A Drop In – (In which I Parenthesis You To Death)

Oh hi!  I didn’t see you there!  I’m sorry, I don’t really have time to talk right now.

Okay, so, yeah, I’m cheating a little bit… again.  Or at least I feel like I am.  I really don’t have time to write a deep and meaningful post (or even a shallow and meaningful post).  Today is laundry day and I’m supposed to be getting ready to go to Michelle’s house.  She texted me a little bit ago and told me, “Stop playing games,” (I had just sent her my moves in Dice with Buddies – If you have an iProduct and you’re not playing Dice, you’re missing out.  It’s like Yahtzee, but on the phone and it’s fun, quick, mindless entertainment (in which I don’t routinely get my ass kicked.)) “and hurry up and get here so we can go to Red Lobster for dinner.”  (The girl is a sucker for Red Lobster.)

So, yeah.  I really shouldn’t be here right now, but I didn’t want the day to go by without a post (and I likely won’t be home before midnight in WordPresslandia – which is 11:00 my time).  (Did you know, I just learned a new rule about parentheses and periods?  Apparently, according to the Roget’s (I think I’m spelling that right) Writing Guide on my desk at work, the period goes inside the closing parenthesis if the entire sentence is in the parentheses and outside the closing parenthesis when only part of the sentence is inside the parentheses.  I always thought it was always supposed to be inside the closing parenthesis.  Go figure!) (I’m pretty sure I’m also breaking some rule about parentheses inside of parentheses, but whatever!)

Anyway.  Cheating.  Yeah.  I kind of am, because this is going to be one of the most pointless, long-winded, without saying anything, posts I’ve written in a while, but the thing is, how cool would it be if I could post a picture of my February calendar with all those little grey dots over each of the dates, like I did for January?  AND – and I”m not making any promises here – but how cool would it be if NEXT January, I can post twelve pictures of twelve little calendars with little grey dots on every one of them???  So since I didn’t have time (or inspiration) – (What’s with all the freakin’ parentheses, today?) to pre-write and schedule a post for today, while I’m not supposed to be on my computer, I had to stop in really quickly to tell you that I don’t have anything to say today…

Sorry to have wasted your time. 😉

Anyway, I have got a few things bubbling around in the back of my brain and so I’ve got things to write about in the coming days, but right now, unless I want to make THIS a habit, I’ve got to get a move on!

Talk to you later.  Thanks for stopping by!

Thirty-One in Thirty-One

Check this out:

Pretty cool right?  I don’t know if I’ve ever accomplished that before.  Possibly a millenia ago when I first started blogging on my old and long forgotten, top-secret blog.  I think that’s pretty neet though.

I said I was going to make an effort to write more and clearly I did.  Some of it was fluff, but hey, I can’t imagine you want to read deep and insightful every day any more than I want to write deep and insightful every day.  And yes, I’m giving myself credit for being deep and insightful even if I’m not really.  LET ME HAVE THIS!!!  🙂

It’s been a pretty fascinating experience too.  I’ve actually seen my blog readership grow this month.  Crap! I swore I wasn’t going to do this!  I find it kind of annoying when people write about how many people read their blogs but in this case it seems kind of important.  See, I used to want to be a big famous blogger.  I wanted to have thousands upon thousands of readers and I wanted to make money off my blog and I wanted to be able to quit my job and live off the revenue.  (Oh, who’m I kidding?  I still want that, but it’s not going to happen.)  I realized that I don’t have the right stuff for that.  I don’t have an interesting enough life, nor the ability to be all cute and quippy about my life, nor an endless influx of blogging material to draw from.  I also don’t have the business acumen or the social skills to promote myself enough to make it work.  (That’s something that may become a problem for me, which I’ll be discussing further in the near future.)  And don’t even get me started on my lack of technical skills when it comes to web development and making all the different features and applications and websites at my disposal play nicely together.

So I know I’m not going to be a big, rich and famous super-blogger and I’m okay with that.  But here’s what I am.  I am a writer.  I write about my feelings.  I write about my experiences (however uninteresting or few-and-far-between they may be.)  And I write about my views.  Nobody asked me.  And nobody has to read my opinions, but that’s why this is my space and not someone elses.  And that’s all well and good, except, I AM a writer and as a writer, I want people to read my words.  So I like to watch my statistics and see the numbers growing.

Last month, I assume due in part to my increased activity, I went from four blog subscribers (2 by e-mail – and both the same person – and 2 on WordPress.com), to 29.  (Don’t be fooled by the 372 listed at the top of this page.  WordPress is being generous and including my twitter followers in that number.  I guarantee you, most of them are not coming to my blog.  Hell, half of them aren’t even people.)  In addition to the subscribers, I seem to be getting a lot of people randomly coming across my blog through search terms, or because they’ve saved my URL as a favorite instead of using a reader or e-mail subscription.  The truth is, the most hits I’ve gotten in a single day is about 45 and that’s rare, but my numbers have still climbed considerably from where they were a year ago (or even a month ago.)

Thanks to my participation in the Write on Edge community, I’ve gained some additional periodic commenters; it’s no longer limited to only Terri.  It’s awesome to see more participation on this page.  I’ve also been more actively participating on other people’s blogs leaving comments more regularly…  That may have helped with bringing people here too…  Maybe.

Anyway, it’s really been a lot of fun, this month of writing.  It’s been surprisingly invigorating.  I remember, now, that writing is something I need to do.  It’s why I’m on this earth, I think.  (It may not be the only reason, but it’s certainly a reason I can’t ignore.)

So I’m grateful to all of you who read this.  I’m thrilled that you’ve stumbled across these pages and that so many have continued to come back.  I hope you’ll tell your friends…  No really.  Tell your friends.  That’ll be relevant later when I get around to that problematic, self-promotion thing.

Lazy Saturday

It’s been a very lazy Saturday here in the Riggledo household.  I haven’t been to bed before midnight (and usually much later) in more than a month and sitting here at the end of my second week back at work since my most recent vacation, the late nights have taken their toll.

I’m sitting in my living room, in my recliner with my feet up.  I’m wearing sweat pants, a t-shirt and a fleece, Old Navy pull over.  There’s a throw blanket covering me from just below my chest all the way to my feet and it is an electric blanket which is plugged in and turned to high.  My laptop is– well, on my lap and my geriatric cat is curled up in a ball on my shins, sleeping and probably dreaming that the laptop will go away and free his preferred spot for him.  For the first time in weeks it is actually 70 degrees in my apartment and, just to be clear, that’s the warmest it’s been.  (On a couple of occasions in the last two weeks I’ve actually had to break out the space heater which I never use because it draw so much energy that my electric bills triple when I do, it’s been that cold.)

I am cozy and I do not want to move.  I’ve actually fought off sleep a couple of times already today.

It’s been a pretty good week, personally, filled with fun, social interactions, and personal accomplishments.  Dinner with Lil’B on Monday; Lunch with K on Tuesday; finally made it to the Library to pick up that book they’ve been holding, on Wednesday; Thursday I had my weekly noontime meeting with the little advisory council for my Emergency Response Team program; and yesterday I had a lovely, long lunch with my friend Chantelé to celebrate her birthday.

It has also been a week of completions. One of the reasons I’ve been up so late and getting so little sleep is because I’ve been working on a baby blanket for a friend of a friend.  Michelle asked me if I would make the blanket for someone she knows, and I’m always happy to do it as long as the requester supplies the yarn (that sh-stuffs expensive, yo!)  I finished the blanket earlier this week.

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Baby Blanket, hand crocheted by yours truly.

 

I’ve also been at the office late every day this week because I’ve been working on the first round of edits on my manuscript, hereafter called by its name, “The Teacher”.  I guess if I’m serious about getting this thing published, I should start treating it like it’s real, and that means, among other things, calling it by its name.  I found it easier to do this stage of the editing process, red pen on print out copy, sitting at a proper desk and not stretched out in my recliner.  As of about 7:15 last night, I have finished that process and now I have to go through and translate those edits to the soft copy.  And I need to get on it because I have eleven days until the first meeting of the writing group I’ve been talking about.

I’m super excited about the group, and also a bit nervous.  I won’t know anyone going in and that’s never a pleasant experience for me.  Plus many of the people involved are already published authors while I’m just a little blogger/writer with a small audience, a dream, and a not particularly mainstream manuscript.  I know it’ll be an excellent, educational experience, if nothing else; it’s just the buildup that I dread.

Tomorrow, I spend the afternoon with Lil’B and I really have no idea what we’re going to do.  I think it’s supposed to rain so we’ll be looking for something indoors.  Normally, that means movies, but I’m not sure there’s anything for us to see.  I’ll figure that out in the morning though.  For now, I’m just going to sit back, relax, and watch my Dotor Who (original series, season 21) DVD from Netflix followed by the Rock Hudson movie in my Netflix instant queue that’s about to expire, and then call it a night.

It’ll be lovely.  I’m already yawning and it’s only 6:45.

Mostly On Target

I’m cheating…  Well, OK, I’m not exactly cheating, but sort of…

I made no promises about daily blog posts, and I certainly didn’t make any resolutions of the sort.  But I did say I wanted to write more, and I have posted something new everyday this year… You hear that?  EVERY DAY THIS YEAR!!!  (Sounds like a really long time and major accomplishment, huh?)  😉

Anyway, I’m cheating because I’m writing this tonight, but it won’t post till tomorrow…  Except that by the time you’re reading this…

I’m cheating because I wrote this last night, but it didn’t post till today…  Yeah, I think that’s right. Tomorrow(today) I will be heading up to Cache Creek Casino and Resort for a day of nickel slot machines (probably) and an over night in the hotel, before coming back on Thursday, so I have to write this post in advance and schedule it if I want to keep up my EVERY DAY THIS YEAR!!! streak.

I had dinner to(last)night with a friend of mine named Shirley.  I met Shirley at work years ago and we developed a friendship.  She was blessed enough to be able to retire early from the company and has been living a very comfortable life since then.  We get together every so often to enjoy a meal and have a nice conversation and that’s what we did tonight.  We had dinner at a lovely restaurant called Hs. Lordships (most people pronounce it “His Lordships” – don’t know why), in Berkeley, CA, right on the water of the Bay.  Shirley asked to have an “early dinner”, which worked out nicely.  She lives about 30 miles away from me and she was coming to me since I came to her last time and she wanted to eat early so she could go home early… Or anyway that was the plan.  I made 5:00 reservations and it was nearly 8:00 when we left the restaurant and then we stood in the parking lot for another nearly 30 minutes talking.

The restaurant was deserted when we arrived, and they seated us at arguably the nicest table they have.  It’s right in the corner with windows on two sides, one of which was facing the Golden Gate Bridge.  I couldn’t not snap a shot with my iPhone and this was the view from my dinner table tonight!

Golden Gate Bridge at Sunset

I expected the restaurant to fill up but the entire time we were there, there were only two or three other parties at the restaurant so it was kind of nice.  We had a wonderful and enlightening conversation and I’m so glad we got together.  It can be so hard to maintain relationships with people you don’t see with regularity, but this is a relationship that is worth maintaining!  Next time we get together, Shirley told me, I’ll come to her house where she’ll cook and I’ll get to meet and play with her six to eight year old Black Lab, Jake, whom she rescued from a shelter two years ago.  I can’t wait for that!

After my dinner was over, I ran over to the nearby Target store.  I was going way out on a limb, but I thought I’d give it a shot.

You see, a while back I bought a printer.

Sometime after that, I bought an ink cartridge.

Sometime after that, I bought a new computer because the one I had spontaneously kicked the bucket.

Sometime after that, I attempted to install my old printer on my new computer, only to learn that they couldn’t play nicely together.

Recently, I bought a new printer (spoiling Michelle’s plans for her Christmas Gift to me, as I’ve previously mentioned.)

Even more recently, I was cleaning up and I happened across that printer cartridge, which had never been opened and had never been used.

I know I bought that cartridge at Target.  I do not know when I bought it, where the receipt is, or which credit card I used to buy it.  In general Target has a very liberal return policy.  From the perspective of a former retail manager, their return policy is TOO liberal, however, as a frequent shopper of Target stores, I’m grateful for this liberal policy.  (By the way, are the gays still supposed to be pissed off at Target and boycotting?  If so, shoot me.  I don’t care.)  In addition to not knowing which card I used to purchase the cartridge, my Debit card number was recently changed, as I mentioned in a previous post, due to credit card fraud activity at my local grocery stores.  I handed the unopened cartridge box to the customer service rep and told her, “I’m going out on a limb here.  I don’t know when I bought this or which card I used but I know I bought it at Target.  She worked her magic and determined that I had not bought it on either of the two cards I had given her.  I was fully prepared to be told that it had been too long and I couldn’t return it.  Instead she said, “I can give you store credit and you’ll get $XX.XX for it.  I was perfectly happy to accept that as I had some shopping to do anyway.

I have had a number of complaints about Target over the years.  They’re in desperate need of properly training their staff not to get in their customers’ way and to say “excuse me” when they must.  Pretty much every time I’ve gone to a Target since I moved to California I’ve had at least one, and usually more, employee step in front of me and stop to put something on a shelf right where I’m looking, without saying a word.  I’ve had a number of bad experiences in their snack bars, with them usually being understaffed by under-motivated, slow-moving workers.  But I must say that I was very impressed with the service tonight and how the young lady handled my return that I expected not to go so well.

Spending the store credit was no problem.  I’m down to my last case of Diet Pepsi here at home and that’s just a tragic event that can not be!  I must have a plentiful supply of Diet Pepsi at all times!  Otherwise I get itchy.  Heh.  I needed one or two other things as well, including a wart removal product.  You see, yesterday at some time I rather suddenly became aware of a painful bump on the little webbing between my ring and middle fingers on my right hand.  Don’t know where it came from but it just seemed to instantly appear.  At first I thought it was a pimple and I tried my damnedest to squeeze and pop it (isn’t that what one does with a pimple?) but I couldn’t get good leverage on it to give it a good squeeze.  And then I thought, “That doesn’t look much like a pimple.  I think that’s a wart.”  I don’t know how I would have gotten a wart in between two fingers and so suddenly but I didn’t know what else it could be.  So while I was at Target I looked for wart remover.  I found exactly ONE product, which I’m sure is not all that’s out there.  Dr. Sholl’s Freeze Away.  “Removes warts fast with as few as 1 treatment” the package says.  I’d like to get rid of this thing with as few as one treatment.  That might be just what I need.  Though I have to admit that “freeze away” scares me and it cost $14.00 for something I’ll likely only use once.  But they didn’t have any other product so I bought it and brought it home.

I decided to be a smart boy and read the instructions and warnings carefully.  The instructions are remarkably incomplete.  “Twist the applicator onto the can, stick the applicator in the activator, freeze off the wart.”  Um… Okay.  Not specific enough.  The warnings go on to say, “Do not use this product on anything other than a common wart or a plantar wart.”  “If you do not use Freeze Away exactly as these directions say to use it, or if you use it on any other condition that is not a common or plantar wart, it may cause serious burns, permanent scarring of the skin, or blindness.  If you are not sure whether the skin condition is a common wart or plantar wart, ask a doctor before using Freeze Away“.

Well, I thought I was sure…  But I’m not sure enough to risk permanent scaring or blindness.  How is this product even available over the counter?  For $14.00, I’m taking this back and I’ll go to CVS to find some salicylic acid to paste on it.  Sure wish Target had some of that; this sucker hurts and I’d like it to be gone already!

 

So!  Now that this commentary is out of the way, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and pack for this trip that I am already on while you’re reading this. 😉