Monday, January 28, 2008
your memory rests on my mind like toilet paper hanging from trees after a rainy weekend
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
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
does Roto-Rooter do sinuses?
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. 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! :)
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
another amber leaf falls into the backwaters of the mind
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: 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
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; I 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.