Happy Hallowe’en!

Disappointing turnout of ticky-twee little ones here at Casa el Dumpo; we had two sets of little ones followed by the Cans for Humanity (a service frat from UT/Dallas who collected canned goods for the food bank–I had some four-packs of tomato soup and miscellaneous veggies, plus there was a $1 sale on chili, so I threw a few of those in, hoping it’ll help someone who needs just that). We generally have more visitors than that. And I worked all afternoon on the orange lights and the ghost that goes up when I open the door! But maybe I’ll leave that up for a while. I can use it for a political statement, perhaps.

And for those who celebrate Samhain–hope the end-summer harvest festival is happy, and that you experience the spiritual renewal that you’re due tonight and tomorrow!


You are not the kind of idiot who sits in front of the teevee

At 3 AM watching “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” again on commercial TV (when you HAVE it on DVD and on the TiVo off of cable with no commercials).

But I am.

I need to just go back to bed.

I’m rankled at Jason Mewes, anyway. If what they say on his Wiki page about how he got out of rehab and was staying with Kevin Smith et ux and stole from them to get drugs . . . then we’re over, you hear? I hope it is just WikiLies. But if it’s true, I am OVER him once and for all. He isn’t even my type of guy, anyway.

My usual type of guy is . . . you know, geniuses.

Jerry Lewis

Woody Allen


But, y’know, “Jay” just kind of got to me. Y’all know I have a thing for guys with long hair. (Although I have also heard Mewes was shorn . . . which would REALLY break us up.) However, I expect good behavior towards friends. So I’m really hoping that stuff is just scurvy rumor.

This is crazy. I’ve got to go back to sleep. Got prep to do for tomorrow night–er, tonight’s trick-or-treaters. I can already feel the veil thinning between this world and the spirit world. . .

Have to choose a costume and a persona!

No, no, none of those. Hmmmmmmmmm.

Beautiful on the INSIDE–try it sometime

[UPDATE: Hooray for Sharon Osbourne. I always knew Ozzy had good taste in people *grin*. And huzzah, finally something I really agree with on HuffPost! And I SO want the Persian translation of that proverb.)

Also: I just realized what this gambit on the part of Marie Claire magazine has been! Now this looks mostly like a carefully planned way to get lots of page hits on the MC blog before the end of the month so that MC could give advertisers big numbers, and we fell for it. They’re still milking it for all it’s worth. Duh!

On Shine: “Marie Claire editor-in-chief Joanna Coles is also concerned with the way obesity is tackled in media. But in an interview with Fashionista yesterday, she points to the show, “Mike and Molly,” not [blogger] Kelly. “I’m concerned about a show that makes fun of large people.” [The show is kind of lame, but doesn’t make fun of its major characters, according to fans.] Today, Coles opened up the discussion to her stable of Marie Claire writers, with the launch of a series of counterpoint posts to Kelly’s original piece. {{AHA!! PAGE HITS!!!}} As for Kelly, whose inflammatory statements launched the debate, Coles says, “Maura Kelly is a very provocative blogger. She was an anorexic herself and this is a subject she feels very strongly about.”” {THIS IS NOT AN APOLOGY, NOTE}

If you think it sounds like Joanna Coles is defending Maura Kelly, you’re right. It appears to me that they’re 100% behind her. That is their corporate stand on the issue, apparently. Sheesh. (To put it nicely.)

What I now believe is that they need page hits on that page (their blog) in order to show advertisers a lot of hits–they hadn’t been getting many page hits before, I theorize, and they needed something that would set fire to things and put a lot of page hits on before the end of the month. This would then let them show a lot of hits to advertisers and the advertisers would not drop them. That’s my best guess at the moment.

We should stop giving them the attention they crave. Let’s not link to their further posts. Don’t go to the original blog post. You won’t miss anything. The comments section of the article is a troll party.

I only wish I had thought of this before talking back, as what we have done by bringing it to people’s attention is give them page hits! Sigh.

But I’m not going to back away from my original post, as most of these things need to be said. Yes, lots of people are overweight and may need to lose weight for whatever reason, according to doctors and lawyers and Indian chiefs. No, that blog post is not occasion for tons of idiots to add comments saying, “The truth hurts–all of you are fat and just need to diet.” That’s a non sequitur, actually, because the topic of her post was her revulsion and whether people would be offended, not whether fat people need to do ANYthing. But I’m not surprised at people misinterpreting everything, as rhetoric has ceased being taught. “What ARE they teaching in the schools these days?”]


Prediction of the day:

The publicity stunt that Marie Claire magazine’s online arm just pulled, the one meant to generate a lot of page hits and get attention, in the long run will work against them. Because the crazy screed that they published (and anointed as their opinion by so publishing and by giving a lame non-apology when they got the 24,000 complaint letters–and saying that the author is “excited and moved” because of those letters that really turn her on) just makes them look like airheads.

This, too, shall pass gas

pod people and iPod people

Does anyone here know much about iPods?

Apple seems to be telling me that there’s no way for me to stop the iPod video 60GB or the iPod Touch that were stolen from getting updates to apps and/or buying more music. Supposedly the thieves can continue to buy things under my name. But I changed my Apple Store password that very day . . . so shouldn’t that mean they would get an error and couldn’t use up the $55 in gift card credit that I had on the account? (The gift card number was typed in and got credited to the account some time ago.) Also, they say you can re-download apps and so forth once you buy a new iPod Touch. But you have to do something in iTunes. I am thinking that I will only replace the iPod Touch (and not the iPod video) because I don’t really need them both and because we have a $500 deductible on what can be replaced. I don’t know how to fix this in iTunes on the computer, because when I get the new one, it’ll think I still have the other two. Back to the iLounge to find a thread discussing all of this.

Oh, the van came back! It was immaculate and in beautiful condition, except they’d forgotten to replace the left headlamp/lens, which is all one sealed unit. Water is getting into the cracks that the guy made. It looks as if somebody hit the headlight with a hammer or something. Anyhow, they will order the part. We left Massey Cadillac Body Shoppe very happy. Then we got to the Ford dealer to have them check as to why the “Check Trac Ctrl” light wouldn’t go off. Well . . . three days later we have a new chip and a new part-of-a-chip and a new power steering pump, to the tune of $3200 out of MY pocket (actually, my credit card) because (1) the warranty just went out in April and (2) this has to have been something that was about to happen anyway, as there is no sign of physical tampering with the chip or housing, and so we can’t blame it on Bad Guy. AAAARGHH. However, the ABS system was not communicating with the chip, so it wasn’t working as designed. We picked up the van AGAIN this morning . . .and there was a horrid stink of grease/oil inside because the mechanic people had stomped all over the front floor mats and carpet with dirty shoes. I insisted that we go right back (as soon as I realized what was going on) and make them clean it. My family protested that I am evil and too picky and just a be-yotch, but I said that the van had been immaculate coming from Massey and that I expected them not to mess it up, even if we COULD “try to clean it ourselves and not make a fuss.”

We got there expecting to be told it would be Monday before they could clean it up, but the service rep (after arguing that “it was that way when you brought it, because my guys would never do that”) finally said, “IF it’s grease, this stuff I have here will clean it,” and he proceeded to clean it off. Sheesh! He obviously gets a lot of people showing up to complain, or why would he keep the stuff at his desk?! Anyhow . . . it looks like it’s cleaned off now. We shall see what it looks like when it’s completely dry.

The van handles completely differently. Apparently the power steering assist hasn’t worked for YEARS, because it used to steer like a semi pulling cattle cars and now it’s a fingertip touch to cross 3 lanes. The brakes used to stomp just so, and now they go almost to the floor very softly. I’ll have to learn all over again.

But it IS like a new car. Except for the new car smell!

Palindromic-sorta day and orts for the day

For a bit of light banter before I post Part II of Our Latest Fun, let us note that. . . .

* Today is 10-20-2010

* It’s Hubby’s and my 26th wedding anniversary

* We went to the Dallas Arboretum to see the Pumpkin Village and all sorts of things this afternoon–photo link soon

* The other day was 10-10-10, which was cool, too, but I was too pooped to pop

* We got my van back from the body shop this morning and noted that the headlight is still broken, so it does have to go back when they get the part in . . . and it has to go to Ford next because the message “Check Trac Ctrl” keeps coming up and beeping and won’t go away, and the repair guy says that can mean it was driven off-road and the trac ctrl (whatever it is, but it keeps the wheels spinning at the same rate or something important like that) may be damaged . . . but we have hubby’s car, so we took the baby jeep back (it was SOOO SMALL we felt we were on a skateboard)

* The Dallas News just endorsed the Democratic candidate for Texas governor. It was widely noted that “the Dallas News is ‘a traditionally Republican newspaper,’ so this is very significant. TO SAY THAT the Dallas News is “a traditionally Republican newspaper” is to say that the Pope is somewhat Catholic!! They have been the most conservative paper EVER, forever. Whoo! Even *they* have noticed that the idjit we have now is a complete jack**s.

* A storyteller’s job is to present readers with a “vivid, continuous dream” (John Gardner’s phrase) that is worth taking an interest in. When readers do “invest,” they become co-creators of their own personal version of this movie/dream. If they’re paying attention and have good enough reading comprehension that every little word they don’t know doesn’t “jerk them out of the story,” they can start seeing the film roll and can identify, feel, experience a catharsis, and “enjoy all manner of emotional and sensory effects” (as someone recently said). But you know what? The storyteller can’t grab you by the brain and generate all these thoughts and feelings inside you. YOU have to participate in the creation of the shared fantasy. And YOUR experience of _The Worst Book Ever_ will differ from everyone else’s experience, even if all of you do pick up on the hero’s limpid pools of azure and the funny data port on the back of the heroine’s right shoulder.

* Question of Day: What’s in your refrigerator right now?
Frida: There are things mankind was not meant to know.

Carjacked! (No, really, for real)

Carjacking: the taking of an occupied automobile by force.

My van was carjacked two weeks ago. With my elderly mother and little dog inside.

I’m not writing this for the purpose of getting a lot of comments with sympathy and outrage and support, although those are great. I’m writing this because I now share the cops’ paranoid attitude/belief that YOU ARE NOT REALLY SAFE AS YOU THINK and YOU’D BETTER STAY ALERT AND KNOW WHAT TO DO IN THE WORST CASE. I also need to tell people why I’ve virtually disappeared from the ‘net and haven’t answered many phone calls for the last couple of weeks; all that I’ve had to deal with and take care of because of this event has really taken ALL of my time. The house looks even more like a pigsty nowadays.

I’ll ruin the suspense that fiction is supposed to have because this is more of a personal letter to friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, and I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. Yes, the van is gone (*has been recovered now–more on this later*), but I didn’t lose my mother or my dog, which is all that really matters. My mother has a significant “torn” granulating wound all down her upper left arm, and has a few bruises, and has a case of PTSD at some level. But she’s here, and the Pom is unhurt. This is a miracle.

How did it happen? In Plano, Texas, just today named “the safest suburb in the USA” *irony alert*?

I would never have left them in the van with the motor and A/C running had I imagined that nearby there was a crazed junkie escaping from a halfway house . . . or that the locked doors could be defeated with a simple click. But my mother (aged 80) always demands to be taken on any errand that I run, and typically she brings our little Pom along. He sits in his dog bed on the console of my 2004 Ford Freestar minivan. (We have some pillows and cardboard rigged up so the bed stays put.) He loves going for rides with us.

And we had just made the circuit: the pharmacy for her prescriptions, the gas station to fill up, Kroger for some frozen food, Luby’s for an old-lady meal, and now the Jack-in-the-Box restaurant parking lot at Parker Road and US75. It’s in a strip shopping center in a safe neighborhood. All I needed was to pick up a burger and fries for hubby, and we’d be on our way home. The next day Hubby and I were headed to the State Fair of Texas, so I had been sure to get my mother and my dog everything they’d need while we were off for a few hours.

At 6 PM on Monday–now about two weeks ago, October 4th–with rush hour going on and people going in and out of the surrounding stores, I found myself unable to get into the drive-through of JitB, so I parked a little ways away in a parking space so I could run inside. I had *always* parked to go inside various stores and lock the doors so they can wait in the van and people-watch. Never a problem in Dallas, Houston, Richardson, Sherman, and rural Oklahoma.

While this was happening, I had no idea.

Perhaps a numbered timeline would work better.

1) I jump out of the van, lock the doors using the keyless entry keypad on the door (not the keychain–this is important later), and head about 300 feet across the parking lot into the restaurant. I glanc back to see my mom tuning the radio to one of her talk shows, even though my iPod video 60 is plugged into the sound system because we’ve been listening to podcasts of “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” from PBS. My cell phone is also plugged into the van charging, but I think nothing of that, as I don’t bother to take my purse, just a $10 bill. Teddy sits happily in his dog bed on the console between our bucket seats, as always, and her cell phone is in the door pocket, and she has a Luby’s meal in a sack at her feet next to her purse. (It was beef tips and rice for me, and a chocolate pie for her, as she had low blood sugar even before all this happened.) It’s a still-light 6 PM in a safe area of Plano, and lots of people are on Parker Road and in the parking lot, because it’s still rush hour. What can possibly go wrong?!?!

2) I give the order at the counter and fill a Styrofoam cup with diet Coke. No large tops anywhere. I go back and stand at the counter. Oddly, I am their ONLY lobby customer. The clerk who took my order is back doing something and I am waiting with an uncovered coke. I hear someone come in the side door and I think I hear something like . . . my name?

3) I turn. A Hispanic woman about my height with spiral-curly hair is looking at me VERY panicked and worried. At first I think it is someone i must know or have worked with and she’s got a flat tire or some kind of crisis. She says, “Is your mother wearing a white t-shirt and has a red dog?”

This can not be good