The Last Thing the Internet Needs Now

sterrapin Gets Easily and Irrationally Offended, Part One
January 12, 2008, 1:57 pm
Filed under: Daily life, Not exactly sports | Tags: , , , ,

Yesterday a friend was showing me a catalog for scrapbookers. I don’t really do that kind of stuff, and if I did, I could probably do it without anybody’s help, since this is supposed to be my scrapbook and, much like your own notes in class, the only one who’s supposed to be able to read them is you. Oh, you can show your friends your scrapbook I suppose, but it’s yours, and it should be you all over those pages from idea to execution. You feel me?

I don’t really know how else to describe the catalog except that it maybe came together like this: A roving pack of high school girls projectile-vomited hearts, stars, rainbows, puppies, kittens, swirly things and oompy-loopy alphabet letters onto a page. Then some print shop person took a picture, made a plate, stuck it on a press and I held the infernal thing in my hand for about five minutes. So if one of my hands happens to fall off as the result of whatever funk infected my skin through that catalog, oh well.

Anyway, what was I so offended by looking at a scrapbooking catalog? I think I was offended by the idea that a lot of the stuff offered in the catalog was pre-designed. I know I’m probably a bitch for having that rub me the wrong way, but I just wanted to snarl when I looked at page after page of nauseatingly cutesey-wutesey, fluffy-wuffy prefabricated drawings and layouts.

Cutesey-wutesey stimulates my upchuck reflex like few other things, so says the snob who thinks the most visually interesting stuff is on the bottom of skateboard decks or in moldering periodicals (I do have a serious jones for Beat Era advertising/commercial art. I also like tattoos … but my irrational fear of needles keeps me from getting any).

I actually wasn’t quite so offended by the cutesey-wutesey factor, but rather the suggestion that women (at whom this catalog seemed to be aimed — heaven forbid somebody with a penis take up making cutesey scrapbooks, at least I thought that was implied by the complete lack of men anywhere in this thing) can’t draw or paint or conceptualize a scrapbook page (or whatever other paper thing) from idea to execution using their own hands and minds. I guess I am fortunate to be in good company that 99% of the women that I know are more than capable of that.

Granted, I know not everybody can draw, but there seems to be something more genuine about your own stick figure drawings of your family on your scrapbooks or greeting cards instead of prefabricated stick figure drawings of some generic family that you ordered out of a catalog (for probably about $10 plus S&H that probably could have been better spent on food, gasoline, or tranquilizers.)

Thematic Break: Of Ice and Living Without Cable (Updated)
December 17, 2007, 9:58 am
Filed under: Daily life, Not exactly sports | Tags: , , , , , ,

[IMAGE: My own, taken December 10, 2007 on OU’s South Oval. More frosty pictures HERE]

I owe a better explanation for why I’ve been a neglectful Blog Mom again.

Of course last weekend about this time the ass-kicking ice storm whacked Oklahoma. Tulsa got it worse than the OKC area, but that’s not like OKC got off easy. I had the misfortune of watching a tree limb about the circumference of, oh, one of KU football coach Mark Mangino’s thighs fall on a car belonging to one of my neighbors and being unable to do anything but watch helplessly. I have electric heat, so when the power went out in the wee hours of last Monday morning — roughly a week ago right about now — I was basically screwed. I stayed a while at my work — at least there were lights, heat and a television set there.

The electricity came back on sometime Tuesday afternoon while I was at work, so I wasn’t home to witness that joyous occasion. That actually makes me one of the lucky ones because there are still pockets in Norman and some folks that still don’t have their power restored.

I haven’t had cable for a week, and in some ways I am amazed that maybe I’ve not missed it as much as I thought I would. I miss it a lot less given some of my dealings with the cable company. I realize that this is a stressful situation for them and I realize they are dealing with a lot more angry customers than just me, but that’s absolutely no excuse for being rude to those customers (including myself) or for stonewalling. One cable “customer service” representative (OKC and suburbs — Edmond, Moore, Norman, Mid and/or Del City, etc. are Cox markets) had the gall to ask me if my husband was around because the name on the account is a masculine name (I prefer to call it a unisex name since it is appropriate for both sexes) and he needed to talk to “the man of the house.” I informed him I was the sole account holder and admonished him to address me as “Ms. (sterrapin)” for the remainder of the call. The CSR did straighten up, but was slightly snide and condescending for the rest of the call.

By yesterday, cable service had been restored to my neighborhood, all except for me. Cox kept telling me to reboot my box — I did that repeatedly and followed the instructions to the letter and the box would not receive a signal. I tried disconnecting the box altogether and plugging the wall line into the back of the television set. Nothing. I told Cox CSRs this so often I had it memorized like a school recitation. The final time and the final straw with a CSR was Saturday afternoon when I got someone who made me set a password and provide an answer to a question that only I can answer before he would even hear the reason I called to begin with — and that took almost 10 minutes. And oh yeah, when he asked where I was calling from, I told him the obvious answer: Norman. He came back with, “You must choose one of the following: Tulsa or Oklahoma City.” I’m like, “are you fucking kidding me?” So I told him, “Well, I guess since Norman is close to Oklahoma City, then Oklahoma City.” When I finally got to my spiel, about how I had called Cox every single day since Wednesday asking when my cable would be restored, the guy on the other end informed me that it would be December 28 before they could even fit me in for an appointment. December 28. Yes. Even though all my neighbors that have cable have their service restored to normal and for the most part my neighborhood is back to normal except for the shattered trees that sort of look like they were plucked from the forest at Bastogne post-Battle of the Bulge.

For what its worth, I have decided to terminate my cable service. I have much better things to spend $65 a month on. If I want news, I can listen to National Public Radio (actually I’ve been a donor to my local NPR station for several years); if I want sports updates I can listen to ESPNRadio, either over the local affiliates or on the internet; NBA Audio League Pass is FREE this season and I’ve not missed many Blazers or Bulls games thanks to that. If I want to follow the college teams I care about, the internet comes in handy for that too. But for now I suppose I’ll be watching a hell of a lot more DVDs (some recommendations of late: The Virgin Suicides; American Hardcore — a documentary about what I at least consider MY “’80s music”; and the film version of the Broadway version of John Waters’ Hairspray. John Travolta in a fat suit and a dress as Edna Turnblad is a must-see, and he does it well).

But damn … no NBA games on “free television” until Christmas Day (and a game to look forward to still despite the inactivity of Greg Oden — Blazers versus Sonics), and no college basketball unless its on CBS, which means having to tolerate Billy Packer, and furthermore only getting to see what CBS wants to show us, which means not a lot of ACC games, not a lot of Big 12 games unless they’re teams in the Top 25 (yeah, like I want to see Kansas, or Texas, or North Carolina … I do actually, but not that much).

I will gladly listen to games, but I’d rather watch them.

But I’m not sure I want to be a slave to a cable company anymore. Because I live in a garage apartment, a dish is kind of not an option, so it has to be cable or nothing, and as far as cable service, there is zero choice because this company has the contract (read: monopoly). And honestly, outside of sports, or whatever’s interesting on PBS or the History Channel, or checking the Weather Channel, I don’t really watch a heck of a lot of television. You can take your sitcoms and hourlong network dramas, your precious 30 Rock and The Office and Desperate Housewives and shove them, I’m not interested. CNN, Fox and MSNBC? Forget them they all suck. I’ll own up to one TV vice: Adult Swim. But during hoops season it gets passed over, and even so by late October I was exasperated with the number of reruns of shows like Robot Chicken, Metalocalypse and The Venture Bros. I was seeing versus fresh episodes … and on Mondays I wasn’t getting home from work in time to watch The Boondocks (huge favorite of mine).

Maybe I can no longer justify the expense, and like I said, I could spend that $65 a month on other things.

I’d kill to be able to just buy the channels I would want on my cable system, but I’ll give up on that dream.

[UPDATE: I arrived home from work to discover the clock display on my cable box, something I’d not seen in a week and was probably a good thing. Much to my shock, they’ve restored my cable service. I’m still disenchanted with the cable company though … but they have promised to pro-rate my bill for the week my service was out. That’s fair. I really SHOULD kill my television, though — even though I tend to be very selective about what I watch — so this is something I will give more thought to in the coming weeks.]

Behold …
December 3, 2007, 5:30 pm
Filed under: Internet, Not exactly sports | Tags: , ,

Krzithead and TerpBE’s Hawaiian adventure …


I will let the links speak for themselves.