Also, I think I kind of unintentionally sounded like an asshole when I left that message

You know what’s great? Leaving a message with someone and asking for them to call you back, then somehow managing in the space of an hour to lose your phone. And then not being able to call said phone to figure out where it might be, because said phone is your *work* phone and you don’t have a damned clue what the number is for it. So it goes without saying that you also don’t know the number for remotely accessing your work voicemail, and even if you did, it wouldn’t do you much good because the passcode for your mailbox is– yeah– your phone number. FUN!

[Ed.: So, I found the phone? And the battery had died. So naturally, now I can’t figure out where the hell the charger went. My life, it is a mockery.]

And the snozzberries just taste so much snozzberrier

I’m home. Second wind = 30 minutes to do something, anything, so here I am, writing. Because unpacking or getting things ready for tomorrow (back to routine! but it’s a routine which I adore) would be far too unreasonable.

Those first two words are too bland on the screen. I’m home! You should have seen me on that plane. You should have seen me at the airport– both airports! I was humming and dancing and grinning like a fool. You’d have thought I was in love, in new love. You’d have thought a week in Japan was a blight on my life’s history. You’d have thought that Zombie Christmas Sunday sucked balls. And you would have been wrong, but understandably so, because damn, I was just that happy to be going home. Which, really, is quite different from being *relieved* to go home. Which I have absolutely been before, so *yeah*, I know the difference all too well.

Japan was nice. I’d rather tell you about Berkeley. If you’ve been around since, you’ll know from last year that I don’t give details for shit when it comes to the big trips, the overwhelming, once-in-a-lifetime, Important and Meaningful trips. But the little random unplanned trips? I will tell you about every single blade of grass and flower petal I saw with enthusiasm that will bowl you over, about the eyelashes of complete strangers who passed by, about every syllable that was spoken and heard.

Except it’s nearly 5 a.m. and I’m supposed to be waking up in an hour to get ready for work, so I’ll leave you with this: I can’t remember the last time I got so many fantastic hugs from a single person in a 24-hour period, and the weather could not– could not— have been more beautiful today and as nice as grass is, those huge marble balcony rails on campus couldn’t have made a more ideal spot for stretching out and basking in the sunshine and watching boys play Frisbee and catch and bongos and guitars on the lawn below. I don’t know. I’m an ocean girl by birth and by heart and "it’s one state" be damned, NorCal is *not* the same as SoCal in more ways than anyone would want to count or hear– but, oh. There’s something about the colors up there– especially the greens. Not necessarily more *vivid*, but– more pure, maybe. The greens are just so much greener.

HNG, with love from McCarran

Oh yeah. I’m leaving for SFO right now and I’ll be in Japan for the rest of the week. My phone, obviously, will be off until I get back.

I managed to pack in one hour and I didn’t even fill one suitcase, which is miraculous, considering I’m a girl who can stuff two suitcases and a duffel bag and an oversized purse for a two-day trip. And then proceed to wear the same clothes the whole time. *Yeah*.

Boarding time!

The first one stepped in a puddle and the second one is boycotting cement?

There are new leaves on the trees on campus and I spent my long breaks this week sprawled out on the grass by the amphitheatre and in front of the engineering building, reading my book and people-watching and basking in the late afternoon sunlight.

Also, overheard Thursday:

[Two guys cutting across the lawn]
-Dude. This is why we stay on the pathways.
-But… those are made out of concrete.

I would love to know what prompted each of them to say what they did.

I had to upload pictures just to make my Flickr home page less shudder-inducing

YES! I just did a little victory dance because I looked at my geo
syllabus and found out we’re learning about glaciers in today’s
lecture. I think. Unless we’re a day behind in the syllabus? But that
just means we’ll study glaciers on Thursday. Glaciers! Perfect! Because
I spent half my weekend (well, half of the half that wasn’t spent
fretting over spiders) reading about glaciers and trying to understand
them!

Glaciers = earth science + geology + physics + water. I should be
innately *designed* to love glaciers. And– I do. Really. I just also
can’t wrap my brain around them, conceptually. You say "glacier" and I
think "iceberg"; banana, banahna. Is it large? Check. Made of ice?
Check. Capable of preserving an entire wooly mammoth? Check!

Also: yes, that timestamp is accurate, and this is why I sleep most of my weekends away.

I *did*, however, scream bloody murder when I accidentally knocked over the open jar in the kitchen

I woke up this morning and wandered into the bathroom to find my cat sitting on top of the toilet, staring intently at the windowsill where I’d left the jar + dead spider the night before. Staring because the jar no longer contained a dead spider, but rather, contained a VERY MUCH ALIVE spider who was furiously trying to escape again.

So, zombie spider? POSSIBLY! But then I got home from work and it was back to its catatonic death-state, legs pulled in close and all that crap. So maybe it really *was* just depressed. But I’d told myself while I was at work that if the spider were still alive when I got home, I would take it to Red Rock– so I grabbed the jar and marched outside and put a handful of grass and clover in the jar. To… I don’t know. To make it feel *closer* to its natural habitat? Whatever, it worked, because as soon as the grass was in the jar, the spider started moving again.

Long story short, I drove a half-hour outside of town to deposit the spider in rocky wilderness. Then immediately felt guilty afterward because what if I’d just separated the spider from its family and friends? But then I consoled myself that it’s a brown recluse, so if I *did* unintentionally separate it, it would probably be thanking me.

And yeah, I’m aware that it’s highly likely that I went through all that heartache and trouble only to have the spider get eaten by a bird five minutes after I drove away. But that is fine with me. That is dandy. That’s a *useful* spider death. And no, I do not miss that idiot arachnid. I didn’t for one single second even think about building a terrarium for it and just leaving it in the backyard. And most certainly I did not *name* it and scold it for being sulky and ungrateful. Miss it? Ha! Never.

Spiders, man. Those fricking things mess with your head something crazy.

And “can’t save ’em all” is NOT a reassurance

My spider died.

I’m more upset about this than I’m pretty sure I should be. It had enough oxygen so I guess it just died from starvation. How often do spiders need to eat? And what the hell was it eating before? How many bugs ARE there in this house, that it could have kept sufficiently fed before? Unless it died from depression. Which makes me even more sad.

Mostly, though, I– it’s stupid. I know it’s stupid. But I was going to go to Red Rock this morning and spend the day hiking and out there, far from the city limits, I was going to find my spider a nice rock that it could live under (yes: I researched natural habitats of brown recluses). But I forgot about DST and didn’t get home last night until after four, was asleep around five, and this morning I just couldn’t drag myself out of bed. So I didn’t go hiking. And now my spider is dead.

Moral of this story: Spiders, it would be in the best interest of both parties if you would just STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM ME.

Less freaked out now; mostly just uneasy and disturbed

Fuck. I just realized if it IS pregnant and I DO keep it alive, it’s going to have its freaking poisonous killer revenge babies in that jar. I can barely handle looking at ONE live spider. I will scream if that jar becomes filled with hundreds of billions of live, crawling, eight-legged EWWWWW.

Uh. Oh. So, the worst part about this fiasco, besides having to trap it in a jar and then carry the jar around with me everywhere without a lid because of my paranoia? The worst part has probably been scouring the Internet to identify what the hell kind of spider this is. Hundreds of spider pictures. HUNDREDS. All of them close-up and detailed. All the muscles in my neck and shoulders are ridiculously tense from having to scroll through these pictures. All those legs and pincers and EYES.

Anyway. I’m pretty sure it’s a brown recluse; they’re common out here in the desert and now that it’s in a jar I’ve gotten a REALLY UNCOMFORTABLY CLOSE LOOK at its giant pincers. And I think, if I didn’t do this already, I’ve identified my SUPER GIANT MONSTER SPIDER OF DOOM! from San Diego as a camel spider. Which apparently isn’t even a spider at all? And supposedly isn’t even poisonous? Except there are a few testimonies that camel spider ARE venomous and no offense, majority opinion on the internet, but I’m gonna side with those guys.

AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH

So, I caught it. I freaked out the whole time, and let me tell you, it was a LOT of freaking out, but, it’s in a jar now. The spider is in the jar and it cannot climb out because it is not like an ant or a gecko. BUT NOW WHAT?

Internet, I am hugely conflicted over this. I am really, really distressed about this. With crickets, I always catch them and put them back outside. It’s cool, crickets are harmless and if anything, a bird can eat it. But this? I don’t know what to do with this! I can’t put it outside because it’s a SPIDER that might be POISONOUS and shit, what if it’s PREGNANT? Letting it go outside will result in MILLIONS OF POISONOUS SPIDER BABIES, ALL IN THE VICINITY OF MY RESIDENCE. This, this not an option.

Neither, however, is killing it. I can’t smoosh it because that’s disgusting, it’s way too big for that. I don’t want to spray it because I did that once to an insect and saw it shudder and convulse, and it traumatized me enough that I can’t do it anymore. And I have found out, twice now, that I can’t suffocate it. Here’s a Science Friday Fun Fact! After about 30 seconds in a jar with a screwed-on lid, this spider started to curl itself up and stop moving. My freaked-out self, upon observing this, freaked out EVEN MORE and hurriedly opened the lid to give it fresh oxygen. My bleeding heart can’t handle the thought of it suffering a slow, drawn-out death. Fuck, man.

And MORE THAN THIS, I do not want to keep it. I am not a spider-as-a-pet keeping sort. I *think* I need a lizard, or whatever the hell else eats spiders, spiders that are poisonous and oh god possibly knocked up. Maybe I’ll call Petsmart tomorrow and see if they want a free lizard snack.

Anyway, this is why it is 9 p.m. and I am still not even showered, much less ready to get out the door. I am not too thrilled about leaving this spider alone. I’ve actually been carrying it from room to room with me, just to keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn’t escape its jar, and I’ve got to tell you: I don’t know what’s worse, imagining coming home and finding a huge dead balled-up spider or finding an EMPTY JAR. Shit. Shit shit shit.

Who wants to hear about what someone else dreamed last night? No one. But you’re already here, so too bad.

More list items that don’t have anything to do with each other, really, and thereby probably have no justification for being thrown together on a single list except man, nobody cares, let’s just get this on:

  1. I found out on Friday afternoon, through the relentless enthusiastic persuasion of a sort-of boss and the glory of the Internet, that I passed the certification exam I took in early February (so I can stop having disappointment-laden heart attacks every time I see a small envelope in the mail for me). These exams aren’t exactly *difficult*– but this is a field I’ve only worked in since the end of September and both times, I never had any significant hands-on experience with the subject material and I declined to sign up for the exam training sessions. That last bit worried me the most; I thought work might get a little squiffy if I ended up failing the exams and wish I hadn’t been so arrogant ("But maybe if you’d signed up for the training sessions, you would have passed!"). The other two co-workers who took the exam the same day I did have been with the co. for a couple of *years*. So– so this is a big deal for me. This is a HUGE deal for me. And because it’s kind of hard to explain (quickly) *why* this is such a big deal for me, I haven’t directly told anyone yet. Because I am really, really happy about this but as far as the normal world is concerned, it’s not like this was the EIT or the PE. So… yeah.
  2. Saw "The King of California" and "The Darjeeling Limited" last night. Was skeptical about the first one; I’d seen it in Target and the back had sounded interesting, but when I was thinking about it again last night, I was worried it would been too drama-y, too heavy on the screwy family relationships, etc. It turned out to be GREAT and actually rather hilarious. "Darjeeling" was… Wes Anderson. What more is there to say? I loved Jason Schwartzman’s desperate line: "Stop including me!!" as he maced his brothers and ran away.
  3. Am finding out, slowly, that some friends– *local* friends– actually read this thing. I’m not *shocked*– it’s not rocket science to find this (I link to it on the other sites and the last time I checked, it still comes up as the first hit in both Google and Y! if you run a search on my full name, to my great annoyance– but hey, that’s why I self-censor)– but it *was* news to me. But, like Megan, it isn’t a vanity thing. It just helps me to know, when we’re catching up, just exactly how much I need to catch them up on.
  4. I had to bail on the Dance-A-Thon this weekend because of midterm
    reviews and what-not. So I vowed to finally finish designing and coding
    these two project sites since I’ll actually be home today and tomorrow,
    right? And then I remembered that it’s coming on a year since *this*
    site’s redesign, which means this current look is about 10 months too
    old.
  5. Dreamed about two of them last night. One was moving back and the other decided to reform and stop being such a douchey asshole. Or, well, to re-reform, then. Which in real life will probably never happen, which saddens me if only because I have never been as embarrassed in my life the way I am by his behavior.

From the start of this post to right now, I managed to eat 3/4 a box of Vanilla Almond Special K. I don’t know if this says more about my cereal eating habits or my inability to pay more than five consecutive minutes of attention to writing these posts.