Sunday, December 28, 2008

Places I need to call on Monday

1. Plaza Tire
2. Hyundai Dealership
3. Brother re. car
4. Lion's Club
5. Elks Lodge

Receptions and a flat tire...a good start to a Monday.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Typing on iPhone is less than easy

I am seriously considering just calling this blog "lists" and writing one daily. A theme? How novel.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Things I need to complete today

1.  Clean room.
2.  Finish loan paperwork with B.J.
3.  Write out Christmas cards.
4.  Investigate where you can buy those little padded envelopes for sending things through the mail.  (Does it have to be at the post office?)
5.  Figure out why I have a check engine light on my car.
6.  Pick up photos at Walgreens.  Purchase frame and a box of popcorn.
7.  Sync iPhone.
8. Download NIN song from brother (thanks!)
9. Wrap gifts.
10. Remember whatever it is I feel I'm forgetting.

New template

Things of note:

1.  My car got a check engine light this morning for the first time.  It's probably the gas cap.
2.  Having recent photos makes shopping for grandparents much easier.
3.  I have Wednesday and Thursday off this week.  I like floating holidays.
4.  My dog is chasing spots of light.  She's funny.
5.  I actually kind of enjoyed the Twilight movie.  I now am going to go read something cerebral to make up for it.

Also, new template.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It is now ten days til Christmas.  This year seems anticlimactic.  We don't have a Christmas tree up.  The advent calendar is still somewhere in the basement.  Christmas shopping is mostly done, thanks to free shipping from Amazon.  We're not even playing Christmas music.

Maybe the lack of spirit is due to the fact that for the first time, there's no two week long break at the end of a winter semester.  Maybe everyone in my household is exceptionally busy this year.  Maybe we're too old.

Just interesting.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Things I am learning from construction

1. Be a bitch
When I started working, my immediate reaction was to be nice and helpful. Contrary to what my instincts say, being helpful does two things. It gets you more work and it earns you a reputation for being a pushover. In the worst cases, being helpful makes you spend money that you were not obligated to spend and will not be repaid for. Learn to say no and do nothing without paper. There are exceptions to this rule--be helpful to people within your company (namely, your boss) and your foreman (because they will make your life hell if you don't).

2. Ask all questions
Problems come up. That's the nature of the beast. Before you run to buy a new fixture or send a panicked email, stop and ask questions. What happened? Did you see it? Is this on the drawings? Whose mistake is it? Did we take pictures? All of these questions drive to one singular point: You must understand the situation completely before you can propose the best solution. The first solution you think of may be quickest, but in general, it is always the most expensive. Slow down, because the person you go to with the problem is going to ask the same questions that you should. Take time to find the answers first.

3. Hedge your bets
If it's not on paper it doesn't exist. We have to commit to two things: schedules and prices. It is very tempting to be helpful (see point one) and give a lower price or an earlier date based on one week of hunky-dory work. Optimistic predictions become lies when the crap hits the fan. When giving things in writing, you need a disclaimer. "This is based on a three day turnaround on submitted documents." "This is assuming no delays in shipping." "This date is riding the concrete being poured." "This price doesn't include overtime." Things will go wrong. It is your responsibility to foresee them and cover your butt ahead of time.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Invoices are the devil

I've been fighting with an invoice all day. As invoices go, this is one of the smaller ones - for a five to six million dollar project. Getting the numbers to equalize is giving me fits. I am down to just two columns in the new and improved format (requested by the Invoice Guru a billing away from completion) not equaling the old, somewhat fubar-ed old format.

Now it is time to steal a salad out of the work fridge (leftover from Monday night), and go home to a hot bowl of soup.

Maybe I'll email the invoices to myself and work on them later...

Friday, November 7, 2008

I am an attention whore

Go here and look at my freaking awesome engagement pictures.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Seriously people

I voted.

No, I won't tell you who for.

It's none of your business.

No, I don't want to know who you're voting for.

You're probably making a dumb decision anyway.

No, I won't be celebrating tonight.

Whoever wins will still ruin the country eventually.

Now shut up.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Good Day

This weekend was excellent. B.J. and I had been looking forward to our engagement photos since we first met our photographer this spring. We'd gone back and forth on location and settled on Main Street Books in Old Town St. Charles. Beej and I had gone there during one of our first marathon dates in May and loved the brick building with its cozy atmosphere.

The first photos were taken outside under the sign, then we moved inside to play with puppets, read Walter the Farting Dog, kiss dramatically on the staircase, and pose with a copy of How to Enchant a Man.  Photos outside included a stroll down the brick streets and twirling around a lampost.  

All in all, there's not much like a new haircut, a professional makeup job and a hot date to start weekend off correctly.  The rest of the time was spent watching the Muppet Show and eating pizza rolls.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Every once in a while, I have a feeling that I am a Bad Person. I don't pity the people who get flooded out for the third time in three years (even animals have mastered pattern recognition). I don't give quarters to homeless people (it's extortion of the bleeding hearts, not community service). I threw away my United Way pledge card (touching, but I won't get into the pattern of forced giving). I refused to buy a pumpkin at Applebee's last night (no cash).

Despite the large body of evidence attesting to my miserly personality, here is what I will do:
Donate to the Shriners outside of Walmart
Give to missions work at my church (where I am assured that all of the money goes to where I designate)

What I won't do:
Help people who don't help themselves
Perpetuate the recipient's sense of entitlement
Pay for someone else's systematic poor choices

I think that welfare is misused just as much as it helps. I think that given a chance, people would rather support private causes than government sponsored charity. For once, I'd like to see the government give me choice on who I am going to assist. I am even willing to accept a mandate that X% of my income goes to charity, so long as I can pick which charity it goes to.

This is one reason why I am a bad person.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

New Book

Last night I arrived at my hotel to find out that the room had not been cleaned. (It's a big deal because they only clean once every two weeks.) I was irritated, but decided to be calm and go run errands. Fortunately for my blood pressure, Barnes and Noble is on the way* to the grocery store.

I picked up a couple of bridal magazines (looking for hair ideas and the elusive answer to 'What am I forgetting?') and proceeded to wander around the store. I stopped at the science and psychology sections (some of my favorites!) and picked up a book that I'd been looking for in the store for a few weeks.

I realized as I was paying how odd my purchases must look. I bought two Bride magazines and a copy of The Sociopath Next Door.

*A short five mile detour.

A new feeling...

I did something exciting this weekend.

My super-senior year at college, I received an odd scholarship. This scholarship gave me some free money (awesome!), but only so long as I also took a loan for the equivalent amount (huh?). Since free money is one of my favorite things, I accepted the scholarship with all of the loan inducing caveats.

This weekend, I paid off my first and only student loan.

Signing the check and putting it into the mailbox felt good. All of a sudden, I am a Productive Adult who Pays Her Debts to Society.

The high lasted until I looked at the principal left on my computer, car, photographer, and wedding ring loans.

At least I can look forward to many such exciting moments in my future.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ringo is my favo(u)rite Beatle

I just spent five minutes listening to Octopus's Garden and lamenting the fact that I don't have Yellow Submarine on my phone. (There's another song he sings that I like a lot too. Beej, help me out.) Anyway, I suppose this makes Ringo my favourite Beatle, especially since I can't really tell the other three apart.

I had a blog topic just a couple seconds ago, but I got distracted by the sign in process to blogger. Technology thwarts me.

Anyway, this weekend looks like it is shaping up to be a good one. I will leave work in another hour and a half or so and head back to St. Louis. I need to get a waiver thing so that I can register my car (memo to self, figure out when the DMV is open and if I have to show up myself.) and then run by the Apple store after I pick up B.J. from work. (The silver 'silence' button on my phone broke off. Am not pleased by this.)

The rest of my plans for this weekend are simple - watch Young Frankenstein and spend some time perusing Sears to decide if B.J. and I want to register there. Other than miscellaneous errands (bank, grocery store) it is shaping up to be a very nice weekend.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A bunch of physicists go to a party...

* Everyone gravitated toward Newton, but he just kept moving around at a constant velocity and showed no reaction.
* Einstein thought it was a relatively good time.
* Coulomb got a real charge out of the whole thing.
* Cavendish wasn't invited, but he had the balls to show up anyway.
* Cauchy, being the only mathematician there, still managed to integrate well with everyone.
* Thompson enjoyed the plum pudding.
* Pauli came late, but was mostly excluded from things, so he split.
* Pascal was under too much pressure to enjoy himself.
* Ohm spent most of the time resisting Ampere's opinions on current events.
* Hamilton went to the buffet tables exactly once.
* Volt thought the social had a lot of potential.
* Hilbert was pretty spaced out for most of it.
* Nobody could find Heisenberg at the end of the evening.
* The Curies were there and just glowed the whole time.
* van der Waals forced himself to mingle.
* Wien radiated a colorful personality.
* Millikan dropped his Italian oil dressing.
* de Broglie mostly just stood in the corner and waved.
* Hollerith liked the hole idea.
* Stefan and Boltzman got into some hot debates.
* Everyone was attracted to Tesla's magnetic personality.
* Compton was a little scatter-brained at times.
* Bohr ate too much and got atomic ache.
* Watt turned out to be a powerful speaker.
* Hertz went back to the buffet table several times a minute.
* Faraday had quite a capacity for food.
* Oppenheimer got bombed.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Movies I want to see

1. Whatever the new Harry Potter movie is (this includes everything from the 4th movie on, as I have been busy in the last couple of years)

2. Dark Knight

3. Twilight

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I wish miscellaneous had synonyms

1. I couldn't be prouder of B.J. Congrats on getting into grad school (again)! I'm convinced that MFA really stands for mutha *cough* awesome instead of Master of Fine Arts.

2. To the people on facebook ranting about Palin/the GOP in their statuses. People. We get it. You're pissed, you don't like Palin, you think she's the worst thing to happen to the country since Bush, yada yada yada. The conservatives feel the same way about Obama. The exact. same. way. So, updating me every five minutes with your new, deeper levels of disdain doesn't do anything. Post about the color of your lunch instead. I like that better.

3. The one day I don't wear PPE and contacts to work is the day that I'll get an email announcing a field walkthrough in the afternoon.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I don't know when to stop.

Another chapter. For the first, go here.

Vlad was boat shopping. It was traditional for a 16 year old boy to receive a boat from his parents as a gift. It symbolized his independence less than it did his parents' eager desire to get him out of their house. (It was also a cunning distraction from another Viking custom that involved a free can of gasoline and lighter with every AARP membership.) Viking boats came in one shape (boat-shaped) and in one color (brown). The only choice that young Vlad had was the figurehead.

Vlad had been to nearly every used boat lot up and down the coast, but was having a bugger of a time finding something that he felt suited him. He'd decided to stop at the lot of Mothmar the Sweet-Smelling before resigning himself to paddleboats for another year. Mothmar himself came out to meet Vlad at the dock. Vlad noticed his mismatched furry vest and furry barbarian skirt (rabbit on the top and bear on the bottom), and winced at the fluttering pieces of plasticized confetti that hung winsomely on Mothmar's hat.

"What can I do you for, young Barbarian?" Mothmar oozed, sticking his clammy palm into Vlad's.

"I am looking for a boat.." before Vlad could continue with his list of requirements, he was being steered toward the section that held boats specifically for young males. Namely, the section of boats that had figureheads shaped like young topless women. Some of these boats were leaning slightly forward in the water, due to the size of the 'adornments' on the figurehead.

Vlad shook his head in disgust. All that the figureheads brought to mind were the numerous "Arrghs" that he'd received in Mandatory Naughty Activities. (In fact, had he not done so well in "Gathering a Massive Hoard" and "Visual Intimidation Techniques", his record would have meritted a second go round.) Vlad wanted something different. Something that spoke to his inner soul. Something that was distinctive. Something that matched his eyes and would go well with whatever boots he was wearing.

He wandered away from Mothmar who was extoling the virtues of a rather squinty looking model and moved toward the exit. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw it. The prow of the ship was long and slender, and was not adorned with anything that could be considered human. In his eyes, the sheer wildness of the symbolism was ideal.

Vlad walked straight to his ship, slapped the hull and pronounced her name. "Thou shalt be the GRAY GOOSE."

Mothmar coughed slightly. "Inventive."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Things that have made me happy this morning:

All of the innuendos that I thought of while the light poles were being raised/installed
Fiona Apple's lyrics
An expense check
Labor Day = three day weekend
My new clipboard - aluminum, with a compartment for my Important Papers (plus, bought with job's money, so I get to keep it)
Answering a vendor question by myself
Remembering that I have MASH and Gilmore Girls on dvd at the apartment
Lunchtime is coming very quickly

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pure, Beloved One

When I was a little kid, I used to collect names. My favorite part of MASH (the hilarious game in which you embarrass yourself no matter what because there is no way that you actually like that guy that MASH says that you're going to marry while secretly being thrilled at the idea of having Johnny Whatsisface father your six children) was picking out the names for my hypothetical offspring. I named teddy bears and dolls and was aghast at the number of Catherines in Wuthering Heights. Even now, I name my electronics (Fluffy, Azrael, Arcturus, Cai, Kael, Agrippa, and Heremon).

Along with this, I thought about the names I wished that I would have had. When I was eight, I would have given anything to be named Lisa (yes, after the Simpsons). At thirteen, it was Arianna. By the time I went to college, I had grown to enjoy my name. In fact, I really love my name now. And of course, I'm realizing this because I'm not going to have my name much longer.

My last name, which I have reviled as having too many vowels and thus being unspellable will be changing in a matter of months. It's a symbolic transformation, but one that has many ramifications. If I meet any friends from grade school, they won't immediately recognize my name. Anything else I publish won't be grouped with my previous papers. I'll have to stand in a different line when registering for things. I'll need a new signature, new checks, and a new driver's license. I'll be leaving behind the tangible connection to my parents and my siblings, and in effect, taking on a new identity.

Jane Eyre mentions something similar before her wedding to Rochester (badly quoted because I don't have my book with me) "The tags were waiting to be fixed to the luggage. Jane Rochester was a person foreign to me. She would not exist until tomorrow afternoon."

I know that I won't magically turn into a new person. I'll still love microwave popcorn, get my groove on to early twenty-first century pop, and save games of MASH from sixth grade. And since I hate hyphenated names, I'll gladly become a Jones when the time comes. Until then, I'm going to enjoy my last few months with my current name.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Goldigger sounds better as a polka

I have a problem with Kayne West. My issue isn't that he's a misinformed idiot (see: 'Bush hates black people'), but instead that Kayne West simultaneously makes and ruins good music.

There are two Kayne West songs on my iPod - 'Stronger' and 'Homecoming'. Both of these songs are catchy and have spent a great deal of time on repeat. Incidentally, the majority of these songs are not sung by Kayne West. 'Stronger' is effectively a remix of Daft Punks 'Harder, Better, Faster' and 'Homecoming' features Chris Martin of Coldplay.

I sincerely enjoy the 'featuring' portions of these songs, but I really despise Kayne's attempts at musicality. In fact, if there weren't any guest artists on these songs, I would hate them. However, I like the other performers so much that they redeem an otherwise horrible piece of music.

So...I'm conflicted. Do I thank Kayne West for bringing to life a song that I would love or do I curse him for ruining it?

In other news, Hebrew and Greek lessons are coming along well. I am up to seven Greek verbs (ballo, luo, acuso, pistuo, leggo, bleepo, grapho) and the entirety of the Hebrew alphabet.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Like that one video with the cartoon rabbits

Everybody else's Facebook status is so much cooler than mine.

My statuses (stati?) have included such gems as "Amy loves B.J.", "Amy is working", "Amy hates air conditioning", and "Amy has no internet at work." The coolest thing that I've come up with recently is plagarized from Dr. Horrible. (Amy meant Ghandi...) Just today, people on Facebook are getting Facebook divorced, petting wild fauns, and Alaskan.

How do you compete with Alaska?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A coyote ate your baby

Things that I have done in the mornings this week:

Assure myself that I did indeed just see a coyote cross the road.
Fail miserably at coyote/chicken parallels.
Spell 'coyote' on the first try.
Stare at my engagement ring for long moments.
Attempt a cup of the generic office coffee.
Drink Tazo Wild Sweet Orange Tea.
Really want to like Jack Johnson.
Find Jack Johnson boring.
Hum along anyway.
Make a to do list for after work that I was too tired to complete.
Swear that I will eat the frozen dinner that I've stored in the work freezer for a week.
Practice Hebrew and Greek alphabets and a Greek paradigm.
Fantasize about buying a space heater or electric blanket for my desk.
Silently despise Port-a-Potties (for the smell, not the utility).

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tokyo is going down.

I wasn't going to post this, but I saw a commercial for a popular tv show "Bridezilla" this morning and thought I would offer my vast experience (3 months) to the blogosphere.

Ways to not be a bridezilla

1. Choose the correct vocabulary – Replace “my wedding” with “our wedding”. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot get married without your fiancé, and at the end of the wedding, he will be just as married as you are. The wedding isn’t about the bride. The wedding is about the couple.

2. Choose when to laugh – Whenever you go into a bridal store, pick out invitations, etc., find at least one option that makes you laugh. This might be the dress targeted at mothers with a miniskirt and spaghetti straps, or (my favorite) the post-wedding brunch. The ability to laugh during the planning process reduces stress, grounds you in reality, and keeps you from thinking that you have to have it all. (After all…those tie-dyed roses are ridiculous…why would you want those?)

3. Choose who matters – The list of whose opinion matters should be a short and uniform one. Here’s a sample:
Your fiancé and you
Whoever is paying
Martha Stewart is not on this list. Neither are your guests. Your wedding shouldn’t be dictated by Oprah or the Knot. (If you are already a Bridezilla, then this step doesn’t help you at all, as your opinion is corrupted.)

4. Choose your battles – Sometimes there are things not worth arguing over. Your bridesmaids can’t afford the $500 dresses you had your heart set on? What is more important-who is in the pictures or what they’re wearing? Your fiancé have his heart set on a white tux when you’d never even considered it? He deserves to feel as amazing in his tux as you do in your dress. (Besides, he’s going to look great in anything.)

5. Choose to be happy – Things will go wrong and not match your vision. There is no such thing as a perfect wedding. In the end, it is your choice to make the time leading up to your wedding and the ceremony itself a joyous occasion for all involved. Remember, after the honeymoon, all that’s left is your husband, a few pictures, and the memories. Don’t alienate the first, overspend on the second, or forget to make the third pleasant.

Monday, July 28, 2008

General stuff

1. My iPhone arrives today. Tonight will be AWESOME.
2. Everybody has cashed checks from me. My bank account pleads for mercy, but debt is decreasing. Peasants rejoice.
3. I don't get what the big deal is with Dooce. I get that she's the biggest blogger EVER, but I really don't see what's so groundbreaking.
4. I woke up last night around 2:30AM. I'm pretty sure that there was a storm going through, but I wasn't awake enough to recognize it. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the only thoughts going through my head were 'Crap. Now I will be tired in four hours.' and 'At least I get to go back to sleep.'
5. Tonight I am looking forward to unpacking, cleaning up, playing DDR, eating leftovers, and organizing my iPhone.
6. Crap. I'm getting a new electronic device today and it doesn't have a name yet. Maybe that's why it's taken so long. Now taking suggestions for names.
7. Julie starts school today. I really used to enjoy the first day of school. It was a fresh start and there were new office supplies.
8. WiiFit is cool. I wish that I could play it more than just on the weekends.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

When I Grow Up, I Wanna Be an Adult

I am in the habit of turning the tv to VH1 as soon as I shut off the alarm. The noise and light reminds me that I need to get out of bed, and since music videos have an average length of four minutes, I can calculate what time it is by counting how many songs have played.

This morning, Gavin Degraw’s “I’m in Love With A Girl” was the song that woke me up (translation: got me into the shower). It’s one of my favorites – peppy, easy to sing along with, and slightly romantic.

While I was dressing, I noticed a very different song playing. At first I wasn’t sure if it was a song or a commercial for atonal exhalations. This was the first time that I’d seen part of the video for The Pussycat Dolls “When I Grow Up”. For those of you lucky enough to not have seen this piece of crap, here is an excerpt of the lyrics:

When I grow up
I wanna be famous
I wanna be a star
I wanna be in movies

When I grow up
I wanna see the world
Drive nice cars
I wanna have boobies

Be careful what you wish for
‘Cause you just might get it
Yeah, you just might get it
Yeah, you just might get it.

The video itself didn’t have a concept, but if your group’s main theme is “We can’t sing, dance, write music or play instruments, but if you buy our cd’s, I’ll take off my shirt” then the bar is admittedly set low. There are about 6 of them, chosen so as to fulfill all of the stereotypical male fantasies – redhead, blonde, exotic one, etc. Only one of them sings (and her solo career was a spectacular flop, so she’s not star material individually either).

I wonder if the Dolls have any self-respect. Sure they can lip sync to lyrics that state that they are ‘hot’, ‘raw’, and ‘fun’, but when it comes down to it, are they satisfied with the career they have chosen for themselves? Do they think about the fact that somewhere is an eight year old wearing leopard print and singing about wanting to have breasts? Do they want children to look at them and think “Being in Hollywood is the best thing that I could ever do with my life”? Do they know that they are contributing to the cheapening of sexual behavior?

People say that the Dolls aren’t doing anything wrong. I contest. They are not doing anything illegal. They are doing things that are morally objectionable. They are teaching kids that it is fine to sell your body to get money and fame. They are showing women that if you are pretty, it doesn’t matter what’s inside your head. They are teaching men that it is a good thing to be subjugated by a pair of breasts. They are teaching those same men that those same breasts are the only two things worthwhile about a woman. (Unless you’re an ass man, and in that case, look at Doll number four!)

I admit to some questionable taste in music. In middle school, I was a huge *N Sync fan. Earlier than that, one of my first cds was Hanson. (Yes…MMMBop.) However, I would like to offer a differentiation: Some bad music is just silly (boybands, Hannah Montana, and almost everything you see on American Idol). Other bad music is downright harmful, and this qualifies.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Patience is not a virtue.

(My estimated delivery time is between Wednesday of this week and Monday of next.) If it is beyond that, I will probably mug someone coming out of the AT&T store.

The funny

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I stand corrected

We booked a photographer today.  It was not the photographer linked in the previous post.  (That one was busy on our date.)   I'm really pleased with who we have.  I'm sure that our pictures will end up being beautiful and representative of B.J. and me.

Let this be a lesson to me - there is nothing so vital in the wedding plans that a change will ruin the entire process.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More Wedding stuff, because I know you're interested

First off, go here:

Frankly, I'm more excited looking at some of these pictures than I have been about any other aspect of the wedding (excepting the groom and the dress). This photographer has done several weddings of friends, so I'm waiting to get their feedback before I really make up my mind. (But holy cow, how pretty are these pictures?)

In other news, if anybody wants to give me a gift, money is always good. I have a feeling that the wedding, despite my best efforts, is going to end up being pricier than I was hoping. What a racket.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I'm already too late.

Currently, there are 317 days until my beloved and I descend into wedded bliss. We got engaged roughly 24 days ago, which gives me a total wedding planning time of 341 days. Note that this is longer than the gestation time for a child (a mere 280 days), the time necessary to complete an associate's degree (216 days spent in class, assuming four semesters of 18 weeks apiece) and the amount of time it would take to completely read War and Peace (1358 pages, read ten pages a day comes out to 136 days).

Yet, it is obvious that I got a late start on planning my wedding.

My wedding dress was purchased a few weeks ago at a well-known bridal store. Before you are allowed to try on a single dress, you must "register". "Registering" is a ploy, designed to get three pieces of information out of you-the number of bridesmaids (so they know how much money they can squeeze out of you), the date of your wedding (so they know when that money will materialize), and your email address.

As soon as I purchased a dress, my email was inundated. I now get at least three messages a day, informing me of a blow-out sale, a special promotion, or the existance of placetag holders--things that I was not aware existed, but apparently am not officially married without.

The information avalanche doesn't stop there. I've gotten phone calls to schedule tuxedo consultations and let me know about drawings that I've won. I'm starting to see wedding coordinators in dark alleys and dream about cumberbund blindfolds and being pelted with bouquets.

Worst of all, I'm starting to understand some of the Bridezilla urges. Even Christmas pales in comparision to the amount of propaganda you're force fed. (At least Christmas will come again next year.) Your wedding is the Most Important Day Of Your Life and everything that you give up is something that you will Never Have Again.

The pressure mounts even more when you start looking at bridal magazines. At first, you just want a couple of ideas on a hairstyle. It's not long before you start to believe that a post-wedding breakfast is a good idea, and once you start down that slippery slope, it's only a matter of time before you begin to salivate over weddings in St. Thomas.

I grew up without Wedding Day Barbies and stopped watching Disney Princess movies after I started high school. I know now that this was a tragic mistake. How else will I know how poofy the sleeves on my bridesmaids dresses should be or how much money I need to spend on flowers to be truly happy? And most important, what kind of horse should my prince, er, fiance ride?

These issues are just some of the many that I will debate over the next 317 days...time that is now not nearly enough.


A close college friend inserted a non-sequitor about gay Vikings into an email conversation. The following is the beginning of a Prachett-inspired story, entitled "Vlad, the Very Virile Viking".

Vikings are generally more civilized than most people realize. They have their own rich history, spanning centuries. The earliest known Viking, Leothar the First (they weren't creative with the appelations until much later), known for his twisted sense of humor (or his extremely poor vocabulary, depending on which version of the legend you subscribe to) was the first man to set foot on what he named Greenland. When questioned about the slighly incongruous name, Leothar replied that it was a small prank on all of the buggers who don't read travel brochures completely.

Several hundred years after the advent of the word 'Viking', a colony of Leothar's descendants were still eeking out a living on the eastern coast of Greenland, and cursing their ancestor for his sense of humor.

Vlad's father, Vincent the Vitrolic had gone to great lengths to instill proper behavior in his son since he was old enough to brandish a spikey-ball-on-chain-attached-to-stick. (The Viking language Voscrast has thirteen words for 'rape' and another twenty-seven for 'pillage', but remains utilitarian in all other areas.)

Vlad's earliest memories were of his mother, Shalastra the Shrewish shrieking at his father that that boy needed to learn to learn to potty in the toilet before you could properly teach him to urinate on the flaming corpses of your enemies. The fights between the two were epic, but Vincent usually won by playing the 'name' trump card.

Ten years ago, when Vlad was not yet a notch in his father's battle-ax, Shalastra had won the right to name their firstborn by winning a rather large hand of Stab-thine-Wench. Upon his firstborn son's brith, Vincent waited in anticipation to hear what the name would be. (Viking sons are traditionally named after their father's largest shortcoming as a form of cosmic insurance against genetics. Vincent's father was notoriously softspoken.) Shalastra called Vincent into the bedroom and pointed at a bundle of fur at the foot of the bed. "Say hello to Vlad the Very Virile." Even though Vlad was old enough to start asking the difficult questions, Vincent had yet to explain to his son what 'virile' really meant. (Vlad was under the impression that 'virile' was a type of French cuisine that his father was abysmal at making.)

Some would suggest that Vlad's name would have been an asset growing up, especially in a culture where youthful sexual encounters are more like Hustler than Dick and Jane. However, there was a problem.

Vlad was confused. While other boys seemed to enjoy endless games of Chase-Thine-Wench and Red-River-of-Blood, he much rather preferred creating the detailed interiors of the villages intended for sacking (v. plundering with an emphasis on carrying off the contents unharmed) practice. He was horrible at Stomp-the-Rodent (too much gore on his boots) and at the absolute bottom of his class when it came to Mandatory Naughty Activities.

In fact, about all that Vlad enjoyed about Viking education was the uniform, and anyone that looked as fetching as Vlad in the horned helmet and coordinated trousers/battle-ax combination can't be blamed for preening.

Some self-disclosure

The following was originally written to be part of my Facebook profile. It ended up being a bit too cerebral, and so it will reside here.

The last three months have been some of the most defining of my life. I graduated from college in May, which ended up being a little anticlimactic. After five years of working your butt off, they hand you an empty binder, mail you a diploma, and wish you well, patting you on the back with one hand and holding out the other for a donation.
I left a lot of myself at college, especially the parts of me that were desperate for the approval of others and defined myself by being miserable. As unsettling as it is, I’m enjoying being happy, and there’s a few things that are helping me stay that way.
My previous experiences in the work force had me thinking that my destiny was to work as a cubicle rat with people that neither enjoyed their work or each other’s company. Thankfully, I took a job with a company that proves the opposite. I’m using my degree to do exactly what I want, at a place that is going to get me where I want to go. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it’s a damn sight better than I thought I’d ever get.
My cynicism took a serious blow a few months ago, when I met the man who is now my fiancé. I don’t want to be one of those horribly sappy couples, so suffice to say that B.J. challenges me, supports me, and loves me, and I adore him for the person that he is.
My life has taken on a new direction…I was expecting monotony and loneliness after graduation, and instead I found entirely new challenges and someone to take them on with me.

So this is my life now, and I’m pretty damn lucky to have it.

First, a meme

The ABCs of Me

Accent: I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, which is smack dab in the middle of the Midwest—known for no accents. The most that I can convince myself that I have is a slight lazy tongue (“Gonna” as opposed to “Going to”).

Breakfast or no breakfast: I like breakfast, but I almost never have the chance to eat a real one. Given my druthers, I’d start each day with a bowl of cereal and some toast, but the most I ever have is a couple of cereal bars and a cup of tea at my desk. I indulge my craving for breakfast with Cracker Barrel’s blueberry pancakes once every blue moon.

Chore I don’t care for: Packing and anything remotely related to the same. It’s completely monotonous and I put it off as long as I can, regardless of how much I’m looking forward to the trip.

Dog or Cat: Dogs, plural, but I can only claim one of the three that live at my permanent address. Pepper, the Boston Terrier, is small, but makes up for it with personality.

Essential Electronics: My cell phone and MacBook Pro come to mind immediately, but my iPods (yes, plural) and I have a deeply special bond as well. I’ll be getting an iPhone in a matter of weeks, and I’m pretty sure that we’ll be inseparable as well. (Go ahead and call me a Mac-ophile. I’ll be too busy looking at my beautiful, functional, and completely integrated electronics to mind.)

Font: Verdana is a good, readable all purpose font, and should I need a serif, I’ll go with Garamond every time. Comic Sans is horrible and should only be used when kindergarteners are involved.

Gold or Silver: White gold or silver. Yellow gold is nasty looking.

Handbag I carry most often: Black Kate Spade bag…a graduation gift from my brother and sister-in-law. It is sleek and beautiful, and I love it.

Insomnia: HA! I need seven to eight hours of sleep a night to be functional, and my body does an excellent job of seeing that I get it. I fall asleep in long car rides (where I’m not driving), while talking on the phone, on the couch…you name it.

Job Title: Project Engineer

Kids: I don’t have any, and I don’t want any at the moment. I’d like a few in the future, but right now I’m enjoying spoiling nieces and nephews.

Living Arrangements: My permanent address is with my parents in St. Charles. Work has sent me to Indianapolis, so I live in an extended stay hotel during the week, and drive home on the weekends, when my time is split between my parents’ home and B.J.’s place. Come May of next year, I’ll be moving out forever, probably to an apartment for a while.

Most Admirable Trait: Is there a difference between an “admirable” trait and a ‘best’ trait? I’d have to say that at the moment, my most admirable trait is my ability to *ahem* creatively embellish any situation to the most strategic advantage. In other words, I am a damn good BS-er.

Naughtiest Childhood Behavior: I had a very smart mouth, which got me in a lot of trouble.

Overnight hospital stays: I haven’t had any so far.

Pet Peeves: Chewing gum, being patronized, poor grammar (especially text-speak), adult childishness, MTV’s concept of reality programming, commercials, the majority of garnishes (i.e. the green stuff on Italian food), taxes (and the welfare system), being bored, electronics that don’t work as they should, adolescent females

Quote: “I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him quietly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him.” – Mark Twain

Reason to smile: At the risk of being sappy, B.J. He’s a hilarious guy, and when he’s not cracking me up, he’s making me feel better about myself and grateful that I have him.

Siblings: I have three natural siblings (two older brothers and a younger sister). My two brothers are married, so that brings my total up to five. (B.J. has two brothers, and they have spouses, so there’s an eventual four more.)

Time I wake up: Usually around 6AM, EST nowadays. Darn time zones.

Unusual Talent or Skill: I can turn my tongue into a three leaf clover shape, which makes me popular with the three and under crowd.

Vegetable I Refuse to Eat: I will never touch an onion.

Websites I visit daily: (which is kind of a cop-out), but when pressed, I read,,, and a few other blog-type sites.

X-rays: Other than dental x-rays, and checking out a sprain when I was in elementary school, I’m a novice.

Yummy Stuff: I love Italian food, cheddar cheese, fresh fruit, and Macaroni Grill’s bread.

Zoo Animal I Like Most: Probably penguins. They’re so somber and comic at the same time.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Twisted all around

There's been a great deal of changes in my life over the past few weeks.  

First, I graduated.  There's no more tests, no more registering for classes, and no more artificial "academic" environment (at least not until I start grad school).  It's the end of a period in my life, and one that I expected.  I have prepared for this change, and it does not bother me.

Second, I've begun a new relationship.  Unlike graduation, this change was something that I did not anticipate.  It is, however, one that is a pleasant surprise.  This relationship is precipitating many others--I have to get used to being happy, opening my life to someone else, and work hard to place myself in someone else's life.  (Altogether, this is easier than I thought it would be.)

Finally, I've moved back home.  This is a change that has the outward appearance of pushing me backwards instead of encouraging growth.  That may or may not end up being true.  At the moment, fiscally, it's the most responsible choice.  In addition, I'm coming to realize that I need the support of my family more than I like to admit sometimes, and I'm going to enjoy having that close.  I left home for the first time when I was 16 years old and I haven't really been back since.  As much stress as this will inevitably cause on my part (and the part of my parents and sister), these next months are the last that we will ever spend under the same roof.  It will be a change for all of us, and only time will tell if Schroedinger's cat lives to see another sardine.

There are more changes in my future.  Some I have control over, and others will happen without my input.  The mark of an adult is not being in complete control of your life--it is being able to adapt to change with grace and dignity, and to find joy in all circumstances.  Change is inevitable, as is choice.  And it is my choice to make the next phase of my life a happy and productive one.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Things that I feel like telling the internet

1.  I am a marketing paper, a computer engineering project report, a letter, a research project, and two exams away from graduation.

2.  I am discovering the Beatles.  So far, I have Abbey Road.  The current verdict is good.  No wonder they were influential-they made a catchy song about an octopus.

3.  I re-dyed my hair.  It is dark red this time around.  I've decided that pretending to be blonde is just not a good idea ever again.

^Me with the red hair again.^

4.  Ironman came out, and I am going to see it tonight.

5.  Gas is too expensive.  The end!

Saturday, April 19, 2008


  • There is precious little in the world that lots and lots of hot water can't fix.
  • The world is hell-bent on disproving the previous bullet.
  • If you haven't heard of Hush Sound (band), you should go listen to them.
  • Mike's now makes pomegranate martinis in bottled form.  They're very sweet.
  • There are too many deodorant smells to choose from.  Should I smell like Eastern Lily or Vanilla Chai?  Green Apple or Sweet Pea?
  • I really want a cool zip-up hoodie.  Preferably something with a good design.
  • Ikea is the source of all good browsing.
  • Apple stores only let you schedule tech support appointments three days in advance.  Jerks.
  • Does being an adult ever become fun or is it really just endless to do lists and occasional breaks from the monotony?
  • How do you tell somebody that you need space, but you don't really want it.
  • I have Eddie Izzard tickets for June.  I'm really psyched.
  • People who don't answer emails irritate me.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What is it about the end of the semester that turns classes into a colossal waste of time?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Yang...aka, things that I don't like

1.  Folding laundry.  It's a tedious task that reminds me of packing.  (I loathe packing.)

2.  Wet socks.  Sadly, I'm a short person, so every time that it rains, my pants get soaked.  Once that happens, my feet never stay dry.

3.  Stuffing (as in the Thanksgiving dish).  Sorry's disgusting.

4.  Text speak.  If what you're saying isn't important enough to take the ten seconds to write out the word 'you', then it needs to not be said.

5.  Patronization.  Not only is it irritating, but it makes the offender look like an idiot.

6.  Toni Morrison.  While I'm talking about idiots, this is a natural next step.  Only a heinous idiot would write a book in which the main themes are "It's the white man's fault that my father raped me to show me that he loved me."  Racism is perpetuated by people like this.

7.  Country music.  It's twangy.

8. People who interrupt me when I'm reading.  Reading is my time to be introverted.  It is not the time that I've set aside to hear about your new haircut.

9.  Obscene gestures.  What are you accomplishing?  It's not even all that difficult to flip someone off.  When someone raises their pinky toe at me while doing a complete back bend, I will know that I've done something to deserve it.

10. Refrigerated ketchup.  The bottle does not say to refrigerate!  It's on the tables in the restaurant and that should be good enough for everyone else.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A meme

My mother has asked me to write a memoir in six words.

Here's the two finalists:

1.  I only pretended not to care.
2.  It's really for your own good.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Things that I appreciate

Taking a note from my mother (who is also not very good at updating her blog, much like the rest of my family), here is a short list of things that I appreciate.

1. Facebook poking. It's a small gesture that serves to remind me that there are people that think of me, even on such a minuscule scale.

2. Musicals. I remember seeing Evita at the Fox with my Grandmother and watching Cinderella and the King and I while she babysat (I hated South Pacific). Now my tastes run more towards Rent and Avenue Q, but there is something surreal about people randomly breaking out into song. It may be strange, but just once, I think I'd like living in the world of Mikado.

3. Tazo Wild Sweet Orange Tea. Because it is delicious.

4. Shooting. All of the rabble rousers can bugger off right now. I do own a firearm, and if you have never shot one, then you are missing out on an experience. Apart from the obvious connotations of being in control and untouchable, to shoot well requires focus, controlled breathing, and repetitious practice. It becomes almost meditative and yet doesn't put me to sleep.

5. Apple products. As an engineer, I appreciate a good design. I have a couple of iPods and a Macbook Pro, and I love them both. (I plan on purchasing an iPhone in the next few months as well.) Elegant, functional, and user friendly.

6. Dogs. Especially this one:

7. To Do lists. They create a sense of accomplishment.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Diode Concept

A diode is an electrical component that requires a certain threshold voltage, usually about 0.7 Volts, before it will conduct current. (For the less technical, imagine a boat on a series of "stair" dams. Basically, you can't pass them unless the level of the water raises to that on the other side.) brain is like a diode.

Without enough stimulation, there is nothing conducting and I will fall asleep. Professor Smith, your "lectures" (which are primarily excuses for you to rant about global commerce, recount your myriad of failed business start-ups, and display your inability to recognize that the St. Louis Post Dispatch is far from a respected finance periodical) provide about 0.2 V.

Thus, at the risk of seeming impertinent, I will continue to do sudoku puzzles, work on your take home exams, and write all of my notes in Greek in order to make up the other half of a volt that is necessary for me to stay awake.

If you wish to command my full attention, then teach me. Otherwise, I suggest that you leave those of us that can and will multi-task to our more engaging activities.

Warm regards,
Your 11AM class

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Book Meme - How ironically appropriate.

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.

"It is sufficient to estimate the enemy situation correctly and to concentrate your strength to capture him. There is no more to it than this. He who lacks foresight and underestimates his enemy will surely be captured by him."

Ten points to the first person who gets the book title and author.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

There's Enough to Go Around

Personal responsibility is one of my favorite subjects, but I get a little frustrated when 'my generation' is chastised for our lack thereof.

I'm going to take my two roommates and myself for an example.

  • Senior, Electrical Engineering. High Honors
  • Job 1: Research Assistant
  • Job 2: Grading papers
  • Extracurriculars: CFO of the business office for a national corporation, Emeritus President and Conference Programming Chair for an honor society, active member of another honor society, volunteer for new student programs
  • Other time consuming things: Independent research project, senior design project
Roommate #1
  • Junior, Civil Engineering
  • Job: Front desk worker, local fitness center
  • Extracurriculars: Director of business office for national corporation, Newsletter and Housing Chair for regional conference, professional society
  • Other time consuming things: Volleyball on a weekly basis, boyfriend
Roommate #2
  • Senior, Mechanical Engineering. Honors
  • Job: TA for sophomore lab
  • Extracurriculars: President of honor society, member of another
  • Other time consuming things: getting surgeries
I could go on with my immediate circle of friends, but you get the idea. (And please bear with me; I'm not trying to brag.)

Hearing about college students who get to kick back and have mommy and daddy buy everything irritates no one more than those of us working jobs, going to school, and attempting extracurriculars that don't involve a beer bong. Splurging for us is splitting an Applebee's half priced appetizer or chipping in gas money (with our parents) to go home.

This entry is directed at those students who are cruising by on someone else's goodwill: You're pissing off those of us who work. You don't have to stop partying. You don't have to get a job. (Lord knows that there's enough McDonald's employees in the world.) Just keep your head down and please, don't complain about a five page reading assignment 'totally wrecking your plans to go drink tonight'. The maliciousness that you inspire in the professor gets spit out on the rest of us.

And to that prof: Don't give up. There ARE responsible young adults in the world. We're just too busy working to whine to you about the length of the homework.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It was 67 degrees yesterday morning. It was 6 degrees and snowing yesterday night.

Guiliani is dropping out of the race, as is Edwards. I doubt anyone is surprised. I think Huckabee/Ron Paul will be the next to go.

I wish I didn't have homework/tests this week because I really want to sit down and do the crossword puzzle and sudoku.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Why cliches are wrong

Overheard in Psychology today:
"The only time you really fail is when you fail to try."

NOTE: No, I did not say/do anything to Mr. Idiot's face. Sorry, Mom.

Let's address the central premise of the above statement. First and foremost, it follows the popular idea that you can do anything if you try hard enough. In other words, nobody is a failure.

I'm sorry to disillusion my fellow precious snowflakes, but you can and will fail.

I refuse to say that failing is rewarding and the best thing that will ever happen to you, because it's not true.

Here's rule 1: Failing sucks.

It's not fun and nobody likes it. As a general rule, people don't set out to fail. Our culture is infused with the idea of the winner. Think about all the heartwarming stories about the kid with cancer who hits a home run in the bottom of the ninth or sinks the winning basket. Oprah talks to the learning disabled kid who goes to Harvard, not the one at the McDonalds fryer. We like thinking about winners. Even when we talk about people losing, it's generally along the lines of Babe Ruth striking out, where losing is a temporary step along the road to success. It's not always like that. Sometimes, you fail and it's the end. Flunk a class, and there will be no triumphant return to a 4.0 GPA. Sometimes, failure is permanent. We don't like thinking about it, but it's true. Failing sucks.

Rule number 2: Failing is inevitable.

Sometimes your best isn't good enough. No matter how hard you work, you won't be a nuclear physicist, an Olympic ice skater, or date the prom queen. Try all you want, but sometimes what you want is not going to happen. And yes, that sucks too.

Rule number 3: You cannot change Rules 1 and 2. Neither can anyone else.

Your mom can't make it better. It's not your professor's fault. There is a finite limit to your abilities in certain areas. Sometimes these limits are imposed by genetics or environment. Other times we impose limits on ourselves, simply by letting opportunities pass us by. (Didn't start practicing until you were thirty? Being a child prodigy pianist won't happen.)

In any event, trying hard enough doesn't make something happen. Failing can and will happen, no matter how hard you work.

Get used to it.

Benadryl and the effects thereof

My allergies and I have an understanding. Namely, I will do my best not to irritate them, and they will periodically revolt and kick my ass. Such a mutiny occurred yesterday.

See, my roommate has a cat.

The cat in and of itself is a fine animal. It's friendly enough, and mostly spends its time sleeping. However, cats as a whole have one defining characteristic--they cause me to die. According to my allergies, me being near to a cat is equivalent to my screaming racial ephithets to the tune of 'Your mother enjoyed the company of Hilter in exchange for minimal amounts of filthy lucor.'

In sum, living where I live is asking for it.

Yesterday began with sneezing (no big deal) and progressed to a runny nose (irritating) and watery eyes (#$%!%^$#!!). It puts a rather abrupt end to one's day when you are forced to beat a strategic retreat to my secret stash of generic claritin and benadryl.

Benadryl is a magic drug. It's the equivalent of pot to my sinuses. They get some and then spend the rest of the forseeable future inhaling ('Ahhh...that's the good stuff') and being too lethargic to move.

As a college student, I prize my sleep. Unfortunately, I prize things like staff meetings and homework as well.

Me: I have three hours of work to finish tonight.
Benadryl: Heh. That's cute.
Me: Pleeeaaase...just let me get through the meeting.
Benadryl: ....
Me: Roommate #2, you need to drive.
Benadryl: That's right. Next time you'll think twice before insinuating that someone's mother was Hitler's cheap whore, won't you?
Me: *asleep at 8PM*
Benadryl: C'mon sinuses, let's go get some Cheetos.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The trouble with group projects

I'm going to preface this by stating that I can be a team player. Thank you.

In my last semester, I am taking a two hundred level computer engineering class, which is semi-required for three different majors. The class itself is relatively simple, although Mr. Professor could benefit from some student-centered advice.

Issue 1: Do not require engineers to choose groups on the second day of class.
  • First, the engineers do not yet understand the format of the class, and have not yet had time to re-establish their cave. This will disorient them, and breed general dislike.
  • Second, the engineers need more time to meet with the people in the class and determine compatibility. Nothing is worse than waking up halfway through the course and realizing that your life would have been incomparably easier if you'd worked with the kid sitting on your left instead of your right.
Issue 2: Limit the number of restrictions on the composition of groups.
  • Let's do the math: In a class of 42 students, it is impossible to have teams of exactly four students apiece. Given this, it is not recommended to threaten groups of five with amputating a member should more students enroll while discouraging teams of three.
  • Interdisciplinary cooperation is great. Unfortunately, if you want 1 Computer Science student, 1 Computer Engineering student and 1 Electrical Engineering student per group, you're going to run into issues when there are 8 CompSci's in the class.
Issue 3: Do not be surprised when students follow the letter and not the intent.
This should go without saying. If we have a group with 3 EEs, 1 CompSci, and 1 CompE, do not email saying that the CompE doesn't count because he's a double major. Likewise, listen to the five seniors in the class who offer to go without a CompSci. (A combined 20 years of programming intensive curricula will, in fact compensate for a sophomore who hasn't finished linear algebra.)

In summary, if the number of restrictions is greater than the number of students in the group, you're better off just assigning teams.

And with those words of wisdom, it's time to go send some emails and try to convince Mr. Professor to give a little bit.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Charlie bit me

Things that will be nice about a 9-5 job

1. I will never arrive before the doors are unlocked.
2. I will have a parking spot.

Maybe I should have titled this post "Things that I will not miss about college jobs"

The Art of Power

The Art of Power by Greene:

Granted, I am about halfway through the table of contents, but I'm intrigued. Greene breaks down the 48 'laws' of getting people to do what you want. Given that I am a rather pessimistic cynic, the appeal of the book should be obvious. (And yes Mom, it is Machiavellian, but sometimes people need a little bit of ruthlessness for the greater good.)

Greene has also written The Art of Seduction and The Art of War. If Power is as promising as it seems, I could be convinced to pick up the rest of the set.