Friday, May 30, 2008

Moto Bun

In the mornings I will occasionally check the world's news in between handling tickets for my company -when there is goodly time between ticket arrivals to do so, lest you think me the slacker- and I discover many wondrous things about people and places when I do.
Today's awesome discovery was the Haptic Hare.
Here's a picture for you folks. Because it's adorable.

You can also read a little about it here on Engadget although it isn't as in-depth as the CNN article.
Seeing as I rely highly on touch and sensation, perhaps even a little more so than average folks do, this fascinates me. If you're mad at your spouse you could pet the Moto Bunny with great force. Your spouse gets home and touches it and his hand is reduced to ash in a blinding flash. He now knows that he has forgotten to take the trash out and that his wife has found his porn collection. He can then quickly take the trash out, make arrangements for dinner somewhere nice, and thank the moto-bun for letting him know his wife is barely holding back screaming at him.
On the other hand, it will make for better AI in a robotic pet. Being one of the people who got a Furby early on and loved it for as long as it lasted, this appeals to me. I like having helpful, non-Terminator style robots in my life. It might even be better than Apripoko.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Drinking Games

My latest hobby has been to invent drinking games for TV series that Bob and I watch together. After all, drinking games are no fun without company.

It started with Heroes (back when it was on TV every week) and we devised some rather clever little things for that...things which I now forget because it's been so damned long since Heroes was on TV. :(

Since then, however, we have come up with two more! The first was in response to Carnivale. It runs thusly:

~any time Jonesy accidentally sleeps with a woman at the faire.
~any time Samson says something funny
~any time Lilah acts like a bitch
~any time lesbian sex is depicted
~any time Iris rattles off some babble and calls it a Russian proverb
~any time Brother Justin's eyes turn black
~any time Ben heals someone. (This had to be disabled for the last episode, otherwise we would've had alcohol poisoning)
~any time Brother Justin seduces the maid
~any time something happens to Ben and we look at each other and go "WTF??!" (a la meeting his cousins, the man who made childrens' death masks, etc, etc, etc...etc...) take a drink.

We got a pleasant buzz off of this, needless to say. But alas, we're out of Carnivale episodes to watch so this must be stowed for another time.

So instead, we turned to GHOST HUNTERS.
Now lately it seems to me that Ghost Hunters is loosing its oomph. I'm just not as excited as I used to be concerning it. Probably because the old crew is mixed up and the new energy there just isn't as engaging.
In spite of this, we decided to try a drinking game last night. That one goes thusly:
~any time Steve sees a spider
~any time a startled swear word is bleeped.
~any time Jay has to admit a place is haunted
~any time Brian screws up something
~any time they find absolutely NOTHING from the investigation
~any time they explain what "EVP" is take a drink.

We got shit faced with last night's episode.

Literacy FTW.

I love today's story on Ommatidia. "Euler". Good stuff. Makes me happy and makes me want to try my own crazy things.

By the way, if you'll notice the Bad Pennies section on the right side and click on it, it brings all of them up. If you read through them chronologically you'll note a startling similarity to one Sci-Fi film with which most of the Western World is well acquainted. But I won't ruin it for you. Go read and find out for yourself. ;)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bleeding Ink Project

Some of you have heard me mention this in passing, but many moons ago I tried to start up something called the Bleeding Ink Project. Basically the goal at the time was to write as much and as often as possible, with a goal of a few pages per day.
I was an idiot and decided I had to write 5 pages a day or I was failing. Then life happened, the 5 pages turned in to 25 as a few days slipped thanks to Life In General intervening -as it is wont to do- and I flipped out and ditched the whole thing. I also declared myself to really suck as a writer and thought maybe I should think about doing something else with that creative passion.
It's taken me quite a while, but I am now seeing that I was on the right track, but overly harsh with myself. 5 pages is a good goal, not a bad amount of writing to accomplish. But really in the beginning the goal, I feel, should be to write something every day. A poem, a few pages of a story being worked on, anything just as long as it engages the creative writing part of the brain.
I decided to reincarnate this idea and split it in to sub-sections.
The first was, of course, to write daily. I set the goal of 20 pages a week for myself. That let me mess around with where and when I could get the mass of it done, and so far I've actually found I've overshot my goal.
The second was to create a guide that diagrammed each accepted form of poetry. This was born out of both necessity and pride. I currently refuse to purchase anything that isn't directly related to continuing to exist and get to work, so I could not buy a book that talked about it.
Somehow I came up with the idea to instead create my own. I have a blank book with hand-stitched binding given to me by my mother at least a year ago for which I have never quite found a good use. I also recently got my hands on a Namiki fountain pen courtesy of birthday donations. Wanting to use both but wanting to make something special of the whole thing, I've opted to look up the various types online. Instead of purchasing a book I'm stretching my literary muscles by creating my own examples of the various types.
Thus far I am loving it, both the general writing of things (sitting on a 23 page piece of fiction that I'm really excited about) and the poetry challenge. It's a small ritual of mine to sit down and compose out a poem in the form of a cinquain or a haiku and set it to page with the fountain pen. So far the only snags came when I hit Epic poems (I had to balk and reference the Kalevala and the Illiad) and right now Fables. The examples given by the sites I'm using don't really have a definite rhyming scheme and the meter feels awkward. Plus it's supposed to teach something in the telling. I absolutely can't think of anything and I'm just stuck.
I love this project. I love to write. I love communication in general and it took me this long to realize that I am probably a born story-teller. I always take too long and include possibly unnecessary details. :) But the sheer rush of sitting down and letting the words flow out - bleeding ink - has been cathartic and beautiful. I find that if I haven't had a chance to sit down and pound something out I get incredibly antsy to do it.
I almost wish I had a buddy to do this with, maybe to race to a certain page number or to a certain type of poetry. Maybe just to write in general and share thoughts on things or get opinions. I know there are a lot of writers' groups out there but I've found them to be very self-flagellating and guarded in dealing with other individuals and it gets draining to constantly tell someone "No, you don't suck. Your use of trimeter here was inspired..."
Maybe friends sitting down to write, being willing to be open at the end of things.
Maybe some day.
But today I'm sitting on a day and change of not writing and it's driving me nuts. So I will happily dive back in to this project.

I can has win?

Nobody else is probably following it but me, but as of this morning I was 1,790-some out of 9970+ boot designs in the Doc Martens competition. (You can go re-vote, btw. I found that out the other day.) A thank you to everyone who said they liked it or hated it or what have you.
Having beaten out 8,000 other designs makes me feel good. It's not a ~great~ design. But it's better than 7/8ths of the other ones there. And right now for what I can do with computer art, this makes me happi.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

Very good overall.

Mt. Misery wasn't entirely a misnomer. I would grant that it might be a mount simply because it was mostly higher than the rest of the land around it. Amusingly it's across the way from Mt. Joy. Nice little geographic dichotomy they've got going on there.
Really it only followed the general idiom of Pennsylvania hiking trails, which is to be a complete bitch to hike up the first 15-20 minutes, then after that it mellows out in to mostly even grading with a lot of rocks. So...yes, the first 15-20 minutes was misery as we trudged up the steeper part of the trail. Following that it was more like a slight uphill mosey through the woods listening to birdsong and looking at the dappled sunlight on the forest floor. Highly enjoyable.
We explored a broken down building that covered a natural spring, crawling through the low ceilings and rubble. We stood by a stream and watched birds play in the trees and the water. There were purple wildflowers and a big ol' yellow swallowtail butterfly in the parking lot. And we saw chipmunks all over the place and one dear while we hiked.
It was so close that we opted to try and do something like that every weekend we could. Valley Forge really is a very pretty place. We discovered bike rentals while we were there and both agreed it would rock to come back and ride them around for additional exercise.
We had lunch out in the woods, leaving bread crumbs from our sandwiches for the critters.
We also went to see Indiana Jones. It was a fun movie, and funny. But there was something missing. The best I could figure was the absence of zeitgeist. It felt like a film without a soul, or a movie that was walking away from the audience as it went. It made me somewhat sad. It's as if the world is closing up behind me and all the things of youth are dissipating.
It was a good weekend. But one that reminded me constantly that I am not, in fact, young anymore. Not the way I was at 14 or 18 or even 24. The world belongs to others now who are just as curious and awkward, hopeful and lost as I was. I find myself envying them that mindset.
But enough waxing poetic. The world rolls on, and there were hotdogs and strawberry pie eaten outside while little kids hollered and played a combination of soccer and football. The cats explored in the sun and Bob and I shared a beer on the back porch while the warm breezes blew. It was just a lovely, lovely time.
We finished out Carnivale last night also. The parallels between my love of that show and Firefly still stand. It had a great storyline and so many different aspects in characters and sub-plots that could be brought back. I've been reading news sites and wikipedia to get more details. Rumors abound that they might bring it back in 2008, but I've heard this mantra before and all we got out of it was a feature film that finally made people realize it was a cool universe. Perhaps that little pittance would satisfy those few nagging bits of story left dangling.
We finished the weekend watching the first hour or so of Remo Williams. I'm enjoying my introduction to 80's cult flicks courtesy of Bob.

Actual Conversation

(You'll start to notice a theme here. I chat a lot with people online during the day. It provides a lot of humor.)

me: Do you have the start of that Necroscope series?
Robert: Unsure, maybe in a box somewhere. Why?
me: Can I borrow it to read it if you do?
Robert: NO! That book will sit on a shelf without being soiled by human eyeballs!!!!
me: Can I have Chaucer tap it out to me in Morris code?
Robert: Sure
me: Sweet.
Robert: Curse your work arounds.
me: Indeed. And my bad puns.
Robert: *sighs as the full weight of his pwnage dawns on him*
me: I LOVE YOU. :*
Robert: Love you too :-)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I put on my boots and magick hiking stick.

We intend to hit the "Mt. Misery Trail" at Valley Forge tomorrow for a little hiking action.
I think the truth is in the telling on that one. If I come back bitching, you guys can point to the name and go "Duh."

I'm excited to be getting outdoors again. Last year around this time Bob and I hiked Pole Steeple and it was a blast. Not to mention taking 7 lbs. off both of us for the week from the exertion. I look forward to getting this body moving and having a picnic lunch. I've wanted to see Valley Forge since we moved here and now that my body has told me it doesn't mind momentary discomfort or outright pain so long as it gets to move, I declare tomorrow to rock.
Also, I'll probably get a tan. I plan on wearing a tank top to make sure I stay cool. I love my pain white skin, but blemishes show up too easily on it, and I'd rather look healthy than Victorian.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I makes an art!

Being that it is a holiday weekend, work is fairly dead. Dead enough that I had time to go on to a website and seriously consider the creation of a pattern for a contest.

This is the result.

If you like it, do me a favor and click on it to give it a vote. You'll also get to see a bigger version of it, which lets you see the details. Doc Martens is having a competition to design new boots for next year and I thought...what the hell, I'll enter.
Meanwhile, I've got another idea for another pattern, which I intend to create later.
Got more going on, but that deserves its own post. :)

**Edit** Thanks to everyone who voted, so far I'm currently ranked 3,138 out of 8,700 entries! That's awesome!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fun with Food

This is something that's been puzzling me for some time now. I really enjoy greek yogurt, or more specifically I really like the Fage brand yogurt that you can grab in the organic section of the grocery store (if you're lucky to have one). It's very sour, but very thick and potent. I use it for making sauces and tikka masala. I made paneer from it once by accident. It's thick enough that it might even make a decent replacement for marscapone if one is making tiramisu and can't find anything else. It's good stuff, and it barely agitates my usual intolerance to dairy-style things.
They sell little lunch packs where you can get a cup of yogurt along with something to stir in. Usually honey, dark cherries or strawberries.

Here's the weird thing. Honey is normally pretty damned viscous. Definitely something you wouldn't want to get near your hair or your laptop. Slow moving, to say the least.

The yogurt, as mention, is VERY thick stuff.

So why, when you mix the two together, does it become a runny mess?? What's the chemical reaction there?? It's as if you take two thick substances and suddenly add water to them!

Not that I mind. It's fun to watch the whole thing break down as I stir them together. I just never came across that reaction in cooking or chemistry before. Thus, it is a mystery.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Gaming entwines with life.

I would just like to make note of this, because it's very amusing. Two things, really, and they're both related by the same video game.

First off...I got lucky last night by referencing GTA4 while initiating foreplay. The exact quote was "I'm pressing X to see if I'll get lucky."
It worked. Not that I thought Bob would turn me down, but that it didn't totally destroy the moment just makes it incredibly amusing. And also worthy of repeated use!

Also of note, and concerning the same game, we have an article here.

Pardon my glee, but SUCK on it, Jack Thompson. Video games don't make you violent. Being frustrated by intolerance does.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Actual Conversation (X-posted from LJ) A take on the Star Wars Universe in terms of OSs.

Robert: sigh Coder story: Long list of defects i had to fix. I keep being asked why they're not done yet, I tell them various reasons, one of which being 'they're non trivial'. One in particular I had estimated at 2 days of work. I get to it this morning. Time to fix: 43 minutes. Sometimes my competence makes me look bad.
me: But are good! :D
It must be awesome to be that smart.
Robert: Allegedly. :-)
me: Allegedly?
Robert: *chuckles*
me: Confirm or Deny!!!
Robert: NOES!
me: There is no alleging!
Robert: *laughs*
me: By the way, this makes me happy:
Robert: *laughs* That's cute
me: That is AWESOME.
Mac Death Star would be better.
Robert: The Death Star is obviously a PC...duh. 2 meter wide port that can blow up the entire thing? Think about it.
You can put a Mac in an Ewok if you want though. *nods*
me: OMG. *laughing*
This is true.
Then wtf is Linux?
Ooo...wait.... Yoda is Linux.
Robert: I thought it was those weird merchant guys in 1-3 would be linux, but maybe Yoda.
me: Kinda works with one, able to undermine the other.
Robert: JarJar can be linux. It's annoying and does his own thing but he's a main character and can be useful so we go with it.
me: No way.
Linux deserves better than Jar Jar.
If Mac is the rebels and the Empire is the PC.
Robert: Nope, I'm gonna write out the Jar Jar label for your linux build when we get home.
me: You will NOT
Me-sa gonna whup yo ass, meestah!
Robert: Mesa not sure why yousa so angry.
me: Because I don't want a 9 foot tall orange sped on my build!
Maybe he's not 9 feet. Maybe he's 7 and I'm short.
Robert: Well, maybe you'll get the older, more easily controllable senator Jar Jar version of Linux. Look on the bright side.
me: The bright side should be Linux.
And the Jedi.
No, wait.
The Jedi are IBM.
Because one of them birthed the Empire.
Robert: Sure, let's make Linux flowers and sunshine while we're at it. Linux is a cold, dark void that only the strong can survive in. Linux is Tatoine maybe. A harsh environment you have to build your own existence on.
me: But there are strawberries on tatoine and at least one bar with good music.
Robert: A bar where you get shot/your arm ripped off by major characters sure!
me: I would know not to piss off Han Solo.
Or a wookie.
Linux doesn't really fit in the Star Wars universe.
So I'm declaring R2D2 to be Linux.
Robert: No, I suppose it doesn't.
me: He's in the whole story, rather important, but in incremental ways.
Robert: incomprehensible but well meaning and strangely omniscient? I'll go with that.
me: nod
The Jedi are IBM.
The rebels are Mac.
The empire are PCs.
Robert: The Sith are Microsoft?
me: Yes.
In fact, we'll call them Windows Me.
And Darth Siddious can be Vista.
Too much going on, gets distracting, and crashes.
Robert: *sigh* I can't help but think this just propagates the stereotypes of the os's. Vista can be good! :-)
me: Well then find something that crashes a lot.
Maybe the ewoks can be Vista.
Anyway, R2D2 is Linux.
Robert: Hey! Now you're getting nasty!
me: And we'll call C3P0 Gnu.
Robert: Lol. Actually I think C3P0 Is unix. Very bland and serious and not sure what's going on half the time.
me: THERE ya go.
That stands.
Robert: And yet, powerful in his own way.
me: Yes.
He can interface with several thousand other languages.
So there ya are. Brilliant.
me: This is going up in LJ.
Robert: I was pretty sure of that halfway through. :-)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Actual Conversation

me: I was in the midst of writing a limerick and the phone rang three times in a row.
This place does not like poems!!
Robert: Corporate america is just trying to keep the poet down! *puts on beatnik outfit*
me: *snaps her fingers in applause*
Robert: The man fears the poet, for the poet has seen the emperor's willy and has no problem telling he people just how small it is. The man hates the poet, for the poet knows no fear or shame in speaking the truth, and the man thrives on that to sell us more toasters. *takes off the beret for it's getting dangerous*
me: Whoa.
me: I liked that.
Robert: Cool, let's put it on a t-shirt and make a fortune! *okay, puts the beret half on to achieve some sort of balance*
me: I put on my beret and black turtleneck...
Robert: laughs Oooo, a geek, irc, beatnik joke. I think you've just won....everything.


Up until this point in my life I never really had any over-arching long term goals in my life. I didn't even really make college a goal. I just went, because that's what intelligent folks do. That, and my mother said "If you decide not to go, you have to get a job." And being that I had worked almost every day of my high school life delivering newspapers, working crappy retail jobs or mowing lawns, I wanted a freapin' break. But that is water under the bridge.
Since there was no real plan or real goal, I've been drifting, bored and craving stimulation, for the better part of 12 years. I've really let myself go, I've only bothered to put passing time and effort in to things, and in general not bothered to really plan too far in the future because, for one thing, I wasn't entirely sure I would MAKE it.
I've got a few goals now. I like them.

1. I'm not dying until I see everything I want to see in life.
-this includes physical locations such as Nepal, Ireland, Oaxaca MX, Japan, Germany and California again some day... but also things like my niece's first bike ride. My first time signing books in a bookstore for hordes of people who just like what I came up with. At this rate, though this might sound flippant, I have reason to stay alive for a very, very long time.
2. At one point in my life I could bend and flex in amazing ways and fit in to skinny clothes. I am headed back there.
-this body loves to move. If my last few days of joy at increased physical activity have told me ANYTHING, it's that my body has felt trapped and wants to GO. It wants to dance, since, kick around a ball, run up a hill and do all sorts of things. So I'm going to let it, with the goal of getting back down to the size I was when I left here for college.
3. I love to write, and therefore I am going to spend a large part of my life doing it.
-after realizing I would far rather be working on my stories at home than playing video games, I finally faced up to the fact that I'm probably an author and I'm going to just deal. Working on amassing a "portfolio" of sorts will help me stretch those muscles and allow me to submit to different places.
4. Love computers AND need to pay bills, so that's our new goal.
-going to go for two majors... IT support AND programming. Because if I can't find work in one, I sure as hell will be able to in the other. It will allow me to get off the phone and answering help desk tickets. Also, I love to mess around with computers in general so it will keep me mostly amused until I can do other things with my life.
5. This space reserved
-because eventually I will reach all of these goals and then I'll have to think up something else to do.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Demonsbane hits TK after patch 2.4.2

(Void Reaver Alarm is NOT functioning at this point, so Void Reaver is harder than usual. A guildite logs on and asks about how things are going.)

Guildie: How goes TK?
Me: It's a bit like being on the third date. You know what you need to do, but you keep fumbling horribly.
Guildie: I...uh...never get to third base...
Me: We aren't either. The metaphor still stands.

A quick side trip to Serendip.

When I got home from work my odometer read 044043.

I wanted to drive around the block until it ticked over to 044044 so it would be on my dashboard when I got in the next time. But the socially responsible part of me couldn't waste the gas or the time and I just parked the car and accepted it would happen half way out of the development the next time I drove.

And yes. My commute is 43 miles. One way. :)

Random haikus

Haiku can seem hard
until you set all your words down,
then see what you've done!

Life is very long
only shortness in one's mind
keeps us from being

Like birds, flies,
such cacophony!
Thoughts drown Truth.

breeze and stars,
dog breaks night.

What better way to teach than by example?

Main Entry: INIQUITY
in·iq·ui·ty Listen to the pronunciation of iniquity
Pronunciation: \-kwə-tē\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s):plural in·iq·ui·ties
Middle English iniquite, from Anglo-French iniquité, from Latin iniquitat-, iniquitas, from iniquus uneven, from in- + aequus equal
Date: 14th century
1 : gross injustice : wickedness
2 : a wicked act or thing : sin

Having been made godmother of my brother's current only child, I find myself thinking of things to do with her as she gets older. Right now she sort of stares at things and occasionally makes a noise, or farts. Not really highly interactive. She's sort of like the Commodore 64 of entertainment experiences. Pong, really.

And of course I intend to send her home with things like finger paints and a 36 piece percussion set to play with even while she's not at my place of residence. I am going to shower her with DVDs for whatever is the most repetitive and sappy cartoon character out there so she can watch them at home with her folks. Hell, I will throw in the CDs to sing along, too.

I have decided that my basic philsophy will to show her what NOT to do, and then after she's seen it, explain why it's bad. So there will be a lot of screaming at people and teabagging during Team Fortress 2, lots of having foods we probably shouldn't, and definitely watching cartoons that will probably bring up lots of questions. ("Is that an octopus, Aunt Helen? It has a lot of arms. Why is it being mean to that girl? Is he gonna eat her?" "No, Ella, this is called 'tentacle porn'...")
Okay, not really. Introducing a kid to that stuff too early is a misdemeanor at LEAST and also I really don't want the first thing my niece learns about sexuality to be that there are men in this world that will force hers for their pleasure.
No, we aren't even beginning to go there.
But this does not preclude me from introducing her to some of my personal favorites like Invader Zim and Robot Chicken. I feel that she'll learn a lot by seeing cartoons that aren't all ponies and princesses and pastel colors. She'll develop a wicked sense of humor, and some day she'll be a witty, biting columnist with a garage band on the side in some major metropolitan area calling home to tell her family she was just engaged to some city's sports star. And somehow I will have a part in that glorious success.
No, that's not my dream. Seriously. I don't even like sports and I've already done the garage band thing. It sucks. Plus the realm of my literary talents lies squarely with fiction. I'm wishing a respectable job and some hobbies on the girl at this point.

I do often sit back and look at my niece, wondering exactly what's going to become of her. No doubt she'll pick up her father's tendency to look askance at things that aren't mainstream. And I wonder if it's even my place to break her of that habit should it come to pass.
When a child comes in to this world they are a truly blank slate. Their minds are programmed with only one thing - LEARN. Learn the hell out of this world and figure out what to do with all the knowledge accumulated.
The one problem comes in where one picks up information, however, and begins to make judgements on whether it is good, or bad, whether the act witnessed is good or bad, etc. There are some things you want a child to know. It hurts to hurt others, so don't hit or steal. Respect life, if for no other reason than the teaching worms its way in to other portions of their consciousness. But after that, when the value system comes in, it corrupts the gathering of the information, and some people NEVER get out of being Mormon.
I jest. There are some decent Mormons out there. I just dislike their religion's views on women and obedience in general.
But to return to the general theme here, it has been visiting my mind quite often that I have no idea who this small person ~is~ that's in my life now. There are so many things she could do or become. I'd like to be the person that's cool with whatever she ends up being, but some part of me thinks that I should, in some way, attempt to shape how she turns out. Otherwise she shows up and we play Knights of the Old Republic and eat pudding followed by something educational like trying to lock all 3 cats in the shower to determine at what vector a cat must go to reach escape velocity. And not that that's not fun...I'm just not sure what that's going to DO for her.

I believe this in and of itself is a good reason why children should not come forth from me in the near future. It's enough of a conundrum trying to figure out how to represent myself to a 6-week-old that is the get of my brother's loins.

A few milestones.

On the way to work my car hit exactly 44,000 miles. In fact, it did it half a mile from the parking lot, so I can safely round down on that and call it good. The intersection of a large, even number and my final destination are amusing to me.

I got on the scale this morning and it appears I've managed to lose 4 lbs. In my recent understanding that I will continue to exist, I have vowed to take better care of myself. The first step of that was to begin exercising every evening for at least half an hour in some form. Some days I get in a little more exercise than others. Some days the exercise is something silly like using the Pilates ball for an impromptu soccer game in the living room (NOT a wise idea, by the way, unless you know how to trap and drop the ball immediately after it becomes airborne).
Bob bought a soccer ball, as it turns out we both have decent body memory when it comes to playing that, and have plans to engage in that and tennis to make use of muscles and tendons that don't normally move at our computer desk jobs. I'm looking forward to it. I hiked a hill last night and my body loved the challenge. I guess I should've realized the tomboy was still in there somewhere.

Another oddity, something I noted the other day but didn't really document, was that up until now my hair has been very red. Sometimes aided by a bottle, but usually it's red. It has since turned a coppery-light brown color and stayed there. I don't mean it faded to that, it just suddenly STOPPED being red.
I'm tired of dying it. So it's going to stay at this color. It's not a bad color at all, I'm just not used to it. It's sort of a light brown-strawberry blonde collision. We'll see if it stays that way or darkens up. I'm looking forward to seeing what the Unadorned Me looks like.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Actual Conversation

Robert: Okay, this TMA show is really interesting. I'm not even sure it's funny. It's just...interesting. It's the 2007 Poultry Slam
me: tma?
Robert: er TAM This American Life. My bad
me: Ohhhh.
I was like....wrestling?
Robert: No, it's stories about Poultry.
me: giggle
Robert: I shite you not.
me: I believe you.
Robert: Francois Mitterland, the former preisdent of France? When he found out he was dying, he wanted his last meal to be a special bird that is actually illegal to eat in France (it's almost sacred there).
So when he thought his time was over (he died of cancer) he had this special bird and meal set up for him. And then...he went on living for 8 more days. But because he decided that would be his last meal, chose never to eat again. All this for a bird.
me: Wow.
That's awesome.
Robert: Yeah, and the first story covered the entire concept of mindfulness while taking life in order to eat.
me: Wow. That's kinda cool.
Robert: nods
me: You know what...This American Life is the only place where people with... "interesting" voices... get airtime.
None of them are anywhere near Brother Justin, I'll tell you that.
Robert: nods I know what you mean.
me: But at the same time, how cool is that??
Robert: That's likely part of why I like it so much.
me: nod
VERY distinctive voices.
Like...they went down a line of kids, pulled everyone out with glasses and a protractor...
Robert: laughs
me: ...then from THAT line, went down and asked each of them "Do you have asthma?" and pulled out the ones that said yes...
...and then from THAT line, said "Do you play band or orchestra?"
Ba DUM dum.
Robert: LOL
me: And those guys got the job.
Robert: Aye, i can totally picture that now...curse you!
me: ^_^ My job here is done.
Robert: I will totally play chicken stories for you in retribution.
me: Bring it.
Robert: Oh, it will be brought!

~Another nugget of joy brought to you from Boredom In the Workplace With Access to Gmail Chat.
PS -for those of you who don't get the reference, Brother Justin is the antagonist in "Carnivale". Which is a good damned show. Go watch it. I'm obsessive about it almost to the same extent I was for a time about Firefly.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dear Universe,

I would like to find someone who is my age and still loves moonlight, moon-bathing and catching fireflies, wears scarves in July, and thinks teaberry is a legitimate ice cream flavor. And then I would like for them to be my good friend.


PS ~ if they like reading second hand books and figured out how to play an instrument just because, that is also a good thing.

Monkey Shines

I had the most wonderful thing happen to me today. Truly, truly wonderful.

In the back of my brain a monkey crawled up out of the dark depths and started shrieking and flinging unpleasant things around. In his small, dark, primitive monkey way he shrieked loud enough and long enough to convince me that I was incredibly airheaded, and despite whatever brilliance I might think I possess, my tendency towards missing details and forgetting the small things would always, always overshadow me.
The entire world, in that very moment, knew this about me and thought I was stupid because it was all they could see. Not the times I performed well or executed my tasks with a little extra bit of insight so it didn't go to the most obvious place or completed with errors. They whole world saw when I missed a small subset of the issue, or misspelled something. The whole wide world. And so I was a moron.

Now, I know this monkey well because he visits me often and has since I was a teenager. At some point in my youth I was in the throws of being Alive and Doing Things when he leapt on to my back and began to chatter in my ear. I looked silly. I was fat. Who did I think I was to try and do tricks on a bike? I would crash and look stupid. Who would ever read the stories I wrote? They were foolish and fool of holes...
We are good acquaintances. But I've never felt the need to ask him his name. He just shows up at the appointed time and place, makes his noise, and reduces my confidence to nil. Over the years he has perfected the art, knowing the exact place to stick the knife that robs me of all energy to do a certain thing.

So it was that he emerged and shook himself off, having been laid to rest for a slightly longer period of time, and began to create a ruckus. You see, he knew something wasn't right. It had been too long since he'd been able to get back here to holler. And when he arrived I rolled my eyes and thought "Ugh. You. I know what you're going to do."
The shrieks went on until he had a toe-hold. Moron. Air-head. Slow. The best one he found to use? "Well, she's at least got a nice personality..." He did his worst and peeled me open and raw. And suddenly being here confidently learning and wondering about my future I was reduced to... pain. And doubt. He was right, and he had all of these instances where it made sense and they linked together in this chain from the past up to the mistake I made a moment ago. It was irrefutable. I, for all my bluster and supposed quick-wittedness, was really all talk.
I stared at the screen in disbelief, then in shame.
I took time to breathe and the monkey, exhausted, gave up panting against the back wall of my brain as I continued to work, dishing tickets out at lightning speed and helping people with their issues. I kept an eye on him there, aware that he would be rallying soon and also aware that a lot of the damage had already been done. He knew it, too.

After a time of the monkey making some halfhearted hoots at me to remind me of my innate tendency towards failure, I did what I should have done in the first place (and what I did not do for fear of seeming self-involved and neurotic) which was to message Bob out in the aether and say "the whole world knows I'm dumb."

What followed will go down as one of the better conversations I've had while feeling neurotic and stupid. This is a rough approximation of it.
Me: "I keep making small mistakes all the time and I never get it right and I'm no good at anything and I screw everything up all the time. I will never be good at anything ever again and everyone knows I'm stupid and nobody realizes that I'm actually really smart it makes me really upset ohmigodwhydoIkeepmakingsmallmistakesIshouldn'tbemakingthem...." *gasp for breath here*
Bob: "Are you learning from the mistakes?"
Me: "Sometimes. Not always. Sometimes I have to ask twice. Or write it down so I'll remember. It's really embarrassing."
(It occurs to me right now as I right this that I thought off in the distance I heard someone yell "MY GOD WHAT IS YOUR ISSUE? MOST PEOPLE USE POST-ITS..." Which may have actually been him...)
Bob:"Well, if you learn from it and keep going it isn't so bad."
Me: "But I was thinking if I keep making these small mistakes that it will completely hamper me when I go in to the IT field or the programming field. I'll be a laughing stock because of all the tiny details and mistakes I will miss. I won't ever be any good at it. I'm stuck answering the phone for the rest of my life."
Bob: "You think people don't make mistakes in coding?"
Me: "You don't make mistakes when you code. Do you?"
Bob: "The only way I stop making mistakes is if I die."
Me: "But what about forgetting to close your parens and such? Just stupid small detail things that'll kill the code."
Bob: "Everyone does it. When I worked at (name withheld) if we didn't find any mistakes after reviewing the code, we went back through it again. We just assumed there would be one somewhere. Because human beings wrote it."
Me: "some other whiny phrase about how my mistakes render me useless"
Bob: "Loving verbal smack of Shut Up And Stop Being a Doof." followed by "If you were going in to programming thinking that you weren't going to make mistakes, I think you should probably seriously reconsider why you're doing it. Because they're going to happen."

At this point I am rendered near mute with the thunderbolt of Reality that has struck me between the eyes. The monkey sits up in terror in his corner, clutching at his chest as his heart beats rapidly, knowing by how quickly I've sat up in my chair that Truth has bloomed in my mind....
People screw up. I am People. I'm not stupid. I think so fast it only seems like I make more mistakes. I make the same number of mistakes, just at a faster rate. And then sometimes I just goof the hell up and miss a small detail because I'm tired or allowing something to take my focus away for a split second.
Basically, I don't screw up any more than any other human being. And while I'm probably not as smart as I think I am, I'm certainly never as stupid as I suspect. And with that thought in my mind, the monkey retreated, completely defeated, back in to the murky pit from whence he came.
I'm of half a mind to cap that well in the near future.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Actual conversation.

We get bored at work occasionally. Robert my coworker and I tend to try and find ways to occupy our immense intellects. Then this sort of thing tends to transpire:

Helen: Duly noted.
Helen: In fact, I will write it down.
Robert: write what down?
Robert: hyp=woodley?
Helen: Yup
Helen: No, I just thought I"d put down some random crap about hitler and elvis.
Robert: sweet
Robert: who would win in a fist fight?
Helen: Oh no contest. Elvis.
Helen: He was a country boy.
Helen: Hitler was an art-ninny.
Robert: Yeah, but my history tells me Hitler had extremely bad gas. that could be used as a weapon
Helen: If it were a small room yes.
Helen: But I assumed this would be kinda epic, and that requires outdoors.
Helen: Preferably on a mountaintop.
Helen: In Nepal.
Robert: ass-u-me-ng huh
Helen: I hate this.
Helen: Because I can't say what I want to right now.
Helen: So I'll just say. ^_^
Helen: Hitler and Elvis showdown DESERVES a mountaintop in Nepal.
Robert: ok. fair enough

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Realist in the Workforce.

"What's my weekly dumb question allotment?

I'm assuming that once someone has had their email purged, it's gone forever?

Or do we have a failsafe set up for special occasions/users? "

I feel sorry for this poor individual. He knows his document is gone, he knows it's probably permanent, but he braved being laughed at to ask just in case there was a slight chance we had it backed up on a tapedrive.
That he prefaced it with a deprecating statement about asking dumb questions sort of seals the deal. I would not laugh at this guy in person.
I would just post it on my semi-anonymous blog.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Don't call your friends tikbalang, it isn't nice.

Possibly the greatest description of a cryptozological monster ever:
"Tikbalangs are said to be transformations of aborted fetuses that have been sent back to Earth from limbo, which is nice."

This stood out for me because a vendor in Shattrath (a World of Warcraft town, for those of you not in the know) sells amulets that drive away Tikbalangs. I took it one step further and called a coworker a tikbalang, not being aware it was a giant, ugly ogre-horse thing. He laughed and patted me on the head, said he was from the Phillipines where those things originated, and he was not that ugly. God bless you for your good sense of humor, Fred.

I've linked the article. It's about gay bigfoot and a few other totally crazy crytozological critters out in the world. There's some 'coarse language' for folks to be aware of.

Monday, May 5, 2008


It's interesting what makes a celebration. The date itself does not always signify it. Christmas is generally celebrated on December 25th, but in my years there have been several days where it simply did not "feel" like Christmas. I can't honestly say I've experience the same feeling of Christmas being here for many years now, not nearly so strong as when I was a child.

The same goes with birthdays. And perhaps this is my fault. I live with a wonderful man who sees no good reason to wait to do things that are remarkably fun and/or unusual. This does perpetuate the thought of "Oh wow this is fun! I look forward to this! We do such neat things all the time!"
The key phrase there being "all the time".
So when we set aside 4 days of immense fun to celebrate and take a break. The time away from work, I now realize, was the only real difference in our usual schedules.
So when I sat down last night across from my beloved over a meal of immense celebration at my favorite restaurant Nectar, it was interesting that my mind decided at that moment, the day AFTER my actual natal day, that this particular aspect of the festivities "felt" like birthday.
What I find even more amusing is that my mind held off on truly letting it feel festive until I had a small glass of sake in my grasp. Upon grasping it firmly and raising it with Bob in toast to Buddha, enlightenment, and the continuation of existence, we both drank and at THAT point it felt as if we were truly celebrating. Perhaps there's a small hitch in my brain that thinks I need to intentionally state that something is being done for a reason, and that intentional statement must precede quaffing something alcoholic. An unusual thought, and one I must admit to having picked up from watching the culture around me.
Either way, it was tremendous sake. Junmai ginjo just tastes like happiness and celebration when you drink it. A tremendous meal followed, and they wrote Happy Anniversary! in dark chocolate (Close enough!) on the dessert we ordered. I got to have my foie gras, which is a very guilty pleasure of mine that they sear and serve with black truffle oil. We enjoyed an amusee bouche of Kobe beef carpaccio with crab salad and some sort of spicy young greens over top (This came after the hostess stopped by and said "Is there anything you're allergic to?" What a lovely surprise)
As usual the place did not disappoint, and being a Sunday evening it was far more quiet. I folded up an origami paper crane and left it for the Buddha across the aisle to keep him company. He always sits alone thanks to how they have it set up.
Perhaps it was the atmosphere. Perhaps it was knowing that the end of the festivities were at the end of that meal. Perhaps it was because it is always a very special meal when one dines at Nectar. I'm amused how my mind works, though, that it decided "birthday" when the sake showed up and we proceeded to dine together.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Letter To My Younger Self, on the Day of My 30th Birthday.

Dearest Helen,

You know, really you're very strong. To look back and think of how weak you thought yourself to be saddens me in my heart. There was so much never done out of fear. You stayed in situations much longer than you knew was healthy and you did so because you thought you couldn't survive. Many times you thought that there would be someone to come rescue you, because surely it was something you couldn't do under your own power.
Child, you will move worlds. Literally. In the back of your mind you suspect there is some truth to be found that can't be seen. You will try many different paths to see it, and each will move you closer to where you want to be. Be kind with yourself, these are all very important parts of the process. Each is a progressive step to where you will eventually find yourself.
Know this. There is an indescribable amount of love in the world. No matter what you see and hear, it is there in all things, all faces, all living creatures. There is so much love that it will find you and pull you out of that "darkness" you think you're harboring and wrap around you until you weep in disbelief, totally overwhelmed by it. Remember, don't judge the process.
Things will happen that you will be ashamed of. You'll survive and prevail. In the end you may know that it was unnecessary to go through them, but you did. It is the past, and it need have absolutely no bearing on the future. You will come to see that each thing in life is only a moment, and that once that moment is over so too will it be. Who you are is whoever you want to be in this moment now. You are reborn every minute of every day.
In all of the faces that you see, remember that each one is you. You have been the inattentive one. You have been the angry, jealous or depressed one. You have been the happy one, the joker and the lover. You have been alone in the midst of a crowd, and around too many people while alone. They are only human the way you are, full of fallibilities and quirks and history that's unknowable to you. All of these individuals are you. Love them.
In the end you were certain that if you weren't killed in some way that perhaps you would end it by your own hand. Life was going to be short and somehow there was comfort in knowing an End Date would crop up and you could stop doing whatever life had you doing at that point. As I stand here the only part left on this roadmap of your life is a giant space wherein it says "Here Be Monsters". There is nothing left to do but go forward. And as a very wise friend has told you, the only monsters there are of your own making. They will behave and let you walk unmarred if you love them and send them away.
It is a very big future ahead of you. Friends will come and go. People will gain and lose your trust. You will be hurt, and you will be ashamed at what you allow to happen to you. These things are not you. You will let them go one day and become something beautiful.
You will also witness, on the eve of your 30th birthday, six ducklings new to the world on your back porch so unsteady they can't look backwards without falling over. You will see Seattle again if you go, and you will be ready to let it go even before you leave it once more. The world will come to be indescribably beautiful.
There is little more I can say to you, except to urge you along that path while being gentle with yourself. So often you will take the harsh road with yourself and your body because you think the way to self-mastery lies there. Not at all child. It's the middle road that gets you where you are now.
I send to you now all of the love I feel and see. I hold you and tell you that all will be well. And I have faith in you that you can keep going. One day you shift the entire world to get where you want to go.


PS - Happy Birthday. You made it.