Wednesday, April 26, 2006

You know what's wrong with "lost pet" flyers? Lack of follow-up. I want to know if Oscar the cat was ever found, or if the puppy those hippies downtown didn't put on a leash (because, presumably, all creatures deserve to be free) ended up getting crushed by a car like I predicted. I am addicted to watching Animal Precinct, and they always provide me with closure: That dog died from starvation, and here's the asshole responsible, going off in handcuffs. This dog got its leg amputated but now has a happy new home. Stuff like that. But these lost posters, they just hang around on telephone poles and parking signs until the tape deteriorates and they fall off in the rain. It's very unsatisfying.

Speaking of telephone poles, I had to go to Hadley this morning, and several crews of electricians in those bucket-ladder trucks (I'm sure there's a name for them, but I'm not a five-year-old boy, so I don't know what it is) appeared to be connecting the power lines in the new row of poles on Rt. 9. They're widening the road there, you see, which means the telephone poles that once were snug against the roadway had to be moved back about 8 feet. So for months there's been a double-row of poles and wires. And now, progress!

It's spring, and in the spring I always want to 1. buy a house or a condo, and 2. get a dog. So far I haven't taken any steps in either of these directions, which is probably a very good thing. But it doesn't mean I won't waste some time on Petfinder (look at this guy! Or this cutie, or this one. Ow, my heart hurts...) or on the MLS searches, doing a little virtual window shopping. Sigh...


Friday, April 21, 2006

So, I Learned About Diversity. And while there was some obvious stuff about how hearing diverse voices makes our product better, it was relatively non-patronizing. They were very into us tapping the very-quickly-growing hispanic market. And by "us" I mean the other, bigger magazine that shares its office with ours. There was only one instance where a co-worker said, "I mean, when I was a little kid my best friend was black. I didn't care what color she was!" Which is just such a cliche. Everyone has had that experience -- well, maybe not the people who grew up in Whitey Hills, where I live how. But still, it doesn't mean you are more open-minded or special.

There was one activity where we broke into five groups, each one being a different station on the "scale of tolerance." We could pick where we went, so of course I raced right over to number 5, Repulsion. Then the leaders read out scenarios about a fictional co-worker, and we were to write down a response to match the level of tolerance we were at. All of the old-timer cynical snarksters had run over to Repulsion with me, so our responses were pretty awesome. We hated this fictional co-worker so much that when he'd say something in a meeting, we'd start shaking our heads in disagreement as soon as he started to speak, and once he was finished we'd cut in with a "That would never, ever work." At the end the leaders had us rate this fictional co-worker's chances of success in the company, and of course we were supposed to say "0-10%" or something. But the members of the Repulsion team are so jaded and bitter that we ended up answering "50%, because obviously someone liked him enough to hire him in the first place, so there's a good chance he'll get promoted to management."

I'm not sure what the point of the exercise was.

All in all it was pretty painless. And now I can say I've been trained in diversity!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Wow, it's been a week already! I have been sick, so between all of the extra napping and tea-and-soup eating and the not-leaving-the-house, it's like no time has passed (or that ALL time has passed...). I am assuming I caught something on my Florida trip, which makes me afraid of what will happen on the big family trip I'm taking over the week of Memorial Day. It will be my first real vacation, well, ever in my adult life (and it's with my parents and my sister -- how fucking sad is THAT). I'll have to try that Airborne crap, even though echinacea has finally been proven to be bullshit. Zinc and C still work, though.

It's all pretty out. But I still feel like shit. A week ago I was looking forward to beginning my after-work bike rides in the countryside, but because my body is filled with ague, my bike remains crammed into my storage space in the basement. I didn't go out at all on the weekend, so I missed whatever spring-fever/full-moon deliriousness might have been happening downtown. Last night in bed I had a horrible tickly sore throat problem. It took me forever to fall asleep, and I had to be on my stomach with my face planted in the mattress so there'd be no post-nasal drippage. And then I woke up at dawn with my throat so dry and tickly and painful that I could not stop coughing and gagging, and I had to pop a Hall's and fall asleep with it in my mouth. I woke up with a sliver of it still undissolved on my tongue. Good times.

Diversity training is this Thursday. I can't wait. I will give you a full report.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I have recently heard from someone in the know that the janitorial staff at my office doesn't recycle. Oh, WE recycle, but THEY take our blue bins full of paper and dump them into the bags containing the regular trash. This happens in the evening when everyone has gone home and they can do their dastardly deeds in private (save for the aforementioned someone-in-the-know, who works late). I want to write a note and tape it to the top of my blue bin that says, "Why do you hate America?" Or maybe "God knows when you lie about recycling." Or "Every time you throw away office paper, a kitten dies, screaming." Maybe all three, over a course of a week.

Monday, April 10, 2006

My trip went well. It was wonderful to wear shorts, a tank top, and sandals, and still feel warm. I saw some b-list celebrities, I went on a whole bunch of rides, ate free food and drank a couple of free drinks, walked for miles, swam in a pool, saw a bunch of wild animals... Pretty good for a one-night trip. At the evening reception thingy for all of the media people, I met a guy who recognized me from a first-person article I wrote (and was photographed for) in the old magazine several years ago. I've been waiting to be recognized from that article for years, and finally my dream has come true. I did chat with a few strangers, but it was actually kind of nice. They were all gregarious people who approached me (sitting/standing alone) so that probably had something to do with it. I only talked about the snow with a couple of guys from Boston.

Between that trip, doing a bunch of spring cleaning on Saturday and then dancing at the Steamtrain show, and going on a marathon trip to Ikea yesterday, I feel like now is the time to get back into exercising for reals. I have more house work to do tonight, and then I'll have to keep up the activity some other way. I finally discovered how beautiful and desolate and big the "meadows" are (I think it's the meadows... they're mostly corn fields, though, right? Near the dike? I hope a local can back me up here) when I rode my bike around there last year, and I want to explore those dirt roads more. I would enjoy it more if I had a bike seat that doesn't make my womanly parts "fall asleep". (Was that too much information?)

Ikea was great by the way. We thought we'd just be there a couple of hours but before we knew it almost 4 hours had passed. Oh so much tiredness at the end of it all. As usual, a couple of the things I really wanted were out of stock. Luckily, I found one of the out-of-stock things in the scratch-and-dent section. I still managed to spend $250 ($150 of that was one chair-with-footrest; both Vena Red, beech veneer). I have been reading Apartment Therapy a lot lately, and there are many Ikea devotees there. I saw a bunch of items I recognized from their "smallest, coolest apartment" contest. The commenters on that site would probably say I have too many colors going on in my living room, and they would be right. Perhaps I need some throw pillows that pull together the red Ikea chair, the orange office chair, the blue lamp, and the purple sofa together... Sigh.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I woke up this morning and looked outside, and it was snowing. There was snow coating all of the trees and the bushes and the leafy buds on the trees and the bushes (lots of leafy buds, since it is, after all, April). It made me happy because now I have a good topic of conversation during the press event I'm attending tomorrow. I love to travel on someone else's dime but there's always shmoozing involved. I find that to be hard work. I am a quiet person until I feel like I really know someone, but in these situations I have to be chatty -- at least a little chatty, until I think up a way to escape and go off on my own. This particular event involves riding a new ride, and I really don't want to get stuck riding it with one of my "contacts," because on this ride, screaming will be happening, and that's just kind of strange and icky and too intimate to do with a person with whom you have only a professional relationship.

Anyway, it's very cold out today, and I had to break out the legwarmers (to wear under my jeans) for one last time. Did you know that not only are bubble skirts back in style, but leggings are, too? I can't believe that 80's fashion trends are back. I am going to assume the leggings-with-tunic look is not going to be worn by anyone over, say, age 25; some trends, like the shrug, or fake-vintage t-shirts, don't usually rise up into my age range, probably because people in their 30s like me wore bubble skirts the first time around (and they looked ridiculous back then, too) and have t-shirts that are old and worn-out enough to be genuine vintage. I don't think I ever owned a bubble skirt, but I do still have a pair of leggings I got as a teen from Contempo Casuals (which was very hip in my high school). They're black and have lace trim, and Urban Outfitters is currently selling an exact replica of them. Perhaps this means I can liberate them from underneath my pants! Except I don't want to look like that too-skinny blonde woman on South Street who appears to be in her 40s but dresses like she's 16. Hmmm...

One good thing about this season's fashion for girls/women: The shirts are very forgiving. They're long, and often they're not tight -- in fact, most of them are quite flowy and poofy. You can see what I mean here and here and here.

However, note that the worst trend of 80's fashion has appeared: The geometric graphic. Look at this shirt, and despair.