One Hundred Percent Standard Deviations

Everything is very open with a very clear clarification of the challenges.

-the latest #SpamCompliment. It was attached to my Days All Strange and Vague post, which made me laugh harder than I probably should have.

I still haven’t finished the sweater. Or started watching American Gods.

I’m still doing 50 hour weeks, and the week before school let out for the summer, I had a surprise week-long business trip to Texas. Surprise! But that trip worked out for the best in some ways I can even talk about. I found a pair of cowboy boots that fit me1, a pair of sturdier dress shoes3, and I got to see Wonder Woman in 3D IMAX glory without having to wait for it to go digital. It was a lot better than I expected it would be. There were consequences. A fair number of characters had an approximation of agency. And thank whomever, things still blew up. I was mostly worried that all the explosions would be in the trailer, and the rest of it would involve a lot of standing around and sighing about man’s inhumanity to man while looking wistfully into the distance.4

I finished my Goodreads challenge six months early, thanks to a book I had to read for work.5 I’m still not sure how I feel about that.

I’m also behind in one of my classes, somewhat ironically, since it’s because of ten pagesish of writing, while I’ve produced a few hundred or so for work since my last post. However, I finished another class last week, so I — in theory — should be able to catch up.  In theory.  The Summer Camp Shenanigans start next week, so I will be spending a lot of time in the car, and becoming very good friends with the laptop I’m still not 100% sold on, despite having had it for a year.


1Which were legitimately necessary, since all I’d packed were sandals for the plane ride, dress shoes for work, and workout shoes for ridiculous ambition2, none of which would have fared well during my unexpected opportunity to go out on location to visit one of our video shoots.

2Which wasn’t so ridiculous: I kept myself on Eastern Time for the trip, and by doing so, had enough time to get in a couple of morning workouts. Workouts now make me feel better.  That is so deeply wrong in a way I can’t … yeah.

3Texas is definitely hard on shoes. On day two, I cracked something inside my right dress shoe that made the whole thing shimmy when I walked like it was going to break in half. Fortunately, I found a Dillard’s. I hate shoe shopping (that I have wide feet doesn’t help), but I can always find something in a Dillard’s shoe department. Always. Fortunately for me, Dillard’s isn’t convenient to where I live now.

4Sadly, there wasn’t enough Etta Candy. I felt like most of her arc was chopped in order to save time. I’d love to see one of her descendants turn up in a fixer role for Diana in the modern era movies. Oh, maybe Leslie Jones playing a disgruntled US Air Force Intelligence officer turned hacker/security specialist?

5The survey claimed my Strength Themes are 1) Restorative, 2) Strategic, 3) Learner, 4) Achiever, and 5) Individualization.   The MBTI also keeps claiming I’m INTP.  I haven’t yet found an assessment that’s come back with “She’s odd, but mostly harmless.”

Ninety Percent Thresholds

I still haven’t finished the sweater. To be honest, I haven’t worked on it at all. I was going to during the last two episodes of The Expanse, but I was so fried when I watched them that I didn’t need anything to do with my hands. American Gods debuted recently, so maybe I’ll get the sweater done when I get around to watching the episodes.

If that doesn’t work out, there’s always hope that it’ll happen during Suits or Killjoys — assuming I manage to watch the new seasons when they come on. To be honest, it’s rare that I watch more than one season of a series, and not unusual that I stop watching one right before it gets to a season ending cliffhanger. Pretty sure that would have happened with Season One of House of Cards if @bhoneydew and I hadn’t just binged it one weekend while we were sick.

I haven’t seen any episodes after that, even though I enjoyed House of Cards very much. I just can’t get myself in the right frame of mind to invest the time.

I’m still not sure what’s happening with my Goodreads reading challenge. Despite everything that’s going on1, I’m still way ahead of the curve. If I succeed in my devious Mother’s Day plan to read all day (after I finish my homework) and not look at anything work-related, I may even finish it!

1I’ve been working 50-hourish weeks for the past three weeks, while juggling my night class, Momming and this weird new peace with eating right and working out. Sadly, the good sleep habit I’ve been trying to cultivate did go right out the window — notice when I’m working on this? — but I’ve been cranky about that instead of just resigned2 so there’s hope for me yet.

2I haven’t been working on any creative projects. Seriously, the time I’d ordinarily put to that, I’ve been trying to put toward household foo. It’s not that I’m avoiding creative projects, it’s just that the household foo needs to be dealt with. It’ll get better. Eventually.

Eighty Percent Chance of Getting Stuff Done

Today at work, I followed up with someone I exchanged email with on Friday, and suddenly they no longer exist. As of the end of March.

I’m about 80% sure I didn’t make this person up, so it was surprising.

-Me, @shainorton, five days ago.

I’ve been busy.  This quite possibly surprises you not at all.

I haven’t yet finished the sweater.  I did finish:

    • another book (The Book of Etta, Meg Elison’s sequel to The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, making two more books that I have read recently that are actually recent, who hoo!).
    • multiple homework assignments and a midterm.
    • my gigantic pile of transcripts evaluated for another academic program, which, assuming I can fit everything into the schedule, I should finish in a year and change.
    • a large work project (in very little time), and multiple smaller work projects (in less time)
    • a work transition, but I’m more than eighty percent certain that work has not yet finished its side of the transition.1
    • transferring my cell phone to another phone and another carrier, like I’ve been putting off for over half a year now.
    • a blog post.  This one. In twenty-five minutes, as planned.  YAY!

1This doesn’t bother me; I’ve yet to have a job or even a gig where things didn’t change. There have even been a couple of occasions where they changed on my very first day. I started an engineering internship once, and got swapped into a human resources administrator role before I could put my lunch into the break room fridge. My first analyst job for a government contractor saw me pivoted into corporate business development on Day One — I never set foot on the site of the client I was initially hired for during my entire time with that company.2,3

2I’ve been told there’s a disconnect between reading my resume and talking to me. Can’t count for you how many times people have told me “You’re not what I expected.” I’m never sure how to take that. Are they smiling because they’re delighted or because they’re worried that if they upset me I’m going to manifest some hidden superpowers that involve, oh, wide area disintegration?

3“Why didn’t you say no, Shai? Don’t you care about what you do for a living?” Frankly, no, as long as the money’s good, the scenery changes, and they let me use explosive — er, no, I mean to say if my paychecks clear, I get to solve problems, and it doesn’t require me to make someone else coffee. See, I have a problem making coffee before I’ve had coffee. Sometimes, it’s not even coffee, more hot water tinted brown from whatever residue was left in the coffee maker after I cleaned out the old grounds and failed to replace them with fresh. Or it’s water on top of a thick layer of sludge because I scooped the grounds into the coffee pot instead of the machine. Don’t get me started on what can happen when I have to use a Keurig in the morning…

Throw

No spam commentary this week: all the fake comments I’ve gotten since my last post were all straightforward pitches for the male enhancement supplements I apparently need to be taking. Guess I’m just not a convincing female, despite this pesky c-section scar.

Happy Monday. I’ve been trying to post things on Mondays, to throw something together and stick it up on the blog in twenty-fiveish minutes or so, reckoning that getting what I can say said within that time period is preferable to something I’ve crafted from the finest syllables and polished to within an inch of its life, because you will likely never see that, and if you do, it won’t be within the next ten years.1

Trying, yep. And failing, but in a happy way: I’ve been getting decent amounts of sleep, and balancing work with the spring school schedule (mine and the Monster’s) and the ongoing domestic shenanigans in a way that’s more like, well, balance and less like throwing plates into an overhead cabinet while hoping I’m the only one that’ll ever open that door after it’s shut. I’m continuing my twenty-five minutes of morning reading-stuff-just-because-I-want-to2, my twice-a-week gym workouts, my once-a-week bread therapy, and once I finish the remaining sleeve4, I will have crocheted my first sweater. I’ve also resumed chasing the Monster during his cross country runs, which I’m still certain might be scaring the local wildlife.

Writing? It’s also happening. The piece I submitted in February was rejected, which made me very happy, because it was one of those things that should have gotten lost in an electronic file purge.

And that’s pretty much all I can talk about right now. At least it’s not laundry!


1This is assuming I wouldn’t trash it during one of my every five years or so electronic file purges, because nothing’s safe or sacred when I get on one of those tears. During the last one, I got rid of a journal that I’d compiled out of hand written ones that I’d kept off and on for two decades.

2I just finished Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy (which I still conflate with my favorite Björk song). In ways, her stories were awkwardly familiar. While I haven’t ever put on a costume to infiltrate a band of koalas, I did stay up for an entire week once to do a research project on Lucky Charms. Not for money. Not for a marketing class (never taken one). I don’t even like the cereal. I had the idea stuck in my head that General Mills had increased the frequency rate of new marshmallow introductions as Nickelodeon had gained market share, and I wanted to prove I wasn’t crazy. Yes, I know that was asking a lot from breakfast cereal, but at least it wasn’t poetry.3

3I don’t mourn the loss of my old journal. It wasn’t something I would have wanted to share with the world, even if I’d known there was a market for batshit.

4The idea of making a sweater has daunted me for years. I start with the “make a swatch to check your gauge” step each time, fail that each time, try it again, fail it again, and throw everything into the closet for another year, rinse, lather, repeat, WhyCan’tIGetThisRight?, et cetera. This time, I skipped the gauge swatch step, and just tackled the project as something to do while I finally got around to watching Suits while waiting for this season of The Expanse. I don’t watch much television. When I do, I like to have something to work on that makes me feel like I’m not completely wasting my time while parked on my butt, but my habit of blindered focus on story-based entertainment means that I don’t have much attention span to spare for that which is making me feel like I’m not completely wasting my time while parked on my butt. So, I’m getting a sweater made by ignoring it while I’m in the process of making it. Yep. I’ll post a picture when it’s done.

To be clear, I’ll be posting a picture of the sweater, not my c-section scar.

The Masque of the Waffler

I just wanted to send you a quick message here instead of calling you.
– latest #spamcommentary

Huh. I didn’t think I had posted a telephone number on my blog, but thanks for the heads-up, mystery spammer who keeps introducing yourself with a different name each time. Not that there’s anything wrong with … hey, I get that. There have been times in my online life when I had so many different names that I’d sometimes forget who I was.1

Each day since I’ve started this latest creative project — a revisit of a novella I wrote last year before my brain completely blew its transaxle — I’ve dreaded spending time on it. Not that the writing isn’t happening, despite the dread.  Not that I’ve gotten it to the point where I want to print it out and set it on fire or throw it into a folder to age. I’ve gotten more to the point where painting the rest of the rooms in this house seems like a fun way to spend my free time. Notice where I said that the writing is still happening?  Yes, it’s still happening. Maybe that’s why the mental penguins are trying another tactic to mess with me.

You’ll probably laugh, but, uhm, I’m figitated that I’ll finish this thing, send it off to my target market, and it’ll be liked right up to the point Marketing Googles me and decides that I’m not a good promotional fit, then (assuming I’m even told this) I’ll need to have a conversation with myself about going through the whole rigamarole of creating yet another online persona, one which I’ll need to invest enough of my life into in order for it to seem like a living breathing person.

The prospect of not being a good fit at first glance isn’t what bugs me. I’m used to that.2  This is all about my brain getting pre-tired considering the effort of making a workaround for it.  Yes, even though the problem doesn’t exist, and may never exist.3

I’ll get over it. Or I won’t, and I’ll turn the project into something my own name can go on without causing dread. Er, at least without causing me dread.


1Briefly. Not usually disastrously, but there were uncomfortable exceptions.

2You could even say I was born that way. Mom’s spelling my first name like she did set me up for a lifetime of hijinky first impressions.

3This is not new. I have workarounds for lots of other things that haven’t come to pass and may never. Admittedly, most of these are potential move related. For example, I maintain a sketchy base familiarity with the public school systems in a handful of target geographical areas, so that just in case we do find ourselves moving, I can get up to speed quickly.

On This Side

I turned in the project, as I promised myself. I didn’t notice until afterwards that I’d submitted it on the first anniversary of Mom’s death.

Not that I forgot, good grief, no, I just didn’t notice while I was submitting it, in the same sense that I always remember that there’s laundry to be done, but I sometimes don’t notice that there are clean clothes in the dryer that need to be put away first.

I didn’t do anything dramatic like pick up the phone to tell her and remember she wasn’t alive to tell. Honestly, Mom was the last person I wanted to talk to about such things. I got good at dealing with her stumbling across the ones I didn’t hide as well as most, because they were all at a temporal remove where I could shrug them off as meaning little to me, yep, no big deal, nothing to worry about, let’s talk about your day.

There’s a why behind that, but it’s a long story that I don’t intend to tell. It’d be too one-sided now.

Days All Strange and Vague

I think the admin of this web page is genuinely working hard in favor of his website, for the reason that here every material is quality based information.

-latest #spamcommentary

You know, that’s hardly the first time I’ve been mistaken for a guy, even by someone who claims to have read something I’ve written.

But, I’m not a dude, dude.  I’m also really working hard in favor of this website (honestly, most days I’m of mixed mind about having a social media presence at all). I’m also not trying to meet any quality standards beyond “be vague enough to keep my family and work and self happy”.

Speaking of vague, I’m on track to submit the January non-work project this week, despite family and work shenanigans.  Once it’s officially out the door, I’ll treat myself to a cupcake1 and then figure out what’s next.

This morning I noticed I was already halfway through the year’s Goodreads Challenge. No kidding, I’m kind of wondering who I am and what I’ve done with Shai.


1Which will be cleverly disguised as a subscription to Apex Magazine.