Sunday, January 13, 2008

Such a Cliche

My laptop warranty expired at the end of September. By the end of November, the battery would no longer hold a charge for more than a couple of minutes at a time. By the end of December, the laptop would not boot up unless it was plugged in for the battery to charge up to at least half way, and then only if you left it plugged in the whole time-- kind of defeating the main purpose of having a laptop. So I went online and bought a new battery on eBay, thinking that would buy me a little more time before I have to go buy another laptop. Our cash is otherwise spoken for at this very moment, so I couldn't really go out and just buy another laptop anyway, unless I decided to buy a strange off-brand with no memory from some place like Bob's House of Laptops, and that just seems short-sighted.

I got the new battery in record time, charged it up and WOO HOO! the laptop works again. WorkED again. Because, hahahahahaha, now it's making a very loud grinding, whirring noise that, to judge by the search results on google, probably means the hard drive is about to go.

So. Fun!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Not Too Surprising

86% Mike Gravel
83% Dennis Kucinich
78% Barack Obama
76% John Edwards
75% Joe Biden
75% Chris Dodd
73% Hillary Clinton
62% Bill Richardson
37% Rudy Giuliani
28% Ron Paul
24% John McCain
20% Tom Tancredo
18% Mitt Romney
17% Mike Huckabee
8% Fred Thompson

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

I took a similar quiz back in 2004, and Dennis Kucinich was my closest match back then. And somehow, I'm not at all shocked that I disagree with Huckabee and Romney on almost everything. It would be my dream to just once have a major election where I felt really excited about a candidate, instead of just voting for the least distasteful choice or for the guy running against the one I want to keep from taking office.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Geography According to Ethel and Myrtle

Cleaning out my draft folder and found this little blast from the past: Travels in Europe with Ethel and Myrtle!


They're yapping about how beautiful, Prague, Czechoslovakia is (and every time they refer to that particular place, they say it exactly like that: Pragueczechoslovakia), and planning their trip to Czechoslovakia. Should I tell them that they're over a decade too late?

Oh, and everyone in Munich is short, chubby and blonde. It's all I can do to keep from yelling over the wall that those are the American tourists.


I am so very glad that I no longer have to listen to their inane chatter all day long.


Friday, January 04, 2008

Civility Is Dead

This was in an email correspondence that I was forwarded. The writer is one of the lawyers in our legal department. The recipient? An area director, who had the temerity to suggest that we accept a customer’s paper, when we’ve accepted this customer’s paper on more than one occasion in the past.

"Did you read the attached form agreement? While it may be "kinder and friendlier" (whatever that means), it is also "extremely lacking" when it comes to key terms and basic requirements of Our Company. And although we may have signed these things before, we are certainly not in the practice of signing such forms now--we are much more mature, and our policies, process and requirements are much more refined."

Well, then. Wonder why people have the impression that lawyers are arrogant jerks?


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Taking Stock, 2007 Edition

More money or less?
Well, given the fact that 2007 saw me in my first real, full-time, related to my education employment, I am pleased that I can answer this question "more". Finally.

Biggest way to waste time?
Playing Katamari Damacy. I got this from Luneray for a passing the bar exam gift and wisely put it away until after the wedding madness was over, because this may be the single most addictive game ever invented. The music, the insane animation, the bizarre premise... it all adds up to "Holy cow, is it 1 a.m. already???"

Best use of time?

Much as I hate to say it, the most productive thing I did this year was to plan the wedding. I think our friends and family had a good time, which was one of our biggest goals in planning things. Even better, Ash and I had a perfect day. It was really lovely and I had so much fun celebrating with many of the people who are dearest to me.

Best movie?
Hoo boy, I'll tell you what it wasn't: Soylent Green. I mean, really. WHY is this a cultural milestone?? How did it ever get to be popular at all?

But in all seriousness, we thoroughly enjoyed Ratatouille and laughed ourselves sick at Borat and Blades of Glory. I also really liked Knocked Up, which kind of surprised me. I'd agreed to see it only because Ash wanted to see it so badly, but I ended up liking it at least as much as he did.

Listened to?
In my memory, 2007 will be the year of the Rat Pack. We listened to a lot of Sinatra back when we were trying to put together the music for the reception.


Continuing with the theme of "I'm a couple of years behind the times", I read "Into Thin Air" right around New Year's, inspired by the Discovery Channel series Beyond the Limit. I enjoyed it enough that I also read "Under the Banner of Heaven". "Funny in Farsi" was a birthday present from my parents, and I gave myself "Neither East nor West", which I have to say, really made me want to go to Iran. Seems like I read a lot more than this-- at least, I sure paid a lot more in library fines than such a short list should warrant. Ohhhhh, yeah. I paid a lot in fines for a whole bunch of wedding planning books.

Fatter or thinner?
Fatter. I gained a lot of weight when I had to stop working out after the accident, and I haven't managed to lose it yet.

Smarter or stupider?
Hm. Well, I kind of feel about the same. It was sort of a fallow year, but I really needed that.

Best buy?
My new car. It took me awhile to let go of my anger over the loss of my old car so that I could really enjoy it, but now I love, love, love my Matrix.

Best bargain?

The wine for our wedding. I got a fantastic deal on it, especially after the bulk discount was added.

Stupidest purchase?
The refrigerator full of groceries that I didn't move before the electricity in my old apartment got cut off when I moved. I'd totally forgotten that I arranged for the electricity to be shut off a little before the end of the month, since we were planning to be fully moved into the new place long before then. And then the move took much longer than we'd anticipated, and I never thought to call and change the date... Cleaning that mess up was one of the messiest and most annoying things I've ever had to do.

Drank the most?
Blue Moon. It seems to have become my default beer. It seems that most places have it, often on tap. The faux-Irish pub around the corner where we go to pub quiz always has it on tap, so that kind of boosts my consumption of it, too.

Best drink?
Southern Tier Imperial Pumpking beer. We went to a beer tasting that was all pumpkin beers, and this was the hands down winner. It tastes like dessert, but it's not sweet. It reminds me of toasted marshmallows and graham crackers, but it's also really pumpkin-y.

Ate the most?
Cheese. Baked brie... smoked gouda... goat cheese aged in merlot... camembert... kashkaval... double gloucester and chive torte... mmmmmmm

Worst food eaten?
So I decided one day that I would try to invent a goulash recipe, loosely based on the ingredient list on a pre-packaged mix I bought at an import market. My big mistake was to underestimate the heat and bitterness of hot paprika-- especially after it's been simmering for awhile. The thing is, it wasn't that it tasted bad, it's just that the bitter note and the heat made it taste much less delicious than the smell promised.

Best food eaten?
The Seafood Newberg that our wedding caterer made. I went to look at a dress that some woman posted on Craigslist last January, back when we started planning the wedding in earnest. The dress didn't fit, but the woman who was selling it recommended the hall and caterer she was going to use, and both she and her fiance advised us multiple times to make sure that we tried the Seafood Newberg when we had our tasting session. They were so right. On both recommendations as it turned out, but especially about the Seafood Newberg.

I'm hungry now.

New friends found?
Maybe. I get along really well with another woman in my office and it's kind of at the point right now where it might develop into a outside-of-work friendship, which would be pretty cool.

Old friends lost?
Not so much lost as "gotten further away". Almost all of my good friends have left Our Fair City in the past year or so, following jobs to greener pastures. One of the hardest parts of being a grown up is the fact that friendships don't last forever, and that doesn't come from a lack of sincerity or lack of effort. It's just that life changes constantly and so do some of our relationships, and it's a lot harder to maintain a long distance friendship when you're being torn in a thousand different directions at work, at home, with your family responsibilities, than it was back when getting good grades and working 30 hours a week in the KMart layaway were my big concerns.

Resolutions not kept?
I actually didn't make any resolutions last year. Guess I was just too in love or something. For the record, my resolutions this year are:
1) Get a thicker skin at work. I cannot continue to let a certain recurring problem get under my skin the way it has the past several months.
2) Get to work earlier in the morning so that I can leave earlier at night.
3) Learn something new-- a new skill, for example.
4) Get back to blogging regularly. I miss the creative outlet.

Missed chances?
For once, I can't think of any opportunities that I let get away. Maybe I'm just blocking it out.

That there would be family drama, especially involving my sister, at the wedding. Luckily turned out to be mostly unfounded-- everyone was very mature, and Amy's small outburst was quickly defused thanks to the pastor's wonderful wife.

Biggest success?
Being chosen by my colleagues for the departmental award for most valuable contribution to 4th quarter results. I must admit that I've been feeling pretty frustrated at work lately after being assigned to clean up and tame the huge, monster, out-of-control account that no one had ever really given any actual attention. It's been very difficult to see progress and feels very much like my own personal Groundhog Day some days. But it really felt great to find out that other people see the good work that I've done and appreciate it, too.

Biggest failure?

I must say that I am very pleased by the fact that I've been sitting here trying to think of a real failure for the year, and I'm having trouble coming up with one. If I have to answer, I suppose it would be gaining weight when I've worked so hard to keep it off. But somehow that doesn't seem like a big enough deal to say it's my biggest failure.

I fervently hope that I have the same problem writing this post next year.

Healthier or Sicker?

Sicker. That office is like a big petri dish. The parents all catch the plague from their kids who catch it at daycare, then they bring it to the office and spread it around to everyone else. I'll tell you what, I got a flu shot as soon as possible this year.

Best spontaneous fun?

Learned the most?
More than I ever wanted to know about the bridal industry and its dirty underbelly.

What I definitely don’t want to see in the next year?

Another car accident. I'm still not quite 100% back to where I was. Sometimes my back just hurts. It's kind of scary. Will it be like this my whole life?

TV puke?
Why is Nancy Grace not only still on the air, but apparently more and more successful? WHY? WHY??

Robot Chicken is always worth staying up late.

Biggest change?

Well, getting married was kind of a big deal.

Seriously, though, right after the wedding, I really didn't feel any different. Now, though, I sort of do, sometimes. It's hard to explain. I love being married to Ash and spending our lives together. I love making plans for our future together. I am looking forward to maybe even starting a family together. And I'm not any different from the person I was on September 20. But at the same time, I am. It just kind of strikes me every once in a while that I am a married woman. I am someone's wife. And that feels sort of... solemn. But also very sweet and exciting. It makes me so incredibly happy to see Ash sitting next to me on the couch and know that we're married.

Biggest loss for mankind?
The continued insistence by some of our nation's leaders that global warming is a hoax, and that even if it's not a hoax, it's really nothing to be worried about.

Biggest Disappointment?
Yet another year has gone by and I have not become independently wealthy without needing to earn the money. Where is my lottery jackpot? Where is my large inheritance from a previously unknown distant relative?