30 June 2008

Twirpy Twirpy Tweet.

I know that most people need to join another social networking site like they need a hole in their bucket.

I can hear a few cries from the my throng of readers. "Like hell I do," you say. And, "Oh, Crow! You did not just mix metaphors, did you?"

Yes I did and I'm not sorry.

Tonight (as with many nights), I am a having poverty of thoughts. So, instead of boring you with some poorly patched together quibble about the hilarity of my brother-in-law's introduction to English idioms, I thought I'd try to sell you on my hands down favorite social networking site, Twitter.

Like most of these social networking sites, I felt like a giant twirp when I joined. Twitter becomes more fun with each new voice from my sphere of influence. I hope you will consider joining me. It literally only takes a moment of your day to stay connected.

The premise is simple. As a user, you construct 140 character "tweets" that explain what it is you are doing. Some folks follow this to the letter of the law, while others sort of try to out-clever themselves. One of Twitter's more infamous users @Remiel provided the following tweet that I've been toting around in my pocket for weeks:

Tact is the art of deciding between "not really interested" or "really not interested."

You can also find news outlets or political candidates to keep you up to date. Here is a video in case you are still confused about what Twitter is or why it is useful.

So, what are you doing?

28 June 2008

Up in the sky.

I have a habit of looking at the ground while I walk. Someone told me this is sign of introspection. I don't know if I would verify that claim as I'm often looking at my feet as a means to not trip over something. Perhaps introspection is a more succinct and diplomatic term for overcompensation for a case of clumsiness.

I tried very hard to rid myself of this habit while I lived in DC. When I rode the Metro into town to go to work, I still had about a mile to walk from any of the nearest stations. Even passing by the same brownstones near Dupont Circle or treading up 14th Street, there was always enough local color to keep me interested day in and day out.

My Idealist temperament predisposes me to big picture thinking, so making an effort to catch the details seemed like a good idea. As I began to hone in on the details, I started to appreciate the city more. Instead of being a place that I tolerated due to my employment circumstances, the District became a place that was colored with hundreds of coexisting stories for me to wonder about while I forgot my intentions and stared at my feet.

Even so, my scope migrated from toes to knees-to-nose. It might extend to rooftops if I'm looking at houses. Rarely, if ever do I notice the sky. Except for tonight, I suppose. Because tonight I looked skyward and I noticed bats. Several of them.

I love bats. I'm so glad my neighborhood has bats to eat up all the insect that try to snack on me. I wish I could've come home home and turned on a nature show about bats, but unfortunately, OPB does not cater to my whims.

27 June 2008

Mike is totally serious.

While visiting Salt Lake City, I spent a morning visiting The Red Butte Garden at the University of Utah. The gardens are very nicely done, and were I ever to be in the vicinity again, I think it would merit another visit. However, any return trips would probably prove at least slightly less amusing, but only because Mike was in top form that day.

Mike still hadn't calmed down after the whole baggage debacle. Having lived with the guy for a big part of my life, I knew that one of two things could quickly sour the sweet smell of the Wisteria overhead. 1) He would run ahead of us and get cranky about how Mama Crow and I always get lost. Or, 2) He would get bored and the boredom would devolve into crankiness.

Luckily, Mama Crow is an expert on his habits. She landed a preemptive strike with finesse that can only come from a delicate combination of putting up with Mike's antics since the mid-1960s and regularly dealing with 1o-year-olds with behavioral issues. It was swift, it was clever, and most important to my sanity level, it got the job done:

"Mike, if you're going to hold the map, you have to be our tour guide."

"I'm not doing that!" he protests, but not 10 feet up the path, he points to an elevated sprinkler head perched over a sprawl of native plants crawling up the hill. He turns to me and says, "This is a Rainbird sprinkler head. It pops up and sprays this whole son of a bitch."

Mike took this tour guide job very seriously. He pointed out various flora with colorful new names, from Albino Bison Munch to Big Chief's Favorite Asswipe. He pointed out "turdilizer" left behind and indicated various grades of PVC pipe left exposed in an area under construction.

When we had about finished our tour, he asked if the garden had been worth the price of admission. I said something along the lines of yes, definitely and wasn't it nice to enjoy the scenery and the nice day with good company and didn't he notice that we laughed at all of his jokes. To which Mike replied, "I HAVE NOT BEEN TELLING ANY JOKES."

26 June 2008

I am a good sport.

A few weeks ago I made my way to Salt Lake City for my cousin's wedding. No, he's not a Mormon. He's a geologist. This is another good reason to live in Utah. They have lovely rocks in the vicinity.

Getting there was an ordeal and I'm placing blame on a major airline that may or may not begin with the letter D (and may or may not use SLC as a major hub). This is because they are at fault. I'm not one to point an undeserved finger, but if my opponent wants to deflect their responsibility I may be generous enough to distribute my vitriol to the entire US airline industry. Don't hate the player hate the game, right?

Let me just say: I love air travel. I love just about everything about it: from the aircraft to peering out the windows at moving geography. I'm even one of those nut jobs that loves turbulence. The only qualms I have ever had with flying have to do with airline operations, specifically as they relate to me, the consumer. This always throws a wrench in my love of flying and adds an extra dash of vinegar and pepper to my personal brand of sauce.

Most of the time, the ridiculousness of the safety demonstration allays any bitterness I feel while flying. The flight attendants always look so over it, and I'm amused by the "in case of a loss in cabin pressure," bit. As if getting a hoard of panicky people in a confined space high on pure oxygen is really going to help the situation.

I had that eerie feeling when I left the check-in counter. Everything was going too smoothly. I hadn't fallen on my face on my walk to the light rail. The MAX ticket machine didn't eat my money. I caught a train right away and made it to the airport super early. The ticket agents checked my bag and even bothered to wish me well.

I waited at the gate, before it was announced that my flight was delayed. And then it was delayed some more. And then it was finally canceled. The plane had landed elsewhere due to a mechanical failure, and everyone was instructed to go back to the ticket counter on the other side of security and haggle with the people that seemed so friendly about 45 minutes prior.

But the same people weren't at the counter. After waiting in very angry line, I ended up with a ticket agent that wanted to give me a taxi voucher and send me home for the day. You know. So I can take a flight that left at 5:50 am the next day and may or may not be canceled, too. Luckily, I was impeding on her dinner break, so she went to Splitsville by the time she got a clue that I wasn't there to compromise.

When I got to speak with a second ticketing agent, I was a lot more direct from the get go.

"Send me to Botswana or Bratislava if you have to, I'm not accepting a voucher."

She'd heard me haggle with the other lady, where I'd suggest flying via any airport I could think of that this airline or its partners might service. "Can you make it to the end of the D terminal in less than 6 minutes?"

Why yes, I could. Ten minutes later, my flight to LAX was taxiing away from the gate.

As re-routes go, this was a decent one. I've always enjoyed flying into California. There's something comfortable in the buzz of LAX, the traffic jam on the tarmac seemed a perfect parallel to the 6pm traffic on the 405 that we'd floated over on our final descent.

I finally arrived in Salt Lake City at midnight. My luggage, however, was still in Portland. It was to arrive early the next morning (probably on the 5:50 am flight I never could have made, with or without taxi vouchers). To be sure that I wouldn't go without for too long, I insisted on a verbal guarantee that my luggage would arrive before the wedding; I was assured that my bags would be hand delivered between 1oam and 2pm. Were they sure about that? Yes they were.

By the time I made it down for the continental breakfast, every wedding guest knew that my flight had been canceled and that my luggage had not arrived. Thanks, Dad. By 1:10 pm, Mike was in what might be described as a tizzy. He freaked out and called every Delta associated number he could think of once he figured out how to use my cell phone. He even bugged one of his clients, a retired Delta pilot, for advice. By 3:15, I finally told Mike to cool it, took a hasty shower and got dressed for the wedding in whatever I could scrape together.

I figured, the point was to get there, and enjoy myself at this wedding. Though not ideal, I could do this sans baggage. Thanks to this travel drama, I have been forever branded the family's good sport. I also looked very sane and very low key in contrast to Mike. My cousins, my cousin's other cousins and my new cousin-by-marriage appreciated this very much.

Oh, and about my luggage. The wedding started at 4 o'clock. The bags were delivered at 4:35.

25 June 2008

On Laziness

The other day I had a discussion about laziness. The root of the conversation was sort of twofold. First, it demonstrated that I regularly misappropriated the word "lazy" as a blanket criticism. Second, it showed that lazy was not a word that actually did not describe my inherent nature very well.

In order to define lazy, my cohort used the following scenario.

You're out sunbathing on a nice day. You're enjoying the sunshine and nothing else. The whole point of your existence in that moment is baking in the sun. You are taking a lot of pleasure in the entire experience. Then your boyfriend comes along and says, "Hey. Will you please help me wash the car?" And your reply is, "Nope. I can't. I'm too busy sunbathing." This is lazy.

Well, of course that definition does not describe me. Sunbathing is just not my thing. I am delicate flower. If I'm left out in the sun too long, I will wilt, wither and burn. I also admit that I have a really hard time chilling out long enough to just lie back to enjoy the sunshine. I mean, I'm not even allowed an engaging conversation to coincide with my Vitamin D intake? Ugh. Not my thing.

Another problem I saw with the set up is admittedly a little nit picky. Were I to have a boyfriend, I would hope he would have the smarts to avoid washing the car during peak sunbathing hours. No one needs sunspots on their Subaru.

So I was like, "Uh huh, sure," in a way that suggested that I did not totally agree with the "ergo you are not lazy" point of view.

The next day, I was lazing about with the headphones on, enjoying myself as one might enjoy sunbathing. I was listening to Abbey Road, and I was about 3/4 of the way through Sun King, when I felt my phone buzz with a new text message. I knew it was probably from Chrissy, so I figured that I'd ignore it. After all, the B side of Abbey Road is meant to be listened to sans interruption, right? I had priorities, man. If it wasn't important enough to merit an actual phone call, it wasn't worth abandoning The Beatles.

Or so I thought. I had to check the message before Mean Mr. Mustard turned into Polythene Pam. WHO'S YOUR DENTIST? NAME AND NUMBER. It demanded. Thanks, Chrissy. Like I bother to keep that information in a convenient location. "I'll do it later," I think to myself.

30 seconds later, I'm hunting for that damn phone number and calling up Chrissy with the answer. She says, "Can you just text this to me? I don't feel like writing it down." Chrissy knows I hate texting, so she eventually capitulates to digging up that post it note and a pen.

As I settled back down to Abbey Road (from the beginning, thanks to the interruption) and I realized that the sunbathing analogy had a bit of a point.

24 June 2008

Greetings from Catatonia!

Oh boy, Crowcrastination's back by special Rx! No one's more excited about this than you. Woo! Party at your computer.

So,where have I been? I found some postcards that I never bothered to send that might shed some light on the subject. I'm good at stuff like that-- writing letters and never sending them. This habit of mine makes Grandma Crow crazy, which makes me do it more. These half-written notes typically end up in a shoebox in the cabinet next to a stationary collection amassed with help from a passive-aggressive grandmother. These aren't worthy of the shoebox so I'm sharing them below.

As I drudge (and dredge) myself out of this hooha, I've been prescribed a 100+ word post once daily. By a real doctor. Who gives me candy. Delicious, salty candy for my brain! Yum.

Hi Mom! Sending you a "hello" from my retreat from reality. Everything's crap here. I've spent most of the week on the floor of my apartment, ruing our family's proclivity for longevity. My attention span's shot, so better get going. Lots of theoretical dead kittens to cry about. Hi to Dad. Love, K.

Greetings from Catatonia! If you haven't been here already, it's not worth the bother. I've been busy filling my days with a sort of emotional white noise. Everything's sort of indistinct, stagnant and gray. It's both misery-inducing and incredibly comfortable. Don't know if I'll leave. Love, k.

Hey- Been contemplating a disappearance, then realized I already sort of disappeared. Good thing. Less effort than my plans for evaporation. Spending a lot of time in the fetal position. Makes me feel arthritic, which is better than I usually feel. More detached & sad than guilty/fearful. Sans job for 5 months. Couldn't give a shit. Don't want anything. k.

Hi. The other day went for a walk & I saw a dried up slug on the sidewalk. I cried because I was jealous of his last 2 1/2 inches of slime. I tilted my head skyward and let the tears fall into my ears. It was nice to think of this sensation instead of this endless sadness. Regards, k.