Customer service is still weird af.

September 13th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Soapbox | Weather | Whining | Work - (0 Comments)

In which I STILL don’t understand how people can know so little about the services they use.

If you were the majority of Floridian customers I assisted during my shift at work this evening, you’ve just been through a massive 500-year storm that destroyed tons of shit, you either don’t have power or you’re running a generator, and you’re astonished that you can’t watch TV.

You don’t have power! Why in the fuck do you think your cable and internet should work? Irma was one of the strongest storms in recorded history. It did at least eighteen billion in insured losses damage (not counting crop losses or flood insurance), infrastructure is destroyed, farms are destroyed (Irma took almost half of the citrus crop in some areas), you had to fucking evacuate, and you can’t believe you didn’t return home to functioning internet?

Really?! YOUR CELL PHONE’S OBVIOUSLY WORKING, AND THAT’S A GODDAMNED TECHNOLOGICAL MIRACLE CONSIDERING THE CIRCUMSTANCES, but you’re mad anyway?

I have compassion for you, I do. It must have been and must still be incredibly stressful. But being a dick to customer service reps because you haven’t had internet for four days is just weird. Shit’s broken, my people, important shit, and if your neighbors down the block have cable and you don’t, well, I’m sorry. Life’s not always fair. Go watch TV at their house.

Multiple customers told me it was absolutely unacceptable for an outage to last four days. They demanded refunds, threatened to cancel (which, please, if you could get service from anybody else you’d already have it, and we both know it). It was a 500-year storm! Read a book, be glad you’re alive, and chill the fuck out! There are innumerable people out there working day and night to restore power, internet, cable. It takes time!

One customer admitted she had no power at home and was charging her cell phone at the corner store, but still freaked out about not having wifi in her house. It blew my mind. EVEN IF there wasn’t an outage and WE WERE DELIVERING INTERNET TO YOUR HOME, sweetie, IT WON’T WORK IF YOUR ROUTER ISN’T GETTING POWER. How can you not know that?

Furthermore, how can you not realize that if your house doesn’t have electricity, the node providing your cable probably doesn’t, either? Sure, installations like that have generators, but they only run if you can get to them to put fuel in them. If gas or the generators themselves aren’t accessible, they’ll go down. The network is vast, interdependent, and complicated, and service crews can’t even start working on them until cleared to do so by authorities. Internet service doesn’t just fall out of the sky, for fuck’s sake. Power outages, destroyed equipment, line cuts: there are tons of them because A MASSIVE GODDAMNED ACT OF GOD JUST ROLLED THROUGH.

I’m sorry your kids are driving you nuts without screens to occupy them, and I’m sure it’s a bitch, but your internet and cable will be restored when it’s restored. You need to back the fuck off the ignorant attitude and be glad you’re all still alive with homes to return to. It’s not like your provider somehow fucked up; it was an act of God. And at least your cell phone still works. You may be going over your data plan, but at least you’re online.

Penmanship and cursive

September 12th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Back To School | Writing - (0 Comments)

In which there are styles of handwriting to look at.

For no real reason, I’m trying to figure out which style of cursive I learned.

I’m beginning to suspect that changing schools so often actually exposed me to multiple systems, because no single script style encompasses how I form my letters — D’Nealian, modified Spencerian, Zaner-Bloser, and New American Cursive all seem to show up in how I think letters should be written and the strokes I use to form them.

New American Cursive

New American Cursive is pretty close, and I feel sure I was exposed to it at some point, but it uses hard angles where I think I learned loops. That’s nearly my capital G, for example, but I’d do loops rather than the hard angles at the NE and SW points of the figure.

My mother was a Boeing draftsman at some point so my print style was definitely influenced by hers, which was a form of block printing I can’t seem to google; possibly what was once known as Architectural Lettering but perfectly slanted, something like this:

Having no pressing need to master block printing, I’d like to learn something super pretty and fancy, like this lovely Ladies’ Spencerian, for example, but probably won’t master it.

Although that capital Z is much closer to the one I use than the New American Cursive one; I think my Z is either Zaner-Bloser, D’Nealian, or the Palmer Method?

Maybe? I really have no idea; it’s been so long and I’ve let my handwriting atrophy so much it would take an expert to figure it out! However, I have a new, cheap, extra fine fountain pen and a tiny ruled booklet, so perhaps I’ll add “practice my letters and listen to classical music” to my list of hobbies-intended-to-get-me-offline.

Combating panic and anxiety

September 5th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Panic & Anxiety - (0 Comments)

In which I have a morbid new approach that really seems to be working.

I have developed a new litany.

Whenever there’s A Sensation my mind desires to become frightened of, I tell it this:

You have a fatal, untreatable, inoperable disease. You are dying, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it. You’re bound to have sensations. As long as you’re not in pain, there’s nothing that can be done. Let it go.

Weirdly enough, it’s working. Apparently the hook my mind has been using lately to tumble me into hell has been “DO I NEED TO DO SOMETHING? Is this A Real Sensation? Do I need to See A Doctor? Is this just a panic attack or do I really have [heart disease/organ failure/diabetes/stroke]? What shall I DO?”

With this little story, though, the answer to that is “nothing.” It makes the sensations non-actionable (and have the added benefit of increasing dispassion and decreasing attachment). I can just go, oh, yeah, a sensation — flutters in my chest, dizziness, laziness (er, fatigue), shortness of breath, tingling hands and feet, all the shit I have when I panic — and not be caught up in a whirlwind of mental bullshit.

Yes, I tell myself, you are actually dying, we all are, nothing to be done about it. It comes when it comes. It’s working great; I haven’t had a full-blown attack in a couple of weeks!

Being crazy is hard work, but sometimes you manage to hack your own brain just enough to get by.

Things

September 2nd, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Life - (0 Comments)

In which it’s just random vacuous noise about the outer, but in my inner life weird shit is going on. Jai Ma!

We went out to dinner yesterday at Little Tijuana. Tostadas!

Today, I received new bath things!

Before:

(That is a color picture. Honest.)

After:

Way more teal than I expected, but hey, it’s fine.

I attempted to do laundry, but the machines were busy so I just left the basket on the table. That’s been like six hours ago now.

I got a new dress. (It doesn’t make me less fat. It’s super comfy, but I look a bit like a sausage in saran wrap.)

The bed is made!

I got a new keyboard today! It’s a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000. I love it.

I worked 4 hours and 13 minutes. It was a’ight. (Chat is way better than phones, although last night was a shit show due to a botched firmware update. Three chats at a time the entire night, with upwards of 31 waiting in the queue.)

I have just done the dishes.

There is a bowl on the counter filled with ripe, red tomatoes from our plants on the side of the building.

I’m considering dropping cash on a pedi and a cut & color, just so I don’t look completely frumpy at the things — friends’ wedding (which I’m officiating, OMFG), and my aunt & uncle’s 50th anniversary party, and my gramma’s 95th birthday party — later this month. It should look as if one’s at least making an effort, even if she really, well, isn’t!

Those, as they say, are the things!

So, fuck this town, basically.

August 13th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in PSA | Whining - (0 Comments)

In which we’ve been trolled.

In the middle of the night, the apartment suddenly exploded with white dust.

IMG_20170813_015722

It was probably between 2:30 and 3 in the morning. We were still up and the lights were on. There were three fans running, so it was everywhere, instantly.

IMG_20170813_015951

My guess is that some asshat stole a fire extinguisher and discharged it into the box fan in our window, which was facing inward at the time to pull the cool air in.

IMG_20170813_015614

The shit is everywhere, and a lot of it.

Whoever you are: fuck you. You’re not funny. You’re a dick. There isn’t an inch of this place that doesn’t have to be cleaned now, and you’ve exposed us to a great deal of topical and inhaled bicarbonate soda, which is essentially harmless, or ammonium phosphate, which isn’t, for no fucking reason other than you’re a moron.

I was sitting right by the open bedroom window when you did it, too. And had I not turned away because of the odd noises coming from the other room, if I’d looked left instead of right, I’d have seen your punk ass. As it is, I didn’t, and you just walked off quietly while we freaked out because our home was filled with flying white powder.

You’re a punk and a twat and I sincerely hope your dumb unfunny ass woke up in jail this morning. This is not a fucking college dorm, it’s my goddamned home. So fuck you.

I’m basically ignoring the insane amount of cleaning I have to do and hiding out in the bedroom. I’ve ordered Indian food delivery, because it will be hours of cleaning before I can cook again, and I just don’t want to do it. It’s Sunday, it’s my day off, and I don’t want to tackle the sweeping, dusting, washing, wiping, mopping, vacuuming, and multiple loads of laundry YOUR DUMB ASS has caused me.

Oh, yeah, and in unrelated news, some other dumb asshat — one assumes, but I suppose it could be the same one — took the two largest tomatoes off our vines. We’ve had ONE FUCKING TOMATO this year so far. ONE. AND IT WAS NOT EVEN ENTIRELY RIPE.

So, if you’re not starving, literally actually going hungry, then fuck you. I cannot tell you how much I’m looking forward to that first ripe tomato of the year THAT I HAVEN’T HAD YET BECAUSE YOU JUST FUCKING STOLE THEM.

Tomatoes

I mean, what the fuck? Go fucking buy a tomato if you want one. At least it would already be ripe, you asshole. Why steal mine? And if you’re going to steal unripe tomatoes, TAKE THREE OF THE SMALLER ONES, MAYBE. BECAUSE FUCK YOU.

So, for today, at least, my attitude is this:

FUCK this town and fuck this neighborhood. Seriously. You’re all a bunch of bike stealing, dumpster burning, tomato raiding, prank pulling dipshits, PLUS your weather TOTALLY SUCKS.

Spa Day

August 1st, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Admissions - (0 Comments)

In which I’m not very good at this stuff.

My aunt is in town and offered to take us out to dinner tonight. I picked the restaurant closest to her hotel and it turned out to be kind of expensive, so I thought, hell, I never leave the house, and we’re going somewhere nice. Maybe I should, like, you know, get ready?

I’ll have a spa day!

So I roll over in bed after my better half leaves for the day, grab my phone, and google “spa day at home ideas.” The first thing I see is “spa water,” so I pop into the kitchen and make some.

Spa water

It’s just water with some crap in it. Ice, lemon, cucumber. Okay, check! Feeling pampered and pretty already!

Then the rest of it? Go hiking with a friend? What? Oh, that’s if you want “invigorating” rather than “relaxing.”

Relaxing, relaxing, relaxing. Ah, salt scrub. Nope, I don’t have any massage or essential oils, can’t make that. Sugar scrub? Out of olive oil just now, and not really sure I want olive oil in the tub anyway, thank you.

I read through dozens of home-made products one is supposed to make for her at-home spa day, and the only one I had the ingredients for was a weird “hair wrap” I didn’t want to do. I think it was egg white, honey, and lemon? Or something? I don’t remember now. And I guess I’m supposed to light candles, find my bathrobe, make some kind of, like, tray with washcloths and cotton balls and things I might, I don’t know, need? A soak is required, but I’m not sure I feel like cleaning the tub, and wow, I guess I just didn’t realize a relaxing at-home spa day would involve so much work. Scrub the tub, find a robe and some fluffy towels, light candles, go to the store, make a scrub and a mask, clean up after that, apply things to self, soak, scrub, I just don’t know.

And I still don’t. Because what happened is that I ate some nachos and took a nap instead!

Nachos

Now I’m up and showered and I’ve done some eyeliner and mascara, but much of me remains un-salt-scrubbed, un-moisturized, and un-soaked.

Oh, well. Dinner will probably still be fun. And speaking of which, I suppose I ought to find something to get dressed in and maybe, like, get dressed in it.

Exercise

July 30th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Admissions | Health - (0 Comments)

In which I tell you how it felt to run medium-distance sprints as a tween.

I have never enjoyed exercise.

I remember being in junior high school on the track team. Sucked at sprinting, sucked at distance, so they put me on the 200 meter. It was miserable. I could not figure out what in the holy hell made people like running. Compared to not-running, it made me feel like shit. Unpleasant sensations everywhere, and no, don’t even talk to me about the runner’s high experience I never had, and no, I never felt noticeably better after running (beyond gratitude that it was over).

Same for absolutely every exercise in my entire life, ever. In fact, now that I’m fat and seriously pushing 50, it feels, well, just like it always felt, only now I look even more ridiculous than I feel. Catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror doing squats? Please.

While I’m exercising, I’m aware of stress on the body, on the heart, on the tissues. I’m aware of fatigue, overheating, sweating, and a general feeling of this-sucks-let’s-stop-immediately. It isn’t nice. It doesn’t feel good. It’s something you do to get away from danger, not a fucking hobby.

I’ve done 90-minute yoga classes, but only on occasion, and more out of a sense of “oh, I should go, it’s good for me” [read: “I think this activity suits my personality”] than “oh, it feels so great, I want to go.” It doesn’t feel great. It’s hard work, and afterward you’re tired. Whoopee. The only benefit of yoga over any other form of exercise is that the environmental trappings imply that you’re deeper than the typical jock, without, of course, actually meaning any such thing. Otherwise, yoga’s just exercise with a bit of a lie-down at the end during which the white lady with the killer bod she has encased in half your week’s salary’s worth of trendy yoga clothes tells you your feelings are fine, thereby validating your rampant consumerism and cultural appropriation.

I think the best shape I’ve ever been in was probably in Walla Walla, because I didn’t have a car and I walked and biked everywhere. It’s a small town, so it’s not like I ever walked or biked very far, but I did it every day for years. I think it was the right amount of activity for me, in retrospect.

The entire rest of my life I’ve been, to varying degrees, more sedentary than that. Plus with the smoking and drinking and random schedule and diet I’ve always had.

Today I went for a walk to help with my anxiety. It’s fucking hot and humid, and the sun is shining like a particularly aggressive stage spot. I walked down 28th to Soo Line, through the garden to the Greenway, up the Greenway to the very next exit, up the ramp to street level, and home again. Barely half a mile, but hey, it’s 85F and humid, what the fuck do you want from me.

While walking up the ramp, I was aware, as I always am when doing physical activity for its own sake, that it sucked. My quads were fine and signaling stamina, as were my calves, but my fucking skin itched and most of me felt bad. My heart was doing its job but I still felt that hunger your various parts feel when they need just a bit more oxygen. My eyes felt weird; I don’t know how to describe it but they just do, always have, when I’m exerting myself, as if I can’t see properly even though my vision doesn’t actually change. I assume it has something to do with blood pressure in those little eye capillaries. My hands puffed up and turned red, which is a thing they do now that I’m both fat and old, so I held them up like I was prepped for surgery. I had the sense that I could, if I had to, walk up that incline for a very long time; hours and hours, if I had water. But all I could think was, “This sucks. Let’s stop immediately.”

I didn’t find it pleasant.

That ramp is super steep. I’m not sure how many vertical feet, but it goes from street level down to train track level in, like, 1/10th of a block. (I can only ride all the way up it if I get a serious head start and stand on my pedals.) It’s easier at night, of course, when you’re not being roasted from both the black pavement you’re walking on and the furnace of the yellow dwarf star behind you. But no matter the time of day it’s always humid… until it’s so dry your nose bleeds, of course, but I’ve never been on that ramp in blizzard season.

Anyway, I get to the top of the ramp and turn the corner and am heading homeward parallel to the Greenway down below, and I’m thinking, “I really have to feel REALLY SHIT ALL THE TIME FOR A LONG TIME before the shit that is exercise is less shit than the shit that is not.” Which is a convoluted way of saying I have to feel awful, truly awful, in a sustained way, over a long time, to make exercise feel good in comparison.

Which is to say that it sucked, but slightly less than horrible hangovers or even more horrible panic.

I blog about this because I realized I’d been thinking an untrue thing; that, oh, I feel so bad when I exert myself because I’m so unhealthy, which is entirely my fault due to poor choices and personality flaws like laziness and selfishness and sloth and blah blah blah. But the truth is, I have always felt bad while exerting myself. Always. Since I was a little kid. I remember finishing up track practice after school and feeling like it was the most bizarre, awful activity there was, and that I would rather do anything but fucking run around pointlessly for a couple of hours feeling terrible and gross. Everybody droning on and on about personal bests and runner’s highs and I’m just thinking WHY CAN’T WE READ A FUCKING BOOK? THIS FUCKING SUCKS.

I remember going to track meets, but I couldn’t tell you if I finished the season or not. I probably did; it seems like I’d remember the infamy of dropping out. But I never went out for track — or indeed any other sport — ever again, and I actually invested a lot of time and energy in discovering ways to get out of P.E. because exercise felt so shitty compared to any other activity.

It’s acceptable if you’re doing it in service of something else — it’s easy to dance for a couple of hours, for example, or to walk while you’re looking at autumn leaves in the woods, or realize you’ve been on a 5-mile ride across the countryside with your friends — but to just do it for the sensation? Eh.

I know the results are important. I’m making the effort. But no, Mush, you were never really fit, ever, and you aren’t some fucking disaster of a human being who’s let herself go downhill. You just happen to find yourself in a life that doesn’t have any physical activity built-in, and you’re not good at forcing it on yourself because it’s shit.

Good on you for walking for 90 minutes this week. Maybe do 90 minutes again next week. Maybe walk after work a bit, when the sun’s down. Maybe get 90 minutes a week habituated, and then go up to 120. Maybe walk all winter; it’s not like you hate the cold anymore (although snow and ice are certainly issues to walkers; maybe get some cleats and a stick).

But the whole self-bashing weirdness needs to go, because it’s weird. You’re okay. You’re making an effort. Quit with the weird-ass self-talk, because exercise sucks and you’ve never liked it the weather here’s crap anyway; not everything is your fault, dear. Just make the effort, okay? Okay.

Mansplaining

July 19th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Admissions - (0 Comments)

In which I deleted them, because fuck it, amirite?

I live in Minneapolis. People get shot and killed by cops here.

The other day, a white woman got shot and killed by a black cop. The mayor’s tweeted concern and calls to action several times since.

Out of curiosity I did a couple of searches, and the mayor doesn’t seem to tweet much, or perhaps even at all, when black men get shot and killed by cops.

So I tweeted about it.

And two white men responded, one telling me I’m “an idiot” and the other that it “isn’t about race.”

Now, white men are okay. I live with one. My brother’s one, my dad’s one, and so on.

But what the actual fuck, dudes? The mayor has tweeted repeatedly about this dead Australian woman, but even after several searches I find no evidence of similar concern about the black males cops kill around here, so, yeah it looks like racism.

I responded to each of them. Told the first one I was talking specifically about the mayoral response, and not the press or protesters, so maybe he was, in fact, the idiot. Told the second one it looks, even if unintentionally, exactly like racism.

And then a few minutes later I deleted all three tweets, because, seriously, fuck it.

I mean, I’m not one to get pissed off at the way men sit, and I’m all for stereotypes because they’re often useful and/or funny and/or both, so while I rarely call male behavior “mansplaining,” I’m not against it in theory.

So, yeah, I got mansplained today! Because an overwhelmingly concerned response about a dead white woman shot by a black cop. and a ringing absence of concern about several dead black males shot by white cops does, well, I don’t know, look just like racism.

Now, if I just suck at searches, and the mayor does respond with warmth and concern for all shooting victims, I totally stand corrected.

Thought I’d do…

July 16th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Admissions - (0 Comments)

In which I’m so lazy I can’t even relax properly.

Thought I’d do some relaxing and fun Sunday afternoon painting, but after a few minutes of doodling I got distracted by nothing and abandoned it.

Thought I'd do

Watched TV.

Scrolled social media.

Ate a bunch. Drank coffee.

Organized some of the crap at my desk.

Ah, Sunday!

New Hampshire!

July 11th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Spiritual | Travel - (0 Comments)

In which there’s travel!

We went to New Hampshire! In a plane!

Air plane!

We stayed in a hotel! This was the view!

The view

I wrote about it in my traveler’s notebook!

Traveler's Notebook

Amma’s programs were in another hotel, so I had to walk back and forth twice a day! My Google Fit app told me I walked over 10k steps per day! Here’s a frond I saw while walking one night!

Tendril

Here’s a food I ate!

Ashram food!

Flying is kind of exhausting but still better than driving! Driving to New Hampshire would take forever!

Wing

The TSA is still a massive waste of the nation’s time, effort, and money!

(The Amma experience, as ever, was supremely amazing and more or less impossible to put into words. Even my private diary sounds like a cross between the parts in Yoga Vashista where Devi and the king’s wife time travel extensively, and some mildly drunk Kerouac. The outcome, though, was a profound deepening of Self, an indescribable release of stress, and a renewed desire to continue pursuing meditation, japa, and scripture.)