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From video game reviews, to kitten news, to comics... poos? [17 Aug 2007|04:59pm]
Yeah. I figured it was dumb to include this in my "what I'm reading now" since it was perilously close to exceeding the character limit.

Powers (bendis/oeming): I just read the first three books, and man. It felt... I feel like I'll say this and somebody will someday explain to me how I'm the asshole who didn't get it, but this felt ridiculously sloppy to me. The stories end in befuddling and unsatisfying ways, and sometimes feel totally pointless. The dialog sometimes doesn't seem to sync up -- or is that a problem with the panel progressions and word bubbles? I can rarely tell the first time if I'm supposed to go horizontal or vertical, read across both pages or just one.

Oh, and there's a three page spread of a dead woman lying on a kitchen table. On each page are six horizontal panels with little in the scene changing: she's still dead, nothing moves, only time passes with the sun going up and down. It should have been nice.

The sun goes down and comes up through the same window. The same window! Three pages in which the only action is provided by the sun, which is apparently a MAGIC sun. Unless she lives at one of the poles or something, and that sunrise/sunset actually took months, and her mailman comes infrequently and her body doesn't decay.

That's Powers.

Fables (willingham, buckingham, many other pencillers/inkers), however, is rocking my world pretty thoroughly. I like the storytelling a lot.

The art isn't outstanding in any particular way -- I think of it as Comic Book Art in that it looks like the few comics I picked up when I was a young 'un in the eighties and early nineties. I usually have a blah reaction to CBA, but. The characters are all fairly well-defined (the girls, sadly, are pretty much of a type but for clothes/hair, but not in an insufferable way). The non-humans and sorta-humans look good. I guess I usually appreciate art that is a little more spare, but I think it's improving and being refined (gently, nothing drastic) as the series continues. The fact that it recalls, for me, a time when I was still reading lots of actual fables as a child helps -- not in that it reminds me of those fables, but it sort of... calls up the emotional milieu, or something. It terms of layout, etc., the artists do a good job of telling the stories.

I know more about writing than art, but I don't have much to say about the writing because I find it tougher to separate from the book as a whole. The dialog itself is actually kind of unmemorable, which you'd think would be terrible in a comic. But I like it, I think Willingham's a great storyteller. Every now and again I'll notice a lazy segue or something, but that's it.

Man, I sound awfully ambivalent but I'm actually not. Definitely one of the greatest things I'm reading right now.

Crossing Midnight: I only read the first trade, but I enjoyed it, want to know what happens, and trust Mike Carey with my eternal soul. As for whether I "trust" him with a story about two Japanese kids locking horns with kami and various folklore, well. I've decided that I'm not going to expect or desire authenticity from it, since it's not like people get their panties in a twist over whether matantei loki: ragnarok is faithful to the Norse mythology (or maybe they do, but I don't care). When I want to learn more about actual Japanese folklore, I'll be sure to look elsewhere.

The linguist in me has reservations about naming the kami of needles Nidoru. "Nidoru" is almost definitely a transliteration from English, though for all I know it's in common usage; the indigenous word for needle is hari. On the other hand, Nidoru is visually anime-inspired rather than in traditional dress etc., so maybe that makes sense. But the kami herself is ancient, isn't she? Do some spirits like to change names with the times? Or maybe nidoru IS the more common word in Japan today, and she's named whatever people THINK she's named.

I read a review that said the art wasn't living up to the story. I don't know. I have a hard time judging comic book art and comic book words, because they both have to do jobs that they don't have to do when they're separate. I'm still getting the hang of it. I guess I only notice the art when I think it's really good, or really bad. Crossing Midnight's art doesn't stun me, but it gets the job done. I know what's going on. I guess I haven't been really been inspired by the wonder and majesty of the world beyond (except the dragon, he was neat!) -- but who can do that, really? Cassaday in Planetary? Maybe the book would benefit from computer coloring for some vibrancy, or being painted, or having giant fold-out spreads of angry warriors? I don't know.

EDIT: I flipped through the book again, and of course it looks like it already is computer colored, with more muted tones.
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No one will ask about my kittens. [02 Aug 2007|03:58pm]
Kittens off to the vet yesterday (in separate carriers, 'cause they're big now). They got their second round of shots, which was an ordeal for Mao and no biggie for Yuki. Mao was very wiggly indeed.

I sent my parents a little e-mail about the kittens (Rob's parents refer to them as "the grandkids," and I'm hoping my parents will learn to recognize them as same) with some photos. No inquiries! No congratulations, and not even any questioning of whether this was really an appropriate time financially to get pets. Perhaps the silence is them being tactful?

I'm a little afraid of what my energy towards kitten-raising says about my secret feelings regarding child-rearing. Since we've gotten the kittens, I've felt a lot more kindly to the concept of mothering, and I've definitely been "playing house" a bit -- with having to make a nursery and all. It's been satisfying and rewarding to fulfill the semi-complex needs of another organism, and I do so enjoy reward. But I shan't let oxytocin talk me into childbirth. Hopefully if I ever really get bitten by the kid-bug I'll be working in social services and in a position to adopt somebody I've had a chance to get to know. It's comforting to realize that I can still conjure up a satisfying list of cons, both internal and external, if not the same faint feeling of revulsion.
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paralysis [29 Jul 2007|02:24pm]
I was going to go for a walk, but I'm fuel-low. If I go for the walk, I will have a diabetic episode, which will be compounded by the heat. So I should eat something and then go for a walk, but nothing in the house is appealing in any way and frankly I'm not that hungry.
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Booooring [27 Jul 2007|01:45pm]
I'm having a hard time starting, so I've made my single to-do item for today "make to-do list." Psychologically confronting everything I have to do will be tough enough even without having to actually do anything.

The vacation is over, I fear. A month is long enough to be completely lazy and unemployed.

SoCoTriBoCo was great, of course. The bands were mainly kind of lame, but we got the same awesome campsite we've had for the last little while. It's got very little road access, so it's sort of like two sites in one, and you have to clear a lot of tall grass to make it pleasantly habitable. We create this nice open space, with everybody's tents along a main path and a big communal space in the middle with a tarp for evening shade (necessary in Fort Macleod in summer). I assume everyone in the more cramped sites around us are jealous, but it takes quite a bit of work to prep the whole site. This year we moved our car for an hour and somebody took our spot (the one spot of road access to our camp). This could be either the natural rudeness of the French or, more likely, righteous indignation at our footprint (to be fair, we did have seven people). I tried to come up with a way to carve down our site while providing useful land to an adjoining site - tough because of that problem of access - and I think I see where we could lose some for next year. It's just this geographically enclosed little space, so perfect. Sigh.

Enough about the campsite. Having the SPOT is always nice, but of course it's primarily the company, the drinking, and the Old Man River that really make the SoCo. All were present and accounted for. There was a fire ban, but we made do with an LED lantern with a red hat tossed over it. The nights were plenty warm so that wasn't really a problem. There were a few decent bands, I caught a small part of Tara Warburton's set (I worked with her once) but didn't have a chance to say hi.

Basically spent the weekend in an absolute blissful stupor, and have spent monday through today in a flat-out stupor as my body recovers from the sunburn and the heat. We went through about eight liters of water a day, each.

Being broke, this is probably the biggest fun I'll have for a while. Sigh.

My camera died mid-fair, too. I think sand from the river found its way into her delicate... membranes. So I have no way to record just how much huger our kittens got after five days away.
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"you has a flavor" [18 Jul 2007|11:47am]
Yuki got shut into Jac's room yesterday, by accident. All day! I heard a tiny mewing around noon, but could not find the source (yeah, I checked Jac's). She's a hidey-cat, and doesn't want to be handled. We do it as much as we can, but ever since we let the kittens upstairs she's been very standoffish. She also likes to suckle the bathmats, which is kind of disgusting and we're working on replacing that with food and love. She loves to play, climb on us, and be pet while she's sleeping, but she doesn't seem to want to be in our hands anymore. Sigh.

She reminds me so much of my little cat Sophie. Crazy as a bedbug, sweet as cane sugar, weaned too early with a permanent nursing habit. Let's hope we can un-permanize it, because as charming as it can be, nursing creeps out guests and also hurts.

They got their second deworming treatment yesterday. Only two weeks since the vet's! Time goes slower without work.

Rob found my camera, so I've been taking pictures, and Jac took some too. I'm too lazy to get a photobucket account and post stuff here, so instead you can have facebook links if kitten photos are the kind of thing you like to look at.

Rob and I are off to South Country Fair this weekend, leaving tonight. If it's anything like last year, it will be rad. Double wide rad, in fact. I'm going to get soooo dirty. Nick and Jac will be in charge of kittens.

LJ no longer seems like the place for introspection, but I'm happy to say that I've been getting closer and closer to starting to figure things out, and last night I had a good long think that was highly productive. Being unemployed gives me a lot of leisure time, and I've been really withdrawn. But when I'm feeling down and solitary is the only time I ever really find myself, so I'm hoping to stretch this out for at least another month. It's hard to be self-reflective when you're in a relationship and busy busy all the time, man, and self-reflection has always been such a big part of my personality. No wonder I haven't felt myself lately.
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kittenblog 9000 [04 Jul 2007|11:40am]
The mcmuffins went to the vet yesterday for their first round of shots. I was very favorably impressed with the vet and the service there, so I ended up signing up for the "kitten package," where you basically pay in advance for shots and neuter/spay and get some freebies and discounts with that. I think it will turn out to be worth it, although this clinic is more expensive than some of the other ones we checked out. Not much more, in most cases, but inexplicably about sixty dollars more for the neuter and spay.

Brought in fecal samples of the kittens, as they've got loose stool, and there was nothing found in the samples, so we still don't know what's up with that. We did switch foods with them, because they were on a whiskas non-kitten dry food and we switched them to, like, I don't know, rob did the food-research and he picked a brand he said was thought well of (nutri-something kitten care). The vet gave us medi-cal.

The one thing I'm not sure about is that the vet is saying the nay-no to a FIV vaccination on the grounds the vax is too new and unproven, and there have been cases of cats getting fiv from the vaccine. Those are good reasons, don't get me wrong, but I hadn't heard that before.

Anyway, my kittens were very good at the vet and we were taught an arcane pill-delivery maneuver to teach them while they're young so they're easy to medicate when they're old. I successfully got both kitties to do it, but truthfully I can't see inflicting it on a regular basis. It's the most I'll be able to do to mess with their mouths enough to brush their teeth, I think. I'm all gung-ho for teaching good habits now, but the one I'm stuck on is the bath -- do I seriously try to teach the kittens to bathe now? Yuki would probably tolerate it -- the one time she got the squirt bottle she looked confused rather than upset. Mao not so much.

Nick's mom and sister are coming to stay with us. For nineteen days. He told us yesterday, and they arrive on tuesday. Nick! Don't you know that family is obnoxious and a week is the maximum recommended family stay? Outside of that, calgary has many fine hotels to offer and if you picked Stampede time to bring your family over so the rates are up, well, maybe next time book early or plan better. Arg. Three weeks! And they're going to teach the kittens all kinds of rotten habits -- the chinchilla was originally Blair's, and she couldn't handle training him (yeah, we can all take blame for that, but it was her pet and she didn't learn how to care for it until after he was grown).

Rob's way angrier about it than I am. He's really frustrated with Nick lately. It makes for tense times.
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more kittens. [02 Jul 2007|10:03pm]
So the kittens are eight weeks old today, and we've had them for a week and a day. The family was really eager to get rid of them, so we got them earlier than we ideally would have, but so far things seem to be going really well.

We ended up getting two because we're suckers -- we went to pick which one to get and decided to get both. Mao is the middle-born, a boy, very rambunctious and friendly and loud. Yuki is the youngest, a girl, a bit of a runt, quiet, and sort of a fraidy cat, but we're working on her (she's gotten better). Mao's polydactyl and Yuki's not -- in fact her claws are sort of stubby, and with the two issues combined she's a little handicapped in the climbing and kicking-your-brother's-head departments. They're getting surer in their movements every day, and we've started letting them out of the kitchen on trial runs. It will be certain disaster when they're unsupervised, but for now it's cute and they get pretty excited.

Financially we're all generally screwed, as the transmission in rob's vehicle is pooched. I'm feeling sort of sick to my stomach, moneywise, at the moment. Plus it means I have to take the kittens to the vet in a cab today, and I don't know how a cabby is likely to feel about that. I guess I could take the bus, but I'm concerned about transit time and their need for a litter box every two seconds (and their noisiness).

I got my study permit on saturday, which is precipitating a lot of anxiety. It's sinking in now that I have no income, only savings, and I know how scarily fast I blow through money.
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we're gettin' a baby [22 Jun 2007|12:42am]
Rob and I are getting a kitten. It's my first kitten ever! We'll probably get her (or him) this weekend. One of Rob's parents' cats had a litter of three, two boys, one girl. We joked about adopting them all and calling them yakko, wakko, and dot, but unfortunately I don't think we're allowed to take all three. Apparently the mom's polydactyl, so we could get a cat with bonus toes. Sweet.

Basically we're hoping that Orange Cat and the kitten will get along, and wondering what to call the cat. There's always Chairman Meow (or Meow Zedong if you prefer), but what about Gojira? That's a pretty good name. I suggested Toshiro Mifune for a boy, and Rob suggested Chewbacca. I find Chewbacca a totally unacceptable name for a cat, and rob sorta laughed off the Mifune thing (really it would help if the cat looked or acted like Mifune, so we might have to get to know him or her first). I would prefer a "people" name to a "mittens" type name, and I'd prefer if it didn't have anything to do with star wars and wasn't super campy. Rob would probably prefer that the name didn't have anything at all to do with samurai or monsters.

We're stuck on ID -- apparently there's no real point tattooing a kitten since a year later the tat is illegible, so we could go with a microchip. But no one will know it's there unless the cat has tags, and Rob's against a collar (and I am secretly against a collar too). We're saving the indoor/outdoor debate for later, but it will affect what kind of ID to get.

Fritz Lang! Cat name problem solved. For a boy.

We're turning the downstairs kitchen into a nursery for the kitty, but we've never done this before so it's sort of a mystical event rather than a practical process.

I had a cold-feet period, for sure. my parents did most of the dirty work with our cats and had ultimate responsibility over things like vet stuff and whatnot, and my pet that's definitely all mine is very low-maintenance. I live in a cheap rental house with the prospect of massive rent increase and homelessness always looming; I don't even have permanent status in this country. But I've really, really been wanting a cat, and frankly wanting to nest a little with Rob (sans babies, which I still think are horrible except when they're other people's).

Man. The only times I ever had pets, I lived in a house with hardwood floors. Carpets are the name of the game in Calgary, and I do not look forward to cleaning cat-sick out of carpet.
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[30 May 2007|04:27pm]
My brain is pretty well fried and I've got so much on my plate right now I'm gonna barf. Except I'm not, I'm totally rocking the resiliency train right now -- things will work out, things will work out, etc. I got a facebook account, which is sort of neat. I both enjoy and fear it. I was afraid it would completely absorb my life and resurrect my internet addiction, but there were two bad days of crackbookery and since then it's fine, fine, fine; there's not actually much content, so if you're not interested in adding as a friend everyone you've ever met (turns out I'm not) then you're pretty well good to go.

Poor elljay. I ignore you most of the time.

I'm playing Trauma Center: Second Opinion right now. It's pretty dumb. At first it was about doctorology and the missions involved extracting tumors and setting bones. Now the missions involve magical powers and lasering tiny dragons that live in your patients' blood. There was a lick of fun at first, but overall it feels like somebody had an okay idea and then chucked it to a team of lazy burnouts.
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worst song, ugliest guitar [19 Apr 2007|04:47pm]
Wasting away my last day of freedom, as usual. I've been taking care of business (not in a flash) over the last few days, and that's good, but I haven't done the 2 hours of self care I was supposed to do in liu of staff meeting, which is bad. Also bad: computer is making a clicking noise, and tech support thinks I should take it in to be examined by a human. I knew that already, but they prefer it when you call and ask them (this helps ensure you don't somehow get stuck paying money later). So I should back up all my files and such, but do I feel like doing that? I do not. Plus, it is not self care. It is the opposite of self care: it is stressful.

So maybe I'll do that, charge the ipod, go for a walk, and have a soak inna tub; that will count as self-care enough, I think, except that by then it will be late for tub-soaking. It's never very relaxing when there are lots of roommates around, up and downstairs, noises and conversations. Eh.
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the women walked with grace and perfection and we just knew we were warriors too [02 Apr 2007|11:53pm]
Things I do like: Doctor Who!
Things I do not like: This new Apples in Stereo album sucks, because it is not my FAVORITE apples in stereo album. I have four, and three of them I bought because I really liked the first one I got.
At first I was all "maybe it's a grower" and then I was like "it's growing... downward, like the roots of the mighty oak, to a place of horror" and then I was like "I like it except when it tries to be optimistic, because optimism was the hallmark of the album I really like and this sounds nothing like that."

But I like it because Rob picked it up for me because he knew I wanted it (and because it's pretty good except for the optimistic parts, which sound dumb in context). It has been a while since I made a romantic gesture of any sort.

Maybe tomorrow I'll draw him a pitcher. Or buy him unlimited hits on Urban Dead.

Lots of big thinky thoughts floating around, but I no longer write them down the way I used to. Probably a bad sign.

Today while preparing papier mache for my little dumplings, I cut my fingers with scissors and my bright red blood did flow. And flow. And flow. Seriously, five hours or something and it just wouldn't clot. Stupid fingers.

The more I listen to this K'Naan album, the more I like it -- even though I have serious reservations about a lot of things on it (two of the "anthem" type songs are so obviously anthem-y that they hurt a little inside; a couple of the songs have speaking interludes that make the artist sound not so bright because he spells things out that did not need spelling). It's a crime that Peaches won "most outspoken artist" in the buckys. That's not true, I know shit-all about Peaches so I can't really say. I just have a hard time imagining someone out-outspokening K'Naan. He's so catchy, and so angry, and so arrogant. You know, in some ways.
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tmi [19 Mar 2007|06:13am]
I've been super depressed lately, but not in the sad way. Mostly in the way where it hurts to get out of bed and when people talk to you, you want to punch them. So, my eight day vacation consisted of sort-of-sleeping until 2 in the afternoon, but only because I felt terrible, and then trying to do something a little useful in the afternoon, and then finally being calm after everyone has gone to bed. I've stopped taking antidepressants because of the side effects, but I should try to see my doctor and maybe try something else. zoloft had a good run, I guess, but at some point it stopped being worth it.
I want to skip dodgeball tonight but I can't tell if that's smart thinkin' (can't afford to go to bed so late) or anhedonia (probably the latter).

Four days on, then eight more days off. cain't hardly wait.
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slugging away [16 Mar 2007|03:44pm]
I was accepted into the masters program for social work. Woohoo? I'm happy, but I'm not dancing-pants, because the process was Thought 1: Yay! Thought 2: Oh no, now I need money.

It turns out I will be (if I get one) the first person in my family to get a masters. Dad never finished his, mom was apparently too busy "supporting a baby and cancer-ridden husband," like that's some kind of excuse. That's kind of cool, I guess. Too bad it's for lame social work instead of awesome art theory.
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home again [09 Feb 2007|04:41am]
Got home yesterday, safe and sound. There was, like, this Hip Swedish Mom in front of me on the plane. I'm calling her that because she was blond and had two french-braid-pigtails, and she had two little girls, each blonder and blue-er eyed than the last. One was three and one was wee, and they were both very sweet and cute (especially the baby. we made faces at each other for a while). When they left the plane there was a hail of little cereal bits and animal cracker pieces behind them, but considering the extreme quietness of the baby on a four-hour flight, and the fact that Mom kept said baby on her lap practically the whole time without even getting up to stretch, I think the flight crew was probably willing to forgive her.

I pretty much had a crush on the swedish mom right away, but I had to give it up when the baby got bored of me. I did, however, teach the baby to stick her tongue out. My Work Is Done.

I couldn't tell whether the cabbie from the airport didn't know the city or was trying to snow me -- I was spaced out and missed preventing him from making a dumb turn, adding ten minutes to the trip. Doh.
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An angel doesn't make love. An angel IS love! [06 Feb 2007|04:59pm]
My fondness for Barbarella is excessive. I edited an entry (the one called Holy Edit)! It's been a while.

My mom teaches english as a second language, and she's been making all kinds of flashcards while I've been home. Some of them are funny. She has a deck of emotions, and one of the cards has a picture of a man screaming next to the text "surprise, shocking." Underneath that there is a larger picture of a house with a giraffe head coming out the top, and the text "There is a giraffe in my house."

I guess that would be rather shocking.

You know what else is shocking? Rob sent me flowers! We've been partners for five and a half to six years, depending on your chosen start date, and I think this might be the first time he's ever done that. I was going to put it nicely on a table somewhere, but then I was all, fuck it. Mine. So now they're by my bed.

I almost wish I was really mopey and depressed today, because that is absolutely the best time to receive unexpected love tokens. Speaking of which, I got an e-mail from claire today. Rad. Mom drove me to the sto' 'cause I need undies, and in typical Mom fashion, I ended up with undies and three semi-professional outfits in honor of someday maybe being a social worker. I used to feel bad when my mom paid for my clothes, but this time around I managed to accept graciously, even in my heart. The psychology of spending, between the two of us, is quite tangled. I shall get to the bottom of it yet.

Being with my mom has been nice, actually. I came home refusing to feel needled and heckled at every turn, and it has worked out wonderfully. Sure, she can be annoying, but I don't need to get so upset about it every single time, right? Being hypersensitive like sandpapered fingers is my fault. And I haven't been this trip, and it's worked out. Example: she accidentally wakes me up. I'm semi-conscious and not forming real words yet, but the first thing out of her beloved mouth is a veiled rebuke (perhaps; perhaps I read into it) regarding electricity usage. Me: Water off a duck's back, beeyotch. I simply agree and roll over. In the clothing store, I mention something about the gather of a shirt. Her: I think you need a better bra. Me: I think you need (playful) (she finishes for me) To mind my own business? Can do.

Beautiful. Hand in glove. I've been working hard at leaving things the way I found them and not disrupting routines, but I can tell she's working hard too: the only minor critiques involved a) the fan b) operations of lamps by switch c) unconventional use of dishwasher as drying rack only d) I can't even think of a D, although I can think of a number of things she could have zinged me for and didn't. Well done, mother-daughter-duo. Way to put the past behind us.

On top of a ridiculously generous clothing gift, I got a change purse made out of a baby sock (why), doctor who: second series (yay) and a baka gaijin t-shirt to let me know exactly what my mother thinks of my yellow fever.

Look, it's not my fault that Japan is like the jelly to US peanut butter. I have this kooky theory that it's handy to find someone different from yourself and work at really understanding them, because if you can see the you in them, and the them in you, that's your first baby step to being able to accept the world and blur the you/everything else boundary. Far be it from me to claim that I really understand anything about Japan, what with never even having been there and not knowing a lick of Japanese, but I do get the impression that Japan and the US are like fun-house-mirror versions of one another in some ways. I don't know. Maybe I'm just a racist fuckwit, it could be.

Did I tell you, alfred, that I finally got every last piece of the social work application off to the faculty? And now we play the waiting game. I'm already losing, because I messed up the math on my hours. You have to show you've got 3000 hours of social-work-related work experience, and for some reason I kept multiplying 40x50 and coming out with the absolute wrong answer. The right answer is 2000, a number basically any asshole with a strong grasp of third grade math should be able to pull off. The wrong one is something stupid, and I hope they accidentally burn the cover letter I wrote my answer on and swallow the ashes. I did include a resume that would indicate at least 3000 hours to a normal human whose math center didn't try to sabotage them for some stupid up reason. Would I accept a masters candidate who could not manage basic arithmetic?
I was also worried that my study plan wouldn't fit in with the kind of thing they were looking for, but I'm less worried about that.

I did not ride the El today and so missed my chance to have an unexpected meeting with a long-lost friend. I feel genuine regret over this, as though I willfully missed an actual meeting. Not enough regret to use the rest of this day to get on a train, though.

So. Happy birthday to me, and to all a good night.
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Barbarella Psychedella [05 Feb 2007|04:54pm]
Tycho and I have the same birthday! I'm pretty sure I greet this information as news every single year, so I guess it's not terribly important to me.

In other news, it's my birthday tomorrow, and I have no plans. Well, not so: I have plans to accidentally meet a certain old acquaintance, probably on a train, and invite him to dinner with the fam. He'll say no but it will have been cool to see him. Who is this mystery soul? It's a secret, but suffice it to say that I haven't seen him in... seven years? I don't know if he lives in Chicago and I don't know if I'd recognize him if I saw him.

Not true. I totally would. It's weird how you miss people even though you know there's an excellent chance you have no idea who they are anymore and vice versa. There are, it seems, exactly two friends from high school whose company I crave, and I have zero contact information for one of them.

To all the rest, I still love you, but love and crave are different. You understand.

I went Gift Shopping today and came home with a decent haul. I got a Barbarella T-Shirt for Katie; hopefully it fits. I promised stickers of a rock and roll nature to two of my Guitar Heroes, and I managed to pull out a few; nothing too outstanding, though. I went to, of all places, the Alley to acquire them. At first I was skeezed out because I was in the Alley, and then I remembered that Alley people are funny wee things and I felt better. They're all wearing the skinny pants below the bum with the tighty whiteys hanging out, which makes me laugh when it doesn't make me hate. Took myself to lunch at Ann Sather. I got the clear playing cards as requested, and they are amazingly shuffle-able. I got four decks as a result -- two for poker people, one for the original requestor, one I will keep or give away as the spirit moves me. Stopped by the gene siskel, but nothing was playing (election? get real!). Stopped at marshall field's -- or MACY*S, dastardly fuckers -- and got Frango mints for work people. I also spent a half hour at the Chicago Cultural Center trying to take good pictures. There are probably two worthwhile in the thirty I took; that's what comes of knowing shit all about photography. But the point was just to have something to remind me that it exists. Call me provincial, but I still think it's one of the most lovely buildings I've ever been in.

My stepbrother turns out to be a Comic Guy, so on saturday we talked comics at dinner for a bit. I hadn't seen him since the wedding, an occasion which was terminally awkward, but this time around was much more relaxed. He's working construction now and he pointed me to Graham Cracker comics, but I probably won't make it out there -- I've got too much shit to haul home already and must pay my allegiance to my Comic Shop Home Base. I'll probably skip Laurie's, too. C'est la.

Mom is home and I must fly.
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Holy Edit [03 Feb 2007|12:04pm]
I'm waiting to be picked up by my father and whisked away to family obligation. Discomfort ahoy.

Edit: Hardly any discomfort a'tall. I have (used to have?) a horrific fear of the elderly; seeing my grandma, who is afflicted with Voices of various sorts is sort of my definition of a nightmare. But it turned out to be... wonderful. Know your role, Victoria. Know it! Comfortable in my own skin, knowing what I can and can't give, made it completely possible to sit in a room with her. I let dad steer, but I feel so much better now.

I really don't know what's going on for the superbowl tomorrow. It sounds like my dad's not even going to bother to watch, which is so strange to me. I remember endless hours of my youth spent trying to socialize with him while football was on and it being like "no honey, it's not the commercial yet," and me waiting approximately 9 million years for the commercial (luckily that wouldn't be a problem these days) only to have it be wasted on chips and beer. Wasted from my perspective anyway.

Edit: Dad did watch the superbowl, but I actually slept through it. I am still recovering from illness. I did manage to catch the last, brutal, 13 minutes of play. Go Bears.

We were all myers-brigg'ed at work for teambuilding purposes, and the results were puzzling for some and obvious for others. I came out INTJ, which I thought was weird, but the T and the J were borderline. Especially the T, which came out to 3, which as you know, dear reader, might as well be "way to go, fence-sitter." None of the sixteen types really seemed to describe me. Or perhaps it might be better to say that all of the IN types had something to do with me. I was trying to suss out whether INFJ might be a better fit, so I asked my coworkers whether they "respected me for my strong convictions," and they all said yes. Then I felt embarassed, like I'd been fishing for something, and also kind of good; I assume my strength of opinion is usually more brash and obnoxious (and unfounded in fact) than respectable.

I think I was really trying to get myself out of the INTJ box because INTJ was so... grandiose. INTJ's can organize and realize long-term plans they find intriguing, or so the story goes. I think that's true about myself, I've observed it for a while but seeing it on paper made it something I'd have to Live Up to, and we can't have that; squeak me out to some less visible position, please... When a project grabs me, I'm definitely grabbed, but not all the ones that I think should grab me actually do.

So despite the strength of my introversion, my self-doubt sometimes gets in the way of self-awareness, which is not really surprising.

Then Gary said oh, you're not going to get much out of a T if you ask how they feel, you need to ask what they think about something, and Sandra was all Oh, that's SO you. And it is. And I felt a little bit good about that too, especially since I'm the only T on the staff team. Even if it is only by 3.

My job is a fine kettle of fish and a big can of worms but one thing I can definitely say about it is that it has inspired a huge amount of maturation for me. Being responsible for the lives of others will do that. So in truth, the degree of self-doubt that I used to have has vanished like the morning dew; there's not a lot of time for self-doubt when you have to make decisions every two minutes. I mull it over once I get home, and sometimes I agonize over it, and when I can't resolve the doubt myself I take it back to the staff team (and having one fucking rocks, by the way) and we pull it apart until we get somewhere. I feel like I've put down deep roots and I'm not blown over by the least little breeze anymore. I'm confident but I can still bend (like the reed, children) in a storm. I get up and I go to work in the morning whether I want to or not, whether I feel terrible or not, whether I'm sick or not, whether the world is an awful weight or a good friend; and for me, that is rather an amazing step.

I gave up a lot to be able to do it. Maybe too much. It's hard to admit that there might be a choice between being myself and being a functional member of society.
More later.

Look. I wouldn't say that the capable, worky-going me is a fake, as such. But it's true that this work isn't the work I want to do forever, and the things I do in my free time to keep myself from going nuts are not the things I would do in an an ideal world of free time. Does that make sense? in order to shuffle off the stress of fulfilling obligations, there are certain routines and activities I go through during my "free" hours. But if I didn't have that stress, I'd be doing something completely different with my time. So I'm capable, I'm on top of things, but I... hm. The things eat up too much of me. I have to make space for them inside of me, and where do my gooey innards go?

At my feet. The world is such a ridiculous kaleidoscope. If I want to see obstacles, there they are. If I choose to see myself as carried along with a thousand other leaves in a stream -- bound to get where I'm going -- well, there I am again. The mystery of will! It is, certainly, but it isn't, also; the one is the other inside out, and other platitudes.

Perhaps you recall, Alfred, that long ago I said my job was about giving, emotionally and spiritually. It is. Sometimes it gives back, and sometimes I have to withhold. Lately it's been giving so much back. One of my bastions of sanity has started to turn and pull all kinds of energy of me (I can't grudge it -- but I have been. Sweet. I hereby vow to not grudge it; the tide is turned and that's as it should be) and one bastion of EVIL has turned into a font of rewards for me. The spiritual drain is much reduced; I feel like I've caught a life raft and things are looking way up.
Sorry for the lack of detail, but, you know. It's my job to safeguard their little lives, so I can't spew about them on the intertron.

It's hypocritical, almost. I say I'm a "safeguard" for them pretty blithely, when in truth if they want to get themselves into shit there's nothing I can do to stop them. If the system wants to grind them under its heel (and it always does) there's not a ton I can do to stop that either. It's terrible to think of it, but the psychology of childhood -- the rawness of everything, how easily a barb finds the heart -- is something I have a hard time remembering. Really great youth workers don't seem to have that problem, and I don't flatter myself that I am one. Yet I still feel like a protector, though I haven't been acting like one; I have the responsibility and the authority, and that makes me the shield and the shelter. If they walk away, that's free will. But I'm still here. Ready to apologize if it was something I said. Ready to try again, every time. Ready to listen and to try to understand. How strange. When I go back, I think I'll be ready to go back with both hands open. I've had to close up emotional shop to get through the days, but I'm ready now; I can give, again, and hear, again, and I have strength to lend again. Grand re-opening.

Meandering again. Apologies.
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why does everyone assume public art is a bomb [02 Feb 2007|10:03am]
First the mario boxes, and now this.

an ad campaign isn't art, and I find ad campaigns that are supposed to look like they came off the street to be really, really, really, saddening. But to me, the mooninites are so recognizable that it's clear from the get-go what the source would be. And if you didn't know what they were, it would be totally valid to think public art, so an attack on an ad campaign that looks like guerrilla art is...
Actually, I read an article from a boston newspaper, and they seem to be saying that the ads only went up on major bridges and hospitals and somebody called the police to report sightings of each new one. So that's not good at all.
Uff, I feel so removed from the united states in general, newswise. And I have only myself to blame.

look, I'll think about it some more. Truthfully Calgary is so devoid of public art that at this point, a sassy ad campaign would be welcome, if only because it might inspire actual art.

I'm sitting at the computer right now, surfing, like I would be doing if I were in Calgary, but i'm not. I'm hanging out in Chicago. I was sort of expecting my parents to work the whole time, giving me all day long to get reacquainted, but apparently they want to "spend time with me" and that's taken the wind out of my sails. Also, it's friday and not thursday, which has thrown me quite a bit.
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Movin' to the country [30 Jan 2007|05:47pm]
I'm off to Chica-go-go-go on Thursday to visit the fam and eat me a lotta peaches. I'll be there for eight days, and this time I have to think of good, chicago-related gifts to bring back for coworkers, yoots, and friends. Not friends, actually, I didn't promise them shit. But coworkers and especially yoots (Even though I'm not technically allowed to give them gifts of any kind or any value).

So far people have requested a) clear playing cards from the house of blues and b) sand. Both should be pretty easy, and clear playing cards covers all my poker-playing friends. Those suckers love playing cards of all stripes, even those that are impossible to actually use. One of my kids wants yu-gi-oh cards and did not accept my statement that I was not going to buy anything I could walk to the corner store and get here. But they're from Chicago! They'll be special, I promise! Still no. I'm trying to think of some authentic gangstarrrr shit I could bring him. Look, kiddo! Real crime scene tape from a real gunfight! But that's probably the Worst. Gift. Ever. So I'll have to hoof around a lot and see what I can see. I've got two kids interested in dragons, one Very and one Only When I'm Not Pretending To Be A Badass. Chinatown? But Calgary has its own very solid Chinatown, so there's not much novelty there. Truthfully I'm not worried that the gift says "chicago" so much as it being something that would be tough to find in calgary. And, you know, being cheap enough not to get my ass fired.

Plus we have a kid who (cross your fingers!) hopefully will have been booted from the island before I return.

Man. Wish the kids liked football. Here, have some bears merch, wee thing.

Steve-O had a boys-only poker night at his place with the whole gang plus his work buddies. I'd love to tell you how it went, but apparently I'm not a dude. I'm not totally clear on why it was guys-only. I know that last time they had a Dude's Night, it was so that one specific girl would not be able to attend. This time I think it's just that Steve's lost the O and is now an old married fogey who buys into stereotypes even more than before. Or maybe, you know, just a dude's night. Whatevs.

Rob won and nick took second, two hunned between them. Happy household. Apparently there was four hundred bucks but they split it between the top five, AND the guys who got knocked out spent some of the money on pizza. I'm glad I wasn't there, because I'd be friggin' cranky if my winnings got blown on pizza for drunk losers.

I don't know why I'm fixated on the guy-only thing. It's not like I would have been able to go anyway, I had to get up at five. It's just so... anachronistic-seeming, to me. Plus, I'm pretty uninterested in girls' nights, at least with the girls I know, because I can't cuss and say vile things in front of them and say extremely rude things about the cheesy movies we watch. I enjoy the movies, but I have to be snarky about them or I lose a whole level of enjoyment. I like them on a totally genuine, teenage-girl level, but I also love them on the "ironic, annoying" level, and the pop-culture-deconstruction level. I think verbalizing the second two would really ruin the fun for everyone else, so I just stay out of it.

Plus, they don't play poker. They knit, and I'm just not a knitter.

Nick got Guitar Hero for a belated christmas gift, and man. Guitar Hero is fucking awesome. I'd been not buying it, or even thinking about buying it, even though all the reviews were stellar, because I suck so hard at rhythm games. But I'm not bad at GH, actually: nick and I are pretty evenly matched but I think I've got a bit of an edge on him. I have to practice a lot (Mark doesn't even own his own copy of the game and he works all of us with his kung-fu-trained fingers) to be worth anything, but when I practice, I get better, which hardly ever happens with other rhythm games I've tried.

I borrowed Prince of Persia ("t2t") from the munchkins, but I got stuck on this one boss fight where there's, like, an axe guy and a sword guy, and you have to do this complicated dipsy-do followed by some speed kill shots, and I tried for an hour and a half and didn't get it because I suck, and then we got the Wii, and then we got Guitar Hero, and look, I'm sure the Prince and Farah can get through this one without me.

So I'm pretty happy to be going home. This year more than any other I feel like I'm finally a grown-up. I've finally proven to myself that I can handle my shit; I have my own life going and plan for how to keep it going. Of course, if I don't get into the masters' program, that goes right into the toilet and I move into mom's proverbial garage and cry a lot while I come up with a new plan, but right now I'm pretty confident that things will go more or less as planned. I hope.
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kids say the darndest things [28 Jan 2007|02:05pm]
I never post, but I think about posting, which is not totally unrelated. Then my post gets interrupted before it can begin, like just now: I am off to spend time with a human.

My kids are being cute instead of monstrous lately, and we are at full staff again. "Mambo Italiano" was on the radio and a little 12 year old gangsta rapper said: "What kind of music is this?" -beat- "Oh... classical."

Also, they think the reason they shouldn't yell swear words outdoors in a residential area is that it is Sunday Morning (EVERY day is saturday night, guys, but this is SUNDAY MORNING!)

hee hee.

More later, maybe.
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