Month: December 2006 Page 2 of 3


Those of you who have played World of Warcraft:

On the way home from school, Ray says, “I have a line and a dot!”

I glance over my shoulder. One hand is raised with one finger pointed up, and the other hand is pointing at the base of her other finger: an exclamation point.

“Momma, I have a job for you! I have a job for you! Click on me!”

Giggling, I poke her in the belly. “Click!”

“I have a job for you, momma.”

“What job is it?”

“I have lots of job. Your first job is the cookie job.”

“What do I have to do for that?”

“You have to get stuff to make cookies…”

That’s a job we’ll do this weekend 🙂

Done is Done

Got in a discussion today. Some people need a physical result or object in order to feel that they’ve accomplished something. Some people do not. How do the people who do not need a physical result or object get satisfaction from their accomplishments?

I belong to the second class of people: I find satisfaction in my work, but I don’t have a physical result or object to depend on. I can print out a copy of a document, but it isn’t necessary for me to feel satisfied. There’s boundary: once I’m past that boundary, I’m done. I can do more, but I don’t need to.

So what makes a thing done? How do you know when a thing is done?

Well, at first, I knew a thing was done when someone else said it was done. People would patiently explain to me what needed to be done, and I did it. There were a few surprises…I would think I was done, and people would say I was done, but I wasn’t, and something would come up.

But now I know when a thing is done without being told, and, in fact, when I look at someone else’s work, I know whether or not it’s done.

What happened in between there? I was exposed to guidelines, rules, etc., and had to methodically (painfully) determine whether a given step had been completed or not. But now, it’s a matter of aesthetics. A thing feels right, or it doesn’t. A thing feels completed, or it doesn’t.

And these feelings can be changed. The process I work with changes constantly, and feelings of “doneness” have become feelings of “not-doneness” as I find out about the changes. Something that had been aesthetically satisfying was, in a moment, suddenly perceived as inadequate.

Does the thing do what it’s supposed to do?
Is the thing efficient?
Is the thing consistent?
Does the thing meet outside requirements, outside its stated purpose?
Will the thing meet the aesthetics of other people in the same field/area of expertise?

But the thing that struck me the most was realizing how strong the feeling of it was. A judgement of whether or not a document was done–until a thing is done, it will prey upon my mind. “It’s not done. It’s still not done. When is it going to be done?”

“Ah, now it’s done.”

Christmas Parties

Saturday was a tale of two Christmas Parties. I’m going to tell you about the second one first: Lee’s Work Christmas Party.

We went with his boss and his wife, left Ray over at their house with a babysitter, Taylor, who is the boss’s son’s wife’s sister’s child. I think. Good kid. She and Ray played and played and played and played. Meanwhile…we went to the Skysox Stadium. Good food…but not worth the tickets. Isn’t work supposed to pay for the majority of the cost? We had fun talking to Bob and his wife, but…Lee’s coworker Ed, who reminds me of Ignatius J Reilly from A Confederacy of Dunces, which yours truly is in the middle of reading at work, anyway, Ed went to the party, with his wife, bringing along Rob, another coworker, calling us several times on the way over (we went with Bob), and, after we’d arrived, said he, his wife, and Rob were going out for a smoke break, from which they never returned. I haven’t heard the story yet; it may be interesting, but it’s probably just “Eh, screw it.” We had to sing the twelve days of Christmas: “On the first day of Christmas, [company name here] gave to me [something that fit the tu-u-u-une].” Our table was Day 2. Computer geeks, not so much on the party games. We ate well but not memorably, left early, and hung out at Bob’s house for a while, until Ray hit too-tired-to-slow-down mode.

The first party was the kids’ party for my company. Crafts, finger food, presents, and a little kid named Hunter, age 2 1/2 or so. Fun. He started in on painting aflowerpot yellow at one point, had just started, when his mother said, “Stop!” The kid froze, and his mother stripped off his shirt. Within minutes, he was warpaint from one wrist to the other. Just as he was about to wipe his hands on his pants–“Stop!”–he froze again. She stripped him down to his diaper, and soon enough it was both legs, too. And how he cried when she dumped him in the sink! Waaaaaaaaaaaah! And he was scared of Santa, too. At one point, his mom had tricked him into sitting next to Mrs. Claus, by putting another little boy he was playing with between the two of them, for a big group photo (Ray, of course, raced up to Santa’s lap before anyone else could get there). I forget what she was doing, but Mrs. Claus accidentally bonked Hunter on the head with a toy, and he looked at his mom like, “Did you see that? Did you see that? Evil, I tell you!” I skipped the adult party for work. Ray came home with a flowerpot, a snowflake necklace (which she wrapped up in a paper she’d colored with the babysitter so the babysitter would have a present), a gingerbread man, a placemat, and a frog game. And I had a good time, too.

Dang old adults.

Thought of the Day.

I don’t talk to myself. I talk to inanimate objects. There’s a better chance somebody’s listening.

New Car

Lee bought a ’96 Jeep Grand Cherokee yesterday. It needs a little work, but it’s what I would have picked out for him, had I been doing the picking…big and boxy, but not huge. It’s white, though…white being the color of nursing home scrubs and blizzards, I’d rather any other color. Oh, well. Looks very sharp; he got it from the same place I got the bug. (He tells the salesman, “I know you’re not going to screw me over…because you have a wireless network [with the other store in town], and I could do bad things to you.” The way he told it, they all got a laugh out of it…I got to drive it because he left the car seat in the other car, which he’s going to try to sell to his boss.


I’m going to walk away from a freelance job. I had talked myself into biting my tongue at a rude comment from an editor–it wasn’t anything that bad–but a subsequent comment points toward it being consistent behavior.

Do I really want to be a freelancer? Yes. Do I want to work for someone who challenges me? Yes. Do I want to work for someone whose underlying assumption about me seems to be that I’m not worth the time, but go ahead and submit articles on spec because, with his help, I might achieve something better?

Sadly, I do. But no.


I got a rejection letter last night, too, although a very courteous one. I sent the guy back an e-mail thanking him for the opportunity to submit. He sent me an e-mail (very late in the evening) thanking me again for the submission.

Woo Hoo!

Mentos and Diet Coke. Now if only there were a way to incorporate synchronized swimming…

Government Employees

Ah…this brought tears to my eyes.

Of course, they don’t show the third person on the escalator, who moves forward confidently. Suddenly, a Monte Pythonesque hand drops out of the sky and crushes her! Hahahahaha!

Alferd Packer, Colorado Cannibal

I need to do more road trips, so I’ve been looking around for weird stuff to do. I’ve been meaning to get up to Boulder. When I go, this will have to be done.

A few years ago, Lee and I watched “Cannibal! The Musical,” by the South Park creators (AKA “Alferd Packer: The Musical”). It was bad…but it was funny:

James Humphrey: Hey! You’re cutting into his butt!
Frank Miller: Well what sort of meat do you want?
James Humphrey: Well, not butt!

But to find out there’s a grill dedicated to his name? Oh, we must go there. I’m sure we’ll have to check out the other sites of interest, but:

“El Canibal is Boulder’s biggest burrito, and the Calypso pork is a student favorite.” The slogan is “Have a friend for lunch!”

Okay, in reality, this may not be as amusing as I’m hoping it will be. Nevertheless.

From Wikipedia:

“During the trial, the judge supposedly said:

‘Damn you, Alferd Packer! There were seven Dimmycrats in Hinsdale County and you ate five of them!'”

Kokopelli’s Cave

Bed and Breakfast.

(A B&B…in a cave. There’s only one bedroom, and there are warnings all over the site: “You have to want to come to Kokopelli’s Cave.”)

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