march 2008

Our skiing trip went pretty well; for once, listening to the weather forecasters worked out for us, as Tuesday was a miserable day for skiing, but Wednesday and Thursday were pretty good (if a little cold). Our original plan would have had us skiing on only one good day (Wednesday) and driving back on a cold, snowy day (Thursday), but instead we got to ski both those days and drove back on a clear, sunny Friday.

We got back home just in time to host our college friends Mary Jo and Leila for an evening (they were in DC on business earlier in the week); we had a great Indian meal for dinner on Friday night and then took them to Golden West for lunch on Saturday before dropping them off at the airport (there was also an obligatory stop at Atomic POP since we were in the neighborhood).

If I was going to live in Baltimore, I think it would have to be somewhere in walking distance of West 36th Street, the heart of Hampden's shops and restaurants district. But I just don't think I can live in a city, especially one that can be as callously and randomly violent as Baltimore.

I think today is my friend Tom's birthday (it's either the 4th or the 8th; I get those numbers confused because they are both the same color the way my brain sees them). I haven't heard a peep from him in months, despite leaving occasional messages for him on his cell phone. He's often out of touch for weeks at a time when he's doing a residency at a remote artists' colony, but I don't think he's been out of contact for this long since I've known him.

Are you still out there, Tom? Drop me a line. It would be good to hear from you again.

Julie's leaving today to go to her parents, where she will help them out as her mother recovers from the rotator cuff surgery she's scheduled to have tomorrow. Normally I don't mind it when she goes down there for a few days; I'm good at being a solitary person, and I enjoy having the house all to myself for a little while. But this time is different, because I know it's going to be pretty stressful for her, and I also have no idea when she'll be able to come back—it could be as soon as Sunday or as late as late next week. Not that we have anything specific planned for the next few days (although she will now miss the Pogues concert that we got tickets for several months ago), but it's just a little unsettling not knowing exactly how this is going to play out.

I finished reading the last of my files from this year yesterday, and let me tell you, I am glad to be done. Even though I read fewer files this year than last year, it feels like I read twice as many. I think this is because I had so many other things on my plate this year that I didn't have the mental space to engage in the reading process in the same way I did last year; even though I tried to read files at home so that there would be minimum interference from other work tasks, I still found that I had to check email and tend to things going on at the office throughout the day, which I didn't really have to do before.

I'm still glad I did it, because next year when we transition to a paperless file evaluation process with the implementation of our document management system (which is my responsibility), I plan to participate in the read process again so I can get a better feel for how the new system is working for the full time readers, and I think that having this year's read process as a point of comparison will help me see things from their point of view.

But like I said, right now, I'm pretty happy to be finished. Now I just have to get through the seven meetings on my schedule for the next two days, get three web sites ready to launch in the next four weeks, start the document management implementation process...

Another good toy day today. My Redrum Sharky, a new Kozik figure based on a sculpt from Keith Poon, is scheduled to arrive in the mail today, where it will be displayed alongside my newly acquired regular and Jack Eyes glow in the dark 8" bear qees that I got from Atomic POP yesterday. Atomic POP also got in Kozik's twin mini bomb pack, which is a prelude to a whole series of the figures that should arrive sometime in the next month or so. All of this is straining the toy budget (not to mention the imminent release of Kozik's Teddy Troops figure stateside), but hopefully I can hold off on any further purchases until April when my birthday gifts should set things right again.

I'm taking a vacation day today to recover from the Pogues show last night. It actually didn't end that late—around 11:30—but it was down in DC, so by the time I got home it was around 1:00 and I was still riled up and I didn't really get to sleep until an hour or so later. I'm half-considering doing work this afternoon and only taking a half-day, but if I'm in the mood to relax and do things other than work, I'm not going to stress about it too much.

I have to say, this new, earlier Daylight Savings Time is kinda freaking me out.

Julie is supposed to come home today after helping her mother through the first few days of her recovery from shoulder surgery. We don't spend this many days apart that often—her solo trips to see her parents are the typical cause—and while I enjoy a few days of bachelor-like slackerdom, I spent a couple of hours cleaning and vacuuming last night to get the house in good shape, and I'm definitely ready for her to be home again.

I'm trying to get optimistic about the spring, but it's already feeling so spring-like that I'm getting suspicious that it's a trick and that we're going to end up with a miserable April.

Pi Day! Although I think us non-mathematicians would prefer if it were actually Pie Day.

And now St. Patrick's day. I get this holiday even less than I get Columbus Day.

I don't like the way the word "Tuesday" looks. It's hard to describe the feeling I get when I see it in my mind's eye, but it's pretty close to revulsion. I've always felt this way about the word, but it doesn't help that these days Tuesday is also my meeting day—I never have a Tuesday without at least a couple of meetings, and it's not unusual to have three or four.

Work recently has been tedious, hectic, and interesting all at the same time. It's going to be a weird year for us in terms of our yield, because there are several major new factors that we're just guessing at in our enrollment prediction model, so it's going to be fun to watch how that all unfolds. But in between now and when we mail our letters at the end of the month, I have about six major projects to finish, some of which are only tangentially related to our mail date but all of which must be done by the time the letters and emails go out. And a lot of those projects are just long, hard slogs; there is no way to get them done other than to sit down and get through a lot of boring, mindless work.

But it will be over soon enough, and next weekend we have some friends coming in from out of town for a visit, so the second I'm done, I'll be able to take a long weekend where I won't have to think about work at all.

I wonder how long it will be before the VH-1 execs talk Billy Idol into a reality show where he chooses a barely-legal bride from a packed of self-described virgins. A few years ago, upon the release of the live-action version of the Grich with Jim Carrey, I prophesied a version of Horton Hears a Who with Horatio Sanz, and I wasn't far off with that (Jim Carrey took the title role again; I should have known). I desperately hope that this Billy Idol thing doesn't come any closer to fruition than me mentioning it as an absurd hypothetical in this entry.

Easter is way, way too early this year. Easter in March is not cool. Easter the same week as the NCAA tournament is especially not cool.

Our second iguana died this weekend, leaving us now with two pets from our high water mark of six (two iguanas and four cats, down to two cats now). She was fifteen years, which is at the outer edge of the life expectancy for domesticated iguanas, and she passed very peacefully in her sleep.

We had noticed that she hadn't eaten for a few days, which wasn't common but which she'd done before with no ill effects. We figured it might have something to do with the start of mating season, which sometimes sees big changes in eating and aggressive behavior. But by Friday, she was also lethargic, so I made an appointment to take her to an iguana specialist on Saturday morning.

I checked on her a few times on Friday night, but it wasn't until after 9 or so that her lethargy had turned into complete lack of resistance (up until that point, she was slower than normal, but her muscles were still taut and she was still engaging in her normal behavior when picked up). When I checked again around midnight, she was gone, having fallen asleep for good on her favorite rock.

She never had any health problems before this, and her color was good even up until the end (usually when iguanas are sick their greens and blues turn to yellows and browns). It was just her time to go.

We buried her in the backyard and put her climbing stick on top of the grave as a memorial. In the spring we'll plant some flowers there to make a little garden for her.

In happier news, our Davidson Wildcats not only achieved their first NCAA tournament victory since 1969, they went on to reach the Sweet 16 round by beating second seed Georgetown yesterday. Also: they went deeper into the tournament than Duke, which is pretty fucking sweet.

Free lunch on the office today. And that's pretty much the only thing I'm looking forward to at work today...

I feel like we always go into these final few days before we mail our decision letters thinking that we've got it all under control and that we'll be easily ready to take everything to the post office on our target date. But then like eight things go all to hell at once and we start wondering if we'll be able to get them out by our posted mail date (which is always a few days after our internal target).

Somehow it always works out, but man, it's hard to see us hitting our deadline with all the stuff that's left to be done.

Lots to do over the next few days—several web site projects to wrap up at work, I have to renew my driver's license before next weekend, we're going to Orioles Opening Day on Monday, I have to apply for Artscape by Sunday, and we have some friends flying into town tonight from Chicago who will be here until late Sunday afternoon. If I can make it few the next couple of weeks and get everything done that is on my plate, I think I'm going to feel like I might have some space to breath for the first time since our current admissions cycle started last fall.

Big day today; we're sending out our decision letters and as usual I'm teh one who sends out the decision emails. I haven't messed anything up in five years (we just started sending them five years ago), but every year somebody at some major school seems to screw up. I just never want it to be me.

Lots to talk about from this weekend—we had some out of town company—but I'll save it for tomorrow when I won't have to split the narrative across two months.

But I just have to say, even though they lost in the Elite Eight round, I'm sick and tired of Davidson being called a Cinderella, or scrappy, or feisty, or any of the dozen other demeaning adjectives that the sports press has used for them over the past couple of weeks. They beat their first three opponents without ever losing their cool, and I guarantee you that no one among the Kansas supporters felt like their victory was assured at any time during last night's game. Davidson was just plain good; it wasn't an accident and it wasn't luck. And I'm really excited to see what they can do next year.
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