Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Out of Office Message

Well, I don't actually have an office. But I'm going to be offline for a couple of days. I'll be checking email, but don't expect any posts. I'll be back in a few days, and I'll update my readers on all my exciting adventures!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bwa-ha-ha-ha! Victory is Mine!

One of my readers requested a new jammie cam photo of me; well, I've been up several hours so it will be housecleaning-attire cam today.

So, for a brief update of my doings:

Saturday, I did indeed spend a few hours at the evil genius/mad scientist symposium; fascinating stuff, what these men and women are doing. I won't give specifics, I'll just say that plans for world domination are proceeding apace. Several women from the community were participating in the evening's prenuptial celebrations, so we ventured from the abandoned missile silo in North Dakota to Jazz Alley and enjoyed a wonderful performance from the ever-delightful Eartha Kitt. 81 years old, and she still belts them out like there's no tomorrow, and still really does enjoy her audience.

Sunday - more cleaning of the kitchen, and then an informal dinner at the mad scientist's place. I'm sure some of my readers think that this has settled into some semi-permanent relationship, but that would be a mistaken impression. We're still discussing methods and SOPs, and it has yet to be determined whether conditions are right for the experiment to be conducted. {I think I spent too many years in ISO documentation.} So I'm not holding out on my readership; we had dinner, we talked, we watched some 'Futurama' (totally my fault), we talked more, we separated for the evening. Yes, I enjoyed myself immensely.

Yesterday - more cleaning, only to discover that the drain in my kitchen sink slowed to nothing. I had suspected yesterday was going to be a bit crappy when, early on, I had the Great Toothpick Disaster of July 2008. See, the Japanese make really cool toothpicks. I'm sure some forests are devastated so that these toothpicks might be made, but since I only buy toothpicks every few years, I don't feel as if I'm a major contributor to the problem (these were purchased in 2003). However, the little flimsy soft plastic holder they come in fell off the cabinet shelf yesterday, and the toothpicks took the opportunity to escape their imprisonment in hopes of achieving freedom. Fortunately, my counter was newly cleaned, so they simply got swept into a plastic cup.

The kitchen sink problem was the next disaster on the schedule. I plunged and plunged and plunged; I resorted to my emergency chemical supply; I plunged and plunged and plunged. All to no avail. So I thought I'd better take the trap off. I've never done that, and although it looked simple, I thought I'd better call someone whom I knew would be able to provide salient information. Yes, I called my mad scientist friend. He offered to come over and wrestle with the problem. I was reluctant - plumbing help is an ugly thing to ask of someone - but agreed. The trap was clean. Next it was snake time. After a fair amount of time wrestling with the snake, plunging was again resorted to. No progress was made, though - time to admit defeat, despite the valiant effort.

We repaired to Malabar, a very good Indian restaurant in my neighborhood (very good for Seattle, at any rate), to recover from our defeat, and the tasty curries did indeed improve our moods. Having commandeered a large part of his evening, I sent him on his way. Since the repair people hired by the apartment management are like bulls in a china shop, I'm waiting until next week to seek their assistance on the pipes. I can make do until then.

At this point, I'm sure you're wondering to what victory I refer? Mamluk Sultan Baibar's at the Battle of Antioch, perhaps? No, no. We're talking yogurt. Oh yeah, baby, yogurt. The shelf was fully stocked this morning; the 4 for $3 special was still in effect. I took home every carton of vanilla on the shelf, all twelve of them. Twelve cartons of my beloved vanilla. MINE! ALL MINE!!! BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Clever title, eh? Ms Wilde is never at a loss for clever titles, pithy remarks, or astute observations. (What's even better is that I didn't spell it correctly the first time I posted it - duuuuuh.)

In providing my link to the Wikipedia definition of 'steampunk' the other day, I rediscovered a world I hadn't visited in three years or so (in 2005 I wrote a little steampunk vampire adventure for a friend of mine's entertainment). I found so many wonderful things. One of the coolest is SteamPunk magazine's "A SteamPunk's Guide to the Apocalypse", a wonderful book on how to live after we run out of oil and civilisation collapses. Certainly not something that most of my readers will appreciate, but I have spent my morning reading it. After all, I'm unemployed; I may yet end up living out of a 40' shipping container, probably sharing the yard with the amorous goats. And those goats better not get any ideas about me - I stick to my own species, or alien species that can easily pass for human (I had to add that; I swear, some of the men who've asked me out were indeed from other planets).

Speaking of men I've dated, I haven't really sussed out the mad scientist's attitude toward steampunk; I suspect that if I can successfully blend it with Star Trek, I just might have a chance. He still hasn't passed the Geiger counter test yet...I suspect I've been quite lazy about capitalizing the word Geiger. Yeah, well, whaddaya gonna do, as Homer Simpson would say.

Mad Sci Guy and I did not meet up for the symposium last night, but we're scheduled to rendezvous at noon to spend the afternoon there. To be honest, I'm not sure I'm up to matching wits and skills with the evil genius/mad scientist set, although I did promise a friend that if he ever got an advanced degree in biochemistry, I'd get one in bioengineering or some such thing so that we could create our own Gojira (Godzilla, to you unbelievers)...but neither one of us ever acquired those degrees. So I might be full of bright, if mad, ideas and brilliant observations, but I'm not at all sure I'm up to actually participating. I'm a huge coward, if you must know. Some days I wonder how I ever make it to the mailbox. Oh, I hear lots of laughter out there - not caring is not the same as being brave, my dears. Regardless, you'll be regaled with tales of my humiliations on the morrow, to be sure.

And this evening a few of us girls are going out to celebrate a friend's upcoming nuptials; we're going to start the evening by catching an Eartha Kitt performance. Man, I don't know how she does it, all the touring - she must just love performing!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I spent yesterday afternoon hanging out in Suzzallo Library on the UW campus. Being a lifetime member of the Alumni Association, I have access to the UW Net setup so I can go to campus and steal wifi internet access. Free wifi is one of my great pleasures in life; being unemployed, I can't exactly afford $100 plus a month for phone, cable, wifi, robotic monkeys, etc. The nice thing about the U district is plenty of wifi. I do miss being able to steal it from the comfort of my own apartment, but still, I don't have to travel very far to enjoy it.

Most of my time there was passed in the stacks where the oldest, mustiest, weirdest books are. It's like a tomb there, and I get all squishy inside every time I walk past them. I do love old books, I really, really do. And this section is chock full of them. Just the spines feed my imagination, whether I feel as if I'm visiting some learned scholar's library circa 1890 and looking for the latest tomes on dirigibles, or looking for a book on forbidden magic and alchemy so I can free my brother from the horrible family curse...anywho, as they say, I wandered the stacks in search of books on whaling, particularly the use of nuclear submarines for whaling. There were submarines in the 19th century; I'm writing a (nuclear) steampunk whaling novel. Get over it.

I was pleased to discover that my friend the mad scientist haunted the very same stacks in his time at University; perhaps he was having fun in the alchemy section, or looking for the lost papers of Nikola Tesla. He called this afternoon when he realized I visiting his old haunts; he invited me to accompany him to a symposium being conducted this weekend by the evil genius/mad scientist community. Of course, this rests upon the assumption that his experiments go well and are concluded in a timely fashion. Hopefully he won't end up with any citations for practicing physics without a license. I wonder if there is a Physics Officer out there somewhere, handing out citations for physics offenses. {Noisy, you may want to expand your jurisdiction...}

Here's a photo of me enjoying myself in front of Suzzallo's famous stained-glass windows:

Of the boni attendant upon being a member of the Alumni Association, the absolute coolest is the library card. Yes, it's even better than the email address and the free wifi on campus. So I also took the time to renew my alumni library card, and brought home four lovely tomes on 19th nuclear whaling practices.

Today I'm making some soup and cleaning the apartment a bit, as soon as I have a cuppa or two. If my evening at the symposium falls through, I'm running down to Nordstroms to pick up a pair of hose - girls night out tomorrow night!

Oh yes - I have to give many Thanks to George Gordon for providing the means by which I was able to acquire my lovely little shuffle. I understand why people love these things! Thank you again, Lord B.

PS - You may recall from a previous entry that one of my regular readers recently suffered a goat invasion at her home. Amorous goats, no less. Yes, they're rather like rabbits - I've seen goats in action many times at the fair over the years. And they've set up house in her front yard, if you will, entertaining the neighbors with their love play. How sweet!


Firstly, the maple-flavoured yogurt disaster has temporarily abated; I did manage to pick up four cartons of my dearest vanilla yesterday, but that won't last long, and there's still another maple in the fridge just waiting to ruin my morning. ::shudder!::

I did indeed go to my writing group last night. I've already forgotten my training as an admin - I brought no hardcopies, so I had nothing to present. Hey, I brought my computer - and I don't have a printer, so bringing hardcopies requires much more planning than it did at work. The others' writing was interesting and entertaining, but I was relived to find no blossoming Samuel Becketts in the group. I don't think I could deal with that. My talents, such as they are, can't hold a candle to the author of "Watt" (one of the finest novels ever written, if you can deal with the weirdness of the narrative).

Not much to report today otherwise, except I did dream about my fellow chair moisteners back at MegaDyneCorp Technologies. Y'all better hope this dream doesn't come true (except for you, Noisy - but hang on to your yoga ball!), because all the chairs were being replaced with these backless models that had plastic purple seats. No, they weren't stools, they were chairs with no backs. Cost-saving measures abound! The nightmare part was that I had brought my orchid to show off; I knocked it over in one of the labs and was trying to get the soil back in the pot and the plant stabilized again. There was this piece of equipment that should have been helping me, but instead it packed my orchid as if it were a brick of tofu and baked it. Yes, it baked my orchid. I started crying like a pony-deprived three year old. (Note to self - do not bring anything that could tip over when you go to visit your former coworkers.)

You may wonder why I am making a note to myself about something that occurred in my dreams. I did dream, several weeks before the impending layoffs were announced, that I had been laid off, and that Ms Prickly and I were both packing our offices. So beware of backless chairs, folks.

Today's activities will include stealing wifi from the University of Washington - woo hoo!

ETA: Oh yeah, I asked for comments on my geiger counter, and neither one of my regular readers made a single statement on the topic. Some help you guys are! If I ever put that electronic and mechanical stuff inside my robot to make him work, I'm not telling you - you'll just have to read about it in the paper.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I'm eating maple-flavoured yogurt for breakfast. It tastes as if someone spilled stale coffee on it. I really need to lay in a supply of my beloved vanilla.

I found several emails from coworkers this morning - they still haven't forgotten the meaningless chaos I could produce around office just by walking through and saying 'Hi'. How sweet!

Well, I must shower and then hie meself up to the grocer - oh please oh please oh please let me find some vanilla today - and then return for a few hours of writing. I've got my first writing group meeting tonight. I wonder how many different ways they'll find to tell me I suck....

Update - I got to the store late since so many of my former coworkers decided to write today, as well as finding other fascinating distractions in my inbox. I did manage to score 4 cartons of vanilla - woo hoo! - but I think I'm going to have to get there when the doors open tomorrow. Shall I take bets on the likelihood of that happening?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Another Productive Day - Really. I'm not making it up.

One of my regular readers (I think I have two regulars - woo hoo!) commented yesterday that I seem to be having too much fun while on the rolls of the unemployed. Of course, said reader's home was recently invaded by goats, so I can see where my existence suddenly seems an endless party. I love goats, but I have a healthy respect for their special kind of anarchy. I feel the same way about kittens, too.

Last night's activities consisted of an unplanned dinner with the mad scientist, a much-appreciated attempt to cheer me up after news of a fellow coworker's demise (RIP, Bob). And a successful one, all things considered - good food, delightful conversation, and a brief visit to his home where we exchanged cultural goods...he got to download the sound effects from Star Trek TOS, and I got to watch Dr Horrible's Sing-along Blog . Would it surprise you to discover that Dr Horrible is a mad scientist? No? A bit of parody, and a bit of commentary, with entertaining musical numbers thrown in, it's extremely well-done, with the incredibly talented Neil Patrick Harris in the starring role. I found it wonderfully funny - and I hate Captain Hammer. (It should be obvious that I would sympathize with our mad scientist protagonist - c'mon, Captain Hammer is as bad as Zapp Brannigan.) Again, I was returned home well before the pumpkin hour, so I've had no chance as of yet to observe any post-midnight transformations in my mad scientist friend. If there is one, I do hope it's not a Jeckyll and Hyde thing; I'd rather date a Neanderthal from the Geico ads than Mr Hyde. He's just a bully.

You're wondering when I get to the productivity, aren't you? Does it count that I had my teeth cleaned yesterday? No? Well, today my BFF and I went down to the mater's to pick up a pen that's been taking up space in my parent's garage forever. I braved dust, dust bunnies, strange and frightening formations of cat hair, and spider carcasses, among other things, to disassemble this thing. It took three of us in the end - me, my BFF, and a very good friend of the mater's, all wrestling with poles, wire, nuts and bolts, cyclone fencing - and a good time was had by all. We almost cleaned up enough to look presentable at lunch; fortunately, the mater didn't notice us covered in dust, cobwebs, and cat hair. And she doesn't read my blog, so I feel safe in making such a public confession of sartorial disarray.

Upon returning home I had to shower and change clothes, and I'm still looking at taking a Benadryl in an hour or so. Dust is one of the most reaction-producing allergens in my life; small quantities are relatively safe...okay, okay, looking at my apartment, I should say large quantities are relatively safe, but a thick blanket (literally, blanket) of the stuff exceeds my body's capacity to cope.

After showering, I sauntered up to the grocery store in hopes of exploiting the 4 for $3 special featuring my favorite yogurt, Brown Cow Low Fat Vanilla. Breakfast of Chumps, I call it. Now that I'm unemployed, specials like that are to be treasured. I noticed it was on special when I went shopping Sunday, but there were only four cartons, so I thought I'd go back and get more. Today there was one carton. One carton. Why doesn't anyone buy the strawberry low fat yogurt? There's tons of it. So tomorrow is my last attempt to get my favorite yogurt on sale; if I don't succeed tomorrow, I'll just learn to like the low fat maple yogurt. Ugh.

This afternoon I told one of my caretakers at the coffee house closest to me that I had lost my job; a very sweet woman, she gave me a hug and much more sympathy than I'm sure I deserve. I'm fortunate to know as many kind and sympathetic people as I do; I often wonder why they put up with my cranky self, but I'm still grateful for my good fortune.

Finally, I'm going to seek some advice from my readers (you two regulars out there, listen up!). Dating a mad scientist, I'm not entirely certain what attributes are attractive to a delightfully warped psyche with a passion for physics and math; as kal pointed out recently, I am an outlier. I do not follow the normal distribution. But is that enough? Paris Hilton is an outlier too, after all, and she can barely put three sentences together. So, what do I do to make a good impression? Let's take my Geiger counter as an example. Yes, I have a Geiger counter. I mean, who doesn't want a Geiger counter, right? It's a beauty, too; it's a yellow civil defense model CDV-700 with an actual geiger tube. The day I found it was one of the happiest days I had in 2001. I even have an old book on radiation monitoring - I've got everything I need (if it were still 1961). It seems the perfect thing with which to impress a man, n'est-ce pas? There's just one problem - my yellow baby is broken. I put batteries in it and everything, yet there's no power going to the device. Big frown. I've been content to own it in its dysfunctional beauty; after all, it's more than most people have. For years she sat on the floor in front of my bookcase, a conversation piece and object of envy. But would a mad scientist be impressed? Do I get brownie points for owning a classic scientific instrument, or do I just look like I collect weird, broken junk? If I invite him over to my hovel, do I shove her into the closet, or do I display her proudly? Here's her photo for your consideration:

And a very informative volume to go with it:

He was impressed with my beaker mug, but I fear that I've already presented my best material. Let me know what you think about Mme Geiger up above; I'd like to keep making a good impression, if at all possible.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

4 Days of Unemployment

I've been off the job for 4 days. I cannot tell if I've truly fully grasped the fact that my time is my own - however, I had a lovely date Friday evening and spent a few minutes ranting about the fact that, for the first time in years, my time is actually my own. Even though the gentleman in question is a mad scientist, I'm sure he was thinking, "They call me mad?" If that was indeed his reaction, he had a point.

He had asked me what time I needed to be home and I commented that I really didn't have a time I needed to return home. I could return home at 11 PM or 4 AM. I had no obligations the following day that required me to be asleep or awake at a specific time. And more importantly, since I don't have to worry about getting up at 5:30 AM, it doesn't matter if I stay up late and mess up my sleep schedule for a few days. These thoughts inspired me to devote a couple of minutes to proclaiming the fact that my life is temporarily mine. (Temporarily because I cannot foresee being gainfully unemployed indefinitely.)

What time did I get home? Can't remember exactly, but I'm sure it was before the pumpkin hour. Since I was dressed like a hippie slob, I'm sure I wasn't returned home because he feared my clothes would turn into rags; perhaps he feared I'd turn into a rodent. Or perhaps my mad scientist friend is the one with the midnight transformation issues. Should we go out again, we'll have a conversation on this topic. After all, some transformations would be a plus in my book, not a minus.

For instance, the Creature from the Black Lagoon is one sexy rubber-suited monster. As long as I'm not going to end up murdered, I would be pleased to find out that I went out with the Creature. Godzilla would be cool, but the size issues are, well, immense, and I'm pretty sure I'd end up stepped on or burnt to a crisp in no time. Vampires are so overdone, and anemia is not something I ever want to experience again. Werewolves - no problems with the concept, but they're awfully bitey. I don't like excessive biting and scratching in a man. There is also the potential for flea issues. A mummy would be fascinating, as long as human sacrifice wasn't part of our dating future (I should clarify - as long I'm not the sacrifice). Think of the fun historical and archaeological questions you could ask.

However, I did not spend my Saturday ruminating on the charms of one monster over another. I spent quite a bit of it doing laundry and trying to excavate the serious disaster that is currently my apartment. In addition to the stacks of books, baskets of knitting, and chair full of laundry that are regular features, there are boxes and bags of crap from work. I managed to clear some of the pathway from the front door to the rest of the place - a good thing, as one of the boxes actually left a nasty wound on my leg. After creating the path, I then began to rearrange my cds and dvds. That resulted in a small decrease in clutter, but more to the point, it's part of a search for some software I want to load on my new Mac. I was trying to avoid having to migrate it from the old one, but I suspect that I'll end up migrating it because I cannot find the disk.

So today I finish the cd project (when you run a performance space you end up with a huge number of cds), conquer the laundry, and start working on a thorough kitchen cleaning. I haven't gotten any real writing done since Friday morning, excepting this scintillating blog entry, mes amis.

And I'll get started on all that work as soon as I'm finished with season 5 of Red Dwarf...ah, the joys of unemployment!

{Oh ye of dirty minds, it's not what you think! It's from Season 6. See, Kryten has a vacuum hose groinal attachment and was vacuuming the living quarters when Lister put on a pair of shorts that were actually a polymorph...oh, never mind.}

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Cuppa

Jammy Cam Day Two (I don't feel the least bit compulsion to be consistent in my spelling). This morning, I'm wrapped in a blankie (it's cool outside), drinking a cup of tea and eating a bowl of oatmeal. When I'm finished with breakfast, I'm going to spend a couple of hours on my whaling novel; the action has moved from a whaling ship to a nuclear submarine. I will keep my eager readers informed on its progress!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Last Day...And My First

Yesterday was my last day at MegaDyneCorp Technologies (not their real name). I did indeed wear my jammies in to work (there will be photographic evidence in the next few days, I assure you). Two other liberated chair moisteners joined me by donning their lounging attire, and four members of my now-shrunken unit dressed to celebrate my freedom - Noisy came as me with Mary Todd Lincoln accessories (July 16th is the anniversary of MTL's death); Ms Prickly also came dressed as me (in one of my favorite skirts!); Cesare came as Mamluk Sultan Baibar, whose glorious victory at the Battle of Antioch on May 18, 1268, is generally ignored by calendar makers; and JB wore his kilt. If I might digress just a moment, I love a man in a kilt; the first time I ever saw a kilt-wearing man in the flesh was in 1981 at a Dead Kennedys show at the Showbox. There was this good-looking blond man in the scene who always sported black-rimmed eye glasses of an early 1960's vintage, and that night he had on combat boots, a black leather jacket and a kilt...and I was in love! He broke my heart when he went poofy haired disco three years later....

But I have to say, as cute as JB looked in his kilt, Cesare was stunning in his robes and fez - they were perfect with his beard and braided pigtail, and he looked as if he should be living it up in a hashish lounge in Marrakech...

But enough of the wardrobe details - let me return to work. The cafeteria had sunk to its lowest ever in terms of pastry quality, so Wonder Woman actually ran up to Starbucks and grabbed some pastries, including some Top Pot donuts (mmmm....donuts). I much appreciated it; when lounging around in my pyjamas and robe, it's nice to have a decent pastry to go with the coffee. So again, thank you so much, Wonder Woman!

Then there was the group lunch out - something like 40 people invaded the Red Robin, messing up the section seating and changing places at the tables so that the poor wait staff could do nothing but watch the chaos. Since they were all high-school age, I don't think they cared much; I figure that will teach management there to not take reservations for large groups, heh heh.

There were many tearful hugs, some last minute packing, and then another summit at the Milton. That was great fun - JB treated me to a Dewars Rob Roy, which the young bartender did not know how to make. Apparently, it's an old-fashioned drink. I said that I liked my drinks like I liked my men, old and classic, and some dude at the end of the bar started howling with laughter - it probably was pretty funny, coming from a woman in pyjamas and bathrobe and fuzzy pink flamingo slippers. Panagiotis treated me to a Glenlivet on the rocks - yeah, I like scotch. It rather goes with the men in kilts thing, after all. Tasty bar food was shared, and someone I hadn't seen in years actually showed up - the man responsible for my Gidorah and Mothra Beanie Babies. No, I'm not a BB collector, but I love all things Gojira (Godzilla to you unbelievers). It was great to see him again, and I have his card, so if I get desperate for work, I'll be sending him an email with my resume...

I did receive a couple of parting gifts - last week, Noisy gave me a Butthole Surfers video from 1985, I believe, full of live performances of all their early greats on there. I've already noted the time marks for my favorite songs, like "Hey" and "Mexican Caravan" and "I Shot the Pope" (or whatever the real title of the song is). It's been so long since I've listened to them that I was very happy to recall exactly how much I like their stuff. So truly, a million thanks, Noisy, for the wonderful treat!

I also received a flower arrangement from a former dept manager and his wife - they are great people, I always enjoyed working with him and chatting with his wife when she'd call. I would conspire with her to keep him on the straight and narrow - we made a great team. Thanks again for the lovely flowers!

And now for today...

I took a Benedryl last night because I felt an allergic attack was imminent, so I slept until 8:30 AM. I got up and brushed my teeth. I put on what I was wearing yesterday and walked to the coffee shop behind my house. I got a short soy mocha and cinnamon roll with orange glaze to go (no yogurt in the fridge, so that means I end up getting a breakfast treat at the coffee shop). I walked home, made sure I didn't want to catch today's NPR morning programming, and fired up the computer to check email. I cued up Jethro Tull in iTunes. There was an hysterically funny lolcats email waiting for me, which I read while eating and drinking. After ensuring that there weren't any email disasters I needed to address, I got the jammie cam going, and wrote my little blog post...

So, how's work today?

Note to Noisy - I'll write about Mr Pizza today, but I won't post it until tomorrow. This post is waaay too long as it is!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Breaking the News

Anyone who has talked to me much in the last few days knows that I dreaded reporting the loss of my job to my mother. No one wants to report to their parent that she is indeed the unemployed wastrel that the mater always thought she would be. So I spent most of the week figuring out how to pitch it so it wouldn't be 'bad news'. The angle I came up with was, 'you know how you always wanted me to be able to spend more time working on cleaning out your garage?', and I must say, it was a highly successful approach. I recommend that if you find yourself in a similar position, dear reader. I was also able to report that my BIL was laid off at the same time, and everyone knows he's anything but wastrel material.

For the record, I did indeed behave like a wastrel last night. I was scheduled to attend a birthday party for a friend. Due to some bad news about a sick coworker, I sucked down two stiff drinks immediately upon arrival to dull the pain of a bad week and the bad news. Being the lightweight drinker that I am, I was seriously tipsy in no time. My performance at the billiard table, never brilliant, was probably the worst in my entire life - the list of things I cannot do when drinking is growing longer.

After dinner and billiards a few of us dead enders attempted to see "Hell Boy II" (too many people in line so we gave up), and ended up at the local tavern for darts (no, I didn't play - no one wants me throwing things after a couple of drinks, I assure you), beer, and beer. It was great because I saw some folks from one of my favorite eateries sitting at another table, drinking, laughing, and acting crazy. I love seeing people outside their work environment whom I normally see only on the job.

After the pub experience, we meandered back to the birthday boy's home where I tried to acquire a pony for myself (but had no luck, consarn it!), and indiscriminately doled out wedges for Trivial Pursuit players. There is only one question in that game that I know the answer to - the name of Sir Isaac Newton's dog. By the time I returned home it was almost 3 AM, and by the time I'd checked email and watched a Simpsons episode, it was almost 4 AM.

So it's just about bedtime for this sleep-deprived (and pony-deprived) girl.

Only three more days of work...

Waaaah! Waaaaah! I want a pony!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It's Official! I've been laid off!

{I sent this email out to folks in my division - this was my cunning plan to avoid being rumor mill fodder, as well as to avoid answering the same basic questions 100 times.}

Yes, I've been given the gift of unemployment! My last day is Wednesday, July 16th. As always, people have questions in these situations, so I will try to answer them.

What will happen to all the junk in your cubicle?
Some of it will go home with me. Some lucky people will be getting gifts from me. You'll just have to wait and see how lucky you are….
What will do you now that you're unemployed?
No, seriously, what will you do?
Seriously? Sleep. After almost a decade of getting up at 5:30 AM I am perpetually sleep-deprived. I will spend some weeks/months catching up on sleep and exercise. I'll have plenty of time.
Okay, smart alec, what else are you going to do?
Catch up on my knitting, write a few novels, keep up my blogs, make jam and soap (in separate pots, of course), dye some wool, spin some yarn, clean out my mother's garage.
What will you do for money?
Well, I am currently accepting donations at my desk; at some point I will probably have to become employed again, but I'm going to wait until I'm well-rested.
Where will you look for work?
I'll start within walking distance of my home - the University of Washington. I don’t stand a chance there, so I expect I'll have a couple of months on unemployment at the very least.
What kind of novels are you writing?
One is about a scientist who decodes the dna of dinosaurs and decides to open up a giant dinosaur amusement park. One is about a young Italian-American man whose father is a big mafia boss but he doesn't want to follow in his father's footsteps - this one has a severed horse's head in it, a plus for any novel. Oh, and I'm writing one about a man who has this obsession with hunting down this huge whale - this one takes place in the 19th century.
Do you expect to increase your level of dumpster diving?
Not until the weather gets a lot cooler - dumpsters in my neighborhood stink to high heaven during the summer. I will, however, pick through leavings left outside the dumpster (for example, someone left a nifty office chair next to my dumpster, but I left it since I don't need a chair right now).

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Layoffs Cometh

Greetings, wage-donkeys!

After nine days off, nine days of getting enough sleep, nine days of having the time and energy to cook proper meals for myself (or enjoy the culinary skills of others), I returned to work today. And the mood is mostly grim and definitely tense. Part of this stems from a last-minute management change on how we chair moisteners were going to be informed of our 'stay or go' status; originally, all unit managers had scheduled 15-minute meetings on the hour and half hour for everyone in their groups. However, it was decided that this was potentially humiliating; I guess it was thought that others would line the halls, waiting to see who came out of their meetings smiling or crying.

Now I see this thinking as being jam-packed with assumptions of questionable value. First is the assumption that smiles indicate staying and tears indicate departure. I know of several comrades for whom the opposite would most definitely be true. Another is that we drones will simply find an excuse to loiter all day outside conference rooms. Honestly, managers could open the conference room door first to eliminate the likelihood that someone would want to be caught doing that; or they could appoint hall monitors, if they're that paranoid. As if the word won't get around quickly enough anyway, apparently we are so full of schadenfreude that we'll hide behind the rented plants to enjoy the misery of our fellows rather than wait a couple of hours for the gossip to circulate.

Knowing that the meetings were cancelled, I asked lorenzo how we were going to be informed of our departure if not with 1-on-1s. He grinned and said, "I dunno." I asked if managers were simply going to corner workers in their cubicles and give them the bad news. He laughed. Ten minutes after this conversation, I ran into some folks in another division and they had been told that managers will 'find us' during the day and haul us off to a conference room to give us the news. I guessed right again, I tells ya! So managers will be trolling the building looking for their people, or cornering them in their cubicles, and dragging them off to some mystery conference room to give them their good or bad news. Nothing humiliating about that - I mean, what if you're on the way to the bathroom? Do you go pee, or do you get laid off first and THEN go pee?

In talking with lorenzo, I had also suggested text messaging as a better method to inform folks. In addition, I offered to use the Photobooth function on my Mac Book to make two movies, a fired and not-fired, and they could be sent out to the appropriate employees. Honestly, I'd rather get an email than be trapped in a room with my manager looking like the unhappy rabbit he is most of these days. He looks like he's ready to gnaw his own foot off in order to escape.

Oh well, I did manage to draft my "I'm Laid Off" email. If I have occasion to send it, I'll post the contents here.

NB - I was sent this image by a coworker; I have no idea where it is from. If this is your image and you would like credit, or would like to have it removed, just leave a comment - they're moderated and I'll see it. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Jam Cam

First of all, many apologies for being such an irregular correspondent. It's not as if I'm lacking material from which to draw inspiration; it is mostly a matter of time constraints. Having enough time to think through what I would say; the post about why I would never succeed in a restaurant job is an example of what happens when I don't spend enough time on my writing. There's a better post in there somewhere, but it will be awhile before I can sit down and rewrite it. And I don't want a blog that is going to be full of crappy, half-written posts. Honestly - my mother raised me better than that. But let's move on to today's topic.

I have been referring to the camera on my new little Mac Book as the "jammy cam" at work, taunting my coworkers with the fact that, once I'm laid off, I'll be posting photos of me in my jammies drinking tea and typing blog posts while they're slaving at work. (Hey, if one is going to be unemployed for awhile, one might as well get some enjoyment out of it; not getting up at 5:30 AM is going to be a big chunk of that enjoyment.) Today, though, it was more jam than jammies that were being photographed.

I took this week off from work; we get two days off for the holiday, and long before layoffs came I had decided to take the entire week off. After news of the serious layoffs headed our way was announced, I decided to enjoy the three extra days off and be rested for the bad news. So I've sort of used this week as a trial for being unemployed. The weekend was a bit of a bust, as it reached 303.15 degrees Kelvin in my apartment (and I assure you, the 86 degrees F really felt more like 303.15). But Monday I had an appointment, purchased some badly needed knitting tools, purchased something for my mother and knitting swap pal at the Daiso $1.50 store, did some dishes and some laundry. Yesterday I came over to a friend's house around noon - we rendezvoused at the Goodwill near her home, where I purchased some yarn and came up with an excellent cheap craft idea (notice I didn't say it was tasteful or attractive), and then we returned to her home to make strawberry jam from berries her bf had raised in their backyard. This morning we had toast with our lovely, perfectly jellied strawberry jam, bacon, potatoes, and fresh eggs from her chickens. Last night we lounged in their hot tub and watched meteors and the space station cross the night skies.

Not working sucks ;-)

Anyway, here are some lovely photos of our jam:

And here's a gratuitous chicken photo: