Sunday, November 30, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
The 34-year-old employee, who was not identified, was knocked down by a crowd that broke down the doors of the Wal-Mart at the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, N.Y., and surged into the store. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital at 6 a.m.
The police said that three other shoppers were injured and a 28-year-old pregnant woman was taken to the hospital for observation.
Is there anything at Wal-Mart worth this kind of frenzy?
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
So we may remember how I took this writing class a year ago summer, wherein I cranked out some questionable folktale-like material, had a dotty teacher, and otherwise had a mixed experience? Not having written anything since I was an undergrad (where my one writing teacher gave me such helpful tidbits as "more plot next time" or "cliche"), it was an intimidating experience going in. Was I a Writer? And what the hell did that mean, anyway? Did all these kids in the class stare at me and wonder what that old chick was doing, kidding herself? It didn't help that the whole class was populated by grad students and somewhat older people (but still younger than me) who had been writing for years. They were working on novels! I was writing dorky little stories about weed monsters. And if anyone said the slightest innocuous thing, like "boy, do I know from that weed monster too," I'd want to snarl at them, "what the hell is that supposed to mean?"
But while I insisted on donning my hairshirt, my good friend C dragged me along, took the class with me, and supported me all way. When we both came out at the other end disenchanted with the teacher and ambivalent on the process, she determined that we were damned well going to take the next class, with a better teacher. She wouldn't let me weasel out, even though I tried at every opportunity. I agonized about cat pilling, and she told me to call the neighbor kid. I complained about the flu, and she told me to be sure to pick up ginger ale before class.
Of course, she was right to make me stick it out. My teacher is really loving my stuff and fast-tracking me to the next level. I feel like I'm learning and getting better; things are clicking, and I have an idea what I'm trying to do. I have confidence that I actually can power through and produce something worthwhile.
My friend, who has been cheering since day one for me, telling me how she loves my stuff, has, alas, not had quite the positive experience I've had. She doesn't feel like she's writing good stuff, she doesn't feel like she's doing things right, she doesn't feel like she's got the innate ability to write the way that we're being asked to write. She's feeling like she's been reading the wrong stuff, not reading enough Literature. The flip side of my being stellar student and fast learner/experimenter as a result of my being a voracious reader is not having that framework and feeling like a failure because you expect yourself to just magically be and do.
All my pep talks and helpful suggestions are making no dents, and despite her enthusiasm to keep going with me to the next class in the series, she's making noises like she doesn't want to now. I cannot convince her that I was in that exact same spot, and that the only difference between her and me is that I've moved faster along the learning curve. I have a better idea of the possible, I'm a blank slate because I haven't been writing screenplays and genre fiction for years, like she has. She knows how to tell a story, she just has to figure out the details on how she wants to do it, which is of course where the devil hangs out. No two people are trying to do the same thing. A poet I personally will never be, and that's just the way of the world.
But, man, I'm starting to realize that my success and bolstering in this (and my thoughtless basking in same) has come at a price. And I just have no idea what to do, or if there's anything I can do.
How disgusting was it when Mohinder slid out of his gooey cocoon? Sylar's not exactly 100 percent into this redemption thing, is he? I too would like the chance to manipulate him for my own fiendish ends, because I think, with the available skillset he offers, we could attempt some world domination.
And someone said something really funny, but I can't remember what it was. How sad is that?
Monday, November 24, 2008
In any event, the doorman is working on getting our personal message to the man, so Obama knows to stop by afterward. He suggested that, since he was from Detroit, it might not be that easy for them to speak the same language and bond, and whatnot. There might be some rivalry. He'd do his best, though. That's all we ask.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Today's submission is from someone in AR, who's a great reader (points for him!), but who talks about loving his country but hating the government, along with other right-wing thoughts that frame a worldview. His picture features him with his "hound dog." (In the back of my head, of course, I'm picturing Harlan Pepper.) I'm sure he's a really nice person, but I'm just completely mystified at what he thought the commonalities here might be, beyond some random and mysterious computer machinations.
On that last point, the real dealbreaker came at the end of his profile, where he posted a preemptive scolding to women thinking of closing him out based on Arkansas being "too far." We ladies signed up willingly for the broad parameters, because we understood that love has no geographical limitations! The computer matched us, so there is something there that should be explored! If we close him out on that basis, he'll know what kind of people we really are.
I should have done that, though, just to send a message about what kind of shallow person I am, but I just closed him out as not interested based on statements in profile. True enough.
I continue to wish there was a way to post anonymous feedback to some of these lonelyhearts so that they might refine their presentation. On a human level, I feel bad for them, because barring character defect or evil nature, I think people should be able to find other people that work for them. People who need people! But the eau de Anger and Desperation is just not conducive to persuading people to like you, and I don't doubt that it gets into a really angry cycle aimed at the people rejecting you.
But, of course, I want to stay a gazillion miles away from them myself even after they up the game. So I guess I should be pleased for self weeding.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
My car is newly pepped, though. And despite the fact that I saw my car, sans battery, with my very own eyes, my car radio didn't require the keying in of the special code that sent me driving to the South Side the last time I had the battery changed. Strange.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
As part of this exciting new frontier in real estate, I was slated to share an office. As these things go, it was pretty much the best of all possible options (a friend of mine at the same institution, different department, works in a giant cube farm now and has to chain her stuff down, as well as listen to every stray coworker cough or throat clearing all day long. And don't even get her started on the staring). In addition to which, my office mate only works part time. This was all very thoughtful and deliberate on my boss's part; I was getting minion preferential treatment. Everybody else of my pay grade or lower is in Cubesville. I was not at all unhappy with the arrangement.
But because I know people who are involved in coordinating all this, I found out that my boss had actually done some subsequent shuffling to leave me with a solo office (as a result of a coworker's leaving, although he will be replaced. So, a bit baffling, but still). This is of course Not Done. My title forbids it. People are not pleased with it. There may be repercussions. I presume they prefer that the office remain vacant rather than cede it to a lower-tier person. or that we should be bunched up in a room so that cubicles can lie fallow outside it. Possibly there will be enforcement activity to be sure that I am not, in fact solely occupying the office.
God love my boss. I am not, in fact looking to spearhead a rebellion. And I'm likely already on the watch list, on account of Hal (strangely, shortly after he arrived, ordering similar was no longer an option for anyone). But I'm thinking of inventing an employee who is never there when people come around--the extra desk will look used, and anytime someone pokes a head in from Central Admin, I'll shake my head sadly and say, "you just missed him."
None of this is my fault, you see. I can't help it if people want to give me stuff, right? In any event, I'm guessing that's how Ted Stevens spins it.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Him: They seem to see me as this person, who, when presented with a problem, thoughtfully sits back and says "well, this is certainly a wrinkle. Let's think about constructive ways we can solve this."
Me: Right. They see this calm exterior, but really, inside you're freaking out.
Him: Yeah, they don't see that. They seem to have confused me with someone else, with Obama! He's my hero.
Me: Admit it, he's your man crush.
And, friends, it wasn't the silence of disagreement. It's okay, you can admit to it, too.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Maybe it's just my new clarity of purpose, but here is what I endeavor to do in my own life (following up on my wisdom to never assume malice when you can assume cluelessness). Instead of expecting people to be mindreaders and/or exactly and precisely like me in interpreting all social cues, I will communicate my expectations when appropriate.
Simple, elegant, and so much less stressful. Not saying I've always done it, but, you know, work in progress.
[the Antichrist, or, Our World-Enslaver Obama?] will be a sweet-talking world leader who gathers governments and economies under his command to further his own evil agenda. In this world view, "the spread of secular progressive ideas is a prelude to the enslavement of mankind," explains Richard Landes, former director of the Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University.Peeerrrhapps. It's possible. It's conceivable that there may be some premature conclusion jumping. Maybe. Just in case, we're keeping our eye on the Rapture Index.
No wonder, then, that Obama triggers such fear in the hearts of America's millennialist Christians. Mat Staver, dean of Liberty University's law school, says he does not believe Obama is the Antichrist, but he can see how others might. Obama's own use of religious rhetoric belies his liberal positions on abortion and traditional marriage, Staver says, positions that "religious conservatives believe will threaten their freedom." The people who believe Obama is the Antichrist are perhaps jumping to conclusions, but they're not nuts: "They are expressing a concern and a fear that is widely shared," Staver says.
I'm going to be so pissed if everyone else gets spirited out of here, and I'm left to be vaporized by the minions of the Antichrist.
Before Christ comes again, those who are saved will ascend to heaven, according to this end-times theology, in a huge, upward whoosh called the Rapture. Strandberg is so certain that the Rapture is coming, he's bought a number of Internet addresses in addition to RaptureReady: AntiAntichrist, Tribulationus and RaptureMe. In the event that RaptureReady crashes during the apocalypse, anyone who needs an update will, with a simple Google search, be able to get one. Strandberg says Obama probably isn't the Antichrist, but he's watching the president-elect carefully. On his Web site, he has something called the Rapture Index, a calculation based on signs and prophecy of the proximity of the end. According to Strandberg, any number over 160 means "fasten your seat belts." Obama's win pushed the index to 161.
This Is What Comes of Moving One's Working Space into the Kitchen and Being too Lazy to Carry a Laptop (The Cords, My God, Unplugging the Cords!)
First of all, why why why must Hiro always be reduced to goofy comic relief? When, if ever, will he get to the badass future we know he can be? He thinks he's ten?? Really? The brain suck took his memory but not his powers? What was the purpose of that?
Not at all buying the Daphne and Matt. There's another game in there being played, right?
Guess we know who the mother of Sylar's future son is, although how is it his shirt got fried off but not his pants? He seizes his powers in future by being Jesus-like and forgiving? It seems a little psychotherapy driven. In addition to which he doesn't take so much as share, as Peter did (but their father doesn't; he just takes). Interesting.
Claire really is dull as a character. I keep thinking of her as a boll weevil; she's got a bold passive defense, but not much else.
Monday, November 17, 2008
So, our odd moment concluded, and me wondering what it was I had just seen, I put her down on the floor. She raced to the radiator, then to one of the front windows, where she proceeded to claw the blind from the side and peer behind it into the direction of the disappeared flash. I was right behind her. I would have run out into the street, but the neighbor who already thinks I'm crazy for utilitarian cat swaddling saw me staring with her out the window.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Yeah, yeah, what I see as a bug, you see as a feature. One more example that we are living here in Dude Nation.
I have no idea how people do novels, though. I feel like I've spent an enormous amount of waking and sleeping time over the past couple of weeks pondering this aspect or that and having these characters flitting around endlessly in my mind. Huh.
Friday, November 14, 2008
So, on a Saturday, I went. The second I got there, before I could even take off my coat and without so much as a hello (because I was the help), I was seized and shuffled off to . . . stand by the elevators and point around the corner to where the event was taking place. I think I saw about five people and directed one. I sat out there by myself for an hour. Meanwhile, the other volunteer--higher up on the food chain than I--was sipping champagne and chatting with guests. I felt like the high schooler hired to take the coats--invisible and inconsequential. It wasn't how I envisioned myself as a professional representing an institution.
After that, I wasn't as eager to offer up my services. I'm very much a team player, but a crucial component of that is not wasting people's time and treating them with respect. Different rules for different people make me very cranky.
Lately, though, I'm finding a certain amount of obligation inherent in this promotion concept. I understand it goes with the territory. And because the two people higher up the food chain committed to attending the same event at which our boss requested representation, I felt it my responsibility to put a face on event number 2--who else was going to do it?
So I am set to attend a concert of music I really don't like, by myself, that doesn't happen until 8. I had thought I had made tentative dinner plans with one of the conscriptees going to the other event. But alas! The second he found out that there were two of them going, he bailed on that and is going home. The same person, naturally, that I volunteered for at the first event (and he bails on every event, be it birthday, baby showers or whatever, so I shouldn't be surprised).
Every man for himself, I guess. Not what I want to be doing with my Friday night. But for some strange reason, I'm feeling a seething hostility.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
In category four, I'm talking to two dudes who seem to have a bit more going on, at least conversationally speaking, than the rest of the prospects. Through a series of connections, I determined that a friend of mine actually used to know one of them about 15 years ago, very slightly, in a boss-like capacity. She confirms that he is nice. So, likely no serial killer! Yay.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
1. Permanently sleep deprived
2. Responsible for more than my tiny human part in decimating the earth's trees, thus bearing a larger share of the blame for the increased effects of global warming
3. Possessed of a files upon files and notebooks upon notebooks of meandering--though potentially promising--musings and half stories
4. Possessed of a couple of shiny, complete stories that are, if not profoundy and weighty with great insights, at least having appropriate resolution
I'm considering hiring someone to pester me and make me do things I don't want to do.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Sometimes (not always, but sometimes) it's best to assume inattention, bad day, or other external factors rather than malice, particularly if the person in question is a friend. It is often the case that people are in their own heads completely and not even thinking about other people. We are surprisingly self-centered as a species.
My friend K and I discovered this nonoriginal bit of wisdom and have both found it to be a time and stress saver. No need to call committees to parse e-mails, seek second opinions on voicemails, and so forth.
Also, do yoga.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Also, I'm noticing a baffling abundance of guys who consider motorcycle riding to be one of life's great pleasures. Not to say there's anything wrong with that, I just find it strange.
Another curiosity are the guys who list on their perfect scenarios things like "holding hands and gazing into the eyes of that special someone." I'm not unromantic, but that just makes me shudder. It makes me wonder if they have ever had a relationship ever, and if they're getting what they know from watching too much period drama on PBS.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
"Once we saw him juggling the hermit crabs in his tank, another time he threw stones against the glass damaging it. And from time to time he completely re-arranges his tank to make it suit his own taste better - much to the distress of his fellow tank inhabitants."
If my cat knew how to juggle, she'd totally be doing that.
In similar fashion:
[Sarah Palin] responded to a recent Fox News report that quoted anonymous McCain campaign staffers who said she did not know Africa was a continent, not a country, and could not name the three countries in the North American Free Trade Agreement.“If there are allegations based on questions or comments I made in debate prep about Nafta — about the continent versus the country when we talk about Africa there — then those were taken out of context. And that’s cruel, it’s mean-spirited, it’s immature, it’s unprofessional and those guys are jerks if they came away with it taking things out of context, then tried to spread something on national news,” Ms. Palin said.
I am so pleased that, soon, this will all just be a bad dream, and we'll be bitching about the tax policies (coherent and well explained though they may be!) of the Obama administration. That's going to be so refreshing.
Friday, November 7, 2008
1. whisper to a scream, elvis costello and the attractions
2. bargain store, dolly parton
3. teenage lobotomy, the ramones
4. she's hearing voices, bloc party
5. we are the pipettes, the pipettes
6. bones of an idol, new pornographers
7. as long as i got you, laura lee
8. victoria, the kinks
9. lounge act, nirvana
10. monster love, goldfrapp
Another day off for me, and I am trying to get some more writing done. Eventually this weekend, there will be raking. I know, you all are envious beyond all telling of my exciting cosmopolitan lifestyle. Hope you have good plans on tap.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are
This reminds me that I need to remove the buttons from my messenger bag.
The logic of why I deemed some things important to scribble in my journal is indeed mystifying.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Instead, it turned into a free-form discussion of my writing, what I want to accomplish, what works, what I should rethink, how I should think about where to take things from here.
He asked me how I felt I ranked in the class, and for a flashing moment I considered a numerical ranking ("somewhere ahead of chick X, but way behind dude Z"), but I just said that I thought I rocked pretty well at the sentence level, but that I thought I needed help with the bigger picture and where to take things, how to move the story along, and so forth. Have a few people cut you off as you run off on a tangent while telling a story, and you develop a complex. Anyway, he told me he thought I had it all down and was one of the strongest writers in the class.
So, I have been given special dispensation to shelve the big project for the class (my small-town U.S.A. yarn) in favor of completing a couple of stories that he thinks I can get into publishable form. Which is awesome by me.
And, I give thanks for not being this old: others in my suite are wringing their hands about having to work past 3 pm and being forced to deal with the commute back out of the city via public transit. The word "hardship" was used. Mind you, the rally doesn't begin until 8:30, and all traffic for that will be from the other direction.
The really crazy thing, though, is that people are trying to sell their plus-one tickets. I just got an e-mail from my friend, onto whom I'll be glommed to get into this thing, telling me that I owe her $1500. Can you believe that? Do you think people will actually fork out that much? It seems insane when you can stand across the street, for example, and probably get just as good of a view, which is to say none at all.
Of course, all of this will be a nonissue when I win that coveted backstage pass! Obama and I would then be fist-bumping directly when he wraps this thing up.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Call this one more thing to look forward to in the new political age.
US medics have found the Bee Gees' 1977 hit Stayin' Alive is an ideal beat to follow to perform chest compressions on a victim of a cardiac arrest.
Research says it contains 103 beats per minute, close to the recommended rate of 100 chest compressions per minute.
An author of the study said many people were put off performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)as they were not sure about keeping the correct rhythm.
He said CPR could triple cardiac arrest survival rates when performed properly.
The study by the University of Illinois College of Medicine saw 15 doctors and students performing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on mannequins while listening to Stayin' Alive. They were asked to time their chest compressions with the beat.
For instance, take guy number 1, Mr. Apolitical. He asked if I were concerned that he didn't share my enthusiasm for following politics. I explained that it was kind of a ponderable question for me: I like to talk about politics and current events all the time, therefore anyone who spends time with me has to at least be able to tolerate that. That's just who I am. He followed up by gamely trying to talk about the election coverage on the radio.
Guy number 2, Mr. Not-Looking-for-Drama, parachuted into his first e-mail conversation with me suggesting the meeting place and scenario for us to connect, citing his confidence at our shared values (which weren't actually; he'd projected his own priorities onto some vague statements I'd said). I wrote back telling him that he may be reading into what I said about X, Y, and Z, so if that was what he was looking for, I may not be the right gal for him. I told him that I was happy to communicate via e-mail for a while to see if there was a common thread or not. He actually came back and argued his case with me! This system doesn't tell you anything, and how do you know about compatibility, and this is why you have to meet face-to-face, etc. Good lord.
I'm guessing they're not getting a lot of hits from women, so they're in the "don't-reject-me" posture. I almost want to give them tips: Pssst, we can smell desperation from miles away!