Makes You Think…

I was all set to write an entry about how my neck had a crick in it all day (and still does) from how I slept last night, and how glad I was that today was only a 9-hour Monday instead of the normal twelve, yadda-yadda-yadda…

Then, from the Saginaires Alumni Yahoo! Group, the one that I started as a base for alumni of the drumcorps I used to march, I got this message:

Dear Friends,
It’s noon on Monday and I just got word that Steve Yoder is seriously ill in the hospital and in a coma. Everyone say a little prayer for Steve. Will update as possible.

Of course, several people (including me) chimed in and gave our best wishes to Steve and his family or friends or whoever he has with him. I went to the website of the indoor drumline he directs, which is under the same umbrella organization as our old drumcorps, and discovered that he’s been hospitalized for the past week and a half. He’s a relatively young guy, in his 40’s, so while I was concerned about him, I wasn’t worried, despite the fact that he was comatose.

Then, around 9pm, the same individual posted this message, which read in part:

I spoke to Danny Trepiak a couple of hours ago and understand that Steve is gravely ill and not expected to live. It could happen within "hours."

Whoa. I mean, I’m not personally close with Steve, but he directs the closest thing to my old drumcorps that there is: a kick-ass World Champion indoor drumline. I’ve worked with him before in alumni happenings, and have corresponded with him about alumni involvement and the aim of the drumline (and winterguard, when we had one). In that respect, he’s kind of like "Uncle Steve." He’s been a big part of why the umbrella organization up in Saginaw hasn’t completely folded, as the CEO is ready to retire from the Saginaires Youth Organization and step down eventually.

But I’m really concerned for the kids in his drumline. Last year, they were World Champions in their class, and this year they intend to move up a class from Independent Open to Independent World. After reading the posts from these kids (ages 16 to 20), I don’t think they realize what dire straits Steve is in. They fully expect Steve to be back and read their message board posts to him, and no one has posted there for the past week or so. I think they’re going to be shocked out of their wits if and when he passes, and in my opinion, it’s equal odds whether they’ll mourn and quit or choose to dedicate this season to Steve. …OK, maybe not equal odds — these kids are fighters, and they had a taste of greatness last year.

Anyway, the whole thing does give you something to think about.

Cast of Characters

Just spent all evening napping. Yeah, all evening. From the time the national news went off (7:00pm — no, wait, I watched some History Channel, so 7:30pm) to just a little while ago (11:30pm). My eyes have that weird, sleepish feeling, like they’re all dry and buggy, and I thought for a while I’d just go straight to bed from the recliner, but now I’m feeling a little better. That, plus the upstairs neighbors are having a little hoopdie (sp?), complete with booming bass. But at least his taste in music doesn’t suck too much. If I heard the whole song instead of just the bassline, I wouldn’t be completely opposed to his mixes. Anyway, I’ve got my normalradio cranked here at the ‘puter, so I’m good to go.

(Hey, Ellie’s playing my Depeche Mode request! Whee!)

Speaking of Ellie, I got an interesting idea from her website tonight. She posted a Cast of Characters from the year 2000 and the year 1999, and commented that of the eleven people who were central to her life back then, there are seven she’s no longer in touch with. Interesting, but typical for the college years. If I thought about it, my "Cast of Characters" would be completely and totally different from 1995 to 1996 and again in 1997, to a degree, where things stabilized a little. (At least, my roommate stayed the same from there on.)

So, just for shits and giggles (pbbt… heehee!), here’s my Cast of Characters for October 2003:

Aaron
is my newlywed husband and my best friend. I’m so lucky to be married to someone with such depth to his personality. He’s always, consistently and irrefutably (and sometimes against his will), the life of the party, and is a total goofball when the situation warrants. But he’s also much more responsible than I would have given him credit for back when we first met, and he doesn’t do anything by halves. Whether it’s the Atkins Diet, rollerblading, 8-track tapes, video games, or whatever, he dives headfirst into whatever seriously engages his brain.

Amy
was my college roommate from 1996-2000, but is now my long-distance best friend from Dayton. Normally, I wouldn’t count someone almost three hours away as being in my main CoC, but Amy’s special… at least, that’s what they told her in school. 🙂 But seriously — Amy has always been there for me, giving me sound advice and encouraging me to look into my inner motivations. I can tell her literally anything. Even though we don’t see each other as often as we’d like, we’re still just about as close as ever. I love you, man! *sniffle*

Kris H.
is the resident musician of our little circle of friends, and one of the thriftiest people I know. He’s also the vegetarian of the bunch, which makes eating out even more challenging, now that Aaron and I are on Atkins. He’s always good for a good Star Trek conversation (especially Next Gen), and will share mp3’s with anyone who asks… and sometimes even when you don’t ask. Kris is probably one of the most laid-back people I know, while still being kind of humorously indecisive at times — especially at thrift stores and garage sales.

Mark
has just moved out of his parents’ house and into his very own apartment! He was originally the quiet guy who hung around with Aaron’s group of co-workers at UPS, but has become an integral part of our social group. He tried making an independent film last year, but got discouraged when all his actors backed out on him at the last minute… gotta love Toledo talent. He’s also a sponge when it comes to new, good music — we’ve created a monster by introducing him to the White Stripes, Soledad Brothers, and their ilk, and I even got in on the scene by introducing him to Tegan & Sara. Now he reminds us of how we (or at least Aaron) used to be when we were his age, several years back: going to shows all days of the week, wherever they may be. Mark is another laid-back guy, but in a slightly different way than Kris. He’s comfortable with himself and his lot in life, and doesn’t have any qualms about working for UPS and not doing the college thing.

Kris Fries
was mainly a music-loving acquaintance of Aaron’s during high school at St. John’s, but their friendship was forged after graduation when they started attending concerts together (reference Mark, above). Now, ten years later, Kris is married and they’re expecting their first child next month. Whoa. Despite his lessened interest in music since his marriage, he’s still the biggest Rush fan I’ve ever seen.

If you’re not listed here (Dan, Sheryl, Eric, Beth, Donna, et al.), be assured I haven’t forgotten about you. You’re in my Supporting Cast. 😉

Blog Entry, Take Two

Dammit. I had a great start, then my computer locked up on the fucking History Channel website. I guess that’s what I get for wanting to put goddamned hyperlinks in my blog. Well, let’s see if I can get unpissed and recreate what I had. *deep breath*

Well, then… I’ve spent all evening watching VH1’s "I Love The 80’s Strikes Back" and playing Civ III. Fun at the time, but now I feel like I’ve wasted the whole goddamned day. I mean, I’d planned to post some stuff to eBay, and clean the computer room, and work on cataloguing my Smurf collection.

Yes, my Smurf collection. All 100 of them.

Two things recently prompted me to dig out my Smurfs and catalogue them for either general collecting or for eBaying. One was my thrift acquisition of a new knick-knack shelf: one of those typesetter’s cases that’s been converted to hang on the wall and hold trinkets. The other thing was finding out that Kris is looking to start liquidating his old Transformers and Star Wars figurines (still living at his parents’ house… come on, man, you’re 30 now!).

So, last night, there I was, sitting on the living room floor, watching a special about the Salem Witch Trials on the Discovery Channel and sorting Smurfs.

It’s going to take me forever to catalogue them the way I want to, but I’m going to do it anyway, because I’m curious as to what I have. I have the little guys all sorted out into a.) Smurfs to keep, b.) Smurfs to eBay, c.) Smurfs to thrift because they’ve been dog- or cat-chewed, d.) Smurfs without accessories, and e.) random accessories. Blueimps.com has been quite the find, as has MushroomVillage.com — they each have a great way of locating the official names and serial numbers of each Smurf. At Blue Imps, I can browse the images and say, "Is that him? Yeah, that’s him." At the Mushroom Village, I can type in a word, like "ball," and get photos and descriptions of Smurfs with, well, balls. (Bowling balls and soccer balls! Be nice!)

I only have 20 Smurfs catalogued in my little Excel file (with name, ID, variation, and notes), so I’ve quite the haul ahead of me. Oh, and if you’re checking up on me at eBay to see what I’m selling, my ID has changed to reflect my married name. I am now dschnuth on eBay. (And, yes, I’ve got some stuff up right now. I’m selling the beginning of my closet junk: old McDonald’s Happy Meal toys.)

In other news… I managed two culinary feats today. I made dinner (yes, it’s a feat) and I hardboiled some eggs. Now, wait, let me tell you all about it. As for dinner, I steamed some cauliflower and baked a chicken breast. But since dousing the chicken in lemon or soy or a concoction of the two plus some honey (which I’d come to enjoy) is out with Atkins, I discovered the art of mixing Worchestershire sauce into some mayo and using it as a glaze of sorts. It was actually quite yummy. So, culinary feat #1 was a success. Mmm.

Culinary feat #2 was not so much. I put some water on to boil for eggs, and didn’t forget about it for too long. Which is more than I can say for the eggs. Here I was, playing Civ III, when I glanced at my watch and realized that the eggs had been boiling for twice as long as necessary. Like, 45 minutes. I freaked out and ran into the kitchen, which was thankfully not on fire, and rescued the eggs. I ate the one that had cracked when I’d first put it in — and it tasted burnt. Hell, it even looked a little burnt inside. I’ll bet you didn’t know you could burn a fucking hardboiled egg, did you? Me neither. Well, luckily enough, the rest of them just seem to be a touch overdone, not nasty or inedible. I feel like a fool, though, just the same.

And at work, things are a little happier. Andrew and Ruth (our boss and his boss) had private meetings with all of us, except the newest temp and Loni. The newest temp, A (yes, another one), wasn’t progressing fast enough, so they "cancelled" her. That’s the polite term for firing a temp, since you cancel her services through the company, and they call her to let her know she’ll be getting a different assignment as soon as one becomes available. Not like I’ve been on the receiving end of that or anything… ahem. So, Dawn realizes that we didn’t fire (sorry, cancel) the old new temp — that is, Lorna, the one before “new” A — just because she wasn’t catching on. It was her absenteeism that really did it. So, Dawn has been quite pleasant the past two or three days. It amazes me that she can turn it off like a switch, though.

It must have taken a lot of energy to be that pissed off for an entire month, considering that she can just blink and be back to normal. I don’t know about you, but if I’m pissed at someone for a whole damn month, to the point of not speaking to that person, it’s going to take more than just being told I made an incorrect assumption for me to get back to being OK with that person. Of course, you know me — I find it hard to hold a grudge for more than a few days at a time, unless it’s something big. Like with Dan’s brother, Matt, the time that he nearly stiffed me for the fifty bucks he offered me to make his new drumcorps’ website, and then told me that he’d hired someone else to completely redesign my just-launched site, and informed me that they would be using the same page structure and copy that I’d written basically out of thin fucking air. That pissed me off, and I still don’t think I’ve quite recovered. And that was damn near seven years ago, I think. I don’t take kindly to being used… and being paid fifty bucks (most basic sites cost $200 or so) to fabricate a website from a single brochure, then having that copy stolen and being told, "thanks anyway," that qualified to me. It still does. Not that I’m bitter or anything. 🙂

Wow, I kinda rambled for a while, didn’t I? Ah, well. I need to go wash some dishes so Aaron doesn’t come home to a sinkful. I’ll at least do the stuff I dirtied, if not all of it. I’m trying to get better at that, but I still suck sometimes. At age 27, I’m still very much a wife-in-training.

OK, I’m going to go now before I get too down on myself for my poor housekeeping skills.

P.S. – I think we have a CD around here that Kris made us of all his old tunes, including Schnuth, Put the Hamburger Down. I’ll ask Aaron if he knows where it is.

You have a halo above you like you’re the devil’s own queen.

With apologies to Kris for publishing his work online without his permission,
I give you…

Beth

Why are your eyes pointed at the side
Like a knife trying to enter my soul?
How many knives would it take
And how many nights with your nails in me
In me?

You have a halo above you
Like you’re the devil’s own queen
But I beat the devil at chess last night, baby
Your eyes could say goodbye without looking
Your eyes could put me in a lead coffin
With no black coffee or tea

Beth

©2002 Kristin T. Heath. All Rights Reserved.
Originally from the limited-release EP Beth the Devil Saintress Maid of Ghosts.

Not Feeling The Love Here

Yeah. I see from my logs (which are tedious to browse) that I’m getting hits, but nobody is tagging. Ah, well. I guess I’ll press on and hope someone gives a shit about what I’m writing. If not, well, it’s still a good outlet for me.

I have ten rolls of Super-8 film in my refrigerator. I got them for cheap at a garage sale last year. I still haven’t figured out what to do with them. I still haven’t sent in the few rolls I shot back in the year 1999 or 2000. I finally have one mailer, though, so I’m going to send in a roll and see what comes back. None of them are labeled, so I guess it’ll be a surprise. I’m guessing most of my movies will be hopelessly underexposed, but we’ll see.

Work tally today = 11.75 hours.

After you’ve gotten used to eating less than 20 grams of carbohydrate a day, bumping it up to 25 is a challenge. I have a pretty set list of things I eat, and adding carby stuff to that requires thought. So far, it’s midnight, and I’ve only eaten about 13 carbs total. Won’t even make it to 20 today, much less 25. Egh… never thought I’d have that problem with this diet.

I’m tired, and I should at least go read, if not go to sleep.

Randomness

Of all the blogs I frequent, everybody except Sheryl seems to be in a bit of a blog hiatus. And, while I would like to complain, I will instead make myself part of the solution rather than the problem by updating my own site. And, boy, do I have a bunch of randomness to throw out there. I’ve been saving it up.

I ate tuna salad for lunch yesterday. So all afternoon, at my desk at work, I had the most awful tuna burps. I finally just had to share this fact with my co-workers, and they were rightly amused — not so much that I was belching tuna, but that I felt the need to share.

Oh, and I managed to miss last week’s fire drill at work, though it sounds like it was so pathetic that there might be another one before it snows. One department just didn’t leave the building. I guess they didn’t want to stop working or something. Wish everybody had that kind of balls.

Here’s an announcement you’d never want to be applicable to you: "Heather Ard, please return to your desk." Now, I don’t know Heather, but I know she’s the building’s new Executive Assistant. And all I could think of was poor Heather, whoever she is, sitting on the shitter and hearing herself paged back to her own desk. You are our prisoner! Muah-hah-hah!

The quotable for yesterday: "Are you trying to make me cry?" After I’d reminded our 23-year-old temp that it would soon be her turn to process the god-awful huge account that all of us hate.

Have you ever listened to the lyrics of Chicago’s 25 or 6 to 4? Sounds like the dude is fucking high.

Staring blindly into space
Getting up to splash my face
Wanting just to stay awake
Wond’ring how much I can take
Should I try to do some more
Twenty-five or six to four

Get to the part about the room spinning deep, and he’s in the middle of a goddamned acid trip or something.

Psychologists at the University of Liverpool in England have completed a study wherein they measured people’s reactions to overweight or obese people. The results showed a lower opinion not only of those who are fat, but also those who socialize with fat people. So, yeah, sorry ’bout your luck, folks. I didn’t mean to make people think you’re a lazy, slothful bum just because we hang out together. 🙂

gravity games desktopAnd in conclusion, let me unveil my very first desktop background! Ta-dah! I decided that this photo of a dude jumping a dirt kicker (read: hill) would make a good desktop. Plus, I felt the urge to dust off the old Photoshop skillz and learn some new stuff.

The only thing I scammed off the internet was the Gravity Games logo — and damn, getting it to look that nice in plain black was a trick, I tell you. Check out their page and see what I mean. But, anyway, the skyline photo and the biker photo are both original work. If you’re wondering what kinds of fun tricks were used, think masking and layer blending modes. Whee!

If you like it, it’s available for download in 1024×768 and 800×600 sizes. Oh, and if you want to set your desktop color to match, it’s R:26 G:120 B:167. I’m so proud of myself. Go me!

Blog, Interrupted

Well, I had started an entry back on Sunday, the day after the righteous Pietasters show Aaron and I went to in Cleveland, at the new Grog Shop. Then I walked away from my computer for a while, and a power surge hit, and our power went out for a split second. And that was all she wrote for the aborted Pietasters review. I was even starting with the end and working backwards, so I wouldn’t stop before I got to the good part, like I always do.

So, it occurs to me that I haven’t updated in a while. A good couple weeks here. I know I get frustrated when other people don’t update their blogs on a regular basis, so I guess I’d better get on the ball.

I’ve been sneaking a few grams of sugar a day, here and there, and pretending that they wouldn’t hurt. Hey, I missed my Miracle Whip Light, and I bought a whole box of those Atkins Advantage bars, and the cream cheese was calling to me. And so, I have gained back five pounds in the past few days, and my ketosis has put on the brakes, though it hasn’t stopped completely. Although it occurs to me that it might not be entirely my sugar-sneaking that has bumped me back up a few pounds, as it’s about time for my Monthly Visitor, as my mother used to call it (when she still had one).

Not a whole lot else going on… Got rid of the Macquarium shell and my old copy of Norton Utilities 2.0 for Mac by posting on some Mac newsgroups. They’re headed out soon, for only the cost of shipping them to their new homes. Um, what else…? I have the next few days off of work, which is nice. Aaron’s vacation ends Monday, which makes both of us sad. But we’re going to see Kill Bill on Friday, and off to the Apple Butter Fest on Sunday (where I am only going to have a handful of Kris’s kettle corn), so that’ll be fun.

And that’s about it.

Idiocy

What draws imbeciles to congregate at the Post Office?

So, I had to mail two packages of eBay goodness, a roll of film from the Ren Fest, and a few bills. Since I knew Tuesdays are usually super-light at work, I opted to wait until after work to mail all these things. Three-thirty rolls around, I get to leave work, and I head to the BG Post Office. Parking lot looks a little busy, but I find an appropriate spot, park, gather my crap, and head in. And here’s what I find:

  • Indian woman and pre-teen (or is it "tween"?) daughter are standing next to their packages on the form-filly-outie counter. This leaves space for two or three non-existent people in front of them in line. The rest of us are crowding out the door of the lobby. Indian woman is talking on her cell to someone about a job interviewee, saying things like, "He must say he wants to be a part of the team," and, "Skill set matches the job description. Yes. Skill set matches…"
  • Only two out of three windows are open, despite the out-the-door line of waiting customers.
  • At window #1 is a college-age woman who apparently owns no envelopes and must wait until she gets up to the window at the post office to put her writing sample in a large envelope. Townie woman behind me mutters, "She couldn’t have done that at home?" I decide I like the townie woman.
  • At window #2 is a couple who has moved from New Jersey, and did the proper thing in having their mail forwarded. Unfortunately, someone with their same last name moved into their old house, and the less-than-intelligent postal carrier out in Joisey is forwarding the new tenant’s mail to these former tenants. Postal clerk tells them to write a letter to the Postmaster of that city, explaining the issue.
  • Meanwhile, the stupidity at window #1 has moved along, and the Indian woman and her daughter lug their two giant boxes up to the counter. (The pregnant lady in front of me moves up in line, allowing the five people behind me to finally enter the lobby.) In these boxes are books headed for London, and they need to be shipped as cheaply as possible. They proceed with filling out customs forms and miscellaneous tags.
  • Confusion from window #2 is complete, and the pregnant woman takes her turn at the counter. She has two packages — to return to sender. (?!) The postal clerk scribbles the correct things on them and puts them in the appropriate place behind the counter. The woman then proceeds to buy stamps, but must see all the nifty choices before selecting a book of postage to purchase. The townie behind me is fidgeting and preparing to go postal, so to speak.
  • Finally, finally, after about 15 minutes, it’s my turn. Package number one: Media Mail with Delivery Confirmation. Check. Number two: Cheap Airmail to Canada. Check. Need stamps. Check. Done. Move aside and let crazy townie take her turn while I put my change away.

    Is it that difficult? Sheesh.

    And in the news… a Romanian Gypsy family recently arranged a marriage between their 12-year-old daughter and a 15-year-old boy. [brief pause for consideration] OK, comments from the peanut gallery:

    I don’t know about you, ladies, but by age 12, I hadn’t even officially "become a woman" yet, and had barely even discovered the joy of, um… self-gratification. Real sex? Jinkies. Come to think of it, boys had only recently ceased to be icky — like, within a year or so beforehand.

    And how about responsibility? I wasn’t even responsible enough to keep my room clean, much less clean an entire abode. And I was lucky to be making macaroni and cheese from the box at that age. I’m guessing Gypsies have a much different upbringing than I did, but still…!

    OK, rant over.

    By the way, since I started the Atkins Diet, I’ve lost one inch in my waist and a little more than an inch in my bust (which I’m chalking up to back fat instead of actual boobage). And while my actual weight loss has stalled, I’m still losing about half an inch a week, so I’m sticking with it. Rama at work is amazed at how much I’ve lost, and is excited to be off of work on Mondays in time to go to her Weight Watchers meetings again. It’s the battle of the diet plans… 😉

    My world

    Aaron and I just had a major thrift purging, and took a carload of stuff to Goodwill. Seriously. A carload. The backseat and trunk were both full of computerage and old clothes. Mac Classic from Sheryl (rescued from an untimely demise in a landfill), scanner, Mac 7100, older Mac whose number I forget, 13″ Apple Monitor (which had to go to Salvation Army instead, since Goodwill doesn’t accept monitors), Genesis consoles and controllers, two bags of clothes, some books, an external Mac modem, etc, etc. We freed up a good amount of room in our bedroom and our computer room. And, hopefully, we racked up a good amount of thrift karma, to counteract our bad luck at finding deals at Goodwill and the flea market lately.

    I weighed myself again yesterday, and found that my weight loss has temporarily stagnated at eleven pounds. Which, don’t get me wrong, I’m still grateful for, but I’m hoping to continue to lose weight at a decent clip, so I’m not tempted to drift from the Atkins Way. I do know I’m still burning fat, though, cause the pee-strip tells me so. Just to show how much weight this week and a half of Atkins has helped me lose, let me show you the lovely chart from my Excel weight-tracking worksheet (yes, I know, I’m a dork):

    click for larger graph

    That’s from mid-November of last year to right now. Note the stretch after the wedding where I didn’t give a shit about how much I weighed, and didn’t even weigh myself at all for a couple months. Also note the dip at the beginning of the chart, and the righteous rebound right after two Christmas dinners in a row. 🙂

    In case anyone cares about my crazy work soap-opera… Andrew decided that one of the temps who was prepping should move to being a processor, and that Rama (who, you will recall, complained about being a temp and having waaay too many hours) should return to prepping. This took effect on Tuesday, and we’re all happy about it. All except Dawn, the other prepping temp, who pretty much hates all of us now, since we were instrumental in getting our old temp canned. But, really, Lorna just didn’t get it, for the most part. I won’t go into it, since you won’t really follow, but suffice to say she was inconsistent and just didn’t get it. So, yeah. All of us are in a great mood except for Dawn, who scowls and gives us all a silent treatment like we haven’t had since Junior High.

    Still on the agenda: Loni’s carpal tunnel worker’s comp claim. Oh, yeah, and let’s see what Ruth says when she gets back from vacation and all the shit’s gone down. 🙂

    P.S. – I’m on vacation today and tomorrow. Aaron and I are going to Ann Arbor tomorrow. Whee! Four-day weekend! Outside of my honeymoon, I haven’t had one of those for a long, long time.

    Purple Pee and Workplace Bitchfests

    Atkins diet is still going well, though I find myself occasionally desiring some ice cream or a serving of lemon shrimp from The China. I just keep telling myself that in another week or so, if we decide to stop the induction phase of our diet after two weeks, I’ll be able to buy the carb-controlled ice cream and the Atkins chocolate bars.

    Aaron bought the pee strips that turn purple if you’re in ketosis (that is, burning your stored fat). His turned from light beige to dark beige on Tuesday or Wednesday, so I checked mine. It promptly turned a lovely mulberry. 🙂 So, I’m in all-out ketosis. I’m ketosing like a motherfucker. And I’ve lost five pounds since Monday, though I’m not officially updating the weight record until Sunday morning.

    OK, here’s the latest on the work saga. Andrew’s boss, Ruth, is gone for vacation for another week and a half yet. So, someone in our department (I’m not sure who) talked to Justin, who is basically Andrew’s equal in the hierarchy, but over the Item Processing department, and also under Ruth. We ended up having a meeting with Justin (who’s probably my age or a year or so younger, and is a really nice guy). Actually, we had a bitch session with Justin, and he let us run it. He went through three sheets of paper, jotting down all the shit we unloaded about how much we can’t stand the shit Andrew pulls. Loni went a little over the top and called him a flat-out liar, but I tried to help keep things in perspective by offering specific examples. Everybody pitched in, except Lorna, who was out at the doctor’s office today, and maybe even the hospital. We’re not sure. Anyway, a lot of complaints were aired, and I think Justin is going to see what he can do to get some of them addressed. Technically, we’re part of Item Processing, so I guess he’s kind of like our supervisor, in some benevolent uncle kind of way.

    That probably made no sense to anyone who isn’t familiar with my workplace. Ah, well.