Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Always look on the bright side.....

My car battery is dead....deader than disco, and that's saying a lot.

I hear some people have the "good fortune" to have advance warning about their upcoming battery failures: not me. My car worked fine on Sunday and then refused to do anything on Monday morning. No lights, no automatic door unlock....zip, nothing, nada.

Hmmmm....what could have caused a parasitic battery drain? I figured it was the cigarette lighter, since I had been using a car charger that disintegrated in there, forcing me to adapt a plastic straw into a pair of tweezers to pull out the pieces (stupid me first tried with a ball point pen and got quite the spark for my effort!) Turns out that wasn't the case, since pulling the fuse proved that I had blown it when I had my in-auto fireworks display.

Regardless, my roommate came to the rescue and hauled my pathetic butt to work and then back again. My sweet home teacher came over, gave my car a jump start and we went for an impromptu drive down to the lake and back to be sure it wasn't an alternator issue. The car drove wonderfully (once it got a bit of a charge back into it) until I parked it back at the house, turned off the ignition and then tried to fire it back up again.

Nope. As the song says, it was really most sincerely dead.

So this morning found me making calls around town for a replacement battery. I have quotes (not cheap, but not so expensive that I am passing out). Sadly, the only place that has it currently in-stock is an auto dealership who, while not charging the most, are not the cheapest either. The best pricing (WallyWorld) should have them back in stock by Thursday...if not, I'll just go through the dealership.

So I am sitting here at the office today. The day has been fairly quiet and both bosses are out of town so there is no one available to run errands. I clear it with boss #1 to take the work truck to deliver a battery order to a customer and to drop a load of packages off at the post office. I turn the office over to our part-time gal and drive off in our big bruising diesel rig, happy to be behind the wheel again. Stop #1 is about 5 miles from the office. I deliver them to our customer, head back to the truck and turn the key.

A sick sounding choking comes from under the hood, followed by a "you have got to be kidding" from me.

I wait a moment and try again. Weaker choke this time.

I pull out my cell phone and call Boss #1 (Boss #2 was unavailable at a trade show in Texas).

Boss #1: Yes?

Me: I think the battery on Boss #2's truck is dead.

Boss #1: (silent pause)

Me: This is not a joke.

Boss #1: (sigh) Turn the key and hold out your phone.

Me: (turning key) Hear that? And all the dashboard lights are lit up and flickering like crazy.

Boss #1: (sighs again) Yeah, its dead. (pause). Do you know how long its going to take to charge that thing? (another pause). What is it with you and dead batteries this week?

Me: uh..............I didn't do it, its not my fault and you can't pin nothing on me copper! (okay, so that last line didn't happen, its just a flashback to some bad B-grade gangster film, but you get the idea).

I ended up having to call the part-time gal (thank goodness for cell phones!), get her to leave the office and come rescue me. Boss #2's truck is sitting abandoned until morning when Boss #1 can come into the office, get the keys and go jump start the monster. Apparently its too big of an engine for we girls to do with the part-timer's tiny car.

(Dear Santa, I need one of these!)

So where am I now? Sitting in the office after hours and waiting for my roommate to get off of work so I can go home. But my roomie/chauffeur did agree that tomorrow we could stop by Zuppas on the way home (hey teachinfourth...they just opened a Zuppas on my side of town!) If I ever had a night where I needed a bowl of restoring, soothing, comforting Chicken Enchilada Chili its tonight...but tomorrow will do just as well.

So, for the next day or so at least, I will have chauffeur service....which means I will be getting to work early and staying late. Oh well, I can catch up on my Photoshop edits. And at least it was just my battery and not the alternator or the starter. And I'll have a brand new, shiny, durable, rugged battery for this winter. And I had a funny story to post for you today. Oh, and Santa? Never mind on the Jump Starter; I can't wait so I'll just buy it for myself.

Sometimes all you can do is look on the bright side of life....it sure beats crying about it. So, in that vein, I was going to give you Monty Python's "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" but thought that might be a tad blasphemous for some readers..so I give you this one instead:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

And now for something completely different....

a.k.a. the poetry in music project.

I think I have mentioned before my great love of poetry. I have books of it on my bookshelf, in boxes (the bookshelf is massively overstocked right now with stuff), and, if memory serves, there is a very very stuffed binder also packed away with copies of poems I have stumbled across and treasured. That binder started its life back in the 1980's and just kept growing and growing to its now mammoth proportions.

I was singing along with my MP3 player in the car the other day. One of my favorite songs was playing and I was thinking, "I love the story this song tells". My next thought was "I need to write these down and put it in my poetry file on my computer (yes, I have upgraded my filing skills since the 80's). Its not a new concept....my old folder does contain some song lyrics.

Now, while I wouldn't be scribbling down the lyrics to Def Lepard's "Rock of Ages" or anything by Black-Eyed Peas, some lyricists really do deserve a chance for you to take a moment and pay attention to what's being said. Robert Smith of the Cure, for example....the first thing I do whenever I buy a CD of theirs is pull out the liner notes and devour his lyrics because he literally does set poetry to music (not that I am suggesting you all run out and start buying the Cure albums because they are a bit of an acquired taste).

So, probably about once a week I plan to introduce another piece of poetry/music to you. I thought I'd start with the one that got me thinking this week. You can play the song and read along....is a melancholy tune, but so beautiful in how its phrased.

"Brothers On A Hotel Bed" by Death Cab for Cutie

You may tire of me as our December sun is setting because I'm not who I used to be
No longer easy on the eyes but these wrinkles masterfully disguise
The youthful boy below who turned your way and saw
Something he was not looking for: both a beginning and an end
But now he lives inside someone he does not recognize
When he catches his reflection on accident

On the back of a motor bike
With your arms outstretched trying to take flight
Leaving everything behind
But even at our swiftest speed we couldn't break from the concrete
In the city where we still reside.
And I have learned that even landlocked lovers yearn for the sea like navy men
Cause now we say goodnight from our own separate sides
Like brothers on a hotel bed

You may tire of me as our December sun is setting because I'm not who I used to be

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Shawna's Movie Review: Retraction

No, this is not for a movie called "Retraction", but rather I am going to retract an earlier movie review I posted this year.

The movie? Clash of the Titans.

Yeah, you read right...if you are interested, here is my original review.

That being said.....

Okay, I bought this one on bluray when it came out and then ended up waiting awhile before finally giving it that "second try".

Now that I am able to see it in 2D I really noticed a big difference right off the bat. Yes, Zeus still has the glare on his armour, but it isn't as bad as it originally appeared...in fact, it actually comes off as somewhat "Greecian Godly". The special effects are now clear and wonderfully done. The Pegasus looks amazingly real...which, with the 3D rendering originally looked completely off. The final scenes of Perseus fighting the Kraken will keep you on the end of your seat and as for Medusa, she'll leave you shuddering, and I absolutely love it every time Hades pops in and out of his scenes.

I can't say if it was because this was my second watching, or if I was able to pay closer attention now that the 3D rendering wasn't distracting me, but the storyline made more sense this time. I was able to follow along and just enjoy the ride. Yes, Gemma Arterton (Prince of Persia) still can't act her way out of a paper bag, but the rest of the cast makes up for her wooden acting.

Again, nod to Nicholas Hoult (About a Boy) who does an admirable job in a small role that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Jason Flemyng still does a great job as Calibos, though I still wish he would have been given more to do, but then, with as many baddies as we have running around, we hardly have the time to give all of them a lot of screen time. Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter films) as Hades steals every scene he's in, even when facing off against Zeus, played by the absolutely fabulous Liam Neeson. I even found myself loving Sam Worthington (Avatar/Terminator Salvation) as Perseus....

So what I am I telling you? If you haven't seen this, you really ought to give it a shot now that's available on video....if you failed to see this one due to my review, I apologize and owe you a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Shawna + Social Networking = FAIL

If I had a doghouse I'd be in it.

People wonder sometimes why I don't have more friends. Seriously, they do....I've been asked this to my face. I've never felt like really answering that question; honestly, how many people I am friends with is really no one's business but my own and my friends', right?


I hopped onto FaceBook yesterday onto my real account....the one that actually has friends, even if most of them are cousins I haven't seen in years and people I somewhat remember from high school (by having stated that I need to clarify that I have a "dummy" account that I use to play games on). I rarely sign into this actual account, and, in doing so, noticed several of my "friends" doing banter back and forth and a couple had sent me wall posts asking why I wasn't on more, etc etc.

I decided to start being a bit more social, sent out a few responses, left comments on a few posts.

It backfired big time.

Let me remind you gentle readers of my biggest flaw. I live with my foot perpetually crammed in my mouth....the trigger that most people have between their mouth and their brain just isn't wired the same over here. For me, what sounds lighthearted and teasing comes out absolutely abrasive sometimes.

I left a teasing comment on the account of a gal I used to love hanging out with when I lived in Spokane.....something I would have teased her about back in the day and I thought nothing of picking up right where we had left off. Something she would have teased right back about....I was thinking this would be a good opportunity to start a friendship again with her, especially now that she's halfway across the world in the Peace Corps, far from the people she knew.

The response in my inbox this morning left me in tears as she pointedly lashed out at how mean I was and how we hadn't spoken in years so why was I suddenly out of the blue being so cruel and mean-spirited. The point of her post being what an evil, hurtful, horrid person I was.

I immediately sent back an apology, explaining what I had really meant, but have no real hope that she will accept it...and goodness knows there is no way a friendship will ever flourish on those grounds again. They say there is no going back home, and I honestly believe that. Sometimes, what was in the past should just stay there.

So, downhearted, I remember why I am not this social butterfly that others seem to find so easy to pull off.

Anyone know how to get a better grip on not being me?

Later Post Update: I was totally forgiven! I don't have to have the horror of quietly finding out she removed me from her "friend" queue! Note to self: think before you type....you never know just how someone might take it.