Friday, May 25, 2007

Curse you, Sprint M1, iTunes, and all consumer electronics

My old cell phone got rained on and died, the poor delicate flower, so I decided it was time to upgrade to a fancy one with a camera and a music player. I got this phone, the Sprint M1, which I think is kind of retro-cute like something out of the movie Tron, and which has the aforementioned camera and music player.

All good, except I WANT TO KILL THE DESIGNERS OF THIS PHONE, AND WHOEVER IS IN CHARGE OF ITUNES WHILE I'M AT IT. In the last 23 hours, I have discovered the following things:

1. The only way to put music purchased from iTunes onto a non-Apple device, like my fancy new phone, is to burn the music to a CD in mp3 format and then re-load it onto iTunes, or else download some kind of illegal-seeming software (note to The Man: I did not download any such software). This is because the files you buy from iTunes are in m4p format, or something, rather than mp3, ostensibly to prevent piracy or improve sound quality, but really so that you can only listen to them on an iPod or other Apple product.

2. You can load music you bought on CD onto the phone, but if you put it in the Music folder, which seems the logical place for it, you don't access it by going to "Music" or "Media Player," but through Tools --> File Manager --> Music. Then you can't play a whole album, just one song at a time, and you can't use the cute little "Play" button that's on the outside of the phone, you have to go in through these menus to pick a new song after each song is done playing.

IT SHOULD NOT BE THIS COMPLICATED TO USE A PHONE. I refuse to accept any blame for my problems using this thing, because I know I'm not an idiot. The problem is that somewhere along the line our society decided that Computers Are Hard And Complicated, and thus we have come to accept that you may need to spend hours reading a 300-page manual in order to use a phone, and also that there is any rational reason why you cannot play music you have purchased on a music-playing device manufactured by another company.

It's as if you bought a shirt, but it had 47 holes in it, so before you could put it on you'd have to read a treatise on which one is for your head and which ones are for your arms, and then also the shirt would self-destruct if you tried to wear it with pants you bought from a different store.

The problem is, what am I going to do about it? Do I return the phone to Sprint out of spite, which would hurt Sprint hardly at all but leave me, again, music-less and phone-less? And which might possibly just lead me to buy an iPhone when they come out because I know it will work with iTunes, thus perpetuating the iTunes copyright monopoly? Or should I just grit my teeth and figure out how to use it?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Monica Goodling is in da House. Of Representatives.

First impressions: Monica seems to have gotten a makeover from Ann Coulter before her testimony. She's bleached the crap out of her previously dishwater-blonde hair, but she hasn't cut off the unprofessional lenghth. She's curled the ends under in a girlish-tendrilly kind of look that I recall sporting circa 1992. Altogether, she looks fairly attractive in a mundane and unchallenging way, and older than her 33 years (bad skin); in other words, very Republican.

My genie has not granted my wish today--she has not cried--but other than that, the testimony is pretty riveting. Her voice sounds like a little chipmunk's, or a 15-year-old's. She starts off by reading a prepared statement which says: Deputy AG Paul McNulty misled Congress about the US Attorney firings (snap!), she may have asked excessively political questions of non-political career job applicants (way to take the sting out! somebody prepared her for this testimony), and she is a sweet little girl who went to public school (puke! not the going to public school, but the need to point it out) and then to Christian universities because she liked their emphasis on service (whatever), and she's really a quiet person who doesn't like to speak ill of anyone, but she will if she has to.

Whew, she really packed a lot in there.

Among the other highlights of her testimony so far: when she was asked about whether it was true that she blocked the promotion of an experienced criminal prosecutor because Monica thought the woman was a Democrat who couldn't be trusted, Monica said that she had had tension with the prosecutor, but attributed it to "two Type A women" working together. Oh. My. God. Monica: Throwing one Deputy AG under the bus wasn't enough, you had to drag all women down with you, too? Attributing your mistakes to the problems that are bound to arise when women (those catty, irrational creatures) are allowed to work outside the home does not do you any favors in the long run. And also, to whichever Representative let her get away with that: How was that an answer? Did you get nervous she might mention her period, and decide it was time to move on to other subjects?

Monica totally cops to blocking the hiring of a man who she assumed was a liberal because he went to Howard. Girlfriend just handed him a Title VII suit wrapped up in a nice shiny bow.

All in all, she comes off as much less of an incompetent idiot than Gonzales did--for instance, she can remember some events that occurred last year. Of course, this just means she refrained from getting lobotomized before her testimony, and also that she has immunity from prosecution, so she can admit mistakes 'til the cows come home.

They're supposed to be reconvening at 2, and I will be all over the live feeds.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Rehab needs to go to rehab

If I were Rehab, I think I'd be really pissed that I was getting a reputation as the go-to solution for people whose problems are mostly that they're an asshole

Sunday, May 13, 2007

MonicaGate II

I am very psyched about the prospect that Monica Goodling, the former Alberto Gonzales aide who has so far refused to testify to Congress about the firings of the U.S. Attorneys, has been granted immunity and will probably be forced to testify. I will totally watch with glee as a 31-year-old with no qualifications other than a degree from Regent University Law School (founded: 1986, Pat Robertson; accredited: 1996; motto: "Christian leadership to Change the World"; alums hired by the Bush Administration since 2001: over 150) squirms uncomfortably about what role she played in firing 8+ U.S. Attorneys for not prosecuting Democrats.

I also hope they also ask her if she was really the one who suggested to Ashcroft that he cover up the ta-tas of statues the Justice Department.

I also kind of want to see evidence that, as rumored, she's a crier. Is that evil of me? Mwahh hahahahaha!

However, I was perturbed by a recent NYT article about how Monica was also in charge of refusing to hire career attorneys if she thought they might be Democrats. Not just by the anecdote that she decided someone was a "liberal Democrat" because he "graduated from Howard University Law School, and then worked at the Environmental Protection Agency" (translation: "because he was black.")

The surprising thing is that the NYT portrayed all of this as Monica's own devious plan, which shocked! Shocked! all those who found out about it. They refer to the hire-only-rabid-Republicans plan as "Ms. Goodling’s strategy," and say she "insisted" she be given final approval in hiring assistant United States attorneys when there was an interim U.S. Attorney.

Dudes. One. The fact that the Justice Department weeds out lefties in hiring for career positions is as much breaking news as is Britney's loss of her virginity. And, Two. How does it sound vaguely plausible that this 31-year-old was coming up with a hiring strategy for the entire DOJ on her own?

If this is a sign that Monica is going to let herself get thrown to the wolves in order to protect the people who were really making the decisions, that is going to totally blow my schadenfreude about her testimony.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Book Smart, Common-Sense Dumb

So, I fracked something up at work. I didn't commingle funds, or run off with a Senator's wife, or kill a man, so that's good, but I did fail to research somthing thoroughly enough, so I gave some bad advice.

This has sent me into a major spiral, like a Britney Spears visiting a barber shop, Rosie O'Donnell doing anything-level spiral.* I am worried that this is the confirmation I have long been awaiting that I am Book Smart, Common-Sense Dumb.

I started to worry about possibly being BS/CSD (sounds like an STD, dosen't it?) in high school, in part because people would often say to me, "T&A, you're book smart, common-sense dumb." My dumbness largely manifested itself in my wee driving problem. Between the ages of 16 and 18 I got into somewhere between 5 and 10 car accidents. With only one arguable exception, they were all the result of my failing to pay attention, and hence doing things like backing up in a driveway even though another car was parked behind me, or hitting the side of the garage while pulling the car out of it. Whoopsie.

I harbor no illusions that BS/CSD is a charming attribute. It was maybe funny when Reese Witherspoon did it in Legally Blonde, but by Legally Blonde 2 it had gotten quite old. And darlings, life is one long sequel.

Plus, really you could say that my Work Whoopsie is not so much common-sense dumb as it is book dumb, being as how it did involve looking (or not looking so much) at books. Which, then where does that leave me? Dumb/Dumb. Wahhh.

I can still congratulate myself that I'm not as dumb as Brooke on the Real World. In case you missed it, in the most recent episode she thought a jellyfish stung her foot, and she remembered that you should pee on it (which I guess is at least pamphlet-smart), but then she MADE HER ROOMMATES PEE ON HER FOOT. Which, dude, you can pee on YOUR OWN FOOT without trying AT ALL. But being less dumb than that is what they call cold comfort.

*Not really. Don't worry, Mom.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Overheard in the Gap* (Pentagon City)

First Girl:  I think the last time I bought anything at the Gap was, like, 5 years ago when I bought a sweatsuit for my grandma.  She only wears white, it's really weird.

Second Girl:  White's not flattering.

First Girl:  Well, my grandma weighs, like, 80 pounds.

Second Girl:  Sarah, your grandma's dead.

*Yes, I was in the Gap.  And I bought stuff, too.  I will not be ashamed!