Friday, June 02, 2006

Properly Shamed

I've been having a little problem with my debit card recently. About a week and a half ago I used it at dinner and the waitress came back with it, telling me in that embarrassed, hushed voice that my card had been declined, but that the machine didn't say why. I knew full well I had plenty ('plenty' being a relative term, of course) of money in the bank, and it continued to work at ATMs, but lo, again it was declined at the movie theater the next day.

Since I'm irresponsible, I hadn't read my mail in a week so I never noticed the letter from my bank until yesterday, which said they'd noticed some suspicious activity and had put a "check ID" tag on it...except apparently all the card machines in this city are too old to recognize such a tag, so it just plain declined it. The letter gave me a number to call, which I did this morning and had the following conversation:

Bank Rep: "So I'm going to go through your last transactions and you can confirm that you made them."
Me: "Okay, go."
BR: "X dollars at a gas station in West Virginia."
Me: "Yes."
BR: "X dollars at a gas station in Pennsylvania."
Me: "Yes."
BR: "X dollars at White House/Black Market in Ohio."
Me: "Yes."
BR: "X dollars at Bakers Shoes in Ohio."
Me: "Yeah."
BR: "X dollars at Steve Madden in Ohio."
Me: "(Sigh) Yes."
BR: "X dollars at ....

Okay, this went on, I swear to god, for at least ten more minutes. Finally I had to stop her and nearly yell, "Oh my god, how many of these are we going to go through??" It was either that or bury my head in shame and vow to cut up all my credit cards and move to a commune where cash is only used as kindling for the fire that will cook my dinner of fresh small animal meat and homegrown vegetable stew.

To be fair, I haven't actually been spending that much money lately, but I did go on a little bit of a shopping spree with my friends in Ohio the other week, so that combined with the interstate gas station transactions is what set my bank security thing off. Which is good, I guess.

I'll say this: If you think you're spending too much, I highly recommend having the bank call you every week and ask you if you "really" made those 93 debit transactions last week, one-by-everloving-one. It's like a nice kick in the gut. For your finances.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Irrational Hysteria

I thought this comment (and its associated post) was interesting and wanted to write a short reaction.

I'm surprised the commenter prefaced her opinion by saying, "Now I don't know if I've gone in one direction of hysteria instead of another," because what she goes on to say sounds completely logical to me. On the morning of September 11, I was in the Ohio Statehouse waiting for Tuesday session to begin. When I heard people chatting nervously in the hallway outside my office about planes crashing in New York, a bunch of us piled in my boss's office because she was one of only a couple people on our floor with a television.

Aside from the obvious horror and shock we were all in, I remember having another, even stronger fear that day, after one of the interns yelled at the TV, "We have to nuke those fuckers!" I should explain first, I have an extremely strong, semi-irrational fear of nuclear warfare that borders on an actual phobia. Honestly, I don't remember my dreams very often, but the only time I've woken up in a cold sweat and with my heart pounding was after a nightmare that involved me and a friend running and hiding from an onslaught of nuclear bombs launched towards our suburban neighborhood. No kidding. You'd think I grew up hiding under my school desk doing bomb drills in the 1950's.

My phobia of The Bomb aside, I, like some of you, didn't need six years to figure out that Bush is an unthinking goon who will do anything to further his political goals, without a care to who he destroys in his wake. So although I was never against taking some kind of action, I feared that the public's need for an emotional act of revenge combined with the Administration's complete disregard for the welfare of its citizenry and its ineptitude at planning anything carefully (and, my phobia says, with innumerable nuclear bombs at its disposal) anything perpetrated in the name of 9/11 would escalate into something uncontrollable.

And truly, it has, hasn't it? Maybe not with nuclear bombs, but certainly in countless other ways, some of which are highlighted in that post. All the lives and money spent in the past few years makes me ill. Don't forget the civil liberties we stomp on everyday in the name of "ending terror." That constant grinding sound you hear is all our forefathers turning over in their graves again and again. One of the most obvious and yet pointed quotes in that post is this:
The number of such incidents in the three years after September 11 was zero, but that was the same number registered in the three years before the attacks at a time when antiterrorist policing exertions were much lower.

The extreme levels of paranoia and fear this Administration has needlessly forced onto the public serves no purpose whatsoever. But! It did get Bush reelected, which was, of course, the point.

I'm not saying anything a thousand other people haven't elucidated much better than I have in my little tangent here, I just wanted to note my surprise that someone considered their totally justified fear of this Administration as some sort of 'hysteria,' when it's pretty clear that everything we feared absolutely came true.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Make Mine Meat

I had to laugh at this post and especially this cartoon (via Unfogged, which I read only on occasion because the copious inside jokes make my head swirl), partly because I had exactly the same thoughts when I saw those commercials, and partly because of this conversation I had with Kriston at dinner last Thursday at La Frontera Cantina.

Me: (trying to dip a bite of enchilada in the sour cream on my plate) God, I hate lettuce.
K: Why?
Me: It's getting in the way of the sour cream! Look at all the stuff I can't get at cause it's hiding in the roughage!
K: (starts laughing)
Me: What's so funny?
K: Well...most girls would have said that the other way around.

Guess I'm what they (ironically) call a "healthy" eater. Does that make me a Man's Man? (A Man's Woman?) I just like to eat. Sue me.

Queers and Beers

Well it's not the day back from a wonderful three day weekend if it's not crammed full of work. Lucky for me, court deadlines mean that once COB hits, it's COB, so I get to make it home for dinner, even if I spent the previous ten hours trying to schedule in breathing. Overall, not a bad Memorial Day weekend was had. I spent about 50% of it completely covered in dirt from rolling around in my garden all day, which also left me with a ridiculous looking back tan. That's the one unfortunate thing about gardening - I'm hunched over the whole time, so the front of me never really sees the light of day. I'll just have to make some margs and sit out in the backyard in my bathing suit top next weekend to roast the other side evenly. I'll save the garden update for a separate post.

Saturday night was the real fun. Wait, let's go back to Wednesday. Wait, no, the week before that. I got an evite from Tony's boyfriend, Nick, for his goodbye party because he's moving to NYC to live with Tony. On Wednesday I get an email notification from the hosts through evite that said, "Change in venue! The party will no longer be at our house, it will be at Heather and Christopher's house! See you Saturday!" Uh, what? Immediately, I call C to ask him what the hell is going on. See, I like Tony's boyfriend, but I hate his friends and hadn't planned on going to the party for that sole reason. They're rude, hateful people with no discernible personalities among the lot of them. I think they saw a gay stereotype on TV, like Jack on Will & Grace, crossed it with a transvestite stereotype (you know, calling everyone "she," etc.) and pumped it up to whole new levels of vapidness and shrillness the world has ever seen. Apparently Nick and his roommate had some landlord issues, so they asked Christopher if hey could borrow his pad; he, so he says, meant to ask me first, but the hosts sent the evite change out before C could get ahold of me.

So, awesome. After berating Christopher and Tony, I sent out an S.O.S. to my friends and Chai responded to my pleas for help. We made a dinner and movie date - saw The DaVinci Code, which will require an entire post in itself - and had a fabulous time, quality of the dinner and movie notwithstanding. A couple of her friends were down from NYC (who didn't have friends down from NYC this weekend?) and they were hilarious. Especially the almost getting locked in a downtown garage with a bag of moldy carrots part.

Unfortunately, we didn't have the stamina after DVC to enjoy a second flick as planned, so we headed home. At 11pm. Sigh. I open the door to my house and 15 perfectly coiffed male heads turn to look at me - a woman, who clearly did not belong to their clique. Though silence held for a second as they all rudely stared at the outsider (and I held back from stamping my foot and yelling, "This is MY house, bitches"), not a single one of them greeted me, until Nick's roommate, standing at the back of the living room near the hallway, motioned to me as I passed and quietly thanked me for allowing his friends to congregate in my house. I grabbed the first beer I could find, more or less slammed it down, found another, and then found my roommates and our friends from NYC segregated from the party in the corner of the backyard. I actually had a lovely time hanging out with them, thank goodness. Every time our conversation would pause for a second, we'd overhear some insipid conversation next to us and simultaneously roll our eyes so hard I'm surprised none of us fell over from the force of it.

Also, at one point in the evening someone mentioned my blog and Nick said, "Oh, I read your blog everyday!" So, Hi Nick. Sorry I hate all your friends! Which reminds me, I went to use the bathroom later in the evening and, since the door sometimes shuts on its own, knocked. A beat or two passed, and I hear two mockingly high-pitched voices sing-song, "Just a minute!" Tony walked by me just then and I nearly strangled him, and told him to get the fucking, literally, gays out of my bathroom. How more disrespectful could people be?? We opened our house to a bunch of strangers and these two can't hold their cocksucking until they get to their own filthy houses? GROSS. I have to be naked in that bathroom for Christ's sake.

A few of the guests actually did make an effort to introduce themselves to me and Christopher, and thank us for letting them party there. Those boys are welcome back anytime. The boys who continue to call me "Fiona," despite the fact I look nothing like Fiona Apple whatsoever, aren't. Tony told me that the next day at bunch one of them said, "Fiona looked pissed because we took the blue chips off the fridge." I think it's hilarious they thought I was pissed about them eating our fancy blue tortilla chips (which I actually didn't see them touch and doubtfully would not have gone so far as to be pissed about it if I had), and not, like, about the dudes who banged as hard as they could on the door while I was in the bathroom, even though Christopher had come by when he saw people waiting and told them, "Heather's getting ready for bed, she waited half an hour for you guys, so just give her a minute, alright?" (Christopher told me his reaction in the living room when he heard the banging, "She is going to cut someone.")

Ah, well. They left the house in tact (and also a yard covered in blotting tissues, handed out liberally by the Sephora-employee wannabe) and our floors are easy to swiffer. Not that I did any of the swiffering. Since Nick is probably reading this - good luck in NYC! Hope I haven't totally offended you. Christopher and I will come visit soon, I promise.

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