The problem with still being awake at 6 in the morning

is that I really want to nap for a few hours, but right about now is when all the e-mails from the East Coast start coming in, and because I'm awake and conscious of their arrivals into my inbox, I feel guilty for not attending to them ASAP. Also, I'm already in the midst of an e-mail volley with someone in South Africa, so it would be kind of rude to up and vanish all of a sudden.

In other work-semi-related un-news, it is honestly kind of awesome that I can honestly kind of claim playing games on Facebook to be work-related research, but at the end of the day, I honestly kind of resent the lost time. It would feel more justified if my specific job was to review games and game trends and game mechanics, but then again, I would tire of that job in no time. (That's a lie. It would take time. But only like a week or two.)

RANDOM TIP: scraping your tongue won't make your mouth feel more clean, but it does make your mouth feel less dirty. (oho! let the double entendres and so forth ensue)

APPROPRIATE OPPORTUNITY FOR EXPLANATION: TheNoah wants me to post more. I figure, a) he doesn't ask much from me, and b) he didn't ask for quality, just quantity. Hence, this.

TIMELY APOLOGY: Sorry.

A MORE SINCERE VERSION: I deeply regret the fact that you've been subjected to this useless post wholeheartedly lacking in substance for the primary purpose of attempting to appease the rare request of my significant other, though it behooves one to remember that all activity such as continued return visits to this shambles of a thought-log website is purely voluntary upon one's own part and is not even understood by this author, so, yeah.

LET'S TRY THAT AGAIN WITH LESS SARCASM: n/a

IN CONCLUSION: "my extemporaneous thought-log" = methlog? YES.

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Not quite a CLM but definitely snafu-esque

It’s 11 p.m. Approximately four hours ago, I volunteered to give a half-hour presentation tomorrow morning in front of my entire department, and then some. Why? Oh, I don’t know. I guess I thought it would be funny.

I’m allowed to talk about pretty much anything, it just has to be positive and energetic and what-not. I’ve spent an hour noodling out possible topics that I could ramble on about for 30 minutes [1], but now I’m just kind of in an "Ah, shit, I’ll just wing it" sort of mindset.

Regardless, I’m going to sneak salmon into my presentation. The beauty of being an English major– making just about anything somehow relevant to just about anything else. Hooray, symbolism!

This may, however, turn out to be a good thing. I may be the suckiest presentation-giver in the whole of the company, so sucky indeed that they will all politely request that I never give a presentation again. Score!

Oh, let’s get real. I love the attention. Curtain’s up, kid, and all eyes are on you. Bring it on!

[1] Given my propensity to ramble and tell extremely long-winded stories with millions of tangents all slap-dash-happy, you’d think having to talk for 30 minutes would be a walk in the park. Problem is, I’d like to keep it an *interesting* 30-minute talk, a 30-minute talk that has maybe some *substance* to it. Y’know?

When “Why not?” is SO not a suitable answer to “But why??”

Nothing much good ever came out of liking to work yourself to death, which in this case would be represented by a 57-hour work week distributed ridiculously unevenly across five damn days.

Now, liking pina coladas and dancing in the rain– that’s a whole different game. People write catchy songs about that kind of ish.

And speaking of songs (and speaking, I guess, of ish)– the only, and I cannot stress this enough– the ONLY thing that makes Gwen Stefani’s "Holla Back Girl" song worthwhile is the part about bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

The reality of things

I thought maybe I’d be out of work around 8 p.m. I made plans with my mother, whom I saw at 7:30 Tuesday morning because we were getting our hair done together, to go out to the Las Vegas Club after I finished work so she could take me gambling, something of a "coming of age" ritual that I came up with somewhere. I thought maybe I could have dinner with my family beforehand. I thought, if I had gotten over my peeved attitude toward The Guy, I’d maybe maybe maybe see him at one point during the night, too, and hear all about his trip to New York, which truth be told doesn’t interest me that much but he was so darn excited about it all.

What actually happened:

I got my hair cut, etc. I went into work at 8:30 a.m. I didn’t take a lunch break. I didn’t take a dinner break. I did, however, eat the package of Pop-Tarts which I’d tossed into my purse before leaving the house earlier that morning. The Guy called me, twice, and left me a voicemail, twice, and both times I deliberately sent him to voicemail upon initial phone animation, and both times I deilberately refused to check my voicemail, apparently indicating that the peevishness had not, after all, subsided. And then I left the office at 3 a.m.

When you bother to do the math, that’s 10.5 hours of overtime. I’m a little exhausted, just a smidgen. I’m honestly surprised I made it home as safely as I did, given the sloggy, sludgy condition of what was once a relatively functional brain that served me well.

It’s now 3:30 a.m. and I’m home, in bed, under the covers, and every inch of me is sore, and the worst part is knowing I have to go back in four hours. Even if it were a guaranteed fact that I would only be there for two hours, or even one hour, this dread inside me would still be here. The concept itself of "going back" seems to magnify the multitude of aches that seem to burn through the muscles and into the bones, infiltrating the nerves and winding their fibrous way into my head, and oh, the fatigue. Has it really only been a week since this last happened? Will it really be only another week until it happens again?

This workflow, or rather, this workclog-and-then-sudden-workexplosion, is more regular than my periods. Not to mention a damn effective method of birth control. I work so much that I have no time left to socialize, let alone energy left to socialize, LET ALONE energy to bump pelvises with anyone.

Blarg.

I tried to rage against the dying of the light

…but in an office with virtually NO WINDOWS ANYWHERE, it was kind of hard to tell when it was getting dark, anyway. And then there was the matter of the light returning, which I honestly wanted to rage against more than the darkness.

The current time, according to Kipper, is 10:39 a.m. PST. That’s right, it’s mid-morning and I’m on my laptop, and I’m in pretty decent health by my standards, which can only mean one thing: I’ve been fired.

No, wait, it can only mean I don’t have to work today. But before you start rolling your eyes and think, "Oh, how special," let me tell you right now that I spent 25 hours at work, 25 consecutive hours, as in more than 8, more than 10, even more than 13– TWENTY-FIVE HOURS at a desk working on a moody computer operating on multiple bitchy servers with temperamental software, and did I mention the flickering overhead light not too far from where my desk is? Or the obnoxious whining country music that someone in the ads department deliberately left on when she left to go home hours earlier? Or how about the fact that I hadn’t slept well Monday night and was wearing a sweater that shed more lint in one hour than all three of my cats did in a week?

25 hours. Okay, okay, actually 24 because I did take a lunch, which I spent not eating but buying Mango Mandarin deep-cleansing antibacterial soap and Big Sale Items! from Express, a lunch which I only took because the Tech Guy kept telling me I needed to get out of the office before I went completely insane. But that’s still more than eight– 16 hours more, by my count. My next paycheck had SO better make up for all this.

I was sent home at 9:30 this morning because all of my pages and projects were completed and I could barely sit up anymore, let alone walk, let alone form coherent sentences, let alone comprehend anything anyone said to me in with less than 30 seconds of lag time. So technically, I should be sleeping right now, catching up on all those glorious sleepable hours that passed me by while I was clipping and feathering PSDs, struggling to construct agate body tables and hunting down the BentonSans Demibold, which was really actually the same thing as a Medium.

I should be sleeping. There’s a part of me that wants to sleep. The rest of me is staring out the window and registering how bright it is, how it’s almost 11 a.m. and that’s not even noon! The possibilities of my day! I can go shopping, in the daylight! I can do my errands and make phone calls and MAYBE EVEN SEE MY BEST FRIEND! How can I possibly sleep, with all these incredible options finally available to me?

And I know if I don’t try to nap now, I won’t get a chance to sleep again until much, much later tonight, like around midnight or one a.m., but there’s just so much I can do. I can unload the dishwasher and move the (not mine) dirty dishes in the sink, INTO the dishwasher. I can sit down on the couch and watch an episode of "Sex in the City"– heck, I could watch FIVE! I can clean my room! I can do laundry! I can iron! I can do all the things I never get to do on a normal workday because I haven’t been coming home until past 9 p.m., if I come home at all (there are few things in life so depressing as spending an entire night in an unwindowed office), and oh my god, have you SEEN this SUN? The sunlight! The brightness of it all! The majesty and hope and promise it however falsely offers!

No matter that my neck burns each time I move my head, that my shoulders ache with a pain so deep it feels like my muscles are tearing themselves apart; no matter that I’m moving in a fog and when I walk, it’s not so much walking as it is aimlessly drifting; no matter that my eyes aren’t really focusing right now– I’ve got a whole day of options ahead of me, and the prospects of them all taste so darn delicious.

AND– my recycling bins came! How funny that the first thing to go in them will be my first, and only to date, Smirnoff bottle.

!oh oh oh

…said the dyslexic Santa.

Notice how this one isn’t filed under "Alt.Moods." That’s because I’m not all pissy like I was when I wrote yesterday’s entry. I had a really decent day at work, nobody invaded my bubble in the least, I didn’t have to revert to headphones for the majority of the day, I got heartily complimented on my front-page layout, I got to meet the New Design Guy we hired to make our paper look more paper-y, and he’s not only from the Society of Newspaper Design, OH NO, he’s also the News Design… Guy… over at the L.A. Times. The L.A. Times! The L.A.-fucking-Times! I WORSHIP the majority of that paper’s A1 designs and have begged it several times to let me have its babies. I drool over its verticality and brilliant distribution of column width. Not to mention its blatant lack of double-line rules.

And basically, the New News Design Guy we hired isn’t, as the other paginator and I thought, giving us formats for the entire paper. Really, all he did was change the fonts and rules (lines) and spacings. And that may not sound like a lot to the layman’s ears, but when he showed us what our new style sheets and libraries are going to encompass, I wanted to tackle him to the floor and smother him in hugs and kisses and tears and tears of joy.

On top of which, I broached the issue of our calendar with him, and it came up that I’ve already been working on a redesign, so he took a look at it and told me that it was good, so we’re going to use it when we launch the new papers next month. My calendar! My baby! And for all the ideas I cautiously proposed to him, he gave me a green light. This, among other things, includes the standard for open-page vertical rule white space, the elimination of the double-line rule and the replacement of it with a 2-pt. solid line rule which extends only the length of the story below, as opposed to several side-by-side stories or the entire width of the page, so if there is more than one story, than more than one line used– really, this new "design" is more like new tools with which Aleza and I have nearly complete freedom to do whatever the hell we want in our pagination.

And eventually I’m hoping to jump onto Panorama and start busting out the mad art ideas I’ve gleaned from the pages of various SND "Best of Newspaper Design" books. Plus more.

So, my job in the long run thrills me. My job in the short run, which would be tomorrow, just kind of makes me go "eh." But I think it says something, either for it or for me, or maybe both, the fact that I’m going. The fact that I’m waking up at 6 a.m. tomorrow so that I can be there by 7:30, even though I technically don’t have to be there until 8:30. I think it says something, the fact that even during and after the Monday Episode, the desire to quit never once crossed my mind. NOT EVEN THE DESIRE. That’s worthy of a "you’ve come a long way, baby," for a girl who once quit one of her jobs because she wanted to go out of town on a weekend she couldn’t get out of working.

Anyway. I worked nearly 11 hours today straight– count ’em, ELEVEN, with no lunch break– and I’m really tired and it’s going to be massive chaos tomorrow in production and I’ll be counting my blessings if we get all the pages sent out by deadline, so that’s another night I don’t get to watch "Office Space," but Thursday is a half-day and I have to leave even earlier because of a doctor’s appointment, so let me tell you what my plans are for my very-free Thursday afternoon:

"Felicity: Season One" DVD marathon. Possibly "Season Two" on Friday. Friends and The Guy be damned, ain’t nobody finding me until I’ve at least gotten past the episode where everyone’s playing Assassins.

The only thing that could possibly make my life better right now is a roommate. (Got that, Santa? Did you write that down, Magic Birthday-Wish Granter? ROOM-MATE.)

Exquisite crescendos

Now, you think that’s silence you’re hearing, but really, it’s the sound of my brain screaming and screaming and screaming, screaming for hours on end and not stopping, shrieking and hollering and firing off multiple variations of the f-word in rapid succession.

I just had the worst day of work I have ever had in my nearly 21 years of living. Worse than the days when I worked at the vet clinic and had to deal with countless poopy growly cantankerous dogs in the kennels and I hadn’t eaten anything for a few days and was subsequently a Cranky Bitch. Worse than the days when I worked at a childcare center in the school-age room where there was a little fucking terror of a male specimen who would rally the other boys to run amok and cause chaos by hurling, and I mean full-strength HURLING, solid wooden blocks at the other children, girls included, and hit and punch and scream, and I couldn’t do anything about it except say, "NO," because we had a hands-off policy, and I hadn’t eaten anything for a few days save for three or four daily meals consisting solely of more than the recommended dosage of diet pills, and was a Cranky-Ass and Dizzy Bitch who had to Keep Her Shit Together for the kids’ sake.

I don’t suppose that it helped any that this is Week Three for me, also known as the monthly Hell Week, also known as PMS. And usually I’m not this irritable, though I do tend to get emotional (read: easily provoked into tears), and I was on the verge of crying pretty much all day today because I was so fucking stressed out, and then I had to convert an obituary picture into the right format, and it was of this really young woman and she was so beautiful and suddenly there were tears in my eyes because it just didn’t seem right that she died so young, whatever the cause of death was, and also I was listening to Tori Amos’ "Little Earthquakes" on repeat all day, and I know you’re probably thinking, what a stupid choice when I’m emotional as-is, but LET ME TELL YOU, if I hadn’t had that CD and the ability to drown out the rest of the office by utilizing my nifty new headphones (thereby letting myself pretend none of it existed), there would’ve been a couple more pictures for this week’s obits that I would have to have converted into TIFFs tomorrow morning.

I won’t go into the details as to WHY it was such a bad day, but suffice to say, YES, it was really THAT BAD.

Thankfully, I didn’t come home to a very stressful environment, because by god, I just might have imitated that little bastard and started hurling solid objects at random targets, albeit I would choose inanimate ones because I happen to actually like the members of my family. And I managed to have a productive conversation with my mother, who whole-heartedly supports my (theoretical) bid to leap out of this nest (again) and, now that she knows I’ll be taking a good portion of this house’s contents, thereby freeing up a lot of needed space here for her, she’s actually *nudging* me out the door quite enthusiastically.

And you’d think that would cheer me up, and it did for a little bit, but her full permission to move out, which I would have done even without her permission, but having it takes a lot of potential guilt out of this situation– her full permission only makes me more anxious about this whole goddamned roommate business and I’m just thinking, holy fuck, why is it so hard to get a roommate (or two)? And I know it’s only been two days since I’ve heard from Potential One and Potential Two, but I really hate waiting, especially when I’m so paranoid that there are other people looking at this house that I want, and I don’t want to call either Potential because it makes me feel overbearing, like I’m nagging them into renting with me, but DUDE, I know both of them are desperate for a room to rent, so what is the deal here?

And I can’t even indulge in watching "Office Space," which I FINALLY bought on Sunday because it was on sale, because now it’s late and I have to be up early again tomorrow so I can stress the fuck out for another nine-and-a-half hours straight with no lunch break.

I’m going to cry. I could really use some de-carbonated Diet Sierra Mist. But that would involve a trip to Vons, and how pathetic is it that I’m not willing to drive a whole half-mile to Vons, especially when this house I’m looking at is, like, a 7-minute drive to the nearest food-and-beverage supplier, and that’s only a Walgreens, and the nearest grocery store is at least 10 minutes away? WHAT AM I GOING TO DO THEN??

Oh. Wait. I have an unopened bottle of Diet Sierra Mist in the garage. Or in the trunk of my car, one of the two. See? I can be prepared. There’s hope for me yet.

The thin colorless line between pissed and frustrated

I absolutely hate my job.

And by “hate,” I mean “love to death,” but in that victim-of-an-abusive-relationship-“love” sort of way.

Now that I’m in her shoes, I can relate a little bit more as to why the last News Editor was always so stressed out about her section, always the last one to finish. I don’t plan on reacting to the situation or dealing with it the way she did, but– the empathy is there.

The bottom line: NOBODY IS FUCKING WRITING FOR NEWS. I have more than 10 people on my list, all of whom have actively expressed a desire to write for the paper, and what’s more, to write for the News section. I’ve e-mailed everyone several times with a list of stories I need or would like to have covered, and *one* of those stories was picked up, and I ended up not being able to use it because it wasn’t a news story, it was a feature.

I’ve been told I’m expecting too much too soon from myself, and this is more than possible given my nature– but this Monday will be my third edition as News Editor, and I’m still struggling to keep my section filled, and my writers still aren’t picking up stories.

I came home this morning, from the office, slightly after 6. I couldn’t fall asleep for another hour, then proceeded to sleep through THREE alarms which I’d set to wake me up in time to get back to campus to cover a story which I need for Monday but which no one took (one girl offered, but she would have to leave before it was over, so there was no point in sending her). Woke up twenty minutes before I needed to be AT the event– in short, I didn’t make it, but by the most blessed of chances, our head photographer went to the event and not only took pictures, but took notes as well. (I LOVE YOU, JUMMEL)

I honestly don’t know what to do if my writers don’t start taking stories. I can’t fill the news section by myself– I mean– okay, I *could,* but I’d quickly dissolve with mental breakdowns. It’s more or less happened before. Furthermore, in about two weeks, things for Sushi Roku start rolling and I’ll be even busier–

I really just want to work for a professional publication, one whose writers who get hired actually WRITE, one in which editors don’t ask their writers what they’d like to cover, they TELL their writers what to cover, and Oh!– the writers actually do it. A publication where the job comes first, not school. A publication whose hired writers don’t have to be taught how to write.

I love The Yell, I really do, but as it stands right now, I want absolutely nothing to do with being a student in terms of academic performance. I did my time. I worked hard, I graduated, I got my good-girl-Lora college degree. Now, I just want to work, I don’t want to deal with textbooks and classes and tests and essays.

Conflicting with this is the fact that, yeah, I’m still ridiculously young, and what’s more, I never threw myself into “college life” at USD. I love what’s now accessible to me through the university– the people, the sports, the concerts, the events, the buildings– and surprisingly, I love being the *News* editor, I’m all about student issues and campus happenings and investigating and covering all these things– ::sigh:: I don’t know, I don’t know where to go with this. I’ve always been passionate about school and learning, and I suspect I still am, but right now, I’m also still burned out from last semester, from last *year*.

In other news…

I’ve got this e-mail in my inbox which has been there for over two months now. I’ve never read it, never opened it… it’s a reply to an e-mail which I sent out without the desire for a response– so I don’t particularly care *what* this person has to say. All the same, I can’t bring myself to delete the damn thing. I may just move it into one of my subfolders, where it will remain in the company of three other e-mails just like it, and– hmmm– all sent by the same person.

I’m such a packrat. Why can’t I throw stuff away?

Anyhow. I’ve still got a headache, but at least I’m not ready to kill anything, or anyone for that matter…