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4.30.2008

Is It Just Us?

Map of the InternetIs anyone else in this area having trouble with pages loading slowly, or not coming up at all? We're on Chickasaw's DSL and we're not sure if it's just us, or not.

This picture is a map of the internet, as realized last June by Bar Ilan University in Israel. It's beautiful, but looking at it I have to tell myself to be patient if things hang up from time-to-time.

A Final Farewell

The only thing of any monetary value that mother owned when she died in December of 2004 was her teal, 1996 Ford Contour. She was so proud of that car because she bought it three years after Dad died; the first and only car she purchased for herself in her entire life. I was there when she bought it and she was so excited.

When we brought her here to live with us after her stroke in 2000, it became our family car since she could no longer drive, and after her death we continued to nurse it through various problems it acquired, new brake pads, tires, oil leaks and etc. It was in this car that I drove her to her physical therapy and doctor appointments, to the ER when she got an especially virulent bladder infection, to the nursing home after her last hospital stay, and back home three months later. It was the car I drove her in when I brought her here from Denver. I can't count how many times I lugged her wheelchair in and out of the trunk. When she wanted her own apartment, it was this car that I filled with her belongings. I even tied her mattress to the roof. The car got a lot of mileage, and not only those that turned over the odometer.

Early last month it broke down in Guthrie on our way to OKC and it has been in a garage ever since. Today the mechanic called and told me that the car needed a new engine (which didn't surprise me as I'd sunk $1500 into it last year). I knew it was time to say goodbye to this faithful member of the family.

I don't get hung-up on cars. Not really. I've had several come and go and there have been some that I truly loved, like my '78 Gremlin, or my VW van, or my '97 Jeep Cherokee, but when the garage owner offered to buy the Ford for scrap, I admit that I shed a few tears. It wasn't hard for me to understand why. It's the final farewell to my mom. I identified that car with her so much that on some weird level I feel like I'm selling her memory for scrap. Thursday will be a funeral of sorts, but I know that it's something I have to do.

4.29.2008

Batali Madness

I dreamed that I was running around some large city with chef Mario Batali. He kept saying that we had to make a Beurre Blanc and that he needed special ingredients for it. I told him there were no special ingredients, only butter, shallots and white wine, but he insisted and kept taking off ahead of me. And god, he was wearing his Crocs.

Why the hell did I dream that? Why do I have any of the Weird-Assed Dreams that I'm known for? It makes me wonder sometimes if we don't actually run into other dreamers when we're deeply embedded in our own.

4.28.2008

This Week's Mensa Test

You all seemed to enjoy last week's Mensa Test so much, I've decided to give you a new one each Monday. Here's this week's:

The items in each group below share one feature in common. It has nothing to do with vowels, consonants or syllables. Can you find the common factor in each group of items?

GROUP #1
  • Wheel
  • Tire
  • Manhole Cover
  • Globe
GROUP #2
  • Plums
  • Walnuts
  • Apples
  • Maple Leaves

4.27.2008

Listening Out Loud

We hear a great deal throughout our day, but few of us really listen. Our ears kind of go on auto pilot and we instinctively pay attention only to those sounds that trigger our defense mechanisms: Am I too close to that car? Are those footsteps behind me getting closer? Is that the ice cream truck?

Of course, there are many sounds that simply intrude on our aural experience of the day: that other guy's car stereo, cell phones, etc., but when those things are out of the picture, we pretty much go through our day listening to the sounds in our head, the brain chatter we each are subjected to....

4.26.2008

Austen Revisited

There's a bike trail that follows a creek behind the office. I found it by accident last Tuesday when I went exploring during my lunch hour. When I discovered it, it was like I got sucked into a Jane Austen novel or something, because I was listening to my MP3 player and "My Father's Favorite" from Sense & Sensibility (composed by Patrick Doyle) came on. It's a beautiful piece of music and it magically transported me to the English countryside. As I walked along the path, I heard songbirds, I stopped to watch the creek and I looked up at the canopy of trees against the gray, misty sky. There is a little park bench that I sat on for a while, enjoying just being there.

Here is the music that brought a little magic into an otherwise normal working day. Please do not watch the video! It's so cheesy that I shrunk it down to an almost unviewable size. Just listen to the music (unfortunately, this clown also added voices, but you can still hear that it's a beautiful piece).


4.25.2008

"Who Am I?" No. 1

"Today, I'm a well-known celebrity. Back in 1980, however, I became a U.S. Marine and served for six years. I previously attended a noted university, but was expelled twice. I've worked as a bank teller and a waiter at Denny's. Who am I?"
________________________
SPOILER ALERT: Make your guess before you open the comments. Ville got it right on the first try. Also, don't look at the Recent Comments feature in the sidebar.

4.24.2008

I Don't Know How to Dress

I never really know what to wear to work on days like today. Our indoor temperature is perfect (thanks to the AC man, who paid us a visit on Tuesday) and the weather station says that it will be in the low-80s, but looking out the window, I see nothing but the gray sky and wet ground of a series of thunder storms that plowed through last night. Fortunately, the office (unlike others I've worked in) is kept perfectly comfortable, just the temp that I like.

It's confusing when it looks cold outside, but when I actually step out, it's humid, muggy, and threatening to turn hot. Not that this matters. I'm just sayin'.

4.23.2008

Here's A Thing

There's a calendar at work that has a different Mensa test for each day. I thought some of them were fun. Here's one for you.

Find the names of three non-US cities that are hidden in the sentences below. (The letters are in consecutive order):

"Steven, I centered the whole trip on your wishes. It is base logic to blame me."


"The Second World War saw much destruction."


Please Rot-13 your answers.
(Answer will be given tomorrow morning sometime)

MapJack

Wow! This is so very cool! Major hat-tip to Lynn.

The Wall

This job is playing hell with my Hashimoto's. It's not just the adherence to the routine (although that's hard, too), it's the constant stress of... NEVER KNOWING WHAT THE HELL I'M DOING!

I'm a perfectionist: I'm hard on myself and a few hours of "training" are not enough to learn the intricacies of this job, who gets what, and memorizing the minutia of thousands of products. I'm a temp. Why do I put this much stress on myself? Why do I feel like I have to do my job as well as someone who has been with the company since its inception? Meantime, my body is paying the price and I'm not even half-way through. Maybe I'm just hitting that wall that invariably comes with learning something new and today I'll experience a breakthrough. I hope this is the case.

4.22.2008

Brain Dead Tetris Head

My brain doesn't do this in the morning. The pieces just don't fall into place. Even writing this takes monumental effort on my part. It's not that I mind working, or being gone all day, or any of that. I don't even mind being awake, it's just that rude, intrusive waking up that I hate.

Nettl understands all this about me (she's one of those annoying people who actually wakes up with a smile on a face that's never been crumpled up with the morning scowl that mine wears every day at 6:15 am). She wakes up looking as fresh as the proverbial daisy. She wakes me with kisses and soft fingers in my hair, sometimes a back scratch, then goes downstairs and makes my coffee.

"Okay Brat, the bathroom's yours."

Okay, that kind of messes me up.

4.21.2008

How Come?

So Nettl bought me some Oscar Mayer Lunchables for work. Because I don't drive to work and there's nowhere to eat out here (except El Tapatio), I've been bringing "snacky" things for lunch.

These things are great because I don't have to stand in the kitchen early in the morning slicing stuff with sharp "implements of destruction" when I'm bleary-eyed and half-asleep.

But I have one question. Why did they give an extra slice of turkey? Shouldn't there be the same number of cheese, turkey and crackers?

Time to Upgrade

It seems that IE6 users sometimes have problems seeing the text in my posts. Like the last two (not that they were earth-moving). There is an IE7 you can get for free.

This is really just a test post so that I can see if it's viewable (my work computer has IE6).

4.17.2008

Top Chef's Top Critic

I have  become an addict of RW's weekly critique of Bravo's Top Chef, season 4. Besides the fact that he is a gourmand of some renown (Chasing Vincenzo, his discontinued food/drink/cigar/friends blog) he also lives in Chicago and knows of what he speaks. Because of him, I want to go to Chicago and because of him, I want Stephanie to win. I've gotten so attached to his critiques that, each week, I sit up patiently waiting for his entry like I awaited Anthony Bourdain's last season. Even tonight, when I should be asleep. Check out this week's entry.

4.16.2008

Light Graffiti

I came across a site called Abuzeedo last week and wanted to share it with you. Some of these images are really fantastic. The owner says:

"Long Exposure pictures can get pretty awesome if you have the right ideas. One of the coolest ideas is to make sweet light graffiti with this camera option."

Things like this amaze me. The human animal constantly searches for new expressions of creativity, which only assures me that we are creators, not mere consumers. What a birthright!

4.15.2008

Tired As All Gedunk

Lord, I'm tired... And it's only Tuesday! How did my mom work until she was in her 60s, or my dad into his 70s? How did I do it, sometimes working two jobs while carrying a full load at school? Those were the good old days, I tell you. I was in my prime and full of piss 'n vinegar.

I'm hoping this is just the acclimation phase, which usually passes in about two weeks. At my age, that may take six and by then my contract will be over.

4.14.2008

Embarrassed (I'm Bare Assed)

I was called in this morning for my first weekly department staff meeting. Our boss sat across the conference table from me, looking at his laptop. Without a warning he looked up at me.

"What's the name of your blog?"
"Uh, what?"
"What's the name of your blog?
"Incurable Insomniac."
"Yep, this is it!"...

4.13.2008

About Last Night

Sometimes things just click. The right friends, the right evening, the right moods. They all combine to make for a really fun party. So it was at the Waller/Erwin house last night. We didn't invite a huge group, just eight of our weirdest and most eccentric friends (one didn't show up) and family members, who have no trouble cutting loose and just having a relaxing, good time...

4.12.2008

B-u-s-y

Egads but I'm busy this weekend. Besides trying to get used to working a 40-hour week again, I have a new client who wants not one, but two new websites pronto. Today, we have to go down to the city to get Nettl's car (that's an hour-long drive one way), then come back and buy food for our party tonight. Which also means that we have to carve out some time to clean the house. Not that it's a mess, we don't live that way. The house is clean, but there's dusting and vacuuming to do, the powder room to clean and then food to prepare. I'll have to dedicate all day tomorrow to my client; I've promised to build some color schemes for him to look at.

I want to know something. Why is it okay for a co-host on Food Network to call a slab of BBQ ribs "Gang bangin' good?" Last I heard, a gang bang was a group rape. As Nettl said, some terms just cannot be rescued.

4.10.2008

Clocking In

I swore I'd never again put myself in the ant farm, but there I sat. After a 25-year run in high corp, not-so-high corp and every corp in between, evolving from stock room grunt to junior accountant, I'm back, and in a new department. No more GL, no more Sales Journal and no more double tapes—I'm in the fun department now! I'm now Web Analyst/Web Project Coordinator at Creative...

4.07.2008

Was There Ever Any Doubt?



You Belong in 1967


You are a free spirit with a huge heart. Love, peace, and happiness rule - oh, and drugs too.


4.06.2008

Love, Actually

I was never a big Yoko fan, but I've always thought that
this is one the most beautiful pictures taken of her and John.


(photo by Tom Blau)

4.05.2008

People Think Too Much

Last week I tuned into an internet radio show on which the host ranted on and on about all the things he doesn't like about the web. He railed against Twitter, Facebook, chats, internet friendships, and web shortcuts like LOL and ROFL. He mostly went on about the way internet friends support each other with imaginary gestures of kindness like giving someone a drink, or a cookie. Really, I think this guy must have no imagination. He certainly has no fun. What's he so afraid of? Is a simple LOL going to demean his sense of human dignity? ("You're not laughing out loud, you're only saying that you are!")...

4.04.2008

Back to the Salt Lick

I have a job interview today. That is to say, Friday, at 10:00.

::gulp::

When my mother had her stroke in 2000 and came to live with us, I happily left the work force to take care of her. Then, after her death, the Hashimoto's Disease reached its full effect and I couldn't keep to a 8-5 schedule. It has been eight years since I worked. Well, I've been working from home, but it has been that long since I actually had to get dressed, pack a lunch and keep a cubicle warm all day.

I really don't mind. Really. Our finances have reached an all-time low and now that my THS levels are normal, I'm feeling great and full of energy again.

Oh God, now I'll have to go to bed at night. I'll have to get some "office" clothes. I'll have to wear makeup...

4.02.2008

Only More Love

One of the things I've learned through the years is not to be pain phobic. So many of us go through life avoiding emotional hurt at any cost. We'll even go so far as to deny ourselves potentially enriching experiences and relationships in order to avoid being hurt or disappointed. I've never been afraid of emotional pain. In fact, I've seemed to rush toward it on too many occasions, but I would rather risk the hurt than to deny myself the good things that risk can bring. Sure, I might avoid meeting some baddies out there, but I also would miss the good ones. There are a lot of people I never would have met and a lot of places I never would have seen if I'd not been a risk-taker where my heart is concerned...

4.01.2008

The E For Excellence Award

Okay, so I'm rested up enough to carry my weight with this memey award, which was created by Shannymar at Project Mommy. Her rules are simple: post the award, then give it out to 10 more bloggers...

10 Things I Miss About California

The very second I stepped out of John Wayne Airport in Orange County, I knew what I missed most about my home state and as the weekend progressed, more things found their way to my list..