Thursday, October 31, 2002
Just in time for the scarey festivities, the Evil Clown Generator! Thanks to Sean for the link.
I'm not one of those people who has any delusion that the world is a nice place. In fact, whenever someone has newly discovered something horrible that goes on here, I feel kind of like "Aww, aren't they cute, just figuring out how much the world sucks." But still, every now and again something strikes me, slapping me in the face with the cold water of reality and haunting me for ages to come.
In the Social Marketing class I'm taking this semester (that's also kind of my forte, so to speak...) our big project is to prepare a plan to market Coordinated School Health Programs to school superintendants; focusing on the implementation of healthy, nutritious lunch programs and nutrition education for students. We just got back some results of our secondary research, which consisted primarily of surveys we sent out from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Dept. of Education (who we're doing the project for).
I knew it was going to be a daunting task at best, especially with the meager budget we were allotted. But nearly all the surveys we got back said the same kinds of things: "yes, our lunches suck, there's not enough time to eat them, we have no health education program....but we don't have the money or personnel to accomplish these things..."
And so they don't. The budget's been stretched to the breaking point, and what little there is goes to try and improve MCAS scores. My plan of attack is to focus on how those scores would/will increase when you get some good food into these kids.
I think the project pretty much rocks. But one survey has kept me up the two nights since we got them back. In answer to an open-ended question about the quality of the school lunches, the school's principal wrote in: "Our lunches are extremely poor quality. The meat is dried out and resembles hockey pucks, and everything is frozen and poorly reheated. They do NOT taste good AT ALL. But, the children at this school are hungry. They eat it all anyway."
Jesus. The magnitude of the problem hits you there. The district is too poor to fund a decent lunch program, its citizens are too poor to feed their children. What kind of chance do these kids have for a "normal" (relatively speaking) life? How the hell am I ever, ever going to make even the smallest dent in problems like these?
Some days, I swear, I want to just throw up my hands in despair at the freaking BIGNESS of all the problems I tackle in this field. I want to just give up and work for some big, evil corporation and live like an ostrich, my neck stylishly wrapped in a Burberry scarf.
But I can't. I just can't. I would toss and turn at night, haunted by images of those kids hungrily wolfing down their hockey puck lunches and wishing they had a bagel like the one I'm cramming in my mouth right now....
Wednesday, October 30, 2002
Well, second favorite. But "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot would make for an awfully long blog, wouldn't it?
somewhere i have never traveled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near
your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully,mysteriously)her first rose
or if your wish be to close me,i and
my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with this colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing
(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands
As I may have mentioned before, one of my main duties at work involves entering responses to questionnaires (that our "members" have filled out regarding accidents they've been in) into the system. Hey, not all of them can be like the mooning lawnmower incident. But, I find myself chortling guiltily nearly every day. I'm convinced I'm going straight to hell for laughing at the ways in which people have injured themselves.
For your amusement, here's a few of my newest favorites:
1. How did the accident happen? Accidentally ignited self on fire.
2. How did the accident happen? Tripped over a dog.
Do you intend to file a claim against the responsible party? No. Responsible party is a dog.
3. How did the accident happen? Ate peanut butter.
4. How did the accident happen? Slipped at a gas station.
Do you intend to file a claim against the responsible party? No. I would get little money from me, and it's not like anyone at the gas station pushed me or anything.
People! You gotta love 'em!
Monday, October 28, 2002
I'm also wicked guilty of assuming that all web users (and, well, everyone else, too...) are just like me--sharing the same opinions and preferences. I mean c'mon now, isn't anyone who's NOT like me just misguided? This can be a pretty bad trait when you're kind of a marketing-type person, and kind of have to be able to relate to audiences completely different from yourself. Hey, thanks for pointing it out, Steve!
Saturday, October 26, 2002
1. Rain = sleep in, get up around lunch time and eat something, turn on tv and fall asleep watching Halloween III, wake up two hours later realizing you have work to do and can't sleep anymore, fall asleep.
2. Laundry necessitates too much work. if i have to go to the bank for $$$ then to the grocery for detergent, then sort the clothes then go sit in an overly-warm room becoming mezmerized by the spinning clothes and then walk back to the apartment in the rain and put it all away, all the while still agonizing over the fun things i could have bought with that $12, maybe it's just not worth it.
3. roommates whose parents are visiting are not pleasant people.
i'm going back to sleep now.
Friday, October 25, 2002
Interesting stuff I learned in my Public Health class last night:
1. 500,000 trees ( ! ) could be saved annually if everyone recycled their Sunday newspapers.
2. (This is the doozy!) One million pounds of waste each year was eliminated. Know how? McDonald's began producing thinner straws.
Yeah. I'm freaking speechless over that one.
Thursday, October 24, 2002
A little dirty, a little ashamed, and strangely, smugly satisfied. :)
...To Sean, who sent me this link to Krispy Kreme's site to demonstrate that YES, they do have more than one variety of donut. It's all because of that that I found myself at Dunkin Donuts, powerless against the charms of an ooey, gooey chocolate cruller.
I never eat donuts.
But this one is gooo-oood.
Wednesday, October 23, 2002
It was a wonderfully crisp autumn day, the air thick with anticipation for the upcoming winter and holidays; the trees gleaming like a thousand forsythia bushes dipped in alzarin crimson paint. As is practically the law on such days when you're half of a "couple", we set out for some leaf-peeping/pumpkin-gettin'.
Sean had a farm in mind for the pumpkins--and what a farm it was! Piles and piles of nature's bounty--from pumpkins to apples to various phallic gourds--dotted the landscape. There were cute barnyard animals roaming about, and cute young families towing red wagons full of their Halloween booty. We smiled and set about on our quest. At the center of the autumn landscape was the main attraction--a giant pile of pumpkins soaring above the horizon like some kind of wonderful orange craggy peak. A sign warned away would-be alpine explorers with a simple message: "DO NOT CLIMB ON PUMPKIN PILE".
Now, to Sean's credit, he's never been one to obey the rules foisted on him by society. As a burgeoning anarchist, he chooses instead to make his own rules, basing them on his own sense of what is right and wrong. However, there are a few rules even Sean can't flagrantly disobey--those of "gravity"and "physics".
In silently noting that yes, others were climbing Mt. Pumpkin, Sean apparently failed to note that they were all around the age of 7, and thus much smaller than he. Spying a pumpkin that caught his eye, he began negotiating the hills and valleys of the pile, leaving me to stand guard over the pumpkins we had selected thus far. I stood quietly, taking in the autumn eye-candy that surrounded me; until my little reverie was interrupted by a horrid "CRRR-AAAACK!!!" Some asshole must be too big for the wooden pallets, I mused; and went back to my sight-seeing. I didn't even look up until I heard the unmistakable "Whoa-ooooh" that could only mean one of two things: either someone was singing an eighties new wave tune or Sean was the aforementioned "asshole".
Yup. It was the latter. Sean does everything gracefully, and this was no exception. First, his foot crashed through the wooden pallet. Next, his arms fluttered like a butterfly's in a desperate attempt to stay upright. Finding that to be impossible, he swung out his legs and flipped around in a kind of slow-motion ballet until he at last came to rest on the closest pile of pumpkins. A passerby came rushing over to help, but it was far from the end of the show. The pile of pumpkins refused to hold him, instead thrusting him downward to a lower pumpkin pile. This continued; along with the butterfly arms and leg ballet manuvers, until the lowest level of pumpkindom was reached. Finally, he came to rest in a gentle heap on the moist, brown earth. Pumpkins rained down around him in an avalanche of orange.
I was torn. On one hand, I was concerned. Was he Ok? Was he injured? It had been a perilous fall....
On the other hand, I was laughing uncontrollably. I think I choked out the words "Are you Ok, honey?" before dissolving into more peals of laughter.
He was Ok.
It was the funniest f**cking thing I've ever seen, I swear. I'm laughing just thinking about it.
Here's to you, Sean!
Oh, and strangely enough, all the pumpkins survived. :)!
Sunday, October 20, 2002
ME: "Hi, I'm Amanda; and I'll be taking care of you tonight. Can I get you guys something to drink? One of our freshly brewed beers, or a soda?"
Patron of 'Wallaby's Brewpub': "Err, no, I'd like a pop."
ME: "Clearly you are a freaking moron. Can you not grasp that 'soda' is a different word for the carbonated beverage you refer to as 'pop'? I will bring you a soda, but I will fill it with ice and too much syrup to punish you for your insubordination in questioning my linguistics."
Hence, I had no choice but to almost immediately switch over to "pop". Now that I'm back on the east coast, people look at me quizzically if I say "pop". I still do, though. And I have a friend from Pittsburgh who has switched to saying "soda" now that she's lived in Boston for 5 or so years; and she informed me that her peeps back home say "ooh, aren't WE all hoighty-toity!" if she says 'soda' instead of 'pop'.
Soda. Pop. Tonic. Coke. Just gimme a damn water! Can't we all just get along?
Oh, and yeah; I was listening to that Jewel CD at work on Friday. :)
Saturday, October 19, 2002
Friday, October 18, 2002
Near You Always
Please don't say I love you,
those words touch me much too deeply
they make my core tremble
I don't think you realize the power you have over me
And please don't come so close
It just makes me want to make you near me always
Please don't kiss me so sweet
it makes me crave a thousand kisses to follow
And please don't touch me like that
it makes every other embrace seem pale and shallow
Please don't look at me like that
It just makes me want to make you near me always
BRIDGE: Please don't send me flowers
they only whisper the sweet things you'd say
Don't try to understand me
your hands already know too much anyway
It just makes me want to make you near me always
And when you look into my eyes
please know my heart is in your hands
It's nothing that I understand, but when I'm in your arms
you have complete power over me
So be gentle if you please 'cause
You hands are in my hair, but my heart is in your teeth
And it makes me want to make you near me always.
from Pieces of You
One of the many "cultural differences" between Boston and other areas in which I've been fortunate enough to live is the little differences in everyday speech patterns, from pronunciation to word usage. For instance, Sean has very little if any discernable "Boston accent", but still just says some things differently from me. Along the same lines, I have very little if any discernable accent, but say things like "ya'll" and "pop".
So, I thought for the benefit of people potentially unfamiliar with these contrasts, I'd provide a brief listing of words and the different ways Sean; or any generic Bostonian, and I choose to pronounce them. Which is "correct"? You be the judge.
1. Florida: Sean: "Flar-I-Dah" Amanda: "Flore-DUH"
2. Orange: Sean: "Ohr-ANGE" Amanda: "orunge"
3. Dunkin Donuts: Sean: "DUNKS" Amanda: "DUNG-kin DO-nuts"
4. Peabody: Sean: "PEA-budy" Amanda: "Pea-BOD-y"
5. Billerica: Sean: "Bill-RIK-ka" Amanda: "Who is this 'Bill Rikka'?!? Does he live in Bill-AIR-i-cah?"
6. Fantasy Football: Sean: "FAN-sy Foot-BALL" Amanda: "Fan-TUH-See FOOT-Ball"
7. Beer: Sean: "Beeahr" Amanda: "GUIN-ness"
Thursday, October 17, 2002
When I was a baby, I had a mass of dark brown hair. As I grew to "a kid", a child of say, 4 or 5; I had this long, auburn hair. (It was really quite pretty.) Since then, my "natural" color has evolved from brownish reddish blondish to blondish reddish brownish to reddish blondish brownish. Hell, I'm not really sure I remember what color it should be--I've been dying it for about 12 years now. It's been every color from blond to black to fushia and back again. Finally, I settled on a nice red color--one that goes with my terminally redhead complexion (READ: pasty white and bespeckled with freckles). It's been pretty much the same nice red color for 5 years or so, pretty much since I got the black and fushia stage out of my system.
One thing has remained constant in the ever-changing kalidoscope that is my hair--its texture. Save for the eighties, when everyone who was anyone permed, teased, and otherwise tormented the hell out of their suffering locks, it's always hovered annoying between "straight" and "wavy"--choosing to be just wavy enough to make it frizzy on rainy days. It sucks, but we all have our cross to bear...
I usually straightened it--that was really the only way to tame the terminal frizz that's inevitable when you live in a coastal town--to make it appear glossy and well-behaved (and yeah, trendy...). That's what I had been doing for quite awhile, until in the last few months I became too damn pressed for time to waste any on such a frivolous activity as blow-drying my hair and began to let it just "dry naturally".
Well, you can imagine the surprise I felt when the dark clouds of heat styling receded, allowing me to see my hair in the clear blue light of day--and it was curly. Curly. Not just wavy, but huge-tangled-mass-of-spiraly-locks-that-you-can't-get-your-fingers-through curly. (Shit, where was this stuff in the eighties?)
Here I've been priding myself on being this easy-going, wash-and-wear kind of girl, and all the while I've been completely changing my hair every day. I feel like I owe anyone who's every described me as "having straight hair" an apology.
My God, I feel like I barely know me at ALL!
Wednesday, October 16, 2002
Every day poses a new dilemma when your life is as exciting as mine!
Here's a sample of today's dilemmas:
Dilemma 1: Feel crappy and sick. Want to drink tea. But scalded mouth badly inhaling hot soup at Au Bon Pain yesterday. Hot tea may exacerbate already-sore mouth. Don't want to experience pain involved in this action. (Note to self: wow this is sad...)
Dilemma 2: Feel crappy and sick. Want to go home. But am a pion temp and get no sick time, plus already had unpaid day off this week. Can't really afford to go home. (Hmm...go home and search through couch cushions for quarters? Pursue education rigorously so won't have this dilemma anymore?)
Dilemma 3: Feel crappy and sick. Want to spend entire blog bitching about it. But am afraid will turn off readers. (Bitch about it under guise of posing dilemmas?)
Dilemma 4: Am supposed to be alphabetizing PIP letters. Don't want to. Want to surf 'net. (Alt-tab?)
Dilemma 5: Should stay till 4:30 or 5 to make up time lost because damn shuttle was late this morning. Don't want to. Staying late would mean taking T instead of 4:15 shuttle. (Say screw it? Hmm...think I will.)
Tuesday, October 15, 2002
Saturday, October 12, 2002
i wish i could post to this more often, but i don't have internet at work, but i feel like i'm missing out on stuff.
oh anna, i'm still not able to post to your blog. i don't know what the problem is with it, but i never got an invitation. later yos.
Thursday, October 10, 2002
i can't even believe the story you posted yesterday. i just got back from a particularly filling lunch (singapore style noodles at shanghai near school) and was getting a case of the post-lunch sleepies, when i decided to be unproductive for a moment and see if anyone posted a blog. my giggling fit was noticed by others in the office who drifted over to my cube to find out why i was laughing out loud. there were muffled "ha ha"'s, but i don't think anyone truly appreciated the story as much as i. only because my dad is a freak about mowing the lawn on his little riding mower and i swear the other retired neighbors have a secret contest to see who can keep theirs the shiniest. anyhow, muchas gracias!
Wednesday, October 09, 2002
My job, for all its intrinsic shittiness, it not without occasional moments of mirth. This made me laugh so hard that coworkers in neighboring cubicles commented to my boss in hushed voices that they "think Amanda was crying."
Hell, yeah, I was crying! I was laughing so hard (and trying NOT to guffaw outright in the office) that tears were streaming down my cheeks. Here's the story:
Here in my department at Blue Cross, we send out questionnaires to people who have sustained injuries that seem like they could be accident-related. Basically, if it was a car or work-related accident, it's someone else's job to pay the claim; so we don't have to. Really, that's all we're concerned about--is someone else going to pay for this or do we have to? But people get nervous when they get these questionnaires, so they tend to write out lengthy answers about how they were throwing a frisbee for the dog and accidentally kicked it in the mouth, requiring a number of sutures. I got one the other day saying that they had been "dancing at Fleet Center and fell over".
But this one was the best yet. It was 2 questionnaires together, from a couple that lives "down the Cape". Enclosed was a copy of a newspaper article that related the story of how they got their injuries (this isn't unusual--people sometimes even send snapshots of their injuries--I just "file" it all).
Well, I decided to skim the article. This couple had been assaulted (no, that's not the funny part! I'm not that much of a sicko!) and had their faces "cut and bruised". So, they're Ok. I'll just relate an excerpt from the newspaper article to you:
"...The couple told police they were attacked after confronting a young man who had come into their yard on a riding lawn mower and damaged some bushes. The couple told police that in addition to attacking them, the young man pulled down his pants and showed his buttocks before riding away on the lawn mower..."
Oh. My. God.
Can't you just picture it? This guy putts into the yard at 2 mph, smacks these people around when they ask what the hell he's doing, moons them, and putts off at 2 mph.
"Hey, someone is approaching." (*3 full minutes pass*) "Hey, someone is STILL approaching. I believe they're on a lawn mower, as evidenced by the loud lawn mower moter-esque sound I hear."
*attack and mooning occur*
"Hey, he is getting away! On his lawn mower!" (*3 more full minutes pass amidst a loud PUTTPUTTPUTTPUTTTPUTTPUTT* The lawn mower is still in the yard.) "Hey, he is still getting away!"
Ok, maybe it's just funny to ME. But I still can't stop laughing over that mental picture. Hey, thanks for making my day, assaulted couple!
Tuesday, October 08, 2002
During a social marketing lecture one night; the infamous Dr.Cho was emphasizing to us the importance of "knowing our audience" in developing a successful marketing campaign. She cited her friend's definition of love:
"Love is complete understanding." (Dr. Cho's Friend, 2002).
I don't know that I'd agree with that statement. Certainly, I don't think you could help but love someone you "completely understand". But as for the reverse? Well, I disagree. Maybe it just has something to do with fancying myself as too enigmatic to be "completely understood" by anyone foolish enough to love me, but I just don't think it's as simple as all that.
My undergrad course of study centered around a good deal of biological anthropology (e.g. evolutionary science) at its end. My fave professor, the hilarious and Santa-esque Dr. Bob, often engaged us in debates and discussions regarding the evolution of "romantic love". Why was such a thing adaptive, and when and why did it originate? Dr. Bob and many of his colleagues describe romantic love, or "pair bonding" if you're referring to early hominids, as a phenomenon that came about in order to assure the continuation of the species. You see, hominid young require so much attention that little time is left for such dalliances as hunting, eating, and protecting oneself from predators. Thus, it was important to have an extra pair of hands (and teeth) around for these activities. One parent cared for the young, the other focused on "chores". Voila! Romantic love is born. Ya gotta have a "reason" to stick around your australopithicine female once her teats start to droop and her (bipedally muscled) rump starts to sag.
So when did the "complete understanding" begin? Is the love felt by those earlier compadres of ours lessened by their potential inability to completely understand each other? Or was it much easier to do so in "those days"?
God knows I don't completely understand everyone I love, have loved, or will love. In fact, I'm not sure I'd feel safe saying I "completely understand" anyone. Hell, my cat doesn't even make sense to me most days.
If you ask me (and, by virtue of reading this, I'd say you're doing so), love is more about the desire for complete understanding. About "understanding" and recognizing the bad along with the good; and accepting, even embracing, it all--instead of trying to tease apart the pieces of someone; devouring only those you like or that meet your approval--like picking the carrots out of a bowl of lamb stew so you can eat the meat instead.
In my life, I've been more of the carrots and I've been more of the lamb. And I've flung aside the most important parts of someone-- pretending not to see the carrots because the lamb seemed so good at the time.
I've learned since then. Hell, the stew's just not as good without the carrots.
So, "complete understanding"? I think not. But suffice to say I think that loving anyone or anything (including yourself) does require a certain level of understanding, and an inquenchable desire for more. Not to mention the ability to see it through when the predators are nipping at your heels.
Monday, October 07, 2002
I love me some Steve Krug! Wow, a book with lots of pictures that even I can understand; unlike some others (*ahem* CMB *ahem*)...
I found quite a few parallels between Krug's style and that in PIA. Both books seem to have the same focus of designing not just "pretty", but practical and easily utilized websites. This is most definitely the kind of info I need, since if I were to design a site in the "real world", my target audience would likely be frazzled and desperate for information.
I also greatly appreciate the light-hearted approach. After all the time I spend perusing scholarly articles (and *ahem* CMB *ahem*), it's nice to see that not everyone takes his work so seriously.
I found myself relating to a lot of his comments. For instance, I hate wasting valuable seconds of my time scrolling around a site desperately searching for something on which to click. (C'mon, I'm going to get caught surfing the 'net at work if your site isn't well-designed!)
The common-sense approach works for me--this book is making me take a closer look at stuff that I usually just skim with my peripheral vision.
How did ya'll like it?
Andrea--I think we're living parallel lives. Did you eat about 7 pounds of steak tips this weekend, too?
Anna--you can be the treasurer since you have so much experience in the "financial" world! :)_!
Sunday, October 06, 2002
amanda, we should start a club for the over-worked, under-paid, and over-educated-for-the-position-they-hold. we could be co-presidents and tell all those employers where to go. but we won't. we'll just keep trudging on, hoping that one day life will be better and we will make enough money to raise us above the poverty-line and be at least acknowledged, if not appreciated, for our dedication and hard work. Rock on, sis
I tend to buy what Dave Barry has to say about tabacco stuff. There's a pathetic symbiosis going on between state governments and tabacco companies: governments receive settlement money (though not in this case obviously, since it was a private suit) but they don't use it for anti-smoking campaigns. So tabacco companies continue to make huge profits, which the governments slightly strip through taxes and future lawsuits. Anyway, read the Barry article, it's better put there than I can say it.
Friday, October 04, 2002
We're gonna kick Big Tobacco's pimply, hairy ASS!
This is only the beginning. Next up, ETS "clean air" statutes! They may have all the money, but we're angrier. Public health will prevail! *dons superhero outfit with underwear on outside*
"You get your PhD
How happy you will be
When you get a job at Wendy's and are honored with 'Employee of the Month'..."
from "Never is Enough"
*Sigh*...you would think that two-thirds of a Master's degree would make me useful for more than sorting paperwork, doing data entry, and removing wayward staples for paperwork meant for the "higher-ups" (who are ridiculously less educated than I...).
Especially at the bargain price these folks have me, and for a limited time, too...
Oh well, their loss, right? Right?
Thursday, October 03, 2002
Thanks to Sean for the linkage (say in Pauly Shore voice).
What do ya'll think? Are blogs diluting web-based content? Are they ruining publishing in general? So many points to ponder...
Hey, take 'em out of context if you will. ;)!
"You're mad. You're throwing things and slapping your butt!"
"That's what's great about my job. I get to say things like filibuster, caucus, and cock."
"Make sure you remove the staples from the mail. You don't want to hurt your hand."
"What do you mean? 36 feet isn't that big."
"I'm just trying to make sure you haven't completely given in to insanity yet."
"What do I look like, the toilet paper baroness?!?"
"All good superheroes wear their underwear on the outside."
(*in thick Russian accent*) "She fart all the time. She just sit there and fart, all the day. She eat too much food, that why. I can't take it, sitting there listening to her fart. I going to quit my job if she don't stop it with the fart all day. Too damn much fart!"
(In response to the staple injury story:) "You laugh, but your job is dangerous! Indiana Amanda, skirting death at every turn! Dodging staples and punji sticks with ease! Very exciting!"
"YOU 'need' boots?!? Litte Guadulope in the sweatshop needs to eat tonight..."
Hey, it may be odd, but my life is all mine. :)!
Wednesday, October 02, 2002
"My gym has this butt exercise class. But who the hell would want to go to a 'Butt Exercise Class'?!? So they call it 'Rear Attitude'! Now that's what I'm talking about!"