I don't even know where to begin to start. Did I even mention I was going to the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear? I probably didn't. It kind of didn't register in the midst of the giant Thing that was the Paris trip, and then the middle of October went pchoooo and suddenly I was on a bus populated by Redditors and hippie liberals. (Now with pictures!)

So maybe I should start there, at the beginning, with the bus. )

tl;dr I hitched a ride with the internet.

A brief interlude at a rest stop McDonalds )

tl;dr Some guy threw my french fries on the ground in an attempt to flirt at me.

But let's get to the important stuff! The rally! )

tl;dr Rally was good! And freaking Generation Y, how do we work? (At least we're fun to watch?) (Are we Generation Y? I kind of forgot to keep track. Interesting side note, though, is that there seemed to be a lot of 20-somethings and a lot of people in their greying years, but not a whole lot in between.)

Also, since I'm here: Happy Halloween, guys!
I've had a lot of projects lately that have required thinking. None of them, of course, had anything to do with work. In fact, they've all been things I've wanted to do outside of work...

I was talking to one of my friends over the weekend, about how much easier it was to write in college. Because I could take things in, and the way I'd interpret them (oftentimes) was to write them into things (for example, for those of you that weren't around for this particularly embarrassing phase of my life, there's an entire chapter of an FMA/Naruto crossover I wrote that retcons the whole of Konoha into an extension of Aristotle's ideal city).

And now I'm realizing that this is an essential part of how I think. (Late realization, I know.) In college I got quite good at passively taking in information and processing it through whatever distraction I was actively working on. But in the real world, I'm not taking in massive amounts of largely irrelevant information. At best I'm taking in massive amounts of relevant (or at least news-y) information and either cataloguing it away (because I'm not the sort of writer that works well with real-life, applicable ideas as a basis) or in the case of things to do with my job, spouting them back when necessary. And through most of my work day, it's actually a disadvantage to sit and think, because who can think critically or creatively about anything while filling in tedious forms and transcribing information over and over?

Anyway, basically I've had a heck of a time writing things I intend to finish. And every time I think I've made a dent in the programs I have to get prepared for DI they e-mail me back with a dozen things I haven't covered. I've gotten bad at this abstract, predictive thinking stuff. And I think it's because I don't have any time in my day to think in anything other than a straight line (seriously guys, people were surprised today when I pointed out that one of our county templates had probably been dropped into another county's folder. And the only reason that even came to mind so quickly was because someone last year had lost a partner's folder by dropping it into our Scans directory. This is not exciting or in-depth thought!)

So, I guess... let's say what I want to do for the rest of my life actually involves processing vast amounts of useless, esoteric information and turning it into (possibly) fictionalized but perhaps marginally more entertaining (or, in the case of non-fiction, more useful) vast amounts of useless, esoteric information? What the heck should I be doing with myself? (Other than going to grad school/committing myself to the ivory tower for all eternity. Because I don't have the cash or credit for that.) Can you even devote yourself to being some kind of... I dunno... information-kidney?

(This entry brought to you by A Fever, a subsidiary of Being Sick for the First Time This Winter. Additional sponsorship provided by: Being Tired Because I was Actually Consciously Keeping Myself Asleep Last Night and possibly also Because I Was Up at 4 This Morning, Maybe Because We Had an Earthquake. Hurray.)
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Number of presidents seen in person (from many feet away): Two.
Previous count, prior to 5:15 tonight: One.

I don't think I can describe how completely and utterly strange it is to be standing on the corner of State and Monroe in downtown Chicago, waiting for my bus, and to see a giant crowd gathered about half a block away, and secret service cars blocking the entire street while a white-haired man emerges from the Palmer House to a great big spontaneous cheer from the surrounding people. And there, in the middle of State Street, stands Bill Clinton, and while people cheer and wave he gets in his secret service SUV and they drive off. I didn't think I lived in a place where there was spontaneous cheering anywhere, for anything, let alone in the middle of State Street during rush hour, for a politician who isn't Barack Obama. At first I saw the flashing lights and thought someone had been hit by a bus (and then, briefly after the cheering, wondered if someone really evil had been hit by a bus).

Also, a note to Bill Clinton: I couldn't see you while you were driving away. I know now that you were sitting on the other side of the SUV, but that's why I looked so hesitant and confused while I was waving at you. I wasn't sure at the moment which SUV I was supposed to be waving at. I hope that doesn't hurt your feelings.
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I'm starting to wonder if I'm speaking a different language today. I keep saying what I think are completely reasonable things and getting Billy Bob Thornton-type responses from people. And it's been happening all day, from at least five different people, most of whom were not borrowers or employees of CitiBank (because I'm used to them speaking nonsense). I haven't even been unusually obtuse or evasive today! (And I do have those days.)

I am speaking English today, right? ... Right? Based on my experience, I may still be asleep and just having an extremely dull dream.
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I woke up this morning at 6:11 and, finding this an utterly silly time to be awake, I went back to sleep. Somehow, between 6:11 and 6:46, I managed to have this dream:

I was in a large, climate-controlled dome and was raiding with [livejournal.com profile] linen and [livejournal.com profile] lisiche. LARP-raiding. There was a giant pool in the center that we had to fight our way to, and I kept complaining that I wasn't fully-levelled yet, so our crazy raid leader (who was someone I didn't know at all) kept dragging us on side quests down to the bottom of the pool, and I was constantly having to hold my breath, because it had been so long since I'd raided I forgot that I had sandals that allowed me to breathe under water. The other mystery person in the raid (the only male) gave me a lot of crap for this, and kept complaining about how I was a bad healer.

Eventually we made our way out of a bottom exit into this mall area, where there were a ton of people queuing for a Pokemon movie. This was our final goal, so we split up to wait until the line got shorter. The lobby had x-ray machines and security check-points like an airport, and all the Pokemon fans were moving through them slowly, sometimes stopping to heckle me for not having a ticket, since it was going to be the first-ever showing of the movie in the US, and even if I wanted to go, it was too late to get clearance to see it. And then... they started showing the previews, so everyone who had tickets rushed into the theatre. I was standing by one of the x-ray machines, and the previews started to play on the monitor. The title of the first movie was something like "Burning Red" and it started with a slow pan over the desert that ended on Samuel L. Jackson, looking disheveled and long-haired standing next to a baggage claim. There was nothing else in the desert. He grinned, and the camera panned down on the tan leather luggage coming down the conveyor. The legs of an FMA military action figure were visible, and when the luggage hit the edge, plastic Hughes and plastic Roy fell out onto the desert sand. Except they were tiny and shockingly real-looking, and Hughes turned to shake his fist at the sky, until a Hummer blew by and they froze back into plastic, which was followed by this weird molecular-level montage supposedly explaining the transition from real to plastic an back. I woke up wondering why so many interpretations of Hughes get angry at fate.

I... kind of would watch that movie? Also, it's amazing that after so long, Samuel L. Jackson still lurks in my mind as a tormentor of Hughes. And I don't even have an explanation for the airport theme, the Pokemon movie, or the LARP raiding.

But at least it wasn't half an hour of trying to fit pita bread into a toaster. I think if my subconscious ever pulls that on me again, I'm going to have it removed.

Edit: So, I had another dream about a giant line for a Pokemon movie. I'm wondering if this is becoming a theme. It was between trying to get my mom to pay for her half of the groceries for our apartment, and exploring a giant abandoned 1800s apartment complex with my dad, which apparently housed vagrants, a few directionally-confused tourists, and the cast of Grey's Anatomy. I kept finding items that would let my sister skip in line, until she finally got in and I lost her. I don't know if I should worry more about all the lines, or all the Pokemon movies I've missed. I wonder if "Pokemon Movie" is some kind of metaphor for something in life that everyone else is getting to go to. Hmm....
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evilhippo: hippo (97 [one of those days])
( Jan. 24th, 2009 03:46 pm)
I forgot how excruciating it is to write an essay. I think I just knocked my solitaire win percentage down by about 25%. And now I'm all frustrated because I'm hinging too much on this thing.

In other news, this article about ingrained grammar nonsense and the inaugural oath flub is the first thing in a while that's properly tickled the grammar geek in me. I wish I could point to that for every time I've had to explain to someone that I don't particularly care for the Chicago Manual of Style (though it still wouldn't help me get copy editor positions). Also, it's really cool that someone would even think to trace that to legal style manuals, rather than writing it off as nerves or a bad memory. I love complex, reasoned excuses for things (especially when they're full of pretentious, underhanded snark, like that article is).

Now I'm off to unilaterally amend me some constitutions. And by that I mean get away from my computer and go grocery shopping.

Actually, let's make today I Read the New York Times to You Day! WTF IS THIS?! You... you... “I never agreed with the idea of the fairly stuffy Edwardian-type gentleman,” Mr. Wigram said. “It wasn’t my idea of Sherlock Holmes.” THAT ISN'T HOW IT WORKS. Freaking crap. ... I know I'd still go see the movie, but... umm... Wryyyyyyyyyyyy? The sheer whatthecrap of any sort of "Batman Begins-esque" Sherlock Holmes is just... I mean, look, I can read about Sherlock Holmes and Cthulhu. I can read about Sherlock Holmes in which he is an amnesiac who ends up possessed by some kind of strange ancient malevolent ghost and is, in a way, basically a clone of my homunculus!Hughes. But Action Hero Sherlock Holmes? That... will require a very healthy suspension of disbelief. Especially when someone finds it necessary to imply that... oh gosh I can't even describe this properly. When someone finds it necessary to imply that they didn't have the technology to describe action scenes in books when Doyle was writing them. Seriously! (“So many of the ideas that Conan Doyle had took place offstage in his books,” Ms. Downey said. “We have the technology, the budget and the means to carry them out.”) I know I'm protective of my literary heroes (I also bristled when they mentioned Jude Law was reading a book about Hamlet), but this is seriously whatthecrap, right? I mean, I totally agree that pop culture has got Sherlock Holmes largely wrong (in fact, the best Sherlock Holmes is probably House. So obviously other writers have got the archetype down.), but that doesn't mean he has to be an action hero. Though it is Robert Downey Jr., so maybe I can pretend it's an Iron Man sequel.

All this and he doesn't do cocaine anymore, either.

What the crap.

It's going to take me days to get over this. I mean, my goodness guys, we are SO LUCKY that screenwriters have the WORDS these days... these MODERN, MODERN WORDS with which to PORTRAY ACTION SCENES. Dear goodness. I hope that book about Hamlet mentions how he would have also been an action hero, if only Shakespeare, in his infinite cunning, had had the technology to think up words for ACTION HEROING.
evilhippo: hippo (16 [cool])
( Oct. 2nd, 2008 09:18 pm)
Today around 3:45, I found myself having the following conversation:

Security: ... What do you have in your bag?
Me: Sorry, what?
Security: Is that a fork? Do you have a fork in your bag?
Me: Er, yes. Sorry.
Security: Do you have anything else in there?
Me: I, uh yeah, my cell phone, a Nintendo DS... a copy of Tristram Shandy...
Security: You're going to have to check that fork in.

And that is how I found myself in the basement of the Daley Center checking a fork in to an evidence locker while being laughed at by every security guard there.

Tied with this in surreality, I would also like to point out the risks of IMax cinema. You see, there's a certain scene in Batman, when Harvey Dent walks out of the court room and into a windowed hallway with a panoramic view of Gotham. It turns out, when I walked out of the elevators on the 28th floor of the Daley center, that's exactly where I was. And so I immediately expected to turn the corner and find Harvey Dent, because somehow my mind completely overwrote what I was seeing with the movie. Thank you, IMax, for matching proportions so well in that particular scene. And also, thank you Daley Center security, for protecting Harvey Dent (and possibly The Batman) from any fork-related crime I may have committed.
I waited so long for the bus this morning, Godot showed up first.

I wish I'd had my camera. I'd prove it to you.
evilhippo: hippo (115 [hippo])
( Jun. 4th, 2008 06:17 pm)
Dear Life,

Today was awful. Admit it. I spent most of the afternoon at work trying not to cry, mostly because things have sort of reached a point where I'm lost and overwhelmed and in general not-well (maybe I'm coming down with something. It's past the time of the month that I'm reasonably allowed to be randomly weepy). Tomorrow, I have to train someone to do my job, and I'm still spending most of my time at work wondering what I've done wrong that no one there trusts me more than 15% of the time. (I was asked yesterday to train people as well, but that was quickly revoked and instead I was inundated today with everyone else's neglected work, and harangued about it not being done right. Needless to say, I expect this to happen tomorrow, too, and I'm more than a bit sick of it.)

Also, my internet went down yesterday and because things always work the way they're intended, my modem also reset itself when I installed Vista SP1 (which, by the way, is 4gigs. Which brings the utter ridiculous corpulence of Vista up to nearly 20gigs. What the heck does an OS need with 20 gigs?) So we've been stuck on pirated wireless, and I had to call to get that fixed today... and couldn't remember the answer to my security question. Why? Because it was "What was the name of your childhood pet?" and my answer is almost always the rational, true answer (with the exception of my BBC registration, which I'm still locked out of because I was being witty when I answered it). Turns out I was being witty with my AT&T registration too, because my answer was the nickname we gave the mysterious noise in the vents. Somehow, thankfully, I'd written this down, but I only got two chances, and really, I'm not sure what I would've done if I would've gone ahead and named one of my other real pets instead of the mysterious noise in the vents. Thankfully, for the first time in weeks, someone I didn't know actually laughed at my sarcasm about the situation, which managed to cheer me up enough to open my blinds and maybe not be completely antisocial and frakking emo. That's all I need, really, is someone every once in a while to actually laugh and not go "wow, you really hate your life." (Which I've gotten far more than necessary lately. Mostly from one person.) I don't need to be reminded that life sucks right now, especially in conjunction with finding out that the people who graduated a year before me have loan payments that are about 3 times smaller than mine because my interest rate is a whole three points higher. Because lenders suck and are dumb and mean, and are currently a significant percentage of the reason I have 59% less faith in humanity now than I did three months ago. Also, I am bitter that I can't just slack off and be a barista because my loan payments, as one of the people in the two years that are utterly screwed, caught in the rate hike but before the loan reductions, I have no choice but to work a salaried job because otherwise I can't afford to support myself. Which makes it completely impossible for me to pursue anything that actually interests me, because office work is pretty much my only choice, unless I go to grad school. Which, thanks to my loan burden, I can't afford. Thanks, whoever had the foresight to allow that. And I am holding someone else responsible, because unless I wanted to go to a state school, I would've been in this situation no matter what. Is it seriously kosher to leave someone stranded in a cube farm typing mindless paperwork all day just because they wanted to go to a good school for undergrad? I mean, I'd know better next time, except even if there was a next time, I wouldn't be able to afford it.

That said, I'm afraid I've ticked [livejournal.com profile] deathscytheheck off, since I've been so distant and useless lately (like, not even doing the dishes useless, and coming back from work and running into my bedroom to hide from the world useless). So this is my random apology, because I probably won't see you before I go to bed tonight. Also, thanks for leaving noodles for me, whenever I get off my butt and go out there to eat them.
evilhippo: hippo (108 [baffled])
( Jun. 2nd, 2008 11:03 pm)
I don't know what was with today, but I got hit on by four separate strangers, and was randomly complimented on my checkerboard toenails on State Street. Maybe I should stop wearing hot pink. Clearly I stand out too much in it.

(Though I am kind of proud of my toenails.)
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A question for the masses...

You work in a gaming store. The sort that sells puzzles, and dice, and D&D manuals. Obviously you don't expect the unenlightened to wander in and browse around, and you sit at your random card table with friends and play... something. But suppose some unenlightened girl with slightly wind-frazzled hair wanders in in her work clothes (that, with the addition of a visor, might make her look like an early 1900s accountant because she's subversive like that) and listens curiously while you outline your campaign to your compatriots, and is clearly trying to figure out what you're playing before she wanders off and continues her search for cosplay components. (I'm oh-for-five today on things I was looking for. Woes. Anyway...)

Do you:
A) Greet her?
B) Offer to help her?
C) Acknowledge her existence in any way?
D) Scowl at her?

Why is it that the answer (because this has happened to me more than once) is always D?! This... this is the reason I never got into tabletop gaming. Not because it didn't interest me, but because, since the moment I heard of the genre, I have been continually snubbed by the people who play them whenever I show the slightest curiosity. Maybe now they can sense that I already swore off tabletop gaming on principle, since it's been the source of more snubbing than anything else (up to, but not including, my current job), but that doesn't excuse the past many years of snubbing, and it doesn't excuse the elitist weirdos in the game shop that scowled at me today. Because it was today, and I was in a good mood. What gives, gamers? Do I have an aura of +10 You Don't Want Me To Play With You or something? Am I wearing the Shoes of Rejection? Do I get no saving throw in this matter? Am I just throwing random things together because I have no idea what I'm talking about, since I've been systematically denied years of tabletop gaming arcanery?
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evilhippo: hippo (27 [help])
( May. 3rd, 2008 12:42 pm)
Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends... I have an important question. Perhaps the most important question ever posed on livejournal. Today, my roommate and I made a most astounding discovery in our toaster.

The Dark Side of the Burnt Toast of DestinyThe Light Side of the Burnt Toast of Destiny

The specimen has solidified, though is still slightly spongy and nerflike along the edges. Carbon dating results have not been conclusive, but a poll of current apartment residents reveals that the age of this toaster stick is several weeks at the least, if not approaching an entire month.

And so we come to you, dear readers, in the hopes that you can guide us as to the best use for our surprising toaster-given windfall.

[Poll #1181938]

Edit: As of 12:54 pm CST, forensic examination of a bagel prepared earlier this morning has revealed the presence of another, similar artifact in the opposite toaster slot. In response to this new development, polling has been modified to allow more than one answer. Please attempt to restrain yourself to no more than two responses.
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evilhippo: hippo (108 [baffled])
( Apr. 18th, 2008 09:34 pm)
RE: Last Night's Letter

Dear World,

An earthquake was not what I had in mind. At all. (Other than the fact that it's really amusing. I guess that helps.)

What?
- [livejournal.com profile] evilhippo

In other news... walking around aimlessly makes me feel better. Also, I am a great big superstitious fluffball. Because a ladybug hopped onto me somewhere during my walk around downtown today, and got on the Grand bus with me. I let it crawl around and watched it, because ladybugs are good luck. And it fell off of me onto a lady's fancy tacky purse and she... she swatted it. So after she got off I caught it off the back of her seat and held onto it until I could take it to the park across from my apartment, because I kind of felt responsible for it being transported into a dangerous environment. And in the end, I deposited it on a fuzzy tree, and I hope it'll be happy, even if it is miles from its original home. (And I took pictures, er, because I'm a nerd.)
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evilhippo: hippo (81 [dark])
( Apr. 11th, 2008 06:05 pm)
Tired, sniffly, and so out of it that I actually went to work this morning with my shirt on inside- out. (As if having Sexy Back in my head a few days ago wasn't a bad enough sign... no one can see when you have Sexy Back in your head.)

I... yeah. I guess, on the bright side, it's Friday, and there will be socializing tonight, and epicness tomorrow (that may or may not involve snow... I'm not looking forward to that bit). And my work is caught up almost through Friday of next week, so I can afford to type a little more slowly and actually make sure I'm doing things right. (I seriously just typed "wrong" there the first time. I wonder if I'm subconsciously sabotaging myself in this job. I mean, I remember last week sitting there going "It doesn't matter if I don't request these things, I won't be here much longer anyway." These things just spring unbidden into my head. I think some bit of me is rebelling against me over this job.) I've made so many typos and dumb mistakes this week... really, wearing my clothes inside-out is just the icing on the cake. If a cold is all it takes for my brain to turn to mush now, I've got a problem.

What do I even do about this? Frakdarnit.
evilhippo: hippo (115 [hippo])
( Mar. 21st, 2008 04:53 pm)
Today at work, I picked up a title report, flipped through it, and exclaimed "Huh! This TARDIS doesn't even have a mortgage!"

... 1) I'm hoping no one actually heard me. 2) I really, really need more sleep.
evilhippo: hippo (105 [random])
( Feb. 16th, 2008 09:57 pm)
Question of the day: What could possibly be filming in Humboldt Park?

Answer: Humboldt Park.

I'll admit that my original theory was that gypsies had moved in with a caravan of movie trailers. But it turns out that not only do we have the Grace half of Will and Grace two blocks from me, we also have the English voice actor for Nue from Karas (the dub of which I've never heard) and Doctor Octopus. And a lot of other people I've similarly not heard of/barely heard of. Despite this, I believe pictures of my filmmaking-gypsy neighbors will be forthcoming. Because a movie? In my park? It's more likely than you think.
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evilhippo: hippo (72 [word])
»

<3

( Feb. 14th, 2008 10:58 pm)
Happy Valentine's Day, guys! I was going to make you a card, but it turned out a little too weird, even for me. But I love you all anyway, for listening to me whine all the time lately. And also because you're awesome.

The CTA gave me a flower tonight. I'm wondering if it was reparations, or just the CTA being its usual weird self. (Okay, so it was a random guy with a bag of flowers, who gave them to the two ladies sitting above me, and then felt like he should give one to me too because he'd set the flowers on the seat next to me. I dunno. It was really pretty strange, because he was mostly trying to sweet-talk this woman in strange heels that was wearing an incredible (and elaborate) amount of makeup. This sort of thing is pretty much exactly why I can't take life seriously, and holding the rose there on the bus while the guy next to me kind of tried to hide his smile at my embarrassment, I started to wonder if it was kind of a token of my link to some kind of Chicago-style Neverwhere. Because that would totally explain the strange compulsion the transient-types here have to interact with me.)
evilhippo: hippo (41 [indescribable])
( Feb. 1st, 2008 12:47 am)
If I ever need a good healthy example for contrast, juxtaposition, or dissonance, this would be it, hands down. Fantastic.

This is probably one of the strangest internet phenomenons I've seen in a while. I mean, the guy's name is Terbolizard. And he's LJ-savvy. What the heck?
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evilhippo: hippo (106 [buttsechs])
( Jan. 28th, 2008 03:45 pm)
Someone linked this image (do click on it first, otherwise it's not as fun) in [livejournal.com profile] scans_daily. I snickered a bit like the internets geek I am, then stared at it, and stared at it, and couldn't figure out what the word was actually supposed to be (what on earth could have a b and two t's and an x and not be, well... buttsex). I didn't think that the internets had hurt my brain so badly, but when it comes to being able to tell when a word should be "subtext" and not being able to see it... there's probably a problem. Let this stand as a warning to all travelers of the internet's vast expanse.
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