Saturday, September 29, 2007

2008: Just Around the Corner (Thank God! I though it would never come)

The Forum Shopping Center...

I decided to check out the Panera in Carlsbad on Friday during my lunch hour (rather than driving to San Marcos - it's about the same distance). Anyway, it's in the Forum Shopping Center which is quite shi-shi. I have been there a few times, most notably to go to the Ashtanga Yoga Center to practice with the master Tim Miller. So, I go, thinking it can't be too busy, most people are at work, so it's probably a work crowd since businesses are plentiful in the surrounding area.

Well, I was wrong. Every 3rd person was a 30-something trendy moms and baby. I'll tell you, for some reason, I wanted to shrink into a corner. For sure, these women are predominantly stay-at-home moms who's husbands make bank, so they can stay home with the baby and go to lunch at the Forum. Don't ask me why I felt insecure by this, because I should feel some kind of pride in the fact that I work, but the reality is that I can never be a stay-at-home mom. We wouldn't be able to pay the mortgage. So, I suppose part of me feels like substandard in some way - like a lowly middle-class scrub who has to work to live.

Reading "Recently" Updated Blogs

One of the funnier things to do is read the "recently updated blogs". Basically, the majority of the blogs have been teenaged girls writing a buch of crap. One was all love poems to her boyfriend. And then in the comments, the boyfriend would comment that "no I love you more." I mean, that takes corny to an entirely new level.

The others had a general lack of punctuation and capitalization (which I wonder, is that them being lazy and not feeling like hitting the "Shift" key, or are US teenagers really that screwed as far as education?), and didn't have much point. I mean, hey, if they were to read my crap they'd probably be b like OMG, this chick is so old and boring. going 2 the mall now. toodles.

It also seems like they speak in texting language. You know, like you have a limited number of characters you can send, so you scrunch words and use numbers of stuff and use too many acronyms. So much for writing comprehensive sentences and a paragraph with some flow to it.

Heather Montag: An Example of Why, Generally Speaking, Life is not Fair

Basically, the only reason this chick has any fame whatsoever is because she ended up at the same school as Lauren Conrad of Laguna Beach, and became friends with her, thus planting her into to the MTV show "The Hills". Now, I'm not saying she's a bad person or whatever, she could be extremely nice, for all I know. (Actually, I kind of like watching the Hills even though I know it's completely mindless. It goes along the lines of liking to read trash magazines like US Weekly, and In Touch. I am somewhat embarrassed at the fact that I find pleasure in reading/watching this stuff). Anyway, so yesterday I come home and I find the hubby on the laptop and he's chuckling at something. He's like "you know that chick from the Hills?", and there she was in all her horrific lip synch-ing glory. I could sing better than her with strep throat.

That's right, she has a single and a record deal. WTF. This is why I say that sometimes Life Is Not Fair.

(And if you do end up watching that video clip, check out Spencer Pratt (her fiance) in the back. He looks ridiculous. Never mind her dance moves - I mean, I can't dance at all, but she looks pretty darn awkward if you ask me).

Friday, September 28, 2007

Roar Lions Roar

My Alma Mater in the News Again. And Again it's Controversial.

Last time it was some less than becoming student behavior at the Columbia College Republicans' Minuteman Forum, which, I admit, was pretty childish considering it's an ivy league school (they basically boo'd and heckled speakers and made a ruckus). However, I was still happy to see that the students actually care about politics enough to do *something* (albeit immature), and thank God they were on the side of the "good guys" :o)

This time it's the Iranian president, Ahmadinejad. While I was impressed that Columbia chose to invite him, it did seem a little odd. What was more weird was Bolliger's introduction. He basically bashed the guy that he invited, which was strange. I mean, hey, this dude, Ahmadinejad, is completely delusional (no homosexuals in Iran? Right.) and a good chunk of the stuff he was spewing was most likely "propaganda" to promote Iran as a cosmopolitan society (women have the utmost freedom? Doesn't appear that homosexuals do, though. So much for that forward-thinking, open society). That being said, you don't invite someone and then bash him in his introduction. It's bad manners.

Anyway, after reading some articles on the talk, I feel no better about the Middle East. The only luke-warm thing I read was that Ahmadinejad is convinced that Iraq doesn't need our help. Good! Let's get the f**k out of there! Our dollar is in the shitter. The economy is teetering on the ledge of a tall building, about to commit recession suicide -- but we need to spend another 190 billion dollars on this "war"? Let's listen to the only somewhat sane thing this crazy mo-fo dictator said and get the hell out of there already.

The Halti/Gentle Leader

One of my many (I am not even sure how many I have, probably a ba-jillion) pet peeves is people's ignorant reactions to the halti collar. Now, we all know, that a good number of dogs pull when they are taken for a walk. They get so excited they could care less about who is on the other end of the leash and the pull like a maniac, choking themselves, god-awful noises, like you are killing them. They do it to themselves. Anyway, this makes for a crappy walking experience. So, the Halti collar to the rescue. Stops them from pulling because pulling just leads them to turn their heads towards you, which is pointless, yes?

Unfortunately, people not educated on dogs and training think its a muzzle. I cannot tell you how many times people stop with looks of apprehension at my 25 pound Miniature Australian Shepherd. I mean, seriously, she has a really small jaw. Dogs like her were not bred to do damage via biting. They are for herding, so the most they can do is nip (which is why she is screwed if they ever gets into a serious dog fight - she can't do diddly squat). One time these teenagers looks at my two pups with their haltis on as she walked by and whined "please don't kill me". Are you serious? And just yesterday this Asian lady stopped in her tracks like Nikki was an attack dog.

If you just look at the collar with some common sense you'll see that it couldn't possibly be a muzzle. Their jaws are free to bite and eat whatever they please! Bah!

At least it's Friday!!! And Pay Day! And the one day a week I allow myself to splurge on Starbucks! Woo hoo!

Oh, it's the little things in life. Doesn't take much to please me, I guess :o)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Should Probably Be Mopping the Floor, But Instead, Procrastination

So I know there's a "Crazy Cat Lady" but I feel like I have the potential to become the "Crazy Dog Lady"

Last weekend I impulsively decided to foster a dog (like 2 wasn't enough). But I couldn't help it - seriously, this dog is so cute in the dorkiest way. He is likely a German Shorthaired Pointer and Saluki (or Whippet) mix which is about a weird of a cross as it gets. His face is too funny - it looks like he got punched in the nose or slammed into a wall because his nose is like a 1/2 inch off center. And his mouth appears to be too small to hold all his teeth because they are so crooked. But such a cutie and a good boy. Hopefully he gets a good home (though secretly I kind of want him to stick around the rescue until I have the bandwith to handle another dog or when Rusty finally buys the farm).

On Repeat is...

my newest music addiction, Sara Bareilles. I tend to be one of those borderline OCD types where I can listen to the same song over and over again. Repeat was made for me. Anyway, the whole darn album is good. Love Song was what reeled me in though - heard is randomly on Sirius 9, the Pulse. When I hear artists like her (and Norah Jones, Corrinne Bailey Rae, Colie Callait, etc) it kind of makes me wish that I had pursued music. I enjoy it more than being a programmer! And I swear I'm happy as a clam doing karaoke (not to mention that I have all that Piano under my belt). But the fact of the matter is it would have been alot of hard work and perhaps I am not willing to be that uncomfortable. I don't want to be strapped for cash all the time and without health insurance because I can't have a real job due to the time necessary to try to cultivate a musical career. And I was raised to value money and security more so that doing something that perhaps I would enjoy more...

I am typing this on my new Mac Mini!

Yup, I succumbed and bought it. I am on a mission to remove my depedency on Microsoft. It's not like it's great stuff and the virus stuff is a pain in the ass. Plus, as a Java programmer, they produce the only real viable enterprise-level framework that can perhaps compete with Java EE. To me, it's not as good as Java since you have to pay for it (and then pay some more, and some more, etc) and it has to be run on servers running Microsoft operating systems (pay some more). Screw that. Java is free, run on whatever you got.

Vegeteraran?

I think I need to suck it up and just do it. Last night we were watching a DVR's 60 minutes and the were talking about sharks and all the hoopla with attacks and such. They also talked about how expensive shark fins are and though it's illegal in most countries to "harvest" them, sell them, the sharks are usually caught in international waters where there is no law. They showed some footage of "fishermen" (that's a nice term for them, I can think of more appropriate words to descrive these people) catching them and just cutting off their fins (alive, mind you) and then just dumping them back in to die. It really disgusted me the disrespect for life. I mean, I think I would be less disgusted if they actually used the whole animal, I mean, they sell shark meat. It is abhorrent to me to leave them to die like that -- if that animal is giving it's live to you so you can eat, then use the whole animal, not just 5% of it's body and leave the rest to rot. So please skip the shark fin soup if you're in China.

And Can't Forget This! ArgsafLsga!@!#!#JHJLK. F'ing Red Sox

Are pulling another September choke, going from 5.5 games ahead a few weeks ago to only 1.5 ahead. Well today it's 2.5 games ahead. And at least the Yankees are losing to Tampa bay -- looks like they came back in the 8th inning to take the lead. He he. Well, we'll see because if the Red Sox will their division they may still choke. Can't get your hopes up with them -- at least I can't.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Just for Shits and Giggles

As I suspected, no one is reading this drivel, confirmed by my daily stats. Oh well. Perhaps if I tell people about it, someone will actually read it. ho hum.

Anyway.

A. First Soy Milk, Now Bank of America

It's interesting how cashier-type people love to give me advice on my everyday choices. First it was the soy milk, this time it was my banking choice.

I go to the Post Office (note that I have no beef with USPS folk, seeing as I am the daughter of a lifer letter-carrier) to cash a money order and they only have $100 (no small bills totaling $100 apparently). I say, "oh, ok, I'll just deposit it in the bank", so then she tells me I can just give the money order as-is to the bank and they will deposit it. Now the last time I was at a Bank of America ATM, they had this nifty, though scary, new deposit system that doesn't involve envelopes - it just scans your check or cash and tells you how much it is and you confirm the deposit amount(s). There was no money order deposit option, just cash or check. So I tell her this and she mentions going to a teller, and tell her I can't because our account type doesn't have free-human-teller visits, you gotta pay a fee.

That leads to another passerby clerk chiming in: "So the question is, why are you with Bank of America? ... Wamu has no-fee checking... [blah blah blah]"

Um, ok. You are a secret Wamu guerilla marketer? Yes?

I go on to explain that it's what my husband had and we just merged, them, blah blah. And Wamu isn't really fee-free, because I've had them before and they charge you miscellaneous things here and there (like depositing more than "n" rolls of coins!)... blah blah [let's move on, no?]

"Is your husband in the military?" (not completely out of the blue since Camp Pendleton is just down the road, but still)

"No, no, he's not in the military".

"Oh I was going to say: Navy Federal!"

Is this the anti-Bank-of-America headquarters? I steered clear of asking why she was so against B of A; I didn't want to open that can of crazy.

I must have "Need help with trivial decisions" written on my forehead.

Either that or this town is full of people that strongly couple their personal identity with their milk-substitute and/or banking choices.

B. Netbank in the Crapper

Yes, it is. It has nearly been flushed completely down. It's like a turd that floats there, lingering, having not gone down the first time.

And if it were not that I compulsively check our finances, I probably wouldn't have known any different. I was logging into online banking and noticed a link about selling their deposit assets to EverBank... And I'm thinking "Why"? Well, turns out their stock has been booted from the regular exchange for being under a dollar per share for an extended period of time. It's at a whopping 8 cents a share. Thank God for the the FDIC insuring deposit accounts up to 100K or else I'd be seriously worried about my money. I'm already marginally worried as it's a substantial amount of cash (at least to me, a working-class scrub), so I've started to transition to Capital One. Crazy though, that had I not seen that link, I would never have poked around further and found out they are a 1 star out of 5 stars on the "Safe and Sound" scale. (note that when I opened the account back in 2001, they were a 3 or 4 according to BankRate.com so they have really taken a shit everywhere).

C. "Starbucks".equals("DrugDealer")? (ok, maybe an exaggeration)

I used to be someone who never drank coffee. Like never ever. A good part of the reason was that I am lactose-intolerant and I can't drink it black, so just not an option. One day I try a soy-latte with a sugar-free syrup. I have no idea why I walked into Starbucks that day, I have completely forgotten the catalyst but it's been months now that I've been drinking some form of coffee nearly every day. I feel like perhaps I'm addicted (?). To curtail costs, I've even brought in soy milk to the office so I can have office coffee rather than spending 3.50/day.

I mean Starbucks in particular, to me, is a pseudo-drug-dealer, in a way. If I weren't the frugal gal that I am and were more flippant with a few bucks a day, I wouldn't even bother with work coffee. They would have me hook-line-and-sinker, shelling out (... $3.50*22days...=) 77 bucks a month! That, my friend, is significant. So I work to whittle it down to perhaps ($3.50*7 days=) 24.50 :o)

D. Britney Brough-ha-ha

This was really interesting to watch. I was actually looking forward to seeing her give a good "Britney" performance because as much as I outwardly show disdain for her and her music, I secretly kind of like her, in some dorky pre-teen-esque kind of way.

But oh, was it bad. I coudln't figure out if she was nervous, stoned, and just didn't give a F**K. I also think that it's time to stop wearing the next-to-nothing outfits. Not that I have anything to say about her body because, in reality, it's better than mine. BUT! If you choose to wear almost nothing, you are going to be ripped to pieces by the media if you are not in the shape of your life. I think she needs to tweak her idea of what is "sexy" to include more than being practically naked.

E. Biggest Loser! Yipee!

Only a few words here. I love this show. Love it. That is all.

F. Sub-terranian Irrigation Systems

We are becoming regular experts on sprinkler systems. Ok, perhaps not experts, but at least able to fix basic issues without calling a landscape dude who would probably charge us 50-100 bucks. Of course, is we assign a dollar value to hours spent, perhaps it's more than paying someone, but still. Even if you pay someone you have to be at the house while he works and then are you really going to spend those hours "making money"? Or sitting in from of the TV scratching your ass? Yeah.

G. Differin/Retin-A not covered over age 25... Perhaps I can classify my Chin as a dependent born after 1982

When I read this line in my new health insurance policy I was annoyed, if not feeling repressed by the "man". Adult acne in women in the 30s is extremely common. Though I am still, by only months, in my 20s, I have acne. And it's a problem - I am tired of my chin breaking out on a weekly basis. So, if I go to a dermatologist he can't prescribe these skin medications because I'm over 25?! That is bullshit if I have ever heard it. And it's yet another example of hour f**ked up our healthcare system is. Insurance companies find every which way to Sunday not to have to pay for something. It's bogus.

So if they have excuses up the wazoo that allow them to not cover things, I should be able to claim my chin separate from the rest of my body since it appears to be in it's own universe.

I. Be Thankful You Don't Have to Eat Your Pet

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/africa/09/14/pets.zimbabwe.ap/index.html