad is

My dad is so old he just answered a telemarketer's call, said "Hold on one moment" and then called out, "Nala..."

...Nala is the family dog.

Or at least, that's what I just THOUGHT happened. I wouldn't put it past him, though.


posted at 08:18 PM

random stuff

~ I watched a man, casually dressed in shorts and flip-flops, unload a photo scanner box from his car this morning on the studio lot - and walk with it and his laptop bag towards his bungalow office. I immediately and inexplicably thought to myself, I am not satisfied with what it is that I do - I am dissatisfied with my work.

~ I'm expecting my iPod photo to come via DHL quite soon. Thank you, freephotoipods.com (and, of course, to everyone who placed an order)!! Alas, I have not yet figured out how I will set it up in my MINI. I want to be able to see the screen and album art (or at least have it in my periphery), but the idea of being able to control it from my multifunction steering wheel is also very tempting. *Sigh*

~ I'm slumping in my chair, and I believe it's the chair to blame. Today I paid attention to my seating habits, and found that when I sit in the chair, my butt starts to drift forward - like the cloth of the seat is not supplying ample friction to hold me in place or something. My rear-end is now almost completely off the chair. And I wonder why I have back problems!

~ London is only 47 days away. London is only 47 days away. London is only 47 days away.

~ I was out sick the first two days of this week. My catch-up work seems an insurmountable effort. Hence, I am being a bit lackadaisical about the task. Yes, I feel guilty about this. No, I won't think about it at all once I leave the building this evening.

~ I'm having issues at home. Nothing specific, but right now I'm not happy there. Being there causes me some stress - slight, but I can feel it when I walk through the front door. The night before last I got a little upset about it. I sense that I'm not welcome, for some reason - certain latent personality issues are slowly creeping up, maybe. But being there is, ultimately, good for me. And I haven't really a choice in the matter, anyways, as affording an apartment of my own right now is cost-(and savings-) prohibitive. It's just a phase, and it was bound to happen sooner or later. I just need to get through it.


posted at 04:04 PM

the wonders of credit

Since deciding to purchase my MINI, I've become a sort of credit expert. I've had some woes in the past, stemming from both uninsured emergency medical issues and, of course, from youthful fiscal irresponsibility. But over the last few years, I've worked very hard to take my credit from poor to excellent.

Apart from getting an excellent APR on my slightly-more-expensive-than-I-would-have-liked car, I've had more credit offers start piling up. At the end of every mail-day, I come home to a stack of offers that I quickly tear up and dispose of.

I have a few credit cards right now open, some are new, some I've had for about five years. The oldest card, from Capital One, has a measley $300 available credit and a ridiculous 19.8% APR.... Oh, and that $39 annual membership fee. Yikes. It was worth it when I got it. My credit was pretty much kaput and I needed to do something to re-establish myself... and Capital One was there.

This is the problem - through the years, Capital One has NOT ONCE raised my credit limit. While all my other cards' limits have increased, some ten-fold, the Capital One card has remained at $300. For that reason I never use that card.

This morning I checked my online statement, and the $39 annual membership fee had charged to my account. *Sigh*. Another year, another wasted $39. But this time I'm a bit unsettled about the whole affair... "Why the hell am I paying nearly $40 a year to let a piece of unusable plastic take up space in my wallet?" I ask myself.

From all my studies into credit worthiness and getting my FICO scores up, I realize that having long account histories is important - but on a $300 card? Puh-LEEZE! I called the toll-free number on the back of my card, prepared to kick that card to the curb.

Now, I've played this game before. If a card wasn't working out for me, for instance if I felt the APR was too high, I'd just call the number, voice my concern and/or disdain, and, TA DA!, the card company would lower or raise, to my tastes. It's really quite a sweet deal. People, those credit card companies want to keep your business - if you want a lower APR, call them up and ask!

So when I maneuvered through the automated service, requesting they close my account, I knew they'd try to get me to stick around.

Automated Voice: "If you are closing your account because you are unhappy with your APR, please press '1'."

Me: Sternly presses '1'.

Automated Voice: "Congratulations, because you are a Capital One customer with Preferred Cardholder status, you qualify for a lower Annual Percentage Rate of... " (wait for it!) "... 17.9%! To accept this offer, press '1', to decline, press '2'."

Me: Unimpressedly presses '2'.

I'm then transferred to an actual living, breathing person - someone who sounds very excited about life. I explain to her that I want to close my account and why, and she rattles off the company-line about why keeping my Capital One card is a good idea - including a (probably scripted) "personal experience" about how utilizing cards with LOW available credit lines is your best bet when buying online - so that if your card number is scooped up and fraudulently used, they can only get so much off of it (including, of course, the important info that Capital One, like most banks nowadays, offers all customers no liability on fraudulent charges)...

"Not good enough", I think to myself. And then she gets to the good part. Because of my "Preferred Cardholder Status", she is able to knock off my annual membership fee - and reverse the charge I saw this month. Well, that's a start. And then I ask her about raising the credit limit, or lowering the interest rate. No dice. "At this time, I do not have the capability of offering you that, but check your statements, as Capital One periodically reviews accounts throughout the year for account limit raises".

I then remark to her about how, in the past FIVE YEARS, Capital One has either reviewed my account and decided to not offer me raises, or has not reviewed the account at all. And that I'm reticent to continue the account. And that I will not be using a card with such a high APR. So it's their loss. Full stop.

But I'll go ahead and keep it. It will help keep my credit score up. And it's not like it's costing me anything. Suze Orman would be so proud!


posted at 01:01 PM

July 11, 2005

falling forward

I came to work this morning feeling almost excited about starting the week. "Excited" really isn't the right word, but I wasn't wishing for death. I walked out into the refreshing not-too-hot/not-too-cold morning air, started up my fantastic motor vehicle, rolled down the window and casually drove myself to work without a care in the world.

The morning was reasonable enough - I put in some dailies transfer orders, and finished up some billing. Nothing too hectic - but just enough to keep me busy. Lunchtime came around and I trekked off the lot to pickup some Taco Bell for myself and a co-worker. I stuffed myself silly (per usual), and was left feeling bloated, tired, and yes, wishing for death.

So goes the entire afternoon. Up until only a moment ago, I've had no orders, leaving me to keep myself amused. The internet is an absolute bore (I'm well-aware that I am part of the problem). iTunes on my trusted iBook is my only saving grace, but that hasn't prevented me from dozing off.

Now, I don't think I've really, actually lost consciousness this afternoon, but I did nearly fall into my computer keyboard just before starting to type this post. I wish I worked in an environment where I could use my downtime to learn some new and exciting part of the post-process, but I've been informed on several occasions that, what with union stipulations and all, that was frowned upon. Funny how managers can spoil one's dreams with smiled on their faces - as if you should remain hopeful while your soul is being sucked from you slowly.

But I digress.

The point of this post is to try to eloquate the dreadful, sometimes mind-numbing "work" I find myself doing. Or not doing. Whatever. I give up. I will be part of the problem. I will suffer through the wasteful void of day-to-day work in the hopes that maybe someday I'll be in the right place at the right time and something spectacular will happen to my career. But right now, I feel like a worker ant. A worker ant with the mental capacity to be bored out of her miniscule mind.


posted at 03:41 PM

July 07, 2005

complaint alert

Okay, I'm really beginning to get tired of taking over someone else's work and not being properly trained on how to do it. When I left a previous scheduling position, the person replacing me not only received TWO WEEKS side-by-side training with me, but I also put together a folder with client specs, step-by-step how-to's, and other general information.

This time I requested to my supervisor that the employee who was leaving give me a cheat sheet before they left. I received a ten-minute training session (if that) and nothing else.... almost exactly what happened with the last scheduler who left.

I'm trying to put on a happy face and just work through it, but it's making me look like a total idiot to the clients and technicians who presume I've actually been trained to do this. And I really despise looking like an idiot.


posted at 11:58 AM

June 30, 2005

jury duty

I've nearly made it through the day. Hopefully just a precious few more hours until I am released from my civic duty and allowed to make my way home. Hopefully for a nap. Geesgh - there is nothing more soul-sucking than sitting in a room waiting to be called into a Jury Pool.

But I was called.

I was one of the first batch requested. We were sent upstairs and led into a courtroom. The judge announced that it was a criminal case, and could last up to a week or more. She requested than anyone who would not be able to "sit" for the trial that long stand up and state their case. For me, it's my back.

As much as sitting on a jury interests me, I cannot sit down for more than maybe twenty minutes at a time without having to stretch, get up, walk around, etc. I was excused. Hopefully, I'll ride out the rest of the day in peace.


posted at 01:52 PM

June 29, 2005

jesus, am i really thirty?!?

Quite a nice birthday I had yesterday. The festivities had pretty much been broken up into two separate occasions: the first this past Saturday - a dinner with Erik and my friend David at Don Cuco's; and the final one, last night, a lovely dinner with Erik at the Tam O'Shanter Restaurant on Los Feliz.

I woke up yesterday with the dull sensation that I was getting older. "Jesus, am I really thirty?!?" Yes, yes I am. It's fine, whatever, I'm over it. As I child and young adult I never had any grand schemes or ideations of where I might be in my life by the time I was thirty years old. That makes this whole thing easier, I'd imagine.

I have a fantastic car, I'm saving towards property of some sort (a shack in my Dad's backyard is the likely "property" in the current housing market), I have a reasonably good job and a freakin' fantastic boyfriend. My health could use some tweaks, but really, whose couldn't? All in all, I'm in a pretty good space right now. I really couldn't ask for a whole lot more.

Except for maybe an excuse from jury duty service. That's tomorrow, my jury duty. I have to drive all the way up to the City of Ventura to sit around for a whole day hoping I don't get called onto a jury. While I really look forward to the day when I can be a member of a jury, to test my judicial skill and revel in civic pride - right now is just not the right time.

Firstly, it's my back. I won't have a problem waiting in some room for a more than a few hours. I'm sure I'll have the freedom of movement to get up and walk around every fifteen minutes or so. But being placed on an actual jury, having to sit in a chair for more than an hour at a time will just not cut it. My need to stretch and crack my back every twenty minutes alone could cause a mistrial.

And lastly, should I be placed on a jury, and have to come in on Friday - that would spoil my plans for Friday. On Friday, I am to get off work early so that Erik and I can take a ride up to Sequoia National Park for the weekend. Having to sit for jury duty on that day would force us to stay up quite late - something clearly neither of us is capable of.

So yeah, jury duty is a fantastic opportunity, but PLEASE, not this time. Oh, powerful Universe, let that be my belated birthday gift!


posted at 10:24 AM | comments (2)

June 28, 2005

happy birthday!!! your life is over!!!

Not really. But I did just receive an interesting callback from my doctor. It appears that, after over a month of persistent pain which began with several trips to the emergency room, and doctors' offices - I finally have some sort of diagnosis for the near-crippling pain I've been suffering. This stems from a MRI that was finally ordered for me last week... six weeks after the original onset of pain. Am I bitter about this? Nooooooo! (yes.)

I have a herniated disc. I'm not sure if it's one or two of them, as the doctor was a bit scattered during the call. He mentioned something about L4 and L5, and that he was referring me to a specialist. Happy birthday to me!

It's not going to stop me from going to Sequoia National Park this weekend, however. I'm even going to do some hiking... er, um.. walking... on dirt. Yeah. Let's not go crazy! So yeah, I know nothing about herniated discs (only what I've just looked up on WebMD and stuff), so I really don't know where it goes from here. I don't know whether to be relieved about the fact that there's an actual empirical physical REASON for the pain I've had, or to be worried about my prognosis.

Oh well, I'm just going to enjoy the birthday dinner Erik is treating me to and leave the worrying to the physicians!


posted at 04:17 PM

June 16, 2005

this coffee is not helping

Yeah, in a little less than two weeks I turn thirty, and my body won't let me forget that hard fact. I am no longer capable of staying up past midnight without terrible effects... Oh, the grogginess! Will it never cease?

Saw Batman Begins with Erik last night. Good times. I actually enjoyed it. I'm not really a fan (heck, I haven't even seen any of the probably-horrible non-Tim Burton Batman flicks), but I really enjoyed the tone of this film. It took itself seriously - and it didn't make a fool of itself. Big-ups to Christian Bale for turning out a great performance - I actually believed him as Bruce Wayne/Batman.

So I'm sipping at this toffee nut latte, pouting about the fact that I'm still not feeling any of the effects - oh, except for that gnawing in my tummy from drinking coffee without any food in my stomach - ah, the corrosion of my stomach lining! Yay!


posted at 09:45 AM | comments (1)

June 14, 2005

i just totally fell asleep at my desk

More like drifted off, actually, but I lost consciousness for at least a few seconds. I feel so out of whack right now. Overly-sleepy... drowsy. My stomach feels a little weird. Totally not hungry, which is, you know, weird.

I think it has to do with last night. Because I was SO LAZY over the weekend, and not as physically active as I should have been, my back sort of tweaked out a bit. Yesterday at work it became worse and worse. Not because I was sitting in my uncomfortable office chair for too long (because I was up and running around all the freakin' time), but I think because I was all stressed out.

So I got home late and basically slummed until it was time to go to bed. But my back was really bothering me, so I decided to take two Vicodin. Vicodin hadn't really helped me during my severe episode, but I thought if I took two perhaps it would work better than some Motrin.

So I took the two Vicodin on almost an empty stomach and spent the next hour having fun trying to analyze the effects of the drugs. I was getting sleepy, sure. I was also reeeeallyyyyy reeeeelaaaaaaaaxed. And warm. Really warm. Super-cozy. And a bit itchy as well. I felt like a freakin' crack smoker. Then I stumbled onto an episode of "Family Guy" on TBS and fell happily to sleep, pain-free.

This morning I woke up with no real damage done. My back was ever-so-slightly sore, but nothing compared to how I was feeling without meds the day before. But, as the day progresses, I'm noticing how crazy-lethargic I am. It probably has a lot to do with the amount of work I have in today (practically nothing, unfortunately), but that's never usually enough for me to actually fall asleep at my desk.

I've been pondering going home early, but, like, I need all the hours I can get. All I need to do is manage to stay awake for the next four hours and then I can crash (at home, preferably, not in my MINI on the drive home, please!).


posted at 02:33 PM

June 13, 2005

getting things done

Wellllllllll, not really.

Here's my dirty little secret: I am really, really lazy. Terribly undisciplined. An incessant procrastinator. I have to find motivation to get things done, and, unless it's actual job-related work that I'm paid to do, or some type of favor I've promised to someone, that magic motivation is generally lacking.

This weekend Erik and I had loosely planned the following: to see the film Mr. and Mrs. Smith, to have a nice half-day out at Will Rogers State Park, to play videogames, and to just have fun. Well, we played videogames (well, one videogame - Splinter Cell, which was AWE-some, seriously Erik, can I, like, borrow that?!?), and goodness, we did have a lot of fun - but we didn't make it out to the movie nor to the park.

Why? Because I am effing LAZY!

So I have this MINI-thing to contend with now. A few weeks ago a lite-tragedy occurred and my front bumper got messed up a bit. So I've been dealing with my insurance the last few weeks about it. See, I say that, but the insurance company has been very quick and answered all my questions and has, so far, really come through for me. So those "weeks" I say I've been dealing with them has actually been me twiddling my thumbs and not making up my mind about things. Gee will-lackers, I just can't seem to find the time to actually GET MY CAR IN THE SHOP and GET A RENTAL CAR ALREADY!!!

But today, after having a nice, restful weekend, I made the necessary phone calls and it's all set up. Wednesday morning I will drop off my MINI at Steve's Auto Clinic, and then get a ride to Enterprise Rent-a-Car, where they're gonna load me up with an Inifinity G35 (fully covered by the insurance, billed directly to them, thank-you-very-much!). It was between the Inifiniti and the Mercedes C-Class. Decisions, decisions!

The next day I will return said rental car and pick up my MINI, waiting for Steve to get the parts ordered. Then, once again, I'll get my MINI in the shop, get me a rental car, and motor in some luxury rental until my MINI is again the pristine vehicle it so deserves to be... worthy of the new Union Jack license plate frame Erik bought me as an early birthday present (thanks again, Erik!!).

See, I'm capable of finishing a personal task... really! Now, if I can only manage to get that hair appointment I so desperately require....


posted at 12:41 PM | comments (1)

June 09, 2005

bright light! bright light!

I'm doing something very obnoxious right now. I know it looks beyond silly, but I cannot help that. I'm trying to hide out in my cubicle, so no one has to bear witness to this, this, je ne sais quoi.

I'm wearing sunglasses... indoors. I have good reason to, however. I've been getting headaches the last couple of days, and I felt one getting bigger and more painful right before lunchtime today. I don't have any pain relievers for this ailment, so I'm left to suffer in silence. On a whim, I put my sunglasses on, and it seemed to ever-so-slightly relieve some of the achey-ness.

So there's the sensitivity to light, obviously. I don't think it's a migraine because it hasn't made me nauseated or affected my appetite at all, and the few countable occasions on which I've been blessed with an actual migraine, I was very nauseated and wouldn't dream of putting anything but copious amounts of pills in my mouth.

So right now, the headache pain is at bay. It's not as overwhelming as it was starting to feel before I popped my sunglasses on. Yes, co-workers, I know it's hilarious and atrocious all at the same time, but would you rather I go home for the day and you cover for me? I thought not.


posted at 01:46 PM

June 07, 2005

i want to run screaming from the building

Certain clients are driving me insane. I have way too much to absorb in way too little time. It seems like every single order I put in is coming back with some sort of problem. Nothing is easy. Everything is difficult. People are talking too much about things I don't need or care to know. I want to run. I want to hide. I want to go back to bed. I want to sit in bed playing videogames. Videogames where I get to shoot people en masse.

*Sigh* I guess it can wait until I get home. If I get home. End of day seems so far away. [/whine]


posted at 09:53 AM

June 06, 2005

only 13 weeks away...

I am very fickle when it comes to the concept of time at this very moment (hee hee). On one hand, I want thirteen weeks to pass by right-quick, in the blink of an eye. In thirteen weeks Erik and I will be travelling to London for about a week. Ever since my previous trip there in late-March of 2002, I've longed to return.

This time I'll make it out to Oxford, for a (GEEK ALERT!) tour of the MINI manufacturing plant. We'll be taking a full-day tour to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and the beautiful town, Bath. While I've visited both Bath and Stonehenge before, this time the trip to Bath will include a private, night-time, torch-lit tour of the Roman Baths. Tres cool.

And Erik's never been, so I will be able to share my awe and wonderment of places like the British Museum and, furthermore, Westminster Abbey, with him. It's gonna be awesome. And time there will mean time spent away from work, the idea of which, right now, I value above almost all things.

On the OTHER hand... I don't really want the summer to end. I have a feeling this summer is going to be filled with a lot of fun weekends, and I get every other Friday off early, and the days are longer, and something about summertime (even though I no longer get those three months off every year that I did as a schoolchild) still appeals to me. And the traffic's lighter. Less traffic = more time to sleep in.

At this very moment, I just want this workday to be over. No, this work-week. Why can't we get stuck on a weekend forever and ever? Blech.


posted at 04:38 PM | comments (4)

June 02, 2005

mallophobia

As I've mentioned before, I have a condition which makes it difficult to avoid attracting spillage to the clothing on the upper-half of my body. This seems to be a recent problem, or at least it seems that way.

Almost every shirt, blouse and other top I own now has some sort of stain on it. Oh, it's not just the infamous blue shirt anymore - the green v-neck has fallen victim as well. And I have a black shirt that's fallen prey to something permanent as well. Mind you, I don't own a lot of clothing. This is really problematic for me.

So, alas, I need to go shopping to again make it so I don't have to wear the same three shirts throughout the week (including a very unseasonal brown turtleneck). And I despise shopping for clothes. Really. It's bad. Bad, bad, bad.

For me shopping is not an experience like those ubiquitous movie montages featuring people having a great time trying on all sorts of wacky clothes (a la "Mannequin", or "The Sweetest Thing"). For me it is torturous. Having to navigate through all those crowds of slow-moving shoppers, all those strollers and old people, all those grouplets of teenagers, all those jerk-offs who actually enjoy being at the mall. *shudder*

I can't talk about it anymore - it's freaking me out. And what's worse is that it's unavoidable. I have to go this weekend or else people are going to start to talk.


posted at 10:31 AM

May 26, 2005

it's so on

An oddly-hectic day today at work. Not much in the way of busy, but more in the way of being hassled unendingly by an external client who doesn't really have their crap together. While I normally eat while sitting in my cube, today I had to escape.

I ventured out onto the lot and found a nice bench near some jasmine trees and just sort of baked for about a half hour. The weather is gorgeous today - sunny, a bit hazy - with a cool breeze blowing. The sun was not too hot, just enough to feel warm in the wake of the cool jasmine-scented breeze. I'm not much for soaking up the sun, but this was pure heaven contrasted against this morning.

As I was walking back to the office, I felt a bit sluggish - thoroughly relaxed by my time in the sun - nowhere near wanting to actually get back to work, so I dropped by the vending machine at the Backlot Cafe and dropped $2.50 on a Red Bull... sweet, delicious, cold Red Bull... the heavenly feeling is extended yet again. Am I ready to get back to work yet? Obviously not.
----------
Assuming one of us doesn't die beforehand (because we haven't had the best of luck with our individual healths [is this a word, "healths"?] as of late), Erik and I will be heading south for the long weekend to the lovely (I'm sure) coastal city of San Diego. There, lots of Mexican food will be consumed, lots of animals will be ogled, and lots of fun will be had.

I've really only been to San Diego once before - and that was spent seeing David Sedaris & Sarah Vowell speak, eating some Taco Bell, and taking a brief tour of the old Point Loma Lighthouse with my friend David. Other than that, no quality time was really spent seeing the local sights.

Oh, and of course, I've spent some time in Balboa Park while playing Tony Hawk ProSkater.

While I don't think Erik and I will be ripping it up by grinding any rails in Balboa Park (never say never), we do plan on getting outdoors-ey enough to visit the San Diego Wild Animal Park and SEA WORLD!!

I'm excited to no end about this pair of destinations. There are photos of me somewhere from when I was an infant (about one year old), riding in one of those old-school blue amusement park strollers, at my first and only trip to Sea World. I looked mighty happy, considering that I was probably teething at the time.

So while I have no real memories of Sea World, I look forward to seeing some polar bears, and penguins, and manatees, and sharks, and other ugly fish - even possibly dining with Shamu! Plus there are rides. Journey to Atlantis, Wild Arctic, and of course, Shipwreck Rapids. I'm thinking a change of clothes might be in order.

And then there's the Wild Animal Park. I'm just as excited as Erik is to visit with the lorikeets. Plus there'll be elephants and lions and tigers and giraffes and *whew*. It's gonna be hot. Metaphorically and literally, I'd imagine.

Is today over yet? I want the weekend to get here BAD!!!


posted at 01:47 PM | comments (1)

May 24, 2005

hungry spider

I seem to have been a late-night snack, no, a late-night all-you-can-eat fiesta for a spider of some sort. I have four large red welts all along the back of my right arm and shoulder area. It's a virtual constellation of spider bites!

It itches, it itches, it itches!


posted at 08:47 AM | comments (1)

May 23, 2005

it stops here

So, for a couple months now I've been very, very bad when it comes to the type of food-nourishment I've been seeking out. Lots of fast food - lots of greasy lunches - lots of toast with butter & grape jelly for breakfast.

Before this, I had been adhering to a pretty strict "diet" - affecting not only what I ate, but also by how much and when. My intake was limited to mostly un-processed foods, whole grains - almost all of it was fresh. Boy, it was a hard way to live! I was able to balance it out with the semi-weekly splurge, but my mainstays were set pretty healthy.

It was incredibly difficult. So I'm not going back to that just yet. But I seriously need to stop eating grilled cheese and Cheetos at lunchtime. I need to stop going to the Del Taco drive-thru every other night. I need to ban the words "Backlot Cafe" from my vocabulary and start bringing lunch - even if it means eating those highly-processed lowfat lunches.

It's both a way to control the artery-clogging intake and the cash I'm spending on food. Here on the lot I can spend at least $10 per day on breakfast and lunch. And that is not within my budget right now. At least, I shouldn't allow it to be. A simple bowl of cereal and nuked Lean Cuisine should suffice - at over half the cost.

Okay, I'm willing myself to go to the grocery store tonight.


posted at 05:38 PM

memorial day ideas

Anyone have any recommendations for what I should do over the Memorial Day weekend? I cannot think of anything.

Oh, and in a bit of unexpected good news: "Summer hours" are again going into effect here at work starting next week. What are "summer hours"? Basically, I get off at 1pm every other Friday. W007!


posted at 02:41 PM

feeling guilty

The weekend was full of ups and downs, fun and mini-depression. Friday night started it off well - straightened my room up a little, did some laundry, and watched "The Muppets' Wonderful Wizard of Oz" on television. Hot.

Saturday morning I woke early to be the first MINI at Steve's Auto Clinic. He bent the warped lower plastic bumper/lip-thingee into place, removed the bent and broken lower mesh grill, and revealed that my condenser had suffered enough to cause it to curve inward. My air conditioning is functional, and that's good, but I don't like the idea of hedging my bets.

The core support system which holds the condenser and radiator in place also broke on the right (erm, driver's) side. One good bump and I suppose the whole thing could drop.

Steve called the dealer for prices for replacement parts - and it was about $1200, not including tax. Add labor to that and I'm looking at over $1500 for repairs. Eek.

I had put out the call for help, and verified that, because the tire tread had been launched, was moving - airbourne, if you will - it should be covered under the comprehensive side of my insurance. In my particular policy, I still have a $500 deductible for comprehensive, at least it shouldn't count against me. My broker verified this and gave me the claims number to call.

I tried holding for awhile this morning, but couldn't deal. It's just too intimidating, and I wasn't feeling like recounting the details again. It's very nerve-wracking - I guess because it's my car, everything new is a bit scary.

ANYhow, after Steve's Auto Clinic, I drove home and sat down to do some gaming ("Medal of Honor") until Erik arrived. We hung out all day and went and saw Star Wars 3 that evening. Although I wasn't nearly as excited about the film's release as was every freaking male person I know, I still had a good time.

Sunday morning we had a late breakfast at Du-Par's in Thousand Oaks, and then drove north - thinking we'd hit Jalama Beach, maybe get a burrito at Freebirds in SB. We hit Santa Barbara pretty quick and then decided to take the 154, through Solvang, then take the Santa Rosa Road to Highway 1, and then get to Jalama Beach.

On the 154, we pulled off onto the Painted Cave Road - a longish, seriously windy, seriously narrow and seriously treacherous road. People actually resides up near the top. It was so high up. We couldn't figure out what the attraction was, until having turned around and heading back, we saw a small little stop - some Chumash Cave with petroglyphs, I guess.

We didn't stop, however, because the idea of going up all those steps just to look in a scary cave didn't sound appealing to me at that moment. We got back down to the 154 and turned inland toward the Santa Ynez Valley. By the time we got into Solvang, we were both a little nutty from the heat (100 degrees - in Solvang!!), and Erik was further nutty from both illness and lack of caffeine.

We ended up stopping at a gas station in Buellton to stock up on Sobe, Amp, and Starbucks bottled frappuccinos. We then hopped on the 101, hopped right OFF the 101, and traversed the gorgeous Santa Rosa Road. This wasn't the first time I had been on this road. The first time, I was, again a passenger in Erik's MINI, but also, we were kept at a snail's-pace by a hundreds of bicyclists along the entire stretch of the road.

This time, there was no such slowdown and I was treated to one of the greatest small little drives of my life. So smooth, so pretty, so relaxed. At the end of the line was Highway 1, and Erik shot out onto it, and a few miles later, hopped on the road to Jalama Beach.

Jalama Beach was crazy. A 14-mile windy road takes you there, and when we got there, the wind was racing across the beach at high velocity, creating waves of sand moving southbound at our feet, blowing into our eyes, ears - everything. We couldn't stay long, as just walking in the high wind was exhausting.

We returned to the car, yeah, exhausted. Erik was coughing a lot. He'd been sick all weekend, unfortunately. I feel so guilty, now, taking him out into the world on Sunday, because by the time we got back to my place at around 7:30pm (quickly: horrendous traffic through Santa Barbara - while having to pee like crazy, no Freebirds :( , dinner in Oxnard - at the crappiest McDonald's EVER), he sounded just miserable. But he was a trooper - he kept me smiling the entire time.

The weekend came to a close as I drifted off to sleep shortly after 10 o'clock.


posted at 10:27 AM

May 19, 2005

*exhale*

*Whew*

I feel like I can comfortably take a breath again. These past two weeks have been both so sucky and so filled with really awesome moments that I haven't really been capable of thinking straight.

Let's take a few moments to revisit/resolve some issues:

1) While the MINI Bumper Incident Of May 2005 will live in infamy, I'm almost officially over it. Amazing what a couple of days can do to ease that sort of gut-wrenching, panic-infused horror.

2) My back is feeling better. I'm certainly not back to 100% (was I ever?), but I'm back to around 75% of my usual physical abilities. The exercise ball is my #2 friend right now.

3) The road trip Erik and I have been so looking forward to (originally scheduled to begin this Saturday) has been postponed for myriad reasons. It's gonna happen soon, though - and when it does, we're gonna have SO MUCH FUN!

4) Erik is the coolest guy a girl could wish to hang out with. I'm pretty lucky to have him.

So yeah, that's it, pretty much. Work is good. I'm still waiting to hear about a certain promotion I've been aching for the past month, but all signs point to "Yes" on that. The new work I've taken on is a bit more challenging - lots more face time with all varieties of clientele mostly, and I'm a wee bit more involved in the technical speccing than I've been since I transferred to scheduling for a new department. I'm hoping this involvement will go deeper.

I'm really enjoying having my iPod at work. This original 1st gen 5GB iPod has been collecting dust for far too long. While you're certainly welcome to help me get a brand new 60GB iPod Photo, this one seems to be getting me through the days with a bit more sanity. I've been listening to a lot of The Postal Service, Pedro the Lion, Liz Phair (from the "Exile in Guyville" days), and Bloc Party.

What else? Oh, I managed to wipe the tears from my eyes long enough to watch most of that "Chaotic with Britney & Kevin" debacle on UPN Tuesday night. In an effort to refrain from spending too much brain-time on this horrible, horrible show, I will simply cut-and-paste from an email I sent to my friend, David:

oh my goodness. britney has Problems (with a capital "P"). i was hoping it would be so bad that it would be good - funny - something to laugh at. but it was even worse. painfully bad. my threshold for this type of thing, as you well know, is quite high - so for me to say this means a LOT. so, so bad. all her annoying mannerisms are presented over and over and over again. if i were forced to be around her, (which wouldn't be for very long, i'd imagine) i'd probably slap her repeatedly and tell her to get a freaking grip. "can you handle my truth?" the answer is a definitive "no".

Okay, back to it.


posted at 01:20 PM | comments (3)

May 17, 2005

back on track

I am now back in the swing of things *pun intended, i suppose*. While I still have some pain and stiffness in my lower back, I am nowhere near where I was on Friday through Sunday in terms of pain.

I've been put on a round of steroids to help the muscles that are spasming quit that lame business and start doing their job again. I've been ordered OFF of bed rest - and since I've been moving around I'm feeling about 50% better. Heck, I even managed to drive to work today! No small feat, considering where I started on Friday.

Alas, as the week progresses (well, is IS only Tuesday and all), reality is setting in that the road trip Erik and I had planned to commence on Saturday might need to be postponed. This bums we out to no end because, I think it's safe to speak for Erik as well here, we both really need a vacation.

But all is not lost just yet. I'm already feeling a lot better than I was 24 hours ago - and I'm no longer taking the heavy duty Vicodin-style pain pills anymore. I'm holding out hope at this point.

And I've gotta say it again: Erik was the single-most helpful person throughout this whole ordeal. Yesterday, he even took off work to get me to the doctor's office for x-rays and such. Without his help, I'd probably still be in bed now, either crying on and off throughout the day in pain, or so doped up on Vicodin as to not be conscious. I can't even begin to think how to thank him.


posted at 11:29 AM

May 15, 2005

not fun at all.

What a weekend! Not in the "Oh my goodness, I've had so much fun I can hardly stand it!" sense, but it the "It hurts so bad I wish I were dead!" sense.

It started out innocently enough. Wednesday I started experience mild lower back pain. I've had problems with my back before - and this didn't feel too serious. Thursday at work it felt worse, and so that night I did a few exercises on my exercise ball - a therapeutic strategy I picked up during physical therapy last year.

Friday morning I woke up feeling pretty good. I hopped out of bed and got in the shower with no problem. Although when I went to sit down after showering, something felt really wrong. I thought to myself, "Well, it's not so bad as to miss work, I'll just bring a pillow to help support me during the day - and then tonight I'll use my massaging heat pad, and all will be good."

I walked out of the house that morning feeling really tight. So when I got in my MINI Cooper, I put the pillow behind me for added support. It was a bit painful, but not so bad. As I started driving (stick shift just SUCKS when your back hurts) I was feeling worse and worse. I had gotten on the freeway, and things were getting really, really painful.

I thought that maybe the pillow just wasn't doing the trick for me. So I grabbed the pillow out from behind me and immediately felt all sorts of sharp pains shooting in all directions. The rest of the trip to work was me trying to play mind games - telling myself that the pain wasn't there - I was highly unconvincing to myself.

I got to work, relieved. I thought that the worst was over. Getting out of my car was enough to disprove that silly notion. I had not felt this sort of pain in quite awhile. Merely getting myself out of my car was enough to bring tears to my eyes. Trekking from the parking structure to the office building reduced me to full-on crying. Every step I was greeted with more and more pain.

I got to my desk, sobbing with pain. I was early enough to be almost alone in the room. A co-worker heard my sobs and came up to ask me what was wrong. I was standing, leaning against the dek in my cubicle, my hair sticking to my tear-streaked face, as I replied that my back was really hurting, and I just needed a few minutes to get myself together.

I had a single Motrin pill with me, and decided to get some water to take it. I walked to the watercoller, carefully got myself a half-cup of water, and then made my way back to my cube, the Motrin bottle and a tear-soggy paper napkin in one hand, my papercup in the other. When I noticed my boss in her office, I broke down.

She immediately came to my aid, helping me to her couch. She then called for paramedics. I was hurting so much. On her couch, I was actually able to get into an awkward position that felt a little relieving. Little did I know that this would be the most relief I would feel in a day or so.

The on-lot fire department guys showed up first. They took my vitals, and asked me what happened. And they stuck around until the paramedics arrived. They, too, took my vitals, and asked me what had happened. They got my on a gurney and rolled me out to the ambulance. I haven't felt this embarrassed in, well, I don't remember the last time.

I was then transported to St. Joseph's Medical Center, in Burbank. The laying position was not too bad actually. I spent a few hours there, a doctor who looked younger than me decided that I had sciatica, and prescribed me some extra-strength Motrin and Flexeril. A nurse came in to give me two injections - Toredol(sp?) and something else. I felt relaxed.

They discharged me, and I was left to walk out of the hospital, trying to carry my seemingly-heavy backpack. That actually felt like the hospital was being a little negligent. I called my boss, and arranged to have one of my co-workers drive my MINI home, and the other would follow to give that first co-worker a ride back to the lot.

Megan, the MINI-driving co-worker, picked me up - and the pain came on again trying to get into her shiny new Chili Red MINI Cooper S, back to the lot to pick my MINI up. The pain, THE PAIN! Whatever injections I had been given at the hospital was clearly not enough. Not enough at all. By the time I got home, I was exhausted with pain. My dad, who has a messed up toe himself, did me a favor by filling the prescriptions I was given by the hospital. I took a dose of meds and tried to sleep.

I had called Erik with the news as soon as I had been discharged from the ER. He sounded stunned, but wasn't too talkative. I later learned that he was just sitting down to lunch, so it was an awkward time. He called me a bit later, when I was in my MINI getting driven home. My biggest worry, at the time, was that I had a 10K mile service appointment for my MINI on Saturday, and a road trip planned for the next weekend. I asked Erik if he would consider driving my MINI to its appointment, and he didn't hesitate saying yes. He even mentioned that he planned meeting me at the dealership on Saturday anyways, to bring me coffee and hang out during my appointment - the guy could not be sweeter. That confession made it all better for a few minutes as I revelled in how cool a boyfriend he is.

So I was now at home, in pain. I couldn't move. And everytime I did, searing pain shot through my lower body. My dad was in no shape to help me, and my brother Matt couldn't really either. Erik called after work and offered to come over and help me through the night, and to drive me to the doctor's office after the MINI appointment. Again, he continues to amaze me.

The night was long and bad - but Erik made it as tolerable as possible. He helped me move, and massaged my head and held me while I was in pain. I love him so.

He left me in the morning to take my car in. When he got back, a couple hours later, I called the Toulca Lake Motion Picture Health Center to help decide if we should trek out there to see a doctor, or if I should just go to the ER in Simi Valley. They said they were so busy they couldn't promise to see me, so it made the decision much easier. Soon we were loaded up and off to the hospital.

I had hoped that they would do further tests - maybe an x-ray at least - because things just felt really wrond in my back area. The wait seemed really long. I couldn't get comfortable. Sitting was torurous, and I couldn't stand long before my legs started shaking. I was finally wheeled into a room and placed on a bed. I already felt more comfortable.

The doctor finally arrived, and she quickly decided that, because I couldn't remember falling or twisting oddly - no specific tramua to point at, an x-ray was not necessary. They gave me another injection of Toredol (what the previous ER gave me) and a shot of Morphine. Timepassed, and while I felt a little relaxed, the pain was still there. They gave me another shot of Morphine, and a different muscle relaxer. This one seemed to do the trick.

I left the hospital feeling relieved - even good enough to eat some when we got home. The rest of the day was pretty good - watching tv, napping briefly, and overall enjoying the drugged effect from the morphine. I was able to get up out of bed myself with little pain - walking was not a problem - I was feeling pretty warm and fuzzy. Erik left for home shortly after 10pm, and then I fell asleep.

This morning I woke up several times - in pain - the morphine had clearly worn off. It wasn't until around 11am that my dad had come home having filled my new prescriptions - for the muscle relaxer Robaxin and the pain-releiver, Vicodin. I took two of the Robaxin, and tried to get comfortable. Not feeling any relief, an hour later I decided to take one of the Vicodins. Still no relief, although I managed to sleep for a little bit.

I was in and out of a nap when Erik called me to check in. After talking for just shy of an hour, I decided I wanted to try to walk around. It did help a little. I stiffly took a lap around the house, and returned to my room and spent some quality time with my exercise ball.

I don't yet know if I'll be able to go to work tomorrow. And the road trip we were expecting to embark on next Saturday might need to be postponed until I fully recover. I'm not a praying-type of person, but I'm hopeful that my recovery from this will be light-years more speedy than the last time I suffered this type of acute back pain - the last time taking literally months before I felt normal again.

Okay, time to take another lap.


posted at 04:58 PM | comments (2)

May 10, 2005

nothing better

Tell me am I right to think
That there could be nothing better...
Than coming come at night
And having a fucking scary spider crawl out of your pillow just as your settling i-in.

(yes, i stole this cutesy idea from erik... i am not ashamed.)

Spiders so do not rule.

I don't know where the scary thing went. It's probably still on my bed, crawling up the side - waiting for its chance to bite me in my sleep, leaving a slightly-red welt on my cheek for me to wake up to in the morning.

Heck, that is if the bite doesn't include an injection of deadly-spider venom - as I'm sure this thing was a brown recluse spider, and its bite will leave a seemingly mild red mark, which will fester into a gaping, gangrenous hole in my face, leaving me in an endless state of grief - getting stares from strangers at my horrible disfigurement - as they shield their young, impressionable children's faces - protecting them from my hideousness - this hideous, gaping, spider-bite hole - and, of course, my... eh, nevermind, nobody cares.... I should totally be asleep right now I am tiiiiireddddd!

Stupid spider.


posted at 09:45 PM

May 05, 2005

it's a mat, with conclusions, that you can jump to

Jumping to conclusions is never a healthy thing to do. Whether it be for the good things or the bad things, all that time spent wondering or worrying doesn't help anything. It doesn't bring you any closer to a resolution, and just ties up your brain with needless activity - activity better spent elsewhere.

I've been jumping to some conclusions lately, their respective outcomes not yet clear. This recent tendency (who am I kidding, I do it all the time) is really bothersome, especially because I cannot control what will become of their actual realities. I'm going to *sigh* now, and then I'm going to move on.

There, this fills my mysterious-post quota for the month of May.


posted at 03:52 PM

April 28, 2005

the daily quandry

While others are worrying about far more important things about their future, I am here pondering my next hour. This happens every effing day: What am I gonna eat for lunch?

I usually end up going across the street and eating something crappy, or greasy -- generally some combination of the two. Recently, a bug has crawled up my backside and I've been getting in my car and actually leaving the studio lot (gasp!) and driving to Jamba Juice for a liquid lunch.

But I'm feeling lazy today. And irresolute. I cannot be bothered to make a decision.

So I sit here, it's 12:45pm, most have already had their lunch, and I can't begin to think of what I want. I think I'd better start bringing lunch again. It's so much better on so many levels. And I need to save some money, anyways. I have big plans.


posted at 12:50 PM | comments (3)

April 21, 2005

...and a vacation i shall have

Little after I went and complained about the trivial things that bothered me did the universe decide to smack me with something only slightly less trivial to complain about.

Oh man, my stomach! Well, probably not actually my stomach, to be truthful, but I have some sort of intestinal distress going on - distress of the "oh man, I think I've easily shed five pounds right there"-variety - and for the last 24 hours or so it's made life slightly less bearable. So much so that today, what would have perhaps proven to be a banner day in my career - a stepping stone to greater things, surely - I'm forced to resign to my pain and inability to stand for longer than a minute without needing to be frightfully close to a toilet, and call in sick to work.

I'm such a lame-ass. Lame, lame, L-a-a-a-m-e.

It was a painful night, if that wasn't obvious. I wished for the sweet relief of death on more than one occasion. When my father was awake and preparing to drive my brother to school, I took my chance and requested he stop somewhere on the way home and buy me something, anything to relieve my foulness: Pepto-Bismol, Imodium AD, a loaded shotgun.

Have I mentioned how much of a lame-ass baby I am when it comes to pain? Yeah.

Thank heavens, he returned with some Imodium. After a few hours of trying to re-hydrate, lamenting my lameness for having to call in sick, and getting the wickedness to subside, I fell into a brief nap. I awoke feeling better. Better, but weak. It was time to try something to eat.

I was feeling good. No immediately evil side effects were felt. A bit later, I again fell to sleep. And I awoke just a bit ago with the gnawing pain of food not sitting right. I curse you, food, from the shallow depths of my soul! But I'm sipping water, and that third Imodium has been swallowed.

I'm going into work tomorrow, that's for damned sure. Even if I end up making a crazy-embarrassing mess in my cubicle requiring everyone in the building to vacate for the remainder of the business day, I'm going. That'll show them I'm a trooper! That'll make me hate myself less!

...Or more, I dunno, but who cares, ouch, just make the cramping stop!


posted at 06:26 PM | comments (1)

April 18, 2005

i need a vacation

I need a vacation. That is all.

Wait... that is not all. I will be using this post throughout the day to vent.

11:45am - feeling apprehensive. one of the schedulers at work is leaving to work elsewhere, and i have been asked to take on her work. however, management is a bit behind the ball on the nuts 'n bolts of the situation, so i will merely be covering part of this scheduler's work for some unknown period of time. i hate it when this happens. the other scheduler's clients will probably feel confused. i'm hoping i will not be. i don't like agreeing to things like this, because i always always always draw the short straw. a raise had been briefly mentioned. nothing has been hammered down. i am skeptical.

update:
2:06pm - the day is half over (thank gawd), and yet i feel i've only done one constructive thing today - and that was finding a stranger's drivers license and managing to get it returned to her. go me. now, i sit and wait. my billing: done. all my work orders: in system and ready to go. formal training for take-over work: to be dealt with tomorrow, i've been informed. i've been quiet today, hearing other people's tales of the weekend. i think i can safely say no one had as good a time as me.

update:
4:45pm -
kill me. i'm dying of boredom. is the day over yet? only an hour and fifteen minutes to go. why is today so slow? why is everybody so slow today? see, it's totally gonna pick up and then i'll be complaining "woe is me, i am soooo busy!" the human condition. the grass is always greener. an hour and fifteen. traffic. grocery store. i promised my father i'd replenish the house-supply of mountain dew. i need another one right. now. alas, i used up the last of my coinage on a can one hour and forty-five minutes ago. dammit who is calling me? don't they know that i'm busy writing a blog entry on how bored i've been all day? wtf!


posted at 11:33 AM | comments (3)

April 14, 2005

a million miles per second (please don't let it stop!)

Whew!

Everything's been so crazy with me lately. Between work and my personal life (yes, now I actually do have a personal life!), I haven't had many opportunities to just sit back and take stock of everything.

Work is hectic now. Only recently, however. I had gone through a months-long spell when I was just aching for work challenges. Now, with a recent spell of rampant co-worker illnesses and the slight possibility of a promotion (of sorts), my work days are, thankfully, whizzing by, jam-packed. I find myself almost wanting to complain, but that would be ridiculous because the work is definitely a good thing.

What to say about my personal life? Things are going better than they ever have been. I have everything that I could possibly want or value in my life right now. Most importantly, I have the great fortune of hanging out with the coolest, funnest, most lovable guy on the planet.

Where, before, weekends were just a respite in-between work weeks, they now are full of new places and new excitements. I look forward to the weekends now more than anything else. But it's not just the weekends I'm enjoying.

Last night I had the pleasure of spending a few hours with Erik at his house - grubbing on Baja Fresh, playing videogames (albeit, poorly), and watching Zoolander with him and his brother, Bryce. I skipped out on a rather enjoyable, yet surreal, open-house extravaganza at work consisting of an open bar, free food and psychic readings (!!) to hang out with him, and I don't regret the choice for one second.

I'm having so much fun I can hardly stand it. Too often, I let stupid crap get in the way of my feelings of well-being: a bill payment, an awkward phone call with a relative, a messy room, or even a bad morning of traffic. But not this time. I'm well-aware of how great being alive is right now, and I'm not gonna let that feeling get away from me anytime soon.


posted at 12:25 PM | comments (2)

April 06, 2005

dirty tales of a blue shirt

Why is it that every single time I wear my brand new "electric blue"-colored v-neck shirt it gets soaked with some liquid substance? First time I wore it was in Las Vegas, and after only a few hours it was soaked with remnants of a Starbucks white mocha, courtesy of some power-shifting by my boyfriend, Erik, while motoring to get petrol before a MINI run.

And of course, today cannot be an exception. Just now, while sipping the last of my Gatorade - thinking "YES! I made it through my meal without spilling anything!" - it happened. Gatorade dripped all down the front of my shirt. So of course it won't dry clear, like water (which I've spilled on the shirt before - not once, but several times).

Gawd dammit! What is the frickin' deal, people? Do I need a bib? I guess I just need a baby bib, 'cuz I'm a big messy baby who cannot be entrusted with a beverage holder of any kind. Someone get me a fecking baby bottle already. Feck.


posted at 02:07 PM | comments (3)

April 04, 2005

a weekend at the office

Friday evening kicked off a stellar weekend. When the bell rang, I dashed up to the Saddleback Ranch at Citywalk to have a quick drink in celebration of a co-worker’s birthday before meeting up with Erik to take in an opening-night viewing of Sin City.

Sin City was, for me, just what the doctor ordered for a week-ending relaxer: fun, mindless entertainment. Lots of over-the-top violence, shot after shot of eye-candy, and a couple hours spent with Erik.

Saturday, I had a chance to further unwind by sleeping in. Ahhhh, sweeet sleeeep! I couldn’t sleep too long (read: all day), though, as I was required to pick up Erik at 1:30pm so that we could attend a soiree that evening with a couple of his co-workers and their families. Before attending, however, we needed to take a detour out to West L.A. to drop by the Palazzo Apartments (near The Grove) to drop off my brother’s tax refund check to my sister-in-law, Cindi.

The Palazzo Apartments are just, well, wrong. On so many levels. The location is fine, but everything else about them is just too, too much: too many buildings, too many people out by the pool, too many dollars per month required to live there. Fortunately for Cindi, her company is paying for her to stay there – but geez, it’s like $3000 a month for a small two-bedroom apartment. I mean, come on already!

Anyhow, time was winding on, so we left for La Crescenta, picking up some apple pie and double-vanilla (mmmmm….vanilla!) ice cream on the way there. We arrived at the beautiful home of Erik’s co-worker James and his wife Bernice surprisingly on-time. They were wonderful hosts. A little while later Brian (another co-worker of Erik’s) and his wife and daughter, Therese and Sarah, showed.

It was a wonderful time, full of really good food, great company, the obligatory men’s hacky sack tourney, cute kids and lots of laughs. It was a great time, and I thank everyone in attendance for being so warm and welcoming – because, oh, how I dread meeting new people!!

I spent all day Sunday with Erik. Simple pleasures. We began by Quik Detailing and waxing my MINI. Other than the fact that it RAINED this morning, it was time well spent. Then it was all about “The Office”. Non-stop “Office”-party, is what it was. Save for the pilot episode (which we viewed on a previous day), we watched the series in its entirety… including that Christmas special. We paused only long enough to pick up some Taco Bell, and then it was right back to it. Damn, that show was awesome. I never get sick of watching it. I can’t wait for “Extras”!

Erik went away after dinner, and I went to sleep in my crazy-comfortable bed. ‘Twas yet another fantastic weekend.


posted at 10:07 AM | comments (4)

March 30, 2005

attack of the butterflies

What is the deal with all the friggin' butterflies?!? Over the last week or so the air around Southern California (or, at least the L.A. area) has been filled with the little buggers. I don't remember ever seeing such butterflies en masse.

It's beautiful, really, but the bum part is that, because they're so prevalent, the little bugs are throwing themselves at car windshields. Now, that's not pretty.

Think it's because of all the wet weather we've been having? Do their little cocoons survive better in a rainy season?


posted at 11:08 AM

March 28, 2005

boooooooooooooring

Is it just me, or does today seem like one of the most boring days ever? Of course, Mondays are always light days at work. It never fails. But, short of the earthquake over in Indonesia, there is nothing worthy of reading on the internet. I'm starved for entertainment, here, folks!

If you come across anything of interest, something that might make this lame-ass Monday more tolerable, I welcome your suggestions...


posted at 12:08 PM

March 25, 2005

W007!

It was lookling like it was going to be a lonnnnng day here at the office. Half the crew was out for the holiday, the other half left slumming without tech nor shipping services available.

But lo' and behold, an email was just sent indicating that we would be able to leave at 3pm, instead of 6pm. Hallelujah! Just around four more hours to go, then. Sweeet.

I'll be spending this evening with Erik, going out for dinner, milling about Burbank in search of various necessities (new comforter/duvet) and to see Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous. I have been waiting for this movie for a long, long time. Oh, I know it's going to be miserably terrible, but still, I mean, come on, a car chase involving both a MINI Cooper and Dolly Parton?!? Yes, please!

Alright, now to keep myself occupied for the next few hours. *Sigh*


posted at 11:21 AM

March 22, 2005

word to the wise

Just say "no" to a Starbucks Grande Nonfat With Whip Toffee Nut Latte while you are experiencing altered tastes as an effect of a cold. It will taste bitter, it will taste wrong, it will make you wish you had a breath mint handy, or perhaps something stronger, like turpentine. Blech! I'm gonna start chugging DayQuil. That sounds Dangerous. The capital "D" was intentional. Wow, I think this is turning into a stream-of-consciousness post. Man, I love those. Alright, I best stop now before this gets more embarrassing.


posted at 09:17 AM | comments (4)

March 18, 2005

"old habits die hard"

The title of this post was the answer to a round of Flip Words I've been playing for the last fifteen minutes or so. And I think it's fitting as it is Friday and all, and I am counting down the hours until 5:30pm.

This weekend, as part of my new jet-setting lifestyle, I'll be traveling down to the mountain-retreat town of Idyllwild, for a cozy weekend getaway with Erik. It's supposed to be raining (and hopefully, snowing!), so I'm really, really excited. We were supposed to meet here at the lot at 6pm, but traffic this morning was a breeze, so I'm gonna be able to bail at 5:30pm instead. Score!

Let's see... how many hours left? Six and a half. Dammit!


posted at 10:59 AM

March 17, 2005

an open apology to anyone bothered by my sunglasses

Dearest Friends, Readers and Co-workers (mostly Co-workers),

I apologize, sincerely, for constantly forgetting that my sunglasses are perched atop my head. Even though it's probably odd, maybe even a bit off-putting, to witness someone walking around indoors with sunglasses tucked onto their skulls, try to think of it as "quirky" next time; really, it is quirky.

I don't know how this dirty, filthy, sunglass-wearing-on-my-head habit began. I think my mother is to blame. Not just because she can be blamed for most of my dirty, filthy habits (because, yes, she can), but because I have recollections of her perching her disutilized sunglasses atop her head. It's all her fault. Please direct your complaints and witty comments-in-passing to her attention, though I can offer you no forwarding address for her. I think she lives in Michigan, somewhere.

Though instead of just relenting to your guff about my sunglasses, let me offer you a few reasons why the habit is not without merit:

1. With sunglasses fitted atop your head, the chances of misplacing them are slim. Oh, you'll think you've lost them. You'll even spend more time than you'll like to admit hunting them down, but the slightly embarrassing realization that they've been with you the entire time always hits at some point.

2. You'll save a massive amount of money on unnecessary hair bands, scrunchies, et. al. Assuming "massive" is defined as "approximately $0.30 per month".

3. You'll get all sorts of attention you weren't otherwise expecting, or wanting. This is great. The comments never get old. Ever!

4. You're always ready to GO! With the sunglasses always readily available, those quick jaunts out to the vending machines across the way is no longer accompanied by the stabbing pain in the eyes caused by the new glare of the outdoor sun.

In conclusion, please shut the fuck up about my sunglasses already. It's not that big a deal.


posted at 02:27 PM | comments (1)

March 11, 2005

monterey!

*Sigh* Another Friday countdown post, I know. I'm a creature of habit, what can I say? Unless I'm super-busy on a Friday, I'm left to daydream about the possibilities of what the weekend might have in store.

This weekend holds a lot of excitement because I'll be driving up the coast with Erik for a quick visit to his old stomping grounds of Santa Barbara (mmmm.... burrito...), and then further up to Monterey, for a Sunday trip to its famous aquarium (it'll be my first time there).

This will also mark my first trip up the entire central California coastline wherein I'm not the pilot. I went all the way up to Cambria as passenger with my friend Rie a few years back, yet that didn't involve a sublime series of cliffside twisties left to the devices of an overzealous MINI driver. Hmmm. Remember, Erik, when all else fails, steer towards the mountain... I don't wanna end up as shark bait!


posted at 12:29 PM | comments (2)

March 10, 2005

breakthrough!



Cleaning + Alcohol == Not. So. Bad.




posted at 10:35 PM | comments (2)

March 09, 2005

fair warning

Things are going really, really, really well for me right now. So well, in fact, that I'm inclined to start writing really bad, stinky, cheesy poetry and posting it to my blog.

I apologize in advance, but don't say I didn't warn you.


posted at 04:37 PM | comments (1)

March 04, 2005

electric blue haze

Last night, after much wasting-of-time blogging about our travel from L.A. to Vegas and uploading of photos and hemming-and-hawing about the evening's plans, Erik and I setlled upon dinner at the hotel and a movie afterwards (projected from a 12" PowerBook).

We made our way down to the hotel's token-Mexican restaurant, the Guadalajara Grill (or Guadalajara-something or another). The drink menus were brought out and I quickly decided that there was no time like the present (the present meaning last night at around 9pm) to kick-off the weeken'd drinking festivities.

guadalajara.jpg
Look at all the pretty colors!

As I'm not a heavy drinker, and because I'm a chick, I steer clear of anything too intense and opt for the more "fruity drinks". The "Latin Lover", the "Sunset Breeze"... they all sound fine, but it's when I happen upon a BLUE margarita called "Electric", my decision is done made.

The drinks arrive, and I, of course, go at it on an empty stomach. Not a few minutes later my eyes are feeling a bit weird and, according to Erik, my face goes all red. Ni-i-i-ce.

barely_lucid.jpg
...how I felt after half a margarita

By the time the dinner arrived at our table, I was pretty far gone (not even half-way through my single Electric Blue margarita, mind you). I recollect that most of the conversation stemmed around my drunkenness. We finished dinner - or at least, ate as much as we could without getting sick, and made our way back into the casino to sit down and play the slots for a little while. We both put in $20 to our respective machines, and while I was spending my last 2 credits, Erik was cashing out his $26.50.... bastard!

We stumbled back up to the room (or rather, I stumbled, Erik was quite sober), and set-up to watch Waiting For Guffman. Shockingly, I was cognizant throughout the entire film! Woo!

Right now we're off for breakfast, to be followed by a run up to Hoover Dam. More to come...


posted at 08:02 AM | comments (2)

March 03, 2005

IN VEGAS!

WE'RE HERE!
We're sitting, lamely, in the hotel room, waiting for Erik to make up his mind about where he wants to go from here (because I can't be bothered to make up my own mind). The drive was uneventful: we left at 2pm and arrived and were jecked in to the hotel by 6pm. Pretty - darned - fast. The CHP were out in force, but we were fortunate enough to avoid their capture.

(Sigh...) Now Erik is getting on his laptop to post a blog entry. We're never gonna get out of here! We are both capable of internet access because Erik setup a wireless network. Shhhh. Don't tell the Hotel Management.

Anyways, so we got here a little before 6pm and I only led us astray for a little while, before Erik corrected us and led towards the parking structure, where there were dozens of other MINIs parked, in all their magnificent glory.

Magnificent glory would not be the phrase I would use to describe my road-torn ride. My MINI had bug guts all over it. Not two minutes were we out of our MINIs and stretching that we were popping our boots and taking out our Quik Deatiler, Stoner's Invisible Glass, and microfibres. I know, I know - but I was not about to let some bug's internal organs stain my bonnet stripes, no way!

Erik performing a little bit o' magic
Once we checked in at the AMVIV counter we grabbed our bags and headed for the hotel lobby. Once safely tucked into our room, Erik parted the Red Sea - oh wait, I mean, he was able to extract the stripped screw (it was not as stripped as I suspected), and install my 512MB ram chip. Thank you, Erik! (I said that, like, twenty times already).

So.... still waiting for Erik to make up his mind. Methinks he needs to do less typing and more thinking, because I'm hungry and I want some booze... stat!

More to come...


posted at 07:54 PM

March 02, 2005

modesty (don't ask)

This evening I went out to dinner with my good friend, Erik. We are all abuzz with excitement about our imminent trip to Las Vegas. We're pretty pathetic, both of us, continually referring to it randomly in the middle of sentences and such (or maybe that's just me). Anyways, this time tomorrow I will be buzzed on Red Bull & vodka and goodness knows what else and probably really, really tired.

I stopped by the local Rite-Aid to pick-up some travel size personal products for the little jaunt. While searching one of the aisles, a short older woman appeared behind me, holding up one of the available mirrors to her face and repeating "I'm growing a beard. Look, I'm growing a beard."

She mumbled this a number of times (this is extremely funny only to maybe me and another person, *cough*erik*cough*) while I attempted to maintain lack of eye-contact and proceed to the next aisle. I thought to myself, wickedly, "Geesh, poor woman, hanging out at a Rite Aid mumbling to herself" and continued on my merry way.

When I got to the checkstand I was behind a couple who was buying a package of Mentos (you know, The Freshmaker!). The girl working at the checkout had a single roll of Mentos and kept scanning it, over and over and over, with a distant look in her eyes. This continues for about a minute (count to 60 seconds, that is a LONG TIME to repeatedly scan a roll of Mentos, people!).

(Sigh......)

Then she moves on to the couple's lipstick. They inquire about the price. She says it's $7.99, they say it's lower. "Price check." Kill me. Then I see the bearded mumbly woman make her way up to the checkstand. She takes over the register... she's... she's... THE NIGHT MANAGER! I love going to large convenience stores at night. It's so much fun.

I returned home with big plans of packing and installing the shiny new 512MB of SODIMM ram in my iBook. I get my jeweler's screwdrivers together, make sure the lighting in my room is appropriate, power down my laptop and start opening it up.

Everything is going swimmingly until I get a gander at the RAM access panel, which is held in place by 2 small screws. One of the screws looks, well, scraggly. I shrug it off and go to task. The top screw comes off without incident. The bottom screw is not budging. I call my brother in for backup. He's unable to get it to unseat itself. We try different screwdrivers, we try holding the laptop at different angles, we try prayer.

Nothing proves effective (I knew there wasn't a god). In a huff, I screw the top screw back in, reseat my Airport card, and put the laptop back together. This is not good. I believe this 2nd screw has somehow been stripped. I don't know if it's a factory issue, or if it occurred by a technician who troubleshooted/fixed my logic board issue from earlier this year.

All I know is that I'm bringing this puppy into an Apple Store, opening it up at the Genius Bar and inquiring: See this screw? I can't get it to budge, can you?"... All the while I'll have my left hand behind my back, fingers crossed, hoping for the best.

But again, the good news is VEEGASSSSSSSSSSSS!!


posted at 11:20 PM | comments (3)

March 01, 2005

big whiny, shaky baby: episode II

Earlier today I sent the technical director at work an email asking if we could have a conversation about how I would go about getting into the hands-on technical side aspect of this workplace, departing from the strictly-administrative side I've been working in.

He obliged, and called me into his aoffice about fifteen minutes ago. I went in his office and sat down, immediately feeling cold, shivery. Once we got into it he went off on some tangent about upper vs. lateral movement (and how he hates the word "upper"), but then a client knocked on his door, and he had to adjourn prematurely.

I was happy he did, because I was going through some sort of physiological trauma. I was really, really shaky. I could feel my lower jaw, when unclenched to my upper jaw, quivering. I kept trying to re-adjust my seating position to find a sturdier anchor. This happens all the freakin' time when I have to have conversations that my neurotic psyche deems confrontational.

I have no reason to be nervous. I'm doing pretty well at the workplace. I feel I'm held in high-regard by the management (which is to say, I'm not skating on thin-ice or anything). And, as a friend pointed out to me, initiating a talk like this is the only way I'm going to get somewhere other than where I am; it's the only way I'm going to move forward into where I would rather be.

But I've had some bad experiences in the past when having these sorts of conversations about "my future". I once penned an elaborate letter to a boss about what I had to offer in a position one-step higher up than I already was (after dutifully working there for two years). He called me into the office and basically went ballistic on me, urging that I was threatening him. I was very upset and had to enforce that, no, my letter wasn't meant as a threat in the least, but rather a request for consideration.

His actions were completely out-of-line, I am assured of that, but a trauma like that does not go away, leaving no remains. It stays. It festers. It makes you shake like a baby whenever you have to be proactive like this.

I'm still quivering as I type this. It's not a "scared" quiver, but more of a "chilled to the bone" quiver. I'm trying to force myself to relax (this almost never works). Deep breathing is being forced. Thoughts are being reorganized. I hope we get to chat again soon about it before I totally psyche myself out about it. Maybe I'll wear my jacket next time...

update...
The meeting was back on only moments after the above was posted. And the meeting was fantastic. I was still a bit nervous and shaky, but I thought I was fairly composed overall. The content of the meeting was both enlightening and uplifting. I could not have asked for better results. Good things are going to happen. Hopefully, more later...


posted at 04:03 PM | comments (2)

countdown to vegas

2 days and couting...

I'll be travelling to Las Vegas on Thursday afternoon to take part in the MINI Vacation in Vegas, or AMVIV - a four-day MINI owners' meetup, complete with charity dinners and "runs" to various touristy locales (Red Rocks, Valley of Fire, Mt. Charleston, and Hoover Dam).

I'll be caravaning out and attending with my friend and fellow MINI enthusiast, Erik. I'm very excited about attending my very first Vegas show. It will also be my first trip to Vegas where I spend more than 12 hours there (mostly sleeping, it was then). On the way back on Sunday afternoon, we plan on taking the scenic route through Death Valley. Needless to say, I'm very excited about that bit as well.

Many photos will be taken, more than my normal amount of alcohol will be consumed (which means any), mucho mas dinero will be spent, or lost, or won - who knows... It will definitely be a nice little mini-break (nice double-entendre, Jules!).


posted at 09:53 AM | comments (3)

February 25, 2005

fridays suck

Yes, I said it: Fridays suck.

Most people look forward to Friday. Sure, sure. Sounds reasonable enough. But when you're actually at work on Friday, counting down the hours until your freedom, the taste of the weekend forming, Friday can seem like the longest and lamest day of the week.

Friday gets good when, shortly after 6pm, you're walking out to your car. That's such a carefree moment: the whole weekend laid out before you - you're walking towards it.

But right now, I'm sitting at my desk, contemplating various possible weekends plans, and impatiently waiting for the end of the day.


posted at 11:41 AM | comments (5)

February 20, 2005

the pounding rain

It's raining really hard right now. I've gone from hearing an even trickle of water off the roof into a puddle outside my window to a constant downpour echoing off the entire roof. I can't remember the last time we got this much rain down here in the L.A. area. Usually we suffer through a week and a half of unsatisfying rainfall once or twice or thrice a year, but it's been raining practically every week out here since I took delivery on my MINI Cooper. And that was at the beginning of December!

At work on Friday, many of us huddled by the windowed-wall nearest my cubicle to marvel at the heavy deluge that hit the parked cars and pavement with such force the drops ricocheted back off said surfaces. Our ceiling is high and thin, so the quiet office conversations would, ever-so-often, be drown out by the thundering power of the rain (not to mention the quizzically-uplifting rumbles of actual thunder - why does thunder and lightning entertain me so?).

Part of me wants to go outside and play in it à la Singing In The Rain, but that smarter part of me (the one which wants me to not develop pneumonia) keeps me inside, in the warmth of my duvet, updating my website.


posted at 07:58 PM

February 12, 2005

something else to obsess about

I've been stuck inside most of the day, feeling slightly under the weather. What better way to spend a few hours in bed than to search around the net for info on self-drive destinations?

It started out simply enough. My birthday is in June, and I thought I'd splurge on a 3-day jaunt to San Francisco or something. None of the hotels jumped out at me. Between bad reviews and high prices, I thought I'd try something else. I didn't spend too much time on New York City. Not NYC's fault, but the site I chose to look on just didn't make anything look very exciting at the time.

Then I found myself looking up car rental rates in the UK. For the longest time I've wanted to scoot around Great Britain in a hired car exploring the countryside. I ended up on the Virgin-Atlantic vacations site, as I had a good experience with them on my first transatlantic trip to London, but I had some trouble with their site's car rental module. Looking back at their main page, I noticed they had a New Zealand option.

New Zealand! Land of Hobbitses! Of course, Peter Jackson's LOTR trilogy only served to enhance my desire to see the Land of the Long White Cloud, but really, it seems to cater to my fascination for the beauty of nearly-untouched natural expanses: lush, green, rolling hills - ice-blue lakes - snow-capped mountains - long, sandy beaches.

So now, I'm seriously considering a late June/early July 10-day trip to NZ with rented 4WD SUV included. Because if I'm gonna be driving between the north and south islands for nearly 9 days, I'm obviously going to be hitting some back roads. I understand that my trip lands me right in the middle of winter down there, but from other people's travel photos of NZ in June/July, it doesn't look like there would be any severe weather/inaccessibility issues.

The only hitch right now is that the itinerary does not include hotel accommodations. I'm wondering if there are any "motel" chains (similar to Motel 6, Travelodge, etc.) in New Zealand. I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants sort of gal, and don't really like being hemmed into any specific hotels on any specific dates. I'm just wondering if there a significant number of cheap lodging options every 50 miles or so. Anyone from NZ reading? Or does anyone have any travel experience there?


posted at 08:08 PM | comments (2)

February 09, 2005

this is the one wherein i complain about gwb

The taxman came today. It's always an adventure when the taxman comes - this year is no exception. I just today received my final W-2. I didn't think it was going to happen. My dad called me at about 11:30am to tell me it had come in the mail.

Not wanting to NOT get a chance to talk to the taxman in person, I hopped in my MINI and scooted the 35 miles home from work. I arrived just in time and after a few minutes, he was ready to have his way with me (or my forms, or, whatever).

Guess what I'm getting back this year from the federal government? Guess how much Bush's great tax cuts got me? $10. That's not short for anything. Ten. Whole. Dollars. That's, like 200 nickels for the Vegas slots next month (roughly 5 minutes of ACTUAL gambling time). Like, what am I complaining about?

Here's what I'm complaining about: these past two years have been the worst for me, in terms of tax refunds. In previous years (with similar, or slightly higher incomes), I have always received great returns. So, middle- or low-income people be warned, these Bush tax cuts are not helping us. They are helping the wealthy, but not us.

I wouldn't feel so bad about it if I knew that my tax dollars were being spent wisely, but they're not. They're being used to fund an unnecessary war. They're being used by Homeland Security to further obstruct the freedoms of the citizens of this country (particularly of the non-Caucasian variety). His new budget for 2006 requests that money be cut from vital programs for the environment, the poor, veterans, and education. (Because, ya know, they don't really need the help. But we need to help the terrorists convert to Christianity, obviously. Or at least force them to take up some of our ideals, cultural differences be damned.)

Another fun moment was when the taxman brought up Social Security with my father (who is due to retire in the next couple of years). The taxman looked at me and said "You know, under Bush's plan, you're not going to get any Social Security, right?" I blinked a couple of times and responded I - I - I don't really think that's going to pass. He's worried about it for himself as well. He's 54, and apparently Bush has only promised those 55 years or older that they would receive their full Social Security benefit.

I don't know why the majority of the nation's voters voted for this lying sack of bunk. He does not care about us. When he talks about "what's best of America", I don't think he can pin down for you what America is ("America is about Freedom", so says He). Fucker.


posted at 02:16 PM | comments (1)

January 20, 2005

not a good start to the day

It is turning out to be an infinitely bad morning.

While driving into work this morning, I noticed severe discoloration on the front passenger-side headrest (black soft-leather seats) in my brand-new MINI, caused by the product in the hair of a co-worker who I taxi'd back from lunch yesterday.

After a couple of panic-attacks that nearly drove me to tears (and nearly into more than a few semis on the road), I arrived at work, and inspected the disaster more closely. The leather is not actually discolored, but it appears to be stained, and has caused the leather to become highly reflective, losing it's matte-like appearance. It looks... bad. The outlook... not good. Can you replace a leather headrest in a MINI?

To add insult to injury, when I went to take a sip from my water bottle at work just now, I inadvertently spilled the water all over my shirt. I now have a big water spot over my heart - about the size of an enlarged one, at that. Thank goodness I have a cubicle. I'll just hide in here until it dries. It could have been worse - it could have been slimey hair product.

Remind me to steer clear of any buses today.

UPDATE:
Hopefully this leather stain debacle will be put to rest soon. I will be attending an NXT Garage Detailing event hosted by the c3 MINI club this Saturday in L.A.

Here's a snippet of info from the MINI yahoogroups email invite:

This is an open invitation to any Los Angeles/Orange County, or anywhere that you want to drive in from---the MINI club (c3--Cooper Club for Charities) I founded holds a once a month detailing clinic. We do this at my house, and the next meeting is this Saturday--Jan. 22. All MINI owners or soon to be MINI owners are welcome. You will get your MINI professionally detailed for free using Meguiar's products, and you'll be trained on the proper use of the tools. This is not an advanced class. If you pick up a power tool and turn it on, you are qualified. =)

Read more at http://c3club.org

One more time, you don't need to be a member of our club, there is no fee, it's just a bunch of MINI owners who like to keep their cars clean. Several members of this list attend these clinics already. Bring your car prewashed if possible. Food and beverages will be available. An MTH Cartune ECU Upload is also scheduled to be performed.

This is an article I wrote from last months meet.

Please let me know if you're interested in coming by email.

I'm pretty excited about learning how to properly care for my MINI, aesthetically. I emailed the host and he assured me that we'd be able to take care of my little leather problem. Plus I get to meet new MINI owners, which is always a plus.


posted at 09:07 AM | comments (9)

January 15, 2005

sickness sucks

So I'm lying in bed, complying with my doctor's bed-rest orders. I'm finally starting to feel normal again; human, not some retching, mucus-filled slug. It all began the day after New Years. I thought my nausea-inducing headache was the aftermath of a day spent watching the extended versions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy back-to-back, in close quarters, inadvertently inhaling secondhand pot-smoke.

A feeling of general malaise persisted for the next few days, with some body aches, fatigue, followed by a sinking feeling my second day back at work which prompted me to leave early - not to return for two days. I don't honestly remember much of those two days. A lot of sleeping, I suppose. I know I had a fever, and remember shaking violently in my bed, trying to warm myself.

I returned to work that Friday - too early, I think - to round out the week. It was around this time the tell-tale raw throat began to emerge. I went out briefly on Saturday to see a movie. It was a nice, drizzly day, and I mistakenly thought I was on the upswing. I was wrong. I spent Sunday in bed. I believe I was out of the office Monday and Tuesday. It's weird, I'm having to strain to remember. A lot of throat and ear pain, a lot of fatigue, and the coughing... the coughing!

I felt bad for being out sick from work so much within the last two weeks, so I thought if I felt even a little bit better, I'd try going into the office on Wednesday. On Tuesday, at my boss's urging, I even made an appointment to see a doctor. See, I hate going to the doctor. Perhaps it's from having a parent who was a nurse, but now when I go to the doctor I always feel like I'm not sick enough to be there... that if I'm not bleeding profusely from the eyes or something, I'm wasting the physician's time.

So, anyways, I made the appointment. Thursday was the first day they had available. Sure, I thought - I'll probably be better by then, but I need a referral for something else anyways, so I might as well go for it.

I felt a lot better on Wednesday morning. I still felt pretty bad, but the difference between the way I felt Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning was like night and day. As the day progressed, though, my cough got worse and worse. I was talking to a client, and I started coughing, trying to talk at the same time. The coughing turned into gagging, and I felt my face redden. He asked if I was alright, and I said "Fine (cough) - sure (gag), yes (yak), I'm fine, thanks" - as I gasped for breath.

That night was even worse. I had been looking forward to the spaghetti dinner my father had made. No sooner had I sat down to eat, another coughing fit started. It was very sudden, and I didn't have time to prepare for it, you know, breathe in deeply, prepare my lungs for the onslaught. So I was denied breath as I coughed. Can I really call it a cough? It was a yak. And it wouldn't stop. It wouldn't let me stop - cough after cough after cough, without allowing me the sweet respite of an inhalation. I could feel my gag reflex going haywire.

My face felt hot - as if it were building up pressure... have you ever seen Total Recall? Remember that scene where Arnold and that chick get tossed out into the Martian atmosphere? That's what it felt like. I felt like my eyes were bulging out and there was no air. It felt like forever. I made my way into the bathroom, and between quick breaths, was vomiting. My stomach didn't feel queasy at all - the violent coughing had induced the vomiting. When I finally stopped retching and gagging, I felt myself take in a deep breath of air - frightened, teary-eyed, and upset.

My eyes were both severely bloodshot, and they hurt like hell. While I had been coughing I felt pain in the musculature of my chest, from heaving and forcing the coughs out. I felt light-headed and on the verge of collapse. I was really shaken by the whole event, and was pretty upset that neither my brother nor my father came to my aid - though they later said they didn't hear my episode. Whatever.

So the violent fit left me with these red dots under my eyes, and my eye sockets, forehead and chest felt heavy and sore into the next day. Wednesday night I had a fitful night with barely any sleep. I kept waking to my own coughs, I'd toss around, cough up what I could, and try to get back to sleep. So come Thursday morning, I was a mess. I didn't want to go in to work, but I had a doctor's appointment near my work, so I thought what the heck.

Thursday morning couldn't go by fast enough. I was so fatigued - the episode the previous night had left me utterly exhausted, and I had really no business being at the office. I was so distressed by the fit of coughing that I went online to look up coughs. Because I'm an internet geek, and that's what we do - look up our sicknesses online, along with anything else we can think of.

So I'm looking up "cough" on Yahoo! and click on the "whooping cough" link, because with a name like "whooping cough", it's gotta be at least a little entertaining reading. So ten minutes later, I've convinced both myself and my "cube mate" that I've contracted the rarely-diagnosed whooping cough.

I go to the doctor and tell her, point blank, that I think I have the whooping cough. Heh. Anyways, I explain my symptoms, and she looks in my throat and ears, listens to my chest and sends me on my way with a prescription for a powerful cough suppressant (with codeine, thank you very much) and a round of antibiotics, with strict instructions to not return to work until at least next week, and that bed rest is mandatory. She never gave me a solid diagnosis, but she seemed to humor my whooping cough hypothesis, which I think means she thinks I might have it, too.

So I race home, take my meds, and fall into a delicious slumber which goes mostly uninterrupted, except only for waking long enough to take another gulp of the lovely cough suppressant. No dinner, no breakfast, no lunch - but I finally let myself wake up long enough to eat dinner tonight.

The good news is that I feel much better right now. The coughing fits have eased, and I don't think I've coughed for at least a couple hours now - which is fantastic. But there'll be no rush to judgment, I'm still going to stay in bed and rest for as long as I can possibly manage to without getting bedsores.


posted at 12:31 AM | comments (2)

January 04, 2005

sure, it could be worse, but...

it's f-f-f-f-freezing in the office here at work! my hands have turned a sad pale color, with a slight bluish hue. the tip of my nose feels cold. i can feel the chill through the pant-legs of my jeans, for goodness sake!

we're all complaining about it here in the main area, but to no avail. they (meaning the managers) don't seem to care about how cold we are. well, they should.

and to top it off, i have the hiccups. dammit!


posted at 01:40 PM | comments (5)

December 28, 2004

talking in a cubicle wonderland

Today, the group of schedulers I work amongst moved to the new building on the studio lot today. We moved from small offices shared by one to three people each to a large, open, cubicled-area for the fifteen of us to share.

You'd think we were building the pyraminds or something, it was such a production!

Anyhow, we're all settled. Sort of. One of the co-workers' computers is not working, and she will not stop complaining about it. It sounds like certain people aren't aware of basic cubicle-etiquette. (Heck, I've never worked in a cubicle environment before and even I have a handle on the basic tenets!). Someone has a radio playing in their cube. The same person also has neglected to set his/her cellphone to vibrate, and we have already, on several occasions, been treated to the familiar melody (if you can call it that) of this person's phone. Most people have not yet come to terms with what an "inside voice" is. It's all good, though, I feel like most will learn quickly.

It's amazing - right now - as I type, my typing is the only thing I hear. Oh man. This is good!

Anyways, the iPod will be traveling with me to work tomorrow, including tracks from the latest Pedro The Lion album, the new Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou soundtrack, and Bjork's Medulla. It will be a good day.


posted at 04:08 PM | comments (2)

December 27, 2004

post-xmas update

All is well here. My laptop is in the boot of my MINI waiting until I take it to the Apple store for repairs after work. I hope they don't give me any crap about it. Because that would suck. I want them to say "A ha! We know exactly what you speak of. No worries, we'll have it fixed and ready for you by Friday" - not "um, logic board extended warranty? we have no idea what you're talking about... you'll have to buy the AppleCare warranty, and then maybe we'll get around to looking at it sometime next month."

Christmas was okay. It was certainly a lot less fun this year with Matt not around. Barring a Christmas-day viewing of Finding Neverland (tell me WHY did they need to cast the most heartbreakingly-cute little kid to play "Peter" and then have his eyes well up with tears for the last fifteen minutes of the film... WHYY!?!), things were pretty glum around the old house. A lot of napping was done.

~

I didn't realize the tragedy of the Indian Sea earthquake & tsunami until I arrived at work this morning and browsed the net some. It's just horrible what happened. I hope our government finds it in its heart to do better that $4 million in relief funds... over 23,000 people have been confirmed dead so far. I can't even imagine the horror to be one of the affected. The AP photos were just heartbreaking, on every level.


posted at 12:07 PM

December 23, 2004

drowsy

As I'm sitting here at the work desk, counting down the minutes until I can escape, I'm plagued by sudden drowsiness which doesn't bode well for my rest-of-the-day plans.

See, I was up until about 3am burning holiday-themed audio cds for the co-workers, and preparing little goodie bags for them to go into. I'm no longer good at staying up late. I used to be... when I was young (sigh).

So I have all sorts of things to do today, including purchases yet to be made, gift-wrapping to perform, messy room to clean. But I need a nap, too. And my fear is that: if I go home to take said nap - I will sleep ALL FREAKIN' DAY and I'll get nothing done, and then of course - tomorrow, Christmas Eve - I'll be frantically racing around, trying to get things done at the last possible moment.

I'm worried for the immediate future. Perhaps a meal will fix it. Who am I kidding?


posted at 12:14 PM | comments (1)

December 21, 2004

Non-MINI related post... I swear.

Why, oh, why do I do this to myself? I've put off my Christmas shopping until the last possible moment. Last night, I went to a nearby mall to pickup some gifts for the family. I'll be going to the grandparents' apartment on Christmas Eve, and all of my aunts and uncles are going to be there... and all my cousins. I have a big, huge, ginormous family - and no one ever has the foresight to put together any sort of Secret Santa thing (as would be highly appropriate and cost-efficient in a family so large). So I'm left to decide who to buy for and who not to buy for.

I've narrowed it down to just my grandparents and aunts/uncles. But still, thats a lot of people - people I don't know very well, so I'm relegated to purchasing really flat gifts like soap, and soap. Oh, it's nice soap - aromatherapeutic and all - but it's soap, let's not kid ourselves. And candles are always good in a pinch. Bought some of those, as well. So family members, if you're reading, be prepared for either a candle or a bar of soap.

Did I mention how crazy it was at the mall? I parked about a quarter-mile away from the entrance. People - everywhere! Luckily, all the stores I wanted to go into were right near the entrance. Lucky me. I think I could have had a mall-induced stroke had I ventured much father into the abyss of frantic people.


posted at 10:37 AM | comments (1)

December 16, 2004

random thought of the day

i should really start carrying around the lomo again... (and here's why)


posted at 11:12 AM

December 14, 2004

hit the wall

You ever feel like you just can't concentrate AT ALL? I'm having one of those moments right now. There's a swirl of things going on around me at work - the workload is a bit heavier now that my co-worker/co-hort is out for a few weeks. I have a mess of purchase orders all in some different level of completion, strewn about my desk in the most haphazardous way.

Everytime I start on one project, someone comes in to start talking about another project, and then I start digging up info on that project, straining to remember which side is up.

WTF? I thought I was a good multi-tasker, but evidence of that is nil today. Maybe it's something I'm eating, or not eating. Or maybe I'm just sort of having a mild freak-out for no apparent reason. I look at the computer screen and just stare, not quite blankly, trying to figure out what is the next step here??? As if I've taken a dumb-down pill and suddenly have no freakin' idea what I'm doing!!

Okay, back to deer-in-the-headlights ogling of my screen for awhile... drooling may follow.


posted at 11:20 AM | comments (1)

December 09, 2004

where do all the matts go?

It's quiet here at work, and when it gets quiet I get philosophical. I have a kid brother named Matt, and I was just thinking: how come I've never run across any old men named "Matt"? Even "Matthew" would do. Of course there's the biblical Matthew, but he's long gone. The oldest Matts I can think of are Matt LeBlanc and Matt Stone.

Where are all the 60-, 70- and 80-year old Matts???


posted at 02:56 PM | comments (1)

December 08, 2004

5 reasons i heart my job

1. Commissary makes a mean breakfast burrito.

2. Starbucks Gingerbread Latte now available - ON SITE!

3. Access to free screenings before films are officially released. I just saw In Good Company last night, and it was rilly rilly rilly fantastic.

4. All sorts of interesting people/things seen in the alleyways: Vin Diesel, Ben Stiller, Blair Underwood, a real live turkey (gobble-gobble)

5. 4 words: MUMMY RIDE AT LUNCHTIME!!


posted at 10:27 AM | comments (1)

November 25, 2004

trippin' on tryptophane

it's dusk. massive quantities of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and martinelli's sparkling apple cider have been consumed. i'm reclined on my bed, as the darkness enfolds, thinking: "when should i call her, now? her family's probably eating now, i shouldn't call right now. maybe she will call me? should i send another email?"

i'm referring to a call i will need to make to coordinate meeting up with a friend i haven't seen in, well goodness, i don't know, ten years or so? she's back in town for the week, and since we've recently been back in touch, well, that's what people do - meet up again.

why haven't i called her yet today then? she said she'd be there after 1pm. well, i didn't want to call right at one, but by the time 2pm rolled around, well, i don't know what i was doing then - and then 3pm crawled up and we were preparing for "dinner", and now it's after 5pm and i'm thinking "is it too late to ring?"

i'm clearly insane. i have such an issue with calling people. it's this nervousness, some nervousness that took hold in high school, i suppose. ack! anyways, i'll need to call her, 'cuz i'd really like to see her again and all, but shoot, i don't want to interrupt her holiday dinner, either. (sigh.) okay, i'm letting it go. i'll call her around 7pm, i think. why am i writing (and sharing) this stupid stuff? because you're an idiot. oh yeah, that's it.


posted at 05:18 PM | comments (1)

thankful?

There used to be a post here about how thankful I was about everything, but I had to delete it because it's sappy-saccharine nature had me throwing up a little bit in my mouth.

Suffice it to say that, yeah, things are good for me, and I know it. Now everyone go eat some turkey and stuffing.


posted at 09:13 AM

November 22, 2004

something else to look forward to

my new camera arrived today. it's been delivered to my house instead of work, so i will have to wait about three and a half hours before i can play with it. i think i can wait that long.. maybe.

waiting has been very difficult for me as of late, thanks in no small part to a certain person at a certain MINI dealership... ahem...

i digress. stay tuned (here or on my photo site) for shots.


posted at 03:54 PM

November 17, 2004

too. much. caffeine!!

this morning's carpool commute was accompanied by a grande gingerbread latte.

10 oz. of dr. pepper was consumed at lunch.

and directly after lunch, a co-worker surprised me with a grande pumpkin spice latte.

i am fucking WIRED, y'all!


posted at 04:03 PM

November 15, 2004

got holes, in pocket...

okay, so i'm going to be purchasing a new digital camera very soon. my canon powershot g3 has been good, but i have some issues with it now. i've always found it to be more bulky than i would have liked. i can deal with a bulky camera - say, if it's an slr-style body where i can focus using an actual lens and it has enough heft to give the right feel while shooting - but the g3 just isn't heavy enough to feel right for me.

and on the other hand it's not as small as a point-and-shoot type camera. i feel rather self-conscious when out and about taking photos - it just draws too much attention for my taste.

finally, the pop-out lcd screen on the powershot g3 has gone a little buggy on me and is now working only intermittently. i do not want to have a malfunctioning camera when my new baby arrives. and when i say "new baby", i mean my new MINI cooper s that's due sometime really really soon.

so i'm looking for a tiny camera - something i can slip in my pocket for quick use on-the-go. i don't do a lot of photo printing - most of my pics are just for web publishing anyways, so i'm thinking of just going with the 3.2 megapixel canon powershot sd200 camera. it's nice and small (about the size of a deck of cards), and the price tag isn't so bad (about $300). anyone have anything good or bad to say about this particular model? i have to remember to err on the safe side with this one and actually go and see the form factor of this in person before i buy...


posted at 03:54 PM

November 13, 2004

the mall

after getting my hair done this morning i was feeling all high-and-mighty and thought i'd swing by the mall to pick up a top or something. i spent maybe seven minutes scouring a single store for something, anything that resembled an article of clothing that i could fathom wearing - and i just couldn't find anything.

maybe i didn't want to find anything. i dunno. but what i do know is that the mall is vile. ew. ew. ew.


posted at 10:47 PM

November 05, 2004

tick, tock, tick, tock

The wait for my MINI Cooper is driving me mad.

---------------

So, as I mentioned previously, my '83 Honda Civic died a tragic death this past Tuesday (along with my dream of ousting Bush, ugh), when it "blew two cylinders". I quoted that because I haven't a clue what the mechanic was talking about. But I knew one thing: the prognosis was grave.

I limped home in my embattled car - it was a scary drive home. My car lost power, or "bottomed out", about thirty to forty times. My right foot had to stay put on the accelerator in an effort to give it a continuous-enough amount of gas so that it wouldn't stop running. My left foot spent nearly the entire 40-mile drive home riding the clutch, as the traffic was nightmarishly bad along the 170 transition to the 5. I could smell the burning. It wasn't pretty.

I parked the car in front of my Dad's house and spent the rest of the evening with a frown on my face. I was tired, I was heartbroken, and I was ready to take a long nap.

---------------

Anyways. Moving on. There's now a new urgency in my quest to acquire my new car. The 2005 MINI Cooper is on order, I know that much for sure. But as to when I will receive it, or where it's at along the standard build queue, I haven't a faint idea.

I called my aunt, the touchstone person in the whole car-order thing, to inform her of my Honda's recent demise. The Honda used to belong to her, and she sold it to me back in 1996 when the transmission fell out of my '80 Datsun.

Funny how we're connected by blood and by motor oil, so to speak.

I'm patiently awaiting her return call this afternoon. The buyer at the dealership she works at (and the person who apparently set up the order) is expected in the office sometime this afternoon - and I hope to get any sort of solid information for the car's estimated arrival - a date, a production number - I'll take whatever he's got. This may end up being the longest Friday afternoon I've had to endure in recent memory...


posted at 03:06 PM

November 04, 2004

if it is, i don't want to be right...

is it wrong for me to be so excited about the possibility that the"mean girls" dvd will be waiting for me in the mailbox (via netflix) when i get home tonight?


posted at 11:57 AM

November 02, 2004

can't watch anymore

i can't watch the polls anymore today. i'm exhausted.

------------------

today, my beloved automobile of the last eight years and i took what will probably be our last drive together. it's so sad. something happened to the engine. i'm not sure what, but it's no longer functioning as a car should. when the mechanic gave me the bad news, i had to stifle back the tears. i didn't want it to end like this.


posted at 08:47 PM

October 26, 2004

getting better

I've been sick, but I can feel myself getting back in the swing of things. The pain in my ear flares up, then goes away, then flares up, then goes away. This morning it was really bad. But as of now it has subsided dramatically.

My symptoms of sickness: dizziness, stuffiness, muscle aches, sinus pressure, overwhelming phlegminess and accompanying nausea have almost all gone away - and now I'm left with a very slight post-nasal drip, a lingering cough and a sexy, deep voice. So, yeah, I'm getting better.

Other things are looking much better as well. My obsessive drive to get a new MINI Cooper has led me to get my finances in the best shape they've been in in nearly 7 years - perhaps ever. I called my credit union to get an update on the credit score tiers they use for their auto loans - and I've gone from an approval on a 4th-tier rate to a score that would secure me a 1st-tier (and much, much lower) rate. Quel plaisir!

I've been very conscientious about saving as well - and have successfully paid off all of my credit cards. I now have well-enough saved for a nice large down payment on the car. I'm actually rather (gulp) proud of my disciplined savings, and will continue saving after receipt of my car. If I can save up over $6000 in just under a year (while paying down $3000 worth of debt), a condo just might be available to my budget in about five years' time.

And lastly, I just called my aunt - the production number for my ordered MINI is imminent - perhaps even later today! ((crosses fingers)) The only thing that would top this off is finding out that my MINI is in production and slated to get here very, very soon. A girl can dream.

So today, we should all try to focus on those things going well in our lives, because as most days are wearisome and stressful, we could all use some time spent reflecting on the good things (like being able to vote GWB out of office in a week - yay!)


posted at 11:45 AM

October 22, 2004

reason #1...

...of reasons to enjoy moving back to my childhood home:

Overhearing moderately-drunk father play guitar and sing Johnny Cash songs just slightly out of tune.

The bum part is that just as I started secretly recording him for an AudBlog entry, he stopped and said slurred "Wh-what are you hiding there?"

Next time.


posted at 08:28 PM

sick.

head and eyes hot.
funny taste in mouth & throat.
lungs tight.
stomach crampy.
still a bit dizzy.

i don't think i'll be going to work today.


posted at 07:29 AM

October 20, 2004

hello hello! i'm at a place called "vertigo"

well, indeed, i have an inner ear infection... yay! after a daunting morning drive to work yesterday, i relented to my dizziness and made a doctor's appointment. i don't think i've ever had so much fun during a ten-minute physician's appointment in my life!

it started out with me recounting my dizzying experience to the doctor i had been assigned to (did i mention that her name was "gisele"? no matter). after that, we got to the fun part. she asked me to lie down, and that immediately caused the light-headedness to wash over me.

gisele: you're feeling it already?
me: oh yeah.
both of us: (pleased)

so then came the real fun part - gisele stood to the far right-hand side of me and instructed me to look at her face and sit up quickly, without taking my eyes off her. it was already taking me awhile just to be able to focus on her - it didn't bode well for the experiment, but i was willing to give it a go.

one - two - three UP! immediately following my jolt up i nearly fell off the examination table entirely. gisele had to grab me to keep me from dropping to the linoleum floor. the room was spinning. well, no - no, it wasn't, but it felt as if it were turning. but i'm one of those people who enjoys the feeling of dizziness.

me: that was fun!
gisele: fun? you like rollercoasters, don't you?
me: oh yeah!

it was clear to the doctor, gisele, that i had some sort of inner ear disturbance, most likely an infection. she prescribed me some antivert (which so far has not caused the dizziness to fade away) and instructed me to give it a few days, and it should go away on its own (the infection).

late last night my left ear began to ache. the damn infection is outward bound! so no work for me today. i spent most of the day sleeping, and trying to avoid pressure on the left side of my head. i woke up this evening and the left side of my throat was raw. nice. sounds like a good round of antibiotics are in my future.


posted at 06:51 PM

October 19, 2004

am i really still up?

ooooh, boy. i haven't been up this late in far too long - it certainly doesn't bode well for tomorrow morning! so i went ahead and tried to make the site look different. i like it so far. it still has a little ways to go, but it's different, and that's good.

let me just say right here, right now, that dealing with columns in CSS is satan's work. it took me hours to figure out how to get the three-column layout working (well, it works in safari, so pbpbppbth). between float and absolute positions and margins, i was running out of trial and error options. i had some pretty dark moments right around 10pm - but somehow i got it to work. don't ask me to repeat that feat.

so, i'm still dizzy. i got up about a half hour ago to use the little girl's room and i nearly fell over from not feeling aligned with earth's gravity. i mean, right now, i feel okay. my eyes aren't really focusing on anything in particular - they're darting around the keyboard (as i never learned to properly type) - but when i try to focus on something across the room, everything starts to feel a little weird - my eyes feel like they go cross-eyed. oy.

the drive home was unpleasant. we've got rain here in southern california! whoopie! the long walk from my office to the parking structure was spent in a downpour (without an umbrella, thanks), however my drive home was relatively raindrop-free... but not traffic-free. trying to focus on the car ahead of me proved rather disorienting. i had to work really hard to discern distance.

if i wake up tomorrow morning and feel dizzy still, i think i'm gonna call in sick. i'm not really sure if it's something i need to see a doctor for (um, do i?), but the drive and the overall weird feeling is not something i want to put up with all day while having to try to concentrate.


posted at 01:34 AM | comments (1)

October 18, 2004

dizzy

from the moment i stepped out of bed this morning, i felt as if my equilibrium was off. for the most part, the symptom has been inconsequential - just a bit of dizziness as i was walking, that mild feeling like i've had only the sip of alcohol it takes for my eyes to cross and become uneasy.

but now it's almost 6pm, and the dizziness is becoming more acute. my eyes aren't having a good time of focusing at all. my head doesn't feel like it has a center. my ears were aching a bit a week ago, but the pain went away completely by the end of last week, so i guess it could be an infection.

oh, how i look forward to the hour and a half long drive home this evening... in the rain. this should go swimmingly.


posted at 05:48 PM

back to work

monday. blech! weekends need to be longer - i mean, really. two days never quite seems enough to fully recuperate and get excited for the new week. i propose a 4-day work week. who's with me?

that being said, the weekend was alright. saturday was spent almost exclusively in bed. i managed to wake myself up enough to go see shaun of the dead with the little brother last night. it was a good time. not as gory as i was expecting. quite delightful, actually, all around.

alas, i couldn't summon the creative energy to make any changes to the site. i do have a new layout in mind, however. it involves a (shocking!) three-column layout and some rounded edging, the latter of which i'm a bit squeamish about. i think it will be cool, though. i'm still looking through other people's sites to see what i like and to spark the ideas, as i'm beyond the facade of a complete, independently-garnered design concept. i'm woman enough to admit that.

the important task will be archiving the current layout, should the new one turn out to be complete shit. because i hate starting from scratch. and in the likely event my hopes of a new design should fail, i'd hate to have to pull up a generic template from the movable type website!


posted at 02:14 PM

October 15, 2004

here comes your weekend

ahhhhh.... only hours until my first stressor-free weekend in months begins! the possibilities seem endless, however i think i'm just going to sit at home, preferably in my cozy, fluffy bed, and relaaaax.

i was thinking of updating the look of this site, only slightly, because if you can't have actual interesting content, you can at least look at something appealing to the eye! plus, i'm thinking of starting my own mini-specific sub-blog (mini-blog?) - what's the term for that - side-blog? eh, who cares. in any case, this might be the weekend for that.

also, i'm tempted to see team america: world police this weekend, but would only go to see it with my 15-yr-old brother... and i'm hesitant to take him because, well, i've heard some of it is rather, um, offensive? i don't know - look at the old lady i've turned into!!

happy weekend!


posted at 10:29 AM

October 13, 2004

same old stuff

nothing interesting to report. i'm finally moved out of the "garage in glendale", as it will be eternally memorialized. what will be interesting is how the whole security deposit thing is going to work out. for some reason i don't think i'm going to get a penny of it back - even though they have to demolish the place. funny.

what else? i still haven't beaten that damn level on "XIII". argh! oh, and next weekend is going to be a jude law frenzy, when i plan to see not one, or even two, but three jude law films all in the same day. "sky captain and the world of tomorrow", "alfie" and "i heart huckabees". what more could a girl ask for?

i'll tell you what i could ask for: a call-back from my dearest aunt who is putting together this MINI-ordering thing. i still haven't received a production number! i know i need to be gracious and patient and all, but come on already! this is my mini cooper we're talking about here! i've been forcing myself to refrain from calling her this week, but i'm getting desperate.


posted at 01:25 PM

October 01, 2004

bloody hell

Oh man. Work is HECTIC today. I decided to give myself a five-minute breather just to stay sane. The girl who took over my old Home Video account called in sick today - and it just so happens to be the day when we have to stage two television show seasons ("Quantum Leap" and "Las Vegas") to be completed and QC'd by Monday.. MONDAY!?!

Plus the clients are placing every other featue order under the sun they have right now - and have them due up on Monday as well. Not to mention all the fucked up orders coming back for fixes. Yikes.

I don't usually like talking about work on here, but I just needed to vent. Today might be the worst day here ever... to utilize a phrase that otherwise makes me shudder in embarrassment for the person saying it - thank god it's Friday, for fuck's sake!!


posted at 11:27 AM

September 20, 2004

still alive

The move has been made! I'm not anywhere near done yet - still have lots of miscellaneous junk at the Glendale house - but all my big, necessary items have been moved to the house in Simi Valley.

My father and brother, Matthew, were extremely helpful throughout the whole ordeal. And it was an ordeal. Each of us had at least two temper tantrums over Saturday and Sunday, but we were all in good spirits last night, so that's what's important.

Here's a summary of what went down:
Saturday am - do a little more organizing of boxes and de-sheet the bed.
9:45am - Return cable box and modem to cable company to cancel service.
10am - Go to IKEA to purchase EXPEDIT bookcase and three EFFECTIV storage units. Have them hold until later on in day.
10:45am - Drive to Simi Valley.
12:30pm - Pick-up truck from Cal-U-Rent with Matt
1:30pm - Meet up with Dad in Glendale and start packing up truck.
3:00pm - Leave, go to IKEA to pick-up furniture.
3:15pm - Realize left receipt for furniture in Simi Valley - helpful IKEA staff give me my stuff anyways and help me load it into the truck.
4:15pm - Arrive in Simi - take half hour break, then start unloading.

The most important goal for Saturday was unloading the bed and having clean sheets to sleep on. That goal was met, but I had the jarring experience of trying to fall asleep with no background noise - so there was a really annoying whine in my head from all the noise during the day. I took two Advil and tried to pass out ASAP.

Sunday morning was sleepy. None of us wanted to start doing anything right away. This was the day I was going to build my furniture from IKEA and set-up my TV. After a couple hours of frustrating putting-together-of-stuff, I took a break to return the rental truck... and then went straight back to building.

There's nothing more hellish than starting to build some huge bookcase and then finding out in the middle of it that you're missing a woodscrew - or assembling a door for a cabinet and trying, in vain, to screw on the handle - because it won't screw in, no matter how hard you try, the screw just won't go in, it must be a manufacturing error, stop trying, it's been 45 minutes for god's sake!

So, that was bad, but most of the furniture was completely assembled, and the problem door handle nonwithstanding, my IKEA experience this time around was way more than satisfactory.

Everybody at IKEA - from the salesgirl who explained the different options to me and was patient with me while I decided, to the lady at the furniture pickup stand who explained exactly what I needed to do to pick up my items later on in the day, and then later on in the day vouch for me when I misplaced my receipt, to the checkout clerk, to the fella who helped my brother and I lift the ridiculously-heavy boxes into the back of the truck, to the parking-lot attendant who guided me out - was EXTREMELY HELPFUL. I salute all of them for a job well-done.

Tonight I'm taking the night off, though. I'm just going to CHILL OUT. I might have a couple Netflix titles heading my way, so I'm going to eat dinner, watch a movie, and relaaaaaaaaaaaax!


posted at 09:54 AM

September 17, 2004

ready, set, go..?

Countdown to the big move has officially begun.

Reserve rental moving truck. Check.
Check into furniture pad rental. Check.
Devise most mileage-reducing route. Check.
Take inventory of what absolutely needs to be moved this weekend. Check.
Send out all change of address forms. Check.
Update voter registration. Check.
Call Dad to confirm tomorrow's itinerary. Check.
Breathe. Check.

I can already tell that my dad is going to be pretty put-out by the whole moving adventure. He's rather curmudgeonly as it is, but the minute you get him doing any sort of team-style physical labor, forget about it. I'm going to need to make sure he has all the cigarettes he needs, some cold drinks and some snacks that he might enjoy (buttermilk, french bread and pickles?) on hand. And we mustn't foget his blood pressure medication!

He'll need to take frequent smoke breaks, and he's got the gout in his big toe, so hopefully that won't flare up. I can't believe my young, strong, 22-year old brother James is refusing to help me at all with this move. What an a-hole!

I don't have a lot of stuff to move, in terms of furniture. I have about 7 big-ticket items that will require more than one person (myself) to lift. So hopefully, it shouldn't take too long to get the truck loaded - but my conception of the process may be completely incorrect - as I've never really moved on this scale before.

So, rent the truck around 1pm (after the little brother's parade). Drive to Glendale. Load up everything (4 hours?). Drive to IKEA to pick up bookshelves & storage unit. Head to Simi Valley. Unload, unwind and unpack. And then Sunday, return the truck. Phew.

Tonight I've been taking down shelves and packing up more crap. I just made a grocery store run for some more trash bags, paper towels and caffeinated beverages. My iMac's on a little side table and my keyboard's on my lap, as my desk has been cleared off. This will most-likely be the last entry I compose in this place. And this will be the last night I sleep here. Pretty weird.


posted at 10:42 PM | comments (1)

September 15, 2004

ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Still packing. The end is in sight, and that's a relief. I've made up a list of what absolutely needs to be moved on Saturday, and the rest can sit and rot for all I care!

The building I live behind has seen many tenant changes since the new owners have taken over. The last remaining couple from the "hostile" takeover moved out today. They've lived here about seven years - just one year less than my stay at this address.

They're moving back to Ireland, or so I'm told. We barely said more than the salutory "hello" to eachother over these past several years. I've been a bit of a hermit here - due to random psychological issues and just a general shyness around strangers, I haven't spoke more than two syllables at a time to any of my neighbors. They're not mean, or frightening in any real way - I'm just, you know, the weird chick who lives in the back garage.

So when I heard my neighbors pack their final belongings and bid the owner adieu through my paper-thin walls, I was a bit surprised to feel more than just a twinge of loss. I had ever-so distantly watched them flourish as a couple. I congratulated them silently on their acquisition of a shiny new Audi A4 several years ago, and was shocked when I found them to be the proud parents of a baby girl (I swear, I thought the little girl was adopted - I had no idea the lady was pregnant!!).

Oh, that's the other thing. I haven't a clue what their names were. And apparently the guy (the husband? I think they were married) was Irish - he even had an accent! I only discovered that endearing fact a little over a week ago, when I inadvertently heard him bash the landlords (yay!) to a fellow neighbor right outside my door.

So anyway, as I heard them open their truckdoor for the last time, I felt a little lump in my throat. I wanted to run out to them and say, "I just wanted you to know, that I'm really going to miss you guys as neighbors, and I hope your future holds only the best for you in Ireland!!"

I would say this as I clutched at the lady's pantleg, sobbing, in effect begging them not to leave - not to disrupt this static existence I've had for so long - because them leaving heightens the reality that I, in fact, will be leaving, very soon, and that I'll never be coming back to this place.


posted at 09:11 PM | comments (2)

September 13, 2004

moving sucks

I don't think I'm the first person to ever say this, but moving SUCKS. Especially when you live all by yourself and have no one to help you out. Boxes and boxes of books and DVDs and CDs and miscellaneous crap I have around my little shack are being carefully shoved into my little car and driven over to my dad's house.

The bulky items... (sigh)... I'm not quite sure what's going to happen with my bed, my treadmill, my 32" tv and other large-ish furniture. I've rented a truck for the weekend, and my dad has volunteered to help me out. But he's old (64 today, as a matter of fact), and rather curdmudgeonly - so I can't help but think that it's going to be a nightmare of disasterous proportions.

I imagine him yelling "god dammit" every three minutes and getting all red-faced and his chain-smoking making all my furniture all stinky and, ultimately, the collapse of western civilization as a whole.

(Deep breath in... deep breath out...)


posted at 04:18 PM | comments (6)

September 09, 2004

the tide turns

Things are looking up for me. My landlord has paid the relocation assistance money. I received two credit-line increases. I recently paid off two high-balance credit cards. When calling to inquire about one of my credit cards' interest rates, I was offered a significantly lower rate with no extra charges or anything.

I'm feeling pretty good today about pretty much everything. I'm feeling good about the move, and not as stressed out as I was in the previous two weeks. I have reasonable ideas about all the decorating I can do with the new room, and all the improvements I can help make on my Dad's house.

I went to the grocery store last night after a two to three week hiatus. I purchased all kinds of "diet" food (on sale, no less!). No more burritos for lunch and Burger King for dinner for me. I pretty much went off the deep end with my eating during this stressful period, and have suffered the ill-effects, but that's going to stop effective immediately.

Things are really bright and shiny this morning. I bet I get hit by a bus.


posted at 10:33 AM | comments (2)

September 06, 2004

big, whiny, shaky baby

Yesterday at 9:30am I received a phone call from my landlord. He said he wanted to schedule some time that afternoon to meet with me to drop off my relocation assistance check and pick up my rent check. Heh.

I called back, prepared for the worst - to have to converse, even briefly with Satan (aka the landlord's wife) - but, thankfully, was granted access to their voicemail system. Alas, I still was forced to sit through her shrill recorded message. Remind me to record it sometime and play it for you.

So I left a message saying that 2pm would be fine for me. I didn't say a word about the rent. It was clear that they hadn't heard a peep from their attorney about the letter I sent to him regarding the fact that I was not going to pay rent on a unit that's currently in violation - as it's illegal for them to demand such payment. Sucks to be them.

But now I had roughly four and a half hours to prepare myself for the afternoon meeting. I have copies of everything in my bag - all the California and Glendale code one would need, various letters of correspondence and mailing receipts - because I like to be prepared.

Let me just say I hate confrontation. I despise it. Thinking about it makes my stomach knot. I loathe giving bad news, and I'm not the best at receiving it either. And now I was about to be the bearer of bad news to the landlord.

So 2pm crept slowly up, and as I was lying flat on my back, on my bed, taking deep breaths and trying to will myself into relaxation, I heard the telltale footsteps, the sound of my screendoor opening, and a knock at my door.

I unlocked and opened the door, and greeted the landlord. And I was shaking like a leaf. He brought me a check and a receipt for me to sign. He requested my rent, and I asked if he had not heard from his attorney, and that I had sent the attorney a letter last week about the nonpayment. The final draft of the letter wobbled in my hand as I brought it out and handed it to him. My voice quivered as I paraphrased the correspondence.

He didn't fight it. Perhaps he knew that I wasn't responsible for payment any longer, and knew that it was best to not fight me about it, because I'm everything but unaware of my rights. Or perhaps he could sense my nervousness (goodness I was shaking so!), and that now was not a good time to argue anything with me. My signature on the receipt of the assistance check was almost imperceptible as my own, as my hand was so unsteady while signing it.

So we bid eachother adieu and I closed the door, fumbling with the door, and walked away from the entry, clenching my hands in fists and hitting them against eachother at the knuckles. The wave of nervous energy was slow to subside, and I spent the next few minutes pacing across my small living space, trying to compose a thought other that, "Holy shit, can you believe how much I was shaking?!?"

I don't know what it is with me and the nervousness and the shaking. It was absolutely overwhelming. Maybe it's just the terror the landlady had instilled in me in previous "conversations". She really is a bitch from hell. But I really need to learn to control myself physically in such situations. Had the conversation lasted only moments more, I probably would have been reduced to tears, or ended up passing out from the agitation. Phew!

I'm glad the moment has passed. I'm glad that tomorrow I can go to the bank and cash their check, breathe a sigh of relief, and focus on the task at hand: moving out of the out-of-code shithole that's served me so well as my home for the past eight years.


posted at 01:26 PM

September 03, 2004

regularly-scheduled programming shall resume soon...

I've been neglecting this site... and that's not to imply that there's any sort of audience to attend to or anything, but I always feel bad about it. I like to keep things up-to-date.

There've been lots of things on my plate lately - lots of stressors that just suck up any motivation to do regular, fun things - like go to the movies, or keep my house clean, or, well, administrate my web presence.

I signed into Movable Type and was a bit shocked by the vast numbers of comment spam. Yummy!

The big deal for me right now is that I'm moving. Not by choice, but by the force of City Government. I've been living in what I thought was a "legal" garage-conversion apartment for eight years now. Well, when ownership of the property was turned over late last year, info came to the surface that - whoops - whoever built this drab place never thought to get the proper permits.

This is all well and good. Whatever. I like it here, in Glendale, but I'm sort of stagnating in this place, so the move might even turn out good for me. The stressful part comes from the dealings with my landlords. Eck. There are laws governing protocol in this very situation - laws that my landlords either weren't aware of, or laws they just didn't want to admit were there.

But a visit to their attorney seemed to make it all better. I'm supposed to get a relocation assistance check from them no later than next Tuesday, so we'll see how that all turns out.

But where am I moving? Back in with my dad. It's all very exciting. In the seven or so years since my mother ran away with some guy she met over the internet, the home I grew up in has turned into the cast of Queer Eye For the Straight Guy's worst nightmare. The house reeks of cigarettes and dog and AXE deoderant spray.

In each room of the house, there are bong-water and other scary stains from a brief period in the home's history where my then 16-year-old brother was able to run rampant without any parental supervision (my dad was away on business, while my mother snuck away to frolic with her new "beau"), inviting all sorts of other young adults you wouldn't want your teenage child hanging out with over to study - oh no, wait - that's party 24 hours a fucking day.

But the stains have all been covered up with the most gaudy leftover red carpet from the Grammy Awards (don't ask) - red carpet which serves best to highlight all of the tan dog hair the family pet never seems to stop shedding.

So all kinds of thought and energy has been focused on how to make the room I'll be inhabiting, well, habitable. I'll be tearing up the carpet - that much is true. In lieu of rent I'll be siphoning money into home repairs - fixing the plumbing in what we refer to as the "big bathroom" so the men of the house don't need to trudge through my room at all hours of the night to take a dump in the "back bathroom", purchasing a replacement for the kitchen faucet which has long been in disrepair, maybe recarpeting the entire house (we'll see).

Stressor B: The new car. The new MINI Cooper. (Sigh.) I want to take delivery on my hypothetical car somewhere around December, and right now's the time to order for such a date. I felt pretty good about the fact that a close family member works for a MINI dealership - thought that maybe I could swing a great deal for, oh, let's say, MSRP.

But oh no. Here in Southern California, dealers charge, as standard, what they call a "premium", and what I call a "ridiculous markup" of $3000 to $5000. And what sweet deal did they throw at me? $2000 over MSRP. I politely told them to "fuck off" (not in so many words) and, exasperated, told them I would take my business out-of-state, where I could easily land the car for MSRP.

But my family member who shall remain nameless is trying to help me out, trying to sway them, trying to make the car a reality for me. So, again, we'll see what happens.

What else - oh yeah - new job. Same place, but I'm now scheduling for a different department. Finished up training my replacement last week and started training with new co-scheduler this week. Let me just say that I don't like training people. I'm not a very good teacher. I'm rather impatient with the whole thing. But I really like learning new things, so I'm in trainee heaven.

So that's basically it. That's why my attentions have been diverted from discussing the new Apple iMac, or the far-from-stellar Open Water, or Björk's new album.


posted at 08:23 PM

August 07, 2004

a post about nothing... oh wait, well, except that i'm ill

BLECH! Today has been spent playing Mahjong Solitaire, listening to a large amount of Howard Jones music, blowing snot out my nose, coughing rather unenthusiastically (think Derek Zoolander), massaging my gums (because they hurt, god dammit!), sipping water, cursing the funky taste in my throat, watching Stealing Home (x1.5), wishing I felt better, moaning, turning the air conditioner on and off every couple of hours depending on my freezing/sweltering level, tossing away kleenex, eating Jello fat-free pudding, watching Swept Away (the Madonna version), crying at the end of Swept Away, and while listeing to Howard Jones songs, and during random hokey television commercials, and moaning, and despising being sick on the weekend.


posted at 08:10 PM

July 13, 2004

organizing

Tonight, after dinner, I think I'm going to re-organize and alphabetize my dvd collection. Man, my life is so exciting!


posted at 04:53 PM

July 09, 2004

why am i still up?

it's not like it's friday or anything. oh wait, it is. damn. i meant friday night. i'm trying to figure out how to show my audioscrobbler rdf?/rss?/xml? feed in the sidebar, and being terribly unsuccessful with all of it. Not surprising, as I know fuck-all about syndication.

in the meantime, you could always look at my profile page to see what I've been up listening to... but i totally need to go to sleep right now - work in the am - work in less than 8 hours!! must. sleep. now.


posted at 01:41 AM

June 28, 2004

29

Today is my 29th birthday. Yay! And I'm at work. Boo!

I did most of my celebrating over the weekend, starting with a Friday-night viewing of "Dodgeball", continuing with the Clinton-book signing fiasco on Saturday morning, and concluding with a trip to the Chumach casino in Santa Ynez, CA.

I cannot promise that a detailed description of the weekend's events will follow, but it's time to go back to work...


posted at 11:09 AM | comments (1)

June 21, 2004

goin' back to school?

On a whim, I applied online to re-attend Glendale Community College for the Fall semester. I only intend to take one course (Intermediate Algebra).

Here's how it happened: A co-worker and I were talking about the new Apple Airport Express, and then started talking about employee vs. student discounts for Apple products, and then somehow got on the subject of taking a math class two nights a week. Don't ask.

Being the staedfast internet browser that I am, I easily (and rather quickly) found an Intermediate Algebra class for the fall semester on Mondays and Wednesdays at 7pm (which is convenient, as we get off work here at 6pm). When the co-worker said she could go for that, it was on, and I went and applied.

I racked up many college credits over the years, and had even seriously thought about going back full-time during my last period of unemployment, so the idea of going back to get at least an Associates degree of some sort has always plagued me.

Even if I don't end up actually completing a degree, at least I get to take fun math class, right? 'Cuz math is fun, right?

Anyway, that's just a glimpse into the spontaneity of my life... aren't you bursting with envy of my impulsiveness?


posted at 11:02 AM

June 11, 2004

counting down the hours...

Work today is absolutely excruciating, as I'm brimming with excitement over the road trip I'm taking this weekend. It's made a little less severe by the fact that it's a half-day, but the workload so far is sloooow. I have all my orders in already, and am just waiting to be sent more - actual work always makes time go by faster. But no, I'm sure all the orders for the weekend won't rush in until a half hour before the end of the work day. Murphy's Law.

I'm sitting here with my handy, weathered Rand McNally road atlas next to me, open to the California/Nevada pages - looking for the road never-travelled. Idaho is still on the brain - but that's more of a "look what I did!" goal. There's no particular destination in Idaho I'd like to see, or rather, no destination I'd have time to drive up to, enjoy seeing, and then drive back down all within the span of the weekend.

So I'm looking at Nevada. I've driven along the west edge (the east edge of Death Valley), up to Beatty, and have driven to and through Vegas, but the majority of the state lays unexplored by me. I'm thinking about spending an evening in Vegas, then taking the 93 up to Idaho (taking a shortcut up the 318 in Nevada), and maybe coming back down, staying in Ely for the night, and then traveling HWY 50 to the 95, and back down to L.A. on Sunday. Sounds a little excessive to me, though.

I guess I'll just have to get into my car and roll with it. I'm never good at planning road trips. i mean, it's really useless to try to plan a road trip itinerary, because things always change - maybe another road looks like a good one with nice scenery - one just never knows.

But hopefully I'll get off of work today at 1pm, then I need to take my car to get an oil change and all the fluids/tire pressures checked - and then I'm off to stock up on trip goodies (snacks, drinks, etc.) - and then I'm off - for real. It's supposed to be a beautiful weekend, clear skies, warm (but not too hot) temperatures.... it's gonna be a blast.


posted at 10:41 AM | comments (3)

June 08, 2004

idaho?

While driving to work today, the overwhelming urge to go on a road trip hit me - hit me hard. And the destination which has been sitting in my head for the last hour and a half or so is IDAHO. I don't know why, perhaps because it's a state that's relatively nearby to which I have never traveled before.

Idaho? Somebody stop me. I've spent nearly $1000 getting my current car up to smog standards and getting the tires replaced, and I have to get an oil change sometime this week - so the urge to solidify the car's reliability, make some sort of good on that large expenditure, and my need to get out of the house are driving me towards a quick jaunt somewhere this weekend.

These urges often hit me last minute. I've been known to take off to the Grand Canyon in the morning, and be back in L.A. by that same night. I once went for a leisurely drive and ended up in Yosemite National Park. I've often taken off up the California coastline up towards Big Sur and Carmel.

For me, it's not so much the destination, but the drive that I find so stimulating. I guess it has something to do with hours upon hours of time spent completely in my own world, without being caged up in my 400 sq. ft. house. I'm very easily impressed by nature and the beautifully scenic expanses available to the roadway-traveller, and so the views of a distant thunderstorm over the desert basin of western Arizona, or the gorgeous cliffsides near Point Piedras on the central Californian coast are enough to move me in some serious ways.

(Sigh.)

So I don't know what I'm going to do yet. I want to go somewhere I've never been before. And I want to go this weekend. And Idaho is only about 12 hours away....


posted at 10:16 AM

June 07, 2004

broke / potter / hair

Oh man, I am so broke right now. I have about $17 left in the bank. Woo! I'm going to try to make it through the week without having to dip into my savings account. I'm usually not this broke, or at least, I haven't been in awhile. But as of late I've been diverting a rather large percentage of my weekly paycheck into a down-payment fund for my next car. So, really, it's my own fault. Thank goodness for overdraft protection!

This weekend I took the little bro to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. To use a bad movie-review cliche, "it was a fun romp". The tone was slightly darker, and slightly more adult than the previous two (thanks, probably, to the inclusion of Alfonso Cuarón in the director's chair? maybe?). By the way, how did the writer/director of Y Tu Mamá También get to direct the third installment of a children's book-series adaptation?!? The most enjoyable bit, for me, was spotting Dawn French in the movie - cuz I lurve her. Dawn French should be included in far more films. I'm thinking of going to see Shrek 2 in theatres exclusively based on the casting of Jennifer Saunders. I lurve me some French & Saunders, anglophile that I am.

Oh, and I got my hair done over the weekend - and I'm allowed to mention it because the last time I had my hair so much as trimmed was way back in September of last year. So a large part of today has been spent listening to people rave about my hair, which is the absolute worst part of getting one's hair "done" - besides, of course, the three or four hours in the salon.


posted at 11:00 AM

May 25, 2004

free!

Wee! It’s almost time to go home! About a week ago I called my cable/high-speed internet provider because my formerly high-speed internet access was suddenly no so high-speed. Turns out they went from a three-tier system 384/768/1Mbps to a two-tier system 384/2Mbps – and I, having the middle tier of the first, was relegated to the lowest tier. Loading trailers from Apple.com was taking forever and that simply wasn’t going to do.

So I called up the cable company and they bumped me up to the 2Mbps speed – however it didn’t take right away – unfortunately, it wasn’t until I called them back a few nights ago that they got it working right. It was ZOOMING once it was up and I am quite happy about it, but here’s the best part of that late-night call to the cable company:

Because I am a “customer in good-standing”, they were able to offer me HBO and Cinemax and Starz until December 31, 2004… FREE! I pay nothing more! It’s all very exciting. I spent most of the weekend huddled in bed watching the most horrible of film-fare: Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, Grease 2, Drumline, Pretty Woman, Just Married… the list goes on and on…


posted at 06:00 PM

May 24, 2004

(cue "olympic fanfare and theme" music now)

MY CAR PASSED SMOG!!!

posted at 05:21 PM

warning: blatant anthropomorphization ahead

It appears my car (’83 Honda Civic) has caught on to my evil plan to replace it with a Mini Cooper. While it may be difficult to tell (as I haven’t washed it in years), I like my current car very much. It’s small and speedy, runs very well, and has had no significant problems, i.e., it hasn’t totally crapped out on me yet.

But since my desire for a MiniCooper has grown to the serious/plan-to-purchase stage, I’ve had some difficulties with my old pal, the Honda. Every two years, my car requires a smog check. All California cars do, but my car is a repeat smog-offender and always has trouble passing smog (which means I always have to pay up to get it fixed). Normally this is no problem for me – I pony up one- to two-hundred dollars and the fixes are completed and the car is passed. This year that has not been the case. I’ve been dealing with my smog check woes since last November, people… Novermber! My car has been in the shop two to three times per week for the last month or so trying to get it to pass.

Last Friday, when picking it up from the shop, the owner made me promise to get a new driver’s side-rear tire. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Sure, when I can afford it!” But he became very stern and said, “YOU MUST PROMISE ME YOU’LL GET A NEW TIRE, PRONTO!”

Geez louise, okay Dad!, (I thought), but then when I trekked back to the car, I did notice that the back left tire was ripped, not enough to cause the tire to be flat, but it was definitely suffering from a huge tear. I called up JustTires and got a quote for a $25 tire and made my way over to the facility after work.

I went to JustTires with every intention to get JustOneTire, but I’m such a pushover that they talked me into getting four new tires and to have my car’s alignment fixed (I knew it was way off anyways). So I dropped $200 for 4 new 13” tires and a front-end alignment – ugh. I noticed that turning the car was way easier, but as I drove into work this morning I felt the car sort of pulling into every different direction – maybe it’s just a figment of my imagination, or I’m so used to compensating for the misalignment that it just seems weird, or maybe they just did a shoddy job. Who knows.

The spending on my Honda seems to have skyrocketed since I’ve become really truly serious about buying a new car – it doesn’t want me to replace it with a newer, younger, shinier car – and the costs don’t seem to be ending anytime soon. I have to get an oil change, one of my headlights is out… it’s just silly. If it makes the Honda feel any better, I'm planning on giving it to my younger brother when my new car arrives.


posted at 09:03 AM

May 21, 2004

so tired

Ugh, what is making me so tired? I'm sitting here at my desk working hard to keep my eyes open. I just want to lay my head down on the desk, on top of my folded arms, and catch a few z's. Perhaps the adrenaline from last night's overtime and the morning rush at work is starting to wear off. I'm going to be the HAPPIEST GIRL ON THE PLANET the second I walk through my front door (well, there's only one) of my house and collapse onto my bed. I'll need to stay up long enough to heat up a frozen dinner, however, because I am effing starving. Well, I'm not really that hungry, but my stomach is making all sorts of gurgly noises and I'm fresh out of snacks here at work. I'm such a crybaby.

Oh! And I'm waiting for the car mechanic across the street from work to call me and tell me that my car has (finally!) passed its smog check. Every single occasion I've brought my car to him in the last three weeks he's called to say it hadn't passed... but I'm hoping for the best. It's only 4:15, so I have another 45 minutes of hope. (please oh please oh please!)

Not that anyone cares. I'm just typing to watch myself type, really.


posted at 04:20 PM

May 17, 2004

dr. pepper slurpee, anyone?

The weekend… ahhh... they’re never long enough, are they? Right now I’m searching my memory for that ennui I had when I was unemployed, when I was looking for anything to do – having an overwhelming span of time at my disposal just GASPING for some sort of structure. Now I’m cemented into the work-a-day structure and I’m yearning for the freedom to sleep in several days in a row. The grass is always greener, right?

Half of this weekend was spent doing exactly what I had planned on Friday afternoon: I. Did. NOTHING! Nothing, save for watch an endless amount of bad television. On Sunday I was persuaded to leave the house to attend a screening of I’m Not Scared at the NuWilshire and a quick lunch at Baja Fresh. The viewing was followed but what may have been a two-hour drive through Los Angeles in search of a 7-Eleven that had Dr. Pepper Slurpees on tap. No such luck. Damn, harsh luck!

I returned to my house, exhausted, at about 5pm and spent the rest of the evening watching more bad “filmed entertainment”. I watched the ever-disappointing Scary Movie 3, and followed that up with the AMC DVD on TV version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory - not only is it one of my favorite comfort films of all time, but I had the misfortune of having some brief business-dealings with the director of the film – seriously, he’s a crazy, rickety, curmudgeonly old man now. And from the commentary available on the AMC special, sounds like he may have been the same back then, too. But I effing LURVE that movie and ain’t nobody gonna take that away from me.

A friend of mine is off on holiday to London and some other places today, and I’m terribly, terribly jealous. I need a trip somewhere – it’s been so long. Last time I went anywhere it was to Calgary for my brother’s wedding back in August – and there was no time up there for touristy-pursuits. (Sigh.) But work is grand, and I’m lucky to have a job and to be in relatively good health. Perspective, Julie, perspective.


posted at 03:37 PM

May 14, 2004

t-minus 2 hours and 51 minutes

The weekend is fastly approaching, and for the first time in several weeks, my plan is to TOTALLY VEG OUT. I've got some Netflix movies coming my way and an obligation-free span of time, so I'm going to use it to do absolutely nothing of any practical value. Oh, I may do some laundry - but I might not! See, I'm crazy like that, crazy like a fox!

But seriously, this week has left me completely exhausted physically and in my spirit. I'm just sort of [insert descriptive phrase for feeling "blah" here]. I don't want to do anything but lie around and watch bad movies, as I'm sure there will be tons of them on this weekend (a girl can dream). In a perfect world, I would also be able to cram junk food down my mouth non-stop without any ill-effects, but alas, I haven't been blessed with the metabolism of a hummingbird, so that might throw-off the whole diet thing I've got going on (I don't think I've mentioned this, but I've lost around 17 lbs. so far).

Anyways, just under three hours to go til I can boot-scoot outta here and fly home faster that you can say, well, whatever you want to say that's relatively quick - I'm too tired to think of anything witty.


posted at 03:09 PM

May 13, 2004

bored out of my gourd

I should be sleeping now. It's way past my bedtime. But today's been a weird day, and I s'pose I just haven't wound down yet.

The company I work for (Universal) officially merged today with NBC, creating the new massive media giant NBC Universal. We got new logos and everything. It was all terribly exciting. We had a company-wide press-conference call this morning. We received several emails throughout the day. We had a division meeting in the afternoon to highlight the positive changes coming our way. And to top it off, we got these nifty little "Introduction Packets" with a special commemorative DVD set (included E.T., To Kill A Mockingbird, and episodes of "SNL" and "Law & Order") and GE (the company which owns NBC Universal) information.

Tomorrow, us folks on the lot get to board employee shuttles up to the Ampitheatre for a Town Hall meeting that's going to be viewed by ALL the NBC Universal employees in the WORLD (twirls finger)... at the SAME TIME!! Again, terribly, terribly exciting.

So I got home this evening, put on my pajamas, hopped in bed and started surfing the net. I guess I was feeling a little sadly-nostalgic, because I did the MOST PATHETIC THING EVER: I signed on to Classmates.com, upgraded my service to their "Gold membership", updated my profile and went searching for long-lost friends. Yeah, well, didn't really find them. I forgot, I didn't have too many friends. BUT, I did manage to find an old friend's web presence, and proceeded to drop her an email.

This all took me about, oh, four hours, because my cable net connection is FUCKING SLOW. God-damned Charter Communications went and dropped their 768kbps service and dropped all those people's connections to, like, 256 or something (unless, of course, they opted to PAY more). Ack! It's so annoying. And now I have a headache from staring at the laptop screen for so long. And I'm brutally exhausted, so I'm going to sleep now...


...imagine that, a full post without a single mention of a MINI Cooper (d'oh!)


posted at 12:03 AM

April 19, 2004

not much news

I haven't posted anything of note in awhile because, well, not much has been going on in quite awhile. My back is messed up - lower back - pretty hardcore. It's been well over a month now of pretty constant pain and discomfort. I'm in physical therapy for it 3 days a week. Haven't had an MRI yet for it, but x-rays revealed nothing - I've heard that x-rays aren't very reliable a diagnostic tool for this sort of thing anyway, so I don't know why my dr. ordered them.

Anyhow, I'm looking forward to seeing Kill Bill Vol.2 soon. I bought the Vol. 1 DVD last week and have watched it about 6 times so far. It is so darned good!

Okay, so, I have to stand up and walk around a little bit right now - dr's orders.


posted at 01:19 PM

April 03, 2004

anti-Bush haiku

Bush is retarded So vote for Kerry this fall Or I’ll kick your ass

Came up with this while helping the little brother with his poetry assignment, I totally think he should turn this in!


posted at 02:13 PM

March 23, 2004

oh god, please, make it stop!

The co-worker I share an office with thinks she can sing. I once, myself, was an "office singer", but did it mainly to annoy my old office worker - as I'm fully aware of my ineptitude in the departamento el cantar.

My co-worker here, however, has less ironic intentions, I'm sure. Combine that with the fact that she has the worst taste in music, and you've got yourself my nightmare. Peter Cetera and Cher duets? She's singing right along with them. A little ditty by Phil Collins? She knows it word for word. And she loves country music - she absolutely cannot stand "the punk music" that she occassionally hears on KROQ (Coldplay, punk? I think not), but LOVES country... and "adult contemporary"! Fuck!

She also sings under her breath - as if she doesn't want me to hear her sing - or thinks that by unsuccessfully whispering the lyrics she is making it less intrusive and obnoxious.

And as I type this it's getting worse! She's singing more frequently, as if to spite me! Right now, she's blessing my ears with Melissa Etheridge's "Come To My Window". Fuck-fuck-fuckety-fuck! (julie stabs sharpened pencils into her ears)

update: 4:10pm - Oh god! Now she's singing along to "Lady In Red"! Help!


posted at 02:43 PM | comments (1)

March 19, 2004

a twist with a twist

My back has been “out of whack” for going on two weeks now. It sucks. I don’t like it.

I don’t like it when I can’t tie my shoes and have to wear flip-flops to the office. I don’t like it when using the ladies room carries with it worry about if I’m going to be capable of wiping, fer christsake!

Nope, I’m not liking this at all. The pain and immobility clearly visible in both my movement and face inspired office co-workers to proffer everything from advice, to anecdotes, to referrals, to apologies.

After a nearly tear-inducing incident putting my socks on Wednesday morning, I broke down and called a chiropractor whom came highly recommended (and he would work around my not having insurance until April 1st – bless his heart).

After a heavenly bit of some machine with electrodes delivering some sort of therapeutic shock-therapy and a “G5 massage” (it feels like someone’s rubbing a car buffer up and down your back, butt and legs!), I received my first adjustment.

At least, the poor doctor attempted to give me my first adjustment. It was a lower adjustment only. I accidentally knocked him in the mouth as he was putting me on my side, I felt so bad. He put my right leg in a painful position and then he set doen on me saying “Now exhale deeply…” and with that he pounced on me, eliciting a small “pop” in my back. Ahhh that felt good. Now the other side. Pounce #1 – no pop. Pounce #2, still no pop. Okay, stop now!

Fortunately he did. After some advice to not use the heating pad I just shelled out $30 for a couple nights previously, he made a second appointment and sent me on my way.

eternalsunshine.jpg
That evening I attended an employee screening of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind… how glorious it was! I absolutely love Kate Winslet, and she was so adorable in this film. How a guy could not totally fall in love with her after seeing her in this film is beyond me, but I’m a chick, so what do I know.

I liked everything about the film. To this viewer, it didn’t falter like it could have – it didn’t end as I expected, it didn’t begin as I expected… I even liked Jim Carrey in it! Or rather, his being Jim Carrey didn’t especially put me off of this film. Fine performances all around, an again wonderfully-refreshing script penned by Charlie Kaufman, with such a great showcase for the directing prowess of Michel Gondry. I loved it I loved it I loved it. When it comes out on DVD I’ll pick it up on the Tuesday it comes out, I’ll even see the film again in theatres… perhaps more than once.

But I won’t be seeing it again this weekend. I won’t be doing anything but going to the chiropractor again and laying flat on my stomach with ice on my back, hopefully in a state of ibuprofen-induced coma.


posted at 02:21 PM

February 24, 2004

i see need a trip in my future

...Not a large one, just a quick jaunt somewhere. I still need to get my car up to spec smog-wise - and to do that will require a couple days in the shop. So I need to rent a car anyways, I was thinking about renting an SUV and going to the mountains or to the desert.

Death Valley has been on my mind a lot. Driving alone, viewing the sweeping nothingness along the West Side Road brings back such a calm feeling. Driving along a ruddy dirt road to get to a scary-looking abandoned talc mine, camping overnight in the back of an Xterra in the middle of nowhere listening to Bjork's "All Is Full Of Love" on repeat, eating Cheez-Its and drinking Gatorade, driving along a one-way pass and getting to the top of a mountain range only to drop into one of the most awe-inspiring and lonesome valleys (Titus Canyon) - it all brings back such a warm fuzzy feeling that I want to do it again.

I never did post the photos from my last jaunt - it was awhile back. Perhaps that gives me reason to go again - at least it would mean some sort of fresh content! If anyone has any ideas for overnight road trips in the southern California vicinity, I'd love to hear them!


posted at 03:11 PM | comments (1)

February 20, 2004

bugger, bugger, bugger!

So I've had my eye on this new apartment complex that's going up out in Hollywood, Sunset + Vine, located, well, on the corner of Sunset and Vine. I was interested because it's one of those new mixed-use properties going up around L.A., and it was very close to the Metro station (subway to work!), and right across the street from Amoeba Records and the Arclight Cinemas, AND on the ground floor there'll be all sorts of goodies like Borders Books and the new Schwab's.

I've been checking their site almost everyday the last two months looking at floorplans and waiting for pricing to be announced. Today I noticed their contact number had changed, so I decided to give it a call. The girl on the other end was, of course, very friendly, and spoke of all the amenities (all appliances, washer/dryer in unit, blah blah blah) - and then we got down to business...

Studio apartments (554-639 sq. ft): start over $1400/mo.
1-bedroom apts (630-839 sq. ft): start over $1550/mo.

Holy Jesus! What the heck is happening to apartment pricing in L.A.? And in fucking Hollywood?!? A questionable at best community? I want to know who makes that kind of money where they can live in a 550 sq. ft studio apartment and pay $1400 per month.

I've been browsing craiglist the past month or so trying to see where apartment pricing was, and it's super high. Greedy-fucking property owners! You cannot get a decent one-bedroom for under $1100/month in L.A. Studio apartments and "guesthouses" are not much lower, averaging about $900/month. I figure myself quite lucky right now. I live in a studio (well, a converted garage), and am only paying $500/month, which, from what I'm seeing, is a very competitive rate.

So obviously, I'm a little bummed.


posted at 01:46 PM | comments (1)

February 04, 2004

rie: the update

In a small but strange example of the power involved in "putting things out there in the universe", Rie called today. Perhaps she found my post and decided to extend the hand, or perhaps it was just a weird bit of coincidence. Things like this are always seeming to happen to me.

Anyways, in non-Rie-related news, I'm attending my first Dean Meetup tonight in Glendale. I have not given up the fight, and here are some of my thoughts about it (from a comment posting I made to six different ways:

I'm still holding out that last hope.

What really upsets me is that his downfall, at least in my mind, had been the media's skewering of the audio at the post-Iowa rally. I remember the next few days after, newscasters and commentators just SLAMMING him as non-viable, un-"presidential" candidate - which just infuriates me.

Here's a guy with some great ideas and (I think) the balls to follow through - and the confidence of the average Democratic voter is swayed by a "Hyeeah!". It's really unsettling and I hope, hope, hope that his showings in the future states improves over the course of the next couple of weeks. I know I will be faithfully casting my ballot in the California primary.

With that being said, should Dean's campaign falter after all is said and done, I will adamantly support the decided running team come post-DNC time and will bittersweetly replace the "Dean For America" bumpersticker on my beat-up Honda with that of the designated candidates. Bush has got to go, and that's the bottom line.


posted at 01:21 PM | comments (1)

February 02, 2004

rie

rie01.jpg

I miss my friend Rie (pictured above).

Because of some flakiness on my part, we haven't hung out at all since well-before the holidays. And that makes me, well, sad. And because I'm an overgrown baby with both self-esteem and rejection issues to rival those of your average 14-year-old girl, it's difficult to call and just say, "Hey! What's up chica?!"

Even though I really want to.

I really want to congratulate her and her husband on their new home. I really want to sit around with her for hours and rave about how Björk's show at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion was just about the best - show - ever. And I'd really like to go over to her house and eat vegan food that I never eat normally (but she always manages to persuade me to try), and play Super Smash Bros. Melee (poorly), and whine about how both our mothers fall painfully short of ideal... and just, you know, hang out.


posted at 10:11 PM | comments (1)

January 30, 2004

shameless whining: first post of 2004

So I haven't posted in awhile. It's not like anything of any importance has gone on. Here's a quick update:

Jan week 1: traveled to the very very cold state of michigan to visit mother on the eve of her open-heart surgery to remove rare heart tumor. the surgery was successful, my attempts to scare her a-hole husband into running far far away, not-so-successful.

Jan week 2: return to work after 2.5 weeks of off-time. It was supposed to be slower after the new year. it's not. See "Japanese Story" with friend and exchange xmas gifts, because I was too much of a slacker to meet with him as planned on xmas day. I scored a bevy of cool gifts, among them: david sedaris: live at carnegie hall, lord of the flies anniversary edition, edward scissorhands, and david cross: let america laugh (alas, I already had the latest).

Jan week 3: Another week of work flies by, by Friday my throat has started to hurt. Drag myself to the zoo with lil' bro - no gorillas or orangutans - I feel jipped.

Jan week 4: Ugh - I'm so sick! Lose 1.5 days of work to very painful throat and persistent cough which only serves to exacerbate raw throat. Doctor insists it's a virus, although I have my reservations. Landlords on Thurdsay had meeting with city to determine if long-unknown code violations on my converted-garage will go un-punished, or if they will be forced to evict me. It's now Friday, they haven't called. I'm ambivalent. I should be sleeping right now.

Found a cool site: Eat Your Vegetables. Cool because a) seems to agree with me on social and political issues (always a plus), b) utilizies a radiohead song as an entry title, c) supports howard dean (at least for now), and d) has been close enough to photograph janeane garofalo with his significant other. yee haw.

okay, i'm going to sleep right now.


posted at 11:20 PM | comments (1)

December 31, 2003

have a mr. clean new year

Every holiday season my house is plagued by messiness. This year, I promised myself that would not be the case. No, I promised myself that this year, my home would be nice and squeaky clean – but no, I have gone and let myself down yet again.

You see, my house was super clean before the holidays. When I purchased the first round of gifts and wrapped them back just after the Thanksgiving holiday, it was spotless. Even the Tuesday before Christmas (the 23rd), my house was more or less gleaming… pristine.

It was only the rush of Christmas Eve that induced the disease of clutter that seemed only to be magnified once I returned on Monday the 29th. Last minute gift-wrapping and packing and snacking just seems to go much faster when you’re not cleaning up after yourself!

I hadn’t remembered leaving the “house” in that much disarray, but it welcomed me on Monday (the 29th) with open arms as if to say, “Welcome back, Julie, to your traditional holiday hell-hole. Boy, are we glad you’re back!” And of course, being, well, me, I didn’t immediately attack it. I dropped my bags and my small box of gifts and fell into bed, where I proceeded to take a long nap.

And now it’s New Year’s Eve and this place is gonna get the crap knocked out of it, literally. I’m going to clean this motherfucking house so hard it’s gonna sparkle. Just watch me… really, I’m gonna go clean it… in a minute… after I finish this next level on the game “XIII”… I promise.

Happy New Year everyone! May this next one bring you all much happiness! Oh, and the forced retirement of G. Dub! Yay!


posted at 05:22 PM | comments (2)

December 30, 2003

i am going to die

I decided, reluctantly, to eat food from Taco Bell today at lunch. After arriving back home, I unwrapped the taco supreme and then ripped off the corner of the hot sauce packet. I set the torn corner piece of the sauce packet in the wrapping and squeezed the sauce out onto the taco. I then discarded the sauce packet into the plastic bag the food came in, and started munching on the crunchy taco. In between bites, I would set the taco back onto the wrapping in my lap.

Somehow, the torn corner piece of the sauce packet stuck to my taco, and I, realizing just a split-second too late, swallowed it along with a bite of taco. I could feel the jagged edges travel down my esophagus. It's been a few hours and I still have that bad feeling that goes along with doing something quite stupid.

Let me give you another fine example of my continuing mindlessness. Today I also purchased the game "XIII", a nifty first-person-shooter game for the GameCube (as well as the other platforms). Anyhow, I started playing it shortly after the "Taco Sauce Incident" and battled my way through several levels in the following hours. Four hours or so, to be more precise. And then I went and did it. I quit the game without saving. Fuck! So, so, so, so stupid!!!


posted at 10:13 PM | comments (2)

December 22, 2003

tidbits

1) I feel so secluded right now - my cellphone is not working properly, so I cannot make my normal evening round of social calls... Okay, okay... "social calls" and me do not really jive... the one call I would normally make...to my little brother...to harass him about doing his homework. I want to reach out and touch someone. Alas, I cannot.

2) I've been browsing the "celebrity playlists" at the Apple iTunes Online Music Store. Michelle Branch likes The Pixies, so I no longer do. Award for most eclectic playlist: American Idol Ruben Studdard.

3) I'm worried because UPS came to deliver a package containing a christmas present for one of my brothers, and they didn't deliver because I wasn't here. I'm never here in the daytime anymore! Maybe I'll leave a note for them tomorrow. Please oh please oh please let that work.

4) I am officially addicted to the food at Casitas Tacos al Carbon in Burbank... mmmmm... is it bad that they know exactly what I want as soon as they see me drive up?

5) The "christmas wreath" scented candle I received today from some clients totally rocks and is way better than the christmas candle I bought for twenty bucks at Illuminations. (Inhale). (Sigh).

6) My long-estranged mother is going in for open-heart surgery on January 7th for the removal of a rare tumor in one of the valves or chambers or whatever of her heart (I'm not too familiar with the anatomy of the heart). I have been asked by other family members (not her) to fly to Michigan to be with her during the week of this surgery. I have never been out to visit her in the 5 years or so since she moved out there with her new asshole soon-to-be-ex-husband. This brings up a lot of issues for me. The recent history (ten years or so) of my mother has been quite dramatic - soap-operishly, hyperbolically dramatic - and that has served to distance me from the reality of our non-relationship. So, we'll see what happens. Just venting.

7) Why oh why is there nothing good to watch on tv on Monday nights???


posted at 10:39 PM | comments (1)

December 17, 2003

london calling

I want to be in London right now. Not necessarily in the weather that London may be experiencing now, but with the current L.A. weather... mmm. It is so crisp outside. Mind you, I probably have a different definition of "crisp" than most, I imagine my interpretation to be far more mild than most. It's just really, really nice weather. Anyhow, drinking my hot cocoa at work this morning, I had an overwhelming urge to be back in London... riding the tube, lounging on a bench on the south bank of the Thames near the Tate Modern, watching pigeons molest young children in Trafalgar Square for their feed. Sigh. London's the furthest I've traveled, and you'd think after going once I'd want to try somewhere else. Nope. I love London. I love that you can drive a measly 8 hours or so and be in Scotland. I love the bustle of the city. I love the night life, I've got to boogie... blah blah blah... no more about that, I'm depressing myself with travel memories.

On another note, this last Monday I was fortunate to see Howard Dean speak at his fundraiser at the House of Blues on Sunset. Not that sitting (or standing, rather) through The Bangles (!) or The Folksmen (!!!) was anything to scoff at, but seeing him campaign in person was definitely the highlight of the evening. Everyone should vote for him, because he rules. That's all. That's my highly intellectual endorsement... he rules.


posted at 11:21 AM

December 08, 2003

dun-dun-dunnnn!

So, the converted garage rental property I've lived in for the last seven years was recently sold to a new owner. The new owner came over yesterday to fix my screendoor, and happened to mention that they MAY need to evict me because the woman who did NOT get to purchase the property blew the whistle to the city about the converted garage porperty.

The problem is, I had no idea that I was renting a unit that was not legally zoned for the purpose of habitiation - apparently it was originally zoned as a storage unit. So the new landlord said I may need to write a letter stating my situation, etc. etc - to tryto convince the city to not make him evict me and turn the unit back into a proper storage unit.

Ugh! Is anyone familiar with, say, if I've been paying rent for the last SEVEN YEARS in this place, and all of a sudden I have to leave because the previous owners didn't do their homework, isn't someone liable to me for costs of moving or whatnot? Or am I bum out of luck on the street? Hopefully it will blow over and I won't need to be "relocated", but geez-louise, what a headache!


posted at 03:12 PM | comments (2)

December 03, 2003

slacker

wow. this page has totally gone down the drain. no content. i am getting a week off between christmas and new years, so maybe i'll do an overhaul then. sounds like a plan.

in the meantime, in the spirit of the holidays, i will share with you this little gem i heard last night on mtv's "rich girls" (i'll be paraphrasing, btw):

jamie: lemme tell you ally, i think your intelligence surpasses 99.9% of the population...

ally: what do you mean, "surpasses"?....

jamie: you know, like, being more than...

classic.


posted at 09:51 AM | comments (1)

December 01, 2003

this word is funny

"stroganoff" ; as in, tomorrow, the commissary will be serving beef stroganoff.


tee hee - it's just funny to say.... sorry


posted at 04:45 PM

November 17, 2003

there is a god

Today there was a short and sweet meeting at work, with the boss informing us that we would have from 1pm on Wednesday, December 24th, through Monday, January 5th off... with pay. That's like a week-and-a-half of extra vacation pay. Awe-some!

Anyways, this weekend was nice and quiet for me, I spent most of it huddled in bed, fighting off the cooler temperatures, watching Christmas specials on DVD. Yesterday I became more acquainted with my new Medal of Honor: Rising Sun game. I had been a bit disillusioned, because I couldn't figure how to get out of the Guadalcanal level, but, by chance, I figured it out and was able to move on to the next.... it only took me three hours or so.

I only played my new copy of Tony Hawk's Underground a wee bit. The most fun part about it so far was the whole create-a-skater bit at the top. After that, and I'm sure it gets cooler, I was just a little bored... or maybe it was because I wasn't into learning new tricks right away (what with the whole run-jump-50/50 thingee).

Oh, and I got a chance to watch my new DVD copy of Mommie Dearest. Hallelujah, that movie rocks so hard. A favorite bit:

Mommie Dearest: Why can't you give me the RESPECT that I would get from any STRANGER on the STREET?!?

Christine: Because I am NOT... one of your FANS!!!

Mommie Dearest: [proceeds to strangle Christina]

Anyway, I know at this point I'm just blabbing just typing to hear myself type, so I will shut up now.

Hope all is well with everyone.


posted at 11:48 AM

October 13, 2003

absenteeism

Well, I got on a roll with posting, and then I go and get a job and it completely falls apart! Oh well!

The new job is awesome. I was hired as a temporary employee, with the implication that I would go permanent in January. It seems they like me so much, I went permanent as of today. Yay! Now I can take advantage of all those awesome employee perks like free movie screenings and discounted DVDs and electronics, etc., etc., etc.

Okay, just wanted to give a quick post, now back to work!


posted at 05:12 PM | comments (2)

September 23, 2003

i got a job!

I was offered a position last week at a large entertainment company (hint: four-syllable word that rhymes with "rehearsal") in their tech services division. I didn't want to announce it, because I didn't want to jinx it. I just received my start date (tomorrow), so I figure it's finally safe to let the cat out of the bag.

I'm really excited about the position because of the size of the company, and the plethora of perks that comes along with working at a company so large. Also, it's a union position - something completely new to me - but which carries with it awesome health coverage and a delicious pension plan.

I really hope that this is it, ya know? I hope that this is the company I stay with for the next 25 years.


posted at 12:19 PM | comments (1)

August 06, 2003

blah blah blah

I did it. I've gone and wasted my summer.


posted at 01:03 PM | comments (1)

June 30, 2003

needless update

it's 6:15am... I should so be in bed right now...
my right wrist hurts now as well as my left...
my birthday passed, as usual, 'twas humdrum...
but I got a cool book and dvd, so...
"finding nemo" was so way better than "the hulk"...
"28 days later" wasn't all that scary...
perhaps I'm using italics too profusely...
at 5am today I thought about going to the beach...
at 5:01am today I decided against that...
it's June 30th... damn, my cable payment is late again...
turned my 13-yr-old bro into a punker last week...
unemployment checks are a godsend...
it's getting more and more difficult to leave the house...
did I mention I'm depressed?..
[sigh]


posted at 06:21 AM | comments (1)

June 20, 2003

I'M BACK!! (i think)

So, I've been having some trouble with Yahoo! Domains and them not forwarding payment information to the right place. Fuckers. So the place that handles my domain name (for real) had suspended my site, and that's why it's been down for the last few days.

Not that I would've posted anything new - let's not go crazy - but it was enough to bum me out and feel an awful foreboding feeling (like I need anymore of those!!)

Anyway - let's hope it's all been worked out. No one has sent me any sort of reply, so it's still a big mystery. Ah well.


posted at 07:50 PM

June 09, 2003

forwards and then backwards again

Nothing shakes reality to the surface like a couple of days with the family. Ugh. I cannot move back there. Back to the drawing board.


posted at 10:42 PM

June 07, 2003

time for a change?

In the last few weeks, I've been giving some serious thought to moving back in with my father and two younger brothers. Unemployment came unexpectedly for me, and among the plethora of choices I find myself considering, ditching my current habitat for the (possibly) rent-free environ of "home" is becoming the most appealing.

The idea of finishing college is something that has been on my mind for the last four or five years, yet I haven't had the opportunity to attend classes in any regular fashion with the types of jobs I've had. So this could be that opportunity. If I take the needed leaps, all types of new things could open up to me.

Moving back home is not an easy decision. I have a tendency to come at odds with my family - it's just a normal dynamic for us. And when I eventually moved out of the house at the age of 21, it was a mixture of really wanting to escape and sort of being pushed out. Not long after I left, any and all belongings I had remaining in the household were boxed and unceremoniously thrown into the garage, to be disturbed by spiders and for the most part destroyed due to exposure. Too soon after, my childhood bedroom became my brother's.

There's the issue of my father, who is stubborn and firmly set in his ways, which are, I have come to learn, often times contradictory to my own. But over the years, and with the unexpected flight of my mother, certain tensions between my father and I have eased. I think it's because I went out there and started making a living - supporting myself. I even lent him money on occassion - and he in return.

There's also the issue of the perception that I would be losing my "independence" - which isn't a very large issue at all, actually. Being self-supporting has allowed me the real world experience to know the difference between independence and total reliance.

Lastly, there's the issue of parting with the place I've been living in for the last six-and-a-half years. It's a very cool place to live, sometimes. The neighborhood is great. The size, while sometimes restrictive and causing some cabin-fever, is actually pretty good for a single person - though not very good for the decorative-minded. If things didn't work out at my dad's, it would be almost-certainly impossible to find another place like this for the low-low rent I'm currently paying.

So, it's alot to think about. I've been trying to envision what living there would be like... what my days would consist of. My move back may not yield the warmest of receptions, so I'm trying to think of ways I can contribute to the household to help ease the transition. Of course there's the general household work that I can aid - but also, the family tract home has sort of fallen into shambles since the abandon of my mother.

My father tries to keep the house clean and looking nice, but it has become, truly, a bachelor's abode. The carpets are stained with gawd-knows what, it smells of tobacco, and, what with my mother taking most of the family furniture upon her departure, the home's furnishings are sort of slap-dash. So there's that.

Plus, there's the issue of my thirteen year old brother, Matt, who is about to enter high school with little of the discipline it requires in terms of study habits. If I were to go back to school, he would have an in-house role model of sorts - someone to help him out, if needed (he's so darned preternatural at math he may actually be able to help me!).

So, all these ideas are swirling around in my mind right now. It seems like alot to think about, but I'm trying not to let it weigh me down too much.


posted at 07:57 PM | comments (1)

June 04, 2003

i've got to get out of the house

So, I'm back. Sort of. My internet is back up (thank gawd), but I'm still in a slump. Haven't left the house in two days. This has become a habit. I tend to just venture outside a couple days a week. I spend a good deal of time sleeping - on a schedule that is totally fucked up. Now I usually cannot get to sleep until around 5am (or until I start seeing the glow of impending sunrise through the shaded windows), and sleep until around 1pm. I get up, check my email, eat some cereal (Frosted Flakes is the cereal of choice nowadays), try to find something to watch on the boob tube and then take a nap. Get up at around 6 or 7pm and continue to veg out in the house until I eventually tire.

I know, it's all very healthy.

The job search has taken off, though I must admit I'm not pursuing it very enthusiastically. I sent out a few emails and have been browsing the online classifieds to sort of get an idea of what the job climate is like. It's definitely not a boom time.

I cannot help thinking that I am wasting such an awesome opportunity to get out and do things. When I was working, I was always bummed when I couldn't leave until after the sun had set, and that I only had weekends to go out and explore (though admittedly I didn't put those weekends to use, either). Now I seem to have all the time in the world, and I've become a hermit. What fun!

I've gone out a few times (only a few - countable on one hand). I went to visit the family last Friday - did some laundry there, had a fantastic dinner, and enjoyed my brothers' willingness to be the subject of over 150 new photos (one of them can be seen directly above). And on Sunday I hung out at my friend Rie's house to watch the season finale of Six Feet Under and had a delish veggie chicken burger. It's the little things that please me.


posted at 01:06 AM

May 17, 2003

not much going on here

I've been absent for about a week and I feel absolutely terrible about it. I don't have internet access at home right now, and this is the first time I've been on the web in almost a week. It's weird, I feel so behind! I logged on earlier today and felt swamped with checking out all the sites I frequent - plus I had a bazillion junk emails to go through. Hopefuly I'll get service hooked back up at the house and all will be well with the world again.

Unemployment has been tons of fun. It's so paralyzing, in a way. I've been sleeping a lot. I've read about 4 books since last Saturday. I went three whole days without talking to a single person. Today would have been the first day in a week-long vacation, but being "in-between-jobs" makes the idea of going out and painting the town a bit nerve-wracking. Tonight I went to see The Matrix: Reloaded with the little brother and felt nervous about spending $18 on movie tickets.

I have to go back to the former workplace to return some keys and paperwork and a book that a co-worker loaned to me... but I haven't been able to bring myself to do it. Perhaps I'm still in denial about the entire thing. Part of me is just humiliated by the whole thing. They told me I was being laid off because it's been "slow" and they need to cutback to stay afloat, but another part of me is thinking it may have been for other reasons? I may never know. At least they were nice about it. I guess I'm just still not over it.

Another part of it is the breadth of opportunity. I have so many directions I could go that it's a bit overwhelming, just pondering it all. I could try to find another gig in post audio. I could move back home and go back to school - study psychology or anthropology or particle physics or something weird like that. I've felt a bit under-utilized and under-challenged in the past few years. I got into the post audio field 7 years ago because of how moved I was by film sound - the visceral reaction I had to it... and now, having allowed myself to be pushed into a more administrative aspect of the field, it feels a tad lackluster.

But, it's late, and my little brother is asleep, and I should stop loudly typing on his computer. Thanks to all for the supportive comments. I promise I will be back in the swing of things before too long.


posted at 12:18 AM | comments (1)

May 10, 2003

the end of something

Yesterday, I was laid off from work. I have just finished cleaning out my desk, taking all the pictures down from the walls, and clearing all my personal files off of this work computer. It's a weird, sad, frightening thing. Who knows... maybe I will be called back at some point... or maybe this will be the start of something completely new and better.

I don't have internet access at home right now, so updates might be spotty for a bit.


posted at 03:28 PM | comments (4)

May 09, 2003

count chocula?

Does anyone know where I can get a box of (edible) Count Chocula cereal in the L.A. area?? Pretty please??


posted at 12:27 PM | comments (1)

loser with a capital "L"

UGH! I am such a dim-wit! This morning, tickets went on internet pre-sale for Björk at the Hollywood Bowl - and I was all set to get me some. I got up early, got to work early... and then found I had left my wallet at home. Usually this is not a problem. I have my credit card number memorized, but there's that 3 digit security code number they now ask for that I cannot, for the life of me, remember. Dammit! Dammit, dammit, dammit, dammit, dammit!!!!!


posted at 08:40 AM

May 06, 2003

blasphemy!

You know, I'm really enjoying this no-cable thing.

I've been a slave to the boob tube since before I can remember. My memories are all studded with imagery of me in a high-chair watching the Muppet Show or Hee-Haw. Or sitting next to my dad, at dinner, me having just performed the delighful task of pulling off his boots, happily watching Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell sisters. Or watching Felix the Cat at 6am at the babysitter's after just being dropped off by my mom, or He-Man after school at the other babysitter's house.

Coming home after school late in my elementary school days, as a so-called latchkey kid, meant two things: I could watch Tom & Jerry followed by Dance USA. We didn't have cable for a spell in my junior high school years, so that was a blur, but through high school I was firmly entrenched in MTV. College brought with it a very large amount of daytime talk show watching, as I had a night job. Lotsa Sally Jesse Raphael and Ricki Lake and Montell Williams and Maury Povitch and, of course, Jerry Springer.

Long hours have been spent in front of the tv. And now, I have opted to not have cable. At this point, I don't even use an antenna to view the local channels. I am tv-free, as some would say. I spend my time after work reading, or watching selections from my extensive DVD collections.

And it is glorious.

Rediscovering the joy of reading fiction has been the greatest thing out of all of this. I'm reading between two and three novels per week. My dreams aren't so much job stress related as working out details from stories I've read. It's terribly relaxing, and my sleep is fairly undisturbed. I read until my eyes are blurry and I can barely keep them open, then I fall asleep with no problems, no thoughts of what needs to happen the next day.

I'm not naive enough to think that this will go on interminably. When the next season of The Office begins to air on BBC America I will need to call up the cable company to put things back in order - but the vacation from television is something I feel I desperately required... and I recommend it to all you tv slaves out there.


posted at 01:14 PM

May 02, 2003

can I go home now?

(sigh...) Another work-week has ended. Thank God! In two weeks I'll be leaving on a much-needed vacation. It's been over a year since I've had any "days off". Sure, I've taken my share of sick days, but those were taken because I was actually sick, and were spent either in a state of unconciousness or feeling ghastly and worrying about work at the same time.

But in two weeks I'll have a whole week to do as I please. At first I was planning on going to Vegas, and then road-tripping to Utah or Colorado, or some other rural location equipped with many dirtroads for backcountry driving. But now I'm thinking of sticking closer to home. I'm sure that has to do with the fact that I have zero dollars saved up for any sort of trip, but also, the road trips I usually take tend to be exhausting 2-3 day adventures where I drive 16 hours a day, by myself, listening to music at full blast, thinking deep thoughts, and taking in the scenery at 75mph. I don't think I could live through a week of that!

This time I want to unwind... completely. My weekends are far too short - it takes me almost two days just to unwind from the work week, and by the time that happens it's already time to go back to work. I have a short list of things I'd like to accomplish during my time off, but otherwise I just want to hang. I have a couple places I'd like to go: the beach, the Santa Monica mountains for a short hike... but I have no other plans as of yet. It's gonna be nice. And I only have 14 days left...

...if anyone has any ideas about daytrips in the general L.A. area (within 100 miles or so), I'd love to hear them.... post a comment!


posted at 07:06 PM

April 30, 2003

whew! another night spent with my good pal, code...

Wow. There's several hours I will never get back. Been messing around with the MT template. It's starting to come together. If the stuff in the sidebar looks weird to you, please let me know by commenting below. Now I need to drive home and go to sleep...


posted at 09:53 PM | comments (1)

personal note...

...a bag of Reese's Pieces and a medium Pepsi does not a dinner make. Blech!


posted at 09:26 AM | comments (2)

April 28, 2003

boring monday

What a boring-ass Monday today has been! The boss is out on vacation today, and things have been sort of hum-drum around the offices. A couple of calls, some paperwork, a little coordination - and that's about it. Hopefully I'll be able to bail out of here by about 6 or 6:30pm. I should go home and do my laundry, but I think I'd much rather go out and see a movie... doesn't that sound like a much better idea?

In other non-news, I've been listening to this Radiohead Hail To The Thief download almost all weekend and all day today. I've gotta tell you, from my initial listen a few weeks ago, the tracks have really grown on me. "There There" is a perfect choice for the first single. I haven't had a chance to really contrast the "unauthorized" download against the radio edit, they sound similar from the one time I've heard it on the radio. I cannot see how the leakage could be a bad thing for the album sales. Fans try to get their hands on as many versions of songs as possible, mostly, and I know I'll be grabbing the disc very near to its release to scrutinize for differences. And even if it's entirely the same (which would not surprise me), I wouldn't be disappointed. Them's some good tracks as-is in the download.

Okay, that's it for today.


posted at 05:08 PM

April 25, 2003

getting better

The angst-ridden phase seems to be over for the time being. I'm settling into this blah template, and making use of it. Slowly learning the vibe of the CSS stylesheet used. Minor adjustments have been made about once an hour or so today. I've noticed some issues that have been problematic in the Safari browser, but I'm sure a trip to the MT support forums could fix that up.

What I need to do is pay my cable bill so I can get my internet access hooked back up. I'm amazed that I've survived this long (almost a month, maybe more?) without access at home.


posted at 02:50 PM

waste

This migration to Movable Type has been so draining. There's a bit of a learning curve for me, because while I know a wee bit about HTML, I know almost nothing of CSS, and am just starting to understand how the MT tags work and all that. It's dealing with the stylesheets that's really throwing me. I understand how to change things like the color of the text when the mouse hovers over it, I can FIND that, it seems, but the grand scale of it, the building of it, and how it works with tables and such, is a bit daunting for me. It's sucking any of my thin motivational resources from out there taking photos to wading knee-high through code I don't really understand. (sigh). It's that feeling when you're about to throw in the towel... I hate that.


posted at 09:59 AM | comments (1)

April 24, 2003

things are coming along....

Last night I stayed up way too late designing a new layout for the good 'ole blog. I've got something, visually, that I like quite alot. I just need to, now, figure out how to make the design work within the Movable Type construct the way I want it to. So, obviously, the layout you're seeing here (if you're viewing this on Apr 24 2003) is not the fabulous layout I speak of. I wish I didn't have to be at work all day and could instead be sitting in Starbucks sipping their soon-to-be extinct Toffee Nut Latte (a travesty!), working on figuring out MT tags, but alas, I'm here, at my work desk, desperately hoping we'll finish this Michael Jackson special in time for air.


posted at 10:53 AM

April 23, 2003

(sigh.....)

So, I'm trying to get this whole Movable Type thing in order. Ugh. And work is, shall-I-say, hellish. Weeks of slowness come to an end with a flurry of crazy projects and a rash of foolish mistakes from all sides. Must be more focused.


posted at 01:36 PM | comments (2)

April 22, 2003

very first entry

So, this is my first entry since I've moved to Movable Type. If you've found this, you are a cunning websurfer, or have greatly misstepped. In any case, Welcome! I'm sort of just learning this whole thing, so please, bear with me until I get this all together.


posted at 10:40 AM

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