Friday, May 26, 2006

A message in a bottle thrown off a boat between Nantucket & Cape Cod in 1979...

...washed up in Ireland 21 years later.

See now? That, Nantucket Nectar Guys, is a way more interesting bottlecap fact.

Ugh. Marina Water.
I went over to the UCLA dock today to get qualified to take out their singles so that I could get water time on the days I'm not over at my normal boathouse. Normally they have a whole two-week course...thingy that you have to go through to be certified, but since I've already got some sculling they told me to just show up & do a private lesson & they'd eval me from there.

However, part of their eval is a capsize recovery exercise. Which is a really nice way of saying "Dump yer arse in the marina & let's make sure you can get back in the boat by yourself so you don't drown on our watch."
Now, I've been rowing for almost a year now, & I'd never gone in. A lot of people tend to flip at least once when learning to scull, but I'm freakish & I guess all that roatating on one foot to do roundhouses for a couple years paid off in terms of balance in a single, so I've managed to stay fairly dry.

The instructor, D*, a very nice guy in his 50's(?) was describing the recovery procedure & remarked to me, "Don't worry about it. Some women do it & don't even get their hair wet."
I kinda laughed & went, "Yeah, I can tell you right now I won't be one of them."

Anyway, so I was supposed to do this private lesson eval & then do their Test-Out, but when we got to the dock (after I managed to climb back into my single from the water) D tells me not to worry about the official test out thingy, he'd just tell them I was qualified. Sweet! I don't even have to do their written. (yes, it would seem as part of making sure you know the Marina rules, they actually have a written portion of their exam. huh.)

So I'm good to go. And when I got back & was docking my boat, I discovered I'm not the only one from our boathouse over there on MWF. So I guess crazy I might be, but alone I am not.

* turns out that D actually learned to scull from my present coach, G. Seriously, rowing is the most incestuous sport ever.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

So... ever have that moment where you get done going over your family history with a therapist for your first session, and they stop to comment & congratulate you on having managed to be a functioning member of society given your background?


Um, yeah. Me neither.

Anyway, so I had my first therapy session last night, & I don't think I frightened S away, so we're going to try it again next Wed. I decided to go with hypnotherapy as a way of working with my anger issues, the fact that my parents pretty much ingrained me to expect people to betray & abandon me, & my tendency towards self-deprecation.

She also gave me a packet of local AL-ANON meetings, but I kinda want to see how this round of therapy goes before I take that step. Just the fact that I'm highly hesitant about going sends off a red flag in my brain as far as "things that are a good idea".

So we'll see - I figure I can call this part a draw - I know there are problem, & I'm willing to work on shit, but I also know it's not in my nature to sit in a circle & do my Slim Shady impression.

I figure...that's progress, right? Totally.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

You can have a party of your own on the Lightship Nantucket.

Seriously? I think the Snapple guys need new writers for their bottle-cap blurbs, because what the sh*t is up with that as a snippet?

Fun at work.

Email goes out from CoWorker that she needs someone to give her a ride to the mechanic. Five minutes later she sends out...
Thank you guys, I found a willing ride for today.....
I replied, "Dude, anything I would normally write back to this email will get me fired."

Okay, so here at Altruism!Co, we're having this event involving a Marilyn Monroe theme - it's like, the kickoff to our summer society fundraisers, if you will. Well, I did up a logo for the last event in our season, which is in Nov., & in my wacky way I thought, "hey, Marilyn logo to tie everything together!" so I did one with a silhouette of her in an evening gown leaning against the lettering. very cute, very coy sort of thing.
It was rejected because the Uppers thought it was "too provocative". Myself & the event coordinator were like, "it's a silhouette...." but no no, they were worried about the "corporate image". Fine. Whatever.

We just got samples of the Marilyn pictures that will be auctioned off at this first event. The guy that owns the negatives donated a couple of vintage prints, very valuable, live auction, celebrity auctioneer in private 90210 home, rah rah rah...


Yup, that's right, kids - not one week after I was told that the silhouette of Monroe was too provocative, we discover that the pictures being donated for auction are from Monroe's Playboy shoot - full color, naked as a jaybird!

heh. Good thing they made sure to protect the corporate image, huh?

Dangit! Okay, I'm not making this up - it would seem that Altruism!Co is going to let the guy donating the pictures for auction know that we can only accept prints which do not include nudity - which cuts the auction items at least by a third - because that's not "who we are".

Dude. It's Marilyn Monroe. I hesitate to see what would have been the response if any of them had been with me the day we toured the Museum of Fine Arts School in Boston when I was in high school & we walked in on a drawing class where the model was a guy who had a two pound weight hanging off his wang.

If you'll excuse me, I have to go somewhere & revel in the fact that in comparison, I am way less of a prude now. Jeebus.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Corporate Ping Pong.

Today's lesson - when people realize they have to plan stuff too, suddenly it's not such a great idea.

Altruism!Co: Hey, can I get a timeline of when the website will be done?
Claris: Sure... ::sends prospective timeline of dept by dept. information re-org
Altruism!Co: Rah rah rah, changes...anything else we need to know?
Claris: Well, as we go through, I'm going to need to make some aesthetic alterations (burn it down, salt the earth, start over) to reflect the new content in the navigation
Altruism!Co: Oh, great! Can you have a couple of comps made up for us to vote on at the next exec meeting?
Claris: Um, it might be easier if the directors can give me examples of other sites by similar organizations so that I have an idea of what your industry standard is...
Altruism!Co: Well, we're really busy right now, so we'll just put that off for a bit then.

Ohkay... meanwhile, I'm still waiting for information for a marathon site that was supposed to go up last week to be completed. ::sigh::

Can you say, "Play CYA via documentation", Virginia?

What's with today... today?

• No matter how easy I think the job will be, anything involving my apt. will be WAY more complicated than it should be.
On Friday, I was going to go in to work late b/c I’d finally gotten my landlord to refinish my tub & fix my broken back window. The back window was fine – that guy was in & out w/in half an hour. The TUB – it would seem that the reason the finish was messed up was that someone had PAINTED the tub at one point. Like, with house paint! So they had to strip it, & then re-enamel it, and yeah…I worked from home.
I've also spent the last three days with the fans on & the windows open 'cause hoo baby! That shit will make you a little high if you're not careful.

• For some reason, midnight_sprint's mom seems to think her daughter is in good hands with me.
That was Friday night. Heh. It would seem I'm Mom-approved. Needless to say, M_S's mom has only met me the once & not for long. ;)

• My desk now contains the technological equivalent of dueling banjos.
I set up my Dell on Friday (yes, finally - what the hell else do you do on a day when you can't leave your apartment because someone painted your tub?) So now, when you look at my desk, I have a Mac on the left, & a Dell on the right - as I remarked to some people this weekend, I think I accidentally configured my desk according to political affiliation.

• In our house, two dogs are better than one.
That's right, we've got a houseguest again - this time, it's Lucy, the springer spaniel from the other side of mine. (Daisy was the black lab that lives on the left side, Lucy lives on the right. With their owners, of course.) Zoey was rather put out when she saw me leaving on Sunday morning to messenger w/o her, but when I got back & Lucy had been deposited in the apt., she'd forgiven me. It's kind of funny...Lucy's owner had let her fur grow out for the winter - emphasis on out - to the point where the poor wee babbers looked like a walking carpet. She would come in my apt & slip on her own fur because I don't have any rugs on my hardwood floors. The other day, J took Lucy to the groomer & I swear that dog lost about 15 pounds when she got sheared. I was on the phone with SpecialK, standing outside my apt, and like, HalfALucy walked by. I literally interrupted the phone conversation with, "Holy shit!"
And yes, just like any girl with a new haircut, that dog is ridiculously proud of herself. Seriously, she's prancing. It's cute.

• Forget the drivers' lisence, I think this makes me officially a CA resident now.
After talking to my neighbor Sue for a while last night, I've decided to give therapy a try. Not like "Sit on a Couch & Talk to the Man with the Power of Prescription" therapy, though. I'm going to start with some Reiki & energy work... kinda ease on into this touchy-feely crap. Sue actually suggested I hit up some Al-Anon meetings, but I don't think I'm quite at the point where I can sit in a circle & say "Hi my name is" yet. We'll see. I have a hypnosis session scheduled for Tues. night. The thought of what I might say under hypnosis when what little edit button control I might possess is completely obliterated is rather perturbing.

• The office candy bowl has caramels this week.
It's the little things that make me happy, okay?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Where have all the good men gone...

Last Male Purebred Rabbit Species Dies

Way to disprove the term "breeding like rabbits", huh?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Crap. Now my Z-key sticks.

Damn habit of having sugar with my tea!


Yes, I'm five. How do you think I spilled tea on the keyboard in the first place?

Monday, May 15, 2006

Flying Child Humor

For those of you not from CA who may not have seen it, this is an ACTUAL road sign that the State of CA put up on the 5 south near Camp Pendleton:

click here to read story

Due to the rather precarious position of the child, I've been informed it's called the Flying Child Sign. Because of that, I have classified jokes about the recent Mexican immigration hoo in the zoo here in CA to fall under the category of "Flying Child Humor".

Today's version:

Claris: I need sugar after that meeting. Wanna go to Starbuck's?
Hispanic co-worker: Yeah, let me get my wallet.
Claris: You gonna get anything?
Hc-w: No, but I like to tell people now that I don't leave the house w/o ID in case I get stopped by immigration.
Claris: ::laughs:: Don't worry dude - if that happens, I've got your back - I'll tell them that I picked you up from the corner by Home Depot because I needed to have my house painted.

We are so going to get fired one day. Good times, good times...

there's a reason I have a job where I sit behind a desk in the corner...

Receptionist on Phone: Claris, I have a woman on the line that would like to talk about the website.
Claris: ::Inner voice -- DANGER WILL ROBINSON!:: .... which part of the website?
RoP: I'm not sure. she says she's calling about one of the walks. I asked her if she'd like to sign up, but she said no, she wanted to talk about the walk on the site.
Claris: ::inner thought - oh god, it's one of those... :: know, RoP, I think she needs to talk to one of the Regional volunteer coordinators for that area.
RoP: Are you sure?
Claris: Yeah, I think they'd be way more patient with here... I just...I don' don't want me to talk to people.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Why does the military find me funny?

Okay, I'm sorry, but the hits for this entry have gone beserk on my sitecounter over the last few days, and they're coming from US military servers. Guys, what odd keyword did I show up under? Seriously, you can tell me - half the guys in my family are/were in the service, so I promise I won't be shocked if it was the phrase "kitten fucker" that got you here. Honestly, I'm kind of amused that I'll be able to tell my mom I got passed around by a bunch of soldiers when I talk to her on the phone this weekend.

Smoke 'em if ya got 'em.

Friday meme from E.Spat. If you wanna do it, it's all yours.

I AM: not physically tired, but kind of apathetically weary in my soul.
I WANT: to figure out why I just don't give a shit about anything lately.
I WISH: I could get a better control on my ability to react to situations based on what people are showing me, instead reacting to the truth they don't realize I can hear.
I HATE: feeling frustrated.
I MISS: feeling like I know what I'm doing.
I FEAR: that I'll never figure out why compared to other people, I'm kinda broken.
I HEAR: music. Because without my iPod, I'd never get any work done.
I WONDER: why when I talk, I'm wrong, and when I keep my mouth shut, I'm arrogant.
I REGRET: not switching out of MWF practices when R.S. Monkey did, instead of staying because I thought if I moved exclusively to G's practices I would be told I was thinking too much of myself.
I AM NOT: sure what I want to do any more.
I DANCE: when no one's around.
I SING: on the way home from work because in the car no one can hear you - it's LA, so even if your windows are down, everyone else has theirs up.
I CRY: a lot this week. I hate that I cried in the boathouse.
I AM NOT ALWAYS: as indestructible as I might seem.
I MAKE WITH MY HANDS: anything I want, because if I can't find it in the store exactly the way I want it, I'm not going to buy it. I'm a picky bitch like that.
I WRITE: because my brain works differently than other people's and if I say it out loud, I freak people out even more than my writing does.
I CONFUSE: pretty much everyone, it seems.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The tea is better on their side of the pond, and so is the radio...

I don't know why, but one of my favorite things about online radio is the feed from Virgin Radio UK over iTunes.

Maybe it's the fact that their traffic reports have absolutely NO effect on my life, so I can laugh at the misfortune of others...

maybe it's kind of comforting to hear their ride home shows as I'm getting ready to go to work - a reminder that indeed, a new day will come, Mr. Frodo.

Maybe it's that they're just WAY more concerned about soccer than I am. Or the fact that I'm behind in downloading the back eps of Lost that I haven't seen yet, so they're just about the only people further behind in viewing than me, judging by the DJs discussions.

Maybe it's the fact that Ryan Seacrest is in NO WAY associated with British radio, so there's no chance of being accidentally burned by his ray of ridiculously tanned elfin enthusiasm.

Or maybe I just like the accent.

Okay, I admit it. I just like the accent. ;)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Note to self: You work on a live server.

Yes, really. ::hand up:: I didn't set it up, don't get me started.

Lemme 'splain. I was copying from Event A to create Event B, but while I'd made the Event B pages, they still have the Event A elements. However, because I was trying to field our writer about this bloody PR firm, I was a dumbass and didn't switch in the Event B parts to the Event B pages, and just started working - and because each instance is interconnected, because I was working on Event A parts, it showed up on Event A pages.

Event A has been live for over a week now, so those eff-ups were live on the internet as well.

Thankfully, I only got about ten minutes into the process before I realized this, went "OH GOD NO!" called the vendor's help desk & fixed everything, but still. If that's not a heart attack in a box, I dunno what is. ::sigh::

Did I mention that I was also trying to start to screencap & write the internal user manual for the setup process while doing this? Yeah, I stopped that part, thanks.

Okay. Seriously? Priorities.

Dear other person:
The bios page of the site...doesn't really matter. It doesn't generate revenue, it doesn't educate the public, and trust me, nobody's googling to find out who the staff is here at Altruism!Co. If I had my way, we'd cut it completely.

Meanwhile, I just mapped your Volunteer subsite (you know, the one that was 100 inches long when screencapped?) into excel. it took me three work days & it's 21 pages long when I use Landscape layout. I am presently setting up a walk that will happen in...six weeks which no one got working before I started working here. And did I mention that we still need to cull the contract with the PR agency that's been scamming you? Shit, I need to go schedule that meeting.

Please don't worry about the flippin' bio page. the difference between Assistant & Program Assistant isn't that big & I'll bet the Assist. in each dept. is too busy working to really care as long as it's on their official job description when they have their review.

~ Claris

edited 'cause I'm a dumbass & automatically signed my real name. Jeebus - next thing you know, I'd have sent it over email! ::facepalm::

Friday, May 05, 2006

is it just me, or is there a drink over there with my name on it?

"Well, go ahead & get something to drink then."
"No, that drink has my name on it!"

Indeed, when we went to the Whole Foods salad bar for dinner last night, Adina discovered that there is a new organic drink with her name on it.

This discovery, as well as the walk back to my apartment (which was way less than the five miles Adina intimated I normally make her walk!) and our subsequent taste test may have yielded such comments as:

"I'm only 70 calories!"

"I wonder what I taste like!"

"Ooh, I'm a zesty lemon lime mix with all the spirit of Cuba."
Yeah, because when I think Hispanic spirit, I totally think of the white girl from Kansas ~ Me.

"Quick, take a picture of my label before we drink me!"

...ten minutes later, during the taste test....

"Let's drink!" ::pause:: "Huh."
"Dude, you could use some sugar."
"I taste kinda... nasty. That's so sad!"

However, this morning, I got an email titled "I come in different flavors!" with the site linked to above. Ah, the wonder of google. I have a feeling we're gonna be making puns about drinking Adina for some time to come.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Sweep the leg!

I saw a guy at the gym last night wearing a shirt that said that, and I'm willing to admit that I'm such a geek that 18 hours later, I'm still rather delighted by the Karate Kid reference.

did you know there's a new Jewel album? There is! and in my helpfulness, I'm going to let the 'murricans know that while iTunes seems dang convenient for $13.99, Target has the version with a DVD documentary for $9.99. Sadly, I found this out too late. Bugger.

Upon arriving at Altruism!Co, the first thing I said when I saw their website organization was that I was going to basically blow it up, salt the earth, & start over. The following is why.

I just did the site map for Altruism!Co's volunteer section. For my lawgeekers, a site map looks a lot like a flow chart - it is literally just a tree diagram of the pages on the site & the directories they're connected to. The easiest way to do this here is to go into Dreamweaver, take a section by section screenshot of their version of the site map, then paste each screenshot into Photoshop, and just output a pdf. A lot of times, I end up printing on legal or 11x17 paper because of the fact that they're basically vertical documents.

According to Photoshop, the document I just created is 120 inches long if printed. This is just one section of the site. I haven't even LOOKED at the educational materials section. Or the public policy section. Or the press section. And there's more after that.

I feel like I should go make an applied definition example under "Job Security" on wikipedia, 'cause hey - this is gonna take a while.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Linear thought is for the weak anyway.

Went to a work function/fundraiser thing last night at a store in Bev Hills - one of those "When you shop between this time period, we give 15% of the profits to Altruism!Co..." things. And since it was a Mktg. Dept. organized function, we all had to attend.

Dude? I'm the designer. I've been here three weeks. And hey, even without that, I'm really not the staff member you introduce to people you want money from - for god's sake, there's a reason they normally put the designers in the basement, doncha know. ;)

Anyway, after spending about an hour of my life being very very bored & having flashbacks to my retail & valet careers, I trundled out with the excuse of having an errand to run in Woodland Hills - which, incidentally, you'd have thought I said Outer Mongolia - it's 25 miles from Bev Hills to Woodland Hills, but in terms of Relative LA Distance Perception, it's like the equivalent of saying I'm going to drive from Boston to NY. Meanwhile, I'm from New England, where most things are about 25 miles apart - it's just that we have a highway system that actually works, so it doesn't take half an hour to go four miles. ;)

::insert Claris' oft-repeated statement that she would club a baby with a kitten if it meant LA would have an effective transport system like the T in Boston.::

Anyway, so I went up to WH & picked up my check from Messenger!Co for the weekend that SpecialK took off & I covered her guarantee runs - which is a welcome addition to my economic stability, since I just dropped about $650 on a new Dell this morning.

I mean, don't get me wrong - I needed a new computer, it was a good deal, I had our IT guy vet it for me, it comes with a free 19" flat screen, and I even ponied up the extra $50 for a wireless mouse & keyboard - I never would have been able to afford it except that Dell needs a good units sold figure for the end of the fiscal year & halved the prices of most of their desktop systems.

It's just that no matter how stable my economics get, the Former Poor Kid in me will always kind of wince at dropping large amts. of money in one shot. I'm not like, rich now or anything, but I have a stable job, I can pay my bills, I know I make more than my parents did, and I'm actually at a point where I'm putting money into an ING acct. But there's always that little voice in the back of your head that watched your parents get foreclosed on which will forever be just the littlest bit paranoid about dropping a couple hundred dollars on the one credit card you have, ya know? Plus, LA is not a cheap place to live - I spend more in rent for my one bedroom with street parking that allows a dog in West Hollywood than my sister spends on the mortgage for her two bedroom three story condo in NH.

So yah. There are times where I have to chant, "It's okay to buy, it's okay to buy..." before I hit "Confirm Order".

Of course, the nice thing is that as a freelancer, what I just bought is a business expense. So hey, Mr. Bush - you want to up my gas prices? I am going to write off every shitting thing I can. How do I know how to do that? I learned it by watching you, okay? I learned it by watching you!*

*This may not be funny to my international crowd, but trust me - the 'murricans get it.