Monday, September 29, 2008

Mah Little Dumplin'

Yesterday, I roasted a chicken, which I bought on Saturday, for dinner. Didn't do anything special, except actually take the time to baste it every thirty minutes, instead of wrapping it in foil and hoping that it'll get some color during the last bit of cooking when the foil is bravely removed.

I learned, though, that I really need a smaller roasting pan thing. Mine's huge. Like turkey sized, huge. To be, sort of, fair to myself, it was the only roasting pan they had when I bought it and I did, silly me, imagine serving turkey dinners. Still, I need to find one that's chicken sized. And I'd like it to be more rounded than square.

See the problem with having a large pan for a small, in comparison to the pan, bird is that all the juice that drips quickly dries. To have anything with which to baste, I have to continually add water to the pan and hope that it'll still be there the next time I pull the bird out of the oven. It's not that I can't do it; it's just an extra step that I'd like to avoid. Plus, a smaller roasting pan would actually fit into the sink comfortably while washing dishes.

Still, when all was over the chicken came out well. I sprinkled it with my favorite pre-mixed herb, lemon pepper, and shoved some lemons up its butt. I also did lemon pepper rice. It was all very nice.

Tonight, as is the next day tradition when there's a chicken carcass around, comes soup. Already the bones were boiled and picked clean of flesh. Soon the fat will be skimmed and the veggies added. But tonight, instead of noodles in my soup, I am going to attempt the dumpling.

After checking my two cookbook and some places on the 'net, I have found that there are two ways people cook the dumpling. Many drop the dough into the broth then cover and allow to cook. Others say to rest the dumpling dough on the chicken out of the broth so it gets more of a schvitz than a bath. I shall, of course, be dropping.

Photo Phonday

#13 in a series of benches.
Click for embiggening.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fear and Loathing

Left work early yesterday. I just filled out the form saying I was sick, gave it to my supervisor to sign, and left.

I wasn't really sick, just fed-up, angry, frustrated, sad, depressed, afraid, and defeated.

It started, as usual, with the just waking up and coming to work thing. If you've read that post from a couple of days ago, you get it.

Then I read the responses to that post. To shorten and respond:

(Sorry, just too selfish to volunteer. Don't care to "help" people I don't care for or know.)

(From whom? From where? Is there a magical person or pill or something that will suddenly make me forget the frustration and annoyance work creates by it blocking my ability to do my work in a timely, efficient, and accurate manner and just go?)

(What cycle? Before this new program was forced upon us I didn't like my thoughtless, skill-less job, but it was tolerable. All the horribleness I've been experiencing is new to me.

Or is this in reference to the do nothingness at my apartment?)

(What's not worth feeling so bad? The job? Or quitting without another job in place and going to live with my parents all the while fearing that, as has happened in the past, I won't be able to find another job that doesn't involve me selling food and drinks to people and then smelling like the product I sell even after a shower?)

(The kind where I don't have to deal with people who want things or expect things or talk to me and yet I still get a paid a decent livable wage and a retirement fund that'll allow me to live comfortably when I'm older without having to work a part-time job.)

After that a coworker reminded me of a union meeting where they wanted to talk to us about the camel spunk program we're forced to use.

On the way to the meeting the supervisor cornered me to ask me how my job hunt was going. Then she decided to force feed me platitudes: "There's something out there waiting." (Well, I wish it'd stop waiting. I'm ready to move on!) "Everything will turn out in your favor." (I've yet to ever see evidence of that.) "It's always darkest before the dawn." (Bullshit, it's just as dark just before just before dawn as it is just before dawn.) "Good things come to those who wait." (Since when? I guess you can't say, "Help comes to those who help themselves" since so many interviews later I'm still at the same job.) "All you need is hope." (No, what I need is a new job.)

That really made thinking hard. Really, I only have the capacity to get through the day with bad thinking on only one subject. The shit program was the main one for yesterday because of the meeting. When she brought up job hunting and interviews and stuff that put another set of horrible thoughts in my head.

I rushed off to the meeting where the first thing I asked was what they hope to accomplish with this stuff. The lady said that they were holding these meetings at boards all over the state to find out what we all think. I asked again what, realistically, they hope to accomplish by gathering this information. What are they going to do with it? She glared at me, then sighed and said that at all the meet 'n greet, or what ever they're called, things people like her have with management, management keeps saying that this program works perfectly, better than expected, in fact, and that all the employees are happier than they've ever been. Basically, she told me, without using these actual words, that at these meet 'n greet things people like her want to have documentation to support them when they stand up and say "BULLSHIT!"

So we, her and eight people from my office, talked, well, complained really. Examples were given and suggestions were made. Will anything come of it? I have no faith in the union. Negotiations for our contract are going to be shut down after Tuesday so those who need to campaign can campaign during the month before the election. The Governator isn't going to have his people negotiate even if there's a lame duck legislature in November and December. Hell, he's even kept saying he's going to enforce his executive decision to keep our pay at $6.55 and hour and keep part-time people fired, at least until December. So, I think the meeting will do us no good and it didn't even make me feel good to complain with others.

On the way back from the meeting, knowing that I'd have to spend at least 30 minutes of vacation time on it, my supervisor cornered me and started going on about hope and faith and such fucking nonsense again. I pushed past her to get to my desk.

In my e-mail was a letter showing me jobs at schools. At schools dealing with annoying kids, but also their asshole parents. A lump grew in my throat.

I settled in, took a deep breath, and finished a pile of work, filled out the form, and said I was sick so I wouldn't have to be at work for five hours. I knew I wasn't going to be able to accomplish anything more for the day. I got it signed by the supervisor, who force fed some more clichés, and left.

At my apartment I basically did what I talked about in that post, just for five extra hours.

Around 8:30 this morning, my supervisor came over, put her hand on my shoulder, and asked how I was doing and, without waiting for an answer, started in again about a job search. I stopped her and told her that I can't have this conversation with her today or I'd have to leave again. She looked at me and smiled, like I was joking. Please leave, I said, moving my hands in a brushing away gesture. She moved out of my cubi and started in again. I interrupted her and said it was this sort of talk with her yesterday that made me leave and if she was planning to go on I'd have to leave again. She frowned at me. I turned back to my work and started talking. Please go, I said. She went.

Photo Phriday

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Note On How I Feel

I'm exhausted when I get to my apartment after work. If I thought I'd make it all the way until the next morning, I'd immediately (okay, I'd brush my teeth first) crawl into bed and sleep. But I know I can't. So I putter around. I heat up some food and I watch some TV on DVD. (This week, first season of Veronica Mars. If you haven't seen it put it in your Netflix queue. I doubt you'll regret it.) And I watch the clock. When 8 or 8:30 rolls around I pick myself up off the floor, clean up a bit, brush my teeth, and head off for my bed. And there I read. Some nights for a half hour some nights longer. When I'm done reading for the night, I turn off the light and hope that my brain will shut down so sleep can come soon. Eventually, my alarm clock EEEEENTs, sometimes waking me and sometimes only letting me know exactly what time it is, and I get up to get ready to go to a job that I hate.

Photo Phednesday

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008


12 1/2 work days.
16 1/2 days total.

It's hard to express just how much I'm looking forward to getting out of this place for a few days in October.

Photo Phonday

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Things I Did Today...

  • Bought a gift certificate for my dad's birthday, since I couldn't think of anything else to get him after a week of trying.
  • Learned that instead of five weeks away, my next turn at the front counter is in two weeks.
  • Got a new plan for how to use the new system at work, by using the new system as little as possible!
  • Took a pee. In the potty! Aimed for the freakin' bee. Left a pee for the next guy to take.
  • Took one break 30 minutes late and didn't get a chance to take the other.
  • Felt grateful for my parents.
  • Even the best option is worse than the old system.
  • Didn't talk like a fucking pirate once!
  • Read not nearly enough pages of my book.
  • Ate the last of some leftovers, this was day five. Don't think I'm sick of the meal, though.
  • Resisted the urge to explain to my supervisor why rotation is stupid and specialization would work better.
  • Listened as the left earphone died.
  • Thought about cheesy, garlicky, mashed potatoes that will be made tomorrow.
  • Moved all my crap back to my desk from the front counter desk.
  • Walked around clicking my pen.
  • Wondered why people I work with don't read much.
  • Worried about the state's budget, even if it does get signed this time.
  • Disappointed in my reaction to learning my cousin was in the hospital. Am I only occasionally such a bad person or am I always such a bad person?
  • Thought horrible thoughts.
  • Hopefully helped some people at the front counter.
  • Farted.

Photo Phriday

#8 in a series of benches.
Click for embiggening.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Can The End Times Move a Bit Faster? Please?

Last week, it was fun to complain with others about the shit-tastic program that we're forced to use. This week, it's more sad.

Photo Phursday

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008


The beginning of this article:
California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger risked further political isolation yesterday when he announced that he would veto a budget deal reached by Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature.

The deal aimed to put an end to an 80-day impasse over the state's $15.2bn (£8.4bn) budget gap. But Schwarzenegger rejected the compromise dubbing it a "tax increase with a smoke screen on it", and saying that it would push the problems into next year.

"It kicks that can down the alley," Schwarzenegger told a press conference in Sacramento. "I say enough is enough. Californians have been through this roller-coaster ride too many times and so this is why, when they send me a budget, I will veto it."

But legislators from both parties promised to oppose a veto and immediately return the budget to the governor's desk. Assembly leaders professed confidence that they could muster the two-thirds majority necessary to challenge the governor.

In turn Schwarzenegger said he would respond by sending "the hundreds of bills that sit on my desk back to legislators with my veto".
This month, I was supposed to get my yearly pay increase.

Photo Phednesday

#7 in a series of benches.
Click for embiggening.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Got my student loan statement/bill yesterday. I owe $3001.20. I have more than that in my savings account. Would really like to pay the damn thing off.

Should I?

Photo Phuesday

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Monday, September 15, 2008


Haven't slept well since this whole thing started. Weird dreams. (Question: Do you more often dream in the first or third person?) Erratically waking in the night even when I don't need to pee. Don't wake up more tired, but don't feel rested, either.

Work saps much brain power. Leave here very tired.

Sometimes don't want to go back to my apartment, but where else would I go?

Sorry for shitty life posts.

Photo Phonday

#6 in a series of benches.
Click for embiggening.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

3 Fucking Years

Yesterday completed three full years at this job. 1096 days with this job. 157840 minutes.

God, I wish I were happy about this.

Three years ago, I'm not supposed to be here still.

Here was my reasonable, if a little rose colored, plan:
1. Work and do a good job.
2. Take any tests that were available to me.
3. 12 to 18 months after being hired, find a job somewhere there is potential for growth.
4. Move to other job, perhaps in the same clerking position, but hopefully in a higher class.
5. Work and do a good job.
6. Take tests that could move me up the pay ladder.
7. In time bump up a level because they know I do my work.
8. Buy a house with a healthy bit of land five to seven years later.
9. Retire when I'm 65.

What's happened:
1. Worked hard and did a pretty good job.
2. Took the one test I'm qualified for, that was offered in the last three years, only to have the score eliminated six month, and two failed interviews, later even though the score was supposed to last for two years.
3. Been to about a dozen more interviews.
4. Paid off two student loans and pulled down my credit card debt to a point where I can pay it in full each month and now have actual money in savings account.
5. Broke a car miles from anywhere, got it towed, repaired it, engine started smoking.
6. Spent twenty dollars and saw my brother happier and more excited than I ever remember seeing him.
7. Free car from my parents, tire pops on way to their house for Christmas. Also tore the break line.
8. Tortured by worst computer program I've ever worked with.
9. Between those things, amassed a largish (to me) DVD collection with alternates between making me depressed and happy, which depresses a whole other way.

If the things that I dreamed that seemed reasonable don't happen, even when I work hard to make them happen, what does that mean for the more outlandish, but in the realm of possibility, dreams?

'Course that a rhetorical question. I know what it means.

I shouldn't have come today. I should have stayed in my apartment and just wallowed. I didn't want to feel weak, though.

Photo Phriday

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Today, Like It Appears Yearly, or Something

When I woke up this morning and showered and walked to work and sat at my desk and turned on my computer, it was just the eleventh. Then I started reading my feed and was reminded that today's the eleventh of September.

I leaned back in my chair for a moment and thought about what happened so many years ago. I leaned forward in my chair, read another post and realized that to me, today's just the eleventh. There's no difference between today and yesterday except the shadows are a little longer when I walk to my apartment after work.

I'm not sure when that happened. So, I wondered, has November 22nd ever been just the twenty-second for people born in the US in 1955 or earlier? Did it just sort of happen? Does it ever just not matter?

And, in my twisted way, what makes me feel guilty is how I don't feel guilty for thinking today was like any other piece-of-shit workday.

Anyone else feel like this?

Photo Phursday

#4 in a series of benches.
Click for embiggening.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Photo Phednesday

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Sometimes I like to think of her as Lavinia, but it's not.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Not Commenting

In my experience with computers and various programs, the more you use the easier things get. At the very best, you learn shortcuts you can use to make things go faster and you learn how more advanced features can make things better. At the worst, you get used to it and you work around the problems to finish what needs to get done. Either way, things get easier.

It hasn't worked this way with the new program at work.

Yes, it's only been two and a half weeks, but even in two and a half weeks of using a program, the things you do most often should seem easier because you know the steps.

Nothing has gotten easier. For anyone.

There are not shortcuts. Only the long way.

All the documents in the clerk work queue are called "Document Other Pull" so we have to click to bring up the page where we scroll down so we can click on the name of the doc that opens a new window where we click to allow us to see non-secure items which allows the document to be displayed in a shit Java MSPaint-wanna-be program where the document is way to small to read and we can't just click to make it bigger even though the mouse looks like a magnifying glass because that only makes the image smaller so we have to adjust the percentage or click the plus symbol and then adjust by grabbing the scroll bar, which is way to sensitive and as long as you keep pushing up, it keeps creating more white space to move up in. Oh, and I forgot to mention the 10-30 seconds worth of waiting in between each page or window for the damn thing to load.

And that's all to just view (Yeah, I split a fucking infinitive. English can do it and we should do it. Fucking Normans and their fucking stupid fucking French and its fucking influence on the English language.) the thing to see what it is. After that we decide what we should do with it. Sometimes that mean closing the task (one click) but mostly it means sending it to someone else (like 10 clicks intermixed with typing and searching).

During the last two weeks: I have heard two of the secretaries sob over this. One told me that she's cried more than once. I watched a court reporter throw her mouse at her keyboard. Instances of cussing have increased several times among everyone, and some have stopped doing it under their breath. And one day I felt like grabbing a man, dragging him out of the office and throwing him over the balcony.

I haven't written or replied to any e-mails during these last two weeks and I think I only wrote one response to a blog post. Sure, I'm still reading, but anytime I think of a response, it's more sarcastic than usual or just plain mean. Seems that I've been doing a good job of keeping the meanness and sarcasticness out of the replies I write here, but if it creeps in, it's my fucking blog and I can call a person a shit eating baby fucker if I want to.

It's been real hard to think positive or even neutral.

And at the rate I'm being offered new jobs, I'll never be positive again.

Photo Phuesday

#3 in a series of benches.
Click for embiggening.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Travel Plans: 3 Months, 3 Travelings

Not that they're exciting.

October: Celebrate Columbus Day by leaving work at 1PM on Friday and staying to Cowtown until Monday. Only two things planned: 1. A brief visit with Grandparents (Friday before I head up to parents' house, or over the weekend if there's already a planned visit with parents and other possible family). 2. Wash laundry without having to bring $10+ in quarters.

November: Early morning flight on a Tuesday to Oregon (theoretically 90 minutes later, which is much better than a 12 hour drive) to spend Thanksgiving with brother (some great art from him) and his girlyfriend. Also hope to buy an on sale Wii and/or DS. I wonder if there's a Wal*Mart near where they live?

December: Christmas in Cowtown. I think brother back east is coming out with his girlyfriend.

If I had the money, the courage, the self-esteem, a passport, etc., I'd go to Taipei in January. I don't have any of those things, though.

Photo Phonday

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Thursday, September 04, 2008

More Other

Still don't want to go on about the horrible.

So, saw the new X-Files movie. Before watching it, kept saying the subtitle as "I want to be good," rather than the actual "I Want To Believe." Was pretty good. Nice to see Mulder and Scully again. *Spoiler* Odd to watch them sleep in same bed and then in next scene call each other "Mulder" and "Scully" rather than "Fox" and "Dana." Do many lovers, who have been lovers for years, call each other by family name? *End Spoiler* Psychic guy was cool, but not as cool as Peter Boyle's psychic on the show. Villain properly freaky with properly freaky attack animal. Skinner still = awesome. Like with show, sort of wish science/logic right rather than creepy sci-fi/fantasy always right. Still, enjoyed the movie. Like one of the good episodes that didn't involve any of the ongoing conspiracies.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Very tired of repeating myself.

So, think I should say that new Batman movie was pretty good. Joker is a liar and a killer and fun, but not as fun as Joker in '90s cartoon. Batman voice annoying. Two Face face horrible in both wonderful way and annoying way. Fun to see Scarecrow again. Chicago as Gotham much better than BS Gotham in last movie, but still not as good as Gothic-deco Gotham from the '89 movie. Batmobile dying reminder of that rocket thing in the movie with The Penguin, hopefully ugly car totally dead now. Hong Kong = breath taking. Gordon is the real hero. Alfred should have upper crust accent, but Caine so danged good.

The Next...

Swiped from Daily Kos:
Jon: Senior Female and Women's Issues Correspondent Samantha Bee joins us now with more. Obviously, I know how moved you were by Senator Hillary Clinton's run for the presidency. How are you feeling now about this extraordinary moment?

Samantha: It's amazing, Jon. As a proud Vagina American myself, I can tell you I'll be voting for McCain in November.

Jon: That's it? You just vote for whoever has a ...

Samantha: A fun pouch.

Jon: The ...

Samantha: The Love Pita

Jon: Right. But in many ways Governor Palin is the ideological opposite of Senator Clinton.

Samantha: Oh yes, but she's her gynecological twin. You see the thing is. Let me explain. They both have vaginas ...

Jon: Yeah, yeah. No, no. I understand. I understand. But Senator McCain is somebody who voted against equal pay for equal work.

Samantha: Boobies (making circular gestures around her chest). They both have boobies.

Jon: But both Palin and McCain believe that Roe v. Wade should be over turned.

Samantha: Ow, ow, ow. Can you just stop overloading my lady brain? Ow. John McCain chose a woman who is almost completely unprepared for the job and who disagrees with me on every core value I believe in, but I will be voting McCain in November because he understands. Woman don't vote with the big head (pointing to her head). They vote with the little hood (pointing downward). Am I right ladies? You're with me! (Applause from crowd).
You can also watch it:

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Fuck Work

Do you know what would help with work, besides an icepick jabbed through my temple? A fruit pie. Like the Hostess things. Berry or chocolate or coconut or lemon or vanilla. Yeah, that'd be good.