Sunday, August 29, 2010


I went out for a walk yesterday.  I took one of my more uncommon routes, and I was surprised with how the foliage had grown over on to the boardwalks.  It was actually sort of magical. 
At dinner that night, my Mom mentioned that I should take my Dad on these walks with me.  "The entire point of these walks is to be alone," I said. 
This is sort of a lie.  When I'm at home, yes, the goal of these walks is to be alone.  But when I was at school, it was more just a break from schoolwork and attempt to get fresh air.  Occasionally someone like Paul would join me on a walk, and I never minded. 
Today, I hear that everyone is out, celebrating being back together after a long summer.  (This summer appears to me to be the longest one I can remember.)  Everyone is going back to school, except for me. 
I really miss that great feeling of seeing everyone again.  I miss the hugs.  I miss flubbing through my words because I am too excited to slow down.  I miss climbing into my bed late at night, finally feeling like I'm home again.  I'm going to try not to miss taking walks just because it is a beautiful day. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Great Couch Heist

Sometimes something happens that leaves me very pleased with myself. 
My family has gotten a new couch, which means we were looking to throw the other one away.  It occurred to me that my beloved Dan would want it for his new apartment (which he sharing with another friend, also named Dan.  Suffice to say, I will be calling them The Dans from now on.)
Dan isn't he town, so he sent his Dad to pick up the couch.  We waited for him to come in the house, working on various projects.  When I went outside and discovered the couch was gone, I was afraid someone else had taken it. 
Luckily, Dan's Dad had gotten it, but was apparently too shy to knock on our door.  So he asked the neighbors for help.
The best part of this?  Dan owes me, apparently.  He really doesn't, but I like to take advantage of things.  So I told Dan that he just has to let me sleep on that couch when I come up to visit. 
I actually don't have any definite plans to come, but I want to because I am missing everyone so much and because all this talk about being back in school makes me feel like I am missing something.  So, you know, I'm waiting for an excuse over here, people.  Anytime. 
I feel like we should give this couch a name.  Couchy? 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


My sister and I were in a store.  She wanted a new baseball cap for when she went outside.  She wanted an MSU one.  We were looking at some particular MSU ones, and noticed that all the smaller sizes were gone.  A young man helping us in the store noted that the opposite was true for the U of M hats; all the larger sizes were gone.
"That's because people at U of M have heads pumped up with hot air," I said jokingly.
It took him a moment, but he got it.  He laughed. 
Later on at the same store, I was holding one of those metal sticks that one uses for getting things down from high places while my sister was trying to decide on hats.  One of the other young men working in the store came up to me and asked if I liked poles. 
"I like all kinds of poles," I answered. 
Like most people who have never encountered me before, both of the young men standing there were both totally shocked.  What kind of girl says that?
My friends are used to my wit, but sometimes it takes other people by surprise.  I am used to this. 
"You should be a comedian," the second boy replied.  I get that a lot.  I told him I was a writer, and that some of the stuff I write is funny.  Most of the stuff I'm writing right now isn't, but that's because I have only had time to write when I am upset about something and am using my writing for therapy.  I use to write a lot of humorous short pieces and before that screenplays with the sense of humor you might see on Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Tori is convinced I should be a comedian, and maybe one day I'll sit down and write a stand up piece and try it out on some poor, unsuspecting audience.  For the time being, it is nice to be recognized as a wit and to make people smile.  Making people smile and laugh is the most rewarding part, I can assure you. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Nervous Nellie

So, I got the job that I was interviewing for a while back.  It's been an alright gig at this point. 
I'm working with Ashley right now, which I was a little wary about, but again, it's been okay.  We did stock the other day, and the two of us got super fast at getting stuff done.  She would open the box, and I would pull out all the packing stuff (in this case, mostly that brown paper they wad up).  Then she would go through the inventory checklist and I would move the stuff onto the storage shelves.  If there was extra still, she'd move those products too.  And then whoever had their hands free next went to get the next box, and we moved all over again.  We were very efficient, and I was happy as a clam.
Out on the floor, things were not so simple.  I'm struggling to learn the cash register.  Certain things were never taught to me and other things are just confusing.  My superior told me not to be nervous, and that made me feel bad, because I honestly don't feel particularly nervous.
Interacting with the customers went very well.  A young woman who worked at the caf at school came in, and I jokingly said that I visited her at her workplace, so she could visit me at mine.  And then my Mom and sister came in. 
Later on, a woman with four young girls came in looking for a game.  I sold them a game by American Girl called I Wish.  One of them cried a little at not getting something else, but there are occasionally tears around here.  Parents usually handle it, and it's okay.  

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Make Yourself Invisible

That morning I had sat at the table eating cereal while my parents fought.  Someone stole some stuff from us way back in November, and we were still getting stuff squared away with insurance.  (Insurance did not pay us out as much money as we believed they would.)  My Mother was trying to get some photos and scans of the new things so that we could have them on record.  The scanner was in the other room.  She turned it on and then tried to work on the next picture with her camera while the thing was scanning.  My Father came in and turned it off and it angered her he couldn't ask. 
"I want you to leave," she yelled at him.  And he did. 
I do what every body does when someone is having a fight in front of you: make yourself invisible.  I hurriedly tried to finish my cereal and then put stuff away, but I got a front row seat anyway. 
I've been thinking a lot about this fight, not because it's rare (it's rather typical) but because a few of my friends have been discussing their own families fighting with me this week.  Everyone mentions the frustration and stress of it, and Jennifer particularly addressed how she felt like she had never seen a relationship up close that worked. 
I am now of the impression that no one knows how to make a relationship work, that humans understand virtually everything better than relationships. 
And people wonder why I'm so cynical about these matters. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Interviewing Music

Yes, the interview went okay.  I say okay because I don't think I have the experience for it, but I did my best.  I don't know why, but I wasn't as excited for this interview as I was for previous interviews.
I was being interviewed in a coffee shop, which would have been fine, but music I recognized kept playing.  Two of them were the following: Radiohead's "House of Cards" and Spoon's "Paper Tiger".

This might be my favorite Radiohead song, though I must admit I am also a fan of Thom Yorke's "Hearing Damage."  I like how mellow this song is.  I like how it's a song about trying to get a woman to have an affair.  The singer talks about the woman's relationship as a house of cards, but anyone familiar with affairs knows what they qualify as.  (The singer is a jerk, obviously.)  Also, this video is really cool!

And this is Spoon's "Paper Tiger."  The moment this song started I thought "Oh, it's Spoon!"  I've been in love with this band for almost ten years now. 
Music has an odd way of dropping into one's life.  As a listener, you construct meaning for a song based on the moment in your life it came around.  I don't think I ever imagined either of these songs being associated with interviewing. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Out and About

Lisa was backing her car up. 
"There's a cop there," I noted, watching him walk past and then in back of the car.  We hadn't even gotten in the door yet, and there were police officers.  Was this foreshadowing? 
Once we got in, it definitely felt like we were early.  There was a ton of noise from the music, but almost no one around.  Two people came out and yelled at us, clearly both having a good time. 
I got a Long Island, because I have decided they are how I am going to judge a place.  Madison and Lisa both got the same thing, something fruity.  (I do not like coconut, which is why I do not drink things with coconut flavored rum.)  Madison said she wanted something that would get her really drunk, which is why a Long Island was really a good choice, but Madison likes fruit drinks. 
We found a place to sit near a billiard table.  It was this tiny little table, but the three of us squeezed in.  Madison had wanted to come here, but Dan had also suggested this place.  It was actually hard to imagine Dan hanging out here, but only because he likes to drink in the privacy of his own home. 
We caught up with each other.  I had already talked about what was up with me in the car, so there wasn't much for my to say.  Lisa talked about how her and Michael have started looking at engagement rings.  Even though Michael hasn't proposed yet, they've looked at rings, which really surprised me.  They've been together for years, and I figured they had thought about it, but I feel like you've kind of ruined the surprise of getting married if your partner knows you've been looking at rings. 
Madison talked about her crappy week at work.  She's been really stressed out.  She got reprimanded for a mistake.  Poor thing. 
As I was drinking the Long Island, I was struck by how hard it was hitting me.  I should have had something better to eat before we went out.  Like a hamburger. 
Tori joined us after about forty minutes.  She had a family dinner so she couldn't come earlier.  She got her hair cut, and it's one of those super adult short cuts that makes her look very momish. 
Tori complained about how her aunt harassed her at this family reunion over her hair.  And then she talked about her cousin, who doesn't speak any English. 
We were sitting near a window, so we enjoyed watching various people on the street.  There were a lot of bachelor and bachelorette parties wandering by and in and out of the bar.  One young woman was carrying a huge blow up penis.  She put it up against the window near where Lisa was sitting. 
In the meantime, I got a shot of whiskey and a Fuzzy Navel.  As I did the shot of whiskey, the man standing next to me at the bar was really impressed.  When I do whiskey, girls are totally ambivalent, but guys are always both scared and impressed.  
Madison wanted to check out the club next door, so we wandered over.  I decided not to order a drink right away, and I was really glad I didn't, because they were ten dollars.  (Who has that kind of money?)  All three of them got martinis of various kinds.  Tori's was bright neon blue and Madison's tasted like a thin mint liquidized. 
The only good thing about this club was that they played Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance." 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Gamer Girl

Today I was on the phone with this woman I met last week when I was out with Tori and Ashley.  She wanted to know if I would be available for an interview for a job.  Would I ever!
So everyone pray for me, because I'm going to need it.  I'm going to interview for a job at a game store.  (They mostly sell board games, though they also have puzzles and a few stuffed animals.)  It's on Monday, so in the meantime, I'm going to try to think of some good answers to common interview questions. 
Wish me luck!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Butterflies at Rest

Today, I did some work on my photography.  I started fooling around with the camera I have around 2008.  I don't really know anything about photography, I just experiment.  Sometimes stuff works out.  A lot of the times it doesn't. 
I took a lot of decent (though kind of generic) pictures of butterflies.  Unfortunately, I can't tell you what the names of most of these butterflies are, but if you know the names of any of these, leave me a comment!
I am not much of a photographer, but I do occasionally make an attempt to be "artistic."  Here is one of those attempts. I like the way the light comes in.  It's very dramatic. 
Another attempt, one that was not so successful.  The only thing that saves it is the background. 
Hang On!
Another butterfly. 
This butterfly is eating, using it's proboscis.  I was really impressed with myself for remembering that from school. 
Another attempt at being DRAMATIC.  There's something unintentional Goth about this photo.  (I didn't actually change the colors on this; this is actually the original photograph.)  It reminds me vaguely of a Siouxie and the Banshees music video.  I would apologize, if I was not in love with both Goth and that band.
I spent a lot of time being frustrated with my subjects for not standing still enough.  (My camera can manage some movement, but not everything.)  So, most of my pictures had to be butterflies at rest.  Here's another one in chow mode.
This butterfly broke my heart.  As you can see, it's wings are all damaged.  It wasn't moving very much, and it probably died.  I hope not, but seeing this thing made me really depressed.  Butterflies are like fairies, they're suppose to live forever. 
Nearby, another butterfly was enjoying some apple and watching the dying one make sad attempts to fly.  Butterflies are kind of jerks. 
I also tried birds, just because I figured they wouldn't move so much.  Instead, they mostly made sure I couldn't see their faces, like these two.  I spent a lot of time trying to chase various birds around. 
This is the most chill otter I've ever seen.  I was actually slightly jealous, because a nap sounded really good to me right about then.  This otter should be in a old film.  I can just see him falling back onto a fainting couch.
The only thing not good about this is the rocks.  Otherwise, it might be comfortable.  Like most mammals, mother otters raise their young, teaching them important stuff like swimming and hunting.  Once a mamma otter has another litter, the older kids are on their own.
More birds, those these are far more cooperative.  I'm loving the lily pads here. 
Sometimes I'm just relieved when photos look like something you might see in a copy of National Geographic
More duckage here.  I was with a friend, and she insisted on feeding them a granola bar.  I've already complained on this blog about how much I hate people who feed animals, so I won't go through that again, just register my annoyance that this time it was a friend.  This picture has kind of a fun angle on it. 
That would be the feeding frenzy she caused. 
There are some more photos over at my Flikr collection if you'd like to see more.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Like most people, I hate going to see doctor's.  But I recently realized what I really hate about going: socializing. 
This seems like a strange thing to say, since I'm relatively social.  But those people I socialize with are friends.  I don't want to talk to my doctor's about stuff.  When they ask "How are you?" I want that to be a cue to assert my overall health, not as a chance to catch up on my family, my career and the drama with that one friend. 
With this in mind I went to see my optometrist.  I sat in the waiting room, reading one of those celebrity magazines that I only look at when there's not something more sophisticated. 
I went in with the assistant, an older woman.  We tested various small things with my eyes.  There's a test where you're suppose to tell if certain circles are jumping out at you while wearing 3-D glasses.  As the years have gone on, I have failed more and more of that test. 
Failing eye tests are nothing new.  When I was thirteen, I had to take an eye test while at school.  I failed the first time, with my glasses on.  So they called me in a second time, and I failed a second time, again, with my glasses on.  I tried to explain to the lady running the test I had really poor eyes, and I think she believed me, but I was really embarrassed by this.  I didn't fail anything at that age. 
We kept going through tests, and, even with my glasses on, it's amazing how little I can see.  I think if I had lived before glasses, I would have been confined. 
The doctor came in and I braced myself.  This doctor really likes to socialize.  It's not that I can't be polite, or that I can't speak back, but this particular doctor likes to talk about politics, and we do not share the same beliefs.  Several years ago, he complained to me about a apparently gay English professor who tried to pick him up.  I have gay friends, and I know there's almost no way this story is true.  LBGT people are scared to pick people up if they don't know their sexuality, especially if they're doing so in an "unsafe" place.  (They're more likely to pick up in a gay club or bar, but there it's expected and assumed you're okay with that.)  I didn't really tell him I disagree, but I don't really want to talk to him about politics.  I only rely on him over my eyes because my Mom insists, but the truth is I'd rather try someone else. 
We had a long discussion about surgery.  We've been considering surgery for my eyes for what seems like ever now.  At least high school, though I think it goes back farther than that.  (I was first told that I could use contacts at ten.  I never have because something about putting shards of plastic in your eye strikes me as gross.  I can't even look at someone who is putting in or taking out their contacts.  It's one of the few things I find unsightly.)
Anyway, the surgery option is always on the table, though it's unclear if I qualify.  I would need to get checked. 
Thankfully, there was none of that.  Instead, he went through the usual tests, checking my eyes with those various glasses.  When he decided on something, we moved on to making sure I didn't have things like glaucoma.
I hate those eye drops that you get.  They always make my eyes sting and they give me a headache.  I don't even try to do anything after an eye exam, because I know it's futile to try. 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Not Seeing Anything

My Father wanted to see if we could go out to see a particular astrological phenomenon, so we got into the car and drove around a bit, trying to see it.  Mostly this involved driving around in the dark, trying to see if there was a point near by at which we could see it.  No luck.  Mostly this just meant blowing a half an hour that I could have probably used to continue working on some of my writing or talking to some friends. 
It was very anti-climatic, not seeing anything. 

Researching and Interviewing

I spent the evening researching for an interview.  All the articles out there say that if you're going to give an interview, you should know as much as possible about the company and their mission.  So I spent the evening on their site, looking at everything I could about them.  Then I Googled them to see if interesting things came up.  The only thing that really caught my eye was a short set of pieces that discussed their history.  They've only been around thirty years here, though they discussed the old school way of doing things and I found myself profoundly grateful that it was the old school and not the norm any longer. 
Everyone wish me luck on this.  I'm really going to need it. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

Monte Cassino

Tori, Ashley and I went out to dinner.  We went to a little restaurant near home.  The last time I had been here, I had gone with Jennifer when I desperately needed to talk to her.  I had the mac and cheese and it had been terrible.  I wasn't going to do that again.  I ordered saganaki and a veggie burger instead.
I love a good veggie burger.  I know a lot of people complain that they are not that good because they do not taste like meat, I do not notice much of a difference.  I'm actually pretty impressed with their ability to get a bunch of semi-mashed vegetables to taste like meat.
And then there's saganaki.  It's delicious.  It's a simple thing, but I have it infrequently enough that when I do have it, it makes me really happy.  Tori and Ashley had never had it before, so I let them try some.
Ashley talked to us about her father and traveling.  She was complaining that her Dad only likes to go to the beach when they go on vacation, and that she would like to go to museums and monuments and shop a little and do all the other things that normal people do I vacation.  I suggested Rome to her, because it's close enough to beaches that might satisfy her Dad and lots of museums and things she would like.
What I should have said, now that I'm thinking about it, is about the area between Rome and Naples.  That whole area is supposed to be covered with beautiful beaches and lots of history.  Ostia is an important ancient Roman city.
And between Rome and Naples is Monte Cassino.  It's one of those places I've always wanted to go to.  As someone who is interested in monasticism, Monte Cassino is important because it is the birthplace of Western monasticism, where St. Benedict of Nursia, the founder of the Benedictines and inspiration behind so many other orders, began his community.  In addition to that, it is also the former site of a pagan temple to Apollo and the site of the Battle of Monte Cassino.  A Polish cemetery is located there, where over a thousand Polish soldiers who died during that battle are buried.  Also buried there are St. Benedict (for obvious reasons) and St. Scholastica, his sister and a nun.  The monastery also once held the archives of the Keats-Shelley House in Rome.
I want to go, want to take a tour, want to take in mass, want to look through their archive, and want to put red poppies on the graves of those Polish soldiers.  (It's part of a song, "The Red Poppies of Monte Cassino.")  
Never mind, I don't think Ashley would like to do this as much as me.  Talking about traveling got me daydreaming again.  One of the many problems with traveling is that it seems to be a never-ending desire.  Going a little does not really satisfy it. 
After we finished eating, and paid our bills, we went home.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bright College Days

Clearly, I'm having a strange day, because I have videos to show you of various great songs from Tom Lehrer.

This one is called "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park," which is delightful as it sounds.  It starts off as a nice song, you think it's going to be about a nice song, and no, it turns into a silly song about doing something no one sane or decent would do.

I love that he wrote a parody of the kinds of songs that you might hear in a college.  I love that he introduces the song by saying that everyone at these reunions gets "soggy with nostalgia."  This sounds a lot like those alumni songs, and indeed, it is related to a certain alumni song... this one.

Lehrer reminds me vaguely of Victor Borge, who is most famous for combining classical music and comedy.  My friend Philip introduced me almost six years ago.  (He had Borge only on cassette tape, so he had to work to make me a copy of it.)  He made classical music, and its preposterous nature, fun, sort of like Lehrer, who makes fun of lots of different kinds of music.  Here, he dances around with someone while trying to work through Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. 

Coral Watts

This might come off badly, but I love to read about serial killers.  I think most of this comes from my love of mystery novels.  Anyone who loves mystery novels knows it's because they fancy themselves a detective, and enjoy trying to solve the whoddunit puzzle.  So when I say I love to read about serial killers, it's a love of reading about how the cops caught the guy, and how they did it. 
For example, the BTK killer?  Totally caught because he used a computer at the church he worked at.  There's something enjoyable in knowing that the police lied to him to get him to accidentally reveal himself. 
But today I found the Wikipedia article on Coral Watts.  What's fascinating to me is that he is the suspect in some ninety unsolved murders, but was only convicted on about three of them.  And that people were so desperate to keep him in jail they sent out a national call for evidence against him.  His crimes were terrible and awful, but somehow I take great pleasure in knowing that he served time in jail. 
It's the sort of thing that you would see in a movie, but surprisingly, he's only been featured in two of those real crime tv shows. 

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

I went to see my Grandma.  She seems relatively okay.  We basically hung out and watched some tv.  She's not suppose to do much else without supervision from nurses.  (She does a little reading, but it's of those soap opera magazines.  I bought her two of them and gave them to her.) 
We watched the beginning of the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, one of the early Basil Rathbone depictions of the famed detective.  I wasn't sure if she would like it, but she does like old movies in general so I thought I would put it on. 
I couldn't help but compare this older movie with the latest one that came out recently, titled Sherlock Holmes.  The thing that struck me was that Professor Moriarty was such a big part of this movie.  In Sherlock Holmes, he was a unseen, evil presence.  I think I like Moriarty better in the new movie because he doesn't seem so farcical.  It's hard to imagine that Holmes even found Moriarty to be much of a challenge in this older film, he just seems like an ordinary man who's a little OCD about his plants.