Friday, November 19, 2010

What use is an atlas showing the USSR?

I've been throwing away a bunch of stuff--duh--including a bunch of papers from school. I don't really need my eighth grade writing assignments, y'know? How long have I been carting this stuff around? Fifteen, twenty years? I kind of hope that someone comes dumpster diving so that they can enjoy the seventeen-year-old handwritten report on India, complete with hand-drawn maps.

As I was walking out to the garbage with another load, I thought, "It's kind of sad to be throwing away these mementos from my childhood." And then I thought, "Why? I don't want them. Why have I been hanging on to this crap for so long? I should have thrown it away years ago--like after each class ended."  Not only do I not want them, but it's not like my kids will want them. Eventually, they're going to get thrown away. Why not now?

Not only does this attitude help me not be as attached to my Stuff (I'm a sentimental packrat) but it makes moving a crapload easier. Wins all around.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

You give [the law profession] a bad name

Years ago, I worked for a lawyer. For a couple of months.  A kind lawyer, the kind that gives them all bad names. The kind you think of when people are telling lawyer jokes. Hence I only worked there for a few months. (I took a picture of his Yellow Pages ad, it was so stereotypically bad. I might even still have his equally bad business card.) He had tons of turnover, probably because he came across as kind of slimy. Well, in the course of researching something else (don't ask) I randomly stumbled across the little gem of information that he was disbarred two years after I quit.  You know why? Because people who seem slimy usually are, and they always get their comeuppance eventually.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's all downhill from here

I love that expression, it's all downhill. Does that mean everything is going to get worse, or get easier? Yes.

Anyway, I have three days to finish packing the house before it's time to pack up the shipping/storage pod. It's mostly just random stuff here and there.  I didn't get much done the last couple of days because I ran out of boxes. But I swiped some from friends last night (they moved a couple months ago, and I don't think they'll be needing them soon. Let me just take a minute to say how much I love the karmic essence of moving boxes. Practically no one buys moving boxes, they just get them from some kind people who don't need them. And then they pass them on to someone else. It's beautiful.) So I got boxes from friends last night, including some large enough for my more unwieldy items, like our pictures and my mixing bowl big enough to bathe a toddler in. Because you need a bowl big enough to bathe a toddler in if you want to make caramel corn without getting it all over the floor.

So I've got a plan. I'm going to tackle a different room each night and I'm going to have everything entirely packed up by Saturday. I'm going to chug as much Cherry Coke as I want, and I am going to get this done! No more tears...just blow through it and be done. Then I'll be able to enjoy Thanksgiving, our cruise, Christmas. It'll be great!

Right? Great?

Still pretty stirred up

As many people are, I'm still pretty stirred up about the new airline screening rules. If you're interested, feel free to read some of the articles linked to below. If not, I'll have some non-airline content soon.

There's a Washington Times editorial and link round-up review on Cnet, including what real scientists think about the health dangers. Of course, the FDA says it's safe, and the FDA has never screwed up before. Right? Also of interest is the Senate hearing transcript, wherein Joe Lieberman claims that if the Christmas Day bombing had been successful, we'd all be demanding full pat-downs for everyone.  No, actually, I would be demanding real security, like they do in Israel.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lost art of bargaining

I've been trying to sell some of my bigger or unnecessary stuff on KSL lately (do you need a 32" TV, new-in-box Hershey's S'mores Maker, seasons 1-3 of House, HP 23 color ink, or a 3' x 4' canvas?).  I've sold a couple things, but haven't gotten a lot of response. I don't know if people don't expect to barter or what, but I'm getting lots of views but no response.

I have the TV (with stand, converter box, and antenna) listed on craigslist for $150. Someone emailed and asked if I would let it go for $75. See, this fellow knows how to negotiate. I responded and said I'd take $100. That's a decent price for all that; the digital antenna alone was $50ish.  But then he didn't respond.

So I figure no one on KSL is aware that they can negotiate--even though I specifically say "or best offer"--and have reduce the price on things accordingly. But apparently I underpriced my stereo. I figured that there wouldn't be a lot of interest in a bulky five-disc changer. People have iPods, what do they need a dual tape deck for? It does have a remote, but still, it's got to be at least ten years old. And yet this morning I had two people call who wanted it.

Maybe I shouldn't look at it as underpriced. Maybe I should consider it competitively priced. Although I think on internet classifieds, "competitive" equals "ridiculously cheap."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Friendly skies, unfriendly airport

Seeing as I'll soon once again be taking to the skies, an article recently caught my eye about the full-body scanners. I don't like those things for many reasons, and I'm not alone. They may or may not have unsafe levels of radiation, they certainly are unnecessarily invasive, and they don't actually stop anything. Even worse, though, are the stories about the "enhanced" pat downs, where government officials are authorized to grope you. All in the name of safety, of course. Safety, even though most of the the people being searched like criminals are just law-abiding travelers. Even though the full-body scans miss plenty of things (except for your private anatomy, of course).  Even though we're always one step behind the terrorists. Even though profiling (gasp! yes, that) is more effective.

It really bothers me that we all turn into sheep in the name of "security." Do any of us really feel more safe? Would we stand for it if they tried to implement these procedures at stadiums, museums, historic sites, etc.? Is it really a government of, for, and by the people if they have carte blanche to invade our privacy? Is there really nothing we can do to stop it?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Robot production is far more advanced than you thought

This is remarkable. And maybe a little creepy, in all the best ways.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Good news!

We got a lot more than we were expecting for my car--like, hundreds and hundreds and a couple thousands too--so we went ahead and booked the cruise we were thinking about. We never went on a proper honeymoon, and he loves cruises, and they're actually a remarkable value. Plus our anniversary will be the last day at sea, and we get some kind of perks that are supposed to be a surprise. I can't wait! I love vacations, dressing up, free room service, no luggage restriction, making a big deal out of special's perfect. And I get to buy a new dress that I'll probably never have occasion to wear again. You know what that means? We have to go on more cruises to get our money's worth.

I figure it will be easier to find a modest formal dress in Utah, so I'm doing a little shopping before I go home and do a lot of packing. Which is okay, because I had waaaaay too much Cherry Coke at lunch. But it was in the fountain, and rarely does that happen, so I indulged in a refill. Anyway, I've got nowhere to be in the morning. I can stay up as late as I want. One of the many perks of being a childless grown up.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Memo to America

Dear all,

I will let you know when I'm ready to think about Christmas. Until then, please do away with your nonstop Christmas music, countdowns to Christmas, reminders of how many shopping weeks away it is, and general red-and-green vomit-athon.

Perhaps I should just hibernate for a few weeks.


P.S. Happy Veteran's Day.
And then Happy Thanksgiving.
And then we'll talk about Christmas.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Not entirely gratuitious GPOYW

Among my many bruises, there's one on my shoulder from the seat belt that is really bad. It is also frequently where my bra strap is, and where I cradle the phone at work. Delightful, I assure you. I've had much bigger bruises, but I haven't had one this deep in a long time.

I'm not sure about the coloring. I think the light in the bathroom is making me look less pale than I really am. So I let Picnik take a stab at autocorrecting it. It seems too light, but I think I really am that pale, or nearly so. 

So there you go. I'd take a picture of the knot on my arm, but it doesn't photograph well in artificial light, and I never see natural light but on the weekends now.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New renters

Our friends with the crappy place have been kind of noncommittal about renting. They were late giving us an answer on whether they wanted it, they were never clear about when they wanted to move in, they blew past the WEEK deadline we gave them on signing a rental agreement, etc. They were even late when they were supposed to come look at it!  It doesn't engender a lot of hope that they'll pay their rent on time when potential renters can't complete any part of the process on time.  Basically they were acting like they're doing us a supreme favor, even though we offered them a better deal than we were to everyone else.

So we said nuts to that, and I listed it on KSL for fifty bucks more than we were asking from them (and no free internet!) and from the time I listed it to the time we told someone they could have it, it was less than 72 hours. They love it! They really hope they can get it! It's got lots of storage! I like how it's so secluded! When do you think you'll know? We're just so excited to move in! That's what I'm talking about.

And really, it's better for us anyway. We come a lot closer to covering all our expenses. And from talking to them a couple times and meeting them once, they already seem more reliable. One of their references even said, "I'd never tell her this, but she's pretty OCD about cleaning." That's exactly what I want in a renter!

So I'm hopeful they'll stay the whole time he's finishing his degree at the U. Maybe by then we'll be in a better position to sell. I'm not really interested in being a landlord long term.

Of course, our friends called last night, mad as proverbial wet hens. "We told you we wanted to rent it!" O rly? You didn't act like it. "But we emailed and asked for the dimensions!" Yeah, and we replied and said you're welcome to measure when you sign the lease.  "We were in Vegas!" Did you mention that to us, set a time to come sign? Or sign it before you left? "We asked you to email it to us!" Not that I know of, you didn't. What if we had been strangers who had given you a deadline to sign a lease? Strangers aren't going to hold it for you just because you said you wanted it. That's the whole point of having a rental agreement. It makes things binding.

They are mad enough that the friendship is probably over. It happens sometimes; I once had a friendship bust up because I didn't want to wear a formal gown to go bowling. True story.  Anyway, I guess this is why you shouldn't do business with friends. Is that some sort of common knowledge? Looks like it; Google autocompleted "don't do business" with "friends" before "family." You tell 'em, Google.

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's Harry Potter all over again

I read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series last week, and the first book in the sequels series (The Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero) this weekend. Love 'em! The problem, though, is that The Lost Hero came out not even a week before I got it, so now I have to wait until next year for the next one. Sad face. But I will soon be buying the first book in the Kane Chronicles by the same author, so I'll have another series where I'm waiting for the next book to come out.  I just love fun books!  As soon as I have fifty grand or so to spare, I'm definitely doing that M.Ed program in children's lit.

Maybe the best bit about the books is that they make me want to dig out my copy of Edith Hamilton's Mythology.  Anything that inspires you to want to learn more (or maybe re-learn what you used to know) is pretty awesome.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Don't think that'll buff out

To be fair, hoods are designed to crumple up. But still. Not good.

Stuff I (re)learned last night

People are liars, especially if it is to cover their butts.

It's really infuriating to be blamed for something you know you didn't do.

It feels pretty crappy when the police don't believe you. They're basically calling you a liar.

Airbags burn. Literally.

Sometimes ERs are really tame, full of people getting stitches out, pregnant ladies with UTIs, and a guy who cut his finger. Oh, and a girl who promised the paramedics she'd get checked out at the hospital.

All things being equal, you're better off getting in an accident with your paid-off car than your still-has-a-loan car.

Cars are designed to crumple in the front to protect the passengers.

It's hard to find a position to sleep when you can't put pressure on the inside of your forearm.

McDonald's doesn't put hot fudge at the bottom of the sundaes anymore.

Being upset turns off my food-related guilt switch.

Deep down, no one wants to eat a nice healthy dinner when they're distraught.

Sometimes, "look on the bright side" just makes you even more upset, even when the bright side is really bright.

Real friends are the ones who'll do things like pick you up in the middle of the street, take you home to get a bag, wait at the ER with you, then let you sleep on their couch.

Life is rough all over. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Boring entry alert! Boooooring

Darn, if I'd left out the tangent about the election, my last entry would have been somewhat thematically cohesive.   Eh, what can you do?

Anyway, I've had a headache off and on for the last four days and if I move very fast, it starts pounding again. I hate when I can feel my pulse in my temples.  So yeah. I've been packing, eating cereal, reading Percy Jackson books, packing, trying to get things organized for whomever replaces me at work, packing, applying for jobs...the usual.

What have YOU been up to?  No, really. By reading this sentence, you agree to leave a comment and tell me what's new with you. There, now you've all committed. I'll even set it so you don't have to be registered, although please do leave your name. Inquiring minds want to know!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

bits and pieces

Why are all the good bookshelves Nordic? The READ bookshelves I want are from Sweden, and now this crazy thing from Finland.  Maybe they like to read more than America.

Anyway, I'm so relieved the election is over. I'm tired of the ads and the signs and the autodialer phone calls at work. I'm tired of the Republicans and the Democrats. I'm registered as an independent, and it's such a relief not to be affiliated with either party's nonsense. And it's a relief for the next campaigning season to be what--nine, ten months away?

I'm so tired. It makes me crabby and impatient. I've been staying up way too late. Partly because my husband is a time zone behind me (for the next four days) but also because I have a hard time putting down my book.  These books.

I've mentioned before my love of children's lit. I want a master's degree in it. I just have no patience for contemporary adult literature in general. It's so self-important, trying to be Important. Swearing doesn't make you relevant. Neither does graphic sex scenes. Don't get me wrong, there are still some good books, but many of them are not. And while there are plenty of crappy books written for young adults (like, oh, most things directed at young girls) I think they tend to be more interesting and entertaining.

Because face it, we read books to be entertained. If a book isn't entertaining, we probably won't finish it. *cough*Emma*cough* What is it about that book that is so unappealing to me?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Leftover anticipation

So, normally when I bring my lunch to work, it's not something worth being thrilled about. It's hard to muster a lot of enthusiasm for a PB&J or chicken and crackers.  But today, I'm actually looking forward to eating leftovers.

This happens about once a decade. Prior to getting married, my goal in life was to cook with no leftovers, because I just don't eat them. When I go to a restaurant, I don't want to waste all that extra food. There are hungry people! Not just in Africa, but the US, too! So I put it in a foam box, take it home, let it sit in the fridge for a few days until the guilt dries out as much as the food, then pitch it.  (I'm getting over it.  More useless guilt.)

Anyway, last week I made a vegetable soup based on the PW's minestrone. I had the leftovers a few days later, and they were still delicious. So I made some last night--more "inspired by" than "based on," though, because I don't really keep green beans or yellow squash or low sodium chicken broth on hand--and it was again delicious. And I had a loaf of french bread to boot.  So today's lunch is a rerun of last night's dinner, and for once I don't mind at all.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Excellent, excellent news

After a highly unnecessary amount of delay, we have someone to rent our condo!  (Still wouldn't mind selling it, though.) We have some friends that we've been trying to convince to rent it.

Their place is terrible--no counter space and only two or three cabinets in the kitchen, no dishwasher, only a 3/4 bathroom, no dining room, no garage, no pantry (because it's full of the owners' food storage) etc. It's a basement apartment, so in addition to the owners' food storage in what should be their pantry, they have to share the washer and dryer that's in their unit and they can hear the kids running around at all hours. The owners come down whenever they feel like it, and let the kids run around while they do laundry. When the owners go on vacation, they turn off the heat entirely. Sure, the utilities are included, but they don't have any control over them. Frankly, for what they're getting, I think they are being over charged.

The wife is anxious to move, but all the sudden her husband, usually a spendthrift, is complaining about how much more they would have to pay to rent our place. Yeah, it's $130 more a month and you have to pay utilities, but you also don't have to whisper when you want to badmouth the neighbors.  Yeah, their landlords can hear them through the vents. The vents that are so close, thanks to the incredibly low ceilings, ceilings so low that at some places they're just a few inches above his head.  Besides, our place is over 300 square feet bigger than theirs.

So obviously they're going to move anyway, but they just can't decide if they want to live here. It's not that hard of a decision. I mean, if they're looking to improve their living space, they are going to end up paying more. We're even throwing in free internet and not making them pay a security deposit, just because I feel more comfortable with renters we know. It's actually a really good deal for them. If we rented to someone else, we would get a security deposit, a year lease, and not have to pay for the internet. We told them that we needed an answer before Adam got on the plane last night to go back to Arizona, otherwise we'd rent to someone else.

So we hadn't heard anything all day. They kept texting questions and whatnot, but no answer. We finally were like, "So they're deciding no and they're not even going to call us. Not cool." Adam was in the airport, waiting to board, and finally we get a text saying that they're going to take it. Geez, it's not like you're buying it; we're only asking for a six month commitment.

But we are relieved to have renters. They aren't sure when exactly they're going to move in; we gave them the option of December 1 or prorating it and moving in on the 15th. But I'm out of here in November. My last day at work will be the 19th--three weeks away. I'm so excited!  Sure, we don't have jobs yet, and we'll be living with my parents through the end of the year but that is actually not a problem. I'm getting out of Utah! No more snow! No more nylons! Swimming pools and weekend trips to California! I'm so happy!