Monday, November 17, 2008

watching Sweeney Todd


It goes much better for me if I close my eyes, just for a second, and avoid the worst of those sanguine geysers.

Other than that, fantastic film. I'm enjoying its current rotation on HBO.

(Having a heckuva time getting Blogger's photo tool to embed the photo code -- it's uploading the pictures just fine, but it won't put the code in for me. Frustrating!)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

the difference between Honda and Hewlett-Packard

When the transmission went on our 2000 Odyssey ten days after the warranty expired, four weeks after we'd had the car in for a a safety check and 2 weeks after they'd replaced the catalytic converter, Honda stepped up big time and covered a big chunk of the repair cost for us. Of course, the class action suit might have had something to do with that.

HP, on the other hand, totally stiffed us when our Pavillion a6050, which we bought in May 2007, died again in exactly the same way it died in January. We had the thing for 8 months, and suddenly the graphics card and motherboard went bad. We had them replaced under warranty, and the work was handled by the local Best Buy, which shipped the machine out to its Chino, CA service center. End of September rolls around, and the machine dies again, and it's back to Best Buy: they diagnose a bad graphics card. I buy a new graphics card and on a hunch, pay them to install it and run a diagnostic, because if anything goes wrong I don't want them to blame me for it. They put it in, it works fine, but when we get it home and start using it, we get the blue screen of death (BSOD) at random intervals. Brought the machine back in. The BSOD error messages are reporting failures all over the motherboard. Geek Squad recommends we just get a new computer, because parts and service for the repair are now north of $500. They were great about refunding me for both the new graphics card and the service they had done, though. Nice guys.

Of course, my HP warranty expired in May, and -- here's the real kicker -- they have no record of the repair done in January. I don't get that; someone paid for it, and it wasn't me. It doesn't matter anyway, because the repair done in January was only warrantied for either 30 or 60 days, I'm not sure which. Are we serious? A $500+ repair is only warrantied for 60 days?

I had several testy conversations with the support folks in India who are 1) very good at sticking to their scripts and 2) completely useless in a case like this because the machine is, in point of fact, out of warranty. My point is, the thing was never fixed properly or it wouldn't have broken in exactly the same way again, and when it first broke, it was under warranty. We spent $1000 on this computer and now it's out in the garage awaiting proper disposal. I want to kick it every time I see it.

Now the kids have no computer of their own, and queue up incessantly to get on my laptop. I've sworn never to buy another HP, and you know what? My little Gateway laptop is doing great. Maybe I'll just get another one for the kids, and we'll be all set. It would cost less than the estimated repair on the not-so-old HP.


Survived the first two events of the annual whirlwind, Halloween and DD's birthday. She turned 10 this year, and had a big party -- that is, an expensive party, at Build-A-Bear workshop. She also had a sleepover, featuring pizza and a concrete (frozen custard) cake from Culver's, in addition to last week's actual-day birthday celebrations, and the acquisition of the hamster.

I'm exhausted. We did a thorough job of house-cleaning before DD's friends came for the sleepover, although the way her room looks now, I'm not sure why I bothered.

The gastroparesis seems marginally better, I don't feel like puking all the time, although I do still feel bloated after eating. I'm dragging my feet on filling my new prescription for Domperidone. It's going to around $100/month. The price tag gets me thinking, hey, I can deal with this, it's not that bad. My g/e doc doesn't recommend erythromycin because it works only in the very short term.

RA is slightly flaring after the longest time being in remission. It's weird having swollen knuckles again. New weirdness: strange and persistent aches from sleeping badly positioned. I had my feet curled around each other a few nights ago, and my right foot is still protesting. My hip feels bruised from sleeping on my side.

Also, bilateral flank pain that I think is muscular but isn't responding to the usual stretches that helped me last time the fibromyalgia targeted my quadratus lomborum.

The dry mouth/eyes business is a steady-state of mildly annoying which I think is better than when I last wrote about it. I notice it, but I can also ignore it for long stretches of time. I probably shouldn't, and should be more diligent about using my eye drops, etc. The pain and tenderness under my right jaw has mostly gone away but still hurts if I touch it.

I have a theory that my last batch of Cytomel was heat-damaged. I've been feeling a little better since I started my new batch. We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

hamster love


We resolved the which pet to get? issue on Wednesday. After our class at the Y, we drove up to Just Pets in Tempe, and got the cutest, friendliest, and most adorable teddy bear hamster to ever exist. (I have no prior experience with hamsters, but this one is great.) Jarod at Just Pets is awesome; he really knows all the animals there and chose this one particularly for DD, since it is very well socialized and therefore good for little girls.

Then we went to PetSmart and bought all the things the hamster needs, like a habitat and a ball to roll around in, and food and bedding and a tube to sleep in, all that good stuff. Jarod actively dissuaded us from buying that stuff from him, as that's not really their thing: they're really into the animals, not so much the stuff. I recommend anyone looking for any kind of pet in the Phoenix-south area to check them out.

DD named her Frederica, and calls her Freddie for short. She's reading a book about a golden hamster named Freddy, so that's where that name came from. Her first day home, Freddie spent most of the time in her tube, freaking out (I suspect.) But she discovered the wheel in her cage and loves it, and loves rolling around the house in her little plastic ball. We put the cats in a room with the door closed when we let Freddie out -- the temptation to play hockey with the hamster ball is much too strong for the cats to resist.

I never had pets growing up, and all of my pet experience until this week was with cats. It's amazing how one little hamster can be so solidly wedged in my heart in the space of two days.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

staying up too late

Ridiculously late, in fact -- been thinking about it, and have decided it's because I don't have any reason to get up early, even though I do get up at 7AM if not earlier on the kids' school days.

I remember when I lived in Massachusetts, I might stay up till midnight, but usually didn't last that long, usually I'd turn in around 11PM. I was getting up at 6:30 or 6AM to do morning rituals and the 30-45 minute commute to work, which would typically start at 8AM. I had an 8AM to 6PM work day, typically -- hours that minimized the commute, mostly, and made long lunches guilt-free. I had that routine for years. What happened?

I don't think I can blame the babies, although they did disrupt sleep quite a bit during their early months. But since DS2 is 7 years old, I don't think that's relevant anymore.

I think it's not-working. When I know I'm going to be subbing, I'm good about getting a decent amount of sleep the night before. If I were working full time, I'd get back into that groove of going to sleep at a normal time. But since I'm not working full time, I have apparently given myself license to stay up till whenever. What difference does it make? (Rhetorical question -- isn't it obvious?)

I got laid off from Oracle more than nine years ago, and I still haven't fully recovered. It's especially ridiculous because the list of my involvements is not small, and I could really use more sleep. It's just because my schedule is so flexible that I let regular sleeping hours go.

Lately, it doesn't help that the time of day my stomach feels best is after midnight. I'm not supposed to eat before going to bed but feeling hungry and actually being able to eat? That's something I enjoy.