Monday, July 31, 2006

The cat

The cat.  Loves.  The food.

Now, normally she only gets wet food on Friday and Saturday nights.  But today, I opened up a can of the Urinary Tract Health stuff (in gel!) for her, dumped half of it in the bowl, and she did one serious happy dance.  And devoured it.  Happy kitty scarfing noises.

I gave her the other half o' can for dinner tonight and she's similarly thrilled.  Whether she stays on this special remedy forever or not, after a couple weeks of this, I think it's going to be impossible getting her to go back to the kibble.  Looks like I've got me a wet-food-full-time cat.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Weekend Off -- Day Two

Actually, there's a bit more of Day One, first.  Shopping got a bit better once I stopped trying stores and used the internet.  I found a coupla dresses online, and I even had more luck with Vans.  See ... here's the problem.  (Well, the other problem -- the first problem was the mules.)  The problem is that Vans has apparently switched to unisex sizing -- all their shoes are in Men's and Women's sizes simultaneously.  But the one pair of Vans I already own and love are Women's shoes, and the unisex ones I tried on at the store didn't feel as good.  So I thought, damn, now I can't even get any more Vans slip-ons that I like.  Cause when I checked their website, all of the so-called Women's slip-ons were the Unisex sized ones.  But what I'd forgetten about was that Vans is in the Custom business, and for, like, an extra 10 bucks and with a three-to-five week shipping time, I could specially design a pair of slip-ons with women's sizing (and with exactly the color scheme I want).  So, yay, good deal there.

Bad that I couldn't really get over the headache.  In fact, I had it when I went to sleep, when I woke up in the morning, and pretty much everywhere in between.  This has never happened before.  :(

So, onward to today.  Today I was gonna go to a bunch of Open Houses.  (Open Houses are generally on Sundays, as are theatre matinees.  This is really why I took the weekend off.  I was sick of missing the open houses.)  So.  I printed up a list of about 6 houses I wanted to check out, jumped into the car, programmed the GPS to take me to the first house, and was off.

I did not, in fact, look at the first house.  It was quite adorable, but it was sandwiched between two totally crappy looking houses.  And the neighborhood was marked by a bunch of old cars parked on lawns, or up on bricks.  I pulled over about a half block away, reprogrammed my GPS for the next house, and headed off to a better neighborhood.

House number two -- I couldn't quite figure out how to get into house number two.  You park on the street, but there's no path to the door without walking on the lawn.  (But no cars parked there!)  The house wasn't in great shape.  The photos I'd seen on the internet showeda nice living room and dining room, but there was no photo of the kitchen.  Looking at the incredibly old tile and appliances that belonged in the Smithsonian, it dawned on me that when there's no photo of the kitchen, there's probably a reason for it.

House number three -- I hadn't had much hope for house number three.  It was the cutest little English cottage, but it was located right near the freeway.  I figured I didn't want to live there, but I wanted to see how cute it was anyhow.  It was, quite literally, a half-block from the freeway.  As soon as I opened my car door in front of the house, I heard constant freeway noise.  There's no way I'm buying this house, but I went in anyhow.  I admit I admired the agent for gamely suggesting how great it was that you couldn't hear the freeway from inside the house.  (I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd noticed that he'd turned a radio on.)  The agent also said that, y'know, if the house wasn't so close to the freeway, it wouldn't be so cheap.  He was right.  I don't want to mention prices right now (because I live in Southern California so the numbers are insanely high) but this price was quite a bit less than I can afford.  This house isn't for me.  This is a house for someone who can just barely afford it, and wants an amazingly adorable house in a friendly neighborhood that just happens to be a half-block from the freeway.

House number four -- Man, they're all starting to run together.  I think house number four was the one that had less actual square footage than my current condo, but managed an extra bedroom.  The result was a master bedroom you couldn't fit my bed in.

House number five was similar to house number four.  The alleged "third bedroom" seemed more like a walk-in closet someone called a bedroom.  It didn't have a closet or a door or -- come to think of it -- a fourth wall (the hallway wall came up to about shoulder height and someone had closed up the rest of the way with a piece of frosted glass like a shower door).  This is a house for people with a lot of kids who they want to each have their own space -- not me.

House number six -- Now, house six was interesting.  I was torn about even seeing house six.  It's a beautiful old fashioned house that has been gorgeously renovated -- which is, like, totally what I'd like.  But it didn't have air conditioning.  I don't mean no central air -- I mean it didn't even have the wall-window units.  No.  Air.  Conditioning.  But it was a very lovely house -- I mean, it had been written up in magazines and stuff.  Figured it was worth a look, regardless of the a/c thing.  It was, as it happens, a lovely house.  Original hardwood floors, marble kitchen counter, Italian tile in the bathroom.  And a fountain in the backyard.  Honest.  The patio had these big old white columns around it, and the view through them was of a lovely little stone fountain surrounded by flowers. 

I mentioned to the agent that it sure would be nice if it had air conditioning.  Agent said, "Oh, the owner will install central air by the close of escrow.  You can't sell a house out here without air."  I was tempted to tell her that maybe she'd have a better shot at selling the place if she'd, y'know, put that in the listing.  But then I thought that I might actually like the house, so why should I make it easier for the competition?

Ultimately, I do not think this is the house for me.  I looked at it a little bit more and realized that this is sort of the flip-side of the other houses I saw.  This house was too nice for me.  I mean, I'd have to get all new stuff.  I can't put an IKEA bookshelf against these custom-painted walls.  And the closets -- they're these great craftsman built-ins (and cedar lined) but there's not enough room in there for all the crap I need to store.  I'd get Closet World to come out and put some pressboard shelving in there to make them more useful, and have someone drill through all the baseboards to wire this place for cable -- and that just isn't what you do to a house that comes with an award from a Historical Preservation Society.  They did a kick-ass job on this house and the house needs someone who will respect and cherish it for what it is -- not try to change it into something else.  It's a great house (and a good price) -- but it's the first house I've seen where it isn't that the house isn't right for me -- I'm not right for the house.

On my way home, I stopped off to get my nails done.  On the way to parking lot, I screwed up one of the nails.  Went right back up to the nail shop and had them fix the nail.  Drove home.  The next real estate agent was coming over, so I thought I'd tidy up.  I commenced tidying and ended up screwing up the polish on the same nail.  Argh.

Very unusual situation -- this other agent (or, more precisely, pair of agents).  The first agent who came by isn't actually an agent, he's the one with the broker's license.  And he's been doing this for, like, thirty years.  And he gave me a multi-page full-color presentation with charts and graphs, and spent about an hour and half going page by page through his booklet before telling me how much (or, more precisely, how little) he thought I could get for my place.

The pair of agents who came by today are agents.  They're much younger.  (They're most likely younger than me.)  They've been in the business about 5 years, after both coming to it from internet-related stuff.  (The wife also grew up in my home town in Maryland.  Small world and all that.)  The husband would list my place while the wife would try to find me a new one.  Husband came up with a number some ten to twenty-five thousand higher than the number the broker came up with, and had a market study to back it up.  Wasn't quite as high as I'd wanted (maybe if I have a third agent come in?) but I am, in this particular area, totally screwed by my upstairs neighbors.  (You see, my upstairs neighbors -- the ones whose bathroom leaked into mine -- sold their unit in a big fat hurry a few months ago.  Seriously, it was on the market for, like, a week, and they'd listed it so amazingly cheap they actually sold it for $20,000 more than their asking price.  It was a below-market sale -- but anyone looking to do an appraisal of my place is going to look at the fact that the unit above me (same floor plan) sold for that amount just a few months ago.  And it's going to be hard to convince someone to pay me a whole ton of money more than that.  Damn upstairs neighbors.  Well, the least I can do is get a good price for my unit, and make it easier for the next person here who wants to sell.)

I like them.  They weren't as slick as broker-dude, but they seemed on-the-ball and, unlike broker-dude, did not waste my time walking me through all their paperwork, but just showed me a spreadsheet and trusted I'd have the good sense to be able to read it.  Oh, and they said they'd show the place by appointment only so that one of them would always be here to babysit Jasmine.

I think I may go with them.  I didn't actually sign a listing agreement or anything, but she's gonna start looking for houses and I'm gonna get the place recarpeted (they gave me a name of another carpet guy so I can comparison shop there) and, um... I think that even if I get a different agent, I've actually decided to move.  I mean, I'm sitting here talking house options with them and saying I'll call my lender to get prequalified for a new mortgage and planning to get my a/c serviced and buy the new carpet and fix the surface on the balcony and... all of a sudden I realize I can have this place ready to go on the market by, say, the end of August.  And I think I'm OK with that.

.... It's hard, sometimes, making these sorts of decisions alone.  I mean, other than times when I find myself without a dance partner, I think making huge financial decisions are the times when I most think married people have an advantage.  Because there you can talk it over with someone and sort of hold hands and decide to take the leap together, and here, it's just me going, "OK, let's do it," and it's like, decided.  But I think it's right.  All week, my eyelid has been twitching, which happens when I'm under stress, and whenever I think, "Yeah, it's decided; I'll do it," there's no twitching at all.

By the time I get my new Vans, my condo may well be on the market.

That's Just Wrong

I read here that Monopoly is issuing a new edition ("Monopoly Here and Now") whereby the cash is replaced with Visa debit cards you run through a little machine to make all transactions.  (It is apparently a done deal in Britain, and Hasbro is considering it for US Monopoly.)

I am annoyed by this.  I remember learning to make change with Monopoly.  And that bit about how it's better to hand over $101 than $100 for something that costs $76, so you get more convenient change.  Sure, you learn stuff about buying, negotiating and (depending on the deals you structure) profit-sharing, but there were some basic money skills being taught there, and now that'll be lost.

Then again, ever since McDonald's got those registers where the employees just have to hit the button that says "Big Mac," we've been slowly phasing out the whole make-change-in-your-head thing anyway, so maybe this is a true reflection of the world we're living in.

Sweet Cat Quirk

My cat often wants to be alone.  Not alone alone, just "don't touch me" alone.  I've encouraged her to take her paw and push an unwanted hand out of the way, rather than biting.  (This has been partially successful.)  But, sometimes, she just wants to sit there being cute but doesn't want to get pet.

Except -- she will always let you kiss her cute little cat self.  I put my arms behind my back (so she knows I'm not going to sneak a little pet in there against her will), bend down, and kiss her on the neck.  Or a whole line of kisses up and down her bendy little spine.  I am always allowed to do this. 

I think she thinks I'm helping her groom.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Weekend Off -- Day One

Usually, I put on my Theatre Critic hat on weekends.  The past few weekends, I've been seeing at least two shows.  Well, I took this weekend off.  I've got too much to do.

I made a list.  I had to go to the vet by 1:00 to pick up the Special Urinary Tract Health Cat Food.  I also had to go to the post office by 2:00 to pick up whatever package was supposed to be delivered yesterday (but I got one of those damn little notices instead).  I also had to put gas in the car (down to the little red bar -- around 50 miles left).  And there was an open house I wanted to look at (open 2:00 - 5:00).  And I needed to buy some trash compactor bags and some vacuum cleaner bags (both available at Sears).  And shop for new carpet ('cause I'm gonna have to recarpet before I sell this place -- apparently 24-year old carpet with cat barf stains is not a selling point.)  And then I thought I'd go to the mall and buy a sundress.  And maybe some shoes. 

(OK, yeah, I already have a lot of shoes.  But, with this heat wave, I've been noticing that all my shoes are closed.  I've generally avoided mules on principle, but now the idea of an open-backed shoe seems really pleasant.)

Now, the post office is near my place, but everything else (except gas stations, which are, y'know, plentiful) is over in another area of town.  I didn't get started till around noon, so I figured I'd go to the post office, zoom on out to the vet, go to carpet store, go to Sears, go to the open house, then hit the mall.  OK?  OK.

First stop:  the post office.  The parcel waiting for me is fruit (from Harry & David).  I'm not really sure what it is doing at the post office because it says quite clearly on the box:  CARRIER LEAVE IF NO RESPONSE.  Because it's FRUIT.  It was supposed to spend last night in my refrigerator, not sitting on a shelf in the post office.  I figured I should get this stuff home and refrigerated immediately.  Of course, it's 12:20 and the vet closes at 1:00, but I can't see where letting six pounds of fruit go bad in the back of my car is a really good plan.  I rush home.  I grab a knife and open the box and start madly shoving fruit in the fridge.  The cherries and the pears don't look the worse for wear, but the peaches are already pretty ripe.  Very nearly falling-apart-in-my-hand ripe.  I grab one for breakfast (and a handful of paper towels) and head out to the vet.

I drive to the vet, slurping down peach all the way.  It's delicious.  There's six in the box.  If I eat two a day, I might get them devoured before they go bad.  (I've saved the label off the box in case I need to call Harry & David's and complain about the post office.)

Second stop:  the vet.  I'm there all of 7 minutes before they close.  She sells me three cans of the stuff.  I read the can; it's "Urinary SO in gel."  Sounds appetizing.  Not.

Third stop:  Carpet store.  Carpet guy asks the measurements of the rooms I have to carpet.  This is a reasonable question, but I have no answer.  I then realize that I know the total square footage of my place, so if I subtract a little for the bathrooms and the bedroom I've already recarpeted, I get a reasonable approximation.  Carpet guy takes that number, finds me some $1.99/square foot carpet, and multiplies it out.  I ask if he's got a cheaper carpet.  He has a $1.77 one, but I take one look at it and think it wouldn't survive my cat's claws for a week.  I go back to the $1.99.  Then he asks me if the condo is empty or has stuff in it.  I say it has stuff in it.  "Oh," says the dude, "I quoted you the price for empty; furnished is $2.25."  He's right -- that is what the sign says.  But, he says, since he already quoted me the $1.99 price, he'll stick to it.  'Cause he's that kind of honest businessman.  And I interpret this to mean, "He's (a) a wheeler/dealer and (b) trying to get me to commit to buying this carpet from him before I walk out the door."

I walk out the door.

Fourth stop:  Sears.  I miss the road for Sears but eventually get there.  I spy the vacuum cleaner bags and notice that they have every other model bag but the model I need.  A helpful Sears employee asks if he can help.  I ask for "AA" bags.  He's out.  They'll get more Wednesday.  Great.  (Not.)  I go over to the trash compactor department.  I see no bags.  I ask the next helpful Sears employee for compactor bags.  He notices theshelf is empty, but offers to check in back.  Thanks, says I.  He comes back, not carrying bags.  He says there's another store room; he'll check there.  Okey doke, says I.  He again returns bagless.  I leave Sears, having accomplished zilch.

Fifth stop:  The gas station.  You wouldn't think this would be troublesome -- pay for gas; get gas; right?  After all, my car was now beeping at me to alert me of the low fuel situation.  So, I pull into an Arco station, even though I'm usually a Mobil girl.  I wait in line behind some other cars, but Arco's price per gallon was 24 cents less than the place right across the street (76) so I figured it was worh the wait.  I finally pull up and go the pay at the pump thing.  I stick my credit card in.  The pay at the pump thing tells me it will charge ne an extra 45 cents plus whatever my bank charges for the ATM transaction.  This isn't an ATM transaction; I'm trying to charge gas, not get a cash advance on my VISA card.  There does not appear to be a way to convince the machine of this -- it is for Cash and ATM transactions only.  I go back into my wallet, feed a twenty to the machine, and pump about half a tank of gas.

Sixth stop:  The open house.  A most interesting house.  Apparently, it was vacated six months ago and sold to some investors who made some improvements -- remodelled the kitchen and bathroom, recarpeted, and hooked it all up with top-of-the-line appliances.  It was quite nice.

Except the master bathroom.  The other bathroom had beautiful travertine tiles and a new bathtub with spa jets in it.  The master bathroom had a tiny shower and was done in cheapo white tile with yellow spots on it (like someone blew their nose all over it).  Ug. Ly.  I had a chat with the real estate agents showing the house and they confessed that it wasn't their listing -- they were just babysitting it while the listing agent was away.  Since it wasn't their listing, I confided in them that the place probaby would've shown better had they not painted the closet doors shut (honest -- two sets of sliding closet doors, repainted, stuck to their tracks) and maybe removed the spiders from the tub (two cute little daddy-long-legs).  Agents seemed nice enough.  They'll come over tomorrow to give me a new "market analysis" of my place, seeing as I'm not happy with the "market analysis" the last guy did.  Although, foolishly, I told these people the number that the last agent came up with.  Only a total moron who didn't want my business wouldn't find some way to come up with a higher number.  So this real issue is, how much higher, and will they be able to back it up with enough information that I think we can actually get that price?  (I do have a figure in mind -- let's see if they hit it.)

Seventh stop:  The mall.  This entry is getting long and I'm getting a headache, so I'll just sum up the entire mall trip by saying:  (1) none of the department stores in the mall have trash compactor bags or vacuum cleaner bags; (2) none of the clothing stores have sundresses; the fall lines are out now; and (3) Vans has some really cute mules, but not in my size.

Eighth stop:  By now, I've called my mom to ask advice on where to find compactor and vacuum bags.  We conclude Best Buy or Circuit City would be the best bet.  I go to Best Buy.  Find the last bag of AA vacuum bags!  (Perhaps in all of Pasadena.)  No trash compactor bags, though.

Ninth stop:  I walk into Ross (next door to Best Buy).  They haven't got sundresses either.

Tenth stop:  I drive to Circuit City.  I walk in Circuit City.  I notice they don't have appliances at all.  I walk out of Circuit City.

Eleventh stop:  Pass a Target on the way home.  It was an longshot, but still.  No compactor bags.  I check for vacuum bags, and they're out of AAs too.

Home.  Oh, and doesn't have the mules either.  :(


Thursday, July 27, 2006

And the Vet says...

My cat may or may not have a urinary tract infection.  (Useful, huh?)

The vet took a urine sample from Jas.  This process apparently does not involve the cat peeing in a cup, but a rather messier procedure that the vet's assistant politely referred to as the Urine Extraction Process.  Jas had to stay there all day.  She was real happy to come home that night, as demonstrated by the fact she didn't meow once in the car ride home.  (Whereas she'd cried all the way to the vet's office.) 

Well, the vet had yesterday off, so I didn't get the results until today.  The results were pretty good -- meaning that the urinalysis was all normal.  Yay.  However, there was blood in her urine.  Vet isn't sure whether the blood was indicative of a UTI or a result of the, er, Urine Extraction Process.  Poor kitty.  :(

So we're gonna start her on some food that's better for urinary tract health.  We're not positive it's necessary, but, as the vet's assistant put it, "The only thing you have to lose is bed-peeing."  She has a point.  I'll be starting the cat on that food real quick.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


1.  Returned the comforter.  I won't be able to get a duplicate of the one I gave back.  Here's the problem.  It is a Hollander comforter.  Hollander rarely sells stuff under its own label (according to the website, it is just starting to do this).  Instead, it sells stuff under different labels, through all sorts of outlets.  You can get a Hollander comforter anywhere from Wal-Mart to Laura Ashley.  Since I've no idea which Hollander comforter I was dealing with (no idea of fill-power or thread count or anything), I can't figure out where to shop for it.  Ah well.

2.  The most amazing thing happened this morning.  My air conditioner actually turned off.  For, like, four minutes.  The damn thing has been cranking 24 hours a day just to achieve 80 degrees, and very briefly, around 8:30 this morning, it actually hit the 76 that it was aiming for, and shut off in satisfaction.  Didn't last though.  (I fear my electric bill.)

3.  The cat actually wanted to be brushed today.  I sat on the couch, held the brush in my hand, and made an inviting hand gesture.  She jumped in my lap and let me brush her for, like, ten minutes.  This is massive progress.

4.  My neighbors came over tonight (we're finishing off an ice cream cake -- long story) and they asked if I had anything recorded on the DVR.  I had last night's episode of "Colbert Report," -- a show they had never watched.  Looks like I made two new fans of the show last night.  I think I should get a gold star from Colbert Nation or something.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Aw darn

I was just about to call the dry cleaner and ask if this comforter is, in fact, my comforter, when I checked my messages.  The dry cleaner called.  They noticed that my comforter is still there.  They'd like this one back.

I pointed out that:  (1)  They aren't getting it back until tomorrow (because I was going to a Dodger game right after work); and (2)  I've been using it.  So they'll have to clean it again.  They're down with that.  They say they don't have to re-clean my comforter as it's still sitting there in the shop.

I'm torn.  I'm glad that Jasmine has apparently gotten over whatever it was that made her pee on the comforter last week (knock on wood) and also has (maybe... please?) chosen not to take revenge for the unfortunate incident with the file cabinet drawer and her paw.  That said, if she pees on the comforter now, they'd probably let me keep it.

I Have a Confession to Make

You know that comforter I got back from the dry cleaner yesterday?  I don't think it's mine.

I wasn't entirely positive when I put it on the bed around midnight last night (and, seeing as it was so late, I didn't entirely care), but the squares seemed bigger than the squares used to be.  I mean, it's all white -- it's just that this one has five squares across and I'm pretty sure my old one had an even number of squares across.  Because I used to line it up with a seam down the middle, and now it has a row of squares down the middle instead.  It's hard to remember exactly -- but I'm pretty sure the squares used to be smaller.  Maybe eight across.

And the trim.  There's a tiny line of braid around the edge which I don't recall seeing before.

And I was pretty sure it had a tag identifying "The Company Store" (where I'd bought it) and I can't find the tag anymore.

(The featherbed seemed a bit shorter, too -- but I figured that was my imagination -- at least that one had a tag on it from the correct manufacturer.)

I had my neighbor take a look at it (she knows my comforter well -- what with having washed it for me every time it got puked on) and she agrees.  It isn't my comforter.

The problem is ... ok, there's two problems.  Problem one is: once the cleaner figures out the mistake (or has it brought to their attention), they'll have to clean both comforters before returning them to their rightful owners, and I'll be out a comforter for another week.

Problem two is:  I like this comforter better.  I think Jasmine does too.  Maybe that's why she slept there last night -- it wasn't me, it was the nice fluffy new comforter with extra stuffing and not nearly as many claw marks on it.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Woke up this morning and looked groggily down the bed.  Saw some dark spots there.

Oh man.  Did the cat crap all over my bed?  I turn on the light.

No.  It's the cat herself.  She's on the bed.  Her white bits were just blending in with the white comforter in the dark.

Jasmine has never slept a whole night on my bed -- but there she is, lying there.  To emphasize her point, she rolls over with her paws in the air demanding a belly rub.

I deliver the requested belly rub (still apologizing) then take the laptop out of my nightstand.  I set it down, turn it on, and Jamine does her traditional move of curling up between my arms and kneading my upper arm while I surf the net.

I think she wuvs me again.  (That, or she missed the featherbed and comforter as much as I did.)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Return of the Featherbed

The featherbed -- which the cat peed on (before I hurt her paw) -- was supposed to be ready Friday afternoon.

You can see where that sentence is going already, can't you?

I show up at the dry cleaner with my receipt, and they tell me it isn't ready yet.  Come back tomorrow.

I stare at them blinking.  Where's the apology?  Or the discount?

I gather myself and ask, "What time tomorrow?"

2:00, she says.

I show up at 3:00.  I give them the receipt again.  It isn't ready. 

I point out that it was supposed to be ready on Friday and she told me to come back today at 2:00 and it's an hour later and, y'know, wouldn't it be nice if I had my featherbed now?

She's a lot more apologetic.  It will be ready in a few hours.  And the owner will be here.  And they've already put into the computer for me to have a discount.  I say thanks and say I'll return at 6:00.

I come back at 6:30.  It's done!  They've given me a discount -- although they've also billed me for a King Size Featherbed when this is a Queen Size -- which pretty much eats up the discount.  I point this out and end up paying the right amount, with discount.  Hoo-freakin-ray.

(Of course, now that the cat is angry at me, I'm afraid to put it back on my bed.)

Is There Anything Worse Than Pet Parent Guilt?

I am the worst human ever.  At least, that's what I keep telling Jasmine.

I was putting some files in my file drawers.  A major file shift that took several hours. 

Jasmine, being a cat, was curious, so she jumped into the bottom file drawer.

I moved some files into the drawer.  Then I picked her up and plopped her outside the drawer.  A normal operation.  I've done it many times.

Except, this time, she wasn't completely outside the drawer when I plopped her down, and her little rear paw ended up caught underneath the bar you hang the file folders on.

The cat screamed.

Actually screamed.  She's meowed loudly before, and has cried a sound that sounds like a baby crying -- but she's never screamed.  She let out a wail like it was the end of the world.  I tried to reach in (around the screaming mouth with the sharp teeth) and got her unhooked.  She ran.  RAN.

On the one hand, I was pleased to see her run.  Remember, this is a cat who'd had her rear leg broken twice before I even adopted her, and now here I am injuring her paw again.  I'm dirt.  But she wasn't limping, so maybe I'm not the lowest kind of dirt ever.

I spent the next half hour sitting on the floor about 8 feet away, speaking softly and holding chicken-flavored treats.  She wasn't having any of it. 

About an hour later I actually pet her a few times before she realized it was me and tried to bite me.  :(

I went out for a half hour, came back, and was allowed to pick her up and pet her.  For a few minutes.

It's a couple hours later and she's still mad at me.  I know this because she's usually in the same room I'm in (she likes to be near me, although not in my lap all the time) -- and now, she's making an effort to be in another room.

I'm glad I'm taking her to vet on Tuesday, so she can get checked out for sure.  (I hope the vet believes me -- honest, the prior two paw injuries were before my time, and this was totally an accident.  I reckon the vet may have an easier time believing me if the cat has forgiven me by then.)

I'm dirt.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I Am *Such* A Delicate Flower

I've been having trouble sleeping again.

This is because I miss my featherbed.  Very Princess and the Pea, I know, but having to sleep on that unforgiving mattress instead of my nice gushy featherbed is driving me nuts.  See, I'm normally a front-sleeper, and it's very hard to sleep on your front on a hard mattress.  (Especially if you're a girl.  Which I am.)  So, in the absence of my featherbed, I've been trying to sleep on my back.  This is largely unsuccessful, and I generally end up flipping over anyhow and waking up with all sorts of body aches.

Which leads, naturally, to the big question -- why do I not have my featherbed?

I know what you're thinking -- you're thinking the cat barfed on it.  This is incorrect.

She peed on it.

(Before you say it, yes, I've already made the vet appointment.)

Around 1:00 a.m., Sunday night, I walk groggily to bed, planning to just aim the fan in my direction and curl up under the covers -- when I discover the large yellow patch in the middle of my comforter.  And a slightly smaller patch just beneath it on the sheet.  And an even smaller patch beneath that on the fitted sheet.  Working its way down to a dime-sized spot on my featherbed.

Yes, ok, it's only the size of a dime.  But it's a featherbed.  Meaning there's feathers in it.  Which have been exposed to cat pee.  You can't just get at that with a surface spray. 

Took both comforter and featherbed to the dry cleaner the following morning (after calling the vet).  I won't get them back until Friday, and it will cost me $71 to ransom them.

I love the cat, but... man.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Yo Ho

I did mention I'd post some thoughts about Pirates of the Carribean 2 here.  Although, seeing it's now taken in something over $250 million, the odds are pretty good that you've seen it already yourselves, too.  (Let's see...  $250 million, average of $8 a ticket, roughly 31 million tickets sold... yow.)

Yeah, OK, here's the difference between the first and second movies.

First movie, right around Jack Sparrow's brilliant entrance, I settled down in my seat realizing that I was in good hands, made a mental note to buy the DVD when it came out, and enjoyed the rest of the movie.

Second movie, at about (and I can really only guess) two hours in, I thought, "Oh, it's about to end."  And it didn't.  And then about ten minutes later, I thought, "OK, now it's going to end."  Little while later, "Well, you certainly can't accuse them of not giving you bang for you buck."  By the time the movie finally did end, I decided to stay through the credits because I thought there might be a little extra tag bit on the end (there was) and my thought was, "... and I'll be damned if I'm gonna sit through all this again."

I musta seen the first one three times in theaters.  This one, I can't imagine seeing again just because of how freakin' draining it is.  This isn't to say the length makes it dull -- it's not.  It's just overkill.

Was it all necessary?  After you've seen it, think back to the entire sequence on the island where Jack is first reunited with Will.  In retrospect, did you need that?  Especially given how cartoony a lot of it was.  Look, I realize that when you're dealing with a movie where one of your main characters has a squid for his face, you're required to suspend a little disbelief, but I thought ridiculously cartoon-like action sequences took us out of the "reality" of the world of these movies.  (At the risk of spoiling a scene or two for someone who hasn't yet seen it, some of the stuff Jack did was scarily out of the Wile E. Coyote playbook.)

This is what happens when you give a director too much money to work with.  (And I look at Gore Verbinski's credits, and there aren't a ton of them, and it's reasonable to assume that this is the first time he's had such a big pile of money to spend.  IMDB says the budget for this thing was about $200 million -- a full $60 million more than the first movie.)  When you're working on a tighter budget, pricey action sequences and computer-generated effects have to be limited to those that are actually necessary to the movie -- for either moving the story along or revealing something about the characters.  Here, there seemed to be action sequences and effects whose sole purpose was to "top" the first movie.  And while the effects were admittedly spiffy (amazingly so on the aforementioned squid-face), several of the action sequences rang hollow.  It doesn't do any good to have a sword battle that is impressive from a battle choreography point of view, if, from the character point-of-view, these people simply would not be battling at this time.

Sell out your story for action and effects and you get something that makes audiences gasp, "Wow," but it doesn't make them want to keep coming back for repeat viewings.

Of course, given the gobs of money this thing is making, I figure that will just encourage them to keep going on this path for the third one.

Friday, July 14, 2006

It had to happen

Given the joint themes of my recent entries -- cat barf and my exhaustion -- it should come as no surprise.

And yet, I was surprised.

Thursday morning.  Woke up.  Grabbed eyeglasses.  Reached over into nightstand drawer.  Picked up laptop computer.  Set laptop on bed.  Remained lying in bed.  Did morning e-mail and web check.  This took about a half hour.  Rolled over to seated position in preparation to get out of bed and discovered...

... two piles of cat barf on the bed. 

Yes.  My cat had barfed on my bed, during the night, and I slept right through it.

In retrospect -- which is to say -- now that it was staring right at me, I did have a vague recollection of hearing random cat noises during the night, and I might have even felt something almost damp on my legs (Ewww), but, at the time, my subconscious had decided to wave it off in the interest of getting a good solid five hours of uninterrupted sleep.

(What really amazes me is that I didn't smell it.  I mean, what with the fan making the scent waft delicately in my direction.)

I called the vet's office and reported that Jasmine was, y'know, throwing up more often than usual.  Her response was, "Well, if it's every day, or even every other day --"

Good Lord, woman, if my cat was barfing every other day, I wouldn't be on the phone.  I'd be waiting outside the door to the office, holding the cat and one of them vaguely U-shaped throw-up basins.

After discussion the content of my cat's barf, the vet nurse said it wasn't a problem and that it was just hairballs.  I was ordered to brush the cat every other day (we have actually just started a daily brushing program) and she also offered some medicine that will break up the hairballs easier. 

So, no worries.  Ran the comforter in my neighbor's high-capacity washer/dryer (with Extra Sanitary cycle).  Took about a day, but that sucker is clean.  At least until the next incident.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Words to live by

OK, so you know that thing where you add "... in bed" to your fortune cookie fortune?

Tonight, my fortune cookie fortune read:

"Cooperate with those who have both know-how and integrity."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Under stress? Me?

Wil read the entry below and innocently asked what's bothering me.


Er... they say the top three stressors are death, illness and moving.

I'm happy to report everyone is alive.  :::knock wood:::

As for the others, well, um, as a matter of fact, no, the family hasn't been as healthy as I like.  Nobody was at death's door or anything, but, yeah, there was some surgical intervention required.  It's all OK now, but we've all been on edge a bit waiting for various test results and stuff like that.  New rule:  There shall be instantaneous test results.  Yes, I know, there's probably perfectly good medical reasons for why you have to wait for this stuff.  I don't care.  Good news is wonderful, but all the icky stuff that parades through your mind when you're waiting for the good news is enough to drive you batty.

And then there's Item Three on the List o' Stressors.  Back in Spring -- actually, it was at Easter Brunch -- someone planted the idea in my head of possibly moving out of this condo and getting into a house.  To my great surprise, I liked the idea.  And several months down the line, I still like the idea.  I've been extremely slow in actually committing to the idea, however -- contenting myself with reading property listings online and dropping by the occasional Open House.  (Although I notice that I check property listings daily and feel a little twinge of regret when one I liked the look of ends up disappearing from the listings before I even got a chance to see it.)  Recently, I was at an Open House where I didn't much like the house, but the agent started chatting me up in a "I smell Potential Customer" way -- but he seemed smart enough to not push too hard on someone who is still undecided on the whole moving thing to begin with.  I researched him a bit and he seemed like a decent enough guy -- and I figured that I might as well have him over my condo to give me a market evaluation of the place, so I'll know if I can even afford the sort of house I might want to buy.

(Interestingly enough, when I check listings online, I can get a pretty solid idea of how much the houses I like cost.  However, I can't at all get a grip on how much comparable condos in my neighborhood go for.  It's a massive price range wholly undependent on things like number of bed- and bathrooms.)

So, we made the appointment for today.

We made this appointment on Monday.

Tuesday night, I had plans to go to the movies.  (Pirates 2.  We'll talk about that sometime later.)  I got home around 11:30, and took a good look at my place through "Market Evaluation" eyes.  And I saw a ton of clutter and a trail of kitty litter running not only all over the bathroom but scattered all over my master bathroom carpet.  Boy, that says "Buy me," don't it?

So, after I got back from the movie, I tidied.  Actually, that isn't the correct word.  "Tidying" would imply putting everything away in its proper place.  I had no time for that.  I "hid."  (Can't vacuum the litter off the bathroom rug?  Hide bathroom rug in washing machine.  No time to file all those loose folders?  Throw them in a dresser drawer.)  I managed a bit more hiding before the agent came tonight -- I was pretty much shoving the vacuum back in the utility closet right when he rang the bell -- and I think the place "showed" nice.  Well, he kept looking at stuff saying, "That's a nice improvement."  I was hoping that every "nice improvement" came with a comparable "ka-ching" on his mental cash register, but we'll find that out next week. 

Then I'll know if I can afford to move.  Great.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sleep.... please?

Didn't get much sleep Sunday night, so was really, really counting on getting some good sleep Monday night to make up for it.

Planned to get to bed by midnight.  This didn't happen, but at least the delay was for something useful (hanging up my clothes when they came out of the dryer so I wouldn't have to iron).  Of course, there were other delays.  Like I cut my finger on something, so had to, y'know, clean it and put on a band-aid.  And, OK, watch a little bit of TV.  Can't just go to bed right after laundry.  Besides, it was hot as hell, and running the dryer didn't exactly help.  Ate a Pudding Pop to cool down.

Around 1:00, I get in bed.  (This is still a huge improvement over Sunday.)  Alarm is set for 7:30, so I'm still looking at getting a solid six-and-a-half hours.

I've had a little trouble sleeping this summer.  This is because I can't sleep without the weight of the comforter on me, but, y'know, the comforter is WARM.

I am prepared.  Before jumping in bed, I've cranked down the thermostat a few degrees and grabbed the gel eye mask out of the freezer.

It's still too warm.  I eventually kick off the covers, knowing this will do no good.  But I figure, hey, maybe I can at least cool down enough to then get back under the covers.

Time passes.  I am still awake.

I have a space heater in my room, for use in winter.  I turn it on "fan" and aim it toward the bed.  Hey, couldn't hurt.

Jasmine, who never sleeps on my bed, immediately curls up on the bed.  In the direct line of the breeze from the fan.  (My cat is no idiot.)

I lie down and try it again.  Still no sleep.  This is extremely frustrating.

It is, by now, pushing 2:00.  I say to myself (as I usually say to myself when I can't sleep on airplanes) that at least I'm getting rest, which, although not as good as actual sleep, is still preferable to sitting up watching TV or playing on the 'net.  (Indeed, I work on the theory that every 2 hours of rest is equivalent to 1 hour of sleep.  I have absolutely no basis for this.)

Cat eventually moves.  Breeze from fan kicks in.  Comforter -- which was in a pile at the end of the bed -- has now cooled off and I can get underneath it without being enveloped in heat.  I fall asleep.

At 6:30, my phone rings.

This is how tired I am:  I turn off my alarm clock, and cannot figure out why the ringing continues.

Ohh.  Phone.  Got it.

I pick up the phone and say "hello."  I hear nothing.  I think (through my haze) that maybe I'm supposed to push the little button or something.  I push the little button, thereby hanging up on whomever called. 

Hell, they deserved it.

I went back to sleep for the next hour.  Amazingly, I remembered to reset the alarm clock.

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Time Equals Money

Every six months or so, cat owners are required to do what is euphemistically known as "the big clean."

It involves:

- putting on plastic gloves

- dumping all the litter from the litter box into a trash bag

- cleaning up whatever litter got spilled

- carrying it out to the trash chute

- cleaning the litter box in the bath tub

- (using soap, and not anything with a fragrance that will scare off the cat)

- drying the box (paper towels)

- tossing the paper towels

- cleaning the bath tub (Comet is nice)

- putting new litter in the box

- cleaning the gloves

Alternatively, a new litter box costs about $14.

"The litter box is dead!  Long live the litter box!"

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Holy crap, it worked.

My health plan changed pharmaceutical providers.  We got all sorts of paperwork saying nothing would change.

Well, nothing except that, if you get a prescription renewed more than once at a pharmacy, they'll start charging you double for it.  Because they'd rather you use their by-mail service.  And they figure that doubling the price will, y'know, act as an incentive.

Well, now.  I have a prescription at my local pharmacy.  It has about a year's worth of renewals on it, so I drop by every month or so, give 'em my co-pay, and pick up my meds.  We have, y'know, an arrangement.

Since the health plan is going to start doubling the co-pay, our arrangement needs re-arranging.  Health plan mails me all sorts of forms that I'm supposed to submit to them with a copy of my prescription so that they'll start sending me my drugs by mail.  I have, like, zero faith that this will work.  I go the pharmacy on the last day of the old health plan and get another month's worth of drugs, figuring this will take all 30 days to get it straightened out with the mail order service.

I email my doctor.  (Yes, my doctor likes to be contacted by email.)  I explain things and ask if maybe they could mail me a copy of my prescription so's I could mail it in as directed.

Doctor's Assistant writes back that she can just fax it direct to the mail order people, and do I have my Prescription Plan ID Number? 

I look at the new and improved health plan card they sent me, and I'll be damned if I can find a Prescription Plan ID Number on it.  I email the Doctor's Assistant every number I can find on the card (Health Plan ID; Health Plan Group Number; Prescription Plan Group Number) ... hell, I even throw in my Social Security number for good measure.

Then I call the by-mail people.  I ask them how I'm s'posed to pay for these drugs since my doctor is faxing the prescription to them.  They say that if I wait a day or two (for their system to go online) I can get into their website, and put a credit card on file.  If my doc delays the prescription until I've gotten my card in there, they'll bill the card.  If they receive the prescription from my doc before I've managed to put the card on file, they'll just invoice me with the meds.  Sounds good.  Well, actually, it sounds like a disaster waiting to happen -- I have visions of my prescription languishing around with no ID number or credit card attached to it -- but I'll be optimistic.

A day or two later, I log in the system.


Actually, I can't log in the system.  The first thing it wants is my Prescription Plan ID number.  I look at the card.  I give it my Health Plan ID Number, which it rejects as invalid.  My Prescription Plan Group Number?  Invalid.  Social Security Number?  Invalid.

Poop on a bun.

In what is either a stroke of genius or a random act of desperation, I give it my Health Plan ID Number with the alpha-characters omitted, and it accepts!  I log in and give it my credit card number.  I make a mental note to email the Physician's Assistant again the next day and give her what I now know to be my actual Prescription Plan ID number.

Except the next morning, I get an email from the Prescription Plan saying they've received my prescription, and are processing the little bugger.  Not three days later and my card was charged, and I've got a nice bottle of meds in my mailbox.


Now... to get them to stop using those damn child-proof caps...

Thursday, July 6, 2006

A Lovely Evening

Sometimes all the planets align just perfectly...

Local real estate agents mail me stuff.  They want to be my real estate agent.  They mail me potholders and calendars and notepads.  Last week, a particularly enterprising real estate agent sent me a list of outdoor summer concerts.  I gave a quick scan of the names expecting to throw it out, when I saw, "July 6:  Eileen Ivers."

Here's the thing.  I've seen Eileen Ivers in concert.  Four times.  I own all of her CDs.  To sum up:  I dig Eileen Ivers.

And this little card says she's doing an outdoor summer concert.  In my city. 

I've never been to the location where the concert is scheduled.  I google it.  It's a concert shell in a local park that's all of a mile from my house.  Honestly.  One metro rail stop away.  To put it another way -- I've often parked in the parking lot that you use for this park, but didn't even know the park was there. 

It gets better.  The concert is free.  Honest to goodness.  I've paid big piles of money to hear Eileen Ivers in concert.  At the Hollywood Bowl.  And at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.  And now she's giving a free outdoor concert at a nice park about a mile from my house?  I am so there.

I show up at the park at 6:30.  There are maybe 30 people setting up blankets in front of the concert shell.  (Peggy had reminded to me to bring something to sit on.  Had she not said this, I probably would not have remembered I have a towel in the back of my car.  I have a black leather skirt back there too.  Between the two items, I am probably covered for any eventuality.)  Anyway, I ask someone at the concert where to get food.  They aim me toward a shop a couple blocks away.

The shop is exactly what I need -- one of them shops with pre-made sandwiches and hot food all packaged to go.  (They'll nuke your hot food for you when you pay for it.)  Ten minutes later, and I'm back in the park, stretching out on my Minnie Mouse towel, scarfing down some dim sum and Gatorade.  (The dinner of champions!)

Eileen Ivers is a Celtic Fiddler.  (I know.  I don't strike you as the Celtic Fiddle Music type.  I don't strike me as the Celtic Fiddle Music type.  But Eileen Ivers was the fiddler in Riverdance -- and after listening to the Riverdance cast recording for a little while, it dawned on me that "Hey, I really like this fiddler; maybe I should pick up her solo album.")  Anyway, she's awesome.  Nine time All-Ireland Fiddle Champion.  Girlfriend can play.  She makes that fiddle laugh and cry, ... and wail like Jimi Hendrix on electric guitar.  (You know that song, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia"?  Well, he went to Georgia 'cause he knew Eileen Ivers was in New York.  I'm just sayin.)  She's currently working with a band called Immigrant Soul, and they're working on a fusion sort of sound.  Fusing Celtic fiddle with, say, African or Cuban rhythms.  Fun stuff.

So, anyway, here's me at the concert.  Before it starts, the announcer asks if anyone here is already a fan of Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul.  A couple people raise their hands; a few clap; I politely yell out "Wooo."  There might be 10 of us in this crowd of (now) a couple hundred.  I'm surprised that so many people came to this concert who have never heard of Eileen Ivers -- but I guess that makes sense when it's free and all.  (I am also surprised that there aren't many other Eileen Ivers fans there.  Then again, I wouldn't have even known about the concert if it weren't for the real estate agent.)

The concert starts and the crowd is appreciative.  It's a good group of people and we're all sorta diggin' the music.  Little kids who had been chasing each other across the lawn, barefoot, are now twirling around or bouncing to the beat.  One man is moved to tap out a rhythm -- using his thighs like drums.  The rest of us nod or clap along.  Eileen encourages the audience to clap along at all of her concerts, but the audience enthusiasm is generally pretty restrained, like it would somehow be wrong to hoot and holler in the middle of Disney Hall.  We're freed of all that, outside at the park, and by the end of the concert, it's pretty much a party atmosphere.  A woman who had been sitting near me stands up and starts step-dancing in the grass.  Eileen jumps down from the stage and fiddles while she walks through the crowd (let's hear it for wireless amps).  She gets back on stage and encourages people to form a conga line.  Arms are swaying in the air.  A man puts his little girl on his shoulders.  A woman dances with her daughter.  Old people, young people, Black people, White People, Asian people, Hispanic people, friends and strangers -- all clap along, dance along, sing along to a song about peace.

Played by the bestest Celtic Fiddler out there, and her band.

In a little concert shell.  In a park.  

About a mile from my house. 

For free.

Geek Moment

So, like, right after I watched all the Twilight Zone episodes, I sat down to watch some Doctor Who (also courtesy Sci Fi channel).  They've recently (i.e., within a few years) started making new Doctor Who episodes and I only tripped over them a few months back.

Anyway, when I recorded all them Twilight Zones, I also recorded the first couple Doctor Who episodes.  So I watched the first one of them the other night. 

Go on, ask me what it was about.

Mannequins coming to life. 

Nearly fell off the couch.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Let's Call Bill -- He's a Physicist!

Sci Fi channel was running a "Twilight Zone" marathon.  I recorded probably 20 hours of it, and am slowly working my way through it three or four episodes at a time.

I was somewhat particular about the episodes I recorded.  I skipped the ones I still know by heart (like the one with Burgess Meredith and the eyeglasses) and the ones that still ook me out (Telly Savalas and the damn "Talky Tina" doll).  I was extra happy to record the ones that I recalled liking when I was a kid (like that one where the woman goes to the 9th floor of a department store that doesn't have a 9th floor) but couldn't remember the twist (... and about ten minutes into watching it, I said out loud, "She's a mannequin!") 

And I watched "Little Girl Lost," 'cause that one was always my mom's favorite.  That's the one where the mom and dad wake up to the sounds of their little girl crying, but she's completely disappeared from her bedroom.  Being unable to find her, the dad goes and makes a call, and comes back and explains to the missus, "I called Bill.  He's a physicist, maybe he'll know."  He even adds, by way of apology for how ridiculous that sounds, "It was the only thing I could think of."

Wow.  A very innocent time (1959-1964) -- your kid goes creepy missing and rather than going for the police, you call the neighborhood physicist.  Come to think of it -- how very handy that they even had a neighborhood physicist.  (OK, I probably have a neighborhood physicist, but I live right near Caltech.)

But it was a very innocent time.  A time when our vision of space travel was three guys in a rocket.  Able to land on Mars.  And meet the fine people of Mars.  And breathe the air there.  Actually, there's a lot of space travel in "Twilight Zone" episodes and, so far, I have yet to see one of their astronauts wear a helmet.  But, hey, we were just taking baby steps in the Space Race, so it's certainly understandable that audiences would accept this sort of stuff as reasonable fictional representations.

What also gets me about these episodes -- especially when you watch them one on top of the other -- is how strongly the moral of the stories comes through.  There was a huge fear, for instance, that we'd destroy the planet through nuclear war (thank you, Cold War).  Episode after episode involves escaping the planet after we've destroyed it.  (Literally, episode after episode.  I guess you didn't notice how much they repeated plots when you were watching one per week over a period of five years.)  But, yes, huge fear we'd destroy the place.  Also huge distrust of humanity.  Episode after episode in which the aliens are the good guys and our fear or distrust ends up screwing us over.  Or even where the aliens aren't so good -- but the episode is constructed to point out a flaw in us (anyone else remember what happens to Roddy McDowall when he lands on Mars and the Martians build him that really nice house?)  And there was also an almost paradoxical distrust of technology.  While some of the episodes embrace the computer (a computer in a "Twilight Zone" episode is the size of a couple IKEA bookshelves and has lots of blinky lights) -- others fear that our acceptance of technology will drive humans out of business.

All things considered, the show had a pretty pessimistic view of the future -- with the "future" being, oh, 1985.  With the perspective of history, I can't say we've done that badly.  Planet still here (last I checked); humans haven't yet screwed up relations with alien species (nor been "To Serve Man"ned up on a platter); and we seem to have integrated computers into our lives without letting them take over.

.... well, excepting that it's 2:23 in the morning and I'm still on mine.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

From The Desk of Jasmine

You guys.  Sniff.

My human told me that you were concerned about my health and all, so I wanted to write to let you all know you there's nothing to worry about.  In the first place, NZ keeps a really close eye on my intake and outgo (I don't let her get away with anything less than daily box cleanings) so she knows that all systems are functioning normally.  In the second place, remember that my alleged two-pound weight loss was reported by a scale with a known reputation for inaccuracy.  So no worries there.  And I'm being a really good girl about eating my yummy hairball treats and letting NZ brush me every night -- especially around the ears, oooh, how I love that -- so the incidents of vomito del gato are becoming much more rare.  (Not completely gone, though.  I gotta keep that girl on her toes.)

Anyway -- not to worry.  I'm not going all Cat Bulimic on you.

Kitty kisses for everyone!


P.S.  Yes, I know.  I'm three years old; I don't eat "kitten chow" anymore; and I'm much more docile than I used to be.  According to all respected authorities on the subject, I'm a grown-up cat now.  But as long as there's belly rubs in it for me, I'll always be her widdle kitty.

Monday, July 3, 2006


From a Reuters story about the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean movie...

"Action-adventure film 'Dead Man's Chest,' starring Johnny Depp as swishy pirate Captain Jack Sparrow, sails into U.S. movie theaters on Friday as perhaps the most widely anticipated movie of Hollywood's lucrative summer season."


Sunday, July 2, 2006

It's So Hot...

"How hot is it?"

It's so hot I damn near locked myself out of my home last night.  It's that whole door-expanding-in-the-heat thing.  Couldn't unlock the door.  I can usually get the lock to release by giving the door a slight tug when I turn the key, but it wasn't going for it last night.  "Slight tug" my butt.  I had to put down everything I was carrying, and apply full force on the doorknob.

At which point I could feel the key turn in my hand, but not the lock.  Or, putting it more precisely, the top part of the key was turning, but the remainder of the key was stuck in vertical.  Came real close to snapping the damn thing off in my hand.

I ultimately got in after much cursing, cajoling, and pulling like crazy.  I heard frustrated meowing from the other side.  Perhaps Jasmine was helping by throwing all of her eight pounds* against the door.  I don't know, but I finally got in.



*Yes, eight pounds.  This concerns me somewhat, as she's been around 9 1/2 pounds in the past.  But I got on the scale with her the other day and cheerfully remarked, "Hey!  One of us has lost weight!" ... and then I put her down, looked at the scale, and realized, "and it isn't me."

Life Lesson: People Are Shallow

I was flipping channels today and I saw a show called How Do I Look? on the Style Network.  Concept is pretty much like all other makeover shows -- they find some Fashion Victim whose family thinks he or she needs help, then get them a new wardrobe.  Of course, before the new wardrobe comes the Intervention -- when they sit down with the Victim and tell them everything that's wrong with how they dress and that they need help.

This week's victim was Ashley, a 15-year-old girl who dressed in a punk or goth sort of style.  Some of it was overboard (in that 15-year-old-rebelling-by-clothing sort of way) but some it was actually pretty cool.  Girlfriend designed her own stuff, and she definitely had a certain flair.

Anyway, at the Intervention is Ashley's mom, Ashley's friend (Anna) and Anna's mom.  Anna's mom says, flat out, that Anna is younger than Ashley and she (the mom) is concerned when Anna hangs out with Ashley because Anna looks up to her.  And she's afraid that Ashley will be a bad influence on her.  So she doesn't let Anna go over Ashley's house anymore.

Well, they throw out all of Ashley's punk stuff, and get her some stylin' clothes that are ... shall we say? ... somewhat less non-conformist.  (Actually, the trick to How Do I Look? is that three people pick out new wardrobes for the victim and victim picks one -- ironically, Ashley picked the one that Anna and her mom had selected.)  So, at the end of the show, they have their "big reveal" and everyone says how great Ashley looks now, and Anna's mom turns to the camera and says that now Ashley is a good role model for her daughter.

And I thought, "You stupid, shallow wench."  Ashley is the same exact human being she was before.  If she was into drugs and underaged sex, a makeover isn't going to make her stop.  If she wasn't (and I'm pretty sure she wasn't), she was the same decent, upstanding human being back when she wore the studded collar and black eye makeup.  The only thing that changed was the packaging.  And if that's what makes the difference for Anna's mother, she needs a makeover that goes way deeper than clothes.