tablesaw: Ration Hornblower, from the cast of Smile Time, peeks his horn nose out at you. (Ratio Hornblower)
So this week didn't work out so well.

After an initial flurry of activity filing for unemployment insurance and sending a few e-mails to staffing agencies, I fell into a funk of avoidance, leading to a mini freak out on Thursday. I talked with friends and family who reminded me that it's ok to be freaked out about being unemployed for the first time in over a decade, and that a few days of not doing anything productive is fine.

I'm going to try to set myself onto a daily working schedule come Monday. While it's nice to sleep in until 11 or noon, I'm not actually productive when I stay up late. Once it nears sunset, I start feeling like my work day is over, and I stop doing other things. I think that forcing myself to at least be awake by nine every morning will add a few hours to my "working" day, at the very least. More measures will probably be forthcoming.

I did manage to do a lot of nonproductive things, though. I entered a local crossword puzzle tournament and participated in a sudoku contest at Logic Masters India. boardgaming night (played Roll Through the Ages), role-playing-game night (beta-testing a game by Josh Robern), a party to read and mock Fifty Shades of Grey as a group, and an NPL party. And in addition to that, I saw a bunch of friends at different times. I joined the site Quora despite its "real names" policy, by hacking together a form of pseudonymity out of its nascent system. And I sauteed chicked without freaking out.

Starting Monday, I'm going to add DW to my list of daily things to do. For reals.
tablesaw: A man comes home frome work, his hat reads "Crossword Makers Inc" (Crossword Makers Inc)
Hey, Alyssa Bereznak, to paraphrase Ellen Ripstein, "What are you the best in the world at?"

GIP

Mar. 1st, 2011 11:09 pm
tablesaw: Burton Guster says 'Beer' in a seriously manly fashion, man. Because it's a man thing. Beer. (Beer)
I now have an icon for booze-related things. Made by [personal profile] entwashian!



Also, I made one for puzzle constructing, based on last week's Buttersafe.



I also updated my Duck Hunt icon, based "Schadenfreude Dog" from Aled Lewis's Videogames vs. Real Life series.

tablesaw: "This sounds like Waiting for Spy Godot" (Hunt)
I still am not quite prepared to talk in detail about the Mystery Hunt, because a lot has to do with my team experience, which was awesome, but also more personal. So instead, here's a list of recommended puzzles from this year's Hunt.

This post contains minor spoilers. Most Mystery Hunt puzzles have little or no instructions. Under the cut tags, I'm going to give more explicit instructions and some comments to make the puzzles accessible, both to more casual solvers and to seasoned veterans who want to skip ahead to the good stuff. (If you don't see any cut text and you would prefer not to see some or all of these spoilers, read this page from my Jaunary 19 page.) Complete answers to each puzzle can be found using the "Call in answer" link at the top of each page.

Keyboard Cat. How it works )

Toad's List. How it works )

Everybody's Got to Be Somewhere. How it Works )

Meta Testing. What It Is, How It Works )

Timbales. What it is )

Stuff Nerd People Like. What It Is, How It Works )

Expletive Deleted. Figuring out how to fill in the blanks shouldn't be that hard, and I'd feel bad spelling it out. I will spell out how to get from there to the final answer: How to Get from There to the Final Answer )

The Cats Meow. How It Works, Why It's Fun Even if You Don't Want to Solve It )

Part of Speech. How It Works )

Painted Potsherds. How It Works )

Inventory Quest. How It Works )

Laureate. No need for spoiler tags, this one is straight up with its instructions. This is a cryptic crossword, so if you're not familiar with those conventions, it's going to be very difficult. Specifically, this is a cryptic in the style of the Listener Cryptic, so if you're an American cryptic solver unfamiliar with British conventions, this will still be very hard. But if you do happen to be familiar with solving very difficult cryptics in the British vein, this puzzle is lots of fun.

Hints, with a bit of love!. How )

A Representative Sampling. How It Works )

Plotlines. I think this is the puzzle that maximizes accessibility and awesomeness. Definitely look even if you click through immediately to the answers. How It Works )

Toto, I Have a Feeling We're Not in Kansas Anymore. I can't really spoil this one, but I feel like the aha is fairly accesible to the right sorts of geek. If you don't see what's going on fairly quickly, click through to the answer. If you do, here's how to get a final answer ).

Unnatural Law. How It Works )

E Pluribus Unum. Okay, this one looks unfair, but it's actually fairly tractable, and can be a good way to start thinking laterally about puzzles like this. How It Works )

Unlikely Situations. Just look at the puzzle. If this puzzle is for you, you'll recognize it instantly and figure out what to do. If you don't it's probably not the puzzle for you. How It Works ) Even if you don't want to solve the puzzle, you may want to click through to the answer to see a little bit more about the subject.



So those are my recommendations. There's a lot more stuff that I enjoyed, but it's all less accessible, and I'll probably need to talk about them more spoilerily to do them justice. These are just ones I think more people would get a kick out of.

If you think I've listed too many, then here are my top three fun, accessible puzzles: Toad's List, Inventory Quest, and Plotlines. Go do those.

Also, here are some puzzles that I didn't work on but are on my list to try. No descriptions because I haven't spent any time working on them.
tablesaw: Jennifer Connolly and David Bowie from <cite>Labyrinth</cite> (Labyrinth)
The last thing I'm posting today is the crossword I mentioned two days ago. It's available as a PDF and Across Lite. The solution was scrambled just to avoid temptation: the unscramble code is "1417".

The theme is based on the username of the recipient ([livejournal.com profile] theashgirl), but know other knowledge of her is needed to solve. However, to make the puzzle appropriately geeky and "Whedony", there is a lot of trivia. I strongly advise using Google, friends, wikis, and any other assistance you can get your hands on while solving.

Like I said, I did this one pretty quickly, so it's not an ideal crossword. The regular cruciverbalists will notice some howlingly bad fills, that I let stand in order to showcase the Buffy words and get things done quickly.

The original post of all the gifts is here, and it includes an HTML version of the puzzle. (I think the HTML version is awkward to use, but it looked more impressive than just having a link to a PDF.) You can also see what everyone there is saying about it.
tablesaw: Walt Besa, Junior Associate at Wolfram & Hart, Competition and Anti-Trust. (Portrayed by James Roday) (Walt Besa)
Thank you to everyone who offered me support based on yesterday's entry. I woke up feeling better; and then I had oral surgery, which was a bit of a downer, but I've bought lots of oatmeal, and everything's looking good for now.



I mentioned I was making fanmixes for [livejournal.com profile] whedonland. It's part of a gift exchange that the community's been participating in for the last month an a half. Unfortunately, August was not a good month for me to do any things, so most of my work has been crammed into the last week of July after I got my assignment, and this past week continuing to the deadline (Sunday).

I've been worried that my offering was anemic (some people have received some truly marvelous offerings), so I thought maybe I'd throw in a crossword, because even if it isn't the most polished, it's a pretty safe bet that she'll be the only person receiving a crossword. So I came up with a short theme, found a grid, and started playing around with it yesterday.

I figured I'd mostly use autofill to save time. But then I started working on an awkward corner to see if any Buffy-specific words could help. A few hours later, I finally had it working, and that's when I notice I could drop two squares from my grid to open it up a bit more (and make the fill a little more interesting. A while after that, I spent a half hour converting the entry list of the Buffy/Angel Wiki into a wordlist so that I wouldn't have to keep checking manually. And a little while later, I was done.

Of course, when I was done, it was a little after nine o'clock. I was understandably hungry, having eaten only a large oatmeal in the early afternoon (I slept in). And although I had planned for dinner, going out earlier today to get spaghetti and sauce, my plans for making dinner included the pots and pans that I'd planned to clean this afternoon. The pots and pans I would have cleaned, if I'd noticed that I was burning the hours away writing the crossword. unwilling to be hungry while washing dishes and cooking, I walked over to Palms Thai to eat some soft noodles while listening to Thai Elvis.

The crossword looks pretty good, though.
tablesaw: Sketch of an antique tablesaw (Antigua)
This week's NY Times Sunday crossword was annoyingly twee, and I'm not just saying that because it took me 40 minutes.
Twee? Belle & Sebastian are twee. My crossword fucked your shit up. That is not twee. That is BAD-ASS.
(Source, includes spoilers for Sunday's puzzle.)
tablesaw: Two women put the star on a Christmas tree. (Apocalyptic Christmas)
We're already in a countdown to Christmas. Various things like [livejournal.com profile] ojouchan's new job and some annoyingness with banks have meant we got a really late start. And it was only yesterday that I fully realized that I wasn't going to have any more free days before Christmas Eve. (Thursday and Friday are my days off, so my last pre-Christmas weekend just finished.)

But yesterday, Ojou and I cleared up some of the bank stuff, then we went with [livejournal.com profile] twilightsyren to Downtown Burbank. I got a lot of stuff done; I've pared down my budget this year, and I'm doing pretty good with it. I think I can get everything else done pretty quickly; my biggest regret is that I'm not likely to get to my regular used bookstore unless they've got expanded hours, or I make a rush to get there on the 23rd.

Still, since I've been thinking more about it, I thought I'd expand the Holiday/Birthday lists:
  • Puzzle Books.I mentioned Mutant Sudoku last time, but there's a lot of other good stuff out there.
    • Nikoli Books. A few years ago, [livejournal.com profile] cramerica got me Penpa Mixes 1-3, which were loads of fun. They were especially useful once I dropped my nikoli.com membership. I still really love the puzzles, but having them in book form means I can forget about them easily. I'd love to see Penpa, Fillomino, Slitherlink, Masyu, Nurikabe, and Heyawake. (Obviously, they won't get here in time for Christmas, but whatever.
    • Nikoli by Sterling. Sterling Publishing puts out some real quality stuff, and recently they've been publishing Nikoli puzzles in books mixed with Sudoku. I've already got Slitherlink (which I've finished), Masyu, and Nurikabe, but I'd still like to get my hands on the other varieties listed above.

    • Crosswords. Also from Sterling, Frank Longo's Vowelless Crosswords looks good, as do Patrick Berry's Crossword masterpieces.
  • Tea. Specifically looseleaf tea, not bagged/packaged. Our tea reserves are dreadfully low, and we haven't had time to restock. I like most kinds, black, green, white, oolong, herbal infusions, etc. I'd avoid Teavana and Lupicia because they're overpriced. We usually shop at specialteas.com or dragonwater.com online, and when we want something in person, we go to Wing Hop Fung in Chinatown, which stocks birdpick.com. (It looks like they have a store in Pasadena too.)
  • One-Time Maid Service. Ojou and I are way behind on cleaning, and a burst of professional help would go a long way, especially now that we rarely have a full day off together.
  • New Year's Eve Plans. I'm working most of the Christmas weekend, and as a result, I've got a nice five-day weekend from December 29 to January 2. Ojou's got a sexy, sexy Foxy Brown outfit to wear . . . and a lot of our friends are going to be out of town. We need something to do, something big. Scrabble with Ellen isn't going to cut it this year.
And that's the end of my proactive gift list.
tablesaw: A sketch of me talking and smiling. (Personable)
Title Context

My firm has a thing. On Fridays, around closing time, they invite everyone up to the dining room and serve appetizers and drinks, including an open bar.

I've never really gone to one, because I've never been working at a time anywhere near Friday afternoons. While on the graveyard shift, it would have meant waking up god-awful early. And now, it means going in on my day off.

So, no office party.

Now, this used to be a weekly thing. But as the economy tanked, it shrank down to biweekly. It might even be every three or four weeks now. Like I said, I don't much pay attention because of the Friday thing.

But also along with the economy, the holiday party has shrunk. Two years ago, they hired Berlin to play at the House of Blues. Now, they've got new hires doing a skit before they fire up a karaoke machine in the dining room. Also, it's on a Wednesday.

Now, [personal profile] ojouchan and I were already planning to go out tonight (Princess and the Frog at the Arclight), and we weren't entirely inspired by the office party idea, so we were mostly going to skip it.

But today was a rough day. Really rough. I barely scraped out a lunch, and two horrible things happened during it that I then had to deal with.

My plan, then, was to make a quick stop into the party on my way out. I would say hi to the one person that I really like, then head home. And since I'm going home on the subway, I can get a drink too.

Dear reader, my overlords have many flaws, but they are generous with the booze.

I didn't do anything at the party except go to the bar (where my friend already was, which tells you something) and get a drink. I ordered a rum and coke and said something that I'd only ever heard said: "Make it a double."

This seemed appropriate. Normally, I prefer strong mixers, but I'd be leaving forthwith; no time for a second glass.

The bartender looked at the bottle of Bacardi and decided that the best thing to do was just dump everything into a plastic cup. The result was something of a triple and a half.

Hooray for not driving to work.

On the ride home, because I am a true geek, I took out a large easy crossword and recklessly speedsolved it.



But now I really see why the firm does it; why they probably wish they could still do it weekly. I had a really crappy day. Normally, I'd be home fuming. But instead, they paid for an artificial state of happiness. And lord help me, I am feeling really good about the place I work because of it. My instinct now is to think, "Well, it all balanced out."

It doesn't balance out. It was still a crappy day; I had to deal with impossible requests with impossible deadlines. The stress left me angry and unable to focus during my lunch break. And an employer shouldn't rely on mood-altering substances to make its employees feel better.

But that doesn't mean it doesn't goddamn work to some degree. I can imagine what it would be like if this happened after the end of every hard week of work. It'd probably work most of the time.

But now I'm off to eat Peruvian food and watch a movie with the woman that I love. A large glass of decent alcohol can do nothing but blanch at the thought of being compared to that.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
I drank more beer while I was in Boston than I ever had in my life. Now, this isn't saying much. I'm not a big fan of beer, so I don't drink it. I much prefer the taste of a well-mixed cocktail. A Rum and Coke is usually pleasant, and there's nothing that can beat a Margarita mixed with good tequila and a whole lot of machismo. I know there's good beer out there, but since I don't drink often, there's really no point in going out and finding the few kinds that I like amid the amber waves of unappealing brew.

It's kind of like Country Music, in that way.

Anyway, the advantage of going to Boston was that there were lots of people who drank beer a lot and knew what was good. Chief among them was Beer Goddess Hathor who, in addition to giving tips on what to drink where, also brewed some fine beer herself. (She has a website [link removed 8/13/11; originally "http://www.fix.org/jennyg/"], though I have no idea where in there I'm supposed to look for a homepage.) And when all of the bars are closed, having personalized beer in a hotel room . . . but I'm getting ahead of myself.

The story behind the Pub Puzzle Crawl )

So, Monday evening. It was the first chance I got to see people NPLers, mostly locals. Since there were too many people to easily manage, some of them split off into a Ice Cream Puzzle Crawl through Boston. The puzzles, in this case, were provided on the fly by [livejournal.com profile] tahnan and [livejournal.com profile] thedan. Sadly, the Ice Cream Crawl had far fewer stops, since the participants got brainfreeze or something. The cool kids ([livejournal.com profile] wesleyjenn, QED, Sprout, Sue++, Sir+, [livejournal.com profile] joecab, [livejournal.com profile] cazique, [livejournal.com profile] heaneyland, Otherwise, D. Ness, ln sin t, Niff, Ucaoimhu, Artistry, [livejournal.com profile] foggyb, Hathor, and I) went off and drank for seven hours.

I wish I could tell you more about the bars and the beers, but I can't, really. I know they were good, but since I don't have much experience with beer (for reasons detailed above), I couldn't really tell you why. I can't even recommend things because I was mostly echoing what other, more knowledgeable people were ordering. I can give you the itinerary [link removed; originally "http://www.gregbrume.net/puzzles/redbones/index.html"] of the crawl, since [livejournal.com profile] foggyb has been kind enough to upload it. The itinerary also has most of the puzzles.

The puzzles were really well designed considering what they needed to do. They were simple and fun and rarely required too much thought. The KISS mentality showed up many places in this Con, to the benefit of all. Certainly, the NPL is not a group that will shy away from the obscure, the complex, the byzantine, or the difficult. But there's a lot more going on at a convention. There are things to see, people to talk to, games to play. You have to make sure that nothing gets to frustrating, or else solvers will start to wonder why you're wasting their time when they could be doing something else with someone else. (Also, of course, everything has to be solved without references.) In this case, the puzzles couldn't overstay their welcome, because people wanted to be able to drink and chat. Also, puzzles had to be specially coordinated so that they could be easily solved after drinking beer for several hours.

One of my favorite puzzles was one of the more complex ones: Boston Beer Works [link removed 8/13/11; originally "http://www.gregbrume.net/puzzles/redbones/pc02.pdf"]. It was an early puzzle, and one of the only ones where everyone dug in and did some pencil solving. What I enjoyed the most was that, although solvers were warned that the beer list incorporated into the puzzle was out of date, it still represented the menu very well. Pretty much everyone ordered their drinks off of the puzzle without really looking at the menus. I also sat near Cazique, QED, and the right shoulder of Sprout, triviaites all, who offered and solved variuos sports trivia questions.

At Bukowski's [link changed 8/13/11; originally "http://www.beeradvocate.com/beerfly/user_reviews/963/"], we settled in for the inevitable Pub Trivia [link removed 8/13/11; originally "http://www.gregbrume.net/puzzles/redbones/pc04a.pdf"] game. The theme was "Dead Authors," since Bukowski's is the home of the Dead Authors' Club. (Although it wasn't explained then, I now know that some patrons of this bar undertake to sample every beer on the menu, though mercifully not on the same night. Those who succeed get mugs engraved with their names placed on the wall. And by "their names," I mean "the names of dead authors they choose.") I did predictably poorly, especially compared to some of the general knowledge hotshots. But still, I don't think the questions [link removed 8/13/11; originally "http://www.gregbrume.net/puzzles/redbones/pc04b.pdf"] were balanced all that well. (I'll try to explain more about the balancing trivia, but it's a tough subject and I'll need a separate entry.) Anyway, the balance of the knowledge is definitely a nitpick in this situation. Everyone had fun, even when losing, which is much more important, and difficult to accomplish.

Also, while I was at Bukowski's, I recorded an Audblog. I'd say more about that, but I can't listen to it while I'm work.

The last puzzle I'll talk about is the one from Redbones. This is a fantastic puzzle, though you can't see it or solve it online. Go visit the redbones site, and you'll see lots of wonderful artwork. That original artwork is all over the downstairs barroom. It was the artwork that we were looking at back in January when we thought about a Pub Puzzle Crawl. And it was the artwork that made our last stop an Eyeball Benders-style extravaganza.

We got a huge pile of letters. Each letter seemed to have been cut out of the pictures along the walls. We had to locate, then put them in order according to their position around the room. It was great fun. This might seem a complex puzzle to deal with after seven hours of drinking, but I think that the lowering of the inhibitions helped us to take over the more-or-less empty room staring at pictures. Also, they had great dessert. And great meat. And good margaritas. (Wow, I didn't realize how out of it until I tried to remember it just now. At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if someone there told me that I said, "I love you man! You're like my brother! My puzzle brother! Mi hermano de crucigramas!")

At some point at Redbones, I got a picture of QED, Sprout, Toonhead! and somebody's hair. You can see the wacky Redbones artwork, along with the cute and very helpful bartender who decided to be a semi-waitress even though she didn't have to be. Also, at some point earlier, I got a picture of [livejournal.com profile] wesleyjenn and [livejournal.com profile] heaneyland, probably in a T station somewhere.

After all of this, those of us who remained were directed by Foggy Blotto to the best beer in Boston. By this time, many of our crew had ducked out to return to their homes or the hotel. Thus, when I snapped a picture, en route to our final destination, only [livejournal.com profile] foggyb, QED, Ucaoimhu, Hathor, Artistry, and [livejournal.com profile] joecab. Sprout was also there, though he cannot be seen in this picture. As we staggered toward the terminus, Hathor tried to scare us by saying that once we were there, we were going to have to solve a cryptic crossword by Ucaoimhu, known for his labyrinthine crosswords that involving learning Sanskrit [link changed 8/13/11; http://www.alkhemy.com/sanskrit/atul/"] or decoding Cuneiform [link changed 8/13/11; originally "http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/GLOSSARY/CUNEI.HTM"].

Well, the best beer in Boston turned out to be at Hathor's house. But the crossword turned out to be no empty threat. We were provided with two beers that were brewed specifically for this convention. (There was a third prepared beer, but it had been part of an auction, and thus, we were not allowed to drink it.) The labels were designed by [livejournal.com profile] joecab, and as you can see, Hathor's threat turned out not to be empty.

And, with no more puzzles, we just kept drinking without puzzles.

And really, who needs the puzzles? )

I recorded an Audblog after one of these beer sessions. As I mentioned above, I can't relisten to it right now. But I'm pretty sure I talked about Toonhead!, aka [livejournal.com profile] joecab. I may even have mentioned a picture.

See, I was "cosolving" [livejournal.com profile] thedan's cryptic with [livejournal.com profile] joecab very late one evening / very early one morning. I don't know why I thought attempting this was a good idea at all. [livejournal.com profile] foggyb was there, and I he may have had a hand in convincing me, since it would have been very amusing for him. We actually managed to do rather well, though all together, we found a completely and utterly wrong answer to the end game of the cryptic.

At a certain point, after the grid had been filled and [livejournal.com profile] foggyb and I had started puzzling through the final steps, [livejournal.com profile] joecab crawled around us on the bed, then fell down. He didn't get up again. After a while, we noticed.

We took this as a sign of two things: (1) we should probably get out of his room, (2) we should probably take a picture and post it on the Internet.

And here it is:
Man, this Toonhead! guy should learn to hold his liquor better )
tablesaw: -- (Default)
I thought I should mention this. Technically, it happened after the convention, but anyway . . .

I get to the airport and have to rush through security to get into a tiny tiny gate that only has two flights. I find myself seated next to a very cute young woman solving a crossword. So I test the waters, "Is the crossword any good?" "No," she responds, "it's way too easy."

KACHING!

I mention that I was at the NPL convention. She said she'd heard about it from a local newspaper. It was really interesting, she thought, though she didn't attend. I told her about some of the events. We chatted about how Boston has many people who are unafraid to be smart. We touched upon the MIT Mystery Hunt. Then our 5:30 flight was called.

Except that she was on a different 5:30 flight leaving from the gate next door to mine.

One could argue that, after having a wonderful week in Boston, it would have been too much to ask to be on a plane with another cute and smart Bostonian. But I won't argue that. I argue that it was Boston taking its revenge on me for not being able to dump frozen water on my head.

Stupid Boston. Stupid city full of smart people.

HB

May. 27th, 2004 11:16 am
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Although I normally don't mention birthdays, four people on my reading list celebrate theirs today. Happy Birthday to [livejournal.com profile] tahnan, [livejournal.com profile] skitty, [livejournal.com profile] enoelie, and [livejournal.com profile] sylvia101.

Today's New York Times Crossword was an odd experience. I didn't time it, because I was watching a DVD as I solved it (Penn & Teller's Bullshit!, which I'll try to talk about later). That wasn't the norm for me. But what was very interesting was that I'd already seen the answers to the theme clues. They'd been run by the Cruciverb-L mailing list. It was a good Thursday puzzle overall, with a nice mixture of unusual entries and unusual clues.

Alert.

Apr. 10th, 2004 05:40 am
tablesaw: -- (Default)
I believe there is an error in today's New York Times crossword puzzle. My amended clue is below the cut, if you consider this a spoiler.

Emended )
tablesaw: A young Shawn Spencer learns proper saw technique from his dad. (Cartoon)
The Gardeners for the house behind mine decided to come late today, and work extra long today, and work extra slow today, and wake me up for about two and a half hours today. It was not fun.

When I finally did get back to sleep, I dreamt I was at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Things were different than I had expected, though. The first puzzle (and possibly others) was not complete when we received it. Instead, we everyone got just the grid. Then Will Shortz read out clues in random order, making it like a crossword version of Bingo. To my surprise, the grids were collected before anyone was finished. My neighbor at the table, Kiran Kedlaya, explained that this was sample data that was going to be used to callibrate the complex measuring system now in place.

But I remember most about the dream was that, as a tribute to Bob Keeshan, he had altered his nametag to read "Kiran Kangaroo."
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Today's New York Times crossword puzzle is brought to us by [livejournal.com profile] canadianpuzzler, who contacted me last night to confirm that it was his. He added, "I hope it gives you at least half an hour of pleasure." Sorry, Gabby, it was only twelve minutes of pleasure.

IO

Sep. 9th, 2003 02:05 pm
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Recently, someone mentioned how she feels "loserish" when staying home on a Saturday night doing nothing. I responded:
See, I feel that bit of shame and loserishness on Sunday night (now Tuesday morning) when it's the very end of the weekend and I realize that I haven't done anything. Of course, while I'm actually staying home doing nothing, I usually feel great. Hooray for quiet!
I wrote that at work, before my weekend began. Now it's Tuesday morning, and those words have hit me like a deadly boomerang of angst.

I spent this weekend reading. And reading and reading. When I got home on Sunday morning, I opened the windows and the door and took off my shoes and lay on my couch and felt good. When my mother called to update me on things and ask me about things, I told her that I was reading with my shoes off. I went to bed late and woke up and read. I stayed up late reading, and then I slept in and woke up and read some more. I did go out and get some exercise, but then I came back home and read some more more, although I shook things up a bit by reading things on the Internet, not bound in books. And now it's late on Tuesday and I'm suddenly realizing that the reason I feel a bit odd is because all of the diverse voices I've surrounded myself with over the past forty-eight hours have been in my own head.

And the quiet is not currently hurray-worthy.

There was something I did besides read, this morning. I ran through my cd collection looking for tracks to sing along to. I sang loud and proud in my carriage house at four o'clock in the morning. And it filled me with the same intoxicating joy as the reading.

What's going on inside me is complex, and I can't seem to express what it is without using words like roiling. I can't bring myself to use those words, right now, so we'll move on. The point is that my mouth feels rusted, and the pressure of its disuse over this weekend is worrying.

And I should go to bed now, so I can get up and watch the new episode of MI-5 (Apparently it has Dr. Bashir in it), but something me going. And the main reason I'm writing this entry is because, if I don't I'll probably go back to reading, and then there'll be no end to it.

And strange things are happening. There's drama on LJ, there's still watermelon in my fridge, and I'm going to get an electronic monkey on my shoulder because I can solve cryptics.

It's been a strange weekend.

It will continue to be one until I go to bed.

It will continue to be one as I prolong this entry.

I swallow my Prozac (actually fluoxetine) and think about where I was three years ago. I don't get very far, because everything from then is pretty scrambled, but thinking about it reminds how odd it is that I enjoy my life. Even when I wake up and think my life is boring or tired or sad, I really like it. Before, even when I liked my life I hated it; now, even when I hate my life, I love it.

It's now the time of day when every extra minute I keep my eyes open will be felt by me at work later on. The clocks around me tick upwards passive-aggressively (well, only the analogue alarm clock ticks, the other silently change) and I try to ignore them while I add parentheticals to my writing.

I'm trying to work it out of me. I'm trying to work out everything I took in, but there's not enough time, and it's not working because through it all my mouth stays closed and my voice stays mute and I don't have an ending to this weekend. I need an ending to this weekend, something other than my time for today's crossword puzzle, which is apparently all I have. I need someone to sing me to sleep tonight, and someone to sing to sleep before I tiptoe out the door to read and proofread safe, soulless things.

TueNYTX: 7.

Puzz Pimp.

Jul. 25th, 2003 06:21 am
tablesaw: "The Accurate Tablesaw" (Accurate)
Overheard:
"Love me! I'm a homo! We're real popular right now!"

Today's LA Times Syndicated crossword puzzle was written [livejournal.com profile] canadianpuzzler. I am amused that this Canadian puzzler managed to work a famous Canadian into the clue for the central down entry. Solve it now! My time was seven minutes.

FriNYTX: 15.

Regrets.

Jun. 23rd, 2003 06:33 pm
tablesaw: -- (Default)
The funeral is over, and perhaps, things can become something approaching normal again. I don't have high hopes that I'll be able to get my sleeping re-regulated by tomorrow for work, though. There's a lot of it that I really don't want to talk about, though. It was hard, since, more than sadness, I was feeling rage. It puts one into a more awkward position in large uncomfortable groups. When one is sad, then if one breaks down, there are tears, perhaps a swaying of legs, and people to support one. When one is angry, then if one cracks, blunt objects come into contact with things or persons from which the should be kept away.

Also, I heard from Will Shortz at the New York Times passing on my crossword puzzle. A while back, Paula Vogel visited UCSB, and I sat in on a miniclass she taught for the playwriting classes. (At the time, I wasn't yet enrolled in the classes.) Rather than delve into the minutiae of craft, she spent a great deal of time instructing us on How to Read Rejection Letters. She had several signs and tricks, the most memorable (and most useless on email) was to wet the paper of the letter (possibly by licking your thumb and smudging) to see if the signature was signed or Xeroxed. Anyway, it's a very helpful skill. Using it, I am heartened by Shortz's note: "The theme, I think, isn't really a New York Times sort of subject. Something entirely pop culture-related like this would probably be better suited for a publication with a younger audience, like Games magazine." How do I read this? that the quality is up to par (which was a bigger anxiety for me), but the subject matter makes it an inappropriate for the audience. Vogel was very big on this, understanding from a rejection letter when the editor (or artistic director) thinks your work is bad and when he or she thinks it's good or interesting or promising but can't select it for other reasons. I'll probably send this on to Games and Kappa (Games' parent) and start working on the next one.

Onward and upward.
tablesaw: "The Accurate Tablesaw" (Accurate)
Today, this journal has won the first of what are sure to be many awards. Today, I proudly announce that I am the winner of the Shadesong Award for Best Themed Icon Set. Sadly, there is no nifty graphic I may display, but to honor the occasion, I have added two new user pictures, one attached to this post and one here [link moved to DW 10/26/10]:

It was a punishing day at work today; I spent 7-1/2 hours creating a redlines documents so dissimilar as to have no right being redlined. But I did it. Go me, Miracle Max.

Also, I enjoin you again to read about the updated Timothy Parker saga at Eric's blog. It's some wacky stuff right there.

ThuNYTX: 13:30.

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