Monday, February 27, 2006

Auspicious to Begin With

All Rivers Flow to the Sea is about shock, pain and more than anything grief. McGhee, in the opening moments of the book, absolutely CAPTURES shock, or, well, at least how I would do shock (both in life and literature). Rose and her sister Ivy were in an accident and it is Rose's first day back to school - this you know unequivocally because it is repeated in a cumulative manner for a really long time; until it becomes less appropriate for tone and voice and more important as a literary device, although it does link most sections together prettily. I do, however, have some issues with one plot element. Rose, in her shattered world tries to find solace in the embrace (yes, that embrace) of a boy who has always loved her (if you watch Grey's Anatomy think George/Meredith situation here), she is clearly using him just to feel something, which I understand; I get that - it may not be the best reaction, but it is realistic. What I don't get is the subsequent boys. Not what happened, or why it happened, but the manner in which McGhee handled it. I realize that Rose was moving through the world wound in plastic wrap, but it happened, and then it's like she just ignored the fact. Very little was done with this aspect of the plot. Maybe it is my latent Puritanism (gasp - can I even say that?) but I think that when you introduce sex into a teen book like this you've got to do something with it. It shouldn't take over the story, but it should be dealt with. To be fair, one boy was resolved (in like four sentences), but there were two other boys. And by the way, where were all the friggin' girls at this high school? There are a couple walk-on roles by girls in the first couple of chapters, but after that, nary a teen girl in sight. Weird.

I think that I just wasn't really in the mood for this kind of book.

(BTW, I'm not blatantly ignoring the current poll, but I had this started before the votes decided anything - sorry OSC fans, it won't be next either, I now have to order the thing).

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The long-time winner

Despite its overwhelming lead in the poll, I put off reading this because: a) I needed to reread Eragon, b) it got rather mediocre reviews, and c) it's one long freakin' book. I'm not quite sure why so many people were so disappointed with this offering; it is pretty much on par with what came before. It is true that what similarities in plot or characterization there were in the first book to Tolkien and other fantasy greats are more obvious in this one, but it is Epic Fantasy, what do you expect? I think that the first book garnered so much attention because of Paolini's age - people who wouldn't normally pay any attention to the book had to comment and did so in light of his 'prodigy' status and were expecting something to be different in tone or language in this book that would belay his more mature years. Personally, I think that some maturity was evident in the more complex elements of the story. Too much growth would have created a entirely different book that might not have been true to the first. I will admit that there were some very obvious 'tricks' or twists in the story, but that didn't mean it was any less fun to get to the revelations (and prove me right! I do so like to be right).

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Pesto, Pasta and Paolini

If the pasta pot overflows and it's an electrical stove, will you get electrocuted?

I've discovered that one of my favorite things to do every day is to make dinner. With the unconvinced help of Darling Dan, I got my speakers working on my stereo (unconvinced, as he didn't really do anything, just looked at his stereo 2,000 miles away said something along the lines of, yeah, that's what it's supposed to look like, and listened to me babble until I finally realized that the spare headphone jack was still jammed in the outlet from the move, I took it out and, viola! But without him, I wouldn't have been looking at the stereo with the analytical eye that I was). Cooking to music rocks. I like to cook anyway, but with the iPod connected to the stereo, there's atmosphere. Atmosphere of complete randomness, but hey, who doesn't want to radically change genres every 3.5 minutes? Tonight I went for the pesto pasta. I chose campanelle, which looked cute uncooked, but now, on my fork, covered in green flecks kinda looks like what I imagine the inside of an ear looks like, so it's a little less exciting now. In the pesto sauce I simmered tofu (b/c it was left over from the curry soup and it's cheaper than eggs, not that I would but eggs in pesto, ew) and halved grape tomatoes. The tofu is pestolicious, and looked gorgeous in the sauce alongside the red tomatoes with the bright green sauce, however once tossed with the creepy pasta, now looks disconcertingly grey, leading to the ear problem. It tastes great though, so whatever.

I really didn't sleep well last night. I blame the totally stupid decision to eat coffee ice cream at 9pm, but at the time I was thinking, "Oo, ice cream!" not, "Oo caffeine!" Whatever the reason, I didn't get to sleep until after 4am (alarm talks at 7), so I was expecting a completely miserable 3rd day at work. The morning sucked, but after that I actually got to work reference! It was nice to get back to it. Speaking of desk work and not sleeping, I got a lot further in Eldest last night, and a kid came in today, all proud because he had been first on the list for Eldest, and he wants to make sure that he's first for the next book too. I, of course am working with some bored old guy on when audiobooks were first invented, and the kid is working with the nice older parapro who doesn't have any idea what the kid's talking about. I can't quite hear everything the kid is saying so, I'm all freaking out inside that the kid knows something I don't and that Paolini's written like the wind and the 3rd's pub date has been announced and I knew nothing of it, which is silly. So when blue-hair stumbles around trying to spell Paolini and the kid's no help, I clearly had to jump in and find out what was going on. In the interest of helping out a co-worker, of course. The kid really was just checking, in the hyper-paranoid-excited way of 12 yr-old boys. I did have to sadly inform him that I was sure he'd have to wait at least until about two years.

Ok, then, boring life in far too much detail...

Monday, February 20, 2006

On Tofu, Nuts and Staplers...

Ah, to my increasingly inane life. I'm currently 2/3 the way through Eldest so that glut of book postings two days ago will probably have to do you for a bit, at least on that topic. I can honestly say that I really love three day weekends, and I savored this one as it's probably my last for quite some time. I woke up late, read for hours, went shopping for cilantro and baking soda (as my refrigerator now smells suspiciously of onions), and am now consuming my lovely curry soup, to which I've added tofu for the first time; it is quite satisfying - quietly spicy from the green curry, tart from the lime and fresh and green from the cilantro, sprouts and peas. Oh, I also went to that quagmire of household improvement, Home Depot. I know I swore it off, but I had a gift certificate. This time I had to buy one measly nut as the one they sent in my end table kit was totally the wrong size and would just swirl endlessly around the patient bolt without tightening. And yes, I still used my gift certificate for the 8 cents the nut cost. If I'm forced to go to HD, there is no way I'm paying for it. I also joined Netflix this weekend and quickly amassed 208 films in my queue. It is excessive, I agree. But what the heck else do I have to do? I looked into classes at the local community colleges; they should be sending me a brochure. On an at least moderately more funny note, my mother and I accidentally reenacted the stapler bit from Office Space on IM last night. Mom was all "I believe you have my stapler." It is so totally not her stapler. I bought it for when I lived in the dorms my freshman year. Well, she might have bought it, but it's mine no matter who bought it. I was just lending it to the good of the household until I left. Much like my cordless phone that then died and wasn't replaced. But I'm keeping the stapler. So there. ;)

I'm so bored. I'll have to do something about that.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

I'm sorry, what was that?

Somehow, I got it into my head that this was Meg Cabot's School for the Gifted, ie X-Men. I was so totally wrong. This is another friggin' Arthurian sage set in modern Annapolis, MD. What is with that? Anyway, the book opens up and for the first half our dear heroine whines while she sets everything up. I have to admit that I actually considered not finishing for a couple moments. It's really not Meg's best. However, once the evil stepbrother shows up with his vibrating and mysterious darkness, things pick up. That's one thing, Cabot writes a good teenage boy villain. Her bad guy in the Mediator Series (my favorite Cabot offering) is fabulous, too. I think the key is to make them clever, indeed, sometimes more clever than the heroine, or at least better informed, if misguided and ultimately doomed. Hopefully, if there is a sequel Elaine won't have to be so annoying for the first 50ish pages. It's a Cabot book, I don't have to tell you who to give it to.

Jacky Faber, Back!

I can't make any secret about loving this series. I wish more people knew about them. Under the Jolly Roger is the third in the Bloody Jack sequence. It all started with Bloody Jack, which was where we meet Mary Faber, orphan street rat of London who tricks her way onto HMS Dolphin as a ship's boy. She must maintain her hidden identity and fight off a pirate or two. It was swiftly followed by The Curse of the Blue tattoo, and now this tome. Each book throws us, and Jacky, in to insane and wonderfully varied worlds where Jacky must continually morph to fit her situation and to come out on top, while learning a thing or five. It's like Alias set in 1805 with boats, er, ships. It's simply rollicking, and I can't wait for another - write on Mr. Meyer!

Subconscious Irony

As I was leaving town, literally, on my way out, I thought: "Hey, I need an audiobook!" So I made the library my last stop where I picked up Crutcher's Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes. Although well over ten years old, I hadn't managed to read it up until this trek, which, I know, is ghastly. If it makes you feel better, I will join the legions that say "Oh! I love that book!" This is literally the epitome of the teen book. It covers absolutely every dicey topic possible, religion, depression, suicide, abuse, abortion, bullies, attempted murder, sex. Any teen that reads outside of the fantasy genre will love it. What actually makes this a great book is the character development. Even the accessory characters are completely fleshed out. Adults are given significant roles, both good, bad and in between. It was really a fantastic book. Heavy topics, know the kid or 15+

Evil Puritans are always fun!

I read this right before leaving home for this mad land. I don't think this has obvious appeal to the masses, but I enjoyed it more than expected. In a curious mixture of Cromwell-era England (a historic era that isn't exploited enough in fiction for my thoughts) and fantasy, Gardner gives us a heroine whose life has touches of fairytale and fairie-land. She speaks with the tones of a 17th Century lass, which while possibly jarring only adds to the tone and the believability of her story. Coriander's life was perfect until her mother dies and her father is forced to marry a "good puritan woman" in order to retain a tenuous grip on his holdings. Of course, the good Puritan woman turns out to be the typical evil stepmother, times twenty. Maud (the stepmom) and her truly, horrifyingly evil cohort want nothing more than to get Coriander's father out of the way by making him an enemy of Oliver Cromwell's administration (a very bad position to be in). Once that's done, they turn their malevolent attention to the stubborn and intelligent Coriander. Girls, mostly, 11+

Good for me bad for the blog...

I've discovered that if nothing goes wrong in my life, then I haven't much to entertain you with. I started the job on Thursday and other than their pesky hope that I eventually become enamored with management, it seems to be going well. Everyone is nice, and they are sending me to a conference where I'm sure I learn some and have a lovely paid vacation where I'll get to see a new city. I've quite geeked about it. My weekly schedule, for those who care: Mon. 12-9, Tues-Fri 9-6. Occasionally, I will have to work a weekend, but the aforementioned will be the usual. Of course, the one night they assigned me to work was the one night I might have had an opportunity for social experience, but whatever. (I had joined a horribly dorky Mac-users club that meets on some Mondays, yes, I know, but I have to meet people somehow). I joined the Sierra Club instead, for which (and many other things) my brother calls me a hippy. Again I say, whatever. At least this way I won't have to go hiking alone where I would be sure to be eaten by bears. It's just my lot, you know? Anyway, on to the great backlog of books.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

And for my latest catastrophe...

This is really getting quite ridiculous. I can't seem to go a day without something drastic happening. But this time there is a warning: Mom, and anyone else with motherly feelings toward me may want to avert your eyes. The following post will not comfort you; in fact will most likely instill in you a genuine fear for my future well-being. You have been warned.

I like my apartment, I honestly do. I actually smiled upon my re-entry this evening. The only thing I can find fault with is the stove. It is electric. I have long held a suspicion with those who maintain the superiority of the electric stove. It is simply incomprehensible to me. One cannot effectively control the temperature nor truly gauge the burner in use unless it is very hot and has turned its cherry hue. If one is to make tea in a kettle, as I am wont to do, once having responded to the shrill whistle and having poured the boiling fare, one is of the natural tendency to replace the kettle from whence it came. However, even after turning off the dreadful heated coils, they maintain their heat for an excessive amount of time, thus if one sets the kettle back upon its perch one will certainly be accosted once again with that piercing cry. It is really a most obnoxious inconvenience. It is, however, the second fault that truly creates serious implications. This is your last chance to bail, Mom.

Today, like most days when the temperature is below 50, I wanted tea. Nothing out of the ordinary, I've made tea several times in this apartment; it is February, after all. Today I turned on the burner, realized that I had turned on the wrong one, turned on the correct one and went off to find some socks, as my feet were cold and I had errands to run. I returned to my loveseat with socks in hand only to look up and see smoke billowing, literally billowing, up from my stove. I quickly discerned that I had indeed turned on the wrong burner, had in fact turned on the one burner with something on it that definitely should not be heated. It was only there temporarily, until I found it a home in my cupboards, I swear. So there I was in a cloud of smoke knocking a large plastic jug filled with powdered chocolate off of heated coils. Of course, by this time the entire bottom of the plastic jug had separated. Since I had knocked the upper part off, and the bottom was quickly melting, everything inside was left to burn or scatter. It was really quite unpleasant. I used my favorite shiny steel spatula to pry up the melted plastic from the coil and to yank the spiral out of its plug, the thing naturally having been turned off upon my first frantic arrival. With the exception of the foul odor still lingering in my apartment, all seems to have turned out well. I was able to remove all the charred plastic and chocolate from the burner and most of the rest of it vacuumed right up. Of course the rub of it all was that I had originally turned on the correct burner, after all. sigh.

I cheered myself up by going to a Tea Room I had spotted, as well as a $2.50 showing of the Pride & Prejudice with Kiera Knightly. I do love that movie. Even more on the second viewing.

Really, soon I shall tell you of the titles I've read. I promise.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Simple Desires on Valentines

It was a simple desire, really. All I wanted was pizza.

I'm thinking, I had a rough day of unpacking, blogging, and reviewing of benefits for the new job. I don't feel like making food in my still unsettled kitchen (all that Corningware, you know). I'll order pizza. I have internet now, so I'll look up the nearest pizza place. So I do. Surprisingly, Domino's is the only thing around. Everyone always says that Domino's is evil, I've never had Domino's. I'll try Domino's. I call. I get put on hold. Eventually, a girl comes on I tell her what I want and she asks for a phone number. She asks if I have a local one. I say, no I just moved here. She says that she can't sell me pizza without a local number. Can't sell me pizza. I ask why. She says something pathetic like because of prank calls. I say, well why don't you take the number and we hang up. Then you can call the number back, and see, no prank. She says she can't call long distance. I say, "You are seriously not going to sell me pizza?" She says there isn't anything she can do. I say "There's gotta be a way around this." She says she's sorry and it isn't her fault. I said this is stupid and hang up. I can think of two ways around this. I could pay with the credit card over the phone, or I can talk to the manager and promise that I'm a good girl who will promptly answer the door and pay, even tip the delivery person. But there isn't any way around. I emailed the corporate office and am now very hungry. Now I know why I’ve never eaten Domino’s. They are evil and everyone knew it but me.

Fiasco - another word for debacle


It's been three monumental days since most of you have heard from me. I reached my destination safely on Saturday afternoon. They let me get into my apartment early (thank God I had stuffed my checkbook in my computer bag - not something I normally have) and I've been slowly adjusting to life 2,000 miles away from everyone I love. Darling Dan recently told me that my blog is mostly whining. I took a bit of offense at that, until he placated me with something inane like "but it doesn't sound so much like whining in your voice! It's just funny, 'cause I know how you are saying it." And I said "You Mock My Pain?!" And he said, "See, it is whining." Actually I made most of that up. I just like to quote that movie. Aw, Dan, see me poke fun from afar. At least you came out for the better in the fake conversation. I seem to remember you sputtering in the real one.... ;)

I sit amidst a mad clutter. I cannot believe how much stuff I have. Every time I open another box expecting, I don't know, clothes or something easy, it's more Corningware. Don't get me wrong, I love Corningware, but, goodness, you'd think I owned stock or something. And who the hell am I going to cook for now? It's so boring to cook for one. I so have to make some friends. If only to make effective use of my bakeware.

Well, you don't want to hear about my imagined conversations or the contents of my cupboards; you want to hear about what prompted the title of this post. I know, I know. Deep breath.

I decided that I liked my furniture and that if I was going to leave everything else (read: people) behind and have no friends that, by God, I would have my furniture. This required getting it to travel 2,000 miles, and we all know it wasn't going to fit in the Camry. Getting it out here was surprisingly easy. It was with the unloading that the entertainment began. Well, I can say that only from a distance of 24 hours. The moving truck arrived at slightly before 3; early. No problem. The moving men were supposed to get there at 3 to unload as there is no way I can get a loveseat (or some other stuff), well, anywhere if it doesn't carpet and shoving. A flight of cement stairs is totally out of the question. When the moving men didn't show at 3, the truck driver (nice man named Rick, I believe) and I decided that it wouldn't hurt to shift the load and carry some easy stuff up. I think that he was done for the day once he was through with my job. At 3:10, I'm thinking, hmm, they are quite late. At 3:20, I'm thinking, crap, how much of this unloading am I going to have to do, and poor trucker guy. At 3:30, you've got to be kidding me. At 3:40, we're done, and the guys haven't shown up. I try to tip Rick, but he won't have any of it. He goes off to see to his very pregnant wife. I call my credit card company to make sure I've not been charged for the moving men. I haven't. At this point the apartment office calls to tell me there are moving men looking for my apartment, and is it ok to give them the number? I tell them that since they are so late, I no longer need them. He says that they couldn't leave until the man in NY 's credit card went through. Hmm. They must mean the company I hired (only now do I realize that the contact number I have is a 917 area code - NYC, not where I am).

I call the company to make sure that I'm not going to be charged. They say that since I didn't cancel 6 hours before the appointment, I'm still liable for the full amount. I say there were no services rendered and I'm not paying. Had they been on time I would have been more than happy to pay you, however, they weren't, and I'm not. Well, anyway, we went like, four rounds until he finally concedes, rudely, that I won't have to pay and hangs up. I'm thinking cool, and proceed to unpack. Ten minutes later he calls back saying he's talked to his supervisor and I will have to pay the full amount. It is at this point that I really, well, let him have it. I craftily, slowly, get louder and speak, nay, shout over whatever lame explanations he's babbling on about. I say that there is no way I paying for services I didn't receive and that I will fight the charge until the day I die. Eventually, he relents and says that somehow he will convince his boss not to charge me. Whatever. I've not heard anything since, but you better believe that I'll be checking for the charge periodically, and I WILL contest it, if it shows up.

So. Fiasco title warranted? Topic for comment: Is Dan right?

Injury Watch: I only managed to slice open my thumb with the box cutter and pull a muscle in my neck from the unloading. Not bad on the Jac Scale. At least, no sprained ankle, surprising with the whole tempt-fate-by-jumping-off-semi-repeatedly thing. I suppose I have to wait until the last one heals entirely before I can sprain it again. Next month sometime, then. lol.

Tomorrow I'll have a slew of titles to talk about.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


Quick note before I start today, had to share. The weather forecast for today: Abundant Sunshine. They actually said that!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Now the road winds...a lot

1,707 miles behind me, 315 miles yet to go...

From the Road:

Picture it: A Snowstorm. A Semi. Pulling speedboats.

A Sign: 50 Miles Until Next Rest Stop. Commence roughest and most bumpy stretch of road yet.

How long do you have to sit in a car before you develop the bedsores of a convalescent?

I did NOT want to get out of bed this morning. It was the promise of free breakfast that did it. This being the second hotel in the last, well whenever this all began, to think that biscuits and gravy are a good idea at 7:30am. Disgusting. My mom emailed me and told me to eat vegetables. I emailed back to ask if she'd settle for a disgustingly high-fiber bagel and a multivitamin. She told me to stop for broccoli. It's traveling food, that broccoli. I think that Gwen Stefani should sing about broccoli next, I'm having a hell of a time spelling it.

Today was definitely harder than yesterday. I didn't sleep all that well, got woken up at 6am by a well-meaning cousin's phone call that didn't retain signal long enough even for me to answer it, and well, it is the 3rd day of relentless travel. Ok, the first day wasn't a big deal, but still. Today I actually pulled over at a truck plaza (one that offered wireless, but I wasn't paying the $5 for it) and took a nap. Until my brother called and woke me up, that is.

You know those whiteouts you get when it's really gusty? I had those. And more! I actually went through 'brownouts' too. It was so windy that loose dirt (which is apparently prevalent) would converge on the road limiting visibility to, well, your nose. I hate dirt. It was like the 1930's or something (yeah, right, like I'd know that). The wind was so bad, that when I would stop the car, it would rock from the buffeting wind. Think of me trying to drive +75mph. Yeehaw.

Playlists: So far, no fewer than 3 of you have decided to put Blvd of Broken Dreams on. Even more have included other songs from that album, all of which I love. Too bad none of you actually got my favorite song on the disc (Holiday). It's just kinda funny that that's one of the only songs no one picked.

Dan: I have not forgotten you. Your playlist has, more than anyone's, had me singing along and bobbing my head. You chose with intelligence, humor and sweetness. That is why I love you (in a merely platonic way, for anyone getting ideas out there, I don't want to hear it). I simply had to play the Spamalot song (Always Look On the Bright Side of Life) more than once.

Anna: Being 9, I doubt that you are reading this. However, once you got past the predictable 9-yr-old choices of funny titles and anything with the word 'dog' in it, you chose some pretty darn cool stuff. (For those who are curious: Diamond Dogs, Fever Dog, Hound Dog and Dog Eats Dog, the later being from Les Miz and odd to have in a random compilation, as I would never listen to it unless listening to all of the soundtrack, (= )

Aunt Pam: I'm still surprised you know Rufus W's music. Your list was short, but fun and varied.

Billy: Aw. You totally got caught up in the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. That was really funny to me. I clearly like it, so it was cool. Otherwise your randomness was great, you chose well. And kept me awake. Always a plus, what with that pesky chance of fiery death.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

On the Road

1,110 miles from home. 912 miles to *new* home (!?).

Random questions from the road:

Semi's are not equipped for off-road travel. Why is it that they always have huge clods of dirt falling from beneath them?

Is stopping to run in, go to the bathroom, wash and dry hands, and put your hair in a ponytail really long enough for snow to accumulate on your car? Yes, yes it is.

Why does Coldplay always make me think that my cell phone is ringing?

Dear God, why does Gwen Stefani spell out bananas? Why is she even singing about bananas? Why do people enjoy that song?

What is the logic behind NOT posting the toll amount?

I headed out about noon on yesterday, about an hour behind schedule. This is not unusual. However, it is unusual for me to get on the wrong highway. It really doesn't bode well for a whole cross-country trip (alone) when I can't get out of my hometown without hopping ignorantly onto the wrong highway. In my defense (this is tenuous, at best) I wasn't really focusing on the whole "where am I going" thing. I couldn't really get past the whole "aw, crap I'm going" part. So, I just got on the highway that was going in the direction that I ultimately knew I needed to go. Too bad that added at least a half hour to my drive. Auspicious beginning, no? I only realized this when I called home freaking out (calmly, I must add here) that I had left my pillow (I'm obsessive and snobbish about my pillow) and book (the horrors) behind, as I didn't recall stuffing it in my car (and I mean stuffing) and my dad asked where I was. When I told him, he was surprisingly cool about it (for him) just mildly commenting that it was an interesting route to take. He must have called mom, because not 10 minutes went by before she called me laughing, no, chortling heartily, actually, she could barely get words out between guffaws. She assured me that her assistant, Lisa (whom I adore) was laughing hysterically at me. Thanks, mom. I eventually found my way to the correct interstate.

I stayed the night with my cousin Jamie and his wife Angie. We have a kinda large extended family, so there isn't a whole lot of one-on-one time. It was really nice to see them. Makes me sad that I will now be so far away that I won't be able to visit. I wish that I had visited more (read: at all) when I was a mere 5ish hours away.

Anyway, the above musings tells you, in their own way, about the drive today. I really felt that I could go a bit further, but mom tricked me with the bait of Grey's Anatomy, saying that the conclusion was on tonight. It was so an 'encore' (real people call them lousy reruns) of Sunday's episode. I stopped, and went with the first hotel with free wireless internet. I have a king size bed. I'm so sleeping diagonally tonight! (you are allowed to shake your head in confusion on that comment).

Before I left I asked several people to create playlists or CDs for my drive. So far, they have all come up with very clever 1st songs. It's been very amusing thus far. In order of their listening order (also the order in which I received them):

Rachel - I hadn't heard that Fiona Apple (Extraordinary Machine) song before. It is now my theme song. At least of this trip.

Angela - Bowie was brilliant. You didn't know it but some of those songs actually have things associated with them. Way to go.

Melissa - Cat Stevens made up for Gwen Stefani. What was with the Spanish and the Hindi? They totally made me laugh. You also had the Fiona Apple song. I must have played it 30 times, conservatively.

Sarah - You had the most framework - we've listened to a lot of music together. Most everything connected back with our shared history. Thanks for Etta and Louis, OTH and VM. I still hate stupid banana song, which you knew, so I laughed and quickly hit skip. Thanks for not putting the lecherous Barbie song on that I hate even more than the bananas. Although, I do have to say that it is easier to spell bananas now...hmm.

PS - At some point I will tell you about I, Coriander and Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, the latter which I'm listening to in the car, the former having been read before I left.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Because at this point we just expect a debacle!

Apartment Update: They called on Saturday morning, first thing. Because my mother isn't coming out with me when I move in (why would she? I'm an adult -apparently - and she has a life too) the apartment complex is mailing the lease for her to sign in front of a notary (!). If we are lucky and it arrives before I leave, I can take it with me. Otherwise, she'll have to overnight the documents to the apartments. Someone told me that this whole debacle isn't terribly unusual, but I just really don't want to believe that everyone had to go through this silliness.

My semi arrived today. There's no going back now. 85% of my stuff is now locked behind three metal rods and 2 sheets of 4x8 plywood. Getting the plywood was a super fun adventure. I went to Home Depot, because that's the first place that comes to mind when you need stuff like that. Went in and managed to find the ONE mentally deficient person employed there. Really. It went something like this: "Hi, I need two sheets of 4x8 plywood." "two by fours?" "No, I need two sheets of 4x8 plywood." "2x4's?" "No." "Follow me." And he proceeds to bring me to the one other person who can't help me, this time not for mental incompetence, but because he can't leave his counter. We wandered around to find it ourselves. If, like me, you have no concept pf spatial relationships, you would do what I did. You would find that elusive plywood, but only then would you realize that there is NO WAY two 4x8 sheets of plywood are going to fit in your mother's Vibe. And certainly not in your Camry. I called my Aunt Pam who picked me up in her truck and went with me to an entirely different 'home improvement' store where we walked in, told the fist person we saw what we needed, got pointed in the right direction, paid for what we needed, drove the truck around to the back where someone loaded the purchase into the truck. Piece of Cake.

Last night I realized that I don't have a TV. This fact really hit home after Grey's Anatomy didn't resolve. I'm going to have to figure out how I'm going to watch that.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Apartments, feet and the longest post EVER

Ok, to be honest, I'm sure it's partly my fault. I'll admit it, I'm 25 and I've never rented an apartment before. I lived on campus my freshman year, after that I moved back with my parents because I liked the idea of getting through school without debt. At that, I've totally succeeded. Master's and all. What I haven't experienced is that whole first apartment drama. Until now. Can I tell you what a friggin' nightmare it is getting an apartment? I had no idea. How can people do this on a regular basis? They must hope that the more miserable they make it for you, the less likely you are to ever want to go through it again - strike fear in your heart that it couldn't possibly be easier to get a house, trapping you forever in apartment hell? Well, that's what it seems like to me. I understand the credit check. I would want someone in my apartment that would pay their bills, too. I understand the background check. I appreciate their attempts to keep the axe murderers out, I genuinely do. But I don't think that they could make this more of a headache if they tried.

But let me explain. The situation is, I'm sure, complicated exponentially as I'm 2,000 miles away. I did the whole internet search, looked at just about every apartment in the city and the outskirts. Apartments meeting my standards (washer & dryer in unit for free, dishwasher, not insanely expensive, I'm a librarian after all), I called and spoke with them to get the details and to request something in the mail, a brochure or something that would give me a feel for the place - not a big deal. I choose the one that fit best. At this point all's good, right? Shortly thereafter, I receive a brochure and app in the mail. Cool, fill it out, call to ask some questions (remember, I've not done this before), have my mom co-sign as it's required when you haven't rented before, send it in along with an extra note, for the things I though might be valuable; information such as where I'll be employed out there, how much I'll make and a contact for the verification of that information. They call a couple days later wondering where my co-signer application is. Well, I must say, I filled out everything you sent me. You didn't send me one, but OK, I understand. Fax it over, I'll drive to the library and get it, have Mom fill it out, and we'll send it right back so we can get this moving, and I'll have one less thing to worry about. They call the next day. They need a contact number for my employer out there. First of all, I work for a library. It's the flippin' library. But, ok. I call back and leave a message with my manager's name & number as well as HR's number. Today, they call and ask for the information again. I'll confess. I was snarky. I told the, what I assume to be a young thang, that a) I left a message with this information yesterday b) it's the library, open the phone book. I told you in the note what library it was and who my boss was. Why is this so difficult? I wasn't happy. It's been this huge hassle, and I was, frankly, fed up. Oh yeah, and they had already called my mom and asked her to fax a pay stub. They've already verified her employment, and mine. Why do they need her pay stub? It's my money. Furthermore, they have both our SS numbers. Honestly, what more do you need? I was willing to give them the benefit of doubt. I humored them. Now I'm not going to pretend that they aren't irritating me. My, that sounds quite angry.

Last week I said that I would tell you how I managed to sprain my ankle again, for the second time in, what 5 weeks or something. Enough time that I was finally able to fold that leg under me and sit comfortably. Setting: I was admittedly, hurrying. I was going to Josh & Megan's wedding and I wanted to be on time to meet Ryan & Ben. Ryan wanted me to 'approve' his outfit, and at the best of times he's not on time. And we had to pick up his girlfriend on the way. I needed to get a card to go with the check I was giving them, so I went to the local supermarket conveniently located within a mile of home - pop in, get out. I'm all dolled up, I look smashing, if I do say so myself. Nylons, a cool black skirt with sparkly bits on the bottom, the nice coat I only wear for good reasons (or when the normal coat stinks like the bar), and new shoes. New Shoes. I had taken the time to waterproof them. They are adorable taller kitten heels, black with a subtle bow. Steve Madden (I'm really not brand-conscience, but girls, you'll know what kind of adorable I'm talking about). I didn't take the time to scrap the black off them on concrete. As Pretty Woman would say: "Big mistake. Huge." So I'm clipity-claping up to the registers. It's Saturday afternoon. At a grocery store. There are people everywhere. Down I go. Unlike last time, this time, I know I'm hurt. I can feel the tendons and stringy stuff down there absolutely TWANG and collapse. I'm all put a brave face on it and all, but I did it in front of a bunch of strangers (again), but this time I don't have my friends to dote on me (after they stop laughing). The staff freaks out a bit, and wipes of the patch of water, I might have slipped on (personally, I blame the shoes and my innate clumsiness), and sits me down by the pharmacy with some ice and secretively slipped me some ibuprofen, for which I'm grateful. Meanwhile, there's no way I'm going to meet the boys on time, my ankle is rapidly swelling up (I had just gotten it back!), and I just really didn't want to deal with this. Again. I wanted to dance. I sucked it up after whining a bit. The boys humored me, and walked slower. Everything turned out ok. I even danced. A few days later there was massive bruising all along the side of my foot, and I felt vindicated for the whining. I'm going to miss those guys.

(note: Spell check doesn't seem to be working, I apologize. I can't seem to get a picture up either. Both will be fixed later.)