Monday, July 26, 2004

Okay, here goes!  In about 3 minutes I can do the online check-in for my flight tomorrow. Just trying to finish last-minute stuff, packing, printing out every possible piece of information I can find for my "travel binder", etc.

Didn't realize how far away Hawaii really is until last night.  It looks like a tiny dot that could just wash away with the first strong wave.

I wanted to have only carry-on luggage, but Continental allows only one carry-on.  This might have been okay if I was just going on vacation, but I have to bring convention clothes and stuff like that, so I kind of need the suitcase.  Plus, I realized that my sleeping bag makes another whole checked item.  Dangit.  There goes traveling free as the wind.

Well, my freshly-printed poster should be dry by now, so I guess I should go get it and buy a tube to carry it in!

Thursday, July 22, 2004

I really am too entertained by the Open Letter section on that McSweeney's site.  (See sidebar.)

Especially the Open Letter to the Umlaut.

"Eurotrash colon" -- hee!

Next week I go to lovely Honolulu, Hawaii, where I will be presenting my research at the American Psychological Association's annual convention.  Nice choice for a convention site!  However, I will likely get back only about half of what the air fare cost, which was approximately 1 million dollars, at least as my budget counts it.  (I am even sleeping on the floor of the Association for Women in Psychology suite for $25 a night, which is extremely cheap but clearly not luxurious.) 

Nevertheless, I am determined to go to one APA convention during my grad school career!

I have scheduled as few activities as possible so that I can just mess around as much as possible. 

I have no idea if there will be anywhere I can sneak onto a computer, so I may be incommunicado for the nonce.  I wonder if my Nextel phone would work in Hawaii?  (Guess I could look it up.)

Arg!  Hate these laser computer mouses that constantly jump all over the screen while I'm trying to use them.  It.

Darn technology.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Got back home and made the dog bite report to the sheriff's office. The animal control officer told me that the dog's owners are responsible for my medical costs, so that's a relief. Of course, there's still the issue of getting in touch with them and hoping they're reasonable people who won't give me a hard time about it, but still. Good to know there's a legal protocol for it anyway.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

More squirlie fun (at Simon's place.)

Doggy drama!
Yes, how I love going to the E.R. for totally dumb things, like the dog bite that I experienced Friday night.  I linked to the picture instead of posting it outright just so that my blog doesn't overflow with gore.  Funny, every time I've had a dog bite (I guess that would be twice) the owner has invariably said, "Oh, he's just barking/playing.  He doesn't bite."
I was reluctant to go to the E.R., but it was probably a good thing as they said some of the fang holes were quite deep--took a while to clean them out.  Brrr!  And I did get antibiotics, which in this circumstance is probably a good thing.
We only spent a couple hours in the E.R., which is not bad for a Friday night, although I had been hoping to go to bed at 10 pm after a quick visit to my friend, not 1 am after an evening in the hospital.
I got severe sticker shock when they suggested a hundred-dollar deposit on however much it would end up being. I actually felt scared and sick as they ran my credit card.  I have been so broke this summer, as my student loan doesn't cover summers, only fall/winter.  I have another 4 weeks until I get a check that doesn't go entirely to rent, and because I've been so broke, it's already spent about twice over anyway.  So I really hope the dog owners will pay for the medical part.  Not trying to make a profit or sue anyone or anything; I just seriously can't afford to pay for people's pets to maul me.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Oh, for Pete's sake. This is ridiculous. It has to be the most innocuous show around! In the context, none of it seems very naughty. More silly.

And besides, who the heck besides me is even watching this stuff?
Ha ha!

A friend just emailed me this picture. I don't know why, but it cracks me up. I wish I knew what it was from...

(I guess seances are right out, then.)

This means that I can still use my Geocities stuff for now, even though it expired a few days ago. Maybe it will explode in a shower of sparks [spraks] over the weekend.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I like sweets from time to time, and certainly won't turn them down if offered. However, I'm more of a salt-tooth than a sweet-tooth, for whatever reason. And I definitely do not have that stereotypical chocolate-mania that "all women" supposedly have. I can't eat that many squares of chocolate before feeling kind of icky.

When I feel like something chocolate, I'm usually thinking of a slice of plain chocolate cake, warm, with a glass of milk--not a big ol' chocolate bar. Of course, American chocolate doesn't help much, since it's basically brown wax. Even Norwegian candy bars made with children in mind taste sophisticated by comparison. And if I do eat a candy bar, it has to be dark chocolate, in order to avoid that cloying, goopily sweet, corn-syrupy, barely-even-chocolate taste. Yicchh.


However, I recently discovered a candy bar that does make me freak out and eat the whole thing. It is possibly the best chocolate I have ever had. And the crazy part is, it's from the U.S., and it's milk chocolate!

Here's the link to the company. The one I've become so insane about is the "Darker Shade of Milk Chocolate" with the blue bar at the top. Just seeing that picture is making me drool!

I can't believe it--a milk chocolate for dark chocolate lovers!

Of course, it's about $3.50 a bar. Whew!

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Good grief, I can't believe I didn't do this before, but I just did a Google search on the landlady I described below, and look at this article!

The last thing that's really scary to me is that her PhD is in -- guess what -- psychology!

Hint based on my personal opinion: do not try to secure her services as a counselor.
Oh yes, one nice thing is the very beautiful necklace that Simon brought back for me from Scotland. It was perfect to wear while watching LOTR III, as it has a very Elvish feel. (It's really too bad I didn't have my long velvet cloak with me too, but I would imagine he's probably relieved that I didn't, as he reads this.)
In further fun news, I finally discovered what the mystery $150 "new" item on my credit report is.

Some of you may remember the Most Horrible Boss I Ever Had: B*tty F*intuch. Asterisked just in case she ever has someone do a search for her--I can't picture her being Google-literate yet. (Really, I'm just afraid to write her name [or speak it aloud] lest she appear in a puff of smoke.) This was the landlady of the boarding house where I was resident manager for a bit less than a year, back in my undergrad days.

When I interviewed with her, she seemed like a normal older business lady in a tight spot: her resident manager had split on her, and she needed someone in a hurry. But once I got in there, I discovered that there was a reason she couldn't keep a manager.

She did only the most cosmetic of maintenence at that house, so it was always a crapheap that was barely kept in check by whoever was managing.

For example, she didn't buy trash cans for the house, which meant that the residents would pile all the trash in a little enclosed porch off the kitchen (henceforth known as the "garbage porch.") You couldn't put the trash outside, because raccoons and dogs would immediately come over and spread it all over the neighborhood. Therefore it waited all week on the porch for garbage night, in hopes that one of the tenants might decide to take it out. Or more likely, me. It bred lots of flies that wafted into the kitchen, and naturally also lots of (ewwww!) maggots.

Or: the sewers were so full of tree roots that they overflowed each autumn, just in time for student move-in. But each time (I came to find out after it happened to me) she expected the manager to stand around in the basement, ankle deep in raw sewage, vainly plunging the downstairs toilet--then mop it all up. (I am unfortunately not kidding about the ankle-deep part.)

Not to mention, the lower rooms were freezing and she couldn't be bothered to get the furnace fixed properly.

To make things worse, she had high rates on the rooms (especially given the cruddy qualities of the place) which meant it was always the very last house on the block to fill up (if it ever did). This meant that the only people who were willing to live there were the desperadoes who hadn't been able to find any other place or hadn't bothered to begin searching before classes began, which meant that there were always a bunch of low-lifes lounging around there creating an atmosphere just creepy enough to scare off the kind of tenants she did want, and that there was a really high tenant turnover (as soon as people found some other place that wasn't so exorbitant.)

To her, this meant that (obviously!) every single manager she had ever had was incredibly lazy and also a bad judge of character, since there were so often vacancies and low-quality drug-using tenants. Now, all this brought out her most undearing quality: she looked like a little old lady in a suit, but she was the most foul-mouthed shrieking beeyotch you ever heard. It was amazing!

After the first couple months of trying to please her, (even going to show her other properties when her other managers bailed!) it got so bad that I would literally get hives around my mouth when the phone rang because I was so freaked out that it might be her calling me up to yell again.

She would also come over and scream at the tenants (and me). She had the most ridiculous expectations of them, given the student population, as though they should all be 45-year-old introverted businessmen with no friends, instead of low-end college freshmen who were just learning to party and couldn't care less about whether their milk was labeled.

For example: "don't eat or drink in the living room." Ha! Like they're really going to warm up some frozen peas and silently creep up to their rooms [after washing up of course] to eat alone, instead of sitting in the living room with piles of take-out Taco Bell where their friends were watching TV?! This all really polarized the tenants against her, and I was mercilessly stuck in the middle.

On top of all this, she had a number of pretty unscrupulous business practices. One of these was that she always had her manager put her rental phone line in their name, since she didn't want to be charged for a business line. But, in order to keep the same number for the ads she ran all the time, she had the managers take over the phone from the last manager (you see where this is heading).

She had made up some kind of (possibly unenforceable) document that I signed when I began, saying I would work there for two years, but as it turned out I couldn't make it that long. I gave her a month's notice (businesslike words, but the subtext was "since you hate me anyway...") before a year was up, and moved out.

Then, about a month later, she called me up and told me that her subesquent manager had bailed overnight (imagine that!) and she needed my information so the new subsequent manager could get the phone in his name. Since, as it turned out, the manager who bailed had failed to ever get the phone in his name as she had instructed. Meaning: all that time, the phone had still been in my name! (I was such an idiot. I should have just had her dang phone turned off when I left anyway, but I thought it would be mean, and possibly might get me in some kind of financial trouble with her.) She assured me that she would pay the remaining bill (apparently $150!), and later when I checked, the phone had indeed been switched out of my name.

I never heard anything more about it, either from the phone company nor from her. But as it turns out, no one ever paid that bill, and no one ever told me about it, either. The bills were still going to that house! This was four years ago, and it just now turned up on my credit.

Well, it's on my credit now, and they've waited four years for the money, so they're going to have to wait until this fall when I get my student loan. (Whenever that happens...) I'd try squeezing her for it, but you don't know how devious and creepy she can be, and willing to liein the most convincing manner! I already know that it would probably end up in some kind of suit against me (she was married to a lawyer), or some other bizarre thing that would bite me in the butt. I just know it. I don't want her to even know where I live now.
I'm sitting in my advisor's office, printing out some 40 or so pages of analyses to take home and look over and summarize. While my thesis committee member described what he wanted changed as "polishing," it's actually re-doing the analyses and therefore re-writing the results and discussion sections, meaning I am doing the whole thing over. I have been trying desperately not to think of it that way, however.

I sat down last week and mapped out everything I have to do by the end of the summer, including have thesis done, have presented at APA conference, write massive quals paper, create outline of research design for dissertation, and so on, not to mention ongoing clinic work. I don't recommend this kind of sitting down and scheduling unless you absolutely have to, because it made it seem like summer was already over. Certainly, every doggone day is scheduled to the brim.

I thought I would finish some short stories! Finish that painting I began before grad school! Even finish that sweater, which I may still do.

Friday, July 09, 2004

My face feels like I had a stroke, but it's only anesthesia from being at the dentist that is making me feel droopy. Hope it wears off before dinnertime.

I have finally found a way to actually get my teeth properly cleaned without flying out of the chair when that dang metal scrapey thing touches the exposed parts (roots?) of my back teeth. The dentist said last time that I could start having my teeth numbed before they did the cleaning.

Nevertheless, I had to insist very strongly that they actually do so today. They were going to try some dumb little half-measure like rubbing anesthetic gel on the gums. Ha! I don't care if they hurt my gums--it's that tooth-nerve-pain that I absolutely can't bear and will kill to escape from.

They didn't want to numb both sides, but I practically grabbed the syringe and did it myself, so they reluctantly agreed. Then everyone was much happier. I said I didn't care if I spent the rest of the day drooling.

I didn't get as much of a tension headache as I usually get from going to the dentist, though I still have one. ...on the other hand, it's usually bad the subsequent day, not so much on the day of the dentist visit. Crud! Well, maybe it won't be so bad this time. I was a lot less tense and sweaty-palmed than usual.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Much to my glee, Simon has returned. I hear he had a terrible 18-hour ordeal at the Philadelphia airport, but he'll have to tell you about it himself. Or not. Luckily, he remembers who I am and everything. I am terrifically envious of his adventures in the mountains and bogs of Scotland, and am greatly looking forward to seeing the pictures he took with my camera.

However, there has been no mention of capturing any little Scottish animals for me, unfortunately.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

I should probably mention that I am allowing my geocities (yahoo) account to lapse, so any email sent to the or the other .com-that-shall-not-be-named (related to my name) may shrivel up and die.

I am unaccountably paranoid that this will somehow get me in trouble, like-- yahoo will figure out what my new debit account number is and charge me a million dollars through evil magic; or I will somehow be booted off the internet forever for no apparent reason, etc.

Considering how so many various administrative services have treated me throughout the past, this might not actually be paranoia!

Speaking of which, did I mention that I called the IRS robot yesterday, and it told me my puny tax return was "being reviewed" and was estimated for delivery on September 18?! No? Because I did, and it did. Five months for $200. For *no reason*! There is absolutely nothing complicated about my tax return, and I filed it right smack on April 15th.

This is just further fuel for my anti-administrative-paperwork paranoia. I will probably gradually morph into one of those people who keep cash in their mattress, while sleeping in a seedy tenement and not having even a bank account.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Note: this entry contains several references to the consumption of alcohol!

Okay, the sneaking occurred and the area was blissfully police-free.

However, there was some kind of mix-up about that listing of when the fireworks would be, since the area also turned out to be fireworks-free. On the other hand, it was a beautiful warm night with a huge golden full moon rising through the willows and over the geese-silhouette-filled lake. The only thing missing was a nice bottle of merlot. (Perhaps one of my new favorites, either Fat Bastard or 47-Pound Rooster.)

Several colleague and non-colleague friends were involved. Before we left, a good deal of my Bombay Sapphire gin was consumed, as well as most of a fruit plate, and even (gasp) a lot of my little container of Marmite, initially brought out more or less as a curiosity.

Other than that, I spent the entire weekend indoors. I felt like I might possibly be in the pre-initial proto-stages of getting sick. Or else just being very sick of schoolwork and needing a serious break before I had a nervous breakdown, after all this back-and-forthing with my thesis defense, which now will definitely not be occurring before September.

I compulsively knitted nearly an entire sweater during nine hours on Saturday. It's only the second one I've ever made, and the last one was 18 years ago. Seems that the process still works, however.

I also took apart a bookshelf, reassembled it with different shelving locations (doubtless to the chagrin of my poor downstairs neighbor, I tend to do things that require hammering between 9-11pm), then painted it white, put it where my library cart used to be, moved all the binders (from 3 years of grad school) from the library cart onto the shelves, then moved my dresser out of my closet, painted it white and placed it into my bedroom, then squeezed the library cart into the place in the closet where the dresser had previously been. I also swept and dusted, hand-swept the hair and grime out of my rugs, got a bunch of melty lipstick marks off one rug using rubbing alcohol, got rid of quite a few extraneous possessions by placing them in the foyer of my apartment building, and watched/listened to positively hours and hours of PBS and NPR.

However, I did not wash my dishes.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Tonight there will be sneaking. At least in theory.

All the parks around here close at dark, but I am hoping to go to (and then remain in) a lakeside park near where the Ypsi fireworks will be held tonight. I want to see the explosions over water!

Some school and non-school acquaintances will be coming over to my place, then we'll scope out the park situation before dark. If it doesn't seem feasible, or is crawling with police or something, then we'll tuck our tails between our legs and just go to the normal neighborhood and sit on strangers' lawns.

Yippee! Fireworks!

Must get bug repellent...