31 July 2010

More cleaning

Soon my cave will be clean and functional once again.  I have 6 fewer bookshelves in my 385 square foot palace, which should reduce book dust and dampen my allergies.  I'm just filing away and tidying up the last bits.  I have an attack plan for the final day, which involves going to a laundry place that is apparently out of this world to wash my comforter for the first time in . . . too long and some other tasks that will allow me to have completely open floor space and a clean couch. 

I have decided the kitchen and bathroom will be separate projects for later in the week, so I can feel a sense of accomplishment about completing this 47 step project. 

Today, I left the cave only to exercise, do laundry, and bask in the sun while reading a nicely creepy book.  If cleaning is good for the soul, I think my soul will be healthier after this week.

What are your thoughts on cleaning/rearranging?

29 July 2010

Why my mom doesn't like it that I live in the big city

Today, for the first time, I was menaced with a gun. It was hours ago, but I'm still kind of jittery.

It happened at one of my least favorite kinds of traffic nightmares in the city, where an access road that feeds onto an interstate intersects with the interstate exit less than 100 yards from a stoplight where, if you're on the access road and you need to turn left, you have to get across several lanes in a very short time, and it's particularly trying during rush hour.

I let a couple of slightly hysterical drivers getting off the interstate go ahead of me to get over to the right lane, which left me with even less space to get over to the left, so I was going to go for it when I saw a motorcycle flying up the exit ramp. He nearly ran into me, but we avoided a collision because I was paying attention and God was watching over me (and if there are guardian angels, I really hope mine gets some sort of hazard bonus or a lot of vacation time).

I obligingly stopped, so he could get over, since he seemed in much more of a hurry than I was, and he was kind of wild and scary looking with his longish, matted ginger, helmet-less hair blown all over the place. He pulled his motorcycle to within inches of my left front bumper, blocking my exit, and pulled back his vest slowly, deliberately, and a tad theatrically to show me that he had a gun and he was not afraid to use it.

We sat like this for several moments while he glared at me and basked in whatever feeling of power it gave him to threaten a lone woman in a car with a gun for causing him to pay attention and slow down a bit before he remembered that he had somewhere to be in a hurry and pulled away.  I was not particularly comforted by the fact that there was a police station three blocks away. Obviously that fact didn't bother him.

It was kind of scary. I thank God it wasn't any worse.

I'm afraid I may be even less favorably inclined towards motorcyclists now. My apologies to those of you who drive sanely and are law-abiding citizens who don't threaten people with guns.

On a more positive note, the great book migration is mostly over, and we should once again be back to regularly scheduled blog posting here every Tuesday and Saturday.

20 July 2010

Adventures in cubeville

Why Your HR Person Is Not a Tech Writer

Directions given: Once you get to HR, take a right and then another right, and I'm there on the right.
Actual directions: Get to HR, take a right, two straights, another right, a straight, and then a left, and it's there on the right.

And then when you finally find the place, you find out that your disability nightmare isn't really over yet.  Oh, dear . . .  At least the HR person wasn't Catbert.

18 July 2010

Chuck and the moving marathon

Some good storms yesterday woohoo.  Not a good time to be on a computer . . .

I've been having a Chuck moving marathon as I prepare to transfer my library offsite (not into some poor schmuk's head).  It's been fun to have that show playing as I catalog and plan and organize fiddly things.  It's funny and goofy and moving and tense and really just fabulous entertainment.  Did anyone laugh really hard and feel warm nostalgia fuzzies from Quantum Leap when Scott Bakula said, "Oh, boy"?

The retail bits are still funny to me after my time in the retail trenches.  I particularly identify with the frustration of Chuck (and his family) as he does his job well, fends off idiotic management, and feels the accute squandering of his potential.  Chuck has (a la Miles Vorkosigan) lost all forward momentum, in his case because all his dreams came crashing down when the person he thought was his best friends framed him for cheating and got him kicked out of college just a semester shy of graduating.

My story wasn't nearly that dramatic, and I was getting a master's degree during my tour in retail, but my injury and subsequent crippling and increasing physical difficulty with doing the thing I wanted to do (write) . . .  Well, yeah, I really identify with Chuck.  Not, of course, the death-defying spy shenanigans, but, you know, basically, I do feel strongly connected. 


I kind of wish his quitting scene had been more glorious.  And that he had another job lined up because that would have been more responsible, but that sweet freedom of leaving retail . . .  Ah, smell the possibilities in the air.


So I really get a kick out of the show.  It works on a lot of levels and has a lot going for it.  Season 3 has a DVD release date now, and I'm looking forward to it (with lowered expectations due to what might prove to be a less enjoyable first half as Chuck does some dumb stuff [the fan reaction reminds me of the reaction to the Harry Potter book where Harry spend a lot of time behaving like a teenager]) and trying not to drool in consumerist frenzy.  Trying really hard.  Is September here yet?

13 July 2010

This week in giddiness

Things that are nice at work:
  • Parking ramp right next to my building: do you know how lovely it is to go to your car after work in the summer and get in and not be baked?
  • Hot chocolate: I may have mentioned this a few dozen times.  Free hot chocolate (the good kind).
  • A cube in a nicely laid out place where I can see natural light above my cube even though I am not near a window.
  • Nice co-workers who do not mind me being neurotic.
  • Competent, kind bosses who tell me that they hired me fully knowing I had no experience and are thus not waiting to smite me when I display my lack of experience, who tell me that they hired me because I had the skills and they believe I will be great, who say things like, "We go over this at least three times a year, so there are no surprises at performance review time.  Nobody likes to have something negative just dumped on them in a performance review."
  • Trees: our campus is so full of trees that even when you are walking in an enclosed tunnel, you look out and see birds and dragonflies and trees and clouds and the sky and stuff while you are not baking.
  • Going there does not make me miserable (confused, yes, but we'll take that over miserable any day).

10 July 2010

If you're happy for other people and you know it/them, buy their stuff

Isn't it funny how excited we get when people we know get famous or recognized or well-known?  It's not like we did anything, but we're so happy and excited that we want to tell everyone, "Hey, I know this person!  You should support them by buying their stuff!"

Just today I found out that an upperclassman I had a little interaction with in college published a book this year.  I wanted to buy it sight unseen just to support him.  (It's actually an interesting topic to me, though, so it's not like I'd be wasting money.)  I'd been keeping an eye on his career at one of the major publications in our area of interest, and I cheered when he got to write big articles, when he won an award, and now when he has an ISBN number!  I'm just so happy for him!

A band with a few members I went to high school with has a new single that's been getting a lot of airplay on the two radio stations that play their music in my area.  This is exciting because it's rare for their music to have serious cross-over appeal on both adult contemporary and rock stations. It's great because there's a xylophone involved.  It's also exciting because the music video is much less cringe-worthy than some of their others.  :)

I am very happy every time one of their songs comes on.  (It did get a little ridiculous the week I heard them played 27 times in one week [the record was the day I heard them 5 times in a 24 hour period when I was only in the car listening to the radio for a total of one hour].)

I bought trade magazines when they had features on the band.  I got ridiculously excited when I saw a guy wearing one of their t-shirts at my retail store far away from their main original fan-base in Ohio.  I was all smiles the day I read some really positive professional critic reviews online.  I bought their albums before I even heard any songs off them because I wanted to support my former classmates, and I was really pleased with their third album (my favorite so far), but I liked that one so much I haven't spent much time with #4, and #5 just came out this year, so I'll have to give those some serious consideration soon.

Piece of trivia: the lead vocalist started out as the drummer and was teaching himself/learning the piano by the time we were seniors because he was so serious about the band.

Did I mention it makes me giddy when I hear them on the radio.  :)

I like it when people work hard and get rewarded.  I like to rejoice with people.  

Am I the only one who gets excited like this?

06 July 2010

Tea gets in your eyes . . .

You know you're in sad shape when tea brings you to tears.  Well, that's not really fair; the tea just made me get a little choked up, but it was the hot chocolate that really made me cry.  My favorite kind (except with marshmallows, but essentially the same thing).  And coffee.  And four kinds of creamer.  Stir sticks.  (Also a working microwave, a cleanish fridge, 9 kinds of tea, 2 of which I actually kind of like.  A sink and actual dish soap.)  All freely provided and restocked daily by my new employer. (Okay, well, not the fridge, but it's there so I can put stuff in it.)

It's just the sort of thing you do when you care about your employees and want them to be happy and comfortable and hydrated.  And it's so very different from my last employer that I just kind of welled up. I'm glad no one was looking.  How would I explain why I was laughing and crying at the same time. . . ?

05 July 2010

A productive weekend by the numbers

I had a nice holiday weekend.  I really like the sound of that.  I got paid for not being at work.  It's kind of novel, and I plan to enjoy how much laundry I was able to 1) get done and 2) afford to do.  It's the simple things in life.

Also this weekend:
  • 0 mosquito bites
  • 1 dead computer resurrected but broken in the process
  • 1 afternoon in a pool floating around doing absolutely nothing (okay, maybe talking a bit of literature, but that was it)
  • 1 ouchie on my elbow from the edge of the pool (which = 0 short sleeved shirts for the next couple of weeks, somehow)
  • 1 eagle spotted from the car
  • 1 reorganized house plan
  • 1 blue screen of death
  • 1 baby who did not get sick after being around me
  • 1 good friend who just moved to the area to kibbitz with
  • 2 new charities I can afford to give to so far
  • 2 lovely, sprawling gardens to rest in
  • 2 kind families who invited me over for a day even though they don't know me from Adam
  • 3 discs of MacGyver season one playing in the background while I worked on my budget and tried to catch up on weeks of dead computer email
  • 3 essay ideas I'm drafting
  • 4 episodes of Chuck playing in the background while I cleaned and organized things
  • 5 more clearance items on ridiculous sale, hopefully fulfilling my shopping quotient for the next couple of years
  • 5 hours driving in the car
  • 6 ancient pairs of shoes I will give to charity because I can't wear them with my smashed foot ('04)
  • 7 pairs of shoes that died years ago (some back in the early 90s) that I hung onto for sentimental reasons despite the holes and my inability to wear them because of my smashed foot 
  • 8 books read (all manga)
  • X loads of laundry (I should go get that last one out before I forget)
  • (approximately) 25 times I almost drove off the road due to gawking at the landscape
  • 1 partridge in a pear tree (not really)
Ahhhhh, refreshing.