Tuesday, July 31, 2007

My new thing

My way of getting through my day these days is lots of e-mail, web-surfing, YouTube, and daydreaming. I'm multi-shirking! Now, how is that different from my usual shirkage? I dunno -- I'm more readily able to blot out that I'm even here. Like I was doing some mental revisions of the fantasy book, working things out in my head, which occupied me even as my fingers flew on the work that I was doing. I guess I'm familiar enough with the work I do that I can do it on autopilot, which is nice, even as I'm looking for something elsewhere.

One annoying thing, however: one of the rooftop a/c units for our building (our half of it, of course) is on the blink, so it's been frickin' humid over here, and fairly warm. Not too pleasant. Glad I wore seersucker today, I guess.

I biked to work yesterday and this morning; the weather's been great for it. I can definitely tell I'm getting stronger and fitter from all the biking -- by week's end, I'll have biked nearly 360 miles in about five weeks! Woot!

Music: Joy Division, "Decades"

Friday, July 27, 2007

Polyanna Candymint and friends

Had to take down an amusing person I saw on the bus yesterday -- I'm guessing she was a 17-year-old (maybe 18), looked kind of Afro-Cuban. Pretty, had her hair back in restive ponytail, with an artfully stray curlicue of hair hanging over her forehead. Anyway, it was her wardrobe that was gloriously over the top:

She had a white halter top trimmed with yellow that had a bright pink comic strip print on it (I couldn't read most of it; there was a man and a woman in a city setting, the woman said "You STILL don't have a cellphone?"). Tied to her waist was a sky-blue cardigan, over a melon-colored blousy miniskirt. She had a sea of pink and other-colored metallic bangle bracelets at her left wrist, and then a few other bright colored bangles on the other wrist. Her fingernails were painted silver. And best of all, she had rainbow-colored knee socks with black ballerina flats. And tied at her ankle, visible because it was over her knee sock, was a very thin red and yellow friendship anklet.

I dubbed that girl "Polyanna Candymint" in my head, if I'd made her a character. She had a great look. If I was still an art fag teenager, I'd have definitely thought she was awesome! She was cute, too. Rainbow (Coalition) Brite lives on!

What else? I had a few transit encounters the other day --

First, this old toad woman cut in front of me to get to the bus, but (gloriously) the driver stopped in front of her, then passed her and stopped in front of me, which made the toad woman grimace in disgust, since I now blocked her, and got on ahead of her.

Similarly, I had another run-in with Betty Bus-Brinksmanship, this weird gal at my one stop who HAS. TO. BE. FIRST. ON. – she paces at the stop until she sees the bus, and then she zips back and forth to get to where she thinks the stopping spot will be, cutting all the other passengers off, and then when the bus passed her, she quickly shot behind and around me to try to board, but I stepped right at the curb to stay ahead of her (just b/c she’s really annoying about it) and she still tried to cut in front of me as we boarded, but I thwarted her with an outstretched shoulder. I'd have thrown that shoulder, checking her into the Lexan if she'd tried to pass me.

Finally, this morning, I had an encounter on the elevator...I’m on there with this balding guy (4th floor) and this tall black woman (2nd floor), and as the elevator is going up, I heave a sigh, and the balding guy says to me “A deep breath. Gearing up. Girding your loins. Readying yourself for battle, eh?” and I said “Uh, that’s it.” And he said “Well, look at it this way: It’s FRIDAY!” (big grin) I said, “Well, it’s Friday morning; that’s another thing, entirely.” And he laughed at that, and, thank you fucking Jesus, I was at my floor and made my escape.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Time/Space Distortions

Tsarina dropped by, asked me how I was doing. I told her I was okay, commented how, with TB and Postal gone, all I had for company were some journals next door in an empty cubicle. She commented that when Leona was back, it'd be lots busier, and that this was simply the calm before the storm. But, she said "At least it'll make the day go faster." I rolled my eyes in disgust.

They're going to try to work me out of a job. I'm not going to get stressed. I'm not going to run faster on the hamster wheel. I'll get what I can get done, keep looking for work elsewhere, and that's that.

Tomorrow we have a transition meeting; we'll see if anything worthwhile comes of it. Odds are they'll talk about the jumpstarted transition plans, and what they intend with that. Lordy, let my liferaft float my way soon.

Music: The Last, "Every Summer Day"

Cherries Jubilee

I've been gorging on cherries lately. They've been so good! Apparently this year was a great year for cherries, and it shows -- they're so good at the farmer's markets, and I even managed to find some big, good ones at Treasure Island. I love cherries!

I didn't bike in today, took the bus instead, wanted to finish up the editing of the fantasy book; I've got like 20 pages left on it (I still have to input all my editing marks; it never ends!) Still, so glad that the end is in sight.

Part of my brain was like "Dude, you should write some new short stories." But the other part is like "Don't go there, man. Get this scutwork done." I'm being disciplined and sticking to it.

Crabcakes printed out a color picture of a crown that said "Behold the King of Nicknames." She's amused at my ability/compulsion to nickname absolutely anybody. It just happens. I have like my nice nicknames for people that I like, and my snarky nicknames for people I don't (like Baron Von Shitforbrains -- that's not one I've used, but I'm sorely tempted).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

View from the hill

I had an interview yesterday, although I'm too shellshocked (I should call it "jobshocked") to make any predictions or dare to have any hopes. I think it went well, but it was a preliminary kind of interview. We'll see what, if anything, comes of it. I'm thinking since I'll be out of town the second week in August, I'm figuring it'll have gone well, and I'll get a call from the place when I'm out of town. That'd be tops! I'm busy trying to figure out Bizarroworld's Byzantine voicemail system, so I can have that working for me when I'm out of town, like letting me check messages, if any, remotely.

Ideally, I won't have to -- the sods have about two weeks to contact me, so if anything good is coming my way (e.g., more interview hoops to jump through), I should hear by then.

Musical interlude (bad sound, but great video)...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Dude, I'm screwed!

Tsarina dropped the bomb on me yesterday, though in a weirdly indirect manner, owing to miscommunication. Anyway, instead of doing the job of two people, I'll be doing the job of three people, once Splints leaves Bizarroworld. They keep ratcheting it up, seeing how much I can take until I break. Hopefully I can get something lined up before I have to do too much of this; Splints leaves in early August, so the heat is on. But the list of infamy grows...
  1. Passed over for a managerial promotion
  2. Junior person made my boss
  3. My position is to be eventually eliminated
  4. I'm given more work than I can possibly do
  5. Another effective demotion is imminent as I take on the additional workload, since the junior person I'll be working with will think of it more like I'm working for her
I think there are some things I'm forgetting in this, some other insults to what pride I have left. Man, I wish I could jump back into time and tell them to blow it out their ass when they offered me my current position. I remember telling Folding Chair when it was offered to me, "You know, this will be like a qualitative demotion." and she said "Oh, I do not think anybody will see it that way." But in practice, that is exactly how it turned out. Fool that I was in 2002, I thought my hard work would be rewarded. In my next job, I think, just to mix things up a little, I will try to be as nearly useless as possible, so I can run the company in a few years.

I'm still ironclad until the hammer falls, but I really don't know how I'm going to do this.

Friday, July 20, 2007

My older son

You know, B1? He's a Dwarf. That is, he has a Dwarvish way about him (which is ironic, since he's very tall for his age, and skinny). Case in point...
  1. He loves bridges, fences, any kind of construction
  2. He loves cranes, bulldozers, and steamrollers
  3. He loves mountains, caves, and volcanoes
  4. He loves the scraping sound a shovel makes
  5. He loves diamonds
  6. He loves seeing paved roads
  7. He once commented (when seeing some woods while on a hike): "They need to cut all these trees down and build a road."
  8. He's very stubborn
  9. He likes things to be Just So
  10. He has a long memory
  11. He loves building things
I'm sure there are more examples I'm forgetting, but Spousette and I are always amused by his Dwarvish ways. B2 has shown a fairly Dwarvish affinity for rocks lately -- he loves playing near rocks, checking them out. But we'll see if he's Dwarvish, or, perhaps, Gnomish. He's a scrapper, that's for sure.

As more examples occur, I'll try to remember to add them.

Ride on

Great morning for biking -- sunny, lovely churning lake, puffy white clouds, cool air (and a nice feisty tailwind, for once, which zipped me to work quickly).

I finished my week's iTunes project, getting nearly everything back up on my work system that I'd lost, and then some. I'm now at 4,618 tunes. So much better. I kind of hate iTunes; it's kind of a psychotic jukebox. I don't know why it does what it does sometimes, but I know I'm not going to update it again, because it'll just dump all those songs I've worked to add, because they're .mp4s or .aacs or whatever.

I've got a pile of work to get through today, will try to get it all done, be John J. Workenheimer today.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Stormy Weathers

The sky looks pink this morning; it's all very overcast, but with the sun coming up (somewhere), it's making it look pink, almost periwinkle, or something.

Wow, was that ever a load of stormage last night. It was like a strobelight (or strobe light? Hmm) outside our window, and yet, I managed to sleep. I think I can sleep through almost anything.

3-D is out all week; I'm so glad for that. I hate his George Costanzian presence. His very existence offends me.

I kind of can't believe it's Thursday already. The week has managed to drag and pass quickly at the same time, some kind of temporal warp or something.

My project for the week has been reloading the lost music on my iTunes (I'd bitched about that before, elsewhere, so no need to rehash it -- suffice to say my work iTunes lost about 1,500 songs, maybe more). So, I've been busy bringing files to work in bundles; I've added about 700 since Monday, and after today, should have about 900 restored. By the time I'm done, I should have around 5,000 or more songs on at work. Yes, you can see where my priorities are on the job!

I've made good social inroads with Crabcakes, one of the production people (the other Em, the one who wasn't Snausage, Homegrrl) -- she's the one nice and/or decent person in that group. I always think it's useful know one production person, since they get scoop more often than we do. She's commented about how crazy Bizarroworld is, how nobody talks, how much that sucks. I feel her pain; everybody goes through that reaction when they join the madhouse.

I'm perennially amused that the Raj gave us luggage tags with the Bizarroworld logo on it as some kind of bonus. It's like "Hmmm, are we...uh...going someplace?" Yeah, out the f*cking door!

So, I'm about 3/4 of the way through the fantasy novel, copy editing it. I hope the fucking editors who eventually (hopefully) get this book appreciate all the front-end editing I've done on it. I'm sure some BVHD asshats will scoff at it, like "Ahuh, well, this section's a little weak, we need more plu perfect tense!" but I edited the bejeezus out of this book. After the edits are done, I'm going through it ONE LAST GODDAMNED TIME to add sparkle, as I put it -- a final coat of sparkle and then varnish. The sparkle will be just adding to description and such, where needed.

The glow is gone, the sky is cloudy-blue again. I guess that rosy glow was the sun rising behind the clouds. Neat.

Anyway, it'll be fully and finally done; once we're back from the trip to California, then the pimp-a-palooza begins, with me crafting the all-important query letter, and trying to get somebody to take this book. I can see it now: "It's like Beowulf meets A Game of Thrones!"

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I’ve decided on a whim that today is “use Edwardian script Tuesday.” This is a test to see if it will translate into Blogger. It would certainly be funny if it did. Damn, it worked when I pasted it, then ignored it and deleted it. Damnation!

I'm kind of bored with blogging. Took a couple of years, but look where I am, eh? Several dead blogs, one in stasis, and this one on life support. Sigh. I feel like if I got a new job, I'd have all kinds of amusing bits to report, but since I'm still stuck in Bizarroworld, I've covered that to death, yes?

You know what I'm up to -- parenting, husbanding, writing, working, eating, exercising, listening to music, reading, watching trash television. Behold the boundaries of my world! Hahah! Living the dream, living the dream!

I guess when I'm back from visiting my folks in Santa Barbara (second week in August), I'll have new stuff to report (assuming I survive the trip). Stay tuned?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Toenail RIP

Lost the rest of that pesky toenail yesterday; snagged it on a box, hurt like hell, and I clipped it to the nubbins, peroxided it and added some Neosporin to it and a band-aid. It's much better now. Stupid nail! My toestub count since 7/12 stands at 3.

Weekend went way too quickly, but we went to a fun party yesterday. A luau (sic) for one of Spousette's friends, who's moving to Hawaii for a year for an academic program. Cool stuff! We may visit her next year, if save up for it (and, ideally, I'll have another job by then, yes? Sheesh).

Anyway, it was fun. The boys enjoyed themselves greatly. B2 is shaping up to be a party animal, but that's something I already knew. I did a few shots of some kickass tequila, using a tiki shotglass necklace that I'd been given. Nice!

What else? I drove in to work today, because it's supposedly gonna storm this afternoon, and I had to get home in good time because Spousette's got a doctor's appointment, the final follow-up on her lasik eye surgery, which went without incident, and turned out to be a great thing for her, no muss, no fuss. I'd never do it, though. No way!

Looks like 3-D might be out this week. That'd be great, if so. I thought I'd overheard him saying he'll be out this week, but I didn't want to get my hopes up. So far, though, so good.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Lucky Strikes

Hey, today's Friday the 13th! Woooo!

Yesterday was gorgeous. Amazing clouds in the sky, like mountains. I took several pictures of them, they were so lovely. The wind was really strong, made the bike ride home hellishly slow, wore me out near to breaking! One neat thing as I went along the piers across from Buckingham Fountain -- the wind was so strong, it was taking lines and rigging on the masts of all of the sailing boats and thrumming it against the masts, making a wind chime kind of symphony out of the masts, all different tones. I wished I'd had some audio recording equipment handy to catch it; it would've been a good addition for NPR's "Lost and Found Sound" -- I don't know if they're still doing that, but it was really neat.

We went to the lakeshore, near the breakwater, past the "Castaways" fake ship. It was fun to see all the stuff going on: the volleyball; the dodgeball/bombardment; a hippy chick doing hula hoop on the beach, entirely in her own world; some kids playing with giant orange frisbees (they were as big as trash can lids; all the bikers, joggers, people on the dating prowl, while the City began to light up as the sun went down, the land breeze cool and pleasant, the lake softly surging. It was really pleasant, although as the sun went down, I couldn't help but think of "The Lost Boys" -- the press of people everywhere, the carnival atmosphere, all of that.

I'm glad it's Friday; we're doing stuff with friends on Sunday, and I think we'll go downtown Saturday, show B1 the globes they've got lined up all over the park. He'd love that, I think.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Titanium toes and laser discs

I really, really need to get some steel- or titanium-toed slippers. Christ. Years ago, I nearly punted a cast-iron table with my left foot, nearly broke a couple of toes, broke some toenails. Anyway, I have a weekly track record of toe-stubbings. I swear, I should track it, see how often I do it. This morning, I whacked my left foot against my sneakers, tore free one of those toenails that hadn't ever fully recovered from the whacking of years ago -- imagine the toenail like the hood of a car, flipping up from my toe. Aughh! I didn't want to rip the bastard off entirely, so I peroxided it after taking my morning shower, then bandaged it so it wouldn't snag on my socks when I put'em on. What a PITA! So irksome.

My upper left arm is blistered from the sunburn I got a week ago. I've been putting aloe on it. I'm such a sun sissy. I've joked with Spousette that if we ever moved to Hawaii, I'd have to become nocturnal. I told her I'm built for clouds, cold, and snow. Give me a kilt, a claymore, and some Highlands to feud upon and I'm good. Spousette's all for the sun and the warmth. B1 is like her, like fair but doesn't burn (that magic mix!) while B2 and I burn very quickly! B2 is like a little marshmallow, is only starting to get a few freckles across his cute baby button nose.

Got our new DVD player (B2 had trashed the old one). The new one is so nice and compact; it's a fraction of the size of the other one (imagine an encyclopedia -- it's about that same length, but thinner). Gotta love miniaturization, baby! Hopefully B2 won't demolish this one, too, since it's light enough for him to pick up and hurl, our little Luddite! I was going through DVD withdrawal, so I'm glad it showed up when it did.

Shallot didn't invite me to her birthday outing this weekend. I'd love to know what her reasons are, although I doubt I'd know for sure if it was real or bullshit. I only found out about it from Homegrrl, and asked Leona if she was going, too. Maybe she thought it should be girls' night out or something, is doing her patented friend triage, or else figured I'd not turn up, or she's got some boy in tow and doesn't want me to tease or embarrass her while she's impression-managing the fella, or else she's miffed at me for some obscure reason. Ah, well. I wished her a happy birthday, anyway, to be gentlemanly. But if you know me, you know that sensible people want me at their parties, because, as Homegrrl puts it, I'm a "Sparklie" -- I light up in social settings.

After today I'll have logged nearly 225 miles on the bike in three weeks! Woot!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Good morning

I biked in this morning; it was idyllic -- the sun over the lake, the lake lightly churning waves, looking like the ocean. The Great Lakes are truly inland seas -- stupid European who named them "Lakes" missed it by a mile. Or else they were being snide or something, or perhaps thought nobody would believe them if they said they were seas. Imagine how full of fish they had to have been, what a wonderland the New World had to have been -- it's like Christians returned to Paradise, but didn't recognize it when they saw it, and turned it to Hell, instead. Certainly, looking at the industrial wasteland that is East Chicago and Gary can only make one long for the dunes and woods that once hugged those shores, and the paucity of life in Lake Michigan pales before what was once there.

So, TB is now gone; I knew I'd be screwed over when they did the office move-around, that she'd get that corner spot, would flee, and then it would be less likely for a piker like me to get that spot. I can just see Tsarina (aka, Cherry) listening to me make my pitch for it and saying "Well, we just made the move a few weeks ago; seems kinda soon to move again, doesn't it?" Mmm, yeah.

Nearly done with the six pounds of sweet Italian sausage I bought last Friday at Costco. If I finish it by tomorrow, I'll have eaten about a pound of meat a day! Woot! Another life experience I can check off my list, I guess! When I told Leona, she was envious.

I saw that Pope Benedict invalidated the other denominations of Christianity, saying that the Catholic Church was the only official one. Yeah, yeah. A little late for the Counter-Counter-Reformation, isn't it, Benny?

Speaking of reformation, isn't it time somebody tried to impeach Bush and Cheney? C'mon, people. Lordy.

200 miles biked by the end of today.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007



We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
At the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

1. I'm in dire need of a new job; my current job will likely be gone by next year. But I don't actually care. Only in the most Pavlovian sense of awareness of it, like the inevitable financial doom unemployment would inflict on our family, but little more. I hate working for other people.

2. I really like Suede. They were a great band, even when they had to change their name to The London Suede they were good. Even when they're a little over-the-top, a little grandiose, it all still works.

3. I ate three slices of apple cinnamon coffee cake this morning. It was on a shelf at work, in honor of a coworker's last day. I thought a good way to honor her leaving would be to eat three slices of it.

4. I like cleaning laundry lint screens; it's very satisfying.

5. I'm an anarchist, although I will also answer to "libertarian socialist" if one must pigeonhole me. You can even find me in Wikipedia, if you knew where to look.

6. I can't remember my favorite color. It was blue when I was a child, what I'd habitually answer, but I don't honestly know if that's still my favorite color these days. I think maybe I don't really have a favorite, anymore.

7. I hate my writing, but I still do it, regardless. I constantly worry about my mediocrity as a writer, when contrasted with my prolific output -- like does the quantity of my output reflect the quality of it? I don't know. I feel like the magician on a stage; you know how the trick works, so it's not really magic, or even entertainment, exactly -- not for the magician; the trick either works, or it doesn't. Same with writing. It's more like a compulsion: I'm a writer, therefore I write. But am I a good writer? Damned if even know, anymore. I used to think I was.

8. My totem is Dog.

I tag anybody who reads this, if they haven't been tagged already.


I think I shall not bike today, given the likelihood of the obligatory late-afternoon Chicago thunderstorms. Gruh. But the rest of the week looks to be mostly clear, so I'll bike then.

Got those silverfish traps, and deployed them in our bathroom. They've caught some of the pesky little bastards, but not nearly enough -- my foot remains the best silverfish trap. I hate those things.

Really don't want to go to work today. Today's TB's last day, before her exodus. I overheard Costy talking on the phone about tying editors' salaries to the page counts of the publications they work on, although I didn't hear all of that -- but it does fit his more = better quantitative ethos.

So annoying -- I've still got a bit of a sunburn on my left arm; an archetypal trucker's burn! I was so careful over vacation to not get burned, paleface that I am, and then on the drive home, I cooked my left arm. Stooopid.

I watched "Hell's Kitchen" last night, wanted to do a happy dance when drowned rat Melissa was axed from the show. That was great. That bossy, bullying bag of rags needed to be dumped the week before, but I was glad she got what was coming to her.

As for who I'm rooting for, it's tougher this year, no real stars. I like Julia, just as an underdog -- her personality's kinda not-there, and I think she has no chance of winning, given her limits as a chef (she's a solid short-order cook, works well in the kitchen, but seems way out of her league, otherwise). I think Rock will be the one to win, because he combines culinary imagination with hard work and good kitchen skills. He's the likeliest to win, I think. The other guys are dopes; they've got no chance. Brooke the nanny has some talent, but isn't up to the task, and Jen the cipher, nah (although she handled her position in the kitchen very well last night). She's a possible dark horse, although I doubt it.

Monday, July 9, 2007


The Internets at home was screwy over the weekend, irritatingly enough. I should probably recap the vacation, but meh, sez I. I'm back at work, my mood in the dumps, as ever. I could feel my mood slowly downward-spiraling as I neared the inevitable return. It's funny, but I lose track of what day it even is if I'm not at work. Isn't that funny? Utterly unstuck in time I become! Vacation 1 is down; Vacation 2 looms in early August.

So, I'd mentioned getting yet another rejection on a story, right? It was one I thought was my best, and was said to be a strong story, one the reviewer greatly enjoyed, but wasn't quite right for the magazine I sent it to. One of the suggestions was to shorten it a little, so I cut 1100 words from it; now it's something like 7.5K long, which might help it land somewhere. Sigh. I just can't win.

Speaking of winning, a buddy of mine won first place in a writing competition, earning the $2,000 first prize! I joked with him before submission time that if I didn't enter it, he'd have a great chance of winning (he'd told me about it, but it was too near the deadline for me to whip anything up for it). And sure enough, he won! That's a huge feather in his cap. Prizes are a great way for no-name writers to raise their profile. I need to do more of that, I guess, since my profile is non-existent.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Back in Chicagoland

Got back from the journey to Woe-hio yesterday, and am quite glad to have another day off from work today. Yay! I went to Costco today, snagged $452 worth of groceries, so we're stocked up, to say the least. I'm sorely tempted to buy a computer at Costco; they're so cheap and fancy! But not yet, not yet.