Monthly Archives: October 2008

Blogarithms

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This won’t be too long, cuz I’m tired (you’ll see why, shortly), but I’m feeling like I ought to write at least a little something, because I just lectured a crowded room about the importance of maintaining one’s blog regularly. I lectured the same crowd about not maintaining a boring blog.

“No one wants to hear the details of your day,” I explained.

Here are the details of my day:

7:15 or so a.m.: I woke up following a fierce battle of wills with the alarm clock. My natural inclination toward sloth, combined with the chilly air, the comfy blankie, and the purring kitties, was making a keen argument in favor of staying in bed all day. The alarm clock kept interrupting me, though. Normally I can endure the alarm, because I have it set to a classical station, instead of that godawful alarm-clock blare. Unfortunately this turned out to be the first day of the station’s biannual pledge drive. I finally decided it would be better to get up than to listen to radio announcers asking for my money.

8:30 a.m.: “Hmm,” I said. “It’s only another ten and a half hours till I give my presentation this evening. I should really, really get to work on that.” So I promptly plunged into a project that had nothing, whatsoever, to do with the evening’s looming presentation.

Couldn’t help myself. I have just the week started to recatalog the library’s graphic novels, and already I am allowing everything else to suffer. I’m sorry, but none of my other library duties are anywhere near as fun.

The very sad thing is, I’m not joking about this.

See, ever since grad school, graphic novels have been of professional, scholarly, and personal interest to me. I like reading them. I like writing about them. And God help me, I like helping people find them.

The Dewey Decimal system, of which I am no big fan, calls for graphic novels to be shelved in 741.5. In other words, they’re all hidden away in the middle of nonfiction somewhere.

Seems a lot more sensible to shelve them someplace more accessible. And, hooray! We’re moving them from their hiding spot to a high-traffic area. But it’s more than that: we’re changing the spine labels so that they don’t say 741.5. Now the call numbers will indicate that the books are graphic fiction or graphic nonfiction, and furthermore-this is the really exciting part-they’ll indicate the title and/or series and/or main character.

Do you see how cool this is? All of the Batman books will now live next to each other, no matter who wrote them, or illustrated them, or lettered them, or whatever.

Long story short, the graphic novels will now be far more browsable. No fancy catalog searching will be required to find a particular book.

Recataloging a few thousand books is going to take some time, though, which is why I’m champing at the bit to work on them-that, and I’m just excited about the project.

This is my lame excuse for procrastinating on the evening’s presentation, along with the state library conference.

12:00: The conference was held in town this year, so it only took me a few minutes to get over there. I talked with vendors. I attended some sessions. Then I talked with Daisy.

Daisy is a pig, at the conference along with her owner, a guy who, apparently, drives Daisy to hospitals, convalescent homes, libraries, and places like that, for the purpose of… y’know, I’m not really sure what Daisy does. I suppose I should have asked questions, but I was too busy cooing at my new friend.

Daisy is a black pig of stately proportions. She is black, and bristly, and from what I could tell, she spends all her time sleeping. She’s sort of like my cat Bubby, only huge.

It was love at first sight. And second sight. And third sight. I kept finding excuses to go back and pet her, to the point where the owner began to greet me by name every time I wandered over.

I also saw several former coworkers, along with one former classmate. It was a bit startling to realize that he knew how I’d been doing, on account of his reading this blog here.

“Really? You read my blog?”

“Yeah, sometimes,” he said. “Though mainly the parts I remember have to do with lingerie.”

Ah. So perhaps there’s a reason NOT to blog about one’s bra troubles, after all. It’s rather a shock to realize that my grad school classmate, in all likelihood, knows my bra size.

“Er,” I said, trying, and failing, not to blush. “Guess that’s the part that sticks out.”

At which point the former classmate guffawed. And then… yeah, about a second after that, I realized what I’d said.

Fortunately, I was able to gracefully excuse myself, on account of needing to prepare for the evening’s presentation. Good thing I hadn’t finished it earlier, huh?

5:30: “Okay, I really, REALLY need to finish preparing for the presentation that begins at seven.”

5:32: “Man, I could go for some coffee.”

5:45: “Argh, look at all this conference crap! May as well sort through this junk, see what I can recycle.”

5:51, or thereabouts: I started really digging in to preparing for the presentation. The topic was to be on blogs, and how to maintain them.

6:57: Saved presentation to thumb drive.

6:58: Printed handout.

6:59: Made copies of handout.

7:00: Cool as a cucumber, strolled down to the meeting room.

8:35: Finally wrapped up what was supposed to be an hour-long presentation. The audience members were great, really interested in the topic. They asked a ton of good questions, so the hour’s worth of material I had prepared turned into a discussion that could have gone all night. A few folks did leave around 8:00, but most stayed till the end.

9:00: Returned to conference site, to claim my glass of wine (free with conference registration! Yay!). Snooped around for vendors. Here’s the thing, with conferences: You’ve got to get chummy with a salesperson. It is to your benefit. Trust me on this. Flirt a little with an exhibitor, and you won’t have to pay for drinks all evening.

9:04: Found no exhibitors; therefore determined conference to have been a waste of time.

9:05: Returned home.

11:16: Ran out of things to say.

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Things Fall Apart

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As far as triumphant returns go, this one probably won’t go down in the history books. John Travolta, reviving a fading career with Pulp Fiction? That was impressive. Aragorn, returning to the throne in the nick of time to save Middle Earth? That was impressive. Odysseus, cruising back into town after a decade of fighting monsters? That was impressive, at least once folks heard what he’d been up to, fighting monsters and Sirens and such. Plus I think there was some confusion over Odysseus’ identity. Only his dog recognized him, if I recall.

Me, blogging again after a few months’ silence? Might not have the same dramatic impact. For one thing, there have been no Cyclops sightings around here. The reasons for my absence do not involve the slaying of mythical beasts.

Still though, I’ve got a decent excuse, if you want to hear it. Makes for a good story—a sad, miserable, multiple-hankie story, but if you’re looking for epic drama, I’ve got a decent offering.

So back in May I met a guy. He stumbled across this here blog, dropped me an email, and started a relationship—not that we realized that right away, of course. He lived in Canada, mind, but distance doesn’t make a lot of difference when both parties are good writers. Between emails, chats, and reallllllly long webcam conversations, he and I wandered into the land of internet dating.

Best relationship of my life, folks.

Maybe someday, if anyone’s interested, I’ll talk about it. Right now I won’t, because it still hurts too much, though it means the narrative is going to suffer. If I were telling the story properly, I’d offer evidence as to why this was the most satisfying relationship I’d ever enjoyed, instead of making you take it on faith.

Eh. Sorry.

So things were swimming along, despite being three time zones and two countries apart. And then he invites me up to visit—not just for any old reason, but to be his guest at the wedding of his best friend.

“You sure?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said.

“You really, really sure?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said.

I purchased my plane ticket for $642. Three weeks later, he dumps me.

Well, hello, Debilitating Depression! Long time no see!

That’s why I haven’t been writing. I’m depressed.

A little background here: Near as I can figure, I’ve always been depressed. I think I was born with it. I live with depression every day. Years ago, when I was diagnosed with depression, I was actually surprised; it had never occurred to me that my default state of being was unhealthy. I had figured that’s what everyone’s mental state was like.

Before you ask: I’ve tried counseling. I’ve tried prescription drugs. None of it works for me. Sucks, but that’s the way of it. I’ve learned to manage from day to day. Haven’t had much choice in the matter, see?

But there’s chronic, daily depression, and then again there’s Big Nasty Invasive depression. That’s where I am now, and it isn’t pretty.

Let’s turn this into a Top Ten list, shall we? Lists are fun.

Top Ten Reasons Jessica is Severely Depressed

1. My plane ticket. I can’t sell it. I can’t get my money back. I have two options: I can sit by and watch that $642 slide right down the drain. Or, for a fee of $180, I can redeem my credit with the airline… which would be okay, I guess, but then what would I do with it? Fly someplace and sleep on the streets? Where, exactly, am I supposed to find the money to finance a vacation?

2. Speaking of money, I don’t have enough of it. I have a master’s degree in my chosen profession, but it’s not paying the bills. I’m paying back student loans (to pay for the master’s degree in my chosen profession; this is what we call “irony”), I’m paying rent, I’m paying for gas and food, and I’m being a total tightwad about everything else, but it’s still not cutting it.

3. No, really, I’m being a total tightwad. You won’t find me eating out, not anymore. And I’ve stopped going to yoga.

4. Yes. You heard me. I’ve stopped going to yoga. I can’t afford it. Plus I’m too grumpy to want to be around other people.

5. Doesn’t help that I had to buy new tires. $527 or so, that was.

5.a. I’d sell my car, if I could, but public transportation around here sucks. I wouldn’t be able to and from work. The closer library, yeah, I could walk to that one, but not the further library.

6. None of my bras fit. What with my recent weight loss (which still finds me as single as ever), I am left with four bras that don’t fit ($86 a pop, those were) and zero bras that do fit. I would get new bras, but the manufacturer stopped making that style. (Which is why I had stocked up on bras, d’you see?) Mail-order attempts to find a new bra that fits have failed.

7. I’m really quite tired of living here. The weather is too hot and I don’t fit in. Having recently done a fair bit of research about moving to Canada, I’ve decided that I would like to move to that country, despite its being home to one very unpleasant citizen who, by rights, should send me a check for six hundred and forty-two dollars American. But because I don’t have any money, I am stuck here—a realization that only serves to mire me further in depression.

8. I stare at a computer all day. Then, when I get home, I stare at a computer all night. This is affecting my vision, rapidly. The new lenses I got back in February need to be replaced already. The headaches that accompany my eyestrain only sweeten the deal. But my insurance only covers one eye visit per year.

9. Why do I stare at a computer when I get home? Well, for one thing, there’s the chapter I’m working on. It was due on October 1st. Well, it was due on September 1st, but I got an extension. Missed that second deadline, too. My sterling record of always getting things done on time has shattered.

9.a. But don’t worry, I’ll finish it soon. I simply have to, because I can’t get started on my book revisions till I get the chapter out of the way. Remember the book I’m working on? The horrible awful project whose existence I have cursed into oblivion? My curses are remarkably ineffective, because the manuscript has NOT taken up residence in oblivion. It has instead settled itself firmly in the front of my psyche, reminding me, nonstop, that final revisions are due on the first of December.

10. Which, okay, is not very fun to think about, but should be doable, right? With weekends and evenings, I should be able to pull off the chapter and the book, provided I can muster the energy and spirit to work on them. Except that I have just signed away my free time. I’ve decided to take a second job.

Well, it’s really more of a third job. First job is at the library, second job involves writing professional articles (and chapters, and books), and now I’ve taken a third job because the first two together don’t pay the bills. I’ll be working at a used bookstore in town.

Totally sucks that I have to take on yet more employment, but on the bright side, I won’t be flipping burgers. I’ll be working with books. I figure I’m qualified.

So there we have it, a perfectly miserable Jessica. I’m depressed. I’m withdrawn, moreso than usual I mean, and I’ve found myself prone to irrational anger. I’m struggling to get through each day. I am profoundly unhappy, and I have no energy or enthusiasm—though, to my credit, I am faking it well enough at work. (There’s a very good reason for this. Losing my job on top of everything else would just compound problems.) I recuperate by going home and doing as little as humanly possible.

11. (I am taking liberties with the word “ten” in my “Top Ten” list, sorry about that). You’ll have noticed, I’m single again. There’s generally how I am, but this time it’s different. Before, I didn’t know what I was missing. Now I know what it’s like to date
someone who makes me happy.

To be sure, the person in this case totally screwed me over. “You got fucked without getting kissed,” to paraphrase a sympathetic listener. Regardless, for a brief while, I started to see what the big deal is all about, what with relationships and all.

Enough with this Happy Single Woman schtick. It rankles my independent pride to admit to this, but yeah, it’s NICE to be in a good relationship. It’s preferable. Being alone and unloved sucks.

Being alone and unloved seems to be the natural order of the universe, unfortunately, and that’s what’s really got me down, more than everything else I’ve kvetched about here. Grown adult I may be, but I’m still the kid who gets picked last for the team.

Wretched, painfully single, broke, overworked and underpaid, stressed, poor vision (but with new tires!), wearing bras the don’t fit, irritable, weepy, sad, and with a plane ticket to nowhere—that’s me these days. But hey, I’m blogging again. If morbid curiosity compels you to read more of this misery, check back sometime next week.