28 July 2008

Kodak Duaflex - Through the Viewfinder

I am obviously way in love with my Kodak Duaflex, so much so that it's not enough to just use the camera, but I have to take pictures of it and screen print it onto a canvas, too:

But how can I not? I am really loving these:
Sidewalk Sunflower Red Bus

24 July 2008

Taco Flavored Fishes

I believe that I am getting a fish this weekend. I haven't done ridiculous amounts of research about this, but I've done enough to decide that we will be getting an Anabantid or Gourami of some sort. Anabantids and Gouramis, or "Labyrinth fish" have a labyrinth organ, which a) allows them to live in water with less oxygen support than other fish, and b) Labyrinth is a movie featuring David Bowie.

They are hardy fish, and while most of them are somewhat aggressive and are not community fish, we are going to be an only fish couple for a while, anyway. If we want to introduce small freshwater schools, we will be able to do that if and when we upgrade our tank.

I won't be able to come home and cuddle with my fish, but we know we won't be getting a puppy for a while, and this seemed like a fair compromise. I hope to be working less hours, preferably from home, when we do get a dog (I say puppy all the time, but most greyhounds come into your heart and home as adults). We already have a name picked out, and a title. Now we just need to find the right fishy for our home.

21 July 2008

It's Because My Job is Making me Crazy with Last Minute Deadlines

Last night I had a dream that J and I were getting married.

The whole thing was completely disorganized and had been slapped together at the last minute. I remember that I kept saying to myself, "SHIT, if only I had had more time! I would have thought of this!" (This being any number of things from the dinner to the location to the invitations, and if I remember correctly, we'd been engaged for a while...or were embarrassingly stupid enough to think we could plan a wedding in a day?) I think the worst part was the invitations, which ended up being printed the day of, and even though the wedding was happening that evening, we were still using a laser printer at home so that "at least people would have something to remember it by." (Who? Since no one was invited...I don't know who was coming...)

My dress was something hideous that was borrowed at the last minute, and the ceremony+reception were being held in the basement of an old used bookstore (any poetic notions about that were blasted when I saw the cast iron spiral staircase with slap-shod blue carpeting that led down to the basement, which was equally dingy, leaky, and poorly lit).

The whole thing was a nightmare, but through everything, I just wanted to get it over with because the important part was that J and I were together - I didn't care about the wedding.

I woke up and went to therapy. Not only did I not get what I needed out of my session, but instead of deciding that my suggestion of once every other week was fine, we figured that in reality, I probably should ramp it up to twice a week (as if. Hello - I need to have a life, too. I can't just spend my life being in therapy and working my shitty day job, then recovering from therapy and my shitty day job every day). I left feeling like I kind of wished that I could go no times a week, hating that my therapist knows things about me that even I don't want to know about me. Yes, that is the point, thanks. I left kind of wanting to smack some hypothetical someone in the teeth.

I'm unreasonably angry with myself about being myself, and I'm also kind of pissed that I have to be at work non-stop for the next two days. This is why Wednesday is going to be a beach day. Unless it rains, in which case it will be screen print some arts for my walls day. Either way, by then I hope to no longer be hating myself.

17 July 2008

For My Fellow Bike Commuters

Dear Cyclist-Who-Thought-He-Almost-Got-Hit-By-A-Car-This-Morning:

That car had its turn signal on long before you approached the light, and the light turned green just as you approached his blind-spot. I know, I know - you were in the bike lane, which naturally means that all those mean-old cars have got to stop for you, even when you're not biking defensively* or paying attention to anything, which is why you yelled at him, I presume. God - that motorist was such an asshole. Except...wait...he didn't even honk at you!
*(See Collision Type #3)

I noticed that you had the decency to seem embarrassed when I yelled that you should pay attention, and that the guy had his turn signal on. I probably shouldn't have called you an idiot, though.

Dear People Who Got Tickets After Running The Red Light on Hampshire and Broadway:

I'm sorry. I totally empathize, because it's happened to me before, and half of you did check for cars, although you managed to somehow miss the bike cops (who were positioned in the middle of the bike lane)...but who am I to judge.

I do not, however, empathize with the guy who got exasperated with me for waiting at the red light and ran it even after I said, maybe with not enough conviction, that there were cops ahead. You, sir, definitely deserved that ticket. Perhaps, though, it was a little mean-spirited for me to shout "HAVE FUN WITH THAT" just before the cop held his hand up in your face and pulled you over.

But three cheers to the Cambridge Bike Cops. Thanks for finally starting to do your jobs (for the most part...well...it's a start).

10 July 2008

I was reading stories about the bicyclist who was struck and killed by a trash truck in D.C. on Tuesday, and while wading through all the comments on the WP story about drivers vs. "asshole bicyclists", I saw this:
No, the stories about bikers who choose to run red lights aren’t irrelevant. Someone has placed a bike spray painted white at the intersection of Connecticut and R as a memorial to Ms. Swanson. This morning, as I sat in my car on R St. at a red light during rush hour, I watched as a young woman pulled up right next to the white bike. She appeared to be in her twenties, and was wearing a helmet. Having seen the aftermath of yesterday’s tragedy, I wondered if she knew what had happened just 24 hours earlier, at that very spot. Just as I pondered that thought, she glanced quickly in both directions, then rode across all six lanes of Connecticut, rather than wait the extra 30 seconds for the light. Yesterday’s horrible accident may have been entirely the truck driver’s fault, but bikers and drivers alike can do much to improve safety on our streets.
Let me tell you, lady, I will bet you money that this girl was perfectly aware of what had just happened in that intersection, was probably scared shitless to be on her bike at that moment, and used the "extra 30 seconds" to put herself ahead of traffic - which is actually a smart way to ensure you won't be wedged in by the cars waiting at the light with you - provided, of course, you check that all six lanes (omg, so many lanes) of traffic are clear before you go. I get a kick out of the philosophical pondering regarding this girl's safety, when the cyclist likely did make the decision, not out of haste to reach her destination, but out of a desire to not get taken over by a car.

I've gotten a citation for running a red light on my bike before. I admit, fully and freely, that I deserved it, but where are these damn cops when cars are parked in the bike lane? When people are riding their bikes on the sidewalks? Where's the city funding for cops who actually do their jobs? Since that citation, would I run a red light again? You betcha. Especially with the frequency that people use their turn signals out here. It's just safer, sometimes. It's sad that it takes stories like this to make me sit back and think about how recklessly I ride, but with every one I read I try to take a little bit of knowledge away, and hopefully will be more conscientious (and alive) for it.

By the way, the nicest thing a cop has ever done for me in my life, ever, was force a car to remove itself from the bike lane when he saw me coming up the road - I seriously wanted to make out with him for that.

P.S. - the "white bike" she was referring to was a ghost bike.

02 July 2008

Seems like a fair price to me!

How much would you pay for the luxury to not give a crap about something?

Yesterday, at work, we were given the numbers for the bonuses we will be getting at the end of the week. We recently switched to a Performance Based Compensation plan that involves all kinds of ratings and algorithms and numbers. It's kind of cool, actually, since I tend to prefer numbers (because I went to MIT or why I went to MIT...the eternal question).

Yesterday, one of my coworkers came over and asked (aggressively? Am I projecting?) whether they had messed up one of my numbers, because they seemed to have messed with hers. In the previous round of bonuses, they had screwed up some input or another and instead of fixing it then, they promised it would be fixed in the future.

She stood over my shoulder and watched as I opened my spreadsheet (I had not checked it before she came over - the reality is that I forgot that this spreadsheet is downloaded as a one page PDF, and our bonuses are right there in a bright yellow box, which the eye is immediately drawn to on our great big 19" monitors). She saw my bonus, then pulled a printed copy of her own out of her pocket, opened it a sliver, and said, "Nope, they didn't screw yours up, just mine," and walked away.

Fortunately, paper is not opaque when it's lit from behind, or I wouldn't know that she made a whopping $300 more than me - the cost of not passing the LEED exam. She did not get paid more than me based on merit, or because she's more awesome or pretty or better than me in any other way than she studied her ass off, gave up her life for a while, and passed an exam. We've already been through how I felt about not passing, and how I spent all of seven hours studying, and I knew that my bonus would be the consequence. Were she actually a friend, she would have at the very least looked away when I opened that file, but because she doesn't care about other people, it's completely beyond her comprehension not to be an asshole (otherwise in an ideal world, she would have shown me hers, too, because I honestly don't mind sharing these things with friends (I should have seen the whole thing coming, since it was barreling at me like an freight train)). I've known this about her for a while; It's not her fault I'm so damn gullible.

So, against my will, I started justifying the whole thing in my head last night; not because I need anything to change, but because I needed to feel better about the fact that she is a jerk. I know for a fact that when I started, I was paid more than another one of our co-workers, presumably because I graduated from MIT and, even though it is from an accredited university and they have worked here for three years (one year longer than me), their degree is from a less prestigious school. More people may have heard of her school, but it's still not MIT - and she has one year less work experience. I wouldn't normally think about these things so much, because I'm perfectly content with what I make relative to the market these days, but she annoyed me yesterday, and so I started rationalizing that she should go ahead and be happy with that $300, because I'm 89% certain it's absorbed into my slightly higher paycheck. Plus, I can always pass the exam at the end of the summer, if I decide I want to waste two weeks of my free time. I know she only feels she has to make other people feel badly about themselves so she can soothe her non-existent self esteem. Knowing that doesn't make me want to punch her any less.

So. I suppose that $300 is the cost of not giving a shit around these parts. Reasonable?