Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

What a weird, weird day

listening to: 'Running Out of Pain' by 12 Stones
feeling: Reflective

    Today I:
  1. Watched Daddy Long-Leg sex up close. Question: What do you call female Daddy Long-Legs? Mommy Long-Legs? Actually, they're also called Opiliones, or Harvestmen, or Harvest Spiders, even though they're really not a spider. Arachnid, yes. Spider, no. They have a one-part body, no silk for webs,no fangs, and, incidentally, are not poisonous, contrary to some myths out there, although they do release a foul-tasting/smelling liquid when threatened to ward off predators. When I was growing up in Louisiana, we had a lot of them. I've always loved them. I like arachnids in general, which kind of makes my friends twitch, since I seem to attract both spiders and arachnaphobes. Anyway, I know, this sounds odd. Keep in mind I wanted to be an entymologist when I grew up. Also, I'm a pedestrian, so I tend to notice the little things on my morning commute. There was a large-bodied grey creature that was the female, who was trying to find the perfect place. A smaller male, more yellow in colour was following her so closely they at first seemed attached, although I realised after a moment that this was not the case. I don't know if they do an egg sac like spiders, but she seemed to be heading for the underside of the post. Unfortunately, I had to leave before the deed was done, and get to work. It was like watching a PBS special.
  2. Speaking of which, I met with the woman at KET about the research job. We clicked really well, and even if I'm not hired, I really enjoyed talking to her. I think we would work really well together, and I also think that I'm pretty much what she's looking for. I love a workplace where they bring their pets to work and you can actually walk into the parking lot and see a Prius Hybrid car. It would be a very flexible position where I could earn a little extra money and do something I love doing.
  3. After I got out of the meeting, I called D to wish her and N a safe trip. They were on their way to the airport to fly to Boston for the rest of the week, and she's kind of nervous. Plus, she's having a lot of allergy/sinus problems and can't take anything at the moment. I think the allergy issues will clear up after she gets out of Kentucky. But I hope the plane ride goes well.
  4. I went to a bus stop near LCC and...well...sort of got glommed onto by a young man who obviously had some mental health issues. He started out by loudly talking about things...you know conspiracy theory stuff+'I know it all attitude'...the kind of person who strings unbelievable statistics with official-sounding words like 'the X rate of Y is approximately', etc., but it's pretty much 75% bull and 25% see, look at me. Having spent the last 15 years being verbally swatted whenever I tried that, it was somewhat painful to listen to. I tried not to encourage him, but it wasn't one of those smile-and-nod-and-eventually-they-get-the-message sorts of things. So, I tried an entirely different tack. I turned to him, looked him squarely in the face, and started asking him what he was going to school to become, which turned out psychologist, and started with, 'well, you know, social skills are very important in counseling...are you planning to go into clinical psychology?' We wound up actually talking for about an hour about psychology, different techniques of handling clients, etc. After awhile, he thanked me for being direct with him. I'm not sure anyone had told him he came off like a loud-mouthed crazy asshole, and yet, he realised he had. I also pointed out that women in particular were frightened or made uncomfortable by this approach. Turns out we had a history of military brathood and mental health issues in common, although his was obviously severe enough to affect his interaction with people and I suspect it was something along the lines of schizophrenia, and he also had a sort of repetitive speech pattern that wasn't stuttering but probably gives him much grief in school. Just his luck he happened on someone with OCD and social phobia, but I think I did pretty well talking to a total stranger who sort of dropped in on me. It probably helped that I'd just come from a job interview where I'd felt I'd been pretty compentent, even with my blood sugar flagging towards the end. So, I made it clear that he had annoyed me greatly at the beginning, but that I had respected him enough as a person to let him know, rather than just dismiss him as some loon. It had taken him so thoroughly aback, but it gave me more control over my anxiety of dealing with someone who seemed unpredictable, and by the time we parted he was down to a much softer tone, not struggling as much with his words. I think the fact that I saw him as a person and encouraged him to talk so long as he took a better approach helped him. We did eventually introduce ourselves by first name only, and, since we were apparently at the bus stop where the bus did not stop after a certain time of day, had a decent conversation and parted company. It was very interesting. He had a lot of decent ideas but a lot of trouble articulating them; he was driven by his own experiences to go into a field to help others from the standpoint of someone who had been there, and I applaud that. But I think in terms of nervousness he tends to come on too strongly at first, and we talked about other, better methods of dealing with strangers. But I was also careful not to let him fall into the, well, I was being stupid mode--it's not about stupid or smart. Smart people often have the worst social skills. People who don't do well on standardised tests may excel in other ways, and still be smart. Anyway, it was an interesting hour. I don't know if it'll help him, but I got the impression that most people don't take the time to interact with him at all, so how is he supposed to get practice? And it gave me a chance to really see from the point of view of someone who had obviously dealt with much bigger issues than I had. So...it turned out to be a good thing, all because I seized the bull by the horns and told someone they were being incredibly rude. Of course, along with learning the skills I discussed with him, I was also told not to talk to strangers, especially crazy ones, on the bus or bus stop. And that was great advice. But I have to admit...I think that hour was an important one of confluence. I'm just not sure which one of us benefited more from it.
  5. So, I finally managed to catch the bus and went over to Jimmy John's for a sandwich. I always forget I don't care for their tuna, so of course that's what I ordered. But it was okay. Then a guy with a beer belly and an unbuttoned shirt came in and ordered a Budweiser. They don't serve beer at Jimmy John's. I thought he was going to get very belligerent with them for a moment (I think he'd already had a few beers), but he finally understood that the bar was next door.
  6. I'm really excited that the judge ruled that the smoking ban the city council passed a few months back is legal, so we should have a smoking ban in place as of next week. I personally plan to go over to O'Neil's and have pub food and maybe some Guinness. Oh, and Tolly Ho's. I love their food but it's become so hard for me to breathe I haven't been able to go in awhile. I have no trouble with people smoking in private but I really do not believe they have a God-given right to pollute the air for the rest of us. I've seen smokers lighting up at tables next to someone on oxygen. Although many are well-meaning, a lot of us are very sensitive to smoke (it triggers my asthma, for example), and nearly anyone who's ever attempted to smoke around me without having the smoke make a beeline for me has failed, no matter how well-meaning. It's a poison, people. It's a stupid one to take, but it is your right to smoke. It is not your right to smoke anywhere. And especially for those who work in a smoky environment, it is very much a public health issue. I think a lot of the flak will eventually die down, since it does affect most businesses equally. Unfortunately, there's a state politician who's so offended he's trying to bypass the local decision and make it impossible for localities to pass such ordinances. Although I admit a full referendum would be best--and my understanding is that current state law prevents such a referendum, I also think local government has authority in this matter, just as they have ordinances for food service inspections.
  7. On the way home I ran into some people walking down to the transit centre and the librarian who works at Kroger. Grand total, I've talked to about 7 other bus riders today. I guess I'm really breaking that etiquette rule, but I never agreed with it anyway. One thing I'll say about riding the bus...you get an incredibly rich variety of people, and most are fairly friendly.
  8. I had originally planned on going to the gym, but after taking so long, I decided to just go ahead and go home. I got some mail from my apartment building that I opened with some trepidation, seeing as I have been running late (but paid in full) for awhile on my rent and it's almost the end of my lease. Turns out, they want me to renew my lease, the rent is only increasing by $5, and, in return for signing for another year, they're offering a free carpet shampoo (I've been here 3 years and since I had animals, started with an older carpet. I guess they figured it probably needed it, and it does.) So, that was nice. I guess they figure long-standing, quiet tenants who pay their rent (even sometimes late) are better than having to try to rent the same apartment every six months or so.
  9. I was in such a good mood that I did a little work out on the patio (swept, sorted through some of the flowerpots, and cleared a path in the spiderwort so Cerys doesn't have to keep jumping it) and then did some straightening up in here. I washed dishes, got rid of junkmail, discovered some onions that really, really needed to go away and that mead, when it's been opened needs to be refrigerated because insects will somehow find a way into a corked bottle, etc. And then I sat down to blog. And so you have it. Strange day.

At the sandwich shop I read UK's Kentucky Kernel had a story on students blogging. Nice. I'm adding the blogs they mention to the 'slice of Kentucky' section of the blogroll.

Okay...I've had two cats sitting on my hands through most of this post and another atop the monitor. Cerys is wrapped up like a burrito on a couch cushion. I think I'll go spend some time with them...and maybe send the KET a thank you/some information of capoeira, which is a very graceful form of martial arts that is based on dance. In Brazil the slaves could not use weapons, so they found ways to adapt moves from dances. We had been talking about dancing and I'd brought that up. If I were more graceful and fit, I would love to learn to do this martial art form.