Yesterday was my mom’s birthday. She’s 48 now I think. She got two cards, not including the one she got from work, 2 helium balloons from work, and a chocolate cake. And she’s getting sick with a cold. Birthdays in this family aren’t particularly great, especially for the older people.

Even though she’s getting sick, she still managed to get out today, since she’s been putting off going to the mall to get my gift card. On the way there I saw a ton of squirrels and at least 6 deer, most of them in a group. When we got there I had a cherry ICEE at the Mrs. Fields stand in the food court so I’d have the energy to walk around since I hadn’t eaten, and got a few chocolate cookies. Once I saw them I knew I had to have one, they look great (though that’s no indicator of taste). They’re called something like chewy fudge. Then we wandered around the Barnes and Noble out there for a while. I love Barnes and Noble, and the one in South Hills Village is wonderful. I looked in the manga section first. Looking around I decided Del Ray is the best US manga publisher. They keep the names right and use the honorifics. I hate when translators put the names First Last and don’t use the proper terms. I know it’s for the idiots who don’t read manga/watch anime and don’t know what it means, but they’ll never learn if they don’t see it.

I saw a lot, The Wallflower, Skip Beat, Sukuran, Monster, Bleach of course, but I didn’t get anything. I thought about getting the first Prince of Tennis since I’m going to start reading it, but none of the regulars are in it. If they’d hate Kuroshitsuji, Jiraishin (which they wouldn’t since Jiraishin never finished printing here). There weren’t any Code Geass light novels either, I would have considered getting it, and I definitely would have if any Schneizel or Clovis stuff was in it. I briefly checked the Teen section before moving on to Bios and saw Ahar’s new book Token of Darkness, but I still haven’t finished her last book Persistence of Memory, so I’ll wait til the paper back. In Biographies I had to choose between Jane Boleyn, Catherine de Medici, and the Borgia’s. The Borgia’s were pretty screwed up, so I thought they’d be the most interesting. I also found this incredibly beautiful journal (the design continues on the back, but isn’t shown). It was a little under $10. It caught my eye immediately, and once I looked inside I knew I had to have it. All the outside of the pages are in beautiful, vibrantly colored designs. You can see a little bit of the inside here. If I had I scanner I’d scan some pages in. Most of journals I buy lay untouched anyway, but this one is way to pretty to write in. I’ll have to put it somewhere safe.

After that I had to go get what was supposed to be my Visa gift card, but the mall completely screwed us over. There were signs everywhere for their new American Express cards, and they made it seem like they didn’t sell the Visa ones anymore. Then when we neared the counter I saw a small sign up there for the “US Bank Issued” Visa gift cards, and they made it seem like there was a monthly fee on them, like the Green Dot cards. The woman up there immediately swooped down and didn’t even give me a chance to look over the signs and said that there was a monthly fee on them. Either she was lying or didn’t know what she was talking about, because after I got the card and was able to read the sign, I saw that it was the same old Visa gift card, the monthly fee they were talking about was the same one they always had in place, after a year of the cards activation. So obviously they’re pushing these Amex cards and scamming people to do it. The woman also said you could activate the card online to be able to use it on the internet, and no, you can’t, that’s only for Visa. I had to have my mom call the place to get it activated for me.

My mother and I were really starving by then, so we walked from the mall to Eat’n Park, the only restaurant near there (besides crappy TGI Fridays and Olive Garden). I had my usual chicken fillets, and after complaining about how much she hates Eat’n Park, my mom finally decided to go with the salad bar. The chicken fillets come in 4 or 5 pieces and I was going to go with the 4 piece so I could try their lava cake dessert, but I thought what I always do “Well I haven’t eaten in a while, and I’m really hungry, so I think I’ll be able to do it.” Wrong. I always know that’ll happen but I never listen to my better judgement. My mom and I always sadly joke about it, we’re “fat” people (chubby really, we’re not like real fat people) who can’t eat. It’s not fair. We’re “fat” people who can’t eat like fat people. What’s the point of being “fat” if you can’t eat? We eat a little bit and we’re full. My mom only had a small plate from the salad bar with coleslaw, little tomatoes, olives, a piece of cantaloupe, lettuce, and other rabbit food and was full. It’s ridiculous. Most people eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but we could never do that, no matter how light the meal was.

This is the last time we’ll be going to South Hills Village for a while. We usually don’t go there a lot anyway, just twice a year to get my cards. But it’s really going to be hard from now on. Pittsburgh Port Authority is completely messing up their schedules, cutting service, and renaming lines. Instead of the lines being named so you know where you’re going, it’s just going to be colors. Blue line, red line, etc. People don’t know what they’re doing now, no one’s going to know what to do when this crap starts next week. Now it’s going to take two buses or two street cars both ways to get to and from the mall. You have to get on the public transportation method of your choice, go most of the way, get off, get on another bus or street car, and go the rest of the way, to the mall and back. They already started doing two street cars going from the mall about a year ago. We had to do it today, and for some reason they switched the street car going back to the other side of the track, the side that’s supposed to go toward the mall, and the trolley going to the mall was on the side it’s supposed to go back on. But we had to get the first, and everyone else switching got there before us, because my mom asked for a transfer to switch cars. All this changing cars costs extra money, you have to pay for your ride halfway, then pay the rest of the way, and my mom wasn’t having it. So the jerk driver didn’t let us cross before he went, and blocked us waiting at the light. So we got to stand there for a few minutes before we could go (after that we had the mess trying to figure out what trolley to get on, since they switched sides). And that was my day. My mom’s going back to work tomorrow, so I don’t know when I’ll be out again. I never did get to go to Red Lobster, so hopefully we’ll go in a few weeks.

Before I started writing this I had to buy my anti-virus. I decided to go with Norton despite their spammy popups I’ve gotten everday since my trial expired (like 5 a day) and their large amounts of CPU usage (once it took me to 99%). But it was an ordeal. I found a coupon for 20% off on retailmenot (20OFFTOP). It took $15.40 off the $69.99 Internet Security + $6.99 download insurance, and with the $4.31 tax and $1.00 extra charge to my card it ended up costing $66.89. When I was filling out the order for it I kept getting a “session expired” error and had to start over 5 or 6 times. I finally figured out they did that to stop people from de-selecting the auto-renew since whenever I did that it redirected me to the other page. It was annoying, but I just changed it on their member website. There’ll be nothing left to charge to by then anyway. Now I finally have real anti-virus again.