Monday, December 31, 2007

A Browncoat Cruise Journal

I am going to keep this entry at the top of the page until at least the end of December 2007; perhaps longer. I am working on a journal of the cruise, which can be accessed by the button in the right sidebar. I will be updating it with more stories, pictures and information as I have time--so keep clicking over to check! You know what to do. CrankyBeach hath spoken.

This journal is NOT in blog format; so if you have comments, you may put them on this blog entry.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Free Groceries!

At Whole Foods, no less.

Apparently, all you have to do is walk out of the store without paying for your groceries--and they won't do a thing to stop you. Not only that... if they try to stop you, and one of the employees touches you, THEY will be fired and you will be allowed to go on your merry way. Because, you see, Whole Foods employees are not allowed to touch a customer for any reason. Apparently a shoplifter is still considered a customer. Is that dumb or what?

I fully expect a rash of unencumbered shoplifting to start plaguing the chain. They have just announced to the world that they will roll over and let you walk away. They might even hold the door open for you. How very polite of them.

Actually, the guy's manager should have been fired, since he was the one who yelled for help in the first place, to stop the thief. And then, when the employee restrained the thief, the manager told him to let the thief go, which he did. And then he got fired.

And In Other News...

... the lizards had their monthly cage cleaning and weigh-in today. They all suffered the indignity of being rousted out of a sound sleep, one by one, being made to sit still on the scale, and then being shuffled off into temporary quarters while their homes and furniture got cleaned from top to bottom.

But it's actually easier to put them through such an ordeal when they're kind of torpid and sleepy. Not to mention, I don't fancy staying up late to clean their cages after they wake up for the night. Hey, who's in charge here, anyway?

ETA: Firefly looked so cute when I went past her cage, I just had to grab the camera:

Unless she's facing the glass like that, you never, ever see her belly markings. She has got the prettiest belly markings of the five.

And then she moved and posed again:

Just adorable... isn't she? Say yes.

Scary Tactics

An acquaintance of mine once "invested" in a time share and later went through bankruptcy. She did not "reaffirm" the time share debt and thus, according to her lawyer, was free of it.

Nearly two years later, she got a call from someone purporting to be from the time share company, demanding that she pay her long-past-due bill for all fees. He was extremely nasty, intimidating, and when she told him she had gone bankrupt, he yelled at her that she could not bankrupt her way out of a time share; it is her "second home" and therefore she is required to keep it, or some such bullshocks, and he got extremely abusive.

Nearly in a panic, she called her bankruptcy attorney. He turned right around and called the guy, who said "Oh, no, she misunderstood me, since she was a past customer, we were just trying to find out if she might be interested in purchasing a week in a resort."

Bullshocks. Again. He only said that because he had an attorney breathing down his throat.

I just wonder how many people fall for the scare tactic and send in money, even though the debt was discharged? Must be enough to keep a guy like this in business. Sad.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Some Things Are Just Too Easy...

Yesterday a car passed me near an intersection. The car wore every kind of "green" bumper sticker you could think of.

What kind of car do you suppose it was?

No, it was not a Prius or other hybrid. It was, in fact, a smoke-belching elderly diesel Mercedes.

Can you say "cognitive dissonance?"

Thursday, December 27, 2007


The good news is, there isn't somebody wandering out there pretending to be me.

(Trust me. You don't want the job. I know whereof I speak.)

The bad news: It seems an entire metric boatload of people didn't get their new licenses because somehow the picture files got corrupted. So no new licenses were even created, and thus they were not mailed out.

Gee... do ya think they could have perhaps found a way of notifying the people who were affected?

Oh. That's right. We're talking about a gubbermint agency here. My bad.

So once again, I wait for a new license. At least I didn't have to pay the 10 bucks to replace a lost or stolen license.

A Good Day To Go Back To Bed...

First, I find out that my phone bill is overdue because unbeknownst to me, I had been discontinued from the automatic payment service. I called to find out why, and they said my credit card had expired. I explained (patiently) that I had updated the information as soon as I got and activated the new card; but apparently their system is too dumb to understand such a simple task.

I renewed my driver's license in plenty of time, but the new one has never arrived in the mail (and it's been almost 2 months), so I get to go brave the Department of Murder Vehicles to fill out a form to replace the lost or stolen one. Meanwhile, it's a safe bet there's somebody out there pretending to be me. Oh, joy.

Then I'm trying to do my work, you know, the stuff I get paid for, and it appears the third-grader with the bald spot told someone I am not using the computer that was set up especially for me to have access to the office systems, and thus they have an intern in this week who is using it and keeps kicking me off. Said third-grader is out of town this week and next so I cannot go and personally commit murder and mayhem on his person. There have been some blistering e-mails sent out, though, to the effect that it's all very well and good to kick me off the system, but do not expect accuracy of information if I can't get into the very place I go to verify the information. Just sayin'.

I think I need more coffee.

Monday, December 24, 2007

For Those Who Care...

... yes, I am still alive. More or less.

My back isn't as bad as it was... but it still reminds me every time I do something I shouldn't. Such as bend over the sink. Or bend over to peer into a lizard house.

What with that nasty galloping crud I picked up on the cruise, I coughed so much, I popped a rib cartilage, or something. So now I have pains both back and front. And I am still coughing and sniffling a bit, though not nearly as bad as before.

I've been sleeping a lot more than usual. Today good friend Sara stopped by and presented me with a bottle of Bailey's. She retired from 35+ years of teaching just about the time I semi-retired from my job, and she is giving herself plenty of time to be lazy and enjoy "slumber and sloth," as she put it. "And a good slug," she added, pointing to the bottle. Great. Not that I needed justification, but if she can do it, so can I.

Of course I managed to get my sleep schedule entirely screwed up over the weekend. Friday morning I was to take the young sailor (who is now commenting on my blog as "bin V." which means son of V.) to the airport so he could go home to Ohio for Christmas. This was only the second time he had ever traveled by himself, and it was a good thing I went inside the airport with him so I could help him figure out what to do. His flight to Chicago was going to be delayed due to weather, and thus he would miss his connection to Ohio, and there were no further flights that day that would get him home. The best they could offer him was standby the next morning, with of course no guarantee. At first he was going to fly to Chicago and take his chances from there, but then he decided he would really rather not; and since he had gone through all of the bureaucracy and paperwork to get signed off the post and officially on leave, he didn't want to do it all again, and asked if my couch was still as comfortable as it was when he was in the 4th grade.

So at his mother's insistence, he took me to dinner (Olive Garden) and he crashed on my couch. We had to get up at 3 a.m. to get him to the airport (an hour and 20 minutes from my house; he flew out of San Jose because it saved his parents about $400). He had already sent his duffle bag through and he already had his boarding pass, so I dropped him off at the curb at 5 a.m., and told him as soon as he got through security, to find out what gate he was supposed to go to, and then go make friends with the gate agent and see what they could do for him. Meanwhile, I was heading over to Denny's and I would wait there until I heard from him.

Long story a whole lot shorter, he did get a seat on that flight (and I had breakfast and lots of coffee). I think he got bollixed up again somewhere in the midwest before he finally got home, but I am assuming he got home because I have had no further e-mails from V. on the subject. Presumably we will not go through this hokey-pokey when he comes back in a couple of weeks, because if his flights are delayed, he can just call me when he's about to board a plane for San Jose, and then I can just look up the estimated arrival time for that flight online.

So I headed straight home, and straight back to bed, where I slept another 5 hours. Saturday night I slept a full 8 hours--and then took a 4 hour nap Sunday afternoon.

Other than that, it's been mostly a pajama weekend. My various familial appendages are scattering in all directions tomorrow, so I may or may not go over to my mother's. It will depend on how I feel.

And now... back to bed with a book!

And a very Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Announcement From The Management

I threw my back out this morning by the mere act of bending over the sink while brushing my teeth. It is now sheer agony to sit at the computer--and do just about anything else, for that matter. So there will be very little blogging until it stops hurting.

(Bum, I can hear you asking how this is different from normal. My answer to you? Put a sock in it.)

There. How was THAT for pre-empting the inevitable comments?? ::evil grin::

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Very Disreputable-Looking Character...

... otherwise known as Hawke of the Bedlam Bards. Don't you just love that crocheted top hat?

Monday, December 10, 2007

And Then There Was Nectar

This was taken just before she dragged us into the bar and bought us a glass of champagne.

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