Friday, April 30, 2010

Failure to plan on your part ...

Looks like today is "yell at the peons for the failures of management" day. Also "Boss Lady insists she sent materials that I know damn well she didn't, because I watched for them for a month solid and they never came, and somehow that makes me a liar" day. Also "look submissive and agree to everything Boss Lady says, because soon she'll stop yelling and then I can get back to my actual work, which is what actually gets things done outside of her fantasy world" day. And they wonder why morale is low.

Spring Cleaning

Twenty-four hours ago, I upwards of 2,000 e-mails in my inbox, with more than 600 marked "unread". As of right now, I have precisely eight messages, all read. Hooray for Gmail's "select all" function!

Now if only I could clear out the cubicles around me the same way ... *gnaws the walls*

Thursday, April 29, 2010

TOTALLY worth it.

I find myself bone tired and depressed today, mostly because my job is soul-crushing drudge work with incompetent leadership. But I'm less depressed than I would be otherwise, because for lunch I had a peanut butter sandwich on bread I made myself; because there's a new Fringe on tonight; and because last night on Great Performances they showed a film version of Hamlet starring The Royal Shakespeare Company, Patrick Stewart as Claudius (and as Hamlet's father) and DAVID FREAKING TENNANT in the title role. Kept me up 'til midnight, which is why I'm tired, but man! It was like all my nerdiest fantasies got together and made a big, spectacular baby, and it was beautiful. Gorgeous sets and costumes (think modern Euro royalty), top notch performances from everyone, and did I mention it was Doctor Who Does Shakespeare? Except it wasn't; sure, there was no forgetting Tennant's previous role -- especially when they had his hair sticking out every which way -- but it was probably the best Hamlet I've ever seen, up to and including Olivier. Don't get me wrong; Olivier's Hamlet was brilliant. But this was a less formal, much more intimate version. Lots of close-ups, so that you could see the characters thinking and turning things over in their minds, especially during the soliliquies. I will definitely be tracking down a copy on DVD as soon as possible.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hey boss lady, I'm all for flexibility ...

... but there's a difference between "Try it this way and we'll see how it works" and "Here's a new task, here's two of the ten pieces of information you need to complete it correctly, and oh yeah, I'm leaving you to guess the rest and if you don't read my mind just perfectly you'll all be in trouble." Cannot get out of here soon enough.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey

So: Not only did I get my mattress moved without a hitch last night (folded down the back seats, and everything just fit right in*), I also fixed my typewriter. Slid the carriage all the way to the left, turned it on and off a couple times, and BAM! I was click-clacking away again. Victory dances ensued.



*I've been driving this car for two years and haven't found a name for it, and now Nathan points out the obvious: TARDIS. Fangirl squeeeeeeeee!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Oh, adventures abound ...

Pray for me, brothers and sisters: When I get off work today I'm going to try and fit a twin-sized mattress and box springs into the back of my Ford Focus using nothing but two bungee cords, some twine and pure determination. Then I have to drive it a mile home during rush hour traffic. Oh! And I'll be in high heeled shoes, for that extra little jolt of tangy adventure! flavor*. (But I can do a lot in high-heeled shoes, so that may not be an issue.) If this works, I'm tackling the table and chairs next. You'd be surprised what I can cram in the back of that thing if I fold the seats down.




*I know adventure is tangy because that's what pure animal fear tastes like, and it's not adventure if there isn't the chance it'll go horribly, horribly wrong. Although I like to think "horribly wrong" is just another word for "wasn't what I expected, but I can work with this."

Rackin' frackin' ... where's my screwdriver?

Is there anyplace in Indianapolis that does typewriter repair? Typey just up and quit last night -- slipped a gear or broke a fan belt or fried the motherboard or something -- and I'm torn between opening the case myself and having a professional look at it. I'm a little afraid to touch it.

Sunday Night Recipe: Pear Cobbler

So the problem with buying ripe fruit by the bag is that it tends to go squishy before you can eat it all. Baked desserts, to the rescue!

Pear Cobbler

First things first: Put 1/2 T. white vinegar in a 1/2 c. measure and fill the rest of the way with 2% milk. Stir and let sit. While it sours, peel and slice (thin but not too thin) six to eight ripe pears. Then, in a large skillet, mix

3/4 cups packed brown sugar
3 T. flour
1/8 t. salt
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
Dash cloves
2 T. lemon juice

Stir until the sugar melts and everything incorporates, then add the pears and stir to coat. Cook five minutes, then move to a buttered 8" baking dish. Next, whisk together:

1 c. flour
2 T. sugar
1/2 t. cream of tartar
3/4 t. baking soda

In another bowl, mix the soured milk with 3 T. melted butter, then add to the dry ingredients and mix until smooth (but no longer!). Spoon over the pears, sprinkle with sugar and place in a PREHEATED 375-degree oven for 30-35 minutes. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Oh my piggy, piggy life.

Today was keep the proles from rising up random free pizza day at work. Today was also bake sale day. I bought two pieces of cake, because there's almost never a bad time for cake and the money goes toward our very anemic social fund. Disaster loomed, BUT! There was aluminum foil in the breakroom, so I wrapped up the cake and will take it home and eat it later. I'm very proud of my self-control in this instance, especially since I had more pizza than was probably good for me.

Also I need new jeans because I'm down to one pair (the other one ripped) and that pair is falling off my bottom. They're nines, and I know from my other pants that I need a six at the largest for a proper fit. Considering I was a 10/12 this time last year, I'm very pleased by this.

I'ma still eat me some cake tomorrow, though. Mmmmm cake.

He never mentioned hampsters and elderberries, more's the pity.

In honor of the Bard's birthday, The Shakespearean Insult Generators. And yeah yeah, Francis Bacon/Earl of Essex/Queen Elizabeth blah blah blah, don't think too hard about it and just have some fun. Whoever Shakespeare really was, something tells me he's laughing his codpiece off over the controversy.

It's Friday, so you get my random ramblings. Lucky you.

-- It's been like a week (okay, five days) since I posted here. Sorry about that. It's been a long last few days. Funny story: I'm on the verge of paying off a debt and being able to afford things like new clothes and food that isn't beans and rice, but I've been dancing on the razor's edge so long that I can't relax without devolving into a blubbering blob of jello. Although I did take a mental health day yesterday and I'm better for it, so I think I'm on the upswing.

-- Good news: I have an especially kickass new recipe for this weekend. Don't let me forget to put it up on time. *sets four alarms and a timer and puts a post-it on the mirror*

-- The alarms will fail or be ignored, and the note will fall into the sink and get wet beyond legibility.

-- Yes, Mom, I said "kickass". Grown-ups are allowed to use those words.

-- I'm writing the third draft of my novel on a typewriter, an old electric model circa 1980ish. So far I've been crazy productive, moreso than if I'd been writing on the computer. I think it's due in large part to the tactile nature of the work; it's easier to get going and keep going when there's a steadily growing pile of pages at your elbow. Also my kitchen table is way tiny, so while the typewriter is out I don't have anywhere to eat my dinner. That alone is incentive to get this thang done.

-- Typey jams like a mother, though. I mean alllllll the time.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sunday Night Recipe: Matzoh Meal Chicken

A quick and simple entree, guaranteed to please.

Matzoh Meal Chicken

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While oven is preheating, soak chicken pieces of your choice (I prefer dark meat) in a bowl of salt water, then drain. Coat chicken in melted butter, then roll in matzoh meal (seasoned to taste -- I used garlic powder, kosher salt and black pepper). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through; use a thermometer to check if you're paranoid about salmonella*. Drizzle with a little more butter and serve hot. Goes well with steamed brussels sprouts. Enjoy!

*On a related note, CLEAN EVERYTHING THE CHICKEN TOUCHED WITH SOAP AND WATER. I'M NOT JOKING.

My guard gets paid in kibble.

Via Dante: Home security: I haz it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

If it's not one thing ...

And I know I promised 9/12 D.C. pictures, but for some reason Blogger's being stoopid and won't let me post any more photos, so once again it'll have to wait. (Repeat point about hobbies and jobs.) I'm not any happier than you about it. (I'm only seven months late with this, after all.) I love you all and I want to please you, but the blogger gods seem to have other ideas. (And they're definitely lesser gods, too. Nyah.)

Tax Day Tea Party 2010

So I know I said I'd have this post up by Friday night, but events intervened and it had to wait 'til now. I apologize for making a liar of myself, but keep in mind this blog is a hobby, not a job. Anyway:

So the main speaker at the Tea Part was Bill Whittle, which I got a huge kick out of because I've been reading his stuff for years, wayyyy back in the early 'oughts before pajamas were even part of the blogging vocabulary. The gist of his speech was that we are privileged to live in a country where we can overthrow our government without firing a shot (thanks in large part to a lot of men who shot and were shot at in the past). America is unique in history in that the ballot box is our greatest weapon; the only reason we've lost in the recent past is because the other side is better organized for this kind of thing. That, he pointed out, is a very fixable problem; he quoted the American forces as Bastogne: "The Germans have us surrounded -- those poor bastards!"

He also started his speech by saying how great it was to leave California and come back to the U.S., which got a lot of applause.

I took a picture but I was at the back of the crowd so he's crazy small and hard to see, so I won't post it here. I did, however, get some good crowd shots:







I'd say all in all about two thousand people, and all quite normal and well-behaved, thankyouverymuch. The mood was pretty positive and it was a good experience, and even though I couldn't stay 'til the end, at least I can say I showed up.

Plus I got to see Bill Whittle! Squeeeeeeeee!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Life in a cube.

Dear coworker,

I would gladly give my firstborn if it meant you would stop clearing your throat like that.

Love,
Joanna

Blrglrl.

The post about my Tea Party adventures (with pictures! I promise!) will come tonight, after I get off work. I would have done it last night, but the problem with going everywhere on a bicycle is that you end up skating in at a quarter after nine, wishing your headlight was brighter and yelling at your quads to stop complaining, you can die when we get home. I seriously sat on the floor in my kitchen for five solid minutes sipping lemon water and trying to work up the will to crawl into bed. Totally worth it, though. I got to see Bill Whittle speak and it was awesome.

On a related note, "headwind" is a dirty word and we don't use it in this house.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fangirl squeeeeeeeee!

HOLY SCHNIKIES Bill Whittle is going to be a speaker at the Tea Party downtown today! I almost wish I wasn't already going so I could jump up and down and squeal about how I'm so going.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I feel all adventury and stuff.

So tomorrow I'm riding my bike from work straight down the Monon to the Tea Party, which is awesome because I won't have to pay for parking. However, I'm a little hung out to dry as to what to do for dinner. I'm thinking I'll grab something either downtown or when I cut through Broad Ripple on my way back, but I'm not sure what -- I haven't been downtown in ages, and I only have a budget of about $5. Any suggestions?

Also, as I noted over at Roberta's, there's a good chance I'll be mistaken for someone on the opposite side (on account of riding ol' Rusty the Trusty). Should make for some fun conversations. Pics* and a report to follow!



*And you'll actually get photos this time, 'cause my camera's USB cord is no longer in Purgatory storage.

Bleh.

I thinks I'm getting sick. My throat is sore, my nose feels funny and I slept with the windows open the last two nights, which probably didn't help. Feh. I've got rabble to rouse tomorrow. I don't have time for this.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Oh fudge.

I just polished off a two-thirds-full tin of Trader Joe's Espresso Pillows, and now my head won't stay where I put it on my neck. Shoot.

One lump or two?

So.

Thursday.

April 15, 2010.

Tax Day.

5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Statehouse.

Be there.

Monday, April 12, 2010

It's a beautiful morning

and the Monon is open again under 465, which means I didn't have to make a two-mile loop out of my way on my way to work. It's gorgeous outside, if a little breezy, I had a good lunch, I'm getting a lot done at work today and it's altogether not a bad start to the week.

So why the heck am I so dang grouchy?

UPDATE: Never mind. I just found out they put animal crackers in the vending machine.

Sunday Night Recipe on Monday 'cause I'm a lazy bum: Homemade Breakfast McMuffin Thing

Made one for myself this morning; breakfast of champeens, it is.

Homemade Breakfast McMuffin Thing

Start with one multi-grain Trader Joe's english muffin; put it in a toaster set to "pleasantly crunchy." While it toasts, put half a slice of turkey bacon on to fry. While that fries, butter a one-cup microwave-safe container (coffee cups work nicely) and microwave one egg (beaten with about 1 teaspoon of water) for 2 1/2 minutes on half power. Butter the english muffin, salt and pepper the egg, drain the cooked bacon (if necessary) and shave off a few bits of cheddar cheese. Combine the above into a sandwich; try not to wake the neighbors making yummy noises. Enjoy!

Thanks go to Brigid, who subsidized the muffin and cheese portions of today's show. Thanks Brig!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Reindeer Games

So the week we start filling out production sheets (write down how many times you do each discrete task, most of which are linked with other tasks, and mark how long it takes to do them) is the week our Canuck counterparts pooch the server and keep us from getting what we need to work on. I've been here two hours and I've done jack all, and it's not by choice. Yesterday was much the same. Hooray for corporate efficiency.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Quitcher whining and get to work.

Tam sums up why I quit reading PostSecret:

[Cheating is] all painted as somehow involuntary. "Are you going to cheat? Check your fingers!" Not your conscience or your commitment or your intellect, but your genes are entirely at fault, here, apparently. The devil made me do it!

Hey, the heart's an involuntary muscle, but your fingers and hands are under purely conscious control. I have never spontaneously dropped trou because my digits accidentally unbuckled my belt of their own volition. It seems like taking responsibility for one's actions is terribly out of vogue these days.

[snip]

I'm addicted. It's society's fault. It's my genes. I can't help it. Give me a pill to make me better. Feel sorry for me. I'm the victim here. Me and my problem. Pay attention to me.

Society is suffering from Munchausen's-by-Proxy.
Nailed it. If you don't own your bad behavior, I guarantee it will own you -- and that goes for bad luck, too. Are you going to let it ruin your day, or are you going to keep going and make the most of your situation? Are you going to let circumstances determine how you behave, or will you make your behavior determine your circumstances? Find your core identity and stick to it, regardless of what's going on around you. That's what grown-ups do.

And once you find that core, hardly anything can touch you. It's a good place to be.

Sunday Night Recipe: Kugel

Made this for the seder from a recipe my godmother got off the Intarwebs; 'twas a huge hit. Word to the wise: If you make a double batch, skip the mixing bowl and spoon; use a roasting pan and your hands, instead. It's messier, but if you don't do it you'll go crazy trying to keep it all in the bowl.

Kugel

4 sheets matzah
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. honey
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/2 dried apricots (chopped)
2 apples (peeled and finely chopped)
1/2 craisins (not chopped)
1/2 c. rough-chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

Break up the matzah into a large bowl and cover with 1 inch of cold water. While it sits, mix the eggs, oil, honey, cinnamon, salt apricots and apples. Drain the matzah and add to the mixture, stirring until thoroughly incorporated, then add craisins and nuts. Pour into a well-buttered 8x8" glass baking dish and bake in a PREHEATED 350-degree oven for 35 minutes or until set (it won't look quite done, but trust me; it'll set while it cools). Serve plain or with the sauce of your choice. Serves nine. Enjoy!

Also known as "Oh, what's the use" syndrome

My pal RobertaX has, by her own admission, written herself into a corner. She also says it's tripe, but writers have to say that (it's in the bylaws, look it up) so I don't believe her. (About the tripe, I mean.) I do, however, have a solution: Have a man burst in with a gun. Doesn't matter who it is, just that they have a gun. Works every time. (Alternately, have someone announce that they're pregnant. Again, it doesn't matter who. The results can be awesome.)

Friday, April 02, 2010

It's like "Invictus" without all the fist-shaking.

When I moved out of my old apartment, I did so on about a day's notice (to myself). I'd already had an offer of a cheaper place to stay, so all I needed was convincing. I realized my current situation was unsustainable as I drove home from work on a Thursday; I told my parents my plans that evening ("Hi Mom, hi Dad, I can't pay my rent and my new place won't be available for six weeks -- can I stay witchoo?"); and I started packing that night. Saturday I rented a storage unit and started schlepping (this was Labor Day weekend), and a week later I rented a truck (and my cousins to do the heavy lifting) and officially emptied the place. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time or inclination to sort out the keepers from the crap.

I'm proud to say that, as of last night, I am now *cue kettledrums* organized! *BUM bum BUM bum BUM bum BUMMMMMMMMMM*

I went from three large plastic tubs and several smaller ones, one under-bed box, two sets of plastic drawers and countless cardboard boxes to a nice, compact stack that fits in the corner of my clothes closet. (To be fair, it's a large closet, but still.) I went from five boxes of books to three. I even got all my papers from j-school condensed down into two laptop boxes (turns out they're dandy for holding three-ring binders). Knick-knacks have been culled from a carload of "Oh, this is pretty, I think I'll keep it" to maybe one box of "Grandma gave me this, and this is actually valuable," etc., plus one box of heirloom glassware that stays, regardless. (Old Grouch, I took your advice about the stuffed animals -- thanks!)

Of course, this doesn't count the stuff that isn't currently packed up -- I have a few things set out so the place looks nice, and of course there's all the household stuff I actually, you know, use, linens and clothes and everything in my kitchen. But it's much, much more manageable than it was before. This is probably the most organized I've ever been in my life, and I'm not even quite done yet. For the first time in my life, I know what exactly I have and where it all is, and I'm loving it. I feel all responsible and grown-up and junk. And as odd as it sounds, I feel like I have a better handle on myself. I am no longer at the mercy of my stuff. I am its master. It does not master me.

Now if I could just get rid of this rackita-frackita furniture. :-)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The stupid! It burns!

So apparently there is a gentleman in the House of Representatives who believes that if we send more servicepeople and their families to Guam, the island will overbalance and tip over, dumping everyone into the sea. (After all, it's not a very big island, as islands go.)

This isn't an April Fool's Day joke. Marko has proof.

At times like this, I look to the example set by my dear, departed grandfather, who was probably the smartest man I ever knew, and from whom I inherited my complete inability to suffer fools. (He used to explain why global warming was a crock by lecturing on the structure of the ozone molecule.) My instinct is that he's rolling in his grave over this, but something tells me it's because he's laughing his ass off, not because he's angry. So I'm going to do the same.

I'm going to go make some popcorn to eat with the s'mores!

Wayyyyyyyyy too much time on their hands.

You know that Butterfinger commercial where the one guy staples the other guy to the wall of his cubicle, and then a girl walks by and says "You guys are idiots" in a kind of "why do I even bother, this is never going to stop" sort of voice?

Yeah, that's how us normal Christians feel about the Hutarees.