February 26, 2010

Two out of three ain’t bad…

Posted in *cringe*, 8-ball - pool not narcotics, The Aaaarrrghhhhh!, The Small and Petty, The Who, The Why, The WTF at 10:19 am by Dagny Taggart

Of course, three out of three would have been better.  I played one regular match and two makeup matches last night (thank you, O Terrible Gods of Snow and Cold), and managed to recover from my loss to win my two regularly scheduled matches.

While I was playing well, I was definitely off my game – part of which, I suspect, was because I had worn my glasses all day and then switched to contacts in order to play (playing in my glasses would NOT have gone well, because of the aforementioned peripheral vision issues).  My eyes were, I think, still adjusting to the change.

Oh, and the terrible, awful, no-good, very bad headache didn’t help matters.

The whole night was strange, though.  And the strangeness started when I walked in, took off my coat, started chatting with my teammates, and was interrupted by another player from another team – an older gentleman, who’d tried to make conversation with me before, and who not only has problems remembering my name, but who seems like he’s potentially interested in breaking my rule.  So I’ve been cordial, but not particularly friendly.

So this guy, whom we’ll call Louis (pronounced the French way), interrupted my conversation to thrust a box of tapes (like a book-on-tape box) into my hand, and explain that they were readings of some of the most important Supreme Court decisions.  And he said that they were by way of an apology for something unkind he’d said a few weeks prior.



I have no recollection of anything kind, or unkind, that this man might have said.  Which makes me think that he perhaps didn’t say it to me, but was afraid it might get back to me.  Which makes me wonder what, exactly, it WAS that he might have said.

However, I’ve learned the hard way that I’m usually much better off not knowing.  Because the things people say when they’re not thinking about who might eventually hear them?  Can be really and truly awful.

So, I’m just going to listen to the words of the Supreme Court Justices – because they are, in general, highly intelligent people who were, I suspect, very much aware that large numbers of people were going to be reading and listening to the things they said.

February 25, 2010

Boys don’t make passes…

Posted in I need a helmet, Nerdiness, The OCD, The Why at 9:29 am by Dagny Taggart

I’m wearing my glasses today.  I’ve been wearing them for the past couple of days, as my right eyelid has been suspiciously puffy and any attempt to put on mascara made my eyelashes itch.  While those of us with allergies are familiar with this phenomenon, and it’s generally nothing to worry about, I thought it might be a good time to just let that part of my body “reset” itself.

And so, I’m wearing glasses.

The thing that makes wearing glasses both fun and migraine-inducing, for me, is that my vision is *atrocious* without them.  I have a high differential between my prescriptions – my left eye is legally blind, whereas my right eye is only about halfway there.  Throw in some astigmatism, and you’ve got a recipe for serious headaches.  Especially when you factor in that wearing lenses large enough to cover my peripheral version would mean wearing glasses weighing several pounds.  So, I wear glasses that do not cover my peripheral vision, and am thus treated to a small area of visibility surrounded by visual quicksand – a blurry mess into which all objects sort of melt.

The nice thing about this, however, is that I can treat myself to a different world so much more readily.  You’re forced to focus on the big picture when you’re so nearsighted that the best you can do is a fuzzy outline, even if the object in question is a building 15 yards away.  And when you’re a slightly neurotic, OCD-tendencied type A-minus personality, being relieved of the burden of details is actually a lovely treat. 

I’d do it more often, if it weren’t for the migraines.

February 24, 2010

Do you hear what I hear?

Posted in Present, The Happy, The Where, The Why at 9:49 am by Dagny Taggart

No, no.  It’s not the backup alarm of the supermarket delivery truck, making its usual 5:30 am stop.  Well, it WAS, but we’re learning to ignore that, slowly, with deep cleansing breaths.

At least whenever I hear that noise, I’m reminded of the scene in My Cousin Vinny :

“Yesterday you told me that freight train hardly ever comes through here at 5:00 in the morning.”

“I know.  She’s supposed to come through here at ten after 4:00.”

But anyway, I can hear something RIGHT NOW, something that makes me so unspeakably happy, it’s a good thing I’m not actually working in my office today (though, one might point out that when one’s office is as far from a window as it is possible to be, in one’s behemoth of an office building, the odds of one hearing something happening outside are slim to none, so unspeakable happiness wouldn’t be happening).

I can hear birds.  Not just cranky, overcompensating-with-forced-cheeriness morning birds that I strongly suspect are telling each other to f*ck off and find their own g@#d^&*ed worms/leftover coffee grounds.  No, these birds are STILL CHIRPING.  Because they are out and about, and enjoying the sunshiney day.  Perhaps they, too, have noticed the teensy red buds on the tree outside my window, have noticed that they can get to the ground to find breakfast without diving through frozen white stuff.

Maybe they’re just glad that it’s not snowing or freezing, at the moment.  Maybe they’re rehashing that moment they had with Tippi Hedren, and plotting a sequel.  Maybe they’re discussing how humans are idiots and ruining the planet for everyone else, maybe they’re about to take care of some business right on top of my car.

I don’t care.  Right now, I could listen to them for hours, because it sounds like spring.

And not a moment too soon.

February 23, 2010

“And Timing, as they say, is everything.”

Posted in But I am... le sick, I need a helmet, Nerdiness, The Aaaarrrghhhhh!, The Gnomes, The Small and Petty, The WTF at 9:40 am by Dagny Taggart

~ The Hour of the Octopus, Joel Rosenberg*

(1)  I decide to give up cable television, retaining only my internet connection.

(1)(a)  I have an absurdly easy time doing this at the cable retail location, and return home to find the things working that should be, and not working that shouldn’t.

(1)(b)  I am subsequently billed for all of my previous services, instead of just the one that I’ve decided to keep.

(1)(c)  I plot revenge.

(2)  My television decides to be cranky, making an odd, high-pitched noise when I turn it on, and refusing to keep the screen functional for more than a second or two before blinking off.  Note that the television is still ON at this point, it’s just a blank screen emitting that flourescent-bulb whine.

(3)  I mention this to my parents, who inform me that they have an exact replica of my television, save that their copy works!  And since they’re giving it away, I’m welcome to it – so long as I let them know, since they were thinking about donating it soonish.

(4)  I remember to email them 5 days after this offer is made.

(5)  They reply, informing me that the television is now gone and I really should have gotten back to them sooner.

(6)  I decide to accept that there must be some logic in their thought process, and that a call to my cell phone prior to actually giving it away would have been entirely too taxing for them, and that this is, in fact, all my fault.

(7)  I also wonder if said cable company has messed with my non-functioning unit in an effort to get me to see that unless I have a television that works, one that is fully supplied with all of the cable it could ever want to keep it happy and healthy, I will be cranky and miserable.

(8)  I decide that my workout DVDs will play just as well on my laptop, and extend my longest digit in something of a salute, in the general direction of said cable company, which will be getting a phone call later to confirm my decision and ask for my refund.

(9)  I also decide that if I ever go back to the land of small-screen pop culture, I’ll see about Fios or satellite.

*For my fellow fantasy lit nerds, if you haven’t read this guy yet, DO.  He’s not George R. R. Martin or anything, but he’s good, and original, and limits his recaps of previous works to a paragraph or two here or there, instead of letting it take up close to 55% of subsequent books (I’m looking at you, Mssrs. Jordan and Goodkind).  This book isn’t connected to his other big series, but is dryly amusing in its own right.

February 22, 2010

You know what I’d like?

Posted in But I am... le sick, I need a helmet, Project: Fail, The OCD, The Round, The Small and Petty at 11:18 am by Dagny Taggart

I’d like to go more than 4 months without getting food poisoning.  Although at least yesterday’s was more of a very strong *dislike* reaction to breakfast sausage, rather than a full-blown course of agony.  But still.  I can have sushi, soft-boiled eggs, ceviche, and all manner of so-called “risky” foods, but the stuff that gets me is lamb (cross-contaminated with salmonella, thanks!) or not-previously-frozen breakfast sausage.

I’d like to be able to get my mail from various sources without it being violently jammed into my mailbox by a postal worker for whom my condo is close to the end of the route.  I understand that he or she is tired, and I understand that it must be very annoying to carry tons of junk mail all day, and I understand that it might be more time-consuming to wrap each person’s mail into a bundle with the magazines on the outside and smaller pieces on the inside, but I also kind of thought that me getting my mail at least implied getting it intact, and not crumpled into unrecognizable balls of paper.

I’d like to get a full night’s sleep, for real.  One from which I awaken feeling refreshed and ready to start the day, rather than even more tired – as though I’d spent the night sleep-fighting a monster comprised of jersey sheets and synthetic down.

I’d also like a hedgehog.  For a pet.  Because how could you NOT?

February 19, 2010

You know where to get relationship advice?

Posted in Advice I have no business giving, Project: Fail, The Just a Little Sad, The Small and Petty at 9:30 am by Dagny Taggart

Before I get started, I have a question about tuna. 

Is albacore supposed to be more mercury-y than chunk light?  What’s the difference between the two?  And if I have a tuna sandwich for lunch, will I go all Jeremy Piven if I have sushi for dinner tonight?

Because I really want sushi for dinner tonight – enough so that I could be persuaded to choke down some tofu for lunch, instead.

If you want relationship advice, become friends with a divorce lawyer.  I know – I know!  You’d think that this is counterintuitive, that a divorce lawyer doesn’t come into contact with that many successful relationships, so what would a divorce lawyer know about how to live happily ever after?

What they know, is what NOT to do.  I mean, there’s the obvious egregious stuff that’s just a bad idea in general, because it’s morally reprehensible and TACKY.  Sleeping with your wife’s sister is not, actually, a classy move.  Even if her femullet is that much more impressive.

But one of the best pieces of advice/information I’ve gotten from a divorce lawyer friend, is that comparing one’s relationship to other people’s, or trying to emulate other people’s relationship dynamic, is a really BAD idea.  Because (and here’s the Holy Grail of relationship information):

The only people who know what’s really going on in a relationship are the people in it.

And I would add to this: 

And sometimes one or both of them are clueless, too.

And what’s fascinating to me, is that quite often the persons most disposed to give unsolicited relationship advice, are the persons whose relationships are significantly less sound than they would like everyone to believe.

February 18, 2010

Three hour “friends”

Posted in *cringe*, Guilt, Nerdiness, The Aaaarrrghhhhh!, The Just a Little Sad, The Small and Petty, The Who, The WTF at 9:00 am by Dagny Taggart

Anyone else have these?

Generally, it’s someone you meet in a situation where you’re sort of… expected to be friends with her.  Either you meet her through work, and are expected to work with her on a regular basis, or maybe he’s a part of a group of friends, and because he has a close connection to one or two of the people in the group, the rest of you are going to be spending time with him regularly.

So, if you’re a naturally friendly person, you look for things you have in common, bring up topics of conversation to which you’ll both be amenable.  You do your best to find a basis for liking the person – and you succeed.

To a point.

Because once you’re past the four or five things you have in common, you realize that you’re exhausted, just from talking to this person.  Maybe she dominates the conversation, making it all about her.  Maybe he’s so busy cracking insipid jokes that he hasn’t noticed that nobody’s laughing.  Maybe he demands every last bit of attention you can muster, clinging to you like a codependent facehugger, or maybe she’s a catty gossip who invariably starts tearing down each of your friends with snide remarks – leaving you to wonder exactly what she says about you when you’re not around.

At any rate, you realize that this is not someone you could ever be close friends with.  Yet, you are expected to be friendly with them, to maintain a jovial attitude when around them – for the good of the team at work, or to keep the peace in a group of friends.  Maybe you even really like some aspects of this person, and are genuinely happy to talk to them, just… not for very long. 

These people are what my fabulous ex-roommate referred to as a “three-hour friend”.  For three hours, you can have a good time with this person.  But once those three hours are up, evasive maneuvers are required.

Personally, I’ve been debating the merits of this particular farce.  It definitely serves a purpose, and I think in work scenarios, especially, it behooves one to seek common ground and establish rapport when possible, and do one’s best to overlook personality conflicts as much as possible.  But in social situations, I wonder.  Yes, a party will go more smoothly if everyone pretends to like each other.  But is it possible to “lead someone on” as a friend?  If you’re warm and bubbly around someone for three hour increments, mightn’t they have a right to think of you as someone with actual friend potential?  Would it be better to keep your distance, to be a bit chilly, so that nobody gets confused, and possibly hurt, when invitations are declined and phone calls ignored, because you simply cannot spend one more minute with the person?

February 17, 2010

Magic Pants

Posted in I need a helmet, Project: Fail, The Aaaarrrghhhhh!, The Round, The WTF at 9:50 am by Dagny Taggart

Today started off with a debate, a nice long run, a revelation, a few scrapes, and Magic Pants.  More or less in that order.

The alarm (beastly creature) went off just before 4:40.  And had I been less edgy, I would have given in to the desire to stay in the bed for another hour or two.  But I got up for some water, and in the course of confronting the relative chill outside the covers, my brain started working.

Recognizing that getting back to sleep would require effort at this point, I threw on some gym clothes and headed out for my run.  During which I managed to hold a conversation, thus leading to the revelation that I could probably kick the treadmill up a notch or two, at least for intervals, from now on.

This time, I descended the treadmill without incident, carefully stretched the miles away, and felt pretty good about the whole experience, and the start to my day.

That is, until I ventured towards the Metro, much as I did yesterday.  But today, two things were different.

One, a car approached my crosswalk as I was crossing it, and showed no signs of slowing or stopping – despite the fact that I was going to have to either mount a pile of snow taller than yours truly, or stay in the road a bit longer to circumnavigate. 

Two, I chose the latter, rather than brave the “path” a few brave souls had tromped through said pile of snow, as I had done yesterday.  And that decision cost me some dignity and some of the epidermis from my hands.  It led, however, to the discovery that my freshly-dry-cleaned pants are magic – despite being ground into snow, grit, and salt knee-first by the force of my fall, they emerged unscathed.  Not even damp.

My dignity is less magic, it would seem.  Also, my temper experienced a bit of a flare-up.

Seriously, Metro – it’s been long enough.  Shovel the pedestrian walkways at the metro stations, would you?  It’s not safe, especially when cars can’t see pedestrians because of the very snow that’s keeping us from walking where we should.  My pants may be magic, but I don’t think they’d be able to withstand the impact of one of the myriad Volvos that descend on my station with frequency during rush hour.

February 16, 2010

Things to give up.

Posted in *cringe*, Guilt, Nerdiness, Project: Fail at 11:37 am by Dagny Taggart

Today is Fat Tuesday.  Which means tomorrow marks the beginning of Lent.

Which means I could give something up, if I were so inclined.

Now, I know I turned in my cable box yesterday, but… I don’t think that counts.  Because I’m not giving up TV for G-d, I’m giving it up for me.  And my bank account.

So.  I need to give something else up.  And I was thinking that I might try giving up non-literary reading material. 

By non-literary, I mean anything that Penguin wouldn’t call a classic – so I’ll be able to read anything published under that imprint, as well as things I have good reason to believe WOULD fall under that imprint, and any nonfiction.  But I won’t be allowed to curl up with my beloved sci-fi or fantasy, I won’t be surreptitiously perusing chick lit during my commute. 

This would be a much easier thing, if I were still watching TV.  But without the TV, I suspect I will turn to books with even greater frequency. 

What are you giving up?  Or if you have another suggestion for me that doesn’t involve eliminating my literary guilty pleasures, please share…

February 15, 2010


Posted in Nerdiness, Project: Fail, The OCD, The Round, The Why at 12:36 pm by Dagny Taggart

I’m giving up cable tv today.

I know.  I know!  Cable TV includes THE FOOD NETWORK.

But, well… I think it will be a good thing.  I have more fun things that I could be spending that money on, for one.  And for another, it will be interesting to see what I do with that time, you know?

Are there any non-tv people out there?  When did you give it up?  Was it hard?

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