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Quick Update November 24, 2009

Posted by A. Robinson in Life.
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So, El Paso was okay. It was pretty much what I expected–get ditched by my Dad, hang out with my sister and grandparents, then come home in 48 hours. Not surprising, really.

The biggest shock was that my father’s fiancee actually seems to be–dare I say it–nice. Who knew? She was very honest and down-to-earth, even when I asked her some awfully tricky questions. She made an effort to get to know both me and John, and she wasn’t shy about discussing her own history or her children. I liked that. I like her, really. Let’s hope that Dad hasn’t lied to her so much that they’re marriage is doomed before it gets started (even though I suspect it is, but probably by no fault of this woman’s).

Also, as always, there was mass drama surrounding the trip. Apparently none of my family knew I was coming in town, so we were like a big giant traveling surprise. There was a casualty–John broke a lens, the only one he brought on the trip. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but we’d told my Dad that we’d shoot his engagement pictures over the weekend. Of course the lens broke an hour and a half before we needed to meet him, so we flew to Best Buy to get a replacement lens.

The original lens was in the neighborhood of $200, so John figured we could just get the same model and be done with it. I was fine with that, figuring that $200 probably would be about the cost of the lens repair anyway.

When we got to Best Buy–which was crowded and AWFUL–we found that there was only one lens available for the camera, and it was a whopping $600. I looked over at the new Rebel XTi, and we could get the whole package (lens, body, battery, and all) for $750. I almost choked. This close to the holidays, we don’t have that kind of money to drop. John looked really nervous, so we devised a plan: buy the lens, use the lens, return the lens.

As luck would have it, the ONLY lens available was the floor model. We bought that one after being assured that there was still a 14 day return policy on it. We ran out, shot a few pictures, then took it straight back to Best Buy where it belonged. No one was the wiser, and everybody was happy!

Well, except for me. Now John wants that lens for his Rebel. The clarity, he says. The sharpness! I figure it’s the same theory behind test driving cars for fun: don’t do it because you’ll certainly want a new vehicle once you’re done.

Daddy Drama November 13, 2009

Posted by A. Robinson in Life.
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I try not to post sob stories on this blog.  I mean, you don’t click on posts to join a pity party for one, after all.  But there’s been some ongoing drama associated with my father lately, and it’s so crazy I can’t not share it.  My family is a collection of nutcases, I guess.

Anyway, this all started in August when my dad called me out of the blue.  I hadn’t talked to him since April, which really isn’t unusual for us.  My grandfather has been in poor health the past couple of years, so I immediately answered the phone hoping that it wasn’t “the call,” you know…the “your-grandfather-is-dead” call.  Turns out, not so much.  Dad let me know that not only had he been dating some lady he met on the internet for three months, he’d proposed to her.

I’m sure the people around me heard tires screeching in my brain.

You heard me correctly.  The man with two failed marriages and children from two different women affianced a woman after three months of dating.  This is the same man who told John he couldn’t marry me after we’d been together for two and a half years.  Anyway, I told him that I hoped he was planning a long engagement, because no one can know anyone well enough to marry them in three months.  What I should have said was, “Seriously?  Are you TRYING to pay alimony?”  I didn’t.

I’d pretty much forgotten about the whole thing until three weeks ago when my dad sent me an email telling me he’d like John and I to fly to El Paso for his November 21st wedding.  I couldn’t believe the short notice.  Not only is it inconsiderate, but the decision itself is unintelligent.  But whatever.  The man is grown and can do whatever he pleases, for all I care, as long as he keeps me out of it.  So I tell him that we can’t afford the $1,000 tickets to fly to El Paso on such late notice and push come to shove, he offered to pay.  Since I haven’t seen my “El Paso family” in almost two years, I thought I’d take him up on the offer.

Since then, John’s been struggling to get time off of work to go.  In the ad business the end of the year is the busiest, so he finally nailed down the time a few days ago.  With all that’s been going on with school, I finally got around to booking the tickets yesterday.  Before I paid I called dad to confirm the travel dates, which he was okay with.  I booked the flights, and that was the end of it.

Or not.  So my dad emails me this morning to tell me that the wedding has been moved to the 28th, and that I needed to change my travel reservations accordingly.  Good lord.  Now I have to call him and tell him that we can’t make it, then go through the hassle of contacting airlines and such when I have other things in my life–i.e. school, family, a marriage–to focus on.

I really  don’t know why I’m posting this other than to share with you the insanity that is my relationship with my dad.  Everything works out this way; nothing ever goes smoothly with him, even when I do all of the arrangements myself.  This is reason number 839,045 that I try and keep my distance from dad.  Life just doesn’t work right when it’s cluttered with so much drama.

I’m Lovin’: Glee! November 12, 2009

Posted by A. Robinson in Lovin'.
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Have you watched the breakout hit Glee yet?  No?  My friend, you have not lived.


Join the Glee Club. You'll love it.

Now, Glee isn’t for everyone.  It’s from the creators of Nip/Tuck, so you know it’s not going to be a PG romp a la High School Musical.  It’s not kiddy, but it is campy.  If you’re not into random musical interludes, then this show isn’t for you.  If you like hilarity and enjoy show tunes, then get on board, y’all.  It’s a hoot.

What I can’t get over is how funny the show is.  One week Jane Lynch’s character, the demented Coach Sylvester, gave a talk about caning students.  I laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe.  Any time Rachel, the resident diva, goes on a rant about her two dads, I lose it.  The show itself is really, really delightful.  Don’t believe me?  You can watch full episodes on hulu and download Glee songs on iTunes.

I have to admit, there are some parts of the show that can get annoying.  The pregnancy plot is old; how many teen pregnancies can you watch before they lose their drama?  The subplot with the Glee club coordinator’s wife is equal parts icky and awful.  So no, the show’s not perfect, but it’s guaranteed to put a smile on my face every week.  It’s fabulous.

The Reason I’m a Mac November 8, 2009

Posted by A. Robinson in Life, Lovin'.
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I couldn’t help but giggle when I saw this.  God, that dialogue box is so annoying.  I hope for all of your Windows users out there that Windows 7 really is as good as advertised–everyone deserves a functioning OS.

Also, John bought me a Magic Mouse last week.  I don’t know what I’ve done without it.  It’s revolutionized my life.  Okay, not really, but it’s pretty flippin’ sweet, no lie.  I sort of wish that the whole surface worked to move the pointer and/or that you could tap click (rather than depress the mouse and click), but hey!  I’ll take what I can get.  It was awfully sweet of John to put himself on a waiting list to buy me such a pretty present, don’t you think?

Finally, have you heard of MacHeist?  If not, you should.  For the next three days you can download some software for free, if you’re interested.  Some of it looks like free trial stuff, but I dunno.  Just thought everyone might like the opportunity to snag some neat-o freebies.

Oversharing on Facebook November 6, 2009

Posted by A. Robinson in Life.
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Look, you know you are WAAAY too tied to Facebook when you update your status DURING LABOR.

A girl I went to college with recently had her daughter. How do I know? She updated her facebook status repeatedly with all of the gory details.

Sample: Crazy Pregnant Lady was induced at 6:00, epidural at 6:05, water broke at 8:05, contractions coming 1.5 minutes apart, and dilated to 3! Bring on Baby (insert name here)!!!!

This was backed up by pictures of a baby covered in amniotic fluid.

I don’t find the idea of pregnancy or children at all appealing, at least at this point in my life, and let me tell you: I’m fine with you talking about your new baby until you’re blue in the face, but a play-by-play during labor is just…freaky.

So, Vaccines… November 4, 2009

Posted by A. Robinson in Life.
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Recently, I read this article about the anti-vaccination movement in America.  It’s long, but if you have the time to read it, it’s fascinating.

Vaccines have been all over the news lately.  From swine flu to cervical cancer, vaccinations have people all worked up, and I can understand.  I, myself, am not getting the swine flu vaccine for many reasons, not the least of which is its lack of availability in Arkansas.  I am leery of any medicine that has been rushed through trials, and it looks like swine flu really isn’t any worse to have than the regular flu.  A good 48 hours of bed rest and some popsicles, and you’re all better.

I’m also really invested in not making the cervical cancer vaccine mandatory as well.  You might remember when Texas decided that it was going to make all middle school aged female children get the Gardasil vaccine.  It later came out that Merck, the company responsible for making the shot, was a huge campaign contributor to then-governer Rick Perry.  Additionally, the shot would not be covered by many insurance companies, forcing families to pay the $70 per shot out of pocket.  This is not to mention the actual health dilemma: the vaccine was released in 2006, and although it had already gone through thorough medical testing, there were no statistics on the vaccine’s long-term effects.

Optional vaccines are optional for a reason.  However, what I have an immediate concern with are the folks who refuse to give their children mandatory vaccines.  The Wired article proves the point better than I ever could, but I still wag my finger at you, crazy parents.  The reason we vaccinate our children is not because we’re necessarily afraid of little Ricky catching measles, but to keep measles “extinct.”  The problem with not vaccinating your children is that every time a kid comes down with an “eradicated” disease, the disease has the chance to morph. I realize that this is a minute possibility, but follow me down this path for just a second.

Last month, John came home frustrated because the producer on one of his jobs was working out of his house and couldn’t come in to proof some mock-up shelving units for Pantene (I think, I don’t know for sure).  Anyway, the guy had been quarantined by the CDC because his son had come down with pertussis, i.e whooping cough, one of those “invisible” diseases you’re supposed to be inoculated for before you go to school.  Turns out this guy had vaccinated his son, but a stronger form of the germ was going around the kid’s daycare.  Where it came from the CDC couldn’t say, but they were trying to get it taken care of before the germ spread.

Again, this is the story.  It could be false.  Regardless, that’s the issue with swine flu, isn’t it?  The danger that it could morph into something not unlike avian flu with a high kill rate is possible, and that’s why the medical community is trying to get a handle on it.  Why contribute to the problem?  I know that many people are afraid that vaccines cause autism, but with no definitive proof, the argument doesn’t seem to hold water.  Additionally, most pediatricians now subscribe to a delayed vaccination schedule that space out the shots over a longer period of time to give the child’s immune system time to cope on the off chance that there are side effects from having too much thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative) in the system.  This seems like a happy medium to me.

Anyway, just had this kicking around in the ol’ noggin’ today and thought I’d share.  What are your perspectives?