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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The chapter in which the house cats discover the hallway linen cupboard and move in

Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog!!!

It's been awhile, internet humans. Awhile, and a time full of much paper writing, spreadsheet filling, meeting attending, exercising (yes, exercising) and generally "adult" forms of productivity. There are other "adult" forms of productivity, such as baby-makin', that I did not pursue with the same vim and vigor as I did those spreadsheets, but let me tell you, those spreadsheets are fucking gorgeous.

In other news, our multitudinous cats "discovered" the linen cupboard in our, for lack of a better term, "hallway". (It's not a hallway. It's, well... it's a room that connects other rooms to each other. It is a room unto itself, but it is also a corner. It's its own room and it's own corner its own room while simultaneously being both a hallway and not a hallway. Is that possible? Does our hallway defy the very laws of physics just by existing? What are you, hallway-that-is-not-a-hallway?)
The cats looooooove this cupboard, and by love I mean they meow frantically at the cupboard door (which is at human eye level, so I guess they are actually meowing 'to' the cupboard as it is out of kitty range) until someone wanders by to open the cupboard and lift them up and put them inside, or say "Scram, cat!", or accidentally step on top of them because it is four-fucking-am-shut-the-fuck-up-cat-I-am-going-to-eat-you-for-breakfast-but-first-I-need-to-pee.

Anyway, one day, between bouts of spreadsheet-ing, two of the cats were meowing to the cupboard. I decided to give them what they wanted.
Rufus and Desi, in the cupboard in the hallway in the house in the city, chillin'.
They seemed to enjoy their newfound home, and indeed, settled right in and got comfortable in that way the only cats seem to be able to manage. There's a phrase for it; 'power-lounging.'

Here's a few more shots of the cats doing what they do best.
Still life with roll of tape.

Those are his pants now.
You've probably made the unfounded assumption that I spend a lot of my time hanging around with and taking pictures of cats. Whatever. Who are you to judge, assumer-of-things? Look at what you're doing right now! Looking at pictures of cats! Ha ha ha ha ha! Without people like me taking perhaps too many pictures of cats and posting them on the internet, what would people like you do? Have stimulating social lives away from the screen, sans cat pictures?!? Pursue meaningful interests and make the world a better place?!?

Probably. But that's not the way things are.

This is the way things are:
Death by Gate.
It's a seriously dangerous world out there, and you're really better off just staying inside, on your couch, curled up the in fetal position, looking at pictures of other people's cats on the internet. It's too dangerous outside. You might die. I'm glad you're here instead.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Spread that (Excel) sheet open wide and let me (Access) it

Ooooooh, God! Databases! Give it to the database! Give it!

That is all.
Clearly, I have been hip deep in databases. Entering and entering. Again, and again, and again!
Soon I'll get to crawl away, exhausted, hurting, bloodied, yet triumphant.
The database will be thoroughly impregnated with information when I'm done with it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Insufficient Bloggi-ness, Isolationism, and Other Things Left Unsaid

First off, allow me to apologize for my lack of blogging stamina through March. Between school, interning and honing my social aptitude to a razor sharp edge, an edge liberally whetted with the Booze of Courage before being scraped against the Stone of Social Judgment, I.... I'm almost afraid to say it... allowed my blog to slip by the wayside. I am Soooooo Sorry.

Now that's settled, let's move on to the important stuff.

Well, what's happened in the greater world lately? A great deal of the usual frightening bullshit, stirred up with some unusual frightening bullshit.

The usual:
- Bad Things in Other Countries. There's always a lot of this. If you happen to not live in one of these Other Countries, though, it's pretty easy to ignore, change the channel, flip the page, and forget all about. And why wouldn't it be? You see, there are a lot of people to be worried about in the world. If the un-cited statistics getting flung about on facebook are anywhere close to accurate, approximately 50% of the world population is malnourished. That means that roughly 3.5 billion people don't have enough nutrient rich food to eat, while many of the other 3.5 billion have too much to eat. That's not okay; that's Bad. It's also repeated all the time, like a mantra, over and over again, and just like a mantra, it starts to lose its meaning and impact after the 10,000th hearing. It gets downgraded from Crisis to Accepted Fact of Life. It certainly doesn't help that it is so very easy to disassociate ourselves from humans in remote places. Distance does not make the heart grow fonder, at least not for strangers in strange lands.
-Bad Things in Our Country. A little tougher to ignore, but tornadoes touching down in Alabama and wasting whole cities generally don't touch down in Oregon. Alabama is over 2000 miles away. Alabama is about 500 miles further away than Mexico. For a little perspective, if you were to drive from Helsinki, Finland, to Athens, Greece, you'd end up covering roughly the same distance. You would also drive through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, and Bulgaria on your way to Athens, stopping only to get abducted by international terrorists and traded to an American Embassy for your weight in fish. That's a buffer zone of eight whole countries. Eight whole countries, with their own governments, cultures, languages, foods, average skin tones, etc. The fact that the United States is really big does in part explain our tendency toward isolationism; that isolationism factors in between states, though, not just between us and Finland. It's just as easy for Alabama to say "Fuck Oregon" as it is for them to say "Fuck Mexico" and "Fuck Finland, those fuckers." And they're probably saying it right now. You know how they are.
But wait; that's just it. You don't know how they are, because Alabama may as well be located on the dark side of the moon as far as Oregon is concerned.

Here is a picture of some friendly Alabamans. You can see how exotically weird and different they are.

Anyway, when bad things happen in Alabama, we only feel it here because of the media. Some of us may also have Alabama relatives, but not many. Alabama is whole worlds away.

And what about the unusual frightening bullshit?
Well, folks, this is the stuff that actually directly affects us. Say, creepy new government legislation. When it comes to legislation, Alabama isn't as far away from Oregon as Finland is from Greece. It may as well be right next door. States are not individual and independent countries, however much some of them would like to be. We are interactive and interdependent. The kind of crap being played out in Texas (for instance, the total defunding of Planned Parenthood) can, actually, play out here as well. All the progressive chatter happening in Portland doesn't extend beyond the city limits. Progressivism, like a tenacious fungus, does continue to thrive in moist places like Eugene, but can't seem to handle the dry air of central and eastern Oregon. And that is really, really, really, too bad. Portland and Eugene may be perfectly happy circle jerking each other (sustainably, of course) and scoffing at all the rural Neanderthals, but without a little more urban-rural interface, that's all it will ever be. It's nice that Portland has roof gardens; why doesn't Pendleton have roof gardens? The quick answer; because all those rednecks just don't know what's good fer 'em. The honest answer; nobody has gotten off their duff and tried it yet. And hey, Pendleton might need some persuading. Ideally this persuasion would be divorced from the raging stupidity of politics and left wing vs. right wing, but so fucking what? 

Anyway... if we continue to stay holed up in our safe little liberal enclaves, our fears that "the crazies are taking over" will be realized, but only because we ourselves were too scared and too lazy to counteract the crazy in person. In Person. As in, talking to the neighbors. As in, openly questioning things we perceive to be wrong and hurtful. As in, being able and willing to accept the fact that we may not be friends with the neighbors, the neighbors might remind us daily that we're going to hell, the neighbors might be shocked and scandalized by interracial or gay marriage, the neighbors might have more guns in the house than books... but they are still our neighbors, and we still have to live with them. Alabama is next door to Oregon, after all. We can't tuck our heads in the sand on social issues. We have to *gasp* communicate with people we don't necessarily agree with. Ack!

 The Neighbors.

But that all takes work. And it's spring break. Par-tay!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Textbook Conundrum

They're really, really heavy. My book entitled Human Resource Management in Government weighs in at about six pounds all on its lonesome. It also has whole chapters in it devoted to "designing effective performance appraisal systems", which somehow add to the weight of the book. And that was for last term.
Right now, the whole "school" thing is a little daunting.
Not that I'm complaining. Things could be worse. Have often been significantly worse. In fact, things are pretty good right now.
There is, however, a cloud of foreboding hanging over the horizon of Spring Term, and its name is Harris.
I have heard nothing, nothing, good about this person, her teaching, her treatment of students, her attitude. I have heard that, 1) She is an inconsistent grader who hands out harsh grades like candy, 2) She picks favorites, 3) Other students change their schedules to avoid taking classes with this instructor, 4) Other students change programs to avoid taking classes with this instructor, 5) She demonizes students in her classes in front of other students, 6) Students that attempt to contest the bad grades she hands out find her unwilling to talk and unavailable.
Harris also happens to be my adviser, by the way, and advised me, waaaaaay back before I started speaking to other students, to take two of her classes in one term. Next term. Spring term.
Why was this crap so much less scary down at Southern? Bah!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cute Animals on the Internet

I loooooove animals. Furry animals, scaly animals, feathery animals, animals animals animals!
Here are some pictures of animals:

Here's some more:

And more! More animals!

And last but not least, Animal!

Do you feel better? I sure do. Go animals!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Teenager, oh Teenager

It's freakin' February already. What is up with that?
Anyway, this morning I had coffee with my dad and a gaggle of Halfway Teenagers; a taunting of teenagers, a titillation of teenagers, a murder of teenagers, a sneering of teenagers, a pockmark of teenagers, a whining of teenagers, a short-bus of teenagers. That last part is true; the PESD speech and debate team has since time immemorial used a short bus, dubbed the "Cheese Wagon", to travel to tournaments. I remember being in those kids' shoes. Portland was The Big City. Stoplights! Neon signs! 24 hour businesses! Bars called things like 'the Rotting Peach Enclave'! People wearing makeup, not all of them women! Malls! Holy Cow, Malls! People insisting that "Gresham isn't Portland, it's Gresham. Portland is different." (No, it's not. Not really. Sorry, Portlandians and Greshamites.)
You laugh, but you were never a Halfway Teenager. Maybe you were, and you're still laughing because you remember.

Teenagers are amazing creatures:
Upon meeting a teenager, you can't help but wonder how on earth we made it this far. I mean, look at 'em. All the hormones of a twenty-something, none of the moxie. Simultaneously punky little know-it-alls and impressionable wide-eyed innocents. Pizza-faced paragons of self-interest; Skipper's mind in Barbie's body; sailors embarking on a lifelong voyage of self-discovery, punctuated by vigorous masturbation sessions.
Compound the handicap of teenhood with the sheltered lifestyle of rural Oregon, and you have the Halfway Teenager.
What comes to mind when you envision the rural Oregon teen?

Come on now. Be honest. She's a nice girl, no doubt, and a fairly accurate depiction of what you'll actually find roaming the street (you read that right; street, singular) of Halfway. She's not what comes to mind, though, is she?

This is what comes to mind, isn't it?
You will also find this teenager in rural Oregon (however little you may want to find them), but they are less frequent than Carlie CutiePoo in the red stripes.
It takes all kinds, you say. No. No, it doesn't. Replace the phrase 'mud-ridin'' with any phrase of your choosing and insert it above. "Let's go cow-tippin'." "Let's go hog-chasin'." Let's go tourist-rapin'."
See? See!?!

Anyway... meeting dad and crowd whisked me back to years gone-by, years probably sweeter in memory than in actuality. People were such jerks when I was a teenager. Not me, of course. Obviously.
The world beyond Halfway was inconceivably huge and terrifying, full of excitement and opportunity, adventures and high romance. It took moving into that world to discover that it is also full of horror and hatred, full of boredom, and loneliness, and heartbreak, and cruelty. It is full of people that have lost their way, and full of those who never had one to begin with. It is full of failure, and deceit, and manipulation, and cowardice. It is full of people who want to hurt you, who see you as less than human, less than dirt, and will treat you that way every chance they get. The impulse of the sheltered Halfway Teenager upon graduating high school and being set upon the launch pad to the Outside, the impulse to hide under a blanket in their room until they turn 30, is not entirely unwise.

However, an even wiser person than the average teenager (Pema Chodron) said, “To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.”
And she's right. Some of us die the day we graduate high school, metaphorically speaking, because we give in to that impulse to, speaking metaphorically, again, lie under the covers until we turn 30. 
To the Halfway Teenager I say stick it out. Walk out into the world, and when it gets rough and rocky and the light grows dim, keep walking. When you discover that your friend is not your friend, keep walking. When you fail repeatedly to reach the mark you have worked so hard to reach, keep walking. When you get lost, keep walking. When you lose everything, lose face, lose heart, lose hope, keep walking. The worst of times are learning times, even if the lessons learned we wished we never had to know.
You, teenager, have lived a great deal of your life anticipating The Future. Try, for once, to anticipate the past that the Future You will look back on. What is the best story you can possibly see? What can you do about it now? When you are walking, keep that story in mind. The details will forever change (even the big ones), but the shape of the story and your personal priorities will clarify with time. And, keep walking.
And go wash your hair, you dirty hippy.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dick Talk with Seth Rogen

Ye Gods Above, I despise Seth Rogen. Dick this, cock that, balls here and anuses there, and for all the Herculean attempts at forcing a single obligatory chuckle out of the popcorn overstuffed maws of his fanyboys, Seth Rogen remains permanently, painfully, unfunny. Seth Rogen is not funny, and neither are any of his dicks.

I have the urge to put a picture here. But I won't.