Tuesday, February 2, 2016

People Need to Get off of Authors' Backs

I need to get something off my chest. This will probably be long, because I want to start at the beginning.

A year or two ago I finally picked up the first book in Patrick Rothfuss's fantasy series "The Kingkiller Chronicle," The Name of the Wind. The book came out in 2008 and I probably purchased the paperback a couple years later. I have a to-read section on my bookshelves consisting of about three full shelves, stuffed and stacked to the brink. Sometimes books jump the list when they come out. Others I just plain don't want to read yet, or I make excuses about why I'd rather not read them yet. I wanted to read Neil Gaiman's new book before The Lies of Locke Lamora, which I finally read ages later and did not even like that much, contrary to all the glowing reviews. I want to read the last book in Leigh Bardugo's "Grisha" series before I reread Brave New World. I have a tendency to pick books with good covers off of my to-read shelf before ones that don't look very distinctive. In fact I only picked up one of my favorite books of all time, Rhapsody by Elizabeth Haydon, because I liked the cover in the now out-of-business bookstore. Someday I will write a blog about how I actually think choosing a book by its cover is one of my favorite ways to find good books.

Anyway, it took me a few years to finally pick up The Name of the Wind. I remember being very concerned about it. The cover didn't really intrigue me (which is unfortunate, because I learned later that the international edition covers were just astronomical). The back cover synopsis didn't really give me a good idea of what I was in for. I was worried I was going to feel meh towards Kvothe. It's a problem I often have with Orson Scott Card novels, where there seems to be a young man who is incredibly wise beyond his years and (generally) amazing at everything and not relatable to me at all. For that reason I have always been a little wary of books with very distinctive main characters who drive the entire plot seemingly on their own. It's unfair, I know, but I can't help that little voice in my brain that says "This guy will not compel you."

As you can expect, I was very, very wrong.

I devoured the book, then ran out to Barnes and Noble the next day for the second book, even though I could've gotten it for cheaper online. Waiting two days for it to arrive was unthinkable at the time. It was there, ready for consumption. So I bought it and devoured that one too.

I can't possibly explain in words just how strongly his writing and storytelling affected me. But I'm not here to review the books or pick them apart. I will just say that I hadn't felt so emotionally invested in a story or a writing style since J.K. Rowling. I cried at beautiful scenes that weren't even sad. There are sentences in those books that made me just drop the book in disgust. Good disgust. Awed disgust. Sure, they aren't perfect and other people (somehow) loathe them, but that's kind of how differing opinions work. Clearly, they affected me, or I wouldn't be here writing this.

And then I learned more about Pat. Upon achieving some degree of fame, he did exactly what I believe famous people should do more often: he wanted to utilize his audience by helping to make the world a better place. So he started Worldbuilders, which works closely with a great charity called Heifer International to end poverty and hunger. Anyone reading his blog even intermittently knows he is highly committed to it.

He is also a human being. I feel highly protective of him when people give him shit for taking a long time to finish the third book. He has a life. Writers aren't machines (unless that writer is Stephen King, who I am convinced is a writing-cyborg). Some write efficiently, work through edits, and get the book out without much issue. Some are perfectionists and this process is not so easy. People think he should write nonstop all hours of the day, because writing is his "job," and how dare he go to conventions and enjoy his life and, god forbid, raise millions of dollars to fight hunger and poverty. 

And I wouldn't be the first person to point out that most people go "home" from work and don't do a single work-related thing all night or day afterward. They don't "work" on the weekends, but they do housework or run errands or, surprisingly enough, actually do something fun with their lives. And the haters will probably just shout back "I BET HE DOESN'T WRITE FOR EIGHT HOURS A DAY THOUGH" and there's really no point fighting with them. It's not worth it. They are just angry people who won't realize that you can't just make people do what you want them to do because you're sick of waiting for a book. You are not Kilgrave from "Jessica Jones." There are eleventy-one billion other things you can do besides waiting for a book to come out. 

I get the impatience. I want the book too. It's been almost five years since the second book came out. I haven't waited as long because of my aforementioned issues with reading books in a timely manner, but that doesn't really matter. Sometimes people are ignorant assholes and you have to ignore them. But what if you suck at ignoring them?

I think I feel all of these things because I know I'm the same way. And if I should be so lucky as to be published someday, I guarantee I don't crank out the next book just a year or two later. I've been writing this same book, in various forms, for over ten years. Only lately has the true perfectionism set in. Only lately have I felt like this is it. This is the last true "rewrite." I am halfway through and when I am done, I will revise and edit, and this will be the one. 

The One. 

There's only so much I could have done with a couple hundred pages written by a sixteen year old. But I couldn't let it go, couldn't let the world go. I rewrote a couple years later, didn't finish it, came back a couple years later and rewrote again. This story is a shadow of what it was when I started, but a lot of the basics are still there. I realize that I will probably do the next book a lot sooner than ten years, especially now that I feel so matured as a writer, that my story has matured enough to be something even remotely "ready" for the public's consumption.

But I don't write quickly and I'm not known for high daily word counts. Some days I don't write at all. I work full time, I'm in grad school (for some reason, don't even get me started on this), and zero people who have ever met me would describe me as "high energy," unless their only memory of me was watching me experience the first two "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" trailers. And I'm ok with that, because that's me. I'm NOT ok with not writing some days, or only eking out a couple hundred words other days, but I am not perfect and I try my best and that's all any of us can ever do.

Could I spend more of my rare free hours writing? Most definitely. I'll admit it. Often I am writing notes or just trying to iron out important details. Other times I'm playing a videogame for an hour because my gaming backlog is horrendous, or just simply relaxing with the cats and my boyfriend. I'm allowed to rest and not write at every free moment. I'm not a machine of words, though sometimes I wish I was, and maybe Pat feels that way sometimes too. There is a 2012 blog entry where he mentions how his editor knew that he couldn't meet the year deadline for book two, because a year just wasn't enough time for him to make it a worthy successor. That's just his process. He needs time.

It's frustrating. Not everyone gets it. For every person who vehemently tells the haters to fuck off because he will finish the book when he's happy with it and that's how they prefer it, there are ten people whining about it. Whining about waiting so long and how they "just can't take it" anymore, like they are physically tortured and need to end the anguish. Whining about how he's always blogging and tweeting about doing "everything but writing," and how dare he do other things. 

I was compelled to write this because of a post on the Kingkiller Chronicle subreddit, someone announcing that they are going to unsubscribe because they are sick of waiting. It wasn't even an angry post, just a "Nothing is really happening around here but I'll be back when the next book comes out" sort of thing. And that's perfectly fine. Then, of course, the comments started rolling in. Some people defended Pat, but more are ripping him apart, and I can't make any sense of it at all. I don't understand this in the same way I don't understand people who think all Muslims are terrorists, or people who think evolution isn't real, or the people who actually support Donald Trump as a presidential candidate. It simply makes no sense to me. Examples:
"Pat is honestly ruining the book for me, he wants to delay his finished book forever to try and bring it to a Tolkien level with suspense of his readers. Meanwhile hes on FB writing short stories and blogging everyday. his book is done, and hes just driving up the suspense of book 3 to all the sheep. pat sucks, and the more I hear him talk and know more about his personal life the more it ruins the books for me." - Some asshole
I have no words for this really. It's just...what?
"Yeah if he's anything like his online persona them he's a giant dick head" - Another asshole
Again...what? How is this even...? Why are you even here? Are we even talking about the same person?

But the people who understand, the people who matter, they come out in force. They make ME cry, and it's not even me they're addressing. And I don't know how he feels, but I wouldn't want assholes reading a book they spent years bitching about. It probably won't even be good enough for them anyway. That's the funny thing, though. They'll complain endlessly for however much longer it takes and post mean comments from the safe haven of their little desks where no one can find them, but I bet most of them still buy and read the book when it comes out. It would be great if they changed their minds, just let the guy go through his process, live his life. But some people just want to get their grubby little fingers on whatever they want, as soon as they want it. "It's all about me me me and what I want." 

Maybe I'd understand peoples' frustration more if he wasn't one of the nicest people I have never actually met in my entire life. He's got shit to do. He's a goddamn human being, a father, and someone who has probably done more for OTHER PEOPLE than you will ever do. He's not perfect and I don't want him to be. He's getting there. Leave the man alone.

GRRM also deals with this and wrote quite a bit about it lately, but I don't really feel as protective of him, so he doesn't get his own post. But for the love of the old gods and the new, get off his back too. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Calling People is Really Hard

Below is a typical conversation in our house:

Me: Why would the electric company bill us this way? This is an outrage and I demand justice.
J: Why don't you call them and find out?
Me: I could also NOT call them and just email their customer service.
J: Or you could just CALL.
Me: Or YOU could just call.

+several weeks later+

J: Did you ever find out why they were billing us that way?
Me: Nope.*

I've never been a phone person. Those people at the office who grumble about how Kimberly So-and-so always sends a million emails instead of just making a phone call? Those people are grumbling about me. I am Kimberly So-and-so. (Fun fact: I was almost named Kimberly. So I could have ACTUALLY been Kimberly So-and-so.) I've assessed the issue for years and it all boils down to two groups: complete strangers and people I know who I am convinced secretly dislike and/or distrust me (according to my brain, 98% of people). Complete strangers are the worst, and everyone's go-to advice is "You'll never speak to them ever again." This advice is useless to me. You might as well tell me that I am a head of lettuce. As much as I try to turn my brain-noise down and speak rational words, as soon as the customer service rep asks me what I'm calling about I immediately say something like "Umm, uhh, I don't know if I have the right department, I'm sorry if not, but um, I think there's a problem with my bill, and uh, gah I'm sorry, I just don't understand how we got charged for this, and umm, do you need my account information first...or...umm...?"

I'm already not the most confident person with the spoken word. In a group of a handful of people who I work with on a daily basis, I still get clammy and heart-pound-y when I'm talking and they are all focusing on me. I might have more to say about something, but my chest feels like it's pounding so hard that it's rattling my vocal chords around, and I try to cut myself off before I sound like I did three minutes into my half-hour presentation for my high school senior project. I know for a fact that I probably sound perfectly normal most times and all of this is in my head. That's what makes it so frustrating. I'm talking to this random, bored customer service rep in Somewhere, Iowa about why my coffee table hasn't shipped yet and they probably think I sound like any other person who says "um" a lot and can't form coherent sentences (most of America).

I am also incapable of calling somewhere to complain about something. If I am required to be mean to a customer service rep because their company messed something up, I just can't do it. If their company messed up, I will probably still end up apologizing to the customer service rep even when they should actually be apologizing to me. And when the rep does apologize for their company's transgressions, I say something like "Oh I know, it's ok, it's really ok, I understand, I know it's not your fault." And I feel better after saying this to them, as though they were actually going to lie awake that night thinking about my phone call and how I didn't assure them that it wasn't their fault. But if they are anything at all like me (god help them), lying in bed worrying about random, insignificant shit that happened throughout the day isn't exactly an unrealistic idea.

This reminds me of something. I am fully convinced that ordering food online was invented for people who don't like to make phone calls. I know I'm not the only one because I actually have a friend who is also afraid of making phone calls. I'm convinced there are more of us out there and this online ordering shit was not just created for lazy people. I never even liked calling to order pizza when I was growing up. It's probably the easiest phone conversation to have, so it didn't make me panic as much, but I still tried to defer to others to make the call. Even better are the doctor's offices and auto repair shops that will let you make an appointment online. That shit is huge for me. Also if I can put in some sort of customer support ticket online instead of making a phone call, I would 100% rather do that instead of talk to a real person and get a faster response. This is my life. 

But I'm ok with that. Mostly. I'd love to be perfectly at-ease when talking to strangers, or even people I know fairly well but who I am convinced secretly hate me, but I am not. Not everyone can have every trait they want to have. Some people would love to get really tired after half a day of mild activity. I can do that. Actually that's a lie, no one wants that at all. I can, however, write a good paper in a day or two, with very little preparation or drafting. I've been told eleventy-billion times that I'm an asshole because of this. Those people can probably speak in coherent sentences when talking to a customer service rep, so I can call them assholes too. It's a vicious cycle of assholes. Put a word problem in front of me and I freeze up and my tongue rolls out of my mouth and my eyes go all wonky and I fall on the floor twitching. Everyone is their own person. We are good at some things and not so good at others. Just because I get really anxious about calling unfamiliar human beings doesn't make me some sort of crazy person.

....but OTHER things make me some sort of crazy person, like how I can bring myself to tears in a public setting by just THINKING about the music from the Lion King, or how I have a very specific fear of stuffed toy cats that meow and move like they're alive. But you'll just have to hear about those things another time. 

*Fun fact: I started this post in September, and due to my overwhelmingly bad memory and possibly debilitating procrastination, completely forgot about it. What made me remember it, you ask? Finally resolving the question of why our electric bill was billing us a certain way. I had emailed the company over a month ago and they just now got back to me. Would I still rather have waited two months to learn the answer, when I could have just made a phone call and found out immediately? Absolutely yes. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Vintage Star Wars Awesomeness at Mom's House

I've known that she had this somewhere for awhile now. She bought it for my dad, for $10, in the early '80's. She showed this to me years and years ago, probably around the same time she showed me the album of pictures from my dad's little foray in the 'Nam. And while that album is just as awesome, it is not one bit geeky (unless you count the shots of my incredibly skinny father in combat gear with ginormous nerd glasses on), so let's just focus on the Return of the Jedi portfolio.

It had never occurred to me before the moment that I saw this item again, but Ralph McQuarrie is obviously the artist who did the iconic movie poster mash-ups for the original movies. For some reason I had never put that together before. He designed so much of the films and I had no idea. From what I've gathered, he designed C-3PO and R2-D2. He suggested the breathing apparatus for Darth Vader. Not to mention all of the other things he designed. And I don't remember ever looking at the prints before either, so when I started to pull the pristine sheets of paper out with all of this new knowledge, magic ensued.

Pizza delivery for a Mr. Jabba the Hut?

I about peed myself when I saw this one. 

Almost peed myself yet again.

These were my favorites. I also enjoyed the picture of Sy Snootles and Droopy McCool, and if you think I'm making these names up and they can't possibly be Star Wars names, look them up. And you'll know exactly who they are if you've seen Return of the Jedi. In fact, go to this Wikipedia article, because the exact art drawing that's pictured at the top is the one that's in this portfolio. I'm just too lazy to take a crooked picture for you and post it. 

Nevertheless, as I was leaving mom's, she bestowed these prints to my care forever and always. All is well in my geek world. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I Do Not Want to Hear Your Opinion

I know I've said this sometime before, and I think I need to print it on t-shirts and bumper stickers or something: Say what you want about me, but leave my gadgets out of it.

I realized just how true this is of myself the other day when I was at the mall with a friend. There are a ton of malls around here, but the super high-end one has an Apple store in it. Surprise surprise. It also has all these ridiculous stores like Juicy Couture and Tiffany & Co., and you get treated to about six judgmental stares per square foot of mall space. It makes sense, I've done the equations. 

And then there's the Apple store. A happy place of laughter and rainbows. Where it's always 15 degrees hotter than out in the mall. Or maybe you're just sweating with anticipation. But you don't care. You're treading on holy ground. You should have to leave your shoes outside and go in barefoot.

Aaaanyway. My friend and I walk in so I can show him the MacBook Pro I'm considering once the new OS drops. Naturally the new retina display Macbook Pro is on the first table. I cavort over to it and move the mouse pointer around on the screen and gaze up at my friend, who is standing a little behind me with his hands in his pockets. "Isn't it just beautiful," I swoon, wondering if the screen would taste good if I licked it. 

And he peers at it for a moment, shrugs, and says, "It's not that impressive, really."

Suddenly there's this churning rage in my middle. I turn on him, incredulous, "Are you nuts? Look at it! It's so crisp and the colors are so bold and--"

"It's not mind-blowing or anything. My VAIO is HD and probably looks better."

My fists are clenching and unclenching at this point. "THIS IS THE HIGHEST RESOLUTION LAPTOP ON EARTH YOU FOOL."

"Just doesn't seem that great to me. I'd pay $600 tops for this."

I storm off at this point, livid for no reason whatsoever. Literally no reason. You are entitled to your opinion. That's perfectly fine. But your opinion enrages me. I do not want to hear your opinion.  I feel like I can very logically argue the case of Mac vs PC. I have owned and used PCs for 90% of my life. But then things changed. I could afford Macs. And I bought them. I bought all of them. And I am never, ever going back. It's so much more than the gadget. It's the stuff it's packaged in. Remember when I opened my new iPad? It's an experience in itself. Apple knows this. Nothing is shoddy with them. They don't cut corners. Their products aren't littered with garbage programs (like the 6000 apps that come on Android phones, most of which are complete shit) and error messages. Some people whine that they hate it because it's not open-source. Or that it's too expensive. Some people could care less about the whole experience and just want a decent, cheap computer. Well that's fine, you can think that way. 

But I don't want to hear it. I am fully aware of my fangirl geekdom. I will not speak to you for hours. I will hold a grudge for days, depending on the offense. In fact, this is literally the single quickest way to piss me off. I know it's irrational and childish. But I can't help it. In fact I think the worst kind of people who blast Apple products are the ones who have never used them, or used them once 18 years ago and that was the day they found out their wife wanted a divorce, so all Apple products suck. This is why I feel perfectly justified when I blast PCs, because I've used them since I was taught the alphabet on a keyboard. I'd say it would be the same for Apple fanboys who have never used PCs, but I'm fairly certain everyone has used a PC. You can't go through school without using one, because Windows 95 machines were the only thing available in the stupid computer lab and that's where you played games on Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, which you excelled at, and all the other kids were like "What the hell is a semicolon and why must I type it?"

So now that I'm done ranting, I'll probably be making something stupid soon with my new life motto on it. I'm considering a coffee mug. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Moving (Mostly) Complete: Initiate Enjoyment Phase

Seriously, bless my mother and her Doctor Who t-shirt for attempting to make sense of this madness, but NOT EVEN I CAN MAKE SENSE OF THIS MADNESS.

Anywho, I haven't posted in a month because things are finally becoming less HAJKDHLSKJAK around here. Just a few days ago I finally got to actually sleep in the bedroom, on my fully-assembled bed. Where, as you'll see below, I spent three weeks sleeping on the mattress in the middle of the living room floor. And then there's the matter of the whirlwind romance I had with the LG plasma TV from hell. I parted ways with that asshole after fighting for several weeks to save our relationship. But it, quite literally, just wasn't working. 

So here's my basic setup for those three weeks:

  1. The LG plasma TV from hell, probably on the only night that it actually worked.
  2. Where I laid on my back listening to ten thousand tractor trailers rumbling past on nights when I had the windows open, while my cat sang songs to the walls.
  3. "The Beast." This a/c unit comes very close to hitting absolute zero, and on several occasions I've been tempted to call a scientist because I'm fairly certain I've broken a record.
  4. Four hundred boxes of useless shit.

But all that aside, my living room floor is now clear, and I adore where I live. I already have a route I take when I go on walks in the evenings. I hit up the library (the first thing I gave up in order to save money was buying books, because I buy way too many) and check out what's new, then sit for awhile on the stone wall outside the library just relaxing. Then I hop down and go up the street past all the little outdoor cafes and pick up a coffee beverage at Starbucks. Sometimes I sit outside there for awhile too, just people-watching. I'm completely thrilled that I moved where I did. There's also a Wines and Spirits within walking distance. I don't need to elaborate any further.

So this coming weekend I get to buy me a couch and proceed to become one of those people with an apartment full of Ikea furniture. Who meets a guy named Tyler Durden on an airplane and then finds out his apartment full of Ikea furniture has exploded, except he actually did it himself, but you have no idea until later, and I just ruined the movie/book for anyone who hasn't seen it/read it. But seriously who the hell hasn't seen it/read it? You're all losers.

I also have a feeling I'll be indulging in a Macbook Pro in a couple months. Because you know, I need it and stuff. For all the professional geeking that I do. On my future couch in my living room. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Terrors and Joys of Moving

I'm moving in less than a week. I don't take change well. It could be great, awesome change, but I'd still be all nerves and worries and little fits of heart palpitations. In fact I've actually been counting down to this day for almost two years. And now I'm dreading it, dreading it like a visit to my cousin's house on Thanksgiving to see the 99% of my family who are basically complete strangers to me. I knew it was going to happen. I knew without a doubt that I'd be freaking out at this point, but that doesn't make it any easier.

Take last night, for instance. I spent all day getting things together and starting the awful process of packing. I won't even get into how much moving sucks, because you know it does. If you're reading this, you're nodding and thanking Jesus that you aren't moving yourself. Unless you are, in which case, my heart goes out to you.

Anyway, I haven't slept well in days. Last night I just laid in my bed and cried for no good reason. I'm expecting this to be a trend for the entire week. Perhaps even into my first days or even weeks at the new place. I've been wanting to live by myself practically since I had any sort of inkling about moving out back in high school. I'm sick of fighting over what stuff belongs to who. Over who should be scrubbing their toothpaste remnants off the bathroom sink. I've had roommates, and I'll never live with a girl ever again. Women are really horrible things. I lived with a boyfriend too, and let me tell you, trying to decide what shit is yours when you're moving out is absolute hell. The next person I live with will be, god forbid, the wandering soul out there who decides they'd like to marry me. Until then it's just me and my cat and my gadgets, thank you very much.

Every single item in my new place is going to belong to me. The toilet scrubber, the awesome original art prints, the Iron Man blu-ray, the 50 inch plasma TV. All mine. And nobody will be there to give me disapproving looks when I just want to sit on my ass and watch hockey or something instead of fold my clothes. I can make as much noise as I please when I stumble in at 2 AM, and nobody will be there to ask "Where have you been? Where are your shoes? Weren't you wearing a bra when you left?"

That's where my worries start, though. There's this thing with anxiety. I worry about everything. I've made my peace with that fact because it's never going to change. I'm already thinking ahead months when I potentially realize how completely and utterly alone I am in this place with my cat as my only company. Then I'll probably get another cat, because that's what lonely people do or something. And there's a negative correlation between how many cats one owns and one's chances of obtaining and keeping a boyfriend. But I'll worry about that when I actually start to worry about it. At this point I'm just excited to be able to leave the door open when I go to the bathroom, and I don't expect the novelty of that to wear off for a really long time.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Internet Speeds of the 90's Would Kill Me Today

I had some sort of 90's flashback yesterday. I was trying to download this ungodly large file. Like, double-digit gigabytes large.* The download feels like it's dragging. I feel inordinately impatient. The speed is going at 2 mb/s or something. The percent downloaded goes up by one every five minutes or so. I want to smash watermelons with a sledgehammer. I want to die.

Then I have my 90's flashback. I remember sitting at my crazy old corner desk back in the day (that thing is STILL in the same spot, but now it's got a bunch of junk on it, and occasionally I gaze in at the poor thing like a long forgotten toy from my childhood). I grew up during dial-up. I knew the tune of the dial-up modem like I knew all the words to every stupid Britney Spears song. I could've sung the aria of the "Dial-Up Modem Opera" true and clear, if it was possible for human vocal chords to actually make those sounds. As soon as the modem made a funny noise during its song-and-dance ritual of connecting to the internet, I froze, like a deer in headlights. I loathed that moment. When the modem finished its beeping, whooshing tune and I found myself connected to the world wide web, all was right with the world.**

I remember trying to illegally download the newest Backstreet Boys song, "Larger than Life." I couldn't buy the CD because I was a freaking kid and nobody would buy it for me. But I needed that song in my life more than I needed all my posters of Zac Hanson taped to my closet doors. The file was probably a few megabytes in size, unlike songs now with their epic sound quality weighing in at 9 mb or more. So let's say it was a 3 mb song. It took hours. Literally two hours at least. I bet that was one of the happiest moments in my life, when that song finally downloaded and I listened to this stupid song that was for some reason my only key to happiness.

So I'm looking at this 30 gb file I'm downloading now. It has 30 minutes or so left. It's going at about 2.5 mb/s now. That old Backstreet Boys song would have downloaded in a single second today.


* No it's not porn you fools.
** I'm not like, obsessed with the internet or anything. Like, come on, guys.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Dumbest Moment of My Entire Life

It's Easter Sunday. I walk out to the kitchen to survey the progress of the ham in the oven, because a good ham is the way to my heart. Forget diamond rings. Can you make a good ham? Maybe we'll end up alright.

Anyway, I peek at this ham like the dad in A Christmas Story. I actually stick my hand in the oven in order to pry off one of the end slices, and my mother's pork senses activate in the other room. Just as the skin is melting off my fingers and I'm about to dislodge a delicious slice of sweet honey ham, I hear "ASHLEY GET YOUR HANDS OFF OF THE HAM."

Then I look up at the oven. It says 2:33 left, and I cry a little inside at having to wait another two and a half hours. The turkeys that are usually running around through the backyard are probably laughing their asses off at me. I trudge dejectedly out of the kitchen.

I come back later in search of a crescent roll, and I happen to glance at the oven again. The display now says 3:17. I stand for a moment, crescent roll sticking out of my mouth, completely flabbergasted. I chew the last of the crescent. I take a step out of the kitchen to find my mother's eyes already on me, just waiting to yell at me for getting at the ham again.

And then it happens. The confused expression is still on my face. I glance back at the oven. Then I say the dumbest thing I've ever said in my entire life.

"Why does the time left for the ham keep going up?"

She stares at me. Then I get it. Instantly I get it. But it's too late. The damage is done. This is normally something that would happen to my mother. Normally she says something ridiculous and I get to make fun of her for the next hour. And she's not about to let this go. Not now, not five years from now, not when we run into my boss in public, not when she meets whoever it is that I end up marrying.

"Ashley, that's the CLOCK."

Just shoot me now. Ah well, at least the ham was a salty sweet meaty dream of juicy deliciousness.*

*Don't even say it. I know what you're thinking. Barbeque ribs, am I right?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Impulsive iPad-Hunting

Obviously you know what this is about already, but I like to tell really long stories, so you'll just have to suffer through. This weekend started off really well and only snowballed from there. My Pittsburgh Penguins extended their win streak to 11 yesterday. I terrified my cat on more than one occasion by leaping out of my chair in elation. I ignored all of the St. Patrick's Day reveling because I despise it*, but that's an entirely separate story that, to be completely honest, I will never tell you, and you probably don't care about it anyway.

I was refreshing my iPad order status page every half hour, as I've been doing for about a week now. Since I waited entirely too long to order it, the ship date read "April 3," which was unacceptable on all sorts of levels. But what could I do? I could get it at an Apple store or something, but they'd all be sold out. Right? RIGHT?!

Wrong, apparently. I found this shady website that tells me possible stock levels of the new iPad at local Targets. Don't ask me how I find these things, because I literally have no clue whatsoever. I'm like an internet bloodhound. I'm a drug-sniffing K-9 unit, and this shoddy website advertising iPad stock levels was like a big bag of cocaine.

Anyway. I don't know what came over me. I suddenly saw a clear path to my destiny. My destiny being the local Target, where there may or may not have been a 32gb white iPad waiting for me. My order from Apple could still be canceled. So I got up and went to Target. I was fully prepared to be let down. I mean maybe not fully; I still had a whole lot of hope that the world would not lead me astray.

I should've taken a picture of what I saw when I got to the aisle with the iPads and e-readers and whatnot. They were locked in a glass case of course. But there were three iPads directly over the price tag for the 16gb white, which I didn't want, and three iPads directly over the price tag for the 64gb white, which I also didn't want. Nothing over the 32gb. Undeterred, I approached one of the electronics department employees, a skinny kid with long hair that he had to continually toss out of his face. It was actually distracting, even in my hyper-focused state. I wanted to brush it. It looked tangly. And give him a damn hair tie.

So he opens the glass case and shifts through the other iPads nearby, just incase somebody pushed it into the wrong spot or some stupid shit. Honestly put the iPads where they belong, don't be giving poor twenty-something girls heart attacks by making it appear that you're out of stock. Anyway, he pulled one of the iPads out after looking through them and scanned it with his little scanner thingamajig and said "Yep, this is it. Very last one."

I spent the entire 15 minute drive home trying my damnedest not to actually throw up from excitement, and also attempting not to push the speed limit. You see, the last time I've been that excited driving home from any purchase was when I got the seventh Harry Potter book at midnight, after which I got pulled over for going 80, laughed at by the cop as I bawled my eyes out and clutched my book, and sent on my merry way with barely even a warning. I just wanted to read, officer. I JUST WANTED TO READ.

Unboxing was, of course, weirdly enjoyable as always. It's these little things that make Apple's products so great overall. Then I spent the rest of the night setting up and restoring from my old iPad. Then I fell asleep in a gadget-happy coma, with visions of retina-display icons dancing in my head. MERRY APPLE TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD IPAD.

* Yes I realize my shirt is green in that picture. I didn't do it on purpose and didn't realize until I was already in the car. I give no shits whatsoever.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

New iPad vs. New Couch

I want the new iPad (I almost typed "iPad 3" here, but that just wasn't meant to be). But I'm moving in two months and the option to get one was never really an option at all. Just a far-fetched dream involving sipping pina coladas in the Bahamas while reading an article on my iPad. Or waiting for a flight to Italy while reading an article on my iPad. Or having somebody take a picture of me meeting Sidney Crosby, then them probably running away with my iPad, and me being very upset for about two seconds before I realize I'm standing next to Sidney Crosby and this would probably be a good story to tell our children someday.

So me getting a new iPad was obviously farfetched. Until my dad told me someone was going to offer me $400 for my original. I had an idea that this was an astronomical number. So I thought about it for about twelve hours, ten of which I was fast asleep for, and I've decided to do it. Now the only problem is that I'm moving in two months, need tons of furniture, and really shouldn't be spending any single bits of money on gadgets.

But I mean who am I kidding? I'd rather spend a couple hundred on a new iPad than have a couch. People can sit on the floor. Nice comfy floor.