Archive for May, 2004

May 31 2004

House Pictures

Published by under House Renovs,Photos

Guess what? I finally got the house pictures developed. So, here’s the deal. The outside pictures are new, taken just a few days ago. The inside ones are from when we first got there and as we did work. I don’t have pictures of the finished rooms because I ran out of film and disposable cameras. So, you’ll just have to wonder what it all looks like.

Some of the pages are image-intensive, so if you are on a dial up connection you might want to get a coffee or something. There aren’t anymore than five or six pics per page though.

EDIT ON MAY 2007:  These all link to the newer house pictures.  I guess the older house tour shots – including the exterior shots – got lost in the server migration.  Whoops.

Dining Room
Kitchen
Living Room
Stairs/Bathroom
Office
Chris’s Room
Our Room

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May 26 2004

The Others.

When I started writing this, I had pretty definite ideas about where The Line was.  Everyone knows about The Line:  everything on this side of The Line is private business, and everything on that side of The Line is open for discussion and debate.  The Man also had very definite ideas on where The Line would be drawn, and his was further to the right than mine.  Sometimes I have to remind myself that there is a Line, that this is not a private thing I’m doing here, that people all over the world can read it.  To be honest, I don’t really care about those people all over the world.  I care about the people I have to see every day, who read this journal and don’t tell me about it, or who read it and DO tell me about it.  Ever since I confessed to being afraid of the dark, I’ve had to take a few pokes about that, but what the hell, right?  It’s between friends.  No, I don’t really care about them either.  My friends know what they know, and if I don’t tell them when I’m sober, it usually comes out after I’ve had a few rounds of whatever people are giving me to drink that night.  I guess what I really care about is the vast sea of Others.  Not strangers, not friends, but people who are in my life, however obliquely.  Like that friend of my sisters, who casually mentioned to me at my sister’s wedding reception that she read my site.  She wanted to know what my family thought about it.  My mind raced.  How the hell should I know what my family thought about it?  I wasn’t even aware they knew I had a web page, let alone a journal where I discussed all manner of things.  Or the people from work who read.  They know just enough about me to be dangerous, but not enough to put the things they read here into any sort of context.  Those Others who read and keep silent, maybe passing judgment, maybe dismissing what they read, maybe thinking I’m an idiot.  Why do I care about them?  Because Others talk.  They talk to people who are strangers or friends, people who may or may not know me, or people who think they know me but do not.

Several years ago, before I came to Diary-X and my main site was just a collection of stuff, I got a letter from an elder of my church, telling me that a member of the congregation had found my web site, read it, and brought it to the attention of the other elders.  I can kind of see where they were coming from with that, because the site at that time had a lot to do with paganism, which I was interested in learning about.  But can you imagine?  Some person. . . some OTHER. . . took it upon themselves to make me a topic of discussion at an elder meeting, just because they read my web site and thought my soul was in danger.  This elder (who was only six years older than me – elders do not have to be elderly, necessarily) sent me several letters asking me questions about what I believed, and how I was living my life, and lots of things that I thought were kind of nosy things to ask, but I went along with it and was honest.  I wrote him back every time, and he was a nice enough person.  A little too “some of my best friends are ______!” for my tastes, but at least it wasn’t an old crony of my grandfather’s asking me why I thought that there was other intelligent life in the universe, and if witches really do worship the devil.  But it bothered me.  Because that church is full of people  who think they know me, and they are known to be huge gossip hounds.  I imagine that someone eventually told my grandparents, since Grandpa used to be the pastor, and I cringe when I think about how embarrassing that must have been for them – one of their grandchildren breaking with the faith and someone is coming up to get their point of view.  Shortly after this happened, I pulled down my site and left it alone for quite some time.  I was angry, and sad, and frustrated.  I had worked to seperate myself from gossip-mongers and people who were small-minded, but they had still found some way to get to me.  Get not only to me, but to possibly drag my family into it.

This is the danger of Others.
This is the danger of putting my life out there for people to read.

There are many things that I want to talk about, sometimes.  I want to discuss doctor’s visits and fights and misunderstandings and fears and family and all sorts of messy topics.  But I have to remind myself that I am not shouting into a void.  That my words will eventually find a solid object to bounce off of, and that object will be a person, and that person will judge.  And maybe that person will talk.  Maybe that person is a friend, and they will be angry with me discussing their lives.  Maybe that person will be family, and will be hurt by something that they would have been better off not knowing.

But it is addicting, this writing.  Just like everyone else, I had very pure ideals when I started keeping an online journal.  I will not write for an audience.  I will be myself.  I won’t look at my stats because I do not care.  It took me awhile to realize that if I really didn’t care, I’d just lock the whole thing so that no one could read it except those people to whom I gave access.  Obviously, I like the attention.  I like it when people read my words, and I make them laugh, or I make them angry, or I make them think.  I like it when people leave me comments, telling me what they think.  I like looking at my stats and knowing that there is one person in Greece who reads my site.  I like using written English, because I don’t stutter and I can think about what I’m saying before I commit it to the page.  And I like writing on a computer because it’s so easy to erase your mistakes.

The Internet is weird like that.  It’s both damning and forgiving.  When you put yourself out there, anyone can see you.  Anyone can take what you offer and twist it into something you never intended.  On the flip side, it’s so easy to erase yourself, delete your pages, start over elsewhere.  A new name.  A new identity.  Hidden in the sea once again.  This time, I won’t use pictures.  This time, I won’t use my real name.  This time, I’ll be smart.

Even smart people screw up sometimes, right?

So I have pictures of me up.  I use an alias not because I’m really afraid of people stalking me (who would want to stalk ME?) but because I’ve used that name for years and I like it.  I like it when people call me Jas, even if it’s only online, because Jas is a simpler version of myself.  Less hang-ups about everything.   In many ways, I am more open in this journal than I am offline.  Even with The Line in play, The Line that keeps parts of my life separate and hidden.  I am much more chatty online than I am when you see me face-to-face, where I’m mostly quiet and much more cautious.

So The Line is good and bad.  Because as I keep parts of myself back, it lets me be a more carefree person.  Someone who can shamelessly admit that she’s afraid of the dark, and who bought an exercise machine from an infomercial.  Someone who you don’t have to get too wrapped up in, and who is not too wrapped up in you.  We are Others, not friends, not strangers, just people in each others lives, however obliquely.

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May 25 2004

Hop, hop, hop like a bunny.

Published by under Computing,Outdoors,Stupidity

It’s getting rather Biblical with the rain and such around here.  I would build an ark, but I still don’t know what a cubit is, despite eight years of parochial school.  It’s depressing, actually (the rain, that is.  Not my ignorance of cubits).  I like rainy days as much as the next person, but not a whole bunch in a row.  And it’s cold.  Cold and rainy.  It’s like fall.  I don’t want fall, I want spring.

Some stupid sparrow built her nest in one of my hanging plants on the front porch.  So now every time we go in and out, go to smoke, or whatever, she flies away and then comes right back, looking at us like “Get the hell out of here!”  If I was a mean, horrible person I would break up her nest and be all “Take that, bird!”, but since I’m a tree-hugging hippie I’ve started going out the back door and smoking on the back deck as much as possible so she’ll stay on her nest.  Does anyone know how long it will be until the baby sparrows leave their nest?  And how the hell am I supposed to water my hanging plant?  It is not getting the benefit of the rain since it is under the porch roof.

The chipmunk who lives in our woodpile is also getting braver.  He will run up to us if we’re on either of the porches outside.  Not too close, though.  And the Big Fat Squirrel who eats at my bird feeders is still Big and Fat.  I keep forgetting to put seed down for him.  Oh well, he just shimmies his Big Fat Ass up the pole and eats from the feeders.  He’ll be fine.

VIDEO CARD HELL

I ended up returning the Radeon 9600SE, since it obviously hated me and wished I would die.  I couldn’t have that in my house.  In my house, all computer components must live in harmony or suffer the consequences.  Anyway, back to the store with it!  But The Man and D– talked me into trying the more expensive Radeon because maybe it would work.  It worked in The Man’s computer, it should work in mine.  And it did.  Which pissed me off even more.  So my computer works again, not like I’ve really used it since then.  But it’s quiet, and that’s what I was going for.

MORE COOL STUFF

I ordered another cool shirt the other day.  Apparently, no one gets why it’s funny.  I must really suck at explaining things.  I’ve been telling people that the shirt has a picture of a guy on it, and he’s holding a martini.  The shirt says “Also available in sober!”  Get it?  It’s the drunk girl shirt!  I can tell that I’ve just screwed it up again, so let me make it easy for you.  Here’s the “drunk girl shirt”.  There were other shirts I wanted on that site, but I figured I’d better stick to just the one.  Proud of my restraint?

I did something else I’m not very proud of.  I bought yet another item from an infomercial.  One time was excusable, I think.  And the stuff did do what it said it would, so I counted that money well spent, and decided that I had gotten lucky.  The curse of infomercials passed me over, and I would not tempt my fate.

But the other day I was flipping around channels and I saw this thing called — this is embarrassing — the Thigh Trainer.  I know!  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  But, hear my logic:  I have often wanted a stair-step machine, but they are all too big for my house.  I didn’t want a big clunky piece of exercise equipment in my living room. This Thigh Trainer contraption is just little!  I can stow it in a closet or behind a chair!  And it comes with bungee cord things so I can work my arms too!  Or I guess I could tie my trunk shut with them.  Whatever!

I did manage not to buy something called an Ab Scissor offered by that paragon of fitness Jake of Body by Jake (that’s what he is always called on his “paid programming”). It really did look like a torture device, so it had that working against it.

It really just boils down to the fact that I don’t have any restraint.  At all.  And television is evil.

BAH

I had this whole thing mapped out in my head about the difference between my styling products and my clothing, but now I can’t make it sound as neat as it did.  Plus, I’ll totally come across as a product-whore.  Not that I mind that.  Because I am a product whore.  But I think I’d better just shut up for now, since you obviously have lost all respect for me, now that you know I buy things from infomercials.

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May 21 2004

The horror of Radeon.

Published by under Computing

I generally think of myself as okay about computers. I can fix a lot of my own problems, upgrade my own components, format my own hard drive. Nothing TOO terribly complex for those of you who took classes and shit, but I never have. I just learned it all through observation and trial and error. I think the biggest thing going for me is that I am truly not afraid of “breaking” my computer. I realize the only thing that can really break a computer is a hammer or a lightning strike, so if I need to install something or what not, I just go to it and figure I’ll deal with the aftermath. So far, nothing has really bested me. I’ve had problems, true, but until last night, I have never just given up and been totally at a loss.

It’s all the fault of the Radeon 9600SE.

So, for the past couple of months, the fan on my video card has gotten annoying. It buzzes a lot. I expected this to happen, because The Man and I had gone out and bought the same video card, and his fan crapped out back in January or some shit, causing his video card to overheat and his whole computer to randomly power down. So ever since then I’ve been living on borrowed time and now I know my fan is on its last legs. I needed to buy a replacement video card.

Last night after work, The Man wanted to go to Circuit City, so I said okay, thinking that I’d browse video cards while I was there. I checked the price on the Radeon, because Chris had told me that it was THE card for gaming, and I am a mad gamer, yo. I decided to pick up the 9600, and felt pretty good that I would go home and deal with this annoying video card fan issue. I’ve installed about 10 different video cards in my life, and the most trouble I’ve had with any of them is having to go online and download the patched drivers for my system. No sweat.

But the Radeon had other plans.

I took my old card out and snapped the Radeon into place, fired up the computer and saw. . . nothing. Not even the BIOS screen. Nada. Which is unusual, because most times, even if Windows won’t see your new thinger, the computer will at least see it and you will get SOMETHING on your monitor. But as far as my monitor was concerned, it wasn’t even connected to a computer. I scratched my head, turned off the puter, and checked the seating of the card. It was fine. So, I picked up the instruction manual to see if I had missed any strangeness and sure enough I had. The first thing I saw was something along the lines of “If you don’t have an Intel chipset, you need to go and download the latest AGP chipset drivers from your manufacturer” and then a whole buncha stuff about how to determine which chipset you had and who your manufacturer is. Well, I don’t have an Intel chipset, so off I went, and thus began the NEXT THREE HOURS OF HELL.

I went to sites and support forums and downloaded applications designed to help me determine which drivers I needed. I enlisted the help of D–. I cursed ATI, AMD, and the whole computer industry. I called the new video card an unnecessarily complicated piece of shit. Every web site I went to seemed to be written in some strange code, talking about northbridges and southbridges and regedits (and while I know what a regedit is, that is to me the absolute LAST resort). I flashed my BIOS, I think. I think I downloaded and installed new motherboard drivers, but I’m not sure. The reason I don’t know is because, like I said, the web sites were not very user-friendly. So I assumed I was using the right patches and drivers and just installed everything anyway, trusting to my good friend FORMAT C:\ to fix everything if need be.

Anyway, at the end of the night, the damn card still didn’t work. The monitor persisted in its belief that it was a separate entity, unrelated to a computer in any way. I packed up the Radeon, its manual, and it’s stupid CD full of worthless shit, and put it back in its box. Then I told it that it had no right existing and being so goddamn hard to install and that the people who made it were fucking troglodytes for thinking that anyone would want to wrestle with this shit for so long just to get a stupid video card to work. Then I told it that it was going back to the store and I was going to buy something that used nVidia because at least they understand the concept of people who don’t want to use Intel shit and produce their cards to work with a VARIETY of chipsets.

Then I cried a lot because a fucking video card had kicked my ass.

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May 19 2004

Nothing about politics, I promise.

Published by under Friends,Media,Wedding,Work

Listen, I have something to tell you.  It’s important.  It can save your life.  It’s just this:  If you walk away from your desk, and leave your cell phone behind, make sure you set it to “silent”.  Otherwise, the phone will ring, and then whoever called will leave a voice mail, and everyone who sits around you will have to hear your totally annoying voice mail notification going off every 30 seconds until you manage to drag your lame ass carcass back to your desk and then you will giggle all sheepishly and turn your stupid notification off and then the rest of your co-workers will jump your ass and beat you down with steel bars.

I’ve seen it happen.  It’s not a pretty sight.

DESECRATING THE TEMPLE

I left work early yesterday to meet Vicki at the bridal store so she could pick out her bridesmaid’s dress.  It was – as usual – an exercise in hilarity.  Not so much because bridesmaid’s dresses are funny, but because the people in the bridal store have this aura like You Are In The Sacred Realm of Holy Matrimony, and you’d better be aware of it.  These broads are sold on the idea of a wedding, and they are selling that idea to more and more women every day.  Whereas Vicki and I have a hard time taking anything seriously, so we naturally brought our bad karma into the Hall of White Dresses.

The fun began when we went to check in with the lady at the desk.  Some lady who looked nice enough, in an ice-cube-up-her-ass way.  Now, keep in mind that it’s just me and Vicki here, two girls who are 26 and 25 (only for another month, sister, but I know you’re touchy about it!), and who both are at least 5’10″ in height.  The front desk lady looked up at us, flipped through her book and said “So, you’re here for a flower girl dress, right?”

What could we do?  We cracked up.  Yes, Vicki is my flower girl.  She’ll look precious in a short white dress and a teeny veil holding a darling sequined basket and strewing rose petals in front of me.  As I tried to explain to Wedding Lady that Vicki is a bridesmaid, not a flower girl, Vicki chose that time to turn on her retard voice and say “I’m the special flower girl!”  The Wedding Lady got a bit huffy and replied “Well it says in the book that you’re here for a flower girl dress.”  Oh, excuse me.  It says so in the book, hey?  And the book never lies.  Finally, we convinced her that Vicki was not The World’s Oldest Flower Girl, and she got to try on the dresses she had picked out.  She found the one she wanted with relative ease, ordered it, and we went to the counter to pay.  That’s where we infected one last dose of Disrespectful To Weddings Karma into the pristine temple to Getting Married.

The cash register is sitting on top of a display case, as in most retail stores.  Inside the case is a “Wedding Countdown Clock”.  Vicki asked me jokingly if I was going to buy one, and I told her that I already had one.  I tried to explain when I got it, but I’m pretty stupid so it came out like “Well, The Man bought it for me on our pre-anniversary, or I guess. . .well you know that we were going to get married last June, right?  So he bought it for me on the day that WOULD have been a year before our wedding if we hadn’t postponed the wedding. . . ” and I’m stuttering and stammering along and then Vicki cuts in with “Well, you wouldn’t have had to postpone the wedding if you hadn’t caught him with that cheap blonde,” and that’s when the cashier lady choked on her own saliva.  Luckily, two seconds later she realized Vicki had merely made a Crass Joke, and so she was able to breathe again and even chuckle along, but she didn’t fool me.  In her eyes I could see her horror and disgust for our wanton profaning of Holy Matrimony.

WORLD’S COOLEST STUFF

After we got the dress and went to dinner, Vic and I headed over to Target for our obligatory shopping trip.  Every time we get together, we end up in some sort of store.  And, as Vicki pointed out, we have an effect on one another that makes us buy lots of shit we don’t need.  I went into Target for ONE THING.  Vicki, as far as I knew, didn’t need anything.  But we walked around the whole store, picking stuff up and throwing it into our cart willy-nilly.  And we both ended up putting some of it back so we could afford other, cooler things we found later in the store.  I walked out of Target with a few necessities, but also with a new T-shirt that says “Cut your mullet!” (totally wearing it this Friday to work), a pair of pajamas that say “I see London, I see France”, and a clever new purse.  I put back a lot more crap than I bought, though.  Target is an evil store, but last night I successfully resisted MOST of the demons who live in the fluorescent lighting.

Speaking of fluorescent lighting, we went to Wal-Mart afterwards, because Vicki prefers that bastion of evil over the much more obvious splendor of Target.  And something was seriously wrong with the lighting in Wal-Mart.  We were in the store for five minutes and I determined that something was amiss.  I turned to Vicki and said “You know, I’ve never actually been in a place where the lighting was simultaneously dim and bright.”  She agreed, and further stated that the light was giving her a headache.  After a few more minutes of analysis we discovered the cause:  they had the flourescents down to half power and were relying on the light coming in from the skylights to make up the slack.  It wasn’t working out well.

WAITING FOR MAIL ORDER SUCKS

I like ordering things off the Internet, but I hate waiting for them to arrive.  I’m horribly impatient and I’m big on instant gratification.

According to the United States Postal Service, my new bathing suit has made it to Michigan.  Someone claims to have seen it in Allen Park early yesterday morning, but since then it’s been missing in action.  Actually, it’s not a bathing suit per se so much as a bikini top and a pair of board shorts.  I hate the way my legs look in a bathing suit, so I figured this would be a better option.  Even though I have no idea how to surf, and even if I did, Michigan is not the best place to exercise that particular passion.  I hear that there are some people who surf the Great Lakes, but that just seems weird to me.

Another package that may or may not be in transit is my wedding veil.  I ordered it from a site called A La Mode Wedding Veils . . . although it just occurred to me, doesn’t “A La Mode” mean “with ice cream”?  Shouldn’t it be A La Carte Wedding Veils?  I don’t speak French or anything, I’m just going by what little I’ve gleaned off of various restaurant menus.  Babelfish tells me that “a la mode” means “the fashion has” and “a la carte” means “the chart has” so I may be smoking crack.  But then what is Apple Pie a la mode?  Fashionable Apple Pie?  It’s so confusing.

Anyway, yeah, I have two new things coming in the mail.  That was the point of this whole little side trip into surfing and apple pie.

WHO’S PAGEANT PRETTY?

I watched the finale of “Showbiz Moms and Dads” last night on Bravo.  Several things:

  • That Shane kid is hella lucky his grandpa runs a casino or whatever, because no way is that kid’s voice good enough to get him gigs on sheer talent.  Maybe he should stop singing until his voice finishes changing and he can manage to sing like something other than a pubescent robot.  No inflection whatsoever.
  • Mrs. Crazy Tye, your kid is not having fun at those pageants.  And believe it or not, other parents have the right to tell you that they don’t want their kids to be broadcast on national television.  If you gotta have a camera crew, it’s not everyone else’s business to make your life easy.  It’s your business to make sure the crew does not make other people uncomfortable.  Those people also spent good money to be at that pageant.
  • That Jordan kid (the white one) needs a fucking spanking.  Hey Little Missy, if you’re not willing to study your lines or practice your acting or memorize your monologue before you go to an interview with a major talent agency, maybe you don’t have the right to blame your mom for “ruining your career”.  Which, if remember correctly, pulled in a whopping $200 last year.  That’s not a career.  And Jordan’s mom. . . your kid is 14.  You do not leave a 14 year old in LA without parental supervision so she can further her career.  Heads up, your daughter cannot act.  Take her to Colorado, get her some lessons, and let her try again when she’s 18.
  • I predict a Nutter divorce on the horizon.  And Duncan Nutter The Older reminds me of someone.  Like a warped Stewart Smalley.  It’s pretty scary when you hear a father say “I don’t think I deserve their respect, but I do want their love.”

I can’t wait for tonight.  They’re showing a special “The Aftermath” episode.  I hope all of them are dead.  Except for the black Jordan’s family.  They have it together.  Even if her mom is a little too fond of the phrase “the urban Martha Stewart”.

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