Saturday, November 8, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

It is SO over, Forbes.

See my last post, and admit to yourself that you are tired of some of yours, too.

Magazines I have subscribed to, but eventually tired of:

As a kid:
American Girl, Girl, Jump

As a teen:
Seventeen, Spin, YM

As an angsty teen/college student:
Bust, Bitch, Found, Ready Made
(Sometimes you can agree with the sentiment and still get totally sick of the same old crap. I hate you a little now, Bust.)

As a nerd:
Discover, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Science, SWE & ASME (technically, these have always been procrastinated and guilt-inducing)

More recently:
Cosmopolitan, Forbes (kill me!), Glamour, Self, Shape, Wired
I hated Wired with a passion by the second issue. I cancelled even though they wouldn't give me my credit back. Totally worth it to not have to look at it, though.

It goes without saying that I did at one point but never SHOULD have accepted the free Entertainment Weekly offer from Best Buy. Gag.

And, the magazine I swapped out for in the last batch of free crap:
Smart Money.

About three issues in, I'm still into it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008



I will hook you up with the above -- your selection from the choices available to me, until I run out of points.

All you have to do is:
Stop or stop renewing your other magazine subscriptions.
Stop your catalog mailings.

It seems a little hardcore, but hear me out:

1) The magazines are boring you. Maybe you put off reading them, maybe you don't ever get to them. They are probably sitting in a pile (because the shelf is already filled up, right?), guilting you whenever you look at them.

After you have had a magazine for a year, the thrill is gone. Even if the content is exciting, the formula is dull. But usually... the content to be predictable and repetitious after a year, too.

2) "But it is important to my industry/ hobby/ fasion sense!"
Make one of your new selections similar, but not exactly the same. Everything old is new again!

Hi, have you met The Internet? Why are you not reading the best of blogs about your interest, where you get more content, less ads, and you can skim the best stuff more efficiently?

3) Catalogs are totally evil. Deep down you know it. Out of nowhere, they remind you that to buy things...and usually unnecessary ones.
Stupid Sephora catalog -- I am extremely satisfied without luxury personal care/makeup products, until you come. It's so sneaky how suddenly I need a lot more yummy smells and glitter.

When you want to shop or browse, again: the internet. If you actually are lacking on certain items, surely you will seek out the appropriate stores/websites. Why tempt yourself regularly?
Also, it is suspicious to me how the places most likely to bombard me with catalogs after a purchase are the ones where the purchase was a one-time or very rare event. No, I wouldn't buy more of your crap, unless you put it in my face...

4) It's even better than recycling-- you're not even using the resources to begin with. (Plus, if you're like us, you hate actually having to bring your recycling in all the freakin' time.)

5) "But this one is new to me, and I excitedly await its arrival each month, when I immediately read and enjoy it."Okay then. But keep an eye out for when the time come to call it quits, and don't keep renewing just out of habit

(*Doing this has lots of benefits, aside from my lame offer. I highly recommend it.)

To get off of catalog lists
Go to
It's legit. Tell it which ones you want to stop, and fill out the general form to stop direct mailings while you're at it.

You can ease out of the magazines - you'll keep as much as you have already paid for. The ones that you are not reading, though... why let 6 more issues sit unread on your desk?

Call their customer service line.
Have the address label handy, and ask for the following:
--Turn off renewal notices
--Turn off "promotions" or other mailings
--Do not sell or share my information--Find out when your subscription is up, while you are at it. (It should also say on your address label.)

Leave a comment here or email me with the list of catalogs and magazines you are shedding.

Deadline is Friday 11/14.

Comment and tell me you're planning on it, if you haven't gotten your act together by then. (And then I will nag you, awesome.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Currently Reading

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Patrick Suskind)

When I was in 5th grade, I won my school's spelling bee and got to go on the next level. My parents were supportive - maybe TOO supportive - because we got the official tapes of the vocabulary words, sorted by ... topic.

There is a whole tape JUST on "Smelly" words.
And Suskind has already used all that I could think of, and I'm on page 11.
I don't know how he can go forward from there, but I'm rooting him on.

(No. I haven't seen the movie. SHHHH.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A POSITIVE historic moment ... for once in my life

I won't blather on, but do want to say that I am very excited that Obama has been elected president. That, and I was really rooting for Palin to cry. (And that probably makes me a little sexist, but I don't care)

Despite our difficulties early on, we both managed to successfully vote without issue.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Meet me in... a legitimately sized city

Sometimes St. Louis can really frustrate me.

I get fed up of there not being exciting new places to go and things to do, and tired of running into people I know so frequently. It's a little ... claustrophobic.

Lots of people don't feel that way about it, but this is the only place I have ever lived, AND I stayed here for college, and now we've had almost two years of settled in adult time.

Today I was telling a friend how I had done everything, and perhaps a bad decision, decided to try to elaborate on what "everything" was.

And so, roughly categorized:

The Touristy
THE ARCH (and its museum, complete with scary mannequins and buffalo poop)
Six Flags Over Mid-America* (including Fright Fest, of course)
Meramec Caverns
Lemp Mansion (Dinner and tour), Bissell Mansion (Murder mystery dinner)
Forest Park* (including ice skating at Steinberg)
The St. Louis Zoo *(including Snooze at the Zoo, Boo at the Zoo, and working with the Primate keepers for my senior design project)
The Art Museum
City Museum (so! many! times!, but MonstroCity and going at night is still cool)
Science Center*
Botanical Gardens* (incl. Chinese new year, which is awesome, and the Whitaker Music Festival of jazz crap, which is not)
The Muny
Cardinals Baseball Games (at both stadiums)
Blues Hockey Games*
The ("Fabulous") Fox* (Including seeing The Princess Bride and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid free there)
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra

The "Local"
Farmers Markets (Soulard, Schlafly's)
Queeny Park, Shaw Park, Wilmore Park!
Dog Museum at Queeny Park
Laumeier Park* (incl. working at their art camps)
Kemper Art Museum (at WashU)
Turtle Park
The Magic House
Grant's Farm
Transportation Museum
Museum of Natural History (Jefferson Memorial)
Art Loft Theatre
The Rep
Sky-View Drive-In* (in IL)
Old Courthouse, old cathedral, other old buildings and crap...
Mini-Medical School
Junior Academy of Science events (dissections and tours galore)
Branson/ Silver Dollar City (note that these are neither cool nor actually in St. Louis)
Kimswick (same note as above)
Opera (I admit it, I can't tell you where)

The Festivals
Taste of St. Louis
Shakespeare in the Park
VP Fair/ Fair St. Louis (incl. Live on the Landing concerts)
Watching fireworks over the river from a high-rise downtown
Other concerts at Mississippi Nights, the Pageant, Kiel/Savvis Center, Riverport/UMB Bank Pavillion, Pop's, the Creepy Crawl
The Great Forest Park Balloon Race/ Balloon Glow
Festival of Nations (in Tower Grove)
St. Louis Art Fair in Clayton

The Filler When You've Done the Crap Above
Sky Zone
"Big Future" (sadly out of business, but not before I had a birthday party there!)
Lock-ins/ events at the YMCA and Rec-Plex

The Outdoors
Disc Golf*: White Birch, Schroeder Park, Sioux Passage, Creve Coeur, Jefferson Barracks, Endicott, Quail Ridge
Katy Trail
Float Trips (Black River, Meramec River)
Picnics with friends and water balloons at the pavillions in the parks
Picking (of the apple/pumpkin/peach variety) at Eckert's
Elephant Rock State Park
Johnson Shut-Ins
Fishing with my dad, and with my 4th grade class (couldn't tell you where)
TROUT LODGE, a.k.a Camp Lakewood (I got to experience it as both, lucky me)

The Film Crap*
St. Louis Internation Film Festival (yay! yay!)
St. Louis Filmmaker's Showcase
Italian Film Festival
African Film Festival
Strange Brew at Schlafly's
Hi-Pointe Theatre
Moolah (...but not on the leather couches, because I am never early anywhere)
Tivoli *(including RHPS and other awesome (and...less awesome) midnight movies)
Participated in a student film (extra points for being obscure and arty, obviously)

The Hip (?) Neighborhoods
The U-City Loop* (gag, gag.)
"Downtown" Clayton
Washington/ Wash Ave
The (Laclede's) Landing
Central West End
South Grand
Maplewood (now that it is cool again...)
Chesterfield Valley (really more bougeoise than hip)

The Edible
Imo's (and Cecil Whitaker's - especially after soccer games)
The Hill
"Chinatown" (a.k.a. Olive Blvd) and asian markets
Diners (Tiffany's, Eat-Rite, Courtesy (both of them), Chris's, Uncle Bill's)
Frozen Custard/Concretes: Ted Drewe's, Fritz's, Mr. Wizards
Lubeley's, Gooey Louie, or other places for Gooey Butter Cake
(These are the more iconic that came to mind. We have the complete list in a spreadsheet, to be described and provided in a future post, for dissection.)

The Categorically Uncool
Garage Sale-ing
Assorted harmless troublemaking in my youth (chalking)
Watching fireworks from the Target parking lot
Hanging out at DEAL$, Dollar Tree, and toy stores with clearance sales, for the ridiculous
Disney Princesses on Ice (technically an event at Savvis, but I think everyone will agree it belongs here)
Riding the Metrolink the whole way
The Inappropriate, including Dr. John's, and Jay's, way the hell out on 44.
Christmas lights at Tillis Park
Scavenger Hunts
Math Contests (of various sorts) at community colleges
Cooking classes at Dierbergs
Bob Kramer's Marionette's (yeah, it's on this list)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

KEEP OUT! (Movie spending habits)

Unclutterer and Clean House keep telling me, to keep everything neat...

You have to not bring more crap home in the first place.

I get it, but it is still really hard. I deliberately keep away from garage sales, because it's especially tempting to bring home cool crap that is also very cheap. But we are working at it.

One of the big areas where we are working on this...


We have a big movie collection, but we don't have space (or money) to grow it infinitely. Wal does get to buy movies on a regular basis. He's given himself a weekly allowance and gets very excited about his purchases.

The trick is that he considers beforehand - along with the price - if it is a movie he will want as a part of his collection, to lend to others and rewatch, or if it is unavailable by any other means. Items that don't fit that criteria go on the Netflix queue, rather than the To Buy/Wishlist.

The choosiness upfront leaves us with an elitist and totally awesome collection.
...with the exception of my movies. : D

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Best seat in the house

Last week I visited my sister and had a blast. ...and despite my promises to everyone (her included), we were a little productive.
Apparently my dad egged her on to get a new toilet seat. The paint was chipped on the other one, and that's groddy and all, but it's not like they have exactly matching ones easily available. At any rate, it was ordered and ready to go, and I totally expected this to be a 5 second switch, except for:

1)The plastic bolts and nuts kind of melded together
2) I forgot how the little tabs open to let you screw/unscrew the bolt (so...we had to hold the bolt from the bottom. With vise grips.)
3) I managed to confuse myself and screw my side on tighter, because I was using my left hand instead of right, as usual. (...oops)
4) The new nuts totally have one tab that is longer than the others - so long that it bangs into the toilet when you try to screw it on.

We prevailed despite all that, although it took a little longer than one would hope, and the color match is actually quite good. My sister notified several of her friends of the new addition and managed to use it as a selling point for them coming by.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Corporate Stalking and Changes in Poundage

To catch you all up:

I am looking forward to blogging regularly again. There are two major factors that were deterring me the last three months.

1) The scary response when I used the name of a company. Okay, sure, you have your bots to check me out... but how ridiculously long was it going to go on until someone looked at the site, went "Oh, okay, she said something positive" and then turned the stalking back down from 10?
Too long. I removed and retitled the post to break their link, and that sort of made them leave me alone. (....ugh)

2) The losing weight thing. Making it a priority sucks, because then you have to DEVOTE TIME TO IT. Progress is good - we are about halfway through, except for when you consider that only a few pounds have been lost since the beginning of August. I hate spending so much time driving to the gym, wearing smelly gym clothes, taking way too many showers, thinking about food, grocery shopping instead of picking up food when we don't have anything... it's just all so tediously time-sucking.

However, I don't really want to quit now in the process. I keep thinking I am recommitting HARDCORE, only to be back off the wagon in a week. I'd like to be able to blog about it, though, and so I will return soon with content.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

In Which Angie Saves My Car

I was pretty devastated when the radio in my car died. The radio breaking seems like the harbringer of doom -- coming right before the AC goes, and you're in a proper jalopy.

I was feeling pretty glum about it. After all, this is a car which decided in its second year with me that it no longer would... provide the option of driving in reverse.

Luckily I happened to be complaining about the ghett-i-tude of the radio whilst hanging out with one of my friends. She explained that the same thing had happened to her car, and that it was a quick fix to change the fuse.

Sure, my dad had told me to check the fuse, but it had been six weeks, and I still hadn't done so. (Despite being a productivity hobbyist, I still have a knack for putting off things that are non-urgent, unpleasant, and sometimes vague. That penny is STILL stuck in my cigarette lighter from five years ago. No, really.)

Although she quickly located the fuses and the map, it was indecipherable -- more than half of fuses were labeled merely with a symbol meaning "non-standard."

Google to the rescue. We found our fuse, despite their silly symbols.

Once I knew what I needed, a quick run to AutoZone brought the music back.

Which is good. Because in the mean time? I decided that I should entertain myself by singing, which interestingly is less fun when you discover that you do not, in fact, know all the words to your favorite songs, and keep getting lost forever in the first verse.

It's over now, at least. Although I do have all of "Loose lips" finally down pat. As if that's something to be proud of.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Gen Y

It's kind of sad, really:
I'd rather pick up a magazine claiming to uncover my generations financial choices than telling what everyone is doing in bed.

And so, as I try desperately to make sure that I'm not the kid picked last in the gym class of Gen Y, here are some bits I've seen lately:

"When Should Financial Independence Begin?" (Talk of the Nation, 7/21/08) Melody Serafino is right, many people just seem to be missing her point. In this piece she talks about the importance of not depending on your parents -- that is, not because it's convenient and nice to have extra money. No, not you, guy in extreme circumstances who needed to move back home while unemployed, or you, guy out on his own just getting help with student loan payments. As she's talking, I'm thinking of a good friend of ours who spent college doing things like buying a $300 architecture books and $200 pairs of jeans, and is now living out in NY, no doubt doing similar things-- if they weren't directly on his parents' credit cards, I'm sure he could afford them only because all of the absolute necessities were. (If you're reading this, I still love you, though!) So yes, in conclusion, don't be on an allowance after college; it's tacky.

(If you aren't managing your financial situation, then how will you know whether you need family help, or not?)

QueerCents - Banking, Budgets, and Investing 101 for Gen Y
Interestingly I find that QueerCents speaks to me more often than most personal finance sites. It's a lot of enlightened liberal advice on a wide variety of topics. Very handy. This particular post is a nice overview.

One of the PM's I look up to advised me to keep up with this sort of thing, to make sure I get what I deserve, but also to be able to make sure my requests are reasonable. I did shell out the $15 for a report, and it was worth it to find out that I am not being totally shafted.

Feed The Pig -- Episode 6, Emergency Funds
I know I'm a little bit of a pf nerd, but this didn't tell me anything I didn't know. Feed the Pig is a pretty cool initiative, though, shooting at the 25-34 age range, and trying to provide meaningful advice for the situations as our generation sees them. Listening to this one, I couldn't help but think of so many people I know as the guest on the show lists excuse after excuse of why he wants to not have or postpone having an emergency fund. Ultimately it boils down to "It's unpleasant" (to do, to think about, etc), and it really seems to me that this is somehow viewed as an a legitimate excuse.
I'd like to talk more in depth about this in the future, but articulation is not coming easily right now.

**Edited to remove (positive!) reference to an insurance company, because they creeped me out with waaaaay too many page loads.**

Friday, July 25, 2008

Personal Finance Book Picks

Last spring I went through 10 or so personal finance books, mostly beginnging stuff, and here are the two I purchased, given to friends, and have re-read.

"Smart and Simple Financial Strategies For Busy People" - Jane Bryant Quinn

I find Jane Bryant Quinn to have all of the saavy but less of the abraisiveness (and catch-phrasy-ness) of other popular financial advisors. Her book is a really great book to get started, but much more intelligent than the comparable books out there. I found its advise to be very reasonable and what I was looking for, and as the title suggests, it did not instruct me to put cash into envelopes as a method of budgeting.

"The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need" - Andrew Tobias

I really do not want to pick up day-trading, and I don't want to spend all my times reading Forbes (yuck) trying to pick up last years trendy mutual funds. He speaks to those goals quite nicely, and after going through this in detail, I'm going with several index funds. I found it to be nice that he goes into detail about the main choices, which let me translate the information into action quite easily. That always seems to be the hard part ... taking the investment advise and then actually DOING it.

As a disclaimer, these were both first published quite a while ago, but the practices are fairly general and I didn't find them outdated. I suspect the first book to be very helpful to any location, although the investment book may be more geared toward US investors.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Auto Insurance

My friend mirthbottle who writes over at Oof Boof, had this handy summary of car insurance terms. (When I was shopping for it, I ended up just sitting down with my agent for an hour and asking every imaginable question, but I suspect most of them are not that helpful.)

"Glossary of Car Insurance Jargon"

Sunday, June 22, 2008

To the girl at the gym who weighed in at 104 last Thursday:

Please consider resetting the scale when you are finished.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

As if we needed to make our DVD collection cooler. --scoff--

Two weeks ago I finally did it-- talked Wal into letting me sort our DVD collection by spine color, a.k.a:


He basically allowed me to do it on the promise that it would look awesome, but also because realistically, it's more common for friends to browse the collection, rather than us trying to locate specific DVDs. (Certain boyfriends have rather strict policies regarding rewatching. He's no Kael, though : D)
At any rate, here are the results. I'm pretty satisfied with the results. The black background ones are sorted by font color, but I tried to go for other similarities, too. It could probably stand some swapping by someone with superior color sense, so feel free to come over and play with it.

Also relating to our DVD collection: Libra has served us pretty well so far for tracking. (Thanks to Unclutterer, FAVORITE BLOG EVER OMG for the rec.) I like the interface and sorts/filters, and also the convenience of not having to enter everything into Excel.
Best of all? Let's us easily track lending. This is key, since obviously I must know the location of my copy of Robot Monster at all times. (Trailer)

In case you want to skip ahead to the wooden computer spewing bubbles and the prehistoric lizard/ alligator? / claymation dinosaur battle:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

On Growing Up

Trying to figure out adult life - for us, life after school - is an ongoing process around here. Some days I'm convinced I'm on the right track, feeling good about where we are.

Other days - and there have been a lot of those in the last two weeks - I suddenly see how clumsy I have been with work interactions, how I'm letting slide quality time with Wal, how behind I am on everything that usually makes me feel on top of things.

It's hard to even really say what I expect from myself at 23. My expectations a year ago at graduation were ... vague, at best. In the months before graduation I had been focused soley on getting us both jobs and landing a place to live -- those I knew we needed.

We had some ideas of what we wanted. Wal wanted a cat.

Pictured: Cat, check. Almost enough fluffy blankets to suit her majesty.

I wanted us to do joint checking and a joint credit card. We wanted to settle into these jobs and stay a year at the absolute minimum (complete and ongoing). I wanted to repay my student loans.

In college, it seemed like you could only plan for "after graduation." Now I feel more able to plan for 1 year, 5 years, and more down the road. I'm also adjusting to new messes being thrust in my path that I have to work to get a grasp on -- doctors and insurance, taxes, car stuff.

As usual for me, I still have a lot to learn on organization and productivity.

There is a lot left for me to learn in the subtleties about work. I have some excellent co-workers to learn from, and I appreciate so many of them offering me advice and help along the way. It's hard to even comprehend how much I have learned about my company's specialty in just one year - but at the same time, humbling how much I don't know about it, or project management and contracting as a whole. (Lately, I have been re-learning that lesson every week.)

More ruminations another day.


I love Sarah's "25 and Over," a list of items you should have gotten down in order to act like a grown up. Keep an eye out for one of my favorite Tomato Nation quotes: "If you are fed up with how you look, buy a new shirt or stop eating cheese."

And what got me in the mood to finally write this post, which I had been composing since I started the blog: Corynne's intro post on her piece of Simply Stated.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

One half of one drawer down: The sock purge

Sometimes getting little things under control is all I can manage, but then the small victory makes me feel better about beginning the bigger tasks.

We rearrange the furniture and I've been trying to get rid of the clothes and stuff around the house we're not using. We've got our FreeCycle standby guy -- he lives close by and is happy to sift through boxes of random stuff, passing on what he can't use. While cleaning out drawers, I was sad to see how pathetic Wal's sock drawer was.

And I undertook:

The Sock Purge and Restocking

He's got a bunch of dressy socks that don't match any pants, any shoes, or even each other. His athletic socks are stretched and worn in the heels. Worst of all, the drawer was overflowing, but he still never seemed to have enough of the ones he wanted to wear.

I cleared out all the trouble-makers. Using my sneaky girlfriend method, I merely moved them rather than pitching them right away* -- just in case he happened to notice something special missing. With those moved out of the drawer, I STOCKED up. For work socks, he got 9 new pairs, to add to the ones that were passable. Athletic socks, he now has ankle socks (No more scrunched down big white socks!) with padding and elasticity - a novel idea.

I left his favorites of the very soft socks in silly colors. If I hadn't, there would have been an uproar.

See the results of my hard work below.

There's still a lot to do around the apartment, but this half of this drawer is lookin' fine.

See also this Unclutterer article on Sock Purges.

* He did actually become a little irritated at me for getting rid of "perfectly good" socks. I tried my best to explain that 1) these aren't good, functionally, and that 2) they were ones that he didn't like either.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Without him, life would be much grimmer.

There are many reasons to adore DietGirl, but above all of the normal ones, for me, is her use of especially great expressions.

I was especially pleased by her use of "smug git" in this post, which was the first time I've experienced anyone other than the cast of Red Dwarf.

And this reminded me that I have not yet told The Internet:

I have a hug crush on Ace Rimmer, medium for regular old Arnold. (Pictured: Crazy Rimmer. Not shown: Laser eyes "hex vision")

Go watch my favorite ep on Netflix Instant Watching. Many of the jokes are several layers of self-referential... but hopefully you'll like it, too.

For the unintiated:
Red Dwarf main site

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Women and their shoes...

Today I spent more than I ever have before (by quite a good margin) on a pair of shoes.

And... they weren't Manolos.

They were these beauties.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Walrus and the ...

Now that we have our own place, our spirit creatures finally get a position of honor. They are rearranged every few months, or whenever our cat finds her way up, but they are always locked in eternal battle:


He's been collecting walruses since the very beginning - his childhood stuffed animal is a pink walrus. It was so well-loved that he chewed off the tusks. Aww.

He's still excited about them, probably because it's hard to be truly inundated with walrus shill. For examples of favorite-animal burn-out, see: anyone who ever liked ponies.

...and maybe also because my grandmother did not give him walrus-themed gifts. She very eloquently vanquished my sister's love of cows with, among other things, an obscenely tacky cookie jar of fancy cows waltzing.
I avoided the gifts from our grandma, so I don't have robot needlepoint pillows. (Emily did knit me a robot, but I assure you that it is fully awesome.) Last year my friends particularly fell into the theme gift trap. Let us just say that I received no less than THREE of these aprons.

It worked out okay, though - I gave two away to my tiny (since they are kid-size) and most-likely-to-wear-aprons friends, and the other one is hanging as shown. Most of my robo-duplicates, though, just end up on my desk at work.

Mostly, though, we are pretty sedate about our obsessions. He did name his blog Film Walrus (I offered to one-up him and write about movies as Film LOLrus. ...No?), and one friend came up with robot-related names for our prospective children - the kind that go unnoticed until you see their official records. I believe the contenders were Cy, Andy, and Rob.
Good thing we're not having kids.

I'll leave you all with some close-ups to enjoy.

Thanks to Nicole at The Days of My Life for bringing up her hippo obsession. ROCK!

See her post of 3/24/08 for the awesome.