Dec 27, 2008

foiled again

Posted by Mary |

I broke the Internet. My failed attempt to change the settings on my wireless router earlier this week has resulted in a nonfunctional wireless router. Oh, sure, the little lights come on, which is very festive and pretty this time of year. I can ping the router, and my computer says it is working. But the damn thing will not connect to the Internet. I currently suffer the great indignity of having to compute in a single location. Two, if I count the outlet in my bedroom. I can only use one computer at a time. Surely this is hell.

Christmas was really something this year. When I take the time to download pictures to my other computer, format them, put them on a drive, download them to this computer and then upload them to the Internet, you'll get to see just how fun. Yesterday I went to visit Rachel and Glenmore. G is leaving tonight for Iraq, so I wanted to get a little quality time with him. I also got cookies and fudge, so the trip was a success.

The gym cheated me on Christmas eve. They had sent out an e-mail to all UAF employees with the holiday schedule. I woke up on Dec. 24, baked cookies, braved the grocery store (and felt a rage I've not felt since my last trip to Bad Feng Shui Fred Meyer), and then grabbed my gym bag from my office and went to the SRC. My first thought was "Great! Almost no cars! I'll have the gym to myself!" My second thought was "Wait, why are the lights on inside the gym, but off in the office?" Someone had crossed out the 7 p.m. closing time on the sign on the door and wrote in 2 p.m. It was 4:45. They owe me.

I would go work out today, but it's currently -25 outside. I know it's not as cold as, say, -50, but it's still cold enough for me to decide not to drive into town if the only purpose of my trip is to exercise. I'm going to pretend that I'll exercise at home. I may dance or hoop a bit later on, perhaps even some yoga. But I'm not setting foot outside unless it's to grab more firewood.

I'm running low on reading material, but Bob left me with a lot of TV. I've started watching season 1 of The Big Bang Theory. I'm enjoying it, and I understand why other people find the show funny, but frankly I relate to the geeks. Plus, I think that if I had geeky neighbors, my Internet wouldn't be broken.

Given my latest computer woes, it's probably not the right time for me to undertake a new web project, and yet I feel the urge. Details to come.

Dec 23, 2008


Posted by Mary |

Your help,please. I've been trying to come up with an "Overwrought" playlist for my iPod, but I need some suggestions. What constitutes an overwrought song? Well, it's pretty much song where the emotional level of the singing far outweighs the meat of the lyrics.

The rules are that only one song from an artist can be nominated. This eliminates the chance of people suggesting the discography of, say, Meatloaf. Or Tom Jones. Or Neil Diamond. Instead, you've got to say "I would do anything for love (but I won't do that)" or "Delilah" or "Captain of a shipwreck."

Here's what I've got so far:

  • Bangles - Eternal Flame
  • Martika - Toy Soldiers
  • Aerosmith - What it takes
  • Chris Isaak - Wicked Game
  • Asia - Heat of the Moment
  • Dio - Holy Diver
  • Cyndi Lauper - All Through the Night
  • Don Henley - The Boys of Summer
  • Dusty Springfield - Son of a preacherman
  • George Michael - Somebody Tell Me or maybe Teacher
  • Glen Campbell - Rhinestone Cowboy
  • Gordon Lightfoot - Sundown or If You COuld Read My Mind?
  • the "Enterprise" theme song
  • "Man in motion" from St. Elmo's Fire
  • Journey - Don't stop believin'
  • Poison - Every rose has its thorn
  • Susan Tedeschi - It hurt so bad
  • Europe - The final countdown
  • Coolio - Gangster's paradise
  • Kim Carnes - Bette Davis eyes
  • Starship - Sara
  • Frank Black - Los Angeles
  • Jamie O'Neal - All by myself
  • Jars of clay - Flood
  • John Denver - Take me home, country roads
  • Lee Greenwood - Proud to be an American
  • Laura Branigan - Gloria
  • Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford - If I close my eyes forever

So, suggestions for Bon Jovi, Winger, Damn Yankees, etc.?

edit to add suggestions:
Mama Caselli sez Night Ranger - Sister Christian
Tom sez Asia - Don't Cry; Journey - Separate Ways
Mr. Caselli sez Nazareth - Love Hurts
Archeobot sez Def Leopard - Love Bites; Guns N Roses - November Rain; Bon Jovi - Livin' On A Prayer; Winger - I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight

I can't believe that it took me until Dec. 22 to hear "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses. That's my 80s Christmas song. Then again, I only listen to the radio if my iPod is in my bag. I don't understand why they always take one of the only decent radio stations and make it all Christmas music. We seriously only have about 7 radio stations. Can't they take the country one?

Nasty weather seems to be ensuring that most of the country will also have a white Christmas, but it's also been stranding a lot of people. James was supposed to fly to Dallas on Monday, but will not be leaving until after Christmas. I have demanded that he come to my dinner and sauna. I was briefly flirting with cooking A Very Jewish Christmas, but that was mostly because I wanted to make latkes.

Insomnia on Monday combined with waking up at 4 today to take Bob to the airport means I am very sleepy. I worked two 10-hour days, and thus will not be going in to work at all tomorrow. Instead I will bake and clean and go to the gym. I don't have to go to work again until Jan. 5, but don't get jealous. UAF closes down between Christmas and New Year's, but doesn't give all their employees vacation time. Only 4 days are covered, and you are required to use leave time for the other days. It could suck more - when I was a temporary hire (my first 16 months at UAF), I didn't accrue vacation time, and thus had to take unpaid leave.

I managed to break my wireless network tonight, and am currently connected to the modem. Oh, the indignity. And all because I decided it was time to require a password to get on my network. I brought my new iBook home and saw that it could locate another network, so it suddenly seemed wise to add a password. Bad idea. Now I'm torn between cooking and fixing.

One of my friends is settling down and buying a house. They accepted her offer and today was inspection day. In the basement, she noticed hinges along some of the pegboard wall, which pulled back to show a padlocked door. And beyond the door? A grow room. Another friend wants to know if the grow room increases the house's value. I love Fairbanks.

Dec 22, 2008

not again

Posted by Mary |

I've been up since 4:30, though I've been trying to deny it. Looks like I'll be going to the gym and work early today. Stupid insomnia.

Dec 20, 2008

tragedy has struck

Posted by Mary |

I dye my hair. Yeah, shocker, it's not really red. Quite frankly, I blame my parents for not passing on the correct genetic makeup. They got just about everything else right, though. But my point here is that it's getting close to time to dye my hair again, and the roots are getting visible. As I was getting ready for dinner with some friends tonight, I happened to look closely and I think I saw gray hair. Mind you, I only think I saw the gray hair. I made Celine look, and she said she couldn't see any gray hair, but I think it's there. Is it time to admit I'm no longer young?

Dec 19, 2008

holiday happenings

Posted by Mary |

What is the face of evil?

This, my friends. At work today, we had a white elephant gift exchange, and that man stole my gift! My dvd of Office Space - the special edition with Extra Flair! I'd call him a dirty rat bastard, but some of my coworkers read this blog. I seized the opportunity to take advantage of the an-item-can-only-be-stolen-three-times rule and finalized the ownership of The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead.

In entirely unrelated news, I decided to send my mom an e-mail letting her know the Christmas package was on its way. But, what with my personality, this is what came out:

Fort Fairbanks
December 18, 1863

Dearest Mother,

I write to you today to inform you of a recent package sent via Pony Express. It contains tokens of my affection which I hope will help my family to remember me while I am away during these holidays. Please do, at your earliest opportunity, open the parcel, for it contains some goods which may not last until Christmas morn. I speak, of course, of a small gold tin, which contains baked goods for my beloved sister, Jeanne, and her husband. I fear if not given early, these tender morsels of my affection may be bitter and inedible by the time the holiday celebration dawns. Also in the package, but not disguised by the normal trappings of Christmas finery, are two small discs which contain a multitude of music for both my father and my sister and her husband. I rather think they will find these discs a most wondrous invention, for though they bear none of the grooves of our old records (and fondly do I remember those wintry days of my youth when we would listen to records for hours) yet still they issue forth melodies. I dare say I do not understand how such devices create the sounds, but hope that all present might enjoy them.

I had hoped to send monies to you for the purchase of some local spirits for my sister and her husband. Alas I discovered only after my parcel had been taken forth from this place that I had neglected to send the cheque. I will, at my earliest opportunity, send one payable to your order, so that you should not face any unnecessary hardships during these times.

As we are fighting on the front lines, our local command sergeant has seen fit to raise our combat pay, and I entreat you to spend $50 on spirits. The local shopkeeper would surely know of a suitable drink, though if he does not or is a teetotaler (as many these days are), I pray you ask of him for some nice red wines. Don't let him fool you with cheap goods, as some tricksters are wont to do, but rather insist on an Argetinian Malbec or a Shiraz or Red Zinfandel. I have heard also that some white wines are quite pleasing to the palate, though our supply lines have been cut off in the winter and I cannot reasonably advise on any.

The time wears slowly away, though my superiors tell me that the end approaches plainer to view. We are now slowly and surely closing ranks along the city and in a few days I think a glorious victory will be won and a bright day will dawn upon our afflicted company. I still cannot get my colonel to grant a furlough, else I would be home with you for the holidays. I hope these few lines may find you enjoying good health. I remain as always, your affectionate daughter.

Mary V. Haley
Corporal, Company H
17th Alaska Regiment

And her reply?

Beloved daughter,

I received your missive and was happy to hear that all is well with you. I have just finished stringing the cranberry and popcorn for the garland. This forenoon I made several French meat pies and readied a stuffing for our Christmas turkey. This year with conditions such as they are, there is nary a goose available to grace our holiday table. At present we are in the midst of a heavy snow storm. The snow is falling at about 2 inches and hour so there is much shoveling to be done. The Lebanon stables were not prepared for this storm so the horses will not be available for our use until perhaps a day or two.
For now I will busy myself with some knitting. Sister Mary I presume is still knitting her scarf. She seems to have great difficulty in maintaining a pattern. However, I have often told her not to worry. As long as the scarves are nice and warm, no one will notice a few errors in pattern. One must give her credit for her perseverance in mediocrity. I will be working on an afghan to lay over the bed warmer.
Your uncle James is in the vicinity of Fort Griswold in Groton. We are presently unsure of his condition and can hopefully assume that all is well with him. Yesterday I spoke with your grandparents. They too are in Groton. Your grandfather is doing his part in securing his domicile. He stands watch generally from early morning until evening. Your grandmother is still working on the quilt she began about 15 years ago. It should be a work of art if she ever manages to complete it.

Your father was unable to get to New London today. The roads are impassable so he was disturbed but agreed he could only stay home. Your sister did go to her office this morning but was back home before lunch. Her husband was unable to get to New Haven. In good weather, it is a very long trek so it was unthinkable that he should attempt it in the midst of a storm. Your sister is doing some holiday baking while her husband tends to the wood stove and the roadway.

I bid thee farewell for now and will let you know when we receive your package.

We send you all our love and fondest wishes for a wonderful holiday.
Father and Mother

Yeah, that stuff seems to run in the family.

Dec 18, 2008

heard in the grocery store

Posted by Mary |

Is it wrong that I buy a pound of butter a week?
It's because I'm always baking cookies.
You should buy two pounds.

Dec 16, 2008

the dictionary

Posted by Mary |

Awkward: Trying to get into your work building at 9:45 p.m. when a girl is on the speakerphone next to the card swipe, begging her boyfriend to come downstairs and talk to her.

Awkwarder: Trying to get back to your car 10 minutes later and encountering them in the stairwell where she is crying and asking him to come home.

Also, WTF? How did I get an A in my art class? OK, technically an A-, but still.... I was not expecting that. I refer you to my Type A personality, as discussed in posts prior to the start of the class.

Dec 14, 2008

words of wisdom

Posted by Mary |

If it can eat through glass, it can eat through you.

To be honest, my craft projects sometimes go spectacularly wrong. This one wasn't so bad, except that apparently you can't etch some Pyrex. Live and learn.

This was not one of my wildest weekends, and I blame that on not drinking. I blame not drinking on some medications that will, apparently, kill me if I drink. Also, I never, ever want to see these words on my medications: May cause tendon rupture. Tendon rupture? Are you serious? I'm scared to go to they gym tomorrow, as I think both running and lifting weights are in the may-cause-tendon-rupture category even before they get pharmaceutical help.

Despite the not-drinking, I still went out to the Pub with some MFA boys after a reading on Friday. The sobriety was more apparent on Saturday when I went to Super Smooth Andy G's housewarming. Yes, our favorite SSAG has moved up into civilized society. Congratulations on your new 7 acres. I guess this mean you won't have to ride your snowmachine in a tight circle around your Goldstream cabin anymore.

A friend of a friend was moving to Fairbanks this weekend and needed a ride out to Chena Hot Springs. I offered to do it, and after several back and forth vollies, it was decided that he had found another ride. I, however, had gotten myself in a hot springs kind of mood, so Tom and I took a trip out early this afternoon. We tried to go out for dinner on the way back but were stymied several times. 1: Mia's was closed for a private party. A wedding. Judging by the smell at the door, the bride wore tempura. 2: Harley's is apparently closed for the season. Since we were already out in North Pole, we decided to check out the Mambo Grill. The food was quite good, but we were mostly sharing the restaurant with babies. If you know anything about me, it is that I don't like babies. Baby #1 was OK, relatively quiet except for a few screeches. Baby #2 came in halfway through our meal, which prompted us to start shoveling down our food with abandon. Baby #2, you see, was apparently the crossbreed of a young North Pole female and Satan. The thing just wouldn't stop crying. In the brief moments when it paused to gather its breath for another aural assault, I overheard its mother saying that it had not had its nap. Well, fuck, lady. If your child hasn't had a nap and is cranky, maybe you shouldn't be taking it out to a restaurant where nice people (and some not-so-nice people, such as myself) are trying to eat. But the restaurant did make some damn good shrimp.

Dec 11, 2008

the most wonderful time of the year

Posted by Mary |

Has everyone been emoticaroling yet? Tom refuses to get into a war with me, but he did fire back this volley:

FYI, we are surmising that "dort" is German for "dork." This is, of course, based on the, um, video of Hamlet being performed in Klingon at DortCon, which is a sci-fi convention in Germany.

And yes, you have to spell things wrong if you want the emoticarolers to pronounce them right.

Dec 8, 2008

heard at the hardware store

Posted by Mary |

Hey Mary. Um, do I want to know why
you're buying a hacksaw and tubing?
Probably not.

I love having new projects. Of course my roommate was concerned when she came home a found a roll of 100' of polyethylene tubing in the living room. We just went through a lot of trouble with the septic system, so the urge to pretend something dire had happened was almost overwhelming.

The landlord was not so responsive, meaning when I left him a message that the septic system was overflowing in the yard, he did not call back. I suspect that he did not have the septic system looked at after the flood. But I couldn't wait, so I called the repair guys. $1,295 later, we had a thawed, pumped tank and a new pump. I left the landlord a receipt and a check for $5 to cover the balance of our $1,300 rent. I still haven't heard from him.

Dec 7, 2008

lazy sunday

Posted by Mary |

I managed to keep myself amused.

Dec 4, 2008


Posted by Mary |

New books.
New music.
Newfound lust for watches. Right around the time I need a new one, too.

In the office....

Have you always been this eloquent?
Just since I met you.
I'm glad I could raise you up.
Yes Mary, you are the wind beneath my wings.
Maybe I'm just the wings above your wind.

In the bar....
Can I ask you a question?
You just did.
Oh, well can I ask you another question?
You're going to want a third one now, aren't you?

In art class....
I had trouble with calculus in college
because that was the semester I discovered pot.
I took an AP class in pot in high school, so I was OK.

Dec 3, 2008

my inner emo likes the pain

Posted by Mary |

I hurt my back over the weekend. No, nothing naughty was involved. I think the defining moment of pain happened while shoveling the deck to the sauna on Friday. I have an appointment with my chiropractor tomorrow, but it doesn’t look like I’ll be doing much dancing at the drag show on Friday. I’m also flummoxed when it comes to the gym. I can’t not work out. An unexercised Mary is an unhappy Mary. I’ve been trying to figure out how I can lift weights without hurting my back. The recumbent bike seemed to be OK on Monday, but today I decided to try to walk around the track. Not so good. It took me almost 30 painful minutes to walk a mile. Other things that hurt are sitting, standing and laying on my stomach.

Apparently mimosa is going to be the next big thing. No, not the drink, although it does put me in the mood to hit up the Pump House for Sunday brunch. I’m talking about Pantone’s release of the color of 2009. 2008 was the year of blue iris, and although mimosa is not quite my cup of tea, I do happen to have a pair of cute shoes in this color, so all is well.

Tonight is the last night of my art class. We have to hand in our portfolios. I’m pleased to say that my second attempt at a face self-portrait went much better. But bear in mind that I only made a second attempt because the instructor looked at my first attempt and told me to just throw it out and start over again. Despite how I have suffered this term, I signed up for another art class next semester. I’m a glutton for punishment.

Nov 28, 2008

gluttony: curbed

Posted by Mary |

Unlike some ex-boyfriends of mine, I did not go overboard on Thanksgiving. Dinner at Kevin's was a delightful potluck. I don't mean to sound egotistical, but I always feel bad when people bring desserts. Especially if they are calling their dish Bananas Foster when it is, in fact, friend bananas. I know Bananas Foster. I have made Bananas Foster. And that, sir, is no Bananas Foster. I did get a marriage proposal after just one cupcake. That might be a personal record.

What is it about midgets that is so sexy?

After feasting, people kept rearranging their configurations in the apartment to better facilitate naps. Soon a plan formed to get the ingredients for White Russians and go to Hans and Eddie's place to watch The Big Lebowski. That certainly sounded like a good plan, but dammit, there were family traditions to uphold! And that, dear readers, is how Tom and I came to be at the movie theater, settling in for some Bond.

Oh, James. Why did this movie have to try to carry over plot from the previous film? I treasure all Bond movies as standalone experiences. If you've never seen any Bond before, you should be able to pick one at random and not be expected to know characters. (Yes, there's Bond and M, but those are so easy to figure out that they don't count.) However, the film earned extra points for having a foot chase, a car chase, a boat chase and a plane chase. And as soon as they showed the hotel that was powered by hydrogen fuel cells, Tom leaned over to tell me that it would blow up real good. It did blow up real good indeed. It goes against my female nature, but I do love it when shit blows up.

And on the subject of movies, I find it very difficult to be a movie goer in this town. I am not going to waste my time on shit like Madagascar 2. But there's only one real movie theater, so unless Adam decides to get certain films at the Loon, I'm kind of screwed. Here is a list of movies I demand to see: The Road; Synecdoche, New York; Slumdog Millionaire.

Nov 26, 2008

let the feeding frenzy begin

Posted by Mary |

On my way into Manhattan for Thanksgiving with Amy. Sometime in the mid to late 90s.

You know what I’m thankful for this year? Finding a box of my old photos and scanning some of them in. I could only find the negatives from a lot of the arty “I only shoot in black and white” days, so those will have to wait. But expect a few gems every now and then.

The holidays are here. I know that starting tomorrow morning there will be at least one radio station playing nothing but Christmas music. And thus I am doubly thankful that I have not only an iPod, but also a car with a working cd player. Fred Meyer seems to have decided that cinnamon is the official smell of Christmas. They’ve had their holiday display up for weeks, and the overwhelming smell turns my stomach.

Last night I went into a full-on frenzy of baking. The three desserts are done, though the cupcakes still need to be frosted. I’ll do that tomorrow morning. Although it is only Wednesday, tonight counts as a weekend night. I’ve got class until 8:30, and then I expect to meet up with Trista and Dara, ending up at the Marlin for open mic night.

At some point this weekend, I’d like to uphold family tradition and go see the new Bond movie. I’ve already declared Saturday to be a fancy shoes night with the sci fi/Bollywood group. I claimed desserts, since I imagine I might have some left over after Thanksgiving.

The final thing I am thankful for is Miss Leah Hill. She was eating her breakfast at drag rehearsal on Sunday. I had never thought of a bagel with goat cheese and bacon, but it does contain three of my favorite things: bread, goat cheese and bacon. I finally went to Lulu’s and ordered one this morning. OMFG. Good stuff.

Nov 23, 2008

heard at drag show dance rehearsal

Posted by Mary |

I had organic free range eggs for breakfast.
I had a hangover and regrets.

The irony is that I intended to just go to a reading and then a beer tasting at the Pub. If I had intended to then go on to two smoky bars, I would not have worn my lovely new fur coat. To top it off, I had to go to drag show rehearsal at 11 a.m. today and do a LOT of spins for one routine. Lesson learned.

At the reading, I did finally nail down where I am going for Thanksgiving dinner. I had tried to convince Tom we should go volunteer at a soup kitchen, mostly so we could get free deep-fried turkey. Now, it seems, I will be joining some English grad students for dinner at Kevin's place. I adore Kevin, so it should be an interesting evening. The baking will start in earnest on Tuesday night. Our arctic entry is just about the right temperature to keep some things chilled.

Nov 20, 2008

to shoe or not to shoe?

Posted by Mary |

The stock market keeps plunging, and I’m alternating between calculating my losses for this year and wanting to throw more money into it. But, for the foreseeable future, my money is going toward land and building a house. I got a promotion and pay raise, which kind of translates into “Mary is a grown up now,” plus I’ve been in Alaska almost 6 years now. It’s time to settle down.

So what did I do with my newfound wealth? New Fluevogs? I wish! No, I set up a high APY savings account that automatically sucks money from my bank every time my paycheck gets deposited. I figured I was living comfortably on what I earned before, so ALL of my raise, plus some extra, goes away every other week. I feel so mature. And I still wish I had new Fluevogs. Specifically, these:

Hotness, right?

Strange things are afoot in Alaska. For instance, last night I found myself flirting with two guys. Well, technically I was flirting with three, but two of them were simultaneous. It was a delightfully awkward situation. Tonight my troupe must decide if we will continue our domination of the Fairbanks dance scene by assimilating a new dancer, Borg-style. And tomorrow night I am going to check out a new restaurant, go see Laramie Project and just maybe coax someone to my sauna.

Nov 18, 2008

t-minus 9 days

Posted by Mary |

I'm doing desserts for Thanksgiving. No, I mean I'm doing desserts. Like Martha Stewart on a bender. Like Betty Crackwhore. I'm planning on no less than three dessert options. I even found a cupcake stand at Value Village. It was $0.99, of course I bought it!

Speaking of $0.99 day at Value Village, someone scored herself a new fur coat. It fits with my aesthetic, but I can't wear it to the bars because then it will smell. I've not yet figured out how to get the smell of smoke or fried foods out of dead animals.

And speaking of new things (you follow my train of random thoughts?), I have a new computer. Just a cute lil' thing with 1 TB of hard drive space. Nothing to write home about. Dual processors, 8 cores, nothing fancy. This also means an upgrade to Leopard, which I am thus far not a fan of.

Confidential note to NB: It's not creepy to read my blog. Blogging just makes stalking easier!

Nov 11, 2008

the candy is telling me bad things

Posted by Mary |

I thought that Dove Promises were supposed to contain words of encouragement. You know, sappy shit about the light within. The instructor has been giving these out as our prizes, and my candy has been encouraging inappropriate behavior.

"naughty can be nice"
"there's a time for compromise. it's called later"

I'm such a brown-noser. I'm in a training class all week, and the teacher is handing out chocolate if we answer questions correctly. I am already the sort of person who always has her hand up first and desperately wants to be right. I don't necessarily need the chocolate encouragement. But just for the record, I'm currently kicking the collective ass of the rest of the class. I even gave away one answer to Jeff Fay today. No sense in making it a total sweep.

Another department at UAF organized the class, and ARSC got to send me for free by providing the classroom space, computers and software. Tom Wolsky is teaching us Final Cut Pro. I have dabbled with the program a bit before, but always defaulted to iMovie for video editing because it's much easier. Much easier, but also much more limited. 

This class is blowing my mind. We'll be here for 40 hours this week. I left after the first 8 hours thinking that I had just gotten a really good grasp of the program, and now we're cruising lightyears ahead. Of particular joy to me today was creating a multiclip. In short, you can take up to 128 different camera angles, sync them up to a shared point (such as a clapperboard or call for action) and then mush them all into one clip. Once they're all synced up in one clip, you just click back and forth between the angles you want for any particular time. Back in Ye Olde Days, I would have to trim each camera clip down to the particular angle I wanted and try to align its end point with a clip from another angle, hoping that I had them synced up properly. No more of that nonsense! Now, how can I work clapperboards into our choreography?

Nov 6, 2008

heard in the office kitchen

Posted by Mary |

What we need is a "Men of ARSC" calendar.
If we're going to try to sell them to other
supercomputing people, don't you think
we ought to go with a "Women of ARSC" calendar?



Posted by Mary |

Once again, I say that you always learn something at the Marlin.

Tonight I learned that:

a) I still like to smoke clove cigarettes. Don't worry, I didn't actually smoke one. I just kept grabbing Sean's Djarum. Does this mean I'm a smoker again?

b) No matter how smooth he talks, don't let a man buy you a "Bloody Mary martini." It is NO substitute for a dirty martini.

c) They still remember the wee top hat. Oh yes, they do!

Nov 5, 2008

a word

Posted by Mary |

Thanks, America. It feels good not to be totally disenfranchised anymore.

Nov 3, 2008

weekend: the synopsis

Posted by Mary |

Halloween should never be on a Friday. It's dangerous. But I put some work into my costume this year, so I couldn't not go out.

Dara and James interfered with my plans to nap after work on Friday, so I didn't get my pre-party rest. After dinner, we decided to go to a party at a drummer's house, which was conveniently located across the street from the Marlin. Since the car was so conveniently parked, I walked across the street to partake of the Marlin for a bit. It was disconcerting to see other people in costume there. That's the downside to being a random costume wearer - sometimes it's not just you and your friends.

Although I had plans to go to the Loon, I found myself still at the Marlin at 2:30. I opted to just go home at that point.

On Saturday night, I went to Tom's house to get ready for Dead Writers. The Cliff Notes: English grad students dress up as dead writers and read their works. Somehow this turns into a lot of topless performances.

Just to be clear, he was undressing and rubbing himself
while reading from an old car repair manual.

Tom was a very smashing Noah Webster, reading from the dictionary. Nerd. I think the cravat I made for him really made the outfit.

Dead Writers was followed by Latin dancing, which was, in turn, followed by the Oasis. Tom and I ran into some actor friends there, and then I kind of sort of accidentally maybe invited his ex-girlfriend to meet us at the bar. In a roundabout fashion. For which I've apologized.

Sunday was a day for rest. After starting a fire and installing a door closer on the sauna, we had dinner and went out for some quality sweating time. And now it's back to work and to the mad rush to get everything packed up and out the door for Supercomputing Convention 2008. Ugh.

Oct 31, 2008

countdown to costumes

Posted by Mary |

I think that “There’s a Hole in the Bucket” is not so much a children’s song as an example of dialogue between a frustrated woman and a lazy, passive-aggressive man.

Not this year's costume. Not any of this year's costumes. But a picture of me in costume nonetheless.

Someone used the phrase “interwebs” in a presentation at the ARSC staff meeting today. It was Halloween, so the meeting was particularly festive. Since tonight’s outfit is not work-appropriate, I simply grabbed one of my normal “wear-a-costume-to-the-Marlin” ensembles, in this case the Schoolgirl. I toned it down a bit, wearing a looser sweater, but I did put on white knee-high fishnets. I think my new retainers really complete the schoolgirl look. Did I mention I was getting some orthodontic work done? I got the retainers on Wednesday and my word! They sure are sparkly. I did opt for the silver glitter "Elvis in Vegas" model. So now my teeth hurt and I'm slurring when I talk, which just makes my coworkers think I've been drinking.

I’m getting tired of trying to coordinate many schedules so that we can all meet up tonight. I think a nap is in order after work so that I can be rested and ready to go for hours. We’re hoping to hit multiple stops tonight. Tomorrow night will require yet another costume, but only one bar. I'll be supporting Tom in his quest for the top prize at Dead Writers. Let's hope that guy from last year doesn't copy him again.

Tom as the best Hunter S. Thompson last year. Until the OTHER Hunter S. Thompson won first. Bastard!

Oct 28, 2008

Yay! reader mailbag!

Posted by Mary |

Who knew a post about an alcohol-fueled weekend would inspire comments and e-mails? But in a grand service, I have decided to stop addressing my readers indirectly and instead address them directly.

Anonymous Admirer asks “Was the Trek talk/flirting about TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, or, (god forbid) Enterprise?”
Although we touched briefly on some of the other series, mostly the conversation focused on my recent attempts to watch DS9. I know, I know. I always thought it was crappy too. But after listening to 20+ podcasts of Make It So, I decided that if two fucking funny British nerds listed it as their second-favorite series (after TNG, of course), it might be worth another look. Thus far (5 episodes into season 1), some of the acting has been remarkably wooden. I find myself once again wondering why Miles O’Brien is around. Clearly I’m supposed to like him, but I just can’t do it. A pleasant surprise, though, is Quark. Normally Ferengis just annoy me, with their thick way of talking that you just know involves lots of spraying spit. Quark has had some good lines, though, and I find myself hoping for some character development.

John from Nashville says “I just really need to know...what is MFA....”
MFA stands for Masters of Fine Arts, in this case all from the Creative Writing department. This advanced degree virtually ensures that you’ll spend the rest of your days teaching high school kids and trying to convince people to play Scrabble at cocktail parties. I’m just kidding. Or maybe I’m not.

And finally, a confidential note to one of my readers: The Constitution guarantees your right to free speech. So thanks for breaking one of your rules and telling me what you think. As it so happens, you are in the majority.

On a side not, the title for my car finally arrived. That means I can now get real plates and, more importantly, can get vanity plates. It’s not too late to vote in my vanity plate reader poll!

Oct 27, 2008

monday is a day for recovery

Posted by Mary |

Another long weekend has come and gone. After the drama during the week, I managed to get out and about several times without running into any unpleasantness, which I count as a victory.

Friday night was, as expected, quite a treat. I met Tom at an English department reading, then he and I went out for Korean food and complaining. He works very well as a friend, and the best part of the whole breakup is that I no longer have to share my food with him. We headed back to his place so he could plug his car in to go to a bonfire while I changed into a costume. The Good Daze were playing at the Marlin and had declared it Viking night. I was only able to find one Viking costume in town, and the package referred to it as “Viking Vixen.” It was indecent even by Mary-wearing-a-costume-at-the-Marlin standards, so I had sewn another skirt to go underneath it. Tom kindly cut the skirt up to a more desirable (read: shorter) length, and then we headed our separate ways.

If you’ve never been to the Marlin before, I must tell you that you have to descend some stairs into the basement before you enter. Once inside, you’re pretty much on the stage. I fear for the noob who tried to visit the bar for the first time on Friday, for he or she likely walked in as the entire bar was singing along to a Viking song, mostly dressed in costume.

I had the pleasant experience of flirting with someone. Actually, I have that experience several times a week, but in this instance the flirting soon turned to talk of Star Trek. It’s a good bet that you can win my heart through geek talk. Too bad I got blocked by some skinny girls from the Pub Line.

Saturday found me baking up a storm in preparation for a round of events that evening. The best-laid plans always fail, though. I brought baked goods #1 to a bonfire at Kendall and Wayne’s house. I was supposed to bring baked goods #2 to JK’s going-away party at Chris John George’s Rock Band extravaganza, but instead found myself at a quite acoustic concert in a candle-lit Pub. Sista Trista and I quickly departed that scene in favor of the Marlin, where the Good Daze were once again playing, though this time in their street clothes. More flirting with the Trek guy, more MFA action, then someone force-fed me part of their hotdog and I realized it was time to get out of the Marlin. Which is how I ended up at the Big I, where I found Christi, Gary and Steven. Christi had not mentioned her birthday, but fortunately I just happened to have baked goods #2 in the car (still). Gary dubbed me Betty Crackwhore. I take it as a compliment.

Sunday should have been a day of rest, but Tom and I had agreed to usher at a play. OMG. Our friend Brandon directed “Wait Until Dark,” and it is fantastic! Holly Carroll, Mike Karoly and Shannon Luster are a particularly talented trio, and they helped put on what will easily be the best play at FDA this season. After that, I canceled my sauna plans in favor of a night of Halloween costume sewing. I really do plan to cut back on my going out, but it will have to happen after next weekend. I’ve been working on the costume for a while, though I’m not giving hints just yet. Pictures to come.

Oct 23, 2008

heard while cleaning (and also, WTF?)

Posted by Mary |

Hey, there are kids here!
--Dara's 9-year-old niece, when she
overheard a frank sex talk between me and Dara

Yeah, so maybe there's truth to that whole "Mary shouldn't be around kids" thing. I do lack the internal censor necessary to keep me PG or even PG13.

And speaking of underage girls, I heard some disturbing facts about my ex tonight. And then he showed up at the bar. And proceeded not to talk to me. WTF? This was the guy who, when I broke up with him, proclaimed that he loved me and wanted to be my friend and still wanted to hold me in his arms. I guess a lot can change in a few weeks. Thinking back on it, he did tell me in our first conversation that he didn't believe that exes could be friends. I guess Tom Moran will remain the only exception to that rule.

On the bright side, I met a guy tonight who just wanted to dance. Well, just wanted to twirl me around enough to raise my skirt. I think is name was Charles. And a group of the MFAs showed up again, including the one I have a vague crush on. Too bad they're all smokers.

Oct 16, 2008


Posted by Mary |

Why do the authors wait until page 297 of an instructional book to tell you how to start a project? I’m trying to use Final Cut Pro to edit a time-lapse movie I made of the construction of our newest supercomputer, and it’s been about 3 years since I’ve used the program. However, Diana Weynand has seen fit to spend the first 296 pages teaching me how to edit my film. On page 297, we start to get into how to get my film on the computer in the first place. The logic defies me. Plus, as it turns out, I remember how to do it.

I had a strange dream last night. I’m on Facebook and have been running into a lot of old high school friends there. (Can I call them friends? I don’t recall having many friends in high school, but there they all are...) I dreamed that a whole bunch of them started working with me. It bugged me because the powers that be decided to take away my cubicle and just have us all working together at a bunch of desks. It got to the point where I wanted to see if I could just share a cubicle with my supervisor. Interestingly enough, the only classmates I recall from this dream were all male.

Oct 11, 2008

heard at the pub

Posted by Mary |

Are you ready to be educated about fun, sexy things?
--MFA student

Seriously, do these lines normally work? I went to Tom's reading last night, which meant drinks afterward at the Pub, which meant the rest of the MFA students showing up later on and quickly wising up to the fact that there was a female in their midst. Naturally, the cute Asian one was not flirting with me. Sigh. Why must I be white and therefore somehow off-limits to most Asian men?

Oct 9, 2008

actually, the wheels on the car are frakked

Posted by Mary |

The new rims for the snow tires?


I gave up and went home to eat my breakfast and contemplate the situation. The flood gods have shined on me, and among the pile of shit that floated to my house was a tire on a rim. A tire on a rim that fits my car. Don't ask, because I don't want to know. But if you want your tire back, you'll need to pick up your 55-gallon fuel drum, 3 ripped tarps, 2 sleds, pile of stuffed animals, jacket, 2 garbage cans, wood pallet, wire spool and raft too. We ended up with a lot shit, but at least one bit was useful.

Still need to figure out those tires, though.

My new car did not come with a spare tire. But don't worry - Robin and I went to a junkyard in Portland where we got a full-size tire mounted on a rim for $16. I've been thinking about this as I contemplate paying $70 and up per rim to get my new snow tires mounted. And that's just for one rim, mind you.

Fortunately I never had to use the spare while Tom and I were driving the Alcan to get back home. Today I got a flat on my way to Pilates class. I swapped out the tire, and lo and behold the spare tire fits! Well, fits on the bolt pattern. When I tried to drive the car, the wheel grinds horribly and the car jerks. Now, I'm no mechanic, but that ain't good. So after leaving a message for Tom to please drive to work today, I walked to campus. (And did I mention I've been meaning to leave an extra hat and gloves, etc. in the car but haven't gotten to it yet? Good thing I decided to wear pants and practical shoes today.)

Since Tom did not get my message in time and biked in, I am beginning a delicate dance of getting Liz to pick me up and work and drive me to Tom's house to fetch his car (again with the reasons why we're still friends), then I can grab my dead tire, drive to the tire shop, hope that my snow tires have been mounted on the rims by now, possibly fall back on the alternate plan of getting a new tire, maybe find some time to get breakfast, and finally get around to actually doing some work.

I baked a cake last night and left it in my car. If it was here, I'd probably eat it right now. Instead, I can use it to reward Tom and Liz for helping me.

Oct 8, 2008

political persuasions

Posted by Mary |

Boy, these election years sure do keep my social life hopping. The picture above is Hayley, me and Liz at the VP debate the Blue Loon last week. Liz won at Palin bingo, damn her. Since one debate is never enough, I ventured back to the Loon last night with Stefan to watch McCain and Obama go at it.

For someone who pays attention to politics like she pays attention to sports (i.e. every four years when the big events come around), it might not have been a wise idea to attend a debate with a former political reporter. Stefan is pretty cool, but I felt politically out-classed. Good thing he had forgotten that borough elections were yesterday, whereas I had already voted. Ha! One point for Mary.

The debate went much as I expected: McCain looked like a confused old man and I felt a little bad for him, especially since we’re friends. Very good friends. He kept calling me his friend throughout the night. I finally leaned over to Stefan and suggested we get a bottle of hard liquor and start playing a drinking game. Memo to the senator: You’re not even my MySpace friend.

All in all, a good evening, even if it did end in the destruction of my final pair of nude fishnets. I can’t find them anywhere in town, so I’m going to have to order them online. Someone asked me recently if I was going to keep wearing fishnets and heels throughout the winter. The answer is yes, yes I am. If other people can keep wearing shorts or sandals when there is snow on the ground, I can wear fishnets and heels. They go better with my dresses than stripey polypros and bunny boots anyway.

Oct 6, 2008

what i did on my summer vacation

Posted by Mary |

A breakup forces me to look philosophically at my romantic life. I never regret anything I do in my life, and I don't regret any of my past relationships although at times I feel like I wasted time before ending things. But from each relationship, I found a lesson. Some of the bigger ones:

J.R. A high school fling. If a boy says he loves you, actions speak louder than words. For instance, if you fight and he then sleeps with a mutual friend, he probably doesn't actually love you. You are perfectly within your means to never speak to him again.
Lesson learned: Don't listen to what people say, but do pay attention to how they act.

Ted My first love. Breakups happen for a reason. You can't control when they come, but you can control how you react afterward. Fortunately, Ted provided numerous chances for me to learn this lesson, as we broke up every six months for many, many years. I got to experience some horrific breakups this way, the kind that left me sobbing and calling my sister in California for hours of consolation. But, like a fool, I took him back every time. Well, every time until the last time.
Lesson learned: It's hard to keep going down the same road. Relationships don't fail for no reason, and it's usually best to leave them broken up.

Tom My best friend. Sometimes a guy can be right for you in so many way. So very many ways, but there's still something missing. We had 5 years of mutual love and respect, and he showed me that I deserve someone who is considerate of my feelings. I still consider him my best friend and the one person who knows me better than even my family. It hurt like hell to end things, but I ended up being able to keep him.
Lesson learned: Stop dating guys you wouldn't want to be friends with. And if you value him enough, you'll want him to be happy again after the breakup, instead of hoping he'll always be miserable without you. (Even though I'm the awesomest person on Earth and he'll never be more compatible with anyone!)

Robin My recent ex. It's hard not to sum this up as a rebound fling, but I did think it was a relationship since we lasted about 6 months. Maybe I'm just getting older, but it's hard to waste time when it becomes clear that the relationship can't go anywhere.
Lesson learned: Don't waste your energy trying to make something work. The first time someone does something cruel should be the last time. This would have made me single again by June, but live and learn.

So as I re-enter the dating scene (quite literally tomorrow), I'm trying to look at my past and figure out where I've gone wrong. The big thing that jumps out is that I fall into relationships too quickly. When I meet someone I really like, I don't see the point of dating anyone else, which means I get to that "exclusive" place far too quickly. It pushes things along too fast and blinds me to other possibilities. The other big issue is the "project boyfriend," aka my-love-can-change-him. I don't want to find someone who's good is some ways but really bad in others. I don't want someone to rely on me to help them change into a better person. I want that better person now. I want someone who meets a reasonable amount of my needs, who is considerate of my feelings, and who has their shit together enough to be content in their lives. I'm tired of transitions. So my goal is pretty much the same that it was until March: Enjoy single life, date a lot, get to know a lot of people, hold off on a relationship until I'm sure it's someone I want to be with. And this time I'll make sure he's someone I would consider a friend, too.

Oct 4, 2008


Posted by Mary |

I have found the gays. It was supposed to just be a costume night at the bars (not for everyone, mind you, just me and my friends. We are in your bars, wearing costumes), but apparently there was a drag show across town. It ended, and the bar was infiltrated. Joy!

I know what you're thinking. "Mary, if you just broke up with your boyfriend, shouldn't you be looking for a straight man?" But the answer is no! Since Jeremy left, I've got no gay boyfriends left. And a girl needs to be surrounded by hot men who wink, flirt, dance and appreciate her wee little top hat.

Did I mention I was wearing a wee little top hat?

Oct 3, 2008

and therefore also

Posted by Mary |

Today I am going to answer all questions in Palin-ese.

I wish somebody would ask me a question.

Oct 1, 2008

footloose, fancy-free

Posted by Mary |

So I broke up with my boyfriend last night. Did I also mention that I’m a firm believer in jumping right into a conversation?

Anyway, don’t cry for me or send me gentle comments of regret and sympathy. It had been coming for a while. I started thinking about it before I returned to Alaska, but some wise friends suggested that perhaps I ought not make decisions about my relationship while I was suffering from depression. Good advice, but I found that my therapist and I were mostly talking about why I was unhappy in the relationship. I ended therapy last week, which was about one week after I resolved that it was over. That it took two weeks after I made up my mind to actually see him and end it is an entirely different story.

Can I keep his mom in the breakup? I mean, his dog is cool and all, but I really like his mom. Maybe we can split her and I’ll get her every other weekend and two weeks in the summer.

But more importantly, I am single once again. Kind of the way I wanted to be when I broke up with Tom in January. And you know what that means …. time for a costume night with my girls.

Sep 27, 2008

heard at the marlin

Posted by Mary |

Well, that rainforest isn't going to save itself.
--JK, on Sting's decision
to license his music

That was an interesting night. Lessons learned:

1) Bud and Clamato is never a good idea.
2) People rarely know which font was used in their tattoos. For the record, it looked like a Blackletter to me.
3) When men are hitting on you in a hippie dive bar, you would think that engaging them in a false conversation about how happy you are that Palin got the VP nod would make them leave you alone.
4) Men will agree with anything if they are trying to get laid.

When the shots came, we all toasted with a hearty "Go Sarah!" while my friend Andy nearly died of laughter in a corner.

Sep 26, 2008

two more things

Posted by Mary |

1) Arse Elektronika. Apparently, it's some sort of dirty conference. This year's theme? "Do Androids Sleep With Electric Sheep? Critical Perspectives on Sexuality and Pornography in Science and Social Fiction"

2) Are the kids these days really feathering their hair? Even the boys? God I feel old. But this reminds me why I prefer bald men. It's so much harder for them to have fucked up hair as long as they stay current on the shaving.


Posted by Mary |

It’s the weekend. Oh yeah! What’s on my to-do list?
* A beer tasting tonight. Bonus: It’s at the Winter Show, so I can see all the latest snowmachines! I plan to follow the beer up with a trip to the Marlin for, well, more beer. And dancing!
* Chores chores chores. Bob is doing a great job of attacking our woodpile, but I’ve got to clean up the yard a bit and try to round up the errant wood that floated away during the flood. Plus I ought to:

  • Put my old studded tires on Craigslist
  • Do my drawing homework
  • Finish some sewing projects
  • Clean my room
  • Winterize my car
  • Install the closer on the sauna door
  • Start downloading the Mira Betz video (I am sooo behind on this project!)
  • Rehearse Victoria’s breakdancing robot choreography
  • Have brunch with Amanda and get caught up
  • Go to an organization meeting for Barack the Vote
  • Fix my personal life
  • Hit up the library for some DVDs I have on hold
  • Value Village misses me
  • Apply for disaster assistance from the flood
  • Place a massive order from Amazon, which kind of requires me to go to Barnes and Noble for some research
  • Try to avoid making any baked goods. The stress baking has got to stop. Can't I just start stress running? Or stress swimming? Or not stressing?

Sep 22, 2008

getting the bugs out

Posted by Mary |

I added a new feature to my sidebar - an online playlist of music I'm currently digging. It should be updated about as often as the "books I'm reading" list. I have been tinkering with the code that the music site generated, and have removed the annoying links, but can't quite get it to size up to my sidebar properly. That may be a task for another day.

heard at breakfast

Posted by Mary |

How much would it suck to get lapped in a marathon?

Congrats to Tom, who completed another Equinox marathon in fine form. And then realized that it was going to hurt to bike home after running 26+ miles.

My current random thoughts:
  • Is it wrong to decide to stay in Fairbanks simply because the dry climate here gives me great hair?
  • Are the Palin hackers after me, too? Because someone was tinkering with my Yahoo! account. Good thing I rarely use that one anymore. I'm going to delete a bunch of stuff from it.
  • I like coming home and seeing my wood pile growing. Almost as much as I like scoring almost half a cord for $37.

Sep 15, 2008

I fought the log and the log won

Posted by Mary |

OK, the log didn’t really win in the end. I’ll get the last laugh as I burn the bastards in my woodstove this winter. This weekend Marmian and I decided to tackle the firewood project. I have a friend of a friend who had some cut wood, some downed trees and some standing dead trees she wanted off her land. Two women, two trucks, one chainsaw. We went to work on Saturday afternoon, cutting down trees, loading up cut wood and lengths and hauling it to our respective house. We managed to put away four truckloads in about five hours. I fled to Chena Hot Springs that night to:

a) soak my aching bones
b) bid a fond farewell to Victoria, who leaves Alaska on Tuesday

After downing some ibuprofen before bed, I awoke to sore and achy muscles on Sunday. Nevertheless, Marmian and I drove out again for more wood. We were pickier this time, cutting into the downed trees to determine the quality of the wood before proceeding. We were also a hell of a lot slower, getting just two truckloads in four hours. A lot of that time was spent debating a particularly heavy piece of wood that was good for burning but was going to be a bitch to cut down, load, unload and split. In the end, I made a persuasive argument that healthy forests flourish when a certain amount of organic matter is left to decay and feed the young trees, and we left that piece there.

We made the mistake of stopping at Carl’s Jr. on the way back into town. This was a mistake not only because I ate another deadly bacon guacamole burger, but also because we sat down, then discovered our muscles had stiffened, leaving us nearly unable to stand up again.

It’s all worth it, though, to look at the large pile of wood next to my driveway. Next weekend I’m going to put the roommate to work cutting wood down to length, splitting wood and gathering kindling. Marmian and I hope to make one more run out to the property for more wood, and I’m also going to get a load of slab wood for fire starting purposes. When you combine this with the triumphant return of my furnace, I’m starting to feel more prepared for winter.

And war wounds? I gots ‘em.

Sep 12, 2008

file under: no shit, sherlock

Posted by Mary |

The insurance adjuster called. My car is a total loss. He said it was underwater for over a week. Um, yeah, I knew that. Now if you could please figure out if you’re going to give me any money for it, I’d greatly appreciate it. Speaking of money, today is PFD-and-energy-rebate day. $3,269 in my account. Ka-ching! Things are looking tough but not undoable for the winter. I think any car money will just go into my Roth IRA and the extra into mutual funds. And next year I'll probably head back to the land of small dry cabins. They're cheaper to heat.

Things that excite me:

  • my furnace appears to be fixed
  • sauna party tonight
  • the new Jenny Lewis album hits stores in 11 days
  • hot springs with the dance troupe tomorrow, possibly followed by dancing at the Marlin
  • gathering some free firewood with Marmian tomorrow
  • my shiny new “Picard/Riker ‘08: Leadership for the Next Generation” T-shirt. order yours here!
  • a 4-mile run this morning

Things that do not excite me:
  • the overwhelming aroma of fuel oil that woke me from a dead sleep this morning
  • the prospect of paying a LOT of money for more firewood
  • this week at work - lots of Department of Defense people here for the annual security review
  • women who will vote for Palin just because she has ovaries
  • art class - I hope this moves into the other category soon

Sep 11, 2008

a little cowbell never hurt anyone

Posted by Mary |

But Christopher Walken? He's the scariest man in the world. He'll kick your puppy if you look at him wrong.

Make your own at

I've been having fun since I found this site a few days ago....

Sep 7, 2008

how to un-type

Posted by Mary |

It's not just the insomnia that has my stomach in knots. Though my staggered sleep sessions and lack of proper food today certainly have me off balance. Tomorrow I start my evening class for the fall semester. If you didn't know, I've started taking some foundation classes for possibly getting another degree in graphic design. UAF doesn't offer such a degree, so I'm just getting a lot of the basics out of the way, and I'll look into transferring when I'm ready to move on.

What class, you may ask, has me so worried? Basic Drawing. Why am I scared of drawing? I'm so Type A. I like things to be under my control and as perfect as possible. However, I lack artistic skills. And now I have no choice but to take a drawing class. And seriously, when I try to draw an apple, it had better fucking look like an apple!! Whoa. Deep breaths. This is going to be a humbling experience.

it can only mean one thing

Posted by Mary |

4:42 a.m. and I'm posting? Insomnia has struck again. It doesn't come often, but there's no way to fight it when it happens. I'm just glad it usually doesn't occur during the week. I've found that the only viable solution is to go into work at around 3 a.m. and just try to pull off a full 8 hours. By that time, I'm often ready to go to bed and try to realign my sleep schedule. My bosses have always been pretty flexible with my schedule, but it's still strange for them to find me working feverishly at 7 a.m. and then watch me depart before noon.

Despite my hopes that returning home might ease the depression that resulted from my extended trip to Connecticut, I'm still in a bit of a funk. The random crying jags seem to be lessening, but the return hasn't been the cure I'd hoped it might be. I still have my house, which survived the flood, but share it with two new people. We do not have our heat back yet, so I am curled up under an electric blanket borrowed from a co-worker. My relationship is in a weird place that I don't want to think about or define right now, as the only logical thing seems to be to end it. Am I being overly analytical? I started therapy on Friday. Some wise and cranky old vegans told me that it was OK to feel sad, especially given the amount of crap I've had to deal with in the last 2 months. I'm hoping to get out of therapy without any medications, but when I lay awake at night, my stomach twisting in knots as my mind races and picks apart every aspect of my life, analyzing all problems and possible outcomes, well, it starts to seem like a magic pill might be a good thing.

Yawn. I'm going to read car repair forums until I feel tired enough to tackle this "sleep" thing again.

Sep 4, 2008

speaking of frakking

Posted by Mary |

4/ has a beverage-spewingly funny post. I'm not going to violate their copyright and reproduce it, because you can just click the link right here.

OK, I'll spoil it a little. McCain is a Cylon.

Seriously, go read!

Sep 2, 2008

decision 2008

Posted by Mary |

I nearly fucked up my entire blog just trying to put in a new element. Somebody please remind me that I cannot use the new version of Blogger. My XML isn't valid and I haven't the energy to look at it. I don't have the energy for much these days, but that's a story for another day.

Today is the day I put it all in the hands of you, the readers. I am back in Fairbanks with my shiny new-ish car. And since I've got many weeks yet before I can actually register it in Alaska, I've got time to think. I'm thinking vanity plates. I've never done them before because, well, my cars don't last that long. But this one had better last, dammit. I'm going to make the $30 investment that share my passion, my pride AND my joy with the world.

So, what will they say? Well, that's where you come in. I'm putting up a poll to let you vote on what my new vanity plates should read. I'm going to give you several options, along with the "Other (See comments)" option that will allow you to make your own suggestions. And per a discussion with Christi and Tom today, I am pretty sure that the DMV will not let me put "Asshat" on my car.


Aug 31, 2008

blame canada

Posted by Mary |

Screw this country. I haven't had cell reception anywhere yet. I'm holed up in a tiny 8x8 cabin because it
a) has wi-fi (again, the first I've encountered in Canada)
b) has a shower next door

I'm in Whitehorse after some epic 800-mile days, getting ready to push for home.

Aug 23, 2008

can't get a break

Posted by Mary |

My dad got out of the hospital on Tuesday. He went back into the hospital today. But it's a different hospital this time.

I'm starting to think he's just pulling this shit to keep me around. If you can have Munchausen syndrome by proxy, does he just have Munchausen syndrome? Or is it my mom who is secretly poisoning him?

Once again, I'm feeling like I'll never get home. My cat is an orphan. She was evacuated by canoe to my ex-boyfriend's house, then over to Dara's. Dara is in New England now, and I think her family is checking in on the cat. Or she has a friend staying at her place. Or something like that. Nibbles is going to totally snub me when I get home.

Aug 18, 2008

heard in the car

Posted by Mary |

What's the point of being gay if you're not going to appreciate my shoes??
--me, on my lack of appreciative
gay boyfriends in Fairbanks

Tom always says I shouldn't quote myself in my blog. Which lead me to....

I don't see why I can't quote myself. I'm the wittiest person I know.
--me, on me

My dad is recovering, but slowly. His heart is not repairing itself after that heart attack, so tomorrow the doctors are going in again. They'll do another angiogram, then place two more stents to help repair his hear. Dad is being persnickety, and refuses to let the nurses take any more blood for tests. I can't really blame him, since one arm is completely shot, and the other is covered with bruises and track marks.

But it can't all be hospital time, so Saturday I joined my sister and brother-in-law for a trip to the casino. They had tickets to see Chris Rock, but not me. No, I went to see Charo. If you don't know, Charo is like the Shakira of the Rat Pack. Like if Dolly Parton and Elvis had a Spanish daughter.

She's a big hit with the gay crowd, and it's easy to see why. It's hard to explain the singular joy of a Charo concert. She's loud, Latin and campy. And a little bit of me will always be with her. Because my hair got caught in her costume bodice. How did that happen? Don't ask.

But don't think she's nothing but Vegas. In the second half of the show, she toned things down, pulled out her acoustic guitar and started to play. She's trained with Andres Segovia, and it shows—the woman can play! Yet another free concert that was worth every penny. And I spent most of them in the magic crystal martini mountain after the show.

Aug 14, 2008

a low point

Posted by Mary |

I'm in Connecticut, dealing with my father's health. My work laptop is wonky, slowing down my efforts to do my job remotely. I don't know if my house is livable or if I'll have to move when I get back. I don't know where my cat is living these days. I don't know if my boyfriend is aware that I'm still alive.

It's one of those not-good days.

Aug 11, 2008

Weekend wrap-up

Posted by Mary |

Where did I last leave my updates? I don't think I've been very forthcoming in blogular terms.

My father had the surgery last week. The stent was successfully placed, meaning they won't have to do open heart surgery. This is normally cause for rejoicing, but you don't know my father and hospitals. A bout of Legionnaire's Disease about 30 years ago left doctors wondering what the long-term effects on his health would be. Apparently, it results in a bad case of everything-that-can-go-wrong-will-go-wrong-itis. Seriously, he's 61 and has the circulatory system of a 90-year-old man. He's already had a triple bypass about 5 years ago.

So, bearing that in mind, he got the stent. And then he started having bad back pain. And then he lost feeling in part of his body. Paralysis was a risk with the surgery, and it's been one of his big fears. All this stress combined with recovering for surgery is a recipe for disaster, and thus he had a heart attack. And then the doctors found fluid building up in his lungs. And so they sedated him and put him on breathing machines, aka life support. And then he regained consciousness long enough to rip out his tubes, causing a panic in the cardiac intensive care unit. And so now he's sedated once again and tied to the bed, just in case he wakes up.

The doctors estimate he'll be in ICU for at least another week, then about a month more in the hospital before he can come home. And if I sound flip and not too concerned, well, just bear in mind that I joke my way through any tough situations.

To distract myself, I went down to Mystic on Sunday for brunch at Kitchen Little with Meg. Mystic is my old stomping grounds - I spent my formative teenage years hanging out at the Green Marble coffee shop, mocking tourists, getting up to all sorts of no good. It felt weird to be back, though I skipped downtown because it was the outdoor art festival weekend, which is always a madhouse. And in case you're wondering, yes it is the Mystic of Mystic Pizza.

In the evening, I headed for the casinos. OK, it's true that I grew up in the country. It is also now true that the largest casinos in the world have been built in that countryside, which is a little freaky. But it also means concerts. On this particular night, at this particular casino (Mohegan Sun, instead of Foxwoods), I had my choice of three concerts. I could have gone to rock with the old hippies at Jethro Tull. I could have schmoozed with the blue hairs at the Smothers Brothers. But both of those cost money, and I have highly honed skills for getting a cheap night out at casinos. So I opted for the free show by They Might Be Giants. One local ale and one giant foam finger later, I was chatting up the people at my table and then bopping along to the entirety of the Apollo 18 album, plus a few extras and a few encores. The band dubbed it the "Night of 1,000 Fuckups." They came pretty close to success.

Today it's back to business. And by "business" I mean "sitting on my ass in the hospital instead of at home."

Aug 4, 2008

The high cost of convenient flights

Posted by Mary |

In an effort to save some money, I used some Alaska Airlines miles to get to Seattle, then bought a ticket from Seattle to Hartford. Clever, yes? No.

My father's surgery did not happen last week, which means my flights home tomorrow won't happen. And now I have to deal with two airlines.

My tickets on United? It seems the best thing to do is just not show up for the flight. It will cost me a $150 airline change fee, a $30 Orbitz fee plus the cost difference for a new ticket, which is around $120. Grand total: $300. On a $475 ticket. I can get a one-way ticket for under $300, so why bother jumping through these hoops, especially with the possibility of my flights changing again?

My tickets on Alaska? I cancelled the return leg. For right now they aren't charging me anything, but they're also holding my 10,000 miles for that leg of the ticket hostage. If I rebook that specific leg, I will be charged $100. If I don't rebook it and buy a car and drive back, which is looking increasingly likely, I forfeit the return and lose the miles but don't have to pay the $100.

And why, you may ask, would I consider driving back?

My car is the blue one in the back. Apparently the ground is much lower in that part of the driveway - who knew? So, why rush to get home? I'll just have to canoe in to my house and try to find a car in town to buy. Might as well see if I can get a better deal in the Lower 48 and drive back.

Aug 3, 2008

What I've been eating

Posted by Mary |

  • Soy and mirin glazed tofu with spicy peanut sauce
  • Dairy Queen soft serve ice cream
  • Wasabi goat cheese
  • Sushi
  • All-you-can-eat Indian lunch buffet (and I can eat a lot)
  • Mango ginger stilton
  • Devil dogs
  • Apricot wheat germ muffins
  • Bombay fruit salad
  • Corned beef hash — this was in the hospital cafeteria, where apparently they don't believe in overcooking it so that part of it gets all burnt and crispy

Aug 1, 2008

green acres is the place for me

Posted by Mary |

I know that no one ever believes me when I say I'm from the country. No one believes that Connecticut has any countryside left. But really, it does - mostly in the small area around my parents' house. Examples:

  • Upon leaving the house to head to town for some groceries on Monday, I promptly got stuck behind a tractor.
  • The farm stand has pies for sale on Tuesdays.
  • While in the entryway looking at a flyer for a haunted pumpkin ride (not happening until October), I realized that the bank smells like manure.
  • We stopped by the general store for grinders (know as sub sandwiches to the rest of you). The general store is located on the town green. I think it sells chicken feed along with people feed.
  • Sign on the road: Baby donkey, $500.
I've realized that I miss big trees and old buildings, neither of which are present in Alaska. I snicker inside when people talk about preserving a historic building in Fairbanks that has been there for 100 years. I grew up in a 300-year-old farmhouse.

And now for the update on my dad. We went to the hospital on Wednesday, leaving at 5:30 in the morning to get there on time. It is not sunny in CT at 5:30 a.m. Chalk one up for Fairbanks. A lot of the day was spent doing tests, including an angiogram. The two surgeons needed to talk with each other about the best way to proceed, so naturally one of them was in surgery most of the day. We left the hospital with a "We'll call you about scheduling surgery sometime within the next two weeks." That was a little disconcerting, as I came home on Family Medical Leave expecting that the emergency surgery would happen immediately (as in the day we went ot the hospital) and I could return to Alaska the next week. All jokes in my previous post aside, this is not a vacation and I am not at the beach. But I have had some damn good cheese.

The good news is that the FDA has finally approved the procedure they want to try on my dad, and the surgeons say he is just within the limits for them to do the surgery. For right now, the surgery is scheduled for next week. I wish I had more news of any sort, but I don't.

Jul 30, 2008

it comes in threes

Posted by Mary |

So I fly to Connecticut because my father is sick and in need of surgery. And while I'm here, dealing with this, what happens?

Oh, does that look bad? Let's take a look at the close-up.

I know I have a history of bad language on this blog, but seriously? Seriously? Fuck me.

According to my roommate, the water is around 3 feet deep. Our landlord dropped off a canoe. The rain stopped this morning, but the water is a few inches from getting into the house. And it will keep rising even after the rain has stopped.

My friends are trying to mount a rescue effort while I sit here, 5,000 miles away, unable to shake the feeling that I'm screwed.

Jul 27, 2008

Frak me

Posted by Mary |

Trapped in D.C. No flights out until tomorrow, if then. Almost rented a car to drive back. Have been up since 9 a.m. Saturday. Have not eaten since 5 this morning. Must find food or will eat my own foot. All clothing, toiletries, etc. in checked bag trapped at airport. Just found laptop charger and am now very happy. May start using full sentences soon.

Jul 26, 2008

trains and boats and planes. mostly planes.

Posted by Mary |

Ugh. Travel commences tonight. I don't normally mind traveling, but buying a last-minute ticket means taking whatever The Man has to dish out. In other words, it's the middle seat for me. I've got a total of 6 flights on this trip, with one aisle seat and only one precious window. I think I hate everyone else on those planes who had the luxury of planning ahead for their trips.

10 days on the East Coast. I've told my father that the only reason I'm actually coming home is to go shopping. And I will certainly do some of that. But for those of you who don't know, I am going home because he is sick. Hence my lack of recent posting. Dear Papa has three aortic aneurysms in his heart, one of which requires immediate attention. He'll be playing the part of a guinea pig, as he's going to try an experimental procedure first. Open heart surgery is the last resort.

But rather than stress him out, I'm going to list some things that will have fellow Alaskans green with envy.

  • Target
  • Sushi
  • Real cheese
  • TJ Maxx
  • Malls
  • Indian food
  • Indian grocery stores
  • Pirated Bollywood movies for $2 at Indian grocery stores
  • 90 degrees
  • Beaches
Don't hate. I plan on a complicated dance of luggage on the way back. I've got 8 hours in Seattle, so I'm only going to check my luggage through to that point, then pick it up and pay to store it. I will then hop a bus downtown, hopefully meet up with Heather at some point for dinner or a drink or just a chat, and (more importantly) hit the stores for some food shopping. I don't want to take the chance that any cheese in my carry-on will be confiscated, so I'll put it all in my checked bag and recheck it when I check in for my Seattle-Fairbanks flight. You'd think cheese would be fine, but in Auckland they confiscated my hummus. Damn racial profiling....