Friday, February 29, 2008

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Earth Hour 2008

Organized by the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour started last year in Sydney, Australia. To raise awareness of climate change, Sydney residents were asked to turn their lights off for one hour at 8 pm on March 31, 2007. The response was overwhelming: 2.2 million people and 2100 businesses flipped the switch, plunging Sydney into darkness. For that hour, the energy consumption in the city decreased by 10%.

This year Earth Hour is going global. At 8 pm (local time) on March 29, people all over the world will be turning off their lights. Imagine the view from space, as urban centers voluntarily dim, a global wave. Let's redefine rolling blackouts... Watch the video. Join the movement. Turn off your lights.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Lazy Saturday

Today has been a pretty awesome day, if you like lazy weekends. We started the day by sleeping ridiculously late, then got up and went out for breakfast, something we haven't done in a long time. Our favorite breakfast joint is also enjoyed by other humans and is often quite crowded, with people waiting to be seated. In the winter it can be uncomfortable when stupid people foolishly hold both sets of doors open simultaneously, thereby freezing out the entire restaurant. Apparently some people do not realize the point of a vestibule in cold climates. Very frustrating.

Anyway, our morning somnolence meant we were late enough so there were no such issues today: the crowds had dispersed. After our meal we stopped at the big box book store around the corner and got coffee drinks, browsing as we sipped our mochas. Do they pipe that delightful booky smell into those stores? We ended up with a few bargain books and SodaBoy splurged on a nice architecture book. When we got home, we shoveled the driveway, then headed out back for a walk in the woods.

After our walk, I made a cup of my favorite tea, an expensive treat that I reserve for weekends; I drink way too much tea to afford Rishi on a daily basis. Then I settled down on the new couch to do some reading while SodaBoy played the guitar, working on his newest song. Any day that includes sleeping in, banana pancakes, a walk in the woods, and me reading on the couch with a nice cup of tea? It's a good one.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Freezer Burn

I don't generally mind winter too much, at least not until March or April. This time of year I expect to be cold, and I expect to be shoveling. It's no big deal. Well, today was just too freaking cold. I'm drawing a line. This is bullshit! Scene: my driveway, this morning before work. The snow squall that blustered through yesterday had left several inches, so I headed out a few minutes early, leaving plenty of time to brush off the car and still make it to work on time. Ha!

The plot twist: the doors on my car were all frozen shut. I drive a hatchback, which was miraculously unfrozen, so I crawled in through the hatch, after a modest delay taking the cover off and folding the seat down. Straddling the center console, I managed to depress the clutch and start up the engine. I was able to force the passenger side door open from the inside, but no luck with the driver side door. Sigh. Crawled back out, scraped the inch of ice off the windshield, nearly lost several fingers to frostbite. Cursed a bit and felt sorry for myself. Crawled back in and drove to work.

The roads were fine, so my commute was uneventful. The despondency set in as I activated the turn signal on approaching the parking garage. I was reaching for my card when I realized that the driver side door was still frozen shut, as was the window. I had no way to get in the parking garage. What to do? I briefly entertained the idea of turning around and going home, but ultimately, I didn't want to waste the personal day when I didn't even get to sleep in.

I drove around the block, then pulled over on the side of the road, and cranked the heat. We all know how much that excites me. Finally, after a few long torturous minutes of fretting and sweating and frantically tugging on the door and window handles, the window cracked open. Sweet icy air! At last I could turn off the blasted heat and enter the parking garage. Of course, my damn door was still frozen shut, so I had to crawl back out over the stick shift. And I was half an hour late.

Luckily the day took a turn for the warm, and the temperature had reached double digits by the time I left the office. I could enter my auto through the designated portal. Hooray! Lizard shit! Fuck!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

These Settlers Own Me

Back in 2006, I wrote about Caesar IV, the computer game that had temporarily taken over my life at the time. Since that time, I've barely gamed at all. Until I got this new laptop, that it. SodaBoy pressured me into installing Caesar IV pretty much instantly after receiving the new computer, because his old system had only met the minimum system requirements, and we'd never seen all the bells and whistles. Curiosity and all. Inevitably, we both got into playing the game again.

Then, SodaBoy took it up a notch: he bought me a new game. I didn't even know Settlers existed, but apparently various more primitive versions have been available since the early 90s. And it is definitely my kind of game: build a city, gather resources, produce goods, trade with other cities, and protect the settlers. So many possible scenarios, so little time...

Not that I haven't dedicated some serious play time to this game. I played for hours both Friday and Saturday nights, even dreaming about the game in the wee hours this morning. That's always my cue that it's time to back off from a game and reclaim my mental space. But there is also the little voice telling me I should go ahead and play tonight, too: it's still the weekend, after all. Which little voice will win? To some extent it depends on SodaBoy's selection of crappy television programming tonight. Because playing a computer game can't be worse than staring vacantly at telly swill. Right?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I Don't Want No Drama

My one year anniversary at the new job rolls around next week. For the most part, things are really great: my work is interesting, I am using both my college degrees, my commute is short, I like my co-workers, our office space is beautiful, and I seem to be well respected. I was given a Christmas bonus that was by no means universal, and a substantial raise at a performance review that included not a single negative comment.

Another nice thing has been the near complete lack of drama. Sure, I've heard from a colleague who works in another office that there are ISSUES in their office, a feeling of division and resentment towards our office, that people are bitter they didn't get bonuses to pay for our relocation to the new office space. However, those are distant rumblings. Everyone I regularly interact with seems genuinely happy to be working for the Company.

In the year that I have been there, only one person has left their job, and that was to relocate to a distant city for family reasons. That person continues to have an amicable relationship with staff and management, returning for a visit at the holidays, and doing freelance work for us on the side. Contrast that with my previous job, where in my 3 years of employment, 13 people either quit or were let go in my department alone, which is an obscene turnover rate for a group of 5-6 people. Yeah, it was pretty sucky there.

Anyway, it was with great dismay that I learned of drama rearing it's ugly head at my current job. Luckily for me, since these things stress me out to no end, I don't know all the details. A co-worker alledgedly snapped, and screamed profanities at one of the owners of the company, then stormed out, and did not return for the rest of the day. It all sounds pretty damning, but like I said, I wasn't there.

I like the individual in question: he is smart and funny. He's a blogger, fer chrissakes. I have no idea what his beef was, as we work in vastly different areas, but find the whole sordid affair to be quite unfortunate. I wish things had turned out differently, not just for my co-worker, but for myself, too. I was enjoying working in happy land. La-la-la.