Archive | August, 2013

Aside

A Hump Day Conversation

Me: So I was writing on someone’s Facebook wall suggesting the day women’s suffrage began should be equated with the day Pearl Harbor was bombed.

Him: …

Me: Oh, and that Jesus loves everyone, except Jews. And Oakland Raiders fans.

Him: You’re trashing Jews now?

Me: You’re right. I should have said Southerners. Or people in Arkansas.

Him: Jesus likes us better than New Yorkers.

Me: I’m not really a New Yorker. I just live here.

Him: You’re a New Yorker.

Me: Nyet, I am not defined by where I happen to live. I am a special snowflake.

Him: *sigh*

Is a peaceful and drama-free marriage possible?

I think the closest (and married) people in my life pretty much did their level best to singlehandedly destroy any hope whatsoever of me ever experiencing a drama-free and happy marriage.  People with successful marriages too, mind you.

They ruined me. RUINED ME I say.

To which they argue: Nyet nyet, they destroyed nothing… besides a fantasy.

But I AM my fantasy! Or… my fantasy is me? Well something like that. I’m sure that makes sense to somebody around here. Or at least the idealism and fantasy of hoping and believing a peaceful marriage was entirely possible.

To which a married friend replies, “Once there was an episode of X-Files, where Mulder found a genie that lived in a lamp. And he wished for peace…

…and every single person on the planet besides him disappeared.”

Sigh.

You know, the first 30 years of my life contained enough drama to span 10 lifetimes. My life then was like being trapped in an episode of General Hospital, but where the video gets stuck and I wind up reliving the same insufferably melodramatic scene, over and over and over and over again.

Quite frankly, I had enough. I need quiet, peace, still waters, wisping clouds and gentle breezes. As an introvert, I crave it, yearn for it, pine for it.

But sadly, as I have come to learn from the enlightened sages of my generation, this affinity for peace and quiet is really a reflection of my desire to suppress women and perpetually keep them in the dark chains of patriarchal bondage and despair.

No, seriously, there’s actually an article out there that says this. The desire for peace and quiet is apparently a male trait that is in truth a subconscious need by male brutes to keep women from making themselves heard. Or at least that’s sort of the conclusion this clearly enlightened feminist arrives at after reading the NYT article, “I’m Thinking. Please. Be Quiet.”

And yet. Something off-putting lurks behind Prochnik’s whole Mr. Darling “a little less noise there” routine. Maybe it’s just that the expectation that one can work in pin-drop quiet feels very … male, or at least alien to a lot of women’s experience. We’ve usually got a colleague asking us for help with the copy machine (we’re supposed to be the office team players) or a kid crying in the other room (we log more of the child care hours) or a floor to vacuum (ditto the housework hours). Generally, we’re taught to deal with these distractions rather than demand a lofty silence befitting our magnificent alpha brains.

I give up. Clearly I’m not smart enough to understand the introvert’s deference for quietude is in reality just another battlefront in the WAR AGAINST WOMEN!!11!eleventy!!

A girl runs from a guy giving flowers

A girl’s reaction to my suggestion that we spend a quiet afternoon at the local arboretum.

So lesson learned: asking for a quiet and peaceful marriage is a clearly sexist and grotesquely chauvinistic thing to do.  I’m sorry.  I truly apologize.  I shall now attempt to rectify this egregious error and learn how to reintroduce as much drama back into my life as possible, using tips I pick up by watching the last few seasons of New Girl.

I think SyFy docked my IQ by at least 30 points (Review of Sharknado)

What was that?

Just… what… I… I can’t even put it into words…

Stupid Internet. I kept reading tweets and then articles from all my usual geek feeds like Mashable that this movie somehow, defying all sound logic, had become all the rage and was literally breaking ratings records. But see, I’m thinking yeah…, this is a SyFy Original, and we all know how those turn out, so I’ll just pass on it, thank you very much.

But finally, just out of sheer boredom and morbid curiosity I decided to watch it for the weekend. I mean come on, how bad could it be, really, especially with all the hoopla it was generating on Twitter, amirite?  I’ve seen SyFy movies before and while they’re awful, it usually made for a good way to kill time when nothing else was on.

Dude.

DUDE.

DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUDE.

It’s not even the sharks flying through space and literally gulping people whole that was so hard to… swallow. I just couldn’t get over the fact that in every single scene that shows the characters riding in a car, there was never one second where you weren’t cognizant of the fact that the car NEVER MOVES. So of course, the actors had to bob and weave to make it seem like they were in motion and it’s just… I mean it’s just so painfully obvious they weren’t moving AT ALL, that my brain simply refused to accept the reality a movie this bad could be produced and started protesting by trying to go into a self-induced coma.

About to get gulped whole in Sharknado

Instead of stepping 6 inches to my right to avoid certain death, I’m just gonna leap right into this guy’s stomach and totally own this mother. LIKE A BOSS.

And let’s not even try to delve into the physics of successfully using a chainsaw to slice a 2.5 ton Great White shark barreling at you at 100 miles an hour from the air, IN HALF, just as easily as a knife through butter.

Or the physics of using propane canisters the size of my arm to successfully dissipate an F5 tornado.

Oh, and the plot devices. Where the hero “Fin” is a divorcee evidently because his ex-wife (and the daughter) couldn’t stand how disgustingly vile and depraved he was by doing appalling, (and I mean APPALLING) things such as rescuing a group of kids trapped in a school bus.

Like OMG Fin, there you go again giving a rip about other people and small kids about to get eaten by sharks!!! I HATE YOU SO MUCH!!!!

You know… on second thought, maybe that part wasn’t so disbelievable.

But still, good grief, I need to stop taking topics that trend on Twitter seriously.  For my sanity.  Just because teh intertoobz sez iz coolz, DOES NOT MEAN IT IS.

P.S. Yeah I know I’ve been pretty late to the shark-mania party, but I always seem to get into these things weeks and months after the hype has already died down and people moved on. Do other people play catch up like this where you’re only starting to take interest in what USED to be a hot topic or fad oh… 6 to 12 months ago? Or am I the only one?

LUVVITT Keyboard Cover for iPad Review

I’ve been wanting to get a keyboard cover for my iPad to encourage using it more as a productivity tool (plus curb the geek temptation to get an MS Surface), and after much research I narrowed it down to either the LUVVITT or the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover.  I tried out the Logitech first, but I didn’t like the fact that it had no back light, plus with the Union Devicewear shell I was using to protect the back of the iPad, it wouldn’t hold up when I placed it at a portrait angle either.  So I opted to wait for LUVVITT to restock their black ultrathin keyboard covers and give that a try instead.  I was banking on this particular keyboard having a kickstand that would make it possible for me to fit the iPad at both landscape and portrait angles, even with a shell on.  Plus, back lights!

Finally got the keyboard the other day and tried to fit the iPad on it, first at landscape angle.  Did it work?

LUVVITT Keyboard Cover for iPad (Fitted in landscape and using a shell)Sigh.  Even with the kickstand up it keeled right over.  The protective shell was preventing the iPad from connecting solidly with the keyboard via magnets, so it looked like I was out of luck.

But wait a second, what if… I used my smart cover and placed that on top of the keyboard instead?

LUVVITT Keyboard Cover for iPad with an iPad shell (and held up using a smart cover)Perfect!  I was able to utilize my smart cover to hold it up at nearly the exact the same angle.  The beauty of the smart cover is that I could place the iPad on top or behind the keyboard, or nearly anywhere I wanted for maximum comfort.

LUVVITT Keyboard Cover for iPad (shown with smart cover)

From the back you can see how the smart cover holds up the iPad. I’m so shmartsie.

The big thing for me though was whether the iPad could hold up at a portrait angle.  Writing emails, blogging, etc. feels more natural in portrait than landscape, so it was my hope that the LUVVITT would be able to hold it up that way as well.  To my pleasant surprise I found it could, in fact the edges of the protective shell seems to “lock” into the groove to prevent the iPad from tipping over.  It feels like it’s not going to hold up, especially when I start jabbing at the display, but it does.

LUVVITT Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad (Portrait Angle)

So beautiful, *sniff*

Another view from the back:

LUVVITT Keyboard Cover for iPad (Portrait as seen from the back)

You can see the kickstand appears to be doing a better job of holding it up this time.

The only thing I don’t like is that the bottom of the keyboard cover is prone to scratches and scuff marks.  In fact while experimenting with different angles I already managed to scuff it at one of the corners.  Ugh.  Fortunately there are two solutions that can address this:  One is to use the bumps provided with the keyboard to give it a better grip and raise the keyboard just enough so it’s not constantly rubbing against the surface, while the second is to utilize the smart cover (assuming you’re standing the iPad at portrait angle) and wrap that under the keyboard, like this:

LUVVITT Keyboard Cover for iPad (using smart cover to protect bottom)The smart cover tends to give it a better grip than the bumps too, and once you’re done, you can fold the smart cover back onto the iPad, then fold the keyboard on top of the smart cover.  It adds some bulk to the overall package, but still MUCH easier to carry around and break out using than my 15 inch MacBook.  I can see myself using the iPad much more often now during my travels, while relegating my MacBook to more of a workstation use when I’m back at the hotel (or settling in at a cafe somewhere).

Overall I’m very pleased with my purchase.  The keys feel solid (if not slightly more solid than the Logitech version) and the back lights actually does make it easier to type in darker settings (such as a tavern).  I thought I could live without the back lights because the iPad display itself does do a good job of lighting most of the keys, but I found I endured less typing mistakes and eye strain with back-lit keys, so it was worth it for me to splurge extra for that feature.

If you’re interested in this keyboard but have questions that wasn’t already answered in my review, let me know in the comments.

Image

It’s the end, the END, THE END OF ALL THINGS!

How do I know it’s the end?  Because, this.

In related news, Matt Damon is rumored to be doing a cameo in the same movie, playing… Matt Damon. Why? Because, Matt Damon.

Matt Damon.

MATT DAMON!

(I’m too lazy too google up why repeating Matt Damon’s name so incessantly has gotten to be a thing, but it’s funny, so, Matt Damon.)

Damon, Matt.

Matting it up to the Damon.

Yes, please add chocolate drizzles to my Venti mocha frap, because, Matt Damon.

Ben Affleck as Batman and Matt Damon as Robin

Holy Matt Damon, Matt Damon, it’s Matt Damon!

Aside

5 day work weeks are too insanely long. For realsies!

Semi blogging hiatus as I try to plow through one more day of work. Typically I only work four days but had to do five this week to cover for coworkers on vacation. FIVE straight days of work. Who does that? It’s madness, I say, MADNESS.

Anyhoo, in the meantime I got a LUVVITT keyboard cover for my iPad that I’m playing with (and will blog on later), plus I’m fighting Alamo’s website trying to get a free upgrade deal so I can save $30 for my car rental, but it won’t accept my choice of a compact (with a free upgrade to a mid-size). Bah. I’ll try again this weekend. For any of you Las Vegas aficionados reading this BTW, Alamo seems to be the best and cheapest car rental agency to roll with out of McCarran Airport. See how helpful I am with all my awesomely awesome traveling knowledge? I’m awesome.

Remembering my dog days

Well, considering we’re into the dog days of summer, seems fitting that I started reminiscing about the dogs I used to have in my life, and it occurred to me that in all my years, I’ve never actually had a dog that I was particularly close to.  For one reason or another no emotional bond ever developed with any of the dogs I knew, at least to the extent that I could understand why they were called “man’s best friend.”  It all started with the very first dog I can remember from my childhood, a generic looking mutt that my maternal grandparents had named “Biscuit.”  And while it belonged to my grandparents, my mom often dog-sitted for them, so it spent a lot of time at my home as well.

This dog… seriously, will disappear like Jimmy Hoffa as soon as you dropped the leash.   Not even give you any time to react, just *POOF* and instantly gone like the wind.  We couldn’t even keep it in the front yard with our sturdy chain link fence, because she could expertly climb right over it and then bolt for destinations unknown.  We used to spend HOURS a day looking for her, and when we’d finally find her she’d start playing a game of chicken that had us zigzagging halfway around the neighborhood until we could finally put the leash on her.

Forget about playing fetch too.  Toss her a ball and she’ll run and get it… and then never come back.  She could be sweet otherwise, but at the same time she always seemed distracted and not really focused on me… nor anyone else in my family for that matter.  At the tender age of 5 or so I remember thinking I just wanted a dog that would never leave my side, and would always want to play with me and shower me with affection.  You know, everything Biscuit wasn’t.

It would be a few years before my parents would finally get a dog of their own, I think partly because shedding and allergies was a concern, so when the time finally came to bring a dog into our lives, my parents narrowed it down to a male poodle we found at one of the local animal shelters.

Now THIS particular dog wanted to hump everything in sight.  Seriously, it didn’t matter what it was.  NOTHING WAS SACRED OR SAFE.  Even after it got neutered too.  I don’t remember much else about the dog except that shortly after it was fixed, it turned incredibly violent and viciously bit my father’s hand one day (which in hindsight, is probably the best thing it ever did).  Sadly, it had to be put down, and despite not being particularly close to the dog, my mom and I took it very hard.  I was around ten at the time, but that was the last time we ever had a dog of our own.

A divorce and a few years later, we moved into my stepdad’s house, and his parents had a dog named “Whisky.”  I think this dog was picked out as a pup by my stepsister if I remember right, and Whisky was another one who regarded me as one of her peasants rather than a member of the family.  She was pampered silly by my stepdad’s parents, and spent most of her time living upstairs with them.  Occasionally she would come down to sniff here and there, and when she did I’d try to pet or play with her, at least when she could manage to sit still for 30 seconds.  Every time I did pet her, she would react quite affectionately… by urinating on me, and then happily prancing right back upstairs with not a care in the world.

I hated that dog.  To me it exemplified everything that I utterly despised about my stepfamily: self-absorbed, cold, emotionally distant and mentally unstable narcissists (sans my stepdad, who was the one good apple in a completely rotten bunch).  I know it wasn’t the dog’s fault, but she had become an unwitting sponge absorbing all the ugly traits of her owners.

During those days I was ready to give up and conclude all of God’s creatures would always hate me, and I probably would have too, were it not for a cat that suddenly showed up out of the blue at our doorstep one day.  Apparently it had made the decision of deeming us worthy to be its new caretakers, and refused to leave until we took it in.  For the first time in many years, we had a pet again.  A few days or so after the cat’s arrival, Whisky (otherwise known as Queen Sheba-Dog of the mighty suburban jungle) came downstairs as usual and started sniffing around until it noticed we had a new resident.  So she waltzes up to the cat for a good sniff, and the cat regards Whisky for maybe 2 or 3 seconds… and then rips into her face with her claws.  The dog SCREECHED like the little weenie sissy dog it was and BOLTED right back upstairs.  At that point I don’t think it ever came down again, at least not indoors.  Teh Kitteh now ruled the jungle.

I think that’s when the worm finally started to turn.  At last an animal had taken my side and become my ally and my friend.  Indeed, whenever I was sad or depressed, Teh Kitteh was always there to comfort me.  Somehow she just knew when she needed to be around to keep me company.  I was in a truly dark place then, but my cat (and it was indeed MY cat) proved herself a true companion who helped me get through it all.

It’s been over a decade since Teh Kitteh’s passing, and while I never did have occasion to own another dog or cat since then, I noticed my encounters with animals have become much more amiable over the years (except for slugs and ticks, which I will always hate with death’s hatred).  Almost every time I saw a dog in public now it would look at me and practically smile.  I remember the first time I noticed it too: while on vacation a few years back, I visited a stable to go horse riding, and a labrador mix lumbered up to me and started showering me with affection like I was the bestest friend it ever had.  I was 27 years old, and yet that was the FIRST time I had an experience with a dog like that.  Sheesh, where WERE these dogs hiding my whole life???  It’s funny, because as brief and random such moments with these awesome dogs would be, I can still remember them fondly because they stood in such stark contrast to my experiences as a child.

Still, in spite of the dark cloud that seems to have been lifted in my relationship with the dog kingdom, I wonder if I’ll ever have another real opportunity to emotionally bond with a dog and enjoy the kind of canine friendship I’ve always yearned for.

Or maybe I’ll just get another cat.

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