Friday, March 07, 2008


I sometimes wonder a bit about the people I play Scrabulous with.

Not Scrabble. Usually I only play the classic board game with the only willing participant around, my boyfriend. Though perhaps the recent addition of a deluxe spinning Scrabble board (from his parents; for Christmas) to my collection of games will broaden my horizons.

No, Scrabulous – of – is an identical concept to the original Hasbro staple, or, in laymen’s terms, a complete and utter rip-off. At least that’s what the current litigation against them claims.

It’s not really my concern, as a year-long fan of Scrabulous, but I’d have to disagree with the lawsuit. I mean, please! Scrabble isn’t capitalizing on any internet-based gaming ventures at the moment, and anyone who gets the concept of Scrabulous – or even seeks it out – is most likely someone who has purchased at least ONE official Hasbro-approved Scrabble set. I’ve owned at least two (one being the aforementioned *deluxe* edition), my roommate has one and my future live-in boyfriend has one. Hasbro, you’ve done it. You can lay off the poor folks at - you’ve achieved your goal. We’ve all bought at least one of your effing games, not even considering which other Hasbro delights in which we may have invested over the years – who the hell, by the way, never owned Monopoly? I had one that was missing the racecar piece. I think I didn’t even know that a racecar piece existed until I was in college, maybe. I was always the Scottie dog.

But that all being said, I love Scrabulous! Yeah, I have my gripes – sometimes all the damn rooms are full, other players may not deign to play you based on your rating, and of course the occasionally hellacious lag, which, while you’re trying to submit, can ruin a game.

Still, I could kill hours playing Scrabulous. I generally rock at it, and it’s great practice for later when I need to trounce on my poor unsuspecting boyfriend. Plus, I need something to help me wile away the hours while everyone else is at work!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Odd things about German hotels

  1. They're unabashedly stingy about providing guests with towels - you typically get one washcloth, one hand towel that can be coaxed, albeit with a prodigious amount of effort, to wrap around one's head, and one "bath" towel that is thin and too small to effectively encase your wet, shivering body.
  2. They don't believe there's any need whatsoever to have coffee makers available in one's room. Now, I'm prepared - I carry around instant coffee for those hotels that only provide electric water pitchers, but most German hotels I've stayed in do not automatically provide even those. They obviously have no idea what a raging bitch I am when forced to wake up, get ready, and emerge from my room without a healthy infusion of caffeine.
  3. You can smoke in any room without repercussion. This is the case in lots of European hotels. I find it hard to complain about this one; it's ever so convenient for us evil smokers, but once I do quit (soon! I SWEAR) it'll probably be a vicious invitation to fall off the wagon.
  4. You usually get about a minute of free porn a day. I've stumbled on this odd phenomenon in Frankfurt, Leipzig, and now, here in Landstuhl. Apparently it's a free preview meant to entice you to purchase said porn, but it's always odd to be channel surfing, trying to find something on in English other than CNN, and to suddenly be confronted with images of jiggling fake boobs and fellatio. Man, I don't get how other people get off on porn. Their contorted faces fill me with alarm and it all seems kinda perfunctory and gross.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Nuvaring has taken my sanity.

Those of you out there with odd and ever-changing schedules struggling to remember to take your birth control pill at the same time daily will understand why when the Nuvaring came out, I was ecstatic. Constantly hopping time zones and varying my sleep schedule had wreaked havoc on my birth control regimen - I'd end up either taking the pill sometimes in the mornings, which for me led to a full day riddled with bouts of nausea, or taking it it irregularly and risking ending up, as the British say, "shot in the giblets." (Which, by the way, is the best euphemism for pregnancy ever.)

So a couple months ago, I made the switch to the Nuvaring, which promised to be both revolutionary and convenient. At first, the apparent rigidity and hardness of the thing in its little foil package made me a little apprehensive about its ability to be manipulated in such a way it could be painlessly shoved into my hooha. Thankfully, I was wrong and getting the thing to its proper locale wasn't difficult or uncomfortable.

But then.. the side effects. The side effects began straightaway (I'm in British mode now) - slight headaches, sudden onsets of nausea, decreased sex drive, and mood swings. VIOLENT mood swings. I'm talking getting upset about something and instead of working through whatever annoyance or situation brought it on, collapsing into heaving, uncontrollable sobs - the kind that are appropriate when you're eight and your dog just died.

I decided to give the Nuvaring a fighting chance; maybe my body just needed a period of adjustment at first and that eventually my hormones would even out and things would once again be kosher. Well, currently I'm on Nuvaring #3 and the side effects don't seem to have abated. For the first week after I put one in, I'm prone to debilitating nausea and still seem to forget sometimes that sex is something I highly enjoy. Continuing past the first week is the most difficult one - the mood swinging.

Yesterday morning I got in trouble at work for not being where I was supposed to be when they called me to send me on a trip. The end result of my fucking up is that I will apparently receive a verbal rebuke and may have to send in an apologetic letter. No danger of losing my job, nothing beyond some crow-eating.

I reacted as though I'd been diagnosed with a fatal disease that I'd contracted due to my own stupidity and worthlessness. I felt as though my entire world were collapsing and it was all my fault. True, I've been under a higher degree of stress than usual because my work (and therefore pay) has been woefully inconsistent for the past few months, and I'm contemplating returning to school or switching careers, which I find very intimidating. However, I got so upset over this incident that I found myself so nerve-wracked I was shaking, couldn't bring myself to eat, and began vomiting uncontrollably (that may also have something to do with the stupid nausea).

I was so irrational the types of thoughts going through my head were along the lines of, "My life is ruined. I'm so stupid, I fucked everything up. Nothing is okay anymore. Nothing will work out. Things keep getting worse. They'll never get better," and while fleeting moments of self-flagellation and doubt probably strike everyone once in awhile, the bizarre thing was I couldn't get out of that mindset. It wasn't until ten hours later or so that I finally started to calm down. This can't be normal. I miss the good old-fashioned pill.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Well, I don't prefer you, either, Avis!

I'm holed up now in Columbus, Georgia, in the cozy anonymity of the latest carbon-copy hotel room, replete with all of the amenities I've come to expect (at least in American hotels) - readily available coffee. Lamps with extra outlets in the base. Cable TV. Fitness center. Free wireless.

I appreciate standards, but it's kind of creepily mind-boggling that this room could be any room, anywhere. It's not even immediately discernible which brand of hotel I'm in...

Once, a couple of years ago, I forgot where I was. I woke up in the middle of the night, knew that I was in a hotel, but had utterly no idea of my specific whereabouts. I'd been out on a trip for something like three weeks. I remember looking out of my window and seeing an innocuous, alien landscape stippled by too-familiar neon lights. In a perverse way, it was almost like, "Oh, there's Wendy's. I guess everything's okay."

Thank God for the little binders they put in hotel rooms. They're full of really pertinent information sometimes, like where you are exactly. And room service menus.

My drive to Columbus last night was remarkably uneventful, except for sort of getting lost at the end because my google map directions were a little vague after a certain point. Plus, when I got here (around 1:30 a.m.) the airport was closed. I mean, how weird is that? I didn't even know that they closed airports. How are you supposed to drop off your rental car if you can't get in there where the little box is? Clearly my needs had not been considered...

I was already well into the realm of disgruntlement with the car rental company, Avis, yesterday before I even got into my car (a Chevy Malibu, in case you're wondering). The guy that was working at the counter at the Charleston airport was a. complete. fucking. prick. I made the mistake of getting into the "Preferred" line, half-believing that I might actually be a "Preferred" member because I've rented from them a bunch of times, etc. and when you travel like I do, sometimes it's hard to keep track of all your little points and cards and things. Either way, I was not helped ahead of anyone - the next person queuing up in the "Non-preferred" lane had arrived after me.

I had not derived any special benefit from choosing this line over the other, yet the counter guy, whose name was Ernest (I took special notice of this while I was fantasizing about reporting him to his manager) thought it not only absolutely crucial to the continuing rotation of the earth and existence as we know it not only to point out that I am not, in fact, "Preferred," but that I had "jumped the line" (ignoring my protests that I'd actually not been helped ahead of anyone, because Ernest is slow as fucking molasses). When I apologized and pointedly said, "The next time I consider renting from Avis, I'll know which line to choose," I hoped the matter was over, but Ernest was not yet satisifed. "I'd like to point out that we do have a sign," he began and when I nodded and apologized again, he said something to the effect of, "but I'd really like you to take notice of it," still standing there pointing. Before he would process my reservation, it was necessary for me to actually physically turn around and look at the fucking "Avis Preferred" sign.

At this point, waves of adrenaline were starting to wash over me and I struggled to contain my anger. I was proud of myself that for the most part my demeanor remained professional and I gave myself away only when my face started turning red as it does when I'm truly pissed. My dear new friend Ernest mistook my rage-induced flush with blushing, thought I was embarrassed, and found the need to have another little personalized chat with me beginning with "I'm sorry if I embarrassed you, but.." and with a special little flourish, produced an application to become a goddamn "Preferred" member.

In retrospect, this is the second time some asshole behind a rental car counter has forced me to enter into the dark place. I believe that the last time (in Fayetteville, NC) I was renting from Avis as well. This particular time, I'd just flown in a group of troops from overseas and was leaving directly to make the three-hour drive home. Some of my passengers, coincidentally, were also at the counter trying to get a car. The Avis folks got my name, etc. and processed the papers while I chatted with my former passengers. Then as we waited, another Avis employee walked out holding a set of keys, and I (thinking that since I had a reservation, and the military boys didn't, or something) said, "Oh, are those for me?" and the guy snapped at me, "No, you can wait. These are for the soldiers who just flew in from overseas!" I was too stunned to say, "I know! I brought them here!"

Avis needs to stop hiring embittered old men. And I need to go return the Malibu.


Friday, March 09, 2007

Gone for good (or maybe just a few days)

So after a few weeks of languishing in utter boredom, I'm going back to work tomorrow. Thank God - although, the thought did cross my mind to Wikipedia deities of various other religions so I could start just praying to them all, hoping to fulfill my dreams of purpose-filled days by casting a wide net. But now, friends, I won't have to invoke Ganesha anytime soon. It's just a short trip, but it will get me out of my sedentary days here in Charleston, which is a vast relief.

In other news, perhaps of interest to you other cat bloggers out there, this morning, as I stumbled around in my bathrobe making coffee, Mojo was following me around meowing. As usual, we'd hopped out of bed together and he was inflicting upon me a barrage of meows and I was ignoring him. After a few moments standing in the kitchen letting the bleariness of sleep dissolve from my mind, I noticed his tank of a water dish was empty and the poor thing was trying to tell me he was thirsty. I told him it was his fault for crying wolf all the time, but it was just to mask the guilt. Am I going to be drummed out of cat bloggers for this?

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

I drunk you.

Nowhere in our lease, as I can tell, does it say, "will agree to live above a fucking bowling alley." I could be wrong - tedious contracts are not my cup of tea - but I'm fairly sure that the landlord doesn't expect my roommate and I to adopt an attitude of bemused tolerance to the happenings below us, particularly since the daytime soundtrack of our lives consists of the congress of various crackheads - who typically, in case you don't know, converse in the form of barely human shrieks.

Oh, college kids. Yeah, I was one of them once, but I don't recall having friends whose nightly idea of drunken wit was to walk outside and grunt as loudly as possible, perhaps in an effort to expurge several liters of Natty Lite while wavering next to my Corolla. I mean, my friends were more likely to be passionately expounding on T.S. Eliot, earnest and with a sheen of sweat on their brow, before suddenly frowning, and excusing themselves to go puke. Okay, it's possible I may be exaggerating (because all my friends weren't all that literate), and it may also be that I simply don't remember all of the times my friends and I were cringingly obnoxious, but still.

I hate my downstairs neighbors. I swear the next time they let one of their friends park in our driveway, I will do something about it, and the next time they keep me awake till 3:30 a.m., I will call the fuzz. The 5-0. Johnny Law. (Or I'll talk my roommate into doing it.)


Sunday, February 04, 2007


It may be possible to be more underwhelmed by the upcoming spectre of !SUPER BOWL SUNDAY!, say, if I were a member of some long-forgotten tribe that communicated only in clicks and grunts. I say it may, because presumably such a tribe would've know enough to muster up the same feelings of dread and apathy. Hell, I don't even know who's playing.

At this point I think I ought to be able to derive a sense of accomplishment from the fact that for over a quarter of a century, I have stubbornly refused to find the merit in sports spectatorship. I went to a football game just once in high school, despite the endlessly lauded abilities of our coach & team. I admit this was because the whole scene was too "establishment" for me.. I was far more likely to be found on a beach somewhere, tripping my face off or reading Kerouac or Vonnegut. I did go to a couple baseball games last season, however, I'm sure I spent more time contemplating which beer to have next than I did actually observing anything going on below.

See, though I highly doubt any enjoyment will be derived from my following the game or any some such nonsense (I pretend that I could, if forced), imbibing enough alcohol enables one to fake enjoyment or even ignore that a major sporting event is taking place. So despite these misgivings, I will be at a friend's house later, celebrating.. just not the superbowl.