Tag Archive: car


The pre-Christmas rush

You know how you feel like you’re really busy, but then you can’t think of anything you’ve done? That’s kinda how I feel right now.

I dropped my car off at the shop Friday before work. I need new shocks and a new belt tensioner, I knew that beforehand. I just want to make sure my car is highway-ready before I leave for Fayetteville. Evidently it took them a few days to get the parts because it’s not ready, and they said probably tomorrow around lunch time. I need to do a little last-minute shopping at the *gasp* mall before I have to work four days and then leave town. Today I had to bum a ride to the laundromat from my roommate and walk pretty much everywhere else.

I’ve been looking for a new roommate, with very limited success. I can’t remember if I blogged about this already or not, but at the beginning of the year, Sofia is moving in with Joshua, who know has an open room because his roommate moved to Africa. I put an ad on Craigslist, but I’ve gotten a pretty random assortment of weirdos, people my mom’s age, people on disability, people who want to raise chickens, you name it. This guy Matt seems pretty cool. He’s coming over tomorrow to measure the room and make sure his furniture will fit, and if so I’ll offer it to him. If not, I’m not really sure what to do. There isn’t even a close second this time around. It’s him and a bunch of freaks. So hopefully his stuff will fit and it will be a fairly easy transition. Fingers crossed…..

Not much going on in the girl department. A friend of a friend added me on Facebook and was supposed to come over last night. I haven’t met her in person, and I only knew of her existence for an hour before she said she wasn’t doing anything and wanted to have a good time. Evidently her friend needed her for emotional support or something equally dramatic, so it didn’t happen. Maybe we’ll get together sometime soon, who knows. I met a girl on OKCupid last week and we’ve been chatting. She seems really cool, but we’ve yet to meet in person. But that’s really about all I have going on at the moment. My friend Rhiannon is coming to Asheville on Friday and Saturday, which should be a fun time. I’m not sure how much I’ll get to see her since I’m working both days, but any time spent with her is pretty fun.

So yeah, that’s pretty much my life at the moment. The End.

 

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We used to have a regular customer at the gas station who was an artist. He moved to the other side of town and we didn’t see him for a while. Then today (or yesterday, it’s after 3:00 AM as I’m writing this) he came in and said that he had a bunch of supplies and wanted to see if I was interested. I told him I was broke, and then he said he meant he was giving them to me. Evidently his mom took some art classes and then stopped, and now he has all this stuff. So he brought it by and my coworker and I divided it up. I snagged a canvas, a huge drawing board, a watercolor pad, a ton of pencils, an eraser, and some Sharpies. Not bad for free.

Hopefully my car will be finished tomorrow (today?). I called off at work, and I’ll take the bus to go get my car. Hopefully it will be ready fairly early in the day so I can try to get some stuff accomplished. In the next two days I need to get my pills from Target, bring some stuff back to the library, do some grocery shopping, pick up my stuff from the frame shop, and do my laundry. Add to that working on next month’s newsletter for the art supply store, finishing up a commissioned piece, and finishing up a few more pieces for my show. I can’t really imagine doing all of that on Tuesday, so having my car at a decent time on Monday will be a huge help.

My roommate picked me up from work tonight and mentioned that she was going with a friend to see The Hunger Games and invited me to tag along. As someone who hasn’t read the books, I’m really not sure what to make of the movie. I’m still processing stuff, and I’m way too tired to write a full review, but a few random thoughts…

  • The movie gives almost no back story, and as a result a lot of things don’t make sense. I understand it’s based on a book, and it’s part of a trilogy, but I shouldn’t have to read the books and stick around for the second and third movie for things to come together. If the movie can’t stand on its own then we have some problems here.
  • There was almost no character development, and the non-essential characters were reduced to sketches and clich├ęs. I understand this is mostly the result of cramming a novel into the time frame of a movie, but that reverts back to my first point.
  • While I think it succeeds as an action/fantasy story, it mostly fails as a dystopian scenario. There’s no consistency regarding how much disbelief one has to suspend for the story to work. Some things are very believable, whereas others are not at all. For a dystopian future world to be convincing, minute details need to work. The story as a whole works, but there were too many things that didn’t, which made it hard to go along with.
  • I totally don’t understand the style of dress and homes in District 12. I understand these people are poor, but they don’t dress poor. They dress like they’re from another era. It would make more sense to show them in simplistic versions of the dress of the day. Instead we have this world of gaudy costumes, and this pocket of poor people who dress like mountain folk circa the 1920’s. It’s as if the filmmakers were trying too hard to show that they filmed this in rural Appalachia, or to show that these people were poor, or whatever. But it ended up coming out of nowhere and seeming like a different universe. Without a detailed back story this makes no sense and comes off more as a not-so-sly nod to viewers in the mountains – “hey these are your people!”
  • There’s also no back story regarding the names. Why do some people have very odd names, while others are more normal? Again it’s all about consistency, and this story has very little, at least when it comes to finer details.
  • Possibly my biggest complaint – the camera work was HORRIBLE. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen worse work in a major motion picture. I get it when they’re in the woods, running and chasing and fighting. They want you to feel like you’re right there in the action. That doesn’t mean it’s effective, but I do get what they were going after. But in a scene that is a simple interior shot? Why do we need a shaky cam for that? And what’s with all of the out-of-focus scenes? It’s almost as if they were purposefully trying to hurt your eyes. This made it a very hard movie to watch without feeling seasick. With a huge budget and capable people behind the camera, I just can’t believe this was allowed to happen.
  • As for what I did like – the action. The sequences are very well done on all counts (except maybe the magical dogs – WTF is that all about???) and you end up genuinely caring about the main characters. I also really loved that the country is named Panem – Latin for bread.

So yeah, that’s basically what I felt. It was an enjoyable movie, but not one that was easy to watch, follow, understand, or accept. Based on conversations with my roommate and her friend and other fans of the books, I honestly don’t think a lot of these issues are addressed in the books. From what I’ve heard, they go into more detail, but not necessarily the details that would make things click for me. As a fan of dystopian literature, this seems like a paint-by-number attempt. I got the impression that the author and/or the filmmakers cobbled together a lot of elements of various dystopian novels, added in a tough female lead and a love triangle, and hinted at a bunch of other directions without actually going there. As entertainment it works, but when measured against other works in this same broad genre it just doesn’t hold up.

I have this weekend off because the art supply store I work at closes during the Bele Chere street festival. Lately it’s been getting ridiculously hard to make my car stop, so I figured this would be the perfect time to get my brakes worked on. The other day I attempted to drive to work, only to find myself unable to stop, so I turned around, went home, and bummed a ride from my roommate. To be safe (and because my insurance company will reimburse me) I decided to have my car towed to the shop.

While they were looking at it I walked down the street to Kinkos and printed up some copies of a flyer I made for my show (which I’ll post later). When I got back to the shop they told me the master cylinder was shot. Since my car is twenty years old, no one keeps the part in stock, and they had to order it. It won’t be here until Monday. I’ll probably call out on Sunday because I don’t feel like bumming a ride, and I’m not too crazy about the guy I’ll be working with that day. Then I’ll take the bus on Monday, and on Tuesday take the bus to the shop and get my car.

There’s a chance that in addition to the master cylinder, the wheel cylinders in the rear are shot, but he can’t tell until he replaces the master. If the other cylinders are bad too that more than doubles the price, so I’m hoping not. I’m assuming since it’s not a big job (although it’s pretty expensive) that they can have it ready by the time they open on Tuesday. If not that’s going to be a particularly difficult day for me. I need to do laundry, bring some stuff back to the library, and pick up my stuff from The Frugal Framer. I seriously doubt I can bum rides for all of that.

I did manage to convince my roommate to take me to Wal-Mart, which pretty much undermines everything she stands for. She sat in her car rather than come in, and between about two week’s worth of food, framing/hanging supplies, some hygiene stuff like soap, shampoo, and laundry detergent (which always run out simultaneously, go figure) I raced up quite the bill. Between grocery shopping, my car, the stuff I got framed, rent, and bills my bank account has gone from over $800 to about $50 in the space of about a week. Fun times.

But yeah, so here’s the flyer I made. And I totally had to consult Google to figure out whether it was flyer or flier. True story.

 

 

I just attempted to make some Facebook cards at Moo, but ultimately got nowhere. They’re running a promotion where the only thing you pay for is shipping, so I figured why not. They base your cards on your Facebook cover photos. But for some reason when you have your cover photos set to Facebook’s default of 851 x 315 pixels, it says it’s too big. They say to adjust the size, but it won’t let you shrink them any smaller. They say if you can’t adjust the size you might need to re-upload them, but they don’t give you that option on their site, so I’m assuming they mean on Facebook itself. But Facebook won’t let you just upload to your “cover photos” album, you have to change your cover photo to upload a new one. I have six cover photos, so basically the people who liked my page would see me changing my cover photo six times. Seems to me the whole process is kinda annoying. I sent an email to the Moo help desk asking if I can just skip the resizing and allow my images to bleed over. It’s just going to crop them anyway, and I won’t be losing anything significant, so why not? But I’m learning, when Facebook and/or business card websites are involved, nothing is easy.

In unrelated news…

My next door neighbor produces beats and backing tracks for rappers and pop/r&b singers who don’t play any instruments and don’t want to hire a backing band. Yesterday we were talking about collaborating on some stuff. He has a lot of beats that he wants guitar and other instruments over. He said he’d come by tonight, but never did. I’m sure eventually we’ll work on something. I’m always up for a jam, and he makes decent money doing what he’s doing, and I’m always up for making more money.

At some point in the next week I could have one, possibly two dates. I’ve been talking to Olivia about getting dinner sometime, but every time we set a day something comes up. Hopefully Monday, but who knows. I was also talking to a girl named Stacie last night. We met back when I was looking for a roommate. She wasn’t going to be moving until after I had hoped to find someone, so I crossed her off my list, but we decided we have enough in common to be friends. She doesn’t know anyone here yet, and we have similar tastes in music and movies. And she’s also ridiculously hot. Last night I asked her if she would like to go see Moonrise Kingdom with me, seeing as how most people I’ve asked haven’t been too interested. She said most definitely, but she’s going out of town until probably Thursday or Friday. So hopefully whenever she gets back we’ll decide on a time and go see it. Maybe tomorrow at the gas station I’ll see the cute waitress girl (who, incidentally wasn’t the person who texted me the other night) and get up the nerve to ask her out, and then I could potentially have a hat trick of a week. Who knows.

What I really need to do is stop being lazy. I need to call Nationwide and make a claim for my towing so I can get reimbursed. I need to work on some art. I need to clean my room. But right now I mostly just need to get to bed at a decent hour. Here goes nothing…..

 

Today’s original agenda was to hit up a few stores and get some groceries, then come home for a relaxing evening of not a whole heck of a lot. Murphy had other ideas.

Evidently if you drive through a foot of standing water your alternator belt can come off. I’m driving down Broadway (which was flooded so badly it made the news) when all of a sudden my wipers start going slower. Thinking nothing of it, I switch them up to the highest speed. I go to turn and all of a sudden I have no power steering and it takes all of my strength to turn. I pull into a parking lot and glance down at my battery gauge, which is now at less than half power. Of course it’s still pouring rain, so I call my mechanic and have him come tow me. The belt was just hanging off, so not enough power was going to the alternator or the power steering. It didn’t take too long to put the belt back on there, and he only charged me for the towing, which I’ll get reimbursed for anyway. But the whole thing was a major pain in the ass. I got completely soaked, and my day got pushed about an hour and a half behind schedule.

I rush to make it to a few stores and then Amazing Savings, but evidently they lost power and closed. I decided to try the one downtown, but they don’t have a whole lot in the line of actual meal foods, so I end up adding another store to my trip and going to Ingles. By this time I don’t feel like cooking, and I’m pretty dehydrated and feeling rather sick. I come home and guzzle some water, take an aspirin, and set out to get some food. Nici calls me just as I’m turning into Bojangles and asks if I wanted to eat with them. We ended up going to Woody’s, then I came home and listened to some music and chatted with my roommate for a while.

I’m exhausted. I didn’t get much of anything accomplished. I don’t really feel well at all. And my next door neighbor is playing annoyingly loud hip hop. Oh joy.

 

So I have a really crazy story. A story in which I take someone I’ve only known a few days to the emergency room at 2:00 AM. A story in which a drunk redneck with a mullet, wife beater, and trucker cap gets escorted out of said emergency room by security officers. A story in which I spend the rest of my evening helping someone cope with opiate withdrawal. A story in which the next morning, my car, which was parked at a very steep angle, refuses to start, meaning I have to walk a mile to a gas station and buy a gas can and fill said gas can with gas, most of which spilled all over my feet because I have no idea how to use said confusing gas can.

It’s really quite a story. But unfortunately, I won’t be able to tell it at the present time. You see, I’ve started the roommate search. My current roommate is moving to Oakland sometime in the next few months. I put an ad on Craigslist and have spent most of my free time replying to emails and meeting people. I had three people come over last night and one tonight, with a few more coming by over the course of the next few days. Add to this the fact that I was already sleep deprived thanks to my crazy night that I can’t tell at the present time, and you can imagine how tired I’ve been this week. It’s only 10:00 now, but I feel like I could just drop.

I think I might just do that. After this episode of American Dad that is.

 

Belts and Hoes

Monday at work a girl gave me her number. It goes back a bit further than that, however. My handful of loyal readers might remember that a while back I bought a guitar off a customer for $12. He was usually accompanied by this (much younger) girl. When she found out I bought his guitar she said that sucked, because now she wouldn’t get to play it. So I told her we should get together sometime and jam. I didn’t see her again for several weeks and figured she had forgotten all about it. Then she came in and gave me her number and said we should hang out.

About an hour later he came in and asked if she had been by the store. I talked to him for a little while and found out some more info on her. She’s been kicked out of everywhere she’s ever lived, and he took her in. She essentially used him for money, booze, a phone he bought for her, and a place to stay. They got in a big fight and she supposedly kicked in his door and cussed out his case worker. He said she’s been around, and was just bragging about fucking three guys in three days. I thought maybe I should give her the benefit of the doubt, every story has two sides right? When my night-shift coworker came in he started talking about this girl he gave a ride to and how she keeps texting him. I pulled out the piece of paper she wrote her number down and looked at his phone. Sure enough, it was the same girl. He said she’s done similar things to everyone who works with me – bummed rides, gotten them to buy her beer, etc. That pretty much confirmed one side of this story, so I decided to leave her alone.

In completely unrelated news, I took my car to get an inspection yesterday. It failed because the power steering belt was frayed. I bought a new belt and took it to the shop that fixed my alternator and oil leak today and he put the belt on for free. Evidently he just got two Boston Terriers for his kid and they were wandering around the shop. One was friendly, the other barked constantly at me. The second I opened my door the friendly one jumped in my car. While I was trying to get him to come out, the grumpy one jumped in. She refused to budge, and when the kid tried to pick her up she barked and tried to bite him. It was pretty funny.

Well, that’s about all the interesting tidbits I have for today. I’m waiting on part of a painting to dry so I can work on the rest. Speaking of painting, stay tuned for some big news. The End.

 

So I managed to get a ride to work on Sunday. From my assistant manager. I decided I didn’t want to go through all that again, so today I just stayed home. But even though I had the day off, I was far from idle.

I worked a little on a commission, finally. I cleaned out the fridge and did a shitload of dishes. I walked to the grocery store. I paid some bills. I hung up a poster. I finished the True Blue newsletter. I cooked an elaborate dinner. I mopped the kitchen floor. I walked to the gas station and bought a fruit pie (which ended up being covered in mold, yay!) Next on the agenda is ripping some CD’s I got from the library, scanning and posting my previously mentioned commission, and getting some rest.

Hopefully my car will be ready tomorrow. I called to check on it, but I’m guessing they closed early today because I didn’t get an answer. Assuming it’s ready, tomorrow will be filled with grocery shopping, library visits, returning the moldy pie, and doing laundry. Eventually I need to get to Target and pick up my pills. And then Wednesday is a discussion about Karl Marx at the Wall Street Coffee House.

So that’s pretty much my week.

My car is still in the shop. Evidently they had to wait on a part to ship. They said it should be ready Monday afternoon, maybe around 1 or 2.

On Sundays and Mondays I work at the gas station, which is around four miles or so from my apartment. It’s no secret that I don’t exactly enjoy my job. Temperatures here have been in the 80’s for the past few days, and I most definitely don’t enjoy the heat. So in short, there’s no way in hell I’m walking to work. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t even have to consider that. But it’s starting to look like that’s the only way I’ll get there.

Monday is Memorial Day and the buses aren’t running. Most of the world doesn’t work for the government, so pretty much everyone I know with a car will be working. No problem. I can miss a day of work, right? As long as I can make it in tomorrow I’ll be fine. Except now it’s looking as though that ain’t happening either.

I haven’t seen my roommate in about two weeks. I’m assuming he’s been staying with his girlfriend. The other day he must have come home long enough to slide a check for the bill money under my door. Yesterday he must have been here long enough to take his toothbrush. But I haven’t seen him. So that means I can probably take his name off the list of People Who Might Be Able To Give Me A Ride. My friends Nici and James have been sharing a car for a while, but they’re both free on Sundays. Except their car is also in the shop and they’ve been relying on Nici’s brother to drive them around. My friend Carly has yoga. My friend Lucie is in West Virginia. Most of my other friends either don’t have cars or live upwards of an hour away. My last hope is my neighbor Angela, who let me use her car last week. She’s in Greenville and isn’t sure what time she’ll be coming home tomorrow.

So basically, I’m out of options. I really need the money, so I’d like to not miss both days. But right now that’s what it’s looking like. Oh well, maybe if I have an extended break I can get this commission done I’ve been procrastinating on, and that will give me a little money. Probably not as much as a day of work, but better than nothing. And I could probably use a day or two to just relax, I’ve been pretty stressed out lately. Of course missing two day’s pay will give me new reasons to stress out, but that’s beside the point. I think.

 

A few random things…..

1. On the car front, turns out there is an internal regulator switch in a car’s alternator, and mine has gone bad. They’re replacing that, and I figured what the hell, they’ll be fixing my oil leak. I’ve milked it as long as I can, if it’s going to screw up everything else in my car I should get it fixed already, bite the bullet and figure out how to pay for it later. That’s Reaganomics for ya.

2. I’ve spent the past half hour tearing apart my room, my art supplies, and stack upon stack of paper and pads looking for a small set of watercolor cards. I have a commission, and she wants it 3.5″ square, so I figured these would be perfect. Problem is I have no idea where the hell they have walked off to. I know I didn’t use all of them, I just don’t know what I did with them. I won’t give up, however. Find them I shall!

3. I have a terrible backache. This post will be just about the last thing I do in a seated position tonight.

4. I finished a new picture the other day, but for some reason I never uploaded it. It’s called Nepobedimaya, which comes from a book I’m reading comparing the pre-collapse economic and social problems of the USSR with those of the current United States. It means undefeatable, and was something the Soviets used when talking about their nation. The title doesn’t have much of anything to do with the piece, I just thought it sounded cool. But yeah, here it is:

 

 

Mkay so that’s it for now. Off to wrap up a few other things and then find my heating pad so I can get some sleep tonight…