Friday, December 29, 2006
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Her Royal Highness Lisa the Dulcet of Lower Wombleshire
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title
Sunday, December 17, 2006
I got into the holiday spirit this weekend by making cookies--delish shortbread cookies with royal icing. There's only one problem with my cookies ... they will eat your braaiinnsss if you don't eat them first.
I also did some xmas shopping. I really didn't want to battle crowds and drive around and around looking for a parking space, so I went to a place that's never, ever crowded: Northgate Mall. Seriously, I have no idea how that place stays in business, but I'm very happy it's there. I normally hate malls, but I love Northgate because it's really rather serene in there. All the uptight people go to Southpoint, so Northgate is left for the laid-back folks who don't give a crap that the mall doesn't have a Nordstom. There's plenty of room to move around and there are very few long lines.
I also discovered a really great place to eat in the food court. It's called Las Lomitas and I had a fantastic custom-made bean burrito. The couple that run the place (I suppose they own it) are very friendly, and I think they would have custom-made me whatever I asked for, whether or not it was on the menu. I think I'm going to go back next time I want a quick and yummy bite to eat.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
OK, I'm still reeling over how huge and hideous the proposed new condo development some developers (Park City Development) want to cram onto a tiny lot in my little tree-lined neighborhood is. I'm all for infill development to reduce sprawl, but this just looks completely out of proportion. Plus it's in the style I think of as "Developer's Special"--obviously meant to be rather "houselike" in a completely generic, bland and inoffensive way. It's funny how the drawing has sort of sanitized some of the area surrounding the proposed beast ... probably because the selling points of "Elegance" and "Serenity" become rather ridiculous when you realize that those little balconies will afford the residents a breathtaking view of Papa John's Pizza.
I remember when one of the Park City Development guys, Steve Ortmann, was pitching the initial development idea for the site (a "boutique" hotel) to our neighborhood e-mail list (and sending at least one dissenter, i.e. me, hostile off-list e-mails for daring to voice our disagreement with him), a couple of people were of the opinion that we had to get behind the project or "somebody may decide to build a drug store or something there." I'm still wondering what would be so wrong with that--wouldn't it be great to have a pharmacy within walking, or at least easy biking, distance of my house? I'd love that. Someone (golly, I wonder who?) also started a rumor that the alternative to Park City's proposal was for a drug rehab center to be built at the site. Naturally this scared the poop out of the neighborhood residents, many of whom had bought into the neigborhood during the recent real estate rush when prices were a bit jaw-dropping. Most of them would approve a Portal to Hell being built on the site if it would prevent the 'hood from being overrun by Tyrone Biggums.
At least this thing is seven blocks away from my house so I don't have to actually live with it on a daily basis. And honestly, judging from our neighborhood email list, I think a heinous, traffic-snarling monstrosity right down the street is exactly what some of the people in my neighborhood deserve.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Also, developer types are turning a former hospital in our neighborhood into some gawdawful hideous condominums. They are going to call it ... I can barely keep myself from gagging on this ... "The Chancellory at Trinity Park." If you're interested, they will be unveiling the
At Santa Salsera's suggestion, Mr. Pants and I went to the procession in honor of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe last night. It started at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and wound its way through the surrounding neighborhood. A good time was had by all, and I think I'll plan to go again next year. In fact, I may even consider staying up and going to the 1 am mass next year just to hear the mariachis that play there. But for all I know I'll burn to a crisp upon entering the church, godless imfidel that I am. All I know is that I need more mariachis in my life.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
(Lots more people had stuff to say about the heinous Wash Post editorial, too ... although some didn't think it all that heinous.)
Fortunately I was able to read Ariel Dorfman's Op-Ed piece in the NYT, which I needed as a palate cleanser to chase away the nasty taste left by the WP editorial.
* The question is "miracle for whom?" Ask the average Chilean, whose wages are probably so far behind the cost of living that he has to pay for his socks on an installment plan, exactly what kind of miracle has taken place, and you may get a different answer than the economists and editorializers give you.
Fortunately, thanks to Wiki-How, there is a step-by-step guide on How to Share Your Obituary With Your Online Friends. But wait, I just realized that it involves a bit of work. Is there a lazy person's version, because I really can't see myself even remembering half this stuff, much less acutally making a list of it.
OK, I've got it. Should I not update this blog, post new photos to Flickr, respond to comments or emails, etc., and you're wondering if I'm dead, go over to the list of links on the right that says "Locals." Chances are if I were to croak one of them would probably have heard something about it. If it's a slow day, maybe one of them would even blog my passing. At any rate, you could always post a comment asking "Hey, whatever happened to that Pants person? Her blog has become a real snore lately." So there. That was easy.
The topic of morbidity reminds me of something I spoke about a couple of weeks ago: sanitizing everything to make it "safe" for children. I just remembered that my niece told me that some overzealous crazies have even tried to "clean up" a popular children's prayer--the one that starts out "Now I lay me down to sleep," to remove the reference to death: "If I should die before I wake." My niece couldn't remember what exactly they have the children say instead, but the idea is to protect the children from the thinking about the possibility of death because ... well I don't have any idea why the hell people do shit like that. So the children grow up completely unable to handle the realities of life and can thus write more interesting memoirs as an emotionally crippled adult? I guess that makes sense.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
I've been in the basement, mixing up the medicine
Originally uploaded by bunchofpants.
I made a mix cd. It's not actually all that good, but it's made me keen on collecting tuneage for a potential Vol. 2.
(Self-congratulatory side-note: See the bong on the cd cover? I made that meself with my madd skillz in Adobe Illustrator. The rest of the cover is clip art, but for some reason none of the clip art collections includes drug paraphernalia.)
Monday, December 04, 2006
My Review of Diana Ross's new Album "I Love You" (by Ted Norton)
I am not prone to negative reviews but ain't we all had enough of this self-agrandizing bitch? Anyone who thinks she has exceptional talents really needs to leave the house more! All she ever does is raise her arms above her head and look through pieces of gauze in the same lame video concept she's used for over twenty years now. On top of that she's got the unmitigated guts to cover the "Look of Love", Dusty's signature song. (Dusty for those who don't know, was a singer. Ross, for those who don't know, is a self-promoting no talent wench who ruined Flo Ballard's life, screwed her boss to gain favor, re-hijacked the name "Supremes" -which Ballard invented! - once she had ruined her own career, and has generally mistreated people for decades). Aside from all of that, people should lay off "Look of Love" in deference to Dusty. The song had been ruined by "lounge singers". Anita Baker successfully cut the second definitive version by actually being original in 1994, and along comes this bitch to screw it up all over again.
Who Miss Ross think she is?
Does this woman need any more of your money?
What did she ever do for anybody without stamping her name all over?
(seriously, WHAT DIANA ROSS EVER DO FO ANYBODY?)
God I just cannot stand her. I think I might be in hate with her...
Something in Diana Ross brings out the "I Hate You" in all of us!
p.s. How come Diana got to fondle Lil Kim's breast, but poor Clay took
a public whipping for placing his hand in front of Kelly's mouth?
Will somebody, anybody, please do that to Diana? Of course we don't
know where that mouth has been, and I don't wanna Ho your hand!
Friday, December 01, 2006
Anyway, which of you turned me on to the Endangered Durham blog? Maybe Chris? Georg? Anyway, whoever it was, thanks a lot, dammit. I'm addicted to it (and Sven is really good about posting regularly, so there's always something new to read), but it pisses me the hell off. I love Durham, but now when I look around at all the huge gaping vacant lots (and we do have a lot of them), I imagine the really stupendously grand structures that once stood there. From the looks of the old pictures, it appears that tobacco money made this city a real showplace of grand architecture. Then things faltered a bit and some really boneheaded ideas about "urban renewal" took hold, and a lot of the city's grand past was reduced to parking lots or just empty fields. Unfortunately, current ideas about urban renewal don't seem much better because it all boils down to letting developers decide what we need, and their sole motivation is "How can I squeeze the maximum profit out of this piece of land before I move on to my next project?" The answer often seems to be a Branded Experience™. So maybe we can look forward to downtown Durham being torn down and a replica of The Streets at Southpoint being built in its place ...
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
And while I'm talking about singing, I've got to ask, what the hell is wrong with people that they think the entire world all of a sudden needs to be sanitized for the "benefit" of children? The reason I ask is that whilst at me mum's house for the recent big eating holiday, I overheard my 7-year-old grand-niece singing "What shall we do with the seasick sailor, what shall we do with the seasick sailor," etc. Seasick? Motherfucker is DRUNKEN, dammit ... shitfaced! When I asked my niece (grand-niece's mom) what the hell was up with this seasick sailor bullshit, she said yeah, they're pretty much changing all the lyrics to songs to make them "safe." So, for example, when they sing a certain popular Xmas carol, they do not sing about donning any "gay apparel," no doubt because to do so could possibly be construed as endorsing an alternative lifestyle. My niece couldn't remember exactly what kind of apparel they now don, but she thought it was something like "nice." OK, so I grew up singing about drunken sailors and gay apparel and I turned out perfectly: a potty-mouthed atheist. I think I'm going to go Xmas caroling this year ... I'm working up a little ditty about a drunken sailor in gay apparel ...
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
"One Last Vow" :: Devotchka
- Open up the music player on your computer.
- Set it to play your entire music collection.
- Hit the "shuffle" command.
- Tell us the title of the next twelve songs that show up (with their musicians), no matter how embarrassing. That's right, no skipping that Carpenters tune that will totally destroy your hip credibility. It's time for total musical honesty.
- If you get the same artist twice, you may skip the second (or third, or etc.) occurances. You don't have to, but since randomness could mean you end up with a list of twelve songs by four artists, you can if you'd like.
"Raising Hell" :: Run-DMC
"Wraith Pinned To The Mist And Other Games" :: Of Montreal
"Try Matty's" :: Aretha Franklin
"Rich Hum Of Air" :: Shannon Wright
"Are Everything" :: The Buzzcocks
"Barnowl" :: Caribou
"Word Up!" :: Cameo
"Meu Amor" :: Brandi Shearer
"White Knuckles" :: Elvis Costello
"That's What Dreams Were Made For" :: Green On Red
"My Girl" :: Orlando Julius and His Modern Aces
"Look Both Ways" :: The Rain Parade
Except that was just thirteen there, wasn't it? I must have miscounted when I copied and pasted from iTunes. Oh well, I truly heart Rain Parade so they get to stay on the list. An interesting thing is that my iTunes is full of random songs by a miscellany of artists I may know nothing about. Do I have any idea who Shannon Wright is? Well, if I look her up on the google then yeah, I guess I do now. But I don't even ever remember listening to that song, or where I got it--probably someone's mp3 blog. Same thing with Brandi Shearer. But the funny thing about this list is that it doesn't really reflect on what I actually listen to via iTunes, because I told it not to include any recently played songs, only upcoming songs. So that was sort of cheating, I guess. But something's messed up with my iTunes ... if I tell it to play 100 recently played songs and 5 upcoming songs, it will only display 5 songs ... as if it doesn't want to display any recently played songs. So whatever. I'm bored now, and I'm sure you are too.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Originally uploaded by bunchofpants.
Me & the pups competed in a dog agility trial over the weekend. I went on about it (& even posted a video) over at the dog blog if that's the kind of thing that interests you.
I also had a birthday on Sunday, which could have been depressing because of how old I am, but Mr. Pants brightened it with some cool-as-shit presents, specifically: some luxury good-smelling stuff that I wanted but would never have bought for myself , a good book, and some sweet, kick-ass Motorcycle boots. He and my agility buddies also presented me with a yummy Boston cream cake. So I guess I have incentive to keep living for another year, if only to stride around confidently in my new boots.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Also, After neglectling my little doggir bloggie terribly, I just wrote a rather long-ass post about one of the reasons I've been a crappy blogger lately. Go read it so I didn't just post it for nothing. Go on ... there's nothing more to see here.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Yeah, peace and love, right on ...
Last night Santa Salsera and I went to see a doc called The Guestworker. I would love to present my frank opinions about the film , but there's no way to do that without pointing out that the plight of the immigrant farm worker is an unfortunate but pretty much mandatory feature of capitalism. And that generally puts people's undies in abundie , which I shall avoid today as I'm all about flowers and sunshine. At any rate, you will have a chance to see the doc yourself because it will be shown on PBS in November--I believe Nov. 30 'round these parts. Afterwards we went to a reception (celebrating the fact that the film was picked up by PBS), where we all earnestly discussed the plight of immigrantfarm workers over wine and several types of goat cheese. Just kidding, I didn't eat any goat cheese, it generally tastes like barnyard and I hate it. But there was some earnest discussion going on, and laSalsera was greatly amused by my unfashionable anti-capitalist opinions.
Next weekend I may have another opportunity to amuse and delight people with my opinions because I'm going to try my darndest to go see Milagros: Made in Mexico, not only because it looks to be good, but because I went to high school with Monique Velásquez, one of the directors (interestingly, despite the fact that we've both been in Durham for years, I have only conversed with her via e-mail and haven't actually seen her since high school). Anywho, go see this film. It's free. I'm hoping that the agility trial in which I will be competing will end in plenty of time for me get all gussied up and get to Raleigh by 7.
Menwhile, it's now looking like I will be the full-time foster home for the sweet little puppy who needs a home (did I mention that I've named her Zsa Zsa?), which means this puppy really, really need's a home! Three dogs is too much for me. She'll be starting puppy classes on Monday night, and she's just generally a really good little girl. If you know someone who's looking for a pup, steer them in my direction.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
But I'm feeling a bit curmudgeonly about the whole halloween thing right now. I mean, it's great when it's an excuse to drink elaborate alcoholic concoctions, eat nibbly things and play with eyeballs, but inevitably arrives the evening when all the children in the vicinity think you have nothing better to do than sit around the house just waiting to give them all candy. What I'm really in the mood to do is dress like something from the crypt, hide in the bushes, and jump out with a mighty "raaarrrrr" when they come up the walk. Unfortunately, in a fit of "landscaping" a few years ago I deemed the existing bushes-big-enough-to-hide-behind to be hideous and I replaced them with petite and maintenance-free dwarf yaupon hollies. Perhaps I could lie like a corpse on the sidewalk ...
OK, I lied, I'm actually in the mood to curl up on the sofa and watch TV.
Halloween was fun the past two years when we held the annual sit-on-the-neighbors'-porch-and-drink-beer-whilst-dispensing-candy fest, but alas those neighbors ran away to Egypt. I'm still wondering if it was something I said. In their place are a polite French couple with an infant, who have yet to show any inclination to engage in the charming custom of porch drinking. They also accused me of scraping their couple-with-a-baby-mobile with the Pantsmobile ... well, OK, "accuse" is a strong word when the guy really just asked if I perhaps had happened to have scraped their car with mine and forgot to mention it to them (no, I hadn't). At any rate, fuck them is the way I'm feeling right now.
But Back to halloween: what really gripes me about the whole trick-or-treat thing is that people around here want to start dragging their kids around at 5:30 pm. What the hell is up with that shit? When I was a kid we didn't go out trick-or-treating until after dinner--I think it would have been considered quite rude to have shown up at someone's house asking for candy at 5:30. What's wrong with these people? Perhaps I shall make a sign and put it on the front door that says "No candy until I've walked the dogs and had some dinner. Assholes."
I should stop blogging-while-cranky, shouldn't I?
Monday, October 30, 2006
Thanks to Seth, I was able to cobble together costumes of a sort for Mr. Pants and I to attend the annual Charming English Cottage of Death Halloween party. Yes indeedly-doodly, we were Ceiling Fans! Well, perhaps more precisely we were "Ceilings" fans, because that's what our shirts said, but no one was in the mood to quibble, and the costumes produced the appropriate amount of chuckling. OK, I use the term "costume" very generously, because all we did was wear some "Ceilings" T-shirts. (I decided on just "Ceilings" as opposed to "Go Ceilings" when a co-worker pointed out that sports team shirts don't really ever say "Go." Perhaps we were over-analyzing a bit). I think we scored a few points on the costume-impression scale by the fact that I made the shirts myself, with stencils and some fabric paint. I'd post photos of the shirts but I was too lazy to take any good ones. Mr. Pants liked his shirt so much he wore it all day Sunday.
Oh and in other significant weekend events I must mention that Scott roasted a goat Saturday. There was much rejoicing and a good time was had by all ... except maybe the goat, of course. I hope Scott doesn't mind me plastering his photo on the internets (perhaps to be found by folks using the Google?), but the event looked something like this:
Does anyone want a puppy?
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
But more importantly, I took care of this little puppy for the past four days:
She needs a home. Didn't you say you wanted a puppy? I've been calling her Zsa Zsa, in case that helps ...
Friday, October 20, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Sunday, October 15, 2006
In other news, Mr. Pants and I went to the NC State Fair yesterday morning. It was OK. Here's a highlight:
And of course, there are adorable little piggies there, too:
UPDATE: The News & Observer Blog-On-A-Stick has a much better vid of the guy. (Thanks to Georg for pointing me to the Blog-On-a-Stick).
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Oh, and here's my answer, by they way: go fuck yourself.
Friday, October 06, 2006
As I've mentioned before, we got the bottom-rung cable plan because we rarely watch any television at all. So of course it doesn't include the one channel with the one program we actually want to watch. That's right, kiddies, it's that time again: Battlestar Galactica's new season starts tonight. I've downloaded my free season 1 & 2 recap from iTunes, I've taken the "What's Your Rank" quiz over at the Sci Fi website (I'm an admiral, thank you very much--see photographic proof above), but I can't watch the frakkin' show on my stupid television tonight.
On the plus side, we do get 4 home shopping channels and one that seems to be all infomercials all the time.
Friday, September 29, 2006
I'll be back.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Anyway, I think my radio show was actually a bit more than half decent last night. See for yourself.
I have a flyball tournament this weekend, and you're invited. Saturday and Sunday, racing atarts at 8 am (maybe 8:30 on Sunday) and lasts until we're done racing (probably 6-ish on Saturday and I hope no later than 3 or so on Sunday. NC State Fairgrounds, Holshouser Building. Expect lots of loud barking, and some noise from the dogs as well.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Friday, September 15, 2006
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
I'm mad at Blogger, because they've enticed me to arse up my blogs by transferring them to "Blogger beta." See, they promised some spiffy new functionality, but what they didn't say beforehand is "Oh, by the way, this will break any hacks you happen to be using, make it so that you cannot comment in a Blogger non-beta blog using your Blogger beta ID, make it so that Blogger non-beta users can no longer comment on your blog using their non-beta Blogger ID and also, even though we're owned by Google we can't seem to figure out how to make Google Ad Sense work with out new product. And the new functionality we enticed you with isn't quite as functional as one would hope because hey, it's beta! But you should "upgrade" anyway, sucker!" Bastards.
But, I'm planning to completely recombobulate (I know that's probably not a real word) this here blog using their layouts because a) It's ugly. I've always thought so but I'm too lazy to do anything about it because it would mean expanding my meager knowledge of CSS; and b) I've got to get rid of my Blogrolling blogroll because I forgot my Blogrolling password and the e-mail addy I used to sign up is no longer functional. So I'm going to ditch it. There are lots of blogs over there I no longer read, and lots I do read that aren't there, and I want to make it reflect reality a little better.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
If you're really interested in my dog agility weekend I'll post more in by dog blog later, but you can watch a little bit (our gamblers run) here:
And in other news, I made a little tribute to my boy Steve Irwin:
Friday, September 01, 2006
I've got a big agility weekend planned--three days of it. Saturday I'm entered in a team event with a friend, and we decided we needed spiffy team shirts, So I made some with stencils and fabric paint. They ended up looking pretty dang cool, if I may be immodest:
I also bought a pair of new shoes (no photo available), because I've decided having two pairs of available shoes is a must at all agility trials. I've yet to find the perfect agility shoes, but in my quest I keep trying new ones. This time I bought Sauconys because I've heard good things about them from other agility folks. If they suck I'll fall back to the Nikes I bought in May (they're OK, but they still occasionally rub blisters on my heels, which is not OK.)
But you don't give a crap about my stupid shoes, do you? Too bad that's all I have to talk about. Maybe something interesting will happen over the weekend.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
I waited in total silence for about 10 minutes as he kept searching and searching, until I finally asked him, "What are you looking for?"
"Contraband," he said without looking up at me.
"Child pornography, hate propaganda."
"Child porn I can understand, that's illegal. But hate propaganda is protected speech."
Now he looked up. "What country do you think you're in?"
"Oh, it's illegal in Canada?"
"I honestly don't know. But that doesn't matter. I get to decide what goes in this country. Do you have a problem with that?"
I paused for a long time while I thought about what I should say to this. "Yes."
"Yes, you do have a problem?"
"Yes, I do. If it's illegal in Canada I'll understand, but saying 'I don't want it in my country' isn't good enough when you're a government official."
Monday, August 28, 2006
Just look at Beto y Sus Canarios:
And Conjunto Matador, plus some chick who just walked onstage and started dancing behind the band (their manager told the stage crew to let her stay ... maybe she knew them because she was standing around with them backstage after their set):
Plus you can get your photo taken with the band ... will Franz Ferdinand or whoever are this year's little darlings let you do that? Headliners Beto Y Sus Canarios will:
Here are an assortment of other photos from the day ... I'll probably upload a few more tomorrow when I have a little more time (I'm working on a super-secret DIY project right now):
Friday, August 25, 2006
I just submitteed it to 10,000 Reasons Civilizations is Doomed.
(Thanks to Consumerist for hitting me with the link).
UPDATE: My friend Matt has illustrated what these PJs would look like on his son and his little pal Gene Simmons:
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
I should have taken my bicycle, I know, but as I mentioned I was feeling a bit run down and that makes for less-than-joyous bicycling. At any rate, the nearest grocery store happens to be Industrial Organics 'R' Us, and as we all know, their parking lots are always horrible (perhaps a passive-aggressive corporate policy to encourage bicycling?) Now that the students are back in town, the lot is especially heinous, and I was prepared to burn a lot of fossil fuels in pursuit of my organic nutmeg and raisins. But hark, I quickly spied a little spot next to a badly parked SUV and I decided to make it mine. I was on one of the "straightaway" parts of the parking lot, and as such I felt I had right-of-way over any cars turning in from the "aisles"--who are supposed to stop, if one applies regular road-rules (I don't think there is actual traffic law covering parking lots--is there?). There were no other cars in my section of "straightaway," so I knew I had no competition for said spot until out of the blue a couple in a car coming down an aisle decided that their desire to beat me to the parking space superseded my (common-law?) right-of-way, and they attempted to speed out in front of me and take the spot. They didn't realize that I don't give a crap about beating up my car. I'm not stopping. I didn't stop. They stopped ... and OK, then I actually did stop long enough to give them an "Are you f-ing nuts?" look before pulling into my (very narrow because of the stupid badly parked SUV ... are there any other kind?) parking spot.
So I get out and the couple had stopped behind me and rolled down their windows. They were pudgy, 50-ish, and looked like maybe they had once lived on a commune but were now embracing the bougie lifestyle. The woman who was driving said something whiny about how they wanted that parking spot ... no shit, I'm thinking, you tried to run me over for it. So I said "Look, I had the right-of-way." So then the guy in the passenger seat said, in a pudgy middle-aged asshole kind of way, "Yeah, that's right, you're so special" and then rolled up the window as the woman speeded off. Special? I was on the parking lot equivalent of a main road, and you were on the parking lot equivalent of an alley or a driveway. I don't care if there are no actual parking lot road rules, you are supposed to stop. And yeah, I got my parking spot so I guess I'm a little more special than you. Ha!
I'll be all sweetness and light tomorrow. Or the next day ... sometime this week, at any rate.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Director of Call Center Operations
Randy Phelps has recently joined CMI as the Director of Call Center Operations and is responsible for all aspects of collections and call center operations. Mr. Phelps has fourteen years operations and business management experience, with over 12 years in a call center and/or collections environment. Randy has designed, implemented, and managed numerous call center initiatives for a variety of industries including, but not limited to Banking, Telecom, Utilities, Medical, Technical and the Federal Government. As a result of Randy’s unique and proven techniques, he has been the recipient of numerous leadership awards in the call center and collections industry.
Ahh, so it really is a collections agency bugging the crap out of us. But we don't owe anyone any money--my days of not answering the phone becaused I knew they were after me are long past (now I don't answer just because I don't feel like it.) Why are they calling us? The knowledge that they are probably looking for someone else combined with seeing how non-threatening our Mr. Phelps really is (I could take him in a fight) inspired me to go ahead and give give a callback just to shoot the shit. Had I recorded the call it would have gone something like this:
Phone Answering lady: "Hello" (or something ... I really don't remember how she answered except that it in no way identified her company).
Me: May I speak to Mr. Phelps?
PAL: He's not available. May I have the number that he called you at? (Or maybe she didn't end the sentence with a preposition ... but it really is the easiest way to phrase such a question. I don't know why it's illegal.)
Me: (pause while I decide what the hell) 919-XXX-XXXX.
PAL: Shandra X?
Me: There is no Shandra at that number.
PAL: How about Taquita Y?
Me: No, there's no Taquita, either.
PAL: OK, then, we will remove this number from our records.
Me: Thank you.
PAL: Have a nice day (or something suitably pleasantry-like).
Me: You too, 'bye. *click*
So there--that's what you do: tell 'em you don't know Shandra and Taquita. Unless they're calling for you, in which case maybe you shouldn't answer the phone.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Then stopped by Rick & Courtney's yard sale (buy their furniture if it hasn't sold already--it's cheap!):
The Mr. Pants and I went on a photo safari to Mebane, NC, (pronounced "mebbin" in case you aren't from around here):
The we went to dinner at ... damn, I can't remember what it's called ... nouveaux Mexican joint on Shannon Road ... starts with a "T" ... somebody help me out here. Anyway, I didn't get photos because my camera battery was charging at home. I ordered the tacos de nopalitos con salsa de tuna (pickled cactus leaves with prickly-pear salsa). The food was good but it took forever for them to take our order, and then my entree arrived long after Mr. P's did. But I'll eat there again ... like I said the food was good. I saw another WXDU dj there, and he was upset because his endive salad contained no endive ... seemed like a perfect metaphor for life, to me: "Sometimes you have to make do with no endive."
Then we went to the Starlite to see Snakes on a Plane:
Rick and Courtney and Jamie were all supposedly there, but it was very dark, so I guess I missed them. We had a great time, nonetheless.
Friday, August 18, 2006
Now someone please make it so I never again have to read or hear that I'm a must be total fug for not getting a "Brazilian" bikini wax ...
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Coincidentally, Scott over at Needs More Garlic has posted a thoughtful piece on non-industrial chickens, which are raised in a way that probably wouldn't induce nausea. And if you want to read more on the topic, there's always the wonderland of articles over at Michael Pollan's web site. Hey, look, it's almost lunch time ...
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
To spell it out: Santiago, Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Montreal, Atlanta and Cleveland. Yeah that's right, Cleveland, beeyotches.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
From Route 8 I got on US 58 east to Martinsvile, where I picked up 220 south Ridgeway, VA. Then I picked up NC 87 to Burlington, where I got on US 70 all the way to Durham. Up until now Burlington was just a few signs of I-85 to me--I had never bothered to stop there because I had no reason. Holy crap--Burlington is like the land that time forgot. I suppose it's sort of sad--the place was dependent on the textile and furniture manufacturing industries, both of which have sent most of their operations overseas over the past 20 years. So the last heyday of Burlington was obviously between the 1950s and '70s, judging from what I saw along 87 and 70. But the cool thing about such a place hitting the skids is that the old stuff hasn't been demolished to make room for hideous new development because maybe there is no new development ... I mean, what happens in Burlington these days? So anyway, it looked so completely cool to me. Mr. Pants and I have already talked about taking a Sunday and running around Burlington with our cameras.
Speaking of cameras, Mr. Pants just got a new digital SLR. I hope it doesn't ruin him. I've seen so many people on Flickr who have had their spontaneity ruined once they got an SLR. All of a sudden they get really serious because they feel they have to justify all the money they spent on the camera by cranking out Art With a Capital A. Suddenly their photos become boring as hell. Bleah. I told him I'm filing for divorce if it happens to him.
Friday, August 11, 2006
I've had a fabulous day, not that you asked. I though I would be in a class all day for work and thus unable to leave for Blacksburg until five-ish, but the class ended at noon. So I was able to get on the road with plenty of daylight to burn, which meant I felt free to take the scenic route, avoiding all interstate highways. It was an amazing drive. I started by taking US 501 north to Roxboro, where I picked up US 158 west to Yanceyville. From there I took NC 86 north to Danville, VA, picking up US 58 west. I stayed on that all the way to the tiny town of Stuart, VA, where I picked up VA 8 to Christiansburg. That was by far the coolest highway I've driven in ... well I don't know how long. It's all mountainy twists and turns and very heavily wooded most of the way, so in today's damp mistiness it was like driving a winding road through an enchanted forest. I definitely will take that route when I go home. I took some videos during my drive and I'll upload them later. I should do it here--the Ramada's wi-fi is a faster connection that we get at home.
So we got to Blacksburg in plenty of time to do some walking around. Lucy was glad to get out and go for a walk after the drive (which took somewhere like 4.5 hours). We walked around downtown a bit, past my old apartment on College Ave. (now gone condo) and through a small part of the campus. Then I took her down to the Duck Pond because she loves chasing ducks, and no one was around so I let her off the leash. She chased a lot of ducks and had a grand old time, but she also decided to roll in some duck poop:
I cleaned her off. I don't mind--she really has a good time rolling in stinky things, so I let her do it as a reward for being such a good girl the rest of the time.
So now I'm tired, and I need to get some shut-eye because I've got a loud day of flyball ahead of me.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Monday, August 07, 2006
Sunday, August 06, 2006
At any rate, Mr. Pants and I ventured forth into the heart of darkness yesterday because Santa Salsera gave us some free passes to the Festival Ritmo Latino at the Koka Booth amphitheatre there. This caused me some cognitive dissonance because when one thinks of places around here that would encourage and even welcome large gatherings of latinos and their sympathizers, Cary is the very last place that comes to mind. (As it turns out, the festival's parent organization has indeed encountered a bit of unfriendliness in Cary.) Aside from that, I just hate going to Cary for anything, ever. When la Salsera offered me the tix, I gladly said sure, but then when I found out where I would have to go I almost changed my mind because the very word "Cary" fills me with dread. (Ever been lost in Cary, or its identical twin sister Apex? There's no finding your way out because every street, every shopping center and every housing development looks exactly like any other, and there is an ordinance against putting signs where anyone can actually see them. So unless you stop and spray paint bright orange marks on trees along your way--extremely against the rules, by the way--there's really no way of knowing whether or not you're just driving around in circles.) But my love for la musica and my desire to see our very own local norteño band, Rey Norteño (whose single "Raleigh Norte Carolina" can be heard on "La Ley," and perhaps soon on WXDU now that they've given La Salsera a copy of their cd), won out over my fear of Cary.
The festival had some good acts in the lineup--we saw local group Samecumba, the aforementioned Rey Norteño, and Peruvian singer/songwriter/heartthrob Santino (not the Project Runway guy). Alas, we were tired and hungry and didn't feel like staying for headliner Luisito Rosario.
I quite liked Rey Norteño Here's a snippet of their single, in case you're curious:
I also really enjoyed Santino. (I got some video of him as well, which I may upload tomorrow when I can edit it on a decent computer.) In fact, the whole festival would have been way more enjoyable if it had been held somewhere else--the Koka Booth amphitheatre is so uptight it practically squeaks. The event was sold on a two-tiered basis, with upper lawn and lower lawn (chairs set up on the apron in front of the stage), and for most of the day there was hardly anyone in the lower area. I felt badly for the bands because their audience was mostly at least two hundred feet from the stage--performers really do a better show if the appreciative fans are allowed to get up closer. But even though it was empty up front there were overzealous (although mostly unintimidating old white golfer-looking guys) security people making sure that the riff-raff with lawn tickets were kept far from the stage. If the event organizers were to ask me, I'd tell them to make it all general admission next year, and let the performers feel some love even when the crowds are sparse (as they were up until Santino came on, at which point it picked up a little).
The security guys were needlessly assholic about other things as well. Mr. Pants spent a lot of time in the (flabbergastingly overpriced) cafe at the back of the lawn, and even though most of the tables were empty the security dudes swooped down and ran off anyone who sat at certain numbered tables (all totally empty the entire time). In the lower lawn area, Some of the kids would sit on the steps in front of the stage, and the security guys would swoop in and yell at the parents to go get them. Another time I saw a little girl going up the steps, and a mean security guy grabbed her upper arm very roughly and yanked her back hard--I'm really surprised that she didn't burst into tears. He was really angry at her, but she was only about four years old and seemed bewildered. It was awful. I don't even like children and I thought it was way excessive. And at one point, Mr. Pants and I decided to get out of the sun and were sitting on a marble sidewall next to a sidewalk, and one old asshole came and told us we weren't allowed to sit there ... there didn't seem to be any practical reason not to let people sit there except that it was a rule and we were in Cary, and in Cary you Obey All Rules. Mr. Pants didn't move ... and old duffer security dude apparently decided he wasn't going to challenge him.
In short--well actually this entry has gone on way to long--the Koka Booth amphitheatre is a really crappy venue to see music. The beverage prices are sheer robbery--a can of Budweiser is $5, and bottled water is $3. It seems to be a shrine to the enforcement of pointless rules, as befits a place like Cary. If you want to go see an outdoor concert, go to the NC Museum of Art--it's a much more fun place. As for the Festival Ritmo Latino, I'm willing to bet they'd draw twice the crowd if they held it at the old Durham Bulls Athletic Park next year.
Another thing I'd tell the organizers if they asked is that the event should start later in the afternoon and end later in the evening--it started at noon and ended at 7 pm, which took advantage of the very hottest part of the day, ensuring that even those of us prone to dancing weren't doing much of it. It would have been far smarter to have moved it all later, when things had cooled off a bit. But then when Mr. Pants and I were discussing this we figured that Cary probably has a rule about certain people not being allowed within city limits after nightfall ... they should really move this festival to Durham next year.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Friday, August 04, 2006
So anyway, Treemo's going from closed beta to slightly less-closed beta--it's ready for a few more people to kick the tires. I can invite your to join in, if you want to play. You'll get to see my exciting new "Ode to Banana Bread" video. Anyway, it's bunchofpants (at) gmail (dot) com if you're interested.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Sad: Trying to help find homes for the dogs of a woman who died unexpectedly.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
In other news, radio tonight ... maybe you know the rest: 8-10 pm Eastern US, 88.7 if you're local, wxdu.org if you're not. It's probably going to suck so don't bother listening.
(This reminds me that I've always thought it would be fun to make liver cupcakes with Cheez Whiz icing for a doggie birthday party ... but I'm not enough of a crazy dog lady to actually throw my dog a birthday party, so it reamains just a cool concept at this point.)
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
That said, there's a better app than Vox being built for vids/audio/photos/social and such ... it's just not inviting yet. So if you're willing to wait ...
Monday, July 31, 2006
Speaking of bicycles, I took a big step yesterday and bought a pair of bike shorts. Two reasons: padding in the ass and normal shorts either climb my thighs or bind me in uncomfortable ways while I'm riding. It will be incentive to slim down, because nothing accentuates a huge ass like skin-tight lycra. I better love them because they cost 45 bucks.
In other news we got a big bag o' free homegrown Mississippi tomatoes yesterday from our neighbor's visiting parents, so I decided to make pizza margherita. My crust sucked. I realize that I used too much flour--it was way too dense. Not very tasty, either. Good thing the tomato-y goodness up top completely drowned it out.
Friday, July 28, 2006
The "hiding among civilians" myth--Israel claims it's justified in bombing civilians because Hezbollah mingles with them. In fact, the militant group doesn't trust its civilians and stays as far away from them as possible.
Watching Beirut die--We went to Beirut to film a TV show about the city's newly vibrant culinary and cultural scene. Then the bombs started falling, and we could only stand on the barricades of our hotel balcony and watch it all disappear -- again. (By Anthony Bourdain).
Obviously the Salonites understand operant conditioning and the value of intermittent reinforcement very well--just when I get to the point when I'm ready to stop checking their mostly shit site every day they dangle a treat in front of my nose to keep me coming back.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Anyway, Friday night we went to see Scene of The Crime Rovers debut:
Also there are Flickrpix:
Also, we went on a bike ride Sunday and in the process of trying to find a trailhead for a greenway path that supposedly exists in north Durham, we discovered a brand-spanking-new bit of street (so new it's not yet shown on any of the online map apps) that could have easily been built with bike lanes but wasn't. This really makes me think that the city of Durham's supposed committment to becoming bicycle-friendly is really a giant crock of shit. Oh oops, that's right, we can't build any bicycle friendliness until we are done drafting, re-drafting and revising our bicycle master plan, and that could take years! It would be better to keep building roads without bicycle lanes and then later, when the master plan tells us that a route between two greenway trailheads should probably have bicycle lanes, we'll go tear up the curbs we just built and put some bike lanes in!
Monday, July 24, 2006
Amedeo's is just gross. I think I'd rather go hungry than eat there.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Anyway, I'm wondering: Does Mr. Phelps want to talk to anyone else, or are we special?
Thursday, July 20, 2006
So anyway, for several reasons, I went to the Cameron Village HT today at lunch. Having few items and not having learned my lesson from previous visits, I decide to go through the self-serve checkout line. Lots of stores have these, and usually they work well--but never at Harris Teeter. In fact, I'm still in a crappy mood over it. I scanned two items and, for no apparent reason, it gave me the message "Please Wait For Cashier." This has happened every time I've used the stupid self-serve line at Harris Teeter (I swear I've learned my lesson this time and will wait in the interminably long lines with the smart people from now on). But there was no cashier--the little desk was empty. There was a "Call Cashier" button, so I clicked it ... still no cashier. I clicked it again ... nothing. So I clicked the hell out of it ... still nothing. Finally I went looking for someone, and it turns out the cashier was helping the full service line bag groceries. She came and pushed some button on her magic control center and then went back to bagging groceries. I scanned my next item, a hunk of specialty cheese, and the machine commanded me to put it on the scale and wait. So I did. And I waited. And waited. And waited some more. Then I waited even longer, and topped that off with another round of waiting. Finally I went and told the cashier to get her sorry ass ... no, I didn't, I just told her she needed to help me. I had to bring the cheese to her, and after lots of button pushing on her magic control center I was able to go scan my last item (whole wheat baguette--to go with the cheese for my lunch).
I shake my fist at you, stupid Harris Teeter and your infernal malfunctioning self-service checkout! You suck!
This is why I have a blog. I feel much better now.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
I have no idea what happened, but sometime between the morning and when I arrived home from work in the afternoon, Lucy hurt her right side ... we think. She was acting normally when I left for work, and when I got home she was acting like just walking across the room was painful. She didn't seem to want to move--either to sit, lie down or stand back up again, and she was hunching her back just a little when she walked. So I took her to the vet--who could only determine that Lucy had a painful spot near one of her ribs on the right side. The X-rays didn't show any problems with ribs or organs, and the blood tests showed normal organ functions. So the vet gave Lucy a shot of Dexamethasone for pain, and sent some Prednisone home for me to give her.
This just made my week a little less busy because I really shouldn't run Lucy in the flyball tournament we were going to got to in Philadelphia this weekend. Which means I probably won't be spending Friday in a van with two teammates on our way north (although I'm still considering just going for the hell of it--I wouldn't if it were just me driving, but a road trip could be fun). Nonetheless, I still feel stressed, perhaps because I have no idea what happened to Lucy to make her side hurt, and I'm hoping it's not a sign of something worse.
Stress makes me tired, so maybe I'll go to bed now.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
The Media Rush to Duke's Defense
Wolves in Blazers and Khakis
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Then today it was almost a Durham blogger-palooza when Christa, Sarah, Georg and I converged upon Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanical Gardens open house. It's a pretty nifty place and, whadda'ya know, they have a lot of plants there. A lot. Very expensive ones. But they also let folks traipse through the place ooh-ing and ahh-ing several times a year for free, so if they want to charge $35 for a hosta I'm not going to stop them. They had some very hostariffic hostas, I must say. One of the highlights was when one of the nursery dudes (a very cute one, BTW) said to Sarah "I like your style. It reminds me of a John Waters movie." Oh yeah, and then there was when Sarah asked this guy we were talking to if she could take his picture and he said yes, but then he let out a startled yell when she whipped out her giganto lens and put it a foot from his face. Good times.
Anyway, it was all fun and games until Pants dropped her camera in the parking lot right before entering the Pantsmobile for the ride home, and didn't even know it ... Fortunately I wanted to take a photo at the store a short distance from the shebang and d'oh! No camera! Fortunately said camera was found again before having been run over by a luxury SUV and all was well again. Although Christa did point out that it would have been a great excuse to get a brand-new camera ...
Oh, and I must mention food. I made food today, and it was all good! I made a peach thingie ... I don't know if it would be properly called a cobbler, but I sliced up peaches, topped them with a mixture of butter, oats and brown sugar and then baked it. It was yummy. And I fried up a mess o' potatoes (from the farmer's market) with various spices--also yummy. But best of all, I roasted some eggplant with green peppers (also farmer's market products) and it was pretty damn good as well. The problem is that all this cooking is also a pain in the ass. It requires lots of peeling and chopping and whatnot, and I just don't think it's all that fun. No, watching Arrested Development is fun. Riding my bike is fun. Playing with dogs is fun. Taking photos is fun. Chopping fresh, local foodstuffs is work. See, that's the little catch in the whole "slow food" thing: not everyone wants to spend hours futzing with that stuff. I just want to go out and play.