Saturday, November 27, 2010

3175 Is everything just fodder for a status update?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

“The man who thinks he knows does not yet know what knowing is.”
-- Michel de Montaigne --


In the past week I came across two items that struck me as strange, but a sign, I guess, of our changing --- what? Priorities? Communication methods? Some kind of social disconnect? Or a changing way of connecting?

It struck me as weird.

Bill Nye the Science Guy collapsed mid-sentence on stage a few days ago while giving a presentation at the University of Southern California, before hundreds of students. He'd been a bit incoherent before collapsing, and it looked for all the world like a stroke. (He's ok now, he was just overtired.)

This part is what got me. He got up, asked how long he was out, and
... continued with the presentation but began slurring his words and stumbled against his laptop, according to Camacho, who said that when Nye first collapsed, students were “texting and updating their Twitter statuses” instead of going to Nye’s aid. [emphasis mine]
That bounced around in my head for a few days. Did it really occur to no one to go up and help him? Did it occur to no one to call 911? And then I found the next one.

A grandfather and grandson were canoeing on the Hudson River, and capsized in Tivoli Bays, in very cold water. The grandson, 17, texted family and friends from the water to tell them what had happened. Others apparently had enough sense to call for rescue.

Why didn't the kid call 911? Was his first instinct to text friends?

Is there a pattern here?

I don't understand.

(And when did "text" become a verb, anyway? That got past me!)

3174 Was the metrosexual born of Sally?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The less capable we are in a job, the more confident we are that we do it well.
The less capable we are of making a decision, the more confident we are of that decision.


Almost every guy I've ever talked with in any depth beyond mere superficial acquaintance level over the past 20 years has asked me if I saw "When Harry Met Sally", and when I say no, has gone on to rave about it and urge me to see it sometime. Jay, especially loved it. Of course everyone has seen the "faking it" clip, but if I ask, the guys say no, that's not the part they mean, they mean the whole story.

Even though I hadn't seen it, it didn't strike me as a guy movie. I thought it was more like a girly movie or date night movie, so I didn't understand what these guys thought was so wonderful about it and why I should see it, and they couldn't explain. "Just rent it or something, ok?"

I never did.

So, tonight it was on TV. It was on one of the weaker stations, so I'd miss a word or three now and then, but I got the gist of the story. And you know what? I still don't understand why all those guys thought it was wonderful, why they'd urge me to see it. Yeah, it was a good movie, but not THAT wonderful.

Maybe they were trying to tell me something? Was he him, or was I her, or were we them? Maybe, where Jay was concerned, but I don't think so with the others. Jay and I circled each other as good friends for seven years before making a connection. These other guys? No.

So what is it about "When Harry Met Sally" that strikes a chord with 40 to 60 year old men? What are they taking so strongly from it?

Don't ask a man who hasn't seen it. Ask a man who has seen it. My questioning so far has not produced an answer. Apparently something got in, something they wanted me to have experienced, too, but they can't get it out in words.

Friday, November 26, 2010

3173 Annoyance, also so easy.

Friday, November 26, 2010

“Life in itself is neither good nor evil, it is the place of good and evil,
according to what you make it.”
-- Michel de Montaigne --


Just as it takes little to make me feel satisfied, it seems it takes little to annoy me.

The lady in the next house to the north is very nice. I'd say she's maybe 10 years younger than I. I haven't met the husband yet, but that's ok. Anyway, they have parties, and they decorate extravagantly for every holiday.

Since closing on the house in mid-October, I have been startled several times by the black-robed ghouls hanging in the trees, moving in the breeze, next to my driveway. This week, the ghouls were been replaced by this:

The view from my front porch -

The view from Daughter's porch across the street (that's Daughter's fence in the foreground) -

Several of those things move. And twinkle.


3172 Satisfaction, so easy.

Friday, November 26, 2010

"Facts have a notorious liberal bias."
-- Stephen Colbert --


I don't know why, but there's something very satisfying about doing laundry in my new washer and dryer. I've been washing every bit of anything washable coming from the old house, partly because I smoked in the old house, but mainly because the old house was infested with clothes moths imported from the middle east a few years ago in some wool camel bags, and I don't want any moths in this house.

Fabric things that aren't washable, like carpets, get vacuumed topside, backside, topside, backside, over and over until nothing comes out.

Yesterday and today I mostly washed pillows. I have something like 12 bed pillows packed away from when Jay was sick and we needed pillows to tuck around him in bed to prevent pressure. I'm washing them one at a time, on the "heavy duty" setting with hot water, double rinse, and maximum extraction (1.5 hours!), and drying on high heat. I'm very pleased with the way they're coming out. Only two got lumpy, and those two are also the two that don't seem to want to dry completely, even after several passes through the dryer. They'll get taken apart to stuff decorative pillow covers.

Daughter wonders why I need so many pillows now, but on a queen sized bed I'll use four pillows, so with two queens and two twins, that's ten right there.

I have a feeling the water and gas bill will be shocking this month, but it's a one-time thing.

Right now I have a huge old hand-crocheted tablecloth in the washer (it may become curtains, or bedspread), and I've been feeling so virtuous I'm poking around for other things to wash. (Jasper? Here, kitty kitty....)

My new bed for bedroom #2 arrived this morning. I like it.

It's very sturdy for what little I paid for it. I like the simpler head and foot boards. I got the "low profile" box springs, 3 inches thinner than regular, because the regular box, although it made the bed look more luxurious, made the bed so high it was awkward for me to get in and out.

I have some mother-of-pearl inlaid tables from India that will be perfect on either side.

Now I need curtains in that room. Actually, I don't think I can sleep there just yet. The bed is new out of the box and it still smells of stain and varnish. I guess it will need to air for a while.

The quilt spread is made of sari trim. I've had it for a long time, but hadn't used it. You can't actually sleep under it because it has a lot of metallic thread in it so it's super heavy, but it's pretty. The camera just doesn't pick up the shine and richness of the colors.
I think I'll put some tassels on the pillows, and make a contrasting neckroll or two from some different sari fabric. Right now it's too much of the same all over.


Current thorns:
  • "All intensive purposes" - That should be "all intents and purposes" folks.
  • "Doggy dog world" - Aaaaagh! Hasn't everybody heard by now how wrong that is?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

3171 Snow!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

M R teachers.
M R not.
S A R! C M MT pockets?


Daughter and Hercules left this morning to visit H's grandmother in south-eastern Pennsylvania. (Yes, I was invited. No, it's not my thing. In case you haven't noticed, I don't "do" holidays.) They called from the road to tell me they were driving through a "winter mix" mess. Two hours later I looked out the door and it was snowing here. Not much, but any, so soon, is unwelcome.

Jasper met the downstairs Roomba this morning, and even though I was holding him in my arms the whole time it was on, he completely freaked. Even after I turned it off, he hid upstairs for more than an hour. Wait 'til he finds out there's a Roomba upstairs, too.

I did some further research on cable TV. Turns out I can get FIOS, which is Verizon. They have a better selection of basic channels, for less than Cablevision/Optimum. I think I'll go with them, since I already have Verizon broadband internet and cell phone, and I'll consider bundling them IF I can retain my grandfathered unlimited access. I saw a bunch of Verizon stores all along the highway, so I think I'll stop in at one of them in the next few days and see what we can do.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

3170 Wrangling the Roomba

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

M R snakes.
M R not.
S A R! C M BD Is?


I bought two Roombas, both model 560, one new and the other reconditioned, one for upstairs and the other for down.

The third time the downstairs one climbed into Jasper's tray and ate his food, I caught myself slapping it on the nose and saying, "No! That's not your food!" Especially because just minutes before, it had been batting one of Jasper's belled balls around the room.

It nudges things hard - pushed a tall mid-eastern brass ewer filled with peacock feathers halfway across the room.

It interprets very dark surfaces as edges and won't cross them. I hadn't noticed before that the oriental rug in the living room has a band of dark around the center. I don't know how it managed to get in there, but the Roomba got stuck in the center of the rug.

I'm learning. I doubt that it is.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

3169 Someday I will sleep in style

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

M R mice.
M R not.
S A R! C M ED BD paws?
L I B! M R mice!


I went to the old house Sunday afternoon, with a list of things I wanted to bring back. When I got there I was so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of STUFF that instead of picking out things to move, I grabbed a huge black garbage bag, and filled it with things I don't want to move (and that nobody else would want, either). I cleared out a significant amount of space in the kitchen and entry. I didn't want to return to the new house empty-handed, though, so I just threw loose things in Fred-the-van that would eventually end up here anyway. Mostly clothes. Some kitchen things. Drove back to NJ Monday evening.

I also made an early-morning Monday visit to the tire place to get the flat tire, which is now the spare, fixed. It was a valve stem again. The five tires belonging to Fred all have fewer than 1,500 miles on them, but they sat for the almost three years Fred was off the road, and two of the five have blown their stems in the past two months. I think I can expect three more cracked stems before this is over.

What's interesting is that the two stems that cracked were both on the same side of the vehicle - the side that got sun. I wonder if that's what did it. Maybe the shaded ones won't go bad.


"My" bed is a 200+ year-old Chinese marriage bed (sort of like this one, but with foo-dogs - I have to wait for The Hunk to help me get it down here and assembled and in the meantime I'm sleeping on a mattress on the floor), and the two small bedrooms will get the Jenny Linds. But I don't have a bed for the second largest bedroom. I have always wanted a sleigh bed, and I figure now's my chance. So today, Tuesday, I went shopping.

I looked at some rather expensive ones with the graceful swan-neck curves on the thick heavy head- and footboards, and yeah, they were nice but somehow didn't grab me. Then I found exactly what I want! The head and footboard are a little higher and flat, but the endcaps on the head and foot have the curves. Somehow it felt "righter" to me, more antique looking. And to top it off, it was about 1/3 the cost of the others. It and the mattress set (firm! with live recoil!) will be delivered Friday.

While I was in the furniture store, the cell rang, and it was the garage door installers. They'll be arriving on the 2nd.

Then I went to Bed, Bath, & Beyond, and discovered there's a cover you can put on a mattress that will "firm" it. I absolutely cannot get used to the Tempur-Pedic I've been using since I closed on the house (it may be fine if you sleep on your side or back, but for tummy-sleepers it's the pits) so I got one of them, too.

So, I hope to sleep better tonight, and even better on Friday. Things are coming along.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

3168 TV Freakout

Sunday, November 21, 2010

“Men are so blind that they even take pride in their blindness.”
-- Augustine of Hippo --


I checked out cable TV for the new house online this morning. Apparently, there is only one company that services this area, Optimum.

According to their website, they do have a basic service for $17.29 per month plus $1.50 for each additional TV set, which has a whole slew of channels, including ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, FOX, and CNN, which is pretty much all I want. I don't need all those fancy cable-only channels; it's dangerous for me to have too much choice. I'd never get anything done. (And if someone who visits often wants more, like sports and comedy, he's welcome to pay the extra for it.)

The price for basic was right, the selection was adequate, so I tried to order it online. And hit a snag. Basic isn't an option to order. I can order all kinds of fancy packages, but not basic.

So I finally gave up (their website is impossible to navigate, I went around in circles) and called the phone number to order service.

I got an entirely different story from what the website says, and then the conversation with the Optimum rep went even farther off the rails.

Me: "I just tried to order service on your website, and went around in circles."

Brittany: "You don't want to do it on the website anyway. They don't even look at those orders for two weeks. On the telephone, we put it right in."

Me: "Ok. I want to get Basic service." ((I have already lost confidence in this bunch.))

Brittany: "For Basic you get 10 channels for $29 dollars."

Me: "That's not what the website said. It says Basic gets a rather large set of non-premium channels for $17.29."

Brittany: "No. Just ten. $29."

Me: "Do those 10 channels include ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and PBS? If so, that's enough for me."

Brittany: "No. To get those channels you need the IO Family package. That's $44.95 a month."

Me: "That seems like a lot for channels I'm currently pulling in off the air with rabbit ears."

Brittany: "Well, you won't be able to do that much longer. Those channels are going digital pretty soon, so you won't be able to get them with an antenna. Not without a digital box, anyway."

Me: ((Huh? Long pause. What the hell is she talking about?)) "Uh, the channels I'm getting ARE digital, and I've got digital TV sets. I'm watching them in digital. Off the air. With the antenna on the set."

Brittany: "Well, you won't be able to much longer."

Me: ((This woman is nuts. Or she's been in cold storage for more than a year.)) "Are you folks the only cable company serving this area?"

Brittany: "Yes. Very few people in your area have satellite because of the weather."

Me: "So, what do I need to get the channels I want, for how much?"

Brittany: "You'll need the Family package. That's $44.95 per month. How many sets will you have?"

Me: "Three or four." ((One in my bedroom, one in the workroom, one in the kitchen, maybe one in the living room.))

Brittany: "Well for three boxes, that's $65.86, and for four it's $75.75."

Me: "That's almost $10 extra for each box. Your website says less than $2 for each additional." (($10? For WHAT?))

Brittany: ((Silence.))

Me: "This is ridiculous. I'm going to have to speak to some of the neighbors."

Brittany: ((Silence.))

Me: "Bye." ((Click.))

Now, am I nuts or badly informed? Is she nuts? Is this normally what basic cable service, including local broadcast channels, goes for? Especially when it's the only service and therefore there's no competition, and therefore they should be regulated?

None of the numbers she quoted have any relation to the numbers on the website, neither price nor channels available. Can I report them to someone for false advertising, or bait and switch, or something? And to whom?

Something is very wrong here.