Monday, August 23, 2004

Hilldery has left the building

The work/blog saga continues.

I don't want to get into details, but I've decided it will be easier if I just move on to another url.

If I know you read the blog, or if you've ever been nice enough to leave me a comment, I'll send you the new url in the next couple of days. If I don't know you read and you want to know where I've gone, just send an email to me at hilldery@hotmail.com and I'll tell you where to find me.

If you are one of my coworkers:

My career is important to me. That's why I'm moving the blog. I don't want you to read it. It's not that I'm going to talk about you, or cover topics that I don't want you to know about - I don't write about things that are really private. In fact, I'm proud of my blog. I just don't want anyone at the company having to waste another second thinking about me and my little blog, and this seems like the easiest way to put it all behind us.

Thanks,
Hilldery

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Thursday, August 19, 2004

From scared to angry

A few final thoughts on the whole work/blog incident, and then I’ll move on, I swear. My next post will be all about Seamus or JournalCon or some weird dream I’ve had.

So, I’ve been thinking, and the explanation of how this all came about just doesn’t wash. Supposedly the person who contacted HR felt it was important that I know people in my office were reading my blog. Ok. It is good to know. But if that was all it was, why didn’t you just come tell me yourself? Or if you felt you couldn’t talk to me for some reason, why didn’t you stick an anonymous note in my mailbox? Or contact my boss? Why drag HR into it unless you were trying to get me in trouble?

And the worst part is, even though I’m not officially in trouble – I haven’t broken any rules or done anything wrong – you still succeeded to a certain extent. Now someone corporate has been made aware. I’m sitting here, in my home, writing on my computer, with that itchy feeling between my shoulder blades, knowing that a person who has the power to fire me will probably read this and judge me for it. Now someone will likely pay just a little more attention to which websites I visit, and how much time I spend on them. Some poor IT guy is probably going to have to slog through the logs of my IM conversations (sorry, dude. I’ll try to use the smiley faces less. I’m sure that gets annoying.)

I can’t figure out why you felt the need to “turn me in.” Did I do something to you? Are you jealous of my promotion? Or did you think I was slacking off, blogging at work and deserved to be punished? Perhaps you just don’t like me?

I guess it doesn’t really matter in the end. I still have my job, and I’m going to keep blogging. Hopefully that big brother peering over my shoulder feeling will fade in time.

And by the way? Even with the anxiety, distraction, insomnia, upset stomach and tmj headaches this whole thing brought on? I hit everyone one of my big deadlines this week and then some. That’s the kind of employee I am. So bite me, blog narc.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2004

To my co-workers

I got a call from HR this morning. About my blog.

Apparently you guys are reading the blog. I had no idea. I hope you find it interesting and entertaining.

So, first I had a small heart attack. Then I calmed down after it became clear that I’m not in trouble. Not precisely, anyway. However, over the course of the conversation, I realized there are a few things I need to make clear now that I know you are reading:

1. I work very hard. I generally spend close to 50 hours a week at work, and it’s not unheard of for me to work more than that. I also take work home. I pride myself on my work ethic. And while I can’t say that I’ve never written a blog entry at work, I generally work on my posts at home, and sometimes push the drafts live from here. (This is acceptable under company policy – believe me, I asked that question this morning.) To give you a comparison point, I spend less work time blogging in a week than the average smoker spends on smoke breaks in a day, ok? (No, I'm not slamming smokers. Smoke your little lungs out. I don't begrudge you your breaks.)

In fact, one of the many motivations I had for starting the blog was to be a better writer. For work. So don’t look at dates and times and think I’m some sort of slacker. I can assure you, I’m not. And I think my dates are set for Singapore or something, because they don’t always line up with when I was actually posting.

2. This blog is not about you. Not even a little bit. It is about me, and my thoughts. My job is a big part of my life, so work will come up. But really, my blog is about me. I generally try to be respectful of, well, everyone, but in particular, my coworkers. I like you guys.

3.The post that seems to have caused some problems? Is not about anyone who works here. It is about people at one of the outside companies I work with from time to time. One of the reasons their behavior made the blog is because I was so shocked by it. People who work here typically hold themselves to a much higher standard. I keep my work posts vague on purpose in an attempt to avoid trouble, not cause it.

So, whoever you are – you are not Mr. Infuriatingly Superior or Ms. Unprofessional Baby. I’m sorry you thought I was talking about you, and your feelings were hurt. I would like to point out that it isn't my fault that you assumed I meant you. I can only reassure you with this – as I mentioned in a recent post, if I have a problem with you, you’ll know about it.

4. Now that I know my co-workers are reading, I will probably be blogging about work less, just so that I can avoid inadvertently hurting anyone’s feelings again. I’m comfortable with thinking of myself as straightforward. I’m not so comfortable with thinking of myself as insensitive.

5. Also, you might want to keep in mind that sometimes I exaggerate for comedic effect.

There you have it -- all the disclaimers I can think of right now. So, please read, enjoy, leave comments. And remember: I’m not talking about you.


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Friday, August 13, 2004

5 Signs you’ve been working too hard

1. You start struggling with English, which is your native language:
a) you write copy every day. For a living. And suddenly you catch yourself mixing up homonyms as you type. Write/right. Here/hear. And the ever popular they’re/there/their trio.
b) apostrophes start to confound you, so you spend extra time rewording your copy to avoid plural possessives.
c) you find yourself making up words, and it’s not because you are mocking George W. Bush.

2. Irrationality:
a) you get irritated with your husband for eating macaroni and cheese for lunch after saying he didn’t want it for dinner the night before
b) the car that stole “your” space on the street really pisses you off, even though you know the street belongs to everyone.

3. Confusion:
a) you intend to call your husband, but your fingers dial your boss
b) it takes you a couple of seconds to figure out that you have not reached your husband
c) you go to the Safeway to get dinner and buy only a six pack of coke and frozen garlic bread. The logic behind these purchases? They were on sale. Nevermind that no one would ever define coke and garlic bread as dinner.

4. Stupidity – concepts you have grasped firmly since 3rd grade start to elude you:
a) you briefly can’t remember whether big bang theory refers to the creation of the planet earth or the creation of the universe (a slight difference in scale)
b) you screw up simple addition

5. The inability to stop thinking about work, ever:
a) you dream about spreadsheets
b) you write copy and make website to do lists in your head while walking the dog
c) your husband and blog readers are subject to many diatribes about work

But all is not lost! I declare this weekend to be all about Hilldery. I am going to buy a cheesy novel and lose myself in it. I will laze around the house and not worry about vacuuming. I plan to enjoy the company of my husband and my dog and emerge on Monday morning a relaxed, re-energized woman. And I will not think about work at all!

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Thursday, August 12, 2004

So very busy...

I think I said something the other day about lots of deadlines. Well, I've got a bunch right now. I've got a major marketing effort going out on Monday...a huge project starting on Wednesday...yet another big thing [note: I am being deliberately vague here. I'm not that bad of a writer] on Thursday...and a redesigned website launching Wednesday or Thursday. And then there are all of the little everyday deadlines that I always have.

The website is trying to kill me. It is the source of all of my stress and office conflicts right now. Ok, that's not completely true. It is the source of 85% of my stress and conflicts right now. And it is certainly the most frustrating, because I can't do all of the stuff myself. I do not know how to do some of it. And I don't have any of the right software. Actually, that's probably a good thing, because I'd be tempted to go in and mess around with it myself.

Anyway, rather than go on and on about my stress and the various people I'm fighting with right now, I thought it would be refreshing to praise the people in the office who are making my life better this week. So, here goes:

Print Buyers. You make me laugh, you are always there for me, and you put up with me pushing the print deadlines to the very last minute. Thank you!

Ecomm. Thank you so much for creating that brand new offer for me with almost no notice. You did it quickly and you did it correctly. You rock! Now, I'm sorry, but I'll be putting in another one tomorrow.

Desktop. You are efficient, you don't argue with me, and you helped me meet my deadlines yesterday. Gold stars for you.

Certain members of my team. I love my team.

Now, most of these people don't even know that I have a blog, but hopefully they will feel the gentle vibe of my gratitude wash over them.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Making friends all over the place

I’ve just had one of those days that makes me want to hide under my desk. I can juggle a lot, and I’m starting to feel just a little bit overwhelmed. I’ve got many, many deadlines in the next week and a half. Many. By the time JournalCon gets here, I will really be ready for a drink. Please tell me there will be drinking!

So, anyway, today. I think of myself as a nice person. A little shy, but possessing basic social skills. I am, however, very straightforward. I suck at subtlety. I don’t play games or have hidden agenda. If I have a question, or a problem with you, you’ll know about it. First off, every thought I have shows up on my face, clear as day. Also, I’ll come talk to you. But not everyone is like me, and that’s what trips me up, every time! Either I’m pissing people off by being straightforward – which they take as “mean” – or I’m unprepared for someone who is not straightforward in their approach to me.

This caused difficulties for me with several people today. I’m sure my face is now decorating dart boards all over the building. Yay.

And honestly? Other than being more diplomatic with someone who completely caught me off guard, I don’t think I’d change anything I did today.

I’m not sure what that says about me.

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Monday, August 09, 2004

What would Freud say?

I had the oddest dream last night. Men could get pregnant, and it was my job to help a bunch of pregnant guys with being pregnant and then delivering. One of my pregnant guys was Worf, the Klingon from Star Trek. In the dream I was very frustrated because all of these men were pregnant, but not me.

For some reason, taking care of these guys involved a lot of spreadsheets, and running this one report we use in my office. And every time one of the guys went into labor, the president of my company would come congratulate them on doing a good job.

What is my subconscious up to? I mean, I get the whole expressing my desire to have a baby thing. I want kids, sure. But pregnant male Klingons, spreadsheets and the president of my company?

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Saturday, August 07, 2004

Demon Nicotine

I had a sudden fierce desire for a cigarette today. It was unexpected, since I quit smoking almost six years ago. But there I was driving along, and bam! I wanted a cigarette like nobody’s business. I could almost taste it. I wanted that shock when the smoke first hits the back of your throat…that hitch while you hold the smoke in your lungs…the long slow exhale. I could picture myself walking into the store -- Marlboro Reds, box, please. What would it be like after all this time? Would I cough? Would I still be able to handle the Marlboro Reds, or would I have to smoke wussy cigarettes, like Capris? Do they even still make Capris? How much do cigarettes cost now anyway?

I don’t know why the urge struck today. I’ve only come close to smoking once since I quit, and that was on the day my friend Leo died. That day, I almost mugged one of the smokers outside my office building for a cigarette, but I was so frantic to get to the hospital and my friend Jules that I decided not to stop.

But there’s no reason for it today. I’m having a fine and relaxing Saturday. Addiction is so strange.

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Thursday, August 05, 2004

a few random items

• I realized I am wearing the exact same clothes that I wore to work last Thursday. I hope the outfit police don't get me.

• Somone robbed the bank accross the street from my building. The cops were up on the roof of our parking garage for a bit, but they didn't do anything interesting.

• We are still lacking power in half the house, but John has successfully employed extension cords to rig up the computer so he can use it. I have orders to bring home more extension cords so we can watch TV tonight.

• I just called Pepco again to complain that 7 hours didn't really fit my definition of "soon." I breezed through the voice menu now that I know all you have to say is the word "person," only to be told that there is a 1 hour 16 minute wait to speak to a representative. Maybe they should hire some more people.

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Powerage

When I woke up this morning there was no power in half of my house. That’s right, just half. John and I spent some time messing around with the circuit breaker, which, naturally, is in the part with no power. And, of course, all of our flashlight batteries are dead. Which meant I wasted a bunch of time, half asleep, trying to read the stupid circuit breaker with a lighter. And all for nothing, because apparently a broken circuit is not the problem.

So, then I did what every 33 year old does when they can’t solve a household problem – I called my mom. She didn’t really have anything helpful to add, so I called an electrician. The electrician said it was probably a Pepco problem. So I called Pepco, which has the stupidest system in the world for reporting problems. Here’s a reenactment for you:

Pepco: You have reached our outage line. For service, say “service”
Me: Service (imagine bitter, cranky early morning monotone)
Pepco: It sounds like you said “service.” Say “yes” if you are calling about a service problem.
Me: Yes! (impatient and a little pissy)
Pepco: You are unimportant to us, even though we charge you an insane amount of money each month. You have to call this other number.

New number
Pepco: You have reached our service line. Please listen to these 800 options and say what you want.
**long, annoying process of me making my way through the system**
Pepco: Please state your name. You have 10 seconds.
Me: Hilldery
Pepco: Please state your address. You have 10 seconds.
Me: 123 Main St.
Pepco: Please state the problem. You have 20 seconds.
Me: I only have power in half of my house and I tried the circuit breaker and the electrici-**click**
Pepco: A service ticket has been entered. Good bye.
**Dial tone**
Me: Hey! No! Fuck!

Call first number back.
Pepco: You have reached our outage line. For service, say “service”
**listen to long list of other options, none of which fit**
Me: (pushing 0 repeatedly) I want to speak to a fucking person! How about that you stupid voice recognition phone?
Pepco: It sounds like you said you’d like to speak to a person. If this is correct, say “Yes.”
Me: Yes! Yes!
**Wait on hold for customer service representative **

So, I finally got to talk to someone. He was very nice and sounded like Barry White. I kept expecting him to say “we’ll just take care of the problem, baby, and let you get back to making sweet, sweet love…” But he never did. He did confirm that there was a problem at my building and said someone would be on their way “soon.”

However, I should probably have gotten a more precise timeframe than “soon” because poor John is stuck at home with no air conditioning, no computer, no TV and no stereo. He can microwave food, but not use the stove or run the dishwasher. And no lights, except in the bathroom and bedroom. At least it’s not as hot today as it has been.

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Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The coolness of blogging

I really had no idea what to expect when I started this blog. I’d read plenty of other people’s blogs and I thought I’d enjoy having one of my own. But I didn’t realize how much fun it would be, how much I’d get out of it, or how many smart, funny, interesting people I would “meet.” Anyway, a couple of neat blog-related things have happened this week that I want to share.

First, to all of the people who commented on my credit card debt post – I wish I’d had this blog last year when I was trying to get my debt all sorted out. At the time I felt like the biggest loser moron ever for running up so much debt. While it sucks that so many other people have the same problem, it also makes me feel a little better about myself. All I can say now is, I dug my way out, and I’m pulling for all of you to do it too. Do not let the credit card companies bully you! And if you ever need a sympathetic ear, you know where to find me.

Second, today I posted a comment on Chris’ blog. That’s a fairly normal occurrence. But what happened next was different. See, Chris is smart, and pays attention, and remembered that Amalah and I work together. So he emailed me and asked me to bring her a soda, because he knew she was having a tough day. So I did, much to Amalah’s surprise. I was a little worried she would think it was stalker-y on my part (this girl started a blog after me, and now she's bringing me a soda?) but she did not, and I was glad I took the time to do it.

Third, I posted a comment over at Beth’s, about my pretend celebrity boyfriend Colin Farrell. Within a couple of hours, someone had emailed me a photo of Colin in Jamestown, given me the scoop on the movie he’s filming there and said the locals think he’s cool. Talk about six degrees of separation -- I can now keep tabs on my fake boyfriend via a comment on someone else’s blog!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to hit the road to Jamestown.

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Sunday, August 01, 2004

Hostess of the year

Today my friend Laila (yay, Laila’s back in DC!) and her son Noah came over for lunch. Noah is 15 months old and Laila had warned me that he gets into everything. No problem, I thought. It’s not like we have china figurines all over the place. We have clutter, but nothing really breakable. I’ll just vacuum and clean the bathroom, and we’ll be all set. So this morning I was looking around my living room when it dawned on me. My house is pretty much a toddler death trap. It’s not that we have breakable things. It’s just that we have a lot of stuff. Laila was due in about an hour, though so I decided to tackle what I could and started cleaning. The bathroom went fine, but the vacuum just wasn’t sucking up the dirt, which is what happens when the bag gets full. Changing the bag is always messy, so I got a big trash bag out. And then I thought, “Oh I might as well throw the kitchen trash in here while I’m at it.

Big mistake. The kitchen trash was nasty. There was about six inches of disgusting trash water in the bottom of the can. Naturally, I spilled some of it as I tried to stuff the little trash bag into the big trash bag. And this was one of the worst smells I have ever encountered. I seriously almost threw up. I ran the trash down the trash room and when I got back upstairs, and the trash was all I could smell. So I frantically hosed down the kitchen, and the trash can and washed everything that had even come close to the trash can.

At this point, John came through the door with a “What is that stench?” look on his face, making it clear that my efforts had not been very successful so far. We banished the trash can and the little throw rug from the kitchen to the balcony and dug up every scented candle anyone has ever given me. The hollyberry/apple/vanilla/lavender combination seemed to be helping, so with about five minutes to spare, I threw myself into hurriedly vacuuming the living room and front hall, skipping the bedrooms completely, but managing to finish moments before Laila arrived.

I think they had a good time. Noah is awfully sweet, and seemed to enjoy the grilled cheese sandwich I made him. Lucky for me, Laila is one of my oldest friends and still loves me even though I live in a stinky, filthy-carpeted, cluttered apartment, chock full of sharp objects, pointy stuff, and all kinds of little things that a small child wants to swallow. I hope they'll come back again.

But I don't think I'm in the running for hostess of the year.

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Credit Card Debt Free!

At the end of the day yesterday I got notification that my eagerly awaited stock options money had been direct deposited into my checking account. A couple of phone calls and online payments later, my credit card balances are all at ZERO!

I don’t even know how to begin to explain what a huge deal this is. This time last year, John and I were slowly being crushed by credit card debt, which we had stupidly run up a lot of a while back. We eventually figured out we had a problem, and stopped using the cards. But then John got laid off from his job, and we could only afford to pay the minimum payment on each of our four cards. Which I did, every month, on time, like clockwork.

But the credit card companies didn’t care. They kept raising our interest rates, which made the minimum payments go up. Finally, MBNA, the most evil fucking credit card company there is, raised my interest rates so high that I couldn’t make even the minimum payment anymore. I won’t go into the whole long saga, but things got pretty desperate. John and I argued about money all the time. I worried constantly. And the bastards at MBNA made my life hell. Loan sharks hassling me about covering the vig would have been more reasonable. (I’m not 100% sure what “the vig” is, but I know it has something to do with borrowing money from the mob.) Note to anyone who reads this: MBNA is a predatory company you do NOT want to get involved with.

It seemed like we’d never get out from under. John sold a kidney. We made soup from old shoes. No, not really. It was much less dramatic than that -- a combination of a loan from my mother-in-law, a loan from my 401k, my entire income tax refund, pouring every spare cent we could scrape together into the monthly payments, and finally, the options check.

It feels so good to be credit card debt free. Free free free free free!

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Friday, July 30, 2004

My Friday…so far

9:15 Arrive at work.

9:20-9:45 Go through emails. Eat cereal. Read blogs.

9:45-10:00 Get into a political discussion with one of my co-workers. She thinks that Bush has done a bad job, but is probably going to vote for him again because she doesn’t think the Democrats have a plan either. And because she doesn’t think the Democrats have the right values. Hello? I have values! I consider myself to be an extremely ethical and moral person. And then we got into the Iraq War, a subject about which we already knew we had different opinions. All in all, it was a very frustrating conversation

10:00-10:20 Chat with two more co-workers. Discuss some work items, but mostly complain about workload and other co-workers who never appear to actually do any work.

10:20-11:40 Actually do some work myself.

11:40-11:50 Talk to beloved husband on phone. Learn that we have cable TV and modem again. Yes, we’re weak. But the cable company kept sending us special offers after we canceled. And we missed the cable modem so much! You can’t just get the modem, either. You have to get them both to get the special deal. And dial-up? Sucks.

11:50-12:00 Do a little more work.

12:00-12:25 Talk to my boss on the phone. I really like her, and not just because of the promotion and raise. Plus, I think this counts as work.

12:25-1:00 Go to see my pal Terri for samples. Somehow end up showing her the online listing for the apartment my friend Mary Pat is trying to buy in Manhattan. Spend half an hour looking at listings for $8,000,000 penthouses in TriBeCa and houses in the Hamptons that we will never, ever be able to afford. Have much fun mocking the photos of the real estate agents.

1:00 Realize I am starving and go out to get lunch.

1:22 Sit in car fuming, stuck behind a stupid dump truck going 25 mph in a 40 mph zone. Asshole. Realize they are playing INXS on the classic rock station. There is no way INXS is a classic rock band. Also, there is NO WAY a song that came out when I was in high school can qualify as classic rock. NO. WAY.

1:30-2:00 Get back to office. Am disappointed by my soup. Throw it out and eat the roll that came with it and two Fudge Hershey kisses instead. Love the Fudge Hershey kisses. Love them. I want to eat 50, but so far, I’ve contained myself to just two.

2:00-2:10 Waste 10 minutes trying to figure out the charge code to use to send samples to employee who is working from home on bed rest. I’ve worked here for four and half years. You’d think I’d know how to send a letter by now. Stupid charge codes.

2:10-3:15 Work a little more. I haven’t actually finished anything yet!

3:15 Funny, a roll and two Hershey kisses just didn’t fill me up. I’m really hungry. Remember that I have a cup of dehydrated soup in my desk. Make that.

3:20-3:25 Dehydrated soup is kind of lame, but now I’m not so picky.

3:25 Realize it is almost 3:30 and I have accomplished nothing. Which naturally means that now is the perfect time to write in my blog.

3:30-4:00 work on this post, interspersed with little work-related tasks so I don’t feel guilty.

And that's my Friday so far.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Reality comes crashing back

Yesterday was so nice.  I was just happy-smiley Hilldery from noon on.  But today I had to get back my usual work day.  No one here knows about the promotion yet, because it isn’t official until next week.  Unless there are work people other than Amalah who read my blog.  I don’t think there are.  But anyway, no one knows, so nothing about work has changed.

First, we had this freak rainstorm.  Naturally, I was out walking Seamus when it started to rain.  At least I had an umbrella, unlike last night, when I got completely soaked by an unexpected thunderstorm.  This morning it rained so hard that Seamus – who prefers being outside over anything else –  turned around and headed for home after a couple of minutes.  He actually had a “Fuck this!” expression on his cute little beagle face.

So traffic sucked after the monsoon hit.  And then I had to break up with the leading candidate for my assistant marketing manager position.  There is no second place candidate at this point, which meant that I spent my lunch reading resumes and composing a new ad to run.  I hate interviewing people.  Hate it.  It made for a crappy lunch.  I did sneak in some blog reading though.  Zoot's lunch sounded much more fun than mine.

Plus, I have a ton of work to do.  Oh – and there’s this woman who works here who doesn’t like me.  She never has, and I don’t know why, but I’m perfectly willing to not like her back.  Hmm…that’s not very compassionate of me, is it?  I should work on that.  But anyway, I need her to do her damn job, and she’s not, which is making my life difficult.  I’ve got plenty of my own work to do without having to leave multiple messages and try to chase this woman around to get her to take care of something I cannot do myself and which is her job!  Grrr.

Well, I have one project I must finish before I leave today or I’ll be holding up someone else who is depending on me to do my own damn job.  So, it's back to work for me.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

All better now

Well, not really.  I still have all of the problems that were making me nuts yesterday…potential employees making ridiculous demands…a message that tanked…an insane amount of work to do…people not doing their jobs, making my life harder and pissing me off…and so on.

But today I do not care, because I just got a totally unexpected promotion!!  You can call me Marketing Director Hilldery.  And I got a raise.  Yay!

I thought today was going to suck even more than yesterday, because I had many, many meetings.  My boss doesn’t actually work here, so when she’s physically in the office she books meetings all day long.  And we did have plenty of meetings.  But one of them was so she could tell me about my promotion.  And take me out to lunch to celebrate.  Plus, my old boss was here with her 2 month old baby boy, so I got to play with a baby.  A sweet-smelling, snuggly, adorable little baby.

Tomorrow, it will be back to reality.  But today is fun.


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Monday, July 26, 2004

It's 9:45 am...

...I've been at work for 15 minutes...and I'm already thinking I could really use a margarita.

Not a good omen for my day.

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Friday, July 23, 2004

With arms wide open

So last night, John and I watched the movie Underworld.  I liked it.  John thought it was merely ok.  I’m usually a total wuss who can’t watch anything scary, but I have an obsession with vampire movies.  Also anything that has to do with Jack the Ripper, for some reason.  That Johnny Depp movie, From Hell?  Loved it.  Anyway, I liked Underworld.  Lots of people skulking around in cool black outfits, loud music, fast paced action scenes etc…everything a vampire movie needs.  When I get all skinny and fit?  I want to look like Kate Beckinsale does in this movie.  Except with curly blonde hair. 

There is, however, one big  problem with this movie.

One of the leads, a character named Michael, looks just like the singer from Creed.  Oh how I loathe that guy.  For all I know, he is a wonderful person.  But I do not care for his music or his Eddie Vedder rip-off voice.  John hates him too.  This is not the household for a Creed fan.   We actually even have a psychic Creed-hating connection.  Here’s the conversation we had when I got home from work on the day Creed broke up.

 John: Did you hear the good news?
Me: What, that Creed broke up?
John: That’s amazing.  How did you know that’s what I was talking about?
Me:  Well, what else could it be?
John:  This is a glorious day for music (or something like that – I think there was some insulting of Creed as well.  John is very creative with his insults.)

And then here's last night's conversation:

John: This guy looks like Scott Stapp.  It's annoying.
Me: I know!  I was just thinking the same thing.  It’s kind of ruining the movie for me.

Luckily, Mr. Creed lookalike gets turned into a werewolf and a vampire, so he starts to look a little different towards the end of the movie.  And they totally left it open for a sequel, which I have to admit, I will watch.  As usual, I want to know what happens next.

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Random Friday thoughts

First the good news: 
Two people have now told me I look like I’ve lost weight.  Totally unsolicited by me.  Woohoo!  I am sticking to my plan to not get on the scale until August, but it is nice to hear that all this self control is paying off.

This morning, my boss told me I’m going to do the business plan for 2005 for my pub.  Not help her do it.  Do it by myself.  Gulp.  That’s a little intimidating, but also exciting. 

Then the bad news:
I don’t think the person I want to hire for my assistant marketing manager position is going to work out.  I am so sick of the hiring process!!  I don’t want to interview any more people.  I don’t want to play little negotiation games.  I just want to hire someone.  And soon.

Also, it’s really humid out today (July + DC = humid) and my car smells swampy.  I hope that goes away.

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Thursday, July 22, 2004

The coolest dream

I don't know why, but I've been exhausted for the last three days.  It's like the life has been sucked out of me and I've been so unenergetic and totally uncreative. 

I was really tired again this morning, but then I remembered this dream that I had.  It was so vivid it feels like I could turn it into a book or a movie.  It really perked me up for some reason.  I'm still tired, but all I can think about is how I could link the fragments of the dream together in a story.  That's a little distracting when what I'm supposed to be writing is "...blank Investing strategy has us perfectly positioned to cope with the current flat market."  But it is nice to be feeling inspired again.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Oh, and how could I forget?

My other favorite thing about Asheville? 

There's something called Bat Cave listed on all these signs on the highway.  I know it probably refers to a cave with bats that is a tourist attraction/natural wonder, but every time I saw it, I pictured the "real" Bat Cave, complete with Alfred, the Batmobile and a sophisticated crimelab. 

And then giggled to myself, because I'm such a grownup.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

I’m back!

I had a lovely weekend visiting my brother.  The Asheville area is just gorgeous, and I liked the town quite a bit too.  I can see why my brother likes it there so much.  I miss him, though, so it was very nice to get to spend some quality time with him and my mom too. 
 
What I loved about my trip to Asheville:
•  got to see my brother for the first time since March.  He’s happy, and I’m glad, but I do miss having him around.
•  the place we went for dinner the first night.  Delicious food!  Good atmosphere!  And I got a free little pottery dish.
•  the folk art center on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Too bad all of the quilts were thousands of dollars out of my price range.  As a former park ranger, I always like to call attention to the great parks, historical sites and interpretive exhibits the park service has.
•  playing gin with my mom and brother while watching S.W.A.T. on HBO in the hotel room.  I won the card game, and Colin Farrell is my new celebrity crush.  S.W.A.T wasn’t what I would call a great movie, but it was fun to have on in the background.
•  the gardens at the Biltmore.  I thought the house was interesting, but over the top.  Very beautifully and meticulously preserved, but I didn’t care for the fact that you had to pay $39 per person to get in, and then even more money to go on any sort of guided tour of the house.  I really enjoyed the gardens though.  They had an Italian garden, and topiary, and a walled garden, and a rose garden and a conservatory.  There are other gardens too, but we were worn out by then.
•  visiting the Fire Department where my brother is a volunteer firefighter.  I got to meet some of the other firemen, the firehouse dog, and climb on the fire trucks.  They didn’t have a pole to slide down.  Apparently they took it out recently. So sad.  Here’s a great picture of my brother rappelling down a building.
•  the mountains and forests.  So beautiful.
• did I mention getting to see my brother?
 
What I didn’t love about my trip to Asheville:
• my mom’s driving.  You know how there are people who change lanes without signaling?  And the way they change lanes is more like swerving as opposed easing into the next lane.  And then, they sit in the left lane going 70 miles per hour, when the speed limit is 70 miles per hour?  Oh, and just for fun, they sometimes tap the brakes for no apparent reason? My mom is now that person.  She couldn’t understand why everyone was coming up so fast behind her and then passing on the right.  I tried, gently, to point out the problem, but I don’t think she understood that she needs to go faster or stay out of the left lane. 
• my mom’s snoring keeping me up most of the night Friday night, even with ear plugs.  I took care of that problem with a little Excedrin PM on Saturday and Sunday nights. 
• in a related item, my mom (who has literally known me my whole life) forgetting the cardinal rule of my mornings, which is, “Don’t fucking talk to me until after I’ve been up for at least 15 minutes.”  Seriously.  I’m a nice sweet person after those first 15 minutes or so.  But until then, I’m just not pleasant.  And I can’t control it.  Especially not after only getting 3 hours of sleep due to snore torture.
• the dead cow I saw tied to the back of a pickup truck.  At least, I assume it was a dead cow.  It would be even worse to transport a live cow that way.
• seeing my mom get so worn out from walking around the Biltmore.  Yes, there were a lot of stairs and a lot of walking, and she’s had bad knees since she was a teenager.  But it was scary to see her having to stop and rest so many times.  She’s not that old, dammit! 
•  the insanely conservative local news broadcast, which spent 10 minutes on Dale Earnhardt Junior’s car crash, and about 45 seconds on the war in Iraq, seven stories in to the news broadcast.  Oh, and which featured an editorial where the speaker came out against giving people on food stamps debit cards to use at the store instead (which they’ve been using here for years) because “sometimes it is good to humiliate people.  If we humiliate them, they’ll want to get off public assistance faster.  And why is the ‘Angry Left’ so upset about those prisoners getting humiliated in Iraq?  They’re just a bunch of terrorists, after all.”  I’m not exaggerating.  If anything, I’ve condensed what the guy said, and made it less offensive. 
• missing John and Seamus.  Next time, I’ll bring them with me.  I think they’d like the mountains.

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Thursday, July 15, 2004

Away for the weekend

I'm off to North Carolina to visit my brother for the weekend, so I don't know how much posting I'll be doing.  I'm not sure how much Internet access I'll have.  I will be going here and I think we'll probably go here.  The rest of the weekend is completely unplanned, and I'm really looking forward to it!  Hope everyone has a good weekend.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Positivity

Or is that positivationism? I've had a strangely unmotivated, yet surprisingly productive day. It was also very envelope-centered. First, I wrote snappy copy to go on one envelope, and then I wrote copy for and redesigned a second envelope. We should be flooded with renewal orders once people get their hands on those babies. The notices will arrive in the mail, and they just won't be able to resist opening the envelopes and then, persuaded by the fabulous copy I wrote in the letters inside, they'll renew. mwah-ha-ha-ha....oh wait, that's a lame world domination plan, isn't it?

Anyway, I spend a lot of time (probably way too much) complaining about stuff in this blog. So, today, I thought I'd take a moment to note the little things that made me happy lately instead:

• My husband. I love him. Last night we were trying to decide if we'd seen the movie Star Trek:Nemesis, and I figured out that I had definitely not seen it. So he probably hadn't seen it either, unless he saw it with someone else. He then "confessed" that he had a secret geek girlfriend on the side, because there are times I'm just not geeky enough. Like that's possible. Later, when I got back from walking Seamus, John was listening to a song, and he said, "This song makes me think of you. It's called My Beloved Wife." which made me all mushy and happy. And then later we had a great conversation about karma and personal responsibility and well, I just love him.

• The fact that my friend Becky was happy to featured in one of my posts last week.

• My boss, who told me earlier in the week that she thinks she's getting credit for the work that I do and is looking for projects that will clearly show the rest of the company what I am capable of on my own. And then she came through with the first project idea today. Who wouldn't be happy with a boss like that?

• The fact that my friend Laila will be back in town in just 120 hours. Or something close to 120 hours. I didn't want to get all overly precise and geeky about it. We'll be taking the town by storm. As much as a single mom with a 15 month old (that's Laila) and a somewhat boring homebody (that's me) can storm anyway.

• Browsing for lip gloss on Sephora.com. All of my makeup is ancient, and thanks to Amalah, I'm itching to replace it. Seriously, I bought a new lipstick and lip liner for my wedding two years ago, and I haven't bought any new makeup since. I don't wear a lot of makeup, but I do like lip gloss. And mascara, because my eyelashes are very long, but light, so no one can see them.

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Monday, July 12, 2004

A Quick Politcal Rant

I actually got to work on time today, which means I could be home right now if I weren't waiting for the broadcast team. Again. Grr. And what makes it worse is that I'm waiting around to approve a broadcast that isn't even supposed to be my responsibility anymore. Sadly, the person who should approve it leaves at 3, and they didn't have the tests ready before she was done for the day. So, until I get to go, here are a couple of the stories that I read about today that made me want to rant.

1. The Senate is debating a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Why is the conservative answer always "amend the Constitution"? The Constitution is a big deal. Leave it alone!!! Also, why do people find gay marriage so threatening? I don't get it. My sister-in-law seems to think that a gay marriage just couldn't be as valid as a straight one and I don't see why. Love is love. Straight people don't have a monopoly on that. And why do they say "the institution of marriage is under attack"? Gay people place such a high value on marriage that they are clamoring for the right to get married themselves. That shows a lot more respect for the institution than, say, Britney Spears or Jennifer Lopez.

2. Homeland Security is floating the idea of postponing the election if there's another terrorist attack, saying al Queda wants to interfere with the US elections. There are so many flaws in that scenario that I don't even know where to begin, so let me just say this: The only possibility I can think of where I might find it acceptable to postpone an election would be if one of the candidates died right before the election. Otherwise, postponing an election feels a little too much like martial law. I sincerely hope that Americans will take to the streets in massive protests if the election is postponed. I can promise you I'll be there.

3. And now for an international rant. It's marching season again in Northern Ireland. I find this to be particularly stupid on all sides. (full bias disclosure: yes, my family came from Ireland -- a long, long time ago. And yes, they were Catholic, so I'm firmly in the Catholic camp, although I'm not actually Catholic myself.) The Orangemen (Protestants) march through the Catholic neighborhoods, celebrating a victory that ocurred in 1690. How about you just let that go already and maybe give your country a chance at peace? You oppressed the Catholics for hundreds of years and feel you must keep rubbing their noses in it? That's classy. And the Catholics? Why not just ignore the stupid bastards? They'll have a lot less fun if you just pretend they aren't having their silly, childish parades.

Ok, I'm done ranting now. I'm still waiting for the broadcast team, but now I'm going to go read other people's blogs.

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Movies and Knitting

That pretty much describes my whole weekend. Oh, but first, I want to congratulate my husband, who has lost 14 pounds since we started our getting fit program, and is on his 5th day without coffee. Yay, John! I’m progressing more slowly, but am feeling very motivated by the fact that he has lost so much more weight than me.

Now, on to the movies. We watched three very different movies, all of which I liked. Friday night we watch School of Rock, which I really liked. I don’t always think Jack Black is funny, but I thought School of Rock was sweet. John and I were joking about “raising the goblet of Rock” all weekend. The only drawback is that I’ve had the song Bonzo Goes to Bitburg stuck in my head since, and that’s not the movie’s fault.

Saturday was Kill Bill day – Volumes 1 and 2. No one would ever describe Kill Bill as sweet, but I liked it as well. It was violent, but the fight scenes were so improbable that they didn’t really bother me. I also love the way Quentin Tarantino uses music in his movies. I’m sure there’s some technical term for it, but I am always impressed by the way he finds the perfect songs to match what’s happening visually and in the plot.

And then Sunday we watched Lost In Translation. A couple of people had told me they thought this movie was slow and boring, but I disagree. I liked the pacing of the movie. And, actually, Sofia Coppola picked interesting music to set the mood of her movie too. And I loved the ending. Not too happy, not too sad, just right.

In between all of these movies, I managed to fit in some knitting. I’m making a baby blanket for my friend Christine, and I really need to get moving, since she’s due at the end of August. I’m nearing the end of one of the balls of yarn, and somehow it got all snarled up. I literally spent hours undoing all the knots on Saturday. Just went I was about to go lose it, John started playing a CD by this comedian, Mitch Hedberg. God, that guy is funny. It’s impossible to go insane from frustration when you’re laughing so hard you are crying.

All in all, a very satisfying weekend.

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Friday, July 09, 2004

Nevermind

The universe is telling me to stop whining.

As soon as I finished my last post, I checked out a couple of other blogs that I read.

And then I went to this one, which made me cry and reminded me just how small my problems really are.

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Why I am feeling sorry for myself today

1. I got into work, and I had a message from Melissa. The person I want to hire? Yeah, she's looking forward to her phone interview with my boss, and she'll complete the background check paperwork, but she wants to make sure I know she's still interviewing. Doesn't anyone want to come be my assistant marketing manger? The pay is good. Seriously, the salary we're offering to people two years out of school? I worked for six or seven years before I got paid that much. The benefits are good -- medical, dental, vision, 401K, stock options. I'm a great boss. Really. And my team is fun. Ok, we've got one problem child, but she's ok. Plus, she's very good at her job.

2. The aforementioned problem child is having a bad day, which means I get to have a bad day, too. However, I am working on the whole practicing compassion thing, and trying very hard to understand where she's coming from. But, oh, the drama.

3. Work is not as much fun since my friend Becky left to start a new job. I miss her. I like many of the other people I work with, but they are not Becky.

4. I have a very complicated username and password project that has been on hold that my boss is suddenly all over. Ugh. I would like to put that one back on hold, please.

5. People just aren't getting my jokes today. And a couple of them were damn funny.

6. I am struggling with the whole healthy eating thing. My husband is doing great -- eating smaller portions, and not snacking. I, on the other hand, want to eat french fries, potato chips, chocolate and soda. I haven't. But I want to.

Only an hour and ten minutes until my weekend starts, though. That's something to look forward to.

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Thursday, July 08, 2004

Practicing compassion in my everyday life

This is a skill I need to develop.

It’s very easy to have compassion for people who are obviously struggling, like the refugees in Darfur. I also generally manage to have a fairly charitable attitude toward others when I’m in a good mood.

I think it is important to go beyond that, though. I worry that sometimes I’m careless with other people, particularly the ones I’m closest to, because I get wrapped up in myself and forget to look at them carefully, to really listen. My friends and loved ones deserve my compassion.

Or even with strangers. Maybe the guy who wouldn’t let me merge in traffic wasn’t being a dick. Maybe he’s worried about losing his job, or his kid is sick or he’s just having a lousy day. I need to remember to think about that instead of getting irritated.

Then there’s when I’m the one in a bad mood. That’s when I really need to learn to step outside of myself and look at other people with compassion and understanding.

Because really, my life is pretty good. I have frustrations, and events that make me sad, and, of course, stuff about my life I’d like to change. But I have a husband and a dog who I love...a healthy family...wonderful friends...a good job...a roof over my head...plenty to eat...and I should be grateful.

If I can just keep that in mind.

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Attention Television Network Executives

I keep reading these stories where people are saying that the new “summer-season” experiment is a failure.

Please, listen closely. As someone who recently gave up cable (sob) I can tell you that your problem is not that people don’t watch TV in the summer. It is that all of the new programs you put on suck.

Seriously. What a bunch of crap! Fox – you cancel a great show like Wonderfalls, and run Quintuplets (sorry, Andy Richter) and Method & Red? What the hell is wrong with you? And NBC – try showing something other than Fear Factor or Law & Order. I actually like Law & Order, but you’ve run it in to the ground.

That said, I am looking forward to watching the Amazing Race on CBS. I always skip the first couple of episodes while they pare the numbers down a bit, but I love watching the later ones.

Also, any network that would consider showing something other than sports on the weekend would be greatly appreciated. UPN and the WB – I’m looking in your direction here. Now is the time to get me hooked on your shows, so I’ll watch them in the fall.

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Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Food poisoning, blech!

I had a lovely three day weekend. I spent some time with my mom, helping her pick out eyeglasses and flowers to plant in her garden. I got to hang out with John and Seamus, who are my two favorite people. I read a book. I made homemade pizza, which was way easier than I thought it would be. I watched movies (Goldmember -- not as funny as the first two Austin Powers movies. The Ladykillers -- slow at times, but has a great ending.) I took naps. It was great...right up until I got food poisoning.

Curse you, IHOP! I didn't even want to eat there, either. We had to wait forever for a (nasty, sticky feeling) table. It was too loud, too hot and filled with screaming children. One of those children was my normally adorable nephew, who has decided that John and I are strangers, and he doesn't want anything to do with us. Plus my in-laws were a) extremely late and b)obsessed with making us move around. First, my mother-in-law had to switch seats with my husband. Then my sister-in-law had to move the high chair to the middle of the table and make us all slide down a seat. Later, we all had to move down a spot the other way so my brother-in-law could move to the other side of the table. John felt sick before we even left the restaurant, but my illness waited to sneak up on me and deprive me of sleep. I won't go into all the details -- I know no one wants that -- but I will say it was extremely unpleasant. And how do you get food poisoning from pancakes and hash browns? I thought being a vegetarian would save me from this sort of thing.

Today I have successfully eaten peppermint tea, applesauce, a cup of soup and a roll, so I think I'm on the road to recovery.

Boy, am I glad that's over.

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Saturday, July 03, 2004

All the little things

There are a bunch of things I would have written about over the last week if I'd had just a wee bit more time. Here's a quick summary. I'll leave it up to you to decide if these topics would have been interesting in greater detail.

• Arnold Schwartzenegger withdrew his "kill the pets quicker" proposal after an outcry from just about everyone in the country. I've decided to chalk that one up to cultural differences -- Tuetonic efficiency clashes with the American love of animals. One of his aides really should have said something to him. But, Arnold, I'll never feel the same way about you again.

• A much longer Fahrenheit 9/11 post.

• Mysterious shower curtain malfunctions. Twice this week I've gotten out of the shower to discover that I have flooded my bathroom. And I mean flooded. I have no idea how I'm doing this.

• Some jerk threw a soda at my car while it was parked. I came out to find a straw stuck to the driver's side window and the whole side of the car sticky. Yuck.

• The co-worker who is spending $85 to get a short of cortisone in a zit that will go away on its own in just a few days.

• My problems with Hello, which is supposed to allow me to post photos, but which I cannot get to work.

• Comcast finally cancelled my cable. And I miss it so.

And there you have it. Next week should be much calmer, and I'll be back to my old blogging self again.

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Friday, July 02, 2004

Bunny Ears

Note to bad drivers: bunny ears just might make your lives easier.

I just ran out to get some lunch, and on the way back I got stuck behind a very slow car. Normally, this would make me nuts -- I'm a bit of an impatient driver -- but for some reason the driver of this car was wearing bunny ears.

I was so busy laughing about the bunny ears and making up reasons why this person would be driving around wearing bunny ears (singing telegram...lost a bet...thinks he's part bunny?) that I wasn't even slightly annoyed, and did not drive aggressively at all.

So, if you know anyone who isn't a very good driver, you may want to consider suggesting that they drive around wearing bunny ears. They'll probably experience a noticeable drop in being tailgated, honked at and passed by irritated drivers.

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I love blogging

I love blogging.

I think I may be addicted. I've been so busy this week that I just haven't been able to post as much as I like to do. In fact, I should be writing some copy for work right now.

But I couldn't wait any longer. I have been thinking about blog entries, (although I haven't actually written any,) reading other people's blogs, and talking about blogging. Just last night my husband was treated to a long speech about blogs that I enjoy and how I hope that having a blog will help me improve my writing skills so that I can write entries and stories that I think are up to the same standard. This led to a very interesting conversation about how good writing has to have soul, just like good music has to have soul. And it is so true. A good writer makes you feel. My husband, who is an amazing writer, once wrote a scrap of a story that made me cry off and on for two days because it was so sad. It was just an idea he had scribbled down real quick, but the picture he painted was so vivid that it is actually making me tear up right now when I think about it.

John, you should really have a blog of your own. And I'm not just saying that because I love you.

Oh, now I'm totally off topic. See, this probably wouldn't happen to a more experienced blogger. Anyway, I love blogging. I look forward to writing in my blog. I like the people I've "met" since I started reading blogs, and having a blog of my own. I now feel a need to comment on everything. I was actually irritated this morning when I read a story on CNN.com and there wasn't anyplace for me to leave a comment. Then I remembered that was a blogging thing, not an everywhere thing.

And I think it is already helping me be a better writer at work. Remember the much complained about book copy? I just brought that campaign to a very successful conclusion this week, due to two pieces I wrote without any input from my boss, who is on vacation. Plus, I just wrote a letter for another product that turned out really well. It was hard to write too, because the editor has a very different style than product I usually write for.

So yay for blogging!

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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Dear Comcast,

Could you please shut off my cable? Please?

It's been almost two weeks since my husband and I cancelled our cable as part of our "it's time to get serious" getting fit campaign. We've been doing pretty well with the healthy eating. But, you won't shut off our cable. And we know it is still on. So, we watch. And watch. And watch some more.

Last night, when I got home, did I do one of my workout videos? No, I watched a rerun of the West Wing on Bravo. And ok, to be honest, I got home kind of late, so maybe I wouldn't have worked out then. But the West Wing didn't end until 8 o'clock, so by the time I made dinner, ate dinner and walked the dog, it was almost 10. And what did I do then?

I watched TV, of course. I really need to stop watching MSNBC -- it is bad for my blood pressure. Last night that Scarborough idiot was on, and he had this logo up that said "Moore's Lies?" which, if you didn't listen to what the person was saying, would you lead you to believe that Mr. Scarborough was reporting that Michael Moore lied about something. It's very sneaky the way they do stuff like that.

I also managed to fit in the season finale of the Real World San Diego and an epsiode of Chapelle 's Show. And then the Daily Show at 11. I only stopped watching TV because I was tired and knew I had to get up on time today.

So, Comcast, I beg you, please pull the plug!

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Monday, June 28, 2004

So many topics, so little time.

I had a very busy weekend, followed by an extremely busy work day, so I haven’t been able to get to my poor neglected blog. I’ve been thinking about it though. I just couldn’t pick what to write about.

Here are the highlights.

On Saturday I got up and walked Seamus and then went back to sleep. I love lazy mornings. Sometimes I struggle with guilt, because I can still hear my mom’s voice nagging me to “get up!” but Saturday was guilt-free. I got up around 10, feeling decadent, and watched a little TV with John. We still have cable, even though we cancelled our cable over a week ago. They still haven’t shut it off, and I keep watching it because I have no willpower. None.

I spent a lovely afternoon hanging out with Becky and Jon and assorted dogs at the pool. The weather was amazing – no humidity and not too hot. It wasn’t DC-like at all. And the pool was so nice – all tucked away in the woods and quiet. We got all caught up on work gossip (they’re former co-workers) and then just enjoyed the day. Luke the labradoodle was very offended by this Outback Steakhouse blimp that was flying overhead, and kept barking at it. Who knew a dog would even notice a blimp?
And we had delicious snacks. Plus they had C2, so I had to give it a try. It wasn’t bad. It didn’t have the artificial sweetener aftertaste that I hate so much about Diet Coke. I’m probably better off just limiting myself to the occasional real Coke, though.

On Sunday, I was reminded of all of the reasons I love my husband. We had a great conversation about our marriage, and past relationships and just, well, stuff. And then we went to see Fahrenheit 9/11. Which, if you’ve been paying any attention to what I say at all, you had to know I would go see. I think everyone should go see this movie.

Don’t like Bush? You’ll come out of the movie with even more reasons than you had going in.

Like Bush? Go see it anyway. There are a lot of facts in the movie that you just won’t hear about anywhere else. It may even change your mind, and if not, at least you’ll be making a more informed decision.

This was a hard movie for me to watch. I cry when fictional people are in pain or die. Fahrenheit 9/11 shows many real people in pain and dying. That’s what war does. But I made myself watch every minute, because those real people who are suffering and dying deserve at least that much from me.

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Friday, June 25, 2004

Today’s sticker? Probably a frowny face.

So, you know how I was all braggy yesterday about what a great employee I am? That didn’t last so long. Today went something like this:

Arrived late as usual. (It’s ok though. I always stay late. Always.)
Eat breakfast. Whole wheat English muffin with all natural peanut butter. Very healthy. Read blogs while eating.
Chat with co-worker about:
a) how all my friends are getting graduate degrees
b) how we are outraged that Metro is forcing people to buy Smartrip cards to pay for parking because they can’t keep their employees from stealing money. Debate how this will affect tourists.
c) the horrible eating habits of other co-workers children as seen at company picnic, which I did not attend. (Note to Chris – I had an exemption due to two team members being on vacation. And yes, you do get in trouble if you don’t go. I missed the Christmas party two years ago because I was sick, and I got a very sharp email about it from the assistant to the Chairman the next day.)

Actually start doing some work. Get broadcast team their formatted copy and lists by 11:15 am. Still haven’t seen my tests and it is 5:08. What the hell are they doing?
Waste a lot of time looking for blue checkered folders that I’m supposed to use for jobs for my product. Someone is hoarding folders, and when I find out who it is, they will pay. Finally track down two folders buried in file cabinet.
Put new job into web design.
Put new job into ecomm.
IM Becky about hanging out tomorrow.
Go to CNN.com and find article about Schwartzenegger. Write angry post about how evil he is.
Eat lunch. Pretty healthy – cheese sandwich and salad. Write an email. Read gossip on Eonline.com. What's the deal with DMX?
Go visit a co-worker. She’s busy, but does have tootsie rolls on her desk. Yummy.
Start getting headache. Storms are rolling in. Make tea.
Can’t concentrate. Go to LongandFoster.com and look at housing prices. I can only afford to live in Thurmont MD, apparently. That’s practically in Pennsylvania! Start looking at townhouses. Get caught by co-worker looking at townhouses I don’t really want in a place where I don’t really want to live.
Talk to him about renewal reporting.
Feel grumpy and poor.
Talk to husband about Farenheit 9/11. Can't get tickets until Sunday.
Write document for direct mail team and pass it along. Feel very virtuous for completing it on time.
Perform boring data entry to track renewals, because I said I would. Am proud to cross that off my list.
Ignore several other items on the list. Feel guilty, briefly. Then move them to Monday’s list.
Melissa calls. Yeah! She’s coming in on Wednesday. Give her directions. Round up other people to interview her.
Mutter to self about broadcast team. Really, what are they doing?
Decide to write a blog entry, confessing that I’ve lost my gold star from yesterday.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger is dead to me

I am never watching another Arnold Scwarzenegger movie. Ever.

I even liked the Terminator and Total Recall and some of the others. I didn't care for his conservatism, but I ignored it. Now, however, he has gone too far. Check out this article on CNN.com

My beloved Seamus was a stray. He was at the shelter for two weeks before I came in and adopted him. And he is the best dog ever. Not to mention that people whose pets wander away spend a lot of time looking for them, including calling shelters. Can you imagine if your pet ended up at the shelter and they killed it before you called the right shelter? Just because they didn't think it met some desirable pet criteria? What the hell does he have against birds, hamsters, potbellied pigs, rabbits, snakes and turtles, anyway?

Stupid animal-hating, planet-destroying, woman-groping asshole. I hope this backfires on him big time.

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Thursday, June 24, 2004

Today, I was a very good employee

That sound you hear is me patting myself on the back. But I deserve it! I've been wonder-employee today. I was so productive. My list is in ruins. Stuff crossed off all over the place. And some of it was hard. I just started working on a new product that is all about options strategies. Talk about a confusing subject. (Don't worry. I'm a marketer. Not the editorial person. I don't have to understand, although it does help.)

Plus, I had a phone interview with a potential hire who sounds very promising. Who needs Diane the jilter? It's all about Melissa now. She's going to come in next week to meet people in the office, and we're all going to love her. Love her. And she's going to want to come work here, and not want more $ than I can pay. Oh, just let me dream, for a little while...

This day gets a gold star.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I feel I should mention

After that last post, I feel I should say that I have a much better relationship with my parents now. Sort of. They had an extremely unhappy marriage, which then made them unhappy, and it trickled down to make me and my brother unhappy.

They finally got divorced last year. My mom is so much happier since she left my dad. And it only took me something like 15 years to convince her to do it. Seriously. I knew she should leave when I was still in high school. But her being happier in general has led to us getting along much better. I think she still thinks I'm kind of a loser because I don't have a big house or a fancy car, but that's ok. I've made my peace with the fact that she and I have different opinions about how I should live my life. As long as I'm happy with what I'm doing, I'm cool.

My dad? Well, he's nuts. I resent the way he treated my mom, my brother and me, so that gets in the way sometimes. When he's not acting crazy, he's ok. We went to the ballet a few times this year and had fun. And he can be very sweet, like when he gave John and me a bouquet of roses with the thorns removed as a wedding gift. But sooner or later, the craziness comes out, and I think to myself, "Oh, right. Now I remember. This is why I don't like you."

I love them both, of course. They are my parents. And I love my brother. I miss him. He's off in North Carolina, probably for many of the same reasons that I stayed in Boston after school. But he's smart enough to get a job at school where they let him live in the dorm, so he doesn't have to worry about furniture. Hi Tim!

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Eulogy for my futon

My futon couch is dying. I still hold out a little hope that we can fix it, but John is very pessimistic about our chances. Once of the main crossbars has broken off, and it is now held up by a pile of books. This is annoying because we’re trying very hard not to spend money. Also, it is a huge pain to move anything in or out of my place, which is on the top floor of my building. The building itself is at the bottom of a huge hill. And nowhere near the parking lot. We had kind of decided not to buy any new furniture until the glorious day comes that we can afford a house, and then we can have any new furniture sent there.

But what makes me really sad is, this is the first piece of furniture I bought for myself. Not only that, it is a symbol of my independence from my domineering family. My parents were not pleased when I decided to stay in Boston after college. Actually, they were downright hostile about it. All of my friends got things like cars and furniture and kitchen stuff and money as graduation gifts. The one thing I asked for was $150 so I could buy this futon and frame I had seen, because I didn’t have a bed. (And let me make this clear – my parents had plenty of money at the time. They had $150 to spare.) What I got was a lot of anger, yelling and dire predictions about how I was going to fail miserably and be starving in the streets in no time.

Naturally, this made me determined to prove them wrong. Even if I had been starving in the streets, I wouldn’t have come home, but luckily, it didn’t come to that. I still don’t know why they thought I was so useless. They had just spent a fortune to send me to one of the best colleges in the country. Anyway, I had an apartment, but no bed. I couldn’t sleep on the couch -- which naturally, belonged to one of my roommates -- that was already taken by our friend Ariane, who paid us discounted rent since she didn’t have her own room. Finally, Jules’ grandmother gave me this trundle bed she had, and lent me a dresser. I am a small person, and I barely fit in this bed. Still, it was something to sleep on, and I was grateful.

After a while I picked up a summer job working for the Park Service. As soon as I got my first paycheck, I bought myself the futon and frame that I wanted. It was so comfortable. And it was mine, all mine! (Did I mention that I was forbidden to take a lot of my stuff from my room in my parents’ house?) I took a photo of it and sent it home to my parents too. Jerks.

When I first moved in to my current place, I decided to buy a real bed and make the futon a couch, because my living room is huge and it needed more furniture. I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth, but still, the thought of saying goodbye to my futon is making me a little sad.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Short Attention Span Hilldery

Do you think it is possible to develop a 24 hour case of ADD? Because I can’t concentrate on anything today.

The day started off promisingly enough. I updated results from my current book renewal campaign. I love messing around in spreadsheets. That makes me seem even geekier than you already thought I was, doesn’t it? But my spreadsheets never hang up on me or send me snotty emails. Every once in a while they give me news I don’t want, but they are never rude about it. And I like taking a pile of numbers and turning it into useful information. It’s kind of why I like knitting. You start out with some balls of yarn, and then you turn it into a blanket or a sweater. Ok, to be honest, I’ve never actually made a sweater. But someday I’ll be a better knitter, and maybe then I’ll try to make a sweater.

See, I’m getting off track in my own blog! Where was I? Oh yeah, spreadsheet. Then I cleaned up some copy and sent it to Mr. Superior for approval. And then the trouble started. I’m working on some new copy (last chance to get your free book!) and I keep getting distracted.

First, I picked up some reports from my mailbox and started correcting all the details that are wrong on them. Forced myself to write another paragraph, stopped to look up a number I needed, and caught myself humming (Rage Against the Machine’s version of “The Renegades of Funk” if you’re interested) while examining my engagement ring, which looks like it might have some sort of build-up in the setting. Wrote another paragraph, which still needs a little work, and then decided that the little spotted dog on top of my computer would look better perched on my speaker. So I twisted him around so he could sit – I made him sit all slouchy like Seamus does – and realized I’d just spaced out again! I must focus, before disaster hits and I do something ditzy in front of one of my coworkers.

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Monday, June 21, 2004

A Happy Entry

I am determined to have a good week. And I'm tired of writing whiny blog entries. I'm sure other people are tired of reading them. So, here are a few good things that have happened to me recently.

On Saturday morning, I ran a couple of errands I had been putting off all week. This made me feel virtuous for finally taking care of them, even though I was the one who kept putting them off.

I finally got caught up on my latest knitting project, which I had ripped out and started over a couple of weeks ago. And this time, it is beautiful and mistake free.

I'm lucky in that I live right next to a park. My whole neighborhood backs up to it. On Saturday night I was walking Seamus and we paused by one of the entrances to the park. There were so many fireflies in the woods that they were all sparkly and practically glowing. It was magical. I can see why people believed in fairies.

I started a new book which I really like. (Disclaimer: Not everyone likes my taste in books. I once singlehandedly destroyed a book club by picking The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which I loved and everyone else hated.) Anyway, this new book is called Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. According to the book cover, it was a bestseller, but I missed it somehow. It's a collection of essays about the author's life, and he is funny. I mean, I was actually laughing out loud at some points. I think my favorite story so far is the one about his attempts to be an art major, culminating in a crystal meth fueled performance art piece at the local art museum. See? Not everyone will find that funny. I thought it was hysterical. But then again, I ran with the art school crowd at times.


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Friday, June 18, 2004

I am so glad this week is over

Hilldery's work week:

Monday: Knowingly take action that will piss off Mr. Infuriatingly Superior.

Tuesday: Suffer the wrath of Mr. Infuriatingly Superior. Deal with the beginnings of the crisis that comes to a head on

Wednesday: Horrible day with much drama, misery all around and finally, at the very end, the blow that makes me want to hide under the desk.

Thursday: Poke head out from under desk. Win $25. Work on solution to problems that made Wednesday so horrible. Deal with attitude from Mr. Superior, who is going to make me pay for Monday's actions for quite some time. Start to feel better, but end up muttering to self about Mr. Superior while walking the dog, which is supposed to be fun time. I need to learn to not let people get to me.

Friday: Unsuspectingly come to work thinking the worst is behind me. Get hung up on by Ms. Unprofessional Baby (a coworker of Mr. Superior) when I tell her she can't run the offer she wants to run. I told her that yesterday, but I guess she didn't believe me. So she waits until 4:45 on Friday to call me, gets pissy when she can't change my mind, and hangs up on me! And goes to her boss, who calls my boss to say how unreasonable I am. I think the entire company might hate me. I'm actually a very nice, reasonable person. I really am!

So then, at 5:10, my phone rings. It's my new hire who is supposed to start on Monday. But another opportunity has come along and she wants to pursue it, so does she have to start on Monday? Sigh. Good luck with your other opportunity. We don't want someone who doesn't actually want to work here. So now I have to rescind my offer and -- ugh -- start interviewing again.

I'd say that next week will be better, but my boss is on vacation, and I just know that Mr. Superior and Ms. Baby are cooking up ways to make my life hell.

But I'm not going to think about that this weekend. I'm going to relax and put work out of my mind. No matter what!

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Spot the lie

This is totally stolen from Slate's Chatterbox:

This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al Qaeda.
—President Bush, in an exchange with reporters, June 17, 2004

[A]cting pursuant to the Constitution and [the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002] is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
—President Bush, in a letter to Congress outlining the legal justification for commencing war against Iraq, March 18, 2003

I wish there was some way that as you read these quotes, I could play that Henry Rollins song where he just yells "LIAR!" a lot.

Because, see, Bush lied. The people in his administration lie. And people are dying because of it. Hell, Cheney is still trying to connect Saddam Hussein, 9/11 and al-Qaeda.

Vote Kerry!


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Thursday, June 17, 2004

So, yesterday? totally sucked. Today is better.

I'm not even sure where to begin describing how much I did not enjoy yesterday. It wasn't the worst day I've ever had at work. But it has made the top ten list.

First, I had an enormous amount of work to do. This is partially because I have a lot to do, and partially because on Monday I did the thing where you work on little easy stuff all day because you just don't want to work on the hard projects. So, I screwed myself there. And I came in to 15 emails from my boss that just added to the pile.

Then, well, my day went off track. I don't think I should talk about the details, since this isn't about me, but I will say this -- it's much harder to be a manager, and to try to be a good manager than I ever thought it would be. And frustrating when you try to help and just can't fix the problem. At times, I wondered if I was actually making the situation worse, instead of better. But after a lot of stress for everyone involved, we got things worked out in the end.

Only to have another (kind of related) bombshell land in my lap.

Which meant that while I did get some work done during the day, I didn't really get started on my work until 6 pm. And then I got to end the day with a big fight with my husband, who thinks I let my job take advantage of me (and who was also annoyed that he had to wait for me because he had the car yesterday.) We don't fight all that much, and I hate it when we do.

But we made up. And I'm working on the plan to deal with the bombshell that will make everything ok. Plus, I just won $25 on trivia at Recognition Day, and now I'm eating free pizza while I blog.

And, what did I see when I checked out my blog? Comments! Nice ones, from Claire, Chris, Zoot and Amalah! All bloggers I like. Go read them! You'll like them too, I swear. Amalah added me to her blogroll, so the number of links to my site has doubled this week! And she was very encouraging about me attending JournalCon.

So, today is better.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Feelings (woh-woh-woh...)

I’m usually a pretty even-keeled person. But today I’ve been all over the place.

This morning I was:

Worried about my Seamus, because he got really worn out last night after playing with another dog for just a little bit. I did not need a reminder that he is getting older.

Cranky, because my stupid stockings went on all twisty. I finally gave up and put on pants.

Pensive about my conversation with Jules yesterday. More on this later. I still haven’t sorted it out yet.

Excited, after I checked my blog and saw that I had gotten a comment from someone who I do not know at all. Naturally, I immediately checked out his blog. I liked it, and not just because he left me a comment.

Sad, for Amalah, whose dad is sick. I also do not need a reminder that my parents are getting older.

Anxious, because I did something yesterday that I knew Mr. Infuriatingly Superior, one of the people I work with, wouldn’t like. I was right to do it, but I had to tell him about it today. Which I did, by email. Cowardly, I know, but it’s not like he ever picks up the phone when I call.

This afternoon, I was:

Indecisive and clumsy at Whole Foods, where I went to get lunch. Nothing looked good, and I almost took out a whole display of baked goods and a guy at the sushi counter with my basket.

Thrilled when I checked the blogs I read while I ate my lunch (balsamic roasted tofu, herbed orzo and tomatoes) and saw that enthusiasticclaire added me to her blogroll list. It’s the first link from anywhere to my site :) Thanks, Claire!

Pleased by the way my boss backed me up when Mr. Infuriatingly Superior responded to my email. She said many nice things about me, including the most important point, which is that I was right.

Happy just thinking about the fact that my friend Laila is coming home for good on July 19th.

Guilty
, knowing that while Laila wants to come home now, she’s had a rough year, and this isn’t exactly the way she had planned for things to turn out and I shouldn’t be so damn happy about it. So let me make it clear: I’m happy my very bestest friend from high school will be close by. I’m not happy about the circumstances that have brought her home.

Irritated by the fact that my electric bill tripled from last month. Tripled! I got some letter saying the rates were going up due to increased competition. Huh? Isn’t increased competition supposed to make the rates go down, because people can shop around for the best deal? Well, guess what, Pepco? I’ll be checking out the competition now.

And now I’m:

Looking forward to going home.We’re having takeout for dinner. Yummy!

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Monday, June 14, 2004

Is this normal?

Or, have I found yet another way to be geeky?

I had a couple of fun conversations yesterday. First, John and I discussed the measures we would take if everyone in the world got zombified, like in 28 Days Later or the new Day of the Dead movie. (Disclaimer: this is not something we’re actually worried about.) We debated different approaches -- I favored heading for the country, where the zombie population would be lower, but John thought we’d be better off staying put. How Seamus would be able to poop without risking zombie attacks -- we figure our nosy next door neighbor would try to talk to the zombies and get infected/bitten almost immediately, so we could just teach him to go in her place. How we would avoid notice – blacking out the windows and avoiding light at night. Then, Laila and I got into a discussion of the many valid points in my Day After Tomorrow post. (We also decided a) Jake Gyllenhal is cute, b) not too young for us c) Laila could totally take Kirsten Dunst in a fight.)

Anyway, after I got off the phone with Laila, I realized something about myself. Once the story (movie, book, anecdote, whatever) is over, I wonder what comes next. In fact, that can sometimes be the most interesting part of the story. For example, in The Day After Tomorrow, how many people survived the storm? Is everyone who survived in Mexico, or did all of those places that I think are really boring like Oklahoma and Kansas come through unscathed? Will they become the happening new places? Will people use technology to try to continue living in the more northerly places? What about Europe? I always wondered that about The Stand too. They show all this devastation in the U.S., but in the book, it mentions something about the military making sure the superflu spread all over the world once it became clear what was happening. What happened to all the people in the other countries? And back in the U.S., once the bad guys are defeated, does everyone have to learn how to be a farmer so they can have food to eat?

Do other people wonder about this stuff? Normal people, not the ones who do stuff like create fan art (a scary phenomenon I only recently discovered) or who write stories based on other people’s characters (which is wondering what comes next and taking it to a whole new level.) Where does the line between being a creative and imaginative person and just plain being an obsessive geek lie?

And even more importantly, have I crossed it?

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Saturday, June 12, 2004

TCB

Taking care of business. That's what I've been up to, and it is the perfect antidote for feelings of insecurity.

On Thursday, I was way too busy working to worry about snubs, or project territoriality. I much prefer that. At lunch, I did manage to figure out how to get my blogroll posted. See the lovely "Blogs I Read" section in the sidebar? I did that, with a little help from the free code provided by the Blogrolling people.

And then I figured out how to switch to a different kind of comments format. I didn't like the comments that Blogger offered, so I found other free code from HaloScan that helped me switch to new comments. I'm sure it's not that hard to do, but I felt like a genius after I got it to work. John has given me one of his html books, so I'll be seeing what else I can mess around with.

I spent yesterday cleaning -- a little trick I learned from my firend Jules. If your life feels chaotic, bringing a little order to your surroundings can help. And it did. I vacuumed, cleaned the kitchen and bathroom, and did laundry. Then I rewarded myself with a little movie called Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Azkaban is my favorite book in the series, and I thought they did a good job with the movie. Very enjoyable.

Last night, while walking Seamus in the pouring rain, I decided that I should stop being a wussy and just go to the Journal Con thing. If I don't like it, I can always leave. And who knows? I might even meet some interesting new people.

Today I ran errands and then came home and recaulked my tub. I've needed to do it for months, but kept putting it off for some reason. Now I remember why. Spending an hour and half scraping out old, moldy caulk sucks. Yuck. But it is done, and my bath looks pretty and white again. For now, the mold/mildew is defeated.

And I went out and bought a bunch of healthy food. Salad stuff! Tofu! Yogurt dip! String cheese! I am now all about a) portion control b) not eating crap and c) regular exercise. It's time to get serious. John and I are cancelling the cable tv on Friday (we're paid up until then) and we are going to be super healthy all summer. We know what we need to do, and we're going to get up off our lazy asses and do it.

And that's what I call taking care of business.

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Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Feeling insecure and hating it

I'm feeling very insecure today. And I don't like it.

I found out people went out to lunch and didn't invite me. Which naturally means everyone hates me.

My boss has someone else on my team running a test that I could do with one hand tied behind my back. Which is probably why she's having someone else do it, so they can learn, but it is bugging me.

I read about this Journal Con blogger's convention that is going to be right here in DC in August. And I'd kind of like to go. But I've only had a blog for approximately 5.2 seconds, and the other bloggers might think I'm total poser.

Which makes me irritated with myself, because why do I care what other people think?

And then I got all worried because my friends are far away and they are going to get mad at me because I can't afford to go see them. I really want to -- I miss them all. I just can't. Not until August, when I get my stock options check. Then I'll pay off the evil credit cards and start saving money for travel. And stuff. I'm not hugely possesion-oriented, but it would be nice to, say, see a book that looked interesting and buy it instead of waiting for two years for it to show up at the library.

And of course, I feel fat. Which, let's face it, is because I need to lose weight. But it is adding to the insecurity factor.

Grrr. I need to snap out of this.

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Gosh, my friend Julie is having a baby!

My friend Julie just sent me the "photos" from her sonogram. I've known she was pregnant for a while, but for some reason, seeing the baby just makes it so real. You can totally tell it is a baby too. I'm getting all misty eyed.

So Julie, lots of love to you and your gorgeous, gorgeous baby :)

Hill

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I feel better now

The Washington Post is backing me up about Reagan:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A26306-2004Jun8.html

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Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Now I'm conflicted

Because I posted the rant about Reagan. And I stand by everything I said, I really do. But I just got handed a memo saying that they are closing the offices on Friday so we can go to the funueral procession or watch it on TV. An extra day off? Really? Ok.

No, wait. I wish I could post this memo. It is the exact opposite of my rant. And it says that Reagan restored dignity to the White House. I was unaware that Jimmy Carter was undignified. Ok, I'm back to being irritated. Conflict resolved.

And I get a day off!

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Ronald Reagan Was Not a Saint

I am so tired of all of the overblown Reagan eulogizing that is going on. Every conservative in the US – as well as a bunch in England for some reason – has gone nuts with the praise since Reagan died on Saturday. I realize he was the president for 8 years. And, despite the fact that I don’t think he was a particularly good president, he was an influential president. I think he deserves a State funeral, and all the pageantry and pomp, and circumstance that goes with it.

But the man was not a saint. He was an actor who was very good at reading the lines that his scriptwriters, I mean speechwriters, gave him. At least that’s more than good ol’ George W can claim, but it doesn’t make him the greatest president ever, which is what they’re selling. I don’t know how much of the policy making of his administration came from him. But there were a lot of seriously flawed policies that came out of his administration. Remember the “ketchup is a vegetable” decision? Everyone loves to laugh about that one. I’m sure it was a real barrel of laughs to the kids who were getting free lunch (and there were plenty of them in the Reagan years) and suddenly found themselves with less food. The next time you’re hungry, try making yourself a ketchup sandwich. See how nutritious and filling that is.

Then there are all of the typical conservative environment-hating policies. James Watt was a real winner as Secretary of the Interior. Iran Contra, of course. Reckless nuclear proliferation and brinkmanship. Remember the Evil Empire speech? I grew up during the Reagan years, and I remember, vividly, how my friends and I were quite sure there would be a nuclear war at some point. There was even a series of young adult books about life after a nuclear war, where the kids were trying to survive and find what was left of their families. How messed up is that?

In the 1980’s the rich got a whole lot richer, and the poor got poorer. The AIDS epidemic went ignored. The rise of crack led to record numbers of homicides and people in jail. The stock market tanked spectacularly in 1987. Social programs and education funding were cut so we could buy tanks and missiles and aircraft carriers for the Cold War.

There were a lot of problems which shouldn’t be glossed over in the hysteria over Reagan’s death. It’s not realistic. If have to listen to one more Reagan administration official gush, I’m probably going to throw up. Why isn’t anyone presenting the whole picture? Interview someone who didn’t like Reagan. The House and Senate were filled with Democrats who disagreed with almost every policy decision that came out of the Reagan White house. Where are they? Yes, plenty of people loved him and thought he was a great president. But plenty of people didn’t, and that should be recognized too. Because Ronald Reagan was not a saint.

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Monday, June 07, 2004

A Comic Book Guy moment

I saw the movie The Day After Tomorrow this weekend. While it wasn’t the worst disaster movie I’ve ever seen, I just never got caught up in the momentum of the story. This allowed me to see all of the many, many problems with the plot. The special effects were very good – I’ll give them credit for that. Loved the ship sailing up 5th Avenue. The 80 feet of snow or whatever looked cool. But here’s what Hollywood has to learn…you need writers! You really do! Here, in no particular order, are a few of the problems I have with this movie:

1. People are holed up in the NewYork Public Library. All of New York has seriously flooded (ship sailing up 5th Ave, remember?) and then frozen solid and a freak blizzard is raging outside. So when Jake Gyllenhall tries to keep people from following the cop outside by telling them that they will freeze to death very quickly, why doesn’t anyone listen? He’s making sense, and yet the only people who stay with him are his friends, two librarians, and a homeless guy and his dog. Are we all really supposed to be that stupid?
1a. When the people who leave the library start freezing to death, they are still in New York City! It’s not like they all keeled over at once. Why don’t they go inside one of the many buildings that are all around them and try to get warm and wait out the storm?

2. The guys at the weather station in Scotland. Everyone says they are going to die when their generator runs out. Why is that, exactly? The folks at the New York Public Library don’t have one. There’s a whole of stuff they could be setting on fire for warmth.
2a. Then, the guys in Scotland break out the 12 year old whiskey because they know the end is near, and their toasts are “To England, to mankind, and to Manchester United?” I don’t think so. Maybe Man United. No way on the other two.

3. Dennis Quaid and two other guys head out to try to rescue the people in New York. They’re climatologists and they are the only ones who truly understand the storm, so they pack up a pick-up truck and head north. A pick-up truck? Wouldn’t a snowmobile make more sense?
3a. Naturally, they have to abandon the pick-up truck around Philadelphia. As they head north on foot, the somehow end up walking across the glass roof of a mall. They just wandered off the highway onto the roof of a building? Possible, but it seems like a stretch. I just think they could have come up with some more creative obstacles for the climatologists to run into.

4. The wolves. They show all these animals at the zoo going nuts before the storm hits. This actually makes sense, because animals are supposed to be able to tell about that sort of thing. But, somehow the wolves escape from the zoo and turn up later as villains. So, what, the approaching storm gave the wolves super zoo-escaping powers? What about the rest of the animals? If it was so easy for the wolves to get out, why didn’t the polar bears bust out of this half-assed zoo and frolic in the snow?

5. What was the point of the plotline about the mom (Sela Ward) getting stuck in the hospital with the little boy who had cancer? Nothing happened. She sat around looking sadly at the falling snow and at the little boy whose tumor was so bad that he can’t see. And then the ambulance guys showed up.

6. The president and vice-president are clearly supposed to be Bush and Cheney. Evil, environment hating vice-president who looks like he eats small children. Younger, confused president who doesn’t know how to deal with a crisis. Got it. So, when the big storm hits and they are evacuating everyone, the president stays in the White House until everyone else is gone, and then the motorcade doesn’t make it? First of all, no way would George W EVER put someone else’s safety before his. EVER. Second of all, this is the president. They aren’t going to have the best Artic trained military guys and all of the top of the line equipment ready to get him out? No, they’re just going to chuck him in a limo and head out into the snow. And why don’t they show the motorcade going over a cliff or whatever? That would be more exciting than the falling through the roof scene.
6b. Cheney would NEVER have a change of heart at the end of the movie and admit he was wrong. A heart attack, maybe. But not a change of heart.

And I’m not even talking about the science part of it. I don’t actually know if the science behind this movie is even remotely valid. My guess would be probably not. But I’m willing to suspend my disbelief for an hour and a half. Just don’t treat me like an idiot.

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