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.