Where there’s smoke, there’s a nuked Hot Pocket

Today we discovered that there are no smoke detectors in my office. Here’s a protip, courtesy of Billie: do not, under any circumstances, put a Hot Pocket in the microwave, hit the “infinity” time button (99:99 should be a close enough approximation), and then forgot about it. Especially do not do so in a hermetically sealed office.

And never be dumb enough to do something like that when Brent can laugh at you. Because he will. A lot. Your dignity and the microwave will join the carbonized Hot Pocket as casualties of your absentmindedness.

My boss had a more measured response: first priority to vent the smoke; second priority to make sure the perp got a new microwave before lunch tomorrow—on the company dime, mind you. That’s “the cost of doing business.” (I can’t help but grin every time I think about this bizarre event being a cost of doing business. Dang.)

[Everybody suffered. It was quite horrible, actually; you could see the smoke throughout the office, though the bulk of it was obviously centralized in the break room. (Think the extreme end of smokey bar.) More than one person was coughing the rest of the time I was there.]

The last laugh was on me, despite my enjoyment of the absurdity of the situation: I had a meeting to attend, and so couldn’t flee the smoke. Consequently, my clothes and hair stunk to high hell by the time I got home.

That’s a high price for humor.

End radio silence

This sort of break from blogging is exactly why I didn’t join NaBloPoMo. Had I been forced to write something every day during this break, my entries would look something like:


14 November: GYAAAAAA

15 November: MY EYES!!!


17 November: I’ve been looking things over, and if I hemorrhaged blood like I think I am hemorrhaging money… I’d be dead.

18 November: zzz


…And so on…

I do appreciate the idea of NaBloPoMo—after all, I did start this thing to note things for the benefit of my future self (and I already have enjoyed looking back on what I’ve written in the past)—but I really needed to get my affairs in order. The mess that was my desk was a constant thorn in the side of my psyche, my apartment was once again falling into shambles, and I was horribly short sleep (entirely my fault). But those things are mostly dealt with now, and I feel a lot better about life.

Of course, there was some fun to be had as well; I’ll get to that in a bit.

Two cat & pee stories

Overheard while at Amanda’s birthday party (warning: eeew, gross! ahead). Use your imagination for maximum hilarity:

Story One: a girl these gals knew had a cat. The gal had just peed, and (because the TP roll was empty?) had to stand up to scavenge a new roll. Meanwhile, her cat jumped onto the toilet. Apparently the cat expected the lid to be down, because the cat fell in.

Word was that the cat was so disgusted that it allowed the girl to give it a bath without any fuss whatsoever.

Story Two: this same girl’s old boyfriend used to work at the First Alternative Co-Op, and one day accidentally mixed instant and regular (?—I didn’t know there was a difference) oatmeal together. They didn’t care to eat it, but figured that it might make decent kitty litter. So, the next time they needed to swap the litter, they tried the New Brand.

When the cat next peed in the litter box, the heat of the urine cooked the oatmeal—which the cat then started eating.

Real men release on five

So says Frankie Manning, one of the creators of the Lindy Hop.

Yes: I have finally taken a lindy hop lesson from Frankie Manning. The guy’s ninety-two years old, and is pretty much just awesome incarnate. Every year he stops by OSU, every year the OSU ballroom dance types say “you should come; he’s not going to be around forever!,” every year I found some reason not to attend. (Most related around the fact that I knew jimmy-jack about lindy hop.) Not this time! I did take a lindy course a few years ago, but I’ve forgotten almost all of it—but this year Frankie taught a free beginner’s class, so I finally hopped on board. I should get a dance merit badge or something.

Most of the week I spent halfway-ill; not worth talking about. By Friday I was feeling better, and so attended Britta’s monthly Game Night. Attendees: Britta, Daniel, Jean, Janis, Matt, The Boy (as labeled by Jean), and Britta’s boyfriend whose name now eludes me. We played two games: a card game whose name I’ve already forgotten (damn memory), and whose rules were all but incomprehensible, and chinese checkers.

Though C.C. began innocuously enough, it soon became apparent that Daniel and I were the ones in a race to the finish. Sometime in the middle of the game, two of Matt’s friends stopped by—and one of them noticed that I had the single most-awesome move ever available to me. Upon being alerted that I had such a move, I figured it out for myself: I could take one of my pieces that was still in my starting triangle and literally walk it around the edge of the board to a position in my destination triangle. One-move finishing-combo. Wow.

Britta then thought she cut that off by moving one of her pieces back, failing to notice that I could short-circuit her blockade. I got two pieces sent to their destination that way, which clearly put me ahead.

Matt, realizing that he didn’t have a chance, decided to move a piece into Britta’s destination to thwart her attempts to win. This started an ugly cascade, where Britta blocked me, and I blocked someone else. Problem was, nobody could block Daniel.

Janis then singlehandedly pulled the sweetest cheat of the game, by moving her piece, waving her hands, and magically blocking Daniel. Apparently nobody but I noticed this (she was close—she just wasn’t close enough), so we played on for a while longer before Janis gave up the ghost.

Good times.

Saturday I joined Kevin and Nate in breaking in two-player mode in Guitar Hero II. I’m not absolutely thrilled with the two-player mechanic: if you play cooperatively, then one person gets saddled with the bass (generally a more boring set of notes, whose really challenge is not falling asleep when your pattern actually does change); if you play competitively, you either trade off sections (and therefore have long quiet periods), or play the same notes at the same time—at the same difficulty level.

That said, having two people playing at once is certainly better than having two people sit out all the time.

This morning I took advantage of the paucity of information surrounding the second (!) Toys-R-Us Wii preorder window, and was fifth in line to preorder a Wii. (That’s right—I have a Wii-order.) One week until we see if I really needed to go to that trouble; I still can’t tell if people will be able to walk into any store on launch day and get a Wii, or if they’re going to be sold out all but instantaneously.

Sexy News Flash!

Two girls, an indeterminate number of floors below me, are (get this) not wearing any shirts!

This just in: these girls have apparently talked one of the guys present with them into taking his shirt off, as well. I predict sexy consequences!

Forks in the road

I have a choice to make, and I pretty much have to make it tomorrow. I’m not terribly happy about it, either.

See, I had a bright idea almost two years ago. I implemented it, and saved my office a whole lot of money. I now have another potentially-bright idea, of a much grander scale.

My choice: sign a contract—which will preclude any possibility of my other idea ever seeing light—and see a fair bit of compensation for what I’ve done (beyond my hourly wage, which has of course already been paid)… or give that (and my job) up for the chance to strike out on my own and pursue this other idea.*

[*Of course, there’s also the find-another-job option.]

Staying on will give me no additional skills that would be of interest to any future employer, and—though it’ll give me employment in the short-term—will not guarantee me a position in the long-term.

My other idea is exciting and interesting to me, but it’s comparatively huge—and therefore has a significant chance of failure. I can’t even begin to narrow down how significant that chance is. I also can’t judge when it would actually bring money in (if ever). If I were to fail, the skills I’d gain may or may not be of value to others—mostly depending on how successful I was in my failure.

I’m looking at taking a huge risk, and it’s pretty much scaring me spitless. Either decision could end up being a gigantic mistake (though, granted, I might not ever know it). My nature—being fundamentally risk-adverse and not liking change—isn’t really helping things.

But I keep summarizing my choices, in my head, as being between shackles and freedom. (Though perhaps those should be “money” and “stupidity”…)

Civic duty: upheld

I stand with GreyDuck, inasmuch as I have voted. Actually, I stand apart from him: I’ve already turned my ballot in.

Now if only people would stop calling my cell phone with those fscking taped messages.

Incidentally, to those people who keep running ads: I don’t care if a certain measure was funded by outside interests, or one guy* (optionally with deep pockets), or a pack of nuns. If the measure makes sense to me, I’ll vote for it; if it doesn’t, I won’t. Simple, really.

[*I make an exception for Bill Sizemore’s measures. Most of Oregon seems to, as well.]

Also, I appreciate TV advertisements that don’t somehow contain gigantic logical holes within their thirty-second confines. Thinking about this measure cured my ol’ gout, so you should vote for it! Riiight.

And if you’re going to start slinging mud, make sure everybody gets in on it. Darlene Hooley and Mike Erickson are a beacon to us all, in this regard: I’m pretty sure one of them is a devil-worshipping baby-eater, but I can’t remember which one it is.

Can it be Wednesday already?

Impending voter fraud

Well, the midterm election is less than a week away. I don’t really have much stake in this one—being sick of both major parties will do that to you—but I’m still on edge about it. The reason? voter fraud. Not old-school thousands of dead people vote fraud (though I of course have a problem with that, too), but newfangled technology-enabled fraud—some of it potentially undetectable. Ever.

There have already been issues. I mean, I know how to hack a Diebold electronic voting machine; I know how to vote multiple times on a Diebold optical voting machine; I know how to vote as many times as I want on any Sequoia electronic voting machine.

I don’t even live in a state where I could use that knowledge. [Even if I did, one vote is plenty for me.] But people are going to be voting on those machines in less than a week. Holy shit.

I may not agree with half the country on any specific issue, but I hope to heck that I agree with damn near everyone that this is unacceptable. Diebold and co. deserve to be dragged out in the street and shot.

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