Friday, October 31, 2008

Dead Spirits

That refers to my favorite shoes, Easy Spirit. I've found a couple of pair at a thrift store, and almost twenty years ago my mom bought me a new pair of 1 inch heel black Easy Spirit shoes, and those have been worn more or less since then depending on what job I had and how my weight fluctuated and so forth. I haven't worn them much at all these past few years because they were damaged a little bit in a flood, but for most things I would think that hiding the damage with a black magic marker would work. This year, one of the shoes also had some damage from mice, but again I decided that the damage could be hidden with a black marker.

So, those were the shoes that I wore to the Halloween party on Saturday. I've gained some weight since last year, so they were a bit tight, but they were still better than a lot of other shoes.

This year I've decided to sort of downsize a few things in my life. I feel like I'm wasting too much time and energy on stuff that doesn't really matter, like ceramics and Star Trek. These last few years I have put a lot of effort into my Halloween costume, and this year I decided that had to stop. This year I decided to just not do anything special, not enter any contests, not spend weeks and weeks making a costume, not make any weird food, not carve a pumpkin, not help with the decorations, etc.... Since I didn't spend a lot of time on a costume, this left me in a position to actually be a judge in the costume competition, which I had never done before. But other than being a judge, I decided to just show up for the party without having done anything special and just try to enjoy myself without it having to be any big deal.

About the only thing I did special was my hair. My hair was dyed really red. I don't mean red like genes from Ireland red. I mean red. My natural hair is brown, and this was a non-permanent dye, so my hair turned out like a shiny Dr. Pepper can. And my hair doesn't curl easily, so when I really want nice hair I have to sleep in perm rods. So I did that too.

My dress was black lace over red, but hardly any of the red shows through the black. And I had a black hooded cape. I was going to also wear a black witches hat, but at the last minute I decided that the hat needed a few more feathers, and I hot glued my arm. I decided I really didn't want the hat, since I'd spent so much time on my hair.

Funny thing about the hair. Two other ladies, also wearing black, and one of them also minus a witch hat that she meant to wear, also had this same curly red hair. Except that they were both wearing wigs. But we were all in black and all had nearly the same hair.

Back to the shoes. Over the years, I have put pads in the shoes and taken pads out of the shoes and put these little things on the bottom of the shoes so that I don't slip. So with the weight gain the pads have come out of the shoes, but they still had the non-slip things stuck on the bottom. So I was walking around, and I was thinking that there was something wrong with one of the shoes, like the non-slip thing was maybe coming off. But I looked at it, and it was very firmly still attached to the bottom of the shoe.

The party always does seem to get off to a slow start. Last year it really got off to a slow start because of some problem with the music. This year again there was some problem with the music, but this time it only took about ten minutes to fix.

After long discussions and debates and people getting upset, the party had changed from being a party for everyone to being an adults only party and then back to having to vote on the issue again. After almost two hours of a meeting using Robert's Rules of Order we came up with a compromise of having it be an adults only party after nine, and that from seven to nine the children were allowed, free of charge with a paid adult, but that the bar would not be opened until nine after all the children had left.

So after all of that and thinking that we had a good compromise, only the one family brought two children. So that part of the evening that usually has children's stuff going on was rather dull. And some of the adults really seemed to resent giving up alcohol for even the two hours. And of course there are several people who are just traditionally late anyway.

One thing that does not have to do with children that gets done earlier in the evening is the weird food contest. But this year there were only four entries, and for some reason the voting kept being pushed back and pushed back again. So the voting should have been done by eight, but I think it ended up being done past eight-thirty. Anyway, the idea is to vote on the weird food before anyone eats it, so that everyone gets to see how weird it is. So by the time the voting was actually done, I'd had something else to eat, and I wasn't really hungry. So I ended up not even trying any of the weird food.

Okay, so the weird food awards were awarded, and the kid costume awards were awarded to the two contestants, and then there was the children's dance contest with two contestants, and then the two kids went trick-or-treating at the tables (which did not get them much from me since I totally forgot we were supposed to be doing that and I had already eaten about half the candy at our table by then). So the family with the two children left at nine without any drama, and right about then my friend who is always late showed up.

I went to ask someone who the other costume judges were. I volunteered to be a judge several months ago when I decided that I couldn't get my planned costume done in time and I really didn't want to spend a lot of time making another one. A friend had also volunteered several months ago, when he decided that his costume was so good that it just wasn't fair to compete with it. The rest of us just weren't following his reasoning at all. If you've spent five months making a great costume, then you're supposed to win, and there's nothing unfair about it. Not like everyone else didn't have the same opportunity to work on their costumes for five months, just that most people chose not to do that. So we found someone to replace him as judge, and we made him enter the contest. The other two judges were already sitting at a front row table, so a changed seats for a bit.

We have a few Klingons in our group, but they decided that they didn't want to be Klingons for Halloween since they are often Klingons during the rest of the year. They brought two other Klingons as guests, but they didn't win anything. I have a friend who made a costume of "Sponge Bob SCARE pants" two years ago, but due to various mishaps he didn't get to wear it until Saturday. He was funny, but he didn't win. We have this woman in our club who is like eighty-five and half-blind, and on her birthday she likes to do traditional old lady type things, like jumping out of airplanes. So this old lady went as a biker-chick, with those fake tattoo sleeves and a leather vest and hat. Her daughters came as the musical group HEART. The theme for this year was B Movies, so we had three people show up as bees. We also had a killer tomato, a 50ft woman, and Sarah Palin. Then we had the usual ghosts and werewolves and vampires and witches.

And then the three of us went into another room to decide who won what award. We agreed right away that my friend's five months in the making Ironman was Best in Show, but we also had to decide such things as Best Group or Couple, Best Recreation, Best Use of Materials, Most Beautiful, and Most Disturbing. I was saying I like this and I like that, and the guy that we drafted to be judge at the last minute was doing the same thing, but we really didn't know where to start. Luckily, the third judge was sorting out the cards and picking out those who were in a group. Okay, that works. There were a few couples, but that award went to a family who all came as characters from Speed Racer.

After that we tossed some cards that we didn't think were special, and then we sorted the remaining cards that might fit in different categories. We liked the vampire, but he just didn't seem to fit in with anything. He wasn't Disturbing, and he wasn't a vampire from a particular movie, so he didn't qualify for Best Recreation. While some of our guys would have no problem walking away with the Most Beautiful award, I didn't know this guy, and that might have offended a whole room of women who didn't get the award. We finally decided that as much as we liked him, we just couldn't give him an award, because nothing fit. We narrowed down Most Beautiful to three women, and then decided to discuss other things for awhile and come back to that. There was a couple that everyone liked, and I thought that they were holodeck characters from Star Trek Voyager. My fellow judges didn't agree, so we were really having a problem with the Best Recreation. There wasn't a Most Humorous award, so we passed over the Killer Tomato and Sarah Palin and Sponge Bob SCARE pants. Most Disturbing went to the 50ft Woman. We kept changing our minds between the three women up for Most Beautiful.

Our hostess came to see how we were doing. We were half done, but we were kind of stuck with the rest of it. I asked her if she thought that a certain couple were from Voyager, and she said that they were, that they were from the holodeck program Captain Proton.

So then everything worked out. The couple from Captain Proton got Best Recreation, and since we didn't plan to give two awards to the same person, that took Queen Arachnia out of the running for Most Beautiful. So that only left two women for Most Beautiful, and I knew one of them would be just as happy with Best Use of Materials. So Most Beautiful went to the witch that came with the vampire. The name of the costume that got Best Use of Materials wouldn't mean anything to anyone, so lets just say that it was a red cape and a long red dress and a long black wig and a headpiece with black feathers. She sort of looked like Cher, if Cher ever went anywhere fully dressed.

M & J showed up after we presented the awards. This is a tradition for them, to show up in the best costumes after it is too late to be in the contest. Rarely do they enter the contest, and when they do they almost always get Best in Show. This year it would have been tough, as I still would have voted for Ironman. But they did have excellent Joker and Cat Woman costumes. The one theory is that they always show up late on purpose, so that other people have a chance in the contest. But if you ask them about it, they say that they were at home fixing something on the costumes.

After the contest there's a lot of dancing. I don't dance anyway, but a lot of people don't dance till after the contest, cause they don't want to risk damaging their costumes. And there is a lot of posing for pictures, which I didn't do much of this year as I went in the black dress and cape and didn't have an elaborate costume. But I'm afraid that I even forgot to have my picture taken with the lady who got Best Use of Materials, cause we always get our picture taken. I just forgot this year.

Someone who didn't win anything came and complimented us on our judging and said that she would have picked the same people. So it's always good to get compliments on your judging from someone who didn't win. Hopefully there are no sore losers in this bunch.

While I was walking around and talking to people, I again noticed that something seemed to be wrong with my shoe. Again, the non-slip thing was firmly attached. I sat down and took the shoe off. It wasn't that something was coming off of the bottom of the shoe, but the bottom of the shoe itself was coming off. Okay, well, maybe I can glue it back together and keep them for some later costume, but I guess that is the end of me just wearing them as regular shoes.

I was tired, but I stayed til one anyway. I did not stay to clean up. Those people were still there at like three in the morning.

Sunday morning I checked my email and there were a few emails about the party. I guess I somehow didn't check my email on Monday, so on Tuesday I had 52 emails, mostly about the party. Most of it was the usual stuff, like this was the best party ever. Every year someone says that this was the best party ever. I don't think that this was the best party ever, but I don't think that there was anything wrong with it either. I don't think it had much to do with either there not being many kids there or not having the bar open til nine or any of that other stuff that we were all talking about before. I think I just really enjoy being a contestant more than a judge or just a regular party guest. But I think that I enjoyed the rest of the month more by not being a contestant. I think that most of the time I just put too much work into it for a costume that I'll probably only wear one time. So I'm probably not going to do that much anymore, even if it means that I don't like the party as much.

Well, I should do some work now. I would like to go to some stuff later, and tomorrow I have a busy day of after Halloween clearance sales. Not that I'm going to buy lots of costume and decorated stuff, but I do always buy some, and then there is discounted candy and discounted orange dishes and discounted black T-shirts, etc....

Thursday, October 30, 2008

This week so far

Yesterday, my husband went out of town to work a few days in Arkansas. He didn't ask if I wanted to go with him. Really, I don't think that I would have gone, but he didn't ask. He did, however, remember to call as soon as he got there to tell me he had arrived safely, which he has recently been rude and not done.

The theory is that I'll stay at home and get some work done. Here is was happens in reality. It takes me a day or two to get used to being here by myself and sleeping alone and all of that, and I get very little work done. And then I start to seriously think that this or that needs to be cleaned or some other thing needs to be done, and I get started on it. Then either a friend that I like talking to distracts me for a few hours, with isn't too bad, or maybe a certain other person calls. If the other person calls, it is bad. However well meaning this person is, however nice the conversation starts out, it ends up with me crying about my situation and feeling useless and it gets so bad that I almost go and hide under the bed. So not only do I waste the hours of time spent talking to this person, I feel so bad after talking to this person that I don't get anything done for the rest of the day, and maybe some days after that.

Then I think that I really must get something done so that the week isn't a total loss, but as I am figuring out that I have just enough time left to move and clean behind a bookcase or finish cleaning the kitchen or finish some garden thing, I remember that I am supposed to be somewhere on Friday or Saturday. If I go and do whatever it is, then I won't have time to clean behind the bookcase or finish the garden thing.

And that's what happens when I have five or six days to myself. When it is not the whole week I get even less work done. Yesterday, I didn't do much of anything except chat with a friend. So I guess I have no excuse to chat later. And the other person I'm just not going to talk to, though explaining that I'm not going to talk will probably lead to having a fight anyway, so I'm hoping that the person just doesn't call. It's already Thursday, and yes I am expected to be somewhere on Saturday, but at this point I'm already considering not going.

Tomorrow is Halloween, and I wish that I were doing something, but I probably won't be doing anything. Tonight I might go see a movie about zombies.

Earlier this week we found some things that we wanted at thrift stores. My husband bought a coffee machine that he's wanted for a long time, found it at the thrift shop for four dollars, and then it had a color tag sale which made it half price and only cost two dollars. Great. Though I'm not sure how many gadgets a person needs to make coffee, since we already have a couple of coffee presses. I found a 75ft soaker hose for eight dollars, which is not an amazing deal but still a bit less than Lowes or Home Depot. And for six dollars I got this other gadget which is supposed to be for making baby food, but I have other uses for it.

Next week my husband will probably again be out of town for another three days, this time in middle of nowhere Texas, and I probably won't go there either. The week after that is a whole week in Oklahoma, mostly near Tulsa. We have places that we like in Tulsa, but if things continue as they have been we won't have money to do anything anyway.

So that's it, the exciting week so far. I'm working on a post about Saturday's party, so I should go work on that now.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gas is 2.27!

We bought gas today, and it was 2.27 a gallon. Still not quite what it was two years ago, but, wow, 2.27!

And it wasn't like we just got really lucky, cause on the way home we saw at least four other places where gas was 2.27 a gallon. The price of gas is not something that I really keep up with, and I'm never that person who waits in line for a hour to get a good deal on gas, even though I will get up an hour early to go to a sale to get a good deal on just about anything else. But, really, 2.27 a gallon!


Did I mention that I saw a bunch of places that had gas for 2.27 a gallon?

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled nonsense.

Monday, October 27, 2008

You make me depressed

Okay, so I've already complained about how much life sucks, and how that people don't seem to get that life still sucks even if it has been two and a half years now. It doesn't suck less now that it's been two and a half years, it sucks more because I feel like I have wasted the two and a half years. And that is on top of feeling like I wasted the fifteen years or so before that.

And, yes, I do get that the only thing worse than feeling like I've wasted years in the past is to continue to waste years in the future. But I have no great ideas on how to do that. Still, even when I have half a good idea of how to get started on that, I make plans to do something, only to have something get in my way, like someone lying to me, or there being a flood, or I get sick, or the car breaks down, etc....

Really, I do think this stuff out. I think, I cannot get a job that will pay the bills, but maybe I can get a job that will pay some of the bills, and maybe after that something better will turn up. And with the way things are going now, I'm not even sure that I can get a job that will pay some of the bills, but I do at least plan on trying to do that and see what happens.

There is this endless circle of nonsense getting in my way. Even if I find a job that I want to apply for, I cannot go on job interviews without suitable clothes. Right now, I do not have suitable clothes. I have gained about twenty pounds this year. Most of my clothes either do not fit or do not look good or both. So I do not have clothes to wear to interviews, and if I might get a job, I would not have any clothes to wear to the job either. I should not buy much in the way of job clothing until I actually have a job and know what clothing I would need for it. But I at least know that I need to buy clothes for going to interviews, but besides feeling bad about buying any clothes because of being overweight and not wanting to spend money on clothes until I look good again, there is the fact of just not having any money to buy clothes anyway. I have decided that I have to buy at least two outfits for interviews, and that after I get offered a job I will have to go out that day and buy clothes for the job even if it means borrowing money or paying for the clothes with change that takes an hour to count out.

And that is just the clothes. There's also trying to get some sleep and my health in general and some health things in particular and insurance and whether or not to take jobs that require me to be out after dark, etc.... And then I have this fear that after I get this job that will not pay all of the bills but will hopefully pay for some of the bills, that I will just lose the job and be worse off than before. I would have preferred to deal with one thing at a time, in the proper order. But, no, things were not done properly or in order, so it is very possible that after a get a job I will lose the job because of missed work or illness or just a plain old nervous breakdown. And that really does seem worse to me, to have a job and rely on the little money that the job does bring in, and then not only lose that job and that money, but then there is also the problem of having to get another one, and instead of having to get over the bit of having no recent work history I would then have to get over having a bad recent work history. Having to explain that I haven't had a job for a while is bad enough, but having to explain that I lost my last job because I missed a lot of work seems worse to me, especially when I would have to explain why I missed work and it would just seem like I should have known better than to go back to work before I had dealt with the other things.

It has been strongly suggested that I go to counseling. And it has been pointed out that I could probably get counseling for free at a certain place from a certain person. The whole counseling thing in general bothers me, and getting counseling from this particular person at this particular place bothers me even more. I don't think that talking about my problems is going to help, it is just going to make me more upset more of the time. Telling someone about the Homewrecking-Slut doesn't change what happened. Telling someone that I am worried about getting a job doesn't change the fact that I need one and probably cannot get one that will pay the bills. Really, talking to people about all this stuff usually results in me losing the little resolve I have to even try to do anything. All that I can see coming from this counseling is that yet someone else will know my personal business, and that bothers me in general, and it bothers me even more that someone at this particular place would know my business.

So that all makes me very tired to even think about, much less actually get out there and look for a job or anything. But I've been thinking about it, and I've been thinking that now is a good time to look for a job, even if it will not pay all of the bills and so forth. I feel like if I don't do something soon, that I will get really depressed again, and it will be a really long time before I again make an effort to get on with things.

I had come a point where I had decided to give myself a deadline, that up until that point I would get as much of the house cleaning and such done as I could, and that after that I should actually have to go out and fill out job applications, even if I knew that either I probably would not get the job, or that if I did get the job it would not be enough money to pay the bills and such anyway. And while I was thinking about that, someone offered to help me, and that gave me even more resolve to get on with things. Like maybe if I just do this one thing, maybe I will feel better, and maybe something else will turn up, etc....

So I have been trying to stay positive for this past month, looking forward to the party and such, and then thinking about this deadline I had set for myself. And then I was talking to this person who had offered to help, saying how much I appreciated it and so forth. Only I was told that I had misunderstood, that the offered help wasn't what it first sounded like, that there were strings attached, and the help was only offered if I was trying to get jobs that would pay all the bills, etc....

If I could just go out and get a job that would pay all of the bills, why would I need anyone's help anyway?

I have only twice in my life had jobs that paid enough to pay all of the bills. The first one I had was being a traveling salesperson, and I was only doing that because my husband was a traveling photographer. I wasn't really very good at it, and I was only able to do it at all because my husband was the photographer. The second job I had that paid the bills was only enough to pay the bills in the summer, as the rest of the year it wasn't full time and I would have had to get another job in the mornings somewhere else. I never found out if that would have worked out, and I went back to school. At the time I never had any doubt that I would be able to find another job that would pay the bills, except that after I got out of school I was further in debt than I imagined and had more bills, and the jobs I found paid a little less than I had made before going back to school.

So I got so depressed after having this discussion that I pretty much changed my mind about getting a job at all.

I have now calmed down a bit and have a different plan. I am still going to go look for a job, even if there aren't any that I can get that will pay all of the bills. If I get a job I will use the money to find a doctor that I like better, even if I have to get one who isn't on my insurance plan, and maybe after I've dealt with that maybe I'll figure out what to do next.

I've decided that's what I need to do, even if from now on I have to totally ignore my husband and stop talking to this person who is supposedly going to help me after I figure out how to get a job that pays all of the bills. This really sucks, because I had already come to the conclusion that if I really want a job, even a dumb job that doesn't pay all of the bills, that I will probably have to get up most of the other things that make me happy right now. There will probably be no more ceramics, maybe until the summer, or maybe even for several years, or maybe even never again. And I will not be asking time off to do club stuff, except maybe for this last thing that I will do with my friends about a week before Christmas, and maybe I won't even be able to do that. So no ceramics, no club stuff, no hanging out with friends. Probably not much in the way of other arts and crafts stuff, unless it is mostly made of stuff that I already have. After I do this one last thing next week, getting a job, even a dumb job that doesn't pay the bills, is my main priority. Period.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Can I just go back to bed now?

It is more than halfway through the month of October, and the weather is starting to get a bit cool. Not much yet, but this week if you get up early enough or stay up late enough, you do notice a bit of a chill. Last night this led to my husband saying he was cold and getting up to turn off the air conditioner. That just never happens, ever. Weird.

So that was just too weird for me, and I soon got up to turn on the fan. Not the air conditioner itself, but just the box fan. Perhaps even that was a mistake, but I've got used to the background noise and find it hard to sleep without that and some means of having air circulate in the room. Anyway, I had not noticed the chill when I went to bed, but maybe my husband had since he had more recently been outdoors. But I did notice the chill just a bit when I woke up.

And then I found a mouse in the trash can. It was still very much alive, so I took it outside and released it. Finding live healthy ones that are trapped somehow and can be taken outside is a much more pleasant experience than cleaning up after the three dead ones I found earlier this week.

It was a bit on the cool side, and I had to take a moment to find a sweater before I went out. Having done my good deed for the day, I should like to just go back to bed. But I'm afraid that I am much too awake now to go back to sleep, so the going back to bed would just be to have a warm place to watch TV. And I cannot watch TV in bed at the moment, as my husband is still in the bed, and he is also still very much asleep.

Sad news. Last night, I again did not win the lottery. This is getting old. So I should expect the rest of the usual problems to continue for a bit.

I think that I'm going to try going back to bed anyway.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My last throwing class

This past Saturday was the next to the last of our throwing classes. And I don't plan to go next week, because next Saturday is the Halloween party, and I just can't see spending any of my time that day getting messy or doing anything that might make me tired. The plan for next Saturday is to have my costume laid out and ready to go, made sure the map and directions to the place are printed up, make sure that I have toll money and such ready to go, get together anything else that I have decided to take, maybe put my hair up in curlers, and then spend most of the day watched DVDs until such time that I need to get dressed and put on makeup and such.

I just don't want to take the chance that I'll end up going to class and getting mud in my hair or maybe I would slip on some clay or water spilt on the floor. No thank you. I'm going to put my feet up and watch TV.

So Saturday should have been my last class, cause I have already gone in to make up those two hours that I will miss next Saturday. But he was talking to the rest of the class and saying how since this was his first six week non-credit class and since he had not really thought it all out and written a schedule of what needed to be done by when, he had decided that will we are not allowed to spend any additional time at the school throwing new pieces, we are allowed to come in and finish up the pieces that we've already started. So that was good, and I managed to do a couple more pieces that I sort of like. I can go and finish them up next week and the week after that.

It is sort of sad that the class is ending now that I am just starting to get the hang of it. It does still take me too long to center sometimes, and I do still have trouble with the lifting part, and I often start out trying to do one thing and then just have to go with the flow and make something else. But at least now that awful thing of getting something so lopsided that pieces of it come off of the wheel now only happens about every third time, and I just grab some more clay and start over. It isn't the end of the world if that happens once in a while, or if I end up with a shorter wider bowl than what I had pictured in my head when I started.

There's a guy in class who is really getting good at this. And it is his first time doing ceramics. He used to be a carpenter, so I'm wondering if he has done a lot of work on a lathe and that has helped him. He says it is from watching a lot of how-to videos. Anyway, he was already making little bottles and vases, while the rest of us were still having trouble with bowls. He missed last Saturday's class. I hope he is okay.

So now of course I want to take another class, which I said that I would not, at least until I get a job or maybe win some money in the lottery.

But I'm trying to not think about that. I'm trying to just enjoy what I have left to do. In a week or so I will go to the lab and try to learn to finish up the leather hard pieces and then set them out to dry. I'll start with the pieces I like the least, just in case I really screw up. Then if that goes okay the dried pieces will get bisque-fired and I can pick out some glazes. I'm not really in any hurry about that part. If they don't get done this semester, I can wait.

Just seems a shame to stop throwing right when I think I'm starting to figure it out.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Robert's Rules of Order

Now it is Monday, so it should be time for Monday Morons. But I don't want to put that label on this post. I don't think that these people are morons, but I just wanted to point out that I was a little surprised at something.

People seem to have gaps in their education. When you are in school, some of your subjects involve trying to learn to do something, like math, while other subjects are mostly memorization, like history. Some people are better at some thing more than others. And then after school is over, we keep learning things, but also we forget a lot of the stuff that we learned in school. I don't have a career that requires me to use complicated math, so I've forgotten how to do a lot of it. And most of that memorization that we did for history didn't get memorized permanently. A bunch of stuff that used to be in my brain soon got filed away under --not useful in my everyday life-- and --not really that interesting to me personally. I then learned other things, which often later were also filed under not useful or not interesting. And then there are still other things that are either useful or interesting, but I don't really use them that much, so I still tend to forget them. But often I at least remember that I used to know them.

My husband was laughing at this guy on Millionaire who missed one of the easy first five questions. It was something about Hannibal going over the mountains with elephants. I don't know anything about Hannibal going over the mountains with elephants either, so if that had been me I would have missed the question too. While I know a thing or two about elephants, I don't remember anything about Hannibal. Knowing about Hannibal is not something I have to know in everyday life, and I guess that it wasn't that interesting to me, so it was quickly filed away as unimportant.

So I'm very aware that people have these little gaps, as I have them as well.

So it happened to come up last week that a lot of people I know don't seem to know about Robert's Rules of Order. Not that they don't have the whole thing memorized, not that they don't know what is to be done in certain situations when one should be using Robert's Rules of Order, but just that when Robert's Rules of Order are mentioned that they don't even know what you are referring to.

I thought that they were joking.

Robert's Rules of Order is just a book about rules on how you should conduct a meeting. It's just a book. It isn't the Bible or anything. It's some rules made up by this guy named Robert. But the guy put a lot of thought into his little book, and the rules are very useful, and over time this has become the standard. So when you are at a meeting and someone says that they would like to make a motion that a vote be taken on whatever is being discussed, and then someone seconds the motion, and those in favor say "Aye" and those opposed say "Nay", then that is something from Robert's Rules of Order.

That's probably all that a lot of us will ever use of Robert's Rules of Order, unless you have to go to a lot of very formal meetings. There are more rules about who gets to speak and when, and how to move the discussion to something else, voting proxies, time limits on speaking, what to do in the event of a tie, etc.... But that's all very formal stuff that I very rarely have to deal with.

But while I know very little about the rules, I am very aware that the rules exist, and I happen to know that the name of the book is Robert's Rules of Order. And while I would not be terribly surprised if someone in their teens or early twenties didn't know what was meant by Robert's Rules of Order, I do tend to expect that people older than that might have heard of them, and I was really surprised to hear that mostly intelligent people my age or older had not heard of them.

How can there be grown people who have never heard of Robert's Rules of Order?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Gone shopping

This is not necessarily a good thing, but sometimes a necessary thing. While I do seem to have this addiction to shopping, my shopping enjoyment does not come in the way more common to most females. To be more precise, I am just not that interested in clothes, and when I am the most interesting clothing has either something to do with Halloween or maybe Christmas, or else it is something bought with the intention of making it into some sort of costume.

Most of the shopping addiction is tied to clearance sales, mainly post-Halloween and post-Christmas clearance sales, and then clearance sales of yarn and art supplies and such things as are often found at Hobby Lobby and Michaels. The exception to the mostly not so feminine shopping is to be found at the store Bath & Body Works, which became a bit of an obsession for me about two years ago. Most of the shopping there is for future gift-giving, and so is somewhat tied to the whole Christmas sale thing.

But every once in a while, shopping for clothes is necessary. My dad mostly got out of this chore by mainly wearing the same type of thing over and over again, and mostly having my mom go to the store and get it. That way he only ever had to go to the mall for any clothing was once every few years to buy a suit or a jacket, or maybe even a coat. If my mother had died before him, he probably would have found someplace online and bought the rest of his clothing there.

But I do not have my mother to do all of these things for me, and I do not quite have the whole wearing mostly the same sort of thing down to a science. There is always the phrase--do I look fat in these--that comes up, and there is some slight hope that I would do a better job of avoiding some of that if I were to go to the store and selects the clothing myself.

I do mostly dress to be comfortable. At the present time I do not have a job and do not much worry about how I dress. I like wearing jeans most of the time, and with few exceptions I want them to be as comfortable as possible, and that usually translates into jeans that are as old as possible. But even with old jeans that are worn to be comfortable, there eventually comes a time that they might come apart at someplace that is difficult to patch, and they must be replaced.

So yesterday I had the task of buying at least one pair of jeans, just in case that the ones I currently wear might come apart and I should be trapped inside the house without pants. And also I needed at least one pair of slacks, just in case I should want to go on a job interview or some other place that jeans would not be appropriate attire. And since I have gained almost fifteen pounds since this time last year, the slacks that I already have in my closet do not fit me.

So sometimes shopping is very necessary, a chore that one can no longer put off. It is unfortunate that this particular time of doing this particular chore I have to deal with the triple whammy--I have almost no money, I weigh more than I like and don't really look good physically, and I really hate the new pants.

New pants are designed for a totally alien group of people. New pants were designed for skinny little girls who like for everyone to see that they are either wearing thongs or no underwear at all. New pants are designed for girls with flat stomachs and/or small waists.

I have neither a flat stomach nor a small waist. This is not a new thing, as I never had either, even when I was eleven or twelve and weighed only 88 pounds. I'm just not built that way, and without some surgical procedures I will never have a small waist. But this last year the weight has started to become a problem, and the lack of flat stomach and such has become very noticeable. So it is really awful that new pants do nothing but draw attention to the problem.

Really, if I wanted to have my gut hanging over my belt and show off half of my butt crack when I bend over, I would have just become a plumber.

So that's all quite annoying, and to have to part with my money to buy such is even worse. But we got paid yesterday, and I decided that it was time to get it over with. So I went to Target and was on my way to Walmart when I remembered a place that might have more of what I was looking for. There is this place that sells everything for eight dollars, and while all of the clothing is new, I think that some of it was actually made several years ago and has just been sitting in storage for a long time. So while a lot of it was still the awful new pants design, some of it was designed so that the waist band was a lot closer to the waist than the stuff I had seen earlier.

So I bought one pair of black jeans that was almost exactly what I was looking for, and the fact that I do not look perfect in them is my fault entirely and no reflection on the designer. And I also bought another pair of black pants that weren't quite what I was looking for, but they will do in an emergency if I wear a jacket, which I usually do, and eight dollar emergency pants are much preferable than more expensive ones.

And while I was there, I also found five swimsuits. I was not looking for swimsuits, but they turned up while I was looking for bras, and so I had to look at them. There are always these ads for slimming swimsuits, but there are sold next to tomato plants that supposedly produce a hundred pounds of tomatoes or some such nonsense, so I tend to think that the suits are not that great, and I'd rather buy from a store so that I can see the actual suits. Suits sold in stores with similar claims are usually so expensive that I don't even bother trying them on. But here were five of them, and they do not make me look just wonderful, but they do make me look somewhat better than what I wore last year, and I'm somewhat larger than I was last year. And they were only eight dollars, and I doubt that I will ever find such a good deal again, so I had to buy two of them. I realize that I do not need two swimsuits in October, but I should have at least one for emergencies, so that if I win a trip to Hawaii I will be ready to go. And I'm not one of those people who just can't stand to wear last year's style of swimsuit, so this should save me the trouble of buying a new one next year.

So it was not the best day, but it did not turn out to be totally dreadful either.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Raiders of the Lost Art?

Yesterday I went to school for a bit. My husband was home yesterday, even though today he works in Oklahoma and he should have left yesterday. But the financial situation is pretty bad, and he decided that he couldn't afford the extra fifty bucks or so for yesterday's motel room, even if they are going to pay him back for it in a couple of weeks. We just don't have the money now. So he stayed home an extra day.

But since he didn't tell me he was going to stay, I had already made plans to go to school for a bit, so I decided that I should go ahead and go. I had recorded about ten hours of television for my husband while he was gone last week, so he could entertain himself with that while I was gone. And as it turns out he spent the entire time sitting at the computer, and probably wouldn't have said three words to me if I had stayed.

I have already recycled most of the school's clay and have enough for me for the rest of the next class period, and I don't think that I will need anymore for the one after that. Actually, I'm not planning to go to the last class, since it is the same day as the Halloween Party and I will probably be busy. So I worked an extra hour last week, and then I worked an extra hour yesterday, so that will make up for a missed class.

Anyway, I have recycled most of the school's clay, except that there is a bit left to do that is on the floor, and a bit that got too dry so I put it back in the recycling bin. So I think that someone else can do that last little bit. If it is still there in a couple of weeks I'll come back and do it myself, and just keep it for later.

But I had found some more of this same clay that I had at home, and while I had worked on it last spring and it should have been all ready to go, I instead found that there was a hole in the bag and the clay had all dried out. Maybe a mouse put a hole in that bag while looking for food, or maybe it was just some accident that happened over the summer, but either way I had to soak the clay in water again, and it was all ready to go into the mill.

So I did that first thing Monday morning. Well, not quite first thing Monday, as I did not quite get there early enough to get a parking spot next to the building. So I parked in the next lot over, which isn't very far away at all, except when you have to carry something heavy, like a bucket of clay. So I got a bit tired, and my arms got a bit sore, but I managed to get it all to the building okay. And after an hour or so all of the clay that I brought with me was recycled, so I put it back in the bucket and covered it with a plastic bag.

Now, sometimes when I have to load or unload something in the car, and I can't find a good parking space, I will borrow a teachers' spot for just five or ten minutes. And I think that most of the teachers can figure out that I'm not really planning to leave my car in the teachers' spot all day, just for ten minutes or so, and they don't have a cow, especially if they are art teachers. But most of the teachers' spots were taken too, and I didn't want to use a handicapped spot, even for five or ten minutes. And that left the maintenance parking, and I'm not on the best of terms with maintenance, so in the end I decided that I could just carry the stuff back to the car. It hadn't killed me to carry it that far earlier, though it had been more difficult than I had imagined it would be.

So of course halfway to the car I dropped the bucket of clay. I'm not totally that clumsy, but the handle on the thing broke. It's a cheap bucket and can easily be replaced, and the clay was still covered by the plastic bag so nothing really bad happened. It was just so annoying, and my arms hurt a bit more, but I got everything back into the car.

Now in between getting the clay back into the car and working on the wheel for about an hour, I was looking for this piece that I did last year. Technically, it is a vase, but I doubt that anyone will ever put flowers in it. One of the other teachers actually said that she would be offended if anyone ever put flowers in one of her vases. I think that extreme is a bit silly, but really if you just want something to hold flowers then you'd probably just get something from Walmart. If you have a piece of art pottery, then you probably want to look at the pottery and not flowers.

So I was going to look at this vase, because the teacher had mentioned that someone might want to buy it, and I said that I would probably sell it if I could make another one. I wasn't entirely happy with the way the glaze turned out on this one, so if I could make another one I could have one that I liked better and still have the first one to sell to someone who likes it just the way it is. The vase is put together of a lot of cut out little pieces, which takes a long time, but I was thinking that it would be possible to cut out the pieces at home and then take the pieces to the lab to assemble, and that way it wouldn't take up so much of my lab time. Only I did need to have a look at the original vase first, and I couldn't seem to find it.

So I thought that it must be in the professor's office, only he said that it wasn't. He thought that I had taken it home. No, I'm pretty sure that I didn't. And I know that we had stored a lot of stuff in the tool room, but I had already looked in there for something else last week, so I knew that it wasn't there. The last time I saw the vase it was in a certain storage room, but the professor didn't think it was there, but I looked anyway. Not there. And then he thought that it was in a different storage room, because he had moved a lot of things there. So I found four of my dragons, but not the vase I was looking for.

Are you sure that you didn't take it home with you?

I'm pretty sure that I did not, because I didn't want to risk something happening to it while I was doing the major cleaning and moving bookshelves and all of that. But I said that I would look again before I went and complained about the vase being missing. I have heard a lot of people say that they liked the vase, so maybe someone just took it. Stolen stuff is not unheard of, but it is usually tools that turn up missing rather than art.

Accidents more often happen with the art. Maybe someone broke it and just put the evidence in the trash before anyone else noticed. That has also happened in the past. And if I was that worried about it I should have taken it home right away instead of leaving it there over the summer.

We give up looking and I work on the wheel. And then the professor remembers that it is in a display case. I didn't know that we were having a student show, and I was pretty sure that I had looked at the display cases Saturday, so unless someone put up a new show on Sunday, I didn't think that it was in a display case. But the professor remembers that someone borrowed a few things for the library. Okay.

So after I got done with the wheel, I walked over to the library, and there it was.

And I like that glaze even less than I remembered. So I'm really hoping that I can do another one and sell that one.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday Morons--I don't want to be warned that I'm going to be hurt

My mom's church did the whole Judgment House thing last year. It isn't quite the same as hell house. Not that I've even been to a hell house, but I've seen a lot of stuff about it on TV, and they have scary scenes of mostly real life stuff, about drug addiction and abortion clinics and terrorist attacks and school shootings. Some of the hell houses have a lot of blood and gore, so that they look a lot like more traditional haunted houses. Judgment House is more of a play, with the scary "this could happen to you" type message.

So last year was their first year, and they did Collision, and I watched it and they did a very good job. This story follows three teenagers who die in a car crash, and then at the end we see who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. The scene of hell turned out to be really excellent, and not quite what I expected. The rest of the scenes were really impressive too. I wonder how much they spent on the sets and how they got some of the props. In the actual car crash scene there are two crashed cars, and I imagine that crashed cars are plentiful and you could easily borrow a few. And then there were police cars, and I suppose if you had to that you could make a fake police car by putting decals and lights on a regular car. But they also had an ambulance, and for the ambulance you pretty much have to have a real ambulance, so I'm wondering how they got one.

So I checked to see if they were going to do it again, and this years story is called 59 Minutes. I imagine that all of the stories follow a few characters to see how they end up, and that the last two scenes are hell and heaven, but I don't know that for sure. So I tried to follow the link to YouTube to watch a trailer of 59 Minutes. That didn't work as well as I'd hoped, but YouTube has other videos about Judgment House, and I watched a few of them and looked at a couple of hell scenes. I'm sure that the actual hell scenes were good to watch in person, but the video quality of most of them wasn't so good.

Anyway, there comments after one of the hell scene videos, and most of the people leaving comments were not very nice. And they wanted to know if Christians really believed this stuff and said how it wasn't very nice to try to scare people like that. And one person left a comment that yes we do really believe this stuff and that since hell is a real thing we would try just about anything to warn other people about it.

The next comment was something like--rape is a real thing, but I wouldn't want someone to say follow me or you'll get raped.

And I thought that this was just the most stupid thing to say. If I was about to get raped, and someone came to warn me about it, I would just be so happy to follow this person away from the dangerous situation. The last thing that I would do would be complain that someone is trying to scare me.

And then I realized that there are millions of girls who do exactly that every weekend. They are constantly being warned not to go to parties with older boys, and not to meet up with guys that they've met on the Internet, and to stay in very public places when you do meet someone, and don't get in a car with someone you've just met, etc....

About 1 out of every 3 girls will eventually be raped, but some of us just seem to want to get it out of the way early. Like I don't know why any sane woman would go to a frat party. I don't know why so many woman accept drinks from strangers. And I don't know why any woman would go try to find someplace more private with a guy that she just met.

But I know that a lot of people do all this stuff, because I've seen it on TV. Not just fictional TV either. I've watched men on hidden camera encourage a guy who said that he was going to have sex with a certain woman, even if he had to drug her, and then they watched while he put something in her drink and after that walk away with this woman who obviously wasn't well. And I watched another guy give dozens of drinks to women that did not know him, and afterwards when he told them that he was doing a TV program to see how many women he could trick into taking a drink that might have been drugged. All but one of the women got mad at him and were embarrassed that they were going to be part of this TV show, instead of being glad that someone had warned them that they were doing something unsafe.

And on another show we watched the chemistry students going to a party and handing out something that would warn girls that there might be something in their soda or beer that wasn't soda or beer. And they also had some test to see if the pill that was supposed to be Ecstasy might be something else. It's bad enough to take Ecstasy, but you certainly don't want to be taking a pill that is something other than that. And while we watched, someone brought over a pill and the test proved that there was something in the pill other than Ecstasy. And while we watched, the girl decided that since she had already spent the money that she was going to take the pill anyway. How stupid is that? The test can't tell you what is in the pill, just that it isn't Ecstasy. It could a sugar pill and do nothing, or it could be a cold pill and make you sleepy for the rest of the party, or it could be a very serious addictive illegal drug, or it could even be rat poison. You just can't imagine that anyone would do something so stupid, but there she was, on camera, doing exactly that.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I've having a moral dilemma about the clay

I have spent about seven hours this week recycling clay. Monday I went to school and started trying to get the clay out of the recycle bin and soon found out that most of what was left was stuck to the bottom of the bin and probably wasn't going to come loose just from me trying to remove it with my hands. Rather than stand there and cry about it, I went home and collected some gardening tools and went back on Tuesday. Tuesday was a lot of work, but I did get a lot of the clay out of the bin, and I put about half of it through the mill and got a lot of usable clay out of it.

I was tired, and my arms and back hurt, but I felt like I actually got something done. Money-wise, this was probably not the best use of my time, since if I'd had eight or nine dollars to spare I could have just gone to the bookstore to buy new clay. But I didn't have the eight or nine dollars, and I imagined myself recycling all of the clay in the bin and having enough clay to use myself for the rest of the class, and maybe enough for the other nine or ten people to use next Saturday.

Thursday I went back to finish the project. I got the remaining clay out of the recycle bin, but there wasn't as much left as I had imagined. I started putting the clay through the mill, and I put away enough for myself to use this next class, and hopefully enough for the class after that. I would have also put away some for that last class, but for some reason the last of the clay I put through the mill doesn't look right and needs to done over again.

Then I got tired of recycling clay and decided to try to work on the wheel for a little while. I was at the wheel for less than an hour, tried to make four or five bowls, tried to keep two of them, but damaged one when I tried to take it off of the wheel.

Okay, so there is still a bit of clay waiting to go into the mill, and there's a little bit of clay that was starting to dry out that I put back into the recycle bin. There's a little bit of clay that I put through the mill that doesn't look right and needs to be redone. There's some clay that I put aside for myself that will be enough for one class, possibly two, but not three. And then there's a bunch of clay that I was going to leave for the other nine or ten people in the class who had also planned to use recycled clay.

So now I have a bit of a dilemma. If I don't take more of the clay for myself, I probably won't have any clay for my last class. I did all of the work, and I should be able to do what I want with it. In theory, I could just say that I did all of the work, so all of the clay is mine.

But that wouldn't be a very nice thing to do. If I came to school on Saturday and found out that there wasn't any clay for me to use, I'd be seriously upset about it, and expect that the rest of the class would feel the same way. And the bookstore is closed on Saturday, so there isn't the option of buying some more, at least not in time to use in the next class period.

I could go back to school today and finish recycling the clay and keep that, but I really don't want to. For one thing, I've been there three days already this week and spent time and gas driving. For another thing, I'm just tired of recycling clay and would like to stay home today and get a few things done around here.

Another thing is that if I went to school and did the rest of the work and kept that clay, I would still have the moral dilemma of whether or not it is fair to keep that much of the clay when they don't have the option of buying more on Saturday. At least this way I'm just leaving them some clay that they will have to work to recycle.

I am thinking that right now there is just enough for me to keep what I have already put aside for myself and for the rest of the class to do half of their work Saturday with the other clay that I finished and the other half they can do with what is left that needs to be recycled. And I think that will be the last of the clay, and that they will have to buy clay after that. And I will either be short some clay for that last class, or maybe if all the clay doesn't get recycled Saturday I can come back Monday and finish what is left, or maybe I'll find some more that needs to be recycled here.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The ongoing drama about the upcoming party

Okay, so there's been some stuff going that I didn't really know about until last year, but I guess that it's been a problem for other people for a while now. Our club has an annual Halloween party, and it's a really big deal and we plan stuff for it all year. And a few of us have children, so there are usually a few kids at this party. And then sometimes there are a few extra kids at this party, because someone invited the children of the people who work where the party is held.

So I didn't particularly like that there were these other kids hanging around the party, but it didn't really seem to bother anybody else. And then I was told that not only had these kids been invited, but that someone in our club actually bought tickets for them to be able to go. So they weren't just showing up to get free food and candy like I thought, and if someone wants them there enough to buy them tickets, I guess that's the end of my wanting to get rid of the kids that don't really belong there.

But other people have other problems with the kids. Like there are some parents who don't watch their kids. They show up and then just sort of take a break from being parents, if they even bother being parents the rest of the time. They expect grandma to watch the kids, or the person organizing the party to watch the kids, or the group in general to watch the kids, or whatever. So that's rude to begin with, and not safe either. So the people in charge of the party would tell someone that they needed to watch their kids, only to be told that something along the lines of I bought a ticket so watching the kids isn't my job tonight.

Also there have been a few accidents from kids running here and there. And people have on these costumes that they've worked on and spent money on, and they don't want to trip over these kids, and they don't want these kids running into them, but sometimes it's hard to see out of these costumes, and the kids aren't supposed to be running around like that anyway. So sometimes there are accidents and wardrobe malfunctions.

And then there is the problem of having the kids in what is normally an adults only place that serves alcohol. And until recently it has been okay, as long as the kids stay away from the bar area. But now the rules are that the kids are to stay away from the bar area, and what counts as the bar area has changed a little bit, and the kids are to stay out of a certain room where the bar is unless their adult is with them. But last year the kids did not stay out of the room, and there's even a picture of one of the kids actually sitting at the bar.

Also we tried to have some new rules about the smaller children. We had a special children's area, and the children under a certain age had to stay in that area unless their adult was with them, and the adults that brought the children were supposed to take turns watching the kids. And there was a sign-up sheet and you were supposed to take your turn, or turns depending on how many children you brought, and if you didn't want to stay that long in the children's area you were supposed to pay extra to pay the babysitter that one of the parents hired to help out for the evening. But some parents didn't take their turn and didn't pay the babysitter either.

So now there is a rule that the children of the people who work at the place cannot have their children at the place, even if the people renting the place have invited them. They just aren't allowing any children, even their own, in the place with the bar, and to be on the safe side their kids aren't allowed in at all. So that ends the problem of me not liking having kids around that aren't ours.

Not that we think that any of the children, theirs or ours, are drinking alcohol, but it would still look very bad if there was an accident or a surprise health inspection or something.

Since we were still having problems with the older children and teenagers going into the bar area, and the special children's area didn't work out due to some of the parents of the younger children, it was decided that this year should be an adults only party. And that would be better than having some people in the place following the rules and some that don't, and trying to decide who should be allowed to bring their kids and who shouldn't. Just make the new rule that no children are allowed at the party at all.

About twenty people who actually care about the party and are on a committee and such decided to take a vote, and maybe a few of them didn't vote but the rest voted for the adults only party. So that was a couple of months ago, and I thought that the matter was settled. And I think that it was announced a few weeks ago and no one argued about it, though a few said that they were disappointed.

But then someone complained that everyone should vote, or that at least the club officers should vote, not just this committee of random people. So we are having another vote, about a week before the party, just to make a few people happy who didn't get a vote earlier, but we don't really expect the outcome to change.

So now someone is saying that that is too late to decide something like this, and that we should vote now, online. So I think that if it is too late to decide something like this, we should say that it has already been decided and go with the original vote. Or maybe have the club officers vote, since most of them already voted and most have probably not changed their minds.

I personally am about as anti-alcohol as you can get. So if it were just the problem with the bar, I would ask if there was some way to lock up the bar itself without closing off that whole room, and just not have a bar. Send the bartender home for the night. No alcohol. This has always bothered me a bit anyway. Problem solved.

But that isn't the only problem, and I'm not sure that they could do that anyway. Or if they could do that, they might just not rent us the space rather than lose whatever they might make selling drinks that night, which I hope isn't much anyway. But they probably figure in some amount that they hope to make with the bar when they figure up how much to charge for renting the place, and they might not rent to us or they might charge more rent for closing the bar.

In any case, I would be curious how that would go. Would people vote to keep the kids at a party with no bar, or vote to keep the bar at the adults only party.

But that isn't the only problem. If we don't just flat out say that no kids are allowed, then we have the problem of telling specific people that we don't want their kids at the party, that their kids do not follow the rules, or perhaps we would have to tell the parents that they are the ones not following the rules. It seemed more polite somehow to just say no kids allowed instead of only the good kids are allowed, and then having to decide which ones are the good kids.

I don't think that there's anything wrong with telling someone that their kids are not behaving and that they need to step up. But then I don't think I want the job of being the one having to tell that to the parents, and I don't think that anyone else wants the job either. And I especially do not want that job during the party, cause it's our party that we've looked forward to all year, and it's supposed to be fun.

If the vote changes, then I think that other things will have to be discussed. Like if you bring kids then the kids have to stay with you at all times, the kids aren't even allowed to go to the bathroom without you walking to the bathroom with them, and if any kid is somewhere without an adult in charge that both the kid and the parent (or grandparent, or uncle, or whatever) will have to leave the party right then, and their will be no refunds of tickets. And then if that still doesn't work, and one of the kids goes to the bar area and this causes a problem and they don't want to rent us the space next year, where are we going to have the party next year? Cause if people feel that strongly about it not being an adult only party, then I think that they need to come up with an alternate plan ahead of time. It's too late to have it a different place this year, but I wonder if anyone wanting to invite kids has given that any thought.

So that's what I would like to know. Would people vote to close the bar if it meant some of the kids could stay? Would someone volunteer to tell certain parents that they can't bring their kids to the party if it meant some of the kids could stay? Would someone volunteer to enforce really strict rules on the kids who are allowed to stay? Would someone volunteer to plan a whole different party at a different place if we are asked not to come back to this place?

Or do people just want to complain until we give in and invite the kids back to the party, and just leave all the problems for the people who tried to deal with everything last year?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The week so far

We went to see Blindness on Sunday. It was mostly what I expected. It was Day of the Triffids, only without the triffids. It's mostly about what horrible things people will do to other people, and when things are bad and people need other people the most, some of them will try to be helpful at first, but as the problem gets worse more and more of them do more and more ugly things to each other.

There is no explanation of why everyone goes blind. It is an illness, and it seems to spread either through the air or by touch. The first victim we see suddenly goes blind while driving. He is then taken to an eye doctor, and the next day most of other people who were waiting to see the eye doctor go blind, and the eye doctor goes blind.

At first it is thought that isolating the people going blind will stop the disease from spreading. So the eye doctor and his patients are taken away. The eye doctor's wife is not infected, but as her husband is being taken away, she decides that she can't stand to be separated from him, and so she pretends to be infected and they take her away too.

The infected people are taken to an empty sanitarium. There are probably still a few of those left. At some point it became illegal to lock people up just for being crazy, and you either had to get them to volunteer to be locked up, or you had to hear them threaten to hurt themselves or others, or you had to wait til they actually did hurt themselves or others. Most of the crazy people did not volunteer to be locked up, so the places were mostly empty for a while, and then some of them hurt themselves or other people, or threatened to hurt themselves and other people, and they were locked up again, but enough of them remained free to have lots of empty buildings here and there. And presumably they keep using the newer and nicer looking buildings, so the empty building where the infected blind people are sent isn't very nice at all.

It's an okay movie. Most of the time it is not a really scary movie, but there is violence. Not a date movie.

On Monday, my husband was unexpectedly called to work out of town for the rest of the week. On the one hand, I had been looking forward to having the house all to myself next week, so having this week too is a good thing. On the other hand, it wasn't a planned thing and there was no time to really think about where he was going and did he need to pack anything that he hadn't already packed and such. So he left a few things that might have been useful. And however much I might want to have the house to myself for a while and plan to do all sorts of useful things while he is away, it does seem to take me a few days to get used to it, and I have trouble getting to sleep, etc.... So at this rate, I'll maybe get around to doing something useful around here by about Friday.

The first useful thing I decided to do was go to the school Monday morning and deal with the whole recycling clay thing. So the first thing is to take out the clay that has been soaking in water in the recycle bin and spread it out on canvas for to dry out just a little bit. And then there is a machine that we put the old clay into, and if we mix a bit of clay that is starting to get too dry with a bit of clay that is still too wet, the machine will make it all into usable clay. But you can't put in actual dry clay, and you don't add actual water either.

So there was a bit of clay that had been on the canvas since Saturday, and I had to get out more clay from the bin. Only we'd already gotten out the stuff that was easy to get to, and now much of it was really stuck to the bin, and I soon had trouble getting any of it out with just my fingers and small things like forks. So after only an hour or so I left, saying that if I was going to get any real work done I would need to come back some other time with some gardening tools.

I have already complained of how I looked after class on Saturday. How I looked Monday was maybe two or three times worse. I didn't actually fall into the bin, but I was leaning over it at such an angle that I got my hair into the water and clay. So that wasn't pretty.

Tuesday I went to the school with the gardening tools. I mostly brought the little hand tools, but just in case I also put a garden hoe in the car. I spent three hours getting clay out of the bin and through the machine. It was a lot of work and my back hurts now. But the stuff stuck at the bottom of the bin is now half removed, and now that I've reached the bottom of the bin the rest should be easier to get at.

It doesn't look too bad outside, and today would probably be a good day to go out and work in the yard and start to get a few things ready for next spring's garden. But I feel so awful from the clay recycling that I'm probably just going to stay in and wash dishes and watch DVDs. The thing about recycling the clay is that I started doing it because I didn't have the eight or nine dollars here and there to buy bags of new clay. I've now put in almost four hours work. If I get eight dollars worth of clay out of it then I've earned like two dollars an hour. Only I haven't even quite earned that, since I had to use gas to get to school and back twice now. By the time this is over I'll have probably spent eight dollars on gas. But I suppose that someone had to clean out the recycling bin eventually, so it might as well be now and it might as well be me. It does get hard on the back though. And I've often decided against trying to get such and such job because I don't want to do stuff like this, cause no job is worth getting hurt and worrying about a possible permanent injury, and here I am doing all of this work over a couple of bags of clay worth eight or nine dollars each.

This morning I learned that there is more ongoing drama about the upcoming party. I'm just sort of sitting here waiting for more people to talk about it. I don't think that I'll post it here, because it is so far a long bit of business and I think that it will have to be a post all by itself.

So now I will got back to washing dishes and watching animated Flash Gordon, and seeing if I can get through the day without going to McDonald's and trying to win a million dollars. It would really be nice to win a million dollars, and just eating some fries and having a soda would be nice if I had the cash.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Monday Morons--huge emails

I had planned a different post today, but as it partially involves an ongoing problem that someone else is having, and she hasn't given me permission to post about it, I think that I will wait. If she doesn't give her permission, I will post about the problem in general anyway and not make any specific references to any particular person. And an any case, I would not be referring to people by name anyway.

But something totally unrelated happened to make me quite angry this weekend. Some of you have already heard the short version. Here is the longer version.

I was probably the last one of my friends to start using email on a regular basis. It just seemed like one more way to waste time. It was one more way to get junk mail. It was one more thing to get annoyed with on the computer. I would hear other people complain about their email all the time, so I just didn't bother to get one. My husband had one, and if anyone just insisted that they must contact me by email, I gave them my husband's address and he would give me the message.

And then I went back to college. At my school, they assigned you a school email account whether you wanted one or not. So I had a school email account that sat unused for more than a year. And then in 2003 I was in a class that required you to use the email account for class assignments, so then I started using email. After the class was over, I started using the account more, signed up for a bunch of dumb contests and such, and the mailbox then filled with junk mail. I used the email for a few other things that I sort of thought were important. When I left school I let the school keep a ten dollar deposit in return for being in the school alumni association, which I didn't really care anything about, except that we were allowed to keep our school email. I was supposed to have the email for a year, but it was cancelled in June or July, not the following December as I was told. So I lost some things, mostly email addresses of classmates, because I hadn't transferred anything from the school email account to a new account.

But I then did get a new email account, and again it filled up with junk mail, which again was mostly my fault, though some of it did seem to appear for no reason. And then about three years or so ago I joined an online fan group, made a few friends in other states, and gave one of them my email address. And he complained that he had sent emails that I hadn't received or he couldn't get emails that I had sent, or something like that. So about two years ago I got another email account that was at the same place where my friend has his account, so that way we wouldn't have trouble with the emails anymore.

I got to where I liked the new account more than the old one, so I moved a few things that I thought were important to the new account, while the old one continued to fill up with junk mail. And I even got a couple more accounts, but the one with the important stuff was that one that I first got because of my friend from the online fan site. The important one now gets emails from a very few friends, coupons from Bath & Body Works, coupons from Hobby Lobby, and my club's listserve. So that's the important stuff. Other stuff goes to other email accounts that I maybe don't check as often.

Now I hadn't really noticed, but this is a rather small email account. It only has 10MB of memory, so if I'm not careful to delete the emails then the mailbox fills up and I can't use the account until I delete some emails. So that's fine. I should delete some emails anyway. The other thing was that I am limited to 40MB bandwidth per month. Bandwidth is not something that I have even paid attention to before. I knew that it had something to do with sending or receiving very large files, like when you download movies, but I wasn't planning on downloading any movies and I didn't think that anyone was going to email any movies, so I pretty much ignored the bandwidth thing until a few months ago.

I am constantly getting warnings that I have used up 90% of my 10MB memory and need to delete some emails. Fine, I'll delete some emails. But a few months ago I got a warning that I had used up 75% of my monthly bandwidth allowance. Now this was something I'd never heard of before. And it was something I really had no control over. Several people had sent me emails with pictures of cute animals. The emails had so many pictures that they were about 800KB. And a few of these emails were on the listserve, and people on the listserve replied to the emails, saying how cute the animals were and such. Most of those replies contained the pictures, so again they were about 800KB. So I got several of these large emails, and it didn't matter that I didn't even open the emails or open the attachments, once they were sent they used up part of my month bandwidth allowance. Deleting the emails didn't help either. Once the were sent, the damage was done. So the last few days of the month that email account just didn't work.

So I wrote an email about what had happened and had anyone else had that problem. No one else had actually had their email stopped for the rest of the month, but some people did agree that sending large emails was a problem, and that the problem could be prevented by sending links to pictures instead of pictures and deleting attachments before replying to an email, etc.... And there was also the suggestion that if I were ever afraid that this might happen again that I should go and change my account so that the club messages were not emailed to me but just viewed from the group's message board on yahoo.

So the next month I watched the bandwidth thing very closely, and if it looked like I was going to get that 75% warning I would go to yahoo groups and select "no email" or have the messages sent to one of the other email accounts. And I watched, but most everyone was being nice and not sending a lot of really big emails and not replying to the ones that were sent. So everything went back to normal.

So we are all getting ready for the Halloween party, and some of the people are discussing what music they would like to have at the party. There's a list somewhere, but I don't really care that much about and haven't paid attention to it. But if there's a song that you really want to hear and it isn't on the list, you need to sent an MP3 file to the person in charge of the party.

One person sent an MP3 file on the listserve, and not directly to the person in charge. So that was annoying. The file was 4.5MB. I didn't say anything. I figured that someone else would talk to this person in private.

The next day this same person found a couple more songs that he wanted, so he sent another email, and this one was 9MB. So that wasn't very nice, and it might give some other people the idea that they really were supposed to send the songs to the listserve. So I sent an email complaining about it, and to be on the safe side I sent a copy to the listserve and a copy to the person sending the MP3 files. And that was a little after eight in the morning of the third day of the month. I got on with my day, and didn't check my email again for almost three hours.

The person sent three more songs, and this time the email was 13.5MB. On the third day of the month, after I had complained about the large emails in general a few months ago and about sending songs in particular earlier that morning, someone has used up 79% of my monthly bandwidth allowance. I sent another email complaining about it, and went to yahoo groups to figure out how to stop the emails. I most have gone to the wrong section the first time, cause I kept getting emails. Other people complained that this person had already been warned not to sent MP3 files on the listserve, and he complained back that he wasn't told where he was supposed to send them, and there was some back and forth about that, which I decided to stay out of. Still, I tried again to shut off the emails, and I again did it wrong and got more emails. But they were small emails, so for a while it didn't really matter. A bit later that day, I did get it all figured out and had the emails at first turned off and then sent to another email account.

But while I was getting all of this figured out, this same guy decided that his first 13.5MB file didn't go through, so at about one-thirty he sent it again. That used up 51MB of my 40MB limit of monthly bandwidth. So I can't use that email for the rest of the month unless I pay for an upgrade, which I don't want to do and don't have money for now anyway.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Making a mess

Yesterday I went to throwing class. I wish I had some comfortable coveralls, but I don't, and I don't think buying them just for this six week class is a good idea, especially with the money situation being what it is. Nor did I attempt to find a suitable apron, and I have quit trying to be less messy by wearing things made from trash bags. I've just accepted that I am going to make a mess in throwing class, and that afterwards I need to go home and change, or at least bring extra clothes to change into at school.

So after class I was going to go to a friend's new house. As I usually don't feel so good after class, I thought that I would just drop off a few things and play with the dogs for a bit and then leave. Other people were supposed to stop by later that day and do craft stuff, and I figured that if I felt better I could always come back later. But I at least wanted to drop off a few things for them to work with if I didn't feel like it later. And also, I wanted to make my first trip to the house during the day, since I was sure that I wouldn't be able to find the place at night.

So I didn't have time to clean up much after class, and I certainly didn't have time to change clothes. But since I wasn't planning to stay or see anyone except for my friend who know I was coming straight from throwing class, I didn't think that it was that important. And then I got lost for a bit, and then I ended up being at the place a little later than I thought, and then when I was invited in there were already six other people there.

Since they had already seen how I looked, it seemed silly to leave for an hour or two, change clothes, and then try to find my way back. So I stayed for a bit, and then I stayed a bit longer, and then we had dinner. So no one got to the craft stuff til maybe seven or so. And by that time it had been a long day for me, and I still didn't want to drive around in a strange place after dark, so I ended up leaving at about seven thirty or eight without doing any craft stuff at all.

But I did get rid of a box of junk, which some other people were happily making into Halloween crap when I left.

I did get two lopsided bowls done in class, which were really bad and not even very tall. If it hadn't already been the third class I probably wouldn't have kept these either. I think that all I'm going to get out of this class is that I tried it and found it that it just wasn't my thing.