Like a little Shaker Baby, no? I don't think I've ever seen a happier kid. I've known a lot of chill babies but, dude, Little Seal is a bubbling cauldron of delight in pretty much everything he experiences.
What says Happy Birthday like recycled pictures from a month ago? I'll have new photos after the party on Saturday but until then you'll have to get by with these. See below where he's kneeling at a gap in 2 theatrical flats? He's the only baby I've ever seen who goes up to the gap, looks through it and then doesn't crawl on through to the other side! Whah? How is that possible?
This last one, though, is titled "Baby in Jail." I'm hoping to sell it for a few euros to whoever is working up the next "Lead Paint Kills" PSA. I could probably retire off the proceeds if the kid wasn't so damned happy all the time. I don't know how he does it but I'm taking notes because I think I've got something to learn from him.
Monday, March 31, 2008
Like a little Shaker Baby, no? I don't think I've ever seen a happier kid. I've known a lot of chill babies but, dude, Little Seal is a bubbling cauldron of delight in pretty much everything he experiences.
Miflohny is an avid birdwatcher and bird photographer. Last weekend in the park I heard a woodpecker and was actually able to find it. Turns out I was standing right next to it so I thought I'd better try and get a photo for Miflohny. Of 5 shots or so this was the best I could do. You may have to enlarge the photo to be able to tell that the tiny spot of red is Woody's head. Practice, practice, practice.
Turns out the writers strike is more far-reaching than we thought. Remember this tree? Yup, I'm re-running it.
Better day, better light, better picture overall, I think, at least a better representation of how I see it.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Which one of these hats should I get for everyday use for...well, for pretty much the rest of my life with the whole hole in the head issue (I'm bitter, I'll admit it, I'm sorry, I suppose I'll get over it someday and I know it's not as bad as I think it is [as an aside, how exactly do you expect me to believe you when you say that] but it's still pretty bad and in the end my face has changed, my hairline has changed, it's different and you know I don't like different.) I'm going to have to keep sun off of it and I've got proper straw hats and a cowboy hat and ball caps and an engineer cap but I need something that I can just shove in a purse or a pocket or wear in a car when a big brim isn't comfortable and stuff like that.
Color thoughts are also good. Here's the page for the top one and here's the page for the bottom one.
Your Dosha is Pitta
You have a quick mind, a gift for persuasion, and a sharp sense of humor.
You have both the drive and people skills to be a very successful leader.
Argumentative and a bit stubborn, you have been known to be a little too set in your ways.
But while you may be biased toward your own point of view, you are always honest, fair, and ethical.
With friends: You are outgoing and open to anyone who might want to talk to you
In love: You are picky but passionate
To achieve more balance: Be less judgmental of those around you, and take cool walks in the moonlight.
The 'hood has acquired a few St. Bernards recently. I've only seen this dude a couple of times but I hope I see him again. I think we could both benefit from a longer photo shoot. I was, of course, trying to grab a few shots before his person came out of the cafe and, I don't know, hurled a warm pastry at me. Please excuse my intrusive shadow in the second shot. He's rocking the curly coat and docked tail and the jowls, good god, the jowls! You guys ever hear that Ron White routine where he talks about hiding m&ms in his dog's jowls? You could hide a 1lb. bag of peanut m&ms in this guy's jowls and not find them for a month.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
They gather and they stare and they wait. They wait to see what I'm going to do next. It's like having one's own electrons. One's own shedding, crying, drooling, heart murmuring, stinky, neurotic electrons.
I highly recommend it.
I think I've figured out why women tend (huge generality ahead, be careful not to stub your toe...or your sense of humor) to like men who are stoic, taciturn, unflappable. I mean, we like it if he tells a good joke and compliments our hair (or in my case, my ass) but if he's a "better to say nothing and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove it beyond a doubt" sort of a guy he does tend to get more ass than a toilet seat.
If you'll bear with me I'd like to give you my thought process in a bulleted list.
- I've lost a lot of weight but my ass is still sagging.
- Probably more exercise is the only answer.
- I'd like someone to see me naked.
- That would be weird, I mean, I don't look all that good, skinnier isn't necessarily skinny.
- I bet someone who knew me before would like it though.
- Ooo, yeah, I'd definitely like to show [name redacted] the newish me.
- On second thought he saw me at my best how impressed would he be?
- Well his wife has had 2 kids.
- I wonder what that's like.
- I wonder what their sex life is like.
- AH GOD NO! NO I DON'T! (shudder)
- That must be hard, getting naked post partum. (Thank Linda for prompting that thought.)
- Wow, must be even harder if you're getting naked with someone other than your spouse.
- You know, that's another thing they never get right in movies or on TV.
- Huh, do we ever see that?
- We must.
- Why can't I think of one mother getting naked with a new guy?
- Or girl.
- Oh, there was that chick who slept with Tim Riggins.
- She looked good.
- Way too good.
- Tim Riggins is hawt.
- Wouldn't it be harder to to get naked with the sort of insensitive, rugged, popular dude? Why did they do that?
- I can picture her with Matt Saracen but Riggins?
- Oh, lord, no, Saracen (much though I do love him) would be all, "Are these stretch marks? Do they hurt? Is it OK if I touch them? How's this?" Oh for fuck's sake, that would be unbearable! They're right, give me Tim Riggins any time, he's just going to get the job done and not say a damn thing except "Harder" or maybe "Roll over" and thank god for that.
And that, my friends, is why I think women tend toward a love of the strong but silent type.
Friday, March 28, 2008
I'll just give you a treasure hunt for the fraud story. Go here and follow the links backward to the beginning.
I went to the police station to report the fraud. The police woman operating the reception window cleaned her entire desk off before so much as looking up at me then she told me that I needed to have a report from the bank to prove fraud before I could file a police report. The same bank that was suggesting I needed a police report before they could resolve my fraud claim.
Did you hear that ping? That was something in my soul completely fucking snapping.
As I walked toward the photography exhibit I got on the phone with the bank. I'll just hit the highlights for you.**
"Thank you for calling [Sk]ank of America, my name is Michael, how may I help you?"
"Michael, you need to kick me up to a supervisor and I don't care what you have to do to make that happen."
"I just need to get some information from you so I can pull your file up and then I can pass you to a supervisor."Blah blah blah stupid exchange of information.
"Now is there anything else you want to tell me before I transf..."
"Michael, it's a long story in which I have been completely fucked so..."
"Just let me put you on hold and I'll transfer you now."
"Exactly, you do not want to take this call."
Make sure you're reading my parts in my $15,000+ deep Cleopatra, Shakespearean trained voice, the one that means I'm either seducing you or about to beat you until my arm gets tired and then switch arms. Don't worry, it's easy to tell which.
"Hi my name is Barbara, I'm sorry to hear you've had such a confusing time. What can I do for you?"
"You can tell me what information you need to bring up my file while I tell you my story."
"...I keep getting fucked!"
"...5 frigging phone calls..."
"Thank you for choosing [Sk]ank of America."
"Actually Barbara, since I assume we're being recorded I'd like to say for the recording that I didn't choose [Sk]ank of America. I was a NatWest customer and NatWest was bought by Fleet Bank and Fleet Bank was bought by you and I've just been along for the ride. I'm seriously considering not staying on.
Bottom line: I need to ignore all the information on the affidavit, sign it and return it. They will investigate the fraud and in a maximum of 45 days it will be completely resolved. Also, Barbara is very sorry that I was given so much "wrong, I'm sorry, confusing information."***
So then I went to where the photography exhibit was supposed to be but I couldn't seem to get in. There was a gate and it was weird and someone coming out said there was no exhibit. On my way home I passed a little gallery, "The Corridor Gallery," with a sign out front that said it was open. There was a man coming out with a card in his hand and I could see lights on inside so I tried the door. Locked. I rang the bell. No response. It seems I was not meant for art tonight.****
So I walked home past Choice Market and bought a cream cheese brownie and a dog biscuit because when I was a teenager and it was just me and my mom and things were sucking unwashed ass we would go to the grocery store and buy carts full of whatever we wanted to eat so spreading the comfort food wealth is second nature to me. I strongly suspect that most of the spoils of those trips can still be found at mom's house.
I ate half the brownie before I got home and made myself sick. Then I realized I'd forgotten to pay my health insurance and the customer service line was closed until Monday so I ate the other half.
*Name the movie from which I'm paraphrasing.
**Yes, I really said this stuff. Aren't you glad you don't work in customer service?
***While I was writing this Suzanne came through and got me not only a name but a nickname and a photo. Wanna see? If I were more compassionate, like Rich, I'd try saying "Love to you all, even you Ken" but I'm not quite there yet so I'm going to print out that picture and alter it to reflect how much I want to kick in his teeth.
****Who the hell is Art?
I would like to tell you the whimsical story of an early morning celebrity sighting on the 2 train but I cannot.
Have you ever been to the Salem Witch Museum? Coming as I do from New England it's a bit of a field trip staple. I went, not having the faintest idea what to expect, when I was in 4th grade. The more I think of it, the more 4th grade was kind of a turning point in all of the things that scare the actual pee directly out of my body. Anyway (SPOILER ALERT!), when you get inside the museum you're in a big room and they lock the (motherfucking) door and turn all the lights out (hello, afraid of the dark) and the floor starts to glow with an elaborate pentagram (actually, I'm OK with that) and a spooky voice directs you through a series of life sized dioramas of the atrocities of the witch trials. One of the delightfully logical tests they used was putting a person on a sled (essentially) then sandwiching them with another board and loading boulders on them until they confessed to witchcraft. So much stupid in that, I can't begin to parse it. In the museum you get a lovely description of how it's crazy but in the background the actual scene plays out complete with the crunchy bone cracking sounds and agonized moaning of the accused.
I can't tell you about the celebrity sighting because something else weighs on me the way those stones weighed on the chests of the unlucky bastards in Salem in the year of our Lord Sixteen Hundred And Boy Are You Fucked.
I got the affidavit for the fraud claim today.
And tra la la I filled it out and sent it back and everything is fine.
I was ticked but I thought I'd just fill it out and send it on. Kids, I got stumped by the first fucking question.
"Please check only one of the following four statements:
A. The ATM/Check Card was still in my possession when the faudulent charges occurred.
B. The ATM/Check Card was lost.
C. The ATM/Check Card was stolen.
D. The ATM/Check Card was never received."
None of those apply to me. The card was in my possession and the charges were reversed and the card was canceled and then the charges being disputed in this claim were put through again so:
A. No, I watched the bank lady cut it up.
B. No, I had it until I handed it to the bank lady to cut up.
C. No, I handed it willingly to the bank lady for her to cut it up.
D. No, I had it for a really long time before I had to give it to the bank lady for her to cut it up.
I mean, in essence, we're talking about charges made on a card that didn't exist by the time the charges went through.
I called up the number in the message and asked what to do. I said a lot of other stuff I probably shouldn't be too proud of but let's not get into that...yet. I asked her to help me fill out the whole thing. Once we conquered item 1 (I was supposed to check A, despite the fact that card had been cut up and this claim was made on the second round of charges I am supposed to...I don't know, pretend that wasn't true...or something.) we had to move to item 2:
"If you have reported the information to law enforcement or the Postal Inspector, please provide the following:
Me: I didn't report it. I thought you were taking care of it. Was I supposed to?
SoA Rep: Well, I would.
Me: It never occurred to me and no one ever mentioned it.
SoA Rep: I'm surprised no one asked you about it.
Me: (Incredulous silent fish mouthing)
SoA Rep: It's one of the regular questions on our affadavit.
Me: I can see it here on the paper but you can see how I might have a hard time believing you since you're the fourth person I've talked to and you're the first person to bring it up. Technically you didn't even bring it up, I did.*
SoA Rep: Well it's one of the basic questions on our affidavit.**
Me: (Simultaneous aneurysm, coronary and fit of apoplexy)
So I called up my local precinct and asked them what to do. What are you doing on this festive Friday night? I'm going down to my local precinct to report online bank card fraud so I can fill in my stupid fucking affidavit and mail it back tomorrow. Should I wear pumps or boots? Do you think lip gloss over the matte color is too much? I'm assuming that metal jewelry should be held to a minimum.
* Yes, Auntie, I really did say all this. I'm not exaggerating even a little. In fact I'm probably leaving some stuff out so I don't look like a complete nutbar.
**Yes, I'm composing my stern letter to SoA. In all seriousness, Suzanne, you're very good at research, is there any way you could locate the name of the President and Chairman of the Board of the bank (could be one person, could be two) and the address of the central offices for me, please? Whatever letter/novella I compose I want to send to the President of the company, the person who oversees the Board of Directors since they, presumably, oversee the President, and to the head of the Customer Service department.***
***Yes, this is only about $21.24 but it's also about my per hour rate for the exorbitant amount of time I'm spending to get them to fucking deal with the cocksucking $21.24. As usual all I want is a real, honest-to-goodness apology for how completely lube-free buttfucked this entire process is and I know that is unlikely in the extreme, like waiting for an apology from George W. Bush, but I have to try, what would I be if I didn't even try?
I know it's hard for people to believe but New Yorkers are really nice. You find rescued pieces of winter clothing all over the place around this time when the temperatures are fluctuating. Someone has rescued them from the wet ground where they might be trampled and drape them somewhere safe.
Did I mention that a lot of New Yorkers have the sense of humor of a 12-year-old boy?
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Ever since I read this DIY Wednesday post at Design Sponge I've had a hankering for some contact paper. Contact paper figured heavily in my youth. What can I say my parents were teachers and it was the 70s. Contact paper has many uses. I do not have a hankering to "transform" any of my furniture with what I am sure is the new and improved contact paper of the 2000s, especially not anything in a faux wood grain, but I want to do something. Perhaps my old grungy trashcans would look better with some whimsical contact paper. Would it be wrong to contact paper a computer? What about my entire ugly front door?
This is a dangerous itch, I have to scratch it carefully...but soon!
Melissa was writing the other day about Logan's new hobby. (That sentence makes it sound like they're friends that live around the corner. They aren't and they don't, the sentence just turned out like that.)
That hobby is brewing beer and she included a lot of pictures. As I looked through the pictures the screen got all wavy and dream sequency and I was hurtled back to my childhood. My parents went through a beer making phase and we had all sorts of cool paraphernalia. There were these great big earthenware crocks for the brewing (Where are those? I want one. I think one broke but there ought to be another one, too.) and every time you opened one to check on the process the whole place smelled like baking bread. My favorite part was the bottle capper. That thing had to be 50 years old when they bought it in the 70s and it required more strength than my elementary school physique had to offer but I liked to try and was fascinated by that part of the process.
I feel as though I'm watching things like that on the internet all the time these days, things that were popular when I was a kid, or at least popular in our house. I guess I am since I wrote about another thing just a little while ago. That stuff they tell you about history being a cycle and shit, it really is true, huh?
I ran into this beauty on my way to work one day and screwed up the courage to ask if I could take a photo. Not only was it OK it apparently made the owner's day. I've not seen him before or since so it's good that I leapt when I did.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
The internet, that is.
My friend, Rick, posted this poem the other day:
To get inside a woman’ head,
To get inside a woman’s heart,
Try not to make a move.
(This is copyrighted by Rick Mullin.)
I love it because I'm embarrassed to admit how true I think it is.
I wanted to feature him because he's recently had a chapbook of his work published and I thought you might like the chance to purchase one of your very own. When I wrote to ask permission to reprint his poem he told me that he's also doing a reading on April 4th at the Cornelia Street Cafe. I don't know exactly what the format is but he's the featured poet at Open Mic Night which starts at 6 (come before 6 if you want to sign up). I'm planning to check it out, if anyone wants to join me I'd love the company.
*Rick posted this poem then pulled it but thanks to the star function on the Google Reader I was able to get it back.
I want me some personalized m&ms. I don't know why but I do. Assorted colors, the regular array, not the pastels and not the stupid wedding bland colors. What to put on them, though? I think you can have 2 lines of up to 8 characters each.
How about "Kizz" or better, "Kizz!"
I could do:
but, you know, centered.
If I could get a variety I think I'd put the names of all three of my animals on them. That would be funny. No, actually it wouldn't, it would be boring and catapult me into crazy cat lady status.
If I could have a huge variety I'd just put inspirational words on them like: write, act, click, breathe, believe, just be, love, live, leap, twirl. That would be fun. I would really like to eat those because it would be like ingesting inspiration.
What would you put on your m&ms? You know, if they weren't so freaking expensive.
I look at buildings like the Woolworth Building and the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building a lot more since September of 2001. It's like they used to be there and they were going to be there forever so I could always look at them later.
Now, who knows?
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
I have a disconnect about time. At least one. I grew up between a compulsively on time person and a pathologically late person. I have no earthly idea how long shit takes and I'm petrified of being late or missing things. If I plan something special then it has to have a ton of padding on either side of it because WHO KNOWS what could happen.
A week or so ago Kath and I made a plan to take advantage of Dine In Brooklyn and go to a local restaurant. I blocked out THE WHOLE NIGHT! Remember, who knows what could happen. I went to work early so I could come home early with time to walk the dog and feed the pets before our 6:30 reservation since I might not be home until midnight, maybe later, I mean for the love of Pete the place is TWO WHOLE BLOCKS away from my house! Maybe three.
You want sanity? You've come to the wrong place.
First off, we had a truly lovely time. She had shrimp and I had a potato soup. We both had Sea Bass with a sauce that I can't remember. Kath, what was that sauce? I loved the sauce and the potatoes that were propping up the fish especially. There were two dessert choices, Key Lime Mousse and a rich Chocolate Tart, so we got one of each and shared them. Dessert was certainly the highlight, truly stellar. It turns out that restaurant, not one I think of as a staple in the 'hood, has actually been written up in national magazines. The joint was packed and hopping tonight. We had a good talk about art and learning and food and weight and fraud and Entourage and Buffalo 66 (Kath, the dude's name is Vincent Gallo, check out his imdb page).
Oh, and we were home by 7:45.
No sense of time, none at all.
So I was able to check in on Joe the Barber, do my 20 minutes of exercise and 20 minutes of cleaning, play a couple of games, check out some blogs and write this and it's only 10:00pm.
All in all a really great night. Thanks again, Kath!
I'm trying to get to work early today so I'll just go with 10 things, no theme just things.
1. I'm going to a lovely local restaurant with Kath tonight to celebrate Restaurant Week. 3 courses for $23.
2. Usually the price for Restaurant Week has something to do with the year (i.e. $20.08) not sure what this week's price is about.
3. I bought half price Cadbury eggs yesterday.
4. Then I ate one.
5. Boy what a bad idea. I love them but damn, they do not do me right. Don't know what makes me think that a big lump of sugar all whipped together would be good for me.
6. I am in love with Ted Mosby after last night episode of How I Met Your Mother.
7. I just started reading Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain.
8. I am struggling to still love brunch after all he has to say about the restaurant business. I will prevail, though. If brunch is the training ground for new line cooks then I am happy to help train them.
9. I switched from 3 at a time "unlimited" to 2 at a time "unlimited" with my Netflix though it takes effect next month. Savings of about $5 and perhaps will keep me from overdosing on movies.
10. My queue is still almost 250 discs strong. 243 as of today, to be exact.
Monday, March 24, 2008
More than once I've heard people attacking the quality of the science on Mythbusters. Obviously they aren't doing doctoral level science there since I understand it and, more importantly, enjoy it but it's logical and deductive and they revisit myths if their methods or results are called into question. I flail about trying to defend the show when the occasion arises but, not being of sciency mind, I don't think I do a spectacular job of it. Leave it to xkcd to do it better and with stick figures. From now on I carry a copy of this comic to point at and say, "Oh yeah? What she said!"
(Photo lovingly borrowed from here.)
I read this post from Shutter Sisters last Monday and decided that would be a great way to start getting over my fears of being yelled at by people for taking photos on the street. I held my camera up about chest height and munched on some cookies for cover while looking around and mostly just randomly hitting the clicker when I saw something I liked, hoping to capture it.
This first one is my favorite and pretty much sums up what happens when you work like this. I would never have framed this shot this way but there's something about it that I like. He was holding the door open for an old lady. Bless New York's Bravest, they do look good in those dress blues.
Did I point out that it was St. Patty's Day and I work about 3 blocks from the core of the parade and in a spot that is triangulated by popular Irish pubs?
I thought it was hilarious that this guy was wandering around in the midst of the St. Patty's Day hoopla wearing the British flag on a jacket labeled Rebel. I didn't have the stones to ask if he was doing it on purpose, though.
Possibly my favorite couple of the day. I have a real weakness for those headbands with things bobbing on top. Since their backs were turned I actually framed and focused this shot.
Here is an example of how sometimes the technique doesn't yield something exactly useful. But how sweet is she in her beret and sash?
This one, odd but sort of nice and I liked the typical family outing feel given that the parade's surrounding shenanigans are known to be rowdy and full of vomit.
Ah, this was a tragedy. What you can't see in this photo is that this man was holding hands with his (I assume) wife and she was dressed exactly as he was.
Here I used another technique. I was waiting for the light across the street from these young ladies so I took a shot and then cropped and enlarged it so we could see them better. It was while I was doing this that my photo-taking anxieties were reinforced because a young Asian woman came up to stand beside me, took one look at the camera and (so not kidding) leapt out of the way, behind me and crossed the street at a run. Seriously it was like I was pointing a pistol at her. I never bring my pistol to St. Patty's Day. I hate to be wearing the same thing as everyone else.
Another slight mishap. This young lady's outfit was a classic example of what I expect to see along the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade. If I remember correctly even the shoes fit the ensemble.
I'd call the experiment a success by and large. If nothing else I had a lot of fun with it.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
There's this Weight Watchers slogan, "Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels." Every time I hear it I want to quit the program and kick the ad company in the 'nads. I mean, really, nothing? Have you ever tasted lobster steamed in sea water on the beach? French cheese? Handmade chocolate? The side of a lover's neck? 'Cause truthfully, as much as I like being slightly smaller (I wouldn't classify it as thin exactly but something like that) a good fondue could change my fucking religion. You know, if I had one to begin with.
All that being said, there's a moment, more than that really, every time I record a loss. This morning I decided to do my slight cheat and weigh in, just to get a handle on what I could allow myself to eat today before regulation weigh in tomorrow, and found I was down .5, which puts me 1lb. from the goal. 1 pound.
I'd thought I might need to get something to eat before I went out and walked the dog but all of a sudden I wasn't hungry. I felt just fine, didn't need any food at all. It lasted for almost an hour.
While I was out I thought about rewarding myself for my good progress. I was down .5 even though there was no floor barre this week (I don't go when my teacher is away and she's on vacation) and I scarfed down an entire box of Buncha Crunch before Anne Boleyn even met stupid Henry VIII at Thursday's movie. After the movie I took myself out for hot chocolate while I wrote. I had 3 glasses of wine Friday night. Oh and a whole Mounds bar at about midnight while the Nu-Sonics were setting up. That's pretty good, huh? I deserved a reward. And thinking about the possibilities made me properly hungry pretty soon. I was still thin but I could think of all sorts of things that tasted better.
I just had some yummy Thai food but only about half of what I would have eaten before I started the program. I was full, too, I didn't stop for points-related reasons. I have no idea how to calculate the points in the local Thai place's Masamman Curry and Satay. I don't think I want to know.
I'll weigh in on my regular day tomorrow but you can bet your Peeps that if the answer I get is more than the 126 I was a this morning I'll be recording 126 anyway. Any weight achieved within 24 hours of a weigh in without benefit of food poisoning, bulimia or starvation, well any more starvation than condoned by the WW plan, is fair game in my book.
Also, I'm changing the slogan: Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels...for about an hour.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
If you haven't watched the Wire you should. Whatever you think that it is, it isn't. No, it is, but it's not only that.
Season 4 is about the educational system. If you've heard that it's about the Baltimore City educational system that's true. The thing is, Baltimore is representative if the failing (I said it, and again, not hyperbole, the failing) of our nation's educational system.
They explore the people and the systems and the circumstances that are hindering that success, but they also explore the ones who are part of the solution. These solutions are common, they're ineffective, they're innovative, they're offensive, they're simple, they're ridiculously workable. The commonality is that they're solutions that someone, somewhere in Baltimore is trying them.
In one of the special features a producer talks about why they produce a show that talks about these tough political and social knots. She says, specifically about Season 4's educational theme, that she hopes that someone can fix it. She hopes that, by making a genuine, intelligent, compelling fictionalization they can reach someone who might have a plan. Maybe the person or people with the answers don't read a newspaper or watch TV news but they will watch this.
The important part is finding the solution. What about you? Do you have it? We need it now.
Remember what I said about Skank of America the other day?
Yeah, well, today they lived up to all of the previous expectations and completely eradicated any good feeling they'd built up.
I walked the dog and was headed upstairs to just check on the bank account for safety's sake and I got a letter from the Skank. I assumed it was notification of all my discussion about the fraud so I fed the (fucking) cats (whole other story) before I opened it. Let's quote now, shall we:
"Your account was not initially charged $21.24 for an ATM/Check Card transaction on March 18, 2008, at KAGI.COM 447010, PARIS 8. Therefore, your account was debited on March 20, 2008.
We apologize for the delay in posting the transaction."
So, KAGI.COM took a fraudulent transaction on my credit card on March 16. Not their fault, I assume, they didn't know. Neither did I. On March 17 that charge was reversed during my conversation with the fraud department that included the canceling of my debit card. So on the 18th the Skank received that charge again and decided on the 20th to charge me again. Yes, they're putting through a charge proved to be fraudulent on a debit card that has been canceled and replaced. According to my conversation with the claims department today I will have to receive an affidavit from the Skank (3-5 business days), sign it and return it by April 7 (cutting it a little close there if you give it 3-5 business days in transit in either direction, isn't it?) or else they may not be able to reverse the charge at all.
The robotic agent refused to deviate from the script despite the fact that "we appreciate your business" made me snap and deliver a lecture to whoever was listening "for quality control purposes." He just kept repeating it every time I interrupted him until we were in a cycle of "we appreciate you..." "no you don't" "we apprecia..." "no you don't, you DO NOT" "we app..." and I hung up.
So, what bank do you use and why should I transfer my money to it?
I made Snob proud. I didn't get my nap but I still stayed wide awake. I think judicious stoppage of alcohol consumption was key. The Nu-Sonics played a killer set we saw some sweet local culture and some really not-local culture. The band before them was from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. And I heard the drummer explaining that no, Edmonton was a city in the province of Alberta. Poor little kid. No, seriously, his mother was there chaperoning and the guitar player had to put on his head gear halfway through the set.
Anyway...here's a little something to amuse you while I sleep. See you tomorrow...afternoon.
Sad and lonely teddy bear is languishing along Pony Express' street.
I walk past this building every single day a minimum of once a day and usually two to four times. I have never seen this cat before. It was just sitting there, chilling, not caring what we did as we walked by.
Peeping Tomcat. Just daring someone to open that window and give him a shot at us.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Today I taught ChemE the difference between a "comment" and a "guest post." Then I turned her comment into a guest post and here it is. Please note that she validates my story about the plane just in case some of you didn't believe me.
Okay okay so I am a paranoid person. (and the comment about the plane is true).
I do have a separate credit card for online purchases. It has a low limit. I had a similar experience where someone made a fraudulent purchase with this card number. The bank was very good and called me right away, canceled the card and I was not responsible for the $1500 of plus size lingerie sent from NYC to LA. (amazingly enough the amount spent was exactly the available balance on the card. hmmm). [ed. note: If there's anything I hate more than a criminal it's a stupid one. Is there anything that says RED FLAG louder than one purchase for the exact available limit?]
I do check my overall credit report on a regular basis from all 3 agencies. It is free. Your actual credit score requires a payment. [ed. note: For your next guest post will you explain the difference between these 2 things because I have no idea how to read them?]
I usually only make online purchases with companies I've either done previous business with or have checked out. The one exception to that rule resulted in the above lingerie purchase. [ed. note: I was the one who found the place she was buying from so the whole incident is my fault.]
I typically don't open e-mail attachments unless someone has said, oh by the way, I'm sending you some photos etc. I don't click on links either that are supposedly from the credit card, the electric company etc. I always go straight to the actual web site.
I have had mysterious e-mails from my banks. In all cases, I have called the bank and it turned out that the e-mail did not come from them.
I do think the apple computers are more secure than the PC windows based computers. We use both and to date, no issues with apple. The difference in the operating system also helps prevent spyware from being downloaded when online.
Skank of America treated you pretty well considering the corporation is so impossible to deal with otherwise.
P.S. Forgot to add that my wireless network is secure so other people can't access it. My neighbor's is not however.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Daily Candy has just been crushing my spirit lately. This time it was the Travel Edition. The fine people at Trufflepig have left their jobs developing high priced travel packages for rich folks in order to develop special super secret high priced travel packages for richer folks.
I know I sound bitter but I'm only bitter because I want to take it one step further. I want to specialize in New York City only but not really in rich people. April and May are prime months for school and group trips to NYC. My friends hold that these groups should be required by local government to hire an experienced, qualified guide before they're allowed to book their travel to the city. It should be like traveling to Africa where you aren't allowed to enter without a local leader.
I'd love to start up a business where you hired my people not necessarily to physically guide you but to build your itinerary. We'd e-mail about your interests and set up a plan for you. Someone would meet you when you arrive and orient you then send you on your way. You'd be able to call a hotline for help if for any reason during your stay something goes wrong of if you want to try something we haven't set up for you.
We would, of course, be able to send you on all the classic tours (Circle Line, to the big museums, to theatre and music, on the Sex & the City walking tour etc.) but we'd specialize in doing the things that locals love. Good food, good waiters, cool architecture, best shopping and secret bars. We'd teach you timing and etiquette and public transportation and your trip would be made immeasurably better because we love New York.
Definitely want a better name than Trufflepigs, though.
It's that time of the month again. A time to check in on goals and habits and routines and see how you're doing. If by you I mean me. As always new(ish) information is in italics.
1. Get regular vocal coaching (see also #14) [For weeks I've been thinking I'd like to be singing more but I haven't been doing anything about it.]
2. Record 2 more tracks for CD (Sometime in 2020 you'll all be getting the finished product for Christmas.)
3. Night Before Christmas for fam (make a book? buy them? convince this guy to illustrate a version and help him publish it?)
4. Continue Floor Barre classes - She has figured out that I can demonstrate both the right and wrong ways to do things. She likes this.
5. Add another hour per week of exercise (3 sessions of 20 minutes each per week) - I honestly don't think this was happening before but I've been doing well for about 3 weeks. 20 minutes isn't that long and I'm using my arm weights so I feel good about it. While still hating the fact of working out. I'm actually doing at least 4 times a week and sometimes more. Damn I want to hit this goal soon and have a freaking piece of pizza.
6. Submit Chekhov or Speed Dating play to 20 places - With Jason & Mark I recorded a "trailer" for this which was silly and fun. Hopefully you'll see this soon. I still need to figure out where to submit plays to. Any ideas? Oh, wait! I submitted it to my dad and his partner for possible inclusion on their festival this summer (so that's one down) and I got an e-mail today that it's been accepted.
7. Book Shakespeare 10 places
8. Go on a date
9. New Year at the steam pipes
10. 2 field trips with Alita
11. Post-Thanksgiving Open House
12. Find director for Chekhov
13. Reading of Chekhov
14. Find new vocal coach
15. Sing live
16. Hang pictures
17. Bathe dog once/buy removable shower head - I am afraid, why am I afraid of doing something I can totally return if it doesn't work?
18. Perform at Boerum Hill nursing home sing along
19. Lobsterbake (June)
20. Complete play for Women's Night (Feb) - DONE
21. Complete non verbal piece for Women's Night (Feb) - DONE
22. Complete admin work for Women's Night (Feb) - DONE
23. Perform Women's Night (Feb 15 & 16) - DONE
24. Polish up 3 short stories - I'm currently working on a short screenplay for Peter Weekly. I should really be doing a short story as well.
25. 20 short story submissions - Again, where do I do this?
26. Go to Met Museum
27. See Rock & Roll - Totally missed this.
28. See Farnsworth Invention - Totally missed this too. I hate that.
29. 3 activist actions that do not include the use of form e-mail (suggestions welcome)
30. See an opera
31. Go to MoMA
32. Go to Frick - DONE in Jan when ChemE came to visit.
33. Fix back-up hard drive - Worrying about this a lot does not count.
34. Install Final Draft (script writing software) - Peter Weekly said he'd help with this.
35. Learn how to use Final Draft
36. Continue Weight Watchers eating plan - Doing OK, seems like it's a habit now and I didn't even go crazy when I was out on Saturday night.
37. Meet goal weight of 125 (shooting for March completion, first weigh in on Monday) - I'm halfway to the goal from where I was last month (1.5lbs as opposed to 3). Feeling pretty good about this.
38. Check in on this list once per month - I like checking in once a month.
39. Re-do work files
40. Keep work files current (part of me hates that I have j.o.b. goals on this list but another part of me thinks it's something that'll smooth my brain out so it's a good thing)
41. Clean out closets - I did some of this over the course of the month. I now don't have to dig through cleaning supplies to get to the emergency stash of TP.
42. Set up home filing system
43. Gyn appointment
44. Dentist appointment
45. Buy scanner
46. Scan family photos
47. Auntie Blanche's birthday (98 on August 23)
48. Trip to beach
49. Post photos to Flickr - I upgraded and I love it. I post more often and thus have more photos in rotation on my Flickr badge on the blog. I don't even think the badge freezes the page anymore (tell me if it does, please). It's all very exciting.
50. Invest 1/2 savings
51. See accountant in person - I'm waiting on a call back from her scheduling person now. Does this give all of you who did your taxes in the first week of February the willies?
52. Re-work investments to maximize return
53. Sort out IRA contribution - God I hate talking to people about money.
54. NaBloPoMo (Nov)
55. Go to Brooklyn Museum
56. Update address book
57. Make Christmas cards
58. Take more photos (practice makes perfect after all) - As you are no doubt aware this is becoming a habit and I am doing this item up with a bow.
59. Learn more about how I'm taking those photos (suggestions welcome) - So far just reading the manual for the new camera is a good challenge in this direction.
60. Read 4 classic/good-for-me books (perhaps from this list Chrome mentioned)
61. Plan 40th birthday celebration for Jan 2009 (trip? party? both?) - Still thinking party in January for the actual birthday but with a trip at some other time during the 2009 calendar year. I know of an apartment in a small town in Italy that I could rent pretty cheaply for a week.
62. Research health insurance providers - Gah, have done a little of this. HATE.
63. Change health insurance providers if appropriate
64. Bring lunch 3 days/week - I don't think I've bought lunch in 2 months.
65. Get photos framed
66. Get contact lenses
67. Make out will
68. Inquire about grave plot
69. Renew passport
70. Submit for print audition (actors access?)
71. Submit for commercial audition
72. Write Aunt Rena once/month - This is going quite well. It helped that Rena's birthday was this month.
73. Write Auntie Blanche once/month - This is also going well, I do the 2 together. I'm going to have to learn a new address for her soon, though, since her home is being closed down.
74. Cook once/week (doing this is integral to being able to do #64) - I continue to resent the time this takes but I still do it.
75. Go to Cyclones game (Kath has said that I can tag along on one of their trips this summer)
76. Take all vacation days - I should probably get cracking on this. I don't think I've even taken all of mine from last year yet. Just checked and no I haven't. I've got 2 left over from last year and the 16 from this one.
77. Make new cookbook pages (this may morph into making another homemade Christmas gift)
78. God's Love for Thanksgiving
79. Solve electric meter problem
80. Write on something significant (short story, play, etc.) 15 minutes/day, 5 days per week - I am totally back on the bandwagon (and totally overusing totally in this entry). I gave myself a deadline for the screenplay, called Peter Weekly and asked him to hold me to it and so I write more like 20 mins at least 5 days a week. It's good.
81. Send Christmas thank you notes - Must finish this. Yikes!
82. Vocal warm-up 5 days/week - Er, what?
83. Physical warm-up 5 days/week - Er, what, what?
84. Pay extra mortgage payment
85. Get facial
86. Record financial outgoings faithfully (see #96 re: Quicken) - Have fallen by the side of the road, drowning in a ditch full of receipts.
87. Get Elvis's ultrasound (May)
88. Complete at least half of the items on this list (I'm so meta) - We shall see...
89. Actually hang up my Christmas wreath properly
90. Change over to those swirly energy saver light bulbs - I've installed a grand total of 1. But it's one more than before.
91. Host Supper Club
92. Host Brunch
93. Get lip biopsied - I have gone for this and it's all ongoing. I owe you guys an update post on the subject.
94. Wear sunscreen every day (this just throws off my whole schedule, I had no idea it would be such a pain in the ass) - Doing it. Anyone know where I can get a cheap, simple, nice bucket hat?
95. 30 minutes per week home improvement (above and beyond my definition of maintenance cleaning) - I did this one week and I'm trying this week. It's really not much. Shouldn't be so hard.
96. Learn how to set up a new "me" in Quicken (Any Quicken experts out there? I took a look at it last night and I don't know if I know how to do it right. And I want to know how to record cash purchases, too.)
97. Go to one participatory music event for the holidays
98. Finish sending out 2007 Holiday cards (I'm 2/3 done!) - And I'm still 2/3 done. Sigh.
99. Re-organize kitchen cabinets
100. Apply creams/lotions/oils/ungents to scar daily - Doing it. According to the bottle I smell like "Motivation" every day. My list might disagree.
101. Get new digital camera - Got it! Love it! Use it every day! Whoopee! DONE
102. Send birthday cards (preferably before the birthday) - So far so good. This month was Rena and Mom.
103. Travel once outside of "event" trips (birthdays, Christmas, lobsterbake etc.) - Pony Express and I are taking a day trip to DC and I'm counting that for this item. It will be in April and I can't wait!
104. Floss thrice weekly - I hate the taste of blood. Which does not mean that I'm doing this, just means I'm good at putting it off.
105. Move Music and Photos to desktop Mac (Any insight on a simple way to do this is also highly appreciated.)
106. Leap more often (as opposed to plan, plot, think, prepare ex. I just decided to produce an evening of work by my female friends and the next day I sent out an e-mail.) - I did this with the DC bus and I almost did it with the MS Walk but have decided not to do the walk, to do my volunteer work elsewhere.
107. Make at least 1 of the books in #60 a non-fiction (maybe the Omnivore's Dilemma, definitely not Fast Food Nation. Probably better if it's not a food book at all. I have enough trouble with food already right now.) - I read Sin & Syntax so this is DONE.
108. Finish this list. DONE!
DONE: 8 (+1 from last month, good thing I bought that camera.)
In Progress: 24 (+24 from last month since I didn't record this category last month. Nothing like faking a huge sense of accomplishment for yourself.)
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I love the header I've got going on up there.
That feels slightly arrogant but I also feel like I have to tell you how much pleasure it's giving me. Finally the look of the page represents who I am. Not only did I take the photo I reinvented the wheel (slightly) by working out on my own how to manipulate it to the correct dimensions and how to upload it. It's the Peanut Butter & Jelly monologue (which I can't seem to find anywhere on the internet, what the hell?) all over again, one of those little things that just makes me feel good every time I (virtually) walk past it. It's been a while since I've had one of those.
Do you have a thing like that? What is it?
Five years ago President Bush declared war. Four years and 10 months ago he declared the mission of that war accomplished. What I'm about to say I'm saying not because I think you don't know it or because I think that somehow my saying it makes any more difference than the gazillions of people talking about it today but because I think this opportunity calls for a little civil disobedience. Sometimes when we cannot do anything else to change the situation we must at least stand still and observe the horror. We must make it known that we see what is going on. By the very act of talking about it we do what we can, we hope to reach one person, to be heard one more level up, to somehow be the butterfly wings on this side of the earth that precipitate change on the other side.
There is no connection between 9/11 and the war on Iraq.
There is no way to pull out of Iraq that will be helpful to all parties. This fact is not license to leave things as they are.
The lives lost in the last 5 years were not worth whatever mythical thing has been said to be accomplished.
The damage this war has done to the people coming back from the Middle East will continue to have an impact on our society for years to come. (See also: Vietnam, Gulf War Part I, WWI, WWII)
Bring them home. Please bring them home now.
It's not so secret that I would love to get my picture in the New York Times. Preferably not in the obituaries.
That hasn't happened.
But it happened to Ulserad. He was in the Times earlier this month, bottom photo, that's him smack in the middle. And though it is part of an obituary it's in my favorite section, the Arts.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
For St. Patrick's Day Tracy at Who's Your Doggy (corner of Adelphi and Willoughby in Brooklyn, web site coming soon I'm told) hosted "Green Beer & Bones" night. Below, pretty much what the whole night looked like.
Free beer in a place where your dog is welcome and will have a ton of fun, what more could you ask for? Perhaps a safe place to rest your beer. (That's Tim's perfectly flat head serving as side table. Emily loves Tim. That's Bobby in front of Tim and pretty much the clearest picture of him I got of him all night. Partly due to his high energy and partly due to my low technical skill. Emily loves Bobby, too.)
Here's Tracy (Tracey? I don't know) operating the keg. She is a generous and gracious host. The best part of the photo (you might need to click to enlarge), though, is if you look just under her tap arm. That's Tracy's dog, Teddy, with one of the titular green bones hanging out of his mouth. Those bones were the size of his wee poodle head but he managed to cut them down to size. He's resourceful that way.
It was a great way to start the week and one of the many ways Tracy sets herself apart from other local businesses. I think she likes us and she knows exactly how to keep us around. Green beer and bones indeed.