Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Thanks for reading my blog! For those of you who haven't been around over the years, I started my first blog all the way back in Junior High, with something that I called Drinking Glue. Don't ask me why I chose that name- it was 2002 and I was a wit. Jen Goody, however, was my alter-ego. Her name comes up at the bars sometimes if I'm trying to get away from a creeper.
Next in the blog history came Sniffing Glue. You can tell I was a rebel because I was talking about drugs.
And finally came this one, Rare Wit and Charm. I kept to the Glue tradition in the url, with newglue.
It's been fun! Nearly 5 years in one location- I can hardly imagine! But now it's time to move on. I find myself getting increasingly annoyed by updating this blog, and only because I have to go to the oh-so-difficult task of signing out of gmail, and back in under a different account. But enough! I shall no longer be held back by technological restraints! The last in the glue series has arrived, and folks, it is a beautiful site.
Update your bookmarks!
Friday, October 16, 2009
Remember how I was all, "Man, busy summer, now that's done I'll have more to say!"? Yeah. Big fat lie. Turns out school actually keeps me more occupied than driving buses for tourists ever did.
It's a pretty sweet life, though. Class, nap, class, nap, work, homework, bed. I've started talking to inanimate objects in my room. Turns out it's easier to drag myself out of bed at 7am when I'm trying to hold up my end of a conversation. Other wakeup techniques: 5 minute snooze, aggressive rap, turning on every light in the room, leaving the window open overnight, and promising myself that if I'll just get out of bed, I won't make myself brush my teeth or get dressed. So I break a lot of promises. Whatever.
Took an extra shift at work this evening. Weekends and evenings are prime-time for cashiering, since we're basically left to do whatever possible behind the desk. I designed some invitations to a Girls' Night Out in Publisher, while my coworker wrote out invitations on leaf-shaped cutouts to her Fall Bash. We also worked together on a scheme to creep out every person who uses my bathroom, ever. As for actual work... I've taken $65 in the last 3 hours, and it's unlikely I'll sell anything else. Other fun things I have done: thrown a rubber snake at a patron, stole Famous Amos cookies from the swim team, drew smiley and frowny faces on a bunch of boys' hands, harassed a coworker, tampered with the radio until I got it to play my iPod (despite not having an auxiliary input), drank a Diet Coke, and Facebook creeped every person I've met in the last 2 years. It's been a productive day.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I woke up at 5am, still hungover from the going away party the night before, to pack the last of my things. At 6 my even more hungover friends went with me to get breakfast, and as we sat in the cafe we looked outside, watching the sun rise, and started to feel really, really bad. Not sick bad, but scared bad. Because while there were clear skies over the town, the direction I needed to fly in was covered over in fog. So I get to the airport at 6:30, thinking I would be flying out of Skagway at 7. Except the plane that was supposed to take me to Juneau? It hadn't left Juneau yet. The weather was too bad.
See, in a tiny little town like Skagway, where the biggest plane that can land seats 12 people, bad weather means you don't get to fly. And in September in Alaska, there's bad weather almost every day. So even though the big Boeing planes in Juneau were taking off, the one that was supposed to come to Skagway to bring me back simply couldn't make it through.
I spent 2 hours napping in the airport. Then at 8:30, two of my coworkers with a 9am flight came in. They joined me on the couch to wait. By 10:30, my flight in Juneau had already left me. My coworkers were panicking about making their flight at 1. One plane had taken off from Juneau, made it about 15 minutes in the air, and had to turn around.
Luckily one of my coworkers, Megan, has connections with our often hard to reach managers. She called the boss up on his cell and said, "Steve Funk, get us out of this town!"
At noon we were seated on a ferry, luggage piled all around us in a cozy den, and headed away from our summer home. For the next 4 hours we played card game after card game, drinking beer, and when we ran out of beer we cracked open the bottle of whiskey in my suitcase. By the time we got off the boat in Juneau at 4, we were good and drunk.
We'd made friends on the boat, so we hitched a ride in the back of someone's truck to the airport. But all three of us had missed our scheduled flights, and the next one leaving for Seattle was at 8. So we sat in a covered bus stop and polished off the last of our whiskey.
Ten minutes after we'd loaded onto the plane, all three of us fell asleep on each others' shoulders and slept through the whole flight. The actual plane ride was only 2 hours and 30 minutes, but it had taken us 12 hours just to get 100 miles from Skagway to Juneau.
It took more time to fly from one state to another than to get to Peru in South America. Does anyone else see a problem with this??
Friday, September 11, 2009
It's been rather silent here for a while. As in, I turned 22 and vanished into the ether. I have a good excuse, though! You see, right after my birthday I ran headfirst into Dead Week and Finals. It was a disaster. There was crying, screaming, flying glass and a fair amount of blood. And once it was all over, I peaced out of there so fast that I (intentionally) forgot to lock the door behind me. Less than 24 hours later I climbed onto an airplane and disappeared into the wilds of Alaska.
I've been here ever since.
Internet access is shaky at best. I haven't streamed a video or downloaded new music since June. This town that I live in? No fast food. No movie theaters. No franchised stores. No indoor swimming pools. It was surreal at first, but in the end it's been good for me. I thought for sure I would die without my daily dose of Hulu. Turns out, there are plenty of other things to do in the day.
Up here in Skagway, Alaska, I spend most of my day driving a 40 foot tour bus up and down the mountain passes, shuttling tourists up to Fraser, B.C. and back. Wake up at 5am, get off work by 6pm (hopefully), crack a beer or two and cook a community dinner with some coworkers in the hotel's kitchen, then fall exhausted into sleep by 10pm. I'm in love with this routine. On days off, I can do anything from spend the day watching cable television, to hiking out to a glacier, to bear hunting and whale watching. I've cuddled a 2 week old Alaskan Husky pup in my Columbia vest while he burrowed his nose into my neck. I've video'd a grizzly catching salmon from less than 30 feet away. I've hiked above the tree line to an alpine lake. I've taken the train out into the Yukon Territory and walked the tail end of the Chilkoot trail. I've traded dirty jokes with a couple from Alberta, Canada. I've blacked out at a company party and found myself fully clothed but soaking wet in my bed the next morning.
I've had the time of my life.
But I'm starting to miss y'all. So I'm heading home soon. See you in 10 days!
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Once a week, at least. It happens more when I haven't been drinking.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Within 30 minutes of arriving, drank an entire bottle of wine on the porch. (Brother tried to take some from me and I got angry at him.)
Proceeded to bitch, cry, and slur my way through an hour of monologue at my mother.
Abruptly decided I was tired and passed out in parents' bed.
Well, Happy Birthday to me: I can't get any lower from here!
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
She was the ill-conceived idea of his good-for-nothing roommate. As a $400 purebred, licensed pup, she spent her first weeks in his home being alternately loved and ignored. She wasn't fed the right foods, she wasn't trained, and she wasn't shown the sort of attention and discipline that a puppy needs.
So he did the roommate a favor, paid his overdue cable bill, and in return took the puppy. He changed her name from Mary Jane to Janey, and from there, her life started looking up.
I was in Mexico when he got her, so I only saw her pudgy puppy days through Skype. But as soon as I came home I jumped on the bandwagon and fell in love. Our parents asked Brent to come for weekends, and bring the dog, too. Our crotchety grandmother would ask about her every time we had dinner. His neighbors took her on walks, his friends taught her tricks, his ex-girlfriend would request puppy-visiting times, the ex-girlfriend's roommates bought her rawhide bones and other toys, and everyone wanted to babysit.
Everyone who knew Brent knew his Janey, and for the whole 5 months that he had her, she controlled every aspect of his life.
That's where things take a downturn. She was a puppy, after all, and getting bigger and more destructive every week. Then he lost his job. The bills kept coming and the dog kept growing. Janey's days were numbered.
Luckily, everyone who knew Janey talked about her (if every you ran out of things to say to a person, you could at least talk about the puppy!) My mom's hairstylist's daughter and son-in-law loved St. Bernards. Theirs had been run over by a car a few years ago, and they had another dog, but they still missed the old one. Within a week the couple were begging to meet Janey.
So now Miss Calamity Jane is living in a household of two little girls, an overweight labrador, and two smitten adults. She runs and plays and never had any lack of entertainment or affection. The dog has had a world of luck. Every time life seems to be setting her up for abandonment, she ends up in a better place than ever before.
It's everyone else, the ones who had to say good-bye and watch her go, that ended up heartbroken.
* I realize all these photos make her look sad and somber. 1) She's a St. Bernard. That's what they do. 2) When she was moving around, it's not like she held still enough for my crummy cell phone to get a clear shot.
No, I'm not worried about the robot apocalypse, à la The Matrix. I'm rather more worried about the WALL-E scenario, in which robots do all the work -- happily -- and people become pudgy balls of flesh lolling about all day without the slightest idea of what to do other than eat pureed food because it's just too much trouble to chew. This is totally realistic. Hell, I spend more than eight hours a day in front of a computer screen as it is, sucking down Coke Zero and being glad there's only one flight of stairs between me and my fridge. If I had C3PO to get me my Cokes, I might have already fused into my desk chair by now.This is the dirty untold secret of The Matrix: Not that we'll be enslaved by machines who hook us up to a virtual reality to keep us pacified, but that we'll plug ourselves in voluntarily. If you don't think this will ever happen, you've obviously never played World of Warcraft (or known someone who has). The minute we can turn our body maintenance over to thinking robots while we frolic, sexy and beweaponed, in a fantasy world, we're going to lose about half the people on the planet to it."
Blatantly stolen from a column written by John Scalzi for AMC, and pretty much exactly where I think we're heading. My business prof's love to talk about RFID chips and how they'll eventually do our grocery shopping for us - it scares me to the core.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
On the plus side, I have this top that is so incredibly cute and perfect in every way! It matches several sweaters that I'd previously been scratching my head about what to pair them with. And couple with some new pants, voila! An entirely new outfit! I broke it out today and spent the whole day thinking about how awesome I looked. If every day worked like this, I'd be conquering the Western Hemispheres and heading toward Europe any day now.
So here's the problem: this outfit, for all its cuteness, makes my feet cold. There's just no possible way I can fit socks and tennis shoes into the plan. It's cold and raining outside now, and I've had my feet stuck to my space heater for the last 20 minutes. I'm supposed to be leaving for the bars any minute now, and just the thought of going out there... I don't want to do it. I want to put on my wool socks and dream about Mexican beaches.
There's no hope, though. I think I'll just have to tough it out tonight. Maybe one of the bars will be serendipitously converted to a sauna, just for kicks.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Go read it.
Friday, April 24, 2009
You can probably guess what happened next. I forgot about it. The weather got warmer, I started wearing a different jacket, life went on.
Then this morning I'm standing in line buying coffee before class, purposely taking my time, listening to the bells echoing across Red Square and not giving a good god damn. Let's be serious here- I hate that professor and as long as she doesn't say anything about my timing, I'm going to keep being late. And I'm struck but a flier taped to the wall next to the coffee kiosk: "Lost Engagement Ring. Please return to..." And there's a picture. I bet you can guess this one, too. It was the same ring I'd found weeks ago.
Obviously this story has a happy ending! I called the girl immediately, apologized about being a forgetful bum, and we arranged a time to meet up and hand off the ring. She bought me a Starbucks gift card, which I really don't think I deserve. Although in one way, you could say her gift of coffee might make me more alert the next time something like this happens, and I can react a bit sooner.
So, congratulations to Suzanne! She lost her engagement ring four days after he proposed, and instead of being upset, Mr. Right told her, "I thought about buying you two. Guess I should have trusted my instincts!" But rather than a wallet-busting tragedy, she gets to tell the story of her engagement as a funny tale of her own absent-mindedness that all worked out well in the end.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
I was raised in a Christian household. We went to church every Sunday, complete with yelling and crashing and banging, jumping on the bed moments before we needed to leave, outfit changes and hasty breakfasts and everything that comes along with corralling overactive three children into nice clothes and out to the minivan in time for an 8 am service. Church was fun, back then. There were snacks when we got there, and books with so many songs that it was impossible to sing them all. There was summer camp, there were plays, there were stories told with cutout figures that pressed onto a felt desert backdrop.
It was ideal for a young child - a caring, giving community that worked together to raise their children with common ideals and support their growth into adulthood. When I was ten, an elderly woman in the church became my mentor and we occasionally had brunch together, mostly talking about the things I learned in school and the petty grievances I had with my brothers. I don't remember her name, but I'm glad she gave her time to me. Most of the adults in my life then gave selflessly, perhaps not knowing I would barely remember them later, but at least knowing it was a one-sided effort.
Then I grew older, into my teens. And I noticed the discrepancies between what we learned in church and what we did outside of it. The strangest part was that I found myself getting along better with the people who didn't believe in religion. These people were kinder, more open, more excited to enjoy their lives. The people I went to church with were catty and cruel.
I realize now, years later than it should have taken, that this behavior had more to do with the specific church, the specific town, and the culture it encouraged.
There are incredible people in my life now, both those who have a religion and those who don't, and I've found that judging a person by their beliefs is unacceptable. This goes two ways - I can no more assume that a person will behave as kind and honest as their religion says they should than I can expect them to behave like a hypocrite.
Now that I've let go of my anger and disappointment, I can turn to the important issue: What I believe. It's a long and personal search, one that will likely never have a true answer. I'm picking up the pieces of a religion I threw away long ago, dusting it off, examining the broken and unusable bits, and trying to discover if there's enough left to make something whole. No one can say if what I make for myself will match anyone else's, but I want to get the message out there: I'm reexamining. I'm not confrontational anymore. I want to hear what others have to say.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
A few highlights of the trip include:
My first trip to Deception Pass, and the weather was beautiful! I didn't climb down to the beaches, though - I had to hurry to the ferry before it left without me.
Oh, look. A ferry.
Brent and I were innocently sitting in the car, waiting for our parents to come back with some groceries, when this beast poked his head out of the car next to us.
Friday, April 17, 2009
But yeah, basically, I would love to try some of this stuff out. I'm not big on brussels sprouts or cabbage and such, but fresh cucumbers and tomatoes and potatoes would be so cool!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
This is my other work! The little brunette in the front right is Erin, my driving instructor. Tonight we all got together for a mixer (read: paperwork signing party!) and before everyone took off, she corralled us onto the stairs for a group photo.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
* That said, I start my first mug of tea at 8:30am and continue to refill it until 4. I can't say brushing my teeth would make a dent on my English Breakfast breath and plaque buildup.
Big events in the last few months include going to Mardi Gras 2009 (WHOO! BOOZIN'!) and getting hired with a tour bus company in Alaska. Tomorrow is my big Commercial Driver's License test, so wish me big heaps of luck that I don't back over any children or flip the coach mid-turn.
Also, I've lived in four different houses since December! First with the parents in Tacoma as I adjusted from tanktop-and-flowy-skirt to mufflers-and-chinchilla-fur-coats weather. Next on Lillian's couch while I house hunted in Bellingham. Third in a house on Franklin, for a whole two months! Beginning of March I moved into a different house on Franklin, which was annoying but also pretty easy to actually do. It took about two hours to transfer it all from one place to another, including a burrito and beer break.
While I was living in the first Franklin house, my roommate Kimmy got me involved in the Surfrider Foundation. Now, I've got the world's worst attention span when it comes to volunteering, but I did make it up to Mt. Baker for Banked Slalom! I manned the booth and hoarded free samples from the other vendors, and watched one of the prettiest sunrises I've seen yet. Here, pictures! **Warning, these pictures are RIDICULOUSLY huge if you click on them. I'm working on it**
"I thought Henry was napping, but now I hear him singing to himself. The singing is new. Once, when he was a few months old, he hummed "Ode to Joy" (I am NOT KIDDING) and we all gazed in wonderment at Henry, Child Prodigy, but then he clammed up, singing-wise. Right now he’s singing the ABC song, but he gets stuck after "d," so he just sings, "A, b, c, d, ...d, d, d....d, d, d, d, dddd...d..." I can’t figure out why he sounds so cheerful, as he’s had diarrhea and a fever all day. I would be less inclined to lie in bed crooning my favorite ditties, if I were simultaneously soiling myself with watery, burning poo."
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
It's unpleasant, but not because I want to be doing something else (and it's St. Patty's Day! I know!). Mostly I'm trying to control my gag reflex as I reread passages of smallpox victims sloughing their colons and other intestines while hemorrhaging.
So! Now that we're all feeling squicky, here's our Monsters sing-along!
Cut It Off!
By Thor Hansen
(sing to the tune: If You’re Happy and You Know It)
If your nose has been a-twitching,
Cut it off.
If your ears are not bewitching,
Cut em off.
If your face is plain dismaying,
And your penis ain’t worth playing,
Then there’s no sense in delaying,
Cut it off.
If your butt has started sagging,
Cut it off.
If your breasts have been a-wagging,
Cut em off.
If your limbs are a distraction,
Then the answer is subtraction,
You are fuller as a fraction,
Cut it off.
It is no fun to be too tall,
Cut it off.
It is much nicer when you’re small,
Cut it off.
You only need your core so,
You could be a living torso.
Remember less is more so,
CUT IT OFF!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Here, I'll give you a photo to wet your appetite for this class. But BE WARNED! It's disgusting! I'm going to give you lots of space to decide of it's worth it.
Some info before we start. Nosocomial infections are infections caused by BEING IN THE HOSPITAL. 10% of hospital patients catch NIs; 14% of the patients die. They cause about 20,000 deaths per year, and that statistic is increasing.
Most sites of these infections are either in the bloodstream or from surgery.
The following is straight from the notes, and what you will be seeing a photo of.
Also I hope I'm building the hype over this so much that you won't be affected at all.
FLESH EATING BACTERIA (necrotizing fasciitis, NF) is usually caused by the Streptococcus bacteria that causes strep throat. The bacteria does not actually eat flesh but it produces toxins that dissolve flesh, especially the fat layer beneath the skin. Strep bacteria are common and it is not clear why some people develop NF. It usually occurs after surgery, or a minor injury or even a bump that leaves no mark. The bacteria travels under the skin and is not observable and is therefore hard to diagnose. It also travels extremely rapidly, several cms per hour, so a misdiagnosis can be a death sentence. Fortunately this is a rare affliction, but it seems to be becoming more common. Death occurs in about 25% of cases. The only treatments are massive does of antibiotics and immediate surgical removal of infected tissue.
Last year a little boy in Bellingham developed NF after he got a cut on his lip while playing basketball. He lost most of the tissue on his face, but he's young, so maybe it will regrow.
Okay, no more teasing. Here's the photo of a FLESH EATING BACTERIA.
Monday, January 12, 2009
This isn't one of those, though. I just can't sleep.
Friday, January 09, 2009
Today, for the last twenty minutes of class, we turned out all the lights and told each other our nightmares. The student speaking would stand in the front of the room with a flashlight held to their face ghost-story style. Here are some of the creepier ones:
Her parents send her off into a maze, telling her that her aunt's house is at the other end. After wandering around lost for what seems like hours, she finally gets out on the other side. She sees her aunt's house. Unfortunately, there's a dog between her and the house. The dog is partially skeletal, rotting bits of flesh falling off his body. She calls out to her parents as it starts attacking her, but no one comes.
He's on Wheel of Fortune, as the fourth contestant in a game of only three. The others are all guessing letters he's never heard of, and as he shouts out the letters of the alphabet, the other contestants laugh. Vanna comes at him and starts eating him alive, until only his head is left. Just as she's about to eat him up, he's transferred onto Jeopardy. Alex Trebec is totally normal, thank God. But the other two contestants turn on him, finishing the job Vanna started. Wielding wire cheese cutters, they slice pieces of his skull off and eat them while he tries desperately to answer the trivia questions.
She wakes up in her bedroom, and she knows its hers, but she can't recognize anything. She gets up and wanders the empty house, and again, she knows its her house, but there's nothing familiar to justify this. She's searching but she can't find anyone, until she goes into the garage. Her father is hanging by his neck.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
What is a monster? On the first day of the first Monsters Class in 2004, I asked the students to describe a monster. Here are the words they used:
There is a terrific scene in Finding Nemo in which Dory and Marlin swim into the dark deep sea in search of a diver’s mask. They see a mysterious light that attracts them and almost get eaten by a deep sea anglerfish. How many of the characteristics cited above do you see in the anglerfish pictured below?
I also asked them to name something that really gave them the creeps. Here are their responses to that question:
Okay, Copy-Paste done.
After the class discussion about things that generally creep us out, I went home and watched a few episodes of Planet Earth. And you know what? Nature is very, very creepy. Especially when you're watching out for it.
While in Vallarta in October, my mom found out that stepping on sea urchins is not a good idea. Their spines are poisonous, so it hurts like hell. They're also brittle, so trying to pull them out usually just makes them snap off inside your foot. Then, even better! The tip starts to curl like a fish hook, so it will gradually push itself deeper into your skin while resisting, very painfully, any attempts to pull it out with tweezers. Usually people have to go in for a minor surgery to get them removed safely. And they tend to get infected.
But not only that! They have TEETH! The damn things come in swarms that can level an entire kelp forest in a day. Their five teeth grow constantly, so they're always sharp and ready to gnaw.
And starfish! They climb on top of their victims (sand dollar, smaller starfish, whatever) then suck the juicy bits out and move on, leaving only the creatures' bones behind.
Damn, nature. The whole barracuda thing already had me afraid of snorkeling, but now I think I'm done with all open-water activities. (Except surfing. And only on beaches that are known for not having jelly fish.)