Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday stupor

Because I do not know anyone/anything here yet, do not feel like going to the pool today, and do not go to church, I am left with nothing to do this Sunday.

I have already ironed all my button-down shirts in preparation for the next 3 weeks of work; gone on a 10-mile bike ride (pleasant in theory and beautiful at some moments, but generally traumatic due to rustling underbrush and enormous mole rat/possum roadkill); eaten eggs, salad and an ice cream sandwich, and it is only 2pm.

I now have nothing left to do except, as I have done the last 2 days, work out AGAIN in the same day. I would happily stay home and veg in front of the tv, but AT&T is my future cable and internet provider and they are apparently just as bad at providing those services as they were at providing cell phone service when I lived in Brooklyn (where I did not get reception ANYWHERE in my enormous apt).

I called at the beginning of the week to schedule a set-up appointment, thinking I would need to rush to the store to buy my new tv in time for the appointment, but found out the soonest they could come was July 11th. So until then I am without television and without the Netflix stream option because the internet signal from next door is too unstable to support it.

Of course I tried to persuade the woman on the phone that this kind of waiting time was absolutely egregious and I couldn't believe they had this many people to hook up and she actually tried to respond: "well ma'am, they don't just service your apartment community, they are responsible for the entire town of Rogers." WHICH HAS 58,000 PEOPLE. I thought Cablevision and Time Warner were horrible, but even in a town of 10 million I got faster hook up service than 3 weeks. (Incidentally, the entire state of AR has just over 3 million people.)

Instead I have to go to the gym to watch tv, which is a gamble because if other people are already there, my empirical evidence (culled over the last 2 days) predicts that they will be watching something I don't like.

So I'm thinking next Sunday I may try church.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Product plug

I am obsessed with these. They are plastic/rubber dryer balls that live in your dryer. They keep things moving in there so your socks don't disappear into your duvet cover and your fitted sheet doesn't knot itself into a ball and stay soaking wet. They are so amazing and end up saving so much energy because everything dries the first time around I feel like they should be standard issue with drying machines.

Friday, June 26, 2009

All in a name

To get the portion of my stuff from Chicago to AR I rented a 16-foot truck. My stuff wouldn't even have filled up a 10-footer, but because both my parents insisted on doing the 11-hour ride with me, we needed a truck that seated 3. So we laid all my boxes and my mattress in one flat layer along the bottom of the truck - ridiculous.

The right side mirror of my truck was taped up when I received it, but I was told that the mirror worked fine. Unfortunately, as soon as we started off on the highway the wind snapped the mirror right out of place. When my father tried to fix it it would just snap right back out of place immediately.

So for the 11-hours everytime I needed to exit or merge to the right my father would have to lean halfway out the passenger window to check if the coast was clear. As if squashing the 3 of us in there for that long wasn't complicated enough.

Even though this situation was totally dangerous and I believe illegal in some way, Budget wouldn't do more than a pidly 10% discount on my reservation, which really only means they took off all their additional costs for a second driver, insurance, etc.

I should have known that when you rent from a company named "Budget" you get exactly that.

Beware Toyota of Northwest Arkansas...

( if tons of people are on their way there to buy cars anyway.)

Buying my car turned out to be like haggling over cheap clothes in Shenzen (China), except the car salesmen at this dealership were lying cheats on top of it all. After three visits over three days to this dealership, during which I had been very polite and well-prepared, we finally came to a satisfactory price on one of the 2 cars I was considering. My salesperson had written the price (given to him by his secret "finance guys" in the office) on a piece of paper, which I signed and then we shook hands. He told me to go pick out my color while he had the agreed-upon number and financing typed up properly.

But when I come back the number on the paper was suddenly $1,000 more than on my signed sheet. His explanation is "there seems to have been a mix-up and my managers thought this was the price for the Yaris while you and I thought it was for the Corolla." Blatant lie - there is no way you can mix up the price of the Yaris and Corolla since they start a full $3,000 apart.

So after hours and days wasted at Toyota of Northwest Arkansas I had to walk out and frustratedly cry in my rental car on the way back home. I decided I couldn't take the stress of the process anymore so I called Toyota of Fayetteville and offered them $500 more than I had bargained NWA down to if they agreed not to haggle with me. They did, so now I am the owner of a silver 2010 Corolla LE.

I hope never to have to buy a car again. The process was traumatic, I don't even want a car (unfortunately I have no choice), and it was retardedly expensive. I would much rather trade it for a couple of handbags or heels.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Movin' on... ?

I am now officially a resident of Arkansas, the "natural state." Yesterday I surrendered my NY license in exchange for a rainbow-colored (don't be confused, it doesn't stand for gay rights) Arkansas license. I would have cried except I was saving all my tears for my traumatic car buying experience which I will get into in another entry - I need some distance first to calm down (and to give me time to post multiple scalding reviews about Toyota of Northwest Arkansas, the first dealer I visited).

Yesterday I also ended up buying a silver Corolla LE (painlessly at Toyota of Fayetteville), so now I own a car and am truly a suburbanite.

Today I finally finished moving everything in and my mother is now putting the last touches on all my curtains, coverings, etc. This has been quite the process - this is day three of 18-hour days of working on this little one-bedroom. I'm not quite sure what we've been doing all this time, but we have been very busy and it's only just starting to look like it.

I have also started to receive mail at my new address, including a LifeWay Christian Stores coupon book (featuring a Veggitales "Heroes of the Bible!" DVD and everyone's favorite "American Patriot's Bible") and a Ruby Tuesday's buy-1-get-1-free coupon for any two entrees through July 30th - I am so there.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Goodbye Chicago

The last two years have been a mix of wonderful, good, fine and pretty crappy, but now that I've left Chicago for good there are some things I will miss about the city.

I will miss Avec - desperately.

I will miss Coast/South Coast, and the fabulous byob concept as a whole.

I will miss the hydrants that get completely inundated in snow but yet you still get a ticket when parked in front of them.

I will miss the obsessive amount of working out Chicagoans do.

I will miss the "nightlife."

I will miss the random and amazing public art all over the city.

I will NOT miss the snow and the totally careless way Chicago does NOT remove it (at least in Hyde Park).

I will miss how Chicagoans freak out and leave their houses in naked droves when the weather finally reaches 70. (Beware you don't get run over at 80 degrees.)

I will miss the interesting Chicago sense of style.

I will miss the funny assortment of lovely architecture.

I will miss the amount of outdoor space a city with such bad weather still insists on upkeeping for the 2 months it can use it.

I will of course miss my school and the people that I have seen day after day for the last two years (some of whom it is strange to think I will never see again).

And most of all I will miss my Chicago family.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"I'm coming!"

Just arrived in AR after a 12-hour truck drive with my parents and needed to stretch my legs, so my mother and I went to the hotel gym before dinner.

This was my mother's first time at a gym so I had to show her how to use the machines. She started because she was going so slow that the elliptical machine would periodically pause itself because it thought she had stopped moving.

So every few minutes while I was running I would hear her hollering at her machine: "Alriiight! I'm coming!"

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A busy weekend

It's been a busy past couple of days. I relaxed my hair MYSELF for the first time, took my parents around a very rainy Chicago, bought almost everything I need for my new apartment, rented a moving van, and graduated.

Graduation was a bit of a let down - I guess it always kind of is, the ceremony ends up being so much shorter than all the build-up and then you're just left feeling a little bit disappointed. I am also so much older now than at my last graduation, so I did so much less partying and celebrating around the school-organized events that it just didn't seem to be as much of a moment. And by much less partying I mean none at all.

I remember the last day in Boston after college graduation we all spent the evening in Daedalus, dejectedly discussing how we might never see each other again. The next morning we all moved and that very night were in a NY bar, talking about how funny it was that we forgot we were all going to the same place! Unfortunately, this time I really am going off on my own and will not see many of these people for a really long time - and I still didn't go through the send-off circus.

On a happier note, my hair relaxing seems to have turned out very nicely, although I did it so skill-lessly that I was sure that all my hair was going to fall off (and this was the morning of graduation, so I was panicked). I used phytorelaxer, which I bought on-line from Sephora, and although I was not able to "smooth" it through as instructed (perhaps because I clotted it on wily-nily), my hair seems straight. The real test of course will be when I wash it tonight/tomorrow morning - that will also be the blessed moment when my hair stops stinking of chemicals, I'm looking forward to it.

My advice to anyone graduating or auto-relaxing their hair - do not do it alone, you need the moral support when you realize you're moving to the middle of nowhere/think your hair is falling out. And you need someone to rub neosporin on the chemical burns on your forehead as you rinse the lye out of your hair

Monday, June 15, 2009

More amazing clutter

Yet another something-saving device, although at least this is not for lazy people, but rather the space-constrained.

It is a 3-in-1 breakfast center, including coffee maker, toaster oven, and what looks like a hot plate for frying eggs & bacon.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Batteries not included

Doing some online shopping for household goods - potentially the most exciting part of my move. I am shocked at how many things there are for lazy people. a) How can you justify saving this much energy and b) who has space for all this stuff?
The most egregious examples:
  • touchless self-opening trash can (this is one in a series of "touchless" appliances including a can opener)
  • battery operated flour sifter
  • cornbread pan (circular with walls to create triangles - to avoid cutting pieces post-bake)
  • electric knife (I consider this a liability)
  • "one touch" jar opener - this thing is a standing counter-top piece of machinery almost larger than a coffee maker
  • electric salt and pepper grinder

Monday, June 8, 2009

Four eyes

I have glasses! This is an unfortunate picture, in which I look-a-like-a-man, but there is a nice sunset starting in the background. It is so amazing to put glasses on when you desperately need them but haven't worn them in a long long time - the world comes into focus!

Turns out I should have gotten new glasses a long time ago, or at least 2 years ago when I moved to Chicago and starting getting behind the wheel. I am nearsighted so I can't see far, although "far" to me is only about 10 feet (pulled that number out of the air) since I have 20-80 vision, which is a FOURTH of the vision of a normal person. When David's father (my new optometrist extraordinaire) saw what my prescription was he told me I should not be putting people's lives in danger by driving sans spectacles.

Which I will never do now that I have fab black-and-tortoiseshell ones.

Snow Leopard??

Apple unveils new version of iPhone
By David Gelles and Chris Nuttall in San Francisco
Financial Times, June 8 2009 20:05

Apple on Monday put forward a new suite of iPhones at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, including a $99 model that could dramatically increase the company’s market share of smart phones.

The iPhone 3GS includes video recording capabilities, improved speed and a 3 megapixel camera. The new iPhone, with a raft of improved capabilities, could dramatically increase the company’s market share of smartphones.

An 8GB version of the existing 3G model will be $99. The new 16GB version will cost $199, while the 32GB version will cost $299. All will be available on June 19.
Apple’s senior vice-president and marketing chief Phil Schiller said: “This is the most powerful, fastest iPhone ever made.”
The new device will also last longer between battery charges, overcoming one of the shortcomings of the earlier iPhones, Apple said. It will operate on WiFi networks for up to nine hours, compared to the six hours of current models, it said.

Apple has about 11 per cent of the world’s smart phone market, trailing Nokia’s 41 per cent and Research in Motion’s 20 per cent, according to Gartner figures from the first quarter. The company said on Monday it had now sold more than 40m iPhones and iPod Touches.
Palm’s Pre went on sale over the weekend, arriving to good reviews that suggested it could be the first viable competitor to the iPhone. But supplies of the new device were limited.

Mid-way through the first day of the conference there was no sign of Apple chief executive Steve Jobs. Mr Jobs has been on medical leave since January, recovering from complications from an earlier bout of pancreatic cancer. Apple has said he would return to work at the end of June, but speculation about his poor health has been rampant.

Apple also announced a new line of lower priced laptops, and unveiled its new operating system, called Snow Leopard, which it said it would sell as an upgrade to existing customers for $29.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Twitter, interpreted by Time

I kind of love this line:

"it was built entirely out of 140-character messages, but the sum total of those tweets added up to something truly substantive, like a suspension bridge made of pebbles"

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

News of the day

This seems to be the only "news" story anyone wants to send me today, so I figured I would post it up for all to see. My only issue with this is why pay $250 for something you could really even get someone pay you to take.) Apparently this is not new technology either, I think it has been used by women in past decades.

In unrelated news, Harvard named the first endowed professor chair for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender studies - oddly enough, it seems to be quite ahead of the top universities in opening its halls to new fields of study.