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February 28, 2006

Unseen Power of the Picket Fence

Here are the names of two companies you should never, ever trust:

Cambridge Management Services
Atlantic American Realty Group

I wouldn't trust them to convert my DOGHOUSE (for my non-existent dog), forget converting an apartment into a condominium.

Why shouldn't you trust them? Because they a.) will lie to you, and b.) will try to take your money for outrageous, fraudulent charges, if they can.

Two weeks ago I posted about how Cambridge Management (who ran my old apartment community, GrandeVille at Cobbs Landing)(and yes, I'm naming everything in hopes that Google and other search engines manage to index these pages) informed me that they were withholding my $275 deposit for cleaning and repainting fees relating to the apartment I had just vacated.

The apartment that they were going to completely gut as soon as I left.

They were assessing me a $100 fee for a "full clean" and $175 in fees for repainting three rooms, despite the fact that the manager of the complex told me THREE TIMES that I didn't have to do either.

So last Friday I sent a certified letter to the manager formally stating that I was objecting to their withholding of my deposit, due to the fact that they said one thing (I didn't have to clean/repaint) and then tried to hold me financially responsible when I followed their stated guidelines. I asked for my deposit back, and if I didn't get it within 30 days I was going to file a complaint in small claims court.

I threw around various Florida Statute numbers. It was really quite fun. I'll take a photo of the letter later and post it.

Today I get a response back from the Cambridge Manager. It starts off with a whole lot of bitchitude, which I don't mind - I actually expected it. I mean, I was basically calling the company out for being dirty nasty two-faced liars who were trying to defraud me of $275. But at the end of the bitchitude, we have this:

"I am revising the charges against your deposit to $60.00. A refund check of $215.00 will be sent to you from Cambridge Management Services, Inc."


But I'm also TOTALLY PISSED OFF at these people, now.

I'll take photos of both the original assessment and the revision and post them later, but the revision breaks down the charges to $20 for repainting the two red walls in the dining area, and $40 for cleaning the appliances. As it happens, I completely agree with those charges. If they had initially tried to assess me $60 against my deposit, I wouldn't have objected to that at all.

But WHICH IS IT??? Does it cost $75 to repaint the two red walls, as the first assessment says, or does it cost the $20 they've decided - only after I called them on their bullshit - to assess me? Because it can't be both, and I find it reeeeeeeeeeeeally really hard to believe that they're UNDERCHARGING me now.

I mean, duh - they colossally overcharged me in the beginning. Why? Because they're dirty nasty two-faced liars who were trying to defraud me of $275.

I don't even want to know how much money these companies have been able to pocket simply because most people don't want to take the time to question it. It's a totally shady business practice, yet it's one that I'm sure goes on all the time, everywhere, and is probably just seen as what you do in order to save yourself some money (kind of like how some health insurance companies won't pay on the first claim because they're hoping you'll just pay the bill yourself rather than wrangling with them to pay it).

I mean, really - Cambridge Management Services' initial assessment against my deposit was the exact same amount as my deposit. Don't tell me that was a coincidence. I'll bet they got my objection letter and thought, "Damn, I guess we'll have to actually give some money back to this one."

Anyway, I'm happy to be getting $215 back, and I think the assessment of $60 for damage beyond reasonable wear and tear was fair. But the fact that these companies tried to take me for a ride, financially, was something I just didn't want to let go. I'm not saying $215 is insignificant, 'cause it's not (my credit card will be even happier this month). It might be a cliché, but this really was more about the principle of the issue, not the money.

I think I need to do this sort of thing for a living. I do "indignant, and knows their rights" really, really well.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 05:56 PM | Comments (1)

Spin Cycle

Me: there's a guy here
Me: 21-22 or something
Me: who constantly talks in a fake Chinese accent
Me: how can someone not realize how offensive that is?
Rappy: I don't know. How can so many Israelis have no conscience about occupation? People are idiots, is how.
Me: there's this line from Battlestar Galactica
Me: (just bear with me here)
Me: the Cylons are trying to destroy the human race, and the human race is all, WTF?
Me: so one human says to a captured Cylon, "Hey - WTF?"
Me: and the Cylon says, "You keep wondering what you did to deserve destruction. Has it ever occured to you that you've done nothing to deserve to live?"
Me: or something to that effect
Me: sometimes that's how I feel about people, too
Rappy: dude! I was thinking before you typed that that the WTF was the punchline and was thinking it's good I don't watch the show
Me: hahahaha
Me: no, I said to bear with me!
Rappy: type faster, dude
Me: asdklfnaklsdfnalkdnflkasdnflkansdlfkalkdflaksdflaadskfjasdfa
Me: akdjfhnkasdjfnkajsdnf
Me: asdfskdjf
Me: WTF!
Me: there!
Me: *screams*
Me: oh, I almost have all of BB6 archived over on HT.net
Me: I just have five more live feed recap threads to go
Rappy: rock on
Rappy: as a testament to how much I need a dryer, I just put on damp clothes and blow dried myself

Rappy: aw, look at Kiwi, standing in the shade of my underthings on her chair.
Rappy: I love my cats
Rappy: luckily she isn't chewing away at my already ratty bra strap
Rappy: wow. I think the last three things I typed may be the reason I don't have a man.
Rappy: well, a good man at any rate
Me: any man who doesn't like cats can piss right off, as far as I'm concerned
Rappy: yup
Rappy: and the thing is that there aren't people who are just indifferent to cats. It's as if it's got to be a love or hate thing. Dude, not liking cats doesn't mean you hate them, and also, why the fuck don't you like cats?
Me: Hmm, you know, you're right
Me: I've never met a guy who was just indifferent to them
Me: I can understand not liking cats if you don't like animals in general
Me: but, say, you love dogs but you hate cats?
Me: you need mental help
Rappy: that's so weird!
Me: I love all of God's creatures, of course
Rappy: except roaches
Me: and alligators
Me: I am indulging in a little hot! pink grapefruit! action!
Rappy: *shocked face*
Rappy: you...
Rappy: you...
Rappy: PERV!
Me: *suckles*

Posted by Highwaygirl on 12:16 PM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2006

With Friends Like These...

Me: I suck today
John: oh, don't sell yourself short
John: you suck EVERY day!
John: (hahahahaha)

Posted by Highwaygirl on 03:48 PM | Comments (0)

A Little Night Music

I used to be able to play Franz Schubert's "Musical Moment No. 3." I only wish I could ever have played one of Mozart's' most famous pieces (that you've undoubtably heard), "Eine Kleine Nachtmusic."

Posted by Highwaygirl on 02:06 PM | Comments (2)

February 23, 2006

Classical Music Is Good, Yo

Did I ever mention that I am a classically-trained pianist?

Well I'm not. I'm a self-taught pianist, and today is part one (of an undetermined number of parts) in Classical Music I Used To Be Able To Play On the Piano (But Have Now Forgotten).

Let's start with what is probably the most well-known piece - "Fur Elise" by Ludwig Van Beethoven.

I'm also going to do Songs You've Heard Before But Just Didn't Know What They Were Called. First up - Boccherini's "Minuet".

Posted by Highwaygirl on 07:46 AM | Comments (3)

February 21, 2006

Stupid People Suck

I've been reading off and on for a year or so about the dumb fake reverend guy - I think his name is Fart Phelps? - who is going to military funerals and staging anti-gay protests. Because funerals are the perfect place for public dissent, naturally.

(Public displays of affection, too - but that might just be if you're either Tom Cruise or Katie Holmes. And if you are, I feel really sorry for you. Oh, and you're insane.)

Anyway, the most reverend Fart Phelps and his merry band of brain-dead, hypocritical, bile-inducing followers are going to have to stop picking on dead soldiers and take on their new nemesis - the Patriot Guard Riders. No word on whether or not any of the Patriot Guard Riders are gay, but statistically speaking, there's a good chance.

So you might be asking - Why, in America in the 21st century, is anyone protesting gay people? It defies belief that a society as tolerant and accepting as ours would judge others based upon their sexual preference, I know.

Well, it seems that Fart believes that "American deaths in Iraq are divine punishment for a country that he says harbors homosexuals. His protesters carry signs thanking God for so-called IEDs -- explosives that are a major killer of soldiers in Iraq."

Now, let's just overlook the philosophical inconsistencies inherent in believing that the Almighty is actively cheering - with pom-poms and high leg kicks - the death of His children. What I want to know is - when did God start making IEDs? And did he pass those mad skillz on to the insurgents? Because if so, that's just bad form.

The bikers, though, try to ameliorate the damage the protesters are attempting to inflict by "shield(ing) the families of dead soldiers from the protesters, and overshadow(ing) the jeers with patriotic chants and a sea of red, white and blue flags." Fourteen states are considering legislation aimed at the funeral protestors.

I don't know if that's going to go anywhere. You can't legislate stupidity (unfortunately).

"This is just the right thing to do. This is something America didn't do in the '70s," said Kurt Mayer, the group's national spokesman. "Whether we agree with why we're over there, these soldiers are dying to protect our freedoms."

Amen, brother. I can't think of a more lovely sentiment than that. But over on the other end of the spectrum we have one Shirley Phelps-Roper, daughter of Fart and an attorney for the "church" who yammers on that God killed the soldiers because the U.S. - and therefore by extention the military, I guess - embraces homosexuality.

OK, first? The U.S. doesn't embrace homosexuality. Only a total nimrod would believe that, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Second, the military doesn't ask and doesn't want you to tell (much like God, apparently), so targeting people who have died while serving in a historically gay-unfriendly occupation is really kind of pointless.

Male hairdressers die ALL THE TIME - go protest at their funerals!

"The scriptures are crystal clear that when God sets out to punish a nation, it is with the sword. An IED is just a broken-up sword," Phelps-Roper said. "Since that is his weapon of choice, our forum of choice has got to be a dead soldier's funeral."

The SCRIPTURES are "CRYSTAL CLEAR"??? I think my brain just exploded. I've read the Bible, but it was a long time ago, yet I don't recall any passages that described God going apeshit on anyone using a sword. Locusts, yes. Festering boils, sure. Even death of the firstborn (and this begs the question - is Shirley Phelps-Roper the oldest of her siblings?).

God might be able to smite Monaco all by himself with just a sword, but a country as large and diverse (not to mention violent) as the United States? He'd need to employ the services of the KISS Army.

And an IED is not "just a broken-up sword," you twit. Nails, screws, glass, and other small, sharp projectiles (along with explosives), but probably not chopped up pieces of sword. Chopping up a sword would take too much work, and today's extremist just doesn't have time for such frivolities.

I don't know. I'm all for letting stupid people show how stupid they are (the devil you know, as it were), but it just seems that at some point the stupidity reaches maximum saturation and then all you're left with is ... the sword.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 03:49 PM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2006

Dinner At Mike's

Rufus, a colored bull terrier, stands over a table at Mike's house in Arizona on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2006. Rufus became America's top dog Tuesday night by winning Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club. The dinner menu consisted of salmon roasted over a cedar plank, wild rice, and Chardonnay. (AP Photo/Shiho Fukada).

Posted by Highwaygirl on 05:57 PM | Comments (5)

Rufus: The Scourge

SEE??!? You people didn't believe me when I said Rufus, a colored bull terrier, was negatively impacting the other dogs at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show earlier this week, but HERE IS YOUR PROOF:

Copter hunt for missing show dog

"NEW YORK - A canine contender from this week's Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is missing after escaping from a travel cage at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, authorities said."

Now, why do you think that poor whippet was in such a frenzy to get out of her cage? I'll tell you why - RUFUS. I have it on good authority that Rufus, a colored bull terrier, was nearby at the time. This is the same whippet I posted about yesterday, who was driven to flee the dog show crying acid tears after looking too long at the strange and offputting visage of Rufus, a colored bull terrier.

They managed to find the whippet after that and had her long enough to get her into a crate and attempt to send her home. I'm hoping they're able to find her again, but this begs the question:

How long will we allow the reign of terror of Rufus, a colored bull terrier, to go on?

Posted by Highwaygirl on 06:59 AM | Comments (5)

I Became Chronologically Fucked Up

Tragically Hip
"Locked In the Trunk of a Car"
Listen | Buy

NOTES: I was going to post a Tones on Tail song (and then tomorrow a Love and Rockets song), but now I don't wanna. So instead you're getting Das Hips. The Tragically Hip, a band that I used to lovvve in the mid- to late-90s. I haven't bothered with their last two releases because the lead singer, Gord Downie, has gone totally 'round the bend, but I still enjoy their earlier, classic stuff. Apparently the band released a greatest hits compilation - "Yer Favourites" - and despite the LAME LAME LAME title, it might be a disc worth getting. But anyway, I was having a hard time deciding between this track and "Gift Shop." I went with "Locked" because it's an interesting, foreboding kind of song, it has one of my favorite lines of any Hip song, and because I'd rather post a live version of "Gift Shop" at some point in the future.

They don't know how old I am
They found armour in my belly
From the 16th century, conquistador, I think
They don't know how old I am
They found armour in my belly
Passion out of machine-revving tension
Lashing out at machiine-revving tension
Brushing by the machine-revving tension

Morning broke out the back side of a truck stop
The end of a line, a real rainbow-likening luck stop
Where you could say I became chronologically fucked up
Put ten bucks in just to get the tank topped off

Then I found a place, it's dark and it's rotted
It's a cool, sweet kinda place
Where the copters won't spot it
And I destroyed the map, I even thought I forgot it
However every day I'm dumping the body

It'd be better for us if you don't understand
It'd be better for me if you don't understand

And I found a place it's dark and it's rotted
It's a cool, sweet kinda place
Where the copters won't spot it
And I destroyed the map, that I can't believe dotted
However every day I'm dumping the body

It'd be better for us if you don't understand
It'd be better for us if you don't understand
It'd be better for me if you don't understand

Let me out...

Posted by Highwaygirl on 06:40 AM | Comments (1)

February 15, 2006

Go Pug Yourself

I'm bummed. The pug didn't win the Westminter Kennel Club Dog Show. Look at this dog and tell me HOW it didn't win:

Dermot, a pug, waits for his turn to be judged during the Best in Show competition at the 130th annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show , Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2006, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

That is the cutest dog EVER. Especially when compared to the thing that actually did win. Let us look at some photos...

This is a cute dog:

Owner/handler Ken Matthews parades Andy, a golden retriever, in the ring during the Best in Show competition. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

This is also a cute dog:

Boomer, a Dalmatian, trots into the ring for the Best in Show competition. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

This is not a cute dog. This ... is an alien:

Rufus, a colored bull terrier, holds his pose in the ring after winning Best in Show. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Just when I start to think Mike is McDreamy, he tries to tell me that this monstrosity is "cuuuuuuuuuuuute":

Rufus, a colored bull terrier, poses with his trophy after winning Best in Show. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)


The only reason Dermot the Pug didn't win was because he uncharacteristically flinched during the judge's examination:

Dermot, a Pug, pulls away from the judge, James Reynolds, while handler, Barry Clothier, looks on in the ring during the judging for Best in Show. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

If not for that, we wouldn't have been subjected to the abomination that was crowned Best In Show. I mean, seriously, even the other dogs have issues with Rufus:

Bear, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, is rendered mute and blind after seeing Rufus, a colored bull terrier, in the ring. Minutes later, Bear bled tears of vomit out of his eyes and was rushed backstage for emergency veterinary services. Despite looking upon so heinous a creature, Bear is expected to make a full recovery. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

A whippet makes the mistake of looking directly at Rufus, a colored bull terrier, and is momentarily shocked into stunned silence after catching a glimpse of the monstrosity before the judging for Best in Show. After a terror-filled three seconds where the whippet was, effectively, turned to stone, the dog managed to flee the building while barking "MY EYES! MY EYES! IT BURNS!" to the shocked crowd. The whippet's whereabouts are currently unknown. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Posted by Highwaygirl on 10:20 AM | Comments (9)

116 E in the P T

Are you a genius? 'Cause I am!

I eventually got 31/33 of these right (although it took a few hours). I had to cheat on 30 and 31 (thank you, Google), and I maintain that 31 is quite near impossible unless you're in a very small demographic.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 06:55 AM | Comments (3)

February 14, 2006

God Loves a Terrier



How freakin' cute is THAT? A pug won the Toy Group at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show last night, which means that it will be competing for Best In Show tonight - TONIGHT - at 8 p.m. ET on the USA Network.


Some other photos from yesterday's opening day of competition:

Coco, left, a Norfolk Terrier, is presented by her handler in the ring during competition at the 130th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, Monday, Feb. 13, 2006 in New York's Madison Square Garden. Coco won best in breed. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

I love this bitch so much, I'm bummed that she only managed runner-up in the Terrier Group (missing the Best In Show competition).

Jody Paquette, of Sudbrury, Ontario, grooms Colin, a Shih Tzu, for competition. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Interesting that they're now breeding EYELESS DOGS. What's next, a puggle?

Posted by Highwaygirl on 12:10 PM | Comments (2)

February 13, 2006

Things I Want To Like, But Don't

I'm thinking this might be an ongoing list, but anyway...

This topic popped into my head the other day when I was talking to Roo. She mentioned avocado, as she is wont to do, and a little voice inside my head said Don't look back, you can never look back.

Actually, it said, "I wish I liked avocado. But I don't."

So then I started thinking about other things that I really, truly want to like, and feel that I should like, but for whatever reason I just don't. They are:

1. Avocado (first and last and always)
2. Newborn babies
3. Pumpkin pie
4. Going to the theater (not movies, but plays)
5. Beer
6. Camping
7. Sex and the City
8. Coffee
9. Painting my fingernails
10. Big fun parties

Posted by Highwaygirl on 05:43 PM | Comments (14)

The Gauntlet, It Is Thrown

You know how sometimes you have to deal with companies - insurance, credit card, hospitals - and they want you to pay for something that you don't think you should have to pay for, and they make it so frustrating to resolve the issue that you just say "Screw it" and give up and capitulate and decide that you just cannot be bothered to waste time dealing with these moronic assholes?

That's not me. I live for that kind of stuff.

So today I picked up a certified letter at the post office from the apartment complex I just moved out of two weeks ago. A bit of back story - my apartment complex was bought by a developer, who is gutting every unit, remodeling them, and then selling them off as condos. When it came time to prepare to move out, I asked the apartment manager what I needed to do - what did I need to clean, did I need to repaint, how much effort should I put into tidying up the place before I leave?

I was told on THREE occasions (*holds up three fingers*) the following:

1. I didn't need to clean anything but the tub/tile in the bathroom, because they were literally going to rip out everything in the unit - carpeting, linoleum, cabinetry, shelves, doors, appliances - and start over. So there was no need to do anything but maybe vacuum and not leave the place gross.

2. I didn't need to repaint the walls because they would be refinishing them and applying stucco.

Fair enough! I went over this information with the manager THREE times (*holds up three fingers*), the latest being February 1 when I dropped off a check for four days of rent.

Fast forward to today. I get the certified letter, but there's no deposit refund, there's just a form itemizing the deductions they are making from my deposit. They include:

a.) $100 cleaning fee
b.) $175 fee to "return walls to white"

They want to deduct $275 from my deposit. Guess how much my deposit is? Go on, guess!

THAT'S RIGHT - $275.

What a coincidence, eh?

So my first thought is, "They're trying to charge me $100 to clean the apartment ... right before they tear everything out of it." Does that make any sense to you? Because it doesn't make any sense to me, and I don't think it's going to make sense to the judge in small claims court when I take these idiots there.

As for the painting - true enough, I didn't "return walls to white." Because I was told I DIDN'T HAVE TO. If I was told I had to, I would have, especially since I know I could repaint the place cheaper than the $175 they're trying to charge me.

I can't wait to draft my letter to them stating that I'm objecting to their little attempt to withhold my deposit. I'm looking forward to the battle, to be honest. Because these people apparently think I am either:

a.) criminally stupid, or
b.) not willing to fight back.

They're reeeeeeally really wrong about both things.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 04:48 PM | Comments (17)

February 10, 2006

Baking Cookies

Rappy: he's a seriously whiny bitch, isn't he?
Me: oh yeah
Me: I think I have a garlic-induced headache
Rappy: that's a new one
Me: *shocked face*
Me: you should be ASHAMED
Rappy: I am
Rappy: very very ashamed
Me: I'm telling Totem
Me: oh look, he stole from you
Rappy: the fucker
Rappy: it's not enough that I give and give and give, he has to go and take more
Me: hahahahaha
Me: *copies*
Me: Totem and I should watch Battlestar Galactica and eat cauliflower together
Rappy: and for your second date?
Me: Baking cookies, of course
Me: I mean that literally, not the euphemism
Me: Although maybe the euphemism, too, depending on how much I like him
Rappy: Why wouldn't you like him? Are you saying my brother isn't good enough for you, bitch?
Me: I'm not saying that at all!
Me: But I don't euphemistically "bake cookies" for just ANYONE
Rappy: dude, you INVENTED the euphemism, you shameless hussy!
Me: I love how we discuss your brother's future without his knowledge
Me: the poor guy is none the wiser, is he?
Rappy: none
Me: I didn't invent the euphemism, though
Me: it's used commonly in reference to Gwyneth Paltrow blowing Harvey Weinstein to get where she is
Rappy: it is? she did?
Me: that's the scuttlebutt!
Me: that's why she was in every Miramax movie for a while
Me: because she was BLOWING the head of Miramax
Me: literally AND figuratively
Rappy: well, it does explain a lot. I don't think she's particularly talented.
Me: me neither. plus she's unbearably smug.
Rappy: and I particularly don't find her attractive.
Me: and her ads for Estee Lauder look like they're actually for a feminine hygeine product
Rappy: I think she looks a little like a rat and cannot fathom why the world finds her to be some sort of icon
Me: Teem won't like the way this conversation is turning, I assure you
Me: *waves at Teemy*
Rappy: Is she reading it?
Me: She will when she checks me site!
Me: She's a Gwyneth fan, god bless her
Rappy: *waves at teem!*
Rappy: well, someone has to be or else we'd have no one to mock
Me: But we love her anyway!

Posted by Highwaygirl on 04:32 PM | Comments (5)

Fear Gives Courage Wings

Listen | Buy

NOTES: I was pretty obsessed with the Holy Triumverate of Bauhaus/Tones on Tail/Love and Rockets when I was a teenager. I first got into Bauhaus courtesy of my older brother (OK, so I stole his Burning from the Inside album - I can admit it now). While most goth girls glommed onto singer Peter Murphy as their crush, I went for Daniel Ash, the guitarist. When my friend Angela and I went to a Love and Rockets show when I was 16, we couldn't stop staring at his package (he was wearing illegally tight white jeans). Anyway, I've been listening to Bauhaus' "Lagartija Nick" at the gym for awhile, so I was going to post that song, but once I ripped the CD it was on I realized that I'd rather post "Spirit." However, I almost posted "Slice of Life" instead, since it has my beloved Daniel Ash doing vocals.

I could
Be with you

Tonight I could be with you
Or waiting in the wings
Lift your heart with soaring song
Cut down the puppet strings
Cut down the puppet strings

I wear a coat of drums
And dance upon your eyes
Turn the tables upside down
Change the lows to highs
Change the lows to highs

I fill you up with butterflies
Crown the heads of kings
Be glad of first night nerves
For fear gives courage wings
Fear gives courage wings

If I am on the sidelines
Chances are you'll miss
Wait alone and spotlit
For Doctor Theatre's kiss

The stage becomes a ship in flames
I tie you to the mast
Throw your body overboard
The spotlight doesn't last
The spotlight doesn't last

I could be with you
Or waiting in the wings
Lift your heart with soaring song
Cut down the puppet strings
Cut down the puppet strings

I may tap you on the shoulder
And whisper "go" in red
Strip your feet of lead, my friend
Strip your feet of lead

Call the curtain
Raise the roof
Call the curtain
Spirits on tonight

I could be with you
Or waiting in the wings
Call the curtain
Raise the roof
Spirits on tonight

(We love our audience)

Posted by Highwaygirl on 10:47 AM | Comments (2)

February 09, 2006


Barbara Bush, reincarnated:


A cat is inspected at an international feline beauty contest in Brussels, February 5, 2006. The contest took place with an exhibition of the cutest cats from all over Europe. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Posted by Highwaygirl on 03:37 PM | Comments (0)

Bigger Is Better

Today at work I was given a 21" monitor (in black) to replace the paltry 19" monitor (in cream) that I had.

As in many things, those extra two inches make all the difference, believe me.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 03:23 PM | Comments (1)

February 06, 2006

Who's Your Abaleh?

Totem appears to be making good on his promise to bake me cookies. Well, sometime in the next 1,001 days, at any rate (check out No. 62).

Totem also is endeavoring to be a technical writer. Which means that Totem has Teh Crazy.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 11:57 AM | Comments (1)

February 05, 2006


That's CONDO-MANIA, not the other thing.

Here are some photos I took last Wednesday when I took possession of the new condo (i.e., when it was still empty and not filled with mountains of boxes). I'll have photos of what it looks like with everything in place and unpacked in about ... three weeks.

The big moving story will come tomorrow.

(Click the photos for bigger versions.)

The guest bathroom

View of the kitchen looking out into the living room

View of the cool stainless steel refrigerator

Looking into the kitchen from the sliding glass door in the living room; the hallway on the right leads to the guest bathroom and bedroom

Living room - the door on the left leads into the master suite

The master bedroom's bay window

Posted by Highwaygirl on 04:48 PM | Comments (1)

February 03, 2006


This has seriously been one of the worst days ever.

It rained. Oh my god did it rain. It rained more today than it has in FORTY-SIX YEARS. It rained 15" in five hours. I'm not even kidding you. Check the St. Pete Times tomorrow if you don't believe me.

It rained all damn day, and not just a little rain - it poured. ALL DAY. I didn't get nearly as much moved over as I had planned, which means tomorrow will be extra special stressful.

And the forecast for tomorrow? That's right - more rain.

Oh, and the phone jack installation guy bailed on me because he "doesn't work in this kind of weather." Well OK THEN, you ENORMOUS TWIT. Fortunately, I found a jack behind a different outlet, and that one seems to work. So I do have telephone service.

And the cable installation guy hooked me up with both TV and modem (obviously).

I'm going to be brutally unhappy around 11 a.m. tomorrow morning when we start loading the furniture. If I make it to, say, 3 p.m. without curling up into the fetal position and sobbing uncontrollably, I'll be very happy.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 07:03 PM | Comments (2)

February 01, 2006

Land of Destruction

For your amusement, I give you:

Heather Havrilesky's "Beer and present danger" - a State of the Union speech drinking game.

My favorites:

The game is simple enough for even your average registered voter to understand. Basically, every time Bush says "terror," "terrorism," "terrorist," "war on terror" or "Terror Dome," you drink. ...

Also, drink whenever the president uses the word "security," as in the "security of all Americans" or "a secure nation." If he mentions "Social Security," turn the volume up; you didn't hear him correctly. If he talks about "securing an exit strategy in Iraq," drink, then look outside to see if the sky is falling. ...

Every time the president smiles or chuckles when he's talking about something scary and awful, like giant battlegrounds and forces of evil, smile and chuckle along with him — Haw haw haw! — then kick your dog.

But speaking of the State of the Union address, I think my favorite part was Bush's decree to replace 75% of our oil imports from the Persian Gulf with alternative energy sources. Sounds really good, doesn't it? Seventy-five percent sounds like a lot of oil that will be replaced with cleaner fuel.

But then you read further in the analysis and you learn that imports from the Persian Gulf only account for around 10% of our oil consumption. After doing the math, you realize that, overall, the president only called for a grand total of 7.5% of our oil usage to be replaced with alternative sources.

Don't get me wrong - that's good. As a country we're way behind on embracing and developing cleaner fuels. But 7.5% is a long way from the 75% figure that jumped out - purposely so - during the speech.

Maybe Bush just missplaced the decimal point.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 05:38 PM | Comments (0)

Call Me (Except You Can't)


This afternoon I signed the lease on the condo. Then I did the walkthrough with the agent to document all the little, minor things that are "wrong" with the place.

It was after this process that I realized something:


That's right - no phone jacks. None. Not ONE. There are solid switchplates where the phone jacks SHOULD be, but there aren't any actual JACKS in the place. I unscrewed each switchplate - all FIVE of them - hoping that there would be a jack underneath, but nooooooooo. There was only wires. And not the individual colored wires, either - there was only a single bundled wire in white cable.

Dubya Tee Eff??!?

How do you prewire an entire two bedroom apartment and not go the extra, oh I don't know, ONE YARD to actually install the phone jack??

It totally blew me away and now it's bugging THE HELL out of me. I've already received permission to deduct the cost to install the jacks I need out of my next rent check - I called Verizon but their policy is that if the phone line works at the box outside, it's not their responsibility to bring the signal into the actual dwelling (WHATEVER, VERIZON) - so now I just have to find someone to, you know, come out and install the jacks so I can have actual phone service in my brand new condo.

So as of Friday, I no longer have phone service.

Everything else, though, was really nice.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 04:51 PM | Comments (4)