Monday, December 7, 2009

This Book is Exploding my Mind

From Nerds: Who The Are and Why We Need More of Them by David Anderegg:

The nerd/geek stereotype assumes, in its very essence, that nerds and
geeks, those who are "born to" a passion for precision, are somehow inhuman or
sick. But of course Melnick's work suggests an alternative explanation:
Nerd-labeled kids are those who have not had the indoctrination about the "cold
hard world" and the "warm soft mommy." These may be kids who have been lucky
enough to feel nurtured by precision, by exactitude, by detail, the ones who
have a warm, soft mommy (or daddy) whose favorite exciting thing to do with them
is not to cuddle up and make up stories but to look things up in a dictionary,
read the encyclopedia, or construct a machine and make it work. The degree of
brainwashing to which we have been subjected by our metaphoric entailments is
apparent when we think about the unlikeliness of this picture. But it is not
impossible; it happens all the time in nerd-labeled families. Perhaps we have
come to a time in human history when, as teachers and as parents, we need to
find a way to erase the distinction between the "cold hard world" and the "warm
soft mommy" once and for all, and impart the warmth and humanity of precision
and technology to our children.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Happy Saturday of equal parts housework, sleep, eating and loafing

I'm not usually a major fan of specific flash games- I like them well enough as a slack-jawed time-waster and something to keep me from thinking too much, but I've never really thought, "wow, that game is really well designed and challenging to my intellect."

Until last night, when I came across this game, via, and became so addicted that I fell asleep in the middle of a level, sitting in our living room chair, and woke up at 5:40 in the morning, computer still on my lap, lights still on.

You should try it. I've gone through all the levels once now, and I've got a feeling that although I found some pretty creative ways to get through each level, there's a lot more possibilities.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Vague Feelings of Discontent and What the Heck am I Doing with my Life

Also, Is This the Way It's Supposed to Be?

I was talking to my boss today (who else would I talk to?) and he was chastising me for something that plenty of other people have chastised me for, but something that really isn't hurting anyone so LAY OFF, PEOPLE, when he did some quick mental arithmetic about the amount of time a regular office-working type person spends awake and asleep at home. He came to the conclusion that most people only average about 3 awake-time hours per workday at home. I think he's overestimating the amount of time people spend sleeping, so I'd probably up that to around 5 hours per day, if you don't go out or do anything else after work.

Either way, this seems somehow wrong. Why is it that the place where we "live" is only a place where we stop by for a few hours a day? Shouldn't Home be the place where we spend the most time? Again, maybe I'm way off base here. Perhaps I have a weird, idealized 50's version of reality in my head and I don't really know what I'm talking about.

Perhaps I should just sleep less.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Favorite parts of the Sunday after Thanksgiving

Did you know that NOW IS THE TIME for Christmas music? I spent so much of my day today with Christmas music. And it's wonderful!

1. Wake up and take a shower. Listen to Christmas music in the shower.
2. Go to church. Oddly, no Christmas music there. We still seemed to be in Thanksgiving-land, as far as hymns were concerned.
3. Stay after church for choir practice. Christmas cantata!
4. Go home to make delicious leftover-turkey soup. Christmas in my iPod and my headphones!
5. Go to a different singing group (not choir) rehearsal. Christmas music that's kind of hard to learn. Also lots of laughing and giggling and weird-noise-making and other juvenile things. Because we're classy dudes and dames.

Although this was a great day, and there should probably be more days like it in my life, I think I might need to take a step back and pace myself. I've still got a hefty three and a half weeks to go, here.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Favorite parts of the Saturday After Thanksgiving

1. Burritos for dinner! No turkey at the table.
2. Hanging Christmas lights on my house. We are cheery!
3. Pulling massive Weeds From Mars out of our side yard and stripping all of their leaves off into the compost heap. Some of them were taller than me.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Gasp! Is America better than Canadia?

I think that perhaps the best part of Thanksgiving is that night, after you've stuffed yourself full, and you're sitting there on the couch, watching a movie or reading a book, and you get that sudden rush of happiness when you realize that... the next day is FRIDAY.

If I hadn't been full to the point of exploding, I would have jumped up and done some gleeful capering at that moment.

As much as I love Canada, this is one area where America has them beat: we were wise enough to put our Thanksgiving on a Thursday, giving us a nice four-day weekend. Take that, you Monday-Thanksgivingers!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Quick addition to my Christmas List

The Color Red by Andrew Rose Gregory. He just changed his website around so you can't just listen to the whole album. Sigh.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving Thanks and the Airing of Grievances

Things that are great:

My family, even though they criticize me

Sour Patch Kids, even though they give me cavities

My job, even though it's driving me to an early grave or an asylum

My neat body that can do things like bake bread and ride bikes all over creation, even though I could kill my elbow right now (if it doesn't kill me first)

Things that kind of suck:

The timing of life in general-- why is it that you can never have leisure, youth, and money all at the same time?

Our dumb internet connection at home-- we are paying you people money so that we can connect to the internet, so why is it that we have issues with people unintentionally kicking each other off the wireless connection every single day?

Food-- why must it be at the same time so delicious and so fattening?

My skin-- how is it that some parts of me (forehead, armpits) can have so much moisture, when other parts of me (elbows, knees, heels) are drier than the Sahara?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This is my Grown-Up Christmas List

Please buy me:

1. A black French Bulldog that I can name Rufus Wainwright.

2. A VPU? We've got this wall in our house that would be great to project things like The Endless Summer and Muppets From Space onto. This might also require some sort of speaker setup, though.

3. Some ulcer medication, because I'm definitely going to need it by the time Christmas rolls around.

4. Terrible Earrings to strike fear into the hearts of my enemies and desire into the hearts of the men around me.

5. A day at the spa or something.

6. A portrait of Hippy?

Please don't buy me:

1. The Planet Earth series. Amazon was selling it for $30 today and I couldn't resist.

2. Long-john-looking pajama bottoms. I've got enough of those. Slacks-shaped flannelly pj bottoms are welcome, though.

3. Non-Terrible Earrings

Monday, November 23, 2009

Things You Can Sit On (alternately, things that can be flushed)

A toilet

Your car's radiator

An embarrassed person

Your liver

A surprised game fowl

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Say What?

Last night one of my roommates interrupted my story of the race to ask what the word gump meant. I gave her my "are you really that dumb" look that I probably use too often (and probably should work on not giving anymore), and explained what it meant.

Then I saw Canofjam's comment, pondering on the same word. I generally give her more credit on those kinds of things, so I started to wonder. Maybe this word isn't as well-known as I thought it was.

I checked The Internet.



I googled "gump." Lots of Forrest Gump references and Return to Oz references, and even one for Weird Al.

I googled "gump definition." All I got was about dunces and oafs. Even the slang dictionary only gave that definition.


I started writing this post up, shaking my head and wondering what other fake words my family has taught me, what other family folklores there are that I think are universal but really don't make sense to anyone else.

I tried The Internet once more. I googled "gump toilet."

Ah Hah! Southern California company that rents out portable toilets. Andy Gump Toilets. The world starts to make sense again, why my friends wouldn't know the word that is a solid, if not integral, part of my language.

For all you non-Southern Californians out there, a gump is a portable toilet. I guess Port-a-Potty is a less regional name for it that people might know.

So now you know.

Now I have to go see about the clothespin on your mother-in-law's tongue.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I saw it on my bike today: Race Day Version

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Lady getting ready to flash someone from the side of the road
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People holding trays full of bananas and watermelon and creepy PBJ's
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Scary crash a few yards ahead of me
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Aid station with people I know. Brusquely happy talking.
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Dad's cell phone falling to the ground
Cyclist face
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Battered cell phone
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My bicycle's computer falling to the ground
Dad riding against the current to get my computer
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Balloon archway
Dad's palm, ready for a finish-line high five

Friday, November 20, 2009

A la Mimi Smartypants

1. Today was some sort of Balloon Glow on campus that apparently was advertised more strongly at elementary schools than actually on campus. I saw the (in?)famous Remax hot air balloon and waded through a sea of bad-mannered pedestrians on my bike. I count the evening a success because I didn't run over or yell at any children or their parents, and also didn't get inconvenienced too much. Also, marching band music!

2. I am sad because although Breaking Away is probably the perfect thing to show in the historic theater the night before a bike race, many of the people who would want to watch it are wanting to rest up and prepare for their grueling day ahead. I wish I could go to the Theater, but I've got jerseys to wash. Hmph.

3. I heard one of the more awesome reggae songs on the radio tonight. I can't say for sure, but I would guess that it's called Free Marijuana. Some of my favorite lyrics: "the whole wide world, crying for ganja to be free!" and also the gem, "it's good for glaucoma!" Who can refute such well-stated platforms as those?

4. Ganja Tales! Sorry, I couldn't resist. From the reviews: "It's not solely a pot book- it's about universal human experiences," and "never trust a pit bull tripping shrooms."

5. I have begun the Christmas Shopping Process. The first thing I bought was actually something that I think will be perfect for the recipient, rather than my usual beginning-of-shopping experience where I go to the bookstore and wander around aimlessly, purchasing books that I think look cool and then trying to decide who to give them to afterwards (although that also happened tonight).

6. Probably my favorite part of my job is when I get to make updates to our website, and I sit there clicking Refresh over and over and over again until the changes take effect and I can see new stuff pop up where there wasn't stuff before. It's the little joys in life that make it worthwhile.

7. Pugs and Donuts!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What in the world does Richard Do.doc

My old co-worker, Richard, was really a sweet guy. You couldn't ask for a more honest person, or more entertaining personality, to share a workplace with. When he left the office for bigger and better things, and I took over his position, he left me a Word document outlining the various duties that I should know about. Here's a little taste of what in the world Richard did (names of people and other things have been removed to protect the me). He sure left some big shoes to fill:

1. Website updating
a. You have updated content on the web using text pad and it is only easier using FrontPage. I am no web master, I simply link things or type text. In fact, anything complicated should be done by (our tech people), in fear that we will destroy the world.

2. (Routing program)
a. Ugh, I dislike this a lot. You know this is where we send Registration the course sections that are cancelled, some that have enrollments and the rest that MIGHT have enrollments. I miss (co-worker from another office) just picking them up. It seems like more work this way.

3. Student Schedules and Supervision
a. Well, I don’t know who will be doing this. Obviously supervision means supervise. Collecting the student’s schedules and making sure there is coverage can be done in many ways. I like to put it in an Excel Spreadsheet.

4. Listen to Video Game Music
a. Annoy those who over hear it.
b. You can find them on Youtube if your stash has run out.

5. Final Exam Schedule
a. (Student Worker) did all this work and (old co-worker) was the supervisor. So when I was “in charge” I just made sure that (Student Worker) was still breathing.
b. For now, we use the big paper, so that is your reference

6. (Scheduling Software)
a. Creating sections and events in (software) you know how to do
b. Anything crazy like creating a term or bulk room assignments belong in the scheduling documentation
c. When things go bonkers, all you can do is call (our main tech guy)
d. Remember, never delete anything from the Rooms tab. I almost destroyed the world.
e. (Boss) goes to a (software) conference once a year in (some city). Maybe you can tag along.

7. Attempt to be funny
a. Usually not met with much success
b. But at least I am having a good time

8. (Tech Group)
a. You have send helpdesk tickets before. You know that (tech group) pretty much does everything from creating logins to fixing our problems and anything techy or administrative in between…and always with a smile on their face.
b. They prefer a ticket from their website, but phone calls are accepted

9. (Reporting software)
a. You have a (reporting software) account, there really isn’t too much else exciting about it
b. To help someone else get one, go to
i. (boring url)
ii. I have never asked for someone’s access to be deleted…since it just expires…maybe I should be.

10. Eat lots of food
a. Hey, with a bunch of girls working here, someone has to pick up the slack.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Who's the Boss? (no, not Tony Danza)

I was sitting in my religious class tonight, after a long day at work (I don't know, maybe it wasn't a long day after all. I don't even remember anymore), thinking about spiritual stuff but also still kind of thinking about work and also trying not to fall asleep all at the same time. As I sat there pondering these things I realized something interesting, and I'm not sure what exactly it means. I realized that I spend probably about 36 hours more per week talking to, and talking about, my boss than I spend talking to, and talking about, God.

Is that weird? Is that a bad thing? I'm trying to imagine what God thinks of this, that I spend that much more time thinking about my boss than about Him. On the one hand, that's probably really bad, because my boss isn't going to do much about giving me eternal salvation or answering my prayers or redirecting drunk drivers so they don't hit me. In the grand scheme of things, God is pretty much the most important person in my life, hands down. On the other hand, though, I think He must be ok with this kind of thing happening, because I don't think that many people out there spend 40+ hours a week on Him. There are some people that do, yes, but most people, no. Plus, if we were really supposed to spend the majority of our time on God, I think He probably would have set aside more than just one day as the Sabbath; we'd have like six days of Sabbath and one day of labor.

I suppose it's just one of life's little quirks, but it is strange to think that if an alien landed on the planet and watched me for awhile, it would probably assume that my boss is more important to me than my God is. Maybe I need to rethink my life?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Favorites from tonight's concert

Favorite line: "This next song is called tch-tch-tch-tch-tch, tch-tch-tch-tch-tch."

Favorite song: definitely the very last one, they played it well plus it's already my favorite.

Favorite audience member(s): it's a toss-up between the guys in white shirts and grey sweaters that stood there like statues the whole time, right up at the front, and the couple directly in front of us that apparently had just one beer each but were dancing with abnormal exuberance and kept getting closer and closer to us till the guy's back was pretty much an inch away from my friend's nose.

Favorite medicine: Aspirin OH WHERE IS THE ASPIRIN. Apparently my head wasn't made for loud music.

Monday, November 16, 2009

On Sleeping Outside

I've always enjoyed camping, ever since I was very young when my family used to camp (this was before my mother asserted her dislike of the outdoors and general discomfort). Some of my warmest memories aren't even very good memories, but are fleeting images of green woody areas and a river (?) and a tent. Maybe it was somewhere in Oregon, I don't really know.

I don't get to go camping nearly as much anymore as I would like to; I just don't ever seem to have the time, and if I did have the time, I wouldn't have anyone to go with me. I have found an amazing solution to that problem, though, since we moved into a house with a backyard.

I'm not sure if you knew this, but back porch + old futon + sleeping bag = I may never sleep inside a building again. It's a combination of the best parts of camping (sleeping outside! Watching the stars! Fresh air! Night sounds!) and the best parts of living in a house (bed to sleep on! Indoor bathroom nearby! I can forage in the kitchen for breakfast! Roof in case it rains!). It was interesting that for the first week or so I felt a little nervous, like, what if a snake or bobcat or homeless person wanders into the yard while I'm asleep? But now that I've been out there for a couple of months, I feel more comfortable with the dark outside than I do with the dark inside. Plus it's just so nice to wake up, open my eyes, and see the rosy-fingered dawn just creeping up out of the east, making its way into my backyard.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Why my friend Carrie is All That

Because she always puts her best face on for the camera.

Because she insinuated herself into my life somehow, at an age where I wasn't really wanting to make new friends (but really when do I EVER want to make new friends?)

Because she is always happy, no matter what. And when she's not happy, she just temporarily frustrated, or perturbed, not depressed or angry.

Because she let me borrow her Safety Kids cd.

Because she finds the time to not only raise her daughter and go to school, but also to make peanut brittle and cupcakes and all kinds of nonessential lovely things on a regular basis.

Because she is kind to people that don't deserve it.

Because she let me be her daughter's godmother, even though we're not Catholic.

Because she makes the best of IT, whatever IT may be.

Because she is always excited to see me and to hear about my life. At least, if she isn't excited, she's a really good actor.

Because she makes the best Korean food I've ever tasted.

Because she's my most reliable source of hugs.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I saw it on my bike today: Dead or Alive

1. A deer

2. A dog

3. Scrubby bushes

4. A big crow

5. Sunflowers

6. A bunny

7. A javelina

8. My dad

Dead: 2, 5, 6, 7
Alive: 4, 8
Both: 3
Massacred: 1*

* Man, that thing was nasty. It looked like it got hit by a car, then a yeti found it and dragged it to the side of the road, and ripped off an entire leg from the hip area, then coyotes wandered by and chewed up its middle. The plus side of the situation was that it didn't smell. That is more than I can say for many unseen dead things near the road today.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Having let the holes in my ears close up early in my teendom (perhaps even before), I never really got the hang of wearing earrings of different shapes and sizes. Now that I got my ears pierced for a second time, I'm catching up on all the earringy goodness that I missed out on the first time around.

Today I wore one of my three new pairs of Terrible Gaudy Earrings. They look something like this, only turquoise colored, and massive:

As I rode my bike the mile or so from my car to my office, I discovered something important about massive earrings. They become like sails in the wind! I feared I might fly away before I got to work. Now that I know, I will be sure to check the forecast before choosing my headgear.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ways in which I am like a 13-year-old in charge of my own life

Still attracted to shiny things found on the street: cast-off earrings, ball bearings, quarter slugs.

Scabs are things to be picked at and picked at until they bleed or finally disappear.

Two words: brownie mixes.

I still feel compelled to stay up as late as possible BECAUSE I CAN. Never mind that I feel like crap every morning because of it.

My idea of a good time is riding bikes.

I despise and dread washing my hair. So much effort! So much time! So much having to touch my own hair!

If there is leftover cake in the house, you know what I'm having for breakfast each day until it's gone.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I've got a real post in the works, but until then...

I'll just let you chew on that for awhile. Magic shoulder dog!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ah, but how was the rest of your day?

I'm glad you asked! I'm also surprised that you're interested in knowing the minutiae of my day. Pretty soon I'll be telling you what I had for lunch.

In case you were doubtful that self-injury on treacle was anything other than a omen of a bad day, let me submit to you what happened in the following 17 hours:

1. I went to work. Need I say more? (not that I dislike my job in general. I just dislike my job... this year. It'll get better next year, I think) (plus, who wouldn't rather be on vacation than at work?)

2. I burnt the whole left side of the inside of my mouth on subpar PastaRoni angel hair and nasty herbs.

3. I went to the park to play kickball but instead spent my time picking 86 bulls heads out of the bottoms of my shoes. 33 on the left shoe, 53 on the right shoe.

4. I tried to get to bed as early as possible, and was thwarted by the just-loaded washing machine when it unexpectedly started leaking water. This resulted in gross laundry room floor mopping, wet laundry relocation, sucking on a hose full of dirt, water, laundry detergent and possible scorpions. Also washing a large load of laundry by hand in the bathtub (turns out that twisting a soaking shirt around and around to remove excess water is incredibly painful for a person with a broken elbow and a treacle cut on their hand). Also not getting to bed until much later than expected and desired.

Monday, November 9, 2009

How to tell your day isn't going to be easy

You wake up having to go to the bathroom an hour before you usually wake up.

Your roommate is in the shower when you need to get in, and she takes a really long time.

You rip a hole in your english muffin that you're about to toast, making it impossible to butter and eat it tidily.

You cut your thumb open. On treacle.

Look out, world! I'm on my way.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Some URLs that would make me sad if they suddenly disappeared

You should go out there and read and watch. You will be happy you did. I will also be happy you did.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Every once in a while I realize something about society's unwritten laws that had somehow previously escaped me. This week I had one of these epiphanies while on a lunch break at work. I picked up the student newspaper that is widely read and generally pretty ok as far as college newspapers are concerned, and flipped to my favorite page- the one with the crossword on it. The crossword happens to be on the same page as the comics, and as I glanced over them I realized that not one of them was funny. About 75% of them were badly drawn, too. Thinking back to previous years and previous comics, I couldn't think of one example of any student newspaper comic that I enjoyed.

I can reach three conclusions from my experience: 1. I just have had bad luck and there are good student paper comics out there, somewhere. 2. There is an unwritten law that states that no funny comics can be posted in college or high school papers. 3. The type of people that write good comics are not the type of people to go to college.

Friday, November 6, 2009

An Open Letter to my Elbow

Dear Elbow,

Why do you hate me?

Is it because I fell on you and broke you a little? Because if it is, you're sure holding a grudge. That was like, two months and one week ago. How long can you punish me for an accident? That's pretty unchristian of you to not forgive.

But seriously, if you could find it in your heart to forgive me, I'd really appreciate it. It's getting a little bit aggravating to feel you EVERY. SINGLE. MOMENT. of the day.

I promise I won't fall down on you again? I promise I will take care of you better? I will buy you chocolates and, um, a bouquet of carnations if you would please stop hurting.

Thank you.

Love and kisses,


*Ed. note: Due to technical difficulties, also known as me sleepily hitting "Save Now" instead of "Publish Post," this post has been retroactively added to reflect the true date of authorship. Sorry bout that.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Remember, remember the 5th of November

After years of wanting and meaning to hold a Guy Fawkes Day celebration, and years of only remembering on the 6th of November, today I finally held a celebration to commemorate this infamous man.

I bought a silly little fire bowl for the backyard, and I made a terrible approximation of bangers and mash, and we ate McVitie's digestive biscuits for dessert, and it was quite fun to get together with some friends to sit around a campfire and talk.

Our effigy was decidedly a failure, as old, dry palo verde branches can be sharp and brittle. Our effigy was more like two branches tied haphazardly and loosely together in a "t" shape. Although the dry branches did go up beautifully and dramatically, some of the atmosphere was lost on the fact that the effigy was much larger than the fire bowl, and so had to be laid across-ways on top of the whole apparatus. We've learned a valuable lesson for next time in not trying to make an effigy out of dry branches, and especially not trying to do so in the dark. Next year, things will be different.

Despite the setbacks the fire was friendly and happy and marshmallow-roastable, which is really all you need for such an occasion. Well, that, and some friends that don't bring up politics for the sole purpose of getting your goat.

One goal at a time, though, right?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Words, words, words

We were talking about words (among other things) tonight in class, and I wanted to put down a list of what words are and what they do for us. They are pretty amazing things.

We can explain with words.

We can exploit with words.

We can hurt with words.

We can build with words.

We can tease with words.

We can command with words.

Words are our servants.

Words are our authority.

Words give us meaning.

Words give us memory.

Words give us understanding.

Words reveal our commonalities.

Words distinguish our differences.

Words are beauty.

Words are truth.

Words are lies.

Books are words written to the unknown other.

Letters are words written to the known other.

Journals are words written to ourselves, known and unknown.

Words are our love and our power.

I sure wish I understood them better.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


This evening an old roommate and her husband and their not-quite-a-year-old child came over for dinner. Loud!

Then I got a call from my friend to ask if I wanted to go on a date with her and her just-over-a-year-old daughter. Fun! Then she also told me that she's expecting another kiddo. Exciting! I get to be a godmother again.

Also this woman that is friends with my boss came into the office the other day with her two year old daughter, who ate cake and wore a cute dress. Sweet!

It's like there's children all around me suddenly, which is kind of weird for me based on my usual experience with life. I'm the youngest in my family, so it's not like I grew up with little kids around me. I work at the University, which is a pretty adult-centric place, and basically all the people I ever see in any given week are adults. When I go to the grocery store it's usually like 10 in the evening so there aren't even kids there.

So on these odd days where there are kids everywhere, it makes me wonder if I'm missing something. Or like, maybe it would be fun, or at least the thing to do, to have one of them around in my own life. Everybody else is doing it!

In other news, today while I was sitting at my desk when the mole on my cheek was suddenly itchy, so I scratched it till it felt better. I continued sitting there, doing computery things, you know, Enabling Macros and Saving As and all that jazz, leaning my head in my hand. After a while I shifted positions and moved my hand away from my face, only to find that it (my hand) was covered in blood! Turns out I had scratched my mole so hard that it opened right up and started to drain out the contents of my head onto my face. It took some creative Kleenex work and embarrassing spit-rubbing in front of my co-workers to clean myself up again. Turns out there is a reason why I keep that old, unused compact of unflatteringly-colored blush in my purse, and that is that I have a mirror to look into to assess the damage when I wilfully rip open my skin.

On second thought, I suppose it's a good thing I don't have children. I can't even trust myself to not injure myself; how could I be expected to protect other defenseless people at the same time?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Existential Crisis, or How I am a Creature of Habit

I ran out of laundry detergent last week, and bought a different brand to replace it because the store I was at didn't have my usual. I did the wash last night and wore the freshly washed clothes for the first time today. This leads me to ask: Who am I? Am I not who I thought I was? What is my purpose in life? WHY DO I SMELL LIKE THIS?

I really felt incredibly awkward today as I walked around, seemingly in somebody else's aura, as if I kept on walking into rooms and sitting down in chairs just after some unknown phantom vacated the spot. I've been glancing over my shoulder all day, worried that whoever it was would come back in unexpectedly and demand to know what I was doing there before swaggering down the hall in the office, cursing loudly at the air. Although I suppose I should be glad that this didn't happen, I feel like it might have been somewhat cathartic and would have lent some sort of validation to the tenseness that I've felt all day.

Similar anguish of character has been triggered when I changed deodorants, styles of underwear, shampoos (that was a big one- I'm still not quite over it) and grocery stores.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Facts that, while true, paint a somewhat misleading picture of who I am

Total runtime of the Barenaked Ladies music on my hard drive: 7 hours, 34 minutes, 59 seconds.

I graduated from college Magna Cum Laude.

I haven't really watched tv in over three years.

My job involves building websites and configuring software.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Things I hope to do tomorrow

Wake up in my backyard (98% sure this will happen)

Ride my bike! (85%)

Be less stressed at work than I have been for the past two months (50%)

Maybe have lunch? (95%)

Do something fun at the park (90%)

Not get a nosebleed (50%. My nose and the air have been fighting recently for no reason)

Eat dinner in some fashion (85%)

Eat a mini Twix bar (110%)

Fall asleep in my backyard (98%)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Guaranteed to incite reactions

I don't know what it is about me, but there's some sort of aura around me that makes people behave strangely. Case in point: people in old, red jeeps.

Last week, as I was riding home from work, this young dude in an old red jeep nearly ran me over because he wasn't looking for oncoming traffic before pulling out into the road from a grocery store. No big deal, I braked, he saw me, he braked and looked sheepish as I rode past him. Standard procedure, right? Nope. He eventually did make it into the road, and as he passed me he shouted out "I'm sorry!" quite loudly and waved.

What am I supposed to think of this? People in cars don't talk to people on bikes. Unless they're whistling as they go by, or unless they personally know the biker. But ok. I accept your apology and and somewhat confused and grateful for it, I guess.

And then tonight! I was riding home from work again, wearing my work slacks all rolled up slovenly to my knees so I wouldn't get them ripped up or greasy, and I was stopped at a red light. This... female person... (too old to be a girl, too young to be a woman, too crass to be a lady) drove up into the right turn lane next to me, and started the most bizarre conversation with me that I've had in a long time. During the time she was waiting to turn right, she chastised me for not "rocking out" to Whitesnake, made inappropriately generous assumptions about who slaps my backside (and whether or not it jiggles on those occasions), mimed fellatio ("practice makes perfect!"), and asked me how much weight I've lost (what, in my lifetime? In the past three months? Since we began this conversation?). Then she just drove off, leaving me in a cloud of exhaust and bewilderment.

What is it about me that invites people to just talk to me whenever they feel like it? I'm just trying to get home so I can spend a few hours unconscious before another day of stress and hard work. Please don't talk to me.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Recess: The Revenge!

Tonight I fingerpainted Kermit the Frog on a bicycle (my friend did a stunningly accurate Boba Fett and R2D2), ate Oreos and chocolate milk and Gushers and Fruit by the Foot, played Pictionary of 80's pop culture icons, sang along with Disney songs, played tetherball and four-square, and watched Muppet Treasure Island while lying on the floor on my stomach. Then I rode my bike home.

It's good to be a kid again, even if for just a few hours.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sorry excuse for a post: somebody else's poem.

One should always be drunk. That’s all that matters;
that’s our one imperative need. So as not to feel Time’s
horrible burden one which breaks your shoulders and bows
you down, you must get drunk without cease.

But with what?
With wine, poetry, or virtue
as you choose.
But get drunk.

And if, at some time, on steps of a palace,
in the green grass of a ditch,
in the bleak solitude of your room,
you are waking and the drunkenness has already abated,
ask the wind, the wave, the stars, the clock,
all that which flees,
all that which groans,
all that which rolls,
all that which sings,
all that which speaks,
ask them, what time it is;
and the wind, the wave, the stars, the birds, and the clock,
they will all reply:
“It is time to get drunk!

So that you may not be the martyred slaves of Time,
get drunk, get drunk,
and never pause for rest!
With wine, poetry, or virtue,
as you choose!”

- Charles Baudelaire

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Harder to do with a fractured elbow? Yes or No.

Scrub the toilet: yes.
Eat with a fork: yes.
Type: no.
Use a mouse: yes.
Drive a car with manual transmission: yes.
Get to work on time: no, but don't tell my boss.
Watch silly videos on youtube: no, thank goodness.
Twist your arm about one degree in a clockwise manner: HOLY MACKEREL YES.
Brush hair, shampoo hair, scratch head: yes.
Deal with the way no pianist seems to be able to count out how long the long notes at the end of each phrase in "Be Still My Soul (Finlandia)" are IT'S FIVE BEATS PEOPLE: always hard, fractured elbow or not. I'm just grumpier about it when I'm in pain.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why my friend Krista is All That

She has a garden (usually).

She is like the other half of my brain- the more likeable, friendly half.

She loves me enough to be trusted with my most awkward moments and will listen to the things that I never tell anyone else. I don't know if she's aware of how important that is to me, but she's really the Only Person that I can actually verbalize the things that go on in my head to. Talking to her is like lying down on my favorite couch- I feel completely comfortable and don't have to worry that she'll take things the wrong way.

Also she has amazingly attractive red hair.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

This is the part where I get close to having an epiphany, but don't actually have one

Once upon a time, in a vain attempt to understand me and my weirdo brain, my mother asked me how I think. Which is a kind of hard-to-answer question, if you think about it. "How do you think" is about as easy to describe as "what does it feel like to breathe" or "what does blue look like." You've only ever done it one way and therefore have no basis of comparison.

The final answer that we came to was that while she (my mother) thinks in a kind of... string of words?, I think in a picture. In fact, pretty much none of my thinking happens with words anywhere attached. This explains a lot about how I act and feel in general, so I'm happy that we figured that out.

The weird thing, then, is that recently I've noticed that when I'm very tired, and in that same almost-asleep state where you dream that you're walking along a curb and suddenly fall off it, or a car drives by really close and you have to leap out of the way, and your muscles jerk around and wake you up, I've been having... word dreams. Like, not really a dream, so much as a floating persona in front of me, saying words at me. I can hear someone, my friend or relation or coworker, saying these words, these words clearly and in a kind of loud but conversational tone. Words like amorphous and defensible and caricature and baffled and leeway. The words are spoken in a string and I can recognize each word, but only after they've said about twenty words or so and I startle myself awake do I realize that they weren't actually saying sentences at all, but long strings of nice-sounding words.

I wish I understood me and my weirdo brain.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hip hip hurray, tomorrow's the big day!

Not that you've seen me around here recently anyway, but be prepared not to see me here in the next week and a half or so. Come back later for maybe a picture or two of the upcoming excitement.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

From the Wikipedia entry on Erdos-Bacon Number

Daniel Kleitman, a mathematician at MIT, was an advisor for the movie Good Will Hunting and appeared briefly as an uncredited extra. Minnie Driver, who appeared in that movie, also appeared in Sleepers with Kevin Bacon; as such, Kleitman's Bacon number is 2. He also coauthored a paper with Erdős. This gives him an Erdős–Bacon number of 3.

The only ways a lower number could be achieved would be:
- for an individual who had co-authored an academic paper with Paul Erdős to appear in a movie with Kevin Bacon;
- for Bacon to co-author an academic paper with someone with an Erdős number of 1, which would give Bacon an Erdős–Bacon number of 2;
- for anyone who appeared in the documentary N is a Number along with Erdős to appear in a film with Bacon, which would posthumously give Erdős an Erdős–Bacon number of 2;
- for Kevin Bacon to appear in a film that also uses stock footage of Erdős, giving Erdős an Erdős–Bacon number of 1;
- for a heretofore unknown joint academic paper by Bacon and Erdős to be published, giving Bacon an Erdős–Bacon number of 1.
- for Kevin Bacon to be revealed as Paul Erdős in disguise, giving Erdős-Bacon an Erdős-Bacon number of 0.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Why my friend Cammie is All That

She's smart and she's not afraid to use it.

She tries to live sustainably but she also eats brats on a regular basis.

She is my catalyst for doing cool stuff like dancing in public, going on vacation and buying CHiPs sunglasses.

She's kind of loud.

She consents to themed dinner and a movie nights with me.

She laughs a lot.

For all her amazing qualities, she is still fallible and human.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Clearing out all my old text messages. Here's my favorites. Some of them might be interesting, but maybe some aren't that great if you aren't me.

Yay for courage! -Cammie

Right. I will be there at a fish past 6:40. -Tyler

Up for some singing tonight? Beatles, baby! -Cammie

The line is sooo long, I am not standing in line for an hour for a burrito. -Richard

That's cool. I'm loafing around drinking grape juice. -Laura

We are not afraid. We shall live in peace. Deep in my heart I do believe, we shall overcome... Right?! -Isabel

*This one isn't a text at all, but a picture my Mom sent me of a shopping cart full of Mother's cookies*

Ceiling proctor is watching you fill in ur ovals. -Isabel

Really, what colors? I was getting choked by my shirt collar. -David

Isaiah 61:3. -Cammie

Have you lost your mind? -Mom

Is that a bicycle on your shirt or are you just happy to see me? -Cammie

And then I have codine for afterwards. What more does a guy need? -Killen

Or jamaica. -Tyler

I got really excited when I looked at a map! -Cammie

Woo! -Dad

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Holy Middle of May, Batman

Little things that need to be said

For someone not really talking about robots, Ira Glass certainly says the word "robot" a lot. Is it because his main goal in life is to narrate the innately human that robots are just kind of on his mind? Or do robots just come up in speech a lot in general? I will have to pay more attention to my own conversations and do some research.

I really need to track down a good recipe for lamb korma, because it is the food of the gods. If I was forced to eat that every day, I don't think I would mind as much as I would mind being forced to eat, say, Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Apparently Oprah has the power to bring fast food, and the population of the country, to its knees. This kind of ruined my lunch plans today. Curse you, Oprah!

I ran into my friend's house to grab something I'd left there this evening, and her roommate had some friends over as an end-of-semester type party. I was in the house no more than two minutes, just picking up my belongings and then walking back out, when one of the attendees, a person I want to describe as flamingly and outspoken-ly gay (but whom I won't describe that way because WHAT IF HE ISN'T AND I'M COMPLETELY WRONG ABOUT HIM), walked up to me and started talking to me. He was talking to me in the frank and open and unnecessarily personal way that only drunk people usually talk. Since I know that no alcohol was being served at the party I must draw my own conclusion that either a) he had provided his own libations or b) he must have thought I was someone else? Anyway. He walked over to me and began talking: "Thank you. You know, I LOVE the LDS. I really do. I love them with all my heart. My first voice teacher was a bishop and I just love him. You're all great. I know I'm just playing into stereotypes, but that's how I feel." About halfway through he lightly placed his fingertips on my belly in the way that most people would place their fingertips on a person's shoulder to make a serious point, and that kind of creeped me out, like, please don't touch me, I'm not worried about catching The Gay, but what if I catch The Overly Chatty?

Also, hurrah, because I didn't work this morning and because I blew off my usual Saturday bike ride with my Dad, I was able to get some major cleaning done! Laundry: hung up! Bedroom: cleaned and vaccuumed! Bathroom: spotless! Chinchilla cage: no longer full of poop! I also finally fixed the two flat tires my bike has had for the past two weeks, just in time for the thermometer to hit the triple digits and school to let out so I will be driving to work and parking for free for the next three months. The bright side to my bike needing to be fixed is that I finally broke down and bought a pump. This means that next time I have to fix a flat I won't have to walk down to the gas station around the corner to fill up my tires, although I may do it sometimes just for the sheer thrill of walking down the alley holding a wheel in my hand.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

This is how you know I should be asleep in my bed

When I sit around reading forums just because I'm awake, and then laugh big, barrel-chested laughs when I find this: "Maybe spending my formative years cleaning restrooms at a fast food joint has given me a bit of bias here, but I'm fairly certain that a couch in a guy's restroom would be a heinous piece of furnature that I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole."

Also when I look long and hard at the "Monetize" tab in blogger and wonder how they intend to make my blog more like Monet's. Why is there no tab labelled Michelangelize?

Also when as I'm doing both the above things I keep looking over my shoulder because I can very plainly hear my doppelganger sneaking up behind me, timing her steps with the rhythmic sway of the washer/drier. I hear you! You think you're being sneaky and silent but I can hear your presence behind me!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Safe as Howard's End

Hmm, in answer to your question, Lu, yeah, it worked in that the crocs became cleaner and the washing machine did not break. It did not work in that one of the little doohickies that keeps the strap on somehow opened up in the machine. It would have been less of a problem if I had put the doohicky back on the shoe in the correct place and snapped it back together. Unfortunately, I first had to make sure the snap thing on the doohicky still worked, and so snapped it together, unconnected to the shoe or the strap. Turns out those doohickies are dang strong and do not come apart for the WORLD. So now I have one nonworking shoe out of six. I was thinking of putting that shoe back together with an unraveled paper clip, but does anybody else have any grand ideas that are less white trash?

In other news, I've heard the term "safe as houses" twice during the past 24 hours, before which I can safely say I had never ever heard it at all, in my life. Has this always been a common phrase? Am I missing something? It isn't even that I heard it from similar sources- once was on a Shark Week episode of Mythbusters (I feel lucky that the one time I've felt like watching tv for the past, uh, three years or so, there was a Mythbusters marathon going on) and the other was spoken by Helena Bonham Carter's character in Howard's End.

Which brings me to my next point: what gives, Howard's End? I liked Where Angels Fear to Tread, I liked A Room With a View, I tried Howard's End, muscled through about half of it, failed to find the plot, and ground to a dejected halt. "I'll watch the movie," I thought. "Certainly with Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter, and, oh crud, you know, that dude. The Silence of the Lambs dude. You know his name. Anthony Hopkins! Certainly with those three niftiest of actors the movie will help me understand the awesomeness of the book. The book's a classic, right?

Turns out the book is a classic in the same way that the freaking Great Gatsby is a classic: because it's kind of boring, you feel nothing for the characters, and feel a little more than vaguely annoyed when you finish and realize you can't get those hours of your life back. They are gone forever.

Ok, so I guess that the movie at least had one redeeming quality- Emma Thompson had a few really amazing outfits. There was this one grey striped dress kind of in the middle of the movie, before she got all fancy, but only just before, and it was quite beautiful. And then at some point she's wandering around the outside of a... castle thing... and wearing a really fancy gold-ish dress that you don't get to see enough of because you're mostly looking at her back in that scene.

Anyway. Back to my point.

What was my point? Where was I going with this? I guess all I really wanted to say was that the movie sucked. And I'm glad I didn't keep reading the book, if that's where it was all heading anyway. That is all.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Simple pleasures

So yesterday, I did the most amazing thing! I cleaned my bedroom!

"... and underneath a dirty sock you found a hundred dollar bill?"

No. I just cleaned my room, is all. It made me feel good, so good in fact that today when I got home from work I vaccuumed it, and then I started to feel really adventurous and decided to clean my three pairs of crocs. They've been getting kind of sad and dusty, and I think it should be ok that I threw them all into the washing machine.

Please don't tell me if it's a bad idea, because it's already in progress. My roommates will be relieved, I am sure, that I didn't dump in a bunch of dish soap the way I wanted to. I thought better of it for the sake of the machine and people's clothes, and went with regular clothes detergent. Hopefully that gets them clean.

My favorite part? The amazing squeaky noises eminating from the hallway. All that wet croc material, rubbing up against itself! I love it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Thank You, Cathartic Internets

Holy mackerel, when did the internet get so funny? Maybe it's because I've spent most of this week being crushed by sadness and depression and general sitting-on-the-couch-after-work-alone time. And then today I get home from work and get on the computer at home (for the first time in a good while) and boom! People are saying all these great things!

In other words, it felt really, REALLY good to sit down and laugh out loud this afternoon. So good, in fact, that I will share the awesomeness that was our Pi Day Pi Party from last Saturday.... sometime. Tonight.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Until Then

So I've been having a hard time getting motivated enough to sit down with my computer and upload the pictures on my camera (frankly, I've been having a hard time getting motivated to do anything, including opening my eyes in the mornings), and until I get that done I won't be able to tell (show) the world about my adventureful weekend. I'm very excited to tell about the great times that were had by all on Saturday, which was a holiday for the math nerd in all of us, so perhaps tomorrow I'll get up the gumption (whoa that doesn't look right at all... gumtion? gumpshun? sigh. No longer am I my own dictionary) to get the ball rolling. I am sure everyone will wait patiently until then.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

No Curds or Whey Were Harmed in this Production

You know that show, America's Funniest Videos? Back when Bob Saget would make the funny voices for animals and you would sit your younger self down to laugh and laugh at others' misfortunes? Yes? Ok. Let's get more specific.

You know those ones where you see this woman in her kitchen, maybe she's baking a cake, maybe she's singing along to loud music? Maybe she's baking a yellow cake with orange zest in it that will be delicious, and singing and dancing while using the mixer because all her roommates are out and she can be as obnoxious as she wants while alone in the apartment? And then you see someone sneak up behind her with a fake spider on a fishing pole and lowers it down until it's about an inch from her eyebrows and she jumps three feet in the air and screams bloody murder?

Yeah, that just happened to me, except it was a Freaking Real Spider coming down from the ceiling, no fishing pole involved. Boy am I glad there was no one around to see that or capture it on an old 90's camcorder to send in to Bob Saget.

Friday, March 6, 2009

My Life is a Spelling Bee and I'm Winning

Last night as I was getting ready for bed my roommate popped her head in the door.

"Hey ViolaSaint, how do you spell mediocre?"

I told her, she said thanks, and walked back to her room.

This morning I was sitting at my desk and doing something or other, you know, working, and my phone rang. Looking at my caller ID, I saw it was my boss' cell phone. This is not uncommon, as he frequently disappears to meetings and otherwise walks around campus for hours at a time, meeting with people from everywhere and generally Getting Stuff Done. I picked up the phone.

"ViolaSaint! How do you spell cabbage?"

I let him know how to spell cabbage, he said ok, and hung up.

What the heck, folks? I know I'm very dependable as a dictionary and thesaurus, and so I'm handy to have around, but usually my services aren't needed twice within the same twelve hour period. Also, why in the world did my boss need to know how to spell cabbage? I can think of myriad reasons for my roommate to use the word mediocre, but cabbage? Really?

Monday, March 2, 2009

On an unrelated note, I dislike jogging about as much as I like sitting around talking and laughing with friends

So we got a new roommate recently (ok, so maybe it was a month or so ago by now), which means no more filling up the whole closet of clothes, no more naked time after showers, and no more falling asleep to weird music on the iPod for me. Which are all sad things to be without.

On the plus side, she's very nice and likes to laugh and likes to make other people laugh. She's easy to get along with, and thus far hasn't complained about anything I do, although I'm sure there are things to complain about.

My new favorite thing about the newbie roomie, the favorite thing that I just discovered this afternoon upon returning home from work, is that she is secretly Witch Hazel.

Yes, beneath that skinny, pretty, blonde exterior is a giggling, fat green witch with high-heeled boots. How do I know this? Simple. She leaves a little scattering of bobby pins all over the floor, whenever she (apparently) jumps onto her broom to fly off for the evening.

I'm not sure if the bobby pins will ever annoy or otherwise upset me, but for now it just makes me laugh, imagining her cackling and getting ready to split a hare with her big ol' cleaver.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Reasons I love the internet in general

And youtube in particular.

Here's a reason.

Here's another.

I guess these also might be reasons why I love Russians as well?

Friday, February 20, 2009


I once had a set of roommates that had this annoying habit. If they found something funny or otherwise entertaining, they would laugh for a few moments and then declare that they "almost peed [their] pants! Really!"

I think this bothered me mostly because hello, we are adults now and it is unnecessary and undistinguished to talk about pee. It annoyed me in the same way the whole "I just threw up a little in my mouth" thing annoyed me for a few years there where Everyone was saying it All The Time.

That being said, this McSweeney's List caught me so offguard that, well, you know. The rapidfire hilarity of the seventh and eighth entries is what really got me. And you know, I read these lists for the exact reason that I expect them to be funny. Somehow that one just really hit the right spot for me. Thank you, Eric Feezell.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thoughts on Hoboes

Discussion with my roommate: who has the moral upperhand? Hoboes or office drones? What is the American Dream, and is it different from the American Ideology? I contend that the American Dream is to get your money for nothing and your chicks for free, and that the American Ideology is that if the Dream doesn't come true, you will always be able to get the money if you just work hard enough. Being a hobo is the Dream, and the protestant work ethic is the backup. Eh?

On hoboes: My roommate couldn't be one for moral and also for hygienic reasons. She thinks she would not like to smell bad. I don't think I would mind, and that puts me in mind of the idea of pheromones. Are they real? Do they actually work, and if so, how? If you were in a room with a bunch of people, how would your Jacobsen's organ know which person was emitting the good pheromones? Is that the reason why people go on dates, is to cross-check in a number of situations and make sure that the pheromones remain constant? Could a person effectively mooch off a friend's irresistibility by never being separated from them? This seems a tricky business.

Also on hoboes: man, I'd like to be one. And barring that, I wish I could at least see one. I have always watched passing trains diligently when stopped at the crossing, hoping to see one of the majestic dying breed. Hoboes make me think of wheat fields and the Rootabaga Stories and why is there such a rich hobo tradition in our culture if hoboism is not the American Dream?

Bums vs. hoboes: what is the difference? I feel like there is something naturally inferior about bums, like maybe because they stay in the same place it's proven that they've simply got problems and can't afford or otherwise manage having a home. Hoboes, on the other hand, just have places to go, and keeping a home would be logistically a bad idea when they've constantly needing to be in different places. Hoboes are maybe bums with a purpose?

At one point, written on the wall of the music building on campus there was a message: no oboe can compare with the music of the soul, or something along those lines. Although it was happy and good-natured graffiti that made my day brighten every time I saw it, I also felt the urge to graffito the graffiti to read, no hoboe can compare with the music of the soul. I feel like defacement of state property can always be improved, and often without too much effort or added visual impact. One little letter could have changed a simpering hippie sentiment into a real good chuckle for the students, musicians and hoboes alike who used that building.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

This Moment is Accounted For

I'm currently in the middle of what I will call, for lack of a better term, a time audit. At the suggestion of the Austenite, I've created an excel file that has a running tally of every hour (it's actually accurate to five minutes, sort of) of my day. During the past three days, I've spent around 25 hours at work, 21 hours asleep, and close to 9 hours have been marked as "social," which basically means sitting around talking to roommates and/or watching movies with folks. I've spent between 2 and 3 hours each on exercise, computer time, and bathing, with service taking the smallest chunk of time at an hour and a half. I'm kind of adding categories as they come up, and although I had kind of planned on needing a "sinning" category for the hours I couldn't figure out what I was doing during the day (and thus must obviously have been sinning) I have so far been pretty good about marking stuff often enough that my time is all accounted for at the end of each day.

I'm kind of looking forward to analyzing everything at the end of the week to see what I can improve on (prediction: sleep more, spend less time on the computer). I was recently listening to an old This American Life about a guy who makes lists and tallies of everything he does every day for the past like 40 years, and I thought, "gee. I could be that guy, except I'd have statistical data for how long I did stuff for!" Obviously I need more sleep.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Time for Lunchtime Musings!

Which is worse: the fact that the lady who used to sit at my current desk spilled coffee down the front of it SOMETIME IN THE PAST and never cleaned it up, or the fact that I noticed it last week and I still haven't cleaned it up?

Followup question: does it matter?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Maybe I'll sit on the couch all day and watch movies

Two nights ago I was happily sitting and watching an old movie with my roommate and a friend, and something in the movie made me laugh. Not because it was meant to be funny, but something dated the movie, maybe it was when the leading lady was supposed to be crying but instead it looked like she had snorted a handful of pepper?

Anyway. So I started laughing too hard and choked on a little blob of misplaced spit, and suddenly I was coughing and couldn't stop, and then when I did stop, I still had to cough every couple of minutes for the rest of the evening. Weird, huh?

Then the next day I *still* had to cough every couple of minutes, all through the day at work, and on top of that my neck and back were really achey and sore, and then as I rode my bike home my throat hurt so bad from the breathing and the coughing and the achiness that I almost gave up halfway through my commute to live in the park for the rest of my life. And then I realized that I was sick, that I caught whatever it is that my roommate was home with.

While I was at work still, I went in the bathroom and looked down my throat in the mirror to see what I could see. Which is really silly, because I've never been one of those people who can look into a throat and see that the tonsils are too big, or whatever. I have some friends who can do that, but to be honest, when I look into my throat all I see is a bunch of flesh. I could have an alien life form nestled in there and I would never know.

So I went home at the end of the day and made myself and my roommate some chicken noodle soup which was pretty amazing, considering the fact that I could barely roll out the dough for the noodles without sitting down for a rest in the middle.

I'm finally starting to be congested today, but the achiness is starting to go away. It's like having a cold... in reverse! Starting with the weak, lingering cough, then the achey muscles, now the snot. In a few hours I'll probably start sneezing, and by tomorrow morning I'll be better!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Favorite passage from a lunchtime read

This is out of David Sedaris' When You are Engulfed in Flames, and I think that if you stop at just the right point in this section it's a beautifully poignant look at human nature. Fortunately for us, Sedaris goes beyond that point and gives us something to snort with laughter at in our offices.

"I remember once riding in the car with my dad. I was twelve, and it was just the two of us, coming home from the bank. We'd been silent for blocks, when out of nowhere he turned to me, saying, 'I want you to know that I've never once cheated on your mother.'

'Um. OK,' I said. And then he turned on the radio and listened to a football game.

Years later, I mentioned this incident to a friend, who speculated that my father had said this specifically because he had been unfaithful. 'That was a guilty conscience talking,' she said, but I knew that she was wrong. More likely my father was having some problem at work and needed to remind himself that he was not completely worthless. It sounds like something you'd read on a movie poster: sometimes the sins you haven't committed are all you have to hold on to. If you're really desperate, you might need to grope, saying, for example, 'I've never killed anyone with a hammer' or 'I've never stolen from anyone who didn't deserve it.' But whatever his faults, my dad did not have to stoop quite that low."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Not counting my chickens yet, but...

Dang, that's some fine cheese. I know because I made it and pressed it and dried it myself. I lovingly (perhaps a little paranoidly) turned it over and over as it dried, so one end wouldn't be any moister than the other. I smelled it sometimes.

Ok, I smelled it a lot. I smelled it every time I turned it over, perhaps 50 times in four days. Sometimes I smelled it twice when turning it over. Sometimes I smelled it in between turnings. It just smells good, ok? I'm not sure I can stand to wait a whole four weeks before eating it. More than once I nearly took a big chomp out of it while smelling. There might even have been drool.

I think I covet my cheese.

What I do not covet, however, is the crappy waxing job I did on it. Yes, that is a big ol' thumbprint in the top of the wax, and no, I don't own a pastry brush. Turns out that putting a few layers of wax onto a cheese without using a pastry brush and without burning your fingers is pretty difficult to do. But it's done! Now I have to wait. Probably the most difficult stage of all the cheesemaking stages. You should check back with me in a month. I'll let you know how it went.

Also? I've got two more gallons of milk in the fridge (it was on sale, I promise!) that will begin the process on Saturday. I'm stoked.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A promise I have no problem with

Alright, so yesterday I found an amazing book on a free books pile. A free books pile in itself is a beautiful thing, and when there's a book in there that looks interesting, it's just an added bonus. I've come across a couple of these books; sometimes I just take it because I like the cover (see: five paperbacks of, like, academic journal bibliographies swiped from a geography department in Canada, and an issue of American Quarterly with a picture of a woman wearing a gas mask while pushing her child in a stroller, also be-gas masked), while other times it's an actual book that I read and enjoy (like the memoirs of some blind guy on how being blind doesn't preclude you from being a normal guy).

The book I got yesterday was an encyclopedia of religion. Yes, you can open the book and find entries on faith, necromancy, and every kind of protestantism there was in 1945. I was standing there next to the book pile, gloating over my good fortune in finding this gem, when our Jane Austen-loving male friend came up and asked what I was reading. I showed him the book with glee, and he totally confirmed my good taste. Thank goodness, because on other occasions when I have been excited about things I have been shut down by people who do not understand the coolness! of the things! He got excited about the book and asked me to look up a few things, and expressed his jealousy that I got to it first.

Just as we were about to part, me going back to work and he going back to work on his comps, he asked in passing the name of the compiler. The best part! This man's name was Vergilius Ferm. If we ever had any doubt as to the legitimacy or accuracy of the book, or even the sheer wonder of the book, the name on the spine would be an instant reassurance. Vergilius Ferm. The stamp of authority. Vergilius Ferm! Before we parted, the Austenite made me promise that my firstborn son (or even my firstborn daughter) would be named Vergilius Ferm.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Things that Make the World a Sadder Place

Little Women (the Winona Ryder version)


Police chase video TV shows

Arm Fat (stomach fat and leg fat as well)

That scene in Animal Farm where the starving, cold animals smell barley wafting from the house and think the pigs are making them a warm mash, when they're really making beer for themselves. *Sob*.

Capitalism (sort of)

Things the World would be Sadder Without

Pyrex bowls

James Thurber

Dr Mario



Ice water



Hershey's fake white chocolate with minty sprinkles in it


The Beatles in general, and George Harrison in particular (also John Lennon [Ringo Starr as well {I guess Paul is ok, although, as Mimi Smartypants pointed out, he does look a little too much like Angela Lansbury now that he's old}])

The whole concept of dinner and a movie

Pamper-y bathroom things like lotion and nice soaps