Dec 11 2010

the great purge

For the longest time, CarrieNation thought I was a neat freak.  This came out after I’d known her for maybe two years.  What happened was: the first time she was ever in my apartment was the first time I met her, which was also right after I’d done a fairly major cleaning.  My place was…. well, not spotless, but as close as it’s been to spotless in the past decade.  And then we always hung out somewhere else after that.  So naturally she just assumed I was always so fastidious.  She’s under no such illusions any more.

It has recently come to my attention that I’m not a hoarder.  It’s not like this was a huge concern, but I’ll admit I had my doubts.  But a friend of my friend Cait’s father is the world’s leading expert on hoarding – he wrote the book on it, literally – and I don’t exhibit any of the big warning signs.  It hasn’t been impossible for me to move around my house; I can distinguish between throwing away an object and throwing away a memory or a person or place.  It turns out I’m just lazy.  And disorganized.  That’s why this stupid task is going to take all goddamn weekend.


10-ish PM — I started with the bookshelves, which maybe was a bad idea.  There are more tough decisions to be made there than probably anywhere else.  It took about an hour, but I think I made decent progress.In the foreground is my first of many bags of trash.  I’ve obviously ignored the pressing problem of compact discs for now, but I identified more books than I expected to get rid of.


10:16 AM — After a visit to Alexandria’s finest (and only) breakfast joint, I write my introduction to the live-blog and mentally prepare to tackle the closet in the bedroom.  Clothes should be easy, because if they don’t fit or if I haven’t worn them in over a year, they’re going.  I give that plan about half an hour before I revise my criteria.

11:40 AM — The Leaning Tower of Pasta clanked against the floor as I carried the trash outside.  I’m up to two full bags, and removing them from my apartment was a good excuse to head over to Misha’s for a cup of coffee.  I also have three bags of clothes to donate.  The less fortunate of Northern Virginia will soon be sporting the fresh styles of 2002.  I’ve reached the back of my closet in my bedroom.  The excavation has just reached a box of crap from my office two jobs ago and my old cassette tapes.  This journey just got interesting.

1:32 PM — If one is inclined to believe – as I am – that an undertaking such as this is a exercise of self-discovery, then the overwhelming revelation this morning is that I really like to swipe pens from the office.  I’ve found some in every box, bag, and parcel I’ve sorted through.  And of course they’ve all been tested, because I’d hate to throw out perfectly good pens.  Trash bags number three, four, and five have been carted downstairs and I’m officially done with all of my clothes and the closet in my bedroom.  Going through my tapes was surprisingly anti-climactic because (except for the Mighty Roy’s account of his move across the country) they all got tossed.  I have nowhere to listen to them and they have no resale value.  The only mild amusement was the occasional reminder that U2 wasn’t always on the spite list.3:14 PM — There is no more appropriate label for the boxes in my apartment than “Misc. Shit”.4:29 PM — The trash bag count stands at seven, not including assorted items that are too large to go in the cans.  And these are lawn and leaf bags, mind you – not the wimpy kitchen variety.  I just wanted to be clear on that.  It’s been over an h0ur now since I’ve touched any of the dozen remaining boxes in my “Misc. Shit” closet, and though I’ve eaten lunch and done some laundry in that time I now need to power through the rest in order to wrap that up before a holiday party this evening.  It’s like a game.  Can I throw out all my crap before time runs out?  We shall see.

7:14 PM — Ten bags.  And I didn’t quite make it.  I have five boxes left.  I’ll have to get to them later.


2:42 PM — Um, okay…  This break wasn’t supposed to be so long.  But I was wiped out after last night’s holiday party and then had brunch plans with Cait and Daby and CarrieNation.  After taking my beater bike in to the shop for a tune-up, I’m finding my motivation at a low point.  I’ve already started bargaining: if I get through the middle closet and the coat closet, I can save my storage unit in the basement for another day.  I guess I need to get to it.  I sure wish the Steeler game was on to distract me.

3:50 PM — Two and a half more bags of trash later and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

4:30 PM — I came across a box of stuff that obviously ended up with me because my mom insisted that I clean out my old bedroom when they moved out of the house I lived in during high school.  I know this because I threw out four broken Walkmen.  I also found this gem, which makes me think of M-Dashes and is appropriate right now.5:20 PM — Screw it.  I’m going to the movies.

8:59 PM — Fair Game wasn’t bad.  I’m up to fourteen bags of trash.  I’m racing the clock again, because I want to get the coat closet done before I hit the sack.  And I’m ready to go to bed now.

9:24 PM — The weekend’s biggest mystery: Why do I own a metal detector and where did it come from?

11:15 PM — I just limped across the finish line – utterly defeated.  The final count was sixteen bags of trash, and I’m a little surprised that it wasn’t more.  All I can say is that those are some big bags.  I have more thoughts, I think, but those will have to wait for another day.  6:00 AM comes around awful early.  At the risk of sounding like every other asshole who goes to an office, I need a weekend after my weekend.

Jun 18 2010

QotD: Work Locale

Do you work in an office, at home, in the field or somewhere else? Would you change where you work if you could? What would you miss?

I gotta hand it to you, Question of the Day.  You're really bringing the banality this week.  (Except for when you're data farming, that is.)  I work in an office, and the only thing I would change if I could is moving that office closer to my house.  I used to think I wanted to move that office into my house, until I had the chance to do so.  I worked at home for about ten months a few years back.  It was fun for the first six months, and then it became utterly miserable.  I made a rash decision and took a terrible job that wasn't at all right for me just to get back into an office.  I hate people, but I miss being around them.  They're easier to loathe when you don't remove yourself entirely from their presence.

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May 27 2010

welcome to the working week

Oh I know it don’t thrill you/I hope it don’t kill you.

Actually, things haven’t been too bad down at the lab lately.  And the outlook for the immediate future is positively rosy.  Today is my Friday, and I’m looking at glorious four-day staycation.  Then I’m off to Lake Tahoe.  And then I’m off to the Outer Banks.  Including the week that just ended, my next month is looking like this: Four-day week.  Three-day week.  Four-day week.  Two-day week.  Things sure are gonna be rough once June 21 rolls around and I have to work five whole days in a row.  The horror… the horror…

Oct 8 2009

metal rules

Whoever guessed we'd be calling the first audible in our Rocktober gameplan a mere week into the month is the big winner today.  We just got home from from a workday that began shortly after seven this morning, so the photograph above is both timely and serves the larger purpose of us not putting too much effort into this post.  We were out in Herndon for the kick-off of a new project, and walking around we noticed that some forward-thinking resident (Herndonite?  Herndonian?) decided to preserve a succinct truism in wet concrete.  Yes, anonymous Herndogander, metal does rule.

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Oct 3 2009

it's like rain on your wedding day

Dabysan tells the same stories over and over (and over and over and over), so even though I didn't see the Darkness at the 9:30 Club in late 2003 or early 2004 I feel like I did.  The highlight of the show was when that big bouncer with all the piercings carried lead singer Justin Hawkins around the club on his shoulders.  Hawkins was wireless and he continued to both sing and play the guitar as the bouncer carried him through the adoring crowd.  It.  Was.  Awesome.  Or so I hear.  I keep forgetting I wasn't actually there.

As it turns out, that bouncer has a name.  It's Josh.  And he's a pretty nice guy.  I know this because I met him at my co-worker's wedding a couple of weeks ago.  Ironically….  No, wait.  That's not the right word exactly….  Coincidentally, my co-worker and her new husband entered the reception – that whole "first time as Mr. and Mrs. McG" thing – to the Darkness' "I Believe In A Thing called Love."  It.  Was.  Awesome.  I know.  I was there.

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Aug 7 2009

i hate this mangy beast

One of my co-workers got a dog recently.  His – the dog's – name is Zeus.  Zeus comes into the office occasionally, which really pisses me off.  He stinks like you wouldn't believe.  He has fleas.  He pees everywhere.  I have a welcome mat at the entrance to my work area which was hand woven and a Christmas gift from my very first gift exchange at this job and is treasured greatly by me.  The filthy fucker peed on it.  He bites and is generally disruptive to a productive work environment.  I give Zeus a good healthy kick every time I see him.  I don't even try to hide it.  I just haul off and give him a boot to the midsection.  I can't decide which is the more pleasing sound – the crunch of his shattering rib cage or his pathetic whimper.  Check it out.  How could anyone not hate this mutt?

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Jul 24 2009

ask a misanthrope

Dear Hotrod,

My closest friend at work is getting married in September.  She had her invitations in the office today, and when I made a joking comment about who might be my date, she informed me that I would not be able to bring a guest.  Now it’s likely that I wouldn’t be bringing a guest anyway, but being told flat out not to bother irks me a little bit on principle.  For starters, I’m reasonably certain that other of our unmarried co-workers will be bringing their boyfriends and that a former co-worker will be there with his girlfriend in tow.  And what’s more, I’ve already heard more about the planning of this wedding than I really cared to.  Every minor crisis that has arisen – from the save-the-date notifications to the selection of the band to the proper invitations – has prompted an instant message.  I understand that weddings are expensive and that tough decisions have to be made, but I believe I am being treated unfairly just because I am not currently in a relationship.  Am I wrong to feel this way?

Singled Out

Dear Singled,

Your co-worker sounds like a real bitch.  You should skip the wedding entirely.


Jan 15 2009

what's wrong with this picture?

Dec 30 2008

hanging out with leia on the forest moon

I arrived at work this morning to find a post-Christmas present left on my chair by a co-worker.  It's no Death Star, but it's still easily the best thing I received this year.  Legos were without question my favorite toy until I was about fourteen years old and they were all I ever wanted for Christmas except for the time I wanted a stereo that my parents lied about and made me search the house for before they gave it to me and the time I wanted a guitar which I didn't get.  And all those times I got coal.  In short, as always, Christmas blows.  But I digress….

Anyway, I always liked the space Legos but I never seemed to get many of them.  I always got the buildings (as if buildings are any fun), and every couple years I got another section or two of road so I could continue to make a town with all those buildings.  BO-RING!  Space Legos were the shit, but I never even dreamed that there might one day be Star Wars Legos.  That would have fried my little brain.

So it was with great joy this evening that I assembled my brand new Lego All Terrain Scout Transport.  And it will be with great joy that tomorrow I will return my new toy to my office, where it will stay forever.  I've had a tough enough time as of late convincing girls that they might want to visit my apartment.  I don't need this sort of repellent around to convince them they've made a huge mistake if I ever again succeed.

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Oct 13 2008

you think my life would stop when you're away

One of the things that sucks the most about working in the private sector in Washington, DC is that a lot of people get days off that I don't.  On the one hand, my commute is considerably easier and less crowded without all the government workers.  But on the other hand, fuck them.

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