23 December 2015

prompted

i saw these prompts in an interview with an author in an email newsletter called "shelf awareness". they looked pretty good, so i thought i'd try them out myself.


on your nightstand now:
i don't have a nightstand and don't read in bed at home, so guess this would equate to what i am reading on my nook. you can see what i've completed in the list below. i have just started "night circus" and so far, it's bizarre and intriguing. i borrow my books from the library, and having to compete with other borrowers means what i want isn't always available. sometimes two or three books that i want come available at the same time, and i can only read one at a time which means the others can lapse before i get to them. unfortunately when a book lapses, it disappears and you have to search for it all over again. would be easier if lapsed books moved to the wish list and you could get in line to check them out again. (it's on my to-do list to email the library about this, so don't bother telling me to.)


favorite book when you were a child:
probably either "secret garden" or "a tree grows in brooklyn". i really enjoyed both of these books. when my eighth grade english teacher asked for suggestions for a book list, i suggested "secret garden". she said that was a ridiculous suggestion because it was a book for children, then the entire class laughed at me. at least, that's how i remember it.


your top five authors:
laurie r. king
kathy riechs
jk rowling
patrick rothsfuss

one or more of:
janet evanovich
alan bradley

i used to like john grisham and robert ludlum, but i got worn out on them.


book you've faked reading:
i don't recall ever having faked reading a book; however, i have certainly faked understanding a book -- :"old man and the sea", "moby dick", "heart of darkness", and "othello" all come immediately to mind.


book you're an evangelist for:
"andrew henry's meadow". andrew henry is an independent inventor who's parents aren't sure what to do with him. when he runs away from home, other children from the small town follow him into the woods where andrew henry builds a unique residence for each one. meanwhile, the parents are looking for their kiddos, and eventually, kids and parents are reunited, to much joy and dancing. when they get him home, andrew henry's parents provide him some space in the basement to do his inventing. the moral of this story is, to be understood by your family, your best bet is to run away.

also good: "we were tired of living in a house".


book you've bought for the cover:
"sister bernadette's barking dog: the quirky history and lost art of diagramming sentences" -- the diagrammed title, the subject, and the cute boston terrier all caught my eye. now, i cannot find the book anywhere. i probably gave it to goodwill, or maybe it fell behind the bookcase. either way, you can see how being intrigued by the cover panned out for really valuing the book itself...


book you hid from your parents:
hahahahaha.


book that changed your life:
as trite as it sounds, the bible. i read it on my own around age 9, got convicted, snuck into my brothers room and put back things i'd taken from him. i lived pretty scared for the next few years, until i discovered alcohol.


favorite line from a book:
i don't have one favourite line. i have like a million. however, here are two good ones:

"the day we fret about our future is the day we leave our childhood behind." ~~kvothe (the name of the wind, @patrickrothfuss)

"there is a mystery in silence that can never be matched by mere words." ~~@flavia_deluce (as chimney sweepers come to dust, alan bradley)


five books you'll never part with:
the bible (don't want to get struck by lightning now, do i??)
"pillars of the earth" - ken follett
"andrew henry's meadow" - doris burn
"harry potter and the sorcerer's stone" - jk rowling
"rhetoric" - plato


book you most want to read again for the first time:
"lord of the flies" - william golding

when i read this book, i was in junior high school. as i read the story, i identified with the boys and aged them up to my 13 or so years. at the end of the book when (SPOILER ALERT!) the ship's captain comes ashore and meets the boys, mr golding describes them as small boys. i think they were like 9 or something. it was a huge shock to me that the boys were so young, and i remember the incredible, palpable, nearly indescribable joy that accompanied that delicious shock. i was thrilled by what mr golding had done - that his words had enraptured me so completely onto the island with the boys that i'd lost sight of their extreme youth. for some people, an experience like that would light a fire to create the same thing, it would inspire them to write. for me, it inspired me to read.


best book about writing:
"elements of style" - strunk & white

09 December 2015

why are you hitting yourself?

------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
(New York, NY) December 7th, 2015, -- Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------

------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
Jeb Bush Verified account
‏@JebBush
Donald Trump is unhinged. His "policy" proposals are not serious.
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------

------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
Hillary Clinton Verified account
‏@HillaryClinton
This is reprehensible, prejudiced and divisive. @RealDonaldTrump, you don't get it. This makes us less safe. -H
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------


people, people, people.

here's the thing: donald trump says radical stuff because he is trying to maintain the spotlight. and? it's working.

some of the stuff trump says is offensive - even bigoted or misogynistic. he can be flippant and he can flip-flop. he's an impulsive hot-headed big mouth. a clown. a bully.

remember how everyone always told you to ignore the bully, ignore the class clown, ignore your little brother, and they'd go away? deny them the attention they so mightily crave, and they will go away and seek attention elsewhere.

and yet, the pundits postulize on his popularity. the opponents opine on his oppressiveness. or, something else equally as alliteratively explanatory. they are all barking on and on about how he is not worth the attention which is only increasing the attention. AHEM. IRONY ALERT.

trump is popular. why? well, people admire how he speaks his mind and verbally mows down his enemies. who hasn't had that situation where you're caught unprepared and miss a chance for the bon mot, only to have the perfect comeback come to you after you've stomped out of the room and slammed the door. "oh, i should have said..." who hasn't had that? trump, that's who.

his seeming immunity to attacks from press and political opponents is compelling. people want to be getting themselves some of that teflon mojo. in pursuit of the mojo, people try to get close to him. in trying to get close, they get as close as they can, which is to support him, to parrot his words, to become A Follower.

so people admire him and want to be close to him and want to be like him - or, BE him - so they do the best they can, which is, they join the group who support him. thing is, they aren't supporting him because they support his ideas. they are supporting HIM. they like HIM and want more of HIM. they really don't give a fuck what he believes, but damn if they won't bloody defend whatever nonsense he spews, defend it tooth and nail.

trumps supporters have taken support to new heights. they are true believers. being trump supporters isn't a thing they do, it's a thing they are.

aaaand, here comes jeb. and, here comes hillary. here they come saying trump is unhinged, his policies can't be taken seriously, he is reprehensible and prejudiced and divisive. "@RealDonaldTrump, you don't get it." meanwhile, all the talking heads and pundits say trump can never get the nomination. they say his popularity will fade, that this is a passing thing.

how does this work out for them? oh, let's see... here it is: trump gets even more popular.

why? because people don't care if he's right. they care if he's teflon mojo man and they really really really need him to keep on being teflon mojo man because they've tied up their identity in being teflon mojo man's followers. that's what it means to be a true believer - it's part of your identity.

so. what to do, what to do, what to do....

------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
Try to understand why your little brother behaves this way. You may think that it's just because he's impolite, never listens to you, and can't help sticking his nose into your life. That's not truth. The reason is that your brother wants your attention. Actually, all children behave like that, and your parents might understand it, but you don't.

Now you know what your brother wants from you, so let's proceed to the ways how you can deal with him. First, you can ignore your brother. Ignoring doesn't mean putting your hands over your ears and shouting “la-la-la”. Your negative reaction is also attention, well, kind of. That's why ignoring your brother means that you don't look, listen or respond whatever your brother does in your room. Soon he will be bored and leave you alone. However, till that time you may be really pissed off.

https://anydayguide.com/post/229
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------

the only way
he will go away
is if we look
the other way.











(yes, i have also contributed to the problem, but since, like, two people read this blog, i think the universe is safe.)

08 December 2015

the other night, we were watching hunger games on TBS.

commercial stations, movie channels, pay per view - they're all pulling hunger games out of the mothballs because of the final installment of the trilogy is out in theatres. personally, i have hunger games about memorised. i could use a refresher of catching fire and mockingjay part 1. why'nt they show those? you'll see that sort of thing a lot, really. for a while, it was harry potter chamber of secrets. they wore the fuck out of that reel of celluloid.

so anyway, there we were, partaking of a wee morsel of katniss and whatnot when all of the sudden, i am noticing the soundtrack. it's everywhere and vibrant and filling in the silent gaps and empty spaces which i would have mere seconds before sworn on my mothers ashes were silent and empty. it was truly an odd experience and i made him stop the movie so i could ask him what the hell??

at first i thought TBS had added the music but fairly quickly realised that that was not practicable. although it meant calling into question my powers of perception, it made much more sense, in an objective sense, to admit that i'd simply never noticed the music before.

back when the movie was new and i was i the theatre watching it, i was all entranced by books-come-to-life setting and plot and characters. when all that was new and held my attention, i didn't notice the music. why? well, obvs, i was busy noticing all that other stuff. durr. okay, really, why would i notice the setting and not the music? the plot and not the music? the characters and not the music? the costumes, the make up, the props.. and not the music?

why didn't i notice the music? here's my theory: there's no music in the books.

i'd read the books and i was looking for how they had interpreted all those things i'd read. did they get district 12 right? katniss and gale's interactions? pru's dress? the reaping bowl? haymitch's eccentricities? the train, the capitol, the parade, that scene where katniss (spoiler alert!) shoots an apple out of a pig's mouth, the costumes, the arena, the cornucopia, the tributes, the interactions and the challenges and the makeup and the blood... did they get it right? did they get it all right?

it was a case of having-read-the-book induced compulsive quality assurance. i was so busy with this QA responsibility - which the universe had cleverly chosen me to fulfill - that i had no time or mental capacity for anything that wasn't in the book.

that makes sense, right?

alternately, when in the theatre, the music presented itself as integral. or maybe, the movie presented the music as integral? either way, the music was integral. could have been a result of the movie theatre itself, the acoustics and sound system. or, opposite-wise, the whole effect is the result of our inadequate home sound system elevating the winkles and tinkles of the music out of proportion, making them more prominent, calling inappropriate attention to them. what the hell, home sound system? stop interfering with soundtrack integration!

probably it was some of this, some of that. some of the equipment in use, some of having seen the movie multiple times. having recovered from the shock of noticing an integral feature which i'd completely overlooked to this point, i am left wondering only one thing...

what else haven't i noticed in hunger games, and [drum roll] in life??




02 December 2015

leaping onion jesus rockets

well here we are again. watching the story of another mass shooting unfold.

at 11am pacific time today, three people attacked a holiday party in a conference room at a community center in san bernadino, california, leaving 17 wounded and 14 dead. now, eight hours later, we know little more about what happened than we did immediately after the occurrence.

has this mere trickle of new information put a damper on news reporting? oh, no no no. don't be silly. there are anchors and reporters and analysts all booked for the day, all hoping for the scoop, all eagerly anticipating a chance to give their opinion.

the coverage is constant and live and granular. every tiny tidbit of information is reported and examined and analyzed and re-reported and re-examined and re-analyzed and rinse and repeat until the next tiny tidbit drops into the center ring, to be spotlighted in the attention of the nation's most brilliant spin-masters, who begin immediately to speculate a structure around the tidbit, twirling it in the web of their worldview. they will all say they aren't sure, will admit the speculations are speculatory, will all use all the right vocabulary about hypothesis and supposition so as not to mislead us into false faith in their winding web, while simultaneously yearning for us to make that very leap.

press conferences (uh... pressers) are hyped like rocket launches, complete with anticipatory countdowns and live video of an empty podium waiting like a lonely manger for the wee baby jesus*, because pressers are where the Officials deliver Real True Facts and as good as the tidbits are, Real True Facts from Officials are many many orders of magnitude better. whereas the heads can twirl a worldview web from the tidbits, they can Claim Knowledge with the Real True Facts. worldviews are ephemeral. Knowledge Claims are power.

thing is, a major story such as the aforementioned act of violence is complex. simple stories aren't big news and complex stories are... uh... complex. you know -- large things made of many smaller, interconnected things? complex. the complexity which factors into the producers' deeming the story worthy of scrutiny, that very complexity naturally contributes in the story's unfolding slowly.

the coverage is constant, and the facts are sparse, thus the result: everyone says the same things, watches the same scraps of video, talks to the same eye witnesses and experts. over and over, tearing into this great onion of a story and coming back with a mere scrap and subjecting that scrap to thorough examination.

the extreme inspection of minutiae elevates the minutiae. the scarcity of fact de-elevates the fact. the worldview webs, being more prominent, distract from the Knowledge Claims.

in all the constant coverage, ironically, the story itself is lost.















*rocket and jesus in one sentence. boom.`

28 November 2015

shouldlywise

i should make a christmas list. i should address the christmas cards. i should get out the tree and decorations. i should sweep the floor. i should fold the clothes. i should take the miscellany in my car's trunk to the goodwill. i should stretch. i should brush down those cobwebs around the window in the den. i should assemble the annual family-picture calendar. i should sort all those boxes of loose photos into some sense. i should pay the bills. i should make the bed. i should take a nap. i should defrag my hard drive. i should update my OS. i should dust the cabinet. i should winnow my wardrobe. i should hydrate. i should make a grocery list. i should go to the grocery. i should brush my teeth and hair. i should do some push-ups. i should plan that after-christmas trip. i should answer some emails. i should clean out the junk drawer. i should walk to the mailbox. i should finish that cross-stitch. hell, i should start that cross-stitch. i should get up and turn on some lights in here. i should brew a pot of coffee. i should get out the fruitcake. i should read those magazines i subscribed to. i should watch my shows.

17 November 2015

your bedroll is on fire.

did you hear what john kerry said today?
"There's something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that," he said in remarks at the U.S. Embassy in Paris. "There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of - not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, 'Okay, they're really angry because of this and that.' This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate."
see what he did there? that's right. he fucked up.

see, you can KNOW that there is a difference, but you cannot SAY that there is a difference.

we all want to be safe. maslow puts safety right up there behind air and food. whereas if you were starving, you'd risk your safety for a carrot, if you are sufficiently fed, you will have mental space to consider whether your bedroll is on fire and whatnot.

we all want to be safe, but the world isn't safe. a mastodon could be chasing you. blogger could force you to change your template even though you don't want to. terrorists could shoot you. anything could happen. as much as we'd like to believe it, there is really no safe place.

and believe you me, we want to believe it. the fierce desire to believe we are safe is what makes people say, "i never thought it would happen here..." about some nonsense that happened right under their noses. hostages in the neighbor's basement? couldn't happen here. pedophile priests? not in this parish. terrorist attack? nah. not here.

i mean, sure, if you live in the middle east, you're asking for it, right? if you publish controversial cartoons, or wear a red bandanna in the blue neighborhood, or practice christianity in china... you're asking for it, right? asking for it.

thing is, though, there is no safe place. there is no safe behaviour. anything can always happen here. or, there. or, anydamnwhere. it's not about how WE act. it's about how THEY act, and THEY are just so fucking unpredictable.

so. john kerry is saying what we are all thinking. those charlie hebdo people were asking for it. you might not admit you are thinking that, or even know you are thinking that, but you are. it's not that we mean anything bad about them. as usual, it's not about them at all. it's about us. it's because, if they were asking for it, we are safe.

it's psych 101. without assigning blame to the victims of terrorism, we probably wouldn't ever leave the house.


11 November 2015

yet another blog about the philosophy of welding

in last night's republican candidates debate, marco rubio said,
“Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers.”

okay. firstly? the correct grammar is "fewer" philosophers. #sigh

now, that being said, the groups "welders" and "philosophers" are not mutually exclusive. you can be both. it's not like you have to choose one or the other.

furthermore, we could certainly handle more welders AND more philosophers.

a quick google of "need welder" results in dozens of thousands of job listings. welding is a learned skill and welder training is not as common as it used to be, so combine the fact of less training, or, to put it another way, fewer training opportunities -- combine that with the job openings, some significant number of which languish unfilled for literally years, and anyone would conclude that we could use more welders. but welding is a hard sell. welding isn't fun or glamorous. welding is the hot and dirty work of using fire to join pieces of metal in the manufacture of physical structures. it's not attractive, unless you consider jennifer grey in flashdance. now, that's an attractive welder.

a quick google for "need philosopher" doesn't reveal openings. instead, it reveals a metric shit-ton of well thought out articles refuting rubios's words. there are humorous rebuttals, serious rebuttals, footnoted rebuttals, spontaneous rebuttals. that's what philosophers do. i mean, they don't rebut per se, but they consider meanings and manufacture structures to put meaning in context. sometimes they manufacture out of thin air, sometimes they support the structure with other structures.

so. see what i am doing here? welders manufacture structures and philosophers manufacture structures. one is physical, one is mental.

can we do without physical structures? buildings? cars? no.

can we do without mental structures? logic? religion? no.

so.

what was ol' marco up to? well. he WAS in milwaukee, a town of physical manufacturing. he WAS in a high pressure situation, trying to make an impression, a lasting impression, trying to differentiate himself from the others on the stage. what he was doing was trying to connect with the audience in front of him, to garner applause (approval), and with the perceived larger audience of his campaign, to garner approval.

why would throwing shade on philosophers and throwing props to welders accomplish this? not sure... not sure...frankly, i'd associate neither welders nor philosophers with conservative politics. maybe if he'd been up east in the veritable hotbed of philosophy, maybe then he'd have switched it up. who knows.

who knows why anyone does anything, ever?

10 November 2015

it is not beneath my dignity to climb a tree.

when i was in the third grade, about a month into the schoolyear, the school broke up the class i was in and dispersed us. the word on the playground was our teacher got reassigned to kindergarten. in retrospect, "your teacher has been reassigned to kindergarten" sounds a lot like "your dog has gone to live on a farm". bottom line, we were dispersed.

the morning of the day the dispersal was to take place, my mother told me, "don't you let them put you in with mrs duncan. don't let them put you in the class your brother was in." well, i guess you know the punchline, but hell, i was like 8 years old. i told them my mama said don't put me in that class. it didn't work.

so i was plopped into the already-in-process class of mrs duncan and miss pitts. this was the 70s - open classrooms and teamwork were all the rage. we had a cavernous room strewn with tables that sat 6 per. being the sort of kid that thrives in a library carrel, this was problematic.

but, i found my place.

one of my favourite activities was this set of self-driven reading comprehension exercises that miss pitts had on her side of the classroom. there were three boxes filled with laminated pages. you had to finish box one to get to box two, finish box two to get to box three. the more you finished, the higher your marks. you couldn't just do them all day - you got to do them only after you'd finished your regular work.

i ate them up.

remember SRA? well, this was like SRA, but it was something miss pitts had made. i have no idea why she made her own SRAs. maybe she was a cheapskate. maybe she rolled her own SRAs so that she had more money for chalk. maybe she was embezzling.

ANYWAY. three boxes. box one. box two. box three. to get an A, you had to finish all three boxes.

when we exiled-teacher refugees first arrived in the domain des pitts, ol' miss pitts specifically told us we didn't have to finish all the cards like the other children did. we started late, so we'd be held to a different standard. getting into box three was enough. we didn't have to finish it.

when the time came to fill out report cards, miss pitts conveniently forgot this, resulting in my painfully and tearfully explaining to my parents why i got a poor mark. my memory is that they didn't really buy the "she told us we didn't have to" explanation and simultaneously didn't really care that i didn't get an A.

that school year lived up to its inauspicious start and comprised my first lesson in the fact that adults are untrustworthy assholes. i should never have been in that class in the first place! that's when i decided to never grow up, because i don't want to wear a tie or a serious expression in the middle of july.

09 November 2015

nablopomo

have you heard of NaNoWriMo? it's national novel writing month and is in november. the goal is to write like 50,000 words in november.

it's a cool name because it starts with nano which is reminiscent of nanotechnology which is the study of really tiny things. really smart people study really tiny things. it's not for the weak of mind. so, an association with nanotech is a score because it's an association with smarts. of course 50,000 words is like the opposite of tiny because, you know, 50,000. but still - nano? cool.

it's a cool name because it has rhythm and rhyme. NA. NO. WRI. MO. up-down-up-down - rhythm. NO/MO - rhyme. pronouncing NA and WRI pulls your mouth up the same way. (the first syllable is "na" as in "national". not "nah" or "nay".) NO and MO pull your mouth down the "Oh". it's a roller coaster for your voice, which makes it... (wait for it...)... roll off your tongue. it's easy to say, fun to say.

it's cool because it sounds like nanoo-nanoo, which is orkan for hello, goodbye, i love you, and 50 kinds of snow. it's anything. it's everything. it's wide open and waiting for you to fill it in - with your 50freaking000 words.

NaNoWriMo. cool name. enormous idea.

aye, there's the rub. the enormous, enormous rub. who can write 50,000 words? if you check out my profile page you'll see links from this blog to two deprecated yellow bulbs. i have written blogs and blogs and blogs. and? blogs. but 50,000 words = yikes. i bet all my billions of blog posts don't add up to 50,000 words.

so, what's a girl to do? what about blogging every day for a month. hmm. well, hey, here comes NaBloPoMo.

um.

what the hell?

nablopomo sounds like a mexican building material. like oh-oh-oh. like blow pomo. it sounds like a crime, like a felony. directly in the middle it says BLOP. it's just a fucking hot mess of a word. there's nothing fun and playful. there's nothing to inspire me to blop down a post every day for a month.

that being said, i suck at posting anyway.

24 October 2015

brigadoon motive

the june after i'd turned eight in march, my parents packed me off to summercamp for a month. i remember being delighted - it was something i'd been anticipating for at least two years.

i know it sounds uppercrust and pretentious to go to summercamp for a month, and it's true that many of my fellow campers were right up there in the sugary-floury environs of the pie top. as for me, despite my father's belief that we also were atop the pie, our nobility had decayed, leaving us with more manner than means. i joined the uppercrusters at summercamp because my grandmother went as well and managed the kitchen.

there are a thousand things i could tell you about camp or about my grandmother, but today i'm going to focus on this one: eight year olds don't generally take to going away from home for a month. furthermore, despite my being less than two hours from home, my parents didn't return to camp for visitors' day, didn't return at all until the month was up.

i remember standing in the camp's dirt road with my mother and father and grandmother. one of them asked me, do you want to stay another month? i remember answering immediately - not a hint of hesitation - yes. "are you sure?" "yes." and they left and i stayed.

i stayed two months that year and every year after that until i was 20 and my father said it was time to stop being a camp counselor and get a real job, and i went to work in a fast food restaurant. just like that, i quit going.

i can't explain why, at eight years old, i left home with no objection and willingly stayed gone for eight weeks. i can't tell you why, at 20, i quit going away with no more objection than when i started.

the human mind is a fascinating place. the assumption is that memories -- where we went, what we did, how we felt about it -- are stored securely and cataloged accurately. if i remember it, it must be that way... right? in reality, the facts are all skewed, coloured by our then-feelings and our now-feelings, or then-circumstance and our now-circumstance. not to mention all the alterations, the nips and tucks we've made to our memories through the years.

identity is complicated, but a large part of who we think we are is drawn from a compilation of memories. this is why discovering that something in our past didn't go the way we remembered -- having our memory challenged by another's memory, or a newspaper article, or (perhaps most shockingly) our own words in a diary -- is so disconcerting. it's not only about the place and time and action. it's not even primarily because of how we felt about it. it's because we've built our identity on the past, and if the past shifts, what are we to do with our identity?

i've always thought of myself as independent, self-sufficient, a bit of a loner. a portion of this view of myself is built on that eight year old me, tromping off to summercamp for eight whole weeks, head held high, shedding nary a tear for home.

i know the basics of the memories are solid because witness accounts agree, but what if i have the memories right and the motives wrong? what if it wasn't about the "going to" -- what if it was about the "going away"?

what if i am not a brave adventurer, but instead, i am a cowardly runner?

what then?

10 October 2015

running an errand

i got up early to fix his breakfast before golf, and when he left at 7, i was reading my book. i thought, i'll just close my eyes for a second and woke up two hours later. two hours. gah. i had breakfast, including two cups of coffee and just like that, boom, asleep on the couch.

it left me feeling weird, out of sorts.

i get up and pad into the kitchen, rummage up a bowl of cereal, sit at the kitchen table to eat and read. and read. and read. gah. i am stuck here, and still feeling at odds with life. i know i should get off my ass and do the filing, but damn, it's such a big pile now. i can't face it. obviously, it will only grow larger. bah.

restless.

i call the service center to check on the car, and it's ready. well, hey now. that's interesting. i can wait for him to get home later and we can go get the car, or i can go get it myself now. but how will i get there, since my car IS there?

i think you know.

i quickly change into my jog togs. this is going to be GREAT. i'll need money, license, uh... phone, chapstick? i find a jacket. (why do i have three jacket choices?? why do i have so much shit????) and load up the pockets, adding pepper spray so i can report in that i had carried it, and also keys because what if they lost the one we left there, and a grocery list because hey, let's do that as well. like i said, this is going to GREAT.

i tie the loaded jacket around my waist and take some practice jogs around the driveway. shifty and rattly and incredibly jog tog amateur, but hell, i'm not proud. as soon as the garmin locks in, away i go. clink clank clink clank. i sound like the tin man. ha. whatever. i'm not proud.

the miles melt away. the weather is a bit breezy but otherwise ideal - sunny, cool. i mapped the route as 4 miles, so i added a bit to get 5, and guess what, i ended up with 6. haha. ransom the car, hit the grocery, back home.

it was a great run, just like i thought it would be. perfect weather, perfect wardrobe. my new shoes are wonderful and albuterol is magic fairy dust. but here's the biggest reason it was a great run -- i was going somewhere.

these days, if you tell someone you are jogging to the service center to get the car, they will look at you like you are crazy. why would you do that?? people just don't consider self-propulsion a realistic transportation option.

well, people around here at least. i know there are millions of people in the world for whom walking is THE transportation option. i'm not that callous.

but back to me.

even in cities where walking makes sense, people don't expect you to walk. like, i will always choose to walk in NYC - if the neighborhood is conducive. most neighborhoods are much more conducive to walking than you'd think, but people can't believe you wouldn't get in a subway to go three blocks. well, firstly, walking is free. so there's that. secondly, walking is the bomb.

so, here i am at home and i need to be at the service center, and why not go there on foot? makes perfect sense. i can't drive two cars, so why show up with one?

running is generally so pointless. i mean, sure, you can be training for a marathon or trying to lose weight but come on. think about it - if the point of your running is more running, that's not a point. a point is like, to get somewhere or accomplish something. running? it's pointless. vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

running to the service center, though, that has a point. that's a thing. i am doing an actual thing that i need to do and the fact that running is my modus transportati is a throwaway side-fact. "i got the car." "oh, great. how'd you get there?" "i ran." "ah."

it's just so cool to be like: okay, i need to get the car and get groceries. based on my current options, what's the best way to go about this? better get the car first so that i have a way to get the groceries home. i could take the bike, but not sure what shape it's in. guess i'll just jog over there.

i don't know. maybe you won't understand. but to me, that's the coolest thing ever.

05 October 2015

on bean watch

every day i think i'll write something here and then every day i cop out. why? who the hell knows. let's go with i am a lazy ass.

when i was a kid, we had some mexican jumping beans. where did they come from? who the hell knows. better question: how did they work? again, who the hell knows. supposably they have worms in them but i don't know. i'm not buying it. actually, i didn't buy the beans... i was a kid! but seriously. worm? not so much. am i right? had to be, like, a spring or something. surely. surely, shirley.

so. mexican jumping beans. not to be confused with magic beans. we all know the story, right? jack and the beanstalk and whatnot. (okay, no "whatnot" but it felt rhythmically appropriate so i did it. locum meum, praecepta mea.) jack and that dratted beanstalk have come into my life twice in the past few months. not mere mentions, but actual experiencements.

first, i saw the play "into the woods" which features li'l jack and his rascally beans. then, i checked out a random audiobook which used a marionette show of jack & the beanstalk as a plot device. the way jayne entwhistle says galligantus is sweet and soft on the ears like caramel on the tongue. ahh.

what is the deal with jack, his beanstalk, and me? can i expect a third experience to complete the set? i am on the lookout - on bean watch, as it were.


03 October 2015

book 2015

print
two for the show [janet evanovich]
speaking in bones [kathy reichs]
brutal youth [anthony breznican]
one of our thursday's is missing [jasper fforde]
invasion of the tearling [erika johansen]
charlie & whiskey [annabel smith]
bones on ice [kathy reichs]
one for the money [janet evanovich]
unenchanted [chanda hahn]
the iron daughter [julie kagawa]
the slow regard of silent things [patrick rothfuss]
the wise man's fear [patrick rothfuss]
the name of the wind [patrick rothfuss]
bones in her pocket [kathy reichs]
swamp bones [kathy reichs]
learning to see: value stream mapping workbook
bones never lie [kathy reichs]
bones are forever [kathy reichs]
darke [angie sage]
fyre [angie sage]
digital disruption [james mcquivey]
bones of the lost [kathy reichs]
miss peregrine's home for peculiar children [ransom riggs]


audio
speaking from among the bones [alan bradley]
the weed that strings the hangman's bag [alan bradley]
tragedy paper [elizabeth laban]
the slow regard of silent things [patrick rothfuss]
harry potter and the sorcerer's stone [jk rowling]
amber spyglass [philip pullman]
subtle knife [philip pullman]
golden compass [philip pullman]
hunger games [suzanne collins]




22 September 2015

books 2015

print
miss peregrine's home for peculiar children [ransom riggs]
bones of the lost [kathy reichs]
digital disruption [james mcquivey]
fyre [angie sage]
darke [angie sage]
bones are forever [kathy reichs]
bones never lie [kathy reichs]
learning to see: value stream mapping workbook
swamp bones [kathy reichs]
bones in her pocket [kathy reichs]
the name of the wind [patrick rothfuss]
the wise man's fear [patrick rothfuss]
the slow regard of silent things [patrick rothfuss]
the iron daughter [julie kagawa]
unenchanted [chanda hahn]
one for the money [janet evanovich]
bones on ice [kathy reichs]
charlie & whiskey [annabel smith]
invasion of the tearling [erika johansen]
one of our thursday's is missing [jasper fforde]
brutal youth [anthony breznican]

audio
hunger games [suzanne collins]
golden compass [philip pullman]
subtle knife [philip pullman]
amber spyglass [philip pullman]
harry potter and the sorcerer's stone [jk rowling]
the slow regard of silent things [patrick rothfuss]
tragedy paper [elizabeth laban]

21 September 2015

following up on perfection

as a follow up, i went on a trip with that suitcase i described on my calpak day and OH MY GOD IT IS PERFECT. i mean like, spacious and hard-sided and twirly-wheeled. i had to unexpectedly gate check it twice and guess what? it was a-okay fine because it's got a shell like a freaking turtle. throw it in the hold, my man the baggage handler, it can take whatever you can dish out.

i also got a caselogic backpack. it was only like 20 bucks from amazon. and OH MY GOD IT IS PERFECT. i ordered it like 3 days before i was leaving and it arrived like THE day before i was leaving. i was worried it wouldn't get here, or that it'd get here and it'd be wrong. but, it got here. and, it was right!

looking for a case to carry my computer plus nook plus all my random shit, i had at first selected a jessica simpson tote and as a general rule, jessica does not let me down. this time... well, ol' jess just didn't get it. what i needed was more space. MORE, JESSICA! damn.

so, the jessica simpson didn't work. this was like a week before my trip. i was sort of in a panic, and then i remembered, backpacks. DUH. there's a genre. backpacks. and so i was like, i guess i can shop for a backpack but i need it here in a freaking hurry so i guess i will shop on amazon.

i had actually had my eye on this amazon basics backpack, so it's not like the backpack genre was completely out of the blue. see, okay. see, i had gotten an amazon basics neoprene sleeve for my new work computer because i have an android phone.

well.

okay, it was like this.

amazon noticed i was shopping them with an android device, my new samsung s5. or, maybe my nook, but probably my samsung. ANYHOO. amazon noticed and therefore offered me a $10 credit to get android apps from their playstore. so, i checked it out and looked at all their apps, and (sorry, big A) their apps are total crap. so, i wrote them an email and i was all like, thanks but no thanks - your apps are crap. and, being a behemoth of customer service, amazon immediately apologized for my dissatisfaction and transfered my app credit to an amazon credit. i had to spend it on something shipped and fulfilled by amazon, so, being in need of a neoprene sleeve, i searched and found the amazon basics brand. i ended up getting a great sleeve for like $8. whoop whoop! whilst shopping, i saw this amazon basics backpack.

that's what it was like.

so as you can see (read: read), i did have some history with considering the backpack genre. i returned to amazon specifically to get the amazon basics backpack, buuuuut, why just go and get and not even look around, hmm what eh little boobly? so, i started in on the "people who looked at this crap you are looking at right now also looked at this way better crap over here and in the end they purchased that totally excellent crap over there." in the end, i purchased some totally excellent crap, just like those people!

in conclusion, it all worked out PERFECT.

13 September 2015

night googlies

it's easy to face your demons in the sunshine,
when you can see them
for their stupid, small, wankish, albino selves.
it's in the dark, when their night-vision googly eyes kick in,
that's when it's hard to face them.
primarily because you cannot see their faces, per se,
but plusly-wise, you know that they can see you.
see?
in the daytime, the demons are manageable.
at night, they might sneak up on you,
with the aforementioned night vision googly eyes.



08 September 2015

ammophila breviligulata

he comes in wearing a tuxedo.
what's the occasion, i wonder, but keep it to myself.
"you'll like the orange," i say instead.
"thanks."
on my advice, he takes the orange
and also a small coffee.
"what are you reading?"
took me a minute to realize he is talking to me.
"the biography of ron burgundy," i say.
adding gratuitously, "it's fiction."
then kicking myself like a spastic kangaroo.
it's fiction.
really, captain obvious?
"it's not much of a book," i prattle on apologetically.
he looks up from his mini-computer, offers me the ghost of a smile, looks away,
clearly not wanting to engage.
too embarrassed to look anywhere but my book,
terribly embarrassed by my stupid book,
i gaze blindly at the paper.
anger sprouts from my embarrassment
like beach grass, green from beige sand.
how could i be so stupid.
i know that books are a staple of his existence,
and i am caught reading this drivel.
as quickly as it fired, my anger dissipates.
i sigh, wrap up the remains of my granola crunch yogurt, prepare to go.
"let me know how you like it," he says.
"what?"
"the book. let me know how you like the book."
he gestures at the cover, smiles again lightly,
and that's when i realize where he's going in that tux:
the academy awards.






with help from:
http://www.writersdigest.com/prompts/word-box

books 2015

print
miss peregrine's home for peculiar children [ransom riggs]
bones of the lost [kathy reichs]
digital disruption [james mcquivey]
fyre [angie sage]
darke [angie sage]
bones are forever [kathy reichs]
bones never lie [kathy reichs]
learning to see: value stream mapping workbook
swamp bones [kathy reichs]
bones in her pocket [kathy reichs]
the name of the wind [patrick rothfuss]
the wise man's fear [patrick rothfuss]
the slow regard of silent things [patrick rothfuss]
the iron daughter [julie kagawa]
unenchanted [chanda hahn]
one for the money [janet evanovich]
bones on ice [kathy reichs]
charlie & whiskey [annabel smith]
invasion of the tearling [erika johansen]
one of our thursday's is missing [jasper fforde]

audio
hunger games [suzanne collins]
golden compass [philip pullman]
subtle knife [philip pullman]
amber spyglass [philip pullman]
harry potter and the sorcerer's stone [jk rowling]

31 August 2015

tedious brain hammering

golden compass is an intriguing adventure story with a spunky young girl protagonist and a talking bear sidekick. subtle knife is a less-than-intriguing story with a sniveling girl protagonist and angsty male teen sidekick plus a bit of blood. amber spyglass is a horrendous dull flat slogging plotless non-adventure starring a weak paper-doll of a girl with a background of ghosts, exaggerated authority figures, and an alternate universe populated by wheel-riding cows. golden compass draws you in. subtle knife barely advances the story but what do you expect from the second of three books. amber spylass introduces random characters solely designed to prop up a plot which is solely designed to painfully, repeatedly, and with unmitigated inelegance hammer home the atheist agenda of the author.

i don't have a problem with atheism. really. whatever you want to believe or not believe, it's fine with me. really. what puzzles me is how anyone would want to cling to -- much less evangelize -- a belief which conjures such a bleak, flat, tedious picture of the world. a world without energy, without joy, with the only goal to obliterate the authority. i mean, you don't have to believe in a creator to delight in the creation. flowers are beautiful, no matter where they come from.

i'm not done with the story yet. maybe the end will redeem it all, but damn, it'd have to be quite an ending to redeem all these hours of tediously getting hammered in the brain.


26 August 2015

books 2015

print
miss peregrine's home for peculiar children [ransom riggs]
bones of the lost [kathy reichs]
digital disruption [james mcquivey]
fyre [angie sage]
darke [angie sage]
bones are forever [kathy reichs]
bones never lie [kathy reichs]
learning to see: value stream mapping workbook
swamp bones [kathy reichs]
bones in her pocket [kathy reichs]
the name of the wind [patrick rothfuss]
the wise man's fear [patrick rothfuss]
the slow regard of silent things [patrick rothfuss]
the iron daughter [julie kagawa]
unenchanted [chanda hahn]
one for the money [janet evanovich]
bones on ice [kathy reichs]
charlie & whiskey [annabel smith]
invasion of the tearling [erika johansen]


audio
hunger games [suzanne collins]
golden compass [philip pullman]
subtle knife [philip pullman]
amber spyglass [philip pullman]

25 August 2015

it's a calpak day.

i drive to tj maxx with one purpose: find a suitable carry-on. suitable in this case being 20", hard-sided, roller. i march on in and right on over to the luggage department, in which i peruse many lovely bags. jessica simpson, nicole miller, samsonite, they're all there. i move some around, pick some up, shift something on an upper shelf nearly causing a suitcase to fall on my head.

then, i see it. on the bottom shelf, lying on its side, is a small, black case. hmm. this is promising. not yet quite the believer, i pick it up and find it to be lightweight with a nice shape and well-working rollers. boom. done.

well, almost. i have seen its ilk before, but have not wanted to fork over the dough. bags like this can run in the $80 range. or higher. but, that's why i am at tj maxx, right? things at tj maxx are less expensive. that's the whole point of maxx -- maxx has the minn prices.

no tags on the outside. hmm. i open the case and find no tags inside. odd, but okay fine, i will find another like this one. long story short, there is not another like this one. okay fine. i am sure they can find a price -- i'll just take it to the checkout. the checkout... between which and me there are like a gajillion people.

#sigh

turns out the line is moving along pretty well. when i reach the counter, i explain what's up and the cashier lady is all like, no problem. she calls over some guy and asks him to get a price and he goes to the luggage area which we can see from where we are so we sort of watch him rummaging in the baggage while making small talk.

i am being real patient because i smell a deal coming on. cashier lady mentions that she can check other stores, see if they have one, and i am all no-o-o-o, i need this bag today. chat, chat, chat. i peruse the snacks beside the register, the snacks across the aisle, select some dried salted caramel apple bits. she takes them, scans them, hands them back -- "so you can start on those, hon."

he's finally back with a comparable bag. same make, but larger. it's priced at like $80, so he's thinking this bag i want is like $49. ugh. i definitely don't want to pay $49. by this time, i am thinking $29. i say it - $29? the guy just looks at me, sort of smiles. cashier lady points out the scratches she & i have previously identified. still, he won't budge.

cashier lady is with me, really, and says she should have just keyed the price. i patiently agree - yeah, i am not paying $49... she says hang on, walks away, comes back with the mocked up price tag that guy (is he the manager?) has made so there's something to scan. she scans it and overrides the price, to $29.

i pay and whatnot, thanks and have a nice day, walk out with my new bag.

that, my friends, is how it's done.

this is not precisely what i purchased, but is an adequate representation from the calpak (brand of my purchase) website.












24 August 2015

this one time at traffic school...


first, i can't decide what to wear. you only get one chance to make a first impression and in this case, the first impression is about it, since i don't plan on seeing these people ever again. i feel like i need to choose my outfit carefully, because this is urban traffic school. i'm not really "urban" and i don't want to look like a complete dork.

i give serious consideration to the bling pants but really, those pants aren't made for sitting, and that's just what i'll do for the next 6 to 8 hours. i finally go with khaki shorts and a grey tee. yes, my originality stuns even me. the shirt is from the new balance store, but it's emblazoned with "empower" in a weird script that's more harley than runner, so i'm thinking that'll help me fit in.


i put on a old pair of trainers but they look dowdy in that way that only running shoes can do. i tried keds but they're worse, so i settle on the chucks, which are about my coolest shoes if you don't count my cowboy boots which in this context you cannot. my chucks are demolished in a way that says i wear chucks, not because they are cool, but because i am.

the class is filled with stereotypes. stupid clownish man. sleepy snoring man. angry black chick. white college kids in logo gear literally using "whatnot" in their actual speech patterns. this one asian dude in plaid button-down and khakis, who can explain deceleration and feet per second. young black men wearing enormous "shorts" and sagging pants, who turn out to be excellent at reading stuff aloud. this lanky white guy in golf shirt and jeans who reeks of suburbia and wants to be everyone's friend. the guys gravitate towards each other as do the girls, except this one girl who sits right in with the guys and raucously mocks one who admits he can't change his own brake pads.

to my left is a middle-aged black woman who received her citation for driving down the right-turn only lane and before the turn, attempting to force-merge back into the main traffic. although it's annoying as hell when people do that, i did not realise that it is a ticketable offense. to my right is a redneck white chick, maybe 30 or so, who was cited for driving on a revoked license because she had to get to work but she'd lost her license for DUI... her third DUI. one of the videos we watch has this really hokey music and she goes, "sounds like a cheap porno! haha!" and i am like, oh girl you are not helping yourself, but i keep that thought in my head, because, you know.

at lunch break, i end up at sonic for tater tots and cherry limeade. back in class, my redneck pal has a bit of glitter on her eyebrow and the glitter matches the glitter on her shirt and i am thinking damn, she took that shirt off for lunch and all i had was tater tots.

the instructor tries to make the class easy but she only succeeds as far as to make it stultifyingly boring. it would be better if she would read the damn book, but she's done it too many times, i guess. she takes frequent long breaks, which satisfies the smokers and i'm okay with it as well because the building is a cell phone free zone so i have to go outside to play words with friends or check twitter. of course, i stand over by the corner of the building acting like i am texting my dealer or something because this is really not a words with friends kind of crowd, and i don't want to get knifed.

in the building, NO CELL PHONES. as the retired deputy who has the tiny little kingdom of the traffic school lobby to rule informs me, there are eleven signs to this effect in the lobby. ELEVEN SIGNS. he has this spiel where he tells you the consequence of using your cell phone in the building is that he can cancel your class and make you pay again, and the reason is that during the week, the building is used as a treatment facility for DUIs and sex offenders, which means there are hippa regulations. we hear this speech multiple times, and i never learn what my saturday cell-phoning has to do with the hippa of a sex offender who comes to treatment on a weekday, but i let that slide. the retired deputy has one straight eye and one sideways eye so it's never quite clear which of us is receiving the speech, but i am certain i don't want to give the king of the traffic school lobby an excuse to exert any authority over me, so i go outside with my games.

the instructor manages to make the 30 minutes of material last 6 hours, which i have to grudgingly respect and admit is a hellish way to make a living. she dismisses us. i thank her for her efforts, and reach the parking lot in time to see my classmates (literally) speeding off in all directions. we didn't even exchange email addresses.

did i learn anything? not about driving safety. i mean, i drive unsafely more out of stupidity than ignorance. about my classmates, urban living, tolerance? hell, the mate who put the most demands on my tolerance was Suburban Golf Shirt Guy. i think he was just really nervous to be around all these different kinds of people, but the irony is that the more different kinds of people there are, the more we all just seem alike. we were certainly united by our boredom and our flagrant disregard for traffic laws.








18 August 2015

i would if i could but i can't so i won't.

pretty sure i made that saying up, contrary to the million other people on the internet who believe they did. as if.

here's something that's weird: hearing an advertisement for the season finale of a show you never heard of. so, like, enough people were watching that show to keep it going for a season, maybe two?, and here they are wrapping up all those loose ends into one neat cliff-hanger of a season finale. all those people, all that time, actors, plots, makeup, lights, camera, action - all of it merrily going on over THERE while you're busy being oblivious over HERE until you notice the season finale ad, and there it is, over before you even knew it existed.

you can't experience it from the beginning because that time has passed. i mean, unless you can reverse time. which you most likely can not. however, you can watch all the episodes and simulate the experience of watching it from the beginning. basically, you can catch up on the plot and whatnot, but you can't have the same literal experience as watching it for real, from the beginning.

what's the difference? well, since you can't do both, you will never know. you can't both experience the show and not experience the show. you can compare yourself, not having experienced the show, to others who have experienced it, but unless you think you are 100% purely exactly like some other person... it's not a true comparison.

would watching the show in real time have changed your life in some way? would you have noticed some cultural reference, made some connection to the wider world or your fellow man? could you have joined in some office convo that without the show you would not have understood and maybe not even have heard or noticed?

you can deny it if you want, but watching television shows changes you. you learn something or you are entertained or you do nothing more than lose some brain cells, but the simple act of spending time watching a show changes you. i mean, you could spend time reading a book or throwing a football, and that would change you as well, in different ways. you could spend time sleeping or spend time staring at the wall or spend time writing in a blog. all of it changes you.

the mere passage of time changes you, no doubt, but plusly-wise, how you choose to spend that time changes you. so - watching the television show during the natural course of its life will change you in some way, and watching the television show after the fact will change you in some other way, and not watching it at all will change you in some OTHER way, and having it on the background while you are sitting there doing something else will change you in yet ANOTHER way, and... well... you get the idea.




thoughts?

17 August 2015

quick childish

the 2016 ryder cup is slated to be played at hazeltine, which sounds more like a type of macaroon or a general foods international coffee flavour than a golf course. hazeltine is in minnesota, and the ryder cup is played in september, which i guess will be okay weather in minnesota.

the ryder cup is a competition between a usa golf team and a european golf team. the majority of each team is chosen according to standing in the overall points in the professional ranking with a few captain's picks on each side.

the competition is called the ryder cup because mr samuel ryder donated the trophy in 1927, and if you asked me, donating a trophy is a pretty low bar to have this nearly hundred-year old tournament still being called after you. i gleaned this fact from wikipedia, which also tells us that the ryder cup is a biennial men's golf competition which is played every two years. go wikipedia.

did you know that the name wikipedia comes from wiki plus pedia? wiki is a hawaiian word meaning quick and pedia is latin for childish, as in pedia-sure hydration product for children. so, wikipedia is most accurately called "quick childish".

another hawaiian word with which you may be familiar is hula. when i was a child, i took dance lessons, including ballet, tap, jazz, and hula. my favourite part of ballet was the tutu, favourite part of tap was the shoes, favourite part of hula was how the hand motions are a kind of sign language and the different hand and hip motions combine to tell a story. i don't recall enjoying jazz dance.


books 2015

print
miss peregrine's home for peculiar children [ransom riggs]
bones of the lost [kathy reichs]
digital disruption [james mcquivey]
fyre [angie sage]
darke [angie sage]
bones are forever [kathy reichs]
bones never lie [kathy reichs]
learning to see: value stream mapping workbook
swamp bones [kathy reichs]
bones in her pocket [kathy reichs]
the name of the wind [patrick rothfuss]
the wise man's fear [patrick rothfuss]
the slow regard of silent things [patrick rothfuss]
the iron daughter [julie kagawa]
unenchanted [chanda hahn]
one for the money [janet evanovich]
bones on ice [kathy reichs]
charlie & whiskey [annabel smith]



audio
hunger games [suzanne collins]
golden compass [philip pullman]
subtle knife [philip pullman]


12 August 2015

i've been shot!

so, it was like this. i was on my way to work, same as always, cleared the construction zone and accelerated back to pace. funny thing, though - i had not completely cleared the construction zone. i had cleared all but this last little bit, and happened to be in that last little bit was a man with a gun. just standing there by the side of the road, with a gun, and he shot me. yeah, he got me. then he straddled his harley, put on his siren, and tailed me until i pulled over.

duhn. duhn. duhn.

yeah, i got a speeding ticket. damnit. first reaction, tears. i cry when i am frustrated or angry, so there you go. frustrated and angry. to his credit, the cop didn't flinch. he was polite and respectful and determined to follow through. asked for my license and proof of insurance. i found them both but thought the insurance card was expired and tearfully apologized but he kindly pointed out that no, it wasn't expired, it was all good. and so on and whatnot and in the end, i thanked him for the ticket. yes, thanked him. what the hell? i don't know.

i managed to get to work and carry on with my life and whatnot.

i have recently taken up NOT speeding through the construction zone which you know what that means - i get completely hassled by my fellow commuters. run up on. buzzed by. honked at. where's the man with the gun now?? anyhoo, being the strong, independent character that i am, i have faced this situation squarely by taking an alternate route.

today, i registered for traffic school. eight fucking hours. wait. no fucking, but you know. eight damn hours. apparently, i was lucky to only come away with the speeding ticket and not get cited for another infraction. no online option for me. in ten days, i will drive 30 minutes to sit for eight hours.

hmm.

thing is, i am oddly enthusiastic about this. going to an unfamiliar place to do an unfamiliar thing. okay, not that unfamiliar. but still, it's been a while since i've had to go to the eight hour class. you never know what is going to happen, what kind of characters you're going to meet, what might be available for lunch. not that i want to pay $120 to have an adventure every week, but you know, once in a while.












11 August 2015

scotch the cookies!

in the section of this blog available only to me as admin, there's a section called "overview". i don't think i have ever clicked on "overview" but tonight there was a little megaphone icon beside the "overview" link in the list, so i clicked it, and there was a really scary announcement about european cookies.

European Union laws require you to give European Union visitors information about cookies used on your blog. In many cases, these laws also require you to obtain consent.

As a courtesy, we have added a notice on your blog to explain Google's use of certain Blogger and Google cookies, including use of Google Analytics and AdSense cookies.

You are responsible for confirming this notice actually works for your blog, and that it displays. If you employ other cookies, for example by adding third party features, this notice may not work for you. Learn more about this notice and your responsibilities.

OMG - what?? i have no idea if this notice is working. how can this be my responsibility?? i don't see it on my blog when i view my blog! i am in a panic - and this is serious! i could end up in a dark, dank portuguese jail serving life without parole for unconsented cookies!

i wish i hadn't clicked on that damn megaphone-adorned link and destroyed my plausible deniability. oh, the humanity! i've seen, and now i cannot unsee! i just want to lay down some barely sensible blather, not get caught up in an international incident.

but on the other hand, what the hell, europeans! who doesn't want a cookie? i, myself, am personally partial to oatmeal scotchies. who can resist a warm scotchie? certainly not a liverpudlian, and they're european. c'mon.

in conclusion, here's how you can make some delicious oatmeal scotchies. send them to me and i will certainly accept them. unless you are prone to poisoning people, in which case i will be forced to turn them away. it's only good sense.

OATMEAL SCOTCHIES (kilt sold separately)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
1 2/3 cups (11-oz. pkg.) butterscotch chips

preheat oven to 375° F.

combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in small bowl. beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl. gradually beat in flour mixture. stir in oats and morsels.

drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

bake for about 8 minutes

take them out, remove from pan, wait a couple mins cause they are really hot you idiot, and take a big ol' bite. mmmmmm.....







books 2015

print
miss peregrine's home for peculiar children [ransom riggs]
bones of the lost [kathy reichs]
digital disruption [james mcquivey]
fyre [angie sage]
darke [angie sage]
bones are forever [kathy reichs]
bones never lie [kathy reichs]
learning to see: value stream mapping workbook
swamp bones [kathy reichs]
bones in her pocket [kathy reichs]
the name of the wind [patrick rothfuss]
the wise man's fear [patrick rothfuss]
the slow regard of silent things [patrick rothfuss]
the iron daughter [julie kagawa]
unenchanted [chanda hahn]
one for the money [janet evanovich]
bones on ice [kathy reichs]
charlie & whiskey [annabel smith]






audio
hunger games [suzanne collins]
golden compass [philip pullman]


06 August 2015

do you hear what i hear?

trying to pass the time on my newly-enlongated commute, i've taken up listening to audio books. the first one i tried was hunger games and i really enjoyed it. i looked forward to the long commute because it meant i could hear more about katniss and what she was getting up to. that went well, so i tried another - golden compass. it's not going quite as well, but i am still hopeful.

with hunger games, i'd read it before and seen the movie, so i didn't need to actually pay close attention at all times to keep up with the story. with golden compass, i am completely unfamiliar with the story, so i am constantly battling with splitting my attention correctly between the road and the story.

the sound from my phone isn't very loud. with hunger games, again, hearing every word wasn't essential. with golden compass, if i am going to keep up with the story, i do actually need to hear most every word. with hunger games, i was already thinking i would like to have a wireless bluetooth speaker. with golden compass, it's clear that if i am going to use audio for books i am unfamiliar with, a wireless bluetooth speaker is essential.

hunger games was a simple read-through. this narrator was just reading the book, giving a little bit of characteristic sound to each voice when there was dialog. golden compass uses a different actor for each character, and that adds to the listening challenge.

it's interesting to see how attention is used... it's easier to listen to someone give a plain-old read. it's more complicated to listen to different voices. i'm not sure exactly why, but when the voice changes, it's jars my attention. i have to refocus, and then the voice changes again. bump-bump-bump i go over attention rumble strips.

hunger games narrator had an american accent. golden compass actors are brits, and the accents add to the attention problem. that is, i have to pay lots of it, in a way that makes me not sure this particular book is going to work out.

with hunger games, i completely knew what was going on. with golden compass, i can't really figure it out. i could have missed some key point... just simply didn't hear it, perhaps, or wasn't paying attention just at that moment.

obvs, my having read hunger games contributed mightily to my knowing what was going on, but in addition, golden compass seems more complex. i am still early in the book, but that's my impression. there are more unfamiliar terms, unfamiliar places. seems that the dystopia in golden compass bears less resemblance to normal life than does the one in hunger games.

i am not giving up on golden compass because i am assured that it is not truly boring, but i am not certain i need to be listening to it in the car. i'll probably give it tomorrow, and reevaluate over the weekend.


books 2015

print
miss peregrine's home for peculiar children [ransom riggs]
bones of the lost [kathy reichs]
digital disruption [james mcquivey]
fyre [angie sage]
darke [angie sage]
bones are forever [kathy reichs]
bones never lie [kathy reichs]
learning to see: value stream mapping workbook
swamp bones [kathy reichs]
bones in her pocket [kathy reichs]
the name of the wind [patrick rothfuss]
the wise man's fear [patrick rothfuss]
the slow regard of silent things [patrick rothfuss]
the iron daughter [julie kagawa]
unenchanted [chanda hahn]
one for the money [janet evanovich]






audio
hunger games [suzanne collins]
golden compass [philip pullman]


04 August 2015

my favourite crayon is periwinkle.

the other day i was reading about the increase in popularity of colouring books for adults and the article mentioned there are also smartphone apps for colouring. huh, i thought. i like colouring. so i found and downloaded an app and coloured me up a couple of pictures. it was okay, but not any great shakes, and certainly not what i would call actual colouring. it was more like tapping the screen. if i am going to dance on the edge of carpal tunnel for the sake of tapping the smartphone screen, i am going to be doing something useful -- like crushing candy.

colouring with an app gives you precision control. all the colour goes inside the line, automatically. there's no challenge and you can pay very little attention to finish the picture. real colouring (with crayons, the only REAL colouring) requires attention.

you'd think it would be stressful or tiring to pay attention but it's ironically relaxing precisely because you are paying attention. see, when you get your mind occupied on this relatively menial task, it can't wander off into dark ugly places or dredge up that work project or whatnot. that's why people are attracted to colouring.

in the app, colour is applied completely evenly. there's no allowance for pressing the crayon harder or softer. or for anomolies like, when you get that odd hard dry spot in the crayon and it suddenly goes scritch-scritch and puts a darker line on the page.

back in the day, i had this friend who would press a dark outline of each space's designated colour, inside the printed outline. this heavy colour line added a sort of dimension to the picture. not like realism because for godsakes we were in the 3rd grade pressing coloured wax onto groundwood pages, but a dimension. it was cool and enviable and not something you can do with an app.

with the app, you can try different colours, combine them, erase them and try again. there's no incentive to plan up-front. you can just dash in all willy-nilly and start smacking down colours, and if you don't like how it looks, just try something else. again, there's no challenge in this. with real colouring, you have to be careful and think about your colour choices. once you've put colour on the paper, there is no going back.

in conclusion, real colouring is better.

31 July 2015

blind pants

this morning while walking to the 8am meeting, i fall in step with a female colleague.

"i have some jeans like yours," i tell her. "with rhinestones on the back pockets. whenever i wear them, i'm worried i'll damage the seats in my car, so i sit on a towel. haha... mine are shorter, cropped just below the knee, so i don't wear them to work."

"wait. you have jeans like these?" she asks with incredulity and vanna-white style gestures in the vicinity of her butt.

"yep! i call them my bling jeans."

"you have bling jeans??"

at this point, i am wondering if there's something askew with my vocalization.

"yes, i do," i say as we enter the meeting room.

"you do what?" wonder the colleagues already there.

"i have jean's like laura's - with rhinestones on the back pockets."

"whaaat?" asks one of them. "you have what?"

"bling jeans. i have a pair of bling jeans."

laura's at it again, waving at her butt as a rhinestone exemplar.

"haha - no way. you??" "can't believe it!" "never!"

basically, i am left wondering what it is about me that says i would not own and furthermore wear rhinestone-pocketed jeans.

"what is it about me that says i would not own and furthermore wear rhinestone-pocketed jeans?"

"oh..." "well, you know..." "um..."

oh, COME ON. it's not like they are made of rhinestone. they have a few rhinestones on the back pockets pockets. it's really not a big deal.

these are not my jeans but they have the same pockets.
see? not a big deal.


it is, however, a very big deal indeed that anyone would find it unexpected that i would wear bling pants. it's a very big deal because i find it to be totally expected that i would wear bling pants. i find it normal. they find it mind-blowingly bizarre. how did we end up with this gaping gap?









(typed part of this on my phone, and it autocorrected bling to blind. haha.)

29 July 2015

this is the part where a smart person has a drink.

so you remember how yesterday i was talking about being almost done with a huge project, when things start to fall apart? yeah, well, joking aside - it's not getting better. however, i have discovered that, apparently, i am a very hopeful person. i seem to believe things are going to work out in a way that i wouldn't expect of myself. maybe because i have invested so much time and effort in this project, i just can't believe it won't miraculously come together.

who am i kidding... i am just a hopeless optimist. well, about work, anyway. looking back, i can see other times where i thought some work thing would come together. as long as the due date is in the future, i believe it can be met. i'd have to say that i am usually rewarded with success, as the projects come together or products get out the door, but i'd also be forced to admit that generally i have a bit more control of all the aspects than i do in this case. it's possible that my optimism is therefore unwarranted here. so i am as a result torn between pure optimism and gut wrenching doubt.

the functionality is critical. we can't move forward without it. and, yet i believe they'll come through. maybe it's not hope. maybe it's denial. huh.

28 July 2015

it ends up like a selfie, only not so much.

imagine you've arrived to a point three weeks from the end of a year-long project, and the next final three weeks before go-live are dedicated to end-user training, and right about now, the members of the team delivering the software portion tell you they need 25+ more hours at $175 per. i, personally, would be mad as hell if that happened. mad as fucking hell.

but enough of that. the other day, someone on tv used the phrase "take umbrage" and umbrage is one of those words i always have to look up because i can't remember if it means to take honor or to take offense. it means the latter, as in, she took umbrage at his surly posture. however, in looking it up, i learned that an archaic definition is shade, as in from a tree. have you heard the expression "throwing shade"? urban dictionary says it means "to talk trash about a friend or acquaintance, to publicly denounce or disrespect". i want you to think about this connection between umbrage and throwing shade, and report back to me with your findings.

you know what's funny? your face. AAAAHAHAHA. no, seriously. you know what's funny? the guy who played clark kent (a.k.a., kal-el) in the movie "man of steel" is british, which is funny when you think about superman being all-american and whatnot, but then joke's on you because superman is from outer space.

so, back to what i was saying at the top. if you were the project leader, how responsible would you feel for the last-minute idiocy of the software developers, and on what criteria would you base your self-imposed level of accountability?

27 July 2015

why i don't have a rain barrel

one of the points that i meant to make the other day, with all that talk about believing in chairs and whatnot, is that most likely the sunrise deserves more faith than my making it through the commute unscathed. i mean, how many times have you heard about a car crash during the commute? and, comparatively, how many times have you heard about the sun not rising. i think you can see my point.

human nature being what it is, though, we just tend to go on and count on something behaving in a predictable way because it's easier to count on something being the way it usually is, rather than try to figure out how something is going to be, from scratch, every time.

what if you had to wonder every single time if there would be electricity when you flipped the switch or water when you turned the tap. if every time were an adventure of the unknown, you'd have to have a backup plan. like, if you couldn't count on the electricity, you'd have to keep candles handy. if you couldn't count on the water, you'd have to have a rain barrel. like, not a hipster hobbyist rain barrel, but an actual working rain barrel.

after a while, though, you'd probably be like... hey, this electricity is coming on every bloody time i flip the switch, why am i keeping these candles? after all of that demonstrated good behaviour, you'd start to feel that you could count on the electricity. it's just human nature, that's all. firstly, the demonstrated dependability can make the backup plan seem redundant, unneeded, and secondly, a redundant backup plan is wasted energy. you just feel like, why am i doing this?

of course we don't experience lack of faith in electricity or water. we don't experience lack of faith in the sunrise. but -- remember learning to drive? hell, i remember when i was beginning to master the wheel, i asked my father: who would ever want to drive 55 miles per hour?? it was unfathomable to me that anyone would want to go that fast -- because i had no faith in my car or my ability to control it. i had no faith in the road, that it wouldn't move out from under me or throw a pothole in my path. if i had any space in my brain to even consider my fellow drivers, i'd realize i had no faith in them either.

now, here i am, with a few years of experience on the road, trusting the commute as much as i trust the sunrise itself.

24 July 2015

wobbly leg garners the second look.

during the morning commute, i was struck by the thought that i have the same amount of faith that the car in front of me will continue along at the same rate of speed - or give me fair warning - as i have that the sun will rise each morning. i mean, the same. i have made no provision for anything to happen with the sun other than its rising. i have likewise made no provision with traffic.

i remember learning about faith and belief in some long-ago philosophy class. the teacher told us that true belief is what we have when we sit in a chair. we give it our all, no plan B. "imma sit," zings by, somewhere deep in the subconscious. the muscle memory is so ingrained it doesn't even require a conscious trigger. nobody declares they are sitting before sitting, because it's not a "say", it's a "do".

equal to the power of the muscle memory is the power of belief in the chair. sure, we'll question a sketchy chair. wobbly leg garners the second look. but we don't question every chair. questioning every chair would add time and hassle and sheer looking the fool, to every interaction with a chair. but then, that being said, time and hassle and sheer looking the fool wouldn't prevent us questioning chairs - if we didn't have a basic belief in chairs.

it's seems a bit of circular logic, but i can see that you can see how much sense it makes. bottom line: we believe in chairs. we assume they will work. and generally, they totally live up to expectations. like the sun. and like the commute.

i believe the sun will rise.
i believe in chairs.
i believe i will not perish on the morning commute.

23 July 2015

lunching

another thing about not running on my lunch hour is that i am instead lunching on my lunch hour. this has significantly altered the dynamic of my day. i have discovered that lunching at 11am is much preferable to lunching at noon. firstly, i am famished by 11am so waiting to noon destroys my productivity for the intervening hour. 'bout as well be eating, am i right. secondly, fewer people lunch at 11am, so there's a greater chance i'll be able to lunch alone.

at the old building, in addition to the fitness center with its loverly shower facilities, i had a small fridger right there in my office. at the new building, NO SMALL FRIDGERS ALLOWED. we all share a big fridger and it's cleaned out every friday. so what, you ask. well, i'll tell you what. i'd been in the habit of stocking the small fridger once per week but there's not room in the big fridger for me to stock up, pluswise if i don't consume all the goods by friday, they'll be tossed. unless i remember to remove them. which is not likely.

so, i've taken to taking my lunch.

i'll rustle up a little something at home and package it up and take it along with me, put it in the fridger for a few hours, retrieve it around 11am, and go find a place to eat it. we have some good location choices, some outdoor tables and some screened porches, all very nice and whatnot, but the trick is to find someplace where i can mostly be left alone. i just want to eat and read my book.

running at midday was a way to retrieve some of my alone time. it was pretty simple - strap on the ol' trainers and go. when i first came to this place to work, there were more midday runners. used to be a small group of us - 4, maybe 5. dwindled to 3, then down to 1, maybe 2, then straight to always 1. even when it was a group, though, it was as good as being alone -- i mean, as good a way to restore a piece of myself. i can't explain why running with a group is as good a restoration as running alone, but if you are a runner, you will understand.

but here i am now with lunching instead of running. lunching alone is as good as running alone, in terms of restoration, but lunching not-alone sucks giant donkey dongs.







i think we're done here.

22 July 2015

the one where i whine then use "herculean" in a sentence

another reason i haven't been running as much (besides the heat) is that in moving to a new building, my company put getting folks into cubicles ahead of building a new fitness center. can you believe how completely they mangled these priorities? i mean, c'mon. HR and merchandising can just stay in those common areas while you build my fitness center, am i right? yes, i am right. they just don't get it. #sigh

back when we had a fitness center, i used to run on my lunch hour pretty much every day. after my run, i'd use the locker room and showers in the fitness center to get all cleaned up to go back to work. it could be 30° outside and i'd still end up soaked in sweat, so a lunchtime run without a lunchtime shower is just not feasible for me.

the new fitness center? it's nowhere in sight. they came up with a plan and put it out for bid, and the bids were so high, they went back to the drawing board. now they are suspiciously close-mouthed on the whole issue. i wouldn't put it past them to say they just can't afford a fitness center.

there is a fitness center - with lockers and nice shower facilities - available about a mile down the road, but it's amazingly difficult to get to another building and back during lunchtime. grab my gym bag, head to the car, navigate the parking lot out, get to the other facility, navigate that parking lot, park and get out and into the building and down the hall to the fitness center. there is no way that it's less than 10 minutes to do all that, and i haven't even changed clothes yet. that's another 10 minutes. so. at least 20 minutes into this thing, and i am ready, but i haven't yet run a single step. after all that trouble, i am going to want to make the run worth it, so i'll do 5 miles. that's an hour blown right there. shower and redress... okay, i am lucky to do this in less than 20 minutes. another 10 back through parking lots, etc., all the way back to my desk. altogether it's pushing two hours and i just don't have that kind of time at mid-day.

so i don't use that option. most of the time, i will go for a run after i'm home for the day, or i'll do yoga or play soccer. some days - like today - i will have a really difficult workout: we went to the pub for ales and an order of fish & chips. it was really quite herculean.

21 July 2015

universal-tidbit blossoms

i don't want to simply report the news. you can read news anywhere. and i don't want to use a random writing prompt and end up with paragraphs out of context. i don't want to write book reports. i don't want to spew loose blather.

what i want to do is observe little tidbits during my day, pull them into my mind, plant them there, pour on the fertilizer so that they grow, and watch them to blossom with a connection to the universal. then, i harvest the universal-tidbit blossoms and share them with you in a fascinating way.

problem is, i don't seem to have a lot of tidbits these days. sure, i've been busy at work and, sure, i've been reading more books and,sure, i've been playing quite a bit of this brain deadening app game called two dots. but above all, the reason i don't have tidbits is that i haven't been running as much.

running just loosens up my mind so the tidbits take hold and grow so that i can harvest the universal-tidbit blossoms and share them with you. what i have been doing instead of running is yoga, which doesn't promote tidbit nurture at all. yoga promotes single-mindedly straining to hold tortuous poses, alternating with falling the fuck asleep while imitating a king pigeon.



20 July 2015

what i did this summer

haven't been running because it's too hot outside, so i am doing a lot of yoga instead. am wrapping up a big project work, been at it going-on 14 months, and we're in testing now with go-live planned for the first of september. yesterday i had a food hangover from saturday supper at olive garden followed by popcorn at the movies followed by coffee with a bakery treat topped off with a glass of wine. spent a couple weeks making kool-ade and swimming in the lake at summercamp... that was cool. read a few of the books listed here, in another post. the place i work moved to new offices (mine is pretty sweet). participated with my soccer teammates to win the indoor league and miserably lose the outdoor. successfully introduced sweet potato fries and black beans with salsa into the regular rotation. went to the movies and saw spy and trainwreck, and watched ex machina on pay per view. completed 360 levels of two-dots. finally found a comforter for the master bedroom and a pair of jeans i really like. touched a horse on the nose. saw a blood red moon, in the sky, between the branches of a tree, over a rusted tin roof.

among other things.

books 2015

miss peregrine's home for peculiar children [ransom riggs]
bones of the lost [kathy reichs]
digital disruption [james mcquivey]
fyre [angie sage]
darke [angie sage]
bones are forever [kathy reichs]
bones never lie [kathy reichs]
learning to see: value stream mapping workbook
swamp bones [kathy reichs]
bones in her pocket [kathy reichs]
the name of the wind [patrick rothfuss]
the wise man's fear [patrick rothfuss]
the slow regard of silent things [patrick rothfuss]
the iron daughter [julie kagawa]
unenchanted [chanda hahn]


24 June 2015

the mean cowboy

"what do you expect me to do with this?" he held out the silver buckle in that half-accusatory, half-apologetic way that only someone with one foot out the door can authentically pull off.

"expect? i am done expecting things from you."

he wanted to throw it at her, then. just flick his wrist and let it fly, bounce it off that smug eyebrow.

"this is the one that belonged to your father." he managed to push the words out between clenched teeth. "the one that belonged to your father."

she started to cry, then. she'd turned away, but he could tell by her syncopated breathing. satisfied that he could still hurt her without really trying, he silently slid the buckle onto the dresser and walked out of the bedroom.

04 June 2015

water, money, and DVDs

on the way home i heard this story on the radio about how the detroit city government is shutting off people's water. not randomly, of course. these people haven't paid their bills for quite some time. it's like 18,000 people in arrears on their water bills to the tune of $47million.

i can't find a transcript for the story, and i don't remember if it was last year or before that - but - most of these same people were not paying their water bills in a previous time. at that time, the water department arranged to put them on payment plans, so that they could keep their water on and so that the city could recoup some of the cost of filtering and piping the water out.

so, these people have been given a lot of help towards paying their bills, but i get it -- detroit is a pit of poverty, so where are they supposed to get this money to pay for this water?

at this point, i am feel pretty compassionate and wondering if i can help these people out and whatnot, when they make it personal and start talking to one particular detroitian. she's a single mom of a nine-year old girl, trying to make ends meet. during the past year, her daughter has been sick and in the hospital, putting even more pressure on funds. she talked about robbing peter to pay paul, choosing between water or food or electricity or medical bills.

part of the story captured her calling the water company to find out her total balance and to see what she could do to keep the water on. her total balance is $587 and now i am totally on board with writing her a damn check. tell me where to send it, kai ryssdol -- tell me where to send the check!

and then, just like that, in a blink, i am over it. why? well, as this single mom continued to talk about what she could do to get some money to pay part of this water bill, she said she guessed she could pawn the DVD player.

okay. what?

see, this where it all breaks down for me. why the hell haven't you already pawned the DVD player? why the hell do i think you should pawn your DVD player? back and forth i go.

on the one hand, how can you keep a luxury like a DVD player when you can't pay your bills? on the other hand, if you were to pawn it you might get like $50, and how far will that go? i guess it comes down to making an effort to get your bills paid. if you have a DVD player, have you made that effort?

i want her to prove her worthiness before i spare any more compassion, not to mention that money i was on the verge of forking over. if i were to pay her water bill, what then? maybe she's really in need, but that DVD player is testament that she's not. i could pay her water bill and then she'd go out and get more DVDs.

on the one hand, that's terrible. she's cheated me and made a fool of me. on the other hand, why do i care? on the other hand, why am i reading so much into one (likely near worthless) piece of technology? on the other hand, why isn't she (or the reporter) reading more?

there will be no conclusions today.

03 June 2015

a few limericks

there once was a girl named patrice,
whose clothing was all of a piece.
she liked to look good,
as any girl would,
so that's why she mostly used fleece.

a rainbow contains many colors,
red, blue, green, and the others.
you know them by heart,
so i won't start
naming them, one and another.

most anything goes with fried taters.
beefsteak, boiled eggs, alligators.
eat 'em all up,
each night when you sup,
cause nobody likes tater haters.

if star wars were fact and not fiction,
yoda could be a teacher of diction.
if that were the case,
i'd laugh in his face.
cause yoda always talks all backwards and that's really messed up.






01 June 2015

smells like vanity

my car has always had this particular scent. not a new-car smell -- when i got it, it wasn't new. it's more of a formerly-driven-by-a-smoker-but-i've-been-detailed-with-sweet-soap smell. it's hung in there through years of hauling fast food and sweaty bodies and babies and groceries. it's more prevalent when the car's been sitting out in the heat - like getting all hot and bothered brings it out or something. yeah, the heat brings it out, but it's always there. i don't know where it comes from, how it gets replenished, how it fights off other odors and consistently rises to the top. all i know is, it's how my car smells.

until the end of last week.

a couple months ago, out by the mall, this girl nicked my car pretty good. she wanted to come into the lane i was in, and being as our cars are each comprised of a car's worth of molecules, both her car and mine couldn't occupy the same spot on the space-time continuum. go figure. so, she scraped up my right rear quarter panel, and long story short, i had it repaired last week. at the same time, i had the peeling clear coat on the roof repaired.

first thing i noticed when i got in is my car now smells like a mani-pedi salon. it reeks of paint and associated chemicals and the sorts of places where these products abound. i've had repairs done before, and the mani-pedi odor generally dissipates quickly. i believe the difference this time is that i elected to have the roof repaired, which means more of the car was exposed for a longer period of time. longer exposure means longer dissipation time.

it's soon, only been a few days, so i still have hope that my car's unique smell will win out.

i do have hope. i do.

i do.

but... oh, i hate to admit it! the roof repair wasn't about function. nope. it was about my vanity. i didn't like how she was starting to look, so i had her "fixed" - i took her in to get her grey dyed away because i couldn't stand to watch her aging. and now my vanity may have cost her a bit of her uniqueness! i hope hope hope i didn't destroy it altogether. reaching for everything, i may have lost one of the most special things of all.

that's it, see. you can't have it all. you have choose and you have to be careful and wise. choosing one thing could preclude another altogether or alter it in some altogether unexpected way. you can't just make some spot decision. you have to think it through.

and, vanity is rarely a satisfactory criteria.