Sunday, March 30, 2008

Panic, It's Only a Drill

"Dilatory and Desultory" sounds like a great name for a law firm, but in reality it's how I've approached laying the vinyl in the apartment after the flood. Now, though, the people that live there are coming home, and we've got to finish in about 65 hours. The vinyl is down and I've been putting in transition strips today. You might want to check this space later, because I used to have a cute thought about transition strips, but in the meantime, I've been drilling 3/8 inch holes in concrete to attach the strips. It's slow, grueling work. I've got a drill, what I need is a magic wand.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I've Been Hurt, But I'm Ready to Love Again

"The first cut is the deepest, baby I know
The first cut is the deepest

I still want you by my side
just to help me dry the tears that I've cried
cause I'm sure gonna give you a try
and if you want, I'll try to love again
but baby, I'll try to love again, but I know
The first cut is the deepest, baby I know
The first cut is the deepest" ~Cat Stevens

About three weeks ago, I got a new Palm Centro, and I loved it. It was my phone, and my PDA. Only it was better than my PDA, because it could do things that my old Palm couldn't, like figure out Weight Watchers points while I was shopping, and have my old Mac cats as a background. By the way, did you look at those cats? Aren't they awesome? Especially now that I take Zoloft, and don't have to touch the cursor to the nose of every single cat. Ha ha, just kidding, I never had to do that. Or put my left shoe on first, either.
But, after a few days it started to beep a little, and then a lot. I carried it in my jacket pocket, and every time a bundle of mail shifted, it would beep. It was like carrying a slot machine that never paid off.* I bought a hard case to carry it in, but it was so deep that I couldn't get the phone back out of it before it stopped ringing, and so large that it was like practicing wearing a colostomy bag. Unless that's insensitive and it was more like carrying an extra mail satchel.
While I was gaily figuring out the points (4) for a can of black beans at Costco, the phone told me I had taken the SD card out, and then put it back, and then out and beeped each time. A little online research revealed that this was a problem for some Centros.
When I took it back to AT&T, they said they could exchange it, if I still had the box. Otherwise, the box had a $50. restocking fee.
"But you made me cut the box into pieces to get the rebate."
"Those are the rules, sir, sorry."
"Well, what if I just give you back your phone and go back to ACS Wireless?"
"You can do that, but there's a $50. restocking fee for the box."
In the end, they used the box the exchange phone came out of, and I've got a new phone, and so far, it's worked fine since I got it Thursday.
I love it, but it's going to be awhile before I can really trust it again.

*A Slot Machine That Never Paid Off is the working title of my autobiography's second volume.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Norse Troll, A Mailman and A Banana Walk Into a Post

I was back at the credit union today. I had the same teller I had last time when the credit union was robbed. She told me that the robber had turned himself in because his picture was everywhere. The teller speculated that perhaps he had offended someone that would have been glad to dime him out (if that argot means turn him in, and if argot means gangster slang). That seemed likely since he was the kind of guy that would rob a credit union; he'd probably annoy other people too. I mean, I thought he was a jerk, and I never even saw him.
In a way, though, don't you feel sort of sorry for stupid criminals. At work the other day, two people came up to tell me about different criminals that were captured because they made simple obvious mistakes. Tip: don't give your cell phone number to the clerk and ask her to call you when the manager comes in to open the safe.
During the first story, I was kind of vaguely wondering why I was carrying mail in my hand, that had no relation at all to where I was headed in the post office. That's exactly the momentary inattention that would doom a criminal that, for instance, flashed a banana instead of a gun, but I was able to carry off with panache. Wait, does panache mean miming slapping your forehead with a broad gesture and spinning around to go back to your case? No? Never mind then.
Miming actually is the name of a Norse troll, although the record doesn't show that he ever slapped his forehead.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Just One More Reason to Ride a Bike

Apparently as the demand for ethanol increases, we'll soon be competing with our cars for food.

"...Words, Words Are All I Have"

There was an episode of Taxi, where the character played by Jeff Conaway; and by the way let me just say here, we don't watch Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, but sometimes when we're just scanning the channels, it's on every week for an hour. So, it's sort of a coincidence that I even know this, since, as I already explained, we don't really watch every single episode from start to finish, but what a jerk Jeff Conaway grew up to be.
Anyway, if we've learned anything from the works of Pinker, Chomsky, and especially Dumpty, people don't always hear exactly what you're saying. For example, I said to a couple on my route today, "I don't want to sound like a jerk, " but from their reaction I'm pretty sure they heard exactly the opposite of what I had just said.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Doesn't it seem as if you're just throwing your vote away sometimes? It seems like the rights of citizens are being subordinated to corporations. It as if we're living a life sentence in a subordinate clause, maybe, "...Yes master"

I was thinking today about how tasteless it was for NBC to run a Law and Order episode during Holy Week that involved a Christian stoning his mother to death because she was an adulteress. Especially since the whole stoning an adulteress topic is covered in so well in John 8 and the most basic tenet of Christianity is forgiveness of sins, since we're all sinners, saved by grace.
[in honor of Easter and forgiveness, deleted: snarky reference to honor killings]

This next story comes last for a reason. I was talking to my sister last night. Here's an aside, from now on she'll be on speaker phone so I can keep my hands up by ears, at the ready. She told me about a man she knew who'd had a stroke. They were releasing him from the hospital but first they had taught him how to catheterize himself, a skill apparently he would need in his new life, even though he told her it was painful. When my nausea subsided enough to speak, I asked her, "Jody, why would you tell me a story like that?" She said that he'd told her. "Right," I shrieked, but he'd had a stroke!"

You Don't See This on CSI

The bank robbery we were oblivious to has been solved. Using the police procedure of looking up from their desks, the FBI captured the robber who turned himself in on Thursday.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

All's Fair in Love and Hopscotch

Today I was playing leapfrog with a cow moose and her calf. Thankfully, that's just a metaphor for them following, then leading, then following me down the street, since I'm not sure that the moose would get more than one turn in a real game of leapfrog.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sure, The Cat Has A Good Time, But What About The Mouse?

Blue Cross has responded to our letter appealing their decision to stop paying for Karen's oral meds. I played Carnac and guessed that the letter ended, "In conclusion, stop bothering us," but I was wrong. Incidentally, so was my co-worker who guessed it started, "Dear F------- Idiot."
Nope, rather than approve it, or even deny it, they are asking for more information. This is brilliant because if they approved it, they would have to pay for it, and if they denied it, we could appeal to the OPM. But asking for more information means we'll just stay here and blog ineffectually. In related news, today Karen was shopping with Leah, but had to come home because she was in so much pain.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Banality of Evil Quickly Turns to Tedium

I tried all day to think of something interesting to post, but all I came up with this. And this only sounds like it should be interesting.
Yesterday, Karen and I went to our Credit Union to deposit checks and to see if they could make my ATM card work. While we were waiting for the teller to update the PIN on my card, the teller next to us was robbed. We had no idea until our teller told us. Then we had to stay there for an hour to be interviewed by the police. My contribution to crime fighting: "Um, really, she was robbed?"
Real life really can't compare to TV. It has no plot, no theme music and no resolution. The good part was that since we had to stay so long, our teller was finally able to get the IT guy to reset my PIN.
I've always worried that in a bank robbery situation, I wouldn't rise to the occasion. Now I find out, the first hurdle is noticing that there's an occasion to rise to.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Well, I Was a Fool

Well, I was a fool*. In the book, A Fine and Private Place, I made fun of the author's portrayal of ravens because the ravens I've met don't share easily. The author, of course, was making an allusion to another person who had left society and was fed by ravens. Now this wasn't some obscure reference to the Junius Manuscript, or some such work, but from the life of Elijah in the Bible. The raven in the book brought the recluse a sandwich, and the raven in the Bible brought Elijah bread and meat. I don't think that we have to work very hard to imagine Elijah putting the meat between pieces of bread.

*That's the working title of my autobiography.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cold Update

A correspondent asked for a Zicam update. Most of this is cribbed from the answer I sent him. I did get my sense of taste back about a day or two after stopping the Zicam, and the cold did seem to clear up faster than I expected, as well. I'd really miss being able to taste food. As I think about it, I guess there's not really any sense that I'd volunteer to give up. The new thinking is that balance is also a sense. For some reason (actually there were reasons, I just don't want to go into them) I used to dread losing my sense of balance and I guess I still do a little. So, okay, if senses were a Sophie's choice kind of thing, I'd definitely want balance, oh, and sight. But I'd miss hearing things, and feeling the wind where my hair used to be. I don't think about smelling things much, except I did plant a Mayday tree once.
Man, what a mistake that was. For about two weeks a year they smell great, but when you look up, they've insinuated themselves everywhere. It's like, "Can you at least prune those things so I can see the TV?" On the one hand, we do watch too much television, but still.

Doggedly Pursuing Victory

Lance Mackey has won the Iditarod race for the second year in a row. He's also won the grueling Yukon Quest for the last four years. To put that in perspective, I'm not even willing to finish writing about how amazing that is.
I do want to take a moment, though, to thank the alert reader who pointed out the distinction between dog sleds and sled dogs. Thanks for keeping it strait.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

At the Tone, The Time Will Be 32º

Just as the melting point and freezing point of water are both 32º, the time I finally fell asleep this morning and the the time the alarm went off were the same.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


When you use the backlight on your iPod or cell phone to navigate through a dark room, do you feel a little bit like Harry Potter?

Friday, March 07, 2008

If Only They Had Hearts of Stone

I finished the letter to Blue Cross appealing their denial of Karen's meds. It's sort of the Velveteen Rabbit of appeal letters. It would melt a heart of stone.

In an Ideal World

Finally, today I reached the top end of my acceptable weight range. Still if my ideal self was to get on a teeter-totter with me, I'd be the one crashing to the ground. I don't suppose my ideal self would ever have time for that though. For that matter, I don't suppose my ideal self and I would even be friends, since we'd have nothing in common. Brooding about this a little more, I realized my ideal self might kind of resent me since in essence, I'm the one that killed him.
Oh, and speaking of killing people, Hamas really needs a new PR team. Celebrating in the streets when they've killed eight Israeli students makes them look like bloodthirsty monsters. Instead of the more moderate Fatah monsters.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Just Try and Find a Good Quote About Dogs Dying

I heard recently that the dog that bit me just before Christmas has died. It wasn't that old, but it apparently developed kidney disease. His owner theorizes that he bit me, or as she characterizes its having my leg in his mouth, "almost bit me," because of kidney induced dementia. I think it's another example of the AKC taking amiable, hard working dogs and turning them into vapid supermodel, dare I say, bitches.
That still doesn't explain her husband's complete obliviousness when the dog was lunging at me.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

You Can't Always Get What You Want. Worse, Sometimes You Can

Yesterday I was telling Karen how irritating it was that I still hadn't lost all of my Christmas weight, and that even though I had a cold, that I was using as an excuse to not exercise, I was still hungry.
Today, I woke up and realized I had, I hope temporarily, lost most of my sense of taste. Apparently that can happen to Zicam users. I imagine if eating becomes just one more chore, it will be easier to lose weight.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Understanding Roman Architechture

Have you ever visited, or seen pictures of, places where Rome ruled? Did you notice the beautiful tile floors that have remained? And did you ever wonder how they survived the centuries?
I think it may have been that it would just be so much work to take them out. I finished laying tile in the apartment bedroom last weekend, and began work in the living room this week. Not only is there glued on carpet pad remnants, but also a strip of vinyl glued to the vinyl that is glued to the floor. In a way, I should be a calmer person after this; no longer able to get so angry that I'm breathing flames. I'm pretty sure my nasal passages and lungs are well coated with asbestos dust.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Cold, A Cold, Cold

Even though it had an extra day to prepare, March started out today colder than it has been recently. It was a good day for a dogsled race, though, so they had one. In case you don't have a favorite musher of your own, you can share ours. We usually cheer for DeeDee Jonrowe. Well, we're not that exuberant, but we usually sort of quietly hope that she'll win, until she doesn't and then we lose interest.
I woke up with a cold today. I bought some Zicam this evening. I doubt if it will work, which since it's homeopathic, pretty much guarantees that it won't. Damn you, placebo effect.
I went into our locker room at work this morning to put away my earphones. I was still wearing them and the music was pretty loud. When I took them off, one of the other carriers said that pretty soon I'd need a hearing aid. I thought it would be cool if they could hook hearing aids up to iPods. I told him that a lot of people use their iPods to create a zone of isolation. He said something or other, but I explained to him again about the zone of isolation.