July 2004 Archives
Two thrill that I hope I never outgrow: swinging on a swingset, and riding shopping carts.
There is just something about riding a grocery cart at high speed that is just so naughty. You can only go careening through the aisles of your local supermarket for so long before someone calls the manager on you.
I tend to ride my cart through the parking lot. Now, this has the danger of running into, or being run into by, something, but I don't let that worry me too much. When I leave the store, I stand outside the doors for a moment or two, surveying the territory. I wait for cars and pedestrians to move themselves out of the way. Then I take off, taking advantage of the slight incline of the terrain in the lot. I am farily adept at steering and can usually get a pretty good speed going before I have to put my feet down to stop at my car.
I imagine that I may gather a few amused or appalled stares, but I don't really care. So long as I have my cart, I can fly.
Thursday of this week I hit another Mallards' game. They won, and it was excelent, but slightly less fun than in the past, because it seemed as though the regular announcer was off for the night or something. I still got a kick out of it, though. I'm amazed that the regular season is almost over, though. What happened to June and July?
Today was a Planned Parenthood marathon. I started out at the Farmer's Market for two hours, where I filled balloons for children, registered voters, and got signatures on a petition. After a whirlwind tour of the market itself (and a small haul of carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, and fingerling potatoes) I headed back to the northside for Fiesta Hispana.
The Fiesta Hispana table was for the education department, rather that the Advocates, so there was no voter registration or petitions. We did have plenty of literature and condoms. I also got to tour the facilities (cue the Cake) and pretty much everyone was giving away candy at their tables (cue the happy Katherine on a sugar high). I even snagged an anti-choice lifesaver. <yoink!> My favorite of the night was the mango and chili lollipop.
Just after we packed up the table, I got a call that some people I knew where on their way, so I stuck around and we hung out. The bands were great fun. And, might I add, tonight must have been a "everybody I sorta kinda know" night, since I kept running into them all night long.
The fiesta wound down around 8, so we motored westward to the Terrace to catch Phat Phunktion, who were just as funky as ever.
And now, if I don't get to sleep soon, I'm going to fall right over on my keyboard.
Reunion number one of the weekend was with familty. It was great fun, and there were massive amounts of food and drink (some of which is now residing in my refridgerator). Games were played, stories were told, and pictures were taken.
Following that reunion, I met up with some old friends for reunion number two. It has only been a few years, but it is amazing how much people can change in just a short time. We're all (mostly) turning into grown-ups!
The next day, one of the friends and I went to out brunkfast (first meal of the day, but after noon) and watched the gay pride parade go down state street. At the time, I was very happy that I was *not* in a car attempting to cross the isthmus on Johnson or Gorham streets--they were backed up forever as the parade crossed, and it was mighty warm and sunny.
I also muct point put that there is just something so very not right about Rocky Horror costumes in broad daylight. The aesthetic is thrown several miles off.
Monday morning started very, very early with a series of stupid mishaps. I had to get up at 5:30 for an appointment with the asthma study folks. I forgot that I wasn't supposed to take my albuterol of the study meds that morning, so my visit became useless. I also decided to take the bus, since I was going to be spending a few hours downtown, and it would be cheaper than parking. I'd grabbed a brand new bottle of juice (the expensive, premium kind) for something to tide me over after the appointment until lunch. But right after I got off the bus, I realized that I'd left it on the seat. So much for that plan. I do hope someone got to enjoy it.
The day got much better, though. I went to the City-County building and got myself deputized to register voters in the city of Madison. Let the GOTV (Get Out the Vote) begin!
While I was in the neighborhood and had some time to kill, I realized that in the 10 years I have lived in Madison, I have never done the official Capita tour. I've been in the Capital building many times, but never done the guided thang. So, I joined up with a group and had quite a fun time. Learned some interesting tidbits. Following the tour, I continued to circle the building (rather literally) from top to bottom. I made a couple rounds of the observation deck, checked out the little museum bit, and then walked a complete round of every floor from there to the basement. I've determined two things. One, it's a realy cool building, and I need to spend more time there. Two, someday, somehow, and despite the fact that heights kind of wig me out, I want to go into the restricted areas: the Trumpeter's Balcony, the balcony at the top of the dome (under the painting), and the stairway up the the tippy-top.
After I had exhausted the public areas of the capital, I met up with a few other MAGNET members for lunch. It was fun, but it did make me feel a little weird. These people are all around my age, but they seemed to be so much more together...more professional. I had the tweaky feeling that I was just and imposter and a wannabe. Fortunately, I'm not letting a few random moments of high-school style insecurity get the better of me. I may be a shiftless layabout this summer, but at least I'm well rested. :)
The evening brought more fun, as I attended a screening of The Muppet Movie at the Memorial Union. That is the best! (Though I still, and always will, loathe Miss Piggy.) Jim Henson and co. really had a subversive streak, yet since it was the Muppets, no one cared. The jokes and cameos actually get better as you get older. (And, of course, the songs are stuck in my head now.)
I ran into my brother, his supa-cool girlfriend, and another old friend while there. We all headed back to the "spaceship" and watched The Point. I just have to say that when you already have "Moving Right Along" stuck in your head, "Me and My Arrow" really merges with it very smoothly.
Now the sun is shining, and I am contemplating dog-napping Keitel for a romp in the dogpark. Ta!
So, is my frequent visitor from Speakeasy an actual person, or a bot? Speak up, now.
Monday: Monday found me biking down to Madison Area Technical College for a workshop on newspaper design and planning from the advisor of MATC's school paper, The Clarion. While I was there, I also snagged a copy of the Yahara Journal in which my photo, "Queen of Pentacles" appears.
Tuesday: Bussed my way down to the UW Hospital to have blood re-drawn for my asthma study. The original sample didn't get to the lab in time. Kind of annoying, but I will get an extra $20 for my trouble. I followed that up with a bit more mystery shopping, and then lazed around the Terrace for a few hours. I closed out the day with a Planned Parenthood volunteer meeting.
Wednesday: I was finally able to bring my mechanics the endangered species of a replacement part so that my Jeep repairs could get underway. Then I grabbed a bus to the Dane County Fair, where I was covering a shift at the Planned Parenthood booth. Managed to get quite a few signatures on our petition, and gave away many condoms, stickers, buttons, and condoms. Then I explored the fair and watched the youth driving competions. The pony class was nice, but the teens in the horse and cart class were really impressive.
Thursday: Reclaimed custody of the Jeep, which now has a functional fuel gauge. Unfortunately, the driver's door latch has gone funky again, requiring the window to be rolled down anytime I need to exit, so as to use the outside latch. I know how to deal with the problem, and it isn't a costly thing....just a pain in the ass.
Following my joyfull automotive reunion, I motored on over the the Planned Parnethood clinic, to help out during the fundraiser. I filled coolers, directed traffic in the blazing sun, and helped clean up. I also chatted with the governor and noshed on the snacks and wine. Was sent home with leftover chips and salsa.
Friday: I had an interview for a low-paying, part-time retail job. I'd love to do better, but it wouldn't suck to be making even a little money. I'll get my answer next week.
After watching the deluge, a braved the rain and made my way back to the fair for a second shift of tabling. Having accomplished that, I made another tour of the fair, springing for a corn dog and a cotton candy. Decided not to go on any rides at this time.
Topped off the evening by stopping by the Terrace to watch Natty Nation with my brother and his charming girlfriend.
Coming up: Reunions, more berries, , more medical research, MAGNET, The Muppet Movie, and Fiesta Hispana.
For a shiftless layabout, I've been doing a lot of running around lately. Between mystery shopping, taking part in an asthma study, participating in MAGNET events, volunteering for Planned Parenthood, and attending workshops, I've hardly had time to sit in my pajamas and eat ice cream. Or blog. However, I am collecting the stories, so that when I get a few minutes here and there, I can type them up.
Now I have to head out to a job interview. Wish me luck.
After the rummage sale, I biked back down to the berry brambles, and filled another three 3-cup Ziploc containers and a slightly smaller (2.5?) Rubbermaid container. Planning yet another trip for next weekend. I think giving it a week between trips is best, since I tend to harvest every ripe berry in sight, so that gives time for a new crop to ripen.
After I ran out of room in my containers, I just started picking handsful and cramming them into my mouth like a child. 'Twere nummy. I finished the day with blue-stained hands and a sunburnt nose. Turning into a regular little ragamuffin, I am.
Big rummage sale today. My upstairs and across the hall neighbors hauled our stuff out into the front yard and then sat around all day drinking beer and selling stuff. And bitching about our goofball landlord. I sold $37 worth, after haggling. That included two of my paintings! My neighbor bought one for $10 and her friend bought a little one for $4. (Which is about enough to pay for the canvases. :)
I'm a wee bit sunburned from the spots I missed the sunscreen on my back. Upstairs and I are going to do it again tomorrow, weather permitting. I must say, it's quite fun to lol around in the sunshine and still feel that you are doing something productive!
The verdict on the Jeep is that the fuel pump neds to be replaced. No problem, that part is plentiful and readily available. However...
...the fuel pump is linked to the fuel sending unit, which hasn't worked in the entire time I've owned the vehicle. So my fuel guage is useless, but I count the miles. No problem. Except...
...Chrysler has discontinued the making the fuel sending unit for this particular Jeep. The part is nowhere to be found for love or money, apparently. The mechanic said that we could *try* to put a new fuel pump in with the old, broken fuel sending unit, but we might very well find that we won't be able to put everything back together, because the part is old. That gamble would cost $488, and if it doesn't work I'm out the money and still have no car.
I still owe about $2,300 on the Jeep. I have no job. I am so very, very screwed right now. I wonder what I must have done to make the gods hate me so?
Anyone wanna guess whose car died while driving, right in the middle of a busy street at quarter to 11 at night? Yeah. At least the rain had stopped by then. And there was an open spot at the curb about a 100 feet up. And it wasn't an incline or hill. And the Jeep is light enough for one little person to push *and* steer. And I have AAA.
Bleargh. Could I catch a break? Please?
I just spent most of the afternoon up to my armpits in bramble--picking black raspberries (and a few red reaspbarries) growing along a nearby bike path. I now have a couple quarts worth. I may go back at the end of the week, for there were a whole lot of not yet ripe ones that I'd like to keep my eye on. I think I'll have some fresh and freeze the rest.
It was quite fun. (Not to mention sweaty and prickly.) I got several bike rides out of it, too. I saw the berries while biking to the store. Biked back home to drop of my purchases, change into more appropriate clothes and shoes, and graba container. I filled the first container, then went back home for three more.
Sometimes it was a little tricky wading through the branches and thorns to get to the berries that weren't on the edges, but I mostly managed to do it without damaging either the plants or myself.
I don't think too many people go berrying there, so I'm sure I'll be able to get a lot more harvested before the season is over. It's in kind of an odd area, without to much casual traffic.
Seriously tired of the rain. Both the Mallards game and the fireworks tonight have been called an account of rain. :( I have had it up to here with the constant showers. Enough already. Send it somewhere that needs it.
The MAGNET thing at the Governor's residence was very neat. Bee-oo-tee-ful place, right on the lake, like loverly gardens. There were too-die-for hors dourves and desserts, including "shrimp in a jacket" and lemon bars. (Prolly not as good as Weezy's, though.) The governor wasn't there, but his wife, a former middle school teacher, was.
I talked to a few people, and ran into oone of the people I'd hung out with at the last event. I got chatted up by a nerdy nutritional sciences researcher. I had a conversation with an "I know you from somewhere" guy, and eventually we figured out that we had done tabling at the farmers market for Planned Parenthood together last summer (handing out balloons to the kiddies and condoms to the adults).
I seriously felt like I was in someone else's story, because I just don't go to things like that. I did have a few times were I felt like I was just standing there, looking stupid. I didn't freeze up, though.
Last week I went to a get-together for the Madison Chamber of Commerce. I keep wondering who this person is that keeps ending up at all these places and events, because I don't quite recognize her. I spent so much of the winter being a hermit.
Now, if only my business life would catch up with my social/networking life. Culvers hadn't even called me back!
Ok, got an early morning for asthma research, so I better get to bed.
I went to see Spiderman 2 last night. I was rather unimpressed. However, I was the only one in my party that didn't like the film, so maybe I'm just wierd.
I found the plot and the dialogue to be so painfully bad that even the neat action sequences couldn't make up for the agony. Maybe it was purposely bad, but when I compare it to the wit and fun of the X-Men films... It just annoyed me.
The one redeeming feature was the opening credit sequence, which is rather beautiful. Flashes of fabulous comic book art--watercolor paintings by Alex Ross--that pretty much gave you the "Previously on Spiderman..." It was very nice. Everything that came after was pretty eh.
...apparently, Blogathon is taking a year off. There is another group, Project Blog doing a similar thing this year. Unfortunately, the date they chose is July 24, which is a day that I have already promised to do tabling for Planned Parenthood at an event. So, I can either stay home and raise money or go out and raise awareness, but I can't do both.
As much as I would like to blog for donations again this year, I've already committed myself to being at the event. And, as blogging for 24 hours straight in pretty tiring and keeps me at my computer all day while the event will allow me to be social and get some sleep, you know which one is going to win. Blogathon is taking a year off, and so am I. (Which is not to say that you can't still send in a donation on your own.)
So, Camp Wellstone was pretty amazing. I learned so much, met some really cool people, and ate a whole lot of food. If anyone out there is interested in getting involved in progressive politics and/or activism/advocacy, and you have the opportunity to attend a Camp Wellstone, I totally recommend it.
I picked up some pointers on how to run a press event, how to recruit and retain volunteers, how to build a base, how to stay on message, and fundraising. I came face-to-face with the fact that I would rather eat worms than do door-to-door canvassing (which I realize I may need to get over). I discovered that I kinda like lobbying.
The organizers, staff, and presenters were all pretty cool people. My group decided that Melvin, our main guy, is going to be president someday. He's one of those bright, competent, charismatic types that just makes you say, "Wow." (How very Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, no?)
Now I'm all fired up, and I need to make sure I dpn't let this momentum die out. I went to a Planned Parenthood volunteer meeting last night, which was excellent timing. We're starting a new campaign: "real Life, Real Talk". It's pretty exciting. Woo!
I know said I would write more about F 9/11, but I've come to realize that I've really said all I needed to say on it for now. So there.