Sunday, July 31, 2011

Money Under the Bridge

I go into intervals of being frugal and then suddenly spending money like it's going out of style. The last two weekends have been in the latter vein. For instance:


This is Emily's Fault. And possibly also Elsie's, who told me I need to "advertise more". But Emily is more directly responsible, since she came into town, visiting from Seattle, and we ended up heading to Nordstrom Rack in Colma, what with us both needing new clothes. We didn't end up actually buying any clothes, unless you count $200 (each) in shoes as clothing. Though I really was in need of some new shoes for the office. Some day I'll get around to actually buying new pants.

And FYI: the above are definitely not for the office. They are most definitely for Other Purposes. Trust me, they look innocent in that photo compared to how they look actually on my feet. Mmm ... almost can't wait to try them out.

Mmm. Anyway.

Last weekend was a bit more practical in the spending arena. I'd been using a $30 AT&T Nokia Go Phone for three years. I liked to call it my StupidPhone, and was more or less happy: I could make and receive calls, I could text, I could (very slowly) make a quick Gmail check if I really had to. It was all I needed. I don't like changing much: I'd been with AT&T since they were WorldCom, and was kind of reluctant to try something new.

However, after months of being mildly mocked for my not-quite-Luddite tendencies, and after getting an email about a sweet company discount on signing a new contract with Sprint (the prospect of playing Words with Friends may also have had something to do with it), I finally bit the bullet. Ported my number to a new account, signed a contract, and got a shiny new SmartPhone:


It's a Samsung Replenish, which sort of was my original first choice, anyway, and ended up being the best deal overall. I even bought the solar panel battery cover, despite the fact that I live in foggy San Francisco and, as I've mentioned before, only see the sun maybe 10 days a year. Hopefully it will come in handy if/when I take another road trip. Or if I get stranded in the middle of the desert.

The ensuing week, up to and including the shoe shopping extravaganza, was far less sensible. There were a couple nights of drinking, the latter of which (Friday) involved me losing a tote bag containing my hard copy calendar — so I haven't switched to a digital calendar yet, so sue me — a couple of glassware leftovers containers, and, really critically, my current knitting project and all my knitting notions. It was a fun night, I got far too drunk, but now I'm kind of missing that sack. The bar says they don't have it, the guy who drove us home said it's not in his car ... and it's definitely not in my apartment. I may have to give it all up to the universe as a lost cause, but I'm still kind of sad.

Though I guess there are other things I should be knitting, anyway. Curse you, universe.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Baited Breadth

Quick, Pop Quiz time! How do you say "cheese omelet" in French?

Interestingly enough, that episode touches — humorously — on a theme that I've had rolling around in my head for a week or so now, as an idea for a short story. I'm considering spending some of my weekend perhaps outlining that idea, seeing if I can come up with an actual plot for it. It's time to try to recapture some of that confidence I had from this year's short story contest, and see where it takes me.

I found some inspiration (not for the story) today while trolling around on OkCupid. One of my "Quiver" matches mentioned The Worm in his profile, which inspired a video search, which led me to stumble on the below.

By the by, there are elements that aren't safe for work. You've been warned.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Stop Whining About Netflix, People

I don't usually comment on current worldly events, especially business news (since business news is sort of my job). But all the hoopla about Netflix's recently-announced price increase has me rolling my eyes and wanting to smack a bunch of people around.

Seriously. Wasn't that unlimited streaming part icing on the cake for all of us ... only two years ago? And now they're asking us to pay for that icing, on top of the price we'd initially been happy enough to apply to just DVDs.

I don't blame them for making this move. Streaming costs money: server space, bandwidth, and (I'm guessing) cutting financial deals with your internet service providers so that the bandwidth you're using for the streaming doesn't show up in your internet bill. (Though knowing ISPs, they'll probably end up charging for it, anyway.)

As for DVDs: that probably costs even more in overhead. They need to pay the rent on the mailing centers where they house the DVDs, the salaries of the people who handle and file them away, the bulk rate costs for using USPS. This service isn't free for them to deliver. Why do you expect it to continue to be practically-free for you to get?

Most people (like myself) will probably just drop down to the one part of the plan they use the most. In fact, I haven't used the DVD portion for over a year, so this price change is just prompting me to do something I should have done long ago. In the end, this is going to save me money.

What's really funny is the people I've seen crying about this price hike the most are also the ones who indiscriminately internet post about all the money they've spent in other areas of their life: the latest iJunk toys, the trips to Giants games every week, the shows watched on HBO. You have money for all of that, but you can't find room in your budget to spend an extra $6 a month on unlimited access to video entertainment?

You should be ashamed of yourself. Throwing a hissy fit over something like this just shows you up to be one of the worst examples of a narcissistic, self-entitled American with First World problems. Get over it, and either shell out the $6 or cancel your account. You don't need to make a gods-damned internet petition about it, collecting ALL CAPS comments. There are plenty of other options out there.

Now go forth, children, and bitch about something worth bitching about. Like the extension of tax cuts for the rich, or how horrible "Carmageddon" is going to make the life of the average L.A. resident this weekend.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cream of Wheat: It's What for Dinner

When you are a well-endowed woman like myself, sometimes the best part of the day is that moment when you can finally remove the bra and let your flesh relax. Not that those days are necessarily bad up to that point: it's just a good feeling. Of course, it's an even better feeling when someone else is removing that bra for you ...

But I digress.

It's too late to order in Chinese food, which I'm probably craving due to the remnants of a hangover, so while I wait for my Cream of Wheat to cook, I'd like to make a public service announcement:

Men, when going on a date with a lady, particularly a first, second or third date, it is probably best to avoid arriving at the date drunk.

I speak from experience, both distant and recent. Last night's OkCupid date — a first date, at Pisco Latin Lounge, which I can totally recommend for the drinks and food, bad company notwithstanding — was definitely, obviously (and self-admittedly) "tipsy" when I got there. It made for a uninhibited exposure of all his personality faults and inability to hold a conversation that wasn't 75% self-centered. There were some hints of positives, but they never got the chance to make more than a guest appearance.

I'm usually inclined to give a guy a second chance to make up for an awkward first date. Dating isn't easy, I'm still learning the ropes and the boundaries myself. But if you don't have control enough to keep yourself presentable for the pre-arranged first time I'm going to meet you, you're not worth it. I will be polite and listen to you for the hour or two that I have to endure it, I will "let" you pay for the drinks and food I have ordered, and I will not feel guilty about the fact that I don't intend to reciprocate the favor at any future point in time.

At least this one only verbally tried to pressure me into going home with him, rather than physically latching onto my arm like the last guy who showed up drunk to our date.

The night, in case you are concerned, did not end in a complete wash. Indignant at the thought of having wasted my time putting on makeup and ironing my sexy shirt, on the way home I stopped into my local bar for a quick drink, and ended up getting invited to play pool (badly) with a few guys. Which ended up in a couple more drinks being paid for, some healthy fun flirtation, and an after party of dancing to the Talking Heads, bullshitting and admiring appliances until the night was no longer night.

Hence the hangover, despite which I still dragged myself out this afternoon to join Elsie at Thee Parkside to see her friend Augustus play in his new band. (They were pretty good.) I ended up following her afterwards to the CD release party of a friend of hers, and then getting mistaken for a lesbian by a lesbian. I think I will take that as a compliment: lesbians are totally cooler than I am.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


My upper arms are driving me nuts with the itching. I have an allergy to sunblock, or the sun, or both. I'm not completely sure which, but it pretty much is guaranteed to occur when I try wearing sunblock and spend the day in the sun. Usually I don't bother with the sunblock — seriously, I live in San Francisco, and see the sun 10 days a year — but this last weekend I took the chance on a spray-on made for sensitive skin, and now I'm paying the price for it.

Itch. Itch itch. It doesn't even hurt. I think I would rather it did.

Aside from the itchy torment, it was an altogether too fun long Fourth-of-July weekend.

I visited the family in the South Bay and then went sailing with my Dad on Friday (which is when I did the sunblock thing - foolish me).

Fillmore Jazz Festival on Saturday, walking around and having good light conversations. Also having my usual "luck" with men, of course.

Sunday I drove up to the North Bay to meet my friend Elka's son and teach him to love his Auntie Eapa. (My sister's son is still cuter ... but this one is acceptably adorable.) I also strapped on roller skates for the first time in probably a decade, and have a bruise on my butt to show for it.

And to complete my weekend around the Bay, I headed over to Oakland for a mellow barbecue at Leonie and Gabe's house on the Fourth, and drove back into the city with Josh (who was also there) in time to see a few fireworks from the highway.

So the weekend was great, and busy.

Back into the work week ...

Today I feel like I'm just going through the motions. Doing things because I "ought" to, because I need something to take me away from other things.

Maybe I should just keep moving. I don't want to run away, but sometimes that just seems like the safest thing, the action that will keep me sane.