Monthly Archives: March 2002

Finally, some breathing room

I won’t go into my tale of woe from work – suffice to say that it involves lots of fun (and not so much fun) with chemistry, cow-orkers with their heads up their asses, and deadlines that are completely impossible. This has eaten all my time this week, which explains why I’ve been so silent.

Now, I’ve an hour to go before I take off for a three-day weekend. Whee!

Looks like the weekend will be spent doing a lot of work around the house. No sooner do I mow the lawn for the first time this season than it needs to be mowed (mown? moan?) again. I think this time I’ll lower the mowing deck a bit. Then there’s the hole in the living room ceiling…

Mind you, our house was built in July of 2000 and is very new. Why is it that a few weeks ago I was lying on the sofa and looked up to see a lovely water spot on the living room ceiling? I ignored it, figuring it was a leftover from a past incident (the brain-damaged plumbers didn’t put in the gasket between the tub and the tub overflow pipe – water slopped over and went down the side of the tub and down the wall, not the pipe). Every so often I’d look up and wonder if the spot had gotten bigger, or was damp. Last weekend I finally poked at it a bit…and my finger went though the sheetrock. Well, that answers that question. The master bathroom shower is now out of commission, and tomorrow afternoon I’ll be spreading out a tarp on the living room floor, pulling out my trusty sheetrock saw, and doing a bit of exploratory surgery to determine the source of the water leak. Given past experiences with the plumbers for our house (see previous example), I’m halfway afraid of what sort of idiocy I’m going to encounter when I start poking around. I’m reasonably handy, but if it looks like it’ll be a big job, I’m calling the plumbers. Different plumbers.

Oh yeah, I still need to do taxes this weekend, too…

So true…

In today’s N&O, Dennis Rogers has an interesting column on “Operation Catnip,” an effort in the city of Raleigh to trap, sterilize, vaccinate, and release 1,800 to 2,400 feral cats per year. Mind you, that’s a drop in the bucket – the SPCA of Wake County estimates that there are 57,000 – 85,000 feral cats in the county.

While I’m not wild about the idea of releasing them back to an uncertain fate, I suppose it’s an improvement on keeping them for a while then killing them (euthanize is just another pretty euphemism). What really grabbed me was Rogers’ closing paragraphs:

I wish I had the answer. I don’t want to see any animal destroyed. I also don’t want to see them lost, cold and huddling by the side of a busy road, waiting for death or rescue.

“At least the Operation Catnip people are not just sitting back and complaining about it,” [Mondy] Lamb [of SPCA of Wake County] said. “We all have to do what we can, not because it will solve all the problems, but because it is the right thing to do.”

My project is to find people who cruelly abandon their unwanted pets for the rest of us to take care of. I’d like to leave people like that in the woods for a few nights so they’d know what it is like to be cold, hungry, lost and unloved.

Then I’d sterilize them.

Home Alone

I was thinking today that in the three+ years that takaza and I have been together, I can’t recall that I’ve ever been home alone while he was out of town. I’ve been out of town numerous times, leaving him alone, but never the other way around. It’s a weird feeling, and it hearkens back to my days of bachelorhood. I am and always have been an independent sort, so it’s not like my world is crumbling apart in the four days that he’s gone; in fact, I think occasional separations are a Very Good Thing. They remind us of how we rely on one another, what our identities are as a couple and as individuals. And absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder.

Click here for the minutae of my last few days

Funny, I didn’t think I was old…

Wow, having one of those “Fun With Health Care” weeks.

First, the good news: went to the gastroenterologist yesterday and she said that the fatty liver thing was pretty much nothing to worry about. I’m doing what is called for to relieve it – exercising and losing weight (or I will be losing weight after a while, anyway. I hope). She could have called for a liver biopsy (basically sticking a needle in my abdomen a few times and pulling liver samples) but since there’s really not much to do for the condition regardless of what the results may be, she opted not to. Whew.

Then we got to the fun part. I’ve always had a problem with heartburn, and typically have relied on Pepcid Complete about four or five times a week. In the last few months have had an occasional problem where, while I’m asleep, stomach acid creeps up into my throat and I wake up feeling like I’m about to vomit. Bleah. It’s about as pleasant as it sounds. Turns out these are all classic symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). What this means is the sphincter at the base of the esophagus into the stomach which is supposed to act like a one-way valve has been weakened and allows stomach acid back into the esophagus. This is a pretty common condition, really.

The biggest concern is that while the stomach lining is made to deal with stomach acid, the esophagus is not so there concerns that ulcers or scar tissue have formed. The only way to know for sure is to get an esophageal endoscopy, where they stick a camera down your throat and see what’s up down there. I get to partake in this little bit of entertainment in about a month. Sounds like it’s going to be interesting – intravenous sedation, have someone there to drive you home, don’t plan on doing anything else for the rest of the day. Still, it’s a necessary evil – I’d rather know what’s going on down there, I suppose.

And the mad rush begins

(Finally got around to updating this)

Wow. Bunch of stuff to do tonight, in spite of the fact that I got way too little sleep last night.

Bookshire and Toddfox moved into their new apartment in Durham yesterday, and we went up to lend a hand and pick up Stevie. We put in some time hauling heavy stuff, then had to take off, since it was 10 PM and we still had to get food for Stevie and drive the 45 minutes home. We went by Ninth Street near Duke University (which Stevie said reminds him of Green Street in Champaign – yeah, I can see the resemblance) and got Stevie a nice gyros platter for munchies and got us a yummy dessert at Francesca’s. a wonderful lesbian-owned ice cream place. We headed home from there, and I crashed early while Stevie and takaza chatted until about 1 AM. Needless to say, da wolf is a wee bit tired today. Takaza took Stevie to the airport this morning, and apparently there were no problems there.

Tonight…well, in spite of the fact that I need to get some sleep, we’ve got a wealth of stuff to do before going to bed:
– I need to work up the final budget for MFF Registration for aureth as well as send off a Registration report to the MFF Staff list since there’s a meeting this weekend.
– We need to get all of our laundry done.
– We need to pack for the weekend.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll drop Takaza off at work. In the afternoon, I’ll pick him up and we’ll continue out of town, headed north for Blacksburg, Virginia to attend Technicon. Reminds me – I need to confirm our room reservation.

Also tonight, we need to finish prepping for the panel that we’re doing at Technicon, “What Is All This Furry Stuff, Anyway?” I figure we’ll run through a timeline of the fandom (drawing heavily from Fred Patten’s excellent article), then talk about the rise of different interests making furry the hodgepodge that it is today, then mention some of the Internet resources available, and hand out a list of said resources. Then we’ll take questions. Naturally, the first time someone mentions MTV or Vanity Fair, we have a perfectly sensible response prepared: we’ll point at the door and scream, “Oh my god, it’s William Shatner!” and jump out the window.

OK, maybe not 🙂 Actually, I think we can defuse and disabuse any hostile or warped interpretations of what furry fandom is and isn’t in a reasonable fashion.

Oh, and one more thing – Let’s all welcome Osiris (kittylad) to LiveJournal! Yay!


I’m in the lab across campus for most of the day today, making the first of what will eventually be 27 batches of materials for testing. Theoretically, this is supposed to be done by the end of June…we’ll see.

Naturally, I have to stop in the middle of making the batch (it’s about a five-hour process) so I can attend the mandatory “Zero-Tolerance Sexual Harassment Policy Training Seminar.” Whew, that’s a mouthful. These things always amuse me because I’d like to think they don’t apply much to me – 99.99% of the materials is all about heterosexuals. This actually surprises me because 1.) I’m sure I’m not the only non-straight person working on this campus, and 2.) Same-sex sexual harassment has been proven to be a valid workplace issue. Typically, they dance around the whole issue of same-sex harassment, never even bringing it up.

Though on the other hand, I guess if it was identified as a problem, that would make me a possible bad guy. Do I want that? Not particularly. I suppose it would just be interesting to see Corporate America acknowledge that there are non-heterosexual employees in the workforce, however backhandedly they go about it.

Hm. We need to work up an outline for the Technicon panel tonight, if we’re not too tired after working out. If nothing else, it’s stuff to think about while zoning out on the treadmill.

Almost forgot…

As jenwolf reminded me, I was remiss in posting the Final Jeopardy question. My apologies – a pile of meetings this afternoon, then having to rush out right after work messed me up. Without further ado, here’s the answer:

The Final Jeopardy category is “Biblical People”

He was the first person who died in the Book of Exodus.

This is for all the marbles!

A quickie…

Big fun coming up.

We’re meeting Partran in about 15 minutes, then going out to dinner. Tomorrow is Adventures in Retail Hell (aka venturing out to the new mall that opened today – all 1.3 million square feet of it) (but they have an Apple Store!) followed by possibly a nice wine tasting and then, who knows?

It’s gonna be a fun weekend!

Day Four: Put On Your Thinking Caps!

Not a bad showing for us today. See how you do:

Competition began in 1900 for this cup awarded to a national men’s tennis team.
Before and After
The lead singer of Hole appearing on Chuck Woolery’s old dating show.
Title occupation of Caleb Carr’s Dr. Laszlo Kreizler.
This “giant” ocean dweller has the largest eyes of any creature.
This St. Louis University founded in 1853 has a 169 acre hilltop campus.

Give up? Here are the questions

And on Day 3 we have…

Big surprises today, but you’ll have to read below what they are. First, the answers:

The con in con man is short for this.
Category is Tom Swifties
It’s the secret or enigmatic way Tom said, “Let’s go look at those tombs”
This cartoonist who created Beavis and Butthead was influenced by Monty Python.
Ellen must have been burstyn with pride when she won an oscar for this 1974 road movie.
It’s a sequence such as the 4, 6, 7, & 8 needing one tantalizing card to fill it.

The suspense is killing me!

Day Two of Team-Building Fun!

Well, at least we met and talked about the questions. Not that that did us much good…

The last name of the woman who’s cow allegedly started the great Chicago fire.
TV’s Dr. David Banner.
It’s a monk’s hood or a draped neckline for women that falls in soft folds.
The White House wasn’t yet finished in 1800 when this president moved in.
Trader Vic claimed credit for inventing this rum drink & said it was named by a Tahitian friend.

And the questions are…

Busy Busy Busy

It never fails – after several months of not a whole lot to do (projects delayed before the reach me, or cancelled altogether, or waiting for customer feedback), three project hit at once. Theoretically, I’m supposed to be over in another building three days each week starting next week working on the conductive adhesive. Additionally, I got three process records yesterday that the customer wants yesterday. I can’t even get the raw materials in for that within a week. And today I got word that we need to make three or four batches of a urethane for a customer and my boss promised to have it for them two weeks after we get the raw materials in, which works out to within four weeks. That’d be great except each batch takes about 25 hours, or three days (at 8 hours/day) to make.

Something’s gotta give. I’ll be talking to my boss this afternoon about whether I can get some help for all of these batches I’m supposed to make.

Something else that’s weighing heavily on my mind is the fact that my review, which was originally scheduled for Friday, then moved to this afternoon, got pushed back to tomorrow morning so that his boss would have time to read what my boss wrote about me. I assume this is standard practice (his boss is a micromanager to the nth degree), but it makes me nervous nonetheless. I freely admit I don’t have the greatest work ethic, and I’ve been called on spending too much time on the net before. My boss doesn’t seem to like me that much, and communication is almost always instigated on my part, not on his, though talking to people they’ve supervised in the past this is pretty much exactly the way they’ve always worked. We had a few layoffs here last year, but the word since then is that “the budget is secure” which I read as code words for, “no one’s getting laid off anytime soon.” Still, I’m the second-least senior engineer in the department, and before these three projects hit there really wasn’t much for me to do.

On the bright side, this can’t really affect my promotion or raise: I’m not getting one. No one is. We’ve been under a 12-month hiring/promotion freeze since last May, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was extended for another six months before all is said and done.

Maybe I just worry too much. I guess I’ll know tomorrow morning…

UPDATE at 16:41 on Tuesday: I do worry too much. I got a printed copy of my review in advance of the meeting tomorrow morning. Essentially, it says I’m a competent, if not stellar, employee. This is just fine by me, since it’s been proven time and again here that there is precious little reward for excellence.

Brain teasers…

So this week we’re starting another “team building” exercise here at work (something far less horrid than other such exercises documented elsewhere). This time around they’ve divided us into six groups of three and we have to work together to answer five Jeopardy! questions each day. As a “team building” exercise I don’t think much of it, but I enjoy it because my brain is full of useless trivia. Anyway, here’s the answers for today:

The last name of Moe (of Three Stooges fame)
In 1997 Bill Cosby won favorite male in a new series, his 15th of these awards.
In 1988, 9 years after her father’s execution, she became prime minister of Pakistan.
Police warnings stem from the 1966 Supreme Court case of this man vs. Arizona.
This star of “China Beach” is the heiress to a toilet flush valve fortune.

What, you want the questions, too?

Tell me why I don’t like Mondays

Mmm…Boomtown Rats, baby.

So anyway…It was our last quiet weekend for a while. Saturday Dan and I had appointments at the health club for equipment orientation and such, and we really didn’t get a whole lot accomplished. Dan wasn’t feeling well that night and went to bed early, I bummed around online ’til way too late.

Sunday was a bit better – we got our weekly shopping done, and I had dinner over at Donald and Janelle’s with the gaming group. I got to chat with Brad and his new girlfriend (!) about Carbon Leaf (a great band in which his brother plays bass) and Technicon. Came home, chilled out a bit, and went to bed. Yay.

We also finally started making preparations for our annual Memorial Day party. We’ve sent out invitations and hope to see a lot of familiar faces and a few new faces, too. Eventually, this may evolve into something bigger, but for now we’re just looking to have a good time with friends. If we’re lucky, we’ll be able to find someplace for all of them to sleep now that most of the beds have been claimed. I’m looking forward to spending some good times with friends, trying out cool new recipes, grilling burgers, playing games, and other fun stuff.

So, looking into the future, we have Partran coming to visit next weekend, then Technicon the following weekend, then I’ll be all by my lonesome while takaza has fun up in Chicago. No plans for Easter weekend yet, but that’s likely to change.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I really miss a good, heavy snowfall. Not any of these rinky-dink two-or-three inch jobs they usually get down here in North Carolina, but a park-the-car-curl-up-by-the-fire-with-some-hot-cocoa-and-stock-up-you-ain’t-going-nowhere-for-a-few-days kind of snowfall. Looks like y’all in the Chicago area are getting one of those tonight and I’m jealous. Looks like the forecast is for 8-12 inches in the metro area, 6 to 12 inches in Milwaukee. Meanwhile, we’re going to get…rain. Whee.

As an aside for you weather geeks out there, if you want to see the scoop on what’s going on behind the forecasts, and how meteorologists figure out what to publicize, here’s a nifty page (for the discussions in your area, just change the state abbreviation in the URL as needed).