Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Product Review, Part the Something

Say you're at the store and you're on a budget. You live alone and like to cook, but most days cooking a really good meal for one person is a big pain in the ass. You like meals that have a little of everything and consist of more than just opening a can. You grew up eating tv dinners and when you walk by them in the freezer aisle, you get a little nostalgic. Except you're nostalgic for being a kid and sitting in front of the tv on a Friday watching the Dukes of Hazzard, but whatever. Then, all of a sudden, you see it. The Hungry Man Dinners....on sale for $2 ea. They're apparently usually $4. I'll get to that in a minute.

So, now you're sitting at home. You got home a little later this evening and it's perfectly cloudy and cool outside so you sit on the porch and drink some beers. 6 later, and you're hungry, but you realize it's now 6:30. Well, hell. That's not time enough to thaw some meat and prepare a real meal. But, wait!!! What's that in the freezer?

Why, it's a Mexican Fiesta! Well, colour me happy! It even has some type of pudding dessert with it. Holy shit! Fire up that microwave, here I come!
If I just described ANY of your thought processes, please stop before you get to the meal in the picture. You'll thank me later.
I'm afraid to exhale heavily today.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

This is vaguely creepy

This article about Comcast monitoring the internet for people bitching about Comcast and then responding to said complaints (albeit helpfully) kinda creeps me out a bit.

That being said, I have Comcast cable and am wearing out the mute button on my remote. TBS and USA and sometimes TNT are broadcast at a lower volume than the rest of the stations, so I have to turn the tv way up to hear it (especially over the Stomp Olympics Qualifying upstairs). Then, when the commercials come on, there are, without fail, 2 in a row at some point in the break that blare out at a volume reminiscent of the old Maxell tape commercial with the guy in the chair being blown away by the sound.

I'm either gonna need a new remote, or someone at the local Comcast office needs to learn to operate the sound board a little better. I wonder if Comcast will notice this email...about Comcast.

By the way, I do like the turtle commercials.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

This ain't Sesame Street.

I have birds in my chimney. They must’ve built a nest in there over the summer and now the eggs are hatching. They’ve been raising hell for the past couple of days. I didn’t think much about it because I’m not planning on burning it this winter and I figured they’d get out on their own soon. Until last night. I was sitting on the couch and heard a tink-tink-tink noise….there was one on my fireplace screen. I almost shit myself. I stood staring at it in amazement for a little bit until I realized that I needed to catch it before it got outside of the screen and into the living room causing me to flail about wildly and knock things over either trying to catch it or trying to get away from it. Finally, I went to the kitchen and got a pot and a lid and went back to corral it into the pot. I eventually got it in there and then took it outside and tossed it free. You know, fighting off spiders in the house is one thing. Birds are a whole different story.

Monday, August 18, 2008

You can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning....

Whew! What a Saturday! I'm glad to report that I managed to attend a big party Saturday and made it through without a) offending anyone (that I know of), b) falling into the pool, c) falling down in general. I even picked up a huge bag of trash before I left Sunday morning. And, while all this makes for boring blogging, it also testifies to the fact that I must be getting old.

My friends had a pig roast Saturday, and it was a blast. I saw a bunch of people, well a few, that I haven't seen in a long, long time. We caught up with each other, drank a pile of beer, and did some other stuff. I can't really remember a whole lot after my dominance at beer pong turned into what must've been just dumb luck. It could've happened right around the time that I decided a dance move that looked eerily like a seizure was necessary before each toss. I don't know. It was meant to psyche the other team out, but I'm not real sure it worked. Unless them laughing their asses off counts as psyching someone out. Then, later it got dark. By that I mean the sun went down too. I managed to find a cooler with community beer in it, so that qualified the evening as a success. I bedded down in the back of my truck with a sleeping bag, a blanket, and a pillow and woke up without bruises and scratches and the overwhelming sense of shame that can often come from being at a party where you don't know a lot of the people in attendance, so I wrote the night off as being all good. It was really, really good to see those guys again and get things on track.

In other news, DirecTV gave me the big piss off in their response to my email. I don't feel like arguing today so I haven't responded yet. Of course, the day's not over yet either.

Ebay will be the death of me. Or at least the financial ruin. All my Fiesta is replaced, along with a whole lot of new pieces too. Damn a good deal! Also, there's a XM boombox and car kit on its way to me this week. I know, right? Welcome to the 2000s. I hear that this is a new millennium. I used to have one a long time ago, but my tightness overruled my hatred of local radio. No more. And, my own cds? I need forced variety...at least the variety of stations that play mostly only music I like and may or may not already own somewhere in a scattered selection.

I'm not crazy at all. Really.

And, completing the Old Trifecta, how about this weather? For the past 2 weeks, it has felt like fall. I. LOVE. IT. Yesterday, I actually made a pot of chili. I was trying to reserve that for the first weekend of football, but I couldn't wait anymore. I don't want to wish time away, but is it the first weekend of September yet? I'm going to have to apologize to Netflix for dropping my account down to the minimum as my weekend viewing will now be full til January.

Oh, it's an exciting life.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

City mouse vs. Country mouse

Tell me why, again, people want to live in town? I mean, yeah, it's convenient to Things, the streets are kept relatively clear in the winter, there's activity and commotion and people to watch. There are also neighbors on top of you, shady characters up and down the street in front of your house, thumping bass at all hours drowning out your television from passing cars, trash, and about a million other things that try to push me to the brink of insanity. I've lived in town before, but it was a smaller, cleaner, quieter town. I wasn't much on that either, but figured if I could handle that, then surely the excitement of this place would outweigh the nuisances. Mostly, it does. Mostly, I think, because of my house itself. I like it there. It's comfortable and it fits me. I like the porch and the fact that since I have to have neighbors, at least it's only one set upstairs. I won't get into the fact that they're practicing for the newest Olympic event: Constant Stomping From One End Of the House To the Other.

Yesterday when I got home, I pulled in the driveway as usual, carried my groceries inside, and set about opening the windows. Nothing out of the ordinary. I opened a beer and flipped on the tv and glanced out my side window like I always do. That's when I saw it.

This is an approximation of what the side of my house looks like now. There were 2 old dishes left there by the previous tenants, but they weren't really a problem. They're out of sight from the window and perhaps they'll be of use at some point. However, DirecTV, in its infinite laziness, came and installed a new dish for the people upstairs. It's one of the new HD dishes that's approximately the size of a small car. And, it's right in front of the window. RIGHT. IN. FRONT. I could understand this if there weren't room anywhere else for it. This is not this situation. A mere two feet to the right of it is an entire side of the house with no windows at all. None. The other 2 dishes? They're placed where you can't see them because apparently whoever installed those took a moment to, oh I don't know, think about someone else and that that someone else may not want to look out upon this monstrosity every day. I want to write them a letter and make them come move it, but I know they won't. What do they care? They're getting their money from the people upstairs and don't give a damn about me, but it infuriates me. Not as much as plastic wrap, but close. Not the dish so much, rather the uncaring nature of people in general. Also? Now, because the people upstairs don't believe in throw rugs to muffle sound, I get to listen to Telemundo at top volume. It's awesome, I tell you. My dad was looking at a house out a little somewhere with a garage apartment. I don't want to be 34 and living at my dad's place, but it's looking a hell of a lot better.....

In the meantime though, perhaps I can decorate the dish so at least I have something to look at that's a little more pleasing.

Monday, August 4, 2008

One more virtue I don't have....

Patience. Yep, I don't have any. I don't like to wait on things. I don't like when things that are simple and SHOULD go right, don't. I don't like stupid annoying little frustrating things that hover like gnats around your eyes and then either fly right into them or into your mouth or both.

You see, I haven't bought plastic wrap (saran wrap..whatever) for years. Years. Whenever I have something to wrap or save, I either use a dish or aluminum foil. It's just easier. And more expensive. So, in my frugality of late, I opted to spend $1.00 or so on plastic wrap rather than the $3 on foil. I know, I know. It's two bucks. Who gives a shit, right? Well, it's the principle of the thing. If the rest of the civilized world can get this plastic shit to stick to what it's supposed to and not to itself and itself only, then why can't I? I mean, it's not like I'm not an intelligent guy that can fix things and figure things out and solve problems. This plastic wrap shouldn't be that much of an issue.

Except it is.

Fast forward from that day (or rewind from this one, whichever you please) and find me in my kitchen after grilling hamburgers and consuming several Summer Ales (it's the Grains of Paradise that make this a truly tasty treat) preparing to wrap up the leftovers. I've attached a picture here to show the layout and to later provide a visual aid.

I'm standing directly in front of this cabinet at the stove with my back to said cabinet. It's 10 feet away or so, all the way across the kitchen. I'm wrapping these hamburgers and flailing about with the plastic wrap when I finally (after 2 wadded up balls of wrap) manage to get them into a bunch and a seemingly passable mess. That's when I pick up the package, and they slide out the back and onto the floor. The floor that I'd just cleaned that morning. And the grease residue? Down the front of my stove. The plastic wrap, however, managed to stay in exactly the same shape it was in before I picked up and perfectly stuck to absolutely nothing as its contents fall devil-may-care to the floor. I picked up the roll, undaunted, and tried again. 2 more wadded balls of nothing. All of a sudden, I went blind with rage at this wrap and sent it hurling behind me to the floor. Or where I thought the floor should be, which was apparently exactly where the pink gravy boat is sitting on the shelf of the cabinet. It broke (from the plastic wrap roll....really??) as did the black serving plate stacked under the blue plate behind it. 2 pieces of rather costly dinnerware are now broken due to my saving of $2. I can't blame this on irrational anger or beer or no patience, really, because I gave that damnable wrap every chance to perform correctly. Or perhaps it was performing correctly...in its uselessness. Needless to say, the wrap is going in the trash and I'm buying foil again. And, now, $40 or so in replacement dishes. Those dishes rarely, if ever, get used, so I don't need to replace them, but they mean more to me than that. They're representations of a new time in my life (or an older one revisited maybe) and a time in that I didn't think I got that damned mad anymore (apparently I was wrong), so, I'm going to suck it up and buy other ones (although apparently the pink is rare now because it's entirely too expensive on the old ebay) and use it as a reminder and a lesson learned. I just wish I would've learned the lesson on a cheaper beer glass or something. I should send the plastic wrap company a letter and a bill, but it won't do any good. Rest assured, however, that there will never, ever be plastic wrap in my house again. Ever. I won't even let someone else bring theirs in. I'm mad now, just thinking about it. Damn you Glad/Saran/Generic plastic people. Damn you to hell.