Tags: bitching

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Katzenkapers

My room-mates father has been ill for a while and is now in assisted living or long-term care, so we adopted his 3 cats. They mostly get along with our original cat, though there has been some growling and spitting in the hour that precedes feeding time. All but one of them are BIG cats. I am guessing that all four of them add up to about 55 lbs of cat. (oi!)

While prepping dinner tonight, I got the crock-pot out from the hall closet, where it resides behind the "great pile of everything" (TM). In doing so I knocked over the big (25 lb?) bag of cat food which had been on top of the "great pile of everything" (TM). Later on I realized that it was an OPEN bag of crunchy food, so I spent the rest of the evening cursing my roommate's lack of common sense. After cleaning up the dinner dishes I went to deal with the spilled cat food and dump the crunchies into the 5 gallon airtight tub we use for them. At that point I discovered that neither of my roommates had opened the bag, but that some felonious feline had chewed a hole in the side of the bag big enough to put his head through!

I suspect it was the fat one, but the skinny one had also spent a suspicious amount of time lingering in the vicinity of the hall closet. I probably owe my roommates an apology for thinking ill thoughts, but since I kept those thoughts to myself I'll just apologize under my breath, also. After all, I'm cleaning the litter boxes so I'm allowed to be cranky!!! (55 lbs of cat... you do the math!)
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Week of suffering, weekend of fun

I had food poisoning most of the week. Nausea, dizziness all the regular symptoms, but so much lingering pain that I don't recall from prior cases. Slept on the couch most of the day all week, but had to sleep in odd positions not to put any pressure on stomach and abdomen, thereby causing other pains in neck and back and arms. Happily, I was kind of better by Friday and felt almost normal on Saturday.

Was treated to a Zydeco dinner dance on Saturday by a friend. Food was meh, dance lesson was good, music was good, watching other people dancing was a lot of fun. The basic step of Zydeco is quite easy but in practice I found that (due to it having a rock-step) if I tried anything at all fancy, my reflexes thought I was doing jitterbug and then I was off the count for zydeco. Strange but true factoid: if you just look at the basic step, zydeco is almost exactly the same as bachata, most significant difference being that in zydeco you wiggle you ankles and in bachata you wiggle your hips.

Sunday I met with some friends to take them fabric shopping at Jomar for 1880's outfits and scored some good fabric. Then I went to a friend's gallery opening and had 2 glasses of wine, which was enough to mellow me out for 4 hours. Then we went out to dinner at the White Dog Cafe (over-priced, over-seasoned and over-fripperied) but had great fun because so many great people I don't see often enough went. Then my fabric shopping friends drove me home and we had a great time just hanging out with my roommates.
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My Evening of Weird, Crazy and Annoying

1. Due to track work, the Riverline trains were running every half hour today. According to both the NJ transit website and customer service that's all the info they had. Couldn't tell me every half hour starting WHEN? Then when I got to the train station, the announcement said "Sunday Schedule" which is indeed every half hour, but at 14 after and 44 after the hour. I am truly annoyed that they communicate so poorly that this simple little piece of information never reached the "Transit Alert" website. NJT, you are an idiot.

2. Homeless people have taken over all the bus stops on Market Street that I regularly use. A particularly dysfunctional lady decided that she would enliven my wait for the bus by standing in the roadway, rather than on the curb, causing taxis and buses to careen madly around her while switching lanes to make their turn around City Hall. Bus driver told me she is not allowed on the bus because she urinates on the seat.

3. Saw a man on the bus who (facially) was a dead ringer for Akhenaten, the Egyptian pharaoh. http://symbolankh.devhub.com/blog/archive-201008/ (link included in case you don't have a mental image on file)

4. Our bus did dual duty as a shuttle bus for people returning from the Toby Keith concert in Camden, and the real surprise was that they were better dressed and far more sober that than last month's Tim Mcgraw concertgoers.

5. My first bus was late due to detours due to flooding, causing me to set a 100 yard dash (thru light traffic) record getting to my second bus. Which then sat there for ten minutes while one of the would-be passengers hit up everybody on the street to get enough nickels to add up to $3.75 for bus fare. Apparently, it takes at least 5 minutes to feed that many nickels into the till.

5. Bus was about 45 minutes late getting me home, due to flooded roadway in Riverside.

6. But we were entertained by a drunk couple (not from the concert) breaking up loudly and with a fair amount of wit for the last half hour of the ride. Our previous bus driver would have pulled over and called the cops, but this one just took it in stride and laughed along with the rest of us.
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Future Schlock, or I Want My Flying Car!

I logged my hours watching "the Jestsons" as a child, and things have not turned out as I expected. I want a flying car and a neurotic robot housemaid.

Instead, I got Roomba, the idiot child of an unholy union between R2-D2 and a filter feeding trilobite; and a herd of children wearing some kind of visors or headbands encrusted with flashing LEDs, scampering around a dank subway station like some kind of post-tribal extras from the set of "Blade Runner".

On the other hand, the internet is kinda cool, and I don't think the Jetsons had ANYTHING like that.
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Roommates...SHEESH!!!!!

We have one of those can openers that makes smooth edges that you can't cut yourself on. Sounds like a good idea, doesn't it!

My roommate's cats recently starting eating catfood that comes in the pop-top cans. After 5 years of can lids that won't cut, I discovered you can get quite a nasty gash from the pop-top lids if you are not paying attention.

Now for the SHEESH part. Tried to find antibiotic ointment in the medicine cabinet. What did I find? About 200 hundred spa treatments pour le bain, beauty products, night cream, body butter (what the hell is body butter and why does it come in "mango"?) and no ointment to be found. I had to go and root out my camping first aid kit to find antibiotic ointment, 'cause if there is any in the medicine cabinet it would take about an hour to find. "SHEESH", I say, goshdarn SHEESH!!!!
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Wiener pics of the apocalypse!

I read something very disturbing in "Smithsonian" today. In Germany, the corner butcher shop, complete with artisanal sausages, is being decimated by supermarkets, mass-produced hi-tech sausage, and changes in lifestyle. Things change, no surprise.

But the disturbing thing is what is displacing the traditional artisanal sausage. Somebody came up with the horrifying concept of using some kind of high-tech extrusion process to create sausages with pictures inside them. They extrude two different colors of meat in such a way that when you slice your bologna or wiener, a happy face, corporate icon or cartoon character is revealed in the slice. One of these monstrous sausages even has it's own cartoon show.

I realize that we in America do produce things like dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and breakfast cereals extruded in many misbegotten forms. But somehow it's more horrifying when done with sausages. We're doomed. This is surely one of the signs of the apocalypse.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/For-German-Butchers-a-Wurst-Case-Scenario.html

Note: sorry I couldn't find a pic to link to, but it's probably better not to have to see it!
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Turkeys and Girl Talk

Went to Thanksgiving at the sister-in-laws house. I had prepped Mom with her marching orders ahead of time. "Do what you're told, sit down and shut the heck up" Sounds harsh but last year she had much drama with the S-I-L who did not respond well to my Mother's insistence that Mom could "just organize these dishes for you before I sit down". Things went much better this year.

Until I mentioned a pet peeve I have with girl-talk. And I don't mean giggling about cute boys! I mean the way certain people who are usually women will never come right out and say what they want you to do, but will hint and be coy about it so as not to appear too bossy or aggressive or some such thing I couldn't care less about. You know like my Mother says "do you want to go get me some ice tea?" instead of saying "would you please get me some iced tea?" It's kind of the same thing, but I hate how complicated that kind of code can get when it gets out of hand.

All you women out there will think I am an idiot for this, but most guys just don't get it when you talk that way. Case in point: I'm on the computer and my room-mate says "let me know if the skype beeps". I say "It didn't beep, but there is a message on here from a while ago". She says, (in girl code, but I read it at face value) "oh, then let me know when you are done", and I say "I'll be done in a few minutes". And then a minute later she says "let me know when you are done" and then a minute later she says "let me know when you are done". So I say "do you want me to let you use it now, even though I am not done?" and she says "Well actually, yes". And I say "Jesus Christ, why the hell didn't you say so, how was I supposed to know you are talking in girl code! I don't speak girl code!" So I let her use the computer and I think she was amused.

So I brought this up at Thanksgiving, and it was like throwing a lit cigarette butt into a puddle of gas! Frank discussion and some shouting ensued. It's actually almost fun to do that with somebody else's family. I probably don't have to see them again till next Thanksgiving, and they might have calmed down by then. I might even get invited back.
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Quest for Pizza

Sounds easy, doesn't it. Well, not so much. Apparently when I lived in Delaware County, Pa, I was in a paradise of pizza and became truly spoiled. Friends would drive an hour just to have pizza from the parlor up the street from my brother's house. And there were plenty of nearby places that had pizza nearly as delicious.

I blame it on the felicitous combo of being near enough to South Philly that people knew what real pizza tasted like, and a local culture of Greek pizza innovation and entrepreneurship. Folcroft Pizza has a crust sort of like a softer version of French bread, and their regular pizza is a three-cheese pizza, featuring a blend of mozzarella, colby and cheddar. I don't know if it's entirely the cheese, or if the sauce is also extra flavorful. I've only had pizza as good as that in Bayonne, New Jersey (different style, but just as good) and some heavenly little parlor just off the highway in Connecticut that I will probably never find again.

Cut to the present: My roommates buy pizza from Papa John. Excuuuuuse me, but pizza should have a flavor without having to dip it in garlic-grease! They are more or less discriminating diners when comes to everything else, but I just don't understand how Papa John's can be even considered pizza, let alone good pizza. So I've decided to go on a quest and find decent pizza nearby. I'm going to go out and have a slice or two for lunch every week until I find decent pizza. I started today, and have realized it's not going to be easy. We seem to live in the "New Yawhk" pizza area of NJ, even though we are about 2 hours away from there. I think the theory is if the crust is crispy in texture, nobody will notice it has no flavor. Don't even get me started on their pathetic excuses for cheese!

So far, I have tasted:

Joe's Pizzeria .................. Essentially tasteless ... no stars

Riccardo's Pizza & Restaurant ... A bit of flavor, greasy crust ... one star


The quest goes on.
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Nutella - the new health food?

I've been seeing TV commercials that are coming to within a hairsbreadth of claiming that Nutella is a health food. They make it sound like it's going to persuade stubborn children to eat their vegetables.

If this is the nutella I know and love, it's more like a chocolate dip than health food.

According to Wikipedia:

"Nutella is a modified form of gianduja. The exact recipe is a secret closely guarded by Ferrero. According to the product label, the main ingredients of Nutella are sugar and modified vegetable oils, followed by hazelnut, cocoa and skimmed milk, which together comprise at most 28% of the ingredients. The recipe for Nutella varies in different countries: for example, the Italian formulation uses less sugar than the product sold in France. Nutella is marketed as "hazelnut cream" in many countries. Under Italian law, it cannot be labeled as a chocolate cream, as it does not meet minimum cocoa concentration criteria.

About half of the calories in Nutella come from fat (11 g in a 37 g serving, or 99 kcal out of 200 kcal) and about 40% of the calories come from sugar (20 g, 80 kcal).[1]"

For a moment I thought "there ought to be a law against making such ridiculous claims", but anybody who has ever tasted it and could possibly imagine that it's good for you is just beyond all help, anyway.
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Hating Verizon Part 2

Phone service was restored to our abode today. A total of 10.5 days after I called in the problem. It wasn't just us, but apparently several blocks on our street. The burning hatred will probably die down to lingering resentment and long-standing mistrust. Verizon thanks us for our patience and promises to discount our bill this month.