for those who are in or around sane

Monday, April 21

back to "normal"...

getting back to a sense of normal has been difficult. moving, vacation, excessive work loads, the wine store, warming weather, and cat psychology has kept me too busy to stay on top of things. i feel overloaded and last friday i kinda broke under the pressure. i had to leave work a bit early in order to just SIT and do nothing while my head spun for a while. it wasnt horrible, but i hate that my body had to give out in order for me to allow myself veg time.

"normal" will include more reading time and less tv time. in order to reach this state of normalcy, i will need to skim the new yorker instead of scour it, i will need to not be so exhausted that i "cant lift my book to see it" and i will need to acknowledge that certain shows are actually bad and simply turn off the tube.

"normal" will also include regular work outs - preferably in the morning as the elliptical is in my bedroom. in order to achieve this, i have to start getting up after 8 hours of sleep instead of hitting snooze (who really needs more than 8 hours? i'm fully aware of how self-indulgent this is in this day and age), i will also have to "suck it up wussie" and re-learn cardiovascular health as i've slumped into the wonderfulness that is only pilates/yoga instead of a well-rounded level of activity. my heart misses the action, baby.

"normal" usually contains a goodly amount of cooking time. i think i'm doing alright in this category. thanks to frozen fish from aldi, asparagus season and e's cast iron pan, i've been eating well and cooking from scratch.

what have i been doing instead of being "normal"? i've been having some fun: yesterday was the first of many margaritas on the roof sunday-fundays. my apartment is fully furnished, the POD is gone, the boxes are unpacked and the only thing left to do is organize the spice drawer (any ideas? why is this the hardest drawer to organize?). e and i are actively trying to get elston to not stalk romeo, which is very difficult indeed. and all the while, i'm getting to know my really great, new roomie. oh yeah, and working and working and working...

so hopefully "normal" will slowly come back, one step at a time. until then, i raise a luke-warm margarita in celebration of spring in the city!

Friday, April 18

good grief!

i woke up at 4:30am and couldnt figure out why i was awake, so i fell back asleep again... turns out i caught the tail end of a 5.2 magnitude midwestern earthquake! only minor damage was seen close to the point of origin - nothing in the city (although our kitchen faucet is now being really funny - i blame nature entirely). occasionally i remember that there's a fault line in southern il and it can be freaky to think that the ONLY natural disaster that cannot occur in chicago is a hurricane. yikes.

Tuesday, April 15

march books... ooops... a bit belated

yeah, so this is uber late and i apologize to myself (as i seem to be the #1 reader of this blog). self: you suck.

march was a light month due to grand apartment search, trip to martha's vineyard and the big move. again i have some media picks to make you think that i wasnt all fluff and stuff in the mighty month of march.

media pick #1 - flight of the conchords dvd. this may be the best thing to put on your tv before you go out for a night on the town. it's hilarious and self-deprecating and makes you feel like the coolest kid around. "aint no party like my nana's tea party... heyyyy... hooooo!"

media pick #2 - top chef, chicago. unfortunately for me, i'm sans bravo for a few more weeks. this is a shame as i was really getting into the dynamics of the competitors. there are two wily assholes, one pretty boy, an eccentric kiwi and a felix-the-cat creative type, to name just a few... i've no idea who's still competing, but when i left it, tempers were flaring and slop was abundant. all together now: "oooo!!"

media pick #3 - john adams. this is a mini series based on the bio by david mccullough, airing on hbo. i believe there are 6 episodes, as i've been able to see 4 thus far and the constitution had not yet been created, let alone installed adams as prez #2. paul giamatti is a great adams, and laura linney is an even better abigail adams. the pacing is pretty interesting - this whole thing takes place over years, and they stuff it into 6 episodes, which occasionally leads to a bit of confusion (15 year old john quincy adams looks about 10 due to lack of ability to make a 10 year old look 15 w/o changing the actor). but there are a few scenes in each episode that focus entirely on the moment, and completely ignore the mtv camera flash trend - long pans and generous pauses engage the viewer and indulge the plot. i cannot wait to see the last 2 episodes, even though i know how it turns out in the end!

aaand books...

the amber spyglass by philip pullman
the third installment of the "his dark materials" series. this is a brilliant, action-packed, thought-provoking, touching final piece to this amazing puzzle. in effect, you learn what lyra and will have to do by the end of book #2, but you do not know how they will accomplish it. i really dont want to give anything away, so i'll just focus on the "other stuff" as opposed to the plot.

there was a lot more sci-fi/fantasy in this book than in the previous two. i enjoyed it's creativity and even my skeptical mind was able to accept each new piece. pullman's ability to fully integrate the bizzare into reality is pretty neat. he assumes his reader is smart and is not afraid to bust out a complex, unique answer.

i definitely raise an eyebrow about the folks who are boycotting this series, the author and the movies. my rationale is the same as i had for harry potter - this is an entirely fictional series with entirely fictional theology and human make up. sure if you wanted to REALLY analyze this, you can gather that pullman is resistant to organized religion, but he clearly outlines a greater organization of the universe, which can be taken in many different ways. i enjoyed learning about this world and it's counterparts. granted, i wouldnt show this to a small child, but i would have no problem recommending this as young adult reading. overall - a really great series!

rainbow valley by l.m. montgomery
sigh. yeah... another one... although, i will back myself up here and state that my new roomie has read the entire anne series multiple times. it's feel-good, candy reading and i wont back down from having something easy to digest along with my lunch.

this one follow's anne's children in their glorious budding years. it's all innocence and fun with a few mishaps and of course - the obligatory marriage. this one is nothing terribly special but it did occupy my brain with something other than work for 30 min each day.

and that wraps up the books & media for the mighty month of march. paltry, i know, but as i said before, i was hyper-busy. frankly, i'm amazed that i didnt get deathly ill with that flu that was going around not too long ago (knock on wood). my new apartment bodes well for cozy reading (hellooooo fireplace!) and i'm looking forward to enjoying many a lazy sunday doing just that.


Thursday, April 10

verizon's sneaky charges - you CANT avoid them, but CAN be aware of them

i've had verizon service since 2000 and have been incensed off-and-0n about various contractual iniquities and inconsistencies during the duration of my contract. but, every time i've made a logical complaint to the customer service department, i've received a good response and rectification. this time, i'm really freaking mad with zero appeasement possible.

if you press (accidentally or not) the Get It Now feature, you automatically incur a $1.99 fee. EVERY time you press it - intentionally or no. if you take the feature off your shortcut keys, you reduce the risk of accidental activation, but it still remains in your main menu as a selection. on my phone it is, in fact, main menu item #1. there is no way to remove this feature or hide it or disable it.

i have, on occasion, accidentally pressed "Get It Now" and half a second later (once i realize what i've done) i press "End" and continue on my tapping. apparently this has happened once in march and once in february because each billing cycle included a $1.99 "Data Fee." when i called to have the accidental charges removed they informed me of the asinine contractual agreement in the preceding paragraph which cannot be argued.

for those of you that know me, yes i'm in a state of blind rage right now - hence the detailed blog peppered with elevated diction. i'm on a quest to locate some folks in the verizon chain-of-command to send a complaint letter to. who knows what this will get me. probably nothing. but i'll probably feel a little better about complaining and about warning others about this ridiculous scam. so, dear reader, if you have verizon service, be forewarned (unlike me): dont press the Get It Now button unless you mean it!