Friday, September 30, 2011

How I Entertain Myself

So today's payday. For me that means that I spend about 15 minutes online, paying bills and whatnot. As part of that process, I logged on to my credit card's website to see what my balance was so that I could schedule a payment. When I did so, I noticed a charge that I did not make or authorize. I also noticed that, right next to the charges listed, there was an option that said, "Have questions about a charge you see here? Click here to chat with a credit card representative." So I did. After some back and forth (wherein the "representative" named "Austin" basically just pointed me to another part of the website where you go to disupute charges), we were wrapped up our chat. Here's what went down:

Austin: Is there anything else I can help you with today?
you: nope
you: thanks
Austin: If you'd like to provide feedback about your experience with us today, please click the button that reads End Chat at top right to answer a few quick questions.
you: you're a computer, aren't you
Austin: We appreciate your business. Thanks!
Austin: No.
you: robot?
Austin: I'm a human being.
Austin: Your feedback is valuable for me.
Austin: Have a great weekend ahead!
you: you're a very good robot computer impersonating a human being
Austin: No.
Austin: I'm really a human being.
you: that's what your programmer instructed you to respond with
you: they are smart that way
Austin: No. Pine Curtain Refugee*, I'm a real human being. (*Not my real name, duh.)
Austin: By the way, nice name.
you: okay okay
you: i'm just messing with you
Austin: No problem.
Austin: Please click the button that reads End Chat at top right to answer a few quick questions.
Austin: Your feedback is valuable for me.
Austin: Have a great weekend ahead!
you: Okay. You too, robot!
Austin: You too Pine Curtain Refugee.
Austin: Please click the button that reads End Chat at top right to answer a few quick questions.
Austin: Your feedback is valuable for me.
you: Chill, robot! I'm a busy lady! I'll get to it!
Austin: Have a great weekend ahead!

When I finally did click "End Chat" and answer the questions he kept referencing, I answered the "How can we improve the chat experience?" question with the obvious answer: "No robots."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Damn Good Intentions

I really WANT to write a big ol' long post about the cool trip to Washington, D.C. I just took with a friend and all of the fun stuff we got to do and see and all of the WONDERFUL food we got to eat and how we saw real, honest-to-goodness rain while we were there and how traveling well together is an art form and how much the D.C. Metro system made me long for something useful and practical like that in Austin. But I can't. Not right now, anyway. Work has been steadily pissing me off and kicking my ass since I walked in the door yesterday, and there are no signs of it letting up any time soon.

Also, it's back in the 100-degree range here and there has still been no rain to speak of.

It's times like these that I'm damn glad I don't own a firearm.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Crazy Kid

A quicky while I've still got a few minutes left on this crappy airport wi-fi.

The Geej has long enjoyed role-playing type play. She's had a variety of characters in the past--Lisa, Karla, and some mysterious creature named Norway come to mind. However, they were always just variations on a theme. Each one was an older "Mommy" character who (surprise!) worked where I work, was married to Daschel and had a baby named Sally. She is always dressed kind of fancy and wears high heeled shoes. She also likes talking on the cell phone and is harassed frequently by a very demanding boss.

But lately, she's added a new character to her repertoire. It's a little old grumpy man who walks with a cane and has a very distinctive voice and odd mannerisms.  And this past weekend, she came up with a name for him: Yuta (pronounced You-tah) Jones. Where did this come from? I have no idea. She'll just randomly yell, "Vote for Yuta Jones!" or, "Yuta Jones does not like potatoes!" in her weird little old man voice, and it just about kills me. She has dubbed me Cecil Jones, Yuta's brother. We live in a cabin in the woods, and she wants to write a movie about us.

Here's Yuta in action:

Seriously people?! I don't know where she gets it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

In which I wonder how much money I've spent on this type of activity throughout my life.

I was lying awake last night thinking about next week's fast-approaching craziness--flying to/from Oklahoma City for work on Tuesday/Wednesday and then to Washington D.C. for a fun girls trip on Thursday - Sunday. Why D.C., you ask? Well, several reasons. But the BIGGEST reason is that I have tickets to this band, who I absolutely adore and have never seen live:

They play huge stadiums in Europe but they're playing a 1,500 person club in D.C.--one of only a handful of dates they're playing in North America. I plan on being front and freakin' center letting Guy Garvey's voice and amazing lyrics just pour all over me. I will most likely cry because that's the kind of music-lovin' dorkaholic that I am. I convinced my friend Bookhart to go with me, and that fact, along with the fact that I haven't been a tourist in D.C. since I was 14, means that I'm pretty jazzed about this whole adventure.

Have I ever gone to such extremes just to see a band I love? Not exactly. But I would if the opportunity presented itself again. We're staying at my aunt and uncle's house in Bethesda, and we got relatively cheap airline tickets, so we're doing this whole thing as cheaply as possible. However, the whole endeavor is costing some cash. Which got me thinking at about 4:30am this morning: How many performances HAVE I attended in my long, long life? And if I had ever dollar I'd spent on those tickets sitting in front of me, what could I buy? And who all HAVE I seen live? Who HAVEN'T I seen who I'd really like to see before I (or they) buy the farm?

The results of all this insomniac mind-racing is below. Can't say I'm proud of everything on this list, and some of it is just plain random. "+" means I've seen them more than once--sometimes WAY more than once. Enjoy!!

Bands/Performers I've Seen Live--A More-than-likely Incomplete List

DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
Aldo Nova
Judas Priest
Mac Davis
Willie Nelson+
Waylon Jennings
Huey Lewis and the News+
The Carpenters
Sam Kinison
Lenny Kravitz
The Cult
Eddie Murphy (stand up, not singing--thank God)
George Strait
Poi Dog Pondering+
The Sundays
Aziz Ansari
Blue Mountain
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
The Breeders
The Tragically Hip+
Bob Mould
Shawn Colvin
Mitzi Gaynor (look her up)
Van Halen+ (Original. No Hagar.)
Billy Squier
Phil Collins
Cheap Trick+
Night Ranger
The Pixies+
Beth Orton
Joan As Policewoman
Tim & Eric
Joan Jett
The Mingus Big Band
The Rolling Stones
Jon Stewart
Terence Trent D'arby
Foo Fighters+
Junior Brown+
Kool and the Gang
Mazzy Star
Iggy Pop
The Innocence Mission
Cibo Mato
Paula Poundstone
Tenacious D
The Handsome Family
Sujan Stevens
The Vienna Boys Choir
The Secret Sisters
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
The Strokes
Louic C.K.
Queens of the Stone Age
Butthole Surfers
The Beastie Boys+
The Smashing Pumpkins+
Billy Joe Shaver
Kelly Willis
Lyle Lovett
Jerry Jeff Walker
Patton Oswalt
Eddie Money
The Cramps
Jane's Addiction
Nine Inch Nails
Tenacious D
Lucinda Williams
Luscious Jackson
Los Lobos
Crowded House
Giant Sand/Howe Gelb+
Rufus Wainwright+
Elvis Costello
The Jayhawks
Robert Plant
Sahara Hotnights
Le Tigre
The Polyphonic Spree
David Bowie
Matthew Sweet
Kristen Hersh
Vic Chesnutt
Bob Schneider
Ray LaMontagne
Levon Helm
David Cross
Built to Spill+
The Donnas
Chris Whitley
The Arc Angels+
Dale Watson
World Party
Don Henley
Son Volt
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
Neko Case+
Better Than Ezra
Peter Murphy
Golden Smog+
Gillian Welch
The New Pornographers
The Black Crowes
Yo La Tengo+
My Morning Jacket
Blind Melon
Ghostland Observatory
Janeane Garofalo
Iron & Wine
The Gourds
Steve Forbert
The Judy's+
Don Walser
Edie Brickell and New Bohemians
Goober& The Peas

Monday, September 12, 2011

Seriously America: You do NOT want to date this guy!

When I was in college, my best friend warned me not to hook up with this guy we'll call "Keith" because, as best as I can recall, I've never actually hooked up with anyone named Keith.

Anyhoo, I was sort of gah-gah about him becuase he was freakin' gorgeous and sexy and flirty. Dumb as a brick, but still... But my friend knew him from her hometown. She knew what a dick he was and how he treated girls like shit. She warned me and then warned me again, and then when I refused to heed her warnings, she was pretty much like, "Well, okay. Your funeral."

Fast forward to a few weeks post-hookup. I'm stalking this guy like a psycho. Why won't he call me back?! I booty call him and make a complete ass of myself. I run into him at a rock show, and he all but ignores me. But wait! A glimmer of hope!! He tells me to meet him at his house after the show. Hubba hubba!! Whatever you say, guy-who's-been-treating-me-like-shit-but-is-just-so-damn-HOT! I'll be there!

I show up and guess what: He doesn't. I just sit outside of his house for like an hour, waiting for him to get home and then leave, carrying an ass-ton of hurt pride and an endless loop of my friend's voice saying "I TOLD you so," going through my head.

Why am I telling you this? Because the way my friend must've felt when she was warning me against Keith? That's how I feel about warning America about THIS hypocritical douche bag:
Trust me, America. We Texans know him. We've dated him for over 10 years, and yes, even though he may be a flirt and may be "handsome" (as far as politicians go), he's an idiot. And I assure you, he doesn't give a SHIT about you. It's all about him and his enormous ego. America, he will fuck you up in ways you've only had nightmares about up to now, just like he's done to this beloved state of mine.

Remember when you had that horrible 8-year fling with that other daft Republican Governor of Texas? Remember how that whole thing worked out?! Why would you want to do that to yourself again, America? You're better than that! And besides, this dumbass makes George W. seem like the fucking chairman of Mensa.

So please America, do not date Rick Perry. Because if you do? It's your funeral.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Found while cleaning up my office at work.

Handwritten note in a small spiral notebook.

Panic attack on a plane.
  • parched mouth & throat; dry lips
  • inability to speak
  • like a large hand is wrapped around my torso--armpits to pelvis--slowly tightening its grip
  • sweaty palms
  • stiff all over; petrified
  • constant loop of panicky thoughts running in head
  • hot lava feeling in torso, back of neck, ears
  • gritting teeth alternating w/uncontrollable jaw shivering
  • shimmy shiverying of hips/thighs
  • feeling that I've forgotten to breathe & then breathing too fast; shallow
  • nausea; feeling like I'm going to puke
  • blurry vision; spotty vision
  • hyper-awareness of pulse; pounding/racing heart; pulse in neck
  • flushed feeling; hot cheeks
  • snowball feeling; like once it's started, there's no way to come down
  • lightheadedness
  • feeling off balance; vertigo; dizziness; feeling like I'm falling forward or sideways when I'm sitting still
  • sounds fade; become tinny
  • waves
  • out of control
When it's over, I feel utterly exhausted, drugged. Spent completely. Unable to focus or concentrate. Headachy. Very spacey.

Friday, September 02, 2011

So, this happened.

Have y'all seen this commercial?

Go ahead and watch it because it'll make the rest of this little story funnier, and I know you like the comedy.

I'll wait right here.

Ever since we've been letting our cat Doug outside, our night time routine more or less looks like this:
  1. Go to bed with all animals in house.
  2. Fall asleep.
  3. Get woken up at some point during the night by Doug meowing and/or jumping on me.
  4. Let Doug out the back door while blind (no glasses) and mostly asleep.
  5. Go back to sleep (hopefully).
Yes, it's annoying and kind of drives me crazy, but after a few months, I've gotten more or less used to it and can, literally, do the whole let-him-out-in-the-middle-of-the-night thing in my sleep. Almost.

A few nights ago, I heard the familiar meowing and felt a small mammal-ish creature hop on to the bed. Zombie-like, I arose, picked up the cat, and shuffled to the back door in the pitch black dark. I opened the door, and plopped the cat outside on to the deck, shut and locked the door, and headed back to bed. I'd guesstimate that I was about 15% awake during the entire event, so I was almost instantly asleep again when my head hit the pillow.

Fast forward a couple of hours.

I'm lying there snoozing like a champ, when GALOOMPH Doug jumps right on my chest and squeaks his disturbingly-weenieish-for-a-cat-his-size meow right in my face. And immediately, I sat straight up in bed (throwing Doug to the ground in the process) and said in an alarmingly loud voice, "Wrong cat!! I put the wrong cat outside!!"

I bolted to the back door and opened it. "Diane!! Diane!! Here kitty kitty!!" Nothing.

Went to the front door and out on to the sidewalk. "Diane!! Here baby! Here kitty kitty!!" Again, nothing.

You see, Diane doesn't go outside. She's never shown any interest in the great outdoors other than viewing it from a windowsill, and that's just fine with me. It's stressful enough having one feline roaming around the neighborhood, collecting fleas and random injuries, much less two. And she's tiny--a total runt. And we live near a very busy street. You see where I'm going with this, right? I was freakingthefuck out and thinking to myself, "I swear, if anything happens to Diane, I'll never forgive myself."

So I went back and forth and back and forth, back yard to front, calling for my kittykittykitty. At one point when I was calling out front, a cat came running toward me from across the street. Yay!

But, no. It wasn't Diane. It was a neighbor cat who I've named Big Ellen, and she came gallumphing up and flopped at my feet on the sidewalk, purring loudly. I literally said, "Not NOW, Big Ellen!" and headed back inside.

I finally kind of gave up and went an got back in the bed. BH said to me, "She's a cat. She's only been out a couple of hours. She'll be fine."

After about 30 minutes of tossing and turning and tossing some more, I thought, "Well, I'll go look one more time, and then I'll go to sleep." I went out to the back deck and flipped on the porch light and, BINGO, there she was, wide-eyed and sort of freaked out with a huge puffed-out tail, hunched down behind the chimnea. I said, "Diane?" And I heard a tiny "mew" in return. She bolted back into the house and almost immediately hunkered down on the bed next to me, both of us relieved as Hell that she was home.

A few hours later, our dog Shiloh came and shook her head near my side of the bed--her gentle, quiet way of telling me, "Hey Mom, I need to pee." I got up to let her out, and BH said from the bedroom, "Are you sure that's not The Geej you're putting outside?" That BH--he's a real comedian.

I'm pretty sure she's forgiven me. But now the regular joke around our house is, "Hey, remember that time you put the wrong cat out?"

Trust me, it'll never happen again.

And I Somehow Survive Another August

I know I've bitched about the heat and drought and whatnot, so I promise not to do that in this post. In fact, if you wanna read some really well-crafted weather-bitching, then I'd urge you to check out this fine blog by fellow Austinite and heat-sufferer, Kathy.

Even though the weather hasn't changed one little bit, I'm so effing happy that August is dunzo that I feel like dancing a very sweaty jig in the middle my crispy lawn. But I like my neighbors too much to do that to them.

I really have no news to report other than some random goings on.

The Geej is adjusting to her new teacher and being back in the school-groove. I really feel like her principal and school counselor are on top of things, which is super helpful when it comes to my piece of mind. So I think we're all going to survive second grade even if having to get her there by 7:35am, M - F is killing me dead.

Work is going well. I've been working on some projects I'm enjoying and that are requiring me to use the ol' noodle in a good way. And I'm busy. Very, very busy. My annual (not really annual since I haven't had one since 12/09) performance review is coming up next week, so you know. There's that. Last time, I got a whopping 2% raise after enduring a 2-year salary freeze. Who knows what will happen this time. In this economy, I'm just incredibly thankful to have a job.

Found out a friend of mine--my age and a mother of two--has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Again. Her first round was about a year-and-a-half ago, and she caught it early, treated it w/radiation, and it went away. But this time, it's more serious and she's opting for a double mastectomy. She's going to be fine--I just know it--but I also know that she's the absolute glue that holds her family together. I worry about how they're going to do during all of this almost as much as I worry about her. Fucking cancer...

Speaking of, my uncle who passed away from fucking cancer A YEAR AND A HALF ago STILL doesn't have a fucking headstone on his grave. What the disrespectful FUCK, y'all?! I'm not sure why this pisses me off so much, but it does. And it confirms, yet again, that I have no desire to be buried in a graveyard. The whole exercise is weird and creepy to me (as if death weren't weird and creepy enough).

Tonight, The Geej and I will be spending the night at Dah's house. Why? Well because Dah and her Plungette group will be marching in tomorrow's Oatmeal Festival parade, of course. I'm it will be filled with good ol' small town Texas charm and I'm betting that the people watching is going to be spectacular. I'll try and post some pictures post facto. BH will not be attending the parade, however, because he's going to go hang with his boys for the day. Seems the town they live in is having the grand opening of a bad-assed new skatepark, and the guys are pretty stoked about it. Do the kids still say "stoked," by the way? Oh, who the fuck cares.