Things you didn’t know you needed

–>Note: This post has lots of hyperlinks to previous entries scattered about. Still haven’t found the best way to denote them. Look for a brown color, if you can see that well (Ctrl + increases screen size!).

Once again, and despite all efforts toward frugality, I have been dragged into the 21st century and found (yet again) that things really can improve over the span of 20 years or so (and I propped up our economy a bit)…

Latest example is my TV: 20 years old, works ok except the ‘0’ and the forward buttons on the remote and the antenna (broken off and just stuck back in), which meant you couldn’t get all channels all the time.

The DVR was starting to crap out (instruction manual does not say “To remove a disk just lift equipment 1/2 inch and drop”).

My failed attempt at trying the cheap frugal route to the digital conversion was a disaster. And then I started watching missed shows on my teeny tiny laptop screen, and the size aside, the resolution rocked. The more I saw (even on that tiny screen) the more I realized how crappy dated my setup had become.

To further this perfect storm, I had an unexpectedly huge temporary loan to the government tax refund. Then you add in the fact that I have genes from my father’s family, which has had the year of the camcorder, the year of the digital camera, the year of the i-Phone, plus each kid’s adult’s own favorite toys, from pipe organ to slide scanner. I come from good geek stock.

As you may know I have also been on the poverty plan for past 2 months (not to be confused with the ‘poverty preparation plan,’ in which some measures are taken but which is nothing as draconian as the real poverty plan). I was like a dieter who goes on a binge. Not that I would know about a diet, since I don’t believe in them (which shows) but anyhoo.

I “ended up with” an LG Dare phone, which I’ve been craving for the camera (seriously). It’s like an i-Phone without the  data plan, which I didn’t want.  Sold the old phone on Craigslist to a frazzled young mom.

Got a 37″ LCD HD TV, which I can see from my dining room. I’ll probably be able to see it from the front lawn should I ever want to. The refresh rate is a bit slow (they changed the recommended standard for refresh rates just after I bought-sigh) but I don’t game or watch sports so I hope it’s more of a user-error setup issue.

I also got a DVR with a 160 GB hard drive that’s not a tivo that I don’t have to pay for “subscribe to” but that can pause live tv like a tivo (while recording on the hard drive I think).

No more worrying about disk space, no more worn – out – disks – that – you – don’ t – know – are – dead – until – your – recording – fails. And for the real geeks among us: It’s got a1080p upconverter if you use HDMI cables!


Did you know TVs don’t come with antennas anymore? Yeah, go figure. How stupid is that?! I had to get (the much under-estimated piece of the whole digital “experience”) a $50 antenna…that comes with its own remote. As do both the TV and the HDD/DVR.

So 3 remotes just to watch “Antiques Roadshow”?! Ridiculous.

But I will say that the setup was easy enough that (unlike the DVR / RF modulator / TV debacle of 2006) and I even have “cable phobia” (not literally, but they do bug the hell out of me because they are uncontrollable and just wire-y), yet I did it.

Despite the money spent, the learning curve, the rationalizations and the guilt because even though I didn’t over-consume for the last 10 years and the new cultural zeitgeist (Oooh I’ve never used that in a sentence!) is to be frugal (i.e.-pay off your credit cards!),  it is so far, SO worth it.

Rationalization Case in point: there was a great graphic-y, extremely visually attractive – that’d – be – great – even – without – HD digital tv, well-composed commercial. And as god is my witness, I teared up. It was beautiful. I can’t even tell you what the commercial was for, but there were a lot of old-fashioned student chairs, all perfectly aligned.

It was frightening too, because then I thought: What if I start watching commercials and reality shows, all because they’re so “pretty”??? So I have been careful.

And don’t get me started about the PBS show Monarch, which showed off the Queen’s bling in one episode. OMG. More almost-tears.

Now I have some of my “regular” shows recorded to the hard drive, so I can skip commercials, and Monarch is over. Plus, who the hell has time to watch tv when you start a new job?!

And to quote Ellen de Generes (from today’s show on the hard drive) “Money buys you ‘things’ and things…make you happy.” All I can say is that they all better last a good 20 years.


Here I went and bought all those damn pink salmon toilet seats and I could’ve had this (multi-purpose) one instead.

Click on the photo to see the original post. The comments are almost better than the post.tss

I love Gizmodo…

OMG. Are you effing KIDDING me?! Are we that bad off as a society that it’s really come to this? I wonder if ball lifts will be next. I am still in shock. And I’m keeping the original. Just deal with it.

I don’t have these revelations too often (the last one) but here’s my latest helpful household hint:

For less mess (things knocked over, biological accidents, hair tumbleweeds), less work (chasing, yelling, cleaning litter boxes) and most important to the discussion at hand: to reduce the need to clean (be it vacuuming or cleaning up biological accidents that the dog doesn’t eat) simply get rid of all your animals.

Not that I practice what I preach mind you, but I am sorely tempted.

But do let me know if you’re interested in Li’l Effer, Allie the co-dependent kitty, or Girl the beagle (for whom I’m willing to forge adoption papers so you can take tax and/or medical expense deductions).

I know I’ve made them all sound so appealing over the years so I don’t really expect any takers but at least you have a new housekeeping hint to implement.

You’re welcome.

I got a massage last night. I’ve gotten them on and off for ~20 years, and have experienced everything from crying to weird bumps that tingle, to pain, to release from pain, to mindlessness, to floaty-ness, to talking, to…


Until this year, which is when I started getting regular massages (god that sounds so luxurious doesn’t it? And it IS — it’s my biggest splurge ever. I just feel decadent getting them so often but they really help with my back), I had experienced all of the above except sleeping.

I’m sure I’ve wavered in and out of consciousness sometimes, but as relaxed as I get, I’d never fallen asleep until about 6 months ago.

And now I always seem to fall asleep, and right when she finally gets to the good part — my neck and shoulders and my back.

That’s the part I want to enjoy the most, for godssake. I want to be awake and enjoying it, not snoozing and drooling!

Tell me I have a sense of entitlement, but I have to endure daily pain so I think I should at least get to enjoy a fleeting release from it, right? But no, all but once in the last 6 months, I have snored through the good part.

I find that so alarming and yet I’m not sure why I find it so alarming.

Other than getting massages more frequently (causing me to relax more easily and fall asleep during them?!), the only possible causes I can think of (that would cause me to fall asleep) are that my 1 year old job is still mentally taxing because my brain is still engaged and absorbing information,

AND/OR that I don’t get enough sleep.

By the time I get stuff done (whether necessary or desired) we’re looking minimally at 8:30pm to start…Step #1 of the Disengagement Process.

That’s stuff like my washing face, prepping coffee maker, letting the dog and/or cats out and in a few times, writing some notes to myself or posting, maybe talking to a friend or doing some online reading (which “they” say is not good for you to do at least an hour prior to your bedtime, and which NAG** would undoubtedly agree with).

Then all of a sudden it’s time to go to bed.

“Going to bed” is Step 2 of the Disengagement Process and is code for “reading.” I always say I’ll read for “only” X minutes, but it’s usually one extreme or another: Either I get absorbed in a magazine/book and read too late, or I read something “inspiring” or “educational” like my summer reading for punishment, in which case I’m asleep in 15 min.

Step 3 of the Disengagement Process is turning off the light and turning on the radio to you – know – what, and Step 4 (the Unintended Step) is lay/lying there and listening for a 1/2 hour until I doze off.

Sometimes I can turn the radio on (which I do to keep my mind from racing) and I can fall asleep in moments, but often I end up listening.

Anyway, the point is (and I do have one): I don’t get enough sleep, and maybe that’s a reason I keep falling asleep in my massages. (Bet you forgot what we were talking about, didn’t you?)

I am a grownup for godssake. I know by now that to function properly I ideally need 9 hours of sleep a night. I also know that there’s a snowball’s chance in hell I’ll get into bed by 9:30 not to mention get 9 hours of sleep on a weeknight.

And speak of the devil: it’s 9:30 now, so I’m gonna go read before bed.

I think it’s a Buddha night <This summer’s reading for punishment>

**NAG=Nurse Aunt Grace, who’s — ironically enough— my aunt and a nurse, and who’s been spot on about all her diagnoses (except probably on herself and her husband, ’cause you can’t be perfect I guess) and who saved my mom’s life. But that’s another story.

ADDENDUM written last night after I went to bed to read (Step 2 of the Disengagement Process). I opened up the Buddha book (fully anticipating my normal 2 page limit) and started where I left off, on page 24 at a chapter called, “Stopping, Calming, Resting, Healing” (AHEM to me).

Thich Nhat Han tells a story about a man galloping quickly by on horse and being asked where he was going so fast. He said “I don’t know. Ask the horse.”

Here’s Thich (with emPHAsis by me): “…we are riding a horse…and we can’t stop. The horse is our habit energy pulling us along…we are always running and it has become a habit. Then he starts talking about the “art of stopping,” which I just did to write this, but which is probably not what he meant.

He then, as the chapter title would suggest, goes into calming, resting and healing, and the interconnection between them all and the benefits to our minds and bodies. Definitely a “you had to be there” moment, I guess, especially because I can’t summarize it well enough, and we already know this stuff (intellectually anyway).

But when I read that chapter (written in his simple, spare, yet elegant style) after having just written and thinking about the very same topics (albeit in a totally different style to say the least) I almost wet my pants I was so freaked out!

Talk about the teacher being there when you’re ready to learn the lesson!

Opening up to that chapter — coincidence?? I don’t think so — it all just hit me so hard, since I had JUST been saying I’ve been falling asleep in massage, going going going until later than I “should,” not getting enough sleep, not making enough time to disengage.

And there it was again in “Bedtime with Buddha”: the “art of stopping,” which then led me (perhaps not surprisingly given the name of the chapter) to Calming, Resting, Healing. I just had to finish that chapter.

I ended up reading up to page 34! (so I can skip a week now?)

TONIGHT It’s 9:38. I’m sleeping with Buddha. Must go back to 2 page toleration limit. Was up ’til 11:30 last night pondering all of that (above).

Anyone who’s been around me for more than 10 minutes will appreciate how much I will appreciate this site (from Gizmodo): You Shouldn’t Go Without The Online Bathroom Finder

What can I say? I drink a lot of fluids…

The site is sponsored by Imodium, but I will say right now that’s not my M.O. (Get it? IMOdium? MO?) (I crack myself up so it’s ok if you didn’t laugh.)

I think this is abso-freakin’-lutely hilarious. Granted, I’m easily amused but still…

This proves there is a website for everything, and if you had any doubts this should rid them for good:

(I saw this at )


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