Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Riding the Waves

This has been a bit unusual for me. Apologies, this will be a long one.

Last night, I went out to the Twins game with some friends. We had a good time despite our team's loss. As a true fan, I can't leave before the last out of the last inning, so we stayed until the bitter end. It was a long game. I usually go to bed between 9:30 and 10:00 on work nights. The Twins game didn't end until at least 10:30. After pushing our way through the crowd out of the park and the drive back to my house, I didn't get to bed until 11:30, two hours past my usual bedtime. Late night for me.

I still got up at my usual time, and work was fine. I wasn't struggling to stay awake or anything - I've actually been quite busy lately at the office, and I'm grateful for that. Busy is much better than bored, and it's far easier to stay awake after a night under the bright lights at Target Field. I do admit to drinking 2 cups of coffee instead of my usual one cup, however.

I'm reading the book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo right now, and up until recently the book has been a struggle for me. But it finally got good - really good. I don't want to put it down. After I got home from work, instead of my customary TV watching, I spent an hour or so reading. Then I realized I wasn't actually reading the words on the page - I was struggling to keep my eyes open. I took a 30-minute nap.

This break from routine was not a good idea.

For some reason, I woke up from the nap in a funk. I was feeling really bummed out. Since I took a nap at 5:30 in the afternoon, I felt like a lazy fat slob. I'm hosting a little BBQ for the Fourth of July, and my house is nowhere near clean. And then, pretty much out of nowhere, I realize that I haven't even been on a date in almost a year. So I'm down on myself about that as well.

I had ordered some new bras last week (one of my good ones broke and Lane Bryant was having a sale), and they happened to arrive in the mail today. For some reason, trying on new bras always cheers me up. I know definitively what size I wear, so there's no doubt whether or not they'll fit - instead it's just a matter of trying them on to see if they look nice. I may not always be happy with my body, but I like my boobs, and I like the way they look in a nice bra.

The good feeling was temporary. The bra I was most excited about trying was the "Ultimate sports bra," which is part of a new line of sports bras - they've never had sports bras before. I've been needing one that actually fits. For some reason, I can barely get the sports bra hooked, it's so tight. I don't get it. It's the same size as the other bras, and it should fit just like the others, right? Or is their way of adding support to the sports bra just making it tighter? I don't get it. And I don't like it. And it looks like crap.

Bad mood back.

Here's my thought process: "I'm never going to find a comfortable sports bra that actually fits." ---> "I'm never going to be able to have a good work-out without a good sports bra." ---> "If I can't work out, I'll never lose weight." ---> "If I can't lose weight, no man will ever look at me again." ---> "I'm a horrible, hopeless, pathetic mess."

As you can see, I entered a terrible self-destructive cycle. I managed to talk myself out of doing anything productive this evening. I didn't even add chicken to my rice tonight for dinner because I didn't feel like dirtying another pan.

Since 7, I've been watching "Hell's Kitchen" on TV, and I've mostly gotten back to normal. I'm going to turn in a little early tonight so that I don't end up in the same position tomorrow as I was today.

I have a lot I need to do tomorrow. I can't let my brain get in the way. That only slows me down.

Monday, June 21, 2010


I want to write a big long post here, but I've been a little busy. My computer at work got a virus, so no lunchtime updates today (my entire day was spent trying to get the new antivirus software to actually find the malicious files - no luck by the time I left). Not sure what's going to happen with that, but that means I need to do all my blog updates from my home computer.

Of course, that means that I need to actually use my computer instead of my phone. I barely used this computer over the weekend - everything I wanted to check was made possible by the fantastic technology of my fancy new phone.

I might have a problem.

I check the new phone all the time. I constantly refresh my Twitter feed, and I'm always looking for new updated statuses on Facebook. I'll read my email as soon as it comes in (but I don't often reply because they're usually just junk that gets deleted right away). I have to charge it every day, but even that doesn't bug me. I'm completely sold on the smartphone technology.

In other news, construction has begun on the street in front of my house. They're out there right now, making noise. Good thing we have air conditioning so that I can keep the windows closed and some of the sound out. I was expecting a large headache this morning in regard to the bus stop, but it was normal. Hopefully it'll stay like that the rest of the week. And if this is anything like the construction project further up the street, it really should only take a week.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

And the winner is...


For now.

"What?" you say. "For now? What does that mean?"

Here's the story: I went to a T-Mobile store to look into their different phones and plans.

The problem with this scenario is that I'm a sucker and can be talked into anything if the salesperson is any good at all.

Knowing that much about me, it didn't take me long to start talking to a sales rep about smartphones and their attributes. We talked about different plans which aren't really much more than I'm already paying. I can afford a data plan (plus, I'm changing my plan so I don't get as many minutes every month - I've never gotten close to using all my minutes).

Then the guy looked up my account to see what kind of upgrade discount I'm eligible for. "You're so close!" he said. Meaning, of course, that I was very close to the maximum discount on a new phone. 17 days.

Just as the sales rep was starting to tell me to go out and buy a cheap phone to get by for the next half month, my phone rang. It was my dad. I took the call. He said he had an Android G1 phone from back when he was working on it. It's a developer phone, but it still works. It's just a first generation Android - he's got a newer one now.

The timing couldn't be more perfect. I told the T-Mobile sales rep that my dad had a G1 phone I could use until my upgrade is available. But in order to get the G1 phone to work properly, I need a data plan. After a lot of back-and-forth between the sales rep and customer service, they figured out something that would work for me. I'm getting a new plan - a package that includes fewer minutes, unlimited messaging and unlimited data. But, since I'm not buying the new phone yet, I get the data part of the plan for free for the next 30 days.

To be honest, I'm not really sure how it worked out. But I didn't have to pay anything in the store. Looking at my account online, it looks like I've got the new plan with the fewer minutes and unlimited messaging, but data isn't listed. It must be some sort of trial period, because the data plan is certainly working. I've gotten Facebook and Twitter all synced up (though I think the Twitter is misbehaving).

Dear World: I may be 2 years behind on technology, but I'm catching up - fast!

Once I'm eligible for my upgrade, I'm going to go back to the store. I'm going to get a fancy-pants new phone. It's gonna be awesome. And it's going to be even cheaper than I thought.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Smartphone or Dumbphone

As you may know, my cell phone has been a little... under the weather lately. He likes to sleep. He gets crabby if you don't wake him up gently. Sometimes the screen is a little slow. It still works, just not well.

I need a new phone. I do qualify for an upgrade through T-Mobile, which means that I can get a new phone at a discounted rate.

Since I joined the ranks of Twitter earlier this week, I've been thinking about the merits of a smartphone. I don't feel like I'm getting any sort of fulfillment out of Twitter because I can only check it/update it when I'm using a computer, and it just seems sort of silly. A smartphone could help with this issue.

I don't want to go out and spend crazy money on a phone. No iPhone for me. I also really want to stay with T-Mobile. They're the only service provider I've used since I got my first phone oh so many years ago, and I've really been happy with that they've given me. Plus, I get the upgrade discount if I stay with them.

I'd rather not spend more than $150 - $170 on the phone itself. I'll probably have to subscribe to a data plan, and I'm not sure what that would cost on a monthly basis, so ideally I'd rather not break the bank on just the phone.

Based on those requirements, these are the eligible phones:

1. T-Mobile Sidekick LX: $29.99. Cheap. But it's a Sidekick. Aren't I too old for one of those? Plus side: not a touch-screen. For some reason, touch-screens just turn me off.

2. Nokia 5230 Nuron: $69.99. Affordable. Touch-screen. Only comes in one color. Also, I've never had a Nokia before. Not sure if I'd like it. But it looks sleek and seems to have a lot of positive features that I'm looking for in a smartphone.

3. T-Mobile Dash 3G: $89.99. Affordable. Kinda looks like a blackberry with a small screen. Not so sure how The Facebook and The Twitter will look on a screen that small. Also not a touch-screen. It's a "Windows Mobile" phone - anyone know anything about that? Never heard of it.

4. BlackBerry® Curve™ 8520: $94.99. Still fits the guidelines, but I don't think I really want a BlackBerry. It's not really me. On the plus side, it comes in a variety of colors.

5. T-Mobile® myTouch™ 3G 3.5mm Jack: $154.99. Starting to get a little expensive. Not sure how I feel about this one. It's "Android-powered," and I've actually heard of that. If I buy it online, I can customize it with my own picture or something like that - really make it my own. Touch screen and all that. Seems a lot like all the other Android phones out there.

6. Samsung Behold® II: $164.99. Most expensive one in the bunch. But, I gotta say, this one has the best look. The presence of a touch-screen is the only downfall. I respect Samsung as a brand (my current phone is a Samsung, and I love my current phone, even if it is broken - I'm going to assume it's a rare case). I like this phone, but is it worth $165, plus the cost of a data plan? Would the touch screen annoy me?

So that's the situation. I'm going to outright eliminate #1, #4, and #5. Not interested in the Sidekick, the BlackBerry, or the MyTouch.

Before I make my decision, I'm going to go out in search of reviews. I'm probably going to get in touch with T-Mobile to find out how much a data plan will cost, and then revisit my monthly budget. I have to figure out if I can actually afford to use a smartphone.

Admittedly, I've always said that I just need my phone to be a phone. Why shouldn't I just suck it up and get another little cheap-o phone? How badly do I actually want a phone that can do more?

Hmm. This still requires more thinking.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tempting Fate?

By this time tomorrow, none of this will be an issue, but today I'm worried.

About two weeks ago, I put down a deposit for season tickets at Target Field for 2011. It's two seats, a 20-game package, and the deposit was a total of $210. I used my check card to make the deposit.

The charge still hasn't come out of my bank account.

I currently have less than $210 in my checking account (plenty in savings, but I'll get there in a moment). I get paid tomorrow, direct deposit. Once that paycheck shows up, all my worries disappear.

Why don't I just transfer some money to my checking account to cover the charge? Because I know myself. I've been tucking money into my savings account gradually for months. If I take some of that back, it's going to feel like I have that money to spend, even if it's just for a day. I don't want to do it.

Am I tempting fate? Will the season ticket deposit come out of my account today simply because I refuse to transfer funds to my checking account? I'm not even in Vegas yet and I'm already gambling.

I just double-checked, and I do have overdraft protection set up. I just won't use my check card at all today. I'll be fine.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Still Basking in the Glow of Awesome

Last night was w00tstock.

I'm tired. Maybe I should write this another time.

w00tstock was supposed to be around 3 hours. I had a feeling it would be a bit longer. I've heard the stories. I even joined Twitter to get some updates from some of the performers before the show started, and they gave me the impression that this little shindig was going to be a late night.

It started at 7:30. It lasted FIVE HOURS. Yes. That means I didn't get home until almost 1 AM. Then I tried to go to sleep, but it was one of those situations where I was so tired, and I knew I had to get up in a few hours, but I just couldn't fall asleep. Didn't actually lose consciousness until roughly 3 AM. My alarm starts going off at 5.

Yes. I'm running on about 2 to 2.5 hours of sleep. I'm gonna need a lot of coffee.

Wait a minute, you still want to know what w00tstock is? All right. If you're any kind of geek or nerd, you'll get it.

I've been a fan of Paul and Storm for a couple years now. They're a comedy music duo who often perform with Jonathan Coulton. They're hilarious. Not long after I realized that P&S were a completely separate entity from JoCo, I started seeing references to w00tstock and the Age of Geekdom. Most notably, they had teamed up with none other than Wil Wheaton, someone who had mostly fallen off my radar since his days on Star Trek: The Next Generation. I, like many other geeky girls of my generation, fell in love with Wil as Wesley Crusher, the young, handsome wunderkind on the Starship Enterprise. (Hey, I was 11, give me a break.) I outgrew it quickly, but I still credit him for being the reason I like geeks/nerds today (I also credit Patrick Stewart for being the reason I like bald men - everything I know I learned from Star Trek: TNG). Most importantly, Wil taught me this: smart guys are hot.

So, I hear that Paul & Storm are sharing a stage with Wil Wheaton, my girlhood crush. Want more awesome? Why not throw in a dose of Mythbusters? Adam Savage is part of the w00tstock team, too! Can it get any better than this?

Of course it can!

Just add one physics professor (Jim Kakalios from the University of Minnesota), two voices of Crow T. Robot (Trace Beaulieu and Bill Corbett), a few sweet illustrations (courtesy of Len Peralta), countless pictures of "the Animal Conspiracy" (thanks to comedian Tim Bedore), and a quirky girl with a ukulele (Molly Lewis), and you have a magical evening of Awesome. (There were lots of others there, but the sentence was getting long.)

It was hilarious. I laughed. I didn't cry. I heard stories and saw videos and sang songs. Entertaining antics ensued. It was an evening for the ages.

It was w00tstock.

Now it is done and I am sad. And tired. Very tired. But there was one thing I couldn't help but notice: there is a significant lack of Girl Geeks out there. The only one to perform last night was Molly Lewis (who was the perfect choice to represent the Girl Geeks out there), and I was a little sad that we didn't get much from the female perspective. It may be time to start my memoirs. I could begin with how Wil Wheaton changed my life. Oh, and that "novel" I was writing about my Lego toys. That could go in there, too.

In other news, yes, you did read that correctly up there. I joined The Twitter. Still don't know what the hell I'm doing with it, though. But I think I say this: follow me @buppyspek. It will be an adventure!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Phone Woes

I love my cell phone. Really, I do. It helps that my service provider pretty much gave it to me for free. It has all the features I like in a cell phone - it can do phone calls AND text messages. Sure, it has a camera, too, but I don't really care about that. I don't like paying for picture messages anyway.

I've had this phone for about a year (I really don't remember when I got it, but it wasn't too long ago... maybe over a year, since I think I was in my old apartment when I got this one). It's a trusty little phone - I can't tell you how many times I've dropped it. Cute little navy blue slide phone with a decent-sized screen. It looks a little beat up, but it works well.

Wait, scratch that. It WORKED well. Past tense.

I was in the middle of a couple text-message conversations over my lunch break. I'd slide the phone closed in between messages because that makes the screen go dark faster. When I got a message, I'd slide open the phone, read it, and reply. But suddenly, when I slid open the phone, all I got was a blank white screen. I tried pushing buttons - nothing happened. I tried turning it off and on again - I could read my messages, and reply, but as soon as I closed the phone, the same thing happened. Again and again. Now, hours later, it's still doing the same thing.

I don't want a new phone. I like this phone.

So I went to Google. Typed in "troubleshooting for Samsung phones," was directed to Samsung's website. Entered the model number for the phone. Launched the troubleshooting tool. What does it tell me? "If your phone has a blank LCD, it will need to be sent in for service. Click the button below to create an online service request!" With the exclamation point. Or, since I wasn't sure what sort of problem this should be classified under, I got this response: "If the backlight on your phone is not working properly it might be possible to resolve the issue by changing the settings on the phone."

That's it. Send it in for service, or change the settings. Change the settings to what? I don't know. Change which settings? No idea. That's all it says, nowhere to click for more information without calling tech support.

Hey, look at this! A feedback form! "Was the above article helpful?" Um, NO. I wouldn't even call it an article. It was a sentence. Not a very helpful one, either.

I wonder if I'm actually due for a new phone on my plan. It might be time...