August 17, 2010

Thank heaven for car inspections.

Posted in The Process, The Where at 12:40 pm by Dagny Taggart

1)  I’ve been having a bit of a block lately, in case you couldn’t tell from the absolute randomness, and lack of interesting material, in recent posts.

2)  But, I’m leaving for Vegas, The Sequel in 4 days.

3)  My car inspection expired at the end of July, and I hadn’t gotten it done yet.

4)  So, I worked from home today, and went on my lunch hour.

5)  When she fails inspection, my car is called Hester Prynne, because they give you a pink sticker where the yellow one normally goes.

6)  She is currently called Madeleine, her name when she has not merited a rose-hued adhesion.

7)  This is a good thing, because I didn’t feel like spending ridiculous sums on brake, oil gasket, or pressure hose repair.

8 )  Also, it means I shouldn’t get any tickets from the local parking enforcement officer while I’m gone.

9)  Which means I won’t have to call Officer P and ask him to void the tickets once I’ve taken care of the inspection.

10) Because Officer P has a tendency to write multiple tickets over a very short period of time, which doesn’t give one time to actually GET the car inspected, and the local authorities agree that it’s somewhat unreasonable to not give someone time to correct the infraction.

11)  And, Officer P sounds pretty much exactly like Elmer Fudd and Porky Pig combined, meaning that he is VERY hard to understand, and conversations take a VERY long time.

12)  And really, it’s just kind of nice to feel like I’ve done some of the things.

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June 24, 2010

Decisionmaking

Posted in Advice I have no business giving, Darth Vaguer, The Process, The Why at 11:59 am by Dagny Taggart

“Out of the frying pan and into the fire,” shouted the count, burning himself badly.

If you’re not happy with your situation, you have three main options.  You can do absolutely nothing and continue on the Path of Unhappy.  You can do something about your situation to make it better.  Or, you can remove yourself from that situation entirely.

But you cannot do any two of these things simultaneously, and have an real hope of success.  For example, if you quit your job, you cannot also hope to have some positive influence on the way the job is, after you’ve left.  You cannot do nothing, and hope to make changes happen.  And since removing yourself is, by definition, doing something, you can’t do nothing and remove at the same time.

So my advice is to think about it for as long as you need, but then pick one, and stick with it.

April 30, 2010

Meh

Posted in Guilt, Present, Project: Fail, The Just a Little Sad, The Process, The Why at 10:53 am by Dagny Taggart

I’ve had a couple of really vivid dreams lately.  Seems to happen more on the nights that I’m able to squeeze in more than 6 hours of sleep.  And the dreams… I remembered them, and wrote them down, and am examining them further to see what I might do with them.  If anything.

I’ve been bouncing around this office for a few years now.  It is a job, and it does the things that a job is supposed to do – pays the bills, etc.  It’s not a career, but it could be, and I’m trying to figure out what I need to do to make it a career, and whether I want to do those things.

And there are my hobbies, and wanting to get and stay in shape, and trying to address my food issues in some meaningful way that won’t have me back in the same headspace in 2 years, wondering why exactly it’s so hard to leave that jar of peanut butter ALONE.

There’s my family and friends, and trying to keep in touch with and spend time with people who have been there for me, people I’d like to keep in my life, and it’s just not as easy to do that as it was before.  Email and texting isn’t always enough. 

All of which to say, I just don’t have as much time anymore.  I can’t steal minutes from my workday, not if I actually want to go that extra mile and see what’s at the other end of it.  I can’t steal minutes from sleep or gym or pool or friends – I don’t have enough minutes for those things as it is. 

It’s just been really hard to be *here*.

January 28, 2010

Nerves

Posted in 8-ball - pool not narcotics, I need a helmet, Nerdiness, The Process, The Why at 9:06 am by Dagny Taggart

At this point last season, I think I was at… 20%?  25%?  I was on my teams for a variety of reasons, none of which included the expectation of regular victories while I was at the table.  I was having fun, and I never really felt like I wasn’t a valued member of my teams.  My captains made an effort to be even-handed in assigning matches, so I didn’t feel excluded.

And then, I started winning.  Just on Thursday nights, just for the team that I drank with.  But I was winning… a lot.  By the end of postseason, I had somewhere near an 87% record.

Of course, I did my best for my other teams, and managed to pull out a victory for them here and there.  But it was that team – the team for which I won the match that put us on top for the season, where I’d been performing consistently well.

This weekend, that team has a bigger tournament.  I’ll be driving into the hinterlands at a positively ungodly hour, pulling my cue out of its case and wondering exactly how early is too early to get one’s first adult beverage of the day.

I think they might be counting on me, and I’m nervous.

How do you deal with that kind of pressure?

December 31, 2009

Be it resolved

Posted in Project: Fail, The Happy, The OCD, The Process, The Round, The Who, The Why, The WTF at 8:13 am by Dagny Taggart

1)  Eat at least two vegetables every day (fruit doesn’t count!).

2)  Stop biting my nails, for real this time.

3)  Thank my parents more often.

4)  Take charge, at least a little.

5)  Revel.

Yours?

November 17, 2009

Organization? ME??!?

Posted in Nerdiness, Project: Fail, The How, The Process, The WTF at 8:35 am by Dagny Taggart

First of all, I want to bring the interrobang back.  Now.  You know where we can put it?  In the “special characters” space currently occupied by “∂”, which apparently stands for “partial differential”.  I am SURE the interrobang would get more use, if properly publicized.

At any rate, I was doing a little bit of thinking yesterday, puttering around after work and getting ready for pool.  And it hit me.

I need an outline.   The reason I’ve made precisely the same three or four paragraphs of headway every time I’ve tried to write a piece of fiction, without fail, is that I have too many options as to where it could go afterward.  And I can’t decide, while I’m actually writing, what’s going to happen next.  Which characters to introduce when, which backstory should go with whom.  All of these ideas just swirl around, bumping into each other and dropping stacks of papers and generally causing a ruckus.

I’d thought, for the longest time, that I was a NO-OUTLINE kinda girl.  I mean, I’d start 35-page papers roughly 36 hours in advance of their deadline, with a stack of references to my left, Diet Coke, Marlboro Lights and an ashtray to my right, a roommate with a lighter similarly situated on the other side of the room, and emerge with enough time to shower and change before dropping the paper off in the appropriate faculty mailbox.  It was the only way the papers got done (and I did pretty well on them, scarily enough).

But those papers kind of have a built-in outline.  Academic work follows a pretty typical pattern, one that was burned into my brain so thoroughly as to become instinctive.  And thus, a subconscious outline punctuated by smoke breaks and the occasional Lean Pocket guided my thoughts, kept tangents at bay, and wrangled my theses into a submission.

For this, it is not so automatic.  There is no sharply blazed trail through the jungle of my creative brain, and thus… things fall apart.  So, I have to write an outline, I suppose, because these ideas REALLY want out of my head. 

Anyone know how to do that in a way that won’t make me want to stab out my eyeballs?

October 15, 2009

Four things

Posted in 8-ball - pool not narcotics, Project: Fail, The Process, The Who, The Why at 10:41 am by Dagny Taggart

Me, a stick, some balls, and a table with holes in it.

I was looking at my stats the other day, and noticed something.  I am undefeated (knock on wood) on one of my teams this season, despite having played more matches for that team than either of the other two – nearly as much as the other two combined.

And I was trying to figure out why that is.  As easy as it would be to blame it on the shots we do as a team-building exercise, I don’t think that’s it.  I think I’m more relaxed with them, and therefore more focused.

Why am I relaxed?  Because the captain of that team has a tendency to play me last – which means I stay late and don’t get enough sleep, but also means that we’ve usually already taken 3 of the 5 matches we’ll play – so there’s not as much pressure.   And when I’m coached, I’m encouraged to take riskier shots – which makes me less concerned with failure, since my coach wouldn’t be encouraging me to take risks if he were going to be truly annoyed if I lost.

I’ve been trying to think of how I can bring this relaxation to my other teams – since I know nerves are at least partially responsible for poor performance, I need to up my mental game.  So I think I’m going to create a little mantra – me, a stick, some balls, and a table.  That’s all that matters when I’m down on a shot – no matter who is on my team, who’s watching, or what the consequences of that shot might be.

September 25, 2009

Bootstrap Levitation

Posted in The Angry, The How, The Process, The Why at 9:12 am by Dagny Taggart

I didn’t even know it was possible, until I’d talked to someone who had done it. 

I could say that my ignorance wasn’t my fault, that there was no way I could have known that it was possible.  Who’d have believed it, in this culture?  And nobody had ever sat me down and told me what to look for, told me what should be important when I was deciding where I was going to spend at least a third of most days.

And it didn’t seem like things were so bad, until I talked to someone who’d made a system work for her.  Granted, she had a better system to start with, but she’d done the work and found that system and shown what she could do and earned her way up…

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some hunting to do.

September 23, 2009

And I am slightly less intelligent for having done that.

Posted in *cringe*, Project: Fail, The Gnomes, the pretty, The Process, The Round at 7:50 am by Dagny Taggart

No, really.  My brain is sluggish and stupid today – moreso than usual, and I honestly think it’s because I spent over two hours in the gym last night.

I was lucky enough to be the beneficiary of some fitness expertise, and I took advantage of it with a fairly intense leg workout.  I’d had a small snack before heading off to the gym, and had a full water bottle with me.  I was ready – or so I thought.

When I left the gym at nearly 11:00 pm, I knew I had to hightail it home and shower, then hop into bed.  But my body was SCREAMING for food, and I was incapable of formulating a plan.  Thankfully, scooping protein into a glass of milk and fork-stirring was within my capabilities, as was showering and then grabbing a bowl of healthy cereal. 

Significantly less successful were my attempts to compose coherent replies to the day’s personal correspondence.  Tidying up afterward wasn’t happening, either – that was going to be a job for this morning, after my hand had stubbornly hit snooze on my alarm a time or two more than usual.

Apparently, my legs have decided that if my brain is going to make them lift and stretch and hurt, they’re going to exact revenge on my brain by robbing it of whatever nutrients it uses for higher function.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

August 13, 2009

So… you’re saying there’s a pointy stick, and I put it WHERE?

Posted in 8-ball - pool not narcotics, Nerdiness, The Process at 8:36 am by Dagny Taggart

Um.  It’s been a little while since I last played pool.  Probably a little too long, really.  And I do feel guilty about that, I really do.

I imagine that it will be another few months, at least, before I get to the point where I’m really ready to put the time in.  And here’s the basis for that theory.

The Oboe:

Yep, I was that freak in the center of the second row of the orchestra, behind either a flautist or clarinet player, trying to balance a shot glass of water on my music stand or keep it from getting kicked by placing it under my chair, carefully inspecting my double reed for knicks and sticking EZ-Wider cigarette paper* under the keypads from time to time.  It took me roughly four years to stop sounding like a duck.

Let me elaborate.  It took me roughly four years to stop sounding like a duck that was being horribly wronged by some kind of avian proctologist.  I hated practicing, because it sounded AWFUL.  And barely practicing probably wasn’t doing me any favors.

One day, it just clicked.  The rubber glove was removed, the mallard smoothed its feathers, and I came in third statewide, which qualified me to sit first chair in the Youth Symphonic Band (first and second were in the Orchestra).

So, it’s been about two years since I first picked up a pool cue and lost my first match.  I’ve made some significant improvements since then, but I still loathe practicing.  I hate watching myself miss over and over again, not being able to perceive any improvement. 

Thankfully, much like orchestra, I’ve got some good people who keep it fun, during league nights.  And I have some hope that so long as I don’t give up completely, so long as I actually TRY when I do play, that it will “click”, and I’ll get to the point where practice is fun because I know I’m making progress.  And then I’ll actually make some progress.

Until then, I’ll probably continue to play in a stance that looks like I’ve completely misunderstood where it is I’m supposed to put the cue.

*Note:  The crowd I started hanging out with my junior year found it HILARIOUS that the most straightlaced person in the entire school had several packages of these on her person at all times, and was never once questioned about why.

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