Friday, August 31, 2007

Nanny Diaries

I hated the book so why would I go see the movie? Especially as "The Nanny Diaries" has received such bad reviews. But I really hated the book, and can say that I didn't hate the movie as much. I mean, it's really not very good, but it avoided some of the excrutiating moments of the book. And it has Alicia Keys in it - who knew she was acting now?

My life is owned by TWC

Today I went back to the Time Warner Cable store. I thought I was being smart by going in on a Friday, just before a holiday weekend, when anyone who had the day off would be off doing last-summer-weekend fun things, not standing on line at the cable store. Ha! It was easily 10x more crowded than last Saturday, because I'd not factored in 1)it was the last day of the month, when people tend to move and need to drop off their cable boxes, and 2)it's the start of a new school year and the store is in a prime area for college students.

Luckily, my line, the "upgrade" line, was shorter, and we had chairs and numbered tickets. Mine estimated a 55 minute wait. So what else to do? I had my old cable box in a plastic bag and wasn't in the mood to cart it around and come back. So I sat. Good estimate - about 50 minutes later, my number is called, and I go up only to find out that they are all out of HD cable boxes. No, really! (Did I forget to mention that I'd called before I even left my apartment, to make sure I'd have all the necessary equipment I was supposed to have, to avoid last week's fruitless trip?) Oh, but they had HD DVR boxes, and would give me free DVR service for one month and then I could either trade it back in for the regular HD box or start paying about $6 a month more.

The problems with this are:
1) Clearly bait and switch.
2) If I get used to DVR you know I won't want to give it up.
3) I'm supposed to be moving in 2 months, at which point they will send a service man over to check every thing out, at which point he can bring the correct box. If I really want to switch back.
4) I am powerless in the face of new technology.

Now, I got home and hooked it up and don't really see much difference between regular digital cable and High Definition cable, even with the HD TV, but whatever. Of course I immediately programed shows for it to record, although being in the late summer of sad reruns, there's not much. (Seriously I would welcome the rerun summers of old - now there are hardly any reruns, just stupid filler summer reality shows.)

And then... my internet connection was down. I called TWC and lo and behold, the guy in the store never closed out my order when I was there, so my service was interrupted. Nice. Luckily the guy on the phone fixed it right away.

You know with my track record with repairmen and servicemen, moving will be a nightmare. I better make sure my candles and batteries are in a easy-to-find box.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sailing cell phone

Last night I was walking home when a man standing on the sidewalk ahead of me lowered his cell phone from his ear and hurled it in my direction. I somehow managed to sidestep it and it crashed to the sidewalk behind me. The sidewalk was crowded; people stopped and gasped. A woman apparently standing near the guy mumbled something and took off in the opposite direction than he; she could have been with him, or merely a bystander. He just raced away, never looking back. I followed at a distance, keeping his blue shirt in my sight as he pushed through the evening rush hour crowd, but I lost him after a few blocks.

The incident was sudden and disturbing but essentially forgettable. I'll never know his motivation, or if he'd have cared if he'd hit me (or anyone else.) I'll likely not recognize him if I see him again; he was very much the nondescript average white male.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Notes from the Gym

What is more repulsive than a crumbled up tissue sitting on the wooden bench in front of your locker? Attempting to brush it lightly aside so you can put your bag down and discovering that it's stuck to the bench.

* * *

Brilliant Moments in Media, Part 117:
CNN teases updates on police reports in the Owen Wilson alleged suicide story, and then wastes several minutes explaining that the police and hospital authorities have not released any information. Essentially, the same exact story they have been airing for the two and half days since the story first broke. To cap off this delightful romp in cutting edge journalism, they quote, both in on screen text and read aloud, Wilson's plea through his spokesperson for the media to please leave him alone while he deals with this private situation. Not one ounce of self-reflection in the absurdity of airing that repeatedly, day after day? Come on. I would love to see even one media organization say, "Owen? We hear you. Get well, check back with you later," and be done with the story. Especially if there is no story day after day after day.

* * *

My local gym has now taken MTV off the TVs, in addition to VH1 and Bravo, so other than the networks and CNN and a couple of sports channels, choices are severely limited. Oh, there are seven channels airing the TV Guide channel lineup, of course, and one "sports network" on which the gym plays a mix of old and boring music videos. They also are clueless enough to intersperse commercials for the gym which start with a blaring TV emergency warning signal - you know, just the kind of thing you appreciate busting into your ear buds every now and then.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ants at a Funeral

This morning I was greeted by a swarm of tiny black ants on the bathroom tile floor. This is annoying. Usually it happens in the early fall, so I suppose the roller coaster weather of the past couple of weeks could be to blame. But now my whole body itches as I imagine they are crawling all over me. (They are not.)

* * *

Yesterday I saw "Death at a Funeral," which is truly a funny movie, even if many of the funniest lines were in the trailer that I must have seen a dozen times. Still, they weren't the ONLY jokes, and there is a good deal of humor surrounding them, so it was definitely worth the price of the ticket.

* * *

This week the office promises to be quiet, as so many people are taking off for their last hurrah before kids go back to school next week. This is both a good and bad thing; I can get more work done, but I also tend to lose motivation when it's too quiet and there's not as much pressure. I'm only in the office for three days, though, as we are closed on Friday (yay!) and I am flying to Boston on Thursday for a meeting.

* * *

I need to return to the bathroom before I leave for the gym, but I don't want to. I hate ants.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sunday, August Sunday

Went to the gym, mopped the kitchen floor, took my old wine rack down to the curb to see if anyone will "adopt" it. Ten minutes later, and it's gone.

I don't think I should bring down the rolled up rug, as it has some serious stains that aren't visible until you unroll it and that would be mean to do to someone. It's heavy (8x10) and it's supposed to rain later so it would just get heavier. I'll wait until Thursday night, as bulk item trash pickup is Friday.

Now I have two bags of books, mostly cookbooks I never used and children's books I got when I was a book buyer from which I've pulled the ones that aren't that good. Having a three year old here all last week meant we read every book several times, and it was clear which are not worth keeping.

I want to see another movie today.

Superbad and Super hot

After a week of cool (nearly cold at times) temperatures and damp cloudy days, yesterday we hit 90+ again. It was my first free day in many weeks, a day in which I answered to nobody and had nothing planned.

I started by sleeping in.

Then I did some light cleaning, including rolling up a rug which I have finally decided to get rid of. It's a beautiful white and beige wool rug I bought over twenty years ago, but by now there are assorted stains that nothing has been able to get out.

I also packed two more boxes of books. I need to focus on how to address the book case situation: I clearly need more room, but do I solve this by replacing the current arrangement (one tall bookcase and one 3 foot high that match, plus 1 additional 3 foot high that doesn't match)? They are all from stores that are out of business and therefore there is no option to buy additional pieces that match. So do I sell these and buy new ones? Three tall ones maybe? Where will they go in my new apartment? Maybe I need to move in first and feel it out. But shouldn't I just move in without any, rather than pay to have the existing ones moved if I'm only going to get rid of them shortly after? And what about looking into built-ins?

See how difficult that is?

Anyway. After that I decided to get out of the apartment, and headed into Manhattan to see a movie. Didn't seem to be my day, as the theater's computers were down and they weren't selling popcorn. I'd skipped lunch to have enough free calories for popcorn, so I was willing to ask for my money back to go to another theater, but they fixed it. But then there was no sound in the theater. Let me tell you, sitting through silent pre-movie commercials is strange. Not bad, mind you, just strange. Luckily that was fixed before the feature started.

Since I was in Chelsea, I decided to make my way to the Time Warner Cable store just across town on the east side. In the past three days, I've received three emails encouraging me to updgrade to an HDTV cable box for free. The web link led to instructions to go to one of their stores for a "free self-installation kit." So despite the heat, I trekked across four avenues in the afternoon sun, only to arrive and discover that I needed to bring my current digital cable box. Well how would I know that? It could have been an add-on piece. I was extremely annoyed, but the security guy at the door (who directs you to the appropriate line and gives you a numbered ticket), said it happens all day long. My next stop, of course, was a shady bench around the block where I called TWC and expressed my annoyance at the lack of clear instructions on their website. If you're going to have a big e-mail marketing push for something, you'd better make sure your website has the appropriate instructions for your customers to react to it. Apologies of course but nothing they could do. There was no time for me to go home and get my box and come back before they closed, and they are not open today.

Best part: I get home and there is another email from them telling me to upgrade!

But it all came back, the irrational anger, the physical reaction (elevated heart rate, flushed face, shaking hands), the frustration. I hate feeling that way, going from relatively calm and upbeat to major fury on a dime. Over what some people would probably think is a minor event. Why can't I just react calmly and rationally? I think I must do such a good job at keeping myself under control all the time that little things (usually related to a service I pay for) just set me off.

Now I sound like a crazy woman about to blow. If I do, this blog will clearly become evidence of my downslide. Can't you see it reproduced on CNN in their block quote font?

Today promises thunderstorms and I'm thrilled. I want to stay in and go through files. Or read. Whatever I feel like doing.

First, to the gym.

Oh, the movie I saw? "Superbad." I am sure that there are critics that are disappointed that it's good, eliminating the opportunity to say "'Superbad' is super bad!" (I guess they could say, "Super good!") It is good, and funny, although a bit - slower, I guess? - than I expected. There is a long talk-y exposition scene at the start which had little funny for me (unless you think staring at your best friend's mom's cleavage is hilarity. I didn't, nor did the crowd I saw it with. Granted, I was in Chelsea, not generally the hangout of straight horny teenage boys.) But it's a film that's fun if you're into physical and gross out humor (including a bit about a new bodily fluid for which I believe the comic potential has yet to be fully explored, although I could be wrong, not having seen any of the American Pie movies beyond the original.)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Ready or not...

Last night I packed my first box.

I know! This means that this shit is for real. Of course I don't have a closing date, haven't given notice in my apartment, or have any idea of when I might be moving. But I'm getting ready!

My latest way to kill time (not that it needs killing, I am still crazy busy) is to shop for new things for the apartment. Not actually "shop," as in exchange money for goods or services, as I'm not buying yet, just browsing. I have my eye on a new bed, a TV stand, a kitchen island, a rug, and a wine rack. I would prefer to not buy and then have to pay to move it, so I'm going to order and have delivered to the new apartment.

If there ever is a closing.

* * *

I seriously need a movie this weekend. It's been too long.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Zippee dee doo dah

So I just tried to call one of the new executives in another office, whom I've not yet met, only to discover that despite a very masculine name, the executive is a woman. Her "secretary" (who says "secretary" any more but tired old men anyway?) was very pissy with me when I said I had a call scheduled with "him." Come on, how many times does she have to correct people? Don't make me sound like the idiot.

I am drowning. I skipped TV last night to write, and spent three hours on the computer, churning out what felt like good writing. But when I finally crawled into bed, I couldn't sleep, needing that hour (quickly rolling into two) to unwind with the TV on before I could sleep. I'm really busy at work this week, too, so anticipate another late night tonight finishing up a story draft.

I wish I could drink coffee again.

(As I write this, yet another person is hanging on every word of the "how I got engaged this weekend" story, this time told within three feet of my cubicle. Turns out that the fiance is European, and the whole concept of having to ask her to marry him was foreign and awkward to him. I think I need to find me a European. Damn, I should have let my grandmother fix me up with that Dutch son of her neighbors.)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Rings and things

Scenario: A co-worker spends the morning telling one colleague after another the story of how her boyfriend proposed on Saturday night. Much squealing and jabbering ensues.

Reaction: Stay out of the fray at the start, then begin to roll my eyes every time a new person walks by her cubicle and begins to scream. By 11:00 am, I am mumbling mean things to my computer that translate roughly to "who cares?"

Diagnosis: Am I a single forty-something woman who is insanely jealous of another woman's happiness? Or is it as I profess, that the whole concept of sitting on my hands waiting for a man to decide we're ready to get married is repulsive to me? I find it difficult to summon up excitement over it. Would I feel any differently if I were in a serious relationship? I don't think so. Am I knocking all the women who get engaged in the traditional manner? No. Maybe I'm just not the squealing type.

Addendum: I spent the weekend at a family wedding, one of the more formal to happen in our family in my generation, this one for a second cousin I don't know very well. But, it was also not really the wedding, because the couple got married several months ago when they felt like they wanted to be married, and this was simply an occasion to get together with friends and family to celebrate. One of my aunts disapproved but it all made sense to me. There was a long white dress, a church ceremony (with a minister and a prayer) and seating assignments at tables in a big white tent. A deejay and dancing, a multi-tiered wedding cake. Much more formal than the last family wedding, which was in the backyard of the local fire house, with a pig roast and a request for guests to bring "a dish to pass." And no alcohol. (This weekend there was a martini bar.)

I'm back at work today, as you may have figured out. I hate back-from-vacation Mondays.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A long ramble about a show I never watch

The entertainment media is abuzz with the season three premiere of "The Hills." First: can this really be the third year? Second: I still don't quite get it. I understand the attraction of reality television, having had some level of fascination with several of its incarnations. You have the competitive reality ("Survivor," "Amazing Race," "Top Chef," "American Idol," etc.), the dating reality ("Bachelor" and its brethren - can you tell I don't watch?), the celeb reality (thanks to "The Osbournes" we have evolved to such scintillating television as "Scott Baio is 45 and Single"), and then the strangers-forced-to-live-together genre spawned by the granddaddy of them all, "The Real World," and now characterized by such variations as "Wife Swap" and "Big Brother" (which crosses over into competitive reality since there is a prize at the end for the one who survives living with these oddball strangers the longest.)

But "The Hills" and its predecessor "Laguna Beach" are the first to have cameras following "everyday" people around in their actual lives, without forcing them to live on an island or live in an 1800's house or room with people they'd probably not chose to sit next to on a bus. I say "everyday" because this crop was originally chosen because they were rich and pretty and lived in the beach side communities then being fictionalized on "The O.C." I tried watching "Laguna Beach" but couldn't get very far. It wasn't the difficulty in finding anything to relate to from spoiled blond teenagers, but an inability to get beyond the look of the show: instead of the usual taped look, the shows are presented as filmed. (You know the difference, the slightly deeper focus, the tiny bit of graininess - think a taped live sitcom like "Friends" vs. something filmed in multiple locations like "My Name is Earl.") It's jarring to see something filmed that's not scripted, and suddenly the "reality" aspect of the show starts to disappear and it all seems fake.

Now further blurring the lines is that the "stars" of the show are paparazzi darlings right alongside the celebrities who make a living playing fictional characters. So here's Angelina Jolie, appearing in People magazine's "Stars: They are just like us!" pages with her cup of Starbucks, so unlike her on screen persona, but when you tail Lauren from "The Hills" aren't you just getting another promo for her reality show? Or an outtake from the same? Ostensibly there is nothing different between the Lauren that is on MTV this week and the one you might see standing on line at a movie theater, right?

The reason I started this whole boring post is not just to explain why I don't watch "The Hills" but because it dawned on me today that this show is the closest we have to the premise of "Ed TV," which in the long ago past of 1999 tried to imagine what it would be like to have a camera follow a person around in their everyday life. (Granted, Ed was 24 hours and live, not fractured and reconstituted into neat storylines in MTV's crack editing lab.) The difference is that the attention drove Ed crazy and he bailed, while Lauren and her ilk are thriving on it.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Diet Coke Redux

If you recall, I lost my laptop computer to a Diet Coke spill recently. Well, I simply don't learn. Today I had the chance to sit outside in the sun and eat my lunch. I packed up the remains and sauntered off, not realizing that the cap of my Diet Coke bottle was loose until many minutes later as I stood in the elevator and noticed I was dripping.

Half a bottle of Diet Coke had puddled in the bottom of my cloth shoulder bag.

Luckily, nothing appears to have been damaged, other than a pile of printouts of stories for my writing classes. And, the bag of course, which now sits emptied and damp, air-drying.

I dumped all of my belongings in one of the canvas totes we give out at client events.

But I still like the taste of Diet Coke.

Big questions for small morning

So, did you ever have a falling out with a friend, not see them for a lengthy time, then run in to them only to find the intervening years have brought them unimaginable tragedy? It puts everything in perspective. So much of life is wasted being petty.

And yet, just because someone has had their share of trouble, doesn't mean that they are necessarily going to be a nicer person, or suddenly have a personality that meshes better with yours. When are you rekindling a friendship out of pity and not out of genuine affection?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

"Becoming Jane"


What is more boring than a made-up story about Jane Austen, in an inferior Jane Austen-esque style?

The film of the same.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Goings on

So much on the brain these days. Busy at work, moving stuff, mortgage/coop application stuff, visiting family, other family members embroiled in a huge interpersonal drama, some pesky medical stuff I need to do, and on top of that, I have an online writing workshop that I paid for and one I volunteered to join, and am hideously behind on the reading and feedback for both.

At least I'm not bored, right?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Here's how much a baseball fan I am not. I have been somewhat aware that there is a home run record being challenged, something I'm probably more aware of because I remember Hank Aaron's playing when I was a kid and had a baseball-obsessed father. But today when the early morning news is awash with the news that Barry Bonds has surpassed Aaron's record, my first reaction is: "Oh, I didn't know he was black." (Not relevant, just an observation.) My second, upon hearing that the fan who caught the ball is a Mets fan from Queens: "What team is Bonds on?" Well, now I know, but I would have guessed a dozen teams before hitting (pun intended) on the San Francisco Giants. (My guesses, of course, are limited to those teams that were in existence in the early 1970's when my brother and I would play with his baseball cards.)

* * *

They just said that there are tornado warnings in Brooklyn for the next twenty minutes. I am glad I chose today as my non-gym morning, and therefore am happily enclosed in my apartment for another hour or more before I need to scurry to work. I'd work from home but I left the work laptop in the office.

Last time we had a big rain storm, three women in my office had to run out and buy new clothes because those they were wearing were soaked on their commute in. Luckily our complex is a quasi-mall, with enough chain clothing stores to fit almost anyone's tastes.

Timing is everything

Now that I'm in the process of applying for a mortgage, I am amazed at how much of the spam I get is about "your loan application," etc. Obviously, I have been getting it all along but not noticing it. (I'm sure that if I suddenly grew a penis and wished it were larger, I'd marvel at how many emails I was getting offering me ways in which to make that happen, too.)

However, it's not just because I'm ready to cash in some mutual funds that the stock market is in a state of upheaval - that's just my dumb luck.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Monday, monday

Another weekend away, with family, relaxing, and yet returning to the sinking realization that I have too much cleaning/purging/prep-packing to do, and weekends are flying by. Although it wouldn't have happened on a brutally hot weekend, either.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Afternoon tea (lounge)

The rugs in the Tea Lounge are filthy. I can't figure out if they never vacuum, or it's just the daily droppings of countless toddlers and their not-much-tidier elders. My bare ankles itch but I think it's all in my head. Although I've seen people bring dogs in here despite the sign forbidding it - let me revise that, I've seen ONE PERSON carry her purse-dog in here twice - I don't believe there could really be fleas in the carpet. But who knows?

* * *

Yes, another day working from "home." Actually I don't do it that often. Today's 94 degree forecast convinced me to trade the annoyance of commuting (hot subway platforms only briefly offset by frigid a/c trains when my ride is only 7 minutes) for the annoyance of a high electricity bill for my own a/c during the day. Enter the Tea Lounge, option 3: no commute, cold air, not on my a/c bill.

* * *

Rumor is that my coop contract has been signed by the sellers, although I've yet to have confirmation or see a copy. I am not yet celebrating.

* * *

I had a weird dream last night, in which I woke up and there was a guy in my bedroom who was delivering a book from the local bookstore. I was half-dressed (topless) and self-conscious about it, and not quite sure how he'd gotten into my apartment. I made up a story that I was sick in bed and really appreciated the home delivery of the books, and could he bring more? He immediately said he knew of a good one to recommend, and he left. I followed him out, and of course it wasn't my actual apartment, because off the living room was another bedroom behind which I realized my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew were sleeping. The front door to my apartment was also a double door and when I went to close it, I noticed that it wouldn't lock properly because if you pushed against the seam where the doors met, they both swung on their hinges. And then I noticed that there was a huge open space above the door, like the doorway was 20 feet tall and this weird door was only 9 feet tall. I thought maybe I made a mistake moving into this apartment.

Analysis: apprehension about moving, combined with the impending visit of said family, plus a dash of what? feeling exposed because I just sent all my personal finance information to a mortgage broker?

* * *

I need to gather references for the coop board. I have 2, 2 in progress, and need to find 2 more. It's tough. Who to ask, and how? There's someone I am friends with who would be very good at it, but we haven't known each other very long at all, and I wonder if she'd think it weird that I have no longer-term friends? Can I use a sister-in-law whose name isn't mine?

* * *

I just had a sandwich but am greedily eyeing the bakery case.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Receipt requested

You know the email option that notifies you when someone opens the email you sent? Almost everyone I know in the office turns it off, as it's annoying to constantly have your inbox flooded with "receipts." So when someone still has it on, and sends me a personal email, I feel as if I'm being monitored. Am I being evaluated on whether I'm sitting there, waiting for his email to pop up? Is he watching how quickly I respond after reading?
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