Sunday, January 31, 2010

Super Busy

So this house that I've been trying to buy for the last couple of months - the deal is off. After like five weeks of waiting to hear if the seller was going to fix the mold in the basement and then repair the basement, they said there was a giant hole in the foundation, with water coming in. The foundation needs to be redone, the tree in front needs to be taken down and there is no way of knowing when the repairs will done. Plus still no commitment regarding the mold repairs. Possibly three months of fixing, but maybe more, depending on weather.

I'm back to square one.

In other news we're all working on college stuff. It's time for Cam to apply so he's working on that. I'm doing taxes and Cullen is working on his FAFSA. Then Cam has to do his FAFSA. Busy, busy, busy.

We got some nice snow yesterday but we weren't prepared for it and it meant we had to cancel a house showing.

This whole next week is expected to be insanely busy.

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Friday, January 29, 2010

New Web Comic

I really like the art of this new web comic.

It's by Mark Siegel and it's called Sailor Twain or the Mermaid in the Hudson. It's new so there are only a few pages so far.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Saving water

Here's a neat post about a good idea, namely using used sink water to flush the toilet, which preserves potable water.

Not sure why you would want to do that? Ryan explains it in today's Dinosaur Comics.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

This is some crazy stuff

Even if you ignore every other thing about this situation the terms of this loan are insane.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Shoestring Living

Don't forget to check out my saving money blog. Current front page posts include free cookies, free coupons, free recipes, free admission to a museum, info about rehabbing houses, real estate info, the importance of getting enough vitamin D and more.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

I dislocated my shoulder again

More than ten years ago I was caught in a field with a bunch of horses that started fighting. One of them threw me into a fence and my shoulder dislocated, making the same noise a turkey leg makes when you rip it out of a cooked turkey. It took ages for my shoulder to regain some stability and it's never really been the same.

I popped it back out a couple of days ago and am having a very hard time. I might have to put it in a sling for a couple of days, mostly to keep me from trying to use it.

I hurt it horribly last night when I drove up to get Chris from the bus station and tried to roll my window down to pay the toll. Apparently the round and round motion isn't well tolerated by a shoulder that's trying to heal. I thought I was going to have to get Cullen to lean over me and hand the money to the toll person but the person in front of us was kind enough to pay our toll, completely at random but at the perfect time. Bless them.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

What did you do today?

I took Cullen to the dentist at eleven. I took a nap while he was seeing the dentist, as is my wont, then when he was finished I tried to drive him home but my car wouldn't start. Absolutely nothing happened when I turned the key. I called my boss to let him know I wasn't going to be back as soon as I thought I would then I flagged down a dude in a big truck (thinking the bigger the truck the better the jump) who said he would help but we couldn't get the car out of the parking space because the stupid car wouldn't go into neutral. Sigh.

Eventually a very nice heart and lung doctor helped us. Something actually burned up under the hood while we were jumping the car, which was kind of weird and scary. I took the car straight the mechanic, who was a bit flummoxed. The battery, starter and alternator all tested out fine. He cleaned off my battery terminals, changed my transmission fluid and oil and we called it a day. Now I get to wait and see if it happens again and if this time we can figure out what the problem is.

He could have just swapped out the starter but since it tested okay he didn't think I should spend the money, which is a decision that works for me.

Then I came home, with a migraine, to find the cable out. Fun!

Chris was meant to come home tonight but his bus was canceled, maybe because of bad weather.

It could have been a better day, or at least a less expensive day. Maybe tomorrow.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dental visits

Cullen and I were at the dentist again today. He was getting work done and I was taking a nap. Obviously I got the better end of that deal. We go back again tomorrow morning. We're trying to get his work done before he goes back to school next week. Chris comes to town and goes to the dentist on Friday. We're definitely doing our share to enrich her child's college fund.

I'm super busy trying to watch a bunch of movies before I cast my SAG Awards vote tomorrow. I watched both An Education and Julie and Julia today. I think I've got one left to go; Up in the Air, which I hear good things about. It will have to be amazing to beat Precious, which is a powerhouse that engaged just about every emotion known to man.

Then I'll have time to dive back into M.T. Anderson's Thirst, which is engrossing and hilarious.

Still no word on the house. Waiting to hear if the seller is going to fix the mold in the basement AND put the basement back together after.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

The Hurt Locker

I watched the Hurt Locker last night, which is an incredible piece of filmmaking. It's also heartbreaking and a little surreal. Then I watched Gray Gardens, which was similar.

Afterwards I couldn't sleep and was up until eight this morning. Good thing today is a holiday or I'd be running on no sleep whatsoever. Instead I got a few hours in, then took Cullen out to dinner and am about to watch Inglorious Basterds.

I'm in full movie mode right now as I try to get ready for voting in the SAG awards in a couple of days.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Houses like this make me sad


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Golly I like this house

Too bad it's a short sale and too expensive. There are so many fun things that could be done with this home. Just imagine what Halloween would be like.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I miss my friend Dennis

That's all.

Monday, January 11, 2010

So annoying

The house we put a contract on turned out to have shit tons of mold in the basement. After weeks of dithering around the sellers have said they will pay to have the mold abated, but not to replace the carpets or paneling that needs to be taken up to get rid of the mold. So we can move in with no walls or carpet or we can walk away.

Since the house was advertised as "move in ready" and needed four pages of repairs I'm not exactly happy.

I'm also not exactly happy about starting the search over again. Sigh.


Saturday, January 09, 2010


We took Master Chef, our oldest rat, and George, our ginger cat, to the vet today. George seems to be in good health, with a little staph on his chin and some anxiety. He's pending blood tests but checked out well with a shiny coat, etc. He spent half his visit curled up in Dr. Gray's sink.

Master Chef perked up and raced around, looking at everything. This was confusing as we had taken her there to be put to sleep, a very difficult decision. She's had a large tumor for about three months and has been lethargic, with dull eyes that don't even open all the way. She's also lost weight and muscle and her hair is falling out.

Her respiration is also on the fast side, which is a big sign of distress. Raspberry, who passed away a couple of weeks ago, went into extreme respiratory distress, opening her mouth and gasping for air, before we could do anything to help her and we didn't want Master Chef to go through the same thing. But then she started acting like everything was groovy at the vet's.

Dr. Gray said most of the pets his owners finally decide to have euthanized act much better when they come into the office. He said it's the fight or flight reaction. They're scared and masking symptoms. Which made me think Master Chef would feel that much worse later today as her adreneline wore off and she paid the price of using up so many resources. So I said I would like her put to sleep anyway, which was really, really hard.

Then I came home, took a nap and had crazy dreams.

I wonder what Calliope, our oldest rat makes of all this. It's down to just her and Strawberry, who's a little loopy from having a big ear infection as a baby. Strawberry walks around with her head crooked and is silly. Calliope has had four cagemates that have died since we got her. Does that worry her? I don't know. I wish these guys weren't so prone to tumors.


Friday, January 08, 2010

Bad week for typing

This was a record week for typos in my office. One reporters spelled his own name wrong and had a big mistake in every story he sent me. One of our columnists said leaving in a cave instead of living in a cave, which puts a different spin on things. There were loads of other errors. But this headline and teaser that went out in the CU Journal Daily Briefing earlier this week takes the cake. It has so many errors it's hard to figure out what really happened.

Faulty Vault Door Stifles Robbers’ Plans

WHITTIER, Calif.–Two robbers who confronted at gunpoint an employee of Whittier Municipal Employees CU here has he arrived at work were foiled when the credit union’s value would not open.

The same reporter once said that a dead body was found surrounded by bear cans instead of beer cans. I used to proofread his stuff and catch things like that but then we were reorganized and no longer worked in the same department.


Thursday, January 07, 2010

A reminder

If you're having trouble with your mortgage please visit the HAMP website. Please don't just stop paying your mortgage. Please don't send your mortgage payment to a guy you find on a random website, or a random guy that calls you. This is the official Home Affordable Modification Program site.

And while you're waiting on hold, read this. It will make you laugh and keep you from being too annoyed.


Closing a couple of interesting tabs

Story about finding very old whiskey under the ice.

Story about The Emotional Epidemiology of H1N1 Influenza Vaccination


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Ataque de Pánico!


Monday, January 04, 2010


I have a cold, or allergies, or a sinus infection or something else dumb like that. Sneezing, headachy and feeling cruddy all day.

The good part is that I didn't feel like doing anything after work so I read Charlaine Harris' Dead As A Doornail. It's my second Charlaine Harris book of the new year and my fourth book altogether, so I'm doing pretty well in the reading department.

Next up is probably World War Z, which I started a couple of weeks ago and then set down so I could read something else.


Saturday, January 02, 2010

Is it art?

Years ago, when I was sixteen, I was taking a computer graphics class in college. This was in 1980, well before everyone could do computer graphics. If I recall correctly we were actually programming some of the stuff in machine code. But I digress.

We had a neighbor who ran an art gallery and when she found out I was drawing things with the computer she got upset and said that I could never make art with the computer because you can't make art with a machine. When I pointed out that she was running a photography exhibit she said that when you take a photo your hands shake and that's what makes it art. Since you can't shake the computer the computer can't make art. Which is a definition, I suppose, but not one that worked for me.

In the ensuing thirty years I've seen some beautiful art that exists only in pixels. I hope she did too. It would be kind of sad to miss out on an entire new medium because of some preconceived notions.


Friday, January 01, 2010

If I'd known you were so strange I would have avoided you

After some thought I decided to redact this post. The gist of it was that when you meet an abusive person in the tactile world you can usually tell, esp if they're kind of crazy and yell a lot. When you're online you miss the clues, like the fact that the person is wearing only a trashbag (to use as an example an actual shouty person I used to pass on the way to work) and you don't always realize right away that engaging with them is a very bad idea that will only frustrate you. Most likely you know what I mean.