Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

This afternoon I'll be flying out of Nashville to visit Houseboy's family out East, and I just finished packing, Round I, in which I try to shove too many different t-shirts into a carry-on bag and then realize that my contact solution is more than three ounces, so I can't carry the bag on anyway and then think about getting a bigger bag so I can bring my nice boots for Christmas Eve because everyone knows that church is all about looking cute for the Catholic/Presbyterian in-laws. Guesses as to which religion is better dressed? Anyway, after a lot of shoving and balling up and re-thinking I did decide to check luggage, which is tempting fate considering that when we did this two years ago we unknowingly participated in "voluntary separation" from our luggage, which is to say that we apparently gave up our right to our own bags by taking a different flight when ours was cancelled due to weather.

But all this is just practice for the fact that I have TWO week-long data collection trips in January, one of which involves driving a rental car up to Louisville, Kentucky, and the other of which involves flying to Minnesota, and both of which involve driving rental cars all over the city to visit middle schools, which is something like evil torture to me. So, I had to have the embarrassing conversation with the project manager about how I, like, have a driver's license and all, but I haven't exactly operated a vehicle more than three times in the last seven years, and that was most definitely by choice, so even though I'm probably the only member of the team qualified to drive in the snow and who used to drive in downtown Minneapolis regularly, I'd prefer it if someone could chauffeur me around. Because I'm really smart and pretty I got what I wanted, of course. That was anti-climactic, wasn't it?


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

If it's not one thing, it's fleas

Look, I promise we don't live in squalor or anything, but some of you might remember that time that we got the fleas? Yeah, well, somewhere in between writing 90 pages of papers and breaking the toilet, we also managed to contract the dread blood suckers again, though this time we seem to have caught it before they infested my hair and embarrassed me at work. Nonetheless I'm washing all our bedding and spraying down the couches and soaking the walls in bleach just in case.

Also, the Neurotic Cat has developed this kind of OCD where he sits on my dresser and knocks things down until we lock him in the cat carrier. It started as a punishment, but now he goes running FOR the carrier every time. What does it mean when a cat can't handle the freedom of a one bedroom apartment?

So, anybody in the market for a couple insane flea-ridden beasts? I'll cut you a deal.

P.S. - Yesterday I went to the drug store and had to ask the bagger to repeat himself eight times because he kept asking if I "kirred if the paper was binned." I decided the answer was "Uh huh."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rain in December

Al on the Today Show informs me that it may snow 9 to 12 inches in Minneapolis today and 1 to 3 inches in Chicago, and meanwhile in Nashville it's drizzling outside and I've only gotten to wear my nice blue coat twice this year. In class yesterday I wore a short-sleeved sweater (which is neat since I don't think there are more than four hours together in Minnesota when a short-sleeved sweater makes sense) and my classmates wore jackets and scarves. Indoors.

All of this reminds me also that our first year in Chicago Houseboy and I lived in a crappy apartment with giant roaches, a broken shower drain and, as we discovered in the winter, heat that was spotty at best. For about three weeks in December it shut off altogether and we survived by wearing several pairs of sweatpants at once, drinking a lot of coffee and cuddling under four quilts with the Neurotic Cat, while it dropped to about 35 degrees inside as measured on the Jack Daniels wall thermometer. I developed a nasty cough that lasted about six weeks, but the landlord ensured us that the problem was "being addressed."

Meanwhile, we only turned the heat on here yesterday because three fourths of our windows are cracked or stuck open and the temperature got down to about 57 degrees, which makes the cats chase each other around and around and around the apartment, knocking things over and interfering with the digital antenna on the teevee. 57 degrees, though. In December. With no insulation and a gentle breeze coursing under the front door.

At least down here I'll probably never get the pig flu.


Friday, December 4, 2009

I'm creeping myself out

On my walk between class and my office this afternoon I was being followed by a whistler. Not a happy-go-lucky whistler or a "here doggie" whistler, but a creepy Omar whistler, by which I mean that the song he was whistling was that creepy one that has like four notes and reminds you of every brain-sucking or soul-stealing movie you ever accidentally watched too late at night and then couldn't sleep for four days straight until you came up with the idea to put pillows in your bed and sleep in the closet to fool the demons.

That totally works by the way. All of my pillows are possessed by the devil, but at least I'm not.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

In which I talk like a dork about math for a bit

So, those of you who know me know that I am a tricksy hobbit who landed my man by being a creative writing major and never talking about the maths in front of him until I had him locked down in holy matrimony and being Catholic he can't leave me now that he knows I know what a regression line is. You might also know that being a better at math than a history major is hardly a feather in my cap, particularly when you throw in the fact that the whole "mental math" thing so eludes me that I tend to go into panic attacks over calculating the tip for the delivery driver and just start throwing wads of cash at him until he runs away. Which is pretty much not until I'm out of money and start throwing cats instead.

Well, anyway, I'm all up in this PhD shiz now, as the kids are saying, and so far it's been really disappointing what with spending most of my time editing Theory of Action documents and interview protocols, and I was starting to think that having that Dr. before my name was going to result in me having to talk to people and squishy things like that, when all of a sudden today I got to meet with the student achievement data subteam, which is one person plus me, and this one person introduced me to a whole new level of awesomeness in data, which is being called HLM. Okay, so I knew about HLM before this, and in fact learning it might have been my major motivation for going back to school, but nonetheless it was pretty awesomely eye-opening what with the gammas and the random effects and the students nested within teachers, which is a really cute metaphor at the Kindergarten level and somewhat more disturbing when you apply it to high schoolers.

So, the point in the end is that a simple thing like a beta coefficient can really brighten my day, which is dorky beyond all measure, and also, in a deeper way, truly awesome.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Let's start celebrity gossip!

Do you ever have those dreams where it seems really real, and then you wake up and it takes you a minute to realize where you are, and then sometimes you fall back asleep and end up in exactly the same place in the dream and so the second time you wake up it's even harder to put all your brain cells back in the right place? Last night I had one in which Seth Rogan and I were good friends and he was having a really hard time with his wife and couldn't talk to anyone else about it, and I was being very helpful.

It's fading now, but when I woke up I was really worried about him.

Anyone out there want to go check in? Make sure he's doing all right? Or maybe just let The Star know that he might be getting divorced?



Monday, November 23, 2009

A moment of silence

Let's all bow our heads and pray to whatever gods it is computers worship, probably ones somehow related to the Matrix, for the safe passage and final rest of my Very First Brand New Desktop Computer, which got upset when I tried to download new software and went to sleep never to wake up again. Turns out that six years is more than the average lifespan for a computer these days, so the people at Best Buy will condescend to you if you even ask about whether it can be fixed and just hand you a piece of paper to write down where you think you left your iTunes. Though, to be fair to the Geek Squad, apparently they are a little distracted what with Black Friday coming up and also looking for auditions for operas in Nashville, which apparently is a cut-throat town in all music areas, and finally learning German and Italian, and yes this is how long it took to fill out the paperwork, that I know the entire back story of my Geek. I'm surprised we didn't talk about his sixth birthday and how it was ruined because there was no clown.

Ok, that's all I've got for you today, except also for the Scalpicin commercials, in which ladies ask their lady friend to stop scratching her head at the table, and don't even mention how it's disgusting and they're not going to be friends with her anymore if she doesn't learn basic manners. More commercials should go there.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Earwigs are the final straw, people

This morning, I went to the bathroom (I know, right? Fascinating) and saw a little squirmy bug on the floor. So I came out and did what anyone would do, I told my husband I saw an unidentified crawling object in the corner, and he asked me what I did about it, and I told him I left it there because it was crawling around in circles in the corner and didn't come near me. So, he went into the bathroom, rustled around for a little bit, came back out and informed me that it was an earwig, and we kill earwigs because if they want to harm us, it's self defense, so man up next time. I promised to do so, since just the word "earwig" makes me itch deep down into my brain.


But what this reminds me is that the south SUCKS because there should not be any cold-blooded animals still wandering about looking for ears to live in at this point, and for crying out loud WHEN CAN I UNPACK MY SWEATERS? And also, pop is not any stupider a word than soda or certainly than calling everything, no matter it's brand or flavor "Coke," and also, what's so funny about referring to the East coast as "out East"? And finally, I do not talk too fast, you need to listen faster, people*.

* Copyright 2009, Hedgehog

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ballroom dancing and other pretentious things

Here is your Movie of the Week/ Every few months or so when I have time: Strictly Ballroom.

This has been on our Netflix queue for about three years because our list is like 400 movies long or so, and it's not getting any shorter (as I discovered when we were ready to send this one back and I went online to find out what was coming up and saw that we also have had the same movies in our house for about three months). This is how they make money, in case you people who get 6 movies a week ever wondered.

Anyway, I was also preparing a final presentation on the political and historical contexts of graduation tests while watching this, so mostly what I got from it is:
  1. It's in Australia. Did you know it's in Australia? Did you also know that their accent can be 90% approximated by replacing every vowel sound with the hard EEEE (as long as you say it with your bottom chin jutting out)?
  2. Baz Luhrman is a weird, weird dude. I like that.
  3. There are Hispanics, or at least folks who live in a barrio and speak Spanish, in Australia. Did you know that? Turns out, I know very little about Australia.
  4. Ballroom dancing is fun and edgy if they're allowed to dance whatever steps they want. Or, as they say in Australia, steeeps.
  5. How do I not have cable and also go through Netflix movies at a rate of 1 every quarter year? Because I'm smart and I don't watch television because it's bourgeois. Or else because The Price Is Right is just that addictive.
So, there you go. Check out this movie if you like flamboyant costumes and the Australians. Or, if you like that massive closeup shot from above that Baz Luhrman favors, which makes everyone look like a shiny, bloated wax statue. In other words, A-plus!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

References to 80's dramas that I was too young to watch at the time

So, on my walk home from school there's this building, which of course is there on my walk to school also, it's not like some kind of Brigadoon outpost or something, but the point is that there's this little statue of a black owl on the top of it in the corner and the first time I saw it I thought it was a cat and I was like "Oh no little kitty! Don't jump!" And it looked at me in disdain and did not jump and I looked closer and realized it was a statue and not even a cat, but it was cat-sized. And now every time I pass it I think it's a real bird, some kind of bird of prey or scavenger or something because it's large, and then I remember that it's an owl and I think "The owls are not what they seem"* and I giggle a little to myself. So, the point is that everyone should have a confusing, misleading and a little disturbing owl statue on their walk to and from wherever it is they go to and from every day, because a good giggle can totally fix anything.

* Yes, this is a Twin Peaks reference.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

No crazier than usual

Things I uttered while working on a thirty page paper, studying for an exam and watching television tonight (yes, I'm good at multitasking):

I don't like waffle fries. They're too complicated.

I wish something magical would happen on Facebook right now.

Oh man, it's Thursday? That explains a lot.

Why are you peeling onions instead of making me banana muffins? Are the onions going in my banana muffins? Because that's not o.k.

No, because it's a HAMSTER. On a PIANO. Look at him, look at how dumb he is!

That was like a year ago, so I can't really remember.
[Houseboy: That was several years ago, when swing dancing was popular.]
I still want those jeans, so I can dance good.


I denounce them

Words I Don't Like:


Words I Do Like:


* Like the waist, which would be fine, but it's pronounced stupid.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I don't have any pictures of this one

So, once upon a time I was a Hamster Person. (Ever since I accidentally had two cats that find rodents delicious, the hamster thing has kind of gone by the wayside). But anyway, I got my first hamster when I was in first grade, and what I remember about him is that I named him Brian after my two boyfriends and that I stuck my finger in the little holes in the cardboard box on the way home and he bit me and I bled a lot, but I didn't want to tell my mom because I was afraid she'd take him back. As I recall, I was watching the blood drip down to my elbow when my mom was like "Um... what's up with that?" and I was like "Um.... I don't know...." After that I had a hamster named Sarah, named after my best friend, and this hamster was an Escape Artist. She lived to be about 1,058 in hamster years, which is to say more than three years, and she figured out how to take the top off her plastic cage and used to go galavanting around the house eating crackers out of the pantry cupboard and forcing us to un-trapify all the mousetraps for a few weeks until she'd suddenly decide she missed pooping in cedar chips and then she'd just come back. By the time she passed away, she was missing clumps of hair and one of her eyes had exploded. I also had a hamster I shared with my college roommate, who we named Xena and let run around in her ball up and down the dorm hallways until one time we kind of forgot to pay attention to her and she went bumping down the stairs and when we reached her she looked all dazed and accusatory. She was also probably responsible for the mouse that lived in our couch and chewed a hole in Xena's food bag and then one day just up and died inside something which led to a week of sleeping in the common room because our college's response to that was to just spray some air freshener and let him rot. Which also reminds me of another hamster I had during my Greek mythology phase, who I named Hercules, which was sadly inappropriate as he escaped just like Sarah, but got trapped in the air ducts in our house somewhere and never made it back, and we found him or at least where he was mostly by the smell. Speaking of the ways things die, I had a dwarf hamster that my dog stepped on, and she felt real bad about it, but she didn't know how to do spinal surgery and neither did I and thus we both learned a life lesson about letting dogs and hamsters play together. I also had two other hamsters, named Alf and Taffy, and they both lived regular hamster lives and died regular hamster deaths and then I had another one named Nicholas who had some kind of baby hamster disease so I guess that's a regular hamster death too.

Aren't you glad I cheered up your day with this story? Maybe this will help:

Now do you see why they're worth it in the end?


Monday, November 9, 2009

Go Kid from Naperville

So, being a poor student and all I don't have cable, as I may have mentioned, and I also don't have to be anywhere 45 minutes from my house at 8 o'clock in the morning, so in addition to The Price Is Right, which I may have mentioned once or twice this summer, what I have discovered is the Today Show. Back when I was an employed person, I'd turn this on in the early morning when all they really did was cut back and forth between national and local weather and it was a safe way to find out the temperature without hearing about the out of control apartment fire on the south side or the vegetable that was going to kill me or whatever.

But, as it turns out, they have this whole other part of the show where pleasant folks discuss mostly pleasant things or at least unpleasant things that are probably happening nowhere near my house and also, when Ann Curry says it, it can't really be unpleasant because even if it is you can just ignore what she's saying and check out her awesome sweater coat or something. Anyway, I also don't watch reality tv ever since I watched that one about the pretty girl who had to date nerds and she ended up choosing the not-nerd guy and I got really upset about it and then realized that I was investing far too much emotion into the love life of a person who probably would have made fun of me behind my back in junior high. So now my reality tv investment is in Today's Kid Reporter, and I don't really even care that much about who wins because they're all those extremely outgoing kind of kids that terrify me in real life and also I'd rather that a tiny loud person didn't take too much time away from Ann Curry's hair, personally, but anyway if one of them has to win, I vote for the kid from Naperville. Not just because Naperville is in Illinois and Illinois is in the upper Midwest, where all the best people in the world live or at least wish they lived, but also because he seems the least wide-eyed insane of any of those children, and he even occasionally speaks in a voice below 7,000 decibels (is that a lot of decibels? I mean to say that the kids are loud).

So, if I were the kind of person to vote for a television show contest, Kid From Naperville (yes, that's his real name) would totally get my vote.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Totally Normal Wednesday

Sometimes when I am sad I do this kind of meditation I made up myself where I Google images of giant dogs and pretend that I'm them and they're me instead, and so this guy has to do the coding of principal summary forms and I get to be all shaggy and smell like wet metal:

Doesn't everyone?


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We are too adorable, deal with it

So, it has been well established I think that Houseboy and I are adorable and lovable and you wish you were us, but don't you ALSO wish you knew how we met and fell in love and got married and moved to Australia, all except for that last part? Well, you're welcome.

The year was 1997. The time was 8:30 in the morning on a Tuesday, the second day of freshman year. The place was a poetry classroom in the basement of the English building. Me: aspiring English major. Him: totally asleep because he had morning practice and also was only there to pick up chicks, which by the way, he was doing a stellar job of by being asleep while the only other two guys in the class were NOT asleep.

So, yeah, I thought he was cute but mostly was really digging on the guy with the earring who wasn't asleep in class.

Then, the year was 1998. The time was afternoon-ish or something. The place was the common room in the weird Sophomore dorm housed under the football stadium. Me: totally going to cut my hair really short and dye it blue. Him: watering a plant he called Kate because he thought that would appeal to the chicks, which it totally would have except that he never ever talked to any of them, including me.

UNTIL. The year: 1999. The time: 2 am or so. The place: common room again. Me: deep in the throes of a serious caffeine addiction and trying to come down by watching Lambada: The Forbidden Dance. Him: finally figuring out that the way to a girl's heart is by sarcastically mocking a really obscure movie in the middle of the night, especially if you follow that up with nightly viewings of public access programs and Adult Swim before it was Adult Swim and when it was just weird. Follow up by asking her out on the day before Valentine's Day because it's the first Friday you've had off from practice and meets all year.

Then, do all the dately things like going to an Italian restaurant and sitting in the window making fun of how people park. Open the door for her and all that. When she offers to pay, do not let her. However, and this is key, DO NOT tell her that "My mom told me I should take someone out." That might seem like it's a good reason for you to pay, it might seem like it will satisfy the 20 year old feminist's desire to be an equal partner, but in fact it will just make her wonder if all your other friends were busy and this has been the biggest and most embarrassing misunderstanding OF ALL TIME.

Also, since you live in the same dorm, literally about 300 feet from each other, make sure that there is an awkward pause at the door, but no kiss and then you go back and sit in the same common room and watch a John Cusack movie, joined half an hour in by your R.A., who sits in between you and your date. All that is very romantic.

It worked pretty well on me since about a month later I asked him if he was bored and maybe wanted to go see a movie or something and then about a month after that he asked if he was allowed to tell people I was his girlfriend and then about 5 years after that we got married. Whirlwind romance!


Monday, November 2, 2009

Is it November already?

For all you living in normal climates with "seasons" and everything, this may come as no surprise, but it seems as though fall/winter has snuck up on me, probably owing to the fact that it's still 70 degrees outside and I think I saw tulips on my way in this morning, but we went ahead and ended Daylight Savings Time anyway, so on the first of November we can wear shorts and t-shirts as we sit out on the back porch in the dark at 5 o'clock.

Not that either the warmth or the darkness affected me much this weekend, since I had my first multi-day migraine in a while, so I was mostly hiding out under the covers with a heating pad, which is also warm and dark I guess so come to think of it there's a theme here of some kind. The theme is actually that just because you think the migraine is gone and you're so very proud of your drug regimen and all doesn't mean you can sit around eating Snickers for dinner because it turns out that WILL catch up with you. This time last year I was in the middle of that elimination diet to find any food triggers and had to track down candy without high fructose corn syrup or dairy or nuts or wheat, which I assure you was delicious in a really boring fruit-flavored kind of way.

Anyway, what that means is that I'm now in that post-migraine fugue state where I sometimes can't remember my fingers and if you are harsh with me I might burst into tears or just stare at you with that dead-eyed Paris Hilton look until you question the very foundation of reality.

Paris Hilton is still the hot gossip right?


Thursday, October 29, 2009

I need a companion monkey

TMI Thursday

Very soon I'm going to run out of embarrassing stories that I'm actually willing to tell to the internets, but until then, enjoy. And go to LiLu's blog and read all the ones that are better than mine. Assuming you haven't eaten lunch yet, that is.

So, this little story also takes place a few years back when we lived in Chicago and I had a real job and a condo and a dog and a car and a kid (where did I leave that kid? Oops...) and before the market went all crashy and people were buying up condos in rehabbed buildings all over Hyde Park and then walking their dogs around and talking to one another about how awesome it was being homeowners and how the renters were bringing our resale prices down and they didn't know that they were going to really hope those renters were around in a couple of years and wanted to pay way too much for a place because it has marble countertops, because it's a well-known fact that renters care about marble.

Anyway, we had these neighbors who lived in the building next door and turned condo right after ours and they had these little matching pugs that they walked around and they wanted to talk to us all the time about things like how awesome gentrification is because they were unpleasant and it was made worse because their fat little dogs were unpleasant too, and they liked to dig their noses really deeply inside my dog's butt, and she was a dog and all so she got the whole sniffing thing, but even she thought these dogs were a little touchy feely, and it turns out she was right because they gave her the fleas.

Now, maybe you don't have pets, but the fleas are the worst. The tiny little dog with kind of matted hair is one thing. You throw her in a tub with medicated shampoo and she shivers and looks pathetic and maybe eats some of the lather so you have to make up a song called "Don't eat the soap" that you sing to her every time you bathe her which will be about 10 more times over the next week, because the other thing is that the bugs lay eggs in your carpet and then hatch and then jump onto your cats, and the Neurotic Cat who was declawed before you got him is just sad and pathetic when all wet, but the Fat Cat who is still very very sharp causes infected wounds all over as he tries to claw his way up your face to safety.

And then you buy that spray for your carpet and wash everything you own, and coat yourself in Neosporin and head to work because all that stuff costs money and the pets still aren't contributing in any way besides bitchery, and you get to work and take off your coat and sit down in your cubicle and maybe reach up to scratch the back of your neck and find a flea in your hair.

And this might have been back when I had long luxurious hippie hair, not the sweet punk rock look I'm sporting now. So I might have had to send an e-mail to my boss claiming to not feel well because I had to go home and soak myself and everything I owned in bleach.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I have red hair gel

Let's say for the sake of argument that it's the Wednesday before Halloween and I haven't bought any candy or made a costume or RSVP'd to the local awesome party that I'm sure is happening at one of the rock clubs but probably starts after 9pm and so I wouldn't make it anyway after I fall into a sugar coma from all that candy I haven't bought yet and drool down the front of my nonexistent costume. But anyway, you obviously can't help me with the candy or the staying up past sunset issues, but maybe if I give you a list of things in my closet you can design me an awesome costume?

In my Box o' Halloween Crap I have: red hair gel, one of those square things of white and green and black makeup, some spiderwebs and a princess hat. Possibly costume-related items in my closet include: turquoise boots, a cowboy shirt, black jeans with weird zippers, a graduation gown, red and white striped socks, one of those Chinese shirts, blue pleather pants and a flare orange hat with a flashlight on it.



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Stata, my nizzles

I can say nizzles, right? We can pretend it's just a totally made up word and not based on any other word that I would never ever say, even when singing along with Ol' Dirty Bastard on car trips because yelling is a good way to not fall asleep while driving or being driven through Wisconsin. Well, if not, consider this my apology.

Anyway, today I got my new Stata 11 disc, which is awesome because it's the third data analysis programming language I've learned which makes me trilingual in Nerdland I think, but also means that I don't have to go into my office every weekend to do my Practicum assignments which are really really important and all, but I have this thing about putting on pants and walking a mile and a half to sit in a windowless room and explore publicly available datasets when I could be doing it from home. It's not every day you can pick up a pizza on the way and watch the Twins, particularly since they did the honorable thing and bowed out of this sham of a playoffs.

So, I'm wishing right now that I had come up with some much more better and interestinger topic for a blog because there's just really nothing interesting about downloading a program from a cd onto your laptop, no matter how you spin it unless you spin it like remember floppy discs when they were still floppy and it took twelve of them to download solitaire onto your desktop computer which was beige colored?

My laptop is black.


Friday, October 23, 2009

I had a social life for a minnit

It's been awhile since I've done a Movie of the Week, probably because it's been awhile since I've seen a movie that I don't already own and even then I usually fall asleep in the first twenty minutes and then replay it over and over during the night. That's normal, right?

Anyway, that's beside the point, which is that you should all go see Zombieland, and I don't even care if you hate horror movies or comedy or that kid from Rodger Dodger, and who hates him anyway, he's so adorably awkward and lovable, what kind of person are you, do you hate Michael Cera too? You shouldn't.

From the opening credit sequence, which builds a feeling of despair and destruction that you are sure you'll never shake, which you do though because it's a comedy after all and so there are hilarious broken ankle bones and vomiting of blood and your good friend Jesse Eisenberg running around and around and around a gas station parking lot, all the way to the almost completely zombie-less third act with a very special guest star and then on to the end that I can't tell you about, but I promise it completely follows zombie movie tradition right up until it doesn't and then it does again and then doesn't, and it's really awesome.

So go watch it, or I'll give you a much longer treatise on why I think that zombie movies are really "in" post-9/11 because we are afraid we've destroyed our civilization from the inside and we can trust no one and we spent so long just trying to survive through alienating everyone around us that we are starting to realize that if survival means cutting off our humanity that it's almost not even worth it any more so we're reaching out for human connection, even if it puts our very lives at risk because we've finally decided that the risk is worth it.

Also, Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin are all really good too, and you can't possibly hate ALL of them because you're just not that awful of a person.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Yet another way that I am crazy

TMI Thursday

I think I've made it fairly clear throughout my various stories here that I'm not what you'd call a "normal" person, and so maybe one more example of that doesn't really count as TMI for you all, but nonetheless, here it is. I talk to animals. And sometimes (often) they talk back to me.

I was a big fan of Dr. Doolittle when I was a kid, so this isn't new or anything:

That's me with my dog Inky in about 1985, and obviously I'm explaining something very important and complicated, hence the hand gestures.

Throughout high school and college and into adulthood, I did what I imagine many if not most pet owners do, which is say things like "Oh, you like that? Yeah, you really like when I scratch you right there! Mushgtyegithey!!" and "I'm just going to the kitchen, I'll be right back, you just stay sleeping right there like you are, boogieghtieiebum!" That's all fine and good.

Then, this happened:

I mean the dog there, not the kitten. Though it's worth noting that the kitten is now three times the size that dog ever was.

Anyway, that dog was special. She had expressive eyes. You'd talk to her, and damned if she didn't basically talk back. I'd be like "What's up, frog monkey?" And she'd be like "Get me some delicious chicken! Please and thank you." And, yes, maybe she'd say that in a voice that sounded a lot like my own voice, but really really high pitched. And maybe sometimes she said it in a really really high pitched version of Houseboy's voice. And maybe sometimes these conversations would go on for, oh say, awhile. And maybe the cats decided they were being left out and they also made us channel them and then even there were conversations between the pets that we weren't involved in.

Which really is all fine and good and a private matter, which no one needs to know about except that sometimes I forget that I'm crazy and that the things I do aren't normal, and so I start talking about them at the lunch table at work while Hedgehog is there and she thinks I'm funny and so when our boss's boss walks by she's all "Hey! Department Head Lady! Antelope has a funny story for you! Antelope, do the voice! Do the voice!" And so I have to do the high pitched voice my dog talks in for a person who has regular meetings with the guy who plays basketball with Obama.

So, yes. I still worked there for a couple more years, but then AFTER that I totally resigned in embarrassment.



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My foot hurts. Can I have the pass?

So, moving here was hard in the summer as I may have expressed because of all the heat and the sweaty and the sun and the heat and the fiery fiery devil from Hell and all that, but some time in the last few weeks it has actually cooled off at least moderately, and two weeks ago I had my longest running week in a long long time, and it was 30 miles, so those of you who don't run can gasp and say how awesome I am now and those of you who do run can keep your mouths shut because I'm enjoying my moment. Enjoying it more than I enjoyed last week, which was the week after that 30 mile week, when I came smack up against the fact that I am old and the park has paved paths and I'm out of shape and I'm old, so my foot hurted. Like this (I drew a picture!*):

But because I'm tough and awesome and stupid and all I kept running for awhile, just less and less and then I got in the shower and shivered because the water was cold and my foot hurt. Then I decided that people who are grownups and not elderly or disabled in any way shouldn't have feet that hurt when they shiver, so today I will not run. Which is totally fine and all, I'm just mad because I didn't run for weeks and months and years because I didn't feel like it, so it kind of sucks now to not run because my foot doesn't feel like it and I think maybe soon other body parts will start to rebel and maybe I won't be able to wear shirts because my torso doesn't feel like it or I won't be able to talk because my voicebox is on strike, or I won't be able to think because my brain... oh wait, that one already happened.

* The red arrow is where the arrow hit me.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I'm entertaining

So, we're back from Chicago, though in fact we were back Friday, but there was pizza to eat and homework to do and television to catch up on and the weekend just got away from me, but anyway the trip went fine; it was seven and a half hours of driving and a quick goodbye to the apartment and retrieval of the beer bottle cap coffee table and then a trip up to downtown to sit on chairs in a cubicle while other people signed papers for an hour and then all just walked away and we were like "So, did we sell it? Oh, neat."

But we also got to see Hedgehog and Partner and I discovered the secret to a good night's sleep is a hard mattress, an electric blanket and a down comforter because I slept like I was cocooned inside, like a cocoon or something, only less sticky. And on Friday we got to take Hedgehog out to lunch in our old neighborhood because as soon as we moved away she decided it was safe to take her dream job like a mile away from where we used to live and we could have been having lunch every day that I called in sick or drinks every Friday after work, but she wanted to avoid that so worked at a job she hated until the coast was clear. But when we drive all the way up from The South she can't avoid us because she's just nice like that.

The drive back was also seven and a half hours and it got dark and all because of something about the earth rotating that Houseboy explained but I didn't understand and mostly I think it actually had to do leaving the Midwest where everything is always light and beautiful, yes even in the winter. But because it was darkish and we had long to go we had to come up with interesting topics of conversation, like "Hey that cloud looks like a tiny duck wearing a giant beret!" or "If you faked your death, what would your funeral be like?" or "What if twelve?" I'm really a great road trip partner.

But so we're "home" now and since we turned over the keys and I closed my bank account we are officially Nashvillains, and did you notice how I spelled that because it's not an accident, it's Nash-villains, get it? Don't you want to drive cross country with me?


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Everyone loves a good poop story

TMI Thursday

So, here we go, my second ever attempt at grossing you out with Too Much Information, and it's inspired by our very fast approaching trip to Chicago. See, the thing is that we have cats. And the thing about our cats is that they were raised by dog lovers, who don't know about how to just ignore the cats and occasionally see if they want food or whatever, and instead gave them all kinds of overbearing attention and as a result gave them cat schizophrenia and made them more needy than most dogs.

And speaking of dogs, we used to have the absolute most amazing scruffy trash dog that ever lived and deserved all of our overbearing attention because she was 10 years old when we found her on the street covered in feces and skunk and with mats that extended over her eyes and down to the ground and when we got her shaved all she wanted in the world was to lie on my lap and NOT get antiseptic in her wounds.

Anyway, needless to say she was loved by all, including the cats. And when after four years of toothless happiness she passed away at the approximate age of 703, the cats were not happy. Of course, I didn't notice or care too much because I was not happy, and that's what matters. At least that's what mattered until a few weeks later I went to clean out the running closet and found every single pair of running shoes filled with urine and poop. Since the dog had not been the most well house trained adorable mutt ever, I started to cry because I thought I was cleaning up the last remaining evidence and I kind of wanted to put the poop in a scrapbook or something.

Until then a few months after that I went to move the ottoman in front of the chair we never use, and found that that was ALSO soaked in urine and covered in poop. Which, let me tell you, does great things for your wood floor. That's when we realized that our schizophrenic cats had decided to take out their grief on any dark corner of the apartment they could find, and ever since then if we leave them alone for more than two days, they find some new and awesome place to hide poop, like in a blanket on the couch so that when I lay down to watch tv I pull up over me an entire covering of cat turds.

So, here's hoping they've adjusted to Nashville and spend this weekend watching the neighbor cat out the back window and not pooping in some closet we forgot we had.



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Weight problems

Yesterday in my practicum we discussed our potential weight problems and how to use a jack knife to fix them, then on the way home I almost got hit by a car because a woman talking on her cell phone stopped at the stop sign and then started going again as soon as I walked in front of her car and then the project manager of a project I'm on called me and said that she thought that now was a good time to talk about how things are going with my duties, since she was "just driving" and also I had a stats test and does anyone know if there are 172 equally spaced observations in a sample, spaced at a distance of K apart, what is the standard deviation of the sample? It's not K squared, don't be stupid.

On the other hand, we got an offer on the Chicago condo, so it's a-traipsing up North we go, which is like a little mini vacation for me because I get to do all my reading and writing and arithmetic in the car instead of on the couch. But really though, I get to go visit with Hedgehog and maybe eat at one or ten of my favorite restaurants in Hyde Park and maybe go for a run at Washington Park where they have dirt paths and Jamaicans instead of paved paths and EMTs on break.

So, anyway, wish me luck as I go cut the very last cord and try flying in Nashville without a net. Or some kind of metaphor that makes more sense.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad!

So, today is my Dad's birthday, and since I now live like a million miles away, I will not be eating cake and ice cream with him, and also I have a birthday card next to me that I haven't mailed, and I realize that it's much less fun to get a birthday card a week after your birthday, so I decided to make today's blog a birthday card. So, on that note, I hereby dedicate this post to the guy I owe half my genetic material to, who gave me a nickname (against my mom's wishes) and took me to baseball games even though he hated sports. He taught me to make Hollandaise and bookshelves, and even though I don't do either of those things anymore, I DID make a really delicious apple pie (including the crust!) the other day, and I can only assume that the success was the direct result of latent genes and/or training, so thanks Dad for making me a sleeper agent, I mean pie maker:

He's the reason I knew what a grit was before I got down here, that I'm not afraid of the doctor and that I know how to ride a bike (though my mom had a hand in that too... that one took a lot of work. What? That's normal!) He's why anytime anyone makes a pun I go "Ohhhh! Nice Dad joke! You'll make a great father," and I'm not even being sarcastic, mostly, and he's also why I know that being a feminist doesn't mean hating men, it just means making them do the dishes.

So, happy birthday to a great cook and carpenter, and a smart, funny, incredible person who's at least half of who I am today.

And tomorrow I promise to be back to my usual insane and curmudgeonly blogself, maybe with a post entitled: F$&#ing Cellphones Almost Killt Me.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Goodbye Metrodome

Yes, it's another baseball post. Yes, I know it infuriates you because you feel lost and confused and you wish I'd talk more about how I woke up yesterday with grime under my fingernails and a cut on my hand and I don't know why, so I'm just waiting to see which thing in my house I disassembled and reassembled in my sleep, but that's just too bad because the Twins played their last game in the Metrodome last night, on account of losing to the Yankees in game three of the first round of the playoffs, so they had to shuffle out without the big celebration the Hefty Bag deserves. Or at least I think that's what happened, since we were watching it on TBS with the sound off and they kept showing the stupid Yankees players with their halfhearted celebration, rather than focusing on Joe Nathan stealing dirt from the mound in the background and a couple groundskeepers trying to pull up home plate with crowbars. I can only assume that Michael Cuddyer also cut some material from the baggie, Delmon Young nabbed a piece of turf and Alexi Casilla tried to fit second base in his back pocket.

There was also a distinct lack of nostalgia for the Dome in our local bar, even though the day manager is from Minnesota and there were other Twins fans in the bar even, because the Tennessee Titans were busy losing very badly and also a paranoid schizophrenic came in and sat down next to us and started accusing the bartender of being in the CIA and then got tossed, but was allowed to bring his tacos with him, which he seemed to be grateful for and only a little put out that they didn't have Louisiana Hot Sauce for him to take with him.

For some reason that got more attention than the game for awhile.

Anyway, a tearful farewell to the place I learned to love baseball and hate the outdoors, to where Kirby made catches and hit homeruns over plexiglass, where Tori rattled his brains against an unpadded outfield fence, where Doug Mientkiewicz did the splits at first and Joe Mauer just wouldn't stop growing behind home plate and where Johann Santana threw seventeen strikeouts in a game and Big Papi got his start and Terry Tiffee sold some jeans, where Paul Molitor got a lot of his 3,000 hits and Cristian Guzman got accused of loafing at shortstop and Eddie Guardado did deep knee bends and rearranged his junk at least four times per batter. Not even to mention the hall of famers that have Minneapolis streets named after them and the ones that undoubtedly one day will (Morneau Avenue, anyone?) and the Canadians and Venezuelans who were almost as plentiful as the Minnesotans and Alabamans and the balls lost in the roof and the ones that bounced off the infield turf and turned into doubles and 60,000 screaming fans who made it almost impossible to hear:

There is NO SMOKING in the METRODOME!!!

Goodbye and we will miss you.



Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Apocalypse

On my walk home from class tonight as I was on the pedestrian bridge minding my own business and not listening to my iPod because I have an iPod from 1983 whose batteries as a result don't last that long anymore but anyway that's important because I hear something over the loudspeakers. "Loudspeakers?" you say, "I thought you were on a pedestrian bridge, shouldn't that be outdoors?" Well, I would respond, yes, I was outdoors, which is why this is a story worth telling and not just a story about the time I was at the airport and the voice in the air started talking to me about bag security and it really rocked my world. Anyway, the loudspeakers. They're coming from possibly the nearby high school, possibly the parking garage, possibly nowhere in particular, and I can't make out what they're saying, but it sounds like a series of commands being barked in an Eastern European language and asking me to stand up straight and resist the infidels. Yes, Eastern Europeans care about the infidels too, don't be so racist.

So, that was the first sign, and knowing me as you do, you probably know that I instantly questioned not just what was going on, but the very history of the world as I know it and my place in it and my high school history class that distinctly informed me that the reality I'm living in is not ruled by a global collective headed by a fascist dictator. But you know high school education these days. Badoom ching.

As I walked away and the loudspeaker faded in the background I stopped worrying about the state of reality and started wondering if there would be bok choy in the stir fry Houseboy's making tonight, because I love writing "bok choy" and of course I was going to blog about it*. But then I got within two blocks of our house and all of a sudden there was a massive freak out by the cicadas who seemed to be mobilizing for a takeover of their own, and then I came around the corner and saw the weird fenced-in area with the tanks and the pipes and all that weird stuff, and it's being weirder than usual and spitting steam out from every different direction and making a squealing noise, and just as that reaches its highest pitch, car alarms all around the block start going off.

I'm just warning you all. The revolution has begun and your city is next.

* The answer is yes, there is bok choy. Whee!


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Gobble gobble glurk

So I'm actually on my way between stats class and transcribing interviews and when I told the project manager that my class is scheduled to end at 12:15 and usually goes a little late so there was no way I was making a noon interview, but I'd transcribe the 1pm, 2pm and 3pm ones, she was all "oh, ok so you'll be there around 12:20 or so?" And I go "Not unless you want angry Antelope who will eat your arm off, because I also woke up late this morning and so went for a run but had no breakfast, so that P,B and J and banana and granola bar are the only things standing between me and a total freak out" and I think she understood, so I'm here in my office wolfing that down and preparing to type like a furious bunny for the next three hours.

Preparing by typing nonsense here about how really and truly and amazingly awesome last night was, what with the Twins taking a tie game into the 12th inning, resulting in double high fives and chest bumps in public, at least between Houseboy and me, but also resulting in a playoff game against the Yankees on less than 20 hours rest and also my laptop bag reeking of cigarette smoke because we don't have cable and Nashville doesn't have a smoking ban. And all of this awesomeness persists despite the most ragingly sexist person I've ever sat next to in a bar, who first asked who we were rooting for and then asked when the Twins were last in the playoffs and when they were last in a World Series, all of which I answered despite the fact that he directed the questions at Houseboy behind me and then went off about Chili Davis, which raise your hand if you're not a baseball fan and have ever heard of Chili Davis, but I have because yes I DID watch every game of the 1991 season that was on tv and remember a thing or two about even the less well-known players, but anyway, I was all ready to reminisce about Chili Davis and Greg Gagne and whoever, but he kept starting sentences and then trying to lean around me to talk to Houseboy and even insisted at one point that I get Houseboy's attention so that he could ask about the Jack Morris shutout in Game 7 as if I couldn't possibly relate to that level of in depth analysis which was that it was "awesome."

But I'm not bitter. Because my team is in the playoffs. And he's still a Cubs fan.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

There are at least 30 minutes left in the season

Probably more like 3 hours and 30 minutes because I guess they can't play the actual 163rd game of the baseball season in negative five minutes, but the point remains the same, which is that playing a one-game playoff for the division for the SECOND YEAR IN A ROW is.... awesome? I guess? I mean, I kinda wish that instead they had just not sucked any number of the times that they sucked and we could have run away with the division, but at least they stopped sucking in just enough time to make it painful for the Tigers.

I'm talking about baseball by the way. The Minnesota Twins. You can avert your eyes if you're one of my apocryphal friends who "doesn't like baseball." Actually, you all can go look up the word apocryphal probably. It will be like a little exercise in existentialism to see if my apocryphal friends can find the definition of apocryphal. God, that's a fun word to type. Also, I like the way it tastes.

What was I saying? Oh, right... I was so excited last night for the game that I went wandering around the house in my sleep, and I had a very good explanation for what I was doing when asked: "Standing up, walking out to this room and walking here. Now I have to go to the bathroom." I hope Houseboy appreciates that I'm becoming more detail-oriented while sleeping at least.



Monday, October 5, 2009

No candy here, buddy

I got my first phone call in my office the other day while eating pizza, watching the Twins tie up the division and creating a program in R to calculate A union B minus C complement, which I imagine will come in handy some day and also made me happy that my office mate apparently is actually the Easter Bunny so she wasn't going to be walking in on that hot mess.

Anyway, what was first most surprising about this phone call was that there is a phone in my office. It makes a noise something like one of those Alexander Graham Bell box and crank jobbies, but actually looks like an 80's switchboard phone, with the lights that light up for different lines and all, which I discovered after I stood up on my desk chair and hauled it down off the top shelf. I picked up the line and said, "Corporate Accounts Payable, Nina speaking"* and the guy on the other end says to me "Hi, I have a question about my candy order..."

So, I go "Ummmmm. Yeah. Wrong number buddy," only nicer. All of a sudden he sounds really sad and says, "This isn't WebCandy?" And I go "That's a thing? No, this is... Vanderbilt sort of." Even sadder, he says "Ohhhhh. I guess I must have mixed up the numbers," and then he hangs up.

And even pizza and a Twins win couldn't cheer me up from the poor fellow's candy depression.

On the other hand, knowing that I work in a surrealist Norman Rockwell painting helped.

* Or, you know, just my name in a kind of confused voice.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

I've never done this before

TMI Thursday

It's called TMI Thursday and you're supposed to share a story that is Too Much Information. I figure every day on my blog is too much information just by virtue of being a blog by a nonfamous person with a totally uninteresting life (see the last 190 posts, approximately), but I guess this kind of TMI has to do with telling stories about your naughty bits, which I may have mentioned yesterday I don't do, but I figured since today I'm going to talk about my armpits, maybe it actually qualifies as a traditional TMI in that not everybody wants to read about my armpits.

Anyway, today is one of those days where I actually don't have meetings or class in the morning and although I have about 20 articles on social promotion and graduation requirements to read, I'm just not doing it, even though they're sitting right next to me, instead I watched The Price Is Right and then put on a dress for today and was thinking of wearing my cute boots because it's not 123 degrees outside, but then I realized that what I'm wearing is sleeveless, and although I shaved yesterday apparently that's not quite good enough anymore. Once upon a time I could shave and not worry about it again for a day or two and then still not shave for a day or two after that because I wore something with sleeves. And then also I use this stuff called "Nads" that's like wax and is supposed to last longer than shaving, but lately it isn't really lasting that long and since the doctor always feels your lymph nodes during the yearly physical I decided to shave yesterday to be polite to her, not that she really cares but I imagine a situation in which she goes to feel my lymph nodes and goes "How can I even find them in all of this?? You'll have to come back after you've learned to care for yourself properly and by the way you DO get graded for this, and you're getting an F."

But I guess what I'm saying is that I'm wearing a sleeveless dress on a sleeved-up lifestyle, if you know what I mean. If you don't know what I mean, ask Craig Finn, he can explain it to you in between drinking and yelling to himself. I actually think it means something about heroin, which only applies in the sense that people who use a lot of heroin probably shouldn't wear sleeveless dresses and neither should people who aren't willing to groom, like me.

Anyway, I've got a cardigan and a distaste for changing my clothes, so I'm off to class.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Welcome to Me

Hi. Because I've been running from meeting to meeting to class to meeting to homework to class to meeting to circus, I've kind of developed this "losing track of.... um... What was I saying? " problem which I might have mentioned in part the other day when I told you about my difficulty with words, which I'm informed means I have aphasia which is a kind of brain damage and maybe something I should have mentioned to my doctor this morning, but she was talking about her husband's gray hair and her twelve year old who finds her embarrassing and I was trying to keep my heart rate regular and in time with the music.

This problem may even be occurring right now as I try to write what is definitely the least demanding type of prose, the "here's everything that's in my brain" barf on a page and hope that someone out there cares, or maybe especially that a lot of strangers out there care so that your blog can become famous and become a book, thereby adding fuel to the whole "written word on a page" over e-words on e-pages controversy that I know we're all following very closely. I probably won't end up that kind of famous though because I don't blog enough about my bodily functions or my sex life, both of which are exactly as they should be, I assure you, and if you don't believe me ask my doctor, because she was mightily impressed at how awesomely healthy I am; I think she mentioned making some kind of new scale where I'm at the top but then pointed out that that wouldn't be fair to others because there's no way they could ever reach that high.

But the point I was trying to make is that I had a meeting cancelled today which allowed me to actually read a couple things that are due at dates later than tomorrow/yesterday and then still had a little time to read a blog or two and would you believe it there is a crop of NEW bloggers who are just starting and doing their whole "Introduction" post which I never so much exactly did, and I was going to come up with some adjectives or descriptive tidbits to tell you all about me, but then I remembered that 95% of you have known me since about birth or at least one of my many rebirths (due to the aforementioned dearth of salacious tidbits to entice outsiders) and so you'd know anything I tell you, even if I told you for example that I'm afraid of Claymation. Which I'm not. I just think it's evil and wrong and ruins Christmas.


Monday, September 28, 2009

The foundation of a good marriage

I have this theory about communication. It's about how even though I don't know the words for things (there's a word for that, but I can't remember it), as long as you understand what I say, then I'm all good. So, if I ask you what time Liar Liar is on, and you know I'm talking about Lie To Me*, or I tell you I want the tortilla thing for dinner, and you know to make me the Potato and Egg Omelet, then we're cool, right?

I suppose that depends a little bit on your ability to read my mind. Which is why I married Houseboy and not you.

* There's always an asterisk after that. What is it FOR??


Thursday, September 24, 2009

I remember the 80s

It's not like I was exactly "socially involved" or "aware of much outside my third grade classroom," or whatever, but I remember the decade. I remember wanting (and getting, thanks mom and dad!) awesome neon-colored clothing and knockoff-Vans*, and because of the whole small-town-in-Minnesota thing, the 80s kind of extended into the 90s by quite a bit, so I remember spending significant time in Junior High trying to get my bangs to stand up and failing because my hair has a Mind of Its Own.

So anyway, for the most part even though my childhood was awesome, I don't exactly miss the fashion and when I get a catalog in the mail that is trying to sell me leggings and fingerless gloves I kind of shrug and think that it's a little funny that thirteen year olds want to look like Cyndi Lauper, just like I did. On the other hand, when that catalog is also selling flannel shirts and combat boots, I get a little itchy inside and feel like time is collapsing like a telescope and maybe I'm going to spin off into another dimension where Kurt Cobain is still alive and started a new band called "Happy Fun Time Band" and everyone in the universe works for their own online startup and/or Microsoft and that Dell guy is still popular.

On the third hand, when people start talking about a "comeback" of Blink 182 and how they like their "old stuff" better and there is concern about them selling out, well then that's just when I give up and realize I'm old and it's time to buy life insurance and a share in a retirement community and maybe start voting Republican or something.

Or maybe I'll just wear my awesome 80s boots to class today and start the cycle over again.

* Yes, I wanted the knockoffs, not the originals. What?


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

That's the way they do it in Vegas*

So the spit has begun to hit the fan around here, which you can tell by the running clothes hanging from the kitchen table, the notebooks scattered on the floor and the books holding up the cups of coffee, all of which are covered in spit. Seems like every time I take a break to check my e-mail, which used to be a great distraction in which I stared at my empty G-mail** inbox and smiled a self-satisfied smile at how well I have weaned down my social contacts until I'm only friends with the people who are as unresponsive as me, which causes a kind of spiral of happiness and confusion, instead of all that what I get is a reminder that I forgot to do something or that something I thought was done weeks ago wasn't really done by me or by others and as a result a cascading waterfall of destruction and dismay is about to befall us all, and as poetic as that sounds it really just means I have to fill out some mundane form and make copies and then talk to someone about it for hours, making it much and much laterer that I'm getting my actual homework done.

Where was I going with this?

Oh, right. So Hedgehog has this new job, working at a nonprofit that she really really loves, and I know as a good friend I'm supposed to hate her for it and try to tear her down and make her feel bad about being happy when I'm so stressed, but really all I want is to hear about how great it is because it means there is some kind of light at the end of the tunnel, which is a better metaphor than usual, because there was light before I got in the tunnel, I just decided I wanted a brighter light or more natural light or more pretentious light in which people would call me Dr. Antelope and I could ask them to turn down the light because it's bothering my highly educated eyes.

I forgot what I was saying again.


Yup, it's gone.

* Says Jerry to George. Replies George "You never played Vegas." Says Jerry: "I hear things."
** Because I worked for the Government, get it? Laugh damnit!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Just real quick

This weekend I learned that:

  • In STATA, "replace all" is not a good thing, "undo" doesn't undo anything and that I should save my work more often.
  • Following the references from one article to another will eventually take you in a circle, but not until it's been 8 to 10 hours and you forgot what you were looking for in the first place.
  • It doesn't matter if the first place team is playing against the second place team in the last few weeks of baseball season and there are five televisions available, all five of them will be tuned to football because people have money on this, dude.
  • Around here, when a guy who looks homeless says "I like your style," he is actually hitting on you, and quite possibly not homeless, and I can't begin to name the things I find ironic in that.
  • There is a ten year old child in my neighborhood who is going to be the next Michael Winslow, but meanwhile he's going to terrorize the neighborhood with uncannily accurate renditions of sirens and crows, to his family's dismay.

Now I'm off to enjoy my Monday.


Friday, September 18, 2009


Actually, today I have class and three afternoon meetings and this weekend I have two big-ish assignments due plus the readings for Monday's classes and probably some other stuff, but I'm just getting the hang of my Google calendar and can't figure out how to make tasks different colors yet, so I can't be sure which ones really matter and which ones are things like "buy cat litter," which honestly, those spoiled brats can wait.

On the other hand, there IS a T.G.I. Fridays about three blocks away from me, so maybe I could go get some pizza shooters and get over my case of the Fridays. The other day I was walking home from school and this skinny tattooed dude came storming out of there, ripped his apron off and marched into oncoming traffic while yelling "F*ck you too!! F*ck all of you!" I gather from that experience that it's a lovely place to work, and besides I love red and white stripes because I find them calming.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Introversion, extroversion, shyness and falling asleep

So the beginning of this week was taken up by a whirlwind trip to the lovely island of Louisville, Kentucky to do data collection at Jefferson County Public Schools and also to examine the natural limits of my stress tolerance to see whether it actually is possible to pop all the tendons in your neck and have them come flying outward kind of like when a hot air balloon drops all those tethers tying it down and then floats off, only in this case I guess my head wouldn't float away, it would probably sort of roll off my shoulders and make a sick thumping noise when it hit the ground.

As I mentioned in a previous blogentry (by which I mean an entry in my blog, not the Blog Gentry, of which I am not a part because I kept showing up to functions spitting drunk), I was concerned initially not even about the work I would have to do on this trip, but really about the sharing of a hotel room, but I overcame that by dragging Houseboy along with me under the pretense of him getting a nice look at lovely Louisville, which he did when he went to the zoo and terrorized the warthogs.

So, it was nice to have Houseboy along, but we still had to drive three and a half hours up and back with my advisor in the back seat, and he's a bit introverted and I'm a bit introverted and what this means is that conversation the whole way meant each of us coming up with an obviously forced topic like "Where did you live before you moved to Nashville?" that led to about 0.48 minutes of conversation and then a dead period and then someone else would ask something scintillating like "How big is Louisville, anyway?" and the process would repeat itself. I was practicing a bit of meditation I made up in which I stare out the window and remind myself that I don't want to talk anyway and I'm not being graded on my ability to make conversation, so staring at the trees is just fine and if he really wants to talk he can think of something clever to say, it's not all my job just because I'm in the front seat and besides it's sexist to assume that the woman will have to make everyone feel comfortable and keep up the hostess thing while men are allowed to be strong and silent and whatever, when my advisor fell asleep. Like, head lolling to the side drool coming down the chin asleep.




Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Why you don't want to sleep with me

I mean, besides the fact that by "sleep with" I mean literally "sleep alongside, near or next to" not "have sex with," there are also other reasons that the proverbial "you" wouldn't want to sleep with me and those mostly have to do with me acting like an awake person when I'm asleep, except an awake person with an impenetrable constellation of personal and psychological issues. That's all code for saying I snore, I grind my teeth, I toss and turn, but I also talk and walk in my sleep and these issues are exaggerated when I am under stress, and I find it very stressful to sleep with strangers nearby.

This is of particular interest right now because 1) I sleepwalked for the first time in awhile last night, accomplishing the task of removing a winter sock from my drawer with the purpose of stuffing it in the pipe that was spewing fire, which I'm sure worked smashingly because when I woke up the sock was in the middle of the room and nothing was on fire, so that's good. And 2) I'm slated to travel for my research assistanceship to Jefferson County Public Schools (a.k.a Louisville) next week, and I have not heard yet whether I'll be sharing a hotel room with one of the members on this project, all of whom seem very nice but not necessarily equipt to help me destroy the giant spiderweb that has been built across the room without disturbing the tarantulas with shark jaws.

Maybe if I tell them about my disability I'll be able to get accomodations, a.k.a, Houseboy as a chaperone.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Guess how lazy I can be

I can be so lazy that I combine MySpace Mondays with Way Back Tuesdays and pretend that a blog post from 2004 about my internship for my master's program counts as interesting material for you. And I can be so lazy that I pretty much just copy it here like this:

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Ok, so we're in week 4 of this quarter, and I've only seen my boss at my internship ONCE, and my last day is Friday. Every day I come in no one's seen him, no one knows where he is... the woman at the front desk has only seen him a few times in the last month. The other intern who shares an office with me also had no idea where he's been... until today. Today she finds out that he is actually actively avoiding us. He works evenings and weekends so he won't have to see us, and here's why: Lisa, a dual degree student with the Div school who works there on Tues/Thursdays started up a Tenant's Rights group under his direction. She got really involved in it, got all the tenants at the three buildings that WECAN owns coming to meetings, and got two guys from an organization called Magic and a campus organization called Angels of Def involved as well. Well, come to find out that some of the tenants rights that they'd been teaching the tenants about, WECAN was not meeting in its own buildings. Angels of Def decides that it would be more appropriate if they just worked with Lisa and Magic and the tenants directly, leaving out WECAN. Well, now Arvis (my boss) gets all pissed off, saying that they're going over his head, and he tries to shut the whole thing down. Brian (of Magic) and Lisa won't let it go, however. Arvis ends up screaming at Lisa in front of pretty much all of WECAN, and ever since he hasn't been in the office when she's around. That's scandal 1! Scandal 2 involves my officemate, Rose, who works with afterschool programs with kids in one of the apartment buildings owned by WECAN. She does a little asking around and finds out that the smoke detectors and security system in her room have been purposely disconnected. Also, the gate just outside their door is permanently locked, so if there's a fire, they have to go all the way around the building to get out. She tries to talk to Arvis about it, and he disappears on her too. So, every day I show up he's avoiding some scandal, and now I don't even know if he realizes that I won't be here after Friday and that he has to turn in a grade for me. So I'm staying home from work for the rest of today.

And then consider that my blog entry for the day.

You're welcome.


Monday, September 7, 2009

McMinnville? REALLY??

It's possible I have mentioned before how I grew up in a Small Town. One thing growing up in a Small Town does for you is make you completely aware of your insignificance, particularly in the scope of the local, regional and National news, and growing up in a Small Town in Minnesota helps this issue, because your small town probably doesn't have a per capita income of a million and a half dollars like some New England "small towns" and probably doesn't have lots of pro football players come out of it, like small towns in Texas or have a really pretty beach like small towns in California. So, unless you live in International Falls, Minnesota, where you make the news once a year for "Being Really Cold Right Now," you get used to the idea that things that happen around you are really more gossip than news, and weather and war and other Big News might hit you, but they'll tell you about how it's going to hit "This area about-ish" and then reassure their Real Public that it's not heading for any "populated areas" and be a little sorry when the robot changes direction and takes out a suburban mall full of teenagers.

That apparently isn't how it works here. Here, they interrupt the end of Friends and the first half of an episode of How I Met Your Mother that I haven't even seen yet to give me a half an hour of a red and orange blotchy map of a part of the state that I'm not even currently in, and when I google it, it turns out to be the county seat of Warren county and have 12,749 people in it and be the Nursery Capital of the World and not even meaning babies, but meaning flowers. Where I come from that place is called Northfield, and they have rich college students and they don't even get to be on the news for a tornado that hasn't happened yet and isn't heading toward the cities. I mean, if it turns their pretty town square into rubble, sure...

Not that I want that to happen.

Unless, you know, they don't get back to my program soon.



Thursday, September 3, 2009

Writing assignments

So, Jeff over at Badly Drawn Monsters is giving out writing assignments, and I'd totally do it except that I have three other writing assignments pertaining to research proposals and policy papers and I don't remember what else, and besides writing about my writing is not a thing that I do. One of you guys should totally do it for me. I thought about buying a paper online, especially since I just found a website for said service when I googled "Mercutio as tragic hero" because I thought I had a totally original Shakespeare idea and then remembered that those don't exist, so I wanted to see what other people had said about it so that I could feel better about not getting a PhD in English Lit since everyone out there has already said what I would say.

As it turns out, if I'm willing to pay $60 a page, I could get you all an essay on said topic by sunrise tomorrow, or since I was looking at this at 11pm last night I could have had it by now. This essay may have included such clever writing as: "Mercutio is a relative of the Prince of Verona, so he is of high status, but he never really shows this. He has a very cocky, arrogant, and funny personality, and is always joking around even in serious times." That's an example from one already on the website, and certainly not a paper I just paid $60 a page for just to see what it would look like.

It's important to note, as found on the Frequently Asked Questions on this unnamed website, that even if I wanted to buy said Mercutio essay, I CANNOT turn it in for a class, instead I should pay $600 for a ten page paper by sunrise that I will use as an example for my own essay. Since my own essay is meant to be something about analysis of publicly available data, I don't really know how Shakespeare can help me. On the other hand, though, they also assure me that the essays I buy will not be plagiarized from others. So my investment in my own plagiarism will not be tainted by pre-plagiarism, which just dilutes the overall project beyond what is tenable.

Anyway, back to my blog writing assignment, if I WERE to write "7 personality traits exhibited by my writing" it would probably look something like this:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Because once I got stuck in a locker

This story was well known among my elementary and high school friends as the "Time you got locked in the locker" story, but I'm going to go ahead and clear something up right now: I did not get locked in the locker, I got stuck. I know, you're saying to yourself right now, "Why is that better? Why would she rather have wedged herself into a locker in such a way that her body could not escape than have been shoved in by a group of 80's movie bullies and locked away?" Well, you make a good point. But it matters to me.

So, anyway, on or around the year 1988, when my family had recently moved [back] to Minnesota and I was settling into writing in cursive with the big loopy loops instead of the spikey loops and the idea that check marks meant correct instead of incorrect and the fact that there were no brown or yellow people in my class and no one said "cussing" and all in all it was a pretty good scene I think. The school at that time was K through 12, and had just (in the last 10 years or something) gotten a pool, though they still had no swim team, but it meant that once a year we little nine year olds got to trudge hand-in-hand into the high school end of the building and have swimming lessons during gym class. Since it would have been weird for us to go to school all day in our swimsuits or to get changed in the classroom or out in the street for the benefit of the neighbors, we got changed in the locker room, of course.

And, after we learned to backfloat and froggy kick and whatever, we also got to change back into our Osh Kosh B'Gosh in the locker room, and since we had little to no adult supervision, as the gym teacher was male, I learned that pastimes in Minnesota include slapping your wet swimsuits and towels against the poles and benches and other third grade girls until your teacher yells at you to hurry up. I was not conscientious about actually getting my swimsuit dry before shoving it in my bag, or getting myself dry before shoving myself in my clothes, but for some reason I was really picky about not getting hit with flying water after I was dressed. So, I made the informed decision to step into a locker until the madness was over.

Now, I wasn't stupid. I knew, just as Lucy in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe did, that if you climb inside something like that that you'd better leave the door open a little so you don't get trapped. Unlike Lucy I didn't find a magical land, though. Instead, one of the girls walked by slamming locker doors, didn't see me (or did, and thought it was funny), and slammed the door to my locker/hiding place. Which would have been fine, except all the locker doors were a little bent, probably from all the slamming, and they stuck. And this one really stuck. Really really stuck. Me on the inside and 10 nine year old girls on the outside could not get it open. A male gym teacher and female third grade teacher could not get it open. A male principal and a janitor needed some kind of very long and scary metal instrument to be snaked around the inside to wrench and tear it open.

In a graduating class of 100 students, you can see how this story was still brought up nearly ten years later on our AP History class trip, as in "Remember that time you got locked in the locker in third grade? That was HILARIOUS!"







Monday, August 31, 2009

Criminal Behavior and Teaching Math

So, I had to come into the office early this morning to get fingerprinted, which concerns me since that means I'll be thrown out of here as soon as they match those fingerprints to the ones on the mini fridge in the dean's office and realize that I'm the midnight cheese bandit. However, since I guess I'll be here a little while longer, I decided to try to act as natural as possible while they ran each of my fingers over a little piece of glass and pretend that I hadn't had this done before that one time in Paris at the dog show but we don't mention that anymore so just pretend I didn't say that.

Now that I've met my obligation to the state, I guess I can go lurk around in public school classrooms and if anyone bothers me I'll tell them my fingerprints are on file, so if they have a problem they can go look me up. Meanwhile I'll be in class for the next 5,248 hours or so, since I now have not only the three required courses plus the additional IES fellowship course where we get free pizza, but still there are readings and assignments, so it's not like it's Pizza Class, which is what I was hoping, but I also have a fifth class that I have to "audit" that's about teaching kids math because apparently they think that if you've never taught kids math or learned how to teach kids math, maybe you shouldn't be on the project where you're evaluating how people teach kids math. Math. I've never audited a class before, mainly because I like grades, especially A's and auditing sounds like all the work of putting on pants and sitting in public without any reward of a big blue ribbon with a gold medal on it. This is why I left the work world and went back to school, isn't it? So I can do a lot of the same things, but get more positive feedback and warm fuzzies. Turns out that's not what a PhD is about, which is a big bummer, so I guess I'll have to, as my mom would say "Go make myself a medal,"* so if you need me I'll be in the Home Ec building looking for blue silk.

* It should be noted that this was not a mean thing my mom would say to me, but rather a mean thing she once said to her little sister, so it's not a story about my childhood trauma, but rather about how even moms don't like their little sisters sometimes.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

That one time I almost died

Yesterday I was eating lunch between classes and this dinosaur attacked me:

It went really slowly, but it was determined. It was probably because it knew I made this awesome salad the other day with fruit and cheese and stuff, without even any help from Houseboy and in fact a lot of him standing around me going "Really? Whole slices? You don't want to cube them?" And "You know what really works for that? Try a peeler." And "You are an inadequate cook, maybe I should just take over here and you should go back to working full time and get out of my kitchen." But then it turned out like this:

And like this:

And then Houseboy didn't even say, "Oh how delicious, my wife!" He just ate it and made grunting noises, and I told him I was going to blog about it and he said "I'll comment then and make you regret it," and I said "You don't know how to work the internet," and then he hit me with a brick.

Ok, the last part isn't true. But the part about the killer bug definitely is.