Thursday, March 24, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
I have a new plan. I'm sure it will work, just like all the others (you can refresh your memory here, here, and here for just a small sample of the methods I've tried). I've really been trying to get a little more organized lately. It would be SUPER AWESOME to be in control of just one teeny-tiny little thing; I think it might improve my disposition, which has not been stellar for some time now.
Unfortunately, in the past, I have had a high rate of failure. Even Weston easily recognizes this. I stacked the movies up neatly in the TV cabinet the other day and told him I have a new rule: movies have to be put back when they're done with them, and any movies left out will be thrown away. Here's what he said to that (complete with heavy sigh and rolled eyes): This will be just like all the other new rules; we'll do it for a while and then we'll stop and it will be back to just the way it was before. Well, rats! You can't say much to that, particularly when it's deadly accurate.
But! But! I have been eager to get a handle on the toys, since they comprise at least 8,000% of the messes in our house. I have been uncomfortably reminded of a woman I met at a consignment sale when Weston was little. I was loaded down with toys galore, including a little tool set. She took one look at it and said she would NEVER buy that for her kid because it had too many small pieces and would make a mess in her house. Naturally, I thought she was a cruel and horrid beast, but now I think she is the most brilliant creature to have ever walked the face of the earth. MMMMMmmmm, crow! My favorite!
Lloyd took the boys fishing yesterday, and while they were gone, I took every single toy, ball, gun, game, puzzle, stuffed animal, car, train and Lincoln Log out of the house and put them all in the detached garage, along with the approximately 11,000 pounds of miscellaneous household goods we have stored in there. My plan was to wait for them to come home and start squealing about their missing toys, then I was going to take them out to the garage to 'shop' for one laundry basket full of toys each. Then, when those got old, they could take them back to the garage and swap them for baskets of different ones. It didn't work exactly like that, though.
First of all, they admired the clean room but didn't realize for hours that the toys were gone. Once they noticed, they were a little concerned until I explained the plan. They were totally on board, and Weston didn't even ask to get his basket until the next day. He went out in the morning and came back with a basket mounded high with stuffed animals. They've been happily playing with the stuffed animals ever since, and Shane hasn't even asked to get his toys yet.
Pretty good, right? And I'm not done yet! Next, I'm going to set the garage on fire.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
I work in a government office, and you might have heard something about budget problems in our public agencies lately. My office just got some seriously bad news: we are down to our last box of 8.5 x 11 printer paper. Dude! Printer paper is like the fuel that powers the machine where I work. The place will grind to a screeching halt in a hurry if the supply is cut off, and at least six, no.... seven people will immediately shrivel up and die. We've already had to go to double-sided printing. You would think people would embrace that; it cuts the paper usage in half, so that's like two trees a day, but surprisingly, this has not been a super popular move.
But if we get cut down to zero on the paper front, what are we going to push around? All day long, piles, folders, clipboards, and binders, all cram-jammed with dead trees, get schlepped from cube to cube, from one end of the office to the other. Over and over and over, like a perpetual motion machine. I've been brainstorming ideas for a good substitute, and the best thing I can come up with is old computer monitors on old office chairs. The pushing would be easy, because of the wheels, and it would be efficient because we'd be pushing two things at one time. The scary thing is, I can totally picture this in my mind, and it wouldn't be all that different. Pretty viable, don't you think?
If that doesn't work out, I have another idea to acquire the paper we need: a swap operation with other public agencies. As it happens, we have an ample supply of legal paper, which we don't use very often, and I did an inventory of the supply room. We have:
A polaroid camera, still in the box
4 unopened boxes of 3.5" floppy disks
23 dirty mouse pads
119 pounds of tabbed sheets
47 2" white binders
4 boxes of toilet seat covers
3 cubic yards of desktop organizers in various configurations
14 pencil sharpeners
Large box of fortune cookies
6 reams carbon paper
I'm thinking we can appoint a Swapmaster, which should definitely be a good promotion for someone. Not me, though- I'm not a good bargainer, plus I'm not really ambitious. The new Swapmaster could set up in the supply room on the big table with all the goods and start wheeling and dealing to get the printer paper, and we also desperately need some kleenex right away. I mentioned it at the staff meeting today and they just laughed at me, so I guess that means they all want to try the office chairs and computer monitors first. I'll let you know how it turns out! I might consider putting up pictures but I don't want to get canned. Maybe I can make everyone disguise their identities while they careen around the hallways- we can probably get a gross of masks from the health department in exchange for the fortune cookies. And, just in case that doesn't work out, keep your eyes open for surplus you might want to trade; I'll put in a good word for you with the Swapmaster.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
**again with the editing! A few points of clarification: FINE, I was not so much sorting stuff at my parent's house as grumping around while my sister and my aunt worked. WHATEVER. Also, of course, as revolutions go, I'm a fan of the non-violent type, which are entirely possible, no matter what Lloyd says. That is all.**
So! What super fun things are all you guys up to today? I am at my parents' house sorting through my dead mother's stuff- and boy, is it a BLAST. She was a big genealogist, and so there are piles of things from her ancestors. One of her grandfathers, Josef, was a real character, and he was not shy about speaking out against injustice, which often made him unpopular among the townspeople. Which he did not give a rat's ass about, apparently. I came across some of his writing today, and had to post a little excerpt, because it is so remarkably similar to what I wrote yesterday:
April 1938: Oh yes, there is general demand that the telegraph and telephone rates be lowered, and it can be done by not giving a set of hogs an enormous profit. The fact is, big business is grabbing all the money; it will make very little difference, how much money the government spends to relieve unemployment, in a short time it will be in possession the rich, and we are on the same old place, where we were before; that is the curse of our competitive or capitalist or profit system, and when our national credit will be gone, we will either face a dictator or a revolution, for it is hardly possible that 99% of the people will submit to the financial and economic tyranny of less than 1%.
SING IT, GRAMPS, AND BRING ON THE REVOLUTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, March 10, 2011
***update: the March of Dimes has reversed their position on this, most likely in response to public outrage. Or a giant drop in donations.
**edited to add: here is a link to a blog post by Michele, who has posted the pharmaceutical companys' contact information, if you feel that doing something might be more productive than angrily ranting. Now, on to your regularly scheduled tirade**
Boy, I sure am sick of people getting screwed over by big business and the US Government. I'm really not sure which of them is worse. I could write a post every hour until my fingers fell off and still not even scratch the surface of the appalling lack of liberty and justice for all around here. Tax cuts for the rich while soldiers die for lack of equipment, gazillion dollar bailouts for Wall Street and Detroit with big fat bonuses for executives while families across the country go without health care, adequate child care and education, regular attacks on freedoms of every kind, and the list goes on and on. Today, though, I really want to vomit. The FDA has proudly announced that they have approved the first drug ever to prevent premature birth. Too bad they didn't mention that it has, in fact, been in use for years at a cost of $10-20 per injection, and that research and development was funded with tax dollars, and now they've allowed a pharmaceutical company exclusive rights to it, and the company is charging $1,500 per dose. You can read all the disgusting details here, and you can be sure it's a bad deal all around when even Fox News is pissed off about it.
Outrageous, right? How can this even happen? Here's how: it's all about the money. The pharmaceutical industry spends a lot of cash paying off lawmakers in exchange for legislation that guts the powers of the agencies that are supposed to be regulating the industry, and it's perfectly legal, thanks to all those legislators sucking up campaign donations and fact-finding trips. Here's the FDA's page on 'partnerships'. I especially like how they come right out and say they're looking for ways to get drugs approved without incurring a cost to the government. It's like high-class panhandling. Or hooking. Actually, now that I think about it, I find both of those things infinitely more respectable. And it's just going to get worse, now that the Supreme Court has decided that corporations cannot be restricted in their political spending. Big business will not rest until they have sucked every last cent from citizens like you and me, and destroyed the soil, the water and the air in their neverending quest for more, more, more. What a bunch of greedy, ridiculous bastards.
But that's the inherent flaw in democracy, isn't it? People are greedy, and government by the people means the people in government vote to enrich themselves at the expense of all the rest of us. It won't last long, though: it's simply not sustainable. So stock up on canned food, water, wine-making equipment and warm clothes. You probably won't need those guns and ammo, though- as it turns out, humans are social creatures and rapidly build thriving, happy, communal groups in post-disaster situations when they are sans government 'assistance', and then these lovely new communties are even more rapidly destroyed when government control is reestablished. If you're interested in this, an excellent book is Rebecca Solnit's 'Paradise Built in Hell'. So the coming apocalypse is for the best, really. I'm sure that those of us that survive the massive crash of resources will be much better off. Plus we'll be much skinnier, and that's super important.
Also, the March of Dimes can kiss my ass. In exchange for hefty donations from the pharmaceutical industry, they have endorsed this sickening travesty. The blood of the tiniest of the tiny is on their grasping outstretched hands, and their hypocrisy is astounding beyond words.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
You all know I went to Vegas with Helen, right? It was a fantastic trip and I was all happy and squishy inside until I came home and my cat got run over. We are already planning a trip for next year and I'm definitely not going to have that happen again- I'll probably just kill all the pets in advance this time. So, here are the highlights, in no particular order but saving the best for last:
We saw Rita Rudner's show; she is VERY funny, and her show was nice and early so we had plenty of time to get a couple of giant margaritas that come out of a slushy machine and still go to bed by 10.
The Bodies exhibit was really interesting and not gross at all, though it definitely had that potential. There were whole bodies as well as separate parts, and I was amazed by the scale of some of them- the spinal column was so huge it looked like it wouldn't even fit inside someone, even if you used a crowbar, while the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes were so teeny that the whole assembly would fit in your cupped hand. Also, don't smoke. The smoker's lungs look like grilled cheese sandwiches that were charred because the chef was drinking beer and reading blogs and forgot about them. Not that I would know. We went in the morning, leaving the entire afternoon free for giant margaritas that come out of a slushy machine.
Then, lunch at the Crown and Anchor, an authentic British pub. I was pretty skeptical about the authenticity, but Helen assures me it's as close to the real thing as you can get. I'm not sure how much time she spent in pubs, since she left there when she was nine, but I'll take her word for it. It was too early for beers, and they didn't have one of those awesome margarita slushy machines. Probably not authentic enough. WHATEVER.
We hit the Bellagio for fine art and botanical gardens; very nice. I'm a fan, but again, no margarita slushy machine. The art gallery was nice and small, just about the right size to look at a tolerable amount of art and act all pretentious without actually getting too bored. They had all the good stuff too- Picasso, Degas, Renoir, and a giant one of a guy's head done by a guy that lives about ten miles from me. It sort of looks like one in my sister's living room, only hers has a bunch of eyeballs all over it. That probably makes it WAY more valuable.
And last, but definitely not least, the Las Vegas thrift store! We rode the city bus past the gun store, which has a giant billboard that says you can try a real machine gun. That was super tempting, but we stayed on the bus. And we were glad we did; the Las Vegas Goodwill was outstanding! It was jam-packed with good stuff, and it was 50% off day. For 13.98, I got three pairs of pants, two shirts, and two VHS tapes. Helen controlled herself a little better than me, but believe you me, she was IMPRESSED.
And that's the Vegas report, until next year!
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Oh, sure, I'm used to all the regular perks of having a pilot in the house. The protracted eye-glazing explanations of closure rates and lag time, the 90 lb bags of boring ass books laying around, the endless hand waving, and the regular assurance that the pilot has everything under control, even if he can't find his own underwear or the ketchup that's right in front of his face.
But today it finally paid off, for real. We flew to Friday Harbor for lunch at a lovely seaside restaurant. Of course, I generally despise flying in small airplanes, and had to get loaded on tranquilizers first. Lloyd let each of the boys control the wheel for a little while as they sat in the front seat, kicking their feet at a panel of innumerable switches, any of which could immediately plunge us into an icy Puget Sound death. Once the horse pills kicked in and the terror was ratcheted down a notch, it was a super trip. Here's a few pictures: