Thursday, September 25, 2008

Depp is Mad! Death to Decadent Rodents! And Other Pop Culture News

My e-mail is full of pop culture goodies. Just let me share!

Johnny Depp is going to play the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton's next project, Alice in Wonderland. I think he's slowly being typecast as crazy guy.

And, in other news. Stephen Colbert will appear in Spider-man this October.

There's been a fatwah issued against Mickey Mouse.

And, a friend forwarded me a link to an article she read in Southwest airlines' inflight mag about Steve Bissette and the cartooning center he started in Vermont. Watch out for a juicy quote from Frenchy Lunning, the editor-in-chief of Mechademia, the journal I worked on this year.

Mistah Mouse, He Dead.

I have killed another mouse. Before you get all up in my face about killing small creatures and being all Prioress from the General Prologue (points if you get this reference), let me rephrase. I have, yet again, killed my computer's pet, the mouse.

I am highly amused by my new mouse. When I plugged it in, I got the message that the computer detected "a new human interface." I love you, too, laptop.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Give Me Some Credit

My friend, Michelle, makes fun of me because I can and will stand up for myself when I interact with the public at large (interpersonal relationships, on the other hand, get messier when you have to see this person the day after you demanded something). For instance, I will ask people to move over in movie theaters, if it's crowded and they have created a "buffer" zone between them and other people. She's also amazed at how I handle credit card companies.

This summer the CC company with whom I had consolidated a bit of debt, up and changed my due date and unbeknownst to me (I was in LA), I was late with my payment. This meant that I was hit with a late fee AND they rescinded my special interest rate. So, I called them and talked to a representative (surprisingly in the day of automatic systems, it's rather easy to talk to a live person at these institutions). I told them that I didn't know the date had changed and would they waive the late fee and give me the good rate back. Yes. They did it. It was that easy.

Of course (disclaimer) it's best not to carry a balance but I am and have been young(ish) and irresponsible and now I'm paying for it. Just yesterday, I realized that I was out of checks despite the fact I had re-ordered them a month ago. The bank said they mailed it Sept. 10 and to expect them in ten working days. Well, I had a small balance on another CC that I wanted to pay off (because I'm trying to pay off that bigger balance) and the jerks were going to charge me 15 bucks to do it over the phone. After some mashing of buttons, I got a live person, who may have been living on the other side of the world given his accent. Can they waive this fee? Yes.

Ya know, I don't think people just ask these questions. I know that my CC magic number isn't stellar but I suppose they find it easier to accomodate than have an irate person. Plus, they get to try to sell me new stuff but I find it easy to resist.

Just ask, people. It's not hard. Oh, and a little tip on the expensive cable companies? Ask them to lower your rate and they will. I knocked fifty bucks off my internet/cable bill by doing so -- good for a year.

On another credit note, once I began complaining about my dead TV, I have received an offer to take a 20 inch tube TV off a person's hands. I'm debating it. What do y'all think? I was kinda hoping for a flat screen, although I had decided I could not go for the 26 or 32 inch (other expenses are getting in the way). Free is always good but thin is in, my friends.

Monday, September 22, 2008

We Have a Winner!

It was chilly Saturday night and I put on a big sweatshirt that I had not worn since I was in Alaska in June (that thing saved my life!). After a couple hours, I began to get itchy. I scratched, worried that the hives were coming back. I looked but they didn't seem to be developing. After a couple more hours, big red welts started to develop on my arms. Now, I had washed the sweatshirt when I returned from the Alaska with said new fabric softener. It being summer in New England (and summer in LA and Atlanta), I put it away without a thought. I threw it off and took some Benadryl. Fortunately, they did not go to plague level.

I'm pretty sure that my allergic reaction is the fabric softener. Maybe I can safely eat walnuts again?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'm sick of all my music

Somebody help me! I'm bored with my music! I've been listening to the same ten CDs for weeks now in my car. I need to take a break and listen to something else. Now, I don't want any suggestions for outrageous purchases (like an ipod or an MP3 player because I need to buy a TV, I desperately need new glasses, and my cat will eventually need medical treatment for her hyperthyroid thingie). I reach out to my music-loving friends to give me some advice.

This is dangerous, I know. I've always hung out with people who know infinitely more about music than I do. My family never really listened to music so my tastes developed rather late. My friends in college were very much indie, punk, new wave, whatever, as well as local music. They still do a lot with the scene in Atlanta. Here in CT, I seem to have the same knowledgeable friends who are or have been in bands or just have a lot of music in their lives.

The caveat -- To give you a sense of what I like, here are the CDs I've been listening to (and listening to and listening to):

Gorillaz -- Demon Days
Suzanne Vega -- Beauty and Crime
Neko Case -- Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
Deee-lite -- World Clique (I know it's old but it makes me happy)
Soundtrack for Paranoia Agent (anime)
Cake -- Fashion Nugget
David Byrne -- Grown Backwards
Art of Noise -- The Seduction of Claude Debussy
Daft Punk -- Discovery
Black-Eyed Peas -- Monkey Business
Pixies -- Bossanova

I had asked a pal in Atlanta to make me a mix but he has yet to do it. I need to prod him because he's always steered me in the right direction. I know the above list is a mix of recent (and one pop album) and stuff from my college days so no sneers, please. I don't make fun of your music, do I? (well, maybe I do, I dunno).

I've been dying to buy this album from a Brazilian artist because I heard him on the Lehrer Newshour and LOVED the song I heard, but paying 30 bucks for an import album which may take six weeks to show up?? (see, I'm not that much of a music lover -- btw, it's Celso Fonseca's Feriado).

So, anything you can suggest given what I've listed above? I mostly want newer things. Lat time I was in a music store, I thought about filling in some of my classic punk collection, but it just depressed me, because, well, I don't know why.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Other mild diversions besides TV

Thanks everybody for the well wishes. I have yet to purchase a new set but I have been looking around. In the meantime, I have found it rather relaxing. I mean, I do have Netflix which I can watch on my computer -- not ideal, but okay for now. I called up the cable company to reduce my channels, which I had been thinking of doing anyway but never had the nerve, and I was mildly shocked that they would charge me thirty-five bucks to go back to basic cable. Ridiculous! But she lowered what I pay for cable and for internet so it's okay for now. (That's a good tip, btw, call you cable company because they always have some deal going on and they will lower your bill if you show any inkling that you want to have fewer services).

Students worked on a paper this week so I was pretty busy with conferencing and now I have a stack of papers. I even stayed late on Tuesday evening just so I could meet with them during their study hall. I had three hours between meetings so I did something I used to do all the time -- I went to the movies. The Old Mystic Village Art Cinemas is only ten minutes away and I made it just in time to catch Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona. It was exactly what I needed -- a funny, sexy story set in luscious Spain. I had a good time, even though that blonde girl who can't act was in it. On the other hand, after watching No Country for Old Men, I was surprised that I could find Javier Bardem sexy again (god, he was creepy in the Coen brothers movie). Penelope Cruz was also very good. The funny thing was when I spontaneously decided to catch the film, I was low on cash and this little theater doesn't take plastic. But the guy behind the counter said "go on in. The movie's started. You can pay afterwards." Can you believe that? He wasn't even there when I came out and I had to explain it to the other guy why I was returning to give him money.

I told him "perhaps people who catch the matinee of a Woody Allen film are far too neurotic to skip paying." Yeah, it would have bothered me. I would have had time to go to the ATM because only the previews were rolling (though I love the previews).

Finally, I have a new favorite website, thanks to a colleague who keeps me from working: It just lists stupid pictures with the word "Fail" written across it. Here's the one that made me laugh out loud in my office. It's titled "French Lesson Fail"

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Kill Your TV

Not because of all the fun political coverage nor the odd need I feel lately to watch Animal Cops (insert major city here) because I'm in need of a "good cry." No, this entry is an obituary to my TV. For the last year I have ignored all the high-pitched whines and wavy pictures, but now I have no image whatsoever. It is time for new television.

RIP my old RCA, inherited from Miss Kate and Mr. Gene, who were amazed at its second life in my house. I have watched many good things on the set and many, many, let us never speak of the rot on the tube.

I plan on having a flat-screen though not humongous TV soon. In the meantime, I will have to content myself with the computer. Thankfully, I made it through the Daily Show coverage which made me very happy. One of my most favorite moments to share with you.

It's all a choice, people.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Feeling Better

By last Friday, the hives had nearly gone away. I suppose it was because I was at the height of my meds (which I am now tapering off -- doctor's orders). The only side effect was that I felt absolutely bushed. I slept well Thursday night but after running errands on Friday, I came home and slept for four hours that afternoon. I was exhausted and I don't think I moved my body the entire time. Still feeling weak but definitely improving. And this was going to be such a good work weekend!!! Gar!

Anyway, kitties are happy having me immobilized for a couple of days and I don't have to teach until next Thursday. So, now I'm catching up on e-mail stuff I need to do. Been enjoying the political stuff on TV although watching the Gustav stuff just rekindles my anger at what happened three years ago during Katrina. You better believe that gov is covering its butt after nearly 1,000 people perished.

My commentary on Sarah Palin will have to wait but believe me, I will have a few things to say.