Stacking Time Vampires

I made the huge, life changing mistake of downloading a Tetris-like game on my phone.

Remind me again how Tetris didn’t come with a warning label?  How is it not classified as a highly addictive substance?

It’s been ages since I last played this one.  In fact, it was at a gathering with my cousins more than 5 years ago.  Four of us had been perusing the Target clearance end-caps and we found this Tetris game that plugged straight into the TV.  The rest of the weekend, a whole crowd of us was clustered around the TV either playing, or volunteering suggestions to players (there was trash talking too, of course).

Now, years later, I lost most of an evening trying to beat a high score, swearing copiously as I got a rash of those screwy offset squares that I can never deal with–you know the one, take the top two squares of a 4-square box and shift it over….instant crap.  The fact that I just digressed to describing the piece I hate ought to be a clue as too how far gone I’ve been playing this frakkin’ thing.

Another win for a useless (but entertaining) destroyer of time.

Step One: Ending the Satellite

As I mentioned last month, I am embarking on an adventure the likes of which I haven’t had since dwelling in the law school dorms:  I’m ditching TV.

Today, I finally got a chance to call and cancel the satellite.  Since that’s actually paid for the next month, it will be several more weeks before it’s truly gone, but it was nice to make the arrangements.  I was prepared to do more battle with the gal on the phone, but she was oddly friendly, and while she mentioned that there were lower tiers I could drop to, she didn’t push when I told her I wasn’t interested.

Ditching Netflix is the next step.  Since my decision to cut them out is based largely on their price hike bullshit, I’m going to wait a little longer.  I’ll get billed once more before the price increases which will carry me through to just a few days after the satellite ends.  I’ll milk this one for another month at the $10 cost, then it’s auf wiedersehen to that one too.

I am truly looking forward to what it will be like without those two time sucks.  Just for the shear change of it all.  And it’s not like I don’t have steady signals and plenty of channels with rabbit ears–in fact, my ability to pull up a local weather map was zero on the satellite, where it’s 24/7 on the new digital channels.  Plus, there are 3 PBS’s instead of just the one.  And if over-the-air fails, I still have a cache of DVDs to keep me entertained, and the library’s just up the street for more.

But mostly, I’m looking to make a dent in The Stack, which, unfortunately, gained 2 more books when I visited the soon-to-be-gone Borders (and they have lots more to discount so I might have another few to come…).  I might actually get decent at writing a book review…..

The current plan is to stay Netflix-free until PBS finishes running the second season of Downton Abbey (which starts up again in January).  Why?  Honestly, no reason, other than that I know myself and when this show finally comes back it will be all I want to watch for several weeks so anything else is a waste.  After that, we’ll revisit the situation.

 

 

An Addicted Time Vampire

This week’s time vampire has been making me resent phone calls at work.  I like a controlled noise distraction while I’m working on some of the more mundane tasks that make up my job.  Usually it’s music, and it’s no big deal to pop out my ear-buds to answer the phone, or if someone shows up in my cube.  But I recently stumbled upon the Jay and Silent Bob Get Old podcast and now I resent even more any activity at work which requires my auditory attention.

It’s flipping hilarious (and has led me to sample the other flippin’ hilarious podcasts from the Smodcast network), and more than a little addictive.  Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith are both incredibly funny people (and I’m eternally grateful to Kristy for having first introduced me to Clerks), so anything they do has a high probability of making me shoot Dr. Pepper out of my nose.  This is no exception.  More than once I’ve had to cover a laugh as a cough so that I don’t have to try and explain to coworkers what’s so funny.

It’s also kind of educational.  The driver behind the episodes is going over Jason Mewes’s struggle with drug addiction.  Hearing his explanations of what its like is pretty eye opening.  But it’s just as informative to hear Smith tell about being the friend figuring out about the problem and then trying to help (not always successfully).  I almost feel guilty laughing at situations that are so serious, but it’s clear that these two want you to laugh.  They want to get the story out, but they are not trying to be morose about it.

Of course the humor is very guy-humor, loaded with raunch and swearing, so it’s not for the faint of heart.  I, personally, find myself more tempted to slip into that fuck-delimited conversation pattern (small problem when you’re at work) after I listen to an episode.

I’ve blown through several weeks’ worth of material.  New episodes come out Thursdays.  I’m syncing up my mp3 player even as I type this, and I’m a little thankful for the mundane filing I have to get done tomorrow–it will be the perfect time to plug in for another hit of this podcast addiction.

Nectar of the Gods…

Coffee

So before I go any further, let me confess one thing:  I have writer’s block.  And I’m supposed to be out the door right now.  But once I head out the door I won’t have internet access until tomorrow night, so I have to get this written and posted now.

But I have nothing to say.

So we’re going to talk about what is on my brain right now.

Coffee!

One of God’s greatest gifts to us.

Yes, I have an addiction.  And yes, in part, it is a caffeine addiction which could be satisfied by any number of sources.  But I also have an addiction to coffee.  You see, unlike many of my fellow college students who learn to drink coffee in order to stay up and write papers, I actually love the stuff.  And I have for a very long time.  When I was four years old my mother was driving me to preschool one day and I complained of being thirsty.  I’m fairly certain she simply thought I was being an obnoxious child and complaining just to complain, so she finally snapped, “If you’re that thirsty you can have a drink of my coffee!”  So I picked up her coffee cup and started drinking.  (At which point she snatched it away from me, no doubt dreading the results of sending a caffeinated four year old to school.)

I love the smell.  Some of it is simply a matter of association since my mother is also a coffee addict and so coffee smells like home and mom to me.  But it has an extremely visceral effect on me.  There was a day a couple years ago, where I had spent several hours lost on my way to a rehearsal.  Several more hours rehearsing outside in rain that was just above freezing.  Then another hour lost on my way to the interstate.  I finally reached the interstate and got off to get badly needed gas.  While at the gas station (Wawa—Wawa has some of the best gas station coffee around) I picked up a cup of coffee.  Exhausted, stressed out, and facing at least an hour of bumper to bumper traffic on I-95, I got back in my car and back on the interstate.

And then the smell of my coffee began wafting through the car.  And the knots in my back and neck began unclenching.  And my lungs, which I didn’t even realize were tight, opened up.  And I suddenly felt like everything was going to be okay.  And this is just from the smell—before I even had a sip!

I’m sort of a coffee connoisseur, but not a coffee snob.  At the moment I’m drinking Community Coffee French Roast (Louisiana represent!) which is dark and rich and delicious with a slight acidic aftertaste.  My preference is definitely to dark roasts, the darker the better.  I’m not really picky about flavor notes.  When I’m buying myself (I didn’t buy this) I only buy Fair Trade Certified, because having lived in South America I think it’s really important.  Usually Fair Trade Certified coffee is also organic, and I will say that with coffee more than most anything else, I can taste the difference in organic.  It’s cleaner tasting somehow.

As for how I drink my coffee, it depends on the time of day and what I’m drinking it with.  In the morning, I like it with a fair amount of some sort of milky substance.  It can be milk or cream or synthetic artificial cream like product.  I don’t ever add sugar, but if there’s sugar in the creamer, that’s acceptable.  What is never acceptable is sugar but no cream.  It’s disgusting.  Also, Splenda is never okay, because if I wanted extra chlorine in my diet I would drink some pool water.  And I’m allergic.

Any other time of the day I can drink it in most any form.  With dessert I tend to like it black.  But if I’m drinking it by itself after a meal I like it with a lot cream and a maybe touch of sugar, essentially turning my coffee into a dessert.

Fancy, schmancy espresso drinks are okay, but honestly not usually worth the money to me since they disguise the taste of coffee, which is what I’m actually after.  So I rarely drink them.  Espresso itself, on the other hand, is quite tasty.

And on that note, my cup is almost empty, and I’m now officially late, so happy drinking to you all.

Time Vampire of the Week….Click for America

This is a short one because it’s very, very simple.

Click a button.  A lot.  Country with the most clicks wins bragging rights in very sad circles.

It’s an international competition for lamest of the lame.  FWIW, the USA is in 9th:

http://www.clickclickclick.com/default.asp

Sounds stupid?  It is.  But the combination of simplistic activity and pure competitive drive is potent.

Clickclickclickclickclickclick….