Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This Is What Happens...

...when your son lets a container of about 500 ladybugs go in your backyard.

And then it's kind of cold that night...so the ladybugs bunch up for heat.

Which puts them into a nice, convenient "to go" package for the birds when they wake up in the morning.

And then you come out and take a picture of the ones that are left.


Friday, May 27, 2011

iPad Odyssey - The Final Showdown

When last we left our intrepid, techno-challenged heroine (aka me)...

I just completed my second run to Best Buy in the same day, I now have 3G service and I have to fly like the wind to get home before my mom arrives to drop Ryan off.

I make it home and race upstairs to get the iPad docked back up to the computer, re-synced with iTunes and ready to enter my cellular data plan info again. I get the online form filled out and am just about to press "send" when the 3G icon disappears from the status bar and I get the "no SIM card" message again.


Except...now I know what to do, right? Because one of the TG's (I can't keep straight which one at this point) showed me that neat trick with the paper clip and while I don't have compressed air, I'm certainly capable of blowing on the SIM card myself. It did take me a few minutes to find the right gauge of paper clip (have to use one of the small ones) but I get it unbent and into the hole and am just exerting a tiny bit of pressure to pop the card out when my son bursts into the room behind me, yells "hey, mom, whatcha doin'?" and scares the crap outta me. Which means I put too much pressure on the card and it goes flying and disappears.

Did I mention it's TEENY TINY?

Cuz it is.

I also realize that I was concentrating on fixing the iPad so hard that I didn't hear my mom and son come in the house. Hence the shock when he snuck up behind me.

Now I have to go be polite to my mom while simultaneously trying to speed her departure because all I can think about is that SIM card that is now lost somewhere in my rat's nest of an office.

"Hi, mom. Thanks for taking care of Ryan. What? You have to leave already? Oh darn. Okay, well, bye then. Don't let the door hit you, etc."

Yeah, I am a stellar daughter.

Then it's back upstairs to spend a torturous amount of time on my hands and knees looking for the effing SIM card all the while muttering "oh, please let me find it...please...please."

Fortunately, God finds me vastly amusing or completely pathetic, but either way he decided to help me find the darn thing. I get it re-installed, boot the iPad up, fill out the cellular data page again and...

Now, does ANYBODY think it actually worked this time? Because if you do, you are crazy.

I went several more rounds with this thing and the 3G service would cut out every time I got ready to send the sign up data. And yet, I had this terrible feeling that if I took it back to Best Buy, they would find some ridiculously obvious thing that I was doing wrong and I'd look like a complete idiot.

That feeling was at war with my determination that this thing WOULD NOT defeat me. I WILL own an iPad and it WILL function as designed and I don't care how many TG's I have to verbally abuse to get it done.

It's at about this time that I glance at my watch and realize that hey, Best Buy doesn't close for another 20 minutes. But I'll have to bring the kid with me so I holler for him to get his shoes back on so we can go (I am assuming he's still dressed because I haven't had time to tell him to put his PJ's on and he NEVER does anything unless I tell him to first) and he comes running in.

In his pajamas.

His Spongebob Squarepants pajamas.

That are bright neon yellow.

Now, it's 8:40 at night on a school night. Your son is wearing bright yellow pajamas and you have a non-functioning iPad. Does the Mom Manual cover this situation? Because I'm pretty sure it doesn't. Or if it does, it probably says to do the exact opposite of what I did.

Which was to throw a jacket on over the kid's obnoxious pajamas as camouflage and then toss him and the iPad into the car and make a break for it.

Although, to be fair, I did hesitate for at least 15 seconds over whether or not this was a good idea. And my common sense lost that argument big time.

So, off we went to BB for the THIRD time in one day.

Upon arrival, I informed the TG on duty that this iPad was defective and I wanted a replacement. Now you know I was totally prepared to hear that they had no more of this model in stock, but...miracle of miracles, they still had one.

I also demanded that this time, THEY set it up and verify the 3G before I left the store. I may have also muttered something about taking up a position on the local clock tower and mowing them all down if it didn't work, but that part of the conversation is kinda fuzzy. TG could have just been scared into compliance by the sight of Ryan's pajamas.

Okay, new iPad is officially tested and working except...now it needs the invisi-shield applied to it.

I may have developed an uncontrollable twitch at this point...especially when they tried to charge me for a new shield AND the application service fee.

Yeah, um, TG? SOOOOOO not happening. After two previous misapplications AND the broken iPad AND my THREE trips to your lame ass store...lemmee 'splain to you that I AM NOT PAYING FOR SHIT!

TG wisely saw my point. But after his knees stopped knocking together (and he may have pee'd himself a little bit, but I didn't want to totally humiliate him by pointing that out) he mentioned that the only person left in the store who knows how to put the shield on is in the cell phone department and she's only ever put shields on phones and never on an iPad.

I figure she can't do any worse than the idiot from lunch time so I give them the go-ahead and the kid and I wandered around the store amusing ourselves for the next 30 minutes.

Which is how Ryan and I ended up playing X-Box Kinect in a closed Best Buy store at 9:30 on a school night while he was wearing neon yellow pajamas, a jacket and flip flops.

I am the best Mommy EVER!

But I have a working iPad.


P.S. The girl in the cell phone department did a FABULOUS job putting the shield on. It is PERFECT. Why on earth they have some ham-handed guy in the tech department doing it crappily when this girl does it so well, I don't know, but I made sure the manager knew about it...and about everything else.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

American Idol

Okay, I know it's not over yet, but James just proved why he should've been in the finals! Judas Priest...genius! That was hot, dude!

Casey and Jack black singing Queen wasn't bad either.

However, the girls are absolutely MURDERING Beyonce!

Now I just wanna know if Scotty won or not!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

This Just In...

This entry was going to be about my continuing saga of being in iPad hell and maybe a little bit about American Idol, but the household gods had something else in store for me.

I arrived home this evening and, upon hitting the button for the garage door opener, watched a flood of water pour out of the garage and down my driveway.

Y'all, this is my FOURTH ;$&!!@-/!!!!) flood in this effing house!

Of course, my first thought was that Ryan left the water on after brushing his teeth or something and frankly, after the last flood he caused, I'm not sure he would've lived to see 9 if he caused this one, too. Okay, okay, that was totally a joke, but it would've been close.

Fortunately for him, it looks like it was the relief valve on the hot water heater...same thing that caused my very first flood back in 2003.

So, yeah, now the floods are repeating themselves.


On the upside, my garage is full of plumbers who are actually kind of cute (and not a butt crack in sight, either).

As for American Idol, doesn't look like it's a fair fight with Lauren's voice crapping out (see, I told you Haley should've been in the final!), but so far, Scotty is kicking ass!

Go, Scotty!


Monday, May 23, 2011

iPad Odyssey - Part 3

The next two hours at work were sheer torture as I couldn't wait to get home and get my new toy all set up and running. It was the perfect evening to do it since Wednesday is the one night a week that I get a short break while my mom takes Ryan to his Tae Kwon Do class and, usually, dinner afterwards.

No working late for me (since that's what I usually do with my night off to try to get some extra hours in). I'm out the door right at 5:00 and heading home as fast as the toll road can take me.

I get home, tear the packaging off the iPad and fire it up. The first thing I see is a picture of a USB cord and a musical note. I am lucky that TG1 told me that the iPad needs to get hooked up to iTunes or I would have no freakin' idea what this picture means. And also, don't you love the arrogance of Apple assuming that everyone already HAS iTunes?

And okay, so in my case, they are right, but still!

Now, hooking things up to my computer is not an easy task. It's difficult to get to, all the ports are in the back, and they are all full. So first thing I have to do is decide what's gonna get UNPLUGGED. Oh yeah, and I manage to accidentally dislodge the power cable in the process so now I have to wait for DD (dinosaur of a desktop) to boot back up again.

Finally, computer is on, iPad is plugged in, and iTunes is booted up.

And... I get a message telling me that my iTunes is out of date and must be updated. Greaaaaaaattttt.


Now iTunes is up to date, but I get a message saying that the iPad software now needs to be updated.


Everything is finally updated and I'm ready to set up my 3G service. I hit "settings" and "cellular data" and fill out the form that comes up with all my contact info and credit card info. I hit enter and get a message that says "no SIM card."

Okay, what is a SIM card and why do I need one? And more importantly, why don't I have one when TG1 assured me I didn't need any other equipment to get the iPad going?

Assuming it's my lack of technical knowledge that is to blame and that I must have screwed something up in entering my data, I re-enter everything only to get the same "no SIM card" message.

Now I don't know what to think AND I'm starting to watch the clock for when the kid is going to show up. Finally, I realize that I'm not going to solve this on my own so I call my mom to see how soon they'll be back and when she tells me I still have an hour left, I fling myself into the car and drive like a bat out of hell to Best Buy - where I'm thinkin' I'll be havin' some TG for dinner.

When I arrive, there's a new TG (TG3) at the customer service desk so I explain about the "no SIM card" message. His response is that I have to take the iPad to an AT&T store to 1. Buy a SIM card and 2. Get it activated.


Although I know I'm on shaky ground (not knowing what the hell a SIM card is), I question his answer based on what TG1 told me earlier in the day. TG3 gets on his walkie talkie and asks some mysterious unknown person where I can get a SIM card. We get various responses from a repeat of what he told me about AT&T to a version that says my iPad HAS a SIM card, but I have to go to AT&T to get it activated.

This is still not sounding right to me so I tell him what TG1 told me again. He picks up the iPad, looks at ti from all angles, scratches his head, says "hmmmm" and hands the iPad back to me and says "hold tht for a minute."

I hold it while TG3 grabs a paper clip, unbends it and sticks one end of it into a teeny tiny hole on the side of the iPad. He applies pressure and POP!

A tiny little thing comes flying out and he says "oh look, you DO have a SIM card."


He is still of the opinion that I have to go to AT&T to get it turned on, but I'm not buying his BS any more. I call for a higher authority: TGS (Teen Geek Supervisor). He takes the iPad into the back and performs some kind of geek voodoo on it (he claims it was just compressed air, but I'm sure I heard chanting and possibly the sacrifice of a chicken).

But the important part is that when he brings it back, it says "3G service active."

Glory hallelujah!!

And I still have 20 minutes to spare to get home before the kid arrives.

Oh, but the Apple Gods are cruel and capricious and they were not yet done messing with me...or my SIM card.


Friday, May 20, 2011

iPad Odyssey - Part 2

So, there I was at the customer service counter...ready for all my techno dreams to come true.

When I realize that in the pile of accessories is an iPad case, but not the one I asked for. This case is really nice. It's leather, and OF COURSE it's mire expensive than the one I asked them to pull for me. Plus, the camera adapter cord I asked for is not there. I mention this and the eveer so helpful Best Buy employee I'm dealing with (who will hereinafter be referre to as teen geek #1 or TG1) says "oh, just go back to the Apple aisle and pull whatever you want."

Which would be okay except that I am NOT techno-savvy so I'm not really sure what I want. I was sorta kinda hoping the stor would be staffed with experts who could help me. I guess I need to lower my expectations in this as in so many other things.

Off I head to the Apple aisle where I find a bewildering array of cables, but not, as far as I can tell, the one I want for my camera. There is one package left of the case I want, but it's been opened and looks kind of thrashed.

I take that package back to TG1 in the hopes that she can find another one in the back that hasn't been mauled quite so badly.

Turns out no joy on that one. So we inspect the cover and despite the open box, the internal packaging hasn't been breached so I decide to go ahead with my purchase which also includes the invisible-shield to protect the screen. I ask TG1 how long it will take to apply the shield because I need to get back on the road to the office since I'm only on my lunch break. She assures me "10 minutes."

I run out to the Subway next door to grab my lunch and then to the gas station to fill up and then head back to pick up my new iPad.

Which is supposed to be ready, right.

Except they haven't started on it yet. Don't ask me why since there are at least 5 TGs standing around doing nothing and no other customers in line.

TG1 tells me "give us 10 more minutes."

Well there goes my hope of getting back to the office on time, but I can TASTE how close I am to my iPad so I say sure.

10 minutes later, TG2 informs me that he's put the shield on, but has screwed it up and needs to re-do it.

I ask how long that will take (already knowing the answer) and remind TG2 that I'm on my lunch break.

He asks "would you like to come back later."

I politely respond that no, I would not like to come back later and then clamp my lips shut so I don't continue with the rest of the sentence that says "what I really want, loser, is for you to have done this in 10 minutes the first time like you promised AND to have not screwed it up, but I'm stuck here now so fine, I'll wait ANOTHER 10 minutes!"

10 points for me for keeping my cool.

So TG2 goes off to re-apply the shield and I take a moment to ask TG1 if there's anything I need to know about setting up the iPad and/or if she can do it for me in the store. She assures me that all I have to do is take it home and sync it up to my iTunes account and it will walk me through the set up INCLUDING signing up for the 3G service.

Remember those fateful words because they will become important when I tell Part 3 of this tale.

TG2 returns and shows me that he has once again not been completely perfect with the invisi-shield as there is now a scratch at one edge and two bubbles. Since they are on the edges and don't interfere with the main screen area, I decide to cut my losses and take off before anything else goes wrong. After a high speed race back to the office (during which it is AMAZING that I didn't get a speeding ticket), I'm back at my desk and gleefully looking forward to a fun evening hooking up the iPad and taking it for a test drive.

Little did I know that the TGs were going to play a big part in my evening plans as things steadily got worse...


An iPad Odyssey - Part 1

You know, it started out as such a simple dream. All I wanted was an iPad.

After all, I'd carefully saved up for it for 6 months - including a slight setback caused by paying for the kid's dental woes. I'd even waited for the iPad 2 to come out so the price on the original would go down to where I could afford it.

And then suddenly, yesterday was the day. I was headed out on my lunch hour to get my longed-for new toy.

I was so ready. I'd called the store to make sure it was in stock and had them set it aside for me along with some accessories just to be sure it would be ready. I only get an hour for lunch and the only store with the right model in stock was 20 minutes away so I knew it was going to be tight.

All went as planned as I arrived at the Irvine Best Buy. No traffic and I made excellent time on the freeway and, of course, didn't speed at all!

No sign of any lines at customer service - score!

Now, I was fully prepared for them to have either not pulled my order at all or to have pulled the wrong model or something equally lame, but no, there it was. All ready to go.

Which is when I should have suspected that things were about to go horribly wrong...


Thursday, May 19, 2011

American Idol - The Final 3

I know the results are on right now, but I'm not watching. I have to DVR this show because I can't stand some of the filler crap, the ads, and sometimes Ryan Seacrest.

So, without knowing how the results are going, here's mt take on the singing last night (as if anybody cares what I think LOL):

1. James should still be here and ultimately should have won, but I think that was so obvious that it lessened the suspense and therefore he had to go. This is not the first rarity show where I've seen manipulation to get rid of a clear winner to muddy the waters for the rest of the competition. But that ship has sailed so I guess www have to move on.

2. Scotty has the most distinctive voice of the remaining contestants. I am not a country fan, but when he busts out those low notes, I could listen forever. I thought he got lucky on the song choices and really show his range with the Kenny Rodgers song. He had the most consistent evening out of all of them.

3. Lauren's performances were all just okay for me. I felt like she was out of breath and rushing in places on the Faith Hill song. I think she's great, but young, and has some growing to do.

4. Haley, Haley, Haley. As always, song choice is her weak spot (well, that and the fact that the judges hate her except maybe Steven who seems creepily into her). She kicked ass on the Zeppelin song ( and yeah, I know, I'm a rocker so that's always going to appeal to me, but she really did do it well). And how cool was it that her dad played guitar on it with her? Loved that touch! Then Jimmy gave h a tough one with Rhiannon. Not only is it such an iconic song, but I think it's a hard one to sing especially when they make you chop it up in the wrong places so it doesn't flow well. And then the judges totally screwed her with the Alanis Morrisette song. She didn't really have a chance with that one.

My personal picks are Scotty and Haley. We'll see if the rest of America got it right or not.


Saturday, May 14, 2011


I am eating dinner with the kid at a new place in town called the Beach Pit BBQ. It's a small local chain of four or five places started by a minor league baseball player.

The food is simple bbq but very good. But mostly I'm writing because I just tried hush puppies for the first time and OMG!! They are soooo good! I can't stop eating them.

Next stop...ice cream.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

American Idol

Okay, those results were total bullsh*t.

And now I'm totally depressed.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bored Beyond Belief

Today's post title comes from one of my all-time favorite movies, "L.A. Story" with Steve Martin. There's a scene where he's inside his house but is looking out one of his windows and he writes (backwards so it can be read correctly from outside the house) "bored beyone belief."

And that's how I've been so far this week. Can't seem to get interested in anything and certainly don't feel like being creative. Life has been super crazy busy, but not the interesting kind of busy that usually gives me blog post ideas.

So, I thought I'd throw out some questions to the group. What's your favorite boredom cure? Or, do you even get bored - maybe you've boredom-proofed your life? If so, how'd you manage it?

And if those questions are too boring for you, then share what your favorite movie is and why.


Thursday, May 05, 2011

Parrot Chatter

I've been a fan of Yolanda's Clay on Etsy for a while now. In fact, I'm growing quite a collection of her pieces in my stash and I guess she must have noticed because she was nice enough to mention me on her blog today.

Also, Happy Cinco de Mayo. Have some nachos and a margarita on me ;-) I will be sitting in traffic trying to get home as the So Cal freeway system goes BERSERK today.


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Thoughts on AI

My take on tonight's AI.

I love James because I am a rocker chick at heart, but I thought hiis two performances tonight were his weakest of the entire season. I still like him and still think he will win (although the judges need to quit saying that) but I think he dropped his guard tonight.

Jacob needs to go. Actually, he needed to go last week and the week before and the week before. This isn't the right venue for his voice. At least he wasn't dressed all crazy, though.

Lauren! Girlfriend finally put on some heels and rocked the stage! I swear I knew she'd be better if she ditched those flat boots. She was running out of air in a few places (maybe up the cardio?), but still very good.

I love Scotty! And I love that he kicked it into high gear with that first song. Also love that he's working hard to ditch the microphone "flute" thing. I'm not really a country fan per se, but I could listen to that voice all day long.

As for Haley...I don't know what Steven gave the other judges to smoke before the show, but they be HIGH! We are supposed to bag on her performance, which was spot on vocally, because she sang an unknown song? Dude, all hits are unknown at first! But maybe it was worth it in the end because I think she came out motivated to give them a big EFF U with her second song...and she SLAYED it. "House of the Rising Sun" is one of my all time favorite songs and her version is better than the original! The a capella section was amazing. Haley is in it to win it! If the stupid judges will get out of her way!


P.S. Sheryl Crow wins for best mentor ever!
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