Almost there...

Monday, December 22, 2003

The Kharma Fairy has been working on overdrive to save my ass lately. I've been doing to much to actually keep up with the details, and not sleeping nearly enough, and it's bitten me in the ass several times over the past few days. Somehow, I've come through it all completely unscathed.

Saturday, on the way to Gaskell, I noticed that my wallet was no longer in my bag. Hoping for the best, I decided not to panic until tomorrow when I'd be back at Fezziwigs and able to scrounge for it backstage. I got back on Sunday and couldn't find it there any of the possible obvious locations. I decided to wait on the full scale panic until after the end of the day. Around 3:00, Babs (our stage manager) caught me backstage and said the lead stage manager was looking for me. He had my wallet, much thumbed through, but everything was there save for the $21 I had. Credit cards, driver's license, reimbursement check from work, health insurance card, and everything else was still intact. It was discovered backstage at the other end of town. How it got there from our backstage, I'll never know. But it did, and I thought to myself that I'll cheerfully pay a $21 penalty for my inattention to properly securing my valuables. (I could've easily left my main wallet in the car and been much better off.)

As I was packing up on Sunday, I grabbed my little London handbag. I opened it to make sure I had everything important. In it was $21, neatly folded, that I had not placed there. I don't know who my guardian angel is, but they've now earned a special place in heaven, and they've given me a renewed sense of the goodness of people.

Today I was headed out to the Cow Palace to help tear down the warehouse. After a rather distracting earthquake in the late morning, I left the house rather less fully prepared than I'd intended. With a Hot Pocket in one hand, I headed toward the freeway, intending to not be too terribly late. I forgot one very important detail - I needed to stop for gas. I've never actually run out of gas before, so when my car started failing, I thought it was that I was in the wrong gear. By the time I'd reached the bottom of the onramp and had to merge, my car had died, and I was just putting the pieces together. By the time I was fully stopped with hazzard lights on, a chap in a pickup had pulled over and was walking over to push me out of the way. By all rights, I should be dead now, but he pushed me out of the roadway onto the shoulder. We made it to the side, and he loaned me his phone to call Triple A. Before I could finish the call, a CalTrans Freeway Rescue patrol truck had pulled up. I gave the first good samaritan his phone back, and he went on his way. I thanked him profusely, but didn't even catch his name. The Freeway Rescue chap, David, poured first one, then two gallons of gasoline in for free and after the second, the car started up and behaved as though nothing had ever been wrong. I said, "You must be everybody's hero." He said, "Almost." Wonder what he meant by "almost." He asked me to fill out a survey card and drop it in the mail. I tried to give him a tin of truffles, but he insisted that he wasn't allowed to accept gratuities of any kind, especially this time of year. I thanked again as best I could. Wish I could've hugged them both.

A bit shaken, I headed to the gas station for a fill-up, and a free car wash, and a much needed cup of coffee. Then I headed back home to grab my cel phone and call David at Fezziwigs and ask if they could still use my help even though I'll be late. He said I should stay home and have a day off and he'd see me on the third for the Peers Twelfth Night Ball.

I don't know what god or spirit or cosmic force is looking out for me, but I'm very glad they are.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

The Great Fezziwigs Diet Plan - eat all you want and still lose inches from your waist. Two inches in fact since the start of fair. Now I've got the pick of any number of dresses in my closet for Gaskells tomorrow. I can't seem to find my lace shirt, so what I was planning to wear is right out. Now to decide between the other options. Two months, ten pounds, and at least 2 inches around the waist makes all the difference in the world on my fashion options. Now if I could just drop another ten by June, then I'll get to wear my prom dress to the June Gaskells. Here's hoping! Of course, I've got to stop eating like I have for the past three weeks. Been a bit of a see-food diet lately. This week has been especially bad, including See's candy, Krispy Kremes, bagels and sun-dried tomato schmear, and the ITSS Christmas party and Rachel's turkey all in one night. But still, I'm just below 150 pounds, and that's such a relief. With the start of the new year, I'll be taking a Dance Fitness class with Joan at lunchtime on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and back to eating my regular meals again. And cooking. I haven't cooked in a month. Time is too precious, and the burrito shop on Dana is too tempting. But in the meantime, I get to wear whatever I want tomorrow, and my new boots too. Yay!

Friday, December 19, 2003

You know that AFA poll? Today the split is 57.3/42.7 in favor of legalization of some form of gay marriage. 49.3% is for legalization of gay marriage. I hope the AFA shows this to the congresscritters. Oh yes I do.

T minus 4 hours and 5 minutes until the university shuts down. I'm busy moving into my new office, wrapping up a couple of mini details, and generally mentally checked out. My roommate is already gone for the break. I'll probably be here til five. But there's 2 weeks of glorious, much needed time off calling to me. I have one major plan for Monday - sleep. Lots of sleep. Maybe helping tear down at Fezzis. But only after the sleeping. And dinner with Mice and Wendy. Then we're off to points north - Novato for a family reunion on Tuesday, Sacramento for Christmas Eve and Christmas with the families - my mom's side on Christmas Eve, my dad's side and Rick's family on Christmas Day, and the group on Christmas Day Evening. Then on the 26th we fly to Seattle to see Dirk and Tracey and Camryn and meet Eleanor, and see their new house in Ravenna. On the 30th we fly back and I start cooking for Krazy Khabib's New Year's Festival. January 2nd is Friday Night Waltz. On January 3rd I'm painting my office. On Sunday, I'll rest. Then it's back to work.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

I love grassroots movements. The American Family Association, self-appointed keepers of "family values" in America, decided to run a poll and advertise it to their members to show that America wants nothing to do with gay marriage. They're intending to show the results of this completely unscientific poll to congress to prove that America doesn't really want gay marriage. The poll is flawed in so many ways - lack of random sample, questioning method that skews the results, and so on - that I can't even begin to comment there. But when I first heard about this poll and went and voted for gay marriage, it was 98% in opposition to allowing gay marriages or civil unions. But word has gotten out. They started the poll, but the rest of us are responding, fighting back. Right now, if you combine the last two questions (which split civil unions and gay marriage against the single opposition question), then it's been pushed down to an almost 60/40 split. 60% are still in opposition, but 40% are for some sort of legalization of gay monogamy, with 33.6% of that favoring actually gay marriage.

I've received at least 3 emails asking me to be aware of the poll and go vote from sources that presume I'll vote contrary to the ideals of the American Family Association (rightly so!). I've seen it posted on two websites. The American Family Association picked the wrong medium. The internet community is on average more well educated and politically liberal than the type of family in their association. Average Joe in Nebraska raising his family doesn't have broadband and probably doesn't work at a computer with web access all day long. I will not be shocked if we manage to shave another 10% off that balance before it's over. Not shocked, but very very pleased. And then I'd like to see some other organization co-opt the results and show them to Congress, since the American Family Association probably isn't terribly interested in showing off their results anymore.

I waited too long on decisions about RotK, and ended up having Google save my butt. Kev and Rachel were planning to go to a 2pm show with Google, but he had a meeting in the way and she would have to leave before the movie ended to get to work on time, so Kev replanned and asked if Rick and I would like to join him for an 8:30 show at the Mercado. Oh yes I would! And we did! And it was good.

Legolas versus the elephant was my favorite part. Elves rock.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Oh, and as for the Saddam Hussein capture this weekend, I awoke to the news on Sunday morning, and immediately thought, "Well, methinks W has just won his reelection." With the Dow crossing the 10k mark and capturing Saddam in the same week, all just a few weeks before the annual state of the union address, Bush will have a hell of a lot of sudden momentum and platform to stand on.

Some other pundits have noticed the same thing.

I know it's useless, but I'm still rooting for Kerry. Sigh.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Ohmygodohmygodohmygod!!! I just got my boots in the mail. They are purrrrrrrfect. I'm going to see if I can get a rubber heel for them so that I can wear them this weekend. They're dreamy. They fit perfectly. I've never bought shoes online before because I always fear fit issues. These are glorious. I will convince someone to take a photo this weekend if I can. Happy happy joy joy!!

Been so busy. Finally reached the point where I'm too busy to do it all. Blog falls by the wayside.

It was a busy, but good, weekend of Dickens for me. Sunday I competed in the costume competition and lost, but fairly so. The winning contestants were a mother-daughter pair, and the runner up had the most amazing striped silk taffeta ball gown. Better yet, like my fabric, hers was purchased at Wal-Mart as a bolt-end for $1 a yard. I don't know where Wal-Mart picks up these lots of fabric, but lordy they're lovely. I received complements on how well fitted my outfit was. All my thanks go to Athena. Were I to revisit how to make the competition more interesting for spectators, I would still have the ladies of the comittee select the participants by spotting them in the street, but I would have the audience choose their favorite outfit. As it was, the ladies of the comittee inspected each outfit and judged it on their own criteria. The audience was just left to look at the other contestants and wait.

Beyond that, I danced like a maniac both days, had yummy Scottish meat pies both days, and enjoyed not being sick both days.

Back at work, I have to move my office to another room in the same building. This is a major nuisance, but my manager and I talked on Monday, and she knows I got the fuzzy end of the lollipop last week, has totally taken APLAC off my plate, and has offered me a $100 bonus to decorate the new office. I'll be buying some lamps with natural light bulbs to compensate for the total lack of windows. I'll much miss having the winter sun on my back as it is right now. I also got permission to paint the walls whatever color I choose, so Jo-Ann and I are thinking yellow will be nice. I think having Jo-Ann as a roommate will be nice as well.

Only 3 1/2 days until winter closure. I'm tying up loose ends, finishing documents, and packing up my office. Now if I could just get the sense that Christmas was fully under control, I'd be happier. Tonight, Rick and I are going to review the lists and see what we're missing. I know I need to pick up one thing for my aunt, and decide on something for Camryn (too much to pick from!). Beyond that, I'm flailing a bit.

Last night we had the ITSS Christmas party, and the traditional John Klemm video. I received credit for the first time, not for appearing, but for teaching some of the cast how to tie a toga/peplos. Still, I think the funniest bit was the take off on Queer Eye. Well, that and Chris Handley in a brief Master and Commander spoof, where the real bit was about who got to drench him. After that party, we headed to Kev's place, where I mercilessly picked at Rachel's turkey carcass. I really didn't get enough turkey at Thanksgiving, so when I heard Rachel was roasting a turkey, I knew I'd be in for two dinners. Kevin realized at some point when we were picking on him about unfinished stuff on Fury that he'd managed to invite both me and Ali in the same night. We then ramped up the barbs and laughed ourselves senseless. We ended the night curled up with the new Fireflly DVDs, watching the Train Job again, this time all in one piece. It's a much better episode when you already love and adore the characters. And Inara is still the hottest thing in space. Yum.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Well, that thing about skipping the drama - didn't get that option. It was a drama filled week, culminating in the hysterical woman telling me that what I delivered to her was not what she'd asked for and could she please work with someone else instead. Right. Well. Okay then.

That was Wednesday. Wednesday afternoon, the gravelly voice I'd been sporting all week developed into a whopper of a head cold that had me fearing the worst. I do not have time to be sick now. Please call back in January. Well, I was sick, but luckily just a nasty head cold with major sinus pressure for two days. I slept late on Thursday, went into the office for a few hours for one meeting and two other documents to finish, then came back in the morning for another important meeting, left at 1, and went home for another nap. By the time I woke up from that nap, I was feeling much improved. Saturday morning, I started the day without Sudafed. What a huge relief!

And today was great. I did really well in my scene with Ebenezer, got some great complements on it, and went out for a turn around the city afterwords and was asked to be in the costume competition tomorrow. As luck would have it, Cyrus and Athena will be there tomorrow, so she'll get to see if I win or not. Yay! Frankly, just being asked to participate sent me over the moon.

Feet are soaked. Body is scrubbed. Clothes are mended (with the hook for my skirt moved over a little more than an inch from the first weekend). And now it's time for sleep. Goodnight all!

Friday, December 05, 2003

I just got done with the scariest meeting of my life. And y'know, it's the kind of thing were I want to raise my hand and say, "I'm sorry, but can I just have my final check now, because there's no way this can end well, and I'd like to skip the drama if possible."

Somehow, I'm still not sure how, I got sucked into helping out with the conversion of the APLAC (Lab Animals Protocol system) from the mainframe to Unix/Spires. I know almost nothing about the old mainframe system. I know almost nothing about Unix/Spires. I know almost nothing about lab animals protocols. But somehow, I've been tasked with customizing all of the documentation for the conversion to make it APLAC specific. Sounded daunting but do-able before. Now it sounds completely insane.

The website where I'm supposed to post this material is nto controlled by the group; it's outsourced to Media Solutions. The woman who has been the only support for APLAC for the past five years is completely freaking out about the conversion process. She wants me to rewrite their entire manual by next Wednesday to reflect the differences between using APLAC on Forsythe and using it on Unix/Spires. I've scarcely used Forsythe for anything. I don't know the commands. I've never used APLAC. I got my first look at Unix/Spires yesterday. All of this goes live to the users Monday the 15th, and I'm on two other projects officially right now, both of which also have other demands on my time. If I got a magical infusion of knowlege (as in "I know Kung Fu.") and worked 40-60 hours next week on this and only this, I might be able to satisfy the requirements. In the meantime, I also need to have a design meeting for webforms for workflow HR, and I've already got a GFS stakeholders meeting on Tuesday afternoon, then I've got to review the changes to the Human Subjects E-Protocol, if the developer would ever get me a revised copy of the issues list, and I've got to get ready for the Systems Support Planning (SSP) meeting on Friday, preparing both the presentation for APLAC and the revisions to the Human Subjects SSP proposal.

This is the part where I freak out. I wish I'd had that interview at Google. I'd really be interested in leaving this madhouse right about now.

Things like Friendster and Tribe do such wonderful things for my ego. I hope it's healthy. Just got this testimonial from an old friend:

"Ammy is one of the finest people I know. Period.

"She's warm, loving and kindly -- as well as strong willed, witty and intelligent. This makes her Good People(tm) without the doormatish qualities usually associated with that type.

"When I was returning from China she was also one of two people to actually offer me a place to crash if I needed it. I know also that, no matter the situation, if I found myself in need, she'd be there.

"Finally, no testimonial about Ammy would be complete without a mention of the hugs. The warm and yummy hugs. This gal really knows how to hug. Really.


How can you beat that? I mean, I read it and just came away all warm and fuzzy. The great part about these two websites is that this may be the opinion your friends hold of you, but they're never going to walk up to you and say, "Hey by the way..." and spill a load like that. (Heck, seems like the only time you hear major personal commentary from friends is when you've managed to really piss them off.) But there it is, in print. Whenever I start feeling a little low, I can go to Tribe or Friendster and look at the opinion some of my friends have of me, and that's probably a really good thing.

There are few things better in this world than Newman's Own Organics Chocolate Wafers (formerly Tops and Bottoms since they're like Newman-Os without the creme) dipped in hot coffee. They soak up the coffee and become a tantalizing delight. Beyond that, they are made with all sorts of good stuff I just can't feel bad about eating. Plus, the profits go to education and other charities. It's food that stimulates me from my basest desires on up to my highest ideals. Yum!

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Do you ever have those moments of total cognitive dissonance where you're all at once overwhelmed by the bizarre commercialism of Christmas, and yet oddly drawn the to most ridiculous object you've seen all year? One half repulsed, the other half trying desperately to figure out who needs this for Christmas, because clearly, someone I know does. Wow. I mean, Wow, sir.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Oh I so want my voice back! It's not bad. It's just little bits here and there. But it's missing bits, and I can't even quietly sing along to the music. Very sad. Quiet Ammys are unnatural.

HAHAHAHA! Launchcast just served up the Lemonheads "It's a Shame About Ray". I haven't heard that song in years. That song will forever be a curse and a moniker for Ray. Whenever he's having a particularly Ray moment, someone will inevitably say, "Yeah. It's a shame about Ray." We all love him so much, but Jesus that boy has the worst luck.

Of course, then it served up "Take Me or Leave Me" from Rent. Oughtn't get to smug about how certain songs are anthems for others, when there are songs that many have suggested fit me a little too well. Ahem.

Monday, December 01, 2003

It was, quite possibly, the longest weekend ever. In a good way.

Wednesday night we drove up to Quintette through traffic that reminded me of life ten years ago. It was the day before Thanksgiving, and yet almost all of the journey was at the speed limit. We arrived to the smell of pine trees and wood smoke. It's always beautiful up there.

Thanksgiving was lovely. I learned a card game called Aggrevation. Taught Fluxx to a couple of folks. Mark and Claudia have renovated Lee's old cabin and it looks quite nice inside. We also got to try out their new electric cart. It's a lot of fun. Twenty-four miles an hour has never seemed so fast.

Friday we went to see Alegria. Finally. I really loved the show. I love the costumes. I love the music. The handbalancer was astounding. He was absolutely the best handbalancer I've ever seen. And the juggler boy was just about the cutest thing that ever lived. And the bungee straps flyer act, while not completely impressive unto itself, looked like the most fun ever. I really would love to try that. The trampoline tumbling also looked like a whole heck of a lot of fun. There was one clown act that was just amazing. It closed the first half of the show with a tornado of paper petals. Unto itself, it was one of those performance pieces I'd like to see several more times just to figure out the entire journey. Wow.

And then there was Dickens Fair. Dickens Fair was great. Saturday morning, Henry Tenenbaum from KRON came out and filmed the fair. It went really well. The fair was ready. The performers were ready. The publicity was great. Several folks came out just because they'd seen it on TV, asking where they could find the meat pies they saw on TV and such. At dinner after fair on Saturday, a couple walked up to us at Max's and said, "You're from the Dickens Fair aren't you?" We said yes, and they explained that they'd seen us on TV. From the four of us there for the morning shoot, we probably had a total of 20 seconds of screen time combined, but they recognized us out of costume nonetheless. Amazing.

My grandparents came to Dickens for the first time ever on Saturday. They seemed to be really enjoying it. They saw Fezzis, and the bird show, and had tea with me after the scene with Ebenezer. I gave it my all for the scene and it went pretty well on Saturday. On Sunday, I got out there and was very surprised to find I had far less voice left than I thought. I kept trying to find the right point from which I could project more, but couldn't get there before the scene was over. That was really frustrating, but next week I consider myself warned. I must test my vocal range for volume about 30 minutes prior to the scene so as not to repeat that. But otherwise, I think that piece is going well. And being back at Fezzis, it's just like family. Better than family. The feeling of support and love is the best. Arthur is having a rough go of it at the moment, and I love that I was able to be a shoulder to lean on at the right moment. Hopefully, by the end of fair, he'll remember why he does this thing, and how much everyone there loves and adores him.

Sunday night, I was more tired than I've been in a year. Christyn talked me into dinner with friends, and it was the sort of dinner where everything was so incredibly funny because we were all so dreadfully tired. With full bellies, we headed home too late, much amused, and ready for sleep. Lots of sleep. But the alarm came too soon and I headed back to work. It seemed like I'd been gone for a month, but it was just four days. There's so much to do between now and December 19th when the university shuts down for 2 weeks. While I am incredibly tired today, I'm also a bit renewed and ready to work on this stuff. Life is good and messy and full.