Category Archives: Moi

Tales from the Technology Trenches

I’m a big fan of electronic options. I choose ATMs over tellers and vote by mail to avoid all that nasty community at the polls. But really irritating tech is out there, and one of the strongest bastions was also the first – telephones. Herewith, two tales that both happened yesterday, one to me, one to my mom.

Notification from my smartphone:

In order to enable WIFI calling, you must provide your address for 911 calls. Please visit my.tmobile.com.

So I went to the site, where it asked me to log in. The user ID was my phone number, so I knew I had that right, but after trying all my usual passwords (and Angel Joe’s), I hit the Forgot your password? option. Bing! A new, temporary password appeared in my phone messages, and I carefully typed it in: UU4ZJ4.

Website: Password must be at least eight characters long.

At possibly the same time, my mom was trying to cancel her paid subscription to a newsletter that automatically renewed. The website insisted that she get on the phone. The automated phone system was clearly designed to be obstructive. First it hung up on her when she paused too long to pick one of the options, then it had difficulty recognizing her subscriber number, no matter how slowly and clearly she read it.

Automated system: Are you Jose Martinez?

Mom: No. (reads number again)

Automated system: Are you Erin Whitehall?

Mom: No!

Finally it took the number, only to shunt her into a menu cul de sac where none of the numbered options were useful.

Mom, boiling over with frustration: Fuck you!

Automated system: That is not an option.

How about you? Any recent run-ins with terrible tech?

Grown Up Love Song

I wrote this song earlier this year. This is hosted on SoundClick.com.

Click here to listen. The lyrics are below.

Grown Up Love Song

He woke up at three o’clock from a dream about snakes and water,
Where ice had fallen out of the sky and covered the face of his daughter.

She woke up at one o’clock and poured another glass of wine.
Looked at her bills and her bank account, and told herself everything would be fine.

They meet in the usual way – photos and words on a glowing screen,
Secrets told to a stranger online, but after you tell them you want to be seen.

And they both had been alone.
Felt broken to the bone.
But they made a date by phone,
And they met.

Hope and need are powerful things, driving us to take chances.
They moved in together that spring, after months of questioning glances.

And they sold one of their beds,
Discovered they both liked red,
Put his weight bench in the shed,
Just for a while.

She wakes up at six o’clock, feeling his hand brush her hip.
He rolls onto his side in the dark and smiles as she smiles against his lips.

Secrets of my eight-year-old self

My best, funniest interview ever is up on Scene of the Crime, and it includes a page from my SUPER SECRET journal from when I was a kid. What dark thoughts lurked in my childish noggin? Apparently they involved novelty socks. You can read it here.

Fancy crappers.

It was Nikki of Obsessive Chihuahua Disorder who pointed out the Swarovski-studded toidy.

Now, this strikes me as inherently unhygienic, but the article mentions that the same maker came up with a chrome toilet, and I love that idea.

I think I’d have to make “vroom noises” while sitting on it.

Now, if your commode budget doesn’t stretch to the  tens of thousands, may I suggest this small chrome toilet with a clock in the seat, which is also a business card holder.

I’m trying to think of an appropriate use for this sucker… Reminder card for your gastroenterologist appointment? Sales rep for a hangover cure? Bulemia support group? Help me out here.

Playing Dress-Up While Rome Floods

 

Recently, I decided to try watching Battlestar Galactica. Angel Joe and I never saw it when it was current, and we haven’t watched Sci Fi in ages, but Battlestar Galactica is mentioned so often on The Big Bang Theory that I thought we should give it a try. My verdict: I was fascinated by the whole Cylon premise, but disliked the unremitting violence. It’s all, Pow, pow, kaboom! Yell, yell, yell! and Thwack, thwack, blood. But Joe wanted to keep watching it. Now, he’s never been into that kind of thing, and I suspect there’s something else going on — namely, he’s found something he likes reasonably well that I don’t, and this allows him to watch without my constant interruptions. My dad and I are the same way. We need the video paused while we have a snack, a drink, a pee, a little tidy, some petting of the critters, whereas Joe can lie on his shoulder blades for three hours straight. The divot halfway down the back of our sofa is from his head. So we compromised. Joe watches BG with headphones on while I putter around doing other stuff, and I ask him about the Cylons later on. 

So a couple of nights ago, he was watching BG and I was upstairs experimenting with a new singing persona, slapping on new make-up over old, taking pictures in the unflattering LED lighting of our john, and generally achieving the look of an aging drag queen. I went downstairs for something, and instead of blessed silence, I heard the hissing of water coming from somewhere it shouldn’t — namely, from under our kitchen cabinets. A pool was spreading toward the middle of the floor. 

Me: Joe!

Joe (lifting one side of headphones): Yeah?

Me: The kitchen is flooding.

Joe turned off the water and we sprang into action. My one regret is that no one was there to film a computer geek and a woman in a tiny top hat and corset get down on their hands and knees to mop up water with microfiber dog towels. 

That’s the best of the story. The hose from the water filter to the refrigerator water/ice dispenser had gotten crimped under a cabinet and worn through. Joe replaced it the next day, and I’m wondering if there’s money to be made by installing webcams all over the house. 

Sore Bridge of the Nose

No, that’s not a band name, it’s a serious bacterial infection called cellulitis, and I gotta go in tomorrow and get some drugs. Let me explain.

Yesterday, I woke up and had a sore spot on the bridge of my nose. We’d taken a visiting engineer on a car tour of the mountains for much of the previous day, and I figured it was because I’d worn sunglasses more than usual. So I didn’t wear them. In the evening it was worse, and really seemed like an infection (red skin, swollen, tender to the touch), so I swabbed it with Tea tree oil , then covered that with Neosporin.

It wasn’t any worse the next morning, and I didn’t think much about it. But by evening it was worse. I could feel pain even when I wasn’t touching it. So I Googled “sore bridge of nose,” and that led me to this page. That page gave me a name to look up: cellulitis. Sounds like lumpy fat on the face, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not.

What is it?

A bacterial infection of the skin, most often occuring on the lower legs. When it appears on the face (often the bridge of the nose), it’s the most serious, because it can spread to your eyes, your brain, and just generally kill you. (This is what I get for giving up caffeine about that time. Just kidding – or AM I?)

For the full story, I advise you to read this enlightening page. Essentially, I mighta got it through recent gardening or possibly by being licked in the fact by a cute little dog who eats her own poop, in addition to every piece of trash she can find.

There are no red streaks, so I’m not heading off to the emergency room. I’ll call my doc in the morning and tell her she needs to fit me in asap. It’s usually treated with an antibiotic called Keflex, which I need to look up next. In the meantime, I made up some ionized silver and drank that. I’d take a picture of my nose, but right now it would be hard for you to see anything. And I want to keep it that way.

Holy crap.

Update

When I woke up this morning, everything was much better, but I called the doc anyway. They gave me an appt. for 1:00. I kept drinking ionized silver, and when I went in there really wasn’t much to see. However, after I described everything, she agreed with my diagnosis and put me on the Keflex antibiotic — three times a day for 10 days. They really don’t want to risk it going into your brain when it’s on your face like that. Interestingly, she would have put me on a stronger drug if I had thought it came from the cat, because cats have pasteurella in their mouths, and that’s some bad-ass bacteria.

Further Update:

I should mention that the drugs cleared it up completely, and I’ve had no new instance as of August 6, even though I continue to let Josie lick my face occasionally. Interestingly, the slight rash at the corner of my eyes came back. I stopped using a type/bottle of eye drops, and they cleared up. Could have been some contamination in the bottle or an allergic reaction to an ingredient in the drops. Could have had no relation to the drops at all. 

I’ll be your warm-up comedian today…

I have a guest blog post at Must Read Mysteries today. The topic is Death and Comedy, and it ends with one of my favorite jokes. As an appetizer for that, here’s another of my faves.

A guy starts to develop black spots on his penis. Naturally, he’s concerned, so he goes to see a doctor. The doctor takes one look and says, “I’m very sorry, but you have Chinese Black Gonorrhea, and we’re going to have to amputate your penis.”

The guy is stunned. “You’ll understand if I get a second opinion.”

The doctor nods. “Of course, but any other doctor will tell you the same thing.”

So the guy gets a second opinion, and a third, but both of those doctors tell him the same thing. His penis will have to be amputated.

He goes out drinking with his best friend and tells him the news.They sit in glum silence for a while.

Finally his friend says, “They call it Chinese Black Gonorrhea, right?”

“Yeah,” the guy says.

“Then why don’t you go to China and see a doctor there? Maybe they know a treatment that hasn’t made it to the States yet!”

“That’s a great idea!” the guy says.

So he books a plane ticket and visits a well-respected Chinese doctor who speaks English. The Chinese doctor makes a thorough exam, runs some tests, and finally comes back in. “It’s Chinese Black Gonorrhea, all right.”

“So is there any treatment?” the guy asks. “Because in America, all the doctors tell me that I have to have my penis amputated.”

The Chinese doctor breaks into laughter. “Those American doctors! What a bunch of quacks!”

The guy feels hope for the first time. “Are you telling me I don’t have to have my penis amputated?”

“Nah,” the doctor says, waving a hand. “It’ll fall off by itself.”

Thank you, you’ve been a great audience! I hope you enjoy the second act, now appearing at Must Read Mysteries!

Random Morning Thoughts #1

I’m always chatty in the morning, but Angel Joe goes to work immediately, the cat just wants out, and the puppy, while freakin’ adorable, is basically limited to sign language. So far, hers consists of “let me out of this pen,” “I love you, please love me,” and “throw this.” So here I am, talking to the interwebs.

The boss man from the kitchen cabinet company is coming today to check out these last two cabinets that don’t have the right hinges. Seems like no matter how many photos Joe takes of the doors with their hinges, without, partially open, etc., they can’t figure it out. We’re hoping this gets the job done. Angel Joe is not usually a complainer, but he was really bitchin’ about taking the hinges off for photo purposes and then having to put still-wrong ones back on. It irks him to expend effort on brokenness.

One of the things I’m working on today is getting author endorsement quotes for The Portrait of Doreene Gray (July 3), and also hunting up review sites to send advance review copies to. If you have any sweet, sweet knowledge, please lay it on me. Word.

The bathroom counter guys came on Monday. Turned out both sink cut outs were off center. One can be fixed by moving the cabinet under it, the other one needs to be redone, which Atlas Flooring is doing for free. The benefits of working with a reputable local company are significant. The medicine cabinets come tomorrow. Aren’t they pretty? They’re recessed into the wall.

That’s supposed to be “antique silver.” The bathrooms will be a bit of a mish-mash, with notes of Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and contemporary, but the kitchen is like that, and it works.

Josie O gets her last round of shots tomorrow, and then I can take her on actual walks! Part of the reason for getting a dog was to get me out of the house twice a day, so I’m pretty excited. Today Colorado’s big wind, the Chinook, is howling and banging around the house, so I wouldn’t want to go out anyway.

Time to get to work.

Plumbing and puppies

Angel Joe is taking a little time off work today to finish up the plumbing in the house. I say he’s “taking off,” but I can hear him chiming in on a phone meeting as he plumbs. The house came with polybutyl pipe, which is prone to developing pinhole leaks (we had some). That kind of pipe was recalled later on, with the attendant class action suit. Anyway, Joe has been steadily replacing it with copper over the years. The two upstairs bathrooms were the last to do. He’s very excited about the prospect of turning the water pressure up to full.

Josie went to the vet this morning for her second-to-last round of vaccinations. Dr. Bauman was impressed by both Josie’s health and temperament. Apparently she has two regular Chi clients who are pains in the ass.

Josie has incredible amounts of energy. I’m so looking forward to being able to take her on walks, but that will have to wait until her last vaccinations, at the end of Feb. She and Musette are getting closer to actual contact all the time. Last night Musette let me carry her on her back through the living room, and then put her on her back in my lap and pet her. I was on one end of the couch, and Joe and Josie were on the other.

This morning I was able to squat with Josie in my lap while petting Musette, who was milling around. I was praise talking like crazy, which I’m sure they both thought was directed at them. When Musette rubbed along my thigh, Josie stuck her nose in that big plumy tail as it wafted by. Then she shook her head like, “That tickles!” I’m sure there will be ups and downs, but they’re very calm in each other’s presence right now. Will trim Musette’s claws again. I’m thinking a nose sniff will come very soon.

Happiness is a toy cockroach

Aside from the Kindle Fire, one of the most fun gifts in our family this year was the toy cockroach I gave my Mom. We lived in Florida when I was a kid, and I knew she’d appreciate its realism. (She said it gave her goosebumps all up the backs of her legs.)

We were at my parents’ house for Christmas, and I hoped their cat, Lily, would chase after it. But in the manner of most cats, she knew it wasn’t alive and ignored it entirely.

It was very realistic. I was once chased the length of our Florida kitchen by a palmetto bug flying at head height, so it was difficult to stand still when the toy first came buzzing toward me.

But by the end of the day, we became pretty inured to the ick factor.

Ew, Mom!

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