Monday, July 28, 2008

Looking for Earl

Ended up with Lady Grey. She is the only semblance of real tea in this place. Only one packet. I shouldn't complain; my tea homefront is similarly lacking in British support. At the office tea-for-all, it's all tisane, chai blends and herbal entities. Jasmine. The bin is where people's rejected flavors end up. You can't tell tea taste by the box. I can tell, though, that someone should take out the trash.

Word for the day: Stertorous

Wish for the day: fewer animated ads competing for my eyes while I'm trying to read something.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

500 days

Laying aside the possibility that new technology may discover more than the 10.4 billion barrels of oil estimated — by drilling proponents — to be in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge,* our efforts would be slashing in roads and pipelines and spending money getting supplies to the hinterland for a mere 500 days' worth of oil.

Some national legislators spent some dough recently going up to see this place they've been talking about, the United States' own personal oil desert.

Check my math on this, because it seems silly to go and make up 750,000 temporary jobs for only a year or so of oil.** In 2006, the government reports our consumption at 20,687,000 barrels per day. That is about 7.5 billion barrels a year.

It will take a while for all this infrastructure to get in place; until then, what else are they proposing to reduce our dependence (dependence period — foreign or domestic or Martian) on oil? Going up to ANWR will be good for people who own oil-related things and can speculate profitably on small price changes.

And after we have used it up, then what?

I have to agree with Born Again Birdwatcher and others like Birdchick and even FOX News (which quoted a classic example of a closed mind or, "you will only see what you expect to see."***): umm, how can you tell what wildlife exists in a place from a vantage way up in a plane? I'm sure trees are the only plants, and large game the only animals.

Antarctica has but weird wingless flies, some moss and a bunch of birds that can't fly … and what if we find oil under the Grand Canyon? Oh, that sort of thing. Dictionaries should reflect the 21st century change in the meaning of "refuge." Eminent domain rules. Not that I mind using mined materials. We live such messy consumptive lives.

(I am aware of most of my own contradictions, but at least I now understand the meaning of life, the universe and everything: there are 42 gallons of oil in a barrel.)

*If hoped-for additions expanded the proposed drilling area beyond the current 2,000 acres, arguments by Congresswoman Bachmann and others promising that drilling will be limited are contradictory.

**I wonder how many of these jobs are in the Arctic? Yes, let me leave my wife and kids and pay the mortgage from a pioneer-style distance. It's worthy to note, too, that the nine months of snow and three months of darkness the congresswoman points out certainly can't make it very efficient to support workers there.

***Minority Leader John Boehner: "We're going to look at this barren, Arctic desert where I'm hoping to see some wildlife. But I understand there's none there. But I'm still going to look for it. If I find any, I'll let you know."

Willows

I don't understand; I don't believe that it's "worth it" for the minority party not to risk possible backlash.

If you're going to stand up as an elected official and say things like "worst president ever" but are prohibited from using the word "liar," indeed, standing there with the legislative rule book in hand, a joke to CNN reporters, two women whose segment appeared on Yahoo's news clips, who concluded their piece with cooing over some babies whom President Bush was holding in Peoria, Illinois, for photographers …

"Not enough time left in the session," "Not enough time left in his term …"

What a marvelous statute of limitations. Way to procrastinate. All hail wiping one's feet upon parchments.

It's o.k.; I watched precursor Parliament go up in flames the other day when the Magna Carta was likewise wadded up into a little spitball.

"Stagecraft," indeed.

Exiting left or right is of no consequence. 'Think I'll go out through the aisle, house doors, street corner. Leave dressing room, script, direction behind.
(No applause; just throw money.)

Mr. Prufrock, don't dare eat that peach.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Eating one right now!

It is pork-free (ie: not from Sonic). This is not a sick joke, kids, I actually do like the taste. It isn't even because it brings back memories of Six Flags "over Mid-America" when I had one of my first, as a pre-teen, foot-long. Yes, it's all so obscene-sounding.

I've written about this lovely food before. And Pomegranate Pretty used to feature one as her self-image. Of course, she did just have a baby, so maybe it's a fertility symbol after all. I find they do not work, symbols. The tortoise is supposedly another representation of fertility, at least in some traditions (Polynesian, Greco, and Africa); I wear one around my neck. It was made in China of jade, so perhaps it picked up their additional connotations, the beast that carries the world on its back.

Needing to read twice? Any rambling about work is likely to be obscure, so it's not an indication of poor comprehension skills (more likely proof of what my Southern U.S. literature teacher once said: bad writing). It's all inside jokery.

I looked up three words today:

[Origin: 1250–1300; ME quilte < OF cuilte < L culcita mattress, cushion]

[Origin: 1175–1225; ME queinte < OF, var. of cointe clever, pleasing ≪ L cognitus known (ptp. of cognĊscere; see cognition)]

[Origin: 1275–1325; ME cunte; c. ON kunta, OFris, MLG, MD kunte]

Yes, my job is quite marvelous. The worst part is that there are no corn dog vendors within walking distance.

I only put up that shot from the festival in June because the blog was looking so bland lately. I have no new photos; the only thing on the camera of late is another dead bird shot. This one is a nestling, and there are slugs.

So, you see.

It's not just me


Women love corndogs.

Fear-o status

Stalker writers must be stopped.

How many times can one hear, "Go ahead and write something up on that, tell me what you're thinking about, here are some topics I think would match up well, send it in and it's likely to be printed, we can work on it from there," and still say annoying things like, "I really want to meet you?"

So far, five times over as many months. I don't care if we are geographically proximate. I know that the changing times must be a bore to those who cherish the face-to-face, but the rest of us are happy that technology has provided a wondrous crutch for the demure, a useful tool for the diffident, a time-management panacea for the non-circadian.

Stalkers in general are annoying.

I once busted up a whole friendship by being honest about Relationships 101: if someone doesn't respond to something, it usually means something and you should quit trying.

Oh, lamentations and histrionics, said the wanna-be urban shut-in with 17 parrots, the backyard gardener on 50 acres with a herd of goats, the seaside writer isolated in Ilium — wishing away all social requests, even as related to "work."

Someday, she will be lonely — and then she'll be sorry!

I do see plenty of people on a professional and sometimes personal basis. Lunches and coffees, etc. add up week after week. Rather than view these occasions as unmitigated highlights in a dull series of computer-sitting and wordsearching (not crossword puzzles, no), I tend to weigh them as Anubus would in the Hall of Maat.

Blessed are those who find limits.

So, in this case, writer keeps asking and not getting way — means something. Writer keeps trying to get way — means something. I'm not getting my way, no "proof that's in the pudding," no product — means something.

Semes mostly to be a power struggle now. Writer requests face-to-face time-sharing preceed submission of written content. Perhaps does not like act of submission? I didn't make the rules.

I only govern my time.

One must, after all, have enough left for wasting it one's own way.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Occupational hazard

This is really more of a Twitter thing, but I am not bird-like in that area of life yet, so, I shall merely report that I almost lost an eye just now.

Bowl, day-old pastry, plastic fork >>

Flying plastic and crumbs.

No injury. Thanks, random physics!

If any cats had been watching, they would have laughed at me.

Can't even have a normal "coffee break," apparently …

Friday, July 18, 2008

Early birds

I think it's a cardinal. I never spent much time learning to identify constellations or bird songs, but robins and cardinals were staple birds of my childhood starings; we had two or three pin oak trees and a blue spruce. I am surprised, after less than a moon's-cycle of time since summer's peak, it's already — again — still dark at 5:30 a.m.

The birds didn't get started until recently.

Of course, there are people who get up like clockwork regardless of the sun's timing. I suppose they use a clock of some kind or a dog or a baby. I hear the Metro bus as early as 5. The helicopter pilots for the hospital, the local news, the police department are up. The person driving the train. The retired lieutenant colonel who runs a ROTC program at a public high school. A number of high school and pre-school and before-school teachers. Roofers and road construction workers. Doctors, other personnel at the medical centers.

I am not fond of waking up at this hour. I know some people who get up early in order to be alone. Some spend hours grooming or exercising and making food.

Speaking of food, I finally emptied the mulch bucket. There was an extra bag of mostly corn parts, as well as a half-inch of wine with a molding strawberry — a failed drosophila trap. The compost bin is dry and brushy for the most part. I had a terrible time scraping up enough dirt to bury the moldering stuff, molded into a cylindrical shiny mass and hard to love.

The quantity and speed at which regular flies congregated on the bucket edge was alarming. Thank goodness soil is as magical as it is, full of it's odor-killing properties, microbes, other organisms in various places along their growth cycles. It is better than washing with water, dumping some earth in and coating the residue with a faux brown-crumbed cake crust.

Anyway, I'm sick of the fruit flies. The one time I attempted to mitigate them by putting the trash outdoors instead of the "mudroom," a mammal came and got into it. The sought meal was a bag of batter for Amish friendship bread. Yes, I had to abort the second generation. We could not finish the first, even though a whole loaf was consumed by my co-workers and the other was presented at a July fourth food event. I don't care for chain letters, Tamagotchi, or things that one has to take at the same time each day.

I suppose my life is quite unstructured. I would have to change that if there were any dependents. Fortunately, the only things I'm harboring are birds, small spiders, and a colony of dreadful silverfish that seem to live only on the south side of the house.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Auto Toilets

The kicker quote at the end of a New York Times article about Seattle's lost battle with human nature says that U.S. Americans are too uptight about our toilets. We might not use one that had door gaps designed to deter illicit activity-seekers, for example.

I have never used a million-dollar automatic toilet, but I do have experience with a variety of places-to-go, including the old fashioned (90s) French and Spanish kind of place where you had to have about a dollar in change to open the door, as well as the Mexican highway rest area, spattered with everything and reeking enough to drive me to an "I'll wait another two hours" conclusion.

Seattle's problems are being blamed on toilet placement, in areas where there was already a high occurrence of drug or prostitution activity. Of course, Los Angeles hasn't had this issue, so really it's an interesting study in urban situational outcomes.

And, if you thought your city government made bad business deals, consider that the usual funding mechanism (advertising) was pre-thwarted by Seattle publicity rules but that their policy-makers went ahead and put the $5 million burden directly on the taxpayers.

I am glad Kansas City is not even thinking about this (as far as I know). We come to blows over bench placement, you know. "People will sit on them!"

Monday, July 14, 2008

I "Ironic" New York


Chris Rubino made me laugh.

Fasting

It's not fun. It's not healthy. It's not mandatory, but my inner food balance ticker tape reports a high quantity of chocolate and blue corn chips over the past 30 hours, and my future includes a dinner at an Italian restaurant. So, my belly is full of tea at the moment. I did have two pieces of whole wheat toast. But there was butter. Cinnamon alone is not enough. No sugar.

On my birthday, my brother and I had a disagreement over the phone regarding work ethics. Ethics, one of the five or so branches of philosophy. I think the problem was that I tend to be an aggressive devil's advocate, and people take that personally. Of course, I did not need to be allied with any demon, as my own opinion regarding so-called worker's rights falls thusly: Don't do any work for free.

It's a simple position. I think it is even admirable. Free labor is devalued. One form of free labor is called volunteering. One should never be called to volunteer for one's employer, I believe. (Another form of free labor is called slavery.)

Our conversation did not invoke any of those things, but it would have been simpler if he had recognized I was being (non-intentionally) female in my implied inquiry as to the existence of personal days at his job.

I had asked about his writing something for me. About his possible return to the Midwest. Among reasons he cited for wanting eventually to move back was the presumption that people here, as opposed to in Houston, are more conscientious about work commitments. They do not, he says, call in "not coming to work" upon the mere prediction of an ice storm. Other bad reasons not to work include "just not feeling like it."

While I agreed that it was rotten for the rest of the staff to have to pick up unexpected slack, I asked whether some cushion time was not built into the production schedule. This is an architectural firm. I understand that the faster things move, the better for the clients' expense, however, I don't see there being much difference between an absence of convenience and one of necessity. My brother says it's a matter of principle.

I asked whether he would feel the same about their taking of sick days. The results, after all, are the same.

Yes, sick days are fine. What if they were lying? Not fine. But no one would know the difference …

Where I have worked, I am always in charge of completing all my own work regardless of days off, planned or unplanned. I believe this point was also not clear in our conversation.

I suspect he believes that sick days should not be used unless actual, physical sickness is present. His place does not have personal days; I do not know the vacation amount. I would venture the standard two weeks. I wonder how mothers with sick children are supposed to operate. I wonder how folks get their driver's licenses renewed or conduct any financial business such as home purchase or account management, though this at least can be planned. Car repairs usually can not.

There is not much disparity between professional salaries at that firm, he tells me, but I do wonder now whether anyone is paid for their overtime work.

In other words, that would account for our difference in perspective. I, for one, have no recourse or compensation when my time spent producing work accumulates past 40 hours in a given seven-day period, nor anything to balance the fact that some work-related obligations must occur after the standard 5 or 6 p.m. or on standard weekends or holidays — besides time itself.

It seems that I've read dozens of news articles about how many hours per week CEOs work — or doctors; the standard American work-week for the successful (perhaps also the double-employed minimum wage crowd) is something like 70 hours long.

Yes, but I'm sorry; my price for such devotional labor is higher than $9 an hour. Isn't yours?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Amendment


… to an e-mail I sent … to some of you … who know …

I meant EXCEPT for Tom Huck's, which is why, I suspect they chose to reveal that one on the promo's.

Vote happy.

You know who I want you to vote for; I cannot be objective NOR have an opinion, so go ahead and do what you will : )

When I'm 34

It's coming soon, to a body near you. Only 30 years away from being able to sing with McCartney, who will be 96. I have to go get my driver's license new-phototed today. Must "show me proof" that I'm am American. Yes, the former license was all bogus and based on nothing, I'm sure.

Benadryl dreams gave me a flight to Houston with my father, brother and unidentified females. I think I know, but their faces are not shown in memory. The Astrodome was about the size of a Giza Pyramid, round and stony and looming from the highway. "People died there." They went through all my luggage, and for some reason, I had packed for another experience. Jewelry box, wrapped sets of lotions from Bath and Body Works, a lawn chair perhaps. We looked for a locker. Who knows what happened to the car.

Later, I was in a country where people with prettier skin were speaking English, French and something else. They were nice children, Catholic, it seems, and we were enjoying a school day. There was some English graffiti on a cabinet (these were junior-high aged kids) that said something about "if the devil is knocking at the door, why would God work in place like that?" A challenge to doctrine. I pretended to feel my way through "our father" in a patois.

Then I was charged with some ocelot-type cats that could not be released into the environment wherever we were. They were for tourists to paint and cuddle. I miss them.

But at least I mostly slept. Dizzy head was a bane yesterday. The bad thing is that you still wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning, and cloudy as you feel, can't really go back to dreamland. So, here I am. Here.

Stay tuned for Art the Vote updates, or click there yourself. They said it would be today. I am all about pulling some Florida on the thing, if you know what I mean. I have seen the work of the other (non-contest) artists. I'm not allowed to show it, but I can spew an opinion: some are not quite billboard-worthy, in terms of design or in terms of "oh, yes, I get it," without reading those 21st-century essentials, artist statements.

But I feel that way about most billboards.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Independently wealthy


Thanks to the fact that a friend lives in the carriage house apartment of some folks who have nice things, I got to celebrate Independence Day someplace quite different.

The weather is so un-July, though, so despite how I am supposedly a water sign, I didn't get in.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

That's all I have to say about that

Hackers are targeting the ATM system's infrastructure, which is increasingly built on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system and allows machines to be remotely diagnosed and repaired over the Internet.