(warning: particularly old content) I don't ask for it to make sense RSS feed


All I can offer from the depths of my crappy cold is a link to the best Stranger feature I've read in a long time. I'm sad I was out of town and couldn't read it in its paper form, over a cup of coffee and a slice of quiche.



The vague sore-ish throat I thought I detected yesterday seems to be trying to turn into something more. Bleh bleh and double bleh. If I was gonna get sick, how about yesterday or today? I have to go back to work tomorrow, and it's going to be a shitastic day. A cold will make it soooOOOOOoooo much better (eye roll).

Think   1 Thought


ZOMG PICTURES. Back home, and I spent the entire evening sorting through pictures. Not just of this vacation, mind you... There were four galleries to be added (after a ridiculous delay), and a host of cat pictures to push up. I've been remiss with posting pics this year. I hereby make up.

Best of shows:

2007 Thanksgiving

2007 Home Pics

2007 New York

Road Trip 2006

Assorted Kitty Pics



My last full day in Colorado, whiled away with reading and talking and hiking in the pasture and taking pictures and eating and all the other many good things about being here. Grandma Vera wished that I would stay longer, and I do wish myself that I could. Perhaps some upcoming year I'll put all my vacation together and ccome out for a good long visit. Although that sort of visit might be best done with company who would drive out to the canyons and the parks with me, or into Denver or Boulder. For five days and change I'll happily maroon myself miles out in the boonies, but much longer and I'd have to range out a bit.

I'm angry at the author of the books I'm reading. Mostly because I'd thought there were only four books in the series, but as I closed in on the last three hundred pages and over half the subplots, much less the major plot, remained wide wide open, I became suspicious and flipped to the very end. Sure enough: the tail of the book is given over to the first chapter of the next book. Obviously the author should have informed me that there were five (or more) books so that I wouldn't have planned to finish his series while I was out here. How thoughtless of him.

I'm also displeased with him, however, about where he's taking the plotlines. I've sat through four books, I want to see some more pleasing resolutions here. In my mind, tragic endings, or ones where evil does in fact end up on top, are suited for short stories and novellas. Once you reach book length, much less the length of a long series, much less a series that I started a decade ago and finally picked back up thinking it was done, you better have not wasted my time only to kill off all the protagonists and marginally redeem one antagonist. George R. Martin, you're on notice.



I'm having an eczema flare, the worst one since the end of summer, and me with none of my medicated slimes. I mean ointments. I hate that word, right up there with "moist" and "granule" and "nutrition." Thank god for ice packs, and I was more than half serious when I pitched a fit to Jeff earlier this week, saying I never wanted to fly again. The terribly obnoxious security people at the Bozeman airport on Sunday rattled me so that I hissied myself into not bringing a single "gel, fluid, or whatever other crap it is that they make you put in small amounts in little clear bags for all to see." I've not had a serious complaint about airport security since 9/11 until this one, but it's just too ridiculous. If I'm not going to follow up on the no flying threat, I should have just checked a damn bag, and not had to borrow toothpaste, wash my hair with soap and "moisturized body wash" (when I realized after I'd gotten in the shower that there wasn't any shampoo to be found), or suffer this terrible terrible itch. Although I'll admit that the soap and body wash actually worked better than some shampoos I've borrowed in my grandparents' house in previous years. Small comfort when I'm living on icepacks. The steroid shots I've gotten three times in the last year and a half have done wonders for The Itch, but it seems nothing will ever take it entirely away, and the dry dry Colorado winter coupled with my apparently increased dog sensitivity seems to irritate my skin almost as much as the faint warmth of Seattle summer. I feel like I'm drowning in lotion and icepacks, helplessly watching and scratching as more and more splotches of angry raised skin crop up. Argh. In this respect only, I'll be ever so happy to go home on Sunday, to blessedly cool and damp Seattle, and ointment to slather on my poor skin.

Okay, enough ranting about my skin. It's late and I'm cranky, and I can talk another time about going to what could be surely no more than my fifth football game ever. After all, for all the fun I had, getting up at 8:00 am to go to said game is large part of why I'm so cranky now.

Think   2 Thoughts


It's always seemed to me and my friends that no Thanksgiving spread is ever quite as good as the one that we each grew up with, but I'll have to admit that Grandma's mashed potatoes have anyone else's beat. Uncle Bud and Laura came up to the mountain to eat with us; Laura even managed a conversation. It's a relief to see her acting remotely like a grown girl, even if it took her to her second year of college to get there.

In the afternoon, just as the sun was setting over the peaks ahead, Grandpa and I took a walk up into the pasture withe dogs. They've got five this year: little Delia and sweet Aurora, who have been here before, shy and spooky Mariah, cranky fox-faced Katie, and her huge lug of a younger brother Bear. It was 19 degrees, clear, and sunny today; if I'd had remembered my gloves, I would convinced Grandpa to stomp around in the snow, surrounded by racing wolfhounds, for longer, but there'll be more than time enough for freezing my ass off tomorrow. Morning game, Buffs vs Cornhuskers, and Aunt Nancy isn't making it back into town, so I've got her ticket. Morning, my football-mad grandfather and uncle, and it's supposed to snow on us in that beautiful outdoor stadium of CU Boulder's. Tomorrow will be utterly mad, and hopefully more entertaining than the last time's rout.

Heh. As always seems the case, me and the big boy dog have become fast friends. As I've been reading the last few days, Bear climbs up on the couch next to me, sacking out in the warmth of the fire and with my legs alternately pinned beneath him or sprawled over his back. Grandma Vera flew into a mock tizzy last night, naming him traitor for preferring the couch and the fire with me over coming down to sleep with her as he had been the last few days. I nudged him to get up and go with her, and Grandma Gloria called him from the stairs, but Grandma Vera swore she'd be no second fiddle and stormed off with Delia instead. She's telling people today that I've stolen her boyfriend and I have no shame (grin). I so wish she were my great grandmother by blood; if I could be even half as spry, or even a quarter as sharp, at ninety as she is, I'd still be blessed. And able to clean up at poker at the old folks' home, just like my dear grandmother (she complained tonight when I wouldn't play poker with her: "But it's not fair that I only get to play with the people at the home! They're mostly blind or mindless! I could cheat them without even trying! Not that I do. That'd be naughty." I wouldn't put it past her).



What beautiful timing! It was clear yesterday for me to fly in, and it is predicted to be clear for me to fly out on Sunday, but we woke this morning to a lovely blanket of snow, just for me!

A day spent curled on the couch, a quiet snowy shroud outside, a crackling fire, another book devoured. I started this one earlier in the day, and finished early as well, which seems to help. How lovely and strange it seems, to be so disconnected from technology, to have books, so often laid by the side it seems these days, rise into the front.

It's only midnight. I think I may start another one.



Lord have mercy on me / was the kneeling drunkard's plea... Why should it be that song lodged in my head, as I try to ride off the melancholy of having consumed a long book all in one sitting? The brain is a mysterious thing. And, you idiot girl, it is not helped by extensive trips down memory lanes.

I am in Colorado, at my grandparents' house, a place that blessedly changes but very slowly, where the people are always beyond happy to see me and tell me how great I look and fuss over me and ask me about everything. I'm here for many reasons... but chief among them the same reason I was here two years ago, writing about how inexplicably sad I get after a good long read. It's like I'm stuck in a personal Groundhog's Year hell.



My father's mother's memorial service was today.

Grandmama's mother committed suicide when my grandmother was perhaps twelve, and Grandmama was completely isolated out of school with bronchitis for much of her childhood. She married young, dropped out of college, and had three children by age 22. My grandfather, who is a wonderful and perfect grandfather who I love dearly, was a wretched husband and father, emotionally and sometimes physically abusive.

Grandmama, who had skipped two grades in school and was always brilliant, turned her life around in amazing fashion. She went back to college, divorced my grandfather (in the sixties, no less!), got her graduate degree, raised her children as a single mother, settled into private practice as a clinical psychologist, became influential in her church, and authored several books. In the last year of her life, as she was dying of cancer, she stayed relentlessly positive. As Bryce put it after his visit a couple months ago: everyone around her was whining and wailing while she sat straight up, smiling, saying, "I'm so glad you're here! How are you?"

I have essentially zero emotional connection to Grandmama, and haven't since I grew a real brain when I was 10 or so; we haven't talked at all in years, and substantively, perhaps ever. Her religious beliefs were, to my mind, completely wacko (and oh goodness, were several parts of her memorial service creepy to the max... <sotto voce>ask me later</sotto voce>), but were such a huge part of her life that the few times I saw her as a teenager or adult, I felt as if I couldn't speak to her. Although we heard many stories of the myriad ways that she touched people's lives and reached out to them in warmth and love, my brother and I received Christian-themed Christmas and birthday cards like clockwork twice a year... and heard many second-hand stories.

I may not have really known my Grandmama, and I may have not really wanted to. But I respect and admire her greatly, as I respect and admire many civil rights figures, authors, and political activists whom I have never known, and all of whom probably had their versions of being a religious nut. She's still, and will always be, an amazing woman.

Think   1 Thought


In Montana. Whoopee.

I don't spend a lot of my time feeling unattractive or not at least marginally awesome in my own geeky way. But man, oh man, did waiting at the airport with my pretty, teeny-tiny thin, fashion plate, "normal girl" cousin make me feel rather wretched. She's like a gold filigree earring and I'm like a heavy iron fence.



Too much working late. Ook. The good part being that most of the working has been perl work and prepping for going on vacation (for over a week, oh my god... I've not been out that long in over a year).

... it's incredibly / terrible / and bad ...



Today, I finally (essentially) finished the full reconstruction of my digital music collection after The Great Hard Drive Failure of 2006. It took many moons of ripping—mostly because I wouldn't touch the task for months at a time—but almost 350 CDs in my possession are now re-absorbed into the fold. Plus some other bits and pieces that *cough*I don't have discs for*cough*. Ahem.

So of course, iTunes, which I've had nary a problem with in 3-4 years of use, simply *STOPPED* importing music tonight. It just won't add any more songs to my library. No error message whatsoever.

Grrrrrrr. I want my damn music.



Hanging out at the Ale House over cider and burgers, bullshitting for a couple hours, was exactly what I needed after this week. Thank christ I had Jeff to back me up on that play, sheesh. We complained and gossiped about our jobs, had an extended discussion of the relative financial idiocy of the rest of the nation, and talked house-buying shop for a bit... and most of all, simply enjoyed hanging out together. That's what spending time with a friend should be.



We looked at houses for a few hours tonight. All were dismissed for various reasons save a dark horse candidate that we've named The Crypt. If it were up to me, we'd buy The Crypt... it's a completely crazy house, but I fell in completely crazy love with it. The Fool has some medium-serious complaints about the layout, though, so we're going to keep looking (while continuing to re-check The Crypt's price—it's been on the market for a couple months already, and if it dips near 400K, we'll consider an offer). Several of the other places had excellent qualities, and were I committed to being a crazy single cat lady for life, I'd be moving on the place in Ballard post haste, but we're just going to take those into consideration when we keep looking. Oof. House hunting is seriously hard work.



There's few things that piss me off as much as when someone tells me that I'm "just rationalizing" something. I'd get much less huffy if we could just stick to directly disputing whether the something in question is right or wrong; dismissing attempts at explaining a viewpoint as "just rationalizations" necessarily, and condescendingly, entails your assumption that the something in question is flawed, a point that I obviously already disagree with, or we wouldn't even be having the damn argument in the first place. The "just rationalizing" tack brings absolutely nothing to the table other than annoying the crap out of me.

I have to catch a bus in a scant six hours, and I can't sleep. I gave up after an hour of tossing, mind obsessively racing over problems ranging from how best to provide locale information in the output of a perl script I whipped up today to how I'll get in any time to myself if I end up with the social schedule looming ahead. And weaving all throughout, the unsubstantiated but pervasive feeling that I'm flailing in every aspect of my life, that it's all somehow horribly sideways and just hasn't quite fallen apart yet.

How beautiful, then, to give up and come back out into the living room only to stop and gaze for several minutes into soft streetlight-lit fog.

Insomnia isn't all bad sometimes.



Flights arranged to go out for Grandmama's memorial service in two weekends. More than a little bit crazy that time will be; flying to Montana on Friday, back to Seattle on Sunday, flying out for vacation in Colorado on Tuesday and not back to Seattle until the following Sunday. Sigh. I hate the whole flying process. I thought about going from Montana directly to Colorado, but I gave up on the ticket kung-fu almost immediately. I'm barely able to handle obtaining flights normally, much less rearranging itineraries a week in advance.

For many reasons beyond my ability to get flights, I'm feeling particularly deficient today. Blah.



In lieu of anything involving me actually composing a thought, I offer a slice of life. Very slightly edited to move some trains of thought closer together.

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:06 PM):
so i've been trying to get myself to do a little more c#/asp.net stuff

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:06 PM):
i hate it so much.

Happy Pineapple says (12:07 PM):
you will love it soon. you will not be able to resist it's curly brace goodness.

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:07 PM):
i hate that i can't wrap my mind around it conceptually

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:08 PM):
and i hate that the stuff that gets rendered out into pages is so AWFUL

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:08 PM):
i seriously was kicking my desk over radiobuttonlist stuff the other day

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:08 PM):
wtf with the whole horizontal/vertical thing and the way that shit gets rendered out?

Happy Pineapple says (12:09 PM):
you have 100% lost me.

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:09 PM):
heh. i was trying to use a radiobuttonlist control

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:09 PM):
and what i WANTED was for it to render out using <ul> <li></li> etc </ul>

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:10 PM):
and i want to control all styling in css

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:11 PM):
but i can't figure out how to make that actually WORK. so i end up with stupid fucking <spans> with ridiculous id names like "ctl00_bodyContent_refreshList"

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:11 PM):
and i'm all WHY GOD WHY

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:11 PM):
also, i seriously can't figure out how visual designing is supposed to work. i think i might be permanently handicapped into the php/perl world.

Happy Pineapple says (12:12 PM):
no idea why it turns into that, but machine-generated code is always pretty crap.

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:12 PM):
that's so lame.

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:12 PM):
it offends my anal-retentive self.

Happy Pineapple says (12:12 PM):
Also, I don't think the Radiobuttonlist control is meant to generate <ul><li /></ul> sort of stuff.

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:13 PM):
it's definitely not.

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:13 PM):
which is stupid. because the damn control shouldn't be controlling its html output

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:13 PM):
and defining that to either be a fucking <table> set or <spans>

Happy Pineapple says (12:13 PM):
it should just make a list of controls that have the stupid little round button thing next to them.

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:14 PM):
that's what offends me.

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:14 PM):
it shouldn't be defining that! i should be able to cleanly wrap my display html around it.

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:14 PM):
but noooooooooooooooooooo.

Happy Pineapple says (12:15 PM):
// tee hee

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:15 PM):

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:15 PM):
i think i'm going to print out that little snippet of conversation.

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:16 PM):
or maybe just mail it to myself so i can post it.

Happy Pineapple says (12:16 PM):

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:17 PM):
i really think i do need to start from basics and work up. this whole trying to do things i know how to do already in a different programming language thing isn't going well.

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:18 PM):
it was pointed out to me how silly i am to be frustrated about that.

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:19 PM):
"that's like complaining about not being able to figure out how to say something in russian when you know how to say it in japanese"

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:19 PM):

Happy Pineapple says (12:20 PM):
that's sort of a good metaphor

I'm Laeren, mmkay? says (12:21 PM):
i know. i was irritated that it came from infuriating sharepoint pm boy.



Brandon and I, being in rather than out for our mostly-weekly hangout time, decided to get more hard-liquor drinky than is our usual wont. For reason impenetrable by man, we chose Kahlua as our theme and went to the internet to find drinks that had amusing names and ingredients that were present. Verdict:

  • "Adios Motherfucker" shot (Kahlua layered with tequila): pretty frigging awesome
  • "Dickhead's Delight" (Kahlua, dark rum, chocolate milk, cinammon): would have been better with the whipped cream that the drink normally calls for, but alcoholic chocolate milk will always be a winner

It's rather funny how much I've strayed away from hard alcohol in the last few years. I do like me some various vodka drinks on occasion, but once upon a time I wouldn't go near beer with a ten foot pole, yet happily poured all manner of liquor down my throat. How the tables have turned. Delicious beer, why must you tempt me so?