09/28/06 11:29 - 55ºF - ID#22018
long time no post
(e:zobar) keeps me up to date on what y'all are doing, but I haven't been by much myself.
I am psyched for the housewarming party, though. I will definitely make it to that, although I'm letting (e:zobar) handle the official RSVP.
Did I miss anything important? :)
I've been not doing much-- new computer, lots of time spent transferring files and trying to get organized.
I chose a name for Roller derby: B-17, after the WWII-era bomber planes famous for returning home with half a wing shot out and two engines out and no tail piece and no landing gear and the navigator dead and the pilot with no legs etcetera etcetera. (WIKIPEDIA - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-17)
It is a small tribute to my not-so-inner geek that I also chose the B-17 name over any of the other famous bombers because the B-17s were primarily used for daylight, strategic raids on military and industrial targets, rather than the nighttime terror bombings of civilian population centres favored by the RAF. In plain language: they flew during the day to drop bombs on oil refineries, not at night to firebomb apartment complexes. Their role was breaking the industrial capability of the German war machine, as opposed to devastating the morale of its citizens.
(The B-29, perhaps a more famous bomber, was used to drop The Bomb on Hiroshima. It seemed tasteless to adopt that as a moniker. The B-52 likewise was an atomic bomber and that makes me a little uneasy too.)
But, I am a huge geek, and my father specialized in military history (and actually a goodly portion of his retirement thusfar has been spent writing a deeply personal account of the Vietnam War for the benefit of the surviving members of his unit, which I think he should try to publish but he thinks nobody would want to read).
I am getting a lot better at skating, although as I write this, my thigh is throbbing from a huge bruise where I fell last night for no reason.
Work continues apace: been doing more socializing with coworkers, especially the woman who shares my register who is in the middle of breaking up with her husband of 28 years and thus is often in need of pleasant distraction.
The novel is nearly done, but seems stuck in that so-close-to-done-but-not-yet phase that it's been in for EVER. I keep saying it's almost done but needs a little something, and people are starting to not believe me. But I have a goal: start sending out query letters to agents in October, so that I have it off my plate by November, which is National Novel Writing Month. Yays! I don't have a plan for what to do yet but I have a couple ideas. We'll see.
Anyhow. *waves hi* Just letting y'all know I'm still around.
Location: Buffalo, NY
08/21/06 11:54 - 63ºF - ID#22017
roller derby names
update: Nope, apparently I imported that CD as .m4a, so no Op Ivy for you! I'll think of something else by the end of this post.
We had our first closed practice of the Queen City Rollergirls yesterday morning, and I got the pads I had ordered the previous week. Up to now I've just been showing up at the open skate nights and staggering around the rink, but yesterday I put the rental skates on and suddenly I knew how to rollerskate. So I guess I'm good now. I also know how to stop, how to fall, and how to turn, which is all new learning for me. The concept of falling and not hurting myself is a new one, which I rather enjoy.
I am trying to think of a good Derby name. I guess you have to pick a nom de guerre to skate under, kind of like a pro wrestler. The US Rollergirls' Association has a drastically incomplete list of the registered derby names here:
I have to come up with one ASAP because we've decided instead of filling out nametags every practice, we should just take a white t-shirt and write our name on it in Sharpie. Sure! But I need a name first. I bought some cheap mens' undershirts to decorate, but I don't know what to write on them.
I've been posting about it in my livejournal but results have been inconclusive.
There's my full list of possibles at the moment. What do you all think? You can leave comments there without getting a livejournal. I'd love some feedback.
Location: Buffalo, NY
08/18/06 09:34 - 70ºF - ID#22016
conveyances; class warfare
I will let you all know how that goes. (e:zobar) got a pair too.
I got a popup message from (e:leetee) and don't know how to reply to it, so I'm just going to reply here.
She was curious as to why it was that I take the bus to work and spend so much time sitting around waiting for my shift to start.
(e:zobar) and I have two vehicles, but the second one is his scooter. So it breaks down a lot (most recently, the carburetor) and can't go out in the rain or the cold or the high wind or whatever. Now, I have not mastered the art of riding this thing, so only he can use it at present.
Our other vehicle is a shiny 2003 Toyota Prius which I suppose isn't new anymore. Z bought it for way too much money when he was an overpaid Jerseyite, and then became broke. At this point I've paid for about half of it. So I can drive it when I want, let's just say.
We live right near two major bus lines (the 30 and the 11). The 30 has a stop about 40 feet from our house. This bus goes to University Station and thence out to the airport via ECC and an industrial park. It drops you off right at the airport's lower level. is the map,
(pdf) is the schedule.
If you don't want to deal with airport parking, and can handle your luggage yourself, it's a good solution-- it's just that only the C goes to the airport, and so it only runs every couple of hours. It's $1.50 on boarding and another $0.25 to get off, which always amuses me (they charge you to get off!! So what if you never get off?)
Given that I start work at 2 most days, and am not allowed to be more than one (1) minute late, the 2:06 C doesn't work, so I have to take the 11:54. When I have a working laptop, it's a kind of a treat: I can go and sit with no distractions and just work on the latest bit of the novel.
But of late, I have a choice of two laptops. One's monitor doesn't work. The other's battery doesn't work. So I can either type and not see what I'm doing, or I can be tethered to the wall socket and unable to work at all on the bus. Which means lots of frustration.
Z has the option of taking the 11 to work. It leaves 20 minutes earlier than he'd like, and he has to walk two blocks to get there, but it drops him off about a block from work and picks him up again-- he has to wait 20 minutes for it, but it's usually fairly on-time. So, to get to work by his expected start time of 9:30 he has to leave the house at 8:40, and to get home after his expected end time of 5 he has to wait and usually gets home well after six.
But for me, to start at 2, I have to leave the house by 11:10, and if I miss the 8:28 home, which is a close shave, I have to wait for the 10:10 which gets me home about 11:15.
That gives me a 12-hour day to work a six-hour shift. It's kind of a bummer. If I miss the 8:28 Z usually comes to get me, because for a long time there was no 10:10.
So taking the bus sucks.
But driving sucks too. Employees used to have a designated section of the Long Term (A) Lot, from which it was possible to walk to the terminal if you were not overly burdened with luggage.
They decided in April that they could make more money selling those parking spots to passengers than employees (employees pay $20 a month to park [and my company pays mine], while customers pay more like $20/week), and so they moved us to Lot B, over on Holtz Road, which is a brisk fifteen-minute walk in good weather conditions. So now we have to take a shuttle bus. To save gas, they made the shuttles no longer run continuously. Now they only leave every 15 minutes, only they always leave 2 or 3 minutes early. I can leave my house half an hour early and still wind up five minutes late anyway. I've sprinted for that fucking shuttle and still had it pull out and leave me in the dust more times than I can count.
So driving sucks.
Also there is a lot of class resentment at work. The bartenders, and there are about 20 of us, are all, without an exception of any kind, white. We are all white. There aren't even any hispanic bartenders. No variation whatsoever. A number of us are college kids, with all that entails. And the cash office personnell, who collect our deposits and read our printouts every night, know how much money we make: our credit card tip totals are listed on the printout. Bartenders on the whole, in general, across society, are a little secretive about how much money they make. It's just crass to discuss it, and also, as we've all learned, people can get oddly resentful when they realize that the dollar here and the twenty there really can add up.
The cash office personnell are making about $8 an hour. One day I got a $70 tip on a $60 tab. (I told the story on my secret other other blog here: ) "Seventy dollars is more than I am going to make this entire shift," the cash office girl said, looking sad and tired.
"You get to wear real people clothes," I offered helpfully, mopping my brow with the dirty sleeve of my monkey suit.
So there's only a slight shroud of mystery surrounding the bartenders' income. Little mystery, much resentment.
About 70% of the cashiers and maintenance people and cooks are black, and a growing number of the rest are Puerto Rican. Buffalo is a very segregated city, and the division of jobs is likewise segregated at our company, which continually baffles me. (You don't need a degree to be a bartender, or any particular qualifications. Several cashiers have been promoted to bartenders, including one who starts next week who is herself Polish but has a Hispanic daughter. But nobody black or Hispanic has even applied, to my knowledge.) I know for a fact that the cashiers make $8-ish an hour, and the cooks don't make much more than that. The porters, who empty the garbage and do the hard dirty work, make maybe $9, but I doubt it.
There is a perception, which an HR person with poor people skills made much worse, that the bartenders are zillionaires, and think they own the world. Some of us are, indeed, very arrogant. And yes, I averaged $30/hr yesterday. [I ran my ass off, but still.]
The fact that I am running for that thirty bus, and most of the cashiers know that I have to run for that thirty bus, makes me seem like less of an arrogant bitch. They sometimes let me cut them in line to make my deposit at the end of the night, because they know if they had a bus to catch I'd let them cut me. I know about taking the bus. I am just a person. And I don't think I'm better because I make more money.
I could afford my own car. I actually have, at this moment, $5000 set aside to buy myself a car. It is just sitting there in my checking account ready for me to buy a car. But I sort of ... don't want one.
I want something with a stick shift and some cargo space, but I don't want a huge truck. And it'd be a hassle to park it at home and at work, and insurance is a hassle, and gas is expensive.
And the times when I wish we had a second car are never when I have the time to go buy one.
I wish Z would let me take the car a little more often (and this week I'm taking it every day because I'm working a different schedule), but not quite, not quite enough for me to dive into car-searching.
Actually if I had a laptop that worked my desire for a car would probably vanish entirely.
That was long. But there was a lot I was thinking of, in there.
Location: Buffalo, NY
08/11/06 11:21 - 62ºF - ID#22015
responding to comments, other
mrmike: Oh, my dad at 61 still occasionally jokes about what he's going to do when he grows up. I am well aware that people of all ages think, "I am so much older than I thought I was going to be when I Figured It All Out."
Hell, I was going to be a published novelist before twenty. (We see how well that's worked for certain Harvard freshmen. *cough*)
(e:terry): last month I ID'd a kid who was born precisely on my birthday-- month, date, year. It was freaky. I didn't really know what to say. He was kind of a tool though.
My cousin is precisely a week older than me and that's just amusing. Shit, I should send him a card.
(e:jason): I don't know how I'm going to reinstall the software when I can't even get it to start up. It does the apple face and my computer never notices it's there, so I don't know how to get anything onto (or off of) it.
(e:jenks): I am ashamed that my consumerism is that transparent, but I'd so totally love to have an excuse to get shiny new everything and not have to make do with my old shabby not-quite-working gadgets anymore.
I have plenty of money [at the moment], but I still have this ingrained thrifty habit that won't let me throw shit away unless I'm sure it's entirely worthless. Which is why I now own... three printers that don't print... among other things.
metalpeter: Yes. Everyone feels that way sometimes and you know, I'm doing a lot better with my life than a lot of people I know. At least my meaningless pay the bills job is less mentally taxing and more lucrative than a lot of people's. And I do think I'm not wasting time. But everything's just going so much more slowly than I had sort of figured on it going, and I feel like I'm missing out on some... something.
A recent observation that amused people on Livejournal was when I said that terrorists are rude and their mothers should have taught them better manners because it's just rude to try to kill people. I thought that was funny.
If anyone is traveling soon, i'd like to talk a moment about the new security restrictions.
The first thing: Everyone is coming like three hours early because they think it'll take forever to get through security because the tv keeps talking about it.
It's taking maybe ten extra minutes. So if you're three or four hours early, please don't come into the bar, order a soda, and nurse it for those three hours. Please. Even if you tip me a whole dollar on your soda, the seat you're occupying could've earned me like $20 if someone actually buying things sat there, so DON'T.
Also the fact that the place is JAM-PACKED might come into play there.
So don't bring anything really big and liquid. Chapstick seems to be getting through fine.
Another hint, which if TSA decides means I'm a terrorist you didn't hear from me: If you have something very small and liquid that you can't live without... keep it in your pocket when you go through the metal detector. They'll see it in the X-ray of your bags, but... seriously. Mascara, lip gloss, contact rewetting drops: not metal. Will not ring when you come through the detector. Will not be spotted by TSA.
If a terrorist had liquid explosives and wanted to blow up a plane, all he would have to do is put them in something that could be concealed entirely under his clothes. The new security measures Are Not Doing Jack Shit to actually prevent terrorist attacks. In fact, none of the security measures are.
Just thought I'd rain on the parade for a second. But really. The current scare's attacks were foiled by old-fashioned police work, NOT airport screening. The current screening is dumb. I should not have to work in a bar without lotion.
They make you toss your water bottles, but you can get new ones once you're across security. I know, I sell them. Can you bring those on the plane? They might ask you not to, but they can't make you not. If you put it in your bag, they won't know you have it. And even if you're holding it in your hand, they might think, well, you got it at the bar right there, there's no harm you can do.
So if you're a terrorist, you figure out what brand of water they sell in the airport. Lots easier to camoflage your shit.
Actually, if you're a terrorist, you get a job at the airport. Ain't one damn thing they can do. You need a clean ten year fingerprint record and to sit through a class to get your security badge, and once you have it you still have to go through security every time you go outside and come back in, but there are several "bypass" hallways where you can get between the, say, baggage claim area or the freight elevators, and the terminal past security, without being screened. We are watched closely enough that we can't just show up for work and then just go through those hallways (ostensibly), and they keep a record of who goes through those hallways, but if I, say, show up, put something in my locker, go through security, and then later come back via that hallway and retrieve the something from my locker... there's no possible way that TSA could screen me. There just isn't. There has to be a way to deliver, like, four hundred cases of Coke; and that way is also going to be the way to deliver, say, six handguns, or something.
The only way to stop that kind of plot is through POLICE WORK, noticing me buying the six handguns and six one-way tickets, for example.
All the screening in the world can't stop a really good plot by professional terrorists.
Only an alert police force can.
And TSA cut funding to a program to develop a good liquid-explosive sensor, because it needed money to pay the people who stand there and use the metal detector wand on two-year-olds.
I have no attention span so I cannot remember what else I was going to blog.
Location: Buffalo, NY
08/11/06 10:39 - 60ºF - ID#22014
sad sad ipod in security theatre
Got to work. I have a 2 hour wait from the time the bus gets me there until work starts. So I bring my gadgets and sit by an outlet and all is well. Right?
Plug the iPod in.
It does the black apple in the middle of the screen that it always does as it starts up.
I plug in the shitty laptop (it's Z's old one and has a half hour battery life-- if that) and start it up. Open up documents, start working. (Am very nearly finished with novel. V. exciting. Only it sucks. V. disappointing.)
Meanwhile Channel 7 is about four feet away, using the next outlet to set up their camera. Well-groomed girl in nice shirt with microphone (and jeans) is mugging for the camera while the guy adjusts things. She watches him, poses, lets him meter the light or whatever.
My iPod is still on the black apple startup screen. WTF? I force-restart it with the pause and menu buttons, and it starts again.
The woman abruptly begins speaking: something about the new TSA scare tactics I mean rules. (WIKIPEDIA - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Security_theater)She speaks briefly about what a hassle it is. Then stops. Comes over, picks up an empty coffee cup, walks over to garbage can, speaks again, throws away coffee cup.
"Did we get it?"
Cameraman looks. She comes over. They ponder a moment. Then they exchange high-fives, and they take down the camera and equipment. I wonder briefly where they parked. I had noticed another channel set up right near the escalators, with their onscreen person standing next to the sign that said NO LIQUIDS OR GELS. Where did THEY park? Are they in short-term? Tell me they didn't just stick the news van in the NO PARKING LOADING ONLY lane. I'll kill 'em myself. Pisses me off.
Channel 7 leaves. Less than 30 seconds of material, they got, in the half-hour they were there. Cutting-edge journalism. Great stuff.
My iPod is still on the black apple startup screen.
I unplug it and stick it in my bag.
When I arrive home I plug it nto my computer. Same deal for over an hour. I guess it's dead.
It is a relic from the days when Z and I were overpaid Westchesterites.
My birthday's in two weeks. Maybe I should ask him for a new one? But maybe not. Maybe I'll get a new laptop or something else instead. Both of our iPods are on their last legs. My hard drive is almost full, and both laptops that have been left to me are so busted as to be either useless or nearly so.
So it's a dilemma.
Should I get a new laptop (and maybe a deal on a new iPod at the same time), or should I get a car? I only really 'need' the laptop during my three-hour commute when I take the bus to work. I'd sort of hoped to reward myself for finishing the novel, but without a laptop, I can't make any more progress on the novel.
I'll be 27 on the 26th, by the way. Should I have a party? Should I just collapse in sorrow at the fact that I Still Haven't Done Anything With My Life?
Location: Buffalo, NY
07/26/06 11:41 - 78ºF - ID#22013
All-girl competitive amateur roller derby.
I had never heard of roller derby. Z had, apparently, and was really excited. But, he's a boy. However, his favorite thing to do is to egg people on so they do dumb things, so he's been all over this idea of me joining.
I can't skate for shit.
But everyone there was remarkably awesome.
I may have to do this.
Z's just excited because he wants an excuse to buy himself roller skates. Given that he's been looking for an excuse for over a year now, I have to admit that he's likely to be serious. Not that I tell him how to spend his money, but I do tend to roll my eyes over his propensity for buying things he winds up not using.
So, baby's getting himself a pair of roller skates. Me, I'm trying to convince myself that I need a new self-destructive hobby. How bad could it be? I already run into people for a living...
Queen City Roller Girls:
How awesome is that? Potentially, very.
Location: Buffalo, NY
07/17/06 03:38 - 86ºF - ID#22012
I had my iTunes on random (ok not totally random, but as close as I get) and this song came on. I have a lot of random bits of Billy Bragg on there, and this one is somewhat typical.
I am a member of a union, for the first time in my life. Hotel Workers' Local 4, a subsidiary of a garment worker's union based out of Rochester-- of all things.
Now, thanks to the union, I have subsidized health insurance and have a procedure to ensure that I cannot be terminated without cause, cannot have my hours changed without going through proper processes, cannot be forced to work overtime (in theory), and am paid at a base rate much higher than the federally-mandated minimum for tipped positions. (In fact, if you are curious, my base hourly rate is ten cents above minimum wage, which is almost double what most bartenders make on the clock.)
However. The union is largely useful to me simply as a deterrent. When they adjusted my schedule without my permission, the union steward only had to say, "Well, when I spoke to [the union rep] he did say that that's illegal, but I wanted to talk to you before initiating anything," to the scheduling manager and she was falling all over herself to explain.
But when they actually screwed one of my coworkers on a seniority issue and she legitimately filed a grievance, it took the union rep two months to so much as respond.
These people get seven bucks a week from me, and from every single one of my coworkers, and are they there for us if we actually have a problem?
But Buffalo's such a big pro-union town, and all through all my history classes I was always so inspired to read about the important fights the labor unions engaged in for the rights of workers...
Sigh. History classes make it so much easier to label The Good Guys vs. The Bad Guys; it's sort of painful to wonder what the history books will label us with, and what they'll simply forget.
Location: Buffalo, NY
07/09/06 10:39 - 75ºF - ID#22011
I have two candidates currently in the running.
1) Flickr. I have just posted a bunch of pictures of drunk coworkers there.
2) Photobucket. My 4th of July pics of my baby sisters visiting are posted there.
Other news is scanty, but I did just pull a ton of weeds out of the garden and plant another planting of lettuce, peas, and radishes, because why not?
Location: Buffalo, NY
07/06/06 08:39 - 59ºF - ID#22010
hold me, I'm scared
I clicked "Shut Down" and said, "Let's do something together."
He huddled himself down under the quilt and said, "I'm scared!"
So we snuggled on the couch to overcome our mutual fear of A World Where The Computer Was Off.
(Of course, all three laptops we owned were still on, but we won't get into that.)
Location: Buffalo, NY
06/26/06 10:56 - 74ºF - ID#22009
wow am i ever inadequate
So I posted a little essay wherein I said that I don't think right now is a time when I should be making a big fuss about marriage. Sure, for most people, now would be a good time, but not for me. I'm in a sort of chrysalis stage right now, working hard at a job I despise to save up money for a hopeful career transition. I'm trying to write a couple novels, get them polished, and then I hope to get them published. Once I've done that, I can then be A Writer, and Quit My Day Job, and so on and so forth.
I think I don't need the distraction of The Expected Giant Wedding at the moment. (Apart from the fact that I kind of hate weddings. Please don't tell anyone, as I have been working kinda hard at pretending that I like them, since people go to so much trouble to have them, and then invite me. But oh God they're so... gay, to pick an utterly inappropriate adjective. But really! Guh!)
So I wrote this thing, saying that I'd want to get married basically to make finances and childrearing easier, but given that I have really neither at the moment, the question of marriage is irrelevant to my life.
So I'm getting comments on it now. I sort of expected people to say that Marriage Is About So Much More, but it's pissing me off anyway. Seriously-- people need to have a ring in order to validate their relationships? And the relationship, by the way, has to be The Most Important Thing in your life? (I got a lecture about Commitment, which was nice, but I really couldn't see how the marriage license was relevant to the question of relationships. You know, Z and I have gone through tough times and worked it out too...)
Well, I mean, I'd be totally lost without Z, but, uh, I mean... jeez, I sort of have other stuff to do.
And I mentioned that he hasn't asked me, of course, and in fact has humorously avoided the issue, and so of course it became the issue I was trying to avoid. ("Well," says the commenter resignedly, "if you're going to have to bully him, then you'd best not.") And when I said that the point of the essay was to separate cultural expectation from whether I really cared or not, someone questioned whether I really didn't care, or was just telling myself that. Which is kind of the opposite of what I was going for.
So now, after having spent all that mental effort on working out precisely why it so thoroughly annoyed me when people kept bugging me about getting married (like it's my only option, like if I don't then I've just wasted the Best Years of my Life), now I feel like precisely the shit I was trying to avoid. Obviously, my relationship is worthless, and the fact that he hasn't asked me means that he never will and I'm just living in denial here and will become an embittered childless loveless thirtysomething desperate barfly trying to find a babydaddy as her biological clock ticks away.
Thanks, reasoned debate!! Obviously you LOSE to cultural expectations, and I need to go start drinking heavily and dieting so that maybe a man will want me someday. (*spontaneously develops bulimia*)
And Z's post? Thanks, buddy. Thanks. I'll just go jump off a cliff now, as per your advice.
This isn't about making choices, it's about telling expectations to fuck off.
Your support is appreciated.
edit: I am retaliating with my own Magnetic Fields journal music, "No One Will Ever Love You".
Location: Buffalo, NY
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