Sunday, September 29, 2002


You may remember the saga of Red, my Siamese Fighting Fish (betta splendens) from the previous post. I isolated him in a beer pitcher with a Lovecraftian Mythos motif in order to medicate him for a mysterious white patch on his head. For those who aren't fish enthusiasts I should say that Red is utterly gorgeous, deep red, with long trailing fins edged in blue. The reason they're called "Fighting Fish" is because the males will fight to the death when kept in the same tank; they're extremely aggressive with each other, though totally passive with other species of fish. Red has had a pretty peaceful existance since coming home from the pet store, where apparently he made a name for himself by leaping out of his tank and into the one next door to get at a rival male. Here he has been utterly placid--that is, until I isolated him. On Wednesday, I was sitting here typing email and drinking coffee when I noticed Red flaring his gills and puffing himself up, just like they do when there's another male in the tank. What the hell, I thought. Then I noticed he seemed to be looking fixedly at my coffee mug, which I'd carelessly set down next to his pitcher. The mug happened to be a deep, dark red color, much like Red himself. Could it be that he was mistaking my coffee mug for another male betta? I moved the mug, and moments later he was back to normal. Replaced the mug, and he puffed up again. How neat is that? The coffee mug is easily 10 times as big as he is, and yet he was willing to kill it or die trying. What a great fish. On a more melancholy note, he also spent hours constructing a bubble nest to impress a female who is nowhere to be seen. When I added the medication (which turned the water a sickly green color) the nest got wiped out. Now he's given up.

Oh, and I didn't get the Apple job. I don't know why. It's frustrating that 14 years of retail experience can't get me even a part time job in their store. Maybe TJ remembered the fashion show after all....

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

I had my interview with Apple today; but before I write about it, I have to share the "small world, isn't it?" anecdote that made the whole thing a lot more stressful than it would have been otherwise.

Back in, oh, last October or so, we had an "incident" at the Game Preserve, which required me to write a formal letter of apology to the manager of The Gap across the hall. The details are far too sordid for Blogger, but it involved one of our teenage male customers, a fashion show, and an escalator. ANYWAY, so I wrote this letter after being told that T.J., the manager of the Gap, was so incensed by our customer's disruptive behavior that he was demanding Game Preserve heads on platters. I assumed things had been smoothed over, though, as I left the letter at the Gap for T.J. and never heard another thing about it.

So I get an email from Apple preparing me for my interview, and it mentions that the name of the manager of the new Apple store in the mall is....hmmm....T.J., now that's a familiar name, I wonder....Oh. Shit.

I went in expecting him to say, "I see here you worked for those Game Preserve a-holes. Don't I know you?" and that'd be the end of it. But as it was, he apparently either never got the letter, was never really that mad, or just has an amazingly short memory. He was totally oblivious to the connection. Whew! Interview went fine, should hear in a few days.

My other excitement for the day involved Red, my Siamese Fighting Fish. He needs medication, and I decided to take him out of the tank so the other fish wouldn't have to get medicated too. I set up a large pitcher ("Whateley's Brew Haus: Dark Ales for Dark Times") in the only place I could find where the cats wouldn't molest him (computer desk) and then netted him out of the tank. While carrying him over to the pitcher he flipped around in the net, and BLOOSH! A whole handful of water landed in the keyboard. So my IM with Jane at the time went something like this:

ME: So how's your houseguest working out?

JANE: Fine actually, we watched football.(long pause)

ME: a dfysdtf Z %^X%%$%$$ $$$$$^&*****

Two hours later, the keyboard had recovered with the aid of mom, a screwdriver, and a hairdryer. Now Red is paddling irritably around in the pitcher, giving me hostile looks as I type.

Monday, September 23, 2002

I think it's a measure of party success that it's nearly 3 in the afternoon and I am still recovering from yesterday's festivities! Not because I am hung over (only slightly, and since I was my usual moderate self I blame it on dehydration from not having drunk anything else AFTER the beer) but because so many people came and brought so much food that I am still struggling to put away the leftovers (literally and metaphorically.) Final head count was around 20, I think. Special awards go to Mara and David, who apparently bought out an entire grocery before coming; to Kristen, who thought to bring s'mores fixings; and to Natalie and Max, the first two children ever to visit my home who did NOT manage to injure themselves in some way! I'm amazed at their powers of self-restraint. Also Max thought my stuffed animals were cool.

The bread saga: the wheat beer bread was not bad, but definately denser than its counterpart. And much paler, which may account for the dark loaf having been almost totally consumed while the light one is still more than half there. More leftovers for me! Whee!

Sunday, September 22, 2002


Beer bread is good. Wheat beer is good. Therefore, beer bread made with wheat beer should be good, right?

Let's just say that that extra bit of gluten in the wheat beer made what's usually a sticky, unmanagable batter into a self-aware entity with the strength of ten thousand men. I'm actually making two loaves of beer bread for my cookout today; one with a new wheat beer I bought at Kahn's, and one with my classic Goose Island Hex Nut Brown Ale. We shall see which one emerges victorious, but I have my suspicions that the former may be close to inedible. And after promises that the rainy weather was over til at least Tuesday, today is gloomy, overcast, 60 degrees, with a good chance of showers in the afternoon. My house will not physically hold the 25 or so people who have been invited to show up. Solution? Pull the lawnmowers out of the garage, pull the Mustang out of the garage, flip Stephen's pool table right side up, and voila! A space for food, fun, and games! If you don't mind the spiders. Hmmm. Perhaps I should go sweep the place out a bit.

Friday, September 20, 2002

It lives!

I always thought I had a reasonably high constitution; at least since about age 12 I don't get colds very often, and most of my lost productivity in the last two decades has been due either to clumsy injury or sheer laziness. But perhaps because I'm not out serving the buying public 50 hours a week these days, I seem to have become suddenly succeptable to a whole host of viral invasions in the last two weeks. I had an awful cold last week, and just when I thought it was over, this week I had a stomach thing so unexpectedly violent that I seem to have pulled a muscle in my abdomen. All this has not really been conducive to accomplishing housework lately.

Then this morning, I woke up and it was raining. To you, this may mean nothing, but to me it was like a dream come true.... Not only has it not rained significantly here for over a month, leaving my lawn crunchy and pale and my perennials miserable, but I am a rain junkie. I love listening to rain. I love the way it sounds, the way it smells, the distant rumble of thunder... and I haven't gotten the pleasure of waking up to rain more than once or twice this whole summer. It's been awful, I tell you! I was so happy I stayed in bed for a whole extra hour just enjoying it. BUT..... one person's bliss is another's misery. That wonderful rain of the a.m. hours turned into a storm of biblical proportions, and ushered in a huge-ass tornado which ripped its way across the south side of Indianapolis (as well as the outlying cities of Martinsville, Pendleton, Anderson, etc etc.) Cars flipped in the Greenwood Mall parking lot, not half a mile from the store where I used to work. I called to make sure Brian wasn't dead, and was told that they got to see the tornado go by up US 31, and the Wendy's where Keely and I used to go on break had the front ripped off it. Sheesh.

Monday, September 16, 2002

Remember that first posting back in August, where I was trying to decide whether to be depressed about the Apple Store job, or happy about the pretty flowers?

Friday I got a call (at what I thought was a pretty unreasonable hour of the morning, but then again I tend to be unreasonable later and later these days) from a guy at Apple Computer, wanting to schedule a phone interview with me for a sales position at the aforementioned store. We scheduled it for a more reasonable hour, later in the day, and the short story is, I now have a face-to-face interview set up for a week from tomorrow. So I might yet get a job with Apple. It may be part or full time, don't know yet. And while it's a step back to retail, I can accept that if I view it as temporary and if I'm selling stuff I enjoy playing with. But the best part is, the store's going to be in the SAME DAMN MALL where I spent 10 years working for the Game Preserve! Free pizza from Rudy at Enzo's....Cribbage with Dave and Jason on break time....hideously expensive coffee at Starbucks--no, wait. Nice locally owned coffee bought on the way in from Monon Coffee Company!

And on the flower end of the picture, I'm planning on ordering stuff from Burpee today. Lillies of the Valley and Bleeding Hearts. I'm assured they love shade. They better, that's all I can say.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Note: while the time signature on this posting is September 12, I would like to emphasize again that it is still September 11 here in Indiana; I promised myself I'd update this today, and I did, no matter what Blogger says.

I didn't do anything special today. I'd thought that I should spend this September 11 doing essentially what I did last September 11: I sat around and felt sad, I fed the ducks in the canal, and I went and had a beer with my friends. I did not watch television. Those, to me, were all far more personally meaningful exercises than any kind of memorial service, or group therapy, or whatever else the media had planned for today.

But as it turned out, the only consistency was the lack of TV. There was a duck on the canal, but she swam off while I was getting bread. (Last year there was a whole family of mallards living right across from me, but this year it's wood ducks and they're far shyer and disinclined to eat stale baked goods. So no hard feelings.) No beer; I was running Runequest for the southside gang tonight, and it was a blast as usual, but by the time it was over it was too late for beer. And I wasn't sad, because little good things happened today, and life goes on, you know?

What were the little good things, you ask? Well, I heard back from the zoo, and I didn't get the job. Of course, that's not in itself good, I wanted that job! But the woman who interviewed me told me something I didn't expect, which was that I'd been a major contender for the job (!) and they had seriously considered me (!!) and that they may have another opening of a similar position in December, and they'd definately consider looking at me again if it does (!!!). So I guess I did have slightly more chance than a monkey at getting that job. It made me feel good to hear it, even if nothing comes of it. Then I heard from Lynn Willis at Chaosium (publishers of Call of Cthulhu RPG) saying yes, they were interested in my book proposal I sent them 2 months ago, and they'd also be up for having me do some map drawing work for them as well. And THEN I heard back from the car dealership saying they could fix my Mustang, and it was only going to cost me $550.

Ok, so that last one wasn't really good.

Sunday, September 08, 2002

Well, yesterday I wrote an informative and amusing account of my substitute teaching gig. Then Blogger ate it.


After I returned to my normal human form, I decided it wasn't all that amusing, anyhow. I showed movies, I gave out tests, I made some of the kids laugh and that's always a good thing. So guess I am good to go there, anxiety attack over. I think they may even call me back! And on the home front, I may get a private tutoring job this week. Thank you,!

For those of you keeping score, this is the last week during which I can maintain even a slight fantasy that I might get the cool job at the zoo I interviewed for in August. They said they'd fill it in a month; it's been 3 1/2 weeks. (If I hadn't told you about it already, basically it's an excessively cool job that I would absolutely love having, only I am totally unqualified for it.) Hmm, am I getting job-obsessed?

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Tomarrow, I do my first honest day's work in over 3 months.

Yes, tomarrow I substitute teach. For the first time in about 8 years, I will stand up in front of a class of high schoolers and implore them to not draw blood on one another for 40 minutes. It's at the local Jesuit prep school, so it's not exactly like I expect them to be armed to the teeth of course. But still, I can feel the tension slowly building in my brain. By tonight, I'll be unable to sleep soundly; in the morning, I'll wake up panicky at 5 am, dress and re-dress myself at the apex of the anxiety attack, be unable to eat a full breakfast, and therefore be wolfishly starving well before noon. All because of a buncha kids!

I'm not really sure why I'm so nerved up. Probably something to do with not having worked in a while, and something to do with not having subbed in a while....and something to do with wondering if my whole life is turning in a direction I don't really want it to turn. But I don't really have anyplace else to go, at the moment! And I really do enjoy teaching. So, introspective to the end, off I go! Look out kids, the physics sub is a little whacko...

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Natto, I am informed by reliable sources, is fermented (read: rotting) soybeans. And even the Japanese hate it. This explains why both the Iron Chef and the Challenger seemed to concentrating on covering up, rather than enhancing, the natural flavor of natto.

In other thrilling news, my front porch is finally fully painted. And this after only 14 months! Look out world, she's on a roll! Actually, since my parents offered to help me finish it, I can't even take credit for overcoming my own inertia. But at least it's done, except for the front door which I can't paint until I find something that'll take the sticky goo from a bad weatherstripping job off the door edge. Thanks, mom and dad! Now I just need to put all the furniture back where it belongs....ergh....

Sunday, September 01, 2002

I think I must be getting old.

I know I say that all the time, but honestly, the last couple days I'm thinking I might actually mean it! I went to the Ohio Renaissance festival yesterday with Stephen, Francie, Chris, and Heather, and it was just amazing--a truly awesome renfair! And yet, what did I spend most of the day doing? Choose from the following:

A) Dancing around the Maypole in a bar wench costume
B) Purchasing mighty weapons of steel for slaying enemies I don't actually have
C) Winning the golden arrow in an archery tournament, or
D) Whining, "It's hot. I'm hot. Can we sit down? I'm thirsty. Jesus, it's hot."

I mean, really! Not that I was likely to have done any of those first three things either, mind you, but I was such a total wuss! And then, when I got home, all I could do was fall over on the couch and watch Iron Chef (Natto Battle. What the hell is Natto? It looked like Soy Krispies Treats) and then go to bed, unable to wake up fully again until 9 this morning. Pitiful.