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!"