Friday, August 29, 2008

Rain in the summertime

It's simply not fair. It's August -- allegedly our driest month -- and it's been (gulp) rainy! I feel totally gypped.

But rain or shine, our Friday must still Rock! And rock it shall.

Rain in the Summertime, The Alarm

I heard this on the radio last week and I knew it was meant for us. I'd forgotten how much I liked this song*.

And the 80s aesthetic is pretty darned entertaining, too.

Oh yeah -- in case The Man shuts us down, please use this link.

* Then again, I've forgotten a lot of things about the 80s. Just say no, kids.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Spent yesterday at home dodging a glancing blow from a stomach virus. Returned to work today to discover Boss #2 was returning from vacation in an hour. I thought it was tomorrow. Her computer, which I had slicked and reloaded, was not quite ready.

Managed, somehow, to get her up and running with only a minor panic attack.

It's not quite noon. I need a nap. And I think my sense of humor fell out.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

39 by 39

Nine years ago today I was 39 years old and 39 weeks pregnant. It was just about as much fun as it sounds.

I started the day like that, and some 9 hours later ended with this.

All in all, not bad for a hard day's work.

Happy Birthday, Young Son! You may be almost 4½ feet tall but you're still my Poohbatz.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Teach your children well

Sister recently visited Lovely Daughter and her new digs, a small 4th floor walk-up in NYC shared with two roomies. One roomie is Gay Boyfriend, her best bud from grad school.

GB is a lovely young man and an x-tremely talented actor; 6-foot-something, dark curly hair, broad shoulders... you get the drill. He's that guy that when he opens his mouth, women sigh and think What a waste....

As the story goes, Sister and Lovely Daughter are surveying the mountains of boxes and crap from the moving ins-and-outs of roomies old and new. GB bursts through the door, cross and sweaty from the four-flight hike.

He sighs, pulls the fruits of his shopping trip from the LNS* bag, tosses the bag over his shoulder, and squeals "Look at my new BEDskirt!" He then rips his booty from the package and wraps himself in it, twirling with the delight and abandon of a toddler in a tutu.

Sister relayed that tale when she visited us the following weekend. I was tickled pink! Of course we immediately took to squealing BEDskirt! (with jazz hands) at random intervals for the rest of the weekend.

That's 'we', as in 'including Young Son'.

So here's the thing: I'm aglow with maternal pride, seeing that his sense of humor is developed enough to know that it's funny, even though he doesn't quite fully get why it's funny.

OTOH, as open-minded as I am, there is something unsettling about an 8 yo boy squealing BEDskirt! (with jazz hands).

I did caution him that this is one of those jokes he probably doesn't want to share at school**.

Poor kid.

* Linens 'n' Shit. What, you don't have those by you?

** It's not the first time I've done that. And it won't be the last.

Friday, August 22, 2008


A cute, brandy-new little food joint up the street is proudly displaying their small menu, comprised of only two food items:

Bubble tea and Crêpes

Sorry, but I think that's a strong contender for the Worst Possible Food Combination of All Time Award.

Or is it just me? Am I too old and square to 'get it'?

Don't answer that.

Yeah, I can teach you

This song's been stuck in my head all week. I've been hanging on to sanity by the thinnest of threads*, waiting for Friday so I can Rock!**

As expected, The Man continues to chap my ass by preventing me from finding an embeddable version of the real video, so you'll have to click here if you want to see it***.

In accordance with our strict 'Don't Ask If You Don't Want To Know' policy here at AIWJT, I am not going to explain the milkshake. Trust me, if you have to ask, you probably don't want to know.

Besides, I'd have to charge.

* OK, thinner than usual.

** Or whatever we're calling <air quotes>it</air quotes> this week, nudge nudge, wink wink....

*** G'won! You know you want to. Probably SFW.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Insert quarter, pull lever

Holy Blog Of Doom, Batman! I just opened mine eyes, and lo! I have not updated this since people stopped clapping and Tinkerbell died... You would not believe I spend all my time in front of a computer. Seriously!

I am out of it with sleeping my way to the top, being distracted by the shiny, just generally being a biatch to anyone unfortunate to cross my path. My day drifts aimlessly from the second star on the right, straight on to midnight. I am looking at rectifying this. But who cares.

I swear on the bones of my ancestors I will write something that makes sense soon. Sincerest apologies. Seriously?

This post brought to you courtesy of The Lazy Blogger's Post Generator. Because I am.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Throw the beach bums out!

OK, I've had enough. I can't hold it in any longer.

Beach volleyball is the most ridiculous sport of the Summer Olympics.

Yep, it's true. I don't really understand why beach volleyball in particular makes me emit exasperated sighs w/full eye-rolls, while regular volleyball is OK. Maybe the careful beach-casual-eye-candy 'styling' of the athletes sets off my poser alarm.

It don't matter. I loathe beach volleyball like I loathe Court TV; hell, maybe even as much as televangelists. The broadcasts, hours and hours of them, are a waste of electrons. Even fast-forwarding through them by the magic of TiVo takes too freakin' long.

Mr B thinks I am being harsh. Don't care. It sucks. Go play your little party games on a real beach, kiddies; leave my TV alone.

Yep, I'm hatin' and sayin'. So there.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Battle of the Auto-bots

My co-worker, a dutiful company employee and overall Good Girl, turned on her email auto-responder before we left for the conference.

Here's how much of a Good Girl she is: We had different flights heading home, and were both delayed by thunderstorms. I made it home by midnight and rewarded myself by taking the next day off. She got stuck at her layover point and didn't get in till the next morning.

She went in to work. I am scum.

So I finally dragged my lazy ass in to work the next day and was immediately apprised that she had not been able to access her email since she got back. The boss had checked out the server and even called the mail server software support but still couldn't fix it.

Now, my boss is a long-since-retired grizzled M'soft veteran. He can't fix the problem and I, Ms. Winging-it-faker-faker-2-by-4, am supposed to? No pressure there, eh?

I pushed up my sleeves and gingerly approached the server. Everything looked fine, except the folder containing her inbox would not load. In fact, the server dropped straight to its knees, gagging, trying to display that folder.


Now this particular server, our main portal to the interwebs, is something like 8 years old. Every day I come in and find it's not tits up in the mud is a good day. Yeah, it's old and slow (I know you are but what am I?) but the only time I've seen it balk like that is when I forget to empty the email log folder it ends up with a go-billion files in it.

Sure enough, I checked the little file count in the lower left corner of the Explorer window and it said there were 120,000+ files in her inbox.


What seemed like an eternity later, Windows finally swallowed its vomit long enough to show me that it was not lying; there were indeed one hundred twenty thousand some-odd emails in her inbox folder. It didn't take long to figure out why. As I so blatantly broadcast above, her poor auto-responder had been engaged in mortal combat with another auto-responder, to the tune of something like 1000 emails an hour. For five days.

Being Ms. Winging-it-faker-faker-2-by-4 (and old and lazy to boot), I no longer have any recollection of how to write a script to parse the emails and sort the wheat from the chaff in any sort of automated manner. So I spent the better part of Friday and a chunk of Monday dragging the emails, 10K at a time, into Outlook Express and filtering them pretty much by hand.

Final score?
Auto-bots: 120,000+

Liz: 0

I love my job.

Monday, August 18, 2008

When I think about you

Once again, Evil Twin causes me to aspirate my lunch. Damn her!

She writes:
My well-woman appointment was this morning. Since I moved last time I never got a GYN, just used the trusty family practitioner. Actually, this was not a sacrifice, since he's as cute as a spotted pup. Usual scene, waiting in the paper gown, making sure the mini-blinds are TOTALLY closed, humming along with the classic rock station -- "Hits of the Eighties, Nineties and TODAY!".

Dr. A and his trusty 50ish nurse enter and proceed to conduct the preliminaries, lung/heart/lymph/tongue check, it was time to *slide on down*. This is where I usually count the holes in the acoustic ceiling tiles.

Dr. A begins his routine, slippery goo tube in hand. Softly from the overhead speaker wafts...
I love myself I want you to love me...
(Oh-h-h no...)
When I feel down I want you above me...
(I don't believe this!)
I search myself I want you to find me...
I forget myself I want you to remind me...
I don't want anybody else
When I think about you I touch myself...
I look over at the nurse, and she looks me right in the eye. We tried, but there was no way we could deny what was happening. She cracked a smile, and I swear, I tried, but I snorked so loud that the speculum popped right out. Poor Dr. A was clueless. I guess he was still in med school in 1991, hopefully hitting the books too hard.

He looked at me. Was the goo too cold? Did I have the hiccups? The nurse pointed to the speaker, and he pauses for a moment and slowly turns the color of an eggplant.

Poor guy.

She has got to be more careful with that thing. She could'a put someone's eye out.

Friday, August 15, 2008

This just in

I'm embarrassed to admit that I just ordered a grande iced decaf sugar-free vanilla soy latte.

I'm such a pretentious poser. I am pathetic.

But it was so worth it.

My first

Stopped by my green-aproned drug-pusher the other day for a fix of black and bitter. They were doing an informal poll: What was your first concert?


I had to stop, catch my breath, and blink a few times to activate the Way-Back Machine. I think I was all of 14. My friend Susan E. and I went with two guys. Don't even remember which two guys, but they were more-or-less our age so it wasn't creepy or anything.

The venue was the then-brandy-new Market Square Arena* in Indianapolis. I remember getting to the seat, being passed a bottle of cherry vodka, and that was all she wrote. I don't remember any of the show, but I do remember being told it was Yes. I was a Top 40 kinda girl so it's very likely I knew next to nothing about Yes.

This probably wasn't the album they were touring for, but it is probably the only song I would have recognized. Not that I remember them playing it....

I've Seen All Good People, Yes, The Yes Album

It was the first time I smoked pot. It was the first time I drank. I have a vague recollection of riding up and down in an elevator. And that's about it.

Yes, Yes, indeed. Rock on, Friday!

* I just learned MSA was demolished in 2001. Got-damn I'm old!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Plot twist

Not so's you could tell, but I sometimes read about how to write. Not sayin' I understand it at all; in fact, most of the time I'm hoping that simply staring at the words on the screen might effect some sort of subconscious change that will, someday, transform me into someone who can write.

I know. Hey, I can dream.

Lately I've been very focussed on plotting, mainly because I have not even the faintest idea for a plot. And I have this uneasy sense that might be an issue if I ever try to write a story.

But never fear -- everything can be found on the interwebs, right?

Yesterday I found a cool post on Lynn Viehl's Paperback Writer blog where she describes her Story by Name Game. Here's my quick-n-dirty single-player version:
Pick a random listing in the phone book for a couple and write down their first names. Add a random last name, also from the phone book. Choose a random life-changing event, then a primary conflict, related or not. Add a complication, one that ties the major event to the primary conflict. Finally, decide on a resolution for the story that uses the major event, primary conflict and complication.

Shall we?
Meet Martin & Lisa Donis. Lisa, a hot-shot fashion designer, is newly pregnant. Martin, a cake decorator at the local WMart, freaks out about facing fatherhood and decides to pursue his dream of dancing on Broadway. He packs his dance belt and a tube of chapstick and takes off for Manhattan. He reassures Lisa he'll send for her when he hits it big. Problem: Martin is 5'8", 250 lbs.

Lisa abandons Martin and his delusions, walks away from her big show in Italy, and goes 'off the grid' to live off the land. She sets up housekeeping in a hollowed out giant redwood tree, where she births and raises her child with a wacky cast of anthropomorphic animal friends as her sole support system.

Well? Whaddya think??

...::«crickets chirping»::...

You're right. I ought to stick to tech support.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rant: If you sprinkle

The best part of travel is definitely the airport bathrooms, no contest. I'm particularly enamored of the wet toilet seats. I freakin' live for wet toilet seats, especially after a long flight spent wedged in a middle seat between two people with no sense of personal space. Makes it all worthwhile, somehow.

If the light's right you can see the tell-tale glimmer and wipe before sitting. But if you miss the cue... well, there's nothing quite like that cold and lonely feeling of sitting in a stranger's piss. Extra points if it's still warm.

I just can't wrap my head around why some women are so afraid to come in contact with the seemingly-clean-yet-somehow-completely-filthy toilet seat that they will hover and piss all over it then walk away.

Dearie, exactly what parts of your body are you rubbing on the toilet seat?

Touching the backs of your thighs to the edge of the seat while executing the Modified Squat will not immediately infect you with HIV. And that little bit of leverage improves your aim significantly. If you are, for some unimaginable reason, incapable of the Modified Squat, at least wipe up after!

The kicker is that the women who are most afraid of Death by Toilet Seat seem to be the very ones trashing the place.

Get a grip, ladies! I have an 8 year old son who makes less mess than you.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It's Christmas in August!

I stopped at the post office this morning and found my copy of Diesel's book*! I just had enough time to read the introductory stuff before heading into the office. Now I'm counting the minutes till lunch, so I can hole up in my car and read like a fiend for 59.5 minutes.

Although I'm guessing this book would best be enjoyed under the covers with a flashlight, IYKWIM.


* That post is from last December. You'll have to click through to to buy it now. And buy it, you will.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Statistics show...

Spent most of last week perched on a stool in a windowless exhibit hall pimping our product to statisticians. In case you haven't noticed, I have a fairly short attention span and I'm not what y'all might call a people person, so this is pretty much akin to hell for me.

After the first day I was able to stop pacing the booth like a caged beast and settle into a stupor. That's when I commenced with the hard-core people-watching.

Yes, there is some prime people-watching to be had at a gathering of the mathematically inclined. As you can imagine, some of the fashions displayed are incredible. Dr. Okun would feel right at home. And that applies to both male and female attendees, excepting the teeny young women of Asian descent who disappear when they turn sideways.

If you've never had the joy of strolling the aisles of the vendor exhibit at a mathematics-centric conference, it's quite an event. Many vendors hand out swag, everything from candy to pens to frisbees to those woven straps with rings on the end for folks to clip their admission badges on. It's always enjoyable to watch these (for the most part) serious, highly-trained professionals cruising the aisles like the Saturday morning sample-fest at Costco, cramming handfuls of cheap crap into their stylin' black plastic complimentary tote bags, and dropping stacks of business cards in fishbowls for drawings of items they have no clue about.

The booth down the aisle was handing out the swaggiest swag in the entire universe: Flying Screaming Monkeys. Well into the third day, exhausted from screaming inside my own head, I saw him: A stout, round man, bald 'cept for a gray bushy halo of hair, in sloppy khaki shorts and a taut-to-bursting pink tropical print shirt, clutching his furry prize and beaming like he'd just sat on Santa's lap and walked away with a candy cane as big as his leg. Which was considerable in size.

It made it all worth it. I had a reason to live!

I couldn't get my cell phone out fast enough to catch him, but I spent the next two hours pretending to text while trying to shoot candids of these guys.

Yesssss, my Preccccioussss....

My favorite was the guy in uniform -- I'm guessing US Public Health Service -- fully engaged in an apparently very serious discussion of all things statistical with his monkey friend snuggled safely under his arm.

Also, our booth was right across the aisle from a major publishing house displaying hundreds of titles. At some point I noticed the visitors consistently formed a stag line, which remained intact almost the entire four days.

Check 'em out, Laydeez.

This guy stood in the center of the aisle for the better part of two days straight reading books held about 6 inches from his face, slowly rocking back and forth.

Simply FASC-inating!

And before you get all up in my ish for making fun of the nerds, let me remind you that these are my people. I am One of Them. A scant 17 years ago, I would have been right there in the stag line, nose down, in complete statistical bliss. I am not even making that up.

Ah, good times. Good times.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Alive & kicking

Yes, yes I am. And I'm back just in time to Rock the Friday like an itty bitty baby.

Here's a prime example of the damage incurred by living though one's 20s in the 80s. I freakin' love this song!

I'll file my trip report next week. Be sure to check back -- it'll be worth it. Who'd'a thought a statistics conference could provide prime blogfodder?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Guest Post: The Protestant Ancestors

(I'm on travel this week. While I'm off sitting on a stool in a booth in a windowless convention hall, my Greek chorus of Protestant Ancestors have volunteered, en masse, to amuse and entertain in their own inimitable fashion, such as it is. Sorry.)

Greetings. We are glad to make ourselves known to you and, Lord willing, set things around here to rights.

We are mortified and frankly discouraged by the laxity of moral fiber displayed herein by one of our descendants. We are blessed to have this opportunity to set an example for Elizabeth Ann to follow. Our fervent wish is that she spend the precious few remaining years of her dotage following a path of piety, humility, and decorum. We have serious doubts that she is capable of this; nonetheless, it is our burden duty to try.

We must first address the whining. We are appalled by the copious amount of complaining, sniveling, self-pity, and other weak behavior exhibited in this forum. This public forum, God forbid! A Person of True Character inherently knows that all complaints are to be sublimated, stifled, and otherwise swallowed whole. Complaining is nothing more than a self-indulgent cry for attention; attention that a Person of True Character does not need, want, nor deserve.

Even making these essays available public consumption is a blatant and completely immodest bid for attention. She may as well run down the street stark naked, waving her arms and screaming 'Look at me! Look at me!'

(Hmm.... Well, maybe not. Have you seen her in a swimsuit? We're not hating; just saying, is all.)

The language? Shocking. Vile epithets aside, the subject matter of most of these essays is beyond the pale. It is shameful for a woman of her advanced age to not only spend time alone in the company of a man not her husband, but to even hint at what might have occurred that first night... well, the half & half anecdote alone had most of us laying prostrate in a darkened room with cold cloths on our foreheads, and the rest pacing in circles with our fingers in our ears belting 'Onward Christian Soldiers' at the tops of our lungs.

Speaking of husband, we won't even address the whole sordid divorce and her failed duties as woman and wife. It has left an indelible stain on our good name as well as her immortal soul. Generations of our women have grimly soldiered on through centuries of marriage, performing their duties with clean hands and pure hearts, thusly earning their rightful places in Heaven. We all had dreams! What makes her so special? We'll leave her to sort out that whole ugly mess with her Lord. We wish her good luck with all of that.

We have been completely humiliated by her references to her (ahem) 'medications'. A Person of True Character bears whatever trials God sends in accordance with His slightest whim will. The luxury of allowing oneself to feel depressed is self-indulgence of the highest order; an extreme failure of will and character. She is obviously damaged and unworthy. And have we mentioned weak?

We have determined that for Elizabeth Ann to avoid further ruin, she must make amends for her repeated grievous errors in judgment. Her ongoing penance has been to spend 40 hours a week sitting at a desk with the requirement to look busy in the almost complete absence of meaningful work. We had hoped that this would bring her around but we're starting to think not so much. We will require her to continue on that course for some time, but we have compiled this list of additional activities to occupy her idle hands and rehabilitate her impure mind.

We recommend that she immediately:
  • Volunteer for the Republican Party

  • Learn, embrace, and proselytize the tenants of Intelligent Design

  • Follow Nascar

  • Watch Bill O'Reilly

  • Volunteer to clean toilets in a Large, Highly-Regarded Medical Institution

  • Take up scrapbooking

You know, with the enormity of her failings enumerated before us, we have grave concerns about whether the soul of this weak-willed, licentious, self-indulgent crone-child can even be saved. It would certainly be tragic if her soul was lost forever, forfeiting her place at the family table in Heaven; but to be honest, we're not so sure it would be that great of a loss.

Although we hear tell she bakes a hell of a cake.

The Protestant Ancestors


Friday, August 1, 2008


Aha! I think I've found a way to defeat The Man's evil corporate buzz-kill. Here's one of my 80s favorites, lip-synched by a group of guys having a hell of a lot of fun.

May it Rock your Friday!

Tempted, Squeeze, Singles 45's and Unders

I'm out of town most of next week. I have one guest poster lined up, but other than that I'll have to leave to to entertain yourselves until get back on Friday.

Keep those hands where I can see them, now.