Friday, December 31, 2010

" Marley was dead, to begin with."

The mention of Marley's funeral brings me back to the point I started from. There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. If we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet's Father died before the play began, there would be nothing more remarkable in his taking a stroll at night, in an easterly wind, upon his own ramparts, than there would be in any other middle-aged gentleman rashly turning out after dark in a breezy spot -- say Saint Paul's Churchyard for instance -- literally to astonish his son's weak mind.

----A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

I bring that up only because I like it so much.

With great certainty I can write, "There hasn't be a single work day since Thanksgiving (US style) that I haven't thought I'd have been better off staying at my old job and just being. Odds are also pretty damned good that I've had the same thought on the weekends, too. With the possible exception of Christmas Day." and mean every single word.

My job exhausts me. I used to think that it was just my boss, but he's just a major part of it. How do I know this? Well, he's been gone all week.

With the jackass at work, I feel like I'm being constantly monitored for any little mistake. I misspell a name and I'm going to be called into his office and have to sign a letter of expectations. I'm in the bathroom when he needs me I'll get a talking to. I go to a staff meeting not ready to take the minutes when I haven't been told that I am the one who needs to take the minutes and he'll decide that they don't need me and I can go back to my old job.

With the jackass gone he's not there to distract me from my job. My job depends on people keeping their word. It depends on them showing up for their shifts. It depends on them being willing to cover holes in the staffing when someone calls in sick. It depends on the fucking generous nature of the shit-eating assholes. (To be fair, there are several really great nurses there who do come in for their shifts and work hard and well and fill behind others during the same shift, but the vast majority of the time they are unwilling to volunteer any extra time when the fuckheads call in sick on a motherfucking holiday because they're fucking assholes. (You'll have to pardon me.)) And that's been my experience this week.

When something goes wrong I'm not blamed, but I'm the first person that's turned to to solve the problem. "What's happened?" I'm asked. "What's your plan?" I'm asked. "Do you think we'll have to mandate someone to hold over?" I'm asked. "What are you going to do about it?" I'm asked. Oh, did I mention they ask these questions right after they get off the phone with the sick person and turn to me and say that the person just called in sick? No? Well, they expect me to have everything ready before the person calls in sick. To have someone waiting in the wings to be ushered on stage just in case the star isn't there. I'm sorry, though, this isn't the theater and the only understudies we have are at home and need plenty of notice because, guess what, when they're not on stage they make plans of their own to be elsewhere.

And so, when I go through days like this, I'm exhausted. Not physically, but mentally. I'm odd, I know that. For some dumb-ass reason I have this faith that most people are generally good and want to help out and make things easier for the people they work with day in day out. I don't know where this faith comes from. Everywhere I look when I'm around people I see the asshole-ish nature of the majority of them. I see how selfish and greed they are, but I keep fucking believing that they want to help, maybe not some faceless stranger, but that they want to help the fucking assholes they see every fucking day.

Shit. I'm sorry. I'm tired. I'm upset. I'm sick of the bullshit. I'm sick of not feeling secure. I'm sick of living in my parents' house because I want out of this job so much I'm willing to move again.

I'm just... I don't know, but I am.

Have a happy fucking new year.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Obligatory "It's been a while..." Post

Like more than a month.

Well, my excuse is only that my job tends to wear me out. My brain, at least. It drains me of my desire to do much of anything. Even sleep is hard to get. And it's not the work, not at all. The work is interesting and keeps my brain moving every day. It's my god damned boss. One day that man's going to wake up to find that he has no nurse supervisors and no office staff to help him and he's going to be miserable.

(My boss are also the reasons I haven't spent much of any time with anyone up here since I got back. I'm just not in a mood to be able to deal with people who haven't really experienced me on the lower end of my mood spectrum. Sorry about that.)

To rectify my situation I've prepared all the stuff needed to apply for a job with the local community college district.

That, however, creates a new problem. I really, really need to get out of my parents' house. I need to get into the solitude that I had before. I need a space of my own. (My dad insists that the room I'm using is my space, but it's also where he keeps his CD collection, and all their video cassettes and DVDs are, and where their old (like by ten years) computer is, and art books, and on and on. It's not really my space, just a bed and half-bath I'm borrowing for a while.) But the job I'm applying for is in Moo-ville, which is about 75 minutes away, if traffic is good. I'm not commuting like that. So, what's the point of entering into a lease of any kind? If things go really well, and I hope they go really well, there's a possibility of me moving in a couple of months.

Once again, I failed at NaNoWriMo. I wrote. Got maybe 10,000 words total. Not horrible considering how much work has pissed me off and I was pretty damned sick for a week and we spent nine days away from here to visit my brother, his wife, and their new baby in Oregon. Didn't actually finish anything, but that's how my cookie crumbles.

I'm sure there's plenty more to write, but not now. Not tonight. It's time to go and help with dinner, now.

Be well, peoples.

Monday, November 01, 2010

More Thorough Explanation

Don't feel so good about doing this, but I promised and explanation.

I don't like my boss. Part of me feels like he's picking on me, but the more logical part figures that since I'm the new one it's easy for him to ask how I'm doing and get an answer. Still, he jumps the gun on things.

Example 1:
Guys were moving my desk out of our office. I was told not to help, so I sat. One guy made a joke about lazy people when they came back and saw that the new desk wasn't moved in yet. I made a joke about me being very lazy.

Got that?

A couple of hours later, the supervisor for the guy who made the joke came to me and told me that I really offended the guy and I had to apologize. The next time I saw the guy, I apologized and everything seemed cool.

The next week my boss called me to his office and told me that he heard I had a problem with those guys. I told him I didn't. He told me that he heard there was a problem. I asked him what the problem was. He said he didn't know then told me that this was a warning.

Example 2:
I made a copy of a page I need to work on a report. There were some very confusing and sort of contradictory entries on the paper. To remind myself to ask about it on the next work day I drew an arrow to the problem area and wrote "WTF?" nearby.

I asked and was answered the next workday, but the woman I asked wanted to make a copy of my copy to show one of the supervisors. She did. I did my work and shredded my copy. The woman I asked ended up showing it to my boss. He called me into a meeting they were having, with the supervisor, and proceeded to tell me, in front of them, how inappropriate it was that I wrote that. I tuned out the rest and left, cowed.

A few days later he was meeting with the woman I asked and he called me in. Once I got in there he proceeded to hand me a letter stating what I did wrong by writing "WTF?" and mildly berated me. I signed the damned letter and listened to another lecture about why it was inappropriate. (Although I personally think those three letters are as inappropriate as saying "darn" or "shoot." Adults know what those words really mean.) He made a copy of the signed letter, told me the original would be in my personnel file and I left, angry this time.

Example 3:
A week or so after that, he was in my office talking to one of the women I share it with when he asked her to leave. He turned to me and said, "I hear you have a problem with [one of the supervisors]." I wanted to say WTF, but didn't. Instead I asked him what I did. He said he didn't know. (WTF!) He told me that when we speak around women we can't talk to them like we talk around other guys. (WTF MFer!) Then he asked if I noticed how he spoke to the women I share my office with. I told him that I didn't notice him speaking any differently to me that he did with any women. He looked taken aback by that. When he recovered he said I needed to go to the supervisor, apologize, and find out what I did. This was my final warning, he told me, next time he learns I've disrespected or offended someone I'm going to be punished.

What did I do? Well, the day before I gave that supervisor something that I was working on that was in a layout I designed. I was looking for criticism and advice. Near the end of the day, she brought it back to me and said it was okay. I said thanks and that I wanted to get my boss's opinion on the layout, too.

After I left for the day, she was speaking with my boss. He asked about me. She told him what I said, but, according to her, she said it in a here-something-odd-he-said-to-me way. She insisted that she wasn't offended or disrespected and that I didn't owe her an apology.

Ever since then I can feel my boss keeping a close watch on me.

And that's part of the reason for the stomach aches. It's like it was way back before I had a blog and was working at 'Bucks. (My manager was sort of trying to push me out or down or something. He'd constantly schedule me to open one morning (in at 4:30AM) and then close the next (There until at least 11:30PM) then I'd either get a day off or a short mid-day shift and the day after would be open then close again. And when I'd trade he'd get really pissed at me. It really sucked. Which is why I quit that one time then started to blog.) It really hurts me, mentally. Especially since I'm trying to hard to do a good job.

By the good graces of the god of shoe laces I'll get my letters of recommendation soon and have a job at the junior college by Christmas or New Year's.


I leave for work in 25 minutes. I already have a stomach ache. Three furlough days in a row did not make this place, my boss, better.

I'll try to explain more thoroughly this evening.

Be well, everyone.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

One of Many

When your stomach starts to ache as you drive to work, aches all day long, and stops aching when you drive off grounds, it's time to find a different job.

Monday, October 25, 2010


I am an uncle:

Her name is Sophie.

The world welcomes her.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

This Little Bugger

It's me, writing from work. I don't, however, remember the e-mail address to my blog, so this is going to be (has been?) e-mailed to my regular Gmail and then posted. What a convoluted way to do things.

Anyway, I'm really not a fan of my job.

I was talking to my uncle yesterday, one of the two who work here as officers, and told him that the thing that made working her depressing wasn't the inmates, but the staff that I work with. He told me that as long as he's worked as an officer the joke has always been that it's the staff that's crazy because we choose to come to prison. Doesn't matter that we get to leave after eight, or so, hours and have weekends off. We choose to be here.

Which isn't to say that all the people I work with are horrible, some aren't. At least one is pretty great. Many want too much from me because they don't want to deal with their supervisors, but I keep pointing them in that direction anyway.

The toughest part of my job, so far, is that I have to depend on people to do what they say they're going to do. I call them and set up for them to fill a shift. They tell me yes or no. If it's yes then I put them on the schedule and they are supposed to come in for that shift or call, in a timely manner, and say they can't make it. If they don't show I'm not quite blamed for it, but I hear about it and there are, often, subtle hint in voices that it's partially my fault. As if I should have known whether these people are dependable. I'll be finished with my fourth week on Friday, how can I know if these people are dependable or not?

The most annoying part of my job is the equipment. I have a chair that won't always stay up when I sit on it, but it stays up enough to give me hope so I keep raising it and it keeps sinking. I don't have a stapler or tape dispenser or drawers. The widescreen monitor I've been supplied with takes up nearly half the width of desk space and feels too close to my eyes.

And then there's my boss, which I really shouldn't get into. It makes me upset just dancing around the subject in my brain.

Well, that it from me at 1:30. Maybe more when I get to a computer at my parents' house and finally post the bugger.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Letter

Dear Ira Glass,

For years, I have heard your voice during pledge breaks asking people like me, people who haven't sent money into their local NPR stations, to please, pleeeeeeease, pick up the phone and offer support. I've heard you call and embarrass people who had listened to NPR for years, but had never pledged. And I've heard you interview people who listened to their NPR stations for years and how they felt when they weren't pledging (like enough people must pledge because the station goes on no matter what) and then how they felt when they finally did pledge (good, like they were part of something important). I've heard all of it and still scoffed and figured that if you were ever unlucky enough to call me I'd tell you the truth: I'm a selfish person. I'd like to see you put that on the radio!

Then came a change to my life. I left my old job that wasn't good but was comfortable for a new job that's in many way's worse than the old one, and I'm getting paid the same. I'm living with my parents, again. It's not horrible and it's temporary, but it's not at all where I want to be. I'm supposed to be an adult, right. Things are just... unsettled. I figured that I deserved to feel good about something... anything.

So, on Friday, after donating some money to NaNoWriMo, I went to my current NPR station's website and pledged some money. (About 12% of my current paycheck. I did it monthly to make it easier on my wallet. That's 1% of my money each month. (For the record, I did that math on the drive back from work this afternoon, during a pledge break.)) I'm not paying rent and I quit buying comics, so I had money to give. I filled out the information they wanted, address and such. I choose not to get any of the gifts; I'm not a fan of jazz. I hit the send button, or whatever they labeled the button, and waited.

I didn't feel any better.

I didn't feel like I was part of something bigger than myself or part of something good.

I just felt like I'd felt before I pledged.

Where was my moment of elation? Where?

Maybe, I thought, the good feelings took a while to settle in. Maybe on Saturday or Sunday.

Nope. Nothing.

I'm not angry or bitter or upset or anything like that. I had a little extra money and I spent it on something good, something very valuable. I'm just disappointed.

Thought you'd like to know, Mr. Glass.

Your pal,


Friday, October 15, 2010


Feel like a tool for not really blogging and never posting comments on other peoples' blogs and then I go and do something like this:

NaNoWriMo starts in about 16 days, depending on where you are in the world. I'm going to attempt it once again!

Will I finish 50000 words this year? If the growth in word count over the last, uh, four attempts is any sign, then yes!

Even if I don't accomplish it, though, I did send them a donation and would like to solicit any of you, who still pop by once in a while, to send them some bucks.

You can donate money. (Which is what I did and have done for the past three attempts.) Or you can buy stuff.

I'm sure the question is something along the lines of "Why should I pay money to a website that encourages failures who think they can write a novel in a month when they've never done it during the other 335 days in the year?" That's not the reason, though.

The reason to donate is the Young Writers Program. It helps to create a curriculum for teachers to set of a classroom version of NaNoWriMo and I think that's a good goal. Why? Well, here's a bit from the A Letter to Families section:
Some of the skills novel-writing builds:
  • Fluency: Writing so much in so little time boosts students’ proficiency in grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and will help them approach future writing assignments with ease and confidence.
  • Confidence: When creating so much text in such a short period of time, students realize just how much they can accomplish when they put their minds to it. NaNoWriMo leaves young writers asking themselves, “What’s next?”
  • Creativity: Creating characters, situations, dialogue, and even whole planets from scratch helps kids think, but it also teaches them how to apply their fanciful ideas to a full project.
  • Time Management: Our curriculum teaches students how to tackle a huge project by breaking it down into manageable bites!
Even though it's not mentioned, I bet that at least a few students out of every class that's part of the Young Writers Program will become readers, too. It seems to me that the USA, and the world, needs more people who read things, other than forums, on a regular basis. I wish the Young Writers Program had been around when I was a kid.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

That Lunch

My brother requested knowledge about that last (and technically first) lunch I had with my co-workers in the North Bay. Here goes:

My normal lunch back then was at 11:30, but the ladies didn't think they could get out of the office until noon, so I had to wait and explain to the other employees, without actually explaining anything, why I hadn't left for lunch. Me and three others was all I wanted. When asked, I dodged the issue and vaguely suggested that I had to do something but it couldn't be done before noon. Got some looks, but no one asked me anything else.

Noon finally rolled around and I watched the pair of court reporters head out. I waited a little before getting up myself, didn't want to make it look like I was heading out with them to keep some of the others from joining in on their own. The PJ's secretary, who invited me to the small lunch, joined me and we walked out together. One staff member watched us. I'm pretty sure she knew what was up. I didn't care for her anyway and the other people I was going out with either liked her less than I did or pretty much outright hated her. (At lunch, on in particular seem happy that the not-so-great woman knew she wasn't invited.)

As we stepped out the front door of the office I was informed that three more people had been invited to lunch, the three other clerk guys, and asked if it was okay with me. A large part of me wanted to bolt, but I said it was okay.

At lunch, he guys had some beer and sandwiches. The ladies had wine and two had a salad and one had a sandwich. I had iced tea and a sandwich and these spectacular homemade potato chips the brewery makes, really the only reason to eat there if you're not getting beer. The chat was idle and mostly about work and what a pain in the ass it was. Some bitching was made about the woman no one likes. (I made a comment that got that woman in some trouble the next day, which was my last day there.)

When the check came, I pulled out my wallet just like everyone else and made sure to be told that my lunch was on them. Then I admitted I only pulled my wallet out to make sure that they insisted I didn't have to pay. I didn't want to seem like I just expected a free lunch from them.

Back at work, no one made a comment about lunch and how we all came back in as a group.

In general, the lunch was painless. I didn't say much, mostly listened. The chips were wonderful, the sandwich just okay. The guys liked their beers, where were very pale, and that gals like their wine, whites with a rosy hue.


Monday, October 04, 2010

You Are Now Entering Week Two

The sky was beautiful when I got to work this morning. It was a dark, dark blue with huge, dark clouds cutting swaths through it and a sliver of moon barely highlighting a dark hole in the sky. Off to the east, above the first building, the sky lit up as lightening streaked down.

The rest of my day, not so great.

See, I've been at my new job a week, now, but I haven't been trained to do much of anything.

Yes, I've been taught how to sort of fill out one report, but that's it. Still, lots of people seem to think I know how to do the whole job I've been hired to do. Even the two women I share an office with and who both know that they were gone most of the week and didn't do any real training!

*deep breath*

The problem is that people keep asking (actually telling in too many cases) me to do things for them that will be part of my duties when I learn how to do them. This would be okay if it were only two or three people coming to me, but it's more like twelve to fifteen and I have to explain each and every time that I don't know, yet. Who should I ask? they ask. Your supervisor, I say. She's not here, they say. Well too fucking bad you shit, I want to say, but don't.

Word spread fast that the person who was going to be handling the schedule from now on was there. Now they're all trying to convince me to let them get around the "chain of command" in the nursing unit. Fuckers. I didn't get the job because I'm an idiot. Do it the right way, god damnit. And while you're at it leave me alone for at least a week so I can actually learn what I'm going to do.

(Also, lucky me, one of the women who I share my office with likes it to be a "safe" environment. She wants everyone to feel like they can come in and chat (i.e. vent) with her. I think she just likes being in on all the drama. And there's a whole lot of drama goin' on there. All of it bullshit, of course, and I have no choice but to be in the center of it.)

On the plus side, they got me a computer logon. Still no e-mail, though. For some dumb-ass reason they want to import the data from my old e-mail into this new one. I'd rather they killed the old one dead and started me a fresh one. I'll get enough shit clogging it up from this job, why would I want the old stuff, too.

Somewhere near the end of my day I made a comment to my other cell -- You'll have to pardon me, jokes like that aren't supposed to be funny while actually working at a prison. -- mate, the one who doesn't encourage drama, about transferring to a different unit. She said, "Already?" I said, "Well, since there's no room for advancement for me here." She gave me this odd, surprised look and said, "You already figured that out?" "Yeah," I said, thinking that I got the scheduling position because of a glowing letter from my last supervisor saying that I'm a smart guy, of course I figured it out.

Oh, I just remembered something:
I saw the drama queen, who's the "lead" because she's a bump above me although she's not my supervisor, putting together a table in Excel this morning. Across the top she put her name and the names of the eight OTs (that's my classification). On the left, she listed the reports that people turn in, let's say there were fifteen to twenty. She put exes in the boxes of the people who completed the reports. I keep hoping it was my over active imagination, but I'm pretty sure that I had exes in half the boxes under my name. Everyone else seemed to have two or three.

Fucking great.

One more thing before I really get depressed:
My job will have me doing a lot of calling on the phone and waiting for people to call me back. I don't have a phone, though, and it seems unlikely that I'll be getting my own phone.

Smart, right?

Hope the rest of you well.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


So, two days at the new job now. Both days: stupid!

The people who have, in the recent past, done the job that I've been hired to do: out on vacation with the first not returning until next Thursday.

The back-up people who could teach me to do my job: out sick.

The forms to get a user logon and e-mail: unavailable, due to stupidity.

Chits to get a key to unlock my office door: have to wait for those.

Facility: untoured.

I spent yesterday being "orientated" along with a new nurse. Most of the talk was about stuff for the new nurse because for me to really learn anything about how to do my job I need to be able to log on to my computer.

We didn't take a tour because it was hot out. Well, duh! It's central California in September. It's always hot out!

Today I sat with a woman and watched her do her job. Sure, she showed me some places in the building and I saw what it's like to rush to finish your reports, but the odds of me ever doing what she does are pretty much nil. I was bored for probably 7 out of the 8 hours today.

(Oh, a good thing about this job, I don't have to take a lunch and I can come in early. That means I can come in at six, eat at my desk, and leave at two. Awesome.)

Tomorrow's not looking to be any better, either. If I'm lucky one certain person will be here tomorrow and I'll be able to get my security training and my keys and my logon and maybe actually start to learn my job.

Oh, well. At least I'm getting paid.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


A blue folder is being passed around the office. It has a card in it. I think it's safe, although self-centered, to assume that the card is for me.


Last week there was a surprise baby-shower thing for an expectant dad. (The due date is this Saturday, so dad-hood can begin any moment.) That was when it occurred to me that there was a heavy possibility that the people I work with would do that sort of thing to me. (To the best of my memory every other time there was a party for a person leaving the person leaving knew all about it.) Later that afternoon I went to one of the ladies who's always involved with the planning of parties, if not the one who starts them, and kindly asked her not to have a party for me.

"I don't want a party like that," I said. "I don't think I could handle it well."

"Well," she said, "we only just started talking about it. I think I'll be able to put a stop to it. Nothing's really been planned."

I took her word for it. "Thanks," I said.

"I know that it can be uncomfortable being put on the spot," she said.


"It's not really fun." She paused and sort of looked around at nothing. "How about a lunch out with just a few people?"

"That'd be okay."

"Then we can control who comes."

"It's not so much the who," I said, "but the how many." It was the best I could come up with to explain my phobia/anxiety/panic problem without really explaining anything at all.

And that, to the best of my knowledge, was that. Until I saw the blue folder and how it bypassed my desk. My desk happens to be situated pretty much in the rear center of things, so I think I see, and hear, a lot more than most people think I see, and hear. When it was placed on the desk next to mine I could see that the name crossed out on the staff list was three up from the bottom. Enough of these folders have been passed to me that I know where my name on the list is.

Guess where.

Go on, guess.

Yeah. My name's three up from the bottom.

A card. Okay, cool, I can handle a card. I don't really want a card, but I can handle it.

The thing is, when this office give out a card, it's rarely just a card. It's usually some sort of gift, too.

I hope it's not a gift.

I really don't want a gift.

I know that the card and possible gift are ways to thank me and say I'll be missed. I know this. However, the card and possible gift won't make me feel like my day-in day-out work has been appreciated.

You know what has made me feel like that? It was the times after my move was announced that the judges pulled me aside as I was dropping off my mail or heading back from the drinking fountain and telling me that they noticed how hard I worked and that they were glad that they had someone like me around to keep the paper flowing so they could more easily do their jobs.

Imagine that, people telling me something made me feel appreciated and useful. I especially like that it happened on an individual basis because that meant they wanted to say something, not that they felt/what they thought like they had to because others were saying it or that's the sort of thing one says at farewell parties.

Lunch is supposed to happen in ten minutes.

Me and three others.

Here we go.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Greetings internarts and bhlajers from the work e-mail.

This post, which is planned to be brief but may take a turn for the lengthy, is to let all you all, who care, know that most of my shit was moved up to Cowtown by my parents and myself on Saturday. It now resides in a storage unit off the highway near where my parents live. At all of this, I am relived, tired, and a bit annoyed.

FYI: If you believe yourself to be a nerd or a geek with nerd tendencies and the opportunity arises, go and see w00tstock. Its totally worth the money. You will laugh and laugh and then cry because they just wont stop and youre getting tired and then youll laugh some more because its all so very funny.

Some goals in the coming month:

·       Visit a bank or two and see if I can get pre-approved for a home loan and if so for how much and if for that much what kind of impossible, for me, down payment will I need?

·       Scour the internet to price rentals, in case the loan thing really does turn out to be an impossible dream.

·       Check out that mining town because its closer-ish to new work, even if it will make being hermit easier.

·       Occasionally pimp my brothers webcomic. Come on, people, its a silent strip about a robot trying to live the American dream. Whats not to like? (Other than the fact that he only updates once a week. Really, it should be two days a week. Amiright?)

·       Get and activate a cell phone so I have fairly permanent phone number.

·       Seriously look into getting a personal domain and move this blurg over.

·       Other stuff that I dont want to mention here.

Something I realized while packing my shit was that when the end time comes and ekeltristy goes away, most of my shit will be totally useless.

Regularish blurging will hopefully commence next week.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

A Post on Nothing and Stuff

For ten glorious minutes the part of the server that controls WebSense was down and I could open up sites that I haven't been able to open for a while, including Blogger.

The question, now, though, is will blogger be able to post this? Will it work after WebSense has come back up? I don't know, but I'm willing to try.

For the most part, I spent those ten minutes clearing my e-mail out. Why -- oh why! -- do Amazon and Barnes and Noble insist on sending me notifications on things that are new or that I might enjoy? I always, ALWAYS, try to opt out of getting notifications, and yet there was my e-mail full up with stuff I didn't care about. So much was there that I didn't get to finish reading actual e-mails, there were four or so left to read, let alone reply to any of them.

For the record, from my e-mail:
My brother's webcomic is Made in USA. The first strip is here. As his biggest fan I would be remiss not to point everyone toward it. Also, marvel at the picture he uses to as for donations. HI-larious.
I am very sorry that the international cuisine night didn't work out. In a few week's I'll always be available for such a thing.
I can no longer see the comments people write. The browser just times out like it does when I try to get into the back door at Gmail.
Blogger was visited to check out the new thing and to clear the spam comments out of old(er) posts.
Dark Skies is going to be released on DVD in January. No, please don't fight over who's going to get it for me for my birthday. I'll have bought it long before then. Sorry to disappoint each and every one of you.
There are new lights in the parents' house. The place is starting to look downright fancy.

Just to let you all know, not being able to blog, for me, was like losing one of my baby toes. Sure, it's annoying, but I got used to it soon enough. I mean, it's not like I really use that tiny little bugger for walking.

Not being able to get to my personal e-mail is like losing all ten of my toes. Yeah, I'll learn to walk pretty well, but I'm never going to be comfortable doing it.

(A total aside, but... The world that the Guardians of the Galaxy live on, where the Green Lantern Corps comes from, is called Oa, which is pronounced "oh-ah"; my questions is: since the Guardians are from Oa they are Oan, how is that word pronounced? Are they "oh-ah-en"? "Oh-an"? "Own"? I'm just not sure.)

I've missed blogging, though. It was a way of doing something. I don't know what, exactly, but it was a way. There have been many days where I wanted to post about the bullshit here at work or the impending move or the... other... stuff in my life. And then there are the posts I want to write about the weirdness that is fan fiction; I really want to get into the structures of crossovers, that I see.

Oh, did I mention that furloughs are back? They are. I got one full paycheck, so far this year, for July, then they decided to fire everyone three days a week again. At least this time I knew what to expect and I don't feel like I have to cut anything back since that one month with a full paycheck wasn't enough time to lead me back to my pre-furlough life of luxury and excess. (Plus, Websense blocks Amazon, so I couldn't blow too much money on DVDs and CDs and books and such.) Let me tell you, it's really fun being a scapegoat. I hope the economy of California never quite recovers and I'm a scapegoat for the rest of my life because I like knowing that people don't want to think critically and realize that maybe, just maybe, there are some spending/taxing issues the state's fucked up that has nothing to do with its employees and maybe fixing those would help solve some problems. You know, maybe.

Well, that's it for now. Other than the PS I wrote first, this'll be the last thing you read, if it posts, fingers crossed, knock wood, belch the alphabet.

Be well, peoples.

PS You all went and saw Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, right? If not then you have no right to complain about next summers crappy bunch of movies. You could have and should have supported something wonderful and unique and fun and joyous so that more of its ilk would be made, but you didn't and they won't. For shame.

Monday, August 23, 2010


I HAVE BEEN OFFERED A JOB IN COWTOWN, AND TO QUOTE THE PERSON I’M IN CONTACT WITH: "Apparently my supervisor came to my office while I was gone and got the information she needed because now I got an email saying your paperwork has been approved!!!!!!"

That means all the bullshit that I had to put up with last week while she was on vacation was a waste of time and effort and energy.

With luck, and a talk to my supervisor, I’ll be living in the downstairs of my parents’ house by the end of next month. Almost exactly five years after I moved out of there last time.

And to repeat myself from a comment to the last post: "wings, if you check this out, call me again. After five. I have your number written somewhere, but I couldn't find it yesterday. I know it's safe and sound in my e-mail because, you know, I didn't think I'd lose my ability to check that."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

For those still, occasionally, looking...

I said I wouldn't blag from work, but today I must.

A few things:

For the two in the know, the test went well. Results have been e-mailed and am awaiting a reply so an official announcement can be made. Hopefully on Monday or Tuesday. (SQUEE!)

While I waited for the results of the test, I sat in a fairly comfortable (for a doctors' office) chair and sang to myself. I was nodding my head and tapping my heel. The old lady across from me asked me if I was singing. It caught me off guard and made me smile. It's not often one finds a person who really watches people, let alone asks them about it.

Completely unrelated to the last two paragraphs, I have found a piece of music that sums up the person I've been for the last 20ish years of my life. It's "Per I Morti Reggio Emilia" from Mirah's To All We Stretch the Open Arm. The song is mournfully hopeful. What I mean by that is that the music is sort of sad, but there's a bounce to it. I keep rewinding (or whatever the correct word is now) myPod to listen to the song over and over again the last two days. I really like it.

It's probably on the ünternerts somewhere. Take a listen and understand that even if you don't hear me in it, I hear me in it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Dunno If This'll Work

Looks like WebSense has now totally blocked Gmail, even my sneaky way in. At least it keeps timing out, rather than hitting the page that tells me the sites blocked.

So, I cant read my personal e-mail anymore and Im not handing out my work e-mail, sorry.

Also, I doubt Ill be posting on my blog for quite a while. Dont like posting from my work e-mail, if posting from it works at all.

Ill keep reading for as long as I can, though.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Once Again, A Test

Qs & As

Q: What did people do before people all got the 'nets and hung out at their desks not working?

A: They wandered around spending 25%-75% of their time away from their desk talking to coworkers.

Q: Was WebSense supposed to increase productivity?

A: Dunno, but it makes me have to answer the phone and get up to the front counter a lot more even though I'm supposed to be the last in line for those two jobs. Maybe I should learn to enjoy the company of my coworkers so I'm not at my desk anymore either.

Why in the world...

...does it seem like 99% of all french press coffee makers have glass beaker?

I want a french press. Sure, I don't drink coffee, but it'd be nice to have in a cold morning rare visitor makin' ice cream sort of way.

My problem is that I think I've dropped just about everything I use on a semi-regular basis in the kitchen at least once. If my drinking "glasses" weren't made out of plastic I'd probably be on the third or fourth generation of glasses by now.

I know I'd break a french press beaker. I know because while I worked at 'Bucks, I broke at least two. One I dropped, the other I hit on the corner of a counter. I wasn't allowed to use the french press for a while. So, when I buy a french press, I'd like one made out of stainless steel, or something like that, so it'll only dent and not shatter. I'd like it to hold four cups. Is that too much to ask for?

Also, it's not like I need a french press, it's that I'd like one. At least I'd like to look for them and price them. Can't do that with the WebSense being up. Can't only see the ones that they sell at the coffee shops and super stores around here. So far, they all only sell the ones with glass beakers.

Ah, well.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

On Trying to Ignore Spoilers

Y'all remember yesterday when I wrote about the comic shop, where I shop, being sold out of Scott Pilgrim Vol. 6: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour, right?

Well, I stopped by Barnes & Noble, as I said I would, and it turned out they hadn't recieved their books from their warehouse, yet. Also, I wasn't the first person to ask about it. The girl I talked to said I was the third to ask her that day(!) and like the tenth to ask her since Saturday. She offered to put a hold on one for me, though.

I thought about it for a couple of seconds, but since I REALLY wanted it yesterday, I figured I'd go to my apartment and call other local(ish) comic shops to see what they had. They had nothin'.

On my break, twenty minutes ago, I went back over to Barnes & Noble and got them to  pull me a copy. Well, they'll "pull the first one not already saved" for me.

The guy didn't know when they'd get them in. Until that time, I have to avoid reading the reviews that are already coming across my feed reader.

It's hard, people.

Yeah, not hard in any real-live-people-starving-or-suffering-from-disease way. It's hard in a more existential full of ennui way. And that's hard.

An Irrational Concern

Sometimes, I worry that there'll be air bubbles in my pee and the usually steady stream will start to sputter causing the urine to have little to no power behind it thereby making it spit and splatter onto my pants.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I called the comic shop to have them pull me a copy of Scott Pilgrim Vol. 6: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour, and they're sold out.

The fucking story opens at 11AM and they were sold out by noon.

First, what the fuck? Did they not realize how popular Scott Pilgrim is, especially with the movie coming out 23ish days?

Second, I guess I'll be stopping by Barnes & Noble on my way to the comic shop this afternoon. Maybe they'll have a copy.

Because I am bitter and hold on for way too long.

On Me Writing Creatively:

3rd Grade
A while ago, my brothers and I looked through a box of old schoolwork our parents had kept. Every story I wrote when I was in 3rd grade started with "Hi, I'm... and I'm from... and I like to... One day I was..." Not the most clever, but, hey, how else was I supposed to get people to know the main character? (Although, one did star a flying walrus from Mars, based on a stuffed animal I have. That was cool.) They were all short and silly, just like an 8-year-old's stories ought to be.

4th Grade
The teacher would give us a prompt -- a beginning sentence, an end sentence, a basic plot -- every couple of weeks and we'd write a story that was a page-ish long. As I think back on it, the writing probably had more to do with handwriting than anything else. I mean, what's a page of handwritten story on grade-school lined paper? 150 words, max? Yes, we were learning the parts of sentences and how to construct them, but I don't remember learning anything about storytelling.

After the stories were graded, the teacher would post them on the wall for the whole class to read. I never really enjoyed any of them. They weren't like the books the teacher read to us in class or that I read on my own. The stories were stilted. Lots of them were dreams. (I know I used the dream thing at least once because the first time I'd heard a story that ended with the hero waking up, I was blown away. By the end of that year, I hated characters waking up at the end of a story.) I never cared for the stories on the wall, mine included.

I liked writing them, though. It was fun. I can only remember one prompt, about being in a cave. I have no idea what I wrote. I was a mixed up little kid, in many ways. I could sometimes be morbid, but usually aimed at pleasant. I probably thought that it would be a check plus instead a just a check.

5th Grade
This was the first time I ever had a story I was writing get away from me.

As a class, we had just read The Castle in the Attic and the teacher wanted us to write a story about how we'd act and react to being two inches tall in the real world. The story was supposed to be simple, I got shrunk and still had to go to school where I'd find everyone else in the class had shrunk, too. The problem was that a lot of stuff could happen between waking up two inches tall on morning and then falling asleep that night because, of course, everything was back to normal the next morning. I went crazy. The stuff I wanted to write about kept growing. The minimum number of pages was probably supposed to be five or so, my first draft was over twenty pages; when I went back and rewrote it in cursive it got even longer, mostly because of the cursive, but also because I added more to the story.

I can't comment on how well the story was written, but that was the most fun I'd had writing, up to that point. I'd never had a story wrestle control away from me. It was like I was describing events as I witnessed them rather than making stuff up. It felt really good.

8th Grade
My English teacher had been a math teacher, mostly, for years and years. Yeah. Still, he'd do these cool writing exercises where he'd put on a piece of music, and he played all sorts of genres, and the class would write a story, or whatever, for however long the song was or until he had us stop. We did a couple a week.

I liked writing them. There was a freedom in being able to do anything I wanted, in being able to describe what I heard in the music. And I went everywhere. I wrote about going to an old-timey car show, although I'd never been to one. I wrote about an epic space battle. I wrote about kids sitting in a car and fighting while their mom was in the grocery store. I wrote about monsters rising from the deep to crush the cities of mankind. The music varied and so did my writing.

After he collected the stories, he'd read a few out loud to the class. Mine were never read which was okay. I hated it when my work was read to classes, especially when I was in that class. The problem was that on all but one writing, he'd give me Cs and Bs, with no explanation as to why. The girl who only wrote romance novel stuff always got As. My best friend, at the time, got As on his crappy stories about camping or riding dirt bikes. They also had comments on their work.

The only A I got was for a write a paragraph contest he made all his classes enter. He commented on that story. This is how it read: "A, Published." Out of the sixty, or so, students he taught English mine was the only paragraph to be published.

That'll show him! I figured. Now he'll have to pay attention to what I write.

School only lasted a month or so more, but I still only got Bs and Cs and no comments on my stories.

10th Grade
The assignment was to write a story at least so long. No other limits.

I wrote about a guy who, while walking through the woods, came across a field with a door standing in it. I described the forest and the field and the door. I had the guy open the door. I had the guy put his arm through the door. I had the guy close the door and leave as fast as he could.

To me, it was a story about fear.

Along with the grammatical errors (mostly run-on sentences) the comment on the last page was, "What's beyond the door? I want the character to go through the door. B-"

I wanted to scream at my teacher that the whole point was that the guy didn't go through the door. Of course, I didn't.

Years and years later, my brother told me that he enjoyed the story I wrote about the door in the field. He liked how the guy was too scared to go through. That made me very happy.

*     *     *

So, why am I writing this?

Well, I'm trying to work up courage and I think part of finding that courage is letting go of some of the dumbass stuff I've held on to over the years.

It's a process. Don't know if it's a good process, but it's what I'm working with, for now.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lerner and Loewe

Re-watching my Muppet Show DVDs (Why haven't seasons 4 and 5 been released yet?) and just saw the Pearl Bailey episode this morning.

Okay, so throughout the episode, Floyd is bitching about having to be a knight for the jousting scene in Camelot. Eventually, Floyd just goes along with it, but as that happens Scooter goes to Kermit and  says that the guys who wrote Camelot won't let them do the scene unless they get money. (Kermit spent most of the money on two suits of armor.)

So, Kermit goes out to introduce a scene that's almost, certainly not at all like the jousting scene from Camelot.

The curtain opens and everyone is dressed in medieval clothes and they begin to sing "Ascot Gavotte" from My Fair Lady.

I laughed so hard that I had to back up the show to hear all that I missed.

An excellent joke, Muppet writers. Totally unexpected and, as Bullwinkle once said, "Thousands won't."

(Also, did Pearl Bailey ever play Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly!? After her little bit of singing the title song during that sketch all I want is to see her in that role. She would have been so much better than Streisand.)

To Serve Men

I like to cook stuff and I like to watch cooking shows. This, inevitably, leads me to want to cook almost everything I see on TV.

I don't, of course. My kitchen has no room. The counter-space in nonexistent. To do any real chopping I use a table thing on wheel my mom bought for me about six months after I move up. It's not perfect (and it now has a box fan on it), but it works.

Still, I can't really do, at least well, the things I see on TV. I don't have a food processor or blender, see the no room thing, since I don't even have cupboard space to store them, nor do I have a standing mixer. Someday, though, I will. I'll have room and some of the simpler gadgets that aren't necessary, but really great to have.

Anyway, yesterday I was watching Rick Bayless's show on PBS. He was making carnitas. First he used pork and then he used duck.

My entire being wanted to rush out to and buy a boston butt, or two, and start roasting. I didn't. I mean, what would I do with that much meat. I couldn't eat it and my fridge/freezer isn't very large.

His food looked so good. I swear I could smell it through the TV.

In the end, as with, it seems, every episode of his show, he had a dinner party to serve what he cooked to his friends and family.

And here's where the "dream" (for lack of a better word) falls apart, for me. I want to cook the large quantities of food. I want to roast the boston butt, cook massive amounts of chicken and rice over an open fire on a giant metal platter, and bury a whole pig in a pit to cook all day. I want to do that and I want other people to eat it and enjoy it. I just don't want to be with people as they eat and talk and whatever.

Yeah, I want to do everything that Mr. Bayless does on his show. Except for that last part. I could do without that.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Here's Something:

Apparently, it's so ingrained in me that I am an asshole, that I'm an asshole even in my dreams.

All this week, I've made people I care about cry, in my dreams. Three different people in three different dreams last night.

And, in my dreams, I revel in my asshole-ish-ness. In my dreams, I enjoy being an asshole to the people I care about.

Of course, it probably doesn't help that I've spent a large portion of the last two weeks obsessing over an e-mail I sent out about 23 months ago. Yeah, now that's healthy.

Dear Friend,

Since I'm going to be __ ______ on ___ _______ and you're going to be having ____ ________ a bit later __ ___ _____, I've been thinking about ____ __ ___ ___.

It's been hard.

So hard, in fact, that went back and skimmed almost everything you've blogged. And you've been blogging for a while.

I need an ____, though.

The problem is that we're adults, you know. Not just adults, but adults who are __________ ______-_____. You can pretty much go out and ___ ____ you ____, you know?

And then there's the fact that you have ____. You put ____ first, which is the way it should be. Still, you fill your ______ ________ with thing that you ____ ___ ____. But what do ___ ____?

I thought I'd get some ideas by reading what you were thinking _____ _____ ___. You were thinking things that I was thinking, which isn't _________ _ ___ ___ ___.

See, the problem is that I ____ __ ___ you _________ ___________. Something _________. My first idea fell though. You ____ ___.

I'm sure I'll figure something out. I usually do.

Your pal,


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Transparent Eyeball?

Have you ever had a moment of realization where you know, KNOW, something, good or bad or neutral, with complete and utter certainty? How did you feel? Relieved? Good? Bad? Confused?

I had one, a neutral one, about forty or fifty minutes ago while responding to an e-mail from my brother.

I've been awash with a million variation of nearly every emotion since then. It's almost overwhelming. My head feels stuffed with cotton or wool.

It's doubtful that anything good will come and I'm not sure if knowing is good. It's just what it is.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Return

This morning TMSV went around asking people, "What's the good news?"

All I could think of was, "Jesus is coming back!"

I didn't say anything, though.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Nothing and Death

Time is encroaching on me. Soon my workday will be over and then I will not have time to write this. Not that I have any sort of goal in mind as I start tapping my chubby fingers on the keyboard. Whatever, right?

There was some sad news this morning. Harvey Pekar died. He was the guy who wrote the American Splendor comics. He also co-starred in the movie based on the comics. The best post that I've read about him today is this one here. I haven't read nearly enough of Pekar's stuff to feel like the Ferret, but I've read enough to know that Pekar's writing is something worth aiming at.

Friday, July 09, 2010

The BASTARD's Posting More About Fan Fiction

It's been nearly 11 months since I started on this most recent fan fiction bender. In the past, the benders only lasted three or four months and then I'd move off of it. This time, though, I see no end in sight. Probably because, this time, I'm doing most of my reading in between the pushing of paper at work.

Anyway, there's
a site I can get to while here at work. It's full of lots of fan fiction based on Daria, and the guy who writes it is one of the muchly better writers of fan fiction to boot. (My biggest qualm with his stuff is that he has the characters hug and say, "I love you." too easily. It may just be my problem, though.) As I'm working my way through his stuff (copy/paste into Word and read from there) I've started to wonder about fan fiction writers, in general and this one in particular, and their need to take the characters they love and place them in other times, other worlds, and such and, quite often, changing the character in probably unintended ways.

This fan fiction writer has done this sort of thing several times: In one he has the
Cuban Missile Crisis lead to war, although he doesn't explore what happens after the first day and it's really about the childhood of a parent. In another, Charles Manson's dream sort of comes true. Siblings and a ghost. A girl out of time, think The Flight of the Navigator. In the mid-40s, two girls bond over rockets, not yet finished. And a Daria who knew of the girl who hated Mondays moves to Lawndale, after attending an "alternative" school, in 2007. All of these are quite good and very interesting. All of them have characters that are similar to their TV show counterparts, but often not the same in important ways.

(I'd like to be clear that I'm not writing about crossover fan fiction. That's a whole other beast.)

There are always "logical" reason for the differences -- age, zombie white people, a death, aliens, war, Brenda Spencer -- but it's still jarring, to me. And the fact that the changes are often jarring leads me to wonder: Why make these stories, which are in so many ways different than the TV show, into fan fiction? Why not make them wholly original stories with original characters?

Okay, so some are challenges: "Take a character and drop him/her into D-Day." or whatever. But to write an 85000 word novel seems overkill to me.

I suppose people could say it's done for the love of writing:

"its fan fiction. It's not going to be published. I did it because I love to write."

Couldn't you still love writing and use original characters for this original plot?

"But I love these characters."

You altered the characters so much that really only their names are the same.

"I had to change the characters some. A war's on. They wouldn't be the same people in 1944."

But why'd you have to kill her sister? Getting rid of that relationship alters a lot about the main character.

"It increased the drama and let her show her emotions more than she did on TV."

Wasn't the fact that she held onto her emotions with an iron grip part of the reason you love the character, though?

"Yeah. So?"

I could be wrong about that whole conversation, but I don't think I am.

After writing this and forcing myself to think about it, I bet the real reason this kind of fan fiction is written is because putting labeling as such ensures it'll be read. It ensures some kind of feedback.

You won't always get that writing for the love of writing and then posting it somewhere or sending it out to an editor or an agent. And there's no way to track how often it may have been read.

I think a hugely important part of fan fiction, for the writers, is knowing that, no matter what's written, it'll be read by people who will, in some way, appreciate it. Even if it's only because the characters share names and appearances with characters who appeared on TV, or in a movie, or in a book, or on stage, or where ever.

There are always "logical" reason for the differences -- age, zombie white people, a death, aliens, war, Brenda Spencer -- but it's still jarring, to me. And the fact that the changes are often jarring leads me to wonder why make this stories, that are in so many ways different than the TV show, into fan fiction? Why not make them wholly original stories with original characters?

Okay, so some are challenges: "Take a character and drop him/her into D-Day." or whatever. But to write an 85000 word novel seems overkill to me.

I suppose people could say it's done for the love of writing:

"It's fan fiction. It's not going to be published. I did it because I love to write."

Couldn't you still love writing and use original characters for this original plot?

"But I love these characters."

You altered the characters so much that really only their names are the same.

"I had to change the characters some. A war's on. They wouldn't be the same people in 1944."

But why'd you have to kill her sister? Getting rid of that relationship alters a lot about the main character.

"It increased the drama and let her show her emotions more than she did on TV."

Wasn't the fact that she held onto her emotions with an iron grip part of the reason you love the character, though?

"Yeah. So?"

I could be wrong about that whole conversation, but I don't think I am.

After writing this and forcing myself to think about it, I bet the real reason this kind of fan fiction is written is because putting labeling as such ensures it'll be read. It ensures some kind of feedback.

You won't always get that writing for the love of writing and then posting it somewhere or sending it out to an editor or an agent. And there's no way to track how often it may have been read.

I think a hugely important part of fan fiction, for the writers, is knowing that, no matter what's written, it'll be read by people who will, in some way, appreciate it. Even if it's only because the characters share names and appearances with characters who appeared on TV, or in a movie, or in a book, or on stage, or where ever.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Eight Sided House

Stumbled on this website today.

It chronicles a family building an octagon house.

There's a floor plan, although they exclude the basement. (I wish they hadn't. Having grown up in CA I've only ever seen on house with a basement, and it was pretty creepy/disgusting. I'd like to see what they did with theirs, though.) There are tons of pictures. The guy did a journal of building it.

The whole thing's just fascinating and turns out quite lovely in the end.

I think I'd like to live in a house like that when I grow up.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

In the Time of Minimum Wage

I got my eyes checked yesterday and then ended up spending more than $200 on a pair of prescription sunglasses.

You know what I learned?

I learned that getting polarized lenses costs an extra $85. That's $10 more than my vision plan covers to get new glasses.

Of course, I did get the polarization. The girl helping me didn't even have to go into her spiel about how its better for the eyes and blocks out stuff and such. I knew all that before.

Here's to hoping my prescription doesn't change much in the next five or so years.

From 25 to 0

Today was okay. I wasn't feeling great, but I wasn't feeling bad either. I was just doing the stuff I needed to do and the day was moving along at a reasonable pace.

After lunch, as I set my book down on the desk, I noticed a largish pile of ratings for me to mail out and scan. "Okay," I thought, "but where are the medical reports and requests?" The rater used to, a long time ago, keep the reports and requests and toss them in her To Shred box. Then the PJ decided that individuals should be responsible for their shredding and not the clerks. (Apparently one of us shredded something that wasn't supposed to be shredded even though it had been tossed in the giant box by the shredder that we were supposed to periodically clean out. Of course it was all our fault. We should have known better than to shred the stuff that was in the box full of paper to be shredded.) After he made that decision, the Rater started sending me all the crap that needed to be shredded by including it with actual ratings. So, I saw that there was no crap to be shredded, something's up.

I looked at the top rating. The injured worker lives in Marysville. Marysville is north of Cowcity. Not our venue. I leaf through the pile and notice that none of the ratings are going to our venue. In fact, all of them are going to the same venue. A venue we were doing ratings for last month for overtime. Overtime which has been canceled because the state still has no budget.

Now, lucky me, I get to do the serving and the prepping and the scanning and the completion and the checking to make sure that all the fucking documents went in the right case or any case at all during my normal hours because, as the PJ said, it was put on my desk to do. That's 90 to 150 minutes of work time, depending on how well the systems work.

It's not that its using up my regular work hours, which it is, that bothers me. (And, yeah, I get the irony of me wasting work time writing this.) I can get over that. I know how to adjust my processes to make up for the extra work and get myself caught up by the end of the week. What bothers me is that it's up to 2.5 hours that I could (should!) be getting for overtime. I feel cheated out of that little bit of extra money.

Also, I'm pissed at the PJ being an asshole. Doubt he'd do some other venues work if it showed up on his desk and was obviously not ours. Bet he'd send it back to that venue and tell the PJ there to go fuck him(or her)self.

Yeah, the day's not so okay anymore.

Nashville is 35

Jim Emerson takes a look at the crowds of Nashville.

Nashville's one of those movies that blew me away when I first saw it. I saw it in a film class when I was 18. I immediately rented it and watched it three more times in the two days I had it.

Emerson says:

This is a movie about the crowd, spectatorship -- about watching, and watching the watchers watch what they watch -- and these faces have become familiar acquaintances, like those kids you saw in the hallways at school but never really knew. One of the glories of "Nashville" is that you imagine the movie could have followed any of these folks and added their lives to the tapestry. As a wise man once said, god is in the details.

And he's so damned right.

I wish I owned it so I could look at it again. (...and again and again and again...)

Friday, July 02, 2010

Because I have (soon to be) family to tell me.

So, I see this blog post (Thanks Google Reader Explore!) and have no idea what it's about. I assume it's a protest. WebSense blocked Google from translating the page, so I had no idea what's going.

Then I turn to someone who can tell me what's going on, my brother's fiancée, who's from Beijing. I ask her if it's a protest and what the protest is about. Here's what she sent me:

hahaha! it is not a protest! it is an art thing! for the fun of it. It's dorm in Beihang University. These are all bed sheets~
it says as such: 
Dear security aunt we miss you. (funny casual sarcasm: security women guards are usually mean women that would do such things as snap at young couples if they kiss or hug.... we tend to not like them and call them aunt in a teasing way... Well sometimes there are good motherly ones too, so maybe this one is real that they do miss her.)
Any girl that would take me home? 
I walk away with hurt eggs (eggs referring to balls). 
Beihang girls only marry Beihang boys!
goodbye Beihang we love you

Some jiberishes too for fun... I don't see any signs of protest..... why do you think this is protest?

Obviously, I'm a reactionary, ethnocentric American who assumes other cultures don't have a sense of humor.

Fun stuff, though, even if I am an idiot.


The court has made a decision!

Of course I expect another appeal to come by Tuesday.

It's the uncertainty that's the killer.

My (lack of) Comments

One of the problems with this Websense things is that there are times, although rare, when I can get to a page. When I can get there I can read everything and comment and all that. When I can't get to the page, I can't comment on other people's blogs.

I can, however, get to mine. Most of the time.

One of the things I can see in my Site Meter info is out clicks. Sometimes, when someone clicks to post a comment that link will become an out click and then I can get to the comments and add my own. Recently, though, they haven't been coming up.

Such is the stupidity of whatever.

My Bad, We're Getting $7.25 and hour

Something from the Sacramento Bee Article:

Roughly 200,000 state workers will receive minimum wage paychecks next month under terms of an order issued Thursday by the Schwarzenegger administration.

According to a letter delivered to Controller John Chiang in late afternoon, July pay for most hourly state employees will be withheld to the minimum allowed by federal law – $7.25 an hour – and then restored once there's a budget.

So, this happened to us a couple of years ago, too. The Governator sent out a letter telling the Controller to pay us minimum wage, which was $6.75 back then. The Controller didn't. The Controller says he won't do it this time, either. However, two years ago the Controller was sued over his decision and lost. That decision was appealed and the appeal was heard about two weeks ago. Who knows when the judge will give his decision on the matter.

People are freaking out. The union I'm in doesn't have a deal and they're telling us, via e-mail,  that it's "fear tactic" and a "bargaining ploy." Well, duh.

I figure I'll wait to freak out after the appeal's finished.

Smiles, everyone.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Some Good and More Bad

Furloughs are officially over.
That's good.

The Governator wants all state employees to start getting paid $6.75 and hour starting today.
That's bad.

Because the Controller defied the minimum wage thing last year, the whole idea's in court and if it's not decided on by the 23rd, or so, we'll get full pay.
That's good.

If we get full pay, odds are furloughs will come back.
That's bad, but better than federal minimum wage.

We, who work for the state, are once again caught in the time of uncertainty.
That's bad.

The budget was due on June 15th so it could be put in place when the new fiscal year started at 12:01 this morning.
That's bad.

Assembly members and Senators went home.
That's bad.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I am a petty, petty guy.

There was a "party" at lunch today. I didn't go.

When I've written about work parties in the past, I wrote that I thought they were stupid and I didn't want to go, but I have always gone. I'd grab a plate of food. I'd sit out of the way. I'd eat, quietly. I'd wish I wasn't there. But I'd go to the stupid party.

Today, I sat at my desk. I didn't get any food and, other than the potato chip I ate about three minutes ago, I didn't eat anything.

This party was to celebrate the worst person here and his thirty-some odd years of employment with the state. Today is is last day, and I refused to go to his party.

Many people in the office can separate the idea of the party from the person it's celebration. I can't.

The guy is so horrible to the people he's supposed to work with that about 10% of those who have dealt with him in the past have refused to go to him again. He has reduced, probably already stressed out people, to tears by refusing to acknowledge their questions. He doesn't listen to anybody. He just assumes he knows what's going to be asked. He tells these long stories that end with a point, but have never been relevant to the actual question or conversation. He's yelled at injured workers in the lobby and refused to take injured workers into a more private setting because it would be invading his space. He sends people away because the woman in the office who speaks Spanish is at lunch or out for the day because he doesn't want to use the over the phone translation service. He's an asshole.

At least he's that way at work. I can't say what he's like outside of the office. He may be the kindest person imaginable. He may sit and listen to the problems of his family and friends completely before offering advice or an opinion. He may respect the privacy of those in his life. He may.

I don't know, though. I only see him being a useless asshole of a human being. Within my first month working here, I knew who the person in this office was that give truth to the lazy, self righteous, arrogant, state employee cliché.

Now, if they'd thrown a "good riddance, make sure to help the door hit him on his ass on his way out" party, I would have gone.

Well, as long as he didn't go.


Off the coast of Japan, there's an island with an abandoned and crumbling concrete jungle. And there are lots of amazing pictures at that link.

It's like a bazillion post-apocalyptic science fiction stories brought to  like. It's almost exactly how I imagined Castledown in The Voyages of Jerle Shannara books.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Pictures of Oil on Pensacola Beach

From Tampa Bay's blog.

This is a link to my favorite picture. Its description says, "A trench dug by a group of USF geologists shows a continuous layer of oil approximately six inches beneath the surface of Pensacola Beach..."

A while ago, I posted a picture that showed the oil moving through the Gulf and said I thought it was beautiful. I still think that. I think some of these pictures a beautiful, too.

Even in disaster, even in disgust, even in horror, there's beauty.

I'm not trying to dismiss what's going on out there in the Gulf. If I never saw the images coming out now, I'd have been perfectly fine with that. Since I have, though, I'm not going to deny what I'm seeing on TV and how it takes my breath away not just because I hate it, but because I like what I'm seeing, too.

I'll leave you with this quote from under this pictures:
Footprints are left on Pensacola Beach on June 23. Signs on trash cans at at the beach ask that visitors leave only footprints when they depart. Overnight, tides left the beaches strewn with tar balls, oil mousse, and sludge from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Response

Found via Google reader's explore button is fun! (Also, I didn't see a link to the original letter, so, there you go.)

A Letter To Men by Christina Hendricks

We love your body.
If we're in love with you, we love your body. Your potbelly, everything. Even if you're insecure about something, we love your body. You feel like you're not this or that? We love your body. We embrace everything. Because it's you.

I'm going to start off with the "we" thing. You, Ms. (or Mrs. or Miss, or whatever you prefer) Hendricks are not all women. The Lorax may speak for the trees, but that's only because they don't have voices of their own. Women have voices, and typing fingers all of their own.

I understand you're trying to make a point and say that women in general don't think like men think they do. I get it, but really, you're just speaking for you and the subset of all women who think in a similar way to you. I also get that the word "we" makes more of an impact on a readership that the word "I" does. It's harder for people to brush away a group than it is to brush aside an individual. Still, I want you to realize that I know you're really just talking about your preferences.

Also, I'll only be speaking for me, not some mythical "all men," many of which probably disagree with my musical lovin' self in many, many ways.

On to the body thing, it's confusing. Are you allowed to feel insecure about your hips and thighs and lips and breasts even though I say I think you look great, but I'm not allowed feel insecure about my belly or pecs or hairy shoulders or balding head when you tell me you think I look good? As an insecure guy, those moments I choose believe you when you say you like my appearance, I feel really good about myself, but I can't promise that I'll believe you all the time because those insecurities are so deep in my being it's easy to dismiss the things that don't fit my self image. Understand, it's not usually about you when I don't believe your words, it's about selfish old me and my wandering mood; I can go from zero to self loathing just as fast as you can.

Speaking of your body, you don't understand the power of your own smell. Any woman who is currently with a man is with him partly because she loves the way he smells. And if we haven't smelled you for a day or two and then we suddenly are within inches of you, we swoon. We get light-headed. It's intoxicating. It's heady.

I assume, though, that you still want me to keep showering in the morning, right?

I feel the same way about your smell, too. Don't cover it up with heavy perfumes. A little goes a long way and a small touch of the right one can add an accent to your natural smell that makes me melt inside.

Really, for me, I prefer it when you have a nice smelling shampoo and I can smell it and you together at the point where your neck curves into your shoulder. It's a spot I could breathe in for the rest of my life.

We remember forever what you say about the bodies of other women. When you mention in passing that a certain woman is attractive — could be someone in the office, a woman on the street, a celebrity, any woman in the world, really — your comment goes into a steel box and it stays there forever. We will file the comment under "Women He Finds Attractive." It's not about whether or not we approve of the comment. It's about learning what you think is sexy and how we might be able to convey it. It's about keeping our man by knowing what he likes.

It's not just "about keeping our man by knowing what he likes" if this sort of crap gets dragged out during fights.

I look.

I comment.

You store and then you whip it out during a fight like it was an awful thing to do, three weeks ago; that's your choice, but don't tell me that you only file it away only for personal reference. You remember EVERYTHING. At the time, you may not consciously plan to fling it back in my face, in fact, I doubt it's ever planned, but you always seem to pull it out to clobber me with it when we're angry with each other. I'm not asking you to change that about yourself, just be aware, be honest with yourself and with me.

We also remember everything you say about our bodies, be it good or bad. Doesn't matter if it's a compliment. Could be just a comment. Those things you say are stored away in the steel box, and we remember these things verbatim. We remember what you were wearing and the street corner you were standing on when you said it.

Yeah, don't I know it. See that comment about the fight up above. Strange, though, you rarely, if ever, bring up those times I said how wonderful parts of your body are, just the negative things we said.

Never complain about our friends — even if we do. No matter how many times we say a friend of ours is driving us crazy, you are not to pile on. Not because it offends us. But because it adds to the weight that we carry around about her.

If you don't want me to complain about your friend, in front of you, then you have to promise to never ask me my opinion of them. Yeah, usually know better than to just blurt out what I think about them, but there are always those moments where I'm distracted by the TV or even the cereal box and you ask and I tell you the truth.

If you really, really, really do want to know if I like your friends and I say I don't, don't ask me to tell you why, because I will. It's not (often) about hurting your relationships with your friends, but it's about being honest with you in our relationship. I'll put up with your friends that I don't like when I have to, and I'll do my damnedest to keep quiet about it, but when you ask, I'm letting go and you're going to get an earful.


Remember what we like. When I first started dating my husband, I had this weird fascination with the circus and clowns and old carnival things and sideshow freaks and all that. About a month after we started dating, he bought me this amazing black-and-white photo book on the circus in the 1930s, and I started sobbing. Which freaked him out. I thought, Oh, my God, I mentioned this three or four weeks ago and talked about it briefly, but he was really listening to me. And he actually went out and researched and found this thing for me. It was amazing.

I'll try to remember, but make sure that you don't fake that you like it. When I buy you a frog on a bicycle because I remembered when we were walking through a craft fair, or something, and you comment on how cute a frog dressed as a little boy was, but you don't really like frogs, it's cool if you pretend to like it in the moment because I don't want to be hurt as much as you don't want to hurt me, but make sure to tell me before the next gift giving time, otherwise, I'll probably get you another frog. I don't want to turn you into a frog lady if you don't really like frogs, don't let me. Be honest with me.

We want you to order Scotch. It's the most impressive drink order. It's classic. It's sexy. Such a rich color. The glass, the smell. It's not watered down with fruit juice. It's Scotch. And you ordered it.

If you really want me to order it, I will, but do I have to drink it? Oh, and if you really wanted it for yourself, order it for yourself. I think that women who aren't afraid of ordering what they want are sexy.

Stand up, open a door, offer a jacket. We talk about it with our friends after you do it. We say, "Can you believe he stood up when I approached the table?" It makes us feel important. And it makes you important because we talk about it.

I'm glad you told me this, but I make no promises.

If it's cold, I expect you to bring something warm. I'm not giving up my jacket if I'm cold. We can do the whole you-tucked-up-against-my-body-under-my-jacket thing, but I don't like to reward stupidity for looking classy, or whatever.

On the door thing, I'll try. I'm pretty good about holding doors to buildings open for everyone. If I'm the one who's driving, and can unlock your side without having to go to the driver side first, there's a good chance I'll open that door for you, but when we're getting out of the car I'll expect you to know how to pull the door handle thing all on your own. You're a big girl, you know how.

As for the standing thing, that depends on my mood and how long I've known you. If I'm in a bad mood, I won't stand for you. If I've known you for a while and am comfortable with you I'll probably stay sitting because you, hopefully, know me better, too.

No shorts that go below the knee. The ones almost like capri pants, the ones that hover somewhere between the kneecap and the calf? Enough with those shorts. They are the most embarrassing pants in the world. They should never be worn. No woman likes those.

Done. I don't like 'em myself.

Also, no tank tops. In public at least. A tank top is underwear. You're walking around in your underwear. Too much.

Also done. Never liked tank tops.

No man should be on Facebook. It's an invasion of everyone's privacy. I really cannot stand it.

Personally, I don't think anyone should be on Facebook. I don't like it those sorts of sites that seem to be so much about popularity, where you get nasty e-mail, or whatever, because you don't want to be "friends" with someone who was in you third grade class.

Since it exists, though, I don't think it should be limited by sex. Sexism is sexism no matter which sex it's aimed at. If it was aimed at just kids, that's cool, but unlikely since there's no good way to prove your age online, yet.

Also, if you see it as an invasion of privacy I hope you're not on it. Or is it okay for you, but not me?

If this is more about me checking up on your Facebook status, well, that's a different story.

You have to realize, though, if you're on Facebook, it's not private. Strangers, male and female, are constantly looking at it. Is that more comforting to you, knowing that strangers are looking at your pictures and reading your thoughts than knowing that I'm looking and reading? What does that say about us and our ability to trust each other?

You don't know this, but when we come back from a date, we feel awkward about that transition from our cute outfit into sexy lingerie. We don't know how to do this gracefully. It's embarrassing. We have to find a way to slip into another room, put on the outfit as if it all happened very easily, and then come out and it's: Look at me! Look at the sexy thing I've done! For you, it's the blink of an eye. It's all very embarrassing. Just so you know.

You know what I like, I like to participate in the undressing more than I like the sexy lingerie. If you want to play dress-up, okay. If you have to step out of the room to put on the sexy dress-up underwear, fine, go for it, but know that I like fumbling at your tiny buttons while we're close to each other.

Hell, on the nights I'm not getting lucky, I like to watch you pull your shirt over your head, revealing your curves in all their spectacular glory. There's seduction in simplicity.

I like you to feel sexy, so, when you need to, I'll let you do what you need to do.

Panties is a wonderful word. When did you stop saying "panties"? It's sexy. It's girlie. It's naughty. Say it more.

Really? Sexy? It's not silly or childish? Really?


About ogling: The men who look, they really look. It doesn't insult us. It doesn't faze us, really. It's just — well, it's a little infantile. Which is ironic, isn't it? The men who constantly stare at our breasts are never the men we're attracted to.

Yes, it's infantile, and I do apologize for doing it.

But, you see, there are these moments where it's like I'm 10 or 11 again and I'm just discovering the wonders of cleavage or that place where thigh meets butt and I stare. It's one of those moments where there's not a thought in my head. I'm just reacting.

There are better words than beautiful. Radiant, for instance. It's an underused word. It's a very special word. "You are radiant." Also, enchanting, smoldering, intoxicating, charming, fetching.

Better than beautiful? Or do you really just want me to vary the words I use?

I don't want to use some of those words to describe a person, but understand how you don't want things to be stuck in a rut. I'll do my best to change it up.

Marriage changes very little. The only things that will get a married man laid that won't get a single man laid are adultery and whores. Intelligence and humor (and your smell) are what get you laid. That's what got you laid when you were single. That's what gets you laid when you're married. Everything still works in marriage: especially intelligence and humor. Because the sexiest thing is to know you.

I disagree, marriage changes a lot.

We may still be who we were, but now we're really in this together. We depend on on another. There' s no more "your stuff" and "my stuff," it's now our stuff.

Before marriage me blowing $500 on a new phone or a new TV or something without consulting you maybe wasn't totally okay with you, but you can easily look past it. Me spending that much on something without talking to you about it after we're married becomes an unavoidable conflict. Same goes for you spending that much money without including me. Because after marriage the future becomes much more real.

The future's a lot more abstract to a single person. It's always tomorrow and tomorrow rarely comes. Until it comes it's only something that vaguely has to be worried about.

When you're married, though, the future's always there. Possible babies, a probable house, life insurance, work, and money, money, money are always there staring you in the face. In a marriage, the future is always now because life's not only about one person anymore.

Marriage may not change the people, but it changes nearly everything else, and that's a lot.