Gilmore Girls

Happy Gilmore Girls Day!
Today is a day I never imagined would happen but I’m so grateful it has.  I have just watched Winter and am about to start Spring of the Netflix Gilmore Girls revival!  Everything is so familiar and yet just a little different.  They still talk super fast but now I can rewind it as many times as I want to catch every bit of quick wit they zip through.  That everyone looks so much older is a little depressing.  It started in 2010 so it’s to be expected.  Rory is now 32 which makes Lorelai 48.  I’ve been and will always be a big fan of this show.
So the new vs the old.  A woman once recently told me don’t compare.  You miss what’s in front of you when you compare.  But sometimes I can’t help myself.  I’ll say this – many parts remain constant.  The characters.  The setting and the feeling of the fairy tale environment.  Yet so much is different.  Even though they have the same actors, they’ve grown.  Emily Gilmore is the least changed.  Still, I’m enjoying every minute of it and I’m sad that they’re only doing this 4 season special.  I could watch it for as long as they’re willing to keep making it.  They didn’t just make a tv show, they made a different world so now let me get back to Stars Hollow.  .

Terrace House

It’s been a long time since I’ve power-marathoned thorugh a TV show.  Maybe Gilmore Girls was the last one I really got sucked into.  And since then it’s been a lot of half-hearted watching.  Having shows on but not really paying attention.  Or just watching random YouTube videos.  But then Terrace House Season 1 Part 2 just got added on Netflix and I was a goner this weekend.  I blasted through it.  Last year, a coworker told me about the show when I complained about having nothing to watch.  He said check this out.  It’s Real World in Japan.  You get the relationship drama and coed living drama all the while everybody is bowing to each other and polite as ever.  I watched one episode and was hooked!  The only hard part is you can’t multitask while watching this show.  It’s all in Japanese with English subtitles so I have to pay attention.  What I like about this is seeing new love blossom.  Or sometimes not.  It takes me back to my memories of being rejected.  Or the excitement of a new romance.  Sometimes peppered with bouts of insecurity, confusion, or jealousy.  Or over agonizing, over thinking, does he – doesn’t he.  And then when couples you want to come together finally do, it’s like a Jane-Austen Yay! It’s magically delicious!

No, you did not give me five-star service.

Dear Verizon –

Here’s the story of why I am no longer a FIOS customer.

1.  I call Verizon to get access to my online account.  Maybe I never had one.  I don’t know.  At any rate I spend over an hour getting passed from one person to the other back to the other or whatever.  I counted at least 6 passes.  It was customer hot potato.  As soon as they detected not-an-easy-fix, they passed me along.  Then the last rep “dropped the call” when asked for her manager.
I went online and did the chat and the chat person took care of it in 1 minute.  Let’s call this experience even since you eventually resolved this.  The phone experience was the stuff of comics though.  Over an hour.

2.  Once I logged in, I learned that I’ve been paying ~$90 a month for 10 mbps download and 2 mbps upload speeds.  And I also learned that you now offer a $50 a month service for faster speeds. I try to sign up online but keep running into a message saying it can’t be done, call customer service.  Yup – back into customer service hotline hell we go.  First call – your call center rep tells me there’s an error on my account.  I’m on hold for a good half hour.  Rep tells me to try back later.

3.  Call 2.  Rep logs a ticket to get this error fixed and says he’ll call me back about this the next day.

4.  No call back.  I make call 3.  Ticket is still hanging out there.  Unaddressed.  Give it a day.  They’ll call me back.

5.  Again, no call back. Call 4.  They tell me to give it a few days.  They’ll call me back when it’s resolved.

6.  You don’t call me back after a week of the ticket being logged.  Call 5.  Your call center rep tells me they’re trying to get someone on the phone but it’s taking a while.  In the meantime, do I want to just hang up and he’ll call me back in a couple of minutes.  Durrr.. okay.

7.  Over a half an hour later, surprise!  No call back.  Call 6.  This rep tells me Verizon no longer services my area.  Hence I can’t make any changes to my plan. Ok, time to start shopping for other options.  (Only later I come to find out that is not true!)

8.  I go to Comcast, which is the last thing I want to do because their reputation precedes them.  But what else can I do!?  Keep getting bilked at $90/month for sub-par service?  During the final call to Verizon to schedule the cancellation date, when your rep was trying to keep me on, she still said you needed 48 hours to get this fixed!!  What?!  It’d been 10 days.  Not once did you call me back when you said you would.  This relationship is over because I can’t trust anything you say.  And I’m tired of my nightly chats with your customer service reps.

I would like to add that your reps spend a lot of time reading scripts and it does not make the service better.  In fact, I wish they were allowed to just talk normally.  It would save us all a lot of time from having to listening to the same lines over and over without getting any real help.  I think your Call Center(s) is trying to sabotage your business.  They couldn’t have done a better job at driving me away if they were trying.

Not yours truly.

Update to the update on the mattress

A month or so ago I decided to flip the mattress. After writing this not-so-positive review on the Savvy Rest, I finally decided to try to fix the situation. The mattress was sort of a beast to flip. You definitely can’t do it alone because it is very pliable. After flipping it, we even had to open up the mattress and adjust the 2 side by side layers of latex because they were bunching up in the middle. After some wrangling, this mattress is finally what I want! Because the firm side doesn’t sink in as much, you don’t feel the crack in the middle. And it is so nice and supportive to sleep in. It’s perfect!! I am now loving this bed. LOVE!! The firm latex is supportive without the hard/harsh pressure points on your joints or bones. When before, I was kind of regretting not returning the bed (I really wanted to, but the thought of wrangling all these latex layers back into the box was not worth it to me), now I only wish I’d flipped this sooner. Still, we’ve got many more years left in this bed so better now than later. I take the last opinion back – I would get this bed (or one like it) again. I like it better than the standard innerspring, memory foam (the worst!), and air beds (like Sleep Number). The great thing about latex is, you only feel the first 2 or 3 inches of latex. Because they give you 3 different layers of latex, each about 3 inches thick what ever layer you’re directly on top of is the only one you feel. Now I see why the sales guy advised me to get one of each degree of firmness. That way, it’s totally customizable. Don’t worry about what are on the bottom 2 layers, as long as the one in direct contact with you is the firmness you like, you won’t really notice the other two. They’re just there for added thickness.

C-ville

Spent a weekend in Charlottesville, VA. Yes. The Deep South. Confederate flags and all!

We stayed at the Econo Lodge.  It was $70 a night and felt like it.  The package came with squeaky beds and audible upstairs neighbors having a lovely evening which immediately bumped up my rating of the place.  I don’t mute Keeping Up with the Kardishians for just anything.  Live entertainment is always better then TV.

Charlottesville doesn’t seem like much of a food destination.  It’s not bad, but it’s nothing memorable either.  We ate at Bodo’s Bagels, Firefly, Mellow Mushroom, and Mellow Mushroom again.  Granted, that’s not much of a sample size.

We also visited a brewery bar – Three Notch’d Brewery.
Three Notch'd Brewery
Good beers.  I learned that I’m not a fan of very very hoppy beers. Of the ones we tasted, Jazz Fest (sugar cane and pecan ale) was our favorite. You can definitely taste the pecans. Hydraulion Red was number 2. It was just a very balanced beer that was a little bit caramelly sweet. And number 3 was Jack’s Java Espresso Stout. It definitely tasted of coffee. Probably our least fave was Ghost of the 43rd American Pale Ale. It tasted of hops, hops, and more hops.

Our two main attractions while visiting Charlottesville were the McCormick Observatory and the Paramount Theater’s children’s musical, Alice in Wonderland.  

The Observatory was a long line where each person got to take a peek through the giant telescope to see Jupiter and 3 of its moons – Io, Callisto, and Europa.  
McCormick Observatory
It was mostly for historical purposes, just to get an idea of how people in the late 19th century studied the stars. Nowadays there are more advanced telescopes (Kepler/Hubble) that sit in outer space. The experience included a good bit of waiting in line while a staff member gave each person a few quick seconds of a look.  I love looking at outer space things.  They’re kind of magical and beautiful.

The Paramount Theater is in “downtown” Charlottesville.  The performance of Alice in Wonderland was given by the Missoula Children’s Theatre by local children in the area.  The company brings the props, a director and other staff and they audition local children and rehearse for about a week and put on the low budget show.  It was pretty cute to watch kids (I’m guessing they were K-12) running and dancing around the stage in costumes. It was as cute as one can imagine. Little kids dressed as lobsters and singing flowers. They waved to their moms, forgot their lines, tripped and stumbled, mumbled their lines and missed some cues. Pretty adorable stuff! Still, even though it was all rather sweet it felt more like something the family or friend of a performer would enjoy more.

And what is a trip without some shopping? I started out at the conventional shops. Ann Taylor. Banana Republic. I didn’t find anything I liked that much. Then while we were at the Paramount Theater, I overheard a mom raving about their local Goodwill stores. She said the best time to shop is when all the university students leave for the summer. I mentally smacked my head, duh! Of course the Goodwill store. So after the play and lunch we went to a Goodwill store.
Thrift Store finds
I got these 4 items for $16! One still had the tag attached and one was a pink cashmere sweater that appeared unworn.

Foodwise – I’m not sure I need to bother talking about Bodo’s Bagels or Firefly. They were both decent but nothing stand-out. The best place we ate was Mellow Mushroom which is why we went there twice. The first time was better than the second though. My first impression was, hey, this is comparable to Lost Dog Pizza here. I got a mushroom hoagie.
Hoagie @ Mellow Mushroom
It was mostly bread, but with a good dollop of marinara sauce, it was decent. Some red onions would have made it even better. On the plus side, it came out very hot and the bread was nicely toasted.
The second time we went, I wanted to try their pizza. So I got a veggie pizza with no cheese.
Vegan pizza @ Mellow Mushroom
Here’s what I got. Looked and smelled good but tasted bland and dry. This is a vegan pizza made by non-vegans. They don’t consider that without cheese, it needs something more to add flavor or moisture. This thing needed oil or a lot more marinara sauce to help improve the lack of cheese situation. This just isn’t a pizza. I realize this isn’t fair to Mellow Mushroom. They sell traditional pizza and I turned it into this monstrosity by choice. So when I opine that it’s sub-par to Lost Dog, I took those particular dings out of the equation. What makes Lost Dog better is the crust, which is thinner and lighter (less dense doughy-ness), the marinara sauce, and more even distribution and generous portions of toppings. To boot, LD on a busy day churns out their food a lot faster than MM on a quiet day. Mellow Mushroom can hack it in Charlottesville but I’m not rushing to go to any of the locations here.

The one place that showed a lot of promise that we didn’t get to was Bluegrass Bar & Grill. The waiting time for lunch was an hour!! After no breakfast, and an hour of hot yoga, we decided to head back to Mellow Mushroom instead of waiting.

The surprising highlight of our weekend turned out to be attending 2 yoga classes. I planned them as time fillers. These were heated vinyasa flow classes and I came out of there totally soaked through with sweat and feeling calm and energized.

And what is a trip to C-ville without a visit to TJ’s UVA?
The Rotunda
Yes, this is The Rotunda. It’s under repair.

Why I would not get another Savvy Rest mattress

I’ve had a Savvy Rest mattress for a little over 2 years. The idea is, it’s a 3-layer latex rubber mattress that you have to put together in a cotton mattress cover. Because we got a queen size, it’s 6 pieces of latex and you lay them 3 layers thick on each side.

The good:

  • It’s organic.  No toxins, no fire retardants.  No pesticides on the cotton or latex.
  • There are no metal spring coils.
  • No off-gassing.  No smell at all.

The not-so-good (reasons why I would not repurchase):

  • There’s a crack in the middle.  Because it’s two sides of latex layers, you feel a crack in the middle.  That bothered me for a while.  It doesn’t as much now but I still notice it and don’t like it.
  • They advertise that you can restack the latex layers to the firmness of your liking.  So I chose Firm, Medium, and Soft for the 3 layers.  But honestly, these latex layers are so flimsy – tear easily, heavy, and bulky that after we got the bed together, there was no way I was about to take the thing apart to restack.
  • The flimsiness of the latex means I can’t even flip the mattress over and fitted sheets are also harder to put on.  And it also means I have a hard time vacuuming under the bed.  It’s just a blob of mattress basically.  Rather inconvenient.
  • It’s too soft.  I chose the firmer latex – Dunlop.  Have it stacked firm on bottom, soft in the middle, and medium on top.  It’s still too soft.  For a while I had back pain from the softness.  I think I got used to the bed eventually and the pain went away.
  • It was on the pricey side: $2300 thereabouts.  I wouldn’t mind if it were a better product, but it’s only so-so.

So what would I get instead?  I don’t know yet.  I’m hoping this mattress lasts us a little while.  I know I won’t go back to conventional mattresses though.  And I would look for a firmer mattress next time.

Hot Sauce Mania!

We got a lot of hot sauces as a gift which was just in time for a dinner with some friends (chili night!) so we had a hot sauce tasting evening. 
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Aside from a few others we have already, we tried 2 of these new ones. The Calypso Sauce was the favorite of the evening. It was hot with a hint of mustardiness. It’s almost empty actually.

The Yellowbird is also very good. Not as hot as the calypso so I use it less cautiously.

The Palm & Equinox

Spring is almost here! I finally come out of the metro in some remaining daylight, which is a pleasanter way to end the workday.

A while back, we went out to The Palm for dinner. It’s a nothing-special kinda’ steakhouse. Their vegetable sides were on the greasy/salty side. Meh. Pass. Their wine list was pretty decent though. We shared a really good bottle of Justin Isosceles Red Blend, unfiltered. I’d never heard of them before but hey, they’re local-ish, from CA. I don’t normally pay too much attention to wine because I don’t look for any specific make/model wines when I shop but this one is worth remembering for me.

The other place we dined at was Equinox. They have many plant-based options besides just a plate of sides so that was nice. The portions were on the small side though so I think you’re supposed to order 2 or 3 per person. The food was good, but rather rich/heavy. Their cocktails, again, good, were probably a bit too sweet. I could go back, but no rush.
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This is fried artichokes. Good but a little greasy/salty.

As much as I like staying in, watching TV, and cooking, it’s nice to get out of the house and have other peoples cooking for a change.

My goodies bring all the cats to the yard

Neko Atsume. It’s a non-game kind of game. You place goodies in your yard to try to attract cats. That’s it.
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Goodies include toys, food, snacks, scratch posts, cat trees, pillows, and other things cats like. Cats who come to your yard leave you sardines and you use those sardines to buy more goodies and expand your yard. It’s such a nothing sort of a game but I keep coming back to it. I keep checking every few minutes to see if another cat has come or if the one that’s there has left me gifts. I’m a virtual crazy cat lady.

Rancho Gordo Beans

I got 15 pounds of Rancho Gordo beans during my last visit to California and painstakingly hauled them back amongst other heavy items.  Like an ass.  Double entendre, double entendre!  Double up on ya!  Then I find on Rancho Gordo’s website that you can order them on the Internet and they will deliver them to your place of residence.  Of course. None of this analog shopping.  

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It’s 19 pounds of beans. Well, maybe not all beans. There’s a few corn items in there. I’ve found these Rancho Gordo beans to be good and easy to cook and I love their variety. Although all their beans are reliably good, I’d say it’s only worth ordering if there’s a type that you can’t find elsewhere. For example I haven’t seen Rio Zape’s anywhere else and they are incredibly creamy and delicious.
Still, for this order, I got some pretty typical beans such as black beans, black eyed peas, and yellow eye beans. Their beans are very fresh so I wanted to try them compared to my usual beans.