Thursday, March 26, 2015

This Dating Life: House Hunting Part The First

As alluded to previously, I moved to Portland, Maine at the end of February, 2014, which meant that in February, 2015, I was going to need to find a new apartment.  The one bedroom "bachelor pad" I had in the heart of Old Port, an area where EVERYONE turns 21 every night and pasty tourists flock from the cruise ships, was no longer cutting it for Ashley and I, and it was time to step up our game.

Finding a new apartment is much like online dating.  You wonder why certain apartments have been on the market so long.  "That place is 30 years old AND STILL SINGLE...err unoccupied?  WHAT IS WRONG WITH IT?"  You tend to focus on the really pretty apartments until you realize they're out of your (price) range and the only thing you have in common is you both think it's attractive.  Location is super important; let's face it, living in Jersey or Long Island* is a deal breaker, no matter how new those appliances and floor are.  The older you get, the more certain you are of what you're looking for, and the less willing you are to settle for less.  Two bedroom, heat included, backyard or patio, on the peninsula, and ability to have a dog, and NO, a 25 pound or less dog is not a dog, it's a large cat.  Still, at the end of the day, you have to visit a lot of apartments, because it doesn't matter what they look like in pictures, you're still not quite sure how the dimensions translate in real life or if the photo is from 10 years ago.

So we did.  We looked at many places.  7 or 8 I think, I lost count.  And we couldn't look until February, because nobody would show a place more than a month in advance of when we were going to rent.  And the pickings are slim in Portland in the winter, so we'd see the same 6 places over and over, plus about 40 ads for student housing each day.

Next time, on this house dating life:  Did we find a place?  Are we happy together?  Is our house turning into it's mother?

*Sorry, the Brooklyn / Queens is still strong in me

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Say Goodbye to Scurvy

A funny thing happened on the way to the grocery store.  Well, to be accurate, it happened in the grocery store.  And it was more of an almost-financial-disaster that one could chuckle to later, if one was a chuckler.  I made the cardinal mistake of going to the grocery store hungry, which inevitably leads me to buying lots of things in the candy / cookie / 10 pound sack of meat range.  So I wasn't too surprised when I rolled up to the cash register and the total was a bit more than my usual $50.00*

I was, however, a bit surprised when my total came to well over $500.00.  Turns out, the cashier had rung me up for 495 limes.  Seriously.  I don't think there are even 495 limes in all of the grocery stores IN Maine, let alone available for me to purchase at one outlet, presumably to make mojitos for...Mexico.  The whole country.  Better yet, the system required the CEO of the supermarket to come do the override, as there's a limit to how much you can deduct from a bill, despite an egregious error.  The moral of the story being if you do buy 495 limes, you're pretty much stuck with them.  So, make limeade.  Which the sheer volume of could cure all pirates ever of scurvy.

*American dollars, though Maine IS dangerously close to loonies, and, no joke, twonies.  Hell, I don't know how to spell it.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Move

On February 28th, 2014, I made a bold move and left New York City, a place I had lived for the so-far-32.5 years of my entire life*, and moved to Portland.  No, not west-coast Portland.  It took about 10 times of people freaking out and asking me if I was going to become a Seahawks fan before I started saying "I'm moving to Maine...Portland, Maine."  Previous to this, my biggest jump had been from Queens to Brooklyn, and while switching boroughs might mean people questioning your loyalty and ability to still proclaim "QUEENS, WHAT!"**, there's a lot less to plan for and preparation involved.

I had been offered a better job at a company in Portland, so my timing was based on when they wanted me to start.  I had hoped for a leisurely 3 month transition period, which most people would use to sell the apartment they co-owned, visit Portland and find an apartment their, pack, etc., but which I hoped to milk vacation days at my current job.  Not me.  I was finally able to answer questions about where I was going to live when an apartment essentially fell in my lap two weeks before I was to leave.  My priorities were such that I researched how to get a library card before I thought about hiring movers to help upon arrival.  Whatever.  It worked out.  I'm now jacked AND I have a list of books on hold at the Portland Public Library, main branch.

*unless you count the ages of 0 to 3, and I do not.

**traded in for a rowdy, prolonged "BROOOOOOK-LYN"

Saturday, June 29, 2013

This Dating Life: Clear Headed

I recently had a great first date, with a lady from Connecticut.*  We discussed many things, including cookies for dinner, and how her father calls woodchucks "varmints."  It's long been a secret desire of mine to date a relative of Yosemite Sam.  I also proved a theory I've long believed: one drink is just not enough for her to make a mistake.

*historically one of my least favorite states.  CT drivers refuse to use the right lane for any reason, leaving the left and middle lanes to be clogged.  Greenwich has so much money it hurts my soul, and Stamford always has a traffic jam on I-95, for no damned reason.  It needlessly further distances me from loved ones: Were Connecticut to be removed from the map, my trips to Massachusetts would be considerably shorter.  However, they do have some great, rich top soil, and the Hutch is kinda bad-ass.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Professional Movie Review: Lincoln

Lincoln was many things.  A great president.  A city I assume I never want to visit.  Fun toy based on logs.  A bit too long.  And a pretty good movie with great acting.  However, it was not the action-packed movie with both Daniel Day Lewis and vampires that I was hoping for.  In fact, in three hours of Civil War history, I didn't see a single vampire get hunted, nor even bare its teeth.

I did, however, see Lincoln get upstaged repeatedly by whatever character Tommy Lee Jones played.  That's not to take anything away from Abe.  Tommy Lee Jones was just intense, amazing, and very likable, cemented by the ending.  I actually heard an argument the other day where someone was mad that DDL was being considered for a Best Actor award, since "nobody knows what Lincoln was actually like, therefore how can you say DDL played him really well?"  From the home movies that were recovered on Lincoln's cell phone, that's how.

The movie should have been called "The 14th Amendment" (or whatever amendment it was that freed slaves, I don't remember history too well and there's no possible way I could quickly research this information) or perhaps "Mary Todd Lincoln is constantly hysterical and it annoys me."  The movie was less a biography and more about a specific period of time and an act that changed history.  For the better.  That's why the ending pissed me off so much.  Spoiler alert.  He gets assassinated.  In a theater.  Everybody who's passed 2nd grade knows this, so why spell it out in the movie?  It's not like after the amendment passed, I was wondering what would happen next?  There was no cliffhanger, no possible sequel, and no need for a montage with text on the screen to let me know what happened to all the characters.  Everybody already knows.

I did learn some interesting things, like not all the Northerners in Congress were for freeing all the slaves.  You never really read about that in our history books.  That and the White House was constantly cold.  Lincoln spends most of his time in the White House walking around in a Snuggie.  Either he was secretly a woman (everyone knows women don't have blood, which is why they're always cold) or he didn't know how to dress himself very well.  It was this slight affectation that proves how well Daniel played the part.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Professional TV Review: Game of Thrones

I recently finished George Ruby Red Railroad (leave off the last R for savings) Martin's masterpiece, Game of Thrones, and decided to branch out from doing professional movie reviews to just-as-professional TV reviews.  My choice to watch the show after I read the book stems from being a big believer in using your own imagination to bring the characters to life.  Having finished that, I decided I needed to watch the show for a number of reasons, chief amongst them everyone declaring what a great show it was, and wanting to see what a direwolf and direwolf pups look like, in real life.

I'm currently in the middle of the first episode, but so far all that's happened is I've been reminded how much I HATE Sansa.  She is so whiny and annoying, and nothing has even happened yet.  However, now I don't have to use my imagination to picture what me punching Sansa looks like; I can punch the TV every time she comes on screen.  Thanks, HBO!

I've heard the show follows the exact plot of the book, so there's little chance anyone on screen will punch Sansa, or one of the wolves will go CHOMP.  However, I'm holding out hope that she gets her due for whininess later in the season, or even better, this first episode.  Man, I hate Sansa.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Professional Movie Review: Hunger Games

It turns out, I don't have the emotional capacity or maturity to watch The Hunger Games.  Nor, you could argue, the stones.  My most recent guys night out involved me hunched over in a corner, gently rocking back and forth, and saying "please don't let them get catness, please don't let them get catness," while my friends exclaimed the movie wasn't brutal enough.  The one point I will agree with my bloodthirsty gladiator friends is that Catness never had to make a hard decision.  She was never forced to kill the innocent, or the cute, to survive.

Beware.  Spoilers abound.

The thoughts I remember having during the movie, when not crying or getting excited over something:

  • That fancy city was what would happen if Marilyn Manson, the Joker, a flamingo and Demolition Man ever tried to conceive a child together, and then the child decided to import a futuristic Mermaid Parade.
  • Pita is not a boys name.  Neither is Gale.  Peter is.  And so is Hurricane.
  • It really bothered me that the people running the "game" could just conjure up fireballs and ground hounds to help kill people.  Takes away from the whole gladiator / fairness aspect, I thought.
  • It was a little creepy when Pita said he'd been watching Catness and following her all the time.  "Everyday.  No, seriously.  No, no, seriously." Stares intensely at her.  "EVERY.  DAY."  Proof once again that women love to be stalked.
  • I KNEW the little girl was going to be killed.  I just knew it!  Mostly because everyone had to die, as that was the main point, but still.  I totally called it.
  • I was very satisfied that the movie had an ending, but very confused by that fact as well.  I remember watching Lord of the Rings and knowing it was a trilogy, yet still being utterly bewildered and majorly angered by the "ending" where the intrepid band of adventurers walked across a plain and then...End.
  • What happens now?  Does Catness have to keep fighting in the games because her sister is too scared all the time?  If only there were SOME way to find out what will happen in the next movie.