Friday Five: A Rose By Any Other Name


  1. Fun fact: when moving back to the Michigan from California, I applied to Wayne State as an undergrad.  They accepted me (though I ultimately chose to go to UofM-Dearborn,) and apparently assigned me an email – so my Wayne email is under my maiden name.  Heh. 
  2. I’ve researched the process of legally changing our name to my maiden name rather than Cariad’s family name, (which he is totally on board with,) and though it looks like a rather annoying process, we’ll likely go through with it in the near future.  It amuses me a little to think that one of the primary benefits of this will be that all of my institutionally assigned email addresses will go back to making sense again.
  3. What a difference a word makes:  Average salary for an Administrative Assistant: $34K.  Average salary for a Development Assistant?  $46K.  Now to find someone who will pay me either.  I remember talking with Bishop Gibb, I believe, who said something to the effect of ‘being a religious organization doesn’t exempt us from paying market price for skills.’  Sad to say, that is not the prevailing attitude.  I realize that economic circumstances create pressure, but it is still frustrating.
  4. I’ve never been much of a cut flower person, but due to a spate of shall we say ‘resident departures’ we have had a lot of flowers lately.  I find myself in a state of flower fatigue – I still like them, but big bunches of them just do NOT do it for me.  I currently have a very ikebana arrangement with a leafy thing and two orchid stalks.  It is making me quite happy.
  5. I am being moved to an office with a sign that says Development and Community Relations.  Maybe now the residents where I work will have some idea what I’m there for…

Friday Five, Sausage Edition

  1. I caught up on my HBR queueueueue (she knew how to start spelling it, but not how to stop.)  I think there might be one of you out there that looks at my google reader starred items, and probably stopped looking because it’s been about 80% Harvard Business Review.  That’s because in the past three days, I’ve caught up on about 90+ entries.  It’s actually a really interesting – and totally non-nauseating! – source of business news / info / trends.  I recommend it, actually.  Many posts are applicable to more than just their primary subject, talk about the personal as well as the personnel, and some don’t read like business articles at all.
  2. Apropos of the VP debate, which I did not watch, but read the twitter feed while it was going on: an excellent post which I’ve seen referenced on Facebook, but I finally got around to reading through metafilter, about the difference between opinion and argument.  A difference that a lot more people need to learn, really.  Some of us (me) need to be reminded of it occasionally, as well: I am in charge of finding reasons why I am right, no one else. 
  3. Also through metafilter, GLOSS: an online resource for “lessons [that] are developed for independent learners to provide them with the learning/teaching tools for improving their foreign language skills.” The language selection is actually quite impressive – all the usual suspects with others like Pashto, Urdu, Punjabi and Hausa as well.  Time to polish up my German skills, and learn some French, too. 
  4. Two blogs that I’ve recently added to my list:   Study Hacks (through Wandering Scientist, but I think it might also have ben mentioned elsewhere, maybe Gretchen Rubin) but I started reading back through it for posts like this.  Number two: Raptitude This piece, posted to metafilter I believe, lured me in.  This piece made me stay for coffee.
  5. The office manager in my building is totes going to make one of these using all first gen (i.e., Keaton) sets.  Just a reminder that nerds are awesome.
  6. And a bonus: if you use dates as file identifiers, like many of my projects do, you probably (should*) use the (YY)YYMMDD format.  If you do that for today, you’ll notice something that  think is nifty that everyone else probably really doesn’t care much about: 20121012.  Twenty-twelve-ten-ty-twelve.   Yes, I am easily amused.

*This keeps things like correspondence, which I generate in massive quantities, and deposit tickets, which I also produce rather prolifically, together by date in chronological order.  So you don’t have April-August-December-February-January-July-June, or worse, January-October-November-December-February.  When you produce a LOT of these files, these things matter.

Also, I did this today. I will NOT tell you how long it ook me to figre out how to take a pictureof my phone case with my phone Just send coffee.

From tumblr, the land of images divorced from their 4chan roots  This cat is an excellent representation of my mood today, right down to the succinct expression of “What the Fuck” – ery.  As in, I am a cat, why am I in the air?  If I am wonderful enough to have wings and a halo, why am I being personhandled in this manner?  Also, I know where you sleep, and if you really think your sock drawer is safe from my predations, you… probably wouldn’t have hung me from the ceiling.  As soon as I develop opposable thumbs, there will be a reckoning.  Until then, there had better be tuna.

Which is a long and rambling analogy I no longer have the will to explain.  Suffice it to say, I feel like it appears to me that this cat feels, insofar as I can conceive of what feels a cat experiences.

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The next installment of letters unsent will be forthcoming.  The last one hit a level of vulnerability that I, quite frankly, normally avoid like the plague.  The next one is a bit daunting for that very same reason.  But, I chose to do the thing for reasons, and I will see it through.  Just probably rather more slowly than you might have thought.

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I went to church for the first time in a great while this past Sunday.  Mom used her mom-ly wiles to convince me to join them because they needed sopranos.  Which made about as much sense to me as having a shortage of flutes in a school band, but lo, she was not exaggerating in the least.  Compared to about eight altos, and a reasonable portion of tenor and bass, they had all of TWO sopranos.

It’s a lovely church with many very nice people that is still a really damn far drive for a Sunday morning.  Farmington is a lovely place that is not entirely real at 8 o’clock on Sunday morning, especially after my usual Saturday exploits, wherein I do as little as possible, stay in my pajamas, and play video games until really rather later than I should.

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When entering someone in to my database, if they live in-state, I have to add which county they live in.  I use a little site called the Michigan Gazetteer – which is a word that is very strange to say repeatedly, especially in the privacy of your head.  Anyway, I had to look up Reed City, which is in Osceola County.  What I would like to know, Reed City, is why, when you have a land area of 2.1 miles, and a population of 2,300 people, you have a street named 175th?  Surely you do not have so meany streets that you can’t be bothered to name them?

And before you tell me, I realize that they are probably too small to name streets, and just go with what someone else, probably the county,  named them.  It still sounds silly to me.

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TheKitchn linked to an an article in defense of greed which is an interesting read.  Relatedly, Nigella Lawson was on NPR yesterday, and every time I hear an interview with her, or see her on TV, I’m reminded of how much I like her.  I don’t necessarily think we would get along, when it came right down to it, but I like her style, and her unapologetic nature.

Five Things from the Scattered Brain

Stolen Shamelessly from google images.  Sorry.There is Christmas crappe everywhere I go, but I have no real Christmas Spirit(tm) yet.  This is not unusual, really.  It’s just a little odd, since I am surrounded by Christmas decorations at work.  Seriously, this place is like Classy Santa’s back-up headquarters.  There is Christmas nonsense *everywhere*.  I mean, there’s even a tree in the fitness center.  Criminy.  Not to mention Christmas tunes on constant play on the receptionist’s radio.

Usually all that would be enough, but this year I seem to be particularly Christmas resistant.  Kanai brought home a little 3-foot tree and…  well, let’s just say I didn’t react to well to that.  Later she brought me a little rosemary tree, which just may get me there, eventually.  I need to re-pot it I think, since my very-green-thumb friend once told me they tend to be root bound when you get them.

My plan is to do that, make some popcorn garland to string outside (which will probably annoy the apartment complex, but I have a serious shortage of fucks to give for what they think,) and watch Christmas themed movies that aren’t “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  Maybe bake a cookie or several dozen.  Maybe that will help.

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Went to the doctor yesterday.  Which is never as traumatizing or horrible as I whine about it being.  It’s just that the ladybits part of the exam always takes for freaking ever, because my… aah, “internal furniture arrangement” makes things difficult.  Honestly, except for the known quantities of being fat and depressed, I am in excessively good health.  She’s upping my thyroid meds a little, and referred me to the Depression Center at UofM.  Through my insurance I’ll probably have to join Weight Watchers, but it will also probably be free, and they’re talking about doing an At Work here, so it could be so much worse.

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  On the way back from the doctor yesterday I heard two songs in a row that I have decided I like.   One was new – Ben Harper’s “Better Way,” which is rather timely, though released a while back.  The other is “Lost in My Mind” by The Head and The Heart.  Which I have heard a couple of times, and finally decided I liked all of it, not just the really catchy bit in the middle.  I also heard “You Are a Tourist,” and decided that I should just give in an admit that I really kind of like Death Cab for Cutie.  I was feeling a little like a marketing shill, until they put on Cold Play.  Changed the channel, still can’t stand them.  All is not lost.

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Speaking of being a marketing shill, my mother will occasionally tell a story of how I came to her one time and asked for carrots, because I had seen an ad about them.  Or something.  She tells the story better because she actually remembers it.  Anyway, following that fine tradition, I heard an ad for Panera Bread now having pasta dishes.  So, when I got home and Cariad needed to eat and I had exactly three ounces of motivation for anything, that’s where I convinced him to go for food.

The pasta’s not bad, really.  The sacchetini tend toward the slightly overcooked, but that’s more to do with their shape.  Kanai’s tortellini were quite good, albeit very creamy.  Which is not a bad thing in itself, but paired with cream soup, it was apparently a bit much. 

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I know I made noises about this last year and nothing happened (I blame school, which is no longer an issue for me, so…  optimistic,) but I am thinking again about a cookie exchange the weekend of the 17th.  Anyone who is interested should let me know.  For those who couldn’t come to the actual event I could arrange a snail mail exchange?  I’d even throw in extra cookies for the ones I owe them from last year (you know who you are.)

Intelligent Stupidity

So, one of my favorite bloggers has been participating in NaBloPoMo, or whatever the alphabet soup is.  Blogging every day, is my point, which she normally doesn’t do.  Her stuff isn’t always earth shattering, or even very directed.  It’s very every day life sort of stuff.  In a recent post she mentioned that it’s halfway through November, so we only have 15 more days of ‘inane crap.’

Which made me a little sad.  I like her mundane life stuff.  I mean, yeah, I like her book reviews and everything else as well, but the mundane life stuff is just as good, it makes the blog just as interesting to me as the insightful, thoughtful stuff.

I remember thinking ‘she doesn’t need to have something specific to say for me to want to read it… oh.’  That’s what I do.  I wait until I have something ‘good’ to say, then never think I have something good to say.

Maybe my audience, such as it is, feels the same way.

Not really momentous enough to be an ‘aha’ moment, but there it is.

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You should also check out the habit blog.  I don’t know what it’s normally like, since I came to it during their November project, and my poor work PC gets skeeved out by the number of images it has to process in order for me to go back through it.  But it looks really cool, is what I’m saying.

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I’ve been playing around recently with mindbloom, which is a nifty little thing.  Kind of flash and image heavy, but still the kind of motivational tool that I like.  If you use it, you should be able to find me, either by name or email.  In theory.

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Thanksgiving, it approacheth.  Apace, the irritating little fucker.  This year, I plan to continue our fledgling tradition of not having turkey, mostly because I don’t much like it.  The current options under discussion are a beef burgundy type dish, and duck.  Much will depend on how many people we end up trying to cram into our little apartment.  It willbe followed by the slightly less fledgling tradition of Day-After_Thanksgiving at my mom’s house, where we once again *intend* to put up her Christmas stuff, but that may or may not happen.  I think we’ve only managed it once?  Maybe twice.

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And now, for a moment of jubilation at having health insurance once again.  Which means that Cariad and I are going for physicals!  For the first time in ::mumblety-mumble::  Which is all in all a good thing, even though we have “Healthy Blue Living” insurance, which states that unless I am ~100 pounds lighter, I either have to ‘commit to a healthy lifestyle’ by joining one of their approved weight loss programs, or pay a higher premium.  ::le suspire::  Oh, and follow my doctor’s plan for managing depression.   Which is less irritating, but no less daunting.

Five Fings for Friday Fifteenth

1. I’m going to be at the Detroit Waldorf Soup Invitational tomorrow evening, attending as a volunteer.  I’m to be helping with closing the Silent Auction and pick up of auction items.  Theoretically, I get some soup, too, but I suspect that a large part of the evening will be spent talking about the fact that  I am an alumna, not a parent, that’s why no one recognizes me, and shooing auction weasels away from trying to add bids to silent auction items after bidding has closed. 

I’m actually rather looking forward to this, despite how the foregoing might sound, even though it means that I’ll miss most, if not all, of movie night.  I like the idea of demonstrating that alumni can be involved in Waldorf events in a capacity other than “Stone, getting blood from.”

2. I have made crepes, and lo, they did not suck even a little bit.  The credit goes almost entirely to the most recent issue of Cook’s Illustrated (thanks, Mom!) which had the recipe and method spelled out. So, we had crepes with nutella and banana for dinner last night.  Or, rather, Cariad and Kanai did, and I had crepes with honey and almonds, which are also tasty.

3. This Sunday marks the inaugural session of the Perry women book club.  We’re talking about “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” by Stieg Larsson.  I am just the teensiest bit excited about this, even though it is a video conference format, and therefore the likelihood of me doing something technical very, very wrong is high.  However, that is why Cariad is my on-call technical support, at least for the first half hour or so.  Perhaps I should tell him so…

As a related aside, I once had this lovely old lady at the Fitness Center Swimming Pool ask me if I was the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  I demurred, allowing as to how Lisbeth is much more technologically proficient than I am, but I was (not-so-)secretly tickled pink by the question, as it had never even occurred to me, up to that point.

4. It has been bird week, apparently, though no one told me so.  Last Sunday Cariad and I saw some sort of very fast and aerodynamically sleek predatory bird while leaving the park.  Audubon dot com was almost no help whatsoever, since all their silhouettes look pretty much like vultures to me.  What I remember seeing was something much more akin to those curvy bird silhouette’s they put on large windows to keep smaller birds from bashing themselves senseless.

Then, Monday, as I was leaving the prison parking lot, something large, grey-ish and long-legged-water-bird-like flew over the car.  Which is terribly helpful to people who actually know things about birds, I know, but the best I can tell you is that I am absolutely 100% sure it was not a goose.

Speaking of which, there appears to be a pair of Canadians nesting the pond I walk by to and from the work bus-stop.  So far they have done nothing more than honk alarmedly and sidle away as I pass, their feet patting on the concrete in that loathsome clammy way, but I trust them about as far as they could get through a long division problem.  I realize that there must, in statistical theory, be people in the world who like geese.  These are probably the same people who put plaster geese on their porch and dress them in little seasonal outfits, and decorate their kitchens with images of hateful death-machines of rage  roosters.  To these people, I say: I am sure you are wonderful, well-adjusted members of society but seriously, you kinda creep me out.

5. I have finished Dragon Age 2, and should very much like it if the video gaming industry would hurry up and entertain me again.  I tried finishing my second Mass Effect 2 playthrough, but Tali died, I suspect because of Zaeed’s loyalty mission, in which I wouldn’t let civilians die.  I’ll probably try it again, but I am going to be very annoyed if I have to start over from the beginning in order to keep everyone alive.  Probably annoyed enough to go out and spend the $50 to buy the PS3 Ultimate edition of Dragon-Age Origins and just do that instead.  Which may be EA Games’ angle, the bastards.

Five Things Make A Post

Does anyone know where this concept came from?  I’ve seen it a few places, and wondered…  Anyway, I figured I’d do this, otherwise you may never hear from me because I’ll feel more and more pressure to make up for time away until I cower in fear from ever posting again.  So.  Five things:

1) Addendum to previous post: I scrapped the vegan cleanse idea because I went and found temp work.  In the scramble of starting a new placement, and relearning this whole ‘getting up at the buttcrack of early’ thing, veganism just requires way too much thought and planning.  So, I am vegetarian, once again, and happier for it, but the temporary food crazy was a no go.

2) My response to all the various horrible things that have happened in the world:  I’m sorry, but you’re not my problem.   A lot of people assume this is cold and heartless on my part.  It’s not. It’s simply that I cannot do anything about these things except hurt — I don’t have the means to donate money, and I don’t currently have the network or connections to create or support fundraisers or the like.  I wish I did, and I am even now working on creating that personal network.  Even so, I struggle with moral implications of proximity – who has the better claim on my resources, foreign disasters or local causes?  Perhaps I willpost an exploration of  this soon. 

3) What I can do: since I can’t help Japan, what can I do?  Well, I’ve gotten inolved with a playback theatre improv group called 6Figures.  One of their initiatives isto work with prisoners.  I’ll probably post stff about that soon.  I missed the EMU anonymous soldier letter drive, but plan to find another one soon.  I also have other projects in the works, which I will tell you more about when they are less nebulous.

4) I’ve been twittering more…  a lot more, compared to previous counts.  I’ve only got one really inappropriate tweet, I claim drunken poker as the culprit, and it’s not really that bad, anyway.  Though it’s probably the only penis tweet that could be made more safe for work by having a picture attached.  If you do twitter, you can follow me as thygatromedea.   It may be improper Greek, but it’s mine, and I intend to use it a lot!  Mostly because I’m too lazy to start another twitter as Darth Biscuit.  Maybe someday I’ll completely rebrand my internet identity, but I’ve got enough other stuff going on, seriously.

5) I have given in and let loose my closet social organizer.  Regular movie nights, girls nights, and I’m even trying to get together a Perry Women Skype Book Club.  I may get ambitious and try a meatworld book club as well.  Once I run out of social things to organize, I may start organizing other things in my life.  Cariad and Kanai have been forewarned, before any of you asks.  However, if they should come to you needing amnesty and booze, be kind.  They may need it.