Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hack, Hack, Ptui

Cold is still getting better. Cough is getting worse. Anybody know where I can trade in my lungs for a new pair? I think these ones are defective.

It's Couch Potato Time!

I am enjoying my new satellite TV. Mostly. The DVR is a lot more annoying to use than my old TiVo, in just about every possible way, but I was expecting that. TiVo really does have just about the best interface I've ever encountered on anything: intuitive, simple, and extremely user-friendly without sacrificing functionality or treating you like an idiot. Even the remote was very nicely designed, which the DIRECTV one... isn't. Ah, well. So far, I've managed to avoid wanting to throw the new one against a wall, so I think I'll be able to live with it.

On the upside, though, HD on that great big new TV of mine is... Is kind of weird, actually. It's going to take a little getting used to. But in a good way. I also think I'm likely to end up finding the On Demand feature more useful than I expected. Heck, I already have: it enabled me to get caught up on The Walking Dead, so that I can now watch it as it airs instead of waiting for the current season to come out on DVD. (Although that may not necessarily be a good thing, as I suspect this may be one of those shows that works better on DVD, where you don't have a full week between episodes to think about how stupid whatever the characters just did was.) I also discovered you can watch YouTube videos with the DVR, which is kind of cool, although it has the potential to be a dangerous time-waster.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wow, That Actually Does Look Pretty Scary.

All you folks on the East Coast, try not to die of hurricane, OK?

Well, If I Can't Have A Social Life, At Least I Have TV.

I am feeling a lot better today, which just bloody well figures. Damned germs apparently accomplished their mission of keeping me from having any fun and are now satisfied. Although the cough is being kind of sneaky... I keep thinking maybe's it's completely gone, and then suddenly it'll pay a return visit, give me a nice little hacking fit for just long enough to make my throat hurt, then disappear again for hours. Not that I'm complaining about the fact that it's not worse.

In other news, Project Upgrade My Life to the 21st Century is now very close to completion, as the DIRECTV guy was just here and installed my shiny new HD TV service. Finally, my new TV lives up to its full potential! Now if only there were anything good on... Anyway, now all I need is a gadget to let me stream Netflix to said TV, and my entertainment options will be utterly complete, so that if I'm ever placed under house arrest for some reason, I will not care.

Friday, October 26, 2012

I Am Difficult To Deal With When I'm Sick. I Do Realize That.

Dammit, my cold is getting steadily worse. I've developed a cough now. An intermittent cough, but a bad enough one. The kind that makes your lungs feel all wet and itchy, and can occasionally emerge with enough force to make your head hurt. This particularly alarms me, because once a respiratory infection settles down into my lungs, often as not that means I have six fun-filled weeks of bronchitis to look forward to. Yay. Even more annoyingly, if I'm not feeling better than this tomorrow, I probably shouldn't go to the Halloween party I was planning to attend. Which really kind of pisses me off. I am not generally a big fan of parties, but, dammit, this one I was actually looking forward to, and not just in that "Well, it's good for me to get out and be social" way that usually motivates me to go to parties, on the infrequent occasions when I do. Why do germs keep screwing with everything I really want to do lately? Aaargh!

If you'll excuse me, I am going to go to my room now and pout like a teenage girl over how my life is so unfaaaaaaair.

Not That I Don't Trust Bruce Campbell's Word, But...

So, there's a trailer out for the new Evil Dead remake. Here it is, if you're interested and haven't seen it yet. (Warning: gore! Duh.)

I'm afraid I can't really find it in myself to get very interested in this. If you ask me, the only thing that made the first Evil Dead movie even remotely interesting, other than the presence of Bruce Campbell, is the fact that the gory special effects were so obviously a carefully crafted labor of low-budget love. Twisted, disturbed, ridiculously blood-splattered love. Remake that with actual money and production values (and, if this trailer is an accurate reflection, without the fun, campy humor of Evil Dead 2), and what have you got? What's the point? Other than to remind me that I really need to pick up Cabin in the Woods on DVD, that is.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

More Whining About The State Of My Health

Clearly I do have a cold. For the second time in as many months. SIGH. This one's not nearly as bad as the last one, and industrial strength decongestants are mostly keeping the nose functional, but apparently whatever crud I have managed to clear from my respiratory system has gone straight into my brain.

Dammit, I better be over this quickly. I have things to do this weekend. Did I mention I have things to do this weekend?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Also, I'm Up Way Too Damned Early

Gaah, I have a sore throat. Also a stuffy nose, although that might be at least partially due to allergies. The sore throat is definitely not good, though. I'm hoping it's just some kind of side effect from the flu shot, as the CDC assures me that such things are usually brief and mild. If it's a cold, it's got crappy timing, to be incubating just when I decided to distract my immune system with other things. Plus, I've got housework to do today, actual work to do Thursday and Friday, a party to attend on Saturday, and the DIRECTV guy coming on Sunday. Now is not a good time to be sick, dammit.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Speaking of Shiny New Things...

I now have a shiny new internet connection! My god, I just watched a YouTube video all the way through and it didn't stop to buffer once. Can such things be possible?!

Many people just got an e-mail to this effect (complete with typos, sigh), but for anybody else to whom it might be relevant: my SDC e-mail account is going away. You can still e-mail me at my gmail account, or at bettyragan at centurylink dot net.

Next up: new TV service! And then I'm done. No more big changes for a while.

Monday, October 22, 2012


My exciting activity for the day: I got a flu shot. This is actually the first one I've had, despite the fact that my employer offers them for free every year. I usually come up with some excuse, but the fact is, I just really don't like needles. And I figure, hey, I'm not actually all that likely to get the flu in any given year -- I come down with it maybe twice a decade if I'm really unlucky -- plus even getting the shot is no guarantee you won't get the flu, anyway, as you could always catch some weird strain they didn't vaccinate for. Might as well play those odds, right? Well, maybe... although the odds of crashing on any given car trip are also fairly low, and I was still glad enough to hear about all those airbags and crumple zones and things my new car has. And the more I learn about vaccination and public health issues, the more I'm coming to realize that not getting vaccinations for infectious diseases is -- and please excuse the corny turn of phrase -- bad citizenship. After all, if I catch the flu, I might want to die, but if I don't catch it, I can't pass it on to someone vulnerable who might actually die. Which can happen to people with compromised immune systems. So, I went and got the damned shot. It literally took five seconds and barely hurt, other than making my bicep kind of sore, so the fact that I've been wussing out of it all this time is really rather embarrassing.

(On an only very slightly related note, while I was driving in to get my shot, my new car reached its first 100 miles on the odometer. Yay, milestone!)

Friday, October 19, 2012

See! It Is Shiny!

Look, it's my new car!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

And In Much Awesomer News...

I am now the owner of a brand new car!!! I did, in fact, end up buying a Honda Fit. it is shiny and sliver! I think it will fit my needs very well. It's a nice, simple, basic, inexpensive car, with all of the (very few) features I want, and none of the extra crap I don't want. Technically, it's a subcompact, but it supposedly has as much cargo space as some SUVs.

I feel like such an organized adult right now. I did research online, figured out exactly what I wanted and how much I ought to pay for it, and went and bought it. So much different from my last car, where I basically walked into the dealership -- walked because I had totaled my previous vehicle and had no other transportation -- and said, "Um, I need a car. What do you have?" Which is precisely what you're not supposed to do. Not that I ever regretted it. To be honest, I'm going to miss that little Neon. It was a good and faithful car that did everything I asked of it and, up until very recently, never gave me a lick of trouble that wasn't my own or somebody else's fault. But it was time for it to go. I don't think I ever realized that quite so much as when I started driving the new car. Mainly because I keep finding myself going way faster than I think I'm going. Apparently, I'd learned to rely on cues like how much rattling and vibration there was, and how much air was coming in through that one window that never quite sealed properly in order to gauge my speed.

Anyway, yay, new car!!! I feel like I ought to be planning a road trip or something.

The Moral Of The Story: It Sucks To Be An Addict.

I've had another test to monitor the thyroid hormones in my bloodstream, and apparently they're a little off of where they should be again. I figured they'd just give me a higher dose of the levothyroxine, but, no, the doctor thinks that maybe I'm just not getting the full benefit of what I'm taking, thanks to the fact that I'm cheating.

See, here's the thing. You're supposed to take this stuff on an empty stomach, when you first get up in the morning. Which I do. ("Morning" for me varies from 6 AM to late afternoon, but the doctor doesn't think that's too much of a problem.) Then you're supposed to wait half an hour to an hour before eating anything. Which I do. Heck, I can't stand the thought of food until I've been awake at least an hour, anyway. Here's where the cheating comes in: I cannot wait that long for my morning coffee. I don't like coffee without milk. And calcium, specifically, is something that interferes with absorption of the hormone. Well, hey, I told myself, it's just a very small amount of milk! The stupid drugs won't even notice! It'll be fine.

Yeah, maybe not. Sigh. The doctor cheerfully recommended that I wait an hour after waking up before drinking any coffee. The man clearly has no idea what he's asking. Dude, my morning coffee is more medically necessary than anything my thyroid does for me!

So, here I am, learning how to drink black coffee. At least until the hour's up and I can switch.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Random Links Through Time And Space

Cookie Monster and Grover take on 'The Avengers,' 'The Hunger Games,' and more...in song!: The "and more" part includes Doctor Who. But even without that, this would be hilarious.

Avid Reader (Antique) Wall Clock: I think I need this clock. That is all.

20 Spectacularly Nerdy Science Jokes: My kind of jokes! Also, I want that periodic table.

Welcome Back, Doctor Who: What do you do when you encounter someone who doesn't like Doctor Who? This!

Doctor Who: P.S. - Series 7 2012 - BBC One : And for those who do like Doctor Who... Here's the unfilmed epilog to "The Angels Take Manhattan." Which now exists on the internet, because apparently the BBC got tons of e-mails from people asking after Brian. It's only a storyboard and a voiceover, but, dammit, it made me tear up a little. I'm actually a bit pissed off that it didn't make it into the episode. WARNING: Massive, massive spoilers for said episode. Obviously.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Also, I finally went ahead and ordered new internet service (DSL) and TV service (DIRECTV). The good news is, bundling it all with my phone bill, I'll actually end up paying less per month, all told, than I am for my current unreliable internet and staticky basic cable. Yay!

But, man, between what the equipment and installation is gonna cost me, and what I still owe on the credit card from buying that new TV, and the anticipated down payment on the car... Well, let's just say that 2013 will be a very good year not to make any major purchases.

I May Have To Stop Now. All The To-Be-Read Shelves Are Full.

At some point in the last few months, I found myself thinking, "Screw it, I've fallen so far off the wagon that I just won't worry about the book-buying quota for the rest of the year." This... This was a bad idea.

Oh, well. They did give me a nice "Friends of the Socorro Public Library" pen free with all those books I bought last night.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Car Talk

No car shopping for me this week. Today's the only day it really would have been convenient to do it, and today is being devoted to other matters, starting with getting my swamp cooler serviced. Maybe next week? Or the week after? Bah. It's turning out to be remarkably hard to schedule stuff this month. Especially stuff I kind of want to put off.

I have, however, done some more research, and my new top choice, pending hands-on evaluation, is the Honda Fit, which has been described to me as "TARDIS-like" in its interior vs. exterior dimensions, and which has even better reviews than the Toyota Matrix. And it's a bit cheaper. The only advantage I can see to the Matrix, or at least the only advantage I care about, is that it's available with a bigger engine for a little more acceleration, which the Fit isn't. And when I'm merging, I like to be able to merge. Still, unless Consumer Reports and friends have misled me greatly, I think the Fit will be at least adequate on that score. No doubt a test drive will tell.

Mostly now I'm wondering about the logistics of this whole thing. I'm going to have to drive to Albuquerque to go car shopping, which means I'm going to have two vehicles on my hands if and when I actually buy one. Dragging somebody else along to visit car lots with me seems unlikely to be fun for either of us, if I could even find someone willing to volunteer, plus I'll probably be going on a weekday when normal people are working. And I'm dubious whether anybody is going to want my leaky, rough-starting, hail-damaged '99 Neon as a trade-in, even if it does have ridiculously low mileage. Ah, well. If the condition of me spending something like twenty thousand dollars on a new car is leaving my old one in their parking lot until I can find someone to give me a ride up to retrieve it, are they going to tell me no?

Monday, October 08, 2012

Maybe I'll Take The Red Pill.

So, I have been doing some research on cars, desperately trying to figure out what the heck I want to buy. My mother suggested a Dodge Dart as being very similar to the old Neon I have now, which is a car I've been very happy with. And those look perfectly fine, as well as within my price range. But after my experiences wrangling that giant TV back from Albuquerque, and reflecting on all the other times I've fit stuff into that Neon that really should not have fit in a Neon, I've started thinking that it might actually be really nice to go with a hatchback. I'm leaning rather strongly at the moment towards the Toyota Matrix. I read a couple of reviews of it, which were generally extremely positive, with the single complaint that it's "not very exciting to drive." Frankly I prefer my driving to be as unexciting as possible, so that's fine by me. Anybody have any experience with these, or any other useful advice? If I can get myself out of procrastination mode soon enough, maybe I'll go up to Albuquerque later this week and see about meeting some in person.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Seriously, How Are Any Of These People Still Alive For A Third Season?

It suddenly occurs to me that when I said in that last post that I didn't have any songs stuck in my head at the moment, that wasn't entirely accurate, because this one has been drifting in and out of my brain for a couple of days, for very good reasons. I hereby dedicate this song to season 2 of The Walking Dead, while I wait for Netflix to send me the finale.

I Guess I Have To Accept That It's October Already. So: The October "Currently" Meme.

Current clothes: A light tan t-shirt that says "Will Work For Books." Black sweatpants. White socks. Scuffed brown leather hiking boots.

Current mood: Not bad. Definitely awake, which is something, considering what my work schedule's been like lately. Hungry. Very slightly stressed.

Current music: Nothing at the moment. Clearly there should be more music in my life.

Current annoyance: Well, right now, it's that my internet is being all glitchy and slow, to the extent that I'm starting to wonder whether I'll be able to post this at all. Bah. I'm thinking that when I change my TV service, I should just go through Qwest or CenturyLink, or whatever they're calling themselves this week, change my internet service as well, and bundle it all with my phone bill.

Current thing: Procrastination. Not on everything -- I've been getting some housework done today -- but on all the important stuff I really need to do but which involves making appointments, doing advance research, spending large sums of money, and/or interacting with other human beings. Besides changing my TV service, I also have to make a doctor's appointment (and probably a dentist appointment, as well), go car shopping, get my swamp cooler serviced, and figure out when I'm going out to Florida to visit my dad and buy plane tickets. But I keep coming up with excuses to put all of it off.

Current desktop picture: This image of the main characters from the anime Fullmetal Alchemist, which you may remember me obsessing over slightly over the last few months.

Current book: A story collection called Better Living Through Plastic Explosives by Zsuzsi Gartner, which I got a free advance copy of through LibraryThing.

Current song in head: Nothing at the moment.

Current DVD in player: I'm almost finished season 2 of The Walking Dead, which I am enjoying despite the fact that I want to slap most of the characters most of the time. I've also been watching season 2 of The Muppet Show in front of the treadmill. Although less often than I should be.

Current refreshment: Nothing. But I really am hungry. I might go grab some Subway after this.

Current worry: That my car will die horribly on me before I replace it, especially if I keep putting off the car shopping. Now it seems to be leaking something...

Current thought: La, la, la, everything is fine! I have nothing important to do! I'm just gonna get me a meatball sandwich and then do some vacuuming!

Thursday, October 04, 2012


I seem to have no energy at all this week. None. If anybody happens to find it lying around somewhere, please send it back to me. Otherwise, I may be doomed to spending the rest of my life doing nothing more productive than playing video games and lying on the sofa trying not to nod off over books.