Tag Archives: blah blah blah

Talk less, smile more

Listening to the Hamilton soundtrack on my walk this evening, I was struck again by Burr’s advice to talk less and smile more. It reminds me of advice given to me, mostly by men: show a pleasant face and keep your thoughts to yourself, go along to get along. It looks like there’s a fair amount of analysis of this line online, based on a simple word search. It’s mostly from a leadership perspective, but I’d be interested in reading a feminist analysis of the lyrics. Frankly, I know a lot of women who are absolutely finished with being told to smile more.

~~~

Stepdad had surgery over the weekend and seems to be recovering. Because of coronavirus concerns, he was not discharged to a nursing home or assisted living facility, which is what normally would happen, and is instead at home with visiting PT and health aids. It’s not ideal, he’s still very weak.

~~~

I want a vacation. I don’t even need to go anywhere. I just want to not be responsible for answering peoples’ questions for a few days. The whole working from home thing is not ideal for me. A lot of my colleagues are angling already for expanded telework in the future, but I very much miss the separation between work and home life. One colleague mentioned a tentative plan to drive to FL to stay with a friend and telework from there because she doesn’t want to spend a winter quarantined here. That’s…further into the future than I’m willing to plan on teleworking at this point.

Leave a comment

Filed under miscellanea

Something has stuck!

Colleague mentioned reading Hillbilly Elegy, which reminded me I bought a copy a long time ago.  Dug out my copy and am now into Chapter 3.  It’s not fun reading, but it is very engaging.

Watched the first episode of Nadiya’s Time to Eat on Netflix.  Nadiya is one of my very favorite bakers from GBBO, and I’m kind of interested in both the types of meals she cooks and how she works on a much more produced show.  The egg tortilla wraps looked delicious and like something I can (and will) make.

I’m procrastinating.  We put off doing performance reviews while shifting from fiscal year to calendar year reviews, and then did all the paperwork, followed by a glitch in the HR system tracking it all.  Re-did everything, then quarantine.  We delayed the face to face part thinking we’d be back at the office shortly.  But it’s May now, so we have to do it by phone or video, so.  Anyway, I need to prep for my reviews next week.  One person asked for help with a problem (of his own making), and I need to ask another to be more transparent about his workload and bandwidth.  Instead I just watched the replay of the 2010 men’s hockey gold medal game.  Crosby looks like an infant…then I remember this game was pre-concussion(s), pre-broken/rebuilt jaw.  o_o

Random:  The (armed) protests of the stay at home orders feel like they are revealing another subset of people who are Too Stupid and Selfish to Live.  On a personal level, I get it, they want life to be normal again.  But do they really need that non-essential thing more than the people who do that work need their health and well-being?  I mean, my roots are very visible, my self-pedicure is poor, I miss eating out, and I hate wearing a mask when I leave my home.  I’ll be happy to patronize the usual local businesses, operated and/or staffed mostly by women, often women of color, when (if?) they reopen.  But waving self-serving, exaggerated signs because some turnip-brain equates stay at home with prison is a crock.

ETA:  I looked at the HGTV Smart Home special online.  I’m kind of perplexed by some of the design.  A lot of the art is…not to my taste to put it mildly.  Which, whatever, it’s not like it’s my house.  And if it suddenly became my house, the bulk of the art would have to go.  Beyond that, I’m perplexed by some of the space/usage choices.  It doesn’t look like there is a bathroom or any running water in the lower level, which is where the family room and an outside space are, which seems like poor planning.  And there is no space that would be useful (as currently furnished or configured) as a home office space.  The study has two chaise lounges and no desk.  The game room has no desk space.  The master has no desk space.   I love the kitchen, dining room, and master bath (all minus art) though.

2 Comments

Filed under miscellanea

Week 8 of staying in place

This week was the 8th week of working from home.  I am incredibly fortunate that I can work from home.  I know this.  But I’m still ready to not have to do it any longer.  Even so,  when the SIP is lifted eventually, I probably still can’t go back to the old, regular schedule.  Public transportation seems like a bad idea, and there’s not enough parking (or roadway) for everyone who normally uses public transportation to suddenly start driving in and parking.  Plus there’s the whole question of whether it would be a good idea for 2,000+ people to be in the building.  How do you do social distancing when half the staff works in cubicles or open/shared workspace? Do you have meetings in conference rooms?  Continue to webex?

I ordered an anti-fatigue mat several weeks ago for my work space.  The table height matches a bar stool or my standing height, and I prefer to stand, but standing for eight or nine hours was making my back ache.  Anyway, the mat finally arrived and I can already feel the difference at the end of the day.

My vacation in February feels like a very long time ago.  But an article in NatGeo refreshed my memory.  Three of the photos are of places I know/visited/recognized immediately.  I hope to make it back there again someday, when travel is possible once again.

Still not reading anything new.  I just don’t have the mental bandwidth; when I try to read something new, it doesn’t sink in and I wind up re-reading pages over again.

Watched the first episodes of Belgravia.  I’m hoping to hear the opinions of my colleagues who are Downton fans about it.  It seemed fine, a costume drama with social class and money issues set early in the reign of Victoria.

Diablo Donuts, which closed in mid-March, is reopening.  Pre-order pickups only, Friday-Sunday, with all booked/sold by Wednesday evening.  I ordered two Captain Chesapeakes for pickup tomorrow morning.  😀  It’s silly to be excited about doughnuts, but that’s where I am at this point.

3 Comments

Filed under miscellanea

Checking in again

I’m trying to recall if anything interesting or unusual happened this week.  And blanking.  We’re still getting hammered at work; most of the division is less busy due to the situation but my office’s work is up measurably.

Enjoyed a virtual happy hour via House Party app.

Feels like I did a lot of dishes this week.  Mainly because I have been cooking something for lunch and dinner most days: grilled cheese, burgers, reheating the soup/chili/pasta that I make on the weekend for consumption the rest of the week.

Due to weather, I stayed inside for two days this past week, which really isn’t good for me.  If it rains next week, I’m breaking out the waterproof boots, because I can’t do that again.

Starbucks re-opened in my neighborhood for carryout only, with limited hours.  I’m a little worried about it being premature.  My favorite independent doughnut place, which has been closed since maybe March 9th or so, is reopening for pre-ordered carryout next Friday.  I miss their Captain Chesapeake doughnut, but hope they aren’t hurrying back too soon.

I’ve been playing through Frank Turner’s discography this week as I walk.  I like something from each of his albums, but the only two* I listen all the way through without skipping any tracks at all are England Keep My Bones and No Man’s Land.  The next one closest is Tape Deck Heart, which I love dearly, but I can’t listen to “Broken Piano” on that album, the key makes me twitch.  (It’s the only song I’ve ever heard FT play live that the live performance didn’t win me over; nope, don’t like it live or recorded.)  Listening to Be More Kind leaves me feeling ambivalent:  I love “21st Century Survival Blues”, which seems apropos right now, but the admonishment to be more kind in the face of the assholery that is our political climate right now (the 2016 elections in the US/UK and Brexit were the genesis of the album) feels a lot like a random guy telling me I should smile, it’ll make me prettier/less intimidating.

*Last Minutes and Lost Evenings doesn’t count – although I listen to it from end to end, it’s a compilation.  I have the albums that are its source material and tend to skip around on them.  It feels like cheating to ignore that I didn’t like their original album placement in favor of the compilation in this context.

2 Comments

Filed under miscellanea

Blah blah blah – books and Marvel

The year in reading is going fairly well in comparison to last year.  Sixteen books and novellas read (compared to 27 total last year).  The reading is up in part because of the January furlough: I had time to do things like go to the gym everyday, and cook a lot from scratch, and find things to do that were free since I was being frugal.

Favorites:  Knife Children, a novella by Lois McMaster Bujold, and City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty.

Disappointments:  The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie (could not bear the second person POV) and Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs (political/policy reasons as well as irritation with narrative choices).

Honorable mentions: Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone.

~~~

SPOILERS for ENDGAME

I’m not huge Marvel Comics Universe fan.  I’ve never really been able to get into comics or graphic novels, although there are a couple of series that I’ve tried and liked.  But the whole Avengers/Captain America thing?  Eh.  I’ve seen maybe a quarter of the whole series, none of the Iron Man, Spiderman, Antman, etc.  Have seen various trailers and clips of the different Captain America movies.  Caught a couple of episodes of SHIELD and Agent Carter (which I really liked, go, Peggy Carter).  Movie-wise, I’ve seen the first Avengers movie, Black Panther (excellent), Infinity War (meh), Captain Marvel (which I LOVED), and now Endgame.  I don’t really have opinions about most of the wrap up of storylines, but I have to say I found the Steve Rogers wrap up disappointing.  Not because I expected him and Bucky to ride off into the sunset together, or because I dislike Peggy as the romantic love of Steve’s life.  The disappointment stems from the complete lack of agency Peggy had, and the erasure of Bucky’s importance to Steve.  Bucky was his childhood BFF, whom he apparently broke laws to rescue; they had one scene together and almost no dialog before Steve does the thing. Peggy had zero lines and was literally the reward Steve gave himself. Their relevance as independent characters was reduced to nothing.  I get that there was a lot to fit into the finale, but that’s shoddy character-handling.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book related, movies, Read or seen

Setting

How important is setting?  That seems like a foolish question, since setting is a basic element of storytelling.  But I have been thinking about it in the context of how well readers/viewers know the setting in question.  Years ago Nora Roberts* set a book in the Little Italy neighborhood of Baltimore.  And she got the neighborhood community feel down but the housing market, floor plan of row houses, and sidewalk/parking situation wrong.  They sound like little things but were important elements to the story, so being not quite right jarred me right out of the story.

Re-watching the first episode of Queer as Folk (US) this weekend, the theoretical setting was just so obviously NOT where it was filmed that I wondered if Pittsburghers who watched the series were as jarred as I was by the not-quite-right Baltimore in NR’s book.  Literally, as one building came into view, I thought to myself, oh, they are in Toronto — it was the Gooderham Building on Front Street.  Beyond that, the geography/topography is just not right.  Back when I first watched any of QaF, I’d visited PGH briefly once and had never been to Toronto, so I didn’t notice the location.  Since then I’ve been to Toronto once for WCoH and to Pittsburgh a number of times, which is what made it painfully apparent that they were not filming in PGH.

Does it matter that much?  I don’t know, maybe viewers don’t care, since the economics of film/television production means that things are seldom filmed in the locations they purport to represent in the final product.  But I’m interested to see if there is any attempt at more

*It feels like I’ve picked on NR in the last couple of posts, and I don’t mean to.  But that book and the housing it described was just NOT accurate.  (I wrote an entire post about it at the time, many books ago at this point.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book related

2016 – year in review

Reading:

I read 33 books or novellas in 2016; that doesn’t count the books I picked up and put back down or returned to the library unread or unfinished, since I may circle back to some of those at some point.  The two best fiction reads were Lois McMaster Bujold’s Penric novellas. Best nonfiction was Rebecca Traister’s All the Single Ladies.  Biggest disappointment was Bujold’s Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen.

Also, I read an excellent original hockey fic on AO3. I really like the writer’s voice and style…but the typos and punctuation abuse make my brain hurt.

I started Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine on 12/31 but have not finished it yet; I think it’ll be one of my favorite reads when it comes time to tally up 2017.

Watched:

  • Fox’s Pitch series (please be renewed?)
  • The Crown
  • GBBO
  • Star Wars (mostly liked it, love General Organa)
  • Jason Bourne (meh)
  • Ghostbusters (loved it)
  • Star Trek (meh)
  • Love & Friendship (loved it)

Theater, Museums, Music:

  • Jan 9 – The Critic and the Real Inspector
  • March 5 – Othello
  • March 26 – 1984
  • May 21 – The Taming of the Shrew
  • Oct 29 – Romeo and Juliet
  • Dec 3 – The Secret Garden
  • The Menil
  • The National Aviary
  • Fort Pitt Museum
  • The Andy Warhol Museum
  • The Frick – the carriages and cars in the garage are amazing, as is the house
  • The Heinz History Center, multiple visits – Toys Exhibit, Pixburgh exhibit, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, glass industry.  The exhibit on slavery is excellent and awful.  As a white person, it was ugly and shame-inducing to walk through.  I cannot imagine how painful it would be for a POC, or even tell whether it would be cathartic or just rage-inducing.
  • ROM (loved the Chihuly exhibit)
  • Casa Loma
  • Bata Shoe Museum
  • AGO
  • Textile Museum
  • Gardiner Museum of Ceramics (loved)
  • Smithsonian National Gallery of Art
  • Garth Brooks & Tricia Yearwood concert (wow, not much music this year)

Sports:

Okay, this category, now that I look at it, is a little excessive.  Sorry, not sorry.  Also, I’m sure I went to at least one more baseball game, but I can’t find the ticket stub or a note on my planner, so.

  • Feb 22 – Coyotes @ Caps
  • Feb 27 – Jets @ Penguins
  • March 11-14 – Indian Wells for the BNP Paribas tournament, love this venue.
  • March 18 – Predators @ Caps
  • March 28 – Blue Jackets @ Caps
  • April 7 – Penguins @ Caps (makeup game for blizzard), WIN!
  • April 16 – Game 2 of the 1st round of the playoffs – NYR @ Penguins, loss
  • April 23 – Game 5 of the 1st round – NYR @Penguins, won the series
  • April 28 – Game 1 of the 2nd round – Penguins @ Caps, lost in OT.
  • May 4 – Game 4 of the 2nd round – Caps @ Penguins (OT win!)
  • May 13 – Game 1 of the ECF – TBL @ Penguins – ouch, lost, Letang got boarded (and knocked out) right in front of me.  It was ugly.
  • June 1 – Game 2 of the SCF – Sharks & Penguins, OT win.  The Goal (actually all the goals) was right in front of me!
  • June 5 – NYY @ Orioles
  • Sept 14 – pre-tournament SWE-EUR
  • Sept 17-29 – World Cup of Hockey tournament; 16 games.  So. Much. Hockey.
  • October 15 – Ducks @ Penguins (win!)
  • Nov 8 – Sharks @ Caps (Sharks win!)
  • Nov 16 – Penguins @ Caps (ugly, ugly loss)
  • Nov 19 – Penguins @ Buffalo (SO loss, man, Flower was so good in the 3rd and OT).
  • Nov 20 – NWHL Pride @ Beauts (posted thoughts/opinions about this over on tumblr)
  • Dec 30 – Three Rivers Classic (consolation game and championship game)
  • Dec 31 – Canadiens at Penguins (OT win!)

Travel:

  • Houston
  • Pittsburgh
  • Buffalo
  • Beach
  • Toronto

Goals/plans for 2017:

  • Drop the Caps tickets, use the money to visit other teams’ arenas
  • Go to at least two more NWHL games this season
  • Go to either Italy, Portugal, or Spain on vacation (in February, maybe?)
  • Read 40 books
  • Make myself post more regularly
  • Find a tutor or conversational group to refresh/relearn the Russian I’ve mostly forgotten

Leave a comment

Filed under miscellanea, movies, Read or seen, travel