Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What part of the cow does 'angus beef' come from?

I always know when it's time for me to get to bloggin' when I get a surge in comments from folks who have already commented before. This often means it'll be several more days before I ever get a new comment on my new entry because everyone has given up for the week. how I feel - broken and void But hey, I have four readers; the impact of my tardiness is minimal upon the world. It's when other Blogger sites like Not So Motivational don't update in a month, then post a note saying it'll be another five or six weeks before there'll be another entry, that things get ugly. But in happier news, I have just posted the December '08 update to Laughter is the Spackle of the Soul, half of which is on a birthday theme (courtesy of a bunch of pictures I scanned for a Flickr group a few months ago), and it ends with a brand new Christmas fable. Enjoy!

The stupid of the moment is par for the course but pretty damned annoying. I got a call last Friday morning from an employment agency, asking if I was interested in a helpdesk position with the local rail transit authority in Seattle. She described it pretty much like what I'd been doing at PleaseGoAway dot caaaaaahm -- answering questions and helping people with issues on their computers and cellular dildos devices. She emailed me same information and asked me to get back to her about scheduling an interview after I'd read it. I'm not sure why she didn't offer to schedule an interview right then, but whatever. I got up once my sinus headache loosened its grip, wrote her back, and waited awhile. Around 3pm I called the number in her email to respond directly, and the front desk told me she'd already gone home for the day. That person took a message and I was told she'd get back to me on Monday, which seems reasonable. Today is Wednesday, and not a word. I'm unclear of why it is employment agencies play that game of tag... what is there for them to gain by teasing folks like that? You have an offer or you do not have an offer, you want me or you do not want me. You say 'jump!', I say 'how high?', then you tell me!... that's how it's supposed to work.

I am trying to get myself motivated to start a new craft. I've been gathering spare or broken computer parts for awhile (among other things, my room is a mess!) and I have seen artistic uses of technology around. [I won't add links; just Google "computer part art" and there will be nice image galleries.] Someone at the Sumner Arts Festival a few years ago was selling wall-hangings and other cool stuff made from old computer mainboards and parts, and I have plenty enough pieces laying around to do something swell. Free CFLs! (click to read) Or at the very least, I've been meaning to make a whole lotta keychains out of memory sticks. As a Libra, I know art when I see it but don't find it easy to create it... That's one thing that's holding me back, I need some ideas and inspiration. I was always the kid who saw the curvey line on the paper and made a snake out of it, not a clown's forehead or the profile of a woman reclining in a chaise lounge.

The image of this paragraph is from a special swell thing that the local power company did: They sent each of its customers five compact fluorescent lights, and good ones too (two 60W-equivalent, two 75W-equivalent, one 90W-equivalent)... click on the image to read the attached letter. But you will notice in that letter that they make no mention of how you're supposed to discard or recycle them; they contain mercury so they are not to go in the household waste, and if every house on the block gets 5 bulbs that quantity of quicksilver does add up. The letter should have told where to go to recycle them, and I can only think of one waste site on the other side of town that takes them. The monthly newsletter came with the bill, and it did have an article about what to do with them -- which only said to call the local waste removal company (which happens to be across the street and up three blocks) or check the EPA's website for what to do. That's not a direct answer, and how many people read that usually-meh newsletter? I went into their office the other day to thank them, pay my bill, and then give them a piece of my mind about not closing the loop (they care about being good corporate citizens and helping people lower their energy bills by sending items out, they need to continue this by providing proper information about recycling those items) and the woman at the counter seemed nonplussed... "I think they take them at Lowe's and Home Depot," she said like it was common knowledge. (I have yet to verify that data.) I replied, "And THAT is what the letter in the box and the newsletter needed to say," as I exited.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

gimme the Costco-sized box of holiday cheer

frog on mushroom embroideryHello, party people. I've been sitting on posting an entry because I can't think of much which bears writing. Sure, that's never stopped me before, but still, there's nothing worthwhile to say and then there's nothing at all to say. Life hasn't moved one way or the other, which I suppose is the result of finishing the kitchen project a week ago. 'Tis the season to attend holiday bazaars, work on the Christmas clutter collection (we've already obtained 3 pretty ornaments and 6 glass icicles in the last week), and gird your loins against the upcoming Thanksgiving fêtes. Well, for me, two out of three; Paige and I are following our recent-years tradition of going to the Black Angus for Thanksgiving dinner and maybe preparing small quantities of stuff we like (mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc.) after so we can have a managable amount of leftovers without having to stage or attend a family feast to get them.

I'm spacing right now on what in the world is stupid. There's plenty but I'm disremembering. In bright news, the price of gas has hit $2, but I think I talked about curious it was that it would drop so far and so quickly in the last month or two in my previous entry. My sister-in-law has made a mega-stupid decision to hook back up with the guy who was trying his damndest to wreck her life (and succeeded), but that's on the private side and I try not to think about her. I still haven't tried to think about what I'd prefer to be doing with my life, but I did put in an application with the City of Tacoma for a techie thing they were advertising. (I'm presuming a hundred others have too because this place is lousy with techs and geeks who would prefer to avoid a commute north, but I'll keep my fingers crossed.) My high school locker partner Kenny went back to the old 'hood to jam with my best friend from elementary school Richard, the first time those two have played together in about 23 years when they recorded a song about my best friend from high school, "Randy! Randy!"... wish I could have been in attendance. And the replacement hard drive for my notebook computer arrived but the extra memory (necessary for installing a few things!) will be here probably tomorrow. I told you I didn't have much to say!

One of the silliest things I ever did in elementary school was passed a note to my best friend Richard. Bush gives the 'shocker' Oh, it's a little more complex than that. First, the note was passed through the crack in a wall -- the classrooms had a windowframe in the corner that was shared by the next room, so one could slip things between the rooms through the gap between the wall and the frame. Second, the content of the note was derived from a Kurt Schaffer Bloopers album: this innocent nun voice was announcing there would be "a peter-pulling contest at St. Taffy's Church", so of course I illustrated this spectacle. Now, in retrospect I have no idea whether Richard got the note and had it taken away, or whether the fifth grade teacher on the other side of the wall snagged it. (I should ask Rich.) I do know that not long after I was sitting in the principal's office, having a chat with him about my line drawing of two guys swinging each other around by their anatomically exagerated private parts. (A cock-fight of sorts.) I also know that while I usually had a healthy fear of authority growing up, in this case I was aware that I just had to sit through this guy's wigging out because, since he was a friend of my parents, I had it from firsthand info that he had shit for brains. (My wife had that guy as a teacher for some education class a few years later when she was in college, so she found out his head's stuffing the hard way. Gail, you're a tool.) All's well that ends well; at the end of the school year when he was giving out awards to people who had not received any referrals [had not been sent to the office for breaking rules], and this is where I have to interject that there wasn't a Perfect Attendance award (which I would have also received) because the principal's belief was "why would we reward people for coming to school sick?", I got one of those no-trouble awards. He hesitated for a moment as he gave it to me because he knew that I'd been in trouble -- but see, my teacher wasn't involved in this issue so a written referral was never created for it, and neither my friend's teacher nor the principal bothered to write me up because it wasn't their job. No paper trail, the issue was swallowed by the cracks, now suck this and ante up. I displayed that award on my wall proudly all the way through high school.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

hope and change (and pass it on)

sit on my face CourtneyWell, the election is over and America did its duty to try to improve the nation's lot. It's good to see that some voters, unfortunately not all of them, conceded that they made a mistake four years ago (hell, eight years ago, but they had proof positive by the last election) and did not wish to repeat it. I was talking to a friend in Texas (red: 46% voted for Obama) last night after the results were in, and we came to the following conclusion: Several of the states that went red have a long history of being in the nation's jokes for seeming backward. Think about it: Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky... and the private militia compounds of Idaho? Yee-haw! But anyhow, the best part of the conclusion of the presidential and other races is no more political ads!!! Or for another two or three years anyhow, so enjoy the silence while we have it.

There isn't much to say about me and my life, really. I have done a little work on the trim around the kitchen but not finished it, I'm still waiting for the last two boxes of floor tile, I haven't received any earth-shaking news that would improve my well-being, gasoline is $2.239 the last time I looked (hey, that's two dollars less than earlier this year, proving it was all bilking and not supply issues), and I made some beigli using Ariel The Thief's family recipe, which she gave me in 2004 but now I have a proper kitchen to prepare it in. That's it on the left. It was a challenge and my results were good and edible but not great and "looks like what we think it should". Will I do it again? Mmm, probably, now that I have a little better concept of what I could do differently for better results. :) thanks Gab! Paige came home from work and saw it, tried a couple pieces, then took a few slices back to her work (at her coworkers' request!) so others could enjoy it.

Okay, I have but one stupidity on my mind. Saturday of last week, which would be three days before people went to the polls, the phone rings around dinnertime (as if we eat at that hour). The Caller ID box listed the name of a polling company, and we're okay with surveys, so Paige picked up. But it wasn't a polling company, it was some pro-life group's recorded message making a statement about Obama's position on partial-birth abortion and got pretty graphic about how the procedure is done. Now, never mind your [the readers'] point of view about the subject of abortion, that's not what I'm addressing here. What was irksomely stupid about this call was that the subject was addressed during the second presidential debate, in detail, and broadcast on at least five networks -- and what this recorded message said did not bear any semblance to what the candidate himself said when asked the question this call was attempting to answer. In other words, the call was an outright lie, and a very easily disproven and corrected one. No protracted research needed, it was right there on TV on all the channels and in the newspapers. This sort of call is effective only to people who feel strongly about a subject yet don't pay attention to available facts. I don't care what topic we're talking about, it drives me batty when people purposely spread misinformation that everyone should know the truth on... about as batty as how somehow not everyone tries to learn anything about what they're talking about. ('Cheesepuff' back in Yakima, that'd be you. You can't seriously believe all the crap you forward me in email is true.)

Parting thought: Yesterday I was walking into a supermarket as a woman I was very close with ten years ago and still occasionally spent time with over the next few years was walking out. First time we've talked in five years, and since it was sort of a surprise I didn't ask half of the things I'd want to know, like "how's your family?" She almost left without me giving an answer to her asking how I have been doing, she was in that sort of hurry. Here's the thing I want to get off my chest... A year or two before the end of our acquaintance she had an appendectomy which for some reason caused her to get a little paunchy (no extra weight gain, just a pooch below the belt), a detail she was not happy about, and was doing everything she could to try to get rid of it. And here she is standing before me -- probably seventy-five pounds heavier than she was five years ago. I was too much of a nice guy, still too much of a friend (long gone), to say anything to her but I'm saying it here: dear heart, daaaaaamn!

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