aqua fortis

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

But I Like to Over-Commit Myself.

I have this terrible habit, when I'm feeling guilty about not earning the kind of money I would if I had a full-time salaried position, of trying to take on too much. Last night, I was thinking about how crappy it was that for the first time as a married couple, we're actually going to have to pay taxes rather than getting a refund. So this morning, when the Office of Education called to see if I was available today to fill in for a sick secretary, I said yes. Never mind that I'm trying to get this freelance job fact-checking for the College Board; never mind that I've been working hard to stick to a new weekly schedule I wrote up for myself so that I can responsibly manage my time as a freelancer.

I ended up working in the office of an Alternative Education Center, also known as a school for bad kids. Kids who have been expelled from regular district schools or are otherwise repeat troublemakers. I got to see one kid get into a shouting match with two teachers in the three hours I was there. Fun. They might call me at some ungodly hour of the morning to go in again tomorrow. And get this--I'm a temp replacement for a sick temp.

Monday, February 27, 2006


I know I've said this before, but I'd just like to point out how much I love The Daily Show.

Tonight there was a news story about the president and his "support" of alternative energy technology, and the title of this story was "Fuel Me Once." AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Thursday, February 23, 2006


How can you not click on a news story whose headline is "Eeeeeewwwwwww"?

Head colds suck. My brain is only semi-functional today. I slept horribly because I couldn't breathe, so I was just lying there breathing through my increasingly dry open mouth and looking at the clock every half-hour.

Other than that, and the fact that while I lay awake I was stressing semi-consciously about some scheduling issues for this conference I'm helping organize, it was an okay day. I got a paycheck for my ongoing freelance job. And, I'm trying for another part-time freelance job doing fact-checking for the College Board. I was referred personally by someone I did fact-checking for about a year and a half ago, whose friend was looking for freelancers. I have to fact-check a test article first, adhering to their guidelines, but I get paid for my time taking the test, which is pretty awesome.

Okay, back to sitting on the couch, sniffling, and attempting to write a chapter of my novel.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


I'm coming down with a cold. This information has supplanted any other stuff I was going to blog about; indeed, it has supplanted anything useful in my brain whatsoever, and replaced it with roving viruses of the mucus-producing variety.

At least I don't have very much going on right now. Or rather, I don't have anything extra beyond the ridiculous amounts of stuff I'm already doing. Nobody's visiting this week. We're not going anywhere; we already went places the past few days. Last night was fun, especially since I wasn't sick yet. We met up with a friend of mine from grad school, Rachel, and her husband, and all four of us took in a basketball game in Sacramento. We had some pizza and beer at the game, and did a lot of cheering. Rachel has a cool house, which you'll find pictures of somewhere on her blog.

Here, finally, is a picture of our house, complete with new-ish coat of blue paint, our household project from last summer. Still to come: pictures of the hallway fridge and new kitchen floor.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


Argh. I was just on the phone with a former web design client, who has recently gone into the real estate business and wanted to ask me if I knew anyone who was in the market to buy or sell their house. Anyway, in the past we'd spent time talking (because I was also tutoring her on basic web design) and she knows about my writing, etc.

So today she asks me how the writing is going, and I tell her that I recently had a magazine article published, as well as getting third place in a YA short story contest, and she said, "Oh, that's so great. I'm so relieved for you." I know she meant well...but still.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My Life as a Barenaked Ladies Song

So yesterday Rob and I are enjoying a nice V-day dinner in, admiring our new kitchen floor (more on that later), and Rob pointed something out to me that made me say Holy Crap on a Cracker. Yesterday was our tenth Valentine's Day as a couple. TENTH. This June will be our fifth wedding anniversary, and this September will be our tenth anniversary of when we started dating. MAN. More than the whole turning-29-next-month thing, this makes me feel like we're getting older.

Then I started thinking about how long it's been since other major events in my life. If it's been almost ten years since I met Rob, then it's been about nine years since I've been friends with Fumi, Beth, Chloe, Peter, and Jess. That makes it about 19 years since I've been friends with Cindy (we met in sixth grade)--whew. And now her sister, who used to drive us to junior high on her way to high school, has a baby and is a professor at Johns Hopkins. Jeez.

It's also been almost ten years since I spent the summer working in London; the same ten years since I was saddled with the Great Depression of '95-'96, following (but caused only in part by) the Disastrous Friendship Breakup of '95. It's been almost nine years since I got my B.A.. Almost seven years since I finished my Post-Baccalaureate year at the Art Institute; almost seven since the Post-Bac review committee decided that my work "was not appropriate to the graduate level," and that "there is not enough work and the work presented needs to be more developed conceptually" (after a year working with them, whose fault is that? and can you tell I'm still bitter?). Almost seven years since the direction of my life was completely altered.

Almost exactly five years since I quit my job at IGN. This summer, five years since we moved to Modesto. That one's hard to believe. I still feel like it's not exactly home. Or rather, I'm in denial that it's not actually the furthest outskirts of the East-East-Bay. 12.5 years since I first moved out of the house to go to college--that's a trip right there. 6.5 years since we got the cat.

I guess I was in a taking-stock kind of mood. There's also the 15 months I've been attempting to get my novel published, and the almost-two-years since finishing graduate school that have resulted in not so many publication credits. But I'd rather not think about those things. They're still works-in-progress.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


I just finished grading about 50 paragraphs for Rob's two online Art Appreciation classes (I'm the unofficial essay grader). He had them analyzing works from the Museum of Bad Art website and giving their own evaluations of whether their chosen piece was good or bad.

Honestly, not all of these works are terrible. This one, for example, at least has a discernible message and you can tell what's going on. Or "Dog," which is admittedly confusing, but funny. Then you have things like this, which makes you go "huh?" Or this, which makes you want to rip your eyeballs out.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Speed Skating Spoiler Alert

Do not read beyond this sentence if you haven't kept up with today's Olympics.

Okay. So now I'm sad. Not only did Michelle Kwan have to bow out of competition due to injury, but Apolo Ohno stumbled during the semifinal round of his first event in speed skating. Boo. No hapa victory today. (I just can't help it, but the guy is hot. Seriously. Maybe I just like hapas. After all, I am married to one...)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Great Photos

I heard about this on the local news--an exhibit of photos of the 1906 earthquake aftermath taken by Jack London.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Nostalgic Har-Har

I'm looking through old IGN columns again, trying to find something suitable for a writing sample (this is harder than you would think) and came across a gem--still not sure I'm going to use it for a sample, but it cracked me up. It's worth a look just for the "Being a Cool-Ass Beeyotch" tax refund part. If I say so myself.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Time Creeps On...

Instead of all the other fascinating things I was going to blog about today, I put it all off in favor of this crap. Apparently, after a beer and a writing-group critique, I'm prone to feeling like I'm getting old. I'll be 29 next month, the final year of being in my twenties. I tend to avoid the getting old feeling because many people assume I'm a lot younger than I actually am, and therefore I feel like I'm a lot younger than I actually am. And usually I don't like this feeling. But at the same time...29. Geez.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Eureka! Categories!

I had a whole thing a while back, when I first started this blog, that I really wanted to be able to post things in categories. But Blogger doesn't have this capability in and of itself, and the hack I found to get around it sounded like a big roundabout pain in the butt. And I'm too cheap to buy Moveable Type, too technologically challenged to try out something open-source, and also too cheap to obtain sufficient web space to operate either of these things.

But, thanks to Rhys Wynne and Rhys Wynne (these are two different guys, trust me), and thanks also to Technorati I'll soon be trying out a new method of categorizing posts on the blog of YA book reviews I contribute to, ReadingYA: Readers' Response. Basically, you tag all your posts with the desired categories (that will be the time-consuming part) using Rhys Wynne's tag generator. Then you go to Technorati and do a search of your blog using the desired search term (i.e., sci-fi). Then you use the URL of that search page for the category Sci-Fi in your list of categories in the sidebar. Not bad.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Simpsons Synchronicity

So many times I wonder if the people in charge of selecting daily Simpsons reruns are these huge geeks with a knack for choosing apt episodes, or if it's just coincidence or me reading too much into things. Many a time, it seems as if some hilarious joke or moment from the show is way too apropos to something going on in the news.

For example, in today's episode, Bart decides to make his own t-shirts with catchy slogans on them, like "adults suck, then you are one." Marge complains, saying "I like t-shirts with a nice joke, like 'support our troops.'"

No Money For You

Here is an actual conversation I witnessed this past weekend, one that left Rob and I utterly disgruntled and baffled:

The Scene: Mid-morning. Rob and I are at the register of a Rite-Aid drugstore during our visit to Riverside. We have some water and Twizzlers to buy, but this is mainly an excuse to withdraw some cash using the debit card. The guy working the register appears to be a particularly clueless teenage boy.

Cashier: Would you like cash back?

Rob: Yes, could I get $40?

Cashier: Um, well, actually, I can't give you that much right now because I just opened this register.

There is a baffled pause, while Rob and I attempt to communicate telepathically about what we should do now. I turn around with an apologetic glance at the small line that has formed behind us in the meantime.

Rob: Uh, okay...How much can you give us?

Cashier: (Long pause.) Probably nothing.

Rob: I guess we're not going to buy this stuff, then.

Here is what we were both wondering at, what seemed to be the utter absurdity of the situation: Why in the bloody hell did he ask us if we wanted cash back if he couldn't actually give us any cash back? How lame is that? Maybe it would have been excusable to be on such egregious autopilot at, say, 7 or 8 am, but not after 11. Even I'm fully awake by then.