Friday, July 29, 2005

Fun at Lunch

Today, jes and I went shopping on our lunch breack.

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"Dude, I totally just stole a pair of socks!" "Get out of here! Me, too!"

Ok, we didn't shoplift, we don't look like these girls, and we weren't wearing tennis shoes. But other than that, it was exactly like this picture.

So anyway, Harold's was having its annual warehouse sale. I go every year. It was a lot of fun. I spent too much money. Jes didn't want to go because she was trying to responsible with her budget, but I guilted her into it. It wasn't hard.

Anyway, I love the warehouse sale, because I think Harold's regularly priced stuff is a little steep.
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$52 for a scarf? Who are you kidding?

That's why I love the warehouse sale. Everything is c-h-e-a-p. Every year I go and buy as many pairs of black slacks as I can find. This year, they didn't have any. They did have lots of ugly pants and weird shirts with bunchy stuff on it. They had a lot of shirts for men that looked like this:
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Um, is there a pocket in the FRONT of his shirt? Or is he missing a hand? What is up with that?

The biggest disappointment was that in the men's section, they had ARGYLE stuff, but in the women's, they had none.

I.love.argyle.

I don't know why, I just do. I would totally wear these socks:
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And any guy who's wearing an argyle sweater looks a little bit better to me.

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See what I mean? Yummy.

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Yes, Bud, even you.

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He looks like a rocker, but trustworthy.

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Hey, why so grumpy? The sweater's workin' for ya.

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I don't like it that much.

So I didn't get any argyle stuff, but I did manage to spend $150. And I'm going back tomorrow.

Three weeks of freedom

School starts back up in a few weeks. What despair, inc. poster will most accurately reflect my study habits this year? We'll have to wait and see, but if the past is any indication, it will be either

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or this:
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I really do enjoy school. Parts of it. Like, for example, seeing my friends, and getting to wear jeans every day. There's a lot about law school itself that I do not enjoy. Like, for example, everything else. And, because I like to spread my misery around, sometime before school starts you will all (yes, all seven of you) get to read about my school experience thus far. I know, I know, you can barely contain your excitement. Try and hold it in. You don't want to frighten the neighbors.

ok, fine then

I'm switching back to JLR.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

An article about a blogger

here

It's via National Review, which for those of you who do not know, is a conservative magazine. But their blog The Corner regularly links to articles and websites from both sides, and both the blog and the rest of the website often talk about non-political stuff. This article, for example, is about a blogger who (surprise, surprise) lost her job for blogging about work.

The article is entertaining, but it raises an interesting question: do you think employers are out of line for firing indiscriminate blogging employees, or are they doing the right thing?

Maybe you had to be there

I was telling jes today about how RR and I have exactly the same sense of humor, and so on any given night you'll find us laughing so hard that we're crying, but if we told you what we were laughing at, you probably wouldnt' think it was that funny. For example, I told jes about this episode (and as I predicted, she didn't laugh):

One time in college, when we were at the grocery store, we were walking down the pet supplies aisle, and they had this brand of kitty litter, the name of which I suppose was intended to say that your cat would like that brand. The name of it was "kitty please." So OF COURSE one of us looked at the other and said "you think the cats would like this? Oh kitty, please." And then we both cracked up. To this day, seven years later, we still use it in place of "girl, please" or the less polite variation, and it still cracks us up.

Mea culpa

I have caused confusion among my (few) readers. For this, I apologize. Let me take a moment to clear up the confusion [are you paying attention, Jes? I'm explaining it, ok?]:

YES, until yesterday, my user name (or whatever it's called) was JLR. Yesterday, I switched to JJB. Why? Because JLR was impersonal and uncreative. JJB and JB are family nicknames, so I switched because it enabled me to still be mildly anonymous while still allowing my blog friends to have some level of familiarity/intimacy with me--they could call me by my nickname instead of my initials. But this is apparently confusing. I think I may have violated some sort of netiquette ["I sent you an evite and you never responded. Nice netiquette."] Maybe once you get people all comfortable with your "handle," you aren't supposed to change.

So, readers (all seven of you), would you prefer that I switch back?
Jes, deals, you don't get a vote, because you'll just say something to be contrary. And then I'd have to do the opposite of what you said out of spite. Because we're in a fight.

But I still think we should go to the Harold's sale tonight.

Incident Report

1. Was kicked repeatedly by jes throughout lunch.
2. Spilled coffee all down the front of my pink sweater, AND the floor, AND the wall of the breakroom.
3. Now have mystery dirt on my right arm.

And I smell like coffee.

World: Hey, JB, you know what would be a great idea? If you spilled coffee on every article of clothing that you own.
Me: Hey, I'm working on it. Just give me time.

In honor of the occassion, my theme for the day:
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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Sarcasm withdrawal

sigh

Even the steady stream coming from both jes and deals are not enough. I miss "Ben." When is he getting back?

Pictures from my former home . . . and 1 decorative box

Because I seem to be developing carpal tunnal syndrome, I'm going to type a little less today by using photos to fill the space. This way you can all admire my photography skills. :) [and yes, I know that I need to resize the photos]

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Ok, so this is a photo of my previous apartment. From here, it looks ok, other than the fact that the miniblinds are a little beat up.

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Hmm. . . what could this be?

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Well, if we zoom out a little . . . that's right, folks! It's my window! Nothing wrong with the way that looks, right? The apartment management didn't think so, either.

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Here's the other side of the window.

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Here's a picture of rr's window, where the carpenter ants/termites have been hard at work.

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Here's a picture of our utility closet. I'm pretty sure that water and electrical appliances (e.g. washers and dryers) aren't supposed to be mixed together, but hey, far be it from me to demand they seal up the cracks that are letting the water in.

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Here's where the smoke detector leakage occurred.

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And here's where the crack in the ceiling formed. We came home one day after demanding it be fixed to find that the maintenance guy had stuck a pencil in the ceiling. Are pencils the new duct tape?

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RR and I bought something that was supposed to get rid of mildew smell. It came in a plastic pouch, which you are to put in the "decorative box" (their words, not ours). I guess it's decorative . . . maybe it's just not my personal decorating style.



Amazon order update

Regarding the fitness videos I previously blogged about, I would like to note that although the package has been in this city since July 11, I have still not received them. Would they like me to WALK to the post office? Because I think that might be faster.

From the "They spent good money on this?" file

Boeing, DTU Studies Confirm Value of Air Purification

http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2005/q2/nr_050613g.html

"If it weren't for the research, we might have decided just to increase the humidity," said Bair. "But the results clearly showed that we could do even more to improve passenger and crew comfort by also applying new air purification technology."

Seriously, next time they want to conduct a TWO YEAR study on something like the importance of removing "gaseous contaminants" in airplanes, why don't they just save some time and give me the money they would have spent conducting the study? Becase I could have told them that.

And would you take the Andersons their milk while you're out that way?

I ordered something online recently, and today I received a shipping confirmation. The e-mail said, "Shipping method: DR RR DONNELY."

Whaa-at?

Were they talking at the local diner, and the good doc mentioned that he was heading this way, and they said, hey, doc, since you're going that way, would you mind dropping off a slipcover while you're at it?

Maybe he can do something about jes's missing tonsil when he gets here. You know, since she WON'T GO TO THE DOCTOR.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Email address now available

Hello, faithful readers! I have finally created an e-mail address for anyone who wants to e-mail re: this blog. It's impatient_chicken@yahoo.com (Don't forget the underscore). Now you finally have a way to send me all those burning questions.

Possible questions you might want to ask:

1. I’m concerned about your sister. Can we establish a fund to raise money to buy her a bubble to live in?
2. You seem to complain a lot on your blog. Are you this whiny in real life?
3. Seriously--What’s the deal with the no sweating?

I'm not promising to answer them, mind you, but now at least you can send them my way.

From one of my favorite websites

In honor of the two-hour meeting I'll be in today . . .



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A few observations from the office

Last night, I didn’t get much sleep. I kept waking up. At one point, I woke up at 12:40, convinced that it was time to get up and that somehow I’d set my clock wrong. It was variations on that theme all night. So anyway, I’m not really awake enough to post anything terribly interesting, so I’m going to talk about people and things I’ve encountered at work and have wanted to blog about. But I don’t know when I’ll have time to do these topics justice, so instead I’m just giving an overview and lumping them all together.


Grumpy. Grumpy’s office faces the door that I go through every morning. She’s like the hall monitor—she looks up every time someone comes in the door. But she never looks happy about it. The other day was her birthday, and someone had gone to a lot of trouble. There was a happy birthday streamer on the door and confetti everywhere, and in the middle of all this joviality sat Grumpy, looking as curmudgeonly as ever. I wished that I had my camera with me. She actually smiled at me today, and the words “pod people” came to mind.


Thunder boy. There’s this guy that occasionally takes the stairs to leave at the same time I do. Twice now I’ve been ahead of him, and apparently I go too slow for him, but he’s also apparently too polite to walk too close to me. So he’d wait for me to get down the flight of stairs, and then he’d come thundering down that flight and then stop and wait on the landing for me to finish descending the next flight. It was really, really hard not to start laughing because all I could hear were my footsteps and then his:
clump clump clump clump clump clump clump clump clump clump [pause] clumpclumpclumpclumpclumpclumpclumpclumpclumpclump!
clump clump clump clump clump clump clump clump clump clump [pause] clumpclumpclumpclumpclumpclumpclumpclumpclumpclump!

By the time we got all the way down to the parking garage, I was almost in tears from holding the laughter in.


The stairwell. For some reason, as you get down the stairs to the parking garage levels, the stairs are painted (bluish-grayish) and so are the handrails (a nice Safety Yellow). I’m not sure why they decorated the stairs for the parking garage. Also, as part of the “d├ęcor,” on the level between the ground floor and the first level of the parking garage, there’s a large color photo of what looks like a very clean boiler room. I’m not sure what to make of that. On the next level down is a large vent at waist level, which of course I’ve decided will be my escape route, should I ever need one. Sometimes it’s blowing out hot air, but that’s ok. I’ve seen “Dr. No.” I know what to do.


The office walls. The front wall of our offices are made of frosted glass that you can sort of see through. The only problem is that the way the sun hits it, I can’t really see out—but people can see in. So it’s sort of like a one-way mirror. I’ve very disconcerted by this.

Honkish. Every day in my office I hear someone honking his horn repeatedly. And it's the same horn. I hear it as it comes down the road and all the way down the road until it's too far away. There are, I don't know, maybe five other cars on this six lane road--who is he honking at? I'm starting to get really, really irritated. Go back to New York, pal!

And, finally

Carpal tunnel syndrome? Something funky is going on with my right arm. For the last five days, after using my computer for a while, it gets all pins-and-needlesy like it’s falling asleep. This morning it started after I’d only used the computer for about five minutes. What’s up with that? I’m too young to be falling apart already.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Whatever you're doing this evening, I bet it isn't getting chocolate stuck to your pants.

Last Friday night, it rained. And by rained, I mean flooded. I had a feeling it was going to be heavy rain because at one point I'd looked out my window, and the tall buildings over on Oak Lawn that I usually see clearly weren't visible at all. The drive home was so bad that at one point, everyone on the freeway stopped for several minutes. I could barely see the headlights of the car stopped directly in front of me. The rain and wind were hitting my car so hard that at first I thought I'd been rear-ended. So, naturally, this seemed like a good evening to watch film noir. When I finally got home, my sister (rr) and I settled in to watch Laura, and I had a bag full of chocolate covered mini chocolate sandwich cookies (apparently, they aren't officially oreos). Then, naturally, I dropped one but didn't notice . . . until two hours later, when I stood up and noticed it had melted all over my pajama pants . . . and the sofa. I was disappointed, but not surprised. But I did resolve never to eat chocolate while sitting on the sofa watching movies.

But now it's 4:30pm, and I can see that it's getting cloudy, and I can hear thunder, and I'm thinking about how we recently purchased both The Big Sleep and The Maltese Falcon, and Central Market is technically on my way home, and this time, I even have my umbrella . . . .

Misc. Stuff

The ABA actually has a non-inflammatory article about Judge John Roberts here: http://www.abanet.org/journal/ereport/jy22sct.html. Also, Kim, this might interest you as an up-and-coming 1L, the blog that they mention in the article, Underneath Their Robes, has links to a TON of law-related blogs.

You think it's going to be interesting . . . but then it's not.

"continuing surveillance has revealed sufficient weakness in a particular area . . ." [hmm--surveillance, sounds intriguing--but continue reading] . . ."of subcontracting to warrant special attention by the ACCO. "

Yeah, not so interesting, these rules on government contracting. I think my eyes started to glaze over right about here: "the cognizant admistrative contracting officer (ACO) is responsible for consent to subcontracts, excpet when the contracting officer retains the contract for administration or withholds the consent responsibility from delegation to the ACO."

For the record, I really think the government should not throw around words like "surveillance" lightly.

Hijacked? Moi?

We had an Unpleasant Incident last night. It was about 11:15pm, and I had drifted off into a lovely state of oblivion, almost sound asleep, when I heard rr say my name. I cannot tell you how startled I was to discover her standing in my doorway. You know how it is when are awoken suddenly out of near-deep sleep. Well, I was about to be even more startled. Seems that Deals had just text messaged her to say that she'd try to look at my blog, but had been redirected to another site. You can guess what kind of graphic, graphic site it was. And it wasn't just that she had a virus on her computer, because she also tried it on her mom's computer. I FLIPPED OUT. I was all set to call jes and cry. But then I pulled up my site, and it came up just fine. So I don't know what happened. But all the same, I'm giving fair warning to everyone who regularly looks at my blog from work or around young 'uns. Also, today I'm guest blogging on impatient bee, so look there in a little while for today's post.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Explain this to me, please

Somebody. Anybody. Give me a good reason why the book that I ordered from Amazon.com that shipped on July 15th arrived at my home on July 16th, but the Crunch Cardio Salsa video and Abs for Dummies video that I ordered via the same shipping method, which shipped on July 8th, still have not arrived at my house, and according to the USPS website, aren't due to arrive until July 26th? I'm not getting any thinner here, Uncle Sam!

The phone number to contact the post office is 1-800-ask-usps, and don't think I won't.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Yes, actually, I am the Greatest Friend Ever

Today I'm going with jes to the Farmer's Market. It will be hot. Currently it is 85F with a heat index of 90F, and the high today should be about 98F. This means that I will be warmer than I care to be and, possibly, sweaty. But I'm going anyway. I will complain loudly the whole time, ensuring that everyone around me is as miserable as I am (I subscribe to the "taking everyone down with me" philosophy), but still, I'll be there. Oh, such fun we will have.

Warning: Controversial subject mentioned and soap-box rantings contained below

Ok, this is the only thing I’m going to say on this topic, and I don’t want to start anything, so keep angry pro-abortion or pro-life comments to yourself. Last night Bush announced his nominee for the Supreme Court, and the media has already started in. The USA Today headline reads something like “Bush nominates conservative appeals court judge,” and a smaller headline proclaims that Judge Roberts “argued against Roe.” I swear, it’s like the media purposefully finds the most inflammatory things to say just to see how everyone will react. And he kicks puppies, too! I’m pretty sure that Judge Roberts has done other things in his career other than argue against Roe v. Wade, but apparently the USA Today is happy making this into a one-issue confirmation hearing.

But I don’t want to talk about the media here. Instead, I want to talk about how irrational people seem to get when confirmation time rolls around. First of all, the idea that a judge will always rule based on his moral principles is completely untrue. That’s like saying criminal defense lawyers can only do a good job if they honestly believe their clients are totally innocent. There are, of course, judges who are not so great. But most judges take their jobs very seriously and try very hard to apply the law. Compared to what they could make in private practice, judges don’t make much money, so most of them stick with the job out of dedication and a belief that what they do is important, and they take that role very seriously. And besides, how they apply the law will depend on the facts of the case, so a judge might uphold a law regulating abortion in one instance but vote against it in another. So I’m pretty much against asking judges how they feel about moral issues such as abortion.

And that bring me to my second point. People have tried to get around asking point blank how someone feels about abortion by making Roe v. Wade a euphemism for abortion. “How do you feel about Roe v. Wade?” they ask. “Would you vote to uphold it? Would you vote to overturn it?” The problem is, those types of questions are stupid. I’m not being inelegant here, I’m being honest. Those are stupid questions. Asking someone how she feels about Roe v. Wade is not the same as asking how she feels about abortion, and it shouldn’t be used that way. Personally, I would vote against it in a heartbeat. “Aha!,” you say, “she would overturn Roe! She’s against abortion! Burn her!” Or, possibly, “she’s against abortion! Confirm her!” Either way—not so fast, there.

Here’s the thing: Roe v. Wade was a judicial opinion. A judicial opinion is not the same thing as a moral opinion; one is a personal conviction and the other a judgment as to what the law is. Like all judicial opinions, it was written by human beings, so unsurprisingly, it was flawed. Very, very flawed. It’s a terribly written opinion. I don’t see how any person who has studied law can say otherwise with a straight face. See, normally, on these big issues, the Supremes let the cases bounce around in state courts or federal appeals courts for a while to see what arguments knowledgeable lawyers make and what decisions other knowledgeable judges make. That way, by the time it makes it up to the Supremes, the issue has been pretty well argued on both sides, they can see the flaws in the reasoning of one or both sides, and the Supreme Court can issue an opinion that, if you don’t agree with it, you can at least feel that it’s well-informed opinion and logical. That didn’t happen with Roe. There, they wanted to ok abortion and they wanted to do it soon, and as such, they came up with an opinion that wasn’t well reasoned, wasn’t based on good logic, and doesn’t really make a lot of sense. I don’t care how much you support abortion, surely you can cheer the Court’s conclusion while still admitting that how they got there ain’t so hot.

One more thing: for those of you who don’t know it, although Roe v. Wade hasn’t been overturned, it’s holding has been modified by subsequent decisions, such as Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Sure, Roe is the first Supreme Court case that made abortion legal, but that’s like making an interstate commerce argument and only using Gibbons v. Ogden to explain the current law instead of United States v. Morrison or US v. Lopez. Furthermore, contrary to what some people seem to believe, Roe did not authorize abortion in any and all circumstances, so a person could, for example, vote against partial birth abortion but still vote to uphold Roe v. Wade.

So what’s my point? I have several. One, let’s not throw terms around when we don’t understand what we’re saying. Second, let’s set aside labels and easy answers and actually consider Judge Roberts’ record. If you really want to have an opinion on this one instead of a knee-jerk reaction, try reading opinions that he’s written, on a variety of topics, and get a feel for whether you think he is intelligent, whether he has integrity, whether he will try honestly and faithfully to apply the law, whether he’s consistent, and whether he the best interests of this country at heart. That’s what I’ll be doing, and that’s why I don’t as yet have an opinion on whether he should be confirmed. Don’t ask him where he stands on abortion (or the environment, or gun control, or affirmative action), but instead, if the issue is important to you, consider how he would apply the law in different factual situations. Look at his analysis and reasoning. But for heaven’s sake, don’t ask how he feels about Roe—and get your facts straight!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

And now that's all I can think about.

Thanks to jes, I just saw a guy put one of these in his mouth.

So much do I hate Internet Explorer

Has this ever happened to you?

I need to look up something on google. So I type into the address bar "www.google.com."

An MSN Search page pops up. It says "We can't find www.google.com." That, of course, is not true. They can find it. I know this because further down on the page, it says "Did you intent to go to one of these similar addresses?" And under "similar" addresses, it lists www.google.com.

Those two addresses are not "similar." They are the same. EXACTLY the same. If you can find one, then you can find the other.

Is this some kind of conspiracy to route me through an MSN page?

Everytime this happens to me, I get angry and resentful. It says "we can't find [the page]", and I yell at it, "Oh, I think you CAN!" and "We'll just see about that."

Maybe it's all that aspartic acid. But whatever the reason, I never click on the link to the "similar" address. I always retype it into the address bar. Hmph.

Apartments I Have Had, Part 2c

So the apartment we moved to after that was less than stellar. It’s true that you get what you pay for. We weren’t suspicious of the lower rent because of where we were moving. It was a suburb right next to the town I’d grown up in. It was a suburb that I’d grown up making fun of, making comments like “at least I don’t live there.” That’s what I call karma. That’s what my sister calls a whoopin’ from God. You live your whole life making fun of some place, and you’re going to wind up living there. At first I tried to avoid telling people that we lived there, but after awhile, I gave up and embraced it. Anyway, we assumed that the drop in rent was because of where it was located, not due to the quality of the apartment complex.

That apartment was a tip. Literally. My biggest pet peeve, besides the nightly teenage punk gathering with the loud music in the parking lot, was the fact that people would just randomly leave bags of trash in various places. They couldn’t be bothered to take it to the dumpster, but naturally they didn’t want it sitting in their apartment, so they’d just leave it in the parking lot or in the grass so that the rest of us could enjoy it.

We went through a series of bad neighbors. Our next-door neighbors weren’t too bad. They had this old jalopy parked out front that they almost never drove. When they did drive it, it was to move it from one parking space to another right next to it. Occasionally some one would turn it on, and sometimes it would be running while some kind of tube ran from the engine on into the apartment. We weren’t sure what to make of that. We called the car “old man,” and we developed a kind of affection for it. One day after we’d been there about a year, my sister came tearing in to say “somebody’s driving old man!” She’d seen him going down the street and almost went into an apoplectic fit. We couldn’t believe it. Neither could old man, I would guess. But that didn’t happen very often.

Our upstairs neighbors we didn’t care for. While we were living there, we had three different sets of upstairs neighbors. The middle ones were the worst. They had screaming children and a screaming mom. The dad looked creepy. I think he played the bad guy in Gunga Din. The children systematically peeled off in strips all the paint off of the door to the utility closet on the patio. They liked to stand on their balcony and throw things. Once for no apparent reason they threw a bottle of nutmeg into our flowerbed.

They also seemed to be building something up there. Trust me, I know from apartment noises, and that was the sound of construction. People always scoffed when we told them about that, but one night in our apartment would make them a believer. Once when Kara was visiting, we had all gone to bed, and we heard Kara from the living room saying in disbelief, “what is that, a shop vac?” Probably, Kara. Very probably.

Also, in the shopping center next to the complex, there was a temple or church or mosque of some sort that held services every night. The problem was that many, many of the attendees lived in the apartment complex across the street, and these people apparently do not believe in crossing at a light. No sir, every night they would drift like grey ghosts across the street, supremely unconcerned that this was a four-lane road. They looked neither to left nor right, much less both ways, they just walked right out there, despite the fact that there was very little lighting on the road, and often you didn’t see someone until you’d almost hit them. Only when you slammed on your brakes and came within feet of mowing them down would they look at you, and then only to give you a look that said “why don’t you look where you’re going, I’m walking here.”

We also got mail that didn’t belong to us all the time. I realize this is not the fault of the apartment complex, but it was just one more thing that made living there a constant trial. In particular, we received monthly bills from AT&T addressed to someone who did not live in our apartment. What made this especially annoying was that we also had AT&T for our local phone service, and it seems like they ought to have some sort of system that checks for different phone bills going to the same address. Anyway, we would dutifully write “not at this address” and “return to sender” on the front. The next month, we’d get another one. Finally, one month, the same one came back. I cannot describe to you how I felt when I pulled out the envelope with “return to sender” written across it in my own handwriting. This happens to me now all the time because the woman who had the apartment before me had the same last name as I do, and the post office is determined to give me her mail, despite my protests that she really, honestly, no kidding, doesn’t live there. But at the time, it was a new experience for me. That’s when I decided to call AT&T. I kept getting transferred around to different people, everyone claiming that they weren’t the right department to handle to problem. The third person I spoke with was The Dumbest Person Ever. By the time I got to her, I was tired of explaining the story (Picture the scene from Home Alone where the mom calls from France and talks to the police. "yes, hi, I have a child who's home alone"), so I was already a little exasperated. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Yeah, hi, um, I keep getting mail from you addressed to Jason Alden, and he doesn’t live at my apartment. I’m guessing you want the bill to get to him, so I thought I’d call and tell you that you’re sending it to the wrong place. I tried writing “return to sender” on it, but it kept coming back to me.

Her: Ok, ma’am, what you can do, you can write “return to sender” on it and put it back in the mail.

Me: [ok, maybe she didn't understand me] I did that, and it just keeps coming back to me. Can you look him up in your computer and check if he has a another address? Because he doesn’t live here.

Her: [pause] Ok, you can write “return to sender” on it and put it back in the mail.

Me: [increasingly exasperated] I did that. I’ve already done that a number of times. It comes in the mail, I write “return to sender” on it, I put it in the mail, and the next month, we get his bill again. I need you to put something in your computer to tell it to stop sending his bill to this address.

Her: [long pause during which I swear I could hear the wheels in her head creaking along] Ok, just write “return to sender” on it and put it back in the mail.

Me: [pause] Do you have a supervisor or someone else I can speak with?

So we don’t use AT&T anymore.

Things did seem to pick up after awhile. Well, first things seemed to get worse, culminating in the night someone shot out the window of my sister’s car, but after that things got better. The trash-leavers seemed to be less trash leave-y, the upstairs neighbors moved out (guess they finally finished building that second home) and normal people moved in. Old man and his owners moved out and two women about our age moved in. And that’s when the apartment began to fall apart.

First of all, something started leaking in the ceiling, and apparently, if water gets into your smoke detector, it will go off, and it will keep going off until you disconnect it. Before we discovered this, we had already come to hate that smoke detector. It was very sensitive, and I suppose that’s a good thing, but it was still annoying. We developed a system to prevent the piercing, screeching warnings whereby one of us would open the oven door while the other held a cookie sheet and fanned vigorously in the direction of an open window. That’s the technique we developed the night we accidentally blew up an electric razor. Turns out you cannot use the cord from a 1980s men’s electric razor to plug in a women’s electric razor made roughly 20 years later. As the apartment filled with white, acrid smoke, cookies sheets fanning furiously, we decided it was a valuable lesson to learn.

But then the water started to leak in to the smoke detector, which set it off, and if that’s the problem, no amount of fanning will get it to stop. Plus, it was not a battery-powered smoke detector, but one that plugged into something in the ceiling, so the water+electricity combination was making us a little nervous. That’s why we called the maintenance man at 2 in the morning, and why he gave us instructions on how to disconnect the thing. We still had another smoke detector, but it wasn’t as vigilant, which made us a little worried for our safety. As much as we thought the thing was a little too sensitive, we knew there was no way we would ever, ever sleep through a fire. And it didn't look so hot to have this thing dangling from our ceiling. So it disturbed us that they never came back to reconnect it, or to even check to make sure there was no kind of water damage.

The water leak may be why, right before we moved out, we noticed a crack forming in our ceiling. The crack got so big that we finally went upstairs and told our neighbors, who said that probably explained why the ground kind of gave a little when they stepped in that spot. Great.

But the apartment management was very reluctant to do any real maintenance, even for serious problems. For example, the blinds in the living room were broken when we moved in, and though they promised to replace them, in the three years we lived there, they never did. Periodically they would just fall down.

Then there was the time when, after a heavy rain, the area around and beneath my window developed mildew, they didn’t seem particularly concerned that the mildew spread and ruined some of my furniture, or that I developed a respiratory infection. It took a lot of phone calls and thinly veiled threats before they took remedial action. And by “remedial action,” I mean that they painted over the mildew that was on the baseboard. That’s it. After over a week of harassing phone calls and threats of lawsuits, they sent a guy to paint over the problem.

So we decided that we needed to move. Well, after I’d spent two weeks at my parents’ house, with no apparent intention of ever going back to my apartment, my parents decided that I needed to move. So my mom dragged me out apartment shopping, and we found a place that was within even RR’s price range.

The move was interesting. The movers said they’d be there between 8 and 10am. So when they showed up about 5:30pm, we were a little irritated. The mover in charge was a little annoying. While his crew moved all our furniture, he talked to us and told us all about himself. Apparently, he used to play pro football and is a black belt. He even managed to work his shoe size into the conversation. But I managed to keep and straight face and eventually they got us moved in. It was July 4th weekend. One year ago.

The new place is ok. It does have its own problems. Most recently, there was a leak from the upstairs apartment into my apartment, which resulted in mildew. The mildew must have gotten into the air conditioning some how, because every time we ran the air, it got worse. So there we were on July 4th weekend, very hot, sweaty, and grumpy, in a mildew-infested apartment. More on that later. But you see what I mean? I just can’t pick ‘em.

Apartments I Have Had, Part 2b

After that, I moved into an apartment with my sister. It was in a nice suburb, but that part of town was pretty much two apartment complexes, a gated housing community, and a business park. Not real neighborhood-y. Probably the thing that bothered me the most about the neighborhood was really to do with the nearest shopping center. It had a Starbucks in it, and two doors down from that was a grocery store that had a Starbucks in it, and across the street was a Barnes and Noble with a Starbucks in it. That’s when I developed the theory that Starbucks was going to take over the world. That’s also how I knew that I needed to start toning down my personality a bit, because I told a co-worker that I didn’t like Starbucks, and she rolled her eyes and said, “why, because you think they’re taking over the world?” I blurted out “oh, have I told you this already?” She gave me a pitying look and shook her head. Yeah, well, right back at you, babe! At least I didn’t marry the first guy who’d have me! I pity you!

Pity--that reminds me. I don’t know how you feel about Mr. T, but personally, I’m a fan. I highly recommend this gadget: http://www.emanation.com/mrtpocket.php. Don’t make me mad! Grrr.

Back to the apartments. It was at this apartment that the radio was stolen out of my car for the second time. It wasn’t even a fancy radio—it didn’t even have a cd player in it, just a tape deck. Technically, just the removable front cover was taken, but as the radio didn’t work without it, it amounted to the same thing. The incident made me so mad that I never replaced it. Five years later, I’m still driving that car without a radio. [RR: Technically, you have a radio. You just don't have the right mechanism--i.e., the front cover--to make it work.] Ok, I’m driving that car without a way to play the radio. If you see me driving down the road, singing, I’m not singing along to anything. I’m just singing.

If I'm gesturing as well, I'm not singing. But don't worry, I am not armed.

We didn’t like living there because it didn’t feel home-like, and because we didn’t care for the obnoxious residents of the gated community. I’m not a snob or anything . . . ok, I am a snob. A reverse snob. I’m suspicious of people who have a lot of money, especially the kids who didn’t have anything to do with the making of the money but still feel like it makes them superior to the kids at school who don’t have money. I don’t know where this comes from. It’s not like my family was poor or that I got picked on at school—we were about as average middle class as you can get, and as far as I can remember we never got picked on at school for anything, money or otherwise. I have relatives who have a lot of money, but it never bothered me that we didn’t—I pretty much felt sorry for them because that’s the side of the family that’s kind of dysfunctional. So I really don’t know where this antipathy came from, but there it is. I am also a snob against “new money.” And I don’t mean people whose families haven’t had money for three hundred years; after all, every family with money was at some point new money. I mean people who get money and then suddenly feel compelled to let everyone know that they now have money, because that somehow makes them better than everyone else. Specifically, I mean people like the guy who lived in that neighborhood whose vanity license plate, I’m not kidding, read “Dr Money.” Well, technically it was probably only 6 letters, but that’s what it spelled. Plus, he drove an enormous SUV, presumably for hauling all that money around. I was frequently stuck behind him on my drive in to work, and let me tell you, that did not put me in the best frame of mind.

If you saw me on the road behind him, I wasn't singing.

We stuck it out there for two years, but then it got too expensive. Our apartments were not so hot--I don't think the dishwasher worked the entire time we were there--but I guess they figured we would be willing to pay more for the address. We were not.

And that’s probably the problem right there. As time goes by, instead of being willing to pay more for an apartment, we want to pay less and less. I am now paying less in rent than I did five years ago.

Apartments I Have Had, Part 2a

[this post is very long, so I'm breaking it into three subparts for easy reading]

July 4th is my second favorite holiday after Christmas. I love everything about it—what we’re celebrating, the food, the fireworks, all of it. Unfortunately, this year, the day was nicht so gut. It involved too much sweating, and we all know how I feel about that.

Here’s the thing. I can’t pick out apartments. I may have previously mentioned that I can’t pick out men, either, but them you can give up. But you know, maybe it’s not me. Maybe all apartments are ticking time bombs—maybe they are all seem ok on the outside, but sooner or later, they’re going to get water-damaged and moldy. Like men.

Yeah, ok, I’m not sure how good that analogy is. But if you look closely, you can see a point. Point is [and here, Amstaff Mom and impatient bee are thinking “there’s one bullet left, and guess who gets it”], appearances can be deceiving.

Not all of my apartment experiences were bad. My first apartment out of school, I was living with Kara and Valerie in a place called The Bee Cave. The apartment itself was fine. I especially liked the name, because we could say, “To the Bee Cave!” and then sing the Batman music that always followed Batman’s “To the bat cave!” We thought it was pretty cool. Ok, *I* thought it was pretty cool. [RR: Also, we could refer to your car as "the beemobile." "Quick! To the Beemobile!" That was also pretty cool.]

We lived next door to a stripper. She was very sweet, but not terribly educated, and she had NO tact whatsoever. One thing that never fails to leave me speechless is bad manners. That girl was constantly leaving me stumped as to how to reply to what was coming out of her mouth. It was never anything purposefully insulting, you understand. I know how to handle that. It was just things like, well, like this—one time we’re sitting in her apartment talking, I think about some television show that’s on. She’s not looking at me more intently than usual or anything, but out of nowhere she says to me, “You are pretty.” The way she said it made it sound like it had been a topic of discussion or that we’d been arguing about it. Or she and someone else had been arguing about it. Or she had previously thought I was very unattractive, but now, with the lighting just so, at a certain angle, if she squints, she can see that I am pretty, in a unique sort of way. I didn’t know what to say, I was too surprised. I think I managed to get out a “thank you” and a nervous laugh. I did a lot of nervous laughing around her.

But she meant well, and she really was very sweet. One night I lent her some shoes to wear on a date with her much older boyfriend, and as collateral she insisted on giving me some very tall wooden platform shoes which I would have never worn in public even if you paid me, or rather, unless you were paying me, if you get my drift, and after she returned my shoes she insisted I keep the collateral.

Me: Oh! [nervous laugh]. Um, are you sure?

She was really very sweet.

So that apartment was ok. But I didn’t pick it out, so I guess it still supports my theory that I can’t pick out apartments.


Monday, July 11, 2005

I am particularly "aspartic" today

I found this post on a message board
[http://bbs.stresscenter.com/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=print_topic;f=16;t=000093]:

“I work with an orthomolecular nutritionist (treats with food, vits and amino acids) and I asked him awhile back about Paxil. He said that Paxil will elliviate [sic] some symptoms, but cause others. It will increase your aspartic acid level the more you take it. Aspartic acid is our "anger" chemical . . . too much of it can make us really snappy, frustrated easily and impatient.”

At this point in my reading, I’m thinking that while I don’t take Paxil, I must have aspartic acid . . . and then I read the next sentence: “Chicken has alot of aspartic acid in it.”

Well that explains it, then.

I wish I had thought of this first

but since I didn't, I can't make tshirts out of it and sell them on my blog.

http://www.dpchallenge.com/image.php?IMAGE_ID=126448

Eat More Turkey, Feel Perky

Ok, I tried to post this a minute ago, but somehow it's gone. What I had said was, I don't know when I'll get around to posting something substantial because between work and school I have no free time, plus I'm feeling under the weather. So here's something to entertain you--a website that you've no doubt seen before but is always good for a laugh:
The Institute of Official Cheer,
which contains among other things,
the Gallery of Regrettable Food,
and the lileks.com main page, which contains
the Matchbook Museum.

Friday, July 08, 2005

It's better than even money

Anyone want to figure the odds on this one? It's 9:31 am. So far today I've had a dr. pepper, four cups of coffee, and a doughnut. Who wants to take bets on how long I've got before I crash?

Steve, I am jealous of you

Apparently, Steve leaves for Russia in 3 days or so. It's bad enough that he plays the guitar, and I cannot, and he can sing, and I cannot, but now he's going on my trip. I have always wanted to go there. I have always wanted to speak Russian. Someone once taught me (at my request) how to say in that language "please hold the elevator, my head is stuck in the door," but I have since forgotten it.

But if you're going there, bring me back a present, preferably something very, very cheesy. That way, when folks with discerning taste come to visit me, and they say with derision "what is that," I can say with enthusiasm, "oh, that, that's from Russia. Isn't it marvelous?" I bet they have a Russian equivalent of a dollar store there.

Be safe, Steve, and God bless.

Pillow Talk

I realized last night that because my pillow had spent a week in my mildew-infested room, I will now have to throw it out and get a new one.

Sigh. That pillow was the best pillow I've ever had. Sure, it's ten years old, but it was perfect. Magic, even. And for someone who loves sleeping as much as I do, that's important.

I am inconsolable.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Happy Holidays!

For some reason, I have "jingle bells" stuck in my head. But not just any version. The version with the barking dogs.

It's almost appropriate because Christmas and July Fourth are my favorite holidays.

So, anyway, everyone HAVE A SAFE AND WONDERFUL FOURTH!

Jes, please do me a favor

Please tell me when you have posted something else on your blog. That way I know when I can safely look at your blog without being forced to look at That Thing.

And please don't do what I know you're going to do, which is TELL me that it's safe to go back in the water when actually you've either not posted anything new or have in fact plastered That Thing all over the page.

Plus, she can cook like nobody's business

My friend Lisa is hilarious, in addition to being smart and beautiful and talented. I love getting e-mail from her because I never know what she's going to say. She will be visiting Memphis soon, and I suggested she should maybe go the Peabody to see the ducks. The Peabody is a hotel that keeps ducks, and every day the ducks are paraded by the “Duck Master” down a red carpet to a fountain in the lobby. I love the way her mind works. Instead of saying something like "oh, that's cute, maybe we'll put that on our itenerary," her response was:

From: Lisa Petty
To: [JLR]
Sent: Fri 7/2/2005 9:47AM
I just have one question - so, does the guy actually put on his I-9 form under "occupation" Peabody Duck Master?

From: [JLR]
To: Lisa Petty
Sent: Fri 7/2/2005 9:49AM
That is such a good question that I am embarrassed I didn't think of it myself.

From: Lisa Petty
To: [JLR]
Sent: Fri 7/2/2005 9:57AM
He'd almost *have* to. I mean, I don't really think he could just put "Duck Master"; he'd have to specify. Or, maybe they have a drop down menu on the website that goes:
Master-Animal(general)
Master-Aardvark
Master-Antelope
Master-Bear(black)
Master-Bear(brown)
Master-Beaver
etc.,etc.,etc.

From: [JLR]
To: Lisa Petty
Sent: Fri 7/2/2005 10:04AM
Maybe they'd make it simpler and categorize it by venue, as in
Master--Circus animal
Master--Zoo animal
Master--Movie animal
Master--Hotel poultry
Master--Other animals

From: Lisa Petty
To: [JLR]
Sent: Fri 7/2/2005 10:08AM
I bet that the Annual Hotel Poultry Masters' Convention in Vegas is a rage-er.


really short.

I'll make them

from now on

Mea culpa

I just got a talking-to from jes because she said she has trouble getting through my long posts, and so, because I do whatever jes tells me to do,

Thought for the Day

I love despair, inc. so much that I've decided to start posting happy thoughts for the day. Today's motivational message can be found at:
http://www.despair.com/problems.html

Blogged Down

I'm working on my next post, I'm just a little blogged down (thanks for the lingo, eddo).