Friday, September 25

An easy target ... but you should still shoot at it

Is there any more accurate microcosm of our fucked up nation than The Cheesecake Factory?

A place inhabited by guys in beige Docker pants with clip on cell phones, and SUV driving moms with their, "He's really advanced for his age" little brats.

The staff running around in their Aryan Nation white outfits, disingenuously telling you that your choice of sandwich is "their favorite too".

Every time I look at that spiral bound thick menu, I think to myself "Can the line cooks really manage ALL of these dishes?"

When the platters arrive, because really that's what they are. There's enough food to feed four. And you wonder why there is a breed of fatso's constantly trying to get their soda refill.

Next to us an old lady insisted that her coffee had too much caffeine in it. The robotic waitress who had earlier delivered a massive gravy boat of Ranch dressing to our table, just smiled at the old bitch and took it away. 2 minutes there was new coffee plus free dessert coupons. Because heaven help the 'Factory' if corporate gets a whiff that some old cooze was disappointed with her cup of coffee.

My darling mother-in-law asked me how I would categorize the decor. Unimaginative Corporate American Eatery was my silent reply. Probably 'created' by the same hack who did Panera.

Thursday, September 24

Better than Applebee's

We're feeling good in our neighborhood. There I said it.

OK, so last Sunday's trip around the block with Lemon Cookies turned out to be a non-starter. Seems everyone was out, but last night our lovely neighbor dropped by for a chat.

And we have our first guests. Anne's parents flew in from the big O-hi-O. They made the sweetest comments about the new house, and last night I found myself watching and enjoying Dancing with the Stars ... if only to watch my Mother-in-law's unbridled joy for this terrible show (she makes some pretty snarky comments for an 86 year old).

As I write, Anne is just coming into the house with a newspaper, and it sounds like her dad has just got out of bed. The plan today is to just potter around the house. Maybe hang a few pictures, and get some 'dadvice' on home maintenance issues.

And next week. My parents arrive!

Domestic bliss.

Saturday, September 19

Comcast

Comcast why did you have to be such dicks?

You were awesome last time.

But last night we called you, and your customer service rep was an absolute douche chimp.

We're supposed to get HBO for 6 months. But we ain't.

I called and despite not being the primary name on the bill, I gave you all the information you asked for. But I still had to hand the phone to Anne who (and I shit you not), had to say something to the effect of ...

... I Anne Taylor do solemnly swear to tell the whole truth that Richard Taylor is my husband and he is mentally competent to make decisions regarding our cable television service.

Upon getting the phone back from my Olympic Standard eye-rolling wife I asked Comcast if could use our old DVR box (because I really will get round to watching Beer league that has been on there for 19 months).

Comcast: No

Next I said: We ain't getting HBO.

Comcast: Well it's activated

I was real close to saying "Well unless they are running a movie called 'You're not authorized to watch this'. "

Instead I just asked him to reboot and hung up.

I called later because we still didn't have HBO. Rebooted again, and now the remote didn't work.

I'll probably trudge on over to your office later today dear old Comcast.

UPDATE: Everything is back to OK. Wish I didn't have to drive over to North Cambridge however.

Friday, September 18

Oh my Goth!

So we are waiting a few weeks while the 'blind guy' gets our window treatments, and in the meantime we continue to have black art paper taped to our bedroom windows.

If I lived behind our house I'd presume we were cooking up meth. Or listening to Sisters of Mercy. Either way, it ain't good.

Meanwhile I cannot use my bathroom because the window looks out onto the street. Actually it's worse than that. It looks out onto the Cambridge Courthouse. The last thing arbiters of justice need to see in the morning is me shaving my face in my comedy yellow Bjorn Borg boxer shorts.

So I use Anne's bathroom instead. She loves that.

Next week Anne-o-rama's parents visit us from jolly old Cleveland, and they definitely cannot have wide open windows because the guest bedroom faces onto the street.

It's a brand new house, and I'm hell bent on NOT drilling holes into the walls all willy nilly. I need to head to Lowes to get some self attaching shower curtain rods. The plan is to drape whatever pieces of old fabric we have laying around over the rods. Thus creating (very) temporary curtains.

Come on blind guy. Get your stuff here ASAP. The neighborhood is running out of patience for my crappy arts and crafts projects.

Wednesday, September 16

Paid the cost to be the Boss

Filed under the heading of "Stuff I didn't know I needed to know", I learned this week that Hugo Boss designed the uniforms worn by the Hitler Youth and the Schutzstaffel.

Yuk! I've inadvertently been a Nazi sympathizer for the past 10 years.

But those were some very sharp uniforms.

Sunday, September 13

Not nosey neighbors

I'd just sat down, surrounded by all the comforts of American life (football on a big TV, beer and salty snacks) when I noticed 2 women peering through our living room window.

"Looks like the neighbors are introducing themselves", I said to Anne.

But 10 seconds later and the doorbell still had not sounded. I opened the door to find the ladies wandering around our yard.

"Is this house still for sale?", they asked.

"No", I replied.

"It's still listed", they countered.

"Huh", was all I had to offer as they closed the gate.

Saturday, September 12

It Might As Well Rain Until September

Fantastic. Sunny September changes to Rains like a bastard September on the day we move.

Otherwise our move went very well.

We are in our new home. Fingers crossed we will not have to move again for a very long time.

Don't want to turn into one of those boring twats who only talks about one thing in their life (that's you, all first-time parents), so I'll try to cut down on the house talk!

Oh. Happy 8th birthday to Anne's car. You kind of remember buying a car on 9.12.01

Friday, September 11

Mission critical

So today is electrician and alarm guy day. Who knew it could be so hard installing a cable and internet point in the EXACT location we need them! I have a crazy streaming wireless network planned, but first we need the wired components.

And believe me the pressure is on. Because in 2 days time, football is on. And we don't want to be in the old apartment sat on deck chairs all Sunday.

UPDATE: The wireless alarm system looks like a bomb from an action movie. Wires, coils and flashing lights of indeterminate meaning. Fucking awesome!

Thursday, September 10

Decisions, decisions

The only thing that Anne and I seem to disagree on is the choice of stamp versus label for self-addressing an envelope. I'm a fan of a rubber stamp, with a nice typeface selection, but Anne favors a simpler label. We can probably run the same debate for the mailbox nameplate and house numbers. I'm supposed to be the type expert in the house, and yet Anne is being steadfast in her preference. And I kind of dig that!

Better news in the furniture department. We are totally aligned in choosing furniture. We seem to agree that going outside our budget and choosing items with novelty long delivery times is the way to go.

The couch is coming from Denmark in 16 weeks time. The 16 weeks doesn't start until the manufacturer resolves a conflict with the material supplier. wtf. We'll be lucky to get it before next Easter.

I've fallen in love with a light I saw in some design store. It's got a vaguely nautical feel to it, which means it is developing into the grotesque wagon wheel coffee table scenario from When Harry Met Sally.

New bed is already delivered. Love how colors have to have bullshit names. Midnight espresso. Who drinks espresso at midnight? A security guard? Douche-y.

We've ordered some new dressers, sides and bookcases too. They are self-assembly. 12 years ago Anne and I spent 8 silent hours constructing 2 bookcases. We'll have a counsellor present this time ...

We welcomed a blind guy into our house this week. Great joke. Window treatment sounds so queer to me. But our blind guy was awesome with the samples and suggestions and he is installing those next week. Until then I think I'll just tack dark paper to the walls. I'm strangely reserved when it comes to attaching anything to the brand new walls of the house!

Wednesday, September 9

And I don't find Oscar Wilde to be witty

Some things are held in such high reverence, that it's almost a crime to criticize them, especially around pretentious people (like me) who will undoubtedly roll their eyes at you.

Fellini and Kurosawa movies, Yo La Fucking Tengo, Sam Raimi, Radiohead, Ray Liechtenstein, Stephen Colbert, It's a Wonderful Life, Kobe Beef, all sculpture, Wagner opera, Peru, Tofu, Dub.

Need I go on chinstrokers?

And of course Apple fall into this category too.

At Design School in 1987 I used a Mac Plus, and I've lovingly used Apple products since. Never owned a PC, and never will. Phones, iPods, tablets, TVs. Whatever they stick an apple logo on in the past and future, to quote Michael Jackson, I'll be there.

But boy did I get shitty service this past week. I ordered a tiny document scanner thru their website. It arrived. I opened the box. It did not work.

My new house is a 4 minute WALK to an Apple Store. So I meandered on down there. No dice! Have to return to the website store. Went on-line to download the return sticker. Hold on, I have to send it to the manufacturer of the product. They have the warranty, so they will honor it.

Picked up the phone and rang Apple. Surely a product that NEVER worked can be returned to the store that sold it to me. Guess again kiddies.

Spent 45 minutes on the phone to Fujitsu. I'll never get those minutes back. Fuck Fujitsu.

So I went back to the Apple website and changed the 'Reason for Return" from "Piece of Shit doesn't work" to "Changed my Mind", and Hey Presto I got a refund.

What a long rambling post.

Tuesday, September 8

All my old memories

Packing up the old house has gone well. We've done a soft move in the past few weeks, while on Saturday the professionals come in to move the heavy stuff.

It's an obstacle course of boxes and bags strewn throughout the house. Once in a while, I get that split second thought that Isobelle is stood watching me, only to realize it's just a black bag.

I guess my only sadness about leaving Hancock Park is that we are leaving all of our memories of Isobelle here. She owned a part of every room, and we won't have that in the new house.

Of course that doesn't stop me from imagining how she would cope in the new house. With 3 levels and plenty of windows, closets and hiding places she would have a blast.

I still miss her every day. And I cannot imagine replacing her.

Saturday, September 5

I appear to be a Lowes Man!

Maybe it's the dulcet tones of Gene Hackman in their TV spots, but Lowes are beating Home Depot 3-2.

Yes. I've owned a home for 10 days and I've been 5 times to these hardware retail giants.

I guess my reason for switching back and forth is so that the staff at each don't notice the same idiot walking in every other day, with a new list of "Shit I did not realize I needed"