jmc_bks: (Stupid)
♥ I have signed up for a holiday fic exchange. It could be good, or it could be a disaster. It coincides with my first attempt to write fanfic.

♥ A tweet joking about M&Ms in m/m prompted me to say that there ought to be M&M slash fan fiction. Yet I cannot find it, at least not on AO3. Which means I may write it. Fandom is crack. (Or so I assume, having never tried real crack.)

♥ "You know I love you more when you are cold and heartless." -- a True Blood line from Eric to Pam that I'm thinking about working into B/R.

On non-fandom fronts:

~ I made a decision at work that I may regret later. Have had a stomach ache and sleepless nights for the last week. *deep breath*

~ The Goofy Cat is getting skinnier and skinnier, despite eating like crazy. I know it's a function of her thyroid problem but still...

~ The Madrid SF (2009) between Nadal and Djokovic is even better than I remember -- and I remember it being a very good 3 set (5 hour) match that left Nole completely gutted and shell-shocked and *off* for months after. Had forgotten that he was still sponsored by Adidas then, wearing the smurf shoes, and that Rafa was wearing the sherbet colors.

Things I want but likely won't be buying/doing:

~ The Kindle Fire is very pretty and shiny. But I don't *need* a tablet.

~ Valencia and Sevilla are the two possible venues for the Davis Cup Final (Dec 2-4). I love Sevilla and have never been to Valencia, but it's just not in my budget or really in my schedule -- to close to Thx.

Uh, okay?

Aug. 15th, 2011 09:43 pm
jmc_bks: (star fort kinsale)
+  Posted over at WordPress for SBD.

+  Bought two Kindle books by Georgette Heyer.  Probably wouldn't have but for the anniversary sale ($1.99 each!).  Otherwise, I can respect her place in the development of the modern genre romance, but have not been impressed by the books I've read.  Regency trads aren't my thing for the most part, Carla Kelly being the notable exception.  And she seems to have left the subgenre behind.

-  Why is Cobra Starship touring with Bieber?  Granted, it's the South American leg of his tour, but still, I didn't realize they had a significant overlap of fans; I though CS's average fan was several years older.  Eh, whatever sells tickets, I guess.

-  Dear IT peeps: saying that I'm the SysAdmin for that system?  Fine.  But as a practical matter, I am only acting/holding the position until a new higher up is hired.  I have NO IDEA how to do what you want.  When I asked the retired person who used to do it, she said that task was explicitly given to IT.  I'm sorry the person responsible is on vacation in Montana during your critical testing period, but that doesn't make me any more able to do what you want.  No love, me.

~  Looking at the line up of authors who'll be attending the National Book Festival next month, there are very few (3 or 4) that I might be willing to wait in long lines to meet or have autograph books.  And genre fiction is extremely poorly represented, as usual.

~  The BIA essentially said last week that aliens in custody don't have to get the immigration equivalent of Miranda. not sure what I think about this.  And while I'm probably conflating a lot of things, I'm curious about how this works in conjunction with Padilla.

jmc_bks: (GK - layers)
Dear Interim-Boss-Who-Thought-He-Was-Getting-Out-of-That-Gig:

Asking me in JULY if I will do two tasks that must be performed in OCTOBER and NOVEMBER respectively?  Tasks that my now-retired-boss used to do?  That tells me that you aren't going to have our vacancy filled by then.  You've had three months lead time plus three more before the work needs to be done; one task can't even begin until after October 1, and the other until November 1.  

Six months isn't enough time?  Really?
Also, when I say we feel adrift and rudderless, I'm not talking about just my office.  I'm talking about the entire program nationally.  You are underestimating the daily contact retired-boss had with EVERYONE.

I am NOT going to be backed into her job.  It's not a matter of capability; I figured I'd be training the new person on how to do those tasks.  It's a matter of desire.
jmc_bks: (flaming june)
Dear Telework:

You and I must get better acquainted.  Love the extra hour of sleep and relaxed work attire.


Snow day!

Dec. 20th, 2009 11:13 pm
jmc_bks: (Icicle)
 A snow day has been declared for tomorrow!  Yay!

Except I have a good bit of work to get done before everyone bugs out for the holiday or the end of the year. 

And I'm feeling a little stir crazy.  Shoveling and hiking/sliding/stumbling to the grocery store are insufficient social activities for me.  Guess I'll walk up to B&N tomorrow, maybe have lunch out?
jmc_bks: (star fort kinsale)
Figuring out what I really want to do/see on short trip to London. As Sir Walter Elliot says in the adaptation of Persuasion, I am for Bath. But what else am I doing? Overloaded with information from friends and colleagues. Go here, go there, you must do this or that! The variety of choices is paralyzing. [Rethink that -- noun is variety rather than choices, is it singular or a count noun? Think singular.] So I'm starting with something easier -- what am I taking to read on the flight? It has to be something I probably won't mind leaving behind in a "book crossing" sort of way. Probably I'll take a couple of the RWA books I haven't managed to try.

Unrelated: on Ace of Cakes tonight, I saw that Mary Alice (who rocks) has a WTF? stamp. Want. It would be extremely useful for work. The risk would be overuse, actually. :P

Also, Jack's Mannequin on TDS tonight? Very, very good IMO. Must download a copy of Swim from iTunes, along with Them Crooked Vultures.

The subject line of an item in my spam folder asked if my love stick was hard enough. I did not realize anyone used "love stick" other than the authors of 80s bodice rippers, but I suppose spammers need to be innovative...
jmc_bks: (Default)

Dear Egomaniac Accountant:

Please stop trying to practice law. Believe it or not (I know you don't), the lawyers around you are better at it than you.

In exchange, we promise not to tell you how to properly book receivables.

Eff off,

PS The fact that a judgment does not say what you want the way you want doesn't mean it's wrong. Please do feel free to tell Judge X he's wrong and instruct him on the proper way to draft a document that makes your job easier. Let me know that turns out for you, 'kay?

Posted via

jmc_bks: (Stupid)

Today's earworm:  alternating songs from Cobra Starship's Hot Mess album.  The title track and The Scene Is Dead - Long Live the Scene.  In particular the chorus and the lyric, I can love you like a sailor, I can make you dance all night.  As I mentioned to The Biochemist, whenever I hear this song, I imagine all of the Cobras in sailor suits with bellbottoms and pinafore tops.  The image needs to Go Away.

It may not (hah! isn't, I'm sure) obvious from my blog, but one of my primary characteristics is curiosity.  Four words that describe me best are I want to know.  Which is politely called curiosity but could also be incurable nosiness.  My mom tells stories about me being frustrated at school as a child because I wanted to know more than I was being told/taught. And also of being accidentally elbowed because I hovered too close as she worked at the counter in the kitchen.  I needed to see what was going on!  One of the reasons I'm good at my job is that when I see anomalies, I want to know why they are, to figure them out and fix them if possible.  Which means that a lot of people ask me to fix things for them that aren't really within the scope of my job.  I don't mind usually.  But I've reached the point that 1) I don't have time for this because of my own workload, and 2) I've felt like one colleague (who everyone agrees -- including his supervisor -- is really not up to his job, intellectually speaking) is taking advantage, shuffling "problems" to me that have been assigned to him for resolution, then taking credit for my solutions.  Today I said no, which is pretty hard for me in the work context.  No, I'm not taking those back and fixing the problem.  They were correct when I gave them to you, and all of the documentation attached verifies that; anomalies in the electronic files that appeared after I turned them over to you, perhaps because of a bug in the database, are a computer/tech problem.  To resolve that, you need to work with IT and solve the problem yourself.  I felt lazy, like one of those people who refuses to perform any task not specifically listed in their job description (we have many of those at the office), but also justified.   

And for Kate, a beach photo:

 This was taken just after sunrise on one of the windier days last week.  So much wind that despite the sun, the beach was empty that day.  The boardwalk and neighborhood businesses did brisk business though, since people couldn't really lounge comfortably in the 20mph wind.
jmc_bks: (Stupid)

One of the front page stories on the Washington Post online described the whole Sanford debacle as not the ordinary sex scandal, but being instead a Shakespearean love story.  As if comparing the real life embarrassment that this man caused to his family to the classic story of Romeo and Juliet, Heloise and Abelard, Antony and Cleopatra makes the entire situation any less tawdry. 

Also, yay for Al Franken and Minnesota!

And lastly:  I get that Michael Jackson is a cultural icon and touchstone for millions, but JFC, there's more going on in the world than his family soap opera.  Hello, coup in Honduras; continuing developments in Iran wrt the election; the pull-back of US combat forces from cities and the turn over of "control" to Iraqi authorities; etc.  

Dear DC: you are made of win

Dear Colleagues:  there is a distinction between an order vacating a judgment (in its entirety) and an order affirming judgment and remanding for clarification the calculation of the money award.  Pls to be learning this before you attempt to lecture me on civil procedure again. Kthx?

jmc_bks: (Chocolate)
Last week was a pretty crappy week.  Very Bad Things are going on at work.  Or maybe they would be better described as Very Scary Things?  I dunno; my job is not in jeopardy, at least not right now, but a lot of middle management is running scared: suddenly things that they have let slide are important again, and since these things are their priority, they should be mine.  Right?  Uh, no, not so much. 

Also, our office moved.  [The background of the move and the cost in time and money have been the subject of public criticism.  Seriously.]  Which involved packing and moving a file room (in addition to my office) and learning that none of our file clerks can count or know the alphabet.  We'll be doing a shelf read of the file room, all 7,500 files, and re-ordering everything.  Yay!  Because we didn't have enough to do already.  And since we no longer trust the file clerks (I think they are about to be fired, all of them), we'll be doing this in pairs in our "extra" or "spare" time, while unpacking our offices and gearing up for our next audit and the Office Hysteria.

The bad things at work influenced my already bitchy mood, bleeding into the home life.  I am a glass half empty kind of person, a perspective that I struggle with constantly, trying not to look to the downside automatically.  Last week was a very bad week in that sense, because it was hard to see any upside with what was going on.  It was also hard to see anything good going on outside of the office.  C and I argued, which isn't a big deal normally.  He bailed on seeing Star Trek yesterday because of it, I think, though he said otherwise when we spoke (briefly).  And being in a prickly mood still, I thought Screw him.  I'm going to see it anyway, without him.  And I did.  (More on this later.)  Now I feel a little bad about it; fences to mend.  It was me, all me.

Today was Mother's Day.  Mom came to visit -- collecting cards, gifts, flowers, and a pan of brownies (her favorite).   Then T and I went to the O's-Yankees game.  Sadly, the O's lost.  T restrained his gloating until we got home, then he was quite rude about it.  <sigh>  There were noticeably fewer Yankee fans in attendance than usual.  Part of that had to do with Mother's Day, I'm sure, but I wonder if the economy is showing here.  For a lot of Yankee fans, a weekend trip to Baltimore and relatively good tickets were a cheap getaway; maybe not so much now that money is tighter.

I think my mood has recovered, and I can write about my reading -- I did get through a couple of books last week, but didn't want to write anything while in such a bad mood.

Star Trek:  I'm not a fan of the original series.  I don't like Kirk and because he is so central to pretty much every episode, I've never really thrilled to the show.  I do, however, love TNG.  (It's all about Picard.  And Data.)  Anyway, the new Kirk?  A bit better than Shatner.  But new Spock, new Bones, new Scotty, new Sulu?  All rock.  Uhura rocks hard in both versions, although I wish she'd managed to get a better uniform than the micromini.  There were some little things that I would quibble about, but the movie was worth the $10.50 matinee ticket.  [Huh? Three months ago that same theater's matinee ticket was $7.50.  What's going on?]

Also, the trailer for Terminator: Salvation does its job.  Definitely going to see that movie. 

Also, unrelated:  the corner bar has root beer on tap.  Yum.
jmc_bks: (jediowl's LMB bafflement)
Our Facilities Dept. serviced all of the hand sanitizer dispensers in the building yesterday -- seriously, there's one at each elevator bank on each floor.

And today they delivered two little bottles to each office, door to door, with a reminder that more was available if needed.

Also, I love  John Oliver as a swine flu zombie.

jmc_bks: (Stupid)
...or not.

In the mail the other day was a notice, kindly forwarded by my old law firm, from the court of a not-too-far-away jurisdiction informing me of the date of the scheduling hearing for a particular trial, being sent because I had entered my appearance.  Uh, what?  I entered my appearance in your court ONCE, nearly eight years ago, and that only because your probate court was (is) not administered separately.  I was certain that it was just a data entry error -- probably the attorney who entered her/his appearance has a similar last name.  But I really don't want my name attached to the matter for any reason, and I would like to make sure that the attorney of record gets the notices properly.  After two tries, I've finally confirmed with the clerk of the court that I am not involved in the matter; they aren't sure why notice was sent to me, but it was misdirected and I can disregard it.  Okay, thanks, just making sure there wasn't a mix up somewhere.

Also related to my old job, if only in a tangential way, this article about collecting debts from dead people reminded me of many conversations with clients.  Reading the article left me feeling rather ambivalent.  On one hand, far be it from me to begrudge any creditor the ability to collect on a valid debt.  But (and it's a big but) on the other hand:  having to write off as uncollectible unsecured debts is a risk of doing business.   If the lender (of goods, services or money) did not secure that debt by either collateral or by a guarantor, it was likely a business decision they made after weighing that risk.  An estate is established so that all creditors can give notice of the debts and collect from the decedent's assets, to the extent that there are any.  Creditors playing on the heartstrings of the grieving people left behind in order to pawn off on others the business risk that they undertook just pisses me off.  I always told the kids/spouse/etc:  do not volunteer to pay that debt out of your own pocket; we will send them notice (it's only been published, after all) of the death and establishment of the estate; the creditor can then file a claim and get in line; debts will be paid using the priority of payment established by state law and pursuant to administrative court order.  Absolutely do not volunteer to undertake payment personally. 

I am all for honoring the debts of family...assuming there is either a solvent estate, an insolvent one making pro rata payments, or that paying out of pocket is voluntary and won't harm the payor.  I had some clients who paid bills that missed the notice/tolling period, because in their minds they were valid debts.  That's fine; it was a choice that everyone agreed on, and no one went hungry for it.  The creditors admitted up front that they were not enforceable debts because they were not filed timely nor had any notice of them been given.  Reading in that article about people who scraped together a little here and a little there over years in order to pay a debt that was not theirs?  Really bothered me.  The collection firm that admitted that they tell the family they have no legal obligation when they ask?  Made my stomach ache.  Because the inference (for me) is that they do not say so outright otherwise, and may even imply the opposite.  Maybe the collection agents were up front about the liability, but I met a lot of clients who felt badgered and harassed in similar situations...and that was long before the economy tanked.

The scene in LMB's Komarr, in which Miles scares off Ser Amalfi, who was trying to get Ekaterin to take over Tien's debt?  One of my very favorites.
jmc_bks: (blue)
I haven't been to Spain since I bought a house (six years now). Since I went annually before that, at least once I finished school and became gainfully employed, the lack is most noticeable. The first couple of years, I was house-poor. [Still am, really.] Then I ended up going to Hawaii, then had a couple of conferences -- for the non-profit, but still had to pay my way plus the conference fee, which was hefty. Last year airfare was just too much; airfare anywhere outside the US was, really.

Yesterday I found round-trip airfare, including all taxes and fees, for $477. And I want Want WANT to go. I have enough leave accrued. My vacation fund would cover that and the hotel or apartment rental, depending on whether I just hang out in Madrid or decide to go to Granada or Barcelona.

What's stopping me from booking the flight?

Prudence. My job is relatively stable, but there's talk of merging with another agency, and positions are bound to be eliminated if that's the case. The head of my office considers my position to be "mission critical", but even so... It just seems frivolous to spend much on entertainment/travel, when bad things are looming on the horizon.

Am I being too cautious? In the end, would the cost of the trip make that much of a difference if I were suddenly unemployed? I don't know. Opinions?

The UPS guy

Dec. 1st, 2008 01:45 pm
jmc_bks: (star fort kinsale)
I shocked the UPS guy today.  By being home.  Normally, he just leaves packages with my neighbor.  [He's new; the last UPS guy would NOT leave stuff next door, which meant I had to schlep out to their central location and wait in line to pick packages up.]

Today's haul -- three boxes, all Amazon.  Why not package them in one box?  I dunno, maybe the books were located at different shipping centers?

So, now I have these new story books waiting for me
  • Carrie Lofty's What A Scoundrel Wants
  • La Nora's The Pagan Stone
  • John Meacham's American Lion 
My treat tonight will be reading one of them...after I go for a walk.

Semi-related:  while checking Google Reader (and reading about marketing), I saw a commercial for Nora Roberts' books -- it was particular to The Pagan Stone, but also mentioned La Nora's books generally.  Nice.

I've been off work for a week.  Before I left on Friday, my supervisor made me promise not to check my email all week.  It was hard to make the promise, and I was extremely tempted on Monday and Tuesday last week.  But now, not so much.  If anything came up, it has either been handled or it'll wait until I return tomorrow.  I'd planned on checking it today, just to clean out the junk (why am I cc'd on some of that crap?) but instead will leave it for tomorrow when I'm back at the office.  Why ruin my relaxed mood?
jmc_bks: (seagull)

Dear Colleague,

Thank you for your email earlier today inquiring about whether Action C had been completed.  Short answer:  no. 

Longer answer:  No, because Steps A and B, which are required in order for C to occur, have not been performed by the person responsible for those tasks.  That would be you, by the way.  Three months ago, you asked me how to get to C, and I gave you detailed instructions, including a freaking template.  Nothing about the process has changed in the intervening months.  You still need to do A and B to get to C.  Asking me about it again isn't going to get it done, nor is it going to prompt me to volunteer to take care of it for you. 

No love,

f or p?

Sep. 24th, 2008 10:09 am
jmc_bks: (flaming june)
One of my colleagues took his kids to Sesame Place last weekend. Before the trip, we were kidding about his desire to meet Elmo. Me, I always loved Snuffaluffagus.

And what did he give me this morning? A Snuffy pin, which is so cool that I had to put it on immediately.

I learned, though, that Snuffy's correct name (per Jim Henson) is Snuffleupagus, and that the substitution of a second "f" for the "p" is a pronunciation variation that is specific to the NE US. Who knew?

Dear Work

Jul. 24th, 2008 09:36 pm
jmc_bks: (TDS)
Dear Work:

My friends and family miss me. I miss my social life and my ability to read books and loll about the house like a lady of leisure (or a couch potato, depending on your interpretation of said behavior). My DVR is filling up with the TV shows that I'm not watching. Laundry is piling up and I think I'm down to my last clean glass in the kitchen; dustbunnies the size of tumbleweeds scud around my living room floor at the faintest breeze.

Please to stop kicking my ass.

Love (not so much),
jmc_bks: (Stupid)
I've been put on another project at work (in addition to my regular work, because clearly I need more than a regular work load). I've spent hours listening to a bunch of IBM consultants talk about internal controls. The result? A new drinking game: every time we hear the word "leverage" or "process" or "documentation", we must take a drink. I'm pretty sure we'd all have been passed out cold by the end of this morning's meeting.

On the reading front, I finished Caridad Ferrer's YA from MTV Books (via Pocket), Adios to My Old Life. A- from me, and sooner or later, depending on when my laptop is repaired or replaced, I'll post a full review. Also currently reading Daughters of Juarez, a nonfiction chronicle of the investigation into the disappearance of 400+ young women from Ciudad Juarez, the city sitting opposite El Paso across the Rio Grande. Interesting book, but a little scattered: does it want to be a true crime book? an indictment of sloppy Mexican police work? an indictment of the sexism and patronism existing in Mexican and American institutions when it comes to poor, politically-unimportant, young Mexican women? I'm not sure.
jmc_bks: (meninas)
So, the speculation in the office is that we'll have Jan. 2nd off because of Ford's funeral.  When Reagan died and for the inauguration, the office was closed because of gridlock and other concerns.  Administrative leave.  My thought -- Monday is my usual day off, so it is bumped to Tuesday.  If Tuesday is an administrative day, does that bump my leave day to Wednesday?  Leaving a two day work week?  Not to knock time off, but I get discombobulated, schedule-wise, when that kind of thing happens.

ETA: yes, bumps my leave day to Wednesday.  But I can "move" the leave day to a day this week (Tuesday) when I would've used annual/sick leave. 
jmc_bks: (Default)
Inertia at work. I mean that literally and figuratively. In the past couple of weeks, several exchanges have highlighted to me how ingrained inertia is in some people and in their behavior...and how that in turn influences the function of the office and subsequently the division in which I work. People seem to be afraid of making any decision that doesn't have a clear yes/no right/wrong answer. I'm of the school of thought that you gather all the information you can, analyze it, and make an informed decision. And document. You might be wrong, but better to have taken action than to sit on the question/issue/project, frozen in indecision forever. Make a decision, move on. If you're wrong, fix it. Otherwise the piles of paper on your desk become mountainous and nothing gets done. Which explains a lot about my division, historically.

Even people who are getting paid significant amounts of money to be the decision-makers suffer from this malady. One of them told me today that he only dealt in black and white, he didn't want anything to do with grey areas, what should he do? My answer: I don't want to pay taxes, but I have no choice, it is a fact of life; you are getting paid to do this and the buck stops with you. He laughed but I think he was hoping for me to make the decision for him. Which I could do...but only if I'm going to get the three grade bump.

Unrelated note: The Closer is back on December 4th. Yay! I really like Chief Johnson...and Fritz :)


jmc_bks: (Default)

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