Wednesday, March 29, 2006

God Answers Colby's Prayers With A Resounding "No."

Well, readers, I am sorry to report that Colby's heifer lost at the stock show. Or as EZ said, "It's not that he's a loser, it's just that he didn't win. " That's good spin.

We must not have been vigilant enough "prayer warriors." I'll remember not to ask you all to pray for me, and clearly, I'll have to pay some proven prayer warriors if it ever comes to that.

EZ's Mom said that there was simply the wrong kind of judge at the show, and "if Colby's heifer had been judged by that other judge he would have won." I asked EZ what the hell that meant, and he just looked exasperated and said "oh hell, I don't know I always zone out when my family starts talking technical cow shit."

Ok, fair enough. I mean, I only have so much space in the ol' hard drive and I don't think I'd put cow data in it either.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

My Moral Quandry

Today when I got home from taking my friend to the airport I found $120 in the street. There was no one around, and it was lying in the dirt. I would like to get this back to the rightful owner. However, the money could have come from anywhere, and I don't think going around asking people "Hey, did you lose some money?" would be an effective means of getting it back to the rightful owner. Plus people around here can just be plain scary, and I don't want to go knocking on doors. So the question, remains, what do I do with the money?

Option 1:
Should I take it to the police? Or will that just be making a personal donation to an NOPD officer? Everyone tend to believe that I might as well throw it in a hole as trust the cops here. Even if that's the case, does the fact that they are corrupt relieve me of my moral and legal duty to turn it in?

Option 2:
If the cops can't be trusted, should I give it to charity? If so, which one? I'm leaning towards habitat for humanity as they're helping out down here.

Option 3
Should I keep it? Maybe was the universe going my way and paying be back for some good karma. Or is this a karmic test? Which takes us back to option 1 and 2.

I guess perhaps it's funny that this is my big moral dilemma, but I tend to feel that if you'll fudge on some of the little stuff you'll fudge on the big stuff too. This maxim does not apply to eating/drinking in the library - I firmly believe that some rules were made to be broken. Especially library rules, grammatical rules, curfews, etc. Other rules like don't touch the art, stop on red, and don't poke the bear exist for good reason.

My moral quandry is cast into even sharper relief as I just learned that a person I very much respected has done something that most people (myself included) would consider quite immoral. I respected this person precisely because he seemed immune to the particular vice he indulged. Most importantly, this person gave me hope that there are some truly decent people out there that "have it all. "

While it should come as no suprise that people have moral failings, and I think it is best not to judge too harshly, it is the way the this person represented himself that troubles me. If I had not bought into that persona, I would not have been shocked, which makes me wonder if I saw only what I wanted to see.

Let's All Pray For Colby's Heifer

One reason that EZ and I are good friends is that we have a certain amount of background in common. EZ is from Oklahoma and his extended family consists of farmers; I'm from Texas (we refer to our collective culture as Okla-Tex) with farming family in North Carolina. Our backgrounds being what they are, I find that it's not entirely uncommon for a relative to call and, oh ask you to pray for their success at a county fair or stock show.

And by pray, I literally mean ask Jesus for said relative's cow or corn to win best in show.

Case in point, EZ's mom called the other day and as she was saying goodbye she said "Remember Colby, he's got a real nice heifer that's gonna be in the show this weekend."

By "remember" his mom means "remember in your prayers." Making this deal sweeter is that "Colby is pronounced in Okla-Tex "Kobe" (like Kobe Bryant).

I think it would be nice if we all remembered Colby's heifer in our prayers this week. I would hate for Colby's heifer not to win due to more forceful prayer from the other heifer owners.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Oh (insert appropriate entity here) I Wish I Could Quit You.

Yeah, I know this Brokeback joke is over-used, but I don't much care. Right now, the entities I'd like to quit include:

a) Entergy - my power company
b) Bell South -my former telephone provider
c) My University
d) civilization

Why such frustration? Oh goodness, where to begin.

For starters, my power company Entergy can go down the tubes for charging me over $100 a month during the month of Katrina and the months immediately following when nobody lived in my apartment and everything was off (save the refridgerator). I have tried numerour times to talk to Entergy to try and get my bill straightened out, but I am never able to get through due to "high call volume." Personally, I don't think Entergy gives a rats ass if you get through. They just want you to pay and shut up. Case in point, I finally decided to devote an entire morning to dealing with the situation, and I waited patiently before being able to speak to a customer service representative. Here's how our conversation went:

Me: HI, I'm calling to get my bill adjusted from the months following Katrina. These bills quote estimates for those months, but they are not accurate since I lived in another state following the hurricane. I can provide you with a copy of my lease.
Entergy: I'm sorry, but we have charged you what your meter reading showed as actual usage.

Me: But that's impossible. I wasn't here, there's no way our empty apartment could have been drawing that much power with everything off.
Entergy: Well that's the reading.
Me: Yes, well, the reading is clearly wrong because there was no one here to generate the power.
Entergy: That's the reading.
Me: Yes, well, the reading is wrong.
Entergy: That's the reading.

You get the idea. There was about an hour's worth of this which ended in me near tears. Also I know it's complete b.s. because there weren't employees in the city to take these so called "accurate" readings, meaning Entergy is full of crap. So I decided to explore my legal rights through our free legal assistance program. I emailed my friend who works with the program, and she said they've had a lot of similar complaints, but there's not much than can be done. She said:

"...the claims were all too small to sue over individually, and that Entergy is too messed up right now to accomplish anything without a lawsuit. Class Action would be the way to go, but no one wants to bankroll something that big against a company that filed for bankruptcy in October and has no cash flow. I think ____'s final suggestion was to use candles."

Candles. Uh, huh. If you don't think two hours on the phone with the power company can ruin your day, you are just plain wrong.

My battle with the power company had drug on so long that we are approaching cutoff if we didn't pay. Seeing no other option, I caved on paying their outrageous fee and next tried to arrange for payment. Entergy, being a multi-state corporation apparently lacks the ability for me to a) pay over the phone or b) via credit card.

Welcome to the 21st century Entergy! You're only a multi-state energy corporation, I mean, how ridiculous of me to think you would be able to facilitate my payment. I next asked if there is online payment available (which, admittedly, seems a long shot since you can't pay with credit). But, my goodness, they do have online payment! Hallelujah!

Ah, but I am black flagged on the last lap. The customer-inconvenice person tells me that, sure, I can pay online but that will take 3 to 5 days to process, by which time they may have cut the power. And no, I am not eligible for an extension for this to process. And no, she can't make a note in the file to show payment processing so that my power is not cut off.

I am now beginning to panic, neither wanting to deal with a lack of power in the apartment nor explain to D that we don't have power because of my moral stand and/or the fact that Entergy has a byzantine payment process. So I hang up the phone and head to a store that I know is a Entergy pay station to resolve this once and for all.

Except that when I get there, even though they are one of the few places in my neighborhood not demolished by the hurricane, they are no longer an Entgery pay station. Expletive expletive expletive.

It is now 4:30 in the afternoon, power to be shutoff tomorrow. I get back on the phone with Entergy pushing every imaginable button so that I can talk to a live person. Do I have a power outtage? You bet. Do I need to report a downed powerline? Sure. Whatever, just get me something with a pulse.

Somehow I hit the magic code and got somebody on the line to tell me where there are pay stations available. Of course none of them are remotely close and they are all scary, run down bodega type places. It is now rushhour traffik to boot and I am afraid that I'll waste hours caught up in traffic and never get the bill paid. I start calling the pay stations, and thank god, one is open until 9 p.m.

I feel a huge relief and decide that I will wait until traffic dies down and run some local errands like going to the drugstore and getting gas. This is a good plan, except that when I was running out of the house to try to pay the bill, I went off without my wallet (I had only my checkbook). All of which I did not realize until I had a full basket of items at the Walgreens, which I had to shamefully set on the ground and slink out of the store.

In the immortal words of Bill Paxton in Aliens, "Game over, man. Game over!"

I decide that I need to just take a nap because clearly, nothing is going to be accomplished with this day. So I take a nap, and then my friends kindly drive me to this frightening place in the burbs to pay the bill so I don't have to go alone. The place is sketch-tastic and I have them keep the motor running while I go inside. You can tell it's been robbed at least 100 times since there is no cash machine, there are crazy bars one the doors and windows, and alarms out the wazoo. Also, bizarrely in addition to your normal corner store goods of gum, sodas, and chips, there are about 15 containers of celery salt. Go figure. Anyway, payment completed, we go to drown our sorrows in the one decent mexican food place in all of Louisiana.

That was such fun, repeat process with minor varations with Bell South (who has disconnected our phone - but screw you we're going digital with our cable peeps). Repeat story with my university.

Honestly, it's enough to make me want to quit civilization and run off and be a mountain woman somewhere.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Toilet Brush?

EZ and I ran across this...and it's insane. And hillarious. And more than just a little bit disturbing.
Toilet bowl brush for sale

Nice used toilet bowl brush with white scallop shaped plastic holder for sale. Brush handle is crooked to reach the hard places. The brushhead is circular, blue bristles at the tip and the rest are white. The tip bristles are sorta flattened out from use, but still highly effective in performing the job for which they were designed. It also has a soft grip that is shaped to fit your hand..this is leading edge bowlbrush technology.

This is a really nice brush, and the scallop-shaped holder just completes the upscale look of your toilet accessories (even if it is just plastic). Well, what more can i say about this fine item? The only reason i am considering selling it is because i got a different style one for free that the neighbors left when they moved. For a while i had both in my bathroom and now i have decided that due to my need for cash i will part with this beloved brush and scallop holder.

You know, this guy makes his used toilet brush sound almost tempting. And then one realizes he's offering a used toilet brush. Hmmmm. You know, I'd like to sit down and talk to the guy who wrote this and the guy who wrote the review of the Care Bears movie (see previous post - "Review: The Care Bears Movie"). No, scratch that. What I'd like to see is Care-Bears-guy and toilet-brush-guy have a conversation which I could observe safely behind one way glass. Yes, that's *much* better.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Sushi Chef Shortage! Say it 5 Times Fast!

The other night, 5 friends and I planned to head out to our favorite sushi place. I called ahead to make reservations and the hostess informed me that they were not taking reservations due to their sushi chef shortage. I asked "well what exactly does that mean? Are you really open?"

Ah yes, they were open, but unsure as to how many people they could serve and thought they might have to close the doors at some point. I called my friends to explain that there might be a snag to our dinner plans, but each time I tried to say "sushi chef shortage" I'd fuck it up and say "Susee sef sortage," and of course no one knew what the hell I was talking about. Ah, the unforseen legacy of the Katrina diaspora - Sushi chef shortage!