Tuesday, January 30, 2007

It's Not a Lake of Fire? Get Out of Here. No, Seriously, Get Out of Here.

Sartre said that "Hell is other people.", although he could have broadened it to include their voice mail if he had lived long enough. I spent my lunch break today trying to get our pharmacy benefit manager to go ahead and ship Karen's prescription. They had it, they'd agreed to fill it, but they just couldn't seem to grasp that we wanted them to mail it to us. I also left another message for Karen's Care Coordinator at her pain clinic. After two weeks of leaving messages, we went to their office after I got off today.
By agreeing to switch to another site (and not just any other site, but one that's not a preferred provider) for the actual procedure, we were able to get a different coordinator and the procedure was scheduled on the spot. How infuriating, though, that we've been trying since before Sarah came home at Christmas to get this done.
Anyway, if hell is other people, and everyone is "other" to everybody but themselves, well, just call me Sparky*.

Unless we adopt the solipsist view and there are no other people. Can you imagine what a convention of solipsists would be like? What would they talk about? Really, it might be fun. Maybe next week we could get together in my head.

*Here's a look behind the blogging curtain: I was trying to work "spark", "infer" and "infernal" into one sentence that would be both funny and insightful. The idea was to have been that we all have a little spark of hell inside us, and I was prepared to drop "infer" and "infernal" even though I liked the way they looked next to each other. However, nothing much came, and this is really just a blog, not a novel or the emergency broadcast system so I think good enough will have to do.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Feeling Much Better Now

After that last post, I began to feel bad, of course, that I was starting to sound like one of those tiresome people that's always complaining about DPS or their meaningless life. Doing a little research on the web, though, about happiness led me to the site of the Happy D Ranch. If you can visit their site and come away sad, then apparently you missed the absurd link to peanut brittle.

So, I'm feeling better, although I do wonder about generic Zoloft since this is the bluest I've been in a while and it may be that I just feel that I've betrayed the Pfizer company. While I'm taking the generic, they're laying off hundreds of people. Coincidence?

The sermon at church today started out promising enough. Our church has been a daughter church to an older Christian Reform church here in town, but it is getting ready to become a full fledged member of the CRC on its own. The sermon this morning was about true religion and at first it seemed that we were going to discuss other denominations and explain why they were wrong and we were right, but no, not at all. Instead, the pastor said that of the 300 or so churches in Anchorage, any one of them probably would be a place to worship and find community. No, what he wanted to talk about was me, or maybe he didn't mean just me since he didn't name me or look in my direction, but still I knew he wasn't talking about Baptists or Lutherans or even Mormons who are clearly deluded, no he wanted me to be passionate about Jesus and the things that Jesus is passionate about.

So unless Jesus is passionate about snow removal or DPS errors, I've got some attitudes to adjust.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

To the Depressive, All Things are Depressing

We've had a warm spell recently. The snow on my customer's roofs is melting and some truly huge icicles are forming. Walking under their eaves, I feel like the Mailman of Damocles.

I was thinking that we need an exchange rate for petty irritations. Just as the Euro closed at 1.3 dollars (totally made up value), there should be a way to exchange a certain number of petty irritations for one towering rage. To that end, I began enumerating all my petty irritations today.
  • Double the normal volume of Delivery Point Sequenced mail (DPS is mail sorted by computer into delivery order.)
  • The fact that it wasn't in delivery order.
  • Too much snow, of course.
  • Karen's pain care coordinator who doesn't
There were more, but then I realized that some really were petty and anyway, as the song says, we're supposed to count our many blessings, name them one by one. I didn't really want to, so that made me feel bad about myself.
As Paul doesn't say in 1 Corinthians 6:12 in the KJV to me, all things are awful.

Friday, January 26, 2007

I Jumped Off the Roof

Okay, I started out mad about one thing, and ended up mad about another before I even started typing. How's that for efficiency?
I was going to talk about snow. Snow on the streets, snow on the roof, snow on the deck. I thought it would be fun to start with Bilbo telling Frodo whatever it was he told him about snow in January, but I couldn't find the quote on Amazon, and I couldn't find the book, but then I did find the book, but it wasn't the paperback and I had an ice cream bar in my hand and I didn't want to drip on the nice book, so here we are.

But even if Bilbo wasn't impressed by snow in January (or maybe he was, we can't know for sure without finding the book) we have had a lot of snow in Anchorage. So much that for only the second time since 1959 we shovelled the roof. They were forecasting rain and that could have added literally tons of weight to the tons that were already there. So I shovelled the snow off the roof. And then today I shovelled that snow again, off the deck this time. Onto the sidewalk below the deck. I think Saturday's chore is becoming clear.

In other snow news, the city is slowly digging out. So slowly that they have posted a map showing when they might be hauling snow from each neighborhood. Now it's a race. Will the city haul away the snow before it melts in April?

Oh, by the way, I did jump off the roof. Or step, really onto the snow piled on the deck.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Pretty Snarky for a Republican

I went to the doctor today. I hadn't planned to, but my GP (the P stands for peripatetic) had moved to a new clinic and I had to be seen in order to get a prescription refilled. While I was sitting in the waiting room (or a la Firesign Theater, waiting in the sitting room) the State of the Union speech began. They immediately changed channels to King of the Hill, so instead of watching the president, we had to watch a clueless Texan whose wife is smarter than he is.

When she took me back, the nurse weighed me. I hadn't weighed on Friday since Wednesday we went to Mumbo Gumbo (where we had so many biscuits that I couldn't finish. Do you know what I'm saying?! I couldn't finish all the biscuits!!). Anyway, she weighed me and I weighed 12 pounds more than I had at home a couple of weeks ago, before the biscuit event. I'm trying to remain calm, though since normally when I weigh, I'm not wearing boots, or a Carhart coat, or a PDA or cell phone or a shirt, well you get the idea. I'm pretty sure that all that stuff must weigh at least 12 pounds, maybe more.

The doctor listened to my heart. What I had felt as palpitations, he said were merely extra beats. I didn't understand why I should have extra beats and if it was a good thing, but he said, "Yeah, your heart's just enthusiastic." Ha, who's depressed now?

Sunday, January 21, 2007


I watched Who Killed the Electric Car last night. It reinforced the belief that's been growing in me that we are at the mercy of powerful, unaccountable people. For example, the man that was going to replumb my bathroom (in December!) won't be able to now until after he returns from Belize in February.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

In Case I Do Get a Superpower, I've Got the Costume

Today wasn't cold, but it was sort of chilly. Therefore, I had my hood down, but my parka was zipped all the way up to my chin. I needed a signature from one of my customers, so I knocked on the door, and went to unzip my coat to get to the form. By the time my customer reached her door, I was straining to get my zipper open, to no avail. All the embarrassment from kindergarten came flooding back when she kindly tried to help me unzip my coat. Finally we gave up, and I unzipped it from the bottom, got her signature and went on my way. After she went back in her house, I went to pull the zipper back down, and that one was stuck, too. So I finished my route wearing my parka like Superman's cape.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

As Kurt Vonnegut is my Witness

Okay, I've decided to give the whole tired Kathy Field thing a rest. For one thing, it's not like she's the only success story from East. A lot, or at least several, East alumni have gone on to rewarding meaningful significant careers.
Plus, a graduating class is really just a granfalloon as described in Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle, isn't it?
A granfalloon is a recognized grouping of people that, underneath it all, has no real meaning.
So good job, Kathy, and let's let Bob Dylan have the last word, shall we? From Tangled Up in Blue:
All the people we used to know
They're an illusion to me now.
Some are mathematicians
Some are carpenter's wives.
Don't know how it all got started,
I don't know what they're doin' with their lives.

If I Had a Super Power...

Went to bed last night filled with self-loathing and peanut butter. Woke up this morning feeling great. A good night's sleep had allowed my amazing powers of rationalization to work. Since today is Leah's birthday and we're going to Mumbo Gumbo, it was important to do a little training beforehand so I would be prepared when faced with a side of their perfect biscuits. The last thing you want to do in a restaurant is choke.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Being Conformed

Today at church the pastor asked, "What do you really want?" I couldn't help it; the first thing that popped into my head was, "An iPhone."
He went on to say that stuff in itself wasn't bad, if we were using it for God's purposes. I suppose I could call someone and tell them about God's plan of salvation.
I don't know how the sermon turned out. We had to get to Costco before the rush.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Better Living Through Living

I'm all alone; Karen is probably shopping after her stint with the Bible Club children.
I'm sort of stymied by Kay Fanning's Alaska Story. She died before writing about her titanic struggle/joint operating agreement with the Titan of Alaskan publishing, that eventually lead to the closing of Alaska's largest newspaper so the rest of the book is filled out by Alaskan luminaries' memories of her. I mean, I'm stymied, but she's dead. Anyway, this minute, with the house to myself, I don't feel like reading, TV is awfully repetitive; I really feel like just sitting and staring into space. Instead, though, I'm typing in my blog. For the last two days I've tried to think of something to write about. I've evaluated each event: gamboling moose (actually that was pretty cool), weather, the absence of any meaningful snow removal on our streets, how successful Kathy Field is and whether her family background gave her an advantage (at an age when I was being photographed with my finger up my nose, she was having dinner with Richard Nixon) why my father even would photograph me with my finger up my nose, and so on.
I know some people are accused of living vicariously through their children or celebrities and their children, but is it possible I'm living my life vicariously through my blog? How attenuated and sad that sounds.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Mission Accomplished

So for whatever reason, I'm not going to Smith College. There's an old saying (I read it on a T-shirt about 30 years ago) "If at first you don't succeed, lower your standards."
Today, with the high temperature for the day below zero, I decided my goal was to return from my route with the same nose I started with. And I did!
Maybe it's time to change the name of this blog.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

From 1840 to the End of the World, and Back

I feel remiss that I haven't mentioned Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell in this blog.
Although it has been criticized as "artsy and overwritten" it is actually "intricate and moving" if I may quote myself.
I just read Mitchell's first book, Ghostwritten. It's sort of like he was stretching his fingers and playing the scales on his computer, getting ready to write his really great novel.
That's how you know it's good, too; when someone calls it, "really great".

Singular Sensations

It would appear that the people in charge of staffing at the airlines, are not the same people that actually do the work at the airlnes. Otherwise, there would not have been just 4 people doing check-in on the Saturday night that Christmas break was ending. The line stretched around the terminal then turned and turned again and again becoming a tight spiral, finally achieving sinuglarity

A singularity is a point in space-time at which the density of matter and the gravitational field are infinite (forming a black hole). Singularities are points at which the mathematical solution to the space-time equations are undefined.

and a very critical mass, indeed. Critical, but still staying in line for the most part. It made me proud to be an American.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Vain and Bitter

Are you a glass half full kind of person, or half empty; or do you see the glass shattering and sending shards into your eyes? Maybe before it's too late, you should stop looking at glasses.

This thought was occasioned by Kay Fanning's Alaska Story that I started last night. She was the publisher of the Anchorage Daily News in the 60's and 70's. She died before finishing her memoir, but her daughter Katherine Field Stephan solicited personal stories from people who knew her well to round out the book. I attended high school with Kathy, as we knew her then. Her older brother, Ted, was there as well. In my mind today, I made a table (it was easier in my mind because I didn't have to use HTML). It looked something like this.

Kathy Me
Inducted Into Honor Society at East High Attended East High
Attended Smith CollegeDropped out of Anchorage Community College
Grew Up in Prestigious College Village Subdivision Deliver Mail in Prestigious College Village Subdivision

In my mind it was a little longer, funnier and had a pale yellow background.

Anyway, dwelling on someone else's talent and success is not particularly healthy
As the Desiderata (a poem cheesy enough to have been written by Rod Mckuen) says
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
So, just a final thought here, mostly because I can't make the block quote end without it; no, wait, that was all.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Not Very Original, but I Like It

We had a freak storm yesterday. It's going to take forever to clear the streets, what with all the two-headed calves blocking the plows.