Tag Archives: everyone is stupid

Searching for Consciousness

I was going to break my social media ban to tweet these today but a ban is a ban so I am posting here. (Anything that involves opening Twitter is banned. Blogging is fine.)

Item 1 is this article that was in the NYT food section and caused me to almost sprain myself from the full body shudders of WTF?

It’s hard to pull the best quotes when the entire thing is best quotes but here you go:

“…glass orbs containing 2.5 gallons of what is billed as “raw water” — unfiltered, untreated, unsterilized spring water, $36.99 each and $14.99 per refill…”

“He said ‘real water’ should expire after a few months. His does. “It stays most fresh within one lunar cycle of delivery,” he said. “If it sits around too long, it’ll turn green. People don’t even realize that because all their water’s dead, so they never see it turn green.””

And here is an opposite article — a really good one about great progress with Native voting rights, also from the NYT:

“[I]n late December, after a federal judge ruled that San Juan County’s longtime practice of packing Navajo voters into one voting district violated the United States Constitution, the county was ordered to draw new district lines for local elections.”

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RadioShack Is Finished

Once when Bob and I were in Germany, we went to visit this castle at the end of the day. The ticket office was closing as we walked up and the clerk came out and waved his arms at us and hollered: The castle is finished!

That sentence construction is still our favorite.

I can’t recall a pleasant experience in a RadioShack, well, ever. How did it even last as long as it did?

I went into that shop in the last couple of years and it was one of my most unpleasant retail experiences in recent memory. I think they were really into micromanagement? Some person in charge pretended to do something while narrating everything the clerk was supposed to be doing while he was helping me. It was awful and I’m not sad to see them go.

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When Did the Clothes Get So Complicated?

The elastic in my exercise top is about 90% dead so I was in the market for a new one. Why do all the tops have such a goofy strap configuration? And trust me, these aren’t even the goofiest ones.

These are from at least 4 different online stores and each store has zillions of examples. I could post these all afternoon.

I have had two tops with much simplified versions of the goofy straps and I hated them. After you wash them you have to spend 15 minutes unraveling the straps. Or if traffic is messed up and you get to class 2 minutes before it starts and you’re rushing to change clothes — those straps are going to be all tangled together and inside out.

I went to a generic department store thinking: I don’t need to have something cute. Just a plain old exercise top will be fine. I couldn’t even find one of those. It was all cropped things. I’m not going to exercise with my gut hanging out — even in the privacy of my own home. I’m sticking with the old for now until I have time to do more research.

In other news I made a huge miscalculation. I’ve been dealing with bedding. I bought a new comforter since the old one is all flimsy with the feathers bunched in the corners. Since the weather cooled off I decided to swap the sheets out. I dug the flannel duvet out and last spring I bought new fleece sheets on sale. I washed and fluffed and had everything airing out on the couch to put on the bed today.

Except the weather is supposed to get into the 80s this week and I don’t want to crawl into my fleece bed with a flannel-covered down comforter after an 80 degree day. I had to do some creative folding and cramming to get it all put away for another week or two. That new comforter is fluffy.

Pen name’s book is finally available in paperback. You can get it at giant online retailer here. Or from Createspace (Technically, still giant online retailer) here. If you buy books from other sources you should be able to order the paperback version using pen name and title.

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That Time I Complained About Computers

Remember when we used to buy software in giant boxes filled with disks? And the books were always huge — like it was a rule you couldn’t print a book about a computer program unless it was 1200 pages.

I was planned to do an update yesterday and complain about some different people who are doing it wrong but I ran out of time and energy and now I have to complain about a brand new aggravation.

Wasn’t I just talking about how I had to jump through a bunch of hoops to pay for something and How was this easier than writing a check? I don’t think I ever got around to typing it out.

In our latest version, I just got my property tax bill and instead of doing my regular thing where I keep putting off paying it and then panicking, thinking I forgot to pay it, I thought I would pay right this minute.

I changed banks and I’m trying to get with modern life and transition away from writing checks. My tax bill said they have a partnership with a web company and I can pay for free. I signed in, put in my property bill info and received an error message that my account/name/something don’t match and I can’t go forward.

Rather than flog myself trying to fix it, I looked at the bill to check my alternatives. I can log into the government tax website and pay either a $1 for an echeck for a percentage of the bill as a debit. I don’t know what the difference is but I thought I could figure it out once I got the process started.

I got an error message that the page isn’t working and try again later.

The whole point is to do it now and not worry about doing it later. So I went and dug out my brand new checks from new bank that I have never used. On the top of the checkbook it says: before you use, verify that the information on the checks is correct. So I log into the website to double check my account number and the routing number.

They are in the process of updating their system so I could not find my routing number. The FAQ explained how to check like you would with the old interface that they don’t have anymore or I could just look at my checks.

Picture me giving the computer a withering look.

In the end I used my taxes to verify the routing number.

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Everyone Is Stupid

Earlier this year I organized our bag collection. We have grocery bags and tote bags and reusable bags and bags full of bags. If my goal was to have the most bags, I would be so happy.

I always feel bad bitching about my health insurance because I know so many people struggle with health care but I feel like my healthcare’s stupidity contributes to the problem.

My plan has a wellness program and I’m not completely sure how it works. The website is confusing to navigate and the information mostly incomprehensible. Sometimes when I login they tell me to complete a survey to get money I can use for health care. So I tell them that I eat salad and exercise.

They sent me a card and told me it had money on it. I didn’t need any health care at that time so I didn’t use it. Then I had a prescription, but I forgot about the card so I didn’t use it.

I did another program where I had to login, and go through multiple levels of authentication every day, to tell them I exercised. You know what? I exercise all the time and I really resent spending 10 minutes a day logging into a website to “prove” it. They put more money on my card. I understand I can also do a diabetes thing and a few things that aren’t applicable like have a baby or quit smoking.

I did some physical therapy earlier this year and used the card for my co-pays. Great, I guess this thing works.

Then I had a general physical which I didn’t think I needed since I am perfectly healthy but they were super aggressive about scheduling so I did it. (Do a search for “Do I need an annual physical?” and let me know if you come up with anything that says, OMG-yes, because I don’t think you will.)

And they did a whole bunch of tests because of course they do. And I got a bill because some of them weren’t covered. I went to the clinic to pay my bill and I thought I had a few bucks left on my “wellness” card so I asked them to try that and it covered the whole thing.

Huh. Okay.

TODAY — I got a letter in the mail asking me to provide all kinds of documentation from my appointment to prove those were covered charges on the wellness card.

Picture me in a rage with flames shooting out of my ears, because honestly, the amount that they covered does not cover the dollar value of my time to comply with their petty request. The card covered charges at the doctor. What else is the “wellness” card for? Not like I bought pizza and hookers – which of course now I wish I did.

If I thought I could go to the clinic and pay for the services and charge back the “wellness card” I would but I am certain that is more trouble than it’s worth so now I’m going to stew on it all weekend and then waste my time dealing with them.

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No One Wants A Check For A Dollar

Here’s a better photo of the front yard tulips. They’re kinda pretty but see photo below.

I’m too lazy to check my archives right now but I bet I have complained at least once a year about how much I hate filling out my Oregon tax form. I have even stated that they could keep their refund if they would exempt me from filling out that form.

I hated it just as much this year as I always do.

Look how beat up these tulips appear, bruised and moldy. Plus their green parts look all mangled.

When all was said and done they owed me $3.

I don’t need $3 plus if they give you a refund you have to calculate it on your next year’s tax form and there’s a place to add it in and then a place to take it out and then a place to add it back in. If there is a complex and ridiculous hoop to make the taxpayer leap through, Oregon is one to do it.

There is the option of donating your refund, but you have to fill out another form. I was so outraged I was going to make them give me the stupid $3 except, come on. I filled out another form.

Apparently I made a rounding error on my tax form which Oregon kindly fixed for me and then sent me a check for $1.

I hardly ever make risotto because I always expect it to be more trouble that it is.

This recipe for risotto with peas and sausage was in the NYT a couple of weeks ago. I’m trying to get the freezer cleaned out so I can defrost it and I had some sausages I wanted to use so this jumped out at me.

It came out fantastic even when I half-assed it. I was in a hurry. I had a soccer match on TV starting up.

If you haven’t made risotto, give it a shot. Even badly done, it’s good.

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The Squirrel Clown Car Continues

I’m sure you’ve been dying to hear how the squirrel story ended.

Me too!

To recap: three little squirrels arrived on Wednesday night.

None of the the things we did previously worked. Everything we did scared them into a little trembling fur ball back in the corner of the fireplace. They would carefully explore the edges of the fireplace but they would not come out.

I tried luring them out with carrot snacks. They weren’t going for it. I threw the carrot snacks in the fireplace when I closed it up Wednesday night. They were going to have to spend the night in there.

Later I told a friend about the carrots and he said: You have pet squirrels now.

On Thursday we all became more comfortable with each other. One of them came out of the fireplace and proceeded to escape the tunnel and explore the living room. Bob scared him and he ran back into the fireplace. Later I watched him go all the way to the front door and peek out. I grabbed the broom and in a split second he was back in the fireplace.

These little guys are dumb.

We went out and got a trap and set it in the fireplace – this was our last resort.

When we woke up this morning they had nibbled at the snacks, sprung the trap and were napping quietly under the grate.

That’s it! We have a life to live. We called an exterminator.

$250 to set the trap plus $100 per animal removed.

Okay, we’ll keep trying on our own.

It seemed like the only way to get them was to put on heavy duty gloves and yank them out — except there are three of them, so we weren’t sure how that was going to work and we weren’t in the mood to get bitten by a squirrel.

Meanwhile, I had called Chris to come over and cover the chimney. I asked him what he thought we should do. He went through all the things that we had already tried. We discussed and discarded some other ideas and settled on the shop vac.

Man, those things make a THWOP! sound when they go through the pipe.

Great news. We got all three. My fireplace was clean. We put them outside. Problem solved.

I cleaned up the giant mess from the tunnel. Vacuumed. Scrubbed everything around the fireplace. Put away all the implements we’d found to try to sweep them out, poke them out, scare them out, scoop them out, squirt them out, loud sound them out. My house was back to normal and I could relax.

Or could I?

Because a half hour later I came into the house to the sound of squeaking and a squirrel in the fireplace.

D’oh! I don’t know why it wasn’t obvious there’s a nest in there and now squirrely is trapped because we screened off the chimney.

We called a different exterminator who said we were doing everything right. Put the trap back in the fireplace. The squirrel has nowhere to go. We can get him.

So I reset the trap. Went outside to do yardwork.

Returned and checked the fireplace.

The peanuts were eaten. The trap wasn’t sprung. The squirrel has torn out huge pieces of the insulation from around the insert.

Like a horror movie, my next note will probably be written while I’m hiding under the bed, cowering from my squirrel overlord.

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The Good News is: I Finally Got A Decent Photo

Remember last Wednesday when traffic was terrible and I was all grumpy when I got home and then I was trying to relax and turned out there was another squirrel in the fireplace?

Oh no, the exact same thing didn’t happen. Yes traffic was terrible and I was all grumpy when I got home.

But this time there were THREE(!) squirrels in the fireplace.

At first I thought it was just 2. Then I opened the fireplace door and hollered, “THERE ARE THREE OF YOU?” and they all hid under the grate.

Nobody won.

Also these guys are squeaky. I’m kinda worried one might be hurt and that’s why they haven’t just ran off. These are also younger. I guess the first one must have put a sign up saying, “Super cool place to visit,” and then fell down the chimney and realized his mistake but didn’t want to go back and change the sign.

I did the whole tunnel and leave them alone routine. Heard nothing. Finally went out and checked and they are (as I write this) all cuddled together in one corner. No idea what the outcome is yet.

I contacted someone about covering the chimney asap. I didn’t realize this was an emergency project although I should have after round 2. I guess I’ll put on more protective clothing and find some leather gloves and see if I can get them out more actively.

I need another glass of wine first.

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I’m With Stupid

You’ll never guess who stopped by again.

I know this is a terrible photo because it captured nothing but it’s supposed to be a picture of the world’s most stupid squirrel crunched up under the fireplace grate.

Bob had a concert ticket and I was looking forward to an evening to myself. I was going to work on a new story idea.

Unfortunately, traffic was a living nightmare and I didn’t get home until late. I decided to do a short exercise class to relax and help with my ongoing back issues.

I was barely 20 minutes in when I heard an amazing racket. It was a squirrel in the fireplace.


There must be something going on up on the roof that makes the chimney seem attractive. We’ve been here for 18 years this month and we’ve never had a squirrel in the fireplace before and now we’ve had 2 in 10 days. Clearly we need to deal with this.


I did the same protocol as before except this time Squirrely would not budge. I tried new things like spraying water in there, shaking the grate, and making loud noises. Squirrely was hunkered down under the grate and wasn’t going to move. I finally left the room. (Meaning — front door open, fireplace open, tunnel built.) I answered email and made my dinner. Did some hand washing in the laundry room.

When I finally checked back I did not see his beady eyes. I shut the fireplace and the front door but left the tunnel in case I’m wrong. I would have preferred to witness his hairy ass hopping out the door but I think we’re in the clear for now and we’ll have to get some sort of squirrel guard for the chimney. And I will have to cash in my quiet evening at home later.

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Survey Says!

I’m generally a pretty laid back customer and it takes a lot for me to be genuinely upset about bad service and I’ve been on a roll with terrible service lately. I’m not going to do a whole laundry list because no one wants to listen to other people complain if they can’t share their own terrible service stories.

Here’s just one: Colleague and I went into a store and we had a bag from a competitor. The proprietor saw it and started lecturing us on why the competitor was no good and told we shouldn’t shop there anymore. I wouldn’t blame him for wanting to convince us to give his products a chance but tsk tsking us was not the way to go. By the time we got out of there we were really peeved.

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