spoon too big

Sick Person's Lament

Amidst our lovely rainless humid hazy heat wave of the past week or so, I somehow managed to come down with a cold, one with ever-changing symptoms. As soon as I shake off one, I get a different one: sore throat, then fever with chills and hot flashes, then congestion, then 70-pack-a-day-habit-cigarette-voice... It started Sunday night, I (stupidly) worked through it on Monday and Tuesday, then took a sicky on Wednesday. Today I'm working again, but from bed, and I'm forcing myself to take things easy. I might not even do the afternoon yet, we'll see.

It's annoying because my immune system is usually much better than this. Since leaving high school, I can count years between periods of sickness that have taken me longer than a day to get over. My type-A tendencies demand that I jump up and do chores, at the very least, and scold me for missing exercise. No, it's not fair to myself, and yes, I just make myself sicker by obeying that nagging, blood-pressure-spiking voice in my head. I'm slowly, slowly getting better at telling it to chill out, but it still manages to hijack me far too often.

Protip: never ever use WebMD to look up your symptoms. That shit will make a hypochondriac out of anyone. On Monday night, I threw in "sore throat" and "fever," just to see what the likely candidates were. Along with reasonable things like cold, flu, strep throat (probably not; my tonsils were taken out when I was eight), and tonsilitis (OK, definitely not), they listed toxic shock syndrome and breast cancer. Not that serious, not that serious, HOLY SHIT YOU ARE TOTALLY DYING. Can't they at least put those things under a heading of "This is possible, but not likely?"

Of Work and Weights

::un-hides from lurkdom::

Yeesh, so much to do at work lately. Last week was the week of five customers calling in with OMG FIX THIS RIGHT NOW issues in a span of two days- with just three (sometimes four) of us to handle said issues. Good times. I also have to work the Monday after the 4th of July. However, my promotion kicks in this Thursday (my first promotion ever!), which means that when I rake in my holiday double-time, it's going to be at my new, higher hourly rate.

On the balance, I do like my job. I love working from home. July 10 will be my four-year anniversary with the company. Next year, for the fiver, I'm going to get another week of vacation, which will put me up to four. WOOT.

Since I went to college and left martial arts, I've struggled to engineer a regular exercise routine that I would actually stick to. I'm thin and have a good metabolism, which thankfully hasn't changed, but I recognize that this won't always be the case, so establishing a routine now would be smart.

In college, I failed to stick to anything other than walking- lots of walking around the big city campus- and the occasional stint of dancing, because I love to do that. After college, during the first few years getting acclimated to a 40-hour work week, not much doing there either except lots more walking, as I transitioned from suburban drive-everywhere life to living smack-dab in the core of a city, where one can walk to whatever one wants.

I'm still in a city, and I still do lots of walking. If I use my car twice a week, that's a lot of driving for me. Since I started working from home, I've been using my lunch hour every other day as exercise time. Thirty minutes doing something, thirty minutes to shower and prepare to return to work. I occasionally wuss out when not feeling well, but I find that, once I drag my butt to the bedroom and change into my workout clothes, I can follow through with the exercise.

Until recently, something was mostly cardio with just a little weight work thrown in. I've recently switched things around, doing lots more lifting and less cardio, and I'm really liking it so far. There's a lot of helpful instruction and advice on stumptuous, which is targeted toward women, but is useful for men, too. I use a couple of ten-pound dumbbells for everything at this point. I'll eventually want to upgrade the apparatus, but there's no rush.

Something else I really want to try is Shovelglove- but wouldn't you know it, there wasn't a single eight-pound sledgehammer to be had the last time I went to the hardware store. We're heading out there again tonight for paint and some other stuff, I'm hoping they've restocked.

Our 15 Seconds of Fame. Also, the Pirates blow.

PNC Park sold out for Fan Euthanasia Night

Remy and I were at Friday night's Pirates game, along with my folks, my sister, and sister's boyfriend. Sometime around the 6th inning, Remy pulled up this article on his iPhone for me to read. I laughed, then we went back to counting the minutes- er, watching the game.

We later found out from people who'd watched the game at home that the FSN television cameras zoomed in on us at precisely that moment- seriously, right on me and Remy. The commentators complimented Remy's fedora ("That's a slick lid"), then went on to wonder about what we were looking at on the iPhone that was so amusing. If only they knew!

P.S. I do have to say, though, that Lastings Milledge is an awesome name. My money is on him and McCutchen getting traded before the end of the season.

P.P.S. Remy and I parked in downtown, and walked across the 7th Street Bridge to the North Shore, where PNC Park is located. Just before the bridge is a section of bars and restaurants, many of which have outdoor seating. Some people around our age were seated outside at a bar. As we walked past, one of the young men called out to Remy, "I like your hat!"

This was promptly followed by another young man calling out, "I like your girlfriend!"


Horrifying in a way that was never intended

Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues. More than any other episode of MST3K, this one terrifies me to the core of my being. Not because it's actually any good at getting its monster premise across, but because of its setting: all up and down the great state of Arkansas in the mid-1980s, from the University of Arkansas campus down to the Sulfur River bottoms so loved by the film's writer/director/producer (who passed away last month, which is kind of sad).

Picture it: Charleston, South Carolina, early 1980s. A young married couple leaves the University of Clemson for the University of Arkansas, nestled in a tiny town called Fayetteville. The husband is finishing up his masters degree in chemical engineering, while the wife is a Ph.D. doing research and teaching courses in organic chemistry. While studying/working in Fayetteville, they welcome their firstborn, a daughter. The little family spends another year in Arkansas before the husband lands a job in Texas, and the family moves there... then eventually to Michigan... then back to Texas... then finally to Pennsylvania, for keeps.

That married couple are my parents, and the daughter is me. I spent the first year of my life in Arkansas, on and off the university campus. I don't remember it, and I've never been back since. Every time I watch the Boggy Creek II episode, it's like a window of insight into the earliest part of my life. Hey, my parents might have watched football at that stadium! They might've brought me along! (I did have a pair of Razorback booties, so I was doing my part.) We might've run into one or more of the goobers starring in this film!

Then, the terrifying part: had my father not moved us all over the country while I was a little girl, might I have grown up in Arkansas and become just like these characters? Might I have been lured to the U of A and the venerable Boggy Creek Studies program? Might I have spoken in a drawl, found impossibly hairy beast-men "sexy," and gotten in cat-fights with other women just because we happened to be in each other's general vicinity?

I tell you, it chills me to think of these things. If Q or another being of comparable omnipotence ever whisks me off to show me what could have been, this is the alternate reality I desperately hope not to learn about. Seriously, I'd rather see the Nausicaan who stabs me through the heart. Thanks.

On Life and Death

"I know [death] is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear... I hope to be spared as much pain as possible on the approach path. I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state. What I am grateful for is the gift of intelligence, and for life, love, wonder, and laughter. You can't say it wasn't interesting. My lifetime's memories are what I have brought home from the trip. I will require them for eternity no more than that little souvenir of the Eiffel Tower I brought home from Paris."

"I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out."

- Roger Ebert (source)