Thursday, June 26, 2008

Driving a Prius - for 2 days

I'm officially done with the Prius. I turned it back in to the rental car place.* I've learned I'm not a Prius person. I used to think I was one but I'm not. I never got used to pushing a button to turn the car on, to shifting gears at face level, to pushing the car, via button, into park, to feeling the shuddering as the engine switched randomly back and forth from electric to gas motor, and I never got used to the fleeting feeling of panic anytime I wanted to change the a/c temp or change the radio station (because it was in some weird computer screen form, you see). I also managed to turn the Prius into a gas guzzler, at least by Prius standards. When I got the car it was doing about 44 mpg - not bad. As I drove it along, I managed to hit the high, high average of 35 to 37. I'm not saying that's a bad mpg, that's great. But for a Prius? Not so much. And I have no clue how I did it. I blame it on the air conditioning. I don't think hybrid cars are made to sit in traffic in the Texas heat, especially on 100+ degrees days. Oh and the really loud beeping that filled the car everytime I used the knob to put the car in reverse? Terribly annoying.

All that said, I did feel a certain smugness at times, like squishy suggested. I think the Prius gives you a superiority complex on the road, like you know all those other cars are burning through their fuel while you're obsessing about battery power. It's like an immediate "I break for lower dependence on foreign oil sources" bumper sticker. It's pretty much like the feeling you get when you send out charity cards at xmas time (i.e. the local food bank xmas cards saying a donation was made in your name, etc., etc., etc.). Wait. It's even better than that. It's more like wearing an "I Voted" sticker while handing out food to the homeless, all while you're volunteering at a big brothers/big sisters event. Yeah, it's more like that.

Don't everyone go buy a Prius now. Toyota car salespeople are already too smug. If I see another one on CNN talking about waiting lists, I just might hurl. Car salespeople are made to be despised and unhappy, not satiated and content. The two just don't mesh. Go buy a truck. Those guys are definitely frustrated and angry. I bet you'll get a better deal too.

*The rental car place is in a nearby hotel and I went to return the car in my pilates outfit as I was about to go to pilates. The hotel was apparently hosting some kind of golfers/drunkard convention and - I'm guessing for shits and giggles - the hotel blocked off all of my normal exits with huge black curtains. As a result I began to frantically pull back tall pieces of fabric in an insane attempt to flee the middle-aged men and frosted women, an attempt in which I was unsuccessful. I ended up scaling the perimeters of the hotel lobby and finding myself in some kind of alley where cars were entering and exiting at great speeds. I didn't care. At least I was out. Lesson of the week: avoid hotel lobbies in downtown areas in the middle of the week. It's a carnival, i.e. where all the carnies (freaks aka middle-aged men and divorcees) hang out.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm sad and random dribble about vehicles.

My new car? Stopped working yesterday for a brief period of time. Apparently it's a battery issue, although all the lights still worked and it's working now. But really. How much is it to ask for a car that doesn't break down every five seconds? I thought shelling out my spending money each month (i.e. shopping now = car payment) would solve the problem but I guess not.

And now I'm driving a Prius rental car (for work, not because of my car) and it's plain 'old weird. I couldn't figure out how to control anything for the first 10 minutes or so (a/c, radio, rear windshield wiper, etc.). Finally, after changing the language on the computer screen thing to French I realized all the controls were on the steering wheel. While it's convenient for the driver, the passenger has no control whatsoever, which I don't like. Not because I want my passengers to have control over temperature or radio controls but because I like to have control over those things when I'm a passenger. I'm totally one of those people who changes your radio station and points all the air on you, the driver. But if any of my friends drive a Prius, I'm shit out of luck.

I really like riding in my mom's car, for instance, because it has a seat warmer. Sometimes I have to vacate my seat for my grandmother and she gets all freaked out because her ass is hot. She always thinks the car is about to explode or she's having some kind of butt attack. I, in the backseat, giggle uncontrollably like a 4 year-old kid. I do love seat warmers.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Explain god's people to me.

How can a person (or people) go around quoting scripture and be WWJD all over the place and still get the big stuff so fucking wrong?

I'm not into god or all that spirituality stuff (although if I keep getting scared by ghost shows I might have to revisit some things), but I'm down with Jesus.* He was a cool enough guy I guess. Or, at least, the version people created was cool enough. So why do certain people spend their lives memorizing bible verses, decorating their houses with crosses, making cookies for church groups, and all that good "christian" stuff but still not get what the whole thing is about?

Here's what I have to say about it all: I'm rubber and you're glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you. Bastard.**

*I'm referring to Christian gods in this post because I'm specifically referring to Christians. I'm down with some of the other dieties as well.

**I can't say all the details I really want to say because there's a very slight chance someone might read this. And although I'm right about the thing I'm right about, I'm nice enough to not destroy certain people over it.

Since I need it and this is a horrible post to end the week on:

You're welcome.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I see dead people.

So. I don't believe in ghosts. I don't not believe in ghosts. I've gone on "haunted" tours, I've taken pictures and seen the little boy in the window, I've seen the "spots," and none of those things has convinced me one way or the other. But then I started watching Paranormal State and Psychic Kids on A&E. And, umm, that shit freaks me the fuck out! There, I've said it. I'm now officially afraid of the dark.

I found Paranormal State on my A&E On Demand last night. Who knew they even had A&E on demand? Anyway. I watched 3 episodes in a row and there was a whole thing about how you weren't supposed to say this demon's name out loud. It sounds silly and truthfully it probably was but all last night? I had dreams that people kept trying to say this devil person's name out loud and if they did it would come get me. For someone who doesn't believe in god, much less the devil, this makes no sense. Logical? No. Terrifying? Yes.

Here's a clip from one of the shows I saw involving the "demon," if you will:

Now let us move on to Psychic Kids. I have no clue if mediums or psychics really exist. I'm neither. At least I hope not, because if I am some demon is coming to visit me. *shudder* I watched what I think was the first (or second?) episode the other night. One girl was 8 and her name was Faith. She was haunted by a little boy named Freddie (dead) and his mean mother Catherine (also dead). This girl gave exact dates as to when they died (1880s I think?), how, where, the exact spelling of their names, etc. The crack research team at Psychic Kids found some census information that basically proved the 8 year-old was talking about people that actually existed at one time. I'm not saying it was a hoax but if that 8 year-old girl is faking, she's a lot smarter than I was at that age.

And then there was JoAnn (I think?). She was 12 and dreamed about the meeting place where the show was taking all the psychic kids. And guess what? The drawing of the place she dreamed about? Was almost an exact replica of where they went. And it wasn't just a normal house or something. It was this old timey shop thing that looked nothing like the rest of the town they were in (where she'd never been before, at least according to the show).

Finally there was a 3rd girl who was 11ish. She wasn't nearly as interesting as the other two because she could just read people's auras and predict their death. Whatevs.

Here's a clip fo these kids and I think I got the part where the girl dreams about the place they're going to:

I'm back to my original point. I don't know if ghosts are real or not but a) shows about them are freaking scary and b) I'm beginning to have dreams about ghost shows*.

*Secret confession: I'm only slightly afraid that if I think about ghosts too much I'll become one of those people who can see them and then I'll have to think they're real and I'll be haunted. Not cool, man.

Monday, June 16, 2008

It was a very bad week...

I almost broke up with my boyfriend.

I almost disowned my parents and severed our relationship.

I almost crashed my car, potentially fatally, to collect the insurance money.

I almost got fired due to fits of hysteria and excessive mental absences.

I almost lost a limb.

I almost shed a tear several times.

But now it's over. And here is both the cause (partially) and the salvation of my bad, horrible, no-good week:

Hyundai Elantra - only mine's in black pearl (sparkly black to be exact)

It's nothing fancy but it's new and it's mine! And I put enough of a down payment down that my monthly budget will not be altered significantly. It has new car smell and I only slightly feel like I'm driving in a clown car, which, given that my previous vehicle felt something like a coffin (a fact I enjoyed immensely but apparently was not popular with the passengers), is no small feat.

I feel very sad about losing my old car. It was 8 years old and a gift from my dad for graduating college. It was an old school sports car, to say the very least, and I miss the way the engine would roar when I just slightly pushed the gas peddle. I also miss my beautiful dings and scratches that meant I could attempt to fit my car in any parking spot available (instead of searching for the farthest spot with no chance of door dings like I have to do now). I miss the rows of bumper stickers (all political) that I'd decided my car needed, what with the aforementioned dings and scratches. I miss the Care Bear (Good Luck Bear!) smelly thing that hung from the rearview mirror. I miss the longhorn sticker that looked at me every time I looked out the back window. I miss the way I could throw a napkin in the back seat and not worry about trashing my new car. I miss how none of the windows never got one, tiny crack in them even though rocks were always bouncing off of them. *tear*

I do not miss the driver's side window that would not roll down. I do not miss the way the gas gauge moved at will from E to F with no bearing to the amount of gas in the tank. I do not miss the way the speakers crackled if I turned up the volume just slightly. I do not miss the bruises I got on my arms (and the cuts on my hands) from trying to change the spark plug wireset, which I never managed to change. I do not miss the weird smell of mildew that seemed to take over when it rained, which wasn't a huge problem because it hardly rains here in Texas. I do not miss the huge dent on the passenger side door from when I accidentally ran into my apartment building. I don't miss the scratches on the driver's side door where G tried to scrape off ice even though I told him not to.

But you know, it's really the little things that make owning a non-crappy car nice. (My car was not originally crappy but after 8 years, although it hurts me to say it, it was pretty crappy.) I went to the drive through bank Friday and was so excited that I called my mom. We both cheered. It was a good feeling.

Oh and did I mention I made a kick ass deal for the new car? I did all my research and ended up paying about $400 over invoice price. I'll accept accolades, statues, and national holidays in my name, thank you.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Book reviews

I've read a few books lately and I have no one to talk to about them so I'm going to review them here. They were all good, so I guess it's not so much a review as a description.

Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger - this was a good chicklit book. I went to her book signing/reading and almost finished the book the same night. It was entertaining, engrossing, and I didn't feel dumber and/or lamer for having read it. What more can you ask for from chicklit?

The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir
Good historical fiction. Alison Weir is a great non-fiction writer. She writes mainly British royal family non-fic but it's superb. This is her second fiction attempt and it's pretty good as well. There are a couple of sexy spots but I think that's to be expected. Because she's researched Elizabeth so much, she really brings a lot of authenticity to the work. You can read this and not feel like you're being sucked in by a sketchy basis in fact, at best, like The Other Boelyn Girl.

Eleanor of Aquitane by Alison Weir
This is a non-fiction book and if you're at all interested in Richard the Lionheart, British royal history, the Crusades, etc., you should read this book. I didn't really know who she was, to be honest, before I found her on wikipedia on one of my wild "I have to know more on this subject right now!" clicking frenzies, but I think she could be one of my new feminist icons. She's awesome. She was married to the French king, had a couple of furture queens, divorced him, married the English king, had a few more future kings and queens, planned a coup, went to prison, ruled through her sons, and all the while managed to maintain control of her own lands (most of present day France) as their pseudo-queen. And, like I said above, Alison Weir writes great non-fiction. She really keeps you engrossed in everything that's happening. It doesn't feel like non-fiction at all.

Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine
I've never been huge into graphic novels mainly because I don't know that much about them and not many of my friends read them. But this one was excellent. It's brief, which I liked for my first graphic novel try, and the story, although in cartoon form, is really believable. I read it shortly after I read one of Margaret Cho's books, and they both gave me a bit of insight into the modern, Asian-American culture. If you don't read any of the others one I suggest, read this one. I found this one on the NYTimes 100 best of 2007 list.

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
I think this is actually a novella, although I didn't count the pages or anything to be sure. I read Atonement along with the rest of America and I have to say I'm not the biggest McEwan fan. I'm not really sure why I picked this book up except that I'd read it on the NYTimes list as well. I'm glad I did. I honestly didn't think I was going to get a chance to read it before it was due back at the library, but I jumped at it on my lunch break the day it was due and finished it in an hour or so. I skipped a tiny bit (due to time) and if you read it you'll see where, but all in all, it was wonderful. I mean, it was horrible, the story, but the book was wonderful. I zoomed over to the McEwan website afterwards to see what others were saying about the book. I can't say much without giving it away but there are some subtleties in the story that are left to your imagination to determine if they actually happened. I was happy to find out I was right about most things and I learned a few more from other readers on that site. I guess it's been on several book club reading lists or something? I don't know but it's definitely one of those that leave you thinking when you put it down.

I have another stack of books I'm making my way through right now and I'm sure belabor the point and write more about them when I'm done. I'm a total spurt reader. I either read nothing or read everything I can get my hands on. Right now I'm reading - maybe it's the lack of good tv? Gossip Girl does make my brain a little numb...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Why am I horrible?

I just had a conversation with the bf. I told him J was in FL today on vacay. They flew out this morning and I said, "I haven't heard about any plane crashes, so I guess they made it okay." He told me it was horrible for me to say that and that I was horrible for saying that. Why? He couldn't/wouldn't explain and quickly got off the phone with me after saying if I didn't understand why it was horrible then he wouldn't be able to explain it to me.

So why is what I said so horrible? I find it relieving to know that if a plane crashes or if some dastardly event occurs, I'll know about it on the news practically instantaneously. Conversely, if I don't hear of such things I know everything is a-okay. I don't believe in fate so I don't feel like I'm tempting fate by saying such things so what is it? Doesn't every feel a bit of relief when a close friend/relative is traveling somewhere and you haven't heard of a plane crash happening when they were in the air? Am I really the only one who thinks like this? And does it make me horrible to say it out loud?

Blech. Now I'm confused...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

SATC - The Movie

I saw SATC Saturday night. It was a fun girls' night out. (I know people are making fun of those of us who used a movie about sex and overly priced consumer goods as an excuse for a girls' night but I say fuck off to those people. It was fun and I enjoyed it.)

We got dressed up to go to a semi-fancy restaurant and wine bar. We spiced up our wardrobe a tad in a nod to SATC itself, but mainly we dressed up for the dinner and bar portion of the evening. Except for J. She wore "beach-ware," as she described it. I did find a home for my beautiful Arden B shirt that is too small for my boobs and that I waited to long to take back. My friend L was wearing a similar color and it looked amazing on her. So she gets my beautiful, ruffly, sparkly, cleavage-creating shirt. I hope her bf appreciates it.

I wore a pretty, blue-green, vintage dress I got in NYC last summer (or was it the summer before?) and a pair of awesome, yellow wedges from Target. I put on extra eyeliner and earrings I normally don't wear because they're slightly heavy, and I'm terrified I'm going to have droopy earlobes when I get old. And, to top it all off, I wore my huge cocktail ring to show that I meant business (i.e. having fun with my girls and drinking as much as I wanted).

I'm here to defend SATC and my money-spending ladies on two fronts:

1) SATC was not a horrible movie like a lot of reviews are making it out to be. Yes there was consumerism and yes they made questionable choices in story-telling, but all in all, I really liked the female friendships in the film, which is what I think the show was always all about, no matter how many times Samantha sexed, Charlotte married, Miranda bitched, or Carrie pouted. In that regard, it did its job. I even cried a bit. (I mostly kept it in check and hid my face though, because I didn't want to get skewered by my ladies. They're very quick to point out my emotional neediness when it rears its ugly head - probably because I reap what I sew but that's another story.)

2) Women have just as much say over what movie will do well opening weekend as men, if not more so. I will occasionally see a movie I'm not terribly jazzed about with the bf, but I'm much more likely to put the kabosh on a film than he is. For Matt Lauer to get on the Today Show and talk about how men must have wanted to see SATC after all (since it topped the box office) is ignorant and slightly degrading. Women see movies by themselves. Women see movies with their girlfriends. Women make decisions about what movies to see with their significant others/guy friends. Women make enough money to buy their own movie ticket. Women make up more than 50% of the population of the U.S. Women watch god damned movies and are a fucking voice in this economy, okay? Okay. Perhaps one day when women are in charge of the movie companies, some of this dismissive attitude will change. Until then, suck it movie execs. You do me no favors.

*breathes in and out, in and out*

Oh and my tiny secret? I've always secretly hated Manolos. I think they look too old and frumpy for my tastes. I know that's not a popular opinion but I've yet to run into a pair that I thought was worth all the hype and/or money. And they're not well made. (This is not my opinion of all designer shoes, just MB in particular.)