Archive for January, 2005

Jan 21 2005

I could use a cigarette.

Published by under Pets,Rants,The Man

Well, last night was certainly a bust.  I mean, I wanted to get to bed at my usual time, instead of the hour or two hours late that I have been going to bed, because of the devilish spell of Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. . . a game which I have already played and beaten.  Anyway, it’s bed time.  We get into bed.  We turn out the lights.  We smooch good night and roll over to drift off to sleep.

SLURP SLURP SLURP SLURP SLURP

Oh, the dreaded sound of Fate licking herself.  Those of you with cats know what I’m talking about.  Dogs are annoying when they lick themselves as well, but it’s more of a slapping or clicking sound, because their tongues are so long.  But cats – ugh.  It’s a disgusting sound.  It’s loud, and kind of snorty, and very wet sounding.  It’s repulsive, and it immediately sets my teeth on edge.

I stood it for maybe five or ten minutes, because I thought she was just settling herself down to go to sleep, but she just KEPT. ON. LICKING.  I could not deal with it.  I jumped out of bed, marched over to the recliner where she was SLURPING, and told her in no uncertain terms to GIVE IT A REST MY GOD WE ARE TRYING TO SLEEP.  Unfortunately, I woke up The Man, who managed to fall asleep somewhere in there.  So, now we’re both awake, trying to get comfortable, getting ready to go back to sleep. . .

SLURP SLURP SLURP SLURP SLURP

This time, The Man threw something at her (oh, not anything hard, stop looking like that), and she fled the room.  But now we were both awake.  I tossed and turned for awhile, The Man got up after about 15 minutes.  I did fall asleep for awhile, but woke up very, very confused, trying to figure out if I was really 26 years old and married, or if I was still in high school (don’t ask).  Anyway, that confusion jolted me awake, so I got up and smoothed the covers.  I went downstairs and went to the bathroom.  I got back into bed. . . no sleep.  I got up and watched some TV with The Man.  I got back into bed and was still half-awake 30 minutes later when he came back to bed.  I think I might have fallen asleep around 2:30 or 3:00 AM, after going to bed at 11:00 PM.

I am really tired today.  And I may kill the cat when I get home.

I could really use a cigarette right about now.

Hey, did you know SpongeBob Squarepants is totally gay?  I wonder if he’s hooked up with Tinky-Winky?  You know, I really can’t wait for the day when it’s totally acceptable to be a gay black Jew, and the people who are looked at as freaks are these religious right morons who keep trying to make everything sanitized for their protection.

It’s like those idiots who get offended at adult TV shows because they aren’t kid friendly.  Because their kids might see them and be permanently warped.  How would you like to live in a world where everything was child-safe?  No CSI, no Playboy, no Kill Bill.  That’s what these nimrods seem to want.  Everything Disney sponsered and Playskool safe.  It’ll be a faith-based initiative.  I have faith. . . that that would suck pretty badly.

Did I mention that I could really use a cigarette?

I better hop along now. . . I’ve still got some work that needs doing.  I need to keep my mind off the sweet, sweet nicotine.

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Jan 20 2005

Lay off me, I’m starving!

Published by under Friends,Pets,Rants

Today has not been a good day for me.  I haven’t lost any limbs or anything, just many small annoyances have all conspired to converge on this day, which just happens to be the day that I decided to try and quit smoking.

TO HELL WITH KRAFT FOODS AND THEIR EVIL DECEPTIONS

So, I’m trying to quit smoking.  Which is not easy.  But what makes it even LESS easy is when Life Savers decides to get all tricksy with their flavors.  I bought a couple packs of the original Life Savers “Five Flavors”, because I love me some citrusy goodness.  And I did see the little thing on the front which said “NEW FLAVORS!”, but I kind of ignored it because the packaging looked otherwise the same.

Did you know that the green Life Saver is now sour apple?  BLECH!  Green Life Savers are supposed to be LIME flavored.  My favorite Life Savers used to be the green ones, but no more.  It’s not even that I dislike sour apple flavoring.  I just feel betrayed.

There is also a grape (or something that tastes reminiscent of grape) Life Saver now, which I don’t remember there being before.  But good ol’ pineapple or whatever the whitish one is supposed to be is still hanging in there, going strong.

I don’t see why Kraft felt the need to screw with Life Savers.  Were there really a bunch of people clamoring at the gates going “Give us grape or we’ll never buy these circular sugar pucks again!!!”. . . no?  I didn’t think so.  And yet, the folks in charge of Life Savers decided to screw up a perfectly good thing, a thing that has been the same for as long as I’ve been eating candy.  What really pisses me off is that “new flavors” thing – I need a little more warning than that, especially if you’re going to take an already established mental association (GREEN = LIME = GOOD) and screw with it.  I wouldn’t have minded the sour apple nearly so much if they had found a new color for it, or made it more obvious from the get go.

On second thought, I take that back.  I will ALWAYS be bitter about losing lime.  Sour apple will always be the bastard usurping stepchild.

WELL THEN, WHAT DO YOU DO ON THE WEEKENDS?

A subject that sometimes comes up among me and my friends is the following question:  “Is ‘going north’ on the weekends a Michigan phenomenon, or is it prevalent in other states as well?”I know that many Wisconsonites “go north” on the weekend from reading Weetabix, but what about states that are out of the Great Lakes region?  Do people in Wyoming go north on the weekend?  What about in Texas?  West Virginia?

“Going north” is a fairly strange mental state.  No matter where you are, there is someplace norther that you have to get to.  D– tells a funny story of going north to his parent’s cabin, which was located in a small town on a lake.  He asked the local residents what they did on the weekend.  Their response:  “Go north.”  Must. Go. North.  It didn’t matter to them that they were already living “north” – they had to get MORE NORTH.  I wonder what the people who live on the very tippy top of the UP do.  Do they take boats across Lake Superior to Canada (otherwise known on this page as the Big Foreign Peninsula or BFP)?  Where is the “north” cut off?  I rarely hear people living in the UP talk about “going north”, so I’m wondering if all land north of The Bridge is considered equally north.  Like, it doesn’t matter if you’re in St. Ignace or Houghton – north is north!  Whereas there is a big difference between being in Kalamazoo versus Petoskey.

FRISKIES IS CRACK FOR CATS

It is well known in our household that the cats will scorn any and all cleverly shaped or packaged “cat treats”.  Cat treats in our house are people food – usually tinned tuna or chicken chunks, which are scarfed down with great delight.  But yesterday, when I opened the new container of Tidy Cat, I saw that the Friskies folks had included a little care package with the cat litter – a sample pack of dried Friskies, a single can of wet Friskies, and a pouch of Friskies tartar control treats.

Now, I don’t feed my cats Friskies because it’s not a healthy food.  Friskies is like McDonalds for cats.  But, I was willing to throw some of these treats on the floor to see if the cats would eat them before I threw them away.  I knew I’d have to throw them away because my cats never eat cat treats (see above).

Let me tell you, my cats SCARFED these treats down.  Inhaled them, I would even say.  In fact, Fate – who does not typically care too much about food and whatnot – actually shouldered Destiny out of the way to get at her treat when Destiny was taking a little too long to pick it up off the floor.  I gave them each three of the treats and then decided that was enough.  They would not leave me alone after that.  MORE TREATS, MOM.  GIVE US MORE TREATS.

What is in those cat treats?

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Jan 20 2005

Tales from the phones.

Published by under Work

Once upon a time, when I was still taking phone calls from customers instead of being a trainer, I was helping a nice man from Florida with a modem problem.  This modem problem involved a lot of reboots and reinstalls and what with one thing and another, there was a lot of time on this phone call where we either had to chit chat or sit in silence.  This gentleman – being Southern – did not want to sit in silence, so he engaged me in several acceptable “small talk” topics.  He asked me where we were located (everyone ALWAYS wanted to know this, and this was years before the whole off-shoring phenomenon, so I’m not sure if they were trying to place us on a mental map, or what), and I told him Michigan.  He then asked the next logical question, “What’s the weather like up there?”  It being winter, I told him it was very cold, and that it was snowing, and that the roads were going to be terrible when I drove home at 2 AM, and that I hoped the county had dispatched the salt trucks.

“The salt trucks?”
“Yeah, I don’t want to drive on slippery roads.”
“You put SALT on your ROADS?”
“Well, yeah.  It’s either salt or ice, you know?”
“No, but. . . really?  Salt?  How often?”
“Uh, as often as we need to, I guess.”
“So, it just stays there or what?”
“Well, no, that’s why they need to keep salting.  Because eventually there is no more salt on the road.”
“But. . . where does it all go?”
“I guess it goes into the ground with the runoff.  I never really thought about it.”

At this point, I was wondering where this guy had been all his life, not knowing that ICE + SALT = MELT, and he was probably wondering how Michigan still had fertile ground, what with all the sowing the ground with salt every year.  It was a bit of culture shock.

Another time, I was talking to a person from California, who sounded completely normal to me.  He also wanted to know where we were located, and when I told him “Michigan”, he said “Oh, yeah, I can tell.  You have that ugly Midwestern accent.”  I was offended.  I mean, I wasn’t saying things like “Oh, yah, what ya need to do is reboot the thing, don’tcha know?”  I was just talking.  I’ve seen “Fargo”.  No one I know talks like that.  I didn’t understand what my ugly Midwestern accent sounded like, but it made me self-conscious for awhile.

Sometimes, people were way too happy that I’d fixed their problems.  I mostly worked second shift on the phones, which was either 4 PM til 1 AM, or 5 PM til 2 AM.  Consequently, I talked to a lot of drunks, crazies, and desperate people who needed to get ready for a presentation the next morning.  One night I spent an hour-and-a-half with two guys who were working late at their office trying to get a form on their web page to submit.  They had me on speakerphone, which I usually hated, but these guys were pretty nice.  When we fixed the problem, there was a lot of cheering on their end, and then one of them said “Girl, I’m going to MARRY you!”  Before I could respond, the other one shouted “Don’t marry him!  He’s a 60 year old alcoholic!”

I did talk to a lot of crazies, but in some ways, the crazies got to not bother you, especially since they called so much you got to know what to expect from them.  It was the one-offs, the situations I wasn’t prepared for, that REALLY got to me.  For instance, I fixed a minor problem for this one guy, and he was appreciative.  But then, he wanted to chat.  Just like “Oh, we’re having a birthday party tonight for our youngest.  He’s three.  It’ll be a good time.  Hey, you want to talk to my wife?  MARTHA!  Come down and say hi to the tech girl!”  I was used to hanging up on people for being abusive, but I wasn’t sure if I could hang up on someone for being too friendly.  I chatted with him for about 10 minutes before I found a graceful way to get off the phone.

I do not miss talking to customers every day.  Most of the people I talked to were forgettable – pleasant, although frustrated, and normal.  Probably 10% of them were crazy, frothing at the mouth angry, or ran porn sites and wanted me to “check their code” for them.  But I did enjoy the job, for several years, actually.  It was fun talking to people, and learning new things. . . not necessarily about computers, but just new ways of looking at the world.

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Jan 19 2005

Everyone has their bad habits.

Published by under Introspection,The Man

A few days ago, I noticed bird feathers scattered all over the front porch and down the steps.  I suspect the hawk made a meal out of one of my fat birdies, and that doesn’t really bother me. . . circle of life and all that hippie crap. . . but what DOES bother me is that it appears the hawk deliberately sat on my doormat and ate the bird.  Is it trying to tell me something?  It is the peregrine version of the “Old Sicilian message”?

THAT TWITCHY GIRL IS BLEEDING FROM HER MOUTH

It’s confession time.  Some bad habits are hard for me to break (like smoking) and some are relatively easy (like biting my nails).  But the worst bad habits are the ones that I can’t control because I don’t realize I’m doing it until it’s FAR TOO LATE.  For example. . .

Ever since I learned to read, I have chewed the inside of my lower lip.  I don’t know why.  I don’t chew my lip any time other than when I’m reading, and most of the time, I don’t really realize that I’m doing it.  I only wake up to the fact that I have been chewing a big hole in my lip when I taste blood.  Then I run my tongue along my lip and am appalled at how much lip I have just gnawed up.  It’s gross, and it’s painful, especially since I keep accidentally chomping the chewed parts when I’m eating.  But I can’t stop doing it, because I never realize what’s happening.

I dig at the skin around my thumbnails an awful lot.  This is called to my attention in one of two ways:  If alone, a sharp stab of pain when I break the skin; or if with The Man, him grabbing my hand suddenly and saying something like “Please stop doing that.  It’s annoying.”

I fidget and drum my fingers or tap my feet a whole bunch too.  This, again, is something I don’t realize that I’m doing until The Man asks me to put a lid on it.

I swear WAY TOO MUCH.  I have tried to break myself of this habit, but I am not in practice at rehearsing what is going to come out of my mouth before it happens.  Many times I am embarrassed by how terrible my language has become.  Dropping an F-Bomb is nothing to me anymore – “fuckin’” is just another adjective to be used in place of “stupid” “awesome” “strange” “terrible” “marvelous” or “swanky”.  In place of any real descriptor at all, actually.  I used to be quite articulate in my verbal speech, but not anymore, oh no!  Now I just sound like another gutter rat, waiting for Madame Thenardier to come and give me my crust of stale bread. (Funny side note: I was at the Les Miz cast site looking up how to spell “Thenardier” and found out that the woman who is currently playing the role in the touring cast – her last name is BUTT.  Poor girl probably had a terrible time with being teased on the playground as a kid.)

ANOTHER BAD HABIT

In other news, I can’t stop playing with my new template.  This might be another sign of my twitchiness, but I think it’s because I like things to be pretty.  And I am not a very “simplistic pretty” kind of person.  I mean, the Yip-Yip Alien template was the simplest one I’ve done in years. Mackers is probably lucky that I felt I was on a deadline for her template, or I wouldn’t have gotten it to her for months.  I would have been rearranging the divs pixel by pixel, trying to get everything just. . . so.

Anyway, I don’t have that self-imposed deadline for my own stuff, so I keep tinkering.  Observe the new sidebar – does it need to be there?  No. Why is it there?  Because it can be.  Because I like Photoshop sometimes.  (Only sometimes – most of the time Photoshop is the very devil, and makes me cry and say things like “ALL I WANT TO DO IS MOVE THE TEXT FROM HERE TO HERE.”  Then it’s a bad program.)

MCDONALDS SELLS CHICKEN FLAVORED CRACK

So, ever since I went to that party at Mackers’s back in November, I can’t stop eating McDonald’s Chicken Selects with their buffalo sauce.  It’s not even that the chicken is all that GOOD, it’s that it’s THAT GOOD when paired with the buffalo sauce.  I rely on these things for snacks, meals, and to cure hangovers.  I know they’re like 450g of saturated fat per bite, but I. Don’t. Care.  They are tasty.  I know that the chicken is probably not really “chicken”, but I. Don’t. Care.

Wow, it sounds like all I eat are Chicken Selects.
No wonder my ass is getting kinda fat.

HERE, HAVE A JOKE

Thoughty posted this on the Diary-X forums and it make me laugh.  Have a laugh on me and have a good day.

A man walks into a bar on the 20th floor of a hotel. He sits down and orders a beer. He watches as the man next to him also orders a beer then chugs it. He then walks over to the window and jumps out. He is gone for a second, then flies right back into the window. The first man is gaping at him.
“How the hell did you do that!?!” he asks.
“Easy,” says the second man, “The wind is so strong up here it blows you right back in.”
“Wow!” says the first man, “I’m going to try it.”
And with that, he leaps out the window himself. And never comes back in.
Which prompts one of the men from across the bar to comment, “Superman, you’re an asshole when you get drunk.”

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Jan 18 2005

Little notes.

Published by under Life and Living It

After a few months of doing no web pages or image work at all, suddenly I decide to do two new D-X templates right in a row. The first one was, of course, my new template, which is my favorite so far. The second one is still a work in progress and is for Mackers, who has decided she’s going to start using Diary-X for her own nefarious purposes. If she tells me it’s okay to link to her, I will provide one.

I tried to get some pictures of my upside-down finches, but TWBDCTM decided to start working for complete crap, and trying to refocus every picture I took. I monkeyed with the settings for awhile, and then the damn bird flew away. I didn’t feel like taking a blurry picture of an empty bird feeder. Can you blame me?

I had yesterday off from work because it was – apparently – Martin Luther King Day. I spent the day reminiscing about civil rights and stuff. Or, I could have cleaned the bathroom. I don’t really remember. All I do know is that while I appreciate Martin Luther King Jr., I don’t spend his holiday in the intended way. Kind of like President’s Day, I guess. I don’t think about the president, past or current, on President’s Day. I tend to think of sales. That’s me. . . a good little American consumer.

Hey, do any of you know how to get candle wax off of/out of carpeting? One of my candles decided to drip and drip and DRIP onto the floor yesterday, and now a small patch of my carpet smells like cloves and feels like. . . dried wax. Sue me, I ran out of metaphor. Anyway, will a steam cleaner get this stuff up, or am I stuck with waxy carpeting?

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