Tags: life

*gen - tiffany

Tipping: the service industry, not cows.

This is going to be one of my ridiculously long, all-over-the-place posts, because I'm feeling rather scatterbrained today. No surprise there! Today's been a mixed bag. The bad: without going into detail, I finally made an appointment to deal with some health issues that I've put off for years due to a full-fledged phobia. I suppose it's a relief to finally be addressing them, but I'm rather terrified of Thursday morning's appointment. Hopefully it'll work out for best in the long run (albeit a very expensive run.) I'm also rather depressed because this is the last week of vacation; I go back to school for pre-planning on Monday. I know, I know. "Your nine-week holiday is over? Cry me a river, bitca!" I do love my job. I'm just very, very lazy and would rather not have to work at all.

And the good? Among other things, I got my hair colored today. I usually go with L'Oreal in a box, but I decided it was high time to get it done professionally. I went to a local Aveda salon (can't decide whether their signature scent is annyoing or exotic), and my usual stylist convinced me to get full foil highlights... at twice the price. ;) Didn't get upset, though, because it's a much better bet overall. I tend to be conservative with haircolor: my natural shade is the most *blah* medium-brown of the spectrum, so I usually just lighten it a few shades -- no "buttery chunks" or whatever! The stylist practically did it strand-by-strand -- she was that detailed. Overall, it looks... well... a few shades lighter than my usual color, but much more polished than the awful roots I was workin'. Plus, I won't need to get highlights redone every month, unlike before. So that's good.

Which brings me to a discussion topic I've been meaning to post here: tipping. What's the status quo? I can never tell what the "acceptable" level is meant to be. Today I left the stylist around 18%, which is also what I usually leave the server at a restaurant. Some people claim that's perfectly reasonable, whereas others would accuse me of being way too cheap. It's all so confusing, though! I'd leave $5 on a $25 mani-pedi, but if two different women do my fingers and toes, is that still enough of a tip? How much do I give the guy who drives the shuttle bus from long-term parking to the airport terminal, even if he never touches my suitcase? Am I obligated to stick a dollar into those annoying tip jars at Starbucks or Chipotle? What should I give the pizza delivery girl -- and if I go pick up the pizza at the restaurant, do I still have to add something to the "gratuity" section on the receipt? Is 20% the service industry "going rate", or are there different expectations for different things?

I'll happily add more if I think the service was exceptional -- I've been known to leave great waiters around 30%. I've also left crappy tips if it was obvious that the problems were the waiter's fault and not the kitchen's. But I'm also cheap on a budget here, and while I know many people make their income off tips, I also have to look out for my own income. I'm just wondering what the socially-acceptable levels are for something we all confront daily but seldom really think about... so I thought I'd ask here. LJ's great for this sort of thing. ;)

And now I'm off to curl up on the sofa and watch TV, make a shopping list of classroom supplies, do a bunch of knitting, maaaaybe write some fic, and pretend that this isn't my last week of vacation. *sigh*
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*gen - tiffany


Things making me happy:
-- Peach cobbler.
-- Using the suffix "-a-go-go", which edges out "-arama" in the Best Suffix Playoffs.
-- Finally taking the time to wash/vacuum my car. Also finally taking the time to clean out my fridge.
-- Rewatching Conchords clips ad infinitum.
-- The greasemonkey plugin that adds "?style=mine" to most LJ links. I'm all about the plain white pages.
-- A promo pic from Spike Jonze's adapation of Where the Wild Things Are. He's the only one I'd trust with it.
-- dionusia wrote me a gorgeous platonic K/L fic set during "The Passage". Go read Falling, and tell her she's awesome.

Things annoying me:
-- Not learning my lesson about eating fries and burgers. Third bad stomachache in less than a week. NO MORE.
-- Some jackass at the car wash playing VERY LOUD MUSIC. So loud that I could clearly hear the lyrics over ten of those vacuum machines.
-- Running errands and coming home... without buying the one thing that was the purpose of the whole trip. Had to go back to the store. Ugh.
-- A creditor mistakenly thinking I owe them money, so their recordings dial my cellphone every hour on the hour.
-- According to someone on the TWOP boards, the Bionic producers (probably the NBC suits) are recasting Mae (Egg? Who?) Whitman with some teenaged hottie. Bastards!
-- My favorite mani-pedi salon raised their rates and replaced the massage chairs with inferior ones. Hmph. Y'all ain't touchin' my feet no more!

Things confusing me:
-- One of the most hilarious lines in the Conchords song "It's Business Time" is about the guy saying his girlfriend knows it's naughty time when he's down to his socks; however, I seldom read smutfic in which men take the time to remove them. So, are most fictional males (and some women) going sockless? Or is sock-removal considered so unsexy and absurd that most writers just ignore it? Hey, it's an important question!
-- How often should one wash towels? I usually do it once a week -- though, in my defense, I rotate among two sets: one for my hair, one for the rest, so it's not like I'm using the same ratty towel for seven straight days. But I recently saw someone say they only use their towels once or twice before laundering them. Hmm. Maybe I'm just a slob?
-- Why don't more fast-food and takeout places serve Diet Dr. Pepper? I'd order the damn value meal if you had my beverage obsession, people!
-- I rented Hard Candy. Patrick Wilson is so very hot. Why does he play so many pervs? Then again, he's also hot in non-pervy roles, so I guess that's something.
-- I got fried okra with my lunch takeout, but I put it in the fridge. Now it's soggy. Could I crisp it up by sticking it in the oven for a few minutes, or would that dry out the okra?
-- Summer vacation is nine weeks long? Why does it feel so damn short? :(
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*gen - tiffany

Pointless, borderline nonsensical rambling brought on by too much food.

(This one is long. Very long. I'm in one of those moods tonight, and I don't feel like my usual cut-tag extravaganza. Bear with me. The mood shall pass!)

Food coma. Oh my god. Tonight I took a break from cooking and got takeout from Shane's Rib Shack for the first time. I ordered the shredded BBQ chicken platter, with baked beans and fried okra. Damn, that is a lot of food. I've only eaten the sides and two bites of the chicken so far, and I'm utterly, almost painfully stuffed. (And that's why I'm using this smutty moodpic. Hee!) At least I can claim that the okra counts as a green vegetable, right? And at least I'll have a lovely lunch tomorrow, because no way in hell am I going to finish that chicken tonight.

I now have something else to add to my list of things that aren't fun: attempting to teach my mother how to use Netflix. Via a long-distance cellphone call, instead of in person. Mom: "The site won't let me log in." Me: "Did you enter your e-mail address correctly?" Mom: "Oh, I forgot to add that that 'a' with the circle around it." She and Dad got an HDTV recently, and despite my best efforts, I couldn't convince them to give it to me instead. I'm currently watching Planet Earth on DVD. It's marvelous, and I've heard that it's downright exquisite on hi-def. For once, Mom listened to one of my recs, so she wanted Netflix in order to rent it for herself. I hope they like it!

Just saw a commercial for DeKalb Medical Center, featuring a voice-over by a very posh British woman. Uh, if you're trying to promote yourself as a great local hospital, shouldn't you use someone from around here? Look, I love Brits! I love the accent! Lived there for a year and loved every minute! I'm just quite amused by how American advertising seems to have decided that if you want to look classy, you use a British VO. Hey, friends from the UK? Are all of you really rich and fancy? ;) And do your commercials use American actors when the product wants to seem sophisticated? More fun with stereotypes!

Time to clean out my bookmarks.

-- Since watching the pilot on Sunday, I've become semi-obsessed with Flight of the Conchords. (Yes, Kiwi friends, I know they're old hat to you. ;) Kinda like if Tenacious D guest-starred on The Office; the sense of humor is deliciously bone-dry. I can't get any of the songs out of my head, especially "Most Beautiful Girl", and someone needs to do a BSG vid to the robots song. You can catch the full episode on that site until Sunday, and check out YouTube for a bunch of other hilarious clips.

-- From Slate: an explanation of the odd terms used to describe wine, a slideshow of tragic US soccer (football) uniforms, where do Hollywood babies come from?, and a very long-but-funny dissection of Vanity Fair's sycophantic profile of Angelina Jolie.

-- Salon explains how the collapse of a book distributor has forced many independent publishers (including McSweeney's) to the verge of bankruptcy, and what this means for publishing in general.

-- From Radar: Is this art from the Venice Biennale... or a 7-year-old? Mental Floss also asks: Discontinued Ben & Jerry's Flavor or a band I found on MySpace? And I love their Vocab Rehab feature.

-- According to a new study, when viewing photos of naked people, men are most likely to look at their faces, while women immediately check out their naughty bits. Huh.

-- Though I usually roll my eyes at the lolcatmacros craze, I did a lolpilots picspam over on sasa_hq. Even more hilarious ones in the comments, and I about died laughing at dionusia's if ur smrt u could b dis bottle.

P.S. An hour after I began typing this post, I still feel like someone has stuffed ME with barbecue poly-fill. Blech.
*gen - tiffany

Things currently on my mind....

1. This posting-only-when-I-have-something-to-say thing is weird. I feel quite out of sorts.

2. Last night I watched Heroes... and I liked it. Wow. Maybe that is the real apocalypse. I decided to ignore all my problems with the writing, characters, and acting, and just watch it at surface value. Excellent decision, and I was entertained. (Doesn't help that 24 lost me a few weeks ago.)

3. For the first time in my life, I have jury duty next week. I find this quite amusing. Turns out teachers aren't exempt. The court's website doesn't say whether laptops are allowed, so I'll bring mine anyway. And I'll definitely get a lot of knitting done.

4. "Even when [this show] has a bad episode, it's still 99% better than anything else on TV." That always gets on my nerves, even if the show in question truly is excellent. I know quality is subjective, but for some reason that drives me crazy. And while I'm on the subject of annoying cliches, I hate when people say, "The weather in my town is so crazy! If it's sunny now, just wait five minutes and it'll change." Okay, maybe you have erratic weather, but guess what? So does nearly every place on the planet! Er, unless you live in the desert or Arctic.

5. I wish I were more nostalgic about things from my youth. PopCandy's latest podcast features an interview with the writers of the new book, How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter to the Greatest Teen Magazine of All Time. I think I was 15 at the time, and I remember liking it but not looooooving it. Still, the interview and the responses are quite interesting, and it really was an excellent, refreshing teen mag.

6. I've been playing FreeCell way too much lately, even though I've never been much of a Solitaire person.

7. Indi and I have been talking about how to properly write Lee's voice in fic. She has made some *excellent* suggestions, but it's so damn tricky! Maybe I should stick with Kara, because I find her so much easier to write. How DO you really capture a character's narrative voice? ETA: indigo419 wrote an excellent post about POV in fic. Go check it out!

8. Eighteen more days of school. :)
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*gen - tiffany

"Chair says I win. Every time."

Another one of those days where I'm almost looking for things to post, just because I don't have anything particularly exciting to report. ;) Got a pleasant surprise last weekend when I checked my bank balance and saw that I had far more money than I thought I did. Yay! First thing I did -- well, after catching up with some bills -- was to order some summery shirts from oldnavy.com. Their online store really is great: I bought them on Sunday morning, and the UPS tracking says they should be here tomorrow. Just in time, too, as the forecast says that Atlanta's high on Sunday should be 87. Ugh! Springtime's pretty, sure, but I much prefer coolish weather.

I decided to get a Costco membership after all, and it's proved far more fruitful than I'd expected. Still don't have much of a need for buying in bulk, but I'm close to paying off the membership fee from buying contacts, Diet Dr. Pepper, and gas.

I also learned today that two of my four grant proposals for school were approved. Must start finalizing that list of books to order for my classes. A heads-up for my fellow teachers: Borders is having another Teacher Appreciation Weekend starting tomorrow. Bring in some valid ID, and you'll get 25% off your entire purchase, not just school materials. Excellent!

Tonight's Friday Night Lights was quieter than usual, but still very lovely, especially those scenes near the end with the guys. All the recent media attention will hopefully pay off for the show, though I'll admit I get a snobby little kick out of the fact that I've been loving it since I downloaded the pilot back in July. ;) I also found this article by Mo Ryan really fascinating for its description of how nearly the entire show is improvised and filmed with multiple cameras simultaneously, instead of alternating takes. Plus, every single scene is filmed on location -- they have no standing sets. Even without my fannish love, that info was really interesting, and it made me view tonight's ep in a whole new light. I wonder what TV would be like if more shows followed that structure, though I doubt many could pull it off -- hey, there's a lot to be said for standing sets and the rehearsal process. Still, I hope others choose to take similar chances.

I want to do another big BSG catch-all post, but I think I'll save that for tomorrow night. Right now I must e-mail my sister and nag her for the photos of my new nephew that she keeps promising to send me. ;) I've only seen a handful of pics so far, and I'm dying to see more! On the plus side, I'll get to cuddle him in person in only ten days. Yay!
*gen - tiffany

happy things.

I have absolutely *nothing* to say tonight. Life's fine, but pretty boring. So I think I'll haul out an idea I had last year.

Tell me something you love about one or more of the following!

-- the past week
-- YouTube
-- your hometown or the town where you currently live
-- Friday Night Lights and/or 30 Rock
-- February
-- Kara Thrace :)
-- yummy-smelling bath products
-- sweets, or a great recipe for cookies
-- your morning commute
-- your DVD collection
-- LiveJournal

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Hmm, I figure that's a fairly varied list! Oh, and one BSG fandom thing: there's a new videoblog up at scifi.com. If you know the basic premise of the episode "A Day in the Life", you should be safe. Collapse )
*gen - tiffany

"?style=mine" + alanna = BFF!

My plans for the evening fell through when my friend got sick. We were supposed to go to Pappasito's, and I decided to get takeout anyway. Fajitas are a much better friend! And speaking of bestest friends, I've grown so very, very fond of "?style=mine". The default style is much easier on my old fogey eyes. ;)

While driving around earlier, I was (very badly) singing along to R.E.M.'s "Exhuming McCarthy", which I love because it's a fun song, and because "exhuming" in a song title cracks me up. And I decided that Lee Adama would definitely be a fan of R.E.M. around the time of Lifes Rich Pageant, or maybe through Green. indigo419 turned me on to Pink's new CD, which also sounds like something Kara would love... or maybe I just associate Kara with Pink because of dualbunny's kickass "God Is a DJ" Kara vid. Everyone should watch it and revel in her (and Kara's) awesomeness.

So, I'm thinking that should be a meme. What music would your fictional characters have on their fictional iPods?

Seeing all the posts on my flist from people discovering Friday Night Lights brings me much joy! How many of you have recently fallen for it? I still have no desire to go hardcore fannish about it, but oh, it's such a lovely show. :)

Finally, the obligatory linkspam:

-- Once around the block, James, and pick me up after my nap: Chauffeurs taking kids to posh NYC preschools. I wish I were more surprised by this.

-- txvoodoo found The Office Valentine's cards! Because nothing says "I love you" like a photo of Dwight Schrute. The NY Times also talks about the use of "un-hip" songs on the show.

-- Against Girliness: The snide brilliance of Tina Fey on 30 Rock. I'm SO loving this show. When people started comparing it to my beloved Arrested Development, I got indignant, but now I think it's starting to approach that level of quality. My only issue with this (mostly) glowing review is that they focus too much on her clothes as an expression of "feminism".

-- I'm mostly ambivalent about the Isaiah Washington fiasco, but I was intrigued by this EW columnist's cynical take on it.

-- Speaking of EW columnists, I really loved Livre Free or Die: "What do you do when you hate what your daughter is reading?" I'm not all that thrilled by the Gossip Girl books either, but I'd love to see my students want to read ANYTHING these days!

-- John Hodgman solves six mysteries of the universe! "Enrico Fermi was himself probably a space alien. I mean: Look at him."

-- TV Squad lists The Five Biggest TV Drinkers. Ah, but how could you forget Lucille Bluth? Hmph.

-- Someone on the TWOP boards found very clever instructions for how non-US fans can (legally) purchase American TV shows through iTunes. Since linking to individual posts is tricky, Collapse )
*gen - tiffany

Failing eyesight? Inappropriate sneakers? I'm such an old fogey.

So, how did I spend my day off? Optometrist. Lucky me. My left eye has been blurry and irritated for the past few days, so I finally dragged myself to the optometrist... which is not covered by my insurance. A visit to the regular doctor would've been cheaper, but they couldn't see me until the end of the week. Hmph. The verdict? Medicated (expensive) eye drops four times daily, and I'm not allowed to put in my contacts for at least ten days. GAH. On the plus side, he gave me a scrip for my old VersaFlex contacts -- the ones that were more comfortable and much cheaper than the Bausch & Lomb ones I've been wearing for a year, which are a truly ridiculous $80/box. No, thanks.

Am I the only one who feels like she's starting to get a bit too old for the clothes in her closet? I'm, uh, in my early thirties, which is NOT old by any means (at least, that's what I keep telling myself.) I wear fairly nice stuff to work -- lots of solid colors and natural fibers. But my casual wardrobe is giving me pause, specifically my sneakers. While running errands today, I wore jeans, a striped polo, and some cute embroidered Converse-ish shoes. I was suddenly struck by how I was dressed like a teen, even though I probably wasn't. Made me strangely uncomfortable, as if I should be wearing more "mature" stuff. Fortunately, I've never been into trendy clothes, and 99% of the time I don't give a damn what I look like. Still, that sensation of feeling too old for my clothes was very, very odd. And rather depressing!

I've debated long and hard whether to watch 24 or the Golden Globes tonight. I'm a sucker for awards shows, and though I'm ambivalent about most of the nominees, I'm curious who will win. I've already seen the two 24 eps, and they're seriously kickass -- seeing my friends' reactions should be so much fun, but I don't need to watch again. So I think I'll go with the Globes. BTW, a2zmom has posted *hysterical* recaps of hour one and hour two. Go read, but finish your beverages first. :)

Six more days until the BSG half-season premiere! I'm getting very antsy -- and I do love the word "antsy". So I'm jumping the gun and doing the preview pics poll now. Spoilers ONLY for the promotional photos; I've tried to leave out anything related to the episodes beyond that. Collapse )
*gen - tiffany

Decorating porn.

After six months, I have finally gotten around to decorating my bedroom, and of course I must show it off. Collapse )

Yesterday, I decided to stop waiting for someone to make the Six/Baltar vid (that MUST be made) to Gorillaz' "Clint Eastwood" and just do it myself. I started clipping scenes in VDub. I printed a copy of the lyrics and made notes. I opened up Premiere for the first time... and it crashed. I tried again. Dragged the .mp3 to the storyboard. Imported a couple of clips. Crash. Tried again. Crashed again. Obviously the universe does not want me to be a vidder. I'm not too terribly upset. I don't have the sheer talent and patience to do it the way it should be done, but it would've been a fun project. Ah, well!

I've been rewatching S3, and I wanted to do a "second thoughts" post. Right now, though, I'm feeling quite lazy. So I think I'll curl up on the sofa and keep watching... plus finally get caught up on all my LJ replies. ;)
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*gen - tiffany

Is Monday some kind of holiday?

Flight leaves at 10am tomorrow. I should be packing, but I'm cursed with profound ambivalence. Not about the trip, but just about the day, season, whatever. Almost like an existential shrug. Doesn't help that I just turned on the TV to see that The Sound of Music was on tonight, but they were already up to "Climb Ev'ry Mountain", which is where things get boring. At least I think I'm getting the DVDs for Christmas (thanks, sis!)

Ever check your bank account after avoiding it for weeks, notice you have much more money than you'd realized, and immediately think, "I must spend it!" Yeah. ;) At least I remained somewhat responsible while shopping today.

SciFi ran a new BSG promo during last night's episode of Doctor Who. If you didn't like the one after TEoJ... well, you won't like this one either! They're apparently doing another with the entire cast, so I've got the TiVo set to record for the rest of the evening. Here's an .avi of the preview -- megaupload and sendspace. Feel free to share it with friends, but please don't post it to YouTube. Thanks!

Salon has an interesting article on the advertising origins of the Santa tradition.

The NY Times talks about the celebrity panel that evaluates new entries to the American Heritage Dictionary. Yay, word geeks!

Hodgman returns to This American Life! (.mp3 available there.) I do love that show, and the holiday-themed epsidoes are always great.

And that's all I've got for tonight. See y'all -- on LJ, at least -- when I'm in Texas. :)