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Assorted Thoughts From My Tiny Oasis of Sanity

Big Changes are afoot.

In the meanwhile...

If you really love me, you'll buy me this autoharp.

* Friday 08:11 PM -->


I'm still loving my new job - there's a lot of room there to make a significant and useful impact, there's challenging ideas, and I'm doing UI every day. I'm completely enjoying myself.

I've been watching the Olympics obsessively, and I can practically taste your disappointment that I've not been ranting here. You've heard it all before from me, but to shorthand it for the newbies: Costas is even more insufferable than ever, the media coverage with it's American entitlement complex sucks, the staging and presentation is mediocre, and I root against anyone who gets an up close and personal segment just on principle. On the plus side, NBC is actually showing the less popular sports on its other networks.

I've been working on reconciling my big idea for the website restructuring and design with available technologies and ending up very tetchy. I don't want to compromise my ideas, and I'd like to avoid lots of hacking things together on my part. This is a stalemate right now, and I think I'll take a nap.

* Thursday 03:19 AM -->

I Am Not An Idiot

The Information Desk Smirker at my local bookstore this evening tried to tell me that "There's No Way" that books will be in the bookstores on their actual release date, and strongly implied it was ludicrous of me to be asking.

So I started listing books: "Harry Potter.... either of the Clinton books ... the 9/11 report ... the latest Grisham... Ten Big Ones (the ending of which was the equivilent of screeching brakes and a dab of a jam) ... " and the weasel went into sneer mode and told me "Well people want to read those books..."

Hello? What am I, chopped liver?

I calmly put my pile of collected books down on the counter, asked him to reshelve them, and walked out the door before he could answer. What happened to customer service?

* Wednesday 04:27 AM -->

Life Happens

It's been over two weeks since I touched my website. In that time....

I refinanced my house and holy crud, my house has skyrocketed in value in 20 months. The patio and fishpond I put in have essentially paid for themselves (at least). I planted some more lovely yellow perennials in the flower bed, disentangled the hyacinth bean vines from the gladioli, obsessed over my tomatoes and peppers, and discovered one of my blonde goldfish and one of my big comets mated and had babies: I have three green-grey (throwbacks, "uncolored") and 3 mostly blonde comet babies. I caught them and put them in the nursery kettle pot. I introduced myself to the frog who has moved into my pond.

I quit my job, and in the process, got good-naturedly laughed at for the world's longest resignation letter (3 paragraphs, including useful suggestions on how they could use my use my salary for maximum coverage. I gave two weeks notice, upon which I learned that the State of Virginia does not require me to do so, and that I wasn't going to be reimbursed for my 7 days of unused vacation time. It's all moot, because the Monday after I quit, there was a big meeting at the office and they laid off half the company, and told me to go home.

I've been helping people revise resumes and being a reference, and occasionally rooting through the three boxes of stuff I brought home (vases and wall art and clippings and pay stubbs and artifacts and ...). I took a mini-family vacation into the past (all renovated houses and gravestones), visiting some family in the bargain. I've met friends for lunch, talked to more former employees of my former company in the past two weeks than I have in the past two years...

I signed the official papers for the company that is lending me to a large corporate entity for the next six months (at least) and then went in and got my contractor badge and parking pass. I start work there on Monday, and I'm thrilled. I had a short list of places in the area I wanted to work, and this place was near the top. I think that once I learn the lights, I'll be able to shave my commute down to ten minutes.

Revamping my website is not as easy or as straightforward as I thought. I'm now on CMS(esque) Package #3, and I'm beginning with the crazy thoughts like "Maybe I should write my own..." and "For god's sake, it's not that difficult what I want to do..." CRAZY. TALK. I'm already nuts with my new, improved idea for the site, so I figure additional kinds of crazy will just screw things up.

I have engaged in hedonistic sloth. I've been waking up at 8 AM, lolling around in bed, and doing a logic puzzle to start my day. Once my brain is engaged, I decide if I want to take a shower or a nap. Once I wake up from my nap... I'm only partially jesting. I am reorganizing my office (I bought my old work computer), so I finally retired the 7200 to the closet, took down the card table, re-erected the old kitchen table. Ilsa, the grafite G3 iMac, lives on the floor with the external monitor up top, with the PC's monitor next to it.

In the four and a half years I worked at my former employer, I never named my computer. This is odd, as I'm the sort of person who anthropomorphizes everything. My fish all have names, my car has a name, heck, I even gave my dishwasher a name when it refused to start for half a day. I decided that the PC should be called Rick. (On a side note, I still haven't found a Fisher Price little people airplane at a reasonable price to finish my classic-style Fisher Price re-enactment of the final scene from Casablanca).

* Sunday 02:21 AM -->

This Fourth of July is Brought To You by Pfizer.

As I was lazily tooling around my tv on Independence Day, I came accross a listing for Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Celebration, and was immediately disgusted.

More than any other event, Macy's hijacking of the Turkey Day parade and "restaging" of such for TV has ruined the modern parade. Now, instead of focusing on the floats and marching bands* as they tool around the streets of cities big and small, parades come to a halt while performers put on a show for 3-5 minutes for the cameras - snippets from Broadway plays, mediocre popsters bleating out their latest single or holiday fare from Santa's left elbow, stupid dance reditions that don't even have the appeal of synchronized always-moving tricks.

What could they possibly have done to a fireworks display? I didn't - and don't - want to know. My nightmares are much worse: Ashlee Simpson strapped to a giant wooden wheel, holding sparklers and being spun around as fast possible -- and surviving? A former American Idol contestant blasting out America the Beautiful as scenes of the fireworks being shot off are played behind him on a large television screen? The latest cute little Hollywood moppet getting to light the wick of a the best roman candle ever? Uncle Sam tossing out AT&T gift cards and Hershey's miniatures to the crowd, stopping every once in a while to hold one up and give the thumbs up with the camera?

Bah. Bah, I say.

* Tuesday 08:50 PM -->

Wireless is a Beautiful Thing

I have custody of my my mom's laptop this week, and I'm taking full advantage of my wireless router. I spent some time this weekend lounging around on my patio being completely unproductive as I tooled around the net. Tonight I'm stretched out on my couch, cat on ankles, settling in while my dinner (spareribs baked in a light chuck and lucille variant; I'll mustard up the sprouts when it gets closer to the moment of completion) cooks.*

I purchased some tomatillos (half price at the 'way) tonight, and sure as clockwork I had to explain to the clerk what they were, spell them, and assure her they really weren't tomatos. I'm saving those for my baked chicken later in the week - my first three white fire peppers are almost ready to be picked, and I was thinking about chunks of tomato, slices of pepper, and rings of tomatillo stuffed in the chicken; I've got a few days to finalize that idea.

I also picked up some blueberries (also half price) - I'm thinking about whether I want to make a blueberry cheesecake, blueberry and flaxseed muffins, or just mix 'em up with some cream and coconut. Such are the arduous decisions I've set out for this evening.

* No, I don't have a grill. I also don't have a lawn mower, and my lawn service is going off to college in a week and a half.

* Tuesday 12:57 AM -->

The Detroit Pistons

The thing that makes the Detroit Pistons' win so enjoyable (despite their dumping of my boy (since 1981! Back off, suckahs!) in the last off-season) is the fact that while every pundit and their mother was predicting the Lakers in 4-5-6 as a matter of due course and divine right, the Pistons walked in, took off the gloves, and took over. They weren't a team of dysfunctional stars; they weren't a loosely knit group of people who were due, or who "deserved" a championship, or who had some sort of divine right to the championship by dint of past service.

The Pistons took it seriously. The expected to win, not because they were the All-Caps DETROIT PISTONS!, but because they knew they had the talent and dedication and the teamwork to win. They came to play everynight, not just mark time until the post-season. They didn't rely on a "tradition" of one person stepping it up in a critical moment to win a critical game: they knew that kind of luck runs out, particularly when faced with a talented, smart, hard-working team.

No one likes it when a winner presumptive can't be bothered to give a competition his full attention; no one likes it when the golden boys are annointed long before the decision is made. The Pistons - more than the teams that spawned great rivalries in the 70s and 80s and the showstopping magnificence of Jordan in the 80s and 90s - reflect the American perception of ourselves.

For all that we are the most powerful country in the world, Americans still think of themselves as the scrappy underdog who toils and works nobly even as no one else respects or understands that. The Pistons tap into all of our ideals about ourselves - selfless team work, role-players, hard work, and the idea that all of those noble characteristics do lead to an American dream. We may worship the razzle-dazzle of the Lakers and their dysfunctional celebrity, but our perceptions of who we are as people is that we are the Detroit Pistons, where every player matters, and every player made it happen.

* Thursday 02:35 PM -->

Carolina BBQ, a mini-lesson

I recently stopped off at a place that advertised Carolina BBQ. It is possible to get real Carolina BBQ at a reasonable quality in Virginia, although I've never actually found it north of Lynchburg or Lightfoot. My hopes and dreams remain unabated, and so my taste buds were primed.

I sauntered up to the man with the barrel grill and didn't let the alumninum containers with 7 kinds of BBQ dissuade me too much; fate needed my hopes to be high for maximum dashage.

I asked the man a simple question: "Eastern or Western?" I hastily added "Or South, of course?"

As everybody knows, Eastern-style Carolina BBQ is the best BBQ in the world, narrowly beating out Western-style Carolina BBQ. South Carolina has their own style of BBQ, but the less said about it, the better.

You'd expect someone who was selling BBQ that was branded with the word "Carolina" would be able to answer this question, or at the least, be aware of what I was asking. This guy had no idea. None. I could have said "Kwolia or Urtisl? Ew wioen ojnnwer, ca opqeb" and made the same impact.

That's So Wrong.

(The BBQ was bland, and the sauce - eastern-esque - mediocre. I was not surprised.)

* Friday 03:06 AM -->

My Inner Crank

When did I become Cranky Girl? I used to be Snarky Girl, and I was at least entertaining! I clouded my bitterness in an audience-pleasing wit; now I just channel my inner crank. My inner crank is self-loathing and has suppressed most of these whining, whinging missives. Am I destined to a life of curmudgeonly crankitude? Gosh, I hope so!

I found the perfect curmudgeon hat at a flea market in Pennsylvania several years ago, and my philosophy on life is pretty much: it's not worth doing if there isn't a hat that goes along with it. Now, granted, this means that I have to do a lot of fudging to justify what I do and don't want to do. As an example, My designer hat? It's the Tiara of Shame (found at my favorite junk shop ever, now closed).*

*Yes, Shame. My tiny little designer ego needs to be punctured every once in a while, and it turns out that the tiny little** egos of my developers need to be punctured every once in a while, and so the Tiara became the Tiara of Shame.

** I know, I know. "tiny little" is redundent. But either term individually does not express the true minutia of my ego.***

*** Snarky email from coworkers will be ignored.

* Thursday 02:00 AM -->

Sentry Duty at the Zoo

There's a small patch of fence at the zoo I pass almost every day that is not over-grown with kudzu and honeysuckle or shielded by trees; it's at the corner, near where the cop occasionally sets up his speed trap, and in the late evening, just as the zoo shuts down, the animals who live communally in the vast pasture have established a sentry system.

There's some sort of mathematical system as to which animal patrols when, and I haven't cracked it yet; today the Ostrich was on duty, and he stalks down the fence line, staring beadily at the cars zooming by. The cool white African antelope is much more laid back. He watches the cars speed by with a seeming laziness that is belied by his legs ready to turn in a heartbeat. There's a different antelope, browner, who positions himself 2/3 of the way down the fence row who makes no pretense at patrolling the fence. He aims his horns at the cars and dares passersby to take him on.

The buffalo have no interest in sentry duty it seems, and neither do the zebras. The zebras seem to be tolerated by all; if I'm running late in the mornings, I pass the zoo when the animals in that section are being fed, and the zebras migrate from group to group to group, eating comfortably with different animals every day. The llamas seem to be a bit stand-offish to me, and I wouldn't trust a goat for sentry duty; they'd be eating the honeysuckle and ignoring any intrusion.

* Saturday 02:51 AM -->

What's Been Up

On Tuesday, we threw a party. As the chief instigator, I also became the chief organizer, and figured out the logistics, food, and activities. The weather held off, so we were able to set up on the roof, where the eerie sound of a billion Cicadas is slightly muted. What we lack in pitchiness, we gain in cicada corpses.

I transformed the four putting greens into a 9 hole mini golf course, where the obstacles were the normal ephemera of modern office life: dead mice and keyboards, boxed and wrapped editions of our software (v1), desktop file organizers, bookends, an old foam version of our logo that I stuck small dowels in and anchored on wooden blocks, an old lamp that turns out to not actually be broken, old metal containers, old MSDN CDs hanging from a hanging file substructure, monitor risers, and pretty much anything else I could find laying around the office.

We'd have taken up the carcass of an old server, removed the side panels and built a ramp through it if it had not weighed 6 billion pounds, and if the elevator actually went to the roof. Maybe I'll set up an inside course that snakes down the halls if we have another party in inclement weather.

Our winners and runners up had their choice of 3 prizes: a lovely white orchid, a tacky set of tiki lights, and the prize that actually elicited gasps when I announced it: 6 free lunches downstairs (or the equivilent). That is the equivilent of gold around the office

On Wednesday, I wrote detailed training instructions for a day long training session. Then I went home - and as on Tuesday - did live recaps of AI. My crankiness impeded the full unfurling of my snark, but my central point (the producers are unimaginative idiots) remains true. The live recaps began initially last season with the odd real-time snarky comment and docking of points for egregious sweet sweet camera love, poor wardrobe choices, and a near obsessive need to prove musicality at every turn and turned into a detailed docking of points which merged into a recap with snark when the remarkably mediocre production and inept productorial finagling leached away almost all interest I had.

I spent my day working on training materials - revising, editing, polishing, determining how we'll publish, bind, and organize the stuff - but the true excitement of my day came around 5:30 when my boss encouraged me not to work late on Friday. The way my office is set up allows me to hide behind my monitor from the passer-by, but makes it awkward for people to poke their head in - I always feel a bit rude.

(I think you know what's coming.)

I reorganized my office last night instead of waiting 10 minutes at the one way bridge as is inevitable at 6:30 p.m. We have modular desks: one is 2x4 and rectangular, the other is a pentagram made by cutting off the corner of a 3x3 square. I had the pentagram against the wall by the door, with the rectangle jutting out into the room and forming a hall-like passageway into my office.

The last time I reorganized my office, I moved from the coolest layout ever (pentagram in the middle of the office, facing the whiteboard; rectangle in the corner under the window) to one that better suited my needs (I need the rectangle to be someplace where I can spread out screenshots and confer with people).

I have now pushed the pentagram to the opposite wall, where it nestles under the window, and the rectangle is pushed against it and pokes into the room. My drawing tablet is better positioned now, and when people stop by, I can just turn my head, chat, and make eye contact immediately. The arrangement feels much more open and friendlier, and now that the big bosses stop by more frequently, that's probably a good thing.

I'm not done yet: I need to reorganize the plants in my office, and decide what I'm going to do with the file cabinet (which used to abut one side of my desk) and my bookcase (which now abuts one side of my desk) and my rolling file drawers. That, however, is a task for tomorrow.

* Thursday 09:03 PM -->

Q&A, Part Two

People, I'm not going to answer every question you pose me, willy-nilly. Come on!

Hows the whole Growing-to-Love-Asparagus thing going? Love it yet?

Nope! I just don't like the perniciusly stalky vegetable. I've tried it with butter and mustard, with a lovely cream-based sauce, an Afghani almodine sauce, lightly steamed, sauteed, baked, fried, julienned, turned into soup ... It's a no go. I just don't like the taste or texture.

Now that you've run out of garden, are you going to go back to indiscriminately painting every room in the house?

I haven't run out of garden yet! I need to get my changes to the front garden approved by my HOA. Once that happens, I'll need to do a lot of digging, mulching, moving of plants (I planted the Iris too close to the front of the beds, and the azalea and rhododendra should be spaced out better), and additional planting to ensure constant blooms from the earliest reach of spring to the coldest day of fall.

What are you going to do with your summer?

Remember when your summer was your summer, and you could do everything and anything you wanted? I miss those days. My current plan is to try and take a glass blowing class sometime in the next year, to keep an eye out for a good letter press printer, and of course, have my front garden eat up yards of yard.

One more round of questions, people, and then I'm done for a while.

* Tuesday 03:19 AM -->


Heck, if you are answering questions in your blog, I've got some! Where's the snark?

"Gordo" is refering to the CMS questions and answers over in the Design wing that were inspired by a MT-oriented post. But hey, if you've got questions, I'll consider answering them.

Where's the snark? Most of my snark lately has been dedicated to real-time recaps of American Idol - a show that is slowly killing my will to live. The producers have set new lows in mediocrity, and America are a bunch of cranky homers only when they are not apathetic couch monkeys. I hope the producers do get stuck with Jasmine at the end - Fantasia and LaToya are set for the future and the robot will probably be OK.

I've always wondered: why no comments? I often have something to say!!

It's hard to be bombastic when people are kibitzing.

The truth is this: I've always seen my website as a 1:many dealie, and never have felt any compelling reason to change that. This isn't a community, this is a personal expression of the egotacular vanity that is me. Also, I don't want to encourage my friends and family to get together and share stories about me. My carefull constructed house of cards would surely fall.

Finally, What's Fer Dinner?

Broccoli. I haven't decided what else, though.

* Friday 05:27 PM -->

on Spring

I like Spring best of all the seasons. At 6 pm last night, I went outside and stood in the rain as it pelted my patio, and enjoyed the moment. The warm rain smelled of cut grash and fresh flowers, and turned the top of my pond into a watery merangue topped with peaks. The rainstorm broke the back of the premature summer malaise that settled over the town Sunday afternoon; there was no thunder, no lightning, just a downpour when the clouds swelled past constriction.

The fish were doing backflips in the pond; the raindrops were fast and furious. I could feel each drop peppering my skin and dripping down my body even when there were more than I could count. It didn't take long to go from dry to damp and then to drenched and it felt so good. The wind picked up and blew the rain at me and then away, and my hair swung damply around me; when I was eight, I was convinced that was the best thing in the world, and at that moment, I'd have have been hard-pressed to argue the point.

When the rain stopped suddenly and the sun emerged, I went back inside refreshed and rejuvenated (and dripping all over my kitchen floor). I had picked a few of my flowers, snapped off one small ripe strawberry from my row of plants, and I watched the day slowly settle into night.

* Monday 04:55 PM -->

Mythology of the Fishes

I'm pretty sure in the mythological world of my goldfish that I'm a benevolent god. I feed them, I provide them with lots of space, every once in a while I create a theme park of spurting water for them to swim and cavort through. The elders of the fish community remember the dark old days when they lived in the smaller black bowl and were terrorized by the malevolent cat-god who can not touch them now.

I have yet to see any statues of myself being erected, but it's only a matter of time.

* Tuesday 04:13 PM -->

At least I won't burn to death

Last night, I was woken out of a sound sleep by the sound of my smoke alarm beeping like crazy. As I leapt to my feet I could feel the wind gusts drill through my windows, sweep past me, and swirl around my bedroom. The air felt great - lovely cool spring air that cools but does not chill (especially under a comforter). Normally, when the smoke detector goes off, it means I've forgotten to turn on the vent and my oven is in overdrive; at 3 AM, however, the detector puts the alarm in alarm.

After several sniffs and an efficient search for crackling flames or the possiblity thereoff, I shut my windows, the alarm stopped beeping, and my paranoia had me stalking around my house verifying that there was indeed no fire. By the time I got back to bed, I had to force myself back to sleep, but it was a fitful sleep, as my paranoia was all riled up and was in no mood to sleep when the faintest sound could mean my impending demise.

My paranoia is horribly misguided. I've been known to sleep right through my alarm clock for 40 minutes, but the alarm clock is so piercingly loud and obnoxious, you can't help but leap from your bed in a stance of action and readiness for whatever may come! In the back of your head, you calculate which window offers the best fall (backyard full of pebbles? No, thanks!), and for the fifth time, you curse the high ceilings downstairs (painting the walls downtairs: also no fun when you realized how much extra paint you'd need).
You are ready to go; awake and alert at the first sign of danger!

It's only when you realize that strong wind set off your alarm and not the smoke of simmering crackling fire that will eat you out of house and home faster than your cat, that your peevishness rises to set up shop next to the fading paranoia who has determined that your subconcious is now a better place to play.

* Monday 05:50 PM -->

I LOVE that plant

I walked in to my office this morning to find a whole branch of my plant broken off and lying on the floor this morning, it's four budding flowers gleaming palely against the carpet. How the heck do you accidentally break off that branch of the plant, but not the two leaning further out of the pot? GAH! I've stuck it in my vase, but I have no hopes of it surviving.

I hope this isn't a portent of the day to come.

* Thursday 02:43 PM -->

Subdued Hedonism Weekend!

This weekend was all about the subdued hedonism that has become my hallmark (time permitting). I vowed that I'd do nothing that felt even the smallest bit like work, and I'm happy to report that I was completely and utterly successful. I lounged on my patio, reading, feeding fish, watering plants, and generally drifting away; I caught up on my Tivo backlog; I went to the library; I went out to eat with a friend; I slept in... Even my least hedonistic activities (calling my cable company to figure out why they shut off myNewsradio feed; calling my cousin to come and mow down the pampas that is my front yard) were all about my long-term enjoyment and comfort.

My friend just laughed at me when I told her Tivo had changed my life, but it has. I love being able to rewind and hear what exactly Tobias Funke just said, and then be able to catch up over a commercial. I feel just like the narrator in How the Grinch Stole Christmas (or Bart, demonstrating the moment when Ralph Wiggum's heart broke), as I step-forward through the moment when Little Conan realizes he's been consigned to another week in hell (i.e. American Idol) and pales in horror. I love the kid, but for god's sake, people, STOP voting for him. You are making him miserable and screwing with any success he might have in the future.

I love that PTI is cued up for my viewing pleasure when I get home at 7, and that I always have a string of Newsradio episodes waiting for me for those moments when I need to fall off my couch from laughter. I love that I can set up keywords; right now, I have it set to tape anything with Johnny Cash as a keyword because I keep having a life whenever CMT unexpectedly shows the Cash Memorial concert, and I'd never seen his movie about the Life of Christ (which was really interesting both from a Cash perspective, and from a socio-religious perspective). I tried setting up an archaeology keyword, but I kept getting too much fantasy-ridden theory being presented as absolute history for my tastes.

* Monday 04:58 PM -->

Commute Stories #0292101

The couple in the old toyota behind me are about to break up. She, driving, leaned against her window, angry and sad and depressed. He was sullen and yet insouciant. Clearly, she was making a much bigger deal about it than it merited, as he slumped down in his seat, arms crossed, snear at the ready. Some friend cowered in the back, trying to stay as far out of it as possible.

I could hear the silence in my rear view mirror. She shifted and hung her head back against the seatbelt holder as we waited for the light to change. Her lips thinned and clenched. He looked out the window and chuckled under his breath. She turned and said something to him tightly, intensely, intently - and the light changed.

I didn't see them again, but I could see she had reached the end of her rope, and he wasn't going to help her climb up again.

* Friday 03:25 AM -->


At some point yesterday evening, I actually found myself thinking to myself, gah! I'm tired of sending energy to my muscles. What would happen if I just stopped? I envisioned myself in a pool of julen on the shiny linoleum floor, and the thought was so tempting that I almost collapsed. I was too tired to fully enjoy the fantasy, and I still had things I had to get done, so I kept picking up my legs, and moving forward. I haven't been that exhausted in years.

* Wednesday 03:55 PM -->

I Need A Cone of Silence

Muffled sotto voce conversations while on a conference call are good and all, but while you are debating your decision with your local peer, your remote conferees may be hearing bits and pieces of your side conversation, and get the wrong idea.

This is why I need a Get Smart-style Cone of Silence for those moments when I'm debating what instruction or guidance or decision we'll be giving next.

Naturally, I'd want to have a toggle inside to turn my Cone of Silence to a Cone of Music and a Cone of Babbling Brook and a Cone of Infinite Torturous Sound (that I could trap my enemies within), but I'll settle for the Cone of Silence.

* Tuesday 03:40 PM -->

Inventions That Might* Make Me A Lot of Money, #939820 in a Series


These mailboxes would include a webcam, ambient light, weight-sensitive floors, and a robotic hand for better mail manipulation for the camera's eye. Using a password-protected wireless connection, users could prowl through their mail from web-access point.

Think of the money I'd make off of desperate High School Juniors and Seniors alone! I could helpfully build in anti-terrorist features (drug detection agents; post office routing verification, detection of bomb-related materials) as well as climate control (for mail-ordered plants, spices, and other goods). I could provide a joystick you plug into your work or school computer to fully control the robotic hand as it shuffles through the mail.

I'd provide a shredder for all of those home pest control and realtor comeons, a set of stamps that would allow you to mark envelopes with RETURN TO SENDER and MOVED - NO FORWARDING ADDRESS and DELIVERED TO WRONG ADDRESS and shoot them down into a bin for the postman to retrieve when he next delivers mail.

Finally, they'd come in several sizes and shapes: individual, classic style; community style (a series of flat rectangular cubbies, as seen in apartments, condos, and townhouses); and in the shape of a giant red and orange chicken.

*OK. I'm never going to make money off of these. Man, with the technology necessary, I'd have to sell them for at least 100K each to recoup my costs.

* Wednesday 09:32 PM -->

Ill Taxes, Yo.

I'm sick and I'm tired, but I'm excising the whine, as well as the personal reflective pronoun. Am getting W2 snail-mailed* to to me; as a result, will most likely have to file an extension. Anticipated tax filing date: April 16. Gah. Mutter Moan Self-Recrimination Gripe Complain Whine. Don't want to pay any interest on my taxes, so here's hoping they owe me, rather than the reverse.

*When is the Post Office going to just go ahead and paint their trucks to look like giant snails on wheels? Isn't it time?

* Tuesday 04:05 PM -->

I Still Want My W2

I still haven't talked to anyone human at the company that used to technically employ me (it was an HR/Benefits outsourcer for small companies. When our company stopped using them and officially hired all of us, we got the oddest letter of termination from them. It was both final and vague, and therefore slightly amusing.). That all-hands meeting on Friday that closed down their helpdesk lasted all day - and no one is on duty on the weekends, so I could do nothing this weekend about getting them to send me a W2 to replace the one I never got.

This morning however, I was able to navigate their telephone navigation tree - only to find myself leaving a message through a series of prompts. (First I had to say my last name and then spell it, then say my first name and spell it and then hit pound. Then my social security. And #. Then a contact number. And #.) They'll call me back sometime in the next 72 hours. Which is good because in 72 hours, it'll be April 15th, which will leave me 4 hours after work to finish up my taxes, print 'em and send 'em in.

I'm thinking about filing for an extension, but dang it, I'd much rather just get it done with. I hope they take pity on the queue of people with W2 issues, and are expeditious. Here's hoping they can just fax me a copy of mine before I have to go through my boxes of old papers, receipts, miscellaneous junk, and on yeah, paystubs to do all the calculations on how much money was diverted where.

* Monday 05:21 PM -->

2 Pay Periods! I Want My W2!

Remember that sudden realization that I had last week that it was April?

I had completely forgotten to do my taxes. So I purchased some software, gathered up my forms, and was preparing to tromp upstairs, when it occurred to me that I was missing one W2 (my company chose to cease outsourcing HR functions to a prominant outsourcing company at the end of 2002, but it didn't go through until Febuary 1, 2003).

I searched frantically. Sitcoms have been filmed on less manic paper sorting.

I didn't recall ever seeing it in the pyramids of mail I get, sort through, answer, pay, and or toss in a box to deal with later. I didn't find a ghost of the form. As it was only the 9th, I relaxed my back and vowed to call the outsourcing company in the morning, invoke my usual weapons of courtesy and good humor, and ask them to fax or overnight me a new copy. It was a good plan.

It was a good plan, right up until I started calling them at 8:30 AM, while I was waiting for the build I'm frantically testing to happen. "You have reached X. All associates are currently attending a meeting. Please call back another time." I opted to wait and 'talk to an operator.'

"Thank you for calling X. Our switchboard is closed. If you know your party's extension..." A two+ hour meeting that makes them close down customer service? I'm guessing: company travails, layoffs, and/or outsourcing help desk functions to another country.

I just want my W2.

* Friday 03:23 PM -->
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