Saturday, February 16, 2008

1696 Wasted Morning

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I was supposed to volunteer at the free tax clinic again today. The notice said to be at the Saugerties High School at 10 am.

I remembered it wrong, and rushed to Saugerties (45 minutes away) to be there at nine. When I arrived and found no one there, I dug the notice out of my purse, found that I was an hour early, and drove around Saugerties a little to waste some time and look at houses. Got back to the school at 9:45, found the front doors still locked and no other cars in the lot, and so I waited. And waited. Luckily I had brought a book and had plenty of gas. By 10:20, the only other people to show up were the other two RSVP/SWAT volunteers.

We went around to the back of the building and found an open door. Hunted down a custodian. He knew nothing of any tax clinic.

I left. Went to the village diner and had French toast and tea, and headed home. I am thoroughly pissed. Either we were told the wrong address, or the wrong date, or the clinic was canceled and no one thought to tell us. The notice we got didn't have the name or phone number of the tax clinic contact, so we could not have checked for ourselves.

I'm supposed to do this again on March 1, and I'm tempted to cancel. That happens to be the 1-year anniversary of meeting my NJ friend. I've already alerted him I'm not available that Saturday, so he may have already made other plans, but if there's another no show with the tax people, I'd be spitting nails. I'd rather cancel out and take the chance of just sitting home. At least I wouldn't be angry AND sitting home.


On another front, I was curious about the C-string (back view here). I didn't see how they could possibly work. They supposedly are sweeping Europe, and are next to impossible to find in the US. So I shopped online to find the best deal, found a reasonable seller in Canada, and bought one. It arrived today.

It actually is very comfortable, barely there, and stays on while walking around the house, bending, sitting, and so on. I gave it the acid test of a belly dance shimmy - and it fell off. Oops. If I ever have the courage to actually wear it (doubtful), it will be with slacks or panty hose only. Something there to catch it if it attempts to escape.

I think it's going to be one of those gee-whiz things that everybody has to buy one, and then they will disappear - except for the "ahem"s who will insist they are proper bathing suit bottoms.

Actually, one may as well just go commando.

Friday, February 15, 2008

1695 Sleeping With Pets

Just a quick question for any visitors who have pets. Do your pets sleep in/on your bed with you? I'm guessing it's a 90% yes.

Ex#2 was from farm stock, and not only were animals not allowed in the bedroom, they had to go outside at night. I always felt so guilty about that.

Gypsy, you're exempt from this question. If your snake sleeps with you, I don't want to know! How big is Bindi now, anyway? Last time I saw her she was about two fingers wide.

(I just drank a glass of Grand Marnier. Is it showing?)

1694 They Cut Me Off!

Friday, February 15, 2008

My internet connection is provided by the same folks I have my cell phone contract with. There's this little dohickey I plug in the laptop, and it acts like a cell phone. Locates a route and dials in. It's (as far as I can tell) as fast as a cable connection, and I've been mostly happy with it, especially since it can travel with me.

This morning I told it to connect, and it came back and said it was "unable to establish a connection, try again later." I tried again later for about an hour, and then wondered if maybe there was a problem with cell service in general. I turned on my regular cell phone and tried to call my house phone (a different phone company).

And got a strange message.

My cell service, including the internet connection, had been turned off. Um, it sorta looks like I haven't paid the bill since early December.

I know I've been a bit lax lately, but I didn't realize I'd been THAT lax.

The strange message gave me the opportunity to pay the bill right then, over the phone, by credit card, so I did. I had service back within minutes.

I guess I'd better visit my other desk, the one where all the bills go, and find out what else I've neglected.

1693 Decisions

Friday, February 15, 2008

I've been a bit blah lately, and I've finally figured out why. I'm not supposed to talk about him here, but I will anyway, 'cause he's why, and it's my story, and I can tell it.

I'm "waiting for the other shoe to drop" because we're coming up on a year, and I will have to decide what I want to do, and I don't know. I absolutely adore him. He fascinates me. His mind amazes me. His enthusiasm is infectious. His body is just plain beautiful. He's very protective. I feel so very small and feminine when I'm with him. That's unusual for me. I am very strong and willful, and will kick and spit and prod and push. I don't with him. I look up to him.

Yeah, there are lots of times when he has said stuff or done stuff that just didn't fit (I think sometimes he forgets how smart I am), and he likes secrets, and if it were any other man I'd challenge him right off, but with this man I just nod and let it go. I accept, or withhold judgment. Very unusual for me. I don't know if it's because I've mellowed, or if I'm simply too infatuated to chance angering him. Or maybe it's because I know he really is honest and faithful and all that, and the inconsistencies and half-truths I've seen are a self-defense mechanism - things have happened in his past that he's begun telling me about that explain a lot, that make it difficult for him to be completely open - and as he trusts me more the subterfuge is abating, whatever, anyway, I trust him. He is opening to me, and if I can be patient, he will be more comfortable exposing more of himself to me. He's a little like an abused animal.

Anyway, the thing is, I'm getting older. I can't afford to waste time on something that may not be more than extended dating, a "this is good now" kind of thing, no matter how wonderful and exciting it is. I have to plan for the future. I want a life companion, someone who will still be there when I start falling apart. We've moved slowly, and that's good. It was seven months before we used the L-word, and I believe him completely when he tells me now how much I mean to him...

...and some of his emails could bring back the old word "swoon" very romantic...


There's the age difference. We're at different stages in our lives. I'm ready for travel and recreation. He's wrapped up in work and career. (But it's cute that I'm not a grandmother yet, and he's a grandfather twice over.) I have lots of free time, and he has next to none, what with the job, the responsibilities of a large extended family, and some activities that he seems to obsess over. I'm not seeing enough of him. I'm alone a lot, still. I don't understand why he can't share some of those activities with me. The distance (2+ hour drive) doesn't help. The last few times we've been together my frustration leaked out.

So, that's what's bugging me. I may need more than he can give me right now. I don't know where this is going, and I need to figure out whether it's in my best interests to stay on the ride or get off.

It's not a decision I want to make. I could give it more time and see what happens, but I don't know how much more time. How much do I need? How much can I afford? I would like this to be forever, but ... I don't know.

Maybe it's significant that I don't feel like this is something I can bring up with him. Not yet, anyway. (Like many Aspies and geeks in general, he doesn't seem to see time passing. He'd see it as pushing. As not caring enough to hang in there and let it develop. Sigh.)

I need a man's advice, and my only close male friends would prefer to see him dead.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

1691 Socks

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I spent most of last evening and much of this morning doing laundry. It's a chore because the super-hard well water has glumked up the valves, and I can't let the washer fill itself because the valves won't shut off completely and water will fill the washer, the laundry room, and half the kitchen before the cats let me know there's something wrong. So I have to fill by hand with a hose from the utility sink.

I put laundry off as long as possible, so when I do it, it's a lot. In the past 24 hours, I've washed
- 3 loads of white
- 2 loads of dark
- 1 load of red
- 1 load of pastel
- 1 load of fragile
- 1 load of colored
- 2 loads of sheets
- 2 loads of towels

That adds up to 13. Maybe that's what jinxed the socks.

There are two net bags hanging on the laundry bin. When I take socks off, I put them directly into a bag. They don't lie around. They're either on my feet or in the bag, as a pair. When it's laundry time, I tie the bags closed. The bags go into the washer and the dryer tied. They do not come untied. When they're dry, I dump the bags out on the bed and sort the socks into pairs, carefully guarding them from Jasper.

So howcum I ALWAYS have at least three stray socks? Two I could almost understand - maybe the last time I sorted and paired them I mixed up two sets and there's another mismatched pair in the drawer. But three?

Whenever I see one of those escape artists get out of a locked bag underwater, I think of socks.

I don't understand.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

1690 The Snake

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A beautiful snake:


It's interesting now, but when she hits 50, she's gonna have pain when her knees, hips, and spine revolt, just like belly dancers who used to do a lot of floorwork in their youth. Tiny injuries and overstretching builds up.

Monday, February 11, 2008

1689 Online auction addiction

Monday, February 11, 2008

I can tell I'm a bit depressed lately by the contents of the mailbox. I've been shopping online. I do that when I feel like I need pampering. Shopping online is more satisfying than shopping in stores, because when packages arrive in the mail, or when the big brown or yellow trucks come up the driveway, it feels like someone sent me a gift. Somehow it gets disconnected from the money spent.

Some of the shopping has been on eBay. I hadn't visited eBay since the fall of 2005 (except once to buy something from a friend), but since last July I've been indulging far too much, in spurts.

There's a method to get the best deals on eBay. I don't understand people who bid early in an eBay auction. It's not at all like a live auction, when you want to register interest with the auctioneer so that you don't get left out when the bidding gets hot. Registering early interest on eBay is NOT a good thing, and it's completely unnecessary, if you understand automatic bidding. If you want to make sure the seller doesn't end the auction early, just ask a question. That tells the seller you're interested without alerting other bidders.

I'll see a nice sari, with three days to go on the auction, and six or seven bids in on it already, invariably from people with less than 80 in feedback count. They obviously don't understand eBay's automatic bidding and they're just bidding each other up. I don't bid until the last few seconds of the auction, and I almost always win at the lowest possible winning amount. If I had placed the same bid earlier, someone would have "nibbled" my bid all the way up.

(Bidding in the last few seconds is called "sniping", and it's despised by people who don't understand automatic bids. The explanation of automatic bidding is complicated, but once understood, the concept is simple.)

So I do a little research on the other bidders who have revealed their interest. I look at what they've bought ("won") lately, and how much they paid, how much they're willing to go for an item of this type. I look at what their interests seem to be. I look to see if they have a habit of "nibbling" up automatic bids. I look to see if they ever snipe.

And frankly, I look just because I'm snoopy and I want to know what they bought. Sometimes I find some good stuff, good sellers, that way.

One woman I researched today had a very strange buying history. She was buying all kinds of pure junk. Then I realized it was all very cheap junk, and she was getting it at the starting price (often very low) as the only bidder. It looks like she opens with the lowest bid on a LOT of junk (we're talking like $.50 and $1.25 shipping), and then either gets outbid, or wins for a pittance. She has bought and got feedback on about 50 items in the past two weeks. I suddenly realized that she isn't buying stuff - she's spending a little money to build a good feedback rating. I'll bet that if I look back in a month, I'll find her listing all that junk for sale, along with some of her own stuff that she wants to sell.

She's smart. A lot of people won't buy, especially expensive items, from someone who has less than 50 feedbacks, or less than 99% positive. Most people won't notice that her perfect feedback is all from buying piddly things.

She's the one I'd worry about. The sari she has bid on is already higher than she has paid for anything else. It's obvious she's smart, and she's specifically interested in this particular sari. This means I should bid very close to the end of the auction, leaving only seconds. Super snipe.

And that's the lure of eBay. Not only do I get "gifts" in the mail, but I get the thrill of the hunt, chase, and kill.

Of course, the question is, why do I need that boost now?


A sari? Yeah, I wear them occasionally. And where else can you get six yards of bordered silk for $25?

The best sari seller out there is Bee Patel []. Her saris are always in perfect condition, described accurately, well photographed, and priced right. My only complaint is that she doesn't sell the sari together with the matching blouse (choli). They're separate auctions, and it's possible to win one and not the other, which is maddening.


Later: I was just wandering around eBay, and I found a seller, Everydaysource, who has a feedback count of 710202. That's over 700,000 individual eBay ids he has sold stuff to. Not 700,000 sales, the sales number is at least 1,035,309 (feedback from any id is counted only once). That's mind boggling!

1679 Not Hot, the movie

Monday, February 11, 2008

Reviews of the Paris Hilton film, "The Hottie and the Nottie", from

Entertainment Weekly, Owen Gleiberman
The Farrelly brothers could burp out a movie funnier than The Hottie & the Nottie, a farce of corrupt stereotypes that's never more grotesque than when it pretends to be more than skin-deep.

Washington Post, Desson Thomson
Like Nate, we are mere Notties. And we are supposed to feel oh-so privileged for getting to watch Paris through the glass.

The Hollywood Reporter, Frank Scheck
Ultimately best suited for the confines of late-night cable.

New York Post, Kyle Smith
Great actors make the craft look easy. In the Paris Hilton comedy The Hottie and the Nottie, acting looks very, very difficult.

New York Daily News, Elizabeth Weitzman
You've got to admire Hilton's complete conviction in herself as the center of all that is beautiful and good. And maybe such unwavering self-regard is actually kind of hot. Or not.

Boston Globe, Ty Burr
You've seen dozens of movies like this on cable in the wee hours.

Inquirer, Carrie Rickey
Though Hilton may be a model, if her work in Hottie is any indication, she is no actress.

Rolling Stone, Peter Travers
That generous half star rating I tacked onto this comedy abomination is all for Paris Hilton. Come on, it takes guts (or gross dim-wittedness) to appear on screen again after "House of Wax."

Chicago Tribune, Jessica Reaves
Verdict: not so hot

ReelViews, James Berardinelli
A cinematic excursion so horrific that it's an insult to bad movies to call it a bad movie.

Variety, Dennis Harvey
Paris Hilton has already ushered a remarkable three features into the Internet Movie Database's "Bottom 100." The Hottie and the Nottie will make it an even four.

The Onion (A.V. Club), Keith Phipps
How is Paris Hilton in her first starring role to receive a national release? Pretty bad, actually. She's limited to a single, all-too-familiar expression of smug self-satisfaction, and she delivers her lines in a tone somewhere between "seductive" and "dish-soap commercial."

TV Guide, Maitland McDonagh
Preposterous, disingenuous, remarkably unfunny and genuinely distasteful.

Village Voice, Nathan Lee
Crass, shrill, disingenuous, tawdry, mean-spirited, vulgar, idiotic, boring, slapdash, half-assed, and very, very unfunny.

Miami Herald, Connie Ogle
The most astounding thing about this abysmal comedy -- aside from the fact the studio actually allowed critics within a mile of it -- is that it's so ghastly it is beneath even the meager dignity of Paris Hilton.

Los Angeles Times, Sam Adams
It's not like Paris Hilton to rise above her material, but The Hottie and the Nottie sinks so low that all she has to do is stand upright.

The New York Times, Jeannette Catsoulis
Custom designed for its smirking star (who is also an executive producer), this tasteless train wreck asks only that she preen and prance on cue.

Gee, these reviews actually make me want to see it. No, I'm serious. Very bad movies can be fun, especially when you can yell at them.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

1678 Debt Enlargement

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Wow! Amazing news! Hard to believe! You know "Smiling Bob", the idiot of the Enzyte commercials? The ones where all the women look like '50s housewives? Well, turns out the stuff doesn't work! No kidding! It's a scam!

The advertising and sales departments made up all the testimonials and studies. Wow! Who'd a thunk it!

And that's not the worst.

Folks figure if the company is giving out free trials, then it must work, since if it didn't, nobody would order more, and they'd go broke. Right?


If you called to get the free trial, they wanted checking account information, or a credit card number. Even though you never authorized it, they signed you up for automatic delivery, and before the free trial was even over, they had hit your account for another month or two's supply. They'd keep doing that, and it was next to impossible to cancel.

They guaranteed satisfaction, but if you said it didn't work and you wanted to return the pills and get your money back, they'd ask for a notarized statement from your doctor saying that it didn't work. In the meantime, they kept charging your account.

So, the company officers are in federal court. One of the ex-officers is testifying against them.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) filed a complaint with the FTC on September 23, 2004. That's more than three years ago. Jury selection started the middle of last month. Now they're in federal court, charged with stuff like committing wire and mail fraud, money laundering, and misbranding.

And - the commercials are still on, and that's ok, presumption of innocence and all, but what confuses me is that they're still offering the free trial. If they're not still making unauthorized debits to checking accounts and credit cards, how are they avoiding bankruptcy?

Unless ... it actually works ....