Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Worst Nightmare

It's a good thing I don't live in Austin. I'm a bad enough driver as it is, but if I had seen this sign during my morning commute, I would've surely caused an accident (you don't even really need to play the video):

Apparently someone hacked into Austin's roadworks system and changed the electronic billboard that usually posts traffic advisories. A spokeswoman from the city said, "Even though this may seem amusing to a lot of people, this is really serious."

Damn straight it's serious!!!

Now when the zombies DO attack, no one's going to pay attention to the warnings. Didn't this hacker ever hear about "the boy who cried wolf?" I hope the person responsible realizes what he or she has done. The zombies totally have an edge in Texas now.

- e

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

e's Favorite Things: The Thera Cane

This should come as no surprise to Lost fans and readers of Long Live Locke, but over the past week I've been spending an unhealthy amount of time in front of my laptop. In fact, since I last posted here on 'According to e,' pretty much all I've been doing is writing.

The good news is that my back and shoulders are no longer suffering (as much) because of the ten physical therapy sessions I've completed since December. I've learned to be conscious of both my posture and how I tend to tense up throughout the day. I'm armed with tons of stretches and weight-bearing exercises to help build my scrawny upper body muscles. And perhaps most importantly, I now have the Thera Cane.

Everyone who's seen this thing in my apartment has been like, "What the HELL is that?" But once they experience the wonder that is the Thera Cane, they are jealous and want one, too. Basically it is a strange-looking device that helps banish tight knots in your back (or elsewhere, I guess, but I just use it on my back).

At my last PT session I asked my therapist if she had any recommendations for things I could buy to use at home to help ease the pain of when I inevitably do something to pull a back or neck muscle again. Out came the Thera Cane. She said that when something is pressed against a tight muscle, the body's reflex is to loosen up in that area. So when you apply pressure on sore spots with this easy-to-use contraption that has small knobs jutting out from a cane-shaped bar, they dissipate much more quickly than they would on their own.

I LOVE THIS THING and would highly recommend it to anyone who doesn't have a live-in masseuse. It was around $40 on Amazon and it's the best money I've spent in a long time. Yes, it is totally goofy looking, but who cares? It works. This thirty-something has a cane and is not too proud to tell the world about it!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Good Riddance, 2008

Yeah, yeah... I know it's already five days into 2009 and a little late to be reminiscing about how great it was to kick 2008 to the curb, but I'm still going to write about how I spent the end of last year if for no other reason than it will explain my lack of posting for the past few weeks.

On December 22, I woke up at 6 AM feeling like I was going to spontaneously combust. I'll spare you the gross details, but let's just say that I either had some bizarre case of the flu or food poisoning or a little of both. I did nothing all day except sleep and lie in bed feeling sorry for myself and growing increasingly bitter that I left all of my holiday errands to the last minute. Needless to say, none of them got done.

The next day I continued to feel like crap, but the heavy snow that had begun to fall the night before was only going to get worse, so my husband and I decided to stick to our plans and make the five-hour drive to Michigan, where we'd be spending the holidays with my parents and extended family. That was all fine and good... if we were able to get out of our back alley. We had rented a mid-sized car for the trip, and it just wasn't cutting it in the wild terrain that exists behind our condo. We immediately became stuck in the trenches of snow that had piled up around everyone's parking spots.

After taking the wheel while my husband attempted to push the car forward (all as my dog looked on excitedly from the back seat), we gave up and called our neighbor, who came down with a repairman that happened to be over. The three of them rocked and rocked and rocked the car back and forth until finally I was rolling down the alley. Despite the fact that my husband was running like a madman behind me and waving his hands wildly like I was actually going to forget him, I continued on until I reached a clear side-street. I wasn't going to risk getting stuck again!

We then drove back to Hertz and exchanged the car for an SUV. Screw fuel efficiency -- we didn't want to die! My dog got a kick out of this, too; it was a pretty big deal for him to jump from one car to another in the Union Station parking garage while the security guard quizzed us about what in the heck we were doing.

Our five-hour journey turned into eight hours as pretty much NONE of the expressways in Michigan were plowed. Guys, I know the state is hurting and all... but come on! We're talking MAJOR highways where you couldn't even see the pavement and everyone was just sliding all over the place.

Thankfully, we arrived at my childhood home safely and had five days to rest before heading back. While I didn't have any more flu-like symptoms during that time, I was pretty much unable to eat. You know I'm sick when I don't use the holidays as an excuse to scarf down ten frosted sugar cookies every night! It was depressing.

In the earning morning of our return to Chicago, my parents -- and 300,000 other people in the area -- lost power. No electricity whatsoever, and they didn't have a back-up generator. It was still out twelve hours later... and then when it finally came back on, there was a surge that fried my dad's brand new flatscreen TV. Yes, my dear friends, it was a Christmas to remember. (My dad has since returned the TV and miraculously received all of his money back. )

Since my return home I've been buried in writing projects, and things are going to remain pretty intense on that end for the rest of the month. So, posts will probably be pretty sporadic here on According to e for the next few weeks (though I'll still be writing for redblog two or three times a day... and have a few more Long Live Locke entries to finish before Lost's Season Five premiere on January 21).

In the meantime, let me leave you with a picture from New Year's Eve. We were at a friend's party and they had all of these old-school games that I used to love, like Don't Spill the Beans and Don't Break the Ice. I don't mean to brag or anything, but I pretty much rock at Don't Break the Ice.

I hope that your holidays were healthier than mine... here's to a wonderful 2009. (Hey, that rhymed!)

- e