The Withdrawals, man. I got the itchies!

  • 4 Comments

So the good man and I lived quite a long time in our old apartment. The place was built in the 40’s and had a lot of quirks. Since it was an older house in an older neighborhood, we tolerated a lot of the less than optimal things, but was a fun place to live.

For example, we got pretty cruddy DSL service there. When I signed up for the service back in the early 2000’s, they woo’d me in with promises of 3mbps download speed and 1mbps upload.

Not bad, really.

Well, in reality, we got a lot closer to 1.5 down and .5 up. Pretty crappy.

So I called AT&T to complain. Often.

At the end of every year I’d call up again, crankier than the previous year. They would tell me that my speeds were “within normal range”. I’d say “but you sold me on 3!!” Then they’d tell me that my neighborhood wasn’t wired for any of the other faster services they offer, and “oh so sorry about that.”

Then I’d threaten to cancel my service.

So the call agent would send me to the Retention Department who would cluck and coo over my bad experience, then reduce my monthly rate. I’d gotten it down to about $20 a month for my meager 1.5 download speeds.

It was a breakeven. Not much money. Not very fast. So ok.

This month, we moved into a new place. I called them sonsabitches at AT&T and told them I was moving my service, and they weren’t going to raise my rates.

They told me “oooh….yyyeaaaah….um….your new building isn’t wired for AT&T. We don’t actually offer any service there at all. Sorry.”

Well ok. So I started looking at options.

Turns out lo these many years ago, the building owners used to provide basic Comcast cable to all tenants. But Comcast kept trying to bump up the price, so finally the owners said “go away” and the tenants had to pay for their own service, either Comcast or DishTV.

What that means is, the building was wired only for Comcast and AT&T phone lines. No one else. And no ATT DSL.

Which means….

I’m stuck with $#%^*&%^%ing Comcast.

A little history: It was with sheer, unadulterated *glee* that I canceled my last Comcast service back in 2009.

Now they are my only choice. And I am peeved.

So peeved, that for the past week, The Good Man and I have had NO INTERNET in our little home.

None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Well, ok, we both have iPhones and get enought done using our 3G coverage. But basically….we’ve been living internet free for a week.

At first it was kind of nice.

And then it was extraordinarily painful.

And then it was nice again.

Now I just don’t know.

I have two loaner MiFi devices coming from two different cell phone carriers. I’m going to see if 4G mobile coverage will get us there. I’m not optimistic. My last evaluation of MiFi service wasn’t positive (great with one device on it, but slows miserably as each new device hops on).

And I am really not a fan of DishTV.

So here I am. Back at Comcast.

How possibly can I live in the middle of a very bustling neighborhood in the very *heart* of the most technologically interesting place in the world, and I can’t get simple, stupid freaking DSL service!?!?!

As an aside, I have to laugh at how reliant I’ve become on having my WiFi internet at the ready. Maybe I need to detox from it. Maybe it’s time to step back.

But then I want to write a blog post about how much I’ve broken my tether to the internet and I can’t because I have no WiFi.

I cried because I had no internet, until I met a man who had no iPhone.





*Ow* Yoga *Ow*

  • 4 Comments

“Show me on the doll where Yoga touched you in a bad way…”

Here…and here….and over there….oh yeah, and that place too.

In the early afternoon hours of this past Saturday, I traveled up to the city of San Francisco to take what promised to be a really wonderful yoga class. Entitled “Yoga for Writers” it was taught by a gentleman who is both a well known local columnist and avid Yoga practitioner.

I like his writing style and the price was right, so I signed up. I arrived in time for class with my brand new yoga mat firmly in hand and a lot of hope.

This class promised that through Yoga, through getting out of your head and into your body and tapping into your inner self, you might be able to write more smoothly, easily, and with lots of verve. (ok, I made up the verve part, but it sounds good).

While I’ve been doing a good job keep up with my blog, mostly, the fiction side of my writing life is suffering in a big way.

I have a confession to make. I have a scant 3,500 words on my goal of 50,000 for the month of November.

Um. There are only nine days left? Right? I’m utterly failing. I stare at the screen and I got nuthin’ to write. It’s very bad.

My writer’s block has become immense. Intense. It depresses me. So I really did rather hope that the yoga class would help free up the ol’ Muse and get her dancing.

I was in a TERRIBLE mood after having a god awful week at work, and so I was actually scared and nervous going into this thing. Would the class be chock full of hipsters? Would it be chock full of tiny yoga girls in tiny yoga pants?

Answer was yes on both counts.

I entered the yoga room and immediately wanted to pass out. Why is it so *hot* in there? Ok, yeah, I know, they keep yoga rooms warm, even if you aren’t doing the kind of yoga (Bikram) where you sweat your holymarymotherofgod off while you stretch.

Sitting there on my little mat waiting for class to start, I was already pitted out.

*sigh*

The class description said “not for absolute yoga beginners. Assumes moderate level of physical ability and yoga experience.”

Ok. That’s me. I’ve done quite a bit of yoga in my life, though not recently. I know my Tree of Life from my Warrior pose. I walk three to four miles a day.

I’m not an athlete but I certainly have a moderate level of physical ability.

My lard ass was actually NOT prepared for what lay ahead.

I thought this would be a writing class interspersed with yoga. This was instead a hardcore not-for-sissies yoga class with an occasional writing exercise.

In the three hour class there were three 15 minute writing exercises and one 15 minute stint of sharing some of what we wrote.

The other two hours were intense, almost brutal yoga.

Yoga never hurt me before. Why, overly large statue of Shiva in the front of the room, WHY?!?!?!

My god. This isn’t peace, love and butterflies. It’s agony served up on a rubber mat!

I hurt. I can hardly use the restroom because while sitting down goes ok, I can’t get back up off the toilet. I can’t be still for more than a few minutes at a time or I yelp in pain when I move again.

Look. I’m a writer! We’re notoriously pasty and out of shape!

When did yoga start hurting people?

I found this article titled When Yoga Hurts from several years ago (2007) with concerns that Yoga was being taken a wee bit too seriously (i.e. competitively) in the local health clubs.

I’ll say!

Ow.

(To be fair, the instructor was actually really good, just incredibly hard core. He’s that kind of guy who can balance a handstand on one pinky at the rocky tip of a mountain and hold it for an hour while thinking pure and spiritual thoughts. Whatevs. I’ll meditate on a bag of chips and feel just fine.)






Image from Icanhascheeseburger


Electronic Confession

  • 19 Comments

I don’t really consider myself to be a gadget kind of girl. I mean, I do like my electronic device (ahemiPadcoff) now and again, but I don’t tend to get every new device the moment it hits the market.

It’s just not that important to me. Fer goodness sakes! I still have a tube television! (*gasp*)

The iPod I use is the second generation shuffle, which is still my favorite iPod.

I do have an iPhone 4, but I bought that when I started this job almost 17 months ago. I had an iPhone 3 prior, but an OS update had rendered it unusable (sooo slooow), so I upgraded to a new device.

My iPhone4 works great. I’m happy with it. Nary a problem. Yep. It’s all good.

So I was looking in my work ordering system the other day, and lo and behold, it reported I was eligible for a phone upgrade.

And I thought naaaah, I don’t need a new iPhone 4s.

And I thought naaah.

And I thought some more.

And then I thought…well maybe.

And I thought. And thought.

And then without thinking, I ordered one.

(My employer doesn’t pay for the device, by the way. Only the service.)

Gah!

Maybe I am a bit of a gadget head. At least about Apple gear. I’m quite susceptible to the magic they weave.

Do you suppose Siri will take my confession?

Bless me Siri, for I have sinned. I have lust in my heart for a device I totally don’t need.

Now where is that delivery? Huh, huh? Where? How about now? How about now?

Siri, are we there yet?



Cartoon by Nitrozac & Snaggy from JoyofTech.com



This week’s Theme Thursday is: gadget


Nightmares

  • No Comments

In honor of Halloween, the scariest day of the year, I figured I’d do a little mental deep dive and reveal some of my most scary nightmares.

Perhaps in the light of day they won’t seem so scary, right? Maybe I can take some of the fear out of them.

I had one of these dreams last night and found it hard to shake off. So let’s start with that one.


I’m in my car, driving too fast, and suddenly, my brakes don’t work. The pedal feels right, I’m pressing on it and it gives resistance, but the car isn’t slowing down. I grab frantically for the handbrake but that does no good. I try to take the car out of gear, but that doesn’t work….often I’m rolling down a hill. Sometimes it’s in San Francisco.


Only once in my life did I had something similar happen. I was in college and driving my dad’s old ’72 full size Blazer, and the master cylinder was going out. I rolled to an intersection, hit the brakes, and it went all the way to the floor. Yipes! I was able to get my toe under the pedal, lift it, and kept pumping the brakes until I finally stopped. I was scared, but thankfully got through that safely.

I have no idea what this inability to stop is about but it *freaks* me out. I was all jittery driving to work this morning.


I’m in danger, I turn to run, but my legs are heavy and I can’t run. I’m making a running motion but moving slower than molasses in January. I bend over and use my arms to help me run/crawl, scratching at the ground trying to get away.


I think this one is a fairly common dream. A lot of people have it. I’m not much of a runner in real life and I think this dream plays on my own insecurities about that fact. Like, if I was ever really in trouble, could I run away?

Yeeeks!


I’m in college. It’s finals week. Trouble is, there is a class that I haven’t bothered to attend all semester. I’m freaking out! What am I going to do? There is no way I can pass this class! I’m going to fail!


The class I forgot to attend is usually a math class (my absolute worst subject). Sometimes it’s accounting. Lately it’s morphed into that god awful advanced Economics night class I had in grad school.

This is such a weenie nightmare. I can’t believe how much it totally freaks me out. Oh dear, I might fail a class. Big deal!

But I wake from this dream *frantic* and freaking out.

The monsters of the mind are far worse than any creepy Halloween story, I guess.


I’m staying in a really nice hotel. I go to my room and check in. Then I leave my room for some reason, I need ice, I need to find something to eat, whatever. And then I can’t find my way back to my room. I go up and down stairs. I wander through hallways of the hotel. I keep taking the elevator and it puts me on floors I don’t recognize. The more I try to find my way back, the more lost I become. I start getting more and more frantic.


This dream often takes place in a huge Las Vegas casino (ever felt hopelessly lost inside of a huge casino in real life? I sure have.). Sometimes it takes place on a college campus or a high school building. It’s a dream of chasing my tail ’round and ’round.

Whenever I check into a hotel in my real life, I inevitably try to find landmarks so I can find my way back, owing to my whackadelic brain and this dream that recurs month after month, year after year.


Tornados. Enough said.


I’ve chronicled my own Really Bad Day dancing with a tornado in Carlsbad. I think that one afternoon left me irrevocably scarred.

Ok, of all of my frightful dreams, at least this on and the brakes going out are dreams that I can go “well yeah, that’s actually scary!”

I think the rest of my nightmares listed are pretty much crazy machinations of an over emotional brain.

To misquote Emerson, simply hobgoblins of my little mind.

Happy Halloween everyone!







Devil graphic by Viktors Kozers and used royalty free from stock.xchng.


Sometimes, Ya Just Gotta Ask: “Why?”

  • 8 Comments

My friends over at Theme Thursday have had some upheaval in the past week, and the Theme Thursday fun hasn’t been, well, fun. I’m happy to see there is new management. We’re back on track!.

And that leads me to today’s theme for this faboo Thursday: Fish

As usual, I started with a Google search to see what’s what, and I stumbled across the latest fad in China and Singapore: Tattooed fish

Wait. What?

Yes indeed. Tattooed fish.

From my knowledge of Chinese culture, I do know that fish are seen as a symbol of good luck and also symbolize wealth, so to capitalize on this belief, someone has figured out how to laser dyed characters and symbols onto the side of parrot fish.

These tattooed fish are called “Fortune Fish” and are said to bring good fortune and happiness to their owners.

Here’s an example:




Image from People’s Daily Online

Evidently, a normal, unmodified parrot fish costs about 10 Yuan (about $1.50 USD) but a tattooed fish costs about 25 Yuan (roughly $4 USD), so this is a bit of a money maker. If you want your fish with a customized personal tattoo, it’ll run ya more like 100 Yuan ($15 USD).

The tattoo is applied using a “low intensity” laser to apply dye which, it’s claimed, doesn’t cause the fish any pain. *ahem* Sure. Ask the fish, I’ll bet he’s got a different story.

Capitalizing on superstition is nothing new, but this one seems pretty gosh darn wrong to me.

What’s next! Tattooed pigs!?!?!

Oh wait. Nevermind. (<- also found in China, I might add).