Monday, January 28, 2008

your memory rests on my mind like toilet paper hanging from trees after a rainy weekend

There is no significance to today's title, I just wanted to come up with a unique mental image as a way to make up for lacking worthwhile content. :) No, really, sometimes I plot all week what I want to write and sometimes I think "it's the usual day of the week to write, but now what to say?" And this is one of those "now what?" moments. I'm playing hookie from work today, or more accurately I'm taking a snow day because it was coming down pretty heavily when I got up to prepare for my commute so I called in. Granted, by noon about half of it had melted (the pretty half, I must add, not the part where I have to drive) and while the weatherman says today will be the coldest day of the week it'll still be below freezing level for a day or two more so that water and slush will be ice which I intend to drive on tomorrow. Double Death Gotta make the dollas, baybee, to fund my lavish kitchen improvin' lifestyle, and there's still $500 left to earn to pay off the new couch we've ordered from La-Z-Boy. And no, I still haven't gotten that master cylander fixed yet... we haven't found here the documentation Saturn can't find there, but that $1500 is in savings waiting (and I'm gonna throw in a brake job when I do get that surgery done).

I was quite gleeful last week because I had filed my taxes, and when it came to the 1099-G amount (unemployment compensation) I put in the amount of the one check I received in October. Two days later, the actual 1099-G showed up and... uh, I forgot about the nine weeks at the beginning of last year I was collecting, so the reported sum is $2600 off, reducing the refund by $400, which is greater than 25% so by law I have to fix this. Since my taxes had already been submitted, I have to file a 1040X to fix the issue and paid H&R Block online $80 for them to get in touch with me so we could get this fixed. (Yes, doing it on paper is probably free. Yes, by law I have 3 years to do this.) It's been several days and no email or call, so I'm getting miffed.

Ohhh, you touched my tra-la-la... mmm, my ding-ding-dong... -- Gunther

The embarassing moment of the day: I've become friends with one of my coworkers, this 20-year-old blue-eyed devil, and he showed me this web video one night from some really cheesy-sleezy 1970's porno that featured a black couple copulating and a white 'mad scientist' Gene Wilder-wannabe type overseeing the process while commanding some absolutely rediculous stuff in baby-talk. One line was so over-the-top that I had to record it with my phone: the scientist gets insanely angry and shouts "You clamp down on that g** d*** dick, and you bite it ah-ah-ahhff!!" (The couple slowly looks up at him like 'what the hell?!') That is my ringtone for this coworker's calls. So the other night he called; I was in my office on the computer and the phone was in the livingroom, so it took a couple plays of the sample for me to get there. My wife and mother-in-law, both sitting on the couch four feet away from my phone, were rather surprised shall we say. I spent the first thirty seconds of the conversation laughing.

Despite today being the perfect day to catch up on some long-ignored projects, I can't say I've accomplished much beside paying the bills I intended to take care of a week prior. And I can't blame the snow for that. The February update to Laughter is the Spackle of the Soul was posted right before I started this so go have a few laughs. I hope your weather is better, wherever you are...

Monday, January 21, 2008

very exceedingly random thoughts

Don't expect linear today. I'm going for a train of thought. I'm back on my daytime schedule at work (10am-2pm) and while that may have been my choice four weeks ago it's no longer what I want now that I have grown used to goofing off for most of four hours a day, not getting up before noon, and not having rediculous traffic when commuting in either direction. But it'll be okay, this job won't last forever. (Yes, Greg, I'll send you my résumé soon.) Tonight I filed my taxes because I could (definitely an accomplishment when there are three W-2's, a 1099-G, and a couple 1098's to tally up), so likely will have a refund of a cool grand in the credit union by Groundhog's Day. Which will be spent on floor covering of some sort for the kitchen, I 'spose. I'm still looking for the paperwork saying Saturn already knows what the hell they told me they need to do to my car. The photo jaunt with the locals went very well, and where we were invited into shop last year as we wandered this time we got invited into two... a City Works building with a sort of museum in it, and a glass-blowing shop where two guys were making vases. (And with the witch's brass bra chill in the air, the furnaces were welcome.) Answering a question: I have no idea, it just got quiet suddenly. I think the onset of osteo-arthritis is setting in, in the joints of my two index fingers and moving toward the thumb, which isn't a welcome thought since I type a lot. I was surprised to find out that Yazoo is reforming after over 20 years apart! Five concerts in the UK scheduled, none as yet elsewhere. And on that note, I'm going solo to see the Blue Man Group this Thursday. My wife gave me a ticket for Christmas and said she'd considered getting herself one but wanted to be thoughtful by not interfering with my felicity; I told her that concept only applies to Depeche Mode (which, if you haven't heard me say it before, I am never taking her or my best friend Chrome to see ever again!!) but I know she doesn't really like them, and weathered one show with me years ago. The outdoor Christmas decorations are neatly put away now, but there are still boxes in the diningroom of stuff my wife brought out. *sigh* I got a haircut. A couple days ago we got a wild hare up our bummies and went to the home improvement warehouses for new light fixtures -- I replaced the new one in the diningroom with a better one (one that puts out enough light for the room and looks good, unlike that IKEA one I'd erected in September) and the light in the master bedroom (which was probably 30 years overdue), and it only took about an hour total. And yes, there's green to it, the diningroom has compact fluorescents so they're recyclable and we're getting an equivalent of 225 watts of light for only 60 watts of power. (It's just so... bright white!) Where did my schizo friend Bobbie move? I went to where she's lived for prolly 15 years the other day and she's moved out! I gotsa go to bed early nowadays so I leave you [by "you" I mean Jamie Dawn] with this church sign from six miles down the road, which makes God sound like an Arnold Schwartzenegger movie character. BTW, it's spelled "milquetoast", after the H. T. Webster cartoon character from The Timid Soul, Caspar Milquetoast... the only time he was ever not jelly-spined was when his wife offered him some Russian salad dressing, to which he thumped the table and said NO! (Would you believe I learned that from a Reader's Digest condensed book my father had?) Mid-song the 30 gigabyte USB jukebox drive died a death, and I hadn't copied all the music coworkers had given me to another location, grrr. Embrace the abstract and the arcane keeps me sane.
beware of God

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

does Roto-Rooter do sinuses?

I warn you in advance, some days I start a blog entry without having stuff in mind, just for the purpose of posting something "on time", and this is one of them. I don't stew all week trying to think of this stuff, it just comes to me (or not). Tata Nano But if you want a valid stupid thing, see the photo at the bottom of this entry: people think they can keep ample space next to their car if they do a shitty job of parking, and for the most part it works. However, some wiseacres like me (in my midsize Saturn SL1, who likes to dream he drives something really compact like a Smart -- which finally made its official American debut last week, and shortly after came the preview of Tata Motors' fifty miles per gallon Nano, seen here) park in the damn spot anyway, and squeeze out of the car any which way they can. Walking through the lot it looks like I was already parked there correctly and the other clowns came along and boxed me in.

An update on the sleep situation: A little sleepy-time medication helped for a couple hours on Wednesday night and a little more of that magic elixir helped more on Thursday, but I had no such problems on Friday or the weekend. goin' crazy, wanna come? Or it'd be hard to notice since I don't have to rest up for work or get up the next day. So stuff is back to normal in that realm right now. There are other aspects that are a little wonky right now... the insects in my head are doing a picnic dance (similar to a rain dance or fertility rite), and they have lousy rhythm. Possibly contributing to that odd feeling between my ears is that the first signs that my temp job is temporary have surfaced; representatives to the outsource center this company has long said it was sending this department to -- not Georgia as we'd been told, not India as is the practice, but Canada! -- have been sitting in with us to learn what we do and how. It's got my boss kind of doldrumming but he doesn't lose his job, he just changes to a different position, but it's very evident from his face and how he talks that it makes him sad, and that transfers over to we who have no actual job or job security. [ZOMG, they just walked in... it's 8:15pm, WTF?] I love chaos as much as the next person but I'm kind of confused (not fully confused, because I'm confused about how confused I am) and as yet it doesn't show.

I called a friend tonight to see how things are in her world, and she immediately launched into a rather scary story she needed to get out of her. Short summary is: Her 6 year old daughter's bus is always the first in the queue at the school's curb, but today it was the last due to being late and having a different driver. Without looking up at the number, the girl got on the first bus in the queue and off she went. This is the sort of episode that one could write Lifetime channel horror movies about. Happy ending: the girl got home fine an hour and a half later, in a much better state of mind than her mother was in by that time.

If I think of anything interesting to tell or complain about, I will. Take that to mean I have nothing to complain about. Home improvement will resume soon, since we spent $220 on recycled glass tiles last weekend to trim out the backsplash that we're going to build sometime soon. Just need more body tiles! :)
snug as a bug in a rug

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

another amber leaf falls into the backwaters of the mind

   It's a Tuesday night, I'm at work, and the Bay City Rollers are playing on my computer's new speakers ($6 at a PC parts recycler). And I'm working on being bored snotless. I haven't really slept in the last two days, and I really don't know why... at least this morning I was dreaming about being at a home products exposition like you see some Sunday nights on HGTV. Courtney needs to show me her tits and leave her eyebrows alone Who knew Campbell's Soup was coming out with a new canned product made of fourteen types of cheese? That's what you dream of when you haven't slept in a couple days, I guess. I never claimed that I had much of an entry today, but at least it might be amusing how off-target it could get. Or not. And maybe it's through the veil of 30 years, but I am sitting here wondering what the appeal of the Bay City Rollers to anyone over the age of 18 at the time would have been -- or of any age under 40 would be nowadays. (It was a 25 year old former coworker that I got the "Greatest Hits" album from last week.) Prophetic that at this moment the song playing has the chorus "we don't wanna be yesterday's hero." And to think that Sid & Marty Krofft replaced Kaptain Kool and the Kongs with them (on Saturday morning, Saturday morning)...
   On the stupidities front, there is this minor annoyance which is growing every few days, after these four backstory items: I work on the third floor of a five story building, and the cafeteria is on the fifth floor. The building has three elevators side-by-side and two button panels (one is specifically for the leftmost elevator, used for freight). I take the stairs, from the basement parking garage to my floor as well as teleporting between my floor and the cafeteria, for a little stairclimbing exercise. Public parking is available in the two basement garages, and since this building isn't really near civilization (though there is a Metro bus terminal a block away) the number of nonemployees who park here is likely pretty marginal. Now then. The powers-that-be for the company I work for and/or the building management decided that they should have a little more control over the parking area, and are now putting a keycard system with booth (so the nonemployees can pay rent) at the two garage entrances. Not my problem so far, though the space between the booth and the wall is really tight so I can picture that booth getting run into about once a day and/or being scraped as wide vehicles try to enter. The issue is that in preparation for adding our building keycards to the gate that's being put in, they've taken our keycards out of most of the other places that we normally use them... such as the sensors on the doors of the fifth floor cafeteria. And the stairway doors, so you can't get into your own floor. And today (not exactly the first cock-up in this realm), keycards aren't working on the freight elevator -- though that is usually the one that comes first when the regular elevator call button gets pushed, and I wind up stepping in to push a basement floor button to get it out of the way so a working lift can come. I hope they finish that project soon so they can un-screw-up our keycard access and focus on what will be their main priority: nope, it's not handling toll-paying traffic... it will be making frequent repairs to that pesky booth.
   Since there is balance in the universe even when it doesn't seem like it, viewing only what you can see around you, I've come to realize that every time someone who should stick around leaves, there are several people who need to go that stay. Okay, so as a tech support agent it's more like every other caller, but I mean for every person in real life who should stay but goes, there are a host of transient people who occupy more time in your ear than they need. Like on your way to the big climbing tree you encounter a few bees that mistake you for a flower that need to be shooed away a couple times, and when you get to that tree you find that the branches you want to be on break when you try hoisting yourself skyward on them. (Whether you take a nasty fall or not depends upon how high up you were able to get.) I miss tree-climbing, I was great at it as a youth. I miss having plenty of friends too, I was great at that back in the day as well. And anymore there seems to be a little confusion... I wish them to be sturdy trees but they regard me like one or the other of us were bees; they fly away or want me to buzz off. This keeps happening to me... guess I'm barking up the wrong trees? I suppose there's one similarity between the temporary annoyances and the hoped-for long-term comforts: Where did you go, Cassie?  So soon? One person wants to be happier in some way, and the other can only do as much as they're capable or willing to. When trying to figure a direction for my life in high school, I said that fixing computers is easier than fixing people... later I learned that this didn't account for the fact that it's people who use computers.
   I have another couple hours on the phone, hopefully without another person saying "I don't recall how to do that, I haven't been a network administrator for awhile" (like being an admin is at all relevant to the issue or like they ever were an admin of any sort anywhere) when trying to configure their email program in a way they have no reason to ("how do I configure Outlook to send mail when I'm not online?"... uh, you're not online, so you don't?), so I'm gonna call this good enough. I wish I remembered more of my sleepless dreams, they were pretty interesting as I recall, but maybe there'll be more tonight... a prospect I'm definitely not looking forward to, and hopefully won't encounter. [edit the next morning: Less sleep, more vivid dreams, sigh.] Toodles!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

like the dust that you will find in the cobwebs of my mind

   Happy New Year to each and every! May your 2008 be bountiful and peaceful, and to a certain few I hope your depression lifts. I arrived at home right at the stroke of midnight, thereby once I was actually in the house it was ten seconds into the new year. Saw the fireworks, confetti, and singing -- missed the countdown and the ball drop. John Ballentine doing what he does best Can we try this again? But that's probably what the guys behind the Space Needle fireworks show are saying too, since partway into the spectacle the software crashed and halted the display. That'll teach you to use Windows for important things!
   I did get one interesting New Years gift, as you may have noticed in the comments of the previous entry: an old girlfriend I've mentioned here twice pinged me and now I'm caught up on her life and have been informed about some mutual acquaintances. (But if you've been reading my blog for a year or two and you lived here in Tacoma until a couple months ago, why didn't you speak earlier?!) So that rounded out my 2007 and I can't readily think of anyone else I've been curious about for twenty-some years like that. Now that is a weird feeling, reaching the end of the list, as though I have a void where there had been a pool of curiosity. Not the first time I've stood there thinking, "okay, that's done... now what?"
   I received my new Epson scanner on December 27, so I've been doing some scanning of slides and negatives for the [now updated, go see!] Laughter is the Spackle of the Soul site, with plenty more to go. I've also rescanned almost all of the Brownie negatives in the collection (there's one image that hasn't resurfaced because it's not with the rest of the negatives, and I'll have to go digging to find it) but I'm not redoing the pix on the Spackle site; when your grandmother was a girl she was hotI have however uploaded them to my Flickr page (or done replacement uploads on the ones that were already there) so you can see them in their glory.
   I do have one stupidity to report, which you should find amusing. I order you to find this amusing! Last night I was doing a little research on hands-free headsets for my cell phone, looking for specific things -- how much the plug-in-ear-with-mike-at-throat things that come with the phone are should I want a spare or replacement, what other styles are made which are better for my way of life, and these all have to plug in because I don't trust Bluetooth. (You support a technology for a year, you know whether you believe it worthwhile.) My phone is a hot-purple Motorola W490, which is the narrower relative of the much-ballyhooed Moto RAZR. (The other day at work one of my coworkers, pictured above, called my cell a "Zoolander phone" because of the color, to which I pointed out his dainty little phone is half my phone's size so it's even more "Zoolander" than mine.) Most accessories for the RAZR line will work with the W490... same data cable, same wired headsets, same Bluetooth hands-free kits, and so forth. I could see the cases and other size-specific items being different, but I was seeking stuff that plugs into the mini-USB jack on the side of the phone. So I did a Google search for the RAZR accessories because they're more prevalent, and came up with a flock of stuff including the kind of headset I'm used to as a tech support geek with the hoop over the top of the head. I can't get the plug-into-ear-mike-at-throat earpiece to stay in my ear so it's pretty useless when driving, gimme something I can strap on! Just on a lark, I changed the search criteria to W490. Same list of items, as you can imagine, but five dollars less. Not kidding, exact same items and model numbers but the site was spitting out different prices. I thought this only happened at dry-cleaners (where the significant price difference between a 'shirt' and a 'blouse' is based on which side the buttons are on) and at teriyaki restaurants (where the exact same dish of food is $2 different between 'lunch' and 'dinner'). But no complaints here since my phone isn't the one being bilked based on name alone. Caviat emptor y'all.

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