Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Hope everyone had a nice holiday and looks forward to stellar New Year's plans. For those of you refreshing my blog while I was sitting next to you on the couch: Yes! I will update. As witnessed by the above, the important thoughts don't just trickle down like rain from the heavens, you know. There's no rushing genius or inanity.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
1. badhead, blur
2. more news from nowhere, nick cave and the bad seeds
3. letter from an occupant, new pornographers
4. sticky sue, mickey murray
5. i will kill again, jarvis cocker
6. mellotron 1, apples in stereo
7. gimme gimme shock treatment, the ramones
8. burning sky, the jam
9. modern diet, the redwalls
10. dance of the hours, the clientele
He's showing a dismal twenty percent today, but he's truly had a much, much bigger impact than that.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Anyway, do we have any thoughts about this Rick Warren inauguration brouhaha? I'm trying to check my biases in favor of Obama, in that he's oh so like me, but I've really become a pragmatist, focused on the actual concrete results. So, while I may find someone's views odious, if my options are to either (1) give this person a moment in the sun that doesn't affect policy (sowing good will with his more mainstream, less odious followers and marginalizing the leaders whose views are even more odious, at least in the sense that to bigotry, they add global-warming denial) or (2) having them affect actual policy, I'll go with option 1. You can neutralize the more-odious (see above) and build coalitions for other endeavors (like combating global warming). I'm inclined to suck it up and trust Obama's sophisticated view of long-term strategy.
Juan Williams didn't fail to disappoint me on this topic on NPR this morning, though! In his usual, unique way, he managed to bring up the "black and hispanic support" for Proposition 8 in opposition to gays. Splintered coalition! Oh, the humanity! If only we could reassure the normal white people amid all this chaos.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
1. Matches belonging to predecessor (tenure: circa 1998-1999), who smoked
2. Ketchup packets, dated 2000, salt and pepper packets, dated similar
3. John Grisham novel, indeterminate origin, sticky, stained with unknown substance
4. Unknown person's rolodex, times 2
5. ATM receipts from Philadelphia (???)
6. Travel guide for Cancun/Cozumel/Yucatan
7. Necklace not seen in at least 5 years and presumed lost
8. Unsent Christmas cards to people I no longer keep in touch with
9. Cheerful holiday card and kid pictures from now-divorced and estranged friend
10. Mailing address for sending sympathy card to family of friend who died in 2000
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
More broadly, why don't we, as a society, make more of a conscious effort to use the word herbacious in everyday language?
For my packing ambient music, I'm tucking into the newest collection of Motown singles (coincidentally from the year of my birth!). This one is from 1969, but I like it anyway.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
And on an absolutely unrelated la vida Laura note, I went to a party yesterday at which I ran into the Worst Date Ever (you all have heard the story of New Year's 2006, which will live on in infamy, or at least as a cautionary tale to earnest single women everywhere). The tragic thing was, I was one unfortunately timed conversation away from making a clean getaway before he showed up. And instead of staying decently and sensibly at the other end of the house, perhaps waving absently ("You look somewhat familiar, maybe we've run across each other? This gesture should cover our social obligations"), or, better still, pretending we'd never met, he insisted on standing right next to me and making awkward chit chat! About my hair. Fun.
Illinois and Louisiana continue to have different styles of fraud—David Mamet vs. Walker Percy. Illinois' corruption culture tends to be mingy, pedestrian, and shameful. State legislators who sell their votes for $25 cash in an envelope (a scandal of the 1970s) do not tend toward braggadocio. When former House Speaker Dan Rostenkowski was caught filching postage stamps from the House post office, he pled guilty and apologized for his crimes (and was pardoned by Bill Clinton).
Louisiana's culture of corruption, by contrast, is flamboyant and shameless. Earl Long once said that Louisiana voters "don't want good government, they want good entertainment." He spent part of his last term in a mental hospital, where his wife had him committed after he took up with stripper Blaze Starr. When Sen. Allen Ellender died in office in 1972, Gov. Edwards didn't try to auction of his seat. He appointed his wife, Elaine, possibly to get her out of town. When Edwards ran for governor in 1983, he said of the incumbent, "If we don't get Dave Treen out of office, there won't be anything left to steal." (He also memorably said Treen was so slow it took him an hour and a half to watch 60 Minutes.) Raised among figures like these, Louisianans tend to accept corruption as inevitable, to be somewhat proud of it, and to forgive it easily.
Friday, December 12, 2008
In celebration of that, as well as to mark the end of this stress-laden week, I shall randomly dial up the tunes.
1. darling, sons & daughters
2. somebody got murdered, the clash
3. decades, joy division
4. operators manual, buzzcocks
5. surrender, black ivory
6. banking on a myth, andrew bird
7. f-hole, squeeze
8. harry rag, the kinks
9. dream time, the jam
10. needle time, elvis costello and the imposters
bonus: lullabye, by emitt rhodes
Thursday, December 11, 2008
One of my coworkers was just saying how he had a roommate in college who used to cook, gourmet-style, on a hot plate. That is ingenuity. Shrimp scampi: Yum.
Also: This is really cool, a short animated film about real requests submitted to the Hulton Archive (online archive of historical photos).
(Why, yes, I'm on my lunch. . . . Why do you ask?)
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
So this morning, this same woman brought in her cracker offering. I thought she was just depositing them with me until party time, but apparently she just wanted to get my thumbs up on the type of crackers. As they were Ritz, I declared them to be sufficient. And these types of executive-level decisions are the reason why I'm getting my own office.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Also: more snow. It's like Chicago is trying to torture me in small increments.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris were arrested today by FBI agents on federal corruption charges.
Blagojevich and Harris were accused of a wide-ranging criminal conspiracy that included Blagojevich conspiring to sell or trade the Senate seat left vacant by President-elect Barack Obama in exchange for financial benefits for the governor and his wife. The governor was also accused of obtaining campaign contributions in exchange for other official actions.
Blagojevich was taken into federal custody at his North Side home this morning.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Office of soon-to-be former employee (STBFE), on his way to commanding an entire building and a staff of his own. Before he can reach that lofty height, he must slog through the next two weeks of office dilemmas/crises.
Student worker (approaching STBFE's door): Hey, STBFE, I'm looking for an industrial-sized stapler. [Office minion, Lord of idle students] says that you have one.
STBFE: I know that we have one that goes like this [gestures vertically, compressing large stacks of imaginary papers]. We also have one that goes like this [gestures horizontally, skillfully inserting stacks of imaginary papers].
Student worker: Yeah, the one that goes like this [gestures vertically], that's the one I need.
STBFE: I don't have one. It's in the work room with the other supplies.
Student worker: That one's broken. [Office minion, Lord of idle students] says that you have one that's black with red on it.
STBFE: I just have that one, on my desk. It's a regular stapler. It just plugs in.
Student worker: Oh. I'll tell [Office minion, Lord of idle students.] [leaves]
Moments later, phone rings.
STBFE (looking sucked of will, speaking mechanically): No [Office minion, Lord of idle students], that black with red stapler is just a stapler. It plugs in.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
On the work front, my office journal submission deadline (complete issue, in form that doesn't later make me want to rip my hair out in frustration) is December 15. In anticipation of this, my OCD academic editor is besieging me with correspondence minutia, e.g., volleys between him and Merriam-Webster (no, he doesn't just look words up) on existence and/or proper use of various words. This, friends, is why we have copyeditors and style manuals. No, I cannot convince him of that. My head may explode before we get to the 15th.
Also, my office is moving! I must pack and purge, as well as address the tender and vital concerns of those other obsessive souls in our suite: can we, in fact, set people to the task of pulling apart printer proofs and old bluelines and recycle the relevant portion??? I'm as green as the next granola, vegetarian type, but I can't stress the degree to which I don't care and can't rush this dilemma to the top of my list. Trash, recycle bin, whatever, figure it out, be an active citizen.
And one of my rocks at this place is leaving. I'm really trying hard not to think about it until I absolutely have to. But because I thrust myself into the departure-party logistics (with the sensible plea that folks actually consult the fetee before getting carried away with the details), I got drafted to be Organizer-in-Chief. It's supposed to be about arm-twisting volunteers for snacks and the like (austerity policies of the institution). However, we have one individual running amok with the idea that we need a Classy Do for bigwigs and all, all my friend's colleagues throughout the institution, because he has so very many (my friend has no idea what she's talking about).
So, because of this woman's insistence, we are doing two parties. And she seems to expect me to spearhead all the details on her insisted-upon Classy Do. I spent half the day on Friday designing her an invitation. She now is passive-aggressively pining for folks to volunteer up homemade dishes ("those dips in plastic containers are so tacky"). She also wants me to look into places to get a proper cheese tray.
Somehow, I've turned into this woman, queen of the party-planning committee.
If I snap, you'll know why.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
2. Another human being in my office space with the highly specialized, top-secret, elite skills of creating and executing mail merges. Every year, around holiday season, it is exhaustingly the same. Here I am, teaching people how to turn a spreadsheet (your friend) into a series of addressed envelopes suitable for mailing. It is always a revelation. Then, I end up doing them all myself anyway, because no one can trouble shoot the printer/xerox.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
He also thinks one of my stories is ready to be shopped around. Hence, research begins on where the hell one shops a story about a scorned woman with a voodoo doll and Loretta Lynn hallucinations (it's funnier than it sounds, unless you think it sounds funny, in which case, it's exactly as funny as it sounds).
Through this, I also find out that Neko Case was actually born in Virgina. Huh.