Friday, October 31, 2008

Stupid Goodreads the Address Thief

I accidentally just invited 151 people to be my friend on Goodreads (stupid jerks, you Goodreads people, you). Yeah, it was great. A really amazing moment for me, when I realized I had just sent 151 messages to people I probably don't even talk to on a regular basis.

I'm actually pretty damn annoyed with the way things are set up on Goodreads. Here's why. I logged in after having not been online for a while. And I was putting some chapstick on my lips, and I was thinking about some other stuff, very important stuff, and I thought I had already logged in, so when I looked at my screen and it looked like the log in page, I simply, absent-mindedly clicked the button in front of my face. It wasn't the log in page. So suddenly the Goodreads tentacle had reached into my gmail account and extracted a million addresses.

So, now I'm on a page that's telling me I could send an invitation to a couple people who are on Goodreads already. I thought, ok, fine, yes, I'd like to connect to them. It followed, then, that I would send them an invite. I clicked on the 'ok' button. It takes me to a page with a standard form email message, and on the left, there's some huge list of people's addresses that I assume came from my account (which is still bugging me -- I DIDN'T mean to give them access to those addresses, the bastards). But I didn't want to send anything to them, HOWEVER, I did NOT realize that I had to do something to NOT send them email invites (uncheck the boxes, I guess?).

I still don't even know what happened. I'm assuming this is what happened. Did it? There's no way to tell, now. Apparently I have sent 151 invites to people I DON'T even regularly communicate with. Most likely. Addresses that have come to my account through chain letters, that kind of thing.

Oh this smarts. I feel like hiding in a hole. If by any chance, I barely know your name, and you have gotten an invite from me to connect on Goodreads, please realize it was the Goodreads monster that did this. Not me. I'd never plague a near-stranger* with a request to "connect on Goodreads" (unless we're already friends, or good friendly acquaintances and we just haven't connected on Goodreads, then, of course I want to connect to you, so, by all means, accept the invitation. ).

Woe is me. I'm going to go hide.

*If you're reading this and you're annoyed you got an invitation to connect from me, and it really bugged you, please accept my apologies. It was an accident. I guess I'm technologically backwards.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Meet Sobek. He thinks he's human. He likes refrigerator ice machines. He likes peanut butter sandwiches, popcorn, dairy products, windows, birds, bugs, running water, watching TV closer than your mother would let you, tormenting the other cats (they're girls), howling in loneliness when no one will play with him, marauding, pillaging, ransacking, and wreaking havoc in general. And Stoker. Whatever Stoker likes, Sobek likes.
He plays pretty hard. He needs at least twenty hours of sleep a day. Stalking birds is rough. It takes a lot of concentration. So after a long thirty minutes of hunting, he needs an even longer nap. He likes to sleep on the couch, in the closet, under the bed, on the pink blanket, in the dresser drawer, and in a variety of bags.
Sobek is half cougar. As such, he enjoys high places. Any perch will do: the narrow "ledge" of the top of a door, a door frame "ledge," the top of a speaker, the fridge, anywhere he can put his feet is fair game. Here he is on a perch we bought for him. Don't be fooled by his harmless appearance as he sleeps. Come too close and he WILL draw blood. Look at those ferocious paws!
Mmmm. Toasted tail de chat.
Not represented photographically is Sobek's dark side: bulemia. We're thinking about signing him up for a support group for bulemic cats. Tonight he gorged on tuna fish and cat food and then didn't even hide the fact that he was simply vomiting it! I guess it's gotten pretty bad and this is a cry for help.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that it's no wonder he has a delicate stomach, look at all the crap I let him eat (popcorn, peanut butter, dairy products). I don't LET him eat that stuff. He's got super powers. He bats his eyelashes at me and he gets whatever he wants*.

*That's a joke, of course. I figured out long ago that Sobek can't monitor his own diet. That's why he has a schedule. But occasionally he'll panic, think he'll never have another chance to eat, and gorge, and then throw up immediately. Or maybe he REALLY does have bulemia.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Musical Infatuation: Conway Twitty

I spent the evening last night with a selection of Conway Twitty songs on repeat. Oh, and Loretta Lynn was there too. I know that a bunch of people think that Barry White is the king of sexy music, and I guess he's alright. But when Barry White does a song, I'm not infatuated with him. When I'm in the mood for infatuation, I go see Conway Twitty.

I used to be all about promoting good music, and I loved to be an elitist about it, and there are still traces of elitism in me. It's hard to lose. But these days I don't give a damn what other people think about the music I listen to. So when you see a post from me about the music I'm infatuated with or the author I have begun to worship as the epitome of skill, I'm posting out of total devotion and adoration. It has nothing to do with trying to sell an artist or garner respect for my amazing opinions. It has everything to do with Infatuation.

Of late I've been very into older country music. It could be that I'm in Nashville. It probably is, because when I go to the used record shops, I'm swimming in old country LPs and it's difficult to resist their charm. I buy them based on their covers, and if I've recently been to the Country Music Hall of Fame and heard some cool, old song playing at an exhibit (the CM Hall of Fame is surprisingly good. I thought it would be lame. But it's not. They have Elvis' gold piano and Webb Pierce's silver dollar car) I will look for that album.

I have bought quite a few LPs of people I have been exposed to through the CM Hall of Fame. Ray Price, Marty Robbins, Webb Pierce, and others. I'm not sure how I stumbled across Conway Twitty. I mean, I knew who he was because the name Conway Twitty is a big name. It's . . . Conway Twitty, after all, and if you've ever uttered the name Loretta Lynn around your mom or dad, they're sure to say something about Conway Twitty. But I'd never listened to his songs. Right now there are probably about 5 million kids who should have been in bed already, whose parents shouldn't have let them watch it, but who saw the episode of Family Guy with a random clip of Conway Twitty singing "You've Never Been this Far Before" in the middle of the show. And it's a funny clip.

But the joke's on them. Because now those kids will always associate Conway Twitty with silly music and an outrageous red suit. At least I think it was red. It's hard to remember that kind of detail. In any case, "You've Never Been this Far Before" is sheerly great (is sheerly a word? I swear my coworker said that word the other day. And I stopped listening to what he was saying, thinking, "Did he just say 'sheerly'? Is sheerly a word? It seems like it might be, but it also felt weird, weird enough that I've stopped listening. Where have I heard it before? Have I heard it before? Would you spell that s-h-e-e-r-l-y? I've got to remember to look it up." And then I forgot to look it up. I just looked it up and I'll be damned. It IS a word. Go coworker, go!) and those kids will probably never give the song a real chance. I mean, it's more than just great. That song, in a word, is MASTERFUL.

That seems like hyperbole, because normally you'd call something like Beethoven's 9th masterful, or the entirety of Vivaldi's Four Seasons masterful, and other classical works that I don't know about. But if you listen to "You've Never Been this Far Before," you'll see what I mean. Granted, in the Family Guy clip, Conway didn't look as amazing singing the song as you'd want him to, it's hard to look sexy or cool saying, "Bump bump buuummm." Put the song on and listen to it, the "bump bump buuummm" actually works and you're compelled to sing along with it. The reason the song works is the build up to the chorus where Conway sings, "And as I take the love you're givin', I can feel the tension building in your mind, uuhhn uuhhnn. And you're wondering if tomorrow, I'll still love you like I'm loving you tonight, uuhhnn uhhnn uhhh." At that point the kick drum speeds up and a tambourine joins in and you know exactly what tension the singer is talking about without spelling it out. It's awesome.

I have only this to say to Family Guy . . . Nothing. I hate that show. That's all.

As for Conway Twitty and his music, both his solo stuff and the great duets he did with Loretta, all I can say is that it's great to have a crush on someone's opus.

My top Conway Twitty songs:

"I'd Just Love to Lay You Down"
"You've Never Been this Far Before"
"Lead Me On"
"Easy Loving"
"Don't Take it Away"
"I've Already Loved You in My Mind"
"I See the Want to In Your Eyes"
"Touch the Hand"
"I Can't Stop Loving You"
"You Lay so Easy on My Mind"
"How Much More Can She Stand"

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Government Gets My Bonus

$570 bonus minus Fed Withholding minus Fed MED/EE minus Fed OASDI/EE = $384 bonus. SWEET.

And you ask, am I FOR redistribution of wealth? Hell no.

We hear stories about wealthy people trying to get out of paying taxes and whatnot, I can't say that I blame them. I look at a bonus check like that and I feel like throwing up. If I had a check for $500,000 that was taxed at the rate I'm taxed now, I'd consider it too. Oh, I'm so greedy, right? Right. I work. I went to eight years of school for that modest bonus (not that I'm complaining, ANY bonus is awesome, but the fact that the government takes their enormous share is what's unsettling). I'm paying back student loans that I will most likely carry with me for twenty years or more. I did the leg work and found the job -- the government didn't GIVE me my job. So the problem here is that I am being punished for trying hard, while people who don't seem to try at all are being coddled and pampered and certain presidential candidates are promising to CODDLE them MORE.

Here's the kicker. If I really get my shit together and hustle and somehow manage to increase my earnings, this type of proposed tax system will take MORE from me and give it to the poor. That's a real great incentive.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Autumn, Grandma, and that Pensive Brooding Brought on by the Season

Where the H have I been? I'll tell you, it's been no cakewalk here. I've been deathly busy. But I don't feel like going into it, so, sorry, you'll just have to accept that I've been MIA for a while.

Let's see. A couple weeks ago I went to the Southern Festival of Books and I got a T-shirt with a dragon on it. The dragon is reading a book. So, that was cool. I can't really wear it yet, however. I have to wait until I'm not in Nashville, or at least until it's been a month. I saw someone wearing one somewhere and I felt sheepish. The shirt was $10, you can't beat that. I wear a lot of T-shirts and I haven't gotten any new ones in a while, so it was nice to find a cheap one that I didn't hate or that didn't have Hannah Montana on it.

I saw Robin Williams there, at the festival. A friend asked if I touched his butt and of course I did. No, joking. I didn't. I could have, he was that close. But it might have proven awkward. First of all, he's a human being; secondly, my life isn't a sitcom. It would be funny if it was, but you know, life is more than funny. I DID scream and tell him how much I loved Patch Adams. Joke, again. Not a funny joke and I've been using it a LOT when I relate the story. I just think it's funny to imagine me going on about Patch Adams.

But seriously, I like Robin Williams. I really do. Or at least I respect some of his work.

Autumn is here. I love autumn. My top two seasons are spring and autumn. I guess that's sort of cheating, because there's only four seasons and most people are going to say they love spring and autumn because those are the transitional seasons. Winter and summer are kind of tough because you get tired of the extreme temperatures, and they're just not as beautiful as spring and autumn. The transition promises something. Winter and summer are the equivalent of saying, "This is it. This is what I offer." And you have to just take it because there's no other option.

Who knows. There are ups and downs all year long and I guess it's sort of ridiculous to try to parcel your life into a top four or top five list. But it's kind of fun to try to categorize stuff, even though I get tired of always having opinions, and I begin to wonder what's the point? I don't know how I'm going to make it through an entire life having opinions and feelings. I've got to lighten up and learn how to be zen or something, otherwise I'm going to have a heart-attack at 35.

So, my grandma has been having a hard time. I can't go see her because she's in Utah, and when I talk to her on the phone it's only for a minute and then she wants to get off the phone. I guess I'm too real when I say to her, "I know you're trying to die, you silly old girl." Because she is. She's tired of life, I suppose, and every time something happens, like for example when she falls down and breaks her hip, she lays there and waits for the angels to come and take her away, and she's disappointed when her rescuer is instead my rail-thin cousin Ariana, picking Grams up with super human strength and carrying her inside out of the winter weather.

It's humorous and tragic, because I know it's got to suck to be 90 and to have outlived your husband and two of your kids, and most of your friends. It's got to feel lonely and irritating to have to depend on others. I'm sometimes ready to go myself, and I'm just a few months into 30. I mean, the world is a rough place. I know it's always been rough, and I guess that's why people get tired and they're ready to move on at 90. I just don't want her to go, that's all. It scares me because when she dies, I won't have her stories any longer. When I want to know what it was like in 1940, or when I want to know who my great-grandmother was and what she was like, I won't have my grandma to ask. When I want to know what it was like to live through the Depression, who will I ask?

My grandma is my link to the past and once she's gone, I won't have anyone to ask. My mom always says, of late, "'We all become forefathers by and by,' like Dan Fogelberg says." And she's right, and then it makes me want to cry. It's really mind-altering to realize that, to see your mother becoming the matriarch of your family, to watch your grandmother becoming a ghost. It's really really bitchy, sometimes, to think of this design. Life is this way to teach us things and the lessons are hard, but I guess if you let yourself learn, you become beautiful, like my grandma, and I guess that's when you're ready for the next phase of your existence. Something cool like that.