Tag Archives: killing time


Last week I forgot my update on my month of giving up non-essential Internet.

It was brilliant. Why don’t I do this all the time? I don’t know. At the beginning of this month I signed back in and gave up on giving up. Why is it so hard to give up the things we know are bad for us?

I decided to sign back out of everything. I should probably nuke all of my accounts but I can’t decide. I need to recommit to that “non-essential” thing, too but I need my cute animal gifs after I have my lunch and one thing leads to another …

I’m still not clear on how my new DVR works and somehow I have it set up to tape every freaking NCAA gymnastics meet that is aired within my cable package which turns out is 5 or 6 a week. That’s about 3 or 4 more than I can watch. If I keep my the remote in my hands I can power through a meet pretty quickly and whatever I haven’t finished at the end of the week I delete so I can be ready for the fresh batch.

Does anyone out there watch The Magicians? It’s based on the books by Lev Grossman that I would love to re-read if I can ever get back to reading more than one book a month. I had a funny reaction to the books which is that much as I loved them, the whole time I was reading them I kept feeling like I was on the verge of losing my mind but never got there. So yeah, I criticized the books for not being even greater than they were.

We’re in the third season of the TV show and I’ve always liked it but this season is so insanely good I am losing my mind. I don’t keep track of what’s changed from the books since I finished the last book years ago but whatever is going on in the show is working for me. Margo is my idol.

That middle photo is my apple tree stump. I had a guy come over and grind it out so it’s a big hole in the ground waiting for me to plant a new apple tree. I thought I would get to it this weekend but I had some other plans and urgh. I have got to get in the groove with this dang book. I can no longer tell if I’m still panicking or if I’m moving ahead. On the current timeline I need about 5000 words a week to make it which is doable if the stars are in perfect alignment and I have no distractions which is not possible in this universe.

I’ll figure it out.

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Did You Enjoy Olympic Gymnastics?

Yeah, this little pitiful harvest is my tomato crop. There are still tomatoes out there and I might get another handful but this is the best my garden could do. I’m going to need to rethink the garden next year.

Everybody loves gymnastics during the Olympics and then forgets about it until next time.

I am here to make a pitch for NCAA gymnastics. You probably get at least some coverage if you have a decent cable package. My coverage has varied over the years but for the most part I can get SEC and every single team is really good. I also get Pac12 which also has many good teams but for some reason last year Pac12 divided into a bunch of little Pac12 stations which means for TV I generally only get the Oregon State meet.

Not to worry, you can catch a lot of stuff online but in that case you have to watch live and I am not always able to drop everything and watch gymnastics on a Friday afternoon. Or in the case of some of the Pac12 meets, Monday night. I’ve never had any luck getting Big 10. Maybe your cable has it.

NCAA is a different beast from elite (Olympics) and Balance Beam Situation does a good job of explaining why. Here’s my explanation: NCAA is all about the team. They’ll let you individual high scores but the real competition is the team.

NCAA still uses the 10 point scoring system. The routines are shorter and more precise which leads to really tight scoring. Every toe point and landing is critical. In elite the score is divided between difficulty and execution so Simone can have a major mistake and still win a medal.

The other thing fun about NCAA is there is more artistry and originality. And there are so many really great gymnasts. Mark your calendar. The season starts in January.

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Wonderin’ If I’ll Sleep

What was going on last night? I woke up at 1am, completely wide awake. I flopped around a little bit. Bob was too asleep to be entertaining. I was so hopelessly awake I finally got up and fiddled on the computer and then read a book. At 3:30am I reasoned I must be tired by now and went back to bed and flopped around for another hour. I woke up at 7am. I don’t understand how I can be so wide awake in the middle of the night.

This morning I finally got around to pinning some pants I need to hem. I always hem my pants a little too short. I don’t do it on purpose and each time I remind myself: don’t hem them too short. Then I hem them and wear a few times and launder and notice, huh, these are kinda short. I’m sure I’ve been the subject of scorn and ridicule numerous times from the Properly Hemmed Pants Patrol.

The other thing is I have super short legs so if I end up with regulars there is tons of fabric in the length and I never cut it. I just fold it all up. I have giant hems in some of my pants.

The pants I worked on this morning must have been made for circus people who wear stilts (and wear dry clean only work slacks for their performances). If I don’t trim it the hem will be close to 7 inches. I’m tempted to leave it but I think I’ll trim this pair. But first I have to make sure they aren’t too short.

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The Speaking Clock

Downtown Portland. This photo has nothing to do with the post.

There’s a Facebook group for people who grew up where I grew up. This is another source of endless nostalgia that keeps clubbing me on the side of the head.

People have brought up a number of “do you remember …” places and things that I haven’t thought about in years.

One thing was: the party line.

I’m not even sure I can remember exactly how we did it.

This is how I think it worked. It was back when we only had landlines and there was a phone number to call for local time. Oh wow, look here’s an article about when the service was discontinued in SoCal in 2007. The phone number was 853-1212. I remember that.

“At the tone the time will be, 8 o’clock. Beep.”

I can hear the exact tone of the recording. Here’s a little bit about it.

When you called the local time number while the phone was ringing but before the local time lady picked up you could shout out your phone number, or you could write down a phone number that you heard. There would be lots of voices shouting out stuff but you had enough time to get or give a number.

I know it sounds crazy but we didn’t have any sort of computer-derived entertainment. We couldn’t stalk boys on Facebook (which I give thanks for on a regular basis because that would have made me miserable.) Another version of this game was we knew the phone number of the pay phones at the mall and we would call and try to get people to talk to us.

I had several friends that I called the partyline with and we successfully talked to people. Now that I’ve typed this all out I don’t have much for a dramatic finish. At the time we thought this was a fun game we were too young to drive so we never could meet anyone and never invited anyone to come meet us.

I remember doing this in high school while I was babysitting. (So much for exercising good judgment.) I ended up talking to a guy that I didn’t know who went to my high school and as I recall it was a really nice talk. But he was related to one of the popular kids who much have filled him in on my status between the night we talked and the next day we went to school because I never talked to him again.

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Nothing Is Free, Ever

I was going to tell you a funny story of something that happened at the movies last night but meanwhile, this other thing has happened that’s got my panties in a twist so I’m going to tell you about that instead.

If you haven’t already learned this, write it down now: NOTHING is free.

Earlier in the week I signed up for a “free” informational class on this thing I’m looking into and I figured it would give me a good overview and I could make a decision about taking other classes or whatever. They didn’t tell me what room to go to so I used my online signup number to check the class listing but first I had to fill out a screen (data mining) and then they still didn’t show a room number so I had to call. Now I’m on their marketing list (eff-me!) for taking classes. They called me at work (cell) to talk about it. I told the guy I had some thinking to do and calling me wasn’t going to help me make up my mind. He said he’d make a note of it.

The other one is worse. The last two years I have been discretely obsessed with Big Brother which is a dreadful reality show that can suck up huge amounts of your summer. They have cameras in the house and you can subscribe for 24 hour access — which I have never done.

This year I didn’t even pretend I wasn’t going to watch the show: I was looking forward to it and I decided to try the livefeeds to see what it was like. They had an offer for 14 days free and then $12.99 a month so I figured it wasn’t too bad and I signed up. The feeds are hard to watch. They don’t work that great on DSL — perhaps higher speed is better. I can get audio but the picture is wonky and not like watching TV. And listening to people who are doing nothing but killing time grows boring fast. What’s worse than being locked in a house doing nothing but plotting to get rid of everyone else? Watching people locked in a house doing nothing but plotting against each other.

It wasn’t worth it so this morning I logged in to cancel my free pass before it expired.

But you can’t cancel your pass online. You have to click through a couple of screens and they give you a phone number which immediately ticked me off but I marched to the phone to take care of it now.

This guy was NOT going to let me cancel my account. This is such an abhorrent business practice to hand out “free” things to your customers and then beat them up when they don’t want to pay for them later. I went through the same thing with the phone company once.

The service that provides the Big Brother feeds provides other services as well: games and music and news. I don’t really know because I don’t need to pay $12.99 a month to spend more time sitting around my computer. The guy gave me the full sales pitch but I didn’t really listen because I was canceling my account which is what I told him: again and again and again. I give him credit because he was flawlessly polite except WTF: I want to cancel my account. These people have my credit card number. What was I thinking?

He wanted to give me another month for free so I could check out their services which is again, a clever and sneaky business practice because most morons are going to forget to cancel and get dinged.

No, I said. I want to cancel my account now.

This went on and on. I finally began to yell into the phone: Cancel my account NOW. I want to cancel NOW. If you can’t cancel my account NOW, transfer me to someone who can.

He seemed to get it after that and I received a cancel confirmation so I think I’m good.

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