Tag Archives: postaweek

A Prison of My Own Device

20 Apr
hamster

Jess Bradley – Hamster Prison (check out her flickr for some great little cartoons)

Let me just bring you up to date real quick here on how my last few weeks have gone since I started to post again.

Week 1: Jackie announces that she hasn’t posted for a long time because there’s been this difficulty in reconciling cartoon-like Jackie from blogland with real-life Jackie from actual-job-I-like land now that her personal and digital circles have intertwined. She declares it a challenge and commits to post every single week in spite of it to see if it kicks it back up.

Week 2: Jackie posts a recent and deeply embarrassing chronicle of how her inability to find the bathroom in a local restaurant lead her on a journey of the spirit (she edited out the part where she shame cried). The same day, her workplace announces on social media that she has been promoted. A surprising amount of people read it and are supportive. They come to her personal page. They see her blog. They wonder how someone who cannot find a public restroom is responsible for running an organization. They make this joke to her in person. She is deeply uncomfortable.

Week 3:

That’s where we are. We’re on week three: deeply uncomfortable. As in, I announced why this was weird now, I wrote a post to follow that up anyway, and it immediately became extra weird.

awkward giraffe

This is how I feel inside when someone mentions the blog. If you look closely, you can really see the struggle. (photo: Thomas Hawk on flickr)

But I mean, it would be SUPER awkward if I stopped writing now because a few posts ago I was all “Challenge Jackie to the charge!” and three weeks later I’d be like “nah, jk it’s hard and stuff.”

I wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t make those sections on Lollipop Tuesdays and 365 and 30 Day Challenges all over the page.

Dammit.

So here we are, friends. I’m stuck in a prison of my own device, and you’re watching it because Netflix and HBO have taught you that you can actually watch a lot of truly disturbing things and still be kind of okay on the inside. So, welcome to whatever panic train this is all about to be. Thank you for your fascination. ♣ 

This post was brought to you by Halo Top Ice Cream. Perhaps I’ll begin to allow the foods that drive my posts to publish phase to underwrite my blog. Is that how I can get free snacks? Snack sponsors. Yes. For my sorrows. Halo Top Ice Cream: more expensive than Ben & Jerry’s for half the creamy taste and one fifth the post-pint guilt.

I’ll probably have to give a better endorsement than that if I want free snacks, huh?

The Restroom Chronicles, Part 1

13 Apr

 

I got lost looking for the bathroom in Mad Mex in a recent voyage out into the tundra of humankind.

Dave and I decided to have a date at a local favorite of ours – a Mexican-Southeast-Asian-Spanish-American foodstuffs joint. One of its claims to fame is the Gobblerito – each Thanksgiving season they’ll stuff a burrito with an entire Thanksgiving dinner for the citizens of Pittsburgh. It’s an act of patriotism if you ask me. Anyway, this place has a few locations around the city and we ventured out to a new one.

You should know somewhere, here, at the beginning of this long, humiliating story that I have a sort of disconnect in my brain with navigation. From time to time, I will exit a store and go the opposite of the way I intend because my brain throws away important notes too soon. This difficulty getting from here to there has some funny side effects. For example, on occasion,  I have a great deal of anxiety in a public place trying to find a restroom that is not clearly marked.

Dave, however, has no problem at all with tedious unknowns such as these. He’s bold – an adventurer at heart – and when we’re out in the forest of humanity, he’s happy to blaze a trail. He’ll launch down a dark hallway in a gas station in the middle of nowhere because he can sense a public restroom emanating from the corner of the establishment. He’ll get up from the dinner table at a restaurant and just follow his instinctual juices to magically locate one. He’ll boldly go in a direction until he gets what he needs, and if he can’t find it, he simply grabs a random person and asks them.

I, however, do not operate in this fashion. Over time, Dave has begun to locate bathrooms for me in advance when we appear to be in a place where they are not clearly marked. This is because he is an enchanted creature and is somehow charmed by and happy to care for my severe slights. I’m a lucky dame.

So we’re at Mad Mex. We head in, talk to the hostess, have a seat near the door. I have to pee. We do the initial sit-down things, get comfy and whatnot and I head toward what I believe to be the bathroom location – a long, dark hallway that is within my line of sight.

As I approach the long, beaded curtain that’s hanging at the front of the hall, separating it from the main restaurant area, I start to have doubts.

 

bathroom sign

image: liakapelke

Man, why is that hallway so dark? You’d think they would illuminate it really well so folks have an easier time getting to the bathroom.

 

I notice a couple right by the hall.

Oh – maybe it’s because the hall is so close to these people eating and they’re trying to keep the light low.

I arrive at the curtain and hold out my arm to swipe the curtain aside when my hand is met with a solid metal, black door.

OH! It’s dark because it’s a door, not a hallway, Jackie.

I begin to push on the door but it won’t open because there’s a long, silver crash bar running its length that has to be pushed to open it instead. I wonder for a moment why they seat people next to this door – I’m practically in their laps just trying to get to the bathroom and I’m interrupting their dinner by accessing this back hall.

It’s then that my eyes notice the Emergency Exit sign in front of me for the first time– and the gaze of the couple who, indeed, I was virtually in the laps of.  They spent the 2 minutes prior watching a restaurant patron get up from her seat, walk toward them, and proceed to paw at the emergency exit for no perceivable reason.

I’m mortified, and they know that I know they know what’s going on.

I quickly give up my endeavor and backtrack to safety by David where we were sat. I figure he’ll help me sort it out later. (Enchantment, et cetera.) But on my way back, I can’t spot him. I know I only went one straight direction to the supposed restroom hallway, but I’m searching every single face along the windows of the restaurant and none of them look even remotely like him. Given my circumstances, I did not want to make another close proximity visual mistake, so I kept walking. I walked down the length of the restaurant and arrived back at the hostess station. I stopped to think..

May I help you, Miss?

The hostess was talking to me. Tiny butterflies flapped up my stomach and fluttered in my mouth. I couldn’t ask her if she remembered where she sat us – I’d look like a moron. So I tried to think of something clever to say to explain my standing there dumbfounded, but just as I began to speak, I felt the hot hellgaze of the couple by the curtain who I just played sidedish to. They could still see me. And they knew I knew.

Desperate to release the steadily building pressure, I assured the hostess I was fine, and walked directly out of the restaurant.

I distinctly recall having a moment here where I was a little in awe at the depths I will go to in order to handle a social awkwardness that perhaps only I sense. And nonetheless, I’m passing the hostess, leaving Dave in the restaurant, and headed to God-knows-where. I’m not really in control at this point. The story has been written and I have to stay on the path to completion.

I’m hyper aware of the low patron base in the restaurant at this time and the clear view through the large windows that the hostess still has of me as she wonders why I’m already leaving when we haven’t yet been served. It occurs to me that I should just pretend to get something out of the van that I need, so I decide to do that and move toward the van with intention. Once there, I realize that I don’t have the keys. Convincing myself that the hostess is still watching my every move, I play the narrative through and pretend to just look through the windows and into the van for what I need, then gesture to myself that I don’t know where it is with a hearty shrug, and head back to the restaurant in the hopes that I can locate Dave if I have a nice, fresh start.

I head back in after my own personal Mr. Bean impression in the parking lot and see Dave sitting just a few tables in on my right. I glance to see if the Hellgazers are still at the end of the row. They are.

Dave’s mouth is ajar as I return to our table and he asks me where I went. He was sitting there, I got up, pawed at a door, and walked directly past him and out of the restaurant. I got him all caught up on the vast narrative that was building inside my head.

You still haven’t peed?!

Mr Bean

Image: Jeff

It had been about 10 minutes at this point. And no, I hadn’t. I tried to find the restroom but I failed in public and the hot breeze of Hellgazers were preventing me from exploring again. I had resolved to hold it.

Dave, incredulous, assured me that if I turned left at the end of the row, the bathrooms were clearly marked ahead. I told him I was going to wait until the couple cleared. He encouraged me, and I took off toward the second supposed restroom.

Mad Mex does this thing with their bathroom doors that some companies like to do where they indicate the sex assignment of the restroom with an artistic mural. Worried about adding to Hellgazers’ comedic narrative of their evening, I decided to make a quick decision – one of the bathroom doors was clearly ajar and I gravitated toward it. Relieved to see bathroom tile and stalls, I stepped inside and looked up to see the shining white butt cheeks of a gentleman who was relieving himself at the urinals. I went to the wrong restroom.

I excused  and ejected myself into the hallway to return to the gaze of the couple and quickly pawed at the women’s restroom door. After fumbling for and failing to find a knob or handle, I gave it a heavy push. I jolted inside the empty ladies room and breathed a sigh of relief. I had escaped the gazers, and if I stayed in the restroom long enough, I was pretty sure they would leave before I had to go back out.

I did my business and washed my hands and suddenly considered how long Dave had been sitting, reading the menu, waiting, and wondering whether I ended up wandering on the highway outside somehow. I resolved to go back to my seat, Hellgazers or no. I wasn’t going to be a bad date, dammit.

I made it back to Dave without trouble this time, though he lets out a little yip as I approach to make sure I don’t mess up again and spontaneously combust from the insufferable pain of humiliation.

As I was in the midst of regaling Dave with the various narratives inside my head from my journey, the server approached to take our order. I caught us back up to speed by just ordering my usual fare. Dave places his order and when the server asks if there’s anything else, he inquires as to where the restrooms were. She instructs him toward the location of my near self-immolation – down the row and to the left until you see the painted doors. I shoot him a confused look.

Oh. He says. You know it kind of looks like that door there is a hallway and the bathrooms are down there. Maybe there should be better signs to help with that.

She smiles. Yeah. Actually that happens a lot – but no, they’re to the left.

He thanks her and takes a sip of his water, all casual like, and shoots me a half-grin. I look to my left to check the status of the Hellgazers only to find that they’ve left during the time I’ve been in the radius of Dave’s safety. He truly is enchanted. ♣

This is just one such story of my adventures in society trying perform this basic, human task while in public. And so I shall declare and dub my lost-while-bathrooming saga The Restroom Chronicles. This is Part One. Long may the Chronicles reign, lest the day come that I do finally light myself on fire. 

 

This is Fine

 

Before the Cylons Come

26 Sep

I think Dave is a Cylon.

I’m sorry; I shouldn’t come out and just say it like that.  I don’t want to start a witch hunt or anything.  But I do have some pretty serious concerns and I’m not sure where else I can safely entertain them except for the  protected confines of the magical Interwebz.   So don’t freak out or anything but I might be living with an intergalactic death robot.

Well that sounds racist.  He’s not necessarily a death robot.  He could be one of the human-liking ones.  But he could also be preprogrammed to carry out a set of orders related to someone’s (perhaps even my) death. And, well, I just can’t take that kind of risk.

Now, I’ll admit that while inundated with these concerns, I am concurrently rewatching the entire Battlestar Galactica series.  In fact, not even a week ago, I dreamt I was being chased by a murderous cylon.

Unfortunately for me, I rarely have positive dreams.  I’m not entirely sure why that is.  The only exceptions are one very strange piece of creation where I was underground playing Space Monopoly with my grandmother and a few grizzly bears, and one time that I was Mario in Mario 64.

But I digress; I need proof.  My first piece of evidence is the fact that he operates at superhuman levels of labor.  He wakes up at 6 in the morning, works a solid 9 hour day with little break, immediately commutes an hour to arrive at his first 3-hour rehearsal, after which he promptly commutes another hour to arrive to his second rehearsal, which lasts well over two.

Now, I’m accustomed to a portion of that schedule. Particularly at some points last year during postaday deathmatch 2011, I felt like I might die from exhaustion after working all day, going to rehearsal all night, and coming home to polish off a piece of junk from the recesses of my mind to offer up to the Interwebz gods.  But that was an office job, kids.  This robot in front of me is a letter carrier.  A letter carrier.  And if you think that “sounds like a great job”, you are mistaken.  Twenty years ago, being a letter carrier “sounded like a great job” but today, letter carriers are the marines of the service field.  They rarely get real breaks, they’re speedwalking for several hours straight with 80 pounds on their backs, dogs attack them, they have to endure ridiculous attacks of extreme hot and cold temperatures, and every single American citizen thinks that new mailmen should just “know” where their mailbox is as if there’s some sort of government list somewhere that says “42 Wallaby Way’s mailbox is on the back porch beside the terra cotta pig”.   

I know I get upset about the post office a lot.  But you don’t understand; it’s like The Postman out there and attention must be paid.

Do you know what it’s like to work at a place that is open during the entire span of regular business hours, 6 days a week?   I’ll tell you what it’s like.  It’s bloody frustrating.  Getting your hair cut or going to the bank or having a professional appointment is like a unicorn crossing your path and farting a rainbow cloud directly on your face: it’s rare.  Real rare.

Anyway my point is that he is fully functional on very little sleep and maintains this schedule with an alarmingly high rate of frequency; over and over again. Like a robot.

Also, sometimes he makes this super creepy face in the mirror while I’m brushing my teeth and I swear to you no real human could possibly look like that ever.

I suppose that’s really all the evidence I have but it’s also really all I need.  If I uploaded a picture of the face, you probably wouldn’t even need that little bit about the post office being the place where decent, America-loving people go to kill each other as Exhibit A.   So the question now that I’ve ascertained his cylon-ness is what to do about it.  I mean, I can’t go on living like this.  

As of now, my plan is to hold steady until mid-October, at which time my next Lollipop Tuesday will appear in the form of a UFO Convention.  A UFO CONVENTION.  If anyone can understand my predicament, it’s the UFO Convention demographic.   Maybe I can get some answers.

Here’s hoping I survive long enough to attend. 

Dear Boomerang Kids Everywhere:

5 Sep

Today, I met an interesting woman at a bus stop.  Let’s call her Margie.

Normally, I don’t talk to Margies.  I don’t talk to anyone, really, especially not people at bus stops.  But Margie didn’t really care who I was or how I felt.  She was a jolly lass and it didn’t occur to her that I could be introverted so she just blabbered on and on about her day.  And since I was having a particularly poopy one myself, I kind of didn’t mind the break from my inner monologue.

Margie is a social worker who has been laid off three times due to budget cuts.  She spends her day dealing with women in crisis and juveniles in court.  She makes about 25K a year and though her daughter makes more than twice that, her daughter is living at home.  And not paying any bills.  And using Margie’s car, which was why Margie was at the bus stop at that particular moment.

So this is a post for Margie.  In fact, it’s for all the Margies out there who find themselves so blinded by their love for their children that they just can’t bear to tell them to get the hell out of the house.  If you’re  a Margie, have no fear.  Just copy the web address in your browser right now, paste it into an email or text, and shoot it off to your lovable little mooch.  Of course, there are some kids who are experiencing some technical difficulties in their lives and have extenuating circumstances.  This isn’t for those.  This is for the kids who are fully capable of formulating a plan for adulthood and are putting it off in exchange for the convenience of feeding off their parents.  Those kids.  So look around your house.  Do you have any of those lingering around?  If so, send them this web address, tell them you like my blog, that they should follow it, and that you’ve been doing some thinking and maybe they should also get the hell out of the house.  Follow it with “lol jk” and then “but seriously, read this”.

Dear Margie’s Daughter and Boomerang Kids Everywhere:
Look at your parental figure/s.  Don’t they look tired?  That’s because they are.  They’re old and tired because for the last two and a half decades or so, they’ve weaned you from a squealing, helpless piglet into a walking, talking, thinking human being.  They paid taxes so you could go to school and gave you rides when you needed to go see your stupid significant other or when you wanted to go to a dance or do some other waste of an adolescent pastime.   They went to work every day so that they could go to the store after work, fight off hordes of other parents just like them, buy dinner, come home, and cook it for you so that you could just gobble it up in 5 minutes, not leave any leftovers, and then leave the table without offering to help clean up so that you could return to some stupid aforementioned adolescent pastime.  They’re tired because once you learned to drive, you’d borrow the car and leave it on empty so that they had to wake up extra early to put gas in it before they went to work, where they got more money to afford the gas they put in the car for you to run out.
So listen: they did their part.  You can walk on two feet instead of four, you can poop in a toilet instead of your pants, and you can (God willing) at least sustain yourself with boxed meals from the supermarket instead of skinning small vermin in the wilderness for daily sustenance.  Now it’s your turn.  You’re a big kid now.  And it’s time to move out.
It is.  It really is.  You were really only supposed to be an eighteen-year commitment.  Then you were supposed to get a job and/or go to college, never to return again.  But you did return.  And you aren’t using any of your life skills to better the household.  You’re using your money to participate in your stupid mid-20’s pastimes instead of donating it to the greater good of the unit.  You shower, you plug things in, you put things in your mouth, and you flush things down the toilet.  That all costs money, and it’s time to pay up.  Don’t have a job?  Get one.  Even a terrible one.  
Hey, sometimes you have to work sucky jobs.  Lots of people have sucky jobs.  You know what really sucks, though? Having a sucky job and not even having any money to show for it because your kid won’t move out of the damn house.  So get a job and get out.
While you’re writing a big fat check to your parents for all the years they’ve sheltered and fed you past the eighteen-year contract, remember to clean up after yourself.  For the love of all that is holy, take a shower.  Do some dishes.  Inspire your parents to soil their pants by offering to make dinner or take them out.  Ask if you can go pick up some groceries for them or go fill up the gas tank, or do some laundry.   
And once you’ve gotten a job, given your parents some money to offset the cost of your existence, cleaned up the room where you wove your cocoon, and landed an apartment, begin your mass exodus with a hug and a thank you to your old, tired, parent/s.  Because  every year you spent in their home past the eighteen-year-contract was a year of their life they can’t get back.  And the Bible tells us that there’s no greater gift than to lay down your life for another.
Look at that: no greater gift.  Jesus says so.  You can’t ever repay your parental unit/s for this time you’ve taken from them.  So just be a good little lamb and hit the road.  Now.  Hey- look at that: you’re already online.  Just click here.  
Good job.  Now print out three options, show them to your parental unit/s and take a shower while they celebrate with a bottle of wine that you purchase for them.  Trust me: you’re doing the right thing.  And in a few decades, you can return to this page, send it to your own little lovable mooches and get your own free bottle of wine and a ticket to your golden years.
You’re welcome.
Puppies and Sprinkles,
Jackie 

I’m *Not* the Next Contestant on The Price Is Right

29 Aug

I promised you a Lollipop Tuesday and my darling ducklings, I have delivered.

Happy Lollipop Tuesday y’all.

For those of you unfamiliar, well, I don’t blame you. I haven’t been diligent and its been quite some time since my last installment. I’ve been holed up in my apartment, not seeking out the unfamiliar but instead drinking and yelling at my cats. It’s comfortable. I like it here.

But there is a whole world of strange activity just waiting to be explored and darnit, I promised you I would explore it. So to check out what this is all about and hear tales of everything from infiltrating Scottish Country Dance meetings to competing in the World Pinball Championship, click here. To continue the saga, read on. Because this week I have a treat for you; I wandered over to audition open call for the contestant search for The Price Is Right.

Did you know these existed? Silly me; all my life I thought the college kids and military members and seemingly ordinary folks who run down that aisle were genuinely surprised to have been selected. But they’re not. They’re the result of nationwide open calls in major cities like the one at which I found myself. One day I’m thumbing through huge local paper looking for mischief and the next, I’m standing in a long, tired line at a casino with America’s finest, hoping to win a trip to sunny California and a chance at a Showcase Showdown.

I’m using the term “America’s Finest” quite loosely. I’m pretty sure I was one of a handful of folks who showed up as a result of advertising. Everyone else appeared to have wandered up from the casino after reading the welcome sign. Makes sense. Gamblers make excellent game  show hopefuls.  Well played, casino manager. Well played.

I have to admit that I think I’d make a stellar Price Is Right contestant.  No one knows prices on everyday products like a born and

The Welcome Sign

bred poor kid.  I’ve been blessed with the superhuman power of totaling grocery orders within three dollars just by watching the items roll down the conveyor belt.  Once, when attempting to split the cost of groceries perfectly in half with David, I put half the order in front of the little bar separator and half behind it.  The result was only 15 cents apart.  FIFTEEN CENTS.  That’s game show worthy, friends.  I’m a Showcase Showdown champion just waiting to be discovered.

In case you’re wondering how this sort of thing works, here’s the rundown.  I arrived at the casino, followed the signs to the upper lobby, and found a room with a bunch of ropes that helped to herd the cattle.  At the entrance was a gentleman who greeted me with a form to complete and wished me luck.  At the front of the room were two cameras and folks being recorded.  In the middle was a cross section of the human race that I have not yet encountered in my lifetime.  

There were cat totes.

There were beer cans.

 

There were helping hands.

 

And there was me.

It was a smorgasboard of America and it was a beautiful thing to behold.  

While in line filling out the form that waived any and all rights, I overheard folks in line saying that at the cameras up front, we had to talk for thirty seconds on why we should be on The Price Is Right.  

Crap.  

I do auditions all the time.  I can give them a two minute monologue, dramatic or comedic, classical or modern… but thirty seconds of me talking about something real?  I don’t know about that.  

Luckily there was about an hour’s worth of cattle ahead of me so I had time to put something together.  But in all the time I stood there, I couldn’t think of one good reason I should be picked over anyone else.  I could make something up, but I didn’t want the Price Is Right police coming after me for falsification of Price Is Right records. I have no way of knowing how serious this is.  So I went with what was true: I’m a hermit, I have a blog, I have a Lollipop Tuesday series where I try new things, and flying out to CA to be on a game show would make an excellent story.

I thought it sounded good, but since I didn’t have a script and I’m easily excited and I’m awkward, I accidentally threw in something about pole dancing. 

Where it all fell apart.

I didn’t mean to.  I’m still not really sure how it happened.  I think I was giving examples of some of the things that I’d already tried and written about and while I meant to say family-friendly things like the Civil War Reenactment and ice skating, I actually said pole dancing.   I tried to come across as so normal and television-worthy that I overcompensated. With how overly excited I was and how big my eyes were, I sincerely doubt they’ll ever believe I have trouble getting out of my apartment.  I went from hermit Jackie who wants a challenging adventure to slutty mcslut pole-dancing Jackie who is overly excitable and might attack Drew Carey with her violently chipper demeanor. 

Dammit.   That will never hold up next to all the parents who said they wanted to get on the show to get a new car for their kid.  Well played, parents.  Well played.

Hey: lesson learned.  When auditioning for a family friendly show, make no mention of stripper-related activities.  I’ll get it right next time.  

Pat Sajak, I’m lookin’ at you. 

Praise the Baby Unicorns; I’m Back

21 Aug

Hey, look at that; I’m up and running again.

That’s right.  Up and running.  I have conquered the deep, dark, World-of-Warcraft-desiring darkness, recovered my files, and upgraded my computer.  Like a champ.

Forgive the big pat on my own back; it’s just that I’m pretty stoked that this all worked out.  Partly because I seriously needed my old files and I’m praising baby unicorns they’re back and partly because I recovered my old hard drive by myself, with no help from the Geek Squad.  And I’m pretty jazzed about that.

It was just about the time that I began to publicly mourn the loss of my large-screen computer on Facebook via my tiny-screened phone that my brother, a Software Engineer, called me to diagnose the problem.  He assured me that not only could my hard drive be retrieved, but that I could retrieve it.  He told me it would make a great Lollipop Tuesday.

Gets me every time.

If you’re one of the new subscribers in these parts (hello dumplings!), you can direct yourself to the “What’s Lollipop Tuesday?” tab at the top of the bloggy-blog.  If you’re one of my not-so-new subscribers, why didn’t you tell me it had been ages since my last Lollipop Tuesday?!  I haven’t tried anything new and scary in my life for months.  MONTHS!  Do you realize what’s happened to me? I’m frightened.  I’m not going outside as often.  I’m starting to lose faith in my ability to do the crazy.  So let’s make a pact: I will begin to do Lollipop Tuesdays more regularlary and if I don’t, you will harass me.

It’s a free harass pass.  Enjoy.

So from here on, I will catalogue my recovery of my hard drive for anyone who cares, doesn’t believe I did it, or happens to have a Dell Inspiron N5030.  Because they tend to hit the crapper after a year and a half and if you own one and it hasn’t crapped out yet, FOR THE LOVE OF BABY UNICORNS, BACK UP YOUR FILES.

Okay.  Everyone who doesn’t want to be bored: see you next week.  Everyone else: operation hard drive retrieval commencing.

Once upon a Lollipop Tuesday past, I needed to install Internet at my apartment but didn’t want to pay the $100+ for someone else to do it.  I was concerned that I would fail mostly because my brain isn’t really wired for things mathematical and logical.  My brain is wired for finger paint and mocking people in my head and neuroses of all shapes and kinds.   But I sucked it up, read the manual, and after sporting a very furrowed brow for a very long time, was happy to report success, a functioning Internet, and a lot of money saved.

I would have happily just taken my computer to the Geek Squad or a local computer guru to have them take care of things for me.  I was prepared to sell my body if necessary to get my old files out of the death trap Inspiron.  But I was quoted a flat fee of $100 to just bring it in and apparently, I wasn’t prepared to do that.  I’m protective of my George Washingtons and I was determined to not pay someone solely because they are smarter than me.  So my brother sent me the manual for my computer which I brought up on Dave’s iPad, and I dove in.

iPad right, Inspiron from hell left, signature Mr. Bubble pajama pants center.

 

The manual said something or other about “What You Will Need”, and I noted a small Phillips Head and Flat Head screwdriver were in the mix.  But I really only had an eyeglass repair kit with a tiny little Flat Head screwdriver and figured it would have to just be my MVP. 

After nearly stripping the second screw to little bits and bending the “Flat Head” eyeglass screwdriver into “Corkscrew Head” I was unconvinced, and a trip to Lowe’s was in order.

I hate Lowe’s. There is nothing there that excites me.  It’s all work and fixtures and tools and saws.  It smells like lawn chemicals and all I can think of when I enter is the hours and hours I would try to entertain myself in the lighting aisle while my father tried to find something or other to fix a leak or a squeak or a rattle in the house.

Apparently my unwillingness to pay someone for being smarter than me is genetic.

 

they’re beauuuuuutiful

But to Lowe’s I went.  I spent much longer than I wanted in the tools aisle and found a beautiful tiny screwdriver set that could conquer any laptop fears I had.  For twelve dollars, I was back in business.  

As it turns out, dismantling a laptop is a lot easier than I thought it would be.  Basically, there’s a big panel hiding under the keyboard that has everything (including the keyboard) plugged into it.  That board is secured to the bottom of the laptop with a ton of screws.  Unscrew the pieces, dismantle the pieces one by one until you get to the hard drive, and boom: done.

It sounds easy in theory but by the time I got to the whole “remove the speaker cable” portion of the manual I got really confused.  The picture didn’t look like mine and it wasn’t obvious how to locate  the cable on my own.  So I began to hunt for a YouTube video to help me through.  It was then that the heavens opened and blessed me with a video that showed me that everything I had done up until that point was silly.  My step-by-step digging down to the hard drive of my computer was one way to do it, but the better way was to just take out every single screw from the bottom of the laptop, flip her over, and pull up on the palm rest.  In the model of laptop I had, the hard drive was hiding right at the edge of the panel and I could wriggle my sausage fingers inside to retrieve it.  (The video is here if you were reading this hoping for a tutorial).

That big empty spot is where I yoinked the hard drive from. It looks kind of scandalous just peeking in like that.

And boom: hard drive procured.   I sent a pic of it to my brother, who told me what apparatus I needed to pull the files and for $30 dollars at Best Buy, I was so close to sweet restoration.

While I was there, basking in the fact that I had saved $50 or more doing the task on my own, I had to invest in a new laptop.  Appartently the old one was at risk of having a few more parts hit the pooper on me soon and I didn’t want to risk all this work only to find that a few weeks later, it was all for naught.  So I found something reliable and affordable to upload my files to.   I was a little worried at first because I was alone in Best Buy and when employees spot a chick in the laptop aisle, they swarm.  Not because I’m attractive; because they think I’m stupid.

when I asked the Sales Manager where I could find a SATA to USB converter cable, she said she didn’t know what I was talking about. I felt like a computer god.

 

After running back and forth between two aisles of laptops and taking pictures of their tags to compare specs and send to my brother for his approval, I had aquired a sales member named Emmanuel.  He was not, however, there to save me.  He was there to talk down to me and try to talk me into a $1000 computer.  I explained to him that I didn’t need his help and that I knew what I wanted.  He proceeded to quiz me on what makes a battery lose its charge, what the difference between an AMD and an i3 processor was, and a myriad of other things I had already boned up on via my brother before I entered the store.  Apparently he saw my display of knowledge as a challenge and continued to harass me until he could find something I didn’t know.  Finally, I explained that I know what I’m doing, that I “do my own repairs” and that I had a hard drive with me at that very moment that I had retrieved in the AM.

sweet, sweet success.

 

As it turns out, Best Buy associates treat you completely different when you tell them you have a hard drive in your pocket.

Emmanual retired to the center kiosk, I found the Sales Manager to let her know I’d like a laptop locked in the bin, and for Emmanuel to stop harassing poor, lonely women in their 20s who are hunting a decent computer.  I went home triumphant.

All things worked as promised and I’m now up and running on my brand new laptop with all my old files, and a dismantled old laptop in my bedroom just begging to be sold for parts to make up the cost of the one I’m typing on.  And I feel like a king among men.  My finger paint brain figured out something technical and computer-y and didn’t melt into a big pile of goo.  That’s success if I’ve ever heard it.

So hey: thanks folks, for reading this long and rather boring account, for offering condolences last week as I mourned the loss of everything digital, and for your offers to come into the World of Warcraft and pull me out should I seek refuge there.  In case that ever becomes a real fear again, I’m a night elf hunter and I’ll be found on Shattered Hand.

I’m back up and running.  Stay tuned next week for a brand spankin’ new Lollipop Tuesday.  Get excited.

The Day the Music Died

15 Aug

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Tonight I fired up my laptop to be greeted by 7 distinct, loud beeps. Beeps of certain death. Beeps of destruction. Beeps of inescapable doom.

It has passed on.

Well technically it may not have passed on. Using my handy
dandy phone, from which I’m currently posting (thanks WordPress wizards!), I discovered that when the screen is unable to display its beauty to you, your computer will communicate error codes through sound and lights. You will then have to use another computer to decode this alien language and attempt repairs. Seven beeps on my beloved laptop means processor failure. Supposedly, I may be able to replace this. Supposedly.

If I can sell my body enough times to pay for it.

Apparently my computer doesn’t care that I have all the notes for the show I’m currently directing on it. It doesn’t care that I owe people things this week. It doesn’t care that I’m just a poor, lone blogger in need of a full size screen and a real physical keyboard to get me through my life and musings.

It’s an asshole.

So I’m in a bit of a pickle. I’m afraid I may have brought this on myself. Perhaps I spoke too loudly this evening about how I couldn’t think of anything to write. Yes – perhaps my laptop does really care and in fact loves me so much that it has given the greatest form of sacrifice: its life.

No but seriously: this is a problem. I’m doing things. Important things. Even if I lost my files but still had a computer I could at least recover after long hours of labor. But we don’t have another computer. Dave’s laptop went the way of the dodo long ago and we don’t keep a desktop in the house because of my addiction.

For those of you unfamiliar, I am a reformed World of Warcraft addict. I relapsed once and thereafter procured a laptop that is incapable of supporting the game so that if I ever relapsed again I would have to justify the purchase of an entirely new computer. So far, this method has kept me clean. It’s been a long while since I’ve sat in my Mr. Bubble pajama pants, 5 days unshowered, gnawing on leftover pizza that I kept under my bed so I wouldn’t have to go downstairs to the refrigerator.

But being that I am unable to continue with my life as it currently stands without procuring a new processor or a new computer, I am in serious danger of relapse. After all, once I start selling my body for here money to replace it and I’ve been fired from all my gigs for failure to meet deadlines and all my job opportunities go out the window because I’m unable to properly respond, I will have nothing in my life worth looking forward to except trekking through the world of Azeroth again. And I’ll have all that dirty money from prostitution to help me procure a new desktop to go back there.

There, people respect me. I accomplish things. My life doesn’t ever come to a screaming vault because an inanimate object fails to perform its innate duties. My character and inventory and life is all waiting there for me just as I left it. Glorious and untouched.

So this could be it, folks. This is the end of my productivity, my slight bit of a checking account, and life as I know it. I am dead to the world. Should I awaken, it may be in the World of Warcraft.

Peace be with you all. It’s been a swell run.*

Do These Olympics Make Me Look Fat?

9 Aug

It’s Thursday.  It’s not Wednesday.  Just in case you were wondering man, Jackie posted today – is it WEDNESDAY?! the answer is no.   Not it is not.  It is Thursday, and Jackie failed to post on Wednesday.

I spent the day telling myself I didn’t care.  But that was a big fat lie.  I totally care.  Because here I am on a Thursday, posting.  I just have this nagging feeling that missing a week will throw the entire rest of the year of weekly posting off balance and I shall never, ever recover.  Or maybe you won’t.  This is really about you.  And how much I love you.  Squishy hugs for everyone.  

Okay, now moving on to more pressing matters.

I think it’s really great that as a society we have begun to question the unrealistic body images that constantly affront us in magazines, in movies, and during the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show each year.  More and more often, I’m seeing links to entertaining pages that feature poorly photoshopped celebrities and supermodels.  I don’t know about you but when I come to and find my sausage fingers stuck inside another empty sleeve of Oreos, I like to nurse my wounds by clicking through pages images of accidentally airbrushed-away limbs and before-shot monsterpig faces.

And now I think it’s time to speak out against the unrealistic body images that have been bombarding us for almost two weeks.  You know what I’m talking about.

The Olympics.

My television has done nothing but hurl unrealistic expectations at me every day for the past two weeks with scantily clad men and women that are so perfectly chiseled that in the slow motion playback, the only things that jiggle are their cheeks It’s preposterous.  Not one single female athlete’s arms jiggle when they wave to the audience in celebration.    And have you seen the women sprinters? Not only are they perfectly sculpted examples of human perfection, but they even manage to have well-placed hair! Hair that stays put after rocketing down the track at alarming speeds. HOW DO THEY DO THAT?!  Even the freakish doll monsters that are synchronized swimmers have hair and makeup that sticks on through several minutes of exercising completely underwater.

I can’t get  mine to stay on after the sweat I break while brushing my teeth.

When’s the last time a candid shot of you emphasized your rock hard goddess abs?

The ultimate slap in my fat face was the ESPN body issue featuring naked Olympians and national athletes.  Some of them are in the midst of performing their sport.  Surfers from an underwater shot, rowers pinned on the side of the boat and mid-stroke, ball players gearing up to take a shot – and all of them are perfect. Your humiliation will know no bounds.

This is worse than supermodel fixation.  Much worse.  At least when I open a magazine and see fashion models glaring at me with their smokey eyes, I can coax my love handles into calming down by reminding myself that I could always look like that too if I stopped eating.  But when I’m faced with the chiseled abs and well-shaped thighs of an Olympian, I have no solace.  These people haven’t had dessert in two years.  They train 8 hours a day every day.  They eat the same things constantly.  They have someone whose job is solely to make sure that they’re beautiful, flawless, perfectly sculpted examples of human athletic achievement.

All I have is my cats.  And when I took them to the vet last week, I was scolded for their obesity. 

Even my cats are lard asses.  I would make a terrible trainer.

Hobbes’ inevitable future

Luckily it’s almost over.  In just a few short days, the Olympics will go into hiding for another four years.  Of course, we’ll have to deal with the winter Olympics in just two, but in the winter I can console myself with the improbability of my becoming a speed skater and vats of crock pot comfort foods. 

For now, I must stay strong; they’re almost done.   Maybe I should start with small steps.  Like looking up those outstanding waterproof hair and makeup products.

Or investing in a cat treadmill. ♣

Everyone Please Stop Getting Married and Having Babies

1 Aug

I envisioned a lot of things for my twenties.  I pictured myself being a super cool adult.  I somehow thought that paying my own bills would be awesome.  I imagined I’d be in the best shape of my life.

These things haven’t exactly come to fruition.

You know what I hadn’t imagined?  Everyone I know getting married and having babies all at once.  …Or the invention of Facebook.  

I am constantly bombarded with announcements of love and adoration and procreation.   Which is lovely, in a way.  The Book of Faces has ensured that when I run into someone I haven’t seen since we shared Algebra class, my jaw doesn’t drop to the floor at the size of their stomach.  Or the train of munchkins behind them.  Or the size of their ring.  And since my face tends to immediately barf my thoughts, this has been a source of great salvation.

As happy as I am for all these folks and their hitch-getting and their baby-making, my wallet is getting seriously ravaged.  

Of course I’m glad for them.  Really, it’s a lovely milestone in their lives.  It’s just unfortunate that their milestones cost me so much of my hard-earned American dollars.  Do you realize how many days I have to sit at a desk typing to pay off just one friend’s marriage?! Too many, folks.  Far too many. 

I’ve gotta take off work.  I’ve gotta get a hotel.   I’ve gotta get an outfit.  I’ve gotta pay for gas.  I’ve gotta get a gift.  I’ve gotta hold my empty wallet in my hand as I cry in the hotel shower.

We need to get a handle on this.  My Facebook news feed is blowing up with pictures of fingers sporting rings and pictures of babies still in the womb (which is a post in itself,  mind you).  Every status update is a hit to my bank account and a day of my life spoken for.  We all hit the 20’s at the same time and we’re all racing to avoid a life of cat-filled spinsterdom. I get it.  I fully support it.  I just wish I didn’t have to pay for it. With the number of wedding gifts and baby shower sprinkles I’ve purchased, I could have backpacked through Europe by now.  

Maybe we should just all agree to not get each other anything.  I’m pretty sure we’re all just throwing the same money around and around anyway.  With so many invitations in a year, I can’t even attend them all.  And while that should mean that I save money, social etiquette dictates that if I opt not to attend, the pressure to purchase a gift is only heightened.  That doesn’t even make any sense.  

So I have a proposal of my own; let’s stop buying each other crap.  Let’s just save our money to buy ourselves the things on our registry instead of asking other people to buy those things.  Doesn’t that make lots of sense?  Then again, the gift is the cheapest portion of the wedding excursions.  Its the driving and the hotel-staying that does me in.  Maybe everyone can just get married in a closer proximity to me.  Or maybe everyone can get married at free camping grounds.  Or just revert to immediate family only. That’s probably best.  Let’s do that.

Except start after I get married – because I’ve already invested in folks and I want that money back y’all. 

Jackie the Housewife

25 Jul

This is our fridge magnet. True story.

Today Dave suggested that we move the cat food bowls around the house every once in a while so that we can force them to scavenge for food and thereby “prepare them for the oncoming apocalypse”.

I complied.  I didn’t really have a choice; he was very serious about it.  It felt like a dealbreaker.  And I really don’t want to be the girl that he left because she wouldn’t get over a little Apocalypse Training for the cats.  However, I’m also a little worried that now that I’ve opened the door to the beginning stages of this, he’ll start to get even more serious about their training program. 

First it’s hiding food dishes around the house, next it’s cats knifing me when I come home from work. 

Maybe I don’t have anything to worry about though – I tried to rouse Hobbes with the laser pointer today and he gave me the finger.   I don’t think even the fear of the apocalypse could get him to stop sleeping in the tub all day.  I’ve been meaning to talk to him about his attitude lately.

Anyway, I’m off work this week and I’m trying to spend some of the time teaching the cats  a lesson in productivity.  The theme of my workshop is that just because you’re not employed, doesn’t mean you can’t contribute.  I’m demonstrating a myriad of behaviors I’m hoping they’ll mimic in my absence when I go back to work.   Today, for example, I cleaned the house and did the dishes and made cookies and deviled eggs. 

What I wouldn’t give to have my cat hand me a deviled egg when I get home instead of knifing me. 

They aren’t really taking to my demonstrations, but I’m hoping that soon my messages will get through. I’m like the Jane Goodall of cats.  They’ll come around.

As it turns out I really like being home, aside from Hobbes’ foul behavior.  I really don’t mind dropping things off to be dry cleaned or getting the cats appointments (health pre-screenings for the training), or putting together furniture, cleaning the house, and making dinner.  I think I might really be cut out for this domestic thing.  Hell, I’d start a garden if I had a lawn.

It makes sense, I guess – I’ve always preferred staying indoors in the evening; now that I can be indoors in the morning too, I’m at my peak. It’s only been three days and Dave’s got this look in his eye like he’s afraid I’ve taken to it so much that will never return to work again.   And that could be entirely possible because I feel fantastic.  So to help him agree that it’s a good idea, I’m making him delicious dinners and keeping him from lifting a finger around the apartment.   I think if I can fit in a puppy and a garden, I’ve got myself a good hard sell.

It’s so wonderful to be able to get things done that have been on the back burner forever as low-priority items.  After a while, those things nag at me for so long that they become part of the baggage I carry around all the time.  And this week has been dedicated to ticking those off the list one by one.   I am infinite.

I started to feel so great this week that I realized I should be spending this time doing *all* the things I’ve ever wanted to do and recalled my curiosity for hiking the Appalachian Trail.  Then I remembered that I still have rehearsal at night and every weekend until November is booked (Note to self: add Appalachian Trail to back burner.  Also Note to self: why are you always so busy?).

I also have quite a bit of Lollipop Tuesday hunting to do, as it’s been quite some time since I’ve tried some newfangled adventure.  I’m afraid it’s been so long that if I don’t do one soon I’ll revert back into a cranky old coot.   Of course, finding new ventures is difficult when I get to be home all day in heels and a housedress, showing Dave how good of an idea it is for me to not work. 

Perhaps tomorrow my only goal should be to go outside.  It will hurt, but it will be good for me.  I’ll report back next week.  

Pray for me out there.  I hear the Apocalypse is coming. 

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