Monday, June 28, 2010

Home Alone & Hoser Highway Robbery

J-Bartles has been in Winston-Salem, NC visiting his mom n' pops since Saturday and I have been having all sorts of juvenile fun in his absence. It's been just like 'Home Alone'! Jumping on the bed? Check! Eating sundaes and scaring myself silly watching gangster movies? Check! Evading burglars? ...Thankfully, no! I actually did a lot of cleaning (including bleaching tubs and thrones), threw out a horrific looking compilation of gray hairy cherries in a tupperware container from the fridge, and overall 'tidying up' (AKA throwing out all sorts of things I don't think Jason will notice upon his return! Just kidding!). I can't wait to see him again tomorrow! :)
New TV show recommendation: Memphis Beat on TNT - good times.
What else is new? Oh I had to go all Hamburglar on someone on eBay today and file a dispute. I really, really did not want to do that but the seller left me no choice. I bought, of all things, a turquoise depression glass reproduction candy dish from this individual. It was for my new office at work. I even went as far as envisioning it sitting on the corner of my desk, filled with seasonal treats that I could use to bribe co-workers from whom I needed assistance and special favors. So I buy the thing and then I note that the seller will invoice me at a later date for shipping charges. UMMM I've bought a lot of things off of eBay in my lifetime and I've never been invoiced separately so I was mildly alarmed. I should have known then that I was hoein' down the road to Gloomsville. So I send her a message telling her I bought the candy dish and will pay as soon as she sends me the invoice. 2 days later, I get the invoice and the shipping is $17!!!! The friggin' dish only cost $8 bucks! She explained that she'd had some items 'go astray' recently so she only shipped with tracking and insurance. Ok, fine. I paid it. I checked her feedback rating and it was all positive with 1 exception, a negative rating within the last 6 months. But hey - maybe that person was an a-hole, right? Can't judge a seller by 1 person's fury, right? Right. So invoice paid, send me the dish. That was May 23rd. Check your datebooks, people - it's now June 28th - do I have the damn candy bowl? No. The seller emailed me in early June to apologize for "forgetting" to ship my item. I was ridiculously kind about it. I wrote her back immediately to ease her fears; I was not mad, I understand, stuff happens, etc. She wrote me right back to say she appreciated my graciousness (really) and said she'd mail it the next morning. So more than a week goes by, no dish. I message her through eBay letting her know I don't have it and to please send me the shipping information - the $17 shipping fee I paid came with TRACKING. So send it, sistah. No response. She never even emailed me to say she'd mailed it. 4 days pass, no response. I message her again, this time letting her know that I either need the shipping information or a refund. I thought, "Hey, it's got to clear Customs! That's probably why it's been delayed!" But I've bought things from the UK through eBay sellers and got them within a week without paying any special shipping rates. Plus, if I was this seller and someone was frantic for their glassware and I had shipped it, I would WRITE THEM BACK. Quite suspect. So today, 20 days since I last heard from this mofo, I decided to file a dispute with eBay and request a full refund. No way is some Canadian trollop skipping down the streets of Ontario with my $25 AND my turquoise glass candy dish-with-lid. No ma'am. You're not going to start your eBay-supported life of crime on my watch. I have a soft spot in my heart for Ontario since it's the birthplace of my favorite Thrasher Bryan Little, but this type of unresponsive behavior can no longer be tolerated. I am fresh out of Ontario cheeks to turn. Hopefully, I'll win the dispute when even eBay cannot roust this hoser into a response, and I'll get my money refunded sometime before Christmas 2012.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Crazy in Alabama by Mark Childress

Crazy in Alabama Crazy in Alabama by Mark Childress
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved this book, which seems an odd proclamation to make about a book whose cover depicts decapitation, but it's true. Childress kept me guessing and I loved the way the story was told from two family members' P.O.V. who were on two totally different paths. I loved Milton; what a rich and endearing addition he was, especially for someone who is meant to be a background / supporting character. Both story lines were extremely interesting and I was sad when the book came to a close; I would've gladly joined Peejoe and Lucille on further life adventures. Great read!

I know this is a book that I'll think about from time to time, which for me is a sign that I really got into it. My favorite books are the ones that pop into my mind months after I finish them and I realize I'm still trying to envision the character or setting, or answer a question left open-ended in the novel. I also sometimes think of the one other book by Mark Childress that I read with fervor almost a year ago, One Mississippi. I'll post my September 2009 review of it below. His writings definitely have staying power! I will definitely be reading more of his work. He has a way of writing about shocking events in life without making them depressing or have them define a character's entire existence. He has a knack for writing about people, not just one-dimensional novel characters. In short, Mr. Childress is the bomb.

One Mississippi: A Novel One Mississippi: A Novel by Mark Childress

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It was a bit hard to rate a book "Really Liked It" that ends the way this one does (I won't spoil anything for you, no worries); but the earlier portions of the book led me to say I did really enjoy it. I wrote down so many humorous quotes from this book and I really enjoyed the whole "Yankee-returning-to-the-south" theme and the way the author illustrated the 70's so perfectly through music, clothing and pop culture. This book was kind of manic to me in that I was expecting a humorous fish out of water/coming of age tale (since the reviews on the book's cover all tout it's hilarity) but it was chock full of serious, heart-breaking events. The author did a good job of injecting plenty of humor, but no amount could have made up for the semi-shocking (only semi b/c you felt something like this was coming) conclusion.

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