Rabbit Hole

My boss is on leave. I have a number of tasks to complete. Two of these involve providing instructions about using software to people in the office. The office has installed a video capture/presentation program on my computer to help with exactly this sort of thing. I am inexpert in its use, alas, but the end products genuinely seem to help people understand how to do the stuff they’re being asked to do. One of these tasks is Urgent and Important and potentially complicated; the other is neither, in comparison, but it has fewer moving parts.

I decided to spend a few minutes on the one with fewer moving parts this afternoon – you know, because it would be easier and help me do the other one (Urgent and Important) faster and better. Four hours later, I had a poorly edited video which I will have to totally redo before it will be of much use to anyone.

The Business Management Institute at Muppet Labs ™ is quoting reliable sources as saying that saving work frequently on a computer may prevent wasted effort. They are also reporting that doing the most important work first is more likely to result in faster completion of important work.

In unrelated news, I just spent the last 90 minutes playing Solitaire (with an actual deck of cards) over and over again.


Today in Alexandria

Today in Alexandria I volunteered with a Presidential campaign phone bank. I was stunned by the power of autodial technology and also by the number of people who (a) did not want to say which candidate they supported or (b) were watching football. I begin to suspect I really am out of touch with the political pulse of the nation. I may need to call in Muppet Labs to study the matter in greater depth.

Today in Alexandria my next-door neighbors are having a party. About once every two or three months the music from next door cranks until the wee hours and we hear sounds of dancing. I am starting to think the music may be live and that maybe our neighbors are hosting house concerts.

This evening (also in Alexandria) Mouse and TeenBot parked in the basement with me while Dino Spouse napped on the living room couch to the sweet sounds of “Snapped” after watching “Unfriended” on demand.

I don’t watch the candidate debates for either party because I dislike listening to staged arguments. If I can’t have some Lincoln-Douglas action or “Hamilton”-style rap battles, I want none of it. So I was going to work on writing an essay and/or a call to arms for a new federalist papers project, but I watched the premiere of “Mercy Street” instead. Now I have resorted to blogging about my day and listening to the neighbors’ musical stylings. I believe this is a sign from Providence that I should do the damn dishes instead. So is the fact that Mouse just edited this post.


Side Hustle

After several months’ drought, I got some business at my side hustle. This naturally leads to blogging instead of writing for the gig that pays. Good job, me!

(Muppet Labs is now reporting that over-consumption of Easter candy can lead to sudden drops in energy levels.)

Dino Spouse and I left work early today – using precious leave hours – to meet with the Army Reserves recruiter who has been encouraging Podrostok to consider enlisting after graduation. Said recruiter wound up calling us 20 minutes before the scheduled meeting time to tell us he would be 45 minutes late, then failed to materialize at the newly appointed hour. And so on until I called him 20 minutes after he didn’t show. Upshot being (a) grr and (b) now we have rescheduled to Friday evening.

It turns out that my employer is actually going to send me on more business travel, this time to Denver in the summer. And thus I learned that Casa Bonita of “South Park” fame is actually a real place! If only they had a theme hotel to go with it…

Operations and Maintenance

I took today off for preventative maintenance and went to the doctor. Three doctors, actually. Two of them are doctors I tried to replace when I moved from Columbia to Alexandria but went back to because I missed them. The third is a doctor I haven’t summoned the energy to replace because, heck, I’m already hauling up to Columbia. (Hi Columbia people! Still miss you!) Here is what I learned today:

  1. Always check the client’s SF-50 before guessing his or her occupational series from a position title. Yikes! Good thing that application deadline isn’t until Friday. Also good that the narratives and detailed parts did not need changing and that my client is a patient soul.
  2. Voting in local elections can make a difference (cf the victory of the Tea Party candidate in VA’s 7th District Republican primary).
  3. I need to go to Confession, because I have been mightily judging people who merit compassion – namely, the souls among my fellow library patrons and patients who have been variously mouth-breathing, sharing TMI at loud volume, tic-ing furiously, and emanating waves of body funk throughout the day. Seriously. I am just wrong.
  4. Mobile technology only works if you bring it with you from home. On a related note, I want my smart phone back. Mouse lost her phone last week and I have been letting her use mine.


This weekend, the Dinoteens were recalling some of the great edutainment programs of the Noughties: “The Most Extreme“,”Animal Face-Off“, and “Deadliest Warrior.” The boys watched the hypothetical match-ups (polar bear vs. walrus, Sun Tzu vs. Vlad the Impaler) avidly, and we had lots of fun betting on the outcomes. It might not have been the most realistic or even accurate info they ever absorbed about history or animals, but they still remember about the leathery skin and deadly tusks of the walrus almost a decade later. They also remember me getting mad when Sun Tzu lost, which is a little alarming. At any rate, watching it didn’t make us significantly dumber.

Mouse and I watch “How It’s Made” and “Strip The City” when we’re loafing around. They’re good programs. But yelling at the TV with my sons and talking trash about whether Joan of Arc was going to beat Attila the Hun was really fun. Maybe this is why people watch sports. Alert Muppet Labs!