Friday, August 31, 2007

I just got a ding on my credit report from a collections agency that claims I have an outstanding Verizon bill from a phone number in Hackensack, NJ. I have never even been to NJ, let alone lived in Hackensack long enough to have a phone number there.

Either they are confused or sleazy, or Verizon is confused or sleazy. Either way, it has produced a 20 point hit on my credit score.

In reading an article about how CBS has declined to allow Big Brother ejectees to be interviewed by the media until after the finale (now that the really controversial houseguests are starting to be evicted) and another article about how the people who watch the live feeds and the uncensored Showtime footage this season are really watching a different show than the one CBS views are seeing, I found this update about what is happening in the lives of Dr. Will and Mike Boogie.

TG, don't read this in the presence of your girls, or at work if you are not in your own office (there are no graphic images if you don't click the Youtube video, but there are graphic words).

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Here is part 3. I like this series because she didn't try too hard to make Harry Potter too allegorical. She just saw certain biblical things that the text went with and rolled with them.

Part 2 of the sermon series mentioned in the previous post.

OK. I have to share this entry too, from the same blogger as the last. It helps if you know something about Harry Potter, but the sermon is powerful, even if you don't. I got chills when I read it (not scared chills, but "hey, this is talking to me!" chills), and almost cried a little (I'm at work, though, so I managed to hold back). And the Scripture reading it is based on is one of my favorites.

Just wanted to share this post from a blog I read occassionally. Nothing like the fire of the Spirit.

Oh, and I just wanted to say that whoever is giving Amber on Big Brother messages and visions of her winning this thing is pretty sneaky to disguise him/her/itself as God. Otherwise, I would have to say God has a terribly cruel sense of humor, and I can't believe that.

But I also have to say that I admire Amber's self-confidence (or self-delusion) in believing that she has the face/body/attitude to be a professional model. I will also feel bad for her when the cruel realities of the world of modeling come crashing down around her.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sharing This 'Cause it Makes Me Laugh...

If I ever again say anything about looking at St. Al's CCC* youth ministry website, please be sure to smack me.

It frustrates me that they are now doing everything I tried to do when I was there and was told I couldn't. And it isn't even as if there has been a change in pastor or administration. It's just that I was a poor, northern girl, and the guy running it now is a wealthy, southern boy who grew up in the parish.

I have to say, though, that the theology they are imparting isn't really that good. It is basically conservative Catholocism mixed with the Southern Baptist, "Yay God! Accept Jesus into your life and you will be rewarded!" kind of feel. I never thought the powers that be at the CCC would allow that, but it just goes to show what I know.

I often think about becoming more involved in ministry in some way, shape or form at my current church, but I admit that my experiences at the CCC have made me a little gunshy. I'm even leery of volunteering to read scripture on Sundays, something I've been doing since I was in middle school.

Sigh. Being part of a Christian community shouldn't be this hard.

Monday, August 27, 2007

This is an interesting article about children with reading difficulties. And it is absolutely true.

I wonder if anybody has ever researched whether or not the same is true for math. Logicially, it seems like it would be. And it would explain a lot in my own life.

I could count to a hundred before I started preschool, but I had trouble writing numbers. Then in first grade, I had trouble learning basic facts. By second grade, when I had to deal with multiplication and adding/subtracting multiple columns, I was lost. I struggled with math all the way through to fifth grade, when a fantastic teacher (Mrs. Mikush - I hope you Google your name and find this!), helped me figure out how to manage things. Even after that, though, I had to struggle with the basics. I understood the concepts, but I couldn't execute the actual work.

By the way, if you complain to Dannon that it is stupid that they put high fructose corn syrup into your favorite yogurt, they will send you coupons for free packages of said yogurt. Of course, they will continue to put the high fructose corn syrup in your yogurt, but at least the chemically altered sugar is free.

Oh, and if you go to this site you can get a free chicken sandwich and coke from Chik-Fil-A. It will take 6-8 weeks to get it, but nonetheless.

Kinda slow at work again.

Here is a good argument for school uniforms.

Personally, I was glad when we started wearing uniforms when I was in 7th grade. We didn't have a lot of money for school clothes, and I wore hand-me-downs and thrift-store specials, mostly. I got teased a lot. Then when I started going to public high school, it happened all over again.

Here, almost all students in all schools - public and private - wear uniforms. Khaki pants, shorts, and skirts, mostly, and polo shirts, and I think that's a good thing. It's less expensive for the parents, and the charities that help with uniforms and schools supplies can buy them cheap in bulk.

Just my two cents...

Here is a question for TG (and anyone else who may be interested).

Am I going to burn in hell forever because I find Amber on Big Brother's "praying" and her messages from God absolutely hilarious?

And if I am, will it be worth it?

Friday, August 24, 2007

I did something colossally stupid. When I was paying bills last week, I was writing out checks for partial payments for my surgery. I meant to write a check for $25 for one of the providers. Wht did I do instead? I wrote a check for $186, the total amount I still owed them. Did I put $186 in my checkbook register? No. Did I overdraw my account? Yep. Big time.

Sigh. Well, at least they are paid off now. It's going to take me more than a month to catch that up, but what are you going to do?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I just discovered that my gynecologist runs the rape crisis center in Baton Rouge. That explains a lot about his stirrup-side manner. Most men suck at that (though, admittedly, I only had one other before this guy). He's actually pretty good at not making me uncomfortable. And if he can do that for me, he can do it for anyone.

I have cramps. And the government is stupid. And it is hot. And I am tired. And I am cranky. And the government is stupid. And my sunburn hurts.

But I have my car back. It nearly overheated this morning, but it is back.

I do not like the Post-Gazette's new format. I rely on them for the AP feed, as the website of the paper down here refuses to acknowledge that there is a world outside of Louisiana. Where is the AP feed?

Post-Gazette, if you have somebody do blog searches for negative comments like the computer company that rhymes with Hell does, the new format sucks. It takes too long to load, it isn't easy to navigate, and the AP feeds are gone, despite having markers for them at the bottom of the page.

Fix it.

Your Score: A Bit Of Both

You are 50% Calvin and 50% Hobbes

Calvin & Hobbes, like a scruffy yin and yang, are in perfect balance within you. Like Calvin, you're weird, a bit insecure, and can be a trouble-maker. But like Hobbes, you're down to earth and sensitive. It's a risk to say it here, after just a ten question test, but I'll bet you're smarter than most. Both Calvin and Hobbes are crafty, clever characters, and any one made from equal parts of each is a force to be reckoned with.

Link: The Calvin Or Hobbes Test written by gwendolynbooks on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

I miss Calvin and Hobbes. This was my favorite comic for as long as it was in publication. The best part about living in the Kirk House in college was all the Calvin and Hobbes (and Far Side) comic books in the magazine rack.

Oh, and remember world:

I am a force to be reckoned with!

Monday, August 20, 2007

My Day

by Sheryl

My Sunday started out to be a very promising day. I was up before 8, so I had time to do some laundry before church. I went over to the laundry room and found it to be absolutely foul. A couple of the washers leaked again, people threw lint on the floor in the water to make a linty, icky mess, and some cretin stubbed his cigarret out in the change slot of one of the washers. Still, though, I managed to find a couple washers and loaded my laundry. Well, when I went over to put my clothes in the dryer, the coin slot jammed on one of the dryers. I had to put two loads of laundry into one dryer, since there was only that one other open. My laundry didn't quite get dry enough, and it is currently spread out on the living room floor.

So then I go to get in the shower, something I do at least once a day, every day. You would think that by now I would have mastered the art of climbing into the tub. You would think wrong. The side of my tub is really high, like above my knee high (the bottom of the tub is elevated about 8 inches off the ground). I missed getting my foot all the way over the side, and smacked it into the edge of the tub instead. It hurt, but it wasn't until I tried to move it and realized that that hurts a whole, awful lot that I realized that I probably broke my toe (if I'm lucky - HA!) or my foot (if I'm not - which when you read the rest of the story you will realize that is probably my fate). Still, I've broken toes and feet before, and I'm OK with that - not much you can do about it, anyway.

Well, I get dressed and leave for church, leaving my cell phone behind (remember that, as it is a key part of the story). I get out on the road and realize that my ball joints sound really, really bad now, so I decide to skip church and take my car to the car fixing place instead. Well, just as I got to the place where I turn on to the street where the car fixing place and my office are, I felt a huge thump and the right side of my car dropped and started smoking. I managed to get into the parking lot shared by a pizza place and Taco Bell.

A guy standing at a bus stop tried to help me change the tire (at this point, that was all that appeared to be the problem). He tried to loosen my lug nuts, but they were on too tight and ended up stripping my lug nut loosening thing (I'm all about the technical terms today). So I thanked him for trying to help me, then went to Taco Bell to ask for a phone book and to use the phone. It was probably about 11:20 at this point. They wouldn't let me use the phone, but they would call someone for me. I gave her my boss's number, because I had to work today (that's where I am now), but there was no answer. I didn't have my cell phone, so I had no one else's number (I had to look his number up). So I looked up a few other numbers, but rather than have the counter person there do my bidding all afternoon, I went to the pay phone at Albertson's, which is in the same parking lot. Keep in mind that it is about 95 degrees and I am dressed in church clothes (fortunately, I brought my tennis shoes with me, because the only pair of sandals I could find this morning hurt my feet). I called my boss's office phone and left him a message, then I tried to call a co-worker who I knew was in the office, but I couldn't remember his extension. Finally, I called this emergency assistance place here. They do simple stuff like unlocking cars (remember that), jumping batteries, and changing tires. Well, that guy got there fairly quickly, but he couldn't loosen the lugs either (and honestly, didn't try that hard) and told me I had to call a tow company.

By this point, I'm pretty much drenched in sweat, but I went back to Taco bell to use their phone book again. A couple was in the restaurant heard me telling the counter person about my plight, and he offered to try to change the tire for me. I told him what the RA guy said, and said I was just going to call a tow truck. They left while I was looking up numbers, but then the wife came back in and said that her husband wanted to take a crack at the wheel anyway. I agreed (because, really, who wouldn't if they could save $86 bucks on the 3/4 mile trip to the car fixing place). He pulled two different lug wrenches out of his trunk, and with a combination of willpower, weight, and skill, he managed to loosen the bolts (I had to stand on one end of the lug wrench to do it.). He changed the tire, and I thought all was well.

The couple's names were Alfred and Coretta, and I'd appreciate it if those of you who are of a praying persuasion that God that they were there for me today, and pray for Alfred's continued recovery from a stroke he suffered a few months ago.

Well, I got in the car, started it up, and put it in gear. I made it about two feet before the wheel fell off. Yeah, the ball joint totally broke. So now I had to call a tow truck. So I walked back to Albertson's, called the first number on my list (thank God I had some laundry money left), and she told me that they were really busy, and she couldn't even dispatch a truck for at least an hour. I called the other two numbers, and got no answer, despite the fact that they advertised 24-hour towing. I'm in tears at this point, and called my boss's work phone and sobbed into his voicemail. Then I went into Albertson's and used their phone book to get the number of the car fixing place to find out if they had a towing company they frequently used. They did, and I called them and sobbed to the lady on the phone. She said that she would get a truck out as soon as possible. That's when it started to rain.

So I walked through the parking lot in the rain back to my car, where I discovered...I locked my keys in the car. At this point, I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry, so I did a little of both. I went into Taco Bell and ordered a Pepsi so I could sit in the restaurant while I waited for the tow truck. As I went into the restaurant, I passed a mother and her son waiting for the rain to stop for them to get to the car, and the little boy asked his mother, "Mama, what's wrong with that lady?" Yeah, I was looking rough at that point.

Well, the tow truck arrived and I informed the driver that I had a slight problem. He did not have any lock-out stuff with him, but he suggested I go and ask the pizza place if they had a hanger so that we could maybe unlock the door through a slightly open window. The did, and we worked on it for about 25 minutes...until the hanger broke. So then I had to call the roadside assistance people again, and the same guy came. He said to me, "You aren't having a good day, are you?" I wanted to smack him.

By this point, I'm drenched with sweat, dehydrated, and miserable. Keep in mind I still have to work, and that I haven't been able to find anyone to give me a ride to work. The tow truck guy said he take me to my office after we dropped off my car. That was nice of him.

When we got to the car fixing place, my boss showed up just about a minute or two later. I wanted to cry with relief. Then I went into work and worked 9 hours on a proposal that was supposed to be due tomorrow and has now been extended until Friday.

Most of the above was written yesterday, but I didn't have the stamina to finish it until today. The previous post tells you how things stand right now.


OK, Blogosphere. It's time for another round of Run Sheryl's Life.

Here is the situation. My car is broken (watch for the post about the whole, sad affair later). It will cost about $700 to fix. It is 10 years old and has 152,000 miles on it. The Blue Book Value is $852.

I got in touch with a car dealership, and they were apparently able to work out financing for me. I don't know the details yet, but I do know what payment I can afford easily, and I know how much my insurance would go up buying full-coverage insurance. I can afford a note, but it scares me nonetheless, and my world will be considerably less comfortable, especially if I need to find a new apartment in December (because my rent will increase by about $150 a month for any place that isn't scary).

So, what should I do? Should I repair the car (keeping in mind that I may need to get another, similar repair relatively soon)? Should I wait to make a decision after I talk to the dealer? Should I just give up and to figure out the insane public transportation in Baton Rouge?

It's times like this that I wish my dad were still around.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Life sucks. That's all I have to say right now. I will say more later, though.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

So True

You Are Scooter

Brainy and knowledgable, you are the perfect sidekick.

You're always willing to lend a helping hand.

In any big event or party, you're the one who keeps things going.

"15 seconds to showtime!"

If you don't believe in the importance of proofreading, perhaps this will change your mind...

Friday, August 17, 2007

So I've been thinking about cars lately. Mostly because the time has come where I absolutely must get mine fixed, or I must get a new car. I'm almost afraid to drive it in it's current state (I need new ball joints and control arms - which are apparently attached on my car, or I'd only need the ball joints). If my building manager will let me pay my rent a week late (with attendant late fees, of course), I can get it fixed at the end of the month thanks to the buttload of overtime I'm about to have. I really am afraid to wait much longer than that.
But I've been contemplating looking for something new, or new-used. I really can't afford a car payment right at this moment (at least not if I want to keep up the same pace I am with my other debts), but it might be better to think about a car that wasn't going to nickle-and-dime me over the next year until I can afford a car payment. After all, my car is 10 years old and has 151K on it. In addition to the ball joints, I need a belt, a thermostat, and an air conditioning compressor.
So I've been looking mainly at the Toyota Yaris, the Honda Fit, and the Chevy Aveo. They are all reasonably priced, all are small but not cramped, and all get good mileage. They all have their own drawbacks, however, the most prominent being that almost no features are standard - including AC. Living in Louisiana without AC in your car is a Very Bad Idea, but to get AC, you have to get a whole bunch of other things you don't want or need, like an mp3 player adapter (I don't have an mp3 player, and I only listen to NPR in the car anyway).
The other thing that bothers me is that a lot of cars have the spedometer mounted in the middle of the dash (between the driver and the passenger) instead of behind the steering wheel where it belongs. You have to take you eyes off the road a lot longer to look at spedometer over there than you do if it is right in front of you.
I'm also looking at used cars, and if I go that route, I'd like either a Camry or a Corrola. The only problem is that people who buy those cars hold on to them for so long that by the time they come on the used market, they aren't much good.
Any other suggestions out there? I'm looking for a relatively small car, that gets good mileage but isn't a hybrid, that is reliable, and that won't break me financially.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Supposedly, this is what I would look like on the Simpsons. Eh. Maybe. The hair and eyes are pretty spot on, at least.

Just Thought I'd Tell You...

…that my body has craptastic timing. That is all.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Work in Progress

Need to iron out a few bugs (like how to get the green corners to go away and how to get the icons to not be green anymore), but I kind of like it.

The sunset picture is from Lake Erie at Presque Isle State Park in Pennsylvania, by the way.

Just call me that guy who paints the geometric paintings (who I am too lazy to go look up).

I am ravenously hungry today, and I have no idea why.
I blame the heat.
Though I suppose the fact that "that time of the month" is soon to arrive can be blamed as well.
I'm still bored. I may grace you all with more of my wonderful artwork later on today.

Monday, August 13, 2007

It's 6:17 p.m. The sun is starting to go down...and it's 102 degrees.

Um...God? Not to be disrespectful or anything...but...WTF?????

Told you I was bored.

Just to continue my efforts to spam my own blog today (and because I am bored at work - holding pattern again), here is a cute picture of some goats. This came from the Post-Gazette, via AP Photographer Joe Gill

This is what I do for a living:

This is what I do for a living:

Just in case you were wondering...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

So, I hate the heat and I hate grocery shopping. So what do I do on the hottest day of the year in Baton Rouge? I go grocery shopping, of course. (It was actually a degree hotter yesterday - 104, but 103 is almost as bad).

So I went to the Albertson's that is usually the good Albertson's, in other words the one not close to my house. They have peaches on sale this week for $0.99 a pound. Peaches are my favorite fruit, except for cherries (which I apparently can't eat anymore because I discovered that they do incredibly nasty things to my digestive system - but that's another story). The peaches at the good Albertson's were horrible compared to the ones at the close Albertson's, so I had to settle for nectarines. Not nearly as satisfying.

Then I was going to get a couple pieces of fried chicken for dinner. I don't indulge in it often, but I've been craving it. Well, it smelled like they had some, but when I got into the store, the case was empty. The deli lady had cleaned it out. It wasn't even 6 p.m. yet. They usually have chicken until at least 7.

And just to top things off, they were out of the yogurt I like. The only good thing was that Stouffer's frozen things were on big sale.

So I finished my shopping and did the checkout thing. I left the store, and could see from the exit that someone was kind enough to leave their cart right behind my car after they loaded their groceries. If you don't feel like taking your cart the whole 10 feet to the cart return, fine, but have the courtesy to not block someone else in.

Well, I get to my car and go to put my groceries in the trunk. Wouldn't you know, one of my bags broke and a container of cranberry juice fell out. Of course, it didn't make it the whole six inches from the cart to the trunk, where it wouldn't have broken. No, it fell on the concrete and broke open. I suppose I could have gone into the store and complained and gotten a new bottle, but it was hot and I was tired, so I didn't bother.

So now I had two carts to take to the cart return. Could I get the one of the carts to slide into the other? Of course not. So I had to struggle with two carts, while at least two people (one of them a store employee) watched me. When I got back to the car, I walked through the cranberry juice, which made the bottom of my shoes slippery, which made me slip on the blacktop when getting into the car which made me bruise my butt.

Oh, and when I left for church this morning (yes, I made it, and I'll write about it tomorrow, maybe), I discovered that a flock of diarrhetic birds who I though had left didn't really leave, and apparently decided to rest in the tree above where I parked last night. My car got soaked in bird crap for the third time in the past 10 days. And the really sad thing is that on the days when I didn't park under the tree, nobody's car got crapped on. When I did park under the tree, my car was the only one that they chose to target.

Yeah, I'm cranky a little. I wish it were December so we'd finally see daytime highs below 80.

Friday, August 10, 2007

How come stuff I need to buy is always on sale when I have no money with which to buy it?

TG: you are absolutely right about last night's TWOP recap. I missed the episode (stuck at work), but I don't feel like I missed much at all.

Dude! Martha Stewart just changed my life.

She was interviewing that guy from Project Runway (which I've only seen once because I don't have cable). She said at one point that we are all concerned with clothes because we all where them every day.

We do??? That's why people have been looking at me funny!

You learn somehting new every day!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Really, Pittsburgh? Just, really? You couldn't come up with anything better than Steely McBeam? And why do the Steelers need a mascot anyway? They've managed 75 years without one.

Methinks there will be a cermonial funeral for Ol' Steely sometime ths season.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Much better than the actual show are Television Without Pity's recaps of Big Brother. You simply must read them.

I'm not a big fan of Sinead O'Connor, but I'm almost tempted to buy this album. It sounds interesting to me for some reason. I kind of want to see what she did with the theme. At the same time, I'm not sure I want to spend money on her. Hmm. Decisions, decisions...

Sunday, August 05, 2007

I'm having a bit of summer malaise. It is hot. Really hot. And humid. Like, the air feels heavy against your body humid. It's hard to care about much.

I missed church, again. I could have made it this week, easily. But I didn't. It's hard to make it to my church in the summer. A good bit of the congregation disappears, even the ones not attached to LSU. It is a chore to worship there in the summer.

I know it shouldn't matter, but I don't like it when worship feels like penance. And it isn't like the people who are there are any different (except we all look like we may die in the heat. Midwesterners of northern European descent aren't built for Louisiana summers). The pastor isn't any different, and the quality of his sermons doesn't decline. We have no choir, but for musically impaired me, that isn't that big of a deal.

I guess that leaves me. I guess I'm going through another spiritual dry spell. They have been coming more frequently since the CCC. I've never been able to get back to that point where I knew God as more than a distant creator.

You know what, that isn't exactly true. It would be more correct to say that my experience of God has changed a lot since then. I don't know if I can quanitfy what that change is, though.

I think I need a retreat. Or a spiritual director. Or something. Any suggestions?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Can I just announce that I just got a 10% raise? Can I also announce that I've never gotten a raise of more than 2% without a change in job title? Can I also say that I absolutely love my company?

I have never been this financially secure in my life. Hell, I have never been financially secure in my life.

I don't quite know what to do with this.

But it will make it a whole lot easier to finally get my car fixed so that my wheels won't fall off.