The War Against Touchscreens

That’s right. Because when you are a total klutz who happens to annihilate any and every electromagnetic field you come into contact with in this day and age, life becomes difficult. I won’t go into my trials and tribulations with the DROID because frankly, if you know me at all, you know that me and cell phones are like oil and fire. And while my father did give me his old iPad a while back, I seldom use it because I 1) like having a keyboard, 2) struggle with wifi, and 3) have dark allegiances to my Kindle.

the-ten-commandments-movie-clip-screenshot-laws-of-god_largeTablets are for reading, and proclaiming from mountaintops in this house.

No, my most recent misadventure is with my elderly iPod, the square gem that I used to wear on my wrist (before that was even a thing, thank you very much), which I managed to shatter a few months ago. Since that mishap, I have tried getting the glass replaced, which Apple wanted to charge me $100 bucks for (ehrm, no), and then tried to put one of those plastic protector sheets on, which doesn’t work at all. So I was limping along until recently, when the square of power decided that it would no longer read my swipes.

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Hence, my hatred of touchscreens.

I am not that backwater. I know that touchscreens are “the future” if it isn’t here already. I saw Minority Report. And we all know the end to that tragic story now don’t we? You know what I am talking about, Mr. Cruise. Don’t lie. But what I wouldn’t do for a physical button on the damned machine that is supposed to make my life easier, a way to scroll between terrible drag queen music and my obsession with the Welcome to Night Vale podcast. But no. Today, the iPod and I came to a crossroads.

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Just like that Bone Thugs song, without the rapping. Or the background music.

I tried, and tried, and tried again to make the damned thing work. I had my coworker (who has much daintier fingers) try to change the menu from radio to music, or to at least to select a song. No dice. So now, I have two iPods that don’t really function and no desire to fork over a Benji to get one that works, let alone buy an older model (again, to move away from the blasphemous touchscreen of doom) that would make my life easier. At this point, it’s either biting the bullet and buying another one or digging out my old Discman.

discman2Oh, the good old days.

Yes, things could be worse, and there’s always NPR, but I am slowly coming to the end of my digital rope. Unless these new-fangled technology gadgets move back a bit, I’m going to end up with an actual dial on my radio, an AM/FM cassette player and a telephone that permanently plugs into a wall. The tragedy of progress. Until next time, stay classy (and live for nostalgia) Salt Lake.

Blood Moon

After another few days away from the BLERG and my 33rd birthday, I knew it was time to get back into the writing ring. And while listening to one of the most painful radio debates of 2014 (seriously, who could make Jason Chaffetz sound like a decent human being), I decided that instead of focusing on the negative, or the obviously positive (aka SCOTUS) that I would instead let everyone know that the sprig of inspiration for my next novel NaNoWriMo escapade has been percolating in my mind for a bit.

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And it will be epic.

While the Vassar Murders is still in the editing stages (I know, I know, just publish the damned thing and get on with it), I am ready and rearing to start the next trashy novel. I had originally thought about doing a sequel, but I thought that trying to work on a sequel while still not having gotten the first book officially off of the ground was déclassé. So instead, I think I might focus instead on something in a similar vein but on a different topic. And I think it will be called BLOOD MOON.

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Still trash. Still horror. But not college.

So instead I will focus my efforts on another sort of murder-mystery/thriller type of book, something maybe supernatural, maybe not. Lots of plot twists, probably a lot of dirty scenes (I mean, let’s be honest, it sells), and definitely not a “feel good” read. More of a guilty pleasure. But beyond that, I don’t want to ruin the surprise, now do I? Will it involve a strong female lead this time? Probably. Will it involve zombies or vampires? Kind of doubt it. I feel like it’s been done to death. Unless you count Resident Evil.

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Because I am LIVING for the sequel.

So while I’ll be busting tail at work and after work on a bunch of writing assignments, and trying to squeeze in more volunteering before it gets too cold, I am cautiously optimistic that come November, I will have the time and the brain power to churn out another book, and then hopefully take that energy (and the two manuscripts) and finally, finally get something published in something other than a scientific text or on the interwebs.

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Not that I would forsake the BLERG. For shame.

Until next time, stay classy (and tuned in for some plot twists) Salt Lake.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

And no, it’s not just because it just so happens to be the month that my birthday falls into, as most of you know that I tend to try to avoid or skip my birthday in the ongoing quest to beat the sands of time as they march across my face. No, October has always been one of my favorite times because the seasons have <finally> changed to be somewhat predictable, the leaves are legit turning, and I get to hear allllll about how f-ing wonderful pumpkin spice is.

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If it’s so great, why not eat/drink/smell it all the time?!

The other main reason I love October is because it’s the quintessential horror movie time of year. And after an old buddy gave me a run for my money on the FB with an inadvertent trivia question about the Halloween franchise (yes, I have seen all of them, yes, even Halloween III which didn’t even have Michael in it), I have been happily reminded that this is the month that I do my best to scare the ever-living bejesus out of myself while clutching couch pillows and yelling at my television.

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Nonononono. Don’t. Don’t…. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!

So I am not going to lie, I am looking forward to this month. My big sister will be five years older than I am for about 36 hours; my parents are coming into town to visit; and I have a bunch of big projects to work on that I am actually not dreading. Between that and <maybe> finally painting the wall in the living room, it ought to be a good transition into the fall. Which is the best season, even if it does only last like three weeks in Utah before it starts snowing.

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This is my gayborhood. In November.

So do yourselves a favor. Find a good old slasher flick, pop up some popcorn, and snuggle up on the couch, either solo with a warm blanket or with the lady/gent of your choice and get ready to scream a bit. The weather is getting on the chilly side; continue that chill down your spine. A healthy dose of fear on your own terms will do you a world of good.

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How could you not trust this?

Until next time, stay classy (and frightened, just a bit) Salt Lake.

Naked People and Storage Wars

It was one hell of a weekend. As you well know, I rocked the pledge drive and then kept trucking, because September leaves no rest for the (happily) weary. I cracked open my laptop, the one that isn’t out to get me that is, and got down to business looking over Alex’s masters thesis on graphic design. To be clear: I have no artistic ability. Unlike Mr. Moya, I do not have an eye for color (which anyone who has seen me put together an outfit painfully knows) but I am pretty good at the spot edit. And knowing Alex’s work, I figured it would be a relatively innocent project, right? Right?

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Mmmm… for the most part.

Alex’s design and writing were fierce, and raw, and in some cases brutally honest. There was scathing social commentary, some really excellent points on the ways in which design reinforce certain social norms, and then (to my surprise) some naked people. Yep. Nekkidness. To prove a point, which he did really, really well. While I was definitely not prepared for that, after the initial “whoa, that was, um unexpected,” I fixed some spelling errors, moved some parenthetical references around, and broke apart some sentences to help with the flow. Yes, only I could eviscerate an incredible piece of work by focusing on the sentence structure and not the exposed bodies proving how callous and sexualized a culture we sometimes are.

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If only my writing could be as impactful. Seriously.

Then Sunday was for errands, shopping, and trying to find Davey’s pillow in the packed-to-the-gills storage unit right by the entrance to the interstate. I had the code, I had the key, I had the resolve. And after twenty minutes, I had a boatload of frustration in not being able to navigate the labyrinth of boxes, suitcases, and furniture stacked precariously to the ceiling. After some electronic instructions from the other side of the ocean, the only thing I succeeded in was rearranging a lot of couch pillows and keeping the stack from completely collapsing with my shoulder.

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Storage unit, 1. Matt, 0.

So, sadly, Davey’s working on finding a replacement. In the meantime, I’ve got a box of Trapper Keeper folders and some ranch dressing seasoning that will be crossing the Atlantic in the near future. Between that and grant writing/revision, it’s been the perfect busy ending to the most ridiculous September on record. So tonight, I am going to finish making a casserole, catch up on personal email (since I am woefully behind) and watch crap TV. Because I’ve earned it.

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Bring on the spudness, beetches.

Until next time, stay classy (and peace out September) Salt Lake. And <SPOILER ALERT> I will be writing about my being terrified that Ebola is now in the US. Just FYI.

Pledge Drives and The Little Old Lady

Because you know. That’s how we do. I woke up after the explosive thunderstorm overnight (which the cat did not like, so I got zero sleep thank you very much) to a very dark, overcast  and somewhat equally explosive rainy day. I took a long hot shower, had a coffee, and drove up to the University campus to start my shift for the KUER (local NPR affiliate) annual pledge drive. Because I want to support my daily listening habit, but don’t have the cash to actually just sit at home and send in money over the phone. Whatevs. Anyhow, after having to wait a touch for the shift coordinator to come let us in (the weather made everyone late, really), I took up my station, grabbed another coffee, and slid on the headphones.

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Even in my “free time” I am helping other people raise money. Because: sucker.

It was actually really, really fun. I saw some of my old pledge drive buddies (yes, that is a thing) and made some new friends. I always meet the most interesting people, and the folks I met this morning were from all over the place. It being Salt Lake, we all had like two degrees of separation. Crazy. And people were really interested in my actual day job. It was nice to have strangers tell me I was doing something worthwhile with my career, especially given how crazy work has been since Davey left. Plus I got one of the biggest pledges of the shift, a nice lady up north that gave a hundred bucks a month and didn’t want a pledge gift.

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Someday, I will be that middle/upper-midde class. Some day.

I then swung by the grocery store, listening to the radio and feeling like I had done my duty for public radio, and hit the grocery store to buy some grub to get my casserole on for the next week (along with the rest of the fricking neighborhood). I tidied up the house a bit and saw my sweet, elderly neighbor, who I always, always get the newspaper for and put on her ledge because she has limited mobility and it hurts her to bend. I felt even better, as she took the paper in her hands, and then watched (TO MY HORROR) as she opened her trashcan/bench and threw the paper away.

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What. The. F.

She then disappeared inside, and grabbed three more of this week’s papers and dumped them too. She then ceremoniously slammed the trash bench shut, and disappeared into her house. I was dumbstruck. I’ve been diligently scooping up her paper, whether it is on her doorstep or ten feet down the breezeway, thinking I was doing one thankless thing to be nice, and she doesn’t even read the paper. The number of Kohl’s coupons I could have had, were I the type to steal other people’s mail.

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Even Newbs’ mail. Which BTW, you need to come get your chairs, Joshy.

So I don’t even know what to do. If I stop snagging the paper and making it easier for her to get, I’ll feel bad that she’s bending to pick it up. But she only does that to throw the damn thing away. Should I just stop? Keep doing it? Start stealing it because I want a paper? Until next time, stay classy (and please advise!) Salt Lake.

This is getting ridiculous

Ok. So. You know how much I like to write. And after my sister’s surprise visit I had every intention of getting back into the every other day semi-routine of giving you the highlights (and low lights) of the life and times of yours truly. Of course, work has been crazy busy, but the sky is also blue, what else is new. Suffice it to say that my ongoing battle between my body and my mind has continued to keep me… busy.

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Seriously. How do I get flu-ish this early?

So after dealing with the kitchen sink issue, and getting Hulu back in order, I went to Alex’s art show (which was beyond fabulous), and then did my AIDS Walk with Newbs. I was then fully prepared to spend the next bit of the weekend finally potting the new lemon tree so that the cat doesn’t eat it, burying what is left of the avocado, and then, finally, getting two grants done for the non-profit I contract for down south. And when I first got home I felt good. Better than average. Not too shabby.

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And then I had an Exorcist moment. For the next two days.

I won’t go into the gory details (I mean, if you haven’t seen the movie before you should, it does wonders to your imagination of what I went through) but it was pretty miserable. Took Monday off, and have been digging out ever since. Work was and has been stressful as I’m learning even more of what Davey did behind the scenes and how steep the learning curve can be, but after a marathon day yesterday and today, I’m finally feeling like things are getting back to a reasonable pace. Don’t. Jinx. It.

tumblr_inline_nb71if8F5A1s2dtn3Seriously. This song. Right now.

So I am planning on getting back into the saddle BLERG-wise. The (cr)ISIS going on in the Middle East is obviously something we can all rally around, at least in terms of pissing people off, and goodness knows that there’s enough going on in the local news in light of the upcoming elections that I should have loads of material to work with. Look forward to some posts soon about my travails with the UPS/USPS/FedEx trifecta of evil shipping, an upcoming fund drive I am volunteering for at the local public radio station, and more than likely a diatribe about the bull$%^t going on in terms of new voter ID laws. Otherwise known as “let’s disenfranchise poor and old people with no scientific basis or merit to voter suppression.”

voter-suppressionNot that I have strong opinions.

Until next time, stay classy (and healthy, PLEASE) Salt Lake.

Tech Support

I am not by any means a technology person. If I had my way, I would have a land line, a pager, and at this point, a flipping modem. That crackly connection sound is almost soothing in an environment that involves me calling multiple people to fix problems I didn’t create, in a world where people are lined up OVERNIGHT to get a new iPhone, which, last time around (and the time before, and the time before that ad nauseam) is just a phone. Which growing up, I used in order to call people. Because it’s a phone.

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I can see it in your eyes. I can see it in your smile.

The only thing better than  calling tech support is when the person you are talking to (which, by the way to their benefit did call a few seconds after I asked the question online) is when they say things like, “Do you have a different browser you can use?” or, “this website says…” News flash. I know how to Google. Because I was born in the last century. And no, I will not uninstall my ad blocking or tracking software, because you don’t get to know where I am and what I am looking at because it’s none of your damned business.

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And I get no privacy. Cue ’80s music.

So now I get to watch my Hulu on a Friday night solo (I know, I need a husband, or a martini, or both) on some rando browser after resetting all of my damned passwords and whatnot because the Interwebs are against me. I feel like I live in some perverse version of the Matrix where no matter what I do, the behind-the-scenes machines are working not only towards my untimely samurai demise, but actively determining how to make the human hull I live in into a battery. Freals.

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It keeps going. And going. And going…

Until next time, stay classy (and unplug yourself for a change) Salt Lake.