November 2005 Archives

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November 22, 2005

Data Units Completed: 11750

Seems like the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence at Home project (SETI@Home) will be changing. According to the email I received, the SETI client I use is being phased out and a new system is being in put in place that can also chunk data for other worthwhile projects, like studying climate change or protein folding, design and docking.

seti_117500.jpg

Switching your computer to the new "SETI@home/BOINC" is easy. Visit http://setiathome.berkeley.edu for instructions. We'll be shutting down the "SETI@home Classic" project on December 15. The workunit totals of users and teams will be frozen at that point, and the final totals will be available on the web.

November 17, 2005

You've got to put in the hours

Quite often I'm bothered by the sentiments of a lot of my female friends who are married or have long term boyfriends. Not one of them seems to enjoy having sex, or at least that's what I gather from their ongoing discussions about their partner's shortcomings and inability to make them even want to be sexual. The reasons vary, but it seems obvious to me that none of them really likes their partner enough to want to be intimate with them in that way, and when they "try" they don't get out of it what they expect. They work hard to avoid the moment when they are asked if they are going to put out, and really seem not to understand why their partner doesn't understand their perspective on having sex.

I've been in their shoes. I dealt with those very same feelings, so I know how it feels to desperately want intimate moments to feel worth it and satisfying both physically and mentally. I can remember many moments in my previoumarriage when I just cried because I felt so empty inside. It's because I wasn't connected, and I lacked the compatibility with my spouse even to want to put in the effort. It's hard admitting that, but it's the truth.

I wanted something different for myself this time around. I worked hard and continue to work hard at my relationship with Jon. I really do like him, and there are many things about him that turn me on and make me feel like I've won a prize or something. My friends seem to think something is wrong with me, because I regularly spend time with Jon and have lunch dates with him, and I often toss in my two cents at the end of their rantings about sex and their men and say, "I enjoy sex with my husband." I sometimes follow that with the briefest of explanations, "I really like him."

I'm not trying to be superior. I'm just stating the facts. I have nothing to offer in discussions that revolve around sex being repulsive. However, I really do empathize with them and want them to be as happy as I am in my relationship. I hear what they are saying, and I understand that it's a vicious cycle if you stop working through issues and are upset constantly because your partner isn't living up to your expectations (and that's really what the issue is... those damned expectations). I guess I just have very little tolerance for people who complain about this type of thing but don't seem willing to put in the amount of work it takes to make their relationship better. Don't you deserve to be happy in your relationship? I ask them this all the time.

It's not about your partner, it's about YOU. It's all about communication, the ability to say how you feel and ask for what you need, and being willing to put in the hours to make your own happiness. There is no Prince Charming, my friends.

November 16, 2005

Why I Love Him

Because he bought me lanyard headphones for my iPod nano (which I promptly left in the back seat of my car when I dropped it off at the auto repair shop). Oh how I can't wait to get my car back now.

November 15, 2005

Saying What I Mean, and Meaning What I Say

This morning on the way to work, I was in the rightmost lane of two lanes turning left when the light turned green. My goal was to get into the lane on the next street that would take me straight through another intersection and onto an alternate yet more pleasant route to work. The rightmost lane (the one I was in) had a long line of cars, whereas the left lane had one. As cars ahead of me starting making their way through the turn, I worried about the light changing to yellow and at the last minute decided to get into the left lane so I could go. Instead of going straight, this lane would take me onto an exit that leads to a shortcut to the alternate route to work. As I turned, a driver who was in the rightmost turn lane somewhere way ahead of where I had been laid on her horn. It seems instead of turning into the rightmost lanes, she opted to be in the lane I was now in, and her blaring horn indicated she wasn't too happy about me cutting in front of her. I couldn't get to the lane where I wanted to be due to cars blocking it, so I opted for a left turn lane, which was where she wanted to be, too, apparently. Oops!

When I turned to look at who was blowing their horn, I saw her mouthing off to me. So I held my hand up and said loudly, "I'm sorry!" She kept on mouthing off, so I repeated myself, "I'm sorry!" Still, she kept on mouthing and looking annoyed at me. "I'M SORRY!" I yelled. And I was. It certainly had not been my intention to cut her off, and I said I was sorry THREE TIMES NOW, so why did she keep insisting on yelling? I wasn't sure if she could get around me, so I motioned for her to go ahead of me, and she mouthed off again, this time with hand gestures, to indicate I CAN'T GET AROUND YOU, YOU STUPID DRIVER. I shrugged at her and drove on. I already said I was sorry, and there's nothing else I can do about it anyway, so deal with it already and stop being so filled with rage. It's a measley turn, after all. I don't get people who get so upset over nothing.

I don't like dealing with irate or irritable people, though, especially not when it's directed at me. I couldn't wait to drive away from that lady this morning, hoping to get out of her line of vision so she could stop being so mad and get on with her day. What's worse, I'm a wuss when it comes to dealing with people where something should be said and it's my responsibility to say it. Ugh. Poke me with sharp objects, but don't make me confront someone, please! It's much easier to drive way or not say anything.

Over the past month, I've had my car in the repair shop three times. The first auto shop visit was prior to a trip to New York. I needed a standard oil change, and I asked them to rotate my tires and check fluid levels so I could ensure I'd be safe. I have been taking my car to this particular establishment since I first got her two years ago, and I've had nothing but excellent service from them. As I was checking out, Dimitry (he's Greek, part owner of said auto repair establishment) told me that he'd recommend brake service on my car before taking it on a trip. He added that the valve cover gasket and the timing belt were due for replacement, something he had mentioned to me after the last oil change. After a bit of deliberation, I decided to go ahead and let them repair the car and shelled out the necessary cash begrudgingly.

As it turns out, we rode with a relative to New York, so Trish sat parked over the weekend. After we returned, I resumed driving Trish to and from work, and after roughly a week and a half I determined there was an oil leak as evidenced by the small puddles of oil now on the driveway. I replinished her oil, took her back to Dimitry and told him there was a leak, and he spent the day with my car trying to determine its cause. Ultimately, he found that the oil cooler had cracked and was leaking internally and then into the overflow reservoir for the coolant, which was then overfilling and leaking out (or something very close to that). He charged me for the part and one hour of labor and I was on my way.

Week Three. I am now looking for any signs of oil on the driveway, and lo and behold I find new puddles after only a day or two of driving. I take her back into the shop, and they tell me it looks like an oil line had a hole in it, and it wasn't easy to find before because there wasn't enough pressure in the system to make it rush out like it was doing now. The part had been ordered and wouldn't be in until Friday (it was Wednesday at this point), and they suggested I just leave the car there because it was leaking about a quart a day. I'm okay with them repairing her, of course, but at this point I am quite frustrated because I've shelled out enough cash to have paid for a new laptop instead. I don't like debt, but I really don't like having debt incurred by auto repair.

While she was at the shop, Jon and I had a brief discussion about how I was feeling about my car. I told him I hoped that the leak would finally stop and that I could politely express my feelings about it to Dimitry. I wanted them to know that it seems odd to me that suddenly after having my car repaired that I have two oil-related issues, even though I'm not directly accusing them of anything. I told Jon I wanted them to know that I'm tired of being in their shop and shelling out cash to keep my car running smoothly, and that I sure hope they figured it all out this time because I am running out of favors with coworkers who have picked me up and dropped me off at the auto repair shop THREE TIMES already.

On Friday, I picked up my car just as the shop was closing. Dimitry told me they had fixed it, but he wanted me to bring my car back to the shop this week just so they could check it out. That's fine, I told him. I added that as much as I liked seeing him that I didn't want to continue to have problems with the car and that I was tired of dealing with auto repair and the expenses associated with it. He said he understood, and I was on my way. I didn't exactly confront him, nor did I offer up the suggestion that it was the initial repair that brought on the last two. I did, however, express how I felt about it and that's more than what I usually do. So that felt good.

As for the car, I'm still observing the ground underneath where I park her to see if there are any more leaks. I noticed a few drops on Saturday and Sunday, but nothing since then. I am thinking that it may have been residual oil lingering in the engine compartment (they didn't clean the engine after the repair like they normally do) - that's just my guess. I'm hoping I'm right, but nevertheless I probably will stop by the auto shop for my fourth and hopefully final visit sometime in the next day or two. Perhaps they can clean the engine and just give her a once-over to make sure the leak is indeed gone.

So that issue has been dealt with. I now resume my regularly scheduled programming wherein I hope to avoid confrontation, unless it's that lady screaming and gesturing at me on the road again. At the very least, I have a hand gesture for her.

November 11, 2005

Take Five

I've been busy since early summer managing a project at work. I am the designated Project Manager, but because we are so short on staff here at Meredith, I wear many other hats, including that of a trainer. So I've been up to my eyeballs in a pilot rollout of a file sharing system for months now. For whatever reason the powers that be saw fit, a tear in the vortex opened up this week and I slipped out and have been able to do exactly what it is I enjoy doing most while at work: fucking off.

Yay for downtime!

On Monday, I took a sick day, because, quite frankly, I was sick of work. I had planned on lying around all day eating bon bons and watching talk shows and doing much of nothing. Instead, I got up, showered and went to the grocery store. I returned home and decided that I wanted to caulk and paint, so I went out for a quick trip to WalMart, returned with more caulk (had paint already) and caulked and then painted a wall near the front door of our house that leads up the stairwell.

I also cleaned the bathroom downstairs and made a pot roast. By the time Casey and Jon returned home from school and work, respectively, I was relaxing with my iBook and watching Oprah as if that's what I had been doing all day. Something apparently was coded incorrectly in my relaxation DNA strands.

On Tuesday, I had a 9 a.m. training class, but after that, my week was literally wide open. My office partner was out this week (vacationing on a cruise ship somewhere near the Bahamas), so I turned off the lights, hooked up the iPod to the speaker and subwoofer and was able to chill at work while doing things totally unrelated to work, like upgrading to Moveable Type 3.2 and futzing with style sheets and mudding. Not that I've actually accomplished a lot. The upgrade went smoothly, the stylesheet revamp isn't quite done yet. Heh. I tend to put off doing things when I can't figure them out ASAP. I'm indifferent to this type of thing. Yeah, whatever.

It has been a glorious week, despite the fact that my car (sweet, sweet Trish) is in the shop for the THIRD time in as many weeks with an oil leak. The problem started after the shop did some maintenance to my car, and I've been stressed about it ever since. Hopefully I can pick her up this afternoon and the issue will have been resolved. We'll find out soon enough. I'm tired of my car sucking away all my savings.

Overall, it's been great fun to be a slacker. I've really gotten good at it... hell, it's been four or five weeks since I've worked out at Curves. I guess I manage stress by doing nothing outside of the scope of work I have and eating. But this week has been just what I needed... several days at work off everyone's radar and having time to do a lot of nothing.

I strongly suggest everyone give it a go sometime.

November 08, 2005

Upgraded

This is a simple test to make sure that my MT 3.2 upgrade went smoothly and that all systems are still go. There's nothing more fun than working on personal stuff at work.

UPDATE: Yikes, I didn't intend for the entire look and feel of the site to change. What's up with that? Looks like I have to play some more to get this thing fixed and customized di-style! Woohoo.

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: I am in stylesheet hell currently, but it's time to go home. So if you happen to be reading this and wonder what in the hell is up with this site being all screwed up, just know that I'm working on it. Thank you, and good luck.

November 03, 2005

Moralists have no place in an art gallery.

I couldn't sleep last night, so I went downstairs and watched a movie called The Shape of Things. It's about this graduate student who is an artist, and she is working on her thesis presentation. She meets this guy, an awkward and shy student, and they start what appears to be a relationship. During the course of the movie, you see him start to change as the relationship progresses, and issues with old friends of his creep up. In the end, she requests that in order to keep her around he needs to dump his old friends. He agrees.

And then it's time for her thesis presentation, entitled, "She loves me not." She talks about how did a human sculpture and picked her subject randomly, using only manipulation to sculpt her subject. She says she took the past 18 weeks of her life and spent time with her subject, making suggestions to him of things about him she thinks would help him - emphasizing that she never demanded anything - and much to her surprise, her subject starts to evolve and change. She reveals a photo of him in the first days of their relationship, and ultimately reveals a photo of him at the present time, and it is evident how much he has changed both mentally and physically. She speaks of how she was even able to get him to agree to get rid of friends, all at the hand of suggestion and how easy it was to get him to do the things she wanted without once saying the words, "You must . . . "

Naturally, he's upset at this turn of events, and he storms out of the room where she is presenting her "art." He later asks her if any of their relationship was real, and she slowly shakes her head and tells him no.

The movie pretty much ended with that, and I was left sitting there at 1:15 a.m. pondering the whole concept of sculpting another person with nothing but mere manipulation. It could happen, I thought. What an interesting concept for a movie.

I went back upstairs shortly thereafter, but I still wasn't able to sleep. Thoughts were creeping in and out of my head, and I finally woke Jon up and convinced him to hug me and give me some lovin'. That was nice, but it took another hour before I fell asleep. I have no idea what my problem was, but I suspect strongly that hormones are playing a big part of it.

I took my time getting ready for work this morning, debating the entire drive in whether to actually drive to work or just keep driving. Tori accompanied me on the stereo, so I drifted into some relaxed place and decided I could come into work and fuck off for an entire day rather than do anything productive. That way if something presented itself and I really didn't want to do it, I could still feign illness and leave early. Otherwise I get credit for showing up and don't have to burn eight hours of sick leave.

I'm feeling out of sorts for the past couple of days, another by product of increased hormone production in my body. I signed up for NaNoWriMo and decided to go forth and try to write a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month. I did it on encouragement from my mother-in-law and an inherent desire to write a book, but to be perfectly honest about it I have the will but lack the motivation. I have submitted 857 words, but my "novel" has no discernable plot, characters or anything else. What the fuck is wrong with me? It's like I'm just sort of passing through this life without really getting involved in it, yet somehow that's okay with me (even though it upsets me).

I'm getting to the point in my life where I'm going to have to figure out what I want to do when I grow up. There's always been this goal of my kids growing up and moving out and then life can begin. Yet here I am less than four years away from that and I'm starting to wonder what the hell I'll do with myself alone in a house with my husband and cats. Why haven't I done more with my life and expanded my interests and made better friends and started being Diane? It's like I have no clue who Diane is anymore. She used to be an angsty unhappy housewife with a great desire to share and express and interact with the world outside of her unhappiness. Now, the unhappiness has been replaced with a great deal of happiness and fulfillment (thank you, Jonathan), and the only thing that is missing is a game plan for the next chapter.

It's an odd place. It's been an odd place to be ever since I got here. There's a line in a Nirvana song (the name escapes me currently and I'm too lazy to look it up) that says, "I miss the comfort in being sad," and oh how I understand that sentiment. It was easy being the old Diane. My angst and my sadness was very familiar and easy to tap into and use as a catalyst for a lot of creative expression. Hell, even talking about it now feels easy and comforting, like I know just the words to use and just the thing to say to describe it. Happiness is a great thing, but I know now that it doesn't necessarily mean contentment, at least not in the context of my life.

I have no idea who I am. I see myself first and foremost as a creative individual, yet I wouldn't call myself an artist. But I should! But I'm scared to do that. I would love to be a writer again, but only in the aspect of it being a creative way to express myself with words - the artist sense of being a writer is what appeals to me. I want people to feel my words and I want to make people feel what I write about. I would love to be a photographer - there have been so many momentsI have captured over the years with a photograph. I want to play on canvas, I want to learn to sew and create great things. The list could go on and on forever.

Yet I sit and think about all of this and never move forward. I'm starting to believe that it's my upbringing and society in general that I'm fearful of challenging. I'm certainly not conservative like many in my family. But at the same time, I am. I admire people who are themselves at all costs and don't care what others think or feel about them. I want to be like that. But at the same time, I don't. I feel judged by my actions all the time, judged by the moralists that I seemingly surround myself with. What the fuck am I doing? Setting myself up for failure?

It's just one of those weeks, I guess.

I miss the internet. I miss my audience. I miss being a bit of an undercover exhibitionist. I like it when people watch what I do. It gives me a thrill just to say that, you know.

[This post brought to you by Diane's hormones.]

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