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02/20/10 09:53 - 30ºF - ID#51053

tales from the print lab

So I just clicked on Jim's link over there, which was a horrifically-badly-designed website for a webdesign firm touting itself as "your website's cosmetic surgery team".
And I immediately flashed back to the photos I printed today, which were plastic surgery before-and-afters (and some durings). And I threw up in my mouth a little, which was extra-distressing since I just drank a bunch of absinthe. Yechh.

So yeah, we have this regular customer. He brings in a memory card and hands it to the clerk and says "one each, glossy please, four by six." And the clerk nods and drags him/herself to the back room and pops the card in and knows what's coming. Except last night, the clerk was a goddamn coward, and put it in an envelope and left it for me to do this morning.
And I saw the customer's name on the envelope, and sighed. Should I be mean, and make the new girl do it?
No, I wasn't mean. I just went ahead and did it.
99 photographs of horrid physical deformities, pre-reduction breasts, post-reconstruction breasts, tummies in need of tucking, and most awfully, some truly disturbing bedsores being reconstructed, and in-process photos of surgeries. Those have to be the most disturbing photos I regularly encounter. I have never seen so much of the underside of human skin.

Thursday I had another disturbing photo experience, but it was not so much truly disturbing as it was annoying. So we got like forty rolls of film from an educational organization. I set to work on these. Buncha grade-school kids had been given cameras and apparently nebulous assignments. Mostly they were out-of-focus shots out of bus windows, and pictures of laughing friends, and pictures of ceilings.
Two kids took pictures of flushing toilets.
One kid took a picture of his junk.
Yes he did. Out of focus, indistinct, but definitely the flies of a pair of pants and, yes, sticking out...
"Oh come ON," I yelled out loud when I realized what I was trying to adjust the brightness/contrast on.
And the I thought about it for five seconds, and was furious. I have no info on this educational organization, and don't know who these students are. The kids in the pictures are not babies, but are almost definitely under 18. So what I'm looking at right now? This is child porn.
I took the offending photograph to the acting manager. "What the hell do I do with this?" I asked.
When he stopped laughing, he also said "Oh for crying out loud." He investigated the photo. "That's totally not a penis," he said.
"It totally is!" I said.
"No," he said. "It's probably the tail of his shirt."
We went around in logical circles for a brief timespan, narrowly avoiding an uncomfortable dive into the disturbing thought of which of the two of us had more experience with penises, before I headed it off at the pass.
"The fact that we're having this debate means that it's a problem," I said. "What the hell are we supposed to do?"
Where I work is totally not a corporate kinda place. I asked the district manager once, is there anything we won't print?
Absolutely, he said. Nothing illegal. No animal cruelty. No kid porn. Nothing breaking any laws.
But regular porn, I said.
Well, he said, that's not illegal, so it's not my place to object. I may think it's totally gross, and I don't have to like it, and I suppose you don't have to look at it if it offends you, but one of us has to suck it up and do it because there's no law against it and it's not my place to judge.

But this, then, is against our admittedly very not-strict anti-corporate policy. This is totally some kid's junk. Which nobody is allowed to have a photograph of, not even him.

So we had to put the offending photo into a separate envelope with a note stating which roll it came from, and send it back addressed to the teacher of the class. What an idiot this kid is. Did he think nobody was going to notice? Who does he think develops the photos, robots? I know he probably only gave it like a second's thought because he's a kid and that's what kids do, they don't care, but it still annoyed the shit out of me.

It was pretty funny, though, because whether or not the offending object was really a penis, it was definitely not something the kid should've been proud of.
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Permalink: tales_from_the_print_lab.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY


02/18/10 11:35 - ID#51041

on the male/female debate

So I was pondering on how unfair it is that it hurts to be a woman. My cramps are better, though, so the outlook is a bit rosier at the moment, and now I'm wondering really how important it is.

Today, somewhat relatedly, I was having a discussion. It started with a discussion on aging, a story of someone who was 90 and healthy as a horse and then dropped dead from a stroke. "Wow," a coworker said, "90," as though that was an unheard-of age.
"My grandmother is 90," I said. "And not as healthy as a horse, but not imminently dying." She is slowly dying, I suppose; her osteoporosis-caused fractures (her spine is telescoping, and her sternum has fractured too) and arthritis have her in so much pain that she has to be heavily medicated, which is making her so confused she had to be put into a nursing home, and it's obvious she can't survive forever like this. A couple of years back the pain was getting to her and she said, "You know, I'm not tired of living, and mentally feel like I could just keep on keeping on, but my body's kind of falling apart and I'm a bit tired of that."
So she probably hasn't real super long for this world and I really ought to write her another letter-- I'm the world's worst correspondent, and I've tried calling her but she doesn't understand the free-long-distance aspect of cellphones and always chats you right off the phone in under three minutes-- but anyway. My point. 90 is old but it's actually pretty common in my family.
This grandmother, who we are discussing here, is a genealogist. She did a ton of research several decades back, knowing that her father came from a notable early New England family, and traced all kinds of family lineages.
The women of my family married at an average age of twenty-five. A few earlier, a lot later, many right around that age. Going back three hundred years. We have marriage data from the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth centuries. Ann Denison was born in 1616, didn't marry until 1646 (do the math! Really!) had six kids (all of whom survived infancy), was giving birth well into her forties, and died in 1712. (She outlived her husband, who was a couple of years younger than her and only made it into his eighties.)
And nobody died young. The menfolk, some of 'em got killed and some of them had health issues. But the women? If they didn't die in childbed, they routinely lived into their late 80s and early 90s.

All of which is a long roundabout way of saying that I am trying super-hard to get plenty of calcium in my diet, and I'm not just doing roller derby for lolz, I'm also trying to get a lot of weight-bearing exercise to maintain bone density. Because man, if I am going to be in this body for sixty or seventy more years, it had better be sturdy. I'll take all the time I can get because I'm so far behind I'll never catch up, but I don't want to be rolling around totally bummed out and unable to get shit done because my damn body's falling apart.

Statistics from both sides of the family hint that as a female, I'll reach 90 easy, but the males in my family? Tend to crap out in their seventies. (Well, Great-Grandpa made it to 102, but Gramps on both sides both conked out before 60, so-- averages are not favorable!)
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Permalink: on_the_male_female_debate.html
Words: 587
Location: Buffalo, NY


02/17/10 08:22 - 29ºF - ID#51032

rough week

Saturday was roller derby bout, which = 6+ hours of being at a skating rink I already spend too much time at, doing various tiring things. (I wasn't skating, so at least there wasn't any real injury potential.) Sunday I had a scrimmage / practice, and then spent a bit over an hour with my team afterward; I was gone from 9:30am until 2pm, and skated for a bit under half that. Monday I worked 9-5, and then went to roller derby practice that night to try out for the travel team squad. That practice went from 8pm until a bit after 11, and was pretty hardcore. I had trouble unwinding afterward, as I sometimes do when I skate, so I didn't get to sleep until after 2am. Then I worked Tuesday 9-5, had to run a few errands, spent the whole day nursing a pinched nerve in my neck/shoulder/back, nearly killed the new girl with my teeth, collapsed into bed for a half-hour nap, then hauled myself out the door and went to practice again.
At practice I had to cope with not only the pinched nerve but also sore muscles from the previous accumulated two days' worth of lactic acid buildup, mostly in my lower back and arms (wtf? why arms?), but a little bit in my thighs as well. (My thighs are pretty fucking diesel if I do say so for myself; I rarely have sore thighs anymore, but it does happen sometimes.) So I couldn't turn my head well at all. Then blisters began forming in my insoles, I don't know why. (I was wearing socks I've skated in many times before, so that shouldn't have happened.) And then I started feeling all kinds of pain in my abs, and my thighs started getting really weak and sore...

By the end of practice I was crying, as I was so tired and so sore and so exhausted that I couldn't understand the directions we were being given in the drills. I don't think many people noticed. It was embarrassing. We skated right up until 10:30, and then I collapsed onto the floor in the middle of the rink in the fetal position hugging my helmet and waiting for the pain to stop.
Finally I realized that my thighs were weak and my abs killing me because .... oh yeah, those are cramps. Oh right, I'm female and it's been 28 days since I last did this.
DUH.
I figure this has been happening monthly for well in excess of 50% of my life by now, and I still don't have the hang of it.
It explained a lot. I'd been feeling like a wuss, but at that realization I dragged myself off the floor, took my skates off, went home, and crawled into a nice long hot bath and took a handful of ibuprofen.

I am full of simmering resentment at the fact that it is intrinsically painful to be female. I mean really!! Isn't sexism bad enough, isn't the systematic oppression of womankind for generations bad enough? No! We must be also stricken with exceedingly painful muscle spasms monthly, for days on end, for the sheer audacity of having been born with vaginas. Bah and fie.

So anyway. Tonight I am hell-bent on getting to bed before 9pm. I need it badly, as I am horridly sleep-deprived. But I had to mobl post with a picture of the sushi we were eating at the Fuji Grill on our way home from work, because, it was awesome. Awesome and just what I needed.
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Permalink: rough_week.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY


02/17/10 06:27 - 29ºF - ID#51030 pmobl

Mmmmmm

image
sushi-- "fuji tower" roll at fuji grill on maple

perfect cure for a shitty week
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Words: 21
Location: Buffalo, NY


02/14/10 11:01 - 27ºF - ID#51017

we have an Animal

We have some sort of Animal. If it is quiet in the living room, occasionally you can hear a persistent irregular scratching noise. It's familiar to me; I grew up in an old farmhouse in the country. We had mice in the walls in the winter; in the summer they'd move back outside and do their thing. The myriad cats we had occasionally caught one or two, but mostly left them be. Mice don't hibernate; they're like squirrels and other small rodents, and hoard food that they live off during cold months, so they are active throughout the year, and even build tunnels in snow.
(Ominously, rats are also active all winter, and I saw one a couple of weeks ago, a few blocks away, as I drove home from practice one night: I glimpsed it very clearly as it skittered across the road, not hopping or jumping like a rabbit or squirrel, it was clearly a rat, probably seven inches long, with a long naked tail behind it and a running gait, not a lope. But I think a rat in our house would be much louder than this.)

So there's an Animal. I have heard it on and off for a while, but tonight Z finally heard it. His attention span is longer than mine, as are his problem-solving skills, so it is marginally more likely that he will do something about this than me. (Worth mentioning, he was also not raised as a hillbilly, so his not-minding-this-sort-of-thing instincts are likewise less-developed.)
For tonight, though, our solution has been to throw the cat up the stairs and hope that the mysterious scratching noises are why she has been so fascinated with the attic of late.
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Location: Buffalo, NY


02/13/10 10:48 - 24ºF - ID#51010

2 in 1 day!!

I have a dilemma and I need to consult the creative brains of (e:strip)pers.
I am bouting on March 7th. The team we are bouting against is possibly the funnest team in the league. (With the possible exception of my own-- we definitely have drafted a whole lotta fun in the last couple years.) Tonight they skated against another team, and for their warmup, they all wore fake adhesive moustaches.
They also have a thing where they almost always skate with underwear as outerwear. One of them skated tonight in hot pants that were metallic American Flag lam�. Which is awesome since her hind end is like a size 20, and fabulous. It's just this thing. They all wear panties with hilarious slogans.

I desperately must have the most festive underpants ever for the March 7th bout. But I am stumped. What on earth can I wear??? What on earth can top metallic American flag lam�?

So far my only idea is to embroider a moustache on the front of a pair of underpants, because I think that would be hilarious. I don't necessarily understand the moustache meme, but I love moustache rides as much as any red-blooded American woman (oh I do love them), so, it seems appropriate.
But what should I write on the back of them, in that case??

I bought a pair of red lacy ruffle panties to wear under my uniform (it is royal blue, with red and yellow in the logo), but Z pointed out, accurately, that it looked odd-- the uniform this year is a field hockey uniform, very sporty, very clean lines. Ruffle undies just look... sort of... out of place.
So what should I wear??

I don't know. I can buy something if it comes promptly, but I might have better luck making something. (Yes, I have sewed underpants before. They're not too terribly challenging, though my shape means I often have to add a drawstring because elastic is not enough to withstand the smooth curves of my chubbeh belleh in athletic motion.)

I don't know. Help me. Advise me, o (e:peeps).


oh p.s. I was totally gonna buy (e:zobar) the Google Phone for Valentine's Day even though we don't really celebrate V-Day that much but he totally beat me to it and bought it for himself. It's OK, I wouldn't have known what to do about our cellphone plans. The solution seems to be giving his old iPhone to his mom and putting her on my family plan. Well, why not, right?
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Permalink: 2_in_1_day_.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY


02/13/10 09:42 - 21ºF - ID#51008

blah

I Facebook too much. Livejournal is boring, and I blather on way too long there. All my other blogs are lapsed and inactive. I am burned-out on blogging, I think, and yet, I am completely unable to keep my online mouth shut.
Oh yes! (e:strip)! I think of you all often, and then, don't come. I apologize for that.

So I will share a recipe here, to chase away the winter blues a little bit. It's not even awful for you!! Just old-fashioned. On LJ after considerable debate we decided that the woman in the recipe's title, Blanche, is my first cousin twice removed, since her mother Esther was the sister of Mabel, whose daughter Elizabeth was my mother Christina's mother. But then... I don't know why Blanche is called "Aunt" in the title, and was introduced to me that way. Except that my mother's folks weren't so big on extended kinship reckonings.

LOL I just hit "paste" and instead of the recipe, I had a really long excerpt from a novel I'm writing in there. Have you ever played that meme? Just, wherever you are, no cheating, just hit "paste" and see what comes out. Often it's hilariously out of context.

Anyway, the promised recipe.

Women of the Rotary Apple Cake, from Aunt Blanche 1955.
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
Sift together, and rub together with 1 Tbsp butter.
Beat 1 egg well, and add to above.
Add 1 cup diced apples, and a few nuts. Spread in well-greased pie or cake tin, bake at 375 for 20 minutes.
Note: serve with whipped cream or ice cream, and can be mixed in pie plate so as not to dirty a mixing bowl.
(I made this last night just to fill up the oven, so it wouldn't be on just for one single side dish; I dirtied a fork, a pie plate, and a half-cup measure, because the knife and cutting board were already dirty from dinner prep so I only had to wash them once. It was pretty ace. I also used up some sad-looking bruised apples to make it, for bonus thrifty points. I'm sure you're supposed to peel the apples, but I didn't because I am lazy and because most of the nutrients are in the skins, and I assure you it was fine.)
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Words: 388
Location: Buffalo, NY


01/11/10 10:16 - 20ºF - ID#50798

can't stop watching

Cannot stop watching Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" on Hulu.com. Just can't stop. Am up to Episode 8 or 9-- just watched the one where he opens with "If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." His point being that we are all made of elements formed in the deaths of stars, which is fascinating to know. But the best part is that he immediately goes to cut the apple pie and serve it onto a plate, and it being a freshly-baked apple pie, it does what apple pies do: it crumbles into chunks and looks like absolute hell on the plate. Then he goes to cut the piece, not a wedge so much as a chunk, in half to illustrate his next point, and it's too chunky for the knife to go through and it cracks and crumbles and smushes into this big old mess. I found that immensely amusing, in this day and age of choreographed perfection on TV.
In an episode I watched yesterday (7, I think, which was about the problem of travel at near-light-speeds) he falls off his bicycle trying not to run into a horse and cart, to illustrate a point, but not with a whole lot of grace. I don't know why I enjoyed that so much.

What I really like about the show is that it is an extended lecture on basically a single topic: he diverges widely, and makes a number of tangential points, but he is pursuing a single thesis, and the well-written script follows the digressions with a purpose toward wrapping up said thesis. They are essays, these lectures, and it is wonderful to be so entertained and enraptured whilst following a complex and yet well-illuminated topic. Part of another episode (6?) is actually filmed excerpts of a lecture that he delivered to a classroom of sixth-graders. Fascinating, yet not condescending.

But, above all, Carl Sagan looks and sounds a lot like Kermit the Frog, and it's very soothing.

I asked Z, who is cross-stitching again, to make me a piece featuring Kermit in a Carl Sagan wig (and beige corduroy blazer) posed in front of a starscape, with the subtitle below of "billions and billions". I think that would be the sweetest thing ever. I am going to have to make it myself, though, because Z does not understand how unutterably sweet this would be.
Instead he is working on a piece about the Oregon Trail video game. Which is also sweet, but not *as* sweet.
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Location: Buffalo, NY


01/11/10 03:35 - ID#50795 pmobl

My lower leg


image
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Location: Buffalo, NY


01/07/10 12:03 - 23ºF - ID#50761

ow ow ow ow ow ow ow

I am sitting on the couch with a beer and an ice pack and a bag of Cheez-Its, which sounds relaxing, but it isn't. It isn't relaxing because I have an enormous goose-egg of a bruise on my left shin, a friction burn through tights caused by my shin's abrupt contact with a swiftly-rolling skate wheel. It is a perfect little crescendo of pain, stinging and hurting and even tingling slightly; I have tried to numb it with the ice pack but that is only making it unsettlingly unpleasant.

The things I suffer for derby. At least (e:Zobar) got me this beer before he went to bed. But I am in a lot of pain, and know I cannot really move around on my feet until this subsides a bit, so I am distressed because I just remembered it's garbage night and our shit really needs to go to the curb and the truck will be by first, first, first thing tomorrow morning, and I can't do it right now, I just can't.

It was really excruciating when it happened. I had just executed a well-timed block, holding and pushing the opposing jammer to the outside line, but there were no refs to call it, and she broke free and escaped before my pack could come help me. I teetered off-balance for a second, and then an opposing skater from the oncoming pack smacked into my upper body and knocked me over and I don't know whose wheel burned me, but it hurt real bad. The jam was whistled, coincidentally, to a stop, and I sat on the floor literally bouncing up and down because it hurt too bad to sit still. I tried to get up and couldn't, and someone asked if I was OK, and I bounced a bit and said "It's a bruise" in way too high a voice, and I got up and sat down and got up and skated a lap and it hurt hurt hurt.

So it really hurts now, and is enormously swollen and discolored. I can put weight on the leg, though, so the bone's not compromised.

This is how I suffer for the sport I love. And I have to remember that i love it, and I do love it.
I am skating in the next bout, which is on January 23rd, and I think everyone should come and see me. Thinking of how much fun I am going to have on that night is getting me through at the moment. Because it hurts too much for me to drink my beer. And that's a tragic waste.
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Permalink: ow_ow_ow_ow_ow_ow_ow.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY


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