Thursday, July 30, 2009

Where in Hades Did I Get That?!?!

I didn't blog yesterday because I've been tired and busy. I'm feeling somewhat better. Thanks for asking.

I've been packing stuff in preparation for moving, buying stuff - because the apartment complex requires area rugs or floor pads under all furniture on the hardwood parquet flooring - and trying not to overdo it.

I resumed sorting through all the stuff I've acquired in the past 7 months or so, as well as some stuff that travelled with me from Dallas to my parents' house. I wanted to make sure it really needed to go back to Dallas.

Not all of it does.

What have I uncovered in the past two hours? A million coaxial cables, despite the fact that I rarely watch TV. A 12-foot ethernet cord - bright green - that I received as a freebie from the dorm I lived in my first year of college. A 3-foot ethernet cord - bright blue - that I picked up somewhere else along the way. Approximately 30-feet total of telephone cord, and a Polaroid camera.

A Polaroid camera. That still works, even though the last time I used it was 5 years ago. Apparently, the battery/film cartridge was still "good" battery-wise, although all the pictures I've taken this evening with it turned out red.

"Hey, Mom! Turn around!" Ka-chik-wu-eeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrr. Presto! Mom en rouge!

I also uncovered a traditional film camera that has a decidedly dead battery, the warranty information for my old laptop, as well as all the set-up CDs that go along with it, my old Motorola Razr telephone, and multiple notebooks with job-hunting tips desperately scrawled inside.

None of the tips did me any good, however, because they didn't include Go drinking with colleagues regularly.

I threw out the job-hunting tips, but kept the notebooks, most of the cords (the CPU power cord won't do me a whole bunch of good, since I no longer have a desktop computer, so that went on the garage sale pile), and all of the cameras.

You never know when you'll need a distorted red picture of your dog.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Excellent Timing

I've had health problems for about the last... 15 years. No, seriously. I had a bad back when I was in middle school, and then I came down with a bad case of cancer in high school, and then the aftermath of 2 1/2 years of chemotherapy started wreaking havoc during college and has continued more or less constantly since then.

I have good spells and bad spells, and I today started in on a doozy. Yes, today. Three days before I can start moving.

What could be so awful that it will inhibit my ability to assist in the aforementioned move?

I'm not telling.

It's painful, and it requires me to lie prone for long periods of time. And now you know as much about my health problems as 95% of my friends. Only the really special ones know the exact nature of my indisposition. The rest just think I'm a whiner and a wuss.

I am a whiner, but I am not a wuss. Unless it's a sport and someone is throwing something at me. Then, okay, I am a wuss.

I'm hoping I'll be pain-free by Friday, but I somehow doubt that will happen. I have a hunch the issue will escalate, partly as a result of the emotional stress of moving, partly because of the physical stress of sitting in the world's most uncomfortable office chair.

Word to the wise: cancer sucks, don't get it. It mucks things up forever.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Crazy Times

I spent way too much money at the Container Store, today. What could I possibly require at the Container Store that would consume almost $150 of my hard-earned money? you may ask.

Obviously, you have never been to the Container Store.

I try to keep most of my Architectural Record magazines, as well as the Texas Architect magazines I receive, courtesy of my American Institute of Architects Associate-level membership, and the fact that I've collected several months' worth of these during my tenure as resident unemployed offspring meant that I absolutely HAD to buy more grey linen-covered magazine files.

They are a necessity.

I also realized that my nice leather purses - the small ones, anyways - needed some form of storage container that wouldn't scratch their nice leather, but would keep the dust off. So I bought a big cloth box with a collapsible frame. (The large leather purses typically come with their own flannel storage bag, courtesy of the manufacturer).

It was a necessity.

I have a lovely little Elfa trolley that I used to keep my printer in and my scanner on, and its top drawer helf scissors and tape. I bought 3 shallow drawers to replace the existing deep drawer, which will no doubt end up holding linens or something. Where will my printer and scanner go? The scanner can still sit on top of the trolley, and the printer - a new shiny white one that's far more attractive than its dull grey predecessor - will sit on a bookshelf or on my desk. The trolley is lovely because it tucks neatly under my skirted desk and out of view.

The drawers were necessities, as well.

And I bought a grey linen binder in which to store warranty information, because it matches the grey linen binder that stores computer program CDs and the hard drive backup CDs I make every so often.

The grey linen binder was obviously also a necessity.

Why, you now ask, are all these things necessities? Why couldn't I just pile my purses on a shelf like other women? Why couldn't I buy a day-glo orange plastic binder that costs half as much at Target? Why couldn't I have just stashed my art supplies in a hideous plastic trolley, left exposed to the eyes of all?

Because, I am obsessive compulsive about my living environment, and if my living environment is not just so, I'm unhappy. As in, I will be stressed because there are too many random magazines stacked at the end of the bookshelf unhappy. As in, I will sit in my living room and cry because I have nowhere to stow my art supplies when I'm not using them unhappy.

In my room at my parents' house, things are piled in boxes, clothes hang haphazardly - but hangered - on the backs of doors, and books and binders are piled sky-high on my drawing table. Does it bother me? You betcha! But I've coped with it because I knew it was just temporary, and that it would change when I moved. In my own home, however, there is no feeling of this is just temporary and it will all be neater and straightened up soon.

It's a good thing I'm not more obsessive-compulsive than I am. If I was, I would probably require therapy.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ephemera, Etc...

I've been sorting through the piles of paper that tend to accumulate wherever I go, and have thrown wads of it into the recycling bin at my parents' house. Among the ephemera I've encountered are concert tickets from a couple of years ago (Martin Sexton at the House of Blues), hand-written notes from my sister and brother-in-law, and house plans I've squirreled away in the unlikeliest places.

The accordion folder housing my electronics warranties was the best place to store the plans for a minimalist glass and stone house. I do a lot of design-work at night, after the Benadryl/Tylenol PM cocktail has kicked in but before I fall asleep.

Granted, not all of the flotsam and jetsam from the past few months has been tossed in the rubbish bin. The handwritten notes are squirreled away once more, this time with the others I keep in various old stationary boxes that were too retro-cool to throw away (gold and black-lacquer finish paper!) and I saved the concert tickets for potential integration into a collage in the future.

I've put a couple of pairs of shoes on the Garage Sale Pile O Doom in the family room. I intend to box up all that detritus with the boxes left from the last time I moved. I've discovered a whole trove of cleaning products in our garage that once belonged to me (but were used by my former house-keeper almost exclusively), and my mom informs me that there are spices and food-stuffs in the cabinets and pantry here, donated to the communal living space after I moved in.

I failed to cook with them, while here, however.

I have sorted through the pens in my two writing-utensil holders and discarded those that no longer have ink, lead, or erasers, or that write poorly, because I'm obsessed with how pens feel against the paper when I write. If there's too much snagging of the paper fibers, the deal's off.

I also tossed the black-market imitation Sharpie markers I unwittingly bought at a midnight street fair. They probably took 10 years off my life.

Don't buy permanent markers at midnight street fairs. Or DVDs.

The books I bought during my tenure as the resident unemployed offspring in the house filled one box, and I have yet to find something in which to put the other 11 remaining.

I made a list today of things I need to purchase before my move, and it's not that long, but it won't be cheap. The Container Store should fall to its knees in worship at the mere thought of my imminent arrival.

I get to pick up the keys to the apartment Friday at lunch. I'll go back Friday night to measure the windows in the living room and bedroom so I can buy the appropriate curtain rods. Curtains are something I don't have to worry about: I have them in spades.

The curtains in my room at my parents' house are left from my college apartment. My mom offered to let me take them with me, since they technically belong to me. They're attractive curtains, don't get me wrong, they're just not what I want in my apartment. The curtains that will hang in my apartment in Dallas are higher quality, and longer to boot! I need to buy some fringe to go along the bottom of the curtains in my living room, though.

Either that or new curtains.

We'll see which option wins out for the O.C.D.esigner.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ode to My Family

I just realized Saturday that I will no longer be living with my parents, effective August 1, 2009. Am I looking forward to it? Yes. Am I kind of sad about it? Yes.

Although I occasionally go into a hyper-bitchy insensitive rant about how I'm ready to move out, I actually enjoy living with my parents. They're both funny and amazing people who have been more than generous and understanding while I've been living with them. They dragged me out of bed when I was unemployed on those days when I literally was so depressed I couldn't imagine doing anything but sleep, even though I was impossibly grumpy and refused to make conversation after being rousted.

Avoidance sleep = BAD

Excited as I am about living in my own apartment with my own artwork, being on my own schedule again (and not having to commute an hour each way to work in the morning!), I'll miss living at home.

That being said, I am extremely excited about moving into my own apartment with my own artwork and being on my own schedule again. I'll get to look at my custom-made steel bookcases (7 feet tall! 3'6" wide! White! Bee-yoo-tee-full!), and the framed print of a Madonna and child, but if the Madonna and child were characters from Planet of the Apes. That's one of the things I look forward to in my own apartment: my quirky design taste.

Because my design taste is decidedly quirky.

I have an orange ceramic deer that serves as the center piece on my dining table. At Christmas, it gets to wear a red flocked wreath with a silver holly leaf. My artwork is a collection of photographs (one by my mom: an old rusted truck parked in an old car dealership porte-cochere somewhere in New Mexico, I think; some family photos, my favorite a candid shot of my grandmother at a Christmas gathering with a gold gift-bow on her head) and limited edition prints.

When I moved into my last apartment, I decided that I needed to keep my picture frames the same throughout, because I wouldn't always be able to hang my pictures in the same rooms as I moved. So the pictures in my bedroom are framed in the same inexpensive white metal frames that are found in my living and dining rooms. Sure, the mats are slightly off, because I forget which color I've used, so I alter them, but they all blend.

Somebody once asked me what sort of interior decorating scheme my apartment had: was it modern or traditional? I responded that it was eclectic, but that most importantly, it had a sense of humor. And it does. There are kind of kitschy things I've inherited (a pottery dish with a squirrel perched on the edge from my great aunt) or bought (such as the orange deer), and very sophisticated things, such as my Wassily Chair and an incredibly sculptural black metal floor lamp I received as part of my Make A Wish bedroom makeover back in high school.

I was trying to explain to a member of the Happy Hour crew why I hadn't just asked a bunch of my friends to help me move: I'm concerned about the insurance. If a friend helps me move, it means I'm liable for damage done to my bookcases or to the immense Scottish chest of drawers that dominates my bedroom. But I'm hiring movers, so they're liable for moving everything and for repairing anything that gets damaged along the way.

I feel like I have so much to do before I move. My dad and I plan to move small things the morning of the day the movers come - clothes, toiletries, that sort of thing. I'm moving on a very popular weekend, so the movers won't actually arrive until 4 in the afternoon. That's the downside. The upside is that I will hopefully be able to get a lot of stuff done that morning - maybe move some stuff from my storage unit, too - before the movers show up. Regardless, I'll be spending a lot of time this next week getting things I know I'll need but that I don't have - cleaning supplies, trash cans, etc...

My mom, saints bless her, said that she was excited that I was moving, too: it means she gets to help me hang pictures and arrange my bookshelves, and all that fun decoratory stuff. Yay for a little mother-daughter bonding!

Note to self: stock up on Chick-Fil-A iced tea Saturday so we'll have plenty to drink during our Sunday picture-hanging marathon.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Apparently, Breaking Up is REALLY Hard to Do

Especially when the fellow in question (Emilio) sends you an email informing you that he doesn't know what to make of your seeming volte face, and that he totally understands your need to put professional life before social life, etc... Um, yeah, so he really doesn't get it. Apart from replying to tell him that he annoys me and I really don't enjoy his company, what's a girl to do? Any suggestions? Anyone? Of course, I could just ignore his response and not communicate with him. Ever. Again.

A day of frustrations, all around. My "I don't want to see you anymore" is intentionally misunderstood, and I find that Pacman has changed all of my interior elevations - my precious, precious elevations - without consulting with me or informing me. Most importantly, the alterations DON'T WORK in elevation, because they jack up the datum lines in ALL THE ROOMS, which visually flow from one to another.

Frustrating day.

(To view this Creative Commons Attribution Licensed image, please go to Leeni!'s photostream at To view license info, please see

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

I just "broke up" with Emilio. (Can you break up with someone after only four dates?) Yeah, it was bound to happen. The idea of dating somebody seemed good at the time, but then... well, then I got to know Emilio. On our fourth date - he took me to a musical, more on that later - I realized that I don't really enjoy his company. In fact, I realized that he annoyed me. A lot. I also realized that he never let me talk: the man talked constantly.

What did he talk about? I HAVE NO IDEA. It wasn't interesting enough for me to pay attention to, and more often than not, I'd find myself five minutes into a "conversation" with him thinking to myself "Oh, God! What is he talking about? I don't know! Crap!"

Although this is not the reason I broke up with him, our fourth date was utter agony for me. He took me to dinner, and then to a surprise. As a guy taking a girl on a fourth date, I would never go out on a limb and surprise her, but he probably thought it was a grand romantic gesture, of which he seemed entirely too fond. So he took me... to... a... musical. A Chorus Line, to be exact.

Did I mention I hate musicals? Ok, aside from Jersey Boys, I loathe going to musicals. Musicals on TV? I'll watch Grease, and I do enjoy a good old-fashioned Disney flick every now and again (hakuna matata!) but that's it.

Poor guy.

Sort of. As I told a friend yesterday, I think he already had our unborn children named. On our fourth - and last - date, he asked me if there was anywhere in Mexico I'd like to visit, and I told him I'd always wanted to see Tenochtitlan. He nodded, and responded, "Okay, let's go there. Maybe in February?"

What? It's our fourth date! You don't moot the idea of international vacation plans on a fourth date!

Of course, when I informed my aforementioned friend that Emilio had named our unborn children, he replied, "So have I! You want to know their names?" Hardee har har. My friends are so funny...

On the upside, I'll now have more time to get stuff done that I've been neglecting (hopefully) and can concentrate on preparing to move to my new apartment closer to Downtown Dallas. Hooray!

Monday, July 20, 2009


My coworkers and I stumbled upon a rival's website today while attempting to hunt down the contact information for one of his former employers. As I sat in my cubicle, all by my lonesome, updating interior elevations, I heard Radio yell, "Guys, come look at Moog's website!" Moog is not, of course, the rival's real name. Radio is not named Radio, Pacman is not named Pacman, and Scooter is not - thankfully - actually named Scooter. This is all to protect certain peoples' identities, as well as my own employment.

We all rushed into Radio's cubicle and there, on the screen, was Moog, orating to someone off-camera about his theory of architecture - which is pretty much Le Corbusier 101 - and the materials he uses ("Hey, we use those, too!"). It wasn't until the second go-round that we realized there was more to the site than just the video, which served only to make Moog look somewhat laughable in the eyes of architects, but which might seem impressive to lay-people.

What was so striking about the occurrence and its effect on all of us is that we all respect Moog very highly - he's probably one of the most talented architects in Texas, myself not-withstanding . However, the video made him appear to be an overblown and pompous ass, which I'm sure he's not. I've never actually met the man, since he is too far above my own plebeian status in the world of architecture.

Of course, the rampant snarkiness that ensued as we watched the video is just one reason that I love my job so much. The guys I work with are genuinely funny, and have the same "take no prisoners" sense of humor that I inherited from my father. They can turn anything into a joke, and the best jokes are at their own expense, typically. Today, however, they weren't forced to mock themselves as the all-knowing and incredibly impressive Moog gave us ample fodder for that.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Um, Hello?

I think the firm for which I work is possibly one of the most laid-back offices on earth. No, we don't have a ball-pit or a nap room, but pretty much anything goes. Feel ill? Call in sick: sick days don't count against you. At all. If you're sick, you're sick, so don't spread your germs, just stay home.

I did not stay home. In fact, I worked all day. I was, for a while, once again, the only person in the office. Typically, I lock the door when I'm alone in there, but today, I forgot to do so, and as I sat in my cubicle - the farthest spot in the office from the front door - I heard a tentative female "Hello?" I called out "Lola?" thinking that the receptionist had returned. I thought incorrectly. It was a tile distributor's representative and her trusty (male) sidekick, and they had come to update our sample books.

Granted, she had to ask the name of the firm, because she wasn't 100% certain we were an architecture firm when she wandered in... She just figured that we were because - you know - there's a lot of architecture firms in the building. Small firms. That have only one newbie employee manning the whole office for a stretch of two or three hours.

Not that I mind. Being alone means I get to listen to whatever music I want - today was 60s lounge music day, for me - and I can stand at the window and watch the cars drive past for five minute stretches without interruption or being asked what I'm looking at. I can also dance on my way back to my cubicle to the fancy 60s lounge music complete with James Bond sound bytes and laugh out loud when I catch my reflection in the window of the plate glass.

It can also be eerie. Like when you're alone and the tile rep shows up. She was funny, though, and laughed when I joked about keeping the door locked when alone in the office in case suspicious people masquerading as tile reps decided to come case the joint.

Huh, she laughed at my joke... Maybe we should use her company's tile...

(Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Wamito, used under the Creative Commons Sharealike/Attribution license. Image may be found at

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Abject Apologies

I would like to apologize most sincerely for failing to write an entry last night. I was distracted, you see, by a gingerman with a yen to play trivia games - not trivial games, mind you - at a bar, and really, how can a girl resist?

As a result of last night's shenanigans, I earned the nickname "Betel Nuts." No, it's not a sick reference to inappropriate acts committed with Beteljuice, but the name of a nut chewed by residents of the Middle East and the Subcontinent that has a stimulant effect - I believe it's a mild narcotic. Betel Nuts happened to be the answer to the question: Name the stimulant nut that, when chewed, will cause you to hawk red loogies.

I knew the answer. I was the only person in the bar who knew the answer. I feel smart, now.

I will be making a repeat appearance at the same bar next week.

That's "play," now on to work.

I've spent the past few days drafting interior elevations of the bathroom that's going into the house I'm working on. Yes, DAYS on this bathroom, changing joint lines in the limestone wall surface, adjusting reveals in the wood paneling on the bathroom walls (!), thickening walls so medicine cabinets can be tucked discreetly behind mirrors in the wall.

It's kind of tedious and it takes forever to do, but every hour I complete is an hour towards my Intern Development Program requirements. On top of that, I am learning a ton about how buildings fit together: all those little details that you don't learn in architecture school.

That's one of the things that is sort of overwhelming about my job: every little detail requires me to go through the construction drawings of a previous project to fish out the details so I know how my boss likes things done. And, as I said before, the school I went to was a "big picture" school; I've met several people who've all commented on the fact that my fellow graduates tend not to be the construction document people, but are placed straight into design departments.

That's what my alma mater groomed me to do: design, and hand off the Construction Documents to "plebes." That mind-set, although it creates competitive students with above-average design skills, can be detrimental in the workplace, because a psychological divide is set up between the Construction guys and the Design guys. So I'm glad that I'm now at a firm where I'm simultaneously designing and doing construction documents: I don't have to worry about losing my design "edge" but I'm also honing my decidedly dull technical skills.

(Creative Commons Attribution licensed image found at, courtesy of Flickr user Jackie... yeah, follow the links from Wikimedia to her page if you want more info)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Whoa There Cowboy, Let's Not Get Carried Away

Work has been going well, and I have mountains of interior elevations to annotate and hatch (or, for you non-architecty people, I have to put patterns on them that represent materials). I am, truly, the forgotten architect, as Radio, Pacman, and Oldsmobile neglected to inform me that they were meeting to discuss the project on which I'm working. I was called in for the last 15 minutes, just before Oldsmobile left and Radio abandoned the conference room to call a client.

In other news, Emilio sent me flowers today, and not just any flowers, but Bird of Paradise, calla lilies, and something pink and waxy looking. I'm not sure what it's called, apart from many-petaled waxy pink flower.

I have to say, I was freaked out. Yeah, yeah, maybe I should have been all, "Oh, how sweet! He sent me flowers!" but the fact is, I was a little weirded out. Heck, I'm still a little weirded out. I knew he was a bit gung-ho about me, but... The card was kind of gushy, too. Granted, maybe what he intended to say was lost in translation and came out more enthusiastic than he intended.

At least, that's what I'm hoping.

If his over-exuberance continues, I'm going to have to talk to him about it, to let him know that, yes, he's a great guy, and I'm enjoying his company, but he needs to slow it down a bit.

A fellow I once went on a date with told me that I was "hard to read." I guess his idea of flirting would have been if I licked his face. Regardless, I flirted more with Mr. You're-a-Borderline-Ice-Queen than I have with Emilio, with whom I've been very reserved, and he's still this excited about me.

The upshot of all this is that I simultaneously have the feeling that of course he's smitten with me, I'm an amazing person and should be revered by all with a religious fervor while at the same time something is screaming get out while you still can! He will stalk you and kill you and wear your skin as a dress. Except he didn't seem creepy until he sent flowers.

And now, I feel nothing but pity for males: send flowers too late (if at all) and you're a boor; send flowers too early, and with too much enthusiasm, and you're a latter day Jack the Ripper.

I am so glad I'm not a guy.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sort-of Happy Hour + 100th Blog Post Extravaganza!

Saturday night, I went on my 2nd date with... we will call him Emilio, since that is what my dad calls him for inexplicable reasons. I enjoyed myself, for the most part. Emilio is an incredible gentleman - we're talking opening car doors, walking between the lady and the street, fetching water and a chair for his date when she almost faints prior to dinner...

Yeah, I almost fainted, and not because I was swooning with joy. Nothing so Scarlett O'Hara for this gal. Oh, no. Best we could figure out it was a combination of wine + plein-air + standing = "Are you okay?!?!?!"

On the plus side, as soon as I answered, "No. No, I think I'm going to faint," I was ushered to the nearest empty seat (which was fortunately at a table just cleared for us - excellent timing on my part), and a glass of water was hastily retrieved from the bar for my drinking pleasure. He was all concern and attentiveness, and the fact that he acted quickly as soon as I said, "I think I'm going to faint," was reassuring. No standing around debating what to do.

The rest of dinner - at Coal Vines on Cedar Springs in Uptown Dallas - went off without a hitch. We still went to Ghost Bar at the W Hotel afterwards for a big party and to join some of his friends who were VIPs for the evening.

Ah, Ghost Bar. I hope that my first visit will also be my last. For one thing - get ready for some design snarkiness - the interiors are already outdated, they were that trendy. I read on a fellow snarkster's blog that the interiors resembled nothing so much as a modern furniture emporium with scantily-clad sales-girls.

That's a pretty appropriate summation. The waitresses - whose skirts hardly covered their derrieres, and DIDN'T cover their derrieres when they bent over right in your face - "Why hello, Lacy White Thong. How are you today?" - were uncomfortable for me, at best. I kept thinking they were going to start stripping at any moment. Weird.

I had been all worried about what to wear to this big event, and as it turns out, one other girl and I - I could have been friends with her - were the best dressed gals at the whole thing. Most of the women seemed to be wearing bandeau bras for skirts and had bought their clothes at the local sex shop. It was truly appalling, and I'm not exactly prudish. In fact, the dress I wore was rather low-cut - ok, really low cut - but it was tasteful, with no chance of wardrobe malfunction. My tasteful brown linen dress vs. girls whose underwear - or lack thereof - was painfully obvious due to the shortness of their skirts. It was kind of depressing, really. Ok, very depressing.

But entertaining in a "watching a car wreck, rubbernecking" kind of way.

And DJ AM is decidedly over-hyped. Tiesto is infinitely better, and I know that they're different types of musicians, but the guy that spins on Thursdays at the Slip Inn is better than DJ AM.

Or maybe that's just because I usually have a beer in hand at the Slip Inn, but opted not to imbibe further after my "OMG I'm going to fall flat on the restaurant floor and split my lip open" episode.

Maybe, but not likely.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Social Life Also Improving

I swear, it really is Feast or Famine, with me. I started out unemployed, depressed, and rapidly becoming a social recluse, and now I'm employed at a firm I love, I'm ecstatic about life, and my social calendar is full to bursting.

For instance, I went on a lunch date today. I haven't been on an official-planned-in-advance-OMG-what-will-I-wear date in a good long time. I'm not telling how long, mind you, but it had been a while. And you know what? I had fun. I enjoyed myself, even though I returned to the office a bit later than I'd planned - 30 minutes later, actually. Stupid delinquent waiter. Fortunately, there was no teasing from my coworkers about my lateness (they don't know where I went at lunch, just that I was out of the office).

Of course, it would have been difficult to deflect the teasing onto me. Pacman had an eventful day, you see. He was attempting to chip the ice out of the freezer compartment in the 20 year old mini-fridge in our office when the screwdriver he was using - along with a hammer - slipped and punctured the freon coil.

No, I am not kidding.

As a result, he took a (non-lethal) face-full of freon, which isn't too toxic in the dose he got, according to the online Material Safety Data Sheet I checked. We also ended up with a new refrigerator, because Sub-Zero was going to charge $400 to dispose of the freon in addition to $500 for a new coil... for a 20 year old mini fridge. So now, we have a beverage refrigerator without a freezer compartment - the old one was iced over because nobody ever used it.

And we all have a good reason to rag on Pacman for the rest of his life. See? Life is good.

At the end of the day, Radio, Scooter, and Pacman all decided it was time to go have a drink, so we abandoned ship at 4:45 to imbibe libations in the bar on the 1st floor - a bar whose ridiculously good-looking bartender (in my own humble opinion) I saw for the first time, today.

Yowza. See? Life is good.

AND this Saturday, I get to do two fun things: hang out with friends from the Make-A-Wish Foundation and then go on another date (with the same fellow I lunched with, today). The good times keep rolling in.

Nice change from my usual plaintive whining, isn't it?

And in case you're wondering, the reason there have been no book reviews, of late, is that I gave up on the book I was reading, and I haven't had the time or the inclination to find another one, let alone read one. Shocking, I know, but there it is.

(Creative Commons Attribution Licensed image courtesy of Flickr user Adam Jarmon Brown may be found at

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Forgotten Architect

I think I might have to write a short story with the above title. Then again, maybe I'll just settle for a blog post.

Why did I dub this post with the above title? Because that is what Oldsmobile called me today: The Forgotten Architect. Obviously, he called me that because he occasionally forgets I exist, back there in my little corner.

I broke out of my shell a bit, today, and made a couple of witty jokes at Pacman's expense - he was pleasantly surprised, I think. He'd been teasing me, telling Scooter that he kept wondering when I was going to go postal on the office and unleash a hell-storm of vitriol on my coworkers. My words, not his, although he did use the term "postal." Vitriol and hell-storm are a result of my faulty memory coupled with poetic license. Prosaic license? Hmmmm....

Later, while discussing the traditional tassels that adorn the shirts of Hasidic Jewish men, I was able to add a bit of intelligence to the conversation by informing Pacman and Scooter and the receptionist - um... we'll call her... Lola! - that it's required if you literally interpret Judaic laws.

We then got into a discussion of religious law and why it made sense then, but not now, etc... and I added that camel meat is not kosher. A fascinating morsel of information if I may say so myself. Ba-dum-ching!

(Flickr Creative Commons Sharealike Licensed image courtesy of user Steve.Maw may be found at Licensing terms may be found at

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Workin' For a Living (Workin!)

Now that my Hughey Lewis and the News moment has passed...

I'm enjoying my job, although I feel a wee bit isolated, there. I sit in a corner that was formerly storage for Oldsmobile's photography hobby (boxes and boxes of 16"x24" black-and-white photographs from the 1950s up until a few years ago). As a result, I sit in what was formerly an almost entirely abandoned corner, so it doesn't get much foot traffic from the other 4 employees.

Olds: Pacman, you and Radio need to make sure you check on Ms. StrainedConsciousness' progress every so often.
Pacman: Hey, Ms. StrainedConsciousness! You alive?
Me: Yup!
Pacman: Ok!

Yes, that's the actual conversation that occurred today, granted with our real names instead of their Internet monikers. It was funny, yes, but at the same time was pretty indicative of the way my days go. Pacman sits in a corner at work, but it's the corner by the kitchen counter, so he gets foot traffic when the guys refill their coffee cups or when I go fill my lovely Pantone 3395C mug with water to microwave for tea. That is, unless I'm refilling my 1L Sigg Maharashda Gold aluminum bottle for the third time, as opposed to polluting the earth by drinking from wasteful plastic water bottles.

<eco-smug expression just before I dash to the WC because I finished my fourth liter of water for the day>

Because of my location-imposed autonomy, I sometimes feel like I'm not quite one of the regular employees, yet. It's kind of like a flash-back to my days as an intern at Corgan, when my job was to organize stuff in a closet. Sometimes, the only person I saw was the receptionist when I got to work and the receptionist (again) when I left.

It's not nearly that bad working for Oldsmobile, but I hear the guys bantering on the other side of the office as they refill coffee mugs and microwave the leftovers their wives packed for their lunch, and I sigh in a woebegone manner and return my attention to the interior elevations that confront me, drowning my sorrows with environmentally conscious water and fair trade tea.

Monday, July 6, 2009

No Happy Hour Post From Friday (Sorry)

But as atonement for my inability to make a schedule and keep to it - especially when there's a pool party involved (!) - I will review a Kozy little restaurant in Uptown and spill the beans on laptop bags, as per an avid readers' request.

First, the laptop bags:

1) this is where I got my bag. Right now, they have several on sale, but their selection is limited, and the prices are usually 3 times what I paid. However, all of their bags are leather, and they DON'T LOOK LIKE LAPTOP BAGS. That being said, they don't have the best padding for your laptop, but I already have a padded sleeve ($20 at Fry's) so it all works out.
2) the place to go for bazillion dollar gilded python bags. Seriously. (And they're only US$1500!)

3) Their price range is incredible, and they have bags for literally every budget ($25-$699). You can simply pick which computer make and model you have, and it will find the bags that will fit your computer. Brilliant!

4) I only wish I could buy one of these bags (they cost between $350-$500). They're beautiful, but they don't gild the lily - or the python - any more than necessary. I've always thought that saying was stupid. Everything should be covered in gilt!
Happy hunting!

Next up, my trip to Kozy, a pretentiously hip little cafe on McKinney Avenue in Dallas.

Save your hard-earned moolah.

I'd read great things about the place, so when my mom and I went searching for something to eat Saturday afternoon while out running errands, we decided to try it. My mom loved her shrimp salad - big grilled shrimp on a bed of greens with a divine honey balsamic vinaigrette.

I ordered the buffalo tacos, with visions of the deliciousness that is Cowboy Chow dancing in my starved little head. Alas, it was not to be! The buffalo meat was ground to a mealy mess and seasoned within an inch of its life. Actually, the buffalo was dead, so I will assume it was seasoned to death.

Buffalo murder! What a terrible way to go, drowned in cheap pre-packaged-tasting taco seasoning!

And that was all that I got, too. Yeah, there was a bleu cheese guacamole on top, but no veggies, no lettuce, no side of beans, nothing. I was incredibly disappointed.

Also, as you may have noticed, I am a trifle OCD about design. The restaurant's interiors were awful. The kitchen was partially exposed, and it had vinyl wall panels for about the first 8 feet of wall. That's fine. Actually, I think that's building code. Anyways, that didn't bother me.

What DID bother me was that whoever painted failed to use painter's tape, and the top 3 inches of the panels were a fantastic mess of blue-grey paint smears. There were places where the painters blatantly missed 2-inch wide bits of wall, and if the effect was intended to be edgy, they missed their target. It just looked sloppy. Almost enough to make a girl lose her appetite.

Alas, they succeeded in squelching my hunger with their mess-tastic tacos.

(All images courtesy of the companies' websites on which they were found. Hope they don't mind too much! Heck, they should pay me! It's free advertising, right?)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I Finally Did It

I know: you're relieved. I can tell. Yes, the enormously huge, momentous decision was made at 12:15 a.m. on Sunday, July 5. I finally made the commitment.

I bought a laptop bag.

And it's gorgeous. It looks like a big slouchy purse - known in the fashion world as a Hobo Bag - and not a bit like a laptop bag. It is gorgeous and I got it for 75% off the original price, so it just became even more beautiful in my mind. It is real leather (sorry to all you PETA fans, but I like leather and fur... especially fur), with wonderful detailing, and inside pockets and all that goodness.

So that dilemma is solved. In the course of looking for a bag, I discovered a zillion that I wanted by a company called Violet May. Their bags are gorgeous - we're talking gilded python skin, people - and cost about $1500 apiece. Not that anyone needs a gilded python skin bag. But I maybe need the natural snake skin bag. It's a steal at only $1100.

Now, I have another task to hurdle: my mom offered to do the groundwork in setting up my side business. I'm not sure how I feel about that, because I'd want everything done just so, and I'm a wee bit of a control freak. Just a wee bit.

My parents both offered to do the business start-up for me, so I'm considering it. But first, I want to write up my business plan, as per my sister's suggestion. There's a book sitting on my bedside table - still shrink-wrapped - just waiting for me to break it out to get after it. I also need to get a website up and running, which requires me find someone to design the website (I have a couple of people in mind for this one).

There is also a GRE prep book on the bedside table. And a book about how to make books so I can hand-craft my portfolio. Except for the ones going to the schools that don't return portfolios (!) and the one that requires an electronic portfolio. But then again, I might decide not to attend either of those schools.

All in all, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by the whole prospect of taking on the business while I'm preparing to take the GRE again and redo my portfolio. I think I need to go visit my sister pretty soon to figure all this business out. My main priority, now that I have a place to live beginning August 1, is to take the GRE, and then to redo my portfolio. I can do some portfolio work, right now, but not as much as I'd like to do.

So little time, and so much to do. And so much conflictedness about how to go about doing it.

And, to top it all off, I was just asked out on a date - via email - by a gentleman I met Thursday evening. At least, I'm going to assume he's a gentleman, until proven otherwise. So now, I have to decide if it's acceptable for him to propose a lunch date via email. Part of me says, "No. No it's not." But at the same time, his email was written with excellent grammar and punctuation, so that's promising. Much better than a text message with bastardized versions of words and no punctuation.

I'm thinking that eq = proper grammar + killer smile = date material.

Any comments from the peanut gallery?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

And I Didn't Have to Ask!

I was informed, today, that I received a $1,000 pay raise last week.


I learned this in an "Oh, hey, can I talk to you?" sort of way, almost as an afterthought. Radio called me over to his desk halfway through a "discussion" with Pacman about why I should live in Deep Ellum (he is for it, I am not so eager, particularly since I've already shelled out $75 for the apartment I want to live in, vs. not knowing where I'd live in Deep Ellum that would be as nice or as spacious or as quiet).

Once at Radio's desk, he wrote on a piece of paper, "This is your gross salary: $XX,XXX." Obviously, the X's were numbers - although to mathematicians, X is a number anyways - but the only person who needs to know how much I make is me. And the taxman. Oh, and the leasing company. And FAFSA, eventually, but that's the government, which is related to the taxman, so is that one person? Okay, multiple people need to know how much I make, but none of them read this blog.

The X's were also $1,000 more than I'd been informed I would be paid.

Thank you, G-Man. G-Man is not a government spook, by the way, but he is a friend and fellow Happy Hour attendee. The day after my "salary negotiations" - which were really just me accepting the number presented - Radio arrived at HH and the first words out of his mouth were, "Haven't you ever heard of a counter-offer?" Why did he ask that? Because the salary presented was much lower than what I'd made previously. 18.3% lower, in fact. I took the job, though, because an 18.3% pay cut is still better than the 75% pay cut I took by being on the dole from the Texas Workforce Commission.

I was taken aback by Radio's directness and brusque manner, and I think my face registered that. I defended myself by informing him that I'd been prepared for the offer of a contract position, but not for a salary. At this juncture, G-Man spoke up and pointed out that he has several currently unemployed friends who counter-offered in interviews and lost the job to someone who was willing to just take less money.

"Exactly," I continued. "I've had friends who've counter-offered in interviews, too, and in this economy, a counter-offer can cost you a job." I think Radio felt guilty, because I now make $1,000 more than I did the day I started the job. He told me he raised the salary last week, and made it retroactive to the day I started work.

Heck yes.

After a brief freak-out earlier today (did I fill out my W-4 correctly? Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod) and a bit of online research, I am very happy with my pay. Of course, insurance isn't being deducted from my salary, yet, because it won't go into effect until August 1, but that means I can save XXX over the next few weeks.

And I get the apartment with the view of Downtown. And Radio decided we should knock off from work early and go to the bar on the first floor for a beer. And I had dinner with a college friend and a couple of drinks afterwards. And I don't have to work Friday. And Friday Happy Hour has been rescheduled for Thursday to celebrate G-Man's birthday.

And life is good.