Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I move around a lot. In the past three years, i've lived in six different towns in 4 different time zones. This weekend i'm heading off to my 7th (but still 4 time zones). And you know what my first order of business will be, after i get moved in and get started at work? I intend to get my 7th library card. As soon as I have a piece of mail directed to me in Baltimore, I plan to head over to the central branch and get signed up. What can I say? I like libraries. They're far cheaper than bookstores (free is my favorite price) and i'm very good about renewals and due dates. I think the maximum fine i racked up in Berkeley was 25¢, which i handed over grudgingly. Big City libraries give you endless opportunities for all forms of entertainment, from books to movies to music to some, albeit dweeby, software. I love the quiet, I love the smell, I love leaving with a stack of fiction to envelop myself in. In a good book the real world melts away, I melt away, and the concerns of the characters are mine. The main character Is me--and when I look away from the page and see myself in the bathroom mirror I'm always a little startled and disappointed that its still me over there.

I love checking out of the library when there's a line--Nothing like stacks of titles to give you an impression of the people around you. It may not be an accurate impression--the whole book by its cover situation--but it feeds an imaginative mind. Some paranoid part of me wonders if some people are just checking books out to raise eyebrows, or are attempting to hide a stack of comic books with that dense tome of medieval prose. I'm always embarrassed that people are judging me when a title I'm checking out has a particularly colorful cover or is shaped like a grocery store paperback. I know most people don't notice or care, but if I'm busying myself making up lives for the patrons around me, it only follows that someone else might be doing the same. I'm a little weird.

Anyway, Teddy wants attention now. He's officially bigger than Boots ever was and he's still kitten shaped. He's teething, and has doubles of many as the baby teeth are reluctant to fall out. The bottom row canines have changed out, though, and the vet says this is normal. Interesting, huh?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

dear valued customer

Thanks to your history of loyalty to Monopoly Local Connections, we believe you would enjoy being burdened with more crap! See, Value is all in what you make of it. We value your custom because so far you've been made to buy the whole bundle--everything we've come up with, up to the extent that we have utter control over what you see, who you talk to, and what you download. We hide the surreptitious face of Big Brother under pictures of happy models talking on phones and using their computers, but every keystroke you make is recorded and sent to the appropriate government bureau or marketing agency, every number you dial is entered into a vast database of numbers--and their affiliates--who can now bypass the Do Not Call List, and every word you say may be monitored for customer satisfaction purposes. Yes, valued customer, your local cable, internet, phone, and mobile service has been selling you out since the day you signed on, and you've put up with it, because without us you'd be even more cut off from the real world.

So now, loyal customer, we're excited to offer you a new method of surveillance, intrusion, and annoyance--the Single Ring function! With this fun option, every time a telemarketer calls the landline you've grown to ignore, your cell phones--yes, every cell phone on your plan--will ring too! Now your kids, spouse, and even out-of-town relatives can be bothered by obnoxious charities like the Anti-Choice Alliance, harassed by auto-dialed campaign messages, and repeatedly badgered by call centers in India who don't give a flying fuck what telecom laws are in the US. And Best of All, we'll pass our savings on to you!* Have your children's cell phones confiscated by their schools weekly! Be annoyed at work! On the road! On the Roof! And remember, if you smash your phone with a hammer before the end of your 2-year contract, you'll owe Us money!

Yes, we continue to value you because you've been duped so far, and you're paying us to sell your personal information--double the revenue! And don't worry--even if you don't select this fabulous new option, it will be tacked on to your bill--and your lifestyle!--next month.

Comporium Communications
Your ONLY way to stay Connected!

*The customer pays for all incoming and outgoing calls, text messages, and internet options at the rate of 10¢/minute or each partial minute, and 15¢ per voice message played (messages cannot be deleted without play). See? We're saving!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

ill again

I think my mom kinda likes it when i'm sick--my semi-annual battles to the death with microscopic assailants really make her feel appreciated. The last time i felt this lousy i had a 3-day hangover, but even that didn't include a sore throat. I feel like whining.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

random musing

why do playwrights and screenwriters have such a tendency to churn out stories about or including out of work actors? every time you turn around there's another piece about the young starlet who's trying to get ahead or the dancer who's shoes are beaten to putty from practicing and still can't get into Swan Lake. I don't appreciate it. Fact is, there are a lot of out-of-work actors and dancers and theatre folk out there, and hiring actors to play in stories about them is flat-out mockery. "ha-ha, i got a job playing one of my peers who's been unemployed for years."

Typically the plight of the out of work actor is not so dire as that of the family under the bridge, but it is very frustrating to see your friends and old classmates getting gigs on Broadway or with Cirque, or even seeing a show you built go to Broadway and get rave reviews, and know that you're even getting passed up for summer stock. When all your education comes to nowt, and your experience and skill and charming personality and good contacts boil down to so much manure, the last thing you want to see is the little go-getter who just couldn't make it the first two tries finally get her big break when the hard-nosed audition coordinator sees her true potential. It doesn't work like that, it never has. With the economy in a rut and interest in live theater at its lowest since the Restoration, nobody is willing to take risks like that.

In any case, out of work actors keep the restaurant and hospitality industry running. If it weren't for them people would starve. So i don't feel too bad for them, as a cornerstone of our society. We should envy the cunning artificers who charm customers into over tipping, and they should thank their 200-level acting coaches who got them that far. In the meantime, i'm going to steer clear of any movie who's blurb begins "two out-of-work actors take a vacation" or any similar masturbatory premise. Where's the challenge in playing yourself?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Craputer back online

So I have this little auxilary laptop. It's old and tired and doesn't like me very much, doesn't have much space on disk, loses its train of thought, and occasionally talks to itself, but i love it and offer it tender encouragement to keep going. Today i had to solder its old-fashioned model-specific power cable back together where it had been smashed years ago and gradually worn away. (read: never trust college flatmates with chairs and technology.) I finally broke down and got it a new wireless card for when I move to Baltimore and will not have access to regular home internet. I've found what I hope will be a good internet cafe about two blocks from my workplace and residence. To all my housemates in Berkeley who used this machine in the living room, awkwardly poised between the ugly sofa and the television, I wish to apologise. I was just too cheap to update my machine until now.

The only reason this machine is still viable as a communication and storage device is, you guessed it--Google. The box is merely a window into the shiny goodness that is Gmail storage, Google documents, Google Talk, Picasa, and every other online storage venue I can find. Who cares if your programs limit you to 1gig of available hard drive space when you've got 6 gigs of storage per email account (that I trust far more than the one encased in this delicate notebook with no battery)? Google, like Cuba, keeps obsolete machinery viable for those who need it in this rapidly progressing technological age. Thanks, Google.

How It's Made is my favorite show ever. I'm writing this on the commercial breaks.

I Heart Hospitals

Somehow, every time a virus makes its rounds about this household, it seems to be brought in by the healthcare professional.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

guv'ment work

actual call placed to Colorado department of Revenue helpdesk:

"department of revenue"
"hi, i'd like to ask a question in regard to non-resident netfiling?"
"yes, what question?"
"both your website and telephone service claim i can use the net-file service as a nonresident, but as a nonresident i obviously don't have a Colorado driver's license, which is required to use the service."
"you don't have a driver's license?"
"I don't have a Colorado driver's license. I have a South Carolina license."
"Well a legal resident of Colorado should have a colorado driver's license--do you need to apply for one?"
"I Don't LIVE in Colorado. But i earned money there this year. Can I use the netfile service?"
"Have you tried to enter your south carolina driver's license number where it calls for one?"
"It says its for proof of Colorado residency and eligibility, do you think that would work?"
"I dunno, it might."
"And if it doesn't?"
"Well you haven't even tried."
"And when my SC license number doesn't work?"
"You'll have to file paper."
"Then why does your department repeatedly tell nonresidents to use the Netfile service when we obviously can't?"
"Look, you haven't even tried to use your license number. Try that, and if it doesn't work, file paper." Click.

I tried it. It didn't work. I hate the government.

Friday, February 01, 2008


so i met another kitten this weekend and his toes are similar to Teddy's. I think he's okay.

This evening Teddy was out playing with another neighborhood cat, who is frustratingly named Boots. (this Boots is white and black, though, and male) When it was time for Teddy to come in for the night, he chose to ignore my call as Boots is far more fun to play with than some lame old human. But Boots heard it and, making sure Teddy was following him, ran up on our porch, which he never does. He ran back down, and Teddy followed. So he ran back up and stayed there until I picked Teddy up, at which point he ran off. I guess our pesky kitten was driving him crazy so he was happy to drop him off at home. What a responsible older cat.

Does anyone find that they're more inclined to use pathetic grammar when talking to cats? I consistently refer to Teddy's "toeses" "feets" and "toofums." I'll ask him if he "went bonk" when he slams his head unceremoniously into a wall. I do not recall baby-talking to Boots to this extreme, even when she was young. I also don't recall talking about her quite so much. I'm sure i'll tone it down a bit once the kitten-related novelty wears off. Sorry.