Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Bunny Love

Kate staged this photo last night. I love it!

Bonnie has turned out to be the perfect pet for us. If only our whole house was really rabbit-proofed, I'd be happy to give her the run of the place. Unfortunately, we have computers and wires strung around most every room, tasty books (and their bindings) on every wall, not to mention just random assorted junk that would not be good for a curious bunny to nibble. (Bins of lead miniatures spring first to mind....)

Bonnie is very social and is happy to accept as much attention as you're willing to dish out, but is just as happy to go about her business doing her own thing when you're done. The perfect middle ground between the needy attentiveness of a dog and the aloof self-sufficiency of a cat.

I love this coy look she's giving in this picture.



So, I dragged Pramas to the doctor today for his cough and we left with a recommendation that he have his tonsils out.




Except for the remnants of an annoying cough and some morning congestion, I think I'm nearly recovered from the plague. Pramas, on the other hand, has been as sick as I've ever seen him. Eleven days and counting, and we're finally able to get him in to see a doctor tomorrow. I blame his prolonged illness in part on his stubborn insistence on going out in the rain and HAIL last week to bring packages to the post office. If anyone has gotten something in the mail from him recently, World of Aldea comps, perhaps, know that he made himself sicker doing that. Personally, I decided that people could wait until I was recovered because self-employment in the game industry doesn't come with health benefits and I'm not willing to risk another bout of pneumonia. Now we know who is more dedicated... I'd prefer to have Chris healthy.

Being physically run down only further contributes to a general malaise that I've been struggling with. Back in 2004 The Onion spoofed Nation's Liberals Suffering From Outrage Fatigue, but I do think that's seriously what I've got. Outrage fatigue. Not a day passes without an affront to human dignity, and I can barely form an opinion on one scandal before news breaks about another equally egregious debasement of every value I hold.

Hyperbole? I wish.


Change of Plans

This weekend was originally supposed to be a fun weekend for us, where Chris and I were going to go away with friends. Then it turned out that our friends couldn't go away after all, so we somewhat reluctantly decided to go away alone anyway...tickets had already been purchased, reservations already made.

Today we finally bit the bullet and canceled our plans altogether. Chris came back from GTS and brought some lovely con crud with him and the two of us have been feeling pretty crappy all week. The thought of an early morning plane flight, a weekend away alone where we'd originally planned to be with friends, and being sick on top of it was just too much. We both realized we'd rather stay in bed and watch TiVo than travel.

So I started in on some recuperation by knocking off work this afternoon, eating homemade soup, and watching the DVD of Crash that's been sitting around gathering dust since I ordered it up from Netflix last week. I modified my hotel reservation (in case we rebook the trip later this spring...I can always cancel later if it comes to it), and got the airline to issue me a credit (and after coughing and croaking in the ear of the agent while he handled my case, he kindly suggested I might be able to get a doctor's note...I doubt either of us are sick enough to qualify for that, but I appreciated the thought).

Tomorrow I've got to go out to take Kate to her dad's, so I'll finish up the languishing mail orders and get to the grocery store for more OJ and chicken soup while I'm at it. I hope we feel better by the weekend because I have things to do...so many things to do.


Accursed HOA, you will RUE it!

I managed to miss my usual March bout of losing my voice, developing a sore throat and icky chest cough by skipping GTS this year. Or so I thought. Pramas seems to have kindly brought it home for me. I don't mean to be ungrateful but man, if I'm going to get con crud I want to at least have attended the con!

Tonight was the long-postponed meeting of our homeowners' association's Board of Directors. I dolled myself up in my professional clothes, printed off my correspondence with the management company, grabbed up the budget and the other paperwork they'd most recently sent out and made it over to the meeting right on time. There were about 10 or 12 homeowners at the meeting, which seemed to be a surprise to the board members. Each one of us had concerns we wanted to address. Only 15 minutes prior to the meeting had been budgeted for homeowner concerns, but the chairman eventually spent over an hour (seemingly to the displeasure of the attendees from CDC Management) addressing our concerns, which I appreciated.

They gave each attendee a chance to speak, going counter clockwise around the table. I was smack in the middle. Little did I realize I was not the only person there to talk about safety and security in our neighborhood! When the other attendees began to speak, I got quite the education about what's been happening on the other side of the community.

Last Friday there was some sort of "gun battle" that erupted after a private party at the community center got out of control. One of the homeowners came home to find a bullet hole in his Mercedes. Needless to say he was not amused! There were six calls to 911 about gunshots in a 15 minute period that night. Three or four other people from that block were in attendance to complain about the violence and the lack of security, every one of them mentioned ACTION FORCE ONE (it really does need to be in all caps, I think) spending all of their time parked at the community center, flirting with girls or sleeping in their car, no longer patrolling the community, etc. By the time it got to me, I was very pleased that I was not going to be the only with security concerns. I made sure to point out that until the meeting I had no idea about the gunplay in the neighborhood, but that I shared concerns about the increase in crime in the community and the lack of attention our so-called "security service" provided. I pulled out ACTION FORCE ONE's information sheet, talked about how it was given to me by a security person, complained that only after the fact was I told that the security force only "provided a presence." Received nods around the table at that. I went on to list specific incidents: the park next to my house has been repeatedly vandalized, a window in my house broken, my car broken into and vandalized, my neighbor's fence had been set on fire...all since last summer, I voiced my concern that our security service didn't seem to be "providing a presence" much at all, and that I was pretty sure my neighbors did not realize that the portion of our homeowner's dues that was going to security was not for actual security. I also got a jab in later in the meeting when I had the chance to say that I hoped the HOA could focus on the important issue of community safety and security instead of being so zealous about cosmetic issues like what color a person's porch is painted. "Yeah, or if you've got a window air conditioner five years after the fact!" piped up another guy. Nods around the table again.

Other homeowners went on to say their houses had been broken into (we learned this was a gang of six kids from Kent and Renton, the oldest was only 14, who were caught red-handed breaking into houses here and stealing things like soda, candy, and video games!). Also learned that the local police precinct is down 9 officers since last year! Hmmmm, fewer police officers and an increase in crime... could they be related?

The board is currently made up of three members of the Seattle Housing Authority and two members of the community. Soon they will be moving to a transitional board, which will be three members chosen by the SHA, three members from the community, and one member jointly agreed upon. I will be happy to see additional community members serving on the board, as the two community members were the most in-touch with the feelings and concerns of the other homeowners in attendance. I am seriously considering running for the board myself.

One good thing about attending this meeting is that I now know a couple of the other homeowners from my general area and I have the feeling that it's possible to unify the neighborhood a little behind this safety vs. cosmetic "violations" issue, probably more so than if there hadn't been kids shooting off guns on the corner last weekend. Thursday is the General Membership meeting. I intend to be there. If anything, CDC Management and ACTION FORCE ONE have done a lot to unite the community...though perhaps not in the manner they expected. If the CDC rep isn't already ruing my newly discovered enthusiasm for the HOA's business, she will be soon. Power to the people!


I <3 Magic Deer



Pramas arrived home from GTS around 1:30am Friday morning. He debriefed me on his GTS experiences, we compared notes on what he saw and heard on the ground at the show and what I learned through the magic of the internet. Between the two, I feel a bit like I've viewed GTS through a telescope. I'm sorry I missed the first hand of the GTS poker game where Ryan Dancey, probably hoping to intimidate the table, went all in and got OWNED to the amusement of pretty much everyone else at the show. I am not sorry I missed one of the guys in my grudge book who sought Chris out and offered to literally grovel before me in a vain attempt to gain my forgiveness...unfortunately, groveling doesn't undo the wrongs and feeling sorry now that you've been caught out as a lying, cheating, back-stabbing, vindictive weasel and public prick is all just self-pity and has nothing to do with sincere regret for the pain caused or a desire (or ability) to make sincere amends, so there will be no forgiveness from me, sorry. I prefer the you-cease-to-exist-in-my-world solution. Anyway, Pramas and I ended up talking until 3:30am or so, and I was up again by 7:00, so one might think that I wouldn't have a chance in hell of being awake and ready for a punk show last night.


Last night Anti-flag was playing and I was so there. I'd been looking forward to this show quite a bit and was downright bouncy in anticipation. For only the second time in as many years we had someone actually come to the house to babysit Kate while we went out. Carol did us a huge favor and I was thrilled to be going out, especially after a week of being home alone with Kate and the various GR and technology issues I'd been juggling. Woohoo!

Sadly, there were five bands on the ticket last night and at least two of them Pramas really disliked. We missed the A.K.A.s, but I bought their CD for $5 on my way out in penance. Also just missed another appearance by our wonderful, progressive Congressman Jim McDermott. McDermott has appeared at other Anti-Flag shows and even featured meeting with the band in his official newsletter, so I wasn't surprised to hear he was at the show. Sorry I missed him! He and the boys are currently on a campaign against the use of depleted uranium in weapons.

We arrived in the midst of Smoke or Fire, who I liked well enough, but who were brilliant compared to The Unseen and the hated Casualties. Man, I've seen the Casualties a couple of times now, and try as I might I just can't get into them. I swear Jorge's voice gets markedly worse every time. Bleh. Many of the kids in the crowd were totally into them, covered in Casualty patches and t-shirts and belting out the lyrics (most of which seemed to be "fuck you" of course). The kids in the pit were crazed. I liked The Unseen a bit better, if only for their earnest enthusiasm for what they're doing, though I would have to put the "singer" in the "toneless screaming" category of "singing". I much prefer a little tune and variety in my bands, I have to say. We briefly thought the Casualties set was going to be cut short as Jake, their guitarist, had to leave the stage with blood running down his hand, but Rick Lopez, the bassist, was just getting started so he didn't want to stop the set early and picked up the guitar to keep going. This attracted the attention of the Anti-Flag guys, who peeked out onto stage and made impressed faces and gave approving nods. Next thing you know, #2 is out on stage helping by picking up Rick's discarded bass, as they launch into The Ramones (the result of Lopez saying, 'Fuck, what do I know how to play on the guitar!? Quick: The Ramones!' I'm sure). By that point, classic covers were fine with me.

Between sets we stood around talking to Rick Achberger, who we met up with at the show. We were clearly the old punks in the crowd, especially where we were standing. Lots of teenage boys attending the show with their girlfriends who I just cannot believe were actually into the Casualties. Lots of spikes and 'hawks, all the stereotypical punk show staples. Lots of earnest young punks that were just sooooo cute, with their mohawks and braces. Rick overheard at least two boys talking about how their moms sew their patches on for them. Awwwww, baby punks are so adorable! Our chatter entertained at least a few people in our general area, though. Someone said something about it being St. Patrick's Day and I cracked, "Well that would explain the guys in kilts I saw downtown," and the kid next to me laughed. I'm sure we came off as crusty old punks or something, especially when Pramas was making his unimpressed commentary, "Every generation needs one of these bands, but I've already had mine." Heh.

Anti-Flag were good fun and I had a really good time. They're such a funny band, like punks with a Bill & Ted vibe. Several times they commented about "the community" and how we need to be united and look out for each other, etc. I would not have been surprised to hear #2 come out and say "Be excellent to each other." Of course, it was hard for me to be all "The people united will never be divided" when the bony little Paris-Hilton-wannabe girlfriend-of-a-punk was busily rubbing her frat-boy-to-be boyfriend and elbowing me in the tit repeatedly. Luckily I eventually positioned myself behind the tiny chick in the Flogging Molly shirt. She didn't even come up to my chin, so I had a great view over her head most of the night. After a brief public service announcement about a petition against the use of depleted uranium and how we can make a difference by being together and speaking out against this crap, she turned to one of her friends and said, "See? Register to vote!" and I joined in, "Yeah, dude, register to vote!" Cracked up their other friend.

I have to say it was nice to be in a crowd of like-minded individuals ready to speak out, put their fists in the air and oppose racism, police brutality, the abhorrent behavior of our fucking proto-fascist regime, media control, and corporations run amok.


Confirmation: Technology still hates me

What a joyous week this has been for things technology-related.

I'm one of those people who has a high personal magnetic aura or a Pikachu-style electric personality...or something. We go through clocks and light bulbs like no one I've ever heard. I've killed computers just by hitting "save". I've gone through more hard drives and routers than any normal person should. It's the craziest thing. I swear, technology has it out for me.

This week, while half the company has been at the GAMA Trade Show, I've been trying to hold down the fort at home. Meanwhile, the mechanical devices took this time to plot their revolt. Monday the phones went out, and they've been out all week. I've now got the phone line working, but the fax line is still down for the count. Today it's been the internet, which has been going through long periods of not working. For a while this morning, it was both. (I called the internet folks, who said "Yeah, we left you message on your phone about the outage," and I had to say, "Ah, right, the phone is out too. Next call: Qwest." Also having all sorts of problems with a couple of utterly essential computer programs, residual wonkiness from a recent power outage, I think.

This is also the week that the builders for our neighborhood sent around their contractors who have been under the house in the crawl-space for the last three days, tearing out our moldy "moisture barrier", cleaning out mud and debris, and installing a permanent sump pump. Unfortunately, the electricians couldn't be scheduled at the same time, so the sump pump isn't actually operating. That joy will have to wait until next week. I should probably just plan to be out of the house while they're handling our electricity, just to be safe. Because with my luck, something would happen...

If anyone is trying to reach me, the cell phone still works (unless I'm home, I can't use the damn thing in my house). I hope to have all my electronic gadgets and mechanical gizmos in working order again by next week. (Fingers crossed and sacrifices made, of course.)


A little something we're working on...

I see the announcement has finally broken on this at GTS. Been waiting on pins and needles for the official work to be released, so here it is:


MARCH 14 2006 (Nottingham, England) 2007 will mark the 20th anniversary of the first publication of Games Workshop’s legendary Warhammer 40,000 game system. It’s no coincidence that March 2007 will also see one of the most eagerly awaited events in gaming history – the release of Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay (40KRP)! Rumours have been circulating in the roleplay community for many years about such a game. Now Black Industries, fresh from the success of the revamped Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, can reveal that it really will be happening, and in a way no one is expecting. Because there won’t be one 40KRP game, but three!

Warhammer 40,000: Dark Heresy will be the first 40KRP game, allowing players to take on the role of an Inquisitor’s retinue. Their task is to uproot the taint of Chaos in Imperial society, to smash dark cults and foil sinister plots. It’s a game of investigation and will be an ideal introduction to the dark and gothic universe of the 41st Millennium. Dark Heresy is just the beginning, however. After this basic game, two further games released eighteen months apart will allow the players to progress and explore the universe first as Rogue Traders and alien pirates, and eventually experienced players will be able to roleplay the devastating warriors of the Adeptus Astartes Deathwatch.

All three games use the same game system, which is itself based in part upon the award-winning Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Players will be able to progress from one system to the next, as they gain experience and a measure of understanding of the vastly detailed universe of Warhammer 40,000. Each of the games will consist of a core rulebook accompanied by regular releases of sourcebooks and adventures.

Game design is being handled by Green Ronin, the team who helped create the sensational new version of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay so successfully in 2005, and much of the background is being handled by the Black Library’s team of writers.

For more information as it becomes available keep an Inquisitorial eye on www.blackindustries.com. But remember, heretic: innocence proves nothing.



Tonight I found myself watching Darryl "DMC" McDaniels' adoption story, thanks to VH1's new Rock Docs series. For those not keeping track, DMC found out at the age of 35 that he had been adopted and VH1 filmed his efforts to find his birth mother.

Adoption is all over my family. My mother neer knew her birth-father, was adopted by her step-father. She's what some call "adoptee light". My paternal grandmother was orphaned and separated from her two brothers and baby sister after being adopted out of an orphanage. My ex-husband was adopted as an infant. His adoptive mother became mentally ill and has been out of his life since he was a teen and his birth mother refused his attempt to contact her when he reached adulthood.

Everyone has a story. Sometimes our stories exert a lot of influence on us, how we see ourselves, what we're driven to achieve, what we hope and dream, how we treat ourselves and others. Some people I've known have been staggeringly adept at taking an active hand in creating their stories, dramatically shaping their lives, picking and choosing what to embrace and what to reject as being "them". Obviously, adoption is something that can throw a wrench into that standard "identity story" creation.

Around the time that I was becoming a mother myself, I was also actively interested in adoptee rights. I joined adoptee-rights organization Bastard Nation as an early supporter. I pushed for open records legislation (because I believe that if the government is keeping a record on its citizens, the citizen has a right to the record). Adoption can be a really wonderful experience, sometimes (as in the case of my friends who have adopted from China) it is both utterly life changing all around, unavoidably and forever shrouded in anonymous mystery. Still, I have a lot of sympathy for the guys like Darryl McDaniels out there, whose stories are missing chapters or turn out to be based on fabrications and the echos of missing players.


Tea Party

Name tags

Yesterday I went to a bridal shower at the Queen Mary Tea Room in Seattle. What a great time! I hopped a bus to get there, wearing a short skirt, heels, and a big ol' day-at-the-races style hat. What fun!

We had a rather large group, 12 adults and the sweetest baby, plus gifts, and props (hats, scarves, decks of cards). We were having a great deal of fun and attracted the attention of several other tables over the course of the two hours we were there. I have to give big props to Joey and Jim, who planned the party. They did a great job!

The Bride and her Bridesmen

In the interest of protecting the innocent, I'm only sharing a few pictures of the attendees, but (as is my way) I'll happily share photos of the food. Salmon and cream cheese sandwiches...mmmm.

Tower of food

After the event, I ditched the fancy hat and the heels and jumped into jeans and a leather jacket for a casual night out with Ray. We started with a couple of beers and some pub food at Kell's and migrated over to the Zig Zag for a night of drinking "Murray's choice," which is always the best way to go at the Zig Zag in my opinion.


Hell's Belles and Ryan Dancey

A shot of the band
A shot of the band,
originally uploaded by Nikchick.

No, seriously, when I went out tonight I did not think I'd end up at the Science Fiction Museum, attending a Guild Wars party, where I'd run into Ryan Dancey rocking out to an all-girl AC/DC cover band.

Ryan Dancey

Of course, I also didn't know there was such a thing as synthetic urine, either. But there is! Quick Fix is the particular brand I photographed for evidence, in case I should never see such a thing again in my life. And frankly, I hope I don't. If you can't read the lettering, the box reads: Pre-mixed synthetic urine. Male or Female. Ready to Pour.

Synthetic Urine?

Synthetic urine and Ryan Dancey rocking out, in one night. What are the odds?

Pramas posts more details.


Opinionated on Puckett

Yesterday, after hearing the news of Kirby Puckett's death, I allowed myself a little nostalgia time and surfed around reading accounts for fresh content, reminiscing about my years of watching the Twins play - especially the year I returned to Minnesota after my sojourn to Georgia, the year Puckett's Twins team triumphed at home over the hated Braves... it was so relevant, my true home winning out over my temporary home, like a validation of my decision to return to Minnesota and what mattered to me.

In my meandering I ran across Elliott Kalb's piece at Fox Sports. This is the same Elliot Kalb whose impassioned defense of Barry Bonds appeared exactly one year ago at TheSportsCritics.com. I was irritated by Mr. Kalb's decision to lace his Puckett piece with references to the numerous insinuations and accusations from Puckett's alleged long-time mistress, the assault trial (for which he was acquitted), and other personal difficulties that plagued him in more recent years. So irritated, in fact, that I dashed off the following letter:

Dear Mr. Kalb,

Clearly you know a thing or two about baseball.

Unfortunately, I wish you could have found a way to keep your ugly comments about Kirby Puckett to yourself on the day of his death. I am disgusted by your decision to dredge up three paragraphs of ugly innuendo over personal matters in his life, wild speculations for which he was never charged and accusations for which he was acquitted (as in "declared not guilty" and "held blameless"). Frankly, I don't expect my sports heroes to be saints and I'm willing to cut a lot of slack to a guy who had done so much for so many when he lost that thing he lived for. I don't care one bit if he angrily told his mistress she shouldn't betray him or she'd "be in trouble" for it. I don't give a damn if he and his wife argued bitterly and heatedly in the midst of their divorce.

I grew up in Minnesota, a white girl in a white, white land and the Twins were very influential in my life. Long before I'd ever met a person of color in my real life, the Minnesota Twins showed me that people of color were part of my experience of life and did so in the most positive way. (I joined the MS Readathon when I was in first grade because the grand prize was dinner with Rod Carew.) Please do not underestimate the significance of that experience! I watched the Twins play baseball throughout my youth, lived the excitement Puck's team brought to Minnesota in those magical World Series championships, and I cried when I heard that he was being forced into retirement so young. I don't care if Kirby Puckett had to drag himself to those hospitals he visited motivated only by the good press he hoped to receive or if he bounded in there because he loved every minute of it: the kids he visited, the people whose lives he touched were touched just the same, regardless of his private feelings and motivations. He was an excellent, exciting baseball player who has earned and deserves every bit of admiration he has received.

Shame on you for taking the sad opportunity of his death after a decade of sadness and grief to dredge the nadir of his life for things better left alone!

Nicole Lindroos
Minnesota born and raised

Mr. Kalb is of the opinion that well-paid celebrities do not have the same entitlement to privacy or respect for their personal lives as the rest of us. I don't blame him for holding this common attitude but it is not a position that I share. I watched Puckett play baseball. He was an exceptional baseball player, and unlike Barry Bonds, he didn't have any scandals related to his career, his performance, or his public behavior. I feel that whatever he might have confided in private, however bitter and ugly his divorce may have played out, what we have a right to judge is what he gave the public on and off the field. Mr. Kalb wrote about Barry Bonds' late-career scandal "...it will diminish in time and Bonds will be remembered for his exploits on the field." Out and out cheating on the job will fade, but largely unproven (and in some cases outright debunked) allegations of off-field, post-retirement troubles should tarnish Puckett's memory? I just can't agree. As I elaborated in response to Mr. Kalb's reply, Kirby Puckett was well paid for the job he did, and he steadfastly maintained his positive public persona throughout, regardless of the turmoils in his private life. He lived up to his obligations, both actual and those imposed on him by virtue of his celebrity status. I believe it does him a great disservice to portray "two Kirby's" as if there is a "good" Kirby we are allowed to embrace and a "bad" Kirby we are expected to reject. He was an exceptional baseball player and an admirable, if imperfect, man.

Mr. Kalb responded this morning, thanking me for my "immediate and well-thought" letter and asking my permission to reprint it on his website when he reposts his FoxSports article there. I've given him my permission to do so. I'm curious to see if anything comes of it.


RIP Kirby

Minnesota Twins Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett died today following a stroke. It broke my heart when glaucoma caused him to go blind in one eye and forced him to retire from baseball in 1995. He was a good guy and a great ballplayer.


This and That

Participated in an Oscars prediction contest with the members of my moms' list. I never watch the Oscars but I watched this year for Jon Stewart. I tied for first place in our group with 17 correct picks. I'd actually seen Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Walk the Line, and King Kong. Oh, and Narnia which was only up for best make-up. I saw the last 40 minutes or so of Good Night and Good Luck on the train. Picked Tsotsi based on having seen a preview. About fell out of my chair laughing at the ridiculous "Good luck enjoying Star Wars on DVD: epics need the majesty of the 'big screen'. No really, please, please, please come to the theater!" pleas written into the script. That desperate are we? Wow.


I'm skipping GTS again this year. During the school year it's just too hard to figure out what to do about Kate if both Chris and I go to one of these things. We had agreed to go to Vegas again for a different reason and spend personal time with friends. Bought tickets for that soiree but found out this weekend that no one else is actually going to be there after all, the party's been canceled. I'm not sure what to do. The tickets are non-refundable, natch, and for an airline we don't fly for any of our other usual travel. I can cancel the trip and keep credit with the airline, but they'll charge us $130 each for "reissuing" the tickets, and the tickets can only be used by the original travelers (no buying a ticket for Kate to go visit Grandma with the credit). Or, I can go to Vegas with Chris (who will have just been there the week before) and do... something... alone. Bleh.


Someone else in my friends list was complaining about people being unable to understand clear instructions. Boy, I hear that! Sometimes I feel like there's got to be a secret code that I'm missing the decoder ring for because I'm sure I'm looking at clear instruction in English and yet people respond like I've just communicated in Moon Language. My request "Please send PRODUCT XX (ISBN: #### Product Code: ABC123) to [LOCATION]" generates a response of "please advise exactly what item you are referring to." Uhhh... Hello? Oh yeah, I know that farce all too well.


I also have a little pent up rant for people who take all the advantage for themselves in a situation and then are surprised when the person on the side who gets kicked in the teeth a couple of times decides they're not going to keep giving that 110% of effort or agree to things that will inevitably result in getting kicked in the teeth again. When I worked for someone else and had to punch a time clock, I could not punch in more than 8 minutes early, lest the company be required to pay for an additional 15 minutes. They didn't want anyone accidentally getting overtime and were constantly on alert in case anyone who worked through their lunch hour or came in early to keep on top of their work might cost the company. If I punched in between 7 and 1 minute early, I was not paid for those minutes, I was merely considered to be "on time." Same for staying late, you could punch out up to 10 minutes late, but don't expect to be paid extra for working late. However, if I punched in 1 minute late, I was docked a full 15 minutes of pay. Wouldn't you know it, that niggling, penny-pinching, "all good for the employer" attitude resulted in people who did not want to come in to work even one minute early, because why should they volunteer to work an additional half an hour a week for a company that would be so petty and always count the minutes in their favor. Oh, did you work a double shift yesterday to benefit the company? Nice dedication, but don't be a minute late to work the day following, or you're docked for that 15 minutes! Great job on pulling off that lutefisk banquet on top of your regular duties, but you took a 20 minute break instead of the 15 minutes we're required by law to provide...you've been docked 15 minutes pay. They didn't much like it when they stopped benefiting from the additional time their workers were putting in for free, either, as they had come to feel that they were owed a certain level of performance. It's such a short-sighted management strategy, resulting in poor morale and high turnover. I just don't understand why anyone would want to have that kind of relationship with the people who work for them.


Now that I've got my stamina back (the time clock rant was a little test run) I'll probably turn my attention back to the political climate and the spate of nutjobs who want to ban both abortion *and* birth control, who want to set up state endorsed religion, who want to retroactively rewrite laws so their political opponents can be charged with "crimes" they didn't commit or so their political allies won't be on the hook for crimes they did commit, and other such nonsense. Woohoo, I have the fire back, baby. Look out!


Zookids Rule!

Zookids Rule!
Zookids Rule!,
originally uploaded by Nikchick.
Yesterday I spend the day at the Woodland Park Zoo with Katherine and the rest of the Zookids. Construction on the Zoomazium is winding up and the Zookids had the opportunity to take a private, behind the scenes tour.

The kids have been part of the design process from the beginning. They visited Dillion Works to learn about the materials that would be used in the construction, they brain-stormed and critiqued the features the adults came up with, they toured the facility in little hard hats when the walls and roof were up, and they've now gotten to see the partially completed play structures and facilities. It's been amazing. I'm so glad Kate's had the opportunity to be involved.

The kids have also recorded little sound bites for the Zoomazium website when that launches. Next weekend there are auditions for radio spots, a few of the kids are going to get to sing the jingle.

I posted a bunch of pictures to my Flickr album.


Stuck in My Head Mix

Well, I seem to be shaking off the plague, which is a good thing.

The last couple of days my brain, helped along by fever and cold medicine I'm sure, has been like a skipping record, jumping from chorus to chorus, snippet of song to snippet of song. Lying half awake in bed, I hear "...two steps on the water...cuz my real life ain't fuckin' funny...welcome to the working week...drink up one more time and I'll make you mine..." It doesn't help at all that I've always had a thing for singers with accents, so that I'm hearing all their quirky affectations in six second bursts.(Fifteen years ago it was Billy Bragg and The Proclaimers. Today it's Arctic Monkeys and Kaiser Chiefs. And curse your catchy tunes, Franz Ferdinand!)

The current mix that's been stuck in my head, for the curious:

All Day Sucker Stevie Wonder
Dirty Harry Gorillaz
Welcome To The Working Week Elvis Costello
Can't Get Out of What I'm Into Liz Phair
Bright Lights, Big City Rockit Girl
Radiation The Epoxies
Every Day I Love You Less And Less Kaiser Chiefs
Once A Glimpse Maximo Park
The Fallen Franz Ferdinand
Fast As You Can Fiona Apple
Wine, Women, and Song Harvey Danger
Beautiful As a Person Boys of Scandinavia
Girlfriend In A Coma The Smiths
Hounds Of Love The Futureheads
Between the Bars Elliott Smith
Riot Van Arctic Monkeys
Me and the Major (Live Version) Belle and Sebastian
Come On / Let's Go (Acoustic) Paul Weller
Dance, Dance Fall Out Boy
Do You Want To Franz Ferdinand
The Boxer The Chemical Brothers
Everything In Its Right Place Radiohead

I love the transitions between some of these songs. Liz's Can't Get Out of What I'm Into flows so nicely into Rockit Girl's Bright Lights, Big City. The Epoxies' syntho-riffic Radiation makes a great preamble for the Kaiser Chiefs' Every Day I Love You Less And Less. I really enjoy how Fall Out Boy dances into Franz Ferdinand which winds down into The Chemical Brothers' The Boxer and finally slows to trance-inducing crawl with Radiohead's Everything In Its Right Place.

Now, if I could just turn off the radio in my head and hear each song in its entirety, only when iTunes is running.


Instant Illness

Yesterday I was feeling perfectly fine. So good, in fact, that I even managed to get in a 30 minute work out in the afternoon.

Around 3:30am, I awoke feeling congested and like I was gasping for breath. I was burning hot and sweating, I could feel my heart pounding. I had to throw all the covers off, even though the bedroom was quite chilly. I got up and got some icy cold water, feeling a little off-kilter...not exactly dizzy but more like I'd just stepped off a merry-go-round, like the very slightest hint of vertigo. After my drink of water my heart stopped pounding, so I went back to bed.

I laid awake not sure if I was feeling better or worse until shortly before 5:00am, then the vertigo feeling and the hot flash feeling had gone away. I fell back asleep a little while after, but woke up around 8:00am still feeling congested and headachy and shivery cold. Coffee on an empty stomach was a bad idea.

It's pretty unusual that I went from feeling pretty darn good one day to feeling like complte hell the next. I have to say I don't like it one bit. I may be forced to go back to bed this afternoon.