Today I've consumed a small glass of milk, three fried cheese sticks, a glass of diet coke, and a quarter of a mango margarita. I probably wouldn't feel so shitty if I had eaten anything else, like real food.
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So the woman my dad is currently dating is somebody who he dated before my mother--and while they were married. This weekend, my dear tactless grandmother asked me how I felt about that! I didn't think my mom would get upset about it, I thought she'd think it was funny that my grandmother is so rude sometimes.

She got really upset. So upset that hours later when I called her about something else she brought it up again. She said something like, "I've had to tell you things about your dad that you shouldn't have to know." And I was trying to make her feel better, and said that I was too little to understand it at the time but my dad wasn't exactly discreet with one of his girlfriends. So I've known for a long time that my dad wasn't a good person, and I'm okay with it and she shouldn't be upset for me.

My mom hung up crying. I feel like an asshole.

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I had a nice weekend with my family, but they also just make me want to scream sometimes. I'm so glad to be home, home where if I don't feel like smiling nobody slaps me on the shoulder and demands to know what's wrong. Where there are two dogs and four cats, but not eight dogs (more dogs than people) chasing each other around, snarling, fighting, jumping on me, and being a pain in the ass. Where I don't have my grandmother looking pointedly at my fat ass every time I get something to eat, or my aunt glancing sideways at me while she cooks because apparently I should be waiting on the menfolk, not enjoying myself. Where I don't have to see my dad patting his girlfriend's ass, or listen to my grandmother ask me the same question for the fourth time that day, or watch my cousin defer to her douchebag fiancé.

Ah, home. It smells of stale air and cats, and my pilot light went out so it's freezing cold, but it's mine.

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I got my grades yesterday, and two of my professors were nicer to me than I deserved. I got an A, a B+, a B, and a C. I was technically 8 points shy of that C, so thank god for rounding; and I have no idea why I ended up with an A in creative writing. I was expecting a B.

So what's so great about all of that? It means I am in the clear! No more academic probation, no big school dismissal to contend with: I'm back in academic good standing. I still can't go to school in the spring, because I have to pay off fall tuition; but once I have that done, I'll be good to go. There'll be no reason I shouldn't be granted financial aid again, no reason I can't do my last three semesters in one stretch.


Yay!!

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My new neighbor just rang my doorbell. We've never met, I've only seen her pulling in and out of the driveway, and she didn't introduce herself. Just complained about my music. It's the middle of the day--and it wasn't that loud. This is gonna be just great. She strikes me as the type of person who's going to complain about my dogs and cause me trouble. Goddammit.

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I had two finals Monday morning, and two yesterday. The first one, history to 1500, was at seven a.m.--and it went swimmingly. It was 25 multiple choice and then an essay on the Mongols, and I'm pretty confident that I did excellently on it. Even though my essay portion of the test didn't go so hot on the first two, I think this time it's in the bag--this time I actually had enough time to write a complete essay

The second was right after that at nine, and was history since 1500. That one was a freaking massacre. I felt like somebody hit the "blend" button on my brain. It was awful. I think some of the problem was that both classes had a lot of stuff about both Russia and China in these final units, and it all blended together. The test second had ten multiple choice, about twenty fill in the blank, and an essay. If the second test had been like the first, without all the fill-in-the-blank crap, I'd've had it made.

As it was, I looked at most of the questions and had a serious case of presque vu. I could remember reading the name I was looking for; I could see the page and what was around it .... and I couldn't find it. And then there were questions that weren't on the study guide, which is being fucking aggravating--why did the White force lose in the Russian civil war? Ummm .... errr .... I know this ... because .... FML.

So in short, I'll be lucky if I passed the damn test. I counted up all the questions I was positive of, and came up with 45/80 points. If I get half credit on my essay, which was very short and vague because of the blender syndrome again, that's 55/100. To get a C in the class, I needed a 68 on the final. It's pathetic that I may not have accomplished that--I spent almost the entire exam period beating my damn head against the wall, going over and over the questions, hoping to trigger my stupid tired half-cocked brain in to remembering something.

The next day I had my creative writing "final", which consisted of reading a piece of my work aloud--and listening to each of my classmates do the same, which had me about reading to tear my hair out sometimes. When it was my turn, I told a story I thought was hilarious. When my cousin was little, she us she wanted to name one of her pets "In-you-eee". She said she read it in a book, and it meant bored. As soon as I said that, the teacher laughed. Then I explained she'd meant ennui, and I wrote it on the board since I figured half of them wouldn't know the word. Nobody laughed except the teacher, which I guess just proves we're both nerds. (Same thing happened in my French class, I'd actually.)

Speaking of French, I had that final later in the afternoon. I felt utterly exhausted, but I'm pretty sure I freaking aced it. There was one oral comprehension question I know I got wrong, and one or two cultural things I wasn't sure of, but it's the final I'm least worried about. I wish I knew what I had in the class, though; my last grade report before Thanksgiving was an 89.7%, so hopefully it increased by .03% in the last few weeks!

After my exam, I went to the McDonald's RedBox and rented three movies. Then I spent the rest of my evening watching movies, playing on my computer, and feeling the tension of this semester dissipate. I really did not realize how freaked out I was--even when I thought I was relaxing, I really wasn't. I feel amazing now.

Of course, I'm sure the next five days at work will fix that!

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Life is kicking my ass right now, what more can I say. Two finals Monday, two finals Tuesday, and then I'm spending all goddamn Wednesday in my pajamas, in my house, doing absolutely nothing I don't want to.

And then Thursday, it's on to the second job hunt.

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This is on the inside of my windows!
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When did soda get so damn expensive? It's gone up at least a quarter in the last month!

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I have a French oral exam in about forty minutes; right now I'm sitting in the student center, looking over some poems I have to critique for my creative writing workshop tomorrow. It's not quite as horrid as the short story stuff, but the brevity of the pieces almost makes it more frustrating. How can they screw up something so short? I'm by no means a great poet--it's not my preferred medium, although I do feel I've come up with a few gems (including one I turned in for this assignment, which I wrote specifically to use the word lordosis in a poem!). But once again, I find myself trying to critique pieces that lack a fundamental something, some spark, some sort of sense of creativity.

If this were a required class, maybe it wouldn't bother me so much. But this is an elective class, for god's sake, and everyone in the class seems to fancy themselves as so deep and unique and creative. And yet their work just reeks of juvenile naivete and ridiculous clichés. In a college elective like this, shouldn't you have worked past the "thirteen year old in love" stage? Good lord.

Two more class periods of this crap.
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(Sponsored post.)

As I've complained many times before, I have a ridiculous amount of general stuff. Some of it I'm going to eventually get around to selling on ebay--clothes I've never worn, stuff like that. Other stuff I'll just toss--do I really need that battered Nike shoebox I've been dragging around since high school, and have never properly emptied and sorted out? And some I don't know what to do with. Like a metal cookie tin my mom gave me ages ago, that I don't keep anything in, that's not worth selling on ebay, and probably wouldn't sell at Goodwill, but I don't want to toss it.

What we need is a free stuff repository--and hey, there is one! Lista.com has a headline of "auctions for free stuff"--which confused me at first. Turns out it's run on a system of credits, and you get credits for joining, for listing stuff, etc. So basically to keep getting credits you have to take part in the marketplace, giving away your own stuff, and then you get credits to "buy" other peoples' stuff. I should pass this along to a girl I work with--she had a baby a week ago, and they have a whole section of free baby stuff.

Right now, you can get 100 credits just for signing up and getting started. Neato!

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I just got home from eight and a half hours at work, with a hell of a blitz at the end. When I first staggered out to my car in the snow, I thought I'd come home and just drop into bed like a giant sack of meat. But when I got home, I found I was less tired than I thought. It was still snowing, in sparse fluffy flakes. There were only a couple of inches on the ground, all fluffy and smooth and sparkly. It was almost one in the morning, so I let my dogs out front to run around a bit, and I stood out in the snow, letting flakes accumulate on my hair and my eyelashes, chasing my puppies around. They were so cute! The big dog was loping in circles, kicking up snow all over the place, and my little girl trotted around snuffling and snorting into the snow until her little paws got cold.

I planned to stay in then, but the big dog just looked so freaking happy that I took her back outside. She's at least eight years old, but she just wiggles and hops like a puppy when she's happy. So I grabbed my keys and walked with her to the grassy causeway between my neighborhood and the next. It's almost like a little park, with trees planted occasionally and fences on either side. I'd been wanting to take her over there, but there aren't any lights--but tonight was perfect because of the snow. All the light reflected off the snow; the air was gorgeous and clear, and it wasn't even that cold. My pup walked ahead of me, like she knew where we were going ...

And as soon as we got to the grass, she took off! It was hilarious. She just ran flat-out as fast as she could for about a hundred yards, then circled back and made figure-eights around me. She did that for about five minutes. Every one in a while she'd stop and sniff at something, or just look at me, until I called her--and then she'd sprint back to me, ears back, tongue lolling, barreling at me like she would knock me right over. I could practically feel the joy coming off her, and I wouldn't be surprised if my laughter woke up light sleepers in the nearby houses. It was just gorgeous.

After about ten minutes, though, she would stop and look at me and then back toward to house. So I started tromping back, and she ran ahead. When she ran through the gap in the fence I got a little worried, so I started running. When I got to the fence, though, I saw her trotting up the sidewalk to the front door. She waited on the step for me while I crossed the street and the yard, panting and wiggling and just so happy (I tried to take a picture with my phone, but as you can see I caught a snowflake instead of a dog!).

My hair was covered in snow, my pants were soaked, me and the dog were both wet and a little cold, and we were both happy anyway. It was a perfect ending to the night.

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In eleven more days, I'll be done with school. Conveniently, my last final is on Tuesday, and I have Wednesdays and Thursdays off. So I'll conclude my semester with two glorious days all to myself. No work, no homework to worry about, nothing to do but ... whatever I want. I cannot WAIT. I don't know what I'm going to do--probably sleep, read, go have dinner at my dad's house ... anything but pick up a work shift! Except maybe on Thursday, since I have an evening exam Tuesday so I had to request that night off. But Wednesday is mine, dammit!

Of course, on Friday I'll have to start the quest for a second job, and let me tell you how thrilled I am about that.

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(Oodelally, oodelally, golly what a sponsored post. I've been watching clips of Robin Hood on Youtube.)

My dad's a car guy, so there are some things I don't have to worry about. If my car needs an oil change, he takes it for the afternoon. I don't really even know what a tune up involves, honestly. Okay, I do now after reading that page, but I didn't before. It's convenient, but also somewhat frustrating--because I'm a curious person, and whenever I ask my dad a car question, the answer I get it usually, "You wouldn't understand if I told you anyway." Thanks, Dad. So the ghetto little Acura Integra I'm driving sounds like it's about fall apart, and I have no idea why. Excellent!

While I'm near home, it's not really a problem. But if I move away, or if I'm on vacation, and something is wrong .... what then? Will I just have to google something like Houston auto repair on my phone and hope I don't get ripped off? It's a bit annoying. But I've pretty much given up on getting him to explain things at this point. On the rare occasions he does answer my questions, he makes sure to throw in as much technical jargon as he can until my get a blank look on my face .... and then he laughs.

Really I think it's because he wants to feel needed. I think he worries that if I were to actually be educated about vehicles he'd hear from me less, or something. Or he just enjoys annoying me, that could totally be it too.

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Unless five thousand dollars falls from the sky, I won't be going to school next semester. And on one hand, I am utterly depressed by that. I'm going to forget the finer points of my French, I'm going to get out of the habit of studying, it's just going to suck. And I won't finish my damn degree until I'm 30.

But I'm trying to see the positive side of this--there are positives. For one thing, if I'm working two jobs, I should have no problems paying my bills for the first time in months! I'm getting really tired of having to borrow money to pay my rent.

Also, I'll have more time to do other stuff--I'll be out of the house more, but I won't have studying to get when I am home, so maybe I'll finally get the rest of this junk eBayed! And I can read more--I haven't been reading as much as usual both because of homework and because sometimes I just feel like my brain can't absorb anymore stuff.

I am worried, though, that I'll get so comfortable just working and being able to pay my bills that I won't want to come back when fall semester rolls around again. Having disposable income can, after all, get addicting.

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(Quick sponsored post!)

One of the most annoying things about getting a new--or new-to-you--car is getting insurance. It's especially obnoxious if you've lost your license for any reason. A few years ago my mom lost her license (I don't even remember why), and had to pay for that SR-22 insurance or whatever it is. If you have any sort of poor driving record, you can feel royally screwed. But even just getting straight auto insurance is a big pain in the rear--especially if you're trying to get student car insurance and have zero idea what you're doing. I'm pretty sure the Geico agent I talked to when I first started college thought I was hilariously ignorant!

I guess that's why there's such a huge market for websites like AmericanCarQuotes. They have an index of different insurance carriers in your area--which is another thing I remember being a pain when I last tried to get insurance, not everyone is available everyone. Having a one-stop area to find a company that's near you and offers the type of insurance you're after can be a real assert.

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I neglected to bring a book with me today, and I now have half an hour to kill between classes. Hooray. So I'm sitting here on my trusty Crackberry.

I wasn't expecting to be let out of French early, and I was so tired this morning I didn't toss a book in my bag like usual. Nor did I eat, though I did slam down a glass of orange juice. I also forgot my scarf, which made walking across campus an absolute joy. Basically this day just sucks so far.

I actually fell asleep in my first class. I was sitting in the third tow, so I'm sure my professer was pissed. I tried my best to stay awake, but I kept nodding off. My notes are kind of hilarious, because I fell asleep writing several times. That's what I get for staying up so late, I guess, but I had to take a nap in the evening and that just screwed me all up. Even more than usual, that is.

I have one more class to go, and then I can go home for a couple of hours. Well, an hour and a half, really. Then it's off to a French conversation group, and then a fiction/poetry reading. If I'm highly motivated I'll write up my responses to those tonight and be done with it ... But more likely I'm just going to go right to bed. Of course, I always say that and then I end up awake all night anyway.
I really hope I can talk tomorrow; I can't afford to take a Friday night off work, not with all the other days this month I've got to take off. Fucking December. I hate it for a multitude of reasons. As far as I'm concerned, this month has no redeeming features.
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I've got quite a few in the works; a few sponsored ones and a whole lot of others. But I've also got a cold, so none of them are finished just yet!

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Randomly, we'd listened to an Amadou & Mariam song in my French class a month or so ago. Otherwise I might never have listened to this song by The Magic Numbers. I heard it in New Moon, but it wasn't until I was looking at the soundtrack list looking for something else that I saw the familiar names. I freaking love this song. It's so mellow and beautiful.

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I wanted to share with ya'll a couple of cool "get stuff free" sites that I like. Yeah, I get referral points if you join, but I also think they're cool sites in general.

The first is Swagbucks.com. I'm new to this one and haven't gotten enough Swagbucks yet to get a reward; I found it through SavingDiva, though, so I have confidence in it! There are a lot of ways to get Swagbucks--for example, as a reward points sort of thing for purchases. My chosen method, though, is the totally free Swagbucks toolbar search engine. As you search, you randomly get award SBs. I have 58 right now, most just from searching for stuff and a couple from Swagcodes (a code you enter and POOF! free Swagbuck!). I'm almost halfway to a $10 Barnes & Noble giftcard, just for searching for stuff (although it is tempting to hold out for 3700 Swagbucks for a $300 Apple gift card!).

If you'd like to join, please click the banner below! (Open to people in the US, the UK, and Canada .... except Québecois, weirdly!)

Search & Win

Another site that's fun is MySurvey.com. I've been doing this one for a while; mostly you take surveys. For each survey, you get anywhere from five to 2000 points, and when you have enough points you get prizes. I'll be buying Divine Misdemeanors, the latest LKH book, with a gift card from MySurvey--I'm super stoked about that, because I didn't think I was going to be able to get it for months due to budgetary constraints! I'm so proud I've taken a picture of it, see?

I've also product-tested some stuff. Several months ago, they sent me two bags of dog food to try and take surveys on. My schnauzer doesn't eat that much--I haven't had to buy dog food since then, and I still have about half of the second bag. So that's saved me about $40! Hooray!

Again, if you're interested, please click the banner below! (Unfortunately it's a U.S. only thing.)

Banner Ad

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Fahrfugkuger is not pretty. She has a big bald spot on her roof and paint peeling off her hood. She's a total mom mobile--a maroon hatchback four door sausage on wheels. Manual windows, manual locks; no CD player; no sunroof; her steering wheel doesn't adjust. Fahrfugkuger is the most stripped-down, basic 1993 Ford Escort imaginable. After driving an SUV for the last eight months, I feel like I'm shooting down the road in a hockey puck or something. The seats aren't terribly comfortable, and I'm not overly thrilled with driving a manual again. She's ugly, and not fun to drive, and hence I've named her Fahrfugkuger.

However, Fahrfugkuger has a small gas tank, only 12 gallons. It cost my only $28 to fill her up last night, and on her last tank of gas she went 394 miles. I can live with it.

(Watch this clip at 2:55 and you'll see what I say every time I get in my car. Yeah, I know Fahrfugkuger isn't what she's really saying!)

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This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Charter Communication. All opinions are 100% mine.



Chartercom_black_friday__234x134 Ah, the infamous Black Friday, the day that makes retail slaves tremble in horror and glee. The day that exhausts many a shopper in search of ridiculous bargains. My old mall opened at 10p.m. Thanksgiving night and was open for 24 hours straight. (shudder) Apparently the Monday after is called "Cyber Monday", which I didn't know until now, but I guess it makes sense that people who go online to look for stuff they couldn't get in the stores.

I'm too broke for that to mean much to me--nobody's getting anything from me this year except a hug. Too bad Charter doesn't offer services in my area--because I could totally do all my shopping if I got a $200 gift card to somewhere. I already pay for Internet and stuff, if Charter were in my area I could go to Charter’s Daily Deal Web Site, switch my services over, and get a gift card to do my holiday shopping with. At least, I could do that this weekend. From Cyber Monday onward I could win stuff for me--like a box set of Showtime's "Dexter" or "Big Love" from HBO. I'm a year behind on that, come to think of it!

If you're interested, you can also become a fan of Charter on Facebook to see what their daily specials are. They've got a lot of stuff to give away between now and Christmas, it's worth taking a look at!

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My mother's family finally got together for a holiday on Thursday--for the first time in a long time. Usually everybody's working or going in opposite directions, or there was nowhere big enough to get together. This year, somehow, something was pulled together. My mom had to work; her brother let his wife tell him what to do and keep him away; and her youngest sister lives in another state. But my grandma, me, my other two aunts, and my cousins had a freakin' ball! We played dominoes, and a couple other games; we laughed until we couldn't breathe; we talked and goofed around.

It was just so nice to relax and be around people I'm really comfortable with. I'm always slightly tense around my dad's side of my family--they're a lot more stodgy and judgmental. I could never fling a turtle finger puppet at my dad's sister when she takes too long to take her turn in dominoes. My other cousins don't like to do mock interpretive dance to a blues song about being hit with a "ignant stick." When I'm with my dad's family, I also feel like the big fat round peg that doesn't fit in the square hole. With my mom's family, I feel like I fit. I feel like I'm included.

I love both sides of my family; and I have fun with both sides of my family. I guess it's just different types of fun. Oh, who am I kidding. I have fun with my dad's family sometimes, but my mom's family is always amusing. I feel like a horrible, horrible person for saying that, but it's just the truth.

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(Hello friends! Today we have another sponsored post!)

We've all been to trade shows or county fairs where people have booths set up to sell crafts or advertise their services. God knows I've been to enough of them in my life, often dairy goat related. Some people just set up a table and leave it at that ... but some people go all out with their trade show booths.

It's funny; in all the time I've been going to events like this in my life, I never stopped and thought about where people get the supplies for these set-ups. I mean, it never occurred to me there's a special place to order table skirts for your homemade fudge stand. I didn't even know there was a specific name for the setup of drapes-like things that make a booth look like a
strange, but apparently there is: pipe and drape. Of course, banner stands are a pretty standard staple. But I thought people just went to local sign shops to print them up, I didn't know there were all sorts of types: retractable, rigid, etc.

It's funny how you can look right at something and not really think about what it entails.

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And she has no personality! She didn't talk. We're both servers, so I tried to commiserate over shitty customers with her. My grandma and aunt and I invited her to play cards with us. We all ate at the dinner table.

But she just didn't talk. She stared at the television; she played with the dogs; she and my dad kept kissing. But overall, it was just kind of creepy. She seemed afraid to make eye contact with me, god only knows why. I admit I did go in determined to be ... well, not intimidating, but self-assured. I even dressed up a little more than I usually would--a button-down shirt and jewelry instead of the first t-shirt I saw. Maybe me not being a shy slob was off-putting to her, and that's why she clammed up? But she's met my aunt and grandma before, and she didn't talk to them either.

She also doesn't look a thing like I expected. Her sister was a friend of my mom's when I was little, and I remember her; Tonya is her opposite. Shorter than me, so skinny I think I could break her over my leg, and dressed like an uptight soccer mom.

Really? This is the woman my dad says he loves? My crazy, fox-feeding, Crown-drinking, inappropriate joke-making, rambunctious, sarcastic father thinks he's in love with somebody with all the personality of a wet dish rag? How the hell does that happen?

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A little more than a year ago, I wrote a quick post about acai berry advertising being stupid. Basically, I saw the ad on the right and didn't believe it for a damn second. But I was saddened to think that their are people out there desperate enough, and guillible enough, that they'd probably be willing to believe this--no matter the improbability of a person of that size losing that much weight, keeping it off, having no stretch marks or surgery scars to show for it .... and accomplishing all that with a miracle berry drink.




While writing the post immediately prior to this, I was looking at garter belts. I was just idling scrolling through them, when one caught my eye. I looked at it for a minute ... it looked familiar and I couldn't place it at first. Still, I had to go find my old entry to be sure.

Hmm, look at that! Same background, same lingerie, different face. Any doubt now that acai berry is total bullshit?

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(We've already talked about penis jewelry this week--now it's lingerie time!)

I used to feel stupid wearing lingerie--not only because I'm a fat girl, but because all the lace and stuff just seemed weird and goofy. And utterly impractical--I mean, once you put on a crotchless, cup-free teddy, how long are you really going to be wearing it? Why spend the money?

Oh, wait. Because it's freaking fun. I don't really need to go in to details, do I? We all know exactly how fun. And occasionally practical, too. I nearly bought a garter belt the other day, just to have one, because I detest tights and pantyhose. The tights I wore with my Halloween costume are the first ones I've worn in .... hell, I don't even remember how long. But a garter belt and some nice thigh-highs? Much more comfortable, and it's just plain hot, even if I don't have anybody to wear sexy garter belts for anymore.

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I probably shouldn't have jumped into NaNoWriMo without planning out my story even a little, or considering all the stuff going on. I'm supposed to have 50k words by midnight on the 30th--I have slightly less than 10k. I just haven't put the time in to it that I should have. Been too busy with school, work, blogging, and whatever else I've spent the last three weeks doing.

Theoretically, I could still catch up. If I could pound out 7,000 words a day, it could be done. But let's be realistic. Today I have a bunch of cleaning and baking to do, then a pre-Thanksgiving thing at my dad's. Thursday is Turkey Day itself, and I'll be eighty miles from home all day with my family and my best friend. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I have to work; Monday I have classes and work. And I have plenty of actual homework I need to be doing, mustn't forget that. I can't justify spending all my time writing a novel when I have writing assignments for school to do.

I guess I'm throwing in the towel. I feel pathetic about it--but less pathetic than in previous years when I didn't even try.

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A few days ago at work, one of the managers had put on the local college radio statio. I didn't really pay much attention until I heard what I thought was The Beatles ... and Trent Reznor at the same time. Mashups are hilarious. I actually kind of like this one.



But what's truly funny is what I found on Youtube while looking for the mashup. Enjoy!

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I just went to put something in dumpster, and it's a gorgeous night out there. The sky is clear, the grass is frosted, and I could see my breath. Even with a big streetlamp right over my driveway, the sky is clear enough, and the air still enough, that I could see the different colors of some of the stars. The grass was sparkling, crunching beneath my dog's feet as she ran around like a lunatic; and even though I was cold I stayed out a couple of extra minutes, watching my breath mist in front of me, listening to the silence, and feeling like I was the only person in the world.

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(A little holiday cheer, I mean sponsored post. But it's the best kind, chock-full of family insanity.)

As anyone who reads my blog would know, I am terminally strapped for cash. It's not as bad right now as it has been in the past, though. About five years ago I was actually completely unemployed for the first time since I started working--I got fired from Wal-Mart the day after quitting my old job. I'm actually still a little bitter about that; I was sick, and had documentation from my physician of two separate visits; I was told by HR that I wouldn't get fired; and then the bitch pharmacy manager canned me. This was less than a month after my parents had split up, too.

Anyway, the point is I was jobless and freaked out about it. A few days after this I was asked what I wanted for Christmas, and my sarcastic, shitty answer was "Food." Little did I know that my aunt would take that literally. Christmas Day, she sat in front of me a giant box of random food. I don't even remember what all was in it, other than some cheese, I think a salami, and a box of macaroni and cheese--and I only remember the box of Velveeta Shells & Cheese because it was a month past its expiration date, and my ex and I had a fight about if it was safe to eat. He's got a thing about expiration dates. I basically ate it out of spite--healthy, right?

But the funny thing about that box of food, you know, my "Christmas present"? ..... everything in it was expired. Yes, my aunt gave me a big fat box of expired crap she'd just cleaned out of her pantry and freezer. I think that box of mac and cheese was the only thing I ate.

I should've been more specific, I suppose, and said I wanted a prepaid debit card or something. Not that I could've predicted a pantry-cleaning-comme-Christmas-present. But it would've been a lot more useful--and, uh, less miserly--to give me a card like that. Then I could've just tromped off to the grocery store with my prepaid Mastercard and bought food that a) wasn't two years out of date and b) I actually liked.

So if somebody you know is unemployed and depressed, and you think about giving them a box of food .... seriously, take the prepaid credit card route instead. Please.

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Via the loveliness that is Twitter, I came across this article, entitled "The Truth About Why Some Women Hate Sarah Palin". And I think my head exploded. I'm by no means a political genius, and I'm still rather new when it comes to the language of feminism, bias, etc. One of the women at SP could probably write a killer article about this, but I'm just going to stick my oar in anyway.

The author starts out with a valid premise: why is the appearance of a woman so important? Why are so many comments made about Palin's "slutty flight attendant" outfit (or Michelle Obama daring to wear shorts in summer while on vacation in the freaking desert)? It's a serious issue, but this women just goes about it all wrong from the second paragraph:

"We’ve all heard the phrase glass ceiling, but I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t exist. The proverbial glass ceiling is nothing but a myth. It is an excuse for the behaviors that women exhibit that set our entire sex up for failure. We, and we alone, are responsible for this notion that a beautiful woman cannot be politically successful and effective."
Really? Men are completely innocent in this, huh? Nothing's holding women back but the rest of us catty, catty bitches? I'll remember that the next time a man thinks I'm incompetent and boy, will I be glad you were "here to tell me" the glass ceiling doesn't exist.
"If we want to be taken seriously, we feel that we must emasculate ourselves."
(You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.)

Next, we're treated to a recap of the Katie-Couric-cut-her-hair crap, which I personally had enough of when it was happening. But where I really decided this woman is off her rocker was when she compared women to crabs. Yes, crabs:
"The truth is that women, as a sex, are akin to crabs. You can catch one crab, place it in a bucket, and soon it will claw its way out to freedom. But if you catch two crabs and place them in the bucket together, you are golden. Crabs, like women, do not allow one another to advance in life."
What was that? I was busy grabbing another woman's skirt with my pincers--can't let the bitch get ahead, you know. Oh, now we're talking about women's hair again? Okay. Let's hear about how Hilary Clinton was "allowed to champion the feminist cause because she had short hair." Not, you know, because she's a smart, headstrong, accomplished woman. And being married to a president had nothing to do with her success, because it's not a man's world and men aren't holding us catty, catty bitches back.

The author goes on to reiterate that women are the ones who "allow" this to be a man's world, and that attacking other women over matters of appearance is counter-productive. The second is certainly true. I was almost starting to think maybe this article had some redeeming features, when suddenly I was bitch-slapped back to reality:
"Let’s not lie any longer to ourselves. We do not empower one another by aborting our children, or fighting for the rights of others to do so. Most of us don’t know anything about Planned Parenthood other than what we’ve been told to think. Someone tells us they are empowering women, so we think that they must be."
You know, you are so right! I've never once had a single thought in my jealous, shallow little brain about this. I've never gone to Planned Parenthood for birth control; I've never had to pass anti-abortion picketers to get there. I've never wondered what I'd do if I got pregnant, and pondered what that situation would mean. I've never thought about it and been glad I wouldn't be helpless if I ended up pregnant. All I know is that they're! empowering!! women!1!! (/end non-sequitor) What were we talking about?

This whole article just blows me away. In defending the idea that an attractive woman can be successful and intelligent, Nichols ends up reverse-shaming women who chose to appear less "feminine". She blames women for the state of the world--while stating that women blaming women is why the world is as it is. And she then wraps up her entire argument by telling us to remember that Ronald Regan looked like a doofus.

I think we're done here.

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This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Jones Soda. All opinions are 100% mine.

And when I say that, I'm including the dirt my mom says I ate when I was three.

As a poster for Izea, I received a "postie pack": the turkey hat my dog is so adorably modeling, and a bottle of Tofurky and Gravy Jones Soda . I freaking love the hat--I'm so wearing it on Thanksgiving. It was a hit at work, too--my coworkers always love a reason to laugh at me.

The soda, though .... well, my first thought when I saw it was "Dear god, WHY?" Still, I was excited to try it, even though I was sure it wasn't going to be pleasant. I debated as to if it would be better warm or cold--cold it would have less flavor, but turkey and gravy are warm foods. I decided room temperature might be best, and after the dinner rush I cracked open the bottle.

I poured a bit into a soda glass, and while my coworkers looked on it disgust, I bravely took the first sip. The taste didn't hit me right away--it fact, I'd say it has less taste and more aftertaste. And when that aftertaste hit me, it was terrible! The taste stuck to my upper palate and I couldn't get rid of it for hours. It literally gave me a headache it was so bad. It had a delicate taste of old gravy, mixed with the tingly popping of carbonation--and then there was a weird funk that I'm unsure if it was the tang of tofu or what, but I was tasting and smelling the stuff for hours. It took gargling, drinking a lot of diet soda, and finally a chocolate dessert to overcome to taste.

Several other people tried it and all had about the same reaction. One person actually took a second sip, which astounded me. Most people, though, would sniff it and refuse to even try it. Freakin' pansies!

Really, it was fun to try--even if I did feel like gagging for several hours afterward. Maybe my grandfather's vegan girlfriend would like it.

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If my dad is able to pay off my fall tuition like he said he wants to, then I'll be able to register for spring classes.

If that happens, I still have to do a financial aid appeal to see if I can get my loans back for spring.

If I can't, I'll be in this exact same situation at the end of May, with a big tuition bill to pay off--but one more semester ahead.

If I don't take classes in the spring, I'll be getting a second job to pay off my tuition bill.

If I get a second job, at least I won't be freaked and panicking about money all the time.

If
I get an A in French, a B in ancient history, a B in creative writing, and a C in modern history, my GPA will be out of the danger zone. I won't be dismissed or even on probation anymore.

If that doesn't happen, if I only get a C in ancient history (quite borderline right now), then I'll have to do an academic dismissal appeal. That shouldn't be a problem since I'd only be .02 below the cutoff. But there's no guarantee.

But if I get academically dismissed, and if my appeal is rejected, I have no idea what I'm going to do. Of course I'm going to try as hard as I can to avoid that, but a 96 on my ancient history final is a tall order with this particular professor. So who knows what's going to happen.

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(I'm being paid to promote penis jewelry. I think that's awesome.)

Come on, you know you want to check it out. You know you're curious about Penis Jewelry.

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I went to the midnight showing of New Moon last night; my thoughts are here if you're interested. I did some homework afterward and finally made it to bed around six this morning. I promptly started having a ridiculous dream. I don't remember all of it, just that I was watching New Moon--but not the real movie. It had all the right characters, but it was a totally different storyline. There was some weird thing about Edward being in danger, and to save his life Bella had to have sex with Jacob--it was some sort of Anita Blake-esque magic thing.

It was really detailed, like different camera angles and music and deliberate shots of Taylor Lautner's rippling muscles (just like in the real movie). And in my dream I was watching this rather graphic scene where Jacob was essentially raping Bella, and thinking to myself "Well, that's really anti-feminist, to be eroticizing rape like that!"

I can't even relax and enjoy brain candy in my sleep, apparently.

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(A brief sponsored post.)

I don't know, but if you're looking for sql server backup, there you go.

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It's almost midnight, and I'm in a theater. I'm supporting the circus that is New Moon. I have a fair amount of contempt for myself for this. With Harry Potter I felt only sheer geeky delight, but with this Twilight stuff I feel vaguely ashamed.
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Several posts ago, I wrote about my glasses vanishing and about Mister escaping. Well, I found my glasses again--by stepping on them in the middle of my room floor. They absolutely were not there yesterday--I walked across that same patch of floor twice to fill my humidifier. It's possible a cat was playing with them, but that still doesn't explain how they vanished from between my bed and my vanity. Still, I'm glad to have them back--even though they are slightly bent from stepping on them.

And Mister was out again when I got home. I know I closed the door--I checked it. It's either ghostly activity or my third charity case animal, the big dog, got the door open with her teeth somehow. I wouldn't put it past her, she's a very smart puppy, but the door handle doesn't have fresh scratches or slobber on it. Still, I might sprinkle cayenne pepper on it before I leave tomorrow night just in case!

I really hope I don't have to take care of a litter of kittens. I don't think I will--Isolde's not acting like she's in heat. And the obsessive dog's attention probably kept him from getting too close to anybody--she's just freaking determined to sniff him, keeps rooting around under him and whining at him. So hopefully there won't be any kittens.

He is getting along with the other cats better though--Isolde isn't obsessive, luckily, and her sister is just very curious (that's her in this picture). They're just so damned cute.

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(A message from good old DirecTV.)

When I was about five, my family had satellite television. Of course, that was 1986, so that meant we had an absolutely giant satellite dish in our back yard. Now that I think about it, it couldn't have been all that big, but I was little, so it seemed that way. I remember wanting to crawl up in it and sit.

I'm glad dishes now are much smaller--and cheaper. My current dish is small enough I can pick it up and carry it around if needed. My dad's is even smaller; he has satellite Directv at his house, which is up in the mountains, and his service has been great. I think he's had to brush the snow off the dish once or twice, but it's still a lot clearer reception than I would have expected up in the hills.

My service at home is different, but my dad does seem to have a lot more channels with Direct TV than I have here. Of course, he's probably got one of their fancy sports packages, and I know he's got Showtime and HBO too. I've thought about switching, but my current service is just awfully forgiving of my irregular payment history (plus I used to work for them, so I have some residual loyalty!). But if you're looking for a good satellite TV package, including HD channels, then based on my experiences with my dad's service DirectTV is worth checking out.

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A couple of months ago, one of my friends asked me if I wanted to go see Anthony Bourdain. I didn't know who she was talking about. She said he was a chef and did the show "No Reservations"--I recognized the title but still didn't know anything about it, and certainly didn't understand what a chef was going to do in a theater. I also didn't want to spend $70 on it.

Well, yesterday somebody else found out that she couldn't go, so she gave me her ticket. I'm glad, too; it was a lot of fun! I'm going to have to read his books and start watching his show, he was absolutely hilarious. I even went up to the mike and asked a question, and managed to embarrass my friends in the process. It was great.

I was also checked out by several guys--including one who was super obvious about it. That was a nice ego boost. It's been so long since I wore anything other than work clothes or t-shirts that I forgot that tends to happen when I wear low-cut things.

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(A sponsored post.)

One reason I'm glad I don't think I'll ever get married is because of the sheer amount of scheduling and arranging and details and stuff. I've seen enough people go through insane stress over floor charts, dress fittings, caterers, etc. etc. If I ever do decide to get married, it'll be a limited affair for sure.

One thing that I don't think will be an issue regardless of wedding size is what shoes to wear. I'd wear something really simple, because if you have a traditional wedding dress, nobody can see your fancy bridal shoes anyway. Of course, I have a hard time walking in heels! I also wouldn't necessarily do plain white shoes--maybe some bright blue or saucy red shoes. Oooh, or some super saucy shiny copper shoes! Zappos has some really cute wedding shoes, both flats and heels--I actually want some of them just to have them to wear normally. Like a nice pair of purple heels.

This is why I don't browse stuff online often--I just get a severe case of jealousy. Even though I'm not looking for shoes for a bride, I'm impressed with Zappos' selection of shoes. Everything from white to red to black to dyeable, in flats and heels and sandals and slippers. They're even in their own category--"bridal shoes". I didn't know that was a category, I guess I thought women just went and bought non-specific shoes.

That's the second new thing I've learned today (the first was that someone I've known for over a year used to be engaged). Quelle surprise.

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My first class got out thirty minutes early, plus I have an hour gap between classes. So i'm sitting in the student center, rather bored actually. I actually forgot to stick a book in my backpack, which is nuts for me. But Jean Plaidy's "Royal Road To Fotheringhay" isn't captivating me, so I managed to forget it at home.

I'm going to work on a French assignment in a few minutes, but right now I'm just listening to Eric Clapton and watching the crowds of people. I've been at a university for long enough that most people's get-ups don't even register. There was a guy in full anarchist punk gear on the bus the other day, and I was just trying to figure out where I knew one of his symbols on his pants from. But every once in a while, I see somebody who I just feel bad for, because I feel like I'm looking at myself in middle school.

This girl just walked by who had a lot of individually interesting pieces on. Her coat was really cool, a full length trench in black and white checkerboard. But under it was a red and white splatter pattern polyester blouse--with one of those huge stupid puffs of ribbon at the throat. Big as her head, this mass was protruding from her open coat like a chest burster. Then she was wearing a skirt of some kind, with leggings underneath. Are the 80s back and no one told me? Because if so, I'm so on that shit.

The crowning glory of the ensemble, though, was her shoes. Red patent leather clogs ... With ballerina-like ribbons wound up along her calves. Think I'm done? Oh no. They also were wooden platforms, about three inches high. And strangest of all, the back bottom of the heel on both shoes was cut out, like those old geisha kind of shoes--but on the heel end.

I think she was wearing a hat of some kind too, but my brain refused to absorb any more of this mess. It's like the girl in my French class who wears pastel plaid short-shorts with neon piss yellow tights--I have to pretend not to see or my brain might start smoking.

Where the hell are Stacey and Clinton when these people are out scarring retinas?
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Two nights ago when I came home from work, my living room light was on. Which was weird--I know it wasn't on, because I checked. But things like that happen around here all the time, I'm sure I have a ghost in my house. It scared me a couple of weeks ago, actually--I was just sitting here and I suddenly hear a voice coming out of my spare room. It sounded like a little old lady, sort of croaking "Hello?" I've read in books about getting goosebumps from fear, or feeling like your hair is standing on end, but I've never experienced it before that night. I wanted to run screaming, but I sat and pretended to ignore it--figured the more attention I pay to the ghost, the more it'll bug me.

A lot of random crap still happens, though; and last night was a prime example of that. Yesterday morning I was awoken by the clatter of my glasses falling behind my bed, courtesy of one of my cats. Last night when I was getting ready for bed, I went to retrieve them. I could see my glasses, between my bed and my vanity. I know they were there; I could see them, but I couldn't reach them. I got my handy bamboo back scratching stick and was using it to slide my glasses out of the crack between furniture .... and suddenly, they weren't there. I thought at first they'd just slid under the vanity, so I prepared to move the whole thing. I dragged my old horse's saddle out from under the vanity, took my lamp and iPod speaker off the top of it, and started edging it forward.

I ended up dragging the thing all the way out from the wall, feeling under it, looking under it .... and my glasses are just gone. WTF? They literally disappeared. My bed is directly on the floor, no frame, so they couldn't slide under there. They're just gone. I'm sure most people reading this are going to think I'm just dumb or crazy, but I swear. A lot of other bizarre things have happened too.

So when I came home last night and could see from outside that there was a light on, I thought it was just another random screwy occurrence. Nope. The bathroom door was open, meaning Mister had been out mingling with the population for god knows how long (and the dogs had gotten in his litter box and I had a huge mess to clean up off the floor). I don't think Isolde is in heat--she's not acting like it--but I'm not sure how cats' ovulation cycles run, so I'm going to have to watch her and see if she starts getting fatter. Goddamn it.

I must not have shut the door all the way when I left, and then one of the dogs nosed it open. I've got to get Mister's nuts cut off so this doesn't happen again--it's just a matter of finding the time, which I probably won't be able to for another few weeks. See, there's a place that'll do it for $15--but I have to drop him off an hour away at seven in the morning and pick him up at three, so it's going to have to wait until I have a full day off. And if I'm going to make that trip, I might as well cough up another $25 and get Isolde spayed on the same day.

God I hope I'm not going to have kittens. I love 'em, they're squishy and adorable, but so not what I need right now.

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This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Sponsored Tweets. All opinions are 100% mine.


A couple of months ago, I wrote about sponsored Tweeting. It's similar in concept to sponsored blogging (hello!), but with the delightful brevity of a Tweet. I signed up doing the beta phase, and even though I only have around 100 followers, I've had four opportunities. I'm sure if you have more followers you get a lot more opportunities.

It's ridiculously easy--you sign up for sponsored tweets, during which you give the Izea application permission to access your Twitter account. Then, when there's a paid tweeting opp, you get a direct on Twitter. You don't have to go searching for things, or make bids--the system automatically brings them to you. In the direct message there'll be a link; you follow that link on to the Social Spark Sponsored Tweets page, and get some information. I've had one opp where I just had to re-tweet a pre-written line, and three where I wrote one with certain information. Then you click "tweet this", and the application will automatically tweet it for you at some point.

So far I've only made $4 on sponsored tweets--but that's $4 for about one minute of "work". It's enough for a gallon of milk or a pint of my new favorite ice cream (Ben & Jerry's American As Apple Pie--yum!), and it's sort of fun too.

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I know I shouldn't keep him, but every time he butts his nose against my cheek and licks my face I just don't know how I can give him away! Plus it seems too odd and almost like I'm supposed to have him--if I hadn't met a friend at a bar, and then given her a ride to her other friend's house, and then stayed there and had a glass of wine, I wouldn't have run in to my neighbor and I wouldn't have known this cat even existed. And I said it's weird and destined because I almost never, ever go out like that! And I didn't have a reason to. I wasn't bored; I didn't want to drink; I had plenty of other stuff to do; I just sort of went. It was weird.

Anyway, I still don't know what to name him. I've just been calling him Mister for now. I was thinking of naming him Tristan, because he's not neutered and my cat Isolde isn't spayed, and they are not allowed to make babies dammit! But it doesn't fit him. My friends and coworkers keep suggesting things like Morris, Chester, or Oliver, but those just aren't him either.

I was also thinking about Rhys, just because I like it; or Haven, which is a werelion out of the Anita Blake books. But I just don't know.

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I probably shouldn't laugh at this, but I do every time. I think it's the little tinkling bicycle bell that does it.

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(A sponsored post. But I still freaking love the purple jacket.)

My mom used to hang out with a lot of bikers, and way back in the day my dad had a Harley. I have a very faint, distant memory of riding on the back of a bike when I was very little--just on the rural road in my front of my grandparents' house, but to me it was an amazing thrill. I've always thought that some day I might get a motorcycle. When that day comes, I'll know where to get that jacket and assorted other bike stuff--helmets, seats, whatever a knee puck is ....

Of course, I'm a big pansy, so if I do get a bike I'll be covered head-to-toe in leather and some ridiculously high-grade helmet. I'm sure I'd look rather hilarious rolling down in the street in that girly purple jacket, with some flame-covered helmet from hjc motorcycle helmets. Or arai motorcycle helmets has some pretty spiffy designs. AGV Motorcycle Helmets seem to be good too, from the little bit I've read about them. They're all very sleeky and shiny and look like something out of a Fast and the Furious movie.

Actually, I'm such a pansy I'll probably never get on a motorcycle, but I can dream.

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A friend of mine runs a business, and she had asked me if I might be interested in doing some online marketing stuff for her. We talked about it last week, briefly; but I was at somebody else's house and one of our other friends was slightly drunk and kept yelling in to the phone. And then I put off calling her back because I felt insecure. After all, I don't really know what I'm doing! I'm not a professional, I just screw around on Twitter and stuff.

And then I realized I was being stupid. She's not expecting massive, insane results--she just wants to try out social marketing. Which I can do--and did do, in fact, for another business of hers last month. But that was just for fun--the idea of making it formal scared me. It's a remnant of insecurity, and something I've struggled with before.

When I got my first retail job, I was terrified--because I was hired as a keyholder, something I'd never done before, in addition to never having sold clothes before. To this day I'm not entirely sure why the woman hired me--oh wait, because she as semi-desperate and because she has a knack for hiring people who will take on her work for her. Of course, that went great--I was really amazing at that job, and had things gone differently I might still be working for that company.

Unfortunately, they passed me over for a promotion twice, and in a fit of pique I applied at the store across the aisle from us. I wasn't expecting to get a call for an interview for an assistant manager position. Once I did, I certainly wasn't expecting to be hired. And once I was offered the job, I was once again ridiculously nervous. None of it was beyond me, but I was afraid I'd fail. And that's what it all boils down to: like everybody else in the world, I hate to fail. I've failed at enough things in my life, why add to the pile?

Of course, that's a very pessimistic view, and would keep me from ever doing anything. I realized that a few years ago, and some of the decisions I've made have been specifically so that I don't let fear of failure ruin my life. And this needs to be another of them. I haven't figured out yet how much I want to be paid, but I have a list of ideas to sit down and talk to her about, and then I may have a freelance social marketing gig.

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I opened this window with the clear thought that I was going to write something, but damned if I can remember what it was!

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(A quick sponsored post.)

One reason I pay for cable is because of the difficulty in finding my shows online (The other is that I like to have the television on while I do stuff). It's a pain in the rear to go searching on dinner channels' sites to see if they have episodes, or go searching the Internet for other sites. So I pretty much don't bother with it. But I might start utilizing free TV online if I can find things a little more easily. Spreety.com is a sort of index site of legal places to view television shows.

The first thing I typed in was Nip/Tuck, but I was disappointed to find only clips. (This was the first year since the show started that I didn't watch the premier and every week thereafter--but I'd have to increase my cable package. I might see when they're having a marathon of the season and bump it up just for that one day!) Then I tried Ugly Betty, and that linked me to the CBS website where they have episodes. And I could watch full episodes of Days of Our Lives too, if I had the patience anymore to figure out what's going on!

Every show I could think of popped up and had a link to one place or another to see it, it's a pretty cool gateway site.

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One week left before fall break, and then there are two weeks of classes after that. Then I have two days of finals, and this semester is over. That's kind of a terrifying thought, actually. I've got a lot to do before then. I also don't know if I'll be going to school next semester or waiting until fall. Or, hell, if I'll be going back at all--one of my grades is right on the edge of what I need, if I have an attack of nerves and bomb the final my GPA will be just barely below what I need to stay. And I don't actually know what my French grade is right now, haven't been given an update in a month or so. I can do an appeal, and you'd think a difference of .02 would be acceptable, but ... well, we'll see. Hopefully it won't even be an issue.

In three of my classes, I have a writing assignment and a final left to go. In one I have another quiz; in one I have daily homework and a cultural event to go to. In my fourth class, I have a poetry portfolio, two reading write-ups to do, and daily stuff. And, of course, I have my usual 30-40 hours of work a week, and stress about the fact that that isn't actually paying my bills anyway.

One more month. One more month, and then I'll know if I'm going back for spring semester, or fall; if I'm getting a regular job; or what the hell I'm doing.

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A girl in my creative writing class insisted on talking to me as I was walking down the hallway after class; apparently the headphones weren't enough of a signal. She asked how I was liking the class, and I was honest and told her I don't like poetry. I used to, but now I feel like I might as well just say what I want in prose. I said that I felt stupid writing poetry. Her response was, "I used to, too. Then I found Emily Dickinson, and my life was changed. I just said screw the rules!"

Right, because that's unique.

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People roll my eyes every time I use the word fat to describe myself. It drives me crazy, because no matter how I used it, they make one of those "you are not" gestures, or tell me not to be mean to myself. And every time I tell them, "I'm not being mean. I'm fat. I'm also short, blonde, and hilarious. I'm not any of the stereotypes that go with it, but I am fat."

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My neighbor has been evicted; he's spent the last 12+ hours clearing out his house and packing a trailer. He was supposed to be out by midnight, but it's 4:20 a.m., and I can still hear him bumping around on the other side of the wall. I talked to him tonight and he's moving out of state, to where his girlfriend lives. Unfortunately, he has two cats and his girlfriend is allergic. One he's found a home for. The other he asked if I wanted, or if I knew somebody, because otherwise he'll take him to the pound.

I need another cat like a damn hole in the head. I need another cat like I needed another dog. I really cannot take any more stray animals in--I'm already over the limit, buried in pet hair, and without enough attention to spread out to the five I have. I don't know anybody who wants another cat; my family members are all full up on pets and/or don't like cats. I haven't heard any of my friends talking about wanting a cat. If I go knock on his door and take in this cat to try to find him a home, the chances of me actually finding him a home are ridiculously low.

But ... how can I just let a poor innocent kitty go to the pound? I know how many cats end up in the pound, and I know how many never leave it alive. The shelters do the best they can, of course. And I can't save every animal in the world. And I need to not be such a soft-hearted idiot and take problems on to myself.

But since talking to my neighbor two and a half hours ago, I've thought of almost nothing else. It kills me to think of a cat I might be able to save being dumped in a shelter and living in a little box.

Just typing this crap out just made me crack. I went next door and took the cat. He's not neutered, and one of my girls isn't spayed, so I have to keep him isolated. They'd make pretty babies, but that's just not something I need to be dealing with right now. In fact, I don't need to be dealing with any of this right now, but .... yeah. I'll see if anybody I know wants him; if they don't, I'll take him to the no-kill foundation a few towns over.

But right now, I have another cat. FML.

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(Brought to you by la lettre D, as in Direct TV for Business.)

Everybody knows that the economy these days sucks, and every business in the world is trying to figure out ways to keep people coming in and spending their money. Some are doing it by slashing prices--like restaurants and their "3 for $20" deals--to try to get people in the door. Others are trying to play up their amazing customer service to hold on to people, and some and some are trying quirky, weird promotions.

But really, what works better than the standard: television. One way businesses might consider keeping existing customers happy is with the glory of television, with Direct TV for Business. According to their website, 90% of Direct TV Business subscribers think that having television helps to increase their business. I can see that; I know when I go in to places with a tv I tend to at least stop and look. Unless sports are on.

I don't personally have DirecTV, but my dad does at his house in the mountains, and his reception is always great. Also, the place I work at has Commercial Direct TV --and in three years I've seen a service problem exactly once, on a night where the entire state was getting snowed in. Even then, brushing the snow off the dish fixed the problem. From what I've seen, Directv Business service is quite reliable--and of course, they offer all sorts of special sports channel packages. That's great for businesses during this time of year, what with the hockey and the football and the basketball and I don't even know what else is on this time of year!

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My neighbor is frantically clearing out his house because he's been evicted. I'm terrified that's going to happen to me. It's not like I'd be out on the street, I have family; but it's still a frightening idea.

I've paid my rent this month, with a lot of help. I'm already worrying about December, though, especially since there's about $250 in bills I've let slide for several months and as such will have to pay this month. It's really nerve-wracking, because I've already paid my rent late three times this year--I don't know if they'll let me renew my lease again as it is, and finding a new place with my pets is not so easy. Finding a new place without a down payment isn't so easy, is more accurate.

I'm doing everything I can to make ends meet; I'm working as much as I can, with school and such. I'm writing paid blog posts when I have the chance (though those won't pay out for 30 days, so that's more looking forward to December, and they're minimal anyway). I'm selling things on ebay, which will probably make or break me this month. If I can sell enough stuff, and work enough hours, maybe I can start the month of December even instead of spending the first weekend still trying to make up what my checking account is short.

Here's hoping.

ETA: I forgot to mention that I have a potential freelancing job lined up, doing social/viral marketing for a wedding planner, and possibly for a haunted house run by a local company. Thing is, I have absolutely no idea what pay to request, nor do I truly know what I'm doing in that area. I just sort of stumbled in to helping a friend with the haunted house thing, and then she asked if I'd be interested in helping with the wedding planning business and possibly with the haunted house in a more formal way next year. I'd better start doing some research.

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My phone rang while I was at work yesterday, and it was an area code from a couple of towns over. I thought it might be my dad's friend who's setting up most of his birthday party, but I didn't have time then to answer it anyway. When I had a moment to check my voicemail, I got a nice shock. My dad's girlfriend, who I've never met, has my phone number and was wanting me to get together with her.

Let's see here. You used to screw my dad while he was married to my mom, I didn't even know of your existence until a week ago, you're pretty much no-one to me .... so why are you calling me again?

I haven't called her back. I'll have to, or it'll hurt my dad's feelings, but god damn, I do not want to talk to this woman.

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I am not a fan of Taylor Swift. I think her voice is annoying; I think her songs' subject matter is juvenile; and I am so freaking sick of hearing her songs! I think at work every night I hear four of them.

Unfortunately, the fact that I generally dislike her music doesn't stop her songs from getting lodged in my brain. Freaking ohrworms. I've had "Love Story" stuck in my head for what feels like weeks now. It's a pleasant enough sounding song; it's very poppy and catchy and all. I don't exactly hate it, but I don't really like it either. There are a lot of reasons; like the fact that it's crazy naive, for one thing.

But it also makes me giggle. First of all, anybody who uses Romeo and Juliet as a romantic ideal is just being lazy. And incorrect, really. Then mix that with a prince and princess metaphor--really?But this is the stanza that I really just love:

'Cause you were Romeo,
I was a scarlet letter
And my daddy said stay away from Juliet
But you were everything to me
I was begging you please don't go

That one line tossed in about a "scarlet letter" just adds whole hilarious depths to it. Suddenly this light-hearted teenage love is something adulterous and shameful! But wait--maybe it's just her, something about her will shame him and make him a societal outcast forever. Hilarious.

Yeah, I know I'm overthinking it!

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(This sponsored post brought to you by Tutorvista.com. And possibly the letter M.)

In my long (long, long, long) career as a student, there have been three subjects that I just couldn't wrap my brain around right away. The first was algebra, in seventh grade. I still think that was partially the teacher, though--he was a very intelligent man, who couldn't explain things worth a damn. Or maybe my adolescent brain just wasn't ready to deal with the abstract concepts, because I passed it just fine the following year. The third was biochemistry at the college level, and I'm still not sure why I couldn't wrap my brain around it.

The second was trigonometry my senior year of high school (and by extension physics). Two years later when I took it at my university, in a largely self-taught class, it clicked. But that physics class was the first class I ever failed, and it was devastating to my self-esteem. Of course, I was so stubborn I didn't ask for help; I just dropped the class in the middle of the semester.

Had I thought about it, I might've had the sense to get some math help. Instead, I kept going to class and not understanding, pounding my head against the wall and getting nowhere. Partially, it was because I was embarrassed to talk to my teacher or ask any of my classmates for help. And even though I was a computer nerd, I didn't even think to look for online math help. Actually, that's a theme that's repeated; I was too proud to look for a biochem tutor last semester, or an online math tutor when I was in high school. Which is really too bad, since I was on the computer every possible waking minute anyway so maybe I would have passed the class, and wouldn't have to deal with the fact that the teacher comes in to my restaurant and still remembers me.

Now, of course, I'm done with science and math classes--since I changed my degree, I don't have to worry about the evil biochem anymore--but if I were to struggle in another class, I think Tutorvista would be super useful. They charge $99.99 a month, but that gives you unlimited access to tutoring in all their subjects--which includes biology, chemistry, physics, English, and ten math categories. It's like one-stop-shopping for online math tutoring. It's a pretty cool concept, actually; and they offer a demo, so you can get some free online math tutoring and see how you like the platform.

Tutorvista does K-12, college tutoring, prep for AP exams, and back-to-school tutoring as well. The monthly package lets you study any of the subjects, 24/7 with a live tutor. They have an interactive window for writing out equations, so it's not all an indecipherable chat window. And they've got that free demo, so if you're struggling with a subject, head over for some free online math help and see how you like it!

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I love my classes, but between a full course load and full time job, I don't have time to do jack anymore for fun. I haven't baked anything since the beginning of September, and my coworkers are complaining about that, believe me. I'm behind on my blog reading, which sucks since I love reading other peoples' blogs; and I haven't been commenting as much when I do read. I've read a few non-school books, but not nearly as much as I used to. I haven't taken my dogs for a walk in a while; I haven't worked on my cross-stitch (yeah, I have old lady hobbies); I haven't been to a movie in ages or really done anything. I'm behind on housework and laundry; I'm behind on ebaying things; I'm not 100% on top of my studying stuff either, but I'm hanging on.

But I'm also crazy, which is why I dared to take on NaNoWriMo despite all that. And that was probably a bad idea. I'm 11,000 words behind at this point, which is just ridiculous. I have written a bit every day, but it comes in so far down my list of priorities that it's only averaged out to about 500 words a day.

Part of it, part of why I'm behind in general, is that I'm not very linear when it comes to completing tasks. This blog entry has been open for half an hour, because I've wandered off to gather stuff to ebay, or to fill my humidifier, or whatever. If I could learn to keep myself in one place, I'm sure I'd get a lot more done, but it's not how my brain works I guess.

It used to work that way--I'd sit in one place for hours, reading or writing or whatever, almost never moving. Now it seems like every fifteen minutes or so I have to get up and do something else or even just wander into another room and come right back. I'm not sure what caused this--maybe it's a by-product of the multitasking necessary for waitressing? Maybe it's a result of habitually working multiple jobs, so I'm just used to my time being broken up into fragments of differing tasks?

It's probably also because my schedule is so varied--I go in to work at a different time every day, I get off work at a different time every day, my classes vary from day to day ... actually, I guess it's completely understandable that my attention is so fragmented.

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For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to get a a tattoo "someday". I used to think I'd get one when I hit 18--and I probably would have, but my ex was tremendously bothered by tattoos, and since I hadn't found something that really seemed like something I wanted, I didn't go ahead with it. I still haven't figured out what I want, although I'm pretty sure that at some point I'll get one. I've thought about a Sagittarius symbol of some kind, but I haven't found one that was perfect yet. Although this one is pretty cool--not quite my style though.

I'm not sure why a Sag symbol seems appropriate; I'm not really all that in to astrology. Maybe it's because of the centaur--since I love horses and mythical stuff. I also like Celtic designs--I love the triquetra, but I'd kind of feel stupid getting a triquetra tattoo since I first saw it on "Charmed"! But maybe if it were worked into a different design.

I guess it's strange that I know that I want a tattoo, but I don't know what I want. I think it's because it's a sort of family tradition. My mom and her siblings and her mother all have tattoos, and I've always thought they were just beautiful.

Oh wow. I was just browsing around through different sites, and came across some about tattoo removal. I never really thought much about it--just like you shouldn't get married thinking you'll get divorced, you shouldn't get a tat thinking you'll have it removed. But I didn't realize how amazing the laser removal technology has gotten. I've seen some people with big shiny scars from old-school tattoo removals, but I guess it can be almost totally removed now with no marks left.

I guess I was thinking of dermabrasion, with the big shiny scars, as opposed to that new-fangled laser removal. I found the picture on the right at the website for a Los Angeles dermatology clinic called Celibre--you can still see a very faint outline, but there's no scarring or anything, it's crazy how complete the removal is. (As an aside, it looks like they do good work at that place, so if you're looking for tattoo removal Los Angeles, there you go.)

Of course, I don't plan to ever have a tattoo removed, but it's interesting anyway. And has reminded me of a post I wrote last year about the perception of women with tattoos as tramps.

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This is freaking hilarious! Excellent satire. I think this is my favorite part:


"Sorry to you Hillary Clinton and the entire women’s rights movement, but according to the bible you are “[not permitted to teach], nor to have dominion over a man, but to be in quietness”. In other words, the Bible says you need to shut the fuck up. That is unless, of course, you’re a dirty wicked sinner. Then you can be president all you want."

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Usually when I'm on Facebook, I'm totally blind to the ads. I'm so used to ridiculous ads that pull up my friends' profile pictures, or use scantily clad models, or at just freaking weird, that I just ignore them. Except when all my ads start showing up Norwegian--that is hilarious.

This particular add caught my eye, though, simply because the text on it was very oddly written. If it was a ploy, it worked: I stopped and looked at it, and eventually determined that the weirdly written word was "extravagance". But I also noticed the other end of the ad:

At first I thought that her shirt was just billowing up, but then I saw the bust definition. Seriously, her boobs are bigger than her head! It's ridiculous. When I saw the ad, and on a subsequent page another one for the same game, the first thing I thought was "Looks just like the Evony ads." I did a search, and chances are that Kingston is basically the same scammy game.

Since I'm not a gamer, I don't really know much about it, but the idiocy and blatant "BEWBSBEWBSBEWBS" tactics of their ads really aggravates me.

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