Monday, February 16, 2009

Three things

In order of importance...

1. Happy Birthday, Andi.
I'm glad you didn't answer your cell phone because the message we left was priceless (all of us singing, with Dylan ending with "I love you, Andi"). Also, minutes are a precious commodity these days and it wasn't quite 9:00. But for you, these two videos. The first is Dylan singing Happy Birthday again for you:

The second is him singing "Living on a Prayer" and playing the drums as homage to you and your probably spending your birthday check from your dad on Wii Guitar Hero World Tour. Remember that this boy is a tough competitor and will kick your booty.

2. Hey people, stop telling me how to take a photo like yours until you stop photoshopping beyond recognition.
Just a thought I had while flipping through Memory Makers magazine (how would I make memories without these people telling me how to?!) and being pleased that the economy will probably make bring these magazines and that hobby to its knees. No real offense to the actual photographer (I guess), but on p.52 there's an article about camera tricks complete with metadata (Nikon D70, Focal Length:70 mm, Exposure:who cares when you have Elements Curves, blah blah). Tricks include angles (get on your knees, beyotch), lighting, and aiming above the sun or something silly. Get frickin real. It is a very nice shot, no doubt, but to believe for one second that setting your camera, no matter how fancy, to those four settings will unlock all the glory of photography is effen stupid. Photoshop, photoshop, photoshop. Overexpose, mess with the color curves, add a catchlight or whatever. Also, on p.26 there is a borderline sinister shot of a little girl where Mommy allegedly only turned off her flash. I guess without the flash, the Children of the Corn spirit is unleased. If I am really to believe that children's eyes glow like that if you just turn off the flash, I will have to start sleeping with one eye open because the kids are not, in fact, alright. They are filled with the spirit of the Devil and it is most visible in flashless photography.

This issue was really my only complaint about the Karen Russell photography class (and I really do think she uses photo editing fairly sparingly, so this only partially applies to her). You see, I sat in the class for 8-10 hours thinking if I took it all in, I could make pics like her. Well, I knew I'd need the fancier lenses too. But then in the last possible second she mentioned cleaning the final product up in photoshop (which makes me discount half the original process of taking quality prints if you don't show it to me pre-Photoshop) and I got sad a little. So in conclusion, if you think you can come up with perfection on your own, I will quote my friend T.I. (and we are good friends, and hopefully one day maybe a baby daddy), in his song "Ready for Whatever" -- "Shorty, I got some mother (**loving**) oceanfront property in Idaho for sale, homie/If you believe that, I got a bridge in Brooklyn I wanna sell you, partner." Enough said.

3. Eff you, FEMA
This one shot ahead of even Continental in being on top of my shizz list. We bought this house in June and got the voluntary flood policy since we are not in a flood zone, but live in Houston. In Oct, FEMA sent us a bill for $700 saying there was a loss history and we owed that immediately and we could not drop the policy. Since there was no disclosure at time of sale, we assumed we'd be heading to litigation and ordered a copy of the property loss history and it had a total of $10,868.99 paid out in 10/17/1994 and $79,402.10 paid out in 06/09/2001. We were all set to start talking with lawyers and then we got a letter from NFIP/FEMA on 11/4/2008 that stated that "preliminary research indicates losses reported for another similar location may have been linked to your location in error. Additional evaluation will be required." and goes on to say that they will be contacting participating entities, blah blah blah.

They've never done a thing. I call every two weeks, they say they are doing stuff and I wait another two weeks and never get a thing and do it all over again. FEMA sucks. Today I simply wouldn't let them off the phone and got them to admit that the Property Loss History is clear, but that they can't guarantee that they can send me a clear copy because you only get a property loss history once a year and I've gotten mine. (You know - the wrong one. Insert shaking of head here). I got some supervisor to say that she would send in a request for it, but that they couldn't make any guarantees that I would get it. I told her I'd give her a week and then I would simply call every single day until I got it. And I will. I am angry enough with NFIP/ FEMA to do exactly that.

In conclusion, same old routine over here. Working, playing and getting pissed at the little things. I'll let you in on one more thing. My poetry class has lost whatever glow it had. I've decided poetry is in fact super douchey and it makes me sad that I have to bring one in so it can be picked apart for cliches and tested for proper levels of cleverness. I am thinking I will write one titled "Cliche" just to get it out on the table to begin with. It's too bad though, I've enjoyed some of the people and some of the poems either brought in my the teacher guy or the students. But geez, the pretentiousness of it all really sucks. I think I'd be better suited to write a monologue for "Chelsea Lately," if only I knew more Jewish lingo. When I get to LA, it's me, Chelsea and Sarah Silverman for Girls' night...

Wait, one other thing. Brandy's Book Club. If you are slightly depressed at your current state of married life, do not read "Revolutionary Road." If you ever intend to marry, do not read "Revolutionary Road." Basically, I read that one and found it a million times more depressing that even "Beautiful Boy" by David Sheff which was a father's account of his meth addicited son. Since we, uh, roll like that some in my family I thought it would be a good read and it was actually beyond amazing. Even with my extensive background in 12-step cults and Al-Anon and tough lovin, it turned all I thought I knew on my head and let me take what I knew and multiply it by a million. And "RR" was good, don't get me wrong. Sometimes things are too good and then you feel like slitting your wrist.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

It's been awhile...

Yeah, I know. I have myself spread a little thin these days and it is a sad, sad thing.

First of all, that arty thing on my fireplace was a sale item at Pier One. Who knew? Our minds have moved past the house and into the yard. We've been watching shows like "Yard Crashers" and some other similar show where the yards all are disastrous like ours and then magic happens. I am paying a lot of attention to crushed gravel, limestone patios and tall trees so that I can cover our lack of grass and block out the barrio. As soon as we do taxes, we'll go ahead and set a new budget for Phase 2 projects and get moving. Also, heavy trash for real trash is this month so we are going to gut our converted garage and starting on that renovation. Add to that the outside building need for some new wood and paint and we will be busy. I have the end date of Dylan's birthday for the yard and outside of building to be completed because that's where I want his party.


Stuff that makes me mad: Ticketmaster. I hate them. Hate. Flight of the Conchords tickets went on sale here in Houston this morning at 10 am. 10:02 am and none were available. Go eff yourself, Ticketmaster. The more I dig, I keep seeing all this presale stuff and basically I never had a chance. I mean, you don't try to checkout much earlier than 10:02 am. Hate.

Stuff that is mildly amusing: Dylan is in love with drumming on Guitar Hero World Tour. He talks about it constantly and when he hear "Livin on a Prayer" on the radio, he realized that he could be surronded by its wonderfulness constantly. Didn't take him long to get better than me, all I hear is "Red, Yellow, Red, Yellow!!"

Off to Chicago tomorrow through day I'll settle down and get caught up on things. Until then...