Thursday, August 28, 2008

My mp3 player saves me

Riding on the bus (and generally being car-less and license-less in this town) requires a certain degree of letting go and allowing what will happen to happen. This is fine for me. I can sit there and watch people on the bus or in nearby cars, and I'm fine being alone in the crowd with my thoughts.

Unless I'm late.

All those annoyances I mentioned in last Tuesday's entry are ten times greater to me, and I start losing my mind at every little delay. Normally when I get to feeling this way, I end up being a jerk to my family until I realize that I'm being a jerk, at which point I try to shut up and take control of my emotions. In this case, I've only got total strangers around me, and I can't be a jerk to them, no matter how much they bother me with their unreasonable desire to get off at the stop most convenient for them. Therefore, I never impose it upon myself to not be so bothered. As a result, in the past I've gone silently nuts and then felt like hell upon disembarking.

Then sometime during the summer when I was going to be late again, I remembered my mp3 player in my backpack, and quickly got it out and put it to a song that I've found to be invigorating ("Aphelion" by Fridge. I've linked to their myspace page, where you can listen to it. Be warned: it's a ten-minute instrumental). Lo and behold, my mind relaxed its strangling grip on everything I'd have perceived moments earlier to be a slowdown, and I just listened to music and looked at people and let my mind wander again.

Because I tend to know I'm going to be late before I get on it, the last bus I ride is a pot in which I can potentially stew for at least twenty-five minutes. Once I realize my brain has begun its spiral of annoyance and impatience and frustration, I pop in my earphones and let it stretch out. I'm no less late than I was going to be, but at least I'm thinking straight when I get there.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A dose of fallibility

I discovered (probably re-discovered; it seems like a familiar fact) that interruptor, a word I used in an earlier entry, is not a dictionary-recognized word (at least as far as Google cares). On the other hand, interrupter is. I think that's bogus. A verb ending with -pt should totally have -or as the standard suffix to make it into a doer of the verb. For no reason other than I deem it should be so. If raptor is spelled the way it is (okay, okay, I know it has nothing to do with the nonexistent pastime of rapting), and adaptor is acceptable both ways (I'll take the -or ending, thank you very much), why can't we have interruptors?

I'm off to edit that entry.

By the way, I was surprised to find in the recent past that raptor does not solely refer to dinosaurs; in fact, it is considered almost exclusively a term for birds of prey. A hawk is a raptor, but a Komodo dragon (which I might have been misled to believe was one, based on the reptilian raptors of prehistory) is not. I know you're disappointed.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I watch the 9-to-5s go home

It's bizarre, but despite my having a work schedule considerably offset from the norm, I still feel bad about being up past 4 am, even though it's been less than three hours since I got off work. I feel equally bad about waking up past noon. It's as though offsetting my sleep schedule, even in conjunction with work, is not allowed. Maybe I'll feel better about it when I'm living on my own.

And hey, though I feel bad, at least I don't feel like a worthless lump, as I would when staying up past 4 and waking past noon in my jobless state. This is a "sigh and shake my head" bad feeling, not a "stare paralyzed at the vast blank page that is my future" bad feeling.

Just be glad I'm not the one writing them

There's an old Christmas card in our house. It has a black and white photo of three grinning kittens, with crowns drawn on their heads and the caption "The Three Wise Kitties." In addition, each one has a speech balloon. From left to right: "I brought gold!" "I brought frankincense!" "I brought catnip!" Every time I see it, I lament the lost opportunity in the third balloon. I think it would have been much better if the third kittie had brought pyrrh instead.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The rugged type

I've decided to attempt being bearded. I figured that now that I'm not working with kids, it's okay to look unkempt for a little while as I go through that transitional period of merely looking unshaven. Plus, I feel better about the idea now that I have a job. During my stints as a stay-at-home son, I felt obliged to be presentable in lieu of being productive, so I wouldn't feel like a total slob. Now I'm going out every day and working (in an industry whose workers tend to look... alternative, so I don't think I'll stick out too badly), and so I feel okay about trying this out. I grew my hair past my shoulders in college just to give it a go, and I think my face should get a turn now. This experiment shouldn't take years like my hair did, and when I'm done with it, I can take care of it myself.

I think I still look gross after about five days (can't remember when I last shaved... Thursday or Friday?), but it'll take longer to find out how it will really look.

I'm still shaving my neck, though. I'd be happy if I never grew hair there again.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wouldn't you know it, sometimes things bug me!

I ride the bus to work. A cool deal with my job is that they offer bus passes to those who don't get parking passes, so non-drivers like me can take any buses necessary to get there, at no cost. And then I have the added perk of free bus rides even when I'm not going to work. It's a very pleasant arrangement.

Unfortunately, I'm not the most pleasant of people (though I generally make efforts against that). I sometimes let minor things annoy me (not just on the bus!), and it's usually stuff that other people do. Public transportation = plenty of other people. Someone is bound to annoy me at one point or another.

Exhibit A: People who wave for the bus to stop. Guess why it's called a bus stop, folks! And this isn't at stops served by multiple buses, where one would conceivably have to tell a driver, "Hey, you're running the one I'm looking for." (I've been passed by at such stops because I was distracted, didn't see the bus coming, and gave no indication I wanted on.) It could be absolutely clear that only one bus will ever stop there, and yet people will wave at the bus as though their mere presence at the bus stop isn't an indicator that they need the bus to stop.

Exhibit B: People who don't realize the "request stop" cord has already been pulled. The cord need only be pulled once between stops to indicate that someone wants to get off. As such, only the first pull of it causes the "ping" noise to sound and the obnoxious pre-recorded voice to announce a stop has been requested. The LED sign at the front of the bus will continually say "STOP REQUESTED" on it, and some buses also have a light come on behind a sign with the same text. Nevertheless, people will pull an already-pulled cord, then start yanking on it waiting for sounds to be produced (and occasionally, for good measure, get up and walk to the other side of the bus and yank the cord there. One inexperienced bus rider actually walked up to the driver and asked him to stop because she couldn't make the noise happen). I'm in no position to cast the first stone, since I've been distracted at the time the cord was pulled for the stop I needed, and unnecessarily pulled the cord myself. But once I did that fruitlessly, I looked up and saw that the signs were lit and realized the error of my ways. I don't understand how people can be unaware of their surroundings like that.

Exhibit C: Time interrupters. This relates to the LED sign mentioned above. When it doesn't display "STOP REQUESTED," it shows the date and the time. I like to stay abreast of the time, and until recently (I found a watch on the bus), the LED sign was my only way. However, it won't display the time if a stop is requested. I understand that people have to get off the bus, but it has happened that I've gone miles on the bus without seeing the time, because people would pull the cord for stop B the moment the doors closed at stop A. It's a minor inconvenience (especially now that I have a timepiece of my own), but it always makes me a little nuts when the sign is just about to show the time right when someone pulls the cord.

I don't get as bothered about this as these huge paragraphs might suggest. But when the little, slightly bothersome things happen often enough, it becomes easy to go on at length about them. I didn't intend to convey myself as a 25-year-old curmudgeon when I created this blog, but there you go. At least I'm not a curmudgeon out loud (about this, anyway).

Monday, August 18, 2008

And so it begins

I always like discovering a blog in progress (prog blog?) by someone I know, after a nice backlog of posts has accumulated. I sit and read all the old entries at once. Therefore, I intend to do the same favor to my will-be readers by not telling you about this blog until later. So this entry will probably be a bit old by the time you read this. The bread is stale, but hey, I'd rather have a stale slice than fresh crumbs.

My summer has just ended. In an unusual turn of events my days will be less packed as a result. (Well, not unusual for me; all my autumns since I graduated from college have been less packed than my summers. This will be my first September as an employed non-student.) What happened was that I got a software testing job in May that I had no intention of quitting. This was followed by a month of agonizing about my old summer job, to which I have something of an emotional attachment. Unwilling to have my cake without eating it, I switched to the night shift at my job, and took on the summer job for three days a week.

The upshot of having your cake and eating it too is the unpleasantness of regurgitation. My unpleasantness consisted of Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays that began around 7 am and ended on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays respectively. What's more, I had to endure two of these three days on less than five hours of sleep.

Somehow I survived. I slept in on Tuesdays and Thursdays; on the other three weekdays, I fed off the energy of the children I worked with, and afterward I kept myself going with the occasional nap on the bus to my "day job," and the less occasional dose of caffeine and/or aspirin. (I wouldn't do this year-round, but I could do eight weeks of this again. We'll see what my professional life is like next year.)

And now the summer job is over, and I'm back to one job. I switched to the night shift the same day my summer work started, so this will be the first time I can really enjoy the different schedule. I have to sacrifice a thing or two, but I fit better with the 5 pm-1:30 am crowd. (If the times were the only factor, I could go either way, but the environment in the evening is more comfortable to me.)

A new blog (with a new readership of people who are physically present in my life, I hope), and a new experience of work. Here they go.