Monday, July 21

You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here

I reckon I've packed up all the stuff I care about, and I'm taking it over here. It sure would be swell if you'd join me by updating your links and/or your feed reader. As I explained over there, I've still got some kinks to work out, but so far everything seems more or less functional. If you encounter any weird browser issues, please let me know so I can run around with my hands in the air like the stove's on fire and I'm too excited to put it out.

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Saturday, July 19

I just made an honest woman out of myself

Well, I did it. Today I happened to notice that was free (it was occupied the last time I checked ... a couple of years ago), so I snatched it right up. I've been squatting here at Blogger for five years now. Five years! Does anyone remember when I used to have Yeah, this will be a hell of a lot less letters to type.

My informal plan is to move all my posts to Wordpress and go from there. In reality, I don't have a fucking clue what I'm doing. I'll let you know as soon as the new site's up and running. Until then, we're blogspotting, baby.


Friday, July 18

+1 skill point

All the doorknobs in my apartment look like this.

keyhole pwnage

The apartment is old and the building's foundation has shifted enough times that most of the doors don't actually latch when you close them.

Jack has caught on to this and has made it his mission to figure out how to open the doors around here, many of which stay "closed" but not quite closed.

His technique? Standing on his hind legs, stretching as far as he can, and hooking one singular claw into a vacant keyhole, letting his weight and gravity do the rest until the door swings open. He's surprisingly effective at this, and when I catch him trying to do this to the doors that actually do latch, I can't help but laugh because the doors don't budge, which means he just gets stuck there, his one little claw extended to its limit, his weight baring down so that he can't retract it. He tries to fake it like, Oh, hey man. I was just ... hanging around. Pretty nice day out. Saw some dustbunnies float past a minute ago and I just heard you fill up the food bowl. But I'm hanging out here for a while. Sniffing the breeze. Catch you later, man.

But I know. Dumbass.

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Me vs. the machines

Some time this year (last year? the year before? hell, I don't know; life is what happens when you're blogging about your cats), they replaced the soap dispensers at work with the fancy kind that magically sense a dirty hand and noisily crank out sanitary foam for your handwashing pleasure. These machines — there are two per bathroom for optimum convenience!!! — have a mystical set of standards for occasions on which they will actually dispense soap to the dirty-handed. Hold your tongue to the roof of your mouth, stand on one foot, use your toes to speed dial your mother, and sing "Old Time Rock 'n' Roll" to the tune of "O Tannenbaum," and you might coax the thing into giving you a dollop of foam. Every other Thursday or so.

I've endured my share of farcical battles of wit with those machines and have spent more time than I care to recount bitching at them or about them or in their general vicinity to anyone perched on a porcelain throne nearby who may or may not care to hear my ranting. My favorite move is the one where you hold your hand out beneath the dispenser for five minutes, waiting patiently, and the instant you pull away, hey, here comes a little foam turd for you and now it's on the counter. Awesome. It's especially insulting when I fail at my quest to get soap and wash my hands simply in plain water, and then go to dry them, only to be rebuffed by the automatic paper towel dispenser as well. The paper towel dispensers — there are two per bathroom for optimum convenience!!! — usually aren't nearly as finicky as the soap dispenser (although I have spent many, many minutes of my life waving at them like they're long-lost friends, trying to get them to recognize me and help a sister out), but they are quite often simply broken and/or out of paper.

In other words, I fucking hate these machines. They are a perfect example of machinery created to make our lives easier that, in fact, only complicates things. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the manual dispensers we had before. Sure, you had to touch them and some people get weirded out by that, but come on. What's more unsanitary -- touching a soap dispenser's handle -- which is giving you soap with which you will then wash off your hands -- or going without soap altogether half the time because the frigging things aren't even working?

Oh, and here's the kicker. I found out from a co-worker yesterday that part of the reason why the damned soap things don't work sometimes is because they run out of battery power and just sit there, unusable. They especially tend to run out of batteries on the weekend. So people working Saturday and Sunday often go without soap. Co-worker said the maintenance staff was going to start checking the batteries on Friday afternoons to make sure we could make it through the weekend.

How ridiculous is that? It makes me want to scream when I think of all the little double A batteries (hell, those stupid things may use C batteries for all I know) we're burning through and then sending to landfills for no fucking reason other than perceived convenience. I don't know. It just ... ugh. It's a bit much for me, and I'm pretty much the shittiest environmentalist you will ever meet. (Case in point: Weeks and weeks ago, I bought two of those Schnucks bags meant to be reused to replace the plastic bags, and I have been back to Schnucks exactly once with them. All other times ... of which there have been many, many ... I have managed to forget them, and returned home with a carload of plastic bags. Yeesh.)

So my plan is to buy a big bottle of dollar-store soap and bring it in this weekend for the weekend crew to use and refill it as needed. Maybe it will be just me using it, maybe not. Whatever. I don't care. But I am not fighting with those fucking machines again.

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Monday, July 14

Thanks, Fritz, for the brain worm

My pal Fritz over at the Manhattan Project posted this video a bit ago, and now that I've let the song thoroughly infect my psyche, I had to go buy the whole Santogold album.

The video's kind of dark, even if ironically so, but the album mostly features upbeat, shoulder-pumpin' music that I hope will set the tone for my week to come. I don't need another week like the last one, you hear me, Universe?

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Bad news for public-radio fans

NPR is canceling the Bryant Park Project, the program that published the audio slideshow about my Project 365 last year.

This sucks; the BPP is one of the rare mainstream public radio programs that really embraces the web and all it has to offer.

Memphis' own Radio Sweethearts has a few suggestions for anyone wanting to pass along their disappointment to NPR.

Best wishes to everyone involved, but especially Laura Conaway, who hails from Mississippi and was so wonderful to me while we were putting together the slideshow. I'm rooting for all of you guys.

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Born to blog

This morning (I'm being generous; it was 11ish) I hopped out of bed like a little sprite and sprang into cleaning action. Last night I had stopped by Rite Aid to ready myself for the cleanliness rapture and stock up on cleaning supplies. My apartment has been filthy and crammed with random crap for a very long time now, and I really only spruce it up on the surface when I have people over. But it's been a long time (read: probably never) since I really cleaned it.

I brewed the world's tiniest pot of coffee (my new $8 coffee maker from Fred's is among the most adorable appliances I have ever laid eyes upon) and proceeded to down two black cups as I worked my way through the kitchen and bedroom. I meticulously scrubbed the baseboards and moulding. The air conditioner got a nice little rubdown, as did my dusty dresser and nightstand. But my magnum opus today? The closets.

My closets have always been prone to abuse. Call it a walk-in closet and I will eventually treat it like an offsite storage unit, crammed to the brim. But lately I've been feeling so insane and so suffocated by unseen forces that every time I opened my living room or bedroom closets, I fantasized about saying something dramatic and throwing myself off a bridge. Yes, it got that bad.

So today I was ruthless and just started chucking stuff and piling everything else up to take to the Goodwill. My old stereo, DVD player, desk lamp, printer, feather boa, phone, answering machine, beaded curtain, you name it. If it was in my closet and I haven't touched it in six months (aside from my old Dell and my box of old drawings and journals, which I'm still not ready to part with), it's gone.

Kind of. It's all sitting in my hallway right now, but that's only because I want to drop the stuff off during the Goodwill's business hours. And I also kind of figured I might unload some of the electronics stuff to people I know. But by tomorrow evening, that shit is outta here. I feel a hundred pounds lighter. Not in my ass, unfortunately, but in my heart. I just lug so much around with me that sometimes I can't breathe from the weight of it.

Does this mean I'm done with being a slobby packrat? Hell to the naw. That's in my genes. And besides, if I wasn't a packrat, would I be able to up and produce a gem like this letter I wrote to Dear Abby when I was twelve? I think not. Behold! A twelve-year-old's infinite, pithy wisdom: completely uninformed, yet full of opinions. And to think I've continued that legacy to this day. Amazing!

dear abby

[This is funny on its own, but to think that just seven or so years later, I'd be writing something like this? Priceless.]

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Friday, July 11

Yeah, I laughed


Dude 1: Hey, did you hear Obama might be sponsoring a car for NASCAR?

Dude 2: I guess that means he's going to play the race car.

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Today I took a little tumble in the liquor store. Literally. You know, I've spent enough time rambling about my stupid life on the internet that I just about had myself convinced that I couldn't really be embarrassed anymore. Ha. Nothing like a good old-fashioned falling down to pour a nice little cocktail of humility and shame over your head.

Still, it made me laugh. Once you recover and move far, far away from the epicenter of the ordeal, you can't help but imagine how you must have looked to everyone else. First, to your shopping companion, who's turning to say something to you, only to realize you're not there anymore; you're splayed on the floor with your knees spread jutting in opposite directions, your torso hovering awkwardly above the linoleum as you grasp for something, anything, near you, a look of pure terror on your face. Then there's the people behind the counter, who, just a split second earlier had been nodding to greet you upon your arrival to their fine shoppe and suddenly see you drop out of view, as if plummeting through a trap door, thoughts of lawsuits flashing through their heads.

Of course, no fall would be complete without The Save.

"Wow, that's REALLY slippery!" you might announce as you try to right yourself and carry on with your shopping, which hadn't even really begun because you had just, JUST stepped into the store before gravity and the rainslicked floor joined forces to suckerpunch you. But everyone just gives you that wincing look of pity, the one that barely masks their desire to laugh. I know that look because I can never get it quite right when I witness someone fall. I usually guffaw before thinking. It's nothing personal; I'm just twelve years old and pratfalls greatly amuse me.

So, yuk it up, chumps. I'd laugh at you too.

Good god in heaven, I'll just go ahead and say it: It's been one of those weeks. One of those weeks where your brain is a cord of wood and the world is a flock of woodpeckers just fucking going at it, so fast they're in slow motion, boring holes in your consciousness, rattling your eyeballs, and making you want to scream the loudest scream that has ever existed.

Sounds dramatic but it's not, because everybody has had a week or two like that. Maybe a month. A year, if you're real unlucky.

I thought I was going to fucking choke someone Wednesday night. I felt like the Hulk, only not quite as chartreuse and way more passive aggressive. I don't know where all that bile came from. Some of it carried over from the weekend, which was not altogether bad, but had its moments of anxiety and anger. Some of it came from the phone call I got from Phil early this week telling me that Felix is really going downhill in his old age and we need to think about the near future, when he's going to either suddenly die or get sick and have to be put down. Sprinkle some guilt for being the deadbeat parent who only sees him every other week or so. Add some frustrating requests at work that will, of course, get worked out in due time but that still stress me out. Fold in the sight of two failing/ailing long-term relationships in my friend group/family, both of which came to a head very recently. Toss in, for good measure, a hunk of anxiety about the year being officially half over and my twenties eclipsing fast and my general uneasiness about exactly what any of that means and why I feel so compelled to worry about it incessantly. Garnish with a filthy apartment and an empty cupboard. And what do you get? A pissy-ass bitch pie.

What is that sound? Is it the wahmbulance? Good, because I called it three frigging days ago.

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Wednesday, July 9

100 percent less pukey

I've been asked by a couple of people how Jack's doing since his copious-vomiting incident last week ... or whenever it was.

See for yourself:

my cat hates christmas

I persisted in giving him his antibiotics for two days, at which point it became clear that he didn't need any medicine; he had just needed to barf up everything in his stomach and start all over. He's totally fine and back to destroying any and all paper items he encounters, including this large and moderately expensive Christmas bag I had stored in my closet but removed briefly so I could retrieve something stored beneath it. One second I'm rooting through a musty cardboard box, and before I know it, I hear the startling explosion of a cat entering a giant paper sack at full speed, fast enough to bust through the bottom and attack the ragged edges, leaving spit-soaked paper shreds in his wake.

Right now he's wrestling the shit out of Sally and she is making her bitchface at him as he bites her neck.

So, yeah. He's good as new.

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Tuesday, July 8

How would you feel if you saw a pattern on the inside of a log that resembled your face?

Just ask this guy.

Bonus: This came from a tree in a graveyard.

I dunno, I think I'd be a little freaked out, but this old timer has probably seen a lot of crazy shit in his day.


One definition of 'treacherous'

In the shower, attempting to shave your legs, which are spotted liberally with the obligatory summertime mosquito-bite and chigger scabs, while wearing no corrective lenses (provided your sight is as craptastic as mine).


Slow and steady wins the race, I've found.

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