Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Goodbye Phantom

Obviously I have taken an unexpected hiatus the past several weeks. Trying to get ready for Christmas and long hours at work stole any time I had to write. I hope you all had a joyous Christmas and were able to muster more holiday spirit than I was.

Christmas is my favorite time of the year so usually I have no problem finding the spirit of the season. This year, however, circumstances combined to exhaust me making it difficult to enjoy the festivities the way I would have liked. I did my best but sadly something happened the day after Christmas that buried any spirit I had left.

I have written a couple of blogs over the past 2 years about my cat Phantom. He has battled kidney disease, repeated urinary tract infections and e coli bacteria growing in his bladder. In November of this year he was also diagnosed with congenital heart disease and Sunday evening he succumbed to it. I took him to our emergency vet and held him as they put him to sleep.

I miss him terribly. My home is very quiet and not a fun place to be right now. Phantom was silent around other people but when it was just me and him he was very vocal, constantly meowing and purring. Because of having two jobs the past couple of years I was usually working or sleeping and it was difficult to find the time to give him all the attention he deserved and desired. Phantom found his own way to rectify that. Over the past year he had taken to not eating unless I sat on the floor with him, petting him and talking to him. It felt sort of like Leave it to Beaver where the whole family sat down and had their meals together.

Ever since his diagnosis I have been worried about him, knowing that any day could be his last. I believe that he sensed my anxiety and changed his behavior slightly to ameliorate some of it for me. He usually slept at the foot of my bed, but since his heart disease diagnosis he had been sleeping right next to me. All I had to do was reach out and I could pet him which would immediately elicit a deep purring. If I was lying on my back he liked to climb up and lay on my chest with his face only inches from mine, his motor humming like a locomotive.

I was Phantom’s 3rd owner. He spent the last 5.5 of his 10.5 years living with me and I was lucky to have him. He visited the vet A LOT and everyone there loved him as well. Thank you for indulging me. I hope posting this will help me heal from my loss. If you have a cat or a dog or any pet you love, give them a treat and a hug.

Monday, December 13, 2010


John Boehner, republican congressman from Ohio, is the current house minority leader and in 2011 he will be the house majority leader. He is also a giant, orange dick. Of course you knew that as soon as you read he was a republican. Sorry for being redundant. Mr. Boehner has promised his constituency of inbred tadpoles that he will not compromise with President Obama and the democrats when the republicans take over the leadership of the house and to show you how serious he is, he cried. Because you know . . . (sniff) he just (sob) . . . loves this country so much (boo hoo) . . . and his cushy . . . (wahh) do-nothing job . . . (oh mommy) with the exorbitant salary (I need a tissue) and free healthcare for life (waaaa) and lobbyist money buried in the root cellar with the apricot preserves (please don’t take away my government job; I have no marketable skills).

I have butchered the words to a good song as an anti-homage to John Boehner, a man I have absolutely no respect for and would wish into a job shoveling pig shit at a hog farm if I could:

Sung to the tune of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”:


Well I won’t compromise
No I reject the word
You can make fun of my tan and make me cry
But I won’t compromise

No I’ll do what I want, won’t listen to anyone
And I’ll keep the voters from draggin’ me down
Gonna do what I want
… and I won’t compromise

(I won’t compromise)
Hey GOP, soon we’ll be in control
(and I won’t compromise)
Hey I’ll stick to being a shitty troll
and I won’t compromise

Well I know I suck, you want to hit me with your truck,
It’s an F-150 with tires twice my size
But I’ll keep on tellin’ my lies
… and I won’t compromise

Repeat chorus

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Black Hole of Comcastcutta

A few weeks ago I started having trouble with my cable box. Stations were digitized and becoming unwatchable. At first it was one or two channels, a week later it was a dozen, another week and more than half of the channels were scrambled. I was trying to watch a re-run of American Chopper but instead picked up something from a Romanian satellite, a game show called “Are You Smarter than an Ex-Communist Apparatchik”.

So last week I exchanged it for a new one. After I hooked it up I had to call Pasha in India, who is pretending to be American and obviously reading from a script, so she can “activate” the new box. It went off without a hitch and I thought, finally I can watch Dirty Jobs without wondering “Is that poo?” With my new box I could actually see that yes, it is poo, and Mike Rowe is covered in it. We were both living the American dream: I have cable and he will do anything for a buck.

My dream lasted only 36 hours however. On Saturday I turned to local channel 21 to watch the Auburn-South Carolina football game and was met by the message “one moment please—channel will be available shortly”. Apparently to Comcast “shortly” is defined as “an indeterminate amount of time between 1 second and an epoch”. I called my sister and asked her to check her TV. She was able to view channel 21 so well she could see into the player’s souls. Meanwhile I had lost all my channels and now had no signal at all. And the power button had gone out on the box. And the cat was meowing for food. And the temperature had dropped to 28 degrees. And somewhere in the world a volcano was erupting. And no matter how many times I closed my eyes and wished it so, Bar Rafaeli did not appear in my living room.

It was back on the phone to India for reactivation. I got another female reading from a script, who after sending a signal 3 times with no results, had me switch to channel 4 with no change. Then I was put on hold for 10 minutes forced to listen to the same 15 second snippet of muzak edited to play over and over again until Jesus returns or I have an aneurysm. Finally she came back from warming up her hummus or whatever she was doing and asked me for the 4th time to check the connections and make sure the cables were hooked up properly. Why wouldn’t she just tell me she had no idea what the hell was wrong so we could both get on with our lives?

She tells me to hook the cable directly to the TV. I do it and of course I get a signal. She’s getting ready to use her clean hand to pat herself on the back for a job well done until the ugly American points out that we are now bypassing the cable box. So she tells me to hook the cable back into the box and . . . Shock! Horrors! Surprise! I have no signal! She disappears again and while I’m waiting I absent-mindedly press a button on the front of the box and viola, the power light comes on! She gets back on the phone and repeats her script again which, by the way, needs a complete re-write. There’s no tension, no laughs and I didn’t feel empathy with any of the characters. I tell her the power light is on now and she sends her signal to no avail. Then she puts me on hold again.

Exceedingly frustrated by now I pick up the remote and change back to channel 3 just because I need to do something besides hold the phone and say “nope, no change” and holy effing shit, there’s a signal! Why is there a signal on channel 3 when she told me to change to channel 4? Why is everything so difficult? Why is cheese so expensive? Why can’t I find a non-abrasive soap that leaves me feeling clean and refreshed instead of oily and itchy?

The upshot is I spent 30 minutes on the phone with a “technician” and haphazardly fixed the damn thing myself. Hooray for technology, hooray for call centers, hoo-effin’-ray.