Generally, You Don’t See That Kind of Behavior From a Major Appliance.

Monday, May 13th, 2013

I’m beginning to think that the appliances in our new place are possessed. What’s funny is that here, I find it kind of quirky and charming (and fixable), yet in our last apartment, the same sounds would have sent me into a rant about how much that building sucks and should be condemned. Funny what a change in venue can do to your perspective.

Anyway, it started with the refrigerator — about a week ago, it started making a loud whirring sound when it ran, much louder than it had previously. It wasn’t every time, but I made a mental note of it. We also have some issue where our ice machine ice all smells like onions, regardless of the presence of an onion in the fridge or freezer, but I think that can be fixed by replacing the water line, not a root vegetable exorcism.

So the fridge started making the sound more frequently, until the heat over the weekend really kicked into overdrive. When it kicks on, it sounds like one of those riding lawnmowers is idling outside the kitchen window. Nothing so loud it’s unbearable, but definitely not a good sound. I assume maintenance will replace the fridge or fix what’s wrong with it. At least it’s not putting off onion-scented exhaust.

We usually keep our windows open. After two years in Las Vegas, where we lived like mole rats with the blinds and windows shut, A/C almost year-round, and after 6 months in dank mausoleum that was our last apartment, we were ready for some fresh air and sunshine. But when the sun went down last night and it was still 82 in our apartment, with every window open, every fan at top speed, we caved in and battened down the hatches for some glorious air conditioning.

I noticed it last night and dismissed it, but today, as I’m alone in the apartment, I really notice that the A/C sounds like people talking. It stops when it goes off, of course, so I assume it’s the sound of the air ducts vibrating or bowing in and out as the air is forced through it. Or perhaps it’s the sound of condensation dripping against the ductwork… or both. But it still is kind of creepy. Amusing, but creepy. It’s like people are talking behind a closed bathroom door, having a conversation, as if it someone is talking about you behind your back.

It also makes a high pitched squeal as it starts up, which reminds me of the timing belt on Judy,  my old ’95 Chevy Cavalier, so I’m guessing it’s a motor thing. I’ll report that noise, along with the fridge mower noise and hopefully both can be resolved without having to get that Dead Files chick in here.

If I start tweeting about the end of days, though, you might want to look into it…

Categories: domestica, Life

Successfully Suck It: An Infographic Review

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

The Success Indicator

The Success Indicator (found on Pinterest)

Infographics like this irk me. Who made this woman queen of who is and isn’t successful? Yes, many of the traits, characteristics and habits on the opposing sides are obvious — in essence: be positive, share your knowledge, don’t be an asshole and you can be successful. That’s not entirely true — I know some really positive, happy people who do nothing but lift others up, yet they aren’t necessarily successful. Of course, that depends on how you define success. The purpose of this infographic and the cheesy marketing book behind it has to do with becoming financially liberated, so I’m guessing they’re talking career and monetary success.

But also, it states really stupid things. Apparently, in order to be successful, you must “keep a journal”. Really? I’ve blogged on and off for 10 years, but I dislike most forms of journaling. I feel like, for me, it’s too “soft focus” and touchy-feely. I feel like I’m just talking to myself and I can do that without writing it down. And, apparently, unsuccessful people SAY they journal, but don’t. How the hell does she know? Who says they journal but don’t? In that case, they’d be unsuccessful because they’re a liar, not because they don’t journal.

Also, according to this broad, only unsuccessful people watch TV every day.  I’m really not a fan of the “I don’t watch TV” attitude that’s arisen in the last decade or so. Like it’s super uncool to watch TV, so therefore, you must be some slovenly, non-intellectual, unsuccessful lump.

Look, I admit, I watch some TV. Some may even say a lot of TV. I watch a couple/few hours every night, often while engaging in other things (like quality bunny time or tidying up or reading feeds or whatever). Sure, some of it is total trash-detachment television: fluff, mindless, ridiculous nothingness. It’s how I unwind. But a lot of it is smart programming: PBS, Science Channel, History (when they’re not showing Swamp People and shows about roadkill truckers or whatever). So the next person who gives me a snide “Oh, we don’t even own a TV” can sit on it, for all I care. Do what you want, don’t own a TV, don’t watch TV, only watch Dr. Who on Netflix, do whatever you want. But don’t condescend to me about it, hipster.

This infographic lady also says that successful people read every day. Mike would probably disagree with this one (he dislikes most leisure reading, it’s just not his bag), but I’m inclined to agree. I think it doesn’t necessarily matter what you read, it’s just important to read — to gain knowledge — and most of us do that every day, be it via blogs or HuffPo or something more high-brow. In the Internet Age, I think people are hard-pressed not to read every day. But her implication is that if you don’t throw your TV out the window and read Chaucer every night, you’re a sad, unsuccessful schmo.

I call bullshit. Besides, how successful can you be if you have time to sit around making infographics all day? Oh yeah, that’s right, I forgot she doesn’t have a TV

Categories: Life, thoughts

No Means No, Thank You

Monday, May 6th, 2013

No Means No Thank YouMy mantra for today, regardless of what people try to throw at me, is “One thing at a time.”  I’d like to say it’s my new mantra for life, but let’s just get through today first, shall we?

Every Sunday, I set a plan for my week and inevitably it gets derailed by someone’s panicked email or something that usually takes 10 minutes will explode and suck the rest of my day into a vortex of cursing and database restoration.

While I am eternally grateful for my business and all the work it provides, I need to stop trying to do 15 things at once. Multitasking is overrated, so I’m also considering hiring some subcontractors (for design, development and/or project management)  to alleviate some of the workload. I love what I do — but I also am only one person.

So I’m making an effort to not only delegate, but be more efficient, so I can spend more time pursuing other things I love to do.  Like drinking in the afternoon.

I’ve never been good at saying “No”.  In fact, I’d suspect many women aren’t skilled at it, either. We’re taught to accommodate, to be quiet, to appease, to nurture — and in my proper “what would people think?” family, even if I was emotionally crumbling or screaming inside, I was taught to be a lady. You didn’t air your “dirty laundry” in public — and “in public” meant ever. Having an opinion wasn’t an option and emotions were things you didn’t express, so you sequestered them to the point you forgot you had them. Like Gretchen Wiener’s hair, our family was full of secrets. Most of them we kept from ourselves.

Now, at almost 40, I’m learning to use the word “No”.  Though, thanks to my upbringing, it usually comes out more like, “No, I’m really sorry, please forgive me for not being able to drop everything and come to your aid. I shall flog myself later in repentance. I suck. Oh, please sire, grovel grovel etc.”

Hey, it’s a process.

Someday, I’ll be able to deliver an empowered “No” without fear of sounding like a bitch or being worried they think this or that or some other garbage I’ve conjured in my head when really, they just heard me say “No” and went about their day. They’re not writhing around about it (usually), so why should I? It’s OK to say “No”. There doesn’t always have to be complex layers of feelings and judgement. Sometimes “No” just means “No”.

If you have trouble saying “No” without worrying what people will think, I invite you to join me in my effort to knock that shit off. 

Categories: Life, thoughts

Fat Devil’s Advocate

Monday, April 29th, 2013

© Haley Morris-Cafiero // Used without permission, but will remove upon request.

Confession: I’m kind of surprised everyone is so amazed by this overweight girl taking photos of herself.  Look, I’m not knocking her, personally. I don’t care what size she is. And if that’s how she “got her power back”, then great. But I disagree, respectfully, with her premise.

As a plus-size person who does get looked at sometimes or even snide comments made about them on occasion (and cried about it), she’s setting up elaborate selfies in an awkward way that makes her kind of stick out in a crowd.  How is the photo being captured? I assume (and am happy to be corrected here) with a camera on a tripod (or perhaps a Gorillapod) and a remote, unless she’s got a friend taking the photos — which logistically would negate her being the photographer. Any time a camera is set-up, there are people who are going to involve themselves somehow.

In 99% of the photos I’ve seen, she looks decidedly forlorn or has her mouth agape or she is dressed in an unflattering way. She’s generally “out of sorts” in her photos, not just fat, so it doesn’t really surprise me that people look.

People look.  It’s just human nature. I don’t think it’s right to verbally criticize people or call them names or make anyone feel uncomfortable — no one has the right to do that.  But, I look at people all the time — I may not make ridiculous gaping stares, but I will glance and I may throw a side-eye at whomever is with me, if a person of any size is wearing something inappropriate or nutty or is otherwise carrying themselves in a way that warrants looking.

It’s wonderful that some people feel empowered by her photos and I definitely think some of those people making faces are way over-the-top. No one needs to be that obvious with their “people watching”, but while it may seem like “I don’t get it” or maybe like I’m some kind of compassion-free asshole, if she were smiling or happy or even just nondescript… I might not feel the same way.  If she weren’t so obviously taking a photo of herself, foot akimbo, unkempt, mouth hanging open, etc, people might not have the same reaction.

I believe in carrying yourself with dignity, regardless of what size you are, and her photos don’t reflect that, in my opinion. What she’s doing seems to be more of an artistic statement, ergo, she’s presenting herself in a way that gets people to look.

</fat devil’s advocate>

Categories: Life, thoughts

Lawd Jesus!

Friday, April 26th, 2013

jesus-christ-baby-dinosaurA shared story about a guy who posted his daughter’s science test filled with religious/scientific inaccuracies sparked a conversation on Facebook that I got so into, I had to stop my long-winded reply and take it to the blog.

I’m not religious — big shocker. But I’m not an atheist. I’m more agnostic, simply for lack of proof either way. Atheism is too finite, in my opinion. I get it, but I’m not totally shutting out the possibility of something more, simply because we just don’t know. I mean, it’s pretty clear to me there’s no omniscient dude on a cloud smiting things and napping on Sunday and all that. But science has not proven there isn’t, which is totally fine and reasonable because that’s science’s job — to prove things — and they haven’t found evidence of that yet. (They probably won’t. I’m just sayin’.)

What gets me is when religious people claim I (and other non-believers) have no faith — that a lack of faith in God is a lack of faith entirely. As if religion has a monopoly on the word. Faith’s definition is believing in something you cannot prove. I can believe The Snorks live in my nightstand and pick my nose for me at night while I sleep, but that doesn’t make it religious. (Or true.)

I do have faith — in science. I believe in scientist’s abilities to hypothesize and form theories based on facts they can prove. My faith lies in their ability to suss out the truth and make educated deductions based on that truth. When science tells me the sky is blue because molecules in the air scatter blue light from the sun more effectively than they scatter red light, I believe them because they’re educated people who know about molecules more than I do.  And you know what else I like about science? Science is allowed to be wrong — and scientists are cool with that — because it means another discovery is made, a theory has been proven or a new hypothesis is born. You know, science-y shit!

I’m totally cool with folks believing whatever makes them happy, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. I truly am. Sometimes, what they believe is batshit crazy, in my opinion. Other times, what one believes consoles people in times of need or lifts up one’s life in a way I can’t understand and I’m totally fine with that. As long someone’s faith doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s liberties, life or well-being or influence what should be neutral arenas (like politics and government), it’s none of my business.

Believe the Snorks live under your nightstand for all I care.

Categories: Life, thoughts