Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Over on the other blog, I try to post one Bad Culinary Idea per week. You know what's a bad idea? Homemade ceviche. Food poisoning usually garners some sympathy, until you tell everyone you ate raw fish that hadn't been flash frozen. "Isn't that how your husband got dysentery?" people say.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I'm proofreading all our plant lists for this year- eventually, I started listing all the foods found in common names. (Bored.) I was scanning one list when my brain alerted me that a specific entry contained a new food item. I stared at "narrow leaved owl's clover" for almost a minute, trying to decide if I had been thinking of owls as a tasty snack, clover as something other people ate, if leaves actually counted as a food name, or if I had read "narrow" as "marrow". Eventually, my brain explained that the new food was "eggs"- that the alternative common name for this plant is butter n' eggs.

I've been reading scifi about the theory of consciousness- and let me tell you, my Parliament is a sight smarter than the queen.

Monday, December 6, 2010

C has an e-mail devoted to junk. That is, when he buys something and they request a valid e-mail for a.) shipping problems and b.) spam, he has a special e-mail for that. One of the benefits of being his spouse is that I can use it too.

Unless I want to buy him gifts.



I believe that everyone should have a fantasy career. It doesn't have to pay well, it may not be half as emotionally fulfilling as one's real career, it may be truly soul sapping and unpleasant. But everyone has three or four things that they really dislike about their job- it's healthy to fantasize about a world where these peeves are absent.

For instance, I hate poison oak, sleet down my neck, lots of driving, and unreliable implacable scheduling. When I am cursing my fate, I say "I should have been a dental hygenist." I would never have to skip Pilates matwork because my knees are solid bruises. I could go to farmer's markets on my lunch break. I could scrape gunk off of peoples teeth, natter on about plants, and they wouldn't be able to talk back. Or escape.

C daydreams about the carefree life of property management. My coworker imagines her life as a flight attendent- pouring endless ginger ales in a clean blouse and pantyhose, every single day. We dream small, beset with the irritations of our everyday lives.

Last week, I got an e-vite to a career related meet-and-greet/social. I've gone to these in the past. Botanists are new to career building- remembering someone's name and having a business card is considered impressive go-getter evidence. Thus, everyone there is thinking the word "mingle" over and over again, hoping that networking conversations will magically happen. It's dreary. I really should go and practice my groupthink skills.

The Google ad for this e-mail is "Become a Dental Hygienist. Dental Hygiene programs near "

Well played, Google. Well played.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

All my friends in high school were wrong.

This is the Red Army and the Leningrad Cowboys singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Which means that the Leningrad Cowboys actually exist. They are not a delusion of my adolescence.

And apparently The Leningrad Cowboys Go America is one of the top 100 world films of all time. It is superlatively weird... I mean, they have a dude chasing them for the entire movie, carrying a fish. The band manager keeps an endless supply of beer in the ice-filled coffin on the roof of the car.

The mystery of how said film made it to the local Video Village remains.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sea Change

People ask if being married is different. It is! I swear! There are lots of ways, most of them depressing. For instance, more people treat you like your romantic attachments have value!

But at the moment, I'm more interested in my transition from non-toucher to toucher.

I think it was the wedding that desensitized me. The wedding photographs show me hugging an unending succession of people- including a woman who wandered in, took a plate of food, and left. Hugs! And there were Chileans- months after my last visit to Chile, people would hold out a hand and I'd reflexively kiss their cheeks. Now, I just assume I'm supposed to dole out a little arm pat, a comforting hand squeeze. It's like writing thank you notes: significantly easier after the first hundred.

I didn't realize that I'd become a... toucher until last night. We were at a party typical of my hometown- first there was a potluck and lawn games, then there was a drum circle, a bonfire, and a small ceremony honoring everyone who had died this year. You know, Samhain. I gave a reflexive shoulder squeeze to a sobbing neighbor, and realized that I had crossed over to the physical affection side.

Hello, people back on the sane, WASPy side of the divide! I salute you! Please do not sue me for sexual harassment!

I should have seen this coming. This summer, my supervisor and I were standing in a jungle, trying to decipher 35 year old notes on plants about the size of a throw cushion. I had just handed off the map so that I could decamate the mosquito population- and one of them landed on his cheek. So yes, I reflexively slapped my boss- and he has not yet done anything to deserve it.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

But Y'all Should Vote.

Y'all have probably not read an entire cookbook by Alice Waters, doyenne of California Cuisine. I have, because I have issues. When you read her cookbooks, it seems really easy to cook the best, healthiest food all of the time- as long as you structure your entire life around living like Alice Waters. Two farmer's markets a week, spending 1/4th your income on food, learning to haraunge the butcher and the baker- I do some of these things, and my mother and law does more- but Ms. Waters presents it as the simplest possible thing, because that is what her life is.

So- there's a giant freaking election Tuesday, with light and justice directly opposed to evil and also evil. I have just discovered that once again, C will manage not to vote. It is not hard, and if you don't care about local issues, there's no reason your absentee ballot can't follow you from city to city forever. It's just- civil duty is not something he builds his life around. Feh.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Quotes from C

"I don't have enough Skinner's boxes."

The 's is important, because it means he's short on the thin cardboard from his cereal boxes instead of experiencing a lack of operant conditioning chambers.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


My office is all in a fluffle, because the lady who decorated for each holiday doesn't work there anymore. Halloween is coming, and there are no decorations!

Well, OK, the produce exchange table is overrun with pumpkins from the Michelle Obama fire garden.

And there are orb weaver spiderwebs on all of the balconies.

And one of the biologists has an office full of skulls.

And the entryway has a bookcase with jars of salamanders, frogs, and newts.

The same bookcase has a stack of dried turtles.*

So it's not that we aren't decorating for Halloween, it's that we're always decorated for Halloween. They'll have to wait for Thanksgiving to complain. (Though probably the pumpkins will still be there, possibly some Indian corn, and maybe the turkey specimen will return from the taxidermist.)

* I mentioned this to C.
"Sack of turtles?" he asked.
"No, stack." I replied
"Why does your office have a stack of turtle shells?" He said
"You know, I never asked. But's not just shells- their feet, tails, and heads stick out, and their little mouths are slightly agape."
"You work in a strange place."
"You should talk. Your office has that really old couch. That's pretty creepy."
"Yes. An unsanitary couch is just as unsettling as haphazardly stacked preserved animals. Good call."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Not as Conscientious as I make myself out to be.

So I was reading a back issue of a Wildlife Periodical and found the region by region reports from Game Wardens. It paints rural Northern California as a places where people smoke meth, hook some makeshift spotlights up to their truck, and then cruise slowly through orchards and fields, looking to shoot pigs. It describes people who hand dug the 600 pounds of razor clams in the back of their pickup. There's more than one story with someone who is real ashamed about shooting a doe- he never wouldna done it normally, but he was high.

One suspect attempted to bribe the game warden into issuing a citation with an equal fine and jail time that wouldn't make it so he was mocked for the rest of his life. Shooting a doe. My word.

We Googled "Neruda" and "crying"

I'm spending a week in the city thing near my hometown, housesitting. I'm also working in the office here, doing what I think of as "The sort of mind-flattening nitpicking that makes C so crabby". And unlike the office back home, I can't show up super early, blitzkrieg work until everyone shows up, work a little longer, go buy some sushi, work, take a long walk, wait until everyone's gone and do a little more blitzing. I work best when there's no one else there- even if they're quiet, I can hear them breathing. Instead, I'm stranded in the middle of mini-mall without an office key. I start working when someone unlocks the door and keep working until the last person leaves. I spend a half hour in the mornings sitting in the car, waiting for other people to arrive in the parking lot.

We share our little chunk of strip mall with a lawyer who works mostly on domestic violence cases/drug charges and a dentist. Since our parking lot is poorly lighted, near the freeway, and full of trucks themselves filled with electronics, we are a hotbed of property crime. Yesterday I asserted that the dentist attracted the wrong crowd and was gently set right.

The last note is that our wedding went really well. I mean, uncannily well. I talked to 120 people- many of them Chilean!- and screamed only once. At C. For breathing. I figure someone out there might see a last minute change in ceremony venue as bad, or be upset about potatoes or something, but I'm honestly just thrilled to bits about being hitched. Also, we met our primary goals: we're married, we're not in debt, and no one hates us. Also, we made the Conquistador Lord or the Undead tear up.

So yeah, things have been freaking blissful here, so much that I felt the Chaos Gods would soon demand their due. They currently seem to be satisfied with carrying off the rooster that I was supposed to be taking care of- I pray they leave the dog.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Notes on Gifts

Oh my, a giant bread maker that needs to be plugged into a dryer outlet. How useful!

In other news: special marital sheets are because newlyweds have clearly never cohabitated before and they need nice sheets. I am disappointed and relieved.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thin Walls

I can hear the man in the next apartment snore at night.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Psychic Drunks

I may have noted that Dona C packs like Roosevelt heading up the Amazon. Cuervito clicked his tongue at me, saying I was less that understanding about cultural differences. Other cultures are stupid.

She brought sixteen rolls of toilet paper! 50 pounds of oranges! 300 paper napkins in three different packets! (in case the other two get wet) Twelve cases of bottled water *in glass* to a place that bottles water. Sheets for all the beds in case the current sheets were unacceptable! The entire contents of her kitchen! Also, booze.

They were in town for three days.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Advantages to Wedded Bliss, Part I.

So C and I got hitched. It was very nice, although there were a lot of people. Fortunately, A brought me a white ginger lei- I managed to smell fantastic through six hours of hugging and dancing and flop sweating. Even now, the wilted and crushed lei is holding its own against the other, less pleasant smells in my bedroom.

The most concrete advantage thus far: when I'm watching him sleep, I'm no longer convinced that he'll be stolen away from me because he is so very cute. Advantage to C- no more being shaken awake and told that you need to appear less adorable immediately.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Unpacking Chronicles Pt. 6: The Madness of the Conquistadors.

I just discovered a sealed box full of packing supplies and cardboard boxes. While unpacking. You know, just in case we need more stuff to pack with in the future.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My subconscious is not subtle.

Last night I dreamed that I was eating a plate of radishes. Around the table were many people who are near and dear to me, eating fresh baked chocolate chip cookies.

I was trying to solve a math problem, but everyone else insisted it was impossible. Insurmountable. Then they ate more cookies and told me how tasty my radishes looked.


You all remember my earlier post about my fake crazy wedding plans. Wanna hear the real crazy wedding plans?

1.) C wants cheesecakes as wedding cakes. I suppose I also want cheesecakes. After considering transport, caterers, making them ourselves, and Costco, one of my friends suggested this guy. I called him. We established that I was a friend of a friend and wanted him to make ten cheesecakes. When we got into specifics, things got a little weird. He asked how big the cheesecakes should be, what flavors I wanted, what price range I was looking at. I said ten inches, lemon or plain, and like $25 each. He said he didn't have ten inch pans, was six OK? And no lemon, but mint, sage, and berry. And he could probably do it for $10. The conversation kept getting stranger until I said "Wait, cheesecakes isn't a euphemism. I want you to make me pastries." There was a pause. "Ten ten inch cheesecakes, plain, for $25 each? That sounds fair. I'll do it. Ignore the other stuff I said."

2.) One of C's great aunts is embroidering us a marriage sheet. I'm no specialist on Chilean culture- all I have to go on here is indelicate speculation, guys.

3.) Things that have happened to my dressmaker since we hired her: husband's heart attack, finish remodeling house, move out of shed into house, party for 200 in her house, daughter gets tonsils out, first grandchild born, roof caves in on shed, secondary infection on tonsil area for daughter, husbands starts suffering from panic attacks which seem a lot like a heart attack every single time, flat tire, and cutting off part of her finger with a circular saw. Option one: dress is cursed. Option two: she hasn't discovered that you can cover up forgetting to do something with unspectacular lies.

4.) C's mother bought a case of wine for us. After we bought more cases (OMG so many monies) she explained that the good wine wasn't for the ordinary guests at the wedding. I, um...

5.) Y'all have probably heard about the napkins, right? My mother and I got into a screaming match because I wanted to use the tablecloths that she collects and she wanted to rent a whole bunch of amber ones that would brush the floor. We got into another because she hates polyester napkins and the only ones you can rent are polyester and paper napkins are just too tacky. Result: we made (she made) 24 tablecloths and 150 cotton napkins. Really.

6.) Every food my mother thinks is fancy is something C hates. Olives, proscuitto, blue cheese, Asiago, cornichons, cheesecakes that are any flavor other than plain... We're two weeks out and still unsure of the shopping list.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Why I'm on Facebook

The guy who I sat next to in Botany meetings years ago ewwww! dog hairs in the coca leaves!

My best friend when I was eight wants a fox squirrel.

C's roommate from college spent three days decapitating lab wasps and will probably have to do more of this in the future. Anyone know of a place that sells insect-sized guillotines?

R's college roommate All sex, all the time.
Has anyone else noticed an upswing in junk sites on Google? Like, visible in the top three, you go to find an address and they try to sell you jokes, recipes, and porn?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Propriety sucks

I've discovered one sure way to damage a rapport with your boss- wait for him to make an assertion, and then laugh and laugh and laugh. Helplessly.

The other day we were trying to get up to a cliff, and he asserted that "this was the most difficult site all summer." I started giggling while asserting that no, it was not. And then I thought of more and more sites, and kept laughing and laughing...

He was (and is) piqued.

See, I camped last week, doing the sort of work that probably was why early Christianity took off. It was gorgeous, it was really difficult, and the only thing that kept me going was the promise of a better world at the end. One with an abundance of showers and beds and a distinct lack of cliffs. I swear, the landscape looked like something out of a Henson film. Also, 60% of my caloric intake was almonds.

Then I went back to the better world and found it a.) everything that was promised and more (oh sweet refrigeration) and b.) full of people who wanted to talk about difficulties with serger repair and large reservations and other viscitudes of wedding planning. No one cared bupkiss about caves and long ridges that are actually knife-edge (I have cuts knife edge) and fossils and fog obscuring all ground with a slope less than 80% so the whole world is cliff and getting back to camp after dark when you left before dawn and realizing that the flashlights are probably back at a cave.

I spent the weekend being 2009 depressed, lying in bed, crying, and snapping at people. (The fact that I was unable to walk without a knee collapsing might be involved.) I am now trying to raise acceptable amounts of interest in making napkins and finding a place to put a last-minute reception dinner. But.


I wanted something a lot less grand, reader. I wanted something simple and small. And if people can't be bothered to fake interest in awesome things, I don't know why I should fake interest in their stupid petty shit. As such, I am always six seconds away from being a horrible bitch.

I like the leis though! Those are nice!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fun with the next blog button

For some reason, blogspot is full of Québécois.

I think this is a fetish page for people who are into long nails? Or a lookbook? Or both?

Friday, August 27, 2010

I had to talk and think about wedding plans for at least eight hours today. This evening, every single conversation I had was about some aspect of a nuptials. After dinner, I was standing in the kitchen with my father. He gave me the affixing stare of someone about to impart something essential about dress ruffles, speaking to seamstresses, or making wreaths out of broom corn. I braced myself as he leaned in.

"I've been wondering about the provenience of the type specimen for Nothrotheriops shastensis. The name indicates that it's local, but I can't find evidence of it except in the Southwest."

I love my dad.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It was in San Francisco.

Y'all have probably heard my story about the tire blowing out while I was hitching a ride back to college. (Here 'hitching' is used in the sense that one calls a friend and asks if they are also returning to school on a day.) Moderately long story short; he was so phlegmatic about tire blowouts that I assumed they were no big thing. According to everyone else: High Speed Tire Blowouts= Big Thing.

So I'm going on a week long camping trip for work. On the last day, we'll drive out six hours, pass within blocks of my house, drive for another hour, drop off my coworker, and turn and drive back. I mentioned that I would probably tuck and roll.

Yeah, apparently leaping out of a moving vehicle is not inherently funny unless you've seen someone do it for a parking space.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I've been working in and around several campgrounds this summer. What with my elan and presence, people naturally assume I'm an authority figure. (I wear the orange vest of authority and carry the shiny clipboard of authority. The orange vest of authority is also the orange vest of not getting shot and the orange vest of being buzzed by hummingbirds. The shiny clipboard is sometimes used as a seat in particularly poisonoaky areas. Thus do I abuse my regalia.) Mostly I get scolded for how poorly things are run.

A couple weeks ago some teenagers were preparing to jump off a high bridge. When they saw me coming, they pretended that they were looking at some fish in the lake below. To my lasting regret I did not pull out my day planner, stare straight at them, and tap my foot until they either jumped or skulked off.

Five minutes later someone yelled at me because a couple of campgrounds were closed. I smiled real big, told her all about the terrible storms that had destroyed lots of campsites, apologized, and sent her to the next campground down the road.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Note to self

Look self, I know you love your birth control. I know you want to tell people how awesome it is. I understand. And you're usually pretty restrained about it. Never the less, recent events have led me to compile a short list of people who should not get the lowdown on sweet pregnancy prevention.

1.) Family. Yes, bonding, I know, couple of beers, I know. Still. Weird.
2.) Co-workers. I have no idea why you thought this was a good idea. Even if she asked.
3.) Ex-boyfriends. This is why we have lists like this, self. This is why we have lists.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

C said "If my body has an innate ability to regulate its weight and request certain nutrients, why are hamburgers always delicious? I mean, it's not like I have a cultural history or emotional attachment to In n'Out..."

In between talking about feeding mice mostly shortening and keeping them in giant refrigerators, HaES briefly notes that there's no better way for the moderately iron deficient to grab some iron than 1/4-1/2 pound of ground beef.

C (and his mother) is always a little low on iron. Doctors have remarked on this, though none of them encouraged burger consumption. If they did, maybe he'd be more willing to go in and discuss his insomnia. (Oh, eat some cheesecake- it'll clear that right up. Either that or some video games.)


I'm reading Extra Lives, a book on "why video games matter, and why they do not matter more". C recommended it as a way to understand his love of moving pixels.

I am possibly the worst canidate for liking video games ever. I have no patience for skills where there are no rewards for mediocrity. (or actual rewards) I am not dextrous. I have other time-sink indoor hobbies which gain respect from the adult world. I have your typical nerd-girl isolation and abandonment issues, compounded by nine years of the "I am more important than video games" fight. But the book is pretty good.

It is carefully argued and bewitchingly written- the sort of book that rewards you for playing freerice.com with the vocabulary I'd forgotten I knew. The interviews with game designers are fucking trenchant- as is the self analysis. (One of the roots of his periods of video game immersion is bouts of non-clinical depression; times of deep sadness due to unmet emotional needs. "I played this game for over a hundred hours because I was alone in a strange place and had no friends." is probably the most succinct reason I'm likely to get for why C played Stupid China Game until there was no more game unplayed.) Lastly, his descriptions of the most memorable moments in his gaming history are instantly familiar to an old D&D player- moments when some quirk of designer intellect and luck give a scene unexpected emotional resonance. I get that. And since the author sold his soul at the crossroads for a golden pen, they aren't mind-killingly stultifying to read, unlike every cool story from a RPG short of the gazebo attack.

So it makes its core argument very well- games do have emotional impact, they serve to fulfill emotional needs like other art, and the design process is deeply deeply flawed. I do hear the last chapter is basically a memoir of a six week cocaine and GTA binge that undermines some of these points.

But I don't know if I'll manage to make it to the final chapter. In college there were dudes- charming, interesting, amusing dudes- who A pointed out were not worth the effort of befriending. They could be aquaintances until the cows came home, but there was no reason to care about them, worry about them, or ever be alone with them. They, by word or deed, clearly did not think of women as people. Spending time considering the inside their heads made you feel... subhuman. I get the same vibe from this man. They are little things- he uses "sororal" as an insult; his test for game adequacy is whether a real life naked woman can distract the player; he repeats a joke which was probably funny the first time. Not only is his default gamer definitely male, so is his default human being.

My poor dear one attempted to show me why he loves the things he loves, and managed to tap into my fear of cultural misogyny.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sustainable long term weight loss.

I promised I'd figure out all the addresses for invitations today. This is why I'm reading Health At Every Size and writing a blog post.

I love that the author is a little on the cold and clinical side. While she's explaining the "weight thermostat" concept, she cheerily covers the horrific tests run on obese mice. Ways that mice can permanently lose weight follow.

Connecting the veins of an obese mouse to the veins of a thin mouse results in the obese mouse becoming thin.

Traumatic brain injury to the hypothalamus often results in complete loss of appetite. (Or occasionally dramatically increased appetite)

When all food tastes bitter, the mice maintain a lower weight as long as the food is bitter.

Monday, July 26, 2010

And there were cupcakes.

So I was at a wedding this weekend! It was charming.

The groom's extended family is taken with the bride- so much so that they have "hard black shoes" if he manages to screw things up. Adorable welcome to the family! So sweet! I suspect alcohol was involved.

Also, you know the "omygoditsoursong!" squeal, followed by like six ladies dancing like frikkin' synchronized background dancers? Time Warp, people. Entire Band-uh clarinetist section. So much more awesome than standard.

An old dormmate expressed her opinion that wedding planning was not, in fact, difficult. She laid out a basic plan, (invite some people,find a place to have the ceremony...) noted that there were probably lists online that would be helpful, and said that everyone loves shopping for pretty dresses. Señor C laid a restraining hand on my arm, mindful of the fact that we've been discussing (loudly, with yelling) the guest list for the rehearsal dinner for the last two weeks.

"It's actually really easy." I said, "People overthink it. Everyone wants to be unique and clever- the essentials get lost along the way." She nodded happily. Then we started talking about Brooklyn. Apparently, it is just as good as Manhattan, but cheaper.

There was malice involved, sure, but I'm unlikely to convince her otherwise without getting all twitchy-eyed. Also, while getting families from two different cultures to outline their expectations for a ceremony and then accept compromise is difficult* I'm pretty sure becoming a cyborg or recovering from a broken back is more difficult. Hell, picking up and moving cross country is probably harder, there's just less cultural acceptance of yelling.


and apparently we hired a DJ.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

0 for 3

Crap, I think I just accidentally insulted a bride.

I just sent back another wedding RSVP, explaining that C and I were unable to attend. We were sorry, I said, but we hoped to see them both at our wedding.

After sending it off, I found the invitation. It's sent to me and me alone.

Cats: Pet of choice for the asocial

I'm newly returned from driving over a hundred miles to visit a farmer's market- it's the middle of July, people, and Jane needs her produce. Also, half you bastards have decided to get married in places with farmer's markets DURING THE FARMER'S MARKET. What on earth is wrong with you? I spend a weekend not going swimming and chitchatting with strangers, and you don't have the common decency to schedule the most important day of your lives around my apricot fix? I'm going to find some sort of baseballs thing in October and put my wedding there. (Advantage of a small group of readers: unexpected commonalities.)

Well, I actually did it because my job might be trying to kill me. More on that later.

Since I hate driving now, it no longer counts as introvert time. I came in, evaded my parents, and flopped onto my bed. The cat immediately got out of his basket and laid down next to me. I was irked (irked!) by this display of affection, figuring it was a bid for scratching. However, it appears to be nothing more than a desire to stretch out and place a possessive paw on my ankle. This is why I prefer cats, dog people- because sometimes a pet that sees me as furniture is all the social interaction I can take.

More: normally I don't work Fridays, so driving 150 miles is nothing. However, next Friday I will probably be hyperventilating in a helicopter for twelvish hours and then trying to make it to a wedding Saturday morning. There are two plans: drinking lots of caffeine, de-oaking in a river somewhere, and the bombing down to Christmas island in the dark of night or renting a hotel, taking a shower, and driving down in the small hours of the morning. Neither plan has good odds on my ability to buy produce, shower, and then show up. Someday I will have a job where I can conceivably go out in public after a long day at work.

Speaking of poison oak: another advantage of kitties (and probably doggies too. And other tame mammals, seeing as C is also a fan.) is that you can scratch them instead of your poison oak, and instead of bleeding welts you get a more loving cat.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I balanced the budget, and all I had to do was destroy the economy.

Seriously though- it was tough. I tried once being fair, rational, and prudent: I exceeded the budget by 20%. The second time I had two goals: prevent as many deaths as possible, and enact legislation that would irritate the Conquistador Lord. Worked pretty well, aside from the worldwide depression.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Plays by sense of smell

I've long had an Abbeyesque aversion to motor boats. Giant noisy things, deeply inferior to canoes, and of course polluting our precious waterways. Yes.

But I work on a giant reservoir now. Engines are so... convenient. ("What do you think this land was like before they put the dam in?" "Remote.") If there were no motorized craft on this lake, surveys would turn into week long canoeing trips. This would be pretty pleasant in June, sure, but in August and February? Hell.

And I would have probably died in that storm. Ahahaha.

Also, in spring all the other people on the lake were retirees on personal houseboats and grandfathers fishing with their adorable grandchildren. Frikkin' adorable. If this is what motorized watercraft means, I'm a fan.

Right. Now it's July, and other people have started using the lake. These people are not old. They own $80,000 dollar watercraft or rent them for $4000 a week. Then they drive erratically and rapidly up and down the various arms of the lake, towing people behind them without flags and blasting terrible music. Lotta Beyonce, because owning a boat is all about the ladies. Lotta Michael, lotta Madonna, because people who spend that much money on boats are a certain age. (old.) I recognized the unmistakable "MIDI Tribute to the Blues" once, meaning that the unseen boat operator and I share a special bond- they are apparently one of the thousand people who heard that terrible terrible arrangement. Sadly, we are separated by a vast gulf- they own a copy of the music, and are willing to play it. In public.

(Yes, the arranger called it an arrangement instead of a song. It was a thing.)

Today there was a boat playing "Pinball Wizard" and driving like me, age seven, truck full of firewood, in a thousand acre vernal pool. That is to say badly, and believing that turning the steering wheel a lot is the point.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

My mother has never gotten out of the habit of making sure her children are still breathing when they sleep.

Monday, June 28, 2010

It's not a secret if you post it on your blog.

Some time ago I returned from work to find the following note:

"I found your mail from this week. It is under this note. I will be back at seven. Don't spoil your dinner. -Mom"

I rifled through the mail, and then responded:

"Off buying ice cream cone. Back soon."

Feeling that might be deliberately inflammatory, I felt compelled to add a short vignette about the tragedy of the alligator lizard. You see, the alligator lizard lives in environments that are only tolerable if one has ice cream, but the lizard lacks both the ability to purchase ice cream and the ability to leave said environment. It is very sad. I drew a short comic on the backs of various envelopes and cards, detailing the quest for ice cream of a disturbingly anthropomorphosized alligator lizard. I believe at the end, sated by ice cream, he walks into the light- here represented by the gullet of an eagle- able to face his fate with equanimity. Then I bought and ate ice cream. Then I sent back RSVP cards for two weddings.

The next day I realized that parts of the alligator lizard saga were on the back of the RSVP cards.

But I seem to have gotten away with it- I've since talked to the brides in question, and there was no comment about my artwork. Ha ha! Awkward explanation avoided! Illusion of sanity maintained!

Unless they read this post.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The elephant is striking down the dwarf.

Last night I dreamed that that one of my oldest friends- the one who can't seem to remember Señor C's actual name- kidnapped C and threw him a bachelor party. Unfortunately, the bachelor party was after the wedding, and during the reception. I stood there, surrounded by friends, family, and seven thousand Chileans- waiting.

My paranoia is slightly justified as this friend has offered to have such a party. He really likes strippers.

So to preclude such an occurrence, I'd like to propose an alternative event- Señor C gets an entire cheesecake, people sign up on a rota, and we take two hours shifts playing Descent of the Rings in SPACE with him. Sixteen solid hours of one of his obscenely long and complex strategy games. It'll be like Boatmurdered!

If you get that reference, you've just signed up for two shifts.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Me too, me too!

C's screed against Everyman reminded me of wedding planning. Everything does now, apparently.

We were having a guts and grime talk: what's important to us (cake and ribs), what's important to our families (not spending money and being insane), and what we can afford to spend (bupkiss). C, who has obviously been getting tips for grooms who don't want to get slaughtered before the Day, asked me if there was anything special and romantic that I really wanted.

I started tracing patterns on the floor with my toe and not making eye contact.

"Well," I said in a low voice "If you wanted to... If it seems like a good idea..."

"Go on", said Señor C in encouraging tones.

"We could maybe... possibly... go to a lawyer and get joint durable power of attorney."


"Oh, and living wills!"

"I thought you were going to suggest something romantic!"

"There's nothing more romantic than durable power of attorney."

I stand by that statement. I'm not good at being conventionally romantic- as far as I can see, it's all about blackmailing my partner into buying me things and getting him to stare at me like the creepy dudes at a bar- but I get all gooshy about legal commitments (I did just have a freakout about wedding invitations, but that's because they were horrifically botanically inaccurate. C's future includes a ten minute sit down with the first six pages of the Peterson.)

But Roth. While fidelity is an essential part of my relationships, I don't see it as essential to all relationships. In theory, there are times where cheating is necessary for the survival of a good marriage- but I read Everyman and found it so loathsome that I temporarily believed exactly the inverse of whatever the author professed. It's like the opposite of hearing Bill Clinton speak. C may be biased by the unpleasant.

Oh, and who else hates dinner parties with your parents? It's like an exhibit of all your unpleasant conversational quirks. (Oh please, don't talk about how your job has wronged you. Please don't cut an anecdote about marriage short because you recalled the person we're talking to divorced three years ago. Did you just snub someone for a slight from the '90s?)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hey, C has a blog now. Its about slowly going insane while living with your parents. Fun for all!

Friday, June 18, 2010

I don't want your pity, I want to be mocked.

It got all warm outside. I've been drinking a lot of water: six liters every day. I was going to write a humorous post about how to drink so much water- the key is to work outside in Redding in recently burned areas and to have lots of water with you- but that's not the best way to achieve this goal.

Right, do you know those little fizzy packets of electrolytes- Emergen-C? My boss is encinte, and thus is not using chemicals. (No TechNu. No Gum. No Sunscreen.) The approved Gatorade substitute is that good old hippie hangover cure.

So the best way to drink six liters of water every day (1.5 gallons) is to also consume 3-4 grams of effervescent ascorbic acid. That's Vitamin C, folks- 50 times the RDA every work day. And while it's very difficult to harm yourself with Vitamin C, it does have side effects. I have them all, I just thought I was allergic to hot chocolate. And had food poisoning. And was weak.

I'm so dumb.

Special thanks to C, who thought to look up the symptoms of too much Vitamin C, even though I told him that I was sure you couldn't take too much. Positive.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I promise it's a joke!

I've decided to run with my joke from two years ago. C just got a truly truly truly crazy e-mail about wording in invitations. I threatened to call off the wedding if he didn't include a comma. I swear it's a joke. Mostly.
Spent some time looking for a particular blog- there's a fear, and it's either great or secret or hidden or the worst, and it belongs to this guy. (Who is nice, if forgetful.)

Yeah, there's a blog for each of those, and they all use the same blog format. All of them.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The cheapest kitty litter here is made from toasted wheat grains. It works fine, save for the guilt of using grain as a repository for cat poop. I had to switch to the second cheapest brand instead.

Friday, June 11, 2010

It IS nice, actually.

I floated C some money soes he could eat until his mom came back from vacation or he got paid. (We are still nineteen financially.) He just sent me a check- he wrote "sometimes payback is nice" in the memo line.

It's sweet- but it's sweeter because I usually write something like "LARPing Competition: third place" or "Western Boa Competition" in the memo line. I also give him nicknames like "Cuddles" and "Bubble Butt". I feel only moderate guilt!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

So talented!

I found another barrel of industrial waste in the forest today.

It's clearly been there for a while, and it doesn't have the MSDS conveniently displayed like the last one.

I told my boss, and he laughed and said, "Stop finding those. We've surveyed the area four times thus far- you're making everyone else look bad." I told him everyone else should walk as close to the road as possible without actually being on the road.

I think the sock zombie lady is right: "When certain things happen often, people privately wonder what it is you're doing so horribly wrong."

Oh, and my former "unpleasant grinding irritation" coworker got hired in my old position. (No bitterness, I was offered and graciously declined. Someone has to find these barrels.) While he was irksomely blithe and competent as a second in command, I'm now noting an increasingly restive and neurotic tone in his ever more frequent e-mails. Possibly because he has to resample sites marked with nothing but biodegradable flagging. (Oops.) Or because no one sent follow-up information to the federal and state agencies that allowed sampling, and future permits are being denied. Or because neither of us could key grasses worth a damn.

I'm torn between pleasant validation that my old job was hard, and fear that I've made someone else's job difficult. Oh, and pleasure that when I'm confused or find something cool, I'm encouraged to call my current boss and chatter. Prevent at least some of the preventable mistakes listed above. Hurrah!

Monday, June 7, 2010

The baby was very fine.

Important information for following anecdote: we call C's room "the Cage", short for Faraday cage.

On the drive back from the old west, I was attempting phone conversation with my beau. He said something which sounds ripped from the lyrics of a third rate emo band:

"You're in a shadow, I'm in my cage. There's no way we can even begin to talk to each other."

Sunday, June 6, 2010

soon it will get its own tag.

It's a second post on country music!

There are a couple of songs out- in the pop country theme of "My wife, she is extremely hot". Did you know that on data night- after your wife has carefully groomed herself into socially accepted attractiveness- the ultimate compliment is to cancel your reservations and have lots of sex instead? Don't you understand ladies? Tonight, (as opposed to the other date nights) your physical artifice is so successful that there's no need to anesthetize your husband with a steak and some jack on the rocks before he'll consent to sleep with you.

I hate your face, ENTP: Wow. Just wow.

I hold that there are three kinds of 'gadget dudes'. There's the type who will spend a long weekend assembling a computer to their exact specifications from parts they obsessively purchased online. They'll also throw out a little bit of code to solve irksome little quirks in their lives. I'm not expected to be impressed, because what do I know about ones and zeros? I think of this as the INTJ version- but sometimes C will channel this, and it is hot.

There's the ISTJ version, which involves welding. Welding and trips to the dump. I'm expecting a laptop stand as a wedding present- one with a distinct steampunk sensibility, the ability to adjust to any height, and a coffee cup holder that keeps my beverage at my preferred temperature. Here, no one can comprehend what's going on, so asking how many office chairs gave their lives is a good conversation starter.

But then there's the ENTP. The Gadget Dude. The first person you know to own an ipad. (Idiosyncratic capitalization conventions can DIAF. Unless it's pH.) The one who has the best car. No, the best car. You couldn't possibly know more about [chosen subject] because ENTP is an expert on [chosen subject]. This implies the ENTP has spent 10,000 hours researching conspicuous consumerism and standing in lines.

C has a cousin- who is largely delightful- who asked us to smuggle an iphone out of the country for him. As I wasn't aware that such things were illegal I told the Apple store guy the truth, and this am no longer allowed in that Apple store. Also, when his sister tried on four days before her wedding and found that it would not fit, he offered to sell her some of the Amway style diet pills he pushes. Unasked. Because everyone should celebrate their love with a belly full of psyllium husks and speed. Why tailor when you can crash diet?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Today I found an empty Plan B pill package in an abandoned homestead site. An abandoned Chinese homestead site.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I hate your face, ENFP: the social contract is for everyone.

Been a while, hasn't it? I just remembered that I used to have an ENFP friend.

So you may have noticed I'm hypersensitive about the social contract- it's because I remember most of it in the front part of my brain. When I talk to people, the occasional glazed expression is my running down a checklist. (Appropriate greeting, done. Correct name, done. Appropriate posture and expression, done. Inquiry into other's health, done. Evidence that I recall aspects of other's personal life, done. Made sure I didn't start raving about flowers... oh dear.) Having roommates is pretty much the same process- except now we're pretty up front about our flaws.

"We live in filth, we're introverted and will sometimes hide from you, and you can't move anything in the kitchen. Drink all of our booze you want, don't set any of our shit on fire, never tell us anything in writing that you're scared to say to our face, and pay the rent on time. Oh, and the cat thinks your room belongs to him." (Surprisingly, people are still willing to be roommates. It's a tough market. Also, hi Amistad, R, so sorry about the dishes! And the oranges!)

My point, charming readers, is that ENFPs are supposed to be good at this sort of thing. They're so suave! So aware! So clever and funny and sensitive! I'm sure they never have to warn people that they are bundles of neuroses. You can set them loose in any situation with human interaction, and not worry about them getting into a terrible argument about porch pillars. It's refreshing.

And then they crash on your sofa for a week, not bathing, eating nothing but cheese, and consuming one six pack and one fifth of vodka every day. It's not until the fourth day I even considered that this might socially unacceptable- I was so used to being the awkward one.


Thank you for kicking him out.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I live with my parents, my constant companions are feline, I'm well on my way to becoming a crazy cat lady. You know all this.

A couple weeks ago I realized I was talking to the cats using baby talk. This could not stand. I slowly weaned myself...

But talking to cats like they are intelligent beings is no better. For one thing, people assume you're talking to them. Please, interact with my family? Hah.

"When you do that, I think he feels threatened. Why are you purposefully messing with his boundaries?"

"I'm tired, I need space. Get out of my face."

First Dance

So I'm trying to find a song for our first dance. We don't really have a song that's our song, because we are bad at schmaltz. I made a list anyway.

"Secret Agent Man", Johnny Rivers. We went to a karaoke party before we were dating and knew we both hated karaoke. And parties. C sang this.

"Infected", Bad Religion. C had a clock/radio/CD player until it mysteriously fell down the stairs and got stepped on when we were moving in together. This was the first song on the CD that played every morning at 7 without fail. I'd always sleep through the first minute or so and have really disturbing dreams. Of course, since the untimely demise of the alarm clock, no one's been able to get C out of bed at 7 again. This song is totally about a relationship, so it's still in the running.

"Barrett's Privateers", Stan Rogers. Sea shanty about getting crippled in a disastrous navel battle! I made C listen to thus until he appreciated it.

"Rivers of Babylon", Sublime or "Sad Songs and Waltzes", Cake. Ah, the discography of college. Also, Sublime's version totally leaves out the threatened infanticide and the slaughter of the speaker, so added points. Really anything from these guys would work, except, you know, it's all wildly inappropriate.

Or from our post college years, "I Crush Everything" by Jonathan Coulton, or "No Children" by the Mountain Goats. We sing these to each other on long car rides. We've figured out how to sing "No Children" as a duet.

So we have crazy person taste in music. Maybe the wonderfully recursive "Do You Want To Be In My Wedding" is the perfect choice here. It's everything I hate about country music and the wedding industrial complex in one neat package.
I know talking about TV is terrible conversation, but I hate it when I recommend a show to someone, and they smirk (the smirk is critical) and say "I don't watch commercial television." I don't mind people not having TV- hell, I don't have a TV- but I mind the smirk. I mind it more when it's someone so keyed into the internet that you could probably cobble together a perfect AI replica of their personality from all their Facebook and Twitter updates. One glowing rectangle is not superior to the other!

Anyoldway, I think I've found a way to defeat this. I just start ranting about a childhood without television, the social isolation, the lack of a shared culture, and the inability to avoid watching any flashing screen in my peripheral vision. Said screen could be showing test patterns or judicial nominee hearings and Clive Owen could be making out with Jake Gyllanhaal right next to me, and I would still stare at the screen. There, smirker. You don't want to talk about television shows? Let's talk about my blighted years in junior high instead. Remember you wanted to derail the conversation first.

I have not found a way to explain that I don't have a TV without sounding like one of the smirkers. Really! It's essential! Allow me to show you the deep dip in my college transcript that perfectly overlaps our time with free cable! I totally still watch things online!

Friday, May 21, 2010

So Romantic!

C and I have a small tradition: when we are vacationing separately, we send each other postcards. The image on the postcard must closely approximate genitalia. Usually, this means beautiful tropical flowers or the Washington Monument...

This explains why I just got a postcard detailing Incan erotic pottery. It's very explicit.

My dad checked the mail today.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I hate your face ESTJ: Stop making sense.

It doesn't make sense, but an ESTJ can have fun anywhere. Anywhere. Like Ren Faires. High school band performances. Workplace holiday parties. Booze cruises. If someone somewhere created an event for the express purpose of having fun, the ESTJ will have fun. Somehow.

Well, not anywhere. They are completely incapable of having fun in a traffic jam. Or a Laundromat. Or at the DMV. (I know a happy couple whose first date was to the DMV. His driver's license photograph has the biggest shit-eating grin. He recommends it.)

So yeah. Either the ESTJ's capricious whims fix things as "fun" and "not fun" throughout society, or they are so prey to public opinion that they are incapable of observing that no one has freely enjoyed a Ren Faire ever, unless said persons were making money or making out.

Also they are very good at spinning plates. Too good.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I just unfriended someone because they joined the Facebook group "why test on animals when we have pedofiles in prison."

I find the idea of unwilling human testing abhorrent, yes, and I believe that prisoners are already treated inhumanely. I have read several articles that indicate that there are many false convictions of child molesters, and other which indicate it's a horrible horrible pathology instead of a wicked choice. Clearly, she and I feel very differently about this issue.

But who joins a group with an obvious misspelling and no capital letter at the beginning? Who?

And I hate bunnies. Why not put Lysol in their tiny beady eyes?
Alright, if it's socially acceptable to call classy media gleaned from weddings and wedding based photo shoots wedding porn, I'm going to call the adorable websites* couples create wedding slashfic.

*Used to be an independent website, but alas, no more.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I hate your face, ESTP: You can tell I know this type really well.

ESTP, this morning there was a sobbing woman in my carpool. I suspect this is your fault. Pro tip: only assholes pick fights before 7AM.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Someday he will come home.

C called me from Ecuador yesterday. He's in the middle of a Griswold style vacation with his immediate male relatives. Signs that he's been spending too much time with engineers? First, he no longer recognizes "go on" types of communication as anything other than interruptions. He says something, I say "uh-huh" he says "what was that?". Second, all units of time are accurate down to the minute. "In seventeen minutes, we are going to dinner." Third, he's starting to regret not bringing a protractor. "They promised these seats would recline to 160 degrees, and this is 140 at most." Fourth, his most vivid recollection of Machu Picchu? "All the steps are of non-standard size. Is it too much to ask for a little consistency from stonemasons?"

I think I might have to deprogram him when he returns.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I remember watching this at Jeanie Turner's with persistent viral pneumonia, age 4. I got to stay inside because I was always sick. And, um, she's dead now?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I hate your face, ESFJ: Please don't run for president.

There's a Douglas Adams quote which I will now paraphrase: Our superficial differences almost completely disguise our fundamental differences. That is, when I spend time with an ESFJ, I am so delighted to actually manage conversation that it is only later I realize we are incapable of communicating.

I know communicating with them requires appropriate garb, a great deal of social niceties, and not getting distracted mid-sentence. On a good day, wading through this would involve me rolling a natural 20. The flustered wacky thing doesn't work at all.

But then later I think about what they said. (I do this for everyone, by the way. I ask my teachers about things they taught me in junior high. I stomp around the woods, considering books and conversations and life stories. Your thoughts are digested and chewed again like cud.) I realize that my core moral beliefs oppose their core moral beliefs. I think that my social construct is imperfect- when I encounter another, I'm anxious to discover if they have better solutions to universal problems. ESFJs think our way is the best and also under attack.
(by people like me) I think testing aphorisms and common sense is a sign of brilliance and the ESFJ does not. An ESFJ is very public about their core beliefs, and I'm not. And I think that people should constantly evaluate whether they're living up to their highest priorities. I... I don't think ESFJs do this very often.

I hate your face, ENTJ: Please stop destroying my dreams.

I've stated that my dream job is one where I think of a pretty idea, someone else comes up with a way to implement it, finds funding, organizes the office space, and hires the minions, and then I get to wander around in the field looking at pretty flowers. I'll gladly do statistics wrangling, walk through poison oak, and design the database- just please don't make me speak to the grant committee.

So given this, ENTJ should be my work soulmate, right? They are the only other personality type where I can argue a subject down to the ground, insisting on citations and mocking their sources, pointing out logic flaws and yelling "Ad hominem! Ad hominem!" where afterwards we dust ourselves off and get tea. They too would rather be told that they are mistaken when the alternative is continuing to be wrong. And they do things! They get things done! They implement ideas! I know they're goddamn gregarious, but at least they're gregarious about interesting things. And arrogant, yes yes, but so delightfully abashed when you smack down a supposedly erudite reference. They should be the ultimate small-dose friend.

But I hate them. Occasionally.

I hate them because they're the extroverted: they should have the social skills. I should be able to form a symbiotic relationship with one and ride their coattails to contentment, but they keep pissing people off. Apparently the rest of the world does not find veiled smirking references funny. The rest of the world does not want someone who commiserated appropriately about getting poked in the eye for five minutes to abruptly start talking about Philip of Macedon. The rest of the world does not want to defend every cursed subtopic in their fragile grandiose plan. I mean, I sympathize, clearly these people are no fun at all, but possibly ENTJ could shut up for ten minutes?

I assume that if people please me, they must be people-pleasers at heart. Apparently the ENTJ is specifically designed to amuse me. But look, if I had to learn basic social skills as a second language, possibly ENTJ friends could do so as well? Then we can rule the world together.

And I hate them because every single one I know- male and female- is a better feminist than I.

Friday, May 7, 2010

I received the ultimate compliment in bloggery: I was quoted in a Nerdery google status. So flattered.

I hate your face, ISTP: No, I apparently just hate you.

Goodness, I have some strong feelings about this personality. Really. I mean, if I have any readers who are ISTPs, I'm sure we've had a discussion- say, about how much junior high sucked, or how we both like kitties- and I've ended up icily dissecting each comment you make before I storm away.

It's embarrassing.

So let's just go with some backhanded compliments. If everyone were an ISTP, communism would work. They work very hard, and work for the joy of work. It would also work because they'd be OK with letting some people starve every now and then.

You may have read this study- about how being unclear in communication leads to misunderstanding. (Really ladies, why don't you just talk like men?) This is never a problem for ISTPs. They'll just ignore things they don't want to hear.

I mentioned that the ISFP was very good at focusing, and I was envious. ISTPs are good at focusing too. On the surface, it seems like they're exactly the same as me, except they've exchanged sort of a fuzzy big picture thing for not being too lazy to get out of bed. They never take a deep breath and look at things from someone else's point of view, they never put a project down for a minute and daydream about duckies, they never check their work using another method... They are juggernauts- runaway freight trains. They won't know they're wrong until next year.

Competent, logical, focused, and with selective deafness- this is not a personality type big on the social safety net. Don't bother asking them for favors, regardless of importance. The upside is that they're stolid, self reliant, and brave in the face of adversity.

No wait, they're whiny little bitches. I swear, 60% of Internet drama can be traced back to an ISTP. Whether it's hiding under desks after a breakup, quitting Facebook (again) because someone snapped at you, or sending out a passive-aggressive e-mail to every botanist in the state when your underling finds another job, an ISTP will rise to the challenge of completely overreacting.

The one thing that makes ISTPs slightly less intolerable is hard work. Give them a craft, and watch them go. Then give them another craft. The thing that makes them more intolerable is permitting them to major in philosophy. They think parroting Sartre makes them a existentialist guru.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I hate your face, ISFJ: you must be plotting something.

All right, I don't really hate your face. Not because of any deep bond between us- what's a deep bond without an untapped vein of loathing- but because you are so sensitive and reserved. So understanding. So poised. So deft. So tactful. So full of aplomb. You must be up to something.

It's like hanging out with the sister from a girl adventure book. Not Laura, Mary. Not Jo, Beth. Not Elizabeth, Jane. No wonder their sisters went and wrote edifying quasi-fiction. You drove them to it, what with the yamato nadeshiko thing.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Yes, yes, blatant institutionalized racism.

So I've been thinking about the Arizona law of stupid. (SB1070) I'm gonna assume that we all hate it, we all think it should be struck down, we all get really quiet and awkward when one aspect of boycotting Arizona involves no longer taking water out of the Colorado... But I'm wondering about the individual moral issues.

I don't know when and where I picked up the attitude that lying to and obstructing la Migra was the way of all enlightened persons. I do know that when one of our roommates was of questionable documentation (oh, craigslist roomies..) I'd already internalized the concept and just needed to be informed on specifics. And the "everyone runs" meme/joke is almost perfectly prevalent in California...

How does that translate in Arizona? Does everyone refuse to show ID? Does everyone spend a couple hours in jail while this thing gets sorted out, forcing more stupid paperwork? What else can an individual citizen do to make this piece of shit legislation more of a horrific clusterfuck- as a moral American?

Oh look, everyone translates to a tiny subset of the population.

Amistad says la Migra jokes do not go over so well in Hawaii.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I hate your face, INFP: you shouldn't have

First things first. I hate it when they are sad because I yell at them.

There are three groups of people in an INFP's world. There is nakama, there are strangers, and there are enemies.

Due to internet magic, nakama now means "acquired family" or "compatriots". The whole concept exists as INFP pron. Nakama can be your favorite cause, or your genetic family, or your city, or all of humanity. I know an INFP who's donating a kidney to a stranger because she loves humanity so very much.*

And there's the second thing I hate. If you're in the nakama, INTPs are unsettlingly generous. Have you read "Gift of the Magi"? A young couple sell their most prized possessions to buy each other Christmas gifts- gifts which compliment the pawned items. Oh, heart warming, oh, tear jerking... It's freaking Christmas. There will be another one next year. Perhaps then you can sell your kidneys- unless you've already given them to orphans. Save the saleable heirlooms for a crisis, dammit.

You might think that someone who would pour out their life's blood for you would also be super understanding. And they are, up to an invisible secret point that no one can see. Not even the INFP. My mother (the INFP'S INFP) has friends she doesn't speak to because they found it hard to believe a mutual acquaintance would embezzle. I'm not supposed to invite people who helped raise me to my wedding because they disagreed with her about grazing rights. When she sees my high school boyfriends, she must be forcibly dissuaded from keying their cars. There are unshakable moral positions, and those who have violated them are no longer nakama. They are enemies.

Oh, and when INFPS are on the path of rightousness, nothing can stand in their way. Friendship, social structures, physiological need for sleep, laws of physics- all grass. All we have to do to put a man on Mars is convince an INFP that it is in the best interests of the nakama.

And strangers? If you are ever in need of a small health related consumable, ask an INFP. (There is no easy way to spot the except the worried expression and the halo.) They're always ready with pepto bismol or band-aides or a water bottle or a tampon. Imagine being thirteen and having your mom pass out sanitary products to strangers in a public bathroom.

*I was talking about altruistic kidney donation with my brother. He said "That kidney is mine in case drinking homemade moonshine has consequences." I said, "No, that kidney is mine for when I eat a mushroom that I'm certain was a chantrelle." Resolved: our four kidneys are owned communally.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Many a female will complain that her significant other has one friend who is just a bad influence. When those boys go out drinking, they will come home at 3am, singing and missing pants, having spent the rent money on strippers.

I thought that C had no friends like this, but after a drunken Gchat about wedding invitations and Hachi, I'm going to nominate his father as a candidate.

I hate your face, ISTJ: stop pretending such behavior is normal.

Here are some tips, ISTJ.

It is normal to wax nostalgic about the treehouses of your youth. It is even reasonably normal to build a treehouse as an adult. If one were to make it slightly elaborate, that would be understandable. It is not normal to have a treehouse with three stories, a retractable roof, running water, electricity, wifi, and a queen sized bed. Oh, you're putting in a hot tub and a fifty foot rope swing? Well, I guess you have to keep up with the Jones.

It is normal to spend the weekend tinkering in the garage. Repairing bookshelves, that's normal. Tinkering with your car, perfectly sane. Building your mother a harp with hand tools; that's so sweet that we'll call it normal. Wiring pretty much everything electronic in your house so it can be turned on over the internet with a user interface so complex your wife plans to burn your house when you die? That's not normal. When she wakes up and you've been hard at work (in your treehouse) for four hours- it's a little creepy to remotely trigger the coffee machine and turn on the hot water heater. But let's talk about the rail gun. An adult building a rail gun in the garage is atypical, even if it doesn't work very well.

You see how I mentioned turning on the hot water heater? It's normal to leave it on all the time, actually. I've been lucky enough to meet two people who graph the gas used by the hot water heater, and they are both ISTJs. (Bonus points: derive an equation that approximates gas use.) Oh, and if you're really concerned about cutting costs, you can set up a passive solar heater in the garden and shower there. Even when it snows, what the heck. The fences are plenty high, don't worry. Possibly your teenager has some friends over, but the social stigma from a dad who runs naked through the backyard in sleet is minimal. Much less than when a father has his math class correlate increased hot water usage with the child entering puberty.

I think I've given up. I know I'm not the person to enforce societal norms or reasonable behavior. I'll just watch. Next to the phone. Oh, you put 911 on speed dial because previous accidents have made your fingers unreliable? It's 6? Maybe you should label that.

You know how everyone else just complains about all the snow plows dump in their driveway? Go ahead and shovel the street before they show up. You're awake anyway.

Weigh yourself every morning to see if you're dehydrated. Bike cross country with your infant. Grow mushrooms in your bedroom. Convert your bathroom into a darkroom. And explosives... what problems can't you solve with explosives? Have you met advice dog?

And yet on dates you reportedly talk about your stock portfolio all night.

I hate your face, INFJ: you aren't my mom.

INFJs will clean the kitchen without being asked. They will move everything two feet to the left or right, exactly beyond the distance where one glances. They will alphabetize the spices- my goodness, I didn't know I had three jars of allspice- and since so many spices in tiny jars are near the front of the alphabet (damn pumpkin pie) they will built a wall, an embankment that separates the cook from the salt, sugar, pepper, and vanilla.

They will replace the toaster because it is a "fire hazard". They will provide a new toaster that works fine without being watched, so you can wander away while making breakfast and return eight hours later to find cold toast.

Sometimes they will do other household chores as punishment for some complex moral issue no one else understands. Or they will eat all your raisins because they hate raisins and they were cruel earlier, so they need some raisins.

They will help you move. They will be unable to sleep in a strange house. They will unpack your things while you are sleeping and arrange all your books by publisher. You will not find your candy thermometer until the next time you move.

They will be understanding about being awoken at 6 am because you think they hid the cutting boards. They will always volunteer to be the DD, no matter who they are hanging out with. They are the leading cause of hungover strangers on your couch.

You know those sonic pest repellents? No poison, no traps, just a high pitched tone that gently discourages gophers from eating your daffodils. Living with an INFJ is like being the 5% of the population that can hear that tone.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I hate your face, INTJ: You cannot replace everyone with spreadsheets.

You could probably replace me tho.

I really started this series to bitch about a certain personality type- but every time I try, white objects take on a migrainy sinister glow. Let's talk about INTJs instead.

For the first 25 years of my life, I thought an INTJ was what you became when you grew up. One day, a larval INTP spins a cocoon of unfolded laundry, electronics with dead batteries, and sheets that should have been washed some time ago. The sheets are full of crumbs also; this is important. After a long weekend, a beautiful INTJ emerges, capable of designing an experiment, drafting a thesis, and hobnobbing with professors while rewashing all that disgusting laundry. Caring about bacteria that may get into cuts on bare feet seemed like a small price. Thus, I tried really hard not to hate them. It would be like hating my future self.

But I'm surrounded by them. It's time to admit I'll never ever ever be like them. Thank God.

How surrounded? Here's a list: Father figure, baby brother, Conquistador lord of the Undead, R, Drewscriver, Estebe, current supervisor, and godfather. If they're 1% of the population, I must smell like steak sauce.

I don't mind that they're always right. It's like one stop shopping for your opinions. All my very best debates are bodily lifted from my INTJ cohorts. I expect to learn why my opinions on INTJs are wrong shortly after publishing this, and to be completely convinced.

I don't mind that they're surly. The mind is strong, but the flesh is weak. It continues to be weak regardless of how much one yells at it. So frustrating.

I do mind the paranoia though. In fact, everyone minds it. We've been talking about it when they're just out of the room, explaining how irritating and unwarranted it is, and then making fun of their hair. Specifically their facial hair.

It's just that they are all too willing to assume malice when stupidity is the more likely culprit. Or assume stupidity when the other person has radically different goals or techniques. They aren't willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. Specially jerks. They are totally unwilling to try to see the jerk's side of things.*

When an INTJ wants something done, they will either issue a direct order or put on a persuasive Power Point Presentation. (No joke, the godfather proposed with one of these.) They'll never slip in that they'd consider it a personal favor, or that it might look good when you're looking for a raise, or that they picked you up from the mechanic last month. It's as of they were ESL students who skipped the conditional and interrogative forms to spend more time on the imperative.

There are people out there who do not like blunt orders from surly people who are always right. Goddammit INTJ, remember that they aren't plotting against you, they just hate you. If you'd consider that other people have different ways of seeing the world- that they aren't just inferior versions of your superior intellect- then you'd realize that no one else spends their free time stewing over how to damage people they hate. They just vex you whenever an opportunity arises.

*This seriously inhibits their ability to manipulate said jerk into either aiding the INTJ or falling into a clever trap. There Drewscriver, you can use this post for your evil machinations now.

I hate your face, ISFP: Hurry up!

That's my only complaint. They are sloooooooooooooooooooww. They take forever. Creeping. Ponderous. Phlegmatic. Elephantine. Measured. Lackadaisical. Cautious. Thorough.

See, while I came up with all those adjectives, the ISFP just wrote "slow". Slowly.

Also they are more effective at focused activities than I am. I refuse to believe this is related.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The most useful thing I learned in high school

My Spanish teacher once taught us formal tenses by pretending to be a professor of moths. He was arrogant, insistent on extreme formality, and surprisingly callous about the loss of many of his immediate family members. Also, hilarious. Imagine some relic of the 19th century alive today, insisting on archaic etiquette. What a clever teacher to think of such an absurd character. Oh, how I laughed.

Not so funny now, really.

The most useful thing I learned in college was rock climbing. And to always ask where the free cookies came from.

I hate your face, INTP: you aren't smart enough to be this dumb.

It's only fair that I open this series (certain to be incomplete, as I avoid swaths of the personality spectrum) with my own personality type. Also C's.

Our house will never be clean.

You know the absent minded professor? That is who the INTP wants to be. Socially accepted enough to not die alone, but not burdened by social mores. (While finding that link, I wandered away for three hours.) They dream of doing something valuable so well that people will work around their terrible incompetence. Then they can spend hours internetting or pouring water from one vessel to another or figuring out the social interactions of the local feral cats while someone makes them tea and pays the phone bill.

But this is hard! People are generally unwilling to do such things unless one is really really smart. And affable. And reasonably competent about certain emotionally significant issues.

So the INTP applies these skills like a veneer. One has to be reasonably dedicated to study oneself into appearing clever, one must fake extroversion in order to get an audience and minions, one must be slightly empathetic to know when one is truly irritating, and one must be detail oriented enough to remember to wear clean clothes and wedding anniversaries. After a few years of adulthood, you have something that resembles a functional human being.

Then the universe applies stress, and everything goes to hell.

There is no one more calculating, more cold, more cowardly than an INTP who feels put upon. They'll sell you down the river to get five minutes of quiet. If they have an interpersonal problem, their decision tree looks like this:

cut enemy's brake lines> grind teeth down to nubs > abandon bits of life that contain said person >> talk out problem

Also they can lose something neon in an empty room.


If you couldn't tell, I was a bit envious of the dude in the last article- Oh my goodness, so many cool finds! Welp, today I found something.

266 kilograms of toxic waste. In a barrel.

Sometimes I envy those environmental ecology majors who spent their education learning job skills instead of taking three years of chemistry. They know the fungi, they know the birds, they know the fish...

But I know how to read a Material Science Data Sheet that's been sitting in the weather for 20 years. And it's toxic! Reactive! Flammable! Flammable vapors! Extremely damaging to the ozone! Right next to a reservoir! (Hello my downstream readers.) Right next to a campground!

Beat that, fancy pants.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Short Faced Bears.

Okay, this is just too awesome for words. It's an article about the Bay Area during the Pleistocene. There was a river to rival the Amazon! The continental shelf was exposed, resulting in a thirty mile band of coastal prairie west of Golden Gate Bridge! There were mammoths, cave lions, cheetahs, dire wolves, and giant ground sloths! There was a twelve foot tall bear than could sprint 40 mph!

If there were three huge rivers trisecting the Bay Area, the island effect would lead to speciation- populations would be divided, and you'd expect to see an unreasonably high number of endemics. And this is so! I've been fretting about the diversity of crazy rare plants in the Bay for a while.

The best part of the article is that it cribs heavily from a book on Paleobotany that is currently on my nightstand. I now have more reason to feel guilty about not reading it.

No, the best part is that the type specimen for short-faced bears is from Shasta Caverns- an entire skeleton! Oh my goodness, that is an awe-inspiring thing to contemplate.

I bumped into a friend of my parents in a field of poison oak behind a locked gate yesterday. He gave me a list of everything he'd found in the area, starting with a field stripped rifle (a 308, so nothing super scary) wrapped in several garbage bags, a couple of caves, a rare aster, a rare salamander, a feral pig skull, and a terrible allergy to Toxicodendron. Thus, I am inspired to find bear teeth. (I have previously stated that I maintain certain friendships primarily for entertainment value and exposure to truly insane schemes- remind me to do a post on R's first roommate- and I believe this man serves a similar purpose for my father. Except he's pleasant. And most of his schemes involve trail building and waterway restoration.)

Also, I keep bitching about poison oak in the abstract, fact-of-life fashion that occurs in the workplace, and people keep offering sympathy. At work, I'll say "I want to bite this skin and worry at the rash like a dog." and my coworkers respond "I'm so coated in tar I no longer do a spot check before peeing." On Facebook, I make a pleasant reference to Technu showers, and dudes start talking about how they once had oak balls whilst ladies try to sell me on pharmaceuticals.

I want to do a series on "Why I hate your Myers/Briggs personality type", but I think it may be unwise. Thoughts?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I was peeved because one of my favorite bloggers hadn't updated in a couple of months. She's extraordinarily hapless and still somehow a functioning adult. On the other hand, she tends to let blogging slide. Like a slacker.


Yup, she has ear cancer.

Fancy Pants

I bought my first pair of Carharts. They're awesome.

They have a second panel from the shin to the mid-thigh- to protect against brush. When I am walking, certain angles of fabric and skin convince me that there is something pressing against my calf. I then do my automatic shuffle that frees me from low growing vines or entrapping sticks.

I understand it is quite humorous to watch.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Yesterday my cousin* posted her disappointment with Obama's decision to skip the Polish president's funeral. (It's a trap! the want him to prove he can fly without a jet. You know who else can fly unaided? The Antichrist.) Today she posted extensive Leonard Cohen lyrics on a sadomasochistic relationship. (Possibly she does not realize.) Then she started talking about Sailor Moon and math being hard. I'm delighted.

*I have twenty-three cousins. Probably. I can't be bothered to think of awesome nicknames for each of them, so as far as you are concerned, dear readers, I have two cousins. One with a gender identity crisis, three different religions, anorexia, diabetes, Obamania and tea party delusions who lives in seven different states and occasionally France or Haiti. The other is Pete.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


C's visiting. We're introverts, so our visit is currently sitting in different rooms, typing on separate computers. This is the worst part of the long distance relationship bit: we like each other very much and are sad because we don't spend more time together, but after ten hours together we desperately need to sit quietly.

I keyed three county records this week- I'm a little disturbed. There must be an error in my technique. Also, pleased.

I'm souring on Facebook. I have a friend from kindergarten on there. She is raucous. Her profile picture disturbs me. Reading about her life is either depressing or irritating. (It's not tragic that people can't fly to Europe. It's tragic when people die, not when our magic floating boxes don't work.) Also, she adores me and comments on most things I say. Unfriending would make me feel like a terrible person! So bad!

We bumped into people while we were out for a walk: they asked about the Chilean earthquake. C was talking about how some buildings that should have been fine were not fine, and that was vexing. Literally dozens of people were killed, he said. I started thinking about infrastructure.

All of his family lives pretty much like college students, even into their forties. I'm just beginning to understand that's because their infrastructure is so good. For instance, one of the major complaints about the last president was her messing with the bus schedules. For another, an 8.6 earthquake knocked out power for 36 hours, and they complained. A snowstorm took out a line somewhere and we were electricityless for twice that long and were still soldering on. (Oh no, one can cook Christmas dinner in the fireplace. Let's sit around and sing carols!) This is a culture where the framework for civilization is solid. And entirely government owned.

That sounds nice. Except for the looting.

Monday, April 12, 2010

More Rewards for Behaving Unwisely.

Today I had a meeting with my work leader, the botany specialist, and the head of the alive things that are not underwater department. We were hammering out plans for the summer. We discussed a scheduling conflict where my work leader needs to go work on another project for a while, and she expressed confidence that I could work alone for a couple of weeks.

Somehow that led to me complaining about my previous job to everyone at the meeting. It was in a light joking matter- I swear it was- but still a faux pas, no?

Right. It informed the botany specialist of my experience with certain geologic formations. This led to me looking up a couple of free internet tools for him. These allowed him to cut several hours off of a proposed project, which enabled the company to submit a lower bid.

So... gossip and malingering led bonding with my superiors and possibly getting my company a job. I...

I think I might start doing the reverse of whatever job advice I get.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lares and Pennates

One of my favorite columnists warns his readers when he's going to be talking about his cats. I feel like I should have a similar warning for my posts on analysis of trashy literature.

There's only so much "turn rock over, check for snails, turn log over, check for snails" that the brain can do without offering up a couple of revelations.

About a fantasy novel I read ten years ago. Shut up.

In Small Gods, Lu Tze says he changed the history of Omnia from some horrific perpetual holy war to the land of earnest, questioning, pamphlet distributing theists we know and love. I always figured that the sabotage of the Turtle (steam tank!) was his contribution.

So I was turning over rocks, and I realized- Om falls on a pile of compost! Because of the compost, the Great God Om (holy horns) was trapped in the disturbingly pragmatic body of a tortoise. Which means that originally, the library was lost, Didactylos was probably executed, and Brutha became just another fire and war prophet. And then died. And the Ephebe attacked with steam tanks, and rebels rose against the church, and Om died.

So yeah, that's a pretty useful pile of compost.


So Kate introduced me to Health at Every Size. I read the first three chapters and the last two, and conveniently missed all the "moderate exercise" and "prevent insulin spikes" stuff that actually promotes health. Mostly I have been hanging out with the appetite directed eating, basically loading up on chocolate and fat. Nom.

Hey, other people who went to college with me on Christmas Island! Remember all the wall posts looking for women who wanted to lose weight? Yeah, that was for this study. The author explained that they would never permanently lose weight and that their attempts to do so were slowly killing them. Then she stole their lunch money.

I don't know what I was thinking about dieting before I read the book. I have poor instinct control. I can't keep myself from falling asleep at my bedtime, I can't resist mocking people who irritate me, I scratch my poison oak until I have bleeding welts... Sure, I could remain constantly vigilant about my body's attempts to sabotage my eating plan forever. I will totally be one of the 5% who can lose more than 10 pounds permanently. This is a good use of my mental resources.

Anyway, after a couple of months of such things, I weigh about what I always weigh. My clothes still fit. I've stopped buying ice cream on the way home from work because my desire for fat is so strong that I fantasize about drinking olive oil. My hair looks fantastic.

On the other hand, it's been hard, because it brings home how much female bonding is based off of body shame. Women talk about how fat they feel, or how much weight they've recently lost. I was always fuzzy on the appropriate social response, but now I just feel like grabbing them and shaking them while yelling "IT'S A TRAP! YOUR BRAIN IS IN A TRAP!"

So yeah, my apologies to anyone I've offended with that shit recently. Also, if I send you a book about fat acceptance, it's not because I think you're fat. It's because it's an awesome book. Thanks Kate!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Speaking of Vaudeville...

We just mapped Moore Creek. The following conversation occurred.

"Put Moore Creek on the map."- H
"But I think I've gotten everything in the polygon. Where do I need to put more?"- J
"That looks fine. Just put Moore creek on the map." -H
"Like... into the lake?" -J
"Moore Creek. The creek is named Moore Creek." -in unison, after a pause.

Also I bumped into my old next door neighbor. We were both working, and the jobs we were working on were quite different from the jobs we last had. There was a certain amount of economy commiseration. Also, his coworker's huge black dog butted my hand until I petted him.

Later I found that this dog was normally extremely aggressive towards strange people crawling around the repair yard. I was hoping for a meeting around coworkers so I could show my (fake) psychic dog taming skills, but no dice.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Roundabout Explanation for a Pun

One of the most important things we look for when delineating wetlands is scour- evidence that water flows, removing leaves and topsoil.

Remember I'moscar.com from Arrested Development? There's no site I can link to- sad!- but when Oscar is mistaken for his brother George and arrested, he starts a website to prove his innocence: I'moscar.com

Later, Saddam Hussein tries a similar tactic.

Whenever there's a drainage that we don't have to map, I note "no scour" instead of all the other facts. Then I sing "I am no scour.com!"

It took me a while before I realized my boss had no idea what I was talking about.

Also welcome Cuervitito!