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.


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.

    Atkins and Aaron and work. (oh my)

    Even though my site seems to be down, I’m still going to post an update.

    Aaron and I are finishing up Day #3 of the Atkins Diet, and doing surprizingly well. People have told me they felt like crap during the initial induction phase of the diet — I feel great. I feel less lethargic than I did, though I’d stop short of saying I actually feel energetic. I at least feel more alert… though that could have something to do with my attempts to get to bed before midnight this week and last.

    I’m enjoying having him home when I get home. It’s like every night is a weekend-night. All except for Monday, when I worked 12 1/2 hours.

    At work, we swapped off what clients’ accounts we each process, and our temp, Rama, has apparently hit her breaking point with the stuff I used to run. She’s now complaining to our boss that she should only be working 30-35 hours a week as a temp, and she’s working 40+, and she wants to swap off with one of the other temps, so they can process for awhile and let her prep the work like they do. No dice, as per our meeting last week, but our supervisor, Andrew, said he’ll step in whenever she’s ready to go home. She was not satisfied with that answer, since it seems like he’s just trying to placate her, and not deal with the problem at its source — the problem being that the processors work 45-hour weeks (soon to be longer still), and the preppers are scrambling to barely make their 35 to 40.

    We’re all at a snapping point. We’re sincerely hoping that we can all quit at once, having found other jobs, and leave Andrew floundering. We’ll see…

    Gravity Games

    Hey, remember this from the front page?

    Week #1
    9/7 – 9-13
    No Dew Week

    Week #2
    9/14 – 9/20
    No Pasta Week

    Week #3
    9/21 – 9/27
    No Candy Week

    Well, nix that. I’m joining Aaron on his full-on foray into Atkins, starting Monday. (That’s tomorrow.) I’ve got my Atkins profile up on their website, and checked out some recipes. Aaron’s gone full-force and bought the carb-counter book and the Atkins cookbook, and borrowed another low-carb cookbook from the library. He likes to eat more meat than I usually do, anyway, so I think the hardest thing for him is going to be cataloguing the carb content of everything that goes into his mouth.

    Me, I’ve already broken myself of my Mountain Dew addiction, and I’ve pretty much cut out pasta. Those were the hard parts. Now I just have to get up early enough to eat breakfast, and remember to make myself a lunch before I go to bed the previous day (since I won’t just be grabbing a frozen meal from the freezer on my way out).

    So, we’ll see how that goes. I’m looking forward to it myself.

    Yesterday, Aaron and I headed out to Cleveland for the Gravity Games. For those of you who aren’t big “Extreme Sports” freaks, the Gravity Games includes skateboard vert (ramp) and street (men’s and women’s), freestyle motocross, wakeboarding, inline skating street and vert, and bike dirt, street, and vert. We watch it on NBC every year, and it’s been in Cleveland for the past couple of years, but we haven’t gotten out to watch it live. This year, though, since we got the heads-up at the Taste of Cleveland, we went out and got tickets for this bad boy.

    We left around noon, and got there around two-ish. Found parking for five bucks, walked the couple blocks to the Games, brandished our tickets, received loose-fitting wristbands, opened my camera case (for no one to actually search it), and we were in. We walked around the Festival Village, which was basically the marketing and merch fairway, and got some stickers and a sampler CD of some kind. Could have gotten more stuff, had we actually been able to approach some of the booths, but the stuff we got was pretty much shoved at us by booth attendants out in the middle of the fairway.

    We wandered over and found a bike dirt venue, where kids were allowed to go down a ramp and do their best trick on a five-foot dirt hill. I finished up the roll of film that was in my camera by snapping photos of the kids, and of the one guy who was running the show, who would go down the ramp occasionally, to keep it interesting. He turned a backflip almost as soon as we got there to watch, so I didn’t get that on film. 🙁

    One of the great things about the Gravity Games being in Cleveland (besides the fact that it’s close enough to drive) is that your ticket gets you into the Rock Hall for half-price. So, we spent about an hour and a half, I think, wandering around the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. And we didn’t even get upstairs! We decided that our little taste of the Rock Hall was just enough to make us want to go make a day of it sometime in the future.

    Bob Burnquist, Rune Glifberg, and Andy Mac watch one of the lower-ranking skaters (Sandro Diaz?) pull off a tailgrab. (c)  Pat Wright, Gravity GamesAround 4:00, we headed out and tried to find a spot in the bleachers by the vert ramp. It took some patience, and several seat relocations, but we ended up on the top row of bleachers, right by the WKYC Channel 3 sign. (So, if you happen to watch the Gravity Games on some Sunday afternoon in the next two months, and watch the Men’s Skateboard Vert Finals, look for us.) We ended up watching the Women’s Skateboard Vert Practice and Demo, so we could have our good seats for the Men’s Finals later that evening. I spent one roll of film on the Vert ramp, so we’ll see how that comes out.

    It was great being able to see some of the skaters live: Bob Burnquist, Andy MacDonald, Bucky Lasek, Pierre-Luc Gagnon, Rune Glifberg… Too bad there was no Tony Hawk, but I guess you’ll have that when you retire. *shrug*
    We headed out around 9:15pm — after the Finals were over, but before the scores were announced. Made it to the car, found I-90 West, and stopped for dinner at a TGIFridays in Westlake on our way home. Got home around 12:30am or so, which is early for coming in from an out-of-town excursion. Usually it’s 3am. 🙂

    So, good weekend. Yeah. And Aaron’s got the next four weeks off of work, so he’ll be home when I get home from work every day. w00t! That makes things a little better, too.

    I Suppose I Should Be Mourning Like The Rest of the Goddamned Country

    nobody knows the trouble i've beenInstead, I’m playing on CafePress. I have a cheesy new store, with a boring new name: schnuthdesigns. I have one design (which is actually a ripoff of a shirt my Mom had when I was little), and I’ve got it in infant tee and creeper, baby doll tee, and baseball jersey. I only wish I could do different colored tees than just white… oh, yeah, and I wish the base prices weren’t so damn high. Nobody’s going to buy this shit.

    Let’s see… where’s the list as long as my arm of random piddly blogables…? Ah, yes.


    Rocking the Boat

    So, one of the things Amy suggested to me over the weekend was not to go through with my plan of writing a memo to my supervisor about department morale. She said management really doesn’t give a shit, and if I can possibly stand it, just to keep my mouth shut so as not to make things worse on myself. I hemmed and hawed… and agreed not to rock the boat.

    Until today.

    Andrew, my supervisor, apparently having been tipped off to the morale problems from some other source, sent the entire department an e-mail today. "I would like your input," he wrote, "on where you would like to see the department heading in the upcoming months, and suggestions or concerns that you might have regarding processing, prepping [preparing work to be processed], or overall moral [sic] issues would be appreciated." He asked us to have these comments to him by the afternoon, and informed us that the issues would be addressed in a meeting tomorrow.

    So, I wrote him a two-page e-mail. That’s two full pages printed out.

    I categorized my e-mail into three sections: On the Logistics of Processing, On Having an Informed Department, and On General Morale Issues.

    Quotables from my e-mail that would make sense to The World Outside Lockbox:

    • "We understand that you have compiled statistics on the running of the department. Still we as employees and ‘team members’ would like to be consulted regarding potential changes…"
    • "Overall, we just want to be kept ‘in the loop.’ That’s all. Let us know what the plans are, so we’re not surprized when they happen."
    • "I feel that we need some form of (admittedly cheesy) positive reinforcement."

    I hope I didn’t step on any toes, because I told the truth about everything I could think of… except one thing: I didn’t tell him how bad he smells after a smoke break.

    Loni, completely opposite of my approach, wrote a short e-mail of about three very brief paragraphs, detailing how we’re "made to feel like peons" and should be asked about changes before they happen. Her message was short and to the point… and quite unprofessional and even a touch rude, even though she stated at the end that she hoped she didn’t upset anyone with her comments. (Her grammar and punctuation are also absolutely atrocious.) She asked my opinion on her message before she sent it… and I told her it seemed fine. Well, it did seem like something Loni would say. I’m so evil. 🙂

    Other random blog updatables:

    I’ve been very good on my no-Dew week. Aaron bought Iced Tea instead of Mountain Dew, so although I hadn’t planned on drinking any sort of non-water beverage, I’ve been partaking in the Nestea Cool every now and then. However, I’ve been splurging on chocolate in a bad way all week. I think I’m going to make next week No Pasta Week, since I’ve actually not been craving pasta much at all this week.

    The company name of the day: ABDICK.

    The Kia smells like a fucking swimming pool, thanks to the overturned leaky bottle of bleach recently relocated from the backseat to the trunk to the trash. I’m slightly annoyed by it, but I’m afraid that Aaron is or will be pissed. I don’t know why I think I piss Aaron off so much, when I know I don’t really. I just feel like it’s my fault — I already leaked bleach onto two of his favorite shirts, and now most of the bottle has seeped into the trunk of the Kia. Go me. *sigh*

    Next year’s Saginaires and Northern Aurora alumni picnic is once again scheduled for the Saturday after Labor Day. Once more conflicting with the Black Swamp Arts Festival. I’m not going to miss it every damned year… I wonder if Amy would come up on Friday, drive with me up to Saginaw for the picnic on Saturday, then back to spend Saturday night and Sunday at the Black Swamp. I sure hope so. Both things are important to me, and I’d hate to miss either one or the other for the next several years.

    Therapy with Amy

    Not sure how to start. Not that it was so earth-shattering that I’m at a complete loss — I just simply don’t know where to start. At the beginning, I guess.

    Amy came to visit for the Black Swamp Arts Festival this weekend. She ended up being a few hours behind schedule, due to every little errand blowing up into a gigantic WTF sort of fiasco. Stopping by work, taking a "shortcut" suggested by Grampa… Anyway, when she arrived at 11pm, we went to get some pizza at Myles, and were constantly accosted en route by the drunks from campus. I got a high five from a dude that looked just like Nick Lawson, we got offered a piece of pizza from some random guys (who then claimed to have "nutted" on the pizza), and we had one particularly bookish-looking fellow tell us, "the bars are that way!"

    Ate pizza, talked, came home, walked some more, and talked some more. Stayed up till Aaron got home, then talked some more. Basically, that’s what the weekend was all about: talking with Amy.

    On Saturday, we checked out the artists’ booths. We were underwhelmed this year, and were particularly disappointed that some of our longtime favorites weren’t at the Festival this year. We did end up buying at least one token "I Was Here" item apiece, but we weren’t terribly geeked about them this year.

    Things I discovered while talking to Amy this weekend:

    • I miss having someone to talk to like that. I talk to Aaron, yes, but it’s different. We still talk about important stuff, but Amy has a different perspective on things.
    • If I want a new job, I need to work toward getting one. If I can live with my job for now, I need to do the things that make me happy (photography, web design) in my time away from work, to make the mediocre work worth it.
    • I have more of a social life than I give myself credit for, even if it is just on the weekends and with Aaron’s and my mutual friends instead of alone with my own friends. It’s still social, and it’s still fun.
    • I need to stop belittling myself and beating myself up for my shortcomings. I also need to stop feeling like others are focusing on said shortcomings, and instead be thankful that others (especially Aaron) are patient enough to deal with my faults and still like me for who I am.

    Rant, defused

    I was so pissed. I was driving home in my car, fuming, planning the scathing blog entry about hating my job and twelve-hour days and having to work holidays, all the while driving like a moderate maniac, peeling out from red lights and honking at the stupidity that regularly happens on the roads of Bowling Green.

    I pulled into our driveway, maintaining my righteous anger. Stomped into the house. Turned on the computer. Went into the bathroom and peed. Went into the kitchen and got a brownie. Laid down on the couch to eat my brownie and watch a little TV (forgetting that my computer doesn’t take that long to boot up anymore).

    Fell asleep.

    Sigh… nothing like a half-hour nap to defuse your righteous rant about work and life and stuff.

    Anyway, I really am sick of my job. I really do need to find a new one. And I really do need to stop drinking Mountain Dew and eating chocolate brownie stuff if I’m ever going to ease myself into this Atkins thing.

    And I really do need to finish writing about P-Funk… later.