Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Channel drowning

So, the cable company sent me a letter last week saying it was time for the yearly rate hike. In true marketing-smart fashion, though, they said they had an "extra value" offer just for me, because I've been such a good, loyal customer. Basically, they offered exactly one bazillion additional channels (including 16 HBOs, 12 Cinemaxes and about 32 Showtimes) for only $7 more a month. It's a new drug they call "digital cable."

I'll be damned if I could refuse THAT offer.

The caveat is that I'll have to remember to cancel it come January of next year, because that's when the clock strikes midnight and Cinderella turns back into a frog, or however that works...and the rate will skyrocket back to its normal, non-"extra value" rate to something like $80 per month, which is just obscene.

So, after the technician left last night, and I had this new behemoth box humming on top of my television, I started flipping around, checking out the new channels. It's so overwhelming. I'm not channel surfing anymore, I'm channel drowning...but at least I can watch this season of 'The Sopranos.'

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Narcissus in the parking lot

There is a man who works where I work who has a dark blue convertible Audi TT with brown leather interior (complete with contrasting whipstitching). He gets here early enough to park this car in the first spot in the parking lot every morning, and, more often than not, he backs into the space.

For some reason, this car really pisses me off. I haven't been able to pin down why, exactly, but I think it has something to do with how self-aware the car seems to be. Or perhaps it's the owner that's self-aware. But when I look at this car, all I see is Narcissus leaning over the pond, masturbating furiously.

Now, I remember Josh calling me onanistic when I first got Harleybird and would spend a good amount of time washing her. Perhaps that was true, but I don't think it compares. This car is so onanistic, I wouldn't be surprised if it ran on semen rather than gasoline.

The odd thing is, there's a nice British woman here who also has a TT, but it's silver and doesn't piss me off. So, am I color-biased? Am I a car bigot? Or is it that she parks at the end of the lot and pulls into the space nose first? And is it really so wrong that I make myself feel better by intentionally parking my car a little closer to his than necessary (because I get here early too), just to create some sort of surface tension and put the fear of Ding into Narcissus? Such an irrationality to deal with so early in the morning. And I'm not even PMS-ing.

Monday, March 08, 2004

My toilet overfloweth...

I have determined that one of the most maddening, helpless feelings is that of trying to stop an overflowing toilet, and just not being able to.

My house is charming and old, and I'm sure it has lots of stories in its walls. Some of its stories, I think, are so chunky they're clogging up the toilet. I'm not sure if roots have wound their way into the plumbing, or if years of waste removal have gummed up the works, or if I just have cranky pipes, but the toilet loves to overflow. And, perhaps most maddeningly, for no apparent reason.

Now, there are times where you watch for an "overflow situation." You know when there's a big Code Brown in your bowl and you'd better supervise the removal of it. But, when there's nothing but liquid seeking suction down the pipes, you are pretty complacent. See, this is when my toilet bares its teeth and attacks. In my naivete, I will flush and begin to wash my hands and, all of a sudden, I'll realize something doesn't sound right, so I flip up the lid with my dripping hands, and there is the flood, two millimeters from the surface, with no hope for mitigation.

Damn. Shit. Damn. SHIT!

And it flows and flows, merrily trickling down the sides of the bowl, until it (seemingly spontaneously) decides, "Ha-HAH! We have toyed with you enough, it's time to flush now." And the whole bowlful seems to laugh at me as it swooshes oh-so-cooperatively down the drain...and I'm left frantically swiping at the tides with my completely inadequate bathroom rag-rug, swearing like a true pirate who accidentally wiped with the hook. Arrrrrrr....

Wolf in the flock

There's a real gem of a guy in Ruth and Paul's neck of the woods:

"You must give God what He asks," counseled William Thomas Warren, 52. "Pay God, and do it before you pay your monthly bills," advised the self-proclaimed "financial pastor" in Troutville, Va. "If you are willing to do this, the usual result is: your income will gradually increase. Your expenses will miraculously decline." Pretty much the opposite, say prosecutors. Warren is under federal indictment for allegedly operating a classic "Ponzi" fraud scheme which allegedly bilked the faithful out of around $3 million. When officers went to Warren's home to arrest him, they found him hiding in a crawlspace. They also found a pad of paper outlining what Warren thought he should do next: "Move Right Now" because of "Indictment papers plus arrest avoid." (Roanoke Times)