Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It Will Always Be Just A Game

** Update: I wrote this post up fairly quickly this morning. I am bad about writing something, doing a quick proof-reading and then posting it. I do not take the time to revise things and make them sound better. There are a couple of instances below where I said I wasn't affected by the drama that has recently occurred in my guild. But those words aren't accurate. Of course it has had an effect on me. My friends are no longer friends with each other, things are tense and strained, people are gone and people are bitter. It affects me. What I should have said is the drama didn't involve me. I cannot determine who's story rings the most truth because I didn't witness any of it and none of the parties involved have ever acted or talked negatively to me. I just wanted to clear that up because saying it didn't affect me made me sound like I didn't care about anyone and that's simply not true. I care about all of them.**


This January marks the beginning of my 4th year in World Of Warcraft, a game my brother had been trying to talk me into playing for at least a year before I ever did. I held out because I had heard stories about how addicting it was and I have always been someone who enjoys going out socially with friends and family as much as possible. But he finally convinced me to try the 14 day free trial during the winter days of January 2007 when I was mostly stuck in the house. I immediately loved it (like I was afraid I would) and created a permanent account before the trial was even over. I joined the guild my brother was in immediately because he and one of my real life friends from work (hi David) were in it and they told me I had to be too. I had no idea really what a guild even was, but I had one. Over the past 3 years there have been 3 other people from my life outside the game who have also joined this guild, 2 of which are very dear friends of mine. And David had other friends who lived in the same local area as me and played, so I actually got a chance to meet several guildies at a few LAN parties and have gotten to know them outside of the game.

Over the years I have also developed great friendships with some fellow guild mates who don’t live locally. It’s probably hard for people who don’t have much of an internet life to understand how you can call someone a friend if you only know them online, but trust me, it’s easy to do. These are people that I chat with for hours a week, who’ve offered their help and support to me (even if it is in-game I’m referring to), who I’ve logged into Vent with and actually heard their voices and talked with them. I follow them on Facebook and through their blogs and Twitter accounts, etc. Some of these people talk to me more than certain members of my family do. Yes, they are friends.

Like any guild, there’s drama. I’ve seen a few people rage quit or get kicked over the years and we’ve had people who have had to quit because of personal life. While it’s always sad to see someone go, none of these had ever really had any effect on me at all. But recently, that has changed. Our guild is suffering a meltdown of sorts. Instead of just 1 or 2 people leaving for their individual reasons, we have handfuls of people leaving and all for connected reasons. Guild officers have left. People who have been a big part of my WoW life, people who I absolutely loved to log in and see, people who I do consider friends… are gone now. The past month or so has been one surprise after another with drama and gquits. Our guild forum is filled with goodbye messages and whispered chats are taking place in-game.

As much as I wanted to avoid hearing anything, if you are friends with people on both sides of the split, you’re gonna eventually hear what happened. I’ve heard/read several sides of it. Some people seem to be wondering WHY I’m not more upset about what has happened while others seem to be just waiting for WHEN I will be become upset about what happened. But here’s the thing everyone needs to understand… it’s just a game. I don’t want to belittle anyone by saying that and I don’t mean to be disrespectful to anyone who is seriously upset over what they’re feeling about all of this. But, none of what happened ever happened to me personally. I do not do drama. I don’t ever pick sides because I love everyone. It’s just my nature to be happy. Maybe you think I should be upset that my friends were treated like this. But guess what? I have friends on both sides of this thing so how do I determine who is right, who is wrong and who got treated badly? I don’t have to because I wasn’t involved in any of the original issues. I’ll never know who’s telling the story correctly. And it’s not worth my time to even try… because it’s just a game. I can still play the game and I can still talk to all of my friends (as long as they remain on the same server as me) while I’m logged in. I can even still run heroics with any of them that remain on the same server, they just simple have a different guild name now. I’m sorry everyone is upset with each other. I’m sorry for the stress my friends are feeling. I’m sorry we can’t all be one big happy family. But really, it doesn’t affect me or my game at all. And I hope me saying that doesn’t piss anyone off.

My guild just seems like part of the game to me. I can’t imagine playing without being in it. I never searched for a guild or joined one based on criteria I had in mind. It just simply came with the game because my brother put me in it. And I like it there. Yes, there have been troubles recently and there have been drastic changes and we may or may not have an uncertain future. But I log in just to have fun playing a game. It’s supposed to be an escape from real life. A way of forgetting your troubles. It should never be a source of stress or frustration (except of course for when you are wiping repeatedly on a boss). If I ever get to the point where I am seriously upset about in-game relationships or I dread logging in… then I’ll quit playing that day because it would no longer be a game. So yes, I’m staying in my guild not because I’ve picked sides, but because it’s my guild. I am ignoring the drama. I am concerned about all of my friends and I am sorry they are going through this, but it has no bearing on my game play.

In closing, I have no idea whether any of my WoW friends will ever read this but just in case they do I want to say: I value your friendship, I look forward to remaining in contact with you, I’m sorry your feelings were hurt the way they were. But I am not choosing sides; I do not believe one person over another. I refuse to. I have no way of gauging who is telling a truer version. I’m over it. I’m just playing a game. I love you all.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I Have Weirder Dreams Than You

It's true that every one of us has weird dreams. It's also true that a lot of people do not remember their dreams and that makes me sad. My dreams are so elaborately detailed and incredibly bizzare. They're a great source of entertainment for me. I usually remember them when I wake up but most of the time they fade away pretty quickly. After a few minutes they are usually gone completely. I have always wanted to keep a dream journal but I don't for several reasons. One, who wants to grab a pen and handwrite that shit? I'd much rather type it into the pc because that's faster. Besides, I just woke up! I don't want to do anything that requires too much manual dexterity and my computer is not in my bedroom so it's not an option.

The other reason (and this is the main one)I don't keep a dream journal is because the second I wake up I already needed to go to the bathroom 5 minutes ago. Every day of every month of every year of my life, I wake up and do the pee pee dance/walk to the bathroom. There's no time to stop and smell the graphite lead (that's pencil humor people, keep up). Now, I know what you're thinking... why don't I leave a notebook in the bathroom so I can write the dreams down while I'm in there. Um, NO! I am not a guy, I don't just sit there for endless minutes multitasking. The bathroom is gross, even if it is my own. You get in, do your business and get out. I'd much rather hang out on the couch. Shudder.

So no daily dream journal for me. However, on occasion the weirdness of my dreams sticks with me longer than just a few fleeting minutes and after I finish peeing, I will go sit at my laptop and type in what I remember. I thought I'd share with you one of the dream synopsisssississes I recently wrote. This is exactly how I typed it in my groggy state, I have not corrected any grammar or anything below. This is all about content not presentation. Enjoy!


I'm driving down a pretty curby, hilly road. I remember seeing the speedometer and I'm going 60 but the car behind me is right up on my bumper worse than I've ever seen. He's so close to me I can't even see the front of his car out my back window, just a closeup of his face and his hands on the wheel. I also keep hearing a car engine start every few minutes. I remember thinking "his car must be dying while he's driving and that's why he gets so close to me - when it's dead he has no power brakes. I can hear him restarting it." There's nowhere to pull over to let him around so I decide to try and speed up.

Flash to me sitting in some sort of cafeteria booth with a plate of food in front of me. I suddenly reach out and shove the plate of food towards the other side of the table and I shove it so hard that some of the fried chicken falls off the plate and rolls onto the floor. Oh crap. I stand up and lean over to assess the situation. That's when the guy sitting at the booth behind me says "oh man, I'm sorry bout that". I look and recognize it's they guy in the tailgating car. He has a big bowl of mashed potatoes in front of him. I turn to him and say "I was trying to hurry so I could get out of your way." He says "yeah, I wish I were in front of you because I'm afraid I'm going to hit you." I get ready to sit back down and he says "Wait! Since you're up I should just go around you right now." So he stands up, picks up his huge bowl of mashed potatoes and walks around me to the booth in front of me where he sits down again. I feel so relieved.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Uldum Is A Strange Place

I have captured a huge number of screenshots over the past week. Shots of cut scenes, npc's saying funny things, fun quests, my rag-muffin gear that I change a piece of after every 6 or 7 quests, etc. But I don't want to post too much about the quests or the zones before people have a chance to see it for themselves. I don't want to be a spoiler. So instead I thought I'd show you one of the weirdest things I've run across so far and I promise it won't spoil anything.

In Uldum, while flying over Vir'naal Lake, I spotted a floating cat head. I have no idea if it is supposed to be there or if it was some weird glitch, but it kinda creeped me out. It's bigger than my head and looks like a bobber from the bottom. Some sort of weird ancient Egyptian custom I guess.



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cataclysmic Laughter

I am loving this expansion so much. Blizzard stepped their game up yet again. It's been so much fun actually taking the time to read the quests and pay attention to the details. Several days ago, while questing in Mount Hyjal, I bounded through an ogre cave on a mission and stumbled upon some poor fellow being held prisoner. When I interacted with him he told a story about how he had been doing research when suddenly he found himself in his current predicament. You had the option of immediately accepting his request for help or you could ask him another question about how his research was going. Me, being my normal smart-ass self, chose to ask the question before agreeing to help. This was his answer. (So sorry I accidentally saved it in .gif format, it looks crappy. I was too busy laughing at what I was seeing to pay attention to what I was doing.)


This was pretty early on in my Cata experience and it made me realize I was gonna have a lot of screen-shotting to do if things were gonna continue to be this awesome. And trust me, things did continue this way and I did take a lot of screenshots. There will be more to come here shortly and they will actually be pretty jpegs and not crappy gifs.

* Scary how this is turning into a WoW blog, isn't it?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cataclysm: A New WoW Beginning

Thanks to a combination of a new expansion, a shift in my social life, a change in my work hours, and the fact that it's too cold to be outside for the next several months, my WoW nerd-level is increasing. Rapidly. With the release of Cataclysm I have committed myself to stepping up my game. No more clicking the quest accept button instantly and then using quest helper add-ons to tell me what to do. No more asking about every possible upgrade in guild chat so someone else can tell me what I need. No more tabbing out to wowhead to figure out where zones or NPC's are. Okay, that last one wasn't really a big issue, but still. My point is, no more half-assed casual play.
I've been playing for nearly 3 years and it's about time I stop wandering around like a noob.

[interlude]
Please allow me to make a small interjection here. I am serious about what I have said above, but let me clarify that this does not mean I am becoming a hardcore raider. I do plan on gearing myself better and actually studying fights for a change so that I can be a raider who will benefit my guild. But I cannot at this point committ to raiding every Friday, Saturday, Monday & Wednesday (or whatever). I mean, for one thing, it will eventually be summer again and the drive-in will be open. Also, I like to leave my house at least several times a week. That is all.
[/interlude]

I plan on grinding rep for the proper rewards... and the fun ones. I plan on reading each quest and trying to learn the story, to immerse myself a little bit more in the lore of the game. Because really, who would play this for years and years and years if there wasn't actually a progressing and interesting story? The lore is a big reason this game has grown and I finally plan to pay it some respect. I plan on learning dungeons and raids. I will become more knowledgeable of my professions and know what I need and why (as opposed to stumbling around zones saying "ooh look, a sparkly flower"). I will understand the talent trees and actually place points there based on my understanding and not by looking up guildmates of similar class on the WoW armory to simply copy theirs. I will have the proper glyphs, enchants and gems. Oh man, just talking like this is getting me all pumped up. Woo hoo, I am so excited to be at this stage. (image via www.ackadia.com)

With the expansion being so new, I have no in-game proof of my new committment as of yet. I'm only about 75% of the way to level 81. I have only picked up a few nodes of cinderbloom and stormvine with my herbalism. I have done nothing with alchemy. I have fished up some Mountain Trout, but have done nothing with cooking. I will be doing archaeology, but have not yet looked up the trainer. I'm off to a bit of a slow start compared to others. However, keep in mind that I have only played any Cata content for about 2 1/2 hours. That is because I did not get it installed until Wednesday and even after it was installed, I spent my time Wednesday night still questing in Northrend. Icecrown, to be specific. Although I should have had it done months and months ago, I was determined to finish Northrend Loremaster. After I got Cata installed, I only had 14 IceCrown quests to complete to get the achievement. I made myself do it. Just part of my new dedication to the game. I had to go to work on Wednesday night with 4 quests left to do in Icecrown. When I got home Thursday morning, I sat down and completed them. This meant that I could now begin playing Cataclysm. After bed, of course. So Thursday night after bowling and before work, I went to Mt. Hyjal. I felt drawn to choose it over Vash'jir because of the Cenarion connection. A druid's gotta do what feels natural after all.

What you can see to measure the extent of my nerdiness is my life outside of the game. I'm not saying spending money makes me committed, but in the past month or so I have purchased several things to help myself become more immersed in the game. One of these things was the novel 'Warcraft: War of the Ancients Trilogy'. It should help me learn the back story of who and why. It should also just be a fun read and I hope I enjoy it enough to want to read more of the Warcraft books. When it came time to purchase Cataclysm itself, I felt a strong desire to not only buy a physical copy (as opposed to the quick and easy digital download) but to buy the Collector's Edition. I will admit the mouse pad, art book, soundtrack cd, deck of trading cards, behind the scenes dvd, and the in-game pet were a nice bonus to this decision, but I just wanted the Collector's Edition simply because it was special. Not rare exactly, but limited to an extent. I also bought the BradyGames Signature Series Guide for Cataclysm. Again, as a way of having the resources in front of me to actually learn what the hell I was doing instead of just googling shit at the last minute or asking for help in guild chat. The guide is wonderful. It is NOT a step-by-step walkthrough of questing. It IS a wealth of information about the new zones, the changes that have been made to classes, professions, dungeons, etc. It lists factions available to grind rep with and what their rewards are at each level of rep you gain. It's amazing. It's so amazing, I bought one for my best WoW mate. (image via www.Merecal.com)

I have been taking the guide to work and reading through it on breaks. I have learned some interesting things that you may or may not already know. I'm going to share a brief list of changes that have been made that I hadn't heard about yet. Then, after the list, I will promptly end this giant wall of text (I do apologize for said giant wall of text) and bid you all a cheese fondue!

Some cool changes in Cata I hadn't yet heard about:
- you are immediately proficient with any weapon you are allowed to use... no more skilling them up by type
- there are no longer ranks applied to spells and abilities... as you gain levels these will automagically improve themselves for you
- the new secondary profession, archaeology, does not have you competing with other players for items (unlike herbing, fishing, mining, etc. where someone can get it before you do)... each thing you are required to seek is only tied to your specific character
- one of the guild perks is "cash flow" which generates an extra 5% of money from an enemy you kill and deposits it directly into your guild bank. This is so awesome to me.
- there has been a change to the minimap which allows you to see a skull icon at the location where you can find a specific, named enemy you have been told to kill for a quest. Also, when you target that enemy, a yellow exclamation will appear on his portrait.

Much love,
Elfindale

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Open Letter To Blizzard

** UPDATE **
I now have the Collector's Edition in hand and already installed. I had a friend tell me our local Best Buy did indeed have copies of it in-store (even though their website assured me weeks ago that it would not be available for in-store pickup if I ordered it online... how confusing), so I went over there the minute they opened on Wednesday morning and brought one home. I am a very happy WoW nerd right about now. I also called Target and cancelled my order, so that's taken care of. Now if only I still weren't too busy with Christmas to stay logged in every waking hour.


Blizzard, I love you. I really, REALLY, love you. And I am so very excited that Cataclysm is here. Except that, I'm not because mine isn't. Here, that is. Hence the reason for this letter. Why isn't my Cataclysm Collector's Edition here yet? I mean, I know I ordered it from Target and that you are not responsible for shipping it from Target to me... but yet, you are responsible for them not having shipped it to me yet.

Today is December 7th. Launch day! My copy of the expansion was not allowed to be shipped before today, and I just don't understand. I mean, I do understand why it couldn't be shipped out when I ordered it, or even why it couldn't be shipped out 2 weeks ago. But why couldn't it have been allowed to leave the warehouse 2 days before launch day? Then I would have it tomorrow or the next day instead of having to wait until next week (in all probability). The fact that you didn't turn the expansion on until 12:00am PST just proves my point. You have the power to prevent people from playing it after it's installed until you are ready for them to play it. Why couldn't I have received it in the mail yesterday and had it installed and ready to go when the clock struck the magic number? Having it in hand wouldn't have gotten me in any quicker than anyone else.

I know what you're gonna say... I could have easily purchased the digital download and would have been playing instantly. Or, at the very least, I could have attended one of the several launch parties in my area and carried it home with me in just a few hours. And yes, you are most certainly correct. Except that I wanted the Collector's Edition and not the digital downloaded one. I wanted the box, the disk, the art book, the cd. I wanted it in my hands so that I could hug it and squeeze it and call it George. Maybe even snuggle up with it on my pillow at night. I checked all the area stores weeks ago and from what I saw, the Collector's Edition was not available for in-store pickup in my area. So, I ordered it online. And now I sit here waiting.

To make matters worse, I had prepared myself for the wait and convinced myself that I could finish up some quest lines in Northrend while everyone else was falling all over themselves in the new areas. Then, when I got there in 5 or 6 days, things would be cleared out a bit and I could enjoy myself. But this morning I received an email that tore apart all of my optimism and prompted me to write this letter. I got an email from Target... "Thank you for shopping at Target.com. We wanted to let you know that there is a delay with one or more items in the order you placed..." Cry. Sob. QQ. I don't think I'm gonna make it. Blizzard, you have made me emo.

In closing, I just want to say that when the next expansion comes out please consider allowing it to be shipped 2 days or so before launch date. I don't care too much about logging in at the exact moment it goes live, but it would be nice not to have to wait a week on it.

Also, please consider not launching an expansion so close to the holidays ever again. I ended up about 80 quests short of Loremaster before patch 4.0.3a hit and although I obviously should have been questing harder earlier in the game, I believe I would have made it if I hadn't spent the weekend before the patch out of town for 4 days celebrating Thanksgiving with my family. And now this month I have to wrap presents, attend parties, decorate, clean, bake, visit family out of town, go shopping for gifts, etc. It really sucks that it came so close to Christmas. But, I am simply speaking for myself and I know there are millions of others out there who are logged into Cataclysm right now with not a care in the world. And those people... they make me jealous.

Forever yours,
Elfindale of Azuremyst

Friday, November 19, 2010

Poetry Corner

Remember the disclaimer.


The Body

A twisted body, rotten and bloating
In an obscure pond, moss-covered and floating
There is no face, there is no soul
Where the heart once was there's only a hole
Drained of all blood, bones mostly shattered
Both eyes are missing, teeth ripped out and scattered
A grotesque sight, a hideous stench
The mere thought of the thing makes my gut wrench
I turn to go, careful to cover my tracks
Like I did yesterday - the third time I came back
Like I'll do tomorrow when I come once again
To stand and stare at my life's greatest sin


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Craft Fair Weekend

On Friday, Oct. 15th, mom & I had a craft fair weekend. Every year North West Arkansas goes craft fair crazy. And so do me and my mother. War Eagle is our favorite, then we head to Bella Vista, Springdale, and Pinnacle Hills in no particular order. This post is gonna be picture heavy. Strap in. Here we go.

War Eagle is by far the most popular one and generally has the biggest crowds. Mom and I usually get up early and head there first because there's only one road in and one road out so if you don't get ahead of 90% of everyone else then you get to spend like an hour in your car waiting in line to get to park. There is even more congestion due to the fact that the craft fair is spread out on both sides of the river and the only way to cross it is a single car bridge. So they have to alternate car traffic from both directions and accommodate pedestrian traffic too. War Eagle Mills and Farm is a beautiful place, even without the craft fair. Check out more about it here.

When we arrived, we came in from the east and immediately crossed the bridge to park on the west side. Trust me, that is the best strategy. Even though we were early and were way ahead of the crowd, there were quite a few people ahead of us. Here's the parking lot at the moment of arrival:
War Eagle Craft Fair

Here's what we first saw after parking and walking towards the action:
War Eagle Craft Fair
War Eagle Craft Fair

This next photo is blurry, sorry about that, but it shows what it is like inside one of the huge craft tents. This is just one side of the tent, each tent has two sides just like this. And on the west side of the river there are 4 of these tents.
War Eagle Craft Fair

After going through everything on the west side, we get in line to cross the bridge and head over towards the mill:
War Eagle Craft Fair

There's already quite a crowd on this side:
War Eagle Craft Fair

Here's a pic of the mill and the east side of the bridge:
War Eagle Craft Fair

On this side, the crafters just have single tent booths setup. It's more open and thins the crowd out a bit:
War Eagle Craft Fair

It's a lot of walking and shopping, so Mom (orange shirt) offered to buy us each a fresh squeezed lemonade:
War Eagle Craft Fair

After we had seen all there was to see, we crossed the bridge again and headed for the car. A couple hours had passed and the crowd size had grown like 10x. Remember the line to cross the bridge a few photos ago? Here's the same line, going the same direction, now that we're leaving:
War Eagle Craft Fair

In fact, the line to the bridge is all the way back to the first tents we went into:
War Eagle Craft Fair

Now you see why we get there early. We managed to avoid having to wait like that. After we left War Eagle, we went to the Bella Vista craft fair which is so much smaller I can't even describe how much smaller it is. I didn't take any pictures there. It's just a few tents in a field in the middle of nowhere. While in Bella Vista, we stopped and had lunch at Dairy Queen.

Next stop was Springdale, AR for the Holiday Inn Convention Center craft fair. I had been waiting to get to this one since... well, since last year actually. Because the only real purchase I make during craft season comes from this location. And I don't even have to go in the front door. This is the craft fair where I find Carey Huckaby every year. He's a spray paint artist from Austin, Texas and he creates spray paint paintings and sells them right outside the main entrance. I could stand and watch him all day. This is the 3rd year I've seen him and it's the 3rd year I've purchased one of his paintings.

Here he is painting the one I bought this year. His work is so popular you have to jump in and buy the painting before it's done because otherwise someone else will have bought it before you get a chance to. Once I saw him put down the yellow & orange, I paid for this one. My other two did not have these colors so I knew it'd be one to add to my collection.
mine2
mine5
mine3
mine6
mine8
mine10

More pictures of Carey at work on different paintings can be found on my Flickr page.

And to see pictures of the past two paintings I have purchased from Carey, check this old blog post.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

These Are Good Genes

Willow Smith, daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. She's 9 years old. Amazing. She looks so much like her daddy, lol.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Nostalgia, I Haz It

Not only are these some of my favorite toys, the ads themselves look so funny compared to today's commercials.














And just because it's one of the most widely remembered jingles ever...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Why I Hate My Cat

Takara (tuh-car-uh) is technically Scott's cat because he decided he wanted a kitty and he brought her home. But because we are roommates and the kitty lives equally with both of us, I consider her to be mine too. And I hate her. Not really, but really. Mostly because she's so pretty and petite and playful and I just wanna hug her and pet her and squeeze her and call her George and she doesn't like me at all. It' so frustrating. Part of it is because since I'm the unofficial woman of the house and do all the cleaning, I am the one that has to yell at her when I find her walking across kitchen counters or up on the table. So she's actually a bit scared of me.

She's a pretty timid cat anyway, does not like company coming over at all, and any sudden movements will make her turn tail and run. She doesn't like to be held and will scramble to jump down instantly. She will lay on my lap occasionally, but as soon as Scott appears on the scene she runs to him immediately. When I walk by and find her curled up somewhere and looking cute, I bend down to pet her precious head and she bolts. If she is passing through the living room and I coincidentally start to get up out of my chair, she bolts. If I am coming out of my bedroom in the morning and she happens to be in the hallway, she bolts.

Her relationship with Scott, on the other hand, is awesome. She follows him around like a puppy dog. He can pick her up and hold her in one hand or squeeze her against his chest in a tight hug and she's content either way. No matter where she's at in the house, the minute she hears his voice she comes running for him. She has a game she plays with him where every time he sits down in his recliner and reaches for the handle on the side of the chair to recline, she attacks his hand. It's seriously a game of hers. You can totally tell she does it on purpose. Sometimes she will hide behind the couch and jump out to get him when he reclines. Sometimes she will come dashing out of the kitchen to catch him. But she always gets him. Then while he is reclined she loves to lay at his feet on the recliner. And when she feels playful instead of sleepy she spends the entire time dashing wildly around the room but always jumping across his lap on every round. I mean the cat loves him like nothing I've ever seen. And I don't get it. He yells at her sometimes, why isn't she scared of him like she is me? I feed her sometimes, why doesn't she love me like she does him? That's why I always joke about hating her... because I'm so frustrated that I don't get any affection from her. She's a brat.

Get this - when he goes to bed at night and shuts his bedroom door, Takara will sit outside his room and cry for him. Even though I'm looking at her down the hall from the living room and frantically patting my lap while calling her, she pays no attention to me and cries for him. In the mornings I get up and go to work a few hours before Scott and I will either find her already sitting in front of his door crying, or me walking around wakes her up and after I get out of the shower I find her sitting in front of his door crying. And we've had her for over a year. Ridiculous.

The picture above is just one more reason I hate her. Tonight she decided that being at Scott's feet wasn't good enough and she's spent all evening looking cute and curled up by his side. He's trying to use his laptop and keeps moving her because she's in the way, but she just comes right back. Meanwhile, I'm across the room in my chair relentlessly begging her to come sit on my lap. Stupid cat.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Crazy Things My Mom Says

Mom is getting older and crazier by the day, so I've decided I should start jotting down some of the hilarious things that spew forth from her mouth and share them with you guys occasionally. We'll start with something she told me a few weeks ago that absolutely cracked me up.

Mom says: " The neighbors got a new horse the other day. It always stands near the fence but it's never facing the road. I'd bring it an apple, but I'd have to shove it up it's butt."

Your welcome interwebz.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Random Thoughts

Eggs should come with bits of diced bacon already inserted inside the shell. Not only would it be easier to make yummy scrambled eggs, but how awesome would a hardboiled egg with bacon be?

Having the ability to listen to your iPod all day long at work = WIN.

I wonder how many pigeons get sucked through airplane engines during takeoff.

Great, now I want to read one of the Pigeon books by Mo Willems.

Seriously, I love those books.

Also… I like turtles.

Oh man, the interwebz always get me so sidetracked.

How cool would it be if someone would develop a phone app that would replace my garage door opener? Then no matter whose car I’m in, I could open the garage. That would be so convenient. Someone get on that.

How can bowling be so fun and frustrate the hell out of me all at the same time? Oh right, it’s because the people I bowl with crack me up. And there’s pizza and beer. Even though I hate beer. Blech!

I find it weird that some people don’t like Oreos. I mean, c’mon. What is wrong with these people?

Is it odd that I attend rap concerts, rodeos, art museums, tractor pulls, hard rock festivals and musical theater productions all within a matter of months? I didn’t think so.

/end random thoughts

Monday, September 06, 2010

Musical Interlude

I don't know how it happens, but every time I realize I've an over-abundance of spare time and decide to fill it by revisiting this here blog... my world goes crazy! I have been working on 1 post for over a week now. And it's not even a good post.

In the meantime, take the time to enjoy this video. The Muppet Show is timeless and I am so glad I grew up getting to watch it. Animal is my favorite Muppet because he's a drummer and I am obsessed with drums and consequently drummers. Combine that with a great classic song and the unique style of Muppet humor and you get a big ole pile of WIN!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ch..Ch..Ch..Changes!

Sorry about all the new backgrounds and colors going on around here lately. I get bored and decide to prettify the blog. Then every time I do, a few days later someone will point out to me that it's hard to read because of the colors, or it doesn't show up right in their feed because I've changed it. So then I have to try and find something that is not boring and still allows everyone to read it easily. I'm actually really digging this current design. Maybe it will stay up longer than a few weeks.

*** Edited on 09/17/10 - looks like it only lasted 3 weeks. I really started hating it after a while.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Poetry Corner

I thought I might start posting a few poems I have written. Some of them may be recent, some of them may be poems I wrote 10 years ago. I'm not going to bother explaining them. All I ask is that as you read them, you remember what I said about my poetry in the last paragraph of this post.


Regrets

Loose bits of past regrets, floating all around me
Clawing at me, pulling on me, trying their best to drown me
Sneering at me, leering at me, being really hateful
Trying to out-shadow all the things for which I’m grateful

Zipping by, flashing by, displaying my wrongdoings
I cannot tear my eyes away, they’re addicted to the viewings
Bad decisions, bad ideas, bad choices I have made
Are all right here in front of me, chronologically displayed

They get to me, these little bits, and make me feel ashamed
I let a tear slip down my face, my head begins to hang
Then suddenly I find my voice, I raise my head up high
And scream at all my past regrets “My spirit will not die!”

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Revenge Of The Nerds: Nerds Are Now The Norm

Raise your geek flags high and wave them around proudly, we are winning the war! According to this article, 'Tyranny of the Fanboys', from New York Magazine in July, most of the things once considered too nerdy to talk about are now loved by almost everyone.
"Yes, all the favorite obsessions of nerds and fanboys (or fangirls)—vampires, superheroes, manga, and sci-fi—have now been successfully incepted into our collective pop-culture dreams....

...these days, fanboys are never excluded because they run the culture. They may still sit in rooms alone, but they commune endlessly with other fanboys online, praising what they already like and shouting down anyone who won’t join in. And somewhere, these days, there’s a teen alone in his garage, wondering if it’s safe to tell anyone that he’s not particularly psyched for a Kick-Ass sequel and that he fell asleep in Inception halfway through."

I don't think the author sees this as a positive thing, but that's alright; he's entitled to his opinion. Personally I am thrilled this type of shift is taking place because I have always rode the line between wanting to go to BlizzCon in costume and also being completely aware of the fact it would mortify my friends and family... so I refrain. Maybe if nerdiness continues to gain popularity I can not only feel free to attend these types of conventions but I may find someone who'd be willing to go with me.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Music From My Childhood

I was born in 1970, so when the 80's rolled around I was the perfect age to really listen to, appreciate and enjoy the hell out of that amazing 80's music. It's my childhood. I went from age 9 to age 19 during the 80's. Those are some important developmental years in a kid's life. Music was a HUGE part of it. I remember getting my first radio with a tape recorder around the age of 10 and spending hours with the tape paused on record, waiting for certain songs to play on Rock 99 out of Springfield, MO and then unpausing the tape to record the songs from the radio. I got to be really good at timing it just right and not getting any of the dj's talking. A few years later, around age 14, my mom came home from work one day and asked me to name my top ten favorite artists because she worked with a young girl whose birthday was coming up and mom wanted to buy her a popular tape for her birthday. So I sat down and compiled an amazing list of names like Cyndi Lauper, Kool & The Gang, Michael Jackson, Tears for Fears, Chicago, etc. Two weeks later, for my birthday, mom had bought me every tape I listed. IT WAS AND STILL IS THE BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT I'VE EVER GOTTEN. Simply because I had no real possessions at that age, I lived to hear those songs on the radio and it was a really sneaky, thoughtful way to get me a present.

I also had a really cool neighbor (Terry Kidwell) who was a year older than me and who introduced me to two things: rap music and Wham. Funny combination, no? The Wham album, Make It Big, was one of his favorites and I soon grew to love it as much as he did. "Careless Whisper" and "Everything She Wants" were great songs. But he also listened to a lot of rap music and passed that along to me as well. Where he got his hands on it, I don't know. Because in small town Missouri in the early 80's you didn't hear rap on the radio. I don't know who introduced it to Terry, but I'm grateful. He soon had me jamming to Kurtis Blow, RunDMC, Doug E. Fresh, Grand Master Flash, etc. Good stuff. I still love the Kurtis Blow album "America". And everytime I hear "You Be Illin" by RunDMC, I think of Terry. Some of my all time favorite songs are from the 80's. "Come On Eileen" by Dexie's Midnight Runners and "Burning Down The House" by Talking Heads. And of course, "Take On Me" by Aha! The 80's gave us Deff Leppard, Guns N Roses, Bon Jovi and even Paula Abdul. Lol.

Point of all this rambling, a coworker of mine came in this morning humming a melody I recognized from the 80's and I spent some time online trying to figure out what it was. It finally hit me - "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You" by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine. During all of my searching and thinking, I stumbled across this website which lists the Billboard Top 100 for each year from 1980 - 89. I thought you might enjoy looking through them as much as I did. Find them here

And now I will leave you with video I found on YouTube this morning... 10 minutes of little 80's video snippets.

Friday, July 30, 2010

If You Really Knew Me....

If you really knew me, you would know that I cry more from pride than I do from sadness. I tear up every time I’m at an event where the national anthem is being played. Or if I watch little kids sing (like at a school program). Or while I’m singing Christmas carols. Or various other things just like this. You know what I just noticed? It’s weird, but those things all revolve around music or singing.

If you really knew me, you would know that I struggle EVERY DAY with keeping myself happy versus making other people happy. And it’s a pain in the ass. Every once in a while it builds up and I have a mini explosion of depression where I spend one day (I never stay down long) at home, all alone, in my pajamas. But even though it sounds rough… I wouldn’t want it any other way. Because making other people happy is what I love to do and ultimately makes me happy. So it works out and is totally worth it like 99% of the time. I mean, I have my moments, but mostly I’m a pretty happy camper. I’m almost always optimistic and I do a pretty good job of keeping my struggles hidden on the inside. Because I love you all and you’re all worth it.

If you really knew me, you would know that I have a weird sort of ADD for life. I don’t have ADD in the typical way at all. I can do the same activity for hours and hours and hours. But I have some sort of weird ADD condition which causes me to change my interests and hobbies constantly. I think it stems from the fact that I love learning and doing new things. But in a few weeks I’ll be done with it and moving on to something else. It’s probably because there’s always another new thing to learn and do. It sucks because I have trouble finishing projects and rarely spend enough time on one thing to get to a point where I do it really well. It seems like as soon as I have done it for a few weeks and can do it right, I move on. I never get better than average at anything. But I sure can do a lot of different things, so I guess it works out.

If you really knew me, you would know that there is something wrong with me in my head. I hate being fat and convince myself constantly that “tomorrow is the day”. But tomorrow comes and I’m so upset I didn’t wake up skinny that I convince myself I’ll just try again tomorrow. This is a very sad, but true, story.

If you really knew me, you would know that I am ridiculously shy in real life. Sure, I’m awesome on the internet. But in person, unless you’re in my circle of friends that I see all the time, I will probably be extremely quiet and won’t talk to you; because I expect people not to like me. I don’t even like talking to the cashiers at Wal-Mart. I am afraid I’ll say something stupid or embarrass people somehow. My cheeks get all red and I keep my face and eyes lowered. Some of my friends have told me that when they first met me, they thought I was a snob because they were told I’m hilarious and then I didn’t even speak to them (except to be extremely polite, cause I’m a very polite person) for days or weeks. Then, once I’ve “let them in” they realize how lucky they had it and wish I would just shut up again.

If you really knew me, you would know that I have always wanted to do two things: photography and writing. As a child I dreamed of growing up and working for National Geographic magazine. I used to make mom buy me used NG’s at garage sales and I would hoard them in my room. As an adult, I still dream of being really good at these two things; though I no longer want to combine them. The writing, in particular, is my main love. But photography is easier than writing, so I tend to concentrate more on that. One of the reasons I haven’t broken out with a great American novel is because I’m a perfectionist. I hate the idea of sketching out a story and planning out a plot, etc. I want to just sit down in front of a blank word document and write the first sentence and then write every consecutive sentence until I reach the end. Obviously that will never work; unless you’re working on something very short, bringing me to my next paragraph.

If you really knew me, you would know that I sometimes write poetry. My poetry covers a wide variety of subjects. I say “sometimes write” because I have never really sat down and worked on a poem. They just seem to randomly spew forth from my brain in a huge rush and I have to immediately find some place to write them down before they’re gone. This comes in spells. A lot of poems have simply never been written down because I just wasn’t able to stop and do it. Sadly, they are soon forgotten. Several years ago I was a poetry-writing madwoman. Then I had a dry spell for quite a while. I never know when it’s going to happen. It seems to depend on what’s going on in my life. Sometimes it’s happy things, sometimes it’s not. A lot of my poems seem to deal with the occult or supernatural, which I love reading and hearing about, but do not practice or participate in. So if you read any of those, don’t be concerned. They just came to me, I didn’t experience them.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I'm A Free Bitch, Baby

Tonight I went to a Lady GaGa concert. You wanna make something of it? I'm not too old for it, cause your only as old as you feel and I have felt like 23 for the last 17 years. And I act about 23 too. Is that wrong? No. It means I have more fun than you do. True story.

I know she's controversial and weird to some people. I know some people enjoy her songs on the radio but don't care much about her past that. Some people don't even like her music. But me, I'm a fan. Of her music and of her. Tonight just reconfirmed that for me. For one thing, I really like her songs. Not just because they're catchy, but because of the tremendous amount of natural talent GaGa possesses. Her voice is amazing, especially live. She can play the hell out of a piano. And does. But its more than that. It's hard to explain what I mean. She's a musical genius. She's definitely underrated at this point in her young career. I mean, the music world loves her for her marketability, her record sales, etc. But they aren't yet paying enough attention to recognize what a tremendously rare "true artist" she really is.

Another of the MANY things I like about her is how she sincerely reaches out to society's castaways. The freaks and geeks. The fat and the ugly. And everyone else in between who are picked on and made fun of and ignored. She encourages them in her interviews and concerts to be proud of who they are and to stay true to being however they want to be. I love that. It's such an important message. She wears weird costumes and makeup simply because she likes them. She says weird things because that is honestly what she was thinking. She's not doing an act on stage. She's just being herself. Tonight at the concert she announced to everyone that we were free to be ourselves, that the "freaks" were now the people outside and that she had locked the fucking doors. Do you know how truly amazing that was for some of these people to hear? For them to think, even if only for a second, that here is a place where they are accepted no matter what.

Now you may be wondering why this was important to me, because if you know me then you know I'm only a slight freak and a partial geek. But I do have issues that make me feel unwelcome to "society". Being fat is no fun for me anyway, but throw in all the disgusted looks, behind the back snickers and even outright meanness and I tend to not go out and do a lot of things I want to. Plus I gotta worry about how people my age from rural southwest Missouri aren't supposed to go to GaGa concerts. While I was at the concert I didn't care about any of that. I was proud to be there and to just be me. I was a free bitch, baby. And isn't that really how music and performers should make you feel? Yes. Yes it is.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

This One Time, In Jail


So here's a story not a whole lot of people know. I have been arrested. And not just the cute little "follow me over here to this desk and we have to officially book you". No, my arrest was down and dirty. Seriously. It was a horrible experience and I have Vietnam-like flashbacks about it still. There are so many things about this story that are frustrating. Including the way I was treated, the reason for the arrest and how the whole thing even started. Hold on to your hats... here we go.

February, 2005. I am sitting on the couch in my home in SmallAssTown, Missouri. It's dark, maybe around 8:00 pm. There's snow and ice outside. Suddenly my roommate and I hear a loud crash. I got up, glanced out the door, didn't see anything and we went back to watching tv. 20 minutes later we hear a car on the highway below our yard slam on the brakes and slide a long ways down the road. We get up, flip on the porch light and that's when we see (thanks to the car's headlights) a huge tree has fallen across the road and this guy almost hit it. Obviously, this is a problem that should be reported so that the tree can be removed from the road and people won't drive into it in the dark. So my roommate volunteers to make the call because she knows I hate talking on the phone. She calls the county sheriffs office, reports the issue and location. End of story.

Next morning, I am in bed. Sleeping in baggy shorts and a holy t-shirt. I am awakened by a loud pounding at the door. I answer the door with Medusa hair. A police officer is there and he asks for me. I say "I'm me". And he immediately places me under arrest. He made me step out onto the porch, he turned me around and cuffed my arms behind my back. He did follow me back into the house to step into some shoes, but that's all I got to do. I didn't get to change clothes, brush my hair or teeth, or even grab a coat (remember there's snow and ice on the ground). By this time my roommate was up and she was trying to talk to the cop to find out what I had done, where he was taking me and how to get me out. All he said was I had a warrant out for an FTA (failure to appear at a court date) and he was taking me to the County Jail and she could follow him up there to see how to bail me out. Then he walked my handcuffed, barely-dressed self out to the car and shoved me in the back seat just like you see on tv.

I forgot to mention.... I have been sobbing and crying since this all started.

We have a 20 minute drive to the station. Although he did read me my rights before putting me in the car, he has not said a word since. I'm still crying. We get to the station, he takes me into where prisoners go (not the office area) and sat me down on a concrete bench in a holding cell. He did not close the cell door, but I am still handcuffed. I don't know if any of you have ever been handcuffed behind your back, but it's not comfortable. Especially when you are sitting down. And remember, I'm wearing pajama shorts on a concrete bench in February. I'm freaking freezing. Shivering violently. And sobbing. Lots of sobbing.

After letting me sit there by myself for about 10 minutes, another officer comes in and leads me to the counter across the room. They finally decide they can take the handcuffs off of me and give me a lecture about not trying to make a move. Now maybe you don't know me... but I've never been in trouble. I mean, I'm afraid to talk loudly in libraries because it's against the rules. So obviously I have no record. There's no reason for them to think they should be afraid of me in any way. It was actually almost funny. But I didn't laugh. I was still crying.

They finally explain why I'm here. In 1998 (seven years prior) I failed to appear in court. I blinked. Umm... why would I have had a court date? I know nothing of this. Well, it's because in 1996 (nine years prior) I wrote a $15 check that bounced at the little local grocery store in SmallAssTown, Mo. The light sorta goes on for me at this point, because I do remember the issue with the bounced check. I remember it because when it bounced (which was a complete accident) the store posted the check beside the cash register for all the world to see. And my mom spotted it. In 1996 she saw my bad check posted at the cash register and she immediately drove over to my house and dragged my ass up to the store so she could witness me paying for the check. And I did pay for it. The original $15 and a $25 fee. I handed the cash to the chick behind the register. My mom stood there and witnessed it. When I asked for the check, she took it down off the register but said she couldn't give it to me because she wasn't sure if that was the correct policy and the boss wasn't there for her to ask. I had never bounced a check before, so I didn't know. The clerk said she would write it down, tell her boss the next day and they would tear up the check.

Guess what? Obviously that didn't happen. I now know I should have been given the check so I could have destroyed it. But they kept the check and obviously turned it in months later to the prosecuting attorney. Or whatever they do. So in 1998 the court got around to being concerned about my check and scheduled me to appear in court. Except they forgot to tell me. Because I never received any notice about it at all. I didn't show. A warrant was issued. In 2005, my roommate called the sheriff's office to report a tree had fallen across the road. When they tried to verify the address and asked her for her name, she gave them my name. Simply because I was the property owner and my name would tell them exactly where I lived and the tree was located. When they ran my name, they found my warrant.

So, back at jail. They've finally taken the handcuffs off and explained what's going on. My sobbing has dwindled down to silent tears. My roommate has been next door for the past 45 minutes trying to bail me out. I get mug shots taken. In my pajama's. With bed head and a tear-streaked face. Then they photographed all of my tattoos and fingerprinted me. The old-fashioned way with ink and paper. Then they put me in the drunk tank, with the door open, so I could sit down while I waited to be bailed out. It took another hour before my roommate sprung me. And $250, which I had to immediately give her back. The whole thing sucked. I still don't understand why I was treated so badly. I got a court date, appeared on time, was told by the assigned attorney to agree with everything he said, stood in front of the judge while the attorney explained how I am guilty. I was sentenced to 6 months unsupervised probation and had to pay court costs, plus $15 for the check that bounced and $25 for the bounced check fee. Again. Fun, huh?

Now honestly, this was 5 years ago. I'm mostly over it. And I had no problem with my probation of course. After I completed the 6 months with no issue it became a sealed record that I don't ever have to tell anyone about (as far as job applications). So, no big deal, right? Well it does make an entertaining story now. And I can usually freak people out by announcing that I've been handcuffed and mugshotted. Because I'm so not the type. But the whole experience did affect me. And I lost out on a job because of it. About a month after the court date I graduated college and had a good lead on a job with a company that supports banking software. I knew someone inside, I got an interview... and because it was all currently going on I had to admit to being on probation for passing hot checks. Not really what a company that works with banks wants to hear. I was so upset.

Anyway, that's my horrible story about how a technically innocent person spent some time in the big house.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Holy Schnike

It's been a while since I've updated this place. I feel really bad about that. I have been so busy keeping up with my Rosey's 365 Photos Project daily blog that I have neglected this one. I realize now I did the whole thing wrong. I should have just done my "photo a day" action here on this blog since it's my oldest child. But I didn't. So I am just gonna have to learn to pay attention to both blogs at once.

Today I leave you with a youtube video of 100 of the greatest movie insults (according to the guy who created the video). It reminded of me of so many great old movies and actually prompted me to look up a few I was unfamiliar with. Enjoy.

** WARNING ** - THIS VIDEO CONTAINS VERY VULGAR, HORRIBLE LANGUAGE -

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Adventures In Food


Yesterday Scott and I decided to try out the Vietnamese Restaurant in town, Bambu. I loved the "feel" of the place. The decor and soft lighting worked well together and the whole place was very clean and structured. We had the crab rangoons and egg rolls as appetizers and were both very pleased with them. Because we watch a lot of Anthony Bourdain, we both ordered a Boba tea to drink (pictured above) and they were very interesting. Boba tea is a sweet flavored, smoothie type drink which contains large tapioca pearls. Good flavor on the drink, but the "pearls" ended up being too annoying after the novelty of the whole thing wore off. Next time we go, I'll just get a diet soda.

I was very surprised to find that the menu was not nearly as strange as I expected. There were basically two types of dishes you could choose from, various meats over vermicelli and various meats over rice.

I ordered the Chom Cha Thi Nuong - shredded pork, bbq pork and a pork & egg pancake served with rice, a carrot medley and a side of fish sauce. The bbq pork had a sweet glaze on it and I poured the fish sauce over the rice and mixed it together with the shredded pork. Very delicious.



Scott ordered the house specialty, the Bon Bo Hue soup. The description said it was spicy beef noodle soup and the broth came from cooked beef bones. It also said it contained beef, oxtail and pig knuckles. He thought it was a great chance to be adventurous and I encouraged him to order it. He was a little skeptical of the pig knuckle, but I helped convince him that with the meat pieces all diced up and mixed together he'd never even know. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. The meat was not diced into small pieces at all. In fact, in the center of his bowl was an entire huge pig knuckle. Just sitting there staring at him. Combine that with the unique (ie kinda gross) smell and he didn't manage to eat very much of it. But I totally applaud the effort. And it looked cool.



We both decided we would definitely eat there again, But I'm pretty sure Scott will simply order one of the rice dishes next time. I love trying new things and enjoyed the whole experience immensely. I highly recommend this place to anyone who likes food adventures.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

An Open Letter To My Checkbook

Dear Checkbook,
Why do you enjoy making me anxious? Are you trying to get me to cry? Because if you are, it's working. I remember just last month when you were full to the brim with all of my gooey tax return goodness. We were so happy then. We went shopping together and drove wherever we wanted without worrying about gas prices. I paid off some bills completely and sent in the rest a few weeks early. Those were great times.

But now I look at you and I just can't believe what I'm seeing. There's an emptiness surrounding you that I can't explain. Just last month we paid all of our bills early together. Now we'll be paying everything a week late. How did this happen? Is it because I've been frequently visiting Ebay? Is that what's hurting you? I promise I will stop. I have to stop. I can't stand to see you this way. Especially since I only have 8 days of work left before my job ends. I know that as a dislocated worker I will be able to provide you with some unemployment money, but it's going to be such a difference I'm just not sure it's going to be enough for you. I know it won't be enough.

We have to stick together, Checkbook. I won't be able to survive the job hunt without you. Please pull yourself together. Show me the error of my ways. Show me the places and things that hurt you unnecessarily. And promise me you'll hold on as long as possible. Promise me you'll learn to both stretch yourself and limit yourself all at the same time. I will do the same for you. It's the only way we're going to be able to enjoy having this upcoming free time. I mean, what's the fun in not having to go to work if you can't afford to go fishing?

Love,
Kristy

Friday, March 05, 2010

Poetic Dreams

Poetic Dreams

Looking at the screen
Watching myself type
Hoping I can find the words
To create some sort of hype

In my dreams I’m famous
Wealthy as can be
Writing for a living
So happy and free

But then when I awaken
I remember that’s not true
So I put my dreams behind me
And pretend that I’m not blue

In my life I’m happy
Not too much keeps me down
But I know that I’d be better off
If I could just make some damn money writing these poems.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cool Art


These are the only two paintings I own. I bought the one on the right in 2008 and the one on the left in 2009. And this year I plan on buying another if I get the chance. They are space themed paintings, but that's not what's cool about them. What's cool about them is that they are spray paint paintings. And I watched them being created both times. The artist was on his knees, a can of spray paint in each hand, using pages from a newspaper to create the mountains you see. Each painting takes approx. 6 - 8 minutes from blank white canvas to finished project. And it's an amazing process to watch. All the paintings he cranks out just seem to be random space scenes. None of them really look like any of the others (as far as all having moons, or all having waterfalls, etc.) and have different color schemes. The two times I've seen him in action has been at the annual fall crafts fair in Sprindale, AR. And both times there was a huge crowd around him buying the paintings before he finished them. I got each of these by hollering out "the next one is mine" and paying for them before any paint even went down.

Now, I do love the two paintings that I have. But the guy paints a lot of pictures that are way more detailed and colorful than these. His name is Carey Huckabey and he's known on the interwebz as the "6th Street Spray Paint Artist" in Austin, TX. I have found a few youtube videos of him, but none of them are very clear or easy to see. This was the best one I could find and when he finishes the painting and picks it up, you can see it's either paper or posterboard. The ones I own are painted on some sort of glossy plywoodish (new word) board. Oh, and I should also mention that my dad made me the beautiful frames. Here's the video - watch me!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Jello Gelatin Disaster

It all started innocently enough. My nephew Charlie recently started following a Weight Watcher's point plan diet and to be supportive I promised him I'd bring down a large supply of Jello for him. Jello's perfect for a diet because it fills your belly without many calories and all you need to make it is water. So saturday I stopped by the local Wal-Mart and loaded up my cart with 12 boxes of Jello in various flavors and a few other things I thought he would enjoy and would be useful. Then I proudly delivered the goods to him and he was very excited. But after a few mintues we discovered I had made a mistake. I had bought regular Jello gelatin instead of sugar-free Jello. And where sugar-free Jello is only 1 Weight Watcher's point for the entire box, regular Jello (the kind I bought) is 8 points for the entire box. Way too many wasted points. So guess who's going back to Wal-Mart to return some Jello? That's right, I made my mom. No not really. I went back to Wal-Mart to exchange my 11 boxes (we opened one before we realized the mistake) for 11 boxes of sugar-free. And I learned a very valuable lesson... I WILL NEVER DO THAT AGAIN.

So here's what happened. Back in the old days, A few short years ago, when you walked into Wal-Mart with a return, the greeter at the doors would put a pink sticker on the item or the bag to let the Customer Service Desk know that he did see you walk in the door with it. Now they have an inventory scan gun called something that I can't remember. Dang, sidetracked. I worked at a Wal-Mart Distribution Center for 7 years in Bentonville, Arkansas and I can't remember what we called these freaking guns. Gah. Anyway, so now they have to scan each UPC code and print out a little sticker to put on each item. So the old man at the door grabbed my bag of 11 boxes and started scanning and tagging. Not only was he very slow, but he ran out of room on his little table to place the stickered vs. non-stickered boxes of Jello. So it took some extra time while he juggled them and moved them around over and over again. But finally he prevailed and I had a bag full of stickered items. Off to the service desk.

Silly me. I had assumed that basically I was gonna dump the Jello boxes out on the service desk counter and then run back to the Jello aisle and grab 11 boxes of sugar-free Jello, bring them back to the service desk for verification and then walk out the door. I was wrong. At the service desk they told me they needed my receipt. Luckily I still had it in my purse because I hadn't entered the amount into my checkbook yet. Then they went through the process of writing up a defective tag FOR EACH BOX. Now Jello is not expensive to begin with, but the ones I bought were the Great Value brand and were $0.38 apiece. So finally we had a seperate tag on each box of Jello. And she's ringing up the total so she can hand me my money back. I guess they don't do exchanges anymore, only returns. I don't know. In the meantime, because all of this has been such a lengthy process I'm bored and begin making idle chit chat with the service desk clerk.

"I'm really sorry about this. I know returning Jello is a little unusual. I just grabbed the wrong kind accidentally."
"Oh that's okay, people return food all the time. We'll just throw these away with all the rest"
"Excuse me?"
"We have to throw this Jello away. Ever since 9/11 we aren't allowed to re-shelve food items of any kind."
"Excuse me?"
"Yep, it's all going in the trash."
"I could have thrown it away and saved myself these last 20 minutes. Heck, I would have eaten the Jello myself. I could have donated it to someone who has little kids. I know plenty of peope who would have eaten that. I can't believe it's getting thrown away."
"Yep, that's our policy. Here's your $4.67."

I pocketed the money and hung my head as I walked to the gelatin aisle to pick out 11 shiney new boxes of sugar-free Jello. I can't believe they throw all food returns away. There was absolutely nothing wrong with that Jello. I mean, I understand that food can be tampered with, but.... crazy. And I do realize that by returning it and getting my money back I didn't have to spend additional money to buy the right items. But still the whole thing just really bugged me. The $4.67 was not that big of a deal. I wish I would have given the regular Jello to someone. What a crazy policy.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ramblings... I Has Them

And off we go.

I love to lolspeak online. I don't know why, I just do. But I do not lolspeak irl. Very often.

I seem to be funnier and much more popular online than in person. If I could do everything online I could rule the world.

I'm reading a book called The Urban Hermit and it's strangely inspirational. I keep wondering if I would be able to ignore being hungry for so many days that it just faded away. As a professional fat ass it's something I've never endured for more than a few hours. But this book has me thinking about it.

When you find yourself absolutely pissed off at someone who honestly did nothing wrong, what do you do? I'm mad because I don't like a decision this person made and the affect it had on me... but this person had every right to make that decision and I'm quite sure is better off for it. There was no reason whatsoever for this person to even wonder about how it would affect anyone other than themselves. But I'm pissed to the point of being distant and cranky and they deserve to know why. Or at least I think they do. Yet I also know it's not fair of me to whine about helping themselves and not considering me.

I sure wish I could write had the courage to write like Heather Armstrong.

Last night I had a dream that I was on an accidental roadtrip (driver got us lost after a wrong turn) with a co-worker that I cannot stand and a friend that I rarely talk to. In the dream I liked the co-worker and I woke up pretty pissed off about it.

I'm completely torn on the subject of whether social networking is a positive or a negative. I believe that sites such as Facebook and the ability to text, etc. are great for keeping up with distant family members or reconnecting with old friends. It's amazing that we can instantly communicate with each other to relay news about someone's medical condition or reminders of an upcoming birthday party. And I am addicted to the internet, Facebook, text messaging and emails. But I also get sick to death of it all. I believe it's sometimes a bad thing that we don't get a break away from people. I think it causes teens to have more problems and drama than teens normally had before the age of technology. Now bickering, name calling, jealousy, etc. can continue 24/7. Back in my day kids only had to worry about stuff during the school day or at the basketball games. Once you went home you had no idea who your friends were talking to or who was secretly dating who. Today's saturation of information causes a lot of problems between people. I also think it's neat to get a bit of insight into your co-workers and learn that some of them have the same hobbies as you. Then again, it's easy to change your opinion about people once you discover they are hippies or sadists or whatever. And regardless of whether you still like them or not, who the hell wants to see all of their zodiac quizzes and pet pictures. There are times when I'm having a blast playing cards with friends and then see a Facebook update that someone else I enjoy hanging with is at the movies and I find myself kind of jealous that I'm not at the movie with them. WHY? Without this instant communication I would never have known and I'm perfectly happy where I'm already at. There's just as many bad things about constantly being in touch as there are good. I'm still torn.

I find it very frustrating that I don't have a specialty. There is not one thing I know more about than other things. That I'm aware of anyway. It's like I'm sort of a jack-of-all-trades. I dabble in everything that strikes my fancy. And I guess that makes me a fairly decent "all around" type of gal... but it also means I don't focus on one thing long enough to be an expert at anything.

I love doing jigsaw puzzles and I've been itching to do one for quite a while now but I know the cat won't allow one to be on the kitchen table. That sux. I haven't put together a puzzle in a couple of years. For the record, I hate the beginning part where you have to flip over all the peices.

I feel better now. Thanks for listening world. And by world I mean you three people that read this.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Hoar Frost (or Hoarfrost)

Whether it's all one word or two seperate ones seems to depend on who you ask. But no matter what it's called, it's beautiful. This morning, everything in the Springfield area was covered with hoar frost. Unfortunately I go to work before it's light enough to take pictures, so when the sun came up enough to reveal nature's beauty this morning I could only take pictures of what I found near the building.

We do have an overgrown empty lot behind us which looked pretty cool.



And one of the trees still had some leaves on it that showed up nicely.



There are also some cute little pine trees near the front door.



The funny part about seeing the hoar frost this morning is that yesterday morning I had never heard of it before and hadn't ever paid attention to it. But last night, I was catching up on one of my favorite blogs ( The Lope ) and he had posted pictures from a hoar frost in his area on January 31st. I thought it was so pretty and then boom! here it is in front of me today.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

It's Funny How Unaware I Can Sometimes Be

Lately I have been abnormally grumpy, especially at work. And since my bestest work buddy got fired back in October (major downsizing in my office) and then my next-in-line work buddy decided to change shifts so that I no longer see her, I've just gotten grumpier and grumpier. Actually, I'm not sure grumpy is even an acurate description of it. I'm pretty much an ass lately.

One of the things I'm being an ass about is the fact that my few remaining co-workers are getting on my damn nerves. Before I go on, let me assure you... I do like these people. Or at least 99% of these people. They are perfectly nice, normal co-workers and I don't have any issues with them. Except for the 1% that I don't like of course. I think my main problem is that aside from all the extra work and the fear of losing my job... I just don't have any friends left here. And by friends I mean people who hang out at my house, invite me over to their house, and know me well enough that we can spend hours not talking about work. I don't have anyone to bitch to when I've had a bad call (or 10). No one to take breaks with or go to lunch with. You get the picture.

So anyway, my point is that I'm grouchy with the people that are left. Not on purpose, but grouchy nonetheless. And when one of them gets off a call and says "That guy sucked" or "She was a moron" (YES, we totally talk shit about you after we get off the phone) it just pisses me off that they are disturbing me by talking out loud. I roll my eyes. Why do they think I give a rat's ass about their phone calls? Who made them think we all needed to be disturbed while they attempted to be funny? See.... I told you I'm an ass these days.

I'm confessing this because today I realized that even though I dont' want to hear them, I am guilty of doing the same thing after every other phone call. And I feel bad for being so hateful to them (I've only been hateful in my mind, I don't say anything to them) and then I do the exact same thing I don't want them to do.

And I guess I just need the world to know that this is not Charlie's fault because he didn't want to be downsized... but you can totally blame Kim. She didn't have to change shifts and leave me pissed off and all alone.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Holy Shit, I Am Not Alone

"I've always avoided fights. I make jokes instead. I tell people what they want to hear to avoid a confrontation. I pretend to want things I don't want, and I pretend not to want things I do want. No one gets hurt. Except me. The lines are so crossed and blurred at this point that I don't know what I want. I just know I want it to be easy."

Okay, can anyone tell me where the above quote came from? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? If you answered that it's from my personal journal, you are almost correct. Because if I actually kept a journal then I do believe those exact words would be in it. But I don't. And those words? Those words are actually from a library book I'm reading called "Girl's Poker Night" by Jill A. Davis. Finding them, those words, was amazing. Because they describe me. Perfectly. And even though they were spoken by a fictional character it was a relief to know I'm not the only idiot that's built this way.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Why Are Things So Difficult Sometimes?

How can you only have seven people working in an office and not be able to organize a “pizza day”? I seriously do not understand. Local joint selling pizzas half price this week to all employees at our company and people here can’t agree to just order 4 large pizzas and split the price. Instead, apparently we are supposed to all tell one of the girls what pizza we want and give her the money and she will call in everyone’s order tomorrow. WTF? Why would I want to order my own large pizza? Other coworker says “It’s because we all want different things”. But there are only seven of us. And I know that myself and at least 2 other people aren’t that picky. We’ll eat basically any type of crust or toppings. Which brings me back to how can ordering 4 large pizzas and splitting the price be a problem?

Then I hear them discussing that the best time to call it in would be at 11:00 so that it could arrive between 11:30 and 12:00. I guess no one cares that my scheduled lunchtime is at 11:00. I guess it’s a good thing I had already decided I wasn’t going to participate in an office lunch by ordering my own large pizza. Does any of this really make sense? Gah!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Learning To Love Nurses

You all know that I work in the health care industry doing technical support. This means that I spend most of my day talking to nurses (not all day because we do get calls from the business offices and admin offices also). Obviously, I don't have a great deal of medical knowledge and the nurses usually don't have a great deal of technical knowledge. And that normally causes a communication problem. They are in a hurry, they don't want to take the extra time to explain their problem but yet I can't help them if I don't know what the problem is. And when they do try to explain the explanation is filled with "that thingymabob isn't working" or "I click on that one little picture in the corner". It gets frustrating. It's my job to fix their issue and the more questions I ask the madder the nurse gets and the more confused I get. I stay frustrated with nurses a lot.

But it is still a medical environment and even though I’m merely technical support there are times when the medical side of my workplace reaches out and slaps me in the face. I can’t give you too many stories because I don’t want any sort of trouble if someone I work with finds this blog and thinks I’m giving too many details. HIPPA violations are serious business around here. But you do get the occasional calls like an ER doctor screaming about a critical condition patient on the table and the imaging system used to view x-rays is not working. Things of that nature. And when you get those calls it can really rattle you to the core.

My day started off that way unfortunately. My first call of the day started out normal enough. One of the nurses from Psych Med was having an issue logging into her primary software and while I was in the process of troubleshooting I suddenly heard some shouting in the background. It was a patient who was confused/upset about where she woke up apparently and she wanted everyone to know it. The screaming escalated in a few short seconds and immediately the nurse on the phone with me asked me to hold please and she set the phone down to try and help with the patient. This meant for the next 5 or 6 minutes I sat there and listened to the screaming and pleading and pain and sobbing of someone while several nurses tried to restrain her and calm her down. It was very unnerving and made me realize how special you have to be to work in nursing or any similar fields. I would have sat down and cried had I been there. I was darn near crying just sitting here listening to it. I finally decided to hang up, the nurse could call back when things settled down. One reason is because it was painful to listen to. It made me sad. The other reason is that I almost felt like I was eavesdropping on something I shouldn’t be hearing. There was a real pain and sadness in the sobbing and I just didn’t feel right hearing it. The whole thing really rattled me. What a humbling way to start the day. Today I will have more patience for the nurses that call me. I am very grateful for what they do and how they handle their jobs. They are truly heroes.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

I Really Don't Understand People

I work at a computer helpdesk for a health care organization and answer calls all day long about software and hardware issues. Some of these calls are from people who are at home and are using our remote portal website to login to the system from home and either check their email or do some work. When we get these calls from remote users the first thing we determine is if they have a company owned laptop that we built and sent home with them or if they are just using their own personal computer to connect. Obviously we are responsible for making sure the remote portal is working, their login and password is working, and once they are connected we support everything on our side of the network that they are doing. If they are using a company owned laptop that we sent them home with, then we are also responsible for figuring out what settings on the laptop may be causing the problem they are having. If they can't use our pc to connect to their home wireless, for example, that's our problem and we need to work on resolving it. However, if they are using their own personal pc we are not at all responsible for anything at all that happens prior to logging in to the remote portal. Your laptop won't find your own network? Not my problem. It's your pc and your network, you figure it out. Call Dell. Call your ISP. Call your dad. I don't care because I am not responsible for your stuff.

The reason we operate like this is simple. One, we are being paid by our company to answer the phone for issues affecting the production of our co-workers. The fact that you can't get to www.google.com on your home pc is not something I am getting paid to take care of. It's a waste of company time and money. Second, we simply can't be responsible for perhaps accidentally messing up your pc. I'm sitting in a cubicle in town. I can't see anything about your pc. I don't know what version of Windows you're running. I don't know how your husband setup your wireless router or who your ISP is. I am clueless. So when I get a call like I did this morning I usually just explain that because it's a personal pc and the issue has nothing to do with connecting to our system remotely then I am unable to help. The lady that I told this to this morning, however, did not take kindly to it at all. AT ALL.

She called in because she is continously getting a pop-up dialog box saying that her Adobe Updater has failed to install the latest update. We went through several minutes of conversation involving me explaining that Adobe had nothing to do with connecting remotely, so the message was more than likely related to settings on her personal pc. She accepted that but still wanted to know if I could help her. I explained I could not because I knew nothing about how her computer was configured. She stated that she had called in before and someone had helped her get rid of this message. A) Fucking Whoopty Do, Goody For You. And B) Too bad you can't remember what they did you moron.

Of course, I did not say either of those things and I apologized once again but kindly declined to help her. I did suggest that maybe her user account didn't have enough rights to let the install complete and that whoever set up her pc might be able to give her administrator rights to see if that took care of the problem. But then she wanted to know if I could just tell her how to get into the task manager and do that herself. Uh... NO. It's not done in task manager and for the 4th time WE DO NOT WORK ON PERSONAL PC'S BECAUSE WE CANNOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ACCIDENTALLY MESSING SOMETHING UP. At which point she said "Well what if I just call back and someone else answers the phone and they help me?"

My response? "That's a great idea, you should do that." CLICK. Yep, I hung up on her. Which I never do with customers. It got that bad. I don't understand people. Oh well, only thing left to do is hope she doesn't remember my name. Because if she does, I'll be hearing from the boss in no time. Sigh.