I've been a lot fucking better, then.

Anyone who knows me relatively well knows that I have been a die-hard Monkees fan since I was about two years old.  And just now, at work, my cubemate waved me off my headphones to tell me that Davy Jones died. 

I am absolutely stunned.  He seemed healthy -- fit, even -- for 66, and he died of a heart attack.

The wind was knocked out of me.  I realized that I'd always feared this moment, when the Monkees would start to die off, since it was a bit of a life goal of mine to meet each one of them.  Since I met Peter Tork in November 2009, I had started to think that I was on a roll and could take my time.  After all, Peter is the oldest one and has had some health problems (cancer) in the last few years, so I feared the loss of him the most.  But.... Davy Jones?  A man who had aged well, sang and danced on stage often, raced horses for fun?  Not him. 

I'm dressed in all black today anyway, as my co-worker's visitation is this evening.  It's such a sad day, yet it's 64 degrees out and sunny on the last day of February. 

After my cubemate alerted me to the news, I pulled up tmz.com, and there was the headline -- along with a picture of him looking like he's psychotically yelling at the help, so I was like, "Really?  There seriously wasn't a better picture of him on file?"  And I shakily stood up as my boss was leaving his office, and I told him what happened in a small voice.  My boss knows I'm a hardcore Monkees fan, and to his credit, he actually seemed genuinely upset for me.  And then I said to him, "I want my mommy," because I'm just professional like that.

I texted David, who's at home preparing for an interview tomorrow, and I called my mom, who was with a student (she's an academic advisor at Purdue) so she couldn't talk much.  I keep checking the news sites, looking for updates, and every time I see the headline and a picture of him, it breaks my heart and makes me want to puke. 

And I've got a meeting in fifteen minutes.

I will always remember you, Davy Jones.


I've been better.

Good things: 
  • David started receiving the unemployment that was owed him; plus, he's got plenty of leads lined up for work.
  • I've lost five pounds.
  • SWTOR-related:  I'm having fun with my Sith Warrior, Desdemona.  Will start doing more flashpoints, dailies and heroics with Katarine... I need better gear if I want to raid.
  • We've just about made it to March without it getting cold enough to make politicians put hands in their own pockets.  Usually, there's a big snow here and there, but it's been extremely mild.  I haven't worn a jacket in weeks.
  • I've crossed over from "don't really care" to "find it entertaining" on the subject of people who gossip a lot.
Bad things:
  • A co-worker and friend passed away suddenly last Thursday.  He was only 32, and he and his wife just had a baby a few months ago.  Everyone's still kind of in shock, especially because we don't really know what happened.  My work building has never been so quiet.  Anyway, I've been down about it for the last few days.
  • My hair is being really, really stupid.
  • The two year anniversary of me becoming a homeowner was yesterday, and I don't really feel like I have much to show for it.  Right?

So I'm just kinda sitting here going, "good things, good things, good things." 


Top Five Ways to Clarify Your Atheism

I'm an atheist.  That means I don't believe there is a god or anything superior over humans except for the callous, unforgiving food chain.  Some people within my circle of friends and family might not like this, but hey -- you're my friends and family, and I love people in my circle even if they believe weird things.  If someone dislikes it enough to not want to be my friend or "family" anymore, then that's fine too.  I tolerated the beliefs of others for my entire life, and if someone can't tolerate mine now, then there's a problem anyway.

I would like to share, with anyone who wants to keep reading, the top five things I hear when I share my (lack of) beliefs with others.  And by others, I mean a select few.  However, in the interest of full blogger disclosure... have at it.

1.  Aren't you afraid to go to hell?

No.  I do not believe there is a hell.  Aren't you afraid to go to Narnia?  ("No, because it doesn't exist, right?")

2.  What, are you mad at God or something?

To be angry with a god means that I would have to believe in a god.  I am not angry with anything.  I know there are some who say they don't believe in god because "Why would God let people starve, get hurt, die, etc.," but I'm not one of those.  People starve because they don't have food, and people get hurt because someone/something else hurts them, and people die because that is what people eventually do.

3.  Then what happens in the afterlife?


4.  So... you seriously believe in nothing.

I believe in science.  I don't believe in "miracles."  I can't stand it when someone thanks "god" for letting a surgery go well when there was a staff of surgeons, physician's assistants, nurses, anesthesiologists, technicians, etc. that actually did the work.  I don't believe that our planet was made in a matter of days, but rather, a matter of a million years.  I don't believe that humans are the result of evolution, but they're a small step along the way, and we, too (like the Caspian tiger, the cave lion, and the Tyrannosaurus Rex -- all creatures larger and stronger than the Governator) will be extinct someday.  

I'm also comfortable with not having an afterlife.  I don't need to see my grandmothers when I die.  If everything really happens per their beliefs, then I know two things:  one of them will be having a beer and a card game with my grandpa and great uncles, and the other will be serving up a pot roast to her husband and listening intently to how work was that day.  Per my "beliefs," there will be nothing.  I will have no consciousness, I will see no one.  I remembered my lost loved ones as they were... as they left their impressions on me.  

I also don't believe I will see my parents, my brother, his wife, my nieces, or my friends when I die.  If they see me, cool.  But dying is a matter of organs shutting down, synapses firing in the brain (a.k.a., "hallucination"), and blood stopping its flow.  To me, it's purely an issue of biology.  When a squirrel dies, it has the exact same anatomical response.  Do they have an afterlife, too?  What makes humans so special?

And, I also don't begrudge my parents for believing (as I assume they do, but I don't know their beliefs exactly) that their parents will meet again in death -- as only a few of you know, my grandfathers died young, and my grandmothers never remarried... or even dated.  They are all gone now.  I like to think that love stories like theirs last for eternity, but "eternity" is something that doesn't exist for me.  I believe we love people while they exist, and once our bodies stop -- there is nothing.  Yes, it is scary, but that's what I believe.

5.  I'll pray for you.

I'll... mow the lawn for you.

Mowing the lawn is a hard job.  I hope praying brings just as much frustration and exhaustion for you as mowing does to me.


"Dinnertime": A Story in Pictures

On Saturday night, I went out for a bite to eat with my friend Kate.  Here we are at Chumley's, having just finished our noms:

Then there was a guy who was bugging us, so we headed off to the Knickerbocker.  "To hear some live music."  Right.  These folks were on the main stage tonight:

Of course, Kate did get a crush on the actual singer that night.  But mostly we just hung out.  A couple martinis later turned into Drunk Faces, which looks like

which ended up like

then there were pictures on my phone like

which meant that on Sunday I looked like


I managed to force-feed myself on Sunday around 2:30 pm, and that was the last and only thing I ate that day.  I bet Kate got up early, went for a jog and then did her taxes, because she's 21 and therefore has special drinking superpowers.  Since I'm 27 and therefore old enough to be her grandmother, a couple of martinis means I am actually dancing to shitty music, asking a guy named Dante which circle of hell was his favorite, and telling a girl passed out in the bathroom surrounded by her squawking idiot friends that she must be known as "the quiet one." 

Had an interesting dream last night that I was riding shotgun next to my mom in her Buick, and she was driving like a crazy person:  I was tumbling around the car, telling her to slow down, and she would let out an evil cackle and tell me to stop being so sensitive.  Considering that, in real life, my mom doesn't drive on interstates and is convinced that if a bear attack or an audit are possibilities within a hundred miles, they will happen, I have no idea what that dream means.

EDIT:  Also, David said his phone interview went well, but he's already in the middle of setting up interviews with Purdue.  He's also gotten a few calls from random places.  Still, I hope he gets an offer from my employer.  We wouldn't work together at all, but it would be pretty nice financially, especially if we carpooled and ate at the verrrry inexpensive company cafeteria.  Let's wish him luck.


Nerves: shot

To distract myself, I'm going to go on another rant:

I am so fucking sick of Whitney Houston being all over the news.  She had a couple hit songs like fifteen years ago.  Am I missing something here?!  Everywhere I look, it's "Remembering Whitney," and "R.I.P Whitney, 19whatever-2012," and I'm like, why the fuck does everyone care now?  People are so fucking predictable.  Oh, and her album sales are up.  Because listening to outdated, corny pop music is apparently how people mourn someone they didn't even know and made fun of when she was alive. 

And I know that me ranting about it here only contributes to her name being plastered everywhere, but this is something that's bothered me about journalism for about the last ten years.  I knew that the day after her death, I would see a headline about medicine bottles in the hotel room.  They did it with MJ, Heath Ledger, etc.  And I was right.  Then a day or so later, the article comes on all strong and juicy with, "Officials report that medicine bottles have in fact been found in the hotel room..." and ends all weak and stupid with, "...the type of medicine has been confirmed to be ibuprofen (painkiller) and Midol." 

FIRST off, ibuprofen isn't a fucking painkiller; it's an anti-inflammatory, you sensationalist pricks.  (You also messed up when you said her Xanax was an anti-depressant, moron.)  That's like seeing me drinking a glass of water and then telling everyone that it's vodka.  SECOND, hey everyone that works on the news, you're all fucking stupid.   

I bet if a reporter's grandmother died, they would stand outside the grandmother's house with a microphone and say (to no one in particular), "Now Tom, officials have not disclosed the cause of death yet, but there are reports of authorities finding a bottle of Robitussin on the scene.  I'm just getting word that the medical staff will be carrying her out on a gurney and into the van.  Back to you, Tom, while we adjust our cameras for the best view." then mumbles to the camera man, "maybe the body bag will fall off and she'll come spilling out.  Think of the ratings.  you think we might be able to make that happen?"

I can just imagine the criteria used for hiring at newspapers and news channels.  "So what kind of experience do you have that qualifies you to be a reporter?"  "Well, I was a gossip in high school..."  "Perfect.  You're hired."


Vinegar Valentine

EDIT:  Congrats to the Hillams on the birth of their healthy (and big!) son today!

I didn't know it was Valentine's Day until I got to work and saw an obnoxious and ginormous display of balloons on a co-worker's desk.  To be clear, it isn't the fact that her husband got her balloons that's obnoxious, or even the size of the display -- though it is pretty ridiculous -- but every time I stand up, I see a giant red monster creeping over the partition to my desk, and when I turn towards it all freaked out, I realize that it's the damn balloons.

I haven't really celebrated Valentine's Day since I knew better.  I had boyfriends all through high school, and I suppose I would exchange something with them -- the only thing I can remember, though, is a card that a boyfriend made for me in his German class for Valentinstag, with construction paper cut-out hearts pasted on it, branded with his handwritten Ich Liebe Dich

Then I started to actually think about the "holiday" and realized that it doesn't make much sense to celebrate romance in the name of a Catholic priest.  Or to celebrate romance in the name of anyone else but yourself and your partner, for that matter.  Or hell -- why do we need to celebrate it at all?  Isn't having romance good enough, or are people still not satisfied with being in love, so it's gotta be recognized everywhere -- at restaurants, the movies, on TV, the workplace, within retail.  As if people need an excuse to spend epic amounts of cash. 

I've been in relationships and not celebrated Valentine's Day.  This isn't "Singles' Awareness Day" (a.k.a. S.A.D.... and yes, for the record, they could have chosen a better name) for me, either, because that always sounded defensive and desperate to me.  Also, I'd like to see data on what happens when people go out to celebrate Singles' Awareness Day:  what percentage of that population wakes up to someone else in their bed the next morning?  I bet at least 80% start off the evening strong, maybe even wearing a festive antivalentinism shirt, loosen up with a few drinks, say "HAAAAY!" to everyone in the bar they barely know, toast to their freedom over tequila, cry in the bathroom, fix up the face, then scan the crowd and let the beer goggles do the detection.  An hour later, a perfect stranger is sleeping and drooling on the pillow a foot away.  Awkward.

So I obviously have some pre-conceived notions about Singles' Awareness Day.  My pre-conceived notions about celebrating Valentine's Day as an adult, since I haven't celebrated it since high school?  Woman wants jewelry, man gets her jewelry, woman doesn't like that jewelry.  (Tip:  Men, if you buy your gal a piece of jewelry that she actually doesn't like, your next purchase should be a lotto ticket.  Unless your gal is a huge bitch.)  You wouldn't believe how many times I've heard a woman say, "Well, he got me a charm bracelet/a pendant/pearl earrings/etc.... yeah, it's nice... but, you know, it isn't an engagement ring/a vacation/a brand new car, soooo I'm a bit disappointed."  I think the next time I hear someone say that, I'm just going to punch them in the face.

Was talking to a co-worker yesterday about jewelry for his wife.  Apparently, he's had a bad run with gifts lately -- she doesn't seem to like anything he gets for her.  I said, "Here, why don't you tell her that there's this young woman at work who would love to receive these gifts instead."  He laughed and said he didn't think that would go over very well, but I could tell by the look in his eye that he was actually considering it.  And you know why?  Because not appreciating a gesture like your partner getting you a gift, whether it's made of diamonds or construction paper, is a really bitchy thing to do.

I DID, b-t-dubs, receive a Valentine this year.  One of my co-workers gave me a little Spongebob Valentine's card, some candy, a My Little Pony sticker (?!), and a fake tattoo of something that looks like either a purple puppy or kitten.  Whatever it is -- TATTOO.  CHECK OUT MY TAT.


Quiet Sunday at The Park Ave. Pub

Woke up late, playing SWTOR, eating a turkey sandwich.  I love Sundays.

I've got this in the crockpot for dinner:

Improvised beef stew.  I'd planned on making it, but I forgot to go to the store to get the requisite carrots and celery.  Instead, I scavenged and found:

- half a bag of frozen green beans
- three potatoes
- a can of beef broth
- a quarter of an onion

I was happy as a pig in shit to find this stuff.  Then I proceeded with the recipe:

Drop the stew meat into an empty crockpot.  Make a flour mix with a half cup of flour and a half tablespoon or so of each salt, black pepper, and minced garlic.  Sprinkle the mix over the stew meat and stir it around -- you want to coat the meat.  I then add a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce, a can of beef broth, and about a cup and a half of water.  Then come the potatoes (washed and quartered), the green beans, and the onion (chopped).  If you're not the laziest person in the world like me, this would also be the time for you to add your sliced celery and chopped carrots.  Really, any vegetable should work well with this recipe.

Put the crockpot on low and stir the stew occasionally for the next several hours.  The broth will thicken.  Serve with crusty, buttered bread.  Nom.

Not sure how the green beans will fare; I've never done them in a crockpot before.  It looks pretty, though.  Adds a new color to the stew.

Anyway, it's definitely a lazy Sunday.  Even the cats are chillin':

Tiny Cissy and ginormous Bella.
Trying to put some weight back on Micky, so we're feeding her kitten food too (more calories).  This pic was taken about 20 minutes ago; now she's curled up on my desk in a patch of sun.  :)

Will add the beef stew recipe to the Recipe page.  Try it out; I'll let you know how the green beans work.

And Kate:  Will have a post coming soon about how to stay awake, but I have to do research first.  ;)

P.S.  The last 24 hours have taught me that not only was I not the only kid in 1993 to listen to "I Will Always Love You" over and over again, but that I shouldn't be embarrassed about it.  When I was in the third grade, my friend Alicia lent me her cassette tape of the song, and I listened (and sang) to it so many times, I pretty much had the rewind time down.  (For those of you who are much younger than I am, that means at the end of the song, I'd have to press this button -- with my own hands! -- called "Rewind," and then the tape in the cassette would go backwards.  I did this so much that I knew when to press Play again...would take something like 16 seconds to rewind to the beginning.)  I just wanted to address that on here, just so everything you hear today is about Whitney Houston.

EDIT:  The green beans in the beef stew fucking rocked!  They were a perfect addition.  The onion added a good kick.  I did not miss the carrots and celery at all.  The plan was for David to eat some the next day, but the stew was gone by the end of the night.  :)  Don't mean to brag, but...


Top Five Ways to Tell if You're a Douche

Just my observations.  Applies to both men and women.

1.  You're anything but kind to those employed in the service industry.  Cashiers, waiters, administrative assistants, tech support.  If they mess up a request of yours, and you treat them like they're the dumbest creatures alive for it, then you're a douche.  You're also illogical -- why yell at a waitress because your steak is the wrong temperature?  You think she cooked it?

2.  You deliberately display your underwear as part of your douchey outfit.  It is not cool, it does not look good, and all it does is make you a big wedgie target.  I also find that people who like this look on others are douches.  Or terribly insecure.

3.  You're unnecessarily rude to the opposite sex (or same sex, whatever works) when they try to talk to you.  It probably took a lot of nerve for someone to approach you and ask if they can buy you a drink.  Appropriate answer, other than "thank you, I'd love that":  "No thank you" with a kind smile.  Inappropriate answer:  any variation of "haha, as if."  Douche.

3 (a).  Caveat:  If you are friendly and say "No, but thank you," and they persist -- e.g., "Well, I don't see a boyfriend anywhere," or "What, you think you're better than me?" or anything else that implies you're just playing hard to get, then that person is a douche.  You may have to resort to being a douche just to get them to go away.  Some folks don't understand when people are direct, but whatever, communication is weird.

4.  Turning the bass up so loud in traffic that the panels on your car vibrate.  No one is interested in hearing your shitty music, and now everyone has to.  Plus, for some reason it makes people like me sick to their stomach.  Douche douche douche.

5.  You drive a Hummer and are not military personnel.  Extra douche points if you skid it out of every stoplight while exercising #4.

Okay.  I feel better now.


House to myself

My splint is starting to smell like cigarettes and feet, and it makes it too hard to type, so I've taken it off for this post.  I also took it off last night to do a hardmode in SWTOR, which was kind of stupid.

Anyway, so David's out of town until at least Friday, which means I have some new freedoms for the time being.  While he's gone, I plan to eat a truckload of snow crab legs, salmon patties, and ocean perch -- all prepared at home.  I also plan to hog the remote and leave clothes on the bathroom floor.

I've also been hogging the kittehs.  Cissy is still scared of Micky, so when Micky jumps up on the bed, Cissy backs up all cute-like against my face.  Here they are, getting along with each other and curled up next to mommy (with Cissy backed up into my face):

Quick update on my Super Bowl party:  I'm a party genius.  I think there may even be a Third Annual Park Ave. Pub Super Bowl Party of Awesome (if everyone's lucky, oh yeah).  Some highlights:

- The Giants fucking won
- My chili was almost all gone by the end
- Everyone brought awesome food and drinks, so we had a crazy amount of food without me racing around to make four different huge dishes (all I made was chili and a spinach dip bread bowl, both of which are really easy)

In other news, women are disgusting:

EDIT:  This is NOT my bandage; I found this in a ladies' room at work.


Good thing I'm left-handed

Apparently, it's a bad thing when your hand hurts so much that you can't turn the car key in the ignition.  I have tendinitis, and I partially blame work, I partially blame SWTOR, and I TOTALLY blame people that make me mad (because then my hands get all stressed out, what with the wringing and balling of fists).

It doesn't hurt too much with the splint on, but I occasionally forget about the injury and try to prop open a door or situate myself in a chair with my fingers, and it turns out to be a huge mistake.

I just thought I'd update, although it's hard to type, because I wanted to show off THIS SEXY AWESOME:

Some of my co-workers have signed it:
The "With much sympathy" note was in jest... originally, that co-worker wanted to write "FAKER" all over the splint, but I told him I wanted room for my nieces to sign their names.

Super Bowl party at the Park Ave. Pub on Sunday; there are more people expected than last year.  Will still just be making chili and my spinach dip.  Might have to get David to chop an onion, but other than that, I'm ready to celebrate one of my favorite holidays -- no matter who's playing.*

I really should just try to type a paragraph (sentence, word) without deleting my errors, but then I would miss out on my exercise for the day.  Regardless, here are a couple of pictures about my hair, because I'm just that interesting (and because I don't really have to type to do this):

Hair on Tuesday:

Hair on Wednesday:

One more thing:  a couple of questions...

(1) does anyone else think Picasa is cumbersome and obnoxious, or am I just not smart enough to use it in a way that lives up to my standards?

(2) when an annoying teenager says "OMGGGGGG" on Facebook, how do you sound that out in your head?  I'm just asking because, to me, it looks like "oh my guh-guh-guh-guh-guh-guh"

* Tom Brady's a douche.  I'm rooting for the Giants, and not just because their QB is the little brother of "my" team's QB.  But also because Tom Brady's a douche.