Archive for January, 2008

Taking a break from complaining.

Eating solid food again.

Posting on Fark again.

Still looking for a motorcycle.

Still at work, still can’t believe I have another 2 hours of this shit.

No longer taking a break from complaining.

What do I win? New pants?

For some reason, I was shadow-banned from Fark, meaning no one can see my posts in the discussion threads. And so everyone will stop asking, no, I didn’t start a fight or post offensive pictures. I really have no idea what happened, but my level of concern over this particular time-wasting vehicle is relatively low. Consequently, I expect absolutely nothing to be done about this, and have thus moved on to finding more productive means of passing time at work.

I, Former TotalFarkette platkat, am motorcycle shopping.

I sold my first and only car last year. I loved that car with every ounce of my being (go ahead, call me white trash) and did not want to sell it. Knowing then what I know now, I wouldn’t have. Like a dead pet, it’s too soon to get another.

Lucky for me, I took a motorcycle class while bored in New York. I may not be ready for a car, but nothing’s stopping me from getting a bike.

Except finding one, that is. I’ve been combing the ads on craigslist, searching for the perfect first bike, which I will surely wreck or at least scratch to high hell. So whatever I get must be used, and fairly cheap. It’s a delicate dance though, because whatever I get is going to be pretty old, but with my limited knowledge of bikes thusfar, it can’t require too many repairs.

You’d think Seattle-ites would be unloading their used, cheap bikes during the winter for, well, cheap. But I’m having a hell of a time finding anything that isn’t a powerful sport bike that’s way too nice, a plethora of dirt bikes, or a quad. (Quads should have their own section, by the way. Who the hell rides down a city street on a fucking quad?)

The biggest catch-22 I’ve encountered so far is that all the cheap, old bikes (and most of the bikes in general) are located in cheap, old places: Bothell, Federal Way, Renton… I don’t know if there’s a bus to take me where I’d need to go in those towns, but even if there were, it would mean that if I bought a bike, I’d have to ride it on the highway for longer than I am comfortable.

I’d love to take more motorcycle classes in order to get comfortable, but all the ones I’ve seen here so far either resemble the beginner class I’ve already taken or they require you to already have a bike. So it feels as though I pretty much have to wait until the perfect bike goes on sale in Seattle proper. I’m sure if someone wanted to sell their bike badly enough, they’d ride it out to where I am, but usually people with good deals on good bikes get a lot of responses and don’t need to put up with such nonsense.

Le sigh…

I might as well look into buying a rocket while I’m at it.

Today was the big day. I GOT SUED! I’ll start from the beginning, and I’ll try to be brief even though that is almost impossible for me.

In early December, I attempted to sublet an apartment from a creepy guy with a nice(ish) house in Kirkland. We will call him Creepy Noel. I had a weird feeling about him, but I needed a more stable living situation and I was having trouble finding exactly what I wanted. I’ve lived in some pretty weird conditions before, so I figured I could handle almost anything.

Of course, after I moved in and signed a written agreement, the caveats came rolling out: he doesn’t have house keys ready, the tumbler to the lock on the front door is broken, the bedroom and bathroom doors don’t have locks, he uses space heaters instead of regular heat to save money, he smokes, etc. Those things are not ideal, but tolerable. I dealt with similar shit back in California during my short stay with See-What-Happens Larry.

The situation is almost exactly the same, actually. An older, single guy falls on hard times and needs a roommate. But since he’s been single for so long, his sense of what is normal (vs. erratic, vs. fucking crazy) is somewhat (or very) skewed. Suddenly, his prayers are answered and Satan sends his beautiful spawn (that’s me) and her bank account right to his front porch.

Since I’m being brief, I’ll just touch upon the creepy feeling this guy gave me. He smiled just a little too big, winked when he talked to me, acted just a little too needy. Employed as a mortgage lender, he had come out and said something to the effect that he wished he had my job at Microsoft right now since the real estate market is so bad. This is just one manifestation of his desperation, of course. It was See-What-Happens Larry all over again: As his roommate, his money troubles were suddenly my problem.

Think again.

This time, I didn’t give him notice that I was moving out. My tolerance for dealing with the terminally fucked had severely waned, so I had to go. There were two deal-breakers:

1. The bathroom door in which I was to shower not only didn’t lock, it didn’t close all the way. That’s kind of a big deal, especially since it was right across from Creepy Noel’s bedroom. There was another roommate with whom I was to share this bathroom. That wasn’t a big deal, but it meant the house was being occupied by one more person who could walk in on me showering if he wanted to.

2. I wrote Creepy Noel a check for rent from my New York account. He went to the bank the next day, somehow got it in his head that it would take 10-15 days to clear, and despite our rental agreement, decided that it wasn’t an acceptable form of payment anymore. But he deposited the check anyway. He told me later that night it was unacceptable, and followed up with a hostile e-mail the day after that, demanding that I stop payment on the check and wire him the money instead. That was my cue to bolt. This charming young Texan doesn’t take too kindly to bullyin’.

(At his request, I did stop payment on the check, but then I got a little lazy…)

So that night, having nowhere to go, I went back to the house, packed up my shit, and got the hell out. He was markedly upset and threatened to serve me papers at work, which he later did. I was being sued for around $700 (a month’s prorated rent plus deposit). I couldn’t believe someone who had to be in his forties was hounding little ol’ me for such a ridiculous amount. As I’ve already told many of my friends, if I ever get that pathetic, just shoot me in the face and let me die in pain.

I fretted and frowned, not worrying so much about being sued, but how the hell I was going to get to the courthouse in Issaquah without losing an entire day’s work. I worried about that up until about 10:30 this morning when I mustered up the courage to ask a coworker for a ride. (I hate asking for favors.) He ended up lending me his car, which went above and beyond awesome.

I arrived at the courthouse super-early and waited. At the scheduled appearance time, a mediator gave her little speech about why mediation is better than a trial. Creepy Noel waltzed in at the tail-end of it, so she gave him a condensed version. He made clear that he was not willing to negotiate. My, what big balls you have, Grandmother! (sarcasm)

The judge then came out and addressed all the litigants. Although I was originally annoyed that I had to attend court way out in Butt-Fuck Issaquah instead of Seattle proper, I was thanking my lucky stars at that point. The court was scheduled to hear one other dispute besides ours. The judge reiterated the benefits of mediation and once again strongly encouraged it as a means of settling our disputes. Creepy Noel was having none of it.

The judge then made a speech about how often times litigants don’t talk to each other. They may have discussions via e-mail or phone, but there isn’t enough face-to-face interaction. She asked all litigants to leave the courtroom, have a conversation, and see if things couldn’t be worked out without a trial.

Having worked remotely for several companies in the past, I am well aware of the value of face-time. Discussing a matter with someone personally is indeed the ideal way to solve a conflict. That is, unless the other party is fucking crazy.

We went out into to the hallway. I told Creepy Noel that I had written him a letter in response to his lawsuit. I asked if he had received it, knowing he refused receipt on purpose, as I had sent it via Certified Mail. I gave him a copy of the letter, in which I offered to pay rent for the nights I was there. (I had done this verbally as I was moving out as well.) This, of course, was not enough for him—it wasn’t even the amount of the court costs if that gives you an idea—and back into the courtroom we went.

“You weren’t gone nearly long enough,” chided the judge. “Let’s try again. Go back out into the hall. I don’t want to see you in here for at least 20 more minutes.”

Great. Out of all the judges in the world, I get my old second-grade teacher. Back out into the hallway we went.

We sat in silence for a moment.

“I don’t understand why you believe I owe you $740,” I said. “The check I wrote to you wasn’t even in that amount. I brought a copy with me.”

“You didn’t give me proper notice and we’re obviously not going to work anything out here,” he replied. “So how is your job at Microsoft?” he asked, smiling eagerly.

“I’m not here to talk about that with you,” I replied.

A moment of silence passed.

“Our agreement stated that I could write you a personal check. I stopped payment on it at your request,” I said.

“I’m not going to argue about this with you,” he said.

“Look, I’m doing what the judge asked us to do,” I said. “I don’t feel comfortable talking about this any more than you do. I didn’t feel comfortable dealing with you after the way you handled my payment, and I didn’t feel comfortable living in your house. In fact, I don’t even feel comfortable talking to you right now without another person here, but since we are here—”

Before I finished that sentence, he walked away, saying, “Fine, I’ll stand at this end of the hallway then.”

Maturity abounds. I rolled my eyes and returned to the courtroom. He followed me in several moments later. The two of us sat in the deafeningly silent courtroom, alone, for about 10 minutes. I read a book, while he stared at the wall pondering how he came to be such a douchebag.

The judge was not pleased. Courtarity ensued. (F
YI to the uninitiated, I made that word up.)

Suddenly, wicked second-grade teacher transformed into wicked Judge Judy, which I appreciated and respected immensely more.

The judge asked Creepy Noel why he thinks I owe him $740. There must have been an echo somewhere.

She went on to question his justification for demanding the entire deposit in his suit. He claimed that I stole one pillowcase from his house and that it was part of a complete set he bought at CostCo. He voluntarily gave her the cost of the set, which was still less than half the deposit. Instead of laughing him out of the room, which she seemed to want to do, she demanded to know if he had sent me a 14-day notice. He tried to say some off-topic shit, but she interrupted him with the same question again.

“If you’re going to withhold any amount of a renter’s deposit, you need to send a 14-day notice. Did you do it or not?” she demanded.

He sputtered and stumbled, and I smiled. She continued to badger him a little and then she questioned me. Unlike what you see on the day-time court TV shows, you don’t have to tell your entire story; the judge’s questions were very specific. I went in there planning to do very little talking anyway, and was pleased to find I had to do even less than I expected. I told her I entered the agreement in good faith, but found his breach of contract regarding my payment disconcerting and I didn’t feel I could live comfortably in his house. I also gave her a brief run-down of the caveats I encountered after signing the agreement. As I did that, Creepy Noel interrupted me. This was expected and welcomed behavior, as was the judge’s reaction.

“Didn’t I just give you a chance to speak? Wasn’t she quiet while you were speaking? Would you like me to interrupt you or think about something else while you’re speaking?” She continued this chastisement for what I think amounted to half the time of the overall trial. I continued to smile.

She also asked him what the contract said regarding form of payment. He was quiet for a long time. He settled for reading item #1 of our agreement verbatim, stating that a personal check was an acceptable form of payment.

In all fairness, the judge had also asked me what the contract said regarding giving notice. I said I didn’t know, since I don’t like to divulge information that could weaken my case. (This is not only true in court, but anywhere, so you can forget about my answering, “What is your biggest failure?” in a job interview.) That apparently sufficed.

The judge gave us each a chance to tell her anything we may have left out. I summarized my argument, stating that I was willing to deal with the imperfections of the house, but his not accepting my payment forced me to leave. I felt uncomfortable and unsafe in the home and now the presence of this person. He took the opportunity to enlighten her as to the many amenities of his wonderful house. She interrupted him, saying this was a case of why he thinks I should pay him over $700, not what his house looks like. Yes, I like where this is going.

BUT.

There’s always a but. But I should have given him more notice, she said. And even more quickly than she could smack this guy’s ego to the depths of hell, she awarded him 10 days of rent instead of the two I offered to pay. This means I owe him about $200.

It’s less than the price of a moderate hotel stay, and it’s certainly not going to break me. I would have preferred to win the case outright of course, but perhaps it’s better that I didn’t. If he walked away without a single dime, he may have tried to appeal. While nothing is stopping from doing that now, he has less of an incentive to appeal when he can just take the $200 and be done with it.

It’s kind of like being held up. I remember being told you should carry about seven dollars separately from the rest of your money, so if someone attempts to mug you, you can throw the money in one direction and run in the other. The assailant is likely to chase the money, and you can get away safely.

My M.O. in this whole shit storm was to get away safely, and I did. Words can’t express how glad I am that this is over.

The judge told us that we could each take a copy of the judgment from the clerk sitting beside her. I let him walk up there first, and then I did. As I was putting away the piece of paper, Creepy Noel turned to me and asked, “Do you want to pay me now?”

The clerk said, “She has 30 days.”

“Do I have to pay him through the court?” I asked.

“You have to pay him directly,” the clerk said.

I smiled and said, “I’ll mail you a check.”

In 30 days, from my New York account… jackass.

…in heels, pantyhose, and a skirt.

Why does it snow whenever my mind reaches fever pitch?

I’m being sued by a scary man today. Details forthcoming…

Oh hai!

Another quarter, another Master Cleanse. Now appearing at Microsoft.

I did my second-to-last cleanse when I was temping at Omnicom in New York. I could pretty much guarantee that anytime I went into the break room to make my tea, some chatty assbag would come in and ask me what I was doing. At first, I didn’t mind giving the basics: what’s in the tea, how much I drink, how many days it lasts, etc. However, I do mind being asked stupid questions that are totally subjective. Unfortunately, doing something completely unfathomable to the majority of our McNation’s populace leads to (you guessed it) being asked stupid questions that are totally subjective.

So I was rather pleased that by the time Day 4 rolled around, no one had said a word to me about my lemon and syrup concoctions. Man, was I stoked, making my tea, minding my own damn business…

“Ohhhh! Are you doing that… um… that cleaning thing?”

Damn, almost made it through four whole days, I thought.

I turned to find a short, stout 50-something-year-old woman that I had never met before. I stared at her blankly, giving her a moment to search through her small mental database of words until she found the correct one.

“Oh! Cleanse! Is it a cleanse?”

“Yes,” I responded, “I am doing a Master Cleanse.”

She proceeded to ask me the basic questions. As I answered them, she responded with looks of disbelief with a hint of anguish, almost as if I was offending her obviously sound lifestyle sensibilities. But at the same time, there was also a look of consideration, as if she was trying to think of ways she could somehow pull it off.

“So you just drink the tea, no food?”

“No food.”

“How long do you do it?”

“A minimum of 10 days.”

Shock, disbelief, etc… And then comes the stupid.

“Do you get hungry?”

“It’s not really an issue.” (Why can’t people realize there are far worse things in life than being hungry, even for extended periods? The food will always be there. If you’re going to be worried about what is and isn’t being shoved into your fat face, then you’re not ready to do a cleanse yet.)

“Is it hard?”

“This is my sixth cleanse.” (I should have also mentioned that I run marathons and lived under the tyranny of James and Nancy Taylor for 17 years. I was also blessed with an above-average IQ and a relatively manageable body. Very little is actually hard for me. I suppose it has a lot to do with how you look at yourself and how you use the resources available to you. I chose not to enter the philosophical discussion of differing viewpoints on hardship with this woman, in fear that such a conversation would cause her to explode, covering me with globs of fatty, frivolous, fifty-year-old puss.)

“Wow….” she exhaled, and finally walked away.

A couple of notes about the cleanse: When you don’t eat for long periods of time, your breath begins to smell different from the lack of saliva you’re generating to chew food. Also, your sense of smell is extremely heightened.

This means that my breath stinks… and yours does too.

There was indeed blood, but it was too little, too late.

I felt like seeing a movie this week and didn’t feel like I had many great ones to choose from. I don’t really enjoy seeing first-run movies in the theater, but something was pushing me to do it. Maybe the aspiration of finding camaraderie with my fellow man through a basic, passive activity?

I chose There Will Be Blood based on an 80 percent positive review from Rotten Tomatoes, which is now at 91 percent. I also made some assumptions (always a bad idea) based on a threat stated in this movie title’s likeness by the antagonist in the movie, SAW II. So I went in with the expectation that I was going to see a horror movie.

To say it was horrible would be a little rash. It had its moments, and the story was somewhat interesting. I understand why so many movie buffs gave it the thumbs-up: In my humble opinion, it’s Citizen Kane for the new millenium.

But I didn’t like Citizen Kane.

I know it broke a lot of ground in the history of filmmaking—exciting new camera angles, daring uses of shadow and light… all that good stuff. The acting, for its time I suppose, was fine. It was just boring. I had to watch it in several sessions.

I might have done the same with There Will Be Blood, had I not been trapped in a dark theater between an old guy who can’t keep his wrist still and a young guy who kept looking at his phone, having paid $9.25 for the “experience” (with student discount; yes, I still carry my college ID). It definitely wasn’t bad enough to walk out, so after awhile I focused on whether there would be actual blood, or if there had been “blood,” and the title was just a clever metaphor. There was indeed blood at the end, and the scene that incites it made the film almost worth the trip to the theater.

You can read the synopsis yourself; I’ll just share a couple of shining moments:

1. The main character, Daniel Plainview, is in a meeting with some wealthy buyers. He says that even though he could become a millionaire when he leaves their office, what was he going to do with all that money?

“Take care of your son,” offered one of the buyers.

Plainview flips out and yells at him, as one would expect of his character. But considering the scene takes place right after he abandoned his son on a train, it would have been even better if he’d replied in a low voice, “Oh, I took care of him.

2. Plainview is looking at a map with some state or county official, going over all of his holdings. At one point he stops and says sharply, “What is that? Why don’t I own that?”

I hear ya on that one, buddy.

How much do you miss it, Kat?

Well, I miss Texas so much that I visited a friend (also from Texas) who had a giant map of the state in her bedroom. She went to make some soup or use the bathroom or something, so with nothing better to do, I climbed up onto her bed to get a closer look at the cities, roads, and tiny towns that make up my favorite state in the US.

I reminisced about my first visit to Texas, San Antonio specifically, and looked at the highways that extended from it, I-10 going east to Louisiana, and I-35 going north to Austin. Austin! Yay, there’s my town, and all the sexy urban sprawl developing around it. Hey there, Round Rock, you’re gettin’ mighty big!

You can take 71 before having to hop on I-10 to Houston, where my sister is and where my parents were. There’s their old suburb, Kingwood. If Houston was a person, Kingwood would definitely be one of its armpits. Big stink, no soul.

There’s Dallas where my aunt is, and halfway back to Austin is Waco, where everyone’s crazy and I supported my first election. Took me a minute to find Bandera County, which was my favorite business travel experience. I drove on the prettiest road in Texas three times that Election Day: Highway (County Road?) 337 from Vanderpool to Medina. I think the polling place at Vanderpool had four voters show up the entire day.

Speaking of tiny-ass towns, there’s the route Barbara and I took when we crash-landed in Amarillo and had to drive all over creation, training 4 counties in 5 days, spread out all over the middle of nowhere. Hey Lipscomb County with the bitchy county clerk, hope you’re staying farmy and holy in the name of Jesus Christ our sacred Lord who died for all our sins, etc.!

Oh Texas, Texas I love you so much…

About 15 minutes later, my friend returns to her bedroom. She looks at me nervously as I hop off the bed and ask her what she wants to do.

“What were you doing?” she asked.

“Lookin’ at Texas,” I responded innocently.

“Holy shit, Kat. You’ve been sitting on my vibrator the whole time!”

If I’d known, maybe I would have turned it on.

Just wanted to thank the five people who went out of their way to message me about Heath Ledger’s death today.

Look, I’m sorry. We were still partying hard this morning, getting high on speedballs with some of our other celebrity friends. I left him chillin’ with my girl Mary Kate a little earlier, as Brad Pitt had invited me for a quickie in the den. He said I was the closest thing to Angelina he was gonna pork that night, and I didn’t see a big problem with that. Anyway, if I had known Heath was gonna take a bunch more pills and do a whole other eight-ball, I would have stuck around to talk him out of it. I’m glad no one’s blaming me for this shit, but seriously guys, I almost feel a slight twinge of something that could be recognized as regret or sadness or something.

Anyway, thanks for letting me know what happened. And thanks also for reminding me what shitty movies he was in so I’d remember who the hell he was.