Friday, December 17, 2010

Would you call me bubbly?

So, as of today I am totally done with finals and project work for the next TWO WEEKS, which is an awesome feeling, especially when combined with a warm, happy and healthy dog cuddled up next to me in her camouflage fleece sweater, now at least mostly recovered from scary deadly illness. I learned something new about how I am perceived by people outside of my head during this time, which is that I am normally "bubbly." I had no less than two people comment on the fact that I was not my "normal bubbly self" and ask what was up, and if I had been my normal bubbly self I might have asked if they were being sarcastic, but instead I just kind of stared at them.

Which is also what I did to our cat sitter, who is a nurse at the vet's where we brought Olive, when she was telling me about something and said "Well, you know, you're a nurse." That probably would have been a good opportunity to right what is apparently a long-running misunderstanding, which explains why all summer she kept asking me for recommendations for allergy medications and I kept explaining to her that I don't have allergies, so I have no idea. It unfortunately came up again when she came by for the keys since she's looking after the cats over Christmas, as she took the opportunity to explain the medication that Olive is on, and turned to me and said "You've heard of it of course," and I kind of stared at her and was like "Um, no..." and she was like "Oh, well they use it in humans too," and Houseboy pointed out afterwards that I haven't gotten any closer to making it clear that I'm not a medical professional, but now she just thinks I'm a shitty nurse. I suck at my imaginary profession, so that's good.

Anyway, we also went out last night in celebration and saw the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, which really was Spectacular when it came to the parts with the Rockettes, especially the part where they were dressed like nutcrackers and did this:

But was pretty unspectacular when it came to the parts with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and also had an unexpected, long and poorly conceived Nativity Story at the end, which actually kind of offended me, even though you all KNOW I love me some Jesus, just because the rest of it was pretty obviously designed to never mention God or even use any of the Christmas carols that reference the Christian part of the holiday, so it seemed very divorced and preachy, rather than entertaining. Though there were live camels and sheep, so I spent the whole time hoping one of them would poop and then wondering how they guarantee they won't poop and whether those poor sheep were really hungry because they haven't been fed in days to ensure the lack of poop. It's possible I have a recent obsession with animal poop.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dogs > Clothes

So, finals week plus a dog in the hospital = same dirty sweats and slippers for three days, which I would totally take a picture of for you except no I wouldn't because no one in the universe looks good in sweatpants.

But, look at this sweetie:

And send your happy thoughts your way, because she's super sick and not liking it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How long does it take to fix a water treatment plant anyway?

See, if it were me, I'd just be down there with some duct tape and maybe the leftover tube of caulk that a handyman left in our apartment in Chicago and somehow made the move to Nashville with us, and it would be all jerry-rigged in no time. Hey, is jerry-rigged racist? It sounds like it's about the Germans, and they just got a shout-out in my last blog, so I'm going to call it even.

Anyway, we're still supposed to be conserving water by trying to use half our normal amount, which is difficult when you already take 5 minute showers, don't water your plants and haven't washed your car in the five years you've owned it. This weekend it involved not showering for three days, grilling out and eating on paper plates, which was kind of like camping so that was okay. On the other hand, we already had dirty dishes in our sink when we heard about the shortage, so now we have an ant problem that I've been solving by obsessively wiping down the counters with paper towels and putting everything edible in ziploc bags, so between that and the paper plates and plastic silverware, we've really just replaced a small amount of water with a very large amount of paper, so all of you out there who are "learning lessons" from this water shortage and thinking about carrying your new practices on into life after the flood, goody for you, but I'm looking forward to not having to take the trash out three times a week.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Things to Do in Denver When You're Only Half Dead

So, as a reward for all my hard work and also the insect genocide whose carnage is still visible in my laptop screen, I got to go to Denver and hear people almost as pretentious as myself talk about things that should be interesting to me, like achievement gaps and tracking and forecast modeling and whatnot, and I imagined someone other than myself sitting in that airport shuttle listening to the people all around her droning on about their local school context and the vagaries of job-hunting with a PhD and feeling very energized, but instead I felt tired and wondered whether I had passed my econ final, which I turned in in outline form, rather than essays, because I ran out of time, and I know what you're thinking, which is "She writes outlines? That implies she organizes her thoughts!" But you should realize that blogs are different than PhDs, or at least I hope they are, because otherwise all this nonsense isn't really worth it, since I already have a blog.

Anyway, all I got to see of Denver was downtown, with the exception of the shuttle ride to and from downtown, during which I decided that the rest of Denver looks a lot like the town I grew up in, which is to say short, quaint to outsiders, and covered in dust from the feed mill and canning factory. Downtown, on the other hand, was boring, as downtowns usually are, and mostly populated with other conference-goers, wearing their badges around like it would get them a better table at the TGI Fridays. Houseboy and I are walking folk, so we walked about 17 miles and saw most angles of downtown, I think, the very best of which was this place called Cafe Berlin, which is the best German food I've had since living in Minnesota, where even the Hispanics are German. They apologized profusely for making us wait for 5 minutes at the bar for a table, but at the bar they had this:

Which is a LITER of beer, and they recommend you pair with a Schnapps, so we did, and then ordered mushroom cutlets and dumplings and something meat for Houseboy and some spatzle and then the resident German Mother-type yelled at us for not finishing our spatzle and offered us more beer to help with the problem, which it did.

So, all in all Denver is all right if you avoid the people with PhDs and hang with the Germans, which is just a good rule of thumb in life as well.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Jesus wants me to fail

There is a tiny bug inside my laptop computer screen.

Not like a computer bug.

Like a wiggly, squirmy, one of All God's Creatures bug.

He's just roaming around in there being like "Hey, I think your answer to number seven is wrong!" and "Stop studying for your exam, you'll just fail anyway because I'll change all your answers to 'Bug bug buggy bug bugface.'"

And "Your blog is boring and stupid, get back to work on building me my lair!"

There he is again.



Friday, April 16, 2010

Thoughts from my day so far

First, I should not be allowed to own or wear anything black. Apparently having mostly black cats doesn't keep me from showing up to work / class with gobs of fur on my butt, which I only notice when I go to the bathroom and have been walking around for hours like that, and almost makes me want to get one of these:

Until I remember that they scare the crap out of me because they look like babies and old men at the same time.

Second, about three weeks ago everything in the universe went into bloom around here and then all their petals fell off and there were like snowdrifts of pink and blue and white everywhere and it was beautiful and I was going to take a picture but then it got hot and they got all... whatever the opposite of freeze dried is, which I guess is sun dried, but not like the tasty tomatoes in oil in a jar, like the ones you scoop out of bins at your health food store and they look like Teddy Roosevelt's ear.

And third, Houseboy has developed an awesome new tradition that he calls "Martini Fridays" where he makes martinis and we sit outside and enjoy them and don't even care when the neighbors walk by and are all "Oh, well aren't WE having a nice time!" with that special emphasis that just lets you know they think you're some kind of rich socialite who is just made of time and martini olives

And fourth, I have to go to a meeting now and hopefully it will not be like the dream I had last night, where everyone talked............................................ like.................................. this............................. and I just sat there seething and plotting their deaths.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Self Plagiarism keeps our country strong

I'm lazy and haven't been bloggerating much lately, so herein I reproduce for you an e-mail chain that makes me sound really smart and cool and also doesn't require any rewriting or work on my part.

From Hedgehog:

WTF due! Now I want to procrastinate and enjoy life via the internets with you and you are not here!

I wish I never split this data into a million little SPSS files and then did stuff with it, I wish I had one master file with all the pieces, but I don't want to have to make that master file now. Variables have different settings, I computed variables on some files but not others, I changed the formats, some are aggregated.

Fucking shit!

This is what happens when your boss wants to keep slicing the data into little pieces to look at just this and just that without a master plan behind the whole thing.

I wish I had a master file to begin with and I wrote syntax to do all that shit, but it was always just one little thing and then one more little thing, and inch by inch I have created chaos.

My reply:

Oh boy are you screwed. This is why SAS or STATA are better, because you can easily save multiple files in all the different kinds of slices you want and then undo it and go back to the original and use "if" statements and all that.

I am in a similar chaos with the [acronym] data, which are created by taking in text files the districts send us and then converting them to Microsoft Access tables and then using queries to create class and school-level files, which are then opened in Microsoft Excel and formulas are entered to compute some variables like class size and then those files are saved as .csv files which are read in to Stata, where we impute missing values and create six more files which are then opened individually in HLM and models are run and then output into folders named informative things like "01" and "23." I really really really kind of hate the guy who is in charge of the data for this right now, and especially for NOT BELIEVING ME that I can do ALL OF THAT in Stata, and yes it will take some time to write the code, but for the love of God it will save us about three days of processing the next time data comes in.

Anyway, you at least have a good excuse.

The long term lesson is that there's nothing you can do now but either take the pain in the ass effort to put it all back together, or hobble on the way things are until you don't have to use the data anymore... it's like trying to swim across the ocean... are you more than halfway across? Because if so, don't turn back just because you're too tired.

That damn metaphor fails me every time. The fact is that if you have swum halfway across the ocean you're probably about to die by shark attack or exposure or just plain being stupid, so I can't help you.

Man, I should convert this into a blog instead. This shit is way too good to be wasted on just an e-mail to you. How will I make it in the blog big time if I keep conversing privately with people??



Don't Say the R-word

As usual, the Twins Geek reads my mind:

Why is it that anytime anyone in sports even implies racism, ESPN has to trot out all their black analysts to assure us that that person is just a crazy loose cannon and racism is some kind of vestigial tail that we would all be happier if we pretended doesn't even exist?

Someone disagree with me on this so I can point out all the "scrappy" white players and "violent" black players and "clever" Asian players on your favorite teams.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Do I use the word random too much?

So last night I was brushing my teeth with my right hand* because I had to try to pull my left leg over my head at the same time because multitasking is important if you're going to get everything done in a day and I realized that I was doing better than usual (with the toothbrushing, not the stretching) and I decided that it was because of my heavily quantitative program right now, which has activated that left side of my brain.

I also had another great dream last night, and in this one I broke out of prison and went to visit one of my best friends in DC and showed up on her doorstep at 2 o'clock in the morning and she was all "Um, I have to work in the morning. Selfish, much?"

Thirdly, today I was trying to reach into my bag for something while continuing to walk and also avoid making eye contact with my economics professor (who I think might have Asperger's because eye contact seems to make him very uncomfortable (like, even more than me)) and something in my bag shoved itself up in between my fingernail and my finger and now it's all bloody under there and I narrowly avoided using a loud expletive in the presence of someone who holds my life in his hands, so to speak.

And lastly I hate Jim Rome and I hate Jim Rome Is Burning, and that's not new, it's just particularly salient to me right now for some reason maybe having to do with my throbbing fingernail.

* It might assist you in understanding this story to know that I'm left handed.

P.S., did anyone get the tag humor from yesterday? Because I was pretty proud of that until I realized none of you heathens read this on the actual page and so it went completely unnoticed...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Psychotic break

So, if it seems to you like this is just becoming a dream journal in which I remind you biweekly that my headbrain is still as messed up as it has always been, then you're right, because last night I dreamed that Houseboy was a meth addict and when I confronted him about it he was all "No, I'm not, I'm just experimenting, and I don't even do it that much" and then he snorted some meth, and I had to say "But you're doing meth RIGHT NOW, right in front of me!" And he just shrugged and then pulled out the baggie of meth (which in my head, apparently, looks a lot like rock salt) and a spoon and started spooning it into his mouth, and I was all "OMG, I don't think that's how you're supposed to do it, I don't even know if that is better or worse, both in terms of getting high and in terms of dying from being a big drug addict, FOR THE LOVE OF MIKE STOP IT WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!?!"

But anyway the only reason I'm telling you about this is because Hedgehog today accused me of being in a "silly" mood, and I had to look back over our chat to see why she would say that, and I realized it was because she kept talking about totally normal things and I kept saying things like "When you say Mac it reminds me of mac and cheese!" or "You're a dirty sociologist!" or telling stories about how my mom used to say "Do you want sugar, honey? Or honey, sugar?" when she made me tea, and so really by "silly mood," she was just being nice and really she meant that I had reverted to being a four year old who just said whatever random thing came into my head, and so I decided that I should share this story on a blog because I really haven't done enough damage today.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Joe Joe the Monkey Catcher

Today I am very happy because the Pohlads have finally made good use of that ol' farm-foreclosin' money to sign hometown boy, MVP and dreamy-sideburns-having Joe Mauer to an eight year contract extension, which means that for once Yankees fans have to swallow their ass-holery and admit that they won't be getting this one for their stable and that, at least until they buy Albert Pujols by promising to dip his entire family in gold and feed them diamonds for breakfast, our catcher is better than their catcher, so there.

For a real discussion of real things related to this news, go here:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Getting to know me

Word I wish people used to describe me when I'm not around: Stalwart

Word they almost certainly actually use: Goober

When you tell me your name I say: Harold, nice to meet you!

When you tell me your name I think: Shit, what was that name again?

Number of socks I own: 743

Pairs of sock I own: no idea

Number of times per day I keep myself from saying something stupid: 12,281 (on average)

Number of times per day I say something stupid anyway: a matter of opinion

If I had to describe what it's like inside my head I would say: Have you seen that game where they stand in a phone booth and try to catch money while it flies around?

What it's really like inside my head: Imagine like if cotton were soaked in black tar and you're trying to find a feather using a metal detector but you have to watch out for the laser pointer on the end that can get really hot and accidentally shoot down things in outer space.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Because I am old

Here are some things I no longer find cute or amusing:

  1. When you pull up in your car and turn to your friend and say "I didn't want to say anything when I picked you up, but I think I'm still drunk from last night! Ha ha!"
  2. When you wear pajamas as clothing, particularly when you have a hard time crossing the street quickly enough because your bunny slippers are sliding off the back of your feet.
  3. When you're totally making out in the student center and start sliding over the back of the couch and into my head.

Things, on the other hand, that make me laugh out loud only not out loud, but in my head because I'm sitting here alone, and I am not crazy:

  1. When you keep trying to sneak a peak of your hair in the window reflection whenever he isn't looking.
  2. When you try to discuss the finer points of plagiarism, like whether it's really cheating if you don't, like, copy the whole thing.
  3. That you sat rightnexttome even though there are 30,000 open seats in other places, including South Dakota.

Oh wait, that last one doesn't amuse me, it makes me murderous. Sometimes I get confused on account of all the laughing that is happening as I'm stabbing you to death.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Why we don't have neighbors

So, recently our next door neighbors moved out and an annex to the clinic next door moved in, which is good for us because sometimes I have loud "night time activities," and get your mind out of the gutter, because you know I mean yelling about spiders invading my brain. Obviously, I've mentioned before that sometimes giant spiders of various leg-to-body ratios come crawling down our walls or through our windows or out from under my pillow, and sometimes I have to inform Houseboy about this in the calmest of voices and then usually I have to take care of it myself because he doesn't believe me and so he has this whole thing where he claims I'm dreaming and then I have to logically explain about how I'm not dreaming this time, even though I know that last time I was dreaming, but this time it's for real I promise, get the emergency kit.

Anyway, apparently I really do talk very calmly and without emotion during this time, which made last night where I started yelling "DO YOU SEE THAT?? HOUSEBOY!!! DO YOU SEE IT??" maybe even more disturbing, because really if tarantulas the size of Marmaduke don't make me scream, then what will? And I can tell you that I don't remember what caused it, but what was happening is that there was a big metal hook hanging from the ceiling and a string was stretched from the ceiling to the floor, and there was a viscous liquid dripping down the string, and this was upsetting because I didn't remember setting that up before bed, and also when Houseboy wouldn't tell me for sure if he saw it or not, I realized that what he wanted was for me to touch it, and I was pretty sure it was on fire, and everyone knows that grabbing a string that is on fire is just not a good idea, so I thought that he was being more than a little unreasonable. Nonetheless, I am nothing if not brave and willing to put my life on the line so that other people won't have to totally wake up at 3 a.m. and deal with the fact that David Lynch now lives with us and has an odd sense of humor, so I reached out to touch it and it kept getting farther away until I was in the bathroom and realized I had to pee, so I did and then went back to bed and we shall never speak of it again.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Like a good neighbor...

Today I was nearly bested in battle by a Diet Dr. Pepper bottle, but in case you're getting worried I can assure you that the story ends happily, so don't freak out or anything. So, to accompany my lunch, I bought a bottle of pop from the pop machine, and yes I'm going to keep saying "pop" no matter how many people look at me funny, because as I discussed yesterday, I'm used to people looking at me funny. And I got the bottle back to my office, which I ordinarily share with about 73 other people, but was lucky enough to have to myself this afternoon, or at least I THOUGHT I was lucky until I tried to open the pop and it wouldn't budge. Ok, so I might have the grip of an arthritic 80 year old, and so I tried to loosen it using my fork, and I accomplished separating the top from that plastic ring part, but it still wouldn't turn, not even a little bit. So then I came at it with both stapler and hole puncher and possible tried throwing it at the wall and/or feeding it to alligators, and really wishing my sometimes annoying and always plentiful office mates were around so that I would know I wasn't crazy.

But then I brought the bottle to class and passed it around to many burly PhD students, none of whom could make any headway and I felt less crazy, but also a little more crazy because they were like "Did you CHEW on it?" because of the hole punching marks and I had to be like "Um, no, did you?" And then I brought it home and stalwart Houseboy had no luck, so I took it outside and hit it with a hammer until the top flew off and rocketed across the yard, along with half the pop, and I laughed and then realized that one of the nurses who works at the clinic next door was having a smoke break and staring at me wielding a hammer and a half-full bottle of pop and wearing my pajamas, and when I told Houseboy, he said "She didn't know they were your pajamas," and I said, "So, she thinks this is how I dress. That's better."

And all in all, it was Klassy with a Kapital K, and I'm happy to report that I'm now drinking some semi-flat diet Dr. Pepper and reading articles about teachers' practices in tracked classrooms as compared to heterogeneous grouping and feeling very very proud of myself and only a little damp.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

No, no, no, no, no, I'm not even kidding, not even a little bit. Someone is taking Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice," which, by the way, being a girl and a dorky one at that, I loved loved loved when I was about 13 and actually haven't outgrown, someone is taking that book and they are ADDING ZOMBIES! ZOMBIES. Click the link, damn you, it's ZOMBIES!!

When Houseboy told me about this I laughed out loud for forty minutes straight and then after he got the oxygen tank and cleaned me up, I realized that this is the best moment of my life, except for that moment in the future where I see that movie.

And also, it completely and totally undoes the moment I had earlier today where I loaned my ID/passkey to someone on my way to the bathroom, and she was like "You don't need it?" and I was like "No, I'm going to the bathroom," and she was like "Ha ha, you won't need it in the bathroom!" and I just laughed and didn't even say what I thought which was "Unless I get murdered in there and they cut off my face and fingers and then I don't have ID and they can't identify my body, hahaha, funny right? Why are you looking at me like that?"

And I thought maybe I was growing up because even though the thought came into my head, I realized that other people who don't know me that well might not find it funny, but disturbing and it's better if your coworkers don't find you disturbing, but then the JANE AUSTEN AND ZOMBIES happened and I realized that I will never ever grow up, because if I do, then awesome things like this might stop happening, because yes, the things in my head do sometimes end up as movies and if I stop thinking them they will stop happening.

You're welcome.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Spring has Sprung

I know, I know, all my two readers in the northern climates are saying right now, "Oh poor poor you, you're about to complain about how it's warm and sunny outside and there are buds on the trees and green grass even though actually the grass has been green all winter, even under that two inches of snow and please I'm still trapped under four feet of snow and very very angry at Punxsutawney Phil and MTV Spring Break programming who just live to taunt me..."

But to you I say, "Good lord, let me get a word in edgewise on my own blog already!"

And then I remind you that spring is like cake. If you've ever worked in an office for more than two months straight, particularly that kind that has lots of floors of lots of people working in cubicles all day who will take any excuse to get away from their desk and eat sugar so that then they can get all antsy in their pantsy and maybe flirt with the receptionist and go home feeling like Mad Men instead of like Cat People, then you know that cake is in the eye of the beholder. If you've been a good little bunny and eaten your brown rice and vegetables and if you're a carnivore, a bit of skinless chicken, and gone for miles and miles of runs and are very proud of your fantastic superiority as both a citizen and a human being, then a little sliver of chocolate cake with some nice butter cream frosting and maybe just a corner of one of those pinkish flowers that you can pretend taste different from the rest of the frosting is like heaven on earth and you thank God for having invented cake and taste buds and your coworkers and everything on earth that brought you to this point where you could have this moment.

On the other hand, if it's just after Christmas and you've been stuffing your face with doughnuts and candy and cookies and everybody's grandmother's recipe for the best whatever that was made this side of where ever for about two months, and then your cubicle neighbor comes by and says "Oh, hey, it's BlahBlah's birthday today, so we picked up an Entenmann's at the Walgreens down the street, come get it before it's gone," then you'll probably be like "Eh..." And even if BlahBlah is your bestest friend in the cubicle maze you'll just have a bite or two out of politeness and you won't even enjoy it.

Spring in Nashville is like the Entenmann's after Christmas. I haven't earned it, I'm not ready for it, and tasty and beautiful as it is promising to be, I'm going to remain a Grinch and complain about having to put away my coats when it hasn't even been six weeks since that damned rodent saw his shadow as he does every year.

Bah humbug.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

My terrifying view into the future

Today I bought a soda pop from the vending machine and drank it all up and then filled the bottle with water and drank all that up too except not quite because there was a little left at the bottom and there wasn't a place to dump it out or a recycling bin anywhere, so I threw it in the trash and right after it left my hand I thought about the alien archeologists of the future who will find it deep in the strata of our temple to the god Styrofoam and will use the DNA from my saliva to create an army of drones to run their factories, and that really creeped me out.

On the other hand, I won't be there, so whatever.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Benjamin Bratt was overrated

So, sometimes when I walk to and fro and about town alone, I like to pretend that I got murdered and Detectives Green* and Briscoe are investigating it, maybe with the help of Booth and Bones, depending on how long I think it would be until someone found my body and/or if the person who killed me would think to sprinkle my body with lye and hide it in a vacant home. Let's not talk about how that whole track in my mind makes me insane. Instead, let's talk about how Bones would definitely notice the large amount of bird shit on the bottom of my boots and be able to determine that I walk past the corner of 21st avenue and West End regularly, where apparently an entire flock of birds has been having some kind of family reunion for the last week. Or Green would notice that I wasn't wearing any tights today, and say something about how cold it is out (because in this version of the show they live in Nashville, so they think that 45 degrees is cold) and Lenny would have one of those clever one liners that he always had right before the commercial break, like "Well, she's certainly cold enough now!"

Okay, you know what, you were right the first time. This is just making me seem crazy. Today I walked to school and went to class and ate my lunch and at no point did I fantasize about Jerry Orbach standing over my dead body.

How was your day?

* Yes it has to be Green. He's a vegetarian!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Like, totally

OMG, hello everyone! I realized how long it had been since I'd written when I had a dream last night that I crafted the most awesome post ever around the "@" symbol and something having to do with Twitter. There was some deep stuff in there about how on the internet we all communicate by talking @ each other now, not TO each other. Isn't that hilarious and insightful?

In other news, in the last month I have been in Maryland, Kentucky, Minnesota and Tennessee for about a week each, and relatedly my cats are very very mad at me and I have to sleep with one eye open at least partly because the neurotic one has taken to sleeping on my face. Wait, that doesn't make sense because if I slept with my eye open and the cat sat on my face... well, anyway they are alternating between hissing at me when I walk by and trying to climb inside my mouth while I pet them so you get the picture.

The third most important thing that happened in the last month is that we decided to get cable because the digital antenna thingy kept kacking out during How I Met Your Mother and that was just unacceptable, so now we watch MTV and Sports Center in the morning instead of The Today Show, and I remember at least one reason that The Today Show is better and that is that they don't mention Bret Favre and how sad he is and how old he is and how special he is every three seconds. They also don't have Lady Gaga though, and she just makes me have faith again... faith in the idea that the alien invasion will continue almost unnoticed.